new york state. it's sanders' birthplace and clinton's adopted home. >> outside yankees stadium hillary clinton threw a brush back pitch at bernie sanders after the democratic rival said she's not qualified to be president. >> i don't know why he's saying that, but i will take bernie sanders over donald trump or ted cruz anytime. so let's keep our eye on what's really at stake in this election. >> reporter: it was clinton herself who seemed to ignite the brawl. this week she told politico that sanders' younger supporters are duped. on wednesday she went on msnbc morning joe and referring to her rivalling stumbles in a local interview and repeatedly refused to answer a key question. >> do you believe this morning that bernie sanders is qualified and ready to be president of the united states? >> well, i think the interview raised a lot of really serious questions. >> would you say this guy is ready to be president of the united states? >> well, i think he hadn't done
his homework, and he'd been talking for more than a year. >> do you think he's qualified and do you think he's able to deliver on the things he's promising to all of the these democratic voters? >> i will leave it to voters to decide who of us can do the job thatle country needs. >> reporter: almost immediately "the washington post" headline said, clinton questions whether sanders is qualified to be president. a few hours later in philadelphia, sanders hit back. >> i don't think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in iraq. i don't think you are qualified if you've supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement which has cost us millions of decent-paying jobs. >> on twitter the clinton campaign demanded sanders take back your words and accused him of inventing grievances.
on thursday morning you continued his counteroffensive. >> if we're going to be attacked in my qualifications for president supporting working people throughout my entire career, standing up to virtually every special interest in this country, they're questioning my qualifications? i think i have a right to question theirs. >> he added clinton's campaign is aring it both ways by attacking him and claiming his response it unwarranted. >> if secretary clinton thinks i came from the small state of vermont and we're not used to this, we will get used to it fast. i'm not going to get beaten up and lied about. we will fight back. >> the feud comes less than two weeks from the new york primary. while voters here are used to rough and tumble politics and subway train photo opes as clinton provided on this day, democratic strategists say the sudden abrasiveness in the race is dangerous. they fear it could create lingering bitterness that makes democratic party unity later
this summer more difficult. then again, the republican campaign has been bitter for months, and it remains that way. in new york texas senator ted cruz. >> the last thing we want is to nominate someone like donald trump who over and over again has allegations of fraud against him, has litigation. the last thing we want is to nominate someone on the witness stand in october and november as much as hillary clinton. >> those references were to trump university, a shuttered business venture that's been the source of a class action lawsuit as well as the clinton e-mail investigation. >> this is home. it's great to be home. >> trump reminded his audience of thousands of long island that cruz once attacked him with a phrase about new york. >> do you remember during the debate when he started lecturing me on new york values like we're no good? like we're no good. >> it all ends up to an abrasiveness and aggressive battle for new york, a battle
that is intensifying in both parties. david shuster, al jazeera. >> christina grier is an associate professor in fordham university. she's in the studio tonight. bernie and hillary come to new york and take the gloves off and go at it. why? >> this is the battle of brooklyn, and we'll see it next thursday evening when they meet head-t head-t head-to-head. the primary in new york is april 19th, so it's close to the finish line. people go negative because it works, so they try to get their message across. >> that's what you think bernie sanders is doing in this particular case, he's going negative on hillary because it works? >> it does work. as much as we poo-poo negative ads and sentiments, he wants to win it. if he doesn't win being he wants to embarrass her. he's riding a wave of seven of the last eight primary caucus
wins are for bernie. so he wants to sort of -- this would be a huge feather in his cap, especially since hillary clinton was the senator from new york state. >> a number of days before the primary, what does he have to do during that time? >> well, he's trying to galvanize as many people as possible. he's doing the obama-style big rallies. those big rallies are really great, but he has to make sure they turn into actual turnout on april 19th. keep in mind, new yorkers are being asked to vote four times this year, in april, june, september and november. so he has to make sure the excitement they feel is felt in april so that he can even be a contender in november. >> let me go on to the republicans for a second. ted cruz kind of got not such a warm welcome when he arrived in new york. >> he did not. >> you smile when you say that. what is it about ted cruz that seems to rub some new yorkers the wrong way? >> i think the large reason is what is it about ted cruz that
rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but specifically new yorkers. every city and state has their own ooethos. >> he just came off a big win in wisconsin. some people liked him. >> some people did. he's not getting majorities across the states. he hasn't just yet, but some like him and some give him a protest vote because they don't like trump. there's the voting for the ted cruz, and there's a segment of the population that believes in his values. then there's also voting against trump for cruz. >> i kind of wonder why john kasich is in the race. he's just hoping that a brokered convention means that he'll be the nominee? >> right. i think, you know, we're in a democracy, and i think a lot of people still want someone who is not as extreme as cruz, whose not as volatile and extreme as trump. if you look at kasich's record, he's pretty far, far right, but he presents himself as more of a traditional republican, which some people are just now being
introduced to. >> it's so strange because usually new york, by this time, really doesn't make that much difference. this time it makes a difference for both parties, doesn't it? >> it really does. well, you know, obviously, the media set it up so that bernie and hillary are both new yorkers, so it's the battle for the democrats. it would be a loss for senator clinton if she did not take home new york. she definitely wants to win. keep in mind, when i say new york, i'm talking about new york city and new york state. there are 8.5 to 9 million in noshgdz city but roughly 30 million in the state. when we think about the voting eligible population of democrats, she needs quite a few democrats who aren't all favorable of senator clinton and her time in the state. she really wants to make her mark there and get some momentum going. when it comes to trump, this is his state. even though it tends to be a blue state in presidential elections for the electoral college, there are many conservative noshingers in the state find trump's message resonate with them. cruz is coming in.
if cruz can krip away at the margin, sometimes a loss is a win because of perception. >> good to see you. thank you very much. conservative radio hosts often play a big role in the republican primary contest. it's no different this year, but at least one thing is different. donald trump. has candidacy is just as disruptive on the radio waves as it is at the ballot box. lisa stark reports. >> reporter: across america the presidential election is burning up talk show phone lines. >> don't we have a mess going on? >> we joined t-bone and heather solar, husband and wife. one conservative and the other liberal holding down the morning shift at wsmd in southern maryland for two decades. >> welcome to al jazeera america in studio today. liz trudy and lisa. >> their listeners enjoy a mostly rural lifestyle. some commute to washington, d.c. just over an hour away.
many are military. there's a large naval air station nearby. and whether republican or democrat, there's frustration driving these voters. >> i'm voting for trump right now. i'll tell you right now, i would vote for anybody besides hillary. >> for some callers, the message was loud and clear. a distaste for the front-runners. >> so who are you voting for? >> i'm undecided, but i tell you right off if trump gets the nomination, i'll cast my vote for the democratic nomination. >> on the republican side there's donald trump supporters and the gop establishment is dividing conservative talk radio show hosts. >> i think they have a great deal of influence. they're classic opinion leaders. now here we are in the race, and traditionally what the parties should be doing and those opinion leaders in the party is rallying around the flag. they seem to be raising a caution flag instead. >> some are cautioning against
donald trump including wisconsin's charlie sikes, whose anti-trump campaign contributed to the billionaire's defeat in that state. he took on trump about the nasty fight with ted cruz over the two candidates' wives. >> i diplomat start it. he started it. if he didn't start it, it would have never happened. nothing like this would have happened, but he started it. >> remember, we're not on -- we're not on a playground. we're running for president of the united states. >> gop heavyweight rush limbaugh who says he's staying neutral has taken heat from listeners who see him as an apologist for the new york businessman. >> it's almost like you're going so far out of your way and almost doing back flips and cartwheels to defend trump. it's just -- it's a turnoff at this point. >> star 98.3. >> back in maryland. >> you can certainly vote over the airwaves right now. >> just weeks ahead of the
state's primary, a surprising number of callers admit they're crossing party lines in a calculated move. >> i'm a life-long democrat, so i changed my party so that i can vote for anybody but trump. >> i don't know why you think you need to fall on this electoral grenade. go in and vote who you think is the best candidate. >> no, she's strategizing. >> it's all strategizing. >> strategy. >> callers express concern about many of the hot button issues. immigration, the economy, obamacare and student debt. and many said they weren't sure any of the candidates could right the ship. >> you're in the boat, okay? you've got hillary, bernie, trump and cruz. to survive only two of you can be there. who are the ones you throw off? who do you keep in the boat with you sxur vive? >> i do the world a favor and drill a hole in the boat and sink it. >> well-played, sir. >> for now talk radio is hot, and there's no dialing back.
lisa stark, al jazeera, signing off from mechanicsville, maryland. >> president obama made another push today for supreme court nominee judge merrick garland. the president told law students at university of chicago that the integrity of the judicial branch is at stake. mike viqueira has more. >> president obama keeping up the pressure to confirm merrick garland, taking his case to his adopted hometown of chicago and the place where he was a constitutional law professor. the university of chicago where he took questions from a moderator, and many of the law students there. he continued to make the case for merrick garland, and he decried once again the partisanship that he says has not only overtaken washington and the political process but threatening to overtake the judiciary as well. it appears clear that despite the fact that more republican senators are willing to meet with garland on those visits around capitol hill over the course of the last several days,
the leadership, the republican leadership in the fom of mitch mcconnell standing frirm in his refusal to allow a hearing or much less a vote of confirmation on the senate floor. president obama says that's simply unfair. >> what's not acceptable is not giving him a vote, not giving him a hearing, not meeting with him. what's not acceptable, i believe, is the increasing use of the filibuster for somebody who is clearly within the mainstream. or to essentially say we're going to nullify the ability of a president who is from another party from making an appointment. we're going to wait to see if maybe we get a guy from our party to make the appointment. >> despite the continued refusal of mitch mcconnell and the republican leadership to allow this garland nomination to go forward, some are breaking ranks. the moderate republican from maine susan collins fwreeted
garland on capitol hill. lindsey graham, the conservative of south carolina has announced plans to meet with garland as well. even so, the strategy points to a lame duck session. assuming that a democrat wins the white house, obviously, that's the hope of president obama, and the senate remains as it is in republican hands or democratic hands, the best hope the white house has now is to have a lame duck session when republicans see the writing on the wall with a democratic president coming in in january to go ahead and confirm garland making the best of a bad situation. back to you. >> mike, thank you. in syria isil has taken scores of workers captive. the prisoners were taken during an isil attack on a cement factory just northeast of damascus. we have the report. >> reporter: there are conflicting reports with regards to the news of the abduction of these factory workers, these cement workers. state television saying that isil kidnapped roughly 300 workers. however, sources on the ground
in damascus have told al jazeera that the number was far less, and that one of the armed rebel groups, one of the armed opposition groups fighting the regime as well as fighting isil managed to secure the release of most of them. they say that isil initially killed or beheaded ten of those that they took captive accusing them of espionage or spying against them. less than 100 remain in the hands of isil. however, what this goes to show is not only the lack of clarity with regards to what is taking place on the ground because of the dangerous nature and the unfortunate fact that there is difficulty in finding independent verification of things as they develop. what it also shows is that everybody in syria is a target, even those who haven't aligned themselves with any one side, and sides are numerous. just those who are going about their daily lives trying to essentially make ends meet in what is a horrid situation so people who got up one day to go
to work find themselves in the midst of this conflict. police in belgium released new video of a man wanted in connection with the brussels airport bombing today. he's believed to have escaped after explosives failed to detonate. we have the report. >> reporter: walking away from an attack that caused carnage. it shows the third suspect in the brussels bombing. he fled the airport when his bomb failed to explode. cctv footage shows him in a nearby town. police are keen to recover the jacket. investigators have pieced together surveillance images for two hours after the attack. the authorities hope someone at street level may have spotted him. >> we especially appeal to people who might have filmed or taken a forecast of the suspect or link they can provide
information on this issue are requested to call the telephone number that will shown on the side or the e-mail addresses. all information will be handled discretely. >> three attackers are believed to have targeted the airport last month with two of them blowing themselves up. it's emerged that the man on the left here worked as a cleaner at the european parliament in 2009 and 2010. he's also suspected of being the bomb-maker for the paris attacks that killed 130 people last november. meanwhile, salah abdeslam believed to be the only surviving member of the paris bombings and shooting had his latest court hearing in brussels. he won't be extradited to france for several weeks until belgian investigators continue questioning him. >> translator: according to information i received the arrest warrant needs to be lifted before he can be handed over to france. he still needs to be heard in
another case. >> as the hunt go on for the third airport bomber, a senior or fbi official accused allies in europe of not using tool to find terrorists. for the belgians they use the cctv images they do have to find this man. british prime minister david cameron admits he did profit from shares in an offshore firm tied to the panama papers scandal. cameron told itv news he and his wife sold shares worth about $44,000 shortly before he became prime minister in 2010. it was set up by his late father. millions of documents were leaked showing how the firm helped shield wealthy investors from taxes. there's no suggestion cameron did anything illegal. up next, crowd funding the homeless. a controversial tent city in chicago that critics say is not a solution to the problem.
chicago, and some residents are responding with compassion as lawmakers struggle to figure out how to put them into permanent housing. we have the report. >> reporter: she is a student by day studying criminal justice at a downtown chicago college. at night she hunkers down in her tent in a viaduct underneath the city's busiest street, lakeshore drive. >> it's a way of life and the struggles we've been going through. >> she suddenly has a lot of company in the uptown neighborhood north of downtown, there are three viaducts underneath lakeshore drive and they're the only way for uptown residents to get to the beaches and parks along lake michigan. these tent cities are growing, and if the residents of this neighborhood want to get to the crown jewel, they have to jog past an unpleasant truth. >> to me, it's the tip of the iceberg. it should be the warning bell something is wrong. >> he says he considers these people his neighbors, so he
started a gofundme page that along with uptown tent city's facebook page and a twitter account and a website has raised about $9,000 towards supplies and tents. that's how mark got his. >> one of the worst things of homelessness is you can't -- you have no place to go and shut the door on the rest of the world. >> part of the problem here is that illinois's current budget stalemate, ten months now with no state budget, has led to big cuts in the social services that could help tent city residents. this uptown neighborhood is quickly gent fieing, too, skwiezing out lower income residents. >> there's a steady bleeding of moderate and low-priced apartments, housing in the area. >> is there a process for that? >> and police have also been showing up here issuing tickets trying to shoo the homeless away, but just this week the city's newly formed homeless task force was helping to distribute meals and doing
assessments of the residents. so what gives? are they welcome or not? >> what gives is these people need permanent housing with wrap-around services, and that is going to happen. >> the city alderman for this neighborhood says the city has been sending mixed messages, but he said within months the city will have help ready to go using existing buildings in the neighborhood. >> they will have place to go. it will not be a shelter. that's not the place. it needs to be permanent housing. >> the alderman says he knows these tent city residents won't believe it until they see it, and he's right. they all tell us wherever they wind up, they want to stick together. >> we're like family out here. we back each other up, and we don't leave nobody out. >> al jazeera, chicago. in texas border towns known for rampant skrupgs. in crystal city the mayor and most of the city council face criminal charges. despite the allegations that the
mayor is running is re-election. heidi jo castro reports. >> reporter: crystal city, texas, once the spinach capital of the world called the capital of corruption. one lone councilmember remains untouched by scandal in the town of 750040 -- 7500 40 miles frr the border. the mayor, city manager and three current and former councilmen charged with bribery. another councilman charged with human smuggling. >> they thought that what they were doing, you know, they were above the law. >> the shady dealings at city hall were long the talk around town. >> they started spending money that was not in the budget, and even hired a city manager paying him a quarter million dollars a year. >> that was half the city's tax revenue in a community where the median family income is 26,000. this is the guy prosecutors say was cashing it in.
city manager james jonas iii was a former washington, d.c. lobbyist living in san antonio. to establish he lived in crystal city, he listed 419 veterans avenue as his residence. the only problem is it's an empty train caboose. the indictment says jonas returned the favor by securing bribes for the mayor and councilmen. when the city's money ran out they raised the property tax 20% to pay for him. neither responded to an interview request. >> it just boils down to greed. >> the fbi says corruption is common along the border where proximitiy to cartels, access to government grants and relative poverty create conditions ripe for abuse. >> a bribe of $500 or 1,0$1,000 $2,000 is a substantial amount of money. >> according to an indictment when a local business owner approached crystal city mayor
rick card toe lopez with a bag of money in exchange for favorable treatment, the mayor accepted. ricardo, it's al jazeera america. i want to ask some questions. lopez agreed to an interview, but he refused to come to the door. as we try to coax out the mayor, a man posing as a neighbor said lopez wasn't home. when we followed him, it turned out the man was mayor lopez. >> call me and contact me. >> he's running for re-election next month. >> okay. ricardo. >> i don't want to talk to you. >> are you guilty of these corruption charges? why are you walking away if you're running for mayor and you invited to give us an interview? a little more patience and the mayor finally opened up. he said his business dealings were all legal. >> i got the receipt right here. >> you got a brown bag full of $40,000 in cash, and you didn't find that to be suspicious?
>> it was $40,000 in a bag, yes, ma'am. >> lopez said he tried to resign, but not enough councilmembers were left to accept his resignation. now he gives voters a chance to re-elect him. he says he's innocent of all charges. >> this could be a better community without corruption. it could be. hopefully crystal city will take this as an opportunity to take the first step for a better city hall. >> as for the only councilmember not under dielt in crystal city, he says he can't handle another term. >> it's frustrating and i'm tired of all of this. what we're trying to do here is trying to get this town to go forward. >> elections this crystal city are may 7th, and riding on them are people's hopes that enough good guys are left to keep the city going. heidi jo castro, al jazeera, crystal city, texas. up next, heroin and race. why it took so long for hain to be declared an epidemic.
opinions about the border. >> i don't believe in borders. >> our government is allowing an invasion. >> i don't really know as much as i thought i did. >> people don't just need protection, they need assistance. >> what's your message then? >> we need help now. >> oh my god... the town's out of water. >> we came up here to talk to some people who are selling fresh water... fresh water for fracking. >> we are a town that greed destroyed. >> what do we want? >> justice! >> these people have decided that today they will be arrested.
>> i wanted to dance, and eventually i started leaving the gangs in the street alone. >> we're pushing the envelope with out science every day, we can save species. >> i'm walking you guys! >> all i wanted to see was her walk. it was amazing. >> these were emotions that i had been dreaming about for so long. >> getting to the heart of the matter. proud to tell your stories. al jazeera america.
the cdc has declared the recent opiod epidemic a nationwide health emergency. some ask why it took so long for the u.s. to treat drug addiction as a medical problem and not a criminal one. randall pinkston explains. >> reporter: they're stories of children lost. >> i searched her room, and i found the syringe and the spoon, and i thought i was going to be sick. >> victims of a suburban opiod
epidemic sweeping the united states. >> there was a time when jack would do anything for the money for the opiod pills. >> it's rising casualty count is getting attention and drawing calls for policy reform and addiction awareness. >> the problem we have right now is that treatment is greatly underfunded. >> the approach is a title change compared to previous drug crises. heroin in the 1960s and '70s, then in the 1980s crack cocaine. >> we were just throwing them in prison. >> beth karas was a new york city prosecutor during the hite of the epidemic when it spiked on city streets. >> they needed to be punished. that was the mentality, and we weren't looking behind the problems they had now. i remember saying when i was a prosecutor to people, look, my job is to keep the streets safe. i'm not a social worker, but these people need help. >> america waged its war on
trugs with harsh mandatory prison sentences. in 1986 a federal law set the same penalty for possessing five grams of crack cocaine as for 500 grams of the powdered kind. the prison population more than tripled over the next 20 years. >> i think racism has a lot to do with. >> the doctor is in the forefront in the current fight against opiod addiction. >> if you look at the past two addiction epidemics those affected non-white, inner city communities. now we have an addiction epidemic affecting mainstream white america. >> randall pinkston, al jazeera. >> les payne won a pulitzer prize as a reporter and key member of the heroin teecam. he wrote over 30 articles revealing how heroin went from the poppy-covered fields in turkey to the streets of new york city. good to have you here. what has happened to the heroin epidemic since 1974?
>> well, i think it has -- if you look at the two polls, it has gone from being based mainly in harlem in the '70s when it was a plague and epidemic, to now it's out in the suburban areas. white middle class are the main addicts now. before, it was african-american chiefly and hispanics. >> so now that it's in the white intushs, we're talking about not throwing people in prison but putting them in for treatment, right? fwloo that's right. we've gone from handcuffs to hugs. >> and so it was about race in my way, yes? >> even then it was about race. one of the things that struck me, i was a young reporter at news day in long island in suffolk county. news day became interested in the story because heroin was beginning to seep into sub bur ya even then.
until the 1970s, '69 and '70 it was mainly in harlem. the bureau of narcotics and dangerous drugs, the forerunner of dea, declared roughly half a million heroin addicts in america and half were in new york city. most of them were in harlem, and the drugs were run by the cosonostro in the early '60s and restricted it to the black communities. they said it, by the way. >> they said they restricted it to black communities. okay to have black addicts and not white addicts? >> the mafia wanted to make money. they ran it. 80% of the heroin was grown in turkey at this point smuggled through and turned into heroin. from the bonanno crime family set up a route and then it came into new york. it became profitable in the '60s and '70s. the mafia got out of running it
because of the conspiracy laws because they had arrested a top mafia don, so they got out. then it was run by cubans and african-americans. but, it was restricted to there. we heard and put in the book, when you say that it was restricted, you know, you got that from "the godfather" the movie, that's fiction. as you know we deal as journalists with facts in the matter. what we found is there was a meeting on august 12, 1972, staten island at the home of a captain of the genovese family, and all the behalf kwa dons were there including gambino, the boss of all bosses. he was there. what they talked about and they taped the conversation. they talked about getting back into the heroin business mainly because to get money for the younger soldiers, but also they said almost quote-unquote when
we had it, we didn't allow it to go into the suburbs and we did not sell it around schools. we kept it in the black community, and the quote was, the stuff belongs in the black community. that was the mafia. >> when you looked at it back then, did your group think about the idea of not -- i mean, how much different the world would have been if we didn't send people to prison for these sorts of crimes as opposed to sending them to prison? >> absolutely. we saw the victims. these were victims. these are people who, you know, were hooked, and people who took it said, you know, addicts will crawl through a sewer to get a fix. the worst part about it, even worse than being restricted, is that it was enabled by the police and by politicians. nixon in 1971 declared a war on
drugs. he said public enemy number one is drug abuse. he was kind of going after new york city and the rockefeller area. rockefeller did him one better. rockefeller set up the drug laws in 1973, and what those laws did in terms of incarcerating people, if you were caught with 2 ounces of even marijuana or heroin, a 15-year minimum in prison. 15 years. most of the people they sent up there were african-american. >> we changed a generation of african-americans. it changed their lives, their family's lives. it changed the community. >> that's right. it changed the country. that's because a generation of high potential people were sent to prison. >> you looked at this issue. what needs to happen? >> the idea that addicts are victims, one can claim their behavior, but i think they should be treated at victims.
i think that heroin should have preventative measures. there should be education. one of the things that nix done did, he did try to attack the growth of it. he went to the turks and paid them $350 million not to grow the opium poppy. what happened? it moved to the golden triangle. now most of the heroin comes out of afghanistan. by the way, when the taliban was in control of afghanistan, the heroin, the poppy was reduced. now it's back up when the u.s. went in there. >> it's a terrible problem that the united states is still dealing with so many years later. les payne, great to see you. thank you for being with us. up next, inside president obama's white house. a preview of the new al jazeera documentary and a discussion about his presidency. plus, jamie mcintyre takes us on a behind of scenes tour of the pentagon.
presidential hopefuls fight their way through a brutal primary season, historians are starting to size up barack obama's time in office. it's the subject of a new al jazeera america documentary inside obama's house. it chronicles his highs and lows. here's a look. >> our combat mission in iraq will end. guantanamo will be closed one year from now. now is the time to keep the proposition of affordable, accessible health care for every american. >> the president was so happy. other than his marriage, i don't know that i've seen him quite that happy. >> let's go get 'em. >> but obama discovers that change would be harder than he had predicted. >> am i frustrated that we're not taking bolder steps? absolutely. >> he said i'm president of the united states, and i can't make anything happen. >> he stood up in place and said, that's it. i'm infished.
>> he said, you know i don't sleep at night very much. >> he called me a name i hadn't heard before and or since and stormed out of the room. >> richard wolf is a columnist for "the guardian" and the author of three books of president obama. richard did not participate in the making of the documentary. he's in our studio. good to see you. >> thank you, john. >> when you look at the sound bites of the president from the beginning to the end, it makes you wonder how he'll be viewed. how do you think he'll be viewed? >> first and foremost his place in history is secure. the first african-american president. there's no question he came into power at a tumultuous time post great recession, and america emerged from that. the foreign policy question, which i think is -- was the defining piece of the rise to power, the war in iraq was stupid, a dumb war, and the withdrawal. i think that's a much more mixed picture, and as the chinese like to say about the french revelation, it's too early to tell. there are historic things here
he can lay claim to, and then there's the degrading of american politics, which is unfortunately what this current election is all about. >> so is his presidency about what he did or what he didn't do? >> i think it's both. look, if you asked president obama himself, would it be enough for your legacy in your own mind you were just elected the first black president, he would say absolutely not. health care, obamacare, no question the biggest part of his legislative accomplishment and the most controversial. the rise of him as a political force and the degrading of the american discourse in politics go hand in hand. they are connected. >> but as you know, there are plenty of people on the hill that blame him, not just republicans, democrats, african-american democrats who said i have never at the white house. he didn't spend any time with me. he didn't work with congress or his friends. >> is that a symptom or cause? the fact that he didn't go out and have drinks and play golf with these members of congress, would that have stopped the rise of the tea party?
i don't think so. there were greater forces at play here. racial politics, the paukt politics of post-recession america. they're playing out with donald trump right now on the election trail independent of president obama. >> it seems so ironic he started off with so much hope. today it appears based on what we see on the democratic and republican side there's a lot of despair. >> i think the recession and the technological changes and the cultural changes have unsettled this country as they have the rest of the world. we're living through that. you know, it's easy to say. politicians start with a lot of hope and it fades. look how great he's become and beaten up politically he's become. they deny the president the complete power. that's the beauty and frustration of it. is there a lack of achievement? absolutely there is. on the other hand there's -- >> who do you blame for that?
him or republicans or both? >> there's bit of both. i think rep republicans set out to deny him legitimacy and to say we're here to stop him changing the landscape of america as he wanted to in the style of ronald reagan. they did that day one. they had a meeting on the eve of his first naul rags inauguration how to block it. they denied support for the recovery act. >> because he's the first black president? >> no. >> does race have anything to do with the challenges the republicans made and the animosity? >> i think there is a trend, a factor in tea party support which has racial elements to it. i think the greater threat that obama posed to the republican party was he pulled in independents and even some republicans. he threatened to reshape the american landscape politically. >> what about isil? was it too little too late? did he not respond quickly
enough. >> i think he did not respond quickly enough. the greatest failing is the humanitarian crisis in syria. no question about that. did anyone see the rise of isil as clearly as they should? i don't think so. there's a failure of spellin intelligence and regional powers, but first and foefr most even when isis came up, the humanitarian suffering has been too much. this administration had a very active debate about that. he came out on the wrong side. >> he wanted to get out of afghanistan and iraq. he didn't want to really get into syria. what sort of grade do you think he gets for foreign policy in this administration? >> you know, if by the letter grading? >> yeah. >> i would say he would get a b. >> so a solid b? >> a solid b. >> he's a relatively young person. what is in his future? >> well, i think there are two strands to his legacy. one would be his work with inner city youth. my brother's keeper. particularly focus on the african-american community in the yunited states, but there's
an international play for him around issues of portfolio, the developing world. i think he'll have two tracts to his post-presidency. >> thank you very much. the four-part document ril "the limits of hope: inside obama's white house" premieres tonight at 10:00 eastern time on al jazeera america. to the u.s. military. jamie mcintyre covered the pentagon for more than 17 years. tonight jamie give us an insider's tour of that iconic building and why it's the most unique military headquarters on the planet. >> reporter: we're here on the pentagon's outer earring, and everything about the pentagon is a factor of five. there are five sides, obviously, as well as five rings and five floors and ten corridors. what really makes this building unique is this. these are the reporters that cover the pentagon, and that's me right there. the pentagon is the only military headquarters in the
world that allows reporters to have offices right inside the building and gives them a free pass to go anywhere they want to go. there are 17.5 miles of corridor in the pentagon, and almost all of them are open to reporters with the exception of the super secure military command center in the subbasement. this is the briefing room. let's go have a look. so here it is. unlike the white house briefing room, which looks bigger than it really is on tv, the pentagon briefing room is actually bigger than it looks on tv. in fact, it's about three times the size of the white house briefing room. this is the electric electric electric tern where they speak to reporters. it's rare to get news from the official briefings. it's a good place to get on the record statements and hold officials accountable.
when you come out the back deer, you're on the d ring. while a lot of the sources at the pentagon are secret sources, a lot of times you get information through the front door, and this is literally the front door. this is the main entrance to the defense press operations, the main press office at the pentagon. in here is where all the public affairs officers are whose job it is to help reporters get the information they need to do their story. it's like a newsroom, and all of these public affairs officers have an area of specialty where they're subject matter experts and their boss is captain geoff davis who is the director of press operations. captain davis, you got a minute? >> sure. >> i was giving people of a tour. good to see you again. >> oh, yeah. >> i was talking about how this building is more open and gives more access than any other military headquarters in the world. if you talk to people outside, they think this is kind of crazy you left reporters wander around
everywhere. >> a lot of people are surprised by it. we are, in fact, the most open executive branch federal building in town. we have access here to over 200 reporters that have that very badge that you do that enables them to come in and walk the halls and talk to people in our military and defense establishment. it's unprecedented. no other country does this. a lot of people look at the pentagon and think of this as a big secretive building. to be sure, there are a lot of secrets here. there better be. we do a good job with balancing that with transparency and access for journalists to report on the important things we're doing to the american people and world public. >> if you come out the back door the press office, this is the c ring. behind me are the offices of abc, nbc, cbs, cnn and fox. the big division net wornings. in front of me is the office where all the print reporters are and some of the radio reporters. this space is a little cramped but works well.
over there is where the press hangs out. this is the cubicle for the reuters news agency. this is where the authoritative associated press works. i like to say authoritative, because they are. over here we see some of the other publications including a lot of web publications like the daily beast. there's nancy. let's talk to her. nancy, what would you tell people about what it's like to cover the pentagon? >> i think it's a great thing that we're alloweded so much access in the building. you don't see that anywhere else. it speaks to the relationship between the press and military. that's a great thing. we're at a time now where we find it harder and harder to find out information about the wars and stuff. while it's so great we're here, you still have to push for the kinds of transparency that i think the american public and world at-large needs to know about what u.s. forces are doing around the world, particularly in the war in in the islamic state and syria. >> you're aggressive about that. do you get much pushback?
>> i find extraordinary how much support i get from the military to keep pushing for them. for them, it's not just a news story but a personal thing. many guys have lost comrades in battle and understand how important it is for the public to know what's being asked of them. >> so we end our tour here at the place where all the radio booths are, and al jazeera america partly because we were a little late to the game, we got stuck with the booth that's in the farthest corner of the press area. it's quite small. i affectionately call this our news closet, but it has everything i need to do my job. it has internet access and a telephone and computers. of course, every television reporter's most essential item, the makeup kit. >> thanks to jamie mcintyre. up next, my conversation with tony-award winning betty buckley on her long stage career and what it was like to star in
>> al jazeera america brings you independent reporting without spin. >> not everybody is asking the questions you're asking me today. >> we give you more perspectives >> the separatists took control a few days ago. >> and a global view. >> now everybody in this country can hear them. >> getting the story first-hand. >> they have travelled for weeks, sometimes months. >> what's your message then? >> we need help now. >> you're watching al jazeera america. in our conversation tonight, tony-award winner betty buckley has been call the voice of broadway. she headlined shows like sunset boulevard, 1776 and cats. i talked to buckley and asked her when she discovered her passion for the stage. >> my mother took me to see pajama game, a production -- a
regional theater production with the original bob fossey choreography. when i saw this vintage fossey number, it was like that's what i want to do for the rest of my life. i didn't know what that was, only to discover later it was -- >> you were inspired by bob fossey? when was your first big performance on broadway? >> 1776. i debuted the role of march thon jefferson on broadway. i got that part my first day in new york city. my agent who had signed me when i was a junior in college insisted i come to new york and i called from the hotel i said i'm in town. you have an audition in 15 minutes. take your music and go down. i went down and sang for them. they said who are you, betty lynn buckley. where are you from? fort worth, texas. when did you get to town? today. it's like a movie.
[ music ] >> you were in the original cast of cats on broadway. did you ever expect the song the "memory" and that show to have the impact it did. that's very successful. [ music ] >> and then barbra streisand recorded and his recording came out right as we were opening in new york. [ music ] >> that was daunting. i got to sing as good as what everybody is expecting as hearing barbra streisand and the great elaine page. it has a certain degree of -- i had to get it right. ♪ memories turn your face to the moonlight ♪ ♪ let your memory lead you
>> can you talk about performing on a stage and what it takes energy-wise from a human being like yourself to do those incredible songs every night twice on somedays? >> yes. at times it takes everything you've got and more. depending on the demand of the show, like, the musical sunset boulevard which i was very privileged to get to do for a year in london and a year on broadway. you know, i was so thrilled to get to play it, because for years i was a little racehorse they took out and said i could run fast but never let me run the big races. finally with sunset it demanded everything i had to give and more. >> when you look into the audience, what do you say? >> in the performance, it's very interesting. you're peripheral vision widens out and you become extremely sensitive to everything in the space. you feel their thoughts. you feel everything, and you can see everything. >> you can see their faces?
>> of course. until about midway back in the house, but people i don't think understand that they're entirely visible to the artist. >> when you look back at your career and what you've done, what does it mean to you? >> you know, i love the theater. i love musical theater. i've loved it since i was a child. the week before the tonys when i was nominated in "cats," i felt uncanny walking around the streets of new york. what if i don't win? we had eight nominations. i thought, i'm going to be the superintendented stupid one that doesn't win and let the team down. that week everywhere i went i ran into by magic one of the people that opened doors of opportunity for me. all these people i ran into them one at a time and thanked them for opening doors for me.
it's all about that. [ music ] >> we wish you many, many more years. it's great to see you, betty. thank you so much. >> thank you. thank you. that's our program. thank you for watching. i'm john seigenthaler. ali is next. on target tonight, child sex trafficking. it's a huge problem that many people think only happens somewhere else, but they're wrong. it's happening right here in the united states where child prostitution thrives online. all week long