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tv   Special Report With Bret Baier  FOX News  April 19, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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anvil and violence as your hammer. pound away, america. pound away, america. from new york, good night. captioned by closed captioning services, inc >> bret: next on "special report," the president prepares to go to wall street to pitch the financial reform initiative. the u.s. and iraq score a major win in the battle against al-qaeda. and what did the defense secretary really mean in his memo about u.s. readiness for iran? live from our studio in washington, this is "special report." good evening, i'm bret baier. president obama will spend much of the week going where the money is. he's on the west coast today. stumping for a fellow democrat. but thursday, he will take his message, pushing for new financial regulations to the world's financial capital. senior white house correspondent major garrett tells us what is at stake. >> reporter: president obama left for california to raise money for democrats like vulnerable barbara boxer. later this week he will travel to wall street to raise ire about what it did
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with investors' money. he will return to cooper union in manhattan to push for reform, surprising the speech he gave on wall street excesses in march of 2008. >> the american people want us not to play politics with this important issue, but instead, to get something done. >> reporter: but politics is just what the senate republican leader accused mr. obama of playing. >> my advice at the beginning of this week is that we focus not on personal attacks or questioning each other's motives but on fixing the problems in this bill. >> reporter: in the middle of the high-stake game of political chicken, the security and exchange commission charged wall street high-flier goldman sachses with fraud and lying to the customers. a form of friction in the reform debate, senate democrats want a $50 billion preliquidation fund financed by aig or citigroup. the idea has money ready to pay for a big company's collapse, preventing democr democrats say too big to pay taxpayer bail-out.
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>> management is firfired, shareholders and creditors lose. there is a liquidation of assets that occur. >> i don't think you do it by creating a moral hazard, but putting a big fat fund out there in the first place that tells financial institutions don't worry. >> reporter: treasuresy secretary tim geithner opposes the fund. so does the white house leaving the issue for now unresolved. >> senator dodd included that in his legislation. as you know, it was not in our original, it was not in our original proposal. >> reporter: even so, the white house is pushing senate majority leader harry reid to get reform bill this week daring them to filibuster. in a letter produced last week, all 41 senate republicans said they might do just that to force negotiations. the g.o.p. complains the democratic bill will give federal regulators power over asset trades and decision about liquidation, left to shareholders, boards of directors and bankruptcy court. the risks?
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>> the credit accounts you are going to undermine the quality and the energy of our economy and thus reduce jobs. >> senior white house advisors say the bigger risk is leave wall street at it is. at goldman sachs, robert gibbs said nobody at the white house or treasury department had any idea the charges were in the work. bret? >> bret: major garrett live on the north lawn. thank you. get more on the goldman sachs charges from fox business network correspondent peter barnes. good evening, pete. >> reporter: when you buy a new dishwasher, tv or car, the government says the manufacturer must by law provide you with basic information about it. just look at toyota right now. it's in big trouble because the government says it failed to tell customers about problems with sticky gas pedals. the same thing with goldman sachs. the government says it broke the law when it sold investment products to two european banks since 2007. and that it did not tell them basic required information. the products were securities backed by billions in subprime mortgages.
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goldman did not tell the banks that a very savvy investment manager john paulson helped to create the securities and then turned around and made bets they would eventually blow up. which they did. it was financial car wreck. costing the banks more than a billion dollars. paulson's firm made about a billion. the government says if goldman had told the banks about paulson's involvement, they might have thought twice. >> the key was misrepresentation that would have called the buyer not buy security or considered it an important factor whether or not to purchase it. >> now some charge the administration weft after goldman in part for political reasons, to help win passage of the financial regulation reform bill in the senate, where some republicans threatened to filibuster the bill. the white house denies that.
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>> the s.e.c. is by law an independent agency. what it does, it does not coordinate with the white house. we receive no advance notice of any enforcement act. >> reporter: goldman denies the government charges and said it did not need to disclose paulson's role and it itself lost $75 million on the deal. bret? >> bret: peter, thank you. well, stocks were mixed today. the dow gained 73 1/3. s&p 500 up 5 1/3. nasdaq lost one and change. it's all your money. in this segment, the white house made a point to say one way of coming up with revenue to help reduce the deficit is not on the table. there has been speculation as we talked about that a value-added tax, a v.a.t.
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might be in the cards. chief washington correspondent jim angle reports the administration says no deal yet. >> the white house reacted sharply to a report administration official calculated the impact of a 5% value-added tax to help bring down huge annual deficits. >> this is not something the president has proposed, nor is it under consideration. >> reporter: value-added tax is imposed at each stage of production, when wheat goes to market, made into bread, goes to the store and when the consumer buys it. president obama pledged to eliminate deficit spending by 2015, not counting interest payments of $500 billion a year but many doubt the president is willing to do what is necessary to cut spending. that is one reason experts looked at how much a 5% v.a.t. or value-added tax would raise. >> 5% is $700 billion a year. we would not want to do it right now while the economy is in a recession.
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we would want to phase it in slowly over time. >> reporter: it also sought to carve out enough money to cut the corporate income tax that some nations with the v.a.t. did to soften the impact. >> if you raise enough money with the v.a.t. you can use a significant chunk of it to reduce or offset some existing taxes. whether it's income tax or corporate tax. >> reporter: the value-added tax is regressive; meaning, the poor and the rich pay the same an amount, greater amount on the pour. the white house officials didn't want to talk about it today but another official told fox in a written statement the president is not proposing to cut the deficit at the expense of middle class families. but some argue the president already broke that pledge, by embracing element of the healthcare reform bill taxing medical equipment such as wheelchair and other medical devices regardless of incomes. taxes that would fall disproportionately on those with modest incomes. let's continue to question whether the president can keep the pledge to cut deficits without raising taxes on more than just the
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wealthy. >> you are talking about a significant chunk of revenue, a value-added tax is the only option. >> bret: >> reporter: newly appointed debt commission has options for december but the senate voted against the idea of a v.a.t. by 85-13. of course, president obama promised not to raise taxes on those with incomes below $200,000. the v.a.t. would raise tax on everyone. if he were to embrace it, it would come with a large helping of crow. bret? >> bret: jim, thanks. toyota agreed to pay 16.4 million fine for failing to notify the government about a problem with the accelerator pedals within the legally mandated period. the company denies breaking the law, but says it agreed to penalty to avoid a protracted legal fight. toyota is still subject to potential civil and criminal penalties. could the father of our country have been a delinquent borrower? we check that out in the grapevine. this time, they say they're sure.
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another report about the deaths of two key al-qaeda leaders. big story for the future of iraq. i'm at the doctor getting my shoulder looked at.
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>> bret: checking world headlines now. some planes are flying again in europe, but most remain grounded because of the smoke and ash cloud from the volcano in iceland. germany's aviation authority became the first to allow planes back in the airplane. smaller european airports reopened. france and britain plan to lift some restrictions tuesday morning. prime minister gordon brown has ordered royal navy warships to rescue some stranded citizens. also today, secretary of state hillary clinton canceled her plans to travel to finland this week. two of the most wanted al-qaeda figures in iraq have been killed. according to u.s. and iraqi officials. national correspondent catherine herridge tells us who they were and what they did.
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good evening. >> reporter: good evening. vice president joe biden who has been to iraq on multiple occasions said the former leaders of al-qaeda in iraq known as aqi had blood on their hands. >> al-masari and el-bagdadi, former leaders of a.q.u. are the ones that plotted, plans and executed terrorist attack against iraqis in the recent past, as well as against americans. their deaths are potential devastating blows to al-qaeda iraq. >> reporter: al masri on the left and operative identified by the a.p. as abi omar al-baghdadi were central pillars. they were seen as the traditional link to al-qaeda because al-masri was egyptian. the other was meant to show it was a grass roots insurgency, not one imposed by foreign fighters. iraqi government officials
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say the men were killed in a nighttime raid in tikrit. in a statement, the top commander in iraq said -- >> reporter: the two had been reported dead before on a half dozen occasions but never before have we had reaction from the vice president and the iraqi prime minister on the same day. operation was hailed in washington and baghdad as a sign that iraqi security forces are stepping up to the plate before the planned u.s. withdrawal. it remains to be seen if the deaths disrupt the organization in long-term way. >> bret: thank you. 2.5 million ballots cast in
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baghdad have been ruled manually we counted. the decision came after an appeal after prime minister nouri al-maliki who narrowly lost. he is hoping for a gre greater outcome to change the outcome. afghanistan intelligence service says it arrested members of a terrorist cell planning suicide bombings and other attacks in kabul. nine people were taken to custody and quarter ton of explosives were seized. iranian president aimed ai mahm ahmadinejad approved the sight for new uranium enrichment facility, the country's third. there are questions tonight whether the head man at the pentagon is ready to deal with the nuclear defiance. mike emanuel has details from the pentagon tonight.
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>> reporter: as the regime continues to move forward developing a nuclear capability, highly classified memo from secretary of defense gates to jim jones reported that u.s. does not have an effective long-term policy for dealing with this. at the white house, spokesman robert gibbs chose to address the issue by attacking the "new york times," which first published an article about the memo. >> i did find this fairly astounding that somebody could leak something, call up reporter and say here is what the memo says. and the reporters didn't see the memo. >> reporter: then he downplayed the significance of the documents. >> bret: there are hundreds of memos written now throughout the government and throughout the pentagon as part of the normal policy planning process. >> reporter: gates said in a paper statement, the memo was not intended as a wake-up call or received as such by the president's national security team. rather it presented a number of questions and proposals
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intended to contribute to orderly and timely decision-making process. admiral mike mullen emphasized there has been a great deal of focus on the iraq issue. >> we in the pentagon plan for contingencies all the time. so certainly, that, you know, that there are options which exist shouldn't surprise anybody. >> reporter: on "fox news sunday," john mccain said the secretary's concerns did not surprise him. >> i didn't need a secret memo from mr. gates to ascertain that. we do not have a coherent policy. that's pretty obvious. >> reporter: what is obvious to israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu is the need to organize a coalition to impose crippling sanctions on tehran. >> if you stop them from importing, find petroleum, a fancy word for gasoline, then iran doesn't have the refining capacity and this regime comes to a halt. >> reporter: netanyahu and mccain are among those who do not believe china and russia will agree to tough new sanctions. if there are new sanctions
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and they do not work, gates and mull listen be responsible on advising the president on how best to contain what will likely be a nuclear iran. bret? >> bret: mike emanuel live at the pentagon tonight. thanks. the senate homeland security committee continued investigation in the fort hood shooting from the obama administration. lieberman and collins want to know what they call the warning signs of maj major hasa extremism were not recognized. we have look at what congress wants to do ahead of the mid-term elections and there is big news involving one senate race in a key southern state.
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>> bret: this is a fox news alert. in the election headquarters tonight, major develop in the
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the florida senate race. correspondent phil keating is live in miami with details. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, bret. florida governor charlie crist, republican governor, now tonight acknowledging for the first time that he is in fact considering running not for the u.s. senate seat in florida as a republican, but as an independent. late this afternoon in an interview with "associated press," governor charlie crist said he wants to listen to what the florida residents have to tell him and, "take a very, very thoughtful and deliberate making process." the national republican senatorial committee executive director urging charlie crist today and anyone who can get his ear telling him not to run as impendent but stay in the republican primary battle with marco rubio, or if he doesn't think he can win, wait another day. that is the same advice given this afternoon in tampa by former massachusetts governor mitt romney and a former
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candidate for president. who said that charlie crist should not run as an independent even though rubio has a commanding lead over him. >> he needs to run in the republican primary and come back and battle back. who knows? all things are possible in politics. >> reporter: governor romney endorsing marco rubio for the senate seat. and speculation that governor may run as indpindependent grew after quinnipiac poll that showed rub leading after the primary race 56% to 33%. yet, if crist drops out of the primary and opts to run as independent in the general election, according to the poll, charlie crist wins, polling 32% to rubio's 30% and democratic congressman kendrick meek 24%. former senator connie mack
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erue resigning last week after vetoing a bill that would have tied teacher pay to student test scores and it was popular amongst the florida republican, conser conservative bloc. now he is looking nar and charlie crist has 11 days to decide whether he will, in fact, run as independent. april 30 is the deadline to register as independent on the general election ballot. otherwise, he needs to stay in the republican primary which is august 24. >> bret: remember, charlie crist sadie fintive on this set with chris wallace on "fox news sunday" he would not run as inpend d independeni. president obama is stumping for barbara boxer. they will cost you $18,000 for a ticket to the los angeles county natural history museum.
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survivors and family members of those who died in the oklahoma city bombing attended a memorial service on this the 15th anniversary of the attack. timothy mcveigh was executed in 2001. some in washington are drawing parallel between mcveigh anti-government sentiment and those expressed with a political group in the news a lot. senior political analyst brit hume has thoughts on that. >> hey, bret. president obama finds the tea party movement complaint amusem. bill clinton thinks the language of the movement is dangerous. "time" magazine joe klein thinks sarah palin and glenn beck, tea party favorites are bordering on sedition. whoa! the president says the tea partiers ought to thank him, because many if not most of them got a tax break, courtesy of his stimulus package. in his condescension, he does not grasp that the tea party see mountain of debt piling up under the congress and
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president as a threat to their prosperity and their children and grandchildren. they see huge tax increases ahead. who can blame them? mr. clinton is engaged in a replay of the post-oklahoma city comments of 15 years ago when as president he cleverly linked political anger that months earlier stripped him of his majorities in congress to the extremism of the bombers. mr. clinton saw no such parallels later when george bush was subjected by anti-war protesters to vicious attacks depicting him as hitler or bullet holes in his farehe forehead. it didn't bother klein either. it's two sides of the same coin. refusal to see tea party movement as legitimate and serious. bret? >> bret: what do you think are the political implications here of this? >> this appears to be an attempt on part of the two presidents anyway to belittle the tea party movement to
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marginalize it. to make it less appealing to voters who might be interested in it and press the effect on the fall election. my guess all this will do is energize the tea partiers. i don't think it will belittle them. the things they have is mainstream. they worry about what a lot of americans worry about. my guess is it fails. >> bret: thanks. you will never guess who is really causing the earthquakes around the world. according to one iranian cleric. we'll tell you. and president obama likes to play golf but he can't win with some people.
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>> bret: now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine. president obama is taking some fire for his decision to hit the links sunday after being forced to cancel his trip to poland to attend the funeral of the nation's president there. the warsaw business journal headline read, "obama goes golfing instead of attending kaczynski's funeral." it noted note ed noted a "wash" article that say joe biden and hillary clinton visited the polish embassy to sign book of condolences, that president obama has yet to do. president obama was not the only world lead prohibited from attending after the cloud of smoke and ash from
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the volcano in iceland. speaking of golf, mike knoller said president obama played 32 times since taking office. in his eight years as president, president george w. bush played 24 times, giving it up in late 2003, saying it wasn't appropriate during a time of war. nearly twice as many people are making more than $100,0 $100,000. in new jersey governor chris christie's administration as opposed to jon corzine's administration. christie proposed to lay off state workers and he is spending $200 million more on salaries than the predecessor. 17 people made more than $100,000 under corzine last year compared to 34 currently earning six figures under christie. we reached out to christie's office for a comment but have not heard back yet. senior iranian cleric is shaping things up saying loose women wearing revealing
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clothing are are, get this, to blame for earthquakes. iranian media says the acting friday prayer leader said, "many women who do not dress modestly spread adultery in society which con quently increases earthquake. what can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? adapt our lives to islam's moral codes." legend has it, he told his father, "i cannot tell a lie." but apparently george washington our first president wasn't as conscientious about library books. new york's oldest library says it uncovered a ledger showing america's first president borrowed two books in october of 1789 and never returned them. the accruing late fees and fines for 220 years total of $330,000. the library says it will waive the fine. it just wants the books back. a new survey reflect what is the pew research center describes as growing distrust
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of government. 22% of the participants said they trusted almost always or most of the time. 43% said government has a negative effect on the daily lives. 56% say they feel frustrated about the federal government. 52% of those surveyed in the poll said the political system works fine. the members of congress are the problem. the lawmakers have big goals for the rest of their summer. correspondent james rosen tells us what they are. >> we are obviously at the beginning of a lengthy work period. >> reporter: confirmation of president obama's next supreme court nominee. ratification of nuclear treaty with the russians and overhaul of regulatory system, immigration reform, climate change legislation and not to mention creation of new jobs as the economy limps along the road to recovery. a jam-packed agenda for congress to try to wrap up before the session wraps up in early october and lawmakers return home to focus full-time on mid-term elections. while dates have been known
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to slide on capitol hill, this time the analysts say the democrats who run congress have good reason to get out of town sooner rather than later. >> they will lose seats. it's just a matter of how many. whatever they can do to stop the bleeding or at least triage -- [ no audio ] >> well, all right, we have experienced some technical difficulty. we were in the middle of hearing erin billings, deputy editor of roll call suggesting it's just how many seats they will lose to make sure now that the they get the maximum face time with the voters back home. to that end, we expect we will only see financial regulation reform as it's called, and perhaps the other highlight agenda item, ratification of nuclear treaty and confirmation of supreme court justice with other things like climate change falling by the wayside. >> bret: they're trying to squeeze it in, in a calendar
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running out of time. >> running out of time and has back end pressure of the mid-term elections. >> bret: all right, james. apologize for the technical difficulties. nice recovery. thanks. the supreme court today heard arguments in case use of work-issued electronic devices for personal messages. text messages on your blackberry basically. go to the home page for for a web exclusive report from shannon bream. you will be able to see all of it right there. we will be back in three minutes to talk with the fox all-stars about the president's financial overhaul plan.
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because right now it's rollback time at walmart. which means thousands of rollbacks all over the store. it's another way to master your budget. and another great day for the savers. save money. live better. walmart. if we don't change what led to crisis, we will doom ourselves to repeat it. that is the truth. opposing reform will leave taxpayers on the hook if a crisis like this ever happens again. >> our bill ends too big to fail. bail-outs end forever. >> i don't think you do it by creating a moral hazard.
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by putting a big fat fund out there in the first place that tells financial institutions don't worry, you can engage in risky practices, high-risk products, there is going to be a fund, there it is, $50 billion already to bail you out. >> bret: republican susan collins talking about a preliquidation fund in the senate bill as it's being debated right now that would essentially pay for a big company's collapse. that is what she is talking about with that fund. the financial regulatory reform debate back and forth is heating up. the president is heading to wall street on thursday to pitch this. let's bring in the panel. bill kristol, editor of "the weekly standard." mara liasson, national political correspondent of national public radio. syndicated columnist charles krauthammer. mara, the president heads to wall street to pitch it. there has been a lot of back and forth. republicans saying the bill does not do everything it
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needs to do. what about the policy and the politics? >> well, i think on the policy, tha they're closer thant sounds. even mitch mcconnell said that, said it isn't like healthcare where only the opposition was bipartisan. the bail-out fund that collins talked about and mcconnell talked about will go away. the white house doesn't want it and the republicans don't want it. i think as soon as that is gone, then you will see what the remaining differences are. they're not that many. i don't think republicans are drawing a line in the sand here and seeing it important to stop the piece of legislation. they're not saying that. they want a fix and they want negotiations over it. >> bret: it was head iing down that road. >> it's done it different time. every so often there are negotiations and there will be. there are still talks. shelby is involved with them. in the end, there will be a bill and republican votes. >> bret: charles? >> i think what is so interesting about the bill that is now proposed is that
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it is congress once again voluntarily emasculating itself. the bail-out as proposed in the bill would allow the executive branch on its own, without appropriation from congress, any approval from congress to seize, essentially seize a firm it designates again unilaterally as systematically risky. take it over. have the treasury back all of the bad loans. then have the fed print the money to pay them off. now, when we did the chrysler bail-out, or the bail-out of tarp, which we had in 2008, we had to get the congress along. this is an interesting and i think a disturbing trend where so much arbitrary power is not only in washington, but not only in the executive, there is no checks, no balance. that means you get a few powerful people in washington, secretary of the treasury, head of the fdic. you walk in a large institution and say we might designate you systematically
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risky. we want you to do "x," "y" and "z." i can assure you they will do "x," "y" and "z." that's what happens in putin russia when he takes over lucas oil. that's not the way it should be. giving up the prerogative is remarkable. >> bret: bill, what about this question -- is the american public more skeptical of wall street banks or the federal government now? >> they are skeptical of both and they think, and i think you can curb wall street banks without giving unlimited authority to the federal government. brad sherman, democratic congressman from california on the house financial services this afternoon said this afternoon, the dodd bill, the senate bill that we are discussing has permanent unlimited executive bail-out authority. democratic congressman saying the truth. chris dodd, we showed a chris of him saying it ends too big to fail. it doesn't.
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that is just not the case, i'm afraid. of course it has bail-out authority. that's what the $50 billion was for. as charles said, even if $50 billion is taken out, there is a discretionary bail-out authority for fdic and treasury, to the executive branch. they don't have to come to congress to get money as they did in october of 2008. power grab by government to wall street. there are ways to do it without giving unlimited discretionary authority to government. that's why the government got more traction than expected in opposing the bill. >> bret: originally, there was a letter of all 41 senate republicans saying they wouldn't allow the bill to go forward, they would filibuster it unless they got to the negotiating table. with the president with the full court press, can politically they hold the line there? >> yes. we talked to susan collins, a moderate republican, tries to work with the democrats. i think she is a little shocked at what is in this
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bill. this is not just regulating, having a trading floor or exchange for derivatives, it's not just handling this, but this is federal branch, unlimited authority over huge non-bank institutions. this isn't for banks with positive running. they already have a resolution authority. this is for galdman satches and aig. if you like fannie and freddie you will love the bill. >> bret: they are not in the bill. >> fannie and freddie are left out of the bill. >> it treats more institutions like fannie and freddie. aig, goodman sacks. it's too big, and the federal government has the unlimited authority to go in and rescue. >> you know what is missing in the debate i think other than the republican critique of the bail-out fund, it's what they think would be better. from the left wing and the democratic party you hear a critique. you are saying if you're too big to fail, you should be too big to exist and banks should be broken up. they have a set of ways they would strengthen the bill, hire capital requirements, whatever that is.
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what is it exactly that republicans want to do instead of this bill? >> the republicans are for higher capital requirements. that are in the bill. they are -- they there are sensible elements to the bill but not the unlimited authority for the federal government to take over non-bank institutions. >> let me add one -- there is a huge irony pointed out by larry lindsay, the former head of the council of atomic advisors in the bush administration and he did an analysis of treasury and the fed unilaterally, and that is that big institutions and the banks like this. if you know if you lend money to the large institutions, in the end the treasury and the fed will come in and girn tee all the -- guarantee all the loans, that meanous pref returnially -- preferentially lend to institutions and it will end up like fannie and freddie and they can bare row at lower rate and have a competitive advantage. ironically, it strengthens the fed and it favors the
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big, big institutions. hurts the smaller ones. either the other positions were overrided but this is definitely since then relative to the other firms the same way it did for freddie and fannie. they have a guarantee. >> bret: it is supposed to come out this week, does it go through? >> i think in the end it goes through. >> bret: bill? >> i think the opposition is building. >> it passes. everybody hates wall street. anything that is against wall street will pass. >> bret: when we come back, the defense secretary robert gates' memo about the u.s. readiness for a nuclear iran. ♪ [ male announcer ] designed to function the way you funion.
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there are hundreds of
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memos being written right now throughout the government and throughout the pentagon as part of the normal policy planning process. >> i didn't need a secret memo from mr. gates to ascertain that. we do not have a coherent policy. i think that's pretty obvious. we keep threatening sanctions. >> it does represent however a very, very stuff problem. >> iran having a nuclear weapon would be disstabilizing and attacking them would create the same outcome. >> bret: a lot of questions about robert gates and the memo stemming from a "new york times" article on saturday that read in part this. "defense secretary robert gates warned in memorandum to top officials that the united states does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with iran steady progress of nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document." gates released a statement today saying it was not meant to be a wake-up call, it was
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a private give-and-take between the national security advisors on the way forward. what about this? we're back with the panel. bill? >> i love the press secretary robert gibbs response, that three-page memo from the secretary of defense to the national security advisor saying we have no coherent and successful policy on the most important national security threat facing the country and his response is hey, there are hundreds of memos written in the government. many in the defense department are writing memos whether we should procure 852 or 865 humvees, and this is just the same. it shows the leak wounded the administration because it told the truth. it's evident that the first wave of their iran policy is floundering. for admiral mullen to say, well, you know, it's tough either way to get the nuclear weapons after destabilizing and if iran gets a tacked, that -- attacked that is destabilizing. there is a big difference. it would be destabilizing if there was an attack on iran nuclear weapons, but they
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wouldn't have nuclear weapons for quite a while. for some moment. i'd prefer unstable middle east without iran nuclear weapon than unstable middle east with iran nuclear weapon. >> bret: the white house seemed to push back hard on the story. >> well, look, this is one of the most interesting aspects of the story, the part we don't know, which is who leaked the memo? to leak a memo from the secretary of defense is really a big deal. this was apparently written in january. okay, it's been a couple months since then. what happened since january? plan "a" to engage iran has been finished. didn't work. now we're at plan "b" trying to get tough sanctions on iran. so far, not coming up with any. plan "c" is to be reveal and i think it sounds like what the memo is saying, get on with plan "c." we better figure out what it is. because we're not necessarily going to get the tough sanctions we wanted. gates said he would prefer to get whatever sanctions we could out of the u.n. and move on to unilateral, not
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multi-lateral sanctions. >> bret: meantime, charles, in iran, in tehran, president mahmoud ahmadinejad has been very bold thumbing his nose at the u.s. they have another parade there of showing off their military might and all of their weaponry over the weekend. and who continues to make the statements that he is not in any mood to negotiate or to work with the united nations, or anybody else. >> i think it really is a sign of his fanaticism and the fanaticism of the regime. they're not content with rejecting an obama overture. they insist on humiliating him and showing contempt. they've done it over and over for now a year and three months without suffering any consequences. in fact, on the contrary. the more he rebuffs, rejects and humiliates the president the more he opens his hand and continues to offer other carrots. now he is looking for sanctions which are rather weak. i'm interested in the memo and how gates is denying that it was a wake-up call.
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his denial said instead no, the memo presented a number of questions that contribute to timely decision-making process. well, if you are contributing to a timely process, it implies that the process right now is not. time is running. you are essentially treading water and achieving nothing. what do you need? you need a wake-up call. in fact, this is a man who brilliantly disguised the fact he was making a wake-up call. because unless there is a third contingency and he is the secretary of defense, and he is talking about military options, which the chairman of the joint chiefs also spoke about, that it would have a significant effect if it were used on iran's program. unless you have that, all the negotiations are entirely unserious. either you deploy, you brandish it as a bluff or an attempt at pressure or you actually think of using it. but to take it off the table gratuitously as obama has makes absolutely no sense.
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>> bret: bill, the clock is ticking here. >> nuclear program, the weapon program. >> bret: that is it for the panel. stay tuned for a business looking to expand in tough times.
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