tv PBS News Hour PBS November 1, 2010 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. we have two major stories tonight: an update on the investigation of the cargo bomb plot, and the latest on the final day of campaigning. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the elections, we talk to democratic national committee chair tim kaine and republican governor haley barbour of mississippi. we look at some of the season's campaign ads and get an overview from political editor david chalian and susan page of "u.s.a. today." >> lehrer: and on the bomb story, jeffrey brown interviews terrorism expert richard clarke and air security analyst rafi ron. that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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. >> lehrer: a new scare involving mail bombs erupted today in greece. it happened just three days after bombs were intercepted in england and dubai.
ray suarez has the first of the day's two major stories. >> suarez: the drama in greece involved a parcel bomb addressed to the mexican embassy in athens. it exploded at a delivery service burning one employee. two men were arrested with more bombs, including one addressed to french president sarkozy. police blamed an anarchist group that's been involved in previous plots. but the athens attack came amid an international alert over bombs sent by air from yemen to the u.s. and linked to al qaeda. on friday explosives addressed to synagogues around chicago were pulled off planes in england and dubai. >> we can't presume that there are none other that are out there. >> suarez: deputy national security advisor john brennan spoke sunday as he consulted with officials here and abroad. >> what we're trying to do right now is to work very closely with our partners overseas to identify all packages that left yemen
recently and to see whether or not there are any other suspicious packages out there that might contain these ieds. >> suarez: the bombs involve desktop printers rigged with a powdered explosive and a cell phone circuit board for a detonator. yemeni officials were hunting the suspected bomb-maker from saudi arabia. he's believed to be working with al qaeda's yemeni branch. he's also been linked to the failed bombing attempt last christmas on the plane arriving in detroit. security officials in yemen said information about this latest plot came from an al qaeda militant who surrendered to saudi authorities last month. crowds of supporters cheered a yemeni student, who was arrested over the weekend and then released. investigators said she was not involved after all. >> i thank god and my family and colleagues and all the people who have supported me.
>> suarez: in the meantime american agents were sent to yemen to consult on airport and cargo security. terror experts said it's clear air screening everywhere will need to be stepped up. >> i think they want to inflict damage, death and destruction on the united states and we're going to have to now look for a whole wide range of tactics. >> suarez: on the home front, the f.b.i. urged caution about any packages arriving from overseas without return addresses or with excess postage. in london, british prime minister david cameron convened a crisis committee and home secretary teresa may announced enthusiasm measures. >> we will update the guidance given to airport security personnel based on what we have learnd to enable them to identify similar packages in future. from midnight tonight, we will extend the suspension of unaccompanied air freight to this country not just from yemen but also somalia.
>> suarez: germany went further banning not only cargo planes from yemen but passenger flights as well. >> woodruff: the day's other major story, of course, was the midterm election of 2010, now just one day away. newshour correspondent kwame holman has that story. >> reporter: on this election eve, campaign workers across the country knocked on doors and made 11th hour pitches for their candidates. first lady michelle obama was in nevada stumping for senate majority leader harry reid. he's in his toughest re-election battle ever with republican challenger sharron angle. >> we need you to find those folks that you know who are planning to sit this one out. we need you to tell them that they can't just vote once and then just hope for change to happen. you've got to tell them they have to vote every single time. they've got to vote for their council members and their mayors and governors and for senators like harry reid.
>> reporter: former president bill clinton headlined a rally in west virginia for governor joe manchin running for the u.s. senate. >> you have to fly away from your common sense with the country in the economic trouble we have with the budget challenges we have to deny not just west virginiaians but america the chance to have one of the finest governors that i've ever seen who turned this state around in 15 different ways to go to washington and try to help bring people together to actually solve our problems instead of to keep fighting. >> reporter: for his part president obama told a radio interviewer that the country's future depends in key ways on people turning out to vote tomorrow. >> you prove.... >> reporter: and the democratic national committee issued a final ad urging democratic voters to get to the polls. >> we cannot sit this one out. >> reporter: but the last of the pre-election polls showed a potentially devastating picture for democrats on tuesday. a wall street journal snrb/nbc
survey found republicans holding the advantage among likely voters. the margin in the u.s. today slp gallup poll was the largest 15 points the widest gap since the democrats scored there's post watergate wipeout in 1974. republicans are hoping when they return to the capital for a lame duck session it will be on the heels of a smashing election victory. they need a net gain of 39 seats to win back the house. they won 54 seats in the 1994 election. on the senate side, they need to win 10 seats to take the majority, a longer shot. house minority leader john boehner could become speaker if republicans win tomorrow. he talked up his party's chances on saturday campaigning for a candidate in his home state of ohio. >> i'm going to tell you straight up because i'm not nancy pelosi. i'm not barack obama. i say what i mean. i mean what i say. i'm going to tell you that this race wasn't on anybody's charts. let me tell you what.
the reason we're all here today is because bill johnson and his campaign have done one whale of a job putting themselvess on the map. ( applause ) >> reporter: this morning michael steele agreed the country may be ready to give his party another chance. >> so we're hoping now for a fresh start with the american people. if we don't-- and this has been the word i've gotten across the country-- if we don't live up to those expectations we will have a problem in two years. the people are looking to us to move us in a new direction. that's what we're prepared to do. >> reporter: with voting day looming both sides were gearing up to watch for problems and to fight potential court challenges in a number of races that could finish with razor-thin margins. >> lehrer: coming up, we have more on both top stories. on the elections, tim kaine and haley barbour; the campaign ad wars; and where we stand on election eve. plus, on the bomb story, how to secure the air cargo system.
but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: iraqi christians held funerals today for hostages killed at a roman catholic church in baghdad last night. at least 58 people were killed and 78 wounded. militants seized the site during evening mass, and that triggered a raid by iraqi security forces. it was unclear if the hostages died before or during the raid. at the vatican, pope benedict xvi denounced the attack and appealed for an end to the violence in iraq. >> among those who died there were also two catholic priests and a group of faithful who gathered for the sunday mass. i pray for the victims of this absurd violence. may more ferocious because it was directeded toward unarmed people gathered in the house of god. that is the house of love and reconciliation. >> sreenivasan: a group linked to al qaeda claimed it carried out the assault on the church in a bid to "exterminate iraqi christians."
in 1980, catholics made up nearly 3% of the iraqi population. by 2008, the number was less than 1%. thousands of people in indonesia sheltered in camps today, as a volcano erupted again. mount merapi spewed massive clouds of ash and smoke into the sky over central java. the eruptions have forced nearly 70,000 villagers to take refuge in crowded government camps. merapi has killed 38 people so far. nearly 500 others died in a tsunami one week ago in western indonesia. brazil has elected its first female leader ever. dilma rousseff easily won sunday's runoff election. supporters from the ruling workers party celebrated last night in sao paulo. rousseff ran with the promise she'd continue the policies of president lula da silva. during his tenure, brazil has reached new international, economic, and political heights. he was barred by law from seeking a third term. insurance giant a.i.g. will pay back nearly $37 billion to the u.s. government. it's part of the company's plan to repay more than $100 billion in federal assistance it received. a.i.g. got the largest of the government bailout packages. in return, the government took
an 80% stake in the company. wall street had a flat day, as traders waited for election results and new policy moves by the federal reserve. the dow jones industrial average gained six points to close at 11,124. the nasdaq fell two points to close at 2504. there were opening arguments in the trial of former house majority leader tom delay in texas. he's accused of illegally funneling money to texas republican legislative races in 2002. delay has denied any wrongdoing. if convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison. the man who was president john f. kennedy's close adviser and speechwriter, theodore sorensen, died on sunday. he passed away at a new york hospital from complications of a stroke. sorensen penned some of j.f.k.'s most famous speeches, including the 1961 inaugural address with its call to duty: "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." theodore sorensen was 82 years old. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy.
>> woodruff: and back to the campaign for the closing arguments from leaders in each party. gwen ifill kicks us off. >> ifill: former virginia governor tim kaine is the chairman of the democratic national committee. he joins us now. >> gwen, good to be with you. >> ifill: tomorrow we're wait to go see what the outcome is. i've heard democrats saying it depends on the turnout. how much of that is true and how much of the outcome is already cooked? >> well, gwen, it does depend on turnout. i'm encouraging folks to get out there and vote. we're seeing some positive signs. about 12 million americans in our targeted races and targeted states have voted already. not only are we seeing no enthusiasm gap in virtually all of our targeted areas, democrats are voting early more than republicans are. and so that is an early sign that some of the doom-and-gloom prognostications may be premature. we're feeling good about early voting. >> ifill: we have heard the term blood bath. what's your response to that? >> you know, they're saying
all kinds of things. i think some of it if they say it over and over again it may persuade some democrats to stay home. it's very important that we turn out. again, we're seeing... you can look at polls but the best bit of data we have right now is the actual votes that are being cast in states that allow early voting. democratic performance in virtually all of those targeted areas is strong. >> ifill: democrats are turning out to vote as you say. how do you know they're voting for you? >> we feel pretty good about that. the issue is if our voters turn out, we win. some of the generic polls i've seen suggest that while there still may be a gap among likely voters among registered voters democrats are strong. and so we feel like if we get our folks out, they're voting our way. obviously tomorrow will be big. but the early signs are not the doom and gloom signs that the other guys are predicting. >> ifill: this is not the first time that elections have turned around the notion of change. in your opinion, have the republicans managed this time, this cycle, to usurp that
mantle from the democrats who had it last time? >> it is the case, gwen, that people are hurting. it's a tough time. all midterms are tough as you know having covered these since teddy roosevelt the average midterm is you lose 28 house sees and four senate seats. with a tough economy it gets tougher. clearly there are folks out there who haven't yet seen enough change. they want to see more change. the argument that we make to voters is look the democrats have done the heavy lifting behind president obama to take a shrinking economy and turn it into a growing economy. we've got to grow more. the only way we will is by moving forward rather than embracing the republican policies that put us into the tailspin. >> ifill: you have been traveling the country campaigning for, what? how many demate karats by now? >> oh, my gosh. i've been in 40-plus states like a quarter of a million miles here in recent months in airplanes. and we're definitely since labor day especially seeing very strong enthusiasm activity at the president's rallies that have been huge.
canvassing and voting turnout efforts that are strong. we have work to do. >> ifill: pardon me. what message are voters telling you when you go out there and you talk to them? not just at rallies where there are lots of people who are very happy but what is the source of this discontent that we're picking up at least in our polling? >> i think the discontent is just largely connected with we don't see the economy yet as where we want it to be. so many people are huring. whether it's job losses or foreclosures and even somebody who hasn't lost a job there's somebody in their family or somebody in their neighborhood who has. it's touching everyone. that's the main source of the frustration. the point i make when i talk to these voters is the only way we'll go from there to where we want to be is taking steps along the way. you don't just jump to the top of the ladder. you have to climb every rung. it started with g.d.p. that was shrinking in 2009 that's now grown five quarters in a row, shedding private sector jobs 22 months in a row.
we've grown private sector jobs nine months in a row. we're turning it around. we have to keep climbing rather than go backward. >> ifill: you did concede that the president might have to make-- your words-- adjustments and corrections after the election. could you elaborate on that. >> absolutely. look, this president every day he is looking at the state of things to try to adjust and correct. it's very, very common for presidents in mid-terms about two years in you start to see that. you've seen some folks from the white house announce they're going. there's some positions to be filled. you will see that going forward. the president is very, very proud of the accomplishments thus far. but recognizes that folks still have a lot of anxiety and it's important to carefully read that and review that in terms of policies going forward. >> ifill: we will hear in a few moments from the head of the republican governors association, haley barbour, who is obviously the governor of mississippi. he has been saying and i'm curious and imagine he'll say it again that this is an obama referendum.
this is a referendum on the obama presidency. what do you say to that? >> i say it's a clear choice. it's a choice between a democratic party that has been doing heavy lifting at a tough time to turn our economy around and a republican party, gwen, that they just told the american public what their top priority is. mitch mcconnell, republican minority leader in the senate was asked what is the number one priority if republicans take over the majority in either house? he didn't talk about economy, didn't talk about deficit. he didn't talk about american competitiveness or defense. he said our number one priority is to make sure that barack obama is a one-term president. that means their priority is pure partisanship. we've seen enough of that. we have to have folks in office who are committed to progress and doing the heavy lifting to solve america's problems. >> ifill: if you do believe that the president has accomplished progress and his agenda in the last two years, why are we seeing so many democrats who would otherwise be running saying i helped with health care, i helped save the auto industry, i helped with the stimulus.
why aren't they saying that? why are they saying... they're not nancy pelosi. one congressman was holding up his driver's license to prove he wasn't nancy pelosi. >> that gives me gray hair when i see people do that. the good news is, again, having been in 40-plus states the overwhelming majority of democrats that i campaign with, they talk with pride about their party, their president and their accomplishments. saving the auto industry, saving our financial system from collapse. women entitled to equal pay for equal work. health insurance reform. most democrats are very proud of those things. there are some who kind of want to hold the accomplishments at arm's length. everybody has to decide, a, what they believe and how to run their own race. but i think the best thing to do is just be proud of who you are and what you've done and democrats have a lot to be proud of right now. >> ifill: with the late counting that will go in states like washington and nevada with these very tight races are you anticipating recounts? are lawyers on the ground. >> i suspect there will be recounts. we're seeing an lot of razor-
thin races house and statewide races that we think will be razor thin. we're prepared for it. the main thing that suggests is here 24 hours before the polls close it's very important for everybody to vote so that these razor-thin races will have a little bit of spacing in them and we won't need the lawyers. >> ifill: governor tim kaine, chairman of the democratic national committee, thank you for joins us. >> you bet, gwen. >> woodruff: and now, for the republican point of view, mississippi governor haley barbour, chairman of the republican governors association. it's good to have you with us again. >> thank you, judy, glad to be back. >> woodruff: you were chairman of the republican party back in 1994 when the republicans swept the congress. does this feel it's a bigger sweep than it was then? >> judy, for a year-and-a-half the political environment has been better for republicans than the 2009-10 cycle than in the 1993-94 cycle. the wind has been at our back for longer. the intensity has been greater. the enthusiasm higher. frankly there's been a lot of
anger and even fear. people who are worried that if we don't change direction from the lurch to the left given us by pelosi and obama that their children and grandchildren are not going to inherit the same country that they inherited from their parents and grandparents. i didn't see that in 1994. i didn't see that kind of honest fear that motivates some people. >> woodruff: could this be a bigger sweep for republicans? >> it could be. certainly in the house that's possible. the difference is this year we got outspent pretty heavily. the labor unions saw this coming early. they have poured money in to try to save democrat seats. and it hasn't been any secret to the news media or the democratic incumbents that this would be a hard year for them because the president's policies are unpopular. >> woodruff: we just heard tim kaine, the chairman of the democratic party, say that what voters have faced this year is a choice between the president's policies and what the republicans are putting
forward. how do you see this? >> i think that's very fair of tim. tim and i served four years together as governors. i have great affection for him and respect for them. this, more than any mid-term election that i can recall in my 40 years of politics, is a referendum on the obama policies. if the republicans win the kind of victory that some people talk about, it will have been a repudiation of the obama policies. all this spending, all these gigantic deficits, all this debt, taxes, the american people not only disapprove of that. they know it's not helping the economy. >> woodruff: and yet we also see the polls show that voters have a net negative view of republicans, something like 41 to 34 percent. how can voters both embrace republicans and have a negative view of republicans? >> this is very important for republicans to understand. if, in fact, people repudiate obama's policies like i expect them to, we republicans still
have to gain their trust. i mean, this is not them saying golly we loved you republicans. we sure are sorry we let you slip away. it's we were mad at y'all because you didn't do what you should have done in 2006 and 2008 but this is worse than we ever thought we were getting into. this is going in the totally wrong direction so republicans we're going to give you another chance but you're going to have to earn our trust. >> woodruff: do you agree with the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell who was quoted just a moment ago who has said in the last few days that his top priority, the top priority for republicans is to make sure barack obama is a one-term president? >> for myself, my top priority is that we hear the voters. when the voters tell us-- and they're going to tell us in my opinion-- they want to reverse these policies that we not only campaign on less spending but we deliver less spending. that we don't raise taxes
because raising taxes at this stage in a recession, and they can talk all they want to about a recovery. i can tell you on main street there's nothing that feels like a recovery. tax increases now would be terrible for the economy. people want job creation. they think what's being done doesn't create more jobs. tax increases on top of it would be even worse. >> woodruff: but my question is, should that be the first priority? by the way i just called the mitch mcconnell the majority leader. he's the minority leader. >> i was going to pass on that. i thought maybe it was freudian and you saw the future. judy, we need to govern or to have our role in government... and let's not kid ourselves. if we win the house or even win the house and senate, the president is still going to set the agenda. i hope the president will hear what the people say too. he will say, okay, y'all, i'll work with you to cut spending. i will work with you and many many democrats who know we shouldn't raise taxes. we agree on a bunch of
education issues like pay-for-performance, merit pay, charter schools. i i'll work with you on that. let's find things we can work together on. but the republicans should not deviate on cutting spending, should not deviate and raise taxes. >> woodruff: is there anything republicans should compromise on to come up with a.... >> as i said, if the president is willing to cut spending, we need to work with him on that and say not just everything we want going to be cut. but we cannot, cannot compromise or raise taxes because you're hurting the economy. what we can't compromise on is increasing the number of jobs and having good policy. education, as i say, mentioned three things there a second ago. near are three things if the president wants to work together on, i'll guarantee you the republicans will want to work with him. >> woodruff: you're saying more of the movement comes from the president. >> he should be responsive to this vote. if this is a repudiation of the president's policies, is
the president going to do like he did over health care reform and most americans opposed it and said tough luck. i'm going to cram it down your throat? i'm smarter than y'all. >> woodruff: two other quick questions. you have said you're going to make a decision about running for president in 2012 after tomorrow. is there anything at this point that would stop you from doing that? >> sure. the first thing is i have to talk to my family, to my wife, to talk through what it would entail. i've got to decide whether or not this next session of the legislature allows me to, like most governors, i have to have a balanced budget. we're going to lose all this federal stimulus money. i've got elected by the people of mississippi to do a job. i'm not going to walk off from the job. there's a lot to think through. over the next few weeks and months, i'll gifl it, you know, i'll see if there's anything to think about. but i really haven't given it any thought before tomorrow's election. the reason is tomorrow's election is the most important
mid-term election in my life. we can't wait until 2012 to start taking our country back. >> woodruff: one other quick question. another name for president sarah palin. the politico reported that the republican establishment is worried about whether she will run or not. is is that what you're hearing? >> no. first time i've heard of it is is when it was on politico this morning. reporters have said, what about that. >> woodruff: should she run? >> that's up to her. i think she has quite a following. i think if she ran there would be people who would be for her. she has to decide whether to do that. i will tell you, i am totally unaware of anybody in the republican establishment-- and having been national party chairman and chairman of the republican governors, some people might think i'm in the boys' club. >> woodruff: governor haley barbour, chairman of the republican national governors association. thank you very much. >> thank you, judy.
>> lehrer: next, we look at how the midterm campaign has been waged on the air. ray suarez has more on that. >> suarez: spending on political television advertising could hit $3 billion for the midterms, a sum that proves just how vital the tool is for campaigns to get their message out. we take a look at some of cycle's top ads now with evan tracey of the campaign media analysis group. broadcast and on cable and wall-to-wall. is this heavy volume for a midterm year? >> yes, it is. it's probably going to be a record-setting year for any year mid-term or general election. it's being driven by the overall competitive landscape out there. when you have competitive races, that's when the candidates spend. there's a lot at stake so you're seeing these television dollars, radio dollars, cable dollars. basically flooding these competitive races in our media market. >> suarez: evan, along with conflicting views about the state of affairs in the united states, there was one country that kept popping up in politico ads. let's take a look. >> he supported the $800 billion failed stimulus package that created renewable
energy jobs in china. his big spending programs will force us to keep borrowing money from, you guessed it, china. >> congresswoman killroy claims to create jobs. too bad they're made in china. that's right. killroy voted for the failed stimulus that used our tax dollars to create jobs in china. >> too many of our jobs have gone to china. we need to bring them back. >> try telling your wife, your kids that you've been laid off. >> jackie signed a pledge protecting tax breaks for corporations that send our jobs overseas. >> getting jobs back from china. getting jobs back from china? what planet does he live on? last time he was in congress he made it easier for companies to outsource jobs like mine. why would he send him back again. >> suarez: there is not a coincidence. there must be some research that shows that people have anxiety about china? >> this election has been about economic insecures whether it's jobs, health care, you name it. what's interesting is china has been that sort of target
of opportunity for the campaigns. and it is really the foreign policy issue of these elections. there's no talk about the wars in afghanistan or iraq. it's all about china. it's all about democrats saying republicans want to ship jobs to china. republicans counter with democrats sent stimulus dollars to china. china is the foreign policy issue in election ads this year. >> suarez: immigration was also a hot button issue but the people running the ads were all on the a-side of the column. let's watch. >> waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear. what is harry reid doing about it? voting to give illegal aliens social security benefits, tax breaks and college tuition. >> an illegal alien killed my three-year-old son. he had been arrested 16 times but never turned over to immigration because of the sanctuary policies that mary supports. >> suarez: there's no bill on the floor. there's been no proposal for
comprehensive immigration reform, yet it's out there. >> right. this is an issue we saw spike with the arizona law controversy. you saw republican candidates especially latch on to immigration and use this all throughout their campaigns not just even in states where immigration is an issue. you saw this in states in the northeast. you saw it in the mid of the country as well as in border states. i think what the tancredo ad, the second ad we showed there, if he should come out as the winner in the colorado's governor race it will be because of this ad. once he started running this ad, that's really when you saw those polls tighten. yes, republicans have been on this issue. they've spent about $85 million in ads that talk about immigration. really trying to attach this to their opponents. so a lot of talk in ads this year about immigration. >> suarez: also an attempt to be heard above the din. some of the ads are funny. in an attempt to sort of catch your eye and catch your ear. let's watch.
>> i'm john. i guess i'm not a very good politician because i can't stand negative ads. every time i see one i feel like i need to take a shower. you see a lot of them. >> i'm not a witch. i'm nothing you've heard. i'm you. none of us are perfect, but none of us can be happy with what we see all around us. >> i'm giving the two-party system the third finger. >> the third finger. >> the third finger. >> the third finger. >> the third pfingst he. >> the third finger. >> i'm... and i approve this message because it's time to give the two-party system the third finger. >> suarez: i'm not sure the third finger will be a memorable take-away from this election the way "i'm not a witch" has already entered the bloodstream of the.... >> i don't think you'll be able to really talk about election ads in this year without mentioning the "i'm not a witch" cycle but it really does show there has
been so little use of humor in this cycle. obviously the bad economy and voter anxiety and the moods have really sort of made candidates sort of go right at opponents and made this one of the more negative cycles we've seen. certainly we'll be talking about "i'm not a witch." the spot was clever. it was early in the race. but the third finger ad is one of these i think interesting ones that we like in our office because at the end of these elections with so many humor to see a libertarian candidate trying to get noticed in what are just overly cluttered media markets is pretty clever. >> suarez: joe manchin the governor of west virginia took a bill into his backyard and shot it. let's watch. >> i'm joe manchin. i approve this ad because i'll always defend west virginia. as your senator i'll protect our second amendment rights. that's why the nra endorsed me. i'll take on washington and this administration to get the federal government off of our backs and out of our pockets. i'll cut federal spending. and i'll repeal the bad parts
of obama care. i sueded epa, and i'll take dead aim at the cap-and-trade bill. because it's bad for west virginia. >> suarez: once he gets to washington, if he gets to washington i guess he'll just vote against things like this. that's a very striking visual image. >> we have never seen something like that before. this illustrates sort of the problem a lot of democrats and especially moderate democrats have had this cycle. they've been in this anti-washington climate. so incumbents haven't been able to go to their districts and talk about their accomplishments in washington. we haven't had a lot of victory laps on the health care bill. the manchin if he's to go on and win tomorrow night on election night, look, this ad will play a big part of that. i don't think you can more decouple yourself from an administration than shooting a bullet through one of their top priorities. clearly this is the box democrats have been in in a lot of these districts is how do you decouple yourself from
washington and this administration because republicans have been most of their money trying to figure out new ways to say obama and pelosi this cycle. this is a draate mat i can attempt by the west virginia governor is trying to find a way to decouple him elf from the administration. it's a very powerful spot. >> suarez: evan tracey, thanks a lot. >> great to be here. thanks. >> lehrer: and a final overview of where we stand tonight on the election, from newshour political editor david chalian, and susan page, washington bureau chief for "u.s.a. today." susan, first, the television ad, is there anyway to measure how much influence or how important they have been in this particular election cycle? >> you know, it's important that a candidate in a competitive race have enough tv ads to be competitive but i think there's a law of diminishing returns. in the states i've gone like nevada, florida, colorado with close races, there are so many ads on the air candidate ads, party committee ads, outside groups' ads, that i'm not sure
if you have a little more than the other guy that it makes that much difference. i would say that i think every ad i've seen virtually is a negative ad that's not making the case for the candidate it's for. it's arguing that the candidate they're against is an unacceptable alternative. >> lehrer: what do you say, david? are they working? >> i say there are smart people in politics on both sides. they wouldn't pour $3 billion into it if they didn't work or have some impact. television ads do work. i agree with susan. you do see so much clutter in these competitive states that that's why when you do have an ad like joe manchin firing a gun at the cap-and-trade bill it breaks through in a way and you get lots of free media coverage beyond what you're buying to advertise on television. all the local press picks it up. you can break through. i think you see more and more ad makers really trying to do that break-through kind of ad that can get through all the clutter. >> lehrer: are there examples of where it's worked? >> there are examples where it's worked and where it hasn't worked. christine o'donnell the "i'm not a witch" ad, his first
television ad of the campaign, and you can watch your numbers fall immediately after that. so there was an ad that backfired in her face. i do think that there are other ads we saw earlier in the cycle in the primary season. we saw one ad that was very effective in pennsylvania. joe sestak, how he beat arlen specter was one of those ads that he used when, you know, arlen specter said i changed party to get re-elected, that played over and over again. that kind of thing really had an effect in the primary. >> lehrer: back to what tim kaine and haley barbour had to say. susan, haley barbour confirmed and believes or said that this election really is a referendum on obama and obama policies. do all of your reporting and the polls reflect that to be the case. >> when you look at house races that's definitely the case. we've seen a nationalized election when it comes to house races. despite the attempts of democrats and a lot of democratic candidates to make it a choice between me and the
other person, i think that's... republicans have succeeded in large part this year by having a very consistent narrative against the obama administration, against nancy pelosi, against the actions of the democratic congress, and have made it a referendum on what they've done. voters are speaking in a big way that they're not happy with those steps that they've taken. >> lehrer: barbour and kaine seem to be agreeing on the reverse of this, that if there is a big response to the republicans tomorrow night that that shouldn't be read as a mandate necessarily, a positive mandate for republicans per se. >> i really do think this is one of the most unique things in this election cycle. this notion of... that the republicans could potentially win in huge numbers tomorrow night and that the favorability of the party is still so low. their brand has not rehabilitated in any way. jim, i think that this is... and haley barbour said this as a warning to his own party. this is the danger of
potentially misinterpreting these results. it will be fascinating to watch if the republicans do win and ascend in power how they walk that line of not considering this a mandate for republicanism but instead sort of a check on obama and on the specific issues like susan was saying in their message: spending, taxes but not for the party as a whole. they're going to have to walk that line very carefully. >> lehrer: is it your reading, susan, that barbour is speaking for a majority of the republican leadership when he's saying let's not get carried away with these results. >> i think haley barbour is one of the most respected republicans around among other republicans. definitely a leader. with the weakness of the party chairman michael steele that's even more the case. he's a very respected voice. i think we expect to see him make a presidential bid. yes, i think when he's speaking, he's heard... his voice is amplified with some of the republicans who will be taking over. you know, republicans have this dilemma. i mean you would like to have this dilemma as a party.
but when you win big you have very disparate elements in your party. they'll have tea party candidates who are very uncompromising. they'll have independent voters and voters who voted for obama two years ago who have a different agenda, a different approach to politics. how you hold that together for the next time around, say, for 2012 is a big task. >> lehrer: another big task, david, correct me if i'm wrong based on what both of them said as well, that president obama is going to have to decide what he does now. i mean, does he... does he listen to what the voters said? what did the voters say? does he adjust and react in ways that get from here to there for him? >> we've seen examples in history right after the '94 elections bill clinton went out and said i hear you. and then he took on this sort of i'm going to work with them on some issues, the republicans, and try to bridge this divide. 2006, george bush came out. he said i took a thumping last night. he fired don rumsfeld his secretary of defense.
yes, watching president obama's response, how he indicates to the american people that he has heard the results of the election and how his actions going forward sort of reflect that hearing is going to be a key thing to watch. you heard tim kaine. that's president obama's hand picked chairman there who said there will be adjustments. there will be corrections. i think that's the sneak peak into what's coming. >> lehrer: what do you make of haley barbour's final remark that this is the most important election of his lifetime. he's been in electoral politics for 40 years. >> well, i have to say that every election is the most important election of our lifetimes. you know, i've been covering national politics since 1980. every one of those... i've had someone say that. but i do think that republicans, there is concern among republicans two years ago that democrats had devised a kind of winning durable coalition for a generation. you know, obama won a majority of the vote. no democrat had done that since....
>> lehrer: of the popular vote. >> of the popular vote. there were a... there was a lot of concern on the part of republicans about the future of the party. now they feel like they've gotten a second chance because the economy is bad and people are unhappy with some of the steps the president has taken. >> lehrer: that would define the word important. >> it would do that. i agree with susan. i've heard every election cycle the politicians declare this the most important. they want the voters to feel that it's very important right up until the last moment. we are at a volatile moment in our politics. third change election in a row. no doubt that this is an important election. >> lehrer: david, susan, thank you both very much. we'll see what happens. >> thank you. >> woodruff: finally tonight, back to the cargo bomb scare story, and to jeffrey brown. >> brown: some of the pieces of the bomb plot puzzle have begun to come together in the last several days, as we heard earlier. but many questions remain about
the perpetrators and the air security system. we sort some of that out with richard clarke, who served as a senior adviser for counterterrorism in the clinton administration and the early days of the george w. bush administration. he's now a consultant. and rafi ron, president of new age security solutions, an aviation and transportation consulting firm. he's a former director of security for the israeli airport authority at ben gurion airport. i'll start with you. one part of the investigation is to figure out who is behind this, of course. what do you see as the key leads being pursued now? >> i think it's pretty clear al qaeda and the arabian peninsula is behind it. the evidence is from the bomb itself which seems to be of the same manufacture as other bombs a.q.a.p.has used attempts at christmas to blow up an airplane over the united states and earlier an attempt to kill the head of saudi intelligence. >> brown: that ties it to the bomb maker? >> right.
and he is a part of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. it's also hard to imagine what other group would have done it. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula has 50 on to 600 operatives in yemen. with he know the bomb came from yemen. >> brown: there's still the question of whether there are other packages out there. how do authorities go about checking for that? >> we saw that the immediate response was to identify all the shipments that came more or less at the same time from yemen tours (coughing) excuse me. to the united states. and stop them and check them before they are allowed to proceed. and that was very appropriate. i believe that they probably within the next 24 hours we will realize if there is anything else in the system. otherwise i think that we could feel comfortable that at least this wave was totally discovered.
>> brown: i'm going to let you take a drink of water. clear your throat. let me ask richard clarke this question first. i'll come back to you. richard clarke one of the big questions here is does this signal a new sophistication in bomb technology with the substance used and the delivery system? what does it tell us and what questions do you still have? >> well, the bomb was p.e.t.n., which is an explosive that we've seen used many many times around the world. what seems unclear to me is exactly when the bomb was supposed to go off. the latest information that i have seems to indicate that the bombs were supposed to go off over the united states, perhaps over chicago. over a highly populated areas. and the media market. and one would have the image of a plane blowing up over a city, pieces of it falling into the metropolitan area. i think that was the hope. there are only a few people on an air freighter like that. perhaps three or four. so it was not an attempt to
kill a lot of people in the air. i think it was an attempt to send a message that they can reach even from the arabian peninsula even to president obama's hometown. >> brown: that raises the puzzlement here of why these things would be addressed to synagogues in chicago if it was meant to go off in the air. >> it might be just another ironic angle to this affair. because practically if you put yourself in the shoes of somebody who wants to conceal such an attempted attack, then obviously a synagogue would not be the best address to put on the parcel because a parcel coming from yemen to a synagogue in chicago is obviously not exactly natural. >> brown: let's move to this question of air security, specifically for cargo. i'll start with you, mr. ron. does it look as though if not for the saudi intelligence connection here these parcels
would have gotten through security? >> well, we obviously try to avoid discussing publicly the gaps in our system, but i think that when we look at the priorities that we have decided in dealing with the threats to aviation, air cargo was not the top priority especially not air cargo that goes on care cargo aircrafts. the cargo that goes on passenger aircraft is something that we have identified in the past year. it has been handling this through a strategy and new regulations that went into full action about a month earlier in august. there are still time to look and see whether this is fully implemented and providing the right controls. but as far as the old cargo aircraft this is obviously a
lesser priority as mr. clarke mentioned earlier. the aircraft itself is hardly a good target for terrorism but it could become a good target for terrorism if you are to control the timing of the explosion and therefore the location and cause damage on the ground. >> brown: mr. clarke, this question has been debated a lot. we talked about it on this program. the issue of cargo specifically whether it's on passenger planes or cargo-only planes, how vulnerable is the system? where are we now? what questions should he be asking our self-s? >> well, i think it's no secret. the 9/11 commission talked about it six years ago. cargo on passenger aircraft is screened in various ways but cargo on pure cargo aircraft doesn't receive that level of screening. the 9/11 commission called for it. the congress actually has mandated it. but it hasn't yet been implemented because it's
extremely costly to achieve. it will increase the cost of sending things. and it's very difficult to do. by the way, the thing that was the bomb, the printer, was actually looked at by the british after they were told it was a bomb. their first examination determined that it wasn't. so even if there had been screening, this bomb could possibly have gotten through. >> brown: mr. clarke, i do want to bring in this incident today in greece with the parcel bombs. i don't know if anybody knows of any particular connections at this point. do you? or do we see this as a possible copy-cat type situation? >> no, i think when something like this happens and the news media casts its light on something like bombs, suddenly they appear everywhere but the truth is that bombs are going off all the time all over the world. only when our attention is focused on it by something like this al qaeda plot do we know that. but if you just step back and look at statistics both in
this country and around the world bombs are going off all the time. >> brown: do you have anything to add to that? >> i just want to add as far as the actual screening of the cargo that goes on all cargo aircraft, technologically it is still a great challenge. i don't think that at this time we are able to do this in the way we do this when it comes to passengers and their bags. so there are a lot of challenges along the way when it comes to cargo security. >> brown: mr. clarke just to end by coming back to where we began because we... you said this clearly points to yemen. i mean this again is something we've been talking about a lot as yemen as a new source of international terror, what does this case tell us about that and what do you see as the next steps? >> well it's not exactly a new source. there are probably more al qaeda operatives in yemen then there are in afghanistan. perhaps afghanistan and
pakistan put together. al qaeda has been changing its venue over the course of several years. the united states is on to that. the obama administration has been focusing since it came into office on yemen. and trying to work with the government there. the government there is anti-al qaeda, increasingly so. but the institutions there are weak. so the united states, the saudis, and others are trying to help the government in yemen increase its capability to fight al qaeda. that will take a while. >> brown: all right. richard clarke, rafi ron, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> lehrer: again, the other major developments of the day. candidates had a frantic final day of campaigning in the midterm elections of 2010. iraqi christians held funerals for 58 hostages killed after gunmen seized a roman catholic church in baghdad. and nearly 70,000 people took shelter in indonesia as a volcano staged a violent new eruption. and to hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, for a preview of our
election coverage tomorrow. hari? >> sreenivasan: the entire pbs newshour team will report the results online and on air. every edition of the newshour will be updated during the evening. then our election special begins with a web cast at 10:00 p.m. eastern time and continues on air and online from 11:00 p.m. until midnight. we'll have the latest on the turnout plus analysis from mark shields and david brooks and david chalian and stu rothenberg. we'll bring you live updates from republican headquarters here in washington d.c. from senate majority reed's headquarters and from our public media colleagues in key states around the country. posted on our special home page we'll have the latest results including raw data from the associated press. also there read a live blog tracking political analysis here and elsewhere on the web. you can follow us all day on a variety of different platforms, on twitter, on facebook, on
you-stream and with an i-phone app. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> lehrer: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are eight more.
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