tv Inside Washington PBS April 24, 2011 3:00pm-3:30pm PDT
>> what to do you think a tree can be? can it be stronger than steel? can a tree be biodegradable plastic? can it be fuel for our cars? or clothing? or medicines to fight cancer? with our tree cell technology, we think it can. weyerhaeuser. ♪ >> we have got to finish what we started. >> this week on "inside washington," week two of president obama oppose the reelection campaign. he is still dogged by the economy. >> our schools are falling apart. the infrastructure of the country is falling apart. >> is there a republican out there who can beat him?
also, the winds of rebellion continued to flow throughout the middle east. now it is syria's turn. >> we strongly condemn the ongoing violence committed against peaceful protesters by the syrian government. >> and how often they are these guys we're flying? >> the supervisor was aware and saw the controller watching the movie. >> and did not stop. >> and did not stop. ♪ >> well, congress is on spring break, but president obama is not. he is campaigning, reason big dollars and three town meetings, including one with facebook founder mark zuckerberg, where he talked about requiring rich to pay more in taxes. >> that allows people like me, and frankly, you, mark, for
paying a little more in taxes. [laughter] >> i am cool with that. >> i know you are ok with that. >> let's talk about the president's numbers. in a recent poll, 50% of the voters disapprove of the job he is doing. the new york times/cbs news poll, 57% to like the blast not like the way he is working with the economy. wall street journal, nbc news poll, 64 percent think the country is heading in the right -- wrong direction. and standard and poor's, the credit rating agency, it has downgraded its long-term outlook for the nation's fiscal health from stable to negative. why is this president smiling? >> i think he feels like he can win by default. i think all this bad news is encouraging, because it might force them out of his shell and get him to do something. if what he does is just a book on republicans, that is not good. he has to act on the public and show leadership. that would be good.
>> nina? >> standard and poor's shows what the polls show, which is, i think any way, that there is not a crisis actually in the nation's fiscal health at the moment. there is a crisis in confidence and the ability of washington to do something about it. we just witnessed a lot of this, and there's no indication that republicans and democrats in the house, senate, and white house can really get this done. >> charles? >> it was not a verdict on washington. it was a verdict on obama and the speech he gave 10 days ago that was supposed to be a plan that would be his plan for deficit reduction. it was not a plan. it was a polemic, an attack on republicans bit on the paul ryan plan, it made it clear that obama has made a bet. is going to run between now and 2012 against the republicans as people who want to throw your granny in the snow. he thinks he will win on that,
and then he will deal with debt and deficits in the future. that is why spend had a judgment, we're going to go at least two years with increasingly larger deficits. and that is very dangerous for the economy. >> mark? >> republicans give president barack obama, who is in big political trouble by himself, gave him an opening that no politician could resist. and that was for reasons that there will have to explain to their grandchildren, they raised this issue of turning -- privatizing medicare, one of the truly popular programs in this country. into a voucher system. and that is not only negative among voters, it is terrifying to voters. >> let me ask the question, was the president's health care agenda, putting that so high on his agenda, was that a political miscalculation? >> i think you could say it was. the biggest problem with this
administration is the one of jobs. and that remains the reality. i think that drives everything else. when the economy is bad, the economy is the only issue. that affects everything. but one number of all the numbers you read, the one the should be most concerned about was the new york times poll that said 70% in the wrong direction. when you get 70% of the people saying the country is headed in the wrong direction, any incumbent on any level is in political trouble. >> the new york times headline on friday, and new poll shows a darkening mood across america. across america, but not on wall street. >> it is a little delusional at the moment. it does not want to hear real figures about the fact that we cannot have everything for nothing. and it does not want to hear that there actually is better news, not great, but better news about the economy. and there is this sort of false confidence that we can do
everything and pay no price, and that is just crazy. >> but i am hoping that these numbers show that that is finally being called into question. you are right. america has lived in a never- never land of free lunch, having everything we want and not pay for it. but maybe these numbers suggest to people, in their own slow way, are waking up to the reality that you have to deal with this. >> what the headwinds the president is facing? >> i think the reason his numbers have gone down precipitously in the last couple of months is one thing -- gas prices. unemployment is about the same. the growth of the economy has been at the same sort of slow level. nothing dramatic as change economically except that. and that its people right where they live. i always find it amazing that the government announces inflation rates excluding food and fuel. you cannot stick and ipod in your gas tank and run the car.
yes, computers are going down in price, but everybody lives off food and fuel. so it is really hitting the ball hard. it had that same effect with other resources. and on that, there's nothing the president can do. he can do step on debt and growth, even on jobs, but cannot do a thing about gas prices. >> i think that gas prices are really important, and i think that they grab people's attention. but underlying that is that all the corners were turned. all of the dawns that were coming have not materialized. the economy is not better in the sense that people who are, a, not working, and b, whose wages are stagnant, and i think that is what underlies everything. >> and you know who else was talking back gas prices this week -- donald trump. is he running for president or not? we have an inside source. >> gasoline prices are going to go to $5 from $6 to $7, and we do not have anybody in
washington because opec and says, fellows, it is time, it is over. you're not going to do it anymore. >> that is donald trump on abc's "good morning americas, with george stephanopoulos. yes, gasoline prices are going up, but i do not know if that would work with opec. he goes on to say having won the war, we should reimburse ourselves. a victim along the spoils. charles, you have been talking about the unserviceness of the trump candidacy. he got under your skin. >> yes, i was told a donald trump was on the line. so i put on a seat belt and held the phone if it away from my 8 year, thinking he was going to go into a tirade, considering what i have said about him. what is surprising is he simply called and was rather courteous and composed. to make his case for how race -- houser is a candidate he is. i do not exactly excepted. when i mentioned the birther
issue, he said, well, the media keeps asking about it. and i said, well, mr. trump, you're really not a victim of the media on this. you raised it. but i must say, he was a gentleman. he had every right to start screaming, and he did not. but because of his demeanor, i am infering that he is running. if he were not a serious candidate, he would have unloaded on me and felt the arctic. but in fact, east and a few minutes. he made his case. i am not in any way sway. i think he remains unserious in the extreme. >> serious about running, perhaps. >> unserious as a candidate. but there's no doubt, the way he interacted with me implied that he wants to run and will run. >> when asked if there is a need to republican candidate out there, voters feel enthusiastic about the category of no one got 56%. a 56%. mitt romney got 9%. >> that is really not that
uncommon at this point in a campaign. when was the last time that you saw polls early on that said i love everybody? or years are really enthusiastic -- this is fairly typical. >> we were talking about rudy giuliani and hillary clinton four years ago. >> four years ago, 65% of republicans were excited about the candidates for president, including juliani, john mccain, as well as others, including mike huckabee. and this is a low number. i agree with you that victory has a fragrance all its own. if somebody starts winning a bunch of primaries, there will start to emerge and be seen as more exciting. but this is a real problem. i point out, in spite of donald trump's telephonic retelling of one of america's most prominent columnists, and the new york times poll, he got 25 percent favorable and 46% unfavorable.
this does not bode well. >> donald trump is a sideshow. but obama's weak numbers are significant. the script has been, the guy cannot lose. that is apparently not true. >> that is right. if you're sitting in the white house right now, which a potential candidate, about which potential candidate are you most worried? >> most worried? i would say somebody like mitch daniels or even pawlenty, who is unknown now. he is sort of not distinguished. but if you get somebody without baggage who can make his case, who runs a string of successes in the primaries, who gets a little enthusiasm, you do not have to have charisma to be obama. he tried it in 2008. he won with it. charisma is not going to be the major issue. a >> i would be worried about somebody that nobody has heard of at the moment. i still think the odds of him prevailing in the primaries is
pretty small. but as a candidate, if he got nominated, he is a real serious person. he would be untrump. >> the two candidates the white house appeared to be most concerned about, based upon the president's own singling out, are mitt romney. as the onion point out, mitt romney is in big trouble because of health care. and john huntsman, obama's u.s. of besser for china. i would be concerned about mike huckabee. yet the most favorable rating. he is overwhelmingly favorable among republicans. he is a perfect match up in temperament to barack obama. he is engaging. he is easy. he is in formal, likable. he is funny. >> charles says he is not running. >> well, i would be most worried about him. >> i do not think he is running.
>> he has given no indication to running. i think is a great life. i am not sure he would want to sacrifice it for the ordeal of the presidency which may calculate he is not going to win. i would say romney would be the favorite if not for rodneycare. one of the central issues anyone will have to make on obama is on the size of government. the best example is obamacare. and the president is in needling all the time, romney in massachusetts, as a way to undermine him, trying to make that case. men romney has not made a coherent case as to why he opposes obamacare. and of course, is a man who invented it romneycare. >> can anybody explain to be why the obama campaign announced in advance that they will have a $1 billion campaign? it said that is going to be very tough to meet. >> i think it is to give an error of the inevitable.
to say, look, yes popular. i am income the. the opposition is weak. and look, i have a war chest the size nobody has ever seen. >> i think it is to discourage a challenger in the primaries to him. >> are there any democrats out there who would challenge the president? >> i do not think there's anybody who really challenge him. but it is striking to me how many liberal democrats are overly disappointed, and happy, unenthusiastic about obama -- and unhappy. they will vote for him, but it is an illustration in many ways of how the democrats so easily run in a circle and start firing. republicans usually support their president pretty much 100%. yes, something to people unhappy, but not like this. is it just noteworthy. >> on the contrary, obama is so secure on his left.
they demonstrate and get all upset, but he knows he has cut them in a november 2012, which is why he can spend the next 18 months playing this interest. that is a huge advantage if you are president. >> i do not think that is quite right. it's not that much of a centrist. i think he does fear his left. he might be more responsible about entitlements if he did not fear a challenge from the left. >> look, this is all psychology. i think he does not want to risk being serious about entitlements. as mark said, the republicans -- if you walked off the cliff by even talking about medicare, but obama sees it as a trap he said. not because he's committed to entitlement or centrist reform. it is because he knows if the demagogues on this, he can win. >> let's get back to republicans. donald trump, not a serious candidate. mitt romney, yes. mike huckabee, do not think he is running. newt gingrich -- >> that is a very long shot.
i think he has a lot of baggage. i think he would be an asset in any administration. i am not sure he has a serious chance of winning the nomination. >> i have to bring the name of. sarah palin to the people do talk about her. >> i do not think she is going to run. she has not given any it indication jewel. it will be either her or bachman the billing to the two- party. i think it bachman is serious. she might do well in iowa. i do not have inside information for sarah palin. if i were hurt, i would set out. because she would lose, and it would the minister. >> how about haley barbour? >> i think that is a good match up. haley barbour has problems of k street lobbyists. but on a personal level, he has a record to talk about. unlike mitt romney, who cannot talk about his governorship in massachusetts to republican audiences.
but haley barbour can talk about having been governor, as ken pawlenty. >> pawlenty is the obvious candidate. he is successfully pandering to the right, a two-term governor of a midwestern state. the one problem is he looks boring. >> what about this one? >> he would do all the right things. he is my candidate and has my endorsement. >> wow. >> that is why he is not running. >> it is like being on the cover of "sports illustrated." >> news flash, he just announced he is withdrawing. >> bruce babbitt of the republican party, for those of you old enough to remember that race. >> there was a comment after barry goldwater's losing in 1964, and in the loss in 1988, that arizona is the only state where mothers do not tell their children who is visiting.
and then there is john mccain. as far as tim pawlenty, his breakthrough has to be in iowa. that is where michele bachmann becomes a very important wild card. if she goes into iowa, she can take the oxygen out of the room. she is an exciting candidate and has great appeal to the cultural and moral conservative movement in that state. she could really be a wild card. >> all right, all hell is breaking loose in syria now. >> we're calling for an end to violence, calling for peaceful protests and a political process that can respond to the legitimate needs, interests, and aspirations of the people of the region. >> talking about syria, president assad said he lifted a nearly 50-year-old state of emergency. but does that mean anything? charles? >> they are calling for an end of the violence? why not say we denounce the shooting of demonstrators in
the street in city after city? the administration calls it incomprehensible. sometimes you have to choose between a strategic ally, like saudi arabia and bahrain, and human rights. and you decide, ok, i will give up on rights because i have to protect the strategic ally. but syria is an enemy, an ally of iran. it funneled fighters in iraq to kill americans. here is a regime teetering at the edge. it is a genuine revolution, and we're saying almost nothing. it is a scandal. >> has a the state department in pushing for engagement with the syrian government so that they can week in its allegiance to hamas and hezbollah and iran? >> and for the same reason that obama spoke so weekly about the revolution in iran in 2009, because he had a fantasy of negotiating, which was a fantasy, and thus, he did nothing. they have had the negotiations with us saw out of his alliance
with iran and hezbollah, which americans have dreamed about for 30 years. it is a fantasy. in the name of that, he sent an ambassador into syria. still, he would have to be withdrawn tomorrow or the beginning of a statement of opposition to the regime. >> part of mrs. clinton's statement, which opened the show, actually did denounce what was going on in syria. but you know, secretaries of state always do these sort of little formal dances that do not mean a lot. but i think, probably, any administration would realize that there is a limit to what we can do about syria. you do not want to get so far out there that you are involved in saving that you cannot do something about. >> well, we are involved in libya, sending drones in now. >> there we have some capacity. some of the towns, did not think it was a great idea to get involved there either. but at least we have some
capacity. in syria, we do not have much of a capacity. >> i am envious. i wish i was as sure of anything as charles is of everything. most important -- >> and i looked so young. >> the most urgent priority that we have is to find jobs somehow, not simply for americans, which is an urgent priority, but for young egyptians. that is going to determine whether, in fact, if this revolution is going to take root and take a positive development. that is the key. i mean, libya, to me, is the worst of american policy. a is a strong words and drones will follow. it really is. we're not in. we are in. we are advisers. this has all the look of a mission in the worst possible sense. >> i think there is hope for
syria because assad's wife is sort of westernized, and he was an eye doctor. >> because the cover of "voted"? >> i am grasping at small stores, but i actually believe that. at least he is open to it. >> but we gave that theory 10 years of empirical testing, and he felt everyone. he shooting his people in the street. he is not a jazz-listening, was the districting pro-american dictator who is ready to institute reform. he is a thug, a middle eastern thug of the first order. he is teetering. we should be helping it. >> to what a message to air controllers, stay awake. please, stay awake. >> they're there to do the job, there to control the air traffic and keep us all from running into one another. sounds to me like they are relaxing and having recreation. >> it is just horrifying to me.
>> air traffic control issues with two interesting else's this week, one involving an air controller watching a movie on his dvd player in ohio. he accidentally keep his microphone and a military pilot heard it and reported it. then there's the first lady's aircraft which had to circle a few times before landing at andrews air force base because of lending to close to the military airplane. the one time he would not want to screw up is when the president or the first lady is in the air. >> that is absolutely right. i am sure their air-traffic controllers to do not do their job. but the secretary of transportation, ray lahood, said on television, i am not going to be paying air-traffic controllers to nap. the fact is that people who work overnight on long ships, particularly when they're by themselves, if we're going to pay them to have a "lunch hour, why not allow them to have a nap? i mean, doctors are on call in
the hospital have a call room. we know as a fact that people, when they get very sleepy, there is no controlling sleep. the best way to control is to allow for 20-minute nap. they have done studies about this. nasa did a study -- >> not what i am trying to fly in, ok? >> if there are two people there, you organize it. you did not let it happen. you organize it. nasa did a study for the faa does that pilots on overnight transatlantic flights should have a 20-minute nap. they do not do that. they do not allow that. they are not organized. >> i have got a solution. alarm clocks, loud ones, in the earphones. i am sure the guy was watching "snakes on a plane close quarters something like that. >> we have a very safe system, actually. >> totally safe.
we were talking about this earlier. planes used to drop out of the skies when we were kids. there were routinely major air crashes. in the last decade, more than a decade, that has not been true. i do not understand why there is a 7 cluster of these stories. is it a freak accident or does it signify a bigger problem? >> i think it shows we need to pay attention to it. >> and we should be. the idea is that -- with all due respect to the doctors and their resting rooms and all the rest of it, i think what we're talking about is when you work the night shift, you work the night shift. there is a pay differential involved. you make a decision. what you do is you sleep when you get off and before you go on. i am sorry. nap time with the cookies is not part of the formula. >> but is science. >> that is why it is called a shift to a huge shift your
rhythm, you get paid extra. you get $160,000 a year or such as a controller, and you should be able to stay away on that shift. it is not a lifetime shift. >> the best sleep experts say that people cannot really successfully do that, shift their read them that way. and this is a constant problem on the night shift. >> well, that is the last word. thank you for staying awake for this program, anyway. we will see you next week. ♪ >> for a transcript, log onto insidewashington.tv.