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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  March 1, 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and friends of the newshour. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the final hours ticked down today to the much- talked about sequester-- $85 billion in automatic across-the-board federal spending cuts. a white house meeting produced little, except a new round of political combat. the top two democrats in congress trooped to the executive mansion this morning along with the top two republicans. but the hour-long session with the president produced no breakthroughs. and minutes later, he appeared in the white house briefing
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room, making clear what he thinks of the sequester. >> we shouldn't be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things that businesses depend on and workers depend on, like education and research and infrastructure and defense. >> woodruff: the president was also adamant on where the blame lies-- with those who balked at erasing tax loopholes for the wealthy and other revenue raisers. >> none of this is necessary. it's happening because... a choice that republicans in congress have made. they've allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit. >> woodruff: but republicans were having none of it. shortly before the president emerged, house speaker john boehner again rejected the demand for more taxes.
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>> the president got his tax hikes on january 1. this discussion about revenue, in my view, is over. it's about taking on the spending problem here in washington. >> woodruff: the president now has until just before midnight to issue an order that makes the cuts official. it will be weeks before many of the effects are felt. but within days, federal agencies will start sending out notices that hiring freezes and furloughs are coming. in addition, the associated press reported 2,000 illegal immigrants in detention were released in recent weeks to save money on jail costs. the administration had said the number was a "few hundred." and newly installed defense secretary chuck hagel said today the military is implementing the largest cuts in nearly 30 years. >> let me make it clear that this uncertainty puts at risk our ability to effectively fulfill all of our missions. >> woodruff: the army has curtailed training for nearly
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80% of combat brigades. and in norfolk, virginia, home to the navy's atlantic fleet, the aircraft carrier "harry truman" sits idle. it was to have sailed for the persian gulf last month. the president voiced frustration back at the white house today, the president voiced frustration at suggestions he should have done more to prevent all this. >> most people agree i'm presenting a fair deal. the fact that they don't take it means that i should somehow, you know, do a jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what's right. >> woodruff: one thing both sides did seem to agree on-- the need for a stop-gap bill to keep the government running past march 27, when it runs out of funds. >> i'm hopeful that we won't have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we're dealing with the sequester at the same time.
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>> woodruff: house members and senators are due to return to washington monday. >> brown: coming up-- how the budget cuts could affect people and communities around the country. and also ahead: a state of emergency in detroit; egypt nearing economic collapse; hunger in america; plus, shields and brooks. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: president obama today spoke out against california's ban on gay marriage. his statement came one day after the administration asked the u.s. supreme court to strike down the ban as unconstitutional. the president once opposed gay marriage, but changed his stance during his re-election campaign. he said today he and the country have evolved. >> when the supreme court essentially called the question by taking this case about california's law, i didn't feel like that was something that this administration could avoid. i felt it was important for us to articulate what i
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believe and what this administration stands for. >> sreenivasan: 200 congressional democrats also filed a brief today urging the court to overturn the california ban. they join more than 100 prominent republicans who voiced their support earlier in the week. the justices will hear oral arguments in late march. a federal judge in california has cut a $1 billion damage award in the apple-samsung fight by nearly half. samsung will now have to pay apple just under $600 million for infringing on smart phone and tablet computer patents. the judge also ordered a new trial on some of apple's allegations in the case. wall street ended the week with small gains. the dow jones industrial average added 35 points to close at 14,089. the nasdaq rose nine points to close at 3,169. for the week, both the dow and the nasdaq gained a fraction of a percent. february was a good month for most major auto makers in the u.s. ford reported today its sales rose 9% last month, while general motors climbed 7%, its best showing since february of 2008.
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sales for both chrysler and toyota were up 4%. the prime minister of turkey drew widespread criticism today over comments about zionism. at a u.n. conference this week, recep tayyip erdogan said prejudice against muslims is a crime against humanity, in his words, "just as with zionism, anti-semitism and fascism." in ankara, turkey, today, the visiting u.s. secretary of state, john kerry, sharply criticized the statement. >> obviously we not only disagree with it, we found it objectionable. it is essential that both turkey and israel find a way to take steps in order to bring about or to rekindle their historic cooperation. i think that's possible. but obviously we have to get beyond the kind of-- the kind of rhetoric that we've just seen. >> sreenivasan: israeli prime
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minister benjamin netanyahu also condemned erdogan's comment, calling it a "dark and mendacious statement." those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> woodruff: we return to our look at the impact of the sequestration cuts. for a sense of what will happen at the federal level, we're joined by ed o'keefe. he's congressional correspondent for the "washington post" and has spent years covering federal agencies. and for some local consequences, we're joined by two journalists from our public media partners: karen kasler is bureau chief for ohio public television; megan verlee is state government reporter for colorado public radio. i want to start with you, ed, with an overview here in washington. where are we seeing or likely to see the most immediate impacts? >> well, we have already gotten some indication from a few agencies this week that their furloughs will begin essentially within a month. we really won't see most of the effects until later in march. and so people should wake up tomorrow morning thinking oh my gosh, the national parks are closed, and the lines at the airports will grow long. we heard this week, for example, the justice department, people who work for u.s. attorneys face
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furloughs of about 14 days but not until late april. folks at the national labor relations board could face furloughs up to 22 days. at the pentagon they said there are hundreds of thousands of civilian employees across the country could face furlough, also 22 days. you might wonder why 22 days. it's because after 22 days you have to lay someone off and it's actually more expensive to lay someone off than make them stay home for a few days. >> brown: and is it your sense that all of these agencies an departments have a plan in place. >> they do. >> brown: they do. >> in fact, they have had plans in place for really almost 2 years. you recall in the spring of 2011 interests there was a possibility of a government shutdown. the plans were being drawn up then and have been adapted ever since. a few months ago the white house budget office asked these agencies to start putting together plans based on what the cuts would be. they didn't take them too seriously and only in the last few weeks have they really started to get down to the nitty-gritty of who might lose their job for how long. and what services would be cut. >> brown: karen kaslar what are you seeing in ohio? how much is the state
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exposed? what particular areas? >> well, ohio is interesting in that we're not going to be as heavily impacted as some states like virginia and maryland. because of federal spending as a percentage of state gdp is pretty low, only about 3%, actually less than 3%. and so we're talking about 26,000 civilians who work for military contractors. most of them based at our largest military installlation which is write patterson air force base near dayton and then we have other state agencies that might see some impact, for example, the department of education is reporting about 25 million dollars. the white house is actually saying this. about 25 million dollars could be cut to education. about 22 million dollars could be cut to education for children with disabilities. and those could be hundreds of teachers jobs. and also some head start positions, about 2500, according to the white house. though our costs here are lower for head start so head start in ohio is saying about 3,000 kids. so those are the kind of impacts that we're looking at. it's a lot less than in some
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other states. >> brown: and megan verlee, what about in colorado. you have a lot going on there with federal spending, right. >> i think by definition we are some other states in comparison so ohio. colorado has a greater exposure to these federal cuts on average than most states in the country, according to numbers from the pew center on the states because we have a bunch of military bases, a lot of federal spending with a lot of research labs and a big federal center out here. and then federal grants to our budget are a larger than average percentage. so in colorado we're looking at about 85 to 90 million dollars over the coming year, i believe they're estimating. and then there are concerns about the multiplier effect as a lot of those federal workers become furloughed and aren't spending as much money in the state economy. so i know there are ongoing concerns at the state level for what this will mean for revenue and for state programs down the line. >> brown: and megan, do you see this or is it being seen
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as rolling out over time the way ed o'keeffe was talking about? >> it is, although there is a certain amount of urgency. if our state government decides it wants to backfill any of the lost federal money to save education programs, or to temporary aid to needy families, that has to go through a vote of our full state, they are in session until mid-may but i think there is going to be urgency on the part of lawmakers to make some decisions pretty quickly about how they are going to react to this. >> so it's interesting. it's not felt evenly, right, and it's not felt spread out across every program. >> no, it's not at all. they mentioned maryland and virginia, certainly here on the outskirts of washington will be adversely affected. >> federal workers. >> absolutely. and you'll see a lot of different programs exempt, for example the entire department of veterans affairs is exempt from this. social security checks will continue to go out. the irs won't furlough its workers until tax returns have been processed in
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mid-april. so it is spread out in ways that originally it was meant to be that these were so draconian that they would never happen. but now they're going to hit the military, low income women and children, disabled children and big education programs. >> brown: and in that, does this also affect the politics? i mean in terms of who speaks out from various states because as we are saying, some are hit, some are not hit. >> i think we will begin to see lawmakers from states who are adversely affected speaking out a lot more. for example there's a bipartisan plan put forth today to avert all this from the democratic senator from colorado and susan colin, the republican from maine. both of those states with large military operations, a lot of dependence on federal money and employment. so i think next week as we approach ot continuing resolution, the need to renew the current federal spending plan, that you had will see some, try to step in and soften the blow. >> so karen kaslar, you are 59 a state where you have a republican governor. what is the reaction been there? how much attention are they
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paying to it? how vocal are they about it? >> our republican governor john kasich often touts himself as a budget expert, chair of the house budget committee back in the '90s. so we hear a lot about federal budgets from our governor. and interestingly he has been say and his office has been saying that they don't expect to see significant affects on state programs from the sequester. and when i talked to state agencies such as the department of education and job and family services which will be dealing with job training money, that might be cut. the attitude is very let's wait and see, let's see what happens here. we have time to adjust. and these are school funding money, education money wouldn't even be affected until next school year t starts in august. so there is a feeling here in ohio, a state run by republicans, that there is plenty of time to absorb the sequester. while it might not be i deal there's time to recover. >> brown: and karen, do you think that also applies to the again population as well, a sense of sort of
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watching from outside a bit? >> i think it depends on where are you in the state. certainly we've got the two congressmen to deal with wright-patterson air force base. congressman nike el turner then also speaker john boehner who are obviously very involved in what's happening here with the sequester am but in other parts of the state you hear a little less chatter. we do have tea party groups urging it to go forward, other groups are very concerned about it. so once you get out of the main area here in the state capital, it depends on where you are, what are you hearing. >> and megan, you were saying, well, you have a democrat as a governor. you were talking about how the state is trying to make some decisions here about how to deal with this. tell us a little bit more. how big a deal is it? what are you hearing? >>. >> i think it's a pretty big deal, certainly within the halls of the capitol. we spoke with our governor yesterday and he said that he val weighing whether to back specifically programs that will would affect the last and least. one he sided was families,
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low income families that might lose child care vouchers. and then hence might not be able to continue working. and doesn't make sense for the state to step in there. but like most states, colorado has gone through years and years of budget cuts and i think it will be a hard political sell both within the capitol and then out to the people saying hey, we want to put this money into state programs. now we're actually using it to make out federal funding that we've lost. i think on the ground level, like in ohio, it really depends on where you are. i know the universities are very concerned. there's a lot of research grant money that goes into our big research institutions and they're looking at cuts, and trying to figure out where that is going to hit in the labs and what that will look like for their work going forward. the average person, it's funny, i saw a tweet this afternoon, someone saying oh, no, the affects of the sequester. and they had a picture of-- screen shot of the wait time at dia, our airport, 10 minutes. so i think there's a little-- some sensation that there might be some crying
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wolf because people expect an immediate chop to funding and life looks like it will go on tomorrow. >> brown: and ed, just in a word here, we sure didn't look like much was happening. is there any-- did your reporting show any behind the screens action. >> nancy pelosi is in san francisco, the majority leader will be in they will ma for a civil rights march, harry reid is in washington. no work is expected. >> brown: that tells us. ed o'keeffe, megan verlee and karen kaslar, thank you all three. >> thank you. >> thank you. and you can find out how the cuts will affect two more communities: hampton roads, virginia, and st. louis, missouri. we've compiled reporting from our public media partners there. >> woodruff: local governments are facing their own budget woes. one in especially big trouble is detroit. the city faces a budget deficit
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of more than $300 million, and has lost a quarter million residents in the past decade. today, michigan governor rick snyder announced plans to appoint an emergency manager to oversee the city's finances and operations. that would make it the largest u.s. city under state control. snyder spoke at a community forum today. >> it's time to say we should stop going downhill. it is time to say we need to start moving upward with the city of detroit. there have been many good people that have had many plan, many attempts to turn this around. they haven't worked. the way i view it, today is a day to call all hands on deck. to say there's been too much fighting, too much blame, not inform resources, not enough people working together to say let's resolve these issues. >> woodruff: detroit mayor dave bing said in a statement that he remains opposed to the move, but
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would look at all options. christy macdonald has been covering the story for detroit public television and was at today's forum. welcome to the newshour, christy macdonald, my first question is how did things get to this state in the city, to this condition in the city of detroit? >> well, judey, it didn't happen overnight. this las been years in the making, when i say years in the making, it has been decades in the making. so they know they can't turn this around overnight but they know they finally have to put an end to it and get actually a plan in place that will work for the finances and the financial mess that the city of detroit has found itself? >> woodruff: is the governor intervening because he has to by law or because he wants to, feels he should? >> well, there is an emergency financial manager law that is in place right now in the state of michigan that compels him to take a look at the finances. and again this isn't anything new. the city has been under a consent agreement with the state for the past year or so, just under a year.
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and so what happened is about two months ago it triggered another financial review. so the financial review team went into the city, took a look at the books over two months and finally came out last week with their findings for the governor and said you've got to take a look at this we think the city is in a financial emergency. you have to take a look and see if that is indeed, you agree with that. >> and what is it that the state taking over the city, what would the state be able to accomplish that the mayor and local officials can't do on their own. >> well, there has to have been a lot of agreement with the mayor and city council. that's been a lit of a problem for the last couple years. what the emergency financial manager is going to be able to do in the state is they have a wide range of powers where they don't have to have a lot of agreement. they don't have to have agreement from the city council. they don't have to have agreement with the mayor. they can come in and start to take a look at some city contracts. they can come in and look at city departments that have to be reformed and they can come in and take a look at the finances at that long-term debt you talked about and see how they can start chopping it.
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>> and help us understand, christy macdonald, why is the mayor opposed, i mean if this is a way to come in and cut through what i hear you saying is some of the local politics, disagreements, why is the mayor so opposed? ness. >> well, an emergency financial manager is pretty much going to take his job, judy it moves the mayor to the side a bit. and it moves the city council to the side. the mayor's not totally opposed. he says he wants to continue to work with the state. i think if the mayor and city council hill their way they would like another consent agreement that would maybe have more stringent milestones that they could meet. but essentially that emergency financial manager, they're the ones that are going to be in charge of that person, he or she, whoever that is. and they're the ones that are going to be making those big decision. and it's going to marginalize the positions of the administration. >> woodruff: we know the demographics of the city of detroit, the whole state of michigan, very different. the state. largely white majority population. republican governor, the city is heavily democratic,
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large african-american population. what role does politics and race playing in all of this, if any? >> well, there is a racial divide in detroit. and that's no secret. and i can't tell you that this city which is largely african-american is 100% joyful that a white republican governor is going to be coming in and exerting some control over the city finances. but there is a growing majority of people that says look, bottom line is, we want to make sure that our trash gets picked up. we want to make sure the abandoned building on our block or next to our house gets knocked down. we want to make sure when we call police, police come. and those are the services that they need to restore to the city of detroit and to the residents. so at this point in time, if people are starting to put a race conversation aside, and fuelity there is a viable candidate for mayor. we are in an election year right now who is white. and he has a very good chance, he's very popular right now. and so has really changed the discussion in this area. but the bottom line is people really want services.
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and they say look, if this can get us the services that we need, that we should be paying for, then that's what we want to see. >> woodruff: so what happens now? the mayor has what, is it just a matter of days to take another look at this, to see if he can do something before the state does step in? >> it's a ten day appeal process, judy. so the mayor then can come forward and say well, this is maybe why governor snyder you should change your decision. there has been one or two members of the detroit city council who has talked about perhaps that they should get some kind of legal representation to legally challenge that. i'm not quite clear sure how far that's going to go. and i'm not quite clear sure how much the governor will listen to an appeal am but he seems pretty straightforward, that he wants to go forward with this emergency financial manager. again he hasn't named, he or she but seems pretty firm in who he has in mind. >> woodruff: christy macdonald with detroit public television, thank you. >> thanks, judy.
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>> brown: now to egypt, where secretary of state john kerry arrives this weekend for the first mideast stop on his maiden trip abroad as secretary of state. as the most populous nation in the arab world, egypt's success or failure carries enormous stakes for its own people and for all the countries caught up in the arab spring. but as margaret warner reports, the nation faces mounting economic woes. >> warner: more than two years after the fireworks; after egyptians celebrated the ouster of long-time ruling president hosni mubarak, and voiced hopes their revolution would bring a brighter future for them all, egypt is teetering on the brink of economic collapse. >> every day, we say "tomorrow's better. be patient, tomorrow's better. tomorrow not come, yet. >> warner: on the streets of cairo, some of those who cheered mubarak's fall, like cab driver waleed saad, have grown tired of waiting.
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>> i think it's five months, six months, and then everything will be okay after the revolution. okay, we can wait five months. okay, we can wait. no problem. but it's two years, maybe more. nobody know. >> warner: ongoing political battles among islamists, secularists and the security forces continue to spill out into the streets. the unrest has crippled egypt's tourism industry. the onetime hordes of visitors at the ancient pyramids of giza are but a memory now. in cairo, construction projects idle as foreign and domestic investors stay away. the ranks of the unemployed swell, especially among the young, while cairo's aging infrastructure goes untended and frustration mounts over the frequent gas shortages. for saad, the most painful part of this economic limbo is being unable to provide for his children. >> what can i do? i have no money. what can i do?
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>> warner: he's not alone. the egyptian government itself is running low on funds, announcing in february it had only enough foreign currency reserves to cover three months of food and fuel imports. as fuel subsidies gobble up a fifth of government revenues, the budget deficit widens. and the egyptian pound continues to tumble against the dollar. it's fallen another 8% since the start of the year, spawning a black market in foreign currency. >> the egyptian economy is in dire straits. >> warner: former world bank officer uri dadush directs the economics program at the carnegie endowment for international peace in washington. >> egypt is not a basket case. it's an economy that was one of the most dynamic of the world during the five years or so preceding the revolution. so, this is a huge contrast in terms of the economic
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performance compared to where we were a few years ago. >> warner: egypt's economic breakdown is partially driven by the country's broken politics. since the muslim brotherhood won parliamentary elections last year, and elected their man, mohammed morsi, as president, the country has careened from outburst to outburst. the past few months have seen wave after wave of clashes in the streets, as demonstrators protested a perceived power grab by morsi, the new constitution, and their sense of an overall lack of progress more than two years after mubarak's fall. >> capital is a coward. you know, investors don't like to invest in a situation that they feel is unsafe. >> warner: michele dunne, formerly with the national security council and state department, heads the middle east program at the atlantic council in washington. >> everyone's afraid to invest. there's political instability, there's widespread feeling of insecurity, and so egyptian investors are taking their money
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elsewhere. and, of course, in that kind of climate, the foreign investors are not coming in with their money. >> may i help you here? what about scarf? it's made of cashmere. want to spend some money here? hello. >> warner: at this souk in central cairo, vendors are paying the price as they try to hawk the necessities of life to locals, and hookahs, shawls and mementos of egypt's ancient past to tourists. >> no business. there is no business because we- - like all world know and all world watching tv-- we have a lot of problems. but we can't make this control this problem right now, because we don't have security. >> after revolution, everything in egypt below, below-- in economy, in tourists, in the work, in the money. everything will be down, below. it's no good time now. >> warner: there's one prospect of hope on the horizon, a $4.8 billion loan from the international monetary fund, in exchange for economic reforms
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in egypt like reducing those costly fuel subsidies and raising tax collections. but the loan has been under negotiation for more than a year, without a deal. securing the imf loan is crucial for egypt's future, says the carnegie endowment's dadush, not only for the money themselves, but for the reassuring signal it will send to investors. >> the loan is vital because it comes with a package of economic reforms that are designed to stabilize the public finance of egypt, reduce the deficit and enact a series of reforms that will be investor friendly, on the one hand, but also, hopefully, not socially disruptive, not too socially disruptive on the other. >> warner: michele dunne agrees, but fears the morsi government will flinch from enacting tough measures, just as it backed off in december from its plan to curtail fuel subsidies. >> they've been afraid to put it into place because they were
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afraid of creating unrest. it's very difficult for morsi to take difficult steps that might be unpopular with the public and might generate opposition from the street. it's difficult for him to take these steps without political allies who will support him in this process. >> warner: the divisions deepened this week. at the urging of opposition leader mohammed el baradei, the main opposition alliance-- the national salvation front-- announced it would boycott parliamentary elections in april. morsi insists he wants to bridge the political impasse. >> ( translated ): i tell everyone from all colors of the spectrum, my brothers in the different political parties, to come, to sit and put in place guarantees that we agree on together, to ensure the fairness of the upcoming elections. >> warner: but michele dunne doubts morsi sees the connection between egypt's political problems and its economic ones. do you see any signs that
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president morsi understands this? >> he continues to say to the opposition, "come to a political dialogue," but he doesn't show any signs of being willing to compromise with them. so far, he's trying to move forward to elections with the idea that, after that, they will be able to institute economic reforms and get the imf package. but i want to note that this has been going on for two years now. >> warner: all this was reported to have been the subject of a phone call president obama made to president morsi this week, paving the way for new secretary of state john kerry's arrival in egypt this weekend. dunne says secretary kerry needs to connect the dots for president morsi between the economic assistance he wants and the political bridge-building he needs to do at home. >> it's important that secretary kerry tells president morsi, "we want to help you economically, but we think you need to
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compromise with other political forces and keep a democratic political process on track." >> warner: back in the souk, among the tales of woe, are also signs of the famed egyptian patience. >> morsi, he can't change what's happened in 30 years in six months or seven months. he do what he do in politics. and us, we must... people, we must work, we must look for future. >> warner: the question is, how long that patience will hold out if the country's political leadership doesn't do the hard work that needs to be done? >> woodruff: the cairo cab driver in margaret's story had more to say about his frustrations with the economy and his hopes for his children. find his story on our web site. >> brown: next, we turn to a problem plaguing one in four children in the united states today-- hunger.
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a film opening nationwide today profiles some of the hardest- hit. ray suarez has our conversation. >> suarez: it's a bitter para dock. the united states produces more food per person than any other country in the world but still has a major problem with hunger. a hardship that only grew worse during the recession and its aftermath. the government estimates some 50 million people are living with food insecurity. meaning they don't always have adequate nutrition for an active and healthy life. a new documentary called "a place at the table" challenges the viewers' assumptions about who is hungry and why. here's an excerpt. >> hunger definitely impacts my classroom. i have had students come to me up set and it's definitely a huge issue in our small community. one student in particular, rosie, i just really felt she wasn't really applying herself in the classroom and i couldn't figure out where that attitude was coming from. so i felt that she just
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really didn't care about what i wanted her to learn or that school was not that important. and what i realized when i brought her in one day was the main issue was that she was hungry. >> i struggle a lot. most of the time it was because my stomach is really hurting. and my teacher tells me to get focused. and she told me to write focus on a little sticker. every time i look at it, i think oh i'm supposed to be focus. i start yawning and then i don't-- and i'm just looking at the teacher and i look at her and all i think about is food. >> suarez: joining me now is the film's codirector lori silver bush. a baby can't tell you what's wrong with them, they know something's wrong but they don't know what it is. an adult can sometimes pull up their socks and do something about their predictable. >> sometimes. >> rosie was old enough to to know what was wrong but too young to do much about it. when she was talking about being hungry at school, that
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was awful. >> it's pretty awful. and you have to ask yourself, you know, we're in a nation where 17 million children face food insecurity. which means that at any given time their families don't know where their next meal is coming from. we're investing all of this money and energy into teachers. and yet we're setting up our kids for failure if they show up to school too hungry or too mall nourished even if they are not feeling hunger pains but if all they can afford is a empty calories from a pack of ramen moodels or chips, whatever the cheapest calories are that they can feed their kids, because that is what millions of americans all they can afford, what are we saying about our aspirations for our nation's kids putting them in front of teachers but they can't learn and then frankly blaming them for the situation. a hungry kid isn't easy to recognize. it he could be isn't able to sit still or listening or absorbing and that could own become a social and
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behalfioral problem and disciplinary problem. so we're really not serving our kids well by not paying attention to this and quite frankly we're being, i think, a little irresponsible with our taxpayers dollars by spending money on schools but not giving them children who can learn. >> we meet families that are working hard. and working a lot. and still not making ends meet. and -- >> uh-huh. >> the gruesome story of barbara in philadelphia who after a long spell of unemployment gets back to work and automatically loses a lot of the programs that were helping her. >> uh-huh. >> keep her-- keep food on the table. >> yeah, i mean barbie was an amazing character because she was simultaneously dramatic and interesting to watch but also superarticulate. and despite her struggles and despite how hard she was working to be a good role mod told her children and provide healthy food for them, she was also an
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activist on a national level around this, as part of the witnesses to hunger. which were 40 women in the north phillie area who had documented the struggle to put food on the table. and they were take their photographs around the country and showing people. and through her activism, barbie got a job after many, many months of unemployment through no fault of her own, she ended up getting a job. it was counselling other people and helping them get food benefits. and she got so much, it was so much satisfaction and so much self-worth and she was so excited but the truth is that the salary that she got paid put her just above the level of qualification for snap which is what food stamps, what we call food stamps today and she was cut off immediately and her children, as a consequence of her working were cut off from a sub si died state care where they received healthy meals and ironically, after going to work and sort of fulfilling her side of the social contract as we like to think of it, her children were hungryer than before. >> suarez: you take us to
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visit working poor families around the country in a rural area, right in the heart of a big american city, and in a small town. >> yeah. >> rooney: . >> suarez: were they glad to you have there, did they find it an intrusion? >> well, i think we worked very hard to establish trust and develop relationships. we didn't just show up and say oh, let news and shoot. we cast a really wide net. we learned in our research that every single county in the united states is grappling with this issue. that meant that we wanted to represent the wide variety of people that are facing food insecurity. and there were a number of groups that are very active working on this. and they were able to introduce us to people that you meet in our film like pastor bob who introduced us to the commute of colebrin in colorado. he was able to show us a town where every single member of the town was impacted in one way or another by food insecurity. and these are people who are quite proud, quite private and were not necessarily looking to talk about something that quite-- some
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of them felt shame around this is an issue that carries a good deal of stigma. it shouldn't but it does. over time we were able to get people to understand that we were on their side and that they were not to blame, at least we didn't think they were to blame for the situation they found themselves in. and they opened up quite courageously in most cases. >> so you watched the movie. and these beautifully drawn portraits and gorgeous photography. >> thank you. >> you sympathize, you empathize and then what? >> well, everybody has a stake in fixing this. one of the great things is that at this same time as this movie launches march 1st, and it's coming into theatres, it will be on itunes the same day, on demand the same day so people all over the country can see it whether they are near a movie theatre playing it or not. on its same day we're launching a national action center, the first of its kind around hunger. where all of the major national hunger groups are getting together, also with state groups and with local
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groups. you can plug in your zip code and find out exactly what you can do at any given moment to affect the policies that are being decided right now on the hill, to affect what's happening in your own backyard, to engage on any level of activism that you want. and the truth is that if we engage as citizens on this, and let our representatives know that it's time to fix this, they will fix it. but we can't expect government to do the right thing unless we've told them that it matters to us. so hopefully this film is going to give people the awareness, the engagement and excitement around it, to activate them and then give them very clear and accessible tools to do that. >> the fill some a place at the table. lori silverbush, thanks a lot. >> my pleasure. thank you for having me. >> brown: we have more from ray's interview, plus selected clips from "a place at the table". that's on our web site. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and brooks--
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syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. >> woodruff: welcome back to the program. >> thank you. >> woodruff: so here we are, march 1st, mark, on its verge, on the cusp of yet another fiscal showdown. president says it's not the apocalypse what is it then? >> to people who care about politics and believe that government can be a force for good, it's been a very tough month. because i think every time we come to one more of these showdown, gridlock os, whatever you want to call them, you can feel a further erosion of public trust, public confidence in our able to act positively for the common good. and i think that's where we are right now. i mean in a political sense, judy, the republicans are worse off than the democrats. i mean they are-- the latest "the wall street journal" nbc poll only a full third of republicans think that the republicans in congress are arguing, operating just
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for partisan advantage and not to unify the country. i mean by a 3-1 margin overall vote. but the democrats are not that much better off. it's a dreary, dismal and i think disappointing time. >> i am of a view that it is possible that the government could do a little trimming over the next couple of years. we've seen this tremendous expansion in government spending over the last five years. all you have to do is live in washington to see the office parks, the contractors, springing up. we've had a very rich five or six years here in washington. so i do think it's possible to do the trimming. but to do it the way we're doing is just an insult to the idea of government. you just take a simp el statistic. what is government do that most people like? most of it we call discretionary spending on education, head start, grants for universities.
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that's like 14% of the kbuj. it's taking almost half the cuts, so all the big programs that actually lead to the debt are getting almost excluded from the cuts. all the little programs are getting savaged. so it's just a mindless exercise. >> woodruff: that's the way it was designed across-the-board to be -- >> but i would say that now both parties seem to have gotten used to it i think it's now likely that this will all just happen and it won't get repealed in a few weeks and we'll just be living with this. and so you know, they've come to love it. >> woodruff: mark s one side or another more to blame for this. and does that question even matter any more? >> yeah, i think, i think the republicans are locked into a position right now. virtually every-- every study involving republicans, democratic, nonpartisan economists have concluded it's going to require both to be done, to require tax,
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new revenues as well as the cuts. but and the republicans will not sport any new revenues so in that sense they put themselves in a position, which is a minority position in the country as well. i think they're playing a very difficult hand. they've given themselves a very difficult hand. >> woodruff: do you agree, that the republicans -- >> i think they'll take more of the blame. and with some justice. i do think they have to give on revenues. i would say a couple things in their defense. a little criticism of the dem krakt side. first, we have, they have given a lot on revenue already. we can't continue to raise taxes again and again on the top 2%. because once you push people above, where more than 50 or 60% of their income is going to tax, they start behalfing in a counterproductive ways so we can't just tax the top 2%. we got to have more revenue but i think you got to widen it down. the second thing i would blame the administration for
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is not sort of going bigger and saying here is the big problem when titlements. if we want to save these domestic programs we do have to have medicare reform. to be fair the president does have some of that. one of the fundamental problems we have 180% of americans said don't touch medicare. an somebody has to explain to them that's just not a tenable position. >> woodruff: . >> i don't absolve the democrats completely from this, judy by any means. but i think the republicans put themselves in an indefensible position. and i think it's not only substantively but politically. but i mean there is-- they come up with a tax bill where democrats talk about we've got to get the private jet loophole, we got to get rid of carried interest. if you look at what allows people on wall street to pay their income at a rate of 15%, the private equity, and
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neither the democratic proposal to eliminate the private jet coverage, you know, i would like to see, i would like to see them go big. we had that chance in august of 2011. i hate to think that that was the only time when speaker boehner and the president were close to coming up what was to be a grand bargain. >> if i could take a quick whack at the republicans because i think their political-- strategy sin sane. if you are serious about the deficit and debt which they claim to be, you can't pick out the most trivial programs and demand cuts in those, and then because you know will you demand cuts in those and then when the public comes down on you you are going to cave in and surrender anyway. so why don't they have a long-term fix to focus on the real problem instead of some politically easy problem that will be politically untenable in the long run anyway. >> woodruff: there are those saying the two sides are not that far apart. the president is prepared to do entitlement reform. the republicans want it, the
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president says he wants tax changes. ed republicans don't want those tax changes but they said in the past they were willing to close loopholes. is it theatre? is there that deep a philosophical difference between the two sides. >> i'm not sure that there is the will right now. i don't know, because an awful lot of it is posing and posturing on both sides. i'm not sure about the nonnegotiable parts. but i don't think that there is that sense of political will that we can do it. and let's be very blunt about it. "the wall street journal" nbc poll asks what do you think is better on 12 different issues. the democrats are seen as better on everything from taxation to the economy, to health care, to medicare, i mean, immigration, i mean the republicans have left with what has been their whole cards all these years. cutting the deficit, fat defense, i means that's it.
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>> and people think the republicans are-- don't make discrimination between good government and bad government and here they are supporting something that is exactly that, this mindless thing that doesn't discriminate between the two. what does the country need t needs just a sign that washington can function. the housing market is againing to turn around there are sign of green shoots, just a sign they can function. it's to the going to happen. >> woodruff: meanwhile you still have on the sideshow, squabble over whether the white house or the congress first suggested this as bob wood ward was at the centre of this, back and forth this week over whether he got a -- >> what's fascinating. >> woodruff: tough language in an e-mail. >> from gene sperling. >> you know, the godfather of the 1600 pennsylvania avenue, for those who don't know gene sperling, gene is not a terribly intimidating public figure, i think, but the irony of this is how bob wood ward has become now who is blamed, blamed by two
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generations of conservatives and republicans but bringing with the possible exception 6 richard nixon haig more to do with richard nixon's impeachment than any other living human being. he was a liberal agent, now he is embraced by conservatives because he is exposed or allegedly exposed the white house, that it's the pas attorneyity who has the pas attorneyity. i mean it is graham rudman 25 years later that is what it. >> rooney: -- . >> woodruff: so the voting rights act, david, arguments between the supreme court this week. what did you make of it. this is much anticipated. >> yeah, well antonin kalia said something an knox us about voting being a racial entitlement. >> which is ridiculous. but i do have to say i was sort of surprised reading through that i was a little more persuaded that some of the skeptics at some point have a much stronger
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argument than i thought. and their core argument is that in 1964, 6ee, the voting right as becauses were localized in some of these states which were under this provision which is under discussion. now if you look at the map of where the abuses are, they're nationalized. it's not 1964 any more. and in some cases states like mississippi, african-american voting rights are higher than white voting rights. and so it's-- the idea that we are just going to punish the number of states that were punished in 1964, that's sort of becoming a little more obsolete. i thought they made a reasonably strong case on that. whether we want the court to step in and make that determination is a separate issue. >> judy, every election was one thing we could rely upon, republicans against taxes, democrats, social security and medicare and every republican was going to a point judges who are strict constructionist, who would abide by law, wouldn't write the law, the damn liberals are writing the law. now we had if i'm not
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mistaken, the legislative process worked this well in 2006. we had 15,000 pages of testimony, 90 witnessesment by a 390-33 vote in the house and 98-0 vote in the senate they extended the law. and what has changed since then? the only thing i can see that has changed is that david suitor left the court and -- a leto joined the court now we get the activist conservative judges. david is right in the sense that the legal efforts to make it tough tore vote in places like pennsylvania where unfortunately for the republican senate leader in pennsylvania, was caught on tape saying this is how we're going to carry pennsylvania is to keep people from voting am we had a 102-year-old woman in florida who waited three and a half hours to vote. i mean t there is a need to-- and i would say nationalizing the standards is probably -- >>. >> woodruff: but that wasn't the question.
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>> well, the administration was asked about this specifically and they said we don't want to do this. these are state obligations, this a state matter. but so it becomes hard to nationalize it but i do think either you trust people or you don't. and the one thing i will say which is just an interesting empirical point. these efforts in places like pennsylvania, trying to restrict voting were so completely counterproductive i have to think one of the reasons minority part participation was so approximatelyically high this time was because there was a reaction against these things. i think any party, especially the republican party would be approximatelyically stupid, let alone the fairness issue, to ever try this again. >> well. >> i mean, invincible stupidity is not a stranger in american poll-- politics. >> woodruff: there is everything invincible about the two of you, mark shields, david brook, thank you. mark and and mark and david keep up the talk, on the "doubleheader," recorded in our newsroom. that will be posted at the top of the rundown later tonight.
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>> brown: again, the major developments of the day: the final hours ticked down to those automatic federal spending cuts after president obama and republicans failed to reach agreement. and the governor of michigan declared a fiscal emergency in detroit and announced plans to appoint an emergency manager. >> woodruff: just how much salt is in the ocean, and why does that matter? hari sreenivasan has some answers. >> sreenivasan: scientists are mapping salt levels from space, and they're discovering clues about climate change. check out that story on our science page. and on "making sense," an economist's take on climate change legislation. read that on our homepage. all that and more is on our web site, judy. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll look at why fewer doctors are accepting medicare patients. plus, an interview with general john allen, former commander of allied forces in afghanistan. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations.
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we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations.
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and spending cuts are on the way despite president obama calling them dumb. kicking up quite a bill. parents of one 5-year-old and his love of games came with an unexpected price tag. >> welcome to our viewers on public television in america and around the globe. horrific and unacceptable, that is how south africa's president condemned the death of a taxi driver in police custody. yesterday we showed you the dramatic physician of a man being dragged down the street tied to the back of a police van. later he died in a jail cell. now eight policeman are arrested on suspicion of murder. a warning, this report contains images. >> he was a taxi driver. >> he was a taxi driver. tonight, new


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