tv Mc Laughlin Group PBS November 24, 2013 3:30pm-4:01pm PST
>> from washington, the mclaughlin group, the american original. for three decades, the sharpest minds. >> issue one, 50 years since dallas. if you were alive on that dreadful day, you will never forget it. 50 years ago, november 22, 1963, president john f. kennedy was assassinated by gunfire as he drove in his motorcade through dealey plaza in dallas texas. he was 43 years old. three years into his one and only presidential term.
president kennedy's state funeral was modeled after that of another assassinated president. abraham lincoln. the president's flag draped casket was drawn by horses down pennsylvania avenue from the capitol building to the white house where wife jackie and son john jr. was waiting. john jr. saluted his father in a heartbreaking moment. the family walks with a military escort. the funeral service was held at the cathedral. president kennedy was buried at the arlington cemetery where the eternal flame burns. question, what was the legacy of the kennedy presidency? pat buchanan? >> well john f. kennedy was young, charismatic, made for the television age. a wonderful sense of humor, an
inspirational figure. i think what seared the soul of america for all of us watching the horrible way he die and the race to the hospital and taking the casket to washington dc and then the whole funeral and the shooting of oswald on that sunday, and what it did, i think, is that impressed upon us what kennedy was. there would not have been a camelot had there not been dallas. but after that, if you want to separate out the record of the man and the president, i think that's a different thing and that has moved somewhat away from what we all recall and remembered. but you can't see those films even begin 50 years later without stirring up the same kinds of emotions you felt that terrible weekend. >> we also have to remember vietnam's role in his presidency. remember that? >> secretary of defense, and he basically got more notoriety
during lyndon johnson's term in the office. while president was the president, he upped the number of advisers to vietnam, he sent no combat troops. >> mismanaged vietnam. >> mismanaged? i don't know about that. i don't know if you have any evidence to say that. >> the diema assassination. >> well, we was aware of that, but i don't know if he was part of it. he walked us back from the brink of nuclear war, he inspired this country, inspired young people to public service and elevated the feelings about what government could do, at the same time, the famous line in the speech. he asked much of the american people. the space program, the peace corp. these are all significant achievements we remember him
for today. and so, pat is right. he is frozen in time. he will always be young, he will always be popular, but he certainly shows what a president can achieve. against many odds, too. >> peace corp. was a big item. >> 39 countries, servely his most obvious legacy was creating the peace corp. it was the presidency that was a lot about image. and there are a lot of unanswered questions. would he have escalated the war in vietnam? that is really just unknown and a lot of it will never be known. it is true he was a president that won on coarse ma on charisma. >> liberals see kennedy as liberalism. conservatives see him as a clear-eyed cold warrior.
what explains his ability to be all things to all people? >> i don't know if he was all things to all people. i think in different parts of his presidency, he had certain appeals to the liberals, mostly to that community. sometimes on occasion to the conservatives because he was a pragmatist. he could govern the country. that was something i never got over. he transformed the way the country felt about itself and how we felt about him and how we felt about ourselves. we saw this man come out. it was the first time television was the dominant media and he was magnificent on that media so he inspired a lot of people particularly to have a lot of people go public service. he set a precedent. he is someone who is missed in
some way in this country because there was something about him that made everybody feel so good. that doesn't exist today. >> you must also note that jackie contributed to the camelot mystique. >> for sure. for sure. so did john-john and caroline. we treasure the memory of that. >> playing on broadway then, it was in the air. it wasn't as though jackie just invented this. >> and his response to jacqueline when he asked what she wanted to do and she wanted to see camelot. >> and the whole myth of camelot was good for the country. >> she told teddy white, this was something she wanted in the recollection of what happened. he was 30 years younger than eisenhower. television was just coming in. those of us on the right were saying we are going to get our
jack kennedy. the whole new generation of real change. >> let's move on. there's a lot to talk about. was it a conspiracy? >> i certainly have doubts that he was motivated by himself. i'm not sure if anybody else was involved. i don't go down that road with respect to the grassy knoll theory and all of that. but i have questions about whether they got down to the bottom of oswald's time. >> secretary of state john kerry is not the only one to harbor questions about the motives of the assassin lee harvey oswald who also wounded texas governor john connelly. oswald himself was shot two days later as he was held in the dallas city jail. the shooter was jack ruby.
a local nightclub owner. 52% of the public thought lee harvey oswald had not acted alone. today, 61% think oswald had coconspirators. that is down from a high of 81% who thought so in the 1990s after oliver stone's film jfk. true the tragedy has all the makings of a conspiracy. oswald was a former u.s. marine. he had earlier defected to the soviet union. he lived in the russian city of minst for years. when he and his wife marina returned to the united states, he became involved in cuba's politics. pro castro. on september 27, 1963, two months before the assassination. oswald went to mexico city and visited the soviet consulate and the cuban embassy.
it was concluded that he did act alone. but at the time, the commissioners where unaware of the plans of the u.s. cia to oust cuban dictator castro. many theories have been spawned implying that cuba, the cia, and even kennedy's vice president lyndon johnson were the assassin. >> this has to be taken seriously, of course. when kerry, our current secretary of state says to this day i have serious doubts that lee harvey oswald acted aown. i certainly had doubts that he was motivated by himself. >> who does john kerry think shot general john walker fired right through his window. the general at oxford,
mississippi. he shot to kill him. if he had not killed him, there would have been no dallas. but did he have a conspiracy for general walker? >> who knows. >> if there was a conspires sissifus, it would have been uncovered. bobby kennedy was calling helms. you heard every other day what are we saying about castro. >> why were the kennedys concerned about castro? >> after the cuban missile crisis? >> they had given out a statement they would not invade cuba. >> why was the cuban missile event so serious in his thinking? >> they put missiles in cuba that could have blown up washington dc. >> how did kennedy escape from that net? >> he ordered them out. he gave a secret deal to take out our missiles from italy and turkey. >> so a deal was cut.
>> yeah, a deal was cut. >> so there was a time when there was serious concern about castro and was there concern about eliminating him in a more ... >> castro wanted to fire the missiles and there was talk that the cia pushed by the kennedys were out to kill castro. >> who was the head of the cia? >> well after dallas was thrown out. >> was it desmond fitzgerald? >> was it helms? helms was the director of operations. >> he had a problem, the kennedys had a problem with castro and it was a serious problem. it was a question of putting long range missiles in cuba. >> it was after that. >> yeah, well kennedy was at odds with the joint chiefs and with the military and the cia. part of it grew out of the bay of pigs. and the fact he didn't want to respond militarily to the crisis. so i think there was some
concern, even in the kennedy family that this could have been internal. but no evidence has ever surfaced to the contrary that nobody has put together the wider conspiracy, but it is hard to accept that this one lone guy, loser guy with a $19 rifle could disrupt american history to that extent. so people are going to keep looking and not all the records have been released and they won't be another three years. >> lee harvey oswald acted alone. kennedy's inkling. consider this item from if wall street journal about the start of jfk's texas trip during which he made a public appearance in fort worth, texas. " on the morning of the 22, the president gazed from the window of that hotel room prior to his brief talk in the parking lot below and remarked to his aid,
just look at that platform. with all these buildings around it, the secret service couldn't stop someone who really wanted to get you." question, did jfk have an inkling of his vulnerability or did he have specific reason to believe he was targeted? >> he knew he was going to be driving along in an open car. it is just so obvious. to me, i still can't believe they allowed him to ride down the street like that. just given there had been prior assassinations attempts. there have been other assassination attempts. it didn't seem very practical. >> he had problems, we had problems with cuba. >> yeah, but they did not anticipate an assassination. and the bubble top of the limousine was not bullet proof. it was only there for weather. >> they took it off at the airport, it stopped raining.
they took the bubble off the limo. kennedy was clearly enjoying himself. >> i haven't heard enough from mort here. does the answer to the riddle of jfk's assassination lie with cuba and russia yes or no in. >> i have a problem with the second bullet. we tested it in saint louis at the time that you could fire those three bullets in that short of time and we took a guy from the marines who was a marksman and he couldn't do it. >> yeah, i think if there was something really there, we would know it by now but i'm looking to the release of the rest of the fbi and cia files and a lot has been destroyed. >> how about that? >> i agree with eleanor. somebody could have talked by now. if there was a conspiracy, someone would have said something at this point. >> in's enough strange information in here to raise
these questions but with nothing that has come out, i just have to say no. i just don't see that this is a conspiracy until there is much, much more evidence. >> i agree with the secretary of state john kerry. i don't believe in the single theory. >> that may be the only thing you agree with him on. at least you have something though. [ laughter ] >> let this be a matter of record. don't forget the mclaughlin group has its own website and you can watch us any day of the week from anywhere in the world at mclaughlin.com. issue two, iran's torpedo. >> we don't want iran to have weapons. it would not only be dangerous to us and our allies but it would be destabilizing to the whole region and could cause an arms race to make life much more dangerous for all of us so our policy is iran cannot have nuclear weapons. >> talks in geneva between
france, great britain, germany f russia, china, the united states, and iran. there was a scathing speech after iran's supreme leader. speaking to the gathering, iran's military militia, war crimes extending all the way back to world war ii when the united states became the first country to use nuclear weapons. the jewish state was call "dirty rabid dog. ". most ominously in terms of prospects for an agreement on iran's nuclear program where they would suspend uranium enrichment six months. he declared with regards to
iran's rights to develop the peaceful nuclear industry, "i insist not one step back wards should be taken with regard to the iranian nation's rights. some red lines must be respected." question, whether or not there is an agreement is reached now, what implications of his quote red lines on prospects with iran's nuclear program? what about that? and what do we know about iran's nuclear program? >> i don't think this is going to destroy the possibility of a deal. sounds like they are on the verge of getting something because secretary of state john kerry is going to be joining these talks and that means they are on the verge of having an agreement. it means six months holding off on nuclear development. and iran wants to keep enriching uranium during that time. there is a little bit of a disagreement there. just from talks on capitol hill, what we are hearing,
kerry says we are getting closer than we have ever been and that is promising so i don't think these comments are going to kill that deal. >> so this is a holding action. >> he is trying to. >> who is the young guy? who is calling the shots? >> they were just elected and they are moderates and they want a deal. the bottom line is a very simple one, we retain the right to enrich having signed the nonproliferation treaty. they are not going to say anything about it. but say where they can enrich, how much they have to give up. the makings of a deal are there. i think, because i don't believe iran wants an atom bond. >> i think they want to retain the right to enrich, but they will let in inspectors so they can show they are not really enriching at the kind of intensity that would lead them
to a bomb. >> they could lose ... the u.s. is going to lighten up on a lot of sanctions now. it is a very appealing deal for them. >> so he was really setting up the deal by throwing big bones? >> what this administration is prepared to do is a wonderful deal for iran. i don't think it is a wonderful deal for the united states or the middle east. all these arab countries are opposed to this deal. if you look at the kind of deal this administration was prepared to make before, it was a disgrace. it did not protect us at all. in terms of what we wanted to prevent. so i'm very anxious. >> freezing their nuclear program opens the window for more negotiations. the only other option they have
is some military action which would be very unhelpful. >> no deal, mort, around we get a deal. either deal or a war. >> what if you have a deal that does not prevent iran from developing a new weapon? >> you freeze those programs and put inspectors all over every site? >> they are not freezing them. they were not freezing them. we will see what is in the final deal. if it is the deal they were prepared to make before, it is not that kind of a deal. >> it is a six month deal which is a freeze. >> if they could continue the construction of their ... [ talking over one another ] >> heavy water plan. >> that is the plutonium plant. >> you can ratchet those sanctions back up instantaneously. >> if you don't like it, you can bomb them. >> you can turn on and off. he knows less about this issue than i think he knows. >> he has probably less
ideological bias than some of the critics. >> are we ready for the exit question? here it comes. here is the exit question. why we should pursue all avenues. to keep iran from developing a nuclear weapon. yes or no? >> we should ignore his insults and do what is in our national interests which is a deal. >> that is what you want. the rouhani. deal. that is what you want. >> don't take the bait. keep on pressing ahead. >> sticks and stones. we just work out the deal and avoid the war. >> if we can work out the right deal. >> do you? >> no. >> i do. number three, though there are five-and-a-half more weeks of calendar year 2013, the u.s. house of representatives has only eight more days in session in washington.
that is eight days in session in december for the house to get things done before members depart the nation's capital for the rest of the year to attend to constituent business in their regional offices sandwiched with holiday vacation time. that means legislation passed in the senate this year will not be passed by house. like the overall of u.s. immigration laws. this is not to say the house under republican control won't be easy under the eight final days. the gop is taking on the affordable care act. aka, obamacare. the president's landmark legislative accomplishment. and the house and senate conference committee is trying to thanker out a budget deal. the senate will be busier than the house. democratic leader harry reed has said so. but the irony is even if the senate passes a slew of bills, they stand no chance of becoming law in 2013 thanks to the republican house. home for the holidays.
>> question, is congress done for the year or do you foresee something coming out of the 113 before december 31? don't forget to tell us about the news about the filibuster. >> the most important thing we will see is a deal on spending for the next year or two. and, it will not involve entitlement reform, but it will involve raising revenues through fees and moving around the sequester we have been operating under. it is not nothing. the other big development was the filibuster reform this week in the senate where they changed the rules on what is required for ending a filibuster. 60 votes, it is now 51 for all judicial nominees and executive branch nominees. highly criticized by the minority republicans but democrats felt they needed it to move the gridlock. it may come back to haunt them. >> what's the filibuster? >> senator can talk and talk and talk and prevent moving forward and legislation without 60 votes to end debates.
>> who holds the record? >> john thurman. >> how long did he talk? >> i think 23 hours. >> more, more. 1957 civil rights bill. >> they don't talk anymore. they just threaten the filibuster and go about their business. >> so what happened with the filibuster? wait a minute. wait a minute. >> first of all, we democrats felt the republicans were blocking the nominees. they only controlled 55. >> tell me about harry reed and how he did this. >> he did this through a procedure that the republicans felt was parliamentary illegal. he did it with a 51 vote change of the rules. normally, they are only allowed to do in the first opening day of the session. however, they violated their own rule and did it according to the republicans. >> why have they waited so long to get rid of the filibuster? wait a minute? >> they need to do it now because they are running out of time to get the judges through. the democrats may lose the
senate majority in the coming election. this may give them a chance to usher through many nominees the president chooses before they presidential election in the minority. it excites their base who have been not exactly thrilled with the democratic presidency as of late. this will help them move much more liberal folks through the senate that they never would have been able to do. >> ten seconds. >> turn the u.s. senate into another version of the house. you have small d democracy, the corruption of the republic. this stuff the going to whistle through. in the future, is senate will look just like the house. >> first of all, the republicans have overabusedthe filibuster. the dc district court has three vacancies they refuse to fill. they knock down three appointees. perfectly credible records. they don't want obama to have anymore leverage.
390 democratic appointments. the democrats are moving down. they are going to come in and make this move and talking about it for years. >> the filibuster is intended to prevent the majority from running the show and taking it away completely from the minority. >> yes. >> and now we have lost that. is that a bad thing? >> i don't think it is such a bad thing. >> you don't? >> i would preserve some peace of it because i think the part that we have. >> how long has it been in place? how long has it been in place? >> since 1918. >> 1918? you want to take something that has been solid in our history and throw it right out the front door? >> i don't know that i want to change it. to eliminate it. i want to moderate it. >> predictions? >> israeli peace talks collapse. >> democratic rule change on filibuster gives the president three years to get judges in place and the republicans are going to change the rules
this week on moyers & company -- >> what's at stake here is not just the fact that you have rich people who now control the economy and all the commanding institutions of society. what you have is basically a transgression against the very basic ideals of democracy. i mean, it's hard to imagine life beyond capitalism. you know, it's easier to imagine the death of the planet than it is to imagine the death of capitalism. >> and a farewell tribute to nobel novelist doris lessing. >> announcer: funding is provided by -- carnegie corporation of new york, celebrating 100 years of philanthropy and committed to doing real and permanent good in the world. the kohlberg foundation. independent production fund, with support from the partridge foundation, a john and polly guthri