tv PBS News Hour PBS November 8, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: democrats win big in virginia and new jersey, picking up over a dozen state legislative seats, and giving the party its first boost since the presidential election. then, president trump lands in china to talk trade and the threat of north korea, in one of the most anticipated stops of his tour of asia. and, cuba's environmental economy. how the uniquely preserved island is bringing in tourism, and keeping its wildlife safe. >> there's a great deal of fear about the impacts of tourism, but our message is that tourism has to be part of the solution, and the question is, how do you do that sustainably? >> woodruff: all that and more,
language. >> collette. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention, in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at lemelson.org. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> 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: from the white house on down, they are
still digesting tuesday's election results and analyzing the possible "trump effect." but two things are already clear: democrats are walking a little taller, and republicans are licking their wounds. >> the democratic party is back! >> woodruff: for democrats, the election night celebrations were a far cry from the bitter defeats, one year ago. virginia set the tone: lieutenant governor ralph northam won a promotion with his party's first major victory in the trump era. the governor-elect and pediatrician said the old dominion answered the call. >> virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we will not condone hatred and bigotry, and to end the politics that have torn this country apart. >> woodruff: northam easily defeated republican ed gillespie, 54% to 45%, to keep
the governor's mansion democratic. gillespie had kept president trump at arm's length, but shared his positions, highlighting immigrant crime and defending confederate monuments. the president did tweet several times in favor of gillespie, and recorded a late robo-call of support. but from south korea today, mr. trump dished criticism, tweeting that "gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what i stand for." the democratic tide in virginia also carried other statewide races and added 14 seats in the house of delegates. democrats need just three more seats-- with a handful of races yet to be called-- to retake the chamber for the first time in two decades. one of the winners was danica roem, the first openly transgender candidate to win a seat in any state legislature. >> we won because i am a transgender woman, because i am a reporter, because i am
lifelong resident of manassas, because of my inherent identifiers, not despite them. i never ran away from them. i championed them. >> woodruff: roem ousted republican bob marshall, one of the state's most conservative legislators. he had sponsored a bill that would limit the bathrooms used by transgender people. meanwhile, in new jersey, democrat philip murphy won the governor's race, in a pickup for the party. the former goldman sachs executive capitalized on deep discontent with republican governor chris christie, who was term-limited. >> tonight, we declare the days of division are over. we will move forward together. this is exactly who we are, new jersey. we have each other's backs. >> woodruff: across the country, in washington state, democrats retook the state senate. that move solidified the blue wall of democratic legislative majorities up and down the west coast. big-city democratic mayors also
won re-election, in new york, boston and detroit. all are critics of president trump. and, in another slap at the president's policies, maine voted to expand medicaid under obamacare. here in washington today, republican senators from west virginia's shelly moore capito to colorado's corey gardner offered differing explanations for the defeats. >> i think this shows, we have to provide results for the american people. >> we need to tighten up our message. we really need to come through with what we're going to do. >> woodruff: others in the g.o.p. blamed the losses on candidates not fully backing the president. and we will hear from the head of the democratic party, and a top trump white house official, right after the news summary. in the day's other news, the republican tax reform bill that emerged from the u.s. house of representatives ran into new obstacles. the congressional budget office reported that it would add at least $1.7 trillion to deficits over ten years.
that may be more than allowed under budgetary rules. the c.b.o. also said repealing obamacare's mandate that individuals buy health care insurance would save $338 billion over a decade, to help finance tax cuts. but, that is less than first estimated. vice president pence traveled today to the texas town where a gunman killed more than two dozen people. he was greeted by governor greg abbott in san antonio, and later, met with first responders and victims' families in sutherland springs. meanwhile, u.s. defense secretary james mattis ordered a review of the air force's failure to enter the gunman's criminal history into an f.b.i. database. the trump administration has reinstated restrictions on americans visiting cuba, under a new policy announced in june. individual travel is largely eliminated in favor of organized tour groups run by u.s. companies. and dozens of hotels and other
businesses are blacklisted over their links to cuba's military, intelligence and security services. president trump's nominee for secretary of homeland security, kirstjen nielsen, had her confirmation hearing today. she was picked after her boss, secretary john kelly, became white house chief of staff. today, nielsen echoed kelly's position on the president's call for a wall along the mexican border. >> there is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea. what we need to do is work with the operators. should i be confirmed, i look forward to speaking with state and local officials, those on the ground, both law enforcement and federal law enforcement, to understand where we need some sort of physical barrier. >> woodruff: nielson drew heat from democratic senators when she said it is not clear if humans are the primary cause of climate change. the nominee to be the president's top environmental adviser faced similar questions, at a separate hearing. kathleen hartnett white said she is not persuaded by a new
federal finding that manmade carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming. instead, she repeated her view that carbon dioxide is a "plant nutrient," and not a pollutant. the u.s. air force academy now says that an apparent racial incident was a hoax. it turns out that it was a black student who, in september, wrote the racial slurs outside dorm rooms at the academy's prep school. the initial incident prompted lieutenant jay silveria, the academy's superintendent, to give a stern speech to cadets, condemning racism. former president obama will not be serving on a chicago jury, after all. he reported for duty today, only to be dismissed. his appearance caused a stir at cook county court offices. he went through the standard procedure for prospective jurors, including watching a 20-minute informational video. and on wall street, the dow jones industrial average gained
six points to close at 23,563. the nasdaq rose 21, and the s&p 500 added three. and, pope francis is urging the faithful, including the clergy, to put down their cell phones during public masses at the vatican and pray, instead. the pontiff told the crowd in st. peters square today that taking pictures during the service is "an ugly thing." and, he said, "the mass is not a show, so remember, no cell phones." still to come on the newshour: i speak to the democratic chairman on his party's big wins in yesterday's election. and, i sit down with the white house legislative director, as the g.o.p. pushes its tax plan in congress. plus, china rolls out the red carpet for president trump. and much more.
>> woodruff: we return now to our top story: the democratic party's big victories last night and the message voters sent to washington. i spoke with tom perez, the chairman of the democratic national committee, about this earlier today and what lead to the party's success. >> i think we're making real progress, judy. we had a very good night last night. we put our game plan into action. our game plan is organizing organizing organizing. make sure we come together with our unity. we saw that in virginia where you had a spirited democratic primary where everyone took the high road. we had great turnout in the primary and that was a bellweather of a general election with record turnout. and same thing in new jersey. phil murphy. when we lead with our values and we put those values into action, whether it's healthcare for all, that was a big issue in virginia and new jersey. talking about education reform. that was another big issue in those areas. when we're leading with our
values and when we're out there talking to everyone. and when we're rubbing people up and down the broth. that was credit cree important. in virginia, democrats have not won as many seats as they won last night. the last time that happened was in the 19th century. that's a real bellweather of the wave that occurred last night in virginia. >> woodruff: that's true, all true but you still have republicans in the majority of governor seats, control of the house, the senate and the white house. democrats still have a big hill to climb. >> i couldn't agree more. last night was a really remarkable start but it's a start. we're no where near the sum of the mountain but we we know what works. we have to go to the basics. recruiting new tickets. the new dnc is to help elect democrats up and down the tickets from the school board to the oval office. we were too focused on simply a new president every four years. we changed that mission and
making sure we are invested everywhere. >> woodruff: let me ask about your major because some are saying still the democratic message is too much anti-donald trump and not enough something positive. >> i tell you the candidates that were running yesterday, we're talking about the issue that people cared about the most. ralph is a healer, the governor elect of virginia. he's talking about healthcare the right for all and not a privilege for the few. the number one issue for voters in virginia was healthcare. they understand that ralph is going to help them expand medicaid and not take away their access to healthcare. same thing in new jersey. real concerns on that area. >> woodruff: what is your advice, tom perez, though, for democrats running next year. we know right now for example you got democrats in the senate talking to president trump. there was a meeting just yesterday and his people about tax reform. should democrats especially democrats in red states, states that donald trump won, should they try to work with this
president to get things done or should they oppose him at every step? >> well listen, if we can work in a bipartisan fashion, we've always been for that. the affordable care act is a great example. patty murray and lamar alexander is working on a bill to stabilize the markets. what the republicans have been trying to do is just repeal with nothing else. we need to amend obamacare not end it. and the voters in virginia especially sent a very clear message to the republicans that when you try to take away our healthcare, we're going to vote against you. so when we can find common ground, we try. but the current tax bill that has been put forth is not refoacial. it's a massive give away to revery wealthy people and corporations at the expense of middle class families. and working people. >> woodruff: so are you saying they should not work with the administration to try to shape that at all or what?
>> no, judy. i'm saying quite the contrary. we have a vision for helping to bring about tax fairness. this is not tax reform, though. the challenge that we have, used eye, is the republicans don't want to work with us. this bill is a disaster for so many millions of americans. and they're just trying to ram it through before people can actually see the type print. >> woodruff: let me finally ask you what is the democrat's message to scroarts i voters in, voters who voted for donald trump. i assume you're going to say you're not writing them off. what is your -- >> judy our motto of the new dnc is every zip code counts. we can win everywhere. we won three special elections in oklahoma earlier this year in the state legislature. how did we do that? we had a great candidates. we delivered a clear message. in oklahoma the message was education. he can case is the great actizer. and in own we're engaged in
radical right wing engineering to make public education a shell of what it needs to be. and then boots on the ground. we're competing everywhere because i believe that the message of healthcare is a right for all and not a privilege for a few. that resonates in rural america, it resonates in urban america, it resonates in kentucky, it resonates in new york city. and when we lead with those values, we're fighting for economic opportunity for everyone. we believe in shared prosperity for everyone, not simply prosperity for a few at the top. and we believe in the bold possibilities of this nation. and we want to make sure everybody has the tools to realize their highest and best dreams. we want an america that people can be proud of. rue it now people aren't proud of what they see this president do day in and day out. he's a divider not a uniter. i think the voters spoke very loudly and clearly about that yesterday. we want uniters. >> woodruff: tal tom perez the
chairman of the democratic party. thank you very much. >> pleasure to be with you judy. >> woodruff: now for the trump administration's perspective on last night's results, and what they may mean for the president's agenda. with me now, the white house director of legislative affairs, marc short. thank you very much for being with us. so you just heard marc short what tom perez, the chairman of the democratic party had to say, that democrats can are recruiting strong candidates everywhere. and this was a strong beginning for them. how do you see it yesterday's results. >> judy, thanks for having me on first. i think as we look over the last year, there's no doubt the democrats secured two victories last night in democrat state and yet republicans have won five congressional seats that were open seats. on the federal level we've continued to add. we have 240 house republicans now hoping to advance our agenda. i think people can read a lot into each of their things they want in reality virginia continues to shift to the left. beginning to become more of a democrat state. i don't think it's a surprise
they won last night. i think ed's a very talented and smart political advisor but i don't think we were that surprised of the results. >> woodruff: you're not surprised. we noticed of course the president as soon as the results were called in virginia, the president was pretty critical of he had gillespie. he said he didn't embrace me enough. what more should ed gillespie have done. >> i think we were disawe powntd in his defeat but i think the president was making the point the president wasn't invited to come into the state and campaign with ed and he felt certainly the left was animated and rallied and unfortunately i don't think we activated our base on the same way on the republican side. i think that's simply the point the president's making but again we take comfort in the republican seats we've continued to hold on. in many cases special elections in georgia, people predicting democrats were going to take the seats away from us but we didn't. we won in monday and last night in utah. >> woodruff: she thought ed gillespie did sufficiently embrace the president in the
campaign. >> i think that again, i believe that ed is one of the smartest political people i know. he's won a lot of races are for other people. i think unfortunately this is a difficult year for him to run. it's a state that's become more and more democrat over the years. >> woodruff: what we are seeing marc short, though, in virginia and other places where there were races yesterday is energy on the part of democrats can. of them do seem to be motivated to defeat republicans, to defeat the president. how worried are you and others in the white house about that next year in the midterm? >> i think that next year's a long way off judy. the way we can make sure our base animated is to mac sure we deliver on the promises we made. when you look back to when the president was elected there are things he campaigned o he campaigned on the supreme court which he delivered on with judge gorsuch. he campaigned on regulatory relief which he's delivered on. he campaigned on tax relief which is about to run. one of our challenges right now though one of his promise was repealing obamacare. after six years of campaign promises that republicans would
do that when given the chance they didn't. i think you saw a lot of depressed excitement among republicans after the summer when that effort failed. we have to get back delivering what we promised to do. >> woodruff: speaking about that one of the things you're trying to deliver on is tax reform. its originated a plan, the proposal originated in the house but es already running into some head winds. just today you have the boy partisan joint -- bipartisan joint congressional committee on taxation saying that there's a problem here. after a certain number of years yes it starts out helping the middle class but after the year 2027, the percentage of people in the middle class being helped will start to go down. that gets at the very fundamental argument for this, doesn't it? >> that's keep in mind three things the president said he want. first is middle income relief. second is corp. relief because frankly what's happen is our jobs left america because our corp. tax system is outsite. we need to give corporations
less reasons. third is to simplify the tax and get rid of so much special treatment and special deductions. go back to the first point on the joint committee on taxation said. they also said it's a net tax on decrease for every income level over the ten years. now what you point out is individually in a particular year, the way that some of those specific credits roll out, there could be a bum in a particular year. you look over the ten years and it's a tax decrease for those families. it's what we promised and what we're going to deliver on. >> woodruff: you still on folks out there who looked at the effect in corporation saying this is a boon to many corporations that already get so many tax breaks. and you got the senate, republicans in the senate looking at it and saying wait a minute we want to delay the corporate tax cuts. how do you and the white house look at that. >> let's keep in mind the relief providing the tax rates because the international average for developed countries is now 21%
and america is 35%. it's the reason so many companies have left our shores and gone overseas. in fact it's one of the reasons we think that trump won many of the industrial mid west states because that's where they've been hit the most. with a we're doing though is eliminating many of those deductions, judy that you mention. that is the trade off. we think this tax code should not be for those who are the wealth just who are able to hire lobbyists and protect their special interests. we're cleaning out the tack code and in exchange lowering the rates. that's the objective. >> woodruff: what about though, marc short, this notion the house of representatives come up with one proposal. it's pretty clear the senate republicans are coming up with a fairly different proposal. where is the white house going to come down. >> judy we've worked for many months together. we have meetings with the speaker and the leader and with the chairman of ways and means kevin brady as well as chairman hatch to make sure we were on the same page. ultimately there were a few thing we couldn't agree on but these plans roll out 90% will be aligned so the process will
work. with a think they are on schedule to get it out of committee and get it completed in the house before thanksgiving. the senate will have their turn and the process will work. we'll have a conference report to resolve the differences. >> woodruff: what about healthcare. the polls have shown that was the top of mine for many of those who went to the polls, all of those who went to the polls in virginia. has the white how given up on getting healthcare renor reformd because it's clearly been moved to the sidelines as you've moved on to tax reform. >> no we haven't given up on that. that's a promise we've made and we're going to deliver on that promise. the reality is the way this will work is we need to do it on budget reconciliation next year. so likely 2018 exercise. i think what we found during the gram cassidy effort was an idea to block grant dollars back to states to give them more flexibility on their healthcare plans. that ends up gaining more attention and attraction. some of the senators who initially know were concerned about the process and they want
a longer process play out but they are more receptive to the concept. we think that has a lot of merit next year. >> woodruff: you to think it could be resurrected. >> we're determined to make sure that we deliver on the promises of repealing what we think is questioning american people in the healthcare sist tell right now. >> woodruff: of course i'm asking because this is something that was originally said this is going to happen right away as soon as donald trump takes office as president and here we are nine months later. >> as i mentioned at the start we were duz appointed with that. it was something many republican had promised to do for six years. they have a president now who is willing to sign it and we're disappointed we didn't get it done but we're not going to stop on our efforts to try. >> woodruff: marc short director of the white house office of legislative affairs. thank you very much. >> judy thanks for having me. >> woodruff: appreciate it. >> woodruff: now that we've heard from both political parties, let's get a closer-up look at yesterday's results with amy walter of the cook political report, and stuart rothenberg of "inside elections." welcome back to both of you.
let's just get a sense from each one of you about, you know, your main take away from this election. across the country amy, we've been spending a lot of time talking about virginia but across the country democrats say yes look at this, we're pretty pleased at what happened. should they be. >> they should be. the enthusiasm factor is significant. the voters are fired up at every level and they're ready to come out and vote. a lot is organically. i know the president of the dnc talked about organizing that's important but these are voters who are just incredibly motivated to vote. and that's the second piece which is what they are motivated to vote for. it's not necessarily what's happening in their district or their state. they're motivated by donald trump and clearly that was happening in virginia because it's not just the governor's race. when you look down at the state legislative races, republican legislators who held on to their districts when hillary clinton carried their districts in 2016 or when the current governor carried their districts they lost their seats.
it is clear there is a big trump effect going on right now. it's a referendum on this president, and that's what we saw across the country. >> woodruff: stu, what would you say. >> i agree. democrats as a party are divided between the bernie sanders and hillary clinton wing, the drag ma advertises and idealogues but they have one thing in common none of them like donald trump and they want to turn out to vote and they did. i agree it was enthusiasm and it was donald trump. that's what defined this election. >would wood.>> woodruff: lets d about who came out. and we have some graisks to look at. part of it was women and based on their different education levels, women and race. what do we see? >> judy, do you remember 2016 we talked a lot about white suburban women, especially white suburban women with college degrees. those are the folks hillary clinton was hoping were going to turn out and support her in big
numbers. they didn't support her in big enough numbers to win in places like pennsylvania or wisconsin. even in virginia, raffle outperformed than hillary clinton did with women, with married women and college educated women. in essence it was this election in virginia was really about the suburban women's revenge that they came out at a level that was really pretty amazing for what it gave to ralph northam. >> how much of a surprise was that, stu. >> there was still a significant gender gap. we've had that for many decades. and the democrats continue to benefit. but we're seeing the parties change in terms of education and the coalitions. so what i think we saw last night is just the trend, an ongoing trend where the republicans are moving more down scale and the democrats are moving up scale. certainly in terms of education. >> that's what we saw too that
raffle didn't do any better in rural parts of virginia the democrat can, didn't do any better in rural parts of virginia than hillary clinton had. it's just that he did a lot better in the bluer parts of the state. so in those suburban washington. >> woodruff: they got their vote out. >> absolutely. >> but the republican vote held. the trump vote held among white evangelicals, rural voters and older working class voters. >> woodruff: it's just that this time the democrats did turn out in numbers that northam needed. when you look at the age, what does that tell us in virginia. >> this is a split developed over a number of years. what you see is younger voters 18-44. a huge advantage over ed gillespie. these are voters who many of them the youngest voter's 18 to 29 who didn't turn out a year ago in the presidential election. there's some question i think
whether they will turn out this time. innovatoranortham isn't on pragm and ideology bethey did turn out. voters 45 and older, the two oldest demographic cohorts much more than closely divided between the two parties but with an advantage to gillespie. and they of course gave an advantage to donald trump last year as well. >> woodruff: it made a difference amy i was looking at this because the under 45 was 37%, only more than a third of the electorate but they were a big enough margin to make a difference. >> that's right. and given the marx that we didn't see hillary clinton get. this is the argument that democrats have been struggling with since 2008 which is how do we get that coalition that turned out for barack obama in 2008 and 2012 to come and turn out when barack obama's not on the ballot. in this case they gave raffle northah, stu is exactly right
he's not the energy sizing kind of candidate but the kind of margins they gave barack obama. >> woodruff: we saw some interesting and we reported on this early stu, and that is transgender were lucky, one elected to a state delegate post in virginia. is that the younger voters coming out? >> i think in part. the advantage for the democrat is that younger voters are more open minded, more tolerant. they value diversity and multiculturalism. guys, 50, 60, 70 year old white working class voters are stuck in their ways. their ways may be fine but not receptive to change and these young voters parts paiflting it's a huge boots for the democrats. these people entering the political system now or involved in the last ten years they'll continue to vote over the next 20 to 30 years with their values. >> woodruff: which raises the question everybody has, amy, what does this mean if anything for next year for the big
midterm. >> the enthusiasm factor is significant. we've talked about that a lot on this show that people who are energized, especially people who are angry turn out and vote. you don't necessarily need the perfect message for democrats, they don't need the perfect message. what they do have is donald trump and he is a great motivator to get the voters to the polls. the next question's going to come down to structure. where democrats did very well last night was in suburban washington, places that hillary clinton had already carried. can they win in places that hillary clinton did not win. can they do better among those white working class voters, rural voters and as stu pointed out, the margins there for the democrat weren't any better than they were for hillary clinton. >> woodruff: you her me ask tom perez, what are you doing to appeal to these trump voters in red states and red places. >> in part we have to see what develops a year away. these are relatively a handful of races in a handful of states. let's see what happens with the economy, with foreign policy,
wth the mueller investigation but democrats have to feel up beat and enthusiastic right now and we'll what mistakes the president has. >> woodruff: we'll let him feel good for a day. stu rothenberg and amy walter, thank you. >> thanks judy. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: an ambassador's warning that the u.s. diplomatic corps is being depleted. and, how thriving wildlife could be a boon to cuban tourism. but first, president trump's marathon trip to asia continued today, with perhaps the most high-stakes visit, to china. that comes after an important stop in south korea. on the agendas in both countries: countering north korea. john yang reports. >> reporter: president trump and first lady melania trump arrived
in beijing to a lavish welcome, replete with pageantry and throngs of children waving chinese and american flags. their tour with chinese president xi jinping and his wife, of the sprawling, ancient forbidden city, was broadcast live on state tv. they also got a taste of chinese opera. amid the pomp, mr. trump and xi jinping find themselves in sharply contrasting political circumstances, as they prepare to talk business. china is a rising global force, and president xi has just been confirmed by the ruling communist party as perhaps the most powerful leader since mao zedong. mr. trump on the other hand, is embattled at home, as underscored by republican losses in yesterday's off-year elections. that could complicate u.s. efforts to win chinese cooperation on north korea and trade. before leaving his previous stop in south korea, mr. trump tried
to make an unannounced visit to one of the world's most dangerous borders-- the demilitarized zone between the two koreas. but, fog forced his helicopter to turn around. in an address to the south korean national assembly, mr. trump said china should do more about the north's nuclear tests and missile launches. >> we call on every nation, including china and russia, to fully implement u.n. security council resolutions, downgrade diplomatic relations with the regime, and sever all ties of trade and technology. >> reporter: mr. trump made a direct appeal to north korean leader kim jong-un. >> the weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer. they are putting your regime in grave danger. every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face. north korea is not the paradise
your grandfather envisioned. it is a hell that no person deserves. today, i hope i speak not only for our countries, but for all civilized nations, when i say to the north: do not underestimate us. and do not try us. >> reporter: at the same time, he suggested a way out for the north, if they abandon their nuclear ambitions. >> we will offer a path to a much better future. it begins with an end to the aggression of your regime, a stop to your development of ballistic missiles, and complete, verifiable and total denuclearization. >> reporter: tomorrow, mr. trump and president xi sits down for extended bilateral talks. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang.
>> woodruff: there is new and pointed criticism of the way the u.s. state department is being run in the trump administration. this time it came from a senior diplomat with three decades of experience here and abroad. william brangham has the story. >> brangham: "there is simply no denying the warning signs that point to mounting threats to our institution, and to the global leadership that depends on us." those are the stark words of ambassador barbara stephenson, in a letter she wrote for the "foreign service journal." stephenson rails against what she says is the "decapitation" of senior leadership within the state department, and which she argues could harm america's ability to retain its role as a global leader. over her long career, barbara stephenson was u.s. ambassador to panama, and also held senior postings in europe, latin america and the middle east.
she currently serves as president of the american foreign service association, and she joins me now. welcome. >> thank you so much. it's great to be with you. >> tell me why did you put this letter out now. >> you know it came about because a journalist asked us what's up. we knew cuts were coming, thee always been clear so i should be clear about that. secretary tillerson said we would have 8% cuts. he told the senate foreign relations committee in june he would cut the foreign service by 4%, the civil service by 12%. the idea that cuts were coming is not news. a journalist said to me i've been walking through foggy bottom. >> the state department office. >> the state department office. i've been to four retirement ceremonies this last week of september. all women acting assistant secretaries and why is everybody leaving. is this a story or is this just some sort of a weird coincidence. so we started to really compile the numbers. so we knew cuts were coming but what was really surprising when we put the numbers together was
how concentrated the cuts are at our very top ranks. we had five four stars at the beginning of the year so they are called career ambassadors. we now have two career ambassadors left at the four star rang. we had 3 at the begin canning of the year we call them career ministers and they're down to 20. and then we have two star ranks were 432 on the day after labor day which is when the promotions were added in for the year. they had fallen to 369. the department told us a few weeks ago. and we are already tracking another 11 or 12 that we know will be gone by december 1st. so these are 60%, 40%, 20% cuts. so the cuts are very concentrated among our very top leadership. >> let me read something from in your liter. you wrote the talent being shown the door now are not only our top talent but also talent that
cannot be replicated over night. the rapid loss of so many senior owfsz has a serious immediate and tangible effect on the capacity of the united states to shape world events. a couple things to unpack there. why can't they be replicated over night. >> the foreign service is like the military an up or out system. >> you're promoted or you're gone. >> you get promoted or you're gone. we grow people bringing them in as an entry level officer i came in in 1985 as a little junior officer. over the course of the years i moved up through fs1 and colonel and lieutenant colonel. that's how we grow senior officers. there's a big cut when we go into getting that very first star to be a councilor of the foreign service. only 35 or 40% make that cut of the officers and then it's cut further and by the time you get to three stars you're down to oh probably 1%. so there's a very serious winnowing that goes on this up or out system. we grow people by bringing them
in at the beginning and training them on you to be diplomats. we're not awe reason in this, the military does it this way sost essentially every diplomatic service of every major western country. >> help me understand why this is going on. a journalist said this is a coincidence, you look at the numbers. you wrote this very pointed letters. you clearly don't think this is a coincidence. why do you think this is happening? >> well, i know that there is a stated intention to cut the foreign service. we actually as the american foreign service association did not rise up and object to that in principle but the idea of so rapidly cutting our top leadership did i believe leave us, it leaves us a less strong institution and that is not at odds with the stated intent of strengthening the foreign service. there was a decision that was made to dramatically slash promotion numbers. so for that one star or two jump, 61 people were moved into
the ranks last year. this number was cut to 29. there's a conscious decision to dramatically cut these senior promotion numbers and that has the effect of thinning the reggie of the senior leadership. >> we reached out to state department to see if they would respond to your letter. they did. you've seen what they had to say. they argue these freezes, the hiring promotions are just temporariy. they say the retirement numbers are not out of order with historical pattern and they argue you're exaggerating the impact this is going to have on our ability to do foreign policy. what do you say to that? >> well i don't think it would surprise you that has a kurd diplomat what we do is really important for americans from all walks of life. when they go overseas to adopt a child or on a mission for a church or open a business or to study they count on the agency to be home base for them. they are staffed -- with people
like me. i really have their back. i know i'm valuable to my fellow americans but i also know we are the karyment keepers of that ort has made it possible for us to travel and trade so freely over the post world war ii period. i think what we to is actually, it's really important and the numbers overall are in the 4% range that the secretary talked about. what i wrote about was the surprising concentration at our very top leadership levels. that is striking to me. >> last quick question. national security advisor mick masters -- mic income 345rsz are people who don't or haven't gotten on board with the trud administration policy. how true is that. >> there are kurd diplomats. i was appointed as ambassador of panama by george bush.
i served president obama faith threefully. i have served back and forth throughout my career. it's what we sign up for. it's what we swear an oath to. so that is discouraging to me and it's not the foreign service i know. >> ambassador ba barbara stephenson, thank you very much. >> it's great to be here. >> woodruff: now, remembering those who lost their lives in small town in texas during the mass shooting earlier this week. last night, we collected memories about many of the more than two dozen who died. tonight, we remember the other eight individuals. peggy warden stepped in front of her teenage grandson, zachary, when the gunman opened fire. "she is our hero," the boy's aunt said. "she saved zachary's life." robert and karen marshall both served in the air force, and met on a base in north carolina more
than 30 years ago. the deeply religious couple was visiting the first baptist church for the first time sunday. karen's sister told reporters, "they had kids, they traveled, they had a love that lasted over time." 62-year-old keith braden had beaten cancer in recent years. his wife was also shot multiple times sunday, and hospitalized. braden "was hoping to have a nice number of years left to live with his family," his brother told "the indianapolis star." "that was taken away in an instant." dennis and sara johnson celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary in july. they had been members at the first baptist church for more than a decade. their grandchildren's cousin wrote that they were "two of the kindest people you would ever know." 33-year-old tara mcnulty was at the church sunday with her two children. they were wounded, but are expected to survive. a co-worker said mcnulty was
"conscientious, engaging, and always willing to do the little things." and, lula white was the grandmother of the shooter's wife. on facebook, the 71-year-old said her occupation was simply, "do what's needed" at the first baptist church. >> woodruff: while the trump administration is imposing new restrictions on americans traveling to cuba, the island nation is working to lure more tourism and economic development by showcasing its environment and bio-diversity. the catch is that if this ecotourism development goes too fast or too far, cuba could
jeopardize the very species and environment that makes it so distinct. miles o'brien reports from cuba, for our weekly segment, "the leading edge." >> reporter: this breeding facility for endangered cuban crocodiles was a revolutionary idea, in more ways than one. cuban president fidel castro ordered it built only three months after he seized power. it may seem like an odd priority for a young communist revolutionary, but it offered an early inkling that castro would be an ardent, lifelong environmentalist, able to dictate terms of preservation. etiam perez fleitas is a researcher here. >> ( translated ): having nearly 4,500 animals in captivity helps us learn many things about the species, that we can then use to manage them in the wild. >> reporter: in addition to the scientific mission, it has also become a big magnet for tourism, making it the picture postcard vision of how to save the
nation's natural resources while still attracting the sort of resources cubans can take to the bank. >> ( translated ): the tourism dollars it generates go back into funding the park rangers, the overall protection of the wild areas that surround us, and helping us gain a greater understanding of the species. >> reporter: the idea that the ecology and the economy don't have to be at odds drew researchers from cuba, europe and north america to this scientific conference in havana this summer. many of the exhibits and papers i saw as i walked through were trying to prove protection of the environment is a profitable pursuit. luis famada is director of manglar vivo, the living mangroves project. >> ( translated ): we are collecting information that helps translate the true cost savings that can be found by preserving our natural ecosystems, rather than developing them. we are proving that mangroves
work better than seawalls, and that is important information that any future development project needs to understand. >> reporter: american marine biologist david guggenheim was here giving a talk. >> ...and that's where you are trying to keep that money in the community... >> reporter: he is the founder of ocean doctor, a d.c.-based non-profit focused on protecting cuba's exquisite coral reefs. >> at this point, there's a great deal of fear about the impacts of tourism. but our message is that tourism has to be part of the solution, and the question is, how do you do that sustainably? >> reporter: he and many others here believe the answer lies in costa rica. >> i've come to costa rica to explore. >> reporter: a nation that set aside more than a quarter of its territory and made that wild beauty its appeal. it's where eco-tourism was born, and still thrives. but as cuba opens up its economy and attempts to lure western investment, there is a lot of
pressure to emulate another model: cancun. >> i think cancun is an example of how not to do tourism sustainably in the caribbean. so, you actually had a collapse of the local economy in cancun. and in addition, the local reefs died as well. fortunately, so far, cuba hasn't succumbed to that. but the pressures on the economy are enormous, and tourism is the easiest place to get hard cash right now. >> reporter: at the bay of pigs, i suited up in scuba gear to get a glimpse of cuba's legendary reefs. it is a popular site for divers and snorkelers just off an easily accessible beach along a highway, and yet the coral is more vibrant and the fish more plentiful than i have seen for a very long time in other parts of the caribbean. guggenheim runs a project to
protect an extraordinary reef off of cuba's isle of youth. it is brimming with elkhorn coral, which has vanished elsewhere in the caribbean. again, castro, the environmentalist, helped make this happen. after meeting jacques cousteau in the 1980s, el presidente became an avid diver, and eventually made 25% of cuban coastal waters into wildlife preserves, with fishing completely banned. >> when you do that, it's important also to consider alternatives for the communities that live adjacent to them. and the idea of tourism is to give the community an economically sustainable future that also provides an economic incentive for them to protect their environment. if you're not helping people solve problems in their communities, the environment isn't going to have a chance. >> reporter: cuba's enviable undersea environment is not all about dictatorial whim.
it is also the silver lining to a very dark cloud-- the economic devastation of the early '90s, just after the soviet union collapse the euphemism for those grim times: "the special period." cubans were cut off from their supply of fertilizers and pesticides. that meant the country avoided chemical runoff from farming-- a huge source of pollution, and a big contributor to coral reef bleaching. the dearth of agricultural inputs has created another unintended consequence, special in its own way. >> ( translated ): in the end, what they did was like a favor, because we rediscovered natural ways of farming. and that has preserved our natural environment. >> reporter: that's magdiel collaso garcia, a worker at an organic farm-to-table restaurant that caters to tourists in vinales. they serve up a delicious lunch, everything but the fish grown right here on the property. >> ( translated ): today, we are
seen as pioneers, and a model of how to do things right in the future, because when you apply techniques that come from nature, you also create the perfect environment to stimulate eco-tourism. our traditional way of doing things has grabbed a lot of attention. >> reporter: it's a lesson these high school students from new jersey gobbled up. their tour leader was stacie freeman, a professor from bethel university. >> i've been doing this for 11 years, nationally and internally with my students, and i travel a lot personally, and this is magic. this is unique. >> you are going to put your hand inside a beehive... >> reporter: but she has been around enough to know unique is not guaranteed, and eco-tourism is not a panacea. >> sometimes, even with eco-tourism, you can do damage, you know, and so i'm hopeful that the people, they're making those decisions, being careful and really thinking about the culture they have here, the heritage they have here. >> reporter: across the valley, we found someone else trying to turn cuba's natural wonders into hard cash. rock climbing guide raoul casas
is leading a pair of french tourists to the pristine limestone cliffs of vinales. the sport is technically illegal here, but, he says, business is, well, looking up. >> the best rock is here, many caves, many walls, like, overhung, full of stalactites, and that make it special, make it unique. >> reporter: european and american climbers have been beating a path in his direction. lana smith is from los angeles. >> i've never seen anything like it. there's, like, nobody there, barely any bolts, just the locals. people climb with ropes and stuff, and they have really limited climbing gear. but just, the mountains are just, like, amazing, unlike anything i've ever seen. >> reporter: it all sounds like another costa rica in the making, but of course, human nature is often at odds with nature itself. plenty of evidence of that near the crocodile breeding facility. in the gift shop, stuffed crocs are for sale, and at the
restaurant, crocodile meat is on the menu. fast money is better than no money at all. will cubans save what's so rare here? or will they love it to death? in cuba, i'm miles o'brien for the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now: first for open openly transgender or gay candidates. you can read more on our website, you can read more on our website, www.pbs.org/newshour. and, tune in tonight. later on pbs, "nova" presents "killer floods." the film uncovers the geologic fingerprints of megafloods from the ice age that dwarf even the most severe disasters in recent history. one flood wiped out a land bridge connecting britain and
europe, making britain an island. "nova" airs tonight on most pbs stations. and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again right here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or online. more information on babbel.com. >> bnsf railway. >> collette. >> supported by the rockefeller foundation. promoting the wellbeing of humanity around the world, by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at www.rockefellerfoundation.org.
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>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin tonight with a conversation with the president of argentina, mauricio macri. >> trying to increase commerce is the first challenge. so far, we didn't do much progress, but we are working. we are working. secretary rose is in charge and is trying to help. we are starting to export lemons. we need to solve the beef problem, the biodiesel problem and many other things. but there is a very good attitude from the government authorities to have a deeper and more -- and actual relation between the countries. >> rose: we conclude with "the washington post" columnist david ignatius tal