tv Washington Week PBS August 3, 2019 1:30am-2:01am PDT
robert: democrats debate policy, and the o peter: record. i'm robert costa. welcome to "washington week." democrats spar over ideology and identity and direct their sharpest jabs at joe biden. >> you do nothing to hold the insurance companies to task for what they have been doing to american families. >> you're ditching to the cool aide and you don't even know the flavor. robert: but the former vice president fought back and decaded the obama administration. >> i was surprised about how much incominghere was about barack. robert: and responses to a trade cut and the china talks hit a roadblock. president trump: if they don't
want to trade with us anymore, that would be fin with me. >> this is "washington week." funding is provided by -- kevin. >> kevin? >> kevin. >> advice for life, life well planned. >> babbel, a language program that teaches real-life conversations in a new language such as spanish, french, german, itian andore. the 10 toe 15 minut lessons are available as an app or online. announcer: additional funded is provided by -- koo and patricia yuen through the yuen foundation. committed to bridging cultura differences in our communities. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs
station fro viewers like you. thank you. announcer: onceai from washington, moderator robert costa. robert: democratic presidential contenders certainly revved up their attacks on each other at the debates in the motor city this week and had exchanges on policy a race. the debates revealed a party united against president trump but at odds over parts of the president's record. that's president obama and whether an overhall of the nation's health care system is necessary. >> it covers all health care needfor senior citizens. it will finally include tent -- dentalea care,ring aids and eyeglasses. >> you don't know that >> i do know, i wrote the damn bill. >> the notion that you're going to take private insurance away from -- >> we were the democrats, we're not aboutto tryin take away health care from main.
rort: joe biden fended off rivals, including a former member of the obama cabinet. >> if you cross the border illegally -- illegally, you should be able to be sent back. tfrls a crime. >> it loo like one of us has learned the lessons of the pant one hasn't. robert: the "washington post"'s dan balz says the candidates made as much a case against each other as they did against the president and they didn't do much to connect directly with the voters. joining me tonight is dan balz, chief correspondent for the "washiton post," hallie jackson, chief white house correspondent for nbc news. tarini parti, national politics reporter for the "urll street l" and our friend joshua green, national correspondent r bloomberg business week. a frank assessment, dan. whatid we learnbout this
democrats this week? dan: we learned two things i and think two different things. the first night of debating i think we saw in bolder colors, the ideological division that now exist in the party. you had the two most liberal democrats on stage, senators warren and sanders. d they went against each other and the liberals more than held thr own a i think dominated the detective. i think it was symbolic of ascend ens of the progressive part of the party. it was a substantive and tough deba quite different from what we saw the following night. the following night we saw some of the i sameues discussed but in general, it was into the wields on policy and kind of a circular firing squad and it lefthe party and a lot of people who are active democrats looking for a potential nominee, concern that would they're not seeing what they homed to seet
>>d seemed to whement the an time for the next debate because there are some key match-ups we hen't seen on that stavenlg. notably, for example, blept warren and joe biden. there is a lot of anticipation in democratic circles for those two to be onet stage tr face to face. i think what you saw solidify it would tom-tier cans and the ones who won't be in thatne debate stage come september. i think voters are eager to see a little bit s tller field here. robert: why was there a reckoninon the obama record? >> i think that's an interesting question. tht issues t came up, immigration, the deportations that happened under the obama administration, t.p.p., trade issues were things he was iesed for by the progressive wing even while he was in office. we're now seeing the progressive wing take hold a bigger it seems of the party.
with elizabeth warren and bernia ers as top contenders, there are a lot of progressives looking to them to espouse those views and they were critical of the pnt even then. and now those issues still matter very much to those erogressives. robert: vice president biden seems to like the position of being the defder of that legacy. >> that's right. that's his main he's been saying this is a chaotic time, i wnt to ret to the normal, to the obama presency, bringing up cozy comfortable feelings for voters and one of the way democrats are trying to draw a contrast with him is by going after his record and his clear defense seems to be president obama selected me to be his vice president, therefore, voters like m what i did was good. the perspective remains popular and yout shouldttack president obama's legacy. >> i think a lot of it is also strategic empicture active because joe biden is sti
leading the polls. you need him to move down and the only way to get ere is by criticizing his record, which is by extension criticizing the president' record. on saw on both nights, but certainly on the snight what, a flash point that can be among the democrats, who are caught between to we really want to restore the obama white house, move beyondrump or, as warren and sanders have argued, do democrats need a enough bigger, poldericy to draw voters to the polls and turn out and dispatch trump in 2020. robert: you're talking to voters, dan. what do democratic versuan? dan: they want somebody who can at prosecute trump. and inning -- presidentmp t and i think detroit didn't come close to answer that question for them. there wasn't anybody who reay emerged in detroit who has i think what a lot of people arel ing for. we've been focused on the plans.
elizabeth warren has risen cause she has plans for everything and this notion of i have a pla -- everybody else has adopted it and i think the i have a plan has come at the suspense of i have a vision and whate did not see in detroit were candidates who could come up from the details of their plans and talkbout a bigger, broader and for -- for fritsch vision. there were -- aitsch vision. there was very littleumor and lightness and hope on that stage and i think democrats have to have some of that to be a successful candidate for president, period. robert: hallie, you've set down with many moderate candidates in recent weeks. hienlooper. when they think about that vision to they see an opening for themselves as
this race?n >> they certainly do. you have a couple of hitters trying to stake that out, particularly joe biden. let's be frank here, gentlemen. are you rung in the same lane as ameebody who has a lot more recognition and a lot more money and a lot more standing in the polls and is going to end up on that next detective stage. what you hear from people like tim ryan are things like, we have got to focus on the middle class. ng they're loo at states that trump did well in in 2016 and saying youan't run a -- elizabeth warren here. when you talk about who democratic votersnd want how there's no front-runner. president trump clearlys s some danger zones on that stage based on what he's been talking about since. it's elizabeth warren, joe biden, bernie sanders and kamala harris. robert: tarini, you wrote in the
"wall street journal" about one key moment. senator harris being challenged by senator gabbard of hawaii about her record as a prosecutor. y did that matter? >> in is something that a lot of progressives, especially young black voters have beent,oncerned ab harris' record as a prosecutor. something she hadn't really been questioned about. we saw that. and congresswoman gabbard, who needed a breakout moment to stay in this race brought it up and we didn't really siakama harris push back that much. she said she was proud of her work and said later she runnerrs herself a front and does not see gabbard as a front-runner so she didn't want to engage that much. robert: they're having debates over policy.or who's medicare for all and who's not, how far lefte should
xearment go but the party is being confronted by other issues, complicated and tough issues. while the democrats were debating in detroit, president trump was engaged in a racially charged fueled over cummings' district in baltimore he said baltimore was a place where "no human would want to live." cummingsth chair house oversight committee investigating the trump administration and he confirmed on friday that someone tried to break into his home last weekend. the perspective seemed to you know play the attemptedurglary in tweet writing "too bad." you wrote about how president trump one point wanted to stoke race to --ea for histy show. is he doing the same now for 2020? >> yes, there were two
components. the religious side and then the economic policy which heed campai on but really hasn't gone through with. he seems to want the to elevate those kind of cultal grievances i think in part because he really hasn'td delive the economic populism and if you talk to people around him and strategists in the republican party, is clear this is what he's going to focus on. these tweets, not just against elijah cummings but the so called squad of motor -- minority docrats in the house. all shaped to think -- for things frump is going to benefit him. robert: a report conservative -- suburban womenurned off by president trump. da that's nothing new. we've seen that literally from the day after his inauguration
when women streamed into the streets all over thnid states in protest of his presidency and this k od rhetoric only deepens their hostility to hims president and it is a danger to the republicans and to his re-election. >> and there are people inside the perspective's circle who do have concerns about the way the presidents fanning the flames of racial division.ru president today only the white house south lawn said he wasn't trying to w be ae guy with that tweet that you read aboutja e cummings. but to some i imagine that would ring hollow givenhe president has spent the better part of the lastng seven days g against one of the most ominent african-america lawmakers. for the first time the presidenx icitly linked cummings' earlier to his hearing this month as the reason why he targeted him.
there arether potential reasons like the facts that cummings is issuing subpoenas to people like his children and top aides in the white house but for the president this is a way to talk about a couple of things that he finds helpful to his politicalir aionings. rails and immigration. >> these are fights he's choosing intentionally that then she the news and this rolls along and -- along and that's what the race becomes about. this also puts pressure on the democrats. we've seen some of the tension between nan pelosi and her mention so i think this has a double benefit of exciting his base and driving democratso t distraction. robert: the white house and some close to the president may think this has a benefit to him politically but you loo at the news today. will heard, 41 years old, thene black house republican decides he's not going to seek
re-election in a 202 he said on the record part of his decision is because theen press incendiary rhetoric. >> i think it raises questions about utee and direction of the len -- republican party. you're right he was the lone black republican member in congress. they have very few women. there's essentially noty diver in the republican caucus right now and i think that is a big concern for a lot of mention. the other big concern is that without him and members like him,art'sr to get people like him in congress so it kind of has a domino effect. we could also see other members announce they want to retire. will herd, swing district and instead ofou going t a tough re-election he decided to. reti we could see others t dot. he was also onerf the f members who voted with democrats to condemn the president's
tweets. congressman upton also is on the retirementat right now. >> let's be clear, though. i do think thathr at leastgh 2020, this is the republican party of donald trump and i think wawt you in these retirements was less a reshaping of republican party and more message that hey, non-trumpers, you can go and that's ok and i think that's what is driving some of this. dan:n 2018 -- after 2018 the number of women in the republican conference was cut in half and now two of the 13 remaining have announced they're leaving. robert: when you step back, dan, from an historical perspective. the president's framing this as a react what's happening on capitol hill, not a racist endeavor. others, democrats who are critical of president trump say this is about white-identity 'spolitics. whappening here? dan: the public has made a judgment on this and sight into
half ght little more than the public thinks that the president of the united states is racist and he's done thingsi that that bleach and he's clearly done it deliberately. these are not accidental. as joshua said, he picks these fights and is i a coincidence that a lot of the fights he happens to pick are with people ofla color and partiy african-americans? he is stoking that. there's aonnection between the kind of the immigration cultural piece that you talked abouticand the econ anxiety and there's been some work done on that by political scientists who say that was critical to his election because is people who followed hiss views on immigration but who also felt as ough their situation was being hurt by immigration or people of color, that there is a marriage of those two issues and i think that forms the basis of the raw anger that he generates.
w robertl race, immigration, a democratic party reckoning over all this and a republican party doing the same and trade is a central part of this discussion. ra, immigration trade and the trade wars intensified this week. president trump announced new tariffs on $300 billion on hinese goods following stalked talks with chinese officials and the freshman reserve took ark this week. chairman poum announced a father of a percent cut in its from indicate -- rate, the first reduction since 28. u.s. job growth was solid for a second straight month. 104,000 jobs added in july with the unemploymentrate unchanged at 3.7%. how doeshis trade war affect the economy? joshua: it has a hugefft.
powell was concerned the trade issues were affecting economic growth. for president trump to announce a tru new round of tariffs only makes the problem worse the first three rounds were n'terials that business used. they d directly hit consumers this new round hits mainly consumers. will raise prices on everything from iphones and televisions to clothing and toys. the line i've been telling people is do your back to school shopping now before these tariffs kick in on september 1 but the more serious concern is 2/3 of the u.s. economy is built on consumer spending so if you effectively ler -- layer a tax over, that as trump has done, you put the market in real economic a peril that's why you saw the market whip saw and eventually touchbling? if week -- this week.
robert: what's driving this? why increase the battle on the ? trade fro >> he and his advisors are whatever happens in the short term or interimmiate term will end up paying off in the long ruffin. this was a promise that he madel at after rally while he was running for president, that he'd be tough on china. there are people who are pushing the pre jdent to dot that. who truly believe that you have to be tougher against chiat. s not an unpopular position, by the way. there are democrats who like seeing somebody be tougher on china. what is risky for the president is what josh is talking about. when i do this story for, for example, "nightly news," we've been talking to. farme now we can talk to literally anybody who warlse clothes or has an i fonle. the presint is giving himself
a little bit of wiggle room. talking about september 1 but there's some time with the ships coming over and the time already -- it will take. if heoesn't get it worked out, ain.le will feel the robert: what's the democratic response? we henrd vice pres biden after the debate say he would renegotiate the transpacific partnership, a deal he helpedh produce w president obama. what's happening with the democrats on tra >> i think this speaks to the ideological division within the party. they're clearly at different points on the spectrumnd at some point, i guess voters have to decide which side the like better and what they believe in because the progressives have really been pushing this issue and with are more in le with president trump than they were with president obama on this sup. >> they were and in stood out on the debate stage too.
robert: and senor warren, you've profiled her for bloomberg business week. when should she take this country on trade? >> s rolled out a new trade policy and essentially is oking for tough penalties against china, as trump has done but wints to fol things like environment a.m. and worker protections in futurepl trade s so along the lines of what progressives have wanted from trade policy. remember, she was onef e original critics of obama's t.p.p. plan whichid too walked back during the debates. i think it's a sign that it's becoming more projectionist, more focused on workers. robert: one of the big feast pieces in news today, the president signed a budgetsth de extends the ceiling to 2021. any other year a blockbuster
deal like this would be a huge headline. kind of goes to the background. are we seeing an era of deficit reduction? dan: yes, you could see it in two places, the tax bill because that t blew up deficit and you can see in it allowing this to t through a president who runs the party now being a champion of it. i think politicians in both parties have come to the colusions that deficits ultimately don't matter politically to voters. people talk about the sky will fall if we do this. the hundreds of billions of dollars that are paid constantly in debt service and the impact that that will ultimately have but that's always somewhere out in future and it's always easier to give people more money, whether through tax cuts or spending tha to take real action on the deficit.
robert: it's a bartisan deal. does that foreshadow a possible ent this fall on the new version of nafta? >> i think it's going to be very difficult. i think there's a strong desire fo some in the white house for whom it is essential. nancy pelosi and the house speaker is going to have to make serious incentivesin for bri that to a vote and how much she's growing to be behind it. for this budt deal, the president, i'm told, made some calls, tried to get some publicans on board. that's about it. it was a little bit of a tepid push to make sure it passed and of course it did bert: 22 trillion, the federal dealt has sur32d. building is the spending limits that's been increased in congress. rand paul said in congress, the kentucky republican, the tea parties is dead is he right? >> he's absolutely right. that push for deficitedtion has since fallen away entirely
among rublicans as far as i can item and given the fact that there is nonflation, i don't think pigs mrs. feel pressure from voters to do anything about this, at least t in the long term. robert: was the president trying to do something that would rat it will markets? and would seem so democrats are noting that voters don't care so much about t because the proposals they come with are very expensive and when they get drilled on it, the pushback is the president pushed billions of dollars in tax cuts. robert: appreciatesnd you your time for joining us. next u why president frump dithdrew his latest pick to l u.s. intelligence just hours ago. watch on facebook or youtube every friday starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern. i'm robert costa. have a great weekend.
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