tv Mc Laughlin Group PBS September 7, 2013 12:30pm-1:01pm PDT
from washington the mcglaughlin group, the american original. for over three decades the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk. >> issue one, stop red lining us. >> first of all, i didn't set a red line. the world set a red line. the world set a red line when government's representing 98% of the world's population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war. congress set a red line when it
ratified that treaty. >> president obama set a precedent this week by being the first sitting american president to visit sweden. during a joint news conference with the swedish prime minister mr. obama did his best to internationalize the red line. prime minister rhinefeld said sweden could only support action against syria if it were authorized by the united nations. the u.n. sent a team of inspectors to syria to verify the use of the nerve gas sarin. eight years ago in 2005, also, the u.n. security council authorized sanctions against syria. resolution 1636 punished syria for a terrorist attack in lebanon that killed a then former prime minister of lebanon, but chemical weapons being so horrific may have struck a nerve in world opinion
enabling president obama to elude the u.n. and build international support against syria unchallenged by the u.n. by the way, the u.n. was the brainchild of former president franklin deleanor roosevelt who conceived of the world body, the u.n., as a way to prevent a third world war. british prime minister winston churchill joined him in the effort. the u.s. is the largest contributor to the united nations. get this, $4.3 billion this year alone constituting 22% of the u.s. budget. question. let's assume congress authorizes unilateral military action against syria. should commander in chief obama then take the case to the united nations before using unilateral force? mortimer zuckerman? >> no, i don't think he should. i don't think he should have taken it to the congress
either. this is a presidential decision. it's a matter of leadership by this president on an issue that deals with our national security and what's happening in syria as far as i'm concerned is also something that's not nearly as important as what's happening in iran where the real issue is going to happen because iran is a country developing nuclear weapons and threatens us in the most serious ways. so i think u.n. would just compound the problem of going to the wrong places for the support for what the united states should and should be doing. >> eleanor? >> first of all, i wouldn't assume he's going to get authorization from the congress. it's a very heavy lift. you have a huge majority of republicans opposed on a variety of reasons including the fact that they don't like this president. you have a lot of democrats who were elected on anti-war platforms who are not eager to vote for intervention. so this is far from a done deal, but as far as going to the u.n., this administration has gone to the u.n. repeatedly to try to get resolutions of
disapproval for the way that assad is conducting war against his own people and they've been unsuccessful. russia and china are on the security council and they're against anything that would condemn assad. so it would be a futile effort and the president in his remarks in sweden called the security council or the u.n. machinery at this point, an instrument of paralysis. and so i think it doesn't hurt to go, but the president is not -- if he does go ahead with this, it's not going to be waiting on the u.n. >> russia and china -- >> and i'm a fan of the u.n., by the way, but i think in this particular instance we know what they're going to do and i don't think they should have veto power. >> russia and china are members of the five-nation panel of permanent members of the security council. there are about 150 members of the security council itself. is that correct?
>> no. >> how many? >> the general assembly. i think 11 or 12 members of the security council. that's all. >> all together or is there 15? >> russia's role with syria, russia is behind the syrian government and is playing a role in arming the syrian government. so you have this clash of two sides here with the u.n. security council. the idea of the president going there just seems pretty futile. >> welcome, guy taylor, of the washington times. >> thanks, john. >> do you cover the state department? >> i do. >> how is the secretary of state doing? >> i think the secretary of state has actually been far more active and effective with middle east policy than hillary clinton was. you could make the argument he's actually derailed the obama administration's asia pivot back towards the middle east. so the question is whether or not he's truly on the same page as president obama with regard to syria. >> oh, really? >> i think so. >> you mean the secretary of state is not representing the president of the united states? >> i'm not saying he's not representing.
i think he's made it very clear in public statements he's representing. the question is whether he was ready to do a strike on syria with support from -- >> he was not against it? >> he was already for it. he did not want to have to go to congress with it. >> john kerry called what happened in syria a moral obscenity and the president at that point looked like he was going to be very proactive in this thing and now what happened was when he made the decision, however, not to make the decision by himself but to go to congress, who did he make it with? dennis mcdonough, his chief of staff and susan rice. john kerry, his secretary of state and hagel, his secretary of defense were left out of the decision making process which is almost unbelievable. >> john kerry unlike most of the people in the administration recognized that the iranian nuclear issue and the syrian civil war and hezbollah's involvement are the two sides of the same coin. he recognizes that pushing the issue with threats of a u.s. strike will draw the iranians out of their own political crisis and possibly make room on the nuclear negotiations.
>> what's the significance of red lining? >> i think it's a style of kind of expressing american heroism in foreign policy. we say you cross that red line and we're going to come play police and tell you you can't do it. >> listen to what donald rumsfeld, former secretary of defense said. >> we have the president saying there's a red line that's drawn by the international community. you've got a congress -- >> he did draw it. >> he says it's the one drawn by the international community by international standards, by congress, by the american people. >> this president has tried to find a way to blame everybody or anybody for everything and leadership requires that you stand up, take a position, provide clarity and take responsibility. i can't imagine him saying that he didn't draw the red line. >> whatever he is saying he has zero credibility. donald rumsfeld, let's put up the classic picture of donald
rumsfeld shaking the hand of saddam hussein a week before hussein used chemical weapons on the -- let me finish. used chemical weapons against the iranians, chemical gases that we probably supplied and for the man who had led such a disastrous effort in iraq to be passing judgment on this commander in chief is a moral obscenity. >> okay. >> i want to get this red line business straightened out. obama's original red line statement, to refresh our collective memory, here is what president obama said about a red line and syria just over one year ago in august, 2012. >> i have at this point not ordered military engagement in the situation, but the point that you made about chemical
and biological weapons is critical. that's an issue that doesn't just concern syria. it concerns our close allies in the region including israel. it concerns us. we cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people. we have been very clear to the assad regime, but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. that would change my calculus. that would change my equation. >> question, is what president obama said then in 2012 about a red line the same as what he is saying today in 2013 about a red line? susan. >> there you have it. he's setting a red line. we discuss it a year ago on this very show. now here we are. he's saying i didn't set that red line. you don't even need donald
rumsfeld to make the case. it's very obvious. he set a red line and said wait a minute. i didn't. he had to say that to save face. the press, everyone asking him is his credibility on the line? he's trying to say hey, it's not my responsibility now. that's why he's thrusting the decision over to congress because he's saying it's everybody vegas. >> hold on. let her finish. >> it's -- everybody's -- >> hold on. let her finish. >> that's why congress is asked to vote on this. >> i have one question. is he falsifying? >> to his credit when he set the red line, he did not say what comes on the other side. he did the explicitly say that it results in a u.s. military strike on syria. >> now he's saying it was set by congress. >> he's trying to -- >> he did say the red line. he said it will change my calculus. you're right, he didn't say how it would change, but clearly he wasn't going to stand by as a
neutral observer of the passing scene. there was clearly implication he was going to do a lot more and now he's saying the world. >> he has a red line rap and he wants to get rid of it and he'll say anything he has to say to do it. >> he wants to get rid of the responsibility. >> instead of living by what he said originally which was what rumsfeld said. >> that has to be the general reaction to it, exactly that. there was a kind of feeling he really said red line. now he's saying it's the world's red line, an international red line, basically not me. >> he's trying to depersonalize it that it isn't only his red line that's been crossed, that this is something that should outrage the entire world, that 189 nations signed the chemical weapons treaty. this has been a taboo that has been respected since world war i and that it's not only barack obama and his personal credibility, which is on the line, but it's the u.s., it's the world community, whether we allow this kind of again moral obscenity to go unchallenged.
if you want to keep picking apart his language, you, can but he's standing up there now. >> he's the one picking apart his own language two years ago and today. >> he is following up on it. he is a president now standing up trying to get support against two parties that are very reluctant. he's not backing away. >> why isn't he successful in what he is saying about the seriousness of this issue with the american people? >> first of all, because he spent two years using the united nations security council for diplomatic cover not to do anything in syria because he needed to win a second term in the white house and the way to do that was run again as an anti-war president. so for him now to say we're not going to the united nations, we're going to strike syria i think shocked a lot of people including the iranians and the israelis. everybody is looking at this and saying where is obama coming from on this? >> where are the people in the state department, what are they saying? >> i think what they're saying
is that hillary clinton was on board with the obama approach of going to the united nations security council and playing it out with the russian and now we have a very different player in the secretary of state seat who is interested in pushing forward with a policy that's a lot more aligned with john mccain, lindsey graham and the more aggressive conservative approach. >> you also have those pictures of those kids being gassed and you have flying into the sky now the humanitarian hawks and they're all throughout this administration. this president is an anti-war president. he is reluctant about this. he didn't want to get involved in syria. he still doesn't want to and he's trying to wall this off. >> he's trying to have it both ways. >> that's right. >> all right. let's go -- >> he called for a limited military engagement much like in kosovo and bosnia, not an extended war and it worked in those two places. of course, there's some risk, but it may work here.
>> issue two, obamacare showdown. >> i have agreed to give this talk today because i'm still amazed at how much misunderstanding there is about the current system of healthcare, how it works, how it compares with what other people in other countries pay for healthcare and what kind of results they get and what changes are actually occurring now and are going to occur in the future. >> former president bill clinton has been given a nickname by president obama. he has been dubbed the "secretary of explaining stuff." this week the new secretary set about explaining big stuff, namely, obamacare. also called the affordable care act passed by coming in 2010. now three years later the hour
is nye, october 1st, three weeks away, and there's a big white house pr push to educate the american people about the law. polls show that they don't know enough about what's what. besides mr. clinton the white house is enlisting u.s. government officials, plus dj's, librarians, insurance companies, even celebrities to help spread the word. on october 1 people who do not have health insurance must buy it. they can enroll for health insurance by examining healthcare exchanges, a kind of health insurance mini marketplace set up online in every state where people can shop for a health insurance plan tailored to their needs and enroll. that's key, enroll in it. if someone does not have health insurance by the year 2014, less than four months from now, by the way, he or she will be penalized. how? by the irs. the penalty for the first year
is $95 per adult or 1% of family income, whichever sum is greater. that fine goes up the longer one stays unenrolled. by 2016 say the 1% penalty could go up as well as the $95 per adult climbing as high as $695 per adult. one main idea behind obamacare is that if everyone pays in, it will keep insurance costs low for everyone, but the lack of young people who currently do not have health insurance may be reluctant to buy it is a particular worry for the white house. the number of people under age 65 who do not now have health insurance is 57 million. question, president obama waived the affordable care act mandate for employers to provide insurance starting in january.
he waived it. why don't the white house also waive the individual mandate now taking effect? >> because the entire -- >> you get that grammar, why don't the white house meaning those at the white house. >> well, if you don't have the individual mandate, the entire law will fall apart because it's based upon everybody enrolling because you can't insure the uninsured unless the healthy are also insured so that everybody can pay a reasonable rate and that the insurance companies can survive because they're not just paying for people who are sick, but the problem with this is the next few months will be very critical to see whether or not these healthcare exchanges are set up properly state to state. we're hearing lots of rumors things are not going smoothly. it's difficult to get an answer about how far along they are and whether or not you can get young people to enroll if they only have to pay a $95 fine. in exchange they would have to pay several hundred dollars a month in some instances for
health insurance when they all feel healthy and like they don't need it, all kinds of potential pitfalls here. >> i think the bigger issue touched on in the introduction there is how is it that the american people still don't understand this law that's been around for several years now? i can remember back when it was called romney care originally back in massachusetts and that program also had difficulty being sold to a much more liberal population in massachusetts. why has the obama administration not put out a comic book or something that's on every coffee table across the country to boil this down to a very simple thing. i've actually had this conversation with jonathan gruber who was an adviser on romney care at mit and then was to advise obama on the affordable care act before it was passed. >> what was the upshot on massachusetts on romney care? >> it's working well. >> i think that they've had troubles with --
>> getting it lofted. >> with hospitals suing insurance companies and whatnot, but over time the program has paid for itself. >> is that the way we have to go on the national level? >> president clinton's message -- president clinton spoke from little rock arkansas live streamed. he spoke the better part of an hour, but he really wasn't talking to ordinary people and -- >> meaning what? >> he was talking to the republican politicians who are trying to sabotage this law in the various states. the law includes a job for people called navigators to help people enroll. in some states they're trying to license those navigators to make the job difficult and his point was that if you don't like the law, fine, but it's here to stay and if you're an elected official, you take an oath to follow the law and you should try to fix what's wrong with this law and there are some problems instead of trying to sabotage it.
>> are you familiar with the republican sabotage raps that she's talking about? >> i'm not surprised by it. >> you mean republicans are capable of it? >> it's in 21 states. >> only the people with the best thoughts and the best goodwill on the republican side are prepared to try and sabotage it, but there is a ream issue clinton points out. we -- real issue clinton points out. we have only 87% of people for coverage, but it takes up 18% of our gdp and only 12% in the other countries. we have the most expensive healthcare with the least covered than any over country. it's going to break the bank in virtually every state and that's what he's trying to deal with it. >> the problem with the healthcare law and this may be just the practical sense of whether it can survive is even for people with the lowest level of coverage, the bronze, they're still paying several hundred a month in some states for the coverage, but their deductible and what they pay overall for healthcare is still going to be pretty
astronomical. we're not doing a lot -- >> this is why you have a huge amount of part-time employment because those people do not have the obligation of getting involved in the healthcare program. >> is the law itself extremely complicated? i believe it was 1 time said all of the packages together of the law are about 6 feet high. is that correct? >> yes. i don't know if it's 6 feet, but it's literally incomprehensible. >> it's not incomprehensible. >> would you pay the fine, $250? >> the fine is $95. >> a lot of people are doing just that. >> what do you think? >> i don't think $95 is that much money. young people are buying car insurance. they know they have to have that and every young person is the blink of an eye away from an accident or major illness. and then what? do we charge them when they hit the emergency room? >> pay the 95 bucks and move on. issue three, when i am 64.
>> all my life don't know where it came from, but i believed in dreaming big. i guess it doesn't satisfy me to have small dreams and i can't tell you what a big dream this is out here. >> it was an astonishing feat. diana nyad monday reached shore at key west, florida, after swimming 103 miles from cuba. the staggering journey took 53 hours. nyad had a team to keep her on course, guide her to florida. she swam alone through shark infested waters without a shark cage. she swam through swarms of jellyfish that stung her face even though she wore a special mask and she swam at times through rough waters that made her swallow seawater causing her to repeatedly wretch. to make it all the more amazing is ms. nyad's age. she is 64 years old.
question, there's a lesson here for all of us. what's the lesson? >> the lesson is if you have a dream, keep working at it. this is her fifth time she tried this. it's the most extraordinary story, not only physical strength but mental determination and strength. >> we talked about young people feeling invincible. i guess if you're 64, you can feel invincible, too. it's 101 miles, not laps. i can't even get across the pool widthwise a couple times. it's just such extraordinary will power. >> it's not just will power. i think the lesson here is i think as we get older, a lot of us sort of retreat from physical activity and it should be the opposite. as we get older, we should be doing more to stay physically fit. this woman was obviously staying physically fit and exercising. i have an aunt in her 70s now who bikes 25 miles a week. we can do it if we don't give up, think we're getting old.
we should all shrivel up and not be lifting weights and going to the gym. >> what's the bigger point here? >> cuba is so close that you can swim it. >> that's right. >> how is it that after all these year we're still so far apart geopolitically? >> is that the case? i thought they are now going to be able to trade exports with the united states. >> neither of the castros can swim. >> i'll tell you why the state of affairs is as it is, because your generation is older than the generation coming along, say in 13s, late teens, early 20s. -- in their teens, late teens, early 20s. they don't know anything about cuba, the history of it. we have the presidential aspirant who reveals and talks about cuba. who am i talking about?
>> marco rubio. >> what is really noticeable about this is this is the fifth time she's tried and five is the charm. you understand? >> right. >> any issues you've been working with, marriage, you -- >> how many times have leaders in washington seriously tried to thaw relations with havana? >> do you know what the interim was because this effort and the last effort? >> a few months. >> a few months? how many years? >> four years. >> how many years? 30 years. >> she hasn't done it -- no, no. >> it's not 30 years. she tried it -- >> she was retired from distance swimming for 30 years before her comeback. i have the facts right here, 30 years. >> yeah, but i remember her fairly recently attempting this and giving up partway along the way and i thought that would be the last we'd hear of her. this kind of came up out of the blue. >> she retired from distance swimming, so that gives you a little cushion in there for her
reassertion of her performance in distance swimming, but the interim was 30 years. what does that tell you? >> it tells you that distance swimming is not exactly a popular sport. >> just because you're out of the game doesn't mean that you can never get back in. that's what it means. predictions, mort. >> port-time employment is going to grow from 25% of the workforce to close to 50% of the workforce in part because of the problems of healthcare obligation. >> is it all bad? >> not all bad, but that's terrible because for the average compensation for part- time -- >> thanks to tax subsidies under obamacare, insurance premiums will be affordable even for young healthy people. >> susan. >> syria resolution does not pass congress. >> syrian resolution does not pass but obama goes forward anyway. >> kevin rudd will be defeated by the conservative candidate toniable got.