tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC March 4, 2012 10:00am-12:00pm EST
question, what is cory booker tweeting right now? question, what will be his first tweet after joining me in nerdland today? plus, president obama speaks at apac this morning. i'm sitting here wondering if the whole world is going ma should go that. if you thought you had been here before, if you thought we've never been nerdier, you don't know nerd land until you see ha we can do with jelly beans and arithmetic. get your pocket protectors ready, people. #nerdland. good morning. i am melissa harris-perry. the nedland crew discovered a large problem for the republicans. they appear to be headed for a mathematical cliff. last night in washington state, mitt romney won the caucus. but not a single delegate. but it was a nonbinding contest.
the actual delegates won't be awarded until the state's convention in early june. remember superdelegates? i know, you're probably groaning. remember when you had no idea what it was. those were good times. as wild a ride as superdelegates made the democratic primary in 2008, have you looked at this year'sroom primary how it works. i mean really looked at it. keep in mind these two words. proportional representation. that's what the republicans increased in this primary. meaning, there are fewer winner takes all states. which is why it is so much harder for any candidate to clinch the nomination. the magic number is 1144. that is the number of delegates any candidate needs to secure the republican nomination. remember, 1144. that is the exact number of jelly beans in this jar. i counted. seriously, i counted.
let's call this jar mitt romney's jar. here are the delegates or rather the jelly beans that he's gotten so far. escape delegate. 129. now, bust out your calculators and follow along with me. ready? among the primaries still to come, six states plus the district of columbia are winner takes all. let's just say for the sake of argument that mitt romney wins all of those winner take all states. that gives him another 368 delegates. that brings his total to 497. so i've put all those in. one more delegate. remember the magic number is 1144. okay. now there are 30 proportional states still to vote with 1266 delegates at stake. these states use various formulas to award delegates
based on how each state votes and how many votes each candidate gets. governor rm any these 51% to lock up the nomination. but mitt romney in the first 12 contests averaged just 36% of the vote. at his current 36% pace, let's say romney earns another 456 delegates in the proportional states. let's see where that would leave him. okay. it still looks a little bit shy of the magic number of 1144. so on to the unbound delegates. unpound? i know you've heard about some of the contests held so far called beauty pageants. contests where no actual delegates are awarded like last night in washington. because 12 states contain 343
delegates who have no obligation to follow the directions of the voters. these delegates determine who they will support based on local conventions that come after the primaries. let's apply our 36% again and romney would come away with an additional 123 delegates. that brings him to 1,076. within spitting distance, but still not close enough to that magic number. remember the magic number? 1144. are you still with me? i hope so. this is really important. this cup holds 117 jelly beans. each jelly bean representing the party leaders free to choose whomever they want. like the superdelegates in 2008. this cup right here could have a lot of power. with the formula we've used, even if romney wins all of the winner take all states and 36% of the delegates in the states that he can, he still can't get to the magic number of 1144 without the jelly beans in this cup and here's the deal.
these jelly beans can do whatever they want. joining me and the jelly beans is distinguished senior fellow and resident scholar and long time political analyst bill schneider. it's great to have you here with my jelly beans. we were laughing, if in fact the republican delegates were this diverse, it might be a different primary season. but when you look at sort of what ee need versus who could, in fact, hold all the power, 117 delegates. should i find this exciting? is this the moderating impact in the republican party? will we not have to worry about the ways in which these very conservative voters are pushing the santorum? or is this like what a brokered convention looks like? >> first of all, the delegates in that cup are more multicolored than at a convention who are mostly white. what would happen? the superdelegates can do anything they want. but i think it would be
difficult for them to reverse the decision of the primary and caucus voters. because then they would -- the activists would yell, wait a minute, romney won more delegates in the primaries and caucuses and you're going to reverse that decision, you're going to step in and say romney might have won more votes but we think santorum would be a better nominee because he's more conservative. that would be very, very dangerous. >> they won't reverse it. but there's more things at stake in a convex, right, than just who will be the nominee. maybe they won't walk in and say, okay o, i know you all were talking about romney. but we're going to give you santorum. might these be delegates and for example, say newt gingrich has to be the vp or in order for this to happen, we have to put a particular plank. what is the kind of power held by this 117? >> they have bargaining power. what conservatives would like to see is mitt romney go into that convention without a first ballot majority. in which case, he has to bargain with the delegates in that cup. >> right. >> many of them will be hardcore
conservatives. they're going to demand that he put conservative, tea party conservative on the ticket. that the platform read the way people and the religious rite wants it to read. they're going to extract concessions and that won't be attractive to a lot of voters. >> do you think that the choices made here will actually make it less likely for this candidate to be moderate and have a relatively moderate platform to run on come general election? do you think this represents a more conservative for us rather than the party elites who would bring a moderate influence? >> party elites generally want to win. they will do anything -- >> not always. just generally. >> generally they want to win. however, the republican party apparatus right now has been more or less taken over by tea party activists and a lot of them say winning is important, but so is making sure the candidate takes a pure conservative line. they're going to try to balance those two considerations.
in any year but this, they would say they'll do whatever it takes to win even if it's moderationment i'm not sure that's still true. >> part of the reason we end up with the jelly beans in the jar, we gave mitt romney, waved our hand and said in the winner takes all states, we assume he took those. some of the math gets more nerd i and complicated when we look at congressional districts and that kinds of thing. is there any possibility if you are rick santorum and looking at the jelly beans as undoubtedly they are, counting every single delegate, is there any possibility of santorum winning this nomination in an outright way against mitt romney? >> only if he gets the votes in the primaries and caucuses. that's going to be very tough for him. so far he's lagged behind and for him to say i'm almost equal in delegates in michigan, he still has fewer votes. people look at the primary and caucus votes and say who came out with more votes. the primary voters are sovereign. they're the ones who control the
nomination and the party -- >> why are there unbound, i guess not actually unbound. why are there nonbinding contests at all. like last night, we covered washington and everybody spends money and people take the time and they vote. but then all you're giving them is unbound delegates. why does that exist if it's the sovereignty of the voters in. >> they want to build momentum. mitt romney can say, hey, i won that contest. well, i didn't win any delegates but look at the news coverage. look what everyone is talking about. he's now once again the front-runner. people are saying he's the inevitable nominee. it gives him momentum in the polls. the early part of the contest, which is just ending. momentum is what the game is approximate. >> how super does super tuesday have to be for romney? how many wins does he are to take? >> i think ohio is the key state. the states on super tuesday will go in different directions. santorum may win a couple of southern states and a big test for romney, can he win any
southern states except for florida which he won. a lot of people say that's not a real southern state. >> depends what part of florida you're in. >> and virginia where santorum and gingrich didn't even qualify for the ballot. romney will win those too. that's the heartland of the republican party. that's the conservative base. a lot of people will be wondering can romney carry a southern state. we're going to talk more super tuesday and joined by more jelly bean counters. you remember reagan, jelly beans, remember how he liked them? this is kind of our homage to reagan. we'll be looking at new nbc polls too as soon as we get back. ♪[music plays] ♪[music plays]
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they go. i want to use the experience i've had to get america working again. that was mitt romney speaking yesterday in wilmington, ohio at a forum on the fox newschannel hosted by mike huckabee. who actually dropped out of the race on this day four years ago, ending the republican nomination battle, which is interesting about where we are now. romney was joined, however, last night by newt gingrich and rick santorum and jobs really took center stage at the forum held outside the shutter ghl plant. wilmington lost thousands of jobs and took a devastating hit to its local economy when the shipping giant cut back its workforce in '08. it's sure to be a big issue in this key state on super tuesday. still with me bill schneider. robert tray nam and officer connor studies at rutgers
university and the author of substance of hope. barack obama and the paradox -- >> thank you for joining me at the table. we ended up talking about super tuesday which is where we need to go now. you know, again, huckabee dropped out this time four years ago ending the race. but now we're going into super tuesday and the states actually matter. i just talked a bit about ohio. yesterday on the show we talked about youngstown, ohio. youngstown being a place where there's been a stunning economic recovery. this time a situation where obviously, the republicans are gathering together in a place where there has been and continues to be a lot of economic pain. i want to show you one last thing before i bring you guys in. the ohio primary, nbc news marist poll shows that santorum and romney are neck and neck in ohio. rick santorum at 34, mitt romney at 32. newt gingrich and ron paul falling off considerably.
robert traynham. what's happening in ohio? >> it shows me two things. mitt romney is a formidable candidate. however, he can't seal the deal with conservatives. remember, these republican primaries are about two conversations. number one, do i want the republican party to go hard right, like a tea party or a moderate candidate. when you look at the polls, the cross tabs, mitt romney is a beautiful candidate in the general electric. he has the best chance to beat barack obama in the fall. the question is whether or not mitt romney is the type of republican that speaks on behalf of tea partier folks and we're seeing poll after poll after poll that he can't seal a deal. that's why rick santorum is a strong number two. >> this is a standard problem, right? this issue of those who are good in the generals are not necessarily great primary candidate. >> right. we've seen this before. you know, the thing that i find most interesting about this is what we saw on the democratic side. four years ago we were talking about whether or not barack obama could seal the deal. i think that we have a bit of caution as we looked at mitt romney's fortunes declining or
wavering and what's happening in michigan or ohio and or whether or not people are willing to sign on him. come november, the real question is are these people mostly motivated by wanting to get rid of barack obama. are they willing to get rid of their issues with mitt romney. >> mitt romney is hillary clinton, though. he's the inevitable candidate, the candidate that everybody thinks early on. although i'm not prepared to say rick santorum is -- >> i was going to challenge you on that one. i'm going to let that one just go in this case. what do you think? we have -- obviously, there are two different stories of ohio. one is the president can go in and tell, look, youngstown look, i'll bring you back the auto industry. it was a larger story of the midwest, of steal. fracking is good because in youngstown they build a narrow pipes to frack the oil. all of that sort of thing. but then you can undoubtedly see republicans standing here and saying, hey, we've got to beat
this president. look at how bad the economy is. >> ohio is a state that has to be carried by republicans to win the white house. they've never won without carrying ohio. the most interesting inning in this poll is that president obama's rating in ohio, his approval rating is just 45%. which suggests most people want to vote against him. they're not for him yet. but he is leading romney by 12 points. what does that tell you? >> obama is not terribly strong but the republican field is so weak, including mitt romney the front-runner that he could just win because almost by default because the republicans are not very popular. >> two things. you have an unpopular governor, john kay sick. a lot of ohio ans are not happy. >> he also tried to kill unions. >> right. what you have here and bill is absolutely right. you have a divided ohio who is not overly enthusiastic about barack obama but also not about mitt romney.
the question is what candidate can get barely to the finish line to win ohio because republicans can't win mathematically. you brought up virginia, my most exciting moment of 2008 was the moment when virginia went blue. but then virginia has been not only red but transvaginally red regionally. i want to look at the virginia poll also. remember that both santorum and gingrich are not contesting the virginia primary because they didn't get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. here in virginia, you have mitt romney with a really sizable lead, obviously, over ron paul. looks like romney will carry virginia. despite the fact he carries virginia, is a lack of a contested primary in virginia mean that you're sort of -- they're not going to get on board either come general time. >> in in those numbers when you hypothetically look at the candidates end there, you see a drop off in the support for mitt romney. romney has the field to himself
in virginia but if there were other options, he wouldn't be doing as well. the other thing to keep in mind, 6.4% is the unemployment rate in virginia. we're talking about the dynamics in ohio, in virginia it's -- i think virginia is a better chance of obama holding on to it as a blue, just based on economic performance than any of -- >> challenge a little bit. the president won virginia in '08 there was a democratic governor, very popular governor. fast forward to now, there's a popular republican governor right now and also virginia has a very low unemployment rate because they have a high military base there, if you will. the question comes whether or not that military base feels patriotic that the president ended the two wars, that's number one. number two, do they have jobs. because the president, the defense budget has cut back spending in virginia. when you look at newport news, you look at norfolk and so forth, there are a lot of military families hurting right now. >> we talk about the multiple ohios, but there are multiple
virginias, right? one part of virginia is that little snuggle to washington, d.c. that's very different than the tidewater area with the military question which is different than the other part. i want to look a little bit at the other virginia. eric cantor. just this morning, house majority leader, eric cantor of virginia endorsed mitt romney. let me play you that moment here on meet the press. >> in fact, i cast my vote already in virginia for mitt romney. and i'm here today to tell you that i'm endorsing mitt romney in his candidacy for the presidency of the united states. >> yeah. what do you think? what does this mean in. >> mitt romney is likely to carry virginia. >> yeah. he's not running against one. safe endorsement. eric cantor is part of the party establishment such as it is in washington. that's a signal that the establishment believes it's now time to get this contest close and close the ranks behind the front-runner who is likely to be the nominee. the problem is the base is not
still not happy with romney. he's got an unhappy constituency of conservatives who are going to hound him until the bitter end up to the convention. they're going to try to take control of that convention. >> the form of jelly beans. >> remember the former president bush -- conservatives were unhappy with him. they made it a showcase for what looked to a lot of people like the ugly face of conservatism. >> we're going to come back. i think we're looking at exactly. as we were talking about about, what are the jelly beans going to do comicon vengs time. it could get exciting. i had lunch in president obama's chicago neighborhood. i want to show you what i found. we'll show you that coming back. we'll keep talking about what's going to happen in the general election. i love that my daughter's part fish. but when she got asthma, all i could do was worry !
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long before the name barack obama existed in our political vernacular, there was the cafeteria in chicago's hyde park neighborhoods where locals have gone to get a helping of politic and a good meal. the conversations there are the subject of the book slim's table. about all the ways working classmen discuss and disagree about issues. president obama used to be a regular there. it made sense for me to go there last week to get a sense of how the president's reelection is going in the eyes of who were there beside him and behind him the last time around. let's take a look. >> 2008, i think, for me and my family was just extraordinary. it was very exciting. every time barack was on tv, we felt so much that it was us on tv. we would shed tears, some of his
speeches. it was just so different. >> were you excited about a chicagoan becoming president? >> oh, yes, yes i was. it was -- i was there in grant park election night. >> everything is going to be different. everything was going to be magically changed because obama was coming into office and you know, he made tons of promises that he couldn't and hasn't followed through with. a lot of mixed reviews about obama. but i think there's lack of jobs and people aren't getting paid enough. the economy, like on the brink of like always like teetering over. >> i supported him because he was basically here from hyde park and i work for the local papers and i have covered him. i been in his house. >> right. >> you know, he knows -- he knew me when he was there. i don't know if he knows me now. >> have you ever been to the white house? >> no. i even contributed to his campaign.
and encouraged other people to vote for him. okay? and so that's 2008. >> that's 2008. so where are you in 2012 on president obama? >> how much time do you have? >> we got time. tell me. where are you? >> i was disappointed with the fact that he did not follow-up on the people who let us into these insane laws, which he said he was going to do. he did not close guantanamo bay. which means that we're still picking people up from around the world and holding them indefinitely without charge, things like that. this is something he could have done with an executive order. >> what would you say in 2012 are the biggest issues facing us? >> it would still be -- i'm on fixed income, i'm retired. but i still would rather be working. >> talk about what you see as the political future for both the president and for the country. >> that's kind of a complex question.
>> sure. >> what i think, first off, is that my opinion is that he's already re-elected as president obama said he's going to wait until all of the rest of them are voted off the island. >> so what's ahead for president obama before the others are voted off the island? we'll talk about all that after the break. not at slim's table but here at melissa's table. when i grow up, i want to fix up old houses. ♪ [ woman ] when i grow up, i want to take him on his first flight. i want to run a marathon. i'm going to own my own restaurant. when i grow up, i'm going to start a band. [ female announcer ] at aarp
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welcome back. just before the break, i shared my recent visit to the cafeteria, one of president obama's old haunts on the south side of chicago. some folksy talked to there when the president was a young pol physician thought the reelection is a done deal. i want to talk about that now with schneider, robert traynham and jelani cobb.
i had such a good time at the restaurant. we were in there for hours talking to folks. we cut it down to two minute. the first part was the sense that 2008 was an incredibly historic moment. wherever you stood in '08, you had to appreciate the history of that moment. we in fact, went back and dug up john mccain's concession speech on election night which was a moment when he actually indicates how important historically it is. just for a moment, let's take a look at senator mccain. >> this is an historic election. and i recognize the special significance it has for african-americans. and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight. >> i liked him so much in that moment. there are a few of some of my favorite john mccain moments. that is one of them. jelani, your book is in part about the substance of and the symbols of hope. so here we have the great history that is '08. then we have the realities, good and bad, over the past four
years. what's the difference between electing this president versus re-electing this president? >> i'll give you a quick analogy. everybody remembers jackie robinson breaking the color barrier with the brooklyn dodgers. no one remembers he spent most of that season in a slump and at the end of the season people were really wondering if he could cut it in the major leagues. that's one of the questions we look at with barack obama. when we look at the support for him among african-americans, it remains steady. but the question then becomes, what size of that group are we talking about? people who came out and voted as you well know, african-american women were the largest demographic, had the highest participation, electoral participation. can you count on that -- >> of any group. any group. african-american women. the highest percentage of any group in the u.s. >> can you count on that happening again? i'm not sure that you can. obama has had a particular set of questions but when the person talked in the clip you said he promised a great deal. he hasn't necessarily delivered. one of the concerns is that what
obama has delivered, he hasn't delivered to the black community. he hasn't really played up. he delivered what he's done for the country at large. for african-americans who are a quarter of his electorate, many people are expecting him to say, this is what i've done on your behalf. >> i wanted to -- as i was talking to that young man, i appreciated his viewpoint, he was telling me things that he thought the president had done well and done badly. again, i wanted to whip out my blue card, what about the affordable care act and what about the start agreement and what about the death of osama bin laden and the end of don't ask don't tell. what about the payroll tax ex tense and unemployment benefit and the stock market has been climbing. can i show you my map. i had this great desire to walk through the 'em pir i cans of it. the politics aren't the same. i can give you my list of presidential accomplishment, but if it's not the motivating thing, can it get folks out? >> the difference in 2008, a lot of african-americans would have
their brother, sister in the car to drive them to the polls because of the historic nature of the vote. the question becomes is the enthusiasm factor higher on the republican side because they want to defeat this president or is it going to be high on the democratic side because this is another moment for an african-american to be re-elected. number two, just as important to your point, to finish healthcare, to perhaps put another person on the supreme court. there are major significant choice dee sayings that this country will have to make in terms of whether or not you want to go right or do you want to go left. >> the enthusiasm, if we're relying on the enthusiasm of the republican party, the low turnout in the primaries is not looking good on that enthusiasm gap. >> that's right. half of the voters in virginia and ohio say we wish there were more candidates. we're not happy with the candidates we've got. so they're disappointed. the word man used in chicago was a key word, disappointed.
he said they're behind him and they're disappointed principally on jobs and the economy. there's not a lot of enthusiasm on either side for the candidates snoochlt obviously, because of the framework of being in hyde park and talking to a large demographic of american american at slim's table, we're talking about race. what about women, if you want to talk a group that's enthusiastically running out to the polls and carrying with them their daughters and grand mothers and aunties. it might be african-american women broadly, white women, latinas saying, hey, the attack on reproductive rights is problematic. >> to break it down even more, it depends what type of women. independent women are the ones who decide the elections particularly in ohio, of michigan, of florida and so forth. so the real question is, what does that independent women voter think about the president and/or mitt romney. >> could this be the first -- they're telling me i have to go.
i want to ask this question. might this be the first time that the cultural issues work for the democrats in this case. typically, they're the wedge that works for the republicans. coming up, president obama is going to face a pivotal moment for his own reelection later this morning in the much anticipated foreign policy speech. we'll be taking that live. what's at stake for the president? much more when we come back. law. grass gurus. doers. here's to more saturdays in the sun. and budgets better spent. here's to turning rookies - into experts, and shoppers into savers. here's to picking up. trading up. mixing it up. to well-earned muddy boots. and a lot more - spring per dollar. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. show the yard who's boss, with this cordless black and decker trimmer, just $84.97. beth! hi! looking good. you've lost some weight. thanks. you noticed.
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this morning, israel's strongest american allies are gathering in washington for the annual show of force, the apac conference. the three hp day american israel public affairs committee event comes at a crucial time forisse rail i -- you see perez speaking there. israel has been pushing the united states to take a firmer stand on iran's nuclear development. later in the hour, we will be hearing live from president obama when he address the
conference. but first, pause me. let's just parse this out for a moment. we as political observers tend to drop in and out of foreign affairs at the moment of brinks manship as opposed to tracking the gradual changes that happen over time. this particular one has a history. how do we get to this moment? it's actually not that easily explained. we've been spending a lot of time walking through and thinking about this historical moment. it's not simple but let me try to break it down just a bit. for many years, the united states along with the u.n. security council has been responding to iranian nuclear ambition with economic and political sanks. in kind, iran has unfolded this nuclear development little by little. early last year, iran announced it has the capacity to make key parts of nuclear reactors, then after a series of inspecs in november, the international atomic energy agency unveiled their findings that iran was in development of a nuclear
explosive device. meantime, a series of assassinations in recent months targeting nuclear scientists and diplomats led to finger pointing between israel and iran. all along, israel has been calling for increased pressure on iran. this week according to a newspaper, prime minister netanyahu will be asking the u.s. to promise military operation in the event that iran crosses certain red lines. so here we are. in march of 2012, all eyes on israel threatening a preemptive strike on iran waiting for the u.s. for the go ahead. here with me to discuss this is political analyst bill schneider and associate professor of politics at princeton university. thank you for being here. this is going to be an important political moment for the president. honestly, my owe emotions over the past week have been less on the domestic politics and more
on the, what? why is this happening? why are we at this moment kind of at this brink? why are we here? maybe i'll start, what do you think are the critical factors and give us here now. >> the critical factors is that iran is developing nuclear developing -- this is posing a serious security threat to israel. israel is anxious about this and want to hear from the united states about what a possible plan will be. we talk about red lines. what are those red lines. that's what we're going to hear about today in the speech. i suppose that's what they're pressing president obama on now too. >> on this red line, the president would only say "all options were on the table, requesting "but he didn't tell us what all the options entail. >> it means that military operations is on the table. it is an option. no option is excluded. the united states reserves the right to take military action if
iran is developing nuclear weapons. when do they cross the red line? when they have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons or when they're actually doing it. when will we act? one problem, if israel strikes iran and takes the initiative, that will change the configuration instantly. because no arab country, including saudi arabia which would love to get rid of the iranian regime could possibly side with israel. they will have to side with iran. we don't want them to do that snimt this is the part i started to panic. this part of the story was unfolding. >> that's on target. it's going to put the arab countries in a really incredible situation where they cannot publicly support israel, although their policy preferences right now align with israel. perhaps no other historical moment do we have an alliance or configuration of interests that is so unified across israel and the arab countries. >> i thes an incredibly important point. i want you to draw that out for
me. casual observers watching the gop primary may not have been following. why is there this historic moment of aligns falling apart in a preemptive attack by israel. >> this is from the way the conflict is being covered. iran poses a threat to saudi arabia, the gulf countries, jordan, possibly this new reregime in egypt. there are a lot of people worried about them emerging in the region. citizens are also worried. at this moment, this is not about israel versus everyone else. this is israel and arab countries united on publicly against iran. >> drawing up the question, what does it mean to back israel right now? if the question domestically is the country soft on israel, if this is a moment when the president is urging, hey, don't take the preemptive position because there's alliances, some -- maybe we're not talking about them in public.
but this would be the end of the strategic alliances. more pro israel to in fact ask for patience on the part of netanyahu. >> more restraint. that's what the united states is doing. we're backing israel but asking it to restrain itself from a preemptive strike. it's pure diplomacy here. it's not just the united states, israel and the arab world that is an interesting in stopping iran from developing a nuclear weapon. it's the entire civilized world. it would destabilize asia, threaten europe. the whole world has an interest in making sure iran does not have a nuclear weapon. >> we just saw ahmadinejad is losing power with the recent elections. so with that disruption, should that make us more or less nervous about moving towards this nuclear capacity. >> they're moving towards a nuclear capacity. the question is will they convert that into creating
weapons. what the u.s. administration is hoping they don't move in that direction. if they don't, there's no need for this strike that would destabilize the region. that's the big issue. the truth is, support for ahmadinejad is dwindling. that the sanctions are probably going to take their toll. buying time is not a bad policy option right now. >> okay. we're going to -- just moments a a from the president's pivotal foreign policy address at apca. the israeli president is speaking. i called him prime minister a moment ago. i apologize. we'll bring that to you live in just a few minutes after this break. you ready? we wanna be our brother's keeper. what's number two we wanna do? bring it up to 90 decatherms. how bout ya, joe? let's go ahead and bring it online. attention on site, attention on site. now starting unit nine. some of the world's cleanest gas turbines are now powering some of america's biggest cities.
welcome back. we have been discussing the state of israeli iranian relations and the next steps for the united states in the middle of it all. in just a few minutes, president obama will address this very issue in a highly anticipated speech at aipac. the american-israel public affairs committee conference. we'll take that live as it
happens. with me, first, to discuss these important issues are bill schneider and robert traynham is also back with us. i want to talk about the internal politics here. just before break we were talking about how difficult this is in the case of this is pure diplomacy and netanyahu and obama do not have a great relationship, one that has been in fact quite strained. when i hear, oh, this is all about pure diplomacy, about trust, about a signaling game. i think oh, my goodness, the problem is that the president, in part, has many different audiences to which he's trying to signal here. to netanyahu, to potential voters. to the republican party. what are the domestic politics of this situation? >> i think the domestic pol six are very simple. a lot of jewish americans, republican and even jewish democrats are skeptical of the president's performance or relationship with israel and netanyahu. we've heard all the rumors that he's not a friend of israel. we've heard all the rumors that
he doesn't have a personal rapport with netanyahu. i think what the president has to do in a few moments is address those fears at a subtle way and say, look, i am a friend of israel. there's no compromise. i think what he also has to do is reiterate his strong support what you talked about before the commercial break that i will not budge as it relates to iran getting a nuclear vehicle. >> but i think it's a lot of evidence that this president is a friend to israel. i think, it's mostly about solutions and 1967 borders? >> i think it's his body language more than anything else. you would know better. >> i think warm and friendly to netanyahu as have other u.s. presidents. his coming down really hard on the issue of settlements early on in his administration, that got him a lot of heat from aipac and other interests in this country. since then, since his last speech last year, he came down on the solid issues.
which is israel security, that israel security is part of u.s. security. that he's not going to waiver on those points. he might not like netanyahu. but the politics have remained consistent. we've seen increases in diva lineses, diva greemts with israel. >> uptick in financial, right? >> absolutely. >> keep in mind, that the pro-israel is not just jewish voters. they're only 2%. evangelicals and conservatives. >> there are a lot of them in deep sympathy throughout the electorate. every president has frustrations and problems with israel. reagan did. the first president bush did. they always do. congress always fails -- aipac concentrates on its relationship with congress. >> we're going to talk more about this. hopefully after president obama's speech at the american-israel public affairs committee live from washington, d.c. that should be in just a few minutes. worry ! specialists, lots of doctors, lots of advice...
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you're looking at a live shot of the aipac policy conference in washington, d.c. we're minutes away from president obama's remarks. he's expected to address the u.s. position on military action against iran in advance of his meeting with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu tomorrow. as the president's speech comes amid rising tengs with iran and increased speculation over whether israel will strike iran's nuclear facilities and the u.s.-backed peace talks between israelis and palestinians. with me, bill schneider, princeton associate professor, amaney jamaal and robert traynham. congratulations, amaney. as we're waiting for the president to speak, i want to talk about the internal domestic pol six particulars within the u.s. and in the other nation states that are associated here. we talk about informed policy. it always feels like those are a single actors with no
complicated internal politics. let's talk a little bit about the politics of israel. it feels to me like there are -- there's no one clear side on this issue that there are multiple smart committed people within the state of israel and within the population and israel who have deeply differing opinions about what the state ought to be doing vis-a-vis iran. >> that is true. i covered politics in israel. there is a division of a lot of the -- in israel. there is an absolute conviction that iran cannot have nuclear weapon. that it's an existential threat to israel. they're very nervous because if israel were to strike iran, there would be instant retaliation. hezbollah with -- countries nearby that come from iran that can provide a danger on israel's border and threaten the existence. israelis are angry, upset, they
don't know what will be the best course themselves. >> they have to remember that he's speaking with aipac and not with j street. even that alone is indicative of differing ways of imagining what would the president need to say if he were speaking to j street which is certainly concerned about security and also very much concerned about peace. >> there's a huge concern among j street if you draw iran into a conflict with israel right now. it's not really good for israel's interests. it's not going to be good for the citizens of israel. there's this worry and so j street has taken the side of let's wait and see what happens also. so it's more or less siding with the administration. pushing the red line back a little. >> four years ago benjamin netanyahu apparently said to then senator obama, one important thing to cross your desk. it's real in iran. what are you going to do, fast forward to four years from now. literally shall that's what the president is going to have to decide. >> there's been a lot of saber rattling from the republicans in the primaries around this.
right, again, in the sense of like the president seeking and needing to talk to multiple constituency, the other part is he's in a reelection campaign and being in in reelection campaign with folks, rick santorum who has been talking a lot about iran and this notion. is there any sense from other nation states that the president's position now seeking reelection is likely to push him to behave in one way or another based on his own sort of domestic political anxieties. >> well, the president -- if there's any crisis in the middle east, immediately the repercussions would help the president in the -- but americans are never ever eager to go to war. particularly any preemptive war. i think that it o would -- that rally around the flag effect would wear off very, very quickly. a president leading america into war is terribly difficult risk. >> they rally around this
president about this war. i mean, these are -- in part because of how these identity politics are working out here. this is not exactly a world war ii moment. >> they read the papers and watch msnbc. >> they know that at least they think they know that the president may win reelection this year or next year. they're hedging their bets. >> pause. did you call the election for president obama. >> i think it's likely that the president will win reelection. we don't know what gas price will be and unemployment will be. understanding all that. the israelis are very, very smart. they may understand the pulse of the politic, just as well as we do. >> robert traynham, you will hang out on my table any old time you like. >> thanks for the invite. >> call the election for the president in the middle of a foreign policy. good job. >> there is conviction among the american public that this is not a u.s. war -- that's where the american public is right now.
slight majority of the american public is worried about iran. they don't want to see the u.s. commit to war in the middle east. removing our troops from iraq to the extent that afghanistan has been quite successful for not is an issue. people are getting tired of military involvements in the region. >> hasn't the president developed kind of a different way of -- when we talk about the president's foreign policy successes on war, they have both been about the issue of drawing down troops and they've also been about assassinations. quite honestly, any given -- i have a dear friend who says there's a kind of godfather-like element whenever he seems to be having a public discourse. there's a navy seal operation going in. i wondered, this particular version of managing one's enemies or concerns or policing one's borders heels, is not obama policy-like in terms of how he managed to think about what those threats are for -- >> he doesn't like drawing red
lines and he's very reluctant, as are most americans to engage in military action. but there is one rule in world affairs that's difficult for the united states. unless the united states does something nothing will happen. >> if we hadn't acted in bosnia, nothing would happen. i think gadhafi would still be in power in libya unless the united states joined with other nations in that effort. unless the united states acts, nothing happens in the world. >> it's interesting that you bring up gadhafi here. has arab spring weakened iran. is that part of what's happening. the arab spring and the uprisings have weakened iran as well. >> it certainly has. citizen movements and what not, in ways that undermine the regime. also talking about different interests in constituencies that president obama is considering. you don't want to be seen getting involved or uniting yourself with israel and attacking iran when there's so much uncertainty right now in
the arab world. citizen up risings not clear where the citizens come down. it's really a bad time for president obama to -- being forced to come down on this issue immediately now with a clear response with clear red lines with a clear policy or clear timeline. >> sure. >> guess what? this is a 3 a.m. phone call. >> this is a 3:00 a.m. phone call sm. >> it very well could be. >> tell me what you mean by that. you mean this is the fundamental test of his foreign policy and his ability to protect our borders and those of our -- >> absolutely. what i'm referring to the famous commercial when she alluded to the fact that she's ready to take that 3:00 a.m. phone call, but then senator obama was not or is not because of the context of foreign policy. fast toward to today, this may well be his moment where he has to decide one way or the other whether or not we engage in some type of military conflict in the middle east. >> the question is does the public feel that way? do they feel threatened by iran
right now? >> this very well could be like 2003 where the public was not for invading iraq but obviously president bush decided otherwise. whether or not the president leads us or attempts to lead us into something we're not comfortable with. >> when he was heckled on this position, he said no one is declaring war here. >> in fairness, he's taking the 3:00 a.m. phone call. he says we're ready to go when we feel there's a tlit. we're not going to go in if the threat isn't imminent. the u.s. administration doesn't. in a sense, you're being a bit unfair. he's taken that phone call and spending a lot of time on it. he's really calculating the best possible course of action here. >> to play this up more. whether or not the israelis think he has -- >> israelis obviously don't think they have. >> right. who is calling in this case? >> the 3:00 a.m. phone call, it's a threat to their existence. i'm not sure americans feel the same way. >> in a certain way, the president, for as much it's a 3:00 a.m. phone call, in the end
if netanyahu makes this decision, if israel goes in, it's not so much the president leading us into war, the fact is we're going to -- it's most likely that we would end up with troops on the ground if that decision is made. >> absolutely. this is the issue. talking about military options. what happens, what is the military option, a and b, what happens after the military strike? >> first of all, it's not clear that a military strike will neutralize the program. and there will be tons of civilians casualties. will we stay on the frowned in iran? >> our mission accomplished banner comes back out. that is not what it likely to happen here. this is for more complicated. >> to mobilize. this might make iraq seem like a fairytale. >> that makes me very anxious. >> no. i mean, that's exactly what's at stake here, though. this is not just about is he sort of a good enough leader or even does he have a good enough relationship with netanyahu. but also whether or not in this moment our old alliances end up
severely, drastically reducing what our new choice set is. >> absolutely. >> you have to keep going. the president is not ready. >> more and more. we're waiting for president obama. until president obama shows up, we have the table, folks. actually, maybe -- >> he's probably still trying to figure out what he's going to say. >> there he is. president obama, thank goodness. president obama is here. he is about to address the aipac conference. let's listen. [ applause ]
of mine for a long time and a tireless advocate for the unbreakable bonds between israel an the united states and as you complete your term as president, i salute your leadership and your commitment. [ applause ] i want to thank the board of directors. as always, i'm glad to see my long time friends in the chicago delegation. [ applause ] i also want to thank the member of congress who are here with us today and who will be speaking to you over the next few days. you've worked hard to maintain the partnership between the united states and israel. i especially want to thank my close friend and leader of the democratic national committee, debbie wasserman schultz.
[ applause ] i'm glad that my outstanding young ambassador to israel, dan shapiro is in the house. [ applause ] i understand that dan is perfecting his hebrew on his new assignment and i appreciate his constant outreach to the israeli people. i'm also pleased that we're joined by so many israeli officials including ambassador michael oren. [ applause ] and tomorrow i'm very much looking forward to welcoming prime minister netanyahu and his delegation back to the white house. [ applause ] every time i come to aipac, i'm especially impressed to see so many young people here. [ applause ]
you don't get the front seats, i understand. you have to earn that. but students from all over the country who are making their voices heard and engaging deeply in our democratic debate. you carry with you an extraordinary legacy of more than six decades of friendship between the united states and israel. and you have the opportunity and the responsibility to make your own mark on the world. for inspiration, you can look to the man who preceded me on this stage who is being honored at this conference, my friend, president shimon peres. [ applause ]
shimon was born a world away from here in an area in what was then poland. a few years after the end of the first world war. but his heart was always in israel. the historic homeland of the jewish people. when he was -- [ applause ] and when he was just a boy, he made his journey across land and sea toward home. in his life, he has fought for israel's independence and he has fought for peace and security. as a member of -- as a minister of defense and foreign affairs. as a prime minister and as president. shimon helped build the nation that thrives today. the jewish state of israel.
[ applause ] but beyond these extraordinary achievements, he has also been a powerful moral voice that reminds us that right makes might. not the other way around. [ applause ] shimon once described the story of the jewish people by saying it proved that slings, arrows and gas chambers can annihilate man but cannot destroy human values, dignity and freedom. and he has lived those values. [ applause ] he's taught us to ask more of ourselves and to empathize more with our fellow human being. i am grateful for his life's work and his moral example and i'm proud to announce that later this spring i will invite shimon peres to the white house to present him with america's
highest honor, the presidential medal of freedom. [ applause ] in many ways, this award is a symbol of the broader tithes that bind our nations. the united states and israel share interests but we also share those human values that shimon spoke about. a commitment to human dignity. a belief that freedom is a right that's given to all of god's children. an experience that shows us the
democracy is the one and only form of government that can truly respond to the aspirations of citizens. america's founding fathers understood this truth just as israel's founding generation did. president truman put it well. describing his decision to formally recognize israel only minutes after it declared independence. he said, i had faith in israel before it was established, i believe it has a glorious future before it. as not just another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization. for over six decades, the american people have kept that faith. yes, we are bound to israel because of the interests that we share in security for our
communities, prosperity for our people, the new frontiers of science that could light the world, but ultimately, it is our common ideas that provide the true foundation for our relationship. it is why america's commitment to israel has endured under democratic and republican presidents and congressional leaders of both parties. [ applause ] in the united states, our support for israel is bipartisan and that's how it should stay. [ applause ]
aipac's work continually nurtures this bond. and because of aipac's effectiveness in carrying out its mission, you can expect that over the next several days, you will hear many fine words from elected officials describing their commitment to the u.s., israel relationship. but as you examine my commitment, you don't just have to count on my words. you can look at my deeds. over the last three years as president of the united states, i have kept my commitments to the state of israel. at every crucial juncture, at every fork in the road we have been there for israel every single time. [ applause ]
four years ago i stood before you and said that israel's security is sack row singt. it is now negotiable. that belief has guided my actions as president. the fact is, my administration's support to israel has been unprecedented. our military and intelligence cooperation has never been closer. our joint exercises and training have never been more robust. despite a tough budget environment, our security assistance has increased every single year. [ applause ] we are investing in new capabilities. we're providing israel with more advanced technology. types of products and systems that only go to our closest friends and allies. make no mistake, we will do what it takes to preserve israel's qualitative military edge
because israel must have the ability to defend itself, by itself against any threat. [ applause ] this isn't just about numbers on a balance sheet. as a senator, i spoke to israeli troops on the lebanese border. i visited with families who known the terror of rocket fire. that's why as president, i provided critical funding to deploy the iron dome system that intercepted rockets that might have hit homes and hospitals and schools in that town and in others. [ applause ] now, our assistance is expanding
israel's defensive capabilities. so they can live free from the fear of rockets and ballistic missiles. because no family, no citizen should live in fear. and just as we've been there with our security assistance, we've been there through our diplomacy. when the gold stone report unfairly sing ltd out israel for criticism, we challenged it. [ applause ] when israel was isolated in the aftermath of the flotilla incident, we supported them. [ applause ] when the durbin conference was commemorated, we boycotted it and we will always reject the notion that zionism is racism. [ applause ] when one sided resolutions are brought up with the human rights
council, we oppose them. when israeli diplomats feared for their lives in cairo, we intervened to save them. when there are efforts to boycott or divest from israel, we will stand against them. [ applause ] and when ever an effort is made to delenl it miez the state of israel, my administration has opposed them. so there should not be a shred of doubt by now. when the chips are down, i have israel's back. [ applause ] which is why if during this political season you hear some questions regarding my administration's support for israel. remember that it's not backed up by the facts.
remember, that the u.s. israel relationship is simply too important to be distorted by partisan politics. america's national security is too important. israel's security is too important. [ applause ] >> of course, there are those who question not my security and diplomatic commitments, but rather my administration's ongoing pursuit of peace between israelis and palestinians. let me say this. i make no apologies for pursuing peace. israel's own leaders understand the necessity of peace. prime minister netanyahu,
defense minister barack, president peres, each of them called for two states a secure israel that lives side by side with an independent palestinian state. i believe that peace is profoundly in israel's security interests. [ applause ] the reality that israel faces from shifting demographics to emerging technologies to an extremely difficult international environment demands a resolution of this issue. i believe that peace with the palestinians is consistent with israel's founding values. because of our shared belief in self-determination and because israel's place as a jewish and democratic state must be protected. [ applause ] of course, peace is hard to achieve. there's a reason why it's
remained lucid for six decades. the upheaval and uncertainty in israel's neighborhood makes it that much harder from the horrific violence raging in syria to the transition in egypt. and the division within the palestinian leadership makes it harder still. most notably with hamas' continued rejection of israel's very right to exist. but as hard as it may be, we should not and cannot give in to cynicism or despair. the changes taking place in the region make peace more important, not less. and i've made it clear that there will be no lasting peace unless israel's security concerns are met. [ applause ] that's why we continue to press arab leaders to reach out to israel. and will continue to support the
peace treaty with egypt much that's why, just as we encourage israel to be resolute in the pursuit of peace, we have continued to insist that any palestinian partner must recognize israel's right to exist and reject violence and adhere to existing agreements. [ applause ] and that is why my administration has consistently rejected any efforts to shortcut negotiations or impose an agreement on the parties. [ applause ] as rosie noted, last year i stood before you and pledged that the united states will stand up against efforts to single israel out of the united nations. as you know, that pledge has been kept. [ applause ] last september i stood before the united nations general assembly and reaffirmed that any
lasting peace must acknowledge the fundamental legitimacy of israel and its security concerns. i said that america's commitment to -- is unshakable. our friendship with israel is endured and israel must be recognized. no american president has made such a clear statement about our support for israel at the united nations at such a difficult time. people usually give those speeches before audiences like this one. not before the general assembly. [ applause ] i must say, there was not a lot of applause. [ laughter ] but it was the right thing to do. and as a result, today there is no doubt anywhere in the world that the united states will insist upon israel's security and legitimacy.
[ applause ] that will be true as we continue our efforts to pursue -- in the pursuit of peace and that will be true when it comes to the issue that is such a focus for all of us today. iran's nuclear program. a threat that has the potential to bring together the worst rhetoric about israel's destruction with the world's most dangerous weapons. let's begin with a basic truth that you all understand. no israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the holocaust, threatens to wipe israel off the map and sponsors terrorist groups committed to israel's destruction. [ applause ] and so i understand the profound
historical obligation, that weighs on the shoulders of netanyahu and all of israel's leaders. a nuclear armed iran is completely counter to israel's security interest. but it is also counter to the national security interests of the united states. [ applause ] indeed, the entire world has an interest in preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. a nuclear armed iran with thoroughly undermine the nonproliferation regime that we've done so much to o build. there are risks that an iranian
nuclear weapon could fall into the hands of a terrorist organization. it is almost certain that others in the region would feel compelled to get their own nuclear weapon, triggering an arms race in one of the world's most volatile regions. it would embolden a regime that's brutalized its own people and it would embolden iran's proxies who have carried out terrorist attacks to southwest asia. and that is why four years ago i made a commitment to the american people and said that we would use all elements of american power to pressure iran and prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon and that is what we have done. [ applause ] when i took office, the efforts to apply pressure on iran were
in tatters. iran had gone from zero centrifuges to thousands spinning without facing broad pushback from the world. in the region, iran was a is -- increasing popular and extending its reach. in other words, the rye iranian leadership was united and on the move and the international community was divided about how to go forward. so from my very first months in office, we put forward a very clear choice to the iranian regime. a path that would allow them to rejoin the community of nations if they meet their international obligations or a path that leads to an escalating series of consequences if they don't. in fact, our policy of engagement quickly rebuffed by the iranian regime, allowed us to rally the international community as never before. to expose iran's intransigence
and to apply pressure that goes far beyond anything that the united states could do on our own. because of our efforts, iran is under greater pressure than ever before. some of you will recall, people predicted that russia and china wouldn't join us to move towards pressure. they did. in the 2010, the u.n. security council overwhelmingly supported a comprehensive sanctions effort. few thought that snanctions coud have an immediate bite on the iranian regime. they have. slowing the iranian nuclear program and virtually grinding the iranian economy to a halt in 2011. many questioned whether we could hold our coalition together as we moved against iran's central bank and oil exports. but our friends in europe and asia and elsewhere are joining us. in 2012, the iranian government
faces the prospect of even more crippling sanctions. that is where we are today. because of our work. iran is isolated. its leadership divided and under pressure. and by the way, the arab spring is only increased the trends as the hypocrisy of the iranian regime is exposed and its ally, the assad regime is crumbling. of course, so long as iran fails to meet its obligations, this problem remains unresolved. the effective implementation of our policy is not enough. we must accomplish our objective. and in that effort -- [ applause ] -- i firmly believe that an opportunity still remains for diplomacy backed by pressure to
succeed. the united states and israel both assess that iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon and we are exceedingly vigilant in monitoring their program. now the international community has a responsibility to use the time and space that exists. sanctions are continuing to increase. this july being thanks to our diplomatic coordination, a european ban on iranian oil imports will take hold. [ applause ] faced with these increasingly dire consequences, iran's leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision. they can choose a path that brings them back into the community of nations. or they can continue down a dead end. given their history, there are, of course, no guarantees that
the iranian regime will make the right choice. but both israel and the united states have an interest in seeing this challenge resolved diplomatically. after all, the only way to truly solve this problem is for the iranian government to make a decision to for sake nuclear weapons. that's what history tells us. moreover, as president and commander in chief, i have a deeply held preference for peace over war. i have sent men and women into harm's way. i've seen the consequences of those decisions in the eyes of those i meet who have come back gravely wounded. and the absence of those who don't make it home. long after i leave this office, i will remember those moments as the most seering of my
presidency. for this reason, as part of my solemn obligation to the american people, i will only use force when the time and circumstances demand it. and i know that israeli leaders also know all too well the costs and consequences of war, even as they recognize their obligation to defend their country. so we all prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically. having said that, iran's leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the united states. [ applause ] just as they should not doubt israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs. [ applause ]
i have said that when it comes to preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, i will take no options off the table. and i mean what i say. [ applause ] that includes all elements of american power. a political effort, aimed at isolating iran. a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the iranian program is monitored. an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions. and yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency. [ applause ] leaders should understand that i do not have a policy of containment. i have a policy to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
[ applause ] and as i have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, i will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the united states and its interests. [ applause ] moving forward, i would ask that we all remember the weightiness of these issues. the stakes involved for israel, for america and for the world. already there's too much loose talk of war. for the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the
iranian government but driving up the price of oil which they depend on to fund their nuclear program. for the sake of israel's security, america's security and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster. now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in and to sustain the broad international coalition we have built. now is the time to heed the timeless advice from teddy roosevelt. speak softly, carry a big stick. [ applause ] and as we do, rest assured, that the iranian government will know our resolve. that our coordination with israel will continue. these are challenging times. we've been through challenging
times before. the united states and israel have come through them together. because of our cooperation, citizens in both our countries have benefited from the bonds that bring us together. i'm proud to be one of those people. in the past, i've shared in this forum just why those bonds are so personal for me. the stories of a great uncle who helped liberate to my memories of returning there with others. from sharing books with president peres to sharing saiders with my young staff with in a tradition that started on the campaign trail and continues in the white house. from the countless friends i know in this room -- [ applause ] -- to the concept of that has enriched and guided my life.
as harry truman understood, israel's story is one of hope. we may not agree on every single issue. no two nations do. our democracies contain a vibrant diversity. but we agree on the big thing. the things that matter. and together, we are working to build a better world. one where our people can live free from fear. one where peace is founded upon justice. one where our children can know a future that is more hopeful than the present. there is no shortage of speeches on the friendship between the united states and israel. i'm also mindful of the proverb, a man is judged by his deeds,
not his words. so if you want to know where my heart lies, look no further than what i have done. to stand up for israel, to secure both of our countries and to see that the rough waters of our time lead to a peaceful and prosperous shore. thank you very much, everybody. god bless you. got bless the people of israel. got bless the united states of america. [ applause ] that was president obama addressing aipac, the american israel public affairs committee. with me are schneider and jelani cobb. we all watched the speech together. it was quite a long speech. i thought i would read one piece here. iran's leader should know i don't have a policy of containment. i have a policy to prevent iran from o obtaining a nuclear weapon. is ha enough? >> it depends on what the folks in israel are thinking and quite frankly the folks here in this
country. what i found interesting about the speech is a potpourri of adjectives. it was clinical in the beginning but he finished strong. it was pretty much a campaign speech and defensive of talking about his holistic record over the last 3 1/2 years. but also talking about, look, we've been through tough times before. i know exactly where i stand. i know where israel stands and there will be no compromise. i thought it was a very interesting speech where he had to -- at least he thought he had to walk the viewer through his israeli record. >> there's also the domestic dynamic here, of him thinking about florida and the 27 electoral votes at stake. he's thinking about that. at the same time, he has to present a strong face in terms of dealing with iran. which is a legitimate international concern. but he also knows that after libya, after iraq, after afghanistan, there is a limited appetite in the united states for more military engagement in the middle east. particularly with the regime as strong as our own. unfortunately, i have to say
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has never been more rewarding. [ male announcer ] introducing spark the small business credit cards from capital one. get more by choosing unlimited double miles or 2% cash back on every purchase, every day. what's in your wallet? this guy's amazing. new orleans is my home now but i have a special place in my heart for new jersey. i spent five good years here and my bff is a jersey girl. the guy that has been new jersey lately is cory booker. last month the garden state caught wind of the new york police department has been spying on muslim-owned businesses and houses of worship in newark, new jersey. that did not go well because new york didn't tell new jersey. there are mixed feelings in the state over whether governor christie did the right thing in vetoing same sex marriage and while support for same sex marriage has risen to 57% among
voters in the state. i thought to myself, wanted to have a nice long leisurely conversation about newark and new jersey with the guy who is jersey these days. newark's mayor, cory booker. but we have a short but pithy and fabulous conversation to have. >> i'm going to say i'm so excited to be here. you are a jersey girl. forget it. >> i stay one forever. >> you are forever now. it's great to see you now here. >> thank you. look, this -- i really do have my eyes on new jersey at this point. it is such an interesting state with its kind of blue cities and its republican marrow owe its republican governor and kind of the questions of how do you for example as a mayor of a city like newark manage to work with your state across partisan lines to get actually get things done on the ground in newark? >> i think it's far more together than we let our politics express. as much as the headlines try to make us seem like we're attacking each other, the governor and i sat down when he was governor-elect and said
everybody will try to pit us against each other. let try to find things to agree on. there are areas in education and public safety and economic development and at the end of the day, i know in my city the best way to fight poverty is by creating jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs for the resident and doing programs, frankly, that we have a lot of republican support. amazingly, the manhattan institute on the right is one of the major funders of my ex-offender re-entry programs and efforts. we find lots of areas where we can stand together and able to make progress in that area. >> interestingly, enough, as you know we were talking about before we came on, i live in new orleans, which means i'm teaching at tulane university. students love you, maybe in part because you're the great tweeting mayor. and so i said to my students who had just watched some film on you in this past week when we were studying mayors and they have some questions for. >> this is exciting. first take a look at this student's question. >> okay. >> hello, mayor booker. my name is matthew matthew.
student. i'm curve enly doing a studio on high school jobs -- study on how high school jobs. what can schools do to ensure students are ready for college? >> that's the really -- the point. i mean, has his finger on the biggest question and it is just not high school students. we start so many of our kids behind and did a midge or literacy program in newark where we are getting books into homes because so many homes just aren't reading kids. so they get this -- grade school, kindergarten, not mastering vocabulary words. set behind. tragedy many schools in america kids graduate high school and not college-ready. even if they got passed along they end up in a county college. my county college's president is an amazing woman. she has them taking remedial students even though they are a and b students. we have strategies to break that sort of pathway from schools to remedial classes or worse. and the strategies involve everything from working earlier with our kids, focussing on
literacy, expanding school days, not tolerating mediocrity and failure. you know, a lot of cities that have coverses about closing failing schools. i'm big believer doing that is not a controversial. it is common sense. we have to make sure our kids are in the highest achieving environments and not tolerate mediocrity. we are in a climate -- teachers are being vilified. we are seeing they have some of the best genius in their classrooms and finding ways to support them and to incentivize them and reward them as well as hold them accountable. >> i can't let you go without asking one last question. a question about re-election. we are talking policy. even that education nugget still has a lot of politics in it. you went through a re-election. you first challenged for mayor for someone running for re-election. the president of the united states is facing re-election. how is re-election different than running for election? >> my re-election, i liked it
better. waits not just talking about what i hoped i could do and what i can do. it is what i did do. obama has an incredible record and he has a story to tell. when i go around stumping him and ask him -- as soon as i start listing off all the -- i remember that, oh, i didn't know that. then makes it a lot easier for him -- people to sort of get more excited about him. i'm hope thing election will give him a time to tell his story and show his accomplishments. >> cory booker, you must come back. >> i will come back. >> mayor. >> i want to go down see your studio. >> you have to come back when we have more time. come down to new orleans and see the students. also come down to new orleans to talk about -- >> my business administrator is working for your mayor now. there are a lot of links. >> coming up, why i want this election to go on forever or at least a little longer. [ woman ] my boyfriend and i were going on vacation,
of fresh polls in the morning. after that the daily dose of did he really just say that sound bites and you have the making of a presidential primary that hawks us positively giddy. which is why i don't want any of the contenders to drop out. not when things are really starting to get interesting. the speech president obama made is a reminder the primary season is just that, a season. and that of all of this political theater, real life has implications. 11 years ago we couldn't have known that unimaginable attack against our nation would turn jordan w. bush into a war time president. so as we stand at the precipice of world conflict today we immediate to take very seriously the process of choosing a leader that may be the one to take us over the edge. in the famous words of tip o'neill -- all politics is local. and recently the battleground and culture wars stretched from the white house all the way into the state house. so while we are keeping count of the numbers on the national stage, we should be holding accountable those holding office
closer to home. that's our show for today. i will see you next saturday at 10:00 a.m. coming up, "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] this is lawn ranger -- eden prairie, minnesota. in here, the landscaping business grows with snow. to keep big winter jobs on track, at&t provided a mobile solution that lets everyone from field workers to accounting, initiate, bill, and track work in real time. you can't live under a dome in minnesota, that's why there's guys like me. [ male announcer ] it's a network of possibilities -- helping you do what you do... even better. ♪ immerse yourself in all over relief h[ female announcer ] feeling that flu all over your body? with alka seltzer plus. it's specially formulated to speed relief to every inch of you. liquidate your flu symptoms with alka seltzer plus. who have used androgel 1%, there's big news.
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