tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC July 5, 2009 10:00am-11:00am EDT
good morning. and welcome to "this week." >> i'm proud to be an american. >> our exclusive headliner, joe biden. mr. vice president, thank you very much for being with us. behind the scenes in iraq. >> we did it in saddam's palace. he's rolling over in his grave right now. >> tgh questions. no matter what, 2011, american troops all gone? either you misread the economy. or the stimulus package is too slow? vice president joe biden, only on "this week." then -- >> you are naive if you don't see a full-court press from the national level, picking away right now. >> sarah palin's surprise. is she done with politics? is the political world done with her? that debate on our "roundtable,"
with george will, cynthia tucker, matthew dowd, tony blackly of "the washington times" and todd purdum, of "vanity fair." and as always, "the sunday funnies." >> u.s. troops gave the iraqis, what is apparently, the key to their own cities. but don't tell them. their own cities. but don't tell them. we made a copy. captions paid for by abc, inc. hello, again. on this july 4th weekend. we begin with our exclusive headliner, vice president joe biden. just a few hours ago, i touched down at andrewair force base, on air force two, after an overnight flight from baghdad. biden had just completed his first mission at president obama's personal enjoy to iraq. >> we think we can be helpful. with the government. >> he spent saturday, at camp victory, thanking troops. that included his son, beau, a
attorney general, who is completing a one-year captain with the reserve. after that, i sat down for an extensive conversation. we covered a lot of ground. including sarah palin's resignation, the mounting concern on the economy, and biden's new role in iraq. major milestone in iraq, with major milestone here this week in iraq, with america pulling out of the cities. i wonder if you can put the broader american mission in context. are we in the process of securing our victory or cutting our losses and coming home? >> securing a victory. the president and i laid out a plan in the campaign, that was two-fold. one, withdrawing our troops in a timetable consistent with what the iraqis wanted. at the same time, leaving behind a stable and secure country. and one of the reasons i'm here, george, is to push the last end of that. which is, there's some need for political settlement on
important issues between arabs and kurds, and political groups. and i think we're along the way. >> your predecessor doesn't seem convinced. john hannah, vice president cheney's adviser wrote, that overall, obama's push to win iraq, has been vanished. the vice president warned against a premature withdrawal. he said, i would not like to see the u.s. waste all of the tremendous sacrifice that's gotten us to this point. >> it's kind of ironic. it's their timetable we are implementing. cheney and bush agreed with the iraqis before we were elected, that we'd have combat troops out of the cities by june 30th. >> so, he's wrong to be worried? >> well, i mean, it's -- he can't have it both ways. he negotiated that timetable. we have met the commitment the timetable of the last administration negotiated with iraqis. and we're totally confident that it's the right thing to do. so, i find it kind of ironic that he's criticizing his own agreement that he negotiated. >> you're also facing a little
bit of criticism from the iraqis. yesterday, you stood up there with prime minister maliki and talked about your commitment to solve these political problems. yet, his spokesman came out after the meeting and said, this is purely an iraqi issue. we don't want americans to get involved. what do you say? >> that's not what the prime minister said. the prime minister said that we may need you to get involved. what we offered the prime minister, as well as the speaker, as well as the two vice presidents, was that, to the extent -- let me give you an example. the united nations has started a process, to deal with what they call a disputed internal borders. and that is, the debate between the arabs and the kurds as to where the line is. kirkuk is probably the biggest flashpoint. and we were asked that we would -- would we be helpful to the united nations in doing this. i was further asked, would i communicate to the kurdish leadership, who i have a close relationship with, that
they're passing a constitution through their parliament, in kurdistan, was not helpful to the process. >> so, what's going on here? maliki says one thing. the spokesman says another. >> look, i think it's very important that prime minister maliki and all of the iraqi leaders are able to, in fact, communicate, which is true, to the people of iraq, that they're now a sovereign nation. they take directions from no one. that they are able to handle their own internal affairs. and my guess is, that's what the spokesman said, surprises me. the spokesman said, i would imagine they are worried about an upcoming election. making it look like the united states is going to continue to try to direct things here. we are not. that's not why i'm here. >> we're not going to direct things. but what about the iraqis, they've been dealing with these political disputes for a long
time. what if they can't solve them and the violence flares up again? >> well, that's going to be a tragic outcome for the iraqi people. we made a commitment. >> are we going to put our lives on the line again? >> no. we made a commitment to withdraw the troops from the cities by the 30th. to withdraw our combat brigades from iraq, by the end of next summer. and withdraw all troops, according to the s.o.f.a., that agreement we negotiated with them, by the end of 2011. >> no matter what, 2011, american troops all gone? >> that is the intention. we believe the iraqis will be fully capable of maintaining their own security. and we believe with the timeframe of their upcoming g elelection. you know they're having an election in january. i know you know that. they will form a new government, early -- in late winter, as a consequence of that elecon. and it is r expectation, that that election will come off peacefully. and that their docracy is gradually maturing.
so -- >> let me turn to iran. we're three weeks out from their election. do you have any dot it was stolen? >> look, what i don't want to do is p play into the hands of the supre leader and ahmadinejad, like they'rere blaming the brith now. you know? that the reaeason why there is unrest, is there was outside influence. >> they say they have confessions from an informer saying that. >> well, they're saying a lot of things that are simply not true. i think the dust hasn't settled yet. >> still? three weeks ago? >> here's what i think. i think it's clear that the consequences of the way the election was conducted and the way the election was declared. it was declared a winner and how, is going to have a rippling effect. what that fect will be, i don't know. i think we have to wait to see how this settles out before we can make a judgment. >> but there's no doubt now, that they responded violently. >> there's no doubt about that. the whole world saw it. and it is -- it's -- we have to
acknowledge, as a free and sovereign nation, th we abhor the violence that took place. we think it was inappropriate, the way in which they treated those protesters. and so, there is no question. we and the rest of the world looked at them and said, my lord. this is not -- >> how do you respond to critics who say the united states should have come out forcefully, right away. right away. and said this is wrong, and stopped it. they say that would have made a difference. >> i think the president was absolutely pitch-perfect. i think the president did it in exactly the right y. i think the president did not allow us to be used as the scapegoat. >> there were some reports that you were arguing for a more forceful response earlier. >> well, i think the president did it exactly right. i think he was correct. >> and going forward, what next? what should the strategy be right now? >> look. the iranian government has a choice.
they either choose greater isolation and -- from the whole world. or they decide to take a rightful place in civilized, big, great nations. that's the path they have to choose. >> have they already shown evidence in the last few weeks what they're choice is? >> they have, in terms of the way they conducted the election. but in terms of whether the real key issues are now, are they going to continue the nuclear program? are they going to be braced by what happened? is this going to alter their behavior internally? or externally? look, responses that they saw on the street, in any country, have consequences. it's hard to predict what those consequences will be. >> what are the consequences for the u.s. relationship? i mean, the president has said he wants to meet with the iranians over the nuclear program, through the p-5. but how do you meet with the iranians without breaking with those performers? >> the way toe do it is if they choose to meet with the p-5, under the conditions the p-5
have laid out, it means they've begun to change course. anit means that the protesters probably had some impact on the behavior of an administration that they don't like at all. and it believes and i believe that means there's consequences of that. now, consequently, if they, in fact, decide to shut out the rest of the world, clamp down, further isolation, i think that takes them down a very different path. >> how do you respond to those who say it's the united states now that should hit the pause button? there should be a cause correction? and we shouldn't rush to sit down? >> we're not. we're not rushing to sit down. as i said to you, we have to wait to see how this sort of settles ou there's already an offer laid out there, by the permanent five, plus one, to say, we're prepared to to sit down and negotiate with you, relative to your nuclear program. and so, the ball's in their court. >> when i saw president ahmadinejad back in april, his response to that was, we need to see more from the united states
first. is it fair to say now, that there will be absolutely no more concessions with the iranians in advance of those discussions? >> it's fair to say, the position the president has laid out will not change. >> but there will be engagement if the iranians want to sit down >> in the iranians mean to sit down, we'll engage. let me clarify. if the iranians respond to the offer, we will engage. >> but the offer's on the table. >> the offer's on the ble. >> meanwhile, prime minister neat netanyahu made it pretty clear that he agreed to give president obama for a year for this engagement to work. after that, he is prepared to take matters into his own hands. is that the right approach? >> look, israel can determine for itself, it's a sovereign nation, what's in their interest, and what they do with an or anything else. >> whether we agree or not? >> whether we agree or not. they're entitled to do that. any sovereign nation is entitled to do that. but there is no pressure from
any nation that's going to alter our behavior, as to how to proceed. what we believe is in the national interest of the united states, which we coincidentally believe, is also in the interest of israel and the whole world. and so, there are separate issues. if the netanyahu government decides to take the course of action different than the one being pursued now, that is their sovereign right to do that. that is not our chce. >> but just to be clear here, if the israelis decide iran is an existential threat, they have to take out the nuclear program militarily, the united states will not stand in the way? >> look, we cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do, when they make a determination, if they make a determination, that they're existentially threatened. >> you say we can't dictate. but we can. there's ways we can stand in the way of a military strike. >> i'm not going to speculate,
george, on those issues, other to say, israel has a right to determine what's in its interests. and we have a right and will determine what's in our interests. >> meanwhile, north korea. >> yeah. >> 7 missile launches in the last 24 hours. 11 this week. anything we can do about it? >> the question is, should we do anything about it? look, this has almost become predictable behavior. some of it seems like almost attention-seeking behavior. >> and you don't want to give them the attention? >> no. i don't want to give the attention because, look. i think our policy has been absolutely correct so far. we have succeeded in uniting the most important and critical countries to north korea, on a common path of further isolating north korea. they're going to be faced with a pretty difficult choice. >> but not a path that includes very forceful enforcement of the sanctions. but russians and chinese blocked any boarding of the ships, didn't they? >> well, what they did was, if
you noticed the ship had to turn around and come back. why? because no port would allow them into port. there's no place they would go with certitude, where they would not be, at that point, boarded and searched. so, i would argue, that, in fact, worked. >> is there a policy that's basically waiting for the jim jong-il regime to collapse? >> our policy is to continue to put pressure on the countries that north korea was able to look to before, th impunity. they could take almost any action and got no reaction. that's changed. and there is a significant turning of the pressure. and there are going to be some very difficult decisions that that regime's going to have to make. there's a real debate going on right now, george, about succession in north korea. >> reports that he's tapped his youngest son. >> that is the report. >> do you believe it? >> well, if i had to bet, that would be my guess.
but i don't think anyone knows for certain. >> the clock is also ticking on afghanistan. [ gunfire ] key members of congress made it pretty clear during the war supplement debate, they are going to give til early next year to see progress in afghanistan. or they're going to cut off the funding. move to cut off the funding. is that the right approach? >> look, i think the right approach is the one we have chosen. the obama/biden administration. we did a thorough review of what our objectives and policies were and should be in afghanistan. we set in motion, a policy which is now only beginning to unfold. all of the troops we agreed to increase are not all in place at this point. we also believe, as general jones accurately said, that ultimately the success or failure in iraq will rest not on the military outcome. but on a both economic and political outctc internay.y. getting better governance in place. and economic development in that country. >> but do americans have a right to expect that if we don't see
continued progress in the next6 that we should think about cutting back and pulling out? >> i think americans have a right to expect success. >> at any cost? >> no. success. and if they conclude that, whatever the policy that's beieg undertaken, by any administration, is not succeeding, they have a right to say, look. cease and desist. but i don't think that's where we're going, george. >> there were some reports that the president's already made the judgment. sending general jones was a clear message, no more troops. this is it. this is all you get. and bob woodward wrote about it. he talked about the general meeting with various military figures in afghanistan. and this is what he said. this is what he reports that general jones said. if there were new requests for force now, the president would quite likely have a whisky tango foxtrot moment. everyone in the room caught the phonetic reference for wtf,
which in reference means, what the blank? are you concerned that this is sending some kind of chilling message? >> no. we got the advice. we spent five months with the entire national security team. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. the secretary of state. the secretary of defense. the national security adviser. down in that tank. down in that situation room. laboriously banging out the plan. the military came with an explicit requests. the president gave them what they asked for. it hasn't even been implemented yet. >> it was or the other side, it was reported, that you didn't want an expansion of troops. >> no. i did want an expansion of troops. there was a slight difference in how to layer them. how to proceed. the president, we all ended up in the, you know -- this was an open discussion. the thing i like about the president, he seeks everyone's opinion. well, we reached a consensus
opinion. and the consensus opinion of the national security team, of which i'm a part, was to do exactly what's under way. the point is, i suspect the point is that jim jones is making, is, hey. it hasn't been implemented yet. troops are still on their way. slow up, guys. >> what you're saying if the military believes there should be more troops, they shouldn't be afraid to give that advice? >> they shouldn't be afraid to give advice in the field or the president, to the secretary of defense, for whatever they need. >> while we've been here, pretty grim job numbers. 9.5% unemployment in june. the worst numbers in 26 years. how do you explain that? when the president and you all were selling the stimulus package, you predicted at the beginning, if you get this package in place, unemoyment will peak at about 8%. so, either you misread the economy. or the stimulus package is too slow and too small. >> the truth is, we and everyone else misread the economy. the figures we worked off of in
january, were the consensus figures of most of the blue chip indexes out there. everyone thought at that stage, everyone. the bulk of -- >> the cbo was a little higher. >> a little bit. but they're all the same range. no one was talking about that we would be moving toward we're worried about 10.5%, or 9.5% at this point. >> we're looking at 10% now. >> well, look. we're much too high. we're at 9%, 9.5% right now. and so, the truth is, there was a misreading of just how bad an economy we inherited. now, that doesn't -- i'm not laying this -- it's not our responsibility. so, the second question becomes, did the economic package we put in place, including the recovery act, is it the right package, given the circumstances we're in? and we believe it is the right package, given the circumstances we're in. we misread how bad the economy was. but we are now only about 120
days into the recovery package. the truth of the matter was, no one ancipated, no one expected, that that recovery package would, in fact, be in a position at this point, of having to distribute -- >> a lot of people were saying that you needed to do something bigger and bolder, including the economist paul krugman. right now, he's saying the same thing again. don't wait. you need a second stimulus. you need it now. >> look, what we have to do now is we have to properly, adequately, transparently, and effectively, spend out this $780 billion. >> that's your job. you're in charge of it. >> that is my job. and i think we're doing it well. if you notice, george, there's other predictions. this is going to be wasteful. all these terrible projects will be out there. and we're going to bwasting money. well, that dog hasn't barked there. >> senator colbern has identified some. >> there have been some. and what we've discovered, we've killed.
the rest i dispute. the bottom line, though, i think anybody would say, this has been pretty well-managed so far. the question is, how do you now -- what we have to do, george, as this rolls out, put more pace on the ball. the second 100 days, you're going to see a lot more jobs created. and the reason you are, is now all these contracts for the over several thousand highway contracts have been approved. >> but you're also seeing states across the country cutting back on their programs. many people on unemployment today are going to run out of unemployment in september. that means for many of those people, if there's not a second stimulus, they're going to be out in the cold. >> well, look. we have increased the amount of money -- those on unemployment have gotten, 12 billion people are getting more because of the stimulus package. we've increased the number of people eligible by 2 million people. we've given a tax cut to 95% of the people who get a pay stub. they have 68 bucks a month
that's going into the economy. there's a lot going on, george. and i think it's premature to make the judgment -- >> so, no second stimulus? >> i didn't say that. i think it's premature to make that judgment. this was set up to spend over 18 months. there's going to be major programs. they're going to take effect in september. $7.5 billion for broadband. new money for high-speed rail. the implementation of the grid, the new electric grid. and so, this is just starting, the pace, to increase. >> you're in charge of the stimulus. the president's envoy here in iraq. you're supposed to settle the dispute between the director of national intelligence and th cia over who is going to appoint the station chiefs. by the way, have you resolved that one yet? >> i think we resolved that one. >> you have? >> let me put it this way. we're on the way of having it resolved. >> who won? >> ty both won. >> so, they're going to share the responsibility to appoint station chiefs. >> not done yet.
let me comment on that next week to you. >> you say you fixed a problem. >> well -- >> we will find out the details on all that. but you have all of these screet projects now. when you came in, you talked a lot about how you didn't want to gebogged down in projects because you wantedo be the president's primary adviser. you worried you're going to far in the other direction? >> no. because all of these projects have end dates on them. they have sell-by dates because -- and that's, i think, that -- i hope i brought some real expertise to this job. available to the president. the things he's asked me to do, i hope i'm relatively good at. but all of them have specific objectives. >> finally, sarah palin. you're the last person to run against her. >> can i call you joe? >> were you surprised by her decision to step down? >> well, look. you and i know -- i shouldn't say that because that implicates you in my answer. but those who have been deeply
involved in politics know, at the end of the day, it is really and truly a personal deal. and personal family decisions have a real impact on people's decisions. i love reading these history books and biographies of people. the reason i made the choice to run or not run was because of the state of the economy. it maybe had a lot to do with what the state of their life was. and the state of their family, et cetera. so, i'm not going to second-guess her. >> she cast herself as the victim of political bloodsport in that press conference. is that how you see it? >> no. i respect her decision. i don't -- i don't know what prompted her decision to not only not run again and also to step down as a consequence of the decision not to run in 2010. and i take her at her word. it had a personal ingredient in it. and you have to respect that. >> mr. vice president, thank you very much. >> thank you. and enco we me back, we'll
gehet "t roundtabl ts"ake on palin's big news friday. the big question, does she have a political future? and does she even want one? what does that mean to a surfing ceo? ummmm, tsunami in ah... surfing is sort of a thrilling prospect, but, a tsunami in business is ah, kind of terrifying ... and you have to watch the um, management of your assets very carefully. uh-huh. you know, you have to do things... at the speed of light these days... to stay um ahead of the wolf pack. right. and without technology, we would be nowhere. it helps you to ah, still rip it up. kind of consider myself a robinhood of the directing world.
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life is too short to compromise time and resources. and although it may be tempting and more comfortable, to keep your head down and plod along d appease those who are demanding, hey, sit down and shut up. but that's a quitter's way out. and i think the problem in our country today is apathy. it would be apathetic to just hunker down and go with the flow. we're fishermen. we know that only dead fish go with the flow. >> only dead fish go with the flow. the latest entry in sapphire's political dictionary from sarah
palin on friday. we'll bring in our "roundtable" to talk about it. i'm joined by george will. math you dowd political strategist. tony blankly, columnist for "the washington time." todd purdum of "vanity fair." you have a big story in this month's issue. sarah palin. and cynthia tucker of "the atlanta journal-constitution." welcome back. i want to bring everybody back on sarah palin. let's watch more of the press conference. a lot of people may have been driving on friday. here's a little bit more of sarah palin, harkining back to her days as sarah barracuda on the basketball court. >> a good poinguard, here's what she does. she drives through a full-court press, protecting the ball. keeping her head up because she needs to keep her eye on the basket. she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win. and that is what i'm doing. i thought about, well, how much fun some governors have as lame ducks.
maybe they travel around their state. travel the other states. maybe take their overseas international trade missions. so many politicians do that. then, thought, that's what's wrong. many just accept that lame duck status. and they hit the road. they draw a paycheck. they kind of milk it. and it not going to put alaskans through that. >> not going to put alaskans through the rest of her second term. george, what do you make of it? >> i read it once. and seen it twice. and i still have no idea why she did this. in one phrase, she seems to say this, will help the nation. it will free up to help the nation. on the other hand, she says it's her family, which i understand. she's been fairly much impoverished by litigation. and she's being referred to, as for example, a retarded flight attendant, by one hbo comedian. be that as it may, the one that rings most hollow is she doesn't want to put aska through the terrorf being a lame duck governor. if she is just weary of it, one can understand that.
still, she made a contract with them to serve out her term. and she said, in her own words, she now is a quitter. >> and one friend of sarah palin's told me, she just wants peace. >> well, if she just wants peace, then we won't be seeing her on the campaign trail, if that's what she wants. because if she intends to seek high office, she won't have peace. the simple fact of the matter is if sarah palin thinks she's had it tougher than anybody else, that she's been more harshly criticized, i have two words for her. hillary clinton. hillary clinton was savaged for eight years. there were jokes about her daughter, chelsea, who was much younger then than bristol palin is now. it's not fair. it's not a good part of the political process. but that is the stage. you take a lot of criticism. and quite frankly, women take a lot of criticism. so, if she isn't ready for that, then she doesn't need to be playing on the national stage. and if she thinks it's tough
being governor of alaska? it would be a whole lot tougher being president of the united states. >> tododd, you were up in alask. and things were getting tough. >> he wawasn't having any fun running the state. people told me that. people d't me they didn't expect her to run for re-election. i don't think anybody thought she would resign. >> so, no inkling from that? >> no ink mg. >> no inkling. strong suggestion she wouldn't run for re-electction. strong suggestion the wasn't happy. she didn't like going to juneau. she didn't like running the government, which has become very difficult for her, especially since last fall. >> while you were up there, you've seen sarah palin's lawyer hit back at the suggestions there's another shoe to drop. there's another scandal. any hint of that? >> i wouldn't look for that. i can't rule it out. i have no knowledge that there isn't one. but i think, more of what happened here, people told me if there's any predictable thing about her, it's unpredictability.
>> i think she's currently the best intuitive politician in the republican party. >> what does that mean, intuitive? >> that she's got a good, political gut sense of how to talk to the american people. and how to advance herself. and i would bet on her intuition over the analysis of a lot of people right now. >> but do you think that performance connected the way, for example, her convention speech did? >> i'll say something odd. there was a poll last week. so, before the announcement, but recent. she has an 80% approval in the republican party. has a 47% plurality positive in independents. and is only negative against self-identified people. given the ferociously bad press she'd had for the last nine months, those are impressive numbers. i think she's doing something right that those in washington don't sense. >> you know, i think she is a good, natural politician, has an intuitive sense. i agree with tony on that. just like an athlete, because we have all these analogies, it only doesn't take natural
ability. it takes discipline and focus. and she doesn't have it all. there's been a ton of athletes in this country, football players, quarterbacks, baseball players, that had a great amount of natural ability, that were never able to make it on the national stage because they didn't have focus and discipline. >> to take tony's points. it was even better coming out of the election. but she squandered the last several months? >> that's the other thing about this. to me, if you're a conservative or republican, part of what you say as leaders, you're supposed to be the adult in the room. you're supposed to concentrate on governing. and her statement that says, i have a year left in office. and i'm not going to do that to people of alaska. there's a lot of politicians out there, like ronald reagan, who spent the last two yearsof presidency. a lot intern but she basically decided that no politician can serve well if they don't have an election she is uniquely situated serving
in alaska. we've seen politicians who are running for another office. they're based in 1 city or another, down here in the lower 48. they're an hour and a half away wherever they need to go, in the precampaign campaign. they can do day trips. they can be back home and seen on the job, doing their campaign work. she can't physically do that from alaska. so, she's sort of uniquely vulnerable to the charge of not doing their b,e' if shs down here campaigning. i'm not saying that's thre f why warun president. the criticism, by some say her political future is over. she put up something on faceb yesterday. let's show everyone what she is telling to her supporters there. i've never thought i needed a title before ons naforg progress i i'm now looking ahead in how we can advance this country together, with our values of less government intervention, greater rgy denc stronger national security, and i hope me. now, is the time to rebuild.
and help our nation achieve greatness. george, regardless of motivations on friday, is there a plausible comeback strategy here? >> i don't think so. i can see her in iowa because iowa has a large evangelical situation component, in the republican nominating electorate. beyond iowa, no. she is not going to be presented as someone that's only a first-term governor of alaska. she's not even a first-term governor. >> and espy tr she's not ready for criticism, as you pointed out. >> absolute i just don't see this as a beginning of a political comeback for her. in the rambling and incohere press conference. the only thing i really enjoyed was her to use a sports metaphor. i think it's neat for women to use a sports metaphor. but it was very difficult to follow. the one thing that came across, i thought, was n was smarting from all this criticism. but she came across as petty and vindictive. richard nixon without the policy knowledge or the experience.
and i think that comes across for her, time and time again. and again, if you are not ready to put up with all that criticism and shrug it off, you don't have any business on the national stage. >> of course, two years later, after his famous -- nixon was on his way to the white house. and, todd, on the point of motivation, one of the things you write about in "vanity fair." let me quote it here. you say, several people told me, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of narcissistic personality disorder. in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, talking about sarah palin. and some people saying that's a lot of what we saw on friday. >> a lot of people did tell me, she takes everything personally. she has a grandiose sense of her own place in the cosmos. she has an unrealistic sense of what people should expect of her. and what she should be required to deliver. i think, in some ways, as puzzling as her statement was on friday, it's at peace with that. it's at peace with this person
who does not seem to operate in any conventional sense as a politician would. who knows she has to fight to live another day. should keep her friends close but her enemies closer. it's very personal for her. >> does it make you think she wants to get back in all of this? >> i think she wants to get back in whatever she feels has wounded her and aggrieved her. but i take her to her word at some level, that she wants to have a hiatus in her life. i think the last thing she must really want is to be in the thick of it. if you can't take the heat in juneau, washington is a lot hotter. >> she's both a narcissist and want people to stop pay attention to her. narcissism is the disease of the age. the stateme of the narcissism reminds me of the goldwater campaign, where 1,000 psychiatrists said he was nuts. we throw around these charges. my sense is, that the thing she most needs is a good, small team of advisers, who are shrewd and she feels comfortable with.
obviously, there's been a scattershot approach to the way she's presented herself. when dick nixon said you don't have nixon to kick around, he subsequently got elected to the presidency twice. >> i think about it, and we see terms about all of this. and politicians bei s being narcissistic is not for page one. it's everything we all know. it's narcissistic. that's why they run for office. the question becomes, the celebrity they had when they come in, like ronald reagan and what they use it for. and the adulation. because they're all self-involved. all of them are. how do they use it? do they use it about me? or do they use it about we? i think part of the problem with sarah palin is not all her advisers. and it's not that she's a narcissist, like politicians typically are. what is she using it for? and most politicians, like ronald reagan, use it to advance a cause more than about themselves. and use that celebrity status. just like barack obama, i think.
you can criticize his policies. and he has celebrity status. he's trying to -- >> that's what she's saying she's going to do here >> but that's the qstn. she has not demonstrated. and one place she could have demonstrated substantially, which i believe, if she wanted a political future, she could have shown what he e n a. she would have said, i'm going to do my job. if i do my wll, i have a future. but quitting a job in the only bizarre to me. >> she's a lagging indicator of american political developments. there's a rising geration of young republicans, men and women, governors, senators, et cetera. and why in the world, with this budding all-star team, would they turn to sarah palin? >> let me push you a little bit on that. sam tannen today, in "the new york times", has a new book on the rise and small of the conservative movement. points out -- he says, that the republican party used to be a model of lockstep discipline. now, it's entered a period of confusion, verging on
dysfunctional. >> the title of the book is "the death of conservatism." it's a good book, actually. republicans were never that disciplined. they've always been tough. but they united the end of the fight. that's different from discipline, all the way down the line. it is the case, however, that there are competent pepeople, tt you don't have to begin with the problem of sayin actually, appearances notwithstanding, this person is competent. >> fewer in the last couple of months. with sanford's out. ensign's out. palin, we'll see. >> i think the republican party is going through what parties go through, when they're smashed, which is chaos. and inner fighting. you don't know what you stand for. first, you're defensive. you say, we weren't loud enough and clear enough. then, you have other problems. the democrats went through that, after '80. again after '94. i'm not particularly concerned about what is typical for what happens to a party, at this point. what i do know is, the only
positive energy being driven by a politician in the republican party right now, of any substance, is coming from her. and to -- you may not like it. but the fact is, that -- >> positive energy? >> for the republicans. who is drawing a crowd? she can draw a crowd, more than other contenders can draw a crowd. the media can't take their eyes off her. there's a lot of pulsating going on there. now, it has to be managed. it could be destructive. we'll have to see. i wouldn't want to walk away from that level of energy for a prospective candidate who might be good. >> i have one thing i want to say. to me, that's akin to saying a circus comes to town and everybody's running and screaming about it. >> you notice presidential campai >> i have. and those are the ones where they don't have something substantive to offer. i agree with george. this is systematic of a problem, that everybody's focused on sarah palin, when we have nothing else to tut f repubrt
>> and creating an opportunity probably for the president. one of the things he's seen in the last several months is the fact that his opposition is divided and fract him on his agea. i want to go back to vice president biden's interview. significant concession there from the vice president. we misread the economy. that could end up being, if it doesn't start to get better, the achilles' heel of the obama administration. >> absolutely. i believe the obama administration deserves to be hammered, and they are being hammered, for having so misjudged the economy. back in january, the president said, unless we pass this stimulus package, the economy -- unemployment rate might be as high as 9%. well, now, it's about 9.5%. and so, he's rightly being hammered on that. it's also true that his approval ratings are softening a bit. and i think part of that softening has to do with the economy. when ben bernanke was saying about a month or so ago, that there were green chutes suggesting a recovery, the
simple fact of the matter is for most working folks, ere were no green chutes. so, unless we see something that turns around in the economy, significantly by the end of the year, this is going to be a major problem for the administration. and perhaps keep them from accomplishing those other big-ticket items they're trying to push through, like health care and climate change. >> that's the question, george. the vice president didn't want to bite on this idea of a second stimulus package now. and he's already on the line with the first one. >> the first one that you're calling a first one, was the second stimulus package. the bush -- the bush/pelosi stimulus package, that people saved instead of spent, in february of 2008, when the unemployment rate was 4.5%. they actually said, that unless you pass our stimulus package immediately, by 2010, unemployment rate might get to 9%. now, it's halfway to 10%. and we're halfway through 2009. >> you know, it's interesting when i watch the figures, there's been 2 million jobs lost under the obama administration.
since he took office. i remember the intense criticism, working on the bush campaign and president bush took, that in march of 2004, 2 million jobs had been lost over 3 years. it was the herbert hoover, worst economic recovery, since herbert hoover. what's he done? he had lost over 2 million jobs. he has done, barack obama, whether or not he's trying to blame bush or not. we tried the same thing. it was al gore. >> well, it worked for reagan for a while, over carter. >> he is faced with the fact that he has to find 2 million jobs to go back to zero, where he started. that's a difficult prospect to be in at this point. >> the one thing i'd say, he does have what matthew said, was enormous discipline. all during the campaign, when there seemed to be trouble, he could refocus and recalibrate. he could put his shoulder to the wheel and come back. i suspect they are far more worried about it at the white house than we are at this table. i don't know if they can do
anything about it. >> but the answer is still, we want to focus on the next items coming up on the agenda. that cynthia mentioned. health care, clearly number one getting back to that this week. the climate change bill, even though therere concerns about the deficit. and though they're getting hammered from the left. people calling to go for more stimulus now. >> it's interesting because they clearly want to -- the president wants to advance his domestic agenda on health and energy. and he's going to be judged, i think without doubt, on whether the public's satisfied with how he dealt with the economy. and so, i think he runs a risk. he may win it all. but he runs a risk. as far as the vice president's statement that they were underestimated, i'm puzzled by that. if you remember, president obama was talking about the economy being in such a bad situation, it might never recover. then, he was urged by friends don't be quite so negative. so, i think they were seized early on and correctly so, at the dire condition of the economy. i love the doubt that they
really were surprised that the economy's bad. >> he got a little more help this week with his agenda. potentially more help. al franken finally made the 60th senator for the democrats from minnesota. here's al franken. >> the way i see it, i'm not going to washington to be the 60th democratic senator. i'm going to washington to be the second senator from the state of minnesota. and that's how i'm going to do this job. >> of course, george will, michael steele, the chairman of the republican party says, you have 60 votes now in the senate. you own everything. it's your burden. it's your show. go to it. >> that's true. they have custody of the whole country. and they have no excuses. they do have arlen specter. subtract one. he is, to say no more, unreliable. >> unreliable. except that arlen specter has a primary challenge. congressman joe sestak, of pennsylvania. and that can concentrate someone's mind. he's already come out and said pretty much, i'm going to be for
health care. but, matthew dowd, there are a fair amount of democrats who don't necessarily want to be that 60th vote on a lot of these issues. >> to me, it's interesting. when i reflect back on the bush administration. in 2002, when the republicans took the senate over. they had the senate and the house and the white house. to me, that was the beginning of the end of bush's sort of style of i want to be bipartisan. at that point, he o needed to be. he no to o he didn't have to reach across the aisle at all. as soon as they took the senate, we can do this oour we can dhathe moour problematic thing. if barack obama thinks, i can i think, in the end, that's not going to ben n him and the other thing we saw in bill clinton's expernce, he probably had more success. even though he passed his agenda with the democrats in the first after republicans take control in '94, poli com begins in '95. >> well, george was saying earlier, george will, that
scipblicanreuallcf1 they simply -- d ve disciplined, compared to democrats. as will rogers famouslsaid belong to no organized political pa having 60 votes doesn't mean a great deal for the democrats, as it turns out. >> they' pre disciplined so far is y >> they have been somewhat disciplined. you remember, george bush got those 60 republican senators to march in lockstep with him. throughout most of the time that they had those votes. even as his popularity with much of the public was beginning to decline, he still got republicans to march in lockstep. >> tony blankley, 15 seconds left, can barack obama get the same discipline? >> i think they're pretty disciplined right now. franken is a decisive vote. it means that collins is less decisive in aping the final deal on bill was a franken wl il be to obama's left. not to his right. be to obama's left. not to his right. >> you can continue this in "t
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and it's time, now, for "the sunday funnies." >> awoke to the sound of gunfire in his residence. he was still in his pajamas when the military forced him to leave the country. >> luckily for him, they were his military pajamas. >> the show "who wants to be a millionare," is returning to primetime. but during the recession, it's being renamed to "who wants 5 bucks and a taco?" >> here's good news for bernie madoff. only 149 years, 50 weeks to go. >> tonight, connecting with one of michael jackson's old friends and perhaps one of the oddest. bubbles the chimp. >> congratulations, anderson. this is even bigger than your
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