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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  August 31, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: after a farewell rally in florida, the republican >> woodruff: after a farewell rally in florida, the republican ticket split off in separate directions today-- mitt romney surveyed storm damage in louisiana and paul ryan stumped in virginia. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we have the latest on the campaign, and look back at last night's finale at the tampa bay times forum. >> woodruff: then, we turn to the storm known as isaac with two snapshots of its aftermath from our colleagues at louisiana public broadcasting. >> brown: the justice department ends its three-year investigation into alleged torture of terror suspects by the cia. margaret warner has our update.
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>> woodruff: while delegates gather for the democratic convention in north carolina, paul solman is on the ground, getting a preview of the party's economic platform. >> democratic economic advisor jarrod bernstein takes us around charlotte way pit stop at the nascar hall of fame, for an unusual policy demonstration. >> brown: what will it take to convince voters still on the fence? ray suarez watched mitt romney's speech last night with a group of undecided virginians. >> i thought it did a very good job of personalizing him. i thought he came across just a little more human. >> i just don't know if he has the fire to actually convince people to jump on board, whatever his policies end up. >> woodruff: and back from tampa, before heading to charlotte, are mark shields and david brooks. that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: with the convention over, republicans mitt romney and paul ryan officially launched into the general election campaign today. and president obama and vice president biden moved to answer the challenge and make ready for their own party gathering. on the morning after, the romney-ryan team came together in lakeland, florida, to thank the state for hosting the republican's big party. >> what a great convention, huh? >> brown: the vice presidential nominee stayed on the attack, drawing on a line from his convention speech. >> college grads should not spend their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, looking up at fading obama posters wondering when they can move out and get on with their lives! >> brown: the man at the top of the ticket also renewed a theme from his speech-- winning over
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former supporters of the president. >> i need to have you do the work on november 6 that gets me elected in florida. for that to happen, you are going to have to go out and find a person or two who voted for barack obama. i know they're here-- you can see some of the glue on the back of their bumper sticker. find them and convince them to get on the team. >> brown: romney then made a change to his schedule and diverted to louisiana to survey hurricane isaac storm damage with republican governor bobby jindal. >> i'm here to learn and obviously draw some attention to what's going on here so that people around the country know that the folks here need help. >> brown: it was all part of building on hoped-for momentum from the convention, which last night focused on mitt romney, the man and the leader.
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friends gave testimonials to his many unpublicized works and acts of kindness. pam finlayson spoke of romney's repeated help when her daughter struggled with health problems. >> as i sat with her in intensive care, consumed with a mother's worry and fear, dear mitt came to visit and pray with me. >> brown: florida senator marco rubio painted romney as a candidate who's lived the american dream. >> america has always been about new beginnings, and mitt romney is running for president because he knows that if we are willing to do for our children what our parents did for us, life in america can be better than it has ever been. >> when somebody does not do the job, we've got to let him go. >> brown: no doubt the strangest and most discussed speech of the evening came from its surprise guest, legendary actor clint eastwood, who gave an unscripted talk that included several offbeat moments, including addressing an imaginary president obama sitting in an
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empty chair. >> what do you want me to tell romney? i can't tell him to do that. he can't do that to himself. ( laughter ) you're absolutely crazy. >> brown: the headliner, of course, was the nominee himself, who spoke of a president who began his term with great fanfare and hope, but delivered only disappointment. >> today, four years from the excitement of that last election, for the first time, the majority of americans now doubt that our children will have a better future. it's not what we were promised. >> brown: for their part, the democratic ticket was having none of it. visiting auto workers in lordstown, ohio, vice president biden pushed back on several claims made by the republicans at the convention. >> they talk about extending the bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
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let me tell you where it goes. these are facts. $500 billion of the tax cuts will go to 120,000 families. seriously now-- $500 billion, half a trillion dollars, to 120,000 families. and by the way, i'm sure they are decent and patriotic, but i'm also sure they don't need it. >> brown: and at fort bliss, texas, today, president obama underscored his leadership role as commander in chief, speaking to troops on the two-year anniversary of the u.s. pull-out from iraq. >> we're winding down a decade of war, and we've restored american leadership. today, every american can be
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proud that the u.s. is safer, is stronger and more respected in world. >> brown: the president will make his own trip to the gulf on monday to survey the hurricane damage and clean-up. on tuesday, he and his party have a chance to make their case to the country at their convention in charlotte, north carolina. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: rescue and recovery after the storm; the end to torture investigations; the democrats' economic agenda; undecided voters on romney's address; plus, shields and brooks. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: the chairman of the federal reserve said again today the economic recovery still is "far from satisfactory". but ben bernanke stopped short of announcing new stimulus action as he addressed an annual fed conference in jackson hole, wyoming. he did repeat the central bank "should not rule out" such moves, if that's what it takes to bring down unemployment. wall street blew hot and cold on bernanke's remarks at different times of the day. in the end, the dow jones
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industrial average gained 90 points to close near 13,091. the nasdaq rose 18 points to close just below 3,067. for the month, the dow gained just under 1%; the nasdaq rose more than 4%. the population of gray wolves in wyoming will lose federal protection from hunters. the u.s. fish and wildlife service endorsed a plan today that allows wolves outside yellowstone national park to be shot on sight. ranchers and hunters had long pushed for the change, arguing that wolves kill too many cattle and game animals. environmental groups promised legal action to keep the wolves protected. in syria, rebels launched their own major operation around the country's second largest city. the coordinated attacks centered in aleppo in the north, where government forces have spent weeks trying to dislodge rebel fighters. video from anti-government groups showed fighters in the streets, buildings on fire, and plumes of smoke above the city skyline.
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the opposition groups said a number of regime soldiers were killed. fighting also went on for a third day inside a major air base in idlib province in the northwest. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: and we turn to the damage done by isaac. the storm is making its way north, hitting arkansas and mississippi today, and heading for the ohio river valley this weekend. waters are receding in louisiana, but cleanup could stretch out for weeks after isaac dumped more than a foot of rain and left some homes under 12 feet of water. our colleagues at louisiana public broadcasting have spent the past 48 hours covering the impact. we have two dispatches, beginning in madisonville, near lake ponchatrain, north of new orleans. the correspondent is charlie whinham. >> along the north shore in saint taminee parish a levee break flooded roughly 90% of
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the town. greg lived in his madisonville neighborhood for 12 years. he even moved recently to a home further away from lake ponchatrain in hopes he would be safer from the floods. >> i bought this house in october, completely remodeled it. it had never had water in it. you can see that the water was up above the base of those window frames right there and that put about eight inches of water in this house. that house has been here, that boarding house has been here for over 100 years, never had water in it and it has six inches of water in it we're coming back, there is no doubt about that, we'll rebuild. but it's a heartbreaker. >> reporter: heading east baton rouge and the campus of lsu. the school is holding hundreds of evacuees with special medical needs. and just blocks away from the makeshift emergency health facility the campus is also hosting close to 100,000 football fans for the home opener at tiger stadium on saturday.
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once again, the lsu field house is no stranger for hurricane relief efforts. >> we have doctors and nurses here from different state agencies. some volunteers. and we take care of people who don't qualify to go into a hospital but can't take care of themselves at home. so we take care of them here. i think it was in 1996 we started off with hurricane george, if you all remember that. we set up about four shelters. we work like hurricane george, we set up for hurricane ivan. we've done lily. we've done rita, katrina. we were here for that storm and took care of 11,000 people. we did gustav and ike and now we're doing hurricane isaac. >> brown: our second report is from shauna sanford, she spoke with people in st. john the baptist parish in la place also near lake ponchatrain and west of new orleans. >> reporter: it may look like a small lake but it's really just the shoulder of airline highway heading toward la place, the handi
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work of hurricane isaac. >> the roads look horrible. the subdivisions are horrible. >> reporter: stacey brennan and her husband were among the many residents of st. john the baptist par whoirb waited in gas lines for hours to fill up their vehicles and gas cans. while the area has never taken on this much water, stacey says they have seen and weathered plenty of storms. >> we were in andrew in 1992. my mom's house got totalled. for katrina, so we just try to bunker down and help everybody who we can help. and help ourselves. >> reporter: and in some areas on thursday the water was still very deep sending search crews from the military, sheriff's office, national guard and the department of wildlife and fisheries into neighborhoods to rescue those trapped inside their homes. despite the threat of isaac tracy never considered leaving her home. >> i've been here about six years and i've got other people been here 10, 20, 30
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years and says this has never happened in laplace. that is what we all say. >> residents have been forced to evacuate, boarding buses headed to shelters in alexandria, shreveport and monroe. rpt returning from out of town eric found his home underwater. >> it's heart-wrenching but you can't do nothing about it. >> reporter: waiting nearby was gerard who works for the parish's animal control department. >> we couldn't get out and we ended up having to call for somebody to evacuate us. katrina, the water only came halfway up my driveway. this here, the water came in the house about two feet. >> you never know what they say, you never note. you know, you been around for years and still t doesn't happen to us. it doesn't happen to us. it will happen to whoever, whenever, you never know. you can't top mother nature, no matter where are you. >> reporter: a tough lesson to learn, but one she and others won't soon forget.
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>> woodruff: in the wake of isaac, some state and local officials are pressing anew for a federal commitment to strengthen the levee protection system for other parts of southern louisiana. >> brown: the justice department has closed the door on bringing any criminal charges in connection with interrogations of terror suspects by the cia. margaret warner has the story. >> warner: late yesterday, attorney general eric holder announced no one would be prosecuted in the last two outstanding cases involving the deaths of cia detainees after 9/11. his statement said, "the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt." three years ago, holder launched a probe into whether any cia personnel in secret overseas prisons exceeded the harsh interrogation techniques approved by the justice department in 2002 and in 2005. the final two cases involved the
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2002 death in afghanistan of a suspected al qaeda figure in an agency prison near bagram air base, and the 2003 death in iraq of an abu ghraib prisoner during interrogation by cia officers. a military autopsy ruled it a homicide. the american civil liberties union called holder's decision "nothing short of a scandal." holder noted the larger issues around torture still aren't resolved, saying: "our inquiry does not resolve broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct." for more, we turn to ken dilanian, who covers national security for the "los angeles times." >> ken, welcome to the program. so what's behind this decision on eric holder's part. >> well, a lot about this remains secret. this is a secret investigation of a classified operation. but what we know is that the justice department is saying they just couldn't make a case here, they're not say nothing crime was committed. and the other thing that it's important to understand about this is that these
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cases were not part of the enhanced interrogation technique program that the cia carried out. that conduct had already been investigated, no charges were filed. and holder had decided he wasn't going to hold anyone accountable for things they did pursuant to justice department legal opinion. so these were two cases in war zones where the allegations were the conduct exceeded the boundaries of what was permissible. >> even under those harsh interrogation techniques about which we heard and debated so much back when they came to light. so when he said the evidence wasn't admissible or there wasn't enough admissible evidence to sustain a conviction, what does he mean. i mean what was wrong with the evidence they had. >> s there a lot of, you can read between the lines when you talk about jurisdictional individualsio, statute of limitations occurred nine and ten years ago, there were no crimes, alleged crimes. there is also in the case of ginadu who died at abu
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ghraib in 2003, for example in that case it is alleged navy seals bet him first before he was transferred to the custody of the cia interrogater and the reporting is that that interrogater may not have actually beaten him but he was strung up in a way with broken ribs that causes death. and there's a lot of question about who had custody when, and just weren't able to make a case. >> warner: so you mean that is the case in which the military autopsy said it was a homicide but are you saying when are you prosecuting you are trying to make the case t was hard to know who was really responsible for the fatal injuries. >> that appears to be how it shook out. >> now how did these two cases, first of all, does this close the book, are these the last of the cases that the justice department was looking at? >> it does. it closes the book on the criminal investigation. now senate democrats have done an investigation of the interrogation program that remains classified. there may be something, relief on that sometime this year, that looks at the largest-- larger program and the techniques including water boarding and-- but in
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terms of criminal culpability, this depends it. >> warner: and what was it about these two particular cases that made them survive all the other vetting and reviews that had gone on. >> well, i mean, there were deaths, in the one case, the death is ruled a homicide. you know, there were just so many obvious things that cried out for investigation here. there was no legal authorization for what took place with these two men. so i think that explains why. and the cases have been examined previously by previous justice department prosecutors and no evidence was found to charge a crime in that case either. >> warner: now does the cia still have an interrogation program? >> no, in fact, the cia will tell you they are out of the interrogation. and very few terrorism suspects are held who are not captured on the battlefield these days. there was one case of a person held on a navy ship for a few months and then transferred to charge
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criminally in court in new york. but in a case where there is going to be end up being a federal criminal charge they really don't have a place to put people since they're not going to put people in guantanamo prison. >> warner: so for instance, if they capture somebody in say afghanistan where the u.s. is still in active theatre, who, and they want to interrogate him, who does the interrogation. >> in that case it's the military. they may go to bagram in cooperation with the afghans. so that's not an issue. but in terms of capturing someone in yemin or somalia, that is where the problem lies. and i think what is happening largely is that the yemini government is capturing and interrogating suspects that we're interested in. >> now what has been the reaction in the intelligence community and from the agency. >> you know, a lot of satisfaction expressed. people were very frustrated that these investigations went forward under the obama administration there was a feeling that this stuff had already been investigated. we were acting pursuant to trying to protect the american people so a lot of
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gratification expressed and no charges filed. >> warner: and petraeus gave a statement, did he not. >> it was a carefully considered statement. and panetta was more forward in announcing that no charges were filed last year in the other 100 cases. petraeus praised people for cooperating with the investigation. >> warner: after the fact. >> yeah. >> warner: ken dilanian, from its "los angeles times"s, thank you. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: and we come back to politics. last friday, newshour economics correspondent paul solman looked at how mitt romney's policies could affect the economy, as seen by business people in tampa. tonight, he visits the host city for the democratic national convention for some perspective on the president's record. our story is part of paul's ongoing reporting, "making sense of financial news." >> reporter: 575 highway miles due north of tampa, florida, and
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the republicans-- charlotte, north carolina, a hub of the "new south"-- very new. and in this self-dubbed world center on monday, the democrats will convene. vice president joe biden's first economic advisor, jared bernstein, joined us here. so that's where the convention is going to be next week. what's the essence of the democratic economic platform? >> i think the essence is twofold-- first, to build an economy where our businesses and entrepreneurs can grow and flourish, where they have the tools and the resources they need; and second, to ensure that that growth helps to build a strong middle class. >> reporter: tim mullaney is the kind of middle class businessman the democrats are pitching, and one of the interviews they lined up for us. he owns a printing business his father started in the 1960s. a loan from the obama small business administration allowed him to buy this $100,000 four- color printer.
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>> it was an sba express loan that id never heard of, and my banker was telling me about it. about four hours later, she called, and she said, "okay, we've got approval. are you coming into the bank or am i coming out to you with some papers?" and i just kind of took a deep breath and said, "how about tomorrow? how about i sleep on this and make sure, before we spend $100,000." and two days later, it was sitting here on the floor. >> reporter: the president's so- called recovery act beefed up the sba, and its express loan program enabled the accelerated depreciation, so mullaney could deduct the entire purchase from his business income in the very first year. in tampa last week, we talked to a couple of small-businessmen, one of them a printer like yourself. they said, romney-ryan's all about small business, that's the distinction between the republicans and the democrats this time around. >> i'm not sure that they support small business any better than the president supports small business. we need the tax incentives; we've got tax incentives. >> reporter: but the republicans
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say they are going to cut taxes even more. >> i'd always like for my taxes to be less. nobody wants to pay any more than they absolutely have to. but with the current president, we've managed to invest in two new people and bring them on and put them to work >> reporter: bringing the total number of workers to nine. so you heard that and you're thinking... >> well, a lot of people seem to think that president obama raised taxes on businesses. in fact, he's quite an aggressive tax cutter, particularly when it came to small businesses. >> reporter: so then its not fair for the republicans to identify themselves with small business in contrast to the democrats? >> it's not fair, but its also factually inaccurate. you heard about the small business express loan, the 100% expensing. these are obama policies targeted at small businesses. >> reporter: as for obama policies targeted at larger businesses, jared bernstein decided to pick up the pace. and so, he took us to one of charlotte's major attractions, the nascar hall of fame.
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i know nascar is here in charlotte, where the convention is, but it doesn't seem like the traditional democrats venue. >> i have to disagree. when i think about an american auto industry that's not only key to the nation, but key to north carolina-- it's actually the eighth largest auto employment in the nation. but i think the important point, especially with all of these american cars around here, is that had the administration not acted to rescue g.m. and chrysler, their liquidation was pretty certain. and it's a stark contrast with the republicans, who basically argued that, you know, they just should have been able to liquidate. so its kind of like this market solution at a time when it really could have meant the end of the american auto industry as we've come to know it. and here in a state like north carolina, where there are tens of thousands of auto jobs, they would be lost. >> reporter: now, the hall of fame is known for its interactive exhibits, and though this next sequence may seem over-the-top, there was a method
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to the madness of vying for the museum pit crew record of nine seconds. to bernstein, it was a double exercise in fitness... >> i'm breaking a schvitz here! >> reporter: ...and more to the point, keynesian economic stimulus. >> you have an economy that's zipping along, doing fine, but it gets a flat tire or it runs out of gas. it pulls into the pit, gets some stimulus by a bunch of folks working together to temporarily help boost its activity, and they get out of the way and it's back off and running. >> reporter: it's this notion of public-private partnership that bernstein and his democratic allies emphasized all day long. the mayor of charlotte, anthony foxx, provided the next testimonial. >> the relationship between business and government has to be close. >> reporter: foxx took office back in december of 2009, at the height of unemployment in
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charlotte-- 28,000 jobs lost in just 14 months. >> we've scratched and clawed our way back. one of the things i'm proudest of is we've got a cultural campus down on south tryon street, and we had to raise $83 million of private money to match the public sector investment. we have two companies, siemens and celgard, that have gotten investments through the recovery act, and they've doubled their capacity in their plants. they're hiring more people at very good price points. >> reporter: but might not this be making the mistake of the government "picking the winners," as opposed to letting the market decide? >> as a mayor, i don't have the luxury of going and passing off to someone else the job of getting my people back to work. i want to see them getting back to work, and i know the president's done a great job of doing it. >> reporter: a great job? unemployment north of 8%, and if you're using a more inclusive number, as we do, it could be 27 million americans now who are either un- or under-employed. >> well, the president has taken us from losing three-quarters of
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a million jobs every month to now growing jobs. the private sector has grown jobs 29 successive months. >> reporter: on the other hand, mayor foxx and jared bernstein both acknowledge how tight the job market remains. and thus, the campaign's focus on education. at the university of north carolina's 25,000-student charlotte campus, public policy graduate student kristen clanton will have borrowed nearly $50,000 by the time she gets her masters. an obama volunteer, her gratitude stems from the administration's push to keep the interest rate on federally subsidized loans from doubling. >> it's enough to think about the debt i have currently, but to have to think about, you know, the debt i'm going to accrue by the time i finish graduate school. and then if that were to increase or even double because of, you know, the increase in the interest for student loans, that would be, you know, very difficult. >> reporter: but it's not just student loans that differentiate the democrats from the republicans, says jared bernstein, but pell grants. >> this is financial assistance,
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very important to middle- and lower-income students. the president doubled pell grants. the republican agenda is to cut those quite severely. >> reporter: and, says bernstein, it would also cut educational aid to veterans like 35-year-old david miller. >> it used to be, as a disabled veteran like myself, you only got roughly $500 a month for disability. who can live off that? >> reporter: miller says he wouldn't have been able to afford school without government assistance. before president obama, he says, the veteran's administration was an under-funded mess. >> you could not even get anybody on the phone, you could not see anybody in person; you had no clue. >> reporter: but the president reorganized the v.a. and increased funding substantially. david miller went back to school. you're here as a case in point for the democratic argument. do you actually think that if there were a republican administration, you'd be cast out? you would no longer be able to go to school here? >> no, i don't want to say i'd
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be cast out, but look at the romney-ryan 50-point plan. it doesn't mention veterans. it doesn't mention us at all. >> reporter: so that's why you had us talk to him. >> i mean, that's part of the reason. if you actually look at the house republican budget authored by paul ryan, it implements significant cuts in the veterans administration-- something like 20%. and that's just this kind of across-the-board spending cuts that hit everybody, including the kinds of services we just were talking about. >> reporter: last stop-- back at the convention center with jared bernstein, the trappings finally going up. we've been a lot of places today, and what i've kept hearing is "lets protect what we've done," as opposed to, "here's what were going to do in the next four years." >> i think protecting what we've done and implementing it in full is very much part of the agenda over the next four years. the affordable care act, financial regulatory reform-- neither of those are anywhere near fully implemented, and both of them are on the republican
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chopping block. >> reporter: at some point today in the car, you said you thought you could tweet the entire difference between the democrats and the republicans. >> yeah, i think i can get that in under 140 characters. "republican economic platform: markets rule."" democratic economic platform: markets rule except for when they fail, and when they do we got to do something about it." >> reporter: well, 165 characters, it turns out. but in far longer form, the theme we'll be hearing in charlotte next week. >> brown: the economy may be the deciding factor for voters who still haven't made up their minds. polls show just a sliver of the electorate is truly undecided this year, only 3% to 5%. a new abc news/"washington post" poll today indicates one in four registered voters may be "persuadable," though. ray suarez sat down with some who say they are undecided in the swing state of virginia as they listened in on the final night of the republican convention.
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>> suarez: virginia switched from being an historically "red" state to the "blue" column when it voted for president obama last time. now, the battleground state is too close to call. we gathered six northern virginia voters to watch governor romney's acceptance speech carefully, and with 67 days till election day, they're still undecided. martha paschal, 51, a life-long democrat who voted for the president in 2008, but says she's reluctant to do it again. adam salazar, a 26 year-old grad student, who considers himself a republican, but voted for president obama last election. annabel foery, 64, who voted republican in the last two presidential elections, but isn't sure she trusts governor romney and wants to see more cooperation on both sides to get things done. beth hersom, 30, a registered democrat who considers herself a swing voter. she voted for obama but declares
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herself "disappointed," particularly on the issue of abortion. ben harris, a 21 year old college student who is casting his first vote, and supported john mccain the last time around. and tom wilson, 46, an independent, and an obama voter in '08, who is very concerned about the future of the economy for his family. was tonight's speech useful to you? did it add something to everything you're taking onboard to help you make up your mind? i didn't find enough meat on it, but i appreciated some of his statements, particularly the statements about his... about his position towards family values, towards the most important value in america was faith. that appealed to me, but i - im looking at it - the situation from what's good for the whole of america, and i didn't find enough in that speech to make me sure that he would be that. >> he talked about developing
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skills and choice in schools, but he didn't connect like how do you get there? how are we going to improve that issue? what would you do as president to help with that issue? and i think on every point he did that. but just was really nothing behind his ideas other than, you know, "look, we can do better than we've done and i'm the guy to maybe do better." >> i was also paying particular attention to his personality and that's something that i've trying to gauge over the last few months or so. and in particular, does he have the personality to kind of lead a divided congress, you know? he has certain ideas, but does he have the personality and the charisma to actually get those accomplished? >> you cannot not raise taxes on the middle class, keep the defense going, reduce... eliminate the budget deficit and keep the social programs that romney had mentioned. it's just not financially feasible in my opinion.
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>> when he talks about, you know, repeal obamacare, and replace it with something and he just - he brushed on it, what do you mean? what are you going to replace it with? and what are you going to do because that's huge? and paul ryan, i mean, i know were talking about romney, but paul ryan said something last night that - he said, you know, that obama enacted this thing nobody asked for it. nobody wanted it. well, obama ran on health care. he said this is what i want to do. this is what im offering to you. and we elected him. >> suarez: what are the major issues for you as you make up your minds in the next couple of weeks, ben? >> i think really for me, i was a little disappointed that he sort of education, he mentioned it for about a sentence. i would have liked to have seen that a little bit more. this might entirely be because my mother is a teacher and im a college student, but, i mean, really feel that education is probably one of the most important things that our government can do for us.
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>> what he needed to do - what he could have done that would have been, i think, very helpful for me, is to tell me how your business experience translates into being the chief executive of our country and developing jobs for our economy. and maybe you cant do it in a 30-minute speech, maybe that's the problem. but i think that he, listening to some of the other speeches, even his vice president, i thought were just much stronger in terms of at least giving us sort of the broad themes of how it would be accomplished. >> for me, i like what he said about lets not knock success. were not about knocking success in this country. applaud the people who have made we want to encourage it and applaud the people who have made it. and i think that his... the fact that he has had the experience working with money and a lot of money is a good thing because, lets face it, our government takes a lot of money to run. >> i would like to see, honestly, a little more honesty. he said, at one point, "oh, i would love to have seen obama
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succeed." i mean, yes, but then you picked paul ryan as your vice president, who basically spent the last four years fighting vigorously against everything obama did to the point where significant portions of things haven't been passed, like his promises, which were, you know... i agree with mitt romney, very farfetched and honestly a lot of them were unrealistic. but i mean, there hasn't been a budget in years largely due to republicans refusing to give in to any of the democrat's sort of desires on a budget. >> suarez: anything else that we need to hear between now and election day that will get you closer, for one guy or the other, that you really need and you're still waiting on? >> i think a couple of other people kind of mentioned this. but i think that, you know, there are a lot of tough choices that a president has to make right now and you can't do
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everything at once. and i would like to see him kind of take a little... for being somebody who took a lot of risks in business and he succeeded, i'd like to see him take a little bit more risk in telling me, specifically, what i'm going to prioritize and what i'm willing to drop, and that's a tough choice, but im willing to put all my energy behind it, and convince me that that is the right vision for creating jobs or helping the american public. >> suarez: did this speech alleviate anybody's concerns or answer any outstanding questions about mitt romney? >> i thought that it did a very good job of personalizing him. i thought he came across as little more human. you know, the poor guy, he's... >> he's really not a robot. >> yes, he's just not comfortable interacting with everybody and politics is the art of the personal connection. that's tough for him and i
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thought the speech went a long way. >> i was listening to marco rubio beforehand, who i never really heard in a long speech, either, and i found him much more charismatic, much more attractive personality-wise than i did mr. romney. >> suarez: uh-oh. i don't think that was the intention. >> but i did. but i want... i want to find this - mr. romney - i would like mitt romney to have this personality that people will look to and the competency. and i'm hoping for that. >> suarez: so he's still got a shot with you. >> oh, yes. yes, he's got a shot definitely. >> suarez: i mean, the dissatisfaction im hearing isn't necessarily disqualifying-- you just want more. >> we have to make a choice between one or the other, so. >> i would put personality low on my list because personality is not going to pay my bills. it's not going to pay my mortgage. and whenever i call my banks and i tell them i got a great
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personality, they say, "okay, that's wonderful." >> i like him a little better as a person after that speech. he - you know, talking about his family and he choked up a little talking about his mom. and you know, that was good to i - i like him a little better as a man, but it doesn't change my opinion of him as a candidate and - and i don't - i mean, and i don't think that it should. >> suarez: at the end of the night, all six were as undecided as they came in. they'll get together next week to compare notes on president obama's acceptance speech. we'll have that for you next friday. >> woodruff: and with us once again, as they've been every night this week, are shields and brooks-- that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. welcome, gentlemen, you made it back, as i was just saying you drove from tampa to washington, not quite,
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not quite, you flew. we just heard from these undecided voter, they are still undecided, they are not yet sold after listening carefully, mark, last night. does that tell you anything about what mitt romney was able -- >> no, these are the gold mine it is both campaigns, these are the people they are trying to reach. i means that's where the battle will be fought. but i guess if you are's the romney campaign, you hope that there would be three or four battlefield conversions that stand up and say that does it for me, i'm willing to join. but i think it makes us stay tuned for next week and find out what happens after barack obama is still undecided then we're probably on to the detate-- debates. >> i have to say, there's obviously a high degree of skepticism, you hear it in the audience and country. and i think it makes you think when you go back to romney's speech that the policy likeness is probably excess-- there wasn't enough policy. they had to humanize him. people in interview, especially on camera will say policy really matters.
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but personality really matters too. it is historically dualed that people want to vote for somebody they like. but i think, he had to have a little more policy. he had five points which were very generic. and not particularly his cutting edge points. tax reform, simplifying the tax code, lowering the rates and cutting some loopholes that wasn't there and that is a keystone of his campaign. entitlement reform. changing the structure of medicare, that wasn't there. and so you know, just as the families that were most compelling were not 9 professional politicians, so in presenting himself maybe to be less professionally political, and a little more corporate, to be honest, here's what mi going to do. you may not like me but here is what you will get, i think that might have worked a little better. >> woodruff: what was your main take away from the speech. >> from a rom know's speech, the end of the convention, judy, is a little bit like heavyweight championship fight, we're between rounds
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right now. you see each candidate kind of goes back to his corner and assess the damage and what they've accomplished. i think what they accomplished in both the speech and in the week was to inflict some doubts upon barack obama. that there's no second act. what is it, i think that is something that certainly has been raised by paul ryan, was raised by other speakers. how would a second obama administration be different. and i think that's a real problem that has to be addressed in charlotte. as far as, and in addition to that, i think the case that the president has made against mitt romney has been just relentlessly negative. and rather than which is companion to that first point. and i think mitt romney, he's not a great speaker. we get very few transformational speeches at conventions. gerald ford gave one in 1976
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when he unexpectedly just electrified a crowd in kansas city and jumped in the polls and kind of started his comeback against jimmy carter with the remarks that you were the people who obeyed the laws. you were the people who go to work every day and make america work. it kind of gave a new gerald ford, bill clinton did the same. ordinarily it doesn't happen and mitt romney didn't do t quite honestly. >> woodruff: how much does that matter, if he didn't. >> well, he didn't do that. but he did-- i think it's hard to portray him as an unfeeling, corporate rich guy. he had a sort of richie rich image that came out of a lot of the ads that ran against him. and i do think he has overcome that to a significant degree. i think you have to say it was a successful convention. i thought-- he comes across as a more rich and complex human being. i thought one of the strongest points in the speech was the indictment of obama, are you better off, the line that was the day
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you felt best about president obama, the day you voted for him. >> that was the best. >> yeah. >> and then even ann romney's, this man will not fail. that he does seem to succeed, he works hard, he does what he needs to do to succeed. and frankly i thought paul ryan's line that the obama is sort of-- i forgot the exact line, sailing on spent wind that is actually a true point so far. maybe that will be proved incorrect next week in charlotte. but i do think it hits at something that is real. the obama administration, they know they really don't like the republican plan. they're not quite sure what their support, and i even think in paul's piece what jarrod bernstein said was a bit of that too. and so i thought they made some real progress in making some strong arguments. >> what about, mark, the rest 6 last night, david touched on that. the ode folks who testified, did testimonials about what mitt romney-- i thought they were great, i thought they
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were quite effecting. part of mitt romney that would never see testimony given before. there were acts of just enormous kindness and generosity. the one question that was raised, it he is a legitimate one, is that he is enormously kind to people he can see. and acts of personal kindness and generosity of time. but policies affect all kinds of people you don't see. millions of people that he will never come in contact with. and so acts of personal generosity and thoughtfulness, while totally add miferable and a source of great admiration and appreciation, really don't affect public policy. i mean some of the nicee people i know have voted for some of the meanest legislation. and some of the really selfish people i know have voted for legislation that has touched and changed and been compassionate in changing people's lives. so i think david is right, it did present him in a
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different light. but it didn't give us a sense of the public policy that he would run on. >> i think they do have toy make a stronger case that their policies which will increase jobs and help the poor people where a 22-year-old kid living in the basement, i do think they have a problem of talking too much to, as if everyone in america was a small businessman. >> yes. >> and if you-- if everyone sort of add mirs entrepreneurs. we're not all small businesspeople. >> uh-huh. i think a point i tried to make over the week is you are a 22-year-old waitress, maybe with a kid, what exactly did you hear last week that is helping you. you're a guy in a warehouse making 9 buckance hour and you made 9 buckance hour ten years ago, what exactly did you hear. and i think there are a lot of people in america who, you know, they are not going to be hick people, and they probably didn't hear that much. maybe they will get some benefit as small businesses grow but nothing that immediate, the immediate problems of paying for your kid's college or wage stagnation. you didn't hear that
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immediately. >> in fact, i think i remember when you posed that question to senator mcconnell, to mitch mcconnell. what do republicans say in answer to that. >> i mean, haley barber had the best of what the obligation was, former governor of mississippi, he said this convention was about mitt romney establishing that he wasn't a practicing plur crat. i mean it had to come across, that is both problematic and personal as well. i mean david is absolutely right. i mean it was like a meeting of the national association of federal of small businesses. i mean you know, nobody, is anybody a social worker? there was no mention of the military at all. >> except for condi. >> but i mean i'm talking about in its presidential acceptance speech. iraq and afghanistan went absolutely unremarked upon. and this was after we -- >> but i mean, no, it
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was-- so i mean those who would stand at freedom's watch tonight, i mean, you know t seemed to come down, if you had a business, you were to be elevated. >> there is a supposition in there which is questionable, frankly, which is that if gdp goes up, if productivity goes up, everybody will benefit. and that is a supposition, we're going to get growth going, business going and everybody will benefit, frankly you look at the history of the last 20 or 30 years, that's not necessarily so. >> that's right. >> productivity has risen, wages have not necessarily risen because of rewards are skills is so much greater than it used to be. and the penalty for lack of skills is so much greater than it used to be. and republicans frankly didn't address that problem and i do think that remains a problem. >> but isn't that much of the premise that they base that argument on. >> well, their basic supposition is that capital civil basically functioning the way it has. so frankly the way it has for hundreds of years, that as the economy grows everybody gets a piece of
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it. but we have to have some doubts about that because of the structure. >> we are in a new century, where the median income for a family has gone down. since the turn of the century. beyond-- prior to the recession. the other thing that we didn't mention was, of course, the testimonial was clint east wood. >> i was going to say the person there was not a small businessman. >> he was there for a specific constituency, older white males. and that is a target group. i mean it's one that is very anti-barack obama, and one that, and it was, i have to say, as effecting and touching as those testimonials were about his personal generosity from people at his parish or in his church, i just thought it was a change of tone, there were tasteless aspects to it i thought there was a discomfort factor with all of the romney grandchildren there present. and it just, it just didn't work. as much as i-- and i stand
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as an absolutely uncritical fan of his work. but boy,. >> of eastwood. >> of eastwood's. >> work as an actor and director. >> i would say mitt romney is a manager and they have had a successful campaign and convention. i ran for journalists who wanted to view those for a documentary for another network and they were not letting them go out there. what on earth were they thinking. and secondly allowing an 82-year-old guy to get up with a national audience with no history of giving political speeches, unscripted, that is an issue,. >> how does all this change or does it, what president obama needs to do with the democrats need to do at their convention. >> i think president obama has to have a positive, definite, specific message about how the second administration would be different. and what-- affirmatively. you would hope that president obama would go in
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and think in these terms, i'm not going to address mitt romney. if i were just running for re-election on my own. what is my case. what is the case i want to make on what i have done, why i have done it, how it has succeeded and what i have learned from it, and what i will do differently and better in the second term and how america in your life will be better. i mean not just we have to stop mitt romney because -- >> what do you think. >> completely agree. he has to prove he is not intellectually exhausted, he has to prove his administration is to the run by the political team. that there is a policy a againa. there. and you go back and look at some of the policies they're talking about, infrastructure, bank, green energy, they're fine, they're small. they're also exactly the same thing he was talking about when he was a united states senator. has there been a new idea in obama world in the past three or four years. i have trouble, frankly, thinking of that thing. but they have to unveil something to-- and you know the economist, the cover is-- of the coming issue is
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one little question, mr. obama what do you want to do. and that is the question. >> well, they're saying they had a conference call today with reporters and they are saying we will talk about the second term so i guess we'll find out. >> better have something pretty specific i think. >> we are specifically glad that the two of you made it safely back to washington. we know you are heading to charlotte with all of us for next week. david brooks, mark shields, thank you. >> woodruff: and a postscript-- we have a week's worth of highlights from the republican national convention online, including all of mitt romney's acceptance remarks and other speeches. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: fresh off his convention, republican presidential nominee mitt romney flew to louisiana to survey the hurricane damage. president obama addressed troops at fort bliss, texas. he said his administration has restored american leadership in the world. and federal reserve chairman ben bernanke said the economic recovery remains "far from satisfactory". but he stopped short of announcing any new stimulus action. online, more politics, and other
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stories making news. kwame holman explains. >> holman: ray reports on a vietnam veteran on a hunger strike aimed at bringing attention to the rise in military suicides. back in tampa, members of the foreign press told us how they cover the u.s. presidential race. gwen ifill has five things to look for in charlotte next week. and on "need to know" this evening, in part two on winning a key swing state-- tonight, the democrats' strategy. find a link to "the battle for ohio" on our web site, plus much more at judy. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. "washington week" has a special edition from north carolina later this evening. we'll see you from charlotte and here on monday, and the next day we begin our primetime and online coverage of the democratic convention. have a great weekend. thank you for joining us tonight and all week. good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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bnsf and from carnegie corporation >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made
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