tv John King USA CNN May 27, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
>> reporter: now there's a paper version of that hat, brainchild of a minnesota artist, dan lacey. at least with the wind it is relatively wind proof. that's half a catch all right. god save the queen's hat. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. i am candy crawley in the situation room. i will be back sunday for state of the union. john king usa starts now. thanks, candy. good evening. sarah palin is back front and center teeing up the bus tour for the campaign style bus tour that has many thinking she'd skip the 2012 presidential race. well, think again. >> we have a vision for the future of our country and it is
a vision anchored in time tested truth. freedom is a god given right. >> there are many that say a palin campaign would squeeze out fell ee tea party favorite michele bachmann. but bachmann says she's ready to run and not worried about governor palin or anyone else. >> if i chose to run, i run to win. that's the only way that i do it, because if i'm it, i'm it, and i will do -- i am an extremely hard worker. >> a busy day, spicy day. we begin in islam bad. tense moments between america's top noigss and the highest military officer. secretary of state clinton made clear the united states has no evidence suggesting top pakistan military figures provided safe haven to osama bin laden, but also made clear obama administration expects pakistan to find out if lower level officials knew and expects pakistan to be a more consistent
partner. >> america cannot and should not solve pakistan's problems. that's up to pakistan. but in solving its problems, pakistan should understand that anti-americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear. >> that meeting took place as word surfaced that bin laden at one point contemplated a deal with pakistan. he would call off attacks on pakistan targets in exchange for safe passage of al qaeda leaders. they were trying to make peace, trying to make amends, but polite words in public. we are told a tense meeting in private. >> reporter: frank and candid is what they say. this relationship has hit new lows since the raid that killed osama bin laden.
effectively, the pakistanis say that violated their sovereignty. and this relationship really is such a strategic one is in a precarious situation now indeed. hillary clinton said at a turning point. she came here with a simple message and it is this. the united states puts a lot of money into pakistan, billions of dollars every year, it wants to see return on that. she wants to see action from the pakistanis to show they really want to mend this relationship. what does she want? more of an effort against the insurgents, commitments to go hard after the insurgents, lockdown that afghanistan, pakistan border, stop the flow of militants into afghanistan, all of that to aid the u.s. efforts to stabilize afghanistan and ultimately begin to draw down their troops. but in pakistan, they feel as if they're caught in the crossfire. tens of thousands of pakistanis died in the past ten years as a result of terrorist attacks. rather than see the u.s. as a
help, they see them as a hinderance. many pakistanis saying they are actually the cause of the problems here. >> and anti-american sentiment strong to begin with, how much more intense is it now after the radon the bin laden compound? >> reporter: just before the bin laden compound, they took a poll and found a little over 10% support for the united states. that has plummeted even more since then. speaking personally as a reporter, the moment you go into the streets here, you feel the hostility. people will not even speak to us. they suspect us. police are often called the moment we go out to try to report or speak to anyone. now, the situation is this. people look at the united states and say the u.s. pressure on pakistan to try to go after the insurgents harder causes a blow back. the militants retaliate. they target civilians. tens of thousands of civilians
have been killed in the past ten years. hillary clinton acknowledged that, but also said this relationship is vital and she wants to see more of an effort from pakistan to move forward. >> stan grant, live tonight. thank you. >> for more on what kind of a deal bin laden wanted from pakistan. >> reporter: that treasure trove that they hauled from the bin laden compound, analysts have been pouring over it the past week or so. they discovered documents that says osama bin laden and his aides talked about a deal, going to pakistan, saying look, we won't attack you, pakistan. in exchange, you allow our senior leadership to live here, basically to protect us. all of these come from messages between bin laden and his top operation chief over the last year. the key thing is, though, u.s. officials now tell us that they
don't see an actual request by al qaeda. in other words, they don't see anything in which they actually went to pakistani officials with this offer on the table. they say it looks to be at this point just in the discussion phase by al qaeda leaders. >> just in the discussion phase, chris, that's an important point. is there anything that sheds any light on the relationship if there was a relationship between bin laden and some intermediary in the pakistani intelligence or government? >> reporter: you can look at it two ways, john. on one hand, it shows bin laden thought there was someone in the military or intelligence apparatus in pakistan that may be receptive to this deal. on the other hand, you could look at it from the pakistani side and they could say look, there was no deal on the table. we didn't know bin laden was there. senior u.s. officials have said this is a very mixed message from pakistan. on one hand, they say cut down on drone strikes, reduce the number of military trainers,
shutting down some of the military intelligence sites in the country. but a senior u.s. official also said we asked for access to bin laden's wives, we got it. we asked for the stealth helicopter back, they gave it back. now they are allowing the cia to take a forensic team into the compound. so he said the relationship isn't beyond repair and shows maybe, just maybe there may be areas in which the cia and pakistan's intelligence service can find a way to work together going forward. >> pakistan's ambassador to the united states got agitated at the least when cnn asked him about bin laden's idea. >> the question is did he leave it with anyone. the u.s. government clearly says he did not, it was something that he and his asoes atmosphere were considering amongst themselves. if we knew something about it, we would have done something about it long ago. >> let's dig deeper on the u.s. pakistani relations and the
united states. brian bennett with us, works the intelligence beat for los angeles times. i want you both to listen to secretary clinton after the meeting. on the one hand, she's trying to i don't know if make nice is the right words but calm the anger. she says we're at a turning point, and then -- >> we have reached a turning point. osama bin laden is dead, but al qaeda and its syndicate of terror remain a serious threat to us both. there is momentum toward political reconciliation in afghanistan, but the insurgency continues to operate from safe havens here in pakistan. >> almost ten years now after 9-11, fran, what she's saying is the problem is not afghanistan, the problem is pakistan. >> well, i think that's exactly right, john. look, this is to say the access,
in advance of her trip, pakistanis agreed to give cia access to the compound. to call that a baby step is generous. this is really, really a small step. but they are desperate. they're looking for anything to build confidence between the u.s. and pakistan. and let's be honest, while we can be outraged by duplicity or come police tee on the part of their government, we can't afford to walk away from them. we need them in afghanistan. we can't afford -- the notion of walking away given the fact it is a nuclear country, we can't afford to risk nuclear weapons falling into the hands of the taliban. >> is it fair to say it is a transaction relationship more than strategic partnership? >> that's how it looked in the last couple weeks. she delayed the trip last week. during the course of that delay, it was when pakistan agreed to let the cia go on to the osama bin laden compound, and also gave access to the wives.
so there is this going on. it is fair to have pakistan in half in than all the way out. >> what is your sense of your sources, still sources in the government, about secretary clinton says we have no evidence anyone in the government or high in the military was harboring bin laden, knew he was there. what is the sense of trust in the head of the intelligence services, that's where you always hear they provide safe haven to some of the pakistani taliban, al qaeda people, the bad guys. >> you know, john, funny you should ask. just today i met with a senior u.s. military official with firsthand knowledge of nato and operations. it was very clear to me at least that they have no confidence in the head of the pakistani intelligence service. it is likely he understood precisely what was going on. i think u.s. officials expect he may not retain his job. the question is will the head of the military retain his job. while they thought that was sort of assured, in the wake of the core acho attack on the naval
air base, it is not clear kayani can survive. >> what is your sense of what the cia hopes to find or suspect is still left behind. navy s.e.a.l.s took what they could grab, but the c ia suggest maybe there's something in the walls or ground or other intelligence clues that you couldn't swoop up and grab. >> you can think of the compound as a crime scene. essentially there's a lot of material there. there could be dna evidence, could be some soil samples, they give indication of people that visited the house and where they had been in pakistan, afghanistan, or other parts of the world. that's all like crime scene investigation. that material is all there. could be collected and analyzed. it has been four weeks since the raid. who knows what the condition of the house is and how many people have gone through since then. >> appreciate your help tonight. very important story. we will stay on top of it.
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live pictures in joplin, missouri. look at the debris, talking weeks and months in the recovery effort. there's some progress, both in terms of identifying the victims and helping survivors move on with their lives. authorities say confirmed death toll is 132. that's up seven from last night. significantly the number of missing continues to shrink. it is 156 tonight, down from 232 this time yesterday. and authorities say at least 90 people originally thought to be missing have been found alive. still, there are many in joplin, many families that remain frustrated. brian todd has that story. brian? >> reporter: john, we saw one family today who had a memorial service for their son. his name is ray donald miller the third, he goes by the name trip. he was killed in the tornado. there was a memorial service today in joplin for him, but
they had no body. they came and memorialized him. we have a picture from a local obituary in a paper. they have no body and don't know why the body hasn't been released. they know he is deceased because according to local media reports they were with him at a local hospital when he died. there is no answer why the body wasn't released. we tried to get answers today, calling the various entities dealing with the processing of the bodies. i don't want to name all of them, it will take the rest of the show. suffice it to say, we got no answer. that's part of the issue. when they try to go through the bodies, get the positive identification, do all of the forensics, sometimes takes longer than they want or the families want. but the information flow isn't what it should be either. >> the information flow is not what it should be, brian. i think we covered that, we should continue to cover it. these people deserve answers as quickly as possible. part of the issue and it is a bit gruesome, those that have been to the morgue to identify bodies, they're telling you their task is incredibly hard
because of the severity of many of the fatal injuries, right? >> reporter: that's absolutely right. we don't need to go into the severity in graphic form but ranging from cuts and bruises and mud to much worse, and what one coroner did tell me often a family member will go into the morgue, say that's my brother, that's my sister or whatever, and then they come out after the body has been embalmed and cleaned up and they see the body and say wow, i was wrong. that's not from this, he is talking about other instances. families haven't been allowed to identify bodies from this tornado. that's the problem with false identification. early in the process, there are reports of one false identification where a body was taken to a funeral home and it was the wrong body. that led them to tighten up the process, not let the families in. >> brian todd, staying on top of this important story. we spent a couple days in joplin earlier in the week. many times i said throughout the
week, it is incredibly hard to find the right words and perspective to describe the scope of the damage. let's look at before and after images as we come to the wall. you see in the middle, this is a satellite image, you can see the destruction and damage. let's take a closer look. st. john's hospital. here is before, look at the grassy campus, the trees, the hospital building here. this is before. come through here, that's the devastation left behind by the punishing, punishing tornado. that's just one image there, st. john's hospital. close that down. here is joplin high school. spent time here the other day. come over here. you see the green, the grass, the trees. remember this image, see all of the trees? the buildings here, the high school complex. watch when this comes through. look at that. see the trees? that's what is stunning. what's left in some cases is
small sticks, the bark stripped right off of the trees. come back to the beginning. you see how beautiful beforehand. this housing complex, you see the swathe. starts here, comes up this way. again, look at the trees and all of the grass and the roofs of the buildings. houses up in here. take a close look. now watch this. that's before. it is as if a bomb went off. and again, if you look at where the trees are and where the grass is, ripped up everything into the ground. you see homes where plywood is down, wall to wall carpeting tacks are gone, carpet was ripped up, everything, taken away, ripped up by the powerful storm. despite these daunting images, a number of joplin residents are vowing, vowing to rebuild. >> at some point, we're going to have to stop scratching our heads and staring at the rubble and roll up our sleeves and get things back to some sort of
normalcy. >> cc weigh ands is here from jopl joplin. you talked to people dealing with grief and pain but beginning to think around the corner to rebuilding and recovery? >> reporter: that's right. when you cover a story like this, you have a lot of images, most gruesome and bad. the one i remember is driving one of the these streets amid utter devastation like the pictures you were showing. there's a build, brand new wood and construction under way. couldn't believe it. we stopped and talked to the guy leading the construction process. a man named darren collins. he was rebuilding his wife's beauty salon which he built himself 17 years ago. it was of course completely demolished by the tornado. he says it is time to rebuild. there are five beauticians who are not working now because of this. he wants to get it rebuilt as soon as possible. he started the actual construction process thursday.
he hopes to have the roof on the structure by sunday, and if power is back and gas is back and water and other services that are out, he hopes to have his wife back in business in 45 days. it is a real sign of hope for the community. >> that's one powerful example, casey. does he stand out or maybe a few steps ahead, or others saying we'll be right behind him? >> reporter: to use him as a gauge, he says just yesterday alone, he got six new jobs to rebuild structures here in joplin. he said that when he first went to city officials on tuesday, about a day and a half after the tornado struck, they looked at him in shock and surprise he wanted to rebuild so soon. next day he went to the city with plans and they approved it conditionally that he could start construction. decided to start rebuilding the next day. >> god bless him. casey wian, thank you. we wish all the residents luck
in that complicated, long rebuilding process. what was congressman michele bachmann thinking when she said this. >> the president put us in a very bad position. i think it was a very bad move that the president made. [ melissa ] i hit the water and everything changed. ♪ i saw what my life could be... and found the strength to make it happen. ♪ i lost my leg serving my country. now i serve in a new uniform. [ male announcer ] helping people achieve without limits. at the hartford it's what we do...
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rudi guilliani who isn't running atop the pack. mitt romney second and palin third. romney was in iowa. a state some of his advisers think he should play down in favor of heavy focus on new hampshire. maybe this is an openly en. >> it is just the things i know. uh-oh. they want to get us out of here, don't they. >> if she runs, governor palin would be considered a strong candidate in iowa because of her support of the tea party and social conservatives. most assume she won't run. but the palin talk has turned on its head. she announced a nationwide bus tour this weekend. then released this video to preview it. >> the constitution provides the best road map for the more perfect union. see their enduring truths and
these enduring truths have been passed from washington to lincoln to reagan, now to you. we know our best days are yet to come. >> look closely here. sarah palin's autograph. that came onto the screen just as you hear her voice say our best taste are yet to come. coincidence? campaign? you make the call. former minnesota governor tim pawlenty wants you to know he is unimpressed. >> it isn't about rallies or bus tours or anything else. this is about a country sinking in debt and deficit. we want a leader that tackled those issues, not just talked about it, actually got it done. >> another one that may run is michele bachmann. she insists all systems are go. i talked at length with her about politics and policy including whether she wants
republicans to hold firm or shy away from a budget plan that includes an increasingly controversial proposal to revamp medicare. >> i want to commend paul ryan because i think it is very important that we actually keep medicare secure and solvent. >> the question is what happens in negotiations to come. if you get republicans that are soft when negotiating at the senate, that will disappear. if republicans hold resolve, you won't get it all, compromise, the way the system works. should republicans dig in, say we're not blinking or should they look for a compromise? >> you have to have an answer. we know it won't be that many years and medicare will be insolvent. we have to make it work, have to make it solvent. >> some kind of voucher program for anybody 55 and under? >> that's what the compromise would be about. what would that program look like. this is my asterisk on the ryan plan. number one, i want seniors to
know no one 55 or older will be impacted in any way. the system will be exactly as it is. it will only be reformed 55 and younger and will actually be better. a net positive. >> how much does the government need to save in medicare in the next ten years then? >> i'm not talking in terms of numbers and how much we're going to cut because that will be part of the negotiation. i think it's really retooling the new focus, more options, better options, leaner, more efficient government, less bureaucratic. i want a focus on curing the diseases for higher quality of life and save money. >> if the democrats do what they did in new york saying the republicans are throwing granny off the cliff, should the republicans hold in, even if maybe the next election you lose? >> i think that senior citizens recognize that something has to be done because again, 13 years,
poor mother hubbard's cupboard will be bare. we have to make the system work. it would be foolish for democrats to run terrible ads to scare people because that doesn't work either. it isn't just a republican solution. it has to be bipartisan, both parties coming together, because this is bigger than us. this is our senior citizen population that's growing and we can't lose them. >> interesting time in foreign policy. you said the united states in your view shouldn't be in libya. there is no national security interest. >> that's what secretary of defense gates said. >> but you voted against proposal that would have put time line on deployment in afghanistan. and a growing number of democrats and republicans seem to be tired, seem to be thinking it is time to get out of afghanistan, maybe more so with the death of bin laden. >> i agree. and here is the difference. at this point, i don't think it is fair for congress members to usurp our decision making over that of the generals on the ground. it is very important that the
generals and also the intelligence gathering sources get that information up to the commander in chief, whether it is george bush or whether it is barack obama. i think it is very important we allow the commanders on the ground working with special forces, working with intelligence gathering, to get the right information. for politicians to come in and try to implement a political decision on timing of troop withdrawal i don't think is helpful. i'm tired of afghanistan and iraq, too. i think we need to get out. i think afghanistan is on many levels, it doesn't seem we're gaining any ground. i want to reduce u.s. exposure in afghanistan. so let's get them out as quickly as we can. but at the same time, i don't want to tell the generals when they're going to get out. that really needs to be the experts. >> describe michele bachmann's world view in the sense i would say john mccain, the republicans' last nominee, george w. bush, last president,
how you would describe them as interventionist. if they see a foreign policy overseas, they are not reluctant to use force. mccain said the president should get involved in libya. then ron paul says no, none of our business, stay back, let these countries figure it out themselves and in incredibly rare circumstances project u.s. power overseas. where would you be if you were president of the united states? >> my view of foreign policy is that we need to be careful and circumspect about united states intervention in any foreign nation. number one, does that nation pose a threat to the united states. number two, have they attacked the united states. number three, are there vital american national interests at stake, number four, the security of the american people. those are the first issues you look at. that was not met when it came to libya. as well, secretary gates said he did not know what our military objective was in libya. why would we be there then, for
heaven's sakes. we are looking at unprecedented unrest in the middle east. president obama's remarks last week, saying israel must shrink borders to 1967 borders and to allow a passageway for palestine, that would be the wrong thing to do, it would bring greater hostility to the middle east. >> not exactly what he said. he said with mutually agreed to, negotiated land swaps. it is rare for any president of the united states to use the term 1967 borders. however, he did say and clarified it in the apec speech, just as they had a plan in the clinton administration, you go back to 1967, then negotiate land swaps. >> john, you can defend, you can stand here and defend the president's remarks. i will not defend the president's remarks. the president's remarks are amplified across the middle east. don't think this was a tremendous insult to benjamin
neganyahu. that symbolism wasn't lost on israel's opponent. israel is what's working in the middle east region now. the united states should do everything they can and not cast any aspergss on this process at this particular time. the president's moves in a statement last week were dangerous in a volatile region. >> you say dangerous in a volatile region. the white house would disagree. let's shift to politics. is there any doubt, should anyone have doubt that michele bachmann will be a candidate for republican nomination for president? >> i will let people know in june. i said in the beginning that's when we'll let people know. we're working, putting a plan into place we believe will be an effective plan, but we aren't giving that final information out, whether we are in or out. i am scheduled to be in iowa and south carolina and new hampshire and i can't waiting to.
they are beautiful states. i am an iowan. >> if there's a republican that says i like michele bachmann on the issues. >> you should come to my facebook site. join my twitter account. go to michele bachmann.com and donate. >> if there's a republican out there says you know, she makes sense to me, i like her on the issues, but can she do what it takes to beat president obama? >> of course i can. >> can you raise a billion dollars? >> if i chose to run, i run to win. that's the only way i do it, because if i'm in, i'm in. aim an extremely hard worker. my life is a story of being an extremely hard worker, as a mother of five, we raised 23 foster children in my home. i was a federal tax litigation attorney. my husband and i started a successful company. we worked very hard in our lives. and this country needs someone now that will pay attention to job creation, that's number one. that's what i would intend to do
to turn the economy around. >> when you look at this plan of yours, what does it have f we are serious, we have to raise x. >> we have to raise enough to win. i don't think anyone knows yet whether president obama will be able to raise a billion dollars. that number has floated around. it is used as a club against any republican candidate to say you could never raise that much money. it is yet to be seen whether president obama can raise that in this economy. we will see how that is. honestly, it is the american people that vote. the american people's vote can't be bought, can't be bought. they want the country to work for their kids. and there's a huge number of people now, john, don't believe their children will be as well off as they are. that needs to change, because we are a good country, and we can turn this around. we can have a better economy. not with president obama's policies, we can have a better country so people can know their children can do better, and seniors won't be left in the
lurch. you need to get with the program and do what works. >> congresswoman michele bachmann, thanks for your time. >> she says her official announcement will come from iowa. hopefully we will see her in two weeks when cnn hosts the republican debate in new hampshire. we will explore whether attacking medicare reform will be a cure all for democratic candidates. and the state department is urging u.s. citizens to get out of yet another middle eastern country. what's so special about web browsing on the new blackberry playbook? ♪lash! ah ahh... that's right, it runs flash. so unlike some tablets we could mention, you get the best of the internet, not just part of it. ♪ flash! ah ahh...
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welcome back if just joining us. here is the latest information. state department is urging citizens to leave yemen while commercial transportation is available. five loud explosions were reported in yechl en's capitol city. tribes are battling forces loyal to the president. jared lee loughner was sent to a federal prison hospital for mental evaluation. earlier this week, he was ruled not competent to stand trial. treasury department confirms fee at will buy remaining stock in chrysler. that will pay down the nearly 2 billion they have to recover. a memo obtained by cnn says lower than normal maneuver last sunday during the blue angels performed near lynch berg. democrats think they have a
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medicare without a doubt is the new flash point in american politics, especially now that democrats rode it to a big upset in a new york special election this week. you come and look at the map, this is where the election was in upstate new york where the district is. the democrat won in this big republican district and she did it, look at the margin, five
points, by tying other opponent to the house republican medicare plan. a democratic victory there. let's look at some of the details. close this down. look at some of the details. paul ryan is the house budget committee chairman. his plan would repeal changes in healthcare reform. there would be no change to medicare under the house republican budget, no change if 55 and over. you would stay in the current system. beginning 2022, seniors buy private insurance, the government helping with the cost. retirement age would go up. this part republicans say is a necessary cost saving plan. close this down. this matters because older americans are generally the most reliable voters. let's look at that. they tend to turn out more. in 2010, republicans won big, won the house back in part because they won big. 59% to 38% among voters over the age of 65. that's a huge republican win here. the democrats are hoping to use this issue because 2008 essentially was a tie.
remember, 2008 was huge for democrats. not only did president obama win, they had majority in congress. the democrats hope to use that issue to get back to about here. this medicare argument now, yes, policy, but also largely about 2012 politics. a good issue to discuss with time magazine's joe klein and cnn's political analyst joe borjer. >> the democrats believe they have an effective weapon they will use against republicans as the budget debate continues in washington. will it stop responsible bipartisan negotiations on a deficit and debt deal? >> yeah, i am tempted to say probably. democrats have been demagoguing this issue a long time. this is not to say they weren't wrong to block, you know, paul ryan's plan, which was a very, very extreme plan, but there's someplace in the middle, and it involves medicare reforms and revenues, taxes, higher taxes.
you know, any society, especially one as prosperous as ours should be humane enough to provide a system of healthcare for the elderly that's no frills and must free. >> paul ryan, the architect of the house plan was there, so was bill clinton, last democratic president that had a balanced budget. what bill clinton told paul ryan, he said quote, i hope democrats don't use this as an excuse to do nothing. >> right. >> will they use it as an excuse to do nothing? >> there's disagreements going on within the democratic party, i know you'll be shocked to hear about this, because there are some democrats that say no way. don't forget, the president's budget had medicare reform, cut back payments to providers, not beneficiaries. there are some democrats that say we even have to take that off the table unless the republicans are willing to come to the table on the tax issue. and i don't think that's going to happen either.
so i think they could punt on this until after the election. >> punt after the election. joe klein, steve israel, a guy that runs the democratic national campaign committee, thinks they can win more seats next time than they lost in 2010. if the democrats see medicare as so powerful and know the republicans did a good job with voters over 55 and 65 in the last election, does politics trump reasonable policy discussion? >> it almost always does, especially when it comes to old age entitlements. but pull back and look at the larger picture here. in 2008, after winning the election triumphantly, barack obama takes a look at the polls, sees 80% of the american people are happy with the healthcare they get. and what does he do? he spends a year and a half trying to reform the healthcare system in a way most people don't understand. the result is in part he loses the 2010 election. the republicans win the 2010 election, triumphantly, and having done that, they look at the polls that say that 80% of the american people love
medicare the way it is, and what do they do? they try and reform medicare and gut it. i think one of the worst diseases in politics is after winning an election. >> gloria, we are watching it play out in the republican party, they have a presidential race starting steam. they seem torn between appealing to the base and worrying about what happened in 2006. newt gingrich called the ryan plan radical, then apologized. tim pawlenty sidestepped for days the question if the ryan budget reached your desk as president, including the medicare changes, would you sign it. he sidestepped it then -- >> if i can't have my own plan as president and the bill came to my desk and i had to choose between signing or not, of course i'd sign it. >> they seem conflicted between appeasing the base and nervous about if i win the nomination, what happens then. >> they are conflicted. you also saw a vote in the senate where you had five republican senators back off and say, you know what, i really
can't go along with this because it makes them nervous. they know very well what they did to the democrats on this issue in 2010. they know what happened with the democrats winning that victory in upstate new york and that special election. so they're really concerned. i mean, they see house members going home and having town meetings and getting attacked on this issue. so they're trying to figure out a way around it. and they would like very much to put some kind of medicare deal on the table as part of a deficit reduction plan. when they talk about raising the debt ceiling. but the democrats will have an argument with the white house this if the white house wants to do that because they're going to say don't take away the one single issue we have, please. >> so what happens, joe? the president of the united states, he always says, you know, we can deal with it when we get there. we have big problems in the short term. he also knows unemployment in
the ballpark of 9%, an electoral map that to an incumbent president is not as favorable as it was to barack obama the challenger in 2008. which decision does he make, the policy decision, the 25-year decision, or the 2012 decision? >> it verges on political malpractice if the president doesn't seize this thing and go with it. it's a political -- you know, politics reigns in the year before a presidential election. but at the same time, bill clinton is right. you know, this isn't enough for democrats to just batter the republicans on what was a very stupid and extreme plan by paul ryan. they have to provide something positive, and they also have to really start to address the economy. >> gloria borger and joe kleine there. one thing to watch as this debate plays out, mitch mcconnell noted today they're in negotiations with vice president biden trying to strike a long-term deal to bring down deficits and debt.
mcconnell saying medicare would not be as big an issue in the 2012 campaigns if there is a bipartisan agreement struck between republicans, democrat, and the obama white house that included some significant reductions in medicare. that is way the republicans hope to alleviate some of the political price they're paying at the very moment. still ahead for us tonight, some devastating images from our time this week in joplin, missouri. ♪ [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible. [ melissa ] i hit the water
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the president comes back from his trip this weekend. we want to give you a sense of what we saw during our time. these photos were taken by our producer and two of our photojournalists. this is michelle martin, outside her home with her children cleaning up. the devastation is stunning. lucky for the martins, they were not home at the time. they mad neighbors come over the pray with them. they at the last minute took a camping trip. they were not in that house. some images, let's get this one to close down. look at this one here. as far as you can see, just as far as you can see. if you come back and get higher, you see it more and more and more. look at the trees, the telephone pole, the damage done. the roofs ripped off the houses. it is stunning, hard to find the words to describe this damage. you see again someone in the foreground here with a trash
bag, people coming to their homes, going through, taking whatever they can, trying to get out. look at the bark ripped off the trees, the trees bent and snapped. it is stunning. we met the parents of this young man. finally, they can begin closure. they did find their son's body. unfortunately, zach williams was killed in the tornado. we spent time with steven jones. he helped us understand the day after what happened. he's the principal at st. mary's school. we went into the school. you can see in one of the classrooms, a prekindergartner was lost in the tornado. mr. jones took us through that school and talked about the tornado and the challenge ahead. >> we found the flag, so we put that up. we're going through things and looking. we found a few things. all of our school files and records. so we know what grades you got, okay? >> oh, yeah? >> we can tell you. and i'm pretty sure you're going to be a sixth-grader next year.
there's a lot that can be salvaged in here. those books look completely dry. >> no other rooms like this. >> no. no other room that has walls like this. >> this is the prekindergarten room, and the little girl who perished who was with her dad at office depot went to school in this room. >> and that's to the best of your knowledge, he lost -- >> to the best of our knowledge, that's the only person in our school -- >> prekindergarten? >> yeah. >> how old? >> 4. there's a picture that made it. it's a picture of christ hanging up on the wall. so we did have that. so. now, this is the church, and i'm so impressed that the cross remained. it must have just been at an appropriate angle and it, you know, didn't -- didn't tear it down. so it's very nice to see that