tv This Week With Christiane Amanpour ABC April 17, 2011 8:00am-9:00am PDT
this week, a ticking time bomb. all eyes on the exploding national debt. >> doing nothing on the deficit is just not an option. >> and that looming threat which could force the united states government to default. >> there will not be an increase in the debt limit without something really, really big attached to it. >> tough questions for president obama's point man on the economy. treasury secretary timothy geithner. >> the people who take this to the edge from the brink, they'll own responsibility. >> and then the leading edge of the opposition. the tea party, key members join us, 100 days after a revolution swept them into office. how far are they willing to push the president and their own party to fulfill their promise to balance america's checkbook?
and later -- >> we have to take our country back. >> -- what to make of this surprise republican front-runner. plus, hillary clinton warns, the arab spring may melt into a mirage into the desert. but will it? a special reporter's notebook from terry moran, at the heart of the revolution that is still unfolding. live from the newseum in washington, "this week" with christiane amanpour, starts right now. welcome to our viewers here and around the world. president obama hits the road this week, on a mission to sell his brand of fiscal responsibility to the american people. this, just days after house republicans approved their dramatic plan to tackle the debt crisis. at issue, a national debt that has ballooned to more than $14 trillion. united states is now borrowing
$2 million a minute, as for the plan, president obama wants to end the bush tax breaks for the wealthiest americans and he's calling for spending cuts, including at the pentagon and cost-cutting reforms for medicare and medicaid. republicans are demanding steep spending cuts, no tax hikes and a massive restructuring of medicare and medicaid that would fundamentally transform two pillars of the american safety net. the plans are a world apart and the clock is ticking. in a month, the united states will reach its borrowing limit, in order to borrow more money to meet obligations, congress must vote to raise the debt ceiling and getting republicans on board may not be that easy. i spoke with treasury secretary, tim geithner, about the showdown and the stakes. >> secretary geithner, thank you for joining us. >> nice to see you. >> the debt ceiling is going to be the next big battle. it is the next big battle. can you spell out for plain english for our viewers what is the impact if it's not raised
for the average american? and for the united states? >> i want to make it perfectly clear, congress will raise the debt ceiling. >> are you sure about that? >> absolutely. they recognize that. they told the president we recognize we have to do this and we're not going to play around with it. they know the risk is catastrophic. it's not something they can take too close to the edge. >> what they say in private is not what they say in public? >> they said in public too, they recognize america has to meet its obligations. this is about the basic trust and confidence in the united states. it's about the basic recognition that we made commitments, we have to meet our commitments. there's no alternative. they recognize that. >> what if it is not raised? what is the doomsday scenario? >> i'll be very direct about it. people understand this, anybody running a business understands this. what will happen, we would have to stop making payments to our senior, medicare, medicaid, social security. stop paying veterans benefits. stop paying all of the other payments and all of the other things the government does and then we would risk default. if we did that, we'd tip the
u.s. economy and the world economy back into recession, depression. i think it would make the last crisis look like a tame, modest crisis. it would be much more dramatic. the cost of borrowing will go up for everybody and it would have a permanent devastating damage on our country. that's why there's no responsible person that would take any risk that we allow the world to start to fear that the u.s. would court that tragedy. if you take it too close to the edge, people start to wonder what are we thinking? >> you seem to be confident. you're saying that they will vote to raise the debt ceiling. on the other hand, you're also leading a concerted campaign with wall street, big bankers to persuade the republicans, those who may be doubting they have to do this. you're not sure. >> we're not leading that. the business community wants to make sure that people up there understand. there's a lot of new people up there. this is a hard vote for people. there's been a little bit of a tradition that people play politics with this. the business community is doing what they expect to make sure people don't miscalculate. people who take this to the
edge, to the brink, they'll own responsibility for calling into question the credit. that would not be a responsible thing to do. i tell you what the hard thing to do is not raise the debt limit. congress will always do that when they recognize that. the hard thing is to try to take advantage of this moment and get republicans and democrats to come together and lock in some reforms that reduce our long-term deficits. that's really important to do. the world is watching now. they want to know that washington takes these things seriously. and is willing to get ahead of this problem. as you see the republican leadership say, and you see the president of the united states say, you've seen the bipartisan fiscal commission say we need to try to lock in reforms that will bring about $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10, 12 years. when they all agree we have to do it, they agree on the basic magnitude, the basic time frame, then we have a chance to get congress to lock in some concrete targets and concrete time lines and make sure it happens. i think we can do that. >> yet, this week, when the
president made his speech, certainly many republicans thought that they were sort of ambushed. >> and i don't think there's anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don't have any clout on capitol hill. >> is this the right tone, do you think that will encourage people like speaker boehner to actually come together and, as you hope, get this thing passed? >> look, we recognize, the president recognizes and republicans recognize that this is something we have to do and do on a bipartisan basis. neither side has the votes to do this on their own. you have to come together to do it. >> what can you give to the republicans ahead of this vote? >> let me step back for one second. we, in the years before this crisis, we were piling on a lot of debt, as a country now, we borrow about 40 cents for every dollar we spend. we're on an unsustainable path. again, that's why it's so constructive and so encouraging. you see republicans now and democrats all saying this is an
important commitment and laying out the same basic order of magnitude cuts that are necessary. now, we have very big disagreements on what the right balance is. but there are things we agree on. we can lock in today. things we disagree on for some time. we can take more time to resolve. what we think we can do is lock in some targets for deficit reduction, specific time frame. ways to make sure those happen. if they're credible enforcement mechanisms and we can agree now and still give room to debate and disagree and to negotiate on composition of tax reform. >> now that we're talking about budget cuts, and that's the whole conversation in washington, is that going to damage the recovery? >> no, i think we can do this. that's a very good point. i'm glad you raised it. one of the reasons you want to do this in a way that's balanced and has a medium term plan, that locks in changes over several years, is because you need to do this gradually so you can protect the recovery. i think we can do that. we can make these changes. we do it carefully without
hurting the economy, without adding to the burden of the middle class, without eroding investments in things we need to do in the future. >> the president also in his speech talked about revenue raising, taxes, taxes on the wealthy. >> i think it's important for people to recognize that we cannot afford to extend these tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of america. we can't afford it and we have to do tax reforms. >> speaker boehner said that's a nonstarter. >> but there's no surprise at that. they believe that. but i think chairman ryan's budget helps explain why this is going to be essential. because if you want to extend these tax breaks for the top 2%, then either, you have to ask me to go out and borrow trillions of dollars from the chinese or foreign investors or from our children, or you have to cut, as he proposes to do, very, very deeply into basic benefits for seniors, the disabled, the poor. and we don't need to do that in order to restore balance to our fiscal position. >> will raising taxes on the wealthy be enough to make a dent
in the deficit? many economists saying you have to raise taxes on the middle class as well. >> very important question. i'm glad you raised it. think about it this way. it's true, we have to bring these deficits down. if you do it in a balanced way that includes spending savings, reforms to health care, and tax reform, then you can do it in a way that has acceptable cost for the economy, preserves our capacity to invest and doesn't add to the burden of the middle class. the reason why that's true, we have a huge amount of spending in the tax code. special tax breaks, that go disproportionately to the most fortunate americans. so it is possible to do this. the president believes we can do this. i believe we can do this without adding to the burden on the middle class. >> where is the specific reform be? the president talked about closing certain loopholes and certain deduction to people? where are the specifics? >> the two basic foundations we think are responsible again to
let the tax cuts, temporary tax cuts in place under president bush for the top 2%, let them expire. and the second is, to reform the tax code by eliminating some special expenditure, special tax breaks, again go disproportionately to the wealthy americans. >> which ones? >> only 30% of americans itemize. and those benefits -- even like the mortgage interest deduction that lets people have two homes, pretty expensive homes, those are things, again, if you target them on the most fortunate americans, they can afford to take a little bit larger share from the burden. they can afford to do that. >> the ims, and there's the meeting this weekend, has basically said that the united states is not doing enough right now to attack its deficit problem and their dramatic measures, drastic measures should be taken. are you going to take any more drastic measures? they're complaining. >> i think we all agree, and again it's important for people to recognize, americans to recognize that the world is watching us. they want to see is america up to this?
of course we're up to this. we can handle this challenge. but it does require that we act. we can't keep putting this off. we can't get behind this risk, if we do the world loses confidence in us, and you see growth weaker. america will have to borrow and more savings will have to go to foreign countries so we have to do this. >> yet, your very close ally, britain is in a year or more of its austerity program. the results don't look great. retail sales are plunging, income going down. that can't give you confidence on this austerity program? >> we're in fundamentally different position, the uk and the united states. their challenges are much greater challenges. they had a much larger hole to dig out, a larger financial that they had to reform. they had a much harder road ahead of them. we're in a fundamentally strong position. i'm very confident if we do it
in a balanced way, you can do this without putting at risk this expansion. you have to do it gradually. again this is why you want to do it over a multi-year period of time. >> a lot of news this week. a lot of disappointment among many people, that many of those big bankers and financial institutions responsible for the financial crisis is still not being prosecuted, punished. how does that bring confidence to the american people? >> let me just say i agree that you saw a -- really a huge loss of confidence in the average american in our financial system and how it works, whether it protects them from abuse, whether it's a fair system with the kind of integrity you need. financial systems require trust and confidence. you saw terrible mistakes, devastating loss of confidence. >> do you think that some of these people should have been at least prosecuted, punished? >> that's really a question for my colleagues. >> i know it is. i know it's not your job. in terms of trying to build confidence in the american people? >> i tell you what i think. two things are very important. we have to have a more stable
system, we have to have a system that provides better protection for consumers and investors, that's what we're building, that's what congress passed. that's my job to make sure that happens. that's not enough. you also have to have confidence in the american people that are enforcement authorities will hold people accountable. make sure they abide by those rules. you need both of those two things and we're starting to rebuild that. i'm very confident we'll do a better job and be ahead of the rest of the world in doing that. >> so you've had a pretty rough couple of years, it's been a pretty thankless job to get out this recession in a fragile recovery. secretaries clinton and gates said they won't be around for a second term. will you? >> i got a lot on my plate, still. we have a lot of challenges ahead. i have to tell you, this is hard but i believe in this work. i enjoy these challenges. >> so you'll stay? >> i'm going to keep at trying to fix what's broken, make sure we're helping to get the economy growing and long-term challenges. >> thank you very much indeed. >> nice to see you. >> thank you. up next, tea party nation.
sarah palin and donald trump rallying the faithful across the country this weekend. the movement has already taken congress by storm and changed the conversation here in washington. we've grabbed a group of tea party freshmen to ask whether they've only just begun the fight. life, the power to help you succeed. during its first year, the humpback calf and its mother are almost inseparable. she lifts her calf to its first breath of air, then protects it on the long journey to their feeding grounds. one of the most important things you can do is help the next generation. at pacific life, we offer financial solutions to accomplish just that. ask a financial professional about pacific life.
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representative in congress, don't sell out your principles. those principles, small government, big cuts, are setting the agenda in washington these days. tea is the drink of choice on capitol hill and as john donvan tells us it may be the flavor of the month in the white house too. >> reporter: tea, no, that would be water, and there you have beer, champagne, soda pop, a nice, cold smoothie, a shot of orange juice, yes, okay, he also drinks tea. seems he had to swallow quite a bit lately. so much so, when the president put forth a budget proposal of his own, this week, it sounded somewhat tea-stained in places. >> we have to live within our means, we have to reduce our deficit. >> a message not at all like the theme he rode into office. remember -- >> i do believe the government should do that which we cannot do for ourselves that's why i'll create a $25 billion fund to help states and local governments pay for health care and education.
>> i do think that it's important for the federal government to step up -- >> reporter: then some new folks came to washington, and they have really changed the conversation. 59 members of congress sworn in are not only republicans but also marching behind this, and the movement that claimed it for itself, the tea party which wants smaller government and lower taxes whose supporters were just two years ago, marrily getting acquainted with each other when they took to the streets. a lot of folk whose didn't do politics before, now some of them are in politics. he owned a pizza parlor, a dentist from washington state. a funeral director from florida, a nurse, and he, a car salesman from california. they came in saying they wanted to change things. wait, that was his line. >> that's what change is. >> reporter: but the tea party folks may, may have a better shot at that. because their obvious distaste for the politics of compromise is what changed the conversation and almost shut the government.
yet when a deal was reached to cut the budget by $38.5 billion, which is historic they wanted 100 billion. that's why many defied their own republican house speaker john boehner voting against a deal he reached, then he needed democratic votes to pass it raising the question who is leading whom? of course they still want big tax cuts and that's going to be a fight, because he also talked this week about government that is worth saving. and said -- >> nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. >> reporter: because, to him, that tea sounds like kool-aid, and that, he's not drinking. i'm john donvan from "this week" in washington. and joining me to discuss the lessons learned and road ahead. four tea party freshmen. all of them new to elected office. with us from florida, allen west. from north carolina, renee
ellmers. and here in the newseum with us, congressman joe walsh of illinois, and steve southerland, also florida. >> thank you all for joining us, thank you, and welcome back to the program. steve southerland, let me ask you first. you all came to washington to tame that deficit, to cut spending. now this latest battle is going to be about raising america's debt ceiling. are you going to vote for that? you heard what secretary geithner told me that would be catastrophic if that didn't happen? >> sure. well, let me say this. they are pushing for a single subject vote. a clean debt ceiling vote, and i'm not for that. look, we've got to have some guarantees going forward. caps and some guarantees that we raise that debt ceiling, that we get this economy on a trajectory to where we service our debt like any banker, a banker wants to know. >> you can see raising -- you can see voting for it if something was given to sweet continue?
>> well, it's going to have to be more than sweetening it. it's going to have to be concrete. i've yet to see that from the administration. they talk about the necessity of raising the debt ceiling, yet they've proposed nothing regarding guarantees that we can satisfy our debt long term. >> they have talked about trying to reach some kind of targets and some kind of compromise around what both sides are talking about now which is cutting spending. congressman walsh. do you believe when tim geithner said and also the chairman of the fed, ben bernanke, that not raising it to be a recovery-ending mistake? >> i wish they got as excited and animated about all of this debt we're placing on the feet and backs of kids and grandkids. that's what sent us here. business as usual in this town is no longer going to exist. we were sent here -- the american people sent us here, because in a large way, they recoiled against a lot of this spending the president was putting upon us. if you're going to ask this
congress to support a raise in the debt ceiling, there's got to be something structural on this spending site. because we've got to cut up this credit card. a couple examples. i sponsored two weeks ago a balanced budget amendment in the house. something very structural that would make this town do what households do. what a number of states do. it's got to be tied to something major like that. >> i asked you about the stakes that tim geithner raised. congressman west. do you believe when the secretary of the treasury, the chairman of the fed, say the stakes are this high? >> one of the things, having served 22 years in the united states military, i don't believe in leadership by fear and intimidation. i believe they have to come up with viable solutions, i agree with what joe walsh just brought up, a balanced budget amendment. we need to put in spending control measures, such as a cap on federal government spending. i say 20%.
that's historically a good spot to be at. right now federal government spending is 24% and the president is going to take it up to 25% or 26%. i think now is a great time that we can cut our corporate business tax rate in half. bringing it down from 35% down to 20%, 22%. it's a lot of capital sitting out there that we can use to invest in long-term sustainable jobs. but the most important thing, we should have some type of trigger mechanism. when you reach a certain percentage getting close to this debt limit, there's automatic spending cuts that come in. this is not about a debt ceiling being raised. this really comes down to debt suction. this is 73, 74 times we've done it. we have to be fiscally responsible. right now we're not showing that to the american people. >> let me ask you about the paul ryan budget which all of you voted for this week. congresswoman ellmers, the house passed that budget and everybody voted for it. it includes a radical restructuring of medicare, essentially converting it to a voucher system.
sort of privatizing it. the congressional budget office estimates that average senior will then have to then pay extra $6,000 armor out of their own pocket. i mean, how do you think that that will sit with the voters? with the american people? >> well, let me say, first of all, christiane, as a nurse, medicare is an issue that we absolutely have to deal with. and, as you know, you mentioned in the ryan budget, that this issue is going to be addressed. it is not a voucher system. basically what we will be doing is allowing seniors to be able to make the choices for their health care, the same we in congress are doing. it's the very same basic plan. and it actually saves money in medicare over time and it actually increases the coverage, but at the same time, it also increases coverage for those in the low income areas as well.
and so that is why i am very much for the ryan budget. i think it answers all of the issues we've just been talking about. >> you raised the issue it provides you the same -- provides people the same sort of benefits congress has. you know there are big differences between members of congress and the very poor. and most economies -- economists, whether you're quibbling over numbers, do actually say that seniors will not be able to keep up with the rising costs, they will have to pay out of their pocket. i guess i'm still asking, is that fair? >> no. that is not correct. and, as it is right now, if we do not address medicare, as it is, it will be -- it will not be there for myself, it will not be there for our children or our grandchildren. and we have to address the issue. and we are. the ryan budget does that. it actually improves upon all of those areas of unsustainability that we're faced with. the numbers play out. and i'm very much in favor of it.
again, we must save medicare. we have a spending problem in this country, not a revenue problem. >> all right. you raised revenue problem. let me ask you two, congressman walsh and southerland. the ryan budget does not talk about raising revenues. president obama's proposal does. eliminating tax cut on the wealthy. can you really sustain what everybody is calling for, just by cuts in public services? doesn't there need to be revenue raising mechanism? >> christiane, you raise revenue by growing the economy. everything this president has done the last two years has gone against that. you get taxes and regulations off the backs of businesses so that revenues can increase. >> i know, i know that that is your position. but there's so much evidence, even going back to ronald reagan, where he did tax cuts and in fact the debt increase then he had to make tax increases.
can you really cut public spending by that amount and just expect to balance the budget? >> steve will say this. in the '80s. government revenues went up. we didn't cut spending. revenues went up in the '80s. every time we cut taxes the economy has grown. i've said this before. the president of the united states ought to be ashamed of yourself. i don't know why your profession hasn't gotten on him more. two months ago he presents a budget and doesn't talk about entitlement reform. then last week he gets a redo? the republicans are leading on this, perfectly prepared to take whatever political hits we have to take, because the crisis is so severe. i wish he was part of this. >> that is an interesting point you made, about taking the hits that you have to take, because, for instance, there are all sorts of ads now, going out, about medicare. and being careful about it. the republicans have put those
ads out in 2010 and did get seniors on their side. you're not concerned that these cuts, and this restructuring of medicare will not be good for you at the voting? >> great leadership understands sometimes you take hits and you don't make this decision -- you don't make decisions in the best interest of american people and expect to be applauded for everything you do. look, we have dug ourselves a hole and the only way that we can dig ourselves out or climb out of this hole is make some very difficult decisions. i've said, numerous times here on the hill, i may lose 2012, but i'm not going to lose me in this process. so we've got -- if we care about these programs, we have to make decisions now in order to save them. >> all right. thank you very much indeed. all of you for joining us. and up next our powerhouse "roundtable," from alice rivlin. the clinton budget director who helped paul ryan with his budget. and political analysis from matthew dowd. president obama's close friend, massachusetts governor, deval
patrick and our own george will. that's ahead. massachusetts governor, deval patrick and our own george will. that's ahead. detect diseases earlier. to innovations in renewable power that bring america closer to energy independence. to investments that help businesses grow and create jobs. ♪ at ge, we're using imagination at work... ecomagination... healthymagination... and capital... to create advanced technology that's good for the economy... for the environment... for everyone. ♪
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these are the kinds of cuts that tell us we can't afford the america that i believe in, and i think you believe in. >> i believe it paints a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic. >> what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan. dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our country's pressing fiscal challenges. >> an acrimonious week of punch and counterpunch in washington.
president obama and house republicans outlining dramatically different visions to the size of government and its role in american life. this conversation will be the foundation of next year's election, and joining me today to make sense of it all, abc's george will, alice rivlin. bill clinton's former budget director who worked closely on medicare overhaul with congressman paul ryan. matthew dowd. former chief political strategist for george w. bush and president obama's close friend, massachusetts governor, deval patrick, his new book is called "a reason to believe." thank you all for joining me today. good morning to you all. george, the president came out and presented his vision. the battle is enjoined, as we saw. is this a beginning to a great compromise to where this country needs to be? >> i don't think so. not yet. he didn't present an alternative budget. i can't, in 40 years, remember a president submitting a budget and saying two months later, oh, never mind.
a mulligan, in effect. in effect. he has not presented other than a critique of paul ryan's budget. both parties are clearly making a wager, the republicans wagering that the american people mean what they say and it's different this time. the president's party is wagering that they don't. that they are still rhetorically conservative but operationally liberal. >> i thought the president did a good job. he laid out a democratic alternative. he made clear that he is serious about all parts of the budget, serious about getting the deficit and the debt under control. and that that has to include the entitlement, medicare and medicaid. it has to include defense as well as discretionary spending cuts, and it has to include the revenue side. the main problem, with paul ryan's budget is he thinks we can do it without any more tax, and indeed by extending tax cuts to upper income individuals, and that means very dramatic, draconian cuts, in spending,
especially if you leave out defense. >> i'm going to get to that in a second. i want to ask you, so many people, you're close to president obama, governor patrick. so many people have complained even outsourced them to congress. do you think this means he'll fight for what he believes in? >> i thought the speech which i didn't see, i read was a leadership moment. i think the president took us to the place we ought to be debating. that's the subtext for a long time. what kind of country do we want to live in. that's the underlying questions in terms of budget, deficit and health care. that's what we should be debating. he laid out a clear vision of the kind of country that he believes in, that i believe in. and for that matter most americans believe in. it's a fiscally responsible but also mutually responsible kind of community. and i support that. >> i -- to me, this whole budget fight demonstrates complete
abdication of responsibility by both political parties. both aren't willing to tell the truth in different ways. the republicans aren't willing to tell the truth to the american public that we don't have enough revenues to pay for everything we have. the democrats won't tell the truth to the american public that we can't live with the entitlement programs that we have today. he gives a good speech republicans make these grand announcements but in the end they are unwilling to tell the american public the truth. they keep telling the american public, they can have it all, they don't have to pay for it. to me the difference is you have a democratic party that believes in big government, and a republican party that believes in a slightly less government that shouldn't be paid for. that's the problem. >> let's go back to the paul ryan budget which you worked on elements of -- i know it's not exactly as it turns out. >> it isn't at all. i worked with one element, paul ryan and i have worked together on a concept for medicare reform called premium support. it's very much like what they do in governor patrick's state.
but, the form in which ryan put it in his budget was not the form that i support. much, much lower and much more drastic cuts for seniors. but, i don't support the ryan budget. i think it illustrates how much you have to cut, if you don't raise taxes and you don't cut defense. >> so, you heard the argument with the congress people, just in the previous segment when they were talking about medicare, and the whole idea is that, apparently, according to economists, that the elderly would have to contribute more of their own, under this reform. is that sustainable? >> some of the elderly will have to contribute more. particularly those in upper income groups. medicare, in its present form, is not sustainable. we -- it's growing faster than the economy is growing, and faster than we can afford. so we have to have a reform of medicare, phased in gradually.
it's not going to throw granny in the street. i'm granny. but it's got to reduce the rate of growth of medicare. now, the president is for that too. he has to have a different way of doing it. >> may i just build on that? i want to come back to matt's really important point, although i want to differ with your outcome. this notion that the cartoons of the party, of our respective parties don't talk squarely to the american people. i think, exactly what the president was going at, in his remarks this week. he talked about the importance of making medicare and medicaid sustainable. he has a different strategy for doing that than the paul ryan budget. he talked about the importance of additional revenue and shared sacrifice. he talks about, and has supported spending cuts. there's direct evidence of that.
i think that what the president is doing is exactly what matt, if i may say, matt, if you don't mind, is suggesting hasn't been done for a long, long time. >> alice uttered two inconvenient truths here that i would like to hear from the president. one is we've made promises that i cannot keep. that is it's unsustainable. on its current path. and the other is, people will have to pay more. we have a 12 cent problem. 12 cents is the portion that the person receiving the health care pays. the other percent is paid by somebody else. when jack kennedy was president, it was 47%. people had more skin in the game and had a whole different approach, therefore, to the health care system. >> you say people have to pay more. but, again, we get back to revenue raising taxing. things are willing to pay more for the things they believe in and want. >> the problem we have is, the american public is always willing to pay more for effective, efficient government. they're always willing to do that. but they have a difficult time when they don't trust the government does well.
they don't know how to keep their pocketbook balanced and they don't know what to do when the government doesn't have a plan for things to do. until you prove to the american public that they should trust the federal government, it will be difficult to raise taxes. we'll take a break and come back. and up next, trump turns up the heat. >> whether you like him or not. george bush gave us obama and i'm not happy about it. i'm not happy about it. we have a disaster on our hands, we have a man right now that almost certainly will go down as the worst president in the history of the united states. >> he's ahead in the polls, t >> he's ahead in the polls, but does he have a ghost of a chance? the "roundtable" take on the donald. chance? the "roundtable" take on the donald. good news. you happen to be living on a smarter planet. smarter healthcare, smarter grids, smarter cities. but what makes them smart?
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♪ 2012 heats up with donald trump on the trail and hot mike hiccup for president obama. more on the "roundtable" next. >> this week with christiane amanpour from the newseum in washington, d.c. will continue in a moment after this from our abc stations. >> this week with christiane amanpour from the newseum in washington, d.c. will continue in a moment after this from our abc stations.
donald trump wants you to know, that he has the brains, the bucks and the bluster to take on president obama. he's telling anyone who asks him, but the question remains is the celebrity billionaire for real and if he is, does he have a chance? >> if i decide to run, and if i win, i will not be raising taxes but will be taking in billions of dollars from other countries, and will be creating vast numbers of productive jobs, productive. productive. and will rebuild our country. the united states will be great again. >> and welcome back to our "roundtable." so quickly, does donald trump have a chance? is this a real candidacy?
>> he has a chance just like everybody has a chance. but the ability for him to go from celebrity to politician, i think is going to be very, very, very hard. i think in the end, his best day happened the day he started this process and everything else from there will be downhill. >> while the candidates entered the race quietly, mitt romney. he's trying to run away from his health care program. as governor of massachusetts it's working, isn't it? >> it's working brilliantly. over 98% of our residents have health insurance today. over 99% of children. it added 1% to state spending and we've got our next chapter, which is to bring a system costs down and get those costs passed on to rate payers, but, you know, as an expression of our values in massachusetts, it helped the public good and everyone deserves access to care. we're there. we have more to do but really proud of it. >> on the new medicaid as laid out in the ryan proposal.
it gives big block grants to the states, right? is that good? will that help somebody like governor patrick? >> only if it has conditions on it. i'm not worried about governor patrick's state but there are certainly states that would run away from their responsibilities to low income americans. so, if one were to go that route on medicaid, one would have to have very strong control on the amount of spending, and -- that would not allow states to just say, well, we're going to forget about four people. >> let me get to another big issue that came up this week. secretary clinton talked about what's going on in the rest of the world, in the middle east and elsewhere, saying, unless one's careful, this revolutionary fervor could turn into a mirage in the desert. right now, the united states is locked in literally combat to get gadhafi out. there are all sorts of reasons that people are saying the united states should really commit its major assets, for
instance, tank busting, helicopters, the kinds of planes and aircraft that they need in order to break the stalemate? why wouldn't they do it? >> because that's not why we're there. it's niggling to call attention to the fact that we went in to protect the people. >> the medieval siege around misrata right now. >> christiane, this is the 50th anniversary of the bay of pigs, i never thought i'd see a more effective misuse of american power, but then you see something like libya. we have no coherent exit strategy because we have no coherent objective. other than to get someone else to overturn the existing libyan government so people we don't know can take over. >> in the history of the world. by the military, democrats never work. we've seen that in iraq, we're bogged down in iraq. we've seen that in the history of this country. when the people do it themselves and rise up themselves, it works.
when it's imposed militarily, it usually doesn't work. >> does it not concern you? here we are -- the president has committed himself, to draw back right at the moment they can break the stalemate, is that smart? >> he's got our country involved in two wars. he didn't bring him there but he's involved in two wars. we're the only military power that exercises across the world. we have very little resources to apply ourselves all over the world. after the discussion we had about the budget deficit when the military needs to take on cuts, it's very hard for him to make a decision to impose the military. >> let's get back to the budget deficit. we heard what tim geithner talked about. people who do not vote to raise the debt ceiling will own the catastrophe that follows. do you think it will be raised and there will be some kind of compromise reached on that? >> i do. i think it must be raised for the same reason the secretary said, it will be a disaster not too.
but we do need to come together. the republicans and democrats, around a plan or plan to get a plan. a plan to force a plan. and i have great deal of hope for the six senators, so-called, gang of six in the senate. three republicans, three democrats, very serious folks, ranging from dick durbin from illinois, who is a serious liberal, to tom coburn from oklahoma, a serious conservative, and they were both on the president's commission, both signed it. they understand, and their colleagues, and i think a lot of others in the senate, that we have to come together, and reach a compromise. and on that note, we're going to continue this conversation in the green room. when we return we'll take you inside the revolution with a special reporter's notebook from terry moran, on the dramatic changes transforming the arab world.
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that was cairo's tahrir square. jubilation just after hosni mubarak resigned after ruling his country with an iron fist for 30 years. i spoke with mubarak, in the final days of his rule. now he's gone. but how much have things actually changed. across the region uprising continue, in syria, bahrain and while in libya, gadhafi is still hanging on after weeks of air strikes, what does it mean for the region? secretary of state hillary clinton offered a sobering warning this week. >> when we meet again at this forum at 1 year, or 5 years or 10. will we see the prospect for reform fade? and remember this moment as just a mirage in the desert.
>> so, will dreams of democracy slip into the sand? abc's terry moran filed this dispatch from the revolution. >> this was no mirage. it was one of the most stirring and most hopeful events of resent years. a people rising. a dictator falling. a nation, reaching for a new era of freedom. it all seemed so real. >> i'm proud to be an egyptian. >> reporter: two months later, cairo, a city that has seen so many centuries of rulers, revolutions and conquers, cairo has returned to its ancient rhythms and ways, but a shadow has fallen across the city, across the hopes of those heady revolution days. eight days ago, violent crashes erupted in tahrir square which
was the center of the region. which was the center that toppled hosni mubarak. but this time protesters were targeting the military government that took his place and promised a transition to democracy, two killed. dozens injured. it was an ominous sign of increasing aggression, a change of pace here. there are other disturbing signs. criticizing the army, most of time, considered something. >> but i thought you had a revolution here? >> i thought the same. >> maged maher is an activist and a good friend of the imprisoned blogger, michael nabil, whose case is a human rights splash point. nabil was hauled before a military court and sentenced to three years in prison for what he wrote. >> we're not free yet. we went to street and we shouted loudly that we want freedom. if people go to jail, because
expressing an opinion, we don't have it yet. >> reporter: so a question hangs over egypt and the answer to it matters to the whole world. are you free today? >> we are free, and we are to create the system now. >> reporter: this man is a poet. he was one of the more prominent activists in the revolution. we first met him when he was camped out in tahrir square during the protests. we returned to the square with him on friday. more traffic than protests. a few protesters were there, urging national unity. the biggest security presence were the traffic cops. and we found yousef is still cautiously optimistic. like so many egyptians we met. >> we are free people but we want to be a free nation. >> reporter: it matters so much because egypt with its 85 million people and ancient
culture have long been the center of gravity of the whole arab world. the fall of hosni mubarak here helped to light the fires of revolt in country after country. gas price, the dangers of terrorism. relations between islam and the west, it's all riding on these revolutions. and it turns out, revolution is hard and tricky work, even, and especially in egypt. the real question is, did they have a revolution or a coupe? the military has power but so do the people and protesters here, the situation right now is a delicate and sometimes tense balance between the guns of soldiers and demands of the people. >> i don't think that secretary of clinton was right about the comment of the revolution becoming a mirage. >> reporter: wael honim is a leader. he started organizing it on
facebook, that he was imprisoned by mubarak's regime during the protest. today he too wants to give the military benefit of the doubt. >> the army is trying to protect the revolution. they're doing it like any system in the world. plus this is completely new to them but at the end of the day, they've been showing a great deal of commitment towards protecting the revolution. >> reporter: the military government has scheduled elections later this year and the generals did seem to respond to the people's demand this week when mubarak himself and two sons were arrested for corruption and other charges. so, is egypt headed for true democracy or is it a mirage? there are no guarantees here, but the people are rising and there is no going back. for "this week" i'm terry moran in cairo. and we will keep monitoring those stories. and when we come back, a moment in history, 50 years since an iconic point in the cold war. a milestone for a perpetual
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that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. with attention focused on falling dictators across the world, a dictator right next door marks a milestone for endurance. there are parades and commemorations in cuba this weekend on the 50th anniversary of the bay of pigs invasion, a turning point of the cold war. abc's jim sciutto is in havana and you can find his full report online at abcnews.com/thisweek. that's it for our program. follow me online on twitter and abcnews.com. for all of us here at "this week," thank you for watching and see you again next week.