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tv   This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  April 28, 2013 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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good morning, and welcome to "this week." game changer. >> a red line for us is, we start seeing chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. >> chemical weapons in syria. does that military action is next? plus, the boston bombings investigation. >> it's dangerous to the greater community. >> did the interrogation end too soon? were warning signs missed? breaking details in a "this week" exclusive. then -- >> i appreciate my fellow members of the former presidents club. >> a parade of presidents in texas. armageddon at the airport and -- >> everything you ate this morning was personally shot by wayne la pierre.
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>> we borrowed one of michelle's tricks. >> washington's prom night. >> it's my favorite event of the year. >> we've got all of the stars, jokes and glamour from the white house correspondents' dinner. >> "this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. hello again. they call it the nerd prom. that one night every year when politicians and the press pretend to be hollywood stars, red carpet and all. and hollywood turned out in more force than ever last night all to hear the president take some shots at the press. >> i know that cnn has taken some knocks lately. i admire their desire to coverage all sides of the story. just in case one of them happens to be accurate. >> and his himself. >> i'm out in california, i mentioned that kamala harris is the best looking attorney
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general in the country. as you might imagine, i got in trouble when i got back home. who knew eric holder was so sensitive? >> conan o'brien shot right back. >> it's been several months since you were re-elected, sir, so i'm curious, why are you still sending five e-mails a day asking for more money? you won! do you have a gambling problem we don't know about? >> and both men honored the americans who rallied for others after the explosions in boston and texas. >> we've had some difficult days. but, even when the days seemed darkest, we have seen humanity shine at its brightest. we have seen first responders, the nation guardsmen who dashed into danger. and everyday americans who are opening their homes and hearts to perfect strangers. >> the dinner raised scholarship money for young journalists too.
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we'll have much more from the evening ahead. now, we turn to the new questions about intelligence and national security building all week, from syria to boston to russia. and here to discuss the fallout, mike rogers, ranking member dutch ruppersberger, jan schakowsky, along with jeffrey goldberg and martha raddatz. martha, let me begin with you and let's start with syria and this week, administration discovered some evidence of chemical weapons used in syria. describe the evidence. >> i think it sounds like pretty strong evidence. they got hair samples, tissue samples from some of the victims. they're at least 30 people died in aleppo alone that believe that's traced to the nerve agent sarin. they don't have the change of custody. they believe the assad regime is responsible for the deaths.
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but they don't know how yet to track that. we have people on the ground. the u.n. is not on the ground to trace that change of custody for proof. >> they say the evidence is not conclusive. that's why they need further investigation. several weeks. >> we have people on the ground, it dissipates quickly. it could take longer than that. >> mike rogers, you have looked at a lot of this evidence, is it conclusive for you? >> it is. we have classified evidence i think what we have strengthens the case. some amount of chemical weapons have been used over the last two years. the president has laid down the line. it can't be a dotted line. in more than just syria, iran is paying attention to this, north korea is paying attention to this. i think the options aren't huge but some action needs to be taken. the destabilizing impact, right
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now, chemical weapons have been small in use. if you have a large use -- >> how do you explain it was such a small use of chemical weapons, presumably president assad knew that if he would use chemical weapons it would trigger a response? >> it could be tested. whatever it is, it's a red line, you don't kill people with chemical weapons. it's not just about the united states and where we stand it's about the whole world. the key player here is russia, i think russia can stand up and make a difference, and they have had before, within the last month, russia i'm sure went to assad and said, look, you don't cross this line and i think at this point, that's where we are. >> let me ask you, do you agree that the line has been crossed is inconclusive? >> i believe the president and
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his deliberate approach to this. we have had a little problem going to the u.n. with the idea of weapons of mass destruction before, so we certainly want to finish the investigation. but he said it's not an on and off switch. but it has changed his calculation and, of course, he's looking into all of the options. but, you know, to imply that maybe we're not doing enough or we're not doing anything, i think also is mistake. >> but jeffrey goldberg, you wrote a couple of pieces this week, saying very clearly, the red line has been crossed and the president must act. the president has doubled down on this notion that if syria uses chemical weapons, the president would take action. he's kind of put himself in a box? >> he has. except, especially because of our experience with iraq, this has to be excellent intelligence. but, it's fine for the president to demand extra, extra levels of certification if you will. but, no, he has. this is the problem with red lines. he hasn't put down a red line,
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he's been fuzzy on iran, but the iranians are watching this one very carefully. they believe that he has a red line for their nuclear program. and they're watching how he handles the syrian issue. every day that goes by, where it seems as if there's indecision or some level of imbev lens, it's a signal to anyone who wants to test the united states. >> the question is, what are these options, the president made it clear as well, he's not talking about sending troops? >> i think you can talk about a no-fly zone, a safe haven. none of that is easy. it sounds great. a safe haven. but that involves taking out anti-aircraft. it involves kinetic action and a great deal of risk. i think, here, the comparison with iraq, president bush was looking for ways to go into iraq, president obama does not want to go into syria and is looking for ways not to go in there. so, i think that's one of the reasons why they're being so cautious here and military
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action, i think, you know, is the military always the option? what is the grandeur strategy here? does it have to be a military option? >> what is the answer here? >> part of the problem was, i think indecision has lessened the number of options we have available. you have al qaeda in large numbers, in the thousands, who are the best trained, best equipped and most -- >> and these are the opposition to the assad regime. >> what they have done is, they have attached themselves to the secular unit. that causes a huge problem for us. here's the biggest problem, and why at least our leadership, this isn't about military intervention alone, how often do you have the arab league to show leadership with them in syria? why? the conventional weapons, if they get loose from syria, and there are a bunch of them, it's incredibly destabilizing to
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the middle east and southern europe. that's why israel is concerned. jordan is concerned. turkey is concerned. because they see that, in chaos, when he falls, you have get their hands on both chemical and conventional weapons. you have al qaeda all over the country now. even knocking on israel's doorstep in the south. also looking to get better equipped through these stockpiles. it's horribly destabilizing. that's why they need to take a leadership role. >> it appears that the assad regime is perhaps stronger than saddam hussein's regime before the invasion? this is a resilient leader who's not going anywhere fast. >> lot of people are surprised that he's lasted a long. i agree with mike on the issue of chemical weapons. that is severe. we have to know where they are. when assad eventually falls where these chemical weapons where these chemical weapons
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are going to go. just like libya. same situation here. we have to be together as a team. we can't make decisions because we're concerned about how iran or north korea looks at us. that's an issue, no question. but we're going to do what we need to do. we have unique weapons that no one else has. you talk about a no-fly zone, syria is very sophisticated. libya is not sophisticated. we have a lot of issues on the table. we have to get it right. but i believe we have to do it as a team. >> what's the most effective escalation right now? >> for the americans? >> yeah. >> i have to agree with martha, safe haven is a very -- >> define a safe haven? >> you're occupying part of another person's country. let's not kid ousts. if yoi going to say, this is a safe haven, you're enforcing a no-fly zone over that haven. >> you're protecting those people. >> that means you have established your sovereignty in somebody else's country. that's a very serious thing. obviously,
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the number one thing for americans to do is to make sure that these al qaeda forces don't get hold of any assad's chemical weapons. look, president obama has said this. and president bush before him. the ultimate nightmare is the marriage of weapons of mass destruction and al qaeda. in syria, we're dangerously close to that happening. so we have to stop chemical weapons from being used. we have to stop them from falling into even worse hands. >> on pushing that line in the small number -- the small amount of sarin apparently used, i think that's really pushing that line. 245 that's really testing how far assad will go. and i think the issue of the number of people who have been killed, which is fairly small, is an issue for the administration. we're talking about weapons of mass destruction. this wasn't mass destruction. so, i think that's a game assad is playing that makes it more difficult for president obama.
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>> what would he would be hoping, congresswoman, he tries a few chemical weapons, america and the rest of the world doesn't respond, and that demoralizes the opposition. how far would you go to support more military action? >> no country in the region wants boots on the ground. we had king abdullah come to the united states, what he was asking for was help with a political situation, russia is in a position to help pressure assad, and i think that he has to go. i don't think there's any question about that. but, i think that all of these options have to be looked at, because the day after, the day after assad, is the day that these chemical weapons could be at risk, that if we don't address the growing sectarian that is there, and help the people who are more moderate, we could be in bigger, even bigger trouble the day after. >> i want to move on to another topic.
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but to sum this all up, am i hearing all of you believe that military action has to be taken but far short of actually putting u.s. boots on the ground? >> nobody's calling for boots on the ground. that has to be clear. no boots on the ground. remember, when we're talking about safe haven, equipment with the arab league goes a long way. they need specialize equipment that can take planes and helicopters out of the air so that you can train the syrian forces. >> let me move to the issue of the boston marathon bombings. are we any closer in figuring out this key central question, who radicalized these brothers and when? >> there are still persons of interest in the united states that the fbi would like to have conversations with. and the big unknown is still that six months, little over six months in russia, clearly, that
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is where they went from the process of radicalization to -- >> the older brother? >> the older brother. -- to violence. and there's a lot that we just don't know. that's why many say, the russians need to step up to the plate here and provide us better information. i think they have information that would be incredibly helpful but didn't provide it. >> why didn't they provide it? >> the fsb is a hostile service to the fbi and cia. there's a cultural problem there between where the russians are and our folks. they sent a letter, didn't have a lot of information, and then three extra times after the investigation was closed, they said, do you have any more? they wouldn't do it. i believe they have more information and had information. >> one of things they had provided were these wiretaps of the brothers' mother, she seems to have been a key figure at least in encouraging the older brother in his more fervent worship. >> the fbi listening to those
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tapes, thought at the time, at least, it had more to do with internal russian problems. not the united states of america. this is one of the most broad investigations that we have seen. all of our law enforcement, intelligence community, doing a great job investigating and questioning all of the associations. awe lack awlawi dead. still have tapes. and then there's personal issues that the tamerlan may have had, that -- >> when you say you're closer, to pick on what the congresswoman was saying, do you know of any other persons of interest, any other people here in the united states who might have been a part of this process of radicalizing tamerlan? >> it's a domestic investigation and an international investigation.
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the fbi is really good with this. there are persons of interest in the united states. we're looking at phone calls before and after the bombings. this type of investigation. but i agree with mike, also, the real test about whether he was radicalized or not, is russia. we have to do a lot of investigation in russia. when he went over to russia and came back over things changed. >> this started in 2009 and 2010 when people started talking about a real change in the older brother. then he went over to russia. clearly something more happened in meeting with extremists and those wiretaps. you have to wonder why they wiretapped the mother to begin with. >> you don't have to go to russia, pakistan, afghanistan, to be radicalized. you can do it right in your bedroom on the internet. osama bin laden is dead. his work and his ideas are carried on. and we have a very deep problem. you know,
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there are people who are being so radicalized at this moment in the united states of america, and we have to find a way to disrupt that radicalization process. and it's very difficult. because it's all there on the internet. >> one of the things that we have seen, chairman, it's not enough to go to the inspire to build the bombs, the fbi has real suspicions, on the internet, they had to have help to get those bombs together? >> yes, not only that, in the self-radicalization process, you still need outside affirmation. in every case that we have seen, to try to commit an act of violence, there was affirmation of their intent to commit jihad. i believe that happened in the united states. we still have persons of interest that we're working to find and identify and have conversations with. >> you're saying ten or fewer? >> i didn't say that. i didn't give a number.
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i do think there are persons of interest. in russia is where i think they went from, yes, i'm ready to jihad, here's how you conduct an act of violence with training. >> the threat to our country. the lone wolf. under the radar. that was awlaki in yemen, he organized the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber. and this is what really concerns us -- this is what we're saying to the public, if there's not chatter and we can't get information through our intelligence, and we have the best intelligence in my opinion, then we need the help of the public to let us know. >> in this case, the fbi talked to him twice before he went to russia, i guess the big question is, congresswoman, why there were not further interviews after tamerlan came back from russia, if there was any break in the system that was
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it. >> i think we need to look at that. the older brother tamerlan was on the databases, we had him information about them. were the dots all followed to lead to a more investigation? i think that's worth looking at. >> do you blame the fbi for dropping the ball here? >> i think it's still early to point blame. what they did in 2011, at the end of the day, they had no derogatory information, including all of the databases. all of the databases, including interviews. at some point, the fbi doesn't get to investigate americans, or people who are here legally just because they want to, what happened. could they have done a secondary interview on the way back? there are questions there if we could improve the system a little bit.
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however, i think it's wrong to blame the fbi in 2011. at the end of the day, they finished the investigation. they did the digital footprint search, couldn't find anything. then they asked the russians for help, nothing. >> far be it for a journalist to excuse the behavior of a government agency, even if the law enforcement agencies have the constitutional power to investigate these suspicions, you don't have the personnel. >> and you're not really watching that area. >> i want to follow on the issue you raised just a minute ago, if the problem is self-radicalization here at home, relatively easy to do, what we do about it? >> this is where the muslim community has to come into play. it's moderates in the muslim community who have told law enforcement about radicals in their midst. and you know, you have this
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brightly-lit pathway on radicalization. there has to be a counterpathway and this is not something that the united states can do. there's nothing that a western power can do. an issue that's deeply embedded in islam. not something that the committee can fix. >> thank you all very much. fantastic discussion. our powerhouse roundtable is next. after a quick fix for air travelers, is that sequestration a scam? is president bush's legacy getting a makeover? and behind the scenes at last night's big bash. >> it's a fine group of people. i'm excited to see conan o'brien. >> there were some confusion with the seating charts. for a moment, someone accidentally sat chris christie with the republicans. >> i think on obama is hilarious, people. obama is funny.
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>> i get it. i have to admit, i'm not this strapping young muslim socialist i used to be. >> george is back with more "this week" after this. welcnew york state, where cutting taxes for families and businesses is our business. we've reduced taxes and lowered costs to save businesses more than two billion dollars to grow jobs, cut middle class income taxes to the lowest rate in sixty years,
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they even reward me for addressing my health risks. so i'm doing fine... but she's still going to give me a heart attack. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. roundtable is up next. and the best jokes from the wous correspondents' dinner. first, a look back at what happens when the commander in chief plays comedian. >> i have been criticized for going over the heads of congress, what is the fuss, a lot of things go over their heads. >> if you really want a friend in this town, get yourself a dog. i wished somebody told me that before i showed up with a neutered cat. >> here it comes. nuclear proliferation. >> tonight, i want to speak from
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♪ i'm filled with admiration for you and deep gratitude for you for the deep contributions you made.
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>> i seriously considered calling you and asking you to do a portrait of me, those bathroom sketches were wonderful, but at my age, i think i should keep my suit. >> we're glad to be here, god bless america, and thank you very much. >> good job. >> too long? >> what i know is true about president bush and i hope my successor will say about me is that we love this country and we do our best. >> whatever challenges come before us, i will always believe our nation's best days lie ahead. god bless. >> all of the living presidents joining the opening of the bush library. he's given everyone a chance to reassess the bush legacy. let me introduce everybody right now. joined by george will as always, donna brazile. former house speaker newt gingrich.
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outgoing governor of los angeles, antonio villaraigosa and matthew dowd. the furloughs on created a debate on the floor of the house over how to fix it. >> we're here because of a colossal failure of leadership and the ability to manage resources. >> how can we sit there and say 4 million meals on wheels for seniors gone? but that's not important. >> george, the president and democrats insisted that there had to be a comprehensive solution to lift the sequester. but congress acted in record pass. the furloughs at the beginning of the week. by friday, a fix had been passed. >> the comedian lily tomlin has the character, bag lady, who says no matter how cynical you get, you can't keep up. 2 million americans fly every
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day, so you -- in a very few days, you got the irritated out there. more important, 535 members of congress fly regularly and this was going to inconvenience them which was unthinkable. so the faa, having said this was all necessary because the sequester required it to live on the money that it had in 2010, now it was chaos to live on 2010 appropriations. whistle blowers within the faa began sending out e-mails that they were instructed this was as painful as possible on the theory, the government give more money, but the long and the short of this is, george, the sequester is now going to be here for a very long time, because they're going to find ways to make it administered more rational. >> that means it will be a swiss cheese sequester? >> yes. absolutely, george. this sequester will have real impact on real people in real time. not only members of the
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congress, but people who work for the park services, medical research, they begin to make those cuts. it's impacting meals on wheels. kids who are in kindergarten. so, i really do think that congress has to take a second look at this, otherwise every month, we'll be faced with another -- >> it seems that the incentive to have these rifle-shot fixes going forward. when something seems perilous. we'll fix that one by one. >> this was a real victory for fiscal conservatism. they didn't give the money back. what they said is, here's another pot of money that doesn't affect people nearly as much. you had the attorney general announcing that not a single one of his 60,000 employees would be furloughed. not a single one. now, the average american, this is just stupid management. i think what you'll see is a rolling series of fixes. none of which back off on the
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total amount of the sequester, which makes more sense out of how to save the money. it may mean that the most corrupt are going to bear the biggest burden. i mean, when you look at a $4 trillion government, you can find lots of really stupid things to quit paying for. >> a victory for fiscal conservatism? >> i don't think so. i think it's a failure in leadership. we have balanced budgets and dealt with deficits in our cities. we have done it in a balanced way. you can make the efficiencies and find the savings that you need and that's what the government needs to do here. i mean, the problem with the congress is, they're both so fixated on ideology or orthodoxy that they
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can't work together. i think for most of us, we look at them and we say, what planet are they from? why can't they work together? why can't they fix what's broken? >> they did work together here. pretty overwhelming. >> we constantly ask for bipartisanship out of this congress and this administration, and the only way they are bipartisanship is with something -- we can't pass gun control legislation. by the way, you're about to get delayed at the airports, everyone knows there's a fiscal crisis in this country. everybody knows that we don't have the revenue to meet the expenses in this country. somebody has to bear pain. we act in washington like nobody has to bear any pain. as soon as somebody bears pain, we're going to take it back from them. >> you asked the question, isn't it the case in showdowns like this, the articulate, the well organized, the affluent, the complaining middle class benefits, of course, big government is always the servant
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of the strong enough to organize and make its levers work. the 2 million people who fly every day are middle-class and upper middle-class. they know how to complain, they know how to organize and they know how to contact their congressmen. >> they'll see their benefit checks cut. >> those on medicare will see their benefits reduced. and of course, this is going to have a real impact on gdp and job growth. let's talk about the broader questions about the president's agenda, especially in the wake of the boston marathon bombings. there were some suggestions early on after the bombing that immigration reform should be slowed down. paul ryan pushed back on that notion this week. >> we have a broken immigration system and, if anything, what we see in boston is that we
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have to modernize our immigration system for lots of reasons. for economic reasons. >> what is going on here? you have seen the gang of eight in the senate to build up momentum, yet in the house, you got the chairman of the house judiciary committee, saying i want to move with single bills that fix portions of the problems. what does that mean for the legislation going forward? >> i think the more people who study the comprehensive bill the harder it's going to be. remember, we did this under bush. we had the mccain/kennedy breakthrough. 800-some pages. terrific press conference. and then someone actually starts reading the 800 pages. you would vastly better off to take one piece at a time. i think it ought to be fixed, one piece at a time. out in the open. with amendments when you know what it means. i distrust deeply 800-page bills crafted by staff and launched with great publicity. where no senators have read the bill.
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>> maybe the eight have? >> maybe. >> 844 pages to be exact. we do not do comprehensive well, comprehensive energy plans, comprehensive health care, comprehensive immigration. it winds up like a rubik's cube. you jiggle something here and things start jiggling all over there. you can take employee verification in a separate bill. you can take visas for the talented in a separate bill. you can take border security. you can take guest worker program and break it up. >> we can see the mayor jumping out of his seat there. if that happens, the pathway to citizenship will never happen. >> that's right. well, just last year, we had every republican candidate call for the self-deportation of 11 million people. >> whoa, whoa, that's not true. >> let me finish. and the fact of the matter is,
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for a city like mine, 1 out of 10 people is undocumented. 42% foreign-born. 57% of the people in my city have at least one immigrant at the head of household. more importantly, 44% of all of the new businesses started are started by immigrants. we have to fix this broken system. they don't do comprehensive very well. the fact of the matter is, we're not going to have an immigration bill that doesn't have a pathway to citizenship. look, even, this bill says, 13 years, it's going to take, a vast majority of polling has said people think five years is an appropriate period of time. this is very tough on border security. it's very tough on the hurdles that you have to overcome. to become a citizen. you have to pay back your taxes. you have to have a background check. if we do it piecemeal, we'll have people shoot it like swiss
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cheese and you'll never get a bill. >> first, i want to give the speaker some credit for -- during a hard primary, spoke out compassionately -- >> and then got beaten up for it in the primary. >> i think there's consensus on the politics on both sides of this. democrats know they want to do and have to do, good public policy. republicans know if they're going to be a party that goes into the next generation, a minority party, they'll have to do something that feels like outreach. >> republican leadership. i'm not sure rank and file house members -- >> i think we'll have immigration reform. it's going to happen this year. it's not going to be slowed down. we have a consensus on both sides of the aisle. the president wants it. the leadership in congress wants it. it's going to happen. what elements? it's going to happen this year. >> it's still a split between the national republican party, that would like to see immigration reform passed this year, and the congressional
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republicans, who want to slow it down, who want to analyze it. pull it apart. >> i mean, it's just like watching obama care disintegrate. they make great press conferences. they become law, laws actually ought to be in the open, whether they're going to work. every single thing that the mayor wants to get done, can get done in a series of specific bills. this channel is, if you have an idea so bad that you have to hide it in a comprehensive bill, why should we pass it. >> the question going forward. lots of questions about the president's leadership as he pushes all of these, especially after the failure during the bombings of the background checks in the senate, it's created a whole bunch of comparisons. especially in the "new york times." saying he's not a lot like lbj.
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front-page story this week, went on and said, if he cannot translate the support of 90% of public for background checks into a victory on capitol hill, what can he expect to accomplish legislatively for his remaining three and a half years? office? of course, george will, if people remember, it was mostly democrats that lyndon b. johnson it was democrats that he was backing up against the wall. >> yeah, he carried 44 states in the previous election. the "new york times" diffused with nostalgia of lyndon b. johnson, but beyond that, he understood that politics as a transactional business, you give something you get something. this president has faith in the power of his rhetoric. he campaigned against scott brown, against chris christie, against bob mcdonald, he campaigned hard for the democrat candidates in 2010 and they got shellacked. he campaigned for obama care. it's still overrated.
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no basis for government. >> donna? >> still, this is a president, congress is broken. it's very difficult to have a relationship with members of congress when they are worried about their next primary and not worried about what they're going to accomplish. i think this president is trying to do the right things in terms of outreach, putting together sensible policies, but there are no dance partners to start a relationship with. >> i think the president, he's had a lot of great speeches that he's given. but i think they made a mistake by not having a relationship in congress and saying we're going to go out and talk to the country and not worry about washington, d.c. this president has never build relationships outside of saying i need your vote tomorrow, it's all been photo ops with congress. he hasn't reached out.
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he hasn't said come to camp david, let's sit down and talk. if he has that ability. >> i'm going to the failure of leadership again. first, he doesn't have a vote in congress. i'm not suggesting that he couldn't work harder. >> he's the president of the united states. >> he should be able to work the congressional numbers. i think the democrats and the republicans, by the way, there were a number of democrats that didn't vote for universal background checks. 90% of america, the vast majority of nra members support universal background checks. there has to be a middle ground somewhere we can all agree. you put a little on the president. i put a lot more on the senate. >> you have been in the middle of countless negotiations in the house, would this kind of personal politicking make a difference on an issue when people are facing such pressure at home? >> sure. it makes a huge difference, in
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part because you begin to learn what you and you can't do. you don't set up goals that are hopeless. the voting pattern on gun control has been extraordinarily clear for the last 50 years, with very rare exceptions. in the end, the people who cared deeply about the right to bear arms, view that as a central issue in their lives. people who vaguely say yes in position, don't vote on it. people actually do go home and they actually listen to the folks back home and the folks back home say, don't do that. >> background checks. this is an issue that the nra supported. >> in the late '90s. i'm sorry. >> i'm just reporting, if you looked at someone like max baucus, in montana, the way he voted was overwhelming approve -- >> i think they have bought into a myth that doesn't exist anymore.
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i think what's going on in gun control, there's not this huge vehement group of people out there saying, i'm going to defeat if you vote for background checks. i live in texas. i'm around a lot of people who shoot guns. i own five guns. but there's a group of folks in washington that are scared of their shadow on this issue. some democrats and lot of republicans. the myth doesn't exist anymore. they're afraid to do something about it. >> whatever happened to courage and doing the right thing? >> first of all, what you're saying is, minority stood up an overwhelming majority and lacked courage? i thought that was the definition of courage. the gun control measures would have passed if they had any discernible connection that prevented something like newtown. they never connected the measures with the problems. >> that could be the biggest challenge going forward. we saw all of the presidents
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come together this week, living presidents, they opened up the bush library. we had a new poll this week that showed, since he left office, president bush's approval ratings went up to 47% today. sort of climbing back into respectable territory. george will? >> the american people want to think well of presidents and ex-presidents. the problem with the bush legacy is the tensions within it. arguably his greatest decision was the surge, but the surge was to correct for the disastrous of immre implementation of the iraq war. two supreme court nominees, now justices, on the other hand, one came after a disastrous suggestion harriet myers, in afghanistan, you had an invasion you had to take.
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we got into the business of nation-building. the prescription drugs entitlement. if first major entitlement he passed without a dedicated funding source. aggravated the welfare state and his favorite piece of legislation, no child left behind, nationalizing a state and local responsibility. >> matthew dowd, you worked for the president for several years. >> yeah, i was there for the first five years of the iraq war. i think it was a great moment, always great moments with the five living presidents. they pay respects regardless of parties. the library, presidential institutions are an important part. i think the president, you know, reflecting back on what he had done a number of good things.
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the aid for africa and in the aftermath of katrina and a number of things. what you saw, everyone thinks this is a good man. the problem is, we had that day and everyone focused on it. it's as if the people who got off the titanic, you ask, other than that, how was the trip? the iraq war was a disaster. we lost thousands of lives. i had a son that served there. we lost thousands of u.s. lives. and the iraq war for at least 20 years is going to affect us. it's already affecting our foreign policy in syria. it's affected our domestic policy, because of the lack of funds and lack of ability. we pause for a moment, yes, he's a good man. in the end, the iraq war was such a disastrous decision and affected this country so dramatically. >> mr. speaker? >> well, i think the thing you saw for a brief moment there with his father captured the heart of george w. bush, this is a person who tried very hard to do what was right.
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has enormous sense of decency. as he said in his closing thing, he really loves america. i agree with the critique, and i think people are going to be pretty tough about the record, but i don't think they'll be very tough about the man. i think there's a real difference between the two. >> he got off the stage in 2009 and said, you know what, good-bye, so long, i'm not going to inject myself in the day-to-day politics. i think that was for the good not just for his legacy but something future presidents do, let the other one govern. >> he would not touch a policy issue in interviews this week. >> i actually did like to see for once democrats and republicans together, acknowledge the man and not just his policies. i'm with you, matt, i think his biggest mistake was getting into that war, and i didn't vote for him either time. but you have to respect the
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presidency, i do, i think it's important for us in a democracy, and i thought it was a good moment for a respite from the kind of partisanship that you see here. >> we'll take a quick break. back with our snap shots, strange encounters and the best standup. >> turner broadcasting is going to make a miniseries, vice president joe biden is going to be played by bob barker. representative paul ryan, will be played by mr. beans. secretary of state john kerry, will be played by an easter island head. >> george is back with more "this week" after this.
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stick around for our take on president obama and conan o'brien. first, we come up with a new way to experience live events on join loop. it's called the social soundtracker. you can vote for your favorite and least favorite moments with just one click. tracy morgan had the best joke. >> but he makes everybody better. without him i never could have played joe biden. literally. i'm joe biden. >> learn more about social soundtracker by going to and we'll be right back. and we'll be right back. ♪ [ agent smith ] i've found software that intrigues me. it appears it's an agent of good. ge has wired their medical hardware with innovative software to be in many places
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♪ ♪ as long i got my suit and tie ♪ we both went to harvard, we both have two children and we both told joe biden that we didn't have extra tickets for tonight's event. >> my charm offensive has helped me learn some interesting things about what's going on in congress. it turns out, absolutely nothing. >> some in this room have even accused the president of being distant and aloof. earlier, he said oh and walked when i asked him about it earlier, he said oh and walked away. >> some folks said that i don't spend enough time with congress. why don't you get a drink with mitch mcconnell, they ask. really? why don't you get a drink with mitch mcconnell? >> he might have been talking to you there, matthew dowd. one of the things we have seen the president do this several times, boy, he loves that taking
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that out, specially against the press. >> his timing is impeccable. he's a comedic genius in terms of his timing. that evening event was wonderful. you have hollywood mixed with politics and mixed with washington. it's a great moment. i nobody everyone says, what are they doing? it's a great, light moment that everyone can take advantage of. i think the president did a great job. >> it was his best performance. he just was phenomenal. the timing was perfect as you said. now, we know what his next job will be. >> you have seen him do this a couple of times? >> sure. >> what did you think of last night? >> look, the good news, for the president, the mayor said it may be the best moment. the president, in five years, have the better moment than the
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white house correspondents' dinner. but he was very good last night. >> george, we saw tom brokaw say, shows everything that's wrong in washington. he said it's gotten way out of control? >> that's far down on the list of what's wrong with washington. i have never been to one of these things. it occurs during night games. i'm not going to miss those. it's a classic washington moment where two people talk to one another, each looking over the shoulder to see if there's someone more famous they should be talking to. >> it's great networking event. i have been to over 25 of them. i chose not to go last night because i thought it was important for some of the young people who had been covering boston to get a chance. but i did go to all of the preparties.
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i'm happy to report i have an addition, thanks to "people" magazine, i have some tea, we can share that, george and some happy socks. >> some swag. thank you all very much. now, we honor our fellow americans who serve and sacrifice. this week, the pentagon released the names of three soldiers killed in afghanistan. that's all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news" with david muir tonight. and don't miss diane sawyer's prime timespecial with amanda knox about her harrowing experience in italy. i'll see you tomorrow on "good morning america." america."
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>> in the news, fascinating new information in the boston bombing information. what officials have learned about a recorded phone conversation between one of the suspects and his mother. and the fundraiser that's about to begin for a young bay area boy hurt in one of those blasts. we will have a live report. >> good morning, everyone. a look from the roof camera. you can see how quickly the fog has cleared here. numbers in the low 50s but fog on the north and south end of the bay. i'll let you know when you see the sunshine as opposed to warmup on tap today and the week ahead next on
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