tv PBS News Hour PBS October 28, 2010 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. polls continue to show democrats in significant trouble with less than a week to election day. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, pollsters andy kohut and j. ann selzer analyze the latest findings. >> lehrer: and we spotlight the high-visibility race for california's senate seat between democratic incumbent barbara boxer and republican challenger carly fiorina. >> whether people are democrats or independents or republicans, they're tired of career politicians. >> i have a passion for this work. it's my life's work. my opponent demeans it. she says, "oh, how can anyone do this for so long?"
>> woodruff: then, ray suarez explores the spread of the home foreclosure epidemic with dante chinni, author of the book "patchwork nation" and rick sharga of realty trac. >> lehrer: margaret warner gets the latest on another deadly week in mexico's drug wars. >> over time, i've been building my castle of love... >> woodruff: and, jeffrey brown profiles a young jazz phenomenon bass player and singer esperanza spalding. >> when i got a taste of the spontaneity of improvisational music, right then i knew that was really kind of the gospel playing. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: polling numbers today pointed up the democrats' dilemma, mostly about the economy. they came with the mid-term election campaign in its end game. the surveys released today offered little for president obama to cheer about or for democratic leaders in congress with voting day just five days off. a "new york times"/cbs news poll found critical blocs that supported the president and his party two years ago are now defecting to republicans.
republicans held a 15% advantage among independents in the survey. and among women voters, republicans led democrats by 4%. if that trend holds, it would be the first time since 1982, when exit polls began tracking the gender gap. but at the white house, press secretary robert gibbs said other polls give a different view. >> i will say this: i think this overall notion of huge disappointment among democratic voters is-- it is not matched in any of the empirical data that you guys produce and that we see. >> lehrer: but it's the disappointing data on the economy that's been driving voter sentiment. and there was more today. a new survey by the associated press showed leading economists have lowered their expectations for 2011. their new consensus: unemployment is expected to dip
from the current 9.6%, but only to 9% in the year ahead. the economy as a whole will expand only 2.7%. the republican national committee had its own take in an online video released today. >> but what is absolutely clear is that were moving in the right direction. we are headed in the right direction. we are confident that we are moving in the right direction. >> lehrer: the president found it hard to escape the somber mood of 2010, even during last night's appearance on "the daily show" with comedian jon stewart. >> now, how did we go, in two years, from hope and change-- we are the people we've been looking for to, you're not going to give them the keys, are you? is it-- are you disappointed in how it's gone? are you surprised that other people, even your base, can be disappointed? or do you reject that narrative?
>> you know, look, when i won and we started the transition, and we looked at what was happening in the economy, a whole bunch of my political folks came up and said, you know what, enjoy this now, because two years from now, folks are going to be frustrated. and that is in fact what's happened. but having said that, i look over the last 18 months and i say, we prevented a second great depression, we've stabilized the economy, an economy that was we have passed historic health care reform, historic financial regulatory reform, we have done things that some folks don't even know about. >> what have you done that we don't know about? ( laughter.) are you planning a surprise party for us -- filled with jobs and health care? >> lehrer: the president said democrats should be rewarded for taking tough votes in the last two years.
and he urged voters to consider that even incremental progress is good. >> so you wouldn't say you'd run this time as a pragmatist? you would not-- it wouldn't be, "yes, we can" given certain conditions and... ( laughter ) >> no. no, i think what i would say is, "yes, we can, but..." ( laughter ) it is not-- it is not going to happen overnight. >> lehrer: the president returns to the campaign trail tomorrow, in virginia. and now for an overall polling lay of the election land tonight-- andrew kohut, president of the pew research center and j. ann selzer, president of selzer & co., an iowa-based firm that conducted the latest bloomberg poll. generally speaking, republicans are doing fairly well overview, right? >> that's right. in fact it looks a bit like a crimson tide is coming to the u.s. house of representatives. i think the one glimmer of hope
for democratic candidates is that people who are deciding late and whether they are deciding to actually vote late or making up their minds late, those voters tend to be breaking for democrats. so the last minute hustle you've seen on the campaign trail may close that gap a little bit. >> lehrer: how much is this being driven by views on the economy? home foreclosures, unemployment, fear of unemployment, et cetera. >> you know, one of the things we see is a very gloomy view of the economy, and no real consensus on who is to blame for the way it is or what should be done in terms of coming out of it. the thing i really think is happening in this election is voters saying, really, ironically, we want something else, which is what they said in 2008 and they didn't get it. and they are still wishing to see solutions to the problems, they don't see one party in particular as having the mantle that will lead toward change, but they want something else. >> lehrer: something else, but do the polls show an endorsement
of what the republicans have in mind? or is it more of a rejection of what was the democrats have done? >> well, there's no strong endorsement for the republicans. they've made a lot of noise the candidates have about how they're going to cut the budget, maybe that's in devens to the tea party movement. but in our poll voters are not at all saying that that's the lead thing that needs to happen, and it's just bare majoritys that would endorse really any of the initiatives that the republicans have put forward. so there's no mandate that would come with a republican change in control of the house. >> lehrer: you read the polls the same way ann did? >> pretty much. what ann was just talking about is one of the most bizarre things i've ever seen in a mid term election. this is a wave election, that there's a republican trend. we've done four polls and they all have republican leads. yet the image in the republican party isn't any better than the image in the democratic party, and the confidence in both parties is pretty low. so this republican wave is
predicated upon we're angry at the people who are in charge and it's the democrats who are in charge. but there's no sense that this is a movement toward the republican party. and why? because this is being, this change is being driven by the views of independent voters who favor the republicans by a 49 to 30% margin. two years ago they favored the democrats, and elected obama. two years before that the democrats in 2006. and the independents have voted against the party in power for what looks like three successive elections because they don't feel the powers at be are getting it right. >> lehrer: ann, your poll shows the same thing, that the independents are the ones swinging toward the republicans this time rather than the democrats? >> very definitely. and i think one of the striking findings out of our poll was a question about whether if republicans were to take control works they want them to stand on principle and even if that meant
gridlock, or do they want them to work together even if it means compromising on principle. and 80%, roughly, said that they want them to work together, they -- this is the change they want. they want the parties to start cooperating and work together, and it puts republicans in a bit of an interesting position, in that they have sort of claimed the change as being resistant to what's happening now. so they're going to have to find a way of making the electorate think they are accomplishing something. >> lehrer: andy, you used the term anger. is, can anger be measured in these polls in a way that strikes you? >> oh, yes, certainly. early on in this year repeated our surveys about trust in government that we did in the late, at the beginning of the last decade. and we found then only 10% of people saying they were angry with government and that had gone up more than 20% in the polls that we've done this year. it's doubled. weather had as many as a third
of americans saying that they feel the u.s. government threatens their personal freedoms. that's really harsh attitude. that isn't the view of most people. most people say i'm frustrated by government. >> lehrer: that's different than being angry. >> that's different than being angry. but the percentage of people being angry has at least doubled over the past decade. >> lehrer: how do you read the anger factor in your polls, ann? >> you know we asked people, we gave them five adjectives, ranging from optimistic, reasonably hopeful, indifferent, frustrated or angry, and about three out of four mrp the top two categories of optimistic or reasonably hopeful. i don't deny that that anger side may be growing. but i think this is the side of the american electorate that sometimes we don't always remember, which is that people heading into an election are thinking about the outcome and things getting better. >> lehrer: where does, andy, where do feelings about
president obama fit into this right now? >> kind of a mixed reaction. the obamas approval ratings have stayed pretty stable over a bad year for him. >> lehrer: general approval? >> general, 46% approve, 45 kiss approve, a little lower than january, but not too bad. when we ask people, when you're casting a ballot you can be voting for him or against him, that is for the house, and we get 30% saying against, 27% saying for. so that's sort of a mixed read as well. and the other thing that we see is that, that what president obama has been unable to do, however, is deliver his base. that was so instrumental to his re-election in 2008 on behalf of the democrats. we see engagement on the part of the young people, african-americans way down. so in a lot of ways, the most important way of looking about president obama isn't so much what are attitudes toward him, but what has he been able to do for the democratic party.
not that much. >> lehrer: do you agree with that, ann? >> i do, and i think that's really telling is that swing independent voter, who is what swept him into office with a very strong electoral victory, and they are now voting for republicans and they're not as favorably inclined toward president obama as they once were. his ratings dropped a lot among that group. >> lehrer: what about gender, what about women voters who supported him strongly in 2008, what's happening this time? >> well, they still support him, just not in the overwhelming numbers that he used to have. he's lost especially among independent women he's eroded into that base. now, more women are democratic than are independent, so he still looks pretty good when you look at women overall. >> lehrer: andy, i know you've done some polling on how interested people are in this election. what have you found right up until now? >> what we find is a lot of interest. this is likely, we're likely to have as much turnout in 2010 as we had in 2006, and that has
been one of the highest, that was one of the highest mid term election turnouts in a long period. more people say, compared to typical mid term that they've been paying a lot of attention to the, giving it a lot of thought, and are inclined to vote. so this, expect heavy turnout. but let clarify for the viewers, heavy turnout means 40% of the eligible voters actually casting a ballot. this isn't a majority sport. this isn't like a presidential election where we get 60% of the people voting. this is still a minority effort. but compared to past elections, because there's anger and there's discontent, the numbers are going to be high. >> lehrer: do you agree with that, ann, about turnout? >> well, i do agree with it and i tend to think that the higher the turnout the better things will be for democrats. and that the polling that is looking really at that core motivated voter is very much trend republican, so what's left
out there in terms of people who regularly vote but thought they would sit this one out are people who be inclined to align with the democrats. >> lehrer: okay. beyond the 40% you mean? in other words any time you go above 40% the chances are they'll be democrats rather than the republicans, is that what you're saying? >> that's the way i do the math. >> lehrer: all right. thank you both very much. we'll see what happens. >> woodruff: and we have more politics coming up with an on- the-ground look at the boxer- fiorina senate race in california. that's followed by the spread of the foreclosure crisis; the deadly attacks in mexico and jazz musician esperanza spalding. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman in our newsroom. >> holman: first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest point since july. it was due partly to fewer layoffs in construction. but on wall street, the focus was on weak corporate earnings. the dow jones industrial average lost 12 points to close below 11,114.
the nasdaq rose four points to close at 2,507. rescuers in indonesia found more bodies today, from monday's tsunami. the death toll grew to 370, with hundreds still missing. we have a report narrated by james mates of "independent television news." >> lastly put into a body bag and buried in a shallow grave before disease can spread. no one will be surprised if the death toll here were to double. >> what can i say, you know, everybody... >> reporter: it's not immediately clear if the villages were destroyed by the earthquake or the tsunami that followed it. to those whose homes now give shelter from the sun but nothing else, it probably matters little. a few days ago they were desperately poor. now they have nothing. from the air you can see what the wave did to these remote islands that lie in one of the most geologically unstable
places on earth. it's hard to see what was here before, but it it was inhabited. there is, though, nothing here now. just six years ago another tsunami killed almost a quarter of a million people a few hundred miles up this coast. an early warning system has since been installed. but even if it did work, eye witnesss speak of an enormous wave coming just minutes after the quake. limited aid and medical help are reaching the survivors, but with their homes gone and many with relatives missing, the thing these families may be shortest of is hope. >> reporter: >> holman: 800 miles to the east, the indonesian volcano mount merapi erupted again today, but there were no injuries. an eruption earlier this week killed 33 people. strikes in france disrupted air travel today. they were aimed at new pension reforms approved by parliament. in the streets, thousands of demonstrators waved union flags and signs, vowing to fight the reforms until president nicolas sarkozy signs them into law. still, the rallies appeared smaller than in recent weeks. the head of britain's spy agency
gave an unprecedented public address today. sir john sawers heads the secret intelligence service, widely known as mi-6. none of his predecessors ever spoke publicly. sawers defended the need for secrecy to counter growing terror threats like iran's nuclear ambitions. >> secret organizations need to stay secret even if we present an occasional public face as i am doing today. if our operations and methods become public, they won't work. agents take risks. they will not work with s.i.s., will not pass us the secrets they hold, unless they can trust us not to expose them. >> holman: m.i.-6 is being investigated for allegations it
went along with abuse of terror suspects. sawers said his agents are obligated to stop any torture, even if it means letting a terror plot go forward. the presidential commission investigating the gulf oil spill is pointing a finger at cement, supplied by halliburton. investigators reported today the mixture failed in three out of four tests. but they said halliburton and b.p. decided to use it anyway. halliburton maintains the cement mix was not at fault. it blames b.p.'s well design and operations. the u.s. urged china today to spell out its policy on exporting rare earth minerals. secretary of state hillary clinton made the appeal in hawaii, beginning an asia-pacific tour. she said the world got a wake up call recently when china cut exports of exotic metals. the metals are critical to making computers and other high- tech hardware. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: in california politics, republican senate candidate carly fiorina returned
to the campaign trail today after a brief hospital stay due to a post-surgical infection. fiorina, who was treated last year for breast cancer, resumed her battle to unseat barbara boxer in the golden state, where i caught up with both of them on the campaign trail earlier this week. >> how about waking up out there! >> reporter: third term democratic senator barbara boxer often jokes, but because she's small, she has to work harder. indeed elections have never come easy for the feisty brooklyn born politician. but this year her challenge is even steeper than usual. because of the lousy economy and especially because of the place where she works. >> because of the low approval ratings of congress, because of the fact that this year californians don't feel that congress is getting the job done that's what's really working against barbara boxer.
>> reporter: policy analysts and pollster says there's nothing new about boxer having approval ratings under 50%. boxer herself concurs, as she makes the case for her re-election. >> my view is if ever we needed a fighter in the senate, to fight for small business, not the huge corporate businesses that are, by the way, spending undisclosed huge amounts of money against me, this is the time to have a fighter in there for the middle class. >> reporter: what is new this year is that in a state where democrats hold a 13-point voter registration advantage, and which hasn't sent a republican to the senate in over 20 years, boxer's conservative opponent has made it a real race. >> 28 years is long enough, thank you very much, barbara boxer. >> reporter: former corporate executive carly fiorina burst on the political stage last year as a newcomer, after a splashy
career in high tech. promising she knows how to create jobs in the golden state, fiorina stresses her business background. >> i have been talking relentlessly about creating jobs because that is what we need to do to heal this community and to move our state forward. but people also know that i have been talking relentlessly about cutting government spending. because government spending in washington d.c. is out of control. >> reporter: she rose to c.e.o. of hul it packard, but made controversial moves to outsource jobs overseas and ended up fired by the company's board. and boxer hammers it in speeches and advertising. >> fiorina's laid off 30,000 people, and she chipped our jobs to china. >> hi to pack my bags and i was out the door that night. >> we even had to train our replacements. >> fiorina never cared about our jobs, not then, and not now. >> reporter: fiorina fights back with her own attack ads.
>> barbara boxer, failed to protect california jobs. praises the stimulus plan, while two and a quarter million californians are unemployed. trillions in deficits. billions in taxes. the legacy of barbara boxer. >> reporter: what fiorina doesn't emphasize in her advertising are her views on issues like off shore oil drilling, assault weapons, immigration and abortion. positions to the right of the california mainstream, which earned an endorsement from sarah palin. university of southern california political scientist, jane john. >> one of the things interestingly that she's done in her campaign is move away from identifying herself as a republican. nowhere in the advertisement does please fiorina site her party being the republican party. >> reporter: but many republicans in this state say they not only know fiorina's views, they're excited at the
prospect of sending someone to washington who they believe will respond to them. >> i really just became angry because i felt that no one in washington d.c. was paying any attention to what i was feeling. i don't think that the federal government any way should be doing a lot of the things that they are doing. their poking their business in, what i think should be local issues. >> reporter: former real estate agent, mo says she's never before been active in politics, volunteered to help fiorina in sacramento county. it's a part of the state she needs to do well in, to make up for boxer's lead in the populus democratic strong hold of los angeles and the san francisco bay area. one congressional district that has swung both democrat and republican in the past and which went from boxer the last time she ran is the 11th. home to the city of tracey and on the edge of the agriculture rich central valley. but what was once a thriving
economy now has one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the country. and a higher than average unemployment rate. in tracey we met the owner of a music store, ken, a self described moderate republican who voted for obama. but in this election he plans to support fiorina, whom he hopes will put a stop to government spending. >> unemployment keeps getting stened to the point where it's hard to hire part-time people, they don't want to come to work because they're making more money staying on unemployment. >> reporter: ironically, fiorina agrees with democrats on this issue, that unemployment benefits should be extended. at the popular cafe, three friends, peterson, matthews and urse can k are enthusiastic about their support for boxer. >> i am so happy with what barbara boxer has done.
almost exclusively i agree with her politically. >> we haven't really given this new administration enough time, i don't believe, i don't think we need to make any real big changes right now. >> in fact, barbara boxer has fought the good fight in washington, and if that doesn't harden you, if you don't develop the thickest skin in the world being a u.s. senator, i don't know. >> reporter: just down the street, florist shop owners carol and dallas peterson told us they are long-time boxer critics, who have already cast their absentee plats for fiorina. >> i never voted for boxer, i don't agree with one of her policies, i just disagreed with everything she has to say. they talk about conservatives being extreme, she is on the other end of the spectrum. >> reporter: despite fiorina's conservative views, she paints herself as someone who will cross party lines. >> when bickering ends, solutions begin. i'm prepared to oppose my party when it's wrong.
>> reporter: and on the stump, particularly in the central valley where water short arranges are a serious concern, fiorina says she will work with the state's other democratic senator. >> the first thing i will do as a u.s. senator is to go to the office of dianne feinstein and work with her to get the water turned back on in our central valley. >> reporter: earlier this week, feinstein who is boxer's campaign chair, joined her to tour a solar energy manufacturing plant in san jose. boxer took issue with fiorina's claim she will buck her party. >> we have tracked every single one of her positions on every single bill since she became a senate candidate. she has not supported anything different than the republican leadership. >> reporter: and feinstein dismissed any doubts about whom she refers to work with. >> this is the candidate i support. i wouldn't be chair of her campaign unless i was 100%
convinced that she is a fine united states senator for this state. e the election hasn't taken place. i believe this is the senator that's going to be reelected, and i believe that i will work hopefully with barbara for the next six years. >> reporter: feinstein is not the only prominent democrat who has been campaigning for boxer. both the president and first lady have been in california this past week. >> there's only one candidate in this race who has spent her career fighting for california families and that is barbara boxer. there's just one candidate who has done that. >> reporter: in an effort to capitalize on obama's relative popularity in california, organizing for america volunteers in this south los angeles neighborhood were urging obama supporters to vote on november 2nd. >> we want to encourage you to support president obama, to support his allies. >> reporter: some of the voters they encountered like 20-year-old danielle, said they
still weren't sure about boxer. >> are you going to be voting? >> yes, i will. >> are you voting democratic? >> yes. >> excellent, how about barbara boxer? >> i'm not sure about that yet. >> reporter: as election day draws close and early voting is already in progress, both candidates are concentrating on turning out the voters they can count on. fiorina was working the phones in sacramento. >> hi, john, this is carly, how are you doing? >> reporter: down to the wire, both candidates are making their case to voters. >> whether people are democrats or independents or republicans, they're tired of career politicians, and they're tired of career politicians because they see all this, you know, bickering going on, but nothing is getting done. >> i find it interesting because she's embraced john mccain and he's been in the senate longer than i have. i have a passion for this work, it's my life's work. my opponent demeans it. she says, oh, how could anyone do this for so long. you know what, judy, it's what i wanted to do, and i'm glad the
people have given me the chance. >> reporter: with polls showing boxer several points ahead, a margin depending on who turns out, analysts give her the advantage, and say the race is competitive. >> lehrer: now, ray suarez has our story on home foreclosures around the country. >> suarez: there was fresh evidence today that the foreclosure crisis is spreading to places that haven't been as hard hit before now. foreclosure listing firm, realtytrac said today that 133 out of 206 metropolitan areas posted an annual increase in foreclosure activity this summer. the sharpest increase was in seattle where foreclosure filings were up 71% over last year. chicago and houston also saw big upticks. still, california, nevada, florida and arizona remain the nation's foreclosure hotbeds. those states account for 19 of
thes with the highest foreclosure rates. we take a look now at the foreclosure crisis and how it, and the economy in general, are fueling midterm elections around the country. for that we're joined by: rick sharga, a senior vice president at realty trac and dante chinni, the co-author of "our patchwork nation", a new book exploring american communities and based on the patchwork nation project, which he directs. rick sharga, let's talk about numbers. some months of sales are down, some months new starts are up. what does the foreclosure figure tell us about the state of the housing market today? >> if the housing market were a patient in the hospital, we'd probably list him as critical and stable. so not ready yet to get off life support, but at least not as bad as it was perhaps a year ago. >> suarez: well, we're two years into the housing collapse, and just a couple of days before a
big mid term election. how does that kind of number drive how people are feeling? >> i'm sure if you're looking at the average homeowner, even if they're not in foreclosure, they're nervous, because they see their neighbors in foreclosure. we're looking at historically high and almost unprecedented rates of foreclosure activity. a six times the rate of activity we normally expect to see in a regular mortgage market. and we're five years into this cycle. it's simply unprecedented historically. and it won't get much better until the economy gets better, and until jobs start to come back. >> suarez: has something changed about the nature of these foreclosures? early on we heard a lot about bad mortgages, toxic loans, liar loans, who is getting the notices now? who's losing their homes now? >> that's a great question. in fact when this foreclosure cycle started, none of the predicters were in place to suggest we'd see a lot of
foreclosures. the economy was growing at 4%, unemployment was at low levels, and what triggered the first wave of foreclosures were unsustainably high home prices, people that can only marginally afford to get into these homes were put into this with toxic loans that turned out to be ticking time bombs. that led to an economic downturn which has since led to very high levels of unemployment. now we find people that have owned homes for a long time, who took out very conventional safe loans, 30-year fixed mortgages, and who simply can't afford to pay their mortgages now because they no longer get a paycheck. so we're seeing a far different kind of homeowner finding themselves in trouble, in a lot of ways. it's much harder to help that type of homeowner in trouble than it was some of the homeowners who had these bad loans earlier in the cycle. >> suarez: dante, when you look at these patterns through the patchwork nation lens and you talk a little more about what that is, what's significant about those foreclosure numbers politically, economically?
>> well, politically, when you look at where it's hit ig right now, the places that we've seen, we've been tracking foreclosures and congressional districts and trying to compare them to things like tea party enthusiasm. so tea party meetings over the last four months, compared to foreclosures, there's a strong correlation, the places with the most foreclosures have the most tea party meetups. you could argue that anger is driving the electorate and foreclosures are driving the anger. in places like nevada, colorado, ohio, michigan, florida, it's going to make a big difference in statewide elections. wars and you're looking at a very fine range map of america, not region wide or statewide,. >> exactly, we look at the county level. when we look at the county level what we see from the begining is these places we call boom towns, kind of explosive growth at the beginning of the last decade really got hammered first. when they got hit the economy fell apart. those places have not seen any
relief. they're mad, they want it fixed. they don't know how it's going to be fixed but they're angry. and it's bleeding in many areas now, you think of lower middle income, suburbs, that is a whole new area of trouble and if it bleeds into those areas, those areas were very strong for barack obama in 2008, if those places start to feel that same kind of anger, and i do think we just be at the beginning of that kind of cycle of anger in the electorate, you're going to be looking at a very -- two years is not going to fix this problem. we're going to be back here in 2012 with the same angry electorate. >> suarez: you've been out in these communities during the campaign season. take us to one of these places. >> well, i've been out with the news hour for the last couple weeks, and when you go to places we went to canton, ohio, it's not really a foreclosure problem in the ohio 16th, but it's a struggling economy. and in those places the people know that something has changed, they sense that they are having some problems, you know, the downtowns have emptied out, they sense that something has
happened, something bigger is happening in the economy and it's not coming back. but there's no solution to it. and when you talk to the candidates, i talked to the republican candidates what are you going to do to fix this district, to help these people, and his answer is, well, we're going to release the entrepreneurial spirit of the area and that's going to bring the area back. that's fine, but how do you actually do that? that's a whole new question. >> suarez: rick, early on during the crisis we were told the housing prices had to come down and foreclosures was one way of repricing the marketplace. but now that we're years into this process, is that working? is this new inventory at a new price point moving? and are people coming off the sidelines to buy? >> over 60% of current home buyers are very interested in buying foreclosure properties and bank owned properties. and in fact in two of the last three quarters over 30% of all residential home sales have been
those sorts of distressed properties. so there's definitely a market for these kind of properties. and they are the properties that really led the race down in terms of home prices. we're off somewhere between 28 and 30% nationally from peak prices a couple years ago. so there's definitely a market for these properties. the banks have been slow to release them, which at this point is a good thing. because there are probably 600,000 bank properties not yet on the market. we don't want them all hitting at once, or it would further deteriorate home prices across the board. and i think your other guest is right, i think we're looking at at least in the housing market, at least another three years before things start to feel much better. >> suarez: what about these current problems that banks are having with the technical processing of the foreclosures? the talked about moratoriums, the reexamination of all the documents. how is this affecting the process? >> well, it certainly casts an awful lot of uncertainty into
the marketplace. we have a lot of people that would like to buy these homes who are suddenly wondering if they're safe to purchase. we talk to realtors across the country hotel us that they've had the banks issue 30-day delays on properties that were already in contract. so there is going to be a bit of a hiccup in the marketplace relative to this. to be clear, there's really no excuse for the servicers not to have had processes in place and procedures and staffing adequate to handle the volume of loans at this point. five years into a foreclosure crisis, this shouldn't be a surprise any more. but also to be clear, the particular documentation we're talking about will have no major effect on the ultimate disposition of these loans in foreclosure. almost all of them are destined to be foreclosed on and will ultimately hit the market. the longer it takes us to bring these properties to market, the longer we extend the housing downturn, and the more severe the price deterioration could be. so a moratorium, although it sounds good on paper, is actually something that could
ultimately lead to even more foreclosures and other economic problems. >> suarez: a quick final comment? >> psychologically, it's hard to ignore the importance of foreclosures, we could have a big debate over what's worse, unemployment or foreclosures, in terms of how the electorate feels. but you're talking about losing home value means losing your nest egg, and that means losing your sense of comfort about basically the future. it is a strong painful hit, and it's going to hurt the democrats a lot. >> suarez: dante chinni and rick sharga, thank you both. >> woodruff: next, the escalating drug war in mexico claims new victims. margaret warner has the story. it has been a week of extraordinary violence in ordinary places. from tepic on mexico's pacific coast to tijuana on the california border and to juarez, across the rio grande from texas.
more than 40 people have been murdered in large-scale, multi- victim attacks. it's the latest grisly spasm of a four-year drug war that's killed more than 26,000 people. the chilling chronology: last friday night: 14 people, including women and children, gunned down at a birthday party in juarez, in chihuahua state. the state's attorney general was stunned. >> ( translated ): how is it possible that six women have died when all they were doing was getting together with friends to have a good time? >> woodruff: at their funeral sunday, a victim's sister voiced sunday night, 13 patients at a drug rehab clinic in tijuana, mowed down in a hail of bullets. and just yesterday, 15 people machine-gunned at a car wash in tepic, in the state of nayarit. president felipe calderon remembered the dead yesterday, in what's become a frequent occurence for the mexican leader: >> ( translated ): we send our sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives in recent
days and hours. >> woodruff: meanwhile, attacks on law enforcement continued. the police station in los ramones near the northeast city of monterrey was shredded monday in a 15-minute barrage of machine-gun fire. no officers were killed, but the entire police force quit the next day. for more on this recent spate of violence, and what makes it different, we're joined by nicholas casey, a correspondent for the "wall street journal" in mexico city. >> nicholas, welcome. what is new about these kinds of attacks, these massacres really? >> obviously mexico is a very violent place. but in the last few days we've had three huge massacres, this is not normal even for the usual rhythm of violence which happens here in mexico. this is kind of a first. and there are smaller attacks which have gone on in addition to the larger ones. of course like the question that follows is why are these attacks so big right now.
the ones that happened weren't in any particular region, they were all throughout the country. so the best guess, given that no one has contact, regular contact with any of these people ordering up the attacks, that perhaps these groups are trying to get bigger and bigger headlines. and right now it seems that a dozen people, the number of people that you actually have to kill to get on the front page of the newspaper here. >> warner: so who is believed to be behind these attacks and why do they want bigger headlines? >> there's a lot of different groups involved, likely. though one has been caught, but -- >> warner: these are cartels, are they drug cartels? >> likely drug cartels, likely groups they are involved in organized crime. which doesn't just include drugs it includes pirating, transportation of people across the border. a number of it list it activities, drugs being the biggest of them. but many of these groups are also in turf wars in different areas. the reason we're getting attention often is because one group will want to send a big
message at a national level once again of their competitors, this is often seen when you see a massacre which may or may not involve a group from a rival cartel. of course everyone is at the beginning of trying to figure out what happened in many of these cases, but it is possible that this was some sort of revenge, and the reason for trying to get bigger headlines is so they can broadcast their revenge out there and kind of in a propagandaistic way. >> warner: a couple of these really look to be civilians and in one case the birthday party, there were a lot of teenagers. >> that is probably the most mysterious one, in that was a birthday party. not a group of drug traffickers getting together. we don't know at this point. one thing that often happens is that when a group is trlged the wrong group is targeted. again these are criminals, they are not, they don't belong to any government group, they don't have a lot of information, and they always have the best sblgs.
earlier this year there was a group of 15 people had were killed at another party which took place at the beginning of the year, at first the president even came out and said it was kind of a settling of scores between different groups. turned out they caught someone who said he was involved in this he said they had just gone to the wrong party and had killed everyone there because they had some information some of their rivals were there. in the case of the birthday party that could be what happened. but at this point we don't really know. >> warner: how is this affecting you've been in mexico city for a couple of years now, how is this affecting mexicans you know? how does it aaffect their daily lives? >> there is really tough, because three or four years ago these problems didn't happen in mexico. this week it's gotten a lot more problematic. i just got back from a trip to the north of mexico near the border of texas and that's controlled very heavily by a cartel and it's amazing how
nervous people are to even talk about what's happening there. the people i talked to didn't want to give their name and even when they talked about the gulf cartel, this group which has their hand on almost everything, including the news there, people didn't refer to them as the gulf cartel, they refered to them as the mafia, because you don't want to be seen in a public space talking about the gulf cartel publicly, because they're thought to have eyes and ears in a lot of places. >> warner: but are they ready to send their children's to birthday parties? >> that's the problem, people don't go out at night in a lot of these areas. they have parties, but only invite very close friends, so no one that might be involved in the drug industry ends up coming. also people just more aware of where they are and what they do, and really sort of scaled back. also people have left mexico, many of the people that have means in the northern states have homes or move their family out to texas at this point. >> warner: nicholas casey, it's
a grim picture, but thank you for helping us fill it in. >> thank you. >> lehrer: finally tonight, a young woman with her bass making an early splash in the world of music. >> reporter: esperanza spalding's latest sound, featuring a string trio, with her jazz bass and band shows how she mixes classical music into the jazz idiom for which she's best known. ♪ she's recorded a collection of these songs on a new album titled "chamber music society." and when we talked recently before a performance at the historic lincoln theater in washington, d.c. she said it explores what she calls a "middle ground" between styles. >> yeah.
i mean, it's the way a jazz musician is thinking, listening, interacting is very similar to what's happening in prewritten music obviously where everything is prepared. there is just more improvisation. so in this project, we are exploring that space as instrumentalists. and obviously as a composer and the arranger exploring that space between the written chamber music and the improvisatory chamber music. >> reporter: at just 25, esperanza spalding is something of a jazz phenomenon. a bass player, singer and composer, she released her first album just two years ago to much critical and public acclaim. and since then has appeared at white house twice. she also performed at the nobel peace prize ceremony in oslo last year for president obama. ♪
and on numerous tv programs. ♪ but classical music came first, and, yes pbs viewers, "mr. rogers" played a big part. >> i saw a program with yo-yo ma when i was about five and said, "mom, i want to do that. you know, whatever that is, i want to do that." the first ten years of my musical life were as a violinist because of seeing yo-yo ma perform. of course, i realized later that that was the wrong instrument. ( laughs ) >> reporter: spalding taught herself the violin at first. she grew up in a neighborhood of portland, oregon with poverty and gang violence that she's described as pretty scary. she joined a community orchestra for adults and children, the chamber music society of oregon. soon after, though, she met her true musical love: the bass. >> i picked it up just out of curiosity and played a note, an
open note, an open string and the sound really captivated me. it has a very distinct way of resonating within the body and resonating in a room and i'd never experienced that before. my music teacher came in and gave me a brief overview of how a bass functions in improvised music so in the blues and then in about five minutes we were jamming on this really simple blues progression. when i got a taste of the spontaneity of the improvisational music right then, i knew that was really the kind of music i was supposed to be playing. >> reporter: that was the opening to jazz. >> that was it, yeah. >> reporter: spalding graduated from the berklee college of music in boston. and at 20, became the schools youngest-ever instructor. ♪ and she became known for weaving together different styles of music into her jazz comsitions: using latin rhythms, hip hop, soul, whatever worked.
>> it's sound. you hear a feel. you hear a groove. you hear a melody shape and you really absorb it somehow and when it comes time to write a balanced piece of music, all you are listening for is what sounds right in that moment. doesn't matter what genre or idiom or anything it comes from. it's just what's going to make this piece work. ♪ >> reporter: spalding's bass playing got the attention of jazz giants. she performed recently with an all-star group at a los angeles gala celebrating herbie hancock's 70th birthday. ♪ but these days, it's her singing that's transfixing audiences. and that, she says, is new and exciting. >> it's a whole new instrument. and it's kind of like acting too, i'm realizing. really being able to fully emote and live the experience of the story that you are telling.
♪ >> it's exciting to see how that alone sometimes can bring someone into music that might sound too confusing or kind of too brainy, too cerebral. just sometimes having that thread of symbolism with the words to draw someone into the music. then they can really dig everything that's happening around that melody. >> reporter: right now, spalding is gaining a faithful following. but a question for everyone in jazz these days, especially one so young, is how to build audiences for the future. perhaps remembering her own early exposure to yo-yo ma, spalding sometimes plays for school audiences. >> i've personally experienced the process of kind of modifying how i explain or how i present improvised music to, you know, second graders. and when they get into the right head space, they can engage with us as we play freely. we're not watering it down.
>> reporter: you see it. you see it happening. >> yeah, i've seen that happen. and i think that's beautiful. and seeing how much they could really enjoy this spontaneous conversation that we were having, i say, "wow, that means anybody can enjoy it." ♪ >> reporter: spalding is now at work on her next recording, which will feature sounds she grew up with and still loves on pop radio. in the meantime, she's on the road with her chamber music society mix of jazz with strings attached. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: five days out from election day, new polls signaled trouble for democrats. and the tsunami death toll in indonesia rose to 370 with hundreds more missing and feared
dead. and to kwame holman in our newsroom for what's on the "newshour" online. kwame? >> holman: watch more of jeff's interview with esperanza spalding and a performance by the musician on "art beat." you can browse patchwork nation's maps and foreclosure data and pose questions to project director dante chinni on the rundown blog. and for something different, spencer michels weighs in from san francisco on how the city has gone wild for baseball as all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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