tv PBS News Hour PBS July 13, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
government regulators in monitoring the banking industry. >> brown: miles o'brien has the story of an austin, texas, neighborhood that uses "smart grid" technology to track and control its energy consumption. >> the fishers have two solar volume dayic power system, sophisticated digital metres and state of the art thermostats that allow them to fine-tune their indoor climate here orion line when they're away. >> we >> woodruff: we update the presidential campaign as the candidates trade shots over outsourcing jobs. >> brown: mark shields and michael gerson analyze the week's news. >> woodruff: and we close with a report from south sudan about a flood of refugees fleeing the violence, only to encounter grim conditions in camps on the border. >> they don't have much reserve, they have been walking for six weeks, four weeks, six weeks so it is a very vulnerable group and it is the little kids and elderly are the ones that suffer the most. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour.
>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: bnsf carnegie corporation 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. >> brown: a fresh atrocity in syria stirred new condemnation today, and new despair over how to stop the killing. the opposition claimed the military and alawite militias loyal to president assad had slaughtered sunnis.
accounts of how many died ranged from 70 to more than 200. we begin with a report from jonathan rugman of independent television news. a warning-- some of the images may be disturbing. >> reporter: "these are burned bodies," says a voice in a mosque which is clearly now a mortuary, and it's full of relatives from the village of taramseh, grieving from their dead. in these pictures, we counted 31 bodies laid out for burial. "it's just the first group," the cameraman says. tonight, the u.n. is confirming what this amateur video shows that syrian helicopters have been attacking areas not far from taramseh today, the u.n. says, on a large scale. "assad's forces are shelling taramseh," says the voiceover.
and this video shows a long line of syrian government troops and local militia leaving the area. "well done in taramseh", somebody shouts. the u.n. observers say they got about four miles from the village today before being stopped by syrian air force commanders. "give my mom my love," says this wounded man. we don't know if he was a civilian or a rebel fighter defending his village. the voice filming this graveyard talks of "bloody thursday" in taramseh. it's clear scores were killed here. a local activist admitted that opposition fighters had been in the village, but he told me this attack was unprovoked. >> it was battle from one side. it was a massacre committed by
the regime. >> reporter: the hama district has a history of extreme violence. tens of thousands of sunnis were massacred here by the assad regime 30 years ago. taramseh is a sunni village just northwest of the city. the village sits close to the orontes river, from which 50 corpses were dragged yesterday, according to one eyewitness. taramseh is surrounded by alawite villages, and it's from these three villages that yesterday's attackers are alleged to have come. nearby is the village of al qubeir where 78 sunnis were shot or stabbed in early june. 20 miles south is houla, where 108 sunnis were killed in another massacre in may. and the area is so religiously and ethnically mixed that sectarian bloodletting may well worsen here. pro assad media have also reported the taramseh killings, blaming them on armed terrorists. all the pictures of the dead which we have seen so far show young men, and not women or
children. news of the killings has resulted in demonstrations right across syria, and these pictures of intense gun battles suggest that homs, some 30 miles from taramseh, is still the epicenter of this conflict. >> woodruff: the u.s. response came from secretary of state hillary clinton. in a statement, she said she is outraged by reports of the massacre, and she said "history will judge" the u.n. security council if it allows the slaughter to continue. for more on the situation in syria, we turn to elizabeth kennedy, the associated press's bureau chief in beirut. i spoke to her short while ago. >> elizabeth kennedy, welcome. is there anything you can add to that report we just heard from inside syria? >> well, we have spoken to activists in the area who do say that this is yet another massacre, that they're enduring another massacre in syria.
and they are desperate for help f not from the outside, then some sort of release from more than a year of horrible violence in syria. >> and we just heard that very firm comment from secretary of state clinton. what do we know about was's happening on the diplomatic front? >> the diplomatic process in syria right now is paralyzed. it's really struggling. there's been like i said more than a year of violence in syria. by some estimates 17,000 people have died but it's very difficult to point to even one concrete result that's come out of this pro sets. after reheard about the latest violence in hama we heard very strong words from hillary clinton from ban ki-moon, from kofi annan, all condemning the violence, condemning the government for its use of heavy weapons and helicopters. and hillary clinton in particular called on the security council, the u.n. security council to take firm action. she said history will judge
this council if we sit by and do nothing. but those strong words really don't change the reality on the ground which is that over the course of this uprising, syria has proved largely impervious to this kind of pressure to this kind of diplomatic pressure. there's really no appetite for any sort of international military intervention like we saw in libya. several rounds of sanctions from the u.s. and other western countries have done nothing to stop the violence. and crucially, syria still has the support of russia which is a veto wielding member of the security council and has proven to, you know to really have formed a buffer around syria on the international stage. >> but there's still these efforts to get the security council to agree to stronger sanctions. but you are saying there doesn't look like that's going anywhere. >> russia has won remaining
aly in the middle east and that is syria. they do not want to lose this appliance-- alliance. they sell weapons to syria so there is a financial incentive and also russia really rejects any sort of world order that they see as dominated by the west, dominated by the u.s. and they also say that it's naive to look at the syria conflict as black and white. they say as does the syrian regime that there are other factor at play here. that you know, that there are extremists involved that there are terrorists involved. so they really reject this idea of blaming the violence on the regime. >> meanwhile there are these reports today that the syrian regime has moved its stockpiles of chemical weapons. have you been able to learn anything about that? >> this is definite a subject that has the potential to dramatically
escalate this conflict. there are reports that syria is moving its chemical stockpiles out of storage areas. but there is really no clear idea about what they're doing with them, what they intend to do with them so right now u.s. officials are watching this closely. the world community is sort of watching this closely but there's no clear sign of what syria's motivation is for doing this. >> well, elizabeth kennedy, with 9 associated press, we thank you for talking with us about it from beirut, thank you. >> thank you. >> brown: still to come on the newshour: the staggering losses at j.p. morgan chase; the power of tracking power-use; the debate over outsourcing jobs; shields and gerson; and the refugee crisis in south sudan. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the stock market surged higher today in a rally fueled by shares in big banks. the dow jones industrial average snapped a six-day losing streak, gaining nearly 204 points to
close at 12,777. the nasdaq rose 42 points to close above 2,908. for the week, the dow gained a fraction of a percent; the nasdaq fell 1%. china's roaring economic growth hit a three-year low in the year's second quarter. new data today showed expansion there slowed to an annual rate of 7.6%, still far above growth rates in the west. the chinese government denied the slowdown was actually much worse. meanwhile in italy, the moody's rating firm downgraded the country's bond rating by two notches. the news sparked anger on the streets in rome. >> the ratings agency has been running the italian political economy for the last several months. i presume they pressure the burr lus connie government to fall and now they're trying to create a hole in the boat of the monti government. >> sreenivasan: despite the downgrade, italy's latest bond auction went off relatively smoothly. and in spain, civil servants turned out in madrid to protest new austerity measures.
they waved flags and signs decrying the added wage cuts and tax hikes. a popular dissident blogger in ethiopia was sentenced to 18 years in prison today. journalist eskinder nega was among 24 opposition activists found guilty on terror charges last month. an ethiopian court ruled that online articles written by nega were meant to stir up violence. the opposition accused the government of using terror laws to silence dissent. in myanmar, three u.n. staffers are now facing unspecified criminal charges. u.n. officials said today the accused are myanmar nationals working for the u.n. refugee agency. they were among ten aid workers arrested last month during violence between muslims and buddhists. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: the continuing questions surrounding the behavior of big banks, and the regulators who watch over them, was at the center of financial news again today. the fallout arrived quickly on two fronts this morning. j.p. morgan chase's latest
report put losses from a failed trading strategy at $5.8 billion, nearly three times the original estimate. in a conference call this morning, c.e.o. jamie dimon voiced hope that the problem is now contained. >> obviously, with this one, we shot ourselves in the foot, but that is one of the things you hold capital for, for things you're surprised about. we learned a lot. i can tell you this has shaken our company to the core. >> brown: at the same time, the bank also reported a profit of $5 billion for the second quarter. meanwhile, new questions arose about the federal reserve and a banking scandal in britain. barclays has acknowledged it under-reported borrowing costs in 2007 and 2008 to manipulate the so-called "libor", an international benchmark lending rate that affects everything from mortgages to student loans to credit cards. today, the federal reserve's new york branch said that, in 2008, its then-president timothy geithner-- now, the treasury secretary-- warned britain's
central bank that there were signs of trouble. a fed summary read: "suggestions that some banks could be under-reporting their libor in order to avoid appearing weak were present in anecdotal reports and mass- distribution emails, including from barclays." more than a dozen other banks, including citigroup and j.p. morgan chase, are also under investigation in the libor scandal. much more information about both of these banking stories was released today. dawn kopecki has been poring through it for bloomberg news and joins me now. >> dawn, let's start with jpmorgan chase. we already knew about some of these losses. what did we learn today about how they were actually even bigger much bigger than first reported. >> well, we learned today that jay me diamon knew that the bank had already amassed close to 800 million in loss from this position in the first quarter when he called this attemptest in a teapot. he knew at that time that they had already had 800
million in losses and that the position could grow by another 250 million or so at that time. something the bank never disclose to investors, something they totally downplayed at the time. we also learned that the loss in this quarter, the company worked really hard to try to close it out. they want to put it behind them. they want to say that this is no longer a problem. so they try to really close out that position and as a result they reported a much higher loss than originally estimated. diamon had said in may that the loss this quarter in the second quarter which ended june 30th could grow to $3 billion or more in the second quarter. it was about $5 billion. they pushed $500 million of that back into the first quarter and restated their earnings which made the loss reported today actually look less than what it wasment they also said -- >> go ahead. >> well, they also said that the loss could grow, ultimately, to a total of
7.7, 6 or 7 or so billion dollars in the future total when everything is said and done. and so this loss could still grow, could still cause pain. and even though jpmorgan did say they made a lot of progress in closing this down, there's still a lot more pain to come for them in terms of investigations, lawsuits, everything you could imagine that would come as of a result of something, a mistake this large. >> and in trying to put this behind them he did say they were clearinghouse, to some degree, lossing a lot of the key figures in this. >> yes, he did. they already have ina drew had retired. she was the head of the chief investment office responsible for this loss. and she had voluntarily offered to give back up to two years of compensation in what the company calls clawbacks. the company didn't say exactly how much that is but we know for the last two
years she earned $29 million so if that is the sum it is not a small chunk of change. they also ended the employment of the three managers in london responsible. bruno iksel who is known as the london whale, his boss and the boss above him, they were all announced today or it was confirmed today that the individuals responsible for the loss in london were let go and those three individuals are the three that i had mentioned. so they let go of them. another person resigned. his name was irv goldman, the chief risk officer for a short period of time and he voluntarily resigned. >> brown: i want to turn to the other big financial story today. this is still developing but the scandal over the manipulation of the libor. now it can get complicated but today we learn that timothy quitener had sent out some warnings and the new york fed had sent out some early warnings. what did we learn. what did they see in 2008 and what did they say? >> well, we learned that the
fed knew that banks were manipulating libor back in 2007. and in 20089 federal reserve had a conversation. you have to imagine this is about a month after bear stearns almost went under. the credit markets are going crazy. bank stocks are being driven down. and one of the things that was being used to try to decide which banks, you know, people, investor was sell is what their libor rate posting was. the fed had a very nervous or a conversation with a very nervous person at barclays who had admitted that they were fixing the rate. they said that they weren't posting an honest libor. and that the reason they were doing that was because they didn't want to drive down the price of their stock. and so this happened in april of 2008. a couple of weeks later in may tim sent the bank of england an e-mail along with some suggestions on how to
prevent manipulation of libor. so that's-- that's some of the new information that came out today. >> we know this investigation is ongoing and i know quitener and ben bernanke are both coming before congress at some point. one of the things they're clearly going to have to look at is what happened then. there didn't seem to be any followup in england and here. >> no. >> no. >> that's the big question. nobody really knows. and the fed didn't release everything that it has it released selected documents today. and so we don't know what happened. the only thing we do know is that the bank of england which is their central bank kind of like the federal reserve here sent those suggestions on to the banking association, the banking group that sets libor in europe and in london. and so we know that the suggestions were passed on oment but we don't know if there was an investigation that was begun then. we don't know if the bank of england insisted upon these reforms. there are a lot of questions
that weren't answered today and i think that's something will you see come out hopefully in the next couple of weeks. >> clearly more to come on this. dawn kopecki of bloomberg, thanks so much. >> thank you >> woodruff: next, an energy story about electricity and a so-called "smart grid". this month's big storms and power outages have prompted questions about whether there's a more efficient system for managing power and electricity. newshour science correspondent miles o'brien explores the approach that one community in texas is taking. >> reporter: it's time to power up for another morning at the fisher home in austin, texas. grant, ashley and quinn start their day like most of us do--
pour some juice, make some breakfast, see what's on the tube. but under this roof, they don't take all the electrical magic for granted. actually, the fishers, both urban planners, think a lot about electricity-- where it comes from, where it goes, and where it is headed. the fishers have two solar photovoltaic power systems, a sophisticated digital metering system, and state of the art thermostats that allow them to fine-tune their indoor climate here, or online when they are away. >> this is my e-gauge monitoring system
to the conventional grid but are trying out some added features, sort of like the first families to get digital cable. >> this is real similar to a pharmaceutical clinical trials effort but it's on electricity and consumer electronics. >> former austin city councilman booster mckraken runs the project with federal stimulus money along with help from utilities, corporations and charitable
foundations. washington has invested 3.4 billion dollars to help develop smart grid technologies nationwide. the private sector has ponied up an additional 4.7 billion. >> so when you say we're developing a smart grid that implies what we have is a dumb grid is it dumb? >> when you have a mechanical grid of mechanical deadvices that have to be individually read and something goes wrong, how do you find out about it? >> reporter: and that was a big part of the problem at the end of june when a swathe pov we areful thunderstorms spawned so called wind storms that knocked down thousands of trees leaving millions in the mid add look states without power for many long, hot days and nights. utilities did not have a precise handle on the scope of the blackout because the u.s. power distribution system has yet to join the digital data revolution. >> oh my god. look at this. looks like mission control. >> smart on-line meters like the fishers have can give
utilities realtime data on how their customers are using their products or in the case of a-- not. >> when you can measure and manage millions of meters at a single data center instand jane-- instantaneously t makes it possible to do a lot faster outage restoration because all of the time that it spent trying to figure out where the outage has happened is eliminated. >> ready? >> reporter: the fishers have lived here for four years and have yet to experience a single power outage. the power here is more reliable because, well, take a look around you. none of the power lines are aboveground. they're all buried. pretty typical for a new development like this one. but what about older neighborhoods where the lines are still on poles? is it practical to think about burying them? >> probably not, on any sort of mass scale. but as it turns out power grid reliability is much
more than that, it's also about supplying demand when usage peak, not easy for utilities now and there is a huge new challenge on the horizon. you'll find them in 59 garages here. electrical-- electric cars, most of them chevy volts continuation is the largest it is the largest collection of plug-in cars in one u.s. neighborhood. ashley fisher is pretty charged up about that. so, how does this drives? >> it's great. it's the nicest car i've ever driven. >> reporter: and just like home, driving this electric car gives her much more insight on her energy usage. >> and if you see this little ball over here on the right, this shows that you're now driving. so, right now, the green ball is right in the middle, so it tells me i'm being the most efficient that i can. but you can see if i accelerate... >> oh, i see. look at this thing. >> it turns yellow. >> reporter: it all fits into
the fishers and the pecan philosophy-- the more they know, the more they save, and the less they worry about an outage. >> i think more information is always going to make something more reliable and better able to be maintained and be more nimble, more able to change as things change. >> right. when you have a thunderstorm, you're not worrying so much about losing your lights? >> that's absolutely right. >> reporter: one of the initial findings of the pecan street study is that west-facing solar is actually a better load line. >> reporter: the real solution lies in finding a practical way for people to store the energy generated when the sun is at its peak so it can be used when demand is asell. pecan's lab director, scott
hinson, showed me one of the lithium ion batteries they will be testing in one solar panel- equipped home. at this point, most utilities won't let you do this if you want to put this in your home. is uses becomes unreliable, that's just the way it is, a more eicient system will become more reliable. >> ask anyone in its mid-atlantic who got a week long taste of life in the 19th century what they think of our antique means of generating and distributing electricity. they'll probably tell you it's for the birds. maybe the storms are a reminder it's high time to put the power lines on line.
>> woodruff: for more on the pecan street project, we talked to miles as he cruised the neighborhood in a chevy volt. that's in a video on our science page. not everyone in texas is sold, of course. a small group of people opposed to smart meters was scheduled to hold a march in austin today to make that clear. next week, we'll report on some of the objections, including health risks and privacy >> brown: and we turn to the presidential campaign, where the issue of outsourcing jobs has dominated the debate all week. ray suarez has our report. >> the washington post has just in shipping us jobs overseas.
>> reporter: the issue of so-cal in the presidential race the pas the guy whos running to replace if theres an outsourcer in chief the guy whos running to replace >> reporter: the debate was spar that revealed bain capital -- th - had invested in companies that and the fight was re-joined earl examining the president's record the president seized on the initial post report the day after it was published during a florida campaign stop. >> let me tell you, tampa, we do not need an outsourcing pioneer in the oval office. we need a president who will fight for american jobs and fight for american manufacturing. >> suarez: and the obama campaign has repeatedly targeted romney's private sector experience -- through campaign ads -- to undermine his standing with middle class voters. >> running for governor, mitt romney campaigned as a job creator. >> i know how jobs are created. >> but as a corporate raider, he shipped jobs to china and mexico.
>> suarez: eugene kiely is deputy director of the non- factcheck.org, which monitors the accuracy of political ads and statements. he says the examples cited by the obama campaign occurred after romney left bain to run the 2002 olympic winter games. but according to reports in "the boston globe" and "mother jones," romney signed business agreements and securities and exchange commission filings on bain's behalf for years after 1999, including the purchase of a chinese consumer products company, declaring himself to be company c.e.o. >> it comes down to how active he was and whether there is any evidence he was involved in the decisions that were made at those companies. and that's what we are lacking, that's what we don't see. and that's why, to this point, what we are saying is you can't say "he shipped jobs" >> suarez: despite those findings, the obama campaign has not backed off this line of attack. for its part, the romney
campaign has launched a vigorous counter-offensive, which includes a new television ad released yesterday aimed at discrediting the president's attacks. >> the obama outsourcing attacks-- misleading, unfair and untrue. there was no evidence that mitt romney shipped jobs overseas. candidate obama lied about hillary clinton... >> so shame on you, barack obama. >> suarez: romney himself also hit back earlier this week during a town hall event in grand junction, colorado. there he accused the president of pursuing policies -- such as the 2009 stimulus that resulted in jobs being created overseas. >> but it is interesting that when it comes to outsourcing that this president has been outsourcing a good deal of american jobs himself. by putting money into energy companies, solar and wind energy companies that end up making their products outside the united states.
>> suarez: kiely says factcheck.org has looked at similar claims leveled by conservative groups in the past and found they too stretch the truth. >> we've found in many of the cases they are exaggerated or just flat out wrong. for example, the claim that 2.3 billion dollars in manufacturing tax credits has gone to solar companies that created jobs overseas there is another one about an automotive company, fisker, manufacturing cars in finland. yes, it did manufacture cars in finland, but the money that it received for... stimulus money it received went to other things like design, engineering, things like that. >> suarez: as the two campaigns trade political barbs over outsourcing, another debate has formed about the economic consequences of the practice. robert samuelson writes a weekly economics column for "the washington post." he says outsourcing has had a minimal impact on u.s. job
growth. >> on the u.s. economy at large, it has had a very modest effect, the things that really effect the american economy for good and for ill are mostly domestic driven. there are estimates that we have lost in the last decade 2.8 million jobs to chinese imports. that's a lot of jobs, but it occurred over a decade, so that in any one year you might have several hundred thousand jobs. >> suarez: robert scott is director of trade and manufacturing policy research at the economic policy institute. he says outsourcing has had a more severe effect on industries such as manufacturing. >> i focused on the number of jobs displaced. i've thrown out numbers of 5 or 6 million jobs displaced. in an economy with 130 million workers, that's not a big number, i'll accept that. but within manufacturing, it is a big number. it helps explain as many as half
the jobs we've lost in manufacturing. >> suarez: the post's samuelson says critics of outsourcing tend to ignore its benefits. >> people talk about offshoring as though it is complete evil, that it's just loss of jobs, and it is to some extent loss of jobs. but it also has some benefits-- it tends to hold down prices and increase consumer purchasing power. it tends to increase corporate profits so they can invest more so raise dividends, so it does have some sort of stimulus effect on the american economy. >> suarez: but scott argues those benefits simply do not outweigh the costs. >> it's certainly true the consumers benefit from cheaper products and goods from places like china. but the bottom line is that if that benefit were affecting the living standards of working families, we would see their real wages rise. in other words, the fall of the
price of products would compensate them for the downward pressure they've experienced in their wages. and that's just not the way it's worked out. >> suarez: with most americans citing jobs and the economy as their top issue this election year, neither campaign seems ready to concede in the outsourcing fight. >> they went after on its issue of how long romney was at the helm of bain capital. the president talked with washington's wjla tv while campaigning in virginia and republicans spoke with abc news. >> well, of course, that's ridiculous. and disturbing to come from their campaign and beneath the dignity of the president and his campaign. the president needs to take control of these people. the kinds of attacks that they've been making have now been checked time and time again by independent fact checkers. they've been found to be false and misleading, simply wrong but they keep on doing
everything they can to deflect attention from the fact that the american people want someone without can help create jobs in this country, get people working again. >> my understanding is that mr. romney tested to the sec multiple times that he was the chairman, c.e.o. and president of bain capital. and i think most americans figure if you are the chairman, c.e.o. and president of a company, that you are responsible for what that company does. ultimately mr. romney i think is going to have to answer those questions because if he aspires to be the president, one of the things you learn is you're ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and gerson-- that's syndicated columnist mark shields and washington post columnist michael gerson. david brooks is away. gentlemen, welcome. so the debate over outsourcing jobs has expanded as we just heard to a debate, mark, over how
much responsibility mitt romney bears for bain capital the private equity firm during a period of years in the late 1990s, early 2000. is this a debate that really is going to matter? >> i think it could, judy for the following reason. support for free trade which had been very strong among college educated and upper income people has fallen dramatically. s there a a sense that america is not benefited from free trade. and everybody knows outsourcing, you go across as you have in the midwest to this country, and community after community used to be a factory here, used to be a payroll, used to be a middle class here where jobs have gone. offshoring, outsourcing. you know they left in their wake is lost payrolls in many cases lost lives. so i think the fact that mitt romney's credential to run for president is not as massachusetts governor which
he doesn't talk about at great length s his leadership in business. and his ability to create jobs. and bain is his company. you know this is about whether in fact es gaeing to have to disclose his income over the past and his financial situation. i means that's-- . >> woodruff: tax returns. >> tax returns, it's all of the piece, it's cayman islands, it's bermuda, swiss bank accounts, outsourcing. this is somebody that doesn't understand what are you going through and what your family is going through. >> woodruff: so it's a lot bigger or not, michael than outsourcing? >> it's the obama campaign that made this not just about outsourcing but accuse mitt romney personally of lying on government documents which is a felony. that's what campaign officials did this. for that kind of charge you need significant evidence in the context of presidential campaign. which so far has not just been lacking but a fact checking organizations of "the washington post" and fact check.org have said
well, you know this case is really quite weak. there's very little evidence here. so that, you know, is i think it shows a tendency on the part of the obama campaign. not just to criticize but to ville i few so it's not-- vilify, so it's not enough for romney to just just have a debate on outsourtions, he has to be a fell on it is not just enough that he won't disclose his tax returns, they compared him to richard nixon in the level of secrecy. i don't think these are particularly set of credible charges. mitt romney has a lot of problems, a lot of challenges on these issues. but he doesn't come across as a nixonnian criminal figure. he's more like a wealth he-- wealthy boy scout. so i think that this doesn't meet the minimal levels of credibility. in my view this particular swift boat sinks. >> which would say this, judy. that the fact checking organizations made their
decision or their call before the latest revelations about the sec, where he is listed as the sole investor, as the c.e.o., as the chairman of the board of bain all the way through to the year 2002, late 2 o 001 when in fact he did separate himself to run for governor 6 massachusetts. so you know, whether in fact it's a felony, you know, i think that is hyperbole no question about it. i do think that what you have in mitt romney, every campaign, and i say this as a veteran of four losing presidential campaigns, but every campaign starts with the very simple procedure of sitting down with your own candidate and going through what is there in your background whether it's a personal nature, a failed romance, or the legal decision or whatever, that come count out and hurt your campaign. and it happened obviously with george w. bush in 2000 on the eve of that election in 2000, a close race it was
revealed that he had been arrested for drunk driving, convicted 24 years earlier. and it became a problem. mitt romney, they've done this with mitt romney. not that there is anything of a criminal nature in his background. he made the decision he is not going to reveal. i mean nobody has ever run for president with a swiss bank account. i mean steve forbes did but-- . >> woodruff: but again you're referring to the tax return. >> ed tax returns, i just think it's all of a piece and i just think it's a problem. mitt romney should not be on the defensive, he's on its defensive. >> the response on bain in particular is easy but it's not politically popular, which is bain invested in companies that added jobs and expanded, invested in companies that reduced labor costs, by outsourcing, both domestic and international and invested in companies that closed and fired a lot of people. you know, that if you are disturbed by that, are you disturbed by modern
capitalism. mitt romney was not a crooked businessman, he was-- this was the system that we have in many ways. but that's a tough case for any presidential candidate to make. its-- capital civil a harsh system. the problem is there are just no other good alternatives. >> what about mark's point that not releasing the returns is going to continue to be an issue? >> well, i think there is a challenge here that it's proof that the, once again that the very rich are not like you and me. they have accountants and lawyers who do all sorts of things to protect income. that are perfectly legal. but don't -- due aren't in the context of a political campaign very popular. i think romney wants to disclose these things on his own terms, on his own timing and i think he is going to have to disclose more information before this campaign. >> one great strength he had that romney does have, i think it's been overlooked. and that is the republican position is that we want to increase revenue without raising the rate. so that means closing tax
loopholes, a tax expenditures. there's nobody who knows more about tax loopholes and tax-- advantages than mitt romney. >> woodruff: i thought you were going say than-- that as a positive. >> that is positive. he understands it. this is a guy who could sit down with the tax code and explain it. >> woodruff: speaking of tax rates and just quickly, michael, the president came out this week and said definitively he is for extending the bush era income tax rates, except for those individuals earning over 250,000 dollars a year. >> does that have a lasting impact on this? >> well, i actually think that created an opening for mitt romney. we've just seen an abysmal jobs report. in the july jobs report. his response to that was something that had nothing to do with job creation. a four-year-old proposal to marginally increase taxes at the top of the income scale, nobody thinks that's going to create jobs. so i think it's irrelevant
he was obviously trying to draw, not to solve this problem that we saw in july but to draw attention away from it with an argument about equity in the tax code. that could have been an opportunity for romney but he doesn't seem to take advantage of these opportunities very effectively. >> where did that one -- >> it means that the future debt which is, cascading and republicans as well as democrats have acknowledged a time bomb t would be cut by a trillion dollars. but i think we can make the case that this was a presidential political move by president obama. i means that's what it was. i mean you know he's cutting taxes. he is cutting taxes for mitt romney. he's cutting taxes for donald trump just on the first $250,000 on their income but he is cutting it. it's not going anywhere any more than the repeal of obamacare is going anywhere in the republican house. >> woodruff: quickly to both of you, naacp had its national meeting this week. mitt romney went and spoke.
you could argue this was a group very aware, its president very popular, michael so what does it is a that mitt romney went there and then the next day the vice president showed up and talked about how bad it would be for african-americans if romney were elected. >> i generally think that mitt romney deserves credit for going there. it's important for presidential candidates and presidents to speak to people that are not natural constituents on a lot of these issues. they need to represent the whole country. but it illustrates the point i was making earlier, a bit of a missed opportunity. what he had talked about in the policy of the speech in a rather good speech but the policy was really generic republicanism. there was very little creativity or innovation in the way he did outreach to a specific group. and that i think is a real weakness. it's a sting strange-- per selfity on the part of the romney campaign. they should be doing aggressive outreach on these
issues. there is nothing that said give me a second look. >> i think it made sense. i'm always happy to see somebody go into a place and not pander to their own. he didn't pander to the room. i thought the-- was overstated and overrated 15 seconds and 25 seconds nobody calls that -- --. >> go to yankee stadium in the first inning. i do think that he was speaking to suburban republican women. i think he was speaking to people beyond that room. >> who were watching. >> saying that they want a republican candidate who is not demonizeable f that's -- who is somebody who is comfortable talking to african-americans. and i think that is to me that is a natural overture for him to make. and to say look this is not just your right wing guy who is not going to show any outrage. >> last question about, of all things, the uniform for
the u.s. olympic team. it turns out this week it was discovered that these uniforms, we're showing a picture right now, michael, were made in china. >> right. >> ralph lauryn i guess was the designer. is this what do you think, big uproar over this. >> well, there's some irony here. the olympics are supposed to be about international harmony and you have the majority leader of the senate calling for a bonfire of chinese textiles. he said we should burn all these uniforms. that's not quite the spirit. but i would, you know this is the nature of the modern world economy. if you have an apple, it has on the back designed in america, made in china, that's what -- >> exactly. and that's what ralph lauryn does with his products. he is donating his efforts here. but still it was a foreseeable pr nightmare and somebody should have foreseen it. >> the outfits look like preppee the night at the yacht clubment i did not like the whole thing.
i mean add to that the logo, the ralph lauryn logo, i mean turns these people into, our athletes into human billboards. and so i just think don't look for the union label on these garment, let me tell you. >> next time we are together we are discussing designer cloths. >> let's do that, and fabric. >> woodruff: i like what you both are wearing. mark shields, michael gerson, thank you both. >> thank you. >> brown: finally tonight, a humanitarian tragedy is unfolding in a remote corner of south sudan. it's the world's newest nation, just a year old, after gaining its independence from sudan. but tensions between the two countries have continued, and the sudanese government in khartoum has attacked african tribal groups who got trapped on the wrong side when the two countries split last july. tens of thousands of refugees have fled the fighting.
jonathan miller of independent television news reports from the border between the two countries. >> reporter: the lumbering trucks look empty as they navigate the mud and the ruts. but they carry a hidden cargo. the people of sudan's blue nile state are on the run from yet another deadly cleansing campaign waged by their president, omar al-bashir, already indicted on charges of war crimes and genocide. deja vu. for months, these survivors have hidden from al-bashir's bombs and bullets in forests and caves, often with nothing to eat except leaves. many have reportedly died. these, the latest of 120,000 who've fled into south sudan, now nearing the end of their perilous journey-- a refugee camp called jamam. >> these people are in a fragile
state. they don't have much reserve. even if you look at the adults, most of them are skinny. they have been walking for six weeks. they did not have food, no shelter, no proper drinking water for quite some time. so it's a very vulnerable group and of course, its always the little kids and the elderly who are ones who suffer the most. >> reporter: excitement, relief, mixed with exhaustion, anxiety and confusion. this grim exile, their punishment for ending up on the wrong side of a line of a map when south sudan split with the khartoum last july. but their tribulation does not end here for jamam is a dangerous sanctuary. aid workers here say this is the worst place imaginable for a refugee camp to be. 40,000 desperate people dumped in a malarial swamp, where it floods when it rains but there's not enough water to drink.
among relief groups, there's now growing certainty that jamam's on the brink of catastrophe. the mortality rate is double the threshold of what constitutes an emergency. nine children die in jamam every day, most from diahorreal disease. with more heavy rain expected, medics are preparing for the worst. "what a place to end up when you're 90." senem adam left her mountain village for the first time in her life when two of her sons were shot dead and her house burned down by sudanese forces. she's blind and can hardly walk, but she has walked for two months to get here. "its good that you tell my story," senem said, "so other people can know what they've done to us." she knows she will probably never see home again. no nice u.n. tents for new arrivals; just plastic sheets handed out by medicins sans
frontieres. without those, they'd have nothing. the u.n. refugee agency, unhcr, wants to move these people on again. but they cannot go yet. the u.n. can't put up tents fast enough in the new camp, so they're stuck in the mud in jamam. the unhcrs now scrambling to get thousands of new arrivals out of here, but even when they're gone, there'll still be 35,000 people camped in jamam's toxic mud lake. >> i think it is absolutely top priority that large numbers of people are evacuated, i would say out, of jamam. this is not a safe place for them to be. we are very worried about disease outbreaks. we need someone at a higher level to make a strategic decision to solve this problem once and for all, and that probably means moving most people out of jamam, if not all.
>> these people are living in a very unlivable environment and their health is gravely affected because of it. but the question of why and how this happened is something you're going to have to ask the unhcr. >> reporter: the head of the agency's field office said he'd met us at a new camp 40 miles away. i wanted to ask about jamam and why it was a good idea to put a refugee camp in a swamp. sync >> well, obviously that wasn't a good idea. it wasn't like here. it wasn't a planned camp. it was a self-created camp where refugees settled. its a de facto camp rather than an organized camp. >> reporter: but surely you had a chance earlier to move when it was predicted that it was very easily flooded and there wouldn't be enough water to sustain a population at jamam. >> that's correct and we started to move people. unfortunately, we had another influx and those people needed to be prioritized, because in the events of movement, the most vulnerable arrived last.
>> reporter: but now they're all vulnerable. the chief of the ingessena tribe, which makes up jamam's population, is a refugee himself. he's bitter, but not at the u.n. >> ( translated ): i don't blame the unhcr. i blame omar al-bashir because if he hadn't shot and bombed us, we would have avoided all this. we are mountain people. the ingessena people want to go home and find peace and finish this terrible war. our hearts are broken. >> reporter: at a fly-blown spot on the road towards the frontier, a new group has just crossed into south sudan. on the other side, omar al- bashir's forces are still bombing and these people say more refugees are heading this way. >> brown: you can find out more about the desperate plight of refugees in the camps, and follow links to coverage by our partners at globalpost, among
others. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. the syrian opposition, u.n. officials and the obama administration blamed the assad regime for the massacre of scores of people in a rural village. and wall street rallied as j.p. morgan reported strong earnings, despite its losses from a failed trading strategy. the dow industrials gained 200 points. online, find gwen ifill's take on mitt romney's icy reception at an naacp convention wednesday. hari sreenivasan picks up there. >> sreenivasan: read about the boos and cheers that presidential hopefuls have received in the past. that's on our politics page. plus, tonight's edition of "need to know" has another take on big banks and risky bets. it profiles an advocacy group working for more regulation. find a link to "braking the banks" and much more on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. judy. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll look at the obama campaign's careful move to engage gay voters. i'm judy woodruff. >> and i'm jeffrey brown. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you on-line, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night.
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