tv To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe PBS January 28, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm PST
>> hello, i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to to the contrary, a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, hillary's next move. >> 2012 could bring an end to hillary clinton's political career. this week, secretary clinton told her staff at the state department she's ready to step off "the high wire of american politics." >> i think after twenty years on being of the high wire of american politics and all of the challenges that come with that, it would be a good idea to find out how tired i am.
>> clinton also said she's not watching the republican debates. her comments come after widespread talk that she should be obama's 2012 running mate. the gallup poll rates clinton the most admired woman in america for 10 years. at 64 percent approval rating right now-the highest of any american political figure. >> how will hillary clinton's absence from politics impact politics? she may be tired right now. she's not done. i think she's going to impact on women's lives whether she's in politics and i think she may come back or out of it. >> as someone grown to respect and admire hillary clinton, i think she's going to be soarly missed. >> i've known hillary clinton for 30 years now. she may not be in political office. she's going to be in politics. her leaving the secretary of
state's office is going to open up a position and a spotlight for another talented woman. >> i don't think it's going to have an effect. she had an effect previously in politics and it will have a lasting impact. there have been other women that have been many politics. it's not going to be that uncommon. >> don't you think as secretary of state on the international front, she's done more to bring women's issues to the floor way more than rice or albright who proceeded her? >> it's may be that she's focused more on women's issue. i don't think she's as effective. i think that the barack obama administration is going to keep her under wraps and they have done things out of the white house and out of the n.s.c. i chicago she's been -- >> each her under wraps. why are you and i living in different universes?
>> i don't think she's been although the heart of the foreign policy discussions and issues of -- >> i don't know what -- i disagree. i don't know where you are. everybody gives her high marks during her tenure. >> she lead the effort -- >> terms of women, no other secretary of state created an office that addressed and put a high level assistant, if you will, to spear head that and she brings it up each time and salutes women a achievement. she created a international council of women to continue this push -- >> i don't disagree a thing you said. i think about the middle east. i don't think she's a big player. north korea, no t a big player. >> i look at the foreign policy challenges dealing with the arab world. i don't think it's her fault. >> it's not a question of fault.
it may be our country's position to have a certain step back as opposed to an aggressive presence. that's not necessarily a failure. >> there's disconnect. he needed her as secretary of state. she operates as an entire entity. she does her own thing. does he need her? yeah, probably. she doesn't need him. that's not a launching pad for her to run for president. this has been her job. not a job that she does for the president. that's the impression. >> i'm going to disagree. i'm going to disagree with that. i like bonnie's pointant want to come back to it about libya. how do you reconcile with susan rice and hillary clinton? >> libya is not the center of the universe.
it's a minor country. >> it wasn't minor although -- at all. >> far more important in serious nothing is happening there. libya, yeah. >> libya turned out well. it's not important. >> well, no it isn't. i don't think that -- the big issues that we have to deal with as a country that she has been front and center in the way of henry kissinger and colin powell >> cond lisa rice was going head to head with the big players. >> but during her ten your, it was said that she didn't have the impact that cheney had. only after the -- >> i want to say this. she's had a lot more power and autonomy than some of the secretary of states that you named. the. >> autonomy?
>> she has a lot of power. she's completely over the people that came to the state. she's over them herself. she has a lot of power. >> terms of egypt. when they started the arab spring, i saw iran breaking out all over the middle east. >> that's not true because she did -- first of all, she was involved in watching what was going on there and deciding how much any u.s. intervention there should be. when they start rolling back women's rights, that week, she came out and made a statement and -- >> i said on women's rights, she's the feminist sem -- secretary of state. i'm more interested in the u.s. role -- >> it was a major role in egypt. now, can we just talk about her general impact in terms of politics? when she talked about being on
the high wire, it wasn't any secretary of state. it was one that was closely watched. re-elected with 60% of the vote in a tough state. when she was first leading, she was an activist of first lady. she set the bar high for political presence and performance and effectiveness. there are people as you know in this town who have been here for 20 years but not necessarily as known or watched or closely scrutinized as she has been. >> we don't have a lot of time left. i want to get to hillary's future. what do you think her next step will be? >> i don't want to say. >> not going to be vice president. >> and i don't think that the -- >> we don't want her vice president. she's very loyal. this is one of the things she's very well-known for. she's not going to do something
that looks -- >> she's going to go write a book. >> i think she wants to be the first female president. she's going to take some time off. if there's a republican woman that could outshine her legacy, that's going to motivate her. i don't think the first female president will be a republican or a democrat. >> i don't think we should rule her out anymore than men in the past. >> she doesn't need a launching pad anymore. >> you may see her start her own foundation. >> or what about joining the clinton global initiative which is a power house and international issues. >> she and bill are partners. that could be a logical step. >> i don't see her abandoning women's causes, if you will. she will be a voice for women
and beyond women issues. i don't think someone has bright as she would say guide good-bye, i'm going to have tea. >> let us know what you think. from one first's plan to one initiatives. >> for the first time in 15 years there are new regulations on school nutrition. first lady michelle obama joined agriculture secretary tom vilsack at an elementary school not too far from the white house. she ate a lunch of turkey tacos and fruit, while she told students and parents about the importance of good nutrition. >> "we all know that if left to their own devices, many of our kids would eat candy for breakfast, they'd follow it up with a few french fries for lunch and cookies and chips for snacks, and then they'd come home for a big chocolate sundae for dinner, right? (laughter.) and we know that it is our responsibility, as adults, to
make sure they don't do that. the new regulations require schools to offer one fruit and vegetable daily, whole grains, a meat and low fat or no-fat milk. the new meals contain less sodium and trans fats. the first lady's let's move campaign battles childhood obesity through exercise and healthy eating. opponents worry about the costs to already cash-strapped school districts and about whether children will eat healthier but possibly less tasty food. >> there's been a fair amount of controversy around her move to get children to eat healthier food. how can anyone object to that? >> i disagree with some of my conservative friends. i think a first lady taking on a campaign like get moving and planting gardens, i think that's great. i think that's her role. you take on the pulpit, you do
something civic minded, that's great. she's getting into the regulatory area. do i have objections as long as we are paying for it, the taxpayers are paying for the money that supports school lunch programs, et cetera, i would rather they eat vegetables and fruits and whole-wheat. it may be that the healthier meals end up in the trash can and may be a waste of money. the bullyulpit may be more effective than the regulatory. >> there's a chef who is on tv and he was trying to teach schools how to have healthier meals. i was shocked when the camera went behind the restaurant and everything is frozen. frozen french fries and pizzas and frozen this and that. this is what our children eat. i was shocked. why would which want to invest
in that? it's my tax dollars too that pays for that. i know freshruit and vegetables will cost more. not to mention higher labor cost because you have to clean them and do more with them. it's an investment in future health. we said that in many shows before that obesity is an epidemic. why not invest in that that the bills we spend in crisis in diabetes that's rampant in young people? >> i think it's fine for the first lady to take this on. i think it's good not to go over the line. we wanted to do something healthy for our kids because hillary clinton played an inappropriate role with regard to healthcare reform, this first lady is aware of that. she's being smart and having an impact using the bully pulpit.
she's taking on something that's hard to disagree with. >> there are plenty of people who do. >> the nervousness comes from the legacy of little narrow clin -- hillary clinton. >> we don't want to be told what to eat. we don't want them to be told what to eat. >> that's if they are mandating it in restaurants. >> that's different. >> this is kids. kids are told what to eat by the grownups in their lives. >> lobbyists from potato companies, you know t lobbyists for the producers of tomato paste. it's high sugar. they bought this tooth and nail. those things stays. >> we have potatoes and the tomato paste. you have the other criteria. because the kids do choose the
bad things, that's what they are fed all of this time. >> it's adults too. >> i had two sons. they didn't want to eat the school lunches. the food is really, really bad. my husband and i have been working on this. we have schools now that are growing some of their own vegetables, it's part of a class. this is in the city. not in the country. they are raising chickens and the fresh eggs. there's a greater attention span. you don't have high and low drop of the sugar. there are private companies that are producing healthy foods and selling them to universities and selling them to elementary schools. it's creating a business that the schools are buying and so i think it's a win win for the taxpayer and a win/win for the children's health. >> it's a win -- stimulus package. >> you are going to need more
immigrant labor and let's make them legal by expanding our immigration. >> that's a whole other feud. >> when we get government involved, government is not always right. i always believe that part of our obesity epidemic is the government's fault in promoting high carb food. >> subsidizing sugar and corn goods. government is not always right. they are swinging the other way. >> eleanor norton said that the science has changed. >> true. >> and that's what you want government to do. you want them to respond when you say it wasn't working and it's behind the headlines.
if she wins, baldwin will be the first female senator from wisconsin, and the first openly gay member of the senate. we talked to her about this tough battle. >> i'm a fighter. they call you names. i suspect when the campaign is in full swing, there will be a lot of name calling. >> baldwin also wasn't afraid to disclose her sexuality. she is the only openly gay woman in congress. >> i think my constituents have always appreciated my integrity and honesty. i do know, both by being one of the first women elected to high office in the state of wisconsin and by being an out lgbt candidate, that there are folks in society who think maybe i can't be anything i want and they see other people succeeding
and other people leading, like myself, and feel like anything is open to them. >> wisconsin voters have never elected a woman to the senate or as governor. but baldwin says voters are most focused now on jobs. >> it's a very unique environment now in wisconsin. generally across the state, people are really struggling with this economy and they're furious with the disconnect they are seeing in the political discourse and debate in madison, wisconsin and in washington, dc. middle class and working families have really taken it on the chin, both in this recession and political environment, so i really think that wisconsin's senate seat is going to stay in democratic hands. >> the seven-term congresswoman is the presumptive democratic nominee for the wisconsin senate race.
she says improving the country's economy is her top priority. >> growth in our economy is the number one strategy to get out of this deficit situation. we're in a global marketplace now. we have to have a workforce and industry that is globally competitive. if there is a level playing field, i have no doubt wisconsin businesses and us businesses are going to compete favorably. >> baldwin hopes her campaign will inspire more women to seek public office. >> in a democracy, we're strongest when we reflect society so we have to have more and more women stand up, we have to have increasingly legislatures that look like america. in the us senate there are 17 women out of 100. i have to think that there is some sort of connection between how women fare in the overall economy and where women sit in terms of corporate board positions and top executive
management in corporations and in policy making bodies like the us senate and house of representatives and our state governorships and legislatures. >> how would you rate her chances politically this year? >> i think she has a good chance. wisconsin is really interesting. in many ways it's like missouri. we have a first elected woman. she did not have the lbgt issue. >> we have not had a woman governor or senator. wisconsin is a ground zero. you are going to have the president race and you are going to see the president going there a lot. a lot of republican overreaching going on in that state. lot of theacklash and recall on
battles over which -- >> we should say that the republican governor scott walker was very popular coming in than played around with the unit unions, took power away from the unions, now everybody is upset about that. and there's a recall. >> there's a recall. >> he also fixed their economic problems. >> right. he did a lot of positive things. i don't know how piz is going to go. she's an appealing person in terms of her personality. i think actually the country has moved so far on the issue of homosexuality, that's not going to be the factor. she may be too liberal. it may be -- who knows what is going to happen in the presidential election. but i don't think it's going to be being gay.
>> and people who project effectiveness, the fact that she was there for seven terms and given fairly high marks is a good thing going into this race. it doesn't mean that it will be an easy ride. i think all of the forces that you just described does make for difficult win. because it's so turbulent, that's when tammy baldwin can succeed. i feel bad about losing a democrat period. clearly, we are not in charge in the house and it makes life difficult. but i would love to see her in the senate. 17% is absurd. >> here is the thing though about tammy baldwin. she's being defined by her sexuality. she's done that to herself. if she wants to define herself by that, her priority is the
economy, it should be. you have 49 million people living unerthe poverty -- under the povertyine and might be people that sim sympathize with. she might not want that to be the priority. she has a low approval and disapproval rating through congress. she has been in congress for a while. she's in the low 20s for both where you have thompson who will be the republican nominee who has a 49% approval and 39% disapproval. her's are about the same. >> isn't there a very conservative republican candidate who if he doesn't get the nomination said he will run as a third party independent? >> i think they would be able to shut him down. you have to give the nod to thompson. i do want more women running for
congress. i don't want to feel obligated to vote for them because they are women. we had one run in maryland. we were glad to see that. she was a trailblazer. >> firstoman. >> and i hope that we continue to have that. realistically in wisconsin, i can't name one legislative achievement of baldwin that makes you think wow. >> it has nothing to do with her sexuality or her gender. it's the politics of the moment that might derail her. >> i have to disagree. >> for as many things you said going against her. there are other people why is it possible that baldwin could win this time around. >> i don't think we can sit here and say, wow, it doesn't matter if you are gay and a woman.
it does matter. the proof is in the pudding. >> you have to run. that's true. right. and the women that run, yourself included, and many reasons why you don't win. i know in states that have conservative rural areas that are a lot of them. that it's difficult for women to be in that position. >> that's it for this edition. next week for black history months. the first african-american female heighter -- fighter pilot. check our website. the controversy over legos made for girls and whether your views are in agreement or to the contrary, please join us next time.