tv PBS News Hour PBS September 30, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
important al qaeda figure, the american-born cleric anwar al- awlaki. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we examine what his death means for the terror organization and its threat to the united states. >> woodruff: then, we look at the fallout after bank of america's decision to charge debit card users monthly fees. >> brown: kwame holman reports on the legacy of joint-chief- of-staff chairman admiral mike mullen as he retires after 40 years of military service. >> woodruff: mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. >> brown: and spencer michels profiles rita moreno, who, at 80, has a new solo show on her life as a star of stage and screen. >> my god, i'm a show business animal. i wouldn't have it any other way. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. mar funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
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supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> 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. >> woodruff: the u.s. war on al qaeda claimed another high- profile kill today-- this time, in yemen. the target was an american imam who preached at mosques in the u.s. before taking up jihad overseas. ray suarez has the story. >> suarez: the announcement of anwar al-awlaki's death made him the most prominent al qaeda figure killed since osama bin laden back in may. yemeni intelligence officials said he was located three weeks
ago and tracked intensively on the ground and from the air. today, u.s. drone aircraft blasted awlaki's convoy with missiles near the town of khashef in jawf province, about 90 miles east of yemen's capital, sanaa. president obama had authorized awlaki's killing almost two years ago. he hailed today's news at a ceremony for the outgoing chairman of the u.s. joint chiefs of staff. >> the death of awlaki marks another major blow to al qaeda's most active operational affiliate. >> age for yemen and the security forces that worked closely with the united states over several years. >> suarez: the 40-year-old, american-born cleric had become a major player in al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, the terror group's most active wing. but ten years ago, as a cleric at a washington-area mosque,
awlaki advocated restraint. he appeared in a "newshour" report, addressing worshippers just weeks after the 9/11 attacks. >> our position needs to be reiterated and needs to be very clear. the fact that the u.s. has administered the death and homicide of over one million civilians in iraq, the fact that the u.s. is supporting the deaths and killing of thousands of palestinians does not justify the killing of one u.s. civilian in new york city or washington, d.c. and the deaths of 6,000 civilians in new york and washington, d.c., does not justify the death of one civilian in afghanistan. and that is the difference between right and wrong, evil and good that everybody's claiming to talk about. >> suarez: awlaki later moved to yemen, his family home, and it was there his tone radically
changed, as seen in this undated jihadist video. >> ( translated ): don't consult with anybody in the killing of americans. fighting the devil doesn't require consultation or prayers seeking divine guidance. they are the party of the devils. fighting them is what is called for at this time. we have reached a point where it is either us or them. we are two opposites that will never come together. what they want can only be accomplished by our elimination. therefore, this is a defining battle. >> suarez: u.s. counter-terror officials said awlaki used his knowledge of english and the u.s. to inspire violence, and he was linked to a series of operations against u.s. and western targets. the cleric had exchanged emails with major nidal hasan before hasan allegedly killed 13 people in a shooting rampage at fort hood, texas, in 2009. u.s. officials also accused awlaki of directing the plot to blow up an airliner over detroit on christmas day, 2009.
he acknowledged meeting with umar farouk abdul mutallab, the accused bomber, but denied any role in the failed attack. and faisal shahzad said he was inspired by online contacts with the cleric. shahzad has pleaded guilty to trying to set off a car bomb in times square in may of last year. awlaki was also suspected of involvement last october, when printer cartridges laden with explosives were found on cargo planes in dubai and britain, but addressed to chicago synagogues. still, he was never charged with any crime, and the decision making him the first american on the cia's "kill or capture" list drew fire from civil libertarians and others. in fact, a second american-born militant, samir khan, also died in today's strike. he produced the al-qaeda web magazine "inspire," focusing on ways to carry out attacks inside the u.s. at the white house today, press secretary jay carney declined to
answer questions on the legal standard for killing american citizens. to assess the implications of awlaki's killing, we turn to brian fishman, a fellow at the new america foundation and the combating terrorism center at west point. juan carlos zarate was deputy national security advisor for counter-terrorism in the bush administration, and is now a senior adviser at the center for strategic and international studies. welcome. how important is the killing of awlaki and how significant a figure was he? juan? >> i think awlaki grew in significance over time. he became a figure in the al qaeda network known as al qaeda in the arabian pennsylvania-- peninsula in yemen. he was an operational figure. he began to play a more instrumental role in some of the external plots and e ternity network that were targeting the united states. we know he had a hand in the failed underwear bomber plot, the failed package plot and had started to even toy with
the use of poisons. so operationally he became more and more important. with you but i think even more significantly, ray, is the fact that he played a key prop gandist role, kind of a pied piper for western ears in a way that translated al quite's-- al qaeda's nar fiv-- narrative and inspired individuals to come and not only fight in places like yemen but to potentially fight fellow citizens in their own homeland so his removal is an important step in terms of going after the network, diminishing al qaeda in the arabian peninsula propaganda reach, and i think a significant step as demonstrated by the amount of attention the administration gave it today. >> suarez: brian fishman, he is more of an operational character or an idea loll -- >> i think he has become-- i think his ideaological and intellectual influences is still paramount, his stability to communicate in english to an english speaking audience in the west that really differentiated him from other al qaeda figures. and i think that he'll be
hard to replace in that regard. there are simply not that many people at a senior level in al qaeda that have a profile like his, born in the united states, a u.s. citizen and what awlaki was able to do was say this is why i turned on my country. and in doing so he was trying to lay out a pathway for other people to follow. and i don't think that al qaeda will be able to replace that soon. >> suarez: internet chatrooms, a bulletin board, a blog post, sending videos of himself as attachments to e-mails. a new kind of al qaeda figure? >> well, no, i mean al qaeda has been doing those sorts of things, they were doing that in the past. and there are many elements of al qaeda that are still doing those sorts of things. but most of that content is produced in arabic, others in german, turkish, french. many different languages. but it was awlaki that was doing it in eng lush. so it was awlaki that was speaking to americans and awlaki that was speaking to brits, for example. and that's why he was different.
and it is that sort of personal story that gave him power and the ability to bring people into the movement. because there were things that he lacked. he lacked for example, battlefield experience. he was not a commander. he didn't have the historical experience in afghanistan and the personal trust with the very senior central al qaeda figures. so he was not a bin laden level figure but he was somebody that was able to communicate with western muslims in a very unique sort of way. >> suarez: but while bin laden was holed up in abbott a bad, he was becoming more active n a way more dangerous than osama bin laden. >> in some ways. i still think bin laden served a key role as the central figure, the central strategist for al qaeda and the broader network. but more and more you heard american officials talking about the danger rising from yemen, this affiliate in yemen, in particular anwar awlaki's role in it. i think brian is right, i think his main attraction
and main asset for the broader network was his ability to attract western ears. and i think importantly to keep in mind that he and a couple of others within the group in al qaeda had begun to examine the field, to see that what could be most effective was not just big scale attacks of the kind that we've seen in the past from al qaeda but to inspire individuals to attack the united states and others in small ways. to do what they called an operation hemorrhage to kill with a thousand cuts. and so that started to be a way that awlaki was reshaping the strategic battle space. and i think that's important to keep in mind because you have now removed somebody who had started to reredirect the strategy of al qaeda. unfortunately i think it's infected now the ideology itself and won't go away, now that he's gone. but he was very important in that regard to help to reshift that narrative and that strategy for al qaeda. >> suarez: now right after his death american officials have started to call him the chief of external operations
for al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. is that sort of a postmortem promotion to bulk up who we got on the battlefield? or was he really that? >> well, i think this is really the first time that i have heard him have that title. but i do think there is increasing evidence and certainly the administration is asserting there was a lot of evidence that he was as juan was saying involved in these operational plots. and i think that's what officials are trying to underline. and i think that's valid. but i think it's important to understand that he was not the most senior figure in al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. -- it will go on, hashi is the supreme leader, the amir of that organization. so it is's to the going anywhere. so i think the death of anwar awlaki does, it makes it more one-dimensional, in a way. i'm tough to see a football game. its like taking a qa passing game, they can't reach out
as directly to americans in the west but they will still have the capability, they're still going to have the leadership to plan attacks like the package bomb, like the abdulmutallab attack over detroit two christmases ago. >> suarez: anwar all awlaki was the first american subject to the subject of a cia kill or capture order. and now that he has been killed there is more attention focused on the nature of his death. without charge, without indictment, obviously without trial. is this a problem? >> well, i think it's something the administration is clearly sensitive to. and it explains in part why they are describing him so ardently as the chief external operations chief. the administration is going to great pains to explain his operational role. the fact that he was engaged in ongoing activity. all of that is a way of framing this in terms of imminent danger to the united states that then gives the u.s. credibility
under international law and under our own laws to take self-defensive measures, and to take kinetic activities against an individual, even if that individual is an american citizen. but we've known this issue has been out there. the aclu had challenged awlaki's father, the alleged targeting of awlaki, a case they lost at the lower court level in federal court. so this issue of what the government can do with respect to an individual, an american citizen who has joined al qaeda, who is clearly trying to plot against the united states, what level of kinetic activity, what level of force can they use without some level of due process. that is clearly something the administration is very sensitive about. >> suarez: brian, was it legal? >> i'm not a supreme court justice but i have real concerns about it. because it sets a precedent. and i simply don't understand the criteria by which the decision was made that anwar awlaki could be killed. what does an american citizen have to do to fall into that category. the second concern i have,
and why i think that a judicial process of some kind would have been useful here is it would have been an opportunity for the u.s. government to lay out all the things that anwar awlaki has done. he may be dead, but his vision and his message is not. and what i think would have been useful is to have a judicial process where you get to talk about the fact that he solicited prostitutes. you get to talk about the fact that he was sort of a hypocrite in among himself. and because of that, the fact that we weren't able to do those things-- we didn't do those things, i think we've missed an opportunity to do more than just kill him but to discredit the ideas that he pushed for years. >> suarez: brian fishman, juan-carlos zarate, thank you both. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> brown: still to come on the newshour: new fees for debit card use; admiral mullen steps down; shields and brooks; and rita moreno, still going strong at almost 80. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: thousands of
demonstrators marched in syria today, defying security forces who opened fire. activists said at least 11 people were killed. video from cell phones captured the mass protests in hama and homs provinces. the images showed marchers carrying away their wounded. meanwhile, a third day of fighting raged in the town of rastan. activists there reported hundreds of army defectors are battling government forces. thousands of people also rallied across egypt in what was dubbed a day of "reclaiming the revolution". one of the largest demonstrations was in cairo's tahrir square. protesters demanded an end to emergency laws imposed under president hosni mubarak. he was ousted in february. the military leaders who now rule egypt had vowed to abolish those laws and transfer power back to civilians within six months. that deadline passed two months ago. in iraq, a car bomb killed at least 17 people at a shiite funeral south of baghdad. at least 50 others were wounded. the car had been parked outside the mosque where the funeral was held for a prominent shiite sheik.
witnesses said the grounds were littered with burned bodies and wrecked vehicles. a tropical storm pounded vietnam today, forcing evacuations of 20,000 people. crashing waves and whipping wind tore at the coast, as people left behind their boats to seek shelter inland. heavy rain triggered flooding that forced people to wade or even swim to safety. that same storm killed more than 40 people in the philippines last week. filipinos braced for another typhoon this weekend. japan is telling up to 59,000 people it's safe to return home more than six months after a nuclear disaster. the march earthquake and tsunami devastated the fukushima daichi nuclear plant. today, officials lifted evacuation advisories for a band extending 12 to 19 miles out from the plant. many had left the area voluntarily, fearing radiation. a 12-mile no-go zone immediately surrounding the plant remains in place. it could be decades before that area is habitable. in u.s. economic news, personal
income fell in august-- the first decline in two years-- and the news dragged wall street lower. the dow jones industrial average lost 240 points to close at 10,913. the nasdaq fell 65 points to close at 2,415. overall, the dow and the nasdaq lost 12% in the quarter that ended today, the worst since the financial meltdown in 2008. republicans in florida shook up the 2012 presidential calendar today. they set january 31 for their presidential primary. that defied a national party rule against moving up the date. in turn, officials in iowa, new hampshire, nevada , and south carolina said they're likely to move up their dates to stay ahead of florida in the nominating process. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: big banks, and their profits, have been the source of plenty of public anger since the beginning of the financial crisis. now, new fees for consumers are putting them in the spotlight again.
swiping a debit card is about get more expensive for some 57 million americans. the biggest bank in the country, bank of america, says it will tack a new fee-- $5 a month-- on using a debit card to make purchases. in a phone interview, bank of america spokeswoman anne pace called it a sign of the times. >> clearly, the economics of a debit card have changed, due to recent regulations. as a result, we decided to add monthly usage fees. >> brown: the b-of-a says it won't charge customers using one of their 20,000 atms.
an amendment in last year's financial regulation law directed the federal reserve to cap so-called "swipe fees" that banks could charge merchants when customers use debit cards. the fed capped what banks could charge merchants at 21 cents per transaction-- a big cut from the previous average of 44 cents per transaction, fees that collected $19 billion for banks in 2009. bank of america is the biggest, but not the first to add a $5 monthly fee. it also won't be the last, as giants wells fargo and j.p. morgan chase are now testing $3 debit card fees. we debate the new fees now and what they mean for banks and consumers with david lazarus, consumer and business columnist for the "los angeles times"; and richard hunt, president of the consumer bankers association, a trade group that is made up of the country's leading retail banks. we invited a representative from bank of america but they declined. david lazarus i'll start with you. you wrote in your column today bank of america isn't just having its cake and eating it too, it's serving itself another piece. so why do you think this new fee is wrong? >> well, it's not so much that it's wrong. i don't think anyone
begrudges the banks charging a fair profit for a fair service. and they are offering a lot of convenience. they are offering fraud protection, they are offering overdraft protection. the question is here is how much does it really cost the banks to process a debit card transaction and how much do the ancillary services cost. here is an example. the federal reserve says it pretty much costs about 4 cents to process a debit card transaction, considering the huge economies of scale. 4 cents. so that means the current average of 44 cents represents a 1,000% profit, so now that we know that as of tomorrow that's going to be cut in roughly half to 21 cents, well, that's still a 500% profit. if you can't make money off a 500% profit margin you are in the wrong line of work. >> suarez: . >> brown: richard hunt l as a general proposition why is this being done. >> because we are forced to. a sure you the bank was not have raise fees on any customer if they didn't have to. congress interjected itself through the dick durbin
amendment that told us how much we could charge for a product. i don't think mcdonald's would appreciate if they were told how much they would charge for a hamburger or coke. we don't want to do this. we have no choice to do this to stay in business. >> brown: as he said, when the federal reserve looked at this, they set what they thought was a fair price. >> okay, well that's half the story. the durbin amendment only allowed us to recoup the cost for the actual transaction, not for development of the card, not for processing, not for marketing, not for the call center. that would be like mcdonald's only being charged for dispursesing the coke but not ordering or marketing. >> brown: mr. lazarus. >> there are so many moving parts. bank of america says they will still lose about $2 billion in revenue as a result of this. but they're not saying they are going to lose any money. what they are in fact saying is they are going to make less money as a result of this. so they are really trying to make good to their shareholders at this point with this $5 or $60 a year fee that's going to be
imposed. and let's look at the numbers. b of a says this is going to put them down $2 billion but they've got 57 million consumer and small business accounts. now if just a majority, not all of them, just a majority use debit cards, that means they will have a windfall of $3 billion. so they come out a billion dollars ahead out of all of this. where is the fairness in all of that. >> well, mr. hunt is always-- is making less money or making money at all. >> sure it is, we want to give people free checking accounts. we can't do that any more. decades of generations have seen free checking going forward that is not going to be the case any more. we want to make sure the customer is happy. we want to keep customers at our banks, there are 7100 banks in this country. we surely know if the customer is not happy they will go across the street and open a different checking the. we want to keep them at our banks. >> how much does it cost to process a debit card transaction. >> if you go from a to z from the very beginning to the very end t is somewhere around 35 to 36 cents. if you listen senator durbin
where you can only recoup the costs of the actual transaction at the actual point of sale where michelle obama went to target yesterday, in alexandria, virginia, that is a whole lot less. but there is a whole lot more to the transaction than the point of sale transaction. >> brown: including what? >> making the card. the fraud cost, distribution of the card. the 800 number, all sorts of factors. >> brown: so your sense is that the fed figure of 21 and the lower figure that he just raised is wrong, punitive, or what. >> yes and no. the fed was instructed by the congress what they could calculate in their fees. the fed cannot calculate the entire set of fees, just a snapshot of fees at the very end. again, we do not want to charge our customers. we were forced to by congress interjecting themselves into the marketplace. >> brown: mr. lazarus, is it about the figuring out the exact cost of this transaction for you? is that what it's about? >> well, i will repeat. i don't think anyone begrudges the banks charging a fair profit for a fair
service but the banks are not forthcoming as to what this really costs. i think richard, no offense intended, just pulled that 31 cents number out of the air especially when the federal reserve, no less, says that 21 cents represents a reasonable and proportional return. and yet the fed also says the actual cost is 4 cents. and in fact some consumer advocates say it's even less. it might just be a penny or two. so these fees are pure gravy for the banking industry, and just because their revenue is coming down, what that means is basically when they have to charge a reasonable rate for the service, then they get a reasonable return and therefore what they were making before was essentially unreasonable. now shareholders might not like that loss in revenue but if are you going to treat your customers fairly than charge a reasonable and fair rate is how do you it. >> brown: mr. hunt, as we said, this is part of a larger change here. there were banks looking to make up fees in various ways, eliminating free checking, for example. should consumer expect to pay more in coming years? >> well, unfortunately, they
probably will have to because of the overregulations by congress. we knew congress would do one of two things when we had the economic collapse. they would do nothing or they would overreact. remember we are overdraft fee reform, credit card reform, now debit card reform. it's an overregulated economy right now. >> brown: but didn't they react out of a sense of what had happened in the crisis and the bailout, you know, this is why the public would be up set. >> i understand item public is up set. interchange had absolutely nothing to do with the economic collapse. absolutely nothing. it was a political maneuver by senator durbin because he didn't believe retailers should be charging a certain fee for a product, a benefit they were receiving. >> brown: so mr. lazarus you write your column for consumers, what is your advice? >> well, my advice would be contrary to what richard says, it's not easy to shop with your feet because all of the big banks are probably going to follow suit. wells and chase already experimenting with similar fees. more than likely considering the herd mentality that reigns in this industry, they will all start charging
debit card fees. once one gets away with it, your only choice is charging a credit union, they will get the fee free debit cards krity cards but give up a lot of convenience. so you could see these fees are a premium for convenience and if the banks want to sell them as that, then okay. that is a little truth in advertising. but at this point the consumer is going to have to make that choice between convenience on the one hand and low fees on the other. >> brown: do you expect this to have an impact on consumer use of debit cards or other behaviors. >> sure, i think it will. a couple of years ago when congress redid the credit card ago they shifted people to the debit card. and i think that was the right decision for congress and the marketplace. i think what will happen is people will have to go back to credit cards. hopefully they will have better financial positions by paying off the debt this is not just a large bank issue, this is a credit union and small bank issue. will you see thousands of small community banks go under because of regulation by congress. >> brown: all right. keep watching, richard hunt, david laz russ, thank you both very much. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: a farewell to one of the most influential military leaders in modern u.s. history. kwame holman has that story. >> holman: his four years overseeing the u.s. military have taken admiral mike mullen around the world many times over-- meeting with troops in two war zones; attending elaborate military ceremonies in china; coordinating disaster aid in earthquake-stricken haiti. but mullen's greatest role was in helping wind down the war in iraq and expand the war in afghanistan. at his senate confirmation hearing in 2007, he expressed characteristic candor about iraq. >> based on the political... lack of political reconciliation at the government level, obviously-- although i spoke earlier about some of it going on at the local level, which i think is important-- i would be concerned about whether we'd be winning or not. >> holman: on afghanistan, mullen played a bigger role, saying the u.s. needed to
refocus its energies there and in the region. when president obama asked for an afghan war review, mullen stuck by commanders in the field who demanded resources for a counterinsurgency approach. david ignatius of the "washington post" has traveled to the region frequently with the admiral. >> there is this view that the white house has that mullen and the military kind of boxed the president in, and narrowed their options and pushed them down the road toward this 30,000 troop surge. it didn't look that way to me as i was reporting it. it looked more like a classic chain of command thing. >> holman: in his final words to congress last week, mullen called out pakistan for aiding the haqqani terrorist network in recent attacks in afghanistan. >> the haqqani network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of pakistan's internal services intelligence agency. >> holman: mullen made 27 trips to pakistan during his tenure, cultivating a relationship with
top military officials there, among them general ashfaq parvez kayani. that relationship became strained after the killing of osama bin laden by american special forces inside pakistan. kayani received no heads-up from mullen, nor did the pakistani government know of the raid on the compound in abottabad. ignatius says the pakistan relationship has been a bitter pill for mullen. >> he'd go out to see kayani. it seemed like, every few weeks, he was flying halfway around the world to pakistan. i went on a number of those trips with him, and it's a long way to go for a few hours. but mullen put in the time and believed he was making progress. >> holman: admiral mullen's tenure at the pentagon may be best remembered for his strong advocacy for ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. for 18 years, it barred homosexuals from serving openly. it ended last week, 18 months after mullen spoke out.
>> no matter how i look at this issue, i cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. >> holman: mark thompson is "time" magazine's defense reporter. >> mullen gave the president and secretary of defense robert gates all the four-star coverage they needed to push ahead with this, knowing that the nation's top military officer was in their camp. >> holman: today, at a time- honored ceremony at joint base myer in virginia, the chairman handed over his duties to army general martin dempsey. mullen began his military service at the u.s. naval academy in 1964. president obama honored that long service, in particular mullen's dedication to men and women in uniform. >> i've seen it in the quiet moments with our wounded warriors and our veterans.
i saw it that day in the situation room as we held our breath for the safe return of our forces who delivered justice to osama bin laden. i saw it at dover as we honored our fallen heroes in their final journey home. mike, you have fulfilled the pledge you made at the beginning to represent our troops with unwavering dedication. >> holman: in his last words as chairman, mullen asked all americans to look after the nation's troops. >> we talk about the resilience of our troops and their families as if it is something apart from society. it isn't. or, at least, it shouldn't be. where do you think those troops learned to be so brave? in your home, in your schools, in your communities. >> holman: just yesterday, on his final full day as chairman, mullen and his wife deborah said one more farewell to troops buried in section 60 of arlington national cemetery, a parcel set aside for those killed in iraq and afghanistan.
>> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and brooks-- syndicated columnist mark shields, "new york times" columnist david brooks. gentlemen, thank you both for being here. >> so the killing of the al qaeda op rattive anwar al-awlaki. david, we heard about the national security implications, does this have political implications for political obama, does it help him? >> it probably doesn't help him. i think he deserves some recognition. i think the administration has pursued this quite vigorously. there was talk of dick cheney it was september 10th mind-set, remember all that but they clearly have a september 11th mind-set. they pursued this very vig louse-- vigorously and in some way with the use of drones even more aggressive than the bush administration but they will probably politically get relatively little benefit it means the republicans will not be attacking the obama
administration as weak. at least that argument won't have much purchase. but it won't be as if the country will say he is a really strong commander in chief. i think the issue will be neutrallized. >> woodruff: do you agree? >> i think, judy, that voters already give him much higher marks as commander in chief than they do on his domestic leadership or his handling of the economy. so there is a recognition on the part of how effective he has been, essentially, in his administration in dismantling al qaeda. and all that crippling that institution. the republicans have had an historical advantage on the issue of national security. and i think it's fair to say that barack obama has gone a long way towards neutral identifiesing that. so that 2012 campaign, i agree with david, that that will not be some card that the republicans will play. at the same time, when the economy is bad, the economy is the only issue. an that's the problem. i mean that is going to be-- the
elimination of al qaeda doesn't lead to jobs. >> woodruff: so they've got bin laden, awlaki, other al qaeda leaders. the president administration instrumental david, in knocking off or removing, i should say, these dictators in egypt and now libya. is there anything they could do internationalaly. >> i would say the arab spring happened more or less on its own. i think that was a result of-- result of these deep fundamental courses that were set off by the democracy debates. the getting of zarqawi and bin laden took a lot of president on the president. so but basically we have a lot of criticisms about the institutions of our government. but we have set in place a national security apparatus that takes al qaeda extremely seriously. and i would say goes after them quite effectively. and al qaeda has been severely, severely dismantled over the past ten years and that's something that will probably survive
whatever party takes over that institution, the national security apparatus i think is pretty effective. set up five, ten years ago but now continuing quite effectively. >> well, i mean, he got a lift out of osama bin laden. but it was ephemeral. it does come back to-- all politics is local and this is local. and local is the economy. >> woodruff: another issue that may be before the voters next year, health-care reform. the justice department mark just asked the supreme court in essence to take a look at the law, whether it's constitutional. could that have an effect on the campaign next year. >> it could. in all likelihood, at least the judgement is the decision will come down in june. and if it's one of two options. the supreme court will say it's unconstitutional and therefore dismantle what is the signature legislative achievement of the administration, the primary effort made. or say that it's constitutional and it will
be a continuing issue in the campaign of 2012. republicans saying that they want to repeal it. and the president and democrats arguing that no, it's effective and you can feel it already. and children are covered and grown children are covered, preexisting condition is a positive. but the most sticking point is what the supreme court is going to address and that's the individual mandate. >> woodruff: do you think could be a factor. >> yeah, i don't think the decision itself will be a factor. i think health care has been a significant factor. what happened in 2009 because of health care, a lot of independence moved away were from president obama for two reasons, one, they thought he was out of touch with their concerns because he was focus on health care when they cared about jobs. and two, they thought he liked government more than they did. and since that happened in 200 --, the electorate really hasn't changed. those independents are still not thrilled with the republicans but not thrilled with obama. and whether the prepare court overturns or doesn't the individual mandate they still have taken health care
as an informant toward their view of obama. and it's generally not good news for the president. >> woodruff: let's talk about the republicans. renewed pressure, a lot of pressure on new jersey's governor chris christie to change his mind, get into the race. mark wa, do you hear, who's behind this. do you think he will do it? >> well, the reality is there is a lot of people spontaneously, i mean there are strong financial support, a lot of new york money that would like to have him in. but that's not enough in itself. there's a genuine yearning out there. the republicans have gone through a period. they had donald trump. he was a flavor. they had michele bachmann, they had rick perry. now it's herman cain. they've got mitt romney and it seems to be mitt romney is like your wise sort of spinster aunt telling the young lady that he is a good provider, he's got good habits, he doesn't smoke, he doesn't drink, he keeps regular hours, he's a nice person, he's mannerly, why
don't you get excited. >> and they say i want to be excited. the young lady says i really want somebody that i'm emotionally engaged with. >> woodruff: this is -- >> i think chris christie, you know, does excite people. what is most, i think, appealing about him is that he is the anti-politician politician. i mean he doesn't talk like politicians. he doesn't say that said. he doesn't say not unimportant. or on the contrary, notwithstanding, he says get the hell off the beach during a hurricane to people and everybody can identify with that. and there is something direct. he is made for town meetings, he really is. you know, with voters. so i think there's an appeal. whether in fact he's going to do it he said time and gentes's not going to. >> woodruff: do you think he will get in, and what effect. >> as mark says he has this phenomenal rare skill of talking about wonky issues in a normal way and that is not something that comes
along every day. sow has that skill. but to follow markses metaphor, i agree the republican primary electorate wants the guy with the leather jacket. but i think the country wants the guy from the rotary club, i think they want the mitt romney guy. because we are in a very scary period. i believe before the election there will be more bad news from europe or somewhere else and my presumption is people always vote for the candidate who seems safer and more orderly. obama seemed more orderly than mccain after the financial meltdown. bush seemed more orderly. whether they are really going to want somebody like chris christie who is rambunctious and big and not exactly orderly, i'm not convinced. i think the republicans should be pretty happy with romney. he has become a very good campaigner and he seems pretty safe and orderly which i think is probably what the country is going to want. >> woodruff: you are saying these voters right now who may be excited about chris christie or herman cain which, as mark said, he's gotten a little attention. he won the florida straw poll last week, that they will eventually gravitate --
>> well, i'm saying they should. the perception is that obama moved the country sharply to the left and they want somebody that will shake things up and move it just as sharply to the right. and romney doesn't send off those i'm going to move the country in a radically disruptive direction the way trump does, the way herman cain does, the way chris christie. >> the hermannator. >> takes the hermannator to think that obama has moved the country radically to the left. >> i'm just describing -- >> i know you are. >> woodruff: but this does say something about at least right now the satisfaction with the rest of the republican field. >> well, according to polls, satisfaction is measured. but there is just not an emotional connection. i mean mitt romney may be a logical choice. but he is not one that says boy oh boy, you know, the difference at the time when cisero spoke people said how well he spoke and when-- spoke they said let us march.
nobody feels like marching after hearing -- >> and they do march after hearing chris christie. >> woodruff: all right, the primary calendar, normally we don't talk about this. but the florida republicans decided today that they're moving their vote up to january 31st. and so we assume that means that iowa, new hampshire, nevada, south carolina are all going to move up as well. what affect does this have on the -- >> a lot of us will spend new year's eve in des moines, that is the affect it will have. it will force them to move up. i think the outside affect is you get a state of florida which has a minority population which iowa and new hampshire don't exactly and south carolina and even nevada don't have on the republican side. and so i think it gives a little more say to maybe latino vote or something like that. but going back historically, can you think of a time when the scheduling of the primaries had an affect on the outcome? i can't think of that time. so it's inconvenient for those of us without want to be home new year's eve, rather than des moines but i can't think of a time where it really affects the race.
>> woodruff: you don't think it benefits. >> i can think of times because i'm older than david but certainly 1968 it did between mccarthy challenging lyndon johnson, 1984 it did, with gary hart and -- >> the timing of the primary. >> the timing of the primary-- i mean the importance of, to me, of the first two primaries being iowa, new hampshire is para mount. the only chance that an underdog, underfinanced candidate has is to compensate for that candidate's lack of name recognition and money by spending time. john mccain could beat george bush in new harp, in 2000 even though he was outspent by some estimates 6 to 1. even though he had the establishment party against him by 114 town meetings. 114. so when a small state he actually could meet a critical number of voters and persuade them. and make a difference. that requires time. when you compress this, like florida is doing by moving
up to the 31st, it shortens the time. it hurts the underdog, underfinanced candidate t helps the candidate who is ahead and has deep pockets. the republican national committee showed themselves to be toothless tigers. they gave the-- . >> woodruff: they said there would be a punishment. >> a real punishment. will cost you half the delegates all of whom will be seated when the convention opens up in tampa. >> it's absolutely outrage us. and it really changes the whole dynamic, to me, of the -- >> i don't think-- i am not a big believer there is momentum. barack obama ran that iowa with all his momentum and hillary clinton turned around and did pretty well in new hampshire. the second thing we're not going to lose those first two states. i don't care if they have to schedule their caucuses and primaries in september. they're not going to not be first. they will be first. and on the republican side, iowa doesn't matter that much. they are so qon serve difficult they pick outliers, new hampshire matters a lot so there will be that new hampshire primary but then they will gone to florida, south carolina, nevada.
>> there is a vetting that goes on. the beating that goes on. that is why there weren't any states scheduled until the 6th of march. that's:they wanted to have that time. you want to see how somebody reacts to adversity and defeat. and you know, the racial dimension of it that you address, barack obama i think won iowa in 2012, and the last time i checked the african-american population was not decisive factor in his victory. >> woodruff: well, it is a victory to have the two of you here. thank you very much. >> judy, thank you. >> woodruff: mark shields, david brooks. >> brown: finally tonight, a portrait of the performer, now telling her own story. our report is a joint production with kqed san francisco and told by newshour correspondent spencer michels. ♪ ♪
>> reporter: at nearly 80, rita moreno is back on stage, getting ready to reprise her life and career in her one-woman show, "life without makeup." she's rehearsing song and dance numbers she made famous decades ago, including her role of anita in the 1961 film "west side story," for which she won an academy award. ♪ ♪ and after a roller coaster career where she broke cultural and ethnic barriers--not without pain-- she shows no signs of slowing down in this production by the berkeley repertory theater. >> my god, i'm a show business animal. i wouldn't have it any other way. i'm very proud of the awards that i've earned, and notice i say "earned."
i... i love meeting movie stars. you know, i just wet my pants when i meet somebody that i just adore. >> reporter: i talked with moreno in her house high in the berkeley hills, where she and her late husband took refuge from the hollywood scene. reminders of her career and of the awards she won are everywhere. it's a far cry from puerto rico, where she was born, or the barrios in the bronx, where she moved as a child. >> i found out soon enough that it was not a good thing to be from another country, which is, in a sense, what this play is really about. it's about a young child who comes to a different country, doesn't speak the language, and tries to be someone else for a major part of her life. >> reporter: tony taccone, berkeley rep's artistic director, wrote "life without makeup" after talking with moreno for several years about her early life.
>> she knows she wants to be a star, and she knows the biggest stars are betty grable and lana turner and elizabeth taylor, and she... she wants to be them. like, she literally wants to be them. she doesn't like her own skin, she doesn't like her own skin color. >> reporter: but, taccone says, she changed-- she grew assertive as her career progressed and became comfortable with herself. and that's what attracted him to her story, along with her artistry. >> she's a spitfire. she will take no prisoners. she will not be held back. >> reporter: moreno began dancing as a child. >> i would perform at all kinds of bar mitzvahs and jewish weddings and catholic weddings. i was an equal opportunity little carmen miranda. >> reporter: she used her talent to help support her mother, who, she says, was not the ideal parent. >> she did the best she could. she was very self-involved and self-absorbed.
she was a narcissistic young woman. >> reporter: she was married five times. >> well, married five times doesn't mean you're narcissistic; it simply means that you don't go to bed with somebody unless you marry them. she was a lady from the islands. >> reporter: moreno was "discovered," and landed at mgm, where she was assigned one ethnic role after another. she played tuptim, the unhappy wife of the king of siam in "the king and i". >> when i went into movies, i did nothing but speak with an accent. it used to just drive me crazy. they were, of course, all the same accent, because i don't know how an american indian girl speaks. i played lots of those. and then i played a lot of little senorita lolita conchita kind of spitfire roles. everything but an american girl. i was the utilitarian ethnic. >> reporter: were you amused by this or annoyed by it? >> hell, no!
oh, god, no, i hated it! >> reporter: what she didn't hate was the glamour of hollywood. in "life without makeup," she is open about her relationships, some of which ended badly. >> reporter: you had an affair with marlon brando. >> it was more than an affair. we had a relationship for at least five, six years. >> reporter: and what was that like in terms of...? >> what was it like? it was fabulous, hilarious, tumultuous beyond belief, >> reporter: and, taccone says, her career was as rocky as her romances. >> yes, she was fired twice from mgm and fox. i mean, the roller coaster of her life is compelling. >> reporter: it wasn't until fairly recently that she escaped the purely ethnic roles, working at berkeley rep in a sold out run of tennessee williams'
"glass menagerie"; and in "master class," her puerto rican roots off center stage for once. for taccone, moreno's journey from the barrios to where she is now is historic. >> there are very few people throughout history who can identify as crossover artists. and i think that there are very few people who know in the course of their lifetime that they've actually been swept up by history and that they are, in fact, making history. and i think rita's one of those. >> reporter: still, "west side story" remains the film people remember her for, especially her joyous, very funny rendition of "america". ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> reporter: but the tragedy of "west side story"-- the puerto rican and white gangs fatally feuding in new york-- struck a personal chord with moreno as well.
>> i understood this girl very, very well. i certainly understood racial prejudice because i ran into it a lot. i got called some really mean names in my life, as a child, just for being this cute puerto rican girl. >> reporter: today, moreno plays a jewish mother in "happily divorced", a sitcom that runs on tvland cable, and she had a recurring role on the pbs children's series "the electric company." now, about to start her ninth decade, moreno has come a long ways, as an actress and as a person. while looking back, she's still looking ahead, >> here i am doing this play, trying desperately to memorize 32 pages of single-spaced type, with nobody on stage to help me. that terrifies me. being 80-- no.
( applause ) >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: a u.s. air strike in yemen killed the american-born cleric anwar al-awlaki, key figure in al qaeda's most active affiliate. thousands of demonstrators marched in syria. security forces opened fire and killed at least 11 people. and wall street finished its worst quarter since the financial meltdown of 2008. the dow industrials lost 240 points today. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the newshour online. hari. >> sreenivasan: we'll have more from shields and brooks this evening on the "rundown" blog. and you can watch more of our 2001 interview with anwar al- awlaki and read ray's reflections on that conversation. plus, a look at a new fully- powered solar home designed to be energy efficient and more affordable than models of the
past. we have a report on this week's solar decathlon near the national mall. >> the technology has to work beyond just a decathalon exhi business. the real goal is to make it livable. >> the house is being stress tested, basically. we have to do a wash load every day, dryer load every day, dishwasher load. we have to simulate taking a shower, two or three showers. we have to keep the lights on for "x" amount of hours a day. so we simulate a family living in there. all >> sreenivasan: all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. judy. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll preview the new supreme court session. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
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