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tv   [untitled]    March 7, 2012 5:00pm-5:30pm EST

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gentlemen. up next here on c-span3, the live simulcast with c-span radio available at 101 fm, and xm satellite radio with policy news and interviews, it is "washington today." >> as long as the laws concerned do not interfere unduly with their duties. >> mr. holbrooke answers the argument consistent with the position they have taken in their brief, and i think that for understandable reasons of, they believe that there is a type of failure on the part of the federal government to enact the law of the kind justice of brazil or the king dom of belgium. >> can the state require the federal government the do something? >> no. >> why doesn't it work in reverse? >> because of the supremacy
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clause, justice kennedy. >> and that argument on c-span radio saturday. there are some members who are concerned about whether we are doing enough to stem the violence in syria, and that is understandable. and there are others who are concerned about the dangers of involving ourselves and still another conflict in that part of the world, and that, too, is understandable. >> the comments of defense secretary leon panetta testifying on capitol hill before the senate armed services committee with questions of issues surrounding syria. welcome the hour one of "washington today u "on c-span radio. i'm steve skully, thank you. the defense secretary is pushing back today against fresh demands for the u.s. military involvement in syria as a way to end president assad's deadly crackdown on the people. and the top panelist democrat john mccain of arizona estimated
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7,500 dead, and the bloodshed calls for u.s. leadership and leadership that president clinton showed in the bosnian war in the 1990s and president obama showed in libya last year. we will have more on the story coming up in a moment. meanwhile, the news from the "hill" newspaper showing that eric cantor will meet behind closed doors to talk about the budget. he writes that he, congressman cantor, will be meeting with the budget committee members to settle internal fights over the 2013 spending limits, and the republicans are at odds today over whether to keep the discretionary spending levels set in the august debt ceiling deal or to cut it more deeply in the 2013 resolution, and conservatives in eric cantor's conference are calling for deeper cuts, and this meeting will take place tomorrow here in washington. on the politics. the republicans who competed in super tuesday are continuing with the campaigns despite a new call from rick santorum's
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supporters for newt gingrich to drop out. newt gingrich, the former house speaker was the winner in georgia yesterday. rick santorum winning three states and mitt romney winning six states including his home state of massachusetts. newt gingrich telling bill bennett's morning in america radio program that he is not convinced that rick santorum could beat mitt romney head to head, and while the romney campaign is saying that the republican rivals don't have much of a chance of catching him, the campaign is releasing a memo saying that even though mitt romney lost 4 of the 10 states in super tuesday, he did win ohio by less than a percentage point, he is far ahead in the race for convention delegates, and however senior romney aides are not identifying any upcoming states in which romney is likely to come. and the following states will hold primaries, including kansas and then alabama and mississippi and then on to illinois on march the 20th. into april primaries in states like pennsylvania, the home state for rick santorum, and then california in early june.
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well, let's turn to the lead story in the testimony today of defense secretary leon panetta with questions from senator john mccain. any military u.s. action according to the defense secretary will come with a lot of risks is the message of leon panetta joined by the chair of the joint e chiefs of staff general martin dempsey. they sat before the panel and discussed air defenses and the stockpile of chemical weapons, and saying that this situation in syria is very different than the one in libya. >> the president said yesterday he is taking no options off of the table, mr. panetta n t, in case of syria, and you said in the opening statements that includes potential military options if necessary. you said in the statement, and yet general, admiral stavrites said there were no planning in
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s cencom, and are there any contingency planning? >> no. we have not done the planning, because we are waiting for the drek sthoucirection of the preso that. >> the president issued a directive quoting, state, the prevention of mass atrocities is a presidential directive and the core national security of the united states, and that is the administration's policy, and at least 7,500, and possibly more than 10,000 dead, with the side using tanks to gaining momentum according to general mattis, would you agree that massive atrocities have occurred and are occurring in syria? >> there is no question that we are experiencing mass atrocities there. >> and the president said yesterday that he has taken no options off of the table, but you said in the opening statements that in quotes as i said potential military options
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if necessary. can you tell us how much longer the killing would have to continue, how many additional civilian lives would have to be lost in order to convince you that the military measures of this kind that we are proposing necessary to end the killing and force to leave power, and how many more have to die? 10,000 more? 20,000 more? >> i think that the question, as you stated it yourself, senator, is that the effort to try to build an international consensus on whatever action we do take. that makes the most sense. what doesn't make sense is to take unilateral action at this point. as secretary of defense before i recommend that we put our sons and daughters in uniform in harm's way, i have to make sure that we know what the mission is, and i have to make sure that we know whether we can achieve that mission, at what price, and
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whether or not it will make matters better or worse. those are the considerations that i have to engage in. and obviously, the administration believes that every effort ought to be made to deal with those concerns in the international setting to try to build the kind of international consensus that worked in libya and that can work in syria if we can develop that. >> well, let me tell you what is wrong with your statement, you don't mention american leadership. americans should lead in this. america should be standing up, and america should be building coalition coalitions. and we should not have statements like, quote, that we are not going to intervene no matter what the situation is such as has been up until now the statements of the administration and the president. in past experiences, though, as i mentioned before, america has led. yes, it has been multilateral
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and multinationalism as is vital, but we are not leading, mr. secretary. >> the questions from senator john mccain, the 2008 republican presidential candidate to leon panetta, and senator mccain is the ranking republican on the ranking military committee. you can go to our library at for more information. and today, the chief adviser in syria was meeting today. after complained about the regime that would not let her into the country and fighting to stop a year-long uprising, there was a meeting in syria to talk about the situation on the ground especially in towns like homs, and at the state department state secretary hillary clinton was talking about the situation taking place in syria and the further developments. >> thank you, madam secretary.
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you talked about syria and increasing the pressure on the regime, and beyond increasing the pressure, can you talk about tangible ways that you are working on to help the opposition specifically secretary panetta had just told a congressional panel that you are looking to provide technical assistance and humanitarian assistance, and if you could flush that out a little bit, and there has been a call by many senators to arm the opposition, and get to militarily involved. i am wondering you could, and do you feel a lot of pressure on the hill to do that and if yu could speak to whether you feel that is in the offing. thank you. >> well, we have pressure coming from all directions and not one direction. i think that what we are trying to do and the president was very clear on that in the pres conference yesterday is to do everything that we can to support the opposition, which is
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not yet as unified an focused either inside or outside syria as we hoped, we hope it could become. and we are working to build a stronger international coalition of support for taking action on the humanitarian level, on the political transition that needs to come in syria. and we believe that it is a matter of time, and we can't put a exact time frame on when, but we think that assad and his regime will not be able to survive. so, we do think that it is appropriate to help the opposition, but where we are focused on is how we help them to be more unify and communicate more clearly and have a message to all of their syrian counterparts who are not yet convinced that it is in their
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interest for assad to go. you know, i think that, it's -- we recognize it is a challenging situation, but i don't know that it is useful for me to go into any greater detail than what the president said yesterday and what secretary panetta and general dempsey are testifying to publicly today. >> the comments of the secretary of state hillary clinton at the state department joining a news conference with the polish foreign minister, and talking about the developments in syria. joining us in washington for perspective is dr. steve hi heideman who is a senior adviser for middle east initiatives at the institute of peace. dr. heideman, what are the viable options, and we is some including senator mccain calling for the air strikes and some at the white house including the president saying that the drum beat of war needs to slow down, and that we need to give some time to negotiate all of this in
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terms of what syria is doing, and what are the options? >> if you are talking about viable options for addressing the humanitarian consequences of the violence in syria, i think that we have a number of steps that the united states could take that would not require military intervention. there are international actors on the ground, including the international red cross. there is the syrian red crescent, and nonprofit organizations involved in humanitarian assistance and all of which are poised and ready to move into syria as soon as the opportunity arises. what has been missing thus far is an agreement from the syrian government that it will provide access for the organizations to offer humanitarian assistance, and there is now reports coming out of syria that the government has agreed to permit soch the groups to begin working on a part time basis, two hours a day, but clearly we need to do much, much more than that.
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on the other hand, what we have to think about if we look at the military options is whether those are actually going to provide us with the basis for delivering humanitarian assistance at some of the advocates of military intervention claim, or whether they will simply escalate the violence further and make targets out of the humanitarian relief workers in ways that could actual lly exacerbate the conditions on the ground. >> if we could, let's broaden out the whole geopolitical situation in the mideast, because we saw the apec conference here where benjamin netanyahu was calling on iran and the direct attention of iran and syria, and so can you thread the needle in all of this and what potential danger and flashpoints we can see in the next few months? >> well, syria is sitting right at the intersection of a number of strategic rivalries and one
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of them concerns the balance of power between iran and the allies in the region, and saudi arabia and the moderates and the allies as well as the united states. i think that the u.s. would like to see iran's influence in the region diminish and whether that constitutes an adequate justification for becoming more deeply involved in syria, however, i think it is a fairly dubious proposition. i am not at all persuaded that the success of the syrian revolution would mean that syria's foreign policy would pivot in a western direction and for those who want us to be more deeply involved are arguing, i think that there needs to be more care about that. >> and we are talking to steven heideman about the syrian situation, and we are talking tonight about what the syrian government has and the potential
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of ke cchemical weapons and can outline if we invoked air strikes what we could face? >> syria has one of the largest armies in the world, considering that it is a country with a population of only 26 million. they are somewhere around 00, 0 00,000 -- 300,000 mens under arms and a conscript army and very large armored capacity with one of the largest numbers of tanks in the world in particular. et has very sophisticated anti-aircraft xcapacity. and it has an air force which is modest and would not pose as much of a threat if we were trying to move toward a no-fly zone than some of the other armaments in the syrian inventory might, but, but what is most important to keep in mind i think in assessing the syrian military is that it has
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consistently held together throughout this year of uprising. in a fashion that has been surprising to many people who expected that it would splinter and fracture as the uprising continued over time. so we do seem to be confronting a coherent well organized and thus far at least fairly effective military on the part of the syrian government, and one that would take significant effort on the part of the west and the allies if we were to try to suppress it. >> we are talking to dr. steve heideman from the middle east institute of peace. and today, senators were told that this is a terrible situation with no simple answers. so my question to you is what is the defense department weighing? what the white house talking about internally as we go back to the earlier question about options and building an international coalition or letting this thing play out internally within syria and see
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a change of regime within that country? >> i would not be at all surprise surprised, and i say it not on the basis of personal information, but i would not be at all surprised if the pentagon would have been asked to game out a number of interventions, and i would suspect that one would include a management of no-fly zone without putting the boot s t boots on the ground, and i suspect that the other would be creating safe havens in turkey and jordan borders and the third is a creation of a humanitarian corridor protected by allied military units either with the turkish support or some other country closer to the ground. so i have a feeling that when the white house says to the pentagon that it is pulling together some things, that is what it is talking about. i don't believe that we should look at the exercise and planning to suggest that we are
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anywhere near a decision point on undertaking any of the i initiatives and i think that secretary panetta's cautions about the risks involved in the military intervention are well taken and i would hope that we move slowly and deliberately in thinking about the consequences of any kind of move like that before we were to step in. >> and many in the west remain surprised that president assad has been able to stay in power, and how has he been able to do that? >> he has retained the loyalty and the support of the critical pillars of his regime, and the security services, and in particular those units of the military in which loyalists are most likely to be located to serve, and that includes the republican guard and the fourth battalion. he has populated those branches of his security services in the military, and largely with
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people drawing from his own sectarian community and the sectarian area, and so he has worked very hard to create polarization, and sectarian regime, and so if they were to fall, syria would fall into a chaos. that is a tough narrative for the supporters of the uprising to deal with and overcome and helped to hold some of the critical regime together. >> and steve heideman who is with the u.s. institute of peace here in washington, d.c., thank you very much for your time and perspective tonight. >> thank you. >> this is "washington today" on c-span radio heard coast the coast on xm 119 and simulcast on c-span3 and we are also on the web at the president is traveling
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to north carolina, a key battleground state, and the campaign that the obama campaign hopes to win. today, the president was talking about gas prices to the auto workers in north carolina as he double downs to paint the republicans as out of touch with the middle-class. that is the story of the correspondents traveling with him. he spoke to mount holly plant in north carolina. he says that republicans have not gotten behind his proposal to cut the subsidies for the big oil companies. here is a portion of what the president had to say today in north carolina. >> a lot of you may have the drive a distance to work. and higher gas prices are just like a tax right out of the pay check. and for companies that operate a whole fleet of trucks, the entire cost can make a
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difference in the profitability of the company. now, here's the thing though, this is not the first time that we have stein gas prices spike. it has been happening for years. every year about this time, gas starts spiking up. and everybody starts wondering how high is it going to go. and every year politicians start talking when gas prices go up. they get out and the campaign trail, and you and i both know that there are no quick fixes to this problem, but listening to them, you would think that there were. as a country that has 2% of the world's oil reserves and uses 2% of itp and i want the repeat that. we have 2% of the world's oil reserves and we use 20%. so what that means is that as much as we are doing to increase the oil production, we are not going to be able to just drill our way out of the problem of high gas prices.
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anybody who tells you otherwise does not know what they are talking about or they are not telling you the truth. here is the truth. if with are going to control our energy future, then we have to have an all of the above strategy. we have to develop every source of american energy and not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power and nuclear power and biofuels. we need to invest in the technology that will help us to use less oil in our cars and our trucks. and our buildings, and in our factories, and that is the only solution to the challenge, because as we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down. it is pretty straight forward. that is the only solution to this challenge. that's the strategy that we have now been pursuing for the last three years, and i'm proud to say that we have made progress. since i took office, america's
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dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year. in fact, in 2010, it went under 50% for the first time in 13 years. you would not know it from listening some of the folks out here. some of these folks. [ laughter ] but a key part of the energy strategy has been to increase safe responsible oil production here at home and under my administration america is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. >> the president earlier today at mount holly, north carolina, at a truck manufacturing plant by the daimler company, and again familiar themes about the issues of gas prices in some parts of the country where the prices are averaging between $3.75 to $4 and in some partings of california premium unleaded going for as high as $6 a
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gallon. senator mitch mcconnell from the senate floor earlier today. >> when it comes to rising cost of the gas at the pump, it is my view that the administration's policies are designed on purpose to bring about higher gas price, and a view that should not be the least bet controversial given the fact that the president's own secretary has suggested on a couple of occasions now that his goal is certainly not the drive the gas prices down. for the president's part, he often said that americans should judge him not only by his words, but on his deeds. so when it comes to gas prices, i have pointed out that the president continues to limit offshore areas to energy productions and granting fewer leases on government land for oil drilling. and encouraging countries like brazil to continue their offshore projects puts burdens on the energy sector that will further drive up the cost of
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gasoline for the consumer has repeatedly proposed raising taxes on the energy sector which we all know would only drive up gas prices even higher, and finally has flatly rejected the keystone xl pipeline. all of these things help to drive up the cost of gas and increase our dependence on foreign oil. so that the president cannot simply claim to have a comprehensive approach to energy, because he doesn't. simply doesn't. and at a time when he says he does, the american people should remember one word -- keystone, keystone. another thing they might want to do is to play a clip of the press conference that the president held just yesterday. asked about whether he wants gas prices to go s ts t s ts to go facetiously trying to avoid the question proved it. and it is really only the way of
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the administration to try to bet betray the economy on this issue. if gas prices hurt the economy, then why in the world is the administration calling for higher taxes on the manufacturers? we know that the tax would drive up the price at the pump and send the jobs overseas as the congressional research institute said that. if he wants the drive down the prices, he should stop calling for the increases in taxes. look, if the president wants americans to think he is serious about lowering gas prices, he has to do more than sem pimply that no president, no president would want higher gas prices in an election year. no president would want higher gas prices in an election. well, what about other years? would they want them in other years? is it only election years? he has to get serious about changing the policies and he
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should consider a energy secretary that is more committed to helping the american people than the buddies in the solar business. >> that was mitch mcconnell earlier on the floor today. there is a website called california gas, and california has the highest prices in the nation. hawaii is second, and the average price in california is $4.33, but for premium unleaded, there is for example the chevron station in downtown los angeles on west olympic boulevard costing you $6.19 a gallon to fill up the tank. get all of the information on line at california gas this is c-span today on c-span radio. and in other news, the dow is up 78 and closing at 12,837. nasdaq up 25. s a s&p was up 9. according to the federal reserve, americans stepped up borrowing to buy more cars and
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at the end school. consumer borrowing rose by $18 billion which followed similar gains in december and november. and the gains for those three months were the large nest a decade and the bor e rowing climbed to a seasonally adjusted $200 trillion which matches the prerecession borrowing level. the obama administration is looking at the vatican city for nar koikt trafficking. they are citing it is one of the areas of concern for money laundering or other crimes. they say that the vatican is on the list, because it is not clear whether an tie money laundering regime is effective. it places belgium, portugal, and south korea on the list to cite countries who are vulnerable to money laundering. a u.s. house panel has approved legislation to allow holocaust survivors to sue
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foreign insurance companies for items stolen in the nazi era. this was a by a voice vote and allow aging survivors access to the u.s. courts and force companies in germany and italy to disclose lists of policies held by jews before world war ii. the bill said that in many cases the insurance company records and the archives are the only proof of the existence of the policies an survivors contend they could be owed an estimated $20 billion for the loss of family members. and finally, a warning from the oceanic community saying that forecasters from noaa's space predictor said that the sun erupted last night, and that the effects should start smacking the earth late wednesday night, and late tonight, and close to midnight. this is the biggest storm from the sun in five year, and it is


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