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Yeah earlier there OK welcome to another -- special report on line I'm Brett Baer thanks for joining us.
And either you have been here before welcome aboard.
Any little question or comment -- you can vote are you concerned about -- -- yes or no is a question that's up there right now.
You can vote submit and I will tally this it's going on all throughout the -- half hour here and joining us on the panel Steve -- and Charles will continue our second panel we are talking about.
What can be cut what can't be cut.
As we've been talking about these are.
Cuts to the rate of growth.
People get so upset if you can go too -- -- -- and sequester cuts but.
How do you shorthand them.
Charles I mean that -- the federal government is still growing.
But the Pentagon is feeling cuts in certain departments.
So if you're one of the department's feeling the 5% cut or whatever the percentage cut.
That's true but I look up the numbers this afternoon.
According to the OMB.
The government was supposed to increase -- spending by -- 150.
Billion dollars this year.
And with those who question the increase will be only seven new roughly half of that.
It will still increase by sending billion dollars so as you say.
It's not an actual cut in spending it to cut in what was projected as the increase in spend.
So you take 08000000450.
You end up with seventy and that's -- everybody screaming about and it's the end of the world I think it's really preposterous and I think people.
In the -- Obama thinks if he can squeeze enough.
Had of these cuts if you can have enough disruption.
Enough long -- -- -- he will win.
But here's an uninsured people will buy this when they know there's so much waste.
Yeah that the crazy part about the airport thing is that.
General thoughts on on Monday -- said that it's going to take probably until April before you feel some of this stuff and Ray LaHood said something similar the furloughs really won't kick in until about maybe even late April for some of the -- because the wait time for notices going out for all of this so.
It doesn't really match up with some of the rhetoric from the president and others on the stuff here's the thing.
The president goes out there and says these -- -- terrible painful arbitrary cuts.
But four paragraphs later he says the console take some time to feel for them for their effect to be felt that they are real okay.
Well are they immediate.
An arbitrary or are they will they face in overtime I think these cuts are real I just think that the pain if it's gonna be felt it all is not going to be felt right away and Lance.
-- -- federal workers furloughed or you live in Newport News or you have a -- head start but over over time so it's gonna take quite a Y jail.
For -- to have to have an effect if it does and the White House strategy is based on.
Getting the public to be so angry about the cuts that they pressure Republicans to come to the negotiating table and -- to revenues I mean that's the theory I.
We don't know that's gonna work out that way and I do think that the with the -- the White House runs -- -- over hyping the pain and and.
And -- -- later that if it doesn't work out the way the president said that's a problem but -- and I crazy way of governing.
You're the administration you are hoping western for the -- -- way of governing period you're hoping for the war yes so that you can -- you get and get this balance we have nothing.
For the war or you're fixing -- yes that's less that's clear to me I mean let's go.
They're doing yeah -- possible instruments but but the thing is that both -- first of all the Republican messaging has also been battled they said.
We don't like the sequester -- windy maybe maybe we don't like to sequester we've got these cuts and it was the president's idea.
I mean although I agree that Republicans are also -- a little but I seriously and model of the White House is taking Iraq.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Okay go ahead illusion that it Israel we don't know we don't even know -- -- We don't know this from Honda made just this is a bit and yeah -- from -- -- -- -- New Jersey Holland Tommy here.
I've gotten hit next a lot of guys that I -- I think of what what's at stake -- -- this is it.
In a sense I'm I'm sort of torn on one hand I think that this -- question of the discussions what you got way too much attention from for what it is for the kind of cuts.
It's gotten such a disproportionate amount of attention everywhere in Washington on the other hand.
At its heart it's really a battle over president Obama's philosophy I mean this is you know once again this fight between Republicans and -- and Democrats and the president.
You have a president who's embraced government not only is necessary but as a good and as I'm the president and he's not at all troubled by the fact that government is in every aspect of our life.
In fact if you look back at that that the campaign video about Julia.
He celebrates the fact that government is is everywhere always so he hacks to defend.
This -- if if this if the sequester happens and people don't see these effects.
-- the president is forced with.
Having to acknowledge the reality that well maybe we can do with less government and so.
Wow you know I think the cuts particularly on the domestic side and I'm very concerned about the cuts on the defense side of things.
Because they come on top of other cuts but if if these cuts can be shown to not have the immediate -- affect him to have.
You know a country that basically goes on with its -- I think it's huge blow to the president to -- broader argument about the size and scope of government and because of that.
There is a huge incentive on the part of the administration.
To make sure that all the cuts exact the worst possible and the most sensitive area and that it leaves alone.
-- the waste and abuse -- duplication because who would notice that.
It would be an improvement in government so they have this -- -- If Obama's taking this whole fight and it is a big war.
Over his philosophy on how much is is going to hurt.
Then the incentive to actually make it hurt is out there and -- and I'm cynical enough to to believe.
That they will act on that instead -- they will try to make everything.
Painful on the Arnie Duncan story effective education he slips going have to -- does -- he serves right the Washington Post as you mentioned earlier in the show.
From look at it is Arnie Duncan was asked today in a briefing to name one example.
So the only way he could come up with who was county and West Virginia.
So that the post look through this and found over a 105.
Not the pink slips but transferred to possibly another job another location.
Of the hundred and -- five which are not pink slips there were perhaps six who would lose their jobs.
And the kicker is that the person the director in charge of the federal programs.
Has said that these six has nothing at all to do with -- sequester was gonna happen anyway.
So from beginning until the end.
The story is a phony.
Confessed confection and it was done deliberately.
On national television show as a way to scare people about education I think it's a real it's a risk and it's a terrible -- of the administration has right now.
Now the other risk is for Republicans if you know indeed some of these places start really feeling.
Something and then in Newport News and other places the mom and pop stores are closing and whatever.
That that starts and you start seeing it too.
It's it's going to -- there will be a backlash in some of those districts however -- right trials that.
The waste fraud and abuse line that the president always uses it just doesn't hold water if he chooses not to address -- -- moment.
Yeah I mean.
It does but I think the both sides are taking a risk a lot of times in the old days in Washington we -- house where the end game was we just.
Weren't quite sure how they were going to get there now we have no idea.
For the end game is and neither side has any idea.
And the with the CR battle coming it seems like they could roll everything up and and that's her idea that he battles but this CR battle I don't think there's going to be government shutdown I.
Feel pretty confident predicting that neither side wants it.
I think this there obviously are at current levels till the end of the year and the sequester remains in effect now can be lifted and any time.
But I think that that both houses of congress we'll just -- embassy are neither side wants to shut the government down.
However I do think there is some political benefit and -- -- Charles.
Thinks -- -- Pollyanna however there is political benefit to Republicans getting spending cuts.
Because that's they were still smarting from the end of the year deal where there was a tax hike only bill.
Once they get the sequester and we know they're gonna get it it's not gonna be lifted by Friday.
-- have spending cuts he'll have the tax hikes and at least in that sense the playing field will be -- and maybe then they can talk about the real drivers of the deaths.
Which are entitlements and.
I -- but the president I think discretionary and whether Republicans put out a budget.
Twice the house Republican support.
Which would have had radical change to -- -- -- so you see the ten year Paul Ryan budget that's going to be even more radical -- administration has issued nothing.
I mean everybody thinks about it now on Medicare and entitlement reform and and he was he says.
Oh I might consider -- to change CPI and might consider this.
He never proposes anything he's the prince and he's supposed to make a proposal put on the table it's always a whisper in the bathroom of the White House where somebody over seven.
In the stage -- to his -- Wealthy seniors should pay marker and premiums is that means testing ya and the hand and chain CPI -- actually said that.
He's been in office for four years and never proposed it in a budget in legislation anywhere he makes a lot of speeches about a lot of stuff.
That doesn't have speeches and -- budget.
Well -- enemies out.
Tests I recently had less able that's an idea is that the test and you knew this is the time I mean this is a long ball well I agree I think he doesn't do -- I -- -- move.
That's that's something he's said and the putting another Luis in the same thing in the summer of 2011 -- rights relentless as.
Hillary did I really that if the president really interest in reducing the size of government he would identify and now he's not I don't think he's in these geneticist is he doesn't if he does anything -- army and we I don't know a night with some protection I just see that long ball pass.
-- -- This budget look if he doesn't do it now he will be blowing a huge opportunity but we -- I agree with Charles we want to see them about.
He's grown here and that is what this is what becomes interesting over the next month.
Is you have house Republicans -- likely to present a budget.
And it's going to include all the same entitlement arms even even our aggressive -- better what better better human mark politically risky in ten years -- and more permanently risky but there are certain things that have changed including new revenues that were part of his -- that all behind -- and -- nobody -- -- But they're gonna show balance within ten years and I think it's almost certain that you're not gonna see balance from either the president or the senate Democrats.
He and I will be shocked at the president's suddenly decides that he's got -- Do something -- put something in writing on entitlements he and beyond that you're gonna have Republicans for the first time be able look at the senate democrats' proposal.
Which while I will expect is going to be quite a bit like the president's.
And -- finally they put it put a proposal on the table after three years.
And this is what they come up with -- more spending no serious movement at all I'm on debt and deficits nothing on entitlements.
These are the people you want to -- I think this this compare and contrast could look very good for.
Republicans particularly if it comes after.
You know this this scare this this what -- one of the New York Times guys say that the president -- the president who cried wolf you know I if that happens.
Think that there's a sea change happening.
You know when you have the New York Times the Washington Post others doing -- stories and calling the White House out we've seen that.
In quite some couple years yet and quite some time.
And when suddenly there's like this awakening.
I don't know it seems different when you have Bob Woodward.
Who has made quite a wave in recent days and now there's a new interview he's -- with Politico in which he sets.
He charges that someone in the White House basically threatened his access.
And declared an email that he would regret challenging the white house on the facts of this question.
Okay that's after he said that that the -- have the authority to let the aircraft carriers go.
He would regret.
You know like he's a threat and he is -- -- I made encrypt it couldn't an illusion that parents are.
And you thought about what I want more than email me your brain getting this is like.
Yeah -- -- -- clue what Obama person sends an email Bob Woodward and says that have you not read it.
But you know -- read your history.
He has been trying to courses have -- the bed.
You know there's you get a fair and some what do what I'm just saying it's not only citizens -- now with -- for -- that's what he says in his interviews down.
To do it in an email yes -- limited.
Below -- and it's a way to intimidate people that would a real problem isn't.
The stupidity of putting in an email at sea ice -- who.
I mean what about what he -- that the fact that he he hasn't seen this kind of what did -- -- what was the -- about the said that holding back aircraft here.
Madness that yes yeah yeah.
And and many many good I think this is a real possibility I think we could be seeing a moment where where everything turns and we did see this once before I think it was after the president introduced his 2011.
-- in the fiscal year 2012 budget in the spring of 2011.
And it did -- it wasn't serious about any of this and you had reporters who are using quite friendly and and columnist for quite friendly to the president.
Really go after -- I think even the New York Times editorial page was critical of the president's lack of leadership I -- Dana Milbank wrote a scathing piece about the president.
Punting on -- and then he came back and gave the speech two months later that was in effect the do over on the budget.
But you know act at a certain point even even if you have a press corps that that.
Is in love with the president or is willing to give him deference for and any and a number of reasons.
At a certain point I think reality intrudes and I'm just do we may -- -- the point where does now the flip side of this I have to say is.
When you see on a daily basis.
Reports senior local newspapers and on your local television and you know on the networks and elsewhere.
Saying that the sky is falling and we will see those -- -- we wouldn't that people will there will be people who lose their job or you lose all season we've seen them.
It's like it's ad nauseam exact only place you don't see them.
Yet well it's going to be I think those will continue even if it's true that the president has -- this and exaggerated that -- -- We're going to continue to see those and we'll have personal stories and some of them will truly be.
-- -- I mean no -- to be difficult times for people.
The question is whether.
That the country is this sort of learned its lesson about the administration's exaggerations on that's enough that that they kind of -- those aside this is.
The other thing is that one of the things that we brought up early on in an interview Gene Sperling was.
This to warn act.
The fact that you had to have sixty days notice for anybody who's furloughed or let cuts and it came off during election because.
The campaign's got into it because the sequester was supposed to happen in October.
The first time before was held off.
And the -- and be put out a letter to contractors saying don't send out.
And they were the contractors and the company sent back well we're gonna send him out because we -- get sued and the OMB sent out guidance saying.
If you get -- We will cover all legal fees all of them.
We will cover them don't send the notices.
You know the sequestered not gonna happen first of all but don't send the notices we will cover all -- -- map that live letter went out in September.
He hasn't been rescinded it.
And so if somebody doesn't get a notice or there's some class action or some thing as of now I assume the OMB is still on the home.
And -- we use the money that you and I.
Paying taxes to it to bail amount -- -- I mean it was the ultimate in cynicism in November when they did it.
And it doesn't mean that there will be a delay.
In some of these layoffs I can't imagine you -- immediate which makes it tougher to make the pain to make the pain but I think Republicans have to be prepared.
Argument -- a whole lot -- had just finished reading options so to prevent the pain of the notices before the election.
They are preventing the pain.
It's sticking -- right now.
Which would help to which would help them so they've lost.
They helped unload before the election where they -- probably didn't need to have right right and now they're getting hurt by preventing the pain on the post poetic.
Just as you -- it's perhaps yes.
Which is sort of nice it doesn't rarely happens but -- Republicans are gonna get hit you right there are going to be layoffs.
Fit into our human interest story I'm not as.
As much a believer -- the good faith of the -- viewers to.
I'm not sure that there's attorney well a day or two of stories but in the end there they are acolytes of Obama and it's sort of it's almost to become a genetic -- them.
But what I think group who Republicans have to do is to prepare every day.
A list of wasteful programs in the government.
And say every day has this one -- cut since you have to cut why wasn't tax cut and we go through this relates to do applications.
The ridiculous conferences.
Or you have to ever wondered -- and it doesn't even have to be a big sum of money.
As a way to highlight did you cut -- to make the point.
That this is a cynical administration deliberately attacking.
Important services and leaving out of the waste and abuse that everyone knows is going on behind the scenes.
He had to do that with the president's budget he has -- both programs we the president is proposing spending 53 billion dollars.
New money on green energy.
I mean that's the domestic -- Lester right there period if you just if he just couldn't stop his obsession with green energy there's the sequester.
And if if he complains his hands are tied because he has to do it on -- program.
You know nasty cut everywhere.
-- question you are the president lie in eighteen months having -- requested authority to move.
Republicans who would give it to you they're proposing it themselves.
Not all Republicans but I know that a lot of provide -- several Republicans think it's right deceiving American -- institutional -- -- is -- hard against him that they are very small minority.
There's no question it would pay any senators.
No question the president that's from.
He get overwhelmingly.
In the authority in the senate and also in the Republican House.
Okay lot of questions about sequester.
-- what about.
-- few people about senator Kerry's trip in Syria.
He's meeting with -- tomorrow.
Well hasn't had a breakthrough yet although he has claiming his -- and support the opposition and not leave them twisting in the wind and we'll see what he can do I guess the good thing is that the Syrian opposition is no longer boycotting.
The meetings but.
You know I think this is his first trip.
Now a lot of -- to report but I think that that would be an unfair.
Charles you agree.
Well you know -- he's not responsible administration's response over the fact.
That we are way behind.
In the game and then releasing -- by the Syrian opposition.
It's not a single opposition question is which opposition who is it.
And what's been happening when Obama has been behind on this -- he has to to -- just about everything in the Middle East is that.
Does she hardest elements to extreme elements of the opposition have gotten the kind of weaponry from the saudis in Qatar race.
And the opposition that supposedly liberal and I'm sure there are elements of that.
And non -- jihadist have been left in the cold that's why.
The fight is now shifting over to the jihadist elements who have the upper hand and that's -- it's -- really scary.
Crossroads here because if the opposition wins if it happened today.
It's likely that the visually obvious would have the upper hand and in the second struggle -- -- -- -- and parents who inherits the sad state.
And we are way miners and we are still.
As I understood the Kerry proposal still only speaking about nonlethal assistance this is a war for God's sake.
You know can teens and you know.
And equipment for communication is fine.
But without the weapons you get crushed I don't understand why they can't at least try to match the weaponry that the salaries and Qatar race.
Giving the jihadist.
A lot of people she's still asked about -- Ghazi races we should.
Stay on that story and look for survivors.
We've continued to stay on the story and continue to.
To look for survivors and you know instinct part about the stories that a lot of survivors are.
Well frankly there there.
Undercover -- and I think there -- only a few helpful or foreign service.
Officers right we're trying to track -- down and James Rosen is on this trip and were were wrong.
Put a -- -- push and as are you guys at the weekly standard -- as are few other people so just know that we were stand on.
I think councilman.
Yeah well -- I was told that there were about three or four.
Of the survivors who were State Department officials on that at least a couple of them have gone back to work so you know it the idea that they couldn't be talking.
-- freely if they wanted to.
Doesn't hold much water I -- the administration can't keep them from talking I think it because they're back at work it's not as if they're still in such bad shape.
And a number of them were but I think your your first point is that is the most important one.
A lot of these folks are who didn't are -- Not -- -- position potentially.
To be interviewed because of their status now I think there are a good number of people.
Who are in that group and we don't know precisely the size of it that some people I -- to say 25 to thirty some people say it's it's a smaller group.
There's a group of a dozen or a couple dozen of these folks who were there on the ground.
Eyewitnesses to all of this who I think would like to talk despite the fact that they were working for the CIA and and that the administration doesn't want to talk the question is.
You know will they be willing to take the chances and talk.
In a way to get him in trouble and thus far I think we just haven't seen much evidence of that yeah we.
Saw the approval and Pam says where's investigative reporting on survivors have been Gaza talent I think your question came and after -- I mean before I answer that question we're we're still investigating we've got the potential for another hour depending on what we find but.
Mara we still have John Brennan's.
Approval possibly by the senate.
You know pending we -- -- and Lou I get through.
What about that in and where it stands I.
I think Brennan will be confirmed I don't think there's any serious threat to that.
But I do think from his nomination.
Not only gave Republicans a chance to ask for more information about -- Gaza in the room.
Demonstrations that they give some of it over but also.
I'm the whole debate about what to do about drones and domestic surveillance and also.
What kind of oversight authority put over the president in doing these kind of drone attacks should be appropriate so that's underway and I think -- will be part of that and he'll be part of it as CIA director.
I agree and -- -- I do think it's a healthy thing.
For a second term president.
When he has a new appointments.
To make that a forum.
For debate national debate on the policies that were carried out in the first -- if it's the first year.
Some first term are obviously you know it's a different proposition you generally approve.
Everybody unless he's got a real problem and there's a history of background but here it is an occasion I think we have finally had a national debate.
On the drone program and we've had something of a debate on -- guys -- -- that the problem has been choked off by a lack of information there's no reason why administration.
Could not allow even undercover CIA.
You know in the very close circumstances.
To speak to -- -- written answers.
Two questions from the committee's really off the record -- You know in camera.
Without giving out the identity speaking about what happened I think this is clearly.
And attempt -- either him covering up or discolored.
Obscuring exactly when it happened.
And and to say everybody -- on the cover there as Stephen here there are people who are are not under cover that there -- State Department.
Unless each of them has received a letter -- -- Woodward letter about you know you really don't wanna go there.
Why not have them testify -- you know in camera.
To that point -- writes if they threaten Bob Woodward it was certainly -- employee that was in -- -- they try to tell that your.
A lot of people writing in the last topic so sequester meeting at the White House what do you think it's.
-- I think it's probably for show.
-- one thing that might come out of it would be.
An expansion of the president's authority administration authority.
To choose between you can sort of the issue Steve talk about.
Do you deal at a low level of the program or higher level of accounts in other -- I -- off -- leave things well to increasingly authority the president.
To make choices which I think -- Republicans would give the president.
Would some opposition among Republicans.
And the president being staying -- he turned it down that would mean he's an interest in serious and good cuts.
And be tough for the White House is saying out.
It would be -- I mean on Friday if if all things -- I think that what he's sorry the last -- to say we're gonna let you you know deep inside these these accounts do what you want.
-- have been pretty tough.
Now he did say in Newport News you know this is unfair that basically it's too big a bite into short period of time they're no good alternatives I would have to choose between the disabled -- and -- -- Well you are the president and congress just might give you that authority and you're gonna have to do I mean he doesn't want -- he's had some.
I'm if he was concerned about -- I mean it's not like this is it's -- fascinating to me to watch people like Mary Landrieu on the senate floor and the president and others.
Act as if this is all you know a surprise like oh my gosh we might have to to change things around.
That was the whole point of setting up the super committee was to avoid these kind of cuts or choose the -- well that didn't happen so now he's gonna have to make.
These these cuts are these decisions there was -- column by Al hunt and Bloomberg.
Who -- think it's pretty well source at the White House who said that the White House is.
Deadly afraid of the president having -- authority they want him to have this authority because.
He doesn't have -- does not I mean and you can't do if if the White House is campaign is built.
Around a public relations effort to blame Republicans because these are terrible cuts and he's got no authority did to stop them.
If you give them the authority to stop them.
He's got very little argument laughed so I think it's a good thing to do and I hope Republicans pushing it and pushing hard and on the questions what -- senate Democrats to stop it.
I -- of the pretty interest and to see that.
And they'll probably do everything himself but then then it's pretty transparent had that they're -- has had to be very -- -- have an anti immigrant shameless and have a pretty -- order.
But I'd -- even reporters would be able to see through that.
I mean even the Washington press corps would be able to women who love to see Harry Reid try to make -- And he's.
He's made some rhetorical pretzels.
-- -- for you to see that that be fun.
OK Kathleen in Florida says happy fifteen month anniversary.
Special report -- staff and panel Kathleen thank you very much -- thank you.
For watching fifteen months how about that.
As though because explain as number one number 115 months at number one that's pretty good.
And stimulus measures you know grant her.
Come on and I'm not -- -- -- I.
All right so we'll see you next Wednesday and control our own little divine.
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