LESBIAN CUSTODY BATTLE (04/22/1998)
A woman is suing her former lesbian lover for custody of the latter's child. The woman suing says she helped the other have the child...and is the child's true "psychological" mother. Yvonne Martonez has the details. )Take Pkg) NO SCRIPT AVAILABLE
LESBIAN CUSTODY
00:00:00:00 [INTV with Ted Stokes and Ed Fleming, both attorneys for John Ward, who is seeking custody of his daughter, who lives with her lesbian mother]--SOT Silks states Mr. Ward&his present wi ...
State Department Briefing
The regular State Department briefing MR. PHILIP CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. Many things to talk about before taking your questions. As we speak, the Secretary is having dinner with Afghan's president - Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai in preparation for the Kabul Conference tomorrow. Also attending is Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, NATO Secretary General Rasmussen. The conference is a follow-up to the January 28 London Conference and it's a significant moment in the development of Afghanistan, the largest gathering of leaders in Afghanistan since the 1970s. This is an Afghan-led conference and the government has told us they will present their renewed commitments on a variety of issues with a great deal of discussion centering on the upcoming transition to Afghan responsibility, discuss their plan and also their peace and reconciliation - or, I'm sorry, peace and reintegration program. Also, the United States congratulates Afghanistan and Pakistan on concluding the historic Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement yesterday in Islamabad after more than a year of diligent and determined engagement by both sides. This agreement is one of the most important, concrete achievements between the two neighbors in 45 years and represents the most significant bilateral economic treaty ever signed between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It will undoubtedly bring great benefit to the people of both countries and is also a major milestone in promoting regional trade. And we took note of the fact that as the Secretary left Pakistan for Afghanistan a couple of hours ago, a number of programs were announced today that demonstrate the significant United States investment in the future of Pakistan, including announcements regarding significant investments in health, water, agriculture, government-to-government partnerships, support for the private sector, energy, security, gender equality, and a wide range of programs to help those who have been displaced by the ongoing fighting in Pakistan. In terms of travel, Deputy Secretary Steinberg is en route to Tokyo. He was, this weekend, in a number of countries: Kazakhstan to attend the OSCE Summit, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia. Assistant Secretary Bob Blake was with him for those stops. He spent the day in Osh today reviewing, again, the situation along the border between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. He will be traveling this week to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Special Envoy Mitchell, having met yesterday with President Mubarak, was in Abu Dhabi earlier today for meetings - or, I'm sorry, yesterday for meetings with Abdallah bin Zayid, the foreign minister of the UAE. He is en route to Paris, but has also met during the course of today with Qatari Prime Minister At Thani. Scott Gration is in Khartoum where he's been attending the Consultative Forum. Later tomorrow, he will be in Darfur reviewing the situation there and then will be joining the U.S. delegation at the U.S. - I'm sorry, at the AU Summit in Kampala. Going back to George Mitchell for a second, he will be in Paris later today and will meet - or will consult with National Security Advisor Levitte, also Foreign Minister Kouchner. He'll return to the United States tomorrow. Ambassador Eric Goosby, the US Global AIDS Coordinator, is currently in Vienna leading a U.S. delegation to the International AIDS conference. Yesterday at the conference, the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS announced that the United States remains the largest donor nation in the world, accounting for more than half of the donor disbursements in 2009. While we are proud of that fact, the key measure of success is lives saved, not dollars spent. And this is why, under President Obama's Global Health Initiative, the U.S. is working to save as many lives as possible by addressing the range of health needs people have in developing countries. The United States is pleased that the UN Economic and Social Council decided to grant the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission special consultative status today at the United Nations. The purpose of the NGO committee is to give civil society a strong voice at the UN, and that includes the important contributions that gay and lesbian groups like the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission can make on issues like human rights and combating discrimination in the battle against HIV/AIDS. The United States will continue to work diligently with the UN Economic and Social Council and the UN - and the NGO committee to ensure qualified civil society organizations are given voice at the United Nations. I think a few minutes ago at the Pentagon, it announced that two detainees have been returned over the weekend; one to Algeria and one was resettled in Cape Verde. We are grateful to the countries of Algeria and Cape Verde for their willingness to support U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. One of those cases involving the return of the Algerian sparked some legal review in the United States. Previously, a total of 10 detainees from Guantanamo were successfully repatriated to Algeria. None, in our view, has appeared to be mistreated. And as of today, 178 detainees remain at Guantanamo. The Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee, is hosting a Russian delegation of boys and girls - 19 boys and girls, ages 13 to 16, four coaches and one team leader for a swimming program in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The program is held under the auspices of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission's Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group under the leadership of Judith McHale. And finally, before I take any questions, we will release the text of letters this afternoon. The Secretary has responded to Senators Schumer and Lautenberg, Menendez, and Gillibrand regarding the questions regarding the Pan Am 103 bomber, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi. In the letter, you'll see in the text she reiterates that we strongly opposed his release. To quote her, "That al-Megrahi is living out his remaining days outside of Scottish custody is an affront to the victims' families, the memories of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing, and to all of those who worked tirelessly to ensure justice was served." While any decision to review or reconsider the decision to release al-Megrahi remains a matter for the Scottish authorities, we have maintained and will continue to maintain in our exchanges with Scottish officials our unshakeable conviction that al-Megrahi should not be a free man. And to that end, we are encouraging the Scottish and British authorities to review again the underlying facts and circumstances leading to the release of al-Megrahi and to consider any new information that has come to light since his release. In the letter, she asks - she mentions that she has asked British Foreign Secretary Hague to review and address the issues raised in the senators' letters and respond directly to the Congress, which he has done this weekend. QUESTION: That's not like the same - the letter that Menendez released yesterday? MR. CROWLEY: Could be, but we will release the text of it today. Questions? QUESTION: Yeah, the al-Megrahi thing. MR. CROWLEY: Sure. QUESTION: Okay. Now, beyond this letter, what steps could be taken, actually, to bring him back to justice or to have some sort of recourse in this case? MR. CROWLEY: I'm quite honestly not sure that the United States has recourse. This is a matter for Scottish authorities. And I think over the weekend, Scottish authorities have indicated they'll be happy to cooperate with the Senate in its upcoming hearing and its ongoing review of the matter. We have not doubted for a second that this was within the purview of Scottish authorities to make this decision. We just happen to believe it was a wrong decision. But at this point, I'm not sure that there is a basis to reverse the decision. QUESTION: But there was - if they were to look at the case again and look at any new evidence that may have emerged since his release and so on, don't you think - MR. CROWLEY: And we think that should be done. Absolutely, it should be done. But again, you are asking, is it likely that this action is going to be reversed; it is unlikely. Yes. QUESTION: P.J., is the U.S. going to consider any sanctions against Libya if a review determines that Megrahi should not have been released and Libya does not return him to Scottish prison? MR. CROWLEY: I'm not - QUESTION: Well, what pressure could you bring to bear? MR. CROWLEY: Again, the - I mean, among the questions that were raised was whether there was inappropriate lobbying by BP. And as I think Foreign Secretary Hague said in his letter to the Secretary over the weekend, a copy of which was provided to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that he has found no basis to the suggestion that BP, in any way, influenced the Megrahi decision. Whatever lobbying that they did was within the context of the prisoner transfer agreement. Now, the Scottish authorities based their analysis of Megrahi's medical condition on multiple medical opinions. They made this decision based on humanitarian grounds and the decision to review. And, of course, to - if they wanted to appeal to Libyan authorities, it would be theirs to make. So I'm not sure that there is a sanctionable offense here, if that makes sense. In other words, we regret deeply that Scottish authorities made this decision. We said so before they made it, we said so after they made it, but we respect the fact that this was their decision to make. QUESTION: On this issue, does State encourage a meeting between the senators and anybody in the British Government? They've asked for a meeting with Prime Minister Cameron. MR. CROWLEY: Again, I think in his letter to the Secretary, which included a copy to the Senate, the British Ambassador here to the United States is available and will be offering his assistance at whatever kind of steps - further steps the senators would like the British Government to make. QUESTION: New subject? QUESTION: Just -- QUESTION: Go ahead. QUESTION: Just for the - very briefly, specifically, the senators had asked to meet with the British prime minister. Is the State Department - MR. CROWLEY: Again, that's - QUESTION: - involved in that at all? MR. CROWLEY: I mean, just as when the Secretary travels, she meets with a range of officials within government, both within the executive branch, within parliamentary branch. It's up to the prime minister if he chooses to meet with the senators. We certainly would encourage such a meeting, but as to what the prime minister's schedule is, I'll defer to the British Government. QUESTION: I think he was asking, though, are you facilitating that; is the State Department helping in any way to facilitate that? MR. CROWLEY: Actually, you've got a highly capable British ambassador here. I don't think that they need our help. QUESTION: So just to - QUESTION: Is there a precedent for something like this happening? Because I assume that Scottish law is very much like American law. There are issues of double jeopardy. You cannot retry this case. You cannot reverse; say this guy should not have been released; we regret it, so we want him back and so on. So, I mean, beyond just all the rhetoric and recommendation, so to speak, what is there to be gained? MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think for the most part, a review would at least provide some confidence to the American people and to - I mean, the people in Britain as well. We always remember that there were a number of nationalities represented on Pan Am 103. The United States suffered significant casualties in that terrorism attack, but also there were British casualties, there were Scottish casualties on the ground due to the airplane debris crashing into Lockerbie. So I think everybody has an interest in making sure that this was a decision that was made freely based on the best information available and did not represent any inappropriate or skewed action or actions by a government or an entity to skew the results. So I think Foreign Secretary Hague indicated in his letter to the Secretary that, in fact, last year, given the controversy that erupted when the Scottish authorities made the decision that they made, that they already have made available a great deal of information on the basis of their decision. We certainly share the view of the four senators that if - in light of the fact that here we are coming up on the first anniversary and expectations here have not been met in terms of longevity, that perhaps once again, just resuming to make sure that the decision was based on the best available information at the time, no harm can come from that. QUESTION: P.J., I'm not quite sure I understand. In other words, the Secretary is doing two things. She's saying basically there's not a heck of a lot that we can do, but we would like this to be reviewed; is that correct? And then if she is - if that is correct, and she's talking about a review, what form of review is she asking for? MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think what she says in her letter, and again, you'll see the text of the letter, to the extent that Scottish authorities can once again review and assure people about the information that they used for multiple medical sources, I mean, the senators and their letter to the Secretary raised questions - legitimate questions - about whether there - at this point, based on what we know now, that this was a straightforward analysis based on clear medical information and that there were no compromised sources of medical information that influenced the Scottish decision. I think we are looking for that kind of reassurance from Scottish authorities, but we - at the end of this, we just have this fundamental disagreement. We regret that the Scottish authorities made this decision. We had objected to it then and now, but this was their decision to make. QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the report that the United States is considering sending Governor Bill Richardson to North Korea? MR. CROWLEY: The United States is not considering sending Governor Richardson to North Korea. QUESTION: Also, any comment on the report that the United States has asked on South Korea to exercise restraint on the Cheonan incident? MR. CROWLEY: Well, I don't know that it's for the United States to suggest that to South Korea. In fact, the Government of South Korea has shown enormous restraint and we respect greatly the way that they have conducted themselves in the aftermath of the Cheonan sinking. And we will have the opportunity to talk this week to Korean officials about next steps, and that's what Secretary Gates and Secretary Clinton will be doing, among other things, when they meet with their Korean counterparts later this week in the 2+2 meetings. QUESTION: Afghanistan? MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm. QUESTION: You mentioned reintegration, and the Secretary has actually been talking about that for quite a while. Gates recently talked about his view that there are - oh, no, sorry, it was Panetta who said that there are probably a hundred or two hundred al-Qaida in the entire country. And so I guess what I'm asking for is an update on the Secretary's thinking about the feasibility of reintegration. Has she had more refinement in how she thinks that could work? She was saying it might be a small number who would come over. Any thoughts that she now has? MR. CROWLEY: Well, again, you have the - both the terms of reconciliation and the terms - reintegration. Reintegration has always pointed to the foot soldiers, those who we think are not inspired by any - for any ideological purpose. In fact, they may have been drawn into the insurgency for economic or other tribal reasons. And that number - it's hard for me to put a particular number on that. And then in fact, there are leadership questions and those - we think that's possible that some people, for a variety of reasons, may choose to follow the guidelines that the Afghan Government, supported by the United States, have put forward in terms of renouncing violence, rejecting al-Qaida, and respecting the Afghan constitution. But as Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates and others have said, there may or may not be a large number of those who are willing to take that step. But we'll see. This is all part of reviewing the program and the plan that Afghanistan has put forward, both in light of the London conference and in light of the peace jirga earlier this spring. I'll come to you. QUESTION: On the Washington Post big expose today on the intelligence community, I wondered if this report on the unwieldy and redundant intelligence community is going to lead to any kind of review here of - between the State Department and how it deals with the intelligence community. It's sort of - remember - it may - having us all remember the Christmas Day bomber and what diplomatic officials had said at that time. MR. CROWLEY: Sure. And in fact, we haven't waited for any Washington Post expose to do that. There's been a very significant process of reviewing the lessons learned from the Christmas Day bomber. And in fact, we have adjusted our operating procedures, our interaction both with the NCTC, the terrorist screening center, and other elements of the intelligence community. So that review and the changes in our procedures has already largely been adopted. I would just simply say we are very proud of INR, our intelligence analysis and research team. They are formally a part of the intelligence community. They are the smallest element of the intelligence community. But I think the hundreds of analysts that we have who work here at the State Department contribute significantly to the - both the integration and the understanding of global events, and they're very significantly involved in the synthesis of intelligence reporting that goes into, among other things, the presidential daily briefing. QUESTION: A couple questions. MR. CROWLEY: Sure. QUESTION: Drug violence in Mexico. Last week they had the car bombing in Juarez, as I understand it, a new tactic, a new twist, in the violence. I'm wondering how - how that - how you see that, how significant that is in terms of an escalation of the violence. And more broadly, the - of course, there was the massacre yesterday. The trend continues to increase of deaths and violence. Is the U.S. effort in this really failing? MR. CROWLEY: Well, it is a shared effort between the United States and Mexico. I don't think we've ever underestimated the - this challenge. It is something that we've worked hard on. It's something that we have invested significantly in. The level of cooperation between Mexican authorities and U.S. authorities is as good and significant as it has ever been, and I think it becomes closer and closer as our determination grows. We're seeing what's happening there. We understand that on our side of the border we have responsibilities with regard to the flow of money and weapons that help to fuel the drug-related violence. We are working very closely with Mexican authorities both in terms of the provision of assistance, but also to help them with their capacity building. So this is very much an ongoing struggle. It is hard. It's going to take a long time to accomplish. But I think we're confident that we have the right kind of relationship. We have significant cooperation going on with our Mexican counterparts. But we also know that the drug cartels themselves have significant capabilities. They've got a lot of money that they can spend on this. They're trying hard to intimidate the Mexican officials and the Mexican Government. I think we're encouraged by the response that we continue to see inside Mexico as they endeavor to combat this scourge. QUESTION: The car bombing, in particular, doesn't give you any particular concern that this -- MR. CROWLEY: I mean, it may represent a different tactic. But I think we've recognized all along that unfortunately, these drug cartels, they have an enormous amount of resources at their disposal. They can buy any kind of capability they want. But we are determined, working with Mexico, to do everything in our power to reduce this violence that affects not only the Mexican people but our own. QUESTION: P.J. -- MR. CROWLEY: Okay, go ahead. QUESTION: South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said yesterday that this is not the right time to discuss the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and denounced North Korea for trying to use the Six-Party Talks to avoid international tension from the Cheonan. Do you agree? MR. CROWLEY: Well, as I think Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell said here last week, we're always prepared to talk, but there are some definite steps that we have to see from North Korea before that becomes possible. So I think we agree fully with the South Korean foreign minister that there are conditions and obligations that North Korea has to demonstrate a willingness to tackle before we would consider having a follow-on conversation. QUESTION: The Mitchell visit? The Mitchell visit? MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm. QUESTION: Yesterday after his meeting with George Mitchell, the Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said that the direct talks should not resume unless previous commitments are adhered to. I think he was - he means the settlement - Hebron settlement (inaudible). What is your view, or has former Senator Mitchell talked to you about this issue? MR. CROWLEY: Well, we continue to underscore to Arab League member states the importance of building on Middle East peace efforts and supporting proximity talks. As we've said here many times, the only way to end the conflict is for both parties to progress towards direct negotiations that allow us to address the fundamental issues at the heart of this process. And we will continue to engage Arab League states and seek their support to help leaders make this vitally important but difficult decision as soon as they feel ready. QUESTION: Do you consider his statements to be not helpful to U.S. policy? MR. CROWLEY: I mean, I understand it represents a point of view. Everyone wants to put specific conditions on the resumption of talks. We're trying to get them into talks. We understand that we continue to work to lay the foundation for successful talks. Everyone's got their view as to what is necessary before everyone feels confident that the timing is right. That's why George Mitchell continues his interaction with both parties directly but also key states - the UAE, Qatar, Egypt, others - to try to find the right formula to give everyone confidence that the timing is right to take this important step. So I'm not saying it's helpful or unhelpful. The reality is we're working as hard as we can and seeking the support of other countries, Egypt being one of them, to try to get the parties into direct negotiations as soon as possible. QUESTION: But that would be a tremendous help by the Arab League secretary general. If he's sold on the idea of direct talks, it would give a good cover to the Palestinian president. MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, hang on a sec. I mean, obviously, we were gratified by the Arab League statement weeks ago both supporting and then reaffirming the proximity talks. We are working hard with the parties and with others to try to create the circumstances and the environment which would allow direct negotiations to begin. Everyone's got their view of what the right conditions are. We ultimately hope that the leaders will, as soon as possible, make this tough decision and agree to direct negotiations. We're not there yet. There's still work to be done. And we appreciate everyone's support and interest as we kind of work through this and see if we can't find the right set of circumstances that allows direct negotiations to begin. QUESTION: Thank you. MR. CROWLEY: Yeah. QUESTION: On Cuba, is there any reaction or information on the meeting with - the U.S. diplomatic mission between relatives of political prisoners who refuse to go to Spain that's meeting right now, happening today? It's supposed to be at one o'clock Havana time. MR. CROWLEY: I don't have any information on the meeting, so why don't we - if it's going on right now, why don't you ask tomorrow and we'll have a readout. QUESTION: Okay. QUESTION: Suriname. Do you have any comment on the Suriname parliament's choice for a new president? MR. CROWLEY: I'll take the question. QUESTION: (Off-mike.) MR. CROWLEY: (Laughter.) Tempting. QUESTION: How do you view the visit of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri to Damascus in view of the ICC ruling is likely to come in September? Do you think that Syria is trying to sort of create some sort of a daylight between it and Iran, for instance? MR. CROWLEY: I'm not sure - help me on - what's the - how's the - how does the ICC fit into this? I mean, just in terms of the optics of -- QUESTION: Well, I mean, of course. I mean, just the dynamics of it all. I mean, after all, this is Saad Hariri, the son of Rafiq Hariri. MR. CROWLEY: Well, obviously, these are two countries that coexist side-by-side. There is a history between them. We think that the meeting on Sunday was an important step. We hope it will help improve relations between the two countries. We also recognize that there have been significant gaps of trust given the history between Syria and Lebanon. We appreciate confidence-building measures like the ones that were discussed in the meeting, but we recognize that these confidence-building measures have to be a two-way street and have to be reciprocated by both countries. So - but we think this - dialogue like this is very important to regional stability. QUESTION: Thank you. QUESTION: Thank you. MR. CROWLEY: Yeah. Wait. No, no. QUESTION: Can we go back on a small point to the Libya thing? Would a demand for review by the U.S. or request for review or reassurance just simply go back to the decision to release al-Megrahi, or would it go back to anything else in the case? Because al-Megrahi was appealing his conviction. Does the U.S. believe there was any merit to that, that - are you looking for a broader review of who else ought to have been named in - as responsible for this? MR. CROWLEY: I mean, as to the status of any appeal - I mean, remember, this was a Scottish tribunal. QUESTION: Right. MR. CROWLEY: I can't tell you what - the status of any appeal, even if it's ongoing, from the past years. I just don't know. QUESTION: No, I wasn't asking that. I was asking whether, in light of the fact that he had made an appeal and the fact that you're asking for a review of his -- MR. CROWLEY: Well, I don't think -- QUESTION: -- repatriation -- MR. CROWLEY: I mean, for example, let's remember, he was convicted. He was in prison. It was our view that he should stay in prison for the rest of his life. So I don't know how an appeal enters into this. He wasn't released because of his appeal. He was released on what the Scottish authorities considered to be special humanitarian grounds. I think given our interest because of the expectations of the families of the victims of Pan Am 103, it was their expectation, as was ours, that he would serve out his entire sentence in Scottish prison. That to the extent that Scottish authorities can review this and once again provide a reassurance that they made the decision based on a wide range of medical evidence and information that was available to them, not on the word of any one medical professional, that would at least give people reassurance that they soundly considered a wide range of information rather than just the information provided by any one individual, if that individual even provided information at all. But again, we recognize that this was their decision to make. We regret they made the decision they made. But certainly, given that we are going to be coming up on the first anniversary of his release, to the extent that Scottish authorities can at least give us reassurances that they made the decision they made based on a wide range of information, that will be helpful. It won't, obviously, reverse the decision that they made. QUESTION: Thank you.
CNN / YOUTUBE REPUBLICAN DEBATE P2
[CNN / YOUTUBE REPUBLICAN DEBATE P2] [ST. PETERSBURG, FLA USA] FTG FOR COVERAGE OF THE CNN / YOUTUBE REPUBLICAN DEBATE AT THE MAHAFFEY THEATRE AT THE PROGRESS ENERGY CENTER IN ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, MODERATED BY ANDERSON COOPER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR MIKE HUCKABEE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE REPRESENTATIVE DUNCAN HUNTER (R-CALIF) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE REPRESENTATIVE TOM TANCREDO (R-COLO) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL (R-TEX) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FORMER SENATOR FRED THOMPSON (R-TENN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-ARIZ) CON'D 21:29:00 He was captured. He was the so- called mastermind of the 9/11 tragedy. And he turned to his captors and he said, "I'll see you in New York with my lawyers." I presume ACLU lawyers. But that's not what happened. (Laughter.) He went to Guantanamo and he met GIs and CIA interrogators, and that's just exactly how it ought to be. (Cheers, applause.) MR. COOPER: There are -- Senator McCain. There are reports Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded. 21:29:23 SEN. MCCAIN: Well, Governor, I'm astonished that you haven't found out what waterboarding is. MR. ROMNEY: I know what waterboarding is, Senator. SEN. MCCAIN: Then I am astonished that you would think such a torture would be inflicted on anyone in our -- who we are -- held captive, and anyone who could believe that that's not torture. It's in violation of the Geneva Conventions. (Applause.) It's in violation of existing law. And Governor, let me tell you, if we're going to get the high ground in this world and we're going to be America that we have cherished and loved for more than 200 years, we're not going to torture people. We're not going to do what Pol Pot did. We're not going to do what's being done to Burmese monks as we speak. And I suggest that you talk to retired military officers and active duty military officers like Colin Powell and others. And how in the world anybody could think that that kind of thing could be inflicted by Americans on people who are held in our custody is absolutely beyond me. (Cheers, applause.) MR. COOPER: Governor Romney, 30 seconds to respond, please 21:30:27 MR. ROMNEY: Senator McCain, I appreciate your strong response, and you have the credentials upon which to make that response. I did not say, and I do not say, that we're in -- that I'm in favor of torture. I am not. I'm not going to specify the specific means of what is and what is not torture so that the people that we capture will know what things we're able to do and what things we're not able to do. And I get that -- and I get that advice from Cofer Black, who is a person who was responsible for counterterrorism in the CIA for some 35 years. I'd get that advice by talking to former general in our military, and I don't believe -- MR. COOPER: Time. MR. ROMNEY: -- I don't believe it's appropriate for me as a presidential candidate to lay out all of the issues one by one -- MR. COOPER: Time. MR. ROMNEY: -- get question one by one, is this torture, is that torture. MR. COOPER: Senator McCain? MR. ROMNEY: That's something which I'm going to take your and other people's counsel on. MR. COOPER: Senator McCain, 30 seconds to respond 21:31:17 SEN. MCCAIN: Well, then you would have to advocate that we withdraw from the Geneva Conventions, which were for the treatment of people who are held prisoner, whether they be illegal combatants or regular prisoners of war, because it's clearly the definition of torture. It's in violation of laws we have passed. And again, I would hope that we would understand, my friends, that life is not 24 and Jack Bauer. Life is interrogation techniques which are humane and yet effective. And I just came back from visiting a prison in Iraq. They army general there said that the techniques under the Army Field Manual are working and working effectively, and he didn't think they need to do anything else. My friends, this is what America is all about. This is a defining issue, and clearly, we should be able if we want to be commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces to take a definite and positive position on, and that is we will never allow torture to take place in the United States of America -- (off mike) -- (cheers, applause.) MR. COOPER: Staying -- staying on this issue, let's watch 21:32:22 Q Hello. My name is Buzz Brockway from Lawrenceville, Georgia. All the talk about the war in Iraq centers around how quickly we can get out. I think that's the wrong question. We need to make a permanent or long-term military commitment to the region. By staying in Iraq, we provide long-term stability to the region. We provide support for our allies, and we act as a deterrent to the troublemakers in the region. Which presidential candidate will make a permanent or long-term military commitment to the people of Iraq? Thank you. MR. COOPER: Senator Thompson. 21:32:53 MR. THOMPSON: We shouldn't be in there longer than necessary, and we don't know how long that will be. But we should be there absolutely as long as it takes to complete our mission there. It will -- it will -- it will make for a safer United States of America. We're all focused, understandably, on Iraq and Afghanistan right now, but it is part of a much bigger picture. Islamic terrorism has declared war on us in Western civilization. They would like nothing better than to kill millions of people as they bring us down. They would like to be able to advertise to young radicals around the world that you, too, could help bring down the United States of America. Iran is waiting there to fill that vacuum. You think $90 or $100 a barrel is -- is high for oil now, wait until that happens. But more importantly, it would make for a less secure United States of America. We have to do what's necessary. We have to take the opportunity that we have now. John's absolutely right. What's going on there is -- is -- is progress. It's called progress. Too many people in this country are vested in a scenario of defeat. I'm vested in a scenario of victory, and I see it happening there in Iraq today. (Applause.) MR. COOPER: Congressman Paul, 30 seconds. 21:34:11 REP. PAUL: The best commitment we can make to the Iraqi people is to give them their country back. That's the most important thing that we can do. (Cheers, applause.) Already -- already part of their country has been taken back. In the south, they claim the surge has worked, but the surge really hasn't worked. There's less violence, but al-Sadr has essentially won in the south. The British are leaving. The brigade of al-Sadr now is in charge. So they are getting their country back. They're in charge up north. The -- the -- the Shi'a -- the people in the north are in charge, as well, and there's no violence up there, or nearly as much. So let the people have their country back again. Just think of the -- the cleaning up of the mess after we left Vietnam. Vietnam now is a friend of ours. We trade with them. The president comes here. What we achieved in peace was unachievable in 20 years of the French and the Americans being in Vietnam. MR. COOPER: Time. REP. PAUL: So it's time for us to take care of America first. (Cheers, applause.) MR. COOPER: Senator McCain, 30 seconds. SEN. MCCAIN: Well, let -- let me remind you, Congressman, we never lost a battle in Vietnam. (Applause.) It was American public opinion that forced us to lose that conflict. And if you -- (applause continues). And I think it's important for all Americans to understand the fundamental difference. After we left Vietnam, they didn't want to follow us home. They wanted to build their own workers' paradise. If you read Zarqawi, if you read bin Laden, if you read Zawahiri, read what they say, they want to follow us home. They want Iraq to be a base for al Qaeda to launch attacks against the United States. Their ultimate destination is not Iraq. Their ultimate destination is New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Phoenix, Arizona. This is a transcendent challenge of our time. I believe that we can meet it, and we will defeat it. (Cheers, applause, booing.) MR. COOPER: Congressman Paul. I know a lot of you -- we'll get everyone in on this. Congressman Paul, just wanted to allow you to respond. REP. PAUL: Shortly after the Vietnam War ended, Colonel Two (sp) and Colonel Summers (sp) met, and they were talking about this. And our -- and the American colonel said, you know, we never lost one battle, and Colonel Two (sp), the Vietnami, says, yes, but that's irrelevant. And it is irrelevant. But we have to realize why they want to come here. Wolfowitz even admitted that one of the major reasons that the al Qaeda was organized and energized was because of our military base in Saudi Arabia. He says, oh, now we can take -- MR. COOPER: Time. REP. PAUL: -- the base away. He understood why they came here. They come here because we're occupying -- MR. COOPER: Time. REP. PAUL: -- their country. (Applause.) MR. COOPER: Time. REP. PAUL: Just as we would object if they occupied our country. (Boos, cheers.) MR. COOPER: I just want to let Congressman Tancredo in. We're running short on time, so please, let's try to get to these. You have 30 seconds 21:37:10 REP. TANCREDO: I wish that we lived in the world that Ron has described. I wish that we lived in a world where we did not have to worry, by simply removing our forces, we would be safe. Unfortunately, Ron, honest to God, I don't believe that that is the case. We are living in a world where we are threatened. (Cheers, applause.) It is radical Islam. It is the -- the ideology -- the political and religious ideology of radical Islam is a threat to America, and it would be a threat -- MR. COOPER: Time. REP. TANCREDO: -- to America if we never had a single person -- REP. PAUL: He mentioned my name. REP. TANCREDO: -- serving anywhere outside this country. (Cheers, applause.) 21:37:38 MR. COOPER: We got another question. This one's going for Mayor Giuliani. SAM GARCIA (COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO): Hi. My name is Sam Garcia. I'm from Colorado Springs, Colorado. The following question is for Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Giuliani, a while back a friend and I were having a discussion about you and some of the other Republican candidates. He blatantly made this statement somewhere along the line: "Rudy Giuliani is using September 11th, 2001 to propel himself into the White House." My question to you is, how do you respond to this accusation and other accusations similar to it? MR. COOPER: Ninety seconds. 21:38:11 MR. GIULIANI: Sam, what I -- what I say is I would like people to look at my whole record. Long before September 11, 2001 I was the third-ranking official in the Reagan Justice Department. During that period of time, I actually did something about illegal immigration. I played a large part in stopping the Haitian illegal immigration into South Florida. I negotiated the agreement with the Haitian government that allowed us to put a Coast Guard cutter in the waters outside of Port-au-Prince as well as the legal agreements that were necessary to do the examinations there, and this terrible problem that was going on that was also leading to the loss of life was ended, or at least ameliorated tremendously. I was the United Sates attorney in the Southern District of New York. I prosecuted thousands of organized crime figures. I prosecuted Sicilian mafia members, never done before in an American court. I was mayor of a city that was described as one of the greatest turnarounds of any city in the history of America. George Will said I ran the most conservative government in this country, most successful conservative government in this country in the last 50 or 60 years. This is all before September 11th, 2001. I reduced taxes. I reduced spending. I reduced welfare. I reduced abortions, increased adoptions. These are all things that I did before September 11, 2001. And the reason that I believe I'm qualified to be president of the United States is not because of September 11th, 2001; it's because I've been tested. I've been tested in a way in which I ran the third- largest government in this country, the 17th-largest economy in the world, and I got very, very remarkable results. And that is the evaluation of other people, not me. 21:39:55 MR. COOPER: All right. We've got a question which -- (applause) -- definitely a reminder this is a YouTube/CNN debate. Let's watch. FAKE VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: (Laughs.) Yeah. Will you grant your vice president as much power and influence as I've had. (Laughter.) And remember, before you answer, I'm watching you! (Laughter.) MR. COOPER: Funny video, serious question. Senator Thompson, would you have a vice president? 21:40:16 MR. THOMPSON: Well, first of all, I'm greatly relieved. For a second there, I thought that was me. (Laughter.) MR. COOPER: The power of the vice president. MR. THOMPSON: I think -- I think that the vice president, of course, has a dual role. He has a place in the executive branch of government and he also presides over the Senate, so he has a place in the legislative branch also. But a vice president ought to chosen basically on his ability to serve as president of the United States if that situation were called for. Therefore, he needs to be brought into the administration. I think that a vice president ought to have substantial authority, I think especially in national security areas. Expertise in that area is especially beneficial to a president, who's having to deal with all the issues a president has to deal with. But certainly some expertise either in the domestic area or the national security area. Some legal training also might be helpful. I think one of the most important things that we're going to be facing for this next president is a selection of United States judges to the Supreme Court. So I think that all of those are things that you have to take in consideration and decide even what kind of authority the vice president should have. Basically, he should have the authority that the president gives him, and he should adhere to that authority. MR. COOPER: Senator McCain, has this president given too much authority to the vice president? 21:41:42 SEN. MCCAIN: Look, I'm going to give you some straight talk. This president came to office in a time of peace, and then we found ourselves in 2001. And he did not have as much national security experience as I do, so he had to rely more on the vice president of the United States and that's obvious. I wouldn't have to do that. I might have to rely on a vice president that I select on some other issues. He may have more expertise in telecommunications, on information technology, which is the future of this nation's economy. He may have more expertise in a lot of areas, but I would rely on a vice president of the United States, but, as Fred said, the primary responsibility is to select one who will immediately take your place if necessary. MR. COOPER: Time. SEN. MCCAIN: But the vice president of the United States is a key and important issue and must add in carrying out the responsibilities as president of the United States. 21:42:38 MR. COOPER: We've got a short break, our last break of the debate. We'll watch a video. This one from the Hunter campaign as we go to break. REP. HUNTER: Hey, hey. (Announcements.) MR. COOPER: Let's get back to the debate. Another question from a YouTube viewer. Let's watch. 21:47:25 Q My name is Keith Kerr, from Santa Rosa, California. I'm retired brigadier general with 43 years of service, and I'm a graduate of the Special Forces Officer Course, the Command and General Staff Course, and the Army War College. And I'm an openly gay man. I want to know why you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians. MR. COOPER: I want to point out that Brigadier General Keith Kerr is here with us tonight. Glad you're here. (Applause.) I'll give the question to Congressman Hunter. 21:47:59 REP. HUNTER: Yeah. General, General, thanks for your service, but I believe in what Colin Powell said when he said that having openly homosexual people serving in the ranks would be bad for unit cohesion. And the reason for that -- even though people point to the Israelis and point to the Brits and point to other people as having homosexuals serve, is that most Americans, most kids who leave that -- that breakfast table and go and serve in the military and make that corporate decision with their family -- most of them are conservatives. And they have conservative values, and they have Judeo-Christian values. And to force those people to work in a small, tight unit with somebody who is homoment (sic) -- openly homosexual goes against what they believe to be their principles -- and it is their principles -- is, I think, a disservice to them. And I -- I agree with Colin Powell that it would be bad for unit cohesion. (Applause.) MR. COOPER: I want to direct that to Governor Huckabee. Thirty seconds. 21:48:57 MR. HUCKABEE: The Uniform Code of Military Justice is probably the best rule, and it has to do with conduct. People have a right to have whatever feelings, whatever attitudes they wish. But when their conduct could put at risk the morale or put at risk even the cohesion that Duncan Hunter spoke of, I think that's what is at issue, and that's why our policy is what it is. MR. COOPER: Governor Romney, you said in 1994 that you looked forward to the day when gays and lesbians could serve, and I quote, "openly and honestly" in our nation's military. Do you stand by that? 21:49:29 MR. ROMNEY: This isn't that time. This is not that time. We're in a middle of a war. The people who have watched -- MR. COOPER: Do you look forward to that time, though, one day? MR. ROMNEY: I'm going to listen to the people who run the military to see what the circumstances are like. And my view is that at this stage this is not the time for us to make that kind of a change. MR. COOPER: Is there a change in your position from 1994? MR. ROMNEY: Yeah, I didn't think it would work. I didn't think "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would work. That was my -- I didn't think that would work. I thought that was a policy -- when I heard about it, I laughed. I said that doesn't make any sense to me. And you know what? It's been there now for what, 15 years? Seems to have worked. MR. COOPER: So just on clear -- at this point, do you still look forward to a day when gays can serve openly in the military, or no longer? 21:50:02 MR. ROMNEY: I look forward to hearing from the military exactly what they believe is the right way to have the right kind of cohesion and support in our -- in our troops, and I'll listen to what they have to say. (Boos.) MR. COOPER: All right. General Kerr is, as I said, is here. Please stand up, General. Thank you very much for being with us. Do you feel you got an answer to your question? 21:50:21 GEN. KERR: With all due respect, I did not get an answer from the candidates. (Applause.) MR. COOPER: What do you -- what do you feel you got? GEN. KERR: American -- American men and women in the military are professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians. For 42 years, I wore the Army uniform on active duty, in the Reserve, and also for the state of California. I revealed I was a gay man after I retired. Today, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is destructive to our military policy. Every -- every day, the Department of Defense discharges two people not for misconduct, not for the unit cohesion -- (mike cuts off). MR. COOPER: The mike is -- you've lost the -- is the microphone not working? All right. Please, just finish your -- finish your -- what is your -- GEN. KERR: Not for the unit cohesion that Congressman Hunter is talking about, but simply because they happen to be gay. MR. COOPER: Okay. Senator McCain -- GEN. KERR: And we're talking about doctors, nurses, pilots, and the surgeon who sews -- (boos) -- sews somebody up when they're taken from the battlefield. MR. COOPER: I appreciate your comment. Senator McCain, I want to give you 30 seconds. You served in the military. (Applause.) 21:51:45 MSEN. MCCAIN: General, I thank you for your service to our nation. I respect it. All the time I talk to our military leaders, beginning with our Joint Chiefs of Staff and leaders in the field such as General Petraeus and General Odierno and others who are designated leaders with the responsibility of the safety of the men and women under their command and their security and protect them as best they can. Almost unanimously, they tell me that this present policy is working, that we have the best military in history, we have the bravest, most professional -- MR. COOPER: Time. SEN. MCCAIN: -- best-prepared, and that this policy ought to be continued because it's working. MR. COOPER: All right. We've got another question. Let's listen. (Applause.) 21:52:29 DAVID CERCONE (POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA): Hi. My name is David Cercone. I would like to ask all the candidates if they accept the support of the Log Cabin Republicans. And why should the Log Cabin Republicans support their candidacy? Thank you. MR. COOPER: Governor Huckabee, would you support -- would you get -- would you allow support from the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans? 21:52:47 MR. HUCKABEE: You know, in my position in this entire election, I need the support of anybody and everybody I can get. (Laughter, applause.) So I'm happy -- MR. COOPER: Should they support you? MR. HUCKABEE: Sure they should. I disagree with them -- strongly disagree with them -- on the idea of same-sex marriage. But in a democracy, we can have disagreements over some policies and still agree on the greater things that make us Republicans. So would I accept their support? Of course. Would I change my position on same-sex marriage? No, I wouldn't. But if they're willing to support me -- (applause) -- I'll be their president. I'll be anybody's president, but I'll be true to my convictions. And I think that's what Americans look for -- not someone they're going to agree with on everything, but somebody who at least has some convictions -- (applause) -- sticks with them, can explain them, and can at least have respect for people who have different ones. (Applause.) 21:53:39 MR. COOPER: Another question about a local economy. ADAM FLORZAK (ILLINOIS): This is Adam Florzak of Illinois. The national debt is now growing so quickly it will have increased by over half a million dollars in just the time it takes to ask this question. Over the years, politicians have borrowed just under $2 trillion from the Social Security trust fund to cover these massive budget deficits, and now the retirements of our generation are at risk. What will you do as president to help repay this money and restore the trust? MR. COOPER: Senator Thompson, a lot of retirees here in Florida. Ninety seconds 21:54:12 MR. THOMPSON: One of the things I would do for his generation is protect him from our generation. (Laughter, applause.) We're -- he's absolutely right: We're spending his money, we're spending his children's money, and we're spending the money of kids yet to be born. In 2017, Social Security will be in the red. Pretty soon it will be out of money. It will go bankrupt. In fact, our entitlement programs put together will take over the entire budget by about 2040. So that's why I get back to the point I made earlier. All these programs that we talk about on the news every day are a thimbleful in the ocean compared to the entitlement tsunami that's coming to hit us. Now, we can do some things now, as I've proposed about Social Security, without having to really hurt anybody and give people to invest for their future while they're their working, or we can wait and let our grandkids or children, depending on how old they are, solve this problem that we have left them. It's not only a fiscal issue, it's a moral issue, as far as I'm concerned. MR. COOPER: Governor McCain? Sorry -- Governor Romney, 30 seconds. 21:55:16 MR. ROMNEY: Thank you. That's one of the problems we face, and a big one, which is the overspending in Washington and the debt and the obligations we have. We also face tough new competition coming from Asia. We face global jihad, which we just talked about very briefly. We face a whole series of extraordinary problems. Overuse of oil. Entitlements out of control. It's time for us to recognize we're going to have to take a new course in this country, not follow Hillary Clinton off to the left, instead to follow the pathway Ronald Reagan blazed, which is to say we're going to have a stronger America with a stronger economy and have somebody who understands how jobs come and go, who understands what propels our economy will strengthen our economy, strengthen our military and strengthen our families. MR. COOPER: I want to get as many of the YouTube questions in as possible. Let's get another one here from another viewer. 21:55:58 Q My name is Steve Nielson, and this question comes to you from Denver, Colorado. JFK's vision put a man on the moon from a non-existent space program in about seven years. The new vision for space exploration has provided about 15 years for that same feat. Meanwhile, Congress is pulling funding for humans-to-Mars research all together. Is there a candidate amongst you willing to take a pledge on behalf of the Mars Society of sending an American to the surface of Mars by 2020? If not, what is your vision for human space exploration? MR. COOPER: Governor Huckabee? NASA pumped some five -- let's see -- how many -- $5 billion into Florida's economy. 21:56:40 MR. HUCKABEE: Whether we ought to go to Mars is not a decision that I would want to make, but I would certainly want to make sure that we expand the space program because every one of us who are sitting here tonight had our lives dramatically improved because there was a space program, whether it's these screens that we see or the incredible electronics that we use, including the GPS system that got many of you to this arena tonight. (Laughter.) Some of you were late because you didn't have one, by the way. (Laughter.) Or whether it's the medical technologies that save many of our lives or the lives of our families. It's the direct result of the space program, and we need to put more money into science and technology and exploration. Now whether we need to send somebody to Mars, I don't know, but I'll tell you what, if we do, I've got a few suggestions and maybe Hillary could be on the first rocket to Mars. (Laughter, cheers, applause.) MR. COOPER: Congressman Tancredo, 30 seconds, please. 21:57:39 REP. TANCREDO: The question is a serious one and deserves a serious answer, and that is this: Look, we have been -- how many times up here -- how many questions have dealt with the issue of deficit spending, the debt out of control, and yet we have somebody saying, but would you spend more money on going to Mars. And the suggestion that we need to spend more money on space exploration -- this is it, folks. That's why we have such incredible problems with our debt because everybody's trying to do everything to all people. (Applause.) We can't afford some things, and by the way, going to Mars is one of them. Scattered laughter, applause.) 21:58:12 MR. COOPER: All right. Let's move on. Another question here from Los Angeles. (Short pause.) Actually, let's show -- Q Hi. My name is David McMillan, and I'm from Los Angeles, California. On a variety of specific issues -- gay marriage, taxes, the death penalty, immigration, faith-based initiatives, school vouchers, school prayer -- many African Americans hold fairly conservative views, and yet we overwhelmingly vote Democrat in most elections. So my question to any of the Republican candidates here is: Why don't we vote for you? (Laughter.) MR. COOPER: Mayor Giuliani. 21:58:44 MR. GIULIANI: We probably haven't done a good enough job as a party in pointing out that our solutions, our philosophy is really the philosophy that would be the most attractive to the overwhelming majority of people in the African American and Hispanic community. Whether they are upper middle class, rich, middle class or poor, good education is something that everyone in all these communities and all communities want. The idea of choice in education is something that would be -- would totally turn around education in this country. It's something that large percentages of African American Hispanic parents support. They would like to be able to choose a private school, a parochial school, a charter school, home schooling for their children, and instead they have the government telling them that their children has to go to an inadequate school. So there are many, many issues on which we can reach out. I found that one of the best was moving people off welfare. I moved 640,000 people off welfare, most of them to jobs. I changed the welfare agency into a job agency. And all of a sudden, I had people that had a future, people that had great hope in life. I think the reason that crime not only declined in New York more than any place else, but continues to decline, is that many of those people who were hopeless 10, 12 years ago now have hope, they have a future, they have -- they have gotten the genius of the American way of life. MR. COOPER: Time. MR. GIULIANI: We haven't made it available to all people, and we have to do that. We will be a very popular party -- MR. COOPER: Time. MR. GIULIANI: -- in those communities. MR. COOPER: Governor Huckabee, 30 seconds. (Light applause.) 22:00:16 MR. HUCKABEE: Well, according to your network's exit polls, some 48 percent of the African-Americans in my state did in fact vote for me, which is unusually high for African-Americans voting for a Republican. Here's a reason why: because I asked for their vote, and I didn't wait till October of the election year to do it. And while I was governor, I tried to make sure that we included people not only in appointments and employment, but also in the programs that would truly make a difference, by putting disproportionate amounts of help for health problems specifically targeted to African-Americans, like hypertension and AIDS and diabetes. MR. COOPER: Time. MR. HUCKABEE: So there's a reason. And I just want to express that our party had better reach out, not just to African-Americans but to Hispanics and to all people of this country. I don't want to be a part of a Republican Party that is a tiny, minute -- MR. COOPER: Time. MR. HUCKABEE: -- and ever-decreasing party, but one that touches every American from top to bottom -- MR. COOPER: Time. MR. HUCKABEE: -- regardless of race. (Applause.) MR. COOPER: Our next question. Let's watch. 22:01:12 Q Hello. My name is Leroy Brooks. I am from Houston, Texas. And my question is for all the candidates. Does this flag right here represent the symbol of racism, the symbol of political ideology, the symbol of Southern heritage, or is it something completely different? MR. COOPER: Talking about the stars and bars. Governor Romney? 22:01:37 MR. ROMNEY: I -- right now with the kinds of issues we got in this country, I'm not going to get involved in a flag like that. That's not a flag that I recognize so that I would (haul/hold ?) it up in my room. The people of our country have decided not to fly that flag. I think that's the right thing. (Applause.) My own view is that this country can go beyond that kind of stuff and that instead we can do as a party what we need to do, which is to reach out to all Americans. Every time I listen to someone like John Edwards get on TV and say there are two Americans (sic), I just want to -- I just want to throw something at the TV, because there are not two Americas. There's one America. We are a nation united. We face extraordinary challenges right now, and Democrats dividing us and tearing down this country are doing exactly the wrong thing. We're succeeding in Iraq. We've got tough challenges. We can overcome them. But we do not need to have that kind of divisive talk. And that flag, frankly, is divisive and it shouldn't be shown. MR. COOPER: Governor Thompson? Excuse me; Senator Thompson. Maybe one day. 22:02:34 MR. THOMPSON: No. The -- I know that everybody who hangs a flag up in their room like that is not racist. I also know that for a great many Americans it's a symbol of racism. So therefore, as a public place -- he's free to do whatever he wants to in his home. As far as a public place is concerned, I am glad that people have made the decision not to display it as a prominent flag symbolic of something in a state capital. As a part of a group of flags or something of that nature, you know, honoring various service people at different times in different parts of the country, I think that's different. But as a nation, we don't need to go out of our way to be bringing up things to certain people in our country that -- MR. COOPER: Time. MR. THOMPSON: -- that's bad for them. MR. COOPER: We're running short on time. I want to get Ron Paul's video in. Let's watch. (Representative Ron Paul's campaign video is played.) (Cheers, applause.) MR. COOPER: That was by the Paul campaign. Let's get to another YouTube question. 22:04:06 Q Good evening. My name is Dr. Hank Campbell. I'm in Lake Worth, Florida. My question is our infrastructure. It's been estimated that to fix the bridges, the tunnels, the power grids, the water delivery systems in this country will be in excess of $2 trillion -- that's T for trillion, and it is plural. Who among the candidates here is willing to step forward and begin to articulate the very difficult sacrifices which we need to make in order to start repairing America? Thank you. MR. COOPER: Mayor Giuliani? 22:04:37 MR. GIULIANI: Well, I faced a situation like this -- a microcosm of it -- in New York City. New York City hadn't invested in infrastructure for a very, very long time; it had kind of got through its fiscal crisis that way. And we started a long-term capital investment program in the infrastructure. My predecessor started it, I continued it, I turned it over to my successor, and it really has done, I think, remarkable work in rebuilding the infrastructure of New York. That's what America needs. It can't be done by one president. This is something where you're going to need a succession of presidents to have a sustained program -- probably, we should have budgeting that allows for -- we can't really have a capital budget under federal budgeting, but we could have a separate accounting for that kind of budgeting that's long term because this is going to help America over a 20 or a 30-year period. And most of the time when we're spending money, as Senator Thompson said, we're spending the next generation's money, and we shouldn't be doing that. And fiscal conservatism is about preventing that. But when we're rebuilding our roads, rebuilding our bridges, building new bridges, rebuilding our infrastructure, that's actually going to benefit the next generation and the generation after. And there are ways to spread that out over a long period of time. But it needs a sustained program, and it cannot be done just by the federal government. It needs to be done as a partnership with state and local governments, and I believe I'd be in a good position to lead that. MR. COOPER: Congressman Paul, 30 seconds. 22:05:57 REP. PAUL: The infrastructure problem in this country is very, very serious. We as Americans are taxed to blow up the bridges overseas, we're taxed to go over and rebuild the bridges overseas, while our bridges are falling down in this country. This country is going bankrupt and we can't afford this. We need to take care of ourselves. We do not need to sacrifice one thing more. We just need to take care of ourselves and get the government out of our lives and off our back and out of our wallets. (Cheers, applause.) MR. COOPER: Senator McCain, 30 seconds. 22:06:32 SEN. MCCAIN: First thing I'll do, my friends, is take out my veto pen and veto every single pork-barrel project that comes across my desk. And there will be no more bridges to nowhere under my administration, I promise you that. And we'll -- and we'll -- and we'll give the president of the United States a line-item veto, which Rudy Giuliani opposed so that he can protect his $250 million worth of pork. MR. COOPER: Time. SEN. MCCAIN: My friends, we will take the money and give it back to the states, and we'll let them make these decisions. But we'll never have another pork-barrel project as long as I'm capable of wielding a -- MR. COOPER: Time. I -- SEN. MCCAIN: -- veto pen. MR. COOPER: Time. We got another question -- MR. GIULIANI: Anderson? MR. COOPER: Yeah. MR. GIULIANI: May I please respond to the -- MR. COOPER: Yeah. You can go ahead, 30 seconds. MR. GIULIANI: -- to the -- with a side shot? MR. COOPER: Thirty seconds 22:07:13 MR. GIULIANI: The reality is that the line-item veto is unconstitutional. MR. COOPER: Quiet. MR. GIULIANI: The line-item veto is unconstitutional. SEN. MCCAIN: The line-item veto is constitutional. MR. GIULIANI: The line-item veto is unconstitutional determined not by John McCain, but by the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court found that the line-item veto is unconstitutional. If I hadn't challenged that, I would not have been carrying out my fiduciary duties for the people of New York City. That was money that was illegally deprived to the people of my city. I fought for them. MR. COOPER: Time. MR. GIULIANI: I beat Bill Clinton. Not bad to have a Republican who can beat Bill Clinton. (Applause.) MR. COOPER: Let's go to the next question. It's for Ron Paul. 22:07:45 Q Mark Strauss, Davenport, Iowa. This question is for Ron Paul. Mr. Paul, I think we both know that the Republican Party's never going to give you the nomination, but I'm hoping that you're crazy like a fox like that and you're using this exposure to propel yourself into an Independent run. My question is for Ron Paul. Mr. Paul, are you going to let America down by not running as an Independent? Thank you. 22:08:11 REP. PAUL: Now, that's what I call a tough question because I have no intention of doing this. I am a Republican. I have won 10 times as a Republican, and we're doing quite well. We had 5,000 people show up and rally in front of the Independence Hall with blacks and Hispanics and a cross-section of this country. Do you know that we raised $4.3 million in one day -- (cheers, applause) -- without spending one cent. We didn't even pay an individual to go out, and they weren't professional fundraisers. It came in here. It was automatic. We're struggling to figure out how to spend the money. This country is in a revolution. They're sick and tired of what they're getting, and I happen to be lucky enough to be part of it. (Cheers, applause.) 22:09:03 MR. COOPER: I'll take that as a no. Okay. We -- unfortunately, this is our last question of the night. Q (Chris Krul, Bonita Springs, FL): Guiliani, can you explain why you, being a lifelong Yankees, fan, that this year, at the -- after the Yankees lost everything, you rooted for the Red Sox in the postseason. Can you explain that position for me? (Cheers, applause.) MR. COOPER: Mayor Giuliani? REP. PAUL: Yeah. I want to ask him that question, too. (Cross talk.) 22:09:37 MR. GIULIANI: Hey, Krul. I'm Giuliani, he's Krul -- (laughter) -- so I'll explain it to him like in Brooklyn. I am American League fan. I root for the American League team when they get into the World Series; I've done it for 50 years. I actually rooted for the Red Sox -- (boos) -- I can't help it, I'm an American League fan. I rooted for the White Sox, the Tigers, the Red Sox. As soon as the World Series are over, I rooted for the Yankees again, we're going to beat you next year. (Cheers, applause.) I, unfortunately, have lost a bet already to John McCain with the Arizona Diamondbacks, so I don't have a 100 (sic) record. But I do point out that when I was mayor of New York City, the Yankees won four world championships. (Cheers, applause.) And -- wait, wait, wait -- I wanted to put this in our reel, but they cut it out, so I'm going to get it in -- and since I've left being mayor of New York City, the Yankees have won none. (Laughter, applause.) MR. COOPER: Governor Romney, very quickly, your chance. 22:10:32 MR. ROMNEY: Eighty-seven -- 87 long years -- we waited 87 long years. And true suffering Red Sox fans that my family and I are, we could not have been more happy than to see the Red Sox win the World Series except by being able to beat the Yankees when they were ahead three games to none. And so I have to tell you that, like most Americans, we love our sports teams and we hate the Yankees. (Laughter, applause.) 22:11:02 MR. COOPER: I want to thank you all for participating tonight. I want to thank all those viewers who submitted the questions -- 5,000 questions. I want to thank everyone in the audience and the Republican Party of Florida for hosting us. Thank you very much. (Cheers, applause.)
KILLER VS LESBIAN (07/24/1996)
An appeals court hearing in Tallahassee today for a convicted killer who got custody of his daughter. The judge ruled in his favor because the mother is now a lesbian. The court must decide whether to uphold the decision or send it back to the lower court for rehearing.
LESBIAN MOM/CUSTODY (05/12/1995)
THIS WEEK THE FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL DEALT A BLOW TO HOMOSEXUAL "PARENTS." THE COURT RULED A LESBIAN WOMAN SUING FOR VISITATION RIGHTS WITH THE DAUGHTER OF HER FORMER LOVER HAD NO STANDING, AND NO RIGHT TO VISITATION.
OBAMA WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING / HEAD ON
INT BROLL PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA PRESSER IN WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM / HEAD ON Tuesday, April 30, 2013 TRANSCRIPT: President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the White House Briefing Room SLUG: 1030 WH PRESS CONF STIX RS37 83 / 1030 WH PRESS CONF CUTS RS38 84 AR: 16X9 DISC#699 / 701 NYRS: 5114 / 5120 10:46:19 PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Hello. Good afternoon -- or good morning, everybody. I am here to answer questions in honor of Ed Henry, as he wraps up his tenure as president of the White House Correspondents' Association. Ed, because of that, you get the first question. Congratulations. ED HENRY: Thank you, sir. I really appreciate that. And I hope we can go back to business and being mad at each other in a little bit. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm not mad at you. ED HENRY: OK. Thank you. I appreciate it. PRESIDENT OBAMA: You may be mad at me. (Laughter.) 10:46:47 ED HENRY: I'm not. (Laughter.) A couple questions on national security. On Syria, you said that the red line was not just about chemical weapons being used but being spread, and it was a game changer, seemed cut and dry (sic). And now your administration seems to be suggesting that line is not clear. Do you risk U.S. credibility if you don't take military action? And then on Benghazi, there are some survivors of that terror attack who say they want to come forward and testify, some in your State Department, and they say they've been blocked. Will you allow them to testify? 10:47:21 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, on Syria, I think it's important to understand that for several years now what we've been seeing is a slowly unfolding disaster for the Syrian people, and this is not a situation in which we've been simply bystanders to what's been happening. My policy from the beginning has been President Assad had lost credibility; that he attacked his own people, has killed his own people, unleashed a military against innocent civilians; and that the only way to bring stability and peace to Syria is going to be for Assad to step down and -- and to move forward on a political transition. In pursuit of that strategy, we've organized the international community. We are the largest humanitarian donor. We have worked to strengthen the opposition. We have provided nonlethal assistance to the opposition. We have applied sanctions on Syria. So there are a whole host of steps that we've been taking precisely because even separate from the chemical weapons issue, what's happening in Syria is a blemish on the international community generally, and we've got to make sure that we're doing everything we can to protect the Syrian people. 10:48:43 In that context, what I've also said is that the use of chemical weapons would be a game changer, not simply for the United States for but the international community. And the reason for that is that we have established international law and international norms that say when you use these kinds of weapons, you have the potential of killing massive numbers of people in the most inhumane way possible, and the proliferation risks are so significant that we don't want that genie out of the bottle. So when I've said the use of chemical weapons would be a game changer, that wasn't unique to -- that wasn't a position unique to the United States, and it shouldn't have been a surprise. And what we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria, but we don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them; we don't have chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened. And when I am making decisions about America's national security and the potential for taking additional action in response to chemical weapon use, I've got to make sure I've got the facts. That's what the American people would expect. And if we end up rushing to judgment without hard, effective evidence, then we can find ourselves in the position where we can't mobilize the international community to support what we do. There may be objections even among some people in the region who are sympathetic with the opposition if we take action. So, you know, it's important for us to do this in a prudent way. 10:50:39 And what I've said to my team is, we've got to do everything we can to investigate and establish with some certainty what exactly has happened in Syria, what is happening in Syria. We will use all the assets and resources that we have at our disposal. We'll work with the neighboring countries to see whether we can establish a clear baseline of facts. And we've also called on the United Nations to investigate. 10:51:06 But the important point I want to make here is that we already are deeply engaged in trying to bring about a solution in Syria. It is a difficult problem. But even if chemical weapons were not being used in Syria, we'd still be thinking about tens of thousands of people, innocent civilians, women, children, who've been killed by a regime that's more concerned about staying in power than it is about the well-being of its people. And so we are already deeply invested in trying to find a solution here. What is true, though, is that if I can establish, in a way that not only the United States but also the international community feel confident is the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, then that is a game changer because what that portends is potentially even more devastating attacks on civilians, and it raises the strong possibility that those chemical weapons can fall into the wrong hands and get disseminated in ways that would threaten U.S. security or the security of our allies. ED HENRY: By game changer, do you mean U.S. military action? 10:52:24 PRESIDENT OBAMA: By game changer, I mean that we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us. Now, we're already, as I said, invested in trying to bring about a solution inside of Syria. Obviously, there are options that are available to me that are on the shelf right now that we have not deployed, and that's a spectrum of options. You know, as -- as early as last year I asked the Pentagon, our military, our intelligence officials to prepare for me what options might be available. And I won't go into the details of what those options might be, but you know, clearly, that would be an escalation, in our view, of the threat to the security of the international community, our allies and the United States. And that means that there's some options that we might not otherwise exercise that we would -- that we would strongly consider. 10:53:30 ED HENRY: And on the Benghazi question, I know pieces of the story have been litigated, and you've been asked about it. But there are people in your own State Department saying they've been blocked from coming forward, that they survived the terror attack and they want to tell their story. Will you help them come forward and just say it once and for all? 10:53:45 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Ed, I'm not familiar with this notion that anybody's been blocked from testifying. So what I'll do is I will find out what exactly you're referring to. What I've been very clear about from the start is that our job with respect to Benghazi has been to find out exactly what happened, to make sure that U.S. embassies not just in the Middle East but around the world are safe and secure and to bring those who carried it out to justice. But I'll find out what exactly you're referring to. ED HENRY: They hired an attorney because they're saying that they've been blocked from coming forward. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm not familiar with it. Jessica. 10:54:26 JESSICA YELLIN: Mr. President, there's a report that your director of national intelligence has ordered a broad review -- this is in regards to the Boston marathon bombing -- that your DNI has ordered a broad review of all the intelligence gathering prior to the attack. There is also a series of senators -- (name inaudible) -- Saxby Chambliss, Lindsey Graham -- who allege that all these years after 9/11 there still wasn't enough intelligence shared prior to the attack. And now Lindsey Graham, who's a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, has said that Benghazi and Boston are both examples of the U.S. going backwards on national Security. Is he right and did our intelligence miss something? 10:55:07 PRESIDENT OBAMA: No. Mr. Graham is not right on this issue, although I'm sure it generated some headlines. I think that what we saw in Boston was state, local, federal officials, every agency, rallying around a city that had been attacked, identifying the perpetrators just hours after the scene had been examined. We now have one individual deceased, one in custody. Charges have been brought. I think that all our law enforcement officials performed in an exemplary fashion after the bombing had taken place. And we should be very proud of their work, as obviously we're proud of the people of Boston, all the first responders and the medical personnel that helped save lives. What we also know is that the Russian intelligence services had alerted U.S. intelligence about the older brother as well as the mother, indicating that they might be sympathizers to extremists. The FBI investigated that older brother. It's not as if the FBI did nothing. They not only investigated the older brother; they interviewed the older brother. They concluded that there were no signs that he was engaging in extremist activity. So that much we know. 10:56:47 And the question then is, was there something that happened that triggered radicalization and actual -- an actual decision by the brother to engage in the attacks that we -- the tragic attack we actually saw in Boston, and are there things -- additional things that could have been done in that interim that might have prevented it? Now, what Director Clapper's doing is standard procedure around here, which is when an event like this happens, we want to go back and we want to review every step that was taken. We want to leave no stone unturned. We want to see, is there in fact additional protocols and procedures that could be put in place that would further improve and enhance our ability to detect a potential attack? And we won't know that until that review is completed. We won't know that until the investigation into the actual crime is fully completed, and that's still ongoing. But what I can say is, is that based on what I've seen so far, the FBI performed its duties; Department of Homeland Security did what it was supposed to be doing. 10:58:14 But this is hard stuff. And I've said from -- for quite some time that because of the pressure that we put on al-Qaida core, because of the pressure that we put on these networks that are well- financed and more sophisticated and can engage and project transnational threats against the United States, one of the dangers that we now face are self-radicalized individuals who are already here in the United States, in some cases may not be part of any kind of network, but because of whatever warped, twisted ideas they may have, may decide to carry out an attack. And those are in some way more difficult to prevent. And so what I've done for months now is to indicate to our entire counterterrorism team, what more can we do on that threat that is looming on the horizon? Are there more things that we can do, whether it's engaging in -- engaging with communities where there's a potential for self-radicalization at this -- of this sort? Is there work that can be done in terms of detection? But all of this has to be done in the context of our laws, due process. And -- and so part of what Director Clapper is doing then is -- is going to be to -- to see if we can determine any lessons learned from -- from what happened. 10:59:55 JESSICA YELLIN: Are you getting all the intelligence and information you need from the Russians? And should Americans be worried when they go to big public events now? 11:00:02 PRESIDENT OBAMA: The Russians have been very cooperative with us since the -- since the Boston bombing. You know, obviously, old habits die hard. There are still suspicions sometimes between our intelligence and law enforcement agencies that date back 10, 20, 30 years, back to the Cold War. But they're continually improving. I've spoken to President Putin directly. He's committed to working with me to make sure that those who report to us are cooperating fully in not only this investigation but how do we work on counterterrorism issues generally. 11:00:50 In terms of what -- you know, the response of the American people, I think everybody can take a cue from Boston. You don't get a sense that anybody's intimidated when they go to Fenway Park a couple days after the bombing. There are joggers right now, I guarantee you, all throughout Boston and Cambridge and Watertown. And I think one of the things that I've been most proud of in watching the country's response to the terrible tragedy there is a sense of resilience and toughness and we're not going to be intimidated. We are going to live our lives. And, you know, people, I think, understand that we've got to do everything we can to prevent these kinds of attacks from taking place, but people also understand, in the same way they understand after a shooting in Aurora or Newtown or Virginia Tech or after the foiled attempts in Times Square or in Detroit, that we're not going to stop living our lives because warped, twisted individuals try to intimidate us. We're going to do what we do, which is go to work, raise our kids, go to ball games, run in marathons. And at the same time, we're going to make sure that everybody's cooperating and is vigilant and doing everything we can, without being naive, to try to prevent these attacks from happening in the future. Jonathan Karl. 11:02:24 JON KARL: Mr. President, you are a hundred days into your second term. On the gun bill, you put, it seems, everything into it to try to get it passed. Obviously, it didn't. Congress has ignored your efforts to try to get them to undo these sequester cuts. There was even a bill that you threatened to veto that got 92 Democrats in the House voting yes. So my question to you is do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda through this Congress? 11:02:53 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, if you put it that way, Jonathan -- (laughter) -- maybe I should just pack up and go home. (Laughter.) Golly. You know, the -- I think it's -- it's a little -- (chuckles) -- as Mark Twain said, you know, rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point. Look, we -- you know, we understand that we're in divided government right now. Republicans control the House of Representatives. In the Senate, this habit of requiring 60 votes for even the most modest piece of legislation has gummed up the works there. And I think it's -- comes to no surprise, not even to the American people, but even to members of Congress themselves, that right now things are pretty dysfunctional up on Capitol Hill. Despite that, I'm actually confident that there are a range of things that we're going to be able to get done. I feel confident that the bipartisan work that's been done on immigration reform will result in a bill that passes the Senate and passes the House and gets on my desk. And that's going to be a historic achievement. And I'm -- I've been very complimentary of the efforts of both Republicans and Democrats in those efforts. 11:04:12 It is true that the sequester is in place right now. It's damaging our economy, it's hurting our people and we need to lift it. What's clear is, is that the only way we're going to lift it is we do a bigger deal that meets the test of lowering our deficit and growing our economy at the same time, and that's going to require some compromises on the part of both Democrats and Republicans. I've had some good conversations with Republican senators so far. Those conversations are continuing. I think there's a genuine desire on many of their parts to move past not only sequester but Washington dysfunction. Whether we can get it done or not, you know, we'll see. 11:05:02 But I think, you know, the sequester's a good example, or this recent FAA issue is a good example. You'll recall that, you know, even as recently as my campaign, Republicans were saying, sequester's terrible. This is a disaster. It's going to ruin our military. It's going to be disastrous for the economy. We've got to do something about it. Then when it was determined that doing something about it might mean that we close some tax loopholes for the wealthy and the well- connected, suddenly, well, you know what? We'll take the sequester. And the notion was, somehow, that we had exaggerated the effects of the sequester. Remember? The president's, you know, crying wolf. He's chicken little. The sequester? No problem. And then in rapid succession, suddenly White House tours, this is terrible. How can we let that happen? Meat inspectors, we've got to fix that. And most recently, what are we going to do about potential delays at airports? 11:06:10 So despite the fact that a lot of members of Congress were suggesting that somehow, the sequester was a victory for them and this wouldn't hurt the economy, what we now know is that what I warned earlier or what Jay stood up here and warned repeatedly is happening. It's slowed our growth, it's resulting in people being thrown out of work, and it's hurting folks all across the country. And the fact that Congress responded to the short-term problems of flight delays by giving us the option of shifting money that's designed to repair and improve airports over the long term to fix the short-term problem, well, that's not a solution. So essentially, what we've done is we've said, in order to avoid delays this summer, we're going to ensure delays for the next two or three decades. Q: Why -- (inaudible) -- 11:07:10 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, hold on a second. The -- so the alternative, of course, is either to go ahead and impose a whole bunch of delays on passengers now, which also does not fix the problem, or the third alternative is to actually fix the problem by coming up with a broader, larger deal. But, you know, Jonathan, you seem to suggest that somehow, these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That's their job. They are elected, members of Congress are elected in order to do what's right for their constituencies and for the American people. So if, in fact, they are seriously concerned about passenger convenience and safety, then they shouldn't just be thinking about tomorrow or next week or the week after that; they should be thinking about what's going to happen five years from now, 10 years from now or 15 years from now. The only way to do that is for them to engage with me on coming up with a broader deal. 11:08:24 And that's exactly what I'm trying to do is to continue to talk to them about are there ways for us to fix this. Frankly, I don't think that if I were to veto, for example, this FAA bill, that that somehow would lead to the broader fix. It just means that there'd be pain now, which they would try to blame on me, as opposed to pain five years from now. But either way, the problem's not getting fixed. The only way the problem does get fixed is if both parties sit down and they say, how are we going to make sure that we're reducing our deficit sensibly; how are we making sure that we've investing in things like rebuilding our airports and our roads and our bridges and investing in early childhood education and all -- basic research, all the things that are going to help us grow, and that's what the American people want. 11:09:15 Just one interesting statistic when it comes to airports. There was a recent survey of the top airports in the country -- in the world. And there was not a single U.S. airport that came in the top 25, not one. Not one U.S. airport was considered by the experts and consumers who use these airports to be in the top 25 in the world. I think Cincinnati Airport came in around 30th. Well, what does that say about our long-term competitiveness and future? And so when folks say, well, there was some money in the FAA to deal with these furloughs, well, yeah, the money is this pool of funds that are supposed to try to upgrade our airports so we don't rank in the, you know, bottom of industrialized countries when it comes to our infrastructure. And that's what we're doing. We're using our seed corn short term. And the only reason we're doing it is because right now we've got folks who are unwilling to make some simple changes to our tax code, for example, to close loopholes that aren't adding to our competitiveness and aren't helping middle class families. 11:10:32 So I'm -- that's a long way of answering your question, but the point is that there are common-sense solutions to our problems right now. I cannot force Republicans to embrace those common-sense solutions. I can urge them to. I can put pressure on them, I can, you know, rally the American people around those -- you know, those common-sense solutions, but ultimately they themselves are going to have to say, we want to do the right thing. And I think there are members certainly in the Senate right now and, I suspect, members in the House as well who understand that deep down, but they're worried about their politics. It's tough. Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They're worried about primaries. And I understand all that. And we're going to try to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to be able to do what's going to be best for the country. But it's going to take some time. Bill Plante. 11:11:41 BILL PLANTE: Mr. President, as you're probably aware, there's a growing hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, among prisoners there. Is it any surprise, really, that they would prefer death rather than have no end in sight to their confinement? 11:11:55 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it is not a surprise to me that we've got problems in Guantanamo, which is why, when I was campaigning in 2007 and 2008 and when I was elected in 2008, I said we need to close Guantanamo. I continue to believe that we've got to close Guantanamo. I think -- well, you know, I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed. 11:12:53 Now Congress determined that they would not let us close it and despite the fact that there are a number of the folks who are currently in Guantanamo who the courts have said could be returned to their country of origin or potentially a third country. I'm going to go back at this. I've asked my team to review everything that's currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively, and I'm going to re-engage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that's in the best interests of the American people. And it's not sustainable. I mean, the notion that we're going to continue to keep over a hundred individuals in a no man's land in perpetuity, even at a time when we've wound down the war in Iraq, we're winding down the war in Afghanistan, we're having success defeating al-Qaida core, we've kept the pressure up on all these transnational terrorist networks, when we've transferred detention authority in Afghanistan -- the idea that we would still maintain forever a group of individuals who have not been tried -- that is contrary to who we are, it is contrary to our interests, and it needs to stop. 11:14:19 Now, it's a hard case to make because, you know, I think for a lot of Americans, the notion is out of sight, out of mind, and it's easy to demagogue the issue. That's what happened the first time this came up. I'm going to go back at it because I think it's important. BILL PLANTE: (Off mic) -- continue to force-feed these folks -- (inaudible) -- 11:14:45 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I don't -- I don't want these individuals to die. Obviously, the Pentagon is trying to manage the situation as best as they can. But I think all of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this. Why are we doing this? I mean, we've got a whole bunch of individuals who have been tried who are currently in maximum security prisons around the country. Nothing's happened to them. Justice has been served. It's been done in a way that's consistent with our Constitution, consistent with due process, consistent with rule of law, consistent with our traditions. The -- the individual who attempted to bomb Times Square -- in prison serving a life sentence. Individual who tried to bomb a plane in Detroit -- in prison serving a life sentence. A Somali who was part of al-Shahab (sic) who we captured -- in prison. 11:15:46 So we can handle this. And I understand that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, with the traumas that had taken place, why, for a lot of Americans, the notion was somehow that we had to create a special facility like Guantanamo, and we couldn't handle this in -- in a normal, conventional fashion. I understand that reaction. But we're not over a decade out. We should be wiser. We should have more experience at -- in how we prosecute terrorists. And this is a lingering, you know, problem that is not going to get better. It's going to get worse. It's going to fester. And so I'm going to -- as I've said before, we're -- examine every option that we have administratively to try to deal with this issue. But ultimately, we're also going to need some help from Congress. And I'm going to ask some -- some folks over there who, you know, care about fighting terrorism but also care about who we are as a people to -- to step up and -- and help me on it. Chuck Todd. 11:17:06 CHUCK TODD: Mr. President, thank you. Max Baucus, Democratic senator, referred to the implementation of your health-care as a potential train wreck. (We've had ?) other Democrats been whispering nervousness about the implementation and the impact -- (inaudible) -- the impact that it might have on their own political campaigns in 2014. Why do you keep -- just curious, why does Senator Baucus, somebody who extensively helped write your bill, believe that this is going to be a train wreck? And why do you believe he's wrong? 11:17:36 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I -- you know, I think that any time you're implementing something big, there is going to be people who are nervous and anxious about is it going to get done until it's actually done. But -- but let's just step back for a second and -- and -- and make sure the American people understand what it is that we're doing. The Affordable Care Act, "Obamacare," has now been with us for three years. It's gone through Supreme Court tests. It's gone through efforts to repeal. A huge chunk of it's already been implemented. 11:18:20 And for the 85 to 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, they're already experiencing most of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act even if they don't know it. Their insurance is more secure. Insurance companies can't drop them for bad reasons. Their kids are able to stay on their health insurance until they're 26 years old. They're getting free preventive care. So there are a whole host of benefits that -- for the average American out there, for the 85 to 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing's already happened, and their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better, more secure than it was before. Full stop. That's it. Now they don't have to worry about anything else. The implementation issues come in for those who don't have health insurance, maybe because they have a pre-existing condition and the only way they can get health insurance is to go out on the individual market and they're paying 50 percent or a hundred percent more than those of us who are lucky enough to have group plans. People who are too poor to get health insurance and the employers don't offer them. Maybe they work for a small business and that small business can't afford right now to provide health insurance. 11:19:45 So all the implementation issues that are coming up are implementation issues related to that small group of people, 10 to 15 percent of Americans -- now, it's still 30 million Americans, but relatively narrow group -- who don't have health insurance right now or are on the individual market and are paying exorbitant amounts for coverage that isn't that great. And what we're doing is we're setting up a pool so that they can all pool together and get a better deal from insurance companies. And those who can't afford it, we're going to provide them with some subsidies. That's it. I mean, that's what's left to implement because the other stuff's been implemented and it's working fine. The challenge is that, you know, setting up a market-based system, basically an online marketplace where you can go on and sign up and figure out what kind of insurance you can afford and figuring out how to get the subsidies, that's still a big complicated piece of business. 11:21:00 And when you're doing it nationwide, relatively fast, and you've got half of Congress who is determined to try to block implementation and not adequately funding implementation, and then you've got a number of members of -- or governors -- Republican governors who know that it's bad politics for them to try to implement this effectively -- and some even who have decided to implement it and then their Republican-controlled state legislatures say don't implement and won't pass enabling legislation -- when you have that kind of situation, that makes it harder. 11:21:42 But having said all that, we've got a great team in place. We are pushing very hard to make sure that we're hitting all the deadlines and the benchmarks. I'll give you an example -- a recent example. You know, we put together initially an application form for signing up for participation in the exchanges that was initially about 21 pages long. And immediately everybody sat around the table and said: Well, this is too long, especially, you know, in this age of the Internet. People aren't going to have the patience to sit there for hours on end. Let's streamline this thing. So we cut what was a 21-page form now down to a form that's about three pages for an individual, a little more than that for a family, well below the industry average. So those kinds of refinements, we're going to continue to be working on. 11:22:33 But I think the main message I want to give to the American people here is despite all the hue and cry and, you know, sky-is- falling predictions about this stuff, if you've already got health insurance, then that part of "Obamacare" that affects you, it's pretty much already in place. And that's about 85 percent of the country. What is left to be implemented is those provisions to help the 10 to 15 percent of the American public that is unlucky enough that they don't have health insurance. And by the way, you know, some of you who have health insurance right now, at some point you may lose your health insurance, and if you've got a pre-existing condition, this structure will make sure that you are not left vulnerable. But it's still a big undertaking. And what we're doing is making sure that every single day we are constantly trying to hit our marks so that it will be in place. 11:23:39 And -- and the last point I'll make, even if we do everything perfectly, there'll still be, you know, glitches and bumps, and there'll be stories that can be written that says, oh, look, this thing's, you know, not working the way it's supposed to, and this happened and that happened. And that's pretty much true of every government program that's ever been set up. But if we stay with it and we understand what our long-term objective is, which is making sure that in a country as wealthy as ours, nobody should go bankrupt if they get sick and that we would rather have people getting regular checkups than going to the emergency room because they don't have health care -- if -- if we keep that in mind, then we're going to be able to drive down costs, we're going to be able to improve efficiencies in the system, we're going to be able to see people benefit from better health care, and that will save the country money as a whole over the long term. 11:24:29 CHUCK TODD: Do you think without the cooperation of a handful of governors, particularly large states like Florida and Texas, that you can fully implement it? 11:24:37 PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think it's harder; there's no doubt about it. CHUCK TODD: But can you do it without those? PRESIDENT OBAMA: We -- we will implement it. There will be -- we have a backup federal exchange. If states aren't cooperating, we set up a federal exchange, so that people can access that federal exchange. But yes, it puts more of a burden on us. And it's ironic, since all these folks say that they believe in empowering states, that they're going to end up having the federal government do something that we'd actually prefer states to do if they were properly cooperating. See how we're doing on time here. Last question. Antonieta Cadiz. Where's Antonieta? There you are. Tell those big guys to get out of your way. (Laughter.) 11:25:34 ANTONIETA CADIZ: Thank you. And two questions. There are concerns about an immigration deal from the House -- from the Gang of Eight -- in the House can complicate the chances for immigration reform in the Senate. It seems to be a more conservative proposal. Is there room for a more conservative proposal than the one presented in the Senate? That's immigration. And second, on Mexico, yesterday the Mexican government said all contact with the U.S. law enforcement will now go through a single door, the federal Interior Ministry. Is this -- is this change good for the U.S. relationship with Mexico? Do you see -- (inaudible) -- of security and cooperation -- (inaudible)? 11:26:16 PRESIDENT OBAMA: On immigration reform, I've been impressed by the work that was done by the Gang of Eight in the Senate. The bill that they produced is not the bill that I would've written. There are elements of it that I would change. But I do think that it meets the basic criteria that I laid out from the start, which is we've got to have more effective border security, although it should build on the great improvements that have been made on border security over the last four to five years. We should make sure that we are cracking down on employers that are gaming the system. We should make the legal immigration system work more effectively so that the waits are not as burdensome, the bureaucracy is not as complicated so that we can continue to attract the best and the brightest from around the world to our shores in a legal fashion. And we want to make sure that we've got a pathway to citizenship that is tough but allows people to earn over time their legal status here in this country. And, you know, the Senate bill meets that -- those criteria -- in some cases, not in the ways that I would, but it meets those basic criteria. And I think it's a -- you know, it -- it's a testament to the senators that were involved that they made some tough choices and make some tough compromises in order to hammer out that bill. 11:28:05 Now, I haven't seen what members of the House are yet proposing. And maybe they think that they can answer some of those questions differently or better, and I think we've got to be open-minded in seeing what they come up with. The bottom line, though, is, is that they still got to meet those basic criteria. Is it making the border safer? Is it dealing with employers and how they work with -- with the governments to make sure that people are not being taken advantage of or taking advantage of the system? Are we improving our legal immigration system? And are we creating a pathway for citizenship for the 11 million or so who are undocumented in this his country? And if they meet those criteria but they're slightly different than the Senate bill, then I think that we should be able to come up with an appropriate compromise. If it doesn't meet those criteria, then I will not -- I will not support such a bill. So we'll have to wait and see. 11:29:13 When it comes to Mexico, I'm very much looking forward to taking the trip down to Mexico to see the new president, Pena Nieto. I had a chance to meet him here, but this will be the first more extensive consultations and will be an opportunity for his ministers, my Cabinet members who are participating to really hammer out some of these issues. A lot of the focus is going to be on economics. We've spent so much time on security issues between the United States and Mexico that sometimes I think we forget this is a massive trading partner responsible for huge amounts of commerce and huge numbers of jobs on both sides of the border. We want to see how we can deepen that, how we can improve that and maintain that economic dialogue over a long period of time. 11:30:11 That doesn't mean that we're not going to be talking about security. I think that in my first conversation with the president, he indicated to me that he very much continues to be concerned about how we can work together to deal with transnational drug cartels. We've made great strides in the coordination and cooperation between our two governments over the last several years. But my suspicion is, is that things can be improved. And some of the issues that he's talking about really have to do with refinements and improvements in terms of how Mexican authorities work with each other, how they coordinate more effectively, and it has less to do with how they're dealing with us per se. So -- so I'm not going to yet judge how this will alter the relationship between the United States and Mexico until I've heard directly from them to see what exactly are they trying to accomplish. 11:31:07 But overall, what I can say is that my impression is, is that the new president is serious about reform. He's already made some tough decisions. I think he's going to make more that will improve the economy and -- and security of Mexican citizens, and that will improve the bilateral relationship as well. And I -- I -- I don't want to leave out that we're also going to be talking to -- during my visits, to Costa Rica, the presidents of Central American countries, many of whom are struggling with both economic issues and security issues but are important partners for us, because I think the vision here is that we want to make sure that our hemisphere is more effectively integrated to improve the economy and security of all people. That's good for the United States. That will enhance our economy. That can improve our energy independence. There are a whole range of opportunities, and -- and that's going to be the purpose of this trip. And I'm sure that those of you who will have a chance to travel with me will have a chance to discuss this (part of it ?). All right? 11:32:14 Thank you very much, everybody. Q: Jason Collins -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, guys. Q: Jason Collins, do you want to say anything about him? 11:32:19 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah, I'll say something about Jason Collins. I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man, and, you know, I told him I couldn't be prouder of him. You know, one of the extraordinary measures of progress that we've seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance but a recognition that they're fully a part of the American family. And, you know, given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who's excelled at the highest levels in one of major sports go ahead and say, this is who I am, I'm proud of it, I'm still a great competitor, I'm still seven feet tall and can bang with Shaq and, you know, deliver a hard foul -- and for, you know, a lot of young people out there who, you know, are -- are -- are, you know, gay or lesbian, who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who's unafraid, I think it's a great thing. And I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly. And everybody's part of a -- part of a family, and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance, and not their sexual orientation. And so I'm very proud of him. All right? 11:34:09 Obama walk out
LESBIAN CUSTODY CASE (08/30/1996)
A LESBIAN WOMAN HAS BEEN DEFEATED AGAIN...AS HER EX-HUSBAND, WHO IS A CONVICTED MURDERER, GAINS SOLE CUSTODY OF THEIR CHILD.
OBAMA WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING / CUTS
INT BROLL PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA PRESSER IN WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM / CUTS Tuesday, April 30, 2013 TRANSCRIPT: President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the White House Briefing Room SLUG: 1030 WH PRESS CONF STIX RS37 83 / 1030 WH PRESS CONF CUTS RS38 84 AR: 16X9 DISC#699 / 701 NYRS: 5114 / 5120 10:46:19 PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Hello. Good afternoon -- or good morning, everybody. I am here to answer questions in honor of Ed Henry, as he wraps up his tenure as president of the White House Correspondents' Association. Ed, because of that, you get the first question. Congratulations. ED HENRY: Thank you, sir. I really appreciate that. And I hope we can go back to business and being mad at each other in a little bit. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm not mad at you. ED HENRY: OK. Thank you. I appreciate it. PRESIDENT OBAMA: You may be mad at me. (Laughter.) 10:46:47 ED HENRY: I'm not. (Laughter.) A couple questions on national security. On Syria, you said that the red line was not just about chemical weapons being used but being spread, and it was a game changer, seemed cut and dry (sic). And now your administration seems to be suggesting that line is not clear. Do you risk U.S. credibility if you don't take military action? And then on Benghazi, there are some survivors of that terror attack who say they want to come forward and testify, some in your State Department, and they say they've been blocked. Will you allow them to testify? 10:47:21 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, on Syria, I think it's important to understand that for several years now what we've been seeing is a slowly unfolding disaster for the Syrian people, and this is not a situation in which we've been simply bystanders to what's been happening. My policy from the beginning has been President Assad had lost credibility; that he attacked his own people, has killed his own people, unleashed a military against innocent civilians; and that the only way to bring stability and peace to Syria is going to be for Assad to step down and -- and to move forward on a political transition. In pursuit of that strategy, we've organized the international community. We are the largest humanitarian donor. We have worked to strengthen the opposition. We have provided nonlethal assistance to the opposition. We have applied sanctions on Syria. So there are a whole host of steps that we've been taking precisely because even separate from the chemical weapons issue, what's happening in Syria is a blemish on the international community generally, and we've got to make sure that we're doing everything we can to protect the Syrian people. 10:48:43 In that context, what I've also said is that the use of chemical weapons would be a game changer, not simply for the United States for but the international community. And the reason for that is that we have established international law and international norms that say when you use these kinds of weapons, you have the potential of killing massive numbers of people in the most inhumane way possible, and the proliferation risks are so significant that we don't want that genie out of the bottle. So when I've said the use of chemical weapons would be a game changer, that wasn't unique to -- that wasn't a position unique to the United States, and it shouldn't have been a surprise. And what we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria, but we don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them; we don't have chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened. And when I am making decisions about America's national security and the potential for taking additional action in response to chemical weapon use, I've got to make sure I've got the facts. That's what the American people would expect. And if we end up rushing to judgment without hard, effective evidence, then we can find ourselves in the position where we can't mobilize the international community to support what we do. There may be objections even among some people in the region who are sympathetic with the opposition if we take action. So, you know, it's important for us to do this in a prudent way. 10:50:39 And what I've said to my team is, we've got to do everything we can to investigate and establish with some certainty what exactly has happened in Syria, what is happening in Syria. We will use all the assets and resources that we have at our disposal. We'll work with the neighboring countries to see whether we can establish a clear baseline of facts. And we've also called on the United Nations to investigate. 10:51:06 But the important point I want to make here is that we already are deeply engaged in trying to bring about a solution in Syria. It is a difficult problem. But even if chemical weapons were not being used in Syria, we'd still be thinking about tens of thousands of people, innocent civilians, women, children, who've been killed by a regime that's more concerned about staying in power than it is about the well-being of its people. And so we are already deeply invested in trying to find a solution here. What is true, though, is that if I can establish, in a way that not only the United States but also the international community feel confident is the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, then that is a game changer because what that portends is potentially even more devastating attacks on civilians, and it raises the strong possibility that those chemical weapons can fall into the wrong hands and get disseminated in ways that would threaten U.S. security or the security of our allies. ED HENRY: By game changer, do you mean U.S. military action? 10:52:24 PRESIDENT OBAMA: By game changer, I mean that we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us. Now, we're already, as I said, invested in trying to bring about a solution inside of Syria. Obviously, there are options that are available to me that are on the shelf right now that we have not deployed, and that's a spectrum of options. You know, as -- as early as last year I asked the Pentagon, our military, our intelligence officials to prepare for me what options might be available. And I won't go into the details of what those options might be, but you know, clearly, that would be an escalation, in our view, of the threat to the security of the international community, our allies and the United States. And that means that there's some options that we might not otherwise exercise that we would -- that we would strongly consider. 10:53:30 ED HENRY: And on the Benghazi question, I know pieces of the story have been litigated, and you've been asked about it. But there are people in your own State Department saying they've been blocked from coming forward, that they survived the terror attack and they want to tell their story. Will you help them come forward and just say it once and for all? 10:53:45 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Ed, I'm not familiar with this notion that anybody's been blocked from testifying. So what I'll do is I will find out what exactly you're referring to. What I've been very clear about from the start is that our job with respect to Benghazi has been to find out exactly what happened, to make sure that U.S. embassies not just in the Middle East but around the world are safe and secure and to bring those who carried it out to justice. But I'll find out what exactly you're referring to. ED HENRY: They hired an attorney because they're saying that they've been blocked from coming forward. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm not familiar with it. Jessica. 10:54:26 JESSICA YELLIN: Mr. President, there's a report that your director of national intelligence has ordered a broad review -- this is in regards to the Boston marathon bombing -- that your DNI has ordered a broad review of all the intelligence gathering prior to the attack. There is also a series of senators -- (name inaudible) -- Saxby Chambliss, Lindsey Graham -- who allege that all these years after 9/11 there still wasn't enough intelligence shared prior to the attack. And now Lindsey Graham, who's a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, has said that Benghazi and Boston are both examples of the U.S. going backwards on national Security. Is he right and did our intelligence miss something? 10:55:07 PRESIDENT OBAMA: No. Mr. Graham is not right on this issue, although I'm sure it generated some headlines. I think that what we saw in Boston was state, local, federal officials, every agency, rallying around a city that had been attacked, identifying the perpetrators just hours after the scene had been examined. We now have one individual deceased, one in custody. Charges have been brought. I think that all our law enforcement officials performed in an exemplary fashion after the bombing had taken place. And we should be very proud of their work, as obviously we're proud of the people of Boston, all the first responders and the medical personnel that helped save lives. What we also know is that the Russian intelligence services had alerted U.S. intelligence about the older brother as well as the mother, indicating that they might be sympathizers to extremists. The FBI investigated that older brother. It's not as if the FBI did nothing. They not only investigated the older brother; they interviewed the older brother. They concluded that there were no signs that he was engaging in extremist activity. So that much we know. 10:56:47 And the question then is, was there something that happened that triggered radicalization and actual -- an actual decision by the brother to engage in the attacks that we -- the tragic attack we actually saw in Boston, and are there things -- additional things that could have been done in that interim that might have prevented it? Now, what Director Clapper's doing is standard procedure around here, which is when an event like this happens, we want to go back and we want to review every step that was taken. We want to leave no stone unturned. We want to see, is there in fact additional protocols and procedures that could be put in place that would further improve and enhance our ability to detect a potential attack? And we won't know that until that review is completed. We won't know that until the investigation into the actual crime is fully completed, and that's still ongoing. But what I can say is, is that based on what I've seen so far, the FBI performed its duties; Department of Homeland Security did what it was supposed to be doing. 10:58:14 But this is hard stuff. And I've said from -- for quite some time that because of the pressure that we put on al-Qaida core, because of the pressure that we put on these networks that are well- financed and more sophisticated and can engage and project transnational threats against the United States, one of the dangers that we now face are self-radicalized individuals who are already here in the United States, in some cases may not be part of any kind of network, but because of whatever warped, twisted ideas they may have, may decide to carry out an attack. And those are in some way more difficult to prevent. And so what I've done for months now is to indicate to our entire counterterrorism team, what more can we do on that threat that is looming on the horizon? Are there more things that we can do, whether it's engaging in -- engaging with communities where there's a potential for self-radicalization at this -- of this sort? Is there work that can be done in terms of detection? But all of this has to be done in the context of our laws, due process. And -- and so part of what Director Clapper is doing then is -- is going to be to -- to see if we can determine any lessons learned from -- from what happened. 10:59:55 JESSICA YELLIN: Are you getting all the intelligence and information you need from the Russians? And should Americans be worried when they go to big public events now? 11:00:02 PRESIDENT OBAMA: The Russians have been very cooperative with us since the -- since the Boston bombing. You know, obviously, old habits die hard. There are still suspicions sometimes between our intelligence and law enforcement agencies that date back 10, 20, 30 years, back to the Cold War. But they're continually improving. I've spoken to President Putin directly. He's committed to working with me to make sure that those who report to us are cooperating fully in not only this investigation but how do we work on counterterrorism issues generally. 11:00:50 In terms of what -- you know, the response of the American people, I think everybody can take a cue from Boston. You don't get a sense that anybody's intimidated when they go to Fenway Park a couple days after the bombing. There are joggers right now, I guarantee you, all throughout Boston and Cambridge and Watertown. And I think one of the things that I've been most proud of in watching the country's response to the terrible tragedy there is a sense of resilience and toughness and we're not going to be intimidated. We are going to live our lives. And, you know, people, I think, understand that we've got to do everything we can to prevent these kinds of attacks from taking place, but people also understand, in the same way they understand after a shooting in Aurora or Newtown or Virginia Tech or after the foiled attempts in Times Square or in Detroit, that we're not going to stop living our lives because warped, twisted individuals try to intimidate us. We're going to do what we do, which is go to work, raise our kids, go to ball games, run in marathons. And at the same time, we're going to make sure that everybody's cooperating and is vigilant and doing everything we can, without being naive, to try to prevent these attacks from happening in the future. Jonathan Karl. 11:02:24 JON KARL: Mr. President, you are a hundred days into your second term. On the gun bill, you put, it seems, everything into it to try to get it passed. Obviously, it didn't. Congress has ignored your efforts to try to get them to undo these sequester cuts. There was even a bill that you threatened to veto that got 92 Democrats in the House voting yes. So my question to you is do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda through this Congress? 11:02:53 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, if you put it that way, Jonathan -- (laughter) -- maybe I should just pack up and go home. (Laughter.) Golly. You know, the -- I think it's -- it's a little -- (chuckles) -- as Mark Twain said, you know, rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point. Look, we -- you know, we understand that we're in divided government right now. Republicans control the House of Representatives. In the Senate, this habit of requiring 60 votes for even the most modest piece of legislation has gummed up the works there. And I think it's -- comes to no surprise, not even to the American people, but even to members of Congress themselves, that right now things are pretty dysfunctional up on Capitol Hill. Despite that, I'm actually confident that there are a range of things that we're going to be able to get done. I feel confident that the bipartisan work that's been done on immigration reform will result in a bill that passes the Senate and passes the House and gets on my desk. And that's going to be a historic achievement. And I'm -- I've been very complimentary of the efforts of both Republicans and Democrats in those efforts. 11:04:12 It is true that the sequester is in place right now. It's damaging our economy, it's hurting our people and we need to lift it. What's clear is, is that the only way we're going to lift it is we do a bigger deal that meets the test of lowering our deficit and growing our economy at the same time, and that's going to require some compromises on the part of both Democrats and Republicans. I've had some good conversations with Republican senators so far. Those conversations are continuing. I think there's a genuine desire on many of their parts to move past not only sequester but Washington dysfunction. Whether we can get it done or not, you know, we'll see. 11:05:02 But I think, you know, the sequester's a good example, or this recent FAA issue is a good example. You'll recall that, you know, even as recently as my campaign, Republicans were saying, sequester's terrible. This is a disaster. It's going to ruin our military. It's going to be disastrous for the economy. We've got to do something about it. Then when it was determined that doing something about it might mean that we close some tax loopholes for the wealthy and the well- connected, suddenly, well, you know what? We'll take the sequester. And the notion was, somehow, that we had exaggerated the effects of the sequester. Remember? The president's, you know, crying wolf. He's chicken little. The sequester? No problem. And then in rapid succession, suddenly White House tours, this is terrible. How can we let that happen? Meat inspectors, we've got to fix that. And most recently, what are we going to do about potential delays at airports? 11:06:10 So despite the fact that a lot of members of Congress were suggesting that somehow, the sequester was a victory for them and this wouldn't hurt the economy, what we now know is that what I warned earlier or what Jay stood up here and warned repeatedly is happening. It's slowed our growth, it's resulting in people being thrown out of work, and it's hurting folks all across the country. And the fact that Congress responded to the short-term problems of flight delays by giving us the option of shifting money that's designed to repair and improve airports over the long term to fix the short-term problem, well, that's not a solution. So essentially, what we've done is we've said, in order to avoid delays this summer, we're going to ensure delays for the next two or three decades. Q: Why -- (inaudible) -- 11:07:10 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, hold on a second. The -- so the alternative, of course, is either to go ahead and impose a whole bunch of delays on passengers now, which also does not fix the problem, or the third alternative is to actually fix the problem by coming up with a broader, larger deal. But, you know, Jonathan, you seem to suggest that somehow, these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That's their job. They are elected, members of Congress are elected in order to do what's right for their constituencies and for the American people. So if, in fact, they are seriously concerned about passenger convenience and safety, then they shouldn't just be thinking about tomorrow or next week or the week after that; they should be thinking about what's going to happen five years from now, 10 years from now or 15 years from now. The only way to do that is for them to engage with me on coming up with a broader deal. 11:08:24 And that's exactly what I'm trying to do is to continue to talk to them about are there ways for us to fix this. Frankly, I don't think that if I were to veto, for example, this FAA bill, that that somehow would lead to the broader fix. It just means that there'd be pain now, which they would try to blame on me, as opposed to pain five years from now. But either way, the problem's not getting fixed. The only way the problem does get fixed is if both parties sit down and they say, how are we going to make sure that we're reducing our deficit sensibly; how are we making sure that we've investing in things like rebuilding our airports and our roads and our bridges and investing in early childhood education and all -- basic research, all the things that are going to help us grow, and that's what the American people want. 11:09:15 Just one interesting statistic when it comes to airports. There was a recent survey of the top airports in the country -- in the world. And there was not a single U.S. airport that came in the top 25, not one. Not one U.S. airport was considered by the experts and consumers who use these airports to be in the top 25 in the world. I think Cincinnati Airport came in around 30th. Well, what does that say about our long-term competitiveness and future? And so when folks say, well, there was some money in the FAA to deal with these furloughs, well, yeah, the money is this pool of funds that are supposed to try to upgrade our airports so we don't rank in the, you know, bottom of industrialized countries when it comes to our infrastructure. And that's what we're doing. We're using our seed corn short term. And the only reason we're doing it is because right now we've got folks who are unwilling to make some simple changes to our tax code, for example, to close loopholes that aren't adding to our competitiveness and aren't helping middle class families. 11:10:32 So I'm -- that's a long way of answering your question, but the point is that there are common-sense solutions to our problems right now. I cannot force Republicans to embrace those common-sense solutions. I can urge them to. I can put pressure on them, I can, you know, rally the American people around those -- you know, those common-sense solutions, but ultimately they themselves are going to have to say, we want to do the right thing. And I think there are members certainly in the Senate right now and, I suspect, members in the House as well who understand that deep down, but they're worried about their politics. It's tough. Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They're worried about primaries. And I understand all that. And we're going to try to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to be able to do what's going to be best for the country. But it's going to take some time. Bill Plante. 11:11:41 BILL PLANTE: Mr. President, as you're probably aware, there's a growing hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, among prisoners there. Is it any surprise, really, that they would prefer death rather than have no end in sight to their confinement? 11:11:55 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it is not a surprise to me that we've got problems in Guantanamo, which is why, when I was campaigning in 2007 and 2008 and when I was elected in 2008, I said we need to close Guantanamo. I continue to believe that we've got to close Guantanamo. I think -- well, you know, I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed. 11:12:53 Now Congress determined that they would not let us close it and despite the fact that there are a number of the folks who are currently in Guantanamo who the courts have said could be returned to their country of origin or potentially a third country. I'm going to go back at this. I've asked my team to review everything that's currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively, and I'm going to re-engage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that's in the best interests of the American people. And it's not sustainable. I mean, the notion that we're going to continue to keep over a hundred individuals in a no man's land in perpetuity, even at a time when we've wound down the war in Iraq, we're winding down the war in Afghanistan, we're having success defeating al-Qaida core, we've kept the pressure up on all these transnational terrorist networks, when we've transferred detention authority in Afghanistan -- the idea that we would still maintain forever a group of individuals who have not been tried -- that is contrary to who we are, it is contrary to our interests, and it needs to stop. 11:14:19 Now, it's a hard case to make because, you know, I think for a lot of Americans, the notion is out of sight, out of mind, and it's easy to demagogue the issue. That's what happened the first time this came up. I'm going to go back at it because I think it's important. BILL PLANTE: (Off mic) -- continue to force-feed these folks -- (inaudible) -- 11:14:45 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I don't -- I don't want these individuals to die. Obviously, the Pentagon is trying to manage the situation as best as they can. But I think all of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this. Why are we doing this? I mean, we've got a whole bunch of individuals who have been tried who are currently in maximum security prisons around the country. Nothing's happened to them. Justice has been served. It's been done in a way that's consistent with our Constitution, consistent with due process, consistent with rule of law, consistent with our traditions. The -- the individual who attempted to bomb Times Square -- in prison serving a life sentence. Individual who tried to bomb a plane in Detroit -- in prison serving a life sentence. A Somali who was part of al-Shahab (sic) who we captured -- in prison. 11:15:46 So we can handle this. And I understand that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, with the traumas that had taken place, why, for a lot of Americans, the notion was somehow that we had to create a special facility like Guantanamo, and we couldn't handle this in -- in a normal, conventional fashion. I understand that reaction. But we're not over a decade out. We should be wiser. We should have more experience at -- in how we prosecute terrorists. And this is a lingering, you know, problem that is not going to get better. It's going to get worse. It's going to fester. And so I'm going to -- as I've said before, we're -- examine every option that we have administratively to try to deal with this issue. But ultimately, we're also going to need some help from Congress. And I'm going to ask some -- some folks over there who, you know, care about fighting terrorism but also care about who we are as a people to -- to step up and -- and help me on it. Chuck Todd. 11:17:06 CHUCK TODD: Mr. President, thank you. Max Baucus, Democratic senator, referred to the implementation of your health-care as a potential train wreck. (We've had ?) other Democrats been whispering nervousness about the implementation and the impact -- (inaudible) -- the impact that it might have on their own political campaigns in 2014. Why do you keep -- just curious, why does Senator Baucus, somebody who extensively helped write your bill, believe that this is going to be a train wreck? And why do you believe he's wrong? 11:17:36 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I -- you know, I think that any time you're implementing something big, there is going to be people who are nervous and anxious about is it going to get done until it's actually done. But -- but let's just step back for a second and -- and -- and make sure the American people understand what it is that we're doing. The Affordable Care Act, "Obamacare," has now been with us for three years. It's gone through Supreme Court tests. It's gone through efforts to repeal. A huge chunk of it's already been implemented. 11:18:20 And for the 85 to 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, they're already experiencing most of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act even if they don't know it. Their insurance is more secure. Insurance companies can't drop them for bad reasons. Their kids are able to stay on their health insurance until they're 26 years old. They're getting free preventive care. So there are a whole host of benefits that -- for the average American out there, for the 85 to 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing's already happened, and their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better, more secure than it was before. Full stop. That's it. Now they don't have to worry about anything else. The implementation issues come in for those who don't have health insurance, maybe because they have a pre-existing condition and the only way they can get health insurance is to go out on the individual market and they're paying 50 percent or a hundred percent more than those of us who are lucky enough to have group plans. People who are too poor to get health insurance and the employers don't offer them. Maybe they work for a small business and that small business can't afford right now to provide health insurance. 11:19:45 So all the implementation issues that are coming up are implementation issues related to that small group of people, 10 to 15 percent of Americans -- now, it's still 30 million Americans, but relatively narrow group -- who don't have health insurance right now or are on the individual market and are paying exorbitant amounts for coverage that isn't that great. And what we're doing is we're setting up a pool so that they can all pool together and get a better deal from insurance companies. And those who can't afford it, we're going to provide them with some subsidies. That's it. I mean, that's what's left to implement because the other stuff's been implemented and it's working fine. The challenge is that, you know, setting up a market-based system, basically an online marketplace where you can go on and sign up and figure out what kind of insurance you can afford and figuring out how to get the subsidies, that's still a big complicated piece of business. 11:21:00 And when you're doing it nationwide, relatively fast, and you've got half of Congress who is determined to try to block implementation and not adequately funding implementation, and then you've got a number of members of -- or governors -- Republican governors who know that it's bad politics for them to try to implement this effectively -- and some even who have decided to implement it and then their Republican-controlled state legislatures say don't implement and won't pass enabling legislation -- when you have that kind of situation, that makes it harder. 11:21:42 But having said all that, we've got a great team in place. We are pushing very hard to make sure that we're hitting all the deadlines and the benchmarks. I'll give you an example -- a recent example. You know, we put together initially an application form for signing up for participation in the exchanges that was initially about 21 pages long. And immediately everybody sat around the table and said: Well, this is too long, especially, you know, in this age of the Internet. People aren't going to have the patience to sit there for hours on end. Let's streamline this thing. So we cut what was a 21-page form now down to a form that's about three pages for an individual, a little more than that for a family, well below the industry average. So those kinds of refinements, we're going to continue to be working on. 11:22:33 But I think the main message I want to give to the American people here is despite all the hue and cry and, you know, sky-is- falling predictions about this stuff, if you've already got health insurance, then that part of "Obamacare" that affects you, it's pretty much already in place. And that's about 85 percent of the country. What is left to be implemented is those provisions to help the 10 to 15 percent of the American public that is unlucky enough that they don't have health insurance. And by the way, you know, some of you who have health insurance right now, at some point you may lose your health insurance, and if you've got a pre-existing condition, this structure will make sure that you are not left vulnerable. But it's still a big undertaking. And what we're doing is making sure that every single day we are constantly trying to hit our marks so that it will be in place. 11:23:39 And -- and the last point I'll make, even if we do everything perfectly, there'll still be, you know, glitches and bumps, and there'll be stories that can be written that says, oh, look, this thing's, you know, not working the way it's supposed to, and this happened and that happened. And that's pretty much true of every government program that's ever been set up. But if we stay with it and we understand what our long-term objective is, which is making sure that in a country as wealthy as ours, nobody should go bankrupt if they get sick and that we would rather have people getting regular checkups than going to the emergency room because they don't have health care -- if -- if we keep that in mind, then we're going to be able to drive down costs, we're going to be able to improve efficiencies in the system, we're going to be able to see people benefit from better health care, and that will save the country money as a whole over the long term. 11:24:29 CHUCK TODD: Do you think without the cooperation of a handful of governors, particularly large states like Florida and Texas, that you can fully implement it? 11:24:37 PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think it's harder; there's no doubt about it. CHUCK TODD: But can you do it without those? PRESIDENT OBAMA: We -- we will implement it. There will be -- we have a backup federal exchange. If states aren't cooperating, we set up a federal exchange, so that people can access that federal exchange. But yes, it puts more of a burden on us. And it's ironic, since all these folks say that they believe in empowering states, that they're going to end up having the federal government do something that we'd actually prefer states to do if they were properly cooperating. See how we're doing on time here. Last question. Antonieta Cadiz. Where's Antonieta? There you are. Tell those big guys to get out of your way. (Laughter.) 11:25:34 ANTONIETA CADIZ: Thank you. And two questions. There are concerns about an immigration deal from the House -- from the Gang of Eight -- in the House can complicate the chances for immigration reform in the Senate. It seems to be a more conservative proposal. Is there room for a more conservative proposal than the one presented in the Senate? That's immigration. And second, on Mexico, yesterday the Mexican government said all contact with the U.S. law enforcement will now go through a single door, the federal Interior Ministry. Is this -- is this change good for the U.S. relationship with Mexico? Do you see -- (inaudible) -- of security and cooperation -- (inaudible)? 11:26:16 PRESIDENT OBAMA: On immigration reform, I've been impressed by the work that was done by the Gang of Eight in the Senate. The bill that they produced is not the bill that I would've written. There are elements of it that I would change. But I do think that it meets the basic criteria that I laid out from the start, which is we've got to have more effective border security, although it should build on the great improvements that have been made on border security over the last four to five years. We should make sure that we are cracking down on employers that are gaming the system. We should make the legal immigration system work more effectively so that the waits are not as burdensome, the bureaucracy is not as complicated so that we can continue to attract the best and the brightest from around the world to our shores in a legal fashion. And we want to make sure that we've got a pathway to citizenship that is tough but allows people to earn over time their legal status here in this country. And, you know, the Senate bill meets that -- those criteria -- in some cases, not in the ways that I would, but it meets those basic criteria. And I think it's a -- you know, it -- it's a testament to the senators that were involved that they made some tough choices and make some tough compromises in order to hammer out that bill. 11:28:05 Now, I haven't seen what members of the House are yet proposing. And maybe they think that they can answer some of those questions differently or better, and I think we've got to be open-minded in seeing what they come up with. The bottom line, though, is, is that they still got to meet those basic criteria. Is it making the border safer? Is it dealing with employers and how they work with -- with the governments to make sure that people are not being taken advantage of or taking advantage of the system? Are we improving our legal immigration system? And are we creating a pathway for citizenship for the 11 million or so who are undocumented in this his country? And if they meet those criteria but they're slightly different than the Senate bill, then I think that we should be able to come up with an appropriate compromise. If it doesn't meet those criteria, then I will not -- I will not support such a bill. So we'll have to wait and see. 11:29:13 When it comes to Mexico, I'm very much looking forward to taking the trip down to Mexico to see the new president, Pena Nieto. I had a chance to meet him here, but this will be the first more extensive consultations and will be an opportunity for his ministers, my Cabinet members who are participating to really hammer out some of these issues. A lot of the focus is going to be on economics. We've spent so much time on security issues between the United States and Mexico that sometimes I think we forget this is a massive trading partner responsible for huge amounts of commerce and huge numbers of jobs on both sides of the border. We want to see how we can deepen that, how we can improve that and maintain that economic dialogue over a long period of time. 11:30:11 That doesn't mean that we're not going to be talking about security. I think that in my first conversation with the president, he indicated to me that he very much continues to be concerned about how we can work together to deal with transnational drug cartels. We've made great strides in the coordination and cooperation between our two governments over the last several years. But my suspicion is, is that things can be improved. And some of the issues that he's talking about really have to do with refinements and improvements in terms of how Mexican authorities work with each other, how they coordinate more effectively, and it has less to do with how they're dealing with us per se. So -- so I'm not going to yet judge how this will alter the relationship between the United States and Mexico until I've heard directly from them to see what exactly are they trying to accomplish. 11:31:07 But overall, what I can say is that my impression is, is that the new president is serious about reform. He's already made some tough decisions. I think he's going to make more that will improve the economy and -- and security of Mexican citizens, and that will improve the bilateral relationship as well. And I -- I -- I don't want to leave out that we're also going to be talking to -- during my visits, to Costa Rica, the presidents of Central American countries, many of whom are struggling with both economic issues and security issues but are important partners for us, because I think the vision here is that we want to make sure that our hemisphere is more effectively integrated to improve the economy and security of all people. That's good for the United States. That will enhance our economy. That can improve our energy independence. There are a whole range of opportunities, and -- and that's going to be the purpose of this trip. And I'm sure that those of you who will have a chance to travel with me will have a chance to discuss this (part of it ?). All right? 11:32:14 Thank you very much, everybody. Q: Jason Collins -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, guys. Q: Jason Collins, do you want to say anything about him? 11:32:19 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah, I'll say something about Jason Collins. I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man, and, you know, I told him I couldn't be prouder of him. You know, one of the extraordinary measures of progress that we've seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance but a recognition that they're fully a part of the American family. And, you know, given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who's excelled at the highest levels in one of major sports go ahead and say, this is who I am, I'm proud of it, I'm still a great competitor, I'm still seven feet tall and can bang with Shaq and, you know, deliver a hard foul -- and for, you know, a lot of young people out there who, you know, are -- are -- are, you know, gay or lesbian, who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who's unafraid, I think it's a great thing. And I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly. And everybody's part of a -- part of a family, and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance, and not their sexual orientation. And so I'm very proud of him. All right? 11:34:09 Obama walk out
Sex - Change - Custody - Battle
A WOMAN WHO HAD A SEX CHANGE AND GOT MARRIED IS NOW BATTLING HIS ESTRANGED WIFE OVER THE CUSTODY OF THEIR TWO CHILDREN. A FLORIDA JUDGE MUST NOW DECIDE IF THEIR MARRIAGE WAS LEGAL AND WHO'S FIT TO RAISE THE KIDS.
JANET RENO BRIEFING (2000)
Attorney General Janet Reno spoke of the scores of protesters peacefully removed from a U.S. Navy bombing range on Vieques today that will escape all charges as long as they don't return. Reno spoke after the bulk of the operation on the Puerto Rican island, when agents had cleared eight of 12 protest sites and taken away some 140 demonstrators without formally arresting them,leaving about 20 protesters still to remove. Reno also commented on the custody of Elian Gonzalez, Matthew Sheppard's family and their effect on attitudes towards gays and lesbians and the "roller-coaster" crime rate.