Bill Clinton: Back in the Spotlight

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Bill Clinton: Back in the Spotlight

Peter Baker, the White House correspondent for The New York Times, is a long-time Clinton watcher. Yesterday's successful negotiation for the release of American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee from captivity in North Korea brought the former president back into the national spotlight. Peter joins the conversation on The Takeaway to talk about the former president's role now.

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Jailed Journalists: The Road to Recovery

President Bill Clinton negotiated for the release of American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee from North Korea. After months of imprisonment on charges of entering the country illegally and being sentenced to 12 years of hard labor, the two were whisked away in a private jet with the former president. When they stepped off the plane at Burbank airport and reunited with their families, their journey ended in one sense, but their road to recovery just began. To understand what lies ahead for them, The Takeaway speaks to two therapists who specialize in helping people recover from psychological trauma. Dr. Yael Danieli is a clinical psychologist and trauma specialist and Dr. Anthony Feinstein is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and author of "Journalists Under Fire: The Psychological Hazards Of Covering War."

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Is a Vote Against Sotomayor Politically Risky?

The full Senate is scheduled to vote on the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court this evening. Her confirmation is pretty much a foregone conclusion, but it's expected that all but seven Republican Senators will vote against her. Will the senators' symbolic stand against Sotomayor have repercussions in the voting booth, particularly among Hispanic voters? The Takeaway talks to Leslie Sanchez, former adviser to President George W. Bush and president of Impacto Group, a communications and market research firm; and Juan Andrade, president of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, a non-partisan group that tries to mobilize Hispanic votes in 30 states.

"People will see this as a vote against our community. A vote against a very well-qualified jurist irrespective of a judicial philosophy ...They will see this as a rejection of a presence of the Latino community on the Supreme Court of the United States. That is what Latinos will remember."
—Juan Andrade, president of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, on the political risks of voting against Sonia Sotomayor for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court

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Deutschemarks for Clunkers?

The Cash for Clunkers program has been a huge success in the U.S., blowing through over a billion dollars in a week as Americans traded in their gas guzzlers for a voucher towards a new car purchase. The program is awaiting an additional $2 billion influx of cash from the government to keep going. An overseas version of the program is widely considered a success. But Ralph Atkins, the Frankfurt correspondent for the Financial Times, reports that the program in Germany has encountered some unintended—even criminal—consequences.

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Hamid Karzai: The Man Who Would Be President

Afghans go to the polls on August 20th to elect a president; current president Hamid Karzai is running for reelection. The country is plagued with violence. A roadside bomb killed 21 people this morning, and Kabul recently suffered its first rocket attacks at the hands of the Taliban in decades. Is Hamid Karzai the man for the job? Elizabeth Rubin, contributing writer for The New York Times magazine, just spent three days with the Afghani leader. She joins The Takeaway with a portrait of the man struggling to retain respect and power in the embattled nation. Elizabeth Rubin's article will appear in this week's New York Times magazine

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Stormy Weather in the Forecast for Unemployment

As we wait for the latest unemployment numbers to be released tomorrow, Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland's business school, joins us with his forecast. We also talk to Jozen Cummings, who was an articles editor at the now-closed Vibe Magazine, about why he won't look for work in a different field, despite the challenge of working in a diminishing sector of the economy. We also speak with Wayne Cooper, a recently laid off pre-press printing technician from Clearwater, Florida, about the challenge of figuring out your next step.

Those numbers simply have to come down or Barack Obama's in a lot of trouble not just on restoring recovery but getting things like his health care policy through. It's becoming increasingly apparent that he's been focusing on the wrong ball --dividing up the pie instead of worrying about the fact that the pie is disappearing completely!
—Prof. Peter Morici on the unemployment numbers impact on economic recovery

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Don't Tread On Me: Washington Turf Wars

The Obama administration has two approaches to the economy: they want to grow it, but they also want to regulate it in new ways. A turf war has developed between President Obama's Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and a number of agencies, including the Federal Reserve, whose jurisdiction he's treading on. This week financial regulators have gone to Congress to protest Geithner's proposal to create a new agency to regulate credit cards, mortgages, and consumer debt. Stephen Labaton has been reporting on this bureaucratic battle for our partner The New York Times.

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John Bolton on Negotiating with Terrorists

Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton joins us this morning to debate the proper way to interact with North Korea and the resurgence of former President Bill Clinton. Clinton returned to the national spotlight when he made a surprise trip to North Korea to negotiate the release of two American journalists held by the closed communist country. Even while the behind-the-scenes negotiations for the journalists release were happening, North Korea was testing missiles and escalating verbal tensions with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. So what does Clinton’s trip do, if anything, for the nuclear issues at the heart of our country’s North Korean agenda? Ambassador Bolton has some strong opinions on that subject.

Click through for a transcript of this interview.

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Grim Economic Indicator: A Pile-Up in the Morgue

Detroit has been hard hit in this recession. As we continue to look at economic indicators, Charlie LeDuff, reporter with the Detroit News, and Dr. Carl Schmidt, the Wayne County medical examiner, join us to tell of a sad side effect of the weak economy: families unable to afford funerals.

"People are ashamed to come to the office and tell us they can't afford to arrange a funeral.... And if someone tells us to please wait while they get their affairs in order, then we have to respect their wishes."
—Dr. Carl Schmidt, Wayne County Medical Examiner, about bodies piling up in the city morgue

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At Work and Twittering Away

Increasing numbers of employers are asking their workers to tweet. The popular micro-blog Twitter allows companies to promote themselves in 140 characters or less. So why limit press releases to the PR department? But employers in government and the military are trying to figure out how to make sure they retain control of the messages that get out on Twitter or Facebook. Rachael King is a contributing technology writer for Businessweek. She joins The Takeaway to talk about the next step in social networking.

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John Podesta: The Most Influential Unofficial Official?

Many people received thanks for the safe return of two American journalists imprisoned in North Korea, including Bill Clinton, President Obama, and ... John Podesta? The former Chief of Staff under President Clinton and the mastermind behind President Obama’s White House transition is rarely in the headlines these days, but he is hard at work behind the scenes. Between his work bridging the two most recent Democratic presidencies, and starting an influential liberal think tank (the Center for American Progress), he might just be the powerful "unofficial official" in Washington. Josh Gerstein, the White House correspondent for Politico gives us his take on John Podesta.

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Inside the Mind of Killer

On Tuesday night, George Sodini executed a terrible plan. He opened fire at an aerobics class in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, and shot 12 women, 3 fatally, before turning the gun on himself. This was not a spontaneous attack: he had mapped out his plan in painstaking detail in notes kept in an online diary. Those notes now provide a stark look at the mind of a killer. Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist and adjunct law professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, who studies killers, joins us with a look at the psychological profile of a mass murderer.

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