Geithner: Let Bush tax cuts for wealthy expire; Ex-CIA chief defends intelligence community; Dean: Fox News 'absolutely racist'
By Matt DeLong and Felicia Sonmez
Sunday Rundown: A quick Sunday talk show roundup.
ABC: THIS WEEK - Geithner: Let Bush tax cuts for wealthy expire
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said allowing expiration of the Bush tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 per year was the "responsible thing to do," but he favors keeping cuts for middle class Americans in place. Geithner said he does not believe repealing the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans will have a negative effect on economic growth. He described private sector job growth as "pretty good this early in a recession." Geithner praised TARP watchdog Elizabeth Warren as "probably the most effective advocate for consumer protection." Seeking to tamp down reports that he was not keen on her appointment to head the newly created newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Geithner said she would be an "excellent leader for that institution," but it was ultimately the president's decision.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said he "doesn't have an impulse" on whether his state should join other states in a lawsuit to block implementation of the new health-care law, but is waiting for his advisers to brief him on such a lawsuit. Christie said the television show "Jersey Shore" is bad for his state's image, and encouraged vacationers to come visit.
CNN: STATE OF THE UNION - Ex-CIA chief defends intelligence community
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden defended the role of contractors in the intelligence community. "We can't go at this slash and burn, because contractors are key to an awful lot of our successes in the intelligence community," he said. Hayden said that while contractors may "get an opportunity to shape government policy," fundamentally, it's government employees and not contractors who make critical policy decisions, he said. Asked whether the high number of contractors with top-secret security clearances means that many have been cleared improperly, Hayden replied that "it's the other way around" and that "they all are held to the same standard." If there's any fault in the system, he added, "it's the difficulty we have of getting people cleared in a reasonable period of time." Hayden also said that proposed cuts of up to 30 percent in intelligence budgets "would certainly harm security."
Hayden said that he believes that the U.S. has "the right strategy" in Afghanistan, and that Iran, "if left to its own devices, will get itself to that step right below a nuclear weapon," a development that "will be as destabilizing as their actually having a weapon." He added that "it seems more likely" now that a military strike against Iran is possible, but it is "way down the list of options."
U.S. News and World Report editor and billionaire Mort Zuckerman and Forbes CEO Steve Forbes also appeared on the show to discuss the state of the economy. Zuckerman said that he's "more or less on the pessimistic side of things," noting that consumer spending "is either flat or going down," housing "has fallen off the edge of the cliff," and unemployment "continues to be a serious problem." Zuckerman also charged that the Obama administration has "demonized the business world." Forbes echoed those sentiments. He said that Obama is "clearly" anti-business and charged that he thinks those in the business world "are a bunch of greedy crybabies, and the business community is reacting to that." He also said that the economy has seen growth, but "it's not nearly the growth we should have given the severity of the hit the economy took in late 2008 and 2009."
FOX NEWS SUNDAY - Dean: Fox News 'absolutely racist'
In a heated discussion on "Fox News Sunday," former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said that Fox's conduct during the Shirley Sherrod firestorm last week was "absolutely racist" by helping the Republican Party appeal to its "racist fringe." "[Fox] had been pushing a theme of black racism with this phony Black Panther crap and this business and Sotomayor and all this other stuff. Host Chris Wallace shot back that Sherrod had already been forced to resign from her post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture before Fox News mentioned her name on the air. Appearing opposite Dean, former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said the Sherrod incident demonstrated the White House's "continued incompetence." Gingrich deflected criticism of his own rush to judgment on the Sherrod affair, in which he called Sherrod's comments "viciously racist" before the unedited tape came to light, saying that he was "operating in the context of the secretary of agriculture having summarily fired her, and therefore there was no reason to disbelieve the clip." He added that"If the Obama administration is this afraid of Glenn Beck, how do they deal with the Iranians?" The Rev. Jesse Jackson said what Andrew Breitbart -- who first posted the edited videotape of Sherrod on his website -- did was "morally wrong."
Dean declined to call for Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) to step down after an investigative subcommittee found he broke unspecified ethics rules. "He did some things that look like they ought to get him thrown out of Congress," Dean said. "And if it turns out that he did them, he's going to get thrown out of Congress." Gingrich agreed that Rangel "has every right as an American citizen to defend himself." Gingrich said his is "seriously looking at" a run for the presidency. Dean praised Gingrich as a man with "ideas to move the country forward".
NBC: MEET THE PRESS - Geithner: Economy is 'starting to heal again'
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said the economy "is starting to heal again" but cautioned that "most Americans understand it's going to take some time to heal this."
He dismissed the notion that the U.S. faces the risk of a double-dip recession. "I think the most likely thing is you see an economy that gradually strengthens over the next year or two," Geithner said, noting that "we've got a long way to go, still." On financial regulatory reform, Geithner said that the best way to ensure against future crises "is to make sure the system runs with much thicker shock absorbers and much larger cushions and financial resources against loss."
Geithner also affirmed that the administration will let the Bush tax cuts expire. "I think it is fair and good policy to allow those tax cuts that only go to 2 percent or 3 percent of the highest earners in the country to expire as scheduled," he said. "The country can withstand that. The economy can withstand that. I think it's good policy." He added that he'd like to see the capital gains tax stay at 20 percent and that "we don't want to see the rate of dividends exceed that, either."
CBS: FACE THE NATION - A roundtable on Shirley Sherrod
Host Bob Schieffer moderated a roundtable on race and the Shirley Sherrod firestorm featuring Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson, Princeton professor Cornel West, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund and Abigail Thernstrom, a Bush appointee to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Dyson criticized the "reptilian repugnance" of the right wing, and disputed the notion he said is held by many white Americans, that because of the election of President Obama we are now living in a post-racial society. Gerson said it is "very dangerous" when people "take these [racial] issues and attempt to use them for political reasons," and pointed to the recent controversy over an alleged case of voter intimidation by members of the New Black Panther Party as an example. Thernstrom said there was "no evidence" anyone within the Justice Department made a decision not to prosecute the New Black Panther case -- which she described as "very weak" -- for racial reasons. West referred to Sherrod as "democratic nobility and black royalty. She's an American hero. She's a Christian soldier for justice."
CSPAN: NEWSMAKERS - Levin: Afghan troops will take the lead
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said that the Afghan army "will be in the lead" in Afghanistan, adding, "Those words are very significant to the American people and the Afghan people." He said that success in the country will be "gradual" and will be "marked by the ability of an Afghan government to have security and be able to retain security inside of its own borders."
Levin said the shift in leadership from Gen. Stanley McChrystal to Gen. David Petraeus "was seamless," adding that the administration and the country were fortunate to have Petraeus take over. "It was, I think, just a lucky break for us and for America's continuity of policy," Levin said. He added that he spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai about the change in leadership and that Karzai said things are going to be "fine" with Petraeus, for whom they "have a heck of a lot of respect." Levin also said he doubted that Petraeus will significantly change the rules of engagement. On the military's "don't ask, don't tell" rule banning gays from serving openly, Levin said that he believes there are enough votes to pass a bill which contains a "very modest provision" that would authorize the Defense Department to change the policy.
Matt DeLong and Felicia Sonmez
July 25, 2010; 3:33 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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