Morning Joe | February 07, 2013
>>> i won't talk about specific instances, but the fact is is that the methods that we use are designed specifically to avoid civilian casualties . i think it's fair to say that far fewer civilians lose their lives in an effort to go after senior leadership in al qaeda along the lines that we are discussing here as opposed to an effort to invade a country with hundreds of thousands of troops and take cities and towns.
>> all right. top of the hour. a live look at the white house . welcome back to " morning joe ." joining us on set, president and ceo of the aspen institute , walter isaacson , author of the biography " steve jobs ." we also have with us, the host of msnbc's "politics nation" and president of the national action network , reverend al sharpton . good to have you. walter .
>> willie, you were just bringing up to me off air, "the wall street journal " supports the president.
>> yeah, the editorial page says that drone warfare is necessary and legal to protect america. that the president ought to have his way based on what they've seen on that white paper . also, that judicial review is a terrible idea. they say that requiring judges to approve a list of enemy targets on the battlefield is the quickest way to lose a war. so they're for the president and his case on foreign policy .
>> they're with him, and we're sure it hurts the editors of the editorial page . walter isaacson , we see this time and time again. every candidate runs for president, talks about transparency, talks about keeping congress informed, talks about checks and balances, talks about how the current occupant of the white house is not transparent enough and is expanding presidential force at a dangerous clip, and then they get into office --
>> it will particularly surprise you that you're more in favor of transparency when you want the secrets than when you're keeping the secrets. that's pretty natural. every time a new weapons system comes in, the most obvious being the atomic bomb , we've got to figure out how does it fit into strategy? we've not quite done that with the drones. i think you have to worry about what happens when other nations have drones? are there going to be some international, you know, ways that we deal with drones? secondly, i think the president has been very good. i think he's been a little bit more open than his critics say. i think he is going to release all those memos. i do think he called ron wyden . you're going to have ron wyden on after.
>> he's on the next block.
>> yeah. ask him. i think the president picked up the phone and called him and said yeah, i'm going to open up and give you some of these memos. it will lead to the type of discussion we need to have to say, how are we going to fit drones into our force?
>> al, how do we deal -- i've been worried about the excessive use of the drone program without the guidelines for some time, and i think walter just brought up a great point. we're sending drones into countries where we haven't declared war . we're killi ining targets and civilians in countries where we haven't declared war . we say it's our right because it's our right. what happens when other countries get drone technology and decide to start sending their drones into our country?
>> well, that's the big question. i mean, i have always been very wary of the use of drones and these attacks particularly on civilians. and you can't be against it under republicans and be for it under democrats. i agree with walter that the president is being more transparent, and i think the release of more records are good, but i think that it bothers me that anyone would have the power to kill civilians, particularly in countries we're not at war with, and we don't know what the policies and the guidelines are. so i think that we've got to really look at this, and we have to be consistent. there's going to be a president after president obama . so even though i may trust and i do president obama , if we set a precedent now, are we going to live with that if the next president is someone we don't approve of and the president after that? so we really need to be careful what we do on this issue.
>> and presidential power seems to expand. it never seems to contract. you're exactly right. what you just said is what i said during impeachment to other republicans. you do understand, republicans aren't going to -- or democrats aren't going to occupy the white house forever. at some point democrats are going to occupy the standards under which we hold bill clinton will be held to our president's. and that's the problem, walter , with these drone attacks. and constitutionally, the president of the united states being able to look at a piece of paper and say, okay, kill that person. don't kill that person. kill that person. don't -- and one of those names on the list is an american and there's no transparency, there's no judicial review , walter , that's radical.
>> well, you need transparency. i think it's good the president's going to release some of the memos, but you have to realize that war has changed so radically. what we have is -- you know, wars that used to be against nation states . if we were at war against germany, nobody worried about are we going to bomb dresden, fire bomb dresden, whatever it may be. now we're at war with nonstate actors like al qaeda . perhaps we need a way to say, we are declaring war against al qaeda , and that's going to justify the use of force against anybody affiliated with al qaeda .
>> you know who mika's at war with? apple.
>> what did they do to you?
>> i just got charged for a hard drive for a computer that i used maybe once a month in the past 12 months because it just exploded, and they charged me $200. i'm telling you, apple parts break, and then you have to pay a lot of money. or you can buy apple care. are you kidding me? please. samsung, where are you?
>> we all say --
>> that's where i'm moving.
>> i'm curious since you wrote the book on steve jobs , we all say steve jobs never done the trick they did with iphone 5 where you've got to buy a charger for an ipad and a different charger for an iphone 5.
>> his great genius is that he cared passionately about the customer. he said you put the product first and the service first instead of profits, you're going to make your profits in the long run. but if you focus on profits, you're going to skimp on the product. i think he would have been a lot more passionate when it came to everything from siri to the plus, but more importantly, he would have been really passionate saying every three years, we blow people away with something totally amazing. what's next? when will we put out a tv set ?
>> apple's not doing that now. the iphone 5.
>> they're fiddling around right now with the beautiful designs.
>> mini. sbhoo but they haven't yet broken into the whole new, you know, make me go wow industry.
>> exactly. i'm going to get three more news stories in. we'll be talking about drones next block with senator ron wyden , so that will be interesting.
>>> but in other news and what could be one of his final speeches as defense secretary , leon panetta criticized lawmakers in congress who have done little to avoid across-the-board spending cuts due to take effect on march 1st . that would slash the pentagon's budget.
>> what creates a serious risk today is the pervasive budget uncertainty that threatens our security and threatens our economic future. the shadow of sequestration, this legislative madness, that was designed to be so bad, so bad that no one in their right mind would let it happen . this is not a game. this is reality. these steps would seriously damage the fragile american economy , and they would degrade our ability to respond to crises precisely at a time of rising instability across the globe.
>> those planned budget cuts are part of the sequestration deal agreed to by congress as part of an effort to force compromise on the national debt .
>> you wouldn't think the defense budget has doubled over the past couple of years.
>> it's so bloated.
>> come on.
>> the problem is the way we talk about these things. if you're against defense cuts, you're against defending the country. if you're against entitlement cuts, you're against our senior citizens . everything is so demagogued, it's almost impossible inside washington anyway to have an adult conversation about what really needs to get done.
>> the defense budget is so bloated, we spend more money as a country on defense than every other country on the planet combined.
>> it's the bottom line .
>> and we're to believe that if we make some of these cuts that suddenly we're going to have to bring our navy home.
>> i don't think so. you should see the mansions in mclane where a lot of these defense contractors live.
>>> new jersey governor chris christie , not too pleased with some unsolicited medical advice from a former white house doctor. and i don't really blame him. the new jersey republican pushed back at physician connie mariana who said in an interview tuesday that she's worried about chris christ christie's create issues and that they could potentially kill him in office. take a look.
>> i find it fascinating that a doctor in arizona who's never met me, never examined me, never reviewed my medical history or records, knows nothing about my family history , could make a diagnosis from 2,400 miles away . she must be a genius. this is just another hack who wants five minutes on tv. and it's completely irresponsible, completely irresponsible. my children saw that last night. and she sat there on tv and said, i'm afraid he's going to die in office. my 12-year-old son came to me last night and said, "dad, are you going to die?" if she wants to get on a plane and come to new jersey and ask if she wants to review me and my medical history , i'll have a conversation with her about that. until that time, she should shut up.
>> there you go.
>> new jersey's own.
>> governor christie from my home state of new jersey . he's right about this doctor, about this woman, but i still don't know why it's wrong. if he aspires to be president of the united states , if he wants to sit in that office, why it's not at least okay to talk about what is a serious health problem. if he wants to sit in office and be our president, shouldn't we have some right to concern over his health? i mean, al, you've lost a ton of weight. how did you deal with being in the public eye?
>> i mean, i've had cartoons done on me. i've been lampooned. but to say you're going to die, i think that's a step over the line.
>> i agree with that.
>> especially, like he said, your children.
>> i think that it went too far. but it is a legitimate question about weight and obesity if you're running for higher office.
>> that's what i'm saying.
>> i think that's legit. but for the doctor to go that far, i think he had a right to be upset about that. but he's going to have to deal with the issue if he runs for president.
>> he certainly is. walter , we're not used to politicians telling people to shut up, yelling at callers who call in and ask about where their children go to school. poor gail. we'll always remember gail for that. but chris christie is a unique guy in this age of, you know, blow dried politicians. this guy --
>> it helps him enormously that he's genuine, he's real, he says exactly what you would have said if somebody had done that to you. and we used to say in washington, it was the old mike ki kinsley, the defense of a gaffe is when somebody tells the truth in washington. i think we're hungering for someone who's so genuine. he did it with the hurhurricane. he got a lot of republicans annoyed when he worked with the president after the storm. and now he just says what he feels. i think that's going to be his biggest calling card.
>> you think he's good?
>> oh, yeah, he's good.
>> you think he's a good choice for republicans moving forward as the standard bearer for the party?
>> oh, sure. i think what he's done on education and his ability to work with the democratic legislative or cory booker . i think he's shown he's a good guy.
>> so, okay. walter and reverend al, thank you very much. stay with us if you can.
>>> coming up, senator ron wyden of oregon is pressuring the president for more information on the legal justification for drone strikes against americans abroad. he joins us live.
>>> and later, backstage with barry manilow . we visited the grammy award winner behind the scenes during his opening night on broadway. the owner of a broadway theater , jordan roth, joins us. first, bill karins with the forecast.
>> almost all of our computers agreeing, two storms combined for one in new england . it will push into new england throughout your friday. really intensifying friday night. let me take you through it. first things first, don't want to forget about our friends in the deep south . a rainy day . this is part two of the storm that will combine with the storm in the northern great lakes that will make our blizzard. it's two storms combining into one, and they'll really intensify off the coast of new england . as far as the blizzard watches, now long island is included in the blizzard watches. areas of green will see the highest winds and worst conditions. one to two feet of snow widespread through this region. here's my official snowfall map. we are looking, again, the area of 12 to 24 inches. i think some areas near the 495 loop, someone's going to get up to 30 inches of snow. boston officially 18 to 24. the reason new york city 's a little less, rain mixing in friday then turning into heavy snow on the backside. it's going to be a mess. no one's going to want to travel in new england probably until sunday. you're watching " morning joe " brewed by starbucks.