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Sunday, June 21, 2009

State of the Union June 21, 2009

Welcome to a shortened version of Sunday highlights from State of the Union with John King. Computer issues have left me to rely solely on a handful of video clips.

First, lets start with the behind the scenes clip from Ohio:

While in Ohio, King reported on the Cleveland Clinic which doesn't operate like a typical hospital:

John King also stopped by Progressive Field not only to see the Indians play the Brewers, but to talk to three fathers who had brought their kids to the ballgame.

Back in DC this morning, King interviewed four Senators about the protests in Iran and more discussion on health care reform. One particular answer from Senator Feinstein caught my eye:

KING: With me here in Washington, Republican Richard Lugar and Democrat Dianne Feinstein. In Iowa, Republican Chuck Grassley and from Pennsylvania, Democrat Bob Casey.

Let's get straight back to our conversation about Iran and first, a bit of history. It was Persia until 1935, then in 1953, a coup engineered in part by the United States and Britain knocked out the prime minister of Iran and the shah returned to power. Then in 1979, the Islamic revolution, the shah and his family were forced into exile, the Islamic Republic of Iran is proclaimed, and Ayatollah Khomeini returns from exile. And we all know tragically 52 Americans were taken hostage inside the U.S. Embassy. Today, we see violence in the streets over Ahmadinejad's disputed reelected victory. Human rights organizations say prominent activism politicians are being arrested.

Senator Feinstein, I want to come to you out of the context, especially, given the role in the past. The United States and the British government did interfere in Iranian politics. It may have been 50 something years ago. You're the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee again. You are briefed when the United States does things covertly. You saw the Iranian foreign minister saying Britain, Germany, France, the United States are meddling in their affairs. Can you look the American people in the eye this morning and say absolutely not, no U.S. taxpayer dollars are being spent to undermine the regime?

FEINSTEIN: I can say this, to the best of my knowledge, there has been no interference with the election, there has been no manipulation of people following the election. These questions have been asked as late as this past week of people in the clandestine operations who would know this and in a formal setting, and that's the answers we were given.

So I think, you know, by blaming the United States and Great Britain, the regime is trying to take the responsibility from its own shoulders and clearly I think most people see that the responsibility belongs on those shoulders, not ours.

KING: Do you trust -- I'm going to stay with you for one second because of your role. Do you trust the intelligence? The legacy of Iraq was we put too much reliance on dissidents who may have an axe to grind or electronic eavesdropping and not enough intelligence on the ground, eyes and ears that we know and trust. Do you trust the intelligence you get from Iran?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't think our intelligence candidly is that good. I think it's a very difficult country in which to collect intelligence right now. So I think our ability to get in there and change the course of human events is very low, to be very candid with you.

Source: CNN Transcript, State of the Union with John King, June 21, 2009.

For some reason the words "plausible deniability" came to mind while listening to the Senator's answers. Maybe it is just my cynicism peaking whenever I hear a politician go out of their way to clarify a response.

The political panels included David Gergen, Gloria Borger, and Brianna Keilar. Bill Bennett and Donna Brazile were the two strategists this morning.

And finally, here's John King's recap of the "sounds of Sunday":

This week's podcasts:

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