tv PBS News Hour PBS January 23, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm EST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: a nation mourns the loss of its king, protesters demand the return of their president and government from saudi arabia to yemen, a region in transition. we get analysis from former u.s. secretary of defense leon panetta and former white house national security adviser stephen hadley. good evening i'm judy woodruff also ahead: greece faces a critical vote, it's fragile economy hangs in the balance as the rest of europe watches the results. and it's friday, mark shields and david brooks are here, to analyze the week's news. >> ♪ every day i throw a little party ♪
>> woodruff: sleater-kinney is here, we talk with the indie rock icons about their first album in ten years. >> i felt like a lot of music was feeling very much comforting, soft, nonthreatening sort of smiewks which i don't relate to as much as i do this vital, very visceral, physical music. those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's "pbs newshour." ♪ ♪ years. moving our economy for 160
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: new leaders took their places today in saudi arabia, in the wake of king abdullah's passing. his death came as the world's leading oil state, and home to islam's holiest sites, faces unparalleled challenges from without, and within. >> woodruff: it was a simple funeral for one of the world's richest and most powerful men. king abdullah's remains lay beneath a simple covering, as muslim leaders paid their respects. later, hundreds gathered at a riyadh cemetery as he was buried in an unmarked grave, in
accordance with islamic tradition. earlier, the new king, salman bin abdul-aziz, pledged continuity with his brother's policies. >> ( translated ): we extend our condolences to the loyal nation of saudi arabia as well as the arab and muslim nations for the loss of our great man, the our arab and muslim nation mostly needs unity these days and we will continue, god willing, in our unity efforts to unite and defend our nation. >> woodruff: abdullah died thursday, at the age of 90. he'd served as the country's ruler effectively for 20 years the first decade while his half brother, king fahd, was in poor health. then, at fahd's death in 2005, abdullah became king in his own right. he ruled a land rife with social pressures: roughly half of the kingdom's 20 million people are under the age of 25. and despite great oil wealth many lack jobs, housing or education.
so, abdullah pressed limited reforms, including a $90 billion economic program in 2011. and, in a land dominated by a strict brand of islam, he opened a university that allowed men and women to share classrooms, and he allowed women to enter political life. >> ( translated ): because we refuse to marginalize the role of women in every aspect of saudi society within shariah boundaries, we have decided the following: firstly, the participation of women in the shura council as a member beginning from the next term within the regulations of shariah. secondly, from the next term, a woman now has the right to announce her candidacy to become members of the local municipality councils. >> woodruff: still, abdullah never gave into demands for women to drive, and he suppressed dissent after the 2011 arab spring, and allowed public beheadings and flogging.
abroad, the saudi ruler expanded the reach of his sunni kingdom supporting the military coup in egypt and the sunni ruler in bahrain against shiite protesters. in syria, he aided rebels against president bashar al- assad, who's backed by shiite iran. and, he sought to maintain close relations with the united states, helping in the fight against "islamic state" militants and cracking down on al-qaida and its sympathizers. abdullah explained his views on such groups before the u.n. general assembly in 2008. >> ( translated ): the problems of the world are caused by people rejecting the principles of justice. terrorism and crime are the enemies of god and every religion and civilization. >> woodruff: in online postings today, supporters of both al- qaeda and the "islamic state" cheered abdullah's death and painted him as a u.s. puppet. but secretary of state john kerry spoke in glowing terms, in davos, switzerland.
>> and i was privileged to spend many hours with the king, as a senator and particularly over the last two years. i saw him a few months ago. he was obviously not well, but he was courageous, great sense of humor, even in the midst of all the crises. >> woodruff: the crises fall now to king salman, who's 79. he's already moving to ensure the line of succession, naming his 69-year-old half- brother muqrin as crown prince, and his nephew, mohammed nayef, age 55, as second-in-line. salman faces the immediate challenge of yemen, on his southern border, where the government has fallen to shiite rebels. the world's top oil exporting state must also deal with the loss of revenues from plunging oil prices. >> woodruff: we'll talk to former top officials under two presidents about the saudi situation and its broader implications, after the news summary.
that ongoing chaos in yemen brought thousands of people into the streets today. huge crowds turned out in the capital, sanaa, to support shiite houthi rebels against the pro-american president who resigned yesterday. to the south, thousands more demanded the president's return, along with his cabinet. parliament has called an emergency session for sunday on whether to accept the resignations. >> woodruff: the deadline has come and gone for two japanese hostages held by "islamic state" forces in syria. on tuesday the militants had threatened to kill kenji goto and haruna yukawa unless japan paid $200 million within 72 hours. as the deadline passed today, the group announced the "countdown has begun." japanese officials said they're still trying to free the captives. >> ( translated ): for the government, it remains a severe situation. we will do our utmost on various
fronts towards the release of the two japanese nationals request cooperation from those who are relevant, and do everything we can in our powers. that remains unchanged. >> woodruff: the japanese spokesman said there has been no direct contact with the captors. beefed-up pro-russian rebels in ukraine promised a major new offensive today. they rejected a previous cease- fire pact, and ruled out joining any future peace talks. instead, their leader said his forces are advancing in five directions to push government troops out of the donetsk area near the russian border. >> ( translated ): we made the decision not to wait until the ukrainian army starts an offensive and not allow them to make battle formations, fists of attack and allow them to harm us in any way. we will attack until we reach the borders of donetsk region. >> woodruff: the fighting in ukraine has spiked lately and the u.n. human rights agency said today that 260 people have been killed in just the last nine days. it said some 51 hundred have
died since the conflict began last april. a top u.s. official acknowledged today it's not clear if cuba will agree to any human rights reforms as part of restoring diplomatic ties. assistant secretary of state roberta jacobson spoke in havana, after concluding two days of talks. she said "profound disagreements" remain on the issue of reforms. >> it's very hard to say exactly how this will work. we think that we need to make decisions in our own interest and take decisions that are to going to empower the cuban people but the verdict on whether that succeeds is still to be made. >> woodruff: cuba's top diplomat on u.s. affairs warned last night that her government does not respond to pressure. in this country, the u.s. supreme court agreed to hear a case on execution by lethal injection for the first time since 2008.
death row inmates in oklahoma want to bar a sedative used in executions in the state. they say it can leave the prisoners still conscious and subject to pain. a measles outbreak that began at disneyland in california prompted a new medical appeal today. the american academy of pediatricians urged vaccinations for all young children. 70 cases of measles have been reported across six states, likely stemming from exposure to an infected foreign tourist at disneyland. and on wall street, stocks were mostly lower, on sub-par corporate earnings. the dow jones industrial average lost 141 points to close at 17,672. the s-and-p 500 slipped 11, to finish at 2051. but the nasdaq rose seven points to close below 4758. for the week the dow gained about 1%, while the s-and-p added 1.6%. the nasdaq jumped more than 2.5%.
still to come on the "newshour," what the death of the saudi monarch and a government in turmoil in yemen means for the region and the u.s; broke and desperate, greek voters head to the polls to elect a new government; mark shields and david brooks on the week's news; and indie rock icon sleater- kinney on their latest album. >> woodruff: a new king in saudi arabia, unrest in yemen, and islamic state militants on the march across syria and iraq. it's a region that's no stranger to turmoil, but this week has been marked by increasing volatility. we explore the challenges these events pose to the u.s. with two men who have extensive experience making and managing american foreign policy. leon panetta was secretary of defense and the director of the cia during the obama administration.
and stephen hadley was national security advisor during the george w. bush administration. we welcome you both to the program. secretary panetta. so you, first. saudi arabia king abdullah has kid, a new king is in prays. everybody is saying they expect stability, continuity. is that what you expect? or given the royal family, something different? something much rougher? >> i think at least in the short term that stability will continue in saudi arabia. that's the way they do things. the new king will pretty much, i think continue policies of king abdullah. they will maintain a strong relationship with the united states, probably continue the oil policies they're involved with and i think they'll generally continue a lot of the policies that saudi arabia was
involved with. i think the real big question is going to be how they ultimately deal with all the other turmoil going on in the middle east. that's dpoipght be the question -- going to be the question mark for the future. >> on the royal family, stephen steve hadley, you don't expect a how we are struggle? >> two things mitigate against that. king abdullah and now king salman work together to arrange this succession. we'll go from salman to muqrin and so on. secondly, the turmoil in the region, the problems in yemen, the challenge of iran and the islamic state, there is so much turmoil, the last thing saudi arabia needs is a battle of
succession crisis. so i think those things will lower the risk of an out and out struggle and will encourage the family to keep the succession on track and maintain the stability that's important for the country at this point. >> woodruff: i heard you continue expect much change when it comes to economic or oil policy, secretary panetta. you expect saudi arabia to continue this policy of pumping a lot of oil even as the prices are dropping? >> i do, judy. i think they're going to continue that policy. they're going to continue to try to squeeze others so that, ultimately they think they have the -- both the economic capability and certainly the ability when it comes to oil to maintain that kind of pressure. >> do you see the same thing? and thus do you see a saudi arabia that continues to be a huge player in the region? >> there certainly will be a huge player in the region.
one of the things about oil prices they probably like, the low oil prices, is it does put pressure on russia over ukraine, it puts pressure on the iranians, it will probably discourage some of the investment in the u.s. tide oil and shale gas markets. but remember in the 1980s when this happened, saudi did lower production but nobody else in opec did, and they lost market share. i think they're not willing to do that at this point. they have enormous reserves. they are a very low-cost producer of oil. i think they probably figure that they can ride out a period of low prices better than anybody else and maintain market shares. so i think that's probably behind the policy you've seen and i would expect now king salman would continue that policy. >> secretary panetta we spoke earlier about saudi arabia taking a more aggressive policy in the region in recent years,
certainly involved in syria supporting the rebels against president assad. we see there part of the fight against al quaida. how do you see that carrying on now especially with the turmoil next door in yemen? >> well, i worry a great deal about the crisis that we're seeing in the middle east. there's just too many flashpoints that are going on all at the same time. we not only have the -- you know, almost a failed government occurring in yemen now with the shiite how houthis taking over there and they will be at the war with the sunnis trying to figure out who's to run the country, could split the country, the a breeding ground for aqap and for terrorism. could get worse in the future. it's happening in libya which is another failed state with split forces going at it.
we see what's happening the i.s.i.s. impacting on syria, impacting on iraq. we see the growing influence of iran in that region and in lebanon and syria. i think all of that has produced tremendous concern. >> woodruff: is that what you see, steve hadley? how do you see the leadership the priorities it's going to put in place? >> well, you know the strags has put together a regional -- the administration has put together a regional configuration involving the more moderate states to deal with the issue of iraq and syria. so there is a framework to deal with the issues. i think probably the emirates and the saudis would say we're too slow and too late doing so but the framework is in place. i think you will probably see under king salman a continued
activist saudi policy. salman was instrumental in backing the ma jay ha dean, coming to the defense of the muslims in the because in the bosnian crisis. i think you will see a saudi arabia that is going to want to be activist and will push the united states to have a more active role. >> woodruff: so many look at the relationships between saudis and iran big sunni state versus big shia statement how do you see that relationship and to you expect to see a change or a shift? >> you know, as i'm sure steve has, i've had the opportunity to sit down with the royal family and the king and discuss these policies and i think tell you that they are very concerned about iran and it's influence. they really do think that iran
represents a force for evil in that region and are very concerned about the spreading influence that iran is trying to have in that region and, frankly, we're pushing the united states to do more to try to deal with iran, and i think we're a little frustrated by what was happening. i think they view iran as representing this kind of potential division that could occur in the middle east between the shiites and the sunnis and that's already occurring as we see in these many nations, and that confrontation between the sunnis and this kind of growing persian empire represented by iran is, in the saudi view, i think, one of the real dangers in the middle east. >> woodruff: so, steve hadley, do you see any shift in that
approach, any easing of that tension between saudi arabia and iran? because it is as we have been discussing, saudi arabia faces so many other challenging. >> the saudis are very worried about iran. eth one of the challenges for the administration if we should get a nuclear deal with iran, the saudis are fearful that it reflects a shift of american policy back to iran and away from saudi. so one of the challenges for the administration will be if they do get a nuclear agreement with iran, they are going to have to take measures to reassure the saudis and other friend and allies in the region, that we are going to continue to confront iran in their bad and threatening behavior in iraq and syria and lebanon in h their support for terror and i think that will be an important element for a packaging that needs to go around any nuclear agreement that the united states and the p5 plus 1 enter into
with iran. >> woodruff: lot of moving parts. steve hadley, thank you. secretary leon panette we thank you. >> woodruff: battling high unemployment and punishing austerity measures, greeks are headed to the ballot box this weekend. leading the polls is a radical leftist party that wants to renegotiate its bailout deals, sparking fears in europe that other eurozone countries will follow suit. >> sreenivasan: it's the election that many in greece don't seem to want. >> elections should not be happening now. it's the worst time for the economy, for security, the people are not in a good mood, no one is spending money. >> ( translated ): i wish we were not going to elections. we should have left the government to continue its work and see what it would do. >> sreenivasan: but the greek parliament failed to elect a new president back in december, so a snap election is set for this
sunday. it comes as many voters are still struggling to find work after six years of deep recession and government spending cuts. the unemployment rate remains above 25% and among young people it's double that: 50.6%. giota vamvaka is 28 years old and says she's lucky she has any job. >> ( translated ): the only job i have ever managed to find both before and during my first degree, and even now that i am in my second degree, is as a waitress, nothing else. making coffee, serving, behind the bar, the usual part-time survival jobs. >> sreenivasan: the unrest in the country has spilled into the streets with anti-austerity protests taking hold on a regular basis. against that backdrop, the leftist "syriza" party is expected to win sunday, though not with a majority. it opposes austerity measures mandated by bailouts from the european union and international monetary fund. 40-year-old alexis tsipras is
the party leader. >> ( translated ): today, my friends, is the beginning of the end of a regime that plunged greece into poverty, unemployment, grief, and desperation. >> sreenivasan: not so long ago tsipras advocated leaving the "euro-zone" altogether, a so- called "grexit.' he's since scaled back on that stance, but he does want to renegotiate greece's $278 million bailout deals. european leaders, especially german chancellor angela merkel, say that's a non-starter. >> ( translated ): everything we are doing politically is geared at making sure that greece stays part of the euro zone. two things are part of this: a willingness to show solidarity, which we will continue to show, coupled with a willingness to take responsibility which i am sure will continue to be shown by greece. >> sreenivasan: that's a position that greece's conservative new democracy party, led by prime minister antonis samaras, agrees with: >> reporter: you cannot be
against europe and expect to get more money than what i'm expecting for greece to get from europe in the future. >> sreenivasan: the issue has sharply divided greek citizens. in athens, pensioner savvas papadopoulos won't cast his ballot for syriza because he believes the e.u. bailouts are a lifeline. >> ( translated ): where will the money come from? where can he find it? he says he will go against the e.u. how will he manage that? after all, we are borrowing money from them, we need them. they are our lenders! what can we do about that? >> sreenivasan: there are glimmers of economic hope, since 2009, greece has climbed back from deep government deficits to a surplus last year. but for people like katerina tsakaloo, it's too little, too late. she's having to sell her athens cafe because she owes the government money on her pension. >> my loan is considered red now, and i also have my pensioner mother staying with me. where am i going to have her stay tomorrow if we lose our home? >> sreenivasan: that has her ready to try the opposition. >> it doesn't matter which party
gets elected, as long as it's not the same parties, which have been taken us for fools for so many years and have brought greece down on its knees. >> sreenivasan: others, like athens greengrocer nikos poulos haven't decided yet who'll get their support. >> i'll vote for the least worse, as the ancient greeks used to say. i told you, the problem is not right or left politicians, it's honest politicians. can syriza find honest people? if they do, so much the better. if they don't, same old same old. >> sreenivasan: all of which leaves europe nervously awaiting the voters' verdict in the birthplace of democracy. for more on the greek elections i'm joined by nick burns. why is this election so significant? >> it's a momentous election, very significant hari for the future of greece and perhaps the european union yon. the greeks themesselves some commentaries are saying, this
may be as important as the civil war in the 1940s, the military dictatorship and return to democracy in the 1970s because it may by a big point of departure. if the left party wins elections and governs alone or in a coalition is likely going to challenge the compact between the greek people and the european union yon. the hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to the greeks will the greek government under new leadership pay by the rules and meet commitments and pay off loans or effectively challenge theine yon union to renegotiate them? it will be a showdown between the leftest greek government and the germans. >> sreenivasan: is there a possibility greek could get kicked out of the e.u. or opt out? that would set a precedent in itself. >> it would and be consequential perhaps for how financial markets see the stability of theertheeurozone.
they have been saying they won't tolerate a reconsideration or renegotiation of the loans but expects any future greek government to pay off the loans and meet its commitments. i think you will see a struggle between a new very young leader and the german government and its finance minister. the germans may believe now that they can weather the eventual exit of greece from the eurozone and not have stability in financial markets. they clearly didn't believe that a couple of years ago but i think that's one of the possibilities that could emerge from this. >> if the greek economy is better off or the financial system in europe is better off and more able to withstand this, how bad is the greek economy? when we talk about youth unemployment at 50%, that's not things that america is unfamiliar with since the great depression. >> that's right, greece has gone
through a depression since 2008 and 2009. 50% youth unemployment, 25% overall unemployment. massive contraction of the economy until just last year. they're running a slight surplus now but the economy is not in good shape. they're not getting investment either from their own industrialists or outside because people are so unsure of the direction of the country. hari, here's why it's so important for americans europe is still the largest trade partner of the united states and the largest investor into the united states. the european union yon countries, the biggest economy in the e.u. if there is instability in the e.u. in future months because to have the greek elections and the new government, it's going to have an impact on the united states as well, so we have a lot in that sense riding on this election. >> sreenivasan: possible repercussions depending on the outcome of the elections what could happen in the financial markets here monday and going forward as the new government executes their kind of vision. >> i think everything will
depend on what this new government says. it's very likely to win the elections. it's far ahead in the polls over the center right new democracy party. if they take a line of compromise and conciliation and convey a sense of responsibility for the financial future of greece, i think the markets will be reassured. but if they throw down the gauntlet and effectively have a showdown with the european union yon especially the german government, then i think you will see nervousness on both sides of the atlantic. >> sreenivasan: nick burns, u.s. ambassador to greece, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: following the state of the union, president obama took his "middle-class economics" platform on the road while in washington a diplomatic brouhaha erupted after house speaker john boehner invited israel's prime minister to address congress without consulting the white house. plus, the house of representatives passed one
abortion bill after a more drastic version was dropped because of objections from republican women. for all this and more, we turn to the analysis of shields and brooks, that's syndicated columnist mark shields and new york times columnist david brooks. so good to see you. >> good to see you, judi. >>judy.>> woodruff: you've had 72 hours to reflect. david. what does the state of the union look like now? what sticks about it? do we focus on the middle class economic policy or something else? >> i guess two things. one, the decision not to emphasize things that could pass. for the obama presidency, quite productive, last six years zero productivity as far as legislation. he opted to do that. he picked five or six things that were semi-plausible to get passed but instead picked other things. the second element i lock back
on is he set up a debate the next president will lead and will be the next campaign. so he really set up the next campaign. what he did was he put an issue in the center which will be the central issue of the next campaign which is middle class wage growth and inequality, and he presented the idea and co-heard around the platform. there used to be splits between larry somers and the moderate side of the party and people on the left, center for american progress was the think tank now they're pretty much all in the same spot. i would say the larry some mers group has moved because to have the size of the problem and what they call inclusive economics which is a phrase you hear in democratic circles, comments a lot about, or middle class economics. that's where the party is. so he really represented where the party is on this major issue, but it will be taken up by the successor. >> woodruff: mark, is that
what endures from all this? >> i'm not sure what endures. what i took away from the president and the speech in the two days and supple of days since is this was a changed barack obama. he had been a glum almost resigned figure during 2014. he didn't seem enthusiastic or engaged. he was both. there was a feistiness, sort of almost a skittishness, a kiddishness about him. >> woodruff: kiddishness? it was sort of -- yeah kidding in the sense of youthful and energetic and willing to spar, which had not been present earlier. and i thought that he took the reality of the improving economy and didn't say it's morning in america but said i've heard the rooster crow and seen the sunrise and so will you. i think what he's addressing judy is something that's so
fundamental and i i think the fact that mitt romney is talking about policy in america, income inequality, talking about the rich getting richer is an indication that barack obama is setting the terms of the debate and the dialogue for 2016. >> woodruff: but not for now. not for now, but for 2016, and just point this out correctly between 1948 and 1973, the productivity per hour, for goods and services produced by the average american worker went up. after 1973 went up 76% and then at the same time their wages only went up 9%. we have a maldistribution of wealth in this country and i think we're approaching a debate on that subject. >> the only thing i would say is why is he campaigning, opening a campaign he's actually not going
to be a part of? he's not running for president in 2016. he is president now and could be getting a few things done over the next two years, some tax reform some other things yet he's focusing on the campaign. the critical argument would be he's good at campaigning not that interested in governing. that's overstated given the situation he faces. but it is weird a president is setting up a debate he's not going to be part of except for running a foundation. >> i think he will be part of it, and i think -- >> he will be part of it. as his numbers rise, 50% approval in "the washington post," which is really rather resurgent. he then becomes a more dominant and influential political player. it unites his own party and also makes the opposition somewhat leery of taking him on. if in fact the economic news continues to be good and the president has this rebound he will be able to engage in the congress on issues that david mentioned.
he's going to try on trade. whether in fact they do it on taxes as well. >> you're saying he's not just throwing it out there and going to sit there for two years. >> no. >> woodruff: for another president to pick up. >> no, but i think we talk about leg circumstances which is kind of a high-fa looting word, but this is legacy. the fact that we seeming to confront this is enormously important and a profound change for this country. >> woodruff: there is also a partisanship discussion where at the beginning to have the speech the president mentioned i'll veto this or that. at the end, he made an appeal for bipartisanship. do you think that's something is it republicans want to pick up? >> when they got the majority in both houses they feel like we've got to pass stuff because we were put in charge here. they have to pass smsmght thing's room in taxes and patent
reform and other things cybersecurity infrastructure a series of messages they would have passed. i think the president did not pick after that list of possibilities. he picked off the list where his party has an 80/20 majority and was good populous economics and not going to be passed. there was a possibility of getting something passed. it seems to me if you're a lawmaker the idea is to make laws. he's chosen not to do that. i agree about the sen tralt of the argument he described i just think for barack obama he's got a job to do. >> i don't think the state of the union speech ended these two years. there will be legislative action. >> woodruff: to come. four years without a major law being passed. >> i understand that, but let's be blunt, not to be partisan but we have an opposition party. it's not a minority party, it's an opposition party. it's become parliamentary in that system and that's their
approach. i mean, you have five congressional districts represented by democrats in the congress in congressional districts barack obama did not carry. that's how the country's been sorted out now. >> woodruff: speaking of an opposition party or opposition move speaker john boehner did something unusual, he invited israel to speak on iran without talking to the white house. >> they're both playing this game. it's not as if congress has been out of the foreign policy business. nancy pelosi went to syria and some say gave creendz to the assad regime when some opposed it. david cameron was calling on members of congress to lobby. so foreign leaders get involved nonetheless inviting somebody from overseas to give a speech is confrontational and unwise on
two grounds. first, the president of the country has to speak with a single voice. the gestures reside in the white house and there should be some deference to the executive branch on foreign policy. secondly, i think it's bad for netanyahu to do. this it's not a good idea to pick a fight with the president of the united states. >> woodruff: shouldn't have accepted it? >> shouldn't have accepted it. i don't know what his foreign policy is two weeks before the election, but it's not good to go to war between two allies in this confrontational way. you going to fight, fine, but don't make it so in your face. just strikes me as bad for israel. >> woodruff: does it do damage mark? >> irresponsible and sordid. the last time that the congress had not acted in a bipartisan way, an invitation to a speaker, was douglas mcarthur general invited by a republican coming to speak against president truman to give the farewell
address but was about truman's policies. what john boehner did was a cheap political trick but not a surprise to netanyahu. the ambassador of the united states to israel orchestrate this invitation and it's a major plus for mr. netanyahu on two weeks before his election to come home and be enhanced stature, on a global stage and he's invited for one purpose and that is which speaker boehner admitted in the caucus and leaked to the press he was there to make a serious indictment of the president's policy, to criticize the president. so he's bringing this foreign leader, meddling in an israeli election two weeks before, total irresponsibility.
i don't think it compares with nancy pelosi or any member of congress at anytime visiting another country. bipartisan support for israel since 1948 when harry truman recognized the founding nation has been a hallmark of the united states policy. this is partisannizing it. this is making a republican case and i just think it is beyond irresponsible beyond a cheap it political trick. it's just tawdry. >> woodruff: another headache came up for john boehner. he and the republican leadership was trying to pass an abortion bill on the anniversary of rowe vs. wade in washed but the moderate women in the republican house of representatives said we're not supporting this. had tough language that a woman had to report to police that she had been raped before she could have an abortion. >> why are they talking about
this? the short answer is the abortion opponents were marching in washington this week so they were playing to that constituency and that's fine but they enter a new congress the economy and the middle class is the core issue, so far they've had two stupid fights this one which is really -- to have a fight about rape and abortion two weeks into your congress, that's what what you want to be headlining. you want to talk about the economy. the good news, the republican party has two wins again and the left or the moderates or left conservative, they have been like sleeping beauty for four years, and, so, suddenly they've woken up and they raised their voices and had an effect. i think it's great that the party has two wings that can balance each other and a party needs two wings and the right is diminished, the center or whatever you want to call it is a little stronger. to me, that's healthy for the party. >> woodruff: 20 seconds.
e'll find out if the two wings worked and they do fly. this is the same legislation passed the republican congress two years ago and now with more republicans in the congress they can't pass it, they can't even bring it up. i mean, to me, you only get one chance to make a first impression. you don't get a second chance. i would say that the speakers leadership and the new republican congress has shown itself to be politically incompetent and really i think it's floundering at this point and this is an example of it. this is an issue that has 60% support in the country and that they could not even get it to a vote. i think that the moderates are doing exactly what they've seen tea party people do and that is to hold the heerpd hostage and they caved. >> woodruff: mark shields, david brooks we thank you.
>> woodruff: now, a reunion in the world of indie rock that has fans and critics abuzz. hari is back with a look at the return of a band with a signature sound, style and songs that resonate. ♪ >> sreenivasan: it began in dark bars and concert venues in the mid '90s barreling out of the pacific northwest's rock scene and the feminist punk rock girl movement. sleater-kinney, a ban known for fee roughcious melodies and piercing vocals. they were unafraid to tackle politics like the surge in suicides off the golden gate
bridge called jumpers. ♪ >> sreenivasan: they developed a devoted fan base of underground music fans. bands musicians and rock critics have long sung their praises, call them at one point the best rock band in america. between 1995 and 2005, sleater-kinney released seven albums. their style evolved but they held on to political roots. all hands on the bad one, tackled sexism, grappled with the aftermath of september 11. but in 2006, tucker brownstein
and weiss performed their last show before a definite leave from the band and moved on to other musical project. tucker had a second child and for brownstein -- >> that's the fifth bucket this morning. >> wow! so much! >> i know! what are we going to do with all this milk? >> sreenivasan: she co-created the award winning sketch comedy show with former saturday night live star fred. >> they pasteurize milk, they take out a lot of benefits. but we found the answer. >> raw milk. >> sreenivasan: a decade later, sleater-kinney came back together. the new album, "no cities to love," was released later this week. their first performance since 2006 was on the "late show" with david letterman. i sat town with the band at the mercury lounge in new york to find out why they got the band back together. >> it's interesting when you
step away from something and in some ways you hope or assume that that will be filled by something else and it didn't seem to happen with sleater-kinney. you want someone to carry the torch or take the phonic landscape of your band and explore that and that never just happened so i think it felt like something was on pause for a really long time so it wasn't so much like well now we have something to say, it was like this has been laying dormant and doesn't seem like anyone ease is picking its up, so we did. >> sreenivasan: is that disappointing to not see or feel here's another group who have learned from us and are now even better? >> it can be disappointing. i did sort of miss the sort of urgency that we possess as a band. i felt like a lot of music was feeling very much like hugs, you know, comforting, soft, you
know, non-threatening sort of music, which i don't relate to, you know, as much as i do this sort of very visceral physical music. >> sreenivasan: besides the visceral sound the new album has the band weighing in on issues of the day. how much of it is real life creeping into your music? i think there's a lyric "making scrambled eggs for little legs." >> yes. >> sreenivasan: is that a moment you have every morning? >> yeah. i'm a mother of two and i do make scrambled eggs every morning. >> and your kids have really tiny legs. (laughter) >> but the character i'm going for in that song is working a job that is more of a minimum-wage job and still trying to make ends meet for her family. so there is a combination of my
own life but i am, you know writing about economic struggle that i think is happening in america. if we can call that out in a way that draws people in, that makes it a much stronger song. to me, it's something i'm interested in. >> sreenivasan: was it different ten or 15 years ago to find yourself a three-woman band and frankly, there are very few successful today. why do you think that is? >> well, i think that maybe the brock area has been a little culturally behind. i think there's some kind of lagging stereotypes of women within rock and roll and i think we need more women to be writing rock songs to have a different perspective. >> sreenivasan: do you think that makes a different when a young woman in the audience sees you rocking out on stage having a good time? like there's a huge cultural push that says let's encourage
women to be scientists and engineers and math metation -- mathematicians and show them examples of it? >> i feel that's my role as a musician is to show women the alternative to the cultural norms, the stereotypes of what we're supposed to be demure and quiet and motherly. for a young woman to see three very powerful, independent creative women who are not operating within a box, it is enticing. >> sreenivasan: at the same time, brownstein says sleater-kinney never defined themselves as an all-woman band. >> i think this is a band that tried to very forcefully and vehemently exist out side these modifiers to our music. it's very rare for a group of men to be asked, like, why are you in an all-male band. i don't think that's a question that's ever been asked.
>> sreenivasan: most people were probably a lotle shocked when they saw portlandia and realized she had this sense of humor. was she not playing with you? >> no. >> sreenivasan: are you kind of surprised? now people will have this other adjustment where they're kind of used to sketch comedy and, wait, what? she's, like a power roughicker on bushroughicker -- a power rocker on stage? >> there's a sharpness and critique and observations and the writing as always been a huge part of the band. it doesn't seem that crazy to us. >> sreenivasan: the worst thing that happens is you really love this tour. >> that is the worst thing. >> sreenivasan: what are your families going to do the rest of your lives? it's, like, oh i've had a great
february! i have to stay on the road! >> when you're not sure something will continue the stakes seem high in the present tense instead of spreading the stakes out over a long period of time. you don't assume something is going to be around. i think we'll take it one day at a time. that wouldn't be the worst thing to enjoy a tour and we'll come back and do more next year. >> sreenivasan: thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> woodruff: finally tonight our "newshour shares" moment of the day. something that caught our eye was: something that caught our eye is from historian michael pointing to events that happened in 1973. >> we stand on a threshold -- >> woodruff: president nixon was inaugurated for second term in office. two days later lyndon johnson suffered a heart attack and died. in that same 72-hour period, the
supreme court ruled in a landmark case rowe vs. wade which affirmed a woman's right to have an abortion, and a peace agreement was reached between the u.s. and the north vietnamese during a meeting in paris. >> woodruff: now that's a full week of news. 45) >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: saudi arabia's new king salman assumed control as his predecessor, king abdullah, was buried in riyadh. and the deadline came and went for two japanese hostages in syria. islamic state militants have demanded $200 million ransom. on the newshour online right now, our regular columnist larry kotlikoff looks at a recent, troubling change in social security's policy on disability benefits. you can learn more on our making sense page. and we remember the liberation of auschwitz, 70 years ago, with a photo essay on the concentration camp survivors who
were only children at the time. all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. and a reminder about some upcoming programs from our pbs colleagues. gwen ifill is preparing for "washington week," which airs later this evening. here's a preview: >> ifill: we'll peel back the layers on the president's state of the union speech, on the new congress already at war with itself, on allies and enemies around the world at war with each other. and we go to iowa, already crowded tonight with republicans who want to be president. see why, tonight on washington week. judy? >> woodruff: on pbs newshour weekend saturday, when doing your time doesn't end after being released from prison. we profile those who are unable to find work and are now being driven into poverty because of a criminal record. stephen fee reports. >> someone might be watching this and they say, you know what, i wouldn't trust you at my business. how do you defend yourself to that charge? >> what i say to them is it was
2004, and i'm pretty sure if you made a mistake in 2004, you don't know what your mistake was, but mine is documented. so you know what my mistake is. and look at the positive things i've done since 2004. so if you're gonna hang your hat on just 2004, then you probably aren't the person i want to work for anyway. >> woodruff: that's tomorrow night on pbs newshour weekend. and we'll be back, right here on that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff, have a great weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: i.b.e.w. the power professionals in your neighborhood. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer.
>> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
report" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. disappointing delivery. shares of ups tumble. the company warns its fourth quarter profits won't see what many expected and the reasons may sound familiar. get out to vote. that's what they do in greece and investors will pay close attention to the outcome of sunday's election. plus higher education. president obama is proposing a change to the way millions of families save for college, a popular saving vehicle could lose some luster. all that and more tonight on "nightly business report" for frid january 23rd. >> good evening, everyone. three things that we've been reporting recently came home to roost today. the strengthening dollar gridlock at west coast ports, and falling oil prices.