Entries in Christiane Amanpour (7)


Huntsman Holds on to Hope

ABC/Donna Svennevik(NEW YORK) -- He was excluded from the ABC News debate Saturday night and placed last in the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll, but Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is still gunning for a New Hampshire comeback.

“Well, listen, there have been so many ups and downs in this race, I’m getting whiplashed, quite frankly. We’ve had six front-runners in the span of about six months. And all I can tell you, having spent a whole lot of time here in New Hampshire—we have had 116 public events in this state—is that the voters will begin to coalesce around a candidate about a week to 10 days out,” Huntsman said in an interview with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour on This Week.

Often referred to as the candidate with a moderate approach to free market capitalism, Huntsman compared his situation and lack of support to consumers who have held off on making a big purchase before doing some comparison shopping.

“The marketplace is still open. People are shopping. They are listening very, very carefully,” he said. “We have to beat market expectations, Christiane. And I have every expectation that we’re going to beat market expectations.”

Amanpour pressed Huntsman to clarify his position on climate change, after he appeared to shift his stance during a speech Tuesday at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“I have said all along that I put my faith and trust in science,” he said Sunday. “When you have 99 out of 100 climate scientists, you have members of the National Academy of Sciences who have weighed in on a body of research on the subject matter, I say that’s where I put my trust.”

Some observers have branded Huntsman as the “sanest candidate” in the race and conservative commentators like ABC’s George Will have called on Republicans to take a second look at him, but despite the support of a few conservative intellectuals, Huntsman is struggling to secure a New Hampshire beachhead.

Huntsman is polling at 2 percent among likely voters in the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll and is polling at 8 percent among New Hampshire voters, according to the latest CNN/Time poll, behind Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

Many political experts view the New Hampshire primary as important because it is a small state, it’s early in the primary process and candidates who go door-to-door to meet with local activists tend to do well.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Clinton Says Gridlock in Washington Hurting the Economy

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- On the eve of the annual meeting of his Clinton Global Initiative, Former President Bill Clinton says that partisanship in Washington is hampering any ability to reach economic solutions for the country.

"We live in a time where there's this huge disconnect between the way the political system works and the way the economic system works," President Clinton told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "If you want to put people to work, we've got to focus on what works, and what works is not all this back and forth fighting in Washington."

"Conflict has proved to be remarkably good politics," Clinton added. "It's very hard for the people in Washington, who got there based on pure conflict, pure attack, pure ideology, to take it seriously when their same constituents are saying please do something positive. That's not how they got elected."

Most recent polls have shown dissatisfaction with both President Obama's and Congressional leadership on the economy, but Clinton believes the jobs plan that President Obama has outlined can help improve the economic outlook.

"There's a lot of upheaval now," Clinton said. "People are feeling disjointed because they're hurting economically and they don't see the country going forward."

Clinton says he supports investments outlined in President Obama's jobs plan, believing they can work together with private sector investments to spur growth and reduce unemployment.

"I think that it's a very good program that he outlined," Clinton said, praising payroll tax cuts and incentives to hire the long-term unemployed that President Obama has called for. "I think if the Congress seriously takes him up on it and they start trying to work through it and get anything approaching the amount of activity that was recommended, they could put about two percent more on the GDP growth of the coming year… It will put a million or two million people to work, and we'll be on the way back."

The lead topic for the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting this year will be "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Generating Employment for the 21st Century," with world leaders and CEOs convening over the next week to tackle solutions to the global unemployment crisis, with additional focus on green energy investments worldwide, and empowering girls and women.

"I believe that we, those of us who aren't in government, can think of ways to create jobs which will reinforce what I believe are the positive suggestions coming out of Washington," Clinton said. "So what we should do is focus on possible areas of job creation that will free up some of the corporate money that's in treasuries now, that could be invested in America, and make bank loans more attractive to create jobs."

"I will ask them to put aside for the moment whatever their recommendations are to Washington … and just think about where we are now and what we can do now with the resources we now have," Clinton added.

Clinton said there are cities around the country such as San Diego and Pittsburgh that are experiencing growth and innovation, despite gridlock in Washington.

"There are places all over America, believe it or not, that have low unemployment, high growth, strong home prices, jobs being created, a shortage of skilled workers," Clinton said. "Every place the American economy is booming, cooperation is the order of the day… We need some signal out of Washington that they understand that cooperation is good economics, even if conflict is good politics."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Timothy Geithner Says Obama and Boehner Resume Talks on Comprehensive Deal

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says that talks on a "comprehensive, balanced" budget deal between President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner have resumed after discussion between the two leaders came to a standstill on Friday, and he hopes that a framework on an agreement "should happen today."

"Both leaders recognize they're running out of time," Geithner said in an interview with "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "They need to get this process moving in the House on Monday night. To achieve that deadline, they need to have a framework that they know with great confidence will pass both houses of Congress, is acceptable to the President, and that should happen today."

Geithner said that there is progress being made, with two potential agreements on the table.

The first deal would include what Geithner called a "comprehensive, balanced set of savings on the spending side to help secure Medicare and Medicaid for the future, and tax reform that would generate revenues."

The other approach would be the plan by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that would call for Congress to make proposed spending cuts in exchange for allowing the president to raise the debt ceiling.

With the imminent opening of Asian markets, Geithner reassured the world economies that the United States would not default on its debt obligations.

"The leaders of Congress have said unequivocally, Republicans not just Democrats, that we will meet our obligations. We are not going to default," Geithner said. "What we're trying to do is to not just achieve that, but make sure that we put in place a framework that allows Congress to make the tough decisions we need to make to get our fiscal house in order."

He added that this would be a critical test for American politics to see if there could be bipartisanship to make a deal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jacob Lew and Jon Kyl: Differences Over Taxes, Spending Still Hold Back Budget Talks

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While budget negotiations continue to try to reach an agreement before the Aug. 2 deadline, differences over taxes and spending continue to hold back progress on a final deal.

But White House budget director Jacob Lew says he believes an agreement will be reached before the country is at risk of defaulting on its debt obligations.

"I do not believe that responsible leaders in Washington will force this to default," Lew told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "I think that all the leaders of Congress and the president have acknowledged that we must raise the debt limit, and the question is how."

"I think that what we face now is not a challenge of do we have time. It's a question of do we have the will," Lew added. "The president has shown through his leadership that we must take action, we must take it now."

Lew said there are still "multiple tracks" being debated, including efforts by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on a fallback agreement to give President Obama authority to raise the debt ceiling without enacting major spending cuts.

"The minimum is I believe that the debt will be extended," Lew said. "I think notwithstanding the voices of a few who are willing to play with Armageddon, responsible leaders in Washington are not."

"I think the question is do we do more than that," Lew added. "Do we also do as much as we can to reduce the deficit and provide some assurance that we're taking seriously the fiscal problems this country faces?"

The White House budget director said that to reach a larger agreement, raising taxes on the wealthy has to be a component.

"In order to get the kinds of structural reforms that will be needed in the long run, there has to be a balanced package that taxes -- revenues -- as well as spending on the table," Lew said. "It's not fair to ask senior citizens to pay a price, to ask families paying for their college educations for their children to pay a price, but to leave the most privileged out of the bargain."

But Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) maintained the Republican position that raising taxes should not be part of the final deal, and that spending remains the larger problem.

"Unless the president gets off his absolute obsession with raising taxes, Republicans are not going to agree to do anything that will harm our economy," Kyl told Amanpour. "And job killing taxes will harm our economy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Condoleezza Rice: 2007 Mission for Osama bin Laden 'Didn't Materialize'

Donna Svennevik/ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the last time the Bush administration had serious intelligence on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, he was thought to be around Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in the summer of 2007, she tells ABC's Christiane Amanpour in an interview scheduled to air Sunday on This Week. The government believed it might have located bin Laden at a meeting with other al Qaeda members and militants but ended up empty handed, Rice said.

"I don't want to go into this in too much detail because I'm not sure what the sources and methods, issues, are here," Rice said. "Let's just say after very painstaking work, when they were relooking at the entire field of how we might find bin Laden -- because you don't just stumble on Osama bin Laden – there was supposedly this meeting that would take place, perhaps higher level enough for him to come, but in the end it didn't materialize."

Rice's comments come immediately after The New York Times published an article describing the Bush administration's handling of this intelligence in 2007, which is believed to have been the most credible intelligence prior to the mission that killed bin Laden Sunday. In 2007, the U.S. government reportedly obtained information that Osama bin Laden and other high ranking officials of al Qaeda would be meeting in Tora Bora, the same region where allied forces bombed the mountainous terrain in 2001 in a failed attempt track down bin Laden.

"We were constantly having Osama bin Laden sightings," Rice told Amanpour, who pressed the former secretary of state on specific intelligence that bin Laden would attend the 2007 meeting.

A former government official said the military began acting on the intelligence by plotting a large, coordinated bombing mission that would heavily strike the mountainous region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, according to the New York Times report.

Rice would not discuss any U.S. military operations, citing their still classified nature. CIA Director Leon Panetta last year told ABC News that the last time the United States had good intelligence on bin Laden's location was in the early 2000s.

Amanpour's full interview with Rice can been seen Sunday on ABC's This Week With Christiane Amanpour.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gingrich Blasts Obama on Egypt, Calls for Democracy

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich criticized the Obama administration's response to the crisis in Egypt, while also saying the world's focus should be on a democratic transition for the nation, in an interview on ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

"You appoint a very senior diplomat to be your special ambassador, he makes a statement in Munich about what we're doing, and three hours later, the White House is directly contradicting him," Gingrich said referring to Frank Wisner, Obama's special envoy to Egypt, who called Mubarak key to Egypt's move to democracy. The White House took up a contrary position.

Amanpour then asked Gingrich what he would prefer the Obama administration do in response to the transition in Egypt.

"One of the great virtues of our military training program is that we have a lot of senior officers who were in school with a lot of Egyptian officers. I think they need to be, collectively, calling their friends and saying: 'look, you don't want to own the country because then you own every problem and you can't solve them...You don't want to become Burma,'" Gingrich said.

There has been very little criticism of Obama's response to the crisis in Egypt from the GOP. Even House speaking John Boehner has complimented Presiden't Obama's handling of the situation. However Gingrich said the United States should not take center stage.

"Our focus ought to be: what can America do now to make sure the military doesn't impose a new dictatorship for another 30 or 40 years. And how do we, on the other hand, make sure that you don't end up with a Muslim Brotherhood staging a coup at some point over a three or four or five year period."

Gingrich said the pro-democracy movement should not just be limited to Egypt, but to all countries currently fighting to be freed from totalitarian or communist rule.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Texas Republican Says Senate Probably Out of Reach in 2010

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John Cornyn, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, says that Republicans taking the Senate is probably out of reach.

"I'm not predicting we will get the majority this cycle; I think it's probably going to take two cycles," he said Sunday on ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

"But there certainly is a potential there, depending on how high and how broad this wave election is."

Asked about bipartisanship, Cornyn dodged the question, saying, "What we need to be focusing on is jobs, spending and debt."

When pressed about the potential of gridlock in Congress, Cornyn said, "I don't think gridlock is going to be acceptable, when it comes to runaway spending and unsustainable debt and 9.6 percent unemployment.”

"The administration and Democrats, who have been in charge now in the House and Senate for four years and in the White House for two years, don't want to seem to accept any responsibility," he said. "I think that's what this election is about."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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