Sunday Sound: Heard on 'This Week'

PHOTO: "This Week," in partnership with the University of Virginias Miller Center, tackled the critical topic, "Americas Economic Recovery: Is It Built to Last?"

Below are some of the notable comments made Sunday on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

John Brennan

1) BRENNAN: We are vigilant throughout the course of the year, but on a day that marks the one year anniversary of bin Laden being brought to justice, we are especially vigilant. At this time we don't see any active plot that is underway, but we are maintaining our guard. We are following every lead. There always are reports about Al Qaida trying to penetrate our defenses. But at this point, our counterterrorism professionals are doing their job, both here in the United States we well as abroad.

2) BRENNAN: Aviation has been a target -- has been a traditional target of Al Qaida. They continue to do that. 9/11 obviously they used aircraft as weapons. So we need to maintain our vigilance, clearly overseas at these last points of departure and making sure that we're doing everything that we can to work with our -- our partners internationally to -- to protect the traveling public.

3) BRENNAN: Their capability has been degraded significantly. We have taken off the battlefield the founding leader as well as other leading operatives. We have degraded their infrastructure. Their capability to train. Their capability to deploy operatives. So their capability has been degraded. Our defenses have increased. But that doesn't mean we can rest. And we're not going to rest until Al Qaida the organization is destroyed and is eliminated from areas in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Africa and other areas. We're determined to do that.

4) STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you say one year out how much difference killing bin Laden made?

BRENNAN: I think it made a tremendous difference. It's taken away the founding leader of that organization who was symbolic -- a symbol of Al Qaida's sort of murderous agenda worldwide. And so, that has had I think a profound impact on the organization. And Mr. Zawahiri, who is his successor, is somebody who doesn't have the same sort of institutional support. He doesn't have the same charisma.

5) BRENNAN: Well, what I said was that over a period of time before my public remarks that we had no information about a single civilian, a noncombatant being killed. Unfortunately, in war, there are casualties, including among the civilian population. We've done everything possible in Afghanistan and other areas to reduce any risk to that civilian population. Unfortunately, Al Qaida burrows within these areas, you know, safe havens as well as areas where there are civilians, but we've been very, very judicious in working with our partners to try to be surgical in terms of addressing those terrorist threats. And the president has told us, we want to make sure that we protect the American people. And unfortunately, sometimes you have to take life to save lives, and that's what we've been able to do to prevent these individual terrorists from carrying out their murderous attacks.

"America's Economic Recovery: Is It Built to Last?" Panel

Panelists included: Carly Fiorina (former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and co-chair of Mitt Romney's California campaign), Jennifer Granholm (former Michigan governor and host of Current TV's "The War Room"), Paul Krugman (Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist), Eric Schmidt (executive chairman and former CEO of Google), David Walker (former Comptroller General and Founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative), and George Will (ABC News commentator and Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist).

6) FIORINA: I think we need to do three things with the tax code. One, lower the rates so that they are competitive. Two, close every loophole with the possible exception of a tax exemption for charitable giving, because the data is clear…….. Close the loopholes. And three, simplify it dramatically. Why? Because our tax code, like our regulatory regime, has been written by big business, big labor, and big government. Simplify it. And if we have to carve out something special for big business, fine, to regulate them more carefully than the small business. But we have to restore the entrepreneurial foundation of this nation. It is what creates jobs.

7) GRANHOLM: But if Mitt Romney and the Republicans only want to do what we did under George Bush, we have seen the results of that. We don't want to go backwards. We've got to be more active.

8) WILL: Will Rogers once said the difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets. The fact is -- when Reagan and Rostenkowski and the others simplified the tax cuts in 1986, since then, the tax code has been re-complicated more than once a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Wouldn't it be nice to have a tax code that looks like someone designed it on purpose? Instead it is exactly as Carly described, it's a favor machine, much more than the appropriations committee in the Congress.

9) WALKER: We're number 28 out of 34 countries in the world in fiscal sustainability. On rankings we're worse than Spain. We're worse than Italy when you look at total government debt, which is federal, state and local. Look, we can turn this around. But my view is, it's absolutely imperative that we make meaningful progress by no later than the end of 2013.

10) FIORINA: So let's just stipulate that everybody at this table, and the vast majority of politicians, are interested in creating as many jobs as possible and raising as many people out of poverty as possible. The data from the real world is crystal clear and all you have to do is go to our home state of California. California used to be the most vibrant economy in the world. And what is it today? It is an economy with yawning budget deficits, deteriorating public services, double digit unemployment. And what's happening in California? People are leaving.

GRANHOLM: Let me put Michigan on the table as a counter example. Michigan had the toughest economy in the nation for the first decade of this past year because of the loss of automotive and manufacturing jobs. There was a decision by the Obama administration to intervene. At that point, we had hit bottom. Our unemployment rate was 14.5 percent. It's now 8.4. It's the second quickest -- the second fastest drop of any state in the country. But the reason is, because there was a decision made to intervene, to save that industry, put it on solid ground. They had great management. There was a decision made to intervene to allow us to diversify the economy. And as a result, Michigan is now seeing a recovery. The hands-off strategy would not be working.

FIORINA: That's not what I'm advocating. I'm not advocating a hands-off strategy at all. Invest in the industries that matter through basic research. Fundamental reform the tax code. Do everything necessary to get small business going. Take on the structural educational problems. Do some of the things that we're talking -- that's not hands-off.

11) WILL: I was on an airline the other day. And as we pulled up to the gate, the flight attendant came on and said, "We thank you for flying Delta," I think it was. "We know you have your choice of bankrupt airlines." I mean, the fact is, airlines go bankrupt. They don't disappear. And if General Motors had gone bankrupt..... they wouldn't have disappeared. They'd have been reorganized differently.

12) SCHMIDT: Well, if you looked at it over the last couple of decades, the rate of inequality has increased dramatically. And it's particularly concentrated around the difference between college educated and not. From my perspective, there's a -- a fairness argument. And I personally believe that the top 1 percent need to share more. And they can share that in many, many ways, including philanthropy. But the fact of the matter is that we have to have a -- a growing middle class and we have to also worry about this generation that's currently unemployed that are in their '20s. One of the things we haven't talked about is youth unemployment in -- in America is very, very bad. In their 20s, 25 percent, depending on which surveys. And so I worry not just about the haves and -- the haves and the really haves, but I also worry about the people who are not entering the economic system when they should be over the next few years.

13) KRUGMAN: … By not having enough jobs in the economy right now, by not doing stimulus, by not ending this depression, we are condemning a lot of recent college graduates to not getting a job that makes use of their skills. This is destroying people's lives. It's destroying human capital. We're paying a huge price.

14) WILL: K through 12 education - We have the shortest school year in the industrial world…. We have a school year designed in the late 19th century for a ranching and farming nation when the children are needed on the ranches and farms in the late spring and early fall that's of limited relevance in Detroit today… We ought to be in school at least another month a year.

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