tv PBS News Hour PBS February 19, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, a scramble for republicans and a close race for democrats; candidates have one last day to campaign until voting tomorrow in south carolina and nevada. making a perfect friday preview for mark shields and david brooks; they are here, to analyze the week's news. then, a report from the greek island of lesbos, where winter weather has done little to stem the flow of refugees. >> a normal day. the boat had a problem with the engine. it cannot move. the people inside have too many children. two sick guys and this case we have to put on board and take them ashore for a medical test. >> woodruff: and we remember harper lee, author of the
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>> woodruff: thousands of people-- among them, president and mrs. obama-- paid final respects today to supreme court justice antonin scalia. he died last saturday at the age of 79, and lay in repose today at the building where he had worked since 1986. hari sreenivasan has our report. >> sreenivasan: it was a day of solemn scenes at the land's highest court. starting with the flag-covered casket being carried past men and women who clerked for scalia during his 30 years as a justice. the procession moved into the great hall, passing the eight remaining justices, and the casket was placed on a funeral bier first used after president lincoln's assassination. then, a private ceremony, with the justice's widow and children looking on, as his son, reverend paul scalia, read "the lord's prayer:" >> our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as is it is in heaven.
>> sreenivasan: throughout the day, former clerks stood vigil, occasionally wiping away tears, as the court opened for public viewing. visitors ranged from tourists to members of congress, to federal appeals judges sri srinivasan and patricia millett-- who are being mentioned as possible replacements for scalia. outside, for much of the day, the line stretched around the block. >> scalia represented everything that was awesome about someone who knew the law, had the right opinions about the law, and just had the wit to actually convey those opinions in a way that like stuck with you and like made an impression. >> i couldn't be further from-- you know the polar opposite of justice scalia-- in a lot of his philosophies. you know, i'm probably as far to the left as he is to the right; but you know that isn't really important. when someone dies, it's time to put politics aside. ( bagpipe ) >> sreenivasan: another mourner, benjamin williams, offered a bagpipe tribute, as he said he's done for senators and congressmen before. this afternoon, president obama
and the first lady paid their respects. the obamas will not attend tomorrow's funeral, but vice president biden and his wife will be there, at washington's "basilica of the national shrine of the immaculate conception." >> woodruff: in the day's other news, an offshoot kurdish militant group claimed responsibility today for a suicide bombing that rocked turkey's capital this week. the blast in ankara killed 28 people. the "kurdistan freedom falcons" said it was revenge for turkish military assaults on kurdish rebels. prospects for peace in syria have dimmed even further. the u.n.'s syria envoy today called off peace talks planned for next week. staffan de mistura said he cannot "realistically" arrange negotiations right now. fighting has intensified in the last week, with a new offensive by syria's military and its allies, backed up by russian bombing. u.s. warplanes attacked an islamic state training camp in libya overnight and may have killed a top tunisian militant.
u.s. officials say noureddine chouchane was linked to last year's attack on a museum in tunis that killed 22 people. a pentagon spokesman says he was spotted at a site near the town of sabratha, close to the border with tunisia. >> this group, and this particular individual, who had-- was named as a suspect previously in an attack in tunisia, posed again a threat to libya specifically, to interests in the region and posed a national security threat to the untied states. >> woodruff: video of the aftermath showed the destruction, and the victims. local officials said more than 40 people were killed, but the pentagon could not confirm the number. israeli forces shot dead three more palestinians today, in an ongoing wave of violence. the israeli military said one man rammed a car into israeli troops in the west bank town of ramallah. another fired on soldiers near bethlehem. and a third stabbed and wounded
two officers in jerusalem. the near-daily attacks started last september. european leaders say they've reached an agreement tonight that could keep britain in the european union. it came after a two-day summit in brussels went into overtime. prime minister david cameron said the deal gives britain special status. the summit outcome could help cameron win a summer referendum on remaining part of the e.u. vietnam and the philippines are the latest to protest china's placement of surface-to-air missiles in the south china sea. the batteries are deployed on woody island in the paracels. it is controlled by china but also claimed by vietnam and taiwan. the chinese said today they are acting because the u.s. is the chinese said today they're acting in response to american actions: >> ( translated ): the u.s. has been continuously increasing its military presence in the south china sea by sending out military aircraft and ships.
the u.s. has repeatedly pressed on its alliance and partners to conduct joint military exercises. these actions have escalated the tensions, meaning more militarization in this region. >> woodruff: the u.s. has criticized china's missile move, and said it will continue to insist on freedom of navigation throughout the region. in uganda, voting turned to violence a day after the country's presidential election. angry protests broke out when the main opposition candidate was arrested again. police fired tear gas and bullets into the air to disperse the crowds. the country's president, yoweri museveni, has held power for 30 years, and is leading in early, but disputed, returns. back in this country, the last of louisiana's "angola three" inmates was released after more than 40 years. albert woodfox and two others spent decades in isolation at state prisons in angola and elsewhere. he was twice convicted of murder in the death of a prison guard, but the verdicts were overturned. woodfox was awaiting a new trial
when he agreed to plead no contest and go free, at the age of 69. the state of oregon is headed towards the highest minimum wage in the country. a bill to raise the wage over 6 years won financial approval on thursday. it is the first such measure to set pay by region. by 2022, portland employees will earn $14.75 an hour, while workers in rural areas will make a rate of $12.50. and wall street finished the week with mixed results. the dow jones industrial average lost 21 points to close at 16,392. the nasdaq rose nearly 17 points, and the s&p 500 was virtually unchanged. still to come on the newshour: why winning south carolina is so important to the g.o.p. candidates; mark shields and david brooks take on a packed week of news; a dangerous journey for children seeking refuge in greece with their families, and much more.
>> woodruff: presidential candidates in both parties are down to less than 24 hours until the next two critical contests. today, they spent one last day trying to make their case: the democrats, in nevada and the republicans, in south carolina. >> yesterday, the pope was great. >> woodruff: that was donald trump in myrtle beach today, taking a softer line after his flare-up with pope francis. the pontiff had said trump is not a christian if he advocates building a wall along the mexican border. >> they had him convinced that illegal immigration was like a wonderful thing. not wonderful for us. it's wonderful for mexico. >> woodruff: in turn, the vatican said the pontiff's comments were "in no way a personal attack, nor an
indication on how to vote." trump, though, faced continuing attacks from his republican rivals, while defending a lead that some polls suggest may be shrinking. texas senator ted cruz also campaigned in myrtle beach: >> it's easy to say "make america great again." you can even print that on a baseball cap. but the question to ask is, do you understand what made america great in the first place? >> woodruff: for another rival, jeb bush, tomorrow could be make-or-break. he brought along his mother, former first lady barbara bush, and took a decidedly humble tack: >> thank you lord for allowing me to be a candidate, to run for the presidency of the u.s. in the most extraordinary country on the face of the earth. >> woodruff: democrats hold their primary in south carolina
next saturday-- and today, hillary clinton picked up a critical endorsement. it came from jim clyburn-- the state's top democrat and first black congressman since reconstruction. >> a few people speculated that my head was with one candidate, and my heart with the other. that was not the case at all. my heart has always been with hillary clinton. >> woodruff: last night, both clinton and bernie sanders appeared on a town hall in las vegas, hosted by msnbc and telemundo. the night's big focus: immigration. sanders was asked to explain his 2007 vote against a comprehensive reform bill. >> included in that legislation was a guest worker provision, which organizations saw as almost akin to slavery. guest workers came in, and if they didn't do what their bosses wanted them to do-- if they
didn't accept exploitation and cheating-- then they're going to be thrown out of this country. >> woodruff: and clinton talked of continuing president obama's executive actions that defer the deportations of many undocumented immigrants: >> i will do everything i can to make sure they are kept in place. as you know, there's a court action challenging them. i don't know what's going to happen now with the supreme court situation. but i will renew them, i will go further, if it's at all legally possible. >> woodruff: both clinton and sanders stuck to stumping in the silver state today, where the race is neck and neck. democrats will caucus there tomorrow as republicans hold their primary in south carolina. but the day was not over without trump making another controversial statement. he called for a boycott of apple products, until the tech company complied with an fbi order to unlock a phone used by one of the san bernadino shooters.
>> first of all, apple ought to give the security for that phone, okay? (applause) what i think you ought to do is boycott apple until such time as they give that security number. how do you like that? boycott apple. >> woodruff: although trump seems to defy conventions, south carolina history tells us one thing for sure: the palmetto state has a unique brand of sharp-edged politics. political director lisa desjardins reports. >> reporter: the g.o.p. race is down to six candidates, and they all know the saying, "south carolina picks presidents." >> you all have the chance to reset the race. that's what south carolinians have done in the past. >> and now, south carolina is going to play the role that it has always played in presidential race: the historic role of choosing presidents. >> we make presidents. let's make marco rubio the next president of the united states. >> reporter: the palmetto state has voted for the eventual republican nominee nearly every
year, since 1980... from ronald reagan to john mccain. the lone exception? former house speaker newt gingrich in 2012. >> we want to run, not a republican campaign. we want to run an american campaign. >> reporter: a surprise win, but not enough to carry him to the nomination. bruce haynes is a republican strategist who grew up in florence. >> south carolina, in the past, has gone for more establishment types-- strong leaders, typically with a lot of experience in politics. but this time we may be turning a different page. >> reporter: he is referring, of course, to donald trump, who's doubled down in south carolina, with far more events per day than in iowa or new hampshire. he has the same strong words: >> who's the best on who's the best on the economy? trump. >> reporter: voters here live with modern growth, that is leaving some behind. >> there's a piece of the state that's still catching up. the cut-and-sew textile plants--
have shut down and closed, and those jobs have gone overseas, which plays right into the message that donald trump is delivering about trade, about jobs and about china. >> reporter: meanwhile, ted cruz is counting on help from the state's evangelicals. >> father god, please continue this awakening. continue this spirit of revival. awaken the body of christ, that we might pull back from the abyss. >> reporter: south carolina is pivotal because of the calendar: the first presidential vote in the south. it is important because of numbers-- roughly half a million republican primary voters-- more than iowa and new hampshire combined. one other important piece of the political landscape this year-- the military. as many as one in six voters in the palmetto state are current military or veterans, and candidates are tailoring their messages that way. >> we are gonna make our military so big, so strong, so powerful, nobody's ever gonna have to mess with us, folks. >> who could be complaining about anything, when you think about what these guys endured
over there? >> when i'm president, we're rebuilding the u.s. military. ( applause ) >> reporter: dubose kapeluck teaches political science at the citadel and believes trump's tough talk gives him an advantage. >> the idea that if you poke the united states, we're gonna come back with full force, overwhelming force, and get the job done militarily and pull out: i think that is a sentiment that trump expresses that resonates well with our people here in the military. >> reporter: true... even after trump went on the attack against former president george w. bush. >> the world trade center came down during the reign of george bush. he kept us safe? that is not safe. >> you would expect veterans here to be maybe enflamed about that and upset, but that didn't really phase them. in fact, you saw some sympathy for that point of view, which was, i think, telling. >> reporter: the state has a sharp reputation for what some would call political tricks. in just the past day, the cruz
campaign posted this photo that looks like marco rubio shaking hands with barack obama-- it is photoshopped, from a stock image that twitter users found. the cruz campaign later posted a different, undoctored photo, and said their candidate has been photoshopped in others' ads and more tricks could still be ahead. >> they come, frankly, on the weekend during the primary, so the other campaigns don't have time to respond to these attacks. >> reporter: candidates now have just hours to try and survive the battle for south carolina. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> woodruff: tight races in south carolina and nevada; the intersection of politcs and religion; and a congressional battle brewing over an eventual supreme court nominee. we turn now to the analysis of shields and brooks. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. gentlemen, welcome. >> judy. >> woodruff: good to see you. so, david. today it's apple.
yesterday it was the pope. who gets the better of this exchange between donald trump and the pontiff? >> everything sacred in our world is being attacked. it's an accumulation for trump. you start by attacking george bush, call everybody an actor, the pope thing, the apple thing, the question is will fatigue ever set in? some polls say no. but another stream of polls including the nbc, "wall street journal" poll which suggests it's beginning to hurt him and there is an exhaustion factor. so i don't think there is one thing but it's the accumulation of bombast. i thought he was inningd the debate saturday night and i think there will be a moment where that has a telling effect. >> woodruff: do you see some of the magic dissipating from donald trump (yes, i agree with david, first of all, on the debate. my only explanation is he was
unnerved by the public booing that was so sustained and this is a man who feeds off the adulation of his own rallies. there's no way in the world you planned going into a national debate for republicans on national television that you were going to suggest -- charge, that the last republican president of the united states not only knew there were no weapons of mass destruction but took the country into war knowing that. so it was really bizarre beyond. as far as the pope is concerned, it will come as an enormous surprise to donald trump that the pope has probably no idea who he is. the question was, what about someone who advocates building walls rather than building bridges and closes off any access or really compassion to those who are suffering from forced migration and dispossessed, and the pope said,
that's unchristian. and i think by just about any definition, there is an iron rule in politics about clergy and that is they should never interfere in politics except the one exception being when they agree with me and my side. so i think, after john mccain and mexicans and muslims and megyn kelly, the pope, i wouldn't put apple in the same category as a sympathetic institution, but at some point the accumulation of the people he has just not only made enemies with but denigrated i think becomes a weight too heavy for his candidacy. >> woodruff: maybe another problem for donald trump, david, is the endorsement of marco rubio by the governor nikki haley in south carolina. does something like that help rubio? does it move him? >> yeah, i think in general endorsements don't matter but in this case i think it does, in part because to have the debate performance a couple of weeks ago when his campaign seemed to be in decline, this helps revive
the story he's on the rebound. to me the most interesting story on the republican side unless the polls are completely wrong, trump could probably win but rubio could beat cruz for second. they seem neck and neck in the polls. if cruz comes in second in south carolina that says something about the cruz candidacy. >> woodruff: how do you see the rubio/cruz thing? cruz has been in trouble over the his tv spots and has been in a tuft with trump and rubio back and forth. >> did anybody notice they were shaking hands with their left hands? that's how had it was. it was a lousy photoshop job in addition to being cheap and tawdry politics. as general rule, endorsement, unless it's the spouse of one candidate endorsing the other, i
think nikki haley may be the exception. she's four to one favorable among republican voters and is favorable among african-american voters, rare for any republican in the country let alone south carolina. i think it gives him a little narrative with tim scott and trey gaudy that he is on the rebound and coming back. ted cruz having won iowa, finishing third in new hampshire, and expected once they went below the mason-dixon line, you were getting into his favorable territory, if he finishes third, i think it's a real seatback for him. >> woodruff: i have to ask you both about jeb bush. one of the so-called establishment trio. he had his brother the former president in there, his mother barbara bush in there, what's going on?
>> i think if he hangs around ten, he can stay in florida. >> woodruff: 10%. he's performing well. if he falls to five or six, you know, nationally he's at four, so that's not good. so i think he can hang around just -- he may feel -- >> woodruff: even if he comes in fourth or fifth? >> i see mark frowning at me and now i have the lord's judgment upon me, but i still think he feels called to hit back at trump. i think he would hate to think he wasn't there to hit back at a trump. he would hurt the anti-trump cause by getting out through i'm sure that's not how he feels in his heart. >> "the wall street journal" nbc poll came down to two candidates, if it was marco rubio or ted cruz against trump, both would beat trump by 16
points, 56 to 40. so there is a real ceiling donald trump has. the one candidate donald trump did beat in a matchup was jeb bush. i just think at some point it becomes just obvious. >> woodruff: youin' head-to-head. >> do you want to go home to florida where you were successful and popular two-term governor and lose, and especially if marco rubio, the mentee, gets the boost out of south carolina and the mentor having finished sixth in iowa, fourth in new hampshire, i mean, do you really continue with another fourth in south carolina? i think it becomes awfully difficult, almost painful. >> woodruff: let me move you quickly to the democrats, nevada. they're voting in those caucuses tomorrow. david, both of you said last week words to the effect that you don't see hillary clinton has a rationale to her candidacy. seven days later, do you still feel the same way? >> i do.
she's more aggressive in trying to use identity politics to trump class politics which i don't think is a good strategy in 2016, this is a very economic class war they're having. the second thing, it's interesting what's happening in nevada, is it's close. didn't seem so several weeks ago. that's because sanders has done well with latinos. there is a difference in the tway latinos and african-american voters are reacting, especially in south carolina the african-americans are pretty solidly behind clinton but the latino voters are not. supposing he ties or wins, the question will be whether people in south carolina and african-american communities and other communities are willing to take another look at him because a lot of people haven't focused on him yet. if he wins nevada that changes the story line and gives him another step up of what has been a series of good steps in the last few weeks. >> woodruff: what do you see going on with clinton-sanders?
>> i wish i could disagree with david. i think bernie sanders is in a period of momentum and i think what's interesting, hillary clinton since april has slipped in overalpolling by "the wall street journal"-nbc poll. they put up all their surveys together with every democratic group. i mean, across the board, age, income, education, gender, nationality, but particularly among latinos which there is no explanation for. her campaign when new hampshire looked dreary boasted openly they had a 2 25-point lead in nevada raising expectations. as far as her rationale, it's basically -- it's hillary's turn. she's strong. she's tested. we live in a dangerous world, and she's ready, and you need somebody there steady and ready. the third one xs do you want barack obama's third term?
i promise you i'll give that. that seems to me to be the rationale for her candidacy at this point. >> woodruff: she was making what appeared to be an effort to nail down her strong position on immigration, supporting -- >> yes, she did have one great spot where the little latino girl -- girl -- >> woodruff: yes. her parents are going to be deported and hillary clinton shows a kindness, a compassion, a soft side which i think has hs been missing totally from her candidacy. >> woodruff: finally, i want to come to the death of the supreme court justice antonin scalia. david, reflectionons him before we talk about the politics of it? >> he was a joyous spirit, poker player, cigar, wine. if you want to convert people to your side, you can issue court opinions, but be a pleasant spirit. i'm really impressed by the court. we have so much polarization. they generally are friends and work hard on that. it's a very impressive
institution. >> i remember when he was nominated, he said he served -- >> woodruff: a democrat. a democrat. when antonin scalia was nominated, it was said he was a great guy. he never let the disagreements define any relationship. the one with ruth bader ginsburg, you see the two of them laughing and thoroughly enjoying each other in an open and natural way which is refreshing in washington in this particular era. >> woodruff: i think you could see that as they were standing there today at the supreme court. there may not have been disagreements that way but certainly were politically david over what's going to happen now. the president said he's going to nominate someone. the senate republican leadership said we may not confirm them, we may not consider. >> we should consider. the constitution says the president nominates and the constitution is there to put
rules around our struggles for power. i think it's totally fair and the republicans can probably get away with not doing anything. to me, what we'll do and i don't know the effect of this, it will polerrize the bases, create more conflict, elevate the social issues on the republican side, elevate campaign finance on the democrat side, probably have a polarizing effect on the election. if the candidacies were strong, would probably help a cruz and sanders because of the issues that would get elevated. >> woodruff: less than 30 seconds. >> i think senator mcconnell could only have been trying to appeal to the rest of restless, angry republican primary voters so disappointed in the republicans in congress who said they haven't overturned, been rolled by obama, said he was going to step out before the body was cold and condolences were offered to the family, he announced, regardless, made no difference whom the president nominated and he got a number of republicans in tough races to follow him. i mean, the senator in
new hampshire, senator portman in ohio, senator johnson in wisconsin, they made a big mistake. that is not the american tradition. i think it was a misstep politically. >> woodruff: and you get the last word, mark shields, brooks broorks -- david brooks, we thank you both. >> woodruff: stay with us. npr's steve inskeep guides us through his time in iran. and, remembering "to kill a mockingbird" author, harper lee. but first, new figures from the united nations show that an average of two children have drowned every day since last september, as their families attempted the perilous crossing from turkey to greece. this week alone, off the greek island of lesbos, more than 900 people have been rescued at sea.
special correspondent malcolm brabant accompanied european union border police this week as they patrolled the aegean sea, and he was there when dozens of those people were saved. >> reporter: dawn at molyvos harbour in northern lesbos where traditional rhythms of island life co-exist with the new. portugese maritime police are heading out on patrol on the eastern most fringes of europe, on attachment to frontex, the european union's border control agency. frontex spokesman chris borowski: >> frontex is supporting the greeks in both patrolling their waters and in the end, once the migrants arrive, we're registering them to make sure we have counted all of them and we know who's coming across the border. they're registered, they are counted, their nationalities are determined, and the point is to know who's coming in to europe. >> reporter: but how is that protecting europe's borders?
>> the bottom line is that it's up to the greeks to protect the borders here, we're here to support them in any way we possibly can. >> reporter: for more than a week, the portugese have not seen any migrants. the police put on bulletproof life jackets, just in case they encounter violent smugglers or worse. they've heard there's a boat in distress. the skipper cranks up the engines of the small rigid inflatable or rib. and soon it's skimming across a calm sea at 50 miles per hour. the weather is perfect for crossing the five miles from turkey to lesbos. other european civilian volunteer rescue teams have already arrived on station to ensure there's no loss of life. this is a familiar scenario. the cheap outboard motors either die mid channel, or the migrants cut the engines and call for help by mobile phone. "there's a problem with the
>> what do you think of this? thank you. >> reporter: the gentle sea state helps the pomp guise agents. >> today it's them. tomorrow, maybe portuguese can help people, too. we have to take care of each other. >> a normal day. the boat had a problem with the engine. it cannot move. the people inside have too many children. two sick guys and this case we have to put on board and take them ashore for a medical test. >> wait for us! wait. >> reporter: like many of those on board, abdullah harmoush is from latakia on syria's coast,
the home town of president bashar al assad. >> there are many troubles in my city because of the violence. we couldn't stay there in syria. so we left syria to get refugee status. it was a very good response from the police. we were very afraid in the sea but when we entered greek waters we have the support very quickly. we were expecting a very fast response from the police at sea from greece. it's amazing feel that when we entered the waters of greece we are rescued and we are very, very happy about it, here in this boat. >> reporter: acting purely as a rescue service, which is what you're doing, aren't you actually encouraging more people
to come because they know they're going to be safe? >> we do not encourage people to come here. we're here to help patrol the waters and once the migrants cross in, if it's a search and rescue operation, we have to help them get on the boats and we have to allow them to come to greece to register them and seek asylum. >> reporter: but some of the people on this boat said, "we knew we were going to be rescued, so we just set off." so isn't that just encouraging people? >> what we are doing is, we are supporting the greeks in patrolling their borders and are doing all we can to make sure that we both register those who come here and rescue those who need it. >> reporter: in the past ten days, nato has deployed to reinforce europe's borders. there are five ships out in the international waters of the aegean sea dividing greece from turkey.
nato insists their vessels will not be intercepting boats carrying refugees and turning them back. they will adhere to international treaties requiring them to come to the aid of people in distress at sea. but those people picked up by nato ships will be returned to turkey. will this strategy work? professor christodoulos yiallourides, dean of athens' panteion university believes it could make a difference. >> ( translated ): nato can't stop them coming; she can however assist in restricting the flow of migrants simply because of her presence-it will be known that nato is waiting for them and this should act as a deterrent. >> reporter: nato did not deter these 90 afghans, picked up by the greek coast guard. among them, edriss bayat, who used to work as an administrator for nato in afghanistan. what do you think of the way
europe is reacting to the refugee crisis? >> i think they are doing a good job. at least, they know who is entitled to seek their assistance for example from afghanistan, iraq and syria. and they are the people that really need to leave their country to save their life. >> reporter: but why couldn't you stay in another country like turkey for example? why did you have to come to europe? >> there is a lot of issues in turkey, for example job wise. they are not giving you the immigrant status, you cannot get a permanent visa, or a turkish passport or anything. >> reporter: where do you want to go in europe, what do you want to do? >> for me, i want to continue my studies and have a good future. >> reporter: do you want to stay in europe or do you want to go back to syria? what do you want to do? >> of course, when the war is
over i will come back to my country. >> reporter: and what do you want to do for your country? >> rebuild it. >> i really wish to have a safe country. if our country gets safe, we will go back. >> reporter: european union nations are doing all they can to stem the migrant tide, but as middle eastern violence threatens to draw in turkey, the flow shows no sign of abating. for the pbs newshour, i'm malcolm brabant in lesbos. >> woodruff: iranians will go to the polls next week to elect a new parliament and to choose the small group that will pick the next supreme leader. one of our colleagues from npr is just back from a reporting trip to iran, and william brangham has that conversation. >> brangham: the signing of the landmark nuclear deal with iran was supposed to begin a new era
of relations between iran and the west. it would free iran from decades of crippling economic sanctions while giving the west some confidence that iran won't be able to develop a nuclear weapon. many in the united states remain aware of iran's intentions including all candidates running for president, they all vow to renegotiate the agreement. inside iran? steve inskeep joins me, just back from a trip and joins me now. welcome. >> thanks. >> brangham: the nuclear deal is signed, iran is freed somewhat from the sanctions. are things getting better for iranians? >> no, not in day-to-day life, not yet. in fact, in talking with people on the street which i find to be one of the most productive things to do when traveling to iran, i find a lot of pessimism. people have gone through years of economic suffering, many disagreed with the political direction of their government and even though things are moving in their point of view in a more optimistic direction,
it's very slow. it's too throirl see any concrete economic results from the end of sanctions that just happened a few weeks ago. there was a time when people were saying just the anticipation of the end of sanctions was improving iran's economy but that seems not to have trickled down to ordinary people. >> brangham: i don't understand. rouhani was elected in no small part to eliminate sanctions, improve relations with the west and try to make the economy better? the sense it's not happening fast enough or not enough? >> that is exactly right. there is a residue of support for rouhani. centers of support were very different and said, yeah, i support rouhani but more liberal or western-facing people who want much greater openness, who want much greater change have been disappointed not to see more. >> brangham: i know in one of your reports this week you reported on thousand there are certainly still some people in iran who don't want any of the changes to occur. what is it they're afraid of?
what is it they're worried? if business starts to flourish? if the economy gets better? what's the concern? >> on a basic level, they're afraid of the united states. this was a government founded on a few basic principals and one of them was opposition to the united states, and the united states was blamed for many of iran's previous problems before 1979. there's been a long-standing rivalry. they're aware of profound distrust in the united states of iran. so you have two governments that are very much at odds on everything orthothan the nuclear deal. on one level, it's as simple as that. on another level, you have a government, a clerical-led government that has elections, that has a semblance of democracy but that knows it is not fundamentally supported by a lot of people. some people might say the majority of iranians oppose the government, i can't go that far, i don't know what the numbers are, but it's clear there is a lot of cynicism, disappointment
and impatience with this government and if you're in charge you know that, and so you wonder what's going to happen next. you don't want things to go the wrong way and for your government to fall. >> brangham: one of the things in the west we like to tell ourselves was the economic sanctions that crippled their economy and brought iran to the negotiating table and one of your reports detailed the cynicism almost that some people think some of the problems within iran might have been because of corruption and mismanagement within their own government. >> oh, yeah. this was really interesting. it was a talking point for iranians during sanctionings. your sanctions aren't hurting us too much, it's other things going on here. but it's something a lot of iranians firmly believe, that there were ways they found to get around economic sanctions in. my visit it is in the last years, people found ways to sell carpets to germany, petrochemicals to china, in spite of the sanctions. you can get around economic
sanctions to an extent. although they were more and more punishing over time. what has been harder to get around is the sense of mismanagement of the economy, hyperinflation in the economy. 36,000 iranian riials for $1. it was much much less a few years ago. >> brangham: incredible. you have serious problems in the economy and a clear sense of corruption that some of the government entities deeply involved in the economy also take a cut. >> brangham: we know elections are coming up at the end of next week and in typical iranian faction a whole slew of people who wanted to run were told they couldn't for reasons unstated. what are you looking for in that election? >> when you say typical iranian fashion, it's the official system. the guardian council is there to disqualify candidates not islamic enough or not with the islamic revolution and you're correct they're not transparent about their reasons for people
being disqualified. we don't know or i don't, maybe somebody does, exactly who is in or out. we know many people were disqualified. there are elections for the assembly of experts this time. the assembly of experts is charged with overseeing the supreme leader to the extent that anybody does. that's the body that elects the supreme leader. that's the body that, at least in theory, could remove or impeach, as americans would say, the supreme leader if there was some inca passty or he could don't his job. so it's considered vitally important who gets on the panel and chooses the next supreme leader. let's remember this was a system designed rather like the american system with lots of checks and balances. any new leader would inherit the system with checks and balances. it would be hard to move iran any direction than the direction it's in now.
>> brangham: thanks for your reporting and being here. >> glad to come. >> woodruff: finally tonight, the loss of a literary legend. reclusive in life, but renowned for crafting one of the great american novels. and to jeffrey brown. >> brown: harper lee was a little known writer living in new york when "to kill a mockingbird" was published in 1960. the book would win the pulitzer prize a year later, sell more than 30 million copies in 40 languages, and be read and loved by generations. its fame grew with the 1962 film version starring gregory peck as atticus finch, father of the young narrator "scout," and a lawyer in a segregated alabama town who defends a black man against a rape charge. in a 1964 radio interview, lee said this about "mockingbird's" enormous success:
>> my reaction was not one of surprise but one of numbness, like being hit over the head and knocked cold. i never expected the book to sell in the first place. >> brown: but in the decades that followed, lee did little or no talking: it was news when she went to the white house in 2007 to accept a presidential medal of freedom. instead, she lived quietly most of her life in the town of monroeville, alabama. and, while readers waited, no other books came... until the surprise this past summer of "go set a watchman," a book described as written before "mockingbird," but only discovered and published 55 years later. it drew more readers, mixed reviews, and many questions about the circumstances of its writing and publication. harper lee died in her sleep last night. she was 89 years old.
and joining us now is novelist and short story writer allan gurganus. his books include "oldest living confederate widow tells all," "plays well with others," and, most recently "local souls." allan, welcome. what explains the popularity in the end of ""to kill a mockingbird""? >> i think it's a fable about the extraordinarily difficult subject of race that presents itself with charm and a kind of innocence that makes the investigation acceptable and beguiling. i think the name "scout" of the child is appropriate. she's our representative in this strange moral morale she finds herself in and i think she's spoken to a lot of people over the years. >> brown: and set in a particular time when you think of both the historical qualities and for you as a writer, its writing qualities. >> it's a book of a lot of precision, a lot of poetic
passages about small-town life that rings completely true as somebody who grew up in a small town. but i think ethically the questions are strenuous and difficult and interesting, and that combination of giving us candy and salt at the same time has made the book so popular. it's also short, which is great for junior high school readers, but it manages to pull heart strings and asks big, big questions. >> brown: not to be underemphasized, the length of a book sometimes, right? what about harper lee the author? >> no, and especially with young people. >> brown: what about harper lee and the mythology that came to surround her as writing this one book, all but disappearing, people waiting endlessly for another book? >> i think she was a very shy, charming person used to living in a very small town where everybody knew her, and the
attention that she got when this novel came out and became a best-seller for 88 weeks was overwhelming. she was also protecting her private life, her sexual life, which is a decision that i respect, and she just made a decision not to go public. i think the pressure of following a book that wins the pulitzer prize can't be overestimated, and she was, i think, had set out to write a book that mythologized her actual lawyer father that met her own standards. he spoke to her after the book and she was pleased with what she had done and her mission was complete, in some sense. >> brown: go set a watchman, very strange set of questions that came about, whether it was an early draft of mockingbird,
whether she should have agreed to its publication. what in the end should we take from that, do you think? >> i think every writer has two or three novels hidden away in drawers and closets that would ruin their literary reputation and for somebody to come in late in your game and public those with only half of your permission may be a smart move in terms of moneymaking, but it was a devastating blow to her reputation. a lot of boys had been named atticus and people actually went to court to have their sons named changed when the atticus turned out to be a conventional racist like on the town council. so it hurt her reputation. the siege book she'll be remembered for is mockingbird. >> brown: her legacy to be defined by one book, but what a
book it was. >> what a book it was, and to think it came out in 1960 just before the huge riots and the german shepherds and the fire hoses in the south. i think it taught white america how to think about race, and we needed an innocent child to lead us into that difficult and complex subject, and it made the prophecy of what was coming palatable and easy to understand and digest. so it served an extraordinary function and is to be remembered and treasured, i think. >> brown: allan gurganus on the life and work of harper lee. thank you so much. >> woodruff: on the newshour online: when bernie sanders was growing up in the midwood section of brooklyn in the 1940s, many of his neighbors were first and second-generation jewish immigrants from eastern europe. today, it's still home to a mix
of immigrants and a growing number of hispanics, but many have very different political views than the vermont senator. we visited the working class neighborhood recently, and you can read that profile on our home page, www.pbs.org/newshour. and a reminder about some programs from our pbs colleagues. gwen ifill's preparing for "washington week," which airs later tonight. here's a preview: >> ifill: we take you inside justice scalia's chambers and directly into the controversy that has sprung up in the wake of his sudden passing. plus, tomorrow, the democrats take on nevada as republicans duke it out in south carolina. how fire walls, endorsements and polls will play out when voters finally have their say. that's tonight on "washington week." judy? >> woodruff: on pbs newshour weekend saturday, what happens when walmart closes a store and leaves town?
and we will be back, right here, on monday, with the latest in the presidential race after voters in south carolina and nevada have their say. 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: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> bnsf railway. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> 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 newshour productions, llc
america." >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, and sony pictures classics. now presenting "the lady in the van." >> and educated woman and living like that. >> shut the door.