Rick Sanchez and David Gergen with more false left vs right equivalencies where of course it's somehow 'extreme' to think that dropping bombs on poor
January 6, 2010

Rick Sanchez and David Gergen with more false left vs right equivalencies where of course it's somehow 'extreme' to think that dropping bombs on poor people's heads is alright in this phony 'war on terror' and military action is 'moderate'. And Gergen does his best to feed into the right wing meme that Democrats are somehow soft on terrorism because the President didn't come out beating his chest immediately while he was on vacation in Hawaii after the Underwear Bomber incident.

SANCHEZ: Meantime, if you have got it, Dan, give me the shot of the White House once again, because there is other developing story that we're following for you having to do with the president of the United States. He is meeting with the biggest of the bigs today. Everyone who has a position having to do even tangentially with national security is meeting right now behind closed doors with the president of the United States.

David Gergen, CNN senior political adviser, has been in meetings like this one.

The question continues to come back as to how broad this discussion will be. Will this be the beginning, David, of a discussion that the Obama administration is going to have over time as far as focusing our effort on terrorism, or will it just be a discussion to figure out how some guy got on a plane with a bomb in his underwear?

GERGEN: Well, Rick, listen, they have got a big political problem.

This guy got through. You know, hey, he had this loophole that he found in our system. He burst through it. He damn near brought down a plane, damn near killed a lot of Americans.


GERGEN: And it looked like the administration was somewhat complacent about it. They said the system worked. And the president did not come out and respond for three days. So, they didn't quite look like they were quite on top of it.

Sometimes, when they go on vacation, they get a little too relaxed, if I may say so.


GERGEN: And, so, first of all, they have to seem like and they have got put the period at the end of that sentence and start a new sentence, saying, we are being decisive and we're getting on top of this and we're going to fill these holes.


SANCHEZ: But damn it to hell, David, if as Americans we constantly have smart guys like you telling us that the president needs to do this, because it is politically important to get out in front of the story, what about the fact that it is important to get a handle on terrorism worldwide, period?


GERGEN: Well, listen, I agree with that. But here is the deal.

It has been, what, eight years-plus since 9/11. We had a 9/11 Commission. We spent billions and billions of dollars improving our security. Why in the devil did it fail? And why was some guy able to get through with things in his underwear when he was suspected by a lot of people?

That is an important question, because you do have to fill that hole. And I think a lot of us are puzzled, well, where did all that money go and why didn't it close down the system? But then you are pointing to a bigger and harder question. And that is, we have gotten into the situation with this al Qaeda deal where it has gotten like Whac-A-Mole.

SANCHEZ: Exactly. Bingo, bingo, David.

GERGEN: We go after them in one area and then, boom, they come up somewhere else. And we went after them in Iraq. Now we are going after them in Afghanistan. Here they pop up in Yemen. A lot of Americans are wondering, where in the devil is Yemen?


SANCHEZ: So, the idea is, maybe don't we need a strategy that -- an umbrella strategy to try and control this situation?


SANCHEZ: I don't know. The folks on the way right will tell you, well, we need to just go in there and nuke the hell out of all of them. The folks on the way left will tell you, we need to befriend them and understand their anger, so that they don't attack us. Somewhere in the middle, somebody has to articulate a strategy, don't they?

GERGEN: Yes, absolutely right.

And that -- right now that strategy rests with General Petraeus, who is the head of the Southern Command, and he has a general responsibility for all these countries. And he is the one who has been scratching his head trying to figure this out.

Now, I will tell you, Rick, in conversations at the White House over the last several months, every time I talk to the national security people, they say we are doing things to go after al Qaeda in places like Yemen and Somalia we can't tell the country about.


GERGEN: And my sense of it is the White House has felt we have had these guys a little bit on the run, and when the terrorists came here on that airplane, it was partly in retaliation for what we have been doing. We have been kicking butt over there a little bit more.

But I don't think the country knows the full story, and we certainly don't have -- what you are pointing your finger to, we don't have a sense of confidence that there is a strategy in place. And people are going to get very weary of this unless they -- Americans are going to get very weary of this and frustrated with their government unless they sense, hey, guys, why does this keep popping up? Why can't we put a stop to this?

SANCHEZ: Yes. Exactly. And I think if we come out of this meeting today and all the American people get from this meeting is we had a meeting and we decided that there's a better way of making sure guys don't get on planes with whatever on their shoes or in their underwear, I think you know better than I do a lot of Americans and a lot of pundits are going to be very disappointed and the president will likely take some more heat.


SANCHEZ: But we are going to watch it. When he comes out, you will see it right here on CNN.

David Gergen, as usual, thanks for being with us.

GERGEN: Thanks, Rick. Take care.

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