transcript

Nov
22
2013

GWEN IFILL: Are we seeing the end of the filibuster, the end of the war in Afghanistan, the end of sexual assault in the military or the beginning of the end? Plus, a look 50 years back at the legacy of John F. Kennedy, tonight on “Washington Week.”

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From tape.) Today’s pattern of obstruction, it just isn’t normal. It’s not what our founders envisioned.

MS. IFILL: Democrats play a little hardball.

SENATOR HARRY REID (D-NV) [Senate Majority Leader]: (From tape.) It’s time to change. It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.

MS. IFILL: Blowing up Senate rules to get the president’s nominees confirmed.

SENATOR LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): (From tape.) It’s really not about the filibuster. It’s another raw exercise of political power to permit the majority to do anything it wants, whenever it wants to do it.

MS. IFILL: A breakthrough or a breakdown? Another Senate debate over who gets to prosecute military members accused of sexual assault.

SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): (From tape.) We must remove the conflict of interest in the current system, the system in which commanders can sweep his own crime or the crime of a decorated solider or a friend under the rug.

MS. IFILL: And a turning point in Afghanistan, but in which direction? Will we ever leave?

JAY CARNEY [White House Press Secretary]: (From tape.) Let’s be clear: the war in Afghanistan will end next year, as the president has promised. The combat mission will be over.

MS. IFILL: Plus, one half century after an American president was assassinated, the lingering shock, the enduring legacy and a day of remembrance.

Covering the week: Susan Davis of USA Today, Martha Raddatz of ABC News, James Kitfield of National Journal, and Michael Duffy of Time magazine.

ANNOUNCER: Award-winning reporting and analysis, covering history as it happens, live from our nation’s capital this is “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill.”

(Station announcements.)

ANNOUNCER: Once again, live from Washington, moderator Gwen Ifill.

MS. IFILL: Good evening. It’s quiet in Washington tonight, but there are echoes here from a tumultuous week. We begin in the Senate, where the biggest debate was about finding a way to end debate.

SEN. REID: (From tape.) The American people believe Congress is broken. The American people believe the Senate is broken. And I believe the American people are right.

MS. IFILL: Senate Democrats infuriated the Republican minority by pulling the pin on a long-threatened grenade – changing the rules that require a 60-vote majority to confirm presidential nominees.

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) [Senate Minority Leader]: (From tape.) They believe that one set of rules should apply to them – to them and another set to everybody else. He may as just as well have said, if you like the rules of the Senate, you can keep them. If you like the rules of the Senate, you can keep them.

MS. IFILL: That was very lively from Mitch McConnell.

SUSAN DAVIS: That was a big laugh line in the Senate this week.

MS. IFILL: How long was this in the works? It seems like it’s suddenly – after years of talking about the nuclear option, all of a sudden, there it was.

GWEN IFILL:  Are we seeing the end of the filibuster, the end of the war in Afghanistan, the end of sexual assault in the military or the beginning of the end?  Plus, a look 50 years back at the legacy of John F. Kennedy, tonight on “Washington Week.”

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  (From tape.)  Today’s pattern of obstruction, it just isn’t normal.  It’s not what our founders envisioned.

MS. IFILL:  Democrats play a little hardball.

SENATOR HARRY REID (D-NV) [Senate Majority Leader]:  (From tape.)  It’s time to change.  It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.

MS. IFILL:  Blowing up Senate rules to get the president’s nominees confirmed.

SENATOR LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN):  (From tape.)  It’s really not about the filibuster.  It’s another raw exercise of political power to permit the majority to do anything it wants, whenever it wants to do it.

MS. IFILL:  A breakthrough or a breakdown?  Another Senate debate over who gets to prosecute military members accused of sexual assault.

SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY):  (From tape.)  We must remove the conflict of interest in the current system, the system in which commanders can sweep his own crime or the crime of a decorated solider or a friend under the rug.

MS. IFILL:  And a turning point in Afghanistan, but in which direction?  Will we ever leave?

JAY CARNEY [White House Press Secretary]:  (From tape.)  Let’s be clear: the war in Afghanistan will end next year, as the president has promised.  The combat mission will be over. 

MS. IFILL:  Plus, one half century after an American president was assassinated, the lingering shock, the enduring legacy and a day of remembrance. 

Covering the week: Susan Davis of USA Today, Martha Raddatz of ABC News, James Kitfield of National Journal, and Michael Duffy of Time magazine.

ANNOUNCER:  Award-winning reporting and analysis, covering history as it happens, live from our nation’s capital this is “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill.”

(Station announcements.)

ANNOUNCER:  Once again, live from Washington, moderator Gwen Ifill.

MS. IFILL:  Good evening.  It’s quiet in Washington tonight, but there are echoes here from a tumultuous week.  We begin in the Senate, where the biggest debate was about finding a way to end debate.

SEN. REID:  (From tape.)  The American people believe Congress is broken.  The American people believe the Senate is broken.  And I believe the American people are right.

MS. IFILL:  Senate Democrats infuriated the Republican minority by pulling the pin on a long-threatened grenade – changing the rules that require a 60-vote majority to confirm presidential nominees.

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) [Senate Minority Leader]:  (From tape.)  They believe that one set of rules should apply to them – to them and another set to everybody else.  He may as just as well have said, if you like the rules of the Senate, you can keep them.  If you like the rules of the Senate, you can keep them.

MS. IFILL:  That was very lively from Mitch McConnell.

SUSAN DAVIS:  That was a big laugh line in the Senate this week.

MS. IFILL:  How long was this in the works?  It seems like it’s suddenly – after years of talking about the nuclear option, all of a sudden, there it was.

MS. DAVIS:  I think if you were paying close attention to the Senate, there was a sense of inevitability to this.  You kind of knew it was coming.  The most recent – what sort of – the final straw in all this was a recent fight over D.C. Circuit Court nominations.  This has been sort of in the works for weeks.  Each one of these three qualified nominees were filibustered by Republicans.  All the while, Harry Reid was warning them that if they keep doing this, he’s going to finally go nuclear.

If you’ve paid attention to the Senate longer, the filibuster has been contentious for most of modern history.  The last time they changed the rules was in the 1970s.  The threshold used to be 67 votes.  Then they moved it to 60.  Democrats today said that is still too high of a bar.

If you – supporters of changing it call it the constitutional option, saying that any president, which Democrats were quick to focus on this week – not just President Obama, all future presidents – now have a stronger prerogative to be able to fill the government with the people that they want to work for them.  And that seems like a very basic thing to support.

On the downside, there is something called minority rights, which is sort of what makes the United States Senate the United States Senate, and which gives each senator sort of an equal amount of importance in the chamber.  The idea that any of them can gum up the works is sort of what makes it a special place.

Now the Democrats have said, majority rule can change the rules of the Senate and that, in such a significant way changes the way this chamber is going to work.

MARTHA RADDATZ:  So, Sue, what does it look forward – the Supreme Court, what does it mean for the Supreme Court nominees?

MS. DAVIS:  Well, that’s one of the big questions.  And part of the reason why they didn’t go nuclear, why they always walked up to the line and walked back was this idea that you could go too far.  They drew the line, but what they did was it only changes executive nominations, people like cabinet officials and all judges but the Supreme Court.

But it’s the slippery-slope argument.  And this is what Republicans warned this week.  They said if you open this box, if you open this Pandora’s Box, you are changing the game by which any future majority can change those rules.  Democrats have said they don’t intend to change the rules for Supreme Court nominees, but in two years and four years and six years?  It is certainly a possibility at this point.

JAMES KITFIELD:  When there’s been problems in the past, the thing that always make people step back was, well, you’re going to be minority sooner or later and then it’s going to work against you.  And that kind of made – why this time did the Democrats say, we don’t care?  We know we’re going to be in the minority and it’s going to come back and haunt us at some point, but right now we’re going to do it?

MS. DAVIS:  What’s really interesting in the Senate right now – and John McCain and other Republicans, more senior Republicans, more senior Democrats – Carl Levin was a Democrat who voted against it – said most Democrats serving right now don’t know what life in the majority is or in the minority is like.  Thirty-three of 55 Senate Democrats have only known the Senate in the majority.

Carl Levin voted against it this week and he said that very same thing is that you have to think of this as an institution and not just as your personal prerogative right now.  To think that – and Republicans have been rather candid in saying, when we take over, and eventually we will take over, that we are going – we have every right.  Well, you’ve set this; you’ve set the precedent that the majority can change the rules with just a majority vote.  And Mitch McConnell said on the floor, it may happen sooner than you think.

MS. IFILL:  Talking about health care, this kind of hinting that maybe they have the 51 votes to roll back health care.  But let me ask you something.  The president makes the case, the White House makes the case that they have been subject to more filibusters, more obstruction that any president in the history of the world.  Is he right?  Numbers are hard to –

MS. DAVIS:  Well, it’s hard, and this is why I shy away of using as extreme numbers as they use because not all filibusters are same.  Not all cloture votes are the same.  But, yes, it is true that Barack Obama has had a more difficult time getting his nominees onto the court.

And, more importantly, if he is going to have the Affordable Care Act protected and sustained, he is going to need judges in the court system that are going to help him uphold his law.  And, currently, in places like the D.C. Circuit Court, he does not have many allies on that court.  And that one of the – already striking down the contraception provision that’s going through the courts right now was a conservative justice that was appointed by George Bush.  And I think there was a big movement on the progressive left that they really were pressing, pushing the party to have more representational judiciary which, right now, because of the previous agreement did not go nuclear under the Bush administration has left a judiciary that has more conservative judges on it.

MS. IFILL:  Well, that debate is just beginning –

MS. DAVIS:  Yes, absolutely.

MS. IFILL:  – because they only reached cloture on one of the three judges that are outstanding and they need to move on.  And there was another big Senate debate this week, but this one was not about rules but it was about real injury.

As reported, sexual assaults in the military continue to soar.  All 20 female members of the Senate, and, of course, some men, have decided to do something about it.  But they can’t yet agree on who gets to prosecute the offenders.

SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO):  (From tape.)  Which way are you going to have more protection?  If a group of colonels a half a continent away are looking at the facts of the case, or if your commander has signed off?  Of course, if your commander has signed off because that sends a message to the unit, we’re getting to the bottom of this.

MS. IFILL:  Now, that’s Senator Claire McCaskill, who agrees on 90 percent of what they’re talking about in terms of prosecuting these offenders.  But she and Senator Gillibrand, Kirsten Gillibrand, who is the sponsor of the major bill that talks about chain of command, they disagree on this piece.

MS. RADDATZ:  They completely disagree on this central focus of Gillibrand’s amendment is she wants to take control away from commanders.  Think about it this way: if someone is raped in the military, they essentially have to go to their commander and the commander decides to prosecute.

Claire McCaskill wants – and the majority of the military, certainly the Pentagon wants to keep it in the chain of command because they say it’s the commander who really has to look after the good order and discipline in their ranks.  In other words, they want to know what’s going on.

But I think a good example is someone – one of the victims said, look, it’s like a commander has to decide between the brother and sister in the family.  Is the brother more senior?  Does he trust the brother more?  Does he know who’s fully decorated and been in battle and maybe the victim he doesn’t know as well?

So Gillibrand’s amendment really goes to the heart of that.  And she’s getting a lot of support.  She needs 60 votes, of course.  They think she has around 53 public support at this point, a few more who aren’t public, but I still think it’s a huge uphill battle to get this passed.

MS. DAVIS:  So the Senate just left.  They couldn’t get the defense authorization bill done and –

MS. RADDATZ:  Couldn’t get it on.

MS. DAVIS:  What are the chances for passage at all?

MS. RADDATZ:  Well, I think probably, in a couple of weeks, when they come back, maybe it will go to the floor again.  I don’t know.  But I think they will remove it from the defense authorization bill and try to get the vote on just that bill itself.  But, again, I think it’s a real uphill battle to do this, but, boy, is she fighting for it.

MR. KITFIELD:  We both know that this problem has been percolating for quite a while.  What do you think is – what’s brought to the tipping point now, where you see someone like – who’s pretty close actually to changing something that the military is – and leadership is united against?  And that doesn’t happen very often in Congress.

MS. RADDATZ:  It’s extraordinary to me.  It’s certainly been – I mean, the problem has been around forever.  You’ve heard it for decades of zero tolerance for sexual assault.

But the key here was this incredible documentary called “The Invisible War,” lots of victims in that, lots of people coming out and talking about sexual assault in the military.  It is an incredibly powerful documentary.  There is not perfect data in it but it is a real emotional hook to this problem.  I think it’s one of the few times that you’ve seen such powerful testimony in one place.  But still, the military, the senior members of the military, they’ve all seen it but they don’t want to take it out of the chain of command.  Everybody wants this problem, this horrible issue to go away, everybody.

MS. IFILL:  Well, here’s what I don’t understand, which is – you talk about this film; you talk about this debate.  You were on this program in June talking about this very issue.  Why hasn’t the Pentagon tried to beat people like Senator Gillibrand to the punch, tried to – certainly they don’t want their fate to be in the hands of what Congress does or does not do to them.  Have they been trying to defuse this issue on their own administratively?

MS. RADDATZ:  I think they – yes.  I think they have certainly put in new measures.  And the Pentagon, they’re trying to be proactive about this.  But can I just go back to that picture on the Hill – all male senior leaders.  The optics of that say so much about the senior leadership of the military in general.  And I think that’s why you have so much pushback from someone like Senator Gillibrand, too, who basically says, you don’t get it.

To me, one fundamental problem is here though, they have horrible data.  The 26,000 number of sexual assaults could really be anything from a pat on the rear end to rape.  They’ve got to get better data before they can –

MS. IFILL:  And yet, she has support from people like Senator Cruz, Senator Paul, all across the board.

MS. RADDATZ:  Across the board.

MS. IFILL:  So this is not just a women’s issue and not just a Democratic issue either.

MS. RADDATZ:  Absolutely not.  And it can’t be just a women’s issue or they’ll never solve it.

MS. IFILL:  Well, that’s a nice cynical point of view, but not wrong.  Thank you, Martha.

So, now, finally tonight, we have a look back at one of the most searing moments in American history that any of who were alive can remember.

But before we get to that, I want to get in one more thing: Afghanistan.  As a 2014 pullout deadline nears, it’s becoming clear that the formal combat mission may end but that our overall involvement there will not.  Even a broad security deal announced this week may not be signed off until next year.

So what’s the best-case scenario on this, James?

MR. KITFIELD:  Best case scenario is this loya jirga that’s going to vote on this as we want the continued American and Western NATO presence.  Karzai goes back on his meds and stops – you know, we had this weird situation this week where Secretary Kerry, who has probably the best relation with President Karzai of anyone in the administration, said there’s a deal, you know, basically formalized on Wednesday.  Thursday, Karzai surprises everyone, and says, I’m not signing any deal until the next April’s elections.  That’s totally not acceptable to the Obama administration.  They’re not willing to have this issue get drug into a very contentious Afghan presidential election.  They say they need planning.  You know, you need – it takes months and months and months to plan.  And if you’re going to leave a residual force, what bases do you keep to keep them?  What kind of security do you need for them?  So we’re at an impasse and this is one more time where, you know, Hamid Karzai has thrown a monkey wrench in the works.

MS. IFILL:  We heard there was a deal, and John Kerry basically said there was a deal, and that Hamid Karzai showed and said, you know, I don’t really trust these Americans.  That’s not very helpful.

MR. KITFIELD:  Right.  And they don’t trust me.  You know, this is – after 10 years, it’s kind of indicative of the relationship we’ve had with this guy.  And he asked for an apology.  You know, as if a president can stand up after all the blood and treasure we’ve expended in Afghanistan and apologize for our presence there.

So my sense is that Karzai doesn’t want to be a lame duck.  He wants to keep his leverage as long as he can do it.  You know, he has some horses in this presidential election field in 11 candidates.  And I think he just doesn’t want to let go.  And so he’s going to make this very, very difficult.  I suspect the 11th hour of the 11th day, he’ll accede to this because really the stakes are very high for Afghanistan.

MS. DAVIS:  What about – what are the chances that Afghanistan starts to go in the way of Iraq, in the way that we have seen it sort of dissolve on the ground and continue to be a security problem even though, as we saw Jay Carney say earlier –

MS. RADDATZ:  No troops there.

MS. DAVIS:  – that we’re leaving.

MR. KITFIELD:  Right.  But, as Martha knows, Iraq is the cautionary tale.  We drug – those talks dragged on way, way too late.  At the very end, it became politically expedient to just say – throw our hands up and say, we’re all – zero option, we’re out of there.  And if you look at Iraq today, it’s gone back to almost the levels of violence of 2007.  Al Qaeda in Iraq is ascendant and it could devolve into a civil war.  It’s the exact same thing you don’t want to have in Afghanistan.

MS. RADDATZ:  They say the agreement is until 2024 so another 10 years at least.  John Kerry said, no way we’re going to be there until 2024.  Well, he’s only going to be around for three years.  Does that mean we’re really going to be out in three years?

MR. KITFIELD:  Well, actually, the agreement they’re actually signing, this bilateral security agreement does not mention timelines; does not mention troop levels.  That’s all to be determined by President Obama.  He doesn’t have to commit to anything.  There was the agreement to actually come to an agreement, you know, went up to 2024, but there is no – Secretary Kerry is right:  There is no guarantee in this agreement that we’ll be there at any timeline.

MS. IFILL:  So there’s a possibility the U.S. could just simply pull out?  Is that even practical?

MR. KITFIELD:  Well, I mean, if we can reach an agreement, we don’t want to pull out.  We want to be there for some number of years, probably four or five to make sure that the – you know, we take the training wheels off and see that the Afghan security forces can take care of business with some enablers that will provide them at very small numbers.  We’re talking 7,000 to 8,000 troops.

MS. IFILL:  So it’s the understanding we have an election coming up next year in Afghanistan and we just wait until Karzai leaves?  Do business with somebody else?

MR. KITFIELD:  No.  No.  No.

MS. RADDATZ:  Even though they say the war’s over, right?  Even though we’re doing counterterrorism?

MR. KITFIELD:  I think – I think the administration has had it with this.  If he can’t – they will not get drug into an Afghan – because it will be very – you know, there will be candidates who will be denouncing American presence and playing to the domestic sort of nationalist argument.  They don’t want to get drug into that kind of a discussion.  They’re going – I think they’re going to say, zero option if you don’t sign by date of December 31st.  And, hopefully, Karzai will come around.

MS. IFILL:  OK.  Well, I guess if there’s money on the arrowhead, there may be new discussions every single day.  Thank you all very much.

We do want to go back at the end of the program tonight to a look back at one of those incredible moments in our American history that any of us who were alive still remember where we were.

The day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated was the first time I saw my father cry.  If you’re old enough to recall that day, I bet you have stories too.  Yesterday, I chatted with “Washington Week” regular Michael Duffy, the co-author with Nancy Gibbs of the best-selling book, “The Presidents Club,” about the legacy of that loss.

MS. IFILL:  (From tape.)  Michael Duffy, you’ve covered a lot of presidents.  You’ve written books about more.  The presidency of John F. Kennedy was one of those compelling ones.  But it only lasted 1,000 days.  What did we get in those 1,000 days, the promise of the Kennedy administration?  And what did we lose when he was taken away so quickly?

MICHAEL DUFFY:  (From tape.)  I think the singular aspect of the Kennedy presidency that stays with people 50 years later is its youth.  He was the youngest president in 100 years.  He’d followed the oldest president, Dwight Eisenhower, in 100 years.

And so, when he took office in January of 1961, it really was the dawning of a completely new age.  And his policies were pitched toward the future.  He knew it.  He talked about his presidency that way even before he was even doing things in the job.  And he had that wind at his back.  It was strong wind and it also, I think, left a lot of people, when the presidency ended prematurely, with a sort of double feeling of unfinished business.  And I think they were of that and used it to their advantage.

MS. IFILL:  (From tape.)  Being bracketed by people like Dwight Eisenhower on one end and LBJ on the other, it must have done something to shape the way we remember John F. Kennedy as well.

MR. DUFFY:  (From tape.)  Yeah.  I think there’s a work in progress aspect to the Kennedy presidency that stays with us now, a sense that he was someone who had come into it with that – very young, 42, not knowing much about the White House; had some sort of incorrect ideas about how to organize it, didn’t really want to listen to Eisenhower when Eisenhower told him to organize it this way and Kennedy said, no, I don’t want to do that.  And he paid a price for that.

You can see him learn on the job as he goes, particularly on foreign policy.  And that’s also interesting to watch because most presidents – it isn’t quite as dramatic as it was with Kennedy.  Start with the Bay of Pigs and it’s a kind of a disaster.  And by the time, a year later, you get to the Cuban missile crisis, he’s learned a great deal about how the White House needs to be organized.

MS. IFILL:  (From tape.)  It’s interesting.  We think so much of Kennedy as a domestic president or very much a Hollywood president, kind of a glamorous president, but his foreign policy tests were really key to shaping what he was able to get done and not get done.

MR. DUFFY:  (From tape.)  I don’t think there’s been a presidency in the last 50 years that has been so difficult on foreign policy as Kennedy’s was.  The Soviets, when he comes into office, are rising in power.  They are arming much faster than the United States because they realize the U.S. is ahead.  Kennedy, they want to test him.  They do test him.  He meets Khrushchev in Geneva and it doesn’t go very well.  And Kennedy is aware that he’s really not quite ready to take on this test.  So it takes him almost two years to kind of find his footing.  Of course, there is the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs.

He reorganizes the White House.  He changes the way he has meetings.  He changes how he talks to the generals.  He becomes much more hierarchical, much more like Ike.  But he also adds an element of his own, which is creative and different in a way Ike wasn’t so that by that time we get to the Cuban missile crisis, he’s much more comfortable.  He’s much more certain.  It’s still a tough call.  He isn’t really sure that when he sends the naval blockade down that it’s going to win.  He knows he’s kind of bluffing.  He knows the Soviets this might not actually, you know, back away.  He calls Eisenhower at one point and says, do you think they’ll back off?  He goes, I don’t know.  They might.  I think they will.  I think it’s a risk worth taking.  So you have these two presidents, the old and the young kind of making, you know, judgments on the phone about how this might turn out.

So about the time he gets to the speech in Berlin in 1963, he’s much more able to run the public game and he’s winning in public when he talks about freedom versus tyranny.

MS. IFILL:  (From tape.)  Domestically he also had challenges, which he left some of them unfinished for Lyndon Johnson to complete, civil rights being among them.

MR. DUFFY:  (From tape.)  He’s late to the game on civil rights.  He’s a reluctant leader.  When he comes into office, he’d called Coretta Scott King during the campaign and that call, which was widely known in the black community, made a difference in places like Michigan and Illinois and South Carolina and helped carry him to victory.

But when he gets into the White House, he doesn’t really want to do very much for civil rights.  It’s not really his agenda.  He’s much more concerned about his economic policies, mostly tax cuts and tax reform in Congress.  And he’s worried that southern conservatives won’t be with him if he pushes this other agenda.

But then events force his hand.  You know, the Freedom Riders going through Alabama, particularly Montgomery in 1961, and later, continued attempts to integrate universities in Mississippi and Alabama make it impossible for Kennedy to ignore his own Justice Department.  Erwin Griswold at Harvard Law said, you’re not using the powers of your office; you can be doing so much more for civil rights than you are.

And only when the violence is shown on television from the segregationists does he finally step up and say, all right.  I’m going to lead this.  And he begins to.

MS. IFILL:  (From tape.)  That’s a lot to have on any president’s plate in just 1,000 days, all of these things.  And we haven’t even talked about Vietnam, which, of course, was percolating.  And that’s something else that was left undone for Lyndon Johnson, which is why I find it so interesting whether every president that followed Kennedy, especially Johnson, then had to labor in his shadow, in part because he was assassinated.

MR. DUFFY:  (From tape.)  Yeah.  They say, of course, that – you know, it took both Kennedy’s assassination and Johnson’s legislative skills to get the civil rights law in 1964 through the first public accommodations law.  Kennedy’s first attempt at that had been weakened, not much of a law at all.  He puts another one down in ’63 during that amazing summer when he seems to be firing with all cylinders.  And then Johnson is able to carry that into the Great Society.

MS. IFILL:  (From tape.)  So it’s been an amazing time and it’s been an amazing history.  And sometimes, you can leave a footprint even after you’ve been taken away.

MR. DUFFY:  (From tape.)  The moment that Kennedy is shot it a history changing event for the nation – an end of some kind of optimism, and an end of some kind of trust, maybe some naiveté, but the beginning of a different era, where the relationship between the people and the government has been I think edgier.

MS. IFILL:  (From tape.)  Michael Duffy, deputy manager editor of “Time” magazine, author of the great book, “The Presidents Club.”  Thank you so much.

MR. DUFFY:  (From tape.)  You’re welcome.

MS. IFILL:  Two presidents laid a wreath at Kennedy’s Arlington grave this week.

Thanks everyone for joining us.  Next week, we have a special program in store hearing about what you want to hear from Washington.

MR.     :  (From tape.)  Why is there no debt limit?

MR.     :  (From tape.)  And I’m wondering what specifically you’ll be doing to prevent another government shutdown.

MS.     :  (From tape.)  I want to know why they are so afraid of the health care law.

MS.     :  (From tape.)  Why are we letting corporations dictate what goes in our food?

MS. IFILL:  Go to pbs.org/washingtonweek for details on how to submit your videos.  Keep up with daily developments with Judy Woodruff and me on the PBS “NewsHour,” every night.

And we’ll see you next week on “Washington Week.”  Good night, and have a really wonderful Thanksgiving.