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Bleak U.S. Economic Outlook Stirs Recession Fears, Candidate Proposals

Large jobs loses, stock market tremors and a slumping housing market continued to build fears this week of a recession. NewsHour analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks discuss the latest economic developments and reflect on the Martin Luther King, Jr. anniversary.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And to the analysis of Shields and Brooks, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, "New York Times" columnist David Brooks.

    David, picking up on professor Charles' point, what are your own thoughts about the American legacies of Martin Luther King?

  • DAVID BROOKS:

    Well, this might be a little broader.

    I was at the Lorraine hotel this week. I went up to the room with Reverend Billy Kyles, who we saw at the very of beginning of the program, who was there at the assassination, was describing it day by day. And there happened to be — we were all standing around, just listening to him talk.

    And there was a German high school teacher with his class sitting there listening to them all. After they were rapt. And after Kyles left, he shook all our hands and went off to something else.

    And the teacher was saying: "I'm shaking. I'm shaking. I can't believe what I have just seen."

    And to see this whole German high school class, including the teenagers, who are teenagers, after all, so incredibly moved, it was a pretty dramatic moment for a lot of us. But one thing Corey Booker said which I think is dead right which is that the Santa Clausification of the guy, I think we do get carried away.

    When you read the biographies of the man, the complexity of the man rivals Churchill or Lincoln. Very few people have the great soul, great flaws, great gifts. And you have to remember, in the final days, he was in despair. He was being attacked from all sides. He was depressed. He couldn't sleep.

    The great feeling that he had, which then came out in the mountaintop speech, it's the richness of the speech which transcends the one issue. It's the great soulfulness of the man which I think is why he has risen to this level.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    You could see it in the speech. There was a sadness there, I mean, almost anger, not…

  • DAVID BROOKS:

    When you read about Memphis in those days, everyone knew something was going to happen. There was a — the day he was killed, there was a quote from one the city managers saying, we're really afraid he is going to be killed today. And that was in the paper that day.

    The feeling of menace — and then that underlines his courage. But it was also his relentless assertiveness, always asserting, always going forward, always doing the next march, never backing forward, which was part of him.