Week in Review: Penn. Primary, Bush Meets Abbas

Daniel Schorr and John Ydstie discuss the top news stories of the week, including Sen. Clinton's fundraising, the Pennsylvania primary, President Bush's meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the world food crisis.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

JOHN YDSTIE, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away, I'm John Ydstie.

This week, Senator Hillary Clinton raises $10 million in 24 hours after winning the Pennsylvania primary. President Bush meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. And a worsening food shortage continues to threaten lives around the globe. Senior news analyst Dan Schorr joins us. Hello, Dan.

DAN SCHORR: Hi John, welcome aboard.

YDSTIE: Always a pleasure to be here. In Pennsylvania, Dan, Senator Clinton won by just under 10 percentage points, not a huge margin of victory, but significant. Why did it go that way?

SCHORR: Well, there's been an examination of how the vote breaks down. And one of the important factors was that white union members voted in large numbers -71 percent voted for her, and that was a significant one. There were other things like that, but then you really come down to a breakout of demographic groups. And now it is rather clear that she gets more support from white working people than he does.

YDSTIE: The winning margin was significant enough for Senator Clinton to pull in $10 million in campaign contributions in a single day. Should the Obama camp be concerned? I mean, they've got this huge campaign chest.

SCHORR: Well, they have this huge campaign chest so they don't have to worry about whether she can match him in funds. It's certainly very interesting about Mrs. Clinton these days, that is the number of ways in which she uses the word fight, fighter, and fighting in all her speeches. She's trying to give herself the label of the fighter.

YDSTIE: And she's fighting right now in Indiana and North Carolina. Their primaries are up next on May 6th, what can we expect?

SCHORR: Well, it's hard to tell. Indiana seems to be fairly close, as have seen now; North Carolina less so. But this is a very volatile situation, and then you take the tracking polls which look one way today and two weeks from now. That happened in Pennsylvania, where the final outcome was not what everybody expected after they've been changing from day to day. That could happen again.

YDSTIE: And on the Republican side, Senator John McCain was in New Orleans on Thursday where he criticized the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

SCHORR: Can you imagine? He didn't quite say the name. He spoke of the federal response. But if you happen to know who's the head of the federal government right now - this was really distancing himself from President Bush.

YDSTIE: He's trying to find a way since on the economics they seemed to be still lined up.

SCHORR: Oh, yes. But when it comes to economic program, there's really no way that he can move away from the current administration on that and take another point of view. This is not a very good time, for example, for the senator to find himself in bed with Keynesian Democrats. So you've got to go that way to lower taxes. Everything will be all right. Just cut taxes.

YDSTIE: Meanwhile, President Bush met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Thursday. What did they talk about, and any progress there?

SCHORR: Well, what they talked about is what the President always talks about with Abbas and indeed with Israelis, that he would like to see a Palestinian state by the end of the year. But it begins to look less and less likely. Abbas said that nothing happened. He didn't gain anything. They also are a little bit irritated that President Bush is planning to go to Israel in May, taking with him some American Jewish leaders to celebrate the 60th birthday of the state of Israel.

To the Palestinians, they remember that date in 1948 as a date when a lot of Palestinians were driven out of their homes. So that didn't sit with them very well either.

YDSTIE: In one of the more intriguing stories of the week, U.S. intelligence revealed that North Korea had secretly helped in the construction of a nuclear reactor in Syria.

SCHORR: Yes.

YDSTIE: Why did they wait so long to reveal the evidence?

SCHORR: That's a fascinating story. They've known this for about eight months. They also appears to have pictures taken from inside the reactor building. And you could match that with pictures of a North Korean reactor and pretty soon conclude that this had to be a North Korean (unintelligible). So why do they have to wait eight months to let this be known? I have only one way of explaining it.

Israel had an agent, a spy at least among the Syrians there. And that spy took the pictures. And then they have to wait to get this spy safely out of there before they would announce that that had happened.

YDSTIE: Interesting. What are the implications for U.S. negotiations with North Korea?

SCHORR: It complicates them. We're still having trouble trying to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program. And now they have to make another demand - demand to know what they've been doing with nuclear programs and catch up with what they've already known.

YDSTIE: Let's talk a little bit about the food crisis. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called for immediate action to solve the world food crisis, which looks like it's worsening. The question is, I guess, did anyone see this coming?

SCHORR: Well, many must have seen it coming, but it didn't command the attention of the world until recently when they begun hearing that there might be 33 countries destabilized by it and millions and millions of people might starve to death. And all of a sudden, it became an issue. They didn't think a lot about it when they decided that they were going to divert a large part of the American corn crop to biofuels, and now they're short of corn.

They could've seen the fact that the fuel crises we have in effect because it raises the cost of everything transported by truck. And so you have all these things figuring in at one time and the result of it is awful, awful crisis.

YDSTIE: Senior news analyst Dan Schorr, thank you very much.

SCHORR: Thanks, John.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.