December 7th, 2012
05:26 PM ET

Baker: GOP needs to be party of optimism

"I think it’s really important that we be seen to be the party of hope, optimism and opportunity," former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker tells Fareed Zakaria on GPS. “That’s what Ronald Reagan taught us, instead of the party of doom and gloom, we need to be positive and not negative.”

“We need to appeal to those voter groups that we had trouble with. We need to appeal to all minority voters and particularly Hispanic and Asian voters. We need to have a credible and comprehensive immigration plan that we can put forth out there. We need to talk about urban issues and face the fact that we didn't get the votes we needed from urban areas. We didn’t get the votes and don’t get the votes we need from women.  Therefore, we need to focus on our economic conservatism more than our social conservatism, because a lot of those issues cut against us in the general election.”

Watch the full interview on GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET

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Topics: 2012 Election • Politics • United States
November 27th, 2012
03:17 PM ET

Should Obama learn from Johnson?

Fareed Zakaria speaks with historian Robert Caro, author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Lyndon Johnson, about drawing parallels between the Johnson and Obama presidencies.

People cite your book now as a kind of totemic source to make this point that Johnson knew how to schmooze, he knew how to use power, he knew how to push the buttons of Congress. And that Obama is aloof and less interested. So give us your sense, because it's a different landscape. Johnson did have Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate.

I'll take the opportunity of this show to say, although my book is constantly used to show that Barack Obama should be more like Lyndon Johnson, that's not a lesson I get at from the book. I think it's a misreading of it.

[With] Obama, you go back to that same thing – the moral arc of the universe bends slowly, but it bends toward justice. You know, Obama made a considerable bend in that. If you look back at Obama’s first term, you ask what are historians going to be saying about this in a century? They're going to be saying, “what's a major thing?”

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Topics: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • History
Post-election America still divided
November 21st, 2012
10:54 AM ET

Post-election America still divided

By Bruce Stokes, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Bruce Stokes is the Pew Research Center’s director of Global Economic Attitudes. The views expressed are his own.

The election is over. The voters have spoken. Now the work begins. But there is little evidence that the American public wants its leaders to put aside their partisan differences now that the campaigning is finished.

The most pressing economic policy issue confronting Congress and the White House is, undoubtedly, the end-of-the-year deadline for agreeing on a comprehensive plan to reduce the U.S. deficit and debt. Barring agreement, automatic spending cuts and tax increases will kick in, possibly triggering a recession.

Americans are united in their worries about the adverse economic impact of hurdling over this “fiscal cliff.” But they remain divided over what to do about this challenge. And, more broadly, they disagree about the need for their leaders to compromise and about the future political direction of their parties.

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Topics: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Economy • United States
What Obama needs to do about Russia
November 19th, 2012
04:42 PM ET

What Obama needs to do about Russia

By Daniel Vajdic, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Daniel Vajdic is a researcher in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. The views expressed are his own.

At least as far as foreign policy went, Russia received an unexpected amount of attention in this year’s U.S. presidential election campaign. Whether it was the Romney team’s dismissing the so-called reset, its claim that Russia is America’s “number one geopolitical foe,” or President Obama’s infamous open mic moment, in which he promised his Russian counterpart “flexibility” on missile defense if reelected, ties with Moscow kept cropping up.

It is, of course, true that the Cold War world no longer exists, and that Russia occupies a far less significant space in American foreign policy. And the U.S.-Russia relationship simply is not as overtly antagonistic as it was in the Soviet era. But it is also clear that Russia continues to pose serious challenges for the United States.

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Topics: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Russia
November 19th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Bill Gates: I just don’t see room for education cuts

"Fareed Zakaria GPS" this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

Fareed Zakaria spoke with billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates on Global Public Square and heard his take on the election, science and America’s budget priorities.

Are you happy with the outcome of the election?

Well, now we have certainty about who’s going to be in the leadership. And, they’ve got a very challenging budget situation. I’m quite hopeful that they will find a way to reach a compromise, while not cutting the key investments in the future, whether it's helping poor countries or funding research in the U.S., funding the education system. You know, now, we’ve got several months here of very important negotiations.

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Topics: 2012 Election • Education
What a values-based foreign policy would look like
November 19th, 2012
11:39 AM ET

What a values-based foreign policy would look like

By Sarah Margon, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Sarah Margon is the deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch. The views expressed are her own.

Second terms are when presidents start to think about their legacy. And with a first term that earned President Barack Obama strong national security bona fides, he has the opportunity to pursue a robust foreign policy that more closely aligns U.S. values and interests. Historically, many presidents have supported such an agenda, but few have been able to follow through for fear of looking weak. Freed from the political constraints of his inaugural four years, and with two-thirds of Americans, according to polls, confident in his ability to handle major national security challenges, Obama can now stop paying lip service to this ideal.

The foundation for such an approach already exists. In 2011, Obama asserted that a “strategy based solely upon the narrow pursuit of [core national security interests] will not fill an empty stomach or allow someone to speak their mind. Failure to speak to the broader aspirations of ordinary people will only feed the suspicion that has festered for years that the United States pursues our interests at their expense.”

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Did Ryan's ideas doom Romney?
November 15th, 2012
12:50 PM ET

Did Ryan's ideas doom Romney?

By Andrea Purse, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Andrea Purse is the Vice President for Communications at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The views expressed are her own.

On a Saturday morning in August, a hopeful conservative media reported gleefully about their apparent good fortune: a bright eyed, P90X –addicted, “ideas guy” would be the Republican vice presidential pick. Finally, they thought, this campaign had a visionary who would offer a bold alternative to what they saw as a failed Obama administration.

The problem? Those very ideas that conservatives called “bold” and the candidate they called “game-changing” became the noose that hanged Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney had spent much of the primary campaign disconnecting himself from past policy positions and severing ties with his own personal experience. He ran away from his former positions on everything from health care to abortion to marriage equality. Governor Romney’s listless primary campaign never caught the imagination of conservative voters who considered choosing far right candidates – first Michele Bachmann, then Herman Cain, then Rick Santorum – in an effort to avoid picking Romney as their nominee. Ultimately, Romney captured the nomination by claiming the last seat at the end of a long and at times painful game of musical chairs – not because he had articulated a policy vision for the future of the country.

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November 14th, 2012
11:58 AM ET

America’s election process an international embarrassment

By Global Public Square

For more What in the World watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS" this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

Imagine a country on election day where you know the results the instant the polls close. The votes are counted electronically, every district and state has the same rules and the same organized voting procedure. It is managed by a non-partisan independent body. Sounds like the greatest democracy in the world, right? Try Mexico. Or France, Germany, Brazil. Certainly not the United States of America.

America has one of the world’s most antique, politicized and dysfunctional procedures for its elections. A crazy quilt patchwork of state and local laws with partisan officials making key decisions and ancient technology that often breaks down. There are no national standards. American voters in more than a dozen states, for example, don’t need ID. But even India, with a GDP just 12 percent that of ours, is implementing a national biometric database for 1.2 billion voters. The nascent democracy in Iraq famously dipped voters’ fingers in purple to ensure they didn't vote again. Why are we so behind the curve?

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November 12th, 2012
03:30 PM ET

Zakaria: America the future again

"Fareed Zakaria GPS" this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

For me, Tuesday’s elections brought back that sense of America as the land of the future. The presidential race is being discussed as one that was “about nothing,” with no message or mandate. But that’s simply not true. Put aside the reelection of Barack Obama and consider what else happened this week:

Three states voted to legalize same-sex marriage, which is the civil rights cause of our times. One day we will look back and wonder how people could have been so willing to deny equal treatment under the law to a small minority — and Tuesday will stand as one of the most important moments marking the end of that cruelty.

Two other states voted to legalize some recreational use of marijuana, which will surely mark the beginning of the end of the war on drugs. This may be the most costly, distorting and futile war the United States has ever waged.

Watch the video for the full Take.

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Topics: 2012 Election
November 12th, 2012
10:50 AM ET

Podesta: Immigration issue ripe for progress

"Fareed Zakaria GPS" this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

Fareed Zakaria speaks with John Podesta, White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton, about the likely priorities for an Obama second term.

I think the Republicans are back on their heels, having really gotten clobbered amongst Latino voters. And I think they’re ready to deal, and I think you'll see them come forward with immigration reform. But I think as important to Hispanic voters is going to be what can [President Obama] do on education reform, what can he do to keep the cost of college down, what can he do to get jobs growing and try to find a way forward, again, in this gridlocked city.

I think you'll see a big emphasis on that. It'll happen early. And I predict he'll be successful, because I think the Republicans are ready to deal now.

More from GPS: Roadmap for making immigration work

November 12th, 2012
09:02 AM ET

How will White House respond to Washington, Colorado votes?

By Shannon K. O'Neil, CFR

Editor's Note: Shannon K. O'Neil is  senior fellow for Latin America studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. This entry of Latin America's moment first appeared here. The views expressed are her own.

As Americans went to the polls to elect their president last week, voters in Colorado and Washington chose to legalize marijuana (by referendum). Not only does this create conflicting state and federal laws, but it also directly challenges the United States’ war on drugs.

These initiatives, Colorado’s Amendment 64 and Washington’s Initiative 502, directly conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug (along with heroin and LSD) – deemed to have “a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.” In 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder announced he would “vigorously enforce” federal laws if marijuana was legalized in California (it wasn’t). Although no official statement on Washington and Colorado has been released, the White House’s website maintains that “the Obama Administration has consistently reiterated its firm opposition to any form of drug legalization.”

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Topics: 2012 Election • Drugs
November 10th, 2012
03:26 PM ET

How campaigns target voters

Fareed Zakaria speaks with New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg about how the two campaigns steered people to vote in this week’s presidential election. For the full interview, watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS" this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

"One of the things that the campaigns have done is they’ve tried to vacuum up everything that they can, " Charles Duhigg tells Fareed Zakaria. "It used to be that when someone was running for office, they would get into the voter file, right? And it would say someone’s name, where they lived and their party affiliation and whether they ever have before.

"Now, each campaign has literally thousands of data points on you. They know what magazines you subscribe to. They know if you've ever declared bankruptcy or gone into foreclosure. They know how many kids you have. They know if you ever bought a boat, what type of insurance you own, where you send your kids to school.

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Topics: 2012 Election • Elections
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