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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    Margaret Thatcher Margaret Thatcher speaks at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool, England, in October 1981. Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty Images.

    Margaret Thatcher, the only three-term prime minister of Britain in the 20th century and the first woman to lead a Western democracy, died Monday reportedly of a stroke. She was 87.

    Thatcher served as prime minister from 1979-1990 and is best remembered for having revived the British economy throughout the 1980s. With conservative values that matched the likes of Ronald Reagan, Thatcher is credited with spreading both economic freedom and socially divisive policy in Britain.

    Born Margaret Hilda Roberts on Oct. 13, 1925, Thatcher grew up in Grantham, a small town in eastern England. She was raised by Methodist parents, Alfred and Beatrice Roberts, who belonged to a close-knit community and congregation in Grantham. Her father operated a grocery store and the family lived in the apartment upstairs.

    After attending a local state school, Thatcher was accepted to Oxford University in 1943, where she studied chemistry at Somerville College. While at Oxford, Thatcher was elected president of the student Conservative association. She chose to enter politics after graduation and ran as a Conservative for the Labor-held seat of Dartford in the general elections of 1950 and 1951. Thatcher was the youngest female candidate on the ticket and although she lost, the experience confirmed her interest in politics.

    Thatcher was trained as a lawyer in the 1950s and specialized in tax law. In 1951, she married businessman and oil executive, Denis Thatcher. The couple produced twins in 1953, Mark and Carol.

    Watch Video

    Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer interviewed British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for the The MacNeil/Lehrer Report in February of 1981.

    In the 1960s, while the Conservatives were in opposition, Thatcher emerged as a senior figure in the party, serving several consecutive years as a shadow minister. The conservatives eventually took office in 1970 under Edward Heath and Thatcher was appointed education minister.

    Thatcher's experience as education minister in the Heath government was a difficult one. She was vilified by the opposition and was frequently confronted by student demonstrations. The Heath government was largely viewed as a disappointment. They had run on a platform of economic revival by taming trade unions and introducing more free market policies. The promises made by the Heath government went unfulfilled and they were ultimately defeated by the Labour party in 1974, leaving Britain in a severe state of inflation.

    After the collapse of the Heath government, the Conservatives sought new leadership. Margaret Thatcher stepped up to the calling and successfully ran against Heath to the win the Conservative party nomination in 1975. As a result, Thatcher became the first woman to ever lead a Western political party and serve as leader of the opposition in the House of Commons.

    Viewed as a fiscally irresponsible government, the Labour party steered Britain into a state of virtual bankruptcy in 1976. After experiencing a massive drop in the value of currency on the foreign exchanges, the government was forced to take out a loan from the International Monetary Fund. The British public began to lose confidence in Labour and in the elections of May 3, 1979, the Conservatives won a parliamentary majority. On May 4 of that year, Thatcher became prime minister.

    In her first term, Thatcher promised to turn around Britain's declining economy. Already deep into a recession and with a rising unemployment rate, her skills at balancing the budget were quickly put to the test. Thatcher's long-term gain soon became evident. With the economy entering a recession and inflation rising, interest rates had to be increased to control it. Inflation eventually decreased and interest rates were lowered because of Thatcher's decision to raise taxes during the low point of the recession. Steady economic recovery continued throughout Britain.

    President Reagan chats with Thatcher in the Oval Office in 1988. Photo by Diana Walker/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.

    Political support for Thatcher resulted not only from her fiscal turnaround but also from the Falklands War. After the Argentine Junta's invasion of the Falklands in 1982, and once U.S. and British diplomacy had collapsed, the British military forces were dispatched and reclaimed the Falklands. The British public took note of Thatcher's aggressive approach to foreign policy and decided to reelect her in the 1983 elections.

    Thatcher was challenged early on in her second term as prime minister by the miners' union, which held a year-long strike from 1984-1985. The strike turned out to be the longest and most violent protest in British history. Eventually the union was defeated and Thatcher ossified her status as an economic reformist.

    During the miners' strike, the IRA attempted to assassinate Thatcher by bombing the hotel she was staying at during the Conservative Party Annual Conference. She managed to escape unharmed, though several of her colleagues did not. By refusing to meet the IRA's political demands during the prison hunger strike in 1980-1981, Thatcher had aroused enormous resentment by the militant group.

    Amid accusations of a tired government, Thatcher pressed on in office and managed to convince the British public to allow her a third term as prime minister. Thatcher promised a change in her leadership style and assured her electors that the British economy would continue to improve.

    Thatcher outlined an ambitious third term in office. She vowed to reform the education system with a national curriculum, issue a new tax system for local government and introduce legislation to separate purchasers and providers within the national health care system.

    Thatcher's role in foreign policy included contributing to the end of the Cold War. She supported a Western alliance against a Soviet threat. Her strong support for defense policies during the Reagan administration earned her the nickname, the "Iron Lady," by the Soviets. Thatcher played a formidable role in diplomacy during the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989-1991.

    After helping to bring the Cold War to an end, Thatcher faced problems regarding European integration in the early 1990s. Skepticism in her own cabinet indicated that it would be unlikely for her to win a fourth term for the Conservatives. She resigned in 1990 and was succeeded as Conservative leader by John Major.

    In the years following her premiership, Thatcher toured the world as a lecturer and completed two books on her experience in politics. In 2002, after suffering several strokes, Thatcher announced that she would end her public speaking career. Denis Thatcher, her husband of more than 50 years, died the following year.

    Related resources:

    World Reaction to Margaret Thatcher's Death in Tributes and Tweets

    Thatcher spoke at the funeral of former President Reagan via video. Read the text of her eulogy from July 11, 2004.

    The BBC has a biography of Thatcher and reaction to her death.

    The Guardian has a photo gallery of her life.

    Compiled for the PBS NewsHour by Steve Goldbloom. On Monday's PBS NewsHour, we'll have more on Thatcher's life and legacy. View all of our World coverage.

    Follow @NewsHourWorld

    Support Your Local PBS Station


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    Cherry blossoms; photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Cherry blossoms begin to open around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

    The Morning Line

    Break's over, everyone.

    Members of Congress head back to Washington on Monday to face what is shaping up to be a busy work period at a pivotal moment for getting something done.

    In the Senate, gun control legislation at the top of the agenda could have new momentum, Ed O'Keefe and Phil Rucker write on the front page of the Washington Post.

    At the same time, immigration reform is gaining traction as senators prepare to release a detailed plan that would include a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented people in this country. A similar package is coming together in the House.

    Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will brief his Republican colleagues this week on the Gang of Eight proposal taking shape. (Rubio's office sent reporters this Miami Herald column that suggested his actions have been misunderstood.)

    The Senate's third-ranking Democrat and Gang of Eight member Chuck Schumer of New York expressed optimism Sunday that a deal could be reached by week's end. "I think we're doing very well. I think that we hope that we can have a bipartisan agreement among the eight of us on comprehensive immigration reform by the end of this week," Schumer said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

    Finally, President Barack Obama will reveal his vision for funding the government Wednesday. The much-delayed budget release will attract attention despite the blueprint's long odds of ever being adopted into law.

    The president previewed his budget in his weekly video address. As he has done many times since the fiscal fights between the administration and House Republicans began in 2011, Mr. Obama warned that Washington must avoid "more self-inflicted wounds" like the sequester and instead make "smarter choices" that invest in a solid future for the middle class.

    "For years, an argument in Washington has raged between reducing our deficits at all costs, and making the investments we need to grow the economy. My budget puts that argument to rest," Mr. Obama said. "We don't have to choose between these goals -- we can do both. As we saw in the 1990s, nothing reduces deficits faster than a growing economy that creates good jobs."

    He stressed that Republicans agree with his proposal to change entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, but also noted he wants to end "special interest tax breaks."

    "It's a budget that doesn't spend beyond our means. And it's a budget that doesn't make harsh and unnecessary cuts that only serve to slow our economy," the president said.

    The early leaks of budget details were not received well by liberals or members of the House Republican Conference. And a Republican super PAC plans a six-figure ad campaign against it.

    Guns will remain in the spotlight as Mr. Obama returns to Connecticut on Monday in an attempt to prod the Senate to take action on the legislation.

    It's been nearly two months since the president rattled off the names of gun violence victims during his State of the Union address, imploring Congress to remember, "They deserve a vote."

    The White House is telling reporters that at the event at the University of Hartford, Mr. Obama will "speak ... of the obligations we have to children lost in Newtown and other victims of gun violence to act on these proposals."

    The Post's O'Keefe and Rucker write that the prospects for expanded federal background checks for gun purchases have improved now that GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania has engaged in talks with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia:

    Manchin and Toomey are developing a measure to require background checks for all gun purchases except sales between close family members and some hunters, which addresses concerns of some conservatives, according to the aides, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the talks.

    If Manchin and Toomey are able to broker an agreement, it will need to withstand a Republican filibuster effort led by Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rubio. (So far, a dozen senators back Paul.)

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., urged his colleagues not shy away from debate on the issue.

    "I don't understand it. The purpose of the United States senate is to debate and to vote and to let the people know where we stand," McCain said during an appearance Sunday on CBS. "What are we afraid of?"

    McCain added that he remained undecided on the subject of expanded background checks. "It really depends on how they're carried out, how long, what the depth of it is. This is another reason why we need to go to the floor," he said.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said the gun legislation that will move forward in the chamber will include expanded background checks regardless of whether Republicans agree to a compromise. We'll get a sense of just how long he is willing to wait for Toomey and Manchin to reach a deal when the Senate officially returns from its two-week recess Monday at 2 p.m. ET.

    2016: STILL THREE YEARS AWAY

    To catch you up to speed:

    Hillary Clinton is still super world famous.

    Since we last published, the former secretary of state gave her first big speech and she and Vice President Joe Biden said nice things about each other. (It wasn't awkward at all.)

    She signed a major book deal to outline her State Department tenure, slated for a June 2014 release. She headlined a major women's conference in New York and made a big splash. Her people are still pushing her as a candidate for president in 2016. And signing on to efforts looking to draft her. Everyone swears she hasn't yet made up her mind.

    Finally, Clinton still rests comfortably (and will continue to stay) atop presidential preference polls.

    Now you're covered.

    LINE ITEMS

    Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died Monday at the age of 87.

    The New York Times publishes a major report looking at the drone war.

    Paul Kane writes about Democratic recruitment efforts as the party attempts to win back control of the House.

    Mr. Obama phoned California Attorney General Kamala Harris to apologize for calling her "the best-looking attorney general" at a fundraiser in Northern California last week.

    Mr. Obama will take a 5 percent pay cut in a symbolic gesture as government agencies make sequestration cuts. He is paid $400,000 annually and will write checks totalling $20,000 this year to return a chunk to the treasury.

    Support for same-sex marriage is swelling among senators, with two Democrats from more conservative states, Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, backing it last week. But don't expect Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, one of the most endangered Democrats in 2014, to endorse marriage equality any time soon.

    Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne "will go to court to block the artists' community of Bisbee from implementing a newly approved ordinance recognizing civil unions for same-sex couples," the Associated Press reports.

    Talking Points Memo's Benjy Sarlin profiles the unusual friendship between undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas and tea party founding father Mark Meckler.

    Perry Bacon reports for The Grio that African-Americans stand to lose out on Medicare expansion since Republican governors in seven of the 10 states with the highest percentage of African-Americans have said they will oppose the Medicaid expansion that's part of the Affordable Care Act.

    While a recent Pew study finds that 52 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, only 29 percent of conservative Republicans say it should be legal compared to 73 percent of liberal Democrats.

    Mr. Obama last week helped House Democrats raise $3.2 million for their 2014 campaign.

    Three House Dems have asked the GAO to look into the "underlying causes" of long voting lines, particularly in Florida and Virginia.

    FreedomWorks is not happy with the Republican National Committee.

    In the New Republic, Noam Schieber examines redistricting's lingering effects on the Republican Party.

    Top Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer last week lamented that there is a "pavlovian response from some media outlets" to anything posted on the Drudge Report.

    David Kuo, who led former President George W. Bush's faith-based initiative at the White House, died over the weekend. He was 44.

    Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., announced that her office had received three phoned death threats against her over her support of legislation requiring insurance for gun owners.

    Paul will give a keynote speech at the New Hampshire Republican Party's Liberty dinner on May 20.

    Keynoting a New Hampshire dinner honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and asked about running in New Hampshire -- what he called, "almost a second home" -- former Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown said he's not done with politics and is not going to rule anything out. Less than 24 hours later, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., sent a fundraising email to her supporters looking to raise $100,000 for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

    This apparently was not an April Fool's joke.

    Roll Call's Abby Livingston is on a quest to "examine the congressional representation of our favorite fictional characters in television, literature and the movies."

    BuzzFeed delivers animal doppelgangers for members of Congress.

    And if you've ever wondered what it would be like to live life as a merman, here's your chance to find out.

    TechCrunch covers PBS NewsHour's partnership with ElectNext, which just secured $1.3 million in new funding. And see what the political baseball cards look like.

    Today's tidbit from NewsHour partner Face the Facts USA: Since July 2012, Face the Facts has released 204 facts, the most popular being tax code complexity with nearly 47,497 views!

    NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

    Mark Shields and David Brooks discussed the dismal jobs picture Friday night. Watch the conversation here or below: Watch Video

    And the guys joined Hari Sreenivasan for the Doubleheader to talk about redemption and South Carolina's first district primary.

    Watch that here or below:

    Watch Video

    Judy's Notebook focused on mapping the brain.

    This week's Gwen's Take was a reflection on Martin Luther King and journalism.

    Gwen also did a live-chat.

    BEST AND BRIGHTEST

    Your Morning Line team took a little spring break of our own. Here's the best of the NewsHour from last week.

    Hari Sreenivasan talked with veterans and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki about the delays and backlog of medical claims at the Veterans Administration.

    Judy sat down to talk with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor about her new book "Out of Order." Watch that here.

    You know you want to create a rap about science for the NewsHour's project.

    Wondering what you'll do with the cicadas as they infest the East Coast this spring? Jenny Marder has some tasty recipes for you.

    Hari examined a new study from Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, looking at how search engines can be manipulated for political gain.

    TOP TWEETS

    And the Petraeus re-entry into Washington continues. Not the type of op-ed a former military leader pens. washingtonpost.com/opinions/david...

    — Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) April 8, 2013

    Strategic Nutella Reserve. RT @ap: German police say someone stole 5.5 tons of Nutella over the weekend: apne.ws/Zuvxxf

    — Tim Murphy (@timothypmurphy) April 8, 2013

    "I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security. I flat guarantee you." -- Joe Biden, August 15, 2012

    — Tom Tomorrow (@tomtomorrow) April 5, 2013

    Doing research today, stumbled upon story on SSA.gov of Ida May Fuller, Soc Sec's 1st beneficiary. Paid in $25, got $23,000.

    — Kristen S. Anderson (@KSoltisAnderson) April 3, 2013

    This thing parties better than I do. RT @theredtapetower Catching a breath of fresh air on @speakerboehner's balcony twitter.com/theredtapetowe...

    — Meredith Shiner (@meredithshiner) April 2, 2013

    For a brief moment today, it was all women sitting in our newsroom. #represent#insidenewshour @ PBS... instagram.com/p/XqLbVZok3t/

    — Christina Bellantoni (@cbellantoni) April 3, 2013

    WaPo story on teen Instagram #beautycontest fails to talk to key group - girls actually doing itwapo.st/12qcncv

    — Christina Bellantoni (@cbellantoni) April 6, 2013

    Politics desk assistant Simone Pathe contributed to this report.

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

    Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

    Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

    Follow @cbellantoni

    Follow @burlijiFollow @kpolantzFollow @elizsummersFollow @indiefilmfanFollow @tiffanymullonFollow @dePeystahFollow @meenaganesan

    Support Your Local PBS Station


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  • 04/08/13--06:11: The Daily Frame
  • Click to enlarge.

    Bejart Ballet dancers perform at "Century of 'The Rite of Spring' -- Century of New Art" at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The month-long festival is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the first performance of Igor Stravinsky's famous ballet. Photo by Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images.


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    By Jay Baron Nicorvo

    Deadbeat enters the courtroom without a toupée, shirt unbuttoned to his navel, a gold V dangling the Patron Saint of Audited Tax Evaders. Son of Deadbeat wants to know why his brothers aren't here. His mother, a bankrupt, answers, What brothers. When they're all called to rise, she touches his ear and tells him, Take a good look at your future, and what he sees, years later, isn't presidential: the veteran asleep on the subway, the grave oak that has always been there, an unstarred urban night like a leather hood drawn over his face by an older man, the last Hadrian, who swears, You're going to love this.

    Jay Baron NicorvoJay Baron Nicorvo's poetry, fiction, nonfiction and criticism have appeared in The Literary Review, Guernica, The Iowa Review and The Believer. He teaches at Western Michigan University, and his book "Deadbeat" was published last year by Four Way Books.

    "Child Support Hearing" from "Deadbeat" (c) 2012 by Jay Baron Nicorvo. Reprinted with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.


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    Watch Video

    Two years of civil war in Syria have killed tens of thousands and uprooted more than 4 million. It is a growing humanitarian crisis that shows no signs of abating.

    At least 3 million of that population are displaced within Syria, but through the constant chaos of shelling, bombing and fighting, there's no way to tell exactly how many have been forced to leave their homes.

    Omar Ibrahim is one of those internally displaced. He lives in Bab al Hawa, a camp in northern Syria close to the Turkish border.

    Ibrahim is one of many there left in limbo -- forced to flee their homes with no set destination -- hoping to be let into Turkey while jet fighters continue to zoom above.

    He's started caring for others in the camp as a nurse. The camp has no doctor and few supplies. Lack of sanitation and clean water has led to outbreaks of diseases and illnesses, including typhoid, diarrhea, and Leishmaniasis, a disease transmitted by sand flies that causes skin sores.

    Ten-year-old Amel fled to Hama with her family after her home was burned. She developed skin lesions just before arriving at the camp.

    "Suddenly these things on my face appeared and I didn't know what happened," she said. "There is no injection here, and we have to go to Turkey to find it."

    Related coverage:

    From Friday's NewsHour, a report on displaced Syrians: Watch Video

    Two Million Children Endangered by Syrian Conflict, Aid Group Says

    Bringing the Classroom to Jordan's Exploding Refugee Population

    Video of Omar Ibrahim shot by Ted Nieters and edited by Noreen Nasir.

    Follow @NewsHourWorld

    Support Your Local PBS Station


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    By Larry Kotlikoff

    Larry Kotlikoff's Social Security original 34 "secrets", his additional secrets, his Social Security "mistakes" and his Social Security gotchas have prompted so many of you to write in that we now feature "Ask Larry" every Monday.

    We are determined to continue it until the queries stop or we run through the particular problems of all 78 million Baby Boomers, whichever comes first. Kotlikoff's state-of-the-art retirement software is available, for free, in its "basic" version. His considerable and often very useful output is available on his website.

    Sal Neri -- Nesconset, N.Y.: Is there a maximum amount a husband and wife can collect monthly from Social Security?

    Larry Kotlikoff: There is a maximum family benefit payable on any worker's earnings record. Here's a reprise of how I've explained the rather weird and arguably unfair formula for calculating the the family benefit maximum (FBM).

    Your own full retirement benefit, called your your primary insurance amount (PIA), is what you can begin to take when you reach the age of full retirement -- 66 years old these days, but rising to 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

    The problem is, if your PIA is very low, your total family benefit maximum will be only 150 percent higher. With a somewhat larger PIA, however, the maximum rises to 187 percent of your PIA. It then ebbs, ending up at 175 percent of your PIA. So 175 percent is the family maximum for those with the highest full benefits for themselves, a considerably higher multiple of PIA than for workers with the lowest personal benefits.

    These family benefits -- spousal benefits, survivor, mother/father, and children benefits -- are called auxiliary benefits. The total family maximum is the wage earner's personal maximum plus the maximum of auxiliary benefits for family members. What makes the system both arbitrary and regressive is that the maximum auxiliary benefits are just 50 percent of a very low-income worker's full or "primary" retirement benefit (PIA), 87 percent of the moderate income worker's PIA, and 75 percent of the high earner's PIA.

    A second kink in the rules and regulations: the most the family, including the worker, can receive also depends on when the worker takes retirement benefits.

    Say you're a low-income worker and you take your benefits as early as possible, at 62, because you need the money in order to live. Your retirement benefit will then be reduced permanently to 75 percent of what you would get at your full retirement age. So the maximum you and your family can receive is 75 percent of your PIA (your reduced retirement benefit) plus 50 percent of your PIA in auxiliary benefits. In this case, your family maximum is only 125 percent -- 75 percent plus 50 percent -- of your full retirement benefit.

    Contrast this to a moderate earner who waits until full retirement age. They would have a family benefit maximum equal to 187 percent of her full retirement amount. Now look at what happens if this worker can afford to wait until 70 to collect her retirement benefit. In this case her own retirement benefit is 1.32 times her PIA thanks to the "delayed retirement credit" and the maximum auxiliary benefits are 87 percent of her PIA. (The delayed retirement credit compensates workers who wait to collect Social Security with higher benefits once they start collecting.)

    Hence, the largest amount the moderate earner family, including the earner herself, can receive is 219 percent of what she would receive at normal retirement age.

    MORE SOCIAL SECURITY ANSWERS What to Do If Social Security Says You Can't File and Suspend

    Donald Patterson -- Plainfield, Ill.: I will be 62 in April. My wife will be 63 in July. Except for a few years when I was unemployed, I always earned more than the maximum income taxed by Social Security. My wife was primarily a stay-at-home mother and never earned enough credits to qualify for her own retirement benefit. I am currently retired and living off my IRA and 401k balances. I plan on delaying my Social Security benefit until I turn 70 so as to maximize our benefits later in life. My question has to do with when my wife should begin her spousal benefit. Does she have to wait until I turn 66 to collect a spousal benefit? Should she wait until she turns 70 or until I turn 70 (when she will be nearly 71)? Neither of us has any medical condition that should result in a shorter than average life expectancy.

    Larry Kotlikoff: Here are two options to consider:

    A. When you reach full retirement age, you file for your retirement benefit, but suspend its collection until age 70. This will enable your wife to start collecting a full spousal benefit equal to half of your full retirement benefit.

    B. You apply for a reduced retirement benefit when your wife reaches age 66. When you reach 66 (your full retirement age), you suspend your retirement benefit and start collecting it again at 70. This will give you reduced benefits for one year (reduced by 8.33 percent relative to your full retirement benefit) but means that your benefits when you start them up again at age 70 will also be permanently reduced by 8.33 percent compared with what you'd get after age 70 under option A.

    I suspect option A is better, given the fact that your survivor benefit will be permanently reduced by 8.33 percent as well.

    MORE SOCIAL SECURITY ANSWERS Why You Should Wait Until 70

    Rodney Jackson -- Catonsville, Md.: My wife died last year and did not have much of a work history. Is there a minimum for survivor benefits?

    Larry Kotlikoff: Yes, the minimum is zero if she didn't have any work history. But chances are she had some kind of work history and that it's not zero. You need to check with Social Security or run a software program to determine the size of the survivor benefit for which you are eligible. When you should take it, as opposed to taking your own retirement benefit, depends on both of your earnings histories -- earnings on which you pay Social Security taxes.

    Most likely, from what you say, it will be best for you to start a survivor benefit early, maybe as early as 60, and then start your own retirement benefit at 70.

    Laura S. Buice -- Williston, N.D.: My husband and I are both retired. He will turn 62 in July and I will in October. He was a Department of Energy federal employee, so no Social Security, but he does have a little from some other jobs. I worked as a teacher for 30 years so I have Social Security from those years. Is there any special advice for someone like my husband, who was a government worker except for a few years of his career?

    Larry Kotlikoff: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) will not apply if your husband was a federal worker first hired by the government after Dec. 31, 1983. In that case, he would have 30 or more years of substantial earnings under Social Security. Even if the WEP does apply, however, your husband may still get a significant benefit. He may also be able to get spousal benefits on your earnings record. You need to run the numbers through a software program or consult a financial advisor to see what he'll actually be able to collect. As is often the case when it comes to Social Security, the answer is in the details.

    MORE SOCIAL SECURITY ANSWERS Ten of the Worst Social Security 'Gotchas'

    Steve -- Fruitport, Mich.: I am 60 and want to retire at 62 and receive early Social Security. My wife is 50. I have two boys who just turned age 11 and 13. When I retire, can my wife and I collect a SS benefit for my wife and two boys and might that compensate for retiring early as compared to retiring at 67 and receiving my full SS benefit?

    Larry Kotlikoff: Your wife can, indeed, receive a mother's benefit (while your children are under age 16) and your children can receive child benefits, provided that 1) they are unmarried, 2) they are younger than 18, or 3) they are 18-19, but also full-time students still in high school, or are 18 or older and disabled (but the disability must have started prior to age 22).

    Whether your strategy beats other strategies requires calculating all your benefits under all different collection options.

    Deborah -- New York: Having recently discovered your column, I saw references to people qualifying for spousal benefits after divorce. A dear relation was married and divorced several times. Would she get benefits from only one of her exes, and which one?

    Larry Kotlikoff: If she was married for more than 10 years before divorcing, say, Moe, Larry (no relation) or Curly, she can receive the highest spousal/survivor benefit available from the three men's earnings record, but not from more than one ex's earning record at a time.

    BUT -- and this is the fun stuff -- your dear relation can flip from the benefit of one ex to that of another whenever it's going to generate the highest benefit for her. Suppose, for example, that ex-spouse Moe earned 10 percent more than ex- spouse Larry and that she never married Curly at all. Further suppose that your relation reaches her full retirement age without filing for her own retirement benefit.

    She can then take a full spousal benefit based on Moe's earnings record (assuming Moe has either filed for a retirement benefit or they have been divorced for more than two years). The benefit will equal half of Moe's full retirement benefit. But then if Larry suddenly dies (God forbid), she can flip to taking a survivor benefit based on Larry's earnings record, which would be larger than the spousal benefit on Moe's. And if she starts taking the survivor benefit based on Moe's earnings record at or after reaching her own full retirement, it will not be reduced.

    This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight. Follow @PaulSolman


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    A card in Chester Square in London reads "RIP Maggie Thatcher. The greatest British leader and a true lady." Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

    World leaders paid tribute to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the day of her death Monday, calling her a "formidable" leader and "champion of freedom and liberty." Other comments showed the controversy surrounding some of her decisions.

    Family spokesman Tim Bell said Thatcher died peacefully Monday morning at age 87 after a stroke.

    President Obama described the impact she had on Americans in a statement posted by the White House:

    "With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend. As a grocer's daughter who rose to become Britain's first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can't be shattered. As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best. And as an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom's promise.

    "Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history -- we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will. Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life -- free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny."

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made the following comments Monday while in The Hague:

    "She was a pioneering leader for her contribution to peace and security, particularly at the height of the Cold War. She was also a great model as the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who not only demonstrated her leadership but has given such great hope for many women for equality, gender equality in Parliament. We will owe a great deal to her leadership. I hope that her leadership will inspire many people around the world for peace and security and human rights."

    Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, with whom Thatcher had close ties, called her "a politician whose words carried big weight," according to the Wall Street Journal:

    "Our first meeting in 1984 laid ground to the relationship that was at times complex, but always even and on both sides serious and responsible. In the end we managed to achieve mutual understanding, and this was a contribution to the changing atmosphere between our country and the West, and to the end of the Cold War."

    Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, quoted in the Belfast Telegraph said "she did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British prime minister":

    "Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies. Margaret Thatcher will be especially remembered for her shameful role during the epic hunger strikes of 1980 and 81. Her Irish policy failed miserably."

    Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny called Thatcher "a formidable political leader who had a significant impact on British, European and world politics":

    "While her period of office came at a challenging time for British-Irish relations, when the violent conflict in Northern Ireland was at its peak, Mrs. Thatcher signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement which laid the foundation for improved North-South cooperation and ultimately the Good Friday Agreement."

    Current UK Prime Minister and leader of Thatcher's Conservative Party David Cameron said:

    "We've lost a great prime minister, a great leader, a great Briton. Her legacy will be the fact that she served her country so well, and she saved our country and she showed immense courage in doing so, and people will be learning about what she did and her achievements in decades, probably centuries to come."

    Thatcher also was remembered in tweets:

    I send my deep condolences to Lady Thatcher's family, in particular Mark and Carol Thatcher. bit.ly/14Rkijg

    — Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) April 8, 2013

    Read Tony Blair's statement on Baroness Thatcher here: bit.ly/10L355S

    — Tony Blair Office (@tonyblairoffice) April 8, 2013

    The Iron Lady was a champion for freedom and individual liberty and her consequential leadership made the world a better place.

    — Michele Bachmann (@MicheleBachmann) April 8, 2013

    We're deeply saddened at the loss of Margaret Thatcher.While the Iron Lady is sadly gone, her iron will, her... fb.me/xw6EiaYl

    — Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) April 8, 2013

    There was no secret to Lady Thatcher's values - hard work & personal responsibility - & no nonsense in her leadership j.mp/10LaFOH

    — Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 8, 2013

    Margaret Thatcher was an outstanding politician. Her political views invited varied opinions but her political will commanded respect

    — Dmitry Medvedev (@MedvedevRussiaE) April 8, 2013

    Manchester United says there won't be minute of silence for Margaret Thatcher ahead of the match today. bit.ly/17mWe7o

    — Anup Kaphle (@AnupKaphle) April 8, 2013
    Related resources: NewsHour anchors Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer interviewed Thatcher in February 1981: Watch Video

    In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher, 'Iron Lady' of British Politics, Dies

    Read some key documents from Thatcher's career on the Margaret Thatcher Foundation's website.

    The National Archives posted photos of the "Iron Lady".

    The Telegraph and the Guardian have more reactions and tributes.

    On Monday's PBS NewsHour, senior correspondent Judy Woodruff talks to two former secretaries of state, George Shultz and James Baker, about their work with Thatcher. She then speaks with Canada's Prime Minister Kim Campbell about Thatcher's global influence. View all of our World coverage.

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    Whenever I travel around the country -- or the world -- and people I meet learn that I am a journalist focused on health and health care, they often ask: What country do you think has the best health care system? Often they have their own ideas of what the right answer is. If they are single-payer advocates, for example, they might favor the various branches of the National Health Services in the United Kingdom; if they favor a more free market approach, they may argue for the virtues of the United States.

    Susan Dentzer is editor-in-chief of Health Affairs and a regular analyst for the PBS NewsHour.

    As for me, when asked this question, I sigh. I've learned too much in my travels around the U.S. and the world, and spent too much time with people involved in their nation's health systems, to believe that any of them is perfect.

    Almost every system -- ours, Enfgland's, France's, Japan's, Germany's, Canada's, Israel's, you name it -- has its strengths and weaknesses. And right now, almost every one of them is in pursuit of the elusive Triple Aim.

    The Triple Aim is a concept first advanced in Health Affairs in 2008 by Donald Berwick, Tom Nolan and John Whittington, all at the time affiliated with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass. (Berwick later went on to become administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Obama administration, where he served until December 2011). As Berwick and his colleagues wrote, improving the U.S. health care system "requires simultaneous pursuit of three aims: improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing per capita costs of health care." Since then, the concept has been further streamlined: What we need is better health and better health care, and we need it all to cost less.

    Although the Triple Aim started off as the prescription for what ails U.S. health care, it has since been seized upon by health policy makers in almost all the high-income countries. Although the United States is far and away the biggest spender -- and in on a particularly unsustainable path -- there is no high-income country on earth that is not worried about the skyrocketing cost of health care, and there is none that believes it gets top value for the money spent. All countries have concerns about the health of their populations; although some specific concerns vary from place to place, most of the world is concerned about growing prevalence of chronic illnesses, ranging from cardiovascular disease and diabetes to cancers. And health policy makers and system leaders around the world think that health care should be focused far more on the needs of patients, rather than tailored to the wants of providers, as is frequently the case.

    Yet there's a long road from articulating the goals of the Triple Aim to achieving them -- and to understand why, we need look no farther than Staffordshire, in England's West Midlands region. According to the recently published report of a public inquiry, between 2005 and 2008,"conditions of appalling care were able to flourish" in Stafford Hospital, the main one in the area. As the institution racked up a high mortality rate, "patients were left in excrement in soiled bed clothes for lengthy periods; assistance was not provided with feeding for patients who could not eat without help; [...and] staff treated patients and those close to them with what appeared to be callous indifference."

    All of this deplorable care occurred amid failures of governance or management at almost every level of the National Health Service, according to the report. Hospital managers lauded themselves for meeting strict financial targets and won exalted status within the NHS as a so-called "foundation trust," operating free of central government control. It wasn't until relatives of hundreds of dead or mistreated patients raised a ruckus that the authorities stepped in. Little wonder that Donald Berwick has now been appointed by British Prime Minister David Cameron to head a taskforce on system improvement.

    Aligning the Goals

    The episode underscores how all high-income countries struggle to pursue better health, better care and lower cost -- and, importantly, to bring all these goals into alignment.

    In the April 2013 issue of Health Affairs, for example, Geraint Lewis, the chief data officer of England's National Health Service, and coauthors introduce the notion of "Triple Fail" events, or simultaneous lapses in meeting all three goals (as in the case of the Mid-Staffs scandal).

    Lewis argues that countries can, and should, do more to prevent such events. One approach might be to analyze all medical and pharmacy claims and electronic health records and use predictive computer modeling to identify people at risk for such triple failures -- for example, frail elderly patients discharged from hospitals, who may be unable to understand their medication instructions and end up back in the hospital. (A readmission for such a person would be a triple failure because it would reflect poor health, poor care and would cost more.) This type of predictive modeling is already being used in the United States and other countries, but Lewis argues that its use should be broadened to see how many "triple failures" could genuinely be prevented.

    Costs and More Costs

    Ara Darzi, a British member of the House of Lords, was formerly a high-ranking health official in the government of former British prime minister Tony Blair, and is now a distinguished professor of surgery at Imperial College London. In our issue, he and a colleague write about a pervasive problem in health care worldwide: most of the costs of providing care are tied up with labor -- the costs of employing doctors, nurses, other health professionals, administrators and staff. Meanwhile, employment in the health sector is growing in many parts of the U.S. and the world even as other sectors are shrinking. Only recently have systems begun to pay attention to adopting labor-saving practices or technologies to increase productivity and lower costs.

    Interestingly, in this regard, the high-income countries have a lot to learn from poorer nations that have had to economize on labor out of necessity. Darzi points to the "assembly-line style eye surgery" pioneered by India's Aravind Eye Care system, in which a single surgeon may operate in sequence to remove the cataracts of dozens of patients prepped by trained aides. (Aravind was the subject of a PBS NewsHour segment in 2009. ) If the United States is to follow suit, our notion of what constitutes "patient-centered care" will have to become less dependent on a proliferation of human providers and more welcoming of labor-saving efficiencies like these.

    Can any nation figure out how to achieve the Triple Aim on its own? Not a chance. We're all in the same soup together -- and we'll need to pool all our best ideas to reach the goal of improved health and health care for all the world's citizens, at a sustainable cost.

    Susan Dentzer is the editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, the nation's leading peer-reviewed journal focused on the intersection of health, health care and health policy in the United States and internationally.

    Before joining Health Affairs in May 2008, Dentzer was on-air health correspondent at the PBS NewsHour, where she led the show's unit providing in-depth coverage of health care and health policy from 1998 to 2008. Dentzer returns to the show frequently to provide on-air analysis of health issues.

    Top photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

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    Watch Video Author Nicco Mele writes about technology's influence on politics in "The End of Big." He sat down with PBS NewsHour political editor Christina Bellantoni.

    I've long been fascinated with the fact that technology can make the world a smaller place. With every click, tweet and Internet meme, we become that much more connected with our fellow global citizens.

    Our shared experiences can bridge chasms of culture, language and economics and technology can magnify them to help forge new relationships that make distance nothing more than a state of mind.

    With the speed of my mouse, I can share every song I've ever enjoyed with a new friend using Spotify. Together citizens in every country can donate to a nation devastated by a natural disaster.

    Consider that Kickstarter has funded 26,000 projects since it went live in 2008, allowing an ordinary person to produce the film of his or her dreams, or an author to reach millions around the world, all thanks to strangers willing to give a few bucks. And technology has opened up access to government data like never before.

    What are the consequences to having such a connected society? Are there risks as well as rewards?

    That's all the subject of a forthcoming book that examines the nature of power in the digital age, "The End Of Big: How The Internet Makes David The New Goliath."

    I recently interviewed author Nicco Mele, who teaches about the Internet and politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, about his book and theories about the rapid change he calls "radical connectivity."

    "The End of Big" examines democracy taking place outside our existing structures of power, government and big business. Mele argues that such an epic shift has given us the opportunity to "reimagine" society as we know it, and has returned power to the little guy.

    Political junkies will remember Mele for pioneering Howard Dean's online fundraising strategy a decade ago. Back then, the idea that small donations from many could add up to millions for a major presidential campaign seemed novel. Now, it's the stuff presidents are made of.

    Mele writes that "anyone can own a piece of politics" these days, and gives examples of ways people are reshaping their communities from the bottom up.

    What do you think? Has technology empowered us?

    Weigh in using the comment thread below.

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    GWEN IFILL: Britain and the world marked the passing of former prime Minister Margaret Thatcher today. She was the first woman to lead any major Western power, and became a transformational figure at home and abroad.

    Margaret Warner begins our coverage.

    MARGARET WARNER: Britain's longest serving prime minister of the 20th century died this morning after suffering a stroke.

    Flags at Number 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace were lowered to half-staff, as an impromptu memorial appeared outside her London home, honoring the steely woman who had transformed her nation's economy and politics and reasserted its voice in the world.

    Current Prime Minister David Cameron, like Thatcher, a conservative, reflected on her legacy.

    PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, Britain: As our first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds. And the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn't just lead our country; she saved our country. And I believe she will go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister.

    MARGARET WARNER: Thatcher came from humble beginnings, the daughter of a grocer in Central England. Yet she rose through Conservative Party ranks, winning a seat to Parliament in 1959 and later serving as minister of education.

    Then, in 1979, after years of Labor Party domination, Thatcher led a tory resurgence that catapulted her to the office of prime minister, a post she held for more than 11 years.

    FORMER PRIME MINISTER MARGARET THATCHER, Britain: Where there is discourse, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we be faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.

    MARGARET WARNER: The new prime minister brought a free market revolution to Britain, lowering taxes and privatizing state industries. In the early 1980s, she curbed the sweeping powers of Britain's labor unions and triggered a year-long dispute with the national union of miners after she shuttered government-owned coal mines across the country.

    MARGARET THATCHER: What we have got is an attempt to substitute the rule of the mob for the rule of law. And it must not succeed.

    MARGARET WARNER: Britain's economy rebounded from her tough medicine. And for her no-holds-barred leadership style, she was dubbed the Iron Lady. She clearly reveled in it.

    MARGARET THATCHER: For those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase the U-turn, I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to.

    The lady is not for turning.

    MARGARET WARNER: But her unyielding policies aroused more than political hostility. In 1984, the Irish Republican Army bombed the Conservative Party conference in Brighton in a bid to assassinate her.

    Still, years later, in a 1996 documentary, Thatcher maintained none of the criticism ever bothered her.

    MARGARET THATCHER: Life isn't fair. And there's no point in getting too sensitive if you're in politics. What you have got to be certain is that what you're doing can be justified by principle, by argument, and to put it across. That's the important thing.

    MARGARET WARNER: She was just as hard-nosed in asserting Britain's influence abroad. In 1982, she ordered British forces to reclaim the Falklands, after Argentina's military junta invaded the islands. The war left about 650 Argentines and 255 Britons dead, but it earned Thatcher huge support at home.

    In Washington, she found a kindred spirit in President Ronald Reagan, sharing his harder line toward the Soviet Union in the climactic final years of the Cold War. Yet when Thatcher met with incoming Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in late 1984, she famously declared that we can do business with him.

    Five years later, she was in power when the Berlin Wall came down. And in 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, Thatcher backed a tough response, urging President George H.W. Bush not to go wobbly on confronting Saddam Hussein.

    But back home, Thatcher's own grip on power was wobbling. After 11 years in office, her public support flagged amid inflation and renewed recession. And the Conservative Party voted her out.

    MARGARET THATCHER: We're leaving Downing Street for the last time after 11-and-a-half wonderful years.

    MARGARET WARNER: Even after her fall from power, Thatcher often drew large crowds at campaign events, nearly upstaging her successor, John Major, at a Conservative Party conference in 1992.

    That same year, she was named a baroness. And for much of the '90s, she made lucrative lecture tours. Margaret Thatcher's withdrawal from public eye began in 2002, when a series of small strokes prompted her to cut back on public appearances and speaking events. It was the first of many health problems, including a struggle with dementia that shadowed her later years.

    For a time, Thatcher did continue to appear at select private events and state functions. And in the summer of 2004, she returned to the United States for the funeral of former President Reagan, though she paid her respects in a pre-recorded video.

    MARGARET THATCHER: We have lost a great president, a great American, and a great man. And I have lost a dear friend.

    MARGARET WARNER: In 2005, Thatcher was well enough to attend her 80th birthday celebration at a London hotel and, in 2007, the unveiling of her statue in the Houses of Parliament.

    In 2010, she made one of her last visits to 10 Downing Street at the invitation of Prime Minister David Cameron. After that, as depicted in the 2011 movie "The Iron Lady," her descent into dementia kept her largely shut in.

    Today, Queen Elizabeth authorized a ceremonial funeral with military honors for the former prime minister at Saint Paul's Cathedral in London. Margaret Thatcher was 87 years old. 


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: A suicide bomber in Syria blew up his car in Damascus today, killing at least 15 people. It happened in the city's financial district. Rescue workers searched the smoking wreckage for survivors. The state news agency said the blast wounded 146 people. Other reports had that number at 53.

    The body of an American diplomat killed in Afghanistan was flown back to Dover Air Force base in Delaware today for a private ceremony; 25-year-old Anne Smedinghoff was one of five Americans who died in a suicide bombing on Saturday. The group was delivering textbooks to schoolchildren in the southern city of Zabul. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

    North Korea has cut its last major ties to the South, suspending operations at a joint industrial complex. It was the latest North Korean move that's raised tensions in the region.

    We have a report narrated by Juliet Bremner of Independent Television News.

    JULIET BREMNER, Independent Television News: The latest ratcheting up of North Korean rhetoric, the announcement on the state news, that all workers will be called out of the industrial zone jointly run with the South.

    The complex is just about the only place where the fractious neighbors continue to cooperate. As workers were pulled out, it was seen as self-defeating for the North, who rely on the revenue. But it is another sign of their defiance.

    At this time of heightened tensions, every action, every word has potentially devastating consequences. Dogs on training maneuvers with North Korean soldiers maul the face of the South Korean defense minister, who today was forced to retract earlier warnings that the North may be on the verge of carrying out another nuclear test.

    The South, who have moved their military hardware up to the border, rapidly modified their statement, saying that activity around the underground test site didn't amount to evidence that a fourth test was imminent. But it is causing increased anxiety amongst the international community.

    The U.N. secretary-general calling the latest North Korean move provocative.

    U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON: I sincerely hope that they will fully comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions. This is an urgent and honest appeal from the international community, including myself.

    JULIET BREMNER: But no one can be certain just how far the new young leader will push his demands for international sanctions to be relaxed.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The website WikiLeaks staged a major new document dump today, even as founder Julian Assange remains holed up in London. The site released some 1.7 million U.S. government files from 1973 through 1976. They include a host of once-secret memos written by then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

    In Washington, a spokesman said WikiLeaks wants the material to see the light of day.

    KRISTINN HRAFNSSON, WikiLeaks Spokesman: One form of secrecy is the complexity and the inaccessibility of documents. And it seems to be that the current government is not making a huge effort in making these historical documents accessible. In this way, we are providing a public service.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Assange appeared at the briefing via Skype from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He sought asylum there last June to evade extradition to Sweden on sex crime allegations.

    There was new fallout today in a sports scandal at Rutgers University. The school fired basketball coach Mike Rice last week after a video showed him shoving players and using gay slurs. Now Rutgers has announced an independent review of Rice's conduct and the university's initial response. The school president said he is also reviewing practice videos of other sports.

    An annual report card on U.S. airlines shows they have turned in their second best performance in the 23 years they have been tracked. On-time performance in 2012 was up over a year earlier, and mishandled baggage rates were down. Even so, customer complaints rose, especially over shrinking seats and overbooked planes. Virgin America had the best overall performance; United Airlines had the worst.

    The U.S. Senate confirmed Mary Jo White today as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. She's a former federal prosecutor in New York.

    And on Wall Street, stocks started the week on a high note. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 48 points to close at 14,613. The Nasdaq rose 18 points to close at 3,222.

    Former Mouseketeer and teen movie star Annette Funicello died today. She passed away at a hospital in Bakersfield, California, of complications from multiple sclerosis. Funicello first gained fame on TV's "Mickey Mouse Club" in the late 1950s, and then in several Disney films. Later, she teamed with Frankie Avalon in a series of beach movies in the early '60s. Annette Funicello was 70 years old.

    Those are some of the day's major stories -- now back to Gwen.


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    GWEN IFILL: We return to Margaret Thatcher and delve into our program's archive.

    When she sat down with the NewsHour's founders, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, they got a taste of the steely resolve of the Iron Lady when they asked her repeatedly about the news of that day, the civil war in El Salvador. The U.S. and Britain backed the military government in its fight against left-wing guerrilla groups.

    Here are excerpts from that 1981 interview.

    ROBERT MACNEIL: Good evening from Washington.

    British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher finished two days of talks today with President Reagan and U.S. officials impressed, she said, with the striking similarity between our aims and policies. Mrs. Thatcher is the first major allied leader to visit the new president.

    Earlier this afternoon, Jim Lehrer and I discussed some of these issues with Mrs. Thatcher at Blair House.

    JIM LEHRER: A short while ago, it was announced that you are delaying your departure from Washington in the morning to have a special unscheduled second session with President Reagan.

    Has something urgent arisen, or something special, or what?

    PRIME MINISTER MARGARET THATCHER, Britain: No, I think it's a lovely idea, my husband and me to go around to the White House to say goodbye and to say how very much we have enjoyed the trip.

    JIM LEHRER: We were afraid that maybe something had come up on El Salvador or something like that. But that's not the case, right?

    MARGARET THATCHER: I don't think we would be so ham-handed as to do that way if it had.

    JIM LEHRER: In your conversations with the president, Secretary Haig and others, with those full -- were the full range of options that could be employed to stop this outside interference, were they gone over with you?

    MARGARET THATCHER: No.

    Actually, the proportion of questions I have had on El Salvador from interviewers far exceeds the proportion of time we spent on discussing this particular matter.

    JIM LEHRER: Now, why didn't you spend more time talking about El Salvador?

    MARGARET THATCHER: Because there were a lot of other things to talk about as well.

    JIM LEHRER: It's not that important then in the total scheme of things?

    MARGARET THATCHER: No, I think you're trying to grope for something, which, if I might respectfully say so, some meaning that isn't there.

    ROBERT MACNEIL: Well, we don't want to devote a fantastic amount of time to it, but I would like to grope ...

    I would like to grope a little further.

    MARGARET THATCHER: Well, grope away.

    I assure you I'm very good, you know, at giving you the answer I want to give.

    ROBERT MACNEIL: I'm sure you are.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, for more on the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, I'm joined by two former secretaries of state who worked extensively with the British prime minister.

    George Shultz served under President Ronald Reagan. James Baker served as secretary of state under President George H.W. Bush.

    We welcome you both to the NewsHour.

    And, Secretary Shultz, let me begin with you.

     

    You were in that position for seven years under Ronald Reagan. So you worked with her as much as, if not more than, anyone else in government at that time. What was she like?

    FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE GEORGE SHULTZ, United States: She was very clear, very well-informed.

    She was -- loved to have a good discussion. She didn't like it if you toadied to her. She liked it when you stood up and argued. And so that's what I did. Your interview clip with MacNeil and Lehrer reminded me of a time when she had been in Camp David. And I flew down with her to Andrews Air Force Base to see her off.

    And, at the base, there was a news interview. And she stood there. And reporters would ask these questions, and she would say, now, that's not a very good question. If you had formed it like this, then that would be something of a question worth answering. And here's the answer to the question you should have asked.

    She did that a few times. And then there weren't any more questions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Secretary Baker, you, of course, not only interacted with her in the first Bush administration as secretary of state. You, of course, were also White House chief of staff, treasury secretary under President Reagan. So you interacted with her in several different capacities.

    What do you remember about her?

    FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE JAMES BAKER, United States: Well, I remember how strong and determined a leader she was.

    I remember what a great friend of the United States she was. I remember how she in effect led a conservative revolution in a number of countries by being elected in 1979 in the United Kingdom, just before Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 in America, and you had the election of conservative leaders in Germany with Helmut Kohl, and Canada with Brian Mulroney shortly thereafter or contemporaneously therewith.

    And so it was quite a -- quite a conservative revolution in governments around the world. I agree with what George said. She really didn't mind it at all if you argued with her, if you engaged or jousted with her on policy. And we did -- we had to do that as well from time to time.

    I never will forget an instance in the Oval Office when we were trying to convince her that we should go to the United Nations to get a resolution of force authorizing the ejection of Iraq from Kuwait. We didn't have the support of the Congress. We had a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate. And it was our view that if we got the rest of the world behind this effort, we could then get the American Congress, which proved to be the case.

    But she didn't want to go to the U.N. because she was afraid that we might go for the resolution and not get it. Of course, our plan was never to bring it up unless we knew we had the votes to get it. But I never will forget her sitting there. After 45 minutes of discussing this issue, she turned to President Bush and she said, oh, George. She said, let's just go do it.

    Well, I can understand that.

    Her view was that Article 51 of the U.N. Charter gave us the authority. And it probably did. But we needed the political support. And we wanted to have and were able to ultimately to achieve that unprecedented international coalition to kick Iraq out of Kuwait.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Secretary Shultz, what was she like in those situations? What was she like as a partner, as someone who I assume the administration agreed with much of the time, but maybe not all the time?

    GEORGE SHULTZ: Well, she was a person with whom you could really discuss a subject in depth, because she had done her homework. She had thought about the things that we were interested in.

    And so you always could learn something from talking with her. And you could see that her mind was open to learning whatever you had to say. Every time I went to the Soviet Union, I shared with her directly what impressions I had. And whenever she had any contacts, she let us know right away what her observations were.

    So she was really an excellent partner. But she could also give you what-for. I remember when the big Reagan-Gorbachev meeting in Reykjavik took place, at that meeting we talked about the possibility of a world free of nuclear weapons. And I had hardly gotten back to Washington when I was summoned to the British ambassador's residence, practically summoned, to meet with Margaret.

    And you remember she used to carry a little handbag. Well, I learned that there's a verb in the British language called to be handbagged.

    She said, George, how could you sit there and allow the president to talk about a world free of nuclear weapons?

    I said, but, Margaret, he's the president. Yes, but you're supposed to be the one with his feet on the ground. But, Margaret, I agreed with him.

    Oh, boy, did I get it.

    But she had very clear views and she made them known to you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Secretary Baker, what was her influence on President Reagan and on President -- the first President Bush? To what extent did she make it easier, especially for President Reagan, to deal with the Soviets, to open the end of the Cold War?

    JAMES BAKER: Well, she made it -- I think she made it much easier with both President -- for both President Reagan and President Bush to do so by early on commenting, you know, that after she met with Gorbachev, she said, you know, this is somebody that I think we can do business with.

    Well, that made it a lot easier for a Republican president to engage with the Soviet Union, something that the very conservative base of the Republican Party wasn't enthusiastic about. But if you had the Iron Lady saying this is someone we can do business with, it made it a lot easier for both of those presidents to engage.

    But, you know, we have mentioned a couple of instances where there were minor disagreements. For the most part, everything was pretty much seamless between Prime Minister Thatcher and both of those presidents, Reagan and Bush.

    I do remember one occasion -- George will remember this -- when we were about to invade Grenada, first time the United States had used force since the Vietnam War, military force. And we, therefore, were holding it pretty close. We called the prime minister the night before the operation was to go down. And I was on the phone taking notes while President Reagan talked to her.

    He told her that, tomorrow morning, we're going to invade Grenada. Well, that was a commonwealth country. And she thought we should have called her while we were developing the plans, not after they were in train, in effect. And she said, Ronnie, this is -- this is notification, not consultation.

    JAMES BAKER: She wasn't a happy camper. But that just shows you, I think, that she was -- she felt free to speak her mind.

    But, for the most part and in most instances, she was 100 percent with the United States on practically every issue.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Secretary Shultz, how much did it matter that she was a woman?

    GEORGE SHULTZ: Well, she was a very attractive woman.

    So you were certainly aware of that. But it -- you didn't sort of feel, I'm dealing with a woman and there's something special about it. She was just a straightforward person.

    But I would like to make a comment on the attitude toward the Soviets. She and Ronald Reagan shared something that wasn't widely shared, but made a big difference. They were both very tough-minded. But they both thought that if you kept the pressure on long enough, change would come to the Soviet Union.

    That's the underlying significance of the remark Jim quoted on Gorbachev is somebody we can do business with, that you didn't just sit there and assume nothing could ever change. You sat there and you had a hard line, but at the same time, when we saw the opportunity to develop change, we seized it.

    And, as Jim indicated, that wasn't the view of a lot of conservative people. But the view that change could come turned out to be right. And she and Ronald Reagan shared that view.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And so, Secretary Baker, how much of that was her legacy, the legacy -- what is the legacy that she leaves?

    JAMES BAKER: Well, I think she -- I really think it's not a stretch to say that she changed the arc of history.

    She certainly did as far as the U.K. is concerned. And I think working with President Reagan and working with President Bush 41, she changed the arc of history as far as the world is concerned. I mean, you think about the developments that took place during that, I guess, 10-year period. She came in, in '79. She left in '90, 11 years.

    Look at the change that took place. It was fundamental change in many, many -- with respect to many things around the world. And so I don't think it's a stretch to say that she changed the arc of history. I had the privilege of dealing with her not only in diplomatic and political matters, international political matters, but also economic matters, because I was treasury secretary for almost four years while she was prime minister. And I dealt with her in that capacity.

    And, of course, she left a legacy there as well, particularly in the U.K., where she emphasized the private sector and got rid of the oppressive influence of the trade unions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Secretary Shultz, that was a controversial part of her legacy. How much did that affect how you were able to deal with her? How did that affect her, the criticism she was facing at home?

    GEORGE SHULTZ: She didn't seem to be bothered by it.

    And, of course, the ultimate test is, she got reelected. So, if you win, maybe people are criticizing you, but you have the majority with you. And I agree with Jim wholeheartedly that she changed the arc -- she, with Ronald Reagan together, changed the arc of history.

    And I would put it in one word: freedom. That was her tagline, freedom, freedom at home for markets to work, freedom abroad for countries to find their way and to have respectable, responsible elected governments.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we are so pleased to have both of you join us this evening, former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Jim Baker.

    Thank you.

    JAMES BAKER: Thank you, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, as we have said, of course, Thatcher was the first woman to head a major Western power.

    One woman who watched her closely and later became Canada's first and only female prime minister is Kim Campbell. She took office two-and-a-half years after Thatcher resigned.

    Welcome to the program.

    FORMER PRIME MINISTER KIM CAMPBELL, Canada: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Prime Minister Campbell, we heard Secretary George Shultz say that the fact that Margaret Thatcher was a woman didn't really have a great deal, if anything, to do with how she was seen by him and by others who dealt with her. How did you see her, as someone who came along in politics shortly thereafter?

    KIM CAMPBELL: Well, it's interesting.

    The summer of '93, when I was traveling Canada as a newly minted prime minister, little old men come up to me, ooh, you're going to be our Maggie Thatcher. And it was very clear that she had created a constituency for female leaders in some very interesting places.

    And I think that every woman who wants to lead, every woman who is leading today owes her a debt because she just drop-kicked all of the stereotypes about women as leaders, you know, out of the ballpark. She was tough. She was able to see things through. She was also remarkably feminine, a very lovely looking woman.

    And watching the old clips of her, it's kind of touching to be reminded of what a lovely woman she was. And she also was a modern politician. She took steps to lower the tambour of her voice. And when Saatchi & Saatchi offered to remake her image, she did, because when she was a young member of Parliament, she was accused of being too much of a clotheshorse.

    So, she allowed herself to become sort of dowdy. And then when she became prime minister, she always looked great. But she really just I think opened up a space for women in other countries to be credible as leaders. There were things you didn't have to compromise anymore, that this notion that you could not be tough and still be feminine, that there would be somehow some way that you weren't really a woman if you wanted to lead a country or if you were prepared to send people into battle, it just wasn't the case.

    And she just established that once and for all.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Saatchi & Saatchi, you refer to, of course is the advertising public relations firm she consulted when she was running for prime minister.

    Are you saying, though, that women in politics around the world look to Margaret Thatcher?

    KIM CAMPBELL: Well, whether they look to her themselves or not -- and she's controversial and people have different views. I was a graduate student in London in the early '70s when the power used to go off for six hours a day because of the miners’ strike.

    And, actually, how she dealt with that was brilliant. She didn't take them on when there weren't stocks of coal. She waited to build up stocks of coal, so she could take them on and not have the disruptions in power, which were -- it was outrageous.

    So, some people didn't like that toughness. Some people may be more left-wing than she or have different policy choices. But I think the credibility of a woman leading, particularly when you have to make difficult decisions on security issues, Margaret Thatcher prepared that way.

    And so I think we all owe her a debt, whether we would have done as she did or not. And, you know, she had no role models. Who did Margaret Thatcher have to model herself upon? There wasn't anybody. And she kind of made her own way. And a lot of the criticism of her in Britain was also class criticism.

    She had an upper-class education, but she was a lower-middle class girl. And she led a party that had a lot of people from privilege. In fact, the current Conservative prime minister is often accused of being too upper-class and has to be kind of a regular guy to dispel that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So ...

    KIM CAMPBELL: But she broke through so many social barriers in Britain, not just the gender one.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what do you see ultimately as her legacy?

    KIM CAMPBELL: Well, I think there's no question that she changed the power structure in Britain.

    You know, it amuses me in the United States when people talk about, you know, President Obama is a socialist, and I want to buy them a dictionary, because you don't have any socialists in this country. But the class war in Britain and the power of unaccountable people, you know, Scargill, the leader of the miners’ union, was bent on destroying the government.

    And she kind of shifted that, so that the Labor Party is a very different party now from what it was then. She really helped to remake the political configuration in Britain to make it a much more, I think, centrist, constructive, but with ideological choice.

    And I think that, as the decades go on and people look back, they will see that it was a salutary re-jigging of the political debate in Great Britain. But also she was a great meritocrat. She have didn't get anything that she didn't work for. She didn't get her position by privilege or family connections. And she opened up the meritocracy.

    She had Jews in her Cabinet. She brought around her people who were successful, self-made people. And she made it acceptable to be successful in Britain, which was very difficult in that kind of class-ridden society that looked down on people in trade and et cetera.

    So I think her effect on British society is still being felt. And I think it was a healthy one.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Still being felt and still being discussed.

    Former Prime Minister of Canada Kim Campbell, thank you.

    KIM CAMPBELL: My pleasure.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, online, see the world's reaction to the passing of the British leader. And you can watch her 1981 conversation with the MacNeil and Lehrer. That's on our home page. 


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    GWEN IFILL: In the wake of a rush to action in state capitals around the country, the gun debate could reach critical mass in Washington this week. But it's still unclear how it will sort itself out.

    Stepping up his push for new federal gun legislation, President Obama took his argument today to Hartford, Connecticut, not far from the site of December's Newtown shootings, where 26 people were killed.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: And, Newtown, we want you to know that we're here with you. We will not walk away from the promises we have made.

    We are as determined as ever to do what must be done. In fact, I'm here to ask you to help me show that we can get it done.

    GWEN IFILL: Congress returned to Washington today facing contentious debate on measures that would include tougher penalties for gun trafficking and more money for school safety -- already off the table, a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.

    Instead, much of the behind-the-scenes negotiation has focused on whether gun buyers should be subject to background checks and whether those sales must be recorded. But everyone is not on board. At least 13 Republican lawmakers led by Senator Rand Paul are threatening to stop any new law that would diminish citizens' right to self-defense.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid complained about the filibuster threat today.

    SEN. HARRY REID, D-Nev.: Many Senate Republicans seem afraid to even engage in this debate. Shame on them, Madam President. The least Republicans owe the parents of these 20 little babies who were murdered at Sandy Hook is a thoughtful debate about whether stronger laws could have saved their little girls and boys. The least Republicans owe them is a vote.

    GWEN IFILL: Behind the scenes, Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin are working to forge a bipartisan deal on background checks, but that deal has proven elusive.

    Yesterday, former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, who authored a school safety proposal for the NRA, repeated a point other lawmakers have made.

    ASA HUTCHINSON, Former Undersecretary for Homeland Security: Even if you had all your universal background checks, bad guys are going to get guns. And it's not going to solve the problem in the schools. And it's not going to diminish the need for greater security in the schools.

    GWEN IFILL: The president's trip to Connecticut comes four days after the state enacted some of the strictest new gun control measures in the country. Colorado, New York, and Maryland have also recently passed tough new restrictions on gun ownership.

    But other states, including Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee, have enacted or are considering bills aimed at loosening rules on gun possession. The argument has spilled over on to the airwaves. In Connecticut, one ad featured parents who lost children at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    WOMAN: Don't let the memory of Newtown fade without doing something real.

    GWEN IFILL: Eleven of those relatives will bring their push for gun control to Capitol Hill tomorrow. They will travel to Washington with President Obama aboard Air Force One tonight.

    Now for more on what is happening on Capitol Hill and in state capitals as well, we turn to Ed O'Keefe, who has been following the gun control debate for The Washington Post, Arkansas State Rep. Charles Collins, who sponsored legislation in Little Rock that allows gun owners to carry their weapons to church, and Vinny DeMarco, president of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, who helped win passage of that state's sweeping new gun control law.

    Ed O'Keefe, what is the status on the prospect of compromise on federal gun legislation as things stand tonight?

    ED O'KEEFE, The Washington Post: Well, as you mentioned, Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania are, as their aides put it, talking. They're talking about the possibility of some kind of a compromise that would essentially exempt, let's say, family members from exchanging weapons or perhaps selling them to each other, and also maybe make some limited exceptions for people who are hunting together.

    Let's say, somebody's weapon breaks down and they need to borrow one from somebody else. But, beyond that, there would essentially be requirements that all other gun purchases undergo a background check. And the big sticking point at this point remains also whether or not records would be kept of all sales. Democrats want that to happen to help law enforce also in the event that a weapon is used in a crime.

    Republicans say that's the start of a national gun registry or something similar to it, and it would infringe on Second Amendment rights. The bill, the underlying bill of all this was essentially unveiled today by Harry Reid up on Capitol Hill, who, as you noted, complained quite strongly about the Republican objections.

    We have learned tonight that his counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, would also join that filibuster if the current Democratic bill were brought the floor. That's an important distinction. His aides aren't saying whether or not he would oppose any new bipartisan language that comes forth, but if the current Democratic bill is brought forth, he would stand in its way and join that big filibuster.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, let's take a closer look at what's happening on this -- with these arguments outside of the nation's capital.

    Let's go to Arkansas, where Rep. Charles Collins -- tell me about what in your bill would protect the rights either of gun owners or of citizens.

    STATE REP. CHARLIE COLLINS, R-Ark.: Well, thank you.

    First of all, it's great to be here.

    And, in Arkansas, we have passed a couple major bills. The legislation I sponsored has to do with allowing professors and other staff members at colleges and universities who have a concealed carry permit to carry on the college campus where they work.

    There has been another bill, as you mentioned, passed in Arkansas which would allow churches to identify individuals -- obviously, they have to have a conceal carry license -- would could carry in the church. I will tell you that the key thing about the college campus legislation, Gwen, is the reality in America is we have got a problem.

    And that is loved ones being killed in places like college campuses and schoolyards. And I believe one of the reasons is because crazy killers know those are gun-free zones and there's a concentration of innocent folks.

    GWEN IFILL: Has that happened in Arkansas? Are there examples where this has actually happened?

    CHARLIE COLLINS: Yes.

    We have had an incident at the University of Fayetteville about 10 years ago. We had an incident at UCA two or three years ago. Those are both college incidents. And in Jonesboro many years ago, we had an elementary school with many people killed.

    GWEN IFILL: Let me talk to Vinny DeMarco now about what happened in Maryland, because nationally this assault weapons ban seems to be a dead letter, but not in Maryland.

    VINNY DEMARCO, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence: Yes.

    GWEN IFILL: What has happened? What's different?

    VINNY DEMARCO: Under the leader of Gov. O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Brown, we did ban assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines, which have no place in our society.

    But, more importantly, Gwen, we passed a landmark law requiring that handgun purchasers get a fingerprint-based background check and a license from the police before getting a handgun. Experts from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research let the legislature know that states that have those laws have lower gun deaths because those laws deter people from buying guns for criminals.

    What happens -- and the police call these straw purchases. Someone with a clean background without a criminal background goes into a gun store and buys a gun for a criminal. And that's a major way guns get into the hands of criminals. States that have these laws don't have those straw purchasers and have fewer gun deaths. So, we're going to save lives in Maryland with our new law.

    GWEN IFILL: Charles Collins, should there be a federal role in this, or is this something that should be happening only on the state level, this argument?

    CHARLIE COLLINS: Well, I think the argument can happen in both places.

    Frankly, I'm not in favor of new restrictions on our gun rights, certainly not coming from Washington, D.C. And, frankly, in Arkansas, I think most of us believe there are plenty of laws. We just need to make sure we enforce them. As I said, Gwen, I think helping to solve this problem or making progress against this problem is doing things that deter crazy killers from going to places where we have a got a lot of innocents who can't defend themselves.

    GWEN IFILL: You used the term crazy killers twice now. And you and others like you have said that mental illness is something that needs to be addressed as part of the solution here.

    As part of this package of gun legislation in Arkansas, was there anything that spoke to that issue?

    CHARLIE COLLINS: Yes.

    One of the things that we're working in passing through the Arkansas legislature is better cross-sharing of data, so that if somebody has a mental issue adjudicated in a court, that when the background checks that are run happen, that information will be part of the check so we can avoid that person being approved for a gun.

    GWEN IFILL: Vinny DeMarco, can Maryland be a national model?

    VINNY DEMARCO: Maryland is a national model.

    Well, first of all, the law that we passed in Maryland did include tighter provisions on making sure people with mental health issues don't get guns. And that's very important. But the key reason there are day-to-day shootings in Maryland and across the country is because of guns getting from a gun store to a criminal through a straw purchaser or another way.

    And the best tool a state can use is a fingerprint-based licensing. The five states that have that already have lower gun death rates. And in one state, Missouri, they repealed a fingerprint-based licensing law, and their gun deaths went up, while deaths were going down elsewhere.

    GWEN IFILL: Did this debate change in Maryland because of what happened in Newtown at all? Did it pick up velocity?

    VINNY DEMARCO: Newtown changed the whole country. Newtown changed the debate everywhere and gave momentum to pass laws in Maryland that are going to save lives.

    GWEN IFILL: Rep. Collins, how about in Arkansas? Did that come up in the conversation there?

    CHARLIE COLLINS: Obviously, the tragedy at Newtown, our hearts continue to go out for all those parents.

    But, as you know, several years ago, we had a tragedy in Blacksburg. And there were dozens of people killed there. So, this is a problem that continues to crop up periodically. We get these atrocious situations. And stopping them is certainly something that we want to do here.

    GWEN IFILL: Ed O'Keefe, as you look at all of these legislation efforts that are going on in the state level, are there more that are loosening gun restrictions or expanding -- or expanding gun restrictions?

    ED O’KEEFE: Well, there are certainly -- in total, roughly, since Newtown, there's a group out in San Francisco that's been tallying this up. We live in a big country, 50 states.

    State legislators have introduced 1,300 different proposals to either strengthen or weaken the gun laws. At this point, it looks as if there has been more to strengthen gun laws, but in many states those proposals have been rejected. You talked about Arkansas there. That's a great example of a state that actually loosened the restrictions a bit.

    You go to somewhere like South Dakota, for example. They passed what they call a school sentinel program that now allows qualified school employees, if they go through some training, to carry a weapon with them on a school property.

    But then the flip side, of course, is Maryland, Connecticut, New York, and potentially at some point soon California. All of them and -- and Colorado, we should include -- all of them have proposed restrictions on the size of ammunition clips. California may go so far as to ban any semiautomatic rifle that can take a detachable part, any, so a complete ban on assault weapons.

    GWEN IFILL: And ...

    ED O’KEEFE: And that issue out there is potentially complicating the federal debate for a lot of California lawmakers who want to be able to vote on something like that here in Washington.

    GWEN IFILL: Ed, tonight, the president is in Connecticut, not far from Newtown.

    These members of these Newtown families will be on Air Force One coming to Washington to lobby here. We heard Senate Majority Leader Reid today say 90 percent of people are favor in background checks. We heard that from the podium at the White House. And obviously the president is playing kind of an outside game, getting public opinion on his side. What is the public opinion here?

    ED O’KEEFE: In general, they would like to see something done.

    Washington Post, Pew and others have done polling that suggests that, yes, nine in 10 Americans support an expanded background check program. There is support for gun trafficking, making that a federal crime for the first time. And certainly in line to some extent with what the NRA is proposing, there is support to bolster school security programs, either by providing money or just simply having states and cities vote on making security at those areas more -- more -- well, making it stronger.

    What I think remains to be seen, though, is whether or not the Senate really takes that into account. We have the guest from Arkansas. Mark Pryor, the Democratic senator from Arkansas, is a great example of the kind of guy who is really stuck at the moment. His party certainly wants to make changes, but he faces a reelection next year. And he's one of several conservative Democrats who face a real challenge in trying to find a way to either support this or reject it and explain why they did that.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, Ed, we will be watching your reporting on that.

    Ed O'Keefe of The Washington Post, Charles Collins, Republican of Arkansas, and Vinny DeMarco of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, thank you all very much.

    VINNY DEMARCO: Thank you very much.

    CHARLIE COLLINS: Thank you.

    ED O’KEEFE: Thank you.

    GWEN IFILL: You can watch President Obama's Newtown speech in full on our YouTube page. 


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, we return to the legacy of the Cold War and a battle to preserve one of its icons, the Berlin Wall.

    Our story comes from independent producers Carl Nasman and Anne-Sophie Brandlin and is reported by Nasman.

    CARL NASMAN: Thousands of people at the Berlin Wall in Germany. But this time, instead of tearing down the wall, the citizens of Berlin are here to protect what remains of it.

    MAN: It was here for 28 years, and everybody hated it. But, nowadays, people love it.

    MAN: I was here when the wall came down. And this is the last of it still standing. And they want to tear this down? I'm shocked.

    CARL NASMAN: And there isn't much wall left.

    In just over two decades, nearly 80 percent was shredded and paved into roadways. Other bits were sold as gifts or souvenirs. Now there are only a few physical reminders of where the city was split in two.

    This is the East Side Gallery, a mile-long stretch of political murals painted just after the fall of the wall. And it's the longest piece of the Berlin Wall still standing. Now developers want to build a 14-story apartment building right here. The plans include removing several sections of the wall.

    The battle between developers and preservationists came to a head in March when construction cranes opened up two gaps in the wall.

    MAN: People want to live here in a house. It's the same like, well, you are living in Auschwitz.

    CARL NASMAN: The new apartments would be built in what was known as no man's land, the empty space between the wall and the river. Nearly 100 people were killed in areas like this one while fleeing from East to West, some of them here.

    THIERRY NOIR, Artist: Behind the wall, 10 persons have been killed who want to live on the cemetery.

    CARL NASMAN: Thierry Noir moved from France to West Berlin in the early 1980s. He was one of the first artists to start painting the wall.

    THIERRY NOIR: I used to live so close to the wall. I looked every day at the wall. And it was very depressing. You can put tons and tons colors on the wall. It will never be beautiful because it is a death machine.

    CARL NASMAN: The proposed apartments would be built just behind his paintings.

    THIERRY NOIR: Yes. It really is. I can't understand how can you do something like that? It's loud. It's dirty. This is the wall. I mean, it's not a tourist attraction. It was, it's a memorial.

    CARL NASMAN: The construction is part of a larger plan to develop the riverfront, where clubs, bars, and old warehouses occupy potentially high-rent space.

    Dr. Richard Meng, a spokesperson for the Berlin Senate, says the city needs investment.

    DR. RICHARD MENG, Berlin Senate Spokesperson: The city has a lot of unemployment. It's because there's no industry here anymore. Berlin has former death strips everywhere. And, of course, new things are being built there as well. Me personally, I wouldn't build houses at this spot. And I wouldn't let it happen either. But our predecessors allowed this to happen 10 years ago. And now this is the consequence.

    CARL NASMAN: Attitudes toward the wall have shifted in the last two decades. Now many Germans want to preserve it, so the mistakes of the past won't be repeated.

    SASCHA DISSELKAMP, Sage Club: If you just wipe it away, it never happened. It happened. It can happen. Political systems can change and do this to people.

    CARL NASMAN: Sascha Disselkamp and Robert Muschinski are Berlin club owners and organizers of the wall protest. They worry that Berlin's history is now disappearing in a rush of development.

    SASCHA DISSELKAMP: Further generations will not get the chance to have a really feeling of how it was in the GDR, leaving in East Berlin, not being able to travel, not being able to get on the other side of the wall. It started somewhere in the '90s that Berlin authorities thought we don't need this wall anymore. This is also why Checkpoint Charlie now looks like Disneyland.

    It's not original. There's nothing original there anymore at Checkpoint Charlie, which is really a pity, because thousands of people come there every day and want to see how this was in the middle of a city, a border. But you can't see it anymore.

    CARL NASMAN: In fact, a few remaining parts of the wall are still preserved in some unlikely places.

    Hans Martin Fleischer witnessed the fall of the GDR. It was the happiest day of his life. He purchased the first four pieces ever removed from the wall and now keeps them in his warehouse two hours north of Berlin.

    HANS MARTIN FLEISCHER, Collector/Artist: At the very beginning, I had a very commercial idea. So, I simply wanted to buy these pieces and sell them as soon as possible. Over the years, I saw them. OK, there's a lot of history in it. So, it was unbelievable. You see world history.

    It's -- I still love the story, because this is the most beautiful thing that Germany has ever created -- so, to prove that this was not a dream. So, to me, touching this concrete things, it's still, I know, OK, it's real.

    CARL NASMAN: He now builds lightweight models of the wall and brings them to places where the wall once stood.

    HANS MARTIN FLEISCHER: When I have the half-size copy, I -- some of that in 2001. Seriously, there were some people who think, OK, this is original Berlin Wall, that size, no joke. They have no idea at all what this thing was.

    CARL NASMAN: One person who remembers very well the wall and the division is Marianne Wachtmann.

    MARIANNE WACHTMANN, Resident of Berlin: These houses, here they belonged to the East. And over there, it was the West.

    CARL NASMAN: Wachtmann grew up in the East and would cross the Oberbaum Bridge to visit her grandparents in the West. But when the wall was built, it bisected the bridge and the city, cutting her off from her family.

    MARIANNE WACHTMANN: Right afterwards, my grandfather died, and then my grandmother had a stroke and couldn't take care of herself anymore. She didn't have anyone but me. And I could not go over the border. It was horrible for me. And then she died after a couple of years.

    CARL NASMAN: For the older generation, the wall is mainly a symbol of frustration.

    MARIANNE WACHTMANN: This height here, the isolation and the horror of it, it makes you want to do this sometimes. The wall should absolutely not stay.

    But you should keep a little piece as a memory. That's the right thing to do. So you should leave the East Side Gallery as a memorial, but apart from that, we do not want to know, see or hear anything about this wall anymore.

    CARL NASMAN: But for most Berliners, including the younger generation, the wall has become a symbol for freedom.

    And the fight to keep the wall continues in a distinctly Berlin way. For now, the developer and the city are searching for a way to preserve as much of the gallery as possible, but construction of the apartment building will continue.

    RICHARD MENG: You have to keep memorial sites alive. You have to get people to pass on experiences, especially onto children. But there also has to be something new.

    CARL NASMAN: With such a long history, it's easy to forget that Berlin has only been the capital of reunified Germany for just over 20 years. It's still searching for its identity, finding the right mix of new and old. 


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    Family members of Newtown shooting victims step off Air Force One with President Obama upon arrival Monday at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images.

    The Morning Line

    Political pressure is no simple thing -- especially when it comes to gun rights.

    Senators face a major test this week on whether to enact stricter gun control measures, and the interest groups with a stake in the issue aren't letting up. At the same time, families of gun violence victims will be in the Capitol to make their voices heard.

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday the message those families carry to Washington from Newtown, Conn., is "very powerful."

    "So it's been stated in recent weeks that somehow the memory of Newtown has faded, at least in Washington, and I think it's important to remember for those families and for everyone in that community and for so many people across America, those memories will never fade," Carney told reporters. "The pain will never go away. And it is the obligation of the members of Congress who stood and applauded when the president called on them to vote on these issues to live up to that applause when the cameras were on, and not to take the less courageous route by using procedural measures to block a vote."

    That was a reference, of course, to Republican plans to filibuster a legislative proposal on guns that is supposed to get a vote on the Senate floor this week.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced he would join a filibuster should the legislation reach the floor as it stands today. But, as the Post's Ed O'Keefe reported on the NewsHour on Monday, the situation is fluid.

    "His aides aren't saying whether or not he would oppose any new bipartisan language that comes forth, but if the current Democratic bill is brought forth, he would stand in its way and join that big filibuster," O'Keefe told Gwen Ifill.

    Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo notes that McConnell's filibuster threat may make a compromise bill more sympathetic to the National Rifle Asociation.

    Still, there are forces at work to push legislation to the floor. Freshman Sen. Tim Kaine is urging the Senate to vote on gun legislation in an op-ed in the Virginian Pilot, writing that the power of the NRA is "overrrated." Kaine continues, "I've run three statewide races in the NRA's home state ... I won all my races anyway."

    (Kaine has an "F" rating from the NRA, stemming in part from his support of the Million Mom March when he was mayor of Richmond.)

    Tuesday marks the first time Senators have all been in Washington since New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's group began running television ads in some of their home states. And the political action committee is announcing it will issue letter grade scores on gun control, joining other influential groups -- including the NRA -- that use similar tactics to win elections. Bloomberg already has made clear he is glad to invest millions in the effort ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. Politico posted the group's letter to all Senate and House chiefs of staffs here.

    Philip Rucker had the scoop in the Post. Mayors Against Illegal Guns will include in the scorecard votes on background checks, concealed carry rules, assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines and gun trafficking measures.

    Rucker writes that Mayors Against Illegal Guns is stepping up its ad campaign with $1 million toward a new 60-second spot featuring Neil Heslin, whose son, Jesse Lewis, was killed in December's elementary school massacre in Newtown. It will air in 10 states to pressure Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Daniel Coats, R-Ind., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Kay Hagan, D-N.C., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Dean Heller, R-Nev., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Mary Landrieu, D-La., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Mark Pryor, D-Ark. and Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa..

    From Rucker's story:

    The group also this week will begin airing a new television ad statewide in Pennsylvania focused on Toomey, who quietly has been negotiating on a compromise on expanding background checks with Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.). The ad highlights Toomey's past statements in support of the idea and urges Pennsylvanians to call his office to "demand action" when a background-check bill comes up for a vote in coming days.

    The Washington Post and ProPublica crafted this interactive look at where each lawmaker stands and votes on gun issues, along with how they spend their campaign money.

    President Barack Obama was far from subtle Monday night, speaking at the University of Hartford.

    "We can pass common-sense laws that protect our kids and protect our rights," he said, adding that Connecticut's new gun control laws have "shown the way."

    "This week is the time for Congress to do the same," Mr. Obama said. "[S]ome folks back in Washington are already floating the idea that they may use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms. Think about that. They're not just saying they'll vote 'no' on ideas that almost all Americans support. They're saying they'll do everything they can to even prevent any votes on these provisions. They're saying your opinion doesn't matter. And that's not right."

    During his briefing Monday, Carney further suggested that Mr. Obama's State of the Union speech makes for a unique backdrop to apply pressure to wavering Senators.

    "[I]f there's a member of Congress who's contemplating filibustering some of this, it would be interesting to see if they stood and applauded at the State of the Union address when the president said that these victims deserve a vote," he said. "And regardless, if they oppose this legislation, have the courage to say so on the floor and vote no. Don't block it. Don't hide behind a procedural action to prevent a vote. That's the wrong thing to do."

    Watch the president's remarks in full below.

    Watch Video

    Mr. Obama's campaign spinoff, Organizing for Action, on Monday launched an online ad campaign on Facebook and search engines to pressure senators on universal background checks. They focus on the same group as Mayors Against Illegal Guns, plus Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Susan Collins of Maine, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Ted Cruz of Texas.

    Gun rights groups aren't taking the issue in stride. Politico looks closely at the efforts of the National Association for Gun Rights and others who are applying pressure of their own.

    On the NewsHour Monday, we examined state-by-state gun control efforts, along with states that have expanded gun rights. Gwen talked with an Arkansas legislator who has authored bills allowing gun owners to carry their weapons more freely, and a Maryland lobbyist who helped pass sweeping gun control measures -- including an assault weapons ban, magazine limits and fingerprint registration -- through that state's legislature.

    Watch the segment here or below:

    Watch Video

    The White House isn't done with its push for federal legislation. Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday afternoon will join Attorney General Eric Holder as they urge Congress "to pass common-sense measures to reduce gun violence," the White House says. They'll be joined by law enforcement officials who will talk about gun safety measures.

    With no clear path for a vote and an amorphous legislative package that hinges on a compromise between Toomey and Manchin, lawmakers can only expect the pressure to build over the course of the week.

    LINE ITEMS

    Roll Call's Meredith Shiner has a great piece examining how Congressional Democrats are baffled and irritated by the president's budget rollout.

    The Department of Homeland Security's deputy secretary, Jane Holl Lute, who focused on cybersecurity, will step down, Reuters reports.

    Republican headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska, was under lockdown Monday with party chairwoman Debbie Brown refusing to let anyone enter and threatening to have anyone who tries arrested. The state party has been plagued with infighting since the 2010 senate campaign.

    Peter Baker games out the vice president's chances and ambition ahead of the 2016 presidential race.

    The Senate unanimously confirmed Mr. Obama's new Securities and Exchange Commission commissioner MaryJo White on Monday.

    Add South Dakota's Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, who is retiring, to the list of gay marriage backers. MoveOn.org started a new petition to pressure the remaining Democratic holdouts on the issue.

    Sioux Falls' Argus Leader reporter David Montgomery updates the state of the Republicans' race for Johnson's U.S. Senate seat in South Dakota.

    Roll Call's David Drucker gets inside the fight between Heritage and Cato over immigration reform.

    Politico's Manu Raju and Anna Palmer write that agriculture is a pivotal industry for the fate of the immigration effort and the paper also reports on the battle to keep costs of the measure down.

    Mr. Obama "is in complete control of the White House," one consultant and former policy aide to the president says. Buzzfeed's Evan McMorris-Santoro reports on how the president has changed the way he governs in a second term.

    Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., officially kicked off her 2014 campaign for Pennsylvania governor on Monday.

    Conservative outlets are floating the likelihood that Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president, runs for U.S. Senate in Wyoming.

    Obama Cabinet secretaries won't suffer as they offer to forgo part of their salaries in solidarity with furloughed federal workers, writes the Washington Post's Emily Heil.

    Politicians want children to be seen and heard, writes NPR's Ari Shapiro in a story on why the president, lawmakers and advocates feature children prominently in efforts to gain support for public policy.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie steps into the mess at Rutgers University. He supports the university president, but many at the school are critical of how their leader initially handled the videotaped harassment of players by the former basketball coach.

    Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum is headed back to Iowa to address the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition's 13th Annual Spring Kick Off on April 15 in Urbandale. The social conservative spoke with the Des Moines Register to say he thinks Republicans evolving on gay marriage is bad for the party.

    In a "rare admission of defeat," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal dialed back his plans to do away with the state income tax and corporate taxes in favor of higher sales taxes after residents said he was moving too fast. It was the most recent setback for the potential 2016 candidate.

    The White House doesn't want to talk about Jay-Z and Beyoncé's trip to Cuba. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona doesn't mind, but Sen. Marco Rubio is not happy about this, calling it a situation the Cuban leadership could use for "propaganda purposes."

    Mother Jones' David Corn unveils another bombshell from a closed meeting, featuring audio leftover from the now defunct McConnell-vs.-Ashley Judd Senate race in Kentucky. Corn highlights attack strategies McConnell and his team discussed, including focusing on Judd's potential weaknesses on religion, family and her own mental stability.

    The anti-incumbent super PAC Campaign for Primary Accountability is gearing up for 2014, putting five incumbents in their sights, three of whom they also targeted in 2012.

    The headline on this piece says it all, and we adore it: "Roger Ebert on Love."

    NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

    The NewsHour led the show with Margaret Thatcher's death. Watch Judy Woodruff's conversations with two former U.S. secretaries of state and with former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell. Also read reaction from world leaders. We unearthed some video from the archives of Thatcher in an interview with Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil.

    The In Memoriam coverage begins here:

    Watch Video

    Christina interviewed Nicco Mele of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government about his new book, "The End of Big: How The Internet Makes David The New Goliath." Watch Video

    Noreen Nasir continues our coverage of humanitarian crises that are displacing Syrian refugees.

    TOP TWEETS

    3 Things To Know About Louisville's Basketball Championship n.pr/ZzpR5d

    — NPR News (@nprnews) April 9, 2013

    Last time a reporter was asked by a judge to hand over her notebook (Judy Miller) progressives took the judge's side thebea.st/XpvcZ8

    — Eli Lake (@EliLake) April 9, 2013

    #EqualPayDay is here; wear red 2 show that women r still "in the red" when it comes 2 wages & follow @ncjw 4 tweets today to #TalkPay!

    — NCJW (@NCJW) April 9, 2013

    100% agree. RT @stefanjbecket: Remember when @elisefoley was on vacation? Best week.

    — Elise Foley (@elisefoley) April 8, 2013

    Politics Desk Assistant Simone Pathe contributed to this report.

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

    Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

    Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

    Follow @cbellantoni

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  • 04/09/13--07:05: The Daily Frame
  • Click to enlarge.

    An Indian woman dances during a Lavani performance in Mumbai on Momday. Lavani mixes traditional song and dance to the beat of the Dholki, a percussion instrument. Photo by Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images.


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    By Nick Corcodilos

    Young people graduate from college in search of jobs, only to be rejected for a lack of experience. Headhunting expert Nick Corcodilos explains how to combat age discrimination at the start of a career. Photo by Mehmed Zelkovic/Getty Images.

    Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979, and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community over the past decade.

    In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards, or salary negotiations. No guarantees -- just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.

    Kathy Sullivan, Kokomo, Ind.: I have a son who graduated last May from college and can't find a job. He is facing the age-old dilemma: You need experience, but how do you get it if you can't get hired? They think he and his credentials are great -- he did several internships -- but they always go with a more experienced person. Any ideas?

    Nick Corcodilos: It's difficult to guess at the problem, partly because I don't know what your son's degree is in and what jobs he's been applying for. But in general, he's encountering the age discrimination problem: He's too young.

    MORE ANSWERS The Only Interview Question That Really Matters

    Ironic, isn't it? Either older workers are "too experienced" and "over-qualified," or younger workers lack skills and experience. Here's what has become very clear to me, and we've discussed this in other columns: Employers demand job applicants who have done the exact job before, and who will take less money to do it.

    It makes me wonder what Human Resources departments mean by "Our company offers exciting new opportunities!" when they offer no new opportunities at all. Why would anyone aspire to a new job doing the exact same thing they've been doing for years already? Why would they take a salary cut to do the same old job? (Peter Cappelli at the Wharton School of Management has documented this in his short book, "Why Good People Can't Get Jobs.")

    When you hear the CEO of a corporation proclaim, "People are our most important asset," it seems what that really means is, "People are a depreciating commodity at our company -- and you're next in line, so take a salary cut to do the same work you did last year."

    Sorry to rant, but I get fed up with companies that pretend they're offering careers when all they offer is the same old grind. But back to your son: What can he do?

    New college grads do get jobs, so your son needs to reconsider "How to Start A Job Search." (Few schools teach effective job hunting to their students.) He should also consider what is an acceptable substitute for experience and skills. I think the most compelling substitute is a personal referral for a job -- from someone the employer trusts. This doesn't mean your son will get hired because he knows someone. It means he may get hired because someone will vouch for his intelligence, for his work ethic, and for his ability to learn a new job quickly. Even a cold-blooded employer realizes they can hire talent at a lower cost if it starts with a new grad who shows promise. "Promise" is the key, and the lynchpin is the referral.

    MORE ANSWERS How to Overcome Missing Job Requirements

    Your son should carefully select the companies he'd like to work for, and then proceed "backwards." Before applying for any job, figure out who he knows who knows someone at the company. This may require multiple steps, but it's a time-honored way to get in the door for a first job. He will have to spend time talking with each person along the path, to make them comfortable that he's worth their recommendation. After all, they're putting their names on the line for an unknown entity. (Sorry, but a new grad is usually an unknown in the job market.)

    Your son should contact the alumni office of his school to help identify people who work at his target companies -- and then contact them. He should talk with parents of former schoolmates -- and ask for their advice. Ask former professors for introductions to people they know in business and industry. Then keep talking. Trust is the coin of the realm, and your son must build it if he wants a referral.

    In my PDF book, How Can I Change Careers?, I offer some tips about "getting in the door" that are perfect for new grads. (After all, shifting from college to the work world is a career change, right?)

    Don't worry if you're not good at introducing yourself or making cold calls. Write a little script and use it until the words start to come naturally. After a few calls, they will. For example,

    "I've been considering a move into the widget industry and I want to learn more about it. What books or articles have you found helpful in your work?"

    This phone call should have nothing to do with asking for a job. Make it a casual but intelligent discussion with an expert who can educate you. This is a great way to make insider contacts. I know it's not easy to make such calls, but if you're asking for advice and insight rather than a job, you'll find that some people will talk to you for a few minutes. Some may take you under their wing. Why? Because people love to talk about their work with others who are interested. When you demonstrate your willingness to invest time and effort to learn about their business, you're not likely to be shrugged off as another desperate job hunter.

    I find that one problem many new grads have is taking advice from people who might help them. Please see "How to Get Coached." Don't waste those new contacts!

    We can all cry that this is unfair and that employers should hire more rationally. But 26 million people are looking for work in the U.S. Employers seem to think the perfect worker will come along, so why take a chance? New grads do get hired, but with so many of them job-hunting, the personal referral makes a crucial difference.

    Question: Through an alumni connection I learned of a job opening at Company X. I sent him my resume and he said he'd pass it along.

    Meanwhile, I met someone else at a networking event who worked at Company X for ten years. He left under good terms and still has many friends still there. He has offered to talk to some people on my behalf. Should I contact him as well?

    Finally, a friend of a friend currently works at Company X. Should I also contact him, even though he doesn't know me directly?

    How much is too much? How would a hiring manager feel about hearing from so many different people? When does it start to look desperate?

    MORE ANSWERS The Talent Shortage Myth and Why HR Should Get Out of the Hiring Business

    Nick Corcodilos: You're worried you've got too many connections to the company you want to work for? You cannot have enough! What you're doing is triangulating -- getting to a manager through several connections. My compliments for doing such a thorough job of focusing on one employer! When a manager hears good things about you from multiple trusted sources, it's a good thing, if you handle it properly.

    Just be careful about sending lots of resumes to one company--that could indeed seem odd. It's far better to contact these people and ask them for insight and advice about working at the company. (For more about how to benefit from such help, please read "Mentoring and Getting Mentored.") And if one or more of these contacts talks to the hiring manager about you, there's nothing wrong with that. It's far more risky to have no one talking to the manager about you. Let each do it in his own way, and let the manager see that you come recommended.

    Your job is to use those contacts to learn all you can about the manager's operation so that you can approach the hiring manager more effectively. When you finally do talk, you want to have something intelligent to say, and good questions to ask about the business. (See "Five Sticky Interview Tactics" for some tips about how to leave the hiring manager wanting to know more about you.) Being informed and being able to talk shop is the best edge you can have -- and if people the manager knows are talking about you, all the better. Don't stop now -- you may be the only applicant who is personally recommended to the manager.

    Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth "how to" PDF books are available on his website: "How to Work With Headhunters...and how to make headhunters work for you," "How Can I Change Careers?" and "Keep Your Salary Under Wraps."

    Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

    Copyright © 2013 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark. This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight. Follow Paul on Twitter.Follow @PaulSolman


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    Watch Video

    Watch a video synopsis of the Iraq war. Edited by Justin Scuiletti. (Warning: Some video footage is graphic.)

    On March 17, 2003, President George W. Bush addressed the nation:

    "All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing."

    When Saddam didn't comply, the United States bombed and then invaded Baghdad. Operation Iraqi Freedom had begun.

    Iraqis cheered as a statue of Saddam Hussein toppled to the ground, 10 years ago Tuesday. On board the U.S. Aircraft Carrier Abraham Lincoln 22 days later, President Bush declared a successful U.S. mission in Iraq.

    U.S. Marines pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square in Baghdad on April 9, 2003. Photo by Mirrorpix/Getty Images.

    The toppled statue was replaced by one depicting an Iraqi family holding a crescent moon and sun as seen in this August 2010 file photo by Larisa Epatko/PBS NewsHour. (See more photos on Flickr.)

    But before the final combat troop withdrawal on Aug. 19, 2010, officially ending Operation Iraqi Freedom almost seven and a half years after it had begun, the United States and Iraq would see highs and lows in a conflict that would continue to be the subject of debate to this day.

    Related Resources:

    New York Times reporter and author Michael Gordon and Washington Post editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran reflect on the Iraq war 10 years later on the March 19 NewsHour.

    Freelance photographers, who covered the early stages of the Iraq war, put their photos on exhibit in a San Francisco museum.

    Share your thoughts on the lessons learned from the Iraq war.

    View the NewsHour's series of reports from Iraq leading up to the August 2010 withdrawal of U.S. combat forces.

    NewsHour foreign planning editor George Griffin contributed to this report. See all of our World coverage.

    Follow @NewsHourWorld

    Support Your Local PBS Station


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    A gelada baboon in Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia. Photo by A. Davey via Flickr.

    Scientists studying the evolution of speech have long puzzled over why there are no good models in primates. While primates share many traits with humans -- they've been known to play, grieve, fight, even laugh -- speech isn't one of them.

    With one possible exception. A group of wild monkeys from the Ethiopian highlands called geladas, which are closely related to baboons, make gutteral babbling noises that sound eerily human-like. And they do it while smacking their lips together. The combination of lip smacking and vocal sounds is called a "wobble." A study in this week's issue of the journal Current Biology analyzed the rhythm of the wobble and found that it closely matched that of human speech.


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    Moon men are so down to earth nowadays, aren't they? Before we get to this week's Tuesday Cutline winner, here's the original caption to Glyn Kirk/ AFP/ Getty Images' photo.

    "Spectators in fancy dress walk across Chiswick bridge during the 159th annual Oxford University against Cambridge University boat race on the river Thames at Mortlake, west London on March 31, 2013. Oxford won the race, their 77th victory in the race which was first rowed in 1829."

    Several of you expected the astronauts to notice the lack of intelligent life on Earth and some played upon Neil Armstrong's "one small step for man" quote (including NewsHour's Ray Suarez). But this week's winner mentioned the ongoing event that's been on most people's minds these days. That's right: NCAA March Madness. Congrats to Greg Yotz Sr.! You'll be winning a NewsHour mug for this winning caption:

    "Louisville had to bring in backup to beat Wichita State."

    Thank you all for playing along. Join us next week for another Tuesday Cutline.

    About the Tuesday Cutline: Every other Tuesday, we post a photo. You compose a witty/ funny/ creative caption, submit it by Friday at 5 p.m. ET in the comments section or on the NewsHour's or Art Beat's pages. The following Tuesday we pick one winner. Everyone celebrates.


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