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Entries in BBC Radio 5 Live (10)


EA Audio Analysis: Responding to The Bombs at the Boston Marathon --- Scott Lucas with the BBC

I have done six interviews today with BBC outlets, including BBC Radio 5 Live, about Monday's bombs at the Boston Marathon.

BBC Radio 5 Live: The interview begins at 2:43.25
BBC West Midlands: The discussion starts at 2:12.16
BBC London: The interview starts at 7:19
BBC Three Counties: The discussion starts at 1:16.50
BBC Scotland: The interview begins at 1:10.20.
BBC Coventry and Warwickshire: The chat starts at 2:07.38

I found some of the discussion to be the most personal I have had with media outlets. After dealing with questions about how the authorities are responding to the crisis and after criticising unfounded --- and thus dangerous --- speculation about who carried out the double bombing, I faced questions about the significance of the attacks coming on Patriots' Day and what has it meant for people in Boston, where I lived for two years.

See also US Opinion: The Bombs at the Marathon --- What Patriots' Day Means to a Bostonian

My answer was that I hoped that the response of Bostonians --- and others --- would be a firm reply to terrorism, not by a call for retribution without knowing exactly who attacked, but through the community recovering and showing that it would not intimidated by violence.

I had to fight a bit to get that message out. While Radio 5 Live was admirable in how it handled the interview, BBC London's host was trying to insist that the Boston attacks would intimidate those in the British capital from attending this Sunday's Marathon. My interview on BBC Three Counties followed a "counter-terrorism expert" who wanted to declare that Al Qa'eda was clearly responsible for Monday's bombs. And BBC Scotland kept pressing the case that America should be "more hawkish".

Still, I hope at least an element of my thoughts came across.


US Audio Feature: Assessing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State...and as a Presidential Candidate --- Scott Lucas with the BBC

I spoke with BBC Radio 5 Live's Morning Reports about US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as she steps down today as Secretary of State --- and, probably, as she soon prepares a run for the Presidency in 2016.

"Clinton was most effective where she was a known quantity and where America was a known quanity. She was able to maintain a stable relationship with China, She was able to maintain a stable relationship with Europe.

Where Clinton has come up short, and indeed the entire Obama Administration --- I don't think they get it on the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. They keep trying to position America at the centre of what's happening, and America doesn't necessarilyn hold that power to change everything. Clinton can't wave a wand and make this a US-led world."

The discussion begins at the 17:43 mark.


US Politics Audio: Any Hope and Change in Obama's 2nd Term? --- Scott Lucas with the BBC

On the eve of the Inauguration, I joined Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to the US, on BBC Radio 5 Live's Double Take to discuss the achievements of President Obama's first term and the prospects for his second.

Listen to programme from  14:38

I found this a useful summary, with emphasis on Obama's "cautious" and "pragamatic" approach. In addition Sir Christopher's upbeat assessment of Obama on domestic issues and my less-enthusiastic comments over gun control and foreign policy, the former diplomat pointed to advances on the social front such as immigration.

If the discussion had continued, I would have heartily endorsed this shift in tone on some social issues. adding positive signs --- often at State level --- such as acceptance of same-sex relationships and sensible policies towards marijuana use.

The BBC summary starts at the 14:38 mark, with the discussion following from 17:17.


US Audio Feature: So How Serious is This "Fiscal Cliff"? --- Scott Lucas with the BBC

See also US Politics Special: A 6-Point Guide to the "Fiscal Cliff"

Complementing Lee Haddigan's six-point guide to the "fiscal cliff" --- in which taxes will increase and funding for some programmes will be in jeopardy if there is no political agreement by midnight --- I spoke with the BBC this morning to explain the issues and their significance.

The take-away line: "The US will not go into economic meltdown if the White House and Congress fail to reach a deal. The effect is psychological --- it is loss of confidence that could foster another recession."

nd will there be a deal? "We won't know until midnight tonight because this is a game of political chicken."

BBC Radio 5 Live: The discussion starts at the 6:08 mark.

BBC Radio Scotland: The item begins at 2:07.26.

BBC Radio Wales: The interview starts at 1:25.34.


US Audio Feature: Why Can't America Have Gun Control? --- Scott Lucas with the BBC

President Obama's speech in Newtown, Connecticut on Sunday

See also US Opinion: Thoughts on Gun Control and Friday's Mass Murder in Connecticut

I have done 10 television and radio interviews today considering what happens next after last Friday's mass killing of 20 children and seven adults in Newtown, Connecticut.

The discussions have ranged across US culture, history, and politics but have often come back to the question, "Do you think the response about gun control will be different this time?"

My response:"My heart says, 'Please, God, let it be so.' My head says, 'No'."

Three of the conversations:

BBC Radio 5 Live "Your Call": The discussion starts at 06:34 --- I participated in the first 20 minutes.
BBC World Service "World Update": The item starts at 26:39.
BBC Radio Wales: The debate, which includes Rahim Kassam of the Henry Jackson Society, starts at 2:10.44.


US Elections Audios: What's Next for Obama, the Republicans, & the Country --- Scott Lucas' 4 Interviews with BBC

In a series of interviews with the BBC on Wednesday, I tried to look beyond the immediate outcome of President Obama's re-election to assess both the short-term challenge of the dispute over the Federal budget and other economic issues and the long-term prospects for the Democrats, the Republicans, and a changing American society.

Some of the comments may be familiar to listeners, but I think others --- such as the rising significance of  ethnic groups in American politics, countering the narrative of recent years about the influence of conservative Republicans --- may be surprising.

BBC Radio 5 Live: What next for the US and Britain? (with former British Ambassador to the US, Sir Nigel Sheinwald) --- Start just before the 1:50.00 mark

BBC WM: A wide-ranging talk about the challenges for Obama over economic issues and foreign policy and about the state of the Republicans --- Start at the 4:19 mark

BBC Scotland: The immediate fight over economic and social issues --- The item starts at the 1:07:24 mark; my comments come just after 1:11.00

BBC WM: What do the Republicans do now? --- Start just before the 15:00 mark


EA Audio: World Leaders Take Over New York --- Scott Lucas with the BBC

United Nations General AssemblyLater today we will post the video of President Obama's speech to the United Nations General Assembly, but this morning I took a lighter look with BBC Radio 5 at the PR and politics in New York. The conversation started with British Prime Minister David Cameron's moment of glory this evening on the David Letterman Show, but then moved to the question of which world leaders President Obama and his Republican challenge Mitt Romney should be seeing this week.

That in turn brought a twist in the story: if the Jewish vote in America is so important, why isn't Obama giving the time of day to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week?

The discussion starts at the 1:52:27 mark.


US Audio & Analysis: Scott Lucas with BBC "The Politics Around the Bin Laden Documents"

Amidst the flutter today about the release of 17 of 6000 documents seized by US forces when they killed Osama bin Laden, I spoke with BBC television and radio about the information in the documents and --- far more importantly for me --- the politics behind their release.

Although the documents have juicy details such as Bin Laden's worry about the fraying influence of Al Qa'eda and his close attention to media strategy --- to the point of considering which US outlets would be useful (clue: not Fox) --- they only confirm a conclusion which could have been made years ago. Al Qa'eda, as a central organisation with global impact, was long gone; instead, there was a decentralised network of movements who were more often motivated by local concerns.

Meanwhile, the politics:

1. President Obama's domestic opponents will no doubt claim that the release is meant to burnish, in an election year, the polish of a Commander-in-Chief who killed The World's Most Wanted Terrorist;

2. I'm more interested, however, in how the gloss of the document supports Obama's presentation yesterday of a Mission Accomplished --- even if that is far from the truth --- in Afghanistan;

3. And I'm most interested in how the spin on the documents of success in covert and special operations comes only days after the White House authorised an expansion of target killings by drones --- from Pakistan to Yemen to possibly Somalia.

The BBC Radio 5 Live item starts at the 9:30 mark; my contribution is from about 16:35.

The BBC Radio Wales discussion begins at the 8:00 mark.


US Elections Audio: Scott Lucas with BBC on Republicans and the Iowa Caucuses

See also US Presidential Campaign 2012: 'Tis the Season for Silly Names

I spoke this morning with BBC Radio's 5 Live about the state of the contest for the Republican nomination for the Presidency, six days before the initial battle in the Iowa caucuses.

This is a scene-setting interview, but amidst the sound and fury of Republican candidates rising and falling, I hold out the constant of Mitt Romney as the strongest potential challenger against President Obama next November.

The discussion starts around the 2:43.00 mark.


The Arizona Shootings: Scott Lucas on the BBC

I did a series of interviews for BBC radio and television about this weekend's shootings of 20 people, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in Arizona. Discussion focused on the context for the violence and what this means for US politics and society.

One of the interviews was with Radio 5 Live. The item begins about the 2:05:00 mark.