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FROM THIS EPISODE

The latest US strategy against the Taliban calls for winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. But complaints of election fraud threaten the credibility of President Hamid Karzai, and contractors guarding the US embassy have shocked Afghan sensibilities. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, we update developments in what's called "Barack Obama's war."  Also, Pfizer gets the largest fraud fine in healthcare history, $2.3 billion for illegal marketing of drugs. On Reporter's Notebook, southern California's supermarket launch a price war as grocery chains try  to win back shoppers looking for better deals.

Reporter's Notebook Price War Continues in Southern California Grocery Stores 8 MIN, 26 SEC

The ongoing recession has increased business for discounters like Wal-Mart and Target.  Now grocery chains like Vons and Ralph's are striking back with what they call "significant" reductions in prices. While both chains say its just a "coincidence," it's a pattern that's been developing for much of this year. Jerry Hirsch of the Los Angeles Times reports on southern California's supermarket price war.

Guests:
Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times (@LATimesJerry)

Making News Pfizer Fined $2.3 Billion for Illegal Marketing of Drugs 7 MIN

The Obama Administration today announced the largest fine ever levied for fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The $3.2 billion penalty is part of a settlement reached with the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer over illegal promotion of drugs, including Bextra, a painkiller that has been withdrawn from the market. Gardiner Harris reports on public health for the New York Times.

Guests:
Gardiner Harris, New York Times

Main Topic Are Hearts and Minds Being Won or Lost in Afghanistan? 37 MIN, 16 SEC

General Stanley McChrystal says success against the Taliban depends on support from the Afghan people, but public opinion is fast turning sour. Reports of election fraud could sap all confidence in President Hamid Karzai and, if he wins, political opponents might turn to violence. If more US troops are needed, contractors for non-combat roles could reduce the number, but contractors guarding the US embassy are accused of misbehavior Afghans find shocking. We hear more today as questions remain about President Obama's objectives. 

Guests:
Anand Gopal, New America Foundation (@anand_gopal_)
Stephen Biddle, Council on Foreign Relations
Brian Katulis, Center for America Progress (@Katulis)
Adam Zagorin, Project on Government Oversight
Christine Fair, Georgetown University (@CChristineFair)

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