Peter King: Al Qaeda will seek revenge for bin Laden killing

CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes spoke to House Homeland Security Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.) today on the eve of the first congressional hearing examining security in the United States in the wake of Osama bin Laden's killing.

"Al Qaeda is still deadly and right now in this immediate future al Qaeda I believe is going to seek revenge. They're going to show that they are very much alive that they are capable of the attack. And I expect the attack, if it does happen, to come from within the United States," he said.

King said he specifically worries about lone wolves who might be plotting an attack from within the United States.

He added that he gives the President Obama full credit for killing Osama bin Laden, and that it was a great achievement, but that he is holding the hearing to keep make sure the public understands that the United States must still play defense against terrorism.

"My concern is that too many of the American people believe now the war is over, that al Qaeda has been dramatically weakened. They haven't been. In many ways the threat- at least in the short run- is greater now than at any time September 11th."

Cordes also questioned the New York representative about the hotly contested congressional race in New York's 26th district happening today.

Democrats are facing an unlikely opportunity to win a conservative district in suburban Buffalo. Cordes asked King what he thought about recent polls showing the number one issue for voters in New York's 26th district was Medicare.

"If that's true, and it could well be, we're going to have to make our case better on Medicare," King said. "We have to show it's the Republicans who are saving Medicare as the Democrats continue to block attempts to reform Medicare."

House Republicans have been confronted by some constituents over recent congressional breaks after their near-unanimous vote for Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's Medicare plan that turns the entitlement program into a voucher system.

Democrats are accusing the Republicans of trying to end Medicare completely. But King said Republicans should show that reforming Medicare is the responsible thing to do for both the budget deficits and the Medicare program itself.

"The only way spending can be got under control -- without raising taxes -- the only way to do it is by reforming Medicare" he said.

King said that "Republicans have to show we're the ones who are trying to make the reforms to save Medicare and also that nobody over the age of fifty-five is going to be affected whatsoever."

As to whether the election should be considered a referendum on the Republican Medicare plan?

King said "we'll have to analyze it afterwards."

  • Jill Jackson On Twitter»

    Jill Jackson is a CBS News senior political producer.

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