tv Today in Washington CSPAN December 6, 2011 6:00am-9:00am EST
but defending hard-working taxpayers, republicans have the advantage. a second example is over tax cuts for the rich and battles a different governors are having now in dealing with tax policy. if you talk about raising taxes on the rich, a majority of americans, including almost half of republicans support a tax increase. but if you talk about government taking money from hard-working americans, the public says no. taxing the public will say yes. taking the public will say no. so my challenge for the people in this room is to see whether they are so precise about the work that they use that changes the dynamic that obama canceling. >> bobby, when you look at the issues that are what will the election be about, in louisiana, is that all the economy? is the energy of a party that?
>> certainly our economy has done better than the region of the national economy. but like everywhere else, jobs even more specifically as a part of the economy is absolute top concern, has been a top concern for 25 years we're exporting his temper for your son and are we a people move back and reverse migration. people are concerned about lingering affects of the moratorium was still got 11 rights come from the polls and even though the unemployment rate is lower than the national average, there still are people that could be working if we produce more energy at home. you look at the impact of the ongoing impacts of obamacare, very unpopular back home in louisiana. one of the things interesting about this campaign and you said this during this conference, and that this may be -- i know this gets said a lot, but this may be the most important election in terms of the direction of our country. for whether the republican nominee is going to be, it is hard to remember in the last few election cycles a wider
ideological divide between our nominee and their nominee. the reality is this election is not about who's the best speaker. if you remember four years ago when the president is running, i believe he did a good job presenting himself to independence is less than ideological, more confident, just the money will change the tone in washington. number one, this is clearly an election about the direction of our country. it's about $15 trillion of debt, federal government spent 24% of the gdp of obamacare for the federal government is getting more and more faltering health care. gives the federal government for baltimore in a private sector companies and more and more of the economy. i think the first point i make about the election if it's not about or shouldn't be about personalities or was the best speaker who looks the best in a zoo. there really is about a vision for this country. we want to go the way of european socialists democracies or do we want to preserve another term used often that we continue to be an aspirational
society at dynamic earth society. the second point i make is the president ran a different type of campaign. hope and change. my concern is i don't think he can run on his record when it comes to unemployment rates can a stimulus obamacare. this campaign will or should be focused on tearing down the republican nominee and will be a much -- a different kind of campaign that what we saw four years ago. >> that's a reminder that the one promise upon a cat as he is going to change in washington d.c. and it's gotten worse. a lot worse. as you are making a point, issues of policy versus attributes or something else, it does bring me back to the idea, as bobby said, obama can't run for reelection on his policies. he's got to tear down the republican. but with verity cnet.
>> we tested it last night here in orlando which is a great swing state. cannily the. cannily the act had an impact on what people thought about romney. the reason why is it was done with humor rather than anger. what's interesting is there so much advertising already out there that is so vicious and tone and we are a year away from the election and the public is saying no. so if you can make them laugh you're more than likely to connect to them. you need to connect in ways they live. everyone talks about jobs at the governor said in your talk about creating jobs. watch this. by show of hands among the people on the outside, which you rather have a job for a career? you cannot wonder the other peer job or career. raise your hand if you want a job. now raise your hands if you want a career. so why are we talking about jobs? i don't necessarily have faith that the republicans will get it. and you and i have known each other for a while and i've been
poking for a while. i think they are better than they have been. i don't know if they really feel it or not. >> yeah, it is an issue. i think he probably does the same thing in louisiana that we try to talk to voters about your children and grandchildren can stay in mississippi and have careers. and you're right. i'm not sure how that applies to the presidential election, but it has clearly better for her page. >> the other question because we should be talking to people rather than questioning them. are you better off in her parents work when they were to reach? says yes. it can turn the lights on. how many of you out there truly believe that your children will be better off than you -- not that she wants him to be. how many believe your children will be better off when they get to be your age, raise your hands. we've got one governor and eastern kansas, so that's not it.
last night now that is such a powerful -- he's got five kids? okay, three of her five kids will be better off. i'll let you choose which three. that is the power of questions. it's not just are you better off today than you were four years ago, which is what glenn and i would do because it's political. are your kids be better off than you could size human. and obama can't answer that question. >> in fact that's killing me. what do you think about the issues that for next year? you know, the issue was all jobs as the top about. do you think that will -- that it will become something different or not? or do you think rather than being about policy hypnotist frank says turn out to be a campaign that focuses on something other than policy in the results of those policies?
>> i think a couple things. one of the echo frank's point about obama has to run a very indicative destructive campaign. he has to turn it against whoever the republican nominee is because, you know, if he runs on its own record that's not really much to run on. look at health care for example. you know, before it passed and it was unpopular, wait till it passes will be more popular. that didn't work. they said okay wait until people get to know more about it. wait until people you're about it. and if anything is more people now, the more they don't like it. and then they said wait till some of it goes into effect, that they really going to like it. so that is why he got to run a destructive campaign and negative campaign from an issue standpoint it is going to be overwhelmingly about jobs and the economy.
and the supreme court is going to make sure health care is a major part of the debate as well. it's going to be about spending and the deficit then those issues -- look, could something have been from a foreign affair standpoint? yes. but she never can assume that something major will happen on that level. so i think the issue agenda is pretty well defined right now. and that's not always the case going into the presidential election. but there's no sign the economy will turn around anytime soon. but you see most of the science and there's some encouraging news from the economic standpoint. for the most part, there's way too many questions. either from business as. you know, they just don't know that they contrast with the administration is going to do. >> i was interested in weapons research that the most popular
public republican position that you tested for voter approval was in all of the above energy processes. for abundant americans affordable energy. >> first of all that's exactly right. i want, and something that frank said that think is so important for us to understand and truly out time. you know, i'm a conservative. i think the federal government is doing too many things and i just believe it should be as bigoted as an wants a permit to bigger government. the reality is there to translate why that's an everyday people's lives. in louisiana we commenced able to make tough choices about covering government spending to make the changes in ethics class. the reason were able to do that as we connected it to the welfare of the children. the reality is just one quick example in louisiana.
we've done a survey and tied for first place for businesses from investing in my state. tied for first place was the sense that corruption, the perception there is so much corruption that who you knew was more important what you knew. we did our first special session that went from the bottom to the top of a bunch of these good list. the reason we're able to do that is because whenever change those laws. they've been away for a long time. it wasn't just because they want to be number one. people were tired of seeing their children a more important to grandchildren that they stay. when you talk to voters to to say we just had thanksgiving last week. how may times yet to get on a plane? how many times do you see her grandchild per year? you watch them play soccer or you've seen them twice a year? that got people's attention. it is because of those politicians acting out, maybe we need better ethics laws. i think the same thing as true in the national scene.
it is great to talk about government as a percent of gdp or $15 trillion, but we've got to translate what that means as higher interest rates, what that means and most importantly exactly what frank has had come your children and grandchildren may not have the chance that the american dream we inherited. give us more opportunities than we inherited from parents. would i want to be the first generation that spends their children's inheritance. i think that they motivate folks around the big entitlement programs and government spending. going back to energy, my state has asked berkeley provided oil and gas to the rest of the country. the week that a new company that will hire 600 people to build the blades or wind energy. we have a company hiring 14,000 people to build modular components for nuclear energy. we have a company first. tyson built a refinery to make bio diesel to use these products. alternative energy projects we have a clean coal facility at
the northwest louisiana. we are absolutely for all the above strategy. we want to provide energy to the rest of the country and we believe in renewables and oil and gas and nuclear including: conservation of all of it. i think the problem washington is dennis put ideology ahead of practicality. all of a sudden you have a moratorium in the gulf coast and uncertainty about the shale and tracking. all of a sudden you have uncertainty about permanence for coal mining. and you have dial-up and all that means two things. more of our dollars are going overseas. higher energy prices at the pump. even as important and sometimes this gets overlooked. it's another region for manufacturing took overseas. billions of dollars coming back to america back to louisiana in part because knife cut affordable natural gas. i just last week with a company that moved about 90 jobs from china back to louisiana and they
are able to get some of these high-value, high paying manufacturing jobs, to america. this administration could drive jobs overseas for their ideology of her practicality when it comes to energy policy. >> he talks about grandparents and grandkids. the strongest family relationship of all our grandparents and grandkids because they both have the same enemy. [laughter] that's right. i'm a dad. it's a joke, but it's true. and you talk about overseas. when it comes to energy, talk about the middle east. when it comes to jobs, talk about china because these are specific places people relate to. we talk about domestic energy. it's american energy, american oil, american natural gas. sometimes we're the biggest offenders in new business people sitting around the corner. they are the ones who should be responsible for providing the best language because they try to defend what they're doing. i'm so scared of this anti-wall
street after. i am frightened to death. okay, they should occupy a job and take a bath. i get that joke, but man they are having an impact on what the american people think of capitalism. and so trying to get to work removed and placed with economic freedom or free market. but the public now believes capitalism -- they still prefer capitalism socialist, but they think capitalism is immoral. if were first seen as defenders, we've got a problem. >> you also have a situation where these media try to make this a much, much bigger story than if it was any other group of protesters from most any other subject. i was going to ask you, i think glenn did write that obama will run the best campaign ever run and you flew to the fact he's already started. the romney spot you're talking
about is actually the very negative spot that they had aired or published on romney. remember, they did one in arizona and went somewhere else. can the president get reelected. lee by saying my trying to disqualify this opponent? >> trying to disqualify george bush's record and he never put forward by they should vote for him. first off, john kerry and the "wizard of oz." last back were in florida. it was in a statement he was going to run in 2008, when the kid comes up in his yelling and screaming and the police, and the kid yells out, don't teaser me, bro. the kid goes straight down. first person ever electrified from a john kerry speech. [laughter]
[applause] it is not enough to tell people what you are against. you have to explain to them what you are for. the key in this obama thing i'm starting two years to ask whether he deserves four more years is actually the wrong question. to ask what there is record the ears is a better question. for years seems like such a short amount of. based on nicer survey shows the philly with jobs, fill it with the economy, sailor with virtually everything, does the record of serving eight-year presidency. if you change to eight years of weekends. >> how much clan does having a republican governor of this state are winning the governorship on election day for republican affect the presidential? >> look, i think it is important on multiple levels having a republican governor in the state. particularly key swing states like florida and ohio and then winning and north carolina. and having one in virginia makes
it easier for the republican nominee to do what they need to do in this state in terms of building an organization. voters don't wake up on election day and say, you know, i really like this job that bob mcdonnell is doing so i'm going to go for republican nominee for president. that's not what happened. but because bob mcdonnell has such a good organization in virginia, he's able to put it to work in the turnout in the key areas and make it easier for the presidential nominee to fund raise in the states among key donors and all those things too added incrementally and in a close race. and the, this is 2012 because of the demographics and challenges obama faces, demographic advantage he has been the challenges he faces that the economy is shaping up to be another 2000 or 2004 when it's
really, really close. this is not 2006, 2008, 2010. but voters are much more evenly divided. they are leaning our way, but not quite there yet. it's almost a year to go. those incremental things close key races with the republican campaign in north carolina for governor. the singer flat up it can make a difference in a very close race. >> if obamacare is louisiana, he will appear in fortysomething states. but you all had a great relation with these issues. and now, what are your numbers for the legislature? >> for the first time, just to give you a sense of how far we have moved from the q-quebec eight years. their seven nonfederal state elected offices louisiana. we have render public enough of 70 years ago. today we have seven out of seven
and there really wasn't a credible democratic candidate in any one of the seven election in this election cycle. in the house and senate for the first time we've got majorities to the end of my first term thanks to party switchers in special elections. this is the first time i've elected a majority to vote to either chamber. we are 50th in the house, 24 in the senate. 24 out of 39 and the senate that are now republicans. here is the most important soul. certainly we carried all 64. we carried new orleans and first-time republicans. we carried 66%, but the number that is the most important sunni was beset after her election, our top priority was the elected statewide education, which is unusual sight. we said k-12 education of your top priority going into the first year improving education for children. before it was roughly 65 -- i'm
sorry, reforms when it comes to giving parents more choices are rewarding great teachers entering the things that can improve education for kids. after this election cycle it is now 101. we endorsed in fixer he says and what was really exciting this week the entrenched republicans pick composed over trying to do. a group comprised of union and i caught him the coalition for the status quo. they feel the candidates and put people on the ground. but was exciting to me as we just didn't win in republican friendly districts. we won across party party lines and racial lines in a pretty bold agenda for improving education in our state. but the election showed was two things. one, you can make the tough decisions. you look at mitch daniels experience over in indiana and some of the governors who came before -- a couple years before
me made some tough decisions. are they going to be look to survive this? you have republicans during the recession. maybe you shouldn't be changing things so quickly. both you and mitch got reelected overwhelmingly. you had a great, great second term. you have governors today. pennsylvania and write your party of scott. you have john kasich and ohio. he's got a bunch of great -- others for not naming that a bunch of great reform governors and kings have choices, tackling policies they got elected to do. i absolutely predict they will be rewarded by voters. the take away from from louisiana election results was if you do the right thing, people see results in a growing economy and better schools, health care, whatever your priorities are. too often when republicans -- would last a majority in the house and senate. we could lose it for being
conservative. we don't lose elections because of conservative principles. we don't communicate them all. i think we're true to principles we can show competent governance and will be rewarded and that's what happened in mississippi. the first time since reconstruction new elected a republican to succeed another republican. i think that is what you're seeing across the states. >> and his elections when republicans support are the one who sponsor building a bridge to nowhere. in 2006 everyone knew about that conservators just abandon the gop. by the way it's not about government spending. it's about ways. that is what makes people angry. we can argue over the definition of ways, but that's the worth of public uses. so why not focus on not? mitch daniels is here. he's a great communicator. so of course he can get through this reform. he is the ability to communicate reforms. if you don't explain what you do them or some governors right now
pushing really hard that i'm explaining the context behind it. they are not talking about the result. they are talking about the situation now, but not what the outcome will be. and they will face a problem. you can do great things as you've done in louisiana and mississippi, but you guys are sitting between two of the best communicators the governors have. they're a peep in the square here that haven't explained to voters that they are doing and why and they're not going to get credit for it. >> i think frankly you in a to each other in the 90s, a lot of times it sounded like cannons. we tend to talk about that. you need to tell people what you are for, why you are for it and how it will help their families and communities. if you just keep that little simple thing in mind, usually you can get to the point if it's the right policy.
but you are right and bobby is right. my experience when we lose it is not because people change their mind about the policy they want. it is because they change their mind about us. they decide we are not adhering to what they thought they voted for. >> and they'll personalize. i give you an example on taxes. i'm fat now so i can do it as well as i used to. i'm totally out of shape. when you wake up in the morning you pay a sales tax. as you drive to work u.k. gas tax. he flushed the toilet you pay a water taxpayer to turn on your tv and pay cable tax. he flew here from another state. use your cell phone and phone tax. he bowersox refuted you pay at closing tax. wow, you really are poor and mississippi. [laughter] just for the record, his shoes cost more than everything i own.
[laughter] we are taxed in the morning we wake up in the morning to the moment we go to sleep at night. hard-working americans deserve a break and i'm going to give it to them. it's personal. it's human. his day-to-day networks. >> just to jump on something you said, governor what he said you talk about what it is that she wants to do and how it's going to help him and everything. one of the questions i pay a fee to frank, but i do get to moderate focus groups, too. and down the stretch in the virginia governor's race in 09 i was doing governor mcdonald's pulling and we did focus groups once a week in northern virginia, figuring if we did okay in northern virginia we would win statewide. one of the questions i would ask before we got the testing was, you know, what is bob mcdonald trying to say about himself to voters like you about why we should vote for them. people would give reasons, one of which is in all of the above energy policy.
what he was trying to say about himself i got blank stares back. people said be quiet because they couldn't think of anything. then they laugh nervously and said maybe that's why he's got a problem and i don't want to vote for him. these are independent swing voters. so again, it is not just -- and obama will find this out. it's not just against someone or giving them reasons to vote against somebody. you have to have a reason to vote for somebody, particularly for an executive office like president or governor. you have to deal to communicate what you'll do in the job and why you should be hired for that job. and i think that is one of the keys -- one of the things democrats have forgotten and they're kind of wash to make republicans look so extreme and attack and attack and attack that they have forgotten that they need to be for something. >> frank, glenn said obama has
no choice but to rent a very negative campaign. the question is trying to get across a minute ago, can the incumbent president be reelected if he has to resort to just running a negative campaign and can't run on his record? and the import of that question is, what the strategy quan described for, and they're very negative campaign, cannot wear? >> for obama's personal likability is still quite high. i keep looking at 2004 because -- not 2004. 1984. when people do not support reagan's policies but liked him as a person and walter mondale is so disagreeable, they like to bomb a and they believed that he is trying, which is keys to governors here. your intent is not quite as
import is your results, but it's pretty darn important. and they still believe that his intent is good. if he stays so negative, it will destroy that in hand, destroys personal favorability and undercut the one thing holding them up right now because when you ask about the specific job related attributes, he fails. he fails miserably. i would not be delivering negative messages on the campaign trail. it's okay in our testing because they were separated. that negative words. i would not let negative word come out of my mouth. i would let joe biden be negative. amtrak built this car because of joe biden. let him go out and be the guy. but i want to be sure that you feel that i'm in doing it. if he feels negative, i believe he is not reelected, and that he needs a balance. and i'm not sure if people really feel that now.
>> bobby come you follow for the country campaigning for people in all your four years as governor, what do you see as the difference between steaks like ours that vote overwhelmingly republican? and were greeted daddy want this in the industrial midwest for the west coast environment? i mean, what do you think the issues are that make the georgia to texas swing so much safer for the farm states that are so loyally republican? would've we got going for us that they don't have going for them? >> a couple things are interesting. louisiana was one of the last southern states good to talk about the deep south and southern strategy.
louisiana is a u.s. senator until recently had never had a republican majority in either chamber i did not have a history of electing republican governors. i voted for twice. a lot of voters and the fact reregister democrat was a republican nationally. even a voter registration, even though our numbers are increasing in their numbers are tear creasing, were still half the size of the democratic party. they outnumbered two to one even today. so i think what's interesting, let's look at state that a red versus blue, but the states that are changing. louisiana is moving in the right direction. west virginia is one of those states that wants to move in the right direction and certainly a lot of talk about the western states may be becoming more purple, moving kind of towards the middle. i think that the voters -- reagan at the famous thing about the democratic party -- and that leaving the democratic party. i think you've got a lot of voters in louisiana that looked
around in a couple things happen. i think they stayed pretty much where they were in their beliefs and select the parties moved around them. so their fathers, grandfathers, moms, and everybody having democrats. they told him there's no point in registering republican. this is a tax paid tax payer. they say you only have one choice. you got to register democrat otherwise you don't voted our stay. for generations come you got people that voted for their local municipal elections although he up stray puppy. see what a lot of people do come and tell me, you're the first republican i've ever voted for. i'm glad my dad is not alive. there is a strong cultural identification and i think over time they saw the party didn't consistently, time and time again would nominate candidates are seen up for ideas they didn't agree with. but the second thing that is so great when you see governors and you've got states like michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania, ohio, a
whole lot of states that have elected republican governors to succeed to oust democratic governors. those governors are showing in any of these states, republican candidates can win. cannot wait there's permanent republican or permit democratic states. what those candidates have shown is the relevant message with a competent leader, with a good leader, we can win in states, whether it's in the midwest or the industrial part of the country at the northern part of the country. one of our great friends from rhode island with a very successful governor of rhode island. we had a governor in vermont several terms they are, so we can win in those states that are called blue states or red states. i don't think there's anything in her dnas that make us red states or blue states. what tends to happen in some states as the parties would've
been their gates to build up your glenn talked about infrastructure and over time they start building up local volunteers and people that are currently party people search identified. a lot of people just have never voted for a republican because they never one for share for the education of the school border mayors. so i think what's great about drg as we do support candidates all over the country. we support candidates in many new governor sitting here because they went got involved in the states where we hadn't had a republican governor before. i'm a big believer that we have to expand the map. to president obama's credit politically for years ago if you were gone in history and said a democratic governor is going to compete in virginia and north carolina, he went and won in so-called red states. i don't think he could win those three states this time by the way. it's up to mr. reichert can any to get the message to compete in those states like the northwest.
we have a great candidate in washington state, so i think we can be competitive in areas that we've not won statewide elections recently. >> it's evident because we've elected so many republican governors that states that are very hard for us for president. i wonder, glenn, as we think about the u.s. senate and we all think we got this great chance to win the senate, or decrease the fat, 20 democratic seats, only 10 republican seats, i'm not sure it's that easy. what do you think the prospects are that we win a majority majority in the senate? and particularly if obama is reelected, what are the chances we'll win a majority in the senate? >> look, it's not going to be as clear-cut. in terms of opportunities for pickups, i think on the governor gubernatorial level, they are really south. on the senate level, i would be shocked and very disappointed if we did not at least get the 50
seats in the senate. because when you look at where some of the best opportunities are, those are seats that republicans will run well and the republican nominees for hanwell for president. so you have that synergy there. at work, senate races tend to break one way. so you know, a lot will depend on what happens on the presidential level. typically the senate races usually go republican or democratic. even if the rest of the country looks much more evenly divided. so we are going to be facing a huge tipping point next to tober in states like missouri and others, where you've got, you know, contested races for governor and senate. i think how well they run as a team, not as a team. that's not the rightward. if they ran a coordinated effort, i think that can really make a big difference.
>> a chance to answer that question will take questions from the governors and the audience. the level of hatred towards congress is unlike anything that any of us have ever seen. a 9% approval rating could not be at a 15% approval rating of libya and that was among people who killed them. [laughter] at choate did not -- i took a joke to republican senators. they did not laugh. [laughter] the opportunity is so amazing for challengers regardless of what political party you are. it is not an anti-republican antidemocratic mood or movement. it is an anti-incumbent, antiestablishment, anti-elitist, anti-status quo. it is a rejection of those things that got us towards whatever point we are now and are rejecting it for the future. the message for the governors
here come the democratic governors to us if you look and sound like the status quo, you are done. and how do you govern in a situation like that? i have to think the gop got a 50/50 shot at getting the senate, but i feel sorry for you all. i think you're the luckiest person of the year because you're getting now. how do you govern when people can even send the same room and talk to each other, we can't go to those opposed and have a civil dialogue with them when they will stand up and oppose you? you know i moderated the debate out in iowa 10 days ago, a forum. educate time at the beginning to give a protest or two minutes the mike so they could speak so that the whole thing would get disrupted. eric cantor had to cancel a speech at the university of pennsylvania, a great school because the occupy wall street people are taken the first hundred tickets ever going to protest and disrupt the whole
time. governors, i don't know how you do it now. and i do think in addition to what we do politically, some of the sinister and have to figure out why we do out of respect and decency and stability because if we lose the ability to talk to each other and disagree without destroying each other, and then we are going to have an awful next 10, 20, 30 years in this country. >> can i get some house lights? how we will see who wants to hear. >> thank you. i enjoyed your presentation. frank, you touched on a question i've had for a long time here and that is the dysfunctionality in washington. i think governors are actually a lot more collegial. we get along better in based on a set of principles and the governors to have to go back after we have a discussion and actually do something. congress is able to kick it on down the road for a while.
you've written a book, words matter. what about the word compromise? do we ever use that again? the founding fathers seem to make it work okay. or can we use the word compromise anymore in washington? >> no. if you talk about compromise, they'll say you are selling out. your side doesn't want you to compromise. which use interface and that word is cooperation. it means the same thing, but cooperation means you can stick to your principles and still get the job done. compromise says you are out principles. >> i will say this. and my stay at, where i had the democrat legislation for seven years and the democrat house for eight years and we've all pretty hard on some stuff, but by and large, we could sit down to we
might not agree, but we can deal with each other civilly. and washington strikes me as being far worse than the state capitals. >> possibly one of the reasons and this is just a fact of computers and policy today. gerrymandered seats. the fewer competitive seats there are, the more the members of congress are worried about primaries than they are about competitive general election. and it goes back to you are selling now. you know, you're caving in to their side. and keep in mind, too, one of the frustrations republicans have had over the years in washington as the democrats talk about compromise, that usually means you do things our way. that is what they mean when they say compromise. but frankly the fewer competitive races at the congressional level, the less likely there is to be compromise.
the flipside is every governor here who controlled their lives, it's rational to do so. >> ton of people to sacrifice. because there isn't an american today in november of 2011 doesn't understand sacrifice. you tell them not to sacrifice for the pretty angry at you. you talk about we're all in this together. we either succeed together or fail together. he preached the universality of it. sacrifices personal and nobody feels they can afford to give any more. we are all in this together is the universality of it and people are then willing to do what you want from them if they think that everyone is engaged in this process. >> i'm going to give myself a little bit, but when i first ran for office in 1998 campaign and the legislative seat, i have no cards in a tin box and that is how i hide precincts go
door-to-door to campaign. we did a lot of mailers for the different social media thinks we have now. but now that we have 24/7 news, we have facebook, which we, twitter, it e-mail, all those things have really changed the political landscape for anyone on issues and anyone running for office. and it is hard, especially when you have people attacking you and its immediate response versus u.k. did a piece of the male 20 years ago the next day. talk a little how social media, and the internet, 24/7 news that we see, how it affects the politics and issues and campaign. >> well, look the biggest challenge if you touched on you have to react right away. a candidate makes a mistake now you have to deal with it forthrightly and upfront immediately.
and that hardly gives you time to kind of think about okay, now what is the grain of truth? i mean, look at the kane campaign for president, where the first accusations about harassment came out and they kept changing their story, that's a real problem. and that is why he went from the front runner to areas right now. not because of the details, but because they couldn't get their stories straight. the fact that it's a 24/7 news cycle and you've got the internet which amplifies everything. and by the way, everybody in this room regardless of what you do, you should assume you're being taped. and whether it's a cell phone or whatever. you know what time you make a mistake. it's going to show up on the internet. if you do everything right, then it's not going to show up on the internet. if you do it right, and i will be so much credit to go around
that it won't. so it's when you make a mistake that you become immediately famous and that's not what you want. you just have to presume whatever it is you're doing, somebody is keeping you, someone is going to tweet about it. and by the way, that's the other thing. professional athletes really show that these days. he got out to put your immediate knee-jerk reaction on twitter. it's much, much better to be smart and think through what it is you're trying to communicate and what you're trying to get across, like i'm trying to do is focus. >> one thing that behooves all of us that we can all do, learn to use them as twos. learn to use it as some thing that advances our camp paint on the way. all those bad things he's had to deal with and you're going to have to learn how to be agile enough to be a lot more agile. but at a minimum, learn how to use those tools so they take the
place of your card box and get you toward something that you can use. >> i know a lot of people talk about -- on the positive side you've got a much more engaged voter population. you've got much more civic duty. all date myself as well. i remember being an intern. when you're an intern, a lot of that his research and writing back in drafting responses to correspondents. that and if we cut letters, that meant less if someone took a time to write the hand-lettered and generally get interns at there in august and the members are gone. you get letters about things that happened weeks before review draft response in a few days later snappers about to make it a letter back in the mail people were thrilled their congressman had written about québec issue. in today's world, nowadays i see this in our state legislature. there is a hot issue coming up,
the legislators go to the mic and say they're voting differently because they got a certain number of e-mails literally within minutes about the bill coming up with a certain number of phone calls generated. so voters are now able to get that information more quickly. i think you seen a big difference in not only the halls of congress, but also state legislators and how they respond to that. >> or author should have a mission for every single issue you'll deal with, probably 30, 35 missions. not a mission statement has that's political. we're poor sentence sentence max. they have two or three statistics underneath that you will quote again and again. underneath that you will have a set of words, phrases. every issue as a single page and whoever is responsible for social media keeps going back to that same thing. i know for fact and i look around at the names here because i know enough people who are here. at least half a dozen governors still have it tonight and there was behind the eight ball
because they are always responding to rather than engaging preventative communication or assertive communication because they haven't even created the message that goes along with the policy. you know both and you've always been good at both. and these kinds of policy changes every year, but he knows the language behind it at the same time. you cannot separate the two and expect to succeed. because of social media you don't have the time. if you don't have the briefing book prepared to take a two over the next five days, 10 days. so for the rest of the time your governor, everyone knows that needs to go on twitter, facebook and all the social media sites. >> frank, i think you're right about the message of occupy wall street the one that resonates. people can understand the one person for 99 and the numbers are what they are with the income gap. and i think it does have potential but people don't
pacify with occupiers, but the message is a good easy one. is there any ability to change the conversation too wide a gap is spreading? is their inability to do that? >> absolutely. it goes to the focus of policy. we are in orlando, florida. is this on disney property? is very close that it's not. if you are wearing a suit and tie, stand up. come on. [laughter] this is what's wrong. [laughter] it's symbolic tiered and announcing you want to look like these hippie freaks from the late 60s, but when they see people like us, any politician because they're not happy with the democrats. they think that -- first off i have three weeks for you all. i get it.
if you asked me whether republican or democrat, were the first two words i use to address them if i get it? i get to hear angry. i get that you see inequality. i get that you want to fix the system. you're pretty conservative, but i think you'd understand what is causing people to be so bad. if you have knowledge that anger, you can then take step two. in step two to should be occupying washington. you should occupy the white house because those policies over the last three years have created this problem. but if you don't begin with i get it and all you do is insult them, which a couple presidential candidates did, it's a great line for that debate room, but it causes an awful lot of damage all across living rooms of america. >> my old granddaddy used to tell us, never underestimate the natural animosity of a poor man for a rich man. and that is just a good starting place for their side because
they got some facts that really made the right point. this administration's policies have been pushed up the money to wall street, main street -- there's no recovery on main street. you know that. the biggest difference in my lifetime is between the real economy and the stock market. between main street and wall street. i never have seen anything that compares with this. huge businesses they're making money off the inning. >> but it's time for that phrase class welfare. over the last couple weeks -- one set. class warfare is ideological and it sounds like college campus and it actually sounds political. but the public resents politicians that divide americans. in the end, we are the united states of america. there is more that unites us than divides us.
and so the public to leave and will reject those politicians who try to pit against each other in favor of those who try to find common ground. once again it is not a compromise of philosophy or ideology, but he does seem that if you divide us, you weaken us. that is the best response. >> paul. >> one of the biggest issues facing.com out of the boston, new york papers and our state is the whole issue of big as this is sitting on big cash. and it goes to the question of hoarding. i mean, the policies have been bad. the administration's policies have been helping wall street, not me stricken people on wall street are sitting on the cash. and so a lot of the 90 niners say, that is the problem, is
administration. one where people can feel like what -- businesses conflict they can take a risk, spend some money and not have the rug pulled out from underneath them by some crazy regulations and, you know, obviously there's a different way to say that, but when you communicate that that's when people nod their head and say i get it. >> as a party we talk a lot about excessive regulation and we talk about the message of more effective regulation of the local level but i will give you a couple examples in louisianan we had a project ready to break ground a few years ago 3 billion-dollar capital investment, $75,000 average salary of those were very important local community. they delayed breaking ground in part because of their concern about the uncertainty of cap-and-trade rules coming out of washington, d.c. so the eventually decided to break
ground last year, but they also said during that two-year freeze and said thinking about going overseas. second example we have a large japanese company to make a $120 million investment from the capitol. they are thinking about making that investment overseas because the uncertainty of regulation coming out of washington, d.c. but what is more effective during the moratorium we were fighting this fight against the obama administration on this economic activity sending money to the middle east but to send this to other countries spend the money in the
service company and they are the ones that are going to be hurt because when it went to brazil and africa, those jobs, they didn't go overseas, they began to lose their homes and declare bankruptcy and lead people off so i feel we can point to specific examples companies want to create jobs in america. they want to hire people and investing capital but excessive or unpredictable regulations stop them from doing it but it's also important sure it's not just big companies but these are companies of all sizes that me be your neighbors, maybe a small business in your community that want to make money and hire americans but can't do it with the unpredictability out there. >> the language the americans want you to use is the small-business owners and job creators. they are less interested in entrepreneurs and innovators and i recognize entrepreneurs and innovators are the ones who create apple and microsoft and
dell and nike and companies like that, but to the american years a small business owner and a job creator is what needs to be defended over every other title you can use. by the way when you give someone a bonus, i would strike the word bonus out of your lexicon and some of you do this at the end of the year you are coming up to give out a christmas bonus at a time of economic hardship, you're going to make people angry. it's pay for performance. people will support performance pay. they will not support a bonus. >> i hate to talk like this, but i do think the great thing about the question that you pose, the answer is totally on our side is why would people sit on their money? win obama says he wants to put the largest tax increase in american history on job creators, how are they going to say that i ought to be creating more jobs to spend more money
but i am facing 1 trillion, 2 trillion-dollar tax increase? obamacare, i don't know what my obligations or cost will be for new employees, so how can the job creator make a decision to hire more people? this is an administration that has made its it's policy to drive the cost of energy. and so people will use lists because they have big energy policies, environmental policy and it isn't just terrible for the south, it's terrible for maine. but the big thing here is the actual factual argument is almost totally on our side, and i know i tend to be a little wonky but i think people want to hear that. i think they are prepared to hear the facts and patient enough to listen to them. >> i won't put you on the spot but i don't mind putting frank
on the spot for a moment. in five weeks republican presidential primary will cast the first votes in the iowa caucus followed by new hampshire, south carolina and florida with the two of you, you and bobby are welcome to come. could you predict what's clinton had been or give some insight? [laughter] >> i'm not going to be a profile in courage. a couple of observations and little on the buy side. second not my position not working having done a thing on the campaign my comment on the race i will say this look recent presidential primaries, what has happened and even hollywood and new hampshire aren't necessarily determinant here so particularly with the rules changes where it's no longer win or to call
delegates until the end of march for states to think we are in for a pretty wild ride. >> the initial updates to me watching some of them are absolutely terrific when the candidates are just pounding each other and it hurt the gop, romney's numbers came down and you can actually show romney falling and linkage to the debates on the stage people beat up on him the post. why? when republicans go after other republicans they don't like it but they still hear what is being said. i never dhaka question as you know. i can't answer it because every fiber of my being would have said that new gingrich would not even have made it to five weeks from now six months ago. i've never known anyone to start a campaign from a vote south of greece and yet he is absolutely positively in there and he is in
there because of his intellect. this is someone who is unprecedented in his capability to deal with issues in a broadway in a focused way. he has no money, she has no organization, he has such a negative image and yet he's actually winning. who would have thought that there is a lesson which is i think you said this more americans are paying attention now than they ever have. everything you say can and will be used against you. everything you do will be held up to scrutiny. in 2012 we are going to end up wishing that this cycle was over. governor sadr the only institution in america will have the chance to cut through to clutter with your constituents and prove to them government still works. the only people that have the the opportunity to demonstrate that results can still happen.
don't miss that opportunity because it's on your success that we will rebuild the political system that is going to be destroyed over the next 11 months. >> i put my cards on the table. i supported rick some time ago, the governor of the neighboring state. he's been a great leader here, denigrate job while president obama has been under his job we have lost 2 million private sector jobs and actually added a million jobs over the last couple of years but in terms of what's going to have been five weeks from now i would echo what frank said. five weeks is an eternity in this presidential cycle. in his right. not forget six months ago, five weeks ago predicted correctly he would be running ahead of the polls. who would have foreseen what has happened with herman cain's numbers so who knows in the next five weeks who is going to go up and down. that hasn't been totally unique it's been somewhat more
exacerbated this cycle you compare to the previous cycles you are a little safer a few weeks out who is likely to win on the way and do well in new hampshire but even the last couple elections i would caution us to get too far out there i remember when for years ago this march predictors were saying hillary clinton is going to be the democratic nominee. eight years ago it was howard dean was going to be the nominee going into iowa cannot be stopped. before president obama got elected there were some on our side saying here's the guy you want to run against. people said he's a true term president look how popular he was after he was sworn in and after the midterm election was obvious he was a one-term. i think the five weeks is an eternity in this political cycle and so i just have no way of being able to know who is going to be poured down. it's amazing one thing you can predict is there isn't a lot change it seems like every day there is a new twist in this
election. >> today's headlines are tomorrow's speech wrappers. that's what we used to say. i guess that doesn't -- people don't understand what that means any more. what happened yesterday or last week may not have anything to do with what is going to be the result in a week or two weeks or five weeks. it is the most fluid thing that i've ever been a around for our side or the democrats' site for that matter. >> i think that's all the governors. we give time for one from the field. i see a hand. hold on. we are going to get you a microphone. >> what are your thoughts in the panel i remember seeing rick on the debate a couple weeks ago talking about economic mobility
and that the republicans should be talking about that and forget about the economic mobility as manufacturing, returned to manufacturing at the united states do you have any thoughts on that or comments on the economic mobility? >> in mississippi we haven't given up on the manufacturing and they've brought in a lot of advanced manufacturing in the last eight years. not unique to us or among the states in the south you've got states like indiana that are doing the same thing. economic mobility is something we don't talk about enough because there's this idea that the top 20% are the same people a year in and year out decade in and day out. i do think the data may show in the current recession that's a little more static than it normally has over the last 30
years people were moving all of and down within that income level as i might expect has new age you make less money where you are younger and you finally get a job and start making some money and once you get to be older than i am, i'm 64. most people's incomes go down because they don't work as much or they don't work at all so there is a lot of economic mobility in the united states, an unusually large amount in the most advanced world come and i can see the point that we ought to talk about that. i personally think we had a conversation among the governors in a different group yesterday that is even more important than that. a lot of income inequality is to in education. i went to the high school every
one of my four years somebody would, make a speech and say if you graduate from high school you will make more than if you don't graduate high school and a few graduate in college you will make more than if you don't. today much income inequality is purely a function of lack of education and i'm not necessarily seeking a degree. it may be skills that you have learned, but there is a huge element of income inequality that has got to do with people that dropped out, people who didn't take school seriously, people who just for may be no fault of their own don't have the skills or the education and an economy that values more common values those much more than ever before in world history not just in american
history, so we don't just talk about income economic role of the, but also talk about the powerful importance of education. we need our children and grandchildren to really realize that is for real. >> but economic mobility is more important than economic honesty and what they are looking for you is to be looking straight with the american people and the people you represent. no more budget gimmicks, no more accounting tricks, no more empty promises. you have the right to know the facts about the budget and we have the responsibility to tell you about the budget toward about the economy. i'm waiting for an elected official to stand up and tell them what they want do which is those three points and then acknowledged the have the right to know the truth and told them the truth.
>> i absolutely agree in the importance of economic mobility and see the senator's comments i agree that as a party we do need to be talking about the american dream which is if your kids work hard and the degree in education they should be able to do anything better than you didn't quite frankly it's one of the reasons i am a republican and i won't belabor you but we all have these stories in our history. i heard this everyday growing up and now i appreciate that i'm a father like that was one of those nine kids the only one that got past the fifth grade no one in running water electricity walk uphill, downhill, back from school, all that stuff but he chose to come to america with his pregnant wife to start all over and one of the things that brought him here was the opportunity to read it doesn't matter what your last name is or how much money you've got there is no limit to what you can do in this society, and he
literally opened up the phone book and started calling companies until someone would hire him and that is how he got his first job they were looking for an opportunity as a party we've got to remind folks and remind ourselves in the policies and communications we have to remind folks and voters what we stand for is for every child to have that same opportunity to read it doesn't matter whether they were born rockefeller or not the should have the opportunity to get the grade education and create a better quality-of-life to have a better career to have that kind of upward mobility but second and discussed the plight this is important it's an enclave to get the issue a lot of these governors are improving education in the state's because the reality is in this economy if we want our kids to have the better quality-of-life they are going to have to have the skills. the countries that will do better in this economy we've cut taxes in louisiana but the reality is we know we have to have more skilled productive workers you can find anywhere and the competition is not just
mississippi and louisiana. it's china, brazil and countries all over the world and i think it gets to -- we don't have time to get into the issue but many governors listening to around this table and other governors here or going through policies reporting excellent teaching not just a number of years in the classroom but looking at more choice for parents and kids it shouldn't matter what is it could you grew up and you should be able to get a great education. in other words providing the tools kids need to have the upward mobility and on the manufacturing like kaylene and mitch and a lot of these governors we are bringing manufacturing jobs growing only new companies polled companies and that goes back to other policies whether it is predictable texas, tier regulatory environment, skilled workers if we're serious of the manufacturing based economy you have to have a predictable energy supply and if we don't let's be honest i think the example of the company in louisiana is that what good does
it do to the american economy environment, whatever to send those jobs to brazil and that is the debate we need to be having to disappear to go to other countries will be other people's children, not our children getting those jobs so to answer the question absolutely we the party should be comfortable talking about why we are the party of opportunity and that stands up for however you want to describe it, the 99%, whoever that works for the average american worried about their children and grandchildren. >> the 1. i would make is americans are an aspirational people and the republican party is the aspirational party and when you have to do when you're talking about policies is to connect them to the american dream whether specifically to use that phrase but you don't want to just talk about policies to reali alisa you don't want to lead voters to water you want to force them to drink it you have to connect the dots for them so that the understand that you're not just a policy wonk or technocrat but you have a broad vision for where it is you want
to do for the state, for the people or what have you. people understand economic mobility is often self driven in other words somebody like the governor and his parents they were much more likely to provide the economic mobility because they wanted it and the understood the importance of education. but what you have to do is say our policies are trying to improve the opportunities. >> thank you. let me just add i think a couple things should have come out. governors get paid soft problems. to me it's always been remarkable how much closer we governors, no matter where you're from or whether you are democrat or republican, how much closer we are to the results coming and we are held to accountability for those results than say a president is or
anybody in washington, so one thing i hope you will take away more conservative than i am we are result oriented, and the public like says learn to tell the truth even when it is not going to be happy talk. that is something else the public is ready for. they know the reality, and don't be afraid to be the guy that tells them the truth. they can take its. and the last thing is there are solutions. there are ways to get good results and you just got to be the guy that stands up there and doesn't give in to what's popular. as i would say to all of you whose companies are so generous or organizations are so generous that's what i hope you feel like
we have to offer, results oriented, truth telling trying to get the solutions for real problems. if you feel like that's what you are supporting the >> houston-based energy company enron filed for bankruptcy 10 years ago after the arrest of top company executives. that's coming up later. the senate is in at 10 eastern and will consider the nomination of kevin jones to be u.s. circuit judge for the district of columbia. live senate coverage here on c-span2. >> debate continues this week in congress about whether to extend the federal payroll tax cut.
>> no health care, the most expensive single element, has no environment control, no pollution control, and no retirement. and you don't care about anything but making money. there'll be a giant sucking sound going south. >> ross perot spoke about trade issues during the 1992 presidential debate. the billionaire businessman made two attempts for the presidency. the first time getting over 19 million votes. more popular votes than any third party candidate in american history. although he lost he is had a
lasting influence on american politics. he is our final candidate in the contenders, live friday at 8 p.m. eastern. to preview other video and to see all the programs from our series go to c-span.org/thecontenders. >> a crowd of iranians attack the british embassy in tehran last week. the protests due to sanctions on iran because of its nuclear program. the israel policy forum holds a discussion on relations with iran. we will hear from author barbara slaven at this 90 minute event. >> okay, why do we kick things off if i may. everybody finish or enjoy your lunch, and with a very exciting topic today, and ensure everybody wants to get into the
conversation. so let us maximize the opportunity by taking off, first of all, thank you all for joining us today. my name is peter joseph, i'm the president of the israel policy forum, and by way of introduction, as many of you know, the israel policy forum was founded in 1993 to serve as a strong basis from prominent leaders in the american jewish policy and business communities to support a u.s. diplomacy aimed at securing a lasting peace in the middle east. today, the israel policy forum continues its work to mobilize prominent leadership of that work. and in support of a strong u.s.-israel relationship, as well as a responsible and effective u.s. diplomacy aimed
at a lasting negotiated two state solution to the israeli-palestinian conflict. aaron david miller, many of you know, is a former state department official. recently described idf as idealists without evolution. and those of you who joined our security symposium in september may recall that our close friend, former israeli deputy defense minister defined ipf as an organization that provides the right combination of being pro-israel and pro-peace. today, we are particularly concerned with the current atmospherics within the jewish community and within the body politic in washington, d.c., particularly when it comes to the u.s.-israel relationship and
the effective use of a u.s. diplomacy in the region. and that is why we are committed to convening forums of civil dialogue, like the one today. on pressing issues at face, shared israeli american interests. there is, by all accounts, no more pressing issue today than iran's nuclear ambitions. in the past two weeks there have been two mysterious explosions at iranian military installations, including one just yesterday. in israel, and in the united states, politicians and pundits are openly discussing the possibility of an israeli military strike against iran,
even as new sanctions have the recently passed, which have escalated the economic pressure against the iranian regime. the iaea report earlier this month provided the clearest example, clearest evidence i should say, that iran has pursued nuclear weaponry, and that in turn has escalated fears of an iranian nuclear threat, as well as as well as considerable debate as to how to proceed. these are just some of the issues which we hope to engage you in today, and will be discussed by our expert panel. we are delighted to have with us professor david menashri from israel, from tel aviv
university, barbara slavin and trudy rubin. i would like to introduce our moderator, trudy rubin, who will then introduce our speakers, lead a dialogue, and then open the floor to questions and answers from the audience. and i would really encourage the pretty full exchange here, because i know that this issue is very much on everyone's mind. many of you know trudy rubin as foreign affairs columnist from "the philadelphia inquirer," and a member of the inquirer's editorial board. her column appears twice weekly in the inquirer, and run regularly in many other newspapers across the country. she has special expertise on the middle 80s, russia and south asia, and is a frequent guest on npr and pbs.
before joining the inquirer in december of 1983, true u.s. the middle east correspondent for the "christian science monitor" covering israel and the arab world. we are really very gratified and delighted to have trudy lead this lively and very, very timely discussion. thank you, trudy. and thank you all again for joining us today and participate in the conversation. [applause] >> well, it certainly is an opportune time as we heard. in tehran today the british embassy was taken over by youthful radicals who, for two hours, went about trashing the building, but apparently the iranians were not going to permit a rehash of the hostage episode, and so it now seems as
if the police may be stepping in. but this just reminds us about the immediate the issue is, as you all know, and i was recently in israel at a time when the headlines were full of debate over whether prime minister netanyahu and defense minister barack were or were not really urging the cabinet to okay a strike on iran. so it's a great privilege for me to introduce the to guess which i will do briefly, and then they'll be speaking on the issue after which i'll ask some questions and then turn the floor over to you. as many of you probably know, david menashri on my left, one of the most distinguished academics on the field of iran, the president of the academic center of law and business, and founding director of the center of iranian studies at tel aviv
university. i think you all have his bio. you know of his work. so i will be briefed to give everyone a chance to talk more. barbara slavin, to my right, one of the most knowledgeable journalists in the field on iran, a senior fellow at the atlantic council of it asia center, the author of the 2007 book on iran, entitled bitter friends, bosom enemies. to iran, the u.s. and the twisted path to confrontation. that says it all, doesn't it? barbara has worked for many newspaper starting with the economist, the latest a senior managing editor at the "washington times." so we are going to start with barbara who will talk about u.s. policy, pros and cons at the moment, and then we will move to
professor menashri who will speak about iran from israel's point of view and what is to be done. >> good afternoon. it's great to address this crowd. i know a fair number of people in the audience and i was just reminiscing about the good old days with thomas marley to use to represent the israel policy forum in washington and did a great job. back in the days when we had a peace process. i know to have a commitment to diplomatic solutions, to what may seem like intractable problems, and so i which makes by my attachment to iran. in the book i wrote a few years ago, i wrote a lot about missed opportunities between the us and iran when george w. bush was president, and i don't frankly that we reached rock bottom during his administration. but it looks like that's not the
case. unfortunately, things have not progressed. there's obvious default on both sides. as you all know, president obama devoted certain amount of time to engagement, and then he pivoted rather smart to was no in washington as the pressure tracked. sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions. and we've seen a steady ratcheting up of these pressures now, but no progress toward a solution. recent comments by u.s. officials are especially disheartening when you consider the early promise of obama. just last week at the brookings institution, tom donlon, the white house gnashes good advisor gave a speech in which he listed five elements of u.s. policy toward iran. they range basically from sanctions to more international isolation to the military option. and nowhere did he talk about real diplomatic engagement. there was a reference to quote
keeping the door to diplomacy open unquote that was literally bracketed in the last talking point which was the military option. it just doesn't seem to be on the mind of the administration. now, of course, obama and his people are not entirely to blame for the sad state of affairs. there is a curse did u.s.-iran relationship which is that whenever we are ready to engage, the iranians are ready, iranians are not ready and, of course, vice versa. there is a long litany of mutual grievances and missed opportunities going back if you want, to 1953 and the coup to the hostage crisis, to u.s. support for iraq during the iran-iraq war. the biggest missed opportunity certainly gain in my mind under the bush administration, after 9/11 when the iranians then under president leadership tried
every which way they knew how to get negotiation start with the united states. every time i pick up a book, read a memoir i would see there was another overture through another individual to george w. bush trying to get him to talk on even through directly to bush when hosni was present, later went hockney wasn't present. the fall 2001 until may of 2003, u.s. and iranian diplomats met in geneva and paris and they discussed afghanistan, al qaeda, and the title of the about iraq until until the walks -- talks were revealed. i have to admit a little bit of culpability in this. i wrote a front stage -- a front page story about this but i was so excited. of course, immediately after that the bush administration shut them down. because because they're embarrassed have been caught talking to charter member of the
axis of evil. there was also the famous may 2003 agenda for talks which was written by the then iranian ambassador to paris and sent by the swiss the washington where it was read and chuckled over and received no response. there were some talks that took place on iraq but they didn't go anywhere. there were efforts by ali larry johnny was the national security advisor after ahmadinejad was elected president, efforts to get talks going with his counterpart in washington, steve hadley. their efforts to the iaea efforts to the swiss. i mean, you know, in this case they always say what success has a thousand fathers, and failures in iran's case of course it's the reverse. family has a thousand fathers i'm afraid what comes to the u.s. and iran.
so we are in a pretty bad situation when obama came in, and at the time of course there was considerable anticipation in both washington and tehran that this curse was finally going to be broken. and initially obama made all the right moves. he used respectful language in a persian new year's message that was addressed to the islamic republic of iran, to the government as well as to the people. and he sent two leaders to supreme leader. we had elections in june 2009. there was rampant fraud, a massive crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, and the situation became much more tricky i think for both countries. iran was still interested in some sort of negotiation with the united states but the domestic politics was even more poisonous. the u.s. of course to begin very hard do anything that was seen
as somehow strengthening the iranian government. there was an effort again 2009, there was confidence building measure that was presented, initially accepted by the iranians but it was shot down in tehran by opponents to ahmadinejad has done an excellent job of making enemies for himself in the iranian political system. there have been two meetings since then between iran and the so-called p5+1, the five permanent members of the u.n. security council but no progress, zero progress. and efforts that were made for example, by brazil and turkey to revive his confidence building measure which would've sent out large quantities of our mind low-enriched uranium in return for fuel for the reactor that makes medical isotopes. this was agreed to by iran but, of course, just on the eve of a new sanctions resolution at the u.n. and the bush administration push forward with sanctions
rather than trying to go back to the negotiating table. now, obviously while all this has been going on iran has been steadily progressing on its nuclear program, but i still have a rather less alarmist view of a nuclear program perhaps, and that even follows the iaea report that was referred to earlier. that are fairly solid reports that iran did research into a nuclear weapon from the late 1990s through 2003. at the time according to the iaea iran shut down a systematic research effort and what has continued since then have been smaller scale efforts on a sort of r&d level and as far as we know iran has not built any kind of nuclear device, certainly hasn't tested one, and we don't even know for sure that the leadership has made a decision to go forward with nukes. but we are on such a downward spiral now, trajectory of rhetoric and sanctions and
threats of such that i worry very much that we are in a bad place. the administration recently announced new sanctions against iran. we already have historic legislation last year that was passed by congress and signed by president obama, as was the very, very tough u.n. resolution. and iranians are feeling the pain of this. by congress, of course is not satisfied. they want to cut off all ties with the iranian central bank. thereby making it very, very difficult for iran to sell oil and receive hard currency in return. to think that we can keep adding on sanctions without response, to think that covert and not so covert activities such as these recent explosions, outside tehran at a missile facility and another one, we're not quite sure what the target was, the assassination of several iranian nuclear scientist, to think that
one can continue all of this pressure and not see an iranian response in return is i think naïve. the business today was perhaps just a little warning shot. i'm just very worried that we're going down the iraq route, that we're headed towards more and more crippling sanctions that will decimate the iranian economy and will hurt the iranian people, frankly, much more than the regime. and that inevitably could be a prelude to military action as it was in iraq. at some point areas will say enough is enough, and they'll take out the iaea. they will withdraw from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and go for the bomb that we've all been so worried that they were going to develop. so i think we need some fresh approaches. one thing i think that would be helpful is perhaps to have someone -- is a product of the obama administration has continued this state of multilateral diplomacy that got
us nowhere under the bush administration. if you look at the so-called p5+1, and that's all we have really had, one bilateral exchange between then undersecretary of state phil burns and iran nuclear negotiator in the fall of 2009 to 45 minutes they met in geneva. that's it since obama came in. so i think that should be change. and then, of course, the u.s. election campaign which is so helpful to intelligence foreign policy in this country. we have apart from ron paul and lately herman cain, of all people, we have a republican candidates competing with each other to see who can be more hawkish. newt gingrich has helpfully suggested we shouldn't just destroy the iranian nuclear program. we should destroy the iranian regime at the same time. i'm sure that was met with great interest in iran. so, you know, i think we do need
some fresh approaches. i suppose they're going to have to wait for the end of our presidential election cycle, and i just hope that nothing really terrible happens between now and next november. i can think of a lot of terrible things that can happen between now and next november that would not help to resolve the situation, would make it worse and could also have a lot of unintended consequences on the region. but we can talk some about in q&a. >> thank you, barbara. [applause] >> professor menashri. >> thank you. nice to be back with you. it's a policy forum, a group i felt closer to my views and i'm closer to their views, compared to other jewish organizations in my government. but i was asked to give a talk about the israeli view.
with your permission i will limit it to an israeli view. i'm not a good person to speak about israeli policy because i really struggled with what i regard as unwise policy of israel, the city iran. and not because the iranians are good, because there are better ways to meet the challenge of the iranians. and i know there's a lot to be on the table, a lot that you know, someone to place three questions and trying to just give you some idea about my thought, my view. i want to speak about what is the problem if iran goes nuclear. whose problem it is, and what can be done. i could write a vibrant about it but i will try quickly. now, i think that the world should be a world where we are facing a severe problem, if iran
goes nuclear. and all signs are that iran is on the way to its nuclear, to gain or to be able to reach a point in which they can decide to get the nuclear capabilities. i think it's beyond question or so that there is also some military dimension of the iranian nuclear program, whether they stop at one day or renew it again, we had 2007 at a stop to, 2003, we have 2011, 2011 that a renewed in 2007. but it's clear that every day i training nuclearized site goes to work and do their progress. with all the difficulties that others trying to put on their way, and with all the difficult, objective difficulty they're
facing in building such each program. the problem is i think the combination of nuclear capabilities with such a radical regime. i am one of the few israelis who, for many years, were not that much fighting by the iranian ideology because at the end of the day the policy of iran turn to be more fateful. rather than the ideology of the revolution. in each case, almost, if you check what was ultimately the policy of iran, they were always, when they were to decide between the ideology and interest, they opted for interest. i don't mean ideological leader wakes up and says what can i do today against the ideology. that's not the case. they want to do what they pledged and promised to the people. but when there is a clash between ideology interest, and they have to make a call, they usually have been on the
pragmatic side of considering the national interest. but i think today we have a new face. it's not anymore of the national interest, these are the ideology versus ideology. we are now maybe in the face that we are all confronting a country are talking about a country that was all that it mattered is not a national interest but survival of the regime. and the calculation of leadership that is its first priority to preserve the continuation of the regime may be different that one that is focused on national interest. and i think that from recently we are already in my view in the face of not only national interest, but their interests of the ruling elite's. if iran goes nuclear, turkey will be nuclear, saudi arabia nuclear, egypt would become others would be. this is madhouse with other kind
of toys in the neighborhood. what happens if all these countries will have it? and what is policy would be operating under the umbrella of nuclear iran? where would we be the price of oil in case iran is nuclear? well, i think we are confronting a very, very serious issue. and nuclear issue is not just a small thing whether they have a, not data, user, not use the of course there is difference if they use or not use a. i live in israel, i know it means. 20 years ago i was in discussion in israel, whether not saddam hussein would attack israel with missiles. some of us thought he would not, somebody would. and he ultimately did. would it be wise for us to give them the right to make the call to use or not to use? so no doubt in my mind the best thing is that iran would not
have this luxury of having to make the call. so i think from here it's clear what i think about whose problem it is. i think this is the problem of the free world, and it's very naïve, and i think in a way i am angered, of course flattered, that everyone asks when israel is going to do the job. for god's sake, why israel? the iranian nuclear program in case iran has a nuclear weapon, or in the state that it can buy own will get there, is the problem of the free world. including the middle east, including saudi arabia, including europe, and, of course, united states. part of the blame depending on things, it is the problem of israel is our politicians.
they speak all the time of out -- they make the impression as though this is only the problem of israel, that we thank god, know what should be done and we're ready to do the job. i can type at the end of 2008 i was frightened to death that one day the president, president bush would pick up the phone and tell us, okay boys, go and do the job. and then what? i think with all these statements come with signals signature the world that it is exclusive problem of israel. israel policy would be it is not only our problem. let others have capability. let the superpowers, and we are not, do what has to be done. it is the problem of the middle east, problem of saudi arabia. see how scared they are?
go to wikileaks, go to other sources, see with the saudis think about iranians, not only the iranians. i see them as newspapers saudi arabia is willing to give israel rights to fly over airspace to attack the iranian nuclear facility. doesn't do us a favor. go do-it-yourself. you are next door to them. why giving us this exclusive rights to use your airspace? we don't want to violate it. go and do it. egypt is afraid. saudi arabia suffered, and others are afraid to i think the problem is also the problem of europe and beyond your. is the problem of stability of the world because the movies with implications of the world, and, therefore, i think my answer to the question of whose problem it is, i think it is the problem of the free world. it is flattering to think that
israel is the most important thing in the world. but you really think this was about israel? we are an important country. i tell you how it views the world of the world is based on two pillars. soviet communism and american capitalism. one of them is gone and the term of the other is soon to come. islam is the future ideology. ..
>> so, again, the problem is not solely, not exclusively, and i would say not even mainly the problem of israel. so what can be done? i think there is a lot to be done short of military, use of military power. i don't mind if they say all options are on the table. put on your table whatever you want. i wish -- [inaudible] use of military force on this issue. not by israel, not by the united states or any other country. i may be naive, optimistic to
believe that the iranians are open to wisdom. i was one of the first israelis that, i hope you will forgive me that i was one of the first who spoke in favor of obama's idea of dialogue. when every -- it was still a candidate to the presidency, and many people asked me what do you think about this stupid idea of dialogue, i said, go for it. go for it not because i thought there was a chance, because i think there was no chance. and you cannot take any serious measure against iran if you don't start with dialogue first to make sure. if it's successful, wonderful. if it's not, at least we know where we stand. the problem is that it was not dialogue, it was not dialogue, it was in between. and right now we don't have -- do we have a partner or we don't have a partner in tehran.
it -- [inaudible] into its own domestic crisis, and i think this policy of dialogue has not even been put to the test. but dialogue could have been -- [inaudible] but since i don't think that iran is eager to have dialogue with the united states or the west, i think that barbara mentioned a one-on-one dialogue. that's okay as far as obama is concerned. khomeini will not do it because the day you get into dialogue one-to-one with the united states is the end of the islamic revolution in iran. so you have to bring, you need two for tango, and it's not as much with obama as it is with khomeini. for reasons that i cannot delve into right now. what can have this pressure on
iran? you can never tell which is the last load that breaks the camel's back. the last straw you put one day may do the job. so what is the pressure? why should i go to military option if i can go very easily to the moral issue of human rights in iran? where is the world when it comes to moral rights, moral issues, human rights of iranian people? what do you find in your newspapers? what is the european moral muscle? what is the unity of the world to pressure iran? after what happened with the british embassy, i tell you what i would have done. i would have asked all european country toss return -- countries to return from iran. this would have been big punishment. get them out of tehran and see how damaging it will be on them. it happened once. in april 1997 after the --
[inaudible] trial and found iranian leaders guilty in acts of terrorism, all e.u. countries with the exception of greece returned their ambassadors. it was a devastating situation in iran, and i think it is no coincidence that the month after khomeini became president in may 1997. iran wants to be loved. they want the respect of the world. so i think if you pressure them on this human rights, diplomatic pressure. they love to come to your country. ahmadinejad would not miss an opportunity to come to new york city. each year he comes, and he was treated like head of state. i don't know why. diplomats in touch with the revolutionary guard and work with the nuclear program or military industry, don't let them enter your country.
this is a big punishment. you don't punish the people of iran, you punish these people who you target as being responsible for the policy of this regime. and there is economic sanctions. well, barbara, i don't think she mentioned and i'm not going to mention mush russia, china. issues that exist on the table you know, the world is not that simple. so russia and china still are backing n a way, practically the iranian policy. and even after the iaea statement, they continue to back iran policy as though nothing really happened, and the iranians taking advantage of this diversity and differences within the world. and i think it's enough that europe and the united states planting allies and the issue of iran having common policy on iran, it'd be a bad signal for
the iranians. and, of course, there is other measures that can be taken to delay the policy, the iranian problem. many people say, well, you know, all the iranians are unified behind the policy of iran going nuclear. maybe. and i recently heard one of your heros and my defense minister saying had he been iranian, he would have loved nuclear weapon. if you believe it, why tough to speak -- why do you have to speak like this? so much money is being spent when the people are hungry. i heard it from iranian professors how much money was spent. where is my oil money? in 2009 demonstrations brave people went to the streets with the slogan, where is my vote? i volunteer to them, send them a
new, another slogan to go with it, and i didn't even charge them anything for copyright, where is my oil money? more than 90% of the oil in iran over the last century came in the last ten years. where is it? if we are so rich, why we are so poor? and believe me, there are other ways to pressure iran. but use this animosity of the outside world to strengthen themselves inside the country. i think in short if there is a solution short of military action to speak wisdom with the iranian people and the iranian government, to prove to them that for their own sake it will be good to put the nuclear program aside for a few years. and in the next few years, things may change, situation may change. but one thing i think is crucial, as long as there is such a radical ideology, as long as we see they don't have mercy
for their own people, i think no one in israel would live in peace when this country will have nuclear weapon even if they follow my views about iran or take the opposite view of iran. i think that the israelis would find it very difficult to tolerate the situation, that the decision to use a nuclear weapon would be used by such a radical regime as the islamic republic of iran today. thank you. [applause] >> well, if i, if i were to summarize what i've heard here, i think it would go like this. and either of you can correct me if i'm wrong. i want to lay it out, and then i'd like to ask you both some questions. what i've heard is whatever chance there might have been for negotiations one-on-one is gone. we have an internal struggle
inside iran, we have a supreme leader, khamenei, who doesn't want this even when ahmadinejad seemed more amenable. it was clear that khamenei was not interested. so in that situation if we don't want military action, we're looking at sanctions. but the economic sanctions so far are not tough enough, and diplomatic sanctions, human rights, this sounds excellent, but would it be enough to change iran's policy within the time frame we have before iran goes nuclear? and then looming in the background is the military issue, and the questions are if there were a military strike by whomever, would it be effective? i think it's fascinating that
yadlin who recently was in head of intelligence, said in tel aviv said something to the professor, we have to make it clear to the world that israel is not alone in this game, and there are those who have better operational capabilities than we do. in other words, the israelis recognize that going it alone is not really going to delay the program that much, and so then the question is if west went with them, would it delay the program enough to make it worth the cost? so that seems to me where we are which is almost nowhere. no negotiations, sanctions don't work and military strike may be too dangerous. so then let me start with the questions. first of all, let me just ask professor menashri, and i'm only going to ask a few, and then i'll throw the floor open to you. at this point do you feel that
the internal conflicts in iran effectively rule out any kind of useful negotiations even, say, with intermediaries such as turkey and brazil tried to be? >> i agree with barbara, there are serious rifts within the iranian elite. i think that next year there will be presidential elections less significant after we saw what kind of elections they had last time, so who cares? the main change will be when there is a decision to who is the next supreme leader, and this could be very crucial. but that's happening, we don't know. we don't know when it will happen. it will come one day, but we don't know when. another thing we don't know is when the people of iran would start moving to new direction.
you know, what is called arab spring, the copyright for arab spring was made in tehran. iran is the only country in the middle east which its policy has been shaped by the people of iran be it from the constitutional revolution in -- [inaudible] iran is the only country in the middle east which had constitutional revolution. barbara mentioned -- [inaudible] period with the popular uprising, and we saw the 2009 movement in smaller scale. so the iranians, iranians in history more than the arab countries who have never had this kind of mass movements are prone to go to these movements. they tried in 2009, and they were suppressed. and, you know, in the middle east there is a cliche that nothing succeeds like suppress. and iranians have learned they
know they're out of suppression better than anyone else. they silence them. where are the leaders of the opposition? and these are not even opposition. they are another segment of the ruling elite. it's hard to call -- [inaudible] opposition. within them there are differences. there are more pragmatic and less pragmatic. take roth san janney who no longer speaks about anymore and review as a tactic, not as a strategy. so we can change our foreign policy if it's needed to advance our goals. the ruling today the regime that the people who are in power are engaged in their survival with their domestic enemies. so for them, i think, it's making all this noise around the british embassy or other issues is good.
whenever -- what led to in november 4, 1979, when they occupied the american embassy, that was the same thing. it strengthened them. it strengthened the policy. so i think there are serious rifts within the regime. i don't belong to those who say there is no difference between the green movement and the others. i think there is a difference. i don't care what kind of regime the iranians want to have, it's entirely their problem. if they want islamic regime, let them have islamic regime. i care about the policy of this regime, and the policy should be changed. from what i see from khamenei, he doesn't change his policy. and i can tell you, ahmadinejad is the first president in iran who became more radical in office than he was before taking office. usually, when you term to be president, you become more pragmatic. you have to defeat 75 million
people. so this combination of radicals with all the rifts within them, it's not a good recipe to start a dialogue. one word about your -- i don't think that dialogue is something that is not on the table anymore. i think it's, i think it's more likely there'll be dialogue than a military attack. and i think that this dialogue should be still pursued provided in dialogue we know in a certain frame, time if you have partner or we don't have partner. it's yes and no. and when i ask about what question to ask the iranians, i always say i am a teacher teaching at the university. when i give exam to my students, i want to be able to grade their answers. so you should ask the iranians something that the answer is clear because i know the typical iranian answer is range between yes, but to no, however. [laughter] so you have to bring them to
give you direct answer which is something that's very difficult for the iranians to do. >> well, barbara, let me follow on that because you have written a lot and spoken a lot in the past about the missed chances for dialogue. do you think there is still a chance? and i raise this only because everyone is focused on sanctions and military only. but if so, dialogue by whom? who would dare start it? and if it can't start in this next time frame of elections and internal turmoil in iran, then do we have to look elsewhere, for example, to sanks? >> yeah. couple of things. first, you said sanctions aren't strong enough. actually, i think in some ways they're too strong. i agree with professor menashri that there should be more attention on the human rights question. the europeans actually have sanctioned a lot of iranian individuals, more than the u.s. has.
identifying people who are believed to be responsible for human rights abuses. it's very popular in iran, and it's a way to target and to focus the sanctions to make them smart, not dumb. they're getting dumber. the more that they're loaded on and on and on, the more they're hitting ordinary people so that now if you're an iranian-american and you want to send money home to your old mother, it's almost impossible to find any bank that will handle the transaction even though there's a so-called humanitarian exception to sanctions. and if we formally sanction the central bank, it will be even more difficult. so i think that, actually, we've gotten carried away with sanctions. it's become the default option, and, you know, that's all they ever talk about in congress because there's another israel or pro-israel organization for whom it is all they to is write sanctions bills, and you know who i'm talking about. in terms of whether dialogue is still possible, obviously, it's very difficult because of the divisions. but, you know, ahmadinejad came
to the u.n., and he repeated three or four times -- i was at one session where he said it -- that iran would stop enriching uranium to 20% if iran got fuel for the tehran research reactor which, by the way, was provided by the united states back in the 1960s under adams for peace. as far as i know, no one in the u.s. state department or the nsc ever got in touch with iran and said, let's talk about this. and i asked some very senior u.s. officials in some encounters that i had with them recently, has there been any approach? no, no, no, we're waiting for the p five plus one. we have to wait for a baron's to answer the letter before american diplomats can talk to iranians? that's why i say i worry we're going right back to the old bush mentality where we set preconditions. the last thing i heard was we'll only talk to them if we think they're serious.
how are you supposed to find out if they're serious if you don't talk to them? iran has a new foreign minister, and this one happens to be an mit-educated physicist. who is comfortable in our culture, who has been, who's represented iran at the iaea in vienna. who better to talk to? and are there any efforts going on? maybe there's some little discreet track, but to my mind, you know, we have this leverage now in the form of these terrible sanctions, we should use them to try to get something going with them. if it doesn't work, okay. the worst that happens is that the united states shows once again it's willing to go the extra mile, and it helps solidify the international con consensus against the iranian nuclear program. and there's just, you know, a small possibility it might work. iran is going to be parliamentary elections next year, then presidential elections. a couple of names discussed for
the next president of iran, one of them tried repeatedly to get talks going with the u.s. when he was national security adviser, and i document a lot of this in my book. and the other one is the mayor of tehran who is also considered to be very pragmatic figure. he's a pilot, he goes every year to france to renew his pilot's license, he goes to switzerland and norway, and he's a very worldly type. so, you know, don't wait. we always make the mistake of waiting until our elections are over, their elections are over. i don't think we can afford to do that, and i think we just have to be much more proactive and obama should not be so apologetic about trying to resolve this issue through diplomacy. >> i'm just going to ask one more question on this and a couple more points. um, as you remember, there have been instances in the past when people like lar johnny who
wanted to talk were reined in at the last minute and stopped from if talking. i recall the last time i was in tehran -- i can't get a visa anymore, don't know what crime i committed, and i never will know -- i was talking to a very senior iranian official who said i don't want to be the one who talks because whoever that one is is going to suffer for it mightily. meaning on the iranian side. because anyone who talks to the americans is then totally vulnerable in the internal politics of iran. so, um, i come back to my question. if we have a time frame when iran is moving towards at least being able to make a bomb if it wanted to, and if in that time frame we have elections which is not the moment when people take risks and on the other side, on the iranian side an unlikelihood that anyone is going to be able to do anything dramatic even if a hand is outreached, then what?
do -- [laughter] is my premise reasonable? and if so, how do we then proceed? >> i think there are differences between the different actors on the iranian scene, but i think as long as the iranian constitution and the power structure is putting the supreme leader as the head of everything, it's very difficult to change the policy. at the end of the day, he decides. and as long as he is -- this is the situation. and his closest associates say that if 30 million people will vote one way and he says something else, he is right. now, this is not a western democracy, this is the islamic republic of iran, and this is --
[inaudible] so i think that we are speaking about differences, and there are, of course, many of them and some of them are nicer than the other. he was quoted i could mention the chief of staff of iran who went on television recently, and he say that with the war of 2006 in lebanon a group of israeli soldiers were all of a sudden seen on the battlefield paralyzed and couldn't move and did it on iranian television by the chief of staff. he was asked, what happened? the commander say, why you don't move ahead? >> he said, don't you see? these arab people riding horses led by the imam are confronting us. this is the vision. and if chief of staff can speak like this, and i told you i
don't think they are stupid, crazy, nothing, but i think they are using some of them, these extremists that doesn't allow to really make the difference. and i tell you for me, if there is a chance for dialogue or not, unfortunately, it doesn't depend on washington. i think it depends on the iranians. they have to show the sign that they are willing. and i don't know, i missed part of your -- >> no, i think you have answered it. now, i'm going to go to the floor for questions. there was a gentleman here. [inaudible conversations] >> would anyone like to discuss, would anyone like to discuss -- would anyone like to discuss anti-government forces inside iran or outside iran, a. and, b, what, if anything, can be done to strengthen them?
>> well, i think that the administration is already doing a lot to try to prevent jamming of cbc persian, of the voice of america, trying to provide ways for people to get around firewalls so that iranians can communicate with each other. i think that, you know, there's a vast constituency in the country that would like to see change. but they are leery of going out in the streets again after what happened to them in 2009. and, also, not eager to see another bloody revolution like the one they went true in 1979. -- through in 1979. but they're there, and, you know, i think that one has to have certain faith in those people and try to tailor policies in such a way that we don't lose the support of the iranian people which is why i'm a little bit concerned about the direction that sanctions are taking now. um, in terms of groups outside, no, i really don't -- there's one called the mujahideen hulk
which has been very aggressive in hiring former senior u.s. officials for large speaking fees of $10,000 to $50,000 a pop. a long list of people, some of whom were quite eminent in their day, and they have somehow been convinced with all this money that this group is worth supporting. it's not. it's a very anti-democratic cult-like organization. its leader hasn't been seen since the u.s. invaded iraq in 2003. his wife lives outside paris, and then there are about 3,500 members on a, at a sort of camp in iraq called camp ashraf, and there's legitimate concern over what will happen to them. but they are not being allowed to leave, even those who want to leave have been frustrated sometimes because of the cult-like control over them and the international red cross is, hopefully, finally going to get
access to them, and the u.n. hcr also to try to talk to these people and see where they can be resettled. so we have to be patient. you know, sometimes you don't have to do something. that's how we get ourselves into these terrible policy problems because we don't, we can't sit back and be patient for certain things to sort of run their course. i personally am not, you know, i don't want iran to get a nuclear weapon. but for iran to make that decision and to go overtly for a weapon is a very big step. and that's why in all these years they haven't done it even though their program dates back to the 1950s. since iran started it nuclear program china, india, pakistan, north korea, israel have all gotten nuclear weapons while iran, you know, is sort of, it's sort of like, you know the, the horizon. it's an imaginary line that continually gets farther and farther away. they are developing the
materials, but they still don't have a weapon. so i think we can take a deep breath, you know? and try various means, better enforcement of the export controls against providing materials that iran can use for centrifuges. this is something we should strengthen. this is blessed by the u.n. security council, and in fact, there has been a good bit of progress. david albright who's a nuclear expert in washington says that the iranians are having a terrible time getting the kind of steel that they need and the carbon fiber that they need to build advanced centrifuges. there are very few sources, and those sources have dried up, and now there is the billion to interdict shipments that look suspicious and see whether these materials are there. so we have some tools, and can we should use the ones we have. we shouldn't always feel like we have to add on and on and on. >> is anyone else prepared to discuss anti-government forces inside or outside iran?
>> my attitude to the mujahideen will not be much different from ms. slavin. i think if you want to have hope of changing iran, you have to look at the children of the revolution, the young people of iran. well educated, always on the internet. and the senior ministry in iran is very developed. they press in iran as long as they allow them to be published are very good. there's been some in time some freedom of expression in iran which is more than it exist in other country obviously the middle east. there are reformers, there are others. and i was told by a friend of mine, iranian professor, about the lack of freedom of speech. he said, you know, they tell you we don't have freedom of speech. that's not true. we have freedom of speech. what we don't have is freedom after speech. [laughter]
and i think the problem that all these people are ultimately, they're not around. i think that our expectations to know the future is beyond the capabilities of serious scholars and experts. no one knows when mass movements start. no one predicted the french revolution, the communist revolution, the islamic revolution, even the individual decision of obama -- of anwar sadat to come to jerusalem, the collapse of is soviet union. mass movements, they don't have this good habit of announcing ahead of time their arrival. they simply visit us. so one day we may wake up, and it's there. there is not much we can do on this issue because the vision is from moving from this kind of silent opposition to a mass -- see what happened in egypt. see what happened in tunisia. so don't have this expectation
that people tell you this is going to happen. when it happens, my friends and colleagues in academia itself, of course i knew, i knew exactly what will happen. don't believe them because no one knows what will happen in the future when it comes to movements by the people. >> um, i just add very briefly to that, there is no silver bullet. right now there are many in congress who think that mujahideen hulk is a silver bullet, and it is on our terrorism list because they killed americans back, i believe it was in the 1970s. i can tell you from my trips to iran that they have, they are disliked intensely by iranians because they fought with saddam hussein in the invasion of iran in the iran/iraq war. they are considered by ordinary iranians to be traitors. and so there is this misguided impression among some in
congress fueled by speakers' fees that that is the magic answer. it is not. and, again, i think the tahrir square and tunisia examples are critical here. you cannot make a revolution from below. we tried it in iraq. we failed miserably. it will have to come from within. we may be able to help with some communications equipment, but not in an overt way and not in a way that is going to make it happen as newt gingrich has called for. it will happen when it happens. so this is not the solution to everything. charlotte. >> does a viable, effective military option exist? >> yes, i think that's the $64,000 question. [laughter] and i'm going to, i will -- [inaudible conversations] >> i don't think so because you can't bomb the knowledge out of
the heads of the iranians. they know how to make a bomb if they want to make a bomb now. and for sure, you know, this was a facility that was discovered inside a mountain in a small enrichment facility. you know, centrifuges, you can have a few cascades of centrifuges here or there, they can be well hidden. if you destroy the known sites, they'll start again and with much more justification. they'll say look what was done to us when we didn't even have a weapon, right? we were still allowing the iaea to come in the, and you come and bomb us. so that would be just the ticket for them to go hell broke for a bomb. the israelis destroyed -- [inaudible] in 1981, saddam redoubled his efforts to get a weapon and would have probably gotten there if not for the gulf war. what's the collateral damage? oh, my lord. well, you destroyed the reform movement for another generation
in iran because they will rally around the government. people always talk about the iranians wanting martyrdom. that's bull. but they don't put their own lives on the line unless their country is attacked. so we would rally them, destroy the reform movement. and, of course, the price of oil would, would spike. the iranians would find ways to retaliate through their partners like hezbollah and hamas. i think the israelis would have to attack lebanon first to take out hezbollah's 40,000 rockets. so it's not just a matter of a few quick hops over saudi arabia, and a few other places. that's why the us rails want the united states to do us -- the israelis want the united states to do it because they can't, frankly. remaining troops in iraq and afghanistan are sitting ducks, iran is already playing footsie with the taliban in afghanistan, that will become much more
pronounced. they will, perhaps, attack the saudi oilfields. i mean, the mischief. weedweed that this cock maimmy t against the saudi ambassador in the u.s., well, i had trouble getting my hands around that one. suicide bombs in our cities. so for what? to set back the program by a year or two and give them an excuse, a really good excuse the the -- to make a weapon? i just don't get it. i don't get the military option. if somebody out there does, please, explain it to me. >> let me ask professor menashri specifically, you saw a column a few weeks ago by one of the foremost israeli columnists in which he claimed that prime minister netanyahu were trying to get the ministry to okay an attack in principle, that didn't
mean it was going to happen. the defense minister claimed the repercussions to israel if they did launch an attack were exaggerated although he claimed no decision had been made, he said that no more than 500 people would be kill inside retaliation if there were such an attack. so i'd like to ask professor menashri, first of all, do you think that israel is in a position to go it alone? and secondly, um, what kind of response do you think iran would likely produce? i know i have heard senior u.s. military officials poo poo the idea that iran could close the gulf. they say they've done all kinds of exercises. not that they're keen on this happening, but they claim that the repercussions would be less than many have written. so what's your estimation of how iran would react and whether it's likely that israel would go
it alone? >> you know, i was trained as a student of history. and i learned that it's so difficult to predict the past, let alone the future. [laughter] and my grandmother used to say when she was old and very sick and disappoint inside the young generation, she used to say these days even the future is not what it used to be. [laughter] i've been surprised so many times in my life with things i really didn't expect, and i think no one expected, and they happen. so i cannot dare even making -- you say what is the outcome of military attacks or why maybe someone will allow these military attacks -- was it successful or not? should be difference if this is a successful surgical attack or specific place, no casualties, clean which is unlikely, but all something that lifts to disaster and supporting the heads of the
iranians. there are, i think, speaking about -- and i am not expert on military things. but tel aviv university center of -- [inaudible] studies two people in addition to professors one is former air force commander and one is former commander of the intelligence. not -- [inaudible] but before him. and i can tell you that my understanding after this session was that it's highly unlikely that this cipped of operation -- kind of operation can be done with the capabilities -- [inaudible] and it was not a closed session, it was public session. the former commander of the air force participated in the attack
on iraq. he knows what east speaking -- what he's speaking about. and not that they want america to go to do it. what i said at least is too big a mission for us, and there are other powers stronger, superpowers, than the israelis. so if you want to do it, someone else is to do it. we will suffer from it, don't worry. if americans will do it, they will attack israel. if israel will do it, they will claim that it's america behind it, so this is not -- it doesn't make much difference. the difference is capabilities and the power and ability to do it. if i have to sum up the difference between me and ms. slavin, and there is a significant difference s that about how much we should be concerned from iran going nuclear. i think i would disagree. i think you're taking it too
lightly. you say to yourself, take a deep breath, and i took a deep breath before answering this, so allowed few minutes to pass. [laughter] and on the other end you say they have the wisdom, they have the knowledge, they can do it. >> they can do it, yeah. >> so we're afraid if they can do it. if they can do it, if this is their ideology, because of the domestic rift they want to be who is more brave than the other, they may get it. and it's not true that they don't have military program. and let's say that they don't have military nuclear program. to move from one to the other is not such a big deal. >> can i ask you a question? i mean f they get it, what are they going to do it with, first of all? say they have one or two. have a test, a big test, you know, withdraw from the npt, do a north korea? i mean, they can't launch it against anyone because there would be horrific retaliation.
so what does it get them? how does it make hezbollah or hamas stronger the know that iran has a nuke? they're arabs. they know that iran is never going to use that nuke on their behalf. they know that. when i first went to iran, i discovered iranians are anti-semitic, they hate arabs more than anyone. [laughter] so, you know, they're not going to use it on behalf of hezbollah or hamas. what hezbollah and hamas have are conventional rockets that can do a lot of damage, and that's the way they operate. so what exactly does iran get except it can beat its breast and say we're a nuclear power, we're just as good as pakistan? where does it get them? >> i, i -- yes. to be like pakistan or india is good enough. >> that's good enough. well, then maybe we should let them have it because they'll be satisfied and behave better. >> not good for me. >> because you won't have your monopoly anymore. >> many people ask how you can
claim israel can have and iran -- i think there is a difference between the nuclear weapon in the hands of democratic state and nuke lap weapon in -- >> i agree. i agree. >> i think that is the only country -- and its neighbors threaten to destroy it. clear from the day it was born. and i remember in 1973 when the defense minister of israel spoke about this might be the end of the temple, namely this faction of the state of israel, and everyone claimed that israel has nuclear weapon. we didn't use it, so when we are going to use it? after the destruction? so there is a difference, i would say, between the two. and my difference, in some ways it's a question of not to use -- of course the -- [inaudible] i think the very position it can be prevented, it's much better. >> absolutely. i agree with you 100%, but we
also have to be prepared. >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> here and then here. >> i understand what the chess board looks like from our side and what our leadership matrix is sort of thinking through these issues. i don't have an understanding of what the leadership matrix in iran is thinking about these issues and whether they can actually achieve their goal through a negotiation or if they think they have better alternatives to achieve whatever those goals are. i still lack clarity to understand whether or not they would feel a reason to have a negotiation and what they would seek at that negotiation. >> yeah. well, i mean f they don't want a negotiation, then why do they go around making proposals to halt enrichment at such and such a level in return for x? that implies you have to sit down and talk abouting to somebody about how such a transaction would be conducted. you know, i think we need to test them more. i don't think the u.s. should use this p5 plus 1 construction as a crutch. that grew out of another group
in the e3, right? the brits, the french and the germans who started talking to the iranians back in 2003, 2004 when george bush would not allow comprehensive talks with the iranians about the nuclear issue and other issues -- >> [inaudible] >> i think -- >> [inaudible] >> look, iran wants to be a recognized regional power. it wants to, it wants to have influence in the region, it would like to have the nuclear fuel cycle because that's a sign of mature power, one that has technological prowess. it's been used for nationalistic purposes. the revolution has been a failure in so many ways, but, you know, at least they can say that they have this capability. um, it's something that ahmadinejad gets to talk about in his speeches on february 11th which is the anniversary of the
revolution. i think it has a lot of meanings. there's probably a constituency within the scientific community that's sacrificed a great deal over the years including the loss of their members to, we presume, israeli as assassins or the years, and, you know, they would like to see something at the end of it. the iranians, when i talk to them, they feel very much that they've been sort of handed a raw deal. ali lahr janney who i've interviewed several times says how come you make a deal with india, and now the united states, you know, has reached a deal sort of blessing that nuclear program? the indians have come in from out of the cold and so on, and why not iran, basically? why is iran treated so badly because it hid aspects of a program for 20 years and still doesn't have a weapon? so i think we have to ask ourselves some questions, and we have to try to see this through
their eyes as well. and this is not to defend their activities at all. they operate through asymmetric means, through these groups that they've supported orr the years. we've handed them enormous strategic advantages now in iraq and afghanistan by getting rid of the governments in those two countries for them. and they're engaged in a kind of competition with the saudis, now with the turks who were their friends but don't seem to be much anymore. they're very worried about what's going to happen in sir. syria. if we want to counter the iranians, that would be the biggest blow to the iranians strategically that i can think of. >> i just, i think it's a very important question that you've put forward, and i think that the answer is in constant motion. um, because the region is changing dramatically. and, therefore, iranian calculations change dramatically. i think there's no question that the most interesting feeler that the iranians put out was in 2003
when we had smashed iraq in a war that put us on their doorstep. and even that feeler when i talked to people in iran in 2003 who were involved in putting it forward, they said, frankly, that it didn't are the full approval of the supreme leader, khamenei. so now we are in a totally different situation which iran has to calculate where it stands. um, i agree very much with the point put forward by professor menashri that the iranian regime right now is very much interested in its own survival and the survival of the elite. and if this is seen as a vehicle to help insure that future survival at a time when iran has to calculate or its syria may
fall, that strengthens the sunni access axis and all these calculations are going on simultaneously, and even if iranians are only moving towards a break-up capacity, um, that word will get out, and that will -- they may be thinking -- solidify the regime. so if i were guessing, and i haven't been involved in this with the intensity that barbara has, but looking at it in my visits over the years, i would say this is not the time that they're interested in serious feelers. they might want to sort of divide the europeans from the americans, but even that may be passe. you know, i think they're waiting for the outcome of the arab spring and for the u.s. election. and right now, you know, this is not the moment. i wish it were. but that leaves us in the position of calculating the other question that's floating around here which is what are
the consequences of their getting a break-up capacity. because we don't know that they ever really want to announce that they have a weapon or even to put a warhead on a missile. but they want people to know that they can. and i think one of the most critical questions in terms of what is the danger is the issue of whether they are proliferaters. somebody said, well, they're like pakistan. to me, pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world because pakistan has scores of weapons, they're building more, and they are known proliferaters. so, you know, forgive me for throwing out one more question before i come to this gentleman, but i'm curious whether either of you think that iran might be a proliferater not in terms of giving an actual weapon, but, say, as many people have hypothesized, material for a dirty bomb to hezbollah? >> i personally don't think so. i mean, you know, pakistan has
actively proliferated, north korea sells anything that isn't nailed down because they need the hard currency. iran is not in those straits. but this yet again brings up the question of super sanctions. if we continue to try to destroy the economy of iran and exporting oil, well, then it might provide the materials for a dirty bomb. you have to think ahead to whether we're not already involved in a creeping military conflict with iran, and if so, how they're going to respond. if they are really, really, you know, put to the wall. i don't think crippling sanctions is the way to go with iran. >> oh, sorry. did you want to -- >> no, let him ask his question. >> yes. i remember how devastating the sanctions in iraq were before we invaded, leading to the deaths of literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions and the emigration of millions more.
so i'd like to ask, um, whether -- i mean, if you think that a military strike might destroy or discourage the reform movement, what impact will the sanctions that look as if it's becoming a main weapon of ours, what impact will that have on the reform movement. and with respect to the elites in the opposition, what are the connections between any of them and the reform mass movement, you know, the young people who were in the streets or who might consider being in the streets? >> well, you know, i think that iranian members of the green movement all support the human rights sanctions very strongly. they may understand the export controls on materials that could be used for the nuclear and missile programs, but by and
large they don't support the broad economic sanctions, the sanctioning of all of these iranian banks. you know, iran now is not allowed to do any transactions in dollars. it's very difficult for them to do transactions in euros. they are getting paid in rupees and in, you know, south korean yuan for their oil, and basically, in fact, my last paper for the atlantic council talks about how they're resorting to barter for their oil. of course, very heavily dependent on china which is now their major trading partner. so, this is, you know, it's a problem for ordinary iranians. a lot of factories going out of business, can't compete with the cheap chinese goods or, you know, they can't get ore materials that they need. on the other hand, it has had a sort of silver lining. the iranians instituted subsidy reform recently where they changed the system of having very, very low prices for things like gasoline and electricity.
they raised the prices, and now they've substituted cash payments to about 80% of iranians get $40 a month directly from the government. you asked where is the oil money, the oil money is actually finally going on the table of the average iranian, and the government seems to be able to provide this direct stipend to the people. if there comes a time when the government can't do that, then there's going to be mass suffering, and, you know, will they blame the government? yes, they'll blame the government. but they're also going to blame the outside world. they're going to say why are we being treated like this, what have we done to deserve this? >> yes. >> i have a question about whether a widely-held assumption -- [inaudible] much of the international diplomatic community used to say
that peace with israel's immediate neighbors, the palestinians would strengthen the ability to isolate iran and iraq and -- [inaudible] is there any -- [inaudible] >> yes. let me be very clear and blunt on this. if you want to diminish the power of iran, solve the palestinian problem. as clear as that. if you take the palestinian issue out of the table, i think israel/arab relations will be totally different. going back to the nuclear issue and that, and the arab spring, i would ask you to focus attention on two key countries when it comes to the arab spring in
addition to egypt. syria and bahrain. inner syria -- in syria i agree with change, no matter what -- any change in syria if you ask yourself why bashar is still there, is probably out of the fear of what will be when he's not there. and the question is question of when, not if. then you have bahrain. a change of success of the opposition in bahrain will be devastating results -- [inaudible] unfortunately for iran, in the two countries they are standing on opposite sides. in syria they are with the government against the people, so to speak, and in bahrain they are with the people, against the government. sorry, with the people, against the government. but i think these are two keys. bahrain is not such a significant country, but it's a symbol of a major theme. on the nuclear issue, imagine if
gadhafi had nuclear capabilities in the last few months. i think this political earthquake convinced me even more in this kind of regime it's better that they will not have these capabilities. or think about earthquake in japan. there is no other nation that is thinking about, about earthquake as a constant thing in their life. i was at the university of -- [inaudible] in tokyo. the first thing that they gave me with the key to the apartment is instruction how to escape. whoever's been in japan knows how minded they are of this threat. it deals -- tragedy happened in japan, it can happen in other places including in the areas of the nuclear facilities of the iranians in other places that are prone to earthquakes. i think nuclear weapon in iran is maybe more dangerous to the people of iran than to the
people of israel. >> i agree. i agree. >> and one last point on the issue of the united states, and i think that here i be now much more -- [inaudible] i think that we look at iran and united states. it amazes me how much the two wonderful nations are moved by emotions rather than rational thinking. the two countries are not enemies, cannot be enemies of each other. if iranian will ask themself the question, which is the country which has made us the greatest achievement in stooge in the last -- in strategy in the last 20 years, it is the united states. america who went and broke the power of saddam in 1991, removed the enemy number one, removed the enemy number two, the
taliban, went back to remove saddam in 2003. they have the cooler way to thank america for its good services. but it shows that there are, at the end of the day, some common -- in afghanistan. there's some common interest between iran. and i think '53 that was mentioned here before in iran, and the hostage crisis in '79 have made such wound that has not been yet covered. and i think that for me even between israel and iran, there is no much conflict of interest. there was no war ever between iran and israel. no israeli soldier was killed by iranian and vice versa. and i was asked about -- [inaudible] it was in the '50s when he says if you don't have peace with our enemies, let's have peace with the neighbors of the
enemies or not to say with the enemies of the enemies. so we had good relations with turkey, with iran, with ethiopia. i think after so many years we should now seek not to have relations with the enemies of our neighbors, but rather to have immediate relations with our neighbors. it is countries surrounding us. >> all right. we have time for one quick question more. yes, you're holding a mic. >> given the economic situation the united states currently and the continuing crippling debt burden that shows no sign of resolution, how do you feel that the administration -- be it this one or the next one -- can manufacture concept of support of the american people for a possible preemptive strike on iran, and if a republican president is returned in the election next year, is that the consent of the american people giving that condition to strike? >> i guess that's my --
>> washington. >> you know, the polls are, it depends on how the questions are phrased. i mean, by and large a majority of americans would like israel to do it and would not like the united states to be involved. in such a war. the republicans, you know, they're all trying to be macho. it's not a pretty prospect. if you talk to any of the military planners who have done the war gaming and so on, they don't like the outcome. they never like the outcome. so, you know, that's why the stress on sanctions and so on. um, barring some dramatic new event, i would hope we can somehow get through this period without another military conflict. it doesn't, with all our economic problems, with the fact that obama's trying to withdraw from that part of the world and focus on asia, he tells us, you know, i don't see it. but i wish that the handling of it, the public relations of it were a little bit better and,
also, that the state department was more, was more involved in possible areas of talks. i don't think they really have exhausted that, and i think that, you know, for example, american diplomats are not allowed to talk to iranian diplomats without prior permission. and that's what we had under the bush administration. you know, why? if they happen to be in the same place at the same time, they can't even talk to each other? i'd approach a lot of these things from the point of view of somebody who studied the old soviet union. we had detente, we had an embassy there, we had exchanges and, you know, the situation finally got better for russians. the soviet system collapsed. when you put all this pressure and make everybody even more paranoid about regime change than they otherwise would be, it's not conducive to change of attitude there, and it also makes it more difficult for us to act because, you know, we've spent so much time demonizing the other. >> um, i would just add one word. secretary of defense panetta, as
did success tear gates before him -- secretary gates before him, just came out very recently in questioning the wisdom of an attack. he said a strike would have a serious impact on the region, and he warned about unintended consequences. i think the administration is very reluctant. i know the europeans are also very, very reluctant. and so, you know, if i were betting, i would say under this administration not, and my guess is that republican -- if there would be a republican president in 2012, i think they would come in and have to recognize the same constraints even though the rhetoric is totally irresponsible and wifty if it weren't so serious. but i think that brings us around full circle to the question that as you can see, there really is no ease is si answer here. easy answer here. i personally believe and i think the panelists agree this is not
the best time for dialogue even if it might be desirable. and sanctions, you know, one is struggling to craft a regime that actually would have a positive impact rather than either a negative or none at all. we didn't get into the issue of whether even stronger sanctions might do more as britain just did in cutting off all banking transactions. i know that barbara thinks that wouldn't work, and perhaps it wouldn't. so we are left still struggling with a policy to try to get together two countries that do share common interests but have not been able to find a way to meet minds in dealing with those interests. and there's plenty of material for the next panel on what to do about iran. so thank you very much. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> the houston-based energy company enron filed for bankruptcy ten years ago after the arrest of top company executives. a discussion on enron is next. and the senate is in at 10 eastern and will consider the nomination of caitlin joan heir michigan to be a circuit judge for the district of columbia. live senate coverage here on c-span2. >> former senator arlen specter who advocates allowing cameras in the supreme court will testify today. he introduced legislation in 2010 mandating the supreme court
televises proceedings. that hearing gets underway at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span3. and later, a hearing examining the proposed merger between the pharmacy companies express scripts and medco health solutions. the panel will look at antitrust concerns over the merger. live coverage begins at 2:30 eastern. >> it's so convenient to listen to c-span anytime, anywhere with the free c-span radio app. you get streaming awd audio of c-span radio as well as all three television networks 24/7. you can also listen to our news programs. c-span, it's available wherever you are. find out more at c-span.org/radio app. >> next, a look at the tenth anniversary of the collapse of enron. we'll hear from journalists and a former enron vice president. the university of southern california's annenberg school for communication and journalist
hosted this one-hour forum which took place last month in los angeles. [inaudible conversations] >> just give me the all clear, john, and i'll start it off. >> okay. >> okay. very good? okay. [inaudible conversations] >> folks, thank you so much for coming this afternoon to this event. i'm very excited about this. we have two very distinguished panelists here. of course, 2011 is an incredibly opportune and appropriate time the talk about corporate america and corporate collapse, and we have a very important lesson which we can look at here which is, in fact, exactly ten years old. so it's kind of stunning to some of us that ten years have transpired since enron collapsed. certainly a lot of lessons for us to learn from that collapse and to apply it today. we've got two people here who were really kind of front row
protagonists in enron's collapse from two different perspectives. john is an investigative reporter at "the wall street journal" who documented a lot of the issues that led to some of the investigations around enron and did a lot of the reporting that brought to light some of the practices, the accounting practices at enron. karen denny who is an an enberg graduate and a former adjunct professor here as well was the vice president of public relations at enron and saw this transpire from a completely different perspective. so we're here today to contrast these two view points, to look at the same event from two different angles. i just want to very quickly reveal some of the details of enron because i realize that though ten years might seem like the blink of an eye for symptom of us -- some of us, for some of
you, it isn't quite as prominent in your memory. enron was really a corporate darling for so long, got tremendous press coverage, and it had just amazing growth. it was formed in 1985 by a merger of two other companies, and by 2000 it had over 22,000 employees, five years in a row fortune magazine ranked it as the most innovative company in america. and it claimed revenues of over $100 billion in 2000. it market value went from ten billion in 1995 to around 70 billion in 2000. and that ended very quickly. as john will tell you about. and its stock went from $90 very briefly $90 to, essentially, nothing in one year. many of the major executives are doing time or have completed their sentences now. one of them cheated jail by
dying. [laughter] and it also led to the dissolution of arthur anderson among other things. it led to new legislation, and some of the reporting on enron which had been just flowing for so long -- glowing for so long quickly turned, and john was one of the people who wrote some of the early stories that really questioned the accounting at enron, um, and, of course, this was some of the final chapters that the press wrote about enron. so we're going to have a time for questions in about 45 minutes after the hour, but i first want to just ask karen, who you worked at enron for seven years. >> yes. >> it must have been a wonderful place to work for so many years. it was, you know, it got wonderful news stories, one after the other. what was it like to work there in the beginning? >> um, i can say it was, it was
a great place to work. i absolutely loved it. and even knowing how things turned out, i would do the entire experience again in a heartbeat. there was incredible energy at the company, there were the smartest people, um, i ever had the good fortune of working with. incredibly dedicated, um, hard working, talented. it was amazing. it was a lot of fun, um, and when i started, i was at enron from 1997 to 2004. so when i started at the company, no one had really heard about enron. i was originally from southern california, i started as a newspaper reporter and segwayed into public relations, and i was recruited to enron as a corporate generalist. and when i took the job and moved to houston, um, all of my friends said enron, what's that? no one even knew what the energy company was. and the media coverage at the time was really contained to industry stories. it was in megawhat watt daily,
and there really wasn't a company that was cover inside the mainstream press. and as the revenues increased, as the stock price grew and as we expanded into new lines of wiz like internet trading, like broadband, like weather derivatives and freight trading, the media coverage and interest really increased. and because the media department and the public relations department and the whole company was so metrics-driven and results-oriented, we had to quantify the work that we did. and by 2000 we had generated so many positive stories about enron, the goal was cover stories. and it wasn't just enough to generate a positive story, we wanted cover stories. and we were able to deliver on that too. and then 2000, 2001 the sequence of event -- >> do you want to tell us the first moment when it occurred to you that something was going awry? >> to be honest, it was when we
filed for bankruptcy. i was in so, in such denial. and what you have to realize is that the enron crisis happened ten years ago, long before any of the wall street sins that have since permeated the news pages. i mean, this was really -- at the time, it was absolutely unheard of that the seventh largest company in america could virtually evaporate, that the stock price could fall so precipitously, that the company would just go out of business. it was unheard of. and so the internal perspective, we were trying desperately to save the company. we were trying to, um, turn the company around. we were trying to put together a merger with a rival, um, energy company down the street. so until we finally filed for bankruptcy, we thought we could still save the company. >> i do want to mention that while john and karen worked at cross purposeses in many respects, they emerged from this experience with, i think, a lot of mutual respect, and karen
even listed john as a reference when she was applying for her current job. >> [inaudible] >> and despite that, she got the job. [laughter] john, can you tell us about your -- this was not your primary beat at the time. you sort of got sucked into this story because of a number of sort of strange coincidences. but can you tell us your kind of first interaction with enron and the story that later led to its bankruptcy? >> well, you're right, i did not cover enron, and i had a few experiences with enron as of the middle of 2001. i had been sort of dragooned into helping cover the california energy crisis which some of you might remember, and we had dealing, i'd had some dealings with enron, calling them up about various controversies dealing with that because enron and some of the other giant energy traders but particularly enron was being blamed by many in the state for either causing or at least contributing to the electricity shortages that were ravaging