tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 22, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm EST
deliver. now we have to prove we can get this congress moving. we can get some things done. we can govern. so i get in a lot of hot water for a column i wrote as a democrat saying i have optimism not a huge amount but some level of optimism about the ability to get things done over the next two years because i think both re&'8j0 mcconnell and john boehner recognize that they have to show some accomplishments and i think certainly barack obama does, too, in terms of his legacy. so the ingredients are there for total chaos. the ingredients are also there to come together on some issues like trade or tax reform or some others. so what i think the republicans again have to deliver which is why i'm a little puzzled by the way they've started out having control of the congress ask that their first moves were to repeal
the dream act. when you only get 27% wasn't that of the latino vote in the last presidential election i don't think you want to go into this one by starting out with a declaration of war against the latino community. now mitch mcconnell in the last day up in hershey, pennsylvania basically from what we've heard told the house republicans we're not going to do that in the senate. we're not going to go there because we don't think that's a smart move for the party. i think they have to deliver on issues that are important to the american people and get off the just anything obama's for is wrong. get off the basically the chamber of commerce, if you will and you think for the 1% is good and deliver on some things like immigration reform. i would suggest maybe even climate change, tax reform trade issues. not far left issue, but things
where they can come together. >> amy we've seen this dynamic play out very prominently inside republican circles since the rise of the tea party. they've been trying to hold back. speaker boehner has been holding them back and they're pushing and pushing and pushing and they shut down the government in the most dramatic display. so can republicans deliver enough of their base if they don't have another insurrection in their own ranks and still reach out to the middle of the country that's given them a test drive right now? >> so there are two questions. one is can they do that and does it matter in 2016 or ultimately, whoever the republican nominee will be the one that has to answer these questions which is why it is so important that the nominee does not come from within washington and rather than you say i know washington is such a mess, and we figured it out in my state and we figured out the taxes in my state and the deficit. i think fundamentally to understand yet house and senate
work so differently. you guys all understand the difference between the house and the senate which puts you in a unique category aligned with most people. even more than ever the house is just so incredibly polarized that it's almost impossible to expect that republicans willyq7 vote for something that is more to the center or center left or democrats voting that something to the center, center right. there are only five democrats left in the house that sit in a district that barack obama did not carry. okay? five. so whenever there will be a compromise, and the same on the republican side. or 20 republicans than they sit in the obama district. 87% of the republicans in
congress are white and they're male. the average republican district is 51% white. when you understand where these people are coming from it can help you to understand how difficult it is to get some of these pieces of legislation through. they don't have to worry about a general election. they don't have to worry about losing in november. they have to worry about losing in the district aren't talking about these things. they're not wrong. they're not talking about those things because they have incredibly homogenous districts where they're talking about it the same. this is john bader's challenge that much mitch mcconnell's challenge and he has those folks that are polarizing on the republican side and he has to worry about the handful of republicans up in
2016 who represent blue states and pennsylvania and illinois and florida and an ohio race next year and wisconsin. so that's mcconnell's challenge is how do i protect these people that we still have in blue states while also representing the ted cruz and other conservative republican agenda. that's just never going to get fixed. >> one other thing to throw into the mix on all of this is national security and foreign policy. we saw it come up late in 2014 with the rise of isis, ebola. it seems distant now, but it was very much on the minds of voters when they went to the polls a couple of months ago, and i think we saw politicians happen to this as part of the broader anxiety they people feel insecure generally. that as good as the economy has been there's an economic insecurity and as safe knock on wood, as we have been generally
in safeguarded against terror that you see what just happened in paris and you see what just happened in belgium and realize that we're on the precipice of something very serious and steven, what's your sense on how this plays out? is this a national security election? usually we say it's about the economy and is 2016. it will be more so than the last two which were fairly clear, domestic elections and the national security is having an effect and part of the reason why republicans are not going to insist on these provisions that would, you know stop the dream act and stop the president's november executive action on immigration is because of what's happened in paris and because this pipe bomb plot here that apparently from out of ohio to bomb the u.s. capitol a couple of blocks away yesterday that was very much on republicans' minds as they're meeting in pennsylvania. we're not going to -- very quickly, the provisions that would stop the two executive
actions and the action on immigration were attached to the house as amend minutes to the homeland security and president obama will veto them and then you end up with no homeland security spending bill. we'll pass the homeland security spending bill and they can't tie that together so they lose their leverage to stop the immigration actions. that's, as we just said, that's a clear indication that they realize national security is going to be more important and is more important and will have an effect on what happens in congress. another very immediate effect this also came out of pennsylvania yesterday is the house speaker john boehner was asked about the plot to bomb the capitol and also this bizarre plot by his bartender in his country club in ohio to poison him which sounds very crazy and the guy has some history of mental issues and what not. it is not clear how the fbi
planned to charge him with planning to murder a federal official. he said something interesting. he said the plot to bomb the capitol, part of the way that law enforcement came across that plot was because of the section 215 in the foreign intelligence surveillance act. this is better known as part of the patriot act. this is what allows for the government to collect business records and it's been very controversial. it's the section that allowed for the bulk collection of data by the nsa. it is not clear exactly and boehner wouldn't go into details and say what the fbi actually used and which provisions it used in order to learn about this plot but he said that his colleagues would have to keep that in mind. that section expires as of june of this year and if it's not renewed the section 215 powers disappear and boehner made the case, those powers were important and we'll have to keep that in mind. there's a big movement to end the collection of data and those two things will clash here over
the next few months and another example of where national security is already playing a role. >> as.g@)they went into the inside part that splits republicans. >> both parties. >> right. >> it was interesting, you actually had a couple of months ago in the senate. you had a bill to end bulk collection come up and a bill to pass the house and a bill came up in the senate and the senate republicans filibustered that bill at the time they were still in the minority and they filibustered that bill saying no, we need to protect these powers and democrats were rushing to get it done before they lost control of the senate specifically because they knew or figured the republicans wroob more reluctant to change those out and we'll see it play out and it splits democrats and splits republicans far more and yeah it would be fascinating to see if they don't do anything, it all goes away which is actually interesting. rand paul who clearly wants to see the senators from kentucky and the libertarian wing of the republican party and they want to see the bulk collection of data and he voted against the
senate bill figuring if we do nothing all of the powers go away and a lot of different strategy going on there. >> bill what do you think? is this going to be a national security election? >> it was interesting listening to stephen. this all ties together in the sense of i think the challenge for the republican party for just a sek is is it going to be a national party or regional party? they know how to win congressional elections hands down, no doubt about it but they've got to reach beyond that, but the interplay we're
some core al qaeda left very, very much so and now the real threat are these -- not the big attacks, but these smaller attacks like we saw in paris. two of them in one week and how do you possibly protect against two guys? >> right. >> it's -- it's got everybody on edge and on top of that isxd cybersecurity. which i think everyone i think is concerned about it and that's certainly one issue where republicans and democrats are both looking at it and saying wow! we are vulnerable after sony target and home depot and centcom.
>> the centcom twitter feed this week. >> the centcom twitter feed and even the white house system a month or so ago was hacked into. nothing. everyone is vulnerable to this. both parties say we have to do something about haven't heard anybody come up with the idea except just get better hackers on our side. >> we have a lot of --? but those issues i think will be front and foremost still in 2016. >> we have a lot of guys in their basement in their underwear right now that we can recruit to help do that? playing video games? >> we ought to recruit uthem. >> i suggestt( we ought to bring edward snowden back and make him head of the nsa. >> he knows more about it than anybody else does. >> right now the war against isis is being fought unders7 the operations that were enacted and the 2001 to go aftert( al qaeda and afghanistan and the 2002 tfe6)ju)+páion
that allowed us to oust saddam hussein. the president has been reluctant to set up language and hey congress, if you want to approve what i'm already doing great. i want to accept that. he'll be reluctant tonb accept his own language. no, it's the president's job and you have to send up something to get this authorized and whatv you're doing right now, we need to have a new authorization and it's up to you to send it up and they spent the last four months haggling over who will take the step to right the rules that are going to determine how we fight this war, and it looks like we've finally gotten past that and it sounds like the administration will send up language and then we'll have çbyh(t&háhp &hc% another war debate here and you talk about national security. yeah. that's with both parties, as well and there are folks who think we have the power to have ground troops in iraq wherever they're needed to combat isis and they have a declaration of no ground troops and they're not
to be a time0 limit on the resolution and they're allowed to be open-ended in iraq and afghanistan and folks who want a very tight control on i]that. all of those will be debated and judging by the past few debaép$ i would be surprised if anything gets done. my prediction is six months from now we'll still bebo these wars on the old authorizations. >> i think a general security concern that in sitting in focus groups in this last election you heard it a lot from voters and the sense that things just seem out of control. one woman summed it up really well and i think quiteó[ sadly when she said, you know the bad things are starting to become familiar. every day you turn on the tv and whether it's ferguson, a school shooting, the -- whatever is happening in paris. on stuff, whether it's4oú domestic or international that it's just bad,
seems to have any hold on it control of it and there's nobody who seems to stand up and say here's how we can deallp with this and here's how a leader will handle it and make you feel safe. it's security on a very basic level that goes to feeling safe at home feeling safeok @bñ financially financially, feeling safe in terms of your retirement and whatx#u)s& happenx$ to your kids? >> especially talking to women voters there is a sense that really fearing for their children doing very basic things like getting on the school bus and that's a very a really depressing place for a country to be. >> i was just going to say we'll leave time for questions in the last 20 minutes if people want to line up. >> a footnote. authorization for the use of military force or aumf as we call it here in washington. the fact is that it's just stunning to me, we've been at this war now against isis for
eight months, maybe? >> yeah. >> it's an undeclared war and congress hasn't even wanted to take up the new authorization for theú they were going to do so. there were people wanting to do so before the november break. oh no, we can't do it now. it's too complicated. so they went off for six weeks or longer and then they came back and they were going to do it before christmas and oh, no. don't make us work so hard now. we'll wait until after the beginning of the year and there's still no one to take it up yet and what's interesting is like in the senate, the two strongest voices that say we cannot continue this war without having a declaration of use of military force. rand paul and tim cain. >> and bob menendez who was the chairman. the top democrat on the foreign relations committee. so it absolutely splits parties. >> in the house it's the same thing. barbara lee is the[smñ strongest
voice in the house and some of the tea party members who was saying this is the government or the president acting without congress authorizing it. you would think that they want to take this up and do their job. >> very quickly. i would actually take what you said there with thelwb republicans that made it a point that not a single one of them voted for the affordable care act and one of them voted for
the stimulus, one and one of them left congress and left the senate and there was one person who voted for the stimulus out of all of the members of the house and all of the members of the senate who are still there from the republican party. they said viewers, if you will give us a majority we'll be able to stop the president and then we'll do our agenda. they got control of the house and they weren't able to get their agenda through. they had stalemate and they said give us control of the senate and we'll get there. they've been given control of the senate and nothing has changed. the president said you all have to work with me. you'll have to show me some good faith that you're willing to work on my issues and republicans say, no, we just won the last election and you have to come to us and you want both sides and staring at each other saying you've got to make the first move? it really is like, boys and girls in the middle school dances standing on both sides of the wall waiting to come to the middle. it's stunning. >> you blame the voters.
help me change elections. >> give us your name and tell us where you're from. >> andrew hoover from the university in pennsylvania. we listened to a number of speakers express the idea that the president's inexperience when he was elected was academic background and ended up becoming a liability once he was in office. he may have had numerous ideas for his legislative axe jennedgenda, but once he was in office it was difficult for him to get his ideas passed because he didn't have a lot of relationships with washington. >> you guys mentioned the elizabeth warren with hillary clinton and the democrat primary and perhaps we can help shape clinton's views more and so forth and have a productive primary that way. you seemed very enthusiastic about the idea that not only could she win the primary but she could be elected president. >> do you think that she could end up if she was president with
the same issues that president obama has? >> working with john baner and mitch mcconnell. >> boy, that's a long and complicated question. first of all barack obama everybody said don't run. right? you don't have enough experience. he did run and he won. his success or not or lack of success as president i would not attribute to the fact that he had only been in the senate for two years. might have been better to have more experience, but i think there were a lot of other reasons. i don't think he took, and i'm writing a book about this right now so there's so much onto it but i don't think he took advantage of the powers of the presidency from the very very beginning like he could have or should have whether he served in the senate two years or 20 years. the reason i think -- the reason i'm enthusiastic about elizabeth warren. it's a barack obama moment. as i said two years in the
senate, everybody would say she doesn't have enough experience she needs to grow, but that train doesn't stop at the station very often. one stop and she either gets on or she doesn't. the reason i think her candidacy is appealing is because she is talking about the economic populist issues that i think american people care about today, income and equality and minimum wage and the fact and there are one children in the country that live in poverty today. nobody's talking about that. she's just saying the 1% are doing fine. we have to rebuild the middle class and that's what people want to hear. i think that's what the democrats have to be out there with a message and she can deliver it better than anybody. so can bernie sanders. hillary clinton is not going to talk about those issue, i believe, unless she's forced to. . look, i'm going to disagree which means i'll be wrong twice today.
but no absolutely, president obama's lack of legislative experience has had a major effect on the way that he's conducted his presidency or his lack of accomplish ams. one of the issues i cover very closely is immigration and i actually have gone? looked at his history as a state senator in illinois on this issue all of the way up to his time as u.s. senator and then on. there are two things that come out of it. first is -- as a state senator he was reluctant to take hard positions on a number of these issues. i believe there was a driver's license bill that came up in the state senate and illinois and he did not want to be out there seen as being on that because he actually told the sponsor, hey, this is too politically tough for me. if you need me in the end i'll be with you on the vote but i don't want to have to go out there and vote on this if i don't have to. in the end the sponsor turned out to be one vote shy of getting it passed and he never brought it up for a vote and obama never had to take a position on that in the state senate. this has been true and there are
a number of different issues where he's done that, but immigration has always been a political issue for him and a difficult one where he struggled to figure out how to approach the legislative process. you know, i think one of the reasons and i actually -- i think he's actually used his presidential powers to extreme degree -- to a full degree i would say his immigration executive actions are currently being challenged in three separate courts right now. they -- obamacare is being challenged in a number of courts including a lawsuit by the house of representatives and folks that because he's been unwilling to work with them on legislation and he's struck out on his own, they've gone to the courts to try to reign him in. the president after passing obamacare said hey we're not going to repeal it but if you guys bring me suggestions to how to tweak it that's great. let's do it. we've seen there's bipartisan
support, not overwhelming bipartisan support for changing the medical device tax and the tax to raise revenue for obamacare and this 30-hour, 40-hour workweek definition issue which obamacare defines employers at 30 hours of work is full time. there are democrats who support changing that. there is a movement in congress to do that. the president said no. no tweets because that's on a step toñv(u repeal. she's shown an inability to find areas where he can cooperate with a republican congress. >> thank you. stephen ericsson from the university. you sort of touched upon what i was going to ask, but realistically, i find it increasingly difficult for thezhr republican party to win a national election, considering the demographic changes and how the electoral college is structured. what do you think they could
realistically do to change their perception as you know, the old white man's party in the next two years. >> more advice for reince here. >> yeah. reince priebus. i would suggest that reince priebus go back and read the moratorium that the republican party, that reince priebus himself commissioned and presented to the american public which came to the conclusion that the republican party has to do a better job of reaching outx@n beyond its older, white mail base and reach out to women and latinos and african-americans and reach out to their policy and their agenda. that's what the report said. lindsay graham after the 2012 election said republicans -- and i'm paraphrasing here and basically will never win the white house unless we show that we're the party of inclusion and diversity and particularly reach out. >> that's what the report said and reince priebus said i
endorse it fully, but they haven't done anything about it and i think they've gone in the opposite direction. >> he is from florida, and he is married to a mexican woman. he speaks spanish fluently. he's from a state that's obviously incredibly diverse. if you take florida off the table for democrats they can still win the white house but that is a big impediment there. it allows you to go to places 2014 was very much about republicans running in their home turf and it was in that sense it was a very regional election and the fact that republicans are able to win in kl colorado, cory gardner who won for that lech has given a pretty good road map where you win in a state where demographically it would look impossible for republicans. >> remember, republicans don't
need to win 50% of hispanics. 50% of women 50% of younger voters in the same way that democrat depps don't need to win 50% of white voters. they just need to do better than 27%, right? so that's really about increments and that is not as hard as to say you need to go now to go from 27% to 55%. that's hard. from 27%pb3to 40, 42, 43%? okay. >> come is what george w. bush did. >> correct. the other question too, is will -- you know, the slide on white voters, it did not start with barack obama and the democratic party. that slide has been going on for quite some time, but how low can it go? it's true the demographics definitely favor the candidate who can win a more diverse selection of voters and you can't lose the -- you can't get
27% of the white vote to win and you can't get 27% of the you know hispanic vote to win. >> yes, sir? seth blake, harvard university. the comparison was made between the american people not knowing jeb bush and us knowing hillary clinton. as a voter i believe there is a misconception in the media that we do know hillary. while we know her policy do we really know her? what can she do to rewrite her narrative to the american people to make her appeal not just to her core base but to independent voters and excite the youth again as obama did in the last two presidential elections. >> that touches on probably the most lasting critique of hillary clinton's campaign that we never saw her. we didn't see her as a mother. we didn't see her as a wife. we didn't see hillary. >> gosh. i don't know if you can do that 25 years later, you know what i
mean? she's been in the public eye for so long that the perceptions of her are pretty hardened. i don't know what she could do to go out there and put a bion pick out there and put out my personal story if that would be enough. i do agree with you that changing the focus from one that was very much in 2008 about policy policy, no personal.s policy, policy to one that brings in some of the personal would be helpful but i just don't know if that's going to change anybody's perception of her for better or for worse. i don't know. i think it's doable. >> i don't know. >> i think it's locked in. hillary is who she is accident american people know her and like her or not it could be very hard to change the public image
that she has. maybe running around with charlotte, her granddaughter and there was a softer side of her. she's certainly been using itgá and so has bill. steve knows he's not running so he doesn't have to answer. >> that's right. >> mattal behrs from elan university in north carolina. chairman priebus was here on monday and spoke about the condensing of the republican primary primary schedule and basically getting it to the time period and being able to access the general election money and then we saw chuck todd wednesday night and he said i could have been paraphrasing here and that was the stupidest thing priebus should have done? what do you think is better? the priebus feel or chuck todd feel? >> whenever you try to go and -- nobody knows what this process will look like. we'll have fewer debates and
rick and i worked on those debates last time. >> i thought the debates were great. >> they were, the problem was much more about the candidates' performance about the debate so when you have people saying really not smart things in debates that tends to be a problem. if you had people saying smart things in debates, the debates wouldn't be a problem. same with the calendar and i just feel that every election, both parties do this and it's human nature and this didn't work this time and let's re-engineer and based on what we did in the past and nobody knows what 2016 will look like and maybe it will be great and maybe it will work and also to chuck's point, i don't disagree in that what it could do by shortening the timeframe and you don't know the candidates well enough and you have an unprepared candidate, the fact that they're starting off today we'll be vetting them for two years. i don't think that the shortened timeframe is a problem at all.
sniks phoenix? >> it's 120 degrees. >> >> hi my name is amy coleman and i am from harvard university. it seems that every time we start to have a conversation about the 2016 election it really kind of evolves into a lot of speculative politics. particularly i'm seeing this a lot from people who are in the media and what i'm wondering is the media seems to have this power where they could educate and inform the public and instead of focusing on the speculation, do you think that with this upcoming election the media could move toward more hard-hitting investigative journalism that we haven't seen for so long that instead of feeding this contention machine. let me see. >> i was going to say a member of the media. >> representing the mainstream media here today. you know, look first of all the media is not monolithic and no one on the stage can say this
is how the media will cover it and there's been investigative work and which sometimes candidates feed. i'm always of the people, and accessing their interest and getting them to come in at about level is what's ultimately important and there's a core of people and i would not argue with the majority that wants to know the policies and the investigations and things like that. there is a segment that won't pay attention and the outburst in iowa. so look people vote for lots of reasons and some people will vote based on the policy positions and some people will vote because they like somebody or they don't like somebody because they like -- and we don't get the power and this is what people are interested in and therefore it's the news. it doesn't work like that. so we're all going to strive and
i think i speak for everyone here to do fulfilling, nourishing and important coverage of an election but -- i don't think anyone here will say, we'll give up on the other stuff either. >> there are enough of what you're talking about out there. there are never enough, but there are plenty of substantive stories out there. i think what's changed over the last few years is with the -- i mean, the number of people who are covering a campaign and the the senate press gallery and the capital and the number of people and the number of reporters who are covering that institution have grown three or four fold on a daily basis from when i covered 15 years ago and there's about the same amount of substance and approximately see still out there and those stories are still being written and what fills the gap of all of those other people is the other stories. voters engage this stuff on
different levels. if you want to find out where every single person stands on an issue and that's out there and you can find that out and people are doing the hard-hitting stuff and candidates absolutely do feed into that and so many voters do vote on that level as well. it's true for congress and the you want to engage as the voter wants to engage in politics it's out there for them to find and it's a matter of going and finding it. >> and it's not even hard. i was doing the scott walker background information and i was going from scott walker into google and it has great profiles of scott walker and had great discussion about stuff that he's done. you could spend all day and i watched his state of the state union, and i'm officially a dork. it's okay and i admitted this. >> thanks to c-span. they show them. >> and watch that.
>> there we go. it's all there for you, and i think we have to stop looking at the big media and blaming them and saying it's not all on google and yes, it's hard to know what to trust and i would trust a major newspaper or news organization before i would trust something that your uncle sent you in an email list you know? all my friends are saying this. look at this. >> my beef is -- look, we're not all proud of the coverage that we see. a lot of it is too silly. i admit that. one of my big beefs is that we are always talking horse races. to talk 2016 today is great. to talk 2016 in january 2013,
not great. i sort of have the self-imposed rule and we're not going to talk about 2016 until 2015. i must admit i broke it once in a while, but i tried to do that and focus the issues and the same thing by the way you cover the senate and the house. they never take time out right now to campaign, they're always in the campaign mode. i think sometimes we feed into that, and the other side of it is, we report what the campaign is all about and the candidates are not always talking serious issues, too, and they'd rather talk attacks on their opponent or just talk about their lifestyle or whatever. i would like to see them more focused on substantive differences between themselves and their op bonent and where they would take a countryéi state in a different direction. i think we would have to follow that and reflect it. we would. >> a great place to leave it.
bill, stephen, amy. sorry we didn't get to the other questions. it was fun. [ applause ] >> and we're going to take a break here in a moment but i want to of course, present our guests with their fashionable and functionable bag as they walk through town. they make you look ten years younger and you have your coffee mug in here and we want to pay special recognition and we have an alum on stage, jamie walker is an alum of the washington center. we thank you for joining us. with live coverage of the u.s. house on c-span and the senate on c-span2, here on c-span3 we compliment that coverage by showing you the most relevant congressional hearings and public affairs events and on weekends c-span3 is the home to american history tv with programs that tell our nation's story including six unique series. the civil war's 150th
anniversary, visiting battlefields and key vents. american artifacts touring museums and historic sites to discover what artifacts reveal about america's past. >> history's bookshelf. the presidency, looking at the policies and legacies of our nation's commanders in chief. lectures in history with top college professors delving into america's past and our new seary, real america featuring archival government and educational films through the 1930s and the 70s. c-span3 created by the cable tv industry and funded by your local cable and satellite provider. watchous tv, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. andrew keen, author of the internet is not the answer on how the public is being used by internet companies for their own profit. >> in the old days in the industrial age people went to work in factories. they were paid for their labor. they worked 9:00 to 5:00 and went home and did what they want with that money.
today we're all working in these factories like google, like facebook and twitter, but where i'm paid labor we're working 24 hours a day, we're not rewarded and it's not acknowledged that we're creating the value for them and worse than that we are the ones that are being packaged up as the product because of course, what these companies are doing is learning more and more about us from our behavior and what we publish from our photographs, from our ideas and from what we buy and what we say and from what we don't say. they're learning about us and creating this penoptigon and they're transforming us and repackaging us as the product and we're the ones being sold. not only are we working for free, but then we're being sold so it's the ultimate scam and it's a perfect hitchcock move. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q & a. more now from the washington
center, this next panel takes a look at the white house communications strategies and the executive relationships with the press corps. speakers include former white house spokesmen who talk about transparency. how social media's changed communications and the lessons they learned. the moderator of the forum is former abc news correspondent ann compton. this is about an hour. welcome back. i would like to introduce our moderator for the panel the white house, view from the inside. ann compton has covered seven presidents for abc news and ten
presidential campaigns. she also served a one-year term as president of the white house correspondents association. ann has traveled to all 50 states and six continents with american presidents, vice presidents and first ladies and she's also been a panelist on two presidential campaign debates and ann has shared in one amy for her coverage as the only broadcast report or air force one on september 11th and she's been introduced -- she's been inducted into six halls of fame and is a recipient of multiple honorary university degrees and lifetime achievement award. one fun fact about ann is that her husband found one morning that she was number 12 down in the sunday new york times crossword puzzle. please welcome ann compton. [ applause ]
>> thank you very much. >> thank you. i've also in my curriculum vitae, i'm a frequent attendee at some of these seminars, these washington programs and this is the icing on the cake for your very instructive week here. you've heard from some of the most influential voices in washington and for this -- for dessert for the last session you're going to get a chance to hear from two people who were inside the west wing. a kind of eyewitness account of what it's really like where the policy is being made and the communications message is being shaped and i am pleased to help you welcome this morning anita dunn who i covered back, she was with the obama campaign and organizing for america and then she was a communications director inside the white house
starting in 2009 when president obama took office. tony fratto i covered at the white house just before anita's term. he was deputy white house press secretary during the george w. bush, the last years of the george w. bush administration and this is where both of them now still are very influential strategic thinkers working on the outside of issues and policy and they're still terribly terribly engaged in what's going on in washington and i want each of you to start really quickly not only telling us what job was in the administration but what in your background made you suitable for that. anita, we'll start with you. >> thank you ann, and thank you all for being here. as ann knows i was actually an intern in the corridor white house which is where i was bitten by the bug and never
looked back in terms of my career. i'm a believer in term of people coming to washington and give them an opportunity to hearing from people and talk to people and i'm looking forward to their discussion because you will also have challenging questions. so what in my background qualified me to become white house communications director? >> well, i was the communications policy research and press director. i had those under my jurisdiction for the obama 2008 campaign. i had from 1993 until 2009 been a partner at a washington media consulting firm and we did political campaigns and i've also taken leaves of absences to be the communications director for bill bradley's presidential campaign and obviously for the obama campaign as well. i worked with numerous issue campaigns and advocacy campaigns and elected officials throughout my career. i'd worked( x9
senator tom daschle when he was both the minority leader and the majority leader and actually when ann was on air force one on september 11th i was on the second floor of the capitol when the secret service said they thought it was a good idea for us to get out. so i -- so i had served in a number of capacities always press, from the time that i started working in politics, i loved dealing with reporters because they were sojf smart and so interested and so-ó engaged and anyone who has done field on a pmppresidential campaign has to go knock on doors knows it's so much more fun to deal with the people who already know about something, at least from my perspective. i love dealing with reporters. i love communicating with the public and i in many ways feel like i spent my entire career learning how to be the white house director.
>> you were with the campaign and when obama was elected and got some of those first briefings about how bad the economy really was, what was that like for the staff? >> starting in september in 2008. september 15th to be perfectly precise. our nightly campaign communications calls changed from being -- i ran the calls and i did the agenda for them, and starting in september they began with an economic briefing okay? which was not the usual thing that you do on a presidential campaign and normally you start with, here's what's in the news today. here's what our events are tomorrow and here's what our polling is showing from here and here is what the other campaign is doing and here is the media track. it's a very focused call so suddenly we're doing economic briefings. we're doing briefings of what
will happen on capitol hill about the tarp legislation and what we are hearing from people. it was such a scary time that every day after president obama was elected and he started having a morning economic briefing right after the national security briefing. all presidents have this morning top secret briefing@=hkíi the national security advicer briefs him on what's going on in the world. it's a scary briefing a lot of the time but i will tell you that the economic briefings were very scary especially for the first half of 2009 and i can't imagine what tony went through. >> tony wasçó the deputy press secretary during the same period and tony of the years i've covered you, you have always been the2n financial guy. you were the guy on the ?;economy, finance, anything having to do with that side of the agenda. you were the go-to guy.
best. one of the things we were really proud of in a very chaotic and difficult period was the very sincere and thorough effort to make sure that the transition was going to go well with whoever was going to win the election. then once then-senator obama won the election to really befá this tight ly tightly knit as possible while protecting the candidate, also. we didn't want to put him in a position where he had to play his hands on consequential decisions that we were making because we didn't want to hamstring him, hamstring the obama administration that way, but just to make sure we were doing everything we can that you all had enough information to be informed so that on january 20th at 12:01 you were well prepared to take the reins on that really difficult period. so we were very proud of that. all those calls, i'm sure i know
exactly the kinds of things you were sharing at that time. of all the economic talk i was j4vatively bold to be a deputy white house press secretary and i don't know that i knew at the time that the amount of energy that it was going to take to do it. when i went over to the white house from treasury in 2006 i was 40 years old which is really really old to be a deputy in the white house. certainly in a white house press office because the hours are insane and the work load is pretty crazy. >> roughly what time would you come in in the morning? did you come in for senior staff around -- >> well before. so i would wake up at 4:00 and dana especially -- when dana was the principal deputy, then when
she was press secretary, she and i were on e-mail with each other at 4:30 4:45 in the morning every day. i would haveçó four a and b sections of newspapers read before i would get to the white house at 5:30 in the morning. i'd pull up to the starbucks on pennsylvania avenue and they would have two coffees waiting for me. a quad espresso and a grande dark. i would be in the white house by 5:00. the national security meeting was at 6:30. press office meeting at 7:15. senior staff ató[ 7:30. xhung communications meeting at 8:00. and then in the ear k days we were getting ready for the gaggle at that point. we ended up getting rid of the gaggle. >> gaggle was a more informal group of those of us who covered the white house every day and who were there from 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. for those of us who had to be live on the air at
7:00. so the broadcasters -- >> early tv cable. >> -- and cable talk radio all of them needed information currently that morning. so that's the glamorous part of the white house being in there, getting up at 4:00 every morning. >> so the irony when tony snowñr recruited me fromú at treasury from the very beginning of the administration first as director then deputy assistant secretary then assistant secretary for public affairs and loved everything -- all the work at treasury all the issues were issues that i enjoyed working on and really loved that building and loved working with everyone there. tony snow -- this is in 2006 -- recruited me to come to the white house, ironically because the economy with a doing so well and the feeling was that they don't have anyone at the white house that can talk about the economy and help people understand how well the economy is doing. a year later it was clearly not
doing well and then tragically a whole lot worse. so the irony i was there to talk about a great economy. the benefit was i think both for me personally and professional, but also for the white house i was in the right place at the right time to talk about an economy that was in crisis and recession and was able to be useful while i was there. >> let me follow up on that before we open up to your questions and say, tony was there kind of a worst day or a best day at the white house in your recollection thatmy kind of -- describe it so that everyone can understand the kind of pressure cooker you were in inside the west wing. >> yeah. there were worse -- so the day for me personally was -- this is a lesson i learned, and this is a lesson that i like to tell anyone who's ever -- these areadi life lessons in whatever you do in life but also if you happen to be standing in front of a
president and giving advice, it seems to be more consequential. and so early in my time at the white house -- again, i should have known better and i should understood this better. this is one of the moments actually even a little bit embarrassing for me. early in my time at the white house, we were standing in front of the oval office with president bush and it was me and -- i'm not going to say the other two senior9szly economic advisors to the president who were standing there next to me because there's no need to. but they were -- there was a discussion of what was going on inu÷ credit markets at that time. it was really early on before there was really a broad understanding. >> early signs of instability? >> yeahvm, of tightness and some real credit drying up. and so the president asked a
question you know what's this -- i'm hearingó[ from some people about like some problems in credit markets, what's going on with this. and one of his advisors said, i don't think that's really a big deal. we're not seeing a lot on that not hearing a lot. so basically left the impression with the president it is not a big worry right now. now what i knew, especially coming from treasury, was that it really was -- there was a problem here and that this particular economic advisor, his experience was not in markets. and so uñ right? i mean i choked. i+g should have said something and i didn't because i thought well, i'm kind of -- i'm not as senior as him and he is the
economic advisor. as much as i know about economics, i'm -- that's not my -- that's not what i'm paid to do. what you're paid to do is give advice and help people when they're missing things. i went back to my desk and thought about it some more. and what happened was the president then was going to do an interview. we were prepping him for an interview. of course he was asked about it. and he said on the record, you know, that it's not a big concern. and i was just aghast and embarrassed and -- it wasn't a big deal. you can go back and look at the record and probably not even notice that. i don't know if anybody would notice it. i noticed it and that was the moment i said to myself that i'll never ever do that again. ill'll never ever not speak up and say something to avoid lurthurt someone
else's feelings. that was an awful day. you have to have the courage and bullheadedness to speak up when you have that opportunity. >> can i ask anita the kind of same question were there times either in the campaign leading up to it or in the year that you were communications director where lesson learned the hard way. >> well, i learned tony's lesson. i was fortunate. i learned tony's lesson when i was an intern at the white house. i worked for the late hamilton jerg jordan, one of the most brilliant political minds of the 20th century easily. just an extraordinary person. but i would saye/+ that he had -- he was not as organized in his personal life as perhaps he was in terms of his brilliance in his political life. i was an intern. okay?
so i was -- below the bottom of the food chain. and there was a huge summit at camp david and the entire senior staff of the white house was up there. actually, they were all up there for about a 5aweek ten days actually. crisis in the presidency, the president came up. but, hamilton's car had a flat tire and he had left it parked on pennsylvania avenue two blocks from the white house with ,+hqtire. a very recognizable car with georgia plates. everyone knew it was his car and it's sitting there with a flat tire. in a do-not-park zone. so i'm just an intern. but i'm like, don't we think this is a problem. it's getting a pile of tickets every day. i'm looking at it. it's been there for three days. and the woman i worked for, one of the women i worked for said, oh, don't worry about it don't worry about it, it is not a big deal. well the next morning it was on the front page of the "washington post." picture of the car with the
georgia plates with all the unpaid tickets getting towed. okay? as a kind of example of howxd the administration was sort of spinning out of control, disorganized. right? you don't want to give people those visual simples at that time. that was a lesson to me which is if you think strongly that there is a problem, you owe it to everybody to push that feeling hard. and i'm with tony. what you owe the president of the united states or the senator you work for, or the principal you work for. you owe them your best advice and your best knowledge. you don't owe them miss congeniality, i'm going to get along with everybody in the room. there's certainly, certainly ways to deliver messages that are less offensive than others. i always try to be that person. but i owe them honesty. and if there is a problem, you're not doing them any favors by not telling them about it. so there were certainly points
in the campaign in particular when things just were not working as well as they should have particularly during the primaries when we ran into a very rough six-week period. >> this is when senator clinton was -- and senator obama were both -- or actually at that point were both winning some, losing some during a very -- part of the longest primary season i've+ g) covered. >> we mathematically were going to win the nomination but at the same time, we were taking on some water. and one of the particular political problems that we had at the time was the pastor of senator obama's church someone he was quite close to someone who had inspired him for the title of his book "the audacity of hope," and someone who had baptized his two daughters, who had a history of -- what in the
south side of chicago is probably not all that unusual for pastor of a church. if anybody's ever been to an african-american church, it is one of the most moving, exciting amazing experiences you can have. but very very hot rhetoric. and senator5a obama was under pressure to deal with an issue in which his pastor said some things that just taken out in bits and pieces sounded really, really bad. and you know, everyone tip-toed around it. i think we all did because, i mean, it's your minister and it is a very close personal relationship. but finally we owed it to him and had to go to him and say, you know this is a huge problem. it's not a small problem. it's a huge problem. and it was a very painful moment but3w we weren't doing him any favors by letting that just hang out there. >> we're going to open in just a moment to questions from you all but let me ask you real quickly
starting with tony. was there a best moment at the white house? >> i almost havefá too many. honestly, except for that one day, i can't say that i had a bad day. not that there weren't trying days and there weren't long days and difficult days and days that didn't always go well. but it was such a privilege to work there. and, look, for me personally, as an italian-american kid from a working class neighborhood in pittsburgh, the last place i had expected to end up was standing behind a podium at the white house. right? so i appreciated every single day that i was there. i had a lot of really great, great days and some them were like professional great. some were just personally fun. like the day that -- the week that the president was going to be throwing out the first pitch at nationals park.
they opened up nationals park. that week they said frats you got to warm me up.like bring your glove. i brought one of my baseball gloves and5a two days ñ that week we went and -- me around the president out on the south lawn, you know, catching ball. which is kind of a great way to spend an afternoon at the white house. i'm like yeah. i made sure that white house photographer was there getting every moment of it. >> anita, how about you you? >> i can tell you consistently my worst days in 2009 were the first friday of the month. the first friday of the month is i day that i think the department of labor releases unemployment statistics. and so it was horrible. i can just say, it was just the worst day of the@xs >> this was a period in which literally o7b700,000 people were out of work each month for a short period of time. and they had just arrived.
and it really was a nightmare. >> it was terrible friday. the first friday of every month. the rate was going up. so many of you may have noticed in the last run, that the rate came down. it is down to 5.6, and this many jobs were created. in the first year of the obama presidency, every friday the first friday of the month, it would be hundreds of thousands of jobs that had been lost. the unemployment rate going up. probably the worszt day of 2009 was the day that we hit over 10% because it is an easy statistic for the press to grabó on to and basically say, okay this shows you just how bad things really are. and things were terrible. i mean things were horrible in this country. and it was heartbreaking. the president reads ten letters a night from citizens who send them in to make sure that he actually hears what people are thinking about. and it was heartbreaking for him to read those letters. it was just a terrible terrible time.
you know, i think probably my best day in the white house was not a day when i was still working the white house but it's a day i still feel a great deal of ownership of. >> you're always part of the white house. >> believe me, you're always part of the white house. and it was the day that the affordable care act was signed into law. it's just hard to describe the emotions around that. those of us who have been in the democratic party for a long time, i was on capitol hill in the clinton administration working for a member of the: senate finance committee when we tried to get health care passed in 1993 1994. i worked for senator bill bradley when he ran for the presidency and put out a very comprehensive, very good plan for overall health care reform that, of course, he didn't get elected. that didn't happen. and that moment of actually getting it done after presidents had tried to do it for 70 years? it's really hard to describe.
so as many mistakes as we made and i made in terms of that law, that was without a doubt the most moving moment. >> let us open the microphones to your questions. i know we're limited on time so if you and address if youkzówant to ask of one or the other of your panelists here. and we'll try to make the answers as succinct to get to as many questions as possible. please introduce yourself. >> my name is eric anderson. i go to drake university. my question is that, we recently heard from cheryl atkinson and other speakers talking about the lack of transparency within the white house. for the sake of discussion, what would be your t+nqátjjutñ >> let's start with tony. >> look. i've been on -- they complained
more about usvw than they did about clinton. in the case of both of our white houses though what you was just -- you could call it lack of transparency in some cases maybe it is. but actually it is just a lot more discipline than there was in the clinton administration which was real like wild west. sort of chi yacht icaotic. we sort of said we need to be more disciplined as to who is talking to the media and why and when. and what this sort of morphed into the in the bush administration waslp this notion that we never had any disagreements on things that there were never any xdarguments. president wasn't hearing counter views, which is completely untrue. i think this will be born out in lots of books and when a lot of
information on the white house is out publicly, you'll see a lot of this. i saw it even late in the administration, lot of policy meetings and deputies meetings and there was a lot of robust debate on direction and what we should do on issues. what we were not very interested in doing was having that debate in front of reporters. that's not appropriate, doesn't inspire confidence, it allows outside politics to infect what ought to be a clear-headed debate over complex issues. and so that was the way we felt that it made sense to be done. that said we could open up a lot more. i think white houses should open up a lot more.
i know if i had known what i know now -- if i ever go back, which i won't -- i would encourage a lot more openness. >> anita? >> we asked for the number of complaints that we get about lack of transparency because we actually during the campaign in 2008 at one point unguardedly said that we thought perhaps the health care negotiations when we got to the bill should be televised on c-span. hello, c-span audience. and that was one of those things that you kind of wish you could take back in retrospect. but having said that the obama administration has done some things that no previous administration had done. for instance, if you want to go and youxd want to see how many times somebody has visited the white house, whether it is a donor, whether it is a lobbyist, whether it is a policy person, you can go online and you can see that. that's never been done in an administration before. that you can actually see everybody who's been in and out
went to visit with the exceptions of people who, for national security reasons, éñ aren't going to show up on those lists. that's actually a pretty extraordinary thing if you think about that. you cannot do that for your member of congress. you can't do that for your senator. you can't get any kind of public record listing whatsoever of who they're meeting with and why they're meeting with that person but you can do that for the executive office of the presidency. so i think there are some significant moves in transparency. but the real tension -- and i totally agree with to): -- which is that private discussions, in order for them to be genuinely good in order for people to be able to give the president their best bluntest and unvarnished advice aren't going to be carried out in public so that that person can become the target of a vicious twitter campaign, because they actually said something that might be a little controversial. if you're going to be able to give the president advice, you have to be able to know that it is going to be advice to the president and the president has to have some degree of
confidence that he or she can have those honest conversations 3 the other thing that has happened during the obama administration, during the years that he has been president that has i think led to some ill feeling between the press corps and the -- that covers the white house and the white house itself is that the technological changes in communication and how people consume their news means that a white house communications operation that used to be solely geared toward communicating to the american public through the press corps now is driven by technology to communicate to people where: they're getting their information. so there is a huge amount of direct communication that goes on and continual evolution of resources in the white house geared towards communicating directly to voters, not throug8 the filter as we used to call
"reporters." and because of that there is this feeling amongst the press corps, i think absolutely justified, that the white house is bypassing them a lot of the time. they see it as bypassing. the white house sees it as evolving to be able to actually do what you're supposed to do which is communicate with the american public. so it is not that the press corps's less important, it is that there are a lot of things that are added. >> let's keep going with questions as quickly as we can. good morning. >> hello, i'm daniel carp. i'm from the honors college at miami-dade college. could you please clarify the difference in function of the press secretary's office and the communications office? is there any overlap? is that the same -- do you work in the same place? >> well i would say that they are offices that basically work together very closely. if you think about the office of the communications office it is really the office that is in
charge of this broader world of communication for the administration. in many ways marketing a lot of the proposals, putting together coordinated plans. the press secretary's office is on the line talking to reporters, answering questions really doing the day to day communication on behalf of the administration to the press corps. the communications office is going to be doing much broader work with the cabinet agencies with overall initiatives for the administration, with longer term planning, and a lot of the direct communication, the digital units, for instance, video units, all of that is under communications at least >> i think that's right. the press secretary's office is much more tactical and day to day and dealing withv immediate things. that doesn't mean that we don't get involved in planning and longer term and strategy.
that's true. but really communications office is -- it's really think about strategy and tactics. strategy planning long-term, thematic thematic. short term, day to day, hand to hand combat with reporters. >> butjf shared office space. >> hello. my question is, president obama has been known to embrace the new media with platforms like ÷pjr(t&háhp &hc% twitter, facebook tumblr and instain insta instagram. how effective has it been during the administration? >> great question. when tony left the white house and we came in the white house computer system didn't let you access facebook. okay? think about that for a second.
didn't let you access facebook because it was seen as a kind personal social network that people were just going to waste time on. >> but we didn't have the law -- >> right. it was a policy, it was not a law. >> but we hadn't cleared up how we would handle presidential records on communications on social networks which were brand-new. so the law wasn't clear on how you would treat white house communications on those5y things. >> and i will say as a veteran of the 2008 campaign, facebook in 2008 was not the communications tool that it was by 2012 and certainly not today. back then it was more people were staying in touch with each other. it was not an integral part of our campaign communication. twitter was almost non-existent in 2008 and really we started seeing the white house press corps and other people using! m÷ twitter for the first time in
2009 and starting seeing social media used as a tool to influence reporters and in 2009 for the first time. the changes are amazing. so one-third of millennials -- which is you -- do not get most of the your television -- you've cut the cord. 60% of you get -- are either dvd or on demand or online or mobile. you're not sitting in front of televisions. right? okay. many of you -- i'd say the majority of you don't watch network news broadcasts. right? and there's nothing that's growing faster than visual images on the web. if you're a white house communications operation you need to retool to the extent you can -- because you have very limited resources in the white house. it is not like we have gyneigantic
staffs. in 2008 we had gigantic staffs on the campaign. we got to the white house, we had tiny staffs. but you have to continually look at your resources. so i think one of the things this white house is always doing is taking a step back and saying, what has changed since two months ago? terms of how people are consuming news and looking for different ways to do it whether it is facebook, whether it's instagram, i think doing the kind of content people are actually looking at as opposed to saying okay, now we're going to stand behind a podium one more time. how do we actually get people to listen to what we're saying? part of it is the delivery mechanisms. so it is a huge priority and the next -- i keep thinkingd the next white house and what is this landscape going to look like to them? because even since 2012, the
landscape has changed so dramatically. that's aok really interesting question. >> great question. let's go right here. >> jason mendez central michigan university. the importance of the press conference, like the solok conference or joint press conference for a president, for instance say that would each of the presidents from clinton to bush, that numbers have been going down. i just want to know i don't know if you're directly involved in it, for both of your white houses, was there a particular strategy in the use of the solo press campaign or -- conference i mean, or the joint press conference that you all employed? >> sure. i mean in joint press conferences -- by the way, i think there is one coming up in about 40 minutes or so 35 minutes. good chance to watch one. but it is just a function of --
if you havexd a head of state. the question is when do you decide that you should do one or should not do one. it's negotiated between the other head of state, whether they want to do one. then whether it's for -- especially for -- well for both countries, whether there is a need, whether there is a messaging goal thatzlwñ you're trying to achieve at that time. our bias was always towards doing one because we knew it was generally helpful for the other head of state to be standing there with the president of thec united states and it was good for them domestically. we're always happy to do it and would always have a -- sometimes they didn't want to do it for one reason or another. in the case of a lot of them,: there were really shared goals. i think the uk prime minister and president obama today are going to have a lot of important messaging on terrorism and
standing with the french and so that's a very timely and important opportunity for them &háhp &hc% to come out and speak and show solidarity so that is one reason why you would do it. >> one of the more interesting things that i read recently is that president john kennedy holds the record for the most number of press conferences per days in office. he had a televised press conference an average of every five or six days. and the reason he did it though was because he was using television as a tool to go around his white house press corps which i think is hilarious. that this was a way for him to use the new technology, because in 1960 television was a very new technology. and he was really good at it. and he really enjoyed it and it was extremely helpful and back then there were three networks and everyone watched it. so it was an extraordinarily efficient way to reach the
american people. for the american people to hear from him directly. now it is not carried by the broadcast networks by and large. i mean i think in 2009 we had a prime time press conference that was carried live by the broadcast networks. now, unless it is a huge announcement, they're not going to want to carry it because it costs a huge amount of money and it may not have as much news value as they would like to see from it. and it is one tool to communicate an certainly a useful thing to do in terms of the white house press corps getting immediate access. but you only have so much time and so many resources and you have so many people getting their news from different ways. so it is one of many ways to communicate. whereas for john kennedy it was the way and the best way. >> let me button this by saying that i can say from firsthand experience with both the bush administration and the obama administration, the president
has reached out and done more one-on-one interviews with local reporters, with network reporters, with significant newspaper and print reporters. it is a technique that both -- i've seen both of these presidents use and a president%i&j can much better control a one-on-one interview and get his points across than he can by fielding questions coming kind of randomly from 15 20 different reporters. >> just one note on this too. if you can think of some of like the -- maybe you guys don't know this. we certainly know this. some of the like worse www.events or difficult questions that have been answered by presidents at a press conference. the first half of the press conference interests usually go just fine. all the questions are predictable. the responses are -- you can prepare for. it's like the last questions in a press conference that end up completely up-ending whatever message you were trying to get out, and whatever even news some of the early questioners werexd
trying to get at that was important and you have no control over it. i always thought about it like,çó when you're putting microwave popcorn. right? you know, like when you get to the end and the pops are like -- too far apart, like end it. take it out of the microwave. you know? because only bad things can happen after that. there's a point in time just like cut it off and move on. yeah. >> of course, reporters love that last question. including president obama was asked about the black harvard professor who was arrested by a white cambridge massachusetts police officer. and that last question of the press conference led to the beeré@ summit. >> nobody remembers another moment from that press conference. right? >> and from a white house communications standpoint, that press conference was really designed to talk about health care, which was most of the so it is an interesting format. >> next question. we will try to get, in the minutes we have left to all of those who are already standing
for questions. >> good morning. my name is talea. i'm from suffolk university and my question is for you. i'm wondzer ing erwondering if you could describe what it was like being on air force one on september 11 2001. >> there is a pool system covering the white house since 50 or 60 of us can't be at the elbow of the president every day. every day there is a list of one television reporter, one radio one newspaper, one from each of the wire services, one camera crew, two or three still photographers. on september 11th, 2001 i happened to be -- it was my day to be with the president all day and i was standing in the classroom in florida where he was listening to second graders do their reading drills and their vocabulary drills when i saw the president's chief of staff walk in and whisper to the president. and i was shocked. i wrote it down in my reporter's
notebook. andy card whispered 9:07 a.m. because nobody interrupts a president, even in front of a classroom of second-graders. what then began to snowball is that we standing in the classroom -- the 12 reporters in the pool -- didn't know about the plane crashes. we had heard there had been one plane crash. i went over to the side of the room and with my hand caught andy card's eye and i made the sign of a plane going down. andy card nodded and put up two fingers. at that moment i knew that one plane crash would be a tragedy. two was real trouble. we were -- the president stopped and made a statement to the school saying there was apparent terrorist attack, that he had to return to washington. rescrambled aboard air force one. the door shut. we thought we were taking off for washington and then the pentagon was hit. and i know president bush got some grief for not going
straight back to washington. but frankly, if now a terrorist attack has been aimed not just at the financial center of the united states and the world trade centers but now has hit washington, d.c., and we didn't know how many other planes might still be out there, it was clearly, for me as a reporter who at that point had covered the white house for more than 20 years -- i saw a doomsday scenario open. it is not a secret service plan. it's a military plan and it wasn't to protect george w. bush. it was to protect the constitutionally elected government of a democracy and those next in line for succession of power if that would ever need to become, and it was to watch a very well-oiled plan come in to effect. it's amazing to me ong2 i air force one where we flew around for hours. couldn't land, couldn't go anywhere the extent how little we knew on the plane.
president bush, as i recall, had three secure telephone lines so he could talk to the white house, he could talk to mayor giuliani, he could talk to governor pataki. but he couldn't really see or get much of a feel for it. there are television sets embedded into the front bulkhead wall of each cabin on air force one and the communications deck was able to pull up a very weak tv signal from the ground and that's where we could see for those of us on the plane the first tower fall and then the second. and it was a very frightening sense. we finally landed once in louisiana because basically air force one crew told me they were out of fuel. they had only had enough fuel to get back to washington. we landed and at that point i made the argument to ari fleischer -- the white house press secretary -- and to andy card, the chief of staff that you can't bump the press off the
plane. at a time of crisis you need to have that independent voice who can assure not only the american people but the world that our government hasn't been crippled by this. and to their credit ari fleischer and andy card allowed me to stay on as the only broadcast reporter. and then one print reporter was also allowed to stay on. we spent basically ten hours with the president. we were assured wherever he goes that the press -- theg little core group of us would stay with limb. and i was allowed to use my cell phone to call in what the president was doing but there was nobody at the white house i could call. they'd been evacuated. so i had called abc news and they would put me on the air live with peter jennings who was anchoring non-stop. and i knew that every word i spoke and every -- the kind of sense and the tone that i used would help to describe what the commander in chief and the leader of the free world was
doing at that moment. hours and hours later the president -- we landed in omaha, nebraska. he was able to go underground to a bunker where he actually did have closed-circuit communications and held a national security council meeting with video connection back to the white house to the pentagon, to new york and the president decided he wanted to go back to washington. and i thought it was critically important. he knew that he had to show the government hadn't been crippled and he wanted to address the american people from the white house, from the oval office that night. and as i recall i wasn't in washington, i was with him, but i think members of congress gathered on the steps of the capitol to sing "god bless america." it was a real test of how the american government, under any president, under any unimaginable circumstance, how the government is protected and how it will continue to move forward. >> thank you.
>> thank you for asking. >> i will give you one quick note to that because you are all college students. toward the end of the day, my little phone actually came to life and i got a voicemail message. it was from my daughter, aen in i annie -- this voice says mommy how come you had time to tell peter jennings you were all right and you didn't have time to call me? she was a freshman at smu in dallas, first time living away from home. when i got back to the white house that night i had two sons at vanderbilt. and i got back and i opened my e-mail. when i got back to the white house at 7:30 that night. the first e-mail was from my sons apartment vanderbilt who said mom, our fraternity brother ted adderly was on the 93rd floor of the first tower. that moment, the day that had been a doomsday scenario with crashing steel and national security suddenly had a human face and it was a handsome young college student, college intern
who didn't survive the day. never knew what hit him. so the impact that people feel from that day is very personal and very deep. please. >> thank you. i feel badly asking my question. i was wondering i'm beverly lennox from harvard university extension school. and because we have both press and white house communications here i'd like to ask, kind if you would discuss the difference in responsibility that you personally feel to guarding the president's image and his message, and a consistent voice coming out of the white house versus versus informing the press and transparency to the people. >> i always -- i understand the way you phrase that like guarding the president's image. there is some of that that goes on. but there is sort of a caricature, or xdoverplayed theme
that any president isc bunkered in the white house and it is all -- what we are there to do is to keep ann and the press away, and to be a barrier around to be in between and protecting and really defensive. and i -- i never really saw it that way. i mean i think actually even though you're in a place where you've got the world'sçó biggest mega phone -- right? which is the voice of the president of the united states. it is the loudest most important voice in the world -- you're still fighting for attention to get heard and to find opportunities to break through to audiences and to get through, to get through whatever the news of the day is, to get your point through. and it is so hard to do. the idea of protecting and obstacles and blocking is never the frame of mind that i had. it was always let's go out and try to find ways to get out and to get information out and get a
point of view out and get our arguments and facts that you're struggle toñi get through in a really loud place. so it was always the opposite for me. so i always saw the press actually as -- i have great relationships with the press because i always wanted like more communication, more talking, more openness, more sharing of information, more sifting down and explaining. i think everyone in the white house press corps knew that my door -- they could come to my door, sit down and talk for as long as they needed to get through anything that i could help them with. >> true. >> i was always happy to do it. not just happy, like i wanted. like please come and see me, let's talk and spend a lot of time talking. because it is really, really hard to break through. >> and i would add to that, when you're working on a campaign, you're trying: to win -- you're you're trying to win and argument.
but when you're working for the president or for a senator or any part pftof the government, you're actually in public service and the mission is different. yes, of course you want your boss to look good and you want them to be able to communicate effectively. but especially when you'reó[ in the white house, the issues are so much bigger than you're communicating about than whether or not your boss looks good. it is jobs and national security and america under attack and people's lives and it is -- so it is a very different kind of communication than a campaign is. because a campaign is definitely about presenting a very narrow set of facts and sort of image to people to help drive them to a choice whereas governing is a much broader kind of communication that is about trying to communicate to a very broad public information that will help build support for
proposals. and also to educate around issues and to tell them what's going on. i mean i think ann's story about. 9/11 is a perfect example of that. because on 9/11 nobody was worried about george bush's image. what they needed to do when they got him back to the oval office was to re-assure the american public as only the president of the united states can do. there's only one person at a time like that who can actually communicate broadly to the american public and re-assure them. and it is the president. >> anything that happens in the world. anything that happens. anything of any consequence that happens in the world, say what is the president of the united states saying about it? what is the white house saying about it? there's no other person in the world. something happens, they don't say, everybody, what's put bein going to say? right? what is any other world leader going to say unless it is immediate to them?
but any major event of consequence they need to know what is the president of the united states saying about it. >> in the very few minutes we've got left, i'll do very quickly the last four questioners as kind of a lightning round. >> good morning. i'm from miami-dade honors college. my question goes directly to miss dunn. since i have been part of the obama administration, or you've been closer although he has had somehow successful relationship with the press by the use of technology and twitter, can you mention one occasion that you remember he could have done better or he could have admitted he did something wrong and he didn't, something that you could recall? >> i don't know if it's something he could have done better. i think that in retrospect when we first came to the white house and throughout the administration, while it's true what ann said about this
president having done more one-on-one interviews than any president and having been extremely accessible to the press, in retrospect i don't think it would have been a bad idea for him to have done more of the kind of just casual walking into the press room, taking a few questions on a pretty regularym basis. doesn't have to stay there for long. but having been more accessible to the white house press corps. i think that who often feels as though he's accessible to every kind of press, except for them. that's one thing ina5 retrospect i'd have done differently. >> from the honors college at miami-dade. miss dunn, you mentioned how if you feel that there is a problem, you should -- you owe everyone to voice your opinion. as citizens, what is the best way to voice our opinion? how do you suggest we do that? the best way? >> to voice your opinion?
>> yeah prp. >> well, if you'ry up set with something in the government, or you just want to voice an opinion, there is on whitehouse.gov, you can actually get people together to do a petition. one of the things that we put into -- that the obama administration has put into place is if you can get 100,000 people to sign an online petition asking the white house to respond to an issue they will respond to it. so if you want to force them to talk to you about an issue, you can organize an online community which is not as you know as hard asc it sounds. i like to say put a cute cat picture on it. but no. but that's one of the ways to have your voice heard. one of the extremely exciting things about being alive now is people have more ways than ever before to make their voices heard through social media networks. i think there are 310 million
people in this country and every single one of them is a journalist flou.now. so posting yourko social networks. organizing with other people. a lot of voices tend to be amplified louder than one. but being active. unless you're actually speaking nobody is going to hear what you have to say. then it is a question of using the tools. >> in the less than 60 seconds we have left -- >> and vote. please. >> last question. >> good morning. i'm a student at the honors college at miami-dade. and i'm aware the press secretary must be a credible source. however, during a press conference, if a question is asked and there is no answer to it, how answer the question by keepingxd his or her credible source? >> that's actually a really easy question. you say i don't know and i'm going to have to do some research on that and get back to you. any other answer, any other trying to make something up or
or -- i would say bull 7oo "something." but it is pointless to try to spin the press that way or -- i've been asked this question a different way. i've been asked this question like, what do you do when you have to lie to the press? like never. i've never in my life ever, ever lied to the press. and never will would. all right? so your credibility is everything. the trust that you develop is everything. and so when i -- sometimes i say -- sometimes i know the answer. they say what do you do if you know answer and you can't tell them? i say that's not something i can share with you right now. that's all. you just be honest, straightforward and transparent. say that's not something i can share with you. >> that's not something we're prepared to discuss. >> that's the only way to do it. >> great questions. >> thank you. >> great program. thank you for letting us be here
with you. anita dunn, tony snow. thank you all very much. this saturday, live coverage of the iowa freedom summit from des moines begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern. speakers include potential 2016 presidential candidates. governors rick perry, scott walker and chris christie, form other governor mike huckabee, businessman donald trump and dr. ben car southern as well as 2008 vice presidential nominee sarah palin. the iowa freedom summit this saturday on c-span c-span radio and c-span.org. the u.s. house today approved a bill that would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions. that bill now heads to the senate. the bill bab-- we spoke to a capitol
reporter about the change in the language. >> the annual march for life taking place in washington on the anniversary of the row v. wade decision, the house set to take up an abortion bill but not the one they originally planned to i/w!udebate. melanie zinona joins us from capitol hill. why the switchout? what happened? >> well, the house rules committee met late last night to tee up a different apportion measure to be considered on the house florida. once it became apparent that there were not enough votes to pass the original measure that they had planned to pass, which was a 20-week abortion ban bill on the house florida. >> so the house bill is the one they're debating is one that would ban federal funding of abortion. but didn't this pass the house last year? >> that's correct. so this bill was passed last year by the house. it was not considered in the senate. but this was considered more likely to pass once it became apparent that there was not enough republican support. there was about 20 or so gop
holdouts mostly led by women who started to express concern over provision in the 20-week ban bill that would require are the exceptions for rape and incest in the bill to be reported to law authorities. and so late last night you know, they were meeting in closed-door meetings and they realized there was enough support and they were anxious to get a vote on some type of abortion bill to coincide with the annual march for life which is taking place today. >> well, the headline of your piece -- >> we know for sure two consponsors, both females, have both withdrew their co-sponsorship of the bill sometime in the last week or so and they have expressed are concerns at a gop retreat last week as well. so this has been mounting a significant number of women in the gop party have expressed are concern over this and they didn't have enough votes to pass it without them.
>> we heard from chris smith on the floor and you tweeted some of his comments ahead of that saying, he said that the 20-week abortion ban bill just delayed will eventually be considered. "just working through some bits." so in the details of that, what are those bits they have are to work through? >> well, it is my understanding that what's really at issue is that provision for the rape and incest reporting requirements. there's also a requirement that the exception for incest in that ban would have to only be ñ committed by a minor and that's something that also is at issue as well. >> what about other conservatives in the house? what's been their reaction to the pulling of that original bill at least temporarily? >> well there is some disappointment that this was not going to be considered today after anti-abortion groups had touted it in the weeks leading up to this march. but conservatives are still happy that at least this bill which was considered last year is now being considered on the floor. it is an issue that also came up
last september in a gao report that said some of the federal subsidies under the health law were being used to cover some abortion services. >> is this the kind of measure that we mention at the top that the march for life happening in washington this week. is this a sort of measure that these abortion bills that really have to be passed by the house? >> yeah. they're pretty much messaging bills at this point. we know in the senate it is going to be difficult for them to pass and obama has issued a veto threat last year on this federal funding for abortion bill. >> covering it all, health policy and the abortion bill debate in the house. follow her reporting on twitter an onlineal cq.com. all this month we are showing you state of the state and state of the commonwealth addresses and governors inaugurations from across the country. see all of them at our website,
c-span.org. right now though we'll show you pete r requirement cketts gets sworn in as nebraska's 40th governor.icketts gets sworn in as nebraska's 40th governor. >> do you, pete rickettet, solemnly swear or affirm that you will support the constitution of the united states and the constitution of the state of nebraska and will faithfully discharge the duties of governor according to the best of your ability, if so please, answer either i so swear or i so affirm. >> i so swear. >> congratulations.
>> i present to you for his inaugural address, the governor of the great state of nebraska governor pete ricketts.i] >> thank you very much. thank you. thank you all very much. thank you. before we get started here today, i would like to take a moment, a friend and league of many folks in this building,
chris keatle passed ñ away this morning. i want to express my heart-felt sympathy to the family and ask you all to keep chris an his family in your prayers at time, and please join me in a moment of silence. president foley, speaker hadley, chief justice havekin, members of the legislature, úqg distinguished guests, family, fellow nebraskans, congratulations on beginning the 104th nebraska legislature. i am humbled and honored to serve as your 40th governor of the great state of nebraska. [ applause ]
welcome to the new members of the -- and my fellow constitutional officers. i look forward to working with each and every one of you. today as is with all inauguration days, it is a time of new beginning for the state of nebraska. and as i look forward into the future, i'm optimistic about the road that lies ahead. we have a great state, filled with opportunity. it is also a time for taking stock. we just turned the calendar to 2015. and a little over two years we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of our statehood. our rich history is deeply rooted in freedom, opportunity, liberty, and the hope for a better life for future
generations. a few years before statehood, in 1862, the homestead act was signed into law by president abraham lincoln who also, by the way, made nebraska the crossroads of a great transcontinental railroad. the first homesteaders were citizens, immigrants, and freed slaves. they traveled for hundreds of miles to nebraska, by foot, wagon train, or railroad, searching for a better life. one of the first homesteaders, daniel freeman, was one of the patriots who was rewarded with a special incentive for serving in the union army. he claimed land at club creek near beatrice.
another veteran, robert ball anderson, was a former slave, who earned his freedom in the union army and in 1870, became the first freed african-american homesteader. as we gather here today in lincoln, our capital city, named for one of our greatest american presidents, who helped shape the destiny of our great state, we continue to welcome people who value freedom and who search for a better life. we welcome people from all around the world who come to study our great universities, or work in our businesses, on our farms, ranches.çw% and as our forefathers did a century and a half ago, we continue to honor the veterans, the men and women who sacrifice and serve our country. [ applause ]
yes, we have a great state, a beautiful state, filled with q+ccp opportunity from the missouri river to the sand hills to the úd[)áár"ge. nebraska is what america is supposed to be. [ applause ] and the strength of our state lies within our people. nebraskans are engaged in their communities, schools, their churches. and when we have problems, we find a way to work together to solve those common problems, despite our differences. our continued success here in the state will depend upon our ability to pull together, to solve problems, and grow nebraska. i'm excited about the
opportunities to work in a collaborative spirit, to move this great state forward. to build those futures, our nebraska families want and deserve. we need to work toward four goals. the first, we must strengthen the economy and create jobs. these two priorities go hand and hand. we must create more and better paying jobs for our kids and our grandkids. attract kids from across the country. we must put in place the 21st century infrastructure and pro growth policies that will foster investment by businesses and productivity on our farms and ranches. however, there is a barrier for creating jobs here in our state. and it is nebraska's high taxes. we must cut taxes. [ applause ]
whether you're a homeowner, a farmer or a rancher or business owner, everyone bears the burden of high taxes. nebraskans from alliance to syracuse have expressed their strong interest in a pathway to property tax relief and that will be my number one priority in this session. [ applause ] at the same time, we must act responsibly. it is our constitutional duty to balance the budget while funding the priorities that the people of nebraska care about most.
next, we must reduce regulation. whether you're the livestock producer in bridgeport, or the manufacturer in deshler, nebraska businesses face onerous regulation. as governor, i will stand up to the egregious overregulation that we get forced on us from washington. [ applause ] at the state level, i will work to ensure that our regulatory process is fair, transparent, and more efficient. in addition, we must strengthen education. we must ensure our young people have the tools they need to compete in a 21st century global economy. and in particular, i want to focus on career and vocational
training. every manufacturer i've spoken with told me they cannot find enough skilled labor. and as a barrier for them expanding here in the state and these are wonderful careers. in the coming weeks, i will continue to meet with members of the legislature to build relationships so we can grow nebraska. as we work together, you will have other ideas on how we can achieve these goals. you may hear other concerns from your constituents. i promise i will listen closely and with an open mind. the people of nebraska expect government to work. they hold us to high standards. i will work each and every day to meet those standards and safeguard the public trust. and to nebraskans everywhere, i encourage you stay involved. stay engaged.
you are the second house. hold us accountable for the results we achieve and help us grow the state. in the words of virginia smith, the only woman to ever serve nebraska in the u.s. house of representatives, there is no excellence without great labor. on behalf of my wife suzanne, and our entire family, thank you very much and god bless the people of this great state. [ applause ] >> with live coverage of the us