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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 21, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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bathrooms in some of the host countries with the port-o-potties and things like that. we have had medical teams out. there is an increase in respiratory disease, skin diseases. because people haven't been able to bathe in weeks. we're talking about families that have been going for ten weeks at a time. in some of these circumstance, you do have to worry about in the longer term if you get more and more people packed in some of these neumann's land, the issues of other disease his spreading would be more rapid. to jump on the issue of the christians, we haven't noticed as much in the current migration, but certainly when christians have left both syria and iraq, they are not going into camps because, frankly, they don't trust those communities. and are integrating into local communities where they have
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someone they know they can trust in those areas. i'd say that's both for christians and yazidis. they also aren't seeking the same refugee protection because they're outside of that. you mention trafficking. not only is there an issue of trafficking of women but because of the vulnerability of the refugees, children are much more susceptible. the parents go out doing things, they leave children behind for someone to take care of and we find more cases children being abused, which is heartbreaking. it's one of those cases to get them out of these situations we need to make sure they have emergency schooling and caregivers that provide that opportunity so their families aren't vulnerable. >> chairman, on your point about the dublin agreement, and as you say, just for those not familiar with the jargon, it means the -- within the european union, the first country where a person claims asylum is the country that processes the application and looks after the person while that is happening. clearly, this used to work quite well. and i don't think this was a problem of technical ability of any country to process such asylum seekers. until we get to the point of large numbers where the system has now been overwhelmed. as the ambassador of serbia said, in many case, people don't want to stay in the first country they've arrived. the struggle now is simply some sort of registration. and then allowing them to travel
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on. that's why we will need to revisit this as the basic principle of asylum seeking in europe. i don't know what will come forward as an alternative. we're giving strong assistant to member states who feel overwhelmed with the numbers to help them cope better with the numbers and process the claims better. on the security issue, i mean, you discuss this at some length with assistant secretary richard. i don't want to say there is no risk. but top very frank, the calculation on the european security level, and that is. they generally feel this is not a high risk at the moment. the terrorist acts we've had in europe have often come from home frown terrorist. there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise themselves as refugees. frown t. there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise themselves as refugees.g frown .
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there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise themselves as frown. there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise themselves as refugees.w frown . there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise themselves as refugees.n frown . there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise themselves as refugees.frown te. there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise themselves as refugees.own terr. there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise themselves as refugees.wn terro. there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise n terrorist. there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise themselves as refugees. terrori. there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise themselves as refugees.s. there are easier ways to get into europe than disguise themselves as refugees. i'm not so sure this has to be our major concern. i'm not saying we don't need to be aware of it. the security forces i'm quite sure are keeping a close eye on the people claiming asylum and who's files are now with them. i'm not saying we may not develop problems in the future. particularly if we're unable to grant asylum. in the immediate term, this is not -- doesn't have to be our major concern. we need to ally public fears rather than fuel them. i agree with mr. callahan about the young men. those of us who are of irish origin remember well that it was often easier for an income earner to be the first person to move and leave the family behind and send money back or eventually seek family unification when you've built up a livelihood. it's a fairly tough journey. i'm not surprised it's young fit men who feel more able to make it than people with families or that man who was carrying his children on his shoulders. i think those are just some
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elements i would put into discussion. >> if i could follow up. there have been reports funding from macedonia, which is obviously an area that's been impacted by the inflow, is inadequate. is that something the european union is looking at to beef that up? because so many people have come in through macedonia. >> well, i mean, we are firstly trying to deal with, you know, the influx coming on to the european territory for which we're legally responsibility. we're working very closely with all the neighboring countries. we understand, as the representative has said, nobody thinks you can build a wall and stop this. it is a question of how you can manage it and how you can avoid trying to fix it in one place, you simply spill the problem over into a neighboring country. that's why we really need an integrated effort around the region with good cooperation between us and also financial burden sharing to help everyone contribute to helping this be
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done in the most humane and correct way vis-a-vis the ref agrees, and hopefully in due course to slow down the flow and persuade people maybe they don't have to rush to get inside the european borders. there is a better future which may be elsewhere for them. >> thank you very much. thank you for being here this afternoon and the work you're doing. to address this crisis. i want to first agree with the statements that have been said. what i saw when i was in europe was a tremendous outpouring of native people in greece, in germany and other places where people were trying to respond to the humanitarian effort. while they were overwhelmed, they were trying to to the right thing. i'm sure in serbia that's also the case.
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i think certainly leadership from countries like germany, to say this is a crisis we should all respond to is important to recognize. we met with the coast guard in greece who often, at great personal risk, has rescued literally thousands of people from the mediterranean who were saved because of that heroism. i also agree with everything that's been said about the need to support lebanon, turkey and jordan because they have certainly taken be in so many refugees. thank you for putting a face on these refugees. we talked to some young men in settlement house in berlin who were students, had fled, wanted to continue their education and wanted to go back to syria because they wanted to be the future leaders of that country.
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i have three just questions before we close this afternoon. and the first has to do, ambassador, with one of the things that surprised me in germany was hearing how many of the refugees who had come there were from the balkans, mostly from albania and kosovo. appreciating the history in the balkans. you may want to hand that question off to somebody else. can you talk about why you think we're seeing those large numbers of refugees from the balkans? most of the focus today has been on africa and the middle east but, in fact, we are seeing those refugees. and what is the response to those folks who have left those balkan countries?
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>> thank you senator for this question. yes, you are right. big number of refugees have left recently, the balkans. mainly from kosovo, albania. but also from some other countries. and the reason i think is more economic. the economic hardships. the lack of jobs. the high level of unemployment. lack of perspective for their future lives. so they think that they will find a better life in western europe and that it will be their future. but in order to solve this problem, i think we have to work together, and all these countries in the region should be united on an agenda to promote the economic relations
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with all the european countries and united states. and to attract more investments. once they have a better life there and they have possibilities for jobs and livelihood there, they will stay. so the root problem in the balkans is economic reasons. not like in syria or other countries. yes, i can compare it with some african countries who are also leaving for economic reasons. my prime minister, thank you very much for receiving him last time he was here, has really good agenda on the countries. that's why his first visit after elected as prime minister. to show our support to -- and also as you know albania, twice, and the albanian prime minister. so the program which we are
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doing is i think the resolution of the whole problem. >> i certainly applaud that leadership and very much appreciate it. one of the things we heard was we know that many of the african migrants are coming across through libya, as has been talked about. many coming from turkey across the mediterranean to greece. one of the things we've heard is there are human trafficking operators operating out of turkey. there's the potential to crack down on those traffickers in a way that would help with the problem. to what extent do you see the international community or the eu working with turkey to try and address those traffickers who are contributing to immigration? mr. pitterman? or ambassador o'sullivan?
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>> i think the consensus is i should answer that. i mentioned the naval mission we put in place. i don't know if there is a legal difference between smugglers and traffickers. basically both types of activity are at work here. and it is clear that in the early stages of this crisis, this was particularly true in libya, people paying large sums of money to come a very convoluted route. and then put out to sea and a phone call to the guard saying a boat's going to sink if you don't rescue it. and we have put in place a stable mission which basically will operate across the whole mediterranean with a mandate.
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we're very grateful to the united states for support on that. u.n. mandate to operate on the high seas. we hope we will reach agreement with the new libyan administration to help them address the issue on their shores. and we're engaged in conversations with turkey actively to see how we can jointly work with them to try and deal with this issue of illegal movement into greece which you've been able to witness it firsthand. we're actively engaged. we have a naval force that's trying to make some inroads. it's not easy. i think we need to deal with the smugglers. once again this is dealing with a symptom. but we need to deal with it. but we will still -- the bigger problem will still remain. this is one aspect we need to address. >> one of the things we heard is as migrants were put into the big rubber boats and that's exactly what they are, big rubber rafts, they were told when they get close to the shore to cut them so they will begin to sink so the coast guard would come and rescue them. as you point out, this is the smugglers or humanitarian efforts.
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it's a response to the immediate challenge. the longer term challenge is how do we address the conflicts. the economic conditions. also what about the reintegration efforts. one of the things we heard, that's a longer term challenge. it's probably a more expensive in the long-term challenge. it's one in which often members of eu countries are more concerned with addressing. in terms of the immigration challenges we have in the united states. can you speak to ambassador o'sullivan what the discussions at the eu and what you're looking at that will address that longer term reintegration challenge and how that is being looked at across eu member states? >> we have a long history of
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immigration. almost every european country has significant populations from within europe or north africa or turkey, 3 million turks living in germany, very substantial north african populations living in france and belgium. more recent times, my own country ireland has got 250,000 poles living there and some 60,000 chinese i believe. so the world has changed. i think we are conscious that in some cases the integration of these communities has been more successful than others. i think people are very conscious of looking forward. i think we now assume we are going to have a consistent flow of refugees and asylum seekers and possibly economic migrants that we have to face and deal with. we'd like to deal with the root causes. we'd like to feel people didn't have to come. on the other hand, we have a demographic problem. and i think people are conscious
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of trying to think through how do we ensure the integration, how do we ensure language training, access to education. president juncker made a strong appeal that all these asylum seekers should be allowed work which is not necessarily the -- he said not only the dignity of work but the integration and the sense of belonging to a community. i think yes, there's a lot of thought going into it. we're dealing with the immediate crisis. the next phase is definitely, well, given that these people are now here and probably will continue to come, perhaps in slightly smaller numbers, but doesn't matter, we really need, in each member state, to have a conscious policy of how we make sure they are successfully integrated into our respective societies. >> so we will stay tuned for further decisions at the eu level. >> unfortunately, it's not something you see the results of two days afterwards. i think we need to stay tuned and come back to see how successful we've been. >> well, thank you all very much. thank you, chairman smith, for holding the hearing. >> if i may add a quick word on
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this point. unhcr has been quite proactive to provide a dialogue, a convening for that. the u.s. has quite a lot to learn from the resettlement experience in europe. up until now, that experience has been very much the social welfare state model. dealing with tens, hundreds of people. now, au contraire, they're confronted with quite important numbers of refugees being resettled or relocated within europe. much like the american model. as assistant secretary richards said, they're also asking questions. and the united states can provide some very helpful answers with the imperative to work. the united states hasn't really set up standards for citizenship. we don't know how many refugees who have been resettled have become citizens of the united states.
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the other data map -- other data indicators aren't always very clearly available. the main thing now is a lot more engagement by, for example, the migration policy institute. where they're having experts in integration of refugees and immigrants in europe speaking to americans to learn mu art how things are happening and where there are lessons to be learned. it will be a long-term thing. a lot of what we've been talking about today, if i may just -- as a sort of summary, closure remark from my side, prompt that first the refugees, the refugees is, like you said, is like a symptom of the problem. they are victims. they're not choosing to do.
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while they may be of economic importance, that's not their primary motivation after all. but what we're in for now is the long term. whether it's -- and it's big bucks frankly. in terms of reconstruction in syria, when there is a solution, and iraq, in terms of development assistance to the host countries in the interim and also, too, encourage other middle income asylum countries like tunisia and kenya and ethiopia and cameroon to continue to provide asylum to literally hundreds of thousands of refugees very much at their expense because there's no way that unhcr is able to support host communities at the same level as we provide support to refugees. and that there will be there for a continuing need for development aid. it's a big challenge ahead of us. we're talking marshall plan. >> thank you. thank you so much for your expertise, your extraordinary commitment to humanity,
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which is played out every single day. you've provided this commit with a tremendous number of insights. and recommendations that we will work on as individual members of the senate and the house but also a commission. thank you very much. the hearing is adjourned. paul ryan announced he'll consider running for speaker. he gave member until friday to make a decision. we expect an update wednesday morning after they meet to discuss the leadership race and
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their legislative agenda. after that fbi director james comey and jeh johnson testify before the homeland security committee. we'll join that hearing in progress following the house republican leadership meeting. this sunday night on q&a. "the new york times" national political reporter shares her experiences from hillary clinton's presidential campaign and compares what it's like now to bake in 2008. >> to be honest, i was a lot younger. i was sort of the traveling person. i wasn't in a senior role. and i also, you know, when you're traveling all of the time. i got to know the people that traveled with her. i felt like i got to know her pretty well because she would come back in the plane and talk with us. but at the same time i didn't have the same sources at the campaign and high level people that i have now. and whether that's a function of being at the tooims or the
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function of being in a more senior role. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. vice president joe biden recently talked about the events leading up to the raid that ended in the killing of osama bin laden by u.s. forces. >> for the president and i and only two others in the administration knew about abod bod as early as august. we did not go for almost a year to get him. major players in the cabinet didn't know about it until january or february the following year. and so it was something that was a difficult call for the president. so we sat in the cabinet room
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and at the end of the day, making the decision he said, now i want everybody's opinion. and everybody went around the room and there were only two people who were definitive and were absolutely certain. leon panetta said go and bob gates has already publicly said this, don't to go. others were 49-51. some ended up saying go but it was a close call. i joked and sadia eel sound like 17 larry summers, economists. and he said joe, what would you do. there was a third option think didn't think we should do. i said, well, i think we should make one more pass with another uav to see if it is him. the reason i did that is because i didn't want to take a position to go if that was not where he was going to go. so as we walked out of the room
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and walked upstairs, i said -- i told him my opinion that i thought he should go but to follow his own instincts. it would have been a mistake, imagine if i would have said in front of everyone, don't go or go and his decision was a different decision. it undercuts that relationship. >> later, white house press secretary josh earnest was asked questions on the vice president's remarks and other topic at the daily press briefing. this is about an hour. >> yeah, tough night last night. fortunately we got a day game again today. we'll try to get this moving along so we can -- i know how interested all of you are in game four. i think first pitch is at 4:00. so not that anybody is keeping track. so i actually do not have
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anything at the top so we can go straight to your questions. >> thanks. will you give us the white house view on the canadian election results? >> well, speaking of things happening in canada, i guess, the united states and certainly president obama con grach lats prime minister justin true doe on a win. the president will have an opportunity later today to call him to congratulate him on that election victory. i'd be remiss if i didn't point out that both the president and the country is deeply appreciative of prime minister harper's efforts to build a strong u.s.-canada relationship. and as you know, president obama had a number of occasions to meet firsthand -- to meet i'm c president obama will speak with prime minister harper at some point in the not too distant
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future as well. >> do you know if the president will invite justin trudeau to come to the white house? >> at this point, i don't know that, but if an invitation is extended, we'll be sure to let you know. >> does the white house think relations with canada will get a little easier under prime minister designate trudeau? i know harper was a little annoyed over the length of time that it was taking to approve the keystone pipeline. >> i think it would be short-sighted to reduce the relationship between the two countries to just one issue. the fact is there are a whole range of issues where the united states and canada worked effectively together to advance the interests of our two countries. obviously canada made an important contribution to our counter-isil coalition. we know that canada has been an important part of making the trans-pacific partnership a
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reality. canadian negotiators engaged in that process in an important way and made an important contribution in bringing those talks to a conclusion and we believe that completing that agreement and implementing it would be in the best interests of certainly the u.s. economy and u.s. middle class families and that it will have an impact in canada. canada's also made a substantial and important commitment in advance of the paris climate talks. we believe there's more that canada could do in this regard, but the fact that they are stepping up and indicating, making a commitment is an indication of the important role that canada plays, not just in the relationship with the united states but in terms of their leadership around the world. and the united states is fortunate to have such a strong and close partnership with a
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country like canada that does have the this global influence. and our bilateral relationship has enhanced the security and prosperity of the american people. and we certainly are appreciative of prime minister harper's efforts to strengthen that relationship. and we look forward to building on that kind of progress. when mr. trudeau takes over the prime minister's office. >> i have a daily biden question. >> only one? >> only one. >> he said today he spends between four and seven hours with the president. seven hours seems like a long time to spend with one person. [ laughter ] >> is that a couldn't on your colleagues in the ap booth? >> oh! [ laughter ] >> we don't want to go there. >> i'm just teasing. >> outside of the presidential daily brief, you know, the lunch
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they're having this afternoon. meetings with cabinet secretaries and some of their public appearances, their joint public appearances, how would you account for the rest of the time that he says they spend together? >> well, it certainly is not unusual for the president to convene broader national security meetings or other domestic policy meetings. i think the meetings you just ran through would account for about three hours every day. so it's not unusual for the president to have another hour or two of meetings on his schedule that would also include the vice president. this is also subject to the president's travel schedule and the vice president's travel schedule. so, this is not a daily occurrence. but the timing window that he laid out seems generally accurate to me, based on my reading of the public schedule, okay? jeff? >> josh, a follow up, now that it's over, would there be a
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decision on the keystone pipeline? >> secretary kerry addressed this earlier today. the secretary of state leads the agency that is conducting the review of this project and my understanding is that secretary kerry said this election would have no impact on the timing or the final decision of the project. this is still under way at the state department. based on what secretary kerry says t doesn't seem that the canadian election will have an impact on the timing. >> is there a time when you'd like to see that recommendation over here? >> at this point, no. i think the president has already said that he is expecting that he'll be able to complete this policy process prior to his departure from office. but that's still 15 months away or so. so hopefully we'll get it done well before then. >> you mentioned that the united
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states -- >> if for show other reason that we can stop talking about it. >> you mentioned that the united states would like to see canada do more on climate change, but prime minister designate said during his campaign that he wanted to set up a national standard for carbon pricing and would like to have a north american agreement on clean energy and the environment. do you see this new leader as, and this election, and the results of this election as an opportunity to engage on some of those ideas and perhaps get further commitments from canada on climate change? >> i think it's too early to judge how mr. trudeau will follow through on some of the policy debates that occurred in the context of the campaign. i'll confess that i didn't follow those policy debates technicaltec particularly closely, but the united states and certainly the president has played a role in the conversations, let me say it this way. in each of the conversations that the president's been having
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with world leaders of late, he has been making clear that he considers commitments in advance of the paris conference a high priority. and he's been encouraging the leaders of those countries to make an important contribution to success in paris. and obviously, that was part of the discussions with president park when she was here. this is part of the discussion that the president had with president xi when he was at the white house a couple weeks ago. obviously, this was something that was a part of the pope's visit to the white house. so, and the president's spent a lot of time talking about this in the context of the united nations general assembly. just off the top of my head, it seems that in each of the significant engagements that he's had with world leaders over the last several weeks, this has been high on his agenda. and i'm confident that will be the case when he speaks with mr. trudeau as well. >> and lastly, from that campaign, mr. trudeau said he
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would withdraw canada's air force from the fight with islamic state and syria. how does the white house feel about that? >> obviously the obama administration will be in talks with our canadian partners about their contribution to the counter-isil effort. they've made an important contribution thus far and we're appreciative of them lending their talent and skill and expertise to that effort. and we hope that we can continue to count on their ongoing support for this very important mission. we certainly value the contributions that we've received from the canadians thus far in terms of our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy isil, and we're certainly hoping that they will continue to play that important role that they've played thus far. okay? j.c.? >> josh, as winter now begins to bear down on eastern europe and
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the immigrant migration, refugee crisis there, has the president had any updates? any new conversations with the leaders, including angela merkle, et cetera, in terms of additional support. we know that the oust is number one in providing that kind of monetary support. we've discussed that. but is there any new initiatives that this white house is beginning to prepare for? >> i don't have anything new to announce at this point, j.c. the united states continues to be the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to this effort, and you know, the president continues to be concerned about the significance of this humanitarian crisis. the scale of of of this crisis is historic, even. and it certainly should stir the conscience of people around the world in responding to it. the united states has stepped up. the u.s. government has stepped
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up to make a significant contribution. the white house recently did organize this online portal so that if there are private u.s. citizens who are interested in making a financial contribution to ongoing humanitarian relief efforts, that there's information about that on the white house website, essentially it will steer you toward charitable organizations geared toward responding to this crisis. >> some of the past hatreds in that part of the country since the '30s are coming out again, resurfacing. i know the president is aware. but does this cause him any moral pain when he thinks of this kind of thing coming back again, to face europe and to face this country? >> i think part of this, there is a natural human reaction that i think does not reflect in any way the majority, the prevailing
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opinion either across the united states or across europe about the fact that these individuals who are fleeing violence in syria are human beings. they have the same worries and concerns and dreams and ambitions that other human beings do. and our humanity calls on us to recognize that humanity inside of them, and that certainly is reflected in the policy approach the united states has pursued. and i think it's reflected in the kind of reception that most europeans have offered when, you know, these individuals have arrived in europe. that's not to diminish the significance of the challenge. in providing for the needs of these individuals and making sure that it doesn't, or at least minimally disrupts the good order in those countries
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and the day-to-day life of the citizens. but to diminish or ignore the humanity of these individuals fleeing a desperate situation, fleeing terrible violence in their home country is something that, that i'm glad that only a small minority of people have done. george? >> in his debate with mitt romney, in 2012, the president said that vice president biden had advised him against going after bin laden. the vice president has now changed his story on that. is the president similarly changing his recollection? >> george, i was, was not in the room when these decisions were being made or when the president was consulting his advisers about this very difficult foreign policy call that he made. and there've already been books that have been written about this.
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i'm confident that there will be more, or at least there will be more books in which we'll be able to read about this momentous time in american history. so i'm going to leave the dissection and the oral history, if you will, of those days to those who were actually there and to the extent that there are some greater clarity you'd like to seek, maybe you'll have an opportunity at some point to ask those who were in the room. >> but as far as you know, the president is still sticking with what he said in the debate with romney. >> i don't have any new insight to share with you of the president's recollection of those days. >> vice president biden says that he advised the president to go forward with that raid. is that true? >> john, on many occasions i've declined to provide insight into the private conversations between the president of the united states and the vice president of the united states, other than to tell you that the president deeply values that advice. but i'm not going to get into
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the substance of their conversations. >> so you can't tell me today whether the vice president was telling the truth when he said that he advised to go forward with the bin laden raid? >> i'm telling you that i don't have anything to share about the conversations between the president and vice president. >> what are we to make of the fact that his, leon panetta said, point blank in his book that biden came out firmly in favor of waiting for more information, robert gates said biden was against the operation. hillary clinton said biden remains skeptical. biden himself has said that he was against the decision. he said point blank that mr. president, my suggestion is don't go. i mean, what are we to make of the fact that all of these people said exactly the opposite, including biden himself? >> well, listen, i'm not going to be able to provide a lot of insight into private communications between the president and vice president. >> let me ask you about something else that wasn't private communications that the
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vice president said today. he said that the president said you have veto power over anybody in my cabinet, is that true? did the president give vice president biden veto power over all cabinet nominations? >> again, i am not aware of the kinds of conversations that then senator obama had with then senator biden about him coming on board at running mate, so i just, i don't have any information about that. >> well, let me ask you. i mean, you worked on the campaign. you've been working in this building for, for six years. have you ever heard any suggestion that the vice president has veto power over cabinet nominations? >> well, again, i'm not privy -- >> suggested -- >> i'm not privy to all the conversations between the president and vice president. so, you know, you'll have to take it up with one of the two of them if they're willing to talk about it publicly. >> what do you think we should make of the fact today as we're
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waiting for biden's decision, he's talking about spending up to seven hours a day with the president. he's talking about having veto power, having talked about being in favor of a raid he previously said he was against. what is going on? >> again, you guys are the ones who can raid the political tea leaves. and to a certain extent, that's part of your job. what i'll say from my perspective is that the fact that we're spending a lot of time discussing the presidential prospects of a candidate who is essentially saying that he would get in the race to try to advance the president's agenda, that the president himself has been fighting for for the last seven years, frankly, that's a luxury for me, not a burden. and, if we spent this much time talking about people who were vowing to block the president's agenda, that would be a lot amoe difficult for me than having an opportunity to discuss how viable and, you know, possibly
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influential a candidate could be by running, saying he wants to advance the agenda we've been fighting for for the last seven years. >> by the way, you just called him a candidate. do you know something we don't? >> i misspoke. i should have said potential candidate. >> the bin laden raid -- >> i wasn't following it. i was following it on twitter. >> were you surprised with what you saw on twitter? >> not particularly. >> how much influence does the vice president have on this president? >> well, i think the president himself would talk about their relationship, has talked about vice president biden being one of the most consequential vice presidents in the history of the country. and i think, if you take a look at the contribution he's made on a range of domestic policy issue, including implementation of the recovery act and his
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influence on a range of foreign policy issues, particularly in managing hotspots like ukraine that clearly vice president biden plays a really important role in conceiving of and advancing the agenda of the obama administration and of the obama white house. so there's no denying his significant influence in this building. >> at the white house that many are waiting for his decision as well as the american public? >> that's been true for months. >> any one urged him? because i'm understanding that you're waiting to hear what he says, whether he can move one way or the other, whether you support him that way in this run or his bid or just move on? >> well, i feel confident that we are -- well, i think the president himself has acknowledged that he has no
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immediate plans to offer an endorsement of any candidate for president. that could change down the line. but that's what he's said, and he's made clear that that's, that that's going to be his position regardless of the decision that vice president biden makes. so i'm not sure that -- yes, there is an element of, like all of you, waiting for the vice president to make what is an intensely personal decision about whether or not to run for president. but it's not as if it has a day-to-day impact on the important work that goes on around here. >> now on another subject, on the benghazi hearing. today, i understand that david kendall, the attorney for hillary clinton as well as trey gowdy and elijah cummings will be meeting to set the ground rules for thursday. >> i had not heard that. >> well, you have an exclusive. >> there you go. breaking news, everybody. >> all right. so anyway, trey gowdy is
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proposing to all the persons in this meeting that he wants each member of the committee to have four questions, which would lead up to eight hours. what do you, what does this white house want to see when it comes to this very sensitive hearing, particularly as relates to benghazi, not the e-mails, necessarily, but benghazi as the family of those who died want answers still in the midst of all this controversy. >> well, i think what we have seen from a lot of the families is not just a desire for answers, but a desire to not see this terrible tragedy used tor partisan political gain. and unfortunately, that's exactly what we've seen from the committee. and you don't have to take my word for it. there are two different republican members who have come to the same conclusion, including the majority leader. i think that republicans on the committee are going to be under intense pressure to justify
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their very existence, to justify the existence of this committee and to prove to the american people that this committee is not just another arm of the republican national committee. you would hope that something this serious and this important would not be so freely subjected to partisan politics. unfortunately, that's precisely what's occurred. and, you know, given that pressure that i'm sure republicans on that committee are feeling, they're going to come loaded for bear and come out, you know, with aggressive, hostile questioning of the secretary of state, trying to further the goal that leader mccarthy laid out, which is driving down her poll numbers. so that will be, well, i expect it will be something that will be closely watched by at least people in this room. and you know, again, i think republicans on the committee will be engaged in a very vigorous, aggressive effort to try to justify the continuing
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existence of the committee. >> president believe that his administration believes the state department is under a microscope when the hearing takes place thursday? >> not any more than he is any other day. conn connie. >> on israel and the palestinians. would the administration use aid to pressure an agreement? >> i'm not aware. what the u.s. position has been is that a two-state solution is a best way to resolve the conflict between the two parties and the only way to arrive at that kind of negotiated settlement that results in a two-state solution is for the two parties to sit down face-to-face and negotiate directly. as you know secretary kerry and
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many secretary of states before him have expended significant effort and energy to try to bring both sides to the table and to try to bring them to conclusion around those conversations. unfortunately, that's not occurred. and i say unfortunately, because we believe it is clearly in the interests of our closest ally in the middle east for the situation to be resolved in this way. we also believe it would be in the interest of the palestinian people to resolve this conflict in that way and resolving the conflict would advance the national security interests of the united states, so. >> the united states -- >> i'm confident that both sides, the leaders of the palestinian people and the leaders of the nation of israel are under pressure from their, the citizens, from their people, from their constituents. to end this conflict. neither side is well-served by it. it's taken a toll on the
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economy. it certainly has taken a toll on the security in both palestinian and israeli neighborhoods, and it's, this, this significant loss of innocent life is just tragic. and hopefully both sides will be able to summon the political courage at some point relatively soon to come to the table and finally make the kinds of tough political decisions that will be required to resolve their differences. >> there's a unesco -- the western wall. [ inaudible ] >> i'd refer you to the u.n. ambassador's office for a comment on that. >> the thayou said you would co it a luxury and not a burden to have someone running for president that would uphold the policies of this administration. >> i guess i should say another one. but yes, another one.
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>> so you don't see any circumstances under which joe biden gets into the race that would make it more difficult for the democrats to win the white house? >> there's lots of political analysis that has been done and probably will be done around that specific question. >> no concern around the white house that that could happen? >> well, again, the, i think the view around the white house is that the democratic voters across the country will choose the person that is best positioned to represent the democratic party in the next presidential election. and there's a lot of confidence in the white house in the ability of the democratic voters to do exactly that. and you can be sure that whoever the democratic nominee is, as both someone who will understand the importance of building on the important progress that we've made over the last seven years, but it's also a candidate that can count on the strong support of the incumbent
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president of the united states. and i'm confident that we'll spend a lot of time this time next year advocating for that democratic presidential candidate. >> you have not wanted to, consistently, and have said you aren't necessarily privy to any conversations of the vice president and the president are having about this topix, but is the president staying out of this essentially? >> well, the president's staying out of it in that he understands that the vice president has to make his own personal decision about this. and the president's staying out of it with regard to his understanding that this is only a decision that vice president biden can make for himself and for his family. i think the president's sympathetic to how difficult a decision like this is to make. but ultimately, the president understands this is a decision that can be made by a vice president biden and by vice president biden alone. >> whereich is not to say he's
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offering advice? >> i'm not going to get into their conversations. they're having lunch, maybe even right now. but i wouldn't be surprised if questions of politics came up. but i'm not privy to the details of those conversations. >> let me ask you quickly about another topic. a gallup poll said more adults what tougher restrictions on guns. and 30% said they thought the current regulations should remain the same. i wonder, the president stood where you're standing right after the horrific oregon shooting and said this cannot stand, what is the white house doing actively to see that something changes. >> well, you heard the president in a news conference that he did about a week later, acknowledged that his team was going back and scrubbing through the law to determine if there were additional authorities that could be used by the president of the united states to try to have an impact on some of these
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rules. and the president's made clear that he'll do as much as he possibly can within his power to try to prevent those who shouldn't have guns from getting them in the first place. and the president believes strongly that we can do that without undermining the fundamental constitutional rights of law-abiding americans. and the most important impact that we can have in this area would be for congress to pass a common sense law that would close the gun show loophole and ensure that everybody who tries to purchase a firearm even at a gun show would be subject to a background check. >> is there the work going on with influential members of congress in this regard? >> as it relates to congress, the president has been quite clear about what will be required before we see significant change in congress. you know, we're going to need to see the american people step up and to make their voices heard, and you mentioned this latest
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polling data. there's ample data out there and has been for quite some time to indicate that a vast majority of the american public holds this common sense view. and it won't be until that that common sense view is strongly conveyed to members of congress, and until members of congress understand that the votes that they expect from their constituents will be contingent on them holding that same common sense view. and until that political effort has been mobilized, we're unlikely to see the congress take the kind of action that the president believes is long overdue. >> i know that you'd love to comment on what the republicans are doing. donald trump said last night that president obama is working on an executive order to take americans' guns away, something that's getting a lot of tick up in conservative might yeah. >> the president's made no bones that he's prepared to use every
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ounce of his administrative authority to keep guns out of the wrong hands. but to protect the basic fundamental rights of law-abiding americans. we certainly would welcome others who share that common sense view from making their voices heard. >> is donald trump lying or misinformed? >> industry have no idea what trump is doing. [ laughter ] >> i want to look back on the biden thing and if possibly you could talk to the president or vice president about this because there is a precedent of white house spokes men commenting on this very issue. there is a chorus of people who say that the vice president did advise the president not to go after bin laden in the raid. so i'm wondering if, since it was said from your podium if you
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could clarify that. >> i think at the next opportunity you have to ask questions of the vice president or president you can ask them directly, and if so, you won't have to rely on me. >> i wanted to ask about cia director john brennan. obviously, there were reports that his e-mail was hacked but also that the e-mail hackers were able to obtain sensitive data from his e-mail address, including the names of people who were visiting the white house and possibly sensitive information on intelligence assets. i'm wondering if that has led to an investigation here at the white house about his use of his white house e-mail and transferring sensitive data from his white house e-mail to an obviously less-secure personal e-mail. >> i haven't seen those specific reports, and i'm certainly not aware of any ongoing investigation. i file confident in saying that director brennan understands as well as anybody in the federal government they need to handle sensitive data with the
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appropriate level of caution. so, you know, i think what is, what is clear is that this underscores the importance of f government officials, as it sounds like brennan did, using their official e-mail address for official work. but it does highlight the risk that all of us face when it comes to the security of our private e-mail, and certainly, you know, we'll, this is the kind of environment, this cyber security environment that we're currently operating in is one that requires vigilance, not just on the part of those of us, all of us, that have private e-mail addresses, but also on the part of the companies that are responsible for
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administering the security around those private e-mail systems. and many of the best practices that this administration has advocated are the kinds of things that would bolster cyber security, and not just in the government space but also in the private sector as well. >> i just wanted to ask if maybe you could preview the pakistan letter earlier this week. i know that the president kind of vaguely represented the need to end sanctuaries for terrorists or for the taliban and other terrorists, presumably within pakistan, so i'm wondering if there's a specific aspect on that or if there are other kind of agenda items that the president hopes to raise. >> i don't have a comprehensive preview of their discussions at this point. obviously, as i mentioned yesterday, the united states has an important security relationship with pakistan that our security forces have, in a
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variety of ways been able to effectively coordinate our efforts in a way that enhances the national security of both the united states and pakistan. obviously, there are extremist elements inside of pakistan that have committed terrible acts of violence and terrible acts of terrorism inside of pakistan. and, you know, i have on previous occasions read condolence statements on behalf of the american people to the pakistan people because of those extremist elements. i cite that only to note that this is a shared priority of our two countries, that this risk that we sense emanates from this broader region is a risk that, or is a threat that pakistan has had to deal with first hand. and it underscores the importance of our security relationship with pakistanis. >> the only other thing that the president mentioned was the need to push the taliban back into
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peace negotiations and afghanistan. i'm wondering if that's a topic that you expect to come up, but also, if you put it into that context, sanction the top taliban official and whether that's a carrot or a stick, what, how does that fit into that strategy? >> well, as i've observed before, one of the early rounds of reconciliation talks between the afghan government and the taliban was actually hosted by the pakistani government inside of pakistan. so it's clear that the pakistani government recognizes how important those reconciliation efforts are, and we're pleased that they step the up in trying to facilitate constructive conversations. as it relates to the treasury announcement, i would defer to the treasury department about the individual that was sanctioned and what, what activities earned that individual this special designation.
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okay? major? >> a couple other things the vice president said today. he said every vice president's job in relationship to their president is to -- >> based on what i saw on twitter, which can be a little dangerous. >> the president defines your job when you're the vice president, would you define that? >> i would agree with what the vice president said, which is that a lot of the authority and influence that's derived from the office of the vice president is based on the relationship between the president and the vice president. and i think all of you have observed the closeness and respect that's included in that relationship between this president and this vice president. >> so this vice president's role was defined by the president. >> so it sounds like that's exactly what he said. so he would know better than i. >> do you agree with that? >> it's hard for me to -- >> if the vice president runs,
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and he's already beginning to differentiate or in a very robust way describe his role, and there's no other person that we can ask directly, other than the president and you about what he did or didn't do. and this is going to put new a position of litigating what his rolling was here, vis-a-vis the secretary of state, whether it be secretary of state clinton or anybody else. are you going to take up that role? you're trying to dance around it today, because he's not a candidate. but if he becomes a candidate, are you going to take these questions and answer them as directly and fully as you possibly can? >> i think what i will do is this -- and this may be getting ahead of ourselves, but this is what i would do. each of these candidates, particularly secretary clinton, and if he chooses to become a candidate, vice president biden, will be responsible for going out there in public and making their own affirmative case. and if there is an instance in which the president's interests are at stake, then it's my
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responsibility to go out there and make sure that his interests are properly and well represented. but in a debate like this one that has emerged based on the vice president's public comments today,'s raised questions among all of you about the vice president's role, what his views were at the time, those were all questions you can ask the vice president or his spokesperson. i certainly have had lots of positive things to say about the vice president because of his important contribution to our nation and our administration's success. but if he chooses to become a candidate for vice president, he will have ample opportunity to make his own public case about why the american people should promote him to the top job. >> so when he says, as he did today, when he traveled around the world, world leaders know that i am speaking for the president, is that true? >> i think that is true. and i think those world leaders know, when they're receiving the vice president of the united states, they're receiving him because they know that the president's asked him to go. >> and that should be exhibit
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preted y -- interpreted yes or no as being a stronger voice than the secretary of state. >> i think the same could be said about the secretary of state or any other senior u.s. official that's representing the u.s. interests before another government. they're there to represent the interests of the american people and there to try to advance our priorities. and i think that's true of -- >> the vice president suggested he was speaking more powerfully on behalf of the president than anybody else in the cabinet. >> i think when people are receiving the vice president they understand that they are receiving somebody who has a very close, personal relationship with the president and somebody that has a very detailed understanding of the president's views and priorities. so i understand why other countries are eager to have the opportunity to receive the vice president.
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but so i guess to that, to that extent, that's significance of a vice presidential visit to another country. >> whether jon jonathan was ask what to make about all this you said you'd let us read the political tea leaves. what he was asking about was operational advice or things that were said within the confines of this white house. it wasn't a political question. and i wonder why your answer went to politics. do you think this has become a political debate, what his role was regards to veto power or cabinet? they're not innately political questions. >> i do believe it was a question about the political consequences of it all. but, look, when we're talking, i think there's a couple important things to separate out. yes, these are operational, that's the reason we've talked about them in the immediate aftermath of the successful completion of the mission.
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what's also true is the reason that we're talking about it now is because of politics. and so, separating that out in some cases may be in the eye of the beholder. but what i will do moving forward is what i've done in the past, which is to do the best that i can to try to help you understand the president's view on things and to represent the president's interests when they come into question. but if it's a question purely of politics that only has tranjengsal interest, i'll weigh in. but we'll see thousand how this forward. >> jim clyburn said it was his opinion that the vice president should not announce that he is running for president. that he should say he is available if necessary. >> that is creative. everybody's entitled to their
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opinion. and mr. clyburn, who has been a close observer of politics for decades, based on the prominence his home state has in the process of choosing a democratic mom my, mr. clyburn certainly knows what he's talking about. but with all due respect to somebody as significant and as sophisticated as mr. clyburn, there's only one person, and that's the vice president of the united states. >> josh, is there a feeling back on pakistan from the administration that they're not doing enough to tamp down the extremists interests in that country, and how would you describe u.s./pakistani relationships, are we frenemies? >> is that a technical term? >> is there any lingering friction over the bin laden raid or anything? >> i think it's been well-documented that there have been so many peaks and troughs
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in the relationship between the u.s. and pakistan when it comes to the relationship between our two countries. i think something similar could be said about the united states and our relationship with a variety of countries around the world over the last couple of decades. what the president hopes to do is to strengthen the relationship between our two countries, based on our shared interests. as i mentioned, either to major or to chris, there is a shared interest. the united states and pakistan have in countering extremist forces in that region of the world. there are -- this is something that pakistan has to deal with on their doorstep. and to the extent that the united states can be helpful, in that regard, we would like to be. principal lay because we believe it is in our interests for pakistan to succeed in their fight against those it extremist
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elements and to make their country safer. and we've been supportive of their efforts to do that. >> but there's not a feeling that they haven't done enough? on their own? >> again, i'm confident that there are, this is true with, even our closest allies, that we're always encouraging them to do more. even our nato allies. we regularly gheet this debate about how much more of a financial contribution we would like to see our nato allies make to their defense budgets, because we believe there is more that they could do to advance our shared interests and to strengthen our lines. so i'm confident that the president will come to his meeting with prime minister sharif with some ideas about what more the pakistanis could do to strengthen the relationship between our two countries and to advance the security interests of our two countries. >> thanks, josh, has the president met justin trudeau? >> that's a good question. i'm not aware, off the top of my head, i'm not aware of any individual meeting that they
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have had, but we can look into that. >> thanks. now that trudeau is leading canada and australia and france also have progressives leading the way as does this country, what does that say about the jog left among some of the major economies in the world? >> i think it's hard to compare those broader trends. i think ultimately these are citizens casting votes on the political climate in each of their individual countries. i think it's hard to -- maybe there's somebody who knows a little bit more about current international politics than i do that might be able to draw a, draw a line between all those elections. but you know, my sense of politics is that each of these electorates is responding to dynamics inside their own country. >> keystone, we've talked a great deal about it. does this tamp down that division or that divisiveness between this administration and
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the canadian administration now that trudeau will be moving into power? >> well, again, i, my sense is that the strength of the u.s./canada relationship is based on all those areas where we've been able to effectively work together to advance our shared interests. whether that's making commitments to the climate process in paris, to fighting isil in iraq and in syria, or, you know, working cooperatively with ten other nations in the asia-pacific to advance our economic interests in the transactions of the trans-pacific partnership. each of those represents areas where the u.s. and canada have been able to pursue our interests. all three of those other things i just mentioned are a much bigger deal. and ultimately, you know a decision will be rendered on the keystone project.
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but, you know, i'm confident that the, regardless of what that final decision is, i have confidence and will continue to have confidence in the strength of the u.s./canada relationship. >> jim webb steps out of the race in the democratic side. do you feel like his is a voice that has a place in democratic politics? and why do you feel he didn't resonate for whatever reason? >> well, again, i'll let you all speculate on what senator webb may have been able to do differently to try to get a little bit more traction inside the democratic presidential primary race. obviously, senator webb is somebody who's made a significant contribution to our country's national security, both his service in our military and vietnam, to his service in the reagan administration, but also to his service in the united states senate and he's had quite an interesting career. and i think, like many people, i'm quite interested to see what he's going to do next. >> making his way here perhaps
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as soon as this evening? is that your understanding? >> that's my understanding, they could come in the next day or two. i'm not sure exactly how to, to what to attribute the delay in delivering the legislation to the white house. but maybe some of our republican friends on capitol hill could explain that. but i think we all know the outcome. michelle? >> you talked about this biden question and the things he said today as maybe having some tangential importance. the reason it's interesting is because it's so different than what we've heard from other people before. and it goes directly to a, what happened that night, who felt what about it, and the kind of pressure the president was under. and the president talked about it in that context when he said that even the vice president wasn't for this. so is there any reason to doubt that what the president said when he said those words wasn't accurate? >> no. i, i don't think i'm trying to
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indicate a change in the president's view. i think what i'm suggesting is that the people who were in the room at the time were the ones that should be consulted. but ultimately, the decision that mattered was the decision that was made by the president of the united states to carry out a mission against osama bin laden and thanks to the courage and professionalism and effectiveness of our men and women in the intelligence community and men and women in uniform, that mission, that daring mission, was successful. >> again, it's interesting because the people who were in that room are saying all kinds of different things. and today the vice president said that there were only two people who were definitive in their views. panetta and gates, but that's different from what we've heard from hillary clinton. so when the vice president said that today, is there any reason -- he was in that room. is there any reason to doubt what he said? >> i think historians would probably tell you that this is not the first time that a
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significant political event has prompted differing recollections from people who participated in it. and that is not to call into question the integrity or veracity or honesty of anybody who participated. i think it is an acknowledgement that particularly when the stakes are high and the pressure's on that in hindsight, the situation looks different. so processing all that out, you have to talk to people who were actually in the room. >> but this being one of the most important moments in the president's term and something that he's talked extensively about, is there a concern that there might be some misremembering going on here in the part of the vice president? >> for an accurate accounting of what happened, you're going to have to talk to people who were in the room. >> in general, let's just say generally speaking here, if somebody was going to jump into a presidential race at this point. [ laughter ] >> i mean, just anybody, right? >> yeah, we can look at anything generally, right? and numbers were showing that
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about a third of all democrats didn't think it was a great idea, and another third didn't care. would you ever think that it was a good idea for that person to get in, and would you not possibly think that it might be bad for the party for somebody to -- >> i don't think that it's bad for the party for somebody who has spent a career fighting for and even advancing the priorities of that party and of the country for making a decision to get into the race, but ultimately, the vice president will have to decide for himself if that's the right call for, for him personally and for his family. okay? jordan? >> thanks, josh. follow up on the mbaa. speaker boehner said he's going to sign that bill today. so does the white house have a sense of when president obama will actually veto the bill? >> i don't. but we'll let you know what en s
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done. >> will it be a pocket veto or actually vetoing it? >> i would not anticipate we're going to wait around ten days. >> josh, our republicans in congress, friends the way the vice president said yesterday or enemies the way hillary clinton said last week in las vegas? >> well, i guess they have their own individual views on this. the -- >> the white house? >> you've heard me talk quite a bit about how disappointing it has been to see republicans in congress engage in a strategy to reflexively oppose strictly for partisan reasons everything the president has tried to advance. in some cases that has led republicans down a path of actually opposing ideas they previously supported. and i think what republicans found is that in the short term that ended up being a
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particularly effective political strategy. after all, you know, they won some significant congressional elections. ago as a result of it. it did not, however, succeed in accomplishinger mcconnell's stated goal at the time, to ensure that president obama was a one-term president. so in that regard, that strategy failed. but when you look at the longer term, national prospects for the republican party, this strategy has been quite corrosive, to say nothing of the impact that it's had on the broader country. so that all said, there have been some areas where the administration has been able to work with republicans. you know, the most recent example of this would be, i suppose, the trade promotion authority legislation that passed over the summer. that paved the way for us reaching an agreement on the
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trans-pacific partnership that we hope will be approved in bipartisan fashion in the congress. i think that the fact that the president is championing an agreement that we expect will get strong support from republicans in both the house and the senate indicates the president's willingness to actually work across the aisle to get something done. this is a priority that is held by more republicans in congress than democrats. but yet, the democratic president is aggressively pursuing it. and i think that is a quite clear illustration of the president's willingness to work with republicans to advance shared objectives, even if the republicans are not willing, in general, to extend him the same courtesy. >> what do you think the vice president meant yesterday when he was talking about darrell issa in the context of clean energy. and he seemed to make a note of it that republicans are friends, republicans can be useful in these kinds of situations? >> well, i think that what vice president -- i didn't see his actual comments, so let me just, i can speak to the president's
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view of this, and that simply is, we're in an era of divided government. and the american people in their wisdom elected a republican majority in both the house and the senate. and that means if we're going to advance the nation's priorities, we're going to have to find a way to do it in a bipartisan fashion. we're going to have to choose policies that can get the support of at least some republicans on capitol hill and the support of the democratic president. and that means the democrats and republicans have to work together to advance our shared interests and the president has long been committed to that principle. and unfortunately, we have seen too many republicans on capitol hill long resist that principle. that's been a disappointment to the president. it's not been good for the country, and i think over the long term, it's not one that's advanced the interests of the republican party. >> so it's friends, is it friends without too many benefits? or frenemies? [ laughter ] >> i don't think i'm going to go there. john
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>> thank you, josh. just back to justin trudeau, and i wonder if you could clear something up. while he is a progressive, his position in the campaign was he was for going ahead with the keystone xl pipeline. no difference from prime minister harper, save for the fact he wanted new environmental standards that he thought would bring president obama and the administration along. but do you say that that will have no effect on the report from the state department or the administration's position? >> secretary kerry has indicated that the timing of the election and the outcome of the election would have no impact on the timing or the outcome of the on r ongoing review of the keystone pipeline at the state department. so i take him at his word on that. >> the other thing is a few weeks ago, i know you made very clear the administration's opposition to politically based
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riders that would try to defund planned parenthood. congressman kelly has taken a different course, calling on the irs to audit planned parenthood, different from the defunding effort. what's administration's position on that? >> the irs is an independent enforcement agency. and this administration has worked hard to ensure that the irs's activities are not influenced by the political debate. and are are are are a and that is a principle that we have worked aggressively to uphold, and certainly one that i believe that every member of congress should respect. kris, i give you the last one. >> at a recent town hall in new hampshire, hillary clinton acknowledged her evolution on the issue of same-sex marriage saying personal relationships and marriage equality. are you aware of any reason why
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secretary clinton couldn't have endorsed marriage equality during her term at the secretary of state? >> i wouldn't have the most keen sensitivity as to what pressure she may have been in under that role. you can check with her campaign. >> do you think it's fair to glean that because she did not sea anythi she did not say anything about the issue that she did not support same-sex marriage? >> i don't know what her views on this topic is. so you should check with her campaign. >> what other question, do you think given the president's own evolution on this issue, do you think her changing views on marriage should be seen differently than her other positions that have changed, such ascii stone -- as keystone xl or the trans-pacific
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partnership. >> i think when it comes to her views on same-sex marriage, i take her at her word. that she, that her views on this topic underwent the kind of change that a lot of people's views have over the last several years, and i think many people have noted the significance of this changing debate in our country and the changing debate in our political system, and the president certainly believes that it reflects important progress that our country has made. thanks a lot, everybody. >> thank you. representative paul ryan announced he'll consider running for speaker if the republican caucus can unify behind him. he gave members till friday to
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make a decision. we expect an update wednesday morning after republican leaders meet to discuss the leadership race and their legislative agenda. watch live at 10:00 eastern. after that, james comey and homeland security's jay johnson testify on global and homeland security of threats. we'll join that in progress following the house republican leadership meeting. later this week, hillary clinton testifies before the house benghazi committee, which is investigating the events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack on the u.s. consulate there. the democratic presidential candidate has said the investigation has turned political. focussing on her use of a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state. this hearing is live thursday at 10:00 eastern here on c-span 3 and also on c-span radio and
5:25 am a signature feature of book tv is our all day coverage of book fairs and festivals from across the country, with top non-fiction authors. here's our schedule beginning this weekend. we're live in the nation's heartland for the wisconsin book festival in madison, and at the end of the month we'll be in nashville for the southern festival of books. at the start of november, we're back on the east coast for the boston book festival. in the middle of the month, it's the louisiana book festival in baton rouge. and at the end of november, we're live for the 18th year in a row from florida for the miami book fair international. and the national book awards from new york city. just some of the fairs and festivals this fall on c-span 2's book tv. state department special envoy for climate change todd stern testified at a senate foreign relations sub committee hearing on the administrations policies and goals at the u.n.
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climate change conference in paris. other topics included the epa's clean power plan to reduce carbon pollution, the u.s./china agreement and the fund which helps countries address climate change. this is an hour, 45 minutes. good afternoon. i'd like to call this hearing to order. senate foreign relations sub committee on multi-lateral, international development, multi-lateral institutions and international economic, energy and environmental policy. maybe the longest named sub committee in the history of the senate. i'd also like to welcome our ranking member senator udall and our guest today. we're examining the objectives and intentions of the administration's international climate negotiations in paris as well as the potential ramifications for the united states. the international climate change
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conference will take place from november 30th to december 11th in paris this year. with this event happening in a matter of a little more than a month, i think it's important that we examine what the administration plans to accomplish in pairs. so i'm so pleased to welcome our witness from the state department, mr. todd stern. he is the united states special envoy for climate change and will be the lead negotiator fort paris climate change conference. he has a unique perspective as to what it is that this administration is negotiating for in any climate change deal, and what any final deal may look like. so, mr. stern, thank you very much for being with us today. while i support international dialog on global environmental problems, i do have serious concerns about the impact any deal reached in paris will have on the american economy. when our international priorities and on our environmental goals. i'm hearing from my constituents back home about their kearns. they're concerned that the pledges that the president is
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committing the united states to will strengthen foreign economies at the expense of american workers and will line the pockets of developing nations with millions of american taxpayer dollars. all this is being proposed at a time of scarce resources which are needed to strengthen our economy to fend off threats to our nation's security and to address humanitarian crises abroad. it has been telegraphed by this administration that the deal will be a calculated end run around congress. just like the kyoto protocol and the united nations framework on climate change. any agreement that commits our nation to targets or timetables must go through the process established by the founders in our constitution. must be submitted to the united states senate for its advice and consent. the president has made clear that he doesn't see it that way. as was the case with the iranian nuclear deal. for that reason, we need to send
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a message to the nations that are partners with the president in any final deal that beyond a shadow of a doubt, the senate will not stand by any agreement that binds the american people to targets or timetables on emissions without our advice and consent. the president's joint announcement with china has sent a loud and clear signal an a paris deal could be an economic and environmental loser for the american people. in november 2014, president obama and the president of china made a joint announcement on targets to reduce net greenhouse emissions. president obama pledged to reduce u.s. greenhouse gases by 26% to 28% by 2025. china agreed to peak its carbon dioxide emissions in 2030. this agreement forces americans to drastically decrease our emissions immediately, while china will be allowed to let their emissions continue to rise for the next 15 years.
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according to the congressional research service, china has been the highest emitter of greenhouse gases across the globe since around 2007. currently, china emits 23% of net greenhouse gases worldwide, while our nation share has declined to only 13%. this is a terrible deal for americans. but it's a great deal for the chinese government and the chinese economy. now i also want to address my concerns about the administration's $3 billion pledge to the green climate fund. the american public does not support paying their hard-earned, taxpayer dollars into a slush fund that spends billions on international climate change programs and developing nations to address the impacts of extreme weather. the need for spending our natural disasters is down historically, while other intd national priorities have increased. according to the 2014 annual global climate and catastrophe report released by ian benfield,
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quote, global national disasters in 2014 combined to cause economic losses of $132 billion. 37% below, 37% below the ten-year average of $211 billion. with immediate global priority the, such as the upheaval in the middle east and syria and iraq to a resunshine gent russia in eastern europe and abroad, we should be folking our resources on countering global terrorist threats on democracy promotion and on baels security measures. the only reason i can see the administration wants to provide this funding is that there would be no deal without this wealth transferred to developing nations. despite talk of american leadership bringing everyone to the table to save the planet, it's apparently american taxpayer cash that will pay off developing nations to act. american taxpayer cash is the only green that the
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international bureaucrats in paris seem to care about, and it is the only green that will result from any climate change agreement. because after all is said and done, this deal won't achieve the environmental gains that have been promised or will be promised. in fact, the environment will be in worse shape. nations like china that are the main emitsers internationally are getting a pass on having to take any shared economic pain. if china doesn't play a major role and contribute significantly, all that will result in paris is hot air from bureaucrats and politicians overpromising and underdelivering in front of the cameras. there will be no temperature reductions. meanwhile, international priorities will go underfunded. so i have serious concerns about what will occur in paris and ask that the members of this committee consider these concerns as we approach the climate change conference. i'd like to now turn to ranking member senator udall to offer his opening remarks. >> chairman barosso, thank you.
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and thank you mr. stern for appearing before our sub committee today. we face an urgent task in paris to bring the international community together, to chart a more sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. nasa estimates that 2015 is 93% likely to be the warmest year on record. and the current record holder, last year, 2014. global warming is one of our greatest challenges. it requires a global effort, through a comprehensive international agreement. that is the only way we can truly tackle this problem. it's an environmental challenge, an energy challenge, it's a public health challenge, and it's a national security challenge. it is a challenge to preserve our planet. and no one, no country, is immune from that challenge or can meet that challenge alone. for years, the global community
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has looked for answers to the problem. we have gone through various international agreements and protocols. sadly, the u.s. has often failed to lead on this in the past. but today i'm more optimistic. i'm optimistic, even with the tremendous political challenges here in congress. i have led the charge in our appropriations committee to fight against dangerous environmental riders. those riders would do great damage to our efforts in paris. i will continue to fight them, and i'm sure that they will fail. and with increased u.s. leadership over the last five years, we've made great international progress. we've been working on an agreement that will be applicable to all. that is what we need, an agreement that is comprehensive, that is fair, and that ensures every country does its fair share on climate change. the paris agreement takes us in the right direction, signing up countries, developed and
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developing, to halt the climate crisis.
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