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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  January 6, 2016 11:00am-1:01pm EST

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to handle the energy equation. clean power plant being one of them. as i understand it, the majority of the states of the united states have sued to turn over a clean power plant. that is significant. there will be discussions about that very issues in all of these jurisdictions around the country. so energy will be part of that debate. fund memories around oil exports and around l and g exports, producing natural gas and oil. our purpose to distinguish what the politicians are doing, ours is not driven by political philosophy or individual candidates or political parties. ours is driven by fundamental literacy to have an electorate to engage in the dialogue. that's our purpose, to talk about the facts and talk about the science, let voters make up their own mind. but to talk about the important role that energy plays surrounding our domestic economy. as i mentioned earlier, if you look at the gdp of oil and gas,
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it is the equivalent of the mexican economy. that's significant. we shouldn't overlook that. it's close to 10% of all we do in the united states. it should be part of the public discourse and part of the debate as we go through the election cycle. >> cat with tax notes. >> yes. >> thank you for having me. epi is focused on science ask data but also pro growth agenda. i'm curious what energy tax policies do you think would gain traction in congress, especially with new leadership of house ways and means committee, chair, with the congressman from texas and speaker paul ryan? >> there has been a lot of conversation about the need for tax reform. ive expect that will be part of the debate. i think it's a heavy lift to get it done in 2016 because of the election cycle. i believe there will be those
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who will continue to talk about the tax approach. we want to be treated with equity like everybody else. treat us like you do everybody else in the tax equation. by doing that, we believe we can compete on a global scale. the united states -- the oil and gas industry are some of the highest effective rate tax in the united states. we contribute millions of dollars a day. i will have to go back and check the number. it used to be 70 million a day. i better go back and check with my sources. we're major tax players. we want to be part of that debate. we believe a combination of that associated with the revenues, the royalties we pay, as well as other investments and infrastructure are great for our economy. they generate local, state, federal level taxes. so we're anxious to be part of the debate. i don't expect that will get
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done in 2016. >> one last question. >> valerie with reuters. >> yes. >> how concerned is api with current and potential future investigations with the attorney general's office and others attorneys general into the climate change disclosures of member companies. is this something you're concerned about through 2016? >> those are handled by the individual companies so i wouldn't comment on that. i'm not sure what they're doing or some of those looks. look at the data, the science. it should be a political dispute. those would like to change that conversation. the reality is today our companies are lead investors in producing low carbon emitting
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technologies. as i mentioned earlier in my remarks, go back 15 years ago, we have invested $90 billion to find the exclusion to challenge. the same time the government has invested $110 billion. we take second seat to no one in looking for solutions to those challenges. that's why i emphasize so much in dealing with the carbons. we can show how you can produce energy, create good paying jobs and protect the environment at the same time. we believe that should be part of the discussion move away from ideology and pure political discourse. look at the science and the data. we believe that's the way the investigation should be undertaken. thank you very much. appreciate you taking the time today. sorry i'm hoarse. hopeful next time i won't feel this way. thank you.
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>> the u.s. senate is not in session until next week. but the house is back at noon eastern today. members will begin debate on a budget reconciliation bill to repeal medicaid suspension and
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c-span2. also today, our road to the white house coverage will begin later this afternoon with a jeb bush town hall meeting in new hampshire in meredith. you can see those live at 6:30 p.m. eastern. that will also be with c-span2. >> we need to know how many people are coming to us. so, for example, if they are not coming directly to our website and coming to us through facebook, google, snapchat, reddit or any other venues, we should know that. >> sunday night on q&a, executive editor marty barren talks about the changes at "the post" since he took over. >> the movie is quite kwaeugtful
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to how the investigation unfolded. it is important to keep in mind it is a movie, not a documentary. you had to compress in two hours a seven-month plus investigation, including things that happened afterwards. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on q&a. former agriculture secretary dan glickman believes president obama's executive order is not a political move but something the president believes needs to be addressed immediately. he spoke on the 2016 presidential race and the political process with students at the washington center and why congress has failed to act after several deadly mass shootings and what the nra's role in that could be. this is about two hours. >> our seminar is entitled "in pursuit of the presidency."
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ive put in a subtitle" does conventional wisdom matter?" in the past 20 years, and i have been teaching since the fall of 1996. in the past 20 years, we have had six presidential elections. three have had no incumbent. 2000, 2008, and now 2016. each one of those elections will be in the history brooks and in the american politics textbooks for different reasons. in 2000, just for a little context, in september of 2000, the american political association, 6,000 political scientists who gather for four days to assess politics and political theory, international realizes, american political science association had a panel asking if the campaigns mattered. because a number of political
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scientists have run models forecasting who was going to win. there was a "new york times" argue. i can still remember where it was placed. at that time we were still reading papers, predicting that al gore was going to win the popular vote. so the article was, does the campaigns, that took place over labor day weekend, do the next two months matter? al gore did win the popular vote, but he didn't win the presidency. i was teaching at west point at the time. it was my first year there. and i'll never forget on election day, tuesday morning, one of my students, a student who actually had dozed through much of the fall semester. when a student falls asleep, you can make them stand up. so he spent much of the time standing up. the student says what happens if george bush wins the popular vote and al gore wins electoral
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college vote? what do you think will happen? i said it hasn't happened since 1888. these were my famous last years. we're not going to see that again. it's uncommon. i said we will know wednesday morning who the next president of the united states will be. it didn't happen. and of course it was the reverse. i still remember that the four key states, again, how history can repeat itself. ohio, pennsylvania, florida, and michigan. i remember when florida was called, then pennsylvania was called. i remember my mother calling and saying, so you said whoeverkñáis three of those four states wins the election. so that means al gore has won? it looks like that. i'm sure you read about -- many people here do remember what happened when florida changes, waking up in the morning and
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seeing florida as undecided. and then the election went into december. shocking. if there had ever been momentum for getting after the electoral election, it was after 2000. the national popular vote which you may know about and you will be talking about electoral reform later this week, had quite a bit gained some momentum. at this point it doesn't seem as though those changes are moving forward. but the fair vote is talking about other proposals for reform. we will discuss that later this week. and it's possible next 20 to 30 years we will see structural changes in the politics. we can date that largely back to the 2000 election. moving ahead to 2008.
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because 2004 was incumbent. 2008. october 2007, i was in washington for a conference. quite well-known commentator of american politics spoke at the conference and says if everything goes as we expect, then senator clinton at the time will walk in on super tuesday -- i'm certain that february 2nd, 2008. will win the nomination. that was roughly middle of october 2007. november 9th, 2007 was the iowa jackson/jefferson party dinner. barack obama was one of the last speakers. got up and delivered an address where he quoted martin luther king. dr. king talking about the fierce urgency of now and why he was in the race. that speech put the clinton
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campaign on notice there was a serious challenge, that this might not be a coronation. january 3rd history changed. 2016, what is historic about 2016? well, the 2016 elections made history. not a single vote has been cast. the number of presidential candidates -- we went from 17 candidates to a dozen. some highly funded. governor walker from wisconsin had strong superpac support, dropped out of the race. rick perry from texas, widely seen as a strong contender, dropped out. some of the lesser tier, lower tier candidates, if you will. but even those candidates have gotten quite a bit of attention. the debates.
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democratic side, five candidates down to three. it looks as though the democratic race, the nomination, the path to the nomination is clear. but after the 2008 surprise, no one i think will ever in the next couple of decades suggest a coronation again. donald trump, ben carson, carly fiorina. some describe bernie sanders as an outsider. of course he is in congress so not quite the same. but certainly presenting a very different political policy perspective within the democratic party. it's not just the number of outsiders that are new in 2016. it's their staying power. first republican primary debate was thursday, august 6th.
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everyone was wondering -- there were so many questions. whatst donald trump going to do? is he going to storm off the stage? is he going to get into an argument with one of the moderator? well, he stayed. he stayed through haoe hours of the debate, continued to endure. we saw dr. carson rise, now fall in the polls. senator rubio was seen as someone in the spring of 2015, someone who will make a trial run, maybe looking ahead to 2020 is now seen as the republican party's best hope for a viable candidacy. remains to be seen. ed surprising fall of the insiders of governor bush for florida. what has gone wrong? i don't want to say what went
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wrong? it's not past tense. what has gone wrong in the bush campaign? important for us to consider is to what degree do we see that? is that the difficulties of the individual and to what degree is that candidate in particular, jeb bush, saddled by history, family, and two bush presidencies? i'm not sure. it's very easy to point out flaws in that campaign, i think. but i'm not sure that a flawless campaign could overcome the burden of dine is city and particularly controversial dynasty. is this is what's new in 2016. the candidates, the types of campaigns, the interest in these campaigns. if you look at the -- i'm sure you have seen the numbers on how many people are watching the
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presidential debates. these are exciting. right? anywhere in a low of 13 million to a high of 25 million fueling the first debate. even the under card debates. the last one for republicans had close to 6 million total viewers. this is big news. it is exciting. almost like netflix and downloading. you almost wish you could see the full dozen on them at once and binge on the debates. the money. donald trump says he will spend 2 million a week to run this television ad. it is really the first big financial investment he's made in the campaign. this is a change. but what is the stay in 2016? well, what's the same is less exciting.
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it will increasingly become our focus in the next 10 months. 2015 from june, spring, april, if you will, when the candidates started announcing, 2015 was about what would be new in this election. 2016 is about the process. and the press remains the same. the candidates have to go through the invisible primaries. we are starting the nominating contests. that of course is what the senator will focus on. the process, the politics, what is unique with the candidates and their campaigns, and the policies. the path to the white house still depends on 270 electoral
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college votes. many of you have probably seen the website 270 to win. if you're interested in that, even if you're not, because it's not high-level math, despite it's just addition. what's the path to victory in the white house? well, of the 270 electoral college votes as of today, january 4, about 217 of those are viewed as safely democratic. 217. so that means that the democratic candidate, right, needs to get 53 for votes. am i >> doug: the math right? yes. to win. now, if you think, well, those states could change, let me tell you what the states are. and the republicans, by the way, have 191. for the democrats, california, 55 votes. i think we can safely say the
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democrats win california. new york state, 29 votes. illinois, 20 votes. michigan, 16. new jersey, 14. washington, 12. massachusetts, 11. minnesota, 10. maryland, 10. oregon, 7. connecticut, 7. that gets us to 191. then you add in maine, 4. vermont, 3. rhode island, 4. delaware, 3. new mexico, 5. washington, d.c., 3. and hawaii, 4. and that's another 26 votes. so once you get to 217, how do you get to 270? well, ohio -- pennsylvania 20 votes. florida, 29. ohio, 18.
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it just needs to peel off north carolina or virginia or a combination of iowa, colorado, iowa, new hampshire, wii to win the race. that's the ground game right now. let me say that again. that's the long-term game. a lot can happen to the road to 270. i did a radio interview right before the holidays when someone was asking about the clinton campaign. some of the comments that secretary clinton had made about foreign policy and isis. all she has to do is is get 270 votes. and i said no one has said that. but political insiders know that's what ultimately matters. it was at the washington center
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january 2001 seminar that a former chairman spoke and said that is what every political party -- what every campaign chair and what every campaign manager is thinking about. how do you get to 270? you don't need a mandate. a mandate is nice. you don't need to draw out new voters. what is the leanest, most efficient way to do that is the way to a win. i'm not saying this election has been decided. those final 50 or on the republican side 80 votes, 79 votes is to be found are going to be hard votes to fight for. this raises some questions about the structure of our political system. in 2016, we're not going to hear
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a lot of discussion about political reform. but we as students are really engaged in the political process need to think about that. we will have chances to do that this week. does the electoral college still make sense in american politics. in the after math of the citizens united decision, do we need to rethink campaign spend something if so, how. if they are able to benefit from free advertising and barely focus on campaign fund raising, and use largely his own funds to make campaign, how significant are these concerns? should we try to encourage voter turnout? what is healthy turnout in american democracy? in 1996 when bill clinton ran for reelection against senator
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bob dole, by october the expectation of victory for clinton was so clear. of course this was after the democrats lost control of congress for the first time in '94 virtually for the senate except for six years in the '80s. president clinton went on to recover from that. in the standoff and shutdown of congress. in october 1996, the republican party was advising members of their party to campaign on the platform of not giving bill clinton a blank check. that was the low in the last two decades. in 2004, 2008, turnout was closer to 64%. about 62% in 2012.
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what's the ideal voter turnout? and what responsibilities do we have as a society to encourage voter turnout and to make voter turnout more feasible? there has been a lot of debate the last four years. the challenges these laws place on getting people to the polls. are those unduly burdensome? it is being dealt with in the courts. after the butterfly ballot in 2000. and congress passing the help america vote act, we have had other efforts to increase voter turnout. motor voter law from 1993 that you can register to vote when you renew your driver's license. but are there larger structural
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changes we can make? does election day have to be tuesday following the first monday in november? could we have weekend voting? could we have early voting? that's an issue that has come under controversy in certain states that have limit said early voting, which is known for bringing out or expanding turnout. oregon has all 100% mail-in voting. are there other changes we can make to encourage voter turnout what is optimum in a democracy? saddam hussein had 100% turnout in 2002. that's not the model we want to see in american politics. what is healthy turnouts? in this year it's a good time to
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discuss what is acceptable. what we want to achieve. we need to talk about the importance, though not the decisiveness of traditional parts of campaigns like funding, campaign finance. party endorsements. on the democratic side, hillary clinton has pretty much secured the -- so far ahead of her major opponent, if you will, the primary owe pontiac, senator sanders, that it's not really clear that the endorse.s will make a difference. again, let me be careful here. the sanders campaign just announced over the weekend, they are assigning 100 paid staff members in iowa to draw each of the nearly 1,700 precincts. that ground game matters.
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we talked about the electoral college and get to go 270. right now the concern for the candidates is get to go 50% plus one. so for the republicans, that's 1,236 delegates. for the democrats, 2,250. donald trump, for all of his coverage, publicity, approval ratings, the campaign manager promised in the fall that the trump campaign would have a leader for each precinct in iowa by december. when they did a training session about six weeks ago they had 80 people. and i think it was another roughly 50 people online who were participating. what kind of a difference will that make? right now the latest polls from right before the holidays,
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senator cruz was leading in iowa. donald trump was close behind. marco rubio, after that. but a significant drop-off. and then the carson campaign in fifth place, jeb bush. what will the -- one of the -- what will stay the same, the importance of these early contests and the difference they could make. i don't think that a difference in a loss in iowa for the clinton campaign won't be decisive. a win in iowa on the republican side may not be decisive but could turn the campaign. we think back again to 2008. david plouffe, president obama's campaign manager, said everybody looks back at the campaign and you can see how it developed.
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for them every battle was win iowa, or get out of the race. they lost new hampshire. they made enough of a showing for south carolina. there was a small window on the obama campaign saw that window and as far as able to turn it into a path. a rough, but nevertheless a path to victory. as we pursue that wild game in iowa and then new hampshire, campaign funding matters. but not decisive. party endorsements matter. it is clear there will be no coronation on either party will be willing to do that. policies. a lot of time talking about politics in number. but policies matter too. over the course of the week, we will talk about tax policy, environmental policy, national
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security policy. i moderated a panel on november 5th. u.s. foreign policy and the presidential elections. we spent much of the time discussing the lack of attention that the campaigns were paying to national security. well, after the terrorist attacks in paris on november 13th, national security has become front and center. it is clear that a competitive presidential canned gate will have to show fluency, expertise. maybe not expertise but fluency in understanding the issues that are at stake. i'll leave it at that for now. we can talk about what fluency means. i don't think in 2016 it necessarily means expertise. traditionally, what do we know about how policies matters. the incumbent's party, if you
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have studied, taken a court on voting, retrospective voting, most look back at the last four years. they don't look ahead to campaign promises. if the campaign has done well, you tend to vote with the incumbent or incumbent's party. if not, you vote them out. it was about 5%. president obama, the -- in the past during the obama presidency, whether you credit the would you say or not, it was cut in half. it was 10% in the fall of 2009. gdp growth was two 2.5%. when you adjust for inflation, roughly close to historical average. so that suggests that retrospective voting, what we know, the conventional wisdom, might help the democrats.
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however, most economists will say what matters is the state of the economy six months before the election. if we think back to 1992, george bush 41. by the time the november elections took place. united states was coming out of a recession but the perception was still we were in economic difficulty and that the president was not best suited to lead us out. that was the path to victory for bill clinton in a three-way race with ross perot. it may be too early to say. it seems retrospective voting would favor the incumbent voting. but, again, a lot can happen in the next six months. the democrats could be favored for 2016. but then that would be a problem
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for 20/20. we have in touf think about right now. in iowa, the sanders campaign is mounting a strong offensive. but hillary clinton is about 13 points ahead in the polls. clinton campaign is taking no chances. you have probably seen former president clinton is campaigning heavily for hillary's campaign. howard dean, former chair host democratic national committee will be speaking to us later this week. said on msnbc yesterday, bill clinton is the best politician franklin delano roosevelt. the clinton machine is prepared to take those on.
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will any of that matter? may have seen in new hampshire, republican state legislator tried to disrupt -- well, did disrupt a town hall meeting with hillary clinton. just raising personal issues about bill clinton. she wouldn't take the question. now, does that turn into anything? is this is a concern for the front-runner on the democratic particular senate difficult to say. at this point iowa seems -- i wouldn't say safe but strong for the clinton campaign. new hampshire, senator sanders is ahead by six percentage points right now. on the republican -- so very much remains to be seen how that plays for the democratic party. and what that means, it seems very premature to talk about
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vice presidential candidates. not just for who is on top of the ticket but who is in second place. senator cruz has been getting some criticism from his party opponents for not spending a lot of time in iowa. they are doing the six-day cruise through iowa. that was a campaign slogan, not me. they are making a small push there. donald trump three points behind. it is very difficult to tell. in iowa you have to declare february 1st which caucus you're going to be in. you can wait until february 1st to decide. so there are a lot of voters up for grabs. marco rubio, like i said, is 12% in iowa. in new hampshire, trump, 26%.
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senator rubio, 12%. chris christie, 11.5%. kasich, 9 points in new hampshire, ahead of former governor jeb bush. what does this mean? how do we interpret what's happening? i want to take questions here. these are topics we will talk about. i want to say when we talk about the issues. when we talk about the road to the white house, how do we explain the unexpected? why has governor bush been so disappoint something is it fair to say it's low energy? that's kind of reducing some very -- i think some bigger -- much bigger issues. particularly, again, the burden of two previous presidencies of
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the same name. hillary clinton only has one. so that makes it a little easier. what about the theme? what are the issues that are going to matter? we talked about national security, the economy. who are the voters? who are the voters in the swing states in pennsylvania, in ohio, that need to be reached, in florida? there's a column in the "new york times" over the weekend, i underestimated trump. and one of the cites is about how blue collar white voters who are registered democrats say they like donald trump. will they turn out to vote for him remains to be seen. but trump's themes of pop limp,
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nationalism a sense that government doesn't care about the middleclass. those themes are resonating with voters and how candidates play them out now that the debates are still continuing but in their campaigning in going through, meeting with voters, town halls, getting out the vote, appealing state by state. and then nationally to the conventions will be a big part of determining whether conventional wisdom still matters. conventional wisdom still matters but how much conventional wisdom can teach us in 2016. i didn't get to talk about the possibility of a broker erred convention. i think we will be discussing that later this week with the committee chairs. and why don't we take a little bit of time before the secretary comes to talk about some of these issues. i kept the focus largely on the
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elections here. we will talk about governance with the state of the union message. it we have to address both of them as obama famously said in 2008, you have to be able to walk and chew game at the same time. what that means as far as how that shapes the election will be -- and the campaign will be an important part of the discussion. so questions? how do we want to do this? >> my name is cohen hoffman from quinnipiac university. >> the polling school. >> exactly. i know guys like rubio, bush, and carson, and i guess even
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o'malley are still in it. but now that we are in 2016, we are 11 months away, would you say to put it in simple terms we are at the point where we have a final four with clinton, sanders, trump, and ted cruz? >> that is a great question. i hesitate a little. when you put senator cruz, senator rubio, and governor o'malley in the same sentence, it just doesn't seem fair. i think on the democratic side, this is hillary clinton's nomination to lose. i think the sanders campaign a very strong influence, already has tphaoupbs, some of her policy positions. but the nomination getting to the delegates will be hard. on the republican side, the conventional wisdom of now. wasn't last spring.
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is that this is a three-person race. senator cruz, senator rubio, and donald trump, right? governor gilmore is still in the race. he is polling so low. it is not even showing up on real-time politics. governor pataki suspended his campaign. governor jindal dropped out. i don't think you have the cover but it has the bobby jindal campaign button at the top. already that's history. but to address your question, it looks like it's going to be a three-person race. but the front-runner jeb bush will not drop out easily. that remains to be seen what the bush campaign does. >> why do you think ben carson, why do you think he just plummeted right out of nowhere? he was right up there with trump. trump, carson, cruz. >> i would say the question with dr. carson is less why have his
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numbers drop and why did his numbers go up in the first place. that is really important. i don't mean that rudely. but when you look at dr. carson's campaign manager and i think it was the chief communications director, right, both quit just -- yesterday. this is a campaign in trouble. and why is it in trouble? dr. carson is a renowned doctor, a physician. no expertise in politics. and particularly in national security. and i think when you look at the last six weeks as our attention has turned to national security, when you have the candidates lack of flute seu, not necessarily on job expertise that i think is -- explains dr. carson's drop in the polls.
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when we look at what is interesting is why he was doing so well in the fall. it is the outsider ecos. the frustration with the system and with the process. that's what both nominees to address. but we're a long way from there. great question. >>. >> john byrd from harvard university. looking after the primaries, on the democratic side, the two front-runners both substantial in age. the process you were alluding to, it may be a -- >> no, i wasn't, actually. >> i couldn't see having a president and vice president whose total age is 130. i think it is an interesting subject. how do you see that being a liability or not necessarily a
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liability but a pro for the candidates? >> that's a great question. when i was talking about 2020, i wasn't talking about age but more about the issues. the incumbent's party. sit is unusual, right? when george bush won, sit issing vice president, right? highly unusual. that's what people were hoping on the democratic side that if vice president biden ran, key mount a serious skhalg. it was referring to parties, not age of the candidates. the quick answer is ronald reagan to mondale. in 1984 at the second debate, president reagan said in the debate that he wasn't going to make his opponent's youth or inexperience an issue. age against him.
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ronald reagan when he became president in 1981 became the oldest president. before that it had been dwight d. eisenhower. and i do think it is also true. this is a larger question in american politics that people in certain jobs are working longer. and you can work longer, right? we have had senators into the plus 100, right? so i'm not sure. when i say 70 is the new 50, right? it's not entirely a joke. but i do think there is a question about the future of the party. this is where senator rubio is drawing a lot of appeal. this new fresh face on the republican side could have some crossover appeal to voters that the republicans have been struggle to go bring in.
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right? particularly minority. demographics matter. chris christie was seen as that. but i think the political liabilities that governor christie brings are not to be underestimated. on the democratic side, i think that's a real question what the next generation is. who among the millennials will stand out? who in this room? who said 2032. you've moved over there already. these are important questions. there are a lot of democrats at the state level, right? harris in california is being talked about as a possibility down the road. but i think there are -- we need to see more of that rising. that's why i said the vice presidential spots. while that's not the focus now, it will be important. and why sarah palin was so
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important in 2008. there was really a sense that she would be -- that this could be the future of the republican party. hasn't turned out that way. but interesting to see from the sidelines. so a lot more to discuss. go ahead, mr. future president. >> my name is justin, student from suffolk university and 2032 presidential candidates. so my question is, it is kind of a compound question. from the last republican debate, donald trump and jeb bush got into an argument. you're at 3%. you're going to fall off the stage. and reretorted with, it doesn't matter. if someone is so low in the polls, do they still see doesn't matter when it comes to percentages? what makes them stay if they are so low, below 10%? >> there are a few answers
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there, a few questions. let me start with the last one. why do they stay? why is jeb bush still in there? last spring he was widely expected to be the nominee. despite the challenges -- governor walker, governor perry, they were seen as viable candidacies. governor kasich --úc!6-t spring there were a lot of articles written about how he would go from one session, do four fund-raising sessions in a row. jeb bush at this point is the only candidate i know who i have heard defend common core, right? everyone picks on common core. jeb bush continues to defend it. so i think that was seen as the
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republican establishment if you will that governor bush would be able to bring in some democrat, right? his views on immigration, moret he was someone who mayb be examination at conservativism. now that that hasn't happened, there may be a lag between what polls are saying and what republican party leaders are saying, and commentators. if you look at the criticisms of donald trump that have come out over the past few months, he doesn't know anything about foreign policy, he's rude, he's racist, i think there's been a concerted effort by establishment figures to
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minimize trump, in the sense of anyone but trump, not quite anyone but trump, and we can talk about why that's happening, that's kind of a separate question, go to address your question, with the low numbers, why is he staying in? well, not a single vote has been cast yet. i grant entirely, i'm the one who brought up these poll numbers, right, he's behind ben carson in iowa, right? he's behind john kasich in new hampshire. this is a significant problem. and if you just go to the "washington post," you can see articles being written about everything jeb bush is doing wrong. it would be harder to write a sorry about what he's doing right. someone should try doing that, i can't he's doing right and why it may not be enough. but that's why he's saying in, to see what the votes are. and i think there's a hope there would be a big problem, on the
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republican side that wouldn't even happen, trying to anoint someone who wouldn't get the popular vote. right now the numbers aren't in his favor. >> go ahead. >> hi. i'm brandy from a university in iowa. if bernie sanders and donald trump don't win the nominations, do you think we could see them run as third party candidates? >> i would say i feel confident saying senator sanders would not do that. donald trump has said he wouldn't do that. and i don't think he would, because that is a sure fire route to victory for the democrats. i mean, that's kind of -- i'm not comparing adopt to teddy roosevelt, but roosevelt in 1912 regretted saying that he wouldn't run in 1908, kept his promise, tried to run in 1912, couldn't get the republican
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nomination, ran on the bull moose ticket, and the democrat won. in '92 and '96, bill clinton won both times with the popular vote. so i think it would be -- i think it would be significant party pressure. and i think it's probably pretty clear at this point, because donald trump, his staying power demonstrates he is taking this very seriously, and i don't think he would want to see that happen to the republican party. the question you're raising brings up some very big issues about kind of the structure of our political system. but there are structural reasons why we have a two-party system in the united states, and the road to the white house is through one of the parties. we can talk about that more. thanks.
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>> i'm julia macmurray from a pennsylvania. my question dovetails. i would wondering if you could comment on the potential of bernie sanders to fill the role of a third party candidate without meaning to. what i mean by that is, when you were speaking about the 2000 election, correct me if i'm wrong, i know some pundits attributed al gore's inability to win the white house to third party candidates like ralph nader who maybe detracted from some of the democratic vote. i've similarly heard different commentators posit that there are voters who would see bernie as a choice who are committed to hillary but the reverse is not true. i wondered about your opinion on that, the idea that even if there were not a sanders nomination for the democrats, could sanders cost hillary the white house in the general election? do you think that's possible? >> i think that is such a
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significant question. and really i think it gets to the crux of the issue, the challenge for the clinton campaign, is hillary clinton's likability factor, and is that -- would democratic voters decide -- who are disaffected with the party establishment, who don't want to see hillary clinton run, would they stay home. i think it's too early to tell. first of all, i think there are a number of positives that secretary clinton has as well. and this would be if she wins, right, an historic election in the united states. and i think that the gender issue, which we'll be talking about on wednesday with the speaker jessica mcconnell from emily's list, i think that will
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actually bring out a lot of the older democratic voters. it seems to be less significant for younger voters, under 35. but since they voteless, that's not as much of an issue for her. i think unless some scandal or crisis comes up, which i'm not suggesting there is anything there, but there is always the unexpected, right, that it would be very unlikely to see -- you're not seeing the frustration -- while democrats, some democrats, sanders supports may not like hillary, i don't think you're seeing the same frustration, the sense of anyone but hillary, meaning even a republican. i think that actually what's interesting there is if donald trump got the nomination, who republicans would do. i think you're more likely to see it on the other side. but i'll concede that it's too
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early to be seen. i don't want at all to minimize the sanders critique of the clinton campaign, because i think it will be a force to be reckoned with, if not for the actual vying for the nomination in the end, but kind of what the clinton campaign stands for. >> i'm kim from the harvard extension school. my question is regarding the outside candidates. i'm wondering whether or not you think that the average voter sees them as having real world experience and more relatable or if it's a setback because they don't have real political experience. >> i think this question of the outsider is where the conventional wisdom is not helpful, right? this is what's new. and what i think we're trying to understand. and i think understanding that is still a work in progress.
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but i would say that the strong support that donald trump and ben carson have, and then even relative newcomers, i mean, senator cruz has not been on the political scene very long, carly fiorina, who is not polling very well, but made it up to the top tier between the first debate and the second. what does this tell us? it seems clear that there is a strong sentiment in american politics that our process, right, that there's a frustration with the process, that this is not working. i think what's appealing about the trump platform, right, is that he's promising to get things done. now, there may be a big gulf -- i'll even leave aside the question about some of the policies, right? if you look at that ad and what he's talking about, about
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banning muslims from coming into the united states, there are a number of problems with that. but he's promising results, right? there's a big disconnect between promising and what's actually possible, because the president is not a dictator, right, the president is not a king. but i think there is a sentiment here that this is a person who is not just saying yes to the system as it is. i think actually that ties into a lot of why speaker john boehner, all right, why his party turned against him and he had to step down as speaker. paul ryan, is he doing anything substantively differently? no, but there's a perception that he's listening more, at least that's what some of the freedom caucus members have said. and i think that that ties into a larger question here about how do we break through politics as usual. i think that's what the outsider appeal is in a nugget. but i think there is more to it than that. there are also some questions about kind of the future of american politics, the state of
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our economy, right, the future of jobs, what will the 21st century be, will it be the american century again. and i think there is somewhat of a reluctance to appreciate the importance of the politics as a process that takes a long time. >> hi. i'm yash from soluffolk university. i'm wondering what changes you anticipate, and what are the pros and cons of these changes. >> the biggest one that people seem to be talking about is the electoral alcoholic, will the electoral college still be functioning in the next couple of decades. we could keep the electoral
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college, you can keep it by constitutional amendment or have states pass amendments -- states pass laws, excuse me, that would allocate the electoral college votes to the person who wins the national vote. i think a little more than a dozen states have signed on, none of the big states have signed on at this point to do that. if you got to 270. i think that's the biggest question. there doesn't appear to be a lot of momentum for that for now. again, the most momentum i think was after 2000. after 9/11, the focus really shifted to national security, not to election processes. it's kind of hard to say what might have been different otherwise. but i think that the movement to -- the question of the relevance of the electoral college is one that's ìáhp &hc% i think that's the big one. questions about campaign finance
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and voting, campaign finance seems unlikely after citizens united until the coming years. with the voter i.d.'s, i think that's more state by state and in the court. the big question i was referring to was the electoral college. >> i'm briana. actually, just going back to the subject of structural changes, my question is on campaign finance. you did mention previously that there are so many celebrity candidates in this race. and i feel like they haven't really had to put much effort into campaign fundraising. so do you think that the nature of this race will warrant provisions to the decision made in citizens united? >> well, that's a big question. i think what's interesting,
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campaign finance has gone through such an evolution over the past 40 years, right, from when we had public financing, we still have public financing, but it's pretty much george w. bush declined it for the nominating contest, barack obama declined it for the general election in 2008. the book, actually, that you'll be reading next week, about the 2012 election by dan baltz, talks about that. one of the top polling candidates on the republican side has said money coming in has been from people who want to send it, he doesn't need it, and he's spent little of his own money to date. then there is a healthy tension in american politics about money and free speech, right? and there are some people for whom when you equate that, it's
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just infuriating. and for others, that that is first amendment, right, and citizens united essentially guarantees that. but we've seen -- but i don't want to oversimplify. the rise of super-pacs, and super pacs are exercising more control over how their funds are used. this was an article last week about now super-pac donors have started to put in provisions that if the candidate they support ultimately -- it ends their candidacy, that the money goes back to them. so i think the question right now is not so much legal -- it's not so much change from our political institutions, but changes from the funders. and will that ultimately, when we're in the era of the billion presidential campaign, will that build public momentum for institutional change. i think that remains to be seen.
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>> you were talking about different key issues that might make or break the 2016 presidential election, like the national security. what other key issues might be a deciding factor? >> you're from seton hill, right? i think national security and the economy, those are the two areas where you have the greatest unknowns, the greatest concerns, right, of what could change. right now, as i mentioned earlier, the economy, the numbers seem to favor the incumbent party. but again, ten months before the election, it's risky -- it would be risky for any democratic candidate to campaign on the theme of it's morning in america
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again, right, it's morning in america, reagan '84, right? the message is still, there's work to be done, even with a healthy economy. with national security, and that's why i think trump is ending with this message, let's make america great again, that we need to get there. with national security, i would say the challenge for all of the candidates is to convey that the leadership qualities without boxing themselves into policy positions they might -- that could change depending on other countries and what happens in the middle east in particular, but also with -- i mean, climate change, viewed by many especially after the paris
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summit as a security issue. i think with national security, the challenge for the candidates is to demonstrate leadership qualities. and an understanding of the issues at stake. and that's where i think the carson campaign has fallen short. so national security and the economy. >> hello, professor. my name is sam from hofstra university. so my question actually goes along with the previous question. >> okay. >> and i know that national security is very salient in the minds of american voters, especially after paris. but which candidate would you say has been really successful at steering the debates and setting the agenda of the 2016
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election? >> that is -- oh, i guess i could just say it remains to be seen. that's such a tough question. i think one of the most interesting speakers on national security in the debates has actually been senator paul. whether you agree with him or not, right? and he's taken a pretty hard line against intervention, right, actually going against the establishment in his party. but he's really i think raised some fundamental questions about the u.s. role in the world. and i think whether -- not endorsing his position, but these questions about what our goals are abroad and how we pursue those goals with money, troops, alliances, foreign aid,
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right, diplomacy, those are some tough questions that i don't think we've gotten into the specifics. carly fiorina has brought up a lot about the defense budget and has pointed out where she sees shortfalls. jeb bush, of course, has been stymied by iraq and how to defend, right, the decisions of the bush 43 administration, trying to carve his own path while still holding true to policies that have support within a significant portion of his party, and there's obviously a personal connection there. so i think a lot of candidates are trying to -- they're taking stances where they know there's quite a bit of room for discussion, or the critiques of the iran deal, right, on the republican side are very strong. president obama is likely to make an announcement about guantanamo bay in the coming weeks, maybe not next week in the state of the union, but what
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will that mean? but i think the bigger question about how we fight terrorism, and i'll just leave it at terrorism without getting into any label, and what commitments the united states makes as a country, those bigger questions are not easy to address in a debate, and they haven't been addressed yet. but i think that's to come. and i think with that, on the very difficult issues, i'm not going to take any more questions, and i'm going to turn them over to our distinguished speaker, i'm very delighted to welcome secretary glickman, dan glickman, back to the washington center. senator glickman, secretary glickman, so many titles for you, as a long and distinguished career in american politics. he represented the fourth congressional district of kansas for 18 years in the house of
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representatives. he was a member of the house agriculture committee, chaired the subcommittee on federal foreign policy for six years, representative glickman also served on the house judiciary committee and was chairman of the permanent select committee on intelligence, and is an expert on aviation policy. after leaving the house, representative glickman left the house to serve as the u.s. secretary of agriculture in the clinton administration from march 1995 to january 2001. during his tenure at the department of agriculture, the department modernized, administered farm and conservation programs, was very active in modernizing food safety regulations and developing international trade agreements for expanding u.s. markets, and expanding the commitment, u.s. commitment to fairness and equality in civil rights. after leaving the department of
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agriculture, secretary glickman served as chairman of the motion picture association of america, and also spent time at the harvard institute of politics at the kennedy school, is a partner and senior adviser in the law firm akin gump strauss in washington, and currently is executive director of a nonpartisan, nongovernmental program for members of the congress, kind of like the washington seminar, just for legislators. he's also a senior fellow at the bipartisan policy center. and he co-chairs the commission on political reform, the democracy project, and the prevention initiative. he's here to talk to us today about the 2016 election. we were actually talking about political reform earlier. so perhaps he'll give us his thoughts not only on what we have now but what could change
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in the future. please join me in welcoming secretary glickman. [ applause ] >> well, good morning, everybody. if you listen to my bio, it's an example in life that if you can't keep a job, you can keep moving upwards. in fact my son, who is -- i don't know how this happened in our life but my son is actually a legitimate film producer in los angeles, he said he wanted to write a book about me called "failing upwards." and you can be the judge of that once you hear me. it's very exciting for me to be here. january 4th, 2016, the first day of this presidential and congressional election season. you're here doing extremely exciting times. i know folks come from all over the country here. there are a fair amount of people from new hampshire; is that correct? raise your hands if you go to new hampshire. and obviously all over the place. anybody here from kansas, by any chance? you've got to be kidding.
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where are you from? that was my congressional district before you were born. where are you in school? are you? okay. no, i used to go to the rodeo in pretty perry. do they still have that? that was probably the highlight of my congressional existence. and what a great name, pretty prairie. that's like classic heartland america. in any event, i'm really interested in what you have to say, so let me just mention a couple of things. i ran for office ten times. i won nine. i lost the last one. and then i was privileged to be the secretary of agriculture in the clinton administration, where i did a lot of great things. food safety, farm and agriculture programs. ran the u.s. forest service. some of you are watching this whole controversy in oregon right now with perhaps a clash
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between different views of government by people who think the land belongs to them and maybe not the federal government. and it reminds me of my old days, because the u.s. forest service was under the department of agriculture, we had some of the same related issues. and then i'm now out of two places, largely, one is the aspen institute, a think tank in washington. it does a lot of different things. i'm involved in trying to bring members of congress together to educate them on issues of the day, mostly foreign policy, national security, global policy issues, in a bipartisan way, bicameral, bring members of congress together. most of these people are very talented, and the partisanship kind of leaves once they come together in a quiet way with no media or political consultants, and they talk about substantive
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aucti issues and it's quite productive. i'm also at the bipartisan policy center, started by four senate majority leaders of the past, two republicans, senator dole, senator baker, two democrats, senator daschle and senator michs mitchell, to try what we could to recognize that partisanship is not bad, we've always had partisanship in america, it's good, it's healthy, it's a clash of ideas to be partisan, but at the end of the day, you also want to do something for the country. you want to work to find solutions to some of these problems. and the partisanship is supposed to produce kind of thinking and intellectual, stimulating environment, where you can come to constructive ideas on foreign policy, deposomestic policy, an whatever it is. so we continue to work on a variety of those issues as well. so let's look at today for a moment and where we are, because i know you have a whole group of
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great speakers coming up. i really want to hear your thoughts about our political system, especially people who are at the beginning of their, quote, political life, people who are voting maybe for the first time, maybe not for the first time, but are entering the picture, and whether they see politics and government as a worthwhile venture, worthwhile operation in this country anymore. so let's look at some of the general themes that i think play out right now. the first theme i talk about is the economic and jobs theme, because that is historically the foundation, the bottom line of american politics. are people working? is the economy doing well? do people believe that they have a future, an economic future? and, you know, while overall the national economy is generally pretty good, the unemployment rate is at a fairly low figure right now, although there are a
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lot of people who are not counted in that rate, but generally speaking the economy is better today than it was five or ten years ago. at the same time there is a huge amount of anxiety due to economic uncertainty. a lot of middle class jobs, loss of manufacturing jobs. if you're educated and you have a college degree and your tech savvy, things are much more open and positive for you than if you have been in a manufacturing or a kind of area where education perhaps hasn't had the classic impact that it's had in the past. so the economics of uncertainty, lack of middle class jobs, and then all the issues surrounding terrorism and international conflicts, have created an environment where there's just a high level of anxiety in america. all these actions, whether it's san bernardino and other things, kind of further accentuate that
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kind of thing. political campaigns don't try to smooth these conflicts out. they're built to stoke the fires. so, you know, it's the old, dog bites man is not a story, man bites dog is the story. our political system today is pretty much constantly man biting dog. and that's what gets the attention. so we have 24-hour media coverage of everything imaginable. there is very little policy discussion on issues in the national debate, because policy discussion is not particularly interesting on television to large numbers of people. it should be, but it's not. the base of each party is pretty much driving the discussion in the primary season. more on the republican side than on the democratic side, because the conflict right now is on the republican side, because far fewer people on the democratic side, there is at least right now a general belief, although
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this could all change in iowa and new hampshire, that secretary clinton is leading this discussion, although certainly senator sanders has been a formidable opponent. there is extensive money in politics, almost unlimited campaign spending now. and so every issue is driven by this catalyst of just money which creates way more media attention, way more online attention, social media attention, than we've ever had before. most of the attention is on conflict, not on policy, because that's what tends to drive voters. the attention has all been pretty much exclusively based on presidential politics. virtually nothing on congress so far. and it is worthwhile mentioning that the founding fathers were pretty smart. they said article i was the congress, not the president. so i'm a student of both the congressional branch, and i served in the executive branch, i've always felt one branches of
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government is equal, but one is slightly more equal than others, and that's the congress. but you would never know it today from media attention or media coverage, and part of this is just the antipathy that people have towards congress in particular right now. i mean, there are a lot of other issues affecting congress. one is gerrymandering. it was a lot different from when i ran for congress from pretty prairie, kansas. my district was, i call it moderately conservative, leaning republican, yet i as a democrat was able to win nine times in that district. if i went back to run in that district today, i would get maybe nine votes. it's a whole different world than it used to be. when you're running for office, you tend to deal with who your voters are, so they tend to be more on the extreme. and you people are pretty smart,
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you're not going to appeal to people on the other side, if they know where their voters are going to be. many of these congressional districts have low primary turnouts, so you're getting even a smaller percentage of the base going out voting for you. those are some of the issues driving the national area. and in addition to that, i think there is a fairly extensive lack of trust in major institutions. trust is a big factor. the american political system depends on trust in our leaders, in our institutions. so you look at government, media, corporate world, academia. and if you look at congress particularly, there's a just an enormous lack of trust in all of these institutions. mark twain -- however, this is not necessarily new. so don't think you're a victim of this in 2016. about a hundred years ago, mark twain said there's only one true criminal class in america, and that's congress. and he said that just after the
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first world war. so we've always had this kind of natural distrust of our institutions. that's not bad. that's actually healthy. totalitarian systems don't permit that kind of natural distrust in their system. but now it's gotten to the point where an awful lot of people don't trust anybody, any time, any place, anywhere. and that's not healthy for a long term democratic situation. in the same way, there is also little trust in leadership any where. and i think some of that is because the media and the rest of the world kind of encourages distrust and politicians running for office encourage distrust. when you hear all of the negative things being said about barack obama today, or said about george w. bush in the previous administration, i mean, you would think these people were the pariahs of all time.
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it's just not true. so this kind of rhetoric, this -- not disloyal rhetoric, but this disenchanted rhetoric about leaders, political leaders and others, is a problem. and people do not want to identify themselves as politicians. in fact most of the people running for president today want to make it absolutely clear, they don't want to be considered a politician, they're different. on the other hand, what are they running for? they're running in politics to be a politician, yet they don't want to be a politician. it creates this kind of internal conflict. they must be schizophrenic all the time, because they want to go do something that they want to do but they don't want to be called what they want to do. and i'm reminded, harry truman, the former president of the united states, once said, i'm proud that i'm a politician. a politician is a person that understands government and it takes a politician to run a government. a statesman is a politician that has been dead for 15 years.
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so these people are all running to be states men, but they can't be statesmen without being a working politician. it takes a politician to be a leader in politics. that's what it's all about. we have people who have kind of run away from that a lot of their lives. and then i would talk a little bit about civil discourse and bipartisanship. the discourse in american political life today is really pretty bad. you know, i was -- i ran for congress in 1976. and this was the year that after watergate and the election was between jimmy carter and gerald ford, and i didn't always have the nicest, kindest things to say about president ford, but pretty much they weren't personal things about their personal lives and trying to destroy them. and both democrats and republicans are guilty of this on the other side, these add
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ad hominem attacks. one of the things we do in the aspen center is to bring people together with different perspectives, different points of view, partisans who respect chore as human beings and try to see what they can work out. and sometimes they can and sometimes they can't, but the basic human respect, it tries to create a system of civil discourse, which i think is important for our country to operate. i remind you that we operate as a country, a system of checks and balances and separation of powers. our founding fathers did not want a strong central government. so they created a government where they had equal branches. and the goal was to have one foot on the brake and one foot on the accelerator at all times. they wanted that. they did not want a system where you can get stuff done right away. they wanted a system where it would be almost impossible to
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get something done. and the only thing that would keep people from falling apart was civil discourse and mutual respect, and if you have that, you can grease the wheels to get stuff done. our system is not meant to work efficiently, not like a parliamentary system. if people don't respect one another, it's so much more difficult to get things to work than it would be otherwise, than what we want to see. most americans are kind of in the middle of the road between the 40-yard line and the 40-yard lines. and most primary voters are about the 20-yard lines on either side. and the media doesn't encourage the discussion to be on the 50-yard line. the discussion is on the 20-yard line or the 20-yard line. i'm reminded, there was a former agriculture commissioner of texas, jim hightower. he said, "the only thing in the middle of the road is a yellow stripe and a dead armadillo." and, you know, the idea is that
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there isn't anything in the middle of the road. well, i challenge that. the middle of the road is where most policy decisions are made. unfortunately it's not where good politics is. a good, thoughtful, moderate, centrist middle of the roader can't excite people very well. and yet, so politics tries to move in that direction in terms of running for office. once you get into office and get things done, then you have to move into that area. but civil discourse is really important for our political system. and the partisanship, excessive partisanship, there's no way to stop it when the election is over. that's the problem. you know, you would like to say, close the door and move to a much happier time when we can love each other and try to get things done. but if you campaign in vitriol and hate, it's pretty hard to get people back together again. it doesn't work in a marriage very easily.
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it doesn't work in families very easily. imagine how it works in the country as a whole. that's why we're doing our best, in the organizations i'm involved with, is trying to get people involved with each other. i think paul ryan is doing his best to reduce the vitriol and rhetoric and getting people working together, and both sides need to do this. in march, 1892, there are news reports about then speaker of the house thomas reed, who had to define, what is a statesman, we need more statesmen in america, that's what i've been trying to, and others in our jobs. he said, a statesman is a successful politician who is dead. that prompted a response by a boston man who sent him a telegram saying, "why don't you die?" so it's tricky being a statesman in the modern world. i give you all that in context, because i still think it's a very exciting times.
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i still think our country is very resilient. i think the opportunities here are unlike any other in the world. we're -- our political system and our economic system is striving. it's still the envy of the world. nobody even comes close to us, even with all the problems that i'm talking about. but the problems are really serious. and they could impact our ability to continue to lead. so looking at the political system right now, this is where i'm interested in where you are. do you still see politics as a way to influence the world? people who are younger and people who are entering the fray, do you see politics as an avenue for change? or do you see public service more writ large as an opportunity for change, like going to work for an ngo or charitable organization, is that more interesting than working in our political system? i think it's a good question, as you look at how does the political system impact your
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decision. does it help you decide there's a role, an opening for you to go into politics or does it close the door and say, i can't get anything done in that system? is there a different between local, state, and national issues, when you look at this stuff? does the presidential race have an impact on your decision or do you think that maybe what happens in your communities or in your colleges is more important to you in this kind of situation? what does the rhetoric of this presidential campaign do for you? you know, i don't want to single out donald trump, but it's pretty easy to single him out, because he's one of the most interesting and unusual people that i've ever seen in our political system. some, you may remember a man named h. ross perot, he was kind of the donald trump of the last generation. and he talked about a giant sucking sound. that was what was happening south of the border, to pull our
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jobs down there. so you had some of the same kind of rhetoric, although not nearly as volatile and extravagant as donald trump has. but what do you think about that? do you think that's good or bad? do you like it because he's got strong views, even if you find his views offensive? or maybe some people don't find his views offensive. i mean, you know, the truth is a lot of these hot button issues like immigration, guns, the social issues, have as much resonance as education or as transportation or as infrastructure, or even global security issues. the question is, is this presidential campaign able to address any of those things, and if not, why not? and what would you like to see out of a presidential campaign to get these candidates to focus a bit more adroitly about the
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issues that you care about? democrats have not the same level of intensity in the campaigns right now, largely because there are far fewer candidates. there is a strong perceived frontrunn frontrunner. and they're also personally not trying to kill each other like on the other side of the aisle. i'm not saying this as the partisan but as a fact of life. bernie sanders has strong views on economic issues, not so engaged on the international front. secretary clinton has a long record on a lot of these issues. while there is certainly some volatility on that side of the aisle, it's nothing compared to what we see on the republican side. i worked for president bill clinton for six years, and we were at a cabinet meeting once and he once said, remember this: strong and wrong will usually
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defeat weak and right. strong and wrong will usually defeat weak and right. well, we certainly kind of see that now in this presidential campaign. i mean, hopefully strong and right will be prevailing. it some of the issues that we certainly see now in a primary race. and i would just end by a quote from former speaker sam rayburn, who once said that any jack ass can kick down a barn door, but it takes a carpenter to build one. and i think the country does need a few more carpenters right now, on both sides of the aisle. and hopefully that will come from people at the grassroots, who can prevail on our elected officials to appeal to the common good a little more than they've been doing in the past. so saying that, i will stop right now. and i would like to hear your
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views, open it up for questions, comments that people may have. tell us where you're from. >> i'm john from the harvard university extension. you want to hear my view? i actually like our political process. i don't really have a problem with the money being spent in campaigning, believe it or not, that fills a lot of jobs, a lot of money is going into -- we can spend a billion dollars on media and such, not many countries can do that. i don't really think there's that much problem with it, personally. my concern with how i feel the political system exists right now is there are two main parties, democrats and republicans. and dr. -- pardon me, dr. bose
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sort of mentioned there are two parties, not more than that. i feel like the general population of people, i didn't grow up with a traditional study of history or whatnot, aren't automat all the way right or all the way -- you mentioned the middle aspect of things. i feel like we're sort of shoved into the role of what the democratic party says we need to be in the role of and what the republican party says. and i don't like that. i'm seeing more and more polarization. and i wonder how does congress -- congress makes laws, essentially. how are they going to do their job, in terms of the way we're -- like you said, if things are fine, why change anything? people of course are going to attack and say things are not fine. so that's kind of my opinion on it. >>xd well, we're certainly a lo more tribalized than we used to
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be. that comes from the grassroots. that's not really the politicians' fault, that's what they're hearing at their town hall meetings or at home. traditionally our parties have been center right and center left. and the parties have america were never intended to be like the parties were in europe or in asia. in fact political parties are not in the constitution of the united states. many people believe that the founding fathers would be extremely nervous if they knew what happened to our political parties. but the parties were never meant to be like monoliths anyway. they were like a convenient organizing force for people. because, you know, an equal number of americans identify themselves as independents. the problem we have with our system is that if our system encourages people on the edges and discourages people from the center, that's ultimately going to encourage government on the edges. and that will invariably weaken america, because it will be hard to compromise and reach
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consensus with that kind of government. all politics is supposed to do is produce political leaders who do their best to make the country a better place, in terms of all the issues people care about. sometimes you look at these campaigns and think, the country comes second, the policies come second, the politics come first. that's where you all have to be active forces, you and others like you, to encourage political leaders. the last cnn debate did a much better jobñi than some of the earlier debates at doing that kind of thing. i don't think the system is hopeless. but a lot of people think it's hopeless, and they tune out, and that is really troubling to me. >> i have a quick question. i wanted to appeal to our agriculture side of things. and that is, what about the
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federal, the national debate with cannabis, and should that end up under the atf, ama, or agriculture? >> this is not an issue i prepared for today. [ laughter ] >> so it's funny, i once was on a show, tv show called "the craig kilborn show." the first question he asked me was, why don't you just make marijuana legal? i was working for bill clinton at the time and i said, "next question." so i don't know, the public has evolving changes on healthcare issues. certainly medical marijuana is something people who are very sick should be entitled to. beyond that, i'll pass your question. >> i'm from elon university.
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i'm here with a group of educators. while i don't speak for them, i'm bringing your question up, is politics a way to create change. i wanted to propose the idea that maybe politics isn't seen as a way to create change by a lot of people who don't specialize in politics because they aren't educated in politics. my question is how can we better educate the mass populace in politics and how do we make it available for nonpoliticians. >> there is a crying need for much more extensive civic education, particularly at elementary and secondary schools. some of you may remember the "jay leno show" when he used to do jay walking, he would interview people in the streets and say, who is the president of the united states? you would get, thomas jefferson, abraham lincoln. i don't know if it was staged, i can't believe people were that
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stupid. but we don't emphasize civic education. i don't just mean history, i mean how things get done, how you organize, how to participate, not just in government but in other kinds of activities which influence public policy choices. so there are areas, university of arizona has been very much involved, they have -- and others as well, in terms of developing interest in civics and the constitution. and that's probably the best thing we can do. but also our leading politicians ought to lead by example. and, you know, i think that they've got a lot of work to do. they've got to realize that what they say and what they do gets picked up by people. and so, you know -- but again, the people have to demand it as well. >> my followup question is, do you see this being reflected in the common core? >> my knowledge is somewhat limited. i think we've gone a little bit overboard on stem education.
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there's nothing wrong with it. but learning to read and write the english language and learning how to participate in your society is also very, very important. so i just think there needs to be a good, thoughtful balance there. yes, sir. >> thank you, mr. secretary. my name is nicholas chavez with harvard extension. i had a question with regard to the intersection of your career of hollywood and politics. i was -- i had the great honor of co-hosting the screen actors guild party for the democratic national convention in 2008 inñ denver. i wonder, if you were to take someone like david geffen, and the amount of funding that he aggregates for politics or for chosen politicians, can you help us understand why that's important to him or what the intersection is between the two industries and why that matters. >> well, people in the entertainment business have
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historically always taken a more active role in their government generally. now, historically they have been left of center, although now more and more people in that world are becoming interested in politics on the right of center side of the picture, not the extreme right, but there are more conservatives and republicans in that world. and so -- but let me subdivide it further. if you're in the talent side of that world, so if you're an actor or writer, you'll tend to be active more on the democratic side. if you're on the suit side of the world, if you're on the business side of these entertainment companies, you probably will tend to be slightly more conservative as well. the public has a love affair with entertainers, with musicians, with actors. so it's not no secret why politicians like to get folks from that world involved in
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politics. it's like it gives you star power and everything else. and you had a few people make the transition, like arnold schwarzenegg schwarzenegger, who made the transition from hollywood to politics. it's not an easy transition to make. i think it's a good thing. i don't think it's bad at all. i would like to see more people from other sectors of society who stayed out of the system to come back into it as much as they can. when i was at the motion picture association, i was a lobbyist for the trade association of the major motion picture companies, and i did my best to do two things, to encourage the film companies and folks from alliances like the screen actors guild or the producers guild or the directors guild to be more involved in politics and to be more bipartisan, because there was a perception of hollywood
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being on the left. on social issues, many of them are on the left. on economic issues, they're not. so that was my goal, at least. >> my name is nick, i'm from new york, hofstra university. i'll share my thoughts, but i also have a question for you. so today president obama is meeting with loretta lynch but possible executive action he could take on gun control. thursday he'll be doing a town hall with cnn on the issue. in response to that, i read this morning that ted cruz is raffling off a shotgun with his campaign logo inscribed on the gun. now, as a young voter, that scar scares me, so i'm pushed partisan and i go and donate to hillary's campaign, because that's scary to see. i think it's immature, disrespectful, that that's actually occurring in a presidential election. that said, my question is, by
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president obama taking an executive action, is he exacerbating the problem and saying, well, i'm giving up bipartisan here, i need to do this on my own? do you think that he has no choice? or do you think that he's exacerbating the problem of partisanship with executive orders? >> very good question. extremely complicated question. so let's look at it politically. both sides are playing -- i'm not talking about substantively, i'm talking about politically. both sides are playing to their base. so ted cruz, look, he's got this primary battle with trump who's basically already made a big public statement against the president's executive order. and he's got everybody on the republican side kind of jumping over themselves to be more pro-gun than the other one, because that's the heart of the activist republican base, is in that category. so, you know, it's kind of a tacky thing to put your logo on a gun, but it's probably a clever idea to do that, to jump
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out of the pack and show people you're really on their side who care about these issues. the same thing as on the democratic side. i think there is a feeling that because of politics, that we're stuck, we can't get sensible gun legislation, at least with respect to gun show loopholes and the whole issue that you're on the no-fly list and other kinds of things. since congress is not going to move, i think the president thinks he needs to make a stand, whether -- it's probably partially littpartial ly political, because the base needs to know he's out there doing it, and my guess is it's substantive, because he believes in it strongly. he's not going to get legislation through, that's for sure. so he's going the executive order route. whether the courts will uphold that or not, i don't know. it's a tough road to hoe. if he believes in it strongly,
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he's doing what's best for him. what you like to know is politicians are doing things they believe in. and so if the president believes in this, there's -- you know, he truly believes in it, it's not just a calculated political move, it's a good thing to do. i don't disagree that ted cruz may not believe in what he's doing either, i'm just saying the distrust in politics is in part due to the people thinking that politicians are acting not on the basis of belief but on the basis of political calculation. and there's going to be both in everybody's -- nobody will do things just for one reason or the other. like bernie sanders, all of the stuff he's done on income inequality and taxation and everything else, i know he believes in it. but i also think they've done a lot of polling to show it's good politics too with respect to the base there. and i'll give you just one minor
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thing, i was a congressman from pretty prairie, and -- sorry, i have to pick on you. and so i voted in 1994 for the federal gun control legislation which put a ban on assault weapons. and i was a pretty good congressman. i did all the right things. i had a big airplane district, beech, cessna, lear, boeing. i was an aviation nut and did things to help jobs there. and i voted for this bill. and i lost that election in 1994. now, there are many reasons why i lost the election. but without question the biggest factor was my vote on the gun legislation. and who did i lose in that process? i lost a lot of my democratic base, blue collar workers who were nra members and felt that my vote was particularly wrong. out of that experience, i learned how hard and how
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difficult this issue is. it's a constitutional issue, it's a cultural issue. it's in many places a religious issue. it's a rural versus factor in t things and so the question -- while the question is a great question. it's -- the gun issue is a really complicated issue. now out of that you'd think we ought to be able to do some sensible things in the middle but, again, this is an issue where the middle -- there's no space in the middle to do anything to date at least. yes, ma'am? >> i'm melissa there from hofstra university. if candidates such as donald trump and bernie sanders are causing people to vote for more polarized congressman in the future, do you think there would be anything that congressmen can agree on. >> anything that what? >> anything congress can agree on? >> well, listen, we passed a highway bill this year. we got a budget done, speaker
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ryan was able to get a budget through the last year. in the national security space, there's room to work together on. so, yeah, there are things that our government can do that you can find bipartisan support for. one of the interesting things i've learned from mys s aspen experience is that a lot of people want more bipartisanship. even people more on the conservative or liberal side want to work with each other much more. now, the political system doesn't necessarily encourage that because the word "compromise" in some circles is viewed as unilateral disarmament in other circles. but i do think most members of congress do see the value in working together. >> john from harvard extension. my question -- you mentioned that the campaigns are kind of run on the 20-yard line, if
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we're using the football analogy and it seems like good governance comes at the 50-yard line. in the era of the constant campaign, is there space for policy construction and if not how is that built? >> there's some space for it. the word is leadership. so it would be nice to see candidates actually show some leadership on some issues. some substantive issues. we've seen a little bit on that but you have to give the public some specifics so for example there's been discussion about a national highway bridge, road, sewer infrastructure plan which would be a big issue or to dramatically increase the funding for our health research so we could cure cancer, heart disease, alzheimer's disease, those kinds of things. there i think you could actually
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pull people together with but to date most politicians have not focused on those things. that would be the kind of thing that could bring people to the 50 yard line. you have to find things the public cares about and those would be two things i would encourage them to think about. yes, ma'am. >> i'm dawn epstein from harvard university extension and i'm a long time software engineer and i left my career and i'm now looking at how i'm going to get back what i slope the next half of my life and i'm very interested in this question that you've asked about where? is it in politics? is in the policy? is it behind the scenes? some way. i've been involved in local government and have been fascinated to find how it works. at a committee level. i find that on the national level the discourse has become
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so polarized and so full of vitriol that it's difficult to have even a reasonable conversation among friends, never mind on the national stage. and i'm worried that when you're talking about this anxiety, that much of what we've done is created a combination of economics and media that drive this anxiety, this sense of conflict. i'm also a filmmaker and looking at the arts as that place to bridge and start having a place where we can have more conflicts, discussions. you laid out local and national regional politics. i think some of our politics now need to be global. i think we need to start thinking about how we work together and how we tolerate and not just tolerate but embrace different view points, embrace
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the times when we say to each other "i don't know, i disagree with you. i don't know how we get from here to there." i don't think we're teaching that or even seeing in the our dystopian films right now. i want to get to a place that's less combative and i'm curious to hear how your group is working towards that. >> it's a good point. i don't want you to be pollyannish about this stuff. that's just a fact of life. on the other hand, i think you raised interesting points. the art of sport is another area in lot a lot of respects sports figures became advocates for civil rights and it's tended to work very well. but let me mention one other institution that i think could
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do well and that's faith-based institutions. americans go to synagogue or church or mosque every week and my guess is the messages from the pulpit are not necessarily consistent with what you're talking about. it ought to be taught as a human value, biblical value. i think the faith-based institutions are let us all down a little bit on this. i'm sure i'll get excommunicated -- >> excuse me for interrupting but it can be taught as an ethical value that is is something where we start looking for those shared ethics. about whether we require a particular belief in our god or belief system to sustain a way of considering every single human being, every single life
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is valuable. >> they talk of values, how to treat people, how to listen toñ people. my mother used to tell me "you have two ears and one mouth for a simple reason." so we don't learn that quite as much. i have to see if donald trump -- maybe i could get them to do that kind of thing. >> my name is colton from quinnipiac university, i'm a little tall for so i'm just going to take it out. i go to school in connecticut, quinnipiac is in connecticut. >> famous polling place. >> exactly. trump doesn't like us, apparently, from his tweets. he's not a big quinnipiac fan. but my school is about 30 minutes from newtown. obviously. we just went by the three year anniversary of sandy hook and i'm sure how everybody knows how severe it was and everything so
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it was probably -- not probably, it was definitely the worst shootings since columbine which is almost ten years ago, what was it '99? more than 10 years ago. so i was just wondering how -- number one how much worse can it get than sandy hook to get these politicians to realize something needs a change and number two how much of an influence is the nra in the decisions of these politicians? >> okay, i'll try to talk about it from my perspective. i think the nra is a significant force but they're not the reason politicians vote the way they do. politicians vote the way they do because of what they hear from their constituents and in many parts of this country -- and heavily and rural and suburban -- rural districts and
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smaller communities but all over the country people feel very intensely on the firearms issue that we don't need the government involved in more regulation. and we're not even giving to the point you talked about with sandy hook and columbine and other things. it becomes a cultural issue and and so to overcome that, there's got to be some what i call sensible national discussion about theseishe issues where al point of views are brought in. maybe i'll pollyannish about it but i think we can come up with sensible compromises on some of these issues without interfering with people's constitutional rights or second amendment or anything else. but the issue is so polarized and the edges so dominate the debates and we don't understand from whence a lot of people are coming. so let me give you one example. in 1994, i ran for reelection and i voted for this assault
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weapons ban i had done this great thing on aviation that kept a lot of jobs in small airplane manufactures and i knocked on the door of a person who was a union member, my base as a democrat. the guy was so delighted to see me, thanks, thanks, thanks for blah you did for my job. i said, oh, god, i've got a win right here. he said "i can't vote for you." i said "why?" he said "because of guns. how vyou voted on guns." so i started on discussing him with him, this is not going to get me anywhere, not going to take your gun away. but here's what he told me. he said "you don't understand, mr. glickman, you come from a family that has a lot of privilege and you can go on vacations and you can do what you want to do with life and educating and everything else. he says i'm a working man

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