tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN January 28, 2016 11:00am-1:01pm EST
a military point of view how many troops we need to have a low threat. as we go below that number, what are the threats to the homeland. could you perform that for us? >> yes, sir. >> when it comes to issel what are the limitations on your fight against isil in afghanistan? >> sir, isil's been designated as a terrorist organization. >> the military? >> i'm not sure -- the classification level of some of this. >> would you agree with me from a national security point of view we should be able to independently operate against isil in afghanistan? >> yes, sir. >> we should be able to capture somebody who's an isil fighter and put them in detention for american intelligence gathering purposes? >> sir, i -- >> i want to make sure we can fight isil as effectively as
required in afghanistan. how did isil come about in afghanistan? how were they able to get there? >> sir, as i understand, a couple of factors. one, the pressure put by the pakistanis on their side of the border as part of the offensive operations. some of these are from the ttp. they aligned with the islamic movement of uzbekistan. as well as, again, some isil facilitators formed the group and began to grow. they didn't have much operational capability initially. there were linkages back to syria with this group. now they've gotten to the point where they do have operational capabilities. the area they've embedded themselves. >> is there a command and control component? >> that i'm not sure of, sir, i'd have to come back. >> that would be something we want to know, right? >> there is communication, right. >> okay. i just want to put this in perspective. do you agree with me, of all the
places on the map, this is the place we're attacked from on 9/11. it's important that we be seen to have won in afghanistan. and that we're going to be judged not by the day we leave but what we left behind in terms of our national security interest. can you describe what winning would look like in afghanistan and how close are we to it? >> number one, there's no more terror attacks that affect our homeland. number two, the afghans have a level of security capability that enables them to secure themselves with our continued assistance. >> how close are we to achieving those goals? >> sir, i'd like to get on the ground and do my assessment and i can give you a better answer. >> yes, sir. >> well, general, we thank you for your testimony. there may be some written
questions committed by members of the committee to you. we'll try and expedite that and ask our members to get those in as quickly as possible. we'd like to get your nomination to the floor by early next week. but we also want all members to have the ability to ask any questions that they might have. i can only speak for myself but i believe that you are imminently qualified. i believe we are in a crisis situation there, given the increases and the conflict that we have seen. presence of isis, as senator gram just pointed out, and other aspects of this situation, which are indeed disturbing.
due to your previous time there, you know we've made enormous sacrifice there, and it would be really shameful for us to -- to lose this conflict because we are not addressing it adequately. so we thank you. we thank your family for their service. and we'll look forward to your return in some months from now after your confirmation so you can give us your assessment. earlier the better so you can give us your assessment of the situation on the ground. senator reid. >> well, mr. chairman, i concur. i think the general is qualified. we look forward to your report as soon as you get on the ground and get back. thank the chairman for being so polite, given the overwhelming number of west point is here today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i'm getting much kinder in my
[ inaudible background conversation ] >> the senate armed services committee has finished its hearing. nominated by president obama to be the next afghanistan commander. the committee will vote on the nomination. and then to the senate floor for a confirmation vote. you can watch the hearing again on our website, cspan.org. a number of road to the white house events from iowa live today. at 1:00 p.m., presidential candidate rick santorum, republican, who won the iowa
caucuses four years ago, will hold a town hall meeting in indian fnola, live on c-span. senator paul will speak to voters in des moines. after, paul will take your calls. he'll be part of tonight's debate among the gop presidential hopefuls. skipping tonight's debate is donald trump. he instead will hold a rally at drake university and des moines. that will be live, 9:00 p.m. eastern time, on c-span. and this from the hill. republican presidential front-runner donald trump holds a seven-point lead over his nearest challenger in iowa less than a week before the first in the nation caucuses according to a new poll. the poll released this morning shows trump with 32% support among likely republican caucusgoers. senator ted cruz is in second place with 25%. followed by senator marco rubio
with 18%. no other republican candidate has double digit support in the hawkeye state. the new results show a shake-up at the top of the gop field in iowa. just three weeks ago, trump trailed cruz by four points. pollsters also found trump with the strong leads in early voting states. the real estate mogul has a 19-point lead in new hampshire over cruz. and a 16-point lead over the texas senator in south carolina. you can read more at thehill.com. >> des moines iowa simulcast. >> iowa. >> iowa. >> in iowa. >> in iowa. >> iowa. >> in iowa. >> here in iowa. >> in iowa. >> i'm so pleased to do this with wonderful friends in iowa today. >> if you have told us one year
ago we were going to come in third in iowa, we would have given anything for that. >> well, it is good to be back in iowa. >> people didn't know much about the iowa caucuses. >> was this an average caucus? >> it's hard to say. it's the third one i've been to. they're all different. >> 17, 18, 19, 20. >> it is good to be back in iowa. >> thank you, iowa, for the great sendoff you're giving to us. >> you have to show respect to iowans. >> i want to thank the people of iowa. >> i want to thank the people of iowa. >> iowa is the first. >>cy i love you all. if i lose iowa, i will never speak to you people again. [ laughter ] >> ahhh!
of folks from the press. here in the great city of baltimore. the great state of maryland. with some of our colleagues who hail from this great state. and we're going to have a great conference. i'm going to let our members of leadership talk a little more about the substance of the conference. i simply want to say focusing on the theme of our conference united for opportunity, democrats from the house are gathering because we think it's important to let the american people know that 2016 will not be a lost year in the house of representatives or in congress. that if we have anything to do with it, we're going to get a lot of stuff done with the president of the united states and we're ready to work with him. we have assembled at array of phenomenal speakers to talk to us about how we get things done, how we move forward with that mantle of leadership and how we produce. how we deliver for the american people. we have folks like salmon khan,
renowned in education. talks about education in the 21st city. we have the president of the organization who will talk about working families. we have an expert on politics in washington, d.c. and tom tols who is the editorial cartoonist of "the washington post" who is somehow able to in one picture say 1,000 words. we're hoping that he's going to give us a sense of how he's able to bring things down, synthesize things into such a brief way of expressing it to the american people. any number of people who will come speak to us, we're pleased to have him here. i am thrilled so many of our house democrats, whether it's some really stormy conditions, to be here in baltimore and we're looking forward to a great time. with that, want to introduce one of our hosts here in baltimore the colleague and friend of ours who happens to represent this
part of the great state of maryland elijah cummings. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. we are grateful the caucus has come here to baltimore. there's so many other places they could have gone. thousands of them. but they came to a city that is like many and most other cities in our nation. back in spring of this year, we had the death of a younger man named freddie gray. i shall never forget during his funeral i asked one question. i asked the question, did you see him? and i'm so glad when the caucus decided that they wanted to come
to a place where they could hold this conference, they decided to come here. we are a city that continues to struggle. a lot of people just looked to the question of whether this was a police brutality situation. it runs far greater than that. i've heard jim clyburn talk about it's not just that incident. it's all the underpinning things that go with it. that is joblessness. somebody once said we do not have a lack of talent. we have a lack of opportunity. not only that, it goeses with so much of the abandonment. certain policies that have been made on the national level that have caused our cities to be in difficult circumstances.
so we come here to baltimore. this is a great backdrop. it shows faith in our cities. the fact we would be here. but we come here united for opportunity. i want to pause one second. that united. as we watched the other party say things and do things to turn us against each other. we as a party work with each other to make a difference. there are other people here in baltimore reaching out. and they are struggling. they're trying to make it. they're the ones who get up and get the early bus. they're the ones that work the two and three jobs. they are the ones who are trying to get that child through
college. and when the letter comes of acceptance, they have to tear it up and say we can't afford it. they're the ones. they're the ones that never thought, never thought, that they'd be getting food stamps. but now they are the ones that are accepting them. and so we have to rebuild our cities, reinvest in our cities. reinvest in people. and so, again, we are so grateful to the caucus for coming to baltimore. and i know that with this caucus and with an array of speakers that we have, that we will huddle together and march out of here even more united caucus and we will show the world that we are not so much concerns about who we are fighting against but what we are fighting for and who we are fighting for. we will be focused on that. who we're fight for and what we
are fighting for. >> thank you very much for bringing us together for issues at a very important time. you have set the stage for a discussion among members that have not really only issues for conference, it is a workshop. you heard people who are entrepreneurs. people who think entra neuralneura neurally. i think you for welcoming us in such a very important way. i am delighted we are in
baltimore. i grew up less than a mile from here. i'm glad my grandchild will be able to once again visit the old neighborhood. hi, bella. don't be shy. and not just because it had been my home for so many years but also because this is a working class city. this is a city that depends and recognizes the importance of the middle class and the success of the middle class to the success of our economy. that it's not just about the middle class but those who aspire to it. and so when we talk about what we've come to deal with now, it's united for opportunity. opportunity has the word "unity" in it. "opportunity." so that is really important. community. has the word "unity" in it. and i'm so proud of the unity of the house democrats. people always ask how do you
keep them all together? our leadership gets that question all the time. it's not about us keeping together. it's about our values. our values that draw us together. and that we share. and that we act upon. so this is a very important meeting for us. at a very important time in our country. decisions are made as to how many more people can participate in the prosperity of our country. how we address issues in our criminal justice system. how we secure our nation, both national security, homeland security, neighborhood security. the list goes on. others will address them. accepting mr. cummings' welcome to the city and thank them for their leadership. putting together such an excellent meeting. with that, i'm pleased to yield to mr. hoyer from maryland, the distinguished house democratic
whip. >> i think mr. cumming said it all. that doesn't mean the rest of us aren't going to speak you understand. but he said it all. who we're fighting for. and what we're fighting for. and hopefully we can come together in the congress. not just united as a party as you have seen us be for now some eight years. longer than that but certainly from '07 to today. united on behalf of people. united on behalf of ideas. united on behalf of our country. and that's what this conference is about. elijah cummings said there are too many efforts to drive people apart rather than bring them together. my own view that the stark
difference between the two parties is our underlying premises. we are in this together. for that young man and young woman in your city and, frankly, in the rural areas, as mr. clyburn points out so well. it's not just the cities. and it is whites as well as blacks. as well as hispanics. as well as native americans. as well as others. we believe that we are in this together. and we believe in many respects philosophically our republican colleagues believe that each of us is on our own. no minimum wage. no health care. no rules to protect consumers. the issues that we join at this conference and in the congress are critically important.
i noted that mr. flores. urged speaker ryan to put bills on the floor. but i also noted. and i think it's probably accurate. a story that appeared just today. lindsay mcpherson. lindsay, are you here? lindsay wrote this. what she wrote was, speaker brian wants republicans to go on offense on ideas. but he is only committed to drafting the playbook, not running the plays. because running the plays would include showing the american people what the alternative to health care is. what the alternative to comprehensive immigration reform. what the alternative would be to making sure that every american has the right to vote. the issues this year and in this
election are extraordinarily important. we're coming here to baltimore. one of the great cities of our country. i may not be totally objective on that. we have a lot of great cities represented here. and different ideas as to which one is number one. but they're all great cities and a great country. from east to west to north to south. and we believe we're in this together. and we believe that we're going to be honest with the american people. we're going to put on the floor our ideas. to show that their lives can be better. they can have an ability to make it in america. they can have a secure country. a secure neighborhood. our chairman, our vice chairman, are leading us one more time.
coming together. so we can be a more effective advocate of the people. thank you very much. next is -- i've already mentioned him, is my dear friend, my dear friend who has brought so much clarity and focus to the fact that there are people all over this country, not just in the cities, not just in the suburbs but in the rural areas as well that we need to embrace to make sure that they can make it in america. jim clyburn. >> thank you very much, mr. whip. thank you for talking about the clarity. i'm going to muddy it up a little bit here. i heard you talk about the greatest cities in america. now i know that there's all kind -- >> unity! unity! >> to have these disagreements like this, you ought to look to some third party for validation.
i'm going to say con da nash and travel leisure, they all say that the greatest city in america is charleston, south carolina, that i'm pleased to represent. and where we were two weekends ago. and it's kind of interesting, i thought as elijah welcomed us to his district, i thought about the president's state of the union address which i thought took us to the fundamentals of what the country is all about, which is embodied in our motto. out of many, one. and that's what the theme of this conference is all about. quiting as one.
opportunities for all. united as one, creating opportunities for all. i spent my first summer away from south carolina here in baltimore. i thought about that, elijah, as you were talking. when i came to baltimore that summer to visit my aunt louise who last week turned 96. i'm going to go visit her while we're here. i came to live with her. and her family. we were out at cherry hill. and i thought that i had really gone to where opportunity would be. i had no idea that cherry hill was baltimore's first attempt at public housing. and i was living in, i guess you
would call an assisted, government assistance. because i had not had any opportunities outside of the little community i grow up in. so i came to the congress. i came with the thought that whatever i do, i shall do anytime concert with others to unify our folks and provide opportunities for everybody. so little boys and girls growing up in rural america can have the same opportunities to fulfill their dreams and aspirations that everybody else has. that's what the president was talking about in the state of the union address. and that's why we're here today. to do what we can do further amplify his enunciations of that evening. with that i'd like to produce our vice chair joe crowley. >> if that's the biggest
disagreement we have, it pales in comparison to the disagreements that the republicans have. i'll take it coming from the greatest city that the world has ever known, new york city. first, let me thank the chair of our caucus, xavier becerra for this opportunity to come together as democrats once again and leading the caucus. it's the last time he will be the chair in terms of our democratic caucus retreat. he's done an outstanding job in three prior caucus retreats. thank you for all of your leadership. [ applause ] and more to come on that. i want to thank all of the democratic leadership for being here today in this wonderful, wonderful city, this great city, a city that has meant so much in the development of the united states from its very inception and it's continued throughout history to contribute, as it is today, in terms of the political
debate that we're having and debate generally speaking on our civil society. and we thank the city of baltimore for continuing to contribute in such a meaningful, meaningful way. i want to thank the president, our great president who now finds himself in his last year of office, for his leadership, to nancy pelosi, the entire democratic leadership. for 70 straight months our private sector job growth, 14 million new jobs created over the last eight years, of 18 million people who now have health insurance who prior to that had no hope for health insurance. they have it today. that's something that democrats rightfully can take responsibility for. we thank, in particular, leader pelosi for her efforts throughout all of that to make that come to fruition. the city of baltimore has
challenges we challenges, our country as challenges. with challenges, comes opportunity. we have the party of vision. we recognize that the affordability of college is still too high for the arch person to afford. we recognize that security -- that retirement, security is being a greater crisis in our country. we recognize that gun violence has to end. we recognize that this great city of immigrants, of immigration, baltimore, who is meant to immigrants throughout our country, that that issue still needs to be take ld. these are challenges. we recognize the challenges but we also know the opportunities that exist for us to meet these challenges head on. because we, the democratic party, have been the party of vision. i'm glad to see that maybe some of my republican colleagues are catching on to the term. but they've lacked any vision for the past eight years.
this democratic caucus has continued to have a vision of growth, long term job growth for the american people. and because of that we will be successful in the upcoming elections. and this week gives us an opportunity to coalesce and to go out even stronger and make the case to the american people as to why we ought to be leading this nation forward. and with that i will turn it back to the great chair of the democratic caucus, xavier becerra. >> we've been joined by the cochair, our ben ray lew hon, the chair of our congressional campaign committee and the chair of our communications and policy committee who are with us and available to answer questions. and i just want to point out that you probably saw the biggest disagreement that our caucus will face today about which city is the greatest. >> we figured that out.
>> we did. los angeles still stands as the number one city. with that let's take some questions. we have to go quickly was wae want to start on time. yes. >> in the transatlantic partnership has been on for three months now. you've had a chance to review it. where does the caucus stand on it and given some of the differences that members have had with the president on this issue, have you told him to wait and not try to pass this spring? >> no. the members are reviewing the tpp, substance of it. we'll have a workshop, a breakout session with mr. chairman, under the leadership of -- well, all of the members will participate. but sandy eleven our ranking member will be conducting that. the president is eager to have tpp pass the year. a vote on fas track is one vote. now you review tpp in its
substance and we'll see what the decisions are as members are studying it. [ inaudible ] >> i don't know. i have no idea. >> let's go across quickly. >> leader pelosi, a lot of your democratic colleagues, including some leaders who are standing up with you raised concerns about bernie sanders being at the top of the ticket in 2016. earlier this week senator sanders again stressed he planned to raise taxes to pay for his plan. do you support the approach he's taking and how concerned are you about the fallout for competitive races? >> well first of all let me say that i'm very proud of all three of our candidates. of course secretary clinton, senator bernie sanders and home grown martin o'malley from mayor of baltimore and governor of maryland. we need every one of the supporters of all of those candidates to come together in
the general election to elect a democratic president. the fact that bernie sanders is enlarging the universe, people are paying attention to the election and we hope that he will bring them to the polls in november to support the democratic nominee. there are differences of opinion in terms of approach, but every one of our candidates shares what you heard here, concern about all americans participating in the full prosperity of our country. i think that what bernie said was, i'm going to reduce the cost of health care and it may involve some people paying a tax. we're not running on any platform of raising taxes. we do want to have a fair tax system and we hope that we could do that. we hope that can with do that this year. but god bless all of the people who have gotten enthusiastic about all of the democratic
candidates. we expect them to help in the turnout in november and we hope that all of that will help us when many more seats, perhaps the majority, who knows, in the house and the senate. >> just a follow-up. his plan does involve -- >> we're talking about a single pairer. that's not going to happen. does anybody thinking we're going to be discussing single payer? it's a popular idea in our country but we've made a decision about where we're going on health care and it gives me the opportunity to say how proud we are of it, of the obamacare, affordable care ablct as we nam it in the congress. as mr. crowley said, 18 million more people have access to quality affordable health care who didn't have it before, a. b, that it has contained costs. if there were no other reason to pass a health care bill, if everyone loved their insurance, their monthly payments, if
everybody loved that and the care they received, we would have still have passed a bill to reduce the cost. it's achieved the goal of affordable quality accessible health care for many millions f more americans. it's lowinger the cost of health care in our country. and as a supporter of single payer for years before, all of us made sure that many of the features that are attractive about single payer, no preexisting conditions, no lifetime limits, no annual limits, the list goes on and on. we have, i think, a very realistic plan that is out there. can it be improved upon? everything can. but this's no use in having a conversation about something that's not going to happen. and again, we're very proud of the affordable care act. and again, years ago if we had a tabular rosser would single
payer been a route to go, we would have considered that. right now we're proud of what we have and want to build on that. >> we have time for two quick questions, one and two and then we'll have to head out. >> the "the new york times" news staff takes no position in your debate. >> wait a minute, last night at dinner we have denver and we had -- i'm surprised he didn't bring it up. he said we're all carolinians. i was preferring to talk about the golden state warriors. that's what i wanted to talk about. so what we did discuss was, though, how sports is such a unifying factor in our communities. all other differences go by the by when we talk sports. >> question on politics. a less unifying thing. in 2006 you won a robust majority. there was nobody named barack obama on the ticket that year. ten years later we found house
democrats deeply in the minority facing a very tough sickle by any measure. not whwithstanding the policy achievements of president obama's first term in office, has he done enough for you and your members politically? how have you ended up in this situation so deeply in the minority despite all of the successes that you remind us of quite often. >> i want to say this. i want to remind that our achievements were great under president obama. we also had great achievements under president george w. bush because we respected the office of president, we disagreed when he wanted to privatize social security, we disagreed many of us on the war in iraq. but where we could found common ground we sought it. did so much for hiv and aides, we passed one of the most progressive bills on long term tax credit with president bush. the list goes on and on and many
of the accomplishments that we had with president bush. with president obama, of course, you know, we had a vision, we had some ideas that had been unfill filled for a while and we wer able -- and so did he. we were able to come together in unity to pass this legislation. it's all worth it. it was fabulous. and much of what he is doing now is predicated on what we passed then. we take pride in president barack obama. i think he's a great president for what we have accomplished for the american people. what happens politically is another thing. >> i want to start the conference on time. we have one more question. let me make sure on this last question if anyone wants to add anything. but otherwise we're going to start. at the end i can have them go. but i want to get the last question otherwise we're going to be here at 2:30. >> again for leader pelosi, you met with president obama yesterday and he issued a
statement afterwards talking about the bipartisan things he want to do in his final year in office, something like appropriations, fighting opiate addiction, criminal justice reform. these are all sorts of things that are in speaker ryan's play book and senator mcconnell's play book. are you worried a that legacy building that he wants to do in his final year may take aafrom your efforts to sort of dry a greater contrast with the republicans? >> no. i'm going to yelled on this. but i would add to that, we talked about working, trying to work together in that way. the president did emphasize what we could do in a bipartisan way. that was our purpose in going to the meeting to accomplish something for the american people. we have plenty of place to differentiate. mr. hoyer named some of it, mr. crowley others. others have named it at well. and because our chairman is holding us to a time limit, i will just, i will just close by
saying when you said yesterday you met with the president of the united states, it just hit me in a way. and you know, i said earlier i grew up less than a mile from here in baltimore, maryland, little italy. and they you were saying you, visiting with the president united states having this experience and this experience yesterday is almost an emotional one for me. we lived there my whole life. my parents died there. it's a working class neighborhood. people thought when my father became mayor we would move. they thought after he was mayor -- he was mayor when i was in first grade and when i went to college he was still mayor. he represented this district, elijah in congress when i was born. and just to see the everyday needs of people. that's why we -- what we loved there, we lovedxf our neighbors. but it was important also to have constant daily reminders
that we had a responsibility to meet the needs of people and that public service was a noble calling. if our calling is to work in a bipartisan way to get something accomplished for the american people, that's a higher priority. politics is another piece of it. we have big distinctions. mr. hoyer is going to speak to them. >> i'll be brief because the chairman want to get this started on time. i referenced -- the speaker talks in visionary terms of what he wants to do. i applaud him for that. but as i quote, having a play book is not the same thing as having plays, as accomplishing objectives. and i do not believe that it is mutually exclusive that we can come together on areas of agreement. and we think we ought to have an
agreement. immigration system is broken. we ought to be able to work together on a comprehensive immigration reform. i know that's difficult on their side of the aisle. but i think there are the votes just as i thought there were the votes for the import/export bank on the floor. we came together and gave us a path forward on the appropriations process and on funding of government. not what we wanted, but it was a compromise. we came together on an education bill. important. not exactly what we wanted, not exactly what they wanted but a step forward. we shown that we can work in a bipartisan fashion. but that does no preclude us from urging our republican colleague to put on the table their proposals. 62 times repealing the affordable care act is not sufficient. they need to show what they want to replace it with. and let the american public understand the consequences of their proposals.
it's not just enough to have a play book. i think we can do both. where we can work together in a bipartisan way, voting rights, we think mr. cannon before he left indicated we needed to do something on the voting rights act. i think we can get the votes on the floor for that if it gets to the floor, just as the export/import bank. we can do both. we ought not to put 2016 on hold in the congress of the united states. the american public expect and deserve better. >> and just to heed the call for the 2:30 start, i would say yes the president has worked hard and he's helping out again in this psych until an aggressive manner. but as we look to 2016, there's a lot more attention on donald trump and ted cruz with what's happening with this division and where the damage has been
done -- where donald trump and ted cruz have taken the debate and the argument. as we look forward to what the battlefield lays out now in 2016, there's more opportunities day by day. we're going to get ready for whatever comes in 2016 and president obama will be there to help to make sure we elect more democrats across america. >> with that, then, we will close. thank you very much. there's a reception at 5:30 with members and the press. thank you. the house democratic caucus will hear from vice president joe biden in a little over 30 minutes. we'll have live coverage beginning at 12:45 p.m. eastern. and president obama is also scheduled to speak to the group this evening in baltimore. the theme of the conference is
unity for opportunity. live coverage of that starts at 7:10 p.m. eastern and that's on c-span 2. actress susan sarandon joined bernie sanders in iowa for a town hall meeting yesterday. the democratic presidential hopeful talked about raising the minimum wage, equal work for equal pay and three months after u off for family leave. we'll show you as much of this as we can until vice president joe biden gives remarks at the democratic caucus scheduled at 12:45. the last time i was in iowa, i was here at the time when barack obama was coming through for the second time to thank the people of iowa for believing in him and for giving him the chance to go on to become the president of the united states. the people of iowa didn't listen
to the machine that said he was unelectable. they listened to what this black man with a funny last name had to say. what he believed in. they listened to his authentic voice and they gave him a shot. and now here we are again facing the machine with the same complaints, except with the man who has proven over and over again that he is consistent, that he is principled and incredibly brave. [ cheers & applause ] i've come here because for me gender is not what's important. issues are what's important. [ cheers & applause ] i want a candidate who has the courage to stand and do the right thing when it is not popular. when the time came for the war, the vote for the war, the united
states was traumatized, it was fearful, it was in the frenzy, and the few people who had the courage to even ask a question were cut off from the herd and labeled un-american. bin laden lovers. it was a scary, scary time. very few people working in the system had the courage to even ask a question, let alone stand on the floor and make a speech that now is so clear and so brave as bernie sanders. [ cheers & applause ] it's one thing to be forgay rights and gay marriage once everybody else is for it. that's not difficult. [ cheers & applause ] now know, change is hard.
so to say that you can't go for a decent minimum wage because you can't get it because it's too difficult. to have that called problematic is not pragmatic. the right thing is a $15 minimum wage and that ea's what we have get. [ cheers & applause ] you know, everybody realizes that we're being run by a machine that's being run by wall street, by big pharm, by mon santo, and it is -- yeah, no thank. it is difficult. and there's one man who miraculously have managed -- and this may be the only man who can come up through the system, through the pipeline unscathed, unsoiled and pure. and we now have the opportunity to make that man our choice for
[ cheers & applause ] >> i can't see the back of this place. this place goes all the way back there, huh? all right. well, let me, let me thank all of you for coming out. this is a wonderful, wonderful turnout. let me thank charles for his right on remarks and let me thank susan sarandon. not only -- you know, not only for being a great actress -- and i've known susan for 25, 30 years and there are other great accesses and other great actors in our country. but what susan has been doing for her entire life is standing up for social justice, for economic justice and for world peace. [ cheers & applause ] susan, thank you for all that you have done and thanks for
being here tonight. and let me begin a little bit by talking about our campaign and picking up on some of the points that charles and susan made. and that is that anybody here who thinks that real change comes easy knows nothing about american history or world history. frederic douglas made the point way back when, fighting to end slavery, that change only comes with struggle. freedom is never given to people. you got to fight to get it. [ cheers & applause ] and that is what this campaign is about. yeah, we are taking on wall
street and the economic establishment. yeah, we're taking on the political establishment. yeah, we're taking on the media establishment. but that is the establishment that has to be taken on. [ cheers & applause ] if we are going to create the country that our people deserve. as susan said, some people say that's hard. she's right. it is hard. you don't take on wall street and think it's an easy struggle. you don't take on corporate america and all of their greed and think you're going to do that overnight. but if we are going to create the nation that our people deserve, a nation that does not have the highest rate of child
poverty of almost any major nation on earth, a nation in which millions of seniors are not forced to live on 12, $13,000 a year, a nation which has more people in jail than any other country on earth, if you want to change that, you're going to have to fight, and that's what this campaign is about. [ cheers & applause ] when we began this campaign. people say, you know, it's true, bernie combs his hair really nice. he is a fantastic dresser. but despite those, those
realiti realities, he is a fringe candidate. you know, who in america really believes that we should be taking on the billionaire class? [ cheers & applause ] well, turns out there are a few million people like you. i mean, really, here's a really crazy idea. you ready for a real crazy idea? i mean, who in america says the establishment thinks that the united states should join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all people? [ cheers & applause ] well, well, turns out, turns out a whole lot of people think that. and who in america says or believes that people should not be forced to work for $8 an hour
or $9 an hour. that our minimum wage should be a living wage. well, turns out that millions of people agree with that as well. so we started this campaign nine months ago without any money, without any organization and with very little name recognition outside of the state of vermont. but a lot has happened in the last nine months. today we have hundreds of thousands of volunteers all across this country in 50 states. [ cheers & applause ]
and let me thank the 15,000 volunteers that we have right here's something else that really differentiates our campaign from the other campaigns. and that is when we began, we had to ask ourselves a pretty difficult question. and that is, all of you know, sadly but truthfully, to run for president of the united states today you need to raise an enormous sum of money. it's not good. but it's true. and what the pundits tell us is that the only way you can raise the kind of money that you need is to form a super pac and go to wall street and go to the wealthiest people in the country for your campaign funding.
well, you know what? we do not represent wall street, we don't represent corporate america. we don't want their money. [ cheers & applause ] so we decided to do it in a different way. what we decided to do is to go out to the working families and the middle class of this country and to say to them, if you want real change, if you want a political revolution in this country, you're going to have to help us out. and an amazing thing happened that i never in my life would have dreamed of nine months ago. today we have received $2.5 million individual campaign
contributions. [ cheers & applause ] that is more individual contributions than any campaign in the history of the united states up and to this point. [ cheers & applause ] and let me, if i might, tell you one of the major differences between our campaign and my opponents' campaign. i am delighted to be here with you tonight in mason city. my opponent is not in iowa tonight. she is raising money from a philadelphia investment firm. frankly i would rather be here with you. [ cheers & applause ]
now, when you come to the last weeks of a campaign, especially when you run up against a campaign that now sees itself in trouble, you know, when we began this campaign we were 40, 50 points behind. now, with your help, we're going to win here in iowa. [ cheers & applause ] but needless to say, our opponents are all not that enthusiastic about that reality. so they go out and say a whole lot of things. and one of the things they say is, you know, bernie sanders, nice guy, interesting ideas, but he just could not win a general electi election. so let me make it very clear
that that is absolutely wrong. [ cheers & applause ] and let me tell you why for three reasons. in the most recent national poll that i saw, hillary clinton was doing very well. he was defeating donald trump by ten points. we were defeating him by 15 points. [ cheers & applause ] now iowa and new hampshire are important not just because they are the first two states to vote in the presidential process, but both of those states are battleground states. according to the most recent polls that i have seen, hillary clinton was ahead of donald trump here in iowa by eight
points. we were ahead by 13 points. [ cheers & applause ] in new hampshire, based on the last poll that i saw, she was defeating donald trump by one point. that's good. we were defeating him by 19 points. [ cheers & applause ] that's better. but it is not just polls. polls go up and polls go down. here is what is most important. republicans win national elections and state elections when people become demoralized, when they give up on the political process and when they don't vote. an example of that was just a
year ago november, republicans won a landslide victory, recaptured, took the senate, did better in the house, won governors' chairs all across america. in that election 63% of the american people didn't vote. 80% of young people didn't vote. that's how republicans win elections. and that, by the way, is why republican governors all over this country are busy trying to suppress the vote. they love it when people can't vote and don't vote. democrats and progressives win elections, as was the case in 2008 when the american people stand up, get involved in the political process and come out and vote in large numbers.
[ cheers & applause ] i think anybody who objectively and fairly looks at our campaign versus our opponent's campaign knows that the energy, the enthusiasm, the momentum is with us. [ cheers & applause ] what our campaign is doing is reaching out to millions and millions of working class, middle class, young people and say that if you want a government that represents all of the people and not just a few, come on board the political revolution. [ cheers & applause ] and that is exactly what we are
saying. and the third reason we will win a general election is we will expose the republicans for what they are. [ cheers & applause ] let me just give you an example of some of the views that donald trump has. [ laughter ] it is not just his racist and bigoted language telling the american people, suggesting that the people coming here from mexico are rapists or criminals or drug dealers. that's right. one would have thought that by the year 2016 we would have gotten beyond that time of xenophobia and racism. [ cheers & applause ]
it's not just that he told us that he saw on television thousands of muslims in new jersey celebrating the destruction of the twin towers when nobody else in america saw that on television and it never happened. that's all pathological lying. and it's not just that he has suggested that muslims should not be able to come into our country insulting one of the large religions in this world, and doing enormous damage to america's image from one end of this world to the orther.
a fierce debate took place in the parliament in london about whether or not they should allow him to come into their country. and that was conservatives and labor people saying, this man is insulting minorities, he is scapegoating. we don't want him to come into our country. think about how this man is going to deal with the world when he can't even deal with our strongest ally. [ cheers & applause ] but it is more than that. here is a man who is a multi, multibillionaire and he thinks that we shouldn't raise the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. this is a man who, in a
republican debate -- and what a show those republican debates are -- after insulting everybody on the stage and half of america, came up with the brilliant conclusion that wages in america are too high. this is a man who thinks that we should give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the families of the top two tenths of 1%. and this is a man, when at a time, when at a time when virtually the entire scientific community is telling us that climate change is real, caused by human activity and is already doing devastating harm, this is a man who tells us that climate change is a hoax invented by the
chinese. now, i was shocked by that remark because i thought a great scientist like donald trump would at least have been consistent and told us that the hoax of climate change was caused by mexicans. [ laughter ] or muslims. but the chinese? well? and this republican party -- and i speak to you as a ranking member, the leader of the democrats on the senate budget committee, this is a political party in the senate that voted to throw 27 million people off
of health insurance. now, when you ask them, as i did, because i'm the ranking member of the committee, i said, tell me, mr. chairman, what happens when you throw 27 million people off of health insurance? how many people die? how many people will get much sicker than they should be? they have no answer. they do not care. this is a political party in the senate budget which proposed the ending of medicare and converting it to a voucher program. and what that means is you would give seniors a check maybe for $8,000 and then they go out looking for private health insurance. well, if you are 85 years of age and you are dealing with cancer,
you tell me what kind of insurance policy you are going to get for $8,000. virtually nothing to meet your needs. that's what they want to do. this is a party in the senate that at a time when young people are finding it harder and harder to afford college, proposed $90 billion in cuts in pell grant funding. this is a party who in their senate budget, at a time when seniors cannot afford the outrage yously high cost of prescription drugs, proposed raising prescription drug costs for seniors. that agenda, those policies,
when exposed to the light of day -- and there's nothing more than i would enjoy doing than exposing those policies to the american people. [ cheers & applause ] my friends, a republican candidate running on those issues is not going to become president of the united states. [ cheers & applause ] now one of the reasons we have been successful, i believe, in this campaign, is because we are running a simple straight-forward campaign that is talking truth to the american people and talking about the real issues that face our country and that we have the courage to propose real answers to the problems that we face.
[ cheers & applause ] and let me preface my remarks by telling you all what i think most of you already know. and that today in america we are the wealthiest country in the history of the world, but most people don't know that because almost all of the new wealth and income is going into the top 1%. and let me tell you something else. my republican friends get very nervous when we talk about concepts like redistribution of wealth. they start shaking. but here is the truth. that in the last 30 years in this country there has been a massive redistribution of wealth. problem is, it has gone in the wrong direction.
[ cheers & applause ] it has gone from the pockets and the hands of hardworking people in the middle class and the working class into the hands of the top one-tenth of 1%. today in america we have more income and wealth and equality than any other major country on earth and it is worse here now than at any time since 1928. today in america -- and i'd like you to hear this. you won't see it on tv. you're not going to read it in the papers too often. today in america, the top one-tenth of 1% now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%. today in america the 20 wealthiest people in our country own more wealth than the bottom
150 million bottom half of america. today in america one family -- now this is the united states of america we're talking about. this is not some little place. this is america. today in america one family, the wealthiest family in this country, the walton family who owns walmart, they alone own more wealth than the bottom 40% of the american people. one family. and here is something about the walton family that is important to discuss. and that is many of my republican colleagues go around the country and they talk about welfare abuse, about poor people ripping off the welfare system. the largest recipient of welfare in america today is the walton family, the wealthiest family in
america. [ cheers & applause ] and here is why. walmart is the largest private sector employer in our country. and yet many of the workers at walmart are on medicaid, they're on food sfatamps, they're in subsidized housing, all of which you provide through your taxes. and the reason that the workers in walmart are on medicaid, food stamps and subsidized housing is because the walton family refuses to pay their workers a living wage. so i say to the walton family, get off of welfare, pay your workers a decent wage.
[ cheers & applause ] it's not just wealth inequality. when we talk about our economy, two major points have made. number one, we are much better off today than we were when george w. bush left office seven years ago. [ cheers & applause ] now, you've got to be easy on the republicans. they suffer from a very serious illness called amnesia. [ laughter ] they have forgotten the world that george w. bush left to president obama and to all of us in 2008. but i will remind my republican friends about that world. that was a world in which
800,000 americans were losing their jobs every month. that was a world in which we were running off the largest deficit, $1.4 trillion in the history of our country. that was a world in 2008 where the world's financial system was on the verge of collapse. so it is fair to say that under president obama, vice president biden, we have made real progress in the last seven years. [ cheers & applause ] but here is another truth. and that is that while the economy today is better than it was seven years ago, much better, the other reality is
that for the last 40 years, 40 years, the great middle class of our country, a middle class that was once the envy of the entire world, that middle class had been disappearing. in vermont, in iowa and all over this country, we have people who are working not one job, but two jobs or three jobs. we have people working so hard just to cobble together enough income and health care to take care of their families. all over this country you got mom working, you got dad working, you got the kids working. and you have families that are stressed out economically, marriages that are suffering from the stress, kids not getting the attention they deserve because their parents are working so hard. and while our people are working
so hard -- and by the way, we in america work the longest hours of any people in the industrialized world. the japanese are very hard workers. we now work longer hours than the japanese. so with all of our people working such long hours, it turns out that despite that, despite that, 58% of all new income generated today is going to the top 1%. now, my friends, when you have an economy in which the top one-tenth of 1% owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, when you have an economy in which 58% of all new income goes to the top 1%, you have an economy that is rigged.
[ cheers & applause ] now how would you like to hear a radical idea tonight. you ready for a radical idea? what about creating an economy for working families and the middle class, not just the top 1%. [ cheers & applause ] when we talk about the economy, we have got to talk about jobs. every month federal government comes out with a report on unemployment. and what you see on the front pages of your paurp, what you see on tv is official unemployment, 5%. anybody here believe that unemployment in america is really 5%? well, you're right. because there's another report the government comes out with which includes people who have
given up looking for work and millions of people who are working part time when they want to work full time. that number is close to 10%. and then let me give you another number, which is very, very frightening and unacceptable. i asked some economists to do a study for me on youth unemployment. what kind of real unemployment are there for kids who graduate high school? and you know what the answer was? kids who were white, 33% of them were unemployed or underemployed. latino, 36%, african-american 51%. now this is a tragedy for the young people themselves. kids want to stand up on their own two feet, want to get out of the house, want to earn some money and become independent. but above and beyond that, if anybody in this room tonight
thinks that there is not a direct correlation between that high rate of youth unemployment and another american tragedy, and that is that we have more people in jail than any other country on earth. if you don't see the correlation, you're missing a very important point. so here is another radical idea. you ready for the second radical idea of the night? what about investing in education and jobs rather than jails and incarcerations. [ cheers & applause ] and when we talk about our economy and why it is that people work so hard, work so
many hours, the answer is pretty obvious. and that is that wages in america are just too the $7.25 minimum wage in my view is a starvation wage. now, you can do the arithmetic, don't do it right now, do it when you get home. you can take out your calculator. multiply $8, $9, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. and the sum of money that you're going to come up with will not be enough for an individual to survive on let alone a family. in america when people work 40 hours a week, they should not be forced to live in dire poverty. [ cheers and applause ]
that is why i believe we should raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next several years. [ cheers and applause ] and when we talk about jobs, and the need to put our people back to work, it is clear to me that we need a massive federal jobs program. and what that means is that we should not be firing teachers, we should be hiring teachers. [ cheers and applause ] it means that when we have a child care and pre-k system that is extremely dysfunctional, that millions of americans, parents desperately are searching for quality affordable child care,
they can't find it. we have got to address that problem by hiring hundreds of thousands of well trained, well paid people to take care of america's little ones. [ cheers and applause ] and when we talk about creating jobs, we should understand that our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our water systems, and you all know what's going on in flint, michigan. our waste water plants, our air system, our levees, our dams need an enormous amount of work. because of many parts of the country they are disintegrating. i believe if we invest $1 trillion in rebuilding our infrastructure we can make america safer and more
productive and we can create 13 million jobs. [ cheers and applause ] now people say, well, a trillion dollars even in washington that's a lot of money. how are you going to pay for that? i will tell you how. right now you have major corporations that make billions of dollars a year in profit, but in any given year because they stash their profits in the cayman islands, bermuda and other tax haven, they end up in a given year not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. what we are going to do is end that loophole. they're going to pay their taxes. [ cheers and applause ] and we're going to use that
revenue to rebuild our infrastructure and put our people back to work. [ cheers and applause ] and when we talk about equitable wages and raising the minimum wage, i hope that every man in this room will stand with the women in the fight for pay equity for women workers. [ cheers and applause ] women should not be earning 79 cents on the dollar compared to men. that's nothing more than old fashion sexism. together we're going to change that. now, here in iowa because you are the first caucus or primary in the nation, you've got a lot, a lot, a lot of politicians
running through your state. and you're going to hear from a lot of republicans who talk about family values. do you ever hear republicans talking about family values, how much they love families? i hope that everybody in this room understands what republicans mean by family values. what they mean, what they mean, and what they are deadly serious in meaning is that no woman in this room, in this state, in this country should have the right to control her own body. i disagree. [ cheers and applause ] what the republicans mean by family values is they want to de-fund planned parenthood. i want to expand funding for
planned parenthood. [ cheers and applause ] what the republicans mean by family values is to tell our gay brothers and sisters they do not have the right to get married. i disagree. [ cheers and applause ] now, i will not shock anybody here to suggest that there is a lot of hypocrisy in politics. i know. i know. i'm sorry to disillusion you. i know that you thought that everything every politician said and did was honest and straightforward. sadly i have to inform you that is not the case. and when you think about the highest form of hypocrisy, let me give you what i think to be
the case. my republican colleagues go around the country telling us how much they hate the government. they want to cut social security. they want to cut medicare. they want to cut medicaid. they want to do away with the epa. they hate the post office. they hate the veterans administration. they hate every government agency there ever was. they want to get the government off our backs. except, except, when it comes to whether or not a woman should be able to make a very personal choice. in that case they love the government and want the government to make that choice for that woman. that is hypocrisy. [ cheers and applause ]
now, jane and i have you just met, married 27 years. i have -- i don't know how she did it, but we've been married 27 years. we have four kids and seven beautiful grandchildren. and we believe very much in family and in family values. but when we talk about family values it is in a very different way than republicans talk about it. and when i talk about family values, i talk about ending the international embarrassment of the united states of america being not only the only major country on earth -- wealthy country, but almost the only country on earth that does not guarantee paid family and medical leave. [ cheers and applause ]
what that means is that today in iowa, in vermont, all over this country, women are having babies. and that is for all of you who are parents you know what an extraordinary moment that is. and it is a pretty big day for the baby as well. but here is the reality. if that mom in iowa or vermont does not have a lot of money, she will be forced to be separated from her newborn baby in a week, two weeks, three weeks. and she will have to go to work, go back to work to earn enough money to take care of her family. that is wrong. that is not what should happen in this great country. and that is why i am strongly supporting legislation that will provide three months of paid
family and medical leave. [ cheers and applause ] now, that legislation is not free. it costs money. it will cost the average worker about a dollar-sixty-eight, a week. i think that's a good investment for people to be able to take care of their children. [ cheers and applause ] in this campaign, i have talked a lot about the realities of american political and economic life -- >> our road to the white house coverage of bernie sanders and other candidates is available at c-span.org. we leave the rest of this event as vice president joe biden is addressing the house democratic caucus