tv 2016 Election Issues CSPAN May 23, 2016 8:50am-9:47am EDT
>> thank you. peter, why don't you take a stab at that, because you didn't -- we've spent time together, so i know you missed a little something also. >> well, thank you for reminding me. >> if ruth had to do it, equal opportunity. >> right, and i have the benefit -- >> if you missed it, dana millbank had to eat a column. >> no, that was the recipe in "the washington post." if you don't get it, you don't get it. i read ruth's columns, by the way, i want to say right off. i read them every day so i remember how i should think. [ laughter ] i mean, after all, i am an ethnic irish second generation roman catholic from maine, so i have no business actually thinking any other way than the way ruth thinks.
but if you look at the situation, you know, it's the question everybody's asking right now. i think i look at it from experience. i've been on presidential campaigns. i've been a tough contested primary. i spent most of my time in new hampshire during those times. you see the way a campaign develops. you see the number of candidates that the republicans fielded. you see basically -- and i had a candidate, and i will say it is and was marco rubio. and there were reasons for that. with regard to what we missed, i think most of us thought that this primary was on the level. and i had a sense there was a hostile takeover of the republican party starting some time in october. based on what was happening out on the campaign trail. when i say hostile takeover of the republican party, i mean just what i'm saying.
there -- where mr. trump has gotten himself into, in terms of being the presumptive nominee, means that effectively the whole ground game has been changed with regard to the kinds of issues, policies and expectations that republicans have for somebody to be their nominee. i'm kind of sick and tired of hearing about 1860 and, you know, 18 -- well, 1860 is one. i mean, it's like guess what, guys, you can't look back on history and say it's the same. the ability to get out free media constantly in a way that intrigues even us. >> five. >> five.
>> five out of six. >> by the way, she's a progressive columnist writing about a republican nominee because the readership wants to know what's going on. so did we miss it? we missed it. if you support mr. trump as my brother who's a radiologist in maine, went to holy cross college, just kind of a regular nice sweet guy, thinks donald trump's great. you delve into the mind of them and you say, what is it? they say they're frustrated. i promise i'm going to finish now. i didn't know america wasn't great. >> so peter, from your perspective as a campaign strategist, then we'll hear from ruth, talk about the role of the media. ruth wrote that donald trump has got to be the most constantly available candidate to press and has still manageled to evade the
questions. peter, as a campaign person, how have you seen the change in the role of the media and its impact on campaigns and which candidates are elevated? >> wow, that's -- that's a tough -- a tough question to break down in say, 60 seconds. let me give you an example of the following things that are new to this cycle. donald trump as a candidate was able to push just about everybody else out of the news cycle on any given day because of the things he said or the things that were going on. i mean, my god, we had coverage last week on cnn, a station i don't usually watch because fox is what i watch, just to make sure i need to be indoctrinated into the world. they're covering him coming out of the rnc.
this is like o.j. again. why? so what happened is this, when you're a campaign operative. when you're working on a campaign, as many of you in this room know, you're doing everything you can to get ruth marcus to write about you. hopefully favorably, right? or to get on a television program. or to get mentioned on a sunday show. everything you can. most of what you're having to do is get your message out through grassroots, door to door, knocking -- the old-fashioned way of doing things. because to get that much media exposure is way too expensive. when you have a phenomenon, and there's been celebrity in presidential politics before, but there hasn't been the availability of the outlet. of the outlets that are now available to candidates. the one thing about media that's different than how we would have handled a candidate before. i think john mccain was very different on the campaign. he invited press on the bus. occasionally got him into a little bit of trouble. because there was too much
straight talk, but he was very comfortable with the media and had been. but donald trump doesn't have anybody handling him. we can come back to the editorial board. a meeting, what ruth and i talked about before, the transcript of that, which i highly recommend everybody in this room before "the washington post." but you'd never let a candidate go in blind to something like that. there would be prep. these are the issues you want to hit. the guy is going to say whatever's on his mind. therefore he can do all the media he wants because he doesn't have any setup. >> so you said i had written -- i wrote a column a few weeks ago that was in part -- it was about the kind of littered landscape that we're going to be looking at in november. and how free institutions are going to have to come to a wreckening with their role in this and where they go from here. one was the democratic party, one was the republican party and
one is the media. and i think in a jewish audience, i can say even before november, i think that we in the media are going to have some atoning to do. because i think in the -- you know, sort of put it in the framework of the prayer. we kind of went running to bear tales and to do kind of idey id gossip and we really failed the paradox of donald trump. wasn't that he was so good at evading our questions even while being constantly available, it's that the paradox of him is he was both constantly available and we failed to adequately question him. because there was this kind of bright shiny object of his latest outrage. so whatever he dangled in front of us, whether it was intentional or unintentional, we went chasing after that. he says a mean thing about john mccain.
he says a mean thing about megyn kelly. march 21st, he came to the editorial page of "the washington post." and i was part of that meeting. we had a very clear strategy, which was not to ask him gotcha questions, not to ask him nasty questions, just to ask him basic questions that the reader -- and god bless them because i think people do want some substance in their diet of, you know, cat videos. there really is -- i've clicked on the occasional cat video myself. we wanted to ask him really basic questions that you as voters and readers will think that's a legitimate question to ask somebody who wants to be president. peter said they were softballs and he's kind of right. they were intentional softballs. like what do you think about nato. the answers to those were illuminating but the problem
isn't we did such a good job of thinking up those questions, the problem is that it was march 21st for goodness sakes and where was that kind of questioning beforehand. and so i think there's a lot of things to be said about the role of the press. but i think the grade that we get is not one that my father would have approved bringing home from college. >> thanks. so, ruth, you talked about when we were asking what's going on in the hearts of voters, you talked about the anxiety. a main focus for all of us in this room is this rhetorical frame of us versus them. real americans versus the other. and i want to ask you a little -- to tease out a little bit more about where it comes from. who are the people who this appeals to. and also what's the responsibility of a candidate and a campaign to tamp it down.
it's a question we're asking every day. i'd love to hear from you ruth and then peter. >> to tamp it down or at least not to gin it up. that's asking a lot of candidates in the context of a hard-fought campaign because candidate's job is to -- well, it's in part to find where the mood and energy of the voters is and to glom on to that and to be responsive to it. i think -- i distinguish between the candidates, some of whom say things that i find so repulsive and upsetting, which explains the reason i feel compelled to write about some of them near constantly. because it's not just that people are interested in it, but i actually feel like a moral obligation to speak out and to speak out again and to keep on saying something because if you do what i do, you have to
believe that has some potential impact or at least you can sleep better at night. but i really just -- and there are certainly supporters of individual candidates who have horrible things to say and horrible views. as a general matter, i think trump voters and other voters are not bad people. they are people who have anxieties and who are hurting. and so i think -- and it is a very natural human instinct when you are feeling anxious and secure, hurting, economically stressed. there's a very powerful cover story in this month's atlantic about the remarkable number of people in america, including, he says, the author of this piece, who's a fellow journalist and a well-known writer who could not scrape together i think it's $400 on the spur of the moment. it's like about 40% of people are in that state of real --
seems to me extreme financial insecurity. and so when you have something like that, i think it's -- it's like having your immune system is low. your immunity is low. your instinct is to blame it on others, blame it on immigrants. we're also anxious about terrorism. well, we know who we can blame for that, blame it on others. so when a candidate comes along who can kind of take advantage of that reduced immune system, you get what you get. >> thanks. peter, is it hard for a candidate? >> to? >> to address this, to fail to let it flourish or tamp it down as i said? >> well, listen, again, i think that the dynamic has changed. i mean, this is -- i don't mean to sound like a prude, but, i mean, this is a country now that
has full-length motion picture called "whiskey tango fox trot." i mean, if you're in the military, you know what it means. apparently my 22-year-old son knows what it means. >> peter, he knew what it meant when he was a lot younger than 22. >> i mean, the bar has been lowered. it's almost like what bar with regard to decorum and, in politics. maybe that's on the public side of the politics because a lot of things used to happen underground and people bring it back up and they speak to it. if you look at the landscape of republicans that ran for the nomination in our party this year, you had a lot of very good candidates. i mean, good people with diverse views and a lot of different choice. whether or not any of them were going to be the ones that would be the best leader is a question that gets, you know, kind of worked out through the process.
but i think -- i mentioned hostile takeover. i think the process was also hijacked. i go back to something i said before. ruth made the point. i mean, it didn't matter who had the best answers to real policy questions. in the debates, it didn't matter at the end. even on nights that some of the candidates other than mr. trump did pretty well, trump still scored okay, no matter what he said and what he did. it taps back in to what you said. people -- they say people inside the beltway don't understand certain things and people outside the beltway understand them better. i think that the bottom line is what people outside the beltway don't understand right now is the system as it's set up, barack obama in the white house, republican congress, republican senate, is designed to do nothing. because the country's equally divided.
it can only do things that it's closely aligned on. i argue to my friends who say the congress did nothing, that wanted certain pieces that the obama administration was moving forward that actually the republican congress did some good, it slowed things down. or it stopped particular things that people were worried about. but today in our political system, no one's a legislator anymore. they're advocates. all they have to do, all you have to do is come back and advocate that i'm working hard for this issue. i'm working for sentencing reform. i'm working hard to keep peace in the middle east, i'm doing all of these things and that's enough. no one anymore holds me accountable to what pieces legislation i'm getting done and therefore the judgment of washington and who should be the commander in chief or the executive doesn't favor the person who can get it done. marco rubio said this on the stage. he said if this election is
about a resume, we might as well all pack it in. because secretary clinton has a resume that people would say has her head and shoulders above everyone else. however, the problem is, it's about electability, it's about likability and it's about communicating that back to the public. and she's had her own problems getting her message out. so can they tamp it down? should they is the different issue. and should a political party embrace a candidate in the end not just who wins the popular vote but if you want the support of the party, should there be a certain set of standards that you hold yourself to. and i think that's a reasonable question. i'm sorry i'm going on. i want to say one thing though. this is really important. i don't -- i have a big problem
with the current president for a lot of reasons, but there's one thing i've never had a problem with president obama on. i have never once been ashamed or cringed at the way he's conducted himself as a human being, as a father and as a husband, ever. [ applause ] probably going to get kicked out for that, of the party. [ laughter ] >> you always have a home with us, peter. so can you follow through? can we look at the impact down ballot? what should -- i'm not going to ask any of us how something is going to come out in the end. because we'll look at what's going to happen in the next few months. so how do the dynamics and the presidential and the primaries impact state and local candidates? you know, we're really puzzled by this uncharted water of rank
and file republicans struggling with what to do with their nominee. so what are you looking at in -- >> so we have key seats. we have one potential pickup in the senate and that is harry reid's seat in nevada or nevada. [ laughter ] i'd say nevada. >> we have some friends from nevada here. >> how do i say it? >> it's nevada. >> nevada. >> nevada. >> there you go. from the horse's mouth. >> i'm trying to keep my maine accent out of it, right, esta? if you look at the other states briefly, and you come up the line, you look at the situation in which incumbent republican senators who are what they would call endangered, the other party would look at them as a key target for a pickup. the key -- it runs different in different states, right.
you have new hampshire, kelly ayotte is the incumbent. you have ohio, rob portman. you have pennsylvania, pat toomey. you have now missouri on the list. that's roy blount. you have potentially a situation in north carolina, okay, that's getting dicier. richard burr has always had a tough time. then you have florida. you have other states that are potentials. i don't think i missed anything. here are the questions -- here are the things we usually look at in a campaign. look at how president did in each of those states. look at where he performed in each of the different districts. look at how the republican candidate in the past has either outperformed or performed behind the democratic president, okay. so if you looked at ohio alone,
where rob portman is running against ted strictland, the former governor who has great name i.d., and if hillary clinton were to win the state of ohio by seven points, let's say better than six -- ohio folks here? [ cheers ] hey, guys. >> the rest are home registering to vote. [ laughter ] >> sorry about the -- if you look at the state alone, the question is when we look at demographics, if hillary clinton were to outperform donald trump in the state of ohio by eight points, what happens to rob portman in that case. so what's going to happen to our candidates -- what would happen in the old vernacular would be that portman could not make up the votes he needed to make up. unless of course you localize the races. what the nrc is saying, what the national republican committee is
saying. we want you to go back and localize these races which our incumbents are doing anyway. i would submit to you the fact that john sin knnknewu, the younger, lost to jeanne shaheen. was probably 85% about they were tired of george w. bush. because his favorability as a senator was off the charts. so trump underperforming on any of those tickets will put in my mind the senate in play. i'm not saying anything i wouldn't say to you if you were sitting at the national republican committee. >> so everything that peter said. plus, here's how it's going to play out in the next few months. your republican senate candidate. you wake up in the morning. you go to your first event. the reporters gather around you. and their first question is senator so-and-so or candidate so-and-so what do you think
about donald trump said yesterday/this morning about x? and you're going to have to figure out what to do. and the next day you're going to have to get up and go through the same thing all over again. so the advice to not nationalize the race and to run it as a local race and to run as your own man or woman is a very good advice. it's going to be very difficult for these candidates to take. number one. number two, it is perhaps not a coincidence that in a number of these battleground senate states, the republican is going to be running against a female challenger on the democratic side. which just takes that gender gap that is going to be confronting trump and magnifies it to the i think -- at least hassle if not detriment of the republican candidate. so i think, you know, people like me should learn to get out of the predictions business but
i think it's going to be a very difficult fall for republicans in the senate. >> and talk about the role of gender also. again, a woman nominee. and really one of the first kerr kerr full falls. started last summer with megyn kelly issue and discharacterizations of women. >> i think it's going to be interesting to watch how donald trump, to use his phrase, plays the woman card against secretary clinton. i don't -- he has been so canny in the way he has gone after and picked off kind of one by one his republican opponents and he
nailed them with absolutely perfect nicknames that resonated and therefore did damage. i am not sure i'm seeing that same brilliant stratergy when it comes to hillary clinton. i think the nickname he's given her has some resonance potential. this is not a value judgment. it's simply looking at the polls and her polls on trustworthiness. when he says crooked hillary and says he's going to go after her on that, i get that as a political strategy. the other two things that he's gone after her on as an enabler of her husband's pi, and as somebody who wouldn't be up there on the stage if not for the fact she's a woman. just seem to me to be absolutely all but guaranteed to take the
70% negative rating he has with women and drive that even higher. because i just don't see the women who are potentially up for grabs for him, say, suburban women, republican suburban women. i just don't think they're going to look at that and say, hey, yeah, she really has a point, she's done nothing except be a woman her whole career. so not convincing. as with everything trump related, i guess i'm prepared to be proven wrong. and i guess one final thing is i can't wait for those debates. i think that -- [ laughter ] she has -- there's such different characters. it's like i can't even come up with the sort of animal also in a cage analogy. but i think she has every
prospect of really getting under his skin in some way in the debate and having him say something that is going to be splashed all over the news. of course, you know, maybe he has the prospect of getting under her skin. but she's done a lot more debates so, you know, sign me up. yes, go ahead. yes, your face did say a lot but the floor yours. >> the good old days. the silent movies. [ laughter ] i want to say something that's a little different. i think people formed judgment. you try to have an open heart and an open mind. i think everybody's trying to figure out how somebody seems to say things that are so outrageous can end up where they
end up. but that's because it's been turned on its head. what i want to say is the reason that anybody thinks -- anybody thinks that donald trump could beat hillary clinton in a general election. i've been thinking about this. what is it? what happened? you know what it is? the clintons have lost their mojo. they're not groovy anymore. i mean, that was like 20-something years ago. when you looked at mrs. clinton -- i have high regard for pltz climrs. clinton. i'll be run out of the party for saying this too. but when i looked at that stage and i looked at hillary clinton and the president, i mean, they look like somebody's grandparents. >> unlike bernie sanders. >> but wait a second. [ applause ] wait a second. bernie sanders is playing that larry david card. there was a show about bernie sanders. it was called "curb your
enthusiasm." here's what happened with the clintons. i don't think they understand that it's kind of that the groove -- when they ruined that fleetwood mac song. they think it's still groovy time. and my kids and your kids are looking, going, who are they again? they missed it. they're two generations off. they haven't figured out how to recapture it. i think what mrs. clinton thought is it wasn't about the mojo they had before. it was about the fact that her resume and her experience and her accomplishment as united states senator first lady and secretary would be more than enough to hold her own and to get her to the general. because by the way, the old clinton mojo should have left anybody in the dust. there shouldn't have been room. that's what i say to you as a liberal, ruth, there shouldn't have been room for bernie
sanders, there shouldn't have been. on our side, i mean, hey. we got our own problems. >> so this is an amazing audience. i just want to thank you all for incredibly thoughtful questions that are coming in to this app. i'm going to aggregate quite a number that have come in in relation to peter's observation about the hostile takeover. and they were wonderful questions and one of them focused on how can we restore -- this isn't my characterization. a sense of a greater respect for tolerance in the republican party. and then another set of questions was around -- you talked about a hostile takeover, but did this not build on a previous antipathy to government, to science, and other things we've talked about
from this stage? >> i think the second part of the question's fair. that would take me an hour to answer. i think the first part of the question is, you know, look, here's the plan. a group, a sliver, just like the left used to be in the democratic party, which is why you don't nominate bill clinton, a center left candidate, far left, and country at the time was center, center right. the right has taken over enough of our party to be able to stop it, to demand and command different things. i'm happy to become part of the party that is now in the minority that brings them the majority and so they have to listen to us. the reason the party has gotten to the way it is at least on our side is we're in the majority in congress. and in order to have a majority, you have to have that sliver of people based on the demographics in this country that are going
to have views that are further to the right. i don't even want to call them extreme. because, i mean, frankly, my word for them is exotic. >> i'm going to get a lot of questions about that on this app. >> yeah, so, so i'm happy to move that. what happens with our party is one of three things. trump loses and the right says we didn't nominate a right enough candidate. okay? trump loses and, to mrs. clinton, and it's close and a bunch of the same candidates come back again that are center right. trump wins -- [ laughter ] did i just say that? [ applause ] >> it was your third. >> a, 2, 4. trump wins -- and he does one of
two things. he either does assemble a group of people. because this is a thing ruth and i were talking a little bit. why is there some reasonable people who have been in the republican governance community if you will. you can't just walk into washington and figure it out. i'm sorry. there is no experience to govern. this is not a business. there are people who work in government. by the way, you know, every candidate runs down anybody that works in government. i'm pretty sick of that too. because while they're off enjoying the fruits of all the things this country is for and taking care of running this big government, whether it's on the regulatory side or whether it's up on the hill or where else or in the judicial system, they're taking advantage of they say pretty much everybody here in washington stinks and nobody backs them up and nobody defends them and that should be done. but he -- but the chance is -- and they're saying he pulls a reagan. he gets three or four different people who go out and build this
wonderful team. i mean, is that possible? it's possible. would he listen to any of them? i doubt it. because the problem right now is what he showed us is he's missingne fundamental piece i think to governing. i think this is it but maybe it's not the only one. i really don't think he has a sense of history. i think you have to have a sense of history and you have to be curious and you have to listen to govern. [ applause ] >> thank you. by the way, everybody, i am not going to ask pete r who he's voting for in the election. but thank you for all of those. >> it's a secret ballot still, isn't it? >> yes, yes. >> i think to quote donald
trump, none of your business. >> i'd rather quote you, ruth. >> i want to ask you, ruth, if you would feel comfortable, we've paid attention and we've noticed a journalist recently, a jewish journalist who profiled melania trump in a way the trumps thought was not favorable. she's been targeted by ant anti-semitic online. tell us about what happens to you online. >> so it turns out you actually don't have -- i do actually write about my judaism when i think it's relative to what i'm writing about. my mom and i took a trip to berlin because my dad passed away and he would never let her go there but now he's gone and we went to berlin, you know.
at the time, ben carson was talking, making all these really repulsive holocaust analogies. and so i told him about all the places i thought he should go to in berlin to really understand what nazi and holocaust analogies were part of. and so when it's relative, i bring it up. you don't have to be jewish to be attacked for being a jew. it's wrong to suggest it's something new. sort of ugly new phase of our society. because in my experience which is now probably into its fourth decade in washington. people have -- there has always been a small group of people who can only see you through the lens of your religion or ethnicity or gender. one of the things i really love is the people who e-mail me and they address me as ruthie. which first of all really pisss
off my mother. it is always followed by something condescending, nasty, belittling. there's always been some group of people since i started writing for "the post" many years ago who, you know, will like they used to cut out the thing and write "jew bitch" on the thing and mail it to you as if, well, surprise, that's why -- thank you very much. but the mechanisms of modern communication have made that so much easier. because now you actually don't need a postage stamp to call me or anybody else a jew bitch, you can just tweet it, you can e-mail me, you can, you know, leave a message on my voice mail. it's all very easy. and it happened. and usually i think that the best way to deal with that is when it's, you know, kind of low level anti-semitism. it's just like a little virus in
society. may not be the right thing to say at the adl. usually i have ignored it. this summer, i think it was this summer, i was on "face the nation" and some guy just started tweeting about all the jews on the panel. i was with ron brownstein who, you know, has a jewish name but i don't think -- he's not like, you know, observant jew, sorry, ron. and i just decided to respond to it. because i thought the times really demanded it. i was afraid it was a little self-indulge self-indulgent. a, it made me feel better. b, it got a really good response. just to sort of stand up to it as julia did and to say, you know what, in this day and age when people are -- when candidates are saying there should be religious tests for who can be president. when candidates say there should be religious tests for who can
enter this country. this was the moment i thought for her and me to stand up and say, you know, this is not acceptable piece of our discourse. [ applause ] >> and julia, this journalist, has enlisted the help of adl's regional office where she lives so she can file a complaint so she's in good hands, we think. i can't remember a campaign in my 23 years when adl has had to develop curricula for kids and parents and teacher to help children just get through this election. and i'm talking about children who are hearing some very uncivilized behavior they've been taught is not okay. as well as muslim kids in school whose parents are wondering if they'll have to register. i can't remember needing to do
this. i'd love it if each of you -- we are 501c-3. our moral voice is important. what advice would you have for us in the next couple of months? what role can we play? peter, you want to be first? >> sure. it's really important to point out every single time when something is said or there's this quote/unquote code or set of code words that are out there and to hold people accountable. it just is. i think that as we develop the curricula, we talk about how muslims are feeling under extraordinary pressure right now. as they did after 9/11. i think that's the last time,
especially those of us who lived in one of the cities that were attacked. new york or washington, d.c. or wherever. that we saw people genuinely in fear because they were associated with what had happened and it kind of brought you back to how you must have felt during world war ii if you were german or japanese living in this country. we've agreed these are the sorts of things we don't stand for. i think we have to stand up and hold our leaders accountable for that. i think, again, i'll give you an example on the republican side. when david duke ran for the nomination for the united states senate in louisiana. anybody from louisiana here? hi, guys. bennett johnson, senator bennett johnson was the incumbent at the time. when david duke, the former grand wizard of the kkk i guess, whether he was the grand wizard or whatever he was, got the nomination, there were republican senators led by
howard baker and bob dole that went to louisiana and campaigned for bennett johnston. against the nominee of our party. and made it clear up front they were doing that. now, have timed changed in terms of that? are people -- do people care too much about power? do they care too much about their place to avoid that? they might have been easier. it was more direct. bennett was a colleague. they, frankly, liked him. what i think adl needs to continue doing and i support adl and i am a member of adl, i run the kind of right wing roman catholic section you guys don't know about. >> yes. >> we're looking for members, by the way. but that's what i expect from adl. i expect adl to step out every
time. i think a social conscious is important. i also expect our churches to do the same thing. as a roman catholic, i expect my church to do it every single day, every single time. >> thank you. ruth, you give advice to paul ryan. do you have any for us? >> so i think that peter's exactly right. i think speaking out is the best -- it's an interesting -- question for a columnist really. once you've said that it's outrageous, that donald trump has said this about muslims or that ben cars be has said this about muslims. do you keep saying it and saying it and saying it. and i actually think, especially for an advocacy organization, not a political advocacy organization, but an idea advocacy organization, the answer has toby. you have to keep reinforcing that argument.
because most americans are decent people and need to hear that argument and because the people -- the children and others who are injured by that argument need to hear it. and the children and others who can be influenced by that argument need to hear it. i just want to say one more sentence. it's probably not in adl's wheelhouse, but peter touched on it before. another thing relating to children that's really concerned me in this campaign is we have this, you know, really ugly racial and religious discourse. we also have this really degraded course in sexual discourse. i think they may be interconnected. sort of the permission structure for one allows the permission structure for the other. but the notion that you have to now worry about sitting there with your -- my kids are older than this, but if you had a 9-year-old or 10-year-old and you were sitting watching a presidential debate, imagine this, where the presidential
candidate made reference to his penis size. that is not a healthy moment for public discourse in our country. and i think we also -- it's not necessarily adl's job, but we have to keep saying that as well. >> we are dealing with a lot of those issues for kids. i want to thank both of you, thank everyone for these incredible questions -- >> can i -- i just want to say one last thing on that. what i want in a leader and i've been fortunate to be around some folks that i really admired on both sides of the aisle and saw the strength. i don't think it's weak to be kind. i don't think it's weak to be humble. i don't think it's weak to be somebody who looks at other people's ideas and says maybe they've got a point of view. and so that's aspirational for any of us.
those are the things we should expect out of our political leaders. that's -- somebody asked how i would vote. that will be my standard who is that aspirational individual. because i still think this job is the most important single job in the united states of america. and except for the pope in rome, probably -- no, i'm kidding. look at her. she looks at me going. >> uh-oh. c-span is here. i don't think we get a vote on that. >> well, you don't, i do. [ laughter ] it is the single most important job and we really, really should guard that and hold that precious and dear i think. >> thank you. [ applause ] so i know that one of ruth's colleagues recently ate a shredded column and i didn't realize that when i wanted to
say ruth's columns are food for thought. please follow ruth. she is food for the soul. except when she writes columns about her daughter's food, those are good too. i want to tell one quick story. about a year and a half ago when israel was fighting hamas and the reaction on the streets of europe was to take to the streets around the synagogue and scream hamas, hamas, jews to the gas. it was shocking. up this connecticut avenue a couple of blocks in the conference room of a big important lobbying firm, the president slammed his fist on the table and said this shouldn't be. this can't be. every legislature in this town should be making this a top priority on their agendas and when they travel. finally, adl. an