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tv   John Mc Cain Newt Gingrich and Nikki Haley Speak at Kemp Leadership Award...  CSPAN  December 23, 2016 12:14pm-12:49pm EST

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the music of poor white people. people who are privileged to be white -- and i'll talk about that in a second -- but also people who are underprivileged in terms of their economic opportunities and identity. >> cotton seiler on the emerging definitions of whiteness and blackness in colonial america and how it impacted the origins of country music. then sunday afternoon at 4:00 on reel america. >> a cautious congress, budget cutbacks and a tangle of state and local administrative problems on the horizon created evidence this crusade against society's greatest enemies may be slowed or, worse, may level off and fade. this was the climate, the land, and the unfinished task that faced lyndon johnson on the first of december, 1966. the film "the president -- december, 1966" documents the final month of the year of president lyndon b. johnson, his
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meeting with mexico's president at a cooperative dam project, awarding the medal of honor to a marine who fought in vietnam and celebrating the holidays with his family at his texas ranch. at 8:00, on the presidency, william hazelgrove, author of requested mat dam president, the secret presidency of edith wilson." she buffered access to the president as he recovered from a massive stroke in 1919. for our complete american history tv schedule, go to >> senator john mccain and former house speaker newt gingrich now on defense issues and u.s. foreign policy. they were part of a dinner honoring south carolina governor and incoming u.n. ambassador nikki haley.
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>> so recognizing this 75th anniversary, and please you can eat your salads and get started but we thought it would be appropriate on this 75th anniversary to take some time to reflect on america's leadership in the world. as the new congress and the new president prepare to take office. so we've invited two very special guests, one of whom i've mentioned already. who have been at the forefront of ideas. ideas that focus on what it means for america to lead. what it means for america to be exceptional and they themselves have been extraordinary leaders and continue to be and we would like them to share their thoughts on the challenges that lie ahead for our nation and for the world. so while you eat your salads, i'd like to welcome to the stage three wonderful friends of the
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kemp family and i'd like to start with senator john mccain who, as you know, graduated from the united states naval academy. he's currently chairman of the senate arms services committee, he was our republican nominee for president in 2008 and as of three weeks ago he's the proud new grandfather of john mccain v. please welcome senator john mccain. [ applause ] >> then next, i think i was 22 years old, that was 1994 -- yeah, it was 1994 and those of you who remember your political history remember what happened that year. how long had it been since the republicans had had the house? 40 years. it had been 40 years and the republicans came to the majority in the house and speaker newt
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gingrich let me, a little punk 22-year-old, come follow him around for a day and that made an incredible impression on me because he -- the first thing he did was take care of himself. he swam and met me at the office at 7:30. newt is prodigious in so many ways, prolific, prodigious, what other adjectives can we come up with? newt, we appreciate you being here and are interested in what you have to say. especially at this time. please welcome newt gingrich. and to moderate this conversation it gives me a really great enjoyment to have michelle van cleave, who's been with me since i started the kemp foundation in 2009 shortly after
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michel dad passed away. michelle is a national security expert, she was the head of counterintelligence for president w bush. she was my dad's foreign policy adviser and national security advisor michelle is incredibly talented and i can't think of anybody better than michelle to guide us in this discussion and i'm thrilled you get the opportunity to here her. please welcome michelle van cleave. >> are these microphones working? yes, they are. well, it's a pleasure to see everyone here tonight and i have to tell you that ahead of time i spoke to senator mccain, i said "i'm looking forward to this conversation." he said "well, it will be lively." and i spoke to the speaker and he said "well, it will be amusing." so we'll see if they live up to this billing. you know, coming out of world
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war ii, starting there america understood its role to be that of leader of the free world and we had a purposeful national security strategy to that end embodied in se-68 and it charted a role for advancing freedom throughout the world and ever since the call for american leadership has been echoed on both sides of the aisle from our leaders. however what constitutes american leadership has auchb been a matter of dispute. so in particular where to draw the line between advancing our values and our principles and advancing what is seen as national interest has been a long standing debate in foreign policy circles. certainly presidents clinton and bush both argued that spreading american values itself was essential to our interests and i
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think one would search in pain for any statements by president obama to the contrary. still, there is a growing belief in many quarters that trying to promote and advance our values may not be worth the cost in all cases to advance democracy. may not be worth the cost in all case cases where do you come down on that issue? senator, please. >> i'd like to thank the kemp foundation, kemp family and congratulations to nikki haley in a nice sweet in the waldorf-astoria in manhattan i was reminded of the story in the two inmate the ciao line and one
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turned to the other and said "the food was a lot better in here when you were governor." [ laughter ] can't tell that joke in illinois. yesterday i saw the president give one of the most delusional statements i've ever heard in my years associated with national security in not only denying the failures of the last eight years but extolling the failures, my friends, look at a map of the world in 2009, look at a map of the world today. you will see al qaeda, you will see bloodshed, you will see millions of refugees, you will see tensions and you will see a total lack.
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i would argue this president probably has the greatest challenge since the beginning. since december 8, 1941 when, by the way, at a wonderful service today down in the memorial they quoted franklin roosevelt and his statement on the -- but, look, what the last eight years have proven is that without american leadership things go bad. when you lead from behind, somebody else tries to lead from in front there was a person back in the roman times who was an opponent of the romans that said they made a desert and called it peace in aleppo as we speak
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they're making a desert and sooner or later the russians and bashar al assad and the iranians and the iranian revolutionary guard, hezbollah, will stop after they've slaughtered five, 10, 20,000 more people. and nobody seems to give a dam and that's what's a tragedy of all this. there was a time when mussolini invaded ethiopia and nobody cared. they installed a fascist government and nobody cared and then there was czechoslovakia where nevil chim chamberlain said we won't send our young men to a place they speak a language we don't know. this president will have the
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greatest national security challenges in the last 70 years and i'm very pleased with the national security team he seems to be assemble iing. >> well, let me say first i can't come to the kemp foundation without recognizing joanne and the family but also i think that the appointment of the nomination of dr. ben carson may give us the greatest opportunity since jack kemp to really make a breakthrough in trying to help inner city americans about i think he will do so by standing on jack's shoulders. [ applause ] so i can't imagine a better time for this foundation to be meeting and thinking about its opportunities to provide unique help to millions of americans who really need to break out of the cultural and bureaucratic
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prisons that they're trapped in. i think the question is important and i'm probably to some extent a heretic in this topic first of all, even during world war two when we were the most powerful country away and even then we recognized severe limitations on power so we didn't try to take out franco in spain. we didn't try to deal with a wide range -- we were very cautious about the soviets. not that they represented american values but that we were advocating a way of life. we were prepared to defend it frankly with far more
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sophistication than anything you could get away with today. if you tried today to influence the french and italian elections the way we did in the late 1940s it would be utterly hopeless. it would be in the "washington post" and the "new york times" and 600 lawyers would point out it was illegal or unconstitution unconstitutional sense of our own limitations. i would suggest to you for example if you had 4,000 people shot and 700 people in chicago, that that is a hard problem so before we get certain. i come out of the view that you ought to be cautious.
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the thing that is infuriating about obama is they were cheerful about disrupting anything without putting anything in its place. if you're going to do a project, make sure you're capable of getting it done. their notion of the middle east has led to a level of chaos whether it's libya or somalia or yemen or syria or oar iraq it's astonishing that the united states has been as fecklessly led as they have been by barack obama so my first could be be cautious about what you think you know. one of the reasons, the senator has been very generous. jim mattis was part of that
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project. he understands the region and the limitations of american power and he understands that so to go back to reagan for just one second, reagan had a clear sense of hierarchy. one of the reasons he didn't get deeply involved in taking on the iranians even though they were behind the bombing of american marines in lebanon was that wasn't his goal. he had one goal -- the defeat of the soviet union. and he stayed focussed in that goal and, of course, in 1991 the world changed and the soviet union disappeared. and i think we have to -- we desperately need to really think our strategies in the world and we underestimate how hard it is. let me say briefly.
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run the list. north korea china, russia, pakistan, iran, and islamic supremacists on a cross-border basis. those six problems, any one of them is hard and the new president is going to face all six simultaneously. that is a very daunting challenge for us as a country. >> mr. speaker, if i may pick up on something you said a moment ago, the soviet union dissolved 25 years ago this month and it is inspiring to me that we were sitting here in this hall because this hall in 1949 is where the 12 original members of nato met, invited here by president truman and signed that accord. where -- which saw us through the cold war. when the soviet union dissolved and all the states declared their independence, we, americans, were of the view that, well, this is a time of change in history.
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it was extraordinary for all of us and we had looked then at russia as being perhaps no longer counted among the list of our adversaries. but in a sense that didn't last that long since we had putin come to power, since we saw the invasion of georgia and the annexation of crimea and invasions into ukraine and current activities in syria and i would add from my own background, a real escalation in russian espionage both in europe and certainly here in the u.s. so we have these perturbations that have also led to some real questions about u.s. leadership and where we stand with respect to containing russian expansionism and there is a good part of the world -- at least from what i read and the people i talk to -- that are worried that the incoming u.s. president
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plans to cut deals with putin to their detriment. now i don't believe that, but perceptions are important and i am wondering what we should be doing to allay those kinds of concerns and to reaffirm our commitment to nato and to our alliances. >> well, a little comment and i'll toss it to john to clean up after me. look, i don't know that i want to go out and reassure anybody. i don't know what president-elect trump is going to do. i don't think president-elect trump knows what he's going to do. [ laughter ] i don't mean that in a shallow way. this is a very, very smart man. remember, after amassing somewhere between $4 billion and $10 billion he then defeated 16 people for the republican nomination and john and i can both tell you this is not the easiest thing to do. [ laughter ] he defeated the elite news media and hillary clinton simultaneously so to assume this is some casual shallow guy is wrong but he hasn't been through
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the process of planning. the people he's starting to surround himself with i feel pretty good about. i think nikki haley will be a tremendous ambassador and is a great choice. [ applause ] i think mattis is prepared to be secretary of defense and he will be an extraordinarily knowledgeable person about the world and particularly the middle east. so -- but when you talk about putin, you know, i once had somebody come up to me and say trump's going to use "the apprentice" model and he's going to call putin and say "you're fired." that's not trump, trump is going to call putin and say you're a mensch. i'm a mensch. this last guy was nothing, no wonder you despised him. i'd like to work something out. but remember this is what he said to the chinese by accepting one phone call.
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but remember if you really want to play competitively i have the bigger economy, the bigger military, the greater capability and so if you want to tell general mattis, gee, we have to crowd the russians for a while, i can do that. and your aircraft carrier will leave the mediterranean because you can't possibly sustain it. and you're going to find your supply lines are in real trouble because you can't possibly sustain them. now i don't want to say that because we should be able to work together. [ laughter and applause ] but i don't think he's going to ever -- every time i've talked to trump, and i've talked to him a lot in the last two years, he never operates from weakness and i suspect he would like to find a way to have a healthier relationship with putin and -- than obama has. frankly, i'd like to find a way to have a healthy relationship with putin than obama.
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obama tempted -- you don't go to a kgb agent and say "hi, i'm weak and stupid, would you please take advantage of me?" and then be shock that all of his training kicked in and he takes advantage of you because you begged them to do it and he couldn't resist. your turn, john. [ laughter ] >> what do you think about that, mr. chairman? [ applause ] >> tough act to follow. could i say before i go further, i forgot, two of my role models have been this individual and jack kemp. we had been, as you said, 40 years out in the wilderness in the minority and these are two individuals were probably prime reasons why to the astonishment of one and all why we became the majority in the united states house of representatives. and jack kemp, when you get a bunch of egos in the room as the republican conference, usually people don't pay much attention. when jack kemp stood up to speak, we all listened because
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we knew he had a vision for america that is thanks to this institute, this foundation is alive and well today and that's why i'm honored to be here. [ applause ] there's an old line about ignoring the lessons of history and then you are doomed to repeat them. in the lessons of history when ronald reagan came to office in a clear statement of peace through strength, it wasn't an accident that the same day he was inaugurated the hostages came home from tehran. the message needs to be sent to vladimir putin that that his adventurism and aggression and attempts to divide up ukraine, which he's done, his attempts to overthrow the freely elected government's of the baltic states, frankly, media reports there were attempt to assassinate the prime minister of this little country called month montenegro.
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putin is acting with wild abandon. my friends, russia is a gas station masquerading as a country. i want to amend that. a mafia-run gas station masquerading as a country. [ laughter and applause ] the world's 15th gdp and he's playing his cards in the most adroit and incredibly clever fashion where he is now the major influence in the middle east which they haven't been since anwar sadat threw him out of egypt in 1973 and there's no doubt what his ambitions are. my friends, i don't expect you to follow all of these things, but recently there was a poll in sweden. 73% of the swedish people believe they ought to join nato because vladimir putin has scared the hell out of them in the arctic. and everywhere i go and all these leaders -- i talk to a group of baltic
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leaders today. they want to know if they can depend on the united states of america or do they have to accommodate? these countries were part of the soviet empire and then part of the soviet union for 70 years -- 50 years. so what we need -- and i think -- and i believe that the people around president-elect trump have that kind of inner strength. it's not just mattis who is our hero, but if he takes petraeus or mitt romney or john bolton, john bolton would shake up the state department in a way that is long overdue, my dear friends. [ applause ] so general kelly, there's nobody that knows more about our own hemisphere than general kelly. and there's a scourge, called manufactured mexican heroin that's an epidemic in the
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northeast and the midwest of this country and i'm sorry to tell you the distribution point is phoenix, arizona. but -- so he is assembling a team that i believe could be listened to, life is full of anecdotes. as you know, president-elect trump during the campaign said he was going to do waterboarding and worse. then just the other day he said he asked general mattis and general mattis said i can do much better with a pack of cigarettes and a six pack of beer. i hope he took general mattis' word for it and i think he might because it's obvious he respects general mattis. the message as got to be sent that the united states of america is not interested in conflict. ronald reagan was not interested in conflict but the lessons of history sew you have to show a steadfast strong position which then your potential adversary doesn't want to run the risk.
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but if your adversary and your adversaries, my best example lately, and i'll stop with this, i still -- honestly it wakes me up, here is two american vessels manned by american sailors put on their knees with their hands clasped behind their neck in the most gross violation of international law by the iranian s and what does our secretary of state do? he waits until they return and thanks the iranians. my friends, that picture of the american sailors on their knees, that was everywhere all over the middle east and don't think it doesn't have an impact. if these people think we're weak they're going to take advantage of it and i believe that it's time the united states returned to the days of old and our role model, still my role model and hero ronald reagan who won the
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cold war without firing a shot in the words of margaret thatcher. [ applause ] >> so, mr. chairman, you mentioned jack kemp, my old boss and i recall hearing him say so often, freedom must be won anew by every generation. and certainly the current generation is no exception to that rule. my question is, are we postured to do that? we understand the biggest lesson of pearl harbor to have been to be prepared for surprise. you have to be prepared for surprise and we built an intelligence community around that objective. where are we today in being prepared for surprises for the known unknowns, perhaps, as don rumsfeld would call them, or even the unknown unknowns. do we have sufficient capability? >> december 7, 1941 was a seminal moment because the majority of the people of the
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united states don't want us involved or engaged with japan or germany and that event galvanized american public opinion. still look at the old clip when franklin delano roosevelt said the hand that held the dagger stabbed us. that united america. we were not ready. my friends, all during the '30s we didn't build ships, we didn't build airplanes, we didn't train pilots. the pilots that did launch that day on december 7, 1941 in those airplanes, they were meat on the table for the japanese zero. they were outsped, outmaneuvered, outgunned and outpiloted. and i'm very sorry to tell you that because of this crazy thing called sequestration we are cutting into the most important part of our defense capabilities and that's readiness and training. when ever you cut defense
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budgets, the first thing to go is the operations and the training and the maintenance because that's the easiest. and i can tell you that our service chiefs testifying before the senate arms services committee have said the following -- because of sequestration we are putting men and women in uniform at greater risk. is it our job as members of congress and leadership to put the finest of america at greater risk? of course not. and, by the way, i, again, i applaud president-elect trump because he told me personally over the fold and he said many times publicly "we're going to rebuild the military." he is saying that and he said it on many occasions. and i'm encouraged by it. but i can also tell you, there are members of congress, republican and democrat, who are simply not aware nor do they realize the urgency and the challenges that america faces in
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the 21st century. do you agree, newt? >> totally, yeah. this is why we're going to have to have a great national debate. but there's no signal you can send to either the chinese or the russians more powerful than rebuilding the american military. use don't want -- as john knows from his own life, you don't want anything close to parity. you want overwhelming capabilities so the other side knows they'll lose. you're least likely to have a war if the other side understands they can't win. you're most likely to have a war if the other side thinks there's some clever way they can offset you. that's why this whole concept -- we'll see how it works out when it's a couple months in the budget but we have to reinvest in every aspect of the american defense system i think in order to be back to a position where we are relatively safe in a dangerous world. >> one last question before we conclude. i wonder if you might have some advice that you would like to
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offer to governor hailey as she prepares for her new job in new york. >> i think she's going to enjoy very much the russian ambassador. he's a really neat guy and you're going to enjoy him. [ laughter ] spending time with him. not to mention the chinese. could i just mention one thing? real quick. newt and i have painted a pretty tough picture. i would not bet against the united states of america, my friends, i would not. [ applause ] i would just like to mention, we are now energy independent, there are some of us in this room that remembers sitting in a gas line for three and four hours because the middle east nationings had cut off the oil supply. that will never happen again. we're going to be an energy exporter and if we do that, you can get natural gas to the living rooms in ukraine and eastern europe so they won't be dependent on vladimir putin.
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would you like to be china? some of us have been in china on a day where you can't see one block because of the pollution. do you know for 40 years the chinese had a one-child policy? they have a demographic challenge the likes of which will be gigantic. see this device here? i have to buy a new goddamn one every six months. this was not invented in china or europe or any place else. this is a device that is changing the world. it's information, it's knowledge and knowledge and knowledge is power. and so i would not -- and finally could i mention, that -- when i get a little depressed trying to do the lord's work in the city of satan, i go and meet with men and women in uniform, their leaders, particularly their non-commissioned officers. they are the best, there is nobody that can match up to them [ applause ]
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and i still think if we'll give them the equipment that they need and the training, american pilots are flying less hours per month than chinese and russian pilots today. we give them the right -- what they need and there's nobody that will be able to match up with them. and could i just say that i always appreciate newt's thinkings and his ideas. he's one of the people who i've known who thinks not in one years or five years or ten years or many more. a hell of a lot of times he's dead wrong but i do have the greatest appreciation for his intellect and he will go down in history as a leader who really changed the way that the republican party governs. [ applause ] >> off of that semi endorsement from my very, very dear friend who i admire so deeply and who has been the epitome for our
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generation of public service at every level, let me just say, i co-chaired with george mitchell a reform commission on the u.n. which we concluded was essentially bureaucratic, incompetent, corrupt, riddled with nepotism and stunningly hard to reform. so with that cheerful thought, i have two actual -- and i've seen you work in columbia so i know you are a great natural politician in the best sense of the word. you understand about bringing people together and listening to them and getting things done. i would just say two things to remember -- one is cheerful persistence. you're going into a place that's not used to having an effective ambassador. you're going to into a place where the normal daily behaviors -- it's like sending trump to the "new york times" or msnbc. the natural bias of the general


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