tv [untitled] CSPAN June 6, 2009 12:30am-1:00am EDT
>> coming up on tomorrow morning's washington journal, jared allen of the hill newspaper has written an article about congressional intelligence briefings on detainee interrogations. and for the 65th anniversary of d-day, we'll talk to john mcmanus, the author of "the americans at d-day" and the americans at normandy. >> how is c-span fund snd >> private -- c-span funded? >> private donations. >> public television. >> i don't know where the money comes from. >> federally. >> contribution from donors. >> how is c-span fund snd 30 years ago america's cable companies created c-span as a public service. a private business initiative. no government mandate. no government money. >> "new york times" columnist david brooks speaking about president obama. mr. brooks was at the national conference of the american
advertising federation as the keynote speaker at the "new york times" luncheon. this is 20 minutes. >> i never get tired of looking at that. we're about to hear from one of the nation's most respected and well liked journalists. he certainly has a lot to talk about these days. when our nation's 44th president took office on january 20, he was faced with a litany of issues and challenges so vexing that he must occasionally wonder why he campaigned so hard for the job. moments after he took the oath, president obama had to contend with a sharp downturn in the economy, rising unemployment, and a financial system that needed a lot of help to say the least. and then the problems beyond our shores like iraq, afghanistan and north korea. prognosticators have been saying that this would be an extraordinary decade. and it appears they are right.
while it's impossible to predict what will happen next, david brooks, an op-ed columnist for "the new york times" will provide us with his insights in politics in the age of obama. but first, let me offer a little background. before joining the times in 2003, mr. brooks worked for the weekly standard from its inception in 1995. prior to that, he worked at a competitor, "the wall street journal." where his last position was op-ed editor and stationed in brussels covering a small beat, russia, middle east, south africa, and europe. and demonstrating impressive versatility, his first post at the journal was as editor of the book review section. in addition to his work at the times, david is a frequent commentator on pbs, cnn, and npr and is the author of several books. and he's the reason c-span is here today. televising this session. given his busy schedule, it's a
special honor to welcome him to the conference today. ladies and gentlemen, our keynote speaker, op-ed columnist for "the new york times," david brooks. >> thank you. the times is way cooler than the journal, by the way. [laughter] the atmosphere in this room is a little like the times washington bureau. about nine times more enthusiasm. i'm actually not used to this level of enthusiasm except for back in the day when i was a student at syracuse university. i wasn't really a student at syracuse. i was a student at florida state. you guys have the whistle. so i thought i would shout out florida state. i'm going to talk a little about washington. you've come here to our capital at a unique moment when we're actually like the business
center of the universe. i used to cover business -- i try to cover culture wherever it's going. in the 1990's i covered silicon valley when that was the business center of america and maybe the world. i used to hang around places where all the c.e.o.'s have these supersoaker water guns. where the socially progressive places where people had saabs and audis and socially acceptable to have a luxury car as long as it came from a country that was hostile to u.s. foreign policy. that was cool. they would get their ben and jerry's ice cream. i said they should make a pacifist toothpaste that doesn't kill germs. it just asks them to leave. that would be a big seller. [laughter] that was the culture that gave us all the progressive grocery stores like whole foods and trader joe's. where all the cashiers look like they're on loan from amnesty international.
the socially progressive places. my favorite section of trader joe's is the snack food section. they couldn't just have potato chips and pretzels because that would be vulgar and lead to the obesity of america so they have these sea weed based snacks for kids to come home and say mom, mom, i want a snack that will help prevent colon-rectal cancer. that was one culture i covered in the 1990's and then covered outer ring suburbs and spent a lot of time in home depots, watching men buy barbecue grills because that's when they're most emotionally exposed. doing the manly waddle men do in the presence of large amounts of lumber. used to go over to the sam's club store which is the big discount stores which are like wal-mart on acid. you could go there and you would buy your 30 pound bags of
tater tots, packages with 3,000 q-tips. which is 6,000 cotton swabs and one at ear end. i used to go to those places and who comes here shopping for condoms? because the quantities are just so massive. [laughter] there are a lot of optimistic people in america. and the other thing about those places is everyone's having the same conversation which is about how much money they're saving by buying in bulk. so you'll hear a couple say we should get 15,000 popsicles because we were thinking of having kids anyway. and that was one culture. and now we're in a different culture. and now washington really is the profit center, the political center. and working for "the new york times," i got one very good bit of piece of advice which was interview three politicians every day. and every day, i try to
interview three different politicians. just so i know what's going on every day. and i can tell you they are all in one form or another emotional freaks. they have what i call logorhea dementia that they talk themselves they drive themselves insane. they are guaranteed to invade your personal space. so when you go to a politician he'll grab you around the head. i had dinner with a republican senator a couple of months ago and he had his hand on my inner thigh the whole dinner. [laughter] i actually -- this was a few years ago. i once watched ted kennedy and dan quayle meet in the well of the senate, on the floor of the senate and they grabbed each other and hugged each other. and they were so happy to see each other and their faces were like this far apart and they were talking and laughing and hugging and grinding together. i was up there in the press gallery saying get a room. i do not want to see you two. but these are politicians and these are people who run our
country. the fact is -- [laughter] for better or worse. the fact is they wouldn't do it if they didn't care about the country. the life is actually not that glamorous. and they wouldn't do it unless they thought they were doing some good. and we in the public are sometimes a little too suspicious of them. but they really -- they have their failings. they have a fear of being alone. they travel in packs. sometimes they're like emotional 4-year-olds. but they do care about the country. and the country is now led by one of the most in fact the most remarkable politician i've ever met. barack obama. [cheers and applause] i met him early on when he came to the senate. before he had achieved the messiah status. i actually -- and i see him -- i say off the record settings, maybe once a month since he's become president. and actually i had a chance to have dinner with him a few
weeks ago at a columnist's house. it was a great occasion. he was carried into the dinner by cherubs. they were floating there. and oprah winfrey and bruce springsteen were throwing rose pettles at his feet. david, what sort of wine would you like me to turn your water into? i was very appreciative. [laughter] and it's his character that really shapes this administration. and there are a few stories i'll just tell you, just a few of the traits he has. the one is incredible perceptiveness about other people. the story i tell about that is several years ago i was writing columns attacking the republican congress and i throw in a few sentences attacking the democrats just to make myself feel good. and one morning i get an email from obama that says david, if you want to attack us, fine, but you're only throwing in those sentences to make yourself feel good. like yep. he got that. he's also a real intellectual. somebody who really reads. one -- one afternoon i was
interviewing over the phone and late afternoon, he was tired. the interview was going nowhere. he was a little cranky. and out of the blue i asked him, have you ever -- this guy named reinhold nabor. a 19th century theologian and i asked him what he means to you and he described for the next 20 minutes his theology in perfect paragraph. and believe me, there are not a lot of u.s. senators who can do that. there used to be one and now there's none. and that's incredible testimony to his intelligence. he also as you've seen is a man with incredible self-control. and the story i tell about that concerns one. presidential debates, and it was the one bob -- bob sheefer was hosting on -- schiefer was hosting on cbs. mccain wrote his talking points as politicians tend to do when they're on stage.
obama didn't write a word. but every time he would be asked a question, he would draw a straight line through a piece of paper. so after the debate one of schaefer's assistants went to where obama was and ripped out the piece of paper as a souvenir and just a white piece of paper with a few straight lines. and that's to me a symptom of a guy with incredible composure and calm. a calmness that has never left him. and as a result, he runs a very calm administration. when you attack a politician, usually they call you and they tell you what a complete loser you are. with the obama people, if i write something critical of the president or some decision he's made, i'll get a call the next morning and they'll say david, we like you, we really appreciate your work. it's so sad that you're a complete and total loser. [laughter] so they're very nice about it. and that makes you feel so good.
he also has a trait which i think is the overwhelming trait of his presidency and of his character. and that is self-confidence. he should be like the measure of self-confidence. like he has 100 obamas, a very self-confident person would have 80 obamas, less self-confident, 20 obamas. he's a very self-confident guy. and that's created some pluses and some minuses. some of the pluses is he's surrounded himself with very, very, very smart people. and a sort of traffic jam of brains in this administration. he's got half his faculty, half his staff comes from harvard. the other half comes from yale. and i often say if we're attacked by terrorists during the harvard yale game we're screwed because they will be up there in new haven. but he's got -- as a result a very smart staff. filled with people who really argue and will argue in front of them. he had this decision a few weeks ago where he had to decide whether to release these torture memos.
he gathered people in the office of his chief of staff, rahm emanuel. and they literally had a debate. he listened to the debate for an hour and made the decision right there on the spot. that's an impressive level of substance. and this chief of staff, rahm emanuel, from chicago. he's sort of a competitive, aggressive guy. he's lost his middle finishing nar deli accident -- middle finger in a deli accident. he is very confrontational and curses a lot. obama said when he lost his middle finger he was rendered mute. [laughter] nothing else -- my other rahm joke is he's very concerned about education. and he's concerned about the american education system because he's afraid american high school students are cursing at a fourth grade level. that was another good rahm line. but this self-confidence of obama i think is -- has many -- it made him president. and it's made him challenge -- tackle all the challenges we've had. it's also created i think the weakness and this is a thing i
worry about. with president obama. that self-confidence can lead him i think to overreach. and let me read to you something he said to a staff member who he hired, a young guy he was hiring for the campaign. and was in the job interview. and this was later reported by ryan lids of the new republic, i'm sorry of the new yorker, formerly of the new republic. and this is obama talking to this guy, patrick despard. obama said i think i'm a better speech writer than my speech writers. i know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors and i'll tell you right now i think i'm a better political director than my political director. well, that's a high level of self-confidence. and so when you look at what the obama administration has done, they've taken on issue after issue. and each individual issue, they've done it incredibly intelligently. i was in afghanistan a few weeks ago and what struck me was that the issue that the people on the ground and
afghanistan, the policy they wanted, was the policy obama adopted. a very aggressive policy where we're going to be remaking towns, village by village, creating cops and courts, the things afghanistan needs. he's just taken over general motors and the -- two therds of the american auto industry -- two thirds of the american auto industry. created an $800 billion stimulus package and remake the nrk sector and in the process of remaking the health care sector, housing sector, taking over the banks. very impressive educational reforms. one thing after another. he's doing it all. and i'm a guy who sort of leans on the cautious side of life. i'm sort of temperamental conservative. i was -- grew up in a left wing household and my parents took me to a -- in the 1960's, where hippies would go just to be. with-and-one of the things they did as part of -- and one of the things they did as part
after be-in was to build a fire and throw their wallet into it to be not for material things. so i put my hand in the fire and grabbed the $5 bill and ran away which was my first step over to the right in life. [laughter] so all of this aggressiveness makes me nervous. i see them talk about decisions and every decision is smart. and yet one of the things that adds up is the money. adds up. we now are running a 13% of g.d.p. deficit. that's going to go up so we'll double our national debt. in 10 years, the entire -- the amount of money we pay on interest on the debt is going to be $890 billion a year. which is almost like an entire budget right now. how can you do so mire budget right now. how can you do so much? how can you take over autos, health care, half the american
economy, and manage it all correctly no matter how smart you are? so i'm like the worry wart around the media these days. i see a guy who's just tremendously impressive. i see a guy who manages his staff so beautifully. and talks in just like no other politician i've seen before. i just wish he was doing less. i just wish there was a little more humility there. and maybe i'll be proven wrong. because if there's one thing we know about this country that a country that can make a barbecue grill like i would see in the home depot called the webber genesis grill, name a barbecue grill after a book in the bible or a country that can make veggie booty with kale probably can achieve anything. but i'm still a little nervous about even as great of president as i think we have right now. thanks very much. [applause]
i've been told there's time for questions, maybe. i can't see you though i know you guys from t.c.u. are out there at least. texas tech. i was at t.c.u. with bob shiefer who has the shiefer school of journalism. i brought my 10-year-old son who fell in love with a young woman down there. so if you see her, a 10-year-old lover. if there are any questions, i can't see, so if there are any questions, speak up. sir. [question inaudible] >> the question was whether penske has bought saturn. that's the first i've ever heard of it. does that mean saturn is going to be in the daytona 500? no, i'm sorry. i hadn't heard that. i'm tremendously concerned about what's happening to g.m. because i think corporate
culture is really important. and if you don't change a corporate culture, then you're probably not changing the company. and i'm afraid we're trying to buck up g.m. without changing the corporate culture. i don't see anybody else so thanks very much for your attention. i appreciate it. [applause] >> president obama's european trip continues saturday as he travels to paris and then to normandy for a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the d-day invasion. you can watch that ceremony live here on c-span beginning at 9:05 a.m. eastern time. >> next on c-span, health and human services secretary
kathleen sebelius testifies about her department's annual budget. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke discusses the economy at a house hearing. and at a meeting of the campaign for america's future, progressives discuss their role in an obama white house. >> a hearing on federal health care spending. the secretary of health and human services, kathleen sebelius, testified about her department's annual budget at this hearing of the house appropriations committee. the white house has proposed an $879 billion h.h.s. budget for fiscal year 2010. that's a $63 billion increase over this year's budget. this hearing is two hours 15 minutes. this hearing is two hours and 15 minutes. >> -- before this subcommittee. i noted the presence of the
kansas call. [laughter] and we welcome that, too, today. madam secretary, when i was in the legislature i served with a fellow by the name of harvey do helm who was a retired dairy farmer, on lee as a basset hound on a bad day. [laughter] and he was probably the best human being i ever served with anywhere. and one of the things he always said he said you know one of the problems with this country is all too often the poor and the rich get the same amount of i support it there's in the wintertime, and it is my understanding that you have the outrageous view that can change, and it's my understanding that you are coming in here today intending to do something very
radical, which is to try to provide health care coverage for every american and i would like to know where you get that crazy idea. because it seems to me that we have already seen hundreds of billions of dollars go out the door to help strengthen banks and insurance companies and auto companies under both president bush and under president obama, but now evidently you have the the outrageous goal to come in here thinking we have socialism for big people we ought to provide at least a shadow of socialism for little people. i don't happen to regard it as socialism but as you know some people like to refer to it that way to scare people with those
naughty words. but i just want to say i hope that you are secretary ship is marked by our finally achieving that goal of providing health access and affordable health care to every single american and i know this hearing is supposed to be largely about your budget, but that is the great issue that hangs over all of our were deliberations on the subcommittee this year, and i for one hope that as the administration puts together its plans and establishes you will fight just as hard as you can and the president will fight
just as hard as he can to see to it that among the options available to american citizens will be a public plan. i find it on a chronic that some of the people in this society especially in the insurance industry who talked so vociferously about consumer choice. i find it interesting many of those same kump people would deny people of having the choice of a government plan. i fully recognize we are not going to have anything like the canadian single payer plan and this is a different country than canada. and i recognize and the and we will be building primarily on private insurance system. but i would certainly expect we
would how as an option a government plan for those who choose to have it. not in post on anybody but for those who choose to have it and i would hope that the administration would hang tough on that issue. i would also ask -- i know that i'm told the administration is probably going to be sending down additional request for funding for pandemic flu. i would simply ask you to the white house that since we are trying to finish the supplemental conference this week that if the administration is planning to send that down that they do so immediately so that we can give full
consideration in the conference. in my view president bush was correct to asked for full funding for that program more than five years ago. this kennedy for a variety of reasons didn't quite measure up to that. i think we have got to get on with that business and so i hope that the administration will sent down to us as quickly as possible with the estimates are that he will need. i also have some concerns i but like to express' with certain aspects of your budget especially liheap and while that is a peculiar request with nih but i will save that for the question period. >> thank you, mr. chairman and
as a fellow kansan i want to agreed it would welcome for secretary sebelius. congratulations on your confirmation. i know after getting back to washington and seeing the traffic you had the same fault i have, we are not in kansas anymore. as the secretary of health and human services you have the responsibility to ensure the nation's health care and social services are in an excellent and indeed improve. like a physician your philosophy should be first do no harm. this is often hard for the government. from a doubling and access and choice that government does in fact to harm. i'm interested hearing how he will balance the desire here to improve access to health care and human services while not interfering in the quality of the systems themselves. one of the biggest concerns with government interference in health care delivery systems that i have is that, and i assure you have health care reform will be a large part of the discussion today, is that we will limit the innovation of
choice and access to this process we are going to try to involve more government in the process. the areas of concern i have with the administration's proposals or utilization of comparative effectiveness to ration health care, elimination of the clutches protection and the overall concept of moving people from the private health insurance to public health insurance. i believe these three policies would negatively impact the quality and americans access to health care. first regarding comparative effectiveness in the stimulus bill we include money that not only was for comparative effectiveness but also language directing your department to use this research to make decisions about what treatments the government will and will not approve. the government will fund research to decide which medicine for medical treatment works best for most people then and only then will they pay for the one option in other words comparative effectiveness is another way to say rationed health care.
who is when to be affected by the policy unfortunately i think is those that can least afford to lose will be the ones that experienced the loss. a fellow kansan from johnson county was in my office earlier this spring. she has immunosuppressive diseases and under private insurance had funding, she had medication that would allow her to fight off the common cold and flu. when she visited my office she was suffering from the flu and was afraid to shake hands. she had left a life where she was completely able to function, should play with her grandchildren, shop, be productive, unfortunately when she switched to medicare the government would not find her therapy or medications she was forced to take new medication which provided her with headaches and backaches and it did not protect her from diseases such as the common cold. when she came to my office, she was considering wearing a mask and worried about