tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN November 24, 2009 8:00pm-11:00pm EST
i do not know if i have ever been the one that has the level of competence, talent, experience that has been put together right here in new orleans. it says something the people of this kind of influence in this kind of experience chose to come to our city. i want to be sure that we put our best foot forward and listen to what they have to say. each one of these people is enormously talented and experienced. i urge everybody to read the biographies and get a sense of who has come. we appreciate you being here. we look forward to hosting you in good time. thank you very much. .
it is the only way we can get durable change. we are happy to have this group. one thing about bipartisanship is that it is often seen as soft and mellow and kind of friendly. while these a lovely people, these are smart people and principled people. they are not mellow people. it is my final pleasure to welcome walter isaacson, who will be moderating this panel and i cannot add to the introduction except for one thing. he is also a board member of the bbpc.
[applause] >> we do have a great panel. the biographies are there. charlie black is the senior elder statesman of the field, having been a senior political advisor to ronald reagan, george h.w. bush, and for the john mccain campaign. there is steve schmidt, the day- to-day manager of the mccain campaign and the george w. bush 2004 election campaign. i have some of that slightly wrong, but it is right in the biography, right? right. hilary rosen was in the recording industry association of america. she is also a member of rock the vote. ted devine, i saw him on the
moon walk this morning. he was getting done its on jackson square. i think you have 17 winning democratic campaigns. you worked for kerry and gorda. -- gore. we have kiki mclean. president callan nasa may -- president how one asked mcowen t influence do they have on what the candidates will say or are you just a hired gun who is not there to provide the device? -- provide the advice?
>> the fact is that sometimes we work for candidates. i think we believe in all of the candidates, even if they are people we just met and have not known long time before we work for them. but, in some cases, we do work with somebody we have known for many years. in which case, we may have influence on them. there are a lot of public policy issues that are not clear, black and white issues. there are grey areas. and a lot of people, even if they have a strong set up and suppose, have to think about it or analyze it, discuss it, and determine where to come down on something. sure, sometimes we have influence, but 99% of your job is to figure out where candidates stand, make sure that he or she does the homework and take a position on issues.
then you help them talk it through and help them present it in the best possible fashion. >> would you like to add to that? >> i think the role is to help them tell the story. i do not recall in my career having to go to a candidate for office and saying, you must believe this. they have strong believes. you may be in a circumstance where you walk through them and said, if you go up and say "a ," the consequence will be b. if you can live with consequent to be, then -- with consequence b, then that is okay. whether it was that our
immigration, the three issues that were in a curious in a moment of the campaign. but he believed what he believed dead we advise them how to effectively -- he believes what he believed and we advised him how to effectively go out and communicate that. >> i don't think we tried to influence them. mayan -- my responsibilities to communicate their views to the public. one of the reasons i do not think i have to aninfluence someone, if they believe that your gagnyou are on their side,p them communicate. >> i am going to say a slightly
different tact. it is not my job to give my opinion about a policy position. but i have been in situations before where i have looked at of an elected official and said, i think that the position you're taking is not true to who you have been and who you are and you will need to consider that. if you look at where somebody's record is, the two times i have had to do that, one person looked up and said, you're absolutely right. i agree with you. let me reconnoiter. look at the position again. in the other instance, i looked up and reassured them, i work for you. i will execute with u.s. me to do. i had this conversation earlier today. whether your can politics are at a bank or a schoolteacher with
a principal the report to, when you get to the place where you can say, i'm here because you have asked me to be here. >> one of the reasons that we are all gathered here in new orleans is that we're trying to have a set of discussions about is there a way to pull the poison and the partisanship out of politics that has increased in the past 30 years on both sides. one reason i would posit that there has been more partisanship and poison is that it has become a view of both consultants, pollsters, and good politicians that playing to the base works better than plain to the center. tell me -- and playing to the center. tell me if that is correct. >> i do not know that people play to the base more.
i think that politics, principally because of the access to information is so much greater, whether it is opposition research or a 24-hour news cycle, you can find at a much more about what the candidate is doing all along. in that time span, there will be more things to create differences with the other candidates. the other piece is, frankly, of the time demands a more well- rounded perspective of our candidates. whether it is their personal life for their values for their policies, each thing becomes an equal importance to voters. when it feels like a more personal, poisonous and run it in some respects, is out for
scrutiny. >> did karl rove make a conscious decision with the candidate to play more to the base? when you had the 2008 mccain campaign, did you make a conscious decision not to go that route? >> i always felt that our strategy in 2004 was mischaracterized, that it was plain to the base. we did well in the center of the electorate. part of the strategy in that karl rove and can melviken mel n played was to turn at every possible republican voter. republicans were lacking in our turnout voting mechanisms. they took a great leap forward. it was a very successful
program, in the same way that the obama campaign organized voters and used social needed to turnout its supporters in 2008. but it was never the strategy of the bush campaign to seek the middle of the electorate and turnout every republican in the country. both political parties, when you go into an election, you want to turnout every available voter in your party. on the tactical level, we were able to do that effectively. but that does not displease the necessity of trying to win the center of the electorate. -- that does not displace the necessity of trying to win the center of the electorate. >> i was on the side of that campaign. my perspective was that the bush campaign did have a base strategy. my evidence to that would be the following.
you want to understand the strategy of a campaign and that it is manifested effectively. you can look good when and how they're spending their dollars and it will tell you is essentially what their strategy is. if you look at the 2004 bush media by, some other top markets in the country, pensacola florida, where the most republican-based markets. in florida, that with a big swing market. it was a very successful strategy. congratulations for that. they found a way to win a tough election. the president won reelection at a difficult time. there was not a lot of job creation during his first term, but they overcame that because they were very focused. but what i think they did most successfully was targeting the base voters and turn them out in large numbers.
>> and jeff, did you want to get in on this? >> it is about turnout. i think it will begin in 2010, about whose base is more energized. i think the republican base will be more energized because of what has been happening with the economy, with the spending programs on the democrat side, and i think it was correct in 2004. you can call it a base for a turnout, but it was designed to get republicans out to vote in higher numbers than they have ever before. when you only have 60% of the electorate that shows up and boats anymore, it becomes -- and votes anymore, it becomes a base election.
>> give me wondered to suggestions on reducing the poison in the political system. i would prefer they put enough to later to make the argument that the poison is good for democracy. let's leave that argument aside. if you wanted to reduce the poison in our political atmosphere, what could you do from your vantage point? >> you are doing it today by having greater exposure for the people involved. this is not different from foreign policy is where world leaders know each other at the table. when people know one another and respected one another and it is not an anonymous sky, it takes it down. you have to take some cues from
a candidate. i think candidates have their role in this, to look at their consultants and say, this is the expectation. i said that about obama only because i do not have a level of familiarity with the met -- which mccain -- with the mccain campaign. the instances in his campaign rebounders were overstepped and it in the general, it has been pretty well documented where he laid the law again on his staff and held them accountable. >> in the last campaign, those candidates who tried very hard to reduce unfair partisanship and say they were the type that could reach across the aisle and take us away from this bitter partisan divide, certainly, mccain had proof of the pudding. he had done it on everything from immigration reform to 12
other issues where he had fills on the other side. >> the poison of politics would be to convince the press not to cover conflict almost exclusively. when i used to teach in college, back in the old days when we had but fourth, i started my lectures with conflict = coverage. if you want to get attention and you are running a campaign, attack somebody. he will get a lot of attention right away. as long as the equation remains intact and the substance of politics, particularly positions on issues and ideas that i are given very short shrift compared to the intense conflict that is almost nothing, then we will continue to have a politics that drives itself into conflict. technology is driving the conflict right now. >> both cable-tv and gloves? >> -- both cable-tv and
blogs? >> i was at cnn in the last election having sat at the editorial meetings, there was more substance covered by the media in this campaign, i think, then there has been in recent memory. it is because there was more realistic to cover. whether it was 24-hour cable or unlimited online space, the audience was actually pretty substantial. there is as -- there's no question that these 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. news, the semi concept is most pervasive. this has to derive from the candidate and the time. sometimes require a level of saying, what does the country
needed? at other times, i would argue that pointing out the differences is exactly why it an electorate needs. i am not so sure that there is that fix. >> oftentimes, the media can place legitimate contrast on issues. we live in momentous times. there are different viewpoints about how to solve this country's problems. they ought to be aired. in this country, we do not throw molotov cocktails at each other. we do negative ads. we point out the differences in the campaigns. at the end of the day, i agree with what kiki and tad said. it is a to the candidates to set the tone. in the mccain campaign, mccain forbade the use of jeremiah wright because he knew what an
explosive and divisive issue that would become ended with metastasized out of the campaigns control -- and it would moustaches the sizmetastae campaign cost control. the lowest common denominators -- the campaign's control. while they may not in print on the american people, it does course in the political debate. it squeezes out the serious people in both parties who are able to go up there and articulate what the actual differences are on a wide range of issues. >> the purpose of campaigns is to show differences, on issues, experience, and the legitimate differences in character.
but we'll have an obligation to tell their story based on facts, facts we can document. if we use metaphors or analogies were different ways to tell the story, they need to fairly portray what the candidate's position or history or background is. far from winning it on the press, the press plays an important role as fact checkers and referees in this debate between the campaign ads and statements and who is hitting below the belt. i wish the press would be more aggressive about that in some cases. in the end, we now have third parties beyond the campaigns and the press. let independent expenditures, a third party groups -- we have independent expenditures and third party groups.
i will not harp on the blogs. but it is unfair for the campaigns are the press to take some anonymous blog thing and present it as fact or treated as journalism when it is not. a lot is the third party now, not the campaign as starts a fight on an unfair charge and then we pylon each other. >> i do agree with most of the thoughts here. people are very smart. the electorate is pretty smart when you give them the facts. we are finding that the candidates perceived as running negative campaigns are the ones were not winning today. it is not that they're not running negative campaigns, but those perceived as running a negative campaign better generally not winning. i think he saw that in virginia this last cycle. but i think the media does have a strong role to play in terms of being a referee.
pointing out when facts are not correct or when things are not correct, let the people know about it. but the public know that this is an unfair attack. here are the real facts of what you're talking about. >> remember mccain said barack obama called sarah palin a pig. then they had a three day fight over lipstick on a pig. it was really the media that shut that fight them. >> i am a recovering journalists. but there was no reason for three days of cable tv talk shows to be talking about those comments. >> the media kept replaying what obama said and what the palin comment was. >> but they don't think that if cable had ignored that silly little thing that it would have died down? >> i think these commercials are
written for cable. you do a small by and you hope the cable expands it. >> my point exactly. >> but in many respects, the campaigns are on the phone with the media all the time. they are accelerating the fight. in some respects, the media is willing, but in other respects, like that issue, i distinctly recall the media shutting it down. >> we will be on the phone all day with the media at accelerating the fight over substance if it was being covered. we're just going to go toward the coverage. if the coverage is there and we can get our message through free media, that is where we're going to go. >> that raises an interesting point. with so much practice journalism moving to an online
contemplate, -- online content place, it is difficult for the consumer to say what the registry that meets the journalism standard versus someone else to pick that up and it explodes? when the media news organizations are going to come to gather and set an online standard, i do know if your part of an ftd network, but something that allows online consumers to know whathat they are following media ethics. we have to work to find that. >> if the public did not know what was fact and what was fiction, barack obama would not be president today. what was said about to him early on, whether he was a muslim or
whether u.s. born -- or whether he was born in this country -- if the public believe what they read, he would not be president. i think the public is a lot smarter. >> that is what i am talking about. independent incredible bloggers putting stuff out. >> this happened in the coleman race. somebody wrote a blog for the magazine and that ended up showing up on a paid ad by a third party independent group saying that it was a fact. it was completely erroneous. there was no substance to it at all. but it runs because of erratic on a blog. blogger then -- but it runs because it was written in a blog. >> there is a more needs
communication where people go into the cul-de-sacs of the blog sphere. is there something in the technology compared to the technology of broadcast tv of the 1950's and 1960's that leads to more polarization? >> it is the lack of accountability. there are lots of good examples. go to the lieberman reelection campaign in connecticut. with a level of anonymity in a statewide race with folks blogging and chatting at a local rubber, they went past candidates and individuals in the campaigns. people made up things, the most hateful things of mid-level staffers. i had one staffer called me in tears one night, a bright woman with a strong career in politics.
and she said, what do i tell my little brother stewart in junior high who are seeing stuff on the blogs about me? people who paid to joe lieberman are writing this about main. >> -- people who hate joe lieberman are writing this about me. >> the candidate in each party who was miss post partisan and less divisive -- who was most post-partisan and less divisive. they wanted to get away from some of the extreme fights we have been having in the past two decades to people who are more willing to work across aisles. indeed, that was the theme of the campaign, yet we have not gotten any closer to being post- prison. is anyone here you stood writing
doodads that can say [unintelligible] how do you make an ad campaign based around that? is that impossible? >> you saw that happen in the komen race. coleman went three weeks had and said, i am going to run a positive campaign progressed but any loss. >> exactly. -- a positive campaign. >> but then he lost. >> exactly. >> i do not think you can impose your will on voters. think the voters are out there. the allegis as we go through is to try to discover where the voters are, -- the exercise that we go through to try discoveretr where the voters are, what they
think, and what they feel. if you want me to do your race, we have to connect to the mission to the economic anxieties that voters feel today. we have to make them feel that what you want to do is to make their lives better in terms of the opportunity to find jobs, employment chemistry, and some way connected to them. if that is the only way to do it. that is how you connected to the questions that voters are placing to their candidates. >> did that resonate for john mccain? would it have tied into the
economic issue? >> no one knew occupy that space was barack obama. -- the one who occupied that space was barack obama. we lost control of that message to have never done it and said that i am good to do it. i think there were a lot of reasons for that that were out of the control of the campaign. but back to charlie's point, i work for governor schwarzenegger and ran his campaign. that was a post-partisan campaign. but there were sharp issue conflicts of a range of issues in the state. charlie's point to that campaigns are a contest of ideas, post-partisanship means to me that we do not question each other's motives and intentions. for example, on health care, i
think it is misguided, but i do not think it is born out of malice toward the american people. we ought not to say in our campaigns that criticizing your opponent's record or contras and on ideas is in and of itself inappropriate. to impose this silly self- censorship, that is now with the country is all about. >> raise your hand. check it out. i will repeat it. >> [unintelligible] >> gary mandrake, when i was growing appear, we had one of the grid is congressmen of all times. he represented [unintelligible] he ended up being a great coup for the civil rights compromise
is that were done. as soon as they left the state, it was carved up so that you had an inner-city districts that bill jefferson got and suburban district that david duke, the klansman, almost 1 at one point. that is an example of polarizing gerrymandering. does anybody want to take that? >> [unintelligible] >> most of the districts are either republican districts or democratic districts. [unintelligible] we are fighting over 50 feet or 60 feet in congress where it is really competitive. >> does that mean that the primary comice candidate has to worry about being outflanked if
you're a democrat on your right or a republican on your left? do you have to go more to the base? >> there are 50 districts where a primary fight from their bases real next year. we are actually experiencing in 2010 the first election where it gerrymandering will not be as much of a factor. democrats, we took more seats than they should have less time in some respects. we will have some in competitive states where democrats -- we will have so many competitive seats. this is the first time in four congresses or five congresses were gerrymandering will be less of an inch tissue. >> you can look at this two ways. for years, republicans wanted
more competitive districts so you would not have gerrymandering. most of the 435 districts are competitive. that would mean that the congress, just like the parliamentary system, congress would be more responsive to the voters. but the other thing you should know is that, if you're going to have 85% of congressional seats not be competitive, it should give these guys the incentive to stand up and work across party lines and take more political risk. the 85% that are not competitive on a partisan basis when i give them an excuse ever to leave. maybe they can have appears convinced appears to go up and do things that break -- maybe they can have peers convince
peers to go out and do things that break the cycle. >> [unintelligible] that happened in new york. rex there might be in the whole country 15 in each party -- >> there might be in the whole country 15 in each party that you up to worry about. if they take advantage of all the perks of incumbents, even if they go against their party on a couple of issues, there is no reason for them to lose. you have to be totally incompetent to lose your seat. >> or be totally indicted. in those 80% bette, you have ton idiot to lose your seat. >> [unintelligible]
>> [unintelligible] >> let's take a specific example. >> you asked the class a question that every official faces appeared to take a poll in my district or do i vote the way i think is the right policy if those two issues conflict? i do not think there is an elected official that does not have that question at some point in their carrier. most face it once or twice a month. >> but those are usually complex issues. if we're going to reform social security or medicare, or like this health care bill right now that is 2000 pages long that everybody is complaining about,
voters in a have opinions about everything in that bill. but, in most cases, most of voters believe that it is better for the two parties to get together and work across party lines to achieve something that to just pass things by party- line votes. those tended to be things that do not survive for the long term and tend to be amended or edited when the other party gets back in. >> [unintelligible] >> i said the opposite. think there are 15 in each party. >> [unintelligible]
>> in order to achieve bipartisan policy is, you have to get your and her party to get behind things. if you have people in close districts that are competing -- i am from tennessee. right now, and a lot of democrats are blue dogs and are very conservative on democratic issues. the health care reform is one of the big ones. i have worked for all of them, personally. it is a little this morning for some of the solid democrats to vote for -- health care is one of the reasons that a lot of democrats, elected in tennessee. when they do not deliver on something like that, how did you go from one electoral standpoint to a policy standpoint when it comes to something like health care? do you not need a lot of people in your party to support that? >> you are right.
there is a legislative its agenda and you can achieve if you have the votes, regardless of what party. there is a different milestone year -- you can bring about true bipartisanship that requires support across the board. one of the classic questions that charlie was pointing out and that hillary was pointing out is the one your congressman to go to washington and learn everything he or she can about an issue and use their good judgment? are you voting for them to use their judgment and use that judgment as a reflection of what they know by your home town and the community and the culture that you have or do you want somebody who comes in and polls and takes a formal opinion of the community, regardless of what they learn in washington, and goes back and execute on that? it is a tough mix. i suspect most successful elected officials who have dealt with the competitive election
issue in their career does both. some voters tell their elected officials this is what i want from you. >> i actually think that voters in this last election did vote for change. they did not vote for their members to play it safe. i think that is what the president's approval ratings are high. generally, people wanted a president to come in and make those tough decisions. the democrats who don't predict who don't follow -- the democrats who do not follow along will have a tough year. >> first, i am in congressman miguel's district. he did do telephone polling of residents and say, what do you
think? my own view is that to my visit to washington and once all of the details, it is his job to come back and educate -- and learns all of the details, it is his job to come back and educate. >> very good point. >> the second thing is that, the reason i came today is that i would like to hear discussed the civility that we need to bring back. i am a democrat living in a probe -- living in a republican world. it has been a tough eight years. it is becoming a tough additional four years. i would like for us to discuss the civility. >> first of all, does civility sell? how do you win civility back if you just believed in it in your heart? >> you can have a hard fight and be civil. there is a way to be respectful and threw down a good fight. when people lose their head or lose their cool, that does not mean that you disagree
vehemently. that is when voters lose respect for you. the first person who goes off on may tangent, that one will lose the fight with voters. >> politicians who do not practice it pay a price. it is almost what would happen degeneration ago. when television ads became important, as opposed to party bosses in back rooms to ignored -- anointed candidates to represent them. bringing their message to people became powerful forces that went beyond the structured party. what is happening now is equal to that the internet and the ability to communicate and the ability to raise money through it is now entering a cute -- a whole new set of politics. now you can go out and do
something incredibly high uncivil, like call the president a liar, and raise $1 million on the internet the next day. the lack of civility will be rewarded. >> there are examples on both sides. had we punish rather than celebrate in this -- how do we punish rather than celebrate in this new media. when somebody stands up in the congress of the united states during the state of the union and said, " ." >> nobody in the caucus supported what he did -- "you lie." >> nobody in the caucus supported what he did. the civility is not news.
we try not to bash the media, hillary. we had an earlier conversation that talk about immigration reform where a truly bipartisan group of senators get together and all slated then, not quite, but there were in large number of democratic and republican senators working on it. that was in 2007. john mccain was simultaneously running for president. he and senator kennedy were the two leaders, the co-authors of the bill. you never saw them together in public however. kennedy said to mccain, look, we cannot show up in tv cameras together or you will lose new hampshire. it is how the press promotes incivility.
>> the sense of being in the political minority, the only way you get hurt is to be no easier and more obnoxious. clearly, democrats, we did that -- we talked a lot about this during george bush's presidency. now republicans are doing a to barack obama. our debt -- are doing it to grow,. -- are doing it to barack obama. one after another, republican congressman would stand at the podium and object and not let anyone speak. they did that for a good 45 minutes. >> you are talking about
mobilizing the bases and how the french gets rewarded for saying extreme things -- and how the freninge gets rewarded for sayig extreme things. is there a future for the independent voter? >> in virginia, the independence drove that election. i think that candidates will have to continue to talk in language that independents want to hear. it is the job of the consultants to frame their message to independent voters and turnout the strong partisans on either side. >> [unintelligible]
>> you do not need a microphone. just call it out and i will repeat it. >> [unintelligible] >> sure, it is significant. again, there are some big issues where people just disagree, where you will like the two parties together on some fundamentally different things. unless leaders from each party sit down and try on the big issues to do something in the nature of a consensus, it will never have been. >> there is a headway in the back. yes, sir. -- there is a hand way in the back. yes, sir.
>> you're focusing a lot on the behavior of the politicians. one of the key components to the way politics is done right now is through the media. a lot of the discussion has to to be about how the media's portraying politicians. you can see that on fox and msnbc. >> i may as well start with rachel. i mean, hillary. >> was a freudian? >> no. >> i am fair and unbalanced in many ways. you have 24 hours of cable channels to fill. you have to pick and choose a bit of everything. if people are attracted to conflict that plays over and over again, the difference
between the media and cable tv and a lot of weird journalist really resent being lumped -- a lot of journalists who really resent being lumped in to thiose who dominate is opening tv. i don't think the viewers are fooled to think that it is not opening in tv. i am at cnn. our ratings are really down. people really like hearing opinions. they're not so interested in the straight news, as it were. again, i just think that viewers are smarter than the
conversation is allowing. they can distinguish between opinion tbn to the news and they know when they are reading mainstream newspapers -- between opinion and the news and they know when they are reading mainstream newspapers. voters often feel confused by the information they get. they get too much of it. sometimes you do not have your pick of exactly what you want. but i do not think that is really confusing to people. >> i am going to get in so much trouble in so many quadrants. but here goes. i am a big believer in the free market. i think voters have a responsibility. but i also think that' we make a huge mistake if i assume that everybody that watches fox
news votes like roger hale. there is at an editorial side to that network. i also think that, when we stand up and we looked up and say that there is no audience that is monolithic, we have a better chance of reaching people. as a partisan press stafford, i have to pay attention to that -- press staffer, i have to pay attention to that. i have to look at every avenue that gets the voter into the discussion. dial groups in the middle of the session, they think it is horrendous. but does that mean that i cannot take the health care plan to jim angle? new. no. >> it has transition from radio
to tv and into this social media world. when the tv show "nash" left earthe air, [unintelligible] when you have 300 channels, but the blogs, the cable, and 3 million people, the top-rated shows have the share of 4 million people. people are watching politics across the cable networks and it is an audience-share of 6 million people among the networks. it is no different from the u.s. see fighting channel or the cooking channel or the italian channel. people go to places that they
self select, where they want their opinions reinforced. we live in an ipod culture. you don't sit and wait for the reagan to play your favorite song anymore. you plug in your ipod and you get to choose what you are exposed to and what you see. if you go out and you shot lawyer at the president of the united states in the state of the union and the result is that you raise $1 million in the next 24 hours, that is the world we live in today. it has profound implications for civility between the parties in civic discourse. >> i am going to ask you to quickly set your questions together and then we will let the panel wrapup. >> this question involves political ads. no one candidate is going to
swear off those debads. you go back to the senate race of the early 1990's where, out of north's camp they said that to the other was a freebasing cokehead, ollie north live in front of congress, where is the line? -- ollie north light in front of congress, where is the line? -- holly north lot -- ollie north lied in front of congress, where is the line? >> you wanted to talk about whether partisanship is really a negative thing, whether it is poison, when it can be good, is there a way to make it less perceived like poison among the
american people, is there a way to get people to understand that politics is about conflict and different perceptions and ideologies and we should celebrate that rather than agreeing? >> the common theme is when does it really cross the line? >> you have to tell the true story and you do not cross the line on personal attacks unless it is something that is really legitimate. i lived through the campaign. it was not the north campaign. those weren't independent expenditure groups. they had no place in the process -- they were independent expenditure groups. they had no place in the
process. >> i think across the line with incendiary ads that are unfair. you will be punished by the voters almost on every instance. they do not typically work. the market of our politics, that is ultimately how it is regulated. >> i think you saw that this past year with the pay gap and the celebrity had appeared john corvine calling -- and the celebrity at the -- i think he saw that this past year with the pig ad any the celebrity bad. -- celebrity ad. the dirty secret of partisan campaign strategists is that the
independent voters who has all the power. everybody focuses on the right and the left. really, the independent voter these days are the ones who are making the decisions. >> good point. >> i think the line is the truth. i worked for chuck robb in 1994. we tried to convince people. we had tough ads. those ads were tough. we tried to tell people that nancy reagan said that ollie north was a liar. that is how you draw the line. if it is true and accurate, then deliver it. >> there are three are's to fall, their record, their rhetoric, and those things that are relevant. is the fact that a 17-year- old child got a dui last year
relevant? no. is the fact that you fix the ticket relevant? yes. >> ben franklin's branson was pretty vicious as a journalist -- ben franklin's grandson was pretty vicious as a journalist. but the big difference back then was that they really did find common ground when it came to certain big issues and whether they were issues of war and peace for the economy. they did find ways to come to a certain compromise. it is not so much the partisanship and air society that we have lost. it is the inability to find the common ground and make some compromises.
franklin once said that compromise is to not make heroes, but they do make great democracies. if you are a compromiser, you're considered on principle now as opposed to somebody who can find common ground. i truly want to thank the panel. very good. [applause] i appreciate it very much. [applause] >> you have a very short break while the next panel comes up. thank you.
lights. some of you were here during the first white house celebration of the founding of sikhims. sm. tonight we gather for the first state dinner by a president with prime minister abbprime ministeh gursharan kaur and -- and mrs. gursharan kaur. some of life's most treasured moments are celebrated under a beautiful, glittering 10. we are surrounded by great friends. it is been said that the most beautiful things in the universe are the starry heavens above us and the feeling of duty within us. mr. prime minister, we work to fulfill our duty, to bring our quote -- countries closer together than ever before.
tonight we celebrate the spirit of that will sustain our partnership. -- that will sustain our partnership. it will enrich every corner of our great nation. leaders in government, science, industry and the arts, some of whom joined us tonight. it is the bond of friendship between a president and the prime minister who are bound by friendship and brotherhood that transformed both our nations, the spirit that gave rise to movements led by giants like ghandi and king, and which are the reasons that both of us stand here tonight. as we draw upon these ties that bind our common future together, i want to close with the words that your first prime minister spoke at that midnight hour on the eve of indian independence, because nehru's words speech
was. "is only an opportunity -- towards great achievements. the past is over. it is the future that beckons us now. i propose a toast to all of you. does the prime minister get a glass? thank you. logistically, we want to make sure the prime minister has a glass. to the future that beckons all thus. let us answer its call and let our two great nations realize all the tribes and achievements that await us. cheers. [glasses clinking]
>> mr. president, the first lady, mrs. michelle obama, distinguished guests, i feel privileged to be invited to this first state banquet, mr. president, under your distinguished presidency. you do us and the people of india great honor by this wonderful gesture on your part. we are overwhelmed by the warmth of your hospitality, the courtesy you have extended to us personally, and the grace and
charm of the first lady. mr. president -- [applause] mr. president, your journey to the white house has captured the imagination of millions and millions of people in india. you are an inspiration to all the world -- all those who cherish the values of democracy, diversity, and equal opportunity. [applause] mr. president, i can do no better than to describe your
achievements in the words of abraham lincoln who said and i quote, "in the end, it is not the years in your life that count. it is the life in your years." [applause] mr. president, we warmly applaud the recognition by the nobel committee of the healing that you have provided and the power of your idealism and your vision. mr. president, your leadership
of this great nation of the united states coincides with a time of profound changes taking place in the world at large. we need to find new ways of international cooperation that respond more effectively to the grave challenges caused by the growing interdependence of nations. as two leading democracies, india and the united states must play a leading role in building a shared destiny for all humankind. mr. president, a strong and sustained a engagement between
our two countries is a good for our people and equally, it is highly important for the world as a whole. we are embarking on a new phase of our partnership. we should build on our common values and interests to realize the enormous potential and promise of our partnership. our expanding cooperation in areas of social and human development, science and technology, energy, and other related areas will improve the quality of lives of millions of people in our countries. the success of the nearly 2.7
million-strong american community -- is a tribute to our tributeethos. to our common ethos. they have enriched and deepened our ties and i thank them profoundly from the core of my heart. [applause] mr. president, i convey my very best wishes to you. mr. president, as you lead this great nation and look for -- i look forward to working with you to renew and expand our strategic partnership. i wish you and the people of
america is very, very happy thanksgiving. ladies and gentlemen -- [applause] i invite you to join me in a toast to the health and happiness of president barack obama and the first lady mrs. obama, the friendly people of the united states of america, and a strong or friendship between india and the united states of america. >> cheers. cheers. [glasses clinking]
>> thank you. thank you, everybody. enjoy your evening. [applause] >> more than 300 guests were invited to tonight's state dinner, but the first state dinner of the obama administration, the third white house dinner for india in the last decade. festivities are underway on the south lawn behind the white house in a tent. we are joined on the north lawn by nia of political.com. who are some of the notable names? >> everybody was looking for zero or. by gail king came. also steven spielberg was there -- there was no oopprah. blair underwood, alfre woodard
d, other hollywood names. this is a white house that is almost like a revolving door for celebrities over the past nine months. there were rumors that brad pitt would be here. he did not show up. it is a star-studded evening. >> hollywood has been a big supporter of the president. >> it is reminiscent of the clean administration. hollywood has come out to support him. during the campaign, you saw celebrities starring and songs about barack obama. we saw a lot of that tonight with them coming back to the white house. >> all the guests entered three the east entrance which is called a bookseller. why is it called that? >> that is what everybody is wondering. the short answer is they used to sell books there. before 9/11, that is where the historical association sold books. there is a rumor that grover cleveland's mother was a bookseller.
that is part of the lore of the white house. that is one of the reasons it has that name. >> blair underwood, and some other hollywood stars that walked through that area, called the east entrance or better known as the bookseller around here. >> listen to you. [unintelligible] they are dear friends. [no audio[inaudible]
>> i'm sorry? i am here as a guest of my friend, alfre woodard she has been named on the president's council -- >> of arts and humanities. >> oh! [inaudible] >> imagine that. you got david geffen behind me. that is all you need. thank you very much. just a guess. i grew up a bus boy so i have to resist the temptation to clean
up. >> i know this. [inaudible] >> general and mrs.: paul. -- colin powell. >> some of the hollywood stars that are a part of the festivities tonight at the white house. there were also some politicians as well. you are some of the names? >> nancy pelosi, as well as the governor of louisiana. the governor of pennsylvania is there. steny hoyer. lots of people who are important on the hill, important on the health care debate in the afghanistan debate. it is very much in evening wear important folks, whether it is
the hill or the administration or the indian-american community is represented as well. >> who is not here this evening? >> the big name that is not here is bill clinton. that is a big surprise. during his own administration, he had 30 state dinners. more of a case of then there, done that. he had another engagement. -- the case of been there, done that. everyone was hoping that 0 per would be there -- oprah would be there, but she did not show up. >> there were a lot of republicans who did not show up. >> a lot of congressmen and senators are back in their home districts. for instance, representative john boehner went back to ohio. he got the invitation, but he is probably going -- back in ohio. >> how do you r.s.v.p?
>> you r.s.v.p. to the white house. it is a very fancy, engraved in by. they get a list from the state department, and there are submissions of names that go on from all corners of the administration and they will everything down. if you are lucky enough to get an invitation, you r.s.v.p. back to the white house. >> how much lobbying goes into getting an invitation? >> there is a list -- the state department will make a list of the indian-american community and indian embassadors and representatives of that country who would automatically be on the list. there is lots of jockeying to get there and whittling down over many weeks in the east wing to decide who will be lucky enough to get an invite.
>> you mentioned some of the elected officials here this evening. steny hoyer, democratic leader in the house, along with many of the governors. here they are entering through the east entrance this evening. >> the honorable steny hoyer. and his wife. >> good evening. nice to see all of you here. >> [inaudible] >> no. >> everything is game? >> everything is game and everything will be proper. it is a little bit of both. that is the great nature of this job. pleased to have you here. nice to see you all. how're you doing?
in richmond, virginia. >> [inaudible] >> not recently. thank you. >> use of the politicians talking to the press there. you are one of the reporters standing behind the rope. what sort of questions are they ask when they come into the white house? >> they are soft ball questions. they are about what you are wearing. what you want to talk about tonight? for instance, we asked: paul that -- colin powell that, who was he wanted to meet? he said he was looking for to keep eating. this is the time to have fun and mix and mingle. we asked marty nesbit, obama's best friend from chicago.
people come. in a way, in all of washington, there is a little bit of glad- handing and back? -- back-slapping. earlier in the oval office there were the bilaterals with prime minister singh, but now there will be dancing. >> fashion is part of the evening. a lot of people will focus on what the first lady is wearing. to design her dress and what goes into picking the dress? is she trying to send a message? >> she is trying to send a message. they do not always in mid to that. the east wing does not like to admit to that, -- they do not want to admit to that. we were wagering whom she would pick. we guessed rachel roy, and she ended up wearing a skirt earlier in the day by that designer.
she landed on an indian-american designer who designed dresses for everyone from queen nor to beyonce. that is who she decided on today. all of this diplomacy and highlighting the best of india and the best of america. that is what you see in the first lady's fashion and in many choices as well. that is what we saw in this modern, elegant gown, in clean and cold that she wore tonight. >> the white house kept that under wraps to the very moment when she came out to greet the prime minister and his wife. >> the white house was good about that. there were more leaks on afghanistan and there were about this event. they were disciplined about keeping that -- that is always the case with what the first lady wears. we do not know until we see it. >> we will give our viewers a glimpse of what the first lady was wearing when her and her
>> president obama and first lady michelle obama and greeted india's prime minister singh and his wife earlier this evening. festivities are underway. talking what -- talking to us this evening about this. beyond the dress and the coronation, the logistics of the flowers, what type and color of flowers, the linens, the first
lady spoke earlier about the meaning behind them. what did she say? >> she had a group of high- school students where she gave them a lesson on state dinners and explained the china patterns. the color that she chose as purple and the significance of that is that it represents the indian peacock, the indian state bird. it is a nod to indian culture. in terms of china, she had china from the bush era and the clinton era. one of the things that you see with prime minister singh is that it is a continuation of what we saw with the bush administration. and using that china, is a nod to the relationship that bush was able to establish with prime minister singh. i talked to a white house usher about this -- he gave a figure that is $150,000.
to me, it seemed kind of low. the cost of that is already built an and the cost of the manpower is built in. that is the figure that he gave. george bush had smaller events -- $80,000 in the state dining room. this one, 3 one20 guests -- with 320 guests is like a big, lavish wedding. >> to the white house indicate whether or not people feel like they are in a tent tonight? will they need to come back into the white house? >> one of the tricks that they do -- i talked to a white house usher about that. there is nothing fancy about 10. they put a floor on that and they try to keep people's eyes up. -- it is a tent. there are wall hangings, so you do not feel like you're in a tent. >> who is the bigger headline, president obama or first lady
michelle obama? >> it has to be the first lady. there she was in this gorgeous dress. he is in the commander -- the commander in chief, but he wore a tuxedo. the first lady chose the china pattern. the headliner tomorrow will be "mrs. obama." >> we want to show our viewers to more -- some more of actinides entrances into the east part of the white house, including house speaker nancy pelosi. -- some more of the entrances into the east part of the white house, including house speaker nancy pelosi. >> my husband. >> the hon. eric holder.
saying. i am 67 years old and you cannot hear a word. the president and the first lady and the prime minister and his wife. thank you. >> biran abrian and tracy mathi. >> many elected officials, house members, senators, governors here tonight for the obama administration's first state dinner. joining us on the phone is the former first lady laura bush's chief of staff. we read in the newspaper earlier today in "the washington post" that this is a party with a purpose. what does that mean? >> it is important. there is important work that gets done at these events.
this is bent over several days of important meetings of the prime minister and with the president and with appropriate members of their delegations on each side. there is an important strategic partnership between the u.s. and india, and that is what this state dinner is a culmination of all that hard work. >> how does the white house go about deciding which country, which had a state to throw a state dinner for? >> i think there is a list, a long list, of countries over a period of time that the united states and the president will host as visitors and guest here, but i think what came about with this one, this is 810-year relationship -- 810-year relationship. over 10 years, there has really been an important partnership in reaching out on the part of president clinton, on the part of president bush, to really
solidified this important strategic relationship. there is so much -- this is the largest democracy in the world, india is. we are the second-largest democracy. there is an important relationship that needs to be nurtured and continue. the national security advisers of the president -- have said that he should which it will recommend others that he should host. and ultimately, that will be his decision. >> we heard earlier that this is the first lady's show. when does the first lady's office began preparing for a state dinner? >> this dinner, likely, or this visit started right at the time that secretary clinton hand- deliver the invitation from president obama to prime minister singh on her visit to india this past july.
she, at that time, accepted the invitation. i think both countries, the appropriate staff of both countries, started working right away to put together the visit, but as far as the east wing is concerned and the first lady and her staff, primarily under the direction of the social secretary, they will begin to craft what they want this dinner to look like. they will get help from the chief of protocol, she will make a list of things that should be considered in a dinner like this, down to colors that may be inappropriate, -- to display, food allergies and flour allergies. a. n-- and flower allergies. developing a guest list. that is something the social secretary will reach out to a number of people in the
government, particularly in the white house that will have recommendations of people who should be invited to a dinner like this, that should be there to honor the foreign guests. it can take several months for these things -- to put these things together. >> how involved is the first lady? how involved was former first lady or bush? how involved does she need to be in this sort of event? >> -- how involved was the former first lady laura bush? >> every first lady should take that seriously and they have enjoyed it. speaking for mrs. bush, to answer your question, she was intimately involved in the details. she would set the direction of things, expectation she might have of how she would like it to look and what meal she might like to serve. and the staff would come back
with recommendations. they would do tastings of foods. there would put table settings together, with the florist, the social secretary, with a variety of people who helped to execute these events. she would make final selections. the president is involved to particularly on the guest list. it will be the president and first lady that will review the guest list and make a final decision. working with a great staff and with the tone and directions set by the first lady, the ultimate result is a beautiful the event. >> how do they go about deciding where people are going to set for this evening, and were there ever political calculations that go into that configuration? >> where people sit? >> yes bird >> this is an important function as well. the social secretary will have a
great deal of responsibility, also talking to people all around the white house who may know some of the -- those invited, as well as working with the president and first lady. you try to get business done at these dinners. you try to put people together who will have an enjoyable evening, but then also, to use the time wisely and make good use of the event and the opportunity. it is a variety and a lot of consideration that go into where people sit. >> how many people, of the white house staff, are involved in planning and pulling off tonight's state dinner? >> a state dinner or any big event, it is all hands on deck. the resident staff, under the direction of the chief of certification -- ussher, this is their responsibility.
-- usher, this is their responsibility. the east wing staff has the bulk of their responsibility. the social secretary and her staff, and the press office, that staff. it takes a lot of people. it is important to remember the military office, which is convenient relocated were the first lady's staff is, because they work very closely with each other to execute the ceremonial functions at this event. the military plays an enormous role. let's not forget, these are traditions steeped in history. there is an important level protocol associated with each of these events and we count on the military. >> symbolism is important.
had you ever had the experience, as laura bush's chief of staff, with a mishap or miscommunication moments before or during the dinner? >> minute by minute, you have a very detailed schedule and a sequence of events that you have fought out every single possible detail, from pointa to get -- from point a to point z. you do not leave a lot of room for mishaps. sometimes there is timing it could be off a little bit. the president and the first lady may come down or earlier than when a car or the visitor is due to arrive. they are very minimal. the great thing is that there are so many experienced people involved in executing these events.
they can anticipate something happening before it does. and it does not turn into an issue. >> we thank you for your time this evening. >> thank you very much. >> the first lady, mrs. obama, previewed this dinner earlier today. >> tonight the president and i will be hosting our first state dinner. and we are hosting for the prime minister and his wife, whom we met earlier today. one of the things we thought -- i do not know about all of you -- is whether you wonder what are the state dinners about? when i was your age, i did not know what they were doing. we thought it would be fun to take time to expose you to what is going to happen today and this evening. so that is why you are here today and we are excited to have you.
the state visits and dinners are a really important part of our nation's diplomacy. throughout history, they have given u.s. presidents and the american people the opportunity to make important milestones in foreign relations. so these dinners and events are critical to what we do internationally. and they have helped build stronger ties with nations as well as people all around the world. that is what president obama and prime minister singh are doing today. and i know that all of us on our team here in the west wing and the east wing, we wish we could include many, many more people in today's events because it is not often that you get to do this. but even with a big house like the white house, there is only so many people we can invite. one of the ways that first ladies in the past have tried to
include a broader public in on what is going on is by holding these types of events, where we invite the press to share some of the incredible behind-the- scenes work that goes on to planning and pulling off this amazing day. but today, all we are also doing something different by having you all here. one of the things we talked about that the president and i have tried to do is really open up this white house to our neighbors. -- here in washington, d.c., especially to local students and children in our community. what we know is that even though many of your live just a few minutes, maybe all little bit away from here but you are close, these events probably seemed miles away, like they are untouchable. we tried to think about ways to include kids in the community
all throughout today's events. at the opening ceremonies, we invited about 50 students from local schools to attend the welcome event. that is why we are happy to have you guys here with us today. for those of you who don't know, these girls are a part of our young women who participate in the white house leadership and mentoring program. we are really thrilled to have you guys here. because this is your white house, and sheep -- we wanted to be a part of what we do here. how do we get this stuff done? the president and i are going to host this really neat dinner outside in the tent. we described it -- it is like a swan. we are calm and serene above water, but we are paddling like mad underneath. there is a lot of work that goes into making this happen. we have a lot of people putting
this together. it takes everyone at the white house, the state department, and the military officer who worked so hard to put all of the advance together. the guest list, the invitations, the place settings. you have to figure out who sits where. it takes all the folks in the kitchen. we have our incredible white house chap -- chef, whom some of you have met. and the rest of our kitchen staff. tonight, we're going to include a guest chef tonight. marcus samuelsson. he is one of the finest chefs in the country. chris markets in our kitchen staff are working on a wonderful menu tonight that you'll be able to share in a little bit. it will showcase the best of american cooking. it will include the freshest ingredients from area farmers and purveyors. because of the hard work of some
other kids in the community, we have this wonderful white house kitchen garden in the south lawn, and we will use some of the herbs from that garden in tonight's dinner as well. but there is also more to the dinner than just food. dinners like these also need great entertainment. who do we have? we have got someone you guys probably know -- jennifer hudson will sing tonight. yay. but we also have a.r. rahman. he helped create some of their music for the film at "slumdog millionnaire". i don't know if you guys got to see that movie. we will have a jazz vocalist, kurt ellig, a chicago, hometown guy. then we will also have the national symphony orchestra under the direction of marvin hamlisch, one of the greatest
composers in this country. it will be an incredible night for a lot of our guests. in a few minutes, you will hear more about the process of state visits and dinners and from white house historian bill allman. he will give you the background of how these things have worked in the past. you will also hear about the importance of protocol from tanya turner, who was from the state department. protocol is critical. how you stand, how you said, who walks were, all of that is really important. tonya will share with us how that works. before i turn it over to them, i want to take a few moments to share with everyone here also wide today means so much to me personally. -- why today means so much to me personally. i have been on the other side of these visits and dinners.
-- as a guest in many countries. since becoming first lady, i have had the opportunity to visit eight countries with my husband, the president. in each and every country, during every visit, i have been moved by the warm and gracious hospitality that our host and the citizens of the countries that we visited have extended to the president and to meet. it means a great deal. -- when you are visiting and your hosts make you feel like you are at home. -- like they are excited to see you. each visit has also been you need and profound in its own way. it is not just the pomp and circumstance and the lights and cameras and fancy dresses, but when we have gone to other countries, we have done an incredible things. we saw the jewish quarter in prague. we visited this it -- we visited the sistine chapel.
we have been to the coliseum in rome. and the american cemetery on the beaches of normandy in france were the world comes to honor the brave soldiers who died there. these places are more than monuments to history, naturally. they compel us to see the world through a broader lands, not just from your own background -- backyard or your school or your neighborhood. they teach us to look at the world -- world broadly. to respect and admire each other's cultures and traditions in a very different way and to honor all the values and the interests we all have in common. -- across the world. you see this not in a pomp and circumstance is, but in the people that you meet. we have met tons of incredible people over the course of our trips.
the children and then on to care for them at a beautiful orphanage that i visited -- the nuns who care for them in russia. young girls that i got to spend some time with at the elizabeth garrard anderson at school. -- in london. the nurses in ghana and africa that we got to see. -- in africa that we got to see. the children, the caretakers, the girls, the teachers, the nurses and others that we met -- what you learn is they all want the same thing is you do, as we do. folks all around the world, they want to live in peace. they want to pursue their dreams and just like you guys do. and they have big, huge streams, just like you. -- huge dreams, just like you. and they hope for a brighter future for the next generation.
these dreams are the same. what we figure out from these visits is that all across the world, no matter what our religions or raises are, that we are all building the future together and building that future is not just the job of any one country alone. no one country can do it by themselves. it is the responsibility of all of our countries all over the world to work together. that is why the president has worked so hard to began what he has called a new era in our relations with the world. he has worked to strengthen diplomacy. he has worked to renew old alliances so we are talking differently with countries and people we have not talked to before. he is building new partnerships and these partnerships he hopes will be based on mutual trust and respect. but one of the things the president has said is that this new era of engagement cannot
just be between governments. it is not just about the president's and the prime minister is getting along. this new era of engagement also has to be between the people, the diplomats, business leaders, the scientists, the health care workers and yes, the teachers and students. young people just like you are part of building up future. and that engagement, the ability to exchange with one another, as young people is critical. when the president goes to another country, he makes it a productive visit and speak with students all around the world, whether in europe or cairo or china, he always reaches out to young people. we need to expand that type of educational exchange so that students like all of you here have the opportunity to
experience and learn from other cultures and to share your own culture, however unique and different, with other parts of the world. deepening these ties is one of the things the president and the prime minister are working on today, one of the reasons for the trip to india and this state dinner is for these leaders to work together. whether it is along lines of working on the economy or climate change or global health, they know that young people like you, students, our future leaders, are among america's greatest ambassadors and india pose the greatest ambassadors as well. india sends more students to study in this country than any other country. this year alone, more than one under thousand students came here -- 100,000 students came
here from india to study somewhere. we learn from them in a fundamental way. as a result of those interactions, we are all richer for it. after today's visits, we will expand these exchanges even more. and who knows? maybe one of you sitting at this table, maybe one of our little mentees will be living and studying somewhere in india, maybe new delhi, or mumbai. just imagine that. start thinking about your future. this visit at this table is the beginning of all of that for you. government alone cannot build the future that we want. -- for the world. he that is the job of each and everyone of us. that is one of the lessons for today. that is one of the lessons of the relationship between the united states and india.
back when the president was a senator, he kept a picture of ghandi, the father of india, in his office. it was before he was a senator. he was always a big supporter in admirer of ghandi. -- because he inspired so many people in india and all around the world with his example of dignity and tolerance and peace and with a simple call. she would say "to be the change we wish to see in the world, we are that change." -- he would say "to be the change we wish to see in the world, we are that change." it is an opportunity to deepen the ties between the united states and india and a reminder to be the change, whether it is in your home or your school or
community or in your country. you are the change we need. >> mrs. obama previewing tonight's dinner, including talking about the food that the guests will be eating. earlier today i spoke with a former white house chef about the planning that goes into tonight's dinner. we want to show you that conversation, have you listened to it, as well as show you images of the white house kitchen preparing for a state dinner during previous administrations. tell us what it is like in the kitchen this evening, preparing for a state dinner? >> an official dinner is very much like a broadway opening. there are some people involved, both from the tulare -- culinary aspect of it. the social staff, first lady. the adrenaline that is going on right now could not be higher.
there has been a buildup. rehearsals, rehearsals. there is a guest chef. there is a first chance to take a look at mrs. obama's style. they have a great adrenalin. they are ready to perform chris and markets will do a famous job. i have taken a peek at the menu. there is an indian take to the menu this evening. i'm excited for them and for the obama is. it will be a wonderful night. >> what goes into coordinating the menu? >> the office of protocol at the state department will forward it dossier to the social secretary and to the first lady into the shaft. this will have personal preferences, medical requirements, religious or dietary requirements. in terms of food, in some cases, certain colors in certain
flowers might not be appropriate for different cultures. there is a variety of things to make sure no offense is given from anything that might take place. outside of food, are remembered for one of the state dinners, chrysanthemums found their way onto the table. it was that the japanese state dinner. this is a funeral flour for the japanese. we pulled all the flowers quickly off the table. it is not a hotel or restaurant. it is a private home. it really is an international incident o. >> what about the first lady's dress? is that a factor? >> in a strange way it is. whatever color the dress is will be what a floral designer will do in terms of the floral pieces, the color of the tablecloths.
this will roll back into the pattern of china that will be used in terms of what color it is. and then each color and pattern of china has different service pieces. in a small way, the color of the gown will denote what types of menu items you might be able to serve. >> how many days in advance to use at the menu? does it ever change at the last minute? >> it does not change at the last minute. there has been a cold bunch of rehearsing that has gone on. -- a whole bunch of rehearsing that has gone on. usually you know a good month in advance what is going to be. you have had a tasting and a testing and rehearsing and making sure it is just perfect. i will tell you that if the first lady came and said, i want to change is, you would do your darndest to change this. >> how involved is the first lady? fishy tasting the food is to go
along? is the president involved in that? >> -- if she tasting the food as you go along? >> the president will get as involved as he chooses to. with the first state dinner, there will be more hands-on the involvement with the first lady. she will watch every details. all first ladies are driven, very helpful females, regardless of how they present themselves to the public -- there alpha femal.es es. they are going to want to be sure that everything is exact. >> you mentioned the guest chef. marcus said wilson from new york. -- samuelson from new york. what are your impressions? co>> he is renowned.
the white house is a whole. if the wheat first lady decided that this is that cuisine -- if the first lady decided that this is what she decided she was going to use -- she was going to use, -- he has probably done at 50 state dinners. we get to do this all the time. i am sure chris and marcus are working to make sure that the timeline works, that the service is perfect. it does not matter how good the food is if you have to wait 45 minutes to get a course serve. >> having a guest chef does that add an extra headache for the head chef? >> in some respects, when you work at the white house, you are cloistered individually. you are sequestered in your kitchen. it is neat there is an outside shot to keep things fresh. -- out chef to keep things
fresh. -- and outside chef. i suspect they are getting along famously. >> do you gather any sort of meaning from what we have seen it from the menu tonight? >> i would suggest that there is an indian subcontinent take to the menu itself. i think it will be interesting executed. the white house is bad about american cuisine and american cuisine is like the american -- the white house is about american cuisine. it is a like the american populace. it is from all cultures. there are things that are distinctly indiana. but there are things that are traditional american. . .
in? >> we never said down and its paper and pencil. let's just say it was x- dollars in the food became an issue, do you want to sit down and explain why her name is being bandied about like a comedy show t? it is about representing the hospitality of america and the first family and the graciousness of america. >> thank you for your time. more than 300 people were expected at night state dinner. the first state dinner, 10 months into his administration. we will end tonight coverage here with president obama toasting the prime minister of india and him responding in kind. >♪
first white house celebration of the birth of the founder of [unintelligible] tonight we get there again for the first state dinner of my presidency with the prime minister singh as we celebrate the great in joint partnership between the united states and india. in india, some of life's most treasured moments are celebrated entered a beautiful tent. tonight we have beautiful music and food and are surrounded by great friends. the most beautiful things in the universe are the starry heavens above us and the feelings of duty with in this. today we were to a fill our duties to bring our countries closer together. tonight under the stars, we celebrate the spirit that will
sustain our partnership and the frigid among our people. it includes more than 2 million indian americans who in rich every corner of our great nation. their leaders in government and to join us tonight. we are bound by the same spirit a possibility of brotherhood that transforms both nations, a spirit that gave rise to movement led by giant like blondie -- ghandi and kings. we draw upon these ties. i want to say which he spoke on the eve of and dispense. they speak to our hopes. the achievement is but a step, and opening of opportunity.
the past is over. it is the future the beckons us now. i propose a toast to all of you. did the prime minister get a glass? thank you. logistically, we want to make sure the prime minister has a glass. to the future that beckons all of this. we will answer the call and let our two great nations realize the achievements that await us. cheers.
you have extended to us personally the grace and charm of the first lady. mr. president -- [applause] mr. president, your journey to the white house has captured the imaginations of millions and millions of people in india. you are an inspiration to all those who cherish the values of democracy, diversity, and equal opportunity. [applause] mr. president, i can do no better than to describe this in
the words of abraham lincoln who said, "it is not the years in your life account. it is the life in your years." [applause] mr. president, we warmly applauded the recognition by the group of the healing thought you have provided in the power of your idealism. [applause] mr. president, your leadership
of this great nation of the united states coincides with a time of profound instances happening at the world at large. we need to find new international cooperation that will play to the grave challenges by the growing interdependence of nations. as to the leading democracies, india and the united states must play a leading role in building a shared destiny for all humankind. mr. president, a strong and sustained a engagement is good
for our people and is equally important for the world as a whole. we are embarking on a new phase of our partnership. we should build on our common ground and interests to realize the enormous potential of our partnership. our expanding cooperation in india and human development, science and technology, and energy, and other religious media, will improve the quality of life of millions of people in our countries. [unintelligible]
there are 2.7 million strong american communities. it shows our common interests. it will deepen over time. i thank him fondly from the bottom of my heart. [applause] mr. president, i'd give you my very best wishes. mr. president, as you did forward -- i look forward to working with you to renew and expand our strategic partnership. i wish you and the people of america a very, very happy
thanksgiving. ladies and gentlemen -- [applause] i invite you to join me in a toast to the health and happiness of president barack obama and the first lady mrs. obama, the friendly people of the united states of america, and stronger friendships between india and the united states of america. >> cheers. cheers. thank you so much.
>> ladies and gentlemen, if the president of the united states, accompanied by his excellency, the prime minister of the republic of india. >> please, be seated. hello, everybody. i am very pleased to welcome prime minister saying -- singh on this first official business of my presidency. this reflects our admiration for the prime minister's leadership, the deep bonds before the people of the united states of india, and the historic opportunity we have to strengthen the
partnership between our nation. india today is a rising and irresponsible global power. -- and irresponsible global power. -- and responsible global power. beyond asia, as the world's largest multi ethnic democracy, it is one of the world's largest growing economy. they will play a pivotal role in meeting the major challenges we face today. this includes my top economic priorities, creating good jobs with good wages for the american people. i believe the relationship between the united states and india will be a defining partnership of the 21st century. it underscores the strengthening of this partnership, which i hope will continue throughout my
presidency. i have made it a priority to broaden the cooperation between our nations. our commitment to india can be seen in our new strategic dialogue which addresses the full range of challenges and opportunities before us. i am pleased we are joined by the cultures of our dialogue. our commitment to india can be seen in my personal partnership with prime minister singh. if we work together on economic matters and at our g 20 summits, i consider him a wise leader who has helped unleash india's extraordinary economic growth. he is a man of honesty and integrity. i respect him. i trust him. i have happily accepted his gracious invitation to visit india next year. this spirit of rigid in teaches
our discussions today. it is a reason we have made so much progress. we have agreed to expand trade investments so we can have more jobs for both of our people. india investment is creating in saving jobs across the united states. the united states is india's largest trading partner. there is significant balance in our trading relationships that i think is very important and reflective of the framework that to put forward at the g-20. agreed to new initiatives to promote trade, investment, and technology cooperation, especially among our small and medium-sized businesses. i reaffirm my is ministrations commitment to implement the u.s. last indian nuclear agreement which will increase american exports and create jobs
in both countries. we have agreed to move forward at the summit in pittsburgh. we will ensure that emerging economies like india will have a greater voice in shaping the international financial architecture. we have made progress in confronting climate change. i have commended him for india's leadership in areas like green buildings and energy efficiency. we agreed on a clean energy initiative that will create jobs and put people back with cleaner energy. it'll reduce poverty through development. with just two ways to the beginning of copenhagen, it is essential that all countries do what is necessary to reach a strong operational agreement that will confront the threat of climate change.
we made important progress today. we reaffirmed that an agreement in copenhagen shelby comprehensive and cover all the issues under negotiation. we have significant actions that will strengthen the world's ability to combat climate change. we agreed to initiate these climate changes. through a corporate processes as to their implementation. all of this bill on the progress we made in beijing and takes us one step closer to a successful outcome in copenhagen. agreed to do an hour operation against transnational threats. the american people join our indian friends in remembering the horrific attacks in mumbai one year ago this week. to prevent future attacks we agreed that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies will work even closer, including sharing more information. we discussed my review of our policy in afghanistan and i
thank prime minister singh for the indian contributions to the afghan people. i welcome the prime minister's support for the nonproliferation agenda that i laid out in prague. and i look forward to india's participation and our nuclear security summit next year as well as in his participation as a full partner in our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons. part of that vision is to working -- is working together to ensure that all nations, including iran and north korea, live up to their international obligations. we agreed to expand the international -- the educational exchanges that will fuel our knowledge based economies. we are exec -- expanding the fulbright program that brings so many of our students and scholars together, especially in science and technology. we're increasing ties and exchanges between our universities and community colleges as part of a new obama- singh or singh-obama initiative.
we think it is appropriately named. to advance our food this attrition, american and indian agriculture companies will cooperate to reduce hunger. not only in india were enormous strides have met been made around the world, it has much to teach. at our centers for disease control, we will partner with our county -- are indian counterparts to combat infectious diseases and promote global health. this is the concrete progress made today to create jobs and opportunity and security for our people. as a result, i believe the relationship between our two countries has never been stronger, a reminder that it will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. we look forward to celebrating our partnership tonight as michele and i host the prime minister and mrs. carr at the first state dinner of our
presidency -- of my presidency. it will be another opportunity to convey to the people of india as india assumes its rightful place as a global leader in the 20% three that you have in it -- have no better friend and partner than the united states of america. -- as a global leader in the 21st century that you have no better friend and partner than the united states of america. >> mr. president, distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the media, i thank from the core of my heart president obama for his very generous hospitality and for his very warm sentiments towards india and to me in particular. i am honored to be here today in this great country at the invitation of his excellency,
the president. when india and the united states meat, it is a moment to celebrate the values of democracy, pluralism, liberty, and freedom. today, we have done that and much more. in our discussions today we hear of the importance of our relationship and decided on future steps to enhance our strategic partnership. we have agreed to further intensify our trade investment and economic cooperation in a way that creates jobs and prosperity in both our two countries and to stimulate
global economic recovery. we admire the leadership that president obama has provided to stimulate and dieguide the procs that is now fully in place. we have decided to give a fresh impetus to collaboration's in te fields of education, agriculture and health. we will deepen our ongoing cooperation in the frontier areas of science and technology, nuclear power, and space. this will open new opportunities at our universities and laboratories and create human capital to meet the global needs of the future.
we have a very constructive exchange of views on strategic issues. our defense cooperation is progressing well. we agreed on the early and full implementation of our civil nuclear cooperation. our strategic corporate -- partnership should facilitate high-technology to india, the lifting of u.s. export controls on high-technology exports to india will open vast opportunities for a giant research and development efforts. it will enable the u.s. sent -- industry to benefit from the rapid economic transformation that is now under way in our country.
in a few weeks from now, the meeting of the conference of parties to the united nations framework convention on climate change will take place in copenhagen. both president obama and i have agreed on the need for a substantive and comprehensive outcome. with mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology. we have affirmed our intention to work by laterally and with all other countries. we welcome the president's commitment to a major program for promotion of renewable energy and i drew his attention to india's own ambitious national action plan on climate change, which has eight
national missions covering both mitigation and adaptation. just as we partnered with each other in the shaping of the economic ecology, we have the opportunity today to become partners in i underline our desire to benefit from clean technology from the united states our partnership -- united states. partnership will contribute to global efforts to combat climate change. we had a detailed discussion on important regional and global issues. we agreed the partnership was important for addressing the challenges of an increasingly interdependent world that we
live in. the global economic crisis has brought home the fact that our prosperity is interlinked. our dialog needs to have been opened and inclusive architecture -- have an open and inclusive of architecture. [unintelligible] the focus of terrorism in our region poses great threat to the entire civilized world and has to be defeated. president obama and i have decided to strengthen our cooperations in the threats of
counter-terrorism. welcomes the international interests in nuclear disarmament and non- proliferation. and we have been a consistent advocate of a world free of nuclear weapons. we will work with the united states and other countries at the nuclear security summit, which president obama is hosting next april. in our discussions today there was a meeting of minds on the future direction of our relations. i was deeply impressed by president obama's strong commitment to the india-u.s. strategic partnership and by the
breadth of his vision for peace and global prosperity. i have invited president obama to visit india. the warm welcome awaits him, his gracious wife, and his two daughters. i thank you. >> thank you very much. we will take one question each, one from an american journalist and one from an indian journalist. i will call on marra controller. -- martin moeller. >> i would like to ask you -- >> why stop now? >> perhaps you would like to set a new stage in our relationship by telling us where you stand in your decision on afghanistan. you have what we were told was your final meeting last evening. can you tell us how many more
troops you will be sending to afghanistan, how you will be paying for them and whether you will be announcing a timetable and ores exit strategy for them? -- and/or an exit strategy for them? >> mark, i've been making -- i will be making an announcement to the american people about how we intend to move forward. i will do so shortly. i think the review we have gone through has been comprehensive and extremely useful. it has brought together my key military advisers, also civilian advisers. i can tell you, as i have said before, that is in our strategic interest -- it is in our strategic interest, in our national security interest to make trebek al qaeda and its extremist allies can operate -- to make sure al qaeda and its extremist allies cannot operate effectively in those areas. we will dismantle and destroy their networks.
afghan -- afghanistan's stability is important in the process. i have also indicated that after eight years, some of those years in which we did not have either their resources or the strategy -- of the resources or the strategy to get the job done, it is my intention to finish the job. i feel very confident that when the american people hear a clear rationale for what we're doing there, and how we intend to achieve our goals that they will be supportive. now, i think it is worth mentioning since i will be with the prime minister of india, that this is not just important to the united states, but it is important to the world. the whole world, i think, has a core security interest in making sure that the kind of extremism
and violence that you have seen emanating from this region is tackled, confronted in a serious way. now, we have to do it as part of a broader international community. one of the things i will be discussing is the obligations of our international partners in this process. it is going to be very important to recognize that the afghan people ultimately are going to have to provide for their own security. we will be discussing the process whereby afghan security forces are properly trained and equipped to do the job. it is going to be important to recognize that in order for us to succeed there, you have got to have a comprehensive
strategy that includes a civilian and diplomatic efforts. i think that is a sufficient preview to last until after thanksgiving. >> [inaudible] >> after thanksgiving. [laughter] i'm sure that at that point, if there are further questions, then we will be answering them to the satisfaction not just of view, but to the satisfaction of the american people. >> would you tell india and the u.s.'s allies, especially in our region -- because there is the perception in india that the military that you gave pakistan is misused against india. it is really at the epicenter of terrorism did this issue come up in your discussions with the prime minister? and will you be pressuring pakistan to get its act in
order? and when is the nuclear treaty going to go on the road? >> well, first of all, i think that the united states and india are natural allies not just around counter-terrorism issues, but on a host of issues, as we discussed earlier. we are the world's two largest democracies. we have a range of shared values and ideals. we are both entrepreneurial society is, both multi-ethnic societies. we are societies that a leading human rights -- believe in human rights and core freedoms that are enshrined in our founding documents. one of the things that i think makes us such strong allies is the people to people contact.
it is one thing for leaders to have exchanges like this one, and it is very important, obviously. but the incredible contributions that indian americans have made to the growth of our country and the degree to which they are woven into the very fabric of our society, the fact that very few indians do not have some family member somewhere who has a connection to the united states, that kind of exchange strengthens and deepens the bonds between our two countries in april fine -- profound way. now, with respect to security issues in the region, the prime minister and dii had discussions about that extensively. we both recognize that our core rolgoal is to achieve peace and security for all peoples in the
region, not as one country or the other. one of the things that i admirer most about prime minister singh is that at his core he is a man of peace. of these the, their historic conflict between india and pakistan. it is not a place of the u.s. to try to from the outside resolve all those conflicts. on the other hand, we want to be encouraging of ways in which both india and pakistan can feel secure and focus on the development of their own countries and people. with respect to the relationship of the united states and -- between the united states and pakistan's military, i think that there have probably been times in the past in which we were so single-minded lee focused on just military assistance in pakistan that we do not think more broadly about how to encourage and developin e
kind of civil the security in pakistan that would affect the lives of the people every day. secretary clinton is doing a good job in trying to move forward -- where she? i thought she was around here somewhere. but anyway, she has done an excellent job in helping to focus our energies on the front as well. obviously, pakistan has an enormously important role in the security of the region by making sure that the extremist organizations that often operate out of its territories are dealt with effectively. and we have seen some progress. the pakistan -- the work that the pakistan military is doing in the swat valley and in south windsor a stand awaziristan indicate that -- in south
waziristan indicates that they can have an effect on their security interests -- internally. my hope is that we will see for the cooperation between all parties and all peoples of goodwill in the region to eradicate terrorist activity, to eradicate that kind of violent extremism that we have seen. i think that will benefit the peoples of pakistan and india and the world community as well. >> the president and myself had a very useful and productive exchange of views relating to security, peace, and counterterrorism in our regions. i am very satisfied in the outcome of the discussion with president obama. as far as the nuclear deal is concerned, the president has reaffirmed that it is the common
>> the head of the federal deposit insurance corporation tells reporters that her agency is out of money. in a half-hour, the headed the congressional budget office on the economy and deficit. after that, a look of fraud in the medicare and medicaid system. political strategists from both parties talk about 5 partisanship and politics. -- bipartisanship and politics. >> we will look at the house lobbying effort with the center
for responsive politics. you can call him with their questions about medicare part d would tom scully. david pryor talks but his new autobiography. "washington journal" is live on c-span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. the center for american progress is hosting a forum on the u.s. education system tomorrow morning. it have remarks by arne duncan and michael bloomberg. live on c-span2 at 8:00 eastern. >> coming this thanksgiving, an american icon on the iconic three branches of government. the supreme court, and to
america's highest court repeals the building in its closet details through the supreme court justices. friday at 8:00, the white house, inside america's most famous homes, beyond the public -- velvet ropes. the history, art, and architecture of one of america's most symbolic structures. three memorable night, thursday, friday, and saturday at 8:00 eastern. get your own copy, at 83 disk dvd said. it is $24.95. >> the government insurance fund that protects bank deposits has fallen into debt for the first time since the early 1990's for the the federal deposit insurance corp. reported third quarter deficit of more than a billion dollars. it plans to make up the difference by having banks
prepay billion dollars in fees. this briefing is one half hour. >> we will omit remarks and take a few questions. we will have fbi staff. fdic staff answer questions. -- we will have fdic staff answer questions. richard brown, associate director and chief economist for our division of research and insurance will take economic questions. ross walker will handle industry results in bank data. john will hinder -- handle
supervisory matters. for the question and answers section, please wait for the microphone before asking questions of one now announce sheila bair. -- questions. i will now announce sheila bair. >> thank you. good morning. welcome to our briefing on industry results for the third quarter. for the past several quarters, i have described a fairly consistent trend for banking industry performance. we have seen high credit losses and a rising number of problem institutions. these trends of the fallout of the dislocations in our real- estate market. since last fall, we have seen normalization in many parts of our financial markets. there and now appears to be a
consensus that the recession is over. today she poured shows -- today's report shows the effects of the -- the effect of the recession reflect the performance. earnings remain weak. loan balances have their largest percentage decline since at least 1984. as you can see, insured institutions reported $2.8 billion of net income in the third quarter. this is an improvement over the $3.4 billion net loss. it is up from earnings of $879 million a year ago. eroding loan quality continues to have the greatest impact on industry earnings compared to a year ago as insured institution set aside more reserves to cover loan losses.
loss provisions were over $11 billion higher than a year earlier. this is the fourth quarter in a row it has exceeded $60 billion. the average net interest margin of 3.51 is arm was the highest since 2005. winon interest income was $4 billion higher, led by increases in servicing income. reduced losses also contributed to the year over year improvement. provisions for loan losses remain high.
the volume of problem loans continues to grow. this chart shows the amount of loans that have been charged of each quarter. this is the red segment. the chart shows of both charges in noncurrent loans are still rising. for the second consecutive quarter, it grew at a slower rate. as the industry continues to do with quality problems, they decline for the fifth consecutive quarter. total loan balances fell by $210 billion during the quarter. this is the largest percentage decline since then these 1984. the decline was led by commercial and industrial loans which fell by $89 billion.
large banking organizations had over $100 billion in total assets. it is higher than the 56 industry loans. surveys by the federal reserve suggests that tightening -- it is according to the -- the jury did -- contributing to the decline. small businesses rely on injured institutions to provide over 60% of the credits they use. what can we do to increase lending? one answer is for the industry to continue the process of cleaning up the balance sheet. we are continuing to developing the legacy.
it will help them remove the loans from the balance sheet. it is absolutely necessary to strengthen the capacity to lend to businesses and consumers. the industry is making progress by building capital. industry capital ratios increased. institutions are improving their liquidity. and they are holding a greater volume of liquid assets such as federal reserve balances. the federal banking agency has addressed the problem of loans by issuing a faulty statement on provincial commercial loan workouts. it encourages banks to continue making big loans to borrowers, many of which are small businesses. they are having difficulties because of economic conditions.
examiners are instructed to take a balanced approach and assessing risk management practices for workout. the balance sheet cleanup means in the years have continued to rise. this is the process we have talked about. there were 50 failures in the third quarter. we have had one and 24 failures year to date. at the end of the third quarter, there were five under the to problem banks. -- 552 problem banks. it costs money. the deposit insurance fund balance went negative for the first time since 1992. it declined to -$8.2 billion. it is negative because $30.9
billion had been set aside in our contingent loss reserve to cover estimated losses over the next year. it is important to distinguish the balance from our cash balance. reserve said $22 billion. we have passed in shoes to since the we have asked insurance spend petitions -- we have asked insurance institutions to [unintelligible] the fdic's deposit guaranty is absolute backed by the government. we always have access to the
resources we need to insure depositors. the credit diversity that we have been searching for some time remains with us. we expect it will be aimed couple more quarters before we see meaningful improvement. there are no quick fixes here. we will supervise institutions and calmly and efficiently fix they expect fail. we will craft responsible supervisory policies that help lenders work with borrowers wherever appropriate. they must be done to the foundation for founders and healthier industries in the future. i am optimistic that if we just these problems head on we will say clear plans of improvement. thank you very much. i'm ready to take her questions. >-- your questions.
>> what is your reaction to the amendment that would give the government the power to financial firms even if they seem healthy but they could be risky? >> we are taking a look at that. the need to be careful. there are safety and soundness issues. i think it is a well-intentioned amendment. i think we ensure the same goal of being too big to fail. i think some consideration does need to be made. >> in the legislation, how comfortable are you with the bubble of open assistance. -- level of open assistance. >> we do not wanted for
individual institution. we would like a band. -- it banned. we liked it to provide system might support if there was truly such a crisis. we did get into the situation last october. some flexibility need to be made. there are important qualifications. i think government ownership -- we are down the road. we need to deal with it. we think there should be a high bar. should be a systemic risk the determination along the lines of what we have now. finally, if there was a default on systemwide assistance, that
should trigger it. the taxpayers would always be protected. only systemwide support is a safeguard. >> i want to ask what you make of the fact that funds to cover loan losses -- they rose in the third quarter. you are 7% less than what they put aside in the second quarter. should that be interpreted as a glimmer of hope? le>> i always like to see glimmers of hope. i think we need to the get this a bit longer. some in this activity can be seasonal. if i were to guess, i would say the fourth quarter may see some deterioration. i would not read too much into this quarter. weno