tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN November 26, 2009 10:00am-12:59pm EST
changed the leadership of the republican party after reagan became president? guest: reagan is an iconic figure now inside the republican party. nobody runs around caen themselves a richard nixon republican or a hayes republican. it does not always mean that they understood what ronald reagan stood for. . .
national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> you were watching c-span, created for you as a public service by america's cable companies. coming up this thanksgiving day, director steven spielberg received the liberty medal at the national constitution center. then, remarks from the former undersecretary of defense, paul wolfowitz on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall. after that, political strategists assess the new obama administration as he nears his
first year in office. friday, for the first time in british history, parliament opens its chambers to non-mp's as they debate in the house of commons. former new york times reporter at what has to his plagiarism. a look back to the cuban missile crisis, as well. also, have world threats been over-the post cold war world. sunday, two programs on democracy and the internet, including the university of virginia powell on how the political process has been affected by the internet. the facebook founder will talk about how networking is changing the political process. this holiday weekend on c-span. >> thanksgiving week and on c- span, american icons, three
nights of cspan original documentaries on the iconic homes of the three branches of american government beginning tonight at 8:00, eastern part of the supreme court reveals the building through the eyes of supreme court justices. friday at 8:00 p.m., the white house, inside america's most famous home, be on the bill that ropes. will show the grand public places as well as the rarely- seen places. saturday at 8:00 p.m., the capital, the history, art, and architecture of one of america's most symbolic structures. american icons, three memorable nights starting tonight at 8:00 on c-span. get your own copy of american icons, a three-disc dvd said. it is $24.95 plus shipping and handling. order online. movie director steven -- steven spielberg received the liberty
medal in philadelphia. attending the event was former president bill clinton, actress whoopi goldberg, and pennsylvania governor ed rendell. this is just over one hour. >> you have to fight. >> i don't know how to fight. all i know how to do is stay alive. >> i may be ugly but dear god, i am here. i am here. >> i want my people back. >> who are you, moses? >> no, what is one worth to you? >> i did not do enough. >> you did so much.
whoever saves one life, saves the world. >> you ended up killing one of your man, you tell yourself, you can save the lives of two or three or 10 others. >> when you found me, i was here and i was with the only brothers i had left. there was no way i was going to desert them. >> these are people, not livestock. this is the most important piece that has come before this court. this is the very nature of man. >[applause]
>> these are visions of liberty conceived by steven spielberg, prized by many around the world. good evening, i'm linda johnson, president and chief executive officer of the national constitution center. for two decades, the liberty medal has been presented to men and women who have stood boldly for freedom. the recipients have been presidents, dissidents, doctors, even a polish electrician turned statesman lech walesa, who banished the iron curtain with the light of solidarity. tonight, we honor another artist and of light, the preeminent filmmaker of our time for killing the torch of liberty with his mastery of light.
steven spielberg. [applause] before steven spielberg claims his first shot, an earlier group of framers convened at independence hall just behind you and after a series of contentious production meetings, they merged with the constitution. it was a visionary work for it set forth broad liberties but also a responsibility for citizens to afford these liberties. they created a form of government that fosters imagination and compassion that helped safeguard the liberties we charge but also the system itself. steven spielberg is the genius eliminates the framers of genius. he has thrived in our country that protect the freedoms of expression. the tremors could never have
imagined the medium of film, much less of the treasury of images crafted by spielberg that have entranced and haunted two generations of of yours. steven spielberg's descriptions of nazi germany fits into the framework of charlie chaplin's "the great dictator." these are struggles to resist tyranny. spielberg's shoah foundation film to the 52,000 survivors of the holocaust and survivors of the genocide in rwanda, restoring voices and dignity to those nearly extinguished. [applause] spilled art portrait of racial
cruelty and america are a noble dependent of harriet beecher stowe's "call tom's cabin." "amistad" and "the colro or purple" are forceful stories. we have helped thousands of visitors every day, and we pull the man on likely tell of merchants, farmers, and printers who forged the greatest experiment in liberty the world has ever seen. they issued a challenge to future generations to participate in and broaden that experiment. few citizens of the world have entered the founding fathers call to liberty more originally, brilliantly, and entertainingly then mr. spielberg. [applause]
welcome, mr. spielberg. tonight, we celebrate you for your galvanizing visions of liberty which in the words of your fellow framers have helped secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity. [applause] thank you very much. >> the other night i was talking with my friend cinque he was over at my house and we were in the green has to get it. he was explaining to make about his people. when a member of the mandine encounters a problem, there is a call to arms. tradition --
the mandine believe when they summon their ancestors, they never leave. the wisdom and strength they bothered and inspired will come to his aid. james madison, alexander hamilton, benjamin franklin, thomas jefferson. , george washington, john adams -- i have long resisted asking you for guidance. perhaps we have feared doing so that we might the knowledge
that our individuality which we so revered, is not entirely our own. perhaps we fear that an appeal to you might be taken as a weakness. we have come to understand finally that this is not so. we understand now that we have been made to understand and to embrace the understanding that who we are is who we were. >> the nazis did everything in their power to dehumanize us and destroy us. this is the reason why they called number25673, i say and
not a number. this is now my badge of honor. i remember i was interviewed on television. they ask me if i could show the number. i pointed to it and i said, "this is my badge of honor." one man wanted to know why i called my badge of honor. i told him -- my family taught me that who i am, might humaneness does not depend on how others treat me but how i treat others. i have not killed anybody in my life. i have not committed a crime yet i have beehad been taken from i. i'm proud to his daughter. -- i am proud jewish daughter.
>> ladies and gentlemen -- please welcome, mayor michael a. nutter. >> let those who did these things be ashamed. holocaust survivors say this about that the prosecutor. it tells who they are and not who i am. in "the color purple, "alice walker's novel was the of the transformed into film and celie tells her husband that the jail you greeted me is the one you will rot in. the victims turned their tables on their tormentors. this is a powerful team that runs through spielberg's films.
it is not be victims of injustice that lose their humanity, it is the and just prayed this liberating idea is not always easy for victims to summon. they often feel ashamed and isolated. movies have a unique power to bring people together and embolden them. none of us more so than steven spielberg's. his funds have been seen by literally billions of yours. his vividly rendered the darkest act of mankind, genocide, war, abuse, and through cinema, he has captured the perpetrators of these crimes, in preserving them for all time as examples of intolerable in humanity. he has given us soaring counterexamples like celie who finds the power to leave her captor in the dust. and. cinque in "amistad," his
characters have uplifted us time and again and shown us that there are no shackles strong enough to contain the human spirit. [applause] as mayor of philadelphia, i would like to think of this evening's award as the cradle of liberty medal. mr. spielberg, like the men gathered here to hundred 22 years ago, and crafted their vision, you have become a global ambassador of hope. i must cite your work one more time. the scene we just watched in "amistad," when there appears no hope, people round the world will long in both their ancestors steven spielberg and the wisdom and strength you have fathered and inspired will come to their aid. [applause]
you have no idea. if i had just -- >> it is good because of what you did. >> i did not do enough. >> you did so much. [music] >> we are the witnesses to the truth of what happened guarded nobody can challenge what we are talking about because we were there. our obligation is to talk about this as long as we live. we need to spread the word that inhumanity to man to man is the biggest crime ever committed. she inhumanity man-to-man -- humanity man-to-man is the greatest respect and we have to talk about and because i live because of the humanity of a man was a german captor, womanizer,
>> ladies and gentlemen, performing that came from "schindler's list." [applause] please welcome governor edward rendell. >> steven spielberg's contribution to the cause of liberty simply cannot be overstated. he has given us a tremendous archive of remembrance of loss, sacrifice, and triumph over tyranny. history is a great teacher but no history book, no matter how skillfully crafted, can match the impact of a modern-day motion picture. steven spielberg's father arnold served in burma in world war two as a radio operator on eight d 25 per they were a bomb squadron
known as the burma bridge buster's grill his dad was justifiably proud of his service and he regaled his son with stories of the war which is imbued steven with love and respect for the americans who fought to preserve our freedom. that motivated stephen, even as a teenager, to make films about the war and its heroes. of course, he was just getting his feet wet for "saving private ryan," with the 25-minute re- enactment of the taking of omaha beach and the films "band of brothers" and others. he reminded all of us once again that the price of freedom is not free but a gift -- what a gift liberty is and how to preserve those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat their mistake. almost 50 years after the holocaust had ended, and
memories of its unspeakable horrors began to grow dim, and in same group of people started to deny its existence, steven spielberg brought us the incredible "schindler's list bouquet which touched hearts around the world and help us remember the timeless veracity of the words "never again." it also created the shoah visual history museum. he brought together people from over 50 countries so that the world could remember what they saw and experience. these serve as reminders to all of us that we must fight genocide where ever and to whomever it begin to occur. whether it be in kosovo were only the actions of a courageous american president, bill clinton, save over 1 million moslems from at ike leggett in -- from ethnic cleansing,/lt the
lessons that steven spielberg brought home so forcefully continue to move us to action. steven spielberg is a truly worthy recipient of our liberty medal. i would now like to add that even though he is not being honored for the joy and excitement he is -- he has brought to all this with his motion pictures, i think i could speak for all of us and say that it is real and it has been wonderful. my wife was a brilliant federal court appeals judge, for a decade into the movie "jaws," she would only go out in the ocean if there was someone out there further that she was courted she demanded that that person be on the 20 side so he would be a tasty morsel for the sharks. i well remember taking our 3- year-old son to see "et," the first movie he spent more than
10 minutes in. an incredible movie. [applause] he was focus like a laser on the screen. we had the great joy of seeing him begin to cry when it looked like et would not survive and to see his eyes lie open with wonder when those bicycles flew through the air. mr. spielberg, you are being honored tonight for the great things you have done to preserve and promote liberty and freedom but from all of us, thank you for your great career and her incredible body of work. [applause] >> what's this all about? >> ryan loves his brothers. >> which one? >> all of them.
>> you can all the way out here to tell me that? >> you are going home. our orders are to bring you back. >> bring me back? >> we don't mean to leave you more short added that orders are orders. >> we have no idea what is happening. >> i have my orders and they do not include the abandoning my post. >> i understand that but this changes things great >> i don't see that it does, sir. >> the chief of staff for the united states army says so. >> our orders are to hold his breath. -- is to hold this bridge. if we let the germans take it, we will lose our football.
>> if you're up it wants to stay that is one thing. >> i cannot leave until reinforcements come. >> you have three minutes to gather your gear. >> what about them? there's barely enough -- >> two of our guys already died trying to find you. >> server. >> that's right. >> what were their names? >> wade and copazzo. >> it doesn't make any sense.
>> one man screamed at me. i gave him my canteen and in one drink, he drained dry. as the prisoners chimeras, they were pulled back by the others because they did not trust us. this man that i gave my canteen to, several minutes later, cracked his stomach and doubled up and began to retch and all that came out were trickles of water. he had nothing in him to come out. at that point, i heard several of them say in whatever language they were speaking but i recognize the word poison. i am sure they thought i had
poisoned of them. i kept saying -- i don't think they were able to comprehend that their power was over no more than i could comprehend what i was seeing. >> i hope that somehow through the words that we are saying here and what other people are saying and what mr. spielberg is doing that it will act as a constant reminder to everybody unless we don't participate in bigotry and hate and making judgments of our races based upon things which we know nothing about, never blame men
for something that he can do nothing about. those basic things about the color of our eyes on the color of our hair and skin are things we inherit and there is nothing we can do about it and we should be blamed for that. i am hoping mr. spielberg with these interviews with of something to say about it. think about it. before you go down that road, think seriously about it. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, academy award winner, whoopi goldberg. [applause] >> when i got the call that steven was going to win the liberty medal, i am sure i had the same reaction that most of you had"ok, what does that mean?
copenhaghe made the film about e rights of illegal aliens to phone home. [laughter] and how about "jaws," a terrifying look at great white supremacy. [laughter] you notice that jaws no black people. [laughter] of course, the minority report. i did not get that one either. the truth is, there are few people with the concern for fellow human beings than steven spielberg. here is a personal anecdote from the set of "the color purple." [laughter] okay, i won't tell you a
personal anecdote because it was over 20 years ago and i am in the midst of menopause and cannot remember. [laughter] but i will tell you that stephen did make a service and a disservice. the service was to teach me how to be an actor for film with other people. the disservice was that there is no one else like him. you go on to the next film thinking that you have had a great experience and it will always be like this. unfortunately, no. oftentimes, directors do not know how to talk to actors because they do not have the knowledge of film that stephen hadley. our way of communicating is that we both love movies. and so in order to get where i need to go, he would reference a
film and the one that always sticks with me is he asked me if i remember what it felt like when boo radley first appeared in "to kill a mockingbird." he said that is what he wants from me. for me, that was heaven. i did not have to think about it, i knew and felt it. that is what is great about him as a director. he knows so he can help you get where you need to go. enough about that. as a person, he is a premium -- remarkable cat. when you think of all but the homes and the things he has done, stephen himself is a bit of an alien. [laughter] he knows what it is to be the outsider. i know. he gets it. he knows what it feels like on the other side which is why he can put it on film so that you
get it. not that you all didn't but other people. only with someone who knows what it feels like to be that person can you have someone give you such a gift. that is what he does agree he is a gift giver. people don't always understand it or get it. he understands it and the people he is filming for understand it, especially children, of which he is also one. i am going back to what they wrote. [laughter] "the color purple" is set in a time where the idea of liberty was not yet achieved. is it any wonder that african- americans were still facing widespread hardship and discrimination and violence?
the most influential movie of the hero was "birth of a nation." it is as bizarre now as it was then. it is notorious for its racist characterization's and glorification of the ku klux klan are the history of american fell tells us something about american history itself. we have made great strides since the silent era of cinema. i mean the silent era when people were not talking about rights of all americans. steven is one of the most popular film makers ever. he has rejected inequity and brutalities. "the birth of a nation" is a long and arduous labor. i would not be standing here if he had not given the job. [laughter] aside from that, if numerous
bold americans had not heeded that part of the constitution about making a more perfect union -- we salute stephen for taking to heart that liberty is a work in progress. he has integrity on a scale that we have not seen before. he joins a formidable roster of one liberty medal recipients started an irish singer called bono whose voice has run out for the people of africa, a czech playwright -- i remember it all the way here. [laughter] i only called him haval, i never called him by his first name. you know who i am talking about his weapons were ink and a well of conviction to plead a velvet revolution. there were a couple of former presidents, george h. w. bush
and william jefferson clinton. [applause] what they did together, aside from breaking everyone out -- [laughter] they raised awareness and the funds for the victims of tsunamis and hurricane katrina and they struck back against the unnatural told a natural disasters take on the least fortunate members of society. ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor and pleasure, i really liked this man -- please welcome past liberty medal award in, the chairman of the national constitution center and the 42nd president of the united states of america, william jefferson clinton. [applause]
xcel thank you very much. >> thank you very much, governor, mayor, superintendent mccloud, to the officers and board members of the constitution center, a colleague's, and everyone who made this night possible. i would like to thank the wonderful musicians who played the theme from "schindler's list of the which wants us all for it all the participants in the films and my longtime friend with -- whoopi goldberg. i go to a lot of trouble to hug her in front of millions of people. [laughter] mostly, i called you for being here tonight. i am grateful for the opportunity to actually present
the liberty medal to steven spielberg. i am last speaker. this is one of those deals where everything that needs to be said has already been said but not everyone has said it yet. [laughter] i will therefore attempt to be brief. stephen and his wonderful wife kate capshaw, who is here somewhere, stand-up. [applause] there she is, over there. stand up. don't be so shy. and their seven amazing, multi- talented, multi-racial, multi- everything in the world kids have been great friends to
hillary and to chelsea and to me for very long time. it is a particular honor for me to recognize him for this honor because, as a filmmaker and humanitarian and a citizen activist, he has entertained us and i am glad that governor rendell said what he said when this thing was going to get to summer. he has informed us and inspired us. all the way along, he was thinking about what he was doing with film to fit into the larger landscape of his personal life and the light of his nation and at this time. he was 18 and is first fell in 1964. the movie made a grand total of $1. he gave it all away to the home
for mentally handicapped children. i am happy to say that after all of his movies,i< he can keep giving money away and have some left over for himself and his family. 30 years after that first movie, he used the proceeds of "schindler's list" to establish the shoah foundation to give every living holocaust victim the chance to record their testimony. 105,000 hours of precious footage and now they are working to do the same thing from the survivors of the rwanda genocide where in just 90 days, 10% of a country was hacked to death it is the most parenthetical remarkable example of
reconciliation in the modern world. these efforts have led the foundation through several projects. there is one that was supported in york, the voices of 9/11, the living memorial to collect the oral histories there. and there are so many others. so, we honor a man today who has always been able to take a st, a simple story and make it st, interesting, and a simple story and remind us of the greatness in us all. i remarked to another friend of mine in the movie business after a sought "shambled -- "schindler's list", that they should give it an oscar and let all the other movies compete. i thought it was the greatest movie i had seen in 10 or 15 years and i still believe is one
of the five or six greatest on rubbermaid. -- greatest films ever made. [applause] i say that because it was made with my man who was always paying attention and never misses much. he is a man that knew all great things had to come from the mind and heart. he is a man who never wanted the story of loss of life to be without a happy ending, the shoah foundation is his determination to give dignity to the survivors and family members and to give them power to give the next generation of victim's a chance to avoid their fate and have a happy ending millions and millions of jews were denied.
he knows something about the meaning of liberty. most of us americans take it for granted. i got to see what it meant when i was asked to take a trip to north korea and bring two american journalists home. both of them were asian- americans, interestingly enough. [applause] they represented -- i did not do much, i sort of showed up and did what i was supposed to do and did not a rigid and did not make mistakes and brought them home very i did not do much. i got to see these two young women, barely older than my daughter, having been in a jail for five months, having been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for stepping across a river about this wide, all the sudden be free. in a plane bound for home.
i realized that i too often took it for granted. once you see somebody gasping as if they have been suffocating to take in the air of a free people, it makes you appreciate "schindler's list poky and "amistad" and every other good and decent thing this wonderful man ever did. he has empowered us all. if we simply look and listen and respond with in, and cotton, lettuce and settlement, the 2009 christopher and of the liberty medal, steven spielberg. -- 2009 recipient of the liberty medal, steven spielberg. [applause]
>> ladies and gentleman, the 2009 liberty medal recipient, steven spielberg. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you very, very much. thank you. oh, my god. i am just so moved to be here in philadelphia at the constitution center receiving delivery metal from one of our greatest presidents and a dear, dear friend of mine and my family. [applause] this is the second-best thing you ever given me. the first was you were eight years in office. [laughter]
[applause] e÷gi am very moved and honor. i have always been a patriotic person. the house i spent five years in was in haddon heights, new jersey, not far from here. [applause] every fourth of july, we used to wrap the porch with the bread white and blue bunting. i will read white and blue crepe paper through dispose of my bicycle and scotch tape american flags over my handlebars. if you had seen me than and be told this kid would eventually wind up in the entertainment industry, you might have guessed that i was headed for my own segment on fox cable news. [laughter] there was an anger in the patriotism i learned from my parents. there was simply an enormous love.
they instilled in me a vast sense of all about america, its history, and its promise and especially because my father served in world war two, a profound sense of indebtedness. of all boeing something back. when i was a little boy, my mother would bring me on weekends here to philadelphia to go shopping at wanamaker's. she partly under the statute of that great american eagle. she would leave me there for hours. [laughter] it seemed like hours to a kid. i am sure it was not that long for it was back when you could leave kids, confident they would be there when you got back. to no one would call you a terrible parent. i would have been scared -- i would not have been scared except for the live organ music in those days. [laughter] that is terrifying to a jesis
ewish kid. i felt the eagle was protecting me. i had been raised to feel that america was my home. it was waiting for my mom to pass the time, i'd daydreamed, which was the beginning of the journey that has led back to philadelphia tonight. like most american kids growing up in the '50s, i was taught to respect passages from the american secular scripture, the second paragraph of the declaration, the preamble to the constitution, and the gettysburg address. many parents and educators know that we need to prepare for the future of our governing principles by introducing these tax early -- thesetexts early. in the music of their language, there is something that speaks to and educates the rhythms of the heart. we, the people of the united states, in order to form a more perfect union, establish
justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common events, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity to ordain and establish this constitution of the united states of america. i am convinced that as i recited these words with their exciting rising tempo, that i was being given lessons in american democracy but i was also being given lessons in art. it was the importance of power of great ideas and magnificent soul-stirring expressions. this area, that fall, is dedicated to 4400 words of prose &zbout of which essentially the united states of america was invented. the constitution describes our country might work even though at that time, it was touch and go.
we are citizens of a country made up out of words. we have been written into existence and written by lawyers but by lawyers who could really write. [laughter] jefferson, and later abraham lincoln, knew that the way great ideas are expressed is essential to their success or failure in finding a home in the human imagination. the american experiment in democracy has succeeded. it would not have succeeded if jefferson had not been a good stylus. with that union have been abolished if abraham lincoln had not been the writer of genius. we will never know because lincoln was a writer of genius. like jefferson, whom he revered, he clearly thought the artistry of the text matter. he worked very hard to make his riding that good. these were great artists.
is it useful to consider the constitution or the united states itself as a work of art? is it useful to suggest that our best leaders, the ones who speak to the better angels of our nature, all seem to have understood the necessity of keeping a regular, honest contact with their own souls? exactly what the best directors, singers, dancers and others do. it helps keep in mind the deep connection between making art and making a better world, between the world of the film set, the studio, the theater, and the greater world that our children have to grow up in. contemplating the list of previous recipients to this beautiful metal, of course, i am very, very genuinely humble by this. you have recognized doctors and scientists and jurists and the manta pater's and diplomats and leaders, people who repair what
is broken in society and work on our consciousness and our conscience says. in part, you have asked me here, you have placed me among humanitarian, activists, and organizers to challenge me and all artists with her conviction that art is and should endeavor to be among the human enterprises which contribute to the building of decent and free society. perhaps by informing our nightmares and our dreams, art helps sharpen our longing for progress. i began my life as a filmmaker, wanted to emulate the films i loved, not so much for the style but their combination of popular appeal and depth. their aspiration to entertain on a grand scale while accessing life and its complexities. the thumbs of william wyler, david lean, john ford, to name a few. i have always believed that the truly enter kaine -- that to
truly entertain, you must fully engaged with yourself. you must engage fully with your audience but engage with their fears and passions, you must engage with what life is actually like, with history, and you have to engage with imagination. audiences like the citizens of democracy are at their best when they are not treated like subjects. over the course of the years, i have changed. more than any other factor, it myn that encouraged me to take onmyn films like "schindler's list" and "amistad" and "saving private ryan." those funds are not more fantastical subject matter. my kids want me to get back to making fantasy movies.
nevertheless, i can observe there has been a darkening in my choice of material and in my treatment of it which reflects the gravity of being a dad. i'm not saying my children have turned the gramm, old navy, but not grim. watching children grow simultaneously, it connects you with the future and also powerfully with memory and history. to know where we are going, we have to know where we are from. being a father has prompted me to consider more seriously help art is one very important way the human community remembers what it has been through. it is one way we distill what it is and what it it has meant to us as we try to understand ourselves. my family life outside of movie- making change the movies i made beginning with "schindler's list." these movies let me back out into the world again. they have opened up for me a path of work in the world i now do.
the commercial success of some of my films has made it possible for me to create foundations and build organizations to try to have any effect on the world, but i have never believed that all art must prove itself in the marketplace, or that the marketplace is a congenial environment for all artists. poetry, cedar, serious fiction, dance companies, and museums require the material support of the society to which they make a vital contribution, or there will not exist. so -- [applause]
so if we believe art can matter, that art can help transform our lives, if we reject the idea that art is a disposable luxury, if we believe that the questions raised by art are as essential as the answers sometimes provided, then perhaps, finally, our country will begin to do it better job of funding the arts with governmental subsidy. if we entertain the notion that our world is a work of art and our leaders are artists to, then from one artist to another, let's all support the artists. but i him perhaps most grateful today for the extraordinary company in which you have included the. the previous honorees and everyone who is gathered today. thank you for this bracing, galvanizing context. i will treasure this honor as a call to action in these times of
danger and in these times of hope. everything we do has heightened consequences. every choice we make matters. so i will strive, together with my wife and my kids, to make good choices. thank you very much. [applause] thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome richie havens. [applause]
almost gone a long erelong -- a long way long way from my home singing freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom clap your hands clap your hands clap your hands clap your hands i can call him up from my heart i've got a telephone in my bosom, and i can call him from my heart, and he is my brother
havens. [applause] thank you for attending the 2009 liberty medal ceremony. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> here is a look at our thanksgiving day schedule. next, remarks from former 73 -- former undersecretary of defence paul wolfowitz on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall. later, political strategists assess the new obama presidency as he nears completion of his first year in office, and then highlights from tuesday's state dinner given by president obama from indian prime minister singh. >> thanksgiving weekend on c- span -- "american icons" -- three nights a c-span original documentaries on the iconic homes of the three branches of
american government, beginning tonight at 8:00 eastern. the supreme court, home to america's highest court, reveals that building in explicit detail through the eyes of supreme court justices. friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, the white house -- inside america's most famous home, be on the velvet ropes of public tours. our visit shows the grand public places as well as those rarely seen spaces. saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, the capitol, the history, art, and architecture of one of america's most symbolic structures. american icons, three memorable nights, starting tonight at 8:00 on c-span, and get your own copy -- a three-disc cd set. it is $24.95 plus shipping and handling. order online at c-span.org /store. >> on this vote, the yeas are 60, the nays are 39. 3/5 of the senate has duly chosen, having sworn in the
primitive, the motion is agreed to. >> that vote, the senate moves its health-care bill to the floor, as a starting monday through december, follow the entire debate and how the bill would affect access to medical care, the public option, taxes, abortion, and medicare. live on our companion network, c-span2, the only network that brings you the senate gavel-to- gavel. the world recently marked the 20th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall. we will now hear remarks from former undersecretary of defence paul wolfowitz on the events leading up to the collapse of communism and what triggered the falling of the wall. held by the university of virginia's miller center, this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> kicking off our second day on our conference, "when walls came down: berlin, 9/11, and u.s. strategy in uncertain times." to remind you or introduced to some of you who might not have been here yesterday, what we are trying to look at is to look back at the aftermath of these
cataclysmic events -- the fall of the wall 20 years ago in berlin, and the 9/11 attacks more recently in 2001, to try and examine how the united states plans her strategy in the wake of dramatic events and in situations where it is facing complex and uncertain world. we are trying to learn from these periods how we might better as a country deal with the complex and dynamic world that we face today. i am delighted this morning to have an esteemed policy maker paul wolfowitz on our panel. mr. wolfowitz has served in many prominent positions in u.s. government. we do not have enough time this morning to go through all of them, so what i am going to focus on is just where he was
after 1989 and 1991. related to the fall of the berlin wall from 1989 to 1993, he served as undersecretary of defense for policy in the administration of george h. w. bush, bush 41 as we know him. related to post-9/11, he was u.s. deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005 in the george w. bush administration, bush 43. in between that time, he even had a more exalted post as a professor and dean at the school at johns hopkins, so he also has academic chops as well, and today, he is currently a visiting scholar at the american enterprise institute. we are going to kick off our session -- he will make a couple of introductory remarks, and then, mel will start off by interviewing him with a few questions, and then we will turn the discussion open for
q&a. mel is a faculty associate here at the miller center. he is the edwards the tinias professor in the department of history at the university of virginia. as most of you know, he is a superb scholar. for those who do know him, he is even a better person. i just want to say that nell had the idea for this event, and he has been the main force behind it. as always, it has been a pleasure and privilege to work with him, so, paul, please. >> you did not mention the job that was most fun and in some ways i was still had, which was being u.s. ambassador to indonesia, which i guess i have to get that out, but also, george shultz of the reagan institute, a 3-year-old for ambassadors. i'm not sure if this has ever been revealed before, but the real reason was to have a way to
get rid of politically appointed ambassadors. it was not totally successful. but at any rate, i thought that i was reaching the end of my three years when the first president bush was elected, and i thought that this was the first time in my life that i have to be personally known the president elect because i have worked with bush pretty close look on u.s.-japan relations when he was vice-president under the assistance secretary, and i thought maybe i could use this access to get extension of the three-year rule and stay in indonesia and little bit longer, and then john tower, was some of you may recall was the unfortunately later unsuccessful nominee for secretary of defense, called and asked me to be his undersecretary for policy, and every last i could not exactly go to the white house and say that i had something much more important to do in jakarta and asked them to let me stay, so that is how i ended up in the pentagon.
when you get to be my age, there are three things that go. the first is your eyesight, the next is your hearing, and i cannot remember what the other is. that goes along with another saying that also when you get to my age, your memory becomes more precise about things that never happened. i really appreciate the opportunity that this conference has given me to try to dredge through my memory about things that i think happened. they may or may not have happened. like bob zelnick, i genuinely appreciate the opportunity to continue this exchange with scholars who are more familiar with the overall record, with the documentary record. hopefully, some of you are familiar with the soviet side, which i think is too often left out, which is in some ways the most critical piece of it. at any rate, i also have to add another caution. we first talked about this and pretty much until i came here,
and in my head, it is to talk about when the berlin wall came down. and while i know a lot about the 2001 period, my memory frankly needs more refreshing on that, so i'm not sure how much i have to add. other people will want to ask me questions, i will try to answer them. speaking of memory, i can no longer remember where -- when it was that i last read "war and peace" and i cannot remember if i read it once or twice, but i do remember a discussion about the great main view of history, and my recollection is he says history moves through these powerful forces that even a man as powerful as napoleon are powerless to actually shape -- actually, i think it is a section that really is worth reading for the philosophy of history and the understanding of history. at any rate, it stands in fairly stark contrast to the title of one of the books about the end
of the cold war peiod, which is called "at the highest levels," and it is entirely the view of those events from the highest levels, and i think -- i guess i should also add a caveat about that book -- i was not one of the anonymous sources. it is not their fault. they came to me when the project was starting and said, "here is what we want to do" and this is a compression and never made before in public, but i guess you might as well know it -- i went to cheney and said i think this is a very bad idea. not because i'm against history and not because of reservations about the first draft of history, although i will say a word about that, but, frankly, because i was concerned -- i have seen it before -- that it becomes kind of poisonous influence within the government because even though they say, and they keep their word, that nothing will be published until
after the events, they will nevertheless go to the people and from my case, the defense department and say, "do you know what those guys that states are saying about the 80th? they are protecting resources and do not tell you who said it, but it goes back and forth, and i think it illustration of that to some extent done by bob woodward at the same time, which really did cause some serious problems. more after it was published. so i had a reservation about it. i ask the chain may have raised this concern, and that was the last i heard on the subject, so my guess -- i cannot confirm this either -- if they decide that dod does not want to participate, and i suppose it is our fault, and that is why we are really not represented in the book. i think there is a problem well identified by historians about these first drafts that you do
not know the sources. i think what is sometimes not sufficiently observed is that not only do you not know the sources, you do not even know the motives of the sources. and that is not really necessary. you could protect your sources and still say we think the source is motivated by such and such, but then, they would not want to talk to you the next time. people do not want to talk about what would in order to get accurate historical versions. there would promote themselves, and there's a little bit of a deal that has to go on to make that happen, but finally, i would just say one more thing. i think anybody conveys an authority, and is not only journalists who do this. i would say it happens in intelligence reports. i saw this particularly at the time we're talking about here when suddenly the soviet union opened up, and you could read reports from diplomats say they
were the deputy foreign minister, and it would be very revealing or even more significantly, somebody who is not in government same critical things about the government. you could read almost exactly the same thing in the cia report, but it would be anonymous. it would say a generally reliable source has no reporting relationship with us or something like that, indicating we are not paying for this information, and it is the same information. you realize they're talking to the same political party, but in the case of the state department reporting, you could figure out what this guy's motives are. you are given the impression of you are let in on something that is secret, when in fact, there is a curtain. i am not against these first draft, but i think they should be [inaudible] one of the problems to be there is the implication that the second draft is going to be more accurate.
remember what henry kissinger once said, nobody comes of second-best in a conversation, clothes closet a documentary record is not any better. the answer is look at all of this stuff skeptically. to go back to toll soared vs. the highest levels -- go back to tolstoy vs. the highest levels, i think it is fair to say that what was taking place and the need, perhaps much more important than what was taking place at the highest levels, much of what was happening was perhaps beyond the control of leaders. so with that opening, let me just make a few -- tell a few anecdotes, and each of them will hopefully make a point. first one is a story -- a true
story -- that i was working for cheney sometime probably early 1991. he received a visit from a young russian, remarkable young man. he had organized the first ever organization in support of disabled people, and he was so impressive that a famous astronaut decided not to run against him in elections for the moscow minutes of how the election, and he came to see cheney. we had an interesting conversation about what was going on, and as he left, he said that he was going to california to visit reagan, as the father of perestroika, we asked him why he would say that. we thought it was mikhail gorbachev.
he said it was because of stealth, the bomber. he said that reagan should the soviet military that they could not compete the way they were going and that something had to change, and small changes led to bigger changes. i'm not saying it is accurate just because this impressive young man said. i think we'll have a debate probably into the end of time as to what led to perestroika, how much of it was gorbachev personally. he certainly played a huge role in history, but some would say he, too, was serving a wave rather than steering the boat. the second anecdote with concern the more generally acknowledged father of perestroika, mikhail gorbachev. i have the opportunity to see him again in berlin earlier this
month when he was there to receive this very distinguished prize. which, by the way, was also awarded to a german, who in spite of his friend's name, was the last east german prime minister -- in spite of his french name. i was talking to one of his longtime associates who was there with him, that he was really a hero. we're out in front of the german parliament planting a tree, and people love him. understandably enough. and this old time associate of his side that he does not consider himself a hero. he says there are two heroes. the two heroes are the german people and the russian people, and first of all, i think it is an interesting comment.
reagan had a sign on his desk but said there was no limit to what you can accomplish as long as you are willing to let other people get the credit, and even if it is a little bit of false modesty, i'm sure gorbachev does realize he was a rather important figure. i think there's something fundamentally. in fact, it really was a popular movement. he said we took a whole bunch of polls at the beginning of gorbachev's rule, that said the soviet people wanted -- and this is a rather important difference, and i do not remember what it is -- wanted peace with the germans or actually one of german unification. i was startled, and he said that the war was a long time ago, and people thought it was time to get in and get over it. it was not that long ago. it was 40 years. a lot of the people were still alive who had suffered. so the defense minister had
suffered through three years or whatever it was. i said maybe they wanted change in the soviet union, and he said yes, that also. i think there must have been a pretty deep recognition that not only afghanistan but a whole lot of other things had gone very badly, most of all perhaps the economy, the change was needed. i suppose some sense, the sense that this empire they were hanging onto was a burden and an obstacle to change. this is something that takes more than just historians. i think it probably takes sociologists to figure it all out, and even then, we will be debating this until the end of time, but i put the question on the table and said perhaps the real strategic decisions were in fact the ones made in the 1980's, the decisions for example to support: in coordination with the vatican, but those were times when the future was not inevitable, but that by 1989, i think some of
what we're talking about was going to happen no matter what took place at the highest levels. i just want to put it as a caution. and to further illustrate something that i have never forgotten or maybe i had suddenly remembered, but i remember rather vividly when yeltsin visited the pentagon in 1990 -- do i have the you're right? was it 1990 or 1991? 1991. see? but i do remember the a minute. i remember the two things that impressed him the most worthy large shopping mall that was inside the building and the long corridor that was inhabited by members of the free press -- the press. i suppose he knew it was free. but the most amazing thing for me was when we sat down with cheney, and ginnie commented on the fact that we were reading reports about plans to increase the soviet defense budget, and this man, who had been the former party boss said, and this
is a quote to the best of my memory, "increasing the soviets defense budget will be a crime against the soviet people who have already suffered enough under 70 years of communism." and he cannot just make that up. that had to come from the gut. and somebody who is that much part of the system, now the elected president of the russian federation says that, you know there is something very deep in that system. the third anecdote, and this is, to be honest, partly to set the record straight because i think the story of bush's proposal in may of 1989 is in a number of places incomplete or inaccurate. by the way, i will try not to
use to many acronyms, but cfe is not a pentagon acronym. it stands for conventional forces in europe, which was initiated in 1988. in fact, i know that when cheney became secretary, he was very much focused on the importance of reducing soviet conventional forces in europe, that that really was the problem. we were saddled with something else, which had a more political profile of time. that was a proposal inherited to modernize one of the short-range missiles in europe, which really -- that was one of the ideas that may have seemed necessary back in the battle days of 1985, but you know how long it takes pentagon programs to the ball
and finally the obsolete and finally to be recognized as obsolete. at any rate, here this thing was floating out in the middle of all of this call full situation in germany, and germans were asking what on earth the americans and -- i will not sit all germans, but most of them were pretty upset about the idea. we did not need them, but what we really did need was a reduction of the soviet conventional threat, and there was a view within the new administration that cfe proposal that had been put on the table was stale and dell, and we really needed something new and imaginative. they generated some big bureaucratic exercises. the bureaucratic exercises are not a way to generate new ideas. that is a good way to kill them to give everyone with a vested
interest sees a new idea and says that it is a bad idea, and before you can even develop the arguments for it is gone. they are not a bad way to test new ideas if someone like the president of united states or secretary of defense says "this is what i want to do." there's a lot to be said for a thorough scrubbing, as we might call. but you have got to have some push to get new ideas through. in the search for new ideas, we actually had, i talk, the surprising notion that can that may be in order to compete with all of gorbachev's exciting initiatives, we should consider proposing to withdraw u.s. and soviet troops from europe, so we stood back east within their borders and the u.s. across the atlantic. in hindsight, i do not understand -- i did not understand at the time, cheney did not understand at the time.
that was one of those new ideas that did get smothered. maybe they were just putting it out to be provocative. that is entirely possible, but at any rate, we were scraping for new ideas. the way i remember this meeting -- we had a meeting in the white house. baker had just come back from moscow. they have been talking about arms control proposals. the u.s. proposal at the time was basically to say you should reduce to equal and lower levels, and the level should be 10% in tanks, artillery, and armored personnel carriers, on the grounds that these three pieces of commitment number 1 were the keys to offensive capability, and, number two, you could verify the a satellite
needs. personnel, you cannot really count. so we did not want to get into a personal issue. that is the u.s. position at that point. and when baker went to moscow, gorbachev talked about 25% reductions, and baker came back and once again the u.s. is behind gorbachev. he is talking 25%. we're talking 10%, and in this meeting, i went along with cheney, and he said if you look at the actual numbers instead of the percentages, you will see that gorbachev has assumed a much higher number for the u.s. than we are, so his 25% comes up to the same number of tanks that as our 10% does. so we had said that the u.s.- reagan administration proposal america, same ceiling on tanks, ceiling on artillery. well, baker thought about that, and he kind of came back in a bottle and said but they want to
limit aircraft and helicopters as well. and i think he was probably surprised, and i have not seen this in a record, but i was there and not as sure as it's been about is what -- assures one can become a with cheney said we do not mind artillery aircraft and helicopters. it would be fine with us to see a reduction in those as well. and i think this sort of a hit like a bit of a bombshell because he had thought that aircraft number 1 was the sort of key equalizer that we were superior in the air a that was something they did not want to negotiate on, and secondly, it was known that dual capable aircraft, which meant they could deliver nuclear weapons as well, we're going down a road they should not go down. this became interesting. we had in it -- a meeting at kennebunkport to present the version of how to implement
this, and we went over the aircraft and helicopter piece of it. that was pretty easy. then we got to have to respond to the sixth element, which was soviets wanted more manpower. in another reason, but i suspect when you get into limiting manpower, you talking about cutting the size of the u.s. army. being a compromiser, he did not want to take on one of his biggest service chiefs on limiting the size of the army, so i think he was saying only 10 percent, and we got into this very significant -- contentious is a better word -- battle, whether it be 10% or 25%, and i think the president finally said it would be 25%, and cheney said that the president is the commander in chief, and we do what he says, but the thing that really was the breakthrough here was the aircraft and helicopters. so much so that when bush correctly decided to give allies at least a heads up -- it is
interesting. if you tell somebody you are about to do something to do for was before you do it, it is consultation. if you tell them 24 hours after you have done a, it is a shock. bush was aware that at least it would make a huge difference if they were not surprised, whether they like the idea or not. mrs. thatcher was, to put it mildly, and happy. i think later, there is another mission to london, and she said something to the effect of, "i remember the last time you to elements in these chairs, it was bad news for me." but in fact, this was a breakthrough, and i think cheney understood me better than some whether break through it was. i was sent to the summit to represent -- i was on the back up plan, i think for
bureaucratic reasons residents these reasons. at any rate, -- about an hour before we would do the land, i got a call, saying the president wanted to insert some language in the communique that would commit us to the negotiations with the soviets. all i remember is that cheney was firmly against starting another nuclear negotiation. i do not know his reasons, but his view was quite clear. so i said that all i can say is my boss is opposed to it. so he said to please tell that to the president of the united states. district angeles i had no desire whatsoever to tell the president of the united states, but i said i think i would not be doing a service to him or to the secretary if i did not at least convey the secretary of defense's view on this. so i waited by the phone not
exactly in eager anticipation of getting this phone call from the commander-in-chief, and waited and waited and waited. the call had not come, and by the time we landed, it was clear that cheney was right. that the enthusiasm had pretty much blown away. the focus became an conventional force reductions. i guess i tell that story because i think cheney had a good sense at that point of what was going on and had a good sense of what would go on. and fourth anecdote -- when i was assistant secretary of state for east asian affairs, i was
the grateful inheritor of an institution started by someone who has become quite well now. once a week, the key people who worked on east asian affairs would meet in the assistant secretary's office just to sort of go around the room and it was going on. it was not a decision meeting. there was no staff, no bureaucracy. been relatively little reporting out of it. but it enabled us to know ahead of time where there might be a collision coming between the state department and defense department, between both of us in the white house, and in fact, i remember at one point, shultz had commented that he was struck by how much more interagency cooperation there was in east asia. there are other reasons for that.
but it was a good thing. i do not remember one of the wall came down surely before or shortly afterwards, but the secretary of state said what we set up your, bring up the position, senior people, state, and white house, and we did that, and we started discussing what is going on, and one thing i remember very clearly from this is that in the course of two or three discussions, the thinking went from saying maybe we have to accept some form of neutrality for germany in order to get unification. that was to some extent the mindset to realizing, "wait a minute -- this is not even good for the soviets. it is not good for anybody. and remember that came out of the meeting from the senior german general saying that neutral germany would be like a
loose cannon. so we became firmly convinced that even though the threat was going, the alliances were very important. it was important as a way of allowing everyone to get security. when we got to the summit after malta in may of 1989, we're on the floor of the meeting, and we saw the remarks that were being prepared for bush to deliver. he was going to say that my memory is more precise than bartholomew's -- does not need is more accurate. i believe it said that a unified germany has to be associated with nato.
we agreed there was something and let the -- something there that was potentially harmful for the alliance. i think his initial reaction was the soviets would never accept that. baker is a great negotiator, and he said yes, that should be our opening position. to his great credit and a lot of other people, what looked like something the soviets would never accept eventually became something they embraced. i do like to think it is important that we achieve this agreement that this was something important, and we did not have to have a three-hour discussion about whether this language was harmful or not.
if you give me an opportunity in questions to talk about informal process is, but let me -- two more things. business and has become a very important part of the process. it started shortly after the war came out. and he said more or less, this is not quite a direct quote, but he said that he was going to go and defend one more cold war budget, and it would take a piece of it out of his back, but it was okay because it was his job. meantime, he wanted us to develop the post-cold war budget. and he wanted us to keep it no leaks. this set in train a six-month process that roughly culminated in briefings that we gave to the defense policy and resources
board in may of 1990 in which a couple of years later became the regional defense strategy for the in the form and somewhat inaccurate form -- forum, and i think it was successful in no small measure because it was done privately. secretly, i guess you have to say that. and this is a difficult issue. at any rate, one of the main conclusions that we pushed through was this idea that preserving our alliances was essential, even though there was no threat. bush was asked something about what is the threat now that the soviet union has gone away, and he said something like the threat is uncertainty or
instability and unpredictability. some wiseacre paraphrasing stalin's comment about how many divisions does uncertainty have? but there was a lot of wisdom in that, and i think fundamental wisdom, and it was a key part of what we put into this briefing that we gave to cheney, and in may of 1989, it became part of the defense planning guidance any regional defense strategy. it turned into the strategic environment, which basically means that the u.s. military posture exerts huge influence even without being used. in this case, that they do not have to embark on their own military buildups is not a combat use of military power, but it is at least as important as anything else. by the time we unveiled the full
regional defense strategy in 1992 -- were actually it was finally signed out in january because we could not get clearance on it, and finally in january, he said he did not care whether it was clear not. one of the key elements was shaping the strategic environment. we could not say we were favoring nato enlargement guess that was not policy, but that is basically one of the things we were pointing to, that what is good for germany is good for poland. neutral: wish stuck between a hostile soviet union and germany -- neutral poland. is greeted with wanting reunification of entire germany back to the 1937 borders. it did not seem like a good idea to have a neutral poland, and i have to give an lot of credit to the administration.
they got the enlargement done, and i think it was hugely successful. instead of becoming, as some people feared, and wall down the center, it became a bridge across europe. you could argue with the door was open more widely to russia or not. but i do think what sad story also illustrates is something important about cheney, and it is no secret that in a big admirer, so you can is coming, but i think when you come to this historic things where huge change is taking place, when you come to a fork in the road, take. you may be coming to a fork in the road, and when reaction is there is trouble down this way, and you will stand in front of
history and your stock, and another is to say that everything has changed, the cold war is over, we do not need military forces anymore. we can withdraw. you go too far in the other direction, and i think what you really need to have is an ability to say this could go well, it could go badly. we need to be prepared for either, and i think, to a considerable extent, there is much more detail. i will save this for questions, but i'll just make insertion. i mean, i think one thing that we as an administration gets seriously wrong was the balance between stability and change. stability is certainly a laudable thing that means peace and saving lives, i not say that it is stodgy.
to people were concerned about conflict in eastern europe and the former soviet union, but i actually think that it be looking yugoslavia where we leaned on the side of stability, you can see that in that case, a change was the only thing that preserved the peace, and in the case of the former soviet union, change is what preserved the peace, and the notion that i think we came dangerously close to of leaning against ukrainian independence might have been incurred to a much less peaceful outcome. i will end with two coats -- one, margaret thatcher. -- two quotes. i guess it was the nato summit in july 1990. i think her opening words were, "europe stands today at the dawn of a new era as promising as 1919 and 1945" and i think some people in the audience misheard
the irony in her voice, but clearly she meant to say we did not get it right in 1919 or 1945, and i think it was less than two weeks later that before you knew it, we were into a brand new crisis and a new problem, which i will say was anticipated. the real point is uncertainty to everyone -- is fundamental to everyone. i remember at one point gorbachev said to president bush, "please to not talk about western values. i was coming to." he should have added -- ours, too." he should have added parenthetically there would like them to be.
first of all, i think it is a fundamental factor shaping the world. i think if you are realistic about things you would realize that one of the most powerful forces at work in the world today is that these democratic values are not purely western and they are not just limited to indonesians' in asia. did you have any doubt about this, go read open court president of state" by a former communist party boss in china, who talks about the need for separation of powers, not just democracy, but a western democracy. does not mean that it works all the time. does not mean we can make it happen all the time, and certainly does not mean we should be imposing this by force, but it certainly means that it is very unrealistic not to recognize that this is a powerful force working in our interest, and to bush's credit,
i believe from that moment on, he stopped talking western lines and started talking democratic lines. i would say, thinking back on bush, whom i greatly admired, still a minor -- still admire, i would say as to think about things he has said publicly or did not say publicly, when was i guess he said when the wall came down, people asked why he was celebrating, he said he did not want to dance on the walls because that would make it harder on gorbachev. i think that was wise restraint, wise caution. the other example the comes to my mind is not cautious at all. president bush is sometimes considered cautious. it was not conscious of all to
embrace german unification. it had a huge impact in this informal meetings i mentioned with ambassador bartholomew. you could almost feel people wanting to say there were not sure german unification was a good idea, but how could they say that when their boss, the president of the united states, had said we were for it. the other one may not be remembered, but bush declared almost within a week of the invasion of kuwait this aggression. i do not believe at the time he had any military analysis, any political or economic analysis. he certainly did not have the bureaucratic interagency study, i can assure you. there was just this instinct that said this cannot stand. once he said it, is shaped the way the whole world approached the issue. i'm not sure the way you felt,
and he may have thought as many of us did at the time that sanctions would work, but he had, as they say, put a stake in the ground. in sour for going so long. >> that was great. thank you very much. give ambassador wolfowitz a chance to just drink of water here before the professor goes after him, and in the meantime, i remind you to please turn off your cellular phone because even if they are on, they send waves that disturb the harmony of the room. that is our electronic operations, so please turn those off. >> i very much appreciated your comments, and they really helped to eliminate some of the larger contour is. i also liked the fact that you started off with a framework of great men compared to larger, fundamental forces. i invite you to comment a
little bit more on how you understood those larger forces. to what extent did you understand those underlying forces? can you provide some specificity about what you had in mind? and how did they shape -- how did those basic perceptions sort of interact with some of your fundamental assumptions and shaped the strategic planning that began in the spring and summer of 1990? >> let me try to sink back here. let me make two comments about process here. i remember when i -- even before i was actually confirmed as undersecretary, sitting down with people and thinking about
how should we organized the office, and one of the central points that came down was the office i had inherited was kind of the defense department counterpart of the state department, and it kind of focus on managing bilateral relations, so there was an east asia office that dealt with our allies in east asia and the chinese with whom we have developed a military relationship. latin america office, middle east office, these things going on. there was no soviet office. here we have the country that is the single most important country for u.s. defense policy, and the undersecretary policies office -- there is nobody whose job is to focus on the soviet union. in a sense because everybody thinks they are focused on the soviet union, and in a second sense because the intelligence
community has billions of dollars and thousands of people doing that, except the intelligence community is more or less prescribe from looking at the u.s. side of it. basically, they are not supposed to evaluate whether u.s. defense programs are having the desired impact on the soviet union. they just try to get it in through the backdoor. so we really need some people looking at both sides of this. eric edelman sitting back there. i do not know where the genius was in creating the officer or finding a billion foreign service officer to run it, but it was also something larger, and scooter libby is back there. i brought him in as my principal deputy secretary and put him in charge of not only the soviet union, but a strategic planning unit out of a sense that we really were heading to
incredible change. i have been offered a job at the state department and was tempted to take it because i thought the most exciting thing in my lifetime might be about to happen. but the second thing, which is in a way more important, and it is another one of these informal processes -- when i worked for george shultz, which was also a great privilege, he and cheney had -- have in common, a meaningful quality. .
1982, which is unfortunately on the dustbin of history. it was a good try. he continued this as he was secretary to say there were times in my day, usually on a saturday when i will take two or three hours not to make decisions, but just think about something. i took this idea to dick cheney who grasped it and said it's a great idea. let's do one on the soviet union. we got a group of people in and dick cheney loved it so much that that -- he would say to get them to round up the usual suspects. they included two terrific cia people. they would be much more frank in
these discussions than in the sanitized memos. there is a virtue to getting down to the people who know what they're talking about. a lot of academics -- one of the things that came out of these was just how much the strengths of these central forces in the soviet republics and the strength of dissatisfaction within russia. the point is, overtime and somewhat ahead of the curve, i believe, we understood there what is -- there was an enormous desire for change. one point where i believe this help it the right conclusion was when the failed coup happened in
the soviet union. the early reaction -- the early morning reaction if you look at bush's press conference in kennebunkport, it was more in the spirit of we may have to work with these guys. if you have to work with them, they will have to work with you, worry about it later and shake things the way they should go. by the afternoon, yeltsin sent a message to bush saying you have to say something stronger. we came out by the end today condemning the coup. -- by the end of the day condemning the coup. how we respond to the independence referendum in ukraine? dick cheney said if ukrainians vote for independence, we should support it. the white house state department at the time, as i remember, was
we should talk about earned recognition, which was to have certain conditions the ukrainians would have to me before we would recognize independence, one of which to you -- one of which was to abandon nuclear weapons which they eventually did. during the clinton administration, it finally happened. it was not going to happen overnight. dick cheney's view -- he was a one are doing this -- was that we should not delay. delay is going to be harmful. at the end of the day, on the eve of the vote, bush made it clear, i have forgotten whether it was publicly or in a leak, that we would recognize ukraine. gorbachev was very upset about this and you did as a betrayal. robert gates says it was a victory of domestic policy over principle. i would like to think it's a victory of one principle over another. the principle is a change is
happening here. if we try to stand in the way, it's actually going to be bloodier than if we encourage it to happen. the people pushing for stability were genuinely concerned that this could lead to military actions by the soviet army and all hell could break loose. dick cheney was concerned that if it looked as though the u.s. was hesitating and possibly willing to see an intervention, that could be the worst thing of all. it was time to cut and cut cleanly and not be dithering about it. i'm sure it helped from the perspective of the secretary of defense, the breakup of the soviet union was something not to be regretted in the slightest. but i think it was much more fundamental.
it was the understanding he developed over the course of a couple of years that these changes were really powerful and they are going to happen and the u.s. could help support them. i think what happened in yugoslavia was a case where we went in the wrong direction and i think with harmful consequences. >> i want to have the chance to ask to more questions. let me shift a little bit the framework and ask whether you think better, however you might define that, strategic thinking and planning after the persian gulf war in 1991 might have prevented 9/11? in other words, was there an insufficient focus on non-state actors, terrorism, the growth
of islamic fundamentalism, etc.? >> i guess you are talking about the whole time in the '90s? >> as you have written and eric edelman has written in a wonderful paper we will discuss later, there is a lot of planning and the entire clinton administration -- i totally agree with that -- taking it together, conflating it, do you think that planning did not give sufficient attention to looming threats that were emerging and to areas of the world that merited much more focused than you gave it? >> first of all, we did give it
a lot of focus. [unintelligible] i will repeat what i said a few minutes ago. i'm not claiming to much prescience, we did not predict the invasion of kuwait, but we did say this is a potential source of enormous instability. here you have not only huge riches in the gulf, but the lifeline of the western world in the hands of six very weak countries with a northern neighbor that as the fourth largest army in the world. it is dangerous and we need to think about how to deal with it. we did not expect to be dealing with it in august of 1990, but we anticipated it. we were very much focused on it all the way to the end of the administration.
i also think the administration as a whole, and a lot of credit here to bicker, understood after the victory in the gulf, this was an opportunity to push the peace process forward. i think the conference, even though it did not accomplish too much, this is the first time these arab governments would meet face-to-face with an israeli official. until then, these negotiations were done with people in two different rooms and people passing notes. the egyptians were the only ones willing to meet face to face until then. i think you can say that led directly to oslo, which i certainly thought was a huge breakthrough. the whole history of the '90s is what was attempted, what might have worked, what did not work. it bears emphasizing that i do not think there was a time in history when the u.s. was more
active in promoting arab-israeli peace nor was there a time in history when islamic extremism and terrorism grew more rapidly. i do not mean there is no linkage, i do think the arab- israeli problem is a problem for a sense something extremists the dawn. what i am saying is -- something extremists feed on. but it is not as tight as what people would like to say to get the peace process done. you cannot be an american advent -- an american ambassador and not appreciate the importance of not getting it done. so it was on the radar. i personally think we overestimated the prospects of saddam collapsing and [inaudible]
not a war but not a cease-fire for 11 years which required 11 -- which required american planes based in saudi arabia with america bombing iraq on a daily basis, leaving a charge -- leading man in charge was resentful of the arab governments and so consumed with desire for revenge that he attempted to assassinate former president of the united states even after the new president said he was going to have new relations. and, by the way, a man on whose september 12th or 13th said the american people have gotten what they deserved. until americans suffer the way they have made other people suffer this government will ever change its policy. i think we were too quick to end the war. i think we were too quick to accept he would just go of his own accord. i think it --
>> did you think that the time? >> yes. born partly, the saudis thought so. i remember on jim baker's first visit to the gulf right after the war, the rebellions had just parted. there was some argument within the u.s. government, these people are portia, as was portia, if ron is portia -- these people are shia, hezbollah is shia, you run it is -- i ran it is shia. saddam is like a wounded snake and leaving him there is the most dangerous thing that can be done. i was struck by this -- we're not afraid of the shia of it --
of iraq. they fought against saddam, and they're not about to let themselves be rolled by the mullahs. >> what motivated that decision to decide differently? we're running out of time i do want to give some time to the audience. we're going to open up for q &a. what motivated the decisions of the government not to go to baghdad? >> let's be clear about something -- i don't think the saudis were arguing for going to baghdad. i was not arguing for going to baghdad. at that time i was arguing let's stop them from flying armed helicopters and massacring kurds and shias. in a press conference, president
bush was asked about this and said something to the effect of saddam agreed not to fly helicopters and he has to stop. more or less, as soon as he left the podium, it was explained that he did not agree. general schwarzkopf led him fly on the grounds of the bridges were down. our response should have been we let him fly helicopters under false pretenses. instead, we did nothing about it. it is a false issue in my view to say we did not want to go to baghdad. i agree with that, but there are many issues in front of us. we did not have to give the territory back we were sitting on. schwarzkopf told baker when he said let's try the demilitarized zone, he said there is no military value, which is nonsense. here was a triumph in general and i think he did not want -- a triumphant general, and i think
the military said let's not get into mission creep. the mission was to get iraq out of kuwait. it was to end saddam as a threat to the gulf, our mission is done, let's go home. let's not make the mistake macarthur made. reasonable arguments, i think or wrong, but there were reasonable. -- i think they were wrong, but they were reasonable. what i do know, and it's important not just for the historical record that the contemporary record, it was not the saudis that pushed us to do it. the saudis tried to get as to keep pushing. >> i would like to open up to the audience for questions. we have about 10 minutes. i would love to hear from people
in the audience. please use the microphone. >> back to the cold war -- you had an intriguing comment about budgets during the time the soviet union was disintegrating. i would like to get a sense of to what degree did you think you could enjoy a significant piece dividend or did it seem at that time it was wise to maintain a strong defense budgets? what do you think about the subsequent administration's handling of this and the idea of a peace dividend? >> we thought there was a significant piece dividend. the "new york times" took a draft of a release i have not seen an exaggerated to some extent what was in it. some of what was that i did not like but it said this is the blueprint for a major buildup of the u.s. military.
it was the buildup for a build down of the u.s. military. -- it was an argument for the build down of a u.s. military. general colin powell was interested in taking down the vested services here. we're talking about taking 500 million -- excuse me, 500,000 -- cutting the u.s. military from 2.1 million to one and half million. that was a lot more than we needed and we came down further later. it was a 25% cut in force structure and would have been a 20% cut in the budget. i think dick cheney understood, i understood, this was an opening offer and congress would take us down some more. with the strategy attempted to
say was as you go down, let's keep in mind a few fundamentals. the two most basic fundamentals were number one, the idea of preserving our alliances -- one we briefed the defense policy research board about this notion of preserving alliances even if there is no soviet threat, the big opposition came from -- i am not going to name them. we had some people in our group who particularly did not like the japanese. why should we waste our money defending japan? that was the real argument. my counter argument was if you do not like what we're spending on east asian defense now, wait until japan is a well armed nuclear power and then see what we spend on asian security. it's much better to do it this way. fortunately, dick cheney came
down on that side of the argument. we need enough presence in europe and asia to keep these alliances together. but the other point is there are still threats. they're not as big as the soviet union. they're not global and i do not involve the things unique to the soviet union, but they are threats and are too unstable parts of the world that we should plan for. one is northeast asia, korea, and the other is the persian gulf. i think one can quibble, loosely speaking, i friends might say the clinton people went to far. but when we came into office in 2001, we were looking for whether there were more cuts available. some people on my staff in 2001 were saying 10 division army is bigger than we need. i'm glad some decided not to cut the army below 10 divisions. it probably would have been better to have 12.
but the whole idea of sending american troops to afghanistan the way we did was virtually inconceivable, even as late as 2000 and 2001. we were still thinking, richard clarke, for all he talks, was thinking of some kind of strike that would take out osama bin laden. how do we -- [inaudible] it is amazing what was done in a short time. but to come back and answer your question, i think we set a path for reductions and the path was premised on let's see how the russians are doing. we had exit ramps as things start to reverse. dick cheney would say give me a list of the 10 things that will tell us whether real changes happening in the soviet union.
these lists were put together and dick cheney had to cross off so many of these things because they were doing them and he said give me more steps that would measure. we are on a downward path. i think it was the right path and some were along the way in the 1990's, and i am not saying this -- i'm not saying i saw this either, this global terrorism thing was going to put big requirements on u.s. military. >> let me pursue that for a moment. you emphasize the united states is on a downward path, but to some extent, that obfuscates the relative relationship of the u.s. military capabilities to other adversaries at the time, whoever they may have been. the bottom line was by the middle and late 1990's, the guided states was spending more money on defense than all other
nations in the world. the reason for the defense strategy statements that started under your watch and continued in the clinton administration, and he emphasized, was to shake the environment that was the framework and deal with uncertainty. my question in part is, developing those capabilities to shape the environment and deal with uncertainty, you developed such huge capabilities that arguably it tempts the united states to overreach with its use of military capabilities. there is a statement in defense policy guidance that says the following -- our fundamental belief in democracy and human
rights gives other nations confidence that our significant military power threatens no one's aspirations for peaceful democratic progress. do you really think that's true? america's military strength and the way it has been used does not give pause to other nations in terms of our likelihood to overreach? >> you said a lot there. i don't agree with the idea that strength leads us to overreach. you can spend even a few weeks in the defense department without encountering people who personally experienced the incredible brutality of war. that is what comes up immediately when you start to think about the use of force, even in something as relatively
simple as panama. which by the way was happening at the same time as all this. of course it gives pause to people who are thinking about invading kuwait. it is meant to. it gives pause to people thinking about invading korea. it is meant to. it does not give pause to people thinking about peaceful, democratic change. i would ask you to give me a single example in the world where people looking to promote democratic reforms the u.s. military as a threat. the closest example i can think of it isn't really an example. the philippines -- for a sometime, philippine democrats thought our detaches -- our attachment to our base meant we are propping up the dictator. that's one of the things we did
in the reagan administration, we made it clear we prefer to see democratic reform in the philippines and keep our bases if necessary. one of the very small but brilliant things: paul did was -- small but brilliant things colin powell did was decided to put some airplanes it -- airplanes up in the air to stop a coup attempt in support of democracy. there is a significant distinction between having the military capability to oppose dictators and aggressors and having it the military capability that threatens democratic reform. it is impressive to me in east asia and most countries in that part of the world are afraid of american retreat. they say we need you around to keep a quieter.
don't try to draw us into your conflict with the soviet union, but you are a very reassuring presence. the last thing we want to see is japan and china duking it out. >> there is much on the table and obviously a lot more we would like to discuss. unfortunately, this session is coming to a close. i believe the ambassador will be here for the rest of the day taking part in discussions. we look forward to talking more in our sessions coming up. let's take a quick break and we will gather again for our first panel. thank you. [applause] i >> had still to come on this
holiday -- political strategists assess the obama presidency as he nears the end of this first year in office. after that, highlights from tuesday's state dinner given by president obama for the indian prime minister. later, an interview with a reporter who has just returned from afghanistan after being imbedded with u.s. troops. >> friday, for the first time in british history, parliament opens its trainers -- is chambers to non- mps. also, a former reporter on why he fabricated stories. a look back at the cuban missile crisis with former advisers. also, have world threat's been over height in the post cold war world? on sunday, two programs on democracy and the internet, including a university of virginia panel on how the political process has been
affected by the internet. the founder of facebook on how w?xsocial networking is changing the political process. this holiday weekend on c-span. >> thanksgiving weekend on c- span -- american icons, three nights of c-span original documentaries on the icon, of the three branches of american government. beginning tonight at 8:00, the "supreme court -- come to america's highest court." it reveals the the building in details through the eyes of supreme court justices. then, "the white house, inside america's most famous home." our visit shows the grand public places as well as those rarely seen spaces. saturday at 8:00, "the capital." in history, art, and architecture of one of america's most symbolic structures. three memorable nights starting tonight on c-span. your own copy for $24.95 plus
shipping and handling. you can order online at c- span.org. >> next, political strategists assess the obama presidency. three democrats and republicans talk about the president's job performance during his first year in office. isabel was hosted by the bipartisan policy center. we will hear from mark mckinnon who work for george w. bush and democratic pollster stanley greenberg. this is one hour and 10 minutes. >> one of the great things about this conference is people go
face-to-face and meet each other. you'd be surprised what that means. i want to make one comment about the last panel which i thought was superb. sometimes in politics, i have been as guilty of this as any one else, but we too often used a machete and forget about the scalpel. the best example of the scalpel i know is one of my favorite politicians ever, a governor from louisiana running for reelection and a guy who is a ford dealer in louisiana in a town of about 3500 people. he was running against him and the argument was he was corrupt and had been in power for too long and had forgotten his roots. the other guy was a ford dealer and he said i want to say this about my opponent -- he's an
honest guy, a deacon of the first baptist church, in the rotary club. if i had to buy ford, i would buy that ford from him because he's the kind of guy who will be a good deal and if something happens to your car, you take in and he will fix it for you and give you a loan car and that's just the kind of guy he is. but if i had a bite to ford's, i would have to go somewhere else because he's not big enough to handle the deal. implicit on that, i think that is more effective -- is he qualified to handle the job of governor of louisiana -- in that is i think a lesson that sometimes the scalpel can be very effective. this next panel i'm going to introduce the moderator and let him go through it. i say this in all sincerity, if you ask people to name the three best political journalists of
the last 20 years, i'm not going to be stupid enough to say who is number one, but i will say there is no list he would not be on. but just in terms of reporting, but in terms of analysis, he's one of these people who people pete -- people pay attention to four a justifiable reason. he genuinely has something to say and more often than not, it's remarkably profound. i did everything i could to get him in my two-lane class but he is here leading this panel and that's remarkable. he is a truly remarkable guy is as remarkable insights and i will let him introduce this panel. if you look through your book, notice if who these people are. i want to emphasize that these people work not just in
campaigns, but they're very influential throughout washington. having said that, i have to excuse myself so i could get ready for the next social event which as we know in new orleans, is just as important as work. >> thank you. [applause] and thank you for this very kind words. for a reporter known to be perceptive, it seems i'm the one that did not get the memo that the journalist is the only one wearing a tie. you folks have a tree here because you have some of the best minds in american politics. like walter, i will note that the biographies are all in the program, but to quickly introduce from my left and moving across, larry grisolano, a longtime democratic veteran
who has served in paid media research for the obama campaign. john anzalone 6 -- specializes in electing democrats in places where they do not often elect democrats. stan greenberg, who i've known for as long as i've been covering politics, a democratic pollster whose clients included bill clinton, al gore, tony blair and nelson mandela. that's a pretty good list. on his side, bill mcinturff, a republican pollster who i've known just about as long as i have been covering politics. his firm represents just about every elected official. 19 senators, 17 governors, 40 house members, and one of the lead pollsters for john mccain in 2008. the rakish and on into his left, mark mckinnon, who is in addition to being an expert in all things music, is a median -- is a media consultant whose clients included john mccain, george w. bush, and ann
richards. i'm sure there is no one else who could say that. finally, [unintelligible] who has been a consultant on seven campaigns and is found going toe to toe with analysts of all political stripes on cnn. he can tell us what anderson cooper is really like. we want to do two things here this afternoon. we want to talk about the first year of this event will entomologist obama presidency with a special focus on the questions we're here to discuss today which is taking the poison out of partisanship in the extent to which he has and has not been able to reverse the trends toward greater ideological and partisan conflict. but let me start with the broadest question. if you're going to do a ledger, we are about one year after the election, you might like the
obama presidency and say he has maintained an approval rating at 50% and above the mid very hard economic times. he has averted, it appears, a full-scale collapse of the economy that some people feared. he is continuing to pass legislation, health care bill, the first president in 100 years in either party to get something approaching a universal care bill to the floor. he has held democrats together in congress to a greater extent than bill clinton did. polling shows he has improved american interests around the world. on the other side, we would say unemployment has crested past 10%. the republican base is clearly energized after being disspirited at the end of the bush presidency. independents are expressing increasing anxiety about the scale and cost and scope of the agenda, and some concerns seem to be validated in the way they voted on tuesday in new jersey and virginia.
while america's image in the world, some of the problems whether iran or afghanistan, to be as intractable as ever. add all that up, and whatever else you want to throw in, is the elevator going up or down at this point? is this a presidency that is gaining strength or is losing momentum? which direction is it heading right now for president obama? >> i don't think the metaphor is right. a fight -- by the way, thank you for the organizers. the last time i did this, my wife is a member of congress. it was a bipartisan retreat in gettysburg and my partner was bob barr. after that retreat, he filed his petition to impeach bill clinton. my wife was attacked for going to this boondoggle in desperate. some bipartisanship is not in my blood. [laughter]
but on the question of whether the elevator is going up or down, if you look at bill clinton, the elevator went up and down many times. it was a roller-coaster. i think that is a more like metaphor. president obama has not had the kinds of swings in approval or personal favorability bill clinton did, but the comparable thing for us was passing the economic plan. our approval is going down in the process. when he passed the budget, which is a tax increase in deficit reduction, his approval went up significantly and was sustained over many months. he proceeded then to launch a number of initiatives, but then trigger gate, -- troopergate, all the positives and negatives
are true. the intensity -- i'm not even sure 2010 is the right point in which we will see this play out. if you can have a 1982 election in which democrats made gains, when the story played out, it was 1984 when there was a landslide realignment which i think is possible in this area through 2012. i think it is too early to tell. >> i think from a polling perspective, you have to look at the 2 obamas. personal ratings and how people feel about his job performance. i do: with a democratic pollster and we have a sequence of one to 5 scale on how you describe obama. we did a series of 12 or 14 interviews in march and repeated them a few weeks ago. what peter did was interesting and he took the attributes and
split the ratings between personal items and things having to do with his job. his personal rating, he averaged a 61% five and on the job ratings, he averaged about 41%. although both ratings slipped, he really declined on the job ratings. what my sense is is this is a country that, given our problems, had long road for the president. they want president to be successful, it was a successful presidency, and like him personally, but there are growing concerns and doubts, and i think is are exacerbated by economic tension. number two, there is a good question -- i wish i rota but cnn wrote it -- one year from now, as the economy is not better, who do you blame? bush and republicans or obama and democrats. i like this idea like if it does not get better in a year, to do
you blame? in march, by 24 points, said it would blame bush. today the number is tied. the history of ronald reagan is by july you have inherited the economy because these are your ideas. the other thing i caution my party about -- i think we are going to turn to this in tomorrow's conversation. we're going to have a very good 2010, but like 1990 to 1994, a good 19 -- a good 2010 doesn't mean much for 2012. there is about one in four chance he will have a carter- like presidency. there is a one in four chance you have a transformational presidency. if you look at a republican from michigan -- we have had republican governors to have taken over in tough times and then very difficult things and had a really lousy numbers. the drug approval dropped and
people woke up four years later and said we did a lot of big things and he changed the state and their numbers go up sharply. that is the one in four chance we could see with obama. there is dropped to come, but it could be a positive, a consequential presidency as well as i think we can be looking at jimmy carter, which is an ineffectual presidency combined with wrong track policies. i think that is a one in four chance. >> i feel as though i am on the stage with some freaks of nature. it's nice to be with pollsters who can see beyond the moment and looked toward where the trajectory of things might be going. i think right now, what the president's is consistent with, what he is benefiting from is the sense that he is in a very tough set of circumstances. he took over at a tough time and
is doing a commendable job of calling it like he sees it. he makes reasoned choices, he thinks hard about things, and he tries to do the right thing. he is not ideology-bound or partisanship bound so much as he has a bunch of fastball coming his way and he's doing his best to call balls and strikes accurately. at the moment, i think that is sufficient for people. i think it will come a moment when people began to change the criteria and start saying what is this all yielding? voters at this moment are somewhat patient because i think they are looking across the landscape and they do not see a lot of alternatives. they're not ready to cast their lot with the leadership of congress in either party or some alternative leader. this is the guy they've got and
they are relatively satisfied. i also think they find a level of personal assurance in his style. he seems like he is on top of things, he is genuine and sincere and smart. at time when there is a high level of anxiety, there is a personal style there that is sitting there needs. i think what going to happen is people start saying enough of that, now i demand results and that is the sole criteria. if things have been able to turn around at that moment, that is i think what is on the horizon. >> thank you for having us here today. i think the elevator's going down, but they do tend to go back up eventually. i think it's going down because barack obama is doing so many things that you can't really see the story on any particular one of them. all you see is the common
denominator and that has been spending and debt. that scared some people. it has scared independence, and to some degree, he has branded the democratic party of -- as the party of economic responsibility. he has moved away from that and i think they're going to lose a bunch of sheep's -- a bunch of seats in the 2010 elections. [inaudible] if you are a voter, the only way you are empowered is by saying [inaudible] the good news is i think he will be defeated in 2010, when he is not on the ballot. he will have two years after that to say the era of big government is over and move to a
more deficit-reduction [inaudible] people do want him to succeed and his numbers personally are better. he represents a better america that we used to be. nobody wants to reject him. he is going to get a second wind and all he is giving republicans is an opportunity. >> you represent candidates at the front line of that. it is a obama setting in motion conditions that will threaten democrats at the frontier of their majority? >> a couple of things to put in perspective. first of all, the republican branding is that a new time low. we are talking about obama, his job rating is a little bit above 50%. interestingly enough, it is right where ronald reagan's was right at this time, except upon the rate is 25% higher. the foreclosure rate is
literally not quite double. the consumer index is worse. so things tend be relative. when you take a look at couple of key factors why i think the elevator is going up. he is breaking the rules and it runs up the step and does not bleed for the elevator. think about it -- and voters tend to reward president to do big and bold things. ronald reagan, bill clinton, and i think they will award -- it will reward obama. it just takes time and patience. the perception of presidents who did not get anything done -- carter, george bush, they were penalized. it is all about the competition. regardless of where obama is right now, only 20% of americans self identified as republicans. when you ask another question about who do you trust, the number of obama to republicans is not quite to 21.
-- is not quite 221. -- is not quite two to one. when asked if republicans are trying to work with obama, it's almost 60% as they know. another important indicator is that the generic question -- are you more likely to vote for a democrat or republican, it's still a net positive. it depends on who you look at. a net positive for democrats. not quite by double digits, but high single-digit. the comparison to the bad political branding for republicans, the people trust about getting things done, and the generic ballot, it's an indicator that those prognosticators about the huge wave in 2010 is way too premature at this point in time. it is hopeful thinking on their part. >> alex said there is no story
line here. it is being lost in the obama presidency. they're not getting a coherent narrative to the country. what is your take a where he is in terms of identifying himself and his policies. >> there is another point i want to touch on -- president obama is getting a great deal of latitude from american voters which i do not think anybody else would have received for all the obvious and historical reasons. i was a big john mccain supporter and voted for him, although i like obama but i did not want to be part of a campaign that was attacking him. i find myself on the right side of the line, but i want him to succeed. i'm not a republican obama hater. but i think about john mccain or hillary clinton that they were president and i think if you walk that through, they just would not have had a letter to president obama has had. i think he has dealt with big, big problems that would have
been difficult for anybody, but we have such a short memory and i remember clearly during the worst part of the economic collapse, i was thinking about how do i get a bomb shelter and why buy guns? it was really dark and we have very short memories. thanks to a lot of things my former boss, george bush did, and that decisions president obama made, the stock market is up a couple of hundred points today. that has not translated into jobs yet, but we are a functioning society which, 10 months ago, that was questionable. i$i think the elevator is goingo -- the elevator is stuck in the middle. he is going to have to stop talking about what he inherited an man up and over what he has got and people want that from their leadership. the other thing i will say and a fun thing about politics for all of us in the game is the conventional wisdom is so often
wrong. this game is so unpredictable and fascinating. i remember 1992 when george h. w. bush had approval ratings of 90% out of the gulf war. at a time when lloyd bentsen and the big lines in the democratic party decided not to run because george h. w. bush was so popular and took a pass and that made an opening for this southern governor named bill clinton. when people tell me barack obama is automatic for reelect, i remind them how the landscape can change. >> one aspect of the presidency that has unfolded, perhaps not the way he wanted, is the level of conflict we continue to see in washington. for that matter, in the public reaction. he was introduced to the country in 2004 in his initial speech as someone who would transcend boundaries of red and blue and ideological and cultural and racial boundaries. yet here we are, health care or -- health care bills, one republican voted for it, no
house republicans voted for the stimulus, only three in the senate. today, the latest weekly average in the gallup poll, a 68 point gap between his approval among democrats and republicans. by any measure, we still have a very polarized, partisan debate in washington. how come? why has that not changed more? is it obama? is it the republicans? is it forces bigger than both? you are someone who has worked on both sides of this -- when you look at this now, why hasn't the chasm narrowed more that has? >> i think it is a -- an extension of the discussion we had in the earlier panel. there are some deep mechanisms in place -- redistricting, cable television, if everything is driving the debate in the culture to the extremes.
there is no reward any more for being in the middle. all the incentive and reward is for being the loudest, the most partisan, so we have to find a way within the system in terms of this discussion -- we're going to have our differences, but we have to find ways to penalize the political class for behavior that is unacceptable or politics are a mix -- politics that are unacceptable. unfortunately, as the old -- the only way that's done is in the marketplace of voting. we have to translate that into voting behavior. >> this is a partisan analysis, but i challenge my republican friends because i think they share it. i just know we can have that kind of frank discussion. what is driving this is the politics of the republican party more than anything. [laughter] 60% of democrats are self- described moderate and conservative.
40% of democrats are liberals. the predominance in the democratic party are people trying to run for the center. if you look to the boating ramp -- with the voting record of members of congress over the last decade, democratic members have tended toward mainstream opinions and attitudes. it has been polarized mainly on libre -- it has been polarized mainly on the the republican side. we did a study on self identified republicans to vote straight republican. they're overwhelmingly conservative republicans, but they are twice the number as a moderate republicans. 2.5 to one trade a few the president poorly and part of what drives this is the process on the republican side. but the specifics of the policy -- and civil society. i was looking at the response to the health care bill and looking
at the restaurant association. they have supported some provisions in the thing and there's a sentence that says they were intent opponents of president clinton's health care plan that they're taking a position on health care bill. the health care plan is supported by wal-mart, but the chamber of commerce. it is supported by the ama and all these sectors -- civil society is bipartisan. what happens is politics becomes separated from society, the same thing on energy. capt. trade is a market- oriented concept. fvright parties and center- left parties go there. they want market solutions on those issues. the health care bill is an individual mandate that is a republican idea for years. for years, republicans have been for those ideas being addressed in policy. i want to argue that as republicans have become more
homogeneous and more southern, the internal politics has made it harder and harder to have a bipartisan -- even as the group outside and the policy becomes more moderate. >> [inaudible] there is certainly a cranky dark corner of the republican party [laughter] however, this nation, unlike others, [inaudible] that's an idea a lot of republicans feel passionately about. [inaudible] but we have just seen candidates who believe that when the center -- with the center.
[inaudible] they would rather come up with their own plans and dreams [inaudible] i think there are things worth fighting for and i don't think that in an effort of bipartisanship you should compromise your belief. [inaudible] he got lucky and when the house and senate. to keep his party together, he has to play not to republicans. he has to keep his party together, so he has moved farther to the left. he has put by partisanship out of reach to some degree just because there is that the more
dangerous than success. [inaudible] >> you have done a lot of work particularly in the health-care field and as someone who has been there for a long time, it's remarkable to see ama supporting a health-care bill. they have [inaudible] pharmaceutical companies and other international groups have opposed this -- on the energy side, you have the edison electric institute supporting cap and trade -- that has not translated into any support. the drug industry has given $120 million to candidates since 1992, two-thirds of it to republicans. yet they cannot deliver a single republican to support health care.