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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  October 29, 2011 7:00pm-1:00am EDT

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c-span.org/history. . >> on wednesday former pakistani president pervez musharraf spoke at carnegie. he stepped down in 2008 and plans to run for re-election in 2013. this is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> it's worthwhile because few countries have been as important to each other as the u.s. and pakistan have been since the early 1950's. and yet as anyone who reads the paper or watches the news knows the importance of u.s.-pakistan relations does not make it satisfactory to either country, nor does the importance mean the two governments trust each
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other. in washington the feeling is that the relationship in the past was broken because pakistan pursued interests and activities it knew were contrary to u.s. interests as in the nuclear program in the 1980's and that washington would have to hold back. in pakistan it's felt increase i will that the united states is a fair weather friend and it has abandoned pakistan before and it will again. we see a similar tension here today in the relationship and discourse between the two, a concern that in fact the interests are contrary enough that there will be yet another separation. there are a number of elements of mutual frustration but again the point of mutual importance remains. therefore, it's worthwhile to try to explore ways of building shared purposes and understanding even if mutual trust is a little too much to
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expect now. there are few people better qualified to address these issues than former president pervez musharraf. he served in a pakistani army for more than 40 years, riding -- rising to its highest position, chief of staff. from that position he took power in pakistan in 1999 and became president in 2001. he continued as president until 2008. he's a civilian today but remains keanly well positioned to address the future of u.s.-pakistan relations. president musharraf has been squeezed on the front end in congress. today he has to go back to the hill, but he has said that he will spend the assigned time here to make some remarks and then will take plentiful questions from you. so with that, let me ask you to welcome general musharraf.
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>> my profound apologies for being late. with that, may i express my gratitude to george and the carnegie hall for letting me speak before such an august gathering. without much adieu i'd like to get down to the subject and i will speak about our region and about pakistan and within that i must cover obviously the united states-pakistan relations which have achieved some kind of criticality at
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this moment. i would like to talk with recap lating a little bit of history from 1979 because sometimes our memories are sharp and forget about what has happened in the region because that will be the case for what we ought to be doing and what we have now. i will take on the period of 1979-1989, first of all. it was 1979 when the soviet union invaded afghanistan and occupied afghanistan. and this created a violation of u.s. policy which believed the containment of soviet expansion and created an arm in pakistan because the soviet union was trying to get to the warm waters in the indian ocean through pakistan and therefore there was a collusion of u.s. and pakistan interest and
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therefore we assisted afghanistan in fighting against the soviet union. and we decided to launch a jihad. a jihad is a holy war. and when i say "we" the united states and also pakistan in the lead role decided to launch a jihad, a holy war, for the reason of ejecting holy warriors from all over the must lum world and may i say we succeeded in withdrawing 25,000 to 30,000 of mujaheddin from morocco and indonesia. not only that we recruited, trained, armed taliban there the -- from the tribal agency of pakistan. this continued for 10 long years, ladies and gentlemen, this jihad, the holy war with the united states and pakistan
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assistance for the people of afghanistan. the two points i want to highlight which are significant is number one, the elites of afghanistan abandoned afghanistan during this period. they came to the united states and europe. and this war against -- the jihad against soviet was spearheaded by really just militant groups. this is the one point we need to understand. the second point is that when the soviet union occupied afghanistan, a year before that , they deposed the king. afghanistan was held together through an arrangement which translates into a national government, a national agreement between all the four major ethnic groups to live together, stay together under the sovereignty of the king. but when soviet union deposed
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the king that group that held afghanistan together was no more there. so when we're talking of a political solution we are talking of creating a national governance which will hold the country together which obviously implies a proportional representation of all the ethnic groups, the major ethnic group. i'll talk more about it later. this much for 1979-1989. then comes the period of 1989-2009 -- 1989-2001. i call this a period of disaster because the united states somehow decided to change course and abandon the place. they abandoned that place of afghanistan without any rehabilitation of the refugees armed to the teeth and known only to fight. this was unfortunate and also
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maybe a shift of policy of pakistan being put under sanctions. we remember as far as pakistan is concerned, the president's amendment which denied all military assistance to pakistan and also a policy tilted more towards india, where a relationship was developing with india. so this was a policy shift, unfortunately. and also, may i say, with this policy sift, because of this policy shift, abandonment of afghanistan, built mudge a dean -- mudge dean -- mujaheddin and became osama bin laden. they are all products of the mujaheddin become al qaeda now. not only that in 1996, the taliban emerged. why from 1989-2006 in
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afghanistan, about 10 ethnic groups, all were fighting among themselves. they ravaged the country and destroyed the country of afghanistan. but in 1996, it became the taliban. [inaudible] the total ravaging of the country, destruction of the country. as far as pakistan is concerned , another element started, a freedom struggle in kashmir which started in 1989. its impact on pakistan was there were dozens of hudge had a dean groups which sprung up from our society inside pakistan, volunteers preparing, wanting to go to india as part of kashmir to fight the indian
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army. why i highlighted these elements is religious military was introduced by us in 1979 and continued until 1989 and then having abandoned the place by the united states, it continued in a different form all bodies fighting each ethnic groups, taliban emerged, al qaeda and kashmir freedom struggle with mujaheddin and pakistan was militaries from the east, from the west of pakistan, from the east of pakistan, pakistan became a victim of religious militants. so therefore, my introduction, pakistan is not the perfect state of terrorism, until 1989 we were in a harmonious situation and all that happened in pakistan is we became a victim of circumstances in the region. then comes 9/11. after 9/11, there was obviously
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the terrorist attack here which was most terrible and the obvious attack by the united states in afghanistan. my pakistan joining the coalition. now i was on the scene then. i took on the situation of pakistan's own interest, more than u.s. interest. pakistan's interest was i realized, i knew that pakistan is a moderate country, pakistan wants to be a progressive, enlightened, moderate country and talibanization and taliban culture with a tremendous understanding of islam is not for pakistan. we would not like to be on the taliban side and therefore we join the coalition. now, here i want to highlight a few blunders en route. the first blunder i say was 1989 when the united states
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abandoned afghanistan without resettlement of the mujaheddin. the second blunder was in 1996 when taliban emerged and pakistan was only country which recognized taliban. and at this moment i remember back in 2000, march of 2000 when president clinton came to pakistan, he was persuading me not to deal with taliban. and i told him at that time that i have a -- i would suggest a different strategy, that we all recognize taliban and the world should open missions in afghanistan and let us then moderate them from within. certainly i am not with their ideas but confronting them or not recognizing them, it is better to recognize them and moderate them from within. not doing that was the second blunder. had we done that maybe we could
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have saved the statue or even resolved the osama bin laden issue if there were hundreds of missions threatening to equip afghanistan if they did not agree to moderation. that was the second blunder. the third blunder after 9/11 i would like to highlight is that after 9/11 with the u.s. attack, coalition attack in afghanistan and with northern alliance, the taliban and al qaeda were defeated and therefore went to the mountains and cities of pakistan. there was a vacuum in afghanistan, a political vacuum. here was the situation where the military had delivered. the military of the united states delivered victory to you . but this military victory had to be converted into a political victory. and political victory meaning
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that a proportional, ethnically proportional balanced, legitimate government be placed in kabul. now, this was the time when from a position from within we could have done that. an ethically balanced, proportional balanced, we had to have paktoun dominated because it always ruled afghanistan and 50% was paktoun. i claim not all paktoun are taliban. we must reintegrate pack tune -- packtoun and give them a regional government. to date it has not been done. to date dominant position of governance in afghanistan is by
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a section called punjibis which is 8% of afghanistan. now, i personally feel this window of opportunity i am talking of consisted from 2002 to early 2004 for two long years. the taliban, al qaeda will dismantle and disorganize and come on, the structure was totally broken, they were in pakistan and we were acting against them successfully. all the people, al qaeda people from number three downwards. all of them were apprehended in pakistan. all those you see in guantanamo or anywhere are all actions by i.s.i. in afghanistan. all. not one has been caught in afghanistan by anyone else. so this was done very successfully in pakistan but then al qaeda went down, the taliban resurgence started in 2004.
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it started because paktoun were not taken onboard and the military success did not turn into a political success. the resurgence started in 2004 and there the resurgence carries on even now, unfortunately. so this was the third blunder where we could utilized this two-year window of opportunity and we failed and now in 2011 we are trying to talk to taliban now. taliban is not on the side of it. when we talk to taliban, i don't know which side we are talking to. the taliban commanders or which segment of taliban. which taliban are we talking to? it is not very clear.
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so therefore we are in a complex situation what is the complexity now? there is al qaeda in afghanistan, there is taliban resurgence and dominant position of taliban now. in pakistan, also, there are some al qaeda but merely taliban, pakistani taliban who go across and fight in afghanistan, also. and also harbor one taliban. the third issue as far as pakistan is concerned they try to spread their talibanization in several districts of pakistan. the fourth issue is that there are mujaheddin within pakistan, the groups which initially were oriented towards fighting indian army in kashmir but they have developped a friendship with the taliban. the fifth issue is there is extremism within our society in certain areas and rr are rising
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because they have a relationship with the taliban. these are the complexities in afghanistan we have to deal with. each element, whether it is al qaeda or foreigners, the military action is the only solution, taliban of pakistan, military, political, socioeconomic, expansion of taliban, trying to spread talibanization, mujaheddin orientation to kashmir now involved with taliban, resolution of kashmir dispute and also political action is the requirement. extremism in our society, a long-term strategy of education, of enlightenment, of economic welfare is the issue. so this is the complexity of problems pakistan faces. i would be remiss if i did not find out what is there in
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india. there is mujaheddin activity in kashmir but there is a rise in the extremism in muslim youth in india and that is what indians should realize themselves. the last bombing attacks in bombay, the finding in india is they had been by local mujaheddin. so there are local mujaheddin in india. what is the reason? whether the reason is unequal treatment of the muslims or a sense of alienation or whatever, it is for indian government to find out and rectify because there is a tendency to develop a nexus of all these people with extremists in pakistan and all that. then if this is not enough, there is an etim in china. then of he -- many of them have come in our tribal agencies in afghanistan to join with al qaeda.
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and this is not enough, there is akem al qaeda in arab peninsula, is yemen and somalia. the al-shabab in somalia trying to have a underground nexus. now, this is the complexity of the situation. i don't want to create a doomsday scenario here but certainly this is the complexity and we must understand the entire complexity of the situation. now, within this pakistan-united states relations are terrible. they are the lowest end. it is the most unfortunate thing, because i say it is unfortunate because we have to have commonality of part and action if we want to defeat terrorism and extremism, if you want to combat terrorism and extremism. one thing i want to highlight here with full conviction is
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that one has to look at the strategic plane in pakistan, what is pakistan's policy? what is pakistan's overall strategy and direction as far as terrorism and extremism is concerned, or taliban and al qaeda concerned? certainly it cannot be pro taliban or pro al qaeda. why can't it be? because pakistan army has suffered over 3,000 dead. because the same much maligned i.s.i. has suffered about 350 operatives dead, killed through suicide bombings. by whom? by taliban, by al qaeda, the same enemy. and this much maligned i.s.i., may i also point out this is the same i.s.i. which has saved many lives around the world by
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honoring a lot of blocks. the mega--- major one was in 2005 and 10 airliners were on transatlantic flight were to be bombed and it was i.s.i. which unearthed it. and this issue of the containment of liquid, the rule the airlines follow you cannot have three liters more liquid in your hand carry is because of that. because they were going to blow them up with liquid explosives. who did this? i.s.i. did it. why i am highlight with it, i.s.i. is much maligned, that they are the rogue elements. so therefore is it possible that strategically they are pro taliban, those who are killing us? 35,000 civilians have died.
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this doesn't stand to logic. however, i would like to clarify, then, what the hell is happening? [laughter] >> so we must understand there is a problem at the tactical, at the modalities, at the handling of situations, at the dealing of situations, there may be a misunderstanding, there may be a difference of opinion. but anyone who tries to convert this technical mishandling and difference of opinion to reflect or to cast aspersion that i.s.i. and army at the top level by design are facilitating, abetting, encouraging, arming maybe the group to go across and kill united states soldiers and bomb the military i think is diverse from reality, ladies and gentlemen. so i am very sad, may i say,
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that admiral mullin came here, i believe, and made certain demands. now when a person of admiral mullen's stature is that the pakistani group is an extension of the i.s.i. is he means the d.g.-isi, therefore the army is against the united states, is abetting with the group, is with the taliban, that means pakistani is the enemy. pakistan is not the friend. pakistan is not the coalition member. we have to be very discrete, very understanding, very accurate in this understanding. i think it is totally against the interests of the united states and pakistan and the region and also the world because it violates what i say
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is the unity of action against taliban, al qaeda. now, i would like to bring out why this has happened and what can we do to maybe bridge this problem? from united states point of view, i would like to admit pakistan needs to clarify two elements, it is casting very negative aspersions and leading to distrust and confidence, definitely. number one, why was al qaeda in taliban? the issue is complicit and allegiance. i would be prepared to answer questionings -- questions with the problem of limitation of time, i would only like to say with all my honest conviction,
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it is a case of terrible negligence which ought to be investigated and punished. it is not a simple case. the second issue but the onus of proving this through united states, it is a very difficult thing to prove, because nobody believes. but we have to prove. because i know it to be true. that it is not a case of complicit. the second issue the group which is no north pakistan. why is the army not acting there? now, again, the onus of clarifying lies on pakistan. and i would like to admit that they are not doing a good job of both these. they must prove to the world
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and to the united states. is there a problem? do they have a different strategy as far as the group is concerned? is there a problem the army is overstretched? is there a problem this enemy is too strong and we will hold back? we have to clarify why. but i would be remiss if i did not point out there are some areas where the united states should also understand pakistan's sensitivity and also give comfort, i will say, to pakistan. number one is united states has decided to leave in 2014, leave afghanistan. if even i was the leader there, i would have said you analyze, give me an analysis, what do you see when you leave afghanistan, are you leaving a stable afghanistan or an unstable afghanistan. because based on that, i in
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pakistan will have to take my own countermeasures. this is very important. if we leave afghanistan in an unstable condition, or not a fully stable condition, when i say "fully stable" i mean fully stable militarily and politically. then i presume there are two possibilities. this is my personal analysis. either afghanistan goes back to 1989 when all ethnic groups were fighting against each other or it goes on back to 1996, then it have paktoun and taliban on one side and the other group organized on the other side. in both cases, pakistan has to fend for itself. and is a different strategy required to deal with each.
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because its direct influence, impact, negative impact, adverse impact will be on pakistan. so any leader in pakistan must think of securing pakistan's interests. it is for the united states to sit down with pakistan and discuss these issues very seriously. the second element which needs clarification, and i know there are a lot of indians maybe sitting here, unfortunately, yes, indeed, is he a good friend of mine. and may i say my bluntness doesn't mean i'm very unpopular in india. i'm reasonably popular in india. >> you were born in india. >> yes, i was. >> you were a kid there like me. >> yes, i admit. that is why i say india and pakistan must have peace.
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i am a very strong believer, we must have peace. now, india is trying to create an anti-pakistan afghanistan. this is most unfortunate. and i'm not saying this because i am anti-india. i know this through intelligence. i know this to be a fact. today -- and just to give you proof, today in afghanistan, afghanistan's diplomats, the intelligence people, the security people, the army men all go to india for training. i in my time was bending backwards offering to president karzai to send them to pakistan, all our training institutions open, free of cost. not one to date has come to pakistan. now they go there, they come back, they get indoctrinated against pakistan. and may i say over the years,
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since our independence of, afghanistan always has been anti-pakistan because soviet union and india have very close relations in afghanistan. and the intelligence, the k.g.b. and others in afghanistan have always been cooperation. i'm talking since 1950. so we must not allow this to continue because then one must not grudge if pakistan orders i.s.i. to take countermeasures to protect its own interests. so i think this needs an approach certainly between india and pakistan and also between the two intelligence organizations, the agency of india and pakistan because they've been on a confrontational course all through 1950, arming each other. so this is, i will say, and if
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i'm also allowed to -- rather minor, but still becoming very significant, when leadership from united states or anywhere say pakistan has not done enough, we need to do more. this has become familiar to a common man in afghanistan. we've sawered 3,000 soldiers here, 350 i.s.i. people killed, generals killed, children killed. what more should pakistan do? we are doing our best. we are the first victims of terrorism and extremism. don't keep saying we need to do more. yes, we need to do together. we must counterall these problems. having said that, lastly let me come to a little bit on pakistan itself.
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today pakistan is suffering. they're a dysfunctional government, a rise of terrorism and extremism, a rise of even law and order situation in karachi which is the economic hub, there is collapse in pakistan and turmoil and also floods, etc. pakistan is in terrible shape. my dismay is that pakistan has all the resources and all the potential to stand on its own feet. and i say this is my dismay because in the eight years that i governed, all the socioeconomic factors were going up, even if you see a strategic location in the center with the gulf on the west and landlocked republics of afghanistan yearning to reach out to the sea in our north, east china, west china to our northeast, india, south asia to our east, we provide
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the connectivity for all energy activity in the region. no energy, no trade within this region is possible without pakistan's involvement. that is the strength of our strategic location. the other issue is that we are a country which is self sufficient in water, self sufficient in food, self- sufficient in energy. we have hydroelectricity, much more than our total requirement, more than our double requirement. we have mastered nuclear technology. we have tremendous energy through cole, -- through coal, through gas, alternate source. the only thing we lack maybe is oil. so we have to switch through all these but all the capacity is certainly available, tremendous amount of natural resources. so what is the problem?
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we are economically self-sustainable. the proof of it is when i came into it in 1989 we had failed in the state but in 2006 pakistan was declared as one of the next 11 economically vibrant countries of the world. after the big fall between russia, india, china, the brick wall, we're doing exceptionally well. pakistan was one of the next 11 countries of the world. so how did this happen? did i have a magic wand or something? i did not. it was the potential and the resources of pakistan. itself. wherein we utilize our own resources, our own potential. to control the budget imbalance, the budget deficit, the fiscal deficit, the balance of payment deficit which was controlled by interesting our
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earning, reducing our expenditures. the problem the united states is facing and may i say that the debt to g.d.p. ratio which was 103% was reduced to 52%. that was how we turned the economy around. i don't want to get into the details. but the per capita income rose from $430 to over $1,000 in six years. so what is the problem again? why is it that the same country, the same people, the same resources in 1989 we are a failed country, in 2006-2007, we are now heading towards disaster again in 2011. the answer lies that there's a leadership vacuum. it is the leadership, it is the governance which fails pakistan. and governance, government and leaders are thrown up through
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the political system, through the elections. we fail. no government elected through elections in a democratic way has ever done good governance for pakistan. and when i say "good governance" really the responsibility of every leader, welfare of the people, the development of the state. these are the two things i believe any leader and any government has to do. otherwise the people reject them. that is the problem of pakistan. no good leadership, not doing well here of the people and the development of the state. so therefore the problem is employing the right leadership through the political process. and now we are heading towards another election in 2013, a year and a half away. if at all we don't bring about
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a political change, breaking the political status quo, people of pakistan rejecting those who have been tried and tested and failed, we will continue on the downward slide. we have to produce another political alternative in pakistan which can deliver, which can understand the problems of pakistan, will have the courage to deal with these things and will have honest -- is honest enough to deal with pakistan's problems with determination. it is for this reason that while i'm very comfortable delivering lecture through the agency that looks after my interests, paying me very well, also, not to say anything here, i'm very comfortable for myself. but i have decided to join
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politics because there's a bigger cause than self and that is pakistan. and therefore i have decided to join politics. we have to create -- either myself and my party a political alternative or in combination with other like-minded people. we have to do that. try to do that. and that is why i entered politics and why i decided to go back to pakistan in march of 2012. or earlier if i am to spring a military surprise and deception and go earlier than 2012. so that is what i intend doing. because i believe it's better to try and fail rather than go down without trying. and for the sake of the country i will take further risks. that is all i have to say. thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. [applause]
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>> we're going to take questions now. when i call on you, we'll bring a microphone and briefly say who you are. let's start with this lady here in the fifth row and then come over here. so get a mike to each of them. great. please. >> my name is isha and am a tv reporter for voice of america broadcasting to pakistan. a few days ago on one of our shows, we always show english language show, you said that democracy is a mindset and that you did a lot of things which were for democracy. my question is why has your party not been able to attract support from pakistani public so far in this context? >> right. right. first of all, let me correct i never said democracy.
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i said dictatorship is a mindset. dictatorship because they call me a dictator because i'm a man in uniform but actually i believe dictator is a mindset. it's not the dress that you wear. i believeed always and i continue to believe democracy. in democracy. and many of the most of the civilian governments in pakistan are the biggest dictators, the people of pakistan know they've been the biggest. it's not a matter whether i'm in uniform or not. i did so much for democracy, on nurturing democracy, and democracy i do believe does not start and end at having elections and a political government. how you govern is the essence of democracy and that is what i did through empowerment of the people, empowerment of women and minorities, freedom through the media. that is democracy and i did all that.
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so therefore i'm a strong believer in democracy. now coming to your next question, why do the people are not in support? i would be mad if i go back with people support. obviously i know how much support there is and how much there is not. i am keeping track. and certainly there is support. you know my support in march of 2007? it was 78%. now, is it possible that in one year it dipped and there's no support at all? there is always the support. when i resigned from my presidentship, many, many people were crying in pakistan. the six cameramen who were filming me or recording me, four of them were crying right in front of me and was a great distraction because i was speaking at that time. so let me tell you that there is support for me. there is certainly support for me in pakistan. however, if i think, if i am to
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believe today there is so much support that i'll win in the next election, i would be too naive. so i am a realistic person, i'm a realist. why i must not overassess myself, i just not underassess myself, also. i try to carry out my own self-assessment. there is support and i am now trying to build that support through organizing party, my party. i already done that at the four provinces. we have gone down and we have organizing committees in 82-124 districts of pakistan and now have told them to go down to 3 50 of pakistan and 6,500 union councils of pakistan. in one year the achievement that i've done internationally in the united states, u.k., u.a., canada and internally in pakistan i think nobody has done from scratch with a new party in place. so let me assure you i am
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giving it a good try. i can never be sure i'll develop that support that i'll win alone but i'll give it a good try. >> my name is judd harriet, i'm a documentary filmmaker. when you are elected president in 2013, what -- will you take a new approach towards the problem, the festering problem in the veil of kashmir? will you take a new strategy to try to resolve this with india yeah? i'm referring to the actions of muhammad in the country. will you make a effort to bring these two under control? >> thank you very much for saying when you get elected which you mean i'm sure i'm going to be elected. >> you be, yes. >> let me tell you if i'm elected. >> no, when you are. >> thank you very much for your confidence in me. on kashmir, indeed. let me say that it was a
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passion with me to resolve disputes and bring india and pakistan closer. it was in my time there was so much interaction, people-to-people sbacks -- interaction that when we had a cricket match between india and pakistan at lahore which was the hub of cricket and which has been quite anti-india, the people of pakistan were cheering the indian team. for the first time it was unique. because i was encouraging the indian team. i met them and i was encouraging this interaction. now, the issue of kashmir has to be resolved. other than that, the action is minor. we took them to a stage, myself and the prime minister, that they can be signed yesterday. it just needs leadership, sign it and finish it off. kashmir is the problem.
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we had moved forward on kashmir because of certain issues i laid down it was my thinking, the demilitarization giving maximum self-governance, having an overall mechanism of india and pakistan and also making the line of control irrelevant through opening routes, six routes, the group of trade and people movement. but we were moving forward on these lines and we need to do it again. i don't have to reinvent the wheel but would do it again because i believe in peace. it is through the advantage of india and pakistan, socioeconomic advantage of both the countries. so therefore, i understand. when we talk about the other issues, i banned the group in my time. there is a problem area there because the group has public
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sympathy and need to be dealt with in an innocent sort of manner. but, yesterday, indeed we will pull the rug under their feet if we resolve the kashmir dispute. the dispute is over, what are you doing? pack up and go home. but it's easier said than done. we need to handle the groups with care because they are very well organized. as i said, public support. when we had the earthquake in 2005, their branch organization -- [speaking foreign language] was probably the best group and became popular in kashmir for the effort they had, they were so well organized and we couldn't ban them and there were a lot of people suggesting let's ban them and stop them from there. i said if we do that, and if one of the -- god for bid, one
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of the shin ok -- the chinook helicopters, i call them the angels of mercy, if they shoot one of them down, no relief will be possible in the area without the american chinook. we have to handle these things with understanding and with care and we would like to do that again. >> general, i'd like to follow up on the kashmir question because i -- there was a lot of progress made in the back channel with india during your time. but what you said about -- and others say about now the importance of afghanistan and the great concern that pakistan has about india's role in afghanistan, even if you then somehow formalize an agreement on kashmir, where would the afghan concern then fit in in the overall organization? hasn't that gotten more important in a way? >> yes. i personally am, or have always
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been believing that interstate relations are more to do with interpersonal relations between leaders. and very proudly can i say that why was there so much trust and confidence between the united states and pakistan when i was there? that was because i had excellent communication and interpersonal relations with president bush and colin powell. the day before yesterday i went to see colin powell to his house and we used to speak to each other very regularly. i could pick up the phone and talk to president bush, which i used to. this is the interpersonal relation. on pakistan-india, i developed very good interpersonal relations with both prime minister vajpayee and the prime
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minister of pakistan. i found both of them to be very good people and found both of them very flexible. very sincere to go to peace and we were moving forward. now with this relationship i am sure we can address all issues. what i said about afghanistan is certainly with full knowledge, otherwise in an audience where there are indians sitting i would not have mentioned anything which was in doubt. i know this is happening. but this is unfortunate but if the two leaderships have relations, i am sure we will be able to address them to the common good of everyone. i think it is doable but we need to address it. but it needs all three to develop an understanding, pakistan, afghanistan and india. >> i've got to go back and forth, too. right by -- yeah.
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there. go ahead. >> nancy bear with the "pakistani spectator." my question is regarding nuer sharif. >> my good friend. [laughter] >> he was twice democratically elected and was very pro business, relaxing the business law so pakistan became very attractive to foreign investment which resulted in even more jobs for the people and even today, he is one of the most popular, viable leaders and very loved by his people. so my question is, did it not concern you when you deposed him with no democratic process whatsoever that it would be viewed negatively by the international community? >> thank you. this is my favorite question. [laughter] >> let me tackle it.
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may i say, ma'am, your figures are totally distorted. 1999, i come on the scene. pakistan is a feared and defaulted state. , $400 million is the investment coming to pakistan. you know where we took it? $8.4 billion. you know our rough knew collection? our revenue collection was at $408 billion rupees. you know where we took it? $1 trillion rupees. this is the performance of sharif. the joblessness and poverty. the poverty was at 34%. we brought it to 17%. and these figures are not i.s.i. figures, by the way, united nations figures. we find out from united nations whether this is true. and you're talking about the person who did this?
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i'm amazed that you -- please correct your figures and don't believe me. we'll find out. on each. now, i'm not saying anything, go find out about industry. where was telecommunication in pakistan? we had 2.9% density and only 600,000 mobile telephones. you know what it is now? our density is over 70% and there are 15 million mobile telephones now so this is performance. because his government of three years. and you know what people were doing because i was the army chief then? they were all coming to my office and telling me when are you going to take over? when pakistan finishes? this is what they were telling me. please understand what was happening in pakistan. now coming to the second part that he is a very popular man. yes, indeed, let me admit the man when he came back, when ben abib came and got assassinated
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we got him back and he came to popularity. you're right to that extent he had gone to popularity. but with the wonderful governance they're doing in the biggest province where there are power outages for hours on end, villages get only two hours of electricity and there is total misgovernance in punjab, there is a sharp decline in his popularity. he has no business in the three smaller provinces, in punjab, in south punjab he is almost out. so i mean, i can cut it down. he is not as popular as you think. >> thank you very much. >> also may i say, he -- i call him project taliban. he is an extremist.
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he has extremist roots in punjab who are now his political partners so he will be a bigger disaster if he god for bid come in governance and i am sure if he will never if he comes to govern in pakistan, a bigger disaster than the present situation. >> we'll be happy to host a debate between you and him here in washington. >> i can assure you -- let me assure you he will never come. >> i know. >> i stand. you call him and i will sit here. >> wait, wait, wait. all right. i'll call on you but, you know, let me call on this gentleman right back there. >> good afternoon, my name is nisim reuben. i am with the american jewish community and we were privileged to give a donation of $50,000 in the pakistan earthquake and partner with the american association of citizens of pakistani oregon again -- origin to send kosher
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meals to the affected area. and in recent years we have reached out in the american community, tried to reach out to the pakistan american community. >> which community? >> the indian american, the south asian communities. when you were president, your foreign minister mr. kasuri met with mr. shalom in ankara. because india has strong ties with the arab world and now growing relations with israel. and the israelis and many americans jews saw pakistan as a bridge between israel and the jewish world and the islamic world. and sir, you also attended a kosher dinner -- >> is there a question? >> so you attended the kosher dinner for jewish leaders in new york. would you reach out -- see pakistan as being that bridge between israel and the jewish world?
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>> were you the one i met at the american-jewish congress when i addressed them? ok. now, yes, indeed. now, i personally believe that we have to bring peace, not only to the region but to the whole world. and therefore, i even started a strategy and idea enlighten moderation which i prosed at the summit in call lumpur -- in qu -- in kuala lumpur which was a strategy rejected. and for the west and the united states, the prong to be delivered helped with disputes which would assist in the socioeconomic development of the muslim world. within this strategy, i personally believe we must have peace if we want to have peace, we have to resolve the palestinian-israeli dispute.
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this holds the key to al qaeda and all this activity of hezbollah, hamas, the fattah, etc. and in al qaeda. they are politically indoctrinated or motivated people, those who carried out the 9/11. who were they? they were probably people who were antagonized as the israel-u.s. relations and anti-palestinian attitudes around. so as far as i'm concerned, as far as pakistan is concerned. i thought we need to have balanced relations, and i personally commented once that we need to review our relations with israel as we progress forward on the resolution of palestinian-israeli dispute. towards this end i even came
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and addressed the american jewish congress. to this end, i requested the turkish president to invite the foreign minister of israel to turkey and i will send my foreign minister to meet for progress to contribute to the palestinian-israeli dispute resolution, i would like to play a role. and may i also inform this august gathering, in 2006, i initiated a different peace process. and that was i thought that on one side in the muslim world, the united states on israeli side and dealing with peace, maybe has become unacceptable to the muslim world. therefore, there's a requirement of maybe european union and mr. solana the secretary-general who is held in certain esteem in the muslim
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world to play a role on one side and on the muslim side i thought of arabs who has always been dealing and maybe they fail to reach a conclusion we include nonarab muslim players and that i thought wasi went ars group to deal with palestine and israel. we took a different approach and maybe because israel would have more confidence. the muslim world will have more confidence with mr. salana. we have to think out of the box. i am for peace with all countries and trying to resolve all political disputes.
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>> we will take two questions at a time. i know we are running out of time. >> i was late, therefore, i will take whatever question. >> hello. can you tell me if you believe pakistan is doing enough when it comes to working with the international committee on securing the nuclear facilities. should they be more open? >> pakistan's nuclear capability, everyone must understand, is tied to every man in the street. number two, pakistan's nuclear
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capability is in direct relation to the threat pakistan has always faced therefore, we are nuclear. now, unfortunately in pakistan, the perception is that the united states or many other powers that be are for pakistan to be denuclearized. that goes against pakistan's interest. the people of pakistan will never allow it. as far as custodial control, what the world ought to be asking is are they secure? yes.
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after 2000 when i came on the scene, the first thing i did was established custodial controls. we created a strategic planning division, a secretariat, led by a general. we took away all the autonomy from the scientists -- finance and security. money that used to be given to them and security of their own -- while all of these assets were held by the organization at
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that time, i took over those assets and i created a strategic force demand. it includes about 30,000 men of the army. it has two divisions with a number of brigades, with a number of regiments. the holding is by the army. the army has them in a place nobody can access. a lot of perception is there that india and pakistan are on a confrontation course in 2002. the figure is on the nuclear button and all that business. there is none of that in that context. in our case, -- even if you have
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a confrontation. >> there is nothing like an impulsive man in those shenanigans. that is not the case. let me, for this long answer, let me say that pakistan's nuclear capability as under the protection of a department. we will go along with the world successfully on all safeguards. do not -- it will not be acceptable to pakistan. >> let me ask a follow-up -- if you are elected president and
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you would be a civilian leader in pakistan. the nuclear program has always been controlled by the army. by what process would you then, for example, have a policy and make a decision to decide you have enough nuclear material, you have enough weapons -- as a civilian, would you be able to have all 40 on that discussion? >> [unintelligible] it is not correct that the army controls everything. the chairman is the president of pakistan. the prime minister is there. five foreign ministers are there and for chiefs aren't there. -- the cheese are there. we started this program after
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india exploded its first bomb in 1974. that made our military strategy throughout the world a strategy of at minimum defense. i in 1974, when india exploded the bomb, this minimum defensive deployment became unconventional. >> in 1972 after the war with bangladesh -- january 1972 is where the program started >> the nuclear program was always there. the program to make bombs was after.
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at 1978, since secrecy was required, it was not the president of pakistan who happened to be a full military man. when he died, someone used the army commander to assist him. the president has been following eight former -- normal course, but the army chief is the boss of the strategic force command. the strategic planning division is headed by a retired lieutenant colonel.
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that is what we have done. i take credit for that. >> thank you. this gentleman here and then back there. >> i do not know how to address you as a great general are a great president. i must say one thing, [unintelligible] afghanistan's president always accuses pakistan of sending
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terrorists into afghanistan, -- if you -- if there was war between the pakistan and the u.s., he would back pakistan. as far as pakistan and u.s. relations are concerned, the number one enemy upper pakistan is not the united states. what can you make out of these things? one more thing -- al qaeda was found in your back yard endure the roller at that time. >> let me thank him for the
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first time. the statement that he will topple -- back pakistan against the united states is preposterous. i find the whole thing preposterous. does he think there will be some kind of war between the u.s. and pakistan? it is impossible. therefore, i would not even like to answer this question. it is an insane idea. god forbid, this can never happened. why comment? al qaeda and taliban are enough for pakistan. pakistan will look after itself.
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you said about osama bin laden being found. the enemy. yes. that was unfortunate. [unintelligible] beyond 1989 things have happened. everything that happened -- the abandonment -- in 9/11 -- on 9/11 would join the coalition. what makes you think that we would be -- not be mistreated and ditched by the united
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states? that is what people were asking me. through an unfortunate reality of events, india and pakistan brought on the nuclear issue. [unintelligible] india has developed the nuclear bomb -- i do not know what for. is there a threat from somebody or is there an idea of protecting your power in the region and the world? our nuclear is defensive, your nuclear is maybe offensive.
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unfortunately, the people of pakistan have been defensive, but at the government level, at the leadership level, at the intellectual level -- i see everything pointing toward pakistan u.s. relations. they are very broad in context. not only is their military cooperation, but there is a great socio-economic element in that. our investment interest are there. everyone understands that pakistan and the united states relations have to be strong. it is more emotional and sentimental that because of these events this need to be corrected. i personally believe it has to be corrected, but it takes time
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and leadership. >> [unintelligible] >> haslam bin laden was there for five years. -- osama bin laden was there for five years. first of all, i am not convinced he was there for five years. unless there is some proof given. if he was there for five years, there was no complicity. why do i say that? i am 500% sure i did not know whether anyone believes this or not. i am it clear there was no complicity. i am from them and they are from me.
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if there was something that happened at the top level, i am sure the second, third, at fourth year offices -- officers would have come and told me. it is not possible the army could do anything or anyone was not following the policy. there was no complicity. >> thank you very much. [applause] i thank all of you for hanging in there. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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>> we are standing by to take you live this evening to see president obama make a march at the national italian-american foundation awards dinner. that is being held tonight in washington. we are waiting for the president to come out and get the program started. we will bring you a portion of today's washington journal about the president's economic strategy. with the president begins to speak, we will have that live for you. about this morning.
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>> the strategy complaints about congress' failure to pass his jobs bill. senior administration aides expect the as to continue. on the inside pages of this story, there is more. mark penn -- "i thought what did most with the mortgages was the most clinton asked thinking. also in the story, the obama white house goes on to say
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we're looking at the economic strategy this week and asking you is the appointee, is it reminiscent of 1996 and the tactics employed by president clinton. to get your taught -- thoughts, if you want to give us a call, the numbers are on the bottom of your screen. to give you some context about the president's' initiative this week, let's show you a bit
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of tape first. first up, we're going to show you -- this is president obama and here's a bit about the message that he is sending and the message theapts to send particularly as he faces congress. >> on monday we announce a new policy to help families whose home values have fallen to refinance their mortgages and to save up to thousands of dollars a year. all these steps aren't going to take the place of the needed action that congress has to get going on. they're still going to have to pass this jobs bill. they have to create jobs, they've got to grow the economy. but these executive actions we're taking can make a difference. and i've told my administration that we are going to look every single day to figure out what can we do without congress? steps that can save you money and make government more efficient and responsive and
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help heal this economy. so beer going to be announcing these steps on a regular basis. >> so there's president obama. that took place in october of this month -- this month. to give you a little context. in a form that took place here in washington, d.c. spoke about economic measures, especially done in this administration to give you a sense and hopefully to get you to talk about if there's some policies working in the obama white house. here's.clinton what he had to say. >> i'm encouraged by the fact that fannie mae and freddie mac have apparently let some people refinance their mortgages down to the 4% level, a million or so. but there are 20 million americans who have not defaulted who have relatively small amounts of mortgage money out, $150,000, at an average
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interest rate of 5.6%, the mortgages are owned by the government. if they let them all refinance at 4%, it would put a 40 billion a year back into the american economy and stimulate with no deficit spending and no tax increase. remember, we got our job growth as they all said by accelerating information technology and trying to spread it into every other aspect of american life as quickly as possible. here, the president's outlined a strategy of doing that with green tech which no matter what you read among the skeptics, green tech jobs have grown at twice the rate of overall employment and account for $54 billion in trade for us. in bringing back manufacturing jobs which we can now do as long as they're high epped jobs. in doubling exports and in
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infrastructure. so i support this plan. >> one more bit of information to show you before we go to the calls. ron in a piece that he wrote, here's the headline, obama borrows page from clinton. >> so asking you if you agree or not and give your thoughts on that. the lines will be on your screen. you can give us a sweet, or an e-mail. north carolina is up first. tina on our democrat's line. thank you very much for waiting. caller: yes. i do believe that the use of
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executive order is clinton esk as well as an affect of desperation forced upon president obama by a do nothing house of representatives. intent on making him a first term president and as a homeowner trying to be a homeowner being under water and having defaulted making all of my payments, i seek relief and appreciate a new way of doing something good to help the american people at this very critical time. host: so you agree with the strategy as you see it? caller: the strategy is absolutely fantastic. should have been used earlier. host: new york, on our republican line. good morning. caller: good morning. i'm praying that president obama will see what he is doing is like putting a band aid on a hemorrhage.
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host: what do you mean by that? caller: well, i just believe that he doesn't want to face congress because he is out campaigning when he should be dealing with this economy and what he is truly doing is trying to avoid what he doesn't want to face by going out and campaigning and trying to play to his base. host: so one of the things we're talking about this morning is if there's paralevels between what he is doing and what clinton did in 1996, if they think it's going to be effective. caller: i don't believe what he is doing is effective at all. host: san antonio, texas. caller: good morning. you know, it's odd to me that so many people call in that don't even know the issues. i think it's a great idea that
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he is going over congress' head since they have been absent most of the time anyway. i just don't understand how it is that most of the americans are willing to cut their own throat for rhetoric. host: off of twitter. >> i live coverage begins now on c-span. [applause] >> thank you so much.
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viva italia. thank you very much, everybody. thank you so much. thank you for that generous introduction i am biased, but i think nancy was one of the best speakers of the house of the country has ever had. she was, no doubt, the best italian-american speaker of the house we have ever had. i believed that she will be the best speaker of the house again in 2013. [applause] now, i was just passing out hauling candy -- halloween candy for the kids that are coming to the white house, but now that maria and sasha are with their
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friends, a they have not noticed that i am gone. they are getting ready -- they do not care. i embarrassed them and not the brief time i was with them. i am honored to be here to celebrate national italian- american heritage month and to commemorate the 150th anniversary of an italian reunification. i want to congratulate the president, the chairman, all of you who are doing so much work to keep that heritage alive for the next generation and i am grateful for your generous welcome. i want to make a confession right off the bat. i do not, in fact, have any a italian ancestry. [laughter] not all of us are that lucky.
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i cannot sing like frankie avalon. where is frankie? he looks the same. ] unbelievable. i cannot cook as well as any of your grandmothers. [laughter] michele will not let me have seconds or third anymore. all i have got to offer is a last name that ends with a "bama." nevertheless, it is good to see so many proud sons and daughters of the old country. i see a couple dozen italian- american members of congress here tonight. let me offer a special welcome
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to guest who are joining us from italy this evening, including italy's ambassador to the united states -- ambassador terzi -- thank you for your work. his counterpart is here as well and he is doing a -- an outstanding job representing us, our ambassador to italy, david thorne. italy is one of our strongest allies. a fellow founding member of nato, we look forward to working together with them and we will be joining them next week at the g-20 to make a series of decision that will be important for the world's economy. i make sure to keep close the advice of italian-americans by asking some of them to serve in my cabinet. we could not be prouder of a janet napolitano, who is keeping us safe every single day.
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[applause] and my outstanding secretary of defense, leon panetta. [applause] and, as was mentioned even though she is not here this evening, joe biden is proud to come from a long line -- jill biden is proud to call from a lot line. she sends our regards. it is important for us to honor the countless italian americans who fought for our country since our founding and who wear the uniform today. [applause] from the chief of staff of the army -- [applause] 28 hero of what -- to a hero i was proud to give our highest
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military decoration, staff sgt juna.ovatore in a sense, every american joining us in celebrating this anniversary of italian unification -- what would america be without the contributions of italy and italian americans? what would we be without columbus, pucci -- what would our science and technology at be without not just the vinci and galileo -- what would music be without the music of sinatra, capra, sophia loren, my
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favorite. [applause] i am just saying. what would sports be without the grip, dimaggio, lombarid, and la russa? piazza. [applause] the red sox could still use him. what with the city be without the influence of roman thought and architecture, the work on the lincoln memorial, the magnificent touch on the capitol? although, i might say it would
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be nice to know what our politics would be like without the contributions of machiavelli. [laughter] that has been internalized a little too much here in washington. [laughter] america would not be what it is today without the unique contributions and the on, and pride of italian-americans. like so many other groups -- as nancy said -- the italians came to america in search of opportunity. they came with little. very few were welcomed. they came with an unwavering faith in god and an unfailing commitment to family and an unlikely hope in the possibilities of america. a belief that in this country you could be prosperous, you could be free, you could think,
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talk, and worshipped as you wish. it is a chance where you could make it -- a country where you could make it if you try. italians were not always welcome. we think about today's emigrants, we have to remind ourselves that those of us -- today's immigrants, we have to remind ourselves that those of us who take pride in our american identity, but was not always the way of the past. the opportunities our forebear'' "for were not always within reach right away, but they did not wait for anybody to hand it to them. they build new lives for themselves. they ended up building an entire nation. the enriched our heritage and our culture with their own. they helped forge the very promise of this country that success is possible if you are
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willing to work for it. those accords built a better america for all of us. everybody in this room just about as an ancestor or lots of ancestors who fit that story of transplanted routes the somehow grew in american soil, of families that struggle and sacrifice so that our families might know something better. a parent who said maybe i cannot speak english, but i will make sure my jaw can speak english. they might teach english sunday. -- i will make sure my children can speak english. they might teach english one day. i might perform backbreaking labor today, but someday my life could be a senator, supreme court justice, speaker of the house, secretary of the cabinet, or president of the united states. [applause]
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that is what binds us together. that is what has always made our country unique. we have always been and will always be a nation of immigrants from all over the world. out of many, somehow we were able to forge ourselves into one people. this is the place where the highest hopes can be reached and the deepest and most sincere dreams can be made real. that is the legacy our forebears' left for us. that is what we now leave to our children. these are tough times right now and millions of americans are hurting. millions are without work. those who have worked are still all too often struggling to get by. for many, the dreams that brought so many of italian- americans to the shores bill like is slipping away. we have work to do. while these times are hard, we have to remind ourselves they
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are not as hard as those earlier generations faced. the legacy of their courage, their commitment, their determination, their generosity, and their willingness to think about the next generation -- we have to be as passionate as helpless as they were to keep that dream alive to make sure our children and their futures that are big, bright, and this country is as generous as it has always been. that is what we have to commit to ourselves tonight. on behalf of all americans, i want to thank you for everything the italian-americans have done, everything you have done to contribute to the chronicles and the character of the greatest nation on earth. thank you so much. god bless you. god bless the united states of america. [applause] thank you.
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>> you can see president obama's remarks again from the attack in american foundation awards gala at approximately midnight eastern here on c-span. -- from the italian american foundation awards gala at approximately midnight eastern here on c-span. herman cain is making an
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appearance to talk about his tax plan. a call from the des moines register put the former pizza executive in the lead for the republican nomination with 23%. mitt romney at 22%. we will have a candidate herman cain on monday at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2. later, we will talk about his economic proposals at the national press club live at 1:00 eastern on c-span. >> watch more video of the candidates, several political reporters are saying, and track the latest campaign contributions with c-span's it web site for campaign 2012. it helps you navigate the political landscape with twitter
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feeds and facebook updates, candid bias, and the latest polling data. plus links to the media partners. all at c-span.org/campaign2012. >> a debate on the future of the u.s. economy and the national debt -- both sides of the political prospects from water represented. alan simpson, lawrence summers, former chief of staff karl rove, and former white house press secretary, robert gibbs. the debate is moderated by brett blair. this runs about two hours. [applause] >> thank you. thank you, ladies and gentleman. this is the ninth annual clash of the titans. it has become one of the great
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debates. we could not afford a football team. we did the next best thing -- we have a bunch of scholars fighting each other. it has turned out to be very good. what happens if they get everything fixed before our debate? [laughter] no worry about that this time. none at all. [laughter] the super committee is not going to fix anything. we have people here who have answers. some of the distinguished figures -- former -- alan simpson, a dear friend whose father served in the senate with my father. we have been friends for year. brett bair has done a superb job at fox news. they filled in for brett hume, a marvelous news man.
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we are so glad he is here as the moderator of this debate. he is going to introduce the distinguished members of the panel. one of them is larry summers. he was president of harvard. they gave him a rough time. i went to yale. i told him if they had went to yale they would have been nice to him he was working in the clinton administration. several of us were there and worked on a debt forgiveness package for third world countries because larry has a heart of compassion for those who are suffering. the initiative taken in that gathering resulted in a debt reduction of $30 billion to over indebted third world countries to give them a fresh
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start. he is a wonderful person, as are all of the members of this panel. you are going to get to know them. one of them, by the way, says he worked for a man who worked for my father. it is an incestuous in washington. [laughter] everybody works for everybody sooner or later. actually, we are all friends, but they have rules. no gouging, no biting, no kidding, and maintain civility. i think we are going to have a wonderful debate and i hope they come up with some solutions to our debt problems. it is a great pleasure to introduce a tremendous broadcaster, brett bair. [applause] >> thank you very much.
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it is a pleasure to be here. thank you for that introduction. i know you have celebrated 50 years of broadcasting. i can only hope to be broadcast in 50 years. it is a pleasure to be here. i will be honest, i received an e-mail and it said "will you come down to the class of the titans." i was not sure if it was a wrestling match, a monster truck rally. a little research and i am it so impressed with what you all have done here -- the ninth year of a truly fair and balanced debate. this is definitively that. i am really honored to be your moderator tonight. we have some amazing people. there are 375 until the election. that is 9010 hours as of right
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now. the biggest issue, obviously, will be the economy and the press of this that the world has been facing when it comes to -- precipices that the world has been facing when it comes to the economy. to deal with that, we have an amazing array of palace. lawrence summers served as the director of the white house economic sam -- council from 2009-2010. as chief advisor to the cadet on economic policy, he developed the recovery act and other measures, cochaired the task force to restructure the automobile industry, and played a note leading role in managing the nation's economic relationships. the is well spoken on economics. he has won an award given to outstanding of american
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economists under the age of 40, which he received in 1993 following his service as chief economist at the world bank. he became a key policy maker in the u.s. treasury department, rising to serve as secretary of the treasury from 1999-2001. the only time when -- within the past 60 years that america saw a decline in the national debt. he played a key role in american policy decisions from the enactment to nafta, the world trade organization, and the response to the financial crises in mexico. he received the alexander hamilton medal, the treasury department's highest honor. from 2001-2006, he served as president of harvard university where he was an outspoken advocate of reform and higher education. he currently serves as professor at harvard and a member of president obama's economic recovery advisory board.
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ladies and upham and, please welcome dr. lawrence summers. -- ladies and gentlemen, please welcome dr. lawrence summers. [applause] hailing from a family that was heavily involved in law and politics, it is no surprise that alan simpson has held distinguished positions in both fields. a third-generation lawyer, he urged his law degree from the university of wyoming after serving overseas in the army. he practiced law briefly as assistant attorney general and 10 years as city attorney in his hometown. he served as both governor and senator. he later served as in the wyoming house of representatives for 13 years, holding the office of majority whip, majority floor leader, and speaker pro temp. he was elected for three terms in the u.s. senate and was named to the position of assistant majority leader, which
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he held for 10 years. he served as director of the institute of politics at harvard university's john f. kennedy school of government before returning to his of water, the university of wyoming as a visiting lecturer. his class, wyoming's political identity its history and politics, remains one of the most popular courses at the university. i would like to take the class. in 2010, president obama and pointed simpson to serve on the bipartisan commission of fiscal responsibility and reform. the search on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards and speaks on a variety of subjects. his book, "right in the old kazoo -- a lifetime of scrapping with the press," cockles of his views of the fourth estate. i can attest to that as numerous questions of mine have been called a natch belt in a
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tornado. ladies and gentlemen, senator alan simpson. [applause] our next guest, robert gibbs, has been an adviser and strategist for president obama says the early days his senate race. he has served as president obama's press secretary. he began his political career through an internship with former congressman glenn brown of alabama. he went on a specialized campaign serving as communications director for the democratic senatorial campaign committee and for individual senate campaigns including those of fritz hollings and senator obama in 2004. he joined the cadet obama's
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senate campaign as sennott -- as communications director and served until becoming senior strategist for communications during the general election. members of the media have often noted his quick wit -- quick wit and candid style. having spent many years as a close adviser to the president, robert gibbs is able to offer an insider's perspective on current issues. ladies and gentleman, please welcome robert gibbs. [applause] karl rove as precedent of karl rove and -- karl rove and company. his clients include more than 75
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u.s. senate, congressional, and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states as well as the moderate party of sweden. from the consulting role, he rose as deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to president bush. his winning political strategies urged him a great respect. the executive editor of the weekly standard described him as "the greatest political mind of his generation and probably any generation." michael barone wrote "and no presidential appointee has ever had such a strong influence on politics and policy and none is likely to do so again anytime soon." he now puts these skills to use as a fox news contributor. he is author of a new york times bestseller, "courage and confidence." he writes a weekly column for the washington journal and has written for a myriad of of other
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publications including newsweek, time, the weekly standard, financial times, and force. he teaches undergraduate and graduate students at the university of texas at austin. he is also a faculty member with the salzburg global senate and -- seminary. back by popular demand, he is a two-time to tighten -- ladies and gentleman, please welcome karl rove. [applause] ok, let's go over some ground rules. we want this to be feisty, substantive. we have questioned the were submitted by the audience, selected by a panel of professors. our panel is, a professor of government and a professor of law. our timekeeper for the debate is
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a professor from the robinson school of government and a city council member from the city of virginia beach. we will be using a traffic light system. green means go, yellow 30 seconds left to speak, read, time is up. we do not have like i have at the debate the fancy bell, but i will get in the middle if it drags on. the agenda is listed in your program. we will begin by opening statements -- four minutes each. we will have a round table where each participant holds the floor and can ask the other side questions. i will have the option of calling up. next, i will present your questions to the panelists in four different rounds. each of our debaters will have four minutes to make closing statements. i will not ask any follow-ups from those. the program will conclude with a bit of a wrapup by me. with that, the opening remarks
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by each participant. let's start with dr. summers. >> thank you very much. a key for the invitation and the generous introduction. much better than we usually get. once i was introduced by someone who asked if i knew what it took to succeed as an economist. an economist as someone who is pretty good with figures but does not quite have the personality to be an accountant. [laughter] that was in moscow and no one got the joke. [laughter] we have a lot to talk about. three years ago in the fall of 2008, this country was at the most critical economic juncture it has reached since the great depression. it is no exaggeration to say that everything was collapsing. the stock market was in free fall.
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hundreds of thousands of jobs being destroyed eight months. vicious cycles of declining financial systems. a credit crunch that hurt the economy. a collapsing economy meant no one could pay back loans. incomes were going down. that meant less spending. less spending meant less job creation -- job creation. the worst economic statistics from the fault of 2008 until the spring of 2009 banned from the fall of 1929 in the next six months. that situation has to be contained. those of vicious cycles have to be broken. they were. a combination of strong government action to jump-start the economy through unnecessary spending in infrastructure,
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through a support to working families, to support so we did not wreck the future, even in a troubled time, by allowing teachers to keep working in schools, and prevent law enforcement officials from being laid off. people did care about those to whom the banks lent money and did not what the credit crunch to damage our financial system. where are we today? there is no collapse. the economy has grown with the last two years. people said the money was going down the toilet. it did not go down the toilet. the money put in the banks has come right back. at the growth is not like anything we wanted it to be. unemployment at 9% is at 4% to
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hide. you know the reason why. who is. to hire people to work at the restaurants when they are half empty? who is going to build a new factory when the existing factories are only being worked on one shift? who is. to build a new house where there are too many houses -- who is going to build a new house where there are too many houses empty? this economy needs a new plan that creates employment, it creates income, that keeps the economy going. it needs it from the private and public sector. this is not a time to be laying off teachers across this country. that is why we need to use this moment to renew and rebuild america. that is why we need to support our housing and financial system. that is that is why we need to make sure that we grow american exports on a substantial scale. that is why we need to cut
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taxes, help families who are in a position to spend the money to put it back into the economy, and that is why we need to recognize that confidence is the cheapest form of stimulus and what is necessary to ensure that over time our government stops piling up debt at the weighrate it has. thank you. >> dr. summers, thank you. [applause] senator alan simpson? >> i think i will have to stand. it is an honor and privilege to be here at this remarkable university. you all must be really proud of it. i know that i certainly am, after visiting with the staff and faculty.
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richard, james, my handlers, it is but a lovely treatment. at a special treatment to see pat robertson, who served with my father in the u.s. and that -- who served in the u.s. senate. we surely do not and will not agree -- you would not want that all -- you will find that out fast, but will be a real debate. i serve on a commission of presidential debates. would that this active type of thing, with the politicians able to accept this kind of debate, but they would not. as we meet with them on the commission, they would not go with this. first, a lot to answer a question when i walked in here. somebody asked me, at a lot to answer it now, and the answer is, yes, i did sleep in the suit.
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[laughter] 3:00 in the morning, the phone rang, the guy said, how do i know, that is 2,000 miles. and he said, i don't know, some guy called and asked if the coast was clear. [laughter] my time is expiring. we did 10 months of work on this commission and came up with a vote of five democrats, five republicans, one independent. it is discussed months to establish trust. trust is severely tarnished in america, and congress, and people still get on their hind legs and say, if we could get this done without touching medicare, medicaid, social security, and defense. that is funny. you cannot get there without
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touching all four of these. paul ryan spoke up. they crucified him. there is plenty of fat in defense department. there is plenty of fat everywhere. we cannot get there without cutting every one of the big four. the nest is letters i get from people were sent to me, all stuff from the aarp. i ask, are there any patriots here or just marketers? you'll have to find that out. and they say, what do you want? lower tax base, lower rates, spending out of the code. we said, great, we will get rid of $100 billion of these tax expenditures which only go to the top 5% of the american people. we take the money and give them what they ask for. 70,000,zetrro to
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medicare is a disaster. it does not matter if we call it obama care, health care, i don't care, it cannot be sustained. [laughter] a cannot be sustained and will not be sustained. just look in your own neighborhood. finally, if grover norquist is the most powerful man in america these days, he ought to run for president. i will deal with that later on. thank you very much. [applause] ok, the coast is clear. robert gibbs? >> first, let me thank all of you for coming and thank dr. robertson and the university for having us. virginia beach got your joke, but you already see that we will
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not try to be as funny as senator alan simpson. [laughter] that is one debate that larry, myself, and that karl would agree that we are likely to lose. we talk about america's economic crisis, and i think all too often we think about economic collapse that started on september 15, 2008, when the banks and wall street collapsed. i don't doubt that had a significant impact, as larry described, on the financial markets, 1 are confidence, but i think we should be clear and honest, the economic collapse has been going on in many parts of america, in many parts of virginia for many, many years.
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for a long time, we watched income decline, college education became harder and harder to get, yet more and more necessary for the future. this is not something that started in late 2008, this is something that started 15, 20 years ago. the questions we are going to ask each other today in the debate we're gong to have is, what are we going to do about it? i think all of us agree we are at an interesting inflection point in our country's history. a time in which it is not simply guaranteed that we will pass on to our children and grandchildren a better life than the one that we have. we will have to make hard and honest decisions with ourselves in order to make sure that happens. and i wish we could go back to one thing, and that would be to go back to the washington that
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alan simpson and dr. robertson's father's both worked in. they were from different parties, and though the constitution requires that every two years we elect congress and every four years we elect president, those two men and the men and women and the senate and house decided that in between those dates we would get together and figure out was best for the country so we did not face the exact economic calamities that larry describes. [applause] that is not going on right now. you know that, i know that. i think the most remarkable thing that happened this summer was not a debt crisis or a bargain was or was not accepted, it was a credit rating agency that downgraded our debt not because we don't have the
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physical ability to pay our bills -- understand that, not because we don't have the physical ability to pay our short-term debt, but because they don't believe we have the government necessary to overcome the dysfunction to deal with it. that is an economic and political crisis. and if we do not deal with them simultaneously, i can assure you one thing, when bret is here in 50 years, there will be a clash of the titans. you will be listening to the very same discussions we're going to have today. except we are going to have wasted 50 years of dealing with those problems. if we are going to pass on a country that is better to our children and grandchildren than the one great country we have today, then we better get about solving some of those problems, democrats and republicans, right now. [applause]
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>> thank you, robert. mr. karl rove? >> thanks to the regents for having me back. every person on this podium today is here under false pretenses. not a single one of them as a titan, accept me. [laughter] all of this high school, titans, class of 1951. -- columbus high school, titans, class of 1951. 14 million fellow americans are out of work today. september, unemployment 9.1%, the 32nd month and a row in which unemployment was 8% or more, the long sustained time of high unemployment since the great depression. it happened despite the fact we tried the 2 1/2 year experience of spending our way to
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prosperity. it has not worked. i country faces fundamental issues regarding how to get ourselves on the right track. we have lost 1.5 million jobs net since the stimulus bill was passed. we have had spending the size of the government relative to the gross domestic product of the united states, 20% in 2008. today it is near 25%. in 2015 it will be 23%, and then marched upward after that. by the middle of the century, if left unchecked, using the president's own projections, it will consume 40% of our gdp, the federal government. january 20, that the 2009, by december 31, 2009, it was equal to the default% of gdp.
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last year it is equal to 62% of gdp. this morning it was 70% of gdp. at the end of the year it will be 72%. if the super committee cuts the rest of those trillions of dollars from the next 10 years budget, but and of 10 years it will be equal to 76% of gdp. we are slowing future growth. the answer is clear, we have to stop spending. we don't have the money that we're spending today. we need to remove the burden of regulation and uncertainty that is diminishing business confidence. it wants to invest in plants and equipment when there were about the cost of regulation and the affordable care act? we need to repeal the affordable care act, which will cripple our economy if we don't. [applause] and it is absolutely essential we tackle the fundamental challenge facing not us today but us today and our children tomorrow, and that is reforming
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entitlement programs which have made promises our country cannot keep and cannot fund. maybe we can do so today, that in 10, 15 years. the systems are going broke. by 2020, the hospital insurance partner medicare will be bankrupt. we are already spending more each year in social security than we are taking in it in. texas. but 2037, we will exhaust the trust fund, that goes bust in 2037, social security. this is going to be about as easy as giving birth to a porcupine. that that was said by alan simpson. he also said we are the healthiest course and the glue factory. if you think that keeps spending money is smart, the drinks are
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on me. that is as smart as in a truck of potato chips to the obese. >> i said that? >> you did. [laughter] >> simpson said i once alienated all special interests. the president said, no, there are a couple of more you have not done yet. >> your time has expired. >> stop eating into my time. tell them to get the job done. thank you. [applause] >> karl rove. with that introduction, senator simpson, in this round table discussion, each debater has their own time. bacon do with it what they want. senator simpson, -- they could do with it what they want. senator simpson, do with it what you want.
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>> allow to get back to rover norquist. anybody who could say you will not raise taxes under any situation, even if your country is in extremity, he testified before us, he said my hero is ronald reagan. i said, great, he is mine, too. i said ronald reagan raised taxes 11 times in eight years, grover. he said, i did not like that at all. i said that that is not the issue, he did it. he did it to make the country run. now you have a situation where 95% of the republicans who are serving have signed that pledge. how can you sign a pledge before you have heard the debate, read the information, know the position of your country, and pretend you are a legislator? i think that is remarkable absurdity. he is the most powerful man in the united states right now.
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not useuse charts, and power point. if you spend more than you earn, you lose your fund. if you spend a buck anbar of forty-two cents, you have to be stupid. and that is what your country is doing every day. borrowing forty two cents for every dollar that we spend, today. this day, your country is borrowing $4.6 billion, and it will bar that tomorrow and the next day and the next day. medicare cannot succeed, and i will tell you why. it is simple. all you have to do is look around. you have a situation where one person in america weighs more than the other two. this is not funny. this cannot be helped, many people. that is the way it is. you have bouse, tobacco, designer drugs, all of this.
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just roll it into a big ball. medicaid. you walk up to the window, and if you are over 65 and you get a 150,000 other heart operation and never even get the bill. what is that about? and then you have this and that. if everybody waddles up and never has to pay a penny, do you believe they will cut back in any possible way? of course not. that is where we are. we cannot grow our way out of this. people testified would it have double-digit growth for 20 years and never grow our way out of this box. the big bang theory, if you believe that, happened 3.6 billion years ago. we owe $16.5 trolling in. until we -- trillion dollars.
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i want to ask another question, and that comes off my time, but we don't care how we got here. the first three months of our commission, the said to the biggest spending president in history of america? george bush. then the other side, but this guy stripped him 3 to 1. we said we will adjust to a two- person report. we will not do bs and we will not do much. and we did not. it is very specific, 67 pages, an english, www.fiscalcomission.gov, and the reason it is unpopular with the special interest groups is because it outlines how to get out of this whole. >> a minute to ask a question he
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posed, which you talked about politicians working together to get past this. he is saying that blaming who ever was before does not get past the crisis. how'd you get something done with the current political environment? >> i don't want to speak for larry, but i will, probably, i don't think any of us on this stage disagree with the notion that we are running path that is simply unsustainable. nobody would argue that. the question is, how we use our politics to get out of this mess? i think senator simpson has dedicated his life to this problem and dedicated a serious amount of time to this problem and he makes a grammatically --
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a dramatically good point. there is not one way to do it. we have to do a little bit of all that. we cannot grow our way out of it. we cannot cut our way out of it. we're not going to raise taxes to get out of it. we will have to do some little bit of all of that. we will have to address medicare. we will have to address social security. we will have to address the defense budget. we will have to look at the amount of money our government takes in and it would take it from. but if you leave one of those out, it is not going to add up. i think the sooner that we recognize that we are all in this together and that we all have to be in this together and that we all have to contribute to a solution, we are much more likely to get to a point where we are not debating this but we are agreeing. >> the current environment does not indicate that is happening. >> there is no reason that it should. the problem is not going to get
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less. as senator simpson pointed out, it will get worse. if we do not deal with it, you will be debating this issue for a long, long, long time. we had every opportunity to do this. we had a real and genuine opportunity to do it to this -- to do this. the speaker and president sat in a room in that very close. but it did not happen because the speaker decided that we actually could not do the notion of having everybody involved, right? and thomas had be restructured, and we have to look at tax base. -- entitlements had to be restructured, and we had to look at the tax base. we were close to something really, really big. but we decided because of our politics would not allow it that we would not do it.
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the credit rating agency downgraded us? think about that. credit rating agencies. you have heard about them, right? they give aaa credit ratings to securitized mortgages. you heard of those, right? that is what got us into this mess. nobody should walked out of this room and mess with securitized mortgages. none of you. our debt is downgraded at less than a securitized mortgages because we do not have the political will that senator simpson says to just admit we are in this all together. bob dole had a great saying, the only way we do this without tipping it over the canute is to step into that can do together -- the only way we do this without tipping over the canoe is to step into it together.
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if we step in a different time, everybody gets wet. in this case, i think the analogy is closer to drowning in debt. i would ask a question, and it builds off of my latest rent. i think we had it and interesting summer around things like the grand bargain. we have had interesting debates on the republican side about how we're going to deal with this. i found one of the most eliminating things that happened in one of these debates, and i don't know which debate it was -- >> i think you and knowing where this is going. >> maybe you ask this question. >> it was. >> this is better. he asked a simple question. of all the people running for
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president on the republican side, and that was, would you agree to a grand bargain of sorts is for every $10 in spending cuts he would agree to $1 of increased revenue. raise your hand. i think it was nine at that point. they would not even take that. not one person raised their hand. >> the opposite. i said would you turn down the deal. and they all raised their hand. >> and my question would be to senator simpson, if you were in the senate today, would you take that deal? >> you bet. you cannot get out of this without everybody in skin in the game, there is no such thing as shared sacrifice. if we don't step up to the plate and forget this, we are americans first, not democrats and republicans. [applause]
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>> karl, would you take that? >> i would, but i thought it was an unfair question to ask. in a democratic debate, if you said, would you accept the changes in primary reforms that you have a lot of raised hands on the platform from democrats? no. >> i will say this. if the debate and the democratic party was had with the current occupant of the white house, that is what we had agreed to. >> hold on, hold on. >> let me finish. >> just finish your answer. >> i will give some credit, karl, and if you have seen what happened over the summer, a lot of democrats were very upset the
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president got that close to the grand bargain with the speaker of the house. they were. they still are. but this president was willing to go along with some restructuring toot entitlements in order to all step into that canoe together. i think that is the definition of leadership. >> at the time, we could not give details of what that was that he was agreeing to end what the plan was. when you say he was agreeing to it, it may have been in principle, but as far as specifics, we cannot get what was gone to happen. >> let's debate going forward rather than backward. everybody here i think agrees that everything has to be on the table. that means entitlements, revenues, both of them have to
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be there, and we want to see the political leaders find a way to that. that is an important area of agreement. i will let others fight about ho is a greater centesinner, republicans or democrats, and you could probably figure out where people will come out. but what i think it's much more important is that we all agree that all of the things have to be on the table, and that anyone who denies that is speaking passed the truth. >> karl rove. >> it requires bipartisan leadership. with all due respect, i credit the current president with creating an environment in which there cannot be bipartisan cooperation.
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think about how he dealt with this with the speaker. the speaker was never clear about what the deal was, but the trust was simply not there. why? because the way the president has dealt with republicans from the beginning. the president and fights him, house republicans give council on the stimulus program, and congressman kantor give suggestions and he is cut off by the president saying, i won. and you see it this year. the president says we have -- congressman ryan in january, he has a serious set of proposals. bed and april he invites but -- then in april he invites him into the front row and savages him over a proposal he called serious and the spring, first offered by senator john breaux.
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we saw it in july when the president has this unique moment to bring the country together, and what does he do? three paragraphs from that and he says, and there's another philosophy and another approach. we should give back all the money and regulations and tell everybody you are on your own, but that is not the way of america. how was that bipartisan cooperation when you insult the people you are trying to get to pass this bill? and then the president is going on the campaign trail, last week, i know what the republican economic growth plan is, "but have dirtier air, water, fewer people with health insurance." that is not the language of somebody who wants to bring the country together. [applause] i know dr. summers says duncan to the past, but there is an
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instructive lesson. we had a slightly more contentious election that president obama. dick gephardt was asked twice, the think that bush is legitimate elected? the democratic leader said i refuse to answer the question. yet in june with a democratic senate would at the bush tax cuts passed and a quarter of the democrats voted for it. why? because we negotiated, we try to come to agreement and did things we did not want to do. if we're going to get this done on entitlements, we have to do that. let me say something about taxes. i think we ought to focus on a tax system that generates more revenues as a result of economic growth. i would be interested in what our budget experts and economists think, we have budget scoring rules and congress that impossible -- we have a static scoring rule when it comes to taxes, so if we have a pro-
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growth plan, the congressional budget office course it as neutral. we have to find a way to make systematic reforms with budgeting. two-year budget, 0-based budgeting, as court rules that to not allow us to get away with the gimmicks we get away with and does not allow us to understand the economic implications of things like pro- growth economic plans. >> senator simpson sitting next to you just said taxes need to be on the table, but he is correct saying most republicans say raising taxes is not the right thing to do it ever, let alone now. how do you respond? >> i am not sure now is the time for an across-the-board tax increase. but where the president could get agreement was on taxing spending. we ought to be looking at tax expenditures that did not help. these are subsidies and
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giveaways and deductions and exemptions. i think he is in favor of getting rid of the research and development tax credit, i am not, but we could find a parcel of these to get going. a lot of them in the energy industry. there is no need to subsidize deep offshore oil drilling. we have the technology that was disarray at the time when we needed to encourage people to that. what we should not do is pick out the energy industry and said, we treat the manufacturing and industrial sectors this way and we will now say the energy industry involving chemical, natural gas and oil is no longer part of the manufacturing base and you are treated differently. we ought to focus on the things we can agree with and put the politics that we cannot agree on to the side. >> dr. summers? >> i want to say a couple of
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things, and then put a question. we have an important agreement here, that we have to do something on all sides. karl is right, we need to do the arithmetic, but to proposals and a sophisticated way. i agree with them that if a tax change produces economic growth, we ought to take account of that. i hope that he would agree with me that if collecting money for people who are not paying their taxes and the irs budget, collect $5 for every dollar we spend, and we would count that. we are bringing about competition in health care. that saves costs. i hope we count that. if we do that, i think it would be an important step forward. blame and both directions. republicans have traditionally
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been much stronger supporters of medical malpractice reform than democrats. personally, i am a democrat, but i think republicans are more right about that issue. the president would have been prepared to make a compromise on that issue in the context of health care. he would have made a big change, he would have sold out longtime supporters. just one thing that he wanted. if he did it, he wanted somebody who was republican to vote for the bill. that sort of seems fair. not one was willing. so it is complicated. i am not going to tell you that all of the problem is on the republican side, but if you don't think there is a problem with both sides of this question of partisanship, i think that is wrong. my question for my friends is this -- we have to get together
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on the budget deficit. we do, and we have to touch all places that alan simpson talked about. we have some other deficits in this country, i think. i think there is a deficit when 50 million people have to rely on charity for their health care. my life was saved by the health- care system 25 years ago, but i would not have got the treatment i get if i had not come from a relatively privileged family and i think that is wrong in america. do you? i think it is wrong that in a variety of our states, public schools are open four days a week. i think that as a deficit. i think that is wrong, too, and we need to address that deficit. how many of you have ever flown
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into kennedy airport from someplace internationally? does it make you proud to be an american? you think about what kennedy airport looks like, the airport that came from looks like, i think that is an example of our deficit that we have. our infrastructure is not remotely what it should be. so my question is, yes, we absolutely have to do the right thing on the budget deficit, but when we are sitting here right now with 20% of construction workers unemployed, able to borrow money at 2%, should we not do something about the education deficit? should we not do something about the health care deficit? that is my question. >> senator simpson, do we need more government spending
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currently on these things that dr. summers talked about? is that fair? >> just for the record, his question was almost four minutes. ?> was that fairpor >> it is what it is, i suppose. emmy said we need spending from the public sector and private sector. to narrow that question? >> you reconstructed his question, beautifully. [laughter] >> i am getting the sense this is not a hometown crowd. >> if you read the report, we dealt with the issue of a fragile economy, not doing too much too soon, talking about infrastructure, education, research and development. every time we get a load of stuff, whenever i do i say,
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don't call my house anymore until you read the 67-page report, because it is very specific. i am talking about defense. that's get to that, quickly. how many contractors do we have and the defense department. the said it is between 1 million and 10 million? ehab anyway to audit them? no, we don't. i am a military retiree, active duty in germany. there are 2.2 million american retirees. i was two years active duty, reserve. eight more years i would've been a military retiree. they have their own health care plan called tricare. the premium it is $470 per year,
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no copiague, takes care of every single to panic. takes care of it every single dependent. you think we could change that? the drinks are on me. they come to the meetings and raise hell. if he cannot get that done, we went to gates and said, come on, he said he taken over, i have been cremated by these people. >> what i am trying to pull down, he says the fundamental question is government spending compared with cutting the governor ment. >> that is not the fundamental
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question. alan simpson exactly right. there is a whole set of cutting that needs to be done. it needs to be done in defense, god knows there is waste everywhere. >> so what needs to happen first? >> just from my perspective is that it needs to be balanced in three ways. there needs to be balanced cutting the waist, their needs to be balanced in cutting the tax expenditures, the subsidies that go and appropriately, and even as we at reduce the amount we borrow, we have to make sure that between the public sector and private sector that we're doing right by the future. fate dependsdren's on whether we don't leave them to bit of a debt. it also depends on if we educate them. it also depends on if we are
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leader of science. it also depends on the airport. all of those things are important. the right policies take responsibilities for all of on. >> karl? >> let me dwell on tort reform 30 seconds and then i will answer the rest. the person that did a good thing in the health care speech. the president did a good thing in the health care speech. he said the republicans, we ought to look at tort reform. two weeks later they laid out their tort reform proposal, after no discussion with republicans. it said the following, states can apply for patient safety programs, money for that, which is what the trial lawyers try to position as an alternative to port reform. however, if your state has medical liability reform, you are not eligible.
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which the republicans took as a direct attack. and the president made no effort to sit down and say, will come of tort reform can we integrate into the package? we need to do a better job at educating our kids, because that is why the income gap is growing, and we're becoming less competitive. but is money the answer? one of the districts with the highest per capita expenditures is the district of columbia and it has some of the worst outcomes. maybe we need accountability and the precipitation so that we could have better outcomes rather than focus on putting the money in. could not agree with you more about health care. the system simultaneously the best and simultaneously one of the most broken. but is the answer to turn it over to the government? hhs says after passing the affordable care act that will spend as a country $3.1 billion
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more at the and then if we had done nothing. maybe what we ought to do is look at getting market forces and competition in health care to drive down costs by putting the consumer back in charge and not having it so much depend on third-party payers. >> robert gibbs? [applause] >> i would say, look, i think we raised a good point about education. sometimes we talk about education is not being part of the economy. karl is exactly right. we have seen some scary statistics in the past couple weeks. median household income in the decade that just concluded actually went down for the first time ever since we have been keeping the statistics.
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we started in the 1940's. it is likely this happened in the 1930's, but in the 1950's through the 1990's, median household income went down. we have seen the end, of the upper 1%, the top 1% over the past 30 years triple, while those in the middle class over those 30 years have seen very little growth. i think we would all agree on this, there is one way to make sure we did not live in a country that is overly stratified in terms of income and there is one way for 8%, 90% of the people to get closer to 1%, and that is education. i think the last two administrations have done more on education than, quite frankly, i would say the
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clinton administration did a lot as well in terms of making education more contemporary at the federal level. i think we are watching, though, a walking back of all of that. we are watching the fact that when karl first campaign that, there was a heavy emphasis on having a larger federal role in the education system. president obama and secretary arne duncan have done quite a bit as well, and the president would be the first to tell you that it is not just dollars. it is teachers and it is parents. but i will be honest today, i don't look across the aisle and see a lot of people either running for president on the republican side or in congress that that there is a healthy role or some role for the
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federal government to play in education. >> 30 seconds. >> there is a coalition that does not like testing. the teacher unions do not like it and some of the right to not like it. but the administration is lowering the standards of the no child left behind law. it extended the time for meeting the proficiency standards. you touched on something. you talked about the decade, the last decade of median household income. i look at the census numbers and this confuses me and disturbs me. this chart shows the change in median household income of the last decade. it shows the change from the bottom of the recession, 2001, where it grows 3% from the work load. and here is what has happened since the end of june ,2009, household income has dropped 2%.
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this is the first time we have had the recession and it and the income has declined. something is fundamentally different. my explanation is we have an overhang that is causing people it iran companies to sit on their cash, afraid at about regulation and obama care, what will happen to their business, and not willing to make the kinds of investments they need to make. >> could you respond? >> the only thing i would say about that chart, i don't think many people think the recession ended in june 2009. >> i agree, but the economists say -- >> what about larry summers? >> a lot of people did not think the recession ended.
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>> dr. summers? >> look, we have the worst overhang crisis of excess debt, stuff that was constructed during the bubble of lack of confidence since the depression. little wonder when you have that that the growth is slower. we all agree on that. the question is, how do you make that growth to be faster? we all want to see inclusive growth as rapidly as possible over the next years. some people think that the contract your way to glory. some people think if you just cut government, everybody will feel better and there will be some type of renaissance. herbert hoover tried that strategy.
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they are trying that strategy in britain right now. we have a good experiment to evaluate. i think if you look at the economic experience around the world, cutting government over time it is absolutely necessary and right, but we have to figure out right now ways of getting people into the stores. we have to figure out ways to get people to buy their houses. we have to figure out some ways to get people to buy stuff that our nation's factories are capable of producing. that is what we have to focus on as well. i will tell you one thing about debt problems, and i have studied at around the world, and this is probably one of the few things we agree on, if we grow, we have a much better chance of managing these debts that if we stay stagnant. let's focus on what can get this
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economy growing. if we grow fast over the next half dozen years, it is hard to believe we will not be fined a matter what else happens. if we do not grow, you could cut entitlements, commissions, whenever you want, if this economy does not grow, it will not be the country that we love. [applause] >> ok, questions from the. audience to robert gibbs. why has the obama administration that focused on president clinton's example? >> i think there is no doubt in broad agreement that we have a serious debt crisis and a serious deficit crisis.
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but i want to build off something larry said that. if all we are going to do is cut -- about three-quarters, correct me if i'm wrong, about three-quarters of our economy is driven by consumer spending. it is not a surprise right now and a world of anxiety that there is not a lot of consumer spending. howou're only a theory on to get the economy back in order is to undertake massive cuts, i think you are exactly right, and you see what happens in britain. their growth is a fraction of the growth that was announced just a day or so ago. you want to take some of my time? >> yes, go ahead. >> this is what i do. i am an accountant.
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i advised president clinton to cut the deficit fast. i advised president obama the country needed stimulus. the world is different. when bill clinton became president, we had interest rates that were 7.5%. we have factories that were full and we had businesses saying they cannot get the capital to invest. therefore, if you cut the deficit and you bring down interest rates coming get more investments and you grow the economy. that is what you needed to do to one block the economy. guess what, you cannot hurt yourself jumping out of the basement window. interest rates were 2%. there was not any room to bring that interest rates by cutting the deficits in the short run. the reason people are not investing to not have to do with capital cost, nobody was walking into the store and nobody was buying their product. different conditions, different solutions. >> dr. summers, what did you say
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to the people who say that businesses are not certain about the future because of regulations and laws from washington? >> i say a couple things. first, if you actually look at the laws and regulations that have come out of the obama administration, it has not been very different from what came out of the bush administration in the first two years. second, i look at what happened to the financial sector, between 2001 and 2008, be really think the problem was we regulate banks too hard? or did we need to make sure there were more careful? i think we needed to insure there were more careful if we want them to be there. third, i talked to these guys. the biggest uncertainty in their
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lives is not about laws from the government, is about whether they will have any customers. that is the important uncertainty. has the investments collapsed in sectors that the government is involved in relative to ones they're not involved in? no, it has not. what about the famous obama- care. the truth is that obama-care lets businesses if they want to do something they were not allowed to do before, and a lot of people in the president's party are upset about this, if you want to stop having any health insurance costs, even let them go into the exchange, the public plan, that is a lot less than the cost they pay now for workers. if anything, that is reducing the costs that businesses will have to face for health
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insurance. everybody wants to complain about washington, but the president is not just doing this stuff because he likes to. he is doing this stuff because, remember, what he inherited was an economy in free fall. that is what he inherited. >> you had to. just kidding. >> you said companies would be able to dump their coverage. the business people i talk to will be dumping coverage, but they do not like it. the affordable care act as soon as 24 million people will be in the exchanges. 21 million people who are not currently covered and 3 million people who will be dumped. we think that 78 millionto $87 million will lose their
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coverage. what happens if the number of people is much larger dumped into the coverage and put on the taxpayers' tab? what happens if the number and up 100 million people or 75 million people? we will have a $3 trillion tab for this program. that is why we have to repeal obama-care, exactly what dr. summers talked about. [applause] >> herman cain's rise in the polls rose when he proposed the 9-9-9 plan. that that is -- is that contradict that americans will support a rise in taxes?
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>> i am not sure people fully understand. first, 9% federal sales tax on top of the local sales tax. when people find that out, support crops. it is not% flat tax. the average effective tax rate, for anybody making less than 100,000 others. year, is somewhat less than 8%. we are asking those people to pay more in federal income taxes. i may like that as a conservative, but i may not like that as a political consultant. the final thing is the most problematic. i am a consumption tax advocate, but only if we are writing our initial constitution. we made the decision but had years ago coat down the road of taxing income. take the sales, less the cost of
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doing business, and that the defense between the two, times 9%, and that is the tax? no, is take the sales, thus the cost of materials and other imports, excluding labor, and pay 9% on that. it is a diuretic tax that will create a lot more -- it is a value added tax that will create a lot more cash. it may take care of the revenue problem, but i think when people understand more, they will have more qualms about it. >> karl rove is not an advisor of the herman cain campaign, as we see there. >> i am not an adviser to any campaign. especially not that one. [laughter] >> patricia rights, what are the implications and the world currency replaces the u.s. dollar? >> it is like asking the
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question like what is going to happen to the world that if people all of a sudden -- we will not have a world currency. the united states it's a great advantage at of the fact that the dollar is a central currency of the world. it is an important asset, and is why all four of us agree that we have to do everything that we can to keep the american economy strong by ensuring that the growth of the federal debt is not excessive and we have to keep the economy strong by ensuring that it grows so that the other remains the key currency of the world. >> christine, for senator simpson. if president obama had and that it recommendations of the national commission on fiscal responsibility reform, or with the economy be right now?
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>> i don't know where the economy would be, but he would have been savaged to pieces, and that is why he did not do it. but the economy would have been lifted. i know my colleagues of the other faith know that president clinton went to president obama and said, you know, you appointed these guys, you put them there, executive order, and i would have wrap my arms around it. obama did not accept that. president clinton has been a big help in this process. i think all you need to do is have a plan. the reason they don't mess with germany and france and england, the rating agencies, is because they have a plan. we have no plan.
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when that happens, watch out. eventually they will confess. >> i told you -- [applause] >> i will tell you, the tipping point will come when the money guys decide it will come. it will not come because of some government thing or something you saw in the past half and it. it will be when the money guys are protecting their money. they never lose in this game. you mentioned dick durbin who voted for this. people said, he is a democrat. cold and voted for this to appear that is what you have an american now.
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stereotype being left and white -- left and right and gasping when you say their name. if we had a plan, and would have been a buoyant think for the economy of america. >> to you have any hope for the super committee? "i said 50/50 and my colleague said 10%. i had to reach over and say, you only thought it would be a 10% chance. he said, i changed my mind because i talked to all 12 of them and they are locked in a huge rise of entitlements and all and tax increase. you don't have to do a tax increase. it just go out and dig around like colbern did. he takes a $6 billion out of ethanol. if that is a tax increase, the drinks are on me all day long.
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>> we would be really drunk right now. is there a bar near by? >> i have a slight disagreement with the senator. i think of senator obama embraced it, we would be a heck of a lot for their belongings. >> that is what i said. >> the other thing is, i wonder if we don't make a mistake in time to get the grand bargain and slam the solid to one legislation. i am reminded of the compromise of 1850 which i think he voted on. >> the compromise of 1850 is offered by a henry clay. it goes down. let's have them go -- all five of them passed.
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a different group of people voted to make california a free state and to determine to the senate will always be controlled by free states that voted for the fugitive slave act. i wondered if some leadership could not take some order of these things whether -- particularly strikes me that you could get people to vote for something that saves a cp i which generates a lot of revenue. that would be a different group that might vote for reform on medicare or this or that. at the end of the day if he said that to the floor of the senate under protection, you could get a different set of majorities to pass. >> to you have told about the super committee, either of you? >> i am more a optimistic, but that is not a very strong statement. i would be marginally south of the senators -- that means that
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those cuts that are in the bill would go into effect if they don't which the bill. do you guess on the other cuts that are baked in the kit that don't which the deal? >> they don't happen until the beginning of 2013. what would happen if they were scheduled to happen is however the presidential election turns out in november, there would be another huge flurry of political activity in the fall of 2012 with a specter of those cuts coming in 2013. >> look, we all ought to be able to agree that the country would
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be much better served by compromising on some theory of what the cuts are. then on having some automatic mechanism kick into place without any reflection of human being on the specifics which items are going to be cut where. that is true -- let me say something else that people on our side don't usually say. the idea that somehow we are going to go slashing our national security budget because we can't agree on how to reduce the deficit. it is just irresponsible. we ought to spend on our national defense, we ought to spend our national defense.
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we surely should not be cutting the forces to protect america at a time when troops are in danger because we cannot resolve the budget battle. that ought to be something that everyone can agree on. >> i want to get to as many as we can. given the bad chip of the economy, is that mitt romney the strongest candidates because of his mix of experience? >> we will start to find out in 67 days when they stumble after the years and the iowa caucus on the third of january. what's the figure that would be a short answer. doesn't the minimum-wage and to be too high employment, legal immigration, and outsourcing to china? >> there may be some small -- i
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think it is relatively small on the evidence adverse effect of employment in some groups. it also means there are higher incomes for a lot of people whose wages are protected by the minimum wage who would otherwise be very poor. >> i think that is the trade- off. i would not advocate right now for raising the minimum wage, but at a time when the poor are getting poorer and at a time that the working poor are suffering more than they ever have before, i don't think that is the time to go cutting the minimum wage at all. but the question points to very real trade offs. >> the republicans are losing the public relations war on taxing millionaires. why are they so reluctant to raise taxes on such a limited number of people? >> i have not any idea.
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i think they are caught in a trap there. that is one thing again. you go to the dot. let's say you confiscated everything that anybody who has a net worth over $1 million -- take all the dots, the jets, the offshore -- that will run the country for nine months. let's get serious. we are in the whole 16 trillion dollars. that is an and comprehensible figure. you can't possibly get their with little things. the essence of the question was -- >> republicans are losing the pr work. >> they will lose it. the sad part is, how did they get to this position? what do they all people like that to face this onslaught?
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this is huge dollars to them. it is in the full scheme on how we need to dig ourselves out of here. it is an unfortunate thing they are and. and now grover is saying that if you do happen to let that expire and to go to taxing, that will not be called a tax increase. he knows where he is getting the ground right now. he has to figure out -- it might be ok to do that because i think it is a disaster. >> you need help on the obsession with grover. [laughter] >> i do. >> 16 trillion dollars is like to be the bar tab at the end of the night. [laughter] >> buying all of the drinks. >> de support occupy wall street
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and why or why not? >> i don't know -- i think many people have said they don't know exactly what he wants or what their demands are. i will say this. i am not at all surprised that there are people either sleeping in a part in the new york were living throughout the midwest that are frustrated where we are in this country and in this economy. we have watched the economic collapse -- it did not start in september of 2008. for people in middle america, the median household income. you have people in this country who are paying their -- you have some parents are paying for undergrads just at the school who are paying their 2011 tuition bill using their 1999 incomes.
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that generates frustration. there is also a huge frustration in this country. i think this is on both sides of the political aisle. we have watched for the last few years a different set of rules for people on wall street and people in banks and for everybody else. if they can gamble with that money and if they lose it, somebody will pick up the tab. if they lose your money, they were just taking a risk and so were you. i think people cannot understand that. i can understand exactly why they cannot understand that. we had a different set of rules. we cannot exist as a country if we decide there are two sets of rules for bankers and wall street -- one set of rules for bankers and wall street and another set for everyone who lives on main street.
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>> a quick lightning round before opening statements. gdp has increased for the last three quarters in the u.s.. europe has some significant debt agreement. perhaps we are on the road to recovery already. the you agree or disagree? >> it is a very slow road. we need to turn it into a highway and then it is right now if we want to be the kind of country we are. yes, the economy is growing but not nearly fast enough. >> what role if any does our policy play in either worsening or improving our economy? >> i am a pro immigration. i think we are benefited by having by having people come to the united states and having an orderly way in which people who want to come here to work for jobs -- we ought to have the system in place. we have an immigration system
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that says our number-one priority is to are you related to. family unification. i think we need to change our immigration system so it is easier for people to come and study and stay in the united states and put skills to benefit here. i think we need to find a way to let people who want to turn hospital beds in albuquerque or pickford and come here if those jobs go begging. we don't have a system that allows us to do that today. >> medicare will recruit -- reduce hospital payments by 30% in november. how will patients get to his future excellent treatment? >> this is a fundamentally important question. the question that hangs over
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our defense hangs over the medicare providers of the other end. we are going to decide how much we'd all you care for those over 65 in such an arbitrary way that we just are going to cut it in a huge and massive weight. my guess is we will have some of it in 2012. what type of services do we want and what are we willing to pay for it? in all honesty, for the past 10 or 20 years, we have not actually had that debate. we have had elections in debates about what we want your we have not had a debate on how to pay for it. he rightly points out what our bar tab is. we are going to have to have that debate because we cannot have a country where we decide
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every person gets their taxes cut, and we are going to invade this country. we are or to invade the country. we are quite at entitlements. we are or to add benefits to entitlements and not pay for any of it. those days are just gone. i hope that our campaign is a robust debate. i hope this. i hope it is a conclusion of that campaign. anothere don't have national campaign for four years. let's take that. to come together and try to solve the problem. >> last question. it seems self-evident that's spending cuts over a decade will be pushed to the last few years of the decade. these cuts will occur over two
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or three electrons away. when bonds future congresses to these cuts? >> nothing. the other part of it is, the group of 12 will grapple to the point of press the press and the sit down and congress and it changes the law that put this package together. don't leave that out as a possibility. you get the house and senate together and say, man. we can't do this. let's just get in here and change this to 2015 and a mess around and doing another piece of legislation. don't forget, they have to have legislative language presented by november 23. that is hard. it will be very difficult. then 2013.
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after a year of sitting there and watching the crash and listening to the pain, can you imagine the voting against oil and gas depletion allowances? can you imagine me voting against the abandoned land -- i come from a state if we were a country we would be the largest coal producing company in the world. nobody at home complaints to me about not doing my share. but if everybody -- the great escapes hatch is i am ready to do my share if everyone else will. that is a glorious escape hatch for everyone. >> and now for the closing statements from each one of the debaters.
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we begin with robert gibbs. >> let me begin again by thanking you all for coming and having us debate. maybe in some ways you were disappointed. in a lot of ways we actually agreed. maybe that is the problem with some of our politics. we are scheduling debate and we are not giving ourselves the ability to stop and agree. >> we are right to come to the several states that are coming up. november 18 as when it expires. november 23 is what the committee has to have its language. if we don't do something by december 23, we have automatic cuts that will take place in january 2013. we are like to have to have a debate in this country as i said a minute ago on what we want and what we are willing to pay for. i hope we have the robust
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debate. as i said, i hope we decide we are going to use the intervening time to put it with the campaign commercials and put away lining up in boxes on cable tv and yelling at each other and listen to each other. try to come to some understanding and agreement with about the fact that carl and i could probably walk out on a clear day and argued about the color of the sky. but the truth is, we agree on probably more than most people walked in here thinking we might agree on. the truth is, that can be the case in washington d.c. it is the case in almost every other place in this country. i have the great honor of traveling it around the country
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with the president he helped elect. we come and we meet with groups of people like you. i know there is another thing we can all agree on. that is that there is not any problem that this country will face this year or next year or in the next 50 years. it cannot and will not be solved. at every single attraction in our nation to talk history, efface the inflection point on what kind of country we are going to live and what we are born to pass to our children. we have made it hard decisions, we have had a tough debates, we have made compromises, and we have strengthened our country. that is the only way we are going to pass a stronger country that continues to be the envy of the world on to our
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children and grandchildren. i think in 50 years, we are still going to be the envy of the world. we're still going to be the envy of the world not because it does not require us to do hard things, but exactly because it does. because we have great people that can get together even in the most political debate and agree to ensure our country continues to be the envy of the entire world. thank you for having me. [applause]
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>> two-thirds of the so-called millionaire's are small businesses reporting on the tax law. you raise taxes on small business, and you will be raising business on job creators. secondly, there ought to be a limit on what the government can take from anyone regardless of how much they make. 35% -- [applause] -- 35% is a big shock. there ought to be a limit on how big the government is. the bigger the government, the smaller the people. [applause] bankers were regulated, but two biggest financial institutions were not regulated. fannie and freddie. when we in the bush administration attempted to regulate them, it took them 62 years -- we set out to regulate
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them between 2001 and 2005 but we got the bills to the senate banking committee to regulate them, they bought another two trillion dollars worth of mortgage-backed paper. that bill went down because of a filibuster in the senate. in the next three years between july of 2005 and when it went belly up in august, they bought another 1.5 trillion dollars worth of mortgage-backed paper. they sold it to the banks. they nearly brought down the world economy because of it. finally, there was a brief message about the iraq and afghan war. they cost $806 billion according to the latest estimate i saw from the congressional budget office. that was money better spent and the world is a better place in the $862 billion spent on the failed stimulus bill in all respects. there will be a big robust
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debate next year i hope between if we need more government taxation and spending. we can i was to agree on this platform, but let's be honest. this is what the elections are all going to be about. this big robust debate. it will be a choice between two different philosophies. when that says, let's make the government bigger. let to grow it to 25%. we want a bigger government. others may have a different view. one of limited government, of limited taxation, and a reliance upon the enterprise and energy of the free people of the united states of america. robert, i agree with him. the country is fundamentally sound because our people are fundamentally sound. at the end of the day, we are going to be all right.
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you know these guys when they are always and tolerant of people from utah, colorado, and nevada. i lived in all three states. all of those people in wyoming who moved to utah to become sheepherders. we all new people. is this heating up my time or can i take more? anyway. thank you for having us here today. i really appreciate the opportunity to be invited back to regent. the most important thing i heard today was 480 teachers a year graduate from this university. that is an impressive sight of what a christian based education can do to change lives of people
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all across the country and a fundamental way. thank you for having us. [applause] >> i am glad to have been here. i learned a lot. i learned a lot from questions and from colleagues in this debate. you know, the strength of our country is actually that there are many different perspectives. i knew when i accepted this invitation that it was not going to be a hometown crowd. [laughter] i have not been surprised by that. there is a lot in the
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perspective that is brought here that was brought to in america. without it, we would go badly wrong. there are not employees without employers. great strength of our economy is the private sector. it is private initiative. it is private entrepreneur said. the strength of america has a great deal to do with its religious traditions. utopian top down schemes can often do enormous damage. you are right, i think, in the kinds of concerns that you have. if we were not a country with a robust political debate, i am
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sure that someone in the progressive side take us to places that would not be where we'd want to be. nobody wants or should want a big government. -- for the sake of having a big government. what i would like you to think about. i am under no illusions under which political party is going to win at regent university in the next election. here is what i want you to keep in mind. nobody wants government for its own sake. but there are some things that we all do want that are going to have a hard time happening without government. we all agree easily that we are
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not 20 stay strong as it entry into force of freedom in the world without a strong military. only government can provide that. we are leaders because we are the best in the world in science and technology. that comes in large part of the supports the government is able to give. god knows i am an educator. i know, our education is vastly run too much for the benefit of the providers of the education. is room for the administrators and not for the benefit of the kids. but, you know, without a federal government, there is not going to be anybody to hold school districts accountable. i visited schools across the country what i was treasury secretary. i will never forget the teacher
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who said, you gave a great speech about the education is the most important thing in our country. the paint is chipping off of the walls and this school. why should the kids believe you? it takes government to make public schools work. so push the things you believe, i know you will. but remember, it is very hard to love a country and hate its government. the government has a role as well. remember one other thing. we have terrible problems. i have spent much of the last year traveling the world. i would rather face the challenges that the united states of america faces and then the challenges facing any other
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country in this world. i would rather have the citizens of the united states addressing the challenges they face then the citizens of any other country in the world facing their challenges. thank you very much. [applause] >> i happen to had been at harvard teaching when larry was president. i could not have gone into harvard if i picked the locks. but i was there. i will tell you what he is. he is a leader. he has a lot of guts. that is what leaders today do not have the scots. he had guts. he took on establishments. he took on the worst political system of all, the faculty senate. [laughter] i in admire him. let me just say that education
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has been floated through. if i recall only 7% of the entire education budget in the united states comes from the federal government. it comes from the local school districts. those are called governments. they are called school boards. if you don't like what is going on in education, don't in being on were 7% of the dollars are. go back to your district and say, what are you doing with the money? make that very important. i would just add that you can't hate politicians and love democracy. it does not work that way. let me just add -- what we were saying and our commission. if you want it, pay for it. if you want infrastructure, bulk of the trust fund. we suggested a gas tax.
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is it hot? we did. if you are going to have a fund, funded it. that is what we describe it. i hope you read it to. i just need to talk about social security. this is the greatest myth of all time. the beth that we are balancing the budget on the backs of poor old senior citizens is a myth. it is a total myth. we are trying to do something with the solvency of social security so it will remain solvent for 75 years. it was put in in 1937 and 1938 when the life expectancy was 63. that is what the set the retirement age at 65. it was never intended as a retirement system. has nothing to do with retirement. it is and in, supplement for guys wiped out. guys who did not have anything because of the depression.
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so what did we suggest? nobody will argue this. life expectancy today is a 78.1 years. we have suggested that you raise the retirement age to 68 by the year 2015. the aarp said, how will people ever be able to figure that out. i said, i think they will. i really believe that today will. i know that they will. what else did we do? we said the lowest 20% of the people in that system, we will give them a hundred 25% of poverty. it takes money to do that. the bridge pay little more. the little guy is a little less. we raise the wages subject to the tax 190,000. we change the cost of living index. we take care of the guy who is exhausted.
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we don't change the retirement age for that person. we had an older -- we said, there is a package for it. we tell people what they are because i will tell you what will happen. by doing nothing, which is so for the recommendation of the wizards at the aarp. by doing nothing, and the year 2036, you will wonder and bobble up to the window to get a check for 23% less. we also suggested that you reduce the payment into the social security payroll tax. everything i dealt with in my whole public life.
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you have to go behind those people like the fourth of july and be able to shovel. [applause] thank you. thank you all. this has been fascinating for my point of view. let me give a brief summary. hubert humphrey once said, freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, descent, and the debate. we clearly have that tonight. restarted at the beginning. dr. summers has been out the dire consequences of the obama administration. he said, the us cannot shrink its way to prosperity. the u.s. need spending in both the public and private sector. nobody wants government for government said on at all.
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simpson said, yes he did slip in the suit he is wearing. he also said you have to walk a mall. everything needs to be on the table. whatever you call it, it is a mess. he is not having norquist over for thanksgiving. robert gibbs said the economic collapse has been going on for a long time. he wishes washington would go back to a time of senator simpson and between the elections to get things done. we can solve the toughest problems despite our parties. karl rove said spending our way to prosperity has not worked. removing regulations and giving certainty to businesses would be key. one point he called senator simpson centered sourpuss. something about wyoming and sheep. i cannot follow it. he is a two-time tighten.
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here's a quote from henry ford, coming together is the meeting, keeping together is progress, working together is success. i think tonight we have seen some items that both sides can truly agree on. one last thing, in the media we do not do a good job of showing what all these numbers flying around really are. to get a perspective of how big the situation is. 1 billion seconds is 31 years ago. one trillion seconds is 31,688 years ago. one trillion dollar bills stacked on top of each other would go 68,000 miles in the sky. if they were stacked and it to end, they would reach the summit. one that trillion dollars -- there has been a lot of talk tonight about education, to --
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could pay the salaries of 18.2 million teachers for the year. the u.s. census bureau says there are 6.2 million teachers in the country. we don't have a perspective of what one chilling as let alone 62 lange, that does. it is a real honor. thank you very much. here is to class of the titans no. 10 next year. thank you. [applause] >> republican presidential
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candidate but the walmart talks about his latest campaign efforts and the republican primary. a look at the european plan to remedy the debt problem with robin harding and sudeep reddy. >> i don't want every story to be 1800 words. >> jill abramson believes the times are more replaceable than ever. >> there is a certain lack of discipline. sometimes a point is repeated too many times and a story. there are three quotes making the same "where one would do. i would like to see a variety of story lines. >> she will discuss her career and the new book.
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>> on monday, herman cain is making a few stops in washington, d.c. to talk about his 9-9-9 tax plan. joining him will be his senior economic adviser richard lowry. that is on c-span 2. he will talk about his background as a businessman. people take questions at the national press club. also live on monday at 1:00 eastern on c-span. spend this weekend in knoxville,
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tennessee. look behind the scenes at the history and literary life of the marble city. on "booktv", it is 4 acres of human remains. a real life c s i. also, it looked at the author alex haley. how he fell in love with the city during a 1952 visit. on american history, a visit to the sequoyah birthplace museum. the director talked-about how silversmith, sequoyah, created a system of writing for the cherokee language. oak ridge national laboratory on the part of the atomic bomb. and is not still a true southern city? a historian on his -- on its history and future. watch the route to the weekend on "booktv" and "american
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history tv." harvey levin, creator of tmz.com and tmz executive producer talks about the effect of the internet of broadcast news. this is about one hour. >> i am the 104th president of the national press club. we are the world's leading professional organization for journalists committing to future of programming, he finds such as this, while working to foster a free press iran the world. for more information of the
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national press club, we would invite you to look at our website www.press.org. i would also like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences privileges are also featured in our weekly podcast of the national press club be available on itunes. you can follow on twitter using the past had #npc.
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the does not signify an endorsement of any speaker. i would ask each of you to stand up briefly as your name is announced. we will begin from your right, noel saint john. he is a member of the photographers here at the club. thank you for all of that. matt small. he is one of my colleagues. we know him as the beast. it is good to have him at the head table. he is an adjunct professor at the school of the media and public affairs. april rye and -- april ryan. skip over the podium for just a
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moment. also with media, this may be her last a lot and here today. let's skip over the speaker for just a moment. alicea monday as a member of the speaker's committee and a co of the event. jim is executive producer with tmz.com and a guest of the speaker. richard simon is with "los angeles times." he is a washington bureau speech -- he is a washington bureau -- garrett is a new member of the club. he is in the washingtonian magazine. thank you for your membership. at the end of the table,christopher chambers.
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an all-around good guy. please give them a round of applause. [applause] those of us who are in the trade know that's no good reporter, maybe even some bad ones, no good reporter likes to be scooped. it -- we really do not like it when it focuses on the grimy entertainment industry. in the summer of 2009, a lot of people were beaten on the story. everybody was. the story about the death of the pop idol michael jackson. the aftermath continues to unfold in a california court room where michael jackson's doctor is being tried for involuntary manslaughter. tmz founder new that the michael jackson soar like so many other even seven part of our nation's culture as well as part of it.
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his success of his venture is proof that americans want to their j-lo fixes as well. tmz.com was launched in 2005. within seven months it became the no. 1 entertainment news site in the world. in 2007, newsweek called it the breakout blog. new york times has called harvey the man who may represent the future of journalism. it drugstores like mel gibson's while the tirade after his arrest. and the details of tiger woods downfall that began with a seemingly minor up automobile accident on thanksgiving. tmz said the initial account with a neighbor's tree did not make any sense. they were right. by the time it was all over, the golf legend was divorced from
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his wife and from many of his sponsors. he is no longer the world's no. 1 golfer. these event transcended celebrity gossip. the flow in to political issues. tmz has flowed from a celebrity video website to a live web stream website. a program that is syndicated daily by fox broadcasting. tmz has broken ground in a way that news is packaged with an emphasis on speed. last year a study by the new york times namedtmz the 10th most popular news the site. according to a news breaking, it ranks above bloomberg.com, politico.com. he graduated from the university
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of chicago law school and was a litigator at a major legal firm in l.a.. he was also a working journalist in the trenches. he spent more than one decade as a investigative reporter and los angeles. he covered high-profile court cases around the country. he received nine emmy awards and was a columnist at "l.a. times." he created and produced celebrity justice. he brought us teach -- tv shows like "people's court." he has come here to talk about tmz and what it means for the future of journalism. the issues we are going to discuss today could not be more timely. journalism enterprise of all kinds are trying to get a handle on what is the right model in the digital age. our guest speaker appears to get on something to say the least. we are pleased he has accepted our invitation to speak.
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we have had a number of top journalists at our podium. please give a warm national press club welcome to mr. harvey levin. [applause] >> i bet tom brokaw is not going to talk about lyndsay lohan at the morgue. i am going to change up what i planned to talk to you about. something happened this morning that was pretty interesting. i spoke to students at george washington. what i noticed was, they looked depressed. they really looked depressed. when that they started speaking, i realized that they felt the
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job market was a bleak. their future was uncertain. they did not really have a vision for the future. they were scared. it really shocked me because it sounded to me like they were learning about problems without learning about solutions. not learning about how you can take an industry in trouble and carve out a niche that will make a successful and make the industry more healthy. the overlay to all of this is, you always love hearing this just before you go on, there was a debate on whether they would invite me there among the professors there. they thought, tmz covers a celebrity journalism and that does not rise to the standard of what you folks should be learning.
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with all due respect, that does relate to what i wanted to talk to you about. i think there was a big disconnect today when i had this little talk with the students. i think what some of the professors were missing and what i think is so important, it is not the subject matter that is covered that is really important. is how we discovered. we are a news operation that uses the same skills, the same standards that i used as a working journalist at various news operations. we are extremely aggressive. we figured out a way of doing it where i think the operation is relevant to what is going on today. that to me is what is important.
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i so much don't want to talk about celebrity news, i want to talk about the delivery system. that is what is important. i do think the delivery system in a media generally right now is a stale. i think that there is a good chance that a lot of people here will be put out of work if the people run this delivery system don't change it and don't change it quickly. i think it can be changed. that is what i want to spend a little time talking about before we open it up for questions. there have been radical changes in the last 30 years -- let's talk the last 10 years. radical changes in technology, in consumer taste. i don't think that has been reflected in the media. if you look at to broadcast journalism right now, there is
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a standard way of presenting news which has been going on for four decades. you have an anchor throwing to a reporter usually repeats part of with the anchor says who then throws to a package that has very predictably some track, some sound, some track, some sound, and then the reporter comes back, says goodbye, the anchors as thank you, and you move onto the next. that is the way it has been done for 40 years. it can be done better. the question is, what happened to it? i think that people get so rooted in what they have done when they have some success that they think, we needed to hold onto the success rather than to revolve with what is going on technologically. eve of with what is going on in terms of consumer taste.
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i am going to use this as an example because my head is sometimes all over the place. i'd like to talk about the last thing i saw. when i was getting ready this morning, i was watching very early see an end. they had a show called "c and n student news." i looked and said, they are trying to attract a younger audience. the had a guy there who was young that. he was not wearing a coat. he was wearing a sweater vest. everything else was the same. he was looking into the camera. he was reading copy. he was talking about the same stories everyone else was talking about. in my head, i don't know what is popped in. reminded me of john b'nai ramsey. it was like dressing up this kid who -- this kids dressing up to
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be but the news director once and to be when that is not authentically who he is. that is not the way he should have been presented. if you are really trying to attract people, do it in the voice of young people. do it with a different delivery. it was exactly the same thing. the guy was wearing a sweater rather than a coach. the fact is, young people aren't interested in traditional media. it does not speak to them. the audience is getting older and older. when young people aren't coming into the old people are getting older, you know what happens in the end. it is inevitable. when you look at what happens with the dynamics of the audience, the question is what are they doing to attract the
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young people. it can be politics, it can be city government, it can be celebrity. what do you do to attract those people? then the question is, how do you reinvent yourself? that brings me to newspapers and magazines. you look at newspapers and magazines which have had a story run for 100 years and has served a useful function. when a newspaper started and magazine started, there was no such thing as video. there was no such thing as a photo gallery. technologically, there are so many things that have been overhauled, there is so many ways people can get their news, what is the magic of holding a piece of paper up in the air when you read? what is it that drives
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professors and others to sing the praises of newspapers when it is not to the future. i know that sounds harsh, but that does not mean that newspapers have to fold. means they have to reinvent themselves reinvent themselves perhaps on-line, but not in the way it is being done now. right now what is happening is online, a newspaper can be on two platforms now. online and on the paper. they compete with each other. there are not complementary. do you bring the story in the newspaper? the break the story on line? there are lots of struggles going on the within newspaper organizations on how to do this. at a point, you have to choose. yet there is something about newspapers, this holy grail people talk about that we just have to preserve this. why?
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what is it about paper? it is not even politically correct anymore? what is it about paper that makes us so rooted in the past? what is it that forces people to shut down when they talk about how to evolved it into what is going on today? what i have noticed is there has been a resistance to going onto the web because people say it is too fast. if you go onto the web, there is not enough time to the best and you are going to be inaccurate and there will be a rush to publish. that is a cop out. to say we are not going to evolve this way because we are afraid we will be inaccurate is just a talk -- is it -- is just a cop out. the web gives you the technology to do it when you are ready. you still set the standard. you still decide when to pull the trigger.
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it is your decision. the web is an enabler. it does not force you to do what you do not want to do. i always get this that the web is vast. cable news has been around for, what -- three decades? there are these devices now that you recreate and let you recast in a way that you make everybody more relevant and, yet, it has been met with some resistance. when we published -- i will tell you, there are put -- stories we can publish in minutes. then there are stories that take a lot longer. we published a story today about nbc that they are secretly trying to get the casey anthony interview. they have a producer that has
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made contact with literary agents trying to score a book deal for casey at the knee, trying to get her front and money. the representation is if we get a book deal from casey anthony, we will get a one hour prime- time special on nbc. this producer and is quietly shopping this around. we have this story -- we get the tip last tuesday. we published it this morning. i wanted to get it on the record because i knew they knew about it. we did not accomplish that until yesterday. it felt like it was worth the wait to make sure we got that. that took six days. it is an important story and it is a good story. again -- it took six days. then again, there are things we published immediately. michael jackson?
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we did not publish the story until we were short and then -- 100% shore and then we waited a little longer. it does not force you to do what you do not want to do. that is an important point. i want to mention one other story -- the mel gibson do you i story. reed -- mel gibson d.u.i. story. celebrities are important in our culture. people are interested in that. i do think that the kind of disdain some people have for covering it kind of reflects a disconnect with the taste of the american public. you may not like it that people are interested, but they are.
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when you look at what we give people in journalism, to me it is not the front page of the "new york times," it is more like a magazine. it is more like a magazine. my favorite thing to read at our books by abraham lincoln. i am not a one-dimensional guy. i do not think many people are so one-dimensional were the only like one thing. people can be interested in all sorts of things. it serves the function that people want. that is what i care about. i am looking at my audience and our business model. i look at what my audience wants, not what i want. i am way older than my target demographic. it is one of the reason i like having young people in my office.
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i listen to them. it is very egalitarian. i cannot pretend to know. it is not this kind of top down where people at the top gives these edicts -- you cover this, you cover that. we are a very open office where everybody throws out ideas. i could not possibly tell you about urban music. i could not tell you about sports other people in my office can tell you about sports. we cover all of this. i think to open yourself up and to understand taste is so critical to staying relevant. as important as technology is, people need to open themselves up to that more. rather than have disdain for it, there has to be some acceptance. ultimately, we are a business. if we do not run our business well, we do not survive as well. i think there has to be a
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balance there, but i think you have to pay some homage to the fact that it is a business. two other things -- we have spent a lot of time working on the web, obviously, and the television show, but, to me, this will change within five years. within five years this will be a radically different business. i do not think the web will look the way it looks. i do not think television will look the way it looks. i know there will be a merger of the two. that is where my head is at right now. just as i am saying the delivery system has gotten stale in general and traditional media, i do not want to fall victim to that. i think that, at least my effort is being spent.
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tmz live is trying to blend those two elements. it is another example of how everything changes and to stay relevant, to capture an audience and keep an audience, if you get some measure of success, you cannot say how do i hold that success? everybody by in this room has had it. the question is what do you do with that? do you grow it or try to maintain it? we are in a technological world where you cannot maintain it. you just cannot maintain. you grow or you die. i think that is the reality. what i told the students was you all look so depressed. rather than looking at this as it will be so hard to get a job -- there are people running
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studios, networks, magazines, and newspapers that are looking for the answer. they do not know. if you have an answer and the sensibility to attract a young audience, they will listen to you. this is an opportunity. this is a revolution. this is an opportunity to quickly make your mark. do not be depressed. think about a vision for what you want to do. do not just plug in to what exists. you have to think about that. i will tell you, we have had a measure of success, but i am always looking for those people to come and say, "you could be doing this better." every day i walked into my office scared. i mean that. i have this feeling in my stomach -- are we going to get the right story? will we produce it well enough? what is happening to the business? there are so many questions. i've run scared.
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i do. but i do not run scared looking at others, i run scared myself. i do not know whether that works for other people. it works for me because it is genuine. i do not think i can ever rest on what we have achieved in terms of audience and what not because i know that if we do not keep looking ahead on what i said at the beginning, it will be about us. so, i am more than happy to take some questions. >> thank you very much. how about a round of applause for that speech? [applause] thank you for that inspiring speech. i have to say first of all about the young people, i could not agree more. i had an opportunity and wrote about this on my block just recently -- blog just recently
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that the young journalist out there all have a tremendous opportunity in this transition. it is unfortunate that so many people only see the negative. obviously your advice as been a beneficiary of that change. abouttalk a little bit the entertainment and at some of the special things you do. we will have an informal q & a. in terms of the market you are serving -- and that could be defined in many different ways -- obviously, entertainment news is the heart of that -- are we in a culture where entertainment news is more popular than ever before? how do you assess the market for entertainment news at this point in our history and our culture? >> i think there has been a real interest in the last five or six years for a reason.
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when you look at traditional media and the way they cover hollywood, the media did not choose stories, the public shows stories. the traditional media was always based on doing interviews with stars. publicist were smart enough to say we can leverage this and we can dictate what traditional media in entertainment does and does not do. they would go to shows, two magazines and say, look -- you want so and so? do this story. it did not matter if the story was true or not. they would do the story because they wanted the person. conversely, at the publicist knew the show had gotten wind of a story the publicist did not want out, the publicist would call and say if you do that story, you will never get any of my clients.
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it worked for years. at work or decades. everything was faults that was coming out. everybody played the game. nobody broke rank. if we did anything fundamentally different when we created tmz, we decided we were not going to do any interviews with stars. we wanted to change the balance of power. we called all of the publicist and said look, this game about do this, do not do that -- we are not going to play the game. we are going to do honest stories. we will be fair. we will be honest. we will be accurate. we want to work with you, but you cannot tell us what to do and what not to do. some jump on board. others did not. they are all on board now. they have realized that they have to change. the stories in the last five years have become more authentic. people are saying this is totally different than this
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managed, phony, celebrity machine. i think what they -- when they have not seen the truth -- when they have seen the true hollywood, the good and bad, it becomes more interesting to them. that is why there is a spike in the interest of journalism. it was all ho-hum. there is a sense it was not real. i think that has been blown up some now. i think it is more authentic. this morning somebody asked me the same thing. it was like in russia where everybody at great coats and then all of a sudden the gap came in. you had bluecoats, green coats, redcoats. the audience has responded. >> there still is a lot of the old way of doing business being done, correct? we have seen some of the products out there. it is all about how the next
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thing from this celebrity will be the best version of that product ever and then, five days from now, we will never see the product again. >> absolutely. what i think has happened is that some of the traditional entertainment media have become schizophrenic. what they will do is they realize they have to be more real, so they will do some of those stories and then go back to being supplicants. suddenly, the problem with that is they lose their identity. who are they? they are doing both ends of the spectrum. i think they are kind of losing their brand. >> as one who is an attorney, why is there not more transparency in the reporting of entertainment news in the sense the "washington post" has
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an ombudsman. why is nobody highlighting these transactions? >> such as? >> very favorable coverage just because you get access to the celebrity, right? the emphasis of the piece is that this product is coming down the pike and the emphasis is entirely on the product when, if you are really going to write a story -- >> be more interesting stories for me is what we did with nbc and casey anthony today. it is like going in the back door when you cannot go in the front. that is a lack of transparency. that is a really interesting story for me. the reason i am not that interested is i do not think the audience can next to that stuff anymore. i think there are people doing these stories, but i do not think the audience cares. i think they see through it.
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when they started to seek, these are the real stories, they are authentic -- i think the other stories feel false. it does not matter as much that the organizations that pushed them think they matter. >> you talked about how you like lincoln. do you worry that our culture focuses too much on this material over all? it is a great market for you, obviously, and you are giving the audience what they want, but do you worry that in the market place we are missing at the big picture? i remember before 9/11 you could not help watch an hour's worth of trucks -- hours worth of coverage of the dgary condit. i wonder that as a culture and a country, whether as a nation and
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as a people, we sometimes as i ought -- how i on the wrong thing. >> we do have our eyes on the wrong thing a lot. i think about monica lewinsky. i mean, i do not think about her -- [laughter] -- but my recollection is that all three anchors were in cuba covering the pope when the story broke. when they found out what she did to him in the oval office, they were on the first jet out of cuba. the cuban papal visit was historic. nobody can tell me that the amount of coverage about monica wednesday was not directly tied to cigars, dresses, and all of that. it was not tied to a constitutional crisis. i know what it was about.
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they know what it was about. they wrapped it in the constitutional paper, but it was not about that at all. i think everybody is guilty of it, but i hate to say it is endemic to celebrity. it is not. >> what kind of stories work best for you? obviously you have been good at breaking these kinds of stories. what are the stories you really like to have on your space. the other part of that is what will you not touch? whether it is a video confrontation, a factoid -- what is fair game and what is hands off? >> i like balance. what i do all day long on the website -- the tv show is different. it is a comedic take on hollywood. it serves a very different function than the web. on the website, we have to 13 stories on the home page. i am looking at whether we have
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a balance. i want something important to anchor the site. i want photographs. i want video. i want something light. i want something ironic. i want that balance on the page. it is not any one thing that i want, i always want that balance. what we try to do and, i think pretty successfully -- half of our audience is split equally between men and women, which is unheard of. we try and give people enough that there is general interest. i think that is what is really important. it is not any one thing. as for what we will not do -- we reject stories all day long. all day long. we will reject things that we know other people will do. you know the michael phelps bong story? we had it three months before it broke. it felt wrong. it felt like he was set up.
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circumstances just felt wrong. i put the picture up in my office for three months. i knew it would eventually break. just to show people, these are the things we will not do. i remember not too long ago -- we are aggressive in the courts. we got these documents in the brittany spears case on conservatorship. there was this information that was really personal, i think, purple to her children. the person at the courts we have called me up and said what she had. i said, this is a mistake. they clearly never meant to have this thing public. it should have been sealed. it was hurtful. it would hurt these kids. look, i am not saying we are
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florence nightingale. we are aggressive reporters, but that felt wrong. i called up her lawyer and said you could not have meant for this to be public. she freaked out and said, "oh my god. this is a mistake." she called the judge. we had the only copy and the copy was legitimate. it was a real public document. but we never published it. all day long -- we have debates all day long about what to put up on the site and what not to put up. it is a big bull pen. we want everybody participating. you also learn who is coming up. young people who are p.a.'s could become producers. we want their voices. obviously at a point when you become a big operation, lots of people say -- send you lots of things and tips. this is a constant thing in the
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office. >> i have had a number of people ask me what are the ground rules of paying for content or not? talk generally about how your process works in the sense that you said you had a staff of a little over 100 people you categorized as being -- >> i will gladly buy a video from anybody in this room that has good video. i have absolutely no problem with that. i have no problem buying [unintelligible] people say, you pay for things. absolutely. why not? you have to think about the logic behind paying for it or not paying for it. if i buy a video, it does not change the video. it is objective. the video is the video.
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if somebody shoots it and comes to me and says would you like is for your business? we want to charge you something. i look at it and there is value in it, i will buy it. and i will say it is no difference -- i am sure a lot of people have worked in local news at some point. you know when there is a fire at a house in the middle of the night or a crash on the freeway? there are people out there all night long shooting these things. they then go to the news stations in the morning and say they have video of this crash, we have video of this fire. do you want to buy it? it is the same thing. it has been going on for ever. we will absolutely by photos and video. interviews are different. we do not really do interviews. the problem with paying for interviews is it does not objected. when you offer somebody money for an interview, you are basically saying to them, "you are going to pay me that much
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money? i must make this a really good story." you are incentivizing the person to shake the truth to make it worth their while. if they know their story is. to be worth x if they tell the right story, it is worth three times x if they embellish. you do not know if they are telling the truth. that is the problem with paying for interviews. what happens with a lot of traditional media is they think they have figured out a way, or thought they did, of getting around that, which is we will not pay for the interview, we would just pay joe jackson $500 for a high school picture of michael jackson. that is the way they got around it for a long time. we did a story and found out that all of the networks were recording the casey anthony of video and the reporter was down in the bar talking about how much money they were worth.
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we did a story about this three months ago. two days after the story, abc news said we will no longer pay for photographs and video connected to an interview. that was an interesting, revealing statement. but it was that back door way of doing it, which i think is the real problem. but video, anything objective -- absolutely. in terms of the staff, it is like any other staff. we have aggressive journalist, we have managers. a lot of my staff has been trained from the ground up. we always thought we would get a mixed -- it has been more training staff from the ground up. it has worked for us because they have the sensibility. they understand who we are and what the brand is. they need to be managed, but we have really good managers.
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>> let's say i am a member of a law enforcement team and i got a fact you would want to run, but it will cost you $5,000. >> you cannot. i will say we have numerous law enforcement contacts. numerous law enforcement contacts. i was a reporter for many years in los angeles. much of this happens in l.a. when i was a reporter in l.a., i developed a lot of sources in police departments, lawyers, judges, all sorts of people. those people did not just evaporate. at the same time, i have a staff that has been remarkable. they have a work ethic and have created their own niches where they have found their own sources. my operation is very alike -- my operation is very egalitarian. when we have a morning meeting,
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everybody is at the morning meeting. when we did the mel gibson story -- had i not made him feel included in the process, we never would have broken the original story. this is a very egalitarian thing. everybody has kind of developed their own context. it is a very kevin bacon type city. somebody knows somebody who knows somebody. we have a lot of sources and they trust us. i tell my staff that is the difference between success and failure. if people trust you and they think you will be fair with them, they will come back. if they do not trust you, if you do something that makes me not trust you anymore, it will damage us gravely. we have lots and lots of sources. >> briefly, what is the dna of
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the michael jackson death? >> i am tried to figure out how much to say. part of that was we made a phone call. the biggest part of the michael jackson story was not when we found out he was dead. that had the biggest splash obviously. but for us in terms of chasing the story, the initial story we had was that he had doctors all the time. we knew that. when he died, that was a huge thing, but the biggest story that made us understand the urgency was we found out that he was in full cardiac arrest. we found that out -- i am not going to say how -- but we made a serpent phone call that anybody could have made. -- we made a certain phone call that anybody could have made.
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we found out that information. that changed everything. from there we started working our sources because we knew early on how desperate it was. that was, again, a call lots and lots of people could have made. it changed everything. >> what is the most ridiculous or hilarious video of -- video or picture of a celebrity you have published? if you want to say what you did not publish, that is fine. [laughter] >> god. it is one of those things where everyday things happen. honestly, for me, it is like a bathtub. it is that whole bathtub knowledge that the tub fills up with water every day, you pulled the plug and fill it up again the next day, and i cannot remember from one to the next because it all live together. >> let me rephrase the question.
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is there anything you have ran along these lines that you have regretted? >> the difference in a shocking photo is the way we dealt with it. my staff is really creative. they pushed the envelope some time with the non important stories. sometimes they can become, if they are not managed right, they can become big stories themselves. jennifer love hewitt at one point had gained some weight. there was a photograph that clearly showed that. somebody on my staff, who is a very clever guy -- and i will blame this on myself because it did not register. it just did not. but he wrote a story that was two sentences.
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the headline, for those of you familiar with her movies, you will get it. the headline was "i know what you make -- i know what you ate last summer." [laughter] we were severely criticized for that, and rightly so. it became -- people magazine did this big cover story on jennifer love hewitt and all of this afterwards. i regret it. [laughter] >> you talked earlier about how a lot of people do not get what they need to be doing in the business. as you look out there, "what do you see where they do get at? >> i think that people have this sense that the internet is a
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huge player -- how to harvest it and what to do with it. i read politico all the time. i think they are doing a really good job. the new york times is figuring out the web better than most. the l.a. times has a good website, although there are still issues there. to me, you know, i think people are struggling on the internet and i think that is good. they need to figure that out. tv is more problematic. i do not think people realize how broken the delivery system is. jim and i were talking last night. you do not need the middleman as much anymore. that may sound a little bit threatening, but the notion of anchors and reporters who kind of front the stories -- i am not
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sure that is as compelling as the people who actually get the stories. they may not look as good, but i do not think it matters. i think the authenticity of seeing people, especially in broadcast media, in seeing people who really owned the story, they can present them in a different way. when we do our tv show -- i am not trying to do this -- use this as an example -- they are real meetings. they are funny, but they are real. i do not think they have to be funny, either. there are ways of presenting things that can be fundamentally different and fresh that to convey the situation in a more compelling way and a fresher way that may attract an audience because they are bored.
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broadcast does not understand the problem as much as print. >> you talked publicly about being gay and how difficult it was to keep that a secret until you did not any longer. could you talk about those pressures and how liberating it must be now that you can talk openly about it? the environment in our industry about viewing an issue like that. >> i was aboard tobit for a long time. i -- agorophobic for a long time. i freaked out. my solution was never leave the house. i lived that way for three years where i literally had met when i went out it was an irrational panic that made no sense. it just kind of sat on itself.
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finally, one day, i thought to myself i am ruining my life. this is great. i had a show at the time. i was also a reporter. i was miserable. this was awful. it was not like i wanted to make a declaration to anybody. if the news director really hates it, screw him. i would do something else. i reached the tipping point. there was a tipping point for me and i thought to myself, that is it. it was just one day. nothing happened. it was the same. i realize, i could not believe it. i made things up in my head and created a scenario i create nuclear war in my head when it is not bad at all.
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it is one of my many flaws. i think i did that with that. it was not that bad. i do think there are areas in the country where it is a huge problem i think it is a liability in terms of career for people who come out. i think there is still a lack of tolerance. i think there is a long way to go. i have been pretty lucky. >> there were all kinds of rumors, maybe more than rumors, that tmz was. to have a presence in washing -- have a presence in washington. >> it will happen some day. i want to do it in washington more than anything. we have so much going on back in l.a. between the website and the tv show, mobile.
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mz ched a tumzight hollywood bus tour. it is so much fun. it is a show. it will require me to be here for a while. i want to do that. the reason i want to do it is because i really believe that so much of the media that covers politics is really covering it inside the beltway. there are millions of people out there who want to like politics, want to be interested, and they feel badly that they are not. it is not acceptable to them. it is boring. it is too complicated. they cannot find an entry level. i want to make tmz d.c. a personality based site, not because it is the most important material, but because it will introduce people to politics on
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a personality level. we did this with erin shock in a funny sort of way. the joke was we were going to make him the general of washington, d.c. we sent him out and interviewed him. i think the camera man -- is calling here? i think you're the cameraman who did that. his press secretary called me up and said how dare you. this is not hollywood. i said you called me up in a few days and apologize. we got this video on cnn, fox news, and the nbc station in chicago where he is from. we did a series of stories that were personality-driven. i went to dinner with him not too long ago and he said,
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"before we go, come to my office. we are doing a telephonic town hall." he had 12,000 people on the phone. he will be very open about this. he said, "tmz did more for me to get people interested in who i am and now i can talk about what i am interested in and they will listen." i think there is a way of getting a lot of people involved in politics on the personality level. that is what i want to do. we will eventually do it. >> do you want to give us a time line on that at all? [laughter] >> i could die first. [laughter] there is a lot of pressure with all the things going on in l.a. the problem with this is if you try to do too much, it will fall apart. >> i know that, but what about next year?
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>> we are going to do politics next year, i just do not know that we will be able to do tmz d.c. >> we will get to the last question after some announcements. we are almost out of time. a couple of housekeeping matters. i would like to remind you about our upcoming speakers, the first of which will be october 31 -- herman cain will be in the ballroom. november 3, tom brokaw will talk about politics as well as his book. november 22, patrick donahue will be here to talk about the troubles that are affecting the postal service and the solutions they would like to enact. harvey, we always give a parting gift. believe it or not, this gift is a first of its kind. we are aware of the sort of branding you have on york show. typically we give a coffee mug, but we are aware you do not use
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a coffee mug. this travel mug is for you. [applause] >> i will use this on the show. >> we think it will be a great launching point for your next publication or website to have the national press club travel mug. we are glad to have you here today, harvey. it has been an interesting question and answer session. we are going to ask a final question. is there one particular celebrity from the past you would have liked to have covered or gotten to know yourself? either currently alive or from the past -- a top of the heap celebrity. >> the person i wish i would have gotten to know and the person i wish i could have done something with it is steve jobs. i think steve jobs may be the most -- may be the most
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influential person in our lifetime. he blows me away. i cannot believe his vision. i think he is a historic figure. what he did it is change everything about our world. as profoundly as the airplane did, he changed everything about our world. it was not just one thing that he did. he did thing after thing after thing. i have never read about anybody or seen anything from anybody with that kind of vision in our lifetime. that is my feeling. >> a thank you very much. how about a round of applause for our guest, harvey levin. [applause] i would like to thank our national press club staff, including our library and
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broadcast center for organizing this event. if you like more information or a copy of this program, please check out our website www.press.org. thank you. we are adjourned. >> today on washington journal, a discussion on the 2012 presidential campaign and occupy wall street's. after that, republican presidential candidate buddy roemer. also, a look at the european union's plan to solve the greek debt problem. that is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. >> tomorrow on newsmaker, edward demarco, acting director of the federal housing agency. he talks about the home affordable refinancing program.
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that is at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> spend this weekend in moscow, tenn., with booktv and american history tv. on book tv on c-span2, the university of tennessee's body farm -- 4 acres of decomposing human remains. dr. william bass on a real live see as i. also, alex haley and his life in knoxville. on american history tv on c-
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span3, a visit to the sequoia birthplace museum. we will explain how an indian silversmith successfully created a system of writing for the cherokee language. also, a visit to the oak ridge national laboratory and the labs development of the atomic bomb. is knoxville a true southern city? a historian on its future. today at 6:00 p.m. eastern. watch throughout the weekend on american history tv. >> the heat is on. this is not the first time i have seen where the real he -- if these guys cannot come up with something, they will not want to go home. >> the deficit reduction committee will hear from former senator alan simpson and former clinton administration official
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erskine bowles and alice rivlin. you can watch video of those meetings along with the deficit committee's for public meetings on line at the c-span video library. everything is archived and searchable. watch what you want when you want. >> in his weekly address, president obama urges congress to pass his jobs proposal and talks about the actions he has taken this week to grow the economy. then a different perspective by freshman congressman bobby shilling. this is the republican address. he talks about his party's jobs bills which passed the house but remained stalled in the senate. >> this week, a new economic report confirms what most americans already believed to be true. over the past three decades, the middle-class has lost ground while the wealthiest have become even wealthier. the average income for the top 1% of americans has risen almost
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seven times faster than the income of the average middle- class family. this has happened during a time when the cost of everything has skyrocketed. in this country we do not begrudge anyone wealth or success. we encourage it. we celebrate it, but america is better off when everyone has a chance to get ahead, not just those of the very top. the more americans who prosper, the more america prospers. we believe in an economy where everyone has a chance to succeed. that will take time. our economic problems were decades in the making and will not be solved overnight, but there are steps we can take right now to put people back to work and restore some of the security middle-class americans lost over the past few decades. right now congress can pass some jobs proposals that a defendant economists say will boost the economy right away. proposals will put more teachers, veterans, construction workers, and first responders
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back on the jaws. proposals that will cut taxes for virtually every middle-class family and small business in america. these are the kinds of proposals republicans and democrats have supported in the past. they should stop playing politics and act on them now. these jobs are paid for by folks making more than $1 million a year to contribute a little more in taxes. these same folks have seen their incomes go up so much i believe this is a contribution they are willing to made. seven out of 10 millionaires are willing to step up and pay a little bit more to help the economy. republicans in congress are not paying attention. they have not gotten the message. they refused to debate the same kind of jobs proposals the republicans have supported in the past. proposals that are supported not white democrats, but independent republican voters across america. somehow they found time to
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debate things like whether or not we should mint coins to celebrate the baseball hall of fame. they are always scheduled to work three more weeks between now and the end of the year. we can no longer wait for congress to do its job. the middle-class families who have been struggling for years are tired of waiting. they need help now if congress will not act, i will. this week we announced a new policy that will help families whose home valleys -- home values have fallen. we are making it easier for veterans to get jobs. we reformed the student loan process so more young people can get out of debt faster. we will keep announcing more changes like these on a regular basis. these steps will make a difference. but will not take the place of the bold action we need from congress to get the economy moving again. that is why i need all of you to make your voice is heard.
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tell congress to stop playing politics and start taking action on jobs. if we want to build an economy where every american has a chance to get ahead, we need every american to get involved. that is our real change has always happened and that is how it will happen today. thank you. >> hello. i am a lifelong resident of allen boyd. -- illinois. for the past 14 years we have been the proud owners of a place. this was a look in war with pride because it was our dream. a family or run business. it was not always busy, but it taught me a lot of what i needed to know about how our economy works. with unemployment in my state, also the president's home state, at 10%, there is no higher
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priority than jobs. when i look at things like the stimulus policies coming from the white house, i think the folks there could use a few weeks of wearing flower and pizza dough. they need to understand the american small business owner. when you are a small business owner, you are a troubleshooter. you identify a problem and fix it. tipperary band-aids will not do the trick. that is why i am is proud to support the republican plan for american job creators. our plan looks at the problems from the view of the small business people and worked to clear out barriers to job creation by doing away with excessive regulation, fixing our tax code, and paying down our debt. this week the house lost another bill from the republican jobs plan. it stops the irs withholding tax that hurts businesses doing business with the government. this bill is a bipartisan one.
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it was in our jobs plan and the president's jobs plan as well. i am pleased it passed the house with bipartisan support. jobs is not a democrat or republican issue, it is a red, white, and blue issue. we owe it to the american people to find common ground. we did it with the free-trade agreement the president recently signed and was doing it with the repeal of the withholding tax. we can do more. unfortunately, many of the jobs bill the house has passed are stopped in at the democrat-led senate. let me tell you a little about them. these bills are common-sense bills that address excessive federal regulations that are hurting small business job creation. they were written after listening to farmers, manufacturers, and small business people from around the country. a number of them have popped bipartisan support. yet the set will not give these
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bills a vote and the president has not called for action politics and pessimism will not get america back on track. i was disappointed to hear the president say this week that americans have lost our ambition, our imagination. i respectfully disagree. the people of my district are working harder, making more sacrifices, doing whatever it takes. he is more than welcome to meet some of them. all they are asking, all of you are asking is that we listen and get government out of the way so our economy can get back to creating jobs. my colleagues and i in the house are doing whatever we can to make that happen. republicans have a jobs plan, one with some bipartisan support, but it is stuck in the senate. we are asking president obama to work with us and call on the senate to pass the forgotten 15
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to help the private sector create jobs, american jobs desperately needed. let's seize this opportunity. let's build on our common ground for jobs. you can learn more about the republican jobs plant at jobs.gop.gov. >> monday, herman cain is making a couple of stops in washington, d.c. to talk about his tax plan. he will speak at the american enterprise institute. joining him will be his senior economic adviser. that is live at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2. later, he will talk about his economic proposals and his background as a businessman at the national press club. also live monday at 1:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> i do not want every story to
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the 1800 words. >> last month, jill abramson became the first woman to hold the post of executive editor at the new york times. she believes the times is more replaceable than ever, but also envisions a few changes. >> there is a certain lack of discipline. sometimes a point is repeated too many times in a story. there are three "to the same point where one would do. -- three quotes to the same point where one would do. >> sunday night on c-span's "q&a". >> president obama spoke to the national italian-american gala in washington. he talks about the contributions of a italians and how they are an example today for all americans. this is 10 minutes.
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[applause] >> thank you so much. viva italia. thank you very much, everybody. thank you so much. thank you for that generous introduction. i am biased, but i think nancy was one of the best speakers of the house the country has ever had. she was, no doubt, the best italian-american speaker of the house we have ever had. i believe that she will be the best speaker of the house again in 2013. [applause] now, i was just passing out
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halloween candy for the kids that are coming to the white house, but now that maria and sasha are with their friends, they have not noticed that i am gone. they are getting ready -- they do not care. i embarrassed them in the brief time i was with them. i am honored to be here to celebrate national italian- american heritage month and to commemorate the 150th anniversary of italian reunification. [applause] i want to congratulate the president, the chairman, all of you who are doing so much work to keep that heritage alive for the next generation and i am grateful for your generous welcome. i want to make a confession right off the bat. i do not, in fact, have any italian ancestry. [laughter]
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not all of us are that lucky. i cannot sing like frankie avalon. where is frankie? he looks the same. unbelievable. i cannot cook as well as any of your grandmothers. [laughter] michelle will not let me have seconds or thirds anymore. all i have got to offer is a last name that ends with a "bama." nevertheless, it is good to see so many proud sons and daughters of the old country. i see a couple dozen italian- american members of congress here tonight.
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let me offer a special welcome to guests who are joining us from italy this evening, including italy's ambassador to the united states -- ambassador terzi -- thank you for your work. his counterpart is here as well and he is doing an outstanding job representing us, our ambassador to italy, david thorne. italy is one of our strongest allies. a fellow founding member of nato, we look forward to working together with them and we will be joining them next week at the g-20 to make a series of decisions that will be important for the world's economy. i make sure to keep close the advice of italian-americans by asking some of them to serve in my cabinet. we could not be prouder of janet napolitano, who is keeping us safe every single day.
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[applause] we could not be prouder of janet napolitano, who is keeping us safe every single day. [applause] and my outstanding secretary of defense, leon panetta. [applause] and, as was mentioned, even though she is not here this evening, jill biden is proud to call from a long line. she sends her regards. it is important for us to honor the countless italian americans who fought for our country since our founding and who wear the uniform today. [applause]
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from the chief of staff of the army, raymond odierno -- [applause] to a hero i was proud to give our highest military decoration, staff sgt salvatore junta. in a sense, every american joining us in celebrating this anniversary of italian unification -- what would america be without the contributions of italy and italian-americans? what would we be without columbus, pucci -- what would our science and technology be without da vinci and galileo -- what would music be without the music of sinatra, capra, sophia loren, my favorite. [applause]
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i am just saying. what would sports be without the grip, dimaggio, lombardi, and la russa? piazza. [applause] the red sox could still use him. what would the city be without the influence of roman thought and architecture, the work on the lincoln memorial, the magnificent touch on the capitol?
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although, i might say, it would be nice to know what our politics would be like without the contributions of machiavelli. [laughter] that has been internalized a little too much here in washington. [laughter] america would not be what it is today without the unique contributions and the pride of italian-americans. like so many other groups -- as nancy said -- the italians came to america in search of opportunity. they came with little. very few were welcomed. they came with an unwavering faith in god and an unfailing commitment to family and an unlikely hope in the possibilities of america. a belief that in this country you could be prosperous, you could be free, you could think, talk, and worship as you wish.
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it is a country where you could make it if you try. italians were not always welcome. we think about today's immigrants, we have to remind ourselves that those of us who take pride in our american identity, but was not always the way of the past. the opportunities our forebears came here for were not always within reach right away, but they did not wait for anybody to hand it to them. they built new lives for themselves and they ended up building an entire nation. they enriched our heritage and our culture with their own.
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they helped forge the very promise of this country that success is possible if you are willing to work for it. those accords built a better america for all of us. everybody in this room, just about, has an ancestor or lots of ancestors who fit that story of transplanted roots that somehow grew in american soil, of families that struggled and sacrificed so that our families might know something better. a parent who said maybe i cannot speak english, but i will make sure my children can speak english. they might teach english one day. i might perform backbreaking labor today, but someday my child could be a senator, supreme court justice, speaker of the house, secretary of the cabinet, or president of the united states. [applause]
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that is what binds us together. that is what has always made our country unique. we have always been and will always be a nation of immigrants from all over the world. out of many, somehow we were able to forge ourselves into one people. this is the place where the highest hopes can be reached and the deepest and most sincere dreams can be made real. that is the legacy our forebears left for us. that is what we now leave to our children. these are tough times right now and millions of americans are hurting. millions are without work. those who have work are still all too often struggling to get by. for many, the dreams that brought so many italian- americans to the shores feel
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like it is slipping away. we have work to do. while these times are hard, we have to remind ourselves they are not as hard as those earlier generations faced. the legacy of their courage, their commitment, their determination, their generosity, and their willingness to think about the next generation -- we have to be as passionate as they were to keep that dream alive to make sure our children and their futures are big, bright, and this country is as generous as it has always been. that is what we have to commit to ourselves tonight. on behalf of all americans, i want to thank you for everything the italian-americans have done, everything you have done to contribute to the chronicles and the character of the greatest nation on earth. thank you so much. god bless you. god bless the united states of america. [applause]
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thank you. [applause] >> on monday, herman cain is making some stops in washington, d.c. to talk about his 9-9-9 plan. joining him will be richard lowerey. that is live on c-span 2
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he will take questions at the national press club. also live at 1:00 eastern on c- span. >> watch more video of the candidates. see what political reporters are saying. track the latest contributions with c-span's website for campaign 2012. it helps you navigate the web site with twitter feet and facebook updates from the candidates. links to c-span media partners in the early caucus states all at c-span.org/campaign2012.
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>> suspended this weekend and not still tennessee with american history tv and look behind the scenes at the history and literary life of marble city. the university of tennessee body farm is 2 acres of decomposing human remains. a real-life c s i. also a look at groups arthur and his -- on the american history tv on c-span 3, a visit to the sequoia birthplace museum. he explains how and indian silversmith successfully created a system of writing for the cherokee language. a visit to secret city. steve still on the development on the atomic bomb. is not still a true southern city? the history and future.
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today at 6:00 eastern. watch throughout the weekend on but tv and in american history tv in knoxville tennessee. next, a debate on the future of the u.s. economy. you will hear from alan simpson, former treasury secretary summers, karl rove, and robert gibbs. the debate moderated by a fox news contributor is about two hours. [applause] >> thank you, ladies and a gentleman. this is the ninth annual clash of the titans. we could not afford a football
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team. we did it the next best thing. we had a bunch of scholars fighting each other. this turned out to be very good. he said, what happens if they get everything fixed before the debate. no worry about to that to this time. none at all. the super committee is not going to fix anything. we have people here who have answers. some distinguished people like alan simpson, his father served in the senate with my father. we have been friends for years. right to bear who has done such a superb job of taking the anchor chair. he filled in for bright human who was a marvelous newsman at. he has covered himself with glory. we are so glad he is here as the
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moderator of this debate. he will introduce to you the distinguished members of the panel. one of them is a larry summers. he was president of harvard. i think he has had a rough time. i told him if he went to be held it would have been nice to him. he did not. he was working in the clinton administration. several of us were there. we worked on a debt forgiveness package for third world countries because larry has a heart of compassion for those who are suffering. the initiative that was taken in that gathering was bill clinton and larry summers and others resulted in a debt reduction of 30 billion a dollars to over indebted third world countries to give them a fresh start. he is a wonderful person as are
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all the members of this panel. you are going to get to know that. one of them, by the way, robert gibbs said he worked for a man who worked for my father. it is incestuous and washington. everybody works for everybody sooner or later. we are all friends. they have rules. no gouging, no biting, no kidding. maintain civility. i think you are what you have a wonderful debate. i hope to come up with some solutions to a america's debt problems. let me introduce a tremendous broadcaster, brought to bear. --brett baer. >> thank you for that introduction. i know that you just celebrated
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50 years. i know you have celebrated 50 years of broadcasting. i can only hope to be broadcast in 50 years. it is a pleasure to be here. i will be honest, i received an e-mail and it said "will you come down to the class of the titans." i was not sure if it was a wrestling match, a monster truck rally. a little research and i am it so impressed with what you all have done here -- the ninth year of a truly fair and balanced debate. this is definitively that. i am really honored to be you moderator tonight. we have some amazing people. there are 375 until the election. that is 9010 hours as of right
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now. the biggest issue, obviously, will be the economy and the press of this that the world has been facing when it comes to -- precipices that the world has been facing when it comes to the economy. to deal with that, we have an amazing array of palace. lawrence summers served as the director of the white house economic sam -- council from 2009-2010. chief advisor to the cadet on economic policy, he developed the recovery act and other measures, cochaired the task force to restructure the automobile industry, and played a note leading role inanaging the nation's economic relationships. the is well spoken on economics. he has won an award given to outstanding of american economists under the age of ,
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which he received in 1993 followingis service as chief economist at the world bank. he became a key policy maker in the u.s. treasury department, rising to serve as secretary of the treasury from 1999-2001. the only time when -- within the past 60 years that america saw a decline in the national debt. he played a key role in american policy decisions from the enactment to nafta, the world trade organization, and the response to the financial crises in mexico. he received the alexander hamilton mal, the treasury department's highest honor. from 2001-2006, he served as president of harvard university where he was an outspoken advocate of reform and higher education. he currently serves as professor at harvard and a member of president obama's economic recovery advisory board. ladies and upham and, please
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welcome dr. lawrence summers. -- ladies and gentlemen, please welcome dr. lawrence summers. [applause] hailing from a family that was heavily involved in law and politics, it is no surprise that alan simpson has held distinguished positions in both fields. a third-generation lawyer, he urged his law degree from the university of wyoming after serving overseas in the army. he practiced law briefly as assistant attorney general and 10 years as city attory in his hometown. he served asoth governor and senator. he later served as in the wyoming house of representatives for 13 years, holding the office of majority whip, majority floor leader, and speaker pro temp. he was elected for three terms in the u.s. senate and was named to the position of assistant majority leader, which he held for 10 years.
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he served as rector of the institute of politics at harvard university's john f. kendy school of government before returning to his of water, the university of wyoming as a visiting lecturer. his class, wyoming's political identity its history and politics, remains one of the most popular coursest the university. i would like to take the class. in 2010, president obama and pointed simpson to serve on the bipartisan commission of fiscal responsibility and reform. the search on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards and speaks on a variety of subjects. his book, "right in the o kazoo -- a lifetime of scrapping with the press," cockles of his views of the fourth estate. i can attest to that as numers questions of mine have been called a natch belt in a tornado.
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ladies and gentlemen, senator alan simpson. [applause] our next guest, robert gibbs, has been an adviser and strategist for president obama says the early days his senate race. he has served as president obama's press secretary. he began his political career through an internshi with former congressman glenn brown of alabama. he went on a specialized campaign serving as communications director for the democratic senatorial campaign committee and for individual senate campaigns including those of fritz hollings and senator obama in 2004. he joined the cadet obama's senate campaign as sennott -- as
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communications director and served until becoming senior strategist for communications during the general election. members of the media have often noted his quick wit -- quick wit ancandid style. having spent many years as a close adviser to the president, robert gibbs is able to offer an insider's perspective on current issues. ladies and gentleman, please welcome robert gibbs. [applause] karl >> non-partisan organizations. his clients include more than 75 u.s. senate and gubernatorial
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candidates in 24 states as well as the moderate party of sweden. from the consulting role, he rose as deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to president bush. his winning political strategies urged him a great respect. the executive editor of the weekly standard descred him as "the greatest political mind of his generation and probably any generation." michael barone wrote "and no presidential appointee has ever had such a strong influence on politics and policy and none is likely to do so again anytime soon." he now puts these skills to use as a fox news contributor. he is author of a new york times bestseller, "courage and confidence." he writes a weekly column for the washington journal and has written for a myriad of of other publications including newsweek,
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time, the weekly standard, financial times, and force. he teaches undergraduate and graduate students at the universi of texas at austin. he is also a faculty member with the salzburg global senate and -- seminary. back by popular demand, he is a two-time to tighten -- ladies and gentleman, please welcome karl rove. [applause] ok, let's go over some ground rules. we want this to be feisty, substantive. we have questioned the were submitted by the audience, selected by a panel of professors. our panel is, a professor of government and a professor of law. our timekeeper for the debate is a professor from the robinson
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school of government and a city council member from the city of virginia beach. we will be using a traffic light system. green means go, yellow 30 seconds left to speak, read, time is up. we do not have like i have at the debate the fancy bell, but i will get in the middle if it drags on. the agenda is listed in your program. we will begin by opening statements -- four minutes each. we will have a round table where each participant holds the floor and can ask the other side questions. i will have the option of calling up. next, i will present your questions to the panelists in four different rounds. each of our debaters will have four minutes to make closing statements. i will not ask any follow-ups from those. the program will conclude with a bit of a wrapup by me. with that, the opening remarks by each participant.
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let's start with dr. summers. >> thank you very much. a key for the invitation and the generous introduction. much better than we usually get. once i was introduced by someone who asked if knew what it took to succeed as an economist. an economist as someone who is pretty good with figures but does not quite have the personality to be an accountant. [laughter] that was in moscow and no one got the joke. [laughter] we have a lot to talk about. three years ago in the fall of 2008, this country was at the most critical economic juncture it has reached since the great depression. it is no exaggeration to say that everything was collapsing. the stock market was in free fall. hundreds of thousands of jobs
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being destroyed eight months. vicious cycles of declining financial systems. a credit crunch that hurt the economy. a collapsing economy mea no one could pay back loans. incomes were going down. that meant less spending. less spending meant less job creation -- job creation. the worst economic statistics from the fault of 2008 until the spring of 2009 banned fm the fall of 1929 in the next six months. that situation has to be contained. those of vicious cycles have to be broken. they were. a combination of strong government action to jump-start the economy through unnecessary spending in infrastructure, through a support to working
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families, to support so we did not wreck the future, even in a troubled time, by allowing teachers to keep working in schools, and prevent law enforcement officials from being laid off. people did care about those to whom the banks lent money and did not whathe credit crunch to damage our financial system. where are we today? there is no collapse. the economy has grown with the last two years. people said the money was going down the toilet. it did not go down the toilet. the money put in the banks has come right back. at the growth is not like anything we wanted it to be. unemployment at 9% is at 4% to hide. u know the reason why. who is.
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to hire people to work at e restaurants when they are half empty? who is going to build a new factory when the existing factories are only being worked on one shift? who is. to build a new house where there are too many houses -- who is going to build a new house where the are too many houses empty? this economy needs a new plan that creates employment, it creates income, that keeps the economy going. it needs it from the private and public sector. this is not a time to be laying off teachers across this country. that is why we need to use this moment to renew and rebuild america. that is why we need to support our housing and financial system. that is that is why we need to make sure that we grow american exports on a substantial scale. that is why we need to cut taxes, help families who are in
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a posion to spend the money to put it back into the economy, and at is why we need to recognize that confidence is the cheapest form of stimulus and what is necessary to ensure that over time our government stops piling up debt at the weighrate it has. thank you. >> dr. summers, thank you. [applause] senator alan simpson? >> i think i will have to stand. it is an honor and privilege to be here at this remarkable university. you all must be really proud of it. i know that i certainly am, after visiting with the staff and faculty. richard, james, my handlers, it
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is but a lovely treatment. at a special treatment to see pat robertson, who served with my father in the u.s. and that -- who served the u.s. senate. we surely do not and will not agree -- you would not want that all -- you will find that out fast, but will be a real debate. i serve on a commission of presidential debates. would that this active type of thing, with the politicians able to accept this kind of debate, but they would not. as we meet with them on the commission, they would not go with this. first, a lot to answer a question when i walked in here. somebody asked me, at a lot to answer it now, and the answer is, yes, i did sleep in the suit. [laughter]
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3:00 in the morning, the phone rang, the guy said, how do i know, that is 2,000 miles. and he said, i don't know, some guy called and asked if the coast was clear. [laughter] my time is expiring. we did 10 months of work on this commission and came up with a vote of five democrats, five republicans, one independent. it is discussed months to establish trust. trust is sevely tarnished in america, and congress, and people still get on their hind legs and say, if we could get this done without touching medicare, medicai social security, and defense. that is funny. you cannot get there without touching all four of these.
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paul ryan spoke up. they crucified him. there is plenty of fat in defense depament. there is plenty of fat everywhere. we cannot get there without cutting every one of the big four. the nest is letters i get from people were se to me, all stuff from the aarp. i ask, are there any patriots here or just marketers? you'll have to find that out. and they say, what do you want? lower tax base, lower rates, spending out of the code. we said, great, we will get rid of $100 billion of these tax expenditures which only go to the top 5% of the american people. we take the money and give them what they ask for. 70,000,zetrro to
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medicare is a disaster. it does not matter if we call it obama care, health care, i don't care, it cannot be sustained. [laughter] a cannot be sustained and will not be sustained. just look in your own neighborhood. finally, if gver norquist is the most powerful man in america these days, he ought to run for president. i will deal with that later on. thank you very much. [applause] ok, the coast is clear. robert gibbs? >> first, let me thank all of you r coming and thank dr. robertson and the university for having us. virginia bea got your joke, but you already see that weill not try to be as funny as senator alan simpson.
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[laughter] that is one debate that larry, myself, and that karl would agree that we are likely to lose. we talk about america's economic crisis, and i think all too often we think about economic collapse that started on september 15, 2008, when the banks and wall street collapsed. i don't doubt that had a significant impact, as larry described, on the financial markets, 1 are confidence, but i thinke should be clear and honest, the economic collapse has been going on in many parts of america, in many parts of virginia for many, many years. for a long time, we watched
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income decline, college education became harder and harder to get, yet more and more necessary for the future. this is not somhing that started in late 2008, this is something that started 15, 20 years ago. the questions we are going to ask each other today in the debate we're gong to have is, what are we going to do about it? i think all of us agree we are at an interesting inflection point in our country's history. a time in which it is not simply guaranteed that we will pass on to our children and grandchildren a better life than the one that we have. we will have to make hard and honest decisions with ourselves in order to make sure that happens. and i wish we could go back to one thing, and that would be to go back to the whington that alan simpson and dr. robertson's
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father's both worked in. they were from different parties, and though the constitution requires that every two years we elect congress and every four years we elect president, those two men and the men and women and the senate and house decided that in between those dates we would get together and figure out was best for the country so weid not face the exact economic calamities that larry describes. [applause] that is not going on right now. you know that, i know that. i think the most remarkable thing that happened this summer was not a debt crisis or a bargain was or was not accepted, it was a credit rating agency that downgraded our debt not because we don't have the physical ability to pay our
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bills -- understand that, not because we don't have the physical ability to pay our short-term debt, but because they don't believe we have the government necessary to overcome the dysfunction to deal with it. that is an economic and political crisis. and if we do not deal with them simultaneously, i can assure you one thing, when bret is here in 50 years, there will be a clash of the titans. you will be listening to the very same discussions we're going to have today. except we are going to have wasted 50 years of dealing with those problems. if we are going to pass on a country that is better to our children a grandchildren than the one great country we have today, then we better get about solving some of those problems, democrats and republicans, right now. [applause]
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>> thank you, robert. mr. karl rove? >> thanks to the regents for having me back. every person on this podium today is here under false pretenses. not a single one of them as a titan, accept me. [laughter] all of this high school, titans, class of 1951. -- columbus high school, titans, class of 1951. 14 million fellow americans are out of work today. september, unemployment 9.1%, the 32nd mon and a row in ich unemployment was 8% or more, the long sustained time of high unemployment since the great depression. it happened despite the fact we tried the 2 1/2 year experience of spending our way to prosperity. it has not worked.
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i country faces fundamental issues regarding how to get ourselves on the right track. we have lost 1.5 million jobs net since the stimulus bill was passed. we have had spending the size of the government relative to the gross domestic product of the united states, 20% in 2008. today it is near 25%. in 2015 it will be 23%, and then marched upward after that. by the middle of the century, if left unchecked, using the president's own projections, it will consume 40% of our gdpthe federal government. january 20, that the 2009, b december 31, 2009, it was equal to the default% of gdp. last year it is equal to 62% of
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gdp. this morning itas 70% of gdp. at the end of the year it will be 72%. if the super committee cuts the rest of those trillions of dollars from the next 10 years budget, but and of 10 years it will be equal to 76% of gdp. we are slowing future growth. the answer is clear, we have to stop spending. we don't have the money that we're spending today. we need to remove the burden of regulation and uncertainty that is diminisng business confidence. it wants to invest in plants and equipment when the were about the cost of regulation and the affordable care act? we need to repeal the affordable care act, which will cripple our economy if we don't. [applause] and it is absolutely essential we tackle the fundamental challenge facing not us today but us today and our children tomorrow, and that is reforming entlement programs which have
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made promises our country cannot keep and cannot fund. maybe we can do so today, that in 10, 15 years. the systems are going broke. by 2020, the hospital insurae partner medicare will be bankrupt. we are already spending more each year in social security than we are taking in it in. texas. but 2037, we will exhaust the trust fund, that goes bust in 2037, social security. this is going to be about as easy as giving birth to a porcupine. that tt was said by alan simpson. he also said we are the healthiest course and the glue factory. if you think that keeps spending money is smart, the drinks are on me.
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that is as smart as in a truck of potato chips to the obese. >> i said that? >> you did. [laughter] >> simpson sd i once alienated all special interests. the president said, no, there are a couple of more you have not done t. >> your time has expired. >> stop eating into my time. tell them to get the job done. thank you. [applause] >> karl rove. with that introduction, senator simpson, in this round table discussion, each debater has their own time. bacon do with it what they want. senator simpson, -- they could do with it what they want. senator simpson, do with it what you want. >> allow to get back to rover norquist.
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anybody who could say you will not raise taxes under any situation, even if your country is in extremity, he testifie before us, he said my hero is ronald reagan. i said, great, he is mine, too. i said ronald reagan raised taxes 11 times in eight years, grover. he said, i did not like that at all. i said that that is not the issue, he did it. he did it to make the country run. now you have a situation where 95% of the republicans who are serving have signed that pledge. how can you sign a pledge before you have heard th debate, read the information, know the position of your country, and pretend you are a legislator? i think that is remarkable absurdity. he is the most powerful man in the united states right now. not useuse charts, and
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power point. if you spend more than you earn, you lose your fund. if you spend a buck anbarf forty-two cents, you have to be stupid. and that is what your country is doing every day. borrowing forty two cents for every dollar that we spend, today. this day, your country is borrowing $4.6 billion, and it will bar that tomorrow and the next day and the next day. medicare cannot succeed, and i will tell you why. it is simple. all you have to do is look around. you have a situation where one person in america weighs more than the other two. this is not funny. this cannot be helped, many people. at is the way it is. you have bouse, tobacco, designer drugs, all of this. just roll it into big ball. medicaid.
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you walk up to the window, and if you are over 65 and you get a 150,000 other heart operation and never even get the bill. what is that about? and then you have this and that. if everybody waddles up and never has to pay a penny, do you believe they will cut back in any possible way? of course not. that is where we are. we cannot grow our way out of this. people testified would it have double-dit growth for 20 years and never grow our way out of th box. the big bang theory, if you believe that, happened 3.6 billion years ago. we owe $16.5 trolling in. until we -- trillion dollars.
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i want to ask another question, and that comes off my time, but we don't care how we got here. the first three months of our commission, the said to the biggest spending president in history of america? george bush. then the other side, but this guy stripped him 3 to 1. we said we will adjust to a two- person report. we will not do bs and we will not do much. and we did not. it is very specific, 67 pages, an english, www.fiscalcomission.gov, and the reason it is unpopular with the special interest groups is because it outlines how to get out of this whole. >> a minute to ask a question he
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posed, which you talked about politicians working together to get past this. he is saying that blaming who ever was before does not get past the crisis. how'd you get something done with the current political environment? >> i don't want to speak for larry, but i will, probably, i don't think any of us on this stage disagree with the notion that we are running path that is simply unsustainable. nobody would argue that. the question is, how we use our politics to get out of this mess? i think senator simpson has dedicated his life to this problem and dedicated a serious amount of time to this problem and he makes a grammatically -- a dramatically good point.
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there is not one way to do it. we have to do a little bit of all that. we cannot grow our way out of it. we cannot cut our way o of it. we're not going to rse taxes to get out of it. we will have to do some little bit of all of that. we will have to address medicare. we will have to address social security. we will have to address the defense budget. we will have to look at the amount of money our government takes in and it would te it from. but if you leave one of those out, it is not going to add up. i think the sooner that we recognize that we are all in this together and that we all have to be in this together and that we all have to contribute to a solution, we are much more likely to get to a point where we are not debatin this but we are agreeing. >> the current environment does not indicate that is happening. >> there is no reason that it should. the problem is not going to get less.
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as senator simpson pointed out, it will get worse. if we do not deal with it, you will be debating this issue for a long, long, long time. we had every opportunity to do this. we had a real and genuine opportunity to do it to this -- to do this. the speaker and president sat in a room in that very close. but it did not happen because the speaker decided that we actually could not do the notion of having everybody involved, right? and thomas had be resuctured, and we have to look at tax base. -- entitlements had to be restructured, and we had to look at the tax base. we were close to something really, really big. but we decided because of our politics would not allow it that we would not do it. the credit rating agency
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downgraded us? think about that. credit rating agencies. you have heard about them, right? they give aaa credit ratings to securitized mortgages. you heard of those, right? that is what got us into this mess. nobody should walked out of th room and mess with securitized mortgages. none of you. our dt is downgraded at less than a securitized mortgages because we do not have the political will that senator simpson says to just admit we are in ts all together. bob dole had a great saying, the only way we do this without tipping it over the canute is to step into that can do together -- the only way we do this without tipping over the canoe is to step into it together.
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if we step in a different time, everybody gets wet. in this case, i think the analogy is closero drowning in debt. i would ask a question, and it builds off of my latest rent. i think we had it and interesting summer around things like the grand bargain. we have had interesting debates on the republican side about how we're going to deal with this. i found one of the most eliminating things that happened in one of these debates, and i don't know which debate it was -- >> think you and knowing where this is going. >> maybe you ask this question. >> it was. >> this is better. he asked a simple question. of all the people running for president on the republican side, and that was, would you
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agree to a grand bargain of sorts is for every $10 in spending cuts he would aee to $1 of increased revenue. raise your hand. i think it was nine at that point. they wld not even take that. not one person raised their hand. >> the opposite. i said would you turn down the deal. and they all raised their hand. >> and my question would be to senator simpson, if you were in the senate today, would you take that deal? >> you bet. you cannot get out of this without everybody in skin in the game, there is no such thing as shared sacrifice. if we don't step up to the plate and fort this, we are americans first, not democrats and republicans. [applause]
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>> karl, would you take that? >> i would, but i thought it was an unfair question to a. in a democratic debate, if you said, would you accept the changes in primary reforms that you have a lot of raised hands on the platform from democrats? no >> i will say this. if the debate and the democratic party was had with the current occupant of the white house, that is what we had agreed to. >> hold on, hold on. >> let me finish. >> just finish your answer. >> i will give some credit, karl, and if you have seen what happened over the summer, a lot of democrats were very upset the president got that close to the
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grand bargain with the speaker of the house. they were. they still are. but this president was willing to go along with some restructuring toot entitlements in order to all step into that canoe together. i think that is the definition of leadership. >> at the time, we could not give details of what that was that he was agreeing to end what the plan was. when you say he was agreeing to it, it may have been in principle, but as far as specifics, we canno get what was gone to happen. >> let's debate going forward rather than backward. everybody here i think agrees thatverything has to be on the table. that means entitlements, revenues, both of them have to be there, and we want to see the
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political leaders find a way to that. that is an important area of agreement. i will let others fight about ho is a greater centesinner, republicans or democrats, and you could probably figure out where pple will come out. but what i think it's much more important is that we all agree that all of the things have to be on the table, and that anyone who denies that is speaking passed the truth. >> karl rove. >> it requires bipartisan leadership. with all due respect, i credit the current president with creating an environment in which there cannot be bipartisan cooperation. think about how he dealt with this with the speaker.
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the speaker was never clear about what the deal was, but the trust was simply not there. why? because the way the president s dealt with republicans from the beginning. the president and fights him, house republicans give council on the stimulus program, and congressman kantor give suggestions and he isut off by the president saying, i won. and you see it this year. the president says we have -- congressman ryan in january, he has a serious set of proposals. bed and april he invites but -- then in april he invites him into the front row and savages him over a proposal he called serious and the sprg, first offered by senator john breaux.
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we saw i in july when the president has this unique moment to bring the country together, and what does he do? three paragraphs from that and he says, and there's another philosophy and another approach. we should give back all the money and regulations and tell everybody you are on your own, but that is not the way of america. how was that bipartisan cooperation when you insult the people you are trying to get to pass this bill? and then the president is going on the campaig trail, last week, i know what the republican economic growth plan is, "but have dirtier air, water, fewer people with health insurance." that is not the language of somebody who wants to bring the country together [applause] i know dr. summers says duncan to the past, but there is an instructive lesson. we had a sghtly more
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contentious election that present obama. dick gephardt was asked twice, the think that bush is legitimate elected? the democratic leader said i refuse to answer the question. yet in june with a democratic senate would at the bush tax cuts passed and a quarter of the democrats voted for it. why? because we negotiated, we try to come to agreement and did things we did not want to do. if we're going to get this done on entitlements, we have to do that. let me say something about taxes. i think we ought to focus on a tax system that generates more revenues as a result of economic growth. i would be interested in what our budget experts and economists think, we have budget scoring rules and congress that impossible -- we have a static scoring rule when it comes to taxes, so if we have a pro- growth plan, the congressional
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budget office course it as neutral. we have to find a way to make systematic reforms with budgeting. two-year budget, 0-based budgeting, as court rules that to not allow us to get away with the gimmicks we get away with and does not allow us to understand the economic implications of things like pro- growth economic plans. >> senator simpson sitting next to you justaid taxes need to be on the table, but he is correct saying most republicans say raising taxes is not the right thing to do it ever, let alone now. how do you respond? >> i am not sure now is the time for an across-the-board tax increase. t where the president could get agreement was on taxing spending. we ought to be looking at tax expenditures that did not help. these are subes

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