tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN June 4, 2013 1:00am-6:01am EDT
harrison was the son except for the bushes, would be the only son of a -- because that was his grandfather, not his father , that was president -- grandfather and son. but the grandfather's father signed the declaration of independence. as one of the virginia signers. and berkley, you can see on the james river, open to the public, and they were distinguished virginia family and in politics for years and years and when william henry harrison went to be inaugurated, he went to berkley where he been born. i don't know whether benjamin harrison ever went but he was very conscious of being the grandson of a founder. i mean the great-grandson of a founder and the grandson of a president. >> just to summarize that, then, there have been two father-son combinations. i do not know whether benjamin harrison ever went.
>> so there have been two father-son combinations, adams and the bushes, and this is the only grandfather-grandson pair. and the campaign, benjamin harrison's campaign was all about little tippecanoe. >> you saw the log cabin in there. >> that was his grandfather's cabin. and they said he sits his grandfather's hat, so there were a lot of hats as campaign device. >> did caroline's interest in the presidency fuel her desire for her to be d.a.r. president or vice versa? to apps that question, it's interesting that she took on the role as the president general of the d.a.r. --
>> there's a story there. >> i thought there would be. >> the d.a.r. is always misunderstood. the d.a.r. was founded by working women who were supporting themselves, their children, perhaps, whatever, there were four major ones and many others, it was founded in the fall of 1890 and some -- for some way, caroline harrison became involved, probably because of all the 1789 centennial, centennial of president washington's inauguration. so they persuaded her to be first president and she made the first recorded address made by a first lady to their convention. the d.a.r. had a lot to do with working women who were in the field and not being treated like ladies -- >> particularly in the
government agencies in washington. >> yes. they showed descent from the revolution, i'm just as good as you are but mrs. harrison saw political promise in it and she taught the d.a.r. to be political, they never intended that. they met in the blue room at their first meeting and she told them how to do it. >> but it was a working job, it was busying required a lot of energy on her part. >> i think it did. she had a lot of support from the founders. >> could we imagine a first daily take -- lady taking on a role like this? >> i could. >> it would depend on how overtly political people would think it was. but i could certainly imagine somebody doing something like that today. >> to clarify -- james asked, did caroline start the d.a.r.? the answer is no. but she agreed to run it and brought it -- >> visibility, legitimacy a place to meet. helped sort of smooth over the political differences within the
group, you know, people wanting different offices and so forth. so by taking the president general position, she sort of quelled a lot of that, you know, i want the position, i want the position. >> what was happening overall with the women's movement? women still don't have the right to vote in this country. >> they do not have the right to vote. the suffrage movement was finally coming together in 1890 after having been split since the end of the civil war. one group wanted to go the constitutional route, the other group wanted to have it done state by state. in other words, a states' rights approach. and they fought each other for a generation and finally in 1890, they had a meeting in washington in 1888 and decided to unify the suffrage movement so that was going on at the national level, as i mentioned before, the home economics movement began in 1890, the club movement had progressed from local and state groups to national groups in 1890, you have the white club
the black clubs, the jewish women's clubs, and they all get started in the early 1990's. the women are really beginning to organize and lobby very loudly for women's progress. >> harold in connecticut. your question? >> thank you very much for this wonderful series. i was just wondering, if your guests know anything, you were discussing the china services at the white house. do you know anything about the silver collections?
and how both the hollow ware and flat ware were being developed at the white house, and lastly, when did lennox china begin its first production for the white house, if you know? thank you so much and thank you for a great series. >> i can answer the question about the lennox china, that was the wilson administration. up until that time, there had been no ceramic manufacturer that could equal the quality of european ceramics and so almost all of the 19th century and even some of the early 20th century china ware that was ordered for the white house was from france, except for that of theodore and edith roosevelt and they used wedgewood. but it wasn't until the wilson administration that lennox was producing the kind of ceramic ware they felt was proper for the white house and that was the first order from lennox. >> on the silver front, it's a strange story. silver, big orders of silver, such as the white house, in the
as early as james monroe?s, came in trunks with trays and you had little depressions in there where a knife would fit exactly here so if you had a dozen knives, they'd be in a fan or line. these trays would come out. when it was all washed after dinner, you could look at the trays and if there wasn't a hole, a vacant place, it was all there. it lasted all those years through the 19th century and there were increases but they had all the trunks. mrs. william howard taft went on one of those -- lesser tour than mrs. harrison, but a tour we were talking about, and she saw those dirty old trunks as she said and she had the silver taken out and put in drawers like anyone does at home today and had the trunks thrown away and the silver was decimated. it began to go out with the
garbage. a lot of it remains but you began to lose it, if you can't count it. >> that is painful. >> it's like the decayed furnishings sales at the white house, all these things thought to be out of date were sold at auction. they had huge auctions and all of this marvelous stuff my grated out of the white house. >> sam is washing us in cherry hill, new jersey. you're on, sam. >> hello, there. i had a question about mrs. harrison's ill health. let me begin by saying i am a huge caroline harrison fan, i've been following her for years but did her ill health have any effect on the amount of work she was able to do in her husband's administration? do you think it prevented her taking on more work in the administration? she was a beautiful woman and could have had a lot of influence.
>> she had tuberculosis and stayed busy -- tuberculosis and depression, really. but finally she couldn't fight it anymore, it was really the only -- only the last two months of her life that were bad, everything happened to her in october, she was born in october, died in october, the d.a.r. was founded in october. >> before we leave her influences, there's a story about her support for johns hopkins that you need to tell. >> ok. well, the back story is that johns hopkins had built a hospital and was going to build a medical school with graduate education and they built the hospital but they ran out of money for the medical school. and so a young woman whose name was mary elizabeth gear rhett, who was the daughter of the owner of the baltimore and ohio railroad, had a group of women, all of whom had their fathers on the board at johns hopkins university, and so they would meet regularly in a group they called the friday. not the friday club, the friday.
and they referred to themselves in their memos and stuff as girls. the girls decided to take on this project. mary elizabeth garrett had been her father's sort of right hand person. she'd traveled with him, watched him make, as donald trump would say, the art of the deal. and so she was very aware that this was the time that they should tell johns hopkins that they would raise the money that was needed for this medical school, if the medical school would admit women on the same equal basis as men. well, it took the men on the board a little aback and took them a while to sort of come around to the idea but there
were all these incredible women that she had contact with and i will read you some of their names, they were mrs. leland stanford, -- >> stanford university -- >> of stanford university. and mrs. potter palmer, whose husband built the palmer house in chicago. julia ward howe. elizabeth blackwell, the first female doctor in the country. luisa katherine adams who i think was a granddaughter of the first luisa katherine, the first lady. ann carrie thomas, head of bryn mawr. these women decided this would be their mission, they were going to raise $100,000 to help johns hopkins put up this medical school and the men acquiesced and the women divided the country into 15 geographical regions and invited caroline harrison to be the person in charge of washington, d.c. --
caroline harrison to be the person in charge of washington, d.c. she had several receptions in the white house and of course this was wonderful publicity and legitimacy for this group of women and their mission to get women into the medical school and she also went to baltimore several times. and was the guest of honor at the reception that mary elizabeth fware rhett held. it was a very successful kind of lobbying, if you will, and the women came through and raised the money. >> and caroline harrison used the white house to advance the causes she was interested in. >> absolutely. >> on our next video we'll learn more about that as we once again visit the harrison home in indianapolis. >> caroline harrison was one of the first first ladies to have her own ideas to renovate the white house. we have fabrics here, this one
was used in the east room and there are just lots of different fabrics here, little swatches, nice velvets in different colors and we have you know, the pale greens used in her bedroom, i believe, you have gold an green here, just all the different fabrics that were used when she was redecorating the white house as well. you can see the different shades. and we have a little book that frances johnson was the photographer in the white house at the time and she took a lot of photographs than little book is a compiling of those but it also has a description of the rooms and the colors that were used by mrs. harrison along with the photographs of the rooms once they were decorated. and then we have just lots of things that they saved from those state dinners and things like the ribbons here, bows, it actually has the white house image on there and the date of the event.
this is mrs. harrison, january 19, 1892. and different colors, different ribbons they would use, this is from a february dinner in 1892, it's been untied but we have the white house image at one end, the date at the other end. we have place cards in our collection as well. the card with the eagle, mrs. harrison, january 20, 1891. we have another one for mrs. mckee, the daughter, so we have executive mansion on the one side and the event, may 29, 1891, on the other. one more here for the president, for the january 20, 1891 event, as well.
and then also just below this section, a lot of the ribbons, again, nice red, white, and blue, these were all for the same event but different colors, we have the eagle on one end and the date, april 23, 1890 on the other in there for them as well. >> they entertained and some of the historic preservation of the events in the white house, interesting to see. become to telephone calls, marge is watching us in charleston, south carolina. >> hello, what a wonderful program, i am so thrilled. my question may be a little premature but as the prime historian of the first ladies, can you, in your opinion, tell us which may have been the most despised? which may have been the most loved? and my second question is, is it true nancy reagan bribed the designers to give her her dresses for free? >> wow. well the most despised -- >> was there one?
>> i don't know that i would use that term. there were people who greatly disliked eleanor roosevelt. >> but i don't think they despised her. >> i don't think they despised her. i think they respected her even though -- >> some didn't like mary lincoln. they loved to hate. >> i think mary lincoln also was very much hated and that had to do with the civil war, i think, as much as neg. >> most loved? >> probably dolly madison is who i would choose, or jacqueline kennedy in the modern time. >> mamie eisenhower. >> she was very well loved. and what was the last part of her question? >> oh -- >> the dresses for nancy reagan. >> oh, nancy reagan did receive dresses for free from -- as a form of advertising for the different designers who gave them to her.
>> was -- would people have designed dresses and given them to the first ladies or would they have purchased them? >> i think after nancy reagan -- >> i mean in the days we're in right now, 1890's and -- people becoming interested in fashion, were they supporting american -- >> i don't think so. >> they did it in europe. the designers, the same way movie stars are today, in europe, the nobility and people like that wore clothes, that's how worth in paris got its name. >> but i'm not familiar with anything that went on like this, in this particular period, maybe we didn't know. >> sharon in sacramento. >> hello. >> hi, sharon, we're listening. >> you talked a little while ago about the father-sons who have been president. i'm wondering about benjamin's father, what did he do? was he in poll techs? did it skip a generation? and did he live to see benjamin become president? >> that's one for bill.
>> that's one that bill doesn't know. he was in politics. >> he was. >> i think a congressman. >> yeah, he was. but whether he had died before harrison went to office, i don't know. >> i don't know that either. >> so the question is yes, his father was in poll techs, though he didn't make it to the level of his own father or his son but we don't know the answer, sorry, about whether or not he was there for the inauguration of his son. next up, marie in lovejoy, georgia. hi, marie. >> hi. i love this show and your guests, my question is, what was the salary of the president, from washington to harrison, compared to today? >> $25,000 a year had been the salary, it went up to $75,000
for grant and it stayed there forever and ever. >> that was good money in those days. >> it was. and what they usually would do is they would spend it because they had to in the first term and pay their debt, second term they'd try to -- try to squirrel it away for retirement. lincoln was toning that. jefferson did it, of course he was no businessman. but then for every term, you have $20,000 you didn't have to account for. and that finally got up to $50,000 and more. and the first person that -- the president they made account for it was president truman in just a mean-spirited act from congress. they made him account for every penny of that but normally it was something realizing there were extra expenses they had to do. >> next is gail in palm coast, florida. hi, actually. >> i was wondering, since jacqueline kennedy, first ladies have been foremost in our country with hairstyles and fashion, was caroline harrison the same way? she was such a beautiful lady. >> i don't think so.
>> i don't think so. enge it was frances cleveland and certainly not caroline at that point in her life. >> ms. cleveland was into style. people would borrow her name, soaps and things would borrow her name without permission, it infuriated the president. >> and put her image on every kind of conceivable tchotchkes anybody wanted to sell. grover was so angered by that he tried to get a bill through congress to stop it. talking about from jacqueline kennedy on, actually, mamie eisenhower was the one who, i think, in modern times started the whole thing with fashion. remember her mamie bangs and the fact that she would buy fashionable clothes and she was approached by designers to wear their clothing and their hats and was on the best dressed list for many years in the white house. >> 1892, benjamin harrison is a candidate for re-election. the economy is in tough shape and he is once again in a rematch with former president
cleveland, and caroline harrison becomes more and more ill. can you tell the story of her death? >> she just declined and declined. he could have been re-elected but he was so devastated -- >> did he not send her to the adirondacks to recover? >> he did. and they tried to get her to go to montana to recover. >> the whole family went to the adirondacks with her. >> she died in the white house in 1892. >> the second of the only two first ladies to die in the white house. >> leticia tyler was the first. >> was there a big state funeral, one of our viewers want to know. >> it was in the east room but it was not a state funeral. >> the people you have to invite
were there, but it was in the east room, there's a photograph of her coffin covered in roses, pink roses. she died and had he worked harder he could have won in that campaign because what he was saying was flavored with reform and what grover cleveland was doing was bringing back the past. and it didn't happen. i mean, cleveland won. >> the other thing that i think is very notable about that is that neither of them, out of respect for caroline and her health and then subsequently her death, actually did much campaigning. >> he didn't make speeches. >> nor did cleveland. >> cleveland never did make
campaign speeches. >> it would be interesting to see what would happen today if there was a great death if we would abstain from campaigning as they did back then. so what happened to the official white house in the days after her death? did someone else step in to act as first lady? >> i think lady mckee did. >> the mother of baby mckee. benjamin harrison went on to remarry. can you tell us about that? >> he remarried care loin's niece who had been her social secretary and also an aide to him as the president. and she had lost both of her parents when she was very young so they brought her into the family, sort of as, you know, another daughter, into the family. and she looked at both of them, i think, for most of the time as parents, you know, substitute parents. whether -- >> elizabeth wasn't still living
>> her mother had died in the white house. caroline's sister. >> the nice was a widow. >> she was a widow. and without parents. so they, you know, brought her into the family. >> so benjamin harrison after the death of his wife said, for me, there is no staying and losing the election. after the heavy blow, the death of my wife dealt me, i do not think i could have stood the strain a re-election would have brought. how many years the defeat did he remarry? >> four. four or five. >> they married in 1896. there was a great scuffle about it. it was considered the wrong thing to do by a lot of the public. >> certainly by the children. they were furious. >> she had been there with them almost like a sister and it was very shocking to them. and they had a child. >> holly hunt asked, having read that benjamin harrison remarried
after caroline died to her nice, wants to know, was there evidence of them having an affair while caroline was still alive? >> no. oh, no. >> it's interesting, one of the articles i read talks about memorandums written by george cordelio, mckinley's and then later theodore roosevelt's chief of staff, in which he says he had a conversation with robert mckee, the father of baby mckee, who lived in the white house the entire time and the story was that mckee told george that caroline was so distressed because she thought she was losing him to the younger niece, that she was going to move out of the white house. and that he personally talked her out of it because of the scandal that would come down on the family and the presidency. i don't know whether -- who knows but that was --
>> he worked for harrison, george did. >> you're skeptical? >> and the people at the harrison home are very skeptical as well. >> as edie said she was like a child to them. but then they he married her, they had a baby, a little girl. the public will always give its opinion. >> lewis is watching us in los angeles and has a question. >> yes, i do. i'm enjoying this series and keep it up. i have two questions. you said that you had a recorded caroline the first lady was the first first laity to have her voice recorded and do we have one of the president? my second question is, what was the president, president harrison's views on civil rights at the time? thank you.
>> i don't know where that recorded is, i assume the daughters of the american revolution have it in their extensive library in washington but the harrisons were both committed to civil rights. i said earlier, he fought his whole time different ways and -- he had a very legalistic mind, of course, and looked for ways of sharing the vote to the african-american male, of course, remember it wouldn't have been -- white women weren't voting either but they were very committed to it and very public about it. >> and they were saying that one of the favorite people -- groups of people that visited the front porch during the campaign were african-american groups. >> crystal in terra haute, indiana, your question about benjamin harrison or his wife. >> this question is about mrs. harrison and it's on the line of the civil rights question. i know mrs. lincoln had an african-american that was a
friend of hers, i thought i read she was a confidant of mrs. lincoln. i know mrs. harrison had several helpers and servants at the white house, but did she have a special relationship with any of her african-american helpers or servants? and what was her relationship to them? >> i don't know. >> there were always african- americans except one brief period in 1859-1860, the butlers and people like that sort of ran things and she perhaps had a maid or somebody that -- but i don't know. >> i don't know whether there was a personal friendship of any kind. >> here is the not quite four years of her tenure of caroline harrison and what she's known for. >> so where does she fit in the pantheon of first laities? >> unfortunately, obscurely.
>> yes. >> why unfortunately? >> she did more than most. and the seeds of what she did -- >> they've come to fruition. certainly her vision of the historic nature of the white house and the fact that it should be reflecting the united states as this up and coming power in the world, i think were motivating factors in trying to get the white house renovated and reconstructed and her grand vision for what the white house could become and i think she also is probably the first who correctly understood that the
white house was the historic repository of the american people and of the presidency and she -- i think the white house china collection was one of the things she did, the fact that she used antiques that she kind of resurrected from the attic and the basement, so i think she, you know, she was a predecessor for people like mrs. coolidge and mrs. hoover who tried to do inventories of the white house she kid the first -- she did the first inventory i'm aware of. and her vision of the historic nature of the white house and its collections and her campaigns for the betterment of women were very important but not picked up on in her own time. >> here's one from facebook, what modern day first laity would caroline compare most to?
>> dare i say rosalind carter who was a quiet first lady but was very busy trying to do worthy things? i guess, you know, -- >> betty ford and her -- >> less public -- betty ford was awfully public -- not awfully but public. ms. carter wasn't. >> she was a much quieter, more behind the scenes kind of person but i also -- i want to say jacqueline kennedy in the sense of her sense of the white house and historic preservation and why that's important to the presidency. >> we began 90 minutes ago with the thesis that caroline harrison was one of the more underrated first lady. we hope we have demonstrated some of the ways she perhaps should be better known than she is.
i want to say thanks to our guests for being here for the help they've supplied in the series. next week, ida mckinley will be the final first lady in our first season of first laities, taking us into the new century and we look forward to seeing you then. >> thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
>> "first ladies. influence and image" continues next monday, when we focus on ida mckinley who appeared regularly at front porch rallies in 1896. she was the third first laity to lose her husband to an assassin. next monday in the final program of season one of "first ladies: influence and image.? you can watch or listen on c- span, c-span3, c-span radio and online at c- span.org/firstladies. our website has more about the first laities, including a special section, welcome to the white house, produced by our partner, the white house historical association, which
chronicles live in the executive mansion in the tenure of each of the first ladies. with the association we're offering a special edition of the book "first ladies of the united states of america" with a biography and portrait of each first lady and thoughts from michelle obama on the role of first ladies, now available for the discounted price of $12.95 plus shipping at c- span.org/products. >> c-span, created by america's cable companies in 1979, bought to you as a public service by >>ur television provider. president obama speaks at the white house conference on mental illness. , aabout 20 minutes georgetown university for on the president's second term.
>> president obama opened the white house conference on mental health on monday saying the goal is to bring the conversation on mental health out of the shadows. this is 20 minutes. >> good morning and welcome. i feel deeply honored to be here with you today to openly discuss the very important topic of mental health in america today.
mental health disorders affect tens of millions of people throughout our country each year. due to unnecessary stigma, only a small handful will receive treatment, and instead suffer in silence. those who do receive treatment will be left to face feelings of shame, guilt, and secrecy. i understand these challenges all too well. i connect with this topic deeply because i've been there i was 15 on august 5 of 1999 when suicide took my brother's life at the young age of 20. in the acre of grass next to our childhood home where he used to laugh and play together. eight years later, at the age of 23 i was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. after suffering for years in silence.
as i begun to heal, however, i had this overwhelming urge to share my story with others and i have been able to do that for the past three years through active minds, a national nonprofit organization that empowers students to openly discuss mental health issues on campuses nationwide. the tens of millions of people who are suffering, they're our friends, our family members, our neighbors and colleagues, and it's time we pull together to put an end to the suffering and to the silence. and now it is my pleasure and honor to introduce to you the president of the united states, president barack obama. [applause]
>> thank you, everybody. thank you so much. everybody please have a seat. thank you so much. welcome to the white house and thank you janelle, for that introduction and sharing your story and making such a difference through your organization. we're really proud to have you here. i want to thank secretary sebelius, secretary arne duncan, secretary shinseki in organizing this event and i want to acknowledge some outstanding members of congress who are here and who care deeply about this issue. finally, i want to thank all of you for participating in this national conference on mental health. we want to bring together folks who suffered from mental illness and families who supported them, we wanted to bring together advocates and educators, faith leaders, veterans, local officials, all of you have shown an extraordinary commitment to
what is a critical goal and that is to make sure that people aren't suffering in silence and that we have the capacity to pull together all the resources and support and love that's out there. to go after an extraordinary challenge in our society. the main goal of this conference is not to start a conversation, so many of you have spent decades waging long and lonely battles to be heard. enstead it's about elevating that conversation to a national level. and bringing mental illness out of the shadows. we want to let people living with mental health challenges know that they are not alone and we've got to be making sure that we're committed to support those fellow americans. because struggling with a mental illness or caring for someone
who does can be isolating. i think everybody here who has experienced this tissue the issue in one way or another understands that. you know, it -- it begins to feel as if not only are you alone, but that you shouldn't burden others with the challenge. and the darkness, day in, day out, what some call a cloud that you can't seem to escape, begins to close in. the truth is, in any given year, one in five adults experience mental illness. one in five. 45 million americans suffer from things like depression or anxiety. schizophrenia or ptsd. young people are affected at a similar rate. so we all know somebody, a family member, a friend, a
neighbor who has struggled or will struggle with mental health issues at some point in their lives. official and i have both known people who battled severe depression over the years, people we love, and oftentimes those who seek treatment go on to lead happy, healthy, productive lives, so we know recovery is possible. we know help is available. yet as a society we often think about mental health differently than other forms of health. you see commercials on tv about a whole array of physical health issues, some of them very personal. [laughter] and yet we whisper about mental health issues. and avoid asking too many questions. the brain is a body part too. we just know less about it.
there should be no shame in discussing or seeking help for treatable illnesses that affect too many people that we love. we've got to get rid of that embarrassment, that stigma. too many people who struggle with mental health illnesses are still suffering in silence rather than seeking health. we need to see that men and women who would never hesitate to go see a doctor if they had a broken arm or came down with the flu, that they have that same attitude when it comes to their mental health. we've seen veterans who come home from the battlefield with the invisible wounds of war but who feel somehow that seeking treatment is a sign of weakness, when in fact it's a sign of strength. we see it in parents who would do anything for their kids, but who often fight their mental health battle alone, afraid that reaching out would somehow reflect badly on them. we see it in the tragedies we
have the power to prevent. i want to be absolutely clear, the overwhelming majority of people who suffer from mental illnesses are not violent. they will never pose a threat to themselves or others, and there are a whole lot of violent people with no diagnosable mental health issue. we also know most suicides each year involve someone with a mental health or substance abuse disorder and in some cases when a condition goes untreated it can lead to tragedy on a larger scale. we can do something about stories like these. in many cases, treatment is available and effective. we can help people who suffer from a mental illness continue to be great colleagues, great friends, you know, the people we love. we can take out some pain. and give them a new sense of hope. but it requires all of us to act. and there are a few ways we can
do our part. first, we've got to do a better job recognizes mental health issues in our children and tissue to make it easier for americans of all ages to seek help. today, less than 40% of people with mental illness receive treatment. let's than 40%. even though three quarters of mental illnesses emerge by the age of 24, only about half of children with mental health problems receive treatment. think about it, we wouldn't accept it if only 40% of americans with cancer got treatment. we wouldn't accept it if only half of young people with diabetes got help. why should we accept it when it comes to mental health? doesn't make any sense. the good news is, there are plenty of groups that are stepping up to change that. so a former colleague of mine, gordon smith, former republican
senator who lost his son to suicide 10 years ago, and i remember him speaking so eloquently about it, gordon is now the head of the national association of broadcasters and today, the national association of broadcasters is announcing a new campaign designed to change attitudes about mental illness through tv ads and social media because gordon doesn't want other parents to go through the agonizing loss that he's endured. so we thank you, gordon, for that great work. [applause] we have secondary school principals holding assemblies on mental health. organizations like the ymca are volunteering to train staff to recognize the signs of depression and other mental illnesses in our young people. we have leaders from different faith communities who are
getting their congregation involved. and dozens of other organizations have today made similar commitments, so we're very thankful to all of you. others are lead big example, my great friend patrick kennedy when he was running for re- election in 2006 could have avoided talking about his struggles with bipolar disorder and addiction. let's face it, he's a kennedy. you know. he was -- everybody loved him. and yet patrick used his experience as a way to connect. and to lift up these issues, not hide from them. and one day a woman came up to patrick at a senior center and told him she was afraid to tell her friends she was taking
medication for a mental illness because she was worried they might treat her differently. she told patrick, you're the only one who knows aside from my son. and so patrick started realizing how much power there could be for people to speak out on these issues and patrick carried these stories back with him to washington where he worked with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including his dad, to make sure the mental health services you get through your insurance plan at work are covered the same way that physical health services are. [applause] so because of patrick's efforts and other colleagues who worked with him, it's easier for millions of people to join him
on the road to recovery. which min brings me to a second point. it's not enough to help more americans seek treatment, we have to make sure the treatment is there when they're ready to seek it. for years now, our mental health system has struggled to serve people who depend on it. that's why under the affordable care act, we're expanding mental health and substance abuse benefits for more than 60 million americans. new health insurance. [applause] new health insurance plans are required to cover things like depression screenings for adults and behavior assessments for children and beginning next year, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny anybody coverage because of a pre-existing mental health condition. we're also -- we're also investing in science and basic research to make it easier to diagnose and treat disease early and earlier this year, i
announced an ambitious initiative to develop tools for mapping the human brain which could help scientists and researchers unlock the answers to conditions that affect mental health. we're also doing more to support our troops. our veterans. who are suffering from things like traumatic brain injury or ptsd, post-traumatic stress disorder. today we louvre 22 veterans a day to suicide. 22. we've got to do a better job than that of preventing these all too often silent tragedies. that's why we poured an enormous am of resources into high quality care and better treatment for our troops.
today, under shinseki's leadership, they're reducing wait times for veterans seeking mental health care. they've met their goal of hiring 1,600 new health care providers which mean this is summer they'll hold more than 150 summits like this one in communities across the country so every one of our service members and veterans understand, just like you take care of yourselves and each other on the battlefield, you got to do the same thing off the battlefield. it's part of being strong. for many people who suffer from mental illness, recovery can be challenging. but what helps more than anything, what gives so many of our friends an loved ones strength, is the knowledge that you're not alone. you're not alone. you're surrounded by people who care about you and who will support you on the journey to
get well. we're here for you. that's what this conference is about. that's why these issues are so important. so if there's anybody out there who is listening, if you're struggling, seek help. >> thank you, mr. president. >> you're welcome. [applause] if you know somebody who is struggling, help them reach out. remember the family members who shoulder their own burdens and need our support as well. and more than anything, let people who are suffering in silence know that recovery is possible. they're not alone, there's hope, there's possibility. and that's what all of you represent with the extraordinary advocacy and work you've already done. thank you all for being here.
let's do everything we can to help our fellow americans heal and thrive. now i would like to turn it over to secretary sebelius who will be leading our opening panel. [applause] >> now a georgetown university forum about how president obama's second term may affect his legacy. this is a little more than an [applause] >> thank you so much, i want to thank the loyal georgetown alums
for coming back, including members of our panel. i want to tell you as somebody who teaches here, the new generation of georgetown students is doing you proud. when i say i truly love georgetown, i can give you evidence for that, my wife is a georgetown grad, we got married at the chapel. we have a lot of parties in the public policy school in front of the chapel, my teen said, it must be nice to walk by where you get married. i said, it is. then i paused, and i said, and it's a good thing we're still married. i was thinking about today's panel, it's called cementing a legacy, it could be called a fool'ser rand, and it could be call that because determining a legacy at this point, an eighth into his second term, consider, for instance, if we'd had such a discussion about ronald reagan in the midst of the iran- contrascandal, his legacy would be different.
harry truman was extremely disliked when he left office and new republican -- and now republicans and kems identify with his legacy. but in 35 seconds, to put what we might discuss, what might business legacy be, ending the great depression? the re-lution in gay merge, education reform, budget issues, notably the end of the bush tax cut for high income people and perhaps immigration, maybe even gun control. in terms of his political legacy two victories built on high african-american turnout, gains aamong latinos, substantial margins among the young but
democrats lost the house, had severe set bas in governorships in 2010 and state legislative lossdzes gave the republicans control over redistricting which is fwoning to strengthen them for a long time out. can obama's coalition be recreated? do demographic trends favor the democrats? where can the republicans chip away at obama's majority, choices on iraq, afghanistan, his latest speech on terrorism, drones, asia, the recent unpleasantness, i'm thinking of benghazi, iraq, and the i.r.s. and finally is there a philosophical legacy here? we have a lot to talk about even if our judgments today might not be exactly what they would be if we reconvened, and i hope we do, and i hope you all come back at the end of president obama's term.
let me start with a broadly general question, which is, and i'll start with my colleague chris, we have two chrises on the panel, i may refer to that chris as the fifth as he often referred to himself. he -- >> it's a contract. >> he refers to his son as fix jr. on he blog. so let me start with the fix and then work down the panel. which is where do you see president obama now and chris actually put a couple of issues on the table which, you know, in judging that, which include, you know, how does his style contribute to that and also how does the changing mood in washington since the days the class of 1983 was here. and ron, class of 1988, brought along his own cheering section, including his wonderful wife. >> always good to seed the
audience. >> so i think where he is now is that he is the sort of best campaigner in the country by far. he's the best candidate we've seen. he is someone with real, whether you like him -- i always say this to people and almost everybody feels one way or the other, whether you like him or disleek, he was tremendous as a candidate. speaking ability is well known, unless people say what's tissue pay attention to it. but he's the first guy to raise $1 billion ever. he's someone who is very gifted at those things. i think he has struggled more and i think his aides including dan pfeiffer, who graduated my year and is now a senior advisor, would agree he has struggled more on the governance side of things. because i write a blog, i can hear people in the conference section saying he struggled because republicans have blocked him. that is in part true, though --
well, it's in large part true though i remind people then he was elected he had a democrat controlled house and senate. he could not get health care -- eventually got through but it was not how they would want it to have gone through. the stimulus went through with a few votes from republicans, one of whom wound up switching and becoming a democrat, arlen specter. the question as you go forward, barack obama if you read the span of his career and i urge you to read our colleague david marana s's book about obama and who he is, always has seen himself as someone who can bridge the ungridgeable -- unbridgeable gap. in his life in general, his life story is unbelievable, again whether you leek him or december leek him, it's unbelieve thble that this kid, david went to indonesia and stood on the street barack obama lived on as a young kid and he was like, this is as far as you could possibly be from being elected to the white house.
that's a good way -- that's amazing that that person gets elected. but he's always been uniquely giffletted and feels hymn uniquely able to bridge unbridgeable divides and solve problems no one else can solve. when he ran in 2008 his premise in part was, fwoth is broken and i'm the one who can fix it. he has not so far done that. blame lies in a lot of places, including with republicans who found their voice in opposing him but again he made a big pledge, that he was going to change how washington worked. he has not yet done that. gun control is the latest example where, including by some of his own party he struggled. i think his legacy is up in the air as -- in materials of his governance record. his record as a candidate is hard to argue with. he beat hillary clinton in a primary and then won, you know, 332 electoral vote, his electoral record is pretty good.
>> chris? >> i think i'm the only panel member who lives currently way beyond the beltway and when i was a student here i remember, and then worked on the hill, i remember people referring to washington as 67 square miles sur rond by reality. i'm back in the hinterlands. those of you who may read my blog, straight scoop politics, know while i have run for office as a democrat, i'm an independent political analyst. i see any president who builds a legacy, there's two significant elements. one is the turf they're operating in and the second their leadership skills to get the job done in that climate. i recall and some of you may have worked, one of the beauties of going to georgetown, we have opportunities to work on the hill when we're going through school, i did that as an undergraduate here and at law school, that was in the 1980's and 1990's and the environment
down here was so different. the travel budgets for members of congress were low. many members stayed in washington over weekends. that was -- these are what i want to call the elements that made life more productive and efficient in government way back when. now it still was political but these were the elements. the travel budgets. members were here. you'd go into the restaurants on the hill and in churches on sunday, you'd see members around. on friday, killing each other on the floor of the house or the senate but buy bithe time they had played cards over the weekend, very often on monday, not in all cases but very often they were able to cut a deal on something. number two, you didn't have these wonderful stations like c- span and the cable networks and because of that, there wasn't a 24/7 news cycle. people who served in the house and senate and i knew this well when i was state legislator as well, you could take a tough
vote and the president would be working with people who would take tough votes and they'd have time to go home and explain it to their constituents before they were being blasted all over their tv. and the third element is the money. campaign financing has skyrocketed and so back in those days, for a four-year presidential cycle, you had at least two years to work some things out that may be controversial and in a two-year congressional cycle you had at least the first year before it got super flill political. now as we all know that's hard. president obama has today's climate and that's tough. barack obama is not bill clinton. barack obama if you watched him as i have and i'm sure you have the last few years, he loved being the chairman of the board he doesn't really enjoy the nitty-gritty of being the c.e.o. and running the country.
bill clinton was very detail oriented. then i was a senate chief of staff he'd be working the phones cons tavently and knew the nuances of legislation. thanks to a georgetown grad who is now the chief of staff to the president, you know, he's been starting this routine by inviting the member of the house and senate to dinner but it's a little too late. you have to have built those relationships in the first term in order to build on that. and he hasn't. can it work? it can work but it's difficult to pick up when you're starting now. plus he, wron if you saw "the new york times" magazine section article, it was a few years back, it was too psychological for me but it talked about his upbringing and how his relationship or not relationship with his father affected his dealings with other people and makes them reluctant to really get close and work with members of congress. i don't know whether that is true or not because i don't know him that well. but i know the leadership art of
and the campaigning. we have seen him. the more he does that, the more it antagonizes the republican side and makes it tougher for him to cut a deal. he has to balance off that part of it. i don't want to go on too long. >> i have a very different perspective than chris and christine. one of the most significant in our time. first, there is the economic turnaround. you can agree or disagree with economic policies, but the naff the math on the numbers,
national welcome housing prices, and the greatest nominal reduction of any president in history. saving the auto industry and turning around the economy, that will be his legacy. then health reform. ending the time in our country where people could lose their homes and their bank accounts because they didn't have health care coverage, that is an achievement, a historic achievement. it is a 100-year project to getting with president wilson about building a social safety net. workman's comp, the new deal, i think our social safety as a country is complete. i think that ended with president obama. i think that is a historic landmark. he ended three wars that began on september 11. the war in iraq, the war in afghanistan, and the war against al qaeda.
i teach on campus today. for children today, this is a war they have lived with since they were nine years old. without those wars to come -- with those wars coming to an end under this president, that is tremendous. we also have our first nonwhite present, but will be on that, what has happened in our inclusion of gay, and lesbian americans. gays are serving openly in our military, the inclusion of his antics as a significant part -- the inclusion of hispanics as a significant part of our politics. i think that inclusiveness, that change of the dominant paradigm
in our society is also a historic landmark. the economic turnaround health care, ending the wars, and the inclusiveness of people of color, gays, hispanics, all of this changes our society. i think those are four complaint week -- those are four complete historical outcomes. >> if i ever need a lawyer, i am going to hire ron maclean. although i wouldn't be able to afford it. [laughter] let me go back to the beginning on president obama. to me, there was always a potential contradiction in his original 2008 promise, even though you don't have to see it as a contradiction. on the one hand, he ran as a resident who would bring red and blue together. there's no red american there's
there is the united states of america. -- no blue america. there is the united states of america. it was structurally impossible from the day he walked into the white house. on the other hand, he promised to be a progressive reformer who would really change the country. indeed, on your list, notably, healthcare, dodd frank, and financial reform and some of the things that actually happened -- there was that sort of reform. but he has been caught between the two and judged often on the basis of one and not the other. at times, he seems to have made people on both sides unhappy. let me start with ron on that since you made the bold defense. >> i think the record and the historical achievements speak for themselves. i think a way in which we got some of these things was very different than the way president obama thought we would get to them in 2008. i think there are a lot of
reasons to compare him to woodrow wilson as a president. largely progressive achievements, but sometimes working with people on the right and sharply criticized by people in his own party and accused of being out of touch. although editorial cartoons at the time had president wilson has a professor lecturing the congress. however he has gotten it done -- and it has been it for and ways of working, sometimes just with democrats and sometimes across the aisle sometimes by executive action, and sometimes by commander-in-chief on the war, and setting the tone on the inclusiveness, i think he has got it done. >> incidentally, for those interested, a friend and colleague at the brookings institute rudy wonderful essay comparing woodrow wilson and barack obama in suggesting, sort of detailing much of your case on this.
>> i don't disagree on ron's points on his achievement. people criticized him for moving off the stimulus and taking on health care. but he was record doing that. i think in time, while it is controversial now and we should be grasping at now more and talking about the implementation in a more positive light than he has recently, in time, that will be a major achievement. i do think that taking us from the verge of a fiscal cliff as we were in 2009 and sipping that is true. -- and saving that is true. but the cost issues, like the grand bargain, people want him to achieve on the deficit. it probably will not be achieved in the next three and a half to four years. it is a failure that i think the public, in the long-term, will regret that he didn't achieve.
i think joe biden has been an enormous asset. let's face it. he can take credit for being chief of staff there. i met joe when i was -- i had just gotten out of -- let's see i was in school getting ready to go out. he had just earned it in the senate and i interviewed in his staff. i didn't go to work for him, but i knew him for three years. right after the election last november, perfect example, with the sequestration pending, he is able to cut a deal with the republicans on the hill. he has the relationships that he was able to build and he did an excellent job. and i do think him on social deficit -- as most of us did watch the state of -- his second inaugural address in january, people were surprised that the general fizzle -- the general philosophical nature of it. but i think this is truly barack obama.
you want social justice come open doors come able playing field to be part of his legacy. -- he wants social justice, open doors, level playing field to be part of his legacy. there are still elements that could have been stronger if he was able to work on the hill better. >> i think president obama would agree with this. when he was elected in 2008, the expectations were impossible for anyone to meet. certainly on the left, the cut is in the center, but definitely on the left. it would have been impossible to have met them. close gitmo on november 7 and get all of the troops out on november 8 and we would have single-payer healthcare by
november 9. in reality coming and one who has worked on hill, that is not possible. so i think he suffered from the overwhelming nature of his victory. you would rather have an overwhelming victory than not, but it still set him up in some ways to fail no matter what he did. i think this is true with most politicians, especially with barack obama. there is a battle between pragmatist and idealist. at some level, there is a mix of that in all of us. i would say politicians are human. good to remember that. they have a set of motivations, too. i actually think he genuinely believed, when he was elected, that he, as a unique historical figure, the way he was elected, who he was, his background, that he was someone who would be able
to bring people together. and i think he did attempt to do that. i look back to the whole debt ceiling debacle. it fell apart. i can't remember what grand bargain was. it fell apart. barack obama goes and gives a statement and john boehner is a statement. both of them are very clearly worked up. you rarely see emotions at that level politics. they are good at not making clear how angry they are. that is one of those things that they get better at. >> they are good at masking emotion. >> but especially obama. he was generally annoyed and that gives 25 -- that gives way to frustration. then he took a different and more successful electoral path,
i think. he was no longer willing to reach out. his reelection rates are coming up and there were a lot of other factors. but he turned into a much more successful politician from that point on because i think he listened to what ron and what other folks in the administration were saying, which is that you think the republicans are waiting to find something that they want to work with you on and they are not. i know for a fact from people in the administration. i would argue he was more effective in terms of hitting what he wanted done and the message he wanted out there from august 2011 and certainly until november 2012. actually through the fiscal cliff and through the better part of this year. >> i want to ask each of you a different question. by the way, on the fiscal cliff come i do think that the whole
negotiating style became controversial. if i want to negotiate a new house or a new car for my will not ask the obama administration to help negotiate for me. >> liberals always criticize the president, saying that he negotiates with himself. he starts where he wants to end. he wants a deal. there's a very pragmatic part of them. if you as an ideologue, he wouldn't have opted out to public money. they raised $750 million. he is not a pure ideologue. he is smart politically and he
makes those decisions. this is pragmatic. but he wants to find common ground. it is just a question if there is common ground to be found. >> i will open this up to you all. when i come to you, speak your question as loudly -- we do have two and a from the audience. oh. >> there are several 1998 college grads here who are the deeply informed. they are not just here because i'm here. [laughter] >> forgive me for not looking at my briefing book. this is a kind of governing question. if you look at two potentially
regulated and law, the healthcare act and dodd frank, so much of the legacy is to be determined by regulation and implementation. and the healthcare law is particularly vulnerable because so much of it is through the state. the plan is hostage to a lot of forces hostile to it. we were speaking about these two things going forward. >> obviously, there are significant legislative achievements. but the devil is in the details. there's a lot of work left to be done. that said, i do think that there is a certain inevitability to the way in which healthcare will rollout, no matter how the republicans try to resist.
medicaid got a lot of resistance from the states. by now it is such an incredibly bedrock part of our health care system that even the most conservative republican governors won't roll back the core medicaid. i think what you will see is the affordable care act get implemented in most of the states. there will be a few holdouts. they will look around them and people in other states will have healthcare coverage and it will be working and prices will go down. and people will want that. i think momentum in time will grind this out. on dodd frank, it is a very complex law. it moved to deal with some of it will stop some parts of it, but not yet. but this is a big project for the president and his white house in this term, in the second term, taking a lot of things they got done in the first two years and bringing them to their full fruition in his final four years.
and how that comes out will color, at least in the short term, how his legacy is perceived. although i do believe come in the long run, time and history is on their side. >> you are on the hill going back to 1979. this relates to the question i want to ask. the change in the republican party and how that has had such a large effect on president obama's term. i agree with you on all the factors you cited about people not [indiscernible] i do think it is a terrible mistake for the country that people don't move here, not because i want to further jack up washington the real estate
prices, but because it has created more of a break. but fundamentally, it is an ideological break, not any other kind. talk about the change, not in light of personal relations, but a shift in ideology. as you know, from reading all of those comments underneath your you can talk about comments, too, but -- a lot people come back at the media -- i am on the liberal side myself -- we pretend that there is equal, that each party is equally different from the center. and that is just not true. i want you to address that. chris can talk about the change. again, not personality and feelings, but ideology. >> as more people know, the republican party was a much broader tent back then. there was a precise moderate segment of the republican party, even moderate liberals. in connecticut, we have six comments men and three were republican and three were democrats and and some of the
republicans were fairly moderate and liberal. my opponent when i ran for congress was the last remaining republican in new england in the congressional legation. -- congressional delegation. bob dole has recently said that there's no room in the republican party for moderates anymore. that has affected significantly their ability to get a national coalition. last summer, it was just -- i could see partial pieces moving around in the obama campaign. they had the gay lesbian issue. they had the healthcare money for catholic and non-catholic institutions issue among going to the women's vote. they had immigration. you have the republican party sitting there watching it all and not able to address that because had alienated women on issues, alienated hispanic on issues.
now you talk about the legacy cometh immigration passes all, many say it will basically because president obama supports it, but it's important, but once the republicans in marco rubio take the lead on it, the republicans will get some credit for it and get some credit from the hispanic sector for the next presidential election. the women's vote, to make craddick presidential candidates have gotten it the last few times repeatedly. the republicans have lost on that. they need to figure out an agenda to pick that up as well. the fact that their positions have become more right wing, the fact that they don't have that mainstream segment of the party the way they used to come i think that diminishes their ability to put together a coalition to win the national women's vote. >> i think michele bachmann's retirement this week is a good example. her defenders -- and there are some -- doing >> how many?
>> i don't think her defenders would say that this is a person who left a lasting imprint on congress. she ran very briefly for congressional leadership. it was literally a one-day campaign and she dropped out because she would get 30 votes and her opponent would get 200 votes. but i do think her model is an interesting one in which the ability of a back and member of congress -- true of a republican or democrat -- to be a national figure based on some combination of -- i think she has a certain amount of willingness to say somewhat controversial things, social media, cable -- there is a hold different avenue that exists. you can become a national figure. in the 1980s, there is no
michelle bachmann in that regard. there's no way. you can't get there where you can now. ted cruz is someone who has expressed zero interest in legislating. he says commerce does too much. i think we should do less. he has become a big figure in the party by doing less. marco rubio is in the game on immigration. it goes in a way that looks bad. there is a way in which people can assume politics. >> we have empowered the audience. thank you so much. we are going to turn to you. but on the one hand, whenever people say things are way worse outcome i go back and say, well, they did impeach bill clinton.
this is hardly a friendly act. on the other hand, things are -- [laughter] on the other hand, things are quite affront. quite different. even from the 1990s until now. can you talk about party and media and then we will open it up to the audience. >> when i want to persuade the students that i am very old, i tell the story. when i went to the clinton white house in 1996, the washington post was going to break a politics changing story, that there was chinese money and our local system. it would really transform the 1996 campaign. and it did in some ways. but we did was sat in the yellow oval room of the president's residence and we waited for some person to come back from "the washington post" loading dock
and bring us a bulldog edition of "the washington post" so we could find out what was in the story. that was 1996. not 1896, not 1986. [laughter] so they really should -- so a relatively short time waiting for someone to walk a newspaper back to the white house to today where i haven't read what chris has posted in the last seven minutes puts me out of date in american politics. >> that is exactly how chris is. [laughter] the pace of all of this is changed. it is also a lot more democratic. it was also true in 1996, if you wanted to know what was going on in american politics, you had to be in washington. now if you are sitting in a place in america, you have equal access to what chris writes on twitter, on facebook, on his blog in a way that has broadened
access to political access. cable, all these things. it is more of a national conversation than it was 20 years ago. back then, it was a conversation with in the beltway. i'm sure that there are negative things about that, in terms of polarization. but there are a lot of positive things come a more open system in terms terms of a national conversation than 20 years ago. >> big mainstream media companies, including "the washington post" are dealing with it. but also in the democratization of the media, two. -- the media, too. >> i can't tell you how old i'm feeling. [laughter] >> there is a leveling. back then it was "the wall street journal," "the new york times," "ap," and now people say
who is your competition? anybody who can type onto the internet, which is basically everyone at this point. that is an oversimplification, but it is in fact true. i do think that is a great for journalists. we are way more accountable than lease to be. the usage of the people would say that story generated a lot of talk. there were two letters to the editor. now, you have instantaneous -- i get one thing wrong or i misspelled the name of a character in "game of thrones" on my twitter feed, i get responses immediately. parents. [laughter] that's fine. that is a respectable right. i think it helps keep us on our toes in a positive way. there is a lot of vitriol out there that you have to put up with, but it keeps us on our
toes. that is a thing ultimately for everything that we are all after. >> it does keep us journalists on our toes. but when you're footing the public -- when you are flooding the public and for people who are raising a family trying to separate the wheat from the chaff and you have officials sitting there at getting things just on the gun vote and the nra for there is a lot of information and misinformation out there, it makes it tougher for public officials to take those votes when they are getting feedback from people who may not have the full information on issues. >> i will make one observation and then turned to the first question from the audience. i love the new technology and i like to use it. but i think new media make spreading truth more efficient but they also make spreading
untruths more efficient. it is a really interesting problem for all kinds of media and for citizens right now. eventually, there is a collecting process. always thought, when something really bad about someone get out there and it is totally untrue, they never fully shed it. it is always in the back of people's heads, even if it is wrong. i still think that is a problem. >> can you imagine a decade ago, the president going into the briefing room with a copy of his birth certificate? it is remarkable the power. and i still get e-mails from people -- have you seen the birth certificate? i don't spend a lot of time on that topic. that the power of it is remarkable. >> you mentioned early on that we would get to things like benghazi and the irs. i wonder if we can turn to that real quick.
i think the administration is trained to present an image that republicans are making a mountain out of a mole hill. but the simple facts are that there was a terrorist attack on sovereign u.s. soil right before the election. and there clearly was some attempt to try to divert attention from what happened for political purposes due to president obama, specifically secretary of state clinton leaving the homeland unprotected. that and the sea was left unprotected. i wonder how that will continue to play out. specifically, i am interested in what my friend ron queen things. and whether that will affect obama's legacy or whether it is a speed bump and moves industry.
i also have a similar question regarding the irs issue. >> we will assume the irs is part of this discussion. do you want to answer first? >> obviously, it was a horrible tragedy at benghazi. i think the the brave people who were there try to protect the floor mats, several of them lost their lives and wouldn't say that the facility was unprotected. it certainly was a predictable enough. i think there is no -- it certainly was not protected well enough. they have conducted a full review what went on and trying to protect our emcees to keep that from happening again. there is a lot of noise among us in capitol hill. it had a lot more to do with the republican views of hillary
clinton's 2016 candidacy than issues about embassy security. but i hope we do get a better embassy security policy out of this. i hope we do more to prevent those kinds of incidents from happening in the future. >> the irs, obviously, we need to get to the bottom of that one. we need to see who gave the orders and why there appears to be an uneven this in the enforcement of these rules and regulations. i think it is too soon to say why that happened. whether there was evidence in the white house to give orders or suggestions that people do that, i don't think this is a scandal that touches in the in the white house where the president or senior officials in the administration. he is president of the united states. he is responsible for the conduct of the government and what officials are doing under his authority and the irs is
part of that. and he has to clean it up and straighten it out and fix it. i hear people talking about restoring confidence in the irs. i don't remember a time when there was a lot confidence in the irs. but every american has a right to be equally skeptical about the iris, whether you are liberal, conservative or a martyr. -- about the irs, whether you are liberal, conservative or a moderate. >> i once wrote a column on april 15 praising the men and women of the irs. probably the least popular column i have ever written in my life. who wants to take either benghazi or the holy or otherwise story of benghazi. >> i just want to say that these are important -- ron has mentioned the physics of each, but is are important events that distract the administration from focusing on what they want to focus on. there's no surprise that obama gave a each on the shifting towards terrorism in his speech
the other day. in terms of benghazi and the irs and the department of justice and ap, those are the three or four issues lately -- i agree with ron wholeheartedly. once the e-mails cannot come it was pretty clear that the administration wasn't trying to hide anything. i think this is really about 2016 and all about keeping hillary's feed to the fire and discourage her from running. in terms of the irs and the president, a major poll was taken after those three stories were in the headlines every day. president obama had a 52% approval rating. it didn't seem to affect his job approval rating.
the irs' reputation was still down in the tank. and republicans on the hill were doing what they should do to at least -- the irs's reputation was still down in the tank. and republicans on the hill were doing what they should be doing. i don't think any of these groups should have [indiscernible] but that is a separate issue. [applause] in terms of the -- the irs has the ability to connect with people. so we can relate to what goes on there. until all the facts come out, how much the white house knew, there does not seem to be any connection to -- connection between the white house and what happened at the iris. the -- at the irs.
the ap is an important issue. it is safe to say that you can find republicans now who are the root variance. in terms of a subpoena, ap should have been told in advance. but i don't know the intricacies. but it is sort of an inside the beltway sort of issue than an issue that appeals broadly to the public. from a political standpoint, it is important for the white house to get beyond these things and get back to them fomenting healthcare and dealing with immigration and some of the other issues. >> the 54 tax act and 501 c4's should be exclusive for welfare purposes. the regulation five years later interpreted that, as
interpreting your marriage vow going from exclusively to primarily. [laughter] whatever happens here, and we should find out, they messed up interpretation and an unclear regulation is at the heart of this problem. we have another gentleman or lady over here. >> gentlemen, i hope. [laughter] i wanted to raise the issue of foreign policy in a broader sense. as a focal point, a book about form policy is really the critical of the administration. taking it to task to summarize that it has a lack of vision and that our foreign policy, and in
them or 10, is in a sense of drift. -- in an important sense, is in a sense of drift. >> ronald, you should talk about it. you know more about foreign policy than i do. >> why don't you start? >> sure. because the economy -- president obama has acknowledged that when he came into office that the economy was worse than he thought. any time the economy matters, when it matters, it is most always when it is struggling. it took so much time, that and health care, in first chairman that, in truth -- i won't say for bolsa got left behind, but it didn't, but i think that the i don't want to say that foreign policy got left the hind, because it didn't come about i think that it didn't get attention.
i gave speeches a few years ago in europe and it was really cool. the first question they always ask is what does america think of brussels? and i told them, the average american is not thinking about brussels. the truth is, when the economy is in tough shape, we rarely look beyond our shores. not everybody, but the majority of people. normally, that is doubly true when the economy isn't doing well. i think the president recognized that reality will stop you're likely to see more -- that reality. you're likely to see more.
afghanistan, iraq, the capture and killing of osama bin laden, these are not broad mix and go things. these matter in real and serious ways. do i think they focus more on domestic? all essay -- domestic policy? yes. do you think americans want them to focus more on domestic policy> absolutely. >> i think the president's focus on war on terror was the form policy. if you have a child in college, every day, that child, since nine years old, americans have been in combat. we have cadets on campus. when they should appear as freshmen, they thought they were leaving here to go command troops in, it in iraq and afghanistan. next year, we will have no americans in combat. it will be home.
that is a foreign-policy issue. the below attack the country on nine/11 -- on 9/11, the sound elated, he has been killed. that is a significant part of foreign-policy. i know there are folks who want to see us do more nationbuilding in afghanistan. there are folks who want to see us do more nationbuilding in iraq. but i think the president has made a priority of doing what we could do responsibly and reasonably. americans but more than a decade of their sons and daughters and tens of billions of dollars in those two countries and i think the president made a responsible choice. it is time now for the people of those two countries to take over and bring our troops and our people home. i think that is certainly a centerpiece of president obama's foreign policy. i think he is doing a lot to rebuild our relationships around the world.
there has been a lot of big form policy issues in the first four years, world economic cooperation in dealing with the economic troubles of the eurozone and working closely with leaders over there. i think there will be renewed focus in the next two years of our relationship with china and they turned to asia. it will be a very significant part of our foreign-policy in the next three years. hopefully, at the outset, we are brief and to the president's second term. three years from now, we will look back on what the president did to engage china and work with china on issues and it will be a big part of his foreign- policy legacy. >> i think your question is a good one. it is significant that the president of the council of foreign relations, an old friend of mine, has written a book called "foreign-policy begins at
home." that is the last thing that you would expect him to write. he wrote that book because he argues and i think this is an instinctive wrong -- instinctive among them -- instinct among americans are now that we have to get things right at home and make adjustments. i think there is a war weariness in the country. you see it in the polls on syria will stop there is a lot of relief support for more intervention in syria. there's not a lot of popular support. we are in one of those times where we believe we need to strengthen ourselves in fundamental ways at home in order to preserve our power for the long run. but it is a very interesting book. one more question from the audience. where is the mic? it's right up there.
thank you. >> i would like to thank georgetown university today for putting together such a ideologically rigorous panel. we have a liberal journalist on the left, the partisan hack with ron in the know, the former democratic candidate for some office sitting to his left. and we have the centrist. i would like to thank them for putting together an ideologically rigorous panel. looking back at the way we look at presidents, we look back at bill clinton is the first black president, whether jokingly or not. we look at george w. bush is the first legacy president. there are some similarities between bush and obama that have not been discussed day. they probably both would be where they were today without who their father was. second of all, i would also say that a lot of the issues that really affect their future, -- affect our future, the bottom
line is we have probably a president who is overmatched a little bit with the size and scope of the federal government. how do we keep track of all the things that are going on? how my supposed to know what is going on in all of these offices in cincinnati and benghazi? there are all of these things going on? i think he's right. obama will probably be remembered as someone who is a first affirmative action president, who won the resident because of the color of his skin rather than anything else. i would like to discuss that point. the question is -- do you think that obama is the first affirmative action president? >> before we get to that, i personally take some affect --
some offense to the question, but i appreciate it. we did have a staunch conservative who had to cancel at the last moment. so georgetown does care about ideological diversity. pat buchanan in my course and -- i do believe in. old diversity. [applause] -- i do believe in philosophical diversity. [applause] the gentleman raises a series of questions that i think could allow us to sort of offer some closing comments on the obama legacy. let me start with chris. >> let me answer the question as asked. i think barack obama's
background, an african father, a white mother, largely raised by his grandparents in hawaii did clearly come in the same way that my background as a dad who is a teacher and a mother who is in healthcare raised in connecticut, our background impacts who we are. do i think he was elected because he is african-american? i wouldn't agree with that. i think he was elected in large part some combination of who he was and who people believed he represented, which i think a lot of people represented the american story. and you can debate how much it was, 50/50 or 20-80. or that his name was not george w. bush and it did not have an r after it.
what if they nominated mitt romney? i don't think it would have made a huge difference. but it is a broad question that you raise as it relates to size of government. it is sort of the crux of the ongoing debate that we have in this country between the two parties. bill clinton very famously declared the era a government over. a democrat. i think barack obama was elected at least in part -- people love to a rack -- to iraq as a thing that brought george bush down. if you look at the numbers, they would suggest that hurricane katrina and the handling of that coupled with iraq helped ring it down. president obama was elected at least in part to bring back confidence in competency -- to bring back competency and to do things that should be doing.
people have in their minds what the government should do. should the government provide health care? we would have to raise your taxes to do that. well -- we have a very contradictory to the two. there is a libertarian strain, particularly among younger people. they want government out of their personal lives. yet, when the moore, oklahoma happens or hurricane sandy happens come even a majority of republicans said that we should not offset the money that goes to hurricane -- excuse me turn a to really come it doesn't needs to offset it with the federal budget. so there is this constant battle. i don't envy people from barack obama on down who have to deal with this. if impart your job is to lead
and to channel the desires and wants of the populace, i don't know that this country knows what they want. you know, bob dole got a lot of attention saying that they should close the republican party for pairs. he said that the american people don't really know what they want and that is kind of the problem. yes, leaders and politicians are supposed to lead. but they are also elected officials come elected by us to carry out our desires, hopes, dreams come ambitions, keep us from our fears, etc., etc. those things are often complement -- contradictory at the moment and that is why you see this massive polarization between people who think that president obama is the greatest president ever and who people think that barack obama is among the worst presidents ever. >> chris has made a lot of good
points that i agree with. i won't go on at length. to get back to part of your question. you answered most of his. i still think the legacy of barack obama is tied into the economic cliff of 2009 and the healthcare initiative and opening up opportunities in a broader sense in social justice. i think he is more than an affirmative action president stop but i remember how people said in the last election how people in the united states could elect a person of color. on the person who said he ran for something. i represented a republican district in the connecticut legislature. i had a coalition of moderates. i was one of the early members of the dlc, which is what though clinton and al gore organized, but i remember saying cash base to speak to young women all the time when i was elected at the age of try seven andes to speak
at high schools and some eighth- graders -- at age 27 to speak to high school students and some eighth graders. we all seem to believe that a man of color would be elected to the white house before a woman would. perhaps it transforms us to the next that in thinking that we might elect a woman in this country the next time around so that people are more comfortable with that. [applause] >> is my reunion and i am in a good news, so i will try not to take offense to a statement that was offensive. if the suggestion is that somehow president obama is not up to the job because he is african-american it is particularly offensive. well, to call him an affirmative action president, i'm not sure what that means. it is suggestion is that being black is a huge advantage in american politics, then i doubt
you would be the first -- he would be the first black president. we would have so few black members of congress and few black governors. but he is a person who graduated from columbia university, not quite georgetown, but still a very good school. [laughter] he was president of the harvard law review, so not quite georgetown law school, but a very good law school. he went on to serve with distinction in the u.s. senate and as our president and i think there's no question about this man's intellect and ability and achievements. you can dispute his. i know there is a passionate disagreement about the points i met and whether or not you agree with health care reform or dodd frank or the ways in which we saved the auto companies and turn the economy around, whether or not you agree with national security things. but his talent, his attitude, his skills and passion that he has brought to the job come i think they are very hard to dispute.
in terms of the more specifics, as i said, he inherited a huge deficit. there was no grand bargain, but between policies of cuts and increases in revenues, sequester, for better or worse, heading down the deficit to three percent gdp. he is getting it under control. bottom line, we see the improvement in the economy and we see the other legacy items. but do i think the obama presidency is a historic one, i do. obviously. it is historic for who he is and what he represents, the kind of change he has wrought to the country, his accomplishments. and i look forward to being back here in three years when this is all over and debating it all again. >> thank you so much. [applause] >> i just want to say three quick things in closing. my favorite response of a politician who is dealing with a
crowd that was really coming at them was barney frank in a very difficult town meeting. he finally looked up and he said, look, we politicians are no great shakes, but you voters are no day at the beach either. [laughter] i always loved that line. the second point, the passion and some of the conversation here reflects the fact that we americans are that we have two sets of ideas. one is community and solidarity and the others that about liberty and individualism. and that we are constantly looking for the right balance between those two sets of values and that we happen to be having a good titular lead sharp debate right now in the country. what in the end come i think is good for us to remember that we are best off when we find the right talents between the two rather than put one set or the other set aside.
i want to thank this distinguished panel of georgetown analysts and this distinguished georgetown audience. [applause] one of the great things about teaching here and being a student here is the extraordinary diversity of view among students and among graduates. and that view is expressed intelligently and well tutored by our jesuits and those who follow in a great tradition. thank you so much for being here. [applause] >> that was cool. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
>> john schott is a correspondent. -- which was r, golf and what can you tell us about them? -- which ones are up and what can he tell us about them? >> the fiscal year spending bill is finally reaching the floor of the house chamber for the house will consider two of the bills of the homeland security funding bill for the military construction veterans funding bill. it is interesting because the appropriations process is off to a bit of a becausert and part there is disagreement on whether -- and where they are headed. the two chambers passed resolution which are brought
today we are discussing the threefold misuse of funds. it started to get to the bottom of any misuse of federal dollars, particularly as the subcommittee draft a bill that will fund the irs for the next fiscal year. the alleged targeting of conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status is a shameful violation of the intent of the constitution. as i amply offended, sure all americans are, at the notion that a federal agency can somehow pass judgment on an entire group of people simply based on their political affiliation. this activity is even more egregious because the agency,
the irs, has such power to ruin the lives of every american. we will not tolerate another political enemies list. we have been there before. having an enemies list harkens back to the dark page in our past. the arrogance of power that we have seen from those involved in this instance is deeply, deeply disconcerting. furthermore, i am absolutely appalled at the apparent waste of taxpayer dollars on furbelows conferences outlined in mr. george's forthcoming report. in no way shape or form is this kind of access ever corporate. this bureaucratic largess is even more unsettling as we face
budget shortfalls across the board in critical areas of government including our own national defense. it seems we have a new missteps every day at the irs. i am very troubled at what may come to light next. so we've got to take every step possible to figure out how we can stop this kind of abuse in its tracks. mr. commissioner, and you are the man. we are the middle of some very grim budget times. we simply cannot allow the irs or anyone else to waste precious tax dollars on improper practices. maybe even illegal, that treat americans unequally for any for herbalists activities or improper tax refunds, which .'m told there are 13 billion
to provide you with $10 million annually to fulfill your duties, we expected to spend it wisely and effectively. mr. werfel, i know you have already publicly stated that these conferences were inappropriate uses of taxpayer dollars and that you intend to root out any other inappropriate behavior at the irs. i hope that this committee works with you to review how we can prevent spending like this from ever happening again. may want to, we consider putting conditions on your funding that allows us to monitor your agency's compliance with proper practices. this committee has done that before and we very well may be in that mode again. my committee already has and will continue to enact tough measures and oversight at other agencies, as we did with the a
oh, to root out this kind of excess and abuse. if it takes legislation to stop these latest misguided endeavors, so be it. that is what we will do. allegedly an independent agency should operate in a non-political fair american.ry that rule has been violated. we look forward to your testimony and your answers to members' questions to help this subcommittee provide the vigorous oversight necessary to prevent bad actors from running amok. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. now i would like to recognize the ranking member of the full committee for any remarks she might like to make. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to join you in welcoming anding commissioner werfel
j. russell george here today. we thank you and look forward to your testimony. i would like to thank the chairman crenshaw and ranking member soprano for holding this very important hearing. -- ranking member serrano. we know that the irs is the first line of defense in ensuring that hard-earned tax dollars of american citizens are appropriately handled. as my colleagues have said, i at newsm in such shock that millions of dollars were unnecessarily spend on conferences, videos, senseless purchases, such as baseball tickets, presidential suites, along with allegations that the irs targeted the ideological groups for increased scrutiny, raised serious questions regarding whether the irs is
properly working for the people. citizens, amny quite simply wondering what was the irs thinking? what on earth were they thinking? it is truly amazing to me. irsi am curious that the engaged in an ideological scrutiny, which is absolutely unacceptable. we have a responsibility to the american people to make sure this is rectified and does not happen again. our nation was founded on the principles of freedom of speech and expression. no position or party has a monopoly in our public debate or government. the irs should never be used for any activity that comes close to partisan or political action
-- period. the irs's and responsible to it that way organizations for tax- exempt status has been lost in this debate. a dramatic increase in the number of 501(c)(4) organizations will lead to more reviews. but those reviews should never target one part of the ideological spectrum over others. in this hearing i know we all want to hear what went wrong, what steps are being taken to prevent similar practices in the future. again, i would like to thank andng commissioner werfel inspector general george for being here today. commissioner, i know you have been in this position for a matter of weeks, did not manage the irs or the division in question during the time of
these improper activities. assistanceiate your and hope that this hearing helps to get to the bottom of this issue. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. i.v. like to recognize mr. werfel. if you limit your statement to five minutes or less it would give us more time for questions and we would be happy to submit your written statement for the record. >> thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the work we are doing to chart a path for for the irs. this is difficult time for the agency and the public is rightly concerned and upset the, as am i, about the inappropriate and unacceptable actions' highlighted in the recent inspector general's report regarding the 501(c)(4) application process. working together, i am confident that we can address the problems
that exist and move forward with a better and more effective irs. with that in mind, in my first few days i have initiated a comprehensive review of the agency and have taken immediate action to begin to address significant and alarming problems identified in the report. in taking these steps, and guided by several principals. first, we will ensure that we operate with the utmost fairness and impartiality in administering and enforcing the nation's tax laws. second, we will be open and transparent with the american people. third, we will operate in close consultation and cooperation with the inspector general and congress. and hearing to these principles will insure that we always act with the best interest of taxpayers in mind. although additional investigations are underway that will shed further light on what happened with the 501(c)(4)
application process, i have reached an inescapable conclusion about the behavior described in the ig's report, the use of certain political labels to determine how the application would be handled resulted in applications being inappropriately singled out for additional scrutiny. moreover, it was a fundamental failure by irs management to prevent this inconsistent treatment and ensure that it was halted once management became aware. these failures have undermined the public's trust in the irs's ability to administer the tax laws in a fair and impartial manner and they must be corrected. the agency stands ready to confront the problems that occurred, hold accountable those who acted inappropriately, be open about what happened, and permanently fix these problems soda such missteps do not occur again. clearly it, ensuring full accountability for the actions taken and management failures
that allowed them to occur must be one of our first orders of business. that is why there is new leadership at several critical levels of the managerial chain of command. we now have new leadership in the commissioner's office, and we have new leaders carrying out the duty of the deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, the commissioner of tax-exempt and government entities, and the director of exempt organizations. while this new leadership is in place, a critical area where we are turning our attention is the unacceptably pilar at backlog of applications, a 501(c)(4) status, focusing initially on the "potential political cases referenced in the ig report"the act are more than 120 days old. some of these applications are 400 or 500 days old. that is unacceptable. i have directed my team to submit a plan to me by the end of this week that contains a specific milestones for
expeditiously resolving this group of cases. i have also made clear that these applications must be examined in a manner consistent with the ig recommendations, so that the reviews, while thoreau, are also fair and impartial. i further instructed my team to work swiftly to insure that on nine of the recommendations in the ig report are fully implemented. i have asked to receive at minimum weekly updates on their progress and i intend to regularly update the public both on this effort and the progress being made to eliminate the backlog of applications. i'm also reviewing the broad spectrum of irs operations, processes and practices, to focus on how we deliver our mission today and how we can make improvements in the future. in that way, we will develop a better understanding of organizational risks, wherever they exist within the irs. for example, in line with the ig report to be published this week
on conference expenditures, if we must ensure that we continue to have the right controls and oversights in place to prevent wasteful or inappropriate spending in this and other areas. wherever we find management failures or breakdowns in internal controls, we will move to correct these problems quickly and in a robust manner. president,ort to the the treasury secretary, and the public by the end of the month about our progress on all of these efforts. we have a great deal of work ahead of us to review and correct the serious problems that have occurred at the irs and continued the important work of the agency on behalf of taxpayers. in a few days i've been at the irs, it is already become clear to me that this agency is populated by thousands of dedicated public servants who are strongly committed to carrying out agencies mission. it is an honor for me to serve alongside them. and i am confident that together with congress and other external stakeholders we will address the current challenges
and move forward with the indispensable work of this agency. mr. chairman, i remember serrano, this includes -- concludes my testimony. i would be happy to answer questions. >> jim tressel george, inspector general, for any opening remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the opportunity to discuss our audit recommendation concerning the internal revenue service's treatment of groups that applied for tax-exempt status. as you know, our audit was initiated based on concerns expressed regarding cost taxpayers allegations that they were subjected to unfair treatment by the irs. thereview confirmed that irs targeted specific groups applying for tax-exempt status. it delayed the processing of these groups applications. also requested unnecessary information from these groups. audit,credit, during our the irs took some actions to
address these problem areas. the irs corrected the inappropriate criteria for selecting applications for additional scrutiny as potential political cases in may of 2012. on revised criteria focused indicators of significant political campaign intervention, not on names or policy positions. these revisions were still in place in december 2012 at the end of our audit still work. \ two newalso put controls in place by having exempt organizations headquarters in washington involved in reviewing all criteria include on the "to be on the lookout" listings and are requesting all letters for potential political cases. however, we identified other areas needing improvement. we reviewed two statistical samples of the internal revenue 501(c)(4)ion 61
applications and estimates that the determinations unit specialist did not identify more than 175 applications with indications of significant campaign intervention that should have been referred to the team of specialists for review. they're more, but to a hundred 96 potential political cases we reviewed, almost 91 cases did not contain indications of significant intervention in the case file. as noted, we made nine recommendations in our report. the irs should formalize its new requirement for an exempt organizations executive to approve all criteria or the be on the lookout listing. irs plans to incorporate this requirement in its annual by september 30 of this year. the irs should acquired the specialist document the specific reasons why applications are chosen for review for potential political cases. the irs informed us that it would review its screening
and determine what documentation can be implemented by september 30 of this year. the irs should develop a process for formally requesting assistance from the exempt organizations technical unit to ensure that requests are responded to a timely. the irs indicated it will develop a formal process by june 30 of this year. the irs should provide oversight to ensure open cases are approved or denied expeditiously. closelyagreed to a oversee the remaining open cases as of april 30 of this year. however it did not provide a date for completing the cases. the irs should recommend to the department of the treasury that guidance on how to measure the "primary activity" of social welfare organizations considered. the irs agree to share this recommendation with its chief counsel and the treasury's office of tax policy by may 3 of
this year. the irs should provide training and guidance in four areas. first, properly define applications requiring additional review of campaign intervention activities. second, processing applications for tax-exempt status involving potential campaign intervention. what, understanding constitutes campaign intervention. fourth, requesting additional information on how to word the questions. the irs plans to develop a schedule by january 31 of 2014 to provide the staff recommended training. in closing, the irs still has work to do to resolve these troubling allegations and to ensure that they do not happen again. we plan to conduct additional audits to assess the irs' progress in addressing our recommendations. we also plan to review how the irs monitress of social welfare agricultural, labor, and business organizations to ensure
that political campaign intervention does not constitute their primary activities. look intontinue to whether any violations of the internal revenue service restructuring and reform act of 1998 have occurred. if any inappropriate influence caused a change in criteria and the unnecessary questions posed applicants. , thankn, ranking members you for the invitation to provide my perspective on the issue. >> thank you very much. thank both of you all for your testimony. i'm going to turn to questions from members of the subcommittee. i will recognize the members in order of seniority wh o were here when the hearing started and then i will recognize those in order which they appeared and we will go from side to side. .o let me start out it's good to hear your perspective, because you are the
new guy. if you add them up, you have been here 12 days, probably counting weekends and you probably been working on the weekends. another 18 days, you are expected to give your first look at a 30 day review of what has gone on. i think we have all looked at the facts and we recognize that what has happened here as realistic in the trust of the american people in the irs and its ability to be fair and impartial. as i said earlier, i think you have to have a fair and impartial agency that is going to collect taxes when you based the collections on volunteerism, people voluntarily pay their taxes, but they need to be able to trust the agency that is collecting those taxes. one of the problems i have found is that this went on for some time and yet no one spoke upper.
there is some question, is this summer of agency in cincinnati? it is hard to believe somebody stood up one day and said here's a way we can really embarrass people of a particular political philosophy. we are trying to figure out what happened. i know you want to figure out what happened and that you are going to conduct a top to bottom review. one of the problems we had is we never get straight answers. the story seems to change from time to time and the facts seem to change from time to time. that's why we all want to work with you to find out what happened. most importantly, we want to make sure it does not happen again. and we want to help you to help us all figured out some way that we can restore the trust of the american people in the irs, because, as you know and most people are just now realizing, the irs is going to be the face of this new affordable care act,
the so-called obamacare. the irs will be charged with making sure people have insurance. not only they have insurance but they have the right type of insurance. and when they don't have the right side, the irs will be the agency to say we will collect the penalty, to collect the fine. it seems more important than ever before, we are in a critical time, we've got to do everything we can do to make sure that we let people know that you can trust the irs, that they are going to be fair and impartial, and that's what you want to do. so let me start by asking you, do you feel like the irs has betrayed the trust of the american people? >> i do, mr. chairman. i think that's why, thinking about this in terms of my primary mission is to restore the trust. i am hopeful that by the end of this hearing today through the various questions that you ask,
that i can play out our approach. but i think it has to start with the recognition that the trust has been violated and it has to start with the recognition that we have to get all the facts out. part of this process of restoring the trust, it's a multi step process, but you start with making sure if you are getting the facts out, that you are understanding who needs to be held accountable for the breakdown that occurred, missteps that occurred that led to the violation of trust. we have to fix the problem. part of the fact finding is not only to get to be accountability element, its to understand the root causes of " caused the breakdown to a prepared that will help us fix it and put the right controls and processes in to make sure it never happens again. i don't think it is marked to stop there. i think that this type of problem, and when you looked at the conference report that just came out, it shows there are other issues throughout the irs, other control issue,
managerial oversight issues that we need to thoroughly look at and start bringing into the public light. i'm planning to work very closely? with the inspector general on this to make sure that we have an understanding across the entire agency where are the weaknesses and how do we fix them. it's not just me and the inspector general. it's a partnership with congress. >> i'm glad to hear you say that, because i do think bad news does not get better as time goes by. i think you and i both are committed to trying to find out what went on and let those facts lead us where they lead us. one more question -- and i'm glad to hear you say that you do believe the trust of the american people has been betrayed, because it seems fairly obvious. i want to ask you if you are willing to cooperate fully with these congressional investigations for that are going on, so that we can find out what went on and restore the trust of the american people. >> absolute. you have my commitment for full
cooperation. >> thank you very much. now i will turn to mr. serrano. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm going to ask you a question that may sound easy. if finalized, i think it is a tougher question that it would sound. i assure you that there are many members of congress who would like to map out the future of the irs. you are not one of the most popular agencies now. you never were, but you certainly are not one of the most popular ones now. rather than doing that, we on this committee are charged with a special responsibility. we have to allocate dollars and we also have to make sure those dollars are spent properly. on how thecomment dollars are spent, but we have to come up with those dollars and then oversee those dollars in many ways. my question is what concrete steps that we on this appropriations committee can take to prevent this sort of activity from happening again?
i'm giving you an opportunity, both of you, to tell this committee what can be done by us to make sure this does not happen again. think first, holding hearings like this, asking us the right questions to make sure that there's transparency and from the inspector general and the irs in terms of the facts and circumstances that were in existence when this happened. thehelping us evaluate what rights fixes are. i've only been there a few days. when i start to dig into this issue around how do you appropriately a set up a c4 review process, there are not a lot of easy answers in terms of making sure it is set up right. and does not mean we will not find the answers -- we will. but it strikes me that try to find the answers just within the irs in an insular way is not the right answer. we have to a surface of these
issues. there are experts sitting across from right now in terms of how the irs operates prepare our experts in the eternal general's office. our external experts that have been evaluating the irs for years. the to bring these people together and sort of through the issues. since we are sitting here in front of the appropriators, it makes sense to talk about funding. one of the important points i want to make is that the solution here is not more money. the solution in this situation is to understand what controls need to be put in place, what oversight, and what to getting the right leadership and place, the right process seized in a collective way, and then determining what the resources footprint is needed to sustain those in an effective way. if you start with more money, it's the wrong start. the right starting point has to be what is the optimal footprint or framework for doing this right.
then we sit down and figure out what the resource allocation is. that is what i offer to you. the right way to analyze the situation. i'm very open and eager to work with you on that. >> thank you. a,as our audit concluded what happened in this instance was a result of gross mismanagement of a key program, a key function of the internal revenue service. i associate myself with the comments that the commissioner indicated. i would add to that something that should have -- something that chairman rogers mentioned. to the housets appropriations committee for the irs to regularly report how they expanded their funds and the oversight responsibilities of the inspector general's office has in addition to that type of activity. welcome oroth would
not oppose a deeper oversight rule by the appropriations committee in this particular case? >> i think it's very important that that appear, sir. >> when you say gross mismanagement, was that mismanagement as reported in the that targeted groups based on what those groups believed in and? or do you believe it was so mismanaged that it did not care up?it helps up -- held but i cannot give you a definitive answer at this time because there's an ongoing review of this matter by my organization and others on this. but there's no question that there's a little of both in this matter. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. rogers. werfel, i'm beginning
to like you when you say that you don't want more money. music to my ears. in addition to the $50 million for conferences over the last three years, the press is reporting that the irs paid out more than $92 million in bonuses during that three-year period. within that some, key figures in the current scandal got bonuses. , a formergram commissioner of the tax-exempt division, which was responsible for overseeing the 501(c)(4) applications, he received bonuses of $103,000 plus, which increased during the period of the increased scrutiny of these conservative groups. in addition to that, she was
the irs now to head involvement with obamacare. , former deputy commissioner of tax-exempt, three bonuses, almost $84,000 at . lois lerner, director of the exempt organizations division, $42,000 in bonuses during that time. and all of these had to be approved by the president, isn't that right? >> my understanding is there is a small subclass of bonuses approved by the president, but they are relatively small in number. is maybe a couple hundred throughout the entire government. the larger amount of bonuses in terms of quantity carta court
approved by the. agency the thatm's guidelines say onuses over $25,000 have to be approved by the president. so did the president approved these bonuses of these very critical people in this scandal that we are investigating? >> i'm not sure the answer. i'm also not sure from the way you phrased the question if the bonus totals that you articulated were individual bonuses that added up to those numbers or if there was an individual on is that exceeded $25,000. but that is something we can look into and get back to you. >> would you let me know? >> yes. howow, looking for words, do we set up criteria for the awarding of promotions and bonuses to employees at a time when every other federal
employees pay is frozen? >> this is a very important question. as i look at the situation and we see the type of gross mismanagement that the inspector general's about and then later on top of that the existence of bonuses in this area, it's big students a larger issue that we have within the irs to improve our overall management oversight. that includes not just making sure we understand where the weaknesses are, making sure our people are adequately trained. if it relates to compensation and fairness as well, and it has to be part of the review. if these people received these bonuses, and by guidelines, were required to be approved by the president, and he did not approve them, should they not pay back those bonuses? >> again, that's a question i would have to go back and talk to hr experts and others so we can get an answer. >> would you get back to me?
>> i will. >> mr. george? >> mr. chairman, my organization is conducting an ongoing audit on the issue of bonuses paid at the internal revenue service that is due sometime this fall. we will certainly share those results with this committee and with you. >> switching gears briefly, one scandal to another. mr. george, it was your report that the irs had overpaid low- income tax credits by a student $13.6 billion in one year, 2012. was beforeary lew this committee in late april i made clear to him this was unacceptable. is more than the entire irs budget. what steps are being taken to tackle that problem? >> this is one of the most intractable problems
confronting the internal revenue service. refundable tax credits, which are credit that can be paid to people who do not have tax obligations. once the money is out the door, it is extremely difficult for the internal revenue service to collect it. i will defer to the commissioner to define their procedures and policies, but they conduct a cost-benefit analysis and in many instances it is more expensive for them to go after those who have cheated the system than to write it off. we are just talking one instance in terms of the earned income- tax credit, the additional child tax credit, among many other critics. this is a very, very difficult issue for the irs to confront and it's a longstanding one. this is something that congress has been looking at for decades. >> this is not a small problem. this is a huge amount of money. it's more than the budgets of the entire agency.
has anyone been fired over despair? >> not to my knowledge. >> mr. werfel? >> not to my knowledge. >> wilder been? >> on this particular question of improper refund payments, if you could indulge me, one of the causes, i think, of these improper payments or in some of the complexity of the code and the complexity of the eligibility criteria. if you look at the earned income tax credit, one of the things we look at to determine eligibility is whether the individual has lived with their dependent child for more than six months. that is extremely difficult to validate. we don't have a global childhood residency database. it's very difficult to validate. when we go check on things, we find mistakes. to answer your question in terms of whether anyone should be fired, if there's underlying malfeasance
associated with the improper payments, then certainly. , and i havecases the expertise on this from earlier parts of my career, in most cases the errors that are made are not due to malfeasance of the underlying employee. it's due to complexity of programs and complexity in inentifying/eligibility -- identifying the political the criteria. i will fix it. >> well, fix it. one out of every five was improper. that's not a very good record. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. miss lowey/ >> thank you, mr. chairman. commissioner werfel and inspector general george. i would like to get a few facts on the record. is there any evidence to date that political appointees at the
irs directed, requested, recommended, or in any way 501(c)(4)a review of applications based on a particular ideologist? >> the answer to your question directly is no from our audits, but that was not the focus of our audit. >> it is no. >> that is correct. >> that is my understanding as well as mr. george's audit and the underlying support of the audit, but there's no evidence of that at this time. >> is there any evidence that the white house directed, requested, recommended or in any way supported such a review? >> no./ >> i'm not aware of any evidence of that. >> to be clear, as of this date, there is no factual evidence that this was a politically
motivated review from senior officials of the irs or the white house, correct? >> i can say definitively within the white house, no, of the irsy that because we did not look at that fact of it. but i have to rely on mr. george. i am relying on his audit finding for the most part and his work to help. draw help >> if that is the case, it seems ande that the sorinting reviewing of the 501(c)(3) applications was done by career irs employees who made a series ,f incredibly bad decisions which reflect poorly on management who should have known these activities were taking to itand put an end immediately, correct?
auditof the end of our field work and the instant of it, that's correct. again, this is an ongoing matter, congresswoman. and we don't -- we will go where the facts lead us. >> as of today, can you tell us why they did not realize there was a problem with their methodology and correct it? mechanism inoutine place to prevent discriminatory or if the logical practices? again, in mind, once when this first occurred and when it was eventually brought to the attention of senior officials in washington, corrective action was ordered. that, theuent to people in the determinations' unit reverted back to this very inappropriate type of activity. so there was a breakdown again in management going back to the concept of gross mismanagement.
and it is something they ultimately, as of the end of our audit fieldwork, seemed to have addressed. subsequent review will be necessary to confirm that. the citizens united decision, which i strongly on the, removed limits independent political donations by corporations and other groups in federal elections, scores of new political organizations were created and a record amount of money has flowed in in support of these political activities. this is one of the primary reasons, in my judgment, the number of organizations applying for 501(c)(4) status more than doubled from 2010 to 2012 alone. an increase of 226%.
meanwhile, the irs budget has shrunk. increase. the irs has the responsibility of making sure that those groups who apply for 501(c)(4) status are not primarily engaged in political advocacy. clearly, reviews used were the wrong way to go about this. as youou share with us are reviewing the process what should be the process to review 501(c)(4) organizations? >> that is one of the recommendations that we have issued in this report, but the irs seeks further clarity from the office of tax policy and on its own as to how to undergo -- undertake that step of a delegation. it's important to note again, congresswoman, that not all organizations who operate like these are required to seek a 501(c)(4) designation. they do so in the event that the irs later looks at their activities to determine whether
or not there's a tax liability matter. dakin still operates the way they would like to without coming to the irs for their stamp of approval. >> i see the red-light is on. thank you, mr. chairman. we will continue this discussion. >> thank you. mr. graves. >> after telling you my constituents are furious. they are angry about what has occurred at the irs. as i come to this meeting today there's a lot on my mind and undermines their the first thing i want to know did you meet with anyone from the white house staff to prepare for this meeting? >> i did not. kretek spoken with president about this matter? oni spoke to the president may 16 or may 17 about the day i was appointed we had a 20 minute conversation where he articulated his expectations for my mission over at the irs. >> did the order you to clean house, to terminate or cold anyone accountable? prexy ordered me to do and
accountability review. his primary order to me was. to restore the was he offered several guiding principles to be such as operate in good faith. gretzky did not order you to terminate, clean house, or hold anyone accountable? gave med secretary lew a first assignment. it asked for a plan, which i am prepared to provide by the end of this month, and in that plan there were three aspects to it. the first aspect was to get to the bottom of this and hold the appropriate people accountable. that's the way the instruction was framed. but regardless of whether the president ask you to or not, do you plan on clearing house, terminating anyone holding anyone accountable? >> i certainly plan on holding people accountable. >> what is your definition of accountable? >> good question. here's where we are right now in the process. we have an audit report that the inspector general provided. that report as conclusions about mismanagement. review andart of the is to figure out whether any of that mismanagement would lead
one to the conclusion that that individual can no longer hold a position of public trust in the irs. christine lagarde stated that the public trust has been lost, in the beginning of this meeting. you also stated to the chairman's question if somebody has done something wrong, would you terminate them? to thein accordance refundable tax credit. knowinglyf someone and and intentionally does that, yes, you would fire them. so we know that something has occurred and yet we hear there's this long review process fans and yet no one has been held accountable. for the committee, as anyone to date been held accountable? >> if you look at the irs -- >> that is a yes or no? >> i would say, yes. if you look at the irs organization today versus the day the ig report was issued, we have new leadership in the commissioner's office, deputy
commissioner for services and enforcement, commissioner for tax-exempt and government entities, and in the exempt organizations. >> who has been held accountable? >> the leaders that were replaced, certainly the fact they are no longer holding positions of public trust is part of the accountability. portrayed terminated? -->> where they terminated? >> in most cases they resigned. >> voluntarily? >> a combination. steve miller was asked to resign. >> resignation is accountability? is that what you are telling the american people? is lois lerner still being paid while on administrative leave? caxias. >> is that your definition of accountability? >> if you indulge me. >> it yes or no. >> the first stage of accountability is based on the facts we have now to determine who and a longer hold the position of trust. a second stage is to determine
whether there was any underlying malfeasance or issues that would warrant dismissal. we will follow the facts where they take us. we don't yet have that completed review. >> if you don't know there is underlying malfeasance, why was somebody time? correct because the decision was made that that person could no longer hold the position of public trust because of the failures of management oversight. whether the failures were motivated by something -- >> there were asked to resign just to restore public trust or public perception purposes or maybe political purposes. >> i would not say that. i would say when there's a breakdown in management, and there's gross mismanagement, you have to make tough decisions about whether that person can continue to hold that position of trust. >> one last question, mr. chairman, i know my time is expiring. ordered those in cincinnati to use the extra scrutiny to punish or penalize or postpone or deny?
as that question been asked of any employee? asked?that question been audit,ng our congressman, we posed that question and no one would acknowledge who if anyone provided that direction. >> no one would acknowledge who gave the directive to do this? >> that's correct. satisfied with that response? >> we have to get to the bottom of that. >> a matter how high it goes up the chain, you will find out who made the order? >> we will uncover everything. >> thank you. >> mr. quicgley. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in the sense you are suggesting that accountability is going to happen, but there is a process to it that require some time and investigation. >> that's right.
we have to do this fairly and to orally. i'm frustrated too. i want a fax to emerge quickly. it's a complex ---. >> it's a complicated process that got us here, correct? >> yes, it's a complicated process. exists,uch as the anger without knowing exactly what took place, it's hard to find people accountable in a correct way. if you don't know exactly what happened and who ordered what and did what, it's hard to immediately find people accountable? if there were a fire and so forth and there are investigators, it will just take a little time. >> that's right. we have to get the facts in a fair and thorough way. >> the chairman began its hearing by talk about scandals and embarrassment. it's hard to shock and all
someone from chicago about scandals. my last two previous governors either went to jail or are in jail. two of my last before your jailcessors are either in or went to jail, so i get it. [laughter] but this is getting there. there's a loss of trust here. that loss of trust is probably the greatest thing, because it makes it very difficult to leave -- to lead when you don't have the public's trust your that your task, gentlemen. let me ask you this. and i know your agency is the one that brought off the stuff about collected and wasted. is there a sense it took too long to get this out and protect the other scandals involved here? if we did not catch it before,
how do we know we can and prevent it again in the future? grex that's a very good question, sir. we are the ones to have to respond to and the allegations. you can only be so proactive especially in the context of the allow.e the law will unless someone brings to your attention an instance of malfeasance or what have you, there's very little that you can do it proactively to address that. for example, in this instance, members of congress as well as media reports brought to our attention allegations that certain groups were being targeted by the irs. in the instance of the report we will be releasing tomorrow on conferences, it was a whistle blower within the internal revenue service and brought that matter to our attention. much inan only do so this type of circumstance.
>> any comment? >> i think it is incumbent upon organizations in particular public sector organizations to ensure that they have the right controls, management, leadership, processes. >> you agree it should not take a whistleblower? >> it should not. >> someone should be reviewing these conferences on an ongoing basis to see if they are appropriate. >> one of the lessons that will emerge out of this process is we need a much more sophisticated risk management and control structure within the irs. that is clear, based on what happened here and some of the emerging issues coming out of mr. george's office. >> i yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. yoder. >> thank you. congratulations on your new position. >> thank you. >> i want to start with questions relating? the past tense or current related to the targeting of
specific political groups. most of the hearing has been about the actions that have occurred, the audit that will put in place, the delays, the instruction that was put in place for the groups of americans that wanted to exercise their first amendment right. how many americans how many groups of americans continue to have their applications delayed? how many groups continue to be held under unjust, and constitutional scrutiny by the irs as of today? >> that the question i want the answer to as well. what we are doing is initiating as quickly and efficiently as possible a review of the irs across the entire irs to see if there's any common elements of impartiality in other parts that occurred in this particular area. >> not just in other parts. how many groups have applied for 501(c)(4) status, some of which in the inspector general's report have been over two years and now over three years had applied that are still at the irs today waiting to have their
applications approved or denied or at least some insert? i know you have been there 12 days. but over the past weeks, has this become acknowledged? since irs officials were alerted to this over a year ago, many of these groups continue to have their applications denied. we talk about this today in this hearing in washington as if this is something that has occurred and we are going to investigate and hold those who did this accountable. your agency continues today to and block constitutional rights of americans as we sit here. how many americans are having their constitutional rights blocked as of this afternoon? >> i don't know that a conclusion has been raised on constitutional rights. i think there's a legal review being undertaken by the justice department. to answer your question, there this32 cases that are in
grouping of potential political advocacy reference to the ig report. 132 cases in that grouping that have not been acted upon in over 120 days, which is overdue by irs standards. i have directed new leadership to head the exempt organizations, tege, and our new chief risk officer david fisher. i have directed them to submit to me by the end of this week a plan with specific milestones for how we're going to knock out that backlog quickly and effectively. >> how many of these groups have been in the application process for more than two years? >> its no. i don't have at my fingertips, but there are groups. >> it seems like if there's 132, that is something we could simply identified. is that something you can provide for the committee today? >> catlett. >> how many groups are waiting
more than two years tampa to havetions approved -- their applications approved? >> i can provide that today. >> as of december 17 of last casesof baton hundred 96 be identified in the political category, 160, which is roughly 54%, were open. open cases have been open for more than one year as of december of 2012. commissioner, one of the reasons this is such an important topic to this committee in particular is because these questions were asked of the commissioner douglas showman that there were -- they were building safeguard their today we have an opportunity to go to the same experience. but going forward, we want to
know the positions you take today, the statements we are accurate. mr. shulman either misled the committee. we are told that similar practices could be going on. you have any reason to believe and can you investigate whether the audit division has targeted individual specifically for audits based upon donations or engagement in conservative political activity or any political activity? >> let me answer that directly. i'm not aware of any such behavior. i initiated a review to answer that question. if i find anything that is similar in scope to what is in this inspector general's report, i will make you aware. >> did you find anything related to this in your view?
>> greenback conducted a review in this area. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mrs. pugh kaptur. mrs. biggerkaptur. >> some media reports say the irs was targeting conservative groups for political purposes. your report contradicts that claim. can you please comment on if you found any political motivation in reviewing tax-exempt applications? >> congresswoman, let me respond in the following way. when we looked at the -- there were 298 cases put into a category for political activities, we were able to look at 296, because two of them did not contain enough information for us to base a review on, we were able to identify 79 that were definitely put to the side because they had tea party,
name ofpatriot in the the group of the vast majority of the others, their names were so innocuous that we could not deem it possible to determine whether or not they were conservative groups or whether or not there were groups that might be on the other side of the political spectrum. something that we are continuing to look at. but in the instance of the political activity matter, we did not uncover instances of groups that could readily be identified as being liberal, for lack of a better term, that were treated in a manner that these tea party cases were. >> in your report there is quite a pie chart that shows the vast majority of groups that were investigated did not fall into a so-called conservative category. am i reading the chart correctly?
because by the title of the organization, there were not readily identifiable. was a supremere court ruling, citizens united, that allowed unlimited amounts of money to be i am wondering, an organization that incorporates has many options if they want to engage in civic life. then if they move into donations to campaigns, they could incorporate say 527. you are looking at 501(c)4. am i correct? this is the cincinnati office that was looking at this. why might an organization choose to incorporate under 501(c)4