tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 4, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT
in south carolina, for example there's supposed to be one machine for ever 150 voters but in minority areas, that rule is just often overlooked. in richland county, nearly 90% of precincts failed to meet the standard required by law in 2012. instead of 250 voters per machine in win precinct, it was more than 430 voters per machine. not surprisingly, people trying to cast a ballot there face massive delays. there are many fair-minded well-intentioned election officials all over our country but this kind of disparity i just mentioned does not happen by accident. now some of you may have heard me or my husband say one of our favorite sayings from arkansas.
of course i learned it from him. if you find a turtle on a fence post, it did not get there on its own. [applause] well, all of these problems with voting just didn't happen by accident. and it is just wrong. it's wrong to try to prevent, undermine, inhibit americans' rights to vote. it's counter to the values we share and in a time when so many americans have lost trust in our political system, it's the opposite of what we should be doing in our country. this is the greatest, longest lasting democracy in the history of the world. we should be clearing the way for more people to vote, not putting up every roadblock anyone can imagine.
[applause] yet, unfortunately, today there are people who offer themselves to be leaders, whose actions have undercut this fundamental american principle. here in texas, former governor rick perry signed a law that a federal court said was actually written with the purpose of discriminating against minority voters. he applauded when the voting rights act was gutted. and said the law's protections were outdated and unnecessary. but governor perry is hardly alone in his crusade against voting rights. in wisconsin, governor scott walker cut back early voting and signed legislation that would make it harder for college students to vote. in new jersey, governor chris christie vetoed legislation to extend voting.
and in florida, they purged rolls of voters before the presidential election in 2000. [applause] thankfully in 2004, a plan to purge even more voters was headed off. so today republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of american citizens from voting. what part of democracy are they afraid of? i believe every citizen has the right to vote and i believe we should do everything we can to make it easier for every citizen to vote. [applause]
i call on republicans at all levels of government, with all manner of ambition, to stop fear mongering about a phantom epidemic of election fraud and start explaining why they're so scared of letting citizens have their say. now, yes, this is about democracy, but it's also about dignity. about the ability to stand up and say, yes, i am a citizen. i am an american. my voice counts. and no matter where you come from or what you look like or how much money you have, that means something. in fact, it means a lot. i learned those lessons right here in texas.
registering voters in south texas, down in the valley, in 1972. some of the people i met were understandably a little wary of a girl from chicago who didn't speak a word of spanish. but they wanted to vote. they were citizens. they knew they had a right to be heard. they wanted to exercise all the rights and responsibilities that citizenship conveys. that's what should matter. because when those rights are denied to anyone we're all the worse for it. it doesn't just hold back the aspirations of individual citizens, it holds back our entire country. that's why as a senator i championed a bill called the count every vote act. if it had become law, it would have made election day a federal holiday and mandated early
voting opportunities. [applause] deceiving voters, including by sending flyers into minority neighborhoods with false voting times and places would have become a federal crime. and many americans with criminal convictions who had paid their debts to society would have finally gotten their voting rights back. [applause] well, today, with the damage the voting rights act so severe, the need for action is even more urgent. first, congress should move quickly to pass legislation to repair that damage and restore the full protections that american voters need and deserve. i was serving in the senate in 2006. we voted 98-0 to re-authorize the voting rights act.
after an exhaustive review process. there had been more than 20 hearings in both the house and senate judiciary committees. there had been testimony from so many expert witnesses, investigative reports documenting continuing discrimination in covered jurisdictions. there was more than 15,000 pages of legislative record. now that is how the system is supposed to work. you gather the evidence. you weigh it. and you decide and we did. 98-0. we put principle ahead of politics. that's what congress needs to do again. [applause] second, we should implement the recommendations of the bipartisan presidential commission to improve voting. that commission was chaired by
president obama's campaign lawyer and by governor mitt romney's campaign lawyer and they actually agreed. and they set forth commonsense reform including expanding early, absentee, and mail voting providing online voter registration. establishing the principle that no one should ever have to wait more than 30 minutes to cast your vote. [applause] third, we should set a standard across our country of at least 20 days of early, in-person voting, everywhere, including opportunities for weekend and evening voting. if families coming out of church on sunday are inspired to go vote, they should be free to do just that. [applause]
and we know that early in-person voting will reduce those long lines and give more citizens the chance to participate, especially those who have work or family obligations that make it difficult to get to the polls on election day. it's not just convenient, it's also more secure, more reliable, and more affordable than absentee voting. so let's get this done. and i believe we should go even further to strengthen voting rights in america. today i'm calling for universal, automatic voter registration, every citizen in every state in the union. [applause]
everyone. every young man or young woman should be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18. unless they actively choose to opt out. i think this would have a profound impact on our elections and our democracy. between a quarter and a third of all eligible americans remain unregistered and therefore unable to vote. and we should modernize our entire approach to registration. the system we have is a relic from an earlier age that relies on a blizzard of paper records. it's full of errors. in fact, we can do better by making sure registration rolls are secure, up to date, and complete, so when you move, your registration should move with you.
[applause] if you're an eligible voter and want to be registered, you should be registered. oregon is leading the way, modernizing its system and the rest of the country should follow. the technology is here. states have already a lot of the data that's needed. it's just a matter of syncing and streamlining. all these reforms from expanded early voting to modernized registration are commonsense ways to strengthen our democracy. but i'll be candid here. none of them will come easily. it's going to take leadership at many levels. now more than ever, we need our citizens to actually get out and vote for people who want to hear what's on their minds. we need more activists working
to expose abuses, educate americans about their rights and hold authorities accountable for protecting them. some of the worst provisions in recent laws have been blocked or delayed by tireless advocates raising the alarm and filing legal challenges but they can't do it alone. we need more grassroots mobilization efforts like the moral monday movement in north carolina. to build momentum for reform. we need more justices on the supreme court who will protect every citizen's right to vote. [applause] i mean, the principle underlying our constitution, which we had to fight for a long time to make apply to everybody, one american, one vote. and we need a supreme court that cares more about protecting the
right to vote of a person than the right to buy an election of a corporation. [applause] but of course, you know what we really need? we need more elected leaders from houston to austin to washington, who will follow in the footsteps of barbara jordan and who will fight every day for the rights and opportunities of everyday americans, not just those at the top of the ladder and we need to remember that progress is built on common ground, not scorched earth. when i traveled around as your secretary of state, one of the most frequent questions i was asked was how could you and president obama work together after you fought so hard in that campaign? people were genuinely amazed. which i suppose is
understandable considering that in many places, when you lose an election or you oppose somebody who wins you could get imprisoned, exiled or even killed, not asked to be secretary of state. and it's true, i was surprised when the president asked me to serve. but he made that offer and i accepted it for the same reason -- we both love our country! [applause] so, my friends, here at this historic institution, just let us remember, america was built by people who knew that our common interest was more important than our self-interest. they were fearless in pursuit of a stronger, freer, fairer nation. as barbara jordan famously reminded us, when the constitution was first written,
it left most of us here out. but generations of americans fought and marched and organized and prayed to expand the circle of freedom and opportunity. they never gave up and they never backed down. and nearly a century ago on this very day, after years of struggle, congress finally passed the 19th amendment to give women the right to vote in the united states. [applause] so that is the story of progress, courageous men and women, expanding rights, not restricting them, and today we refuse, we refuse to allow our country and this generation of leaders to slow or reverse america's long march toward a more perfect union.
we owe it to our children and our grandchildren to fight just as hard as those who came before us, to march just as far organize just as well, to speak out just as loudly, and to vote every chance we get for the kind of future we want. that's what barbara jordan would do. that's what we should do in honor of her. thank you and may god bless you. [applause]
>> on the next "washington journal," a conversation with julian sanchez about government data collection. it is live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. you can join the conversation with your calls and on facebook and twitter. on fridays -- on friday, officials discuss the epa's plan to reduce emissions. this sunday night at 8:00 eastern on "first ladies," we look into the lives of jane pierce and harriet lane.
jane pierce loses her son in a tragic train accident. she does not attend her husband's inauguration. orphaned at a young age, harriet lane lived with her uncle, james buchanan. she was the first to be called first lady in print. this show airs sundays at 8:00 eastern. as a complement to this series, c-span's new book. it is available as a hardcover and an e-book in your favorite
bookstore and online. next, c-span's interview with likely presidential candidate jim webb. this is 35 minutes. mr. scully: former senator jim webb, if you decide to run for president, why do you want to serve? former senator webb: this country needs leadership. i think if you look anywhere in the country and ask what you think people are -- and ask them what you think is missing, it is leadership. i have had a blessing in my professional life in that i have been able to spend about half of my time in public service and
half of my time doing other things, working for myself as a sole proprietor. i believe very strongly that we need to create a new environment in washington where we have leaders who can talk across the aisle and actually solve problems. mr. scully: if you look at george w. bush who said he would be a uniter, you talk about barack obama who said he would be a president for red white and blue america, this town is more partisan than ever. how do you change that? former senator webb: i think you change it with the right leadership. the best example for the present times is what ronald reagan was able to do. people in this country than were saying that the issues were too complex to have one people leading the country -- one person leading the country. ronald reagan was the leader and he had a vision. he brought good people around him and gave them a sense of mission. he inspired the country.
she created the right environment where we could get things done. mr. scully: you have written about reagan a lot. what made him unique to the presidency? former senator webb: i wouldn't say that he was unique, but i would say that he was a strong, positive leader. in our environment here in washington, a lot of people forget that when we throw rhetorical issues around, one of the things you have to do is be able to manage the most complex byzantine bureaucracy in the world, and to communicate a sense of purpose in the country. i think president reagan did that very well. he brought in lyons. people with very strong careers and gave them the mission and let them do the job. that is what we need right now. mr. scully: you have said you
want to run your campaign with a message. what would those be? former senator webb: if people look at what we have done throughout my professional career, we have been able to get things done in and out of government. in the time i was in the senate, i personally wrote the post 9/11 bill. we developed a leadership prototype which republicans and democrats listened to people. in 16 months, we put together the best g.i. bill in american history on the model of the world war ii g.i. bill. we brought criminal justice reform into the national debate. when i first came to the senate, the word was that if you were talking about over incarceration
and alternate issues, you are "soft" on crime. we introduce legislation that cause people to gravitate towards our solution across the philosophical spectrum. i learned five months before the invasion of iraq that this would be a strategic blunder that would empower iran and cause sectarian violence we have seen since then. i also warned about the situation in libya. my message would be that we can sit down, innovate, take the hits and bring the country leadership. also, that we would be focusing on the same issues that i have been dealing with for years.
economic fairness, social justice, reestablishing a sense of direction in our fallen policy and military policy -- foreign policy. and being very careful about the imbalance that exists between the president the and the congress. i think congress needs to take more responsibility on these issues. mr. scully: let's talk about you. you were born in missouri. you moved around a lot as a child. what do you remember? former senator webb: my father was a world war ii veteran. he did not have any college. he spent a year and a half in missouri where i was born and then reentered the military. from that period all through my early life, we moved constantly. we have a lot of family separations. i like to say that i know what
it's like to have a dad deployed, to be deployed, to have a son deployed. it's very much a part of how we grew up. the sacrifices that military families make in the sense of duty that so many other people who serve have. i also learned how to operate in a lot of different geographical and ethnic backgrounds. i went to nine different schools in five years at one point. we were in england and texas alabama, nebraska, california. i learned a lot about the country. i learned about duty and that i wanted to serve. mr. scully: you have to be a native because you said missour a, not missouri. former senator webb: that's how i was raised to say it.
i went to southern cal on an rotc scholarship. they recommended there that i might give the academy is shot. at that time in my life, it was if you want to be a top intellectual try to go to yale. if you want to learn leadership, go to the needle -- go to the naval academy. i learned accountability. i was also on the brigade honor committee for four years which had a profound effect on me, watching how our program worked at the naval academy. i learned the value of proper leadership in tough situations. we all knew then that the country was undergoing a lot of turmoil, and that we needed to provide leadership for people who were going to go to the war in vietnam whatever their political thoughts were.
the war wasn't going to go away and it was our duty to go there. mr. scully: you graduated in 1968. talk about the turmoil of that year. lbj was not seeking another term. you graduated at the height of the vietnam war. former senator webb: the night before we graduated, robert kennedy was assassinated. there were a lot of questions about the validity of our governmental process, the common sense of foreign policy, etc. we all knew what our duty was going to be and where we would be going. mr. scully: you are in your early 20's, about to be deployed to a war that had a lot of questions in this country, and you were front and center. former senator webb: i had an interesting discussion with my father who really did not like the way that mcnamara was running the war.
i think he supported the war itself. when your father is saying "go in the navy, stay on the ship don't be a marine.," there were a lot of strong family discussions at home to rate i wanted to be a marine. the a marines over there fighting needed the kind of leadership that i thought i could bring and i wanted to go. mr. scully: what were your parents like? former senator webb: my dad has been a great hero. he went to night school for 26 years to finish college my senior year of high school. my mother grew up in east arkansas. i think an existence as rough as anyone in this country has experienced, out of the eight siblings, three of them died of disease in childhood.
her father died when she was 10. she chopped a lot of cotton and picked a lot of strawberries. i have two sisters and a brother. we cover the political spectrum when we have our discussions. mr. scully: what is the leg over thanksgiving dinner? -- what is that like overthink giving dinner? former senator webb: i use to get a lot of e-mails when i was in the senate. mr. scully: what advice do they give you? former senator webb: we have a lot of political differences in our family, but i have always respected them. mr. scully: you served in the marine corps. then you came back to the u.s., you worked on nap -- you worked on capitol hill for a while to do what? former senator webb: i was
wounded in vietnam. i tried to stay in the marine corps. i went to law school at georgetown. i started writing when i was in law school. actually, i started writing my last year in the marine corps. i found a strong passion for all i was in law school. i wrote on our strategic axes in the pacific. i worked as a military planner while i was in law school. i worked for the governor of guam and traveled the region. i became a committee counsel for four years in the congress working on veteranss issu -- veterans' issues.
world war i veterans hadn't gotten of terrific deal when they got back. the world war ii veterans were the beneficiaries of the world war i people. i learned a great deal. i also learned that i love writing and i could make a living as an independent writer which is hard to do in our country. i started this period where i would write for a while and miss leadership challenges and go back into the government for a while. then i would miss writing. i began this alternate career path. i loved both. mr. scully: you have written 10 books? you have won an emmy. you wrote a screenplay that turned into a film. have we ever had a president that has done all of that? former senator webb: not yet. mr. scully: how do you go about writing a book?
former senator webb: each one is different. i have also worked on a number of film projects. a novel always starts with the theme, something that i would really like to be able to explore. then the characters fall out of the themes. as a good example, i wrote a book called "the emperor's ge neral." when i would read about that story, it always came back to me, why would a great man kill a great man? taking that theme, i ended up writing a novel into world war ii and postwar japan, all about
the complexities and what was going on. that is typically the way i would write. mr. scully: vietnam is now a close trading ally. would you have thought that 40 years ago? former senator webb: this is what we were trying to do 45 years ago. i have always believed that vietnam is one of the key countries for the united dates in terms of how we approach eased and southeast asia. when i came to the senate, i brought my staff together. we began the strengthening movement in asia two years before the administration came into office. i said we are going to work to invigorate our relations with korea japan, vietnam, thailand, singapore, and change the formula in burma. we had a pretty good track record on all of those. with respect to vietnam, i started going back to vietnam in 1991.
i participated very strongly in the evolution of our relationship with their present government. it was pretty much a stalinist regime in 91 when i first went back. they were kind of the little brother of the soviet regime. they were being subsidized by the soviet regime. when the soviets went down, they needed alternatives. that is one of the reasons i started going there. i was a participant in bringing vietnam into the international community in a positive way, and also addressing the issues of our overseas the enemies -- overseas vietnamese. mr. scully: you have written that vietnam has really shaped u.s. foreign-policy over the last few years. former senator webb: a lot of
people have expected me to make that simple parallel. i have resisted that. i know that vietnam is kind of like a rorschach test. even in my first book which i wrote when i was in law school at 28 years old, i was talking more about how we should articulate our national security interests around the world and where we should be willing to be vigorous in terms of our involvement, which led me on the one hand to say the invasion of iraq, the occupation of the united states of countries in that part of the world would be a huge strategic wonder. at the same time, i believe i have been one of the leading voices in discussing chinese
expansionism and the ways we have to deal with the situation we are seeing in the south china sea. mr. scully: we are seeing it right now. how worried are you about what is happening in that part of the world? former senator webb: i have been writing, speaking about the situation with chinese expansionism and how the united states must remain as the strategic balancing force in that part of the world for many years. what has -- what have come to the four -- fore here in the past month or so has been going on for the past 15 years. it is a classic pattern of an authoritarian expansionist nation, where they make claims of sovereignty and, in their case now, a region all the way
down off the coast of malaga. more land mass then japan, philippines, and vietnam put together. they make the sovereign claims, we have spats out there. we tend to think these are tactical claims. over time, they have created a political jurisdiction encompassing the entire area which reports directly to their central government. we have to be firm that this is a violation of the international law. what they say now is, this is our land, this is our political jurisdiction. if you say anything, you are violating our internal government.
it's just not true. i made a point a few days ago that i believe if i were the president, i would be directing my administration to pursue the notion of limited sanctions against china with respect to trade on defense matters. i would be reviewing defense cooperation with them. we have to be able to communicate that this is a very serious matter. mr. scully: how would you assess the foreign-policy of this president? former senator webb: he was given a pretty poor hand when it came to the situation in the middle east. i think the great mistake of the administration was the way that the arab spring was handled. there is no direct american interest there.
there are no treaties in effect. no attack or threat of attack. it was not even a civil war. i have made this point over and over again. what were the consequences under which -- what were the circumstances under which that the president should have been able to use military authority without coming to the congress? that's the issue that is really going to have to be unraveled over time. mr. scully: has the president been a strong leader? former senator webb: i believe that, in some areas, president obama has. i believe, in terms of working with the congress, we would be a lot better if there were more direct sit down, people from both sides of the aisle, working through issues. mr. scully: take china, russia. how do you think they view the
u.s.? former senator webb: i believe that our country needs a new and clear strategic doctrine. the last clear strategic doctrine was actually the nixon doctrine that came in 1969-1970 regarding when the united states was going to be involved in internal violence inside different countries. particularly, since the fall of the soviet union, you haven't had a clear explanation of how we are going to pursue our national interests. after 9/11, it has gotten more difficult. i think all of these major regional powers or countries like china, which is attempting to be more than a regional power china and russia are going to
be conducting naval exercises in the mediterranean, they need to hear from us that these are the areas in which we as a country will declare our national security and we will back up our concerns. not just with military confrontation, but with economic sanctions or messages as well. mr. scully: you have seen this not only through your own eyes but also through your son who serves. what advice did you give him before he was deployed? he served in iraq, correct? former senator webb: yes. my son state and enlisted in the marine corps and was a -- and was a rifle marine. he was in some of the worst fighting. advice about military service is
not something you can just sit down and give somebody right before they go. we have thousands of hours of discussion, the same way that my father did with me when i was growing up. this is what we talked about at the dinner table. how do you motivate people, lead them, make hard decisions. what kind of leader would you want? do want some one who makes you do something or who makes you want to do something? by the time my son left, we had a pretty clear understanding of what our family has done for a very long time. mr. scully: you are smiling like a very proud father. former senator webb: it was a hard time. particularly infantry combat is hard. on the one hand, you feel a great amount of pride and respect you read on the other you know that people pay the price when they serve.
mr. scully: directly behind you is a replica of that statue that is that the vietnam war memorial. you insisted that an african-american was represented in that memorial. how did that come about? former senator webb: that's a very long and, gated story. this sculpture -- that's a very long and complicated story. this sculpture was given to me as a gift to thank me for the work that we did to get a sculpture at the memorial and working with him over many months. he is an artist. he wanted to know different things before he put the sculpture together. we were successful in getting a sculpture there, getting a flag,
at a time when they were not a part of the original design. i wrote the inscription on the flagpole. i'm very proud of that. when the sculpture was first agreed upon, it was going to be an american soldier. my father was visiting at the time. he turned around and said, "where is the black soldier going to be?" i told him he was right. you couldn't do it with one, you had to do it with three. we had a lot of confrontations on that, but it worked. mr. scully: your wife is originally from vietnam. former senator webb: her family, like so many others, fled from the communist in 1975. the entire extended family got on a boat and were scooped up out of the ocean by the united states navy.
she went to refugee camps. she spent most of her growing years in new orleans. she worked hard. she got scholarships, went to the university of michigan in the asian studies program. she went to cornell law school. we met when she was an attorney here in washington and i was working on a project inside vietnam. mr. scully: in 2005-2006, you were thinking and then announced her candidacy for the senate. most people told you couldn't win. how did you defeat george allen? former senator webb: first, i spent a lot of time thinking about it before we announced it. people were worried. people become worried that you have to make a decision and get
out there and do these things. i wanted to be clear in my head that i could put 100% of my energy into a campaign before i decided. i announced it nine months to the day before the election. we had no money. i decided to put the issues out that we cared about and to stay on the issues as best as i could, rather than getting sidetracked and a lot of the other things that are inevitable in political campaigns. we stayed on message. we never approached the money that the other side was able to raise, but we got 14,000 volunteers to come out and help us. i think that was the difference. mr. scully: i have to ask you about the moment when george allen used the term "macaca." did you realize at the time it significance?
former senator webb: for me, the key moment -- i think what happened with that moment, and george allen could probably give you more insight than i would but i think what happened was people across the country who were dismissing the campaign started paying attention. that is only started getting money. the defining moment of the campaign, in my view, was in september when tim russert had us side-by-side and asked both of us a lot of hard questions and i was able to have a floor on which i could explain my views. that was our big turning point. mr. scully: what did you find when you came to the senate? was it what you expected? former senator webb: it was. i spent four years as a committee counsel in the house. used to put 20 to 25 bills
through per year. what i didn't really expect was the way that campaign-finance drives american politics. for someone who has lived in or near washington for a very long time, written a lot of political commentary, that was a stunner to be in the middle of it and to realize that campaign-finance -- and to realize what campaign-finance did two campaigns. mr. scully: what did you accomplish? former senator webb: i think we had a lot of major compliments despite the paralysis that infected the system. right out of our office, we brought the best g.i. bill in history, more than a million
post-9/11 veterans have helped. we were a voice in foreign policy, particularly in asian policy. before this, i had been involved in the military in one way or another all my life. i made a lot of contributions of the armed services committee as well. my number one accomplishment and i've said this before, where the people that we brought in. i said that my people would be my legacy. we brought in good people. we gave them my approach towards leadership.
i used an oil slick theory. mr. scully: i want to go back to your service in vietnam. when you came back, did you feel gratitude or scorned by americans? i ask you this because we have seemed to swung the pendulum where we say thank you for your service. what did you experience? former senator webb: the it on veterans -- the vietnam age group was sparkly -- starkly divided between those who supported the war and those who did not. those who did not support the war in many cases were among the more privileged and elite in our generation. by the positions that they took, they had made it very difficult for a lot of the people who came back from vietnam. in other words, instead of just saying, thank god i didn't have
to go, the word on the street was that this was an immoral evil, genocidal war. i am not going to take part in it. that was a heavy burden for the people who came back. at the same time, the country as a whole has always loved its veterans. we had a landmark survey when i was on the house veterans committee, $6 million survey. -- on a scale of one to ten 9.8 was where americans scored vietnam veterans. mr. scully: you decided not to seek reelection. former senator webb: if you look at the senate and the way that the larger bills come to the
floor, the caucus has a tendency to neutralize a lot of strong opinions. you either end up voting on these large bills, and people still ask me about them, or you end up down on the floor like some senators who were just talking. i am very thankful for having had six years over there. but i like to get things done. there are other places where you can get things done better. mr. scully: do you enjoy campaigning? former senator webb: i enjoy the face-to-face campaigning. i enjoy getting out in the town hall meetings and talking to people and listening to what their thoughts are and being able to clarify mine. what i don't enjoy is campaign-finance. i'm very blunt about that.
one thing i can say is that i will never oh anything to anyone if i am elected. it's a very tough proposition to be able to raise enough funds in order to conduct a viable campaign. that is where our decision point is. mr. scully: based on that, what would potentially a jim webb campaign look like? former senator webb: we would get out and talked people, i would say exactly what i believe in terms of the issues in the country. whenever i go to a townhome the -- whenever i go to a town meeting, we have bigger risk discussions. we had a contested primary. we were outspent i think 10 to one. we got out in a jeep.
i called one of my old radio operators. he quit his job and moved into my basement and off we went. we would go to three meetings per night, talk to people, tell them what we are about. we won the primary. mr. scully: any campaign is about a choice. your campaign, if you are to run against hillary clinton or lincoln chafee or senator sanders, what's the choice? why you and not them? former senator webb: i wouldn't be running against any of them. i would be running for the presidency of the united states. that is my message. this country really needs leadership, not only that you can trust, but that you can look back and see a pattern of getting things done and a
consistency and a willingness to listen. i think that's what we need now. mr. scully: finish this sentence. the state of america today is what? former senator webb: we remain and good leadership will enable more greatness. mr. scully: we are in your office in arlington, virginia overlooking the national mall. i know you spent some time at arlington cemetery. what were you thinking about? former senator webb: i have a lot of friends there. and my parents. so it is a great place to go to think about the country and service, remember people you care about. mr. scully: do you think a lot in this office? former senator webb: this is my writing office.
mr. scully: what is your timeline in terms of a potential candidacy? former senator webb: i think soon. you have to make a decision soon. mr. scully: put your kids tell you about a potential run? maybe your brothers and sisters? former senator webb: when i am with my kids, i talked to all of them regularly, we can talk about issues, but we do not talk about whether or not i should run. mr. scully: when you are not involved in a potential campaign or writing, what do you do to relax? former senator webb: my oldest daughter said, make sure he is working on a creative project. part of me will always write. and i'm working on a project right now, a 10 hour series.
i have always been an avid fisherman, gb -- bass fisherman. also have great connections with my brother and son. we going fishing trips and all sorts of things. mr. scully: jim webb, thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> this sunday we will be air our interview with jim webb at 6:35 and 9:35 eastern on c-span. >> coming up, former secretary of state data when albright and former national security advisor stephen hadley on middle east policy. then, the delaware legislative hall where visitors pay their respect to beau biden, who died
last saturday. on friday, the defense department will give an update on inherent result, the air campaign to combat isis in iraq and syria. we will have that live at central command with john hesterman at 11 goalie very -- 11:30 a.m. on c-span. on first ladies, we will look into the personal lives of two first ladies -- jane pierce and harriet lane. jane pierce loses her son in a train accident. grieving, she does not attend franklin pierce's inauguration and spends her time in the white house, writing heartbreaking notes to her young son. harriet lane lived with james
buchanan and later becomes hosted to the white house when he becomes president. jane pierce and harriet lane this sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's "first ladies". from martha washington to michelle obama, sunday at 8:00 eastern on c-span3. as a koppelman to the series, c-span's ladies," available as a hardcover or e-book. next, madeleine albright and stephen hadley discussing the launch of their middle east task force. the goal of the task force is to
gather information and make policy recommendations. this is an hour and a half. >> good afternoon. on the half of the chairman of the board of the atlantic council, tom huntsman and the vice president and director, frank doney and all of us at the elena kagan, welcome to the launch of the task force. we are pleased to be joined by some of the task force's senior advisers and many of our friends from middle eastern and european diplomatic communities. as you can see, we have a full house and a virtual full house.
welcome, also, to viewers around the world. this event is live streaming on our website in arabic translation as well. and a full video of today's event, both in arabic and english, will be posted on the council website following the event. this is the first event we have done with live translation, live streaming, from the center. we now have this capability and will do this more often. we encourage you to interact online by following @acmideast and tweet using #mcacst. i want to welcome and salute the founder of the center for the middle east, baha hariri, who is
with us for the launch of this group. on behalf of all of us, i want to thank you or your vision. without which this center would not exist and this task force would not exist. thank you for entrusting to us the legacy of your father. today, after more than a year of behind-the-scenes groundwork, we are proud to announce madeleine albright and stephen hadley will cochair the atlantic council middle east strategy task force in the bipartisan manner for which we have become known. it is an ambitions -- ambitious project to form a global consensus on how to address the challenges and opportunities in the middle east. i will invite secretary albright to tell us more about the task force's work, but let me give
you some context on how the task force fits in the atlantic council's larger mission of working with friends and allies to secure the global future. through the ideas we develop and the communities we convene, we emphasize an active approach to policy around the world with a premium on highly relevant and impactful policy recommendations. over the last several years, we have seen a growing need for well-developed, actionable strategy for addressing the world's problems. for too long, the united states and its global friends have focused on tactics, jumping from crisis to crisis without a plan for leading the world to a better future with friends and allies. to begin answering that need, the atlantic council watched a comprehensive strategy initiative led by the center for international security
developing a strategic framework to guide american for a policy -- foreign policy, irrespective of the 2016 elections. the middle east strategy task force we announced today, led by the center for the middle east, is an element of the larger effort with a specific goal of advancing the strategic collaboration among americans our closest friends and allies in europe, and among our closest friends and allies in the middle east about the future of the middle east. this is not americans talking to americans about what others ought to do. this is a multi-stakeholder conversation about what those in the middle east believe their future ought to be and how we help them get there. the task force will explore
alternative policy approaches that can lead to a breakthrough in a more stable, prosperous region. rarely is the world confronted with challenges more intractable than those in the middle east today. i am equally confident there has really been an initiative better equipped to address those challenges, or leaders more capable in cultivating the right kind of change, as we find in this task force. with two of the great foreign policy strategist of our time during the project alongside the energy and diplomatic savvy of frank doney and a network of supporters that spans the globe i think there is a real opportunity for impact. you will certainly give it our best try. it is now my pleasure to invite the cochairs to the stage to kickoff the event. one is an executive vice president of the board of the atlantic council.
the other is an honorary director of the atlantic council , both friends of the organization. since leaving office, both secretary albright and advisor stephen hadley have been engaged in the issues of the middle east. steve is the chair of an organization deeply engaged with trying to mitigate conflict in the region at national and local levels. he is chair of the middle east board, one of a many -- the many bipartisan operations. as chair of the national democratic institute and partners for the new beginning and organization that seeks to build understanding between the u.s. and muslim world, secretary albright has been a champion for political and economic development in the region. her 2000 book "the mighty and
almighty" cited the independence of politics in the region. secretary albright, the stage is yours. [applause] secretary albright: thank you for your kind words, and thank you to the council for bringing us together. i am gratified to see so many distinguished members of the diplomatic corps in this audience. your presence today underscores the global perspective we want for the project. our emphasis today on listening to voices from the region reflects our determination to
incorporate the views of citizens in our research. it was last year that stephen hadley and i began discussing the need for a focused effort to better understand what is happening in the middle east. i would like to say what a pleasure it is to work with steve hadley on this project and many others. the reasons are simple and compelling. this is a region of tremendous importance to the united states and the world. it is facing a set of overlapping crises unlike any we have witnessed in generations. policymakers here in washington have been working around the clock to navigate these crises and protect america's full range of interests. having both served in the government, steve and i know how easy it is for the inbox to get overrun. there is really the opportunity to take a step back and consider the deeper issues at hand to get at the root causes of the crises and develop an effective and
long term approach in concert with people from the region. the important part is to take the time and step back and look forward. that is in part what we hope to accomplish with this bipartisan project. it is an ambitious effort, but we begin in a strong position because we can leverage the considerable resources of the atlantic council's center for the middle east. for that reason i would also very much like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank baha ha riri, whose generous efforts have made this possible and has done so much to progress the causes of peace which were so dear to his father's heart. thank you so much. [applause] secretary albright: i would like to thank frank doney one of the
finest diplomats the u.s. has had. thank you, frank. we are lucky that after a long and english diplomatic career frank has chosen tuesday involved in the public policy debate. it is his vision that has shaped this into a distinctive and compelling project. i say it is distinctive for a few reasons. first, while it will be housed at the atlantic council center we are engaging with a wide range of think tanks and involving l diverse range of foreign policy practitioners and civil society leaders. we have established working groups led by experts from brookings, the simpson center, the u.s. institute of peace, and an independent researcher. two of them, geneva auto -- abdo and chris howard are here today.
their subjects include countering violent extremism refugees recovery, and reconciliation. politics and state society relations, and economic recovery and revitalization. we are fully covering many of the issues we see as root causes of disruptions and looking at ways to deal with the issues. in the coming months, the working groups will analyze the topics in depth and issue reports that will feed into a final tax force -- task force to be drafted at the center and reviewed by a distinguished panel of senior advisors. this group of advisers include eminent diplomats and experts from the united states, europe and most importantly, from the region. a majority of the advisors are
from outside the united states. that is another thing i believe makes the project especially distinctive. we are not going to look at how to codify the beltway consensus. we want to engage with people on the ground in the region and incorporate their perspectives into everything we do. in short, we want to listen more. and listening to voices from the region is what today's event is about. with that, let me invite my friend and cochair, steve hadley to step forward and set the stage for our discussions. [applause] mr. hadley: it is a pleasure to be with all of you this afternoon. i want to thank madeleine for
the pleasure and privilege to work with you once again on one of our bipartisan policy initiatives. it is an important and exciting prospect. what we want to distinguish this project from others is to start with the views perspectives, and interests of the citizens and leaders in the regions on the problems of the region and the challenges it faces. for that reason, the theme of the event is "a view from the region," and we want to address a number of questions that would be the basis of our work. what are the underlying causes of the current crisis in the middle east? why have so many countries seen their governments collapse or be overthrown? what explains the rise of extremism in the region?
what sort of government would people in the region be willing to support and fight for? what do the people of the region need to help resolve the current crisis? and how can the united states europe, and the rest of the world help? this is not your typical panel event today. let me walk through what is going to happen this afternoon. first, we are going to watch a brief idiot of on -- video of on the street interview produced by sky news arabia. next, we will hear polling data by jim zogby. then, we will turn to cairo to participate in the panel. we will have a brief conversation among the three speakers with madeleine albright and myself presiding. audience into the
conversation for a q and a session. let me introduce the panel you will see on the stage after the video. first is james zogby, who had a four decade career working on u.s.-arab relations and bringing an arab american perspective into the policy conversation. he is the managing director of the zogby research services author of "arab voices," and works at the arab american institute. next is mohammed eunis a subject matter expert on the middle east and north africa. his research at gallup focuses on employment challenges in the arab world and relations between arab and western societies.
with us from cairo will be rabab amadi, associate professor of political siren -- science in cairo. her work covers social movements and resistance and the political economy of social policy. now, let us turn to the short video of on the street interviews of citizens in beir ut cairo ramalah and tunis explaining what they want for themselves and their country. ♪
you saw is validated and all of the polling we have done. when we first did our poll after 9/11, there were questions about what arabs want. we did a wide-ranging poll published in a book called "what arabs think." we found that contrary to the myth that they go to bed at night hating israel, wake up in the morning hating america they actually go to bed at night thinking about their kids and wake up in the morning worrying about their jobs, and spend the day working really hard trying to get a better life. their values and concerns stacked up with what any man on america would say they want with their lives. they want to prosper, take care of their kids, make sure when they get old, someone will be there for them. we reviewed our polling over the
last 15 years. i found that people are confounded in the region about the changes that are taking place and how to respond. there are conflicted, in particular about the united states. after 9/11, there was this notion about why did they hate us? so we pulled them. -- we hold -- we polled them. they like our values. they don't like the way we treat them. they reacted to that by saying "we don't like america." one man said, " i feel like a jilted lover. i like america but i feel like they don't like me. "
the two problems that people there thought they faced were the israeli-palestinian conflict . we asked a series of 11 issues and asked them to rank them. terrorism ranks a bit high in some. health care, education employment our top -- are top concerns. interesting that questions dealing with democracy and reform of government didn't make it into the top tier at all.
we then asked about what they wanted america to do, what they thought america could be helpful with. again, it was employment education, health care and israel and palestine. it was not unlike if you were to ask americans, during the gun control debate, if they wanted britain to come help. again, israel palestine, and u.s. interference were the two issues that people felt were the most destabilizing in their region. given that, -- amigo to this
first. -- let me go to this first. almost scant mention about iran and their nuclear program carried when we asked people how important or how effective was american influence. the nuclear program with iran wasn't a factor at all. we were good at doing what they didn't care much about and not good at doing what they cared most about. maintaining good relations with the u.s. was important in almost every country we polled, but how good is the u.s. at maintaining
good relations, we get credit for trying. let's look at a couple of individual issues. syria, for example. what are the policies he the u.s. should pursue their? humanitarian aid for refugees pursuing negotiations, and leaving syria alone. leaving syria alone is a top issue in almost every country. they didn't want us to be directly involved, pursue it airstrikes. this is what i mean by the conflicted. they want the u.s. involved, but they don't want us to do any of those things, in part, because they don't trust our judgment. conflict in syria contributed to an increase in sectarian, yes.
very dramatic impact of syrian refugees in every country. who do they side with in the conflict in syria? in every country in every -- in every arab country, it is the opposition, except in lebanon. turkey was interesting because it was the one country where the syrian opposition groups did very well. it was the same in iraq. what would be the worst outcome for syria? for almost every country, it was that the country was partitioned or fragmented or the current leader staying in power.
most of iraq's neighbors want iraq to stay whole and do not want iraq to fragment. is isis a threat to your country? a very grave threat in most of the neighboring countries where we polled. do they support the western-led military intervention? only in turkey where there was a significant majority, and in iraq where majority was -- where opinion was divided. in every other country, opposition to that. they know what they want. they don't know how to get there. they know that the u.s. is a valuable participant in the region but they are not competent enough to have the u.s. play a leadership role that we often want to play or feel we ought to play. conflicted and confounded is how i conclude. and a little lacking in confidence as well. mr. hadley: think you very much.
-- thank you very much. >> i took a different approach. i figured i would take the more longitudinal approach to give you a contrast of what we have learned polling for the last 15 years. i was very a little bit about our school. in response to a very off-the-cuff remark by secretary rumsfeld in 2001 about the inability to pull afghans, our ceo is watching the press conference and thought to himself, why can't we start polling them? we started a process with stakeholders, we ran several pilot projects in the region and
finalized our survey school. in 2005 and forward is where a lot of our data comes from and a lot of the learning that i mentioned. the first really important lesson we have learned is leaders were sort of following the wrong message or not following enough of the right ones. i will give you an example. one very important question is asking people how their own lives are doing on a scale from zero to 10. they evaluate their current lives and where they think their lives will be in several years. if they rate highly, they are
ranked in the thriving category. if they rate 4 or below, they are in the suffering category. egypt gdp per capita was very promising in 2010, 2009, getting over the 2011 economic forum. a lot of the macro economic indicators and some of the economic reforms had started to take place and things look very positive. when you ask the egyptians how they felt, this is what we found. this is a trend, this incoherence or cognitive dissonance between gdp per capita and a lot of other macro economic metrics and how people
are actually rating their lives. we saw a similar graph in bahrain, tunisia, and here in egypt. the first dip is the spike in wheat prices. when we come around the arab spring, egyptians are already read it -- registering that something is going very wrong in their world. not a lot of people were picking up on it. just to show you that it is not just a middle east phenomenon. i mentioned several of the high heating countries in terms of instability throughout the region. let's look at ukraine. gdp per capita in ukraine, let's look at how ukrainians have been rating their lives. there is certainly something there. i need to be clear. i am not claiming that this is a predictor for ability or any
causal relationship between stability of these variables or the valuables -- variables in each other. i'm just saying there is something going on. to give you a positive example, here is columbia -- colombia. this is the desired outcome for many countries i think. just for context, and he did leading up to 2011, the only people whose lives -- life evaluation were thriving were in the top 10 percentile. i want to look at this from a different perspective and examine some of the acute conflicts that we have unfolding in the region. instead of showing you a thriving rate percentage, i want to show you the average numeric score of a country on that scale
from zero to 10. let's look at syria. this is how syrians have been rating their lives. in 2013, due to the security situation, we had to reduce our sample by nine -- 9% or 10% of the population. nonetheless, you see that life today in syria continues to be horribly rated and declining. interesting that hope seems to be holding on. we did a series of topical polls with syrians about when they thought the conflict would end in various aspects on where things were going. most of them did not see it ending soon in 2013. maybe that has changed since then. life evaluation is clearly
reflecting life for syrians on the ground. yemen. the yemenis knew something was going on in their country before we did. whether you are leading yemen or somebody who is leading a country trying to help yemen, these metrics become essential to understanding what is really underlying the changes taking place. bread and butter issues. i was hesitant to title this the greater jihad or stupid. it depends on what side of the aisle you want to sit on. i figured i would just leave it as bread and butter issues. one of the underlying premises of this task force is the idea that movements like isis are actually a symptom and not a cause. if that's the case i would argue that to understand the
cause, is to address to -- is to address the issues they capitalize on to get people to ideologically support them or to feel like they are relatively a better alternative than the other choices. let's jump into some of these issues. one of the things we asked all over the world, in the last 12 months, was there a time you did not have enough money to buy food for your family, that you and your family needed. i wanted to compare the post-soviet eurasia countries and latin america. steve brings home in his book that we have lost the ability to compare and look at other countries that have made it across the world. establishing democracy is not
something we are trying to invent in the middle east. improving economies is not something we are trying to do for the first time ever. there are other parts of the world that have seen a relative amount of success. what lessons learned from those other parts of the world can be applied to the middle east? there is the post-soviet eurasia countries making significant progress on that item. here is the middle east. that is the median average of middle east countries. this includes the gcc and many countries that have no issues whatsoever relatively speaking with access to food. you see an increasing trend of concern. payroll to population. we measured employment four to six ways. our most useful metric has been payroll to population. this is 16 older who work 30 or more hours for pay.
here is latin america and the caribbean. post-soviet eurasia is a little higher as expected. here is the middle east. basically, no progress since the arab spring. is this the story everywhere? absolutely not. we had a great conversation over lunch about pockets that are exceptions to this reality. in terms of delivering on the jobs issue in the region, we've seen a lot of talk and very little in the way of delivery. do you feel safe walking alone at night? this is been a huge issue in countries that have seen uprisings. there's the middle east, there is egypt with a serious collapse during the arab spring and a significant rebound. there is a rock -- there is iraq
, jordan lebanon, and tunisia at the end. this is something that has dramatically shifted in the countries, particularly where we saw any kind of uprising protest, unrest. is it corruption widespread in the government in this country or not? middle east. almost no improvement or decline. there is egypt. significant expectations that things will improve in that last rating of 2014. egypt is consistently one of the highest. iraq is surprisingly a little bit improved. lebanon, and tunisia. desire to emigrate.
one of the issues that unfortunately has remained with us, when we asked respondents ideally, if you had the opportunity, you like to move permanently to another country or do you prefer to continue living in this country? we are looking at the percent of those who said they would like to leave permanently. there is egypt. iraq. tunisia, significant improvement. jordan. lebanon at the end. think about this. until now, 15% to 30% of respondents in these countries want to get out. they want to leave.
the steve jobs, the zuckerberg's , all of these people are still trying to leave. one thing for this task force to consider is, in terms of sustainable policy, until you can stop that phenomenon from taking place, but connect with the ex-pats all over the world that are leaving and succeeding that want to improve things in their own countries, how do we form a strategy to connect those networks and communities of ex-pats that are very serious about wanting to give something back and don't necessarily see as bleak a future for the region as some of us tend to. i wanted to share a few slides from iraq because i think our latest polling there really demonstrates what happens when societies lose faith in institutions and how isis
capitalizes onthis is that same thriving rate i shared with you. this is iraq broken into isil held areas and other regions. baghdad and southern iraq are the only two regions where we see thriving come back. iraqi kurdistan and the disputed areas still much lower in their thriving rates since september of 2013 through december 2014. august is when the new prime minister took over. this is six months after the
prime minister is in office and still thriving rates are pretty low in non-shiite areas. the shiite majority areas and southern iraq show some improvement. iso-held and iraqi kurdistan still some pretty significant loss of confidence in the military. the national average is last. you will notice on the slide it'll tells you nothing. -- it almost tells you nothing. when you look locally, you see a lot. confidence and national governments, unlike thriving and national institutions like the military, we saw a significant bounce back in the political appetite in giving the new prime minister a chance. in iraq, do you have confidence in each of the following?
national government, confidence shot back up after 2014. do you approve or disapprove as the new prime minister? this is september 2013. at 13% of people in iraqi kurdistan approve. may 2014, even worse. to a point where barely a majority in baghdad and only a majority in the south approve. very promisingly, at least initially, in december of 2014, a huge resurgence of a chance for this new political leader to strike a new page. i would challenge us to think about how much should we stake as policymakers, on these very fleeting approvals and disapproval. my argument would be, we are a
lot better off focusing on those issues. so much of our rpms as washington tends to be focused on this part. using the right metrics bread-and-butter issues, and iraq as the example. [applause] mr. hadley: thank you so much. i would now like to turn to our studio in cairo. would you tell us your own views about what public opinion is right now in the region? what our citizens in the region thinking about right now? how does the line up with what you just heard and what we have seen in terms of the polling data? are you with us? >> yes.
it's hard for me to tell you what every citizen in the region thanks. i would say that i didn't hear anything today that comes across as completely unacceptable or something that i have not seen through my interactions or studies or political activism. overall, i tend to agree with the picture that was painted by james and mohammed. having said that, i think there are a number of points that i would like to address. we are not freaks of nature. basically, just like james said we are just normal human being. we eat, we think, we run a
household, just like anyone else anywhere in the world. i think the idea of cultural specificity, that the idea there is something wrong with this region, needs to be rethought. i think this is the case with arab spring's. all those young people going out and seeking freedom and social justice, there was an understanding that they are just like everyone else. unfortunately, with the turn of events, we went back to addressing citizens in the arab world as some form of actors who tend to have very strange choices either of the dictatorship religion, or just hating the u.s.
i think anything that we see in the public opinion, once we analyze it, it becomes completely clear how this is a reaction to their own experience. when people are given a choice between their personal safety and their freedom, the safety of their children and being able to live in a democracy, they rationally tend to choose their own personal safety. that's just a human instinct. the idea is not the choices they make, it is understanding the situations we put them into -- we put them in in order for them to make these choices. the other thing that i think we
need to understand about public opinion in the region nowadays and for a few years to come is that this is -- is that things are changing so fast. the idea that the u.s. or any administration focuses on stability and govern ability, i think this is wrong. the idea is to question the cost of what -- the cost of how stability is being brought about. this region wants a stability that will not, the expense of people's dignity, freedom, and bread-and-butter issues.
the other thing i want to commend on, the idea of thinking about what is going on in the region in terms of a crisis. this is not a crisis or a series of crises. this is a historic transformation. a historic transformation, as we have seen in europe in the 18th and 19th century, and in the u.s., those kinds of historic transformations are messy, they take a long time, and they need to run their course. the idea that they can be addressed or that we can seek mechanic conclusions between what people think and accord