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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 6, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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the working with our legislative committee. we anticipate getting back to the department very quickly because we want to be back here at the end of august before the committee working with the of a, working with staff, having a legislative solution ready to go. every day that goes by where there is not the specs, inspectors general -- where there is not this fix, inspectors general are stuck and going back to my earlier point, millions of government employees have uncertainty hanging over them as to whether they can go to their inspectors general with problems that they see resulting in waste, fraud, and abuse in their agency. not being ans:
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attorney, maybe i do not suffer the tragedy of knowledge that this is more complicated than it seems. we seem to be in violent agreement. we have a 67-page opinion. it seems to me if we put as much work and focus into the fix, we will have something in the end of august to act on and if we fail to do it, i think it is a failure on the part of all parties. thank you for your testimony. we appreciate your time here today. we will bring forward the next panel. thank you.
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>> thank you. actually, before we have the will havesit down, we you remains standing so you can be sworn. actually, i will give them an opportunity -- welcome. if you will please raise your right hand. do you affirm this testimony you're about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god?
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thank you. you may be seated. the panelists arm is danielle bryan. , afessor paul liked professor of public service at the robert g wagner school of public service at you -- new york university. and the current director of navigate solutions. ian, we will start with you. are a watchdog the champions government reform. in order to serve as the eyes and ears of congress, and by extinction -- extension the american public, the ig must have oversight of the
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organizations it overseas. argue the ones that are most hesitant to have an ig for review are the ones that are most important for the ig to have. if the office has to seek the agency's permission to carry out its mission, it is restricted. agencies that restricted limit the ability of congress and the public to hold the executive branch accountable. chairman grassley and others have rightly committed the -- declared the opinion. they cannot be expected to be effective watchdogs. of the house of representatives doj that the opinion treats as if it were "above the law." doj can use the midas touch
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approach to turning material secrets. we are particularly concerned about the consequences for whistleblowers on the front lines exposing agency malfeasance. opinion could have a chilling effect on whistleblowers at the fbi, dea, wantther places that would to provide information, but would understandably feared the communication with the ig wouldn't -- would in itself be a prosecutable offense. be opinion would also thwart the ability to confront claims of whistleblower retaliation, as ton the fbi delayed access records in two recent investigations. the essence of the opinion hands control over to the subject of the investigation to decide whether or not it wants to operate.
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as it turns out, this is not the first time the olc has challenged the authority of federal what stocks. prior to the passage of the act, that the prior reporting of ig offices to congress as well as the agency head would violate the separation of powers doctrine. they allegedinion was restricted from receiving intelligence information. this is being felt beyond congress and the irs, indicating issues for offices across the federal government. ig's offices face other barriers as well, but i would like to take the opportunity to raise these in the hearing. the doj ig is required to refer any allegations of misconduct to
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an internal investigators said -- investigative unit. that opr documented hundreds of cases of recklessness or misconduct by doj attorneys over the past decade. did not release identifying information, unlike the inspector general, meaning we have no way of knowing if anyone is held accountable. it is hard enough for the doj ig when it has to fight with department leaders for access to agency records. it is even harder for them to hold doj accountable when it is legally restricted from an investigation by personnel. they have the authority prohibit the dig ig from conducting audits that would have information concerning sensitive
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operations. includingal agencies visa crave defense, the secretary of treasury, and the secretary of homeland security have similar powers under the law. be giventhese require .pportunities to investigate
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senator grassley, your bill also addresses problems that doj faces across agencies. a neededthat this is improvement. and also, congress should continue to put pressure on white house and agency head to fill vacancies with independent and aggressive watchdogs. strengtheningd to ig independence and ensuring that oversight is fair and effective. [indiscernible] >> sir, turn on your microphone. dr. light: it is such a pleasure to testify before this committee and the chairman in particular, who was from iowa and i am from south dakota. so, i trust you will be gentle. i have a couple of statements.
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to the point. number one, i am extremely familiar with the legislative record of this act, dating back to 1976. that particular statute establishing the atw oig, which is not mentioned in the
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throughspread like cornfields. and it has. i do not think it is a sophisticated, heavily negotiated at, having drafted plenty of legislative reports when i was here as a staffer and congressional fellow. i urge you to please go lightly on the work wire meant that your legislativethe report on this. it is in the attorney general's to control thety
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inspectors general. that is where it comes from. numeral simply amend the statute to read that this particular authority does not include withholding. and let me just conclude -- we can talk in question and answer about those. the key conclusion in this section six -- permits withholding. now my adobe reader on my , and ir work, i think serve every last -- i searched every last record i have, every last hearing, every last conference report, the legislation. i cannot find the word "withholding" used or granted as a tool of prevention. the attorney general has the authority to events disclosure
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of sensitive information. but not through withholding. not through withholding. the statutes are not in conflict , which renders the olc opinion of little interest, unnecessary, taken up by other agencies and the department of for complexused negotiations that themselves i- the ig'sute should say to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse and promote economy and efficiency. this is an easy fix or my perspective reading the record. i urge you to consider that rather than the heavy duty negotiations you might soon or you are only thing to answer. last point -- not a legal
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i am a legislative historian and i know this record than olc, from my reading of the opinion. it is wrong on many points. it misinterprets in many areas and draws the wrong conclusion. i would give my student is degraded as you move through this report. that's all i have to say. grassley: thank you, mr. light. >> chairman grassley, thank you for allowing me to testify. thank you for your support or inspectors general. it is a pleasure to see so many of my former colleagues behind me in the audience.
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i think this shows how important this issue is to the entire ig community. after serving in the department of justice for about 15 years, i have the honor of serving as the inspector general of the general services administration, and i 2014, until last year, and i consider myself extremely fortunate to have served with so many rents a bold public servants -- principled public servants and brilliant attorneys and others who work diligently and i,ig community area too, am concerned about the opinion. the olc concerned about the policy impact. we heard something serious a while ago. even the doj officials did not opinion.efend the olc
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the deputy attorney general stated a different policy. informationat this should go to the eye g. not even the doj is supporting this opinion. but generally, everyone supports oversight. we need to have oversight of federal agencies. we need to have oversight of how they spend money, how they keep our most sensitive and private information. that is why we have ig's. to withhold one of the important tools that an ig has will deliver devastating results. ig, but for the doj all. making their job much more difficult. the american people expect that the fbi and law enforcement departments that actually obtain grand jury information and
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wiretap information and or valence information keep that information confidential. but they also want someone to to makethose agencies sure that they are using that information in the proper way and not misusing our most private information. ig's to get want that information. i think that is the policy that has been stated in the previous hour. that is the policy everyone if i to agree to, even heard the representative of the deputy attorney general correctly, even he stated that. order to have effective oversight, and ig must have independence to conduct an audit.gation review or this includes determining what information is needed. in making this determination, it is the judgment of the ig conducting the investigation
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that matters. not the judgment of the agency being investigated. the olc opinion reverses that process and makes the judgment of the agency being investigated control the judgment of the ig. that is exactly backwards. to deny the ig information that is needed to reach a conclusion or a finding is misguided. it's like trying to build a bridge halfway over a river and saying, you can have the rest of the material. it just doesn't work. it's disastrous. the ig must have all of the information to make an accurate conclusion and finding. the results of the current procedure at doj will stall doj
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ig investigations while they meet for investigations to meet on the access for this information. they will not get the information they need. that doesestigation not get information will stall, just like a car. it -- if it does not get gasoline, it will stall. the ig's job is hard enough already. have problems getting information from agency officials. various legal reasons are often inquiries.lock ig many of those get worked out because they are simply unfounded. many of those are based on privacy issues, personally identifiable information concerns, or financial information. ultimately the ig gives the information, but the investigation or the audit is slowed down. in fact, back in 2009 and 2008,
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we were having difficulty gettingdid read on -- unrestricted read-only access to the databases at gsa. i read an article at the journal of public inquiry about it. at the process was much similar to this in that what the agency wanted to do shift the -- shifted the burden to the ig. our auditors were filling out forms, explaining why we need to know. when i found out about this and the delays and our audits, i had a series of meetings with the administrator. we ultimately worked it out, but it was a difficult issue we had to work through, and i recommended at the time in that article that there be a
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legislative fix to clarify all ig's and have fun restrict it, all-only access to electronic databases. the language is already clear that all means all. i urge this committee to make comply withencies that language and they understand that all means all. thank you very much. senator grassley: i will ask his questions after he is gone. >> professor light -- we are where we are. it looks like the a grade on the a, but be less than in what does a light fix look like in your opinion? : i think youht
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need to add a section of definitions. very simple. many statutes include definitions of key terms. the two definitions at hand that need to be defined to dispose of this issue -- and i give the olc and a for effort. i think, senator, the chairman said, or one of your colleagues said that it was really almost a herculean effort to figure out how to make the statute speak to this issue. really impressive. no.in terms of the outcome, so, look, you've got to define what the pivot is in here that the notion that an agency had or the attorney general could on thed is not dependent statutes.
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that the ig's have to pay attention to that. it stands on the notion that the agency and the attorney general and direct the ig's and therefore can control, and at least that is how i read the opinion and you have to say nothing in that provision may be interpreted to give the attorney general or any agency authority to hold information under section -- the full access section. and then i think you define all of the war perhaps. i mean, you know, the olc opinion is on point regarding supreme court decisions, regarding the broad nature of the word. i don't agree -- i think all means crucial and fundamental and that the senate and the house worked very hard to say
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how important this was, but go ahead and give olc some help. i strongly believe that this memorandum should be withdrawn. to issuegood for olc an opinion that is so tangled. it does not help their reputation in future memoranda. that's not something you can order would want to order. it's very simple, i think. senator tillis: mr. miller, do you have anything to add? mr. miller: i like the language added, the inspectors, their letter from the inspector to this committee specifies that the provision require no law restricting information applies to inspectors general, unless
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that law expressly so states and restricting that access extends to all records available to the agency, regardless of location or forms. in the priors: panel from testimony and your opening statement, it seems to me we all have agreement when he to fix it, even within the department. professor like, you made a comment, that i think is very important, something i am very concerned with. we can work very hard and have all of these intensive negotiations, everything else. but it does not seem that difficult. i think the month we are spending now, we need to come up not a $100le fix, saddle on a $10 horse. this is a straightforward proposition. i won't ask anymore questions except to say for those involved in this, keep it simple and get it done quickly, because we need to get the inspector general's
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back to the point where they can do their job, a very important job they have done very well for many, many years. thank you, mr. chair. grassley: before i have questions, i know senator leahy has questions for both panels. expect that. what is the normal time -- so, up to one week we will take questions for answer in writing. you have all had a chance to olc --e ol see opinion askolc opinion, i want to all of you, what is the weakest point of the olc opinion?
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the question of if congress all. it is similar in whistleblower protections with any. it is the same willful disregard of congress's intent. senator grassley: mr. light? professor light: it was in the order of presentation regarding the the linear nation of house provision, dealing with a blanket exemption for the inspector general from the privacy act. reads this and says, well, this is the blow that congress did not intend full access. they deleted the statute with this eloquent language for this provision in 1978. the olc actually reached that by --ing that deletion allows
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inside the deletion was a mundane effort to clean up the statute. the senate is looking at the house statute and says, you know, this provision is unnecessary. it is kind of insulting. the senate was concerned about all of the justice department's objections to this. there was in 1957 men to random that was very intense about the unconstitutionality -- there was issue that was very intense about the unconstitutionality. in issue is expired earlier the report, four pages earlier, as, you know, we were cleaning up certain features of this act. that is it. if you reverse the order, it looks like this dramatic moment -- senateoncern it consideration that dumped this provision in an effort to say
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all does not mean all. i found that the most disturbing, actually. reordering are legislative history. and that is absolutely not acceptable. senator grassley: mr. miller, before you answer, my first question -- i what you to think about the second one. we are looking for language that would make it there enough to ensure the inspectors general really do get access to all of the records that belong to be a respective agencies buried cancer both right now, mr. miller. ok, mr. chairman. i think the weakest part of the opinion is where it deals with the appropriations linkage, section 218. , and thehat was clear olc, that is probably the weakest part. -- and the olc opinion, that is probably the weakest part. on page 46 or so, it talks about -- the notwithstanding language.
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it mentions that a number of places. i think it begins on page 45, .ut mainly on page 46 other standards where it would not apply. it says notwithstanding any other law or statutory --hibition on disclosure, et cetera, et cetera. clear statement ,aying manifest an unequivocal and i think any sort of fix would have to be clear, manifest, and unequivocal. i think that is on page 56 -- 57 of the opinion, first full paragraph. -- saying the problem not with any other law, you run into this problem, which you
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have mentioned, mr. chairman, that there are so many laws that if you try to list them all and say they don't apply, but if you forget one or if one is passed after the statute, there are thelems. at i do think council of oig's on integrity up with some pretty good testimony. i quit that in my written testimony at the end. that simply says -- actually, i don't have it in front of me right now. i read it earlier. that language was very clear. says --
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here it is. no law or provision restricting access to information applies to inspectors general unless that law expressly so states and that such unrestricted inspector general access extends to all records available to the agents he regardless of location or form. senator grassley: ok. i think i will end with this question. , your organization has force fording accountability. in that time we've seen the importance of having which dogs -- watchdogs in each agency that are truly independent. what will be the practical result of the olc opinion going forward if we do not fix it legislatively? ms. brian: thank you, senator grassley. we wereremember that
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founded by your old friend ernie fitzgerald. that gets to the point of how the biggest indications for whistleblowers, who are generally be first line equal reporting to the ig's, not only will they have legitimate concerns, as they already do, about coming forward now, that this will amplify that problem, but it also will prevent the protection of those whistleblowers, which is what we are hoping the ig's will be more capable of doing. so, we see this as unnecessary in some senses, because as we have been hearing before, and i think senator cornyn made a really good point. if it is wrong, they should just withdraw it, rather been congress having to change the law. i am not a lawyer, but it appears that congress was clear and what they meant. we all know the agencies will be able to take advantage of what they want to see from the olc opinion and as a result we do need congress to fix this or we will not get the kind of
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oversight we need from our ig's. senator grassley: yeah. i want to thank all of you for your testimony and particularly the large number of people we have had from the various ig offices. thank you very much. we intend to fix this. we will get it fixed. we will have ig's do their job, .hich is very important theyre essential to those of us to take the constitutional responsibility of oversight very seriously. they help us in that regard. they are not the only people in government that help us with .hat but they are a very important part of it. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] up this afternoon, the c-span city store visits fort lauderdale to learn about the thelers of the city,
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seminole tribe, and the air force plane that went missing. ago p.m.oday at six eastern here and c-span. later, a debate with the candidates for the prime minister of canada. seeking arper is third term as prime minister. he will face off with the new thecratic party leader, liberal party leader justin trudeau, and the green party leader elizabeth may. that is from toronto he or at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. on q&a, kevint orr talks about overseeing the ingest municipal bankruptcy u.s. history. >> if detroit had taken that in 2005, 2006 when the stock market went down to exceed 700 and had fund,nvested in an index
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the stock market is now at 18,000. that not only would have tripled their money. they would have paid the pensions in full and gotten back to business of what is called the 13th check. it used to be giving the pensioners the 13th check at the end of the year. it could have fixed itself if there'd been sober management going forward, just like any organization in the united days. if you have strong, focused leadership, you can resolve these problems. q&a.nday night on c-span's >> this morning, veterans affairs secretary robert mcdonald sat down to discuss the vba improvingh medical care and other services for veterans. this is 45 minutes. [applause]
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>> thank you very much for coming in. mcdonald: it is a pleasure to be here. mike: we have ba employees across country. maybe you should say hi. they do amcdonald: ourt job taking care of veterans and there is no higher calling. a number of them are veterans caring for veterans, or as i like to say, heroes caring for heroes. mike: you are at the top of the corporate world and people at be v.a. hq that you would different from the first day. a little disruptive. the conversation in the elevator. right when you got the job.
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at the timedonald: i was nominated, i was going back and forth to capitol hill meeting with senators, make sure -- making sure they knew what i wanted to college. i was in the elevator on the which my opposite. i saw a gentleman there and i said, how's it going? i like to talk to people in the elevator. you learn what is going on. he said, i'm breathing. i said, well, i am kicking ass, and you better be, too. i just felt that we were not providing good service to veterans and all of us need to be kicking ass to provide better service. the job for a in year and we appreciate you marking it with us. one of your innovations has been my ba, bringing the customer servingce mindset to veterans. how was i going?
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secretary mcdonald: we are in the beginning. as we speak, our leadership team is off-site working with knoll -- noel. dear friend at the university of michigan. he was jack welch relman store at ge. we are working with him. it is the long-term transformation we need at the a. temple strategies. number one, put the veterans first. are learning about customer service, the very best customer service organizations in the country. people like disney, starbucks, others. number two, we have to do a better job taking care of the employee. there is not a good customer service organization in the world that does not care for its employees. you have no hope of caring for the veteran if you do not care
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for the employee. we have not done a good job at our. at number three, services.upport our language is in cobol, a language that i wrote back in 1977. it looks like green screen ms dos. we need a culture of continuous improvement. so they caning leave the change in the systems that they work on and last but not least, number five, we are partnerships.egic there is tremendous goodwill out there to care for veterans and we're trying to embrace that. we are in the midst of our summer of service. we started with 75,000 volunteers. to 100 to get up thousand volunteers. there's another ethical reason
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for this as well, which is by law, we are not allowed to care for 15% of veterans who got less than honorable discharges. carter are, ash looking at all of those discharges to see if they should be reevaluated. in the meantime, we need those external partners because we want those veterans cared for. mike: if you are watching us and us youream land, tweet questions. we will ask your questions. what was the very best tip that starbucks gave you about customer experience? mike: -- secretary mcdonald: howard schultz is a dear friend. mike: is he going to run for president? secretary mcdonald: i don't know. i'm not a political person. my political party is veterans. all i do is think about caring for veterans. ," hed, in his book "onward
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writes about his experience of when he came back to be ceo any he walked into one of his stores and the smell of the place was earned cheese -- burned cheese rather than coffee. appetite has a lot to do with scent. they introduced the wreck the same which. the cheese would melt in the oven and the smell would pervade the store. rather than try to convince him to buy from breeze -- buy what thati think instance demonstrates is the importance of the ubiquity of experience. do is makee got to sure every veteran we touch feels the warm embrace and the ubiquity of it. whether it is the music we play, the way we meet, greet them at
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the door, whether it is the starbucks we have in our facilities were they like to their buddies, men or women. it's that 360 degree ubiquity. mike: what did you learn from disney? secretary mcdonald: i think with disney, the importance of the cast member. they do a great job taking care of their employees. they call them cast members. and the importance of the knowledge as you leave the disney area, you are on stage. ted ins actually replica our new orlando medical center. we have all of our exam rooms on the periphery and our patient care teams meet in the middle. we have a unique system we used , patientor veterans care teams, so it's not just the primary care doctor, but the other people who work with the primary care doctor and they are all inside this area, meeting
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before they go out on stage to be with the patient. the v.a. leader re-embracing the customer. you have met internal resistance. it isary mcdonald: natural, mike, when an organization is in crisis, the natural response is to turn inward. you stop caring for your employees. .ou forget about the customer the leader's job is to go into a situation like that and be , but be disruptive by going external. i have been to 190 v.a. sites. leadership, the union leadership, the
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stakeholders. because i'm going to know what is going on and use that input in the transformation plans. -- mike: youonald: have a problem. scenario, resin obama will be gone in a year and a half. how that affect this organization? secretary mcdonald: people say that. i do not know i will be gone. i not acting like i am going to be gone. when i came in and we put strategies. one was rebuild trust, improved metrics, but the third one was to do the right thing for the long-term. my v.a. is all about that. i bring private sector expertise
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in. them with someone ,n the v.a., so if they go there will be someone who understood and -- you understands. asked when my colleagues who is a veteran what should i ask the secretary -- ms. brian: -- secretary mcdonald: any name? [laughter] secretary mcdonald: i like names. that's why i give out my self a number. i like to talk to veterans. mike: he pulls a were verse lindsey graham -- a reverse lindsey graham and gives his real cell phone number on c-span. secretary mcdonald: yeah, sure. 513-809-8454. mike: innovative young reporters
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are dialing that -- secretary mcdonald: i look forward to talking to them. i did that for a couple reasons. i did that to deliver lycée to the organization -- i did that deliberately to the organization to let them know that i was available. originally they were about i need help. now they are "you changed my life." we were led by a very capable lady named heavy. this is not -- named debbie. this is not the sustainable way we want to care for people. an officer, tom allen, who has over two decades experience at mcdonald's. .nd he is helping us
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we have set up an external advisory board. whoof them is fred wayne wrote a book called "if disney ran your hospital." he is helping with this as well. mike: going back to your days at west point, always let your soldiers eat before you do. what is the government analog to that? secretary mcdonald: i think the government analog is to put the needs of your organization above yourself. i will not ask anyone in v.a. to do anything i would not do myself and i will work as hard tothey do, if not harder, demonstrate to them they are more important than me. similarly, i am going to fight for them. wrong,one does something we will take disciplinary action. on the other hand, we're not going to get involved in the
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politics of the situation. we will keep focused on veterans and we will fight for our employees. mike: what about congress? secretary mcdonald: what about congress? [laughter] congress has a role to play as well. we work together to it and if i what the needs of the veterans .re i do not have much tolerance for using veterans as political pawns. mike: do some members of congress do that? secretary mcdonald: that is for you to judge. i'm about caring for veterans. ask: my colleague said to you about the immensity of it all. is the biggest health care system that cannot get its head around obamacare insurance. secretary mcdonald: the v.a.
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would be a fortune 10 program. gamble company when i was the ceo had 120,000 employees and sales of about 85 billion dollars. is a large organization. as i studied it, this country -- first of all, veterans cannot do without the v.a.. american medicine cannot do without the v.a. and i would argue the american public cannot do without the v.a. have said tongress me, why don't you blow up the v.a. and give out vouchers? it is a strong three like its tool. leg one is research. three nobel prizes. who did the first liver transplant? the v.a.. who invented the first implantable pacemaker? the v.a.. who invented the nicotine patch? v.a.. who knows about post-traumatic
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stress? i could go on. i won't. we train 70% of the doctors in this country. who will train them? we provide the internships. we are the largest employer of nurses in the country. this work and training is very important to the american medical system. the third leg is, of course, the clinical work we do for our veterans and omar bradley set this system up in 1946, 1947 and aligned the v.a. with the best medical schools in the country. our veterans love the care that they get it the v.a. we are making it more accessible. mike: let's talk about the patient's. what is the average age and income? secretary mcdonald: you raise an excellent point. in 2014, if i asked you, what do you think caused the crisis at v.a. and 2014, most americans would say was probably the fact we have been fighting wars in
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afghanistan and iraq from within a decade. my business analysis says that is not the case, but it's instructive. the year i graduated from west point in 1975, we had 2 million veterans over the age of 65. two thousand 17, we will have 10 million veterans over the age of 625. that's a five times increase from 1975. is what actually occurred the aging of the veteran population, which put tremendous stress on the system. this is happening in u.s. medicine. but it's happening slowly and is less visible. my point -- excuse me -- let's meet finish with this thought. we have a capability today we will need 20, 30 years from now with the afghanistan and iraq veterans who age. if we do not build that capability today, we will not have it. what is one stat about
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your current demographics? secretary mcdonald: believe it or not, we are still serving 100 defendants of the spanish-american war. my point is, it does not go away. at the war does not end. v.a. does not become inessential. the way you look at v.a., you have got to think about 20 or 30 years hence. with a sacred obligation to be veterans who fought the wars in this country. obligation is for their life. the army likes to say, a soldier for life. that is the way we think about it. your staff gave me some stats and facts about how the v.a. has improved in the last year. and everyone in this room knows this is one of the most troubled departments in government. when you there were a lot of problems. this takes before your time -- march 2013.donald:
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mike: the day that you walk in there is 200 69,000. have you get to zero? secretary mcdonald: we continue to follow the same strategies. we need to build on top. we digitize the process. we got rid of five tons of paper. everything is digitized. we are doing great work with our organizations. when we get the claim, it is ready to be processed. the other things we have done in terms of digitizing the process is creating the computer system that allows us to do it in an automated way. that allows us to move those claims around the country depending on which of our centers have capability. the other thing we have done, we have asked our people to work mandatory overtime and this is the part i don't like. we have had employees working mandatory overtime to process these claims are the average
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time weight now is less than the 125-day standard. we are trying to get out of that. the problem is, we have more people in the budget. act,recently in the choice we had more people in the budget for escape -- for accelerating congressman and one to pass the choice act, they stripped these people out. we're back with the 2016 budget asking or more people for the claim portion. they are having people work from home, so the two hours they were used to commute, they can do claims instead. questions from twitter. #playbookbreakfast. is the secretary aware that 100,000 -- 130,000 combat listeds are incorrectly
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because of a means test? if thery mcdonald: individual would give me their name, i would be happy to figure it out. usually you get those claims and anusations when someone has issue. customer service is about one-on-one care. so, e-mail or tweet -- secretary mcdonald: or you have my phone number. [laughter] telehealthrole does play in increasing access for vets. yeah,ary mcdonald: telehealth is huge. we are the leader in telehealth in the country, perhaps in the world. telehealth is basically using broadband and digital technology to deliver health care as much as possible. for example, i was in one of our facilities and the nurse i was ath, nurse practitioner, had
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stethoscope that was connected with the wi-fi and the internet. my she was taking my paul -- listening to my heart, and that was being read across the country. that kind of thing is possible. it is something we are doing already. another aspect of that is mental health, doing mental health appointments in telehealth, providing the confidentiality and security a lot of veterans like. so, we like to use it for mental health as well. mike: mike: the question my colleagues. he says you expressed confusion about the blue button initiative . do think they va the sake other steps to take patient engagements to improve the care?
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point iy mcdonald: the was raising -- i was talking about people working on our and wenic medical record want crowd sourced innovation. on olue button is a device e-benefits website. my only point was sometimes we pick names that are confusing to our consumer. if i went through a veteran and said what is the blue button, they would have no idea. our website have unusual names. veterans.gov?with rather than looking at everything through the lens of bureaucracy, let's look everything through the lens of
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the customer. have there is with us today and she has a question for you. i think we will try to get a microphone. i will ask you, you went on 60 minutes and they asked you is the worst behind you. i will ask you, what is the worst problem that remains? secretary mcdonald: the worst problem is as you approach all ,f these targets, these goals it is such a large system and such a large need. you always have one left and it is this idea have how you get every single person. it is the starfish story about the old man throwing the starfish into the sea. he may not be able to clean up
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the entire beach but it matters to each starfish in the water. i feel like that but i need to clean up the beach because if there is one better and homeless, that is one too many. that will be on your watch. hello, heather. >> thank you for your extraordinary leadership. [indiscernible]
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secretary mcdonald: scheduling is a really big issue. two trackken a approach. one track is to put in fixes to our current system knowing that is not the solution. phoenix, i sato down at the computer screen and worked the scheduling system myself. it really is a green screen. like we have to make things simpler for veterans, we have to make things simpler for our employees. putting fixes into the system is the fastest approach. we are going for an off the shelf system you are going to implement as quickly as possible. we are going to start putting this in place. it will take some time to do it. the third thing we have to do is
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make sure our people are trained. this is why i am eager to have a simplified system. while there have been things that have gone wrong and we are holding people accountable for those things, for example, there manipulated who data in georgia who was indicted two weeks ago. as times goes on, these measures of accountability will come out. i believe we have to make things simpler. there are veterans today complaining about our execution of the choice act. their severn -- there are seven different ways of getting it outside. these laws get layered on top of each other. that is incredibly complex for the employee to understand. we need to simplify that and congress has asked me and we are
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suggesting we simplify that one system. what i'm looking for is we have to make that scheduling system simpler. app nowa nap now -- an and we just have to make it easier. mike: when you went on meet the press in february, chuck todd asked you about how many people have been held accountable of the problems and he said none hundred people had been fired since i became secretary and two weeks later, few people lost in scandal. has there been enough accountability? secretary mcdonald: the number now is over 1400. peoples that have been terminated. part of this is a layered approach.
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there is disciplinary action the fbi takes, well over 100 people be investigated now for scheduling issues. as those investigations come out , the fbi investigation takes priority. then you will hear about the things happening but for all of our critics, accountability and organization is more than firing people. what we have to do is make sure there is a sustainable system in place so people are rewarded when they do well, held accountable when they don't do well. we are providing feedback. i sat down with the chairman of our house committee and took them through the relative performance readings over 2014 a tope the a -- v employees. what i showed him was number one, nobody in veterans health administration is getting a performance bonus for 2014.
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nobody is rated outstanding. how can you be rated outstanding if your secretary has to resign? we have the best distribution and government of those ratings from top to bottom and i would argue the best distribution compared to private actor. -- private sector. accountability is a lot more than just firing people and accountability is also the fact that when i came in, i found the doctors salaries were 20% below the market so we raised the salaries. accountability has to be more holistic than firing people. secretary mcdonald: -- mike: my colleague has a question. a lot of people still dissatisfied. document. page what facility are you still most
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concerned about? secretary mcdonald: you have to understand the political nature of the concerned veterans of america. i met with pete many times. i know people that fund his organization. we are not in favor of advertising the va. one of my biggest concerns, i met with sylvia burwell on this recently, is how do we inform the doctors we send veterans to in the private sector to always ask the question "have you served in the military?" if i'm sending a veteran to the private sector and that dr. does not know the military culture, that could be dangerous for the veteran. i have to make sure those people are informed. the idea of advertising the va .- privatizing the va
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didn't train 70% of the doctors in the country, who would? that is not in their proposal. you have to look at this rationally from the standpoint of the veteran and those veterans who have rest of their lives for our country and what we owed them. mike: let me ask you, what is the most legitimate for many criticism of the va? secretary mcdonald: i think the criticism is of me, not the va. i take responsibility. i think the criticism is i'm not moving fast enough. but there is one veteran without a roof over their head tonight, it is my fault. if there is one better without the disability claim handled today, it is my fault. the first day, you have four answers to any situations.
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yes sir, no sir, i don't understand. i tried that answer a lot. but i was a slow learner. the fourth is no excuse, sir. anytime a veteran is not getting the care they need, it is my problem. mike: my colleague has a question. --i wanted to ask you [inaudible] secretary mcdonald: one of the
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things i noticed when i joined the va is i did not think we were embracing the goodwill of the american people enough, including contractors. i found that one of my first trips was to boston. i went to harvard medical school . i also went to boston to market our facilities. there, i visited an organization .alled home base home base is a wonderful organization. i was told by those who run it and buy a dear friend who owns that we weremets seeing major league baseball's contribution to veterans as competition. rather than as complementary. i wanted to make sure we saw it as complementary. we have established a strategy. it is all about strategic partnerships. we hired a guy from the private sector.
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flint,the mayor of michigan at the age of 28. he has run several companies. he has come in to help us set up these partnerships. collier.is matthew anybody who wants to work with the va, we want you to. we know we can speed up the process if we have all of the help everyone can give. there is also the ethical issue i mentioned. home base can treat the 15% of veterans with this honorable discharges. we cannot. we believe in strategic partnerships. mike: we have a question here. thank you.
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please just say who you are. >> i work for the congresswoman. i will -- what are the conversation is focused on health care, which is understandable given the immediate crisis. homelessness i know is it can turn of yours. you were in los angeles at the opening of the blue butterfly village. what other steps are you taking to alleviate that concern, that crisis? secretary mcdonald: we have been working very hard on the woman aiding veteran homelessness. eliminating -- eliminating veteran homelessness. one of the things i discovered when i came in the job as there were a lot of unfinished business. we have a lawsuit going on in los angeles for overclocked or years that paralyzed us. -- four four years.
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i had to solve that lawsuit. working with partners, people i knew, we created an agreement. we are all working together as a community. we in the federal government cannot do it by ourselves. partnership is important and we need to get all levels of government working together. we need to the local mayors, governors to help us. every time i go to the city, i meet with the mayors, the governors, and we make sure we have a plan. one of the biggest issues we face is getting the landlords to rent for the voucher amount. is the mayor and i, we have a mayors challenge.
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we get all of the landlords and a room and talk to them about how this is good business to rent to that event -- to veterans. we surround the veteran with is mentalher it health care, medical care, addiction. we surround them with peace workers so the veteran becomes a good reintegration in the community. hello, leo. >> beside you are not a political person and you mentioned your outreach efforts to congress. do you feel you underestimated the political aspects of this job? we still see plenty of anger and conflict between va and congress in recent months. do you feel you need to recalibrate that relationship? do you feel there is warroad to
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grow? -- more room to grow? secretary mcdonald: there is unanimity around veterans issues. work congress did recently to give me the financial bucks ability to -- flexibility to use, money set aside for committee care was a good thing. i have said many times that we would government runs is not like a business. i have over 17 line items of object -- budget. in this case, we needed $3 billion to pay for care in the community that was a budget up was aideo dollars -- that budget up to $10 billion. we have given the veterans choice. they all have choice.
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i don't have choice in moving the money so i have to keep going back to congress every time, asking permission. it gives them another opportunity to talk about mismanagement. >> that aspect, that transfer was a four-month fight with some nasty accusations against you. secretary mcdonald: i will take the accusations as long as we get the job done. i am not a politician, i am not running for anything most of the purpose is to care for veterans. i think what you will see as over time, congress will work with me to run this more like a business. this was what they asked for. they said run like a business and i'm trying to do that but i need laws passed.
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resistance to the destruction and the business oriented approach has also come from the hill. secretary mcdonald: i probably get five letters a day from members of congress about you should do this, that. givinge all about additional benefits. no member has written me about taking away a benefit. they pass the loss to give benefits, the appropriate the money to pay for those. when you have a mismatch there, guess it gets caught in the middle and blamed? i have to work with members of congress and there is tremendous unanimity. we have to work together against the common objective. mike: when you explain that, they say what? secretary mcdonald: most of them agree. hearing, there
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are pretty good goes as explanations of what is going on. the financial flexibility, generally in the appropriations committee, members have agreed. we will see. when you are at procter & gamble, you emphasized value-based leadership. i favorite is you say companies must do well to do good and must do good to do well. explain. secretary mcdonald: playing on the private sector in particular, the purpose of the proctor and gamble company is to improve lies. the employees are inspired by that purpose. -- improve lives. you cannot create products that improve lives and trash the environment at the same time.
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one of the things i was most is the clinton global initiative a few years ago, i made the commitment for procter & gamble but by 2020, we would save one life an hour by providing clean drinking water. we invented a chemistry that allows us to clinton leaders of water in developing countries in of water inliters developing countries in 20 minutes. they walk 10 kilometers a day to get water and firewood. it is a huge issue. over 2000 children die a day from drinking unclean water. if you have a purpose for the company of improving lives, you that purpose
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pervasive in the country. it has to be a part of your philanthropy and what you do commercially. mike: it is clear your christian faith is important to you. secretary mcdonald: it is. i am a devout christian. spirituality is -- is part of my life. i was leading a large, global company. it is an important part of what we do in the va. we have chaplains. the spiritual nurturing of our patients is as important as the physical. they go hand in hand. i don't think it is a surprise when you serve in the military, you have a chaplain that goes into battle with you. in my case, the chaplains we had were dear friends and once who helped care for me spiritually and helped make your spiritually for the men with me. you are from cincinnati.
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be iceu're lost meal cream, chile? secretary mcdonald: can i have all of the above? mike: what is your favorite food? secretary mcdonald: graters ice cream is incredibly delicious. it is chocolate raspberry. are the size chips of candy bars. it is a great country. of la the philanthropy rosa's family. think that our 11 strikeouts in the game by the reds pitcher, everyone gets free pizza. you cannot imagine what happens in the stadium. i worry a fan will go out and
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e thee the bat -- greas bat. mike: you want to a real deal fantasy camp. secretary mcdonald: i turned 60 years old and former birthday dinner, my family played a joke and they gave me a letter from the reds saying they had drafted for fantasy camp. my son turned 30 years old. i never got to play with him so we went together. we played two games a day with professional uniforms, umpires, on special fields. by coaches were two great guys. the only problem was my son is very active on social media and while i love playing with him, i really didn't appreciate him
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putting on his facebook page that he hated that our hotel room smelled like bengay every night. mike: thank you for watching. -- thank youving for serving, veterans. we think the bank of america for making this conversation possible. and mr. secretary, thank you. >> warner from the politico playbook breakfast. we hear from david brock who heads correct the record, a group whose mission is defending hillary clinton from what the group calls baseless attacks. this is half an hour. >> david, thank you for coming. this is debate day and david
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brock is our debate day guest. david who founded correct the who is the human embodiment of the left-wing conspiracy in some ways. having been in the right-wing, but the difference is it was much more of a ragtag operation in the 90's versus what we see today. it is much more sophisticated. we all about the incredible amount of money the coat brothers are willing to put down in the selection to defeat hillary clinton. it is such a big number. we solidly republicans. -- solid the republicans last weekend where they were out
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there competing for the affections of the koch brothers. with that kind of money being spent, whoever the candidate on the republican side is coming they will be beholden to the koch brothers in their agenda. they probably didn't plan for the frontrunner to be a billionaire himself, someone they cannot control. secretary mcdonald: you are the most vocal defendant of hillary clinton. at this moment, are you more irritated with fox news or the new york times? mr. brock: the new york times. easy question. look, -- mike: you have been complaining about the new york times. their coverage of an investigation of e-mails. what if they just made a mistake? institutions in
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general have been making mistakes all the time. there are a couple issues. one, it is not the first time. there is a pattern. the first e-mail story they broke was botched and they had to walk back from the second thing is the way they handled it is questionable. readers still don't know thinks about how this went down. i think the issue is how did this happen? in the case of 60 minutes, when they botched the story, there was internal investigations. there is no review going on at the new york times as i am aware of. the sourcing is questionable.
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we were very heavy on right-wing media but people don't have to take my word for it. is reality we are living in there out to get hillary clinton and to elevate her opponent. that is the dynamic we are living with and it is not just mistakes are getting things here. there is collusion you have hillary clinton as the sole target of 17 republican candidates, congress, and the media. it goes all the way back to watergate. you don't really think the political reporters are a secret den of right-wing nuts. mr. brock: not theologically but there are a number of cases. mike: they get used. there is an intense competition on the clinton beat. mr. brock: everybody wants to be
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first. possible thaty they rest of the story out. that is something we don't know because we don't know about the internal workings of the story try to incentive is to be first and to nail that pray. back tothat it goes this model of theirs, at least to whitewater. i think the press has not learned from those mistakes and a lot of people now are repeating those same errors. whitewater was designed to show of trustworthiness. in 1992, 8 was a gated operation but that it was a dated operation.
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the mainstream media sometimes as a vehicle for that. mike: you're one of the most sophisticated understandings of media. you are a former investigative reporter. what can the clinton campaign due to turn around that dynamic? mr. brock: number one, i think this goes back to one of the principles of the 1992 clinton war room that every charge be answered. that does not have to be by the campaign. these thingst let sit out there and be unanswered. a lot is beyond their control. what is in their control has been going really well. you have to give people their factual information on what they can make decisions.
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you can see it is difficult to draw david out. tweet us your questions. we will ask david brock your questions. explain the difference between correct the record and media matters and tell us about your empire. 12 distincthere are entities. basically five missions. media matters is the mothership started in 2004. that is monitoring a cross-section of mainly national press every day, posting about 400 critiques of media coverage. then came american bridge. that was an innovation on the democratic side in the way research was done.
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it was an innovative model. we are combing through the candidatesrepublican . we have done some governor races. for two years now, we have been tracking and doing research on all of the republican field. we are further ahead than any other democratic organization has been in collecting that data. we have trackers, more than 50 young people in the field. every event they can get into, they sound. when we have news, we put that out.
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we were first out of the box putting that video up from jeb bush. mike: tell us how that happened. who spotted it. mr. brock: we have to move so we a streamlined process. i don't even know until it shows up in my e-mail that we have done some. the trackers are outfitted to be able to move very quickly and there is probably one check point in d.c. and then it goes. mike: my colleague recently did a story about trackers. what is the new frontier, the cutting edge? mr. brock: we have done some not so much on technology but i think the next thing is for the tracker to be .ot fairly passive
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that is something we will see more of. the entire operation is ongoing on both sides. i found that if you innovate, you get a copy so we started american bridge. now both sides are outfitted jeb bush deer in the headlights
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on what the fairness act was. that was a question and he either did not know what it was -- i don't know what the question was but that was one of our people. i'm just kind to illustrate you dynamic in the room with questions. you throw people off their game. then you cut somebody saying something they really think and that is what we are looking for. mike: this will come from asking more aggressive questions. how else will we see this more aggressive philosophy? mr. brock: on the technology know the details i don't but we have been able to act quickly to get this
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video out than ever before. it is down to a matter of minutes. mike: secretary clinton has a problem that has nothing to do with fox news. she loses ground with white women. this is the latest wall street journal nbc poll. she is losing 10 points among women from june until july going from 44% of white women having a favorable view to 34%. the first three month of the year, suburban women-18% positive review of her. they now have a negative view of her. what happened? mr. brock: do they say why? i don't know what happened. i can just say a few things about the polling. the moreers come down active you are as a candidate. that has happened.
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secondly, in every poll, secretary clinton is leading. her favorability's have stayed thetively steady even in midst of the onslaught we described in the spring. at this early stage, perception of candidates and those numbers she hasan a ton but pretty much weathered the storm. mike: what are your worries at this point? mr. brock: i don't have any worries. mike: you would be the first person in politics and the clinton camp if that were true. if she is not president, it will be what? i think that there are things under your control in the campaign.
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that shesphere, we see is doing swimmingly. in your control could go wrong. you could make a mistake, make a bad decision. if the question is is there something they will do to her that will make a difference, i find that unlikely. that is just having studied all this on both sides for all these years. we have seen the playbook. member president clinton won reelection twice in the face of these kinds of phony scandals. they got she is so well known, she is probably the best defined person in the history of american politics. is that an advantage or vulnerability? mr. brock: it could be both. i think the problem would come
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in and that if people believed that they know hillary clinton, and yet they don't, there is an awful lot in her 30 year public record that i think people don't know a lot about. i think that will come out in the campaign and that will be a huge quest for her but -- plus for her. i wrote a book about newly 1996.n published in i want through a process as a reporter of looking at her record firsthand. i have done some of the early clinton scandal work. every incentive was to find ways to attack hillary and one of the thegs i found, one of
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reasons i support and trust are is i found somebody who had this lifelong commitment to public service. at every step of the way where she had choices to make, she was of the everyday american values people can relate to. that all added up his strength of character and integrity. in the right wing, you couldn't even say hillary clinton did a good job raising chelsea. i feel like i are and that the hard way and i wrote in the book that i thought that it was possible sunday that she would be as a greater historical figure than her husband. and il believe that today
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think as americans are seeing, this is a lot of what i fall back on. she has been such a trailblazer in so many ways for mike: how do you think history will regard her? mr. brock: i expect we will win this election and i expect that will likely lead to reelection. precedent here is the first woman president. i feel like people are ready for that and i think that will happen. mike: how powerful is that single point? does that single fact mean she is more likely to be president? will play i think it a role. is that it is it very hard to win that third
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term. one of the reasons the president -- that president will be broken is because people are ready. it is not just for a woman, it is for this one. , it says histioned hard-hitting journalism has cast bob dorn of the right. how did the right turn you left? -- to make amaican long story short, i was trying to do two things at once. i was trying to be politically active and do journalism. point, there was a train wreck that happened between towing party lines and going with what you are finding in your journalism.
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thaty specifically learned the sources around clarence thomas had seriously misled me. the book was written in good out, thatwhen i found was part of the story. it shook my foundations. it wasn't like one day i woke up applied economics doesn't make sense. it was about the character and integrity of the people i was working with. mike: if you have a question for david brock have indicated and microphone.g you a what do you hope to learn about the republican candidates tonight? mr. brock: a lot of the attention is on donald trump and rightly so but i think were -- but i thinkng
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the more interesting thing is jeb bush. political story of the last week has been the way hillary clinton took him on and shredded his reputation as a moderate. she showed that what he stands platformpolicy approved. we're almost waiting for him to start to advocate -- it is like the 47% all over again. did he do when there was almost a knockout? he did nothing will stop that showed that he did nothing. of thee're talking now confrontation in florida.
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he came out and did not respond. mr. brock: the only thing that happened later was that there was somehow a breach and that it was kind of a class entitlement. contradiction is that if you want to stay above the fray, and you crumble, that can show you to be very weak. on the other hand, if you get in the fray, that is against our strategy. i don't think getting bloody was part of the script. i am looking for a republican he canl stand up and say stand up to hillary because judd has failed the test. jeb bush has failed the test.
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in the tradition of the kinder gentler h.w.-- bush, that is the strategy. the question is how do you handle the contradiction of doing that in the primary? i think what we will see tonight is that there are stylistic differences but on every issue, they are all the same. that will come through as well. mike: do you worry more about marco rubio or scott walker? mr. brock: i could be worried about either one. be preparedhave to for any eventuality here. it is a very hard race to predict. if the republicans followed their tradition, you would think
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that would be jeb bush but i think anything can happen and we can be back in 1964. mike: tell me what that means. mr. brock: the nonestablishment candidate could end up with the nomination. mike: somebody not viable in the general election. mr. brock: right. somebody who has 45%. clinton secretary becomes president clinton, what will your role be? mr. brock: to do everything i can with the organizations i mentioned. mike: you're not going to the west wing? mr. brock: no. i am very satisfied with the impact we are having as an independent organization. successful in aiding her in the election, the next
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half -- he could still have a republican congress, rough terrain. our role would be to try to ensure that she is able to govern successfully. that is keeping track of the press, opposition. i couple organizations i have does media training, one is an ethics watchdog. i want to put all of that to work for progressive government. mike: if she loses, what will you do? that is a good question. i don't know the answer to that. i am not planning for that so i not really thinking about it. mike: do you think you are unlikely to remain in washington? mr. brock: not really. now, corrected the record working with the
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clinton campaign is clinton aligned but if you go back to 2004, we were very young and weren't able. we have done the same for progressive leaders for president obama and planned parenthood. the organizations were not founded around any particular candidate. they both live on no matter what i do. mike: you mentioned the media training. correct the record has an accused of pushing the boundaries of the campaign-finance wall, including trading clinton supporters. where do you see the line between what you can and cannot do? mr. brock: the line is that our communications are through free media and the internet. are beinge not doing advertising campaigns.
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that is the distinction that allows us to work in court nation with the campaign, -- in coordination with the campaign, and that is what we are doing. comingou have a book about six weeks from now you work very hard on. "killing."d "killing the messenger." what is the big idea in this book? mr. brock: it is about how the art of scandal mongering has evolved in the time from when i was one of the people who invented it, if you will, through my time looking through these progressive organizations to fight that.
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it basically has three parts. read "blindedwho by the right." it is a memoir. it takes the reader from 2002 to the present. it was based in part on a speech i gave at the library. and what is the republican playbook against hillary and why is it all bs? and i take you through all of the pseudo-scandals. ishink the value of that that if people start to
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is,rstand what propaganda it ceases to have an effect. i'm trying to precondition to understand. mike: as we say goodbye coming up had an apartment in new york for a while. what is it like to be a part-time new yorker? mr. brock: i love it. i try to get out of there a week them up -- a week a month. -- there is more to do. mike: you talk about the balance. what is the difference in the culture? allbrock: d.c. can be a bit work, no play. in new york, there is room for both. mike: what do you like to do there you don't appear?
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mr. brock: there are more places to go to dinner, which i like to do. timee been here for a long . washington has gotten better. you can have a great meal anywhere. anybody who has visited you knows toby. we have about 250 people in these organizations. mr. brock: we got a grandfathered into our lease. mike: what is his role in the conspiracy? [laughter] just hope he is not a double agent, let's put it that way. and: thank you for watching our friends at bank of america
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for making these conversations possible. , politico.colleague david brock, thank you. enjoy the debate. at 11:00 after the debate, hop on politico.com. i will be there with a post statement with my colleagues. come see us and we will see you then. >> coming this afternoon, one of our c-span city stores. a visit to fort lauderdale, florida to learn about the early planes that have gone missing in the bermuda triangle. it starts at 6:00 p.m. eastern with the00, a debate
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candidates for prime minister of canada. stephen harper is ticking a third term and in the only scheduled debate, he will face the new democratic party leader. the liberal party leader, and the green party leader. we will have that life for you tonight -- live for you tonight at 8:00 eastern. >> this weekend on the c-span networks, politics, books, and american history saturday night at 8:00 eastern on seas and. congressional profiles with four members. sunday night at 9:00 with elections coming in october, we will show you a debate among the four national party leaders in canada. on c-span2 saturday night, charles murphy -- murray argues we can rein in the power of the federal government.
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this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bombings of hiroshima and the end of the war in the pacific. programming start saturday morning at 10:00. later, he will visit the american university hero she me. hiroshima -- hiroshima exhibit. sunday morning, our coverage continues with the 2000 documentary on the making of atomic bomb and interviews with atomic bomb survivors. get our complete schedule at c-span.org. >> yesterday, president obama called on congress not to block the nuclear agreement with iran.
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first, the chair of the senate foreign relations committee responded to the president today during a hearing on human trafficking. after, we take a look at the top democrat on the senate foreign relation committee. against ushreat weighing in on the iran deal. up until 1.5 hours before that vote took place because they did not want a public debate on a run -- iran. obviously, the committee chose otherwise. everyone voted for it. but they did not want the issue debated. what the president did yesterday by saying that a ranking member who has questions about the iran deal, senator menendez less questions about the deal, both
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of which voted against a rock war die -- we are being compared to the iran because we have concerns we're trying to have answered. a few months ago, the president was talking about what a thoughtful person i was. but now, because i have concerns, and i think everyone has concerns, this is going to be one of the toughest decisions. he is trying to shut down debate by saying those who have questions,legitimate legitimate questions, are somehow unpatriotic come compared -- unpatriotic, compared to hardliners.
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it is to shut down debate, to make this about something other than arguing on the merit of the deal. i am there disappointed. i know the senator was meeting with the president last night. i do want to say i wish you had been there last night to hear the discussion. one day sherman said she would come share with us how the arrangement was working. i called early this morning to ask if she would at least let us have her notes from when she was briefed by the iaea. i'm beginning to believe that one of the reasons they do not want people to know -- it is not 's confidentiality. i don't think it would stand the test of late-night comedy.
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i president obama: -- senator corker: the fact that we have concerns about trafficking, that on unanimous vote we ended slavery in this work, that that somehow we would not be viewed as patriotic or unpatriotic, that somehow people are not serious on these issues. senator cardin: you have always been a thoughtful and principled person. i respect your leadership on this committee in the matter that we had been able to work together. senator corker: hopefully if i do not disagree with you

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