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tv   Washington Ideas Forum Valerie Jarrett  CSPAN  October 4, 2015 7:00pm-7:22pm EDT

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that is something he have to do to say to asian-americans and hispanic americans and african-americans to say our policies are designed to give your kids a better education, to get kids at of permanent poverty. the create more jobs so there are better wages and better conditions for people who are working. that is why we believe what we believe. i think we can do that and i think we can get minority populations to support our party. i believe our nominee will have that capacity, will be able to make the case. it is unfortunate that some of the rhetoric has so clouded the picture that some people think we are anti-immigrant. nothing could be further from the truth. [laughter] gov. romney: hey, guys. my party is pro-illegal immigration. of the top 25 companies in
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america, high tech companies, founded60% of them were by a first-generation or second-generation immigrant. -- we the things we are have a system that attract the best and brightest entrepreneurs around the world. we want that. it is part of creating more good jobs and bringing better wages. we want immigration to work so we bring in the best and brightest. we do not want illegal immigration to slump -- swamp the legal immigration system. look, i want to stop illegal immigration. legal same time, i want immigration to be a source of innovation and culture for our country. host: thank you, governor.
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[applause] more from the washington ideas forum with white house senior adviser valerie jarrett. she talked about foreign policy and the presidential race. andrea mierviewed by tchell. all.ank you good afternoon. so much has happened. we have heard a lot of interesting speakers today. i just came from the united nations. wantedsident most likely to have a victory lap. the iran deal, cuba negotiations. at the same time, a very difficult meeting with vladimir putin and with no warning, airstrikes. ms. jarrett: we had a heads up it was coming.
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early for a victory lap. we have a year before the election. i think the president wanted an opportunity to address the u.n. he has addressed it each year since he has been in office. he has been very clear about the challenges that lie ahead. last 10een a productive days between a visit with pope francis and the way the country welcomed him. the state visit with president xi jinping of china. host: the audience has heard speakers, including mitt romney and john mccain, strongly criticized the president's foreign policy. how can you respond to that, to the criticism by a bipartisan congressional committee on the war against isis. ms. jarrett: the perception that isis is winning on the ground,
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that our airstrikes are not effectively preventing jihadis from joining the group, that we do not have a plan for syria, this is a tough piece of business that will require hard work over time with a coalition that is ever-growing. no one said this is going to be easy. i think it is easy to be critical. to the resident is committed doing everything possible to keep america safe. when he was in new york, he had a session focusing on combating extremists, particularly isil. it would be much more constructive for those folks to join our efforts and work together to keep america safe. host: how concerned is the president about the rhetoric being used in the campaign this year, particularly anti-muslim rhetoric? ms. jarrett: having had the
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privilege of participating in campaigns, myal observation tends to resonate with the american people. somebody who sees the united states as a diverse country , are diversity is a strength nation people gravitate towards, that is something we should celebrate. elections, the isson the president won because his message pulled the country together. we are all in this together. that is actually what the american people gravitate towards. this other, destructive rhetoric, there is no place for that in our democracy. host: are you surprised about the pope's private visit with kim davis, the clerk in kentucky defind the supreme court --
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fying the supreme court? , wejarrett: obviously believe in religious freedom and that public officials have to comply with the law and the constitution. we had a terrific visit with the pope. he and the president share common values and priorities, everything from climate change to equality and justice and providing opportunity to those less fortunate. think those here welcome to welcomedd the pope. secret service did a great job of keeping the pope safe. a very positive visit. host: the experience that you e, what wase pop
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completely different about this experience? ms. jarrett: i have met extraordinary people, but there was just something about his spirit. i am a non-catholic. sitting in his presence and listening to his message, a message that really lifted up everyone and saw the value, i was brought to tears when i saw him at the prison. president obama recently visited a federal penitentiary. i watched the president's conversation with those incarcerated. to see the reaction on the face pe the inmate when the po grab their hand was very moving. every day, there is something that happens that makes me pinch myself. being on the hill when he
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was in congress that day, i found extraordinarily moving. later, we see the departure of john boehner. what is your diagnosis right now about what ails politics? ms. jarrett: how much time do you have? host: 13 minutes or so. ms. jarrett: it is disheartening, to say the least. one of the things i enjoy about my job is i get to work with elected officials outside of congress. mayors, governors. the president spoke to a group of state legislators who had been working on everything from raising the minimum wage to paid sick leave. making community college free for the first couple of years. a whole range of issues that the american people care about. ist is disappointing to me when i see the amount of time that congress wastes.
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i lost count after 54 votes to repeal the affordable care act. what if you added up those hours and focused on issues we care about? i think it is troubling, but we will reach out and work with whoever the next speaker is on the day he is elected. that is what we do. but it is telling there is going to be a change. you: how concerned are about the democratic race right showshe polling that hillary clinton losing ground. another e-mail released today. there will be more releases before the iowa caucus. drip, drip, drip. ms. jarrett: at this time in the 2008 campaign, i'm sure there were people that would say senator obama would not be elected.
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i do not spend much time tracking the polls. as i said, we have a great deal of time and a lot of hard work to. it is a marathon. i think there will be ups and downs in the next several months. it will be up to the american people. we think what the president has done in the last eight years, if you think about what was going on, sometimes people forget. we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. unemployment was 10%. it is now 5.1%. the entire economy was heading into a depression. saved all that links to the hard work of a lot of americans and the president's leadership. yearhallenge for the next as an office is to continue that trajectory. as we often say in our country, challenge is ubiquitous.
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but opportunity is not available for everybody. my point to you is we are focusing on a lot of hard work to create that opportunity for every american. that thehe vision majority of americans will support at the end of the campaign. host: obviously, the president would want his legacy to be continued, expanded upon by a democrat. nbcrding to the latest ll, thestreet journal" po best democrat would be joe biden. ms. jarrett: again, you are speculating. has notsident biden made up his mind as to whether or not he is entering the race. a hypothetical poll does not mean much if he is not in the race. whoever wins the nomination is who the president will support. host: he couldn't shut down
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speculation right now. he is taking more from clinton then bernie sanders. he could shut down speculation if he were ruling it out. ms. jarrett: talking about the vice president? host: the vice president. he is doing what you would do if you wanted that option. ms. jarrett: i think what the vice president has said publicly is the same thing he says privately. he really does not know what he wants to do. loss. a devastating i cannot imagine, as a parent, what he is going through. this was early summer, late spring. it is reasonable for him to say, i need a moment to decide if i can do this, if my family can do this, if i have the fight to enter the race. we should get in the time to figure it out on his own. host: the president says the best political decision he ever made was choosing joe biden as
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vice president. how hard would this be for barack obama to have his vice president running against his former secretary of state? ms. jarrett: an embarrassment of riches in the democratic party is always a good thing. having great candidates is always a healthy thing. i think the president will be fine with whatever they decide to do. there were lots of people who said to him, do not run. so he believes that everybody should make the decision for themselves. host: one of the main reasons hillary clinton has been suffering in the polls is the intel controversy. controversy. she said it was allowed. wasn't there guidance to cabinet secretaries? ms. jarrett: absolutely. we want to make sure we preserve
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all government records. there was guidance given that government business should be done on government e-mails. if you use a private e-mail, it should be turned over. that is what she is doing. she has been asked about this multiple times, including by you. she said, if i could do it again, i would not do it. she is working hard to comply that making sure everything is pursuant to the federal records act. host: on the other side, what do you make of donald trump? [laughter] as i said a few minutes ago, i think what resonates with people is a spirit of hopefulness. we are the greatest country on earth. i do not think we should ever tear it down. that does not mean we do not have challenges or there is not room for improvement. as i mentioned earlier, there is
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lots of hard work ahead. what resonates ultimately with the american people is a spirit of hopefulness and confidence. a spirit that believes in this country. as we have seen in the last election and the one before that , people go up and down during the course of the race. the president used to say during know, whates, you was great about iowa is that you got to run around the state and people would kick the tires and find out who you were. that is what is great about a democracy. of timea long period where everyone gets to know one another. that is what will happen this time. hampshires in new when donald trump had a town hall meeting. ms. jarrett: you are just going to keep going there, aren't you? contradict thet
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man from the audience who was speaking a defensively about muslims in general, the barack obama in particularly. he said, the president did not defend me. why should i defend him? but recall what john mccain did in 2008 when a woman was similarly offensive. ms. jarrett: what senator mccain did was really excellent. get sent a really important message. it is ok to disagree with somebody. name-calling -- it is something you are supposed to stop when you are much, much younger. [applause] again, i am being serious. i am not trying to avoid the question. we are a country that should celebrate diversity. we are a country that believes in religious freedom and expression. we should be embracing that.
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ultimately, the reason why i am not bothering to comment on one particular thing a candidate says is i ultimately have confidence in the american people and their wisdom. host: and the president, in this last year, what he is trying to accomplish, in his speech to the general assembly, he laid out a anniversarye 70th of the u.n. where he sounded frustrated. contrast that to the speech in cairo in 2009, one was filled with hope and change, if you will, and the speech this week seemed frustrated. obviously, six years later, he has an experience enriched by being president of the united states during a tumultuous time. i did not think he was frustrated. i heard when he was
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running for office that diplomacy is complicated, but we should not be afraid to engage with people because they have historically been our enemies, he has proven the vision is coming to fruition. i think it is a consistent th eme. does he wish the world were easier and some of these problems were easily solved? of course he does. but i thought it was a hopeful speech about the importance of the u.n. and the importance of diplomacy and how hard it can be. host: what are your hopes, his hopes, for the result, the payoff, for the overture to iran? the secret negotiations, the arduous task of the nuclear agreement? , assumingour hopes that commitments are kept? ms. jarrett: the whole purpose
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of the negotiation was to ensure iran did not develop nuclear weapons. we believe this agreement is the best possible way of assuring that. obviously, time will tell. a lot of hard work will go into monitoring the agreement and making sure they live up to their word. it is a positive sign. the same could be said for changing relations with cuba. as the president said, you can fight something for 50 years. it is not working, do not be afraid to try something new. i think the meeting with castro was a constructive meeting. these are good examples of where we cannot be isolationists. we are world leaders and cannot fear engagement. the only purpose of engagement is to make the world a safer place. and the world is shrinking by the day. technology is bringing us closer together. challenges that maybe once upon
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a time the united states could face a long weekend a longer face alone, which is why it is +1 inportant to have the p5 negotiations with iran. we cannot do it alone anymore. host: do you expect president obama would be able to go to cuba? ms. jarrett: we will see. host: normalize relations with iran? ms. jarrett: yes, of course. these are all very positive steps. let's take it one day at a time. we have had a pretty good summer. i woke up this morning and was trying to remember how many states legalized same-sex marriage when the president took office. two. before the supreme court decision, it was 37. now it was everywhere. as the president said, moving
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justice, thats arc is long, but it bends toward justice. sometimes it moves like a thunderbolt. -- want to judge what could happen in the next year. same time, this week, a lot of people studying the body language of barack obama and vladimir putin. ms. jarrett: they were standing up. host: not too many smiles. there was a handshake. what is that relationship? ms. jarrett: they are two leaders of the very important countries. they have to work together and will where they can. they will disagree on some issues and work together. another good example is iran. when we were having a clear conflict


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