tv Washington This Week CSPAN November 8, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm EST
lobby, "mr. smith goes to prison," which tells the story very well. but you can -- sure.r smith: i was in the senate in missouri. i was on a panel. the moderator asked a question that was too intrusive, and i bludgeoned the moderator -- [laughter] forllent, i was running congress in 2004. i will try to convince this as much as i can. i was running against a dynasty candidates. -- dynasty candidate. we were trying to run a grassroots campaigning get over the half. two of my aides were approached buildonsultant who themselves as a practitioner of the political dark arts. he told my aides he wanted to my out a postcard detailing
opponent -- it was a 10-way race -- but detailing his dismal attendance is a state legislator. my aides said, he wants to do this. should we do this? what should we tell them? i replied, i don't know -- i don't want to know what you do. what does that mean? should we do it? i said, don't tell me anything. so, they gave him the voting information. which is public information, but it violated the mccain-feingold legislation. anattorney provided affidavit for me to sign in response to a complaint that he filed. the affidavit had 15 statements. 14 of them were true, one was not.
i denied knowledge of that postcard, even though i knew that the aides had met that person. five years later when i was a missouri state senator, my best friend called me, he told me that the man who had done that postcard five years earlier had just been picked up by the feds for mortgage fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, illegal weapons possession, spousal abuse -- cocaine distribution, heroin and was the chief suspect in a car bombing that nearly called his ex-wife's divorce lawyer. and i let my aides get mixed up with this monster. i said my friend, what do we do? what if the feds knock on our door? this guy says, i can deliver someone who is a state senator. my best friend and i talked about that for a couple months, and little did i know that entire time he was wearing a wire. basically my only chance of
staying out of prison was to do something similar, and i didn't do that, and i was sent to do a year and a day and was in federal custody for about 10 and a half months. thank you. in so, part of where i think i want to start here is from your experience and your knowledge professionally working with families and incarcerated people -- does prison do anything to help criminals? can it? or does it just sort of ruin lives and make people worse off? that is a broad question. risen serves a purpose. there are dangerous criminals that should be kept away from civil society. -- risen serves a purpose rid there is no doubt about that. for those who are dangerous or they have a compulsion problem where they will keep offending,
prison may be the only solution, but there is a large swath of people where prison is not necessary. for those people, prison can play different roles. for some, there are a lot of people in prison who are uneducated. these are not master criminals. we put a lot of faith in the fact that our criminal laws will do to her that behavior because if we ration out penalties, people will be more inclined to follow the law. that is not the population i met with. these people just did not think they would get caught. they did not read the queue at -- the u.s. code. they did not do cost benefit analysis. they sold drugs because they want it to money. that was most people. i should say -- and you should read jeff's excellent book. he captured my experience almost vertically. there is a myth about white-collar prison. there are no white-collar prisons anymore. most of the people in my camp or drugs and guns violations. people serving mandatory
minimums for drugs. so, it's a real wide array of people. some people got something out of the prison experience. some people just needed to age out. they were immature. they had limited brain functioning. they just needed to grow up and mature. there are other people who didn't speak much english, had very limited education, and they were able to get their ged while they were there, and that may have helped. for most people though, it's just killing time. people would say, if you are bored, that doesn't bother me. but it should because what you are sitting there like a can on market ishe job advancing, technology is advancing, your family is moving on. everything is changing. and you have no responsibilities really when you are in prison. you may have a job, but it's a lot of makeshift jobs. your skills atrophy. said that man is a creature that can get used to anything.
i think that happens to prisoners. you learn what it takes to become a decent prisoner. you stay out of fights. you stay out of stupid arguments. you don't touch other people's laundry. that sort of stuff. you go to the commissary. you have a limited amount of things that you can buy. you learn that lifestyle. people there is a certain comfort in that and when they get close to leaving, they got nervous because they were afraid of the choices. for a lot of people, long sentences without any meaningful programming, and we will address that, because unless you are able to get drug treatment for your addiction or get your ged, there is really nothing else available. when you look at recidivism rates and you see people come out and they reoffend, i think some people try to do the right thing. some people will be fine. some people will try to do the right thing and after a few
years, they will not be able to make ends meet, they have a family to support, and they are back to theoing lifestyle that put them there in the first place. i want to give jeff a chance, but there is so much more that can be done on the programming side of things. at not only do we need to do more to treat them while they are there because it is not only compassionate, but is in our interests. sentencesd to shorten because there is no amount of programming that will satisfy someone for 10 or 20 years of living in that type of confinement. jeff, did you see anyone being improved, better left with impulse control or more prepared for the world and when they came in question mark -- came in? senator smith: not really. in my opinion prison did a lot to create better criminals and almost nothing to rehabilitate
people. there are three ways i could talk about. if i go on too long, stop me. the first way, prison reinforces people's tendency to operate outsidethe rules and the normal economy. and the way it does that is pretty simple. most people have a misconception that you've got it made. you get three hots and a cut and you are fine. most prisoners are destitute. penny toot have a their name. they do not have somebody outside to put money on their books. maybe some of them do for the first couple years, but then people fade out of their lives and forget about them. the problem with that is, you don't have it made. you have to buy your own soap. you have to buy your own deodorant. you have to buy your own toothpaste. the basics of personal hygiene -- you are living virtually on top of hundreds, if not thousands of other people and
hygiene is very important for many reasons i could get into later. if you want to have a normal lifestyle where you just have met, letiene needs alone anything else to make your life halfway comfortable, you've got to find a hustle. the hustles range from things that are totally legal like guys who develop an artistic talent and draw portraits of other guys' girlfriends or children ,n that people can send home two things that are little bit less legal like, you know, bookies who make book on basketball games to guys who rent barbershops -- which the prison is fine with -- to guys whichn tattoo parlors, the prison is not fine with, to the most lucrative, which is smuggling contraband. i appreciate your kind words about the book, kevin and i agree with the most anything you very skilled found
men in there, and i would say in my experience, there is not a single concept you could learn at wharton you could not learn in federal prison. new product launch. quality control. territorial expansion. mismanagement. barriers to entry. supply chain management. i heard every one of these concepts elucidated numerous times, using somewhat different lingo than you would learn it at wharton, but they understood each one of these concepts. but there was no training at all to help people translate their intuitive grasp of the business world that they have learned through success in the drug world, no formal training to turn those into formal enterprises. there was a computer course is offered. good to tell story will quick, if you don't mind. there were three courses when i was there. there was one ged course that they had a prisoner teach.
the prisoner did not care very much for most of the time, so if you did not want to go, you didn't have to go. then there was a hydroponic scores, because what better way prepare someone for successful reentry than to learn how to grow tomatoes and water for two to weeks. and then there was a computer course. everyone on the way out, finally, we had been salivating over this room with 12 brand-new computers. no one ever got to go in it. it was locked the all-time. then a dozen of us got to go. we sat down at the computers. this was an appellation, southeast kentucky. the co tells us to sign in. we sign it. we also down. he says, all right, you see that button on the bottom right? .ush it in so, we push it in, the computer turns on. we sat there for about 90 seconds. then a prisoner starts playing with the mouse, and he says, go,
-- if you push the [indiscernible] ok. we sat in silence for about 35 minutes. says,40 moneys and, co you all remember that little button on the bottom right? push it again and get back to your cell. but since we at all signed in, they could tell the the opie we have successfully completed a computer skills course and they could get their stipend from the federal government. i think that was indicative of the amount of rehabilitation going on. soator smith: -- tim: programming does happen. it is supposed to be part of the federal system. do they try it?
computers seems like a good thing to learn, because that is a huge part of what creates coming apart in society. some people know how to do with computers and others don't. are their career-based things? could you teach someone impulse control? kevin: i would just say the courses just talked about, these courses, most of the programming is taught by inmates. i would say hydroponic scum of but i could say jeopardy, i could teach a class on current events or crocheting and get credit. it was all busy work. it was just the prison administration way to show they were keeping us busy. they would sign and attendance form. then they would get their certificate.
i'm so busy working hard. we are rehabilitating you. everybody felt good about this con we were all in on. i joke about it, but it's so corrosive. these are people who need to learn the rules. as jeff was saying about the hustles -- people did all of these things. they would iron shirts. they would make food. i did not care about any of that. it was just i thought -- this is you broke thee rolls. you're the lowest of the low. this is where you want to get on board and do the right thing. the prison does not care. they make their own -- idle hands, people end up doing the wrong thing. the prison programming was really lackluster. attics, i think, then people would think, at least in the federal system. there were only a couple people that came in that were really strung out and in the throes of addiction. there were people with dependencies that needed help, but it's not why they committed
crimes. they were trying to make money because they were selling drugs. but the thing that i felt was missing the most was some sort of cognitive behavioral therapy. some sort of, you know, the psychological therapy. come from communities where that is frowned on, and there are people everywhere who frown upon this. but the laptop -- the lack of impulse control, a lot of the behavior is antisocial. that is what got them into this position. now they're going to the most antisocial place in the world, where you are walking around with headphones on, screaming your music to know when, and no one can tell you to be quiet because no one is going to screw with you. it just perpetuates the worst behaviors. fights youot of the would see would be overturning the tv channel or someone calling a foul on a basketball game. those are things that -- you
know, you have these people in a fishbowl. they might not seek this help otherwise, but while you have them there, there are things you could do to work with them to get them thinking about their thinking patterns. get them thinking about their behavior and the choices they are making and the roots of those choices. people do what they were raised to do and they are not thinking about it otherwise. even those who try still struggle and have to remind -- why do i feel this way? 250 prisoners and we had one trained psychologist and she was the head of the drug treatment program. she did not want to do any more work in that. that.n when i was there for a little while, i had tw girls i was missing terribly and i knew some of the other guys were missing their kids. we talked about putting together a group. we said, let's put together a father's group so we can talk
about ideas about how to stay in touch with our kids, how to use our minutes, how to create pictures to send, anything you can find to stay close to your children. that's what you want to do. and you also want to say, i am bummed out. i'm dying. need to cry on your bunkmate's shoulder. this is a men's prison. she wanted no part of it. she would not even respond to my e-mails asking if we could put that group together. there is a lot of lip service about family communication, but there's not a lot done. as jeff said, the co said "now you can leave." the concern. i checked the box. i gave you your computer training. states to a better job. at least some states do. but the federal government is really far behind. youtor smith: -- tim:
alluded to something in your book -- i believe it is called the convict code. before you talk about that, i just wonder if you can talk about programming. --you think size logical psychological help is possible, useful? what you think? senator smith: i agree with everything that kevin said. i'm jealous. you guys had crocheting? kevin: i'm a master now. senator smith: i actually apply to teach current events. istead i was put to work -- see a couple of you have the book. if you turn on the back, you can see what my job was. i worked in the warehouse on the loading dock. you can see my crew i worked with. you can probably tell which one i was. -- you do the crime, you do the time, you know?
you do the time how they want you to do the time, not how you want to do the time. not going to complain about my job. at a decade of teaching experience, i again is in a state senator. aught a love to have t course. a black history course. i thought that could be interesting. i went to teach a current event scores. and then i realized like anything that had any political or ideological charge was never going to fly, so i applied to course,job interviewing resume writing, to teach guys more about that. about three weeks before i got ,ut, they did finally moved me which was interesting. we movedllen off of -- about 35,000 or 40,000 pounds of food a day into freezers that
were bigger than this room. and i fell off the top of a freezer if you weeks before i left. i did not think they were going to move me, but the lieutenant governor missouri estimates -- asked me to visit the next day. then they thought that he might have come in response to the falling. then when they thought, oh, you ice behind some jui you. than they did move me. the guy in charge said, in may, what is your education level? i said, phd. he said, all right. we will start you off sweeping the classroom. so i swept the classroom the last month. kevin: i was going to teach a writing course as well. a lot of guys were doing court filing, correspondence courses,
and they would ask me to write. i think writing is a lost the skill anyway. in prison, it's pretty miserable. i asked, can i teach the class in resume writing, cover letters, basic writing like that. i had to say part of the problem was no one would come. a couple guys would seek me out privately, but they were not going to come from 5:00 until prison night because the wasn't going to make them. there were some guys that were interested, but i don't want to put it all on the prison. the prison should have made them come. -- [indiscernible] was the thing. the head of education, he said, this class cannot hold 60 people. i said, right, they are not going. they -- why aren't
know? i i said, you stay in check attendance. he said, forget it. the timemith: all people wanted help. they wanted tutoring on the ged. they would quietly come to my cell and ask. there is differently interest in a pretty would say insatiable thirst to figure out what they are going to do next and how they are going to doinge a skill, but things formally in prison, there is not always an interest in that. the rand corporation just did a study. they did a meta-study of dozens of prisontudies education programs around the country, and it showed -- first of all there is a 43 percent reduction in recidivism for prisoners who advance educationally while they are incarcerated. secondly, for every dollar we spend on
educational programs and vocational programs, there is almost a six dollar return in reduced cost related to that recidivism. which makes sense. if it's costing on average $31,000 a year to incarcerate someone, you can see how much we can save. you talk about therapy. therapy is so important. people do not have an outlet. the prison system teaches you so many things. it teaches you to behave -- to suppress all emotion. my: this was going to be next question. talk about the convict code, making eye contact, seeming to friendly. there is a way you have to behave which is antisocial, in a way. you have to learn the rules of survival that are probably counterproductive out that -- outside. -- i can'tth:
imagine that being something at all that is easy to fix. versusthe prison the prisoners? is there anything that could make the prison not foster that code that pushes people toward antisocial behavior? senator smith: i would say there is. and that code -- what results is, number one, a tendency to suppress all in motion. you learn very quickly any show of emotion is a show of weakness. i'm so excited for the visit i'm going to get this saturday. no, don't say that area -- no, don't say that. you do not tell anyone else about your family. you don't tell anyone how much you miss your kid. you don't do anything. because then they know how to get to you. there are a lot of people who play a lot of my games in there. they have a lot of time on their hands. they develop acute senses for other people's weaknesses and they will prey on that. you learn not to express
emotion. you develop a tendency to overreact to small slights. because if you do not step to them, then you are weak and people know you are weak. and they will try to exploit that. all of these tendencies you develop a totally dysfunctional out in society and that is the root of the problem. does it have to be this way you asked? no. i was in prison in texas. that was the most positive place where the camaraderie and the enthusiasm for learning exceeded anything i have experienced among phd candidates at the new school. i will be honest. nonprofit called the prison entrepreneur program. i am on the board now. it operates inside two prisons in texas. they run a nine-month long mba level curriculum where it competees in prison to tank"hark tank -- "shark
like program. they have executives and the worldrom around who advise them on these business plans. and thepositivity genuine care and concern and even love for one another was, i great collegeas a team. the recidivism rate for graduates from that program -- 6%. less than 1/10 of our national recidivism rate. there are ways -- we see examples of ways to create the atmosphere. tim: that is cheering that there are examples of these things being done right. kevin: i don't want to disagree. again, when i read the book, i
spared everyone telling my story because he told it perfectly well. the one thing i would say about that is, my sense from the folks there was there were too many bill gates just needing to be born. i am afraid sometimes we romanticize the prison population to think these are people you would have to a dinner party. everybody's least valuable players. it's not a great group of people to hang around with. i say that -- i was there, so i'm not trying to be above it. ,f i said those things there people would put it right back on me that i was with them, and i get that. are low skill, low education, bad social skills, all of which, i think, can be dealt with, but i don't want to mislead people into thinking budding all entrepreneurs. but they say, hey, i've got this business plan. i'm going to come out with an act. there even know what an iphone
is. -- going to come out with an app. they had no market research or anything like that. they didn't know what they didn't know areas so, i felt like what some people -- you should not work on being your boss when you get out. you should hope to be a cog in a machine somewhere. you don't need to compete with walmart. you just need to be a greeter at walmart. get a job. don't crush your dreams, but you are going out with a felony conviction. you don't know what the job market is like. i thought the prison could give people a little realism, too. by giving us so much space, they let people dream really unrealistic dreams and i thought that was really counterproductive for people who needed a dose of reality as to what they will face when they got out. i was the exact opposite or it i was so fortunate. socircumstances were
different. i can exempt myself from that. i knew what i was going to do when i got out. but a lot of these guys don't. they get scared. inviting them to dream unrealistic dreams, i don't think that is healthy for them. tim: i have questions from all of you guys a minute, but i have one last topic for these two. reentry, when they get out of prisons, are there existing programs? -- you have studied a lot of these. have not had people come and go from prison. one of the challenges other than not having seen an iphone? a huge challenge is family and community support. we talked about how it is to watch men and work -- i don't know what the wages for your job, $5.25 or that'st of people say,
not that bad. in that i tell them, that was my only money for 40 hours of work in a warehouse. but like you, i was lucky. money. unless it went to my lawyers and then i had to pay a big-time to the government, so that was most, but i stillsend me $100 h. most of these guys, you're making somewhere between five dollars and $25 a month. only do you divide six of personal hygiene, but sometimes you child support arrears while you are accumulating -- circulating while you are incarcerated. and just trying to stay with your family, the phone calls were $1.50 a minute for me to call home. there were some prisons that it is $14 a minute. in aec just change that ruling last week. is a huge problem.
the resentment that a lot of family members have because the guys did not stay in touch. the fact that 90% of employers perform background checks is a huge obstacle. one reason i am an advocate for your ship is because so many people will not hire you. i'm not saying everyone is going pp, butout and do an a these guys can render a trucking company is they get their ceo. they could run their own landscaping business. they could run their own barbershop. they can run their own janitorial business. they kept that entrepreneurial spirit and that is what led them
into the drug trade because they said they do not want to work in mcdonald's, they wanted to do better. the challenge is channeling that into something that is legitimate enterprise. get, figuring out a way to the basics. , sometimes ite can be worse than the prison. i do not know what yours was like mine was raising her -- mike was crazy. you put people- right back into that place, the same communities where they have already failed, all the only have the stigma of a prison record and they are broke and they had to pay for the drug testing, and they to pay for transportation and close to look decent at a job interview, it surprises me sometimes that one
out of three people do not reoffend. how they are able to check on their feet. therapy, therapeutic rate sources. not a patrol officer that is be here at this time, if you're late i will violate you. somebody to counterbalance that and say how are you feeling about being back here. what do you need that can help you. can we help you with bus passes commission would help you learn to use the internet. he did not know any employers or list as a reference, you can talk to some people. a database of employers like second employers that are willing to hire people. walmart spano see the box, but we need proactivity. we need to see the research that takes it further into identifying, recruiting, and supporting and retaining people who were incarcerated. that sounds like the
perfect thing for a nonprofit on a local by local, state by state level thing to do. do you think i should be part of the criminal just the system to do with that? tim: there is an amazing company that started a foundation. dave was not a killer, but he was incarcerated. of thethe brother company owner. he came out and they said we want to help you. can you make some bread? there is some good cooking. nachos.the not just -- [applause] [laughter] its and everyone wanted radian group hundreds of resent. and now just got acquired by a much bigger company because it has insisted us old. dave decided they would make it their mission to be a second chance employer, almost 40% of
their employees are people who came out of risen. just put on it etc. for employers across the pacific northwest to learn what they are doing. i think government should have a all andconnecting giving people more than $20 and , and kenexa you to those resources. i'm not optimistic that they will take that seriously because frankly one of the ceos, i will see you in six months. i will always have a job. kevin: i think the reason, the halfway houses you are still under the department's control. i was still serving a sentence when i left. i had to do home confinement for a couple of months. i got to go to rockville and quickly get home confinement.
if i had to go to the village of d.c., i know a lot of people have been there. it is way worse than your prison for most people. they are stealing things from the inmates. some people at cumberland would pass of their halfway house time even if they wanted to be closer to their family and the communities and start getting a job with the did not want to go to the halfway house as they did not want to deal with it. there is a minimum standards that could be set to deal with these even know i did not have to spend time there, they have a good reputation because they really spend time getting people on the phone. been applying for jobs. there is a time when they are making them do that. they are very on them. i think that is a good thing. you mentioned walmart. this is one of those cultural changes that need to happen. coke, walmart, target, some of
these copies have voluntarily said we will not put on our application whether you have a criminal conviction. out, that isthat where the interview process is. but who do not want to knock you out of the consideration a song that one fact alone. that is a smart move. president obama just announced he will ban the box for federal contractors. that is not asked. i will just a history as a conservative i think employer can ask whatever they want. is less abouto me what is actually going to do because a lot of the guys i explainith, they cannot their resume, they have a 10 year gap. it will not be long for people to figure out to . that has to be a cultural change. there is no law but to do this is that will make people employee offenders and give them a second chance and we have to
do that. becausemunity service after the files i cannot afford to pay a fine. i live in montgomery county. progressive more counties in the world i do not know it. sanders of their red this is the greatest place should be able to come home to guess i get turned -- and yet i three placeswn by community service. the have blanket policies against felons. forget bandbox, how about getting rid of policies that do not allow you to consider me at all. so, again, i think it's cultural. i think it is us just saying and doing more people who are gone to prison and saying i'm not
going to write you off because you start some time. i'm going to judge you as an individual and know you. governmentossible solution, i think people on the interesting,nds remember what i said what they said when they got out, that really embody the incentive structure as that of rates for prison wardens and prison administrators and ceos. they have a job because i know there will be a constant lie. what if we turn that on its head? when we gave stockings and prisons?o ceos working if we tracked everyone coming out of prison and it was five years without precipitating cooling unit $5,000 bonus to the ceos at those they were housed at last. ofson guards would be more
building people. that: i totally agree with and the orange jumps salts on nobody is cute today. [laughter] we want to know that. so the bureau of prisons could at least try that information. our different facilities doing? also built this prison in dogpatch, usa. a lot of people would this have -- iable that i have not cannot find them more moral or educated people observing with. what is the training for them? why does their background? why does the head of representatives of the combat psychology and innovation. although not -- build them up.
is there any state or county where they are building them up with incentives? kevin: original for five minutes ago, you cannot have told you for republican or he was liberal. now it was all going to come out. [laughter] the people have done this best of the last few years are rick perry in texas. is just a little more than one third the national average rate. they are the best prisons. the liberals on the cynics might say that is because they execute so many people.
230 six people who cannot recidivate. but i will say this. republicans especially in the south, governors have led the ways over the past five or six years both on the front and on sentencing reform and then on trying to be more compassionate inside of patients in a way that will reduce this. john kasich ran on this issue which is pretty encouraging to me. have a microphone that will come to you. >> i want to begin with the accolade and then go into my question. sure there are times when you were not what happened to you. but it has been my impression working in urban schools that
the one population that is really these representatives visitors both while they're in prison and even more so when they come out and i think that is good. my question comes with that. we talked a little bit about this and what has been the reaction not you personally but to your message? you are out there delivering it. do you think that the people are hearing you? beginning to act? is going to be able to pull things. but the message, how is it being received? kevin: it is just as you would imagine. i did not want to be the guy who came out with the expert. it is not because i do not want to relive the experience, i for was indicted.e i i was involved in these issues. i have been on the right side of these issues when is a staffer on capitol hill. i wrote some mandatory minimum
laws and is a senate that for. so part of this was a little bit of penance, and just the idea that they did not appeal to me as a conservative anymore that we would let politics since draft senses for cases they nothing about it i wanted to message out. i'm lucky that there are so many other conservatives are doing on a personal level, you think you're getting someone support because those the persons who are talking to you. it is a self-selecting process. i know there are people -- what it do not like is that it any other walk of life experience matters. are a businessman and he complain about the pa, people say they know. so you have a burning carrot. done more to fight guy. then the
pot, is limited to not like it when the discount is given to my experience because people think it is a motive i have heard i would just as rather not talk about this. but i was there, i saw it. i helped to create a bad system as part of a staffer. so the reaction is mixed. obviously there is a sample bias of people who come probably going to be people who are predisposed favorably to the message. but the most hard in thing i have heard is that i have tried to go to places that are unexpected. conservative talk radio, i go wherever i can.
i have had very few people come back to me and say, what about rapists? i talk about free ken lay standard talk. i think it is important to talk about it. example of clearer how we operate our prisons driving recidivism than rape. insiderate rape culture of prisons, there are more inside a prison that are on the street. how do we handle that, we laugh about it. have culture, it is a staple of our detective shows, law and order, which is a uterus as do not soak the traitor. have calloused you have to be to what that no matter happens to you on the inside you deserved it because you broke the law?
that is crazy. unfortunately a huge dispersion that was proportionate number of men who are raped on the inside come out and tragically attempt to reclaim their manhood in the way they perceive it was stolen from them on the inside. i am trying to talk about issues that a lot of people do not want in some ways it am a good messenger for it because i was a policymaker, and i worked on criminal justice and i'ms a policymaker a researcher to. i can bring in that angle. thenother respect and not right messenger. i'm a white, highly educated, prisonresentative of the population. but i can reach people that other people cannot reach. i'm hopeful i can do that and spread the message to people who might not otherwise listen. jeff was attacked as a
well-known caucasian when he was running. [laughter] we invite people here. we try to get a diversity. i am a writer and a lawyer. we have 6000 federal visitors that are being released. jeff talks about one of the tosons why he was doing it dust was because he could reach that he had met skills. there have been a lot of her work about how there is limited number of books in prison libraries. they do not allow you papers. what are these also preserves going to do if they cannot even read and have little math skills?
you cannot even bag at the graffiti door without having .iteracy skills tim: have either of you experience that? i have books sent in. part of this is not everybody is in their dying to read. some people use that time to sell educated because there is no classes. but that is not the norm. in terms of 6000 coming out i just want to say, because families have been responding on this a lot, that this was not the obama administration, this was the sentencing commission. if we cannot tolerate the 6000 -- are the lowest of the low
there has been news reports .bout 6000 people being let out people getting reductions in over a year ago they said of the drug senses were too high. in short sentence was driven by the way toward that was involved in your limited defense they --uce trigger event and let's give them some of the overcrowding we have and let's do it this way. go intoere allowed to court. they had to have a good record. the prosecutor was allowed to object. he just had to agree to this. ,eople that are coming out
there was this fear mongering out among 6000 people. state prisons let out more. these are like the hateful in each community. these people who are serving to test drug offenses, who are coming out anyway. if you were worried that they , whatt ready for society scares me about it is if we back, will these people then those who want to tackle bigger prison issues are going to have a hard time. these fruit that we have. >> what are we doing to help them? even the ones that have much bigger problems? 9 we're doing with them what the
we do with everybody. -- if you'reaw talking about what we're doing to have a, the whole point is not enough. some of this has been -- you've mentioned some examples of things that have worked in some lot different from yours and talk consequences as is a reentry programs through his program. please i'm feeling optimistic that we have some solutions that are on a local level in the computer benefited adapted to other situations. but on the question of people giving an education in the prison, is there any examples of the thing done well that you .now
is given up that you heard that the number of people going back to jail or is that just the number of people who are reoffending. you start to drop off and not know. the researchers do not know the answers to that either. one that measured --estine >> my name is elizabeth charity i ceo and founder of the commission think. what happened is i wasn't in the corporate world. then what i did was i lost my job. volunteer in the
juvenile detention center. --le i was there a volunteer for about 20 years, what i did is i wrote a grant i gave it to the former governor. jobarted the 12 week readiness program. but during that time what i did just decided to do was to go back to school to george mason university. i did a study on transforming -- what we are planning on doing is getting college students to come in and help us pitch the 12 weeks job readiness mentoring program. but we wanted to go into the juvenile detention center.
we have been given the opportunity to be able to go before the department of juvenile justice to introduce this, and i truly would love to have some of your statements included in our study. this will be made to to three-year study in which we can get the data and all that information. question, on the juvenile level have either done research or looked into that? that is a whole different set of needs and problems for juvenile offenders. >> they does have a whole different set of needs. one of the most disturbing things that i'm covered in my research for the book was the number of states that put juveniles in solitary. ill-equipped,so no one should feel solitary except in extreme circumstances
are several they have decided that this is basically slow-motion torture to do this to you both. i do not know if you experience when you have a guy on your best quality and he would not show for the game he he is in working his solitary. you do not know why people leave, he just disappeared. and then you never see them again. the people who came out of solitary, they were broken. had broken them. number one thing i think we need to do in terms of juvenile justice in this country is to absolutely forbid juvenile solitary because no young person, especially given their neurological development at that juncture should ever be put in solitary. that is the first thing. but i think we need to look further back. everyone knows talking about the prison pipeline.
it is a big deal. that poorgas the way kids have come to our society from the minute they are our society. their custom to metal detectors and going through the sort of things we know of. ethically need to go even further back than the juvenile justice system and make it so that it is not considered -- stop normalizing the experience of the criminal justice system for a big subset of our population. >> i want to know if i can get statements from all of you? .> we can talk later [applause] >> my name is jaclyn and i serve on the lord of the advocates for the partnership, which offers that programming on a very high-end. we support the college offering
.iberal arts degrees you here.ask about talking to people who are much less sympathetic, whether we are talking to a ceo who might have no longer gotten the necessity to a community ecology course or .axpayers who are struggling the strugglesaw in the state of new york and offering whether it is college education or other education in spending yet more money on incarcerated people and help them see that it's really worth it? how do we talk to the skeptics? i was once let them. and remember what i was doing when i was at that point.
it is still helpful sometimes to be working on these issues and talk to somebody on that hill who would say why would i ever shorten the sentence for anybody who committed any crime? because there is no evidence that it is reducing crime. it is not helping. fox. is still -- turn on jeff: there is this ingrained sense that justice is to be served. that these people do not deserve home.mpathy for our some of these people who have come out and are now supported throughight just look their family tree and she will find somebody who went to jail and all the sudden they have a first-in experience with criminal justice system. some just want a row during the old credit cards of the 90's and do not have those scars.
that old, still debate. aboutly think it is healing to the self-interest. -- cannot mix of living sometimes it is not -- i do not want us to not be tough on crime, i just think what we're doing is not tough on crime. it is tough on criminals, on individual criminals. so i want to show how tough i yam and i send somebody to 20 years, i did feel soft is that person. but i may be the first worse offender if i destroyed their family and the kids are locked in likely to go to jail. again, this is a cultural issue that is not some of legislative we are very vengeful. i will give you an example.
there are lobbies that was doing just what i was doing and a lot of them will sit before the grace of god is alive. on the other how can we even though i'm doing what they are doing. and we have that commit there is the root in our society where all the sudden speeding on the beltway not to 10 years. do it. with a person who got caught we would have zero sympathy for. it is an evolutionary thing we have had once you break the law .ou become the other i do not know anybody would present. i do not think that gives us a did not go with prison. a point where get we're going to jail 70 people where we want particularly raises here. that may be what it takes t. click safety is
how i talked to conservative. daily spending $80 billion a year of your money on a revolving door? better than plasma screen tvs and comfy bed. talk about public safety a -- these is few people, 93. sense of prisoners in this country are coming home. are we do to them, we missing of our own nest. these are americans. we will see them. maybe they will follow in your summer. opera for the respondent. you will see them. if you want the outcome even more damaged, broken, and a great and they went in. you have the right wrist in.
>> good afternoon. great talk. very entertaining. of entertainment, before i ask a question i want to know, are you familiar with the comedian kevin hart? him recently. i can relate to him because he so it's really tough -- he sayslls unknown consequences are going to be a again into a fight with this person. there is a difference between will dople think with i this, and it is a little, ok versus olivia says it will come
about and i think i need to walk away. prisonstayed out of because i've avoided a lot of situations where he could have made the wrong decision. it because of my mama more death or great graphics will. i do not know what it was. but as a result, i know i would be the whitest guy in prison if i were there. [laughter] they would say onward to do the studio. so i want to ask you to do you or people you have spoken to actually believe that some of the things they did were actually wrong, because i think commands is my theory, because i've never been to prison, but i think there is a point where you decide maybe i'm wrong. maybe i should have been put in prison for some reason. there was no perfect answer. the story bible, doing these other things. you think that anything you did was actually wrong? the wrong are what?
federal.ike to the it doesn't matter if you lie about jaywalking or killing you live to them. and i lied about the meeting that took place between eight and a third party. i said he did not know about it because the mailer did not have the appropriate paid for by disclaimer. so it sounds sort of technical, but the underlying crime was campaign-finance violations. in the instruction of justice was cited in false affidavit saying i did not know anything about that meeting and that is what i did. do i think i did anything wrong? . think i broke the law and therefore, in this country, i have done something wrong. really i did something
stupid. ok? it was a big mistake. i learned a lot from it. but, i also have perspective on it. and you get a lot of perspective on it by watching the presidential campaign this year where what i did -- it was a not wantostcard i do to get into too many details, but right now jeb bush has a super pac that has over $100 million in it, and his political alter ego who he spent the last 20 years plotting with is running a super pac. they do not need to coordinate because they spent the first 60 -- month of this year picking out what they're going to do that hundred million dollars. i was naïve and stupid. as a neophyte i made the mistake of doing it in an illegal way. has some politician
probably done since we came together at lunch today. but the fact is i did the crime, so i had to do the time. tim: one of the biggest myths is say it -- is that prisoners they do not do it. doone ofy knew they the prisoners would joke that they were going to plant romney my freezer jacket -- raw meat in my freezer jacket because i was not stealing. therefore they thought i was a rat and i was going to snitch on them for stealing. so i had to start stealing. it's a long story but basically there was a threat that i would have to go to a high-security prison and i did not want to do that. that is why decided to start stealing. i do not want to go to a max.
[laughter] it is like when you are afraid of? difference only between vietnam and -- me and then design missed. he was very smart and very thoughtful. people.hot at he was in the drug trade command he had shot of people. he freely admitted everything he had did. i really believe that he was and just andnough conscious enough at hard-working enough that -- it was present when it did not matter the toxins for stacked vertically. i did not care. and he would say that is not right. change in round. you have to do it the right way. he had pride in his work inside a prison. he wanted to do a great job. i think you would be fine on the outside. even though, sure, there were guys that were already plotting
their next crime. there were some of those. was not the normal. maybe we had a different experience. most of the guys wanted to fly straight. kevin: that is my experience as well. said, you knew what you were doing, you know what the penalty was he said you were not involved in that meeting, see you got what you deserved, he had no idea what the penalty was great what were you thinking? he wasn't thinking. he made a decision in the first burn the moment without everything do. that's what he does. that is called mistakes and bad judgment. same thing with me. i thought my charges, they were logger doesn't bribery charges, not because i disagreed with hoped theyy that i would do something for my client that was called lobbying. it was what was my intent. did i have a criminal intent to treat those things for them.
and i would have done anything to stay home with my daughters. i would have pled guilty in a second if i could have done that. but i was going to have to incriminate others. i was going to have to testify against people i worked with. as i did not believe her guilty and i wasn't going to do it. that is my son story. i live with it. i did not seek any sympathy for people who worst serving much longer sentences for similar mistakes. i was not have yet was involved in the system i was involved. -- i take my lumps. watching you hang out with. but the people there, they did not think about their conduct. forou had said, the penalty this crime is fine, or the penalties for 25 committees would not have alter their behavior because they were not thinking, doing cost-benefit analysis. this growing field of behavioral economics would
inform or policymaking care because there are things that you can do to prime people to make better decisions, or at least punish them in ways that will respond and restore justice and make the person that stole drugs accountable. go of to their -- a great time testimonies of said consider a cell for 10 years when i have no face-to-face contact. there are other things we can do. but i think this whole idea of these people make mistakes, they are not innocent. people would say the system is racist, and every logon would say that. they didn'ted if they might say yes. there was a yes. and i say let's go play basketball. they a lot of acidity and that i went to trial. but what matters is not whether they're guilty. everyone worked with is guilty. the question is the punishment
proportional to what they did right i do not think it is anyone cases. that's what we need to reevaluate. we safer because of the punishments we're doling out? tim: this is been a great discussion. the most cheerful thing to me is that there are programs in smaller scales that the have worked. that's been taken up in across the ideological spectrum. just rim -- justice reforms broadly. i'm in love to go on forever but we are incapable of doing that. the book is for sale outside. he will sign it for you. note, i got the book and i still have the dust jacket that has just picture on the front. my five-year-old said is that your friend? what is the book about? it is about when he went to prison. they thought that that was a really interesting story. and it was an informative thing for me to talk to them about it. my oldest asked if she can relate, i said no.
do not buy it for your seven-year-old child. [laughter] i thought it was a really interesting thing that exposure to that. it is something in the bible we read about, but you're supposed to visit and care about the imprisoned, but it is a new thing. it is being picked up across the spectrum. i hope these solutions on the local level can buffalo. speaking of little kids, my four-year-old son, every time we are out in public, he just walks around to everyone and he says i have you read my dad went to present? -- prison? [laughter] >> thank you for coming. >> such a pleasure. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, wiich is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] we saw president obama use an
executive order this past week on federal agencies that ask whether someone applying for a job has been convicted of a crime. questions delays until later in the hiring process. it was one of several items the president addressed while speaking at rutgers university about the criminal justice system. >> i am taking action to ban the box. [applause] for the most competitive jobs at federal agencies. is a bigovernment employer, as you know. and like a lot of big employers, on many job application layer is a box that asks if you have a criminal record. if you answered yes, then it a lot of times you are not getting
a call back. we have to do our part in changing this. the federal government, i believe, should not use criminal history to screen applicants before we even look at their qualifications. we cannot dismiss people out of hand simply because of a mistake that they made in the past. that althoughsay this is something that i can do on an executive basis, this is an area where cory booker, working with one of his republican colleagues ron johnson are working to try to pass federal legislation. a band the box will that is working its way through the senate. i believe congress should pass legislation that builds on today's announcement and keep in mind some really good and really successful companies are already doing this. target, coke industries, home depot, they
have already taken action to ban the box on their own and 19 saves have done the same -- states have done the same. my focus with the federal government also taking action, this becomes a basic principle across our society. it is relevant to find out whether someone has a criminal record. it.re not suggesting ignore but we are suggesting when it comes to the application give folks a chance to get through the door. [applause] give them a chance to get in there so they can make their case. [applause] just the only step that we can take. just two weeks ago corey and other democrats and republicans moved through the senate a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill. this is a bill that would reduce
mandatory minimums for offenders,vendors -- reward prisoners for time off if they complete programs that make it less likely that they will commit crimes in the future. there's a similar bill working its way through the house. encourage both the senate and the house to pass these bills. >> coming up next from washington journal, a look at how presidential campaigns are covered by the media. that is, that followed by road to the white house coverage with candidate marco rubio in new hampshire. and a look at refugee crisis in europe. host: we want to welcome jim heath. he is the author of the book, "front row seat at the circus," inormer television reporter
several cities, including in ohio. years, i have tried to be on your show, so i finally had to write a book to be here. it is nice to be here. host: we are glad to have you. what is the premise behind the book? guest: i love these books, and set of books, that really give you a taste of what is going on. six years and south carolina, a great first state, first of the south primaries. i ended up in my native state, ohio, and ended up covering the presidential campaign in 2012. after that campaign, i knew there was enough for a book. covering battleground ohio is a big job. host: we did not know when we first book to you that donald trump would be on snl, so we will talk a little bit about it.
you say the following, a political reporter's job is to official,an elected hold them accountable for mistakes, explore what it is exactly that they want to do for the future. none of that is biased, it is journalism. both sides complain regularly about it. guest: it's true. i would not be doing my job if i did not hear republicans and democrats complaining about a story or coverage. that is just what we do. i fear that some people confuse some peopleioning -- confuse constant questioning, if we are not getting answers, as being somehow media bias. that is not the case. keep in mind that elected officials are there to represent taxpayers, people. their obligations to communicate exactly what they are doing, and our job is to report on what they are doing. as i write in the book, there are some politicians who are natural communicators. there are other politicians that not quite good, and
ready for prime time. i think in this media world that we are in now, part of the responsibility, particularly at the national level, you better be able to articulate your message, and articulate it well. that on election night 2012, i noticed donald congrats tweeted out, to karl rove envoy $400 million. you go on to write, could donald trump seriously consider running in 2016? was on the drive home, i thought that to myself. 2012.sidered running in early on in two dozen 11, he
announced that he was not going to run for the nomination in 2012, but every republican eachdate tripped over other trying to get his endorsement. i wrote in the book, finally went donald trump decided to endorse mitt romney, they had a ine minute press conference las vegas. comment, somewhat to the effect, of never having envisioned doing something like this, chasing donald trump down to get his endorsement. i never trained that he would pull the trigger, but he certainly has, and he has done well. host: south carolina has played a pivotal role in 2006.cs, going back to 2008, a lot of tensions between barack obama and hillary clinton. guest: that debate in myrtle
beach probably cinched south carolina for him. people might remember that debate being extremely feisty. it was the first time the hillary clinton pulled out the thatric card, a landlord barack obama had dealings with in chicago, he was indicted. book, i hoped the people get the idea that it is a tale of two of the election cycle. , people tripping over themselves, and then there is battleground ohio. the stakes in ohio, by the time they get there, they know the presidency is at stake. think of this, no republican has ever won the white house without winning ohio.
ever. all the way back to 1856. sinceocrat has done it john f. kennedy. i found one story that i did not know. after the first debate, kennedy in nixon both headed to ohio 1960. a tripped over each other. john f. kennedy ends up winning the white house, but does not win the buckeye state. two years later, he is in columbus, ohio, and starts his speech by saying, columbus, ohio, nowhere else in the country do i get such a warm welcome and less votes. it still bugged him. host: we will get your calls and comments and just a moment. the phone numbers are on the bottom of the screen. on c-span listening radio, this is also carried live on the potus channel. (202) 748-8000 for democrats. .202) 748-8001 for republicans you can send us a tweet at @cspanwj. join us on facebook at
facebook.com/cspan. we spent some time talking about alternative media. i just want to show you the very beginning of "saturday night live" last night on nbc. [video clip] >> ladies and gentlemen, donald trump. is this part of the circus? guest: it takes the circus to a new high because now we are making a reality tv guy, a celebrity in his own right, with the political arena. my perception of this has changed in the last 90 days. when he first started -- as somebody who has covered a i wasus state like ohio -- skeptical. i thought he would bring nothing to the race. my mind has changed in the a lot
of people who would not have been paying attention to the presence of campaign at this point in the process are really tuned in. anyway you go, because of trump, people are engaged, and talking about, will it be hillary, won't it be hillary? i think he has elevated the interest in this election cycle. i remember saying the same thing about ross perot, elevating the interest. a lot of the interest went away with him. certainly, a lot of people are talking about the elections because of him. host: you take aim at the traditional media, the so-called legacy networks. i want to get your thinking behind this. , walteraint the picture cronkite is no longer around, ir is the new generation of network anchor, his new newscast features a lot of him. guest: i put that in a chapter
that i dedicate to media bias. in the network section of that, i point out that walter cronkite came back from the vietnam war, he did not like what he saw there. lyndon johnson took himself out of the race for reelection as president. during watergate, there was an influence from new sabres and networks. three big networks, their days are over. we are in a much different media environment today. david muir is certainly not want to talk ip will not give an editorial tonight on abc news and sway public opinion in the way that giants like cronkite did. host: abc would argue that it is
a way to get to the millennials. guest: that plays into other parts of my book. eeps, you see a lot of stories that test well, market well with viewers. instead of a dedication to hard news and campaign news, you see networks leading with happier stories, or certainly, stories where the anchors are featured predominantly. as i put in the book, my least favorite option, which i think is a producers dream is bad weather. nothing does as well as whet eather. weather brings us all together. you see a lot more of that than quote unquote bad news. what does well with th viewers is what they will put on.
prize. maybe trump is making this more reality tv than we ever thought of it before. host: where is the white house badgering president obama about benghazi? the white house has basically its own television program on youtube. guest: they have done everything they can to bypass traditional media. as an outsider, it is troubling. i write in the book, when i sat down with barack obama, when he was running for president in 2007, i had eight minutes. i dared take 12. basically, at the end of 12 minutes, he gave me a one word answer. he usually gives 4-5-minute to get the prize. maybe trump is making this more reality tv than we ever thought of it before. host: where is the white house badgering president obama about benghazi? the white house has basically its own television program on youtube. guest: they have done everything they can to bypass traditional media. as an outsider, it is troubling. i write in the book, when i sat down with barack obama, when he
was running for president in 2007, i had eight minutes. i dared take 12. basically, at the end of 12 minutes, he gave me a one word answer. he usually gives 4-5-minute interviews. he can filibuster just about any question. you get two or three questions in, and that is it. the lack of transparency has been particularly troubling, as ap continues to report. areink the questions asked fair. in this multimedia age, there are a lot of other outlets, and they are utilizing them more and more. host: we saw this in the cbc debate, something that candidates have used over the years, dating back to abraham lincoln, and richard nixon. guest: the origin of the liberal bias is watergate. up withn team came that, and it stuck as nick's and became the first president ever to leave the white house and resigned. that liberal media bias bumper sticker that was so prevalent in the 1970's and 1980's, when you look at talk radio, and more portly, when i importantly, as i mention in the book, something that people have local news,bout, where you see them owning the key battleground states. the abc affiliate where they a promotion, basically a
30-minute hit piece on president obama, that is local news. that is local news. that has not been part of the discussion. when you start bringing your local newscasters into the discussion, that is an entirely different issue. host: ready for viewer questions? guest: let's go. host: lincoln, nebraska. democrats line with jim heath. good morning. caller: good morning gentlemen. we are nebraska, supposed to be a nonpartisan independent. and i look over at iowa and i always see what i really do consider the circus. they are falling all over themselves for that state and nobody comes and campaigns in nebraska. at the debate,k
i don't think those were gotcha questions. they were meant to be something pushed aside and have the candidates look right into the camera and say their agenda. i was very disappointed they didn't do that. guest: there were two things. so let me agree with both of them. first on iowa. steve knows this. he has read the book. i'm a little tough but i apologize to all the iowa viewers this morning. i'm a little tough on the iowa caucus. i just don't think a caucus should be leading the way we elect the president of the united states. one vote, one candidate. that's what a primary is. thei point out in the book millions of dollars being spent on this caucus system in iowa which gives us rick santorum and mike huckabee, gives us candidates with no indication of what the parties are going to do, i just don't think the convoluted caucus system is the way to go in the future. that used to be prior to the 1970's the way that both political parties selected their nominee.
and sometime in the 1970's, both political parties got smart and realized they needed to open this process up. and i'm a big fan of new hampshire. i think it should continue to be one of the states that leads because it's such a small state. candidates are forced to spend years there getting to know all of the candidates. like thebate, i don't way that debate turned out. there were a lot of things i would have done differently. but i will say that above and beyond bias, it's my impression of that debate and i watched it twice -- suffered through it thinkyou might say -- i what happened there more than anything else, this goes back to the ratings we were talking about. cnbc was attempting to ask some tough gotcha questions in an effort to stir up the pot and get these candidates to engage one another as they had at the two previous debates for fox and cnn.
cnbc was trying to go over the top and have them do that even more which is great for ratings to have these candidates shout at each other. had 10 if you had democrats on that stage in a hotly contested field with no clear front runner with one of them a former reality tv person throwing bombs left and right, you would have seen sort of the same scenario. it's unfortunate and certainly not the way to conduct a debate. all of those candidates should have been given an opportunity to answer every single question. host: this is the scene outside 30 rock in new york city, the nbc studios where snl aired last night. there is a donald trump effigy outside the studio's. please talk about nbc dropping trump and then putting him on snl. what do you think? guest: we are in equal times.
we are at that stage of a campaign where we are three months away from the iowa caucus. i think nbc is very nervous and rightfully so. detractors are pushing this and i think they are right to do it. candidate should be afforded equal time on the networks and you have a case here where saturday night live afford that opportunity -- it goes back to this ratings issued. . trump is good for ratings as he often points out and i think that's why the invitation was extended. i think his net time on the show last night was about 12 minutes. that's not a lot when you are hosting snl and there is a reason for that. nbc wants to make sure if they lose the case they only have to afford 12 minutes or less to every other candidate. in massachusetts for jim heath. good morning. caller: good morning. why i'd like to know exactly the press doesn't ask the hard questions of the
democrats that they ask of the republicans. turn thest they try to republicans on each other but they coddle the democrats. and even ben carson the other day was being attacked by the media and asked them, explain to me why president obama's college stuff is all sealed. why is it sealed? so he can hide the fact that he wasn't educated here in america? that's my question. this has been a constant complaint of conservatives and republicans not just during the obama years of the clinton years. being asked.ns are hillary clinton spent 11 hours before a congressional committee on benghazi a couple weeks ago. the cable news networks all carried it from start to finish. i don't see a double standard here from the standpoint of tough questions being asked. just google hillary clinton benghazi and you will see endless amounts of newspaper and
newsrk coverage and local coverage. what did she know, when did she know it, nbi investigations. all that information is out there. of a reporter to ask those tough questions regardless of whether it's an r&d. you their tell political ideology. their job is to push. i think both sides are being pushed. if you are conservative or liberal and seeing this not from the middle of the field but from the right side or the left side, i can see where you might have complaints about the other team. but i think as a referee trying to stand somewhere near the middle, both sides are being asked the tough questions. host: you mention in the book that your bias is towards a good story. can you elaborate? guest: that's what it's all about. the story is what you are trying to investigate. finding out what's going on in
government from a political reporter standpoint, getting an interview with an elected official who has been reluctant to talk area does we are trying to do. -- reluctant to talk. that's what you are trying to do. republicans have a lot of offices in this country. they have two thirds of the governorships. they control most state legislatures. they have the house and the senate. the only thing missing from a complete sweep is the white house. that's what this battle is all about. have that many incumbents who hold power, the questions are being aimed at those incumbents. so it might seem like republicans are getting unfair questioning, but the fact is republicans control a lot. republicans have been remarkably successful. forgetes i think they just how successful they've been in recent elections including just recently in kentucky where the republican came out of nowhere and one that election. -- won that election. if there are more republican
officials, more of them are getting tough questions. host: our guest is jim heath. his new book is out -- guest: december 1. you can preorder it now on amazon and barnes & noble. presales have been good mainly because of your strong endorsement. host: you say one thing is becoming clear as obama nears the end of his presidency, despite electing our first african-american president, the deep divisions on race remain and will continue to be an issue for the next administration and beyond. we are certainly seeing this with black lives matter. we certainly saw it in ferguson and baltimore and elsewhere. guest: that's an issue that meant a lot to him. interview in 2007, a great deal of that interview was devoted to the issue of race. i think there was a lot of thought that when he took over the white house that this issue would sort of go away.
and as you pointed out, it certainly has not. i think that's going to be one of the regrets of this presidency and this administration. our first african-american presidency who has been unable to heal the divide and it's like to -- likely to continue. host: explain the cover of the book. what is donald trump holding? [laughter] i love the cover of the book. it is a circus. donald trump is holding cotton candy because he's at the circus and leading the way. i think they all look very happy. host: murray from new jersey. you are next. morning. i have two comments and a question. my first comment is that your gentleman just didn't answer the caller who wanted to know why obama's records being sealed isn't still an issue. host: ok. stay on the line. we will follow up. that's beennk
exhaustively looked into to be perfectly honest. senator obama won the election in 2008 with questions about his background to varying degrees being asked and then he ran for reelection. and those questions were answered. of these questions even as answers become available and they are reported are unsatisfactory to individuals who simply don't like barack obama and would like a different outcome or a different response. won two national elections now. host: we will follow up. to refer would like everybody to godfather politics.com. a libertarian candidate for president went to columbia at the same time as obama allegedly atnt there and he states th he was registered as a foreign student under his indonesian
name and he got into colombia because they had lesser standards for foreign nationals. host: and your source for this? caller: godfatherpolitics.com/6923. and the next thing i want to say is i think it's very revealing that this gentleman has no real answer as to why those records are sealed as well as the health records. we haven't vetted obama yet. and my question is this. how come nobody looks into the new york post article within the last 10 days they gave specific blumenthalf sid getting a contract from the federal government because of hillary clinton's influence? there's lots of things to do here. i think we have to free up the press. we don't need a circus. we need an angel with a flaming sword at this point. thank you for everything stephen. have somebody on from the constitution party please. thank you. host: thank you for the call.
continueestions that and i would only slightly disagree with the caller from the standpoint of vetting. i think it's inaccurate to say that barack obama has not invaded. he ran for congress unsuccessfully, he was feted in his first campaign, he was feted for the u.s. senate, he was vetted by hillary clinton. there's a lot of animosity. it's ongoing between the clinton camp and the obama camp. the clinton camp was looking for everything that it could on barack obama in an attempt to derail his nomination and prospects back in 2007. and then we had him for president for four years. when he ran for reelection and now he has been president in total six years. i think it's a misnomer to suggest that there's a lot of information still out there on barack obama. host: and karen has this tweet. you can send us your comments. we haven't feted obama yet --
vetted obama yet? oh good grief. we have another caller. -- i thought it was good for him to be on to let him make -- fullut of himself out of himself like he did during the whole campaign. and he made the statement that he wants to take america back to the way it used to be. no person of color that i know of wants to go back to the way things used to be. nobody wants to go back to segregation. nobody wants to go back to discrimination and not having the right to vote. republicans are so mad because
andck obama is president donald trump and john mccain and are just so mad because a black man beat them over the head running for president. host: thank you for the call. that goes back to your earlier point. guest: republicans don't deal well with not being in the white house. the last time bill clinton was there, we dealt with a year of impeachment proceedings because he had lied about monica lewinsky. that was a full year. by the house.ed he ended up not being found guilty in the senate. and there has been a lot of partisanship during the six years of barack obama. but i would remind -- republicans have the house. they have the senate. they have two thirds of the governorships in this country. they have a majority of state legislatures. do republicans control
a lot of those state legislatures, they do so in both the governor's chair and the house and senate. so republicans have a lot of power and it is not just republicans against the world. republicans are on a roll and the only thing they don't have at this point is the white house. when is theets, media going to start acting -- asking tough questions on the clinton foundation? guest: i don't think the media is scared of the clintons and i think questions are being asked about the clinton foundation. i think the clintons are concerned about it from the standpoint of -- i don't think they thought early on that that would be an issue in this campaign. that somehow they would be able to keep it separate from hillary clinton's campaign. and we have learned there is a connection between them and i think those questions will continue to be asked as we proceed into 2016 and if he comes more apparent that she is going to be the nominee. in this weekly sunday in the matter of the
republican presidential debates, why not just make it donald trump versus ben carson? if the debates are about picking winners and losers ahead of the primaries and caucuses, why not the two non-politicians who have lapped up the rest of the field? entirelyot meant seriously, but by the measurements being used to select the candidates deemed worthy of participation, it could be argued that it would be justifiably entertaining to stage a debate only between carson and from at least until some of the others in the race show they have strong numbers to justify including them. relegatedstie is now to the happy hour debate. host: i totally agree with that. and i think most americans agree with that. pulling particularly -- pulling polling at this
point is completely irrelevant to what's going on on the ground. if you are going to do po lling, it would be better to do a mixture. national polls are a bit of a joke. stateve the governor of a of new jersey out of the debate based on random national poll is ars, i think there right to be upset by that. and i think republicans should be upset. all republicans should be upset with the lack of voices they will have in that main debate rather than the inclusion of the happy hour debate. host: because chris christie is running stronger in new hampshire. guest: absolutely. he's the governor next door. point shouldt this be from the key states that start off this process. -- i hateal polling
to even post them. i don't think those national polls give you a sense of what's happening. our guest is jim heath and the book is titled front row seat at the circus. mike is joining us from georgia on the independent line. good morning. caller: hey steve. hey jim. how are you all doing. i need you to look in the camera and tell us exactly why you don't think cnn is not doing a good job about ben carson, about his life story, and then tell us why cnn is not doing a total hit job on marco rubio over $80,000 worth of credit cards, and also why hillary won't go on no network like cnn or fox and talk about the benghazi story that was brought up before the senate select committee that was not a
reporter or whatever. and why does the democratic party not want to hold a debate with fox? where they would be deathly asked serious questions? host: let me take issue with one point. hillary clinton has appeared on cnn. she's done a number of interviews and been on meet the press and face the nation. absolutely right that in the six debates that were section sanctioned by the democratic party, not on fox. te should also point ou that of the republican debates, none on msnbc. caller: you are totally right steve. cnn.hey had carson on they have had rubio on cnn. it just don't seem fair to me.
i know they have to be calling wanting interviews from her and i think she's turning them down and i think they would should bring that up every day. that would seem fair to me. thanks. host: thank you for the call. just say --e hillary clinton has been giving interviews. it took a long time. way too long in my opinion. but she finally has started sitting down with reporters and even local reporters in those key early states which i think is good. access to these candidates is particularly 90 days before the iowa caucus. in the case of ben carson, i will tell you that from a political reporter standpoint and from a lot of these network standpoints, and carson is an ongoing -- unknown quantity. he has never been vetted. school board, the campaign for city council, campaign for the state legislature. all of those things help that
vet you as a politician. and it's not just your opponents that do that. it begins to weed all of this out. what's relevant, what's interesting to voters. ben carson is a real novelty. i don't know if this is also your impression. he's doing extremely well and yet he's never been vetted. you are seeing are news reports, some of them completely legitimate and interesting to voters, some not. everything seeing about ben carson coming to the forefront because he's never been through a political campaign and vetting isticularly for the top job extremely important. privately, republicans don't mind the vetting process that's going on with ben carson because the last thing they want to have happen is for him to become the
republican nominee and have something else come out. host: he essentially took two weeks off for a book tour which is unusual for a candidate late in the process. guest: completely unconventional campaign. i personally don't think he will be the nominee. he will continue to do well in iowa as mike huckabee and rick santorum did well and i was -- in iowa. i think that the book tour, the instant reaction every question is asked to blame the press, there is a certain strategy in that because some supporters are going to believe the press is responsible for every question that asked and that fallback is kind of rookie stuff. see in campaigns at lower levels when they are first adjusting to running a major campaign and i think the carson folks are going to have to readjust their national campaign strategy. host: jim sent this tweet.
so rare when a c-span washington journal host bothers to correct a caller. but when you disparage the hrc -- watch out. we should point out, we are not here to defend or criticize any candidate. just want to get the facts out and we do so with democrats and republicans. if i didn't correct the caller, somebody would have sent a different tweet. there you go. mike is joining us from houston, texas on the republican line. we are with jim heath. the book is called front row seat at the circus. good morning. morning.ood i guess my point is that ben carson is not upset at the questions he's getting. what he's doing is comparing the questions he's getting to president obama when president obama was senator obama running for president. he is making a point that the media are slobbering at the mouth asking ben carson these questions about his background
but at the same time, when senator obama was running, you mentioned moments ago that we didn't -- we don't know ben carson. he has never been thavetted. what journalist went to chicago to review president obama's associations? tony rasco who is in federal prison? the questions he gets are nerf ball questions. when they sitions down with the news, but there's not any follow-up. she can say whatever she wants and she's not challenge. you don't get that with the back-and-forth. with ben carson on friday night, that was -- the media were really going after him. and maybe they should. that's fine. but do it both ways. and let me give you one final example. follow-up, theu
carson campaign announced that they raised $3.5 million over the weekend and attributed that to the news conference friday and the media bias that they called out. caller: and i'm not surprised. but i want to say that when senator obama was running, he said over eight times that we will have c-span negotiate health care reform. health care reform overtime will impact about 300 million americans. so where is the question to president obama about where c-span was allowed to negotiate or televise the negotiations? do you think that's a fair question the media should probably ask since he campaigns on in key states? host: will get a response. guest: do you want to take the c-span part? host: i think that issue was litigated when the president was running for reelection. the whole health care debate and double health care issue and voters responded to that by reelecting him and put him in
for another four years. let me just say that the difference between the questions 2007senator obama got in and 2008 and the questions that ben carson is getting today comes back to the issue of being vetted. information about barack obama and his past was already available. he had rd run for the house of representatives and the united states senate. alan keyes was his republican opponent. alan keyes raised a lot of issues and a lot of negatives on obama at halftime. a by the time he got into presidential campaign, barack obama was a much better known quality -- quantity as a politician. ben carson has never run for any kind of office. so every bit of information is new. and a lot of money is being raised by the carson campaign by responding to a lot of these
questions by claiming media bias. one other quick point. i remember like yesterday extensive stories regarding tony an president obama and his business dealings with tony risk of a. hillary clinton raised that as early as the primaries and that continued to be an issue until jeremiah wright. if you google.com and you will see all the news coverage that for barack obama's association with him god. and there was also coverage about barack obama's drug use as a young man in college that was not positive and there were lots of questions as far as what he did and didn't do as far as drugs when he was a young man. i encourage everybody to take a deep breath. take thisy don't leaning r or d. it's to be fair and make sure everybody is aware for the questions being asked. host: let's go to debbie in albuquerque, independent line.
caller: good morning. i wasn't going to waste my call but i keep getting aggravated because people keep calling saying obama's records are sealed. would you please inform your -- it's called the family educational rights and privacy act of 1974. with that federal law, all school records, all college records, are sealed. nobody gets access to them. it wasn't a conspiracy to just feel his records. everybody's records are sealed. putunless he decides to them public, nobody gets to see them. because everybody's thinking, oh, it's a conspiracy, they sealed his records. why? everybody's records are sealed since 1974. and i will take your response off-line. inc. you. -- thank you. host: and chris has this point, obama is one of the most vetted people in history.
guest: i think that that last point -- all of these individuals, john mccain was incredibly vetted. mitt romney. a lot of the candidates that are running on the republican side this year have been vetted. hillary clinton certainly for decades now. naive, frankly, if you take a deep breath and put partisanship aside, it's naive to think that the opponents of barack obama, not just republicans but democrats would not want all the information they could find that negative on barack obama and he has now been president for six years. he can see the end of his run coming up in january 2017. so i think this issue of lack of being vetted now that he's six years into the job is a little overstated. kelly is next from connecticut. good morning. caller: