tv Christian Science Monitor Breakfast with Dennis Mc Donough CSPAN January 13, 2016 10:57pm-11:58pm EST
it's true. it's true. so we are especially pleased to have our first breakfast of 2016 with president obama's fifth and reportedly favorite chief of staff, dennis mcdonough. thank you for making time to do this. our guest is a minnesota nate who have grew up vounleded by seven brothers and three sisters. he graduated from st. john's university as did from eisley, with an honors degree in history and spanish, and experience playing on two of coach john gillardi's conference winning football teams. he earned a master's degree from georgetown school of foreign service, which should endeer him to some. our guest was working on the hill as a foreign policy advisor, senate democratic leader tom daschle, and a to senator barack obama. he went on to serve as senior foreign policy advisor in mr. obama's 2008 campaign. at the white house, his legend airline long days have been
spent serving as deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, chief of staff for the national security staff, deputy national security advisor, and since february, 2013, as white house chief of staff. he and his wife are the parents of three children. and thus ended the biographical portion of the program. as always, we're on the record here. please, no live blogging or tweeting. in short, no filing of any kind while the breakfast is under way, to give us time to actually listen to what our guest says. there's no embargo when the session ends at 9:00 a.m. sharp. to help you curb that relentless selfie urge, we will email several pictures of the breakfast to all reporters here as soon as the session ends. as regular attendees know, if you like to ask a question, please do the traditional thing and send me a subtle nonthreatening signal and i'll happily call on one and all in the time we have available. we're going to start off offering our guest the opportunity to make some opening comments. mr. mcdonough: thank you.
i'll go straight to your questions. mr. cook: i'm going to do one or two myself. then we're going to go to others. as you can tell, there's some interest in what you have to say. so, let me start with you on the navy service people being released this morning. what if anything in your view, does the capture and subsequent release of the 10 personnel by iran tell us about u.s. relations with iran and how the u.s. should deal with iran going forward? does it tell us anything? mr. mcdonough: well, obviously we're very pleased to see that our 10 sailors are now back with us.
where they should have always been. you've seen statements from both secretaries kerry and carter and you've seen obviously some statements from our regional command in the region. central command. the navy component thereof. i'm hesitant to draw big lessons from this yet because we want to get the facts of the case. navy has said that they're going to dig into that over the course of the next several dales. and so we'll continue to follow that closely. i do think, as secretary carter said in his statement, secretary kerry's aggressive and early engagement in this, and open channel that he had and he has
with his foreign minister counterpart was important. and as somebody who has been working on this basket of policy questions now for several years, i do think that the open lines of communication , which are relatively new, are extraordinarily important. particularly when we have so many interests in such a crowded area, in the persian gulf. so, bottom line is, too early to draw big conclusions about this. because the facts are still as yet unknown. all the facts are as yet unknown.
but one thing that i can say with confidence is that this channel between secretary kerry and their foreign minister was very important in resolving this in a timely fashion. i'll say one other thing here. which is, particularly when you're working in such tight quarters, and the persian gulf is pretty tight quarters and relatively shallow body of water, the tradition that the united states navy has of providing for sailors in distress has been pretty evident over the course of the last decades, but also in the last several years, when we've provided support for iranian sailors in distress. and so i'm very proud of that tradition.
of the u.s. navy. i think there's been several instances of this over the course of the last several years, as i've indicated. and i think it's in that spirit that i'm happy to see that, in this case, at least this was resolved relatively quickly. mr. cook: my predecessor in hosting these would often throw out a ceremonial softball. i of course violated a rule by asking you a news question first. here comes the ceremonial softball. i would be interested in knowing what lessons you've learned during your white house experience that would you pass along to the next person who serves as chief of staff. you were quoted in a comprehensive profile recently as saying process protects you. and you were also observed as saying that life as chief of staff means being treated, quote, like a baby treats a diaper. what do you expect to pass on to a future chief of staff? your experience both being below the chief of staff and now as chief of staff?
mr. mcdonough: i think the best advice i got was from secretary baker, who said that, as long as you focus on the staff and less on the chief, you're going to be just fine, he said. and i think if you rack up the successful chiefs of staff over the course of time, i think that those chiefs i think live by the maxim that secretary baker urged me to consider. that's point one. and then point two is i want to underscore this procession point. and this is something that -- process point. and this is something that i really internalize, not necessarily watching a chief of staff as much as watching my former colleague, national security advisor. he had two, i think, very good sayings. one is, process is your friend. and two, let the government work for you.
we have a huge government with a lot of very capable people. it's working 24/7, both because of the dedication of the government personnel, but also because we have people all arm the world, and you have to make that clock work for you. so i think, for example, this iranian incident is a good example of that, where we had people literally working to -- around the clock, even though when it happened, it was pretty late in the day, in the gulf. and got quickly into night in the gulf. but we still used the time advantage here on our end to work that out. but i will say that as, originally as a white house staffer, i was candidly -- i don't know if i was as, shall we say, as straightforwardly
committed to the processes that were in place. and i think that ultimately did not serve the president very well. and so both because of how i saw tom run a very good process, and also having witness what had can happen when someone goes outside of process and the kind of confusion that wrought, i continue to believe that the most important thing a good chief can do is assure the president that the process on which that president relies is straightforward and transparent and honest and presents him or her with very clear choices fairly presented. mr. cook: thank you. reporter: [inaudible] -- just to
follow up on your answer. can you talk about the president's instructions to you or directions to you about transition? transitioning to governor and preparations that the white house making now? and how that will be organized and what your ambition is for that? mr. mcdonough: yeah. so in candor, right now we're just doing a lot of paper development. and the white house, i've not talked to the cabinet about this. and what we're doing is getting a lot of paper and process in place to begin transition efforts. we will begin transition in earnest early spring. but right now it's preparation. i don't have anything particularly to report on it other than i would anticipate it being growing out pretty aggressively.
reporter: are you in charge --? mr. mcdonough: the president hasn't put a finger on who will be in charge. reporter: two-part question. the white house was in silicon valley talking to executives seeking ways to crack down on extremism. there were a number of ideas and i'm curious where we go from here. does the white house have more meetings? are you hoping to go to congress. what is the next step of this fight of online extremism. mr. mcdonough: also rolled out on friday when we went on the trip were two institutions. one is the global engagement center over at the state department. the other is countering vial ent extremism task force. so the next step that those institutions the task force has been up and running now for several weeks and the global engagement center will roll out
relatively role in making sure those efforts. making sure that we are drawing on the pest that silicon valley has to offer in this regard. and one thing we can do from the white house is serve as a bridge as we are aggressively recruiting and something the president has been very clear with me about since october of 2013. you might remember it quite clearly, that we get much more aggressive. we feel pretty good about it. the numbers that we have are pretty solid and get 500 engineers in the government, you know, to provide that kind of cutting edge technical expertise across the board. during the course of the next several months. maintain a a very aggressive approach. we will continue to draw lessons from silicon valley both as it relates to what leads people to
to radicalize online, what are the markers. what are the indications of that and how do we counter it. what's the message we can offer. others can offer to make sure that there's not just this gloomy pathway from isil, but more relate particular -- realistic alternatives. there are also other questions that we will continue to debate inside the government and silicon valley, where the technology is going. reporter: incrippings that c.e.o. wanted you to put out a strong statement, are you guys
going to do that? mr. mcdonough: what we have said on this, director comey has said and others have said, we are not seeking legislative changes at this time. so we'll continue to work this issue. i want to be careful, i'm not characterizing deliberately what happened in the room because i thought it was a very fruitful discussion, but mr. cook and apple have been vigorous in their public position on this and we'll continue to work this issue along with a full range of our colleagues who are out there in silicon valley and others. mr. cook: john bennett. reporter: before the speech was halfway over, speaker ryan's put out a statement in which he
called the address, quote, lofty plat tudes and rhetoric. it failed to lay out the path forward for the country. i wanted your response and what does the speaker say about his working relationship with the president? mr. mcdonough: i think the speech responds -- i don't need to respond to the statement. the speech was fully responsive to the statement. i don't want to engage a specific tweet from his office. he seemed to be quite engaged in the speech last night and after having heard the whole speech there is enough in there for us to work on. the president had a couple of references to the speaker. my own view, which i think is not inconsistent with what the president has said in his speech or what the president believes on which i'll labt is that last
year was an important opportunity for us to get memory in the institution starting with things like the permanent doc fix, with t.p.a., with i.m.f. reforms, something that has lingered since 2010. stem re-authorization, cyber something which had lingered since the president called for in the state of the union in 2013 on top of the tax extenders and the budget. i think that kind of reestablishment of muscle memory is important for a lot of
different reasons. i think the speaker is to be commended for part of that. i think leader pelosi is pivotal to that. senators reid and mcconnell also contributed to that. and i think if you go to the speech and really what the president talked a lot about last night was over the course of this republic, the institutions of this government, this democracy are the best protections against the
individual citizens getting the shortened of the stick and so the muscle memory that came back last year is, i think both reassuring, but also a great opportunity to try to make sure that the kind of hard-earned sin civil of the american public which the president also acknowledged last night can be -- we can regain some trust back from the american citizens. so that's what we'll focus on, less on the back and forth and making sure these institutions work. reporter: america -- [inaudible] pretty high of certain economic indicators. why is so many people think this country is on the wrong path right now? mr. mcdonough: the president talked about that last night so
i associate myself with his i think very candid assessment of that. times are changing. people who are hard working having a hard time keeping pace with that change. he also said that the institutions as i just indicated in response to the previous question are not living up to their traditional role. and so i think there's a lot of reasons -- on top of that, the depth of the recession from 2007 and 2008 and the impact that had
on people across the board, housing values to retirement and education savings. and people have a right to be and understandably are uneasy. so i guess from the president's point of view that means three things. one, he is going to redouble his efforts to try to buy back some greater trust in these institutions and in our leadership and our role in the world. two is that we have very concrete ideas to try to do that and you'll hear more about that over the next several days including starting today on the road. and three, we want to make sure that we don't fall victim to the same kind of short-termism that
the president talked about in the economy section of the speech. we have to make sure we keep our eyes on the long-term prize and make sure we are investing in the policy choices. not to respond to a specific poll but respond to the national interests that we need to address over the long haul to make sure that we maintain the strength of the union that the president laid out last night. reporter: a big goal of the president in the next term of his presidency is criminal justice reform. mr. cook: no announcement on his next term. [laughter] reporter: criminal justice reform requires working with conservatives, conservative groups, republicans, the election year has kicked off. how much time do you have to actually get something done on this issue before the election kicks off and how is that
process going in terms of working with these conservative groups that are out there trying to tear the president down in other ways but support you in criminal justice? mr. mcdonough: the president said we don't have to agree on everything but get to work on some things that we can and should work on. that's point one. point two, we don't spend a lot of time of keeping score of who is being nice to us or who is being mean to us, but focused on how we are going to get stuff done. i will call your attention to the fact that the president very early in the speech talked about
his hope that we can work together on the opioids and heroin epidemic in this country. that can and should feed the criminal justice reform effort. and by the way that's kind of happening all across the country in every corner of the country. i was just home and this huge issue in minnesota and suburban twin cities. this is true in every corner of the country. point three how much time we got, we don't have much. and i think part of the argument we will be making and the president referred to last night and i think in each of the efforts we have gone through is the president is trying to make personal that that we not only don't have a lot of time to get this done but there is some fundamental injustice we should
it requires cooperation with some of the most conservative members and it requires working through the committees, the judiciary committees or more recently have become the most partisan committees. but nevertheless, the president has had a series of meetings with democrats and republicans together as well as individual meetings with members on both sides that have been among the most substantive that he's had on any issue. so there's a lot of fruitful common ground to be plowed here and i think we can make use of the time we do have. the underlying current of your question is there is not much time. we're pushing up if i understand or remember correctly the time line for congress this year. i think they are anticipating being in session until the middle of july and in effect, being done. that feeds our sense of urgency to get this done. reporter: did you hear governor haley's speech last night but echoed what the president said of rejecting the politics of fear, a what donald trump has talked about. and the official republican response would be in effect a rebuke of the party's presidential front runner, do you see it that way and do you think something like that could be a pivotal moment. mr. mcdonough: i read her
response and i read a lot of the coverage today. i was in a meeting yesterday that i have a lot of admiration for the governor. i think some of the things she has done over the course of the last year are remarkable. i thought that the reaction and her leadership role in the follow-up on the charleston shootings and her very brave and admirable role on the flag were powerful. and so on one level i wasn't surprised to see the -- some of the themes in the speech given that. i don't consider myself particularly qualified to comment on what's going to move and be consequential in the
republican primary or the presidential campaign generally. i have trepidation of going -- i thought it was -- i have been impressed by the governor's work, a lot of stuff that she's proposed and worked for that that we disagree with and things that we wish she would do and hasn't done, like medicaid and they need basic protections. so by no means do i -- am i trying to endorse everything that she is doing. but a lot of it including parts of the speech last night were admirable. reporter: the end of last year, beginning of this year, we have
seen rhetoric of syrian refugees and members to put greater scrutiny on refugees. how does the administration plan to address that issue? mr. mcdonough: we continue to think that and pursue policies that maintain united states leadership role on refugees generally and in syria and central america in particular. we -- i'm quite proud of the work of this government over the course of the last several years to fulfill the quota established each year of 70,000 to 75,000 each year. but over the course of the last three years, we filled those quotas for the first time in a long time. really for the first time since
9/11. and eas our infention to grow that topline quota. and we believe that the budget agreement gives us the resources to continue to grow that number. that's point one. that is a priority for us and will continue to be the budget that we got at the end of last year to give us the resources to continue to do that. point two is that my hunch is it will continue to be controversial for the reasons that the president pointed out in his speech last night but we'll continue to defend the idea of the united states as refuge, but also the idea that refugees in the united states add immeasurably to the national interests and it is going to be
something we have to get out and defend. but we are prepared to do that. and the examples are many. and i can tell you that my own personal experience as a young kid in minnesota when my family sponsored a vietnamese refugee family, my wife and sponsoring refugee families here in d.c. partially motivates my own view of this. but united states -- the impact of refugees on the national interests is undeniable and we will defend that. it will be tough to beat and see how it goes.
reporter: just a follow-up on a question. in the last gallup poll, the way things are going, 79% but in the 60, 70's or 80's for 10 years. when you look at that as a decade-long condition, do you read those numbers primarily about anxiety and insecurity or political frustration with divided government or the political leadership in this country? mr. mcdonough: fair question, i think. i start with a confession, i see these polls and get together with you guys, to be honest, what do i think when i read those, i don't because i don't read them. based on my interactions with both our people who do read them
and with my interaction just coming back from the holidays and spending time with my own family, quite extended and is quite large. i think it's a reasonable sample size. i think it's both. i think -- i think that -- what's interesting is we are seeing some bounceback in productivity in the course of the last year or so. but there is a strange lull in productivity. and the global economy right now that productivity, jason and sandy, productivity globally is down, which is weird, because the big input in the economy right now is something that we
all think adds productivity namely technology. productivity is down, but that also is part of a stagnation of wages that far predates the last 10 years. so wage stagnation has got to be part of it, but that's not new in the last 10 years, that's like a 30-year trend. but the people feeling like they are working as hard as they can, the vehicles by which they determine how their kids are going to get to the next level from what they got or from what we got is also super expensive. the education inflation numbers are outpacing health care inflation numbers and something that we believe as an administration that the universities and higher education have to account for. that's why we went through the whole exercise we went through
last year on college score cards. i think it's both. it has to do with the historic trend on wage stagnation. as people feel their wages are stagnating, other things that are indicators of success are not stagnating. inflation is out of control and ultimately they feel that policy makers aren't responding to either of those questions. and so that's a generational thing that we have to make sure we are responding to. reporter: recently i interviewed a cardinal who had been at the monitor's breck face and while he applauded the statement of the persecution, he did express
a hope that the president would follow the example of pope francis and other world leaders and call it genocide. is this something that the cardinal felt strongly about that other secular as well as church leaders feel strong about. will the administration call what is happening to christians in the middle east genocide? mr. mcdonough: thanks. i read the trans-- transcript of his comments. and when you think about the question about refugees or this question of talking about stagnation or opportunity, i think his eminence and the holy father have been catalysts in our public debate.
so i think -- we owe them a debt of gratitude for their work on that. on this question -- i got this question also from cardinal dole and and as i understand it -- i understand -- maybe i don't understand it, but the holocaust museum is going through a policy review as to whether it should characterize what is happening in the middle east as genocide toward christians and also otherwise. this is not administration policy this is holocaust museum policy. i think -- i'm not aware of us making a determination in any case about determining whether there is genocide in the middle east. i could take that question on and see if we can check it to see if we are undertaking a
review of that. but at the time when i talked to cardinal dolan last year, we were not. i want to be careful here because i don't want to make sure we are not expressly calling it genocide. we have not taken on this question of characterizing the ongoing violence as genocide. reporter: i wanted to ask you about the politics brings out the best in us and not the worst and regretted that politics is so divisive and what lessons he has learned about that or what he might do differently to bring out the best in politics. and including language that clearly was a direct response to donald trump and ted cruz in the
speech and if you are trying to bring out the best in politics, why wait until the republican primary? mr. mcdonough: on the question -- i think the president believed it was important that there be an alternative to rebut the public wisdom in the debate. and that is fully consistent with the tone of his speech and
the content of the speech and also what he said. i thought his characterization of the founders and the vigor with which they debated forcefully issues that in many ways both strongly held but also opposed what a good example. tom daschle who i worked for for a long time said it was the music democracy. but without the music, it just doesn't work. what i would say back, i don't see him offering a different narrative or a different
argument as being inconsistent with the politics that rises above kind of the -- otherwise unproductive nature of some of this -- unproductive conduct so far. in terms of what specifically he'll do, i don't want to front line on that and i think you will see a lot -- be one of those things that you will want to have kind of reported after the fact rather than lead up to conduct thereof. but i guess i want to underscore
what he said, which is this can't be -- this is not just a question of who controls the next congress and the next president. he really put a call out to american citizens to engage. and i think you will see him engaging with american citizens directly. on the full range of policy questions including the ones we just talked about, but also directly engaging with them in small groups in living rooms and towns across the country and those are going to be in red and blue states. and so ultimately as he said, we need hard work in this democracy and we want to make sure that the american people that are driving that change. mr. cook: we've got about 10 minutes left and 11 questions. i'm not going to be able to get to everybody. nice to have some substantive answers. all in life is not a tweet.
but there may be some frustration. mr. mcdonough: you share a lot of wisdom. reporter: the rankor and -- [indiscernible] reporter: since you have been around the white house and congress all these years and talked with the president about his have you of how that unfolded? what is responsible for that? apart from the question you just took on, what can we do going forward. when he looks at the situation and look at how this has played out over the past seven years, who's responsible? mr. mcdonough: so, you know, i think he talked a little bit
about that last night. i think -- what strikes me is republicans and democrats say this to me -- i assume they say it to you guys, too, off the record, republicans and democrats are struck by the noise signal ratio or the politics ratio of their job and obviously, they wished the ratio was much more substantive than they find it when they get here. and you know -- probably the reason you are asking the questions are the reasons i don't want to answer it. but as i think there are a lot of us to blame. i think it's the structure of our campaigns, the structure of
our districts, kind of what's happening in terms of news media, that is to say you can select the news media the same way you select your neighborhood, your church, so it ends up being -- you can end up in an echo chamber unless you aggressively work to get out of that, to seek different chambers of information and friendships and ideas, you end up -- and i think that that ultimately is the thing that we rely on you all and your jobs are so important.
i think we have as individuals here -- look i'm struck by the fact that republicans and democrats on the hill, they don't spend a lot of time together, period. so that's one thing i have tried to do and will continue to do here over the course of the next year if the president keeps me on the job and see if we get anywhere. i'm filibustering the answer because i don't know precisely and we'll keep track of different things. reporter: can you ghiff us information of how much political capital the president plans to use this year. mr. mcdonough: the president has
had a bunch of conversations with susan and gail and others. you know at the world bank and other places. he came back -- i forget, i think it was over the summer having read some on malaria and he said, you know how close we are breaking through on malaria. are we beating malaria? and i confessed that i didn't. so susan and gail and ben did a lot of work on this over the course of the fall.
i think this is something that along with pepfar, something that that president bush and ambassador -- secretary rice and mike those guys should really feel good about. they got us up the impact curve on h.i.v., on malar a yeah and t.b. that maybe if we give it a little extra push here, maybe we can close this out. we're going to push on this and the president did put it in there deliberately. on ebola that liberia comes clean again which will then be each of the three countries at the epicenter of the ebola
epidemic having come out of the depth of that epidemic. the capability inside usaid, n.i.h., c.d.c. and u.s. military is a gem for the united states government and for the united states people. this is a capability that from the response -- the haiti earthquake to ongoing efforts in sudan to treat infectious disease to h.i.v. to malaria. these guys are unbelievably good
and we should be proud of their work. i think the bush administration should be proud of their work. reporter: no executive orders or executive actions announced last night. mr. mcdonough: i think the speech itself was an executive action. reporter: if congress won't act, i will. am i wrong, we are starting to see a somewhat more constrained view of utility of executive action as he gets later in his presidency. with the gun action, it was coloring within the lines. and offering guidance. is there an understanding that anything done by executive action can be undone by executive action. is there an evolution of the president's utility of executive
power? mr. mcdonough: we'll do executive actions throughout the course of the year, i'm confident of that. there is -- go back to the first question, process is your friend, but process dictates what you can do and we want to make sure we get the executive actions that we undertake are not left hanging out there subject to congress undoing them and so we're very mindful of time frames by which we have to meet our targets. so process is your friend but process has a lot of requirktse. i think what -- requirmentes. and not leave hanging subjective
to undoing through congressional review act or otherwise. that's point one. point two is that we have no -- you know, we could try to administer appetite suppress ants, but the president said i'm going to demand of you guys and ask myself one question. what i'm going to demand of you is that everything we do is infused with the fence of possibility that has undergirarded this administration but also this country for time and memorial. and two, he said i'm going to be
asking myself why not. and so i think that's the spirit with which we'll approach the last year. and three is, frankly that's part of the way we approached last year and as i said at the beginning, we feel good about last year. we are going to lean pretty hard into it. mr. cook: appreciate you spending with us. mr. mcdonough: i appreciate it guys. thanks for having me. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> matthew lee of the associated press on the implementation of the iran nuclear deal and the release of u.s. sailors by iran. then, a discussion about obama's economic record with lawrence
veronique de rugy. pollution in michigan's water supply and aging u.s. infrastructure. "washington journal" begins live with your calls, tweets, and facebook comments at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> this weekend, this c-span city store, hosted by our comcast cable partners, explores the history and literary cultures of hartford come connecticut. on book tv, and thorough discusses "the log books." learn about the atlantic slave trade through the log books of slave trade ships and how they told the story of new england in the slave trade. >> in these logbooks, we have this extraordinary opportunity to see, day by day, how life was
lived aboard new england slave ships, two of which were from connecticut. i came to the realization that these logbooks were not maintained, as i had earlier thought, from the son of an obscure connecticut farmer, but by the son of an aristocrat from new london. >> she talks about the impact on the abolitionist movement by the music of the popular 19th-century singing group the hutchinson fingers. >> throughout this moment of 1842, the george latimer incident, frederick douglass, speak,ring him hutchinsons decide to take they will and actually perform at the american antislavery society in 1843. they will perform in boston before that, their first foray into singing. they do this in a very formal setting, and they do it brilliantly.
>> on american history tv, we will visit the home of harriet beecher stowe, and learned about her time spent in hartford, where she published more than 30 books. >> she moved in with her husband, whom she married in 1836. he was about 10 years older than her, a professor of theology, retired. she moved in with her oldest children, twinned girls, her adult daughters, in their 30's. she was in her 60's. and the president was in his 70's stowe was still writing. she was world-famous. thehad reached that pinnacle of fame in her 40's, and now she is in her 60's and she is still writing to support the family. >> finally, we will tour the mark twain has a museum and learn about his professional successes and private life with his wife and children while they lived in this home from 18741891. intork twain began looking
hartford as a place to settle with his young life and their new family, and he came to the city, fell in love with it, and was tickled. he wrote letters to his own family, said this place is beautiful. the family would come to the library after dinner, and this was a very special spot. the paintings across the top of the wall and the knickknacks on the mantle, they would ask for a story. the rule was he had to begin the cat in the painting at the end. and they had certain rules. from their, he had to continue across the mantle and incorporate each and every knickknack, and he could not go out of order, and he could not repeat itself. that you have to end with the painting of emmeline. tourtch c-span's cities saturday at noon eastern on c-span2's book tv. sunday afternoon at 2:00 on c-span3. the c-span cities tour, working
with our cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. >> students around the country are working on c-span's student can document or a contest, telling us the inch -- telling us the issues they want the president to discuss. we are following students as they produce their videos. here's a tweet from indiana. erbury-fort wayne are excited to hear ben carson address gun control." another from maryland, "this week, two students interviewed a former attorney general for their c-span video project, wow!" also john shimkus tweeted, "i was interviewed by students for their c-span project." there is $100,000 in prizes with the grand prize of $5,000. the deadline is january 20, 2016, and the winners will be
announced march 9. for more information visit our website,. stateay, secretary of john kerry talked about the u.s. foreign-policy agenda for 2016. he also commented on iran's detention and release of 10 u.s. sailors. from the national defense university, this is 45 minutes. >> thank you, all of you. it is a great privilege for me to be here today. i'm delighted to be in the presence of so many people serving our nation, all with great distinction. it's a privilege to be at ndu. i'm also honored that the
secretary of the air force, deborah james, is here. thank you for being part of this. before i begin, i want to underscore how pleased i am that our sailors were safely returned into united states hands this morning. [applause] as a former sailor myself, as i as a former sailor myself, know as important as anybody how important our presences around the world. and i could not be, and i know the president could not be, prouder of our men and women in uniform. i also want to thank the iranian authorities for their cooperation and quick response. these situations have an