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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 30, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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guard is honoring his late son, beau biden naming it headquarters in his castle. that is members of congress across the country are participating in ceremonies. a tweet here from daniel webster, congressman from florida -- senator john here in montana -- tammy duckworth of illinois, a wounded veteran, a morrill day -- -- memorial day -- lou -- ylvania, and in new york, representative angle -- engel --
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twitter.com/c-span. [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. 2016] announcer: american history tv programs are airing prime time on c-span3. a three-day vietnam war summit from the lyndon b. johnson -- andon b. johnson library, retrospective on the conflict. tonight, the first major engagement on the war and then the soldiers battle after the war with sieve -- physical and psychological try,, and a conversation with henry kissinger. kissinger: a president who has been known with being concerned about domestic policy, and a division of the country that has lasted to this day.
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announcer: tuesday, how america was divided over the work, and then -- >> by the time we got four or five decades away, where historical triangulation can actually take lace, when you can have the distance and perspective necessary not to just make a reactive or journalistic response, but something that is greater than the sum of its parts, you realize almost everything you thought you knew was not true. >> wednesday, a look at the were from the perspective of those who fought it. cia,day, 8:00 p.m. eastern -- friday 8:00 p.m. eastern, and all they conference with talks on african-american culture and african-american
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history as american history. >> i could not get it out of my my students were thinking somehow african-american history was not real because there was no textbook, as there was in all of these taught in the department. realided to write a textbook. >> go to c-span.org. it is commencement time for colleges and universities around the country. several hours, we will show you some of the people who offered words of advice and encouragement to the graduating clap -- >> of 2016. the wine of includes lawmakers, governors, and business leaders. we will hear from president obama. we begin with members of congress, hearing first from paul ryan and then senators
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barbara boxer and jeff sessions. a speech from his home state of wisconsin, his second time delivering the commencement address. he spoke previously in 2006. [applause] rep. ryan: thank you. dr. ryan. it sounds like a tom clancy novel. i forgot about that. thank you very much. to the >> of 2016, congratulations. -- the class of 2016, congratulations. [applause] this is a big moment in your life and no matter how much fun
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you will have tonight, you are bound to remember some of it. no big loss, i will get over it eventually. remember the people who got you here. is an old saying i might have made up a few minutes ago. marriage is for the couple and the wedding is for the family. of your graduation the same way. it is their achievement just as much as it is yours. they have gladly given you all of the credit. if your brother or your sister or grandparents or cousins get a little teary-eyed, or they break down and sob, thank and appreciate them. they love you more than you will ever know.
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to all the faculty and families, i want to say, job well done. this is what gives us all hope for the future of the country and the community. it was basically 10 years ago conventionke at this last time and the last time i was here, it was my first encounter as a catholic with our new bishop. archbishop of milwaukee did the prayer, and i did this beach. -- i did the speech. modernc was truth in the world. as expected, it was a total hit. [laughter] wild applause, cheering, shouting, and crying. that was just from the arch ship. -- bishop. [laughter] up and said, i loved your speech. it was so short.
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friends evergreat since. if you feel stir crazy and you are thinking about the rest of the day and the rest of your year or your life, rest assured, i will get right to the point. the biggest piece of advice i would give to all of you is this. much about theo plan. fulfillment lies in very unpredictable places. all of your life, people are going to hound you about the plan, the plan, what is your plan? have you found a job, are you going to graduate school, where do you see yourself in 20 years? it will seem no one cares what you do so much as where you end up. you start to wonder about whether you should care either.
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careerism in the wrong way is cynicism in perpetual motion. for i am dragged off the stage, let me clarify. rejectt telling you to the job offer and move into your parents'basement. what i am saying is wherever you end up, the work itself is the reward. treated that way. is, life can put your best laid plans through the paper shredder. you may never get the dream job or if you do, it may turn out to be a nightmare. maybe you are meant to do something else. what seems to you like catastrophe could end up coming opportunity. to dismisso quick the opportunity if it does not fit into the plan. when you come back and see a fork in the road, you are probably deciding between two paths. instead of thinking, how do i
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stay on course, think to yourself, where can i do the most good? where can i get real fulfillment? if you realize it is a detour, take it. that in a nutshell is basically my advice. let me proceed to elaborate. i was your age, i had a plan. 1992. it seems like yesterday, doesn't it? [laughter] itad a plan, i thought i had a good out and i knew exactly what i wanted to do. i wanted to be an economist. it goes to show you how much fun i was in those days. [laughter] plan was, work in finance for a few years, public dynamic, gets him experience, go to grad join a thinky phd, tank, give policymakers advice or moved to milwaukee.
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and work for an economic form -- firm. a few years later, everything was a going to plan. then life intervened. the congressman who represented my home district decided to run for senate. he asked me to be his campaign manager. i said that is not my thing. i'm a policy guy and not a political diaper you said in that case, run for my seat. i said, i am 27 years old. he asked me why not and i said, i was young and no way could i win. it was not my plan. he said, if i listened to all of the people who told me what i could not do, i would never have done anything in my life. what do you care about, what do you believe in? i told him i believed in the principles of our founding fathers. i loved public-policy because i wanted to solve problems. that is what he needed to hear. he said run.
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not convinced. i called my mentor. i grew up with mentors. one of my best was a guy named jack, a congressman from new york to i asked him, what do you think? should i do this? wouldd absolutely, you make a huge difference. go do it. i called another mentor. bill bennett. , does this past the laugh test? he says, yes, barely. [laughter] actually, he was quite encouraging. i called my mom and told her what i was thinking and she thought i was crazy. "you would really want to do that?" ultimately, iran and i won. won.ran and i to do go and where i wanted to make my difference. the issues i care so much about
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and the issues my employers were telling me they wanted me to work on, were the issues in front of the house ways and means committee. reform, economic growth, jobs, health care, retirement security, poverty. my goal was to become the chairman of that committee because i thought i could be a huge asset or at least make a big difference in the areas that i cared so much about. i worked for years to achieve that goal and finally, last year in 2015, i became the chairman of that committee. seven months in, john boehner resigned unexpectedly. , who i just in line assumed would be the next guy, kevin, dropped out. and my colleagues asked me to run. i never wanted to be speaker. i said no many times before.
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i was a policy guy. i do not like the idea of spending my time on other things. i lived with my family in janesville. every weekend, i am with my family. it was turkey hunting and track meet and then with my mom. i could not give up those weekends. not like me, if you do the job, change it, keep your weekends at home and focus on it, make it work, turn it around. i took the advice and i soon realized i could do this and i actually like the job. dog that caught the car who was never chasing it in the first place. [laughter] we seem to have something in common as well. at the beginning of your senior year, i also did not know what i would be doing after graduation. this job is not anything i ever expected or thought i wanted here yet i still am doing what i love. public policy. i learned, eventually, in my
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journey, that public policy was my vocation. public service is where i found my fulfillment. through all the twists and the turns, that has been the consistent theme of my life. now you have to go out and figure out what is yours. it may change as you get older. only way you're going to find out is if you take your work seriously. it is your contribution to our country. when i say this, i am not saying your work is what you get paid for. your work is all of your responsibilities. like your family, your friendships, your community. it is funny. as life gets more complicated, it also gets a whole lot simpler as well. status will matter a lot less and doing your part will matter
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more. do not worry too much about the plan. as i was thinking about these remarks, i had a mild panic attack that my advice was not sufficiently practical. for good measure, let me put it in a click, three-part postscript. first, a lot of people will tell you not to fear failure, but learn from it here it is a great piece of advice that i would also say you need to forgive it, too. but sol make mistakes will other people. your friends and coworkers and family, do not sweat the small stuff. stride.in it is good life advice. it is also good professional advice. nobody likes a debbie downer. nobody likes somebody who is lecturing all the time. lot of young, talented, smart, ambitious people in society, you among them. attitude is everything.
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have a good attitude. be an uplifting. fill the glass and do not take from the glass. second, read as much as is humanly possible. seriously. once wrote to his son, you will never be alone with a poet in your pocket. i was always more of a history and economics guy. the lesson still applies. the greatest asset you have is your mind but it is like a muscle. you have to keep it in shape. do not forget that. you come out of college and you are like, i do not have to read that stuff anymore. third, if you are a believer, keep going to church. do not let that fall by the wayside. i know that might sound a little preachy and even a little cheesy. you might not -- you do not need to make a big show of it.
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go. prayer has sustained me and difficult moments in my life and i think it will do the same for you. as you get older, you will realize that life actually does follow a plan. be your plan.t it is god's plan. coming to except that fundamental fact, not coming to except that begrudgingly, but peacefully, that is the essence of faith. make astion is, did you difference whenever you could? did you think, yes, i am doing this the right way. are you endeavoring to be fulfilled and be a good person? in all of your aspects, all your works in life? if you remember one word from the speech, let it be faith. that should be all the planning you need. may god less you and keep you in
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his care. again.ulations once [applause] california senator barbara boxer told graduates at the university berklee school of politics to be resilient in the face of criticism. the democratic lawmaker who announced in january her plans to retire after serving 30 years in congress also talked about her own future beyond elected office. this is 10 minutes. [applause] thank you so much, professor. and i am so sorry about that internship, but remember, jennifer lawrence did not win american idol. we all make mistakes and i apologize. my staff is here and they are
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going to get an earful. but what a wonderful welcome. want to say to the faculty and the parents and the friends, it is wonderful that you are here. most of all, congratulations to of 2016.rkeley class congratulations. you did it. no more late nights at libraries. forore last and it cramming your last poly psy final. it is over, folks. no more. today, you can finally celebrate. but right now, there is only one thing standing between you and your hard-earned of -- diploma and that is me. it.t despite being a united states youtor, i plot -- i promise
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not to filibuster. this is your day. you earned it. you studied. focused, you learned, you managed to dou all of that and live your lives. andstarted relationships you ended relationships. somebody is really happy about that breakup. [laughter] [applause] you missed your family but you enjoyed being away from your family. you ate healthy and you exercised. [laughter] sen. boxer: that is debatable. but then you squandered all of that good work a top dog -- at and kingpin doughnuts. you balance your budget. [laughter]
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on occasion, you busted your budget. i think you are the very definition of the word survivor. i'm a survivor. i have survived 40 years in elected years -- elected office. 40 years. for supporting me, most of you, to get that done. like you, i have managed to enjoy living my real life and a lot of that is here today. you were introduced to my son and his family. my husband is here and we will celebrate 55 years of marriage very soon. [applause] sen. boxer: of course, when you when i was in those planes, it was only 25 years but it is still fabulous as more than 20 years ago, the professor stated, i had the
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honor of speaking to another berkeleyyou see graduates. doug was one of those. "thet his degree in political economy of an industrialized society." that was his degree. my husband and i were very impressed, but we did have one parental concern. cannot wait toy hire someone with a degree in " the political economy of an industrialized society." many hours of deep discussion and drawing a total blank, we realized there was only one answer. law school. by a show of hands, how many of you are thinking about going to law school? you can be proud. higher. are thinkingou
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about careers in public service, for a senator, member of congress? i hope you do. we could use you in public service, which, as a career, i can attest to is fascinating and and at times, extremely rewarding. i decided to write about it over the past three years. i'm excited to tell you my memoir will be released at the end of the month. , and i have the battle scars to prove it. you have to be lent to be tough in your life, regardless of your career choice. people are going to try and dissuade you from your dreams. people will try to scare you into silence and onto the sidelines where it people will try to make you doubt your resolve and even doubt yourself. but if you master the art of tough, you will win the day. let me be clear, the art of
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tough does not mean being a bully or obnoxious. we have seen some of that in politics, haven't we? it means being smart and doing the right thing, not being afraid to step up, even when you are called every name in the book. a i can attest to it. one day, i woke up and heard on the radio someone say this about me. please do not applaud after i tell you what they said. [laughter] sen. boxer: i trust you. barbara boxer is a great candidate for the democratic party. female and learning disabled." that is what they said. someone else wrote, "barbara boxer is quite possibly the biggest doofus ever to enter the senate chambers." you will not believe what they
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said about me when i spoke out against the iraq war. some even called for my resignation. of the fewone standing up for gay marriage, and when i stood alone protesting the impossibly long lines during the 2004 election in ohio, one senator, speaking on the senate floor, said, "barbara boxer is driving herself further toward the political fringe with the long grass already tickling her knees." i am happy to tell you that guy lost his race the next time and i got elected. that was good. [applause] but when you are attacked for something you deeply believe in, you need to wear those attacks as a badge of honor. if you know you are doing the right thing, you simply have to do it. kid, there were no women in politics to speak of.
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as i grew older, i saw things in the world that made no sense to me, just like you see things in the world that make no sense to you. perhaps that is why you chose this major, to change things for the better. saw a war that made no sense to me, the vietnam war. i saw a racism that made no sense to me. the great baseball player jackie edbinson, being blue -- boo and attacked because of his skin color. i saw women being a less than equal -- treated less than equal and having no say over their health care. had to take a risk and i hope you are ready to take a risk, too. are you ready to do that? [applause] know it is anu election year. you cannot miss it. we her cynical voices, people who say there is no difference between the candidates.
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you are political science majors and you are graduates now and you know better. you know because you have a sense of history. if people in the 1960's had said why bother voting, we would never have passed landmark laws like the villain -- the civil rights act and the voting rights act. we would set out, never have elected the first african-american president in our nation's history. [applause] sen. boxer: this year, every issue is at stake. women's rights, voting rights, income inequality, the security is all at stake. we need your energy and your voice. when you hear a presidential candidate say 11 million immigrants should be deported, or that we should ban muslims from entering the country, if you disagree with that, you need to speak up and speak out. [applause] sen. boxer: with a clear voice.
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when you hear someone say that climate change is a hoax, you need to speak up with a clear voice if you disagree. when you hear states like north carolina discriminating against the lgbt community, if you disagree, you must speak out. [applause] sen. boxer: and when you hear there is no student crisis, you know they are wrong. you must speak out if you disagree. but you doon and on not want me to so i will skip to the next part of my speech. fromave a college degree one of the greatest universities in the country. you know how to think. you know how to write. you know how to speak. in short, every single one of you, you now have the tools to be a leader. you have no excuses to shrink from what you know is right.
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i know you are aware you did not get here alone. so one more time, let's hear it for your family and friends who are out here cheering you on. [applause] sen. boxer: and let's hear it for your professors who are out here cheering you on. [applause] sen. boxer: i am about to get to the two words everyone loves to hear a senator say. in closing, i have been so lucky in my life because of you and the people in this great state. i have been able to work on my passions for 40 years. i do not intend to retire from the work that i left. i will just be doing it in california and not on those long flights. it is now your time to focus on your passion and it is your time to employ the art of tough. it is not going to be easy. there will be times when you wonder why you decided to speak up. you're at a party or an event. nextone is echoing the
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one. you say, you know what, i do not think that is right. and you will wonder later, why did i bother. there will be times when you want to pull the covers over your head and just give up. better, because you have this degree almost in your hand. you want to make the world a better place, it starts with you. part of mastering the art of tough is ignoring the naysayers, following your passions, so, that is what i want to say. don't be afraid ever to do what you believe in, to take the risk , be thankful to your families and your friends, your professors, never forget them. they will be cheering you on and so will live. insk everyone to join me innovation for our graduates of berkeley political science class of 2016. [applause] sen. boxer: fabulous.
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congratulations. [applause] announcer: alabama republican senator jeff sessions spoke at the university of alabama in huntsville. he talked about the school's's growth in recent years and its reputation as an engineering institution. he also shared some of the struggles he encountered after graduating from college and offered advice about what to do in order to be successful. his remarks are 15 minutes. [applause] sen. sessions: thank you very much. . am excited to be here today thank you for your exceptional leadership for five years to this university. i will talk about it a little bit because i think it is an
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extraordinary, exceptional thing occurring. and congratulations to the class of 2016. today is your day of celebration. you have earned it. congratulations to your family and friends who helped to make the day possible. it is truly an honor for me to be able to deliver your commencement address. you have earned your diploma in a special environment. this university and the greater area is matched by very few places on this earth. i would like to talk about it a little bit. influenceom a man of on the university and in huntsville and our planet. and maybe what revolves around our planet. that is the father of the american space program. he was voted as the second most
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influential person in aviation and aerospace history recently according to aviation week magazine. only the wright brothers got more votes. he was a visionary, and the products of his vision can be seen everywhere. the space and rocket center. in his address, he explained the toortance of a university american space program. "opportunity goes where the best people go and the best people go where education goes, to make eyes more attractive to technical and scientific able across the country and further develop the people we have here, through academic research in alabama must be improved." ceremonybbon-cutting for the research institute, he
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envisioned, dr. von braun stated, "if i could produce the number one football team in the as surely could just establish the nation's is number for spaceion center and rocket technology if we put our mind to it. " not number one quite yet but the campus is fifth in federally funded in nautical engineering. compared to similar sized universities, we're the number one research expenditure in the nation. a tier one university, ranking it among the top 4% of public universities in the nation. several sources, including the brookings institution, have pointed out that you a age graduates on average are the
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best paid graduates of any alabama university and among the top in the nation. good news indeed, graduates. the enrollment growth is really outstanding. it got my attention. i enjoy watching higher education over a number of years. i doubt there is a single major university in the country that can match what the team is doing. the fall class last year set a record for enrollment with a 45% increase in the freshman class. a 33% increase next year's expected. this is surely one of the best growth records. let's say it loud and clear. the chargers are charging. great days lie ahead.
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think of how a good education weefits students here and fail to appreciate the positive impact universities have on our communities. students live here and bring money with them. mommy sends money, so does daddy. is the salary of faculty and staff and the leadership faculty provides throughout the region, in art schools,ce is, public churches, health care, businesses, it enriches the entire community, as do thousands of graduates who live in the region, now more professional and more able than they were before they had the degree here. certainly, the greater huntsville area workforce is indeed exceptional. huntsville is one of the highest concentration of phd's and forbes magazine's calls hunched -- huntsville one of the top 10 smartest cities in the world.
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not a bad complement. an analysis released just yesterday, huntsville was named the number one place in the country for stem graduates. i know you are glad to hear that. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. do, the technology that is so embedded in the u.s. army, read god -- redstone, and the space and missile defense system, all here, the advanced companies, world-class companies here in large numbers, excellent local political and governmental leaders. you can be sure that congressman brooks, and the entire understand just how important you are to the region, the state, and our nation. the word is getting out about ua h. perhaps not enough.
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business insider recently named mostas the second underrated college in the area. known as ang dramatic increase. it will not be -- any longer. done in the face of tight budgets in alabama. if we set funding priorities in the future, we need to remember a good university, and particularly a good research university, has the potential to lift the state in ways that may not ever be done another way. sure weto make adequately fund alabama's hydrogen nations as some, which i think is fabulous in so many ways.
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fewtradition is to say a things to graduates before they leave. to those of you who do not have give you comfort and encouragement when i was graduating, from huntington around marchtime or april i realized i did not have a job. goingno idea what i was to do it i was majoring in history. i was engaged to be married. my wife had a job teaching, but it just hit me. i had not done my preparation very well. things were so bizarre, i inught somehow i could stay the dorm. you do not get to through the summer. i did not have a job of any kind. somebody got me into the idea of products door to door. i was going to make some money
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doing that for a while. that turned out to be a bust. i stayed at my friend's, a methodist minister to be. get this, intercourse, alabama, and i got to stay because he was not using it very much. that is kind of the way the summer was for me. things sort of work out. they had a shortage of teachers in montgomery. properly trained to teach but i got a job teaching the sixth grade in montgomery, alabama. school, i think it was an important part of my development. my wife talked and we got by some way to for those of you who are not quite there he and do not know where you are heading, do not does their but remember, get busy, start asking, go see any successful people you know.
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use the career services center, do not give up, do not panic, and it will all work out. very few of us ever start down the road we end up on in the as i thinkife area about it, my political career, i never ran for office until i was 49. i really never planned these things out. they just help you and come to you as time goes by. about the how thing we can control is we live, our attitudes, character, integrity, and work ethic. about makingld be the enterprise you work for successful, being a good team player, people who have good integrity and good work ethic will always end up on the short list of people who need to be hired. a couple of things i will close with.
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the american governmental system is a true wonder here at having the opportunity to travel the world and some of the worst places in the world, what we do here cannot be easily translated into another ultra. it is difficult area we need to understand how blessed we are to have a legal system we basically inherited from the british. we need to protect it, students, graduates, and extended into the future. cannot have a sophisticated, highly developed economy without the ability to sign complex contracts and have those be enforced fairly around the country. always improve, get better, a lot of people start out nervous and work really hard , they learn the basics of the work they are undertaking, and then they get come double and begin to plateau, to coast.
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do not coast. a strong message from me to you is that learning never ends. subscribe to the best journals in the profession you are seeking. keep reading about it and attend the seminars. get better at whatever you do and you will never regret it. finally, savings. i'm a member of the budget committee. sure thatneed to be more of our american citizens save regularly. company has a matching savings plan, be sure to match it 100 cent and take advantage of it. if not, set aside your own money. income who median works a full career can almost be certain to retire a millionaire in america today, but you have to set aside that
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money every week and the sooner you start, the sooner you get used to not getting it, the better off you will be. to go back to some of the experiences and lessons i've learned, you cannot always land -- atur rear and graduation. things work out if you work hard and operate with integrity, stay confident in your character, your beliefs, never stop working for what you believe in, and people with truth on their side usually when, but not always, but you can always be confident that when you do not prevail, you did what you believe is right. congratulations on your achievement. celebrate the great day and all of the accomplishments you have, but continue to be your best and get even better every day. i wish you all the best on your next great adventure. thank you and god blessed.
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bless. [applause] >> citizens have got to feel that their vote matters and their voice matters, and whether they cannot spare a single cent to help a person running for office or whether they can write a big check, their concerns and struggles will be listened to and followed up on. >> sunday night, wisconsin senator tammy baldwin talks about her career in public service and political history. shepherdsenior helped senators werereby not appointed by the legislators -- legislatures but demanded elections. the not know if it was first but the idea that it was not going to be the party bosses who made the decision of who the
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nominees were in back roads -- back rooms but rather the people, who were going to get a free and fair in elections. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern is been's q&a. -- on c-span's q&a. >> this memorial day, our commencement addresses continue these governors are currently serving in their first term. we begin with indiana republican governor mike pence, who spoke to the graduates at indiana west university.yan he thanked the faculty for their work at the school. this is 20 minutes. the board of
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trustees at indiana wesley and university, to the us handing parents, proud and relieved family members, who , and toered here today the outstanding men and women of the class of 2016. [applause] gov. pence: i am truly honored to address the class here and i am humbled by it. exemplary 514, truly young men and women, research, academic achievement, athletics, men's and women's national basketball champions are among us. members we just heard from, musicians who just toward the united dates and europe, students who have served, and classrooms and churches and
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hospitals, studied and served abroad. a princess ofus the indy 500 festivals, and a soonate submitted a photo adorn our bicentennial stamp. as a class of extraordinary accomplishment. i believe the 2016 graduating class of indiana wesleyan university represents a generation of promise and i congratulate you all. [applause] gov. pence: today is all about you and it should be fun. you are all winners. the prize is waiting rate appear. winners have fun. i am here as your governor, but
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it is not the highest office that i hold. the highest office i hold is d-a-d.y dead -- it is ended will always be. [applause] gov. pence: moms and dad's, we have set in those chairs and we more times.o a few we understand the sacrifices your families have made see you through, the way they encouraged you to reach this education, through those anxious days, throughout your college career. they probably wrote a few checks along the way. and they prayed earnestly that you would see this day. talking aboutt you and what we all might have learned, with the graduating class of 2016 standing, turning
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turning your eyes to the moms and dads and the grandmas and the grandpas, the brothers and the sisters, the mentors and ends who are here and who got you through, give them a round of applause. [applause] gov. pence: i remember this day like it was yesterday. it was 35 years ago for me. 1981. it was a day in which i was filled with conflicting emotions. reached myed to have goal, i was a little sad to be saying goodbye to some of the best friends that i would ever have in my life. also filled with hopes but anxious and afraid. of whether those hopes would ever come about.
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i had grown up with a heart for public service and i had gone to a college not dissimilar to this one. a solid, christian, liberal arts education. i studied american history and tried to prepare my mind for what i hoped was before me. but i was not sure. what i can tell you i changed in college. fact, for most, college changes us. i will never forget the first time i saw our son, who graduated and is now in the service. the first time he came home from school, we looked at him and that, you have changed. change happens. it is good. and dads in the rome know what i'm talking about. i want to talk to you about ways i changed and the ways that i hope in the course of your life,
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you stay changed. can you take from this place the best. i learned the value of hard work , perseverance, and persistence in pursuing my goals. true confessions. i was not a totally great student in high school. truly, i will never forget the day. ands senior class president the day they posted the top 10 students in the class, a friend of mine came up because i was so active on campus and said, did you just miss it? [laughter] gov. pence: i said, not really. [laughter] gov. pence: college changed that for me mostly because of people like those back here. professors who saw in me
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something in a classroom, more than i saw in myself. about 90or who is now years young and is still a mentor to me, dr. curtis. i will never forget, he threw me a paper back and said that is a c. i said it is not different than his and he got a b. b, said, for him that is a and you got a c. professors for themselves into your lives. join me in thanking all of the professors and all of the faculty who changed your life. thank you. [applause]
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gov. pence: another way i was changed is i learned the value of true friendship, real friendship through thick and thin. there is something about when you go away from home and how quickly you huddle with just a few people. i will bet you were talking this morning, putting on the cap and down with people you might have first day. the there is a bond and use each other through the challenges. i know while today is hello to your future for many of you, you are worried it is goodbye to your very best friends. i promise you it is not. karen and i were just at a wedding a couple of short weeks ago with a college friend of mine. by all of theed
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crazy friends i made an college. we are all a little more high mileage right now but we turned on earth wind and fire and turned it loose on his daughter's wedding. [laughter] you can hold onto to these friends. make no mistake about it. i also learned i changed in college because i learned the importance of having the courage of your convictions. college is that first time when you step out and you are no mother's daughter or your father's daughter or your .arents child you are no longer the younger brother or sister on the high school campus or the neighborhood. you are just you. place where you learn to be you. you speak about what you believe, defendant in the
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roomsooms and the lunch and the late-night conversations with comfortable settings with friends. i love a john f. kennedy quote about courage. it was a quality president kennedy looked for more people than anything else spear he said, "-- else. literate", without be thewithout the belittling courage of those who died, we also should look at the courage of the men who lived. must in spitehe of consequences and dangers and pressures and that is the basis of all human morality. " cs lewis probably put it better when he said, "courage is not simply one of the virtues. it is the form of every virtue at the testing point. "
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i want to submit to you that the foundation and education you have learned here, the extraordinary place that has no your academic career on a foundation of >> centered character, scholarship, and leadership, i want to submit to you that to be a leader of that toe, you must be prepared face opposition and even criticism. it comes with the territory. as the old book says, in this world, you will have trouble, , overcome the world. to be strong and be courageous and when to stand for who you are and what you believe, it is a way you have changed here. and will carry into the balance of your life.
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lastly in college, i changed in one other way area i was raised .n a church home my parents suited us up every sunday morning and got us to church. i will always be grateful for the religious foundation of my upbringing. by the time i got to high school, i had a different thought. i kind of went my own way. i decided to set aside old-fashioned ideas about religion and think for myself. i kept going to church but was probably one of the people who held a form of christianity that denied its power. i went off to college and set it all aside. then i began to meet some people at college. confident and competent, but they had something i lacked in my life. thatw in my heart of heart
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they had something you call joy. and in that, there seemed to be something in their life that was beyond them. in my life tod embrace it. i will never forget one of the fellows who is now a pastor in indianapolis and delay is friend of mine, talking to me about matters of faith, and my resistance to that. i went up to him and said, i have decided to go ahead and pay i'm a christian and do the christian thing. i told him i want to get one of those crosses you wear. those look good. i started bothering him about it. catalogs head some could call and order a cross.
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i pestered him more than once and i will never forget when i the, hey, i am going with christian thing now, so get me that number, i want call and get that cross like yours and he turned to me and said words that impacted my life like a meteor strike. he does not even remember saying it to this day. said, youto me and he have got to wear it in your heart before you wear it around your neck. in your heart before you wear it around your neck. you've got to wear it in your heart before you wear it around your neck. and he walked away. i wrestled with those words for the days that followed. i did not know what he meant, but i knew there was truth in it. i found myself a few months 1978,in that spring, heard a sermon or two at a youth christian music festival in
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kentucky. thatays heard those words god so loved the world that he gave his only son. it hit me that night. it also meant god so loved me .hat he gave his only son and overwhelmed with a heart of gratitude, that night i gave my , and it hass christ made all the difference. i said to kieran this morning, it's always wonderful to say to god i love you, but it's probably more accurate when we realize all we can ever say to becausei love you, too, he said it first. that was the biggest way my life changed in those days in college. so, i want to say to the class
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2016, in whatever ways you this wonderfuls faculty has poured their life this wonderful christian university, the way you have learned, what you have learned, hold onto those things in the days ahead. hold onto to those you love with both hands -- the people next to you and the people in the gallery. hold on to these precious mentors. i promise you, they will love to get that e-mail from you in a month or six months or a year or five years. keep striving, keep learning, keep persevering. one of my other favorite quotes of all time comes from president calvin coolidge, who spoke about
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the importance of persistence and perseverance. he said "nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. talent will not. nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. genius will not. warded genius is almost a proverb. education will not. dedication alone are omnipotent. what you have learned in your striving and your accomplishments, continue to put into practice in your life. embrace the courage you have learned here and build on it to be men and women of integrity, in large ways and in small ways life.hout your and stay changed. stay changed in every good way to her heart and mind has been transformed during your time here at indiana wesleyan university.
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and so i say today -- congratulations. congratulations to the atduating class of 2016 indiana wesleyan university. it is your last they of the university, but it is the first of the rest of your life. your dreams await, but no as you but know as you go that he who saw you through these days of challenge is waiting for you on the other side of the door of this auditorium to see you through the next great challenges of your life, that he has a plan for you, a plan to prosper you and not to harm you. i plan to give you hope in the future. so, god bless you and go grab the future with faith. thank you.
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[applause] >> thank you very much, governor pence, for those stirring words and good reminders. for your 16 years of public indianato the state of to your personal life, which models high ethical standards, for the example of your servant leadership, and for your personal christian character to all who inced direct with you personally, by the authority vested in me by the indiana wesleyan university board of trustees and the state of indiana, i confer upon you of public doctor
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leadership and i present this parchment of recognition. congratulations. governor pence: thank you. [indiscernible] [applause] [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. 2016] >> louisiana governor john bel edwards spoke to the graduates of southern university at new orleans. he talked about his commitment to the university and its future. this is 15 minutes. [applause] >> thank you. thank you, members of the class
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of 2016, president, faculty, parents, friends -- it is an honor to share this day of celebration with you. exemplaryyou for your service to the state of louisiana and the city of new orleans, under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable for the last 10 years. donna and i and the state of louisiana wish you well in your future endeavors and while i am here, i want to issue a statement in the name and authority of the state of louisiana -- specifically, i john l edwards -- john bel edwards gives special recognition to the chancellor in acknowledgment of your dedicated leadership for the southern university of new orleans and the southern university system 2016, andto
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witnessed unto i set my hand officially and cause to be affixed to this great seal of the state of louisiana and the capital of baton rouge on this day, and i signed this and i want to give this to you as a sign of appreciation of the great state of louisiana for you. [applause] before i go any further, our invitation today mentioned ordering our steps, and so did that musical selection, and god will order our steps if we ask him to, and he will order our steps in his words, but we still have to move our feet. we all have to move our feet. you are going to get an opportunity here, as you leave
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as graduates to move your feet if you have never done before, so congratulations. it is a great day. i'm happy to be here to .elebrate with you on may 25, 1988, i graduated from west point. .t was an outdoor service we were wearing full dress gray over whites, and what i remember, it was raining hard -- we felt like a lot of dirty spoke way the speaker to long. i'm sure he gave a good speech, was vice president george bush, who seven months later became president, but i cannot remember much of it. so, i'm not going to keep you long today. and in fact, i'm told at one time dr. seuss gave a commencement speech. he got up, and he said the purpose of education is to determine fluff from stuff, and having said that, i've said enough, and he set down.
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i'm not going to be that brief. and i'm not going to be that eloquent. here, of the moms out tomorrow is your day, but today is your day, too. [applause] have supported these graduates through good times and bad times. you having courage them to chase their dreams, and today, they are catching one of those dreams. you have watched them go into the men and women receiving their diplomas today, so thank you, moms, and while we are at it, thank you dads and grandparents, because it truly takes a family, it takes a support structure to make sure our children can be successful. i know you are proud. i am proud as well. most importantly, i want to the graduating class of 2016. your hard work has paid off.
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there have been more challenges, tos of challenges to get this day. many of you are not traditional higher education students. maybe you were not a full-time student when you started. maybe you were never a full-time student. maybe you have had to work a job, raise children, maybe you were displaced by a storm. maybe you just started later in life for whatever reason. but look at where you are today. life may have gotten in the way, but it didn't keep you down. moment, because this is a day of great celebration. you are going to be busy. and thank god for the blessings in your life that have allowed you to reach this point. thank him for your family, thank him for your teachers, thank him faculty, and most of all
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just thank him. how you got here, you will walk out the door followed -- following the footsteps of a long history of trail brazing -- trailblazing knights. since theears university was displaced by hurricane katrina. the chancellor has led the university every step of the way. i know that recovery was not easy, and it certainly was not quick. it has only been teed of years since the last trailers or moved off of this campus. i have been to this campus at about five times now. but those things are just buildings. the real progress has been with of southernple
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university of new orleans, and what is most important, you never gave up. you didn't give up on your school. you didn't give up on your education. and i can promise you this. as your governor, i'm not going to give up on you. i'm not going to give up on southern, and i'm not going to uno either.s i have long believed that suno is too important not to fight for. when there were threats of closures in the southern university system, i stood up to defend this university's important place in this community and our state. i know there is a vital role now and in the future for a public hbcu in new orleans. suggestions to the contrary are
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income principle to me. not just aion is priority of mine. it is a priority to everyone in the state of louisiana. despite roadblocks along the has had steadily climbing enrollment and one-of-a-kind program such as the apprentice science program and the honorary center for undergraduate student achievement, name for louisiana hero and a southern university graduate lieutenant general russell l. honoré. a small business and give greater was built. if that is not resilience, i do not know what resilience is. representing a new chapter for suno, you represent a new chapter for the state of louisiana -- one that i
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hope also is resilient, one that i know is resilient as well. it there is no doubt we have challenges to overcome. we are still dealing with the largest ledger deficit in the history of our state. we have seen the largest cuts to higher education in the nation over the last eight years, and at the same time, the highest increases in tuition in the nation over the last eight years arid we continue to have the highest incarceration rate in the nation and we should not arid the people of louisiana are not innately more sinister, more criminal that people elsewhere and we should not put them in prison to a greater extent than the rest of the country. [applause] i am very frank about the challenges we face as a state, i want you to know i am also genuinely optimistic about the future of louisiana, and that is largely because of the right individual seated in these seats right in front of me.
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you know, we can never and qualityever guarantee of incomes in our state, but we quality ofee opportunity. access to higher education is an opportunity and your education represents another. samuel,o focus on graduating today -- theddition to having highest grade point average in his glass, samuel has been working private time -- part at the louisiana cancer research center. he has decided to continue this work before starting a joint m.d.-phd program next to at the lsu health sciences center. thank you, samuel. i am delighted you plan on staying here in louisiana, because we need you here. in
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fact, we need all of you here. too many times, i have seen the young people of our state think they might have to leave to get a good education or a good job or a rewarding career. nothing could be further from the truth. great opportunity awaits you right here in the louisiana. alumnusk at suno orlando williams. suno returned to graduateds, orlanda and she went on to be the youngest person ever elected president of the louisiana police jury association for all black caucus. the powerrestimate you have to make a real difference. your talents and your fresh ideas can forge a new and better path for louisiana.
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and a determined spirit is one of the greatest gifts you can take away from suno. it is the kind of determination that will give louisiana a future.nd brighter while i am confident that you are leaving here with the tools to be successful, i cannot promise you it is going to be easy. the test of school may be behind you, but there will always be s in life, and many of them will be harder. even when it may seem impossible, never, ever, doubt your ability to succeed in don't let anyone convince you you cannot be successful. .o, dream big chase that dream and catch it. i am speaking to you as the 56 56 to governor
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of the state of louisiana, and pundits,tened to the the naysayers, i would not hold this office because i was not supposed to win. trust me, you can do it. if you can dream it, you can chase it, you can catch it. [applause] so i hope you leave here today, not only with a quality education, but determination to make a positive difference not not justour life and your state, but in and community and country in which we live. congratulations and god bless each and every one of you. >> a look at 2016 commencement
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speeches continues as we had to massachusetts as governor charlie baker addresses the graduates of nichols college. he told students not to be afraid of failure, sharing his own story of his defeated gubernatorial campaign before being elected last year. one of theker: things that is special about being here -- and i did not know wouldend joan casey be telling you what she thought of me -- i am kind of pleased she stuck with the script. we talked about the fact that nichols college was founded in 1815. that was a really long time ago. ago, jamesong madison was the president of the united states.
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thes madison was one of founders of this nation, a true constitutional scholar, and most importantly of all, one of the founders -- believe it or not -- at the democratic republican party. and you think about the world we live in today. consider that 200 years ago, we actually had a democratic republican party. you would never know that based on the politics we all live with in this day and age. wereat time in 1815, there 22 states. 22 states. so, one of the things i want to say to all of the folks behind me who represent the leadership of nichols, and all those who came before them, congratulations. 200 years. 200 years, this school has found a way to adapt, i just, change,
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and stay relevant to the young people and the families of massachusetts and this nation. ant, my friends, is extraordinary achievement and one that should be honored and recognized every single year. [applause] i want to thank you all for the chance to be here today and i want to congratulate our graduates. that theu know journey, the path you took, where ever it lead you to get to this point today is what really matters. beenconfessions -- i have to three of my own graduations -- high school, college, and business school. i do not remember who spoke at my high school graduation. german chancellor helmut kohl
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spoke at my college graduation. i have no idea what you said. ceo rogerl motors smith spoke at my business school graduation. i have no idea what he said either. what seanays remember said -- do your job. [applause] so, i recognize the bar here is pretty high. i'm going to start with something pretty simple. the constructive. b positive. try to focus on what works instead of what doesn't. agod a meeting a few years with a community activist and he went on and on and on about what wasn't working in his community, and i dutifully took notes and asked questions. but after about an hour of this, i put my pen down and i looked at him and i said, tell me about
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something that is working in your community. he could not answer the question. we had an awkward silence because i sat there and looked at him and he sat there and looked at me for a couple of minutes. i finally broke the silence by saying, you live there. you have lived there for a really long time. you must be able to tell me about something that is working. and he couldn't do it. to this day, it remains one of the strangest and most illuminating meetings i have ever had. it's pretty easy to let the stuff that doesn't work way you down. classes, family, friends, social life, social media, presidential politics -- but sometimes the forest really does disappear through the trees. force yourself to see beyond them.
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todayct that you are here means that you choose to do so and you should never forget that. it's a choice. i'm not saying ignorance is bliss or anyone should go through life willfully blind to the challenges and the hardships we all indoor -- we all endure. is the choiceng about how to deal with all of that belongs to you. when i ran for governor the first time in 2010, i lost two former governor deval patrick. that hurt, no doubt about it. but i got a phone call shortly after the election they gave me a chance to reconsider my perspective. a young man called me and he said he was organizing the boston location of the national robotics competition that would ate place a few weeks later
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the arena at boston university. he was calling to ask me if i would speak to the teams that were participating in the contest. i thought about it and i said, sure. met i said, what do you want to talk about? i just lost an election. i'm not exactly a hot property. he paused for a minute and he said, i want you to talk about why it is ok to fail. and my first thought was, you are so lucky you are not standing right in front of me. [laughter] the more iker: but thought about it, the more i thought it was a great idea. because almost nothing that is worth having in life is achieved without taking a chance on failure. it's ok to fail. whoact, most of the folks succeed at almost anything in life that matters fail at some
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point along the way. abraham lincoln lost far more elections than he won. j.k. rowling who captivated young and old alike with her multivolume story of good and evil had more than a few wrong turns along the way to that heralded status. we tendin a time where to oversimplify almost every story to make it fit into some short, clearly defined narrative, usually 140 less, at a time when life is, as we all know, a lot messier than that. it teaches us things we never knew about life, our jobs, our friends, to give us a chance to grow in one of two directions. you can either embrace the or you can grow old
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before your time. atwife, who i kiss goodbye on mother'srning day -- who i kissed goodbye at 7:00 this morning on mother's day -- [applause] is the most positive person i know and she lights up the room when she is and it. and she has raised three kids who can see the bright side of almost everything. they are 25, 22, and 19. i marvel at their optimism, but i also know their faith in themselves and their future is a big part of their drive to improve, to overcome, to succeed. i have watched them fight their in ahrough troubled waters way that makes me proud.
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they are comfortable with reading uncomfortable, and i cherish that. i would urge you all to take chances -- smart chances -- and recognize that if you never get outside your comfort zone, you'll never get to where you truly want to be. since this is mother's day, i am going to tell a story about my mom and dad. they raised my brothers and me and i have never met two kinder people. they had no time for whining or tof-pity and they raised us play the hand, whatever the cards, with optimism and grace. about 10 years ago, my mom was diagnosed with alzheimer's, and i got a chance to see my parents practice what they preach. for those who do not know, alzheimer's is a very cruel disease.
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say when someone gets alzheimer's, you see them died twice. one as a result of the illness of what -- and what it takes from them and ultimately, when they finally pass away. over time, years usually, it robs you of your memory, your awareness, your capacity to process information and make decisions, the very essence of you are. and because it does not happen all at once, you fade in and out of lucidity along the way. during this time, you know what is going on, but you're pretty much powerless to do anything about it. when my mom faded in, she never complained. she told us how much she appreciated the special moments with us and our kids, how much she loved her time with our dad, and how embarrassed she was about her inability to do the things she used to do with ease.
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and then she would fade out. past decade, the time she was with us got shorter and the time she was not would expand. but my dad never complained either. --always said "she took care of us. now we take care of her." and he was glad to do it. eventually, she needed round-the-clock care and they moved into a continuing care community where my mom lived in the nursing home, literally on one side of the driveway, and my dad lived in an independent living apartment on the other side. , andsits her every day with their grace, love, dignity, and optimism, my parents showed me --
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practice to this. i thought i would be able to get through it. [applause] with their grace and their love and their dignity and optimism, they showed me late in life that they could still play the hand, too, even when the cards were cruel and unrelenting. remember where i started. constructive, be positive, and focus on what works. there are a million clichés that say the same thing. don't let the turkeys get you down. going gets tough, the tough gets going. my favorite -- adversity does it --veal character, adversity does not build character, it reveals it. blah, blah, blah, blah.
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of sure you have heard arthur rash. ashe. a tennis -- arthur he was a tennis star back in the 1960's and 1970's. he suffered -- he was a great man. he suffered a heart attack in , and before anybody really knew much about hiv or tracted hivn from a blood transfusion. he became a very public about living with hiv and the importance of cleaning up the blood supply at a time when very few people were willing to discuss this issue at all. he never complained. he never blamed anyone. but he died in 1993, before most of you were born, at the ripe old age of 50. after he died, he received and
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deserved the presidential medal of freedom. simple sayingy about life. start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can. pretty good words to live by from a man who embodied that graceful, forward-looking, purposeful approach to his own life every single day. you all start today as graduates of a venerable, terrific, historic institution. make the most of what you've got. be constructive. be positive. focus on works. good luck, go bisons, and do your job. thank you. [applause]
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>> and as we look at some of this year's commencement speakers on memorial day, we are asking on facebook how important their messages to graduates? enriquez says "it depends on the speaker and the graduate. duh!" gary says "the effect of the commencement speech has to be tracked over time. can and jeff says, worth the speech is supposed to be uplifting? nowadays they seem so negative and political." you can leave us a message on facebook or send us a tweet @--cspan.
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senator donnelly: i think in effect, what -- senator dole: i think in effect we catch up to the 20th century. we have watched our house colleagues with interest -- at least i have, with interest. >> today the u.s. senate comes out of the communication star cages. we create another historic moment in the relationship between congress and technological advancements in communications through radio and television. 50 years ago, our executive branch began appearing on television. today marks the first time our legislative branch in its entirety will appear on that medium of communication through which most americans get their information about what our government and our country does. thurmond: televising our senate proceedings also is a
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wise and warranted policy. it recognizes the basic right and need of the citizens of our nation to know the business of their government. the 30thay marks anniversary of c-span's broadcast of the senate floor. representative graham: do you trust william jefferson clinton? representative daschle: we have witnessed something -- senator daschle: we witness something that has never before happened -- a change of power ring a session of congress. -- during a session of congress. : what people do understand about this bill, and five years, the government will be in charge of everyone's health care. sure i mcconnell: i am
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made mistakes in my career, but voting against c-span televising the senate was one of them. >> watch 30 years of the u.s. senate on television, beginning thursday on c-span. and to see more of our 30 years of coverage of the u.s. senate c-span.org.go to the president of the united states is usually a popular choice for any college commencement or money. coming up next, we will show you one of three addresses president obama gave this year to the class of 2016. after that, we will hear from some of those in his administration, including commerce secretary penny pritzker, as well as faa administrator michael where to -- huerta. became the first sitting president to address the graduate class of rutgers university in new jersey.
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earlier this month, this is 45 minutes. [applause] >> barack h. obama, by the authority vested in me, i am deeply honored to confer upon of dr. of laws with all of the rights, responsibility, privileges, and immunities to which it is entitled. in token of this, i present you with this diploma and direct that you be vested with the hood emblematic of the degree. [applause]
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pres. obama: hello, rutgers. [applause] thank you so much everybody, please have a seat. thank you for the introduction. let me congratulate my extraordinarily worthy fellow honorary scarlet knights. dr. cornell and bill moyers. matthew, good job. [laughter] if you are interested, we can talk after this. [laughter] [applause]
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one of the perks of my job is honorary degrees. [laughter] i have to tell you, it impresses nobody in my house. now malia and sasha say, ok, dr. dad, see you later. can we have some money? [laughter] to the board of governors and chairman brown, the lieutenant governor, mayor cahill, mayor waller, members of congress, rutgers administrators, staff, and family. thank you for the honor of joining you at the 250th anniversary of this remarkable institution. most of all, congratulations to the class of 2016.
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[applause] i come here for a simple reason, to finally settle this pork roll versus taylor ham question. [laughter] i'm just kidding. there's not much i'm afraid to take on in my final year of office, but i know better than to get in the middle of that debate. [laughter] the truth is i came here because you asked. [applause] it is true that a lot of schools invited me to their commencement every year, but you are the
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first to launch a three-year campaign. [laughter] e-mails, letters, tweets, youtube videos. i even got three notes from the grandmother of your student body president. [laughter] and i have to say, that really sealed the deal. that was smart because i have a soft spot for grandmas. so i'm here, off exit nine, on the banks of build rail, at the site of one of the original nine colonial colleges. winners of the first ever college football game. [applause] one of the newest members of the big ten. home of what i understand to be a grease truck for a fat
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sandwich. [laughter] [applause] mozzarella sticks and chicken fingers on your cheesesteaks. i'm sure michelle would approve. [laughter] but somehow you have survived such death-defying acts and you also survived the daily jockeying for buses. i suspect that a few of you are trying to survive this afternoon after a late-night. you know who you are. [laughter]
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but however you got here, you made it. you made it. today, you join a long line of scarlet knights, whose energy and intellect have left this university to heights that the founders could not have imagined. 250 years ago, when america was still just an idea, a charter from the royal government, ben franklin's son, established queens college. a few years later, handful of students gathered in a converted tavern for the first class. from that first class at a pub, rutgers has evolved into one of the finest research institutions in america. [applause] it is a place where you 3-d print prosthetic hands for children and devise rooftop wind arrays that can power entire
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office buildings with clean, renewable energy. every day, tens of thousands of students come here to this melting pot where ideas and cultures flow together among what might just be america's most diverse student body. [applause] here in new brunswick, you can debate philosophy with a classmate from south asia in one place and strike up a conversation on the w bus with a first-generation latino student from jersey city before sitting down for your site group project with a veteran going to the school on the post because of the g.i. bill. america converges here. and so many ways, the history of rutgers mirrors the evolution of america. the course by which we became bigger, stronger, richer, more dynamic, and a more inclusive
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nation. but america's progress has never been smooth or steady. progress doesn't travel in a straight line. it zigs and zags with fits and starts. progress in america has been hard and contentious and sometimes bloody. it remains uneven. at times, for every two steps forward, it feels like we take one step back. for some of you, this may sound like your college career. [laughter] it sounds like mine anyway. [laughter]
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which makes sense because measured against the whole human history, america remains a very young nation. younger even than this university. progress is bumpy. it always has been. but because of dreamers and innovators and strivers and activists, progress has been this nation's hallmark. i am fond of quoting dr. martin luther king jr., who said, "the ark of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." it bends toward justice. i believe that. but i also believe that the arc of our nation does not been toward justice or freedom or equality or prosperity on its own. it depends on us. on the choices we make, particularly at certain inflection points in history. particularly when big changes
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are happening and everything seems up for grabs. the class of 2016, you are graduating at such an inflection point. since the start of the new millennia, we have already witnessed horrific terrorist attacks and war and the great recession. you have seen economic and technological and cultural shifts that are profoundly altering how we work and how we communicate, how we live, how we form families. the pace of change is not subsiding. it is accelerating. these changes offer not only great opportunities but also great peril. fortunately, your generation has everything it takes to lead this
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country towards a brighter future. i am confident that you can make the right choices the way through fear and paralysis for cooperation and innovation and hope. [applause] partly i'm confident because on average, you are smarter and better educated than my generation. although we probably have better penmanship. and we are certainly better spellers. [laughter] we did not have spell check back in my day. you're not only better educated, you have been more exposed to the world, more exposed to other cultures. you are more diverse, more environmentally conscious. you have a healthy skepticism for conventional wisdom. you have got the tools to lead us. precisely because i have so much
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confidence in you, i'm not going to spend the remainder of my time telling you exactly how you're going to make the world better. you'll figure it out. [laughter] you will look at things with fresh eyes, unencumbered by biases and blind spots and inertia and general crankiness of your parents and grandparents and old heads like me. i do have a couple of suggestions that you may find useful as you go out there and conquer the world. point number 1. when you hear someone longing for the good old days, take it with a grain of salt. [laughter] [applause]
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take it with a grain of salt. we live in a great nation and we are rightly proud of our history. we are beneficiaries of the labor and the grit and the courage of generations who came before you. i guess it's part of human nature, especially in times of change and uncertainty to want to look backwards and long for some imaginary past where everything worked and the economy hummed and all politicians were wise and every child was well mannered and america did whatever it wanted around the world. guess what? it ain't so. the good old days were not all that good. yes, there have been some stretches in our history where the economy grew much faster or when government ran more smoothly. there were moments when, immediately after world war ii,
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for example, or the end of the cold war, when the world bent more easily to our will. but those are sporadic. those moments, those episodes. in fact, by almost every measure, america is better and the world is better than it was 50 years ago, or 30 years ago, or even eight years ago. [applause] and by the way, set aside 150 years ago, pre-civil war. there's a whole bunch of stuff there that we could talk about. set aside life in the 1950's, when women and people of color were systematically excluded from big chunks of american life. since i graduated in 1983, which
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isn't that long ago, i'm just saying. [laughter] since i graduated, crime rates, teenage pregnancy, the share of americans living in poverty, they are all down. the share of americans with college educations have gone way up. our life expectancy has as well. blacks and latinos have risen up the ranks in business and politics. [applause] more women are in the workforce. they are earning more money. although it is long past time that we pass laws that make women get paid the same for the same work. [applause] meanwhile, in the eight years since most of you started high school, we are also better off. you and your fellow graduates
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are entering the job market with better prospects than any time since 2007. 20 million more americans know the financial security of health insurance. we are less dependent on foreign oil. we have doubled the production of clean energy. we have cut high school dropout rates. we have cut the deficit by two thirds. marriage equality is the law of the land. [applause] and just as america is better, the world is better than when i graduated. since i graduated, the iron curtain fell. apartheid ended. there is more democracy. we virtually eliminated certain diseases like polio. we have cut extreme poverty drastically. we have cut infant mortality by an enormous amount. i say all these things not to make you complacent. we have got a bunch of big problems to solve. i say it to point out that change has been a constant in
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our history and the reason america is better is because we did not look backwards. we do not fear the future. we seized the future and made it our own. and that is exactly why it has always been young people like you who have brought about a change. it's because you don't fear the future. that leads me to my second point. the world is more interconnected than ever before and it is becoming more connected every day. building walls won't change that. [applause] look, as president, my first
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responsibility is always the security and prosperity of united states. as citizens, we all rightfully put our country first. but if the past two decades have taught us anything, it's that the biggest challenges we face cannot be solved in isolation. when overseas states start falling apart, they become breeding grounds for terrorism, ideologies of nihilism and despair that ultimately can reach our shores. when developing countries do not have functioning health systems, epidemics like zika or ebola can spread and threaten americans and a wall won't stop that. if we want to close loopholes that allow large corporations and wealthy individuals to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, we have to have other countries help enforce financial laws.
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the point is, to help ourselves, we have got to help others, not pull up the drawbridge and try to keep the world out. engagement does not mean deploying our military. there are times where we must take military action to protect ourselves and our allies. we are in all of and grateful for the men and women who make up the finest fighting force the world has ever known. [applause] but i worry if we think that the entire burden of our engagement with the world is up to the 1% who serve in our military. the rest of us can just sit back and do nothing. they can't shoulder the entire burden. engagement means using all the
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levers of our national power and rallying the world to take on our shared challenges. you look at something like trade, for example. we live in an age of global supply chains and cargo ships that crisscross oceans and online commerce that can render borders obsolete. a lot of folks have legitimate concerns with the way globalization has progressed. that is one of the changes that has been taken place -- jobs shipped overseas, trade deals that sometimes perk workers and businesses at a disadvantage. the answer isn't to stop trading with other countries. in this global economy, that's impossible. the answer is to negotiate with other countries to raise their trade standards and environmental standards and to make sure they do not impose unfair tariffs on american goods or steal american intellectual property. that is how we make sure that international rules are
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consistent with our values, including human rights. ultimately, that's how we help raise wages here in america. that is how we help our workers compete on a level playing field. building walls won't do that. [applause] [applause] president obama: it won't boost our economy and it won't enhance our security. isolating or disparaging muslims, suggesting that they should be treated differently when it comes to entering this country, that is not just of the a betrayal of our values -- [applause] president obama: that's not just a betrayal of who we are. it would alienate our communities at home and abroad who are most important partners in the fight against violent extremism. suggesting

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