tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 6, 2016 3:00am-5:01am EST
headed, don't you? [cheers] >> this is a people's movement. you can feel it. there are people who are never been engaged in politics before. i was just at a hotel at manchester. two guys came up to me. they left connecticut and are traveling around here to try to make a difference. they have never been active in politics. when i endorsed trump back in the early part of the year i said this was a movement. it was more than a normal political campaign. i believe that is true. i believe people are not happy with washington. they are correct. they should not be happy with washington. it has not delivered for them. the economy has not done well. we have not had the standards of ethics and management we need to validate the money we send to make sure he gets spent wisely. we need a lawful system of immigration.
not the end of immigration, but i national system that serves the national interest. there have been here -- there are people that it is every years and there's nothing unkind about that. we do not need to be engaged in problems around the world if we can make a positive difference. it tends to make things worse in a lot of areas of the globe. i think donald trump is where we need to be. bob and i serve together. he is a great american patriot. i love this guy. he stood every day for what he thought was right. we discussed the course. -- the courts. how important it is that we have judges that respect the constitution, it will understand they serve under it, who don't believe they have the power to just redefine the words of the constitution so it says what they want it to say.
they just want to reinterpret the words of the constitution. i am excited about it. i think the american people are excited about it. they want to change. they want management, integrity. they are not happy with the powerful special interests that meet and meet and plot and get their agenda accomplished while our agenda is lost. and nobody pays attention to the people. we need to speak. >> absolutely. [cheers] >> we want to hear them all away. they want to know what we think about this country, where we want it to go. and the great classical american heritage of justice and prosperity. [cheers]
anything else we need to do? [laughter] >> camera get a picture with you? >> we're going to do this organized. everybody will have an opportunity to take pictures. [indistinct chatter] >> very good. how long were you there? >> i went back twice. trying to get our county attorney here with us. >> where is the senator at? regina? [indistinct chatter]
i do believe with the turnout and the enthusiasm that trump has here, it is going to make a difference. i think most polls which show was ahead. i think the internet will be the -- i think the turnout will be the key. >> how important are these last final days? >> it does seem to me in my experience in politics on the presidential elections,
elections tend to break one way or another at the very end. it happened with reagan and obama. i think it's going to break trump's way on tuesday. >> there had -- new hampshire doesn't have that many elect world votes but why is it an important state? >> we know in state after state it can go either way. the polling numbers show how they are breaking. it's extremely close and the like all college. this state with a few others added together it can make a huge for the difference. we are doing a number of stops in the state. it feels to me like we have a movement of people. not normal political people. people who love their country, who are worried about the country, who feel like and i believe are correct in feeling that washington is not being that has not been paying attention to them or what they are concerned about.
not concerned with the real issues with the trouble they face. i think that is a big problem in america. we need a person to improve. donald trump will get things done. >> anything you want to add to that? >> thank you, sir. >> specific questions for you guys? >> thank you, guys. >> election night on c-span. ; c-span's "washington journal," every day. the issues that impact you.
coming up this morning, elizabeth laudrup, president of the cast to small count ability center and erica baxter, the senior counsel for the becket fund for religious liberty. they will talk about the role of religion and religious institutions in the campaign and the ongoing debate over the right of religious groups. also, david drucker from the washington examiner discusses key senate races. be sure to watch "washington at 7:00 a.m.. join the discussion. > president obama: hi, everybody. americans have been fighting for the idea that health care is a right and not a privilege since the second to last time the cubs won the world series. i'm not talking about the 2016 cubs. talking about the 1908 cubs.
that's a really long time. thanks to the efforts of so many of you, we did it. today, 20 million more american adults know the financial security of health insurance. on top of that, another 3 million more kids have coverage than when i took office. fact, never in american history has the uninsured rate been lower than it is right now. and health care prices have been rising slower than they have in 50 years. if you haven't gotten covered yet, now is the time to do it. open enrollment season. that means you can go to healthcare.gov and shop for insurance plans in a marketplace where insurers compete for your business. healthcare.gov is faster and easier that -- in easier to use than ever before. with a few clicks, you can start comparing plans to see which one is right for you and your family. you can even look up your doctor and medications as you shop.
most americans who get coverage through healthcare.gov can find an option that costs less than $75 a month. has probably less than your cell phone bill. most of us don't get our health care through the marketplace. we get it through our job or through medicare or medicaid. what you should know is that, thanks to the affordable care at, your coverage is better today than it was before. you now have free preventive care. there are new -- there are no new annual limits. women can get free checkups. and you can't be charged more for being a woman. on theire can stay parents' plan until they are 26. seniors get prescriptions -- discounts on their prescriptions. and no one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. that's because our goal wasn't just to make sure more people had coverage. it was to make sure people had better coverage. and as we continue working to make the system better, there is
something you can do to help yourself and help the country. .o to healthcare.gov get coverage. and if there is someone you care about who hasn't signed up yet, help them get covered today, too. enrollment is open right now, but only until january 31. if you sign up by december 15, you will be covered by the beginning of the year. so go check out healthcare.gov 1-800-318-2516. someone will personally help you find a plan that is right for you. on the idea based that we are all in it together. that is what makes it work. it's the same idea that always made america great. thanks, everybody. and have a great weekend. >> for the past 17 months, i have traveled across this nation and met the amazing people of this country. their hopes have become my hopes and their dreams have become my dreams. this is not just a campaign.
it's a movement. it's a once chance to take our government back from the donors at a special interests and return the power to you, the american people. 15 days ago, i've proposed my contract with emi can voter. to a 100-day action plan bring real change to washington. we need change so badly. if we win on november 8 and a desk and elect a republican house and senate, weekend effect of the change that people deserve. i plan to create twice i've million new jobs, cut taxes on the middle class americans by 35%, and repeal and replace the total disaster known as obamacare. it doesn't work. we also immediately fix -- and stop jobs from leaving the country. will and illegal immigration and ended rapidly.
and suspend the admission of serial refugees into our country . they are coming in by the thousands and hillary clinton wants to increase that rise 600%. we will rebuild our badly depleted military and take care of our great, great veterans. parent inve every america the right to send their kids to the school of their choice, including millions of low-income african-american and hispanic children who have been failed so long for generations, in fact, by the democratic politicians like hillary clinton. they just haven't been able to do the job. they've treated african-americans and hispanics horribly in so many ways. we will undertake a national effort to reduce crime and poverty and bring jobs and safety to our in his cities, finally, at last. we will restore the constitution and nominate supreme court justices who will do the same. at the center of my contract is my plan to end government
corruption. tillich clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the united states. win, it woulde to create a constitutional crisis like no other. she is under multiple federal investigations, has committed many crimes, including perjury, and she is now facing the prospect of a federal indictment. it is time to close the history books on the clintons and to open a bright new chapter, focused on the great citizens of our country. i'm asking for your vote and your help in a elect republican majority in congress so that we can finally change this broken system and make america great again. and when i say great, i mean great for everyone. thank you very much. >> i think most of us, when we think of winston churchill, we think the older man sending young men into war. but no one knew better and few new as well that realities of war, the terry and the devastation.
and he said to his mother after the second war, the rock comes through come he can't gild it. he absolutely knew the disaster that war was. ; tonigh>>, -- >> tonight, candace talks about winston churchill. >> and he says give me a regimen. i want to go and i want to fight. so he ends up going with a regiment to pretoria on the day that it fell to the british. andhe takes over the prison he frees the men who have been his fellow prisoners. he puts into prison his former , and he watches as they bore flag is torn down and the union jack is wasted in its place. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a."
>> now a look at the key to a 16 senate races from around the country. journal," thisn is about 45 minutes. host: joining us now is james argan. he is joining us to discuss the latest in the 2016 senate races focusing on those that remain a tossup heading into election day. good morning. thank you for having me. host: what are some of the states that you think are tossups? guest: there are six or maybe seven states. missouri, a couple of red states currently in the hands of republicans will be close races. new hampshire, pennsylvania, some of the battlegrounds in the presidential race. north carolina along the same lines in nevada. those are the races that are the
closest. wisconsin is becoming a little closer down the stretch. seven states, if they go either tight one way or another. host: you write about these races. the publicans are confident they will hold onto seat in order and ohio. -- florida and ohio. trying to keep the race competitive, while democrats believe they will win races against incumbents and illinois and wisconsin. the latter contest has narrowed recently. democrats outside groups added $2 million to bolster former senator russ feingold who is running against senator ron johnson. that means six races will likely decide the senate majority. indiana, missouri, nevada, pennsylvania, and hampshire. leading into the last few weeks, it appears the democrats had the advantage in these tossup races.
as that changed? guest: a little bit. narrowed atage as little bit as the polls in the presidential race have tightened. there are so many different ways for them to win the majority. the advantage is still to them. they need for seats if hillary clinton wins the white house to get the majority. they are secure in illinois and is constant. that means two. they would only have to win two of those other races whereas republicans would need to carry nearly every single one to keep the majority. they have a little bit of a natch, but democrats have narrowed. call (202)rats can 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8001. independent voters can call (202) 748-8002. and those supporting party
candidates, (202) 748-8003. raceis the most surprising in your opinion right now? what is surprising to still be this close this late in the game? guest: probably missouri. if you look across the map, a lot of these are competitive states in the presidential race. a lot of them are tied to how well the presidential candidates do. missouri is not that. donald trump will win missouri. clinton not competing there. blunt running against cancer. -- kander. he is going to be able to need to win a lot of donald trump voters if he is going to win. he is running on an anti-washington, anti-incumbent
message. he is trying to appeal to donald trump voters. if he is able to pull some donald trump voters, he has a shot. that is the most surprising race. host: john as calling in from philadelphia on the democratic line. you are on with james arkin. caller: this is maybe a little early to ask this, but the obvious question in my mind is what effect has the james comey letter had on the races? the senate races. guest: the effect from the fbi letter from director james comey is that things have narrowed a little bit. i don't think it has changed the trajectory of any race one way or another. most of the people in both parties that i have talked to think it has had an effect on the margins. some hillary clinton supporters and those you were thinking about supporting a democratic candidate may be rethinking.
it is maybe having a little bit of an effect on the margins with some voters, but in races that -50, that can be a big deal. two, orull just 1% or if you hear republicans making the argument about needing a check on every once in because of him and things like that, they can be convinced. it is giving republicans a shot in the arm. they are able to go on offense in the final week. it has not had a major impact on any of these races. host: that caller lives in pennsylvania where one of the closed senate races is between pat toomey and katie mcginty. let's take a look at ads from those candidates. [video clip] this man, and he illegal
immigrants is arrested for aggravated assault federal authorities detain him. as a century city, philadelphia refuses. the unthinkable happens. >> accused of raping a 13-year-old or under child. >> katie mcginty still refuses to and philadelphia being a designated sanctuary city. imagine the bank forces you out. no warning or hearing. a lending practice so outrageous, most states have banned it. if it was owned by pat toomey, it was business as usual. forcing 21 small business owners out of their homes. now he is using his power in the senate to help himself, getting rid of rules that protect us. pat toomey, out for himself. not us. little bit more
about this race in pennsylvania. what is the latest? the desk katiew, mcginty is up by about three percentage points. that is a little larger lead that she has had. it has been the for the most part. it seems like she has a little bit of an edge. a lot of times we think these races are about hillary clinton and donald trump, but those advertisements are a snapshot of what the parties think are the key messages. republicans are attacking on the so-called sanctuary cities. they think that is an effective message because it is a position she has taken. democrats think attacking senator toomey for his ties to wall street will be effective this year. this is still not connect. neck.k and
katie mcginty seems like she is ahead in the polls. it is a 50-50 tossup right now. it is still close. host: on the republican line from arkansas. caller: good morning. what you'll find in the last few days is what you have found since the obamacare premiums went up substantially. you will find that illinois and wisconsin, definitely illinois is gone. wisconsin, ron johnson still has a chance. ron johnson has been a very good senator. however, wisconsin is looking for a win because they just had their tails be in the last few governor. the the rest will go republican.
the wind will stay at their back. there is one crucial thing i have only heard mentioned for about 10 seconds. i'm really surprised because this could change the entire direction of the presidential election and the down ballot elections. in the year 2000, hillary clinton in an effort to win the new york state senate election, there were about 24 puerto rican nationalist that have been convicted of bombing places all over the northeast and united states, they were in prison for holder goshe had eric along and pardon these lifelong criminals. people who committed murder. the only reason they did that was yet the puerto rican vote. let's give james arkin a chance to reply. details don't know the
of this case he was talking about. he hit on what other interesting thing, just what he said about obamacare premiums. republicans think if you combine what they're talking about in terms of james comey's letter and the e-mails related to hillary clinton potentially, republicans take the rise in obamacare premiums give them a chance to go on offense. in some states like missouri and arizona where the race is not quite as tight, and north carolina, republicans think that attacks on obamacare and democratic support for it will be particularly effective down the stretch. wisconsin is another one. republicans think there is some momentum there. they think obamacare attacks will be effective on that. it is just another thing republicans think gives them a chance to go on offense in the
final week of the election. host: a little bit more about that race in wisconsin from 538. this is the most intriguing contest in this group is in wisconsin. republican senator ron johnson had been left for dead with a brief exception at the beginning of october, only good news for russ feingold. then a funny thing happened. democratic and republican organizations started investing a lot of money into the state. the question is why? clearly they knew what they were doing. feingold is only up by one percentage point. tell us about what is happening in wisconsin. guest: exactly what they said. this was basically thought to be a win for the democrats at the beginning of the cycle. it flew under the radar. there were so many other competitive races.
ron johnson has run a very careful campaign. he has been running positive ads. it is an interesting dynamic where the incumbent is the one that needs to increases name id. russ feingold was a senator for 18 years. the polls have been up and down. of aaw russ feingold couple of digits, and you have seen them closer. things have gotten closer and closer. the real key is to look at what the outside groups are doing. you have a bunch of republican groups jumping in the last couple of weeks i think that if theymake a real investment can push this thing over. democrats answered with a couple of million dollars of advertisement. if you talk to democrats, they are confident in russ feingold. they think that this is a wasted
effort by republicans down the stretch. they think this is a race that favors feingold. if you look at our average, it still favors feingold. this would give republicans a huge boost. it would be much more difficult for democrats to find a path to the majority if they lose wisconsin. tony, you are on the democratic line with james arkin. caller: good morning. here we go again, right? toomey and mcginty in pennsylvania. here we go again. again with everytime around election time, something happens. i don't know if mr. arkin is aware of what is going on in pennsylvania.
here we go again. upald trump wants to throw election fraud. you understand? here we go again. host: let's let james arkin have a chance to respond. up in an brought sourcing thing about the transit strike. forould be a concern democrats because pennsylvania does not have early voting except for certain absentee ballots. you need a massive get out the vote operation to make sure voters show up on election day. any factor that depresses turnout in the philadelphia area that is key for democrats could be problematic in a race like the senate race that is expected to be very close. i think it probably has less of a chance to hurt you clinton because she has more of a lead in pennsylvania.
anything that could depress turnout just a little bit for democrats is something that is troubling. host: the race in new hampshire between maggie hassan and incumbent republican senator kelly ayotte. let's look at a couple of ads in that race from governor hassan and senator ayotte. supported donald trump through all of it. even calling him a role model. now she claims the opposite. a political calculation. what else has she done to get reelected? she voted with the koch brothers 90% of the time. special interests like the koch tothers spend millions enrich themselves. >> i am maggie hassan and i approve this message. >> the into hillary clinton is back on. >> emails discovered. >> hillary clinton's campaign
fighting a firestorm. >> i support another clinton for the presidency. >> this is a real bombshell. >> do you think she is honest? >> reopening an investigation that was closed. >> do you think she is trustworthy? the presidential race weighing heavily on that race there. guest: the presidential race is looming large. for the most part, it has been on the republican side. kelly ayotte has had one of the more tortured past in terms of donald trump. she has said early on that she would support but not endorsing. she said her vote for him did not necessarily me an endorsement. debate a moment in the where she said that donald trump was a role model for children. she later had a statement walking that back, saying that neither presidential candidate was a role model.
and then we had the access hollywood tape that caused such a stir in the presidential race, and kelly ayotte withdrew her support. she has had a lot of trouble figuring out the right answer to those questions about donald trump. democrats think that has hurt her in the state. they think that gives them an opportunity. as you saw in the advertisements , they think they are able to hit maggie hassan in terms of hillary clinton. she is not overwhelmingly popular. her favorability is underwater in the same way that donald trump says, maybe not the same degree. her likability numbers are low. they think are not answering right away whether she thinks she is honest and trustworthy, they think that is beneficial. they have had around for months now. especially because the polls are tightening. it seems like you clinton run away in new hampshire. now things are closer.
it seems like donald trump could even when the state. if that happens, it will be really hard for governor hassan to outpace hillary clinton and when the election if donald trump wins. host: we have bill from connecticut on the democratic line. you are on with james arkin realclear politics. caller: good morning. thank you, c-span, or what you do. connecticut, i don't think there is much in the senatorial race. uncooperativeof this between parties, do you see that being resolved with this election? do you see same old, same old? there is a lot of contentiousness in this election. it is disturbing to see the path we are going. what is your opinion?
see a lot of signs that the contentiousness between the parties is going to continue after the election. republicans think hillary clinton's bad favorability numbers means that even if she wins the election, which she is favorite to do right now, they argue it would not be a mandate for her. it would be a referendum on donald trump. republicans say that gives them the ability to be a block on her agenda and trying to implement the things she wants to do. if donald trump wins the election, i think you are going to see much of the same thing from democrats. republicans are likely to hold onto the house of representatives. even if republicans win the majority of the senate, it will be a narrow majority. if democrats win, it will be a narrow majority. neither party will have a filibuster proof majority. that will make things hard in congress for whomever is
president. you have republicans are talking, a few of them, about theinuing their blockade of supreme court in not allowing hillary clinton to appoint justices, saying it would not be a problem for the supreme court to remain with eight justices. john mccain, ted cruz. a few others. those are clear signs that no matter what happens in this election, things are probably destined to continue to be divisive. we are continuing our discussion with james arkin of real their politics about the senate races. the senate races happening now. democrats can call (202) 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8002. -- republicans (202) 748-8001. independents can call (202) 748-8002. those supporting third parties
can call (202) 748-8003. anna on our democratic line from texas. caller: good morning. if we do not change these republican senate seats, we are going to have the same gridlock that we have had with president obama. mitch mcconnell said this is his waterloo. i'm going to take from donald trump. what do we have to lose? we have a lot to lose. the supreme court. the affordable care act. we have a lot. our children's future are at stake. we have to make some crucial changes. i don't care who you like or what you don't like, if you don't vote for your state, and changenational some of these people, we are always going to have gridlock. rightd to make a change
now because our children's future -- i have five grandchildren in college. i am retired. i got a job to help my kids support them. johnson, those two need to go. we cannot continue this. let me ask james arkin, how much of these issues, gridlock and other things weighing on voters as they consider these senate races? guest: i think it weighs on democratic voters a lot. you have seen an argument from democrats running saying that republicans have tried to block president obama's agenda consistently come which clearly i think republicans would argue they have. you see republicans concerned about what is happening at the top of the ticket talking about
being a check and balance on the potential hillary clinton administration. it is an argument saying you might vote for hillary clinton, but support republican senators because we do not want one-party rule in washington. democrats see that as republicans saying, we will continue the gridlock and continue to block the democratic agenda. it is a real concern on both sides. it is a matter of which side condenses -- convinces voters of their argument more and gets them out to the polls. who is able to use that effectively. host: let's go back to the race in missouri. you write on real kill politics -- realclear politics, democrats have been confident about this race. the secretary of state jason kander, a 35-year-old afghanistan war veteran announced his candidacy in early 2015. they have relentlessly attacked senator roy blunt, criticizing
that they are insiders. the incumbent campaign has pushed back on attacks, but some republicans think they have impacted the race because roy blunt did not prepare early enough for a competitive race. as's look at a couple of from that state. >> we have a family business just like roy blunt. his wife and three of his children are all lobbyists. he does not see what is wrong with that. >> i don't understand why that is a question. and his $1.6 million washington mansion. indoes not even live missouri. >> i approve this message because we will not change washington until we change our senator. >> jason kander lies about roy blunt because jason kander is too liberal for missouri.
roy blunt has never taken a at the race for senate. here's the truth. jason kander has taken millions from lobbyists and special interests. jason kander's wife was listed as a lobbyist. now he lies about that too. another line liberal politician. host: a quick take on this race. guest: it is helpful when the advertisements make the arguments both parties are trying to make. jason kander trying to attack roy blunt for his family members being lobbyists. he says he is gone washington who is an insider and cares more about what is happening here than what is happening in missouri. it is an effective message. these are similar attacks that he faced in roy blunt in 2010. they are more impactful this year.
jason kander is the right voice for democrats to make those claims your roy blunt is trying to say he is too liberal for missouri. it is still a red state. it is a republican state. all roy blunt needs to do is paul roy blunt needs to do is bring republicans home. jason kantor will have to bring some voters to his side. you see clearly the arguments he is trying to make. can kander get enough republicans to support the democrat? right now the polls show he is doing that pretty well so far. host: richard is calling in from azeri. -- from missouri. on our independent line. good morning, richard. caller: it's nice to follow those commetns. my comment is an article about
roy blunt. he said he would never vote to reduce drug prices for senior citizens on medicare. -- i think itinst is time to vote him out. i'm concerned about him and his family being lobbyists. he'll vote the way they want to. it's time to get him out of office. thanks a lot. there,you hear right that is the type of voter that jason kander is happy to hear from. an independent voter, i believe. that's the criticism that roy blunt will vote the way lobbyists want him to. and jason kander represents fresh blood. a's -- the race is referendum on roy blunt, jason kander has a really good shot.
host: in all these races, how long are the coattails of donald trump? or has donald trump proven to be more of a hindrance than help? a hindrances been to certain republicans running a purple states like new hampshire, pennsylvania. if only those republican senators, senator ayotte and toomey have shown an ability to run ahead of donald trump. they're able to separate themselves. there were some polls that show that voters show that they believe their senators to be different kind of republicans spend donald trump. many swingnly so voters you can get an ticket splitters you can get. so, donald trump is losing the states by significant margins, it makes things difficult for republicans. not to mention he had a number of controversies in his campaign. the access hollywood video.
it forces republicans to answer for the presidential candidate. it makes the conversation about donald trump. and that's just not something republicans want. they have shown an ability to outrun him in the polls. he's losing these states narrowly. republicans are in a pretty good position to pull off wins. it is a question of what the margin is. if the margin is really large, and makes things tougher these republicans. host: another close race in indiana. the democrats got a boost on their chances to take back the senate when indiana's evan bayh decided to enter the race over the summer. donald trump's running mate is the governor of indiana, mike pence. how much, if at all, has his presence at the top of the ticket changed this race, affected this race in indiana? guest: it is interesting. i do not think that governor pence's position of the top of the ticket has had a major
impact. this race is an interesting one because it is one that democrats at the beginning of the cycle probably consider they would not have a good shot there. it is a republican state. probably going to vote for donald trump. jumped in the race and the summer. two term governor, his father was a senator. the name is known universally. democrats flipped that as a state that they have a good shot of winning. republicans feel very confident because they have picked up a giant opposition research book and thrown it at evan bayh. meetingked about him with groups that he ended up taking positions with after he left the senate. they talked about his work for a law firm. a law firm that did lobbying after he left the senate. they made an argument that he
abandons indiana after he left the saienate. they claim he does not even live in indiana. there has been a lot of questions about how much time he spends in his condo in indianapolis. we saw polling with a double-digit lead when he jumped in the race. we had the first public paul yesterday showing tom young -- the public poll showing young ahead of evan bayh. can they get the attacks to stick. it seems like they have done it. it is still a 50-50 race but republicans feel really confident in indiana. host: we are breaking down the key senate races with james a rkin. we have anne on our democratic line. caller: good morning. i would like to ask the gentleman to do some thinking
about we really are against longterm. i do not believe it is about rookedt -- co hillary as this trump man says. i do not believe that the republicans are interested in. anything except the u.s. supreme court when we really should be thinking about the real problem and that is the connections between trump and the russians. and turkey, he's in turkey. he is all over the place. what is the real thing? we can't trust the fbi. the national security -- we need national security or someone else to investigate what is really going on with america. we're going to be taken over by the communist party. ast: let's give james
chance to respond to that. are these some of the concerns you see resonating and senate races? guest: when you hear democrats attack republicans for their links to donald trump, those are exactly the concerns they raise. raises an interesting point when she mentioned the supreme court. when you talk about the senate races, you hear a lot of republican senators say the supreme court, it is not just the presidency, the senate, the supreme court is at stake. i talked earlier about the check and balance arguments some republicans are making. and you hear a lot of them say, republican senate will get supreme court justices in a very different way than a democratic senate would. they think that is an argument that will really convince a lot of voters who might be on the fence, even some of the voters who do not support donald trump. i'll use missouri. i was covering senator blunt and jason kander at an event. he made a specific pitch. he said i might be the 51st
republican vote in the senate. when it comes to the spring court, republicans are going to look at the justices in a different way than democrats. he needs republicans to support him overwhelmingly if he is going to be able to win. he can't lose any republican voters and they think the supreme court is the ultimate argument. they think that is what the voters care about. they're using that message overwhelming. host: one of the most vulnerable an republican incumbents in in senator8 races mark kirk, a republican in illinois, being challenged by congresswoman tammy duckworth. give us the highlights of that race. guest: this is the race that democrats feel extra me confident in. we have not seen outside groups money.ny that is the clear signal that neither party thinks this is a competitive race. for center kir - -for senator kirk, illinois is a blue state.
it's going to vote for hillary clinton probably by an overwhelming margin. it represents a really tall order for republicans to be able to win the state in a presidential year. senator kirk won his first election in 2010. 2016 is a different electorate. senator kirk is the only type of republican who could win in that state. but he has not been disciplined in his message. he has made some mistakes. he made comments during a debate about tammy duckworth's family history, her background. that was seen as an inappropriate joke. he had a couple of groups actually, a group pull an endorsement. it was an uphill climb from the beginning and then senator kirk has not run the best campaign. overall, that means it is a very difficult race. from springfield,
tennessee, from our republican line. caller: good morning. ask, how do we know what polls are accurate and why? my state of tennessee, we do not let people vote if they have a felony record. i wanted to get your thoughts on that and i will hang up and let you answer. guest: the question on the polls is an interesting one, because we won't really know until election day which polls are accurate and not. i'll give a shout out to real clear politics. that is why averages are so important. you can take a number of polls average them and together and you will get a little better of a snapshot. we've seen problems in the past. the 2010 nevada senate race is a clear example of this. the polls showed harry reid in a very tiny race, - tight race. points.ran away by six
harry reid has made this point very clear. he does not think much of public polling data. i think right now one of the things about polls was there has been a lot of volatility. especially in states like pennsylvania, things have gone back and forth. we have seen social polls showing katie mcginty up double digits and some showing pat toomey up double-deckers. keep an eye on the averages. and know for the most part, not every single poll is going to be accurate but for the most part they give a good snapshot of where the rice is. -- race is. it is possible some of these polls are going to miss the mark. host: tim on our democratic line. caller: good morning. with respect to the close senate races but also to ohio, because i live in ohio, has the second amendment proven to be an issue or not? if it has, which party does it hurt? the second amendment is
important in some races. we have seen democrats this year a little more than they've been willing to in the past run on a platform of gun control. they think politically this has become an easier issue. in years past, you with the democrats not wanted to talk about gun control. it wasn't a convincing political issue for them. and that has changed now. meanwhile, republicans are running same as they ever have. they want second amendment voters on their side. they don't support gun control measures. it's sort of the starkest contrast that you are going to see in terms of an issue. an issuenow if it's more than any other year but i think on control measures are always going to be a big issue in senate races. selma,rancis from
alabama. caller: yes, good morning. thank you for taking my call. also, i would like to appeal to the people of alabama that we need to make a choice and a change in our senate. shelby has been in office for more than 30 years. he started as a democrat. he has since changed his party. and has always done nothing for our community here in selma. i hear people talking about the voting rights was given to him. alabama,s in selma, are still paying the price for the sacrifices we made to get that law changed. a democrat is someone we need to look at closely. he's 48 years old. shelby is 82. we always complain about age. we want another strom thurmond
on our hands? i would ask people to please vote for the democrat ticket this time. we need a change in our nation. thank you. host: do you have a comment to that? guest: i think alabama is a good example where we look at the tight senate races and you forget there are a lot of races that aren't competitive. richard shelby was worried about the primary. as soon as he won the primary, his path to reelection was pretty set. the polarization in states like alabama make these races impossible for the other party. host: let's talk about another close race, north carolina. republicano usa, senator richard burr slim the over democratic challenger deborah ross. has flipped since early fall. a lead of four percentage lease but that has fallen to less than two points as of november 2. give us the highlights of that race.
guest: this is another race where democrats weren't necessarily, they did not think it was going to be a top-tier race. now you have the former state lawmaker running. i think she has run a much better campaign than democrats expected. she has been aggressive in terms of getting out, doing the leg work. and richard burr is sort of payment for not wanting to get his campaign started until after labor day. he's since become very aggressive. he is all over the place. but this is one that i think snuck up on richard burr. you have a lot of people in washington who are frustrated with the way he ran his campaign. our average still has him with a little bit of an end to now, but they think they have a lot of material that they have been able to hit deborah ross with. she used to lobby for the aclu. and has some controversial positions that republicans have run a lot of are advertisements on.
feel fairlyll confident about this. again, this is another race where the presidential -- if hillary clinton maintains her lead in north carolina that she has had in the polls, it is going to be difficult for richard burr to win. if donald trump wins it, i think richard burr is probably pretty sae. it is a 50-50 race. host: kimberly is calling from washington, pennsylvania, on our republican line. you are on with james arkin. caller: hi, james. good morning, kevin. -- kimberly. i'm a republican. i am voting straight republican. i know the supreme court is very important. i also disagree with third term abortions. that is the same as murder. i would like to make a common to all the people calling in talking about trump and russia. very successful
businessman. he had his ups and downs like everybody else, but he has great relations with people around the world. and he is not a politician. thank you. guest: that's exactly the type talking when we're about the pennsylvania senate race that is so important to pat toomey. donald trump has had his problems in this state, but he appealed to pennsylvania voter and a particular way the republicans in the past maybe haven't. that is exactly the type of voter that pat toomey wants to hear from. straight republican ricket. -- he needs ticket. ket.state republican tic host: in nevada, folks are vying to fill the seat of harry reid. we have joe heck versus democrat catherine cortez masto. guest: this is the only race
that republicans have a chance to fill this seat held by democrats. again, the implications of that are enormous for them. if they're able to flip the seat, it gives them a much bigger buffer. a large hispanic population. donald trump has had his struggles with hispanics. joe heck, the candidate, has done a great job of reaching out to the hispanic community in in noty some republicans have republicans are confident in his ability. but there is high democratic turnout. high hispanic turnout in that race, it is going to be tough. catherine cortez masto could be the first latina senator if she wins. harry reid, we know about his ability to turn out voters. so, i ithink democrats feel confident about that one but it will be a very big state for republicans to be able to win. host: david is calling in from crab orchard, west virginia. on our independent line.
caller: good morning. everybody is complaining about the republican senate blocking the supreme court justices. is anybody really out there think that if donald trump wins and the democrats take over the senate, that they will sing kumbayah and nominate his supreme court nominees? are they going to block them just like the republicans are right now. also, remember back when president obama and hillary clinton was running for president, they promised all these things they were going to do, fix immigration. they were going to make the rich pay to include bill clinton. he said he could pay more. they had two years, almost four years, filibuster proof. and and none of these promises they promised, both of them, got done. host: let's give james arkin a chance to respond. guest: he brought up an
interesting point in the supreme court in the beginning. i think you will probably see a lot of democratic opposition if donald trump is elected iand is able to nominated supreme court justice. the differences we have not seen any democratic senators saying that they would not support any justice and we try to keep the the seat open. we have seen republican say that. you have had a number of senators on either side of the aisle that are willing to give the president the right to nominate their justices. and evaluate them based on their judicial careers and not necessarily on ideology. of course, you're always going to have senators on both sides of the aisle who are going to not support a nominee of the other party for ideological reasons. but i think there is more concerned on the democratic side that republicans would be willing to put blank it down for hillary clinton supreme court nominee. host: from winchester, virginia, on our republican line. good morning. caller: yes, good morning. i'm 70 years old, believe it or
not. and i've never voted in my life. in any election. but i have registered to vote and i plan on voting for donald trump. simple because we need an outsider in washington. wholenate, the house, the establishment down there it's al l about the money. they don't worry about health care. they do not have to worry about what their social security is going to be or how much obamacare is going to go up in their favor. host: let me also point out that if hillary clinton wins the presidency, there will be a senate special election in virginia. how do you expect that sentiment to play out if tim kaine's seat is vacated? guest: it is a question i wrote about a couple weeks ago. first off, you will have the
democratic governor of virginia place someone in the seat and then there will be a special election in november of next year. a couple of factors. first off, if the senate is 50-50, this is going to loom very large. if republicans can fill the se at, they could rob hillary clinton of a senate majority within the first year of for term. the other thing is that when you look at the republican primary for who would probably be running for the seat, the list is very large. there are a lot of republicans in virginia who are looking at in the statee believe would give consideration to it. i think you have seen some of those republicans who are very supportive of donald trump, and other republicans who have been outspoken against donald trump. talk a lot about the republican party needing to decide what direction it was to go after this election. and i think you could see that battle play out in a very specific way in a primary for that virginia special election. it is going to be really interesting. host: james arki
"c-span's washington journal" with news that impact you. coming up this morning, philipth wider and baxter. -- eric baxter. also joining us, david drucker. sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 eastern this morning. join the discussion. come a discussion about the impact of the 2016 elections on american policy toward iraq and the u.s.-led coalition against isis. among those speaking, the former iraqi ambassador to the united nations. this is one hour and a half.
>> good afternoon, welcome to the hudson institute. my name >> hi, good afternoon. welcome to the hudson institute. we welcome you today to talk about the u.s. election, and the future of iraq. i am very honored to have with us a distinguished panel. , a seniordiate left fellow at the atlantic council, and the director of the council 's future of iraq program. a former iraqi ambassador to the united
nations. the founding director of the indiana university center for the study of the middle east and a fellow of the american academy of arts and sciences. to his left is a senior fellow at hudson. he has recently returned from iraq from the front lines. mike was an intelligence officer in iraq, and has recently come back from the front lines. without further ado, i will turn it over to mike to give us a sense about what he found during his trip in iraq. mr. pregent: i told my peshmerga general in 2005 to show me the lines -- did not do it
additionally, but another kurdish commander to agree to the front lines to show me what was going on. this panel is about how iraq is looking at the u.s. election. what i want to emphasize is it's not like looking at next week on tuesday, it is what they are looking at the day after inauguration day. they are looking at january 21. what they are concerned about is what the next pdds look like. the mosul operation supposed to wrap up ahead of inauguration day. it is a political timeline set by a president obama and the prime minister of baghdad. that rush has me concerned, has the peshmerga concerned, has a lot of iraqis concerned in that ramadi was not a successful operation to defeat isis. fallujah was not a successful operation. to create was not -- tikrit was
not a successful operation.y et each is touted on how to do it right. ramadi is not secured. the minimal force that iraq left behind is dealing with a resurgence, isis attacks. look at mosul, and you look at a population center of 1.2 million, with an approaching force of 30,000, noted, part of that 37 is an unsanctioned force told not to participate by the prime minister and the united states. it is not listening to us and not listening to the prime minister. those are the shia militias controlled by the irgc. when i say that, bullseye that is not true. looking at the two commanders, one is the bonner corps commander, the second is a
designated terrorist who leads hezbollah. and then you have another leader of his designated terrorist "league ofn, called the righteous." they said that the mosul operation isn't about liberating from isis, but to avenge what happened working hundred years ago. -- happened 1400 years ago. the comparison i can make between the 2007 search and this isis strategy today. i was on the ground during the surge and i recently came back. at no time have we allowed or been part of, meaning supporting, a military force half-life sectarian flags was a sunni town. that is what happens today.
when you look at the next 80 days, we should be concerned havethe parties that don't the mission of securing the population believe they have 80 days to do as much as they want. this is also in syria. they literally believe they have 80 days to as get as much as they can, and wait and see what happens with the u.s. election. i won't go into the specifics, but we talked about that this morning. interesting polling numbers, of iraq that is not so much as they prefer, they just want somebody to do something about it. 67 percent prefer hillary trump, but% prefer both believe they will do something different from the obama administration. this current strategy is working -- is important. -- isn't working. the first priority should be
defeated isis. the third should be reconciled with your iraqi sects. that is not the priority list. right now you have competing entities in mosul. you have the turks concerned going after sunni turkmen. they are prepared for that. you have the turks concerned about kurdish expansion into mozilla. you have shia militias worried about kurdish expansion you have the iraqi government concerned about kurdish expansion. the only thing we have to worry about in the most operation is kurdish expansion. they are taking blocking positions. mr. doran: they will not be going into mozilla because they are more concerned about kirkuk.
of have pmf's, a force 100,000 iraqi shia. there are some sunnis in there. are joining this movement believe they are doing the right thing. they want to go after isis. the leadership has other intentions. the leadership is focusing on winning in 2018, getting .everage over baghdad rejectingers are abadi's call. they have threatened not only to participate, but to attack american advisers. that is concerning. ,hile i was on the front lines i saw militia flags flying into sectarian flags flying. officer fromaqi
him is that ha shem al shabby and he says no, that's the iraqi army. so it's not just the militias carrying these flags, the iraqi army are carrying these flags and every organization from cnn to bbc to al jazeera, anybody who's covering this war, every time they say the iraqi special operations forces are entering mosul and having success ignore the flags in the video they're showing, and and they should pay attention to it because baghdadi s pay attention to it. he just put out a call to everybody in mosul that the militias are coming. the sunni population is paying attention to it because they saw what happened in ramadi, in fallujah, they saw what happened. if you pull a person from ramadi, you'll find they are waiting for the reconstruction money to come in, they're waiting for their city -- at least the semblance of a beginning to rebuild the city, they distrust baghdad more than
ever. they distrust united states more than ever. we are simply resetting the conditions that led to isis to begin with in this operation in that these towns aren't being liberated. they're being laid to ruins. the population is being expelled , and the strategy, there's such a low benchmark for success in this campaign that the strategy, to me, feels like as long as you can replace an isis flag with an iraqi flag, you're finished. as long as you can do that in city center, you are done. that's not how you defeat an organization. the united states military never went into a town one time and claimed success. we learned in fallujah in 2004 and 2005 that you cannot destroy a city and expect to kill al qaeda, we just angered it, pushed it somewhere else and it came back with a vengeance. it wasn't only when we tried to build temporary trust between the sunni population and baghdad
with the u.s. being a guarantor that we were able to defeat al qaeda through sunni intelligence sunni manpower. the same thing is happening now. if you pay attention to the mosul operation, you have sunni residents sharing intelligence with the peshmerga, with the iraqi army on isis locations, you have 300,000 sunni military people in mosul. that's a conservative number based on 1.2 million people being in mosul that have not joined isis, and that isis feels is a threat. if this operation pushes them to a position where they feel this invading force isn't there to liberate them, but to punish them much like mosul, fallujah and tikrit, then we're likely to see something very ugly that may be called success in the press, may be called success in this administration that will lead to a resurgence of some kind, whether it's isis 2.0 or isis morphing into an al qaeda model. i'm probably over time so i'll stop.
mr. doran: that is great. before i pass the microphone to the ambassador i'm going to summarize what i heard you say in four points and you can tell me if i got it right or not. point number one, everybody on the ground is trying to improve their position before the new administration comes in under the expectation that the new administration is going to do something different and they want to position themselves to influence an administration as best as possible, number two, we have -- we, the united states, have no vision for the political -- for the post-conflict order that will follow the expulsion of isis. number three, we are unwittingly handing mosul and more broadly iraq to the iranians and number four, we are alienating the sunnis in such a way that we have laid conditions for a return of isis as the defender of the sunnis. do you disagree with anything i
just said? mr. pregent: no. i'm glad you summarized it that way, it makes more sense than what i just said. what you said made great sense. the thing is, i'm taking a warning position based on what i've seen in the past, indicators, and trends, and i respectfully hope you can moderate my comments if they were too alarmist. i'm concerned this is a political timeline, not a timeline to defeat isis, but a political timeline to claim success and then move to syria. look over your left shoulder and you'll see you haven't done anything in iraq to defeat isis , you simply tell isis that it's not wise to put up an isis flag in a city and claim it as yours unless you can shoot down american aircraft. that's the biggest lesson learned so far in this campaign. mr. doran: thank you, and with that let's pass it over to the ambassador, thank you for being here, we appreciate it.
well, thank you very much for moderating and i want to thank the hudson institute for the invitation to speak here again. i particularly want to thank michael prejean for organizing the imagine and as well as to thank all my colleagues on the panel. let me look at it, if i may, from the perspective of what i think are in iraq's interests. we've been asked to speak for a relatively brief period of time. i'm a former trial lawyer and i usually can't clear my throat in 10 minutes but i'll see what i , can do. [laughter] i think one of the biggest mistakes that the united states made in circa 2011 was its complete disengagement from iraq. i don't mean necessarily the withdrawal of troops, that's a more subtle question dealing with the -- i mean, i do wish the united states had maintained troops there but i also understand it from the perspective of the iraqi government refusing to give immunity to american troops and
all that. that's a discussion i don't want to have at this moment, i'll get into it in questions and answers , but i mean the intellectual disengagement and the sort of disengagement at the ground level. so that you could treat iraq as a sort of -- the same way you might have diplomatic relations, say, switzerland. has been the strategy that, if that is the work that has , been the policy in in case for too many years since. that is to say that while iraq is an independent state, and there are certain issues you don't interfere in with respect to independent states so if the , then prime minister of iraq comes to the oval office and tells the president of the united states that i intend to proffer charges of terrorism against the highest ranking
sunni in iraq, the proper response for two states dealing with one another is "well, that's an internal issue and we have no opinion on that" which is, of course, precisely what happened. it was easily predictable and many predicted that we were going to head down the road over , although the spectacular success of isil i don't think anybody predicted. but that we were going to head down a road that would result in at least circumstances that are akin to 2005 and 2006, and that unfortunately is where we ended in the summer of 2014 with the fall of the city of mosul in half a business day, iraq's second-largest city, the population of 1.8 million. as mr. pregent said, the u.s. has not policy for the political dispensation in iraq after isil.
i'm not talking about the narrower important but narrower , issue of who governs in mosul and nineveh, governed after the fall of isil, that was an important question. but i'm talking about the broader strategic question of , what does iraq look like? the united states has been focused like a laser beam on the narrow issue of defeating isil militarily in iraq. but not for the political future of the country, and i think that's largely been through throughout the obama administration. perhaps even before the obama administration. so iraqis i think, have a fairly good sense, an excellent sense of what it is we are fighting against. i think we don't actually know what we're fighting for. and i hope that as the --
obviously within the next few days we will know who the next president of the united states will be, i hope that comes up to a very high level of importance in terms of middle east policy, iraq policy. iraqis have some decisions to make. do we, in fact, want to live in a united country? and if we do, what does that mean. do we want regionalism? do we want the kurdistan regional model multiplied throughout the country? do we want, in fact, a true federation. inherent in all of this is the kurdish question which has been raised although not lately by the president of the krg. we have multiple opportunities over the past two and a half years, the president of the krg has talked about a referendum on independence.
fair enough, i think most iraqis would concede if they have a right. the problem is not that the problem has been that the kurds have neither quite been in nor quite out of the country and , this is untenable. if they want their independence, fine, if not, i think that we need to be in a position where all factions actually begin to come together build a cohesive state, which we do not have now . and i think that is something that the united states ought to press. i have two broad voice i want to make before i get off the floor. i thinkhe priorities -- there's be
something is unspoken i know that i haven't articulated yet and let me do so so expressly. former u.s. ambassador to iraq ryan croccer once said that the americans are hard wired into the iraqi political system. and i agree with him. many positive things have occurred when the united states has engaged with the iraqi political system. too many negative things have occurred when it has not done so. there are many reasons for this that i don't have time to get into in my main remarks, but would be happy to talk about later if it comes up. so it's in that spirit that i'm making all of my remarks. one of the things i think that the new u.s. administration ought to make an issue that i think is vitally in iraq's interests and that is the management of iraq's relations with its neighbors.
iran's influence and physical presence in iraq must be reduced. i know that's very easy to say, much harder to do given the histories of the governing political parties in the country. the physical presence of turkey in iraq, a nato ally, after all, hopefully the united states still has some influence there, that simply is not acceptable. it is simply not acceptable to have a foreign head of state insisting he has a right to intervene in iraq as a protector of a group in iraq, that simply isn't tolerable, no iraqi government can tolerate that sort of interference and it's extremely destructive -- it's an
interference which is extremely destructive of the ability of the iraqi political class to come to a meeting of the minds as they used to say in the law of contracts. i'm a strong believer in a line from the poem by robert frost that strong fences make good neighbors, and at least since 2003 we've ripped down all of the fences. this is actually one of the consequences, the disillusion of the iraqi army and security forces that we have paul bremer to thank for. that particular gift continues to pay dividends. more than 12 years after ambassador brehmer left iraq. and we have to balance our relationship with saudi arabia.
a policy should be -- it amuses me to put in the these terms because turkey is clearly abandoned the motto, but it has to be the motto of peace at home, peace abroad. we must strike a balance between its three more powerful neighbors. we have tilted too far in the direction of bahrain in my view, we need to values between riyadh and uncle. ankara.n't, -- and if we don't, then our regional neighbors will continue to find ways of balancing against iran's outsized role in iraq. if the iraqi political class has not learned that lesson, there will be very little room for hope or optimism, it seems to me. iran's role in iraq will always be destructive.
iran will always want a weak iraq. it doesn't matter who governs in iraq. if hamanahi's son became the prime minister of iraq it will be in iran's interest for iraq to be weak. i'm not saying we want the chaos on their border that we have had tensed 2014. the last point i'll make -- and i have gone over my time, i apologize -- is that the pmus and militias have to be disbanded after the military operation is over. that is much, much easier said than done. i am told -- we'll see if this happens, that after mosul is liberated from isil to expect a fatwa from the grand ayatollah al sistani thanking the rank and file of the pmus and telling them they need to go home.
as mr. pregent said, the leadership of the pmus have entirely different ideas, but i have to say, to the extent that we maintain sectarian and nonconstitutionally based militias, and allow them to roam freely, i couldn't agree more when when jesus we are setting up the conditions for isil 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0, we have to look to rebuilding a state of iraq. that is probably harder to do now in 2016 than it might have been in -- first of all, there was no excuse for disbanding the state of iraq in 2003 in the first place, but i don't get to turn the clock back. it's probably harder to do now than in 2003 because there was no trust among the political
elites in 2003, there is less trust now than there was then, are not toital if we continue in this cycle, this sort of vortex increasingly descending at greater and greater speed into a morass from which it will be impossible to return. if we break apart under these circumstances we're far more likely to break into a somalia state of kurdistan, shi'a stan and sunni stan. and that should focus the minds of the planners of the next administration wonderfully. thank you and i'm sorry i went over my time. mr. doran: thank you, and at the risk of doing injustice to all that he said if i could turn it , into one piece of advice for the next, president, whoever that might be. it would be that they should see the role of the united states as fending off the external
players, especially iran, but iran, turkey and saudi arabia to iraqisa space in which can work out their problems with each other without foreign intervention. that would be the number one priority, or have a got that wrong? mr. istrabadi: no, that is the number one priority but second and very closely to it is that the united states must actually also engage the political players inside iraq to help to facilitate, not dictate the term s. but facilitate the process that notice vivendi -- modus vivendi. we have not had a modus vivendi since 2003. and certainly obviously the constitution which i think has been a failure did not provide such a modus vivendi. so we need to rethink a working, functioning state in a very, very tough neighborhood.
there is the external component, but there has to be an external component. mr. doran: thank you. the floor is yours and these have put some provocative theses on the table for you to address. ms. younis: thank you very much. one of the things that's been interesting about looking at the iraqi media coverage of the u.s. presidential elections has been that the coverage has been very, very sparse. and actually there's been a lot less interest and engagement in iraq as compared with other countries in the middle east in this election. and the reason is that iraqis don't know what to expect from either a trump or clinton presidency. they don't understand how the two possible administrations will differ from the obama administration, and how they
will differ from each other. so that's kind of the first obstacle when iraqis are really looking at this election and trying to figure out what they think and what their opinion is. actually, the foreign policy platforms of these two candidates have been very, very unclear, and where they have been pushed they've been pushed , on the syria issue and very rarely asked about what they would do differently in iraq. this has partly been played by the obama administration with president obama trying to wrap up the liberation of mosul in a neat little bow to end his presidency with a bank, which is not really how counterinsurgency works. but he keeps giving the impression he's dealing with iraq, and iraq will be done by the time he leaves office. it's not at all the case but it has rather left the other
candidates off of the hook when it comes to explaining what their plan is for stabilization and for continued counterinsurgency operation. because the liberation of mosul is not the end of this and we really haven't heard a strategy from either candidate as to what they are going to do once they reach office. and of course the iraqis are super conflicted about this because they also don't know what they want the u.s. to do. a lot of disagreement in iraq. on the one hand, there's a lot of appreciation for the u.s. assistance in driving out isil , and there's a pretty wide consensus that iraqis do want continued u.s. assistance to drive isis out of iraq and certainly once isis is driven out of these territories, as has been our focus, you know, i think u.s. assistance will continue to be appreciated in tackling the inevitable
insurgency that is likely to dominate iraqi cities after the formal liberation takes place , but beyond that, the problem in iraq is that there is an incredible iranian capture of the iraqi media. it's less insidious than it sounds. it's just kind of -- you know people seeking to exercise soft influence over tv presenters, donations to tv channels, you know, there's a lot of relationship building that's happened, and there's a lot of persuasion that takes place and it means that the kind of iranian narrative on what u.s. intentions are in iraq is very pervasive. the united states does an absolutely terrible job of public diplomacy, of talking to
the iraqi public about what its intentions are, what its goals are, what the game plan is, what it's trying to achieve, right? and the fact that it's not trying to steal iraqi oil or be in kokomo, or stay in iraq forever, or use this as an excuse for some other nefarious geopolitical reason. we have to be able to effectively counter the kind of iranian driven narratives that come out of the iraqi media , because the iranians are engaged, and we are not. engaging with iraqi media is not that difficult. that's something we could be doing that we're not doing and as a result there's such a murkiness in the iraqi public consciousness about what level of u.s. engagement they want and how comfortable they are with it and what kind of time scale they want to see that continued engagement. i think u.s. policy could really
benefit from a clear, sustained articulation of what our long-term strategy is in iraq , and i think there's very clear things that we could be doing beyond the liberation of mosul , and the next administration when it comes into office should really look at these key points. so number one we will not defeat isis when we liberate mosul. we need to have a strategy for continuing to partner with iraqi security forces and especially with iraqi intelligence to help to train them and build their capacity to conduct long-term penetration of extremist networks. not just to show up in a sunni village and chuck everyone in prison, that's not defeating a counterinsurgency in the long term. you want to be building up real capacity to disrupt the
financing networks, to disrupt the ied assembly networks and sourcing of those materials that are needed to assemble car bombs. they need to be effectively and systematically tracing the remaining networks that will go underground and that will keep isis alive in iraq to potentially for many years to come unless we offer the kind of support to the iraqi intelligence services that will be needed to effectively defeat this group once it's disappeared back into iraqi towns and cities. that's something we can offer, those are skills that the iraqi intelligence sources know that they need, know that they're lacking and that they respect from the american side. they want those skills to be coming from the americans and that's something we can concretely offer, and say that our goal is to help support the iraqi state to eradicate terrorism. that's something we can do and that's not something that's on a
presidential election timeline. as long as it takes, as long as the iraqis need that support. the other thing that's going to be needed is the united states will not to act as a buffer and it doesn't want to play this role. but between the iraqi kurds and baghdad. during the war against isis , iraqi kurdistan has extended its territory by about a third, has seized almost all of the territories that were previously disputed between the krg and and there's a real risk that the iraqi shiite militias will once mosul is liberated , will turn their guns against , the peshmerga and try and retake kirkuk. there has to be a mediated diplomatic settlement to these
territorial conflicts. we cannot afford to see iraq now having just retaken territory from isis but not tackled the root causes of the insurgency. we can't afford then to suddenly be distracted by this kurdish iraqi war over territory. and the united states is the power with the relationships, with the clout, with the international standing to be able to prevent actors from acting in an unrestrained way in this battle over disputed territory and to initiate a credible internationally respected process for mediating these territorial disputes. that's day one after mosul is defeated. we need to make sure that we're getting -- that, you know, the peshmerga and the iraqi counterterrorism forces and the
federal police and the iraqi security forces are working so eautifully together to defeat mosul/ and then the day after we need to get these forces away from each other and out of the disputed territories so that we can avoid that conflict from happening. the other great risk is that the shiite militias have in many sections of the iraqi population , become very popular for defending iraq against terrorism and, you know, it's partly a function of how unpopular minute stream iraqi politicians are for the incorrupt -- being corrupt, and performing poorly. we have eventual elections next year and parliamentary elections that you're after, and there's a very real risk that pretty hard-line parties could do very very well in those elections and i think something else the
united states could be doing is helping to support moderate accommodationist inclusive iraqi leaders who are capable of delivering some of the kind of political compromises that are needed to bring about a genuine reconciliation in iraq, and are needed to address the root causes and drivers of extremism in iraq. to help them to better connect to their constituencies. to better deliver on what their constituencies are demanding and to remain credible political actors in the face of what promises to be a genuine political threat from a pretty hard-line set of groups that are likely to set the reconciliation agenda way back. it's something we can help to tackle just by helping moderate political actors to perform
better because they're underperforming so, so woefully right now. and the final thing that the united states can do and can articulate is that they can continue to act to rally global supporters together to help with the reconstruction of liberated areas. what we don't want to see is these liberated areas that have been devastated by air strikes and by the military campaign and by the ieds left behind by isis. we don't want to see these devastated areas, most of them are sunni areas. we don't want to see a second class or an underclass of iraqis living in very deprived economically deprived areas kind of cut off really from the political system, and creating the conditions where radicalism thrives. we want to reintegrate these areas as quickly as possible back into the rest of the
country. we want to get basic infrastructure set up, economic opportunities, education and that requires resources the iraqi government is struggling to find at a time of low oil prices. the united states has done a good job but can really continue to take a leadership role in -- invest in the sablization and reconstruction of areas liberated from isis and i think those elements constitute a real vision for medium to long-term engagement in iraq. a genuinely positive one, that's helpful, it's something a lot of iraqis could buy into and help them make sense of what an american role would look like and what it means and why it's something that would be of benefit to them. mr. doran: thank you for that.
i wonder if i could ask you one question to clarify your position with respect to the other two panelists. i heard you say that the -- that the iraqi media has been penetrated by the iranians and that there's a tendency to adopt the iranian line on what the united states is up to. but i didn't hear you wave the flag of concern about the role more broadly of iran in dominating or extending its influence over iraq that we heard from your colleagues. do you share their concern? is that a major concern of yours or are you seeing things a little differently? ms. younis: i am someone who believes that iran extends its influence where there is a vacuum and where the political costs are relatively low. we have made operating in iraq a
very easy low cost high reward political exercise for the iranians iranians and once we , articulate our strategy for engagement and we offer something to our iraqi partners on the ground and say, hey, we're not just going to turn around and leave in six months and leave you in the lurch, we're real partners who are offering a sustained alternative. you know, there are many iraqis who have great antipathy towards iran and worry about the level of iranian penetration and about what iranian interests are in iraq, but balancing against iran is very difficult when there isn't -- when you don't see a partner for balancing against iran with. and i think if we offer the united states as an alternative , and we make clear that hey, we're around not just for five minutes, we'll be here and we've got your back, you can afford to be critical, and you can afford pursue your policies without
fear of iran. i think the opportunity is there. i don't think the iranian role in iran should be something that scares off the united states from engagement. mr. doran: and so you are broadly in agreement with the ambassador that the job of the united states is to hold the ring around iraq and to help the iraqis mediate between them as they solve their own problems. ok, well thank you very much. mike, if i can come back to you, i think we've got a lot of agreement -- more agreement than i expected to hear in general picture of what the -- what the challenge is for the united states. i think there's also agreement with -- dr. younis made me realize there's broad agreement between the iraqi people and the american people, that we're completely bewildered as to what is election will hold.
it seems to me that if we were to follow the average viewer, this is being broadcast by c-span and the average american watching this is going to be listening to this advice and saying, what's the cost to the united states? what's the cost in dollars? what's the cost in military commitment? and one of the big takeaways that we have over the last decade is that the desire among the americans to shoulder these costs is much less than some of us would have expected. with that thought in mind, could you talk to us? is there a way the united states can play the role that's being outlined here without a george w. bush-style reengagement with 100,000 or 130,000 u.s. troops? mr. pregent: i think the most
important thing is it's not the cost of the operation. let's say we went big and spent a lot of money on this. it would mean nothing if we announced we're leaving in six months. you can't build trust and relationships by saying you're going to do something and then leaving in six months. so i would associate trust and belief in what we're saying. i'd weigh that higher than any cost. so to the american people if you're watching this, the if we don't address the iranian influence in iraq, we should just stop now because we're simply facilitating. i don't want to say the iranian takeover of iraq, but we are partnering with militias not but the ddrrm, process which is so important, that's disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating these factions .
like sistani will call for after mosul is liberated to reintegrate the militias, they won't stand out. they're going to be brought into the iraqi security forces. i would argue that that doesn't work because that was done in 2005 when we brought in the badr core and the sixth and ninth iraqi army divisions. the division coming from the north into most is from fact that. -- from baghdad. they don't know the neighborhoods and will be rejected by the population, and is the securing force afterwards. none of this works unless there is a commitment to be that long-lasting partner in iraq. when you look at iraq, there's three consistent foreign policies in the region. russia has the same foreign policy position it's had for 30 years, iran has the same position and the kingdom of saudi arabia has the same position. i'm sure turkey may have the same position as well.
the u.s. position changes based on who is in office. i've been told multiple times talking to iraqi sunni tribal leaders and peshmerga leaders that you're in a better position to be an enemy of the united states than a friend of the united states. you have more leverage as an enemy than as a friend. that's very concerning. as the iraqis look at the u.s. election, we should also look at the provincial elections of 2008 and of 2018 and 2017. the militias believe they have a mandate, they believe they are -- they protected baghdad, they kept baghdad from falling to isis. the media supports that narrative, they're operating outside government control. if a body criticizes them, they have been replaced. they are going into the mosul operation because they want to.
they need to be part of the liberation of mosul to claim success that it was because of them that isis was defeated. we need to be watching the iraqi election, because that election is going to either get us back into iraq to defeat the second and third iteration of isis or to basically go into northern iraq to protect the northern iraqi populations from what's coming from the militias. when i talked to a peshmerga general that said we can defeat daesh, but isis is being kept alive. they are concerned that the shi'a militias are there to areas.kirkuk and other because theyrning carry the iraqi flag so if the , peshmerga fire on them as they
approach, it's treasonous. they're firing on forces carrying the iraqi flag. next to that iraqi flag is also a militia flag or a religious flag that sends a message to students, that we are coming not as liberators but we are coming to demonstrate we have primacy now. the message is not only to sunni iraqis, but to the peshmerga and the kurds as well that we are coming to take back what we want . this is what you hear from the leadership of these militias, foot guys.the they think they are doing some thing that is noble and right. mr. doran: you think we could frustrate those aspirations with a relatively light commitment of troops? if i hear you correctly, you are saying that the key is the political commitment and political consistency.