tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN November 10, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EST
would be no criticism, either through back channels or publicly of what he's still trying to accomplish while he retains the power? sec. earnest: i didn't ask the president if he sought that assurance from the president-elect so i can't say for sure what was discussed. the thing that i am sure of is sec. earnest: president obama is president of the united states what is in exercise the best interest of the country. on january 20, it will be the turn tont-elect's assume that awesome responsibility. i think you would have to talk to the president-elect's team as to whether or not he would object to the principle i just laid out. the russian government said today that there were contacts between them and the trump campaign and the clinton campaign. the white house
find any weekend at all to be concerned about that were without fall into the category of normal embassy conditions between two campaigns, one of which may be the next president of the united states. sec. earnest: i cannot be to the nature of those conversations obviously so it is hard to judge them in the abstract. reporter: does this raise any higher level of anxiety or alarm? sec. earnest: what i know based on my him personal experiences i know that there were, when president obama was running for president that there were occasions where members did consult with representatives of -- of otherents governments. i do not think there is anything inherently nefarious about that but i cannot beat to the content of the conversations -- speak to the content of of the conversations that occurred. there is nothing inherently nefarious about it. reporter: the president-elect mentioned some difficulties on the foreign-policy speech were discussed. did he going to that meeting
wanting to convey anything in particular about what is going iraq, and convey information that the president may not sufficiently appreciate? the president-elect was describing what was going on in as something approaching an abject disaster, which i know is not your to petitioner the pentagon's interpretation. did the president obligated to go in as a "here's some stuff you got to know." sec. earnest: i know that the ongoing campaign against isil in iraq and syria are important foreign-policy priorities. i do not know to what extent that was discussed, but this is something that president obama is following closing. reporter: you said the president stands by everything he said on the campaign trail about donald trump. sec. earnest: that is right. reporter: the president must be
very concerned about the future of the country. sec. earnest: the president right now is concerned on the most important institutional priority that he has right now, which is presiding over a smooth and effective transition. reporter: if he still feels this the president elect, he must be concerned about the future of the country beyond this transition. sec. earnest: he made a very forceful case in public and states all across the country in support of the candidate he endorsed. the american people chose someone else. he is working with that person, the person he did not support, to ensure a smooth and effective transition. there is a long tradition of president doing that. they must put their political views aside and perform the function of the presidency and one of those functions is to ensure a smooth and effective transition because america is going to do its best when its presidents are performing at its best and president obama is determined to do everything he
can to allow the president-elect and his team to hit the ground running. reporter: where understand that but the question is, after the transition, what does the president intend to do? is he going to become something of an opposition figure? he has got to be concerned about the president-elect stand. the earnest: i sure you president is looking forward to that as much as ever. term, i do not have any commitments to make on the part of the president. one thing that i can share with you is something i have heard him say. i know on private, i assume he said this in public, too, which is the idea that he deeply appreciated how a president george w. bush after leaving office gave the new president some running room, gave him a little space, was not back the driving in public, offering up all kinds of critiques with
everything will decision that president obama was making in the early days of his presidency. i am confident president george w. bush did not agree with everything will decision that president obama was making but he was extraordinarily respectful of the democratic process. president obama admired that. look, academic and promises now for what exactly president obama will do once he is done. reporter: is there a strategy that the white house has for the preservation of certain aspects of what he has accomplished here? what are the priorities? sec. earnest: i think the first priority is ensuring the smooth and effective transition, but there is also priority that the president places on making sure the chief of staff that we run , that thee tape president and his team use every moment that is remaining to do the work of the american people and to effectively implement the
kinds of policies that president obama has prioritized over the course of his presidency. reporter: what are some of those priorities now given the changes in the administration and the fact that donald trump has won the president the? what specifically -- the presidency? what specifically is the priority? sec. earnest: the kinds of priorities that actually would be in place regardless of the outcome of the election. whether or not mr. trump has emerged victorious from the election, we would be focused on the of limitation of the affordable care act, maximizing the opportunity that currently is available for millions of americans, to go to healthcare.gov and shop around. many will find that there is a comparable health care plan available that will cost them less money. so, making that a priority is something we would do regardless of who had won the election, but
that is a high priority right now. when it comes to counterterrorism and homeland security, that is always a priority. that was true before the certainly is true after the election. we would not any of our adversaries to be confused about the fact that america might be somehow uniquely vulnerable in the midst of this transition. that is not true. this administration is strong and our homeland security efforts are as rigorous as they have ever been. we will continue that ever. someone made reference to the ongoing work against isil in iraq and syria. the united states is leading a coalition with 67 partners to ultimately destroy that terrorist organization. there has been workmate made by leaders on the ground in iraq workyria -- there has been made by leaders on the ground in iraq and syria. that effort is underway.
it is a dangerous business but it is a high priority and it objectivesdvance our and make america safer. those are our top priorities and on everyone's mind around here. i would be the case regardless of the election. reporter: this is the first time the two men met. , what was hisons first impression of donald trump? sec. earnest: i did not ask him a question before i came out here. maybe when the president takes questions, you will have an opportunity to ask him about that, but i will keep you posted on that. impressionverriding is his positive assessment about the commitment of the president-elect to smooth and effective transition by our teams working together, and that is going to maximize the likelihood that we'll achieve that objective. carol? reporter: the president-elect
does not use sentiments as an obstacle. the president has been looking at doing something on this issue before he leaves office, to put it in a different place than it is now, a trajectory to the next president to be able to have sops. is he considering doing something like that still? what are his views at this point when you have a president-elect taking stuff like that we have such wide disagreements? sec. earnest: my first reaction heard president obama express about the expansion of settlements is not just the policy of this administration, but was actually the policy of previous democratic and republican administrations. thoughts on the
ground only puts a negotiated settlements, resolution of differences between the two parties farther away. , that present views settlement expansion. that is consistent with the policy that democratic and presidents have expressed. i have nothing to preview with regard to any additional steps that president obama may consider, before leaving office. the principle that we have articulated is that it is really important for the israelis and in thenians to sit down context of face-to-face negotiations and resolve their differences and president obama has expended enormous effort, secretary kerry has expended more effort than anyone else, to try to bring the sides together. those efforts have not yielded the kind of progress we would like to see, but you know, our
belief that that is the only way those differences will be resolved, you know, continues to be true. reporter: what about the philosophy on that issue when you have president elect who differs so much on the difference -- [indiscernible] do you believe that now is the bee to take steps that would at odds with what the president might want to do for guantanamo bay? sec. earnest: this is the view of outgoing presidents in both parties. which is that there is one president at a time. president obama has the authority of the office of president until january 20 and he will make decisions consistent with his view about the best way to advance the interests of the country. in the afternoon of january 20, that awesome responsibility will
be transferred to the president elect and he will be given that awesome responsibility and in this interim transition period, what president obama has committed to is doing our best to coordinate and communicate with the president-elect's team. when it comes to exercising that authority, that authority rests solely with president obama. reporter: did you get an economy doubt for the first lady's office about her meeting with soon-to-be first lady melania trump? sec. earnest: i did hear from them. the first lady hosted mrs. trump in the private residence of the some tea and a to her of the private residence privater of the residence, including stepping out on the balcony. the president and the first lady will talk about the quality of time they have spent on the , and mrs. obama took the
opportunity to show it off to mrs. trump. there also was an opportunity for the two women to walk through the states or the white house with the white house curator bill allman. some of you have had an opportunity to visit with mr. allman. is essentially a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about everything at the white house, and so, mrs. trump had an opportunity to hear from him. they also had a discussion about raising kids at the white house, and obviously, the first lady's two daughters spent the formative years of their childhood here at the white son willd mrs. trump's also spend important years here at the white house. that is a rather unique childhood. opportunityn had an to talk about that experience and being a good parent through that experience.
and then, after their tour concluded, the first lady and mrs. trump walked over to the oval office, and the two couples visited again before they departed. reporter: the first lady and mrs. trump -- [indiscernible] sec. earnest: that is correct, yes. reporter: the next thing, going back to the historic pictures of the transition, i recall when george w. bush was president president bill clinton walked him to the oval office. i remember years ago, george w. greeted thena bush president-elect barack obama at the diplomatic -- they also did the walk. what happened? i'm mean, i understand you said you wanted us to see them, but
does the -- sec. earnest: we provided access to the oval office. you know i talked about this many times over the last eight years that the priority you place is getting access to the president and the person he is meeting with about the meeting that just occurred. that did not happen in 2000, when president clinton welcomed president-elect george w. bush to the white house. that did not happen in 2000 eight, when president bush welcomed president-elect obama to the white house. i am not resizing the previous two administrations or two previous white house is. i am merely stating that the access that was provided by this white house is entirely consistent with the kind of request we have been fielding from all of you over the last eight years. beat thisi hate to bush, but understanding that initial share of your initial
meeting, the arrival, the dividing language. first glance it, first moment speak about the words. [indiscernible] sec. earnest: listen, i understand that and we will consult with the white house photographer and see if there were any photos he was able to capture at that moment and share them with all of you. certainly is not just your rights, but your responsibility as a case for more access and i respect that. reporter: can you give us a construct of what it looked like when a former president counseled a current president? i know that bill clinton counseled george w. bush, and as you said, this president has taken council of other presidents. what are some of the issues -- what does that look like if you can tell us that? -- wearnest: we can have have gone to great lengths to
keep that kind of consultation private. it is private. there is a special bond that people who have assumed that this awesome responsibility of leading the greatest opposite the world has and so they have conversationstive where you cannot provide much insight into other events to tell you that they have occurred, not just with presidents in the same parties. president obama did not just consult with president clinton. he had useful, warm, supportive conversations on many topics with presidents of both parties. , youdent george h.w. bush have heard the president, i believe, speak in the past about how much he values those kinds of interactions. i do not want to leave you with the impression that may have had dozens of phone conversations in the last eight years, but on
those opportunities that president obama has had to visit with president george h.w. bush, bush 41, president have come --y with enormous respect has come away with enormous respect for his wisdom about ad thes required to le country. that is one example. the relationship between president obama and president clinton is one that benefited president enormously. you all have seen firsthand the kind of relationship that exists between president george w. bush laura bush and-- the president and first lady. the kinds of relationships are important and if that extends into the next presidency, president obama is committed to doing his part to provide the kind of town so that he has benefited from it during the course of his presidency. reporter: yes talked to former presidents on a variety of topics.
policy, foreign policy, the history of it all when it comes to certain issues? sec. earnest: it is both. it is dealing with the demands of the office, the kinds of things that are part and parcel of a conversation between somebody who is bearing an enormous burden and the buddy who has dedicated a significant portion of their previous life to the filling the same task. -- somebody who has dedicated a significant portion of their previous life to the filling the same task. fulfilling the same task. president obama will be rooting for the president elect to succeed in uniting the country and in moving our country forward. ok? reporter: first, you said that you met with -- then you said that you met her. i had anest:
opportunity to have a meeting , themy colleagues communications director and deputy to medication director here at the white house. i had an opportunity to introduce myself and visit with her briefly. reporter: did he talk about what it is like to do your job? sec. earnest: i did not have that conversation with her, but i will certainly have that conversation with the person that the president-elect selects to succeed me once he has made that decision. i did not have a conversation. reporter: i asked you this yesterday but maybe you know about what the president's message will be to foreign leaders when he goes? therter: -- sec. earnest: president was interested in making sure that the president-elect was aware of the kinds of conversations that are scheduled over the course of next week, but for leaders understand the same principle that i have described earlier which is that president obama
will be president of the united dates through january 20 and exercise all the authorities of that office until then -- united january 20th and exercise all the authorities of that office until then. will he be reflecting to those foreign leaders any of his impressions of the president-elect based on today's conversation? sec. earnest: i would not be viewed the conversation that this point. after this conversations have occurred, we will do our best to read about you and get a sense of how these kinds of conversations went. this will be a subject of the discussion he has with every world leader when he traveled next week. reporter: yesterday you said the president would reassure allies and partners of the u.s. commitment. sec. earnest: the president will offer his reassurance to our allies that historically, the united states of america, even
across political parties, has been committed to not just upholding, but actually seeking to strengthen, the alliances we have with countries around the world. the view of democratic and republican presidents has been health of those alliances make america safer. both presidents in both parties have been committed to investing in those alliances and that certainly is what has happened in the past. i will let the president-elect and his team discussed their plans for some of those alliances, but certainly, our allies should understand president obama's view in the history, long-standing history in this country, about the way maintain, butst actually advanced our alliances around the world. --orter: first of all,
did you office meeting, talk about the importance of valuing these alliances and not withdrawing from them and honoring what the traditions have been on that front? sec. earnest: i don't know how detailed the conversation they had about the priority president obama places on our alliances. in president was interested ensuring the president-elect was aware of the conversations that were scheduled and the president insighto give him some into the kinds of issues he expected would come up in this conversations. do not haveat, i much more insight into their conversation i can share. reporter: more broadly, the president spoke often about how serious a job the presidency is, what it is like to sit in the oval office and make decisions and criticized mr. trump for his not having that kind of approach that was needed to be president.
did he give them any advice during this meeting, talk to him about that issue, and how he anything heep up or needed to do differently in order to proceed in the job he has now? sec. earnest: the fact that they spent to much time discussing the organization of the white house, i think, should be an indication that the takes seriously the important responsibility he has been given. , somethingt is also we can conclude on the tone that we have heard from the president-elect in the two statements he has delivered since the outcome of the election was announced, but you know, i think more generally, you have to talk to the president-elect for his you on this topic. organization, human resources, personnel, and how
you comport yourself and whether you take seriously the office of thepresidency, which president has said in the past he does not think mr. trump is capable of. did he give any advice or pointers? sec. earnest: i am not sure if they discussed this specific topic or not. reporter: you may have touched on this, is it true that the president-elect is now receiving the two daily intelligence briefings? sec. earnest: the intelligence community has made those briefings available. i do not know whether the president-elect, the vice president-elect, and their national security designees have actually received the briefing. you can check with them about that. reporter: let me ask you about obama care. is it the president position that americans who currently take advantage of the affordable care act need not be worried thet its demise upon ascension into the office by president-elect trump? sec. earnest: first of all, we got some good news about the
affordable care act today. yesterday was the highest, i guess it should say, the best day of the open enrollment periods thus far. more than 100,000 people selected plans at healthcare .gov. that is an indication of the demand for the kinds of insurance offerings available to people at healthcare.gov. that is an indication of the success of the program when you consider the intense demand people have for these services. these opportunities that are not available at other places but only available because of the affordable care act. the president himself has knowledge there are things we can do to strengthen the program further, things like expanding access to tax credits that would reduce health care costs for more americans. in some cases, if we got more states to expand medicaid, and again this is providing health insurance to low income americans, paid for almost
entirely by the federal government, doing so would put downward pressure on the premiums for everybody. that would find ways to overcome the politically motivated objections of republicans who have blocked medicaid expansion in their states would be good for the law. reporter: are those who are using obamacare whistling past the graveyard, knowing that the president-elect will have the congress and the power to essentially repeal it? sec. earnest: no, they are not. these are benefits available to them today and we certainly would encourage people to sign up and capitalize on the good opportunity that is there. for the rest majority of people of -- the vast majority people who zap, they will be able to sign up for health care plans for $75 a month or less. reporter: you are telling the american people usually up to concerned in any way that
obamacare, the benefits you receive under obamacare, will be going away? sec. earnest: the president-elect will be making his own decisions. worries about future decisions should not have any impact on people capitalizing on the opportunities available to them today at healthcare.gov. reporter: there has been some said oneion, some have person received the majority of the votes. usually you get that from the side that lost. what is the president's view of the electoral college. is it time to give it a fresh look? sec. earnest: i'm not aware of any constitutional reform at the president has put forward. this is our system. this is a system that has been in place for a long time. everybody knew the rules before the race started. everybody campaign accordingly. there is a reason the candidates and their surrogates spent so much time in florida and north carolina, where those were states that have a lot of
electoral votes and where the poll indicated the race was going to be very close. everybody executed a strategy consistent with their knowledge of the rules. don't change the rules at the end. it has often been discussed, a reform proposal like the one that you are hinting at what have a pretty significant impact on the strategy that people put forward. it would encourage candidates to actually spend more time or at least provide an incentive for some candidates, to spend more time in those communities were they know that the -- they have the most supporters. candidates with spend more times doing rallies in northern california and new york city, where republicans on the other hand might spend more time in places like new orleans and dallas to try to drive up the turnout and maximize the kind of turnout from their supporters. there are consequences for putting forward those kinds reforms and pros and cons, but
look, the fact that secretary clinton won the popular vote on tuesday is indicative of the strong support across the country for her candidacy, for the agenda she put forward, and the president is hopeful that the 59 million americans who got involved and were engaged in support of her campaign do not linger too long on the disappointment about the loss of their candidate, and will actually seize the opportunity to remain engaged in our political debate our country will benefit from. reporter: i know you don't have any updates about the president talking about tbp on the hill. is it time you continue to get over there and rally the troops and see if something can get done? sec. earnest: the president did have a conversation with leader mcconnell yesterday, and i know he has been working to schedule a conversation with speaker ryan. i do not know if that have occurred yet. we'll keep you posted on that. the president and his team are in touch with leaders in both parties on capitol hill about
important work that needs to get done. reporter: do you have account? sec. earnest: not when i have seen publicly. you can check with the vote counted on capitol hill. reporter: i ask you pretty much weekly, i think the number is less than 60, any readout on the possibility that number will be dropping below say 50 in the next week? sec. earnest: i don't have any predictions at this point. we continue to do the important diplomatic work of transferring those individuals that have been determined by a review board that they can be safely transferred under a set of restrictions to other countries. i do not have any upcoming transfer to preview, but we will announce them publicly. sarah. anorter: the first lady took unprecedented role on the campaign trail this last cycle. as she see herself having a role in protecting this sort of smooth transition a power? -- of power?
sec. earnest: what you saw today was a gesture of hospitality to the incoming first lady. mrs. obama has talked before publicly about the stresses and anxieties of moving to a new place, living inside a fishbowl, living inside a museum, and raising her family there. mrs. trump is feeling many of the same anxieties as she prepares to move herself and her family into the white house, and so, you know, the courtesy that mrs. obama extended is rooted in her own experience of going through this difficult transition. reporter: i'm a little confused when you and the president say you hope donald trump's successful given that the president has said he sees trump as having the potential to undermine democracy, undermine
american ideals, what -- what it be fair to say you don't want him to be successful? sec. earnest: i have tried to be precise about this. the president's view is that our country benefits when we have a president who succeeds in helping the american people understand our collective interests. president ishy the talking about his hope that president trump will succeed in uniting the country. there are some profound political differences that were andaled by this election, you know, our country will be better served if we can try to bridge that gap. it does not mean we will agree on everything or that president obama is now endorsing every policy proposal that the president-elect of vows to pursue. their differences remain. their differences are profound. succeeds and our
country does best when we have a president who is succeeding in uniting and leaving the country, and that is what the president is hopeful for and the current president is going to do his part to try to give the incoming president every advantage as he seeks to do that and that is after all the message we heard from president-elect trump on election night. reporter: does the birther issue, at all? sec. earnest: i am not aware that it did. i am not aware that it did. george. reporter: speaking of the fishbowl, as the new team looks to name its press secretary, committed division director, what advice would you give them generally on press relations and specifically, on pools? sec. earnest: i'm not sure they will be interested in all that much advice for me and that is ok. i stand ready to provide whatever advice is sought.
the first thing i would tell them is that you guys are bunch of softies. [laughter] sec. earnest: i wouldn't say that. unfortunately, that is not true. what i would tell them is that they have a responsibility to communicate with the right at -- the white house press corps. the white house press corps has a protection -- constitutionally protected function to hold power accountable. is something that you and your news organizations devote significant time and resources to. there's a lot of expertise in this room. there are a lot of people who have covered many different lighthouses, and that -- white houses, and that historical perspective is something that to spreadour ability to the american people just what is happening here and i guess the last -- the last thing i
will say to you about what i it issay to them is that hard to read things in the media that is critical of you, to read things in the press that are critical of things that you deeply believe in and that you have been working day and night to advance, so there is a natural tendency i think the recoil and to write off people as peopleee with you who are not worth talking to, and that is a natural human tendency and temptation, and my advice to the incoming team would be to not give in to that temptation, the kind of conversations i have had with all of you, everybody sitting in this room has on many occasions written things or broadcast things about the white house that i did not agree with, that
i did not think were fair, that did not -- that i did not think reflected the priorities we established or accurately reflected what we were trying to , but those stories never got better by ignoring your e-mails or phone calls were telling you that you are not allowed to come into my office anymore. that has never happened. the way to try to change your view or to try to influence your reporting is to make a case to you on the merits, and you cannot do that if you do not pick up the phone or return an e-mail. that is the philosophy we have pursued here. i am sure there will be plenty of people who will say that on your side, that we did not do that enough or that maybe we did know, that, and you is second-guessing. that is the strategy and we pursued. i think that strategy has served president obama well, but most importantly, i think that
strategy has served the american people well for helping them understand what we are doing here. after all, if you believe as deeply and strongly as i do about what we are doing, then you should be interested in making that case to the american public because it is likely to persuade people, and that is the approach we have taken and i think the president and the american people have been well served by it. --orter: specifically article of. earnest: having a pool reporters following you around everywhere you go is inconvenient, occasionally annoying, and that's a long time to get used to, but it serves an important service. and this white house has gone to great lengths to coordinate with all of you as you organize that effort, and i would recommend that the incoming administration do the same. follow-up, you may
remember that in the transition from george w. bush to barack obama, the commander-in-chief briefing or talking to the incoming commander-in-chief had three things on his mind, classified things he wanted to personally brief incoming president obama on. did president obama today use of this opportunity to do something similar with president-elect trump, to talk about classified things related to being commander-in-chief or international policy? and use today as that venue for that? sec. earnest: president obama did use this occasion to talk about some important foreign-policy priorities. i do not know the extent to which these conversations would be classified, in part because i did not hear them, so there was
important information that was discussed, but i do not know if they would, where they would rate on the classification scale. reporter: following up on julie's question, because they with this reference the highflying asset, air force one or some reference, did the president take a moment to make reference to the value? sec. earnest: i don't know to what extent because of a personal commission devices, but presumably, they will. reporter: is the president still the titular head of the democratic party? to what extent will he win on the leadership questions the -- in on the leadership questions and the dnc? sec. earnest: they were facing a similar question because when there is one party that is in the white house and that same party controls congress, it elevates the position of the chair of the dnc, so it is an
important decision. i do not know to what extent president obama will weigh in on it. in 2001, that was a race that was hotly contested and closely covered by the news media, and i would anticipate that candidates to that position will covet the endorsement of the outgoing president. i do not know to what extent they will have one to offer, but we will keep you posted on all of that. andrew? reporter: the question goes back to the issue of the press accessing pools and so on. you spoke about press access and all the white house has done to encourage that, why doesn't the president tell the president elect -- sec. earnest: i did he was making clear he is not obligated to do so, but obviously, the president-elect, you wanted to answer those types of questions, he could. president obama, on many occasions has chosen to answer their questions, on many more occasions, he has chosen not to.
i think that tradition is something he was communicating to the president-elect. victoria. reporter: [indiscernible] the president-elect was fidgeting a little bit. d after 90frankly od minutes with the president. he seemed frankly gob smacked. [laughter] i was standing behind the pool in the over office -- oval office so you had a better view of him. i was focused on what president obama was saying. i was not reading any body language. reporter: you don't have any sense of his affect? sec. earnest: i don't. reporter: speaking about the smooth transition in terms of cooperation, coordination, and maybe intelligence and insight, my view and vision of the
president and mr. trump starting today is that there will be conversation in terms of the president's insight on some of the leaders trump was going. have to deal with the next two months. sec. earnest: they don't have any additional meetings on the books right now, but i would not rule out future meetings. if the president-elect trump were interested in president obama's counsel about his medications or his relationship with some foreign leader, i am confident president obama would not hesitate to share it. does the election change any of the strategy on finishing the spending bill for this year? are you going to do a cr for next year? ? sec. earnest: that me answer your first by saying no. we have consistently advocated for congress to filling its responsibility to pass budgets that give agencies in the federal government certainties .bout their budget picture
that is particularly true when you talk about the kind of commitments made by the department of defense in our to communities and funding them to inform a that a two tos not a smart -- four months at a time is not a smart way to do it. we will talk with the republican leader to urge them to fulfill their basic responsibility to pass the kind of budget that would provide some certainty to military, national security, and other federal government officials that have important responsibilities. the president believes it is important to give them certainty so they can make longer-term decisions with confidence. reporter: the reverse of that real quick, have you heard from capitol hill? on whether they agree with that? sec. earnest: i do like members on capitol hill express their own view but there have been a
number of conversation that the staff level about this and other topics that were congress must get done before the end of the year. reporter: given the statement of al. that they want to invoke obama executive orders as soon as they can, does that put a brake on any existing executive orders? sec. earnest: i do not have anything to say about upcoming executive orders other than to tell you that i am not aware of any of our plans in that area has been affected by the outcome of the election. things --there is that has been a concentrated effort to deal of people in prison for launch road related drug-related terms. is this part of obama's legacy that cannot be taken away? sec. earnest: the president has
made this a priority. he believes there are injustices that can be corrected using his clemency authorities and he has that withne 10viction more than the last or 11 presidents combined so i think that is an important part of his legacy. he would much prefer his legacy include the passage of criminal justice reform legislation that would be much more effective in addressing some of the widespread inequities allete is above parties have identified. best inequities that -- inequities that leaders in both parties have identified. there is bipartisan agreement around this. i cannot speak to the president-elect's view of this priority, but obviously, it is one president obama and his team has invested deeply in. additionalect
competitions before the president leaves office. those are the decisions that have been in the pipeline even before the outcome of the election. i am not aware the outcome of the election would have any impact on those clemency decisions. reporter: is there any piece of legacy legislation you think you can get past before he leaves office? sec. earnest: we will be having conversations about that so we will see. reporter: let me start by saying i appreciate you pointing out that in 2000 and 2008 that reporters did not have access to the oval office. we remember that. i think what we are trying to what the thinking behind not allowing reporters to be on the south lawn today, what the thinking was behind that and why not have it? sec. earnest: the idea was just that we wanted to provide you the best at record and the best access all of you have consistently advocated for his
access to the president of the person he is meeting with in the oval office with statement in front of the full pool. that is exactly what is provided today. reporter: what if anything should withdraw from the fact that we have neither heard from nor seen the first lady today? sec. earnest: as i mentioned earlier, we'll consult with the white house photographer. we will try to expedite the release of photos so you can see that interaction, but i can tell you that the first lady enjoyed the opportunity she had to welcome mrs. trump to the white house and give her the tour she described earlier and discuss the unique demands of raising a family in the white house and the first lady was pleased to extend the courtesy to mrs. trump and enjoy the opportunity that she had to visit with her today. reporter: as for as the photos go, may we put in advice for the truman balcony? is there any photos like that you could possibly release, that
would be hopeful. sec. earnest: i do not know how closely the white house photographer was covering them when they were walking to the private residence. we'll see what we can do. thanks, everybody. ,omorrow is a federal holiday so no briefing tomorrow. happy veterans day. >> nice to meet you. conversation] trump,ident-elect donald his wife melania, and vice president elect mike pence also visited the capital for meetings with house speaker paul ryan and leader mitchty mete mcconnell. the president president-elect spoke briefly to reporters. pres.-elect trump: we really do. thank you very much. [indiscernible]
>> what is the first priority on day one, what is it going to be? pres.-elect trump: a lot of priorities. a lot of really great priorities. we have a lot. .mmigration, borders we will look strongly at health care and we are looking at jobs, big-league jobs. >> [indiscernible] are you going to urge congress to ban muslims -- [indiscernible] pres.-elect trump: thank you, everybody. republican donald trump is
elected as the next president of the united states and the nation elects a republican controlled u.s. house and senate. follow the transition of government on c-span. we will take you to key events as they happen without interruption. on c-span and on-demand at c-span.org or listen on our free c-span radio app. today, posters, pundits, and journalists who have been following the presidential campaign discuss the lessons learned from the 2016 election. thll have that live on 6 -- at live at 6:45 p.m. on c-span. and the impact on health care, immigration, and other domestic policy issues. here are three discussions on polling accuracy, what to expect from president elect trump, and
what to expect from congress in the lame-duck session. this is two hours. good morning. thank you, david. we should just get -- it is a very packed schedule. we'll jump in very quickly. the title of this panel is "now what?" what did we choose, "can this country be governed?" jeff weaver, the personification of the bernie sanders campaign, doug usher, and filling in for michelle bernard, who had a family emergency. our white house correspondent john bennett. i want to start with you, sir, because you are the second,tative of the third, or fourth most reviled industry in america this week, he polling industry. should you all just declare collective bankruptcy and go home?
what is next for the polling industry, what did we miss, and keep it snappy. [laughter] >> we are shooting for number one. we are going to make polling great again. [laughter] >> there is many stages of grief. i have assumed the denial phase. the polling failed, but here is what it feel that. it failed to give certainty to an uncertain event, and i think that is in a lot of ways a problem with pulling right now. we can go to the methodological issues and that has been well-worn territory and we have to think of as an industry. mr. usher: for all of you, you also can think about what you are looking for. i will say this, going into this election, everyone called me, what is going on, doug? what is happening?
the question is to reassure them that they can know what is going i happen, and to that end, think we created an illusion for polling, which is that, that thing is happening down the road and because we have done this many polls, and because we have this much data, we have certainty, and for better or worse, polling has never been and is not now, very different from weather forecasting. the only difference is that each day is an opportunity for new weather and new forecasting. mr. hawkings: even on the day of the storm, election day, the exit polls got it wrong and we in the liberal media at least, we essentially wrote stories that she won because that is what the exit poll told us was safe to start writing. mr. usher: the methodological issues we talked about go beyond land lines and cell phones.
they go to something else, which is willingness of people to take think led tot i the misleading outcome. i will say briefly i do not think there was people lying and saying that i am voting for clinton versus trump, i think there was a trump voter that was never a reluctant trump voter, or reluctant to difficult -- difficult to reach. we cannot solve that by adding more calls or just trying to get data or higher levels of analytics. mr. hawkings: what is your view of the polling industry? >> i think we should separate exit post from all of the rest of the post. exit polls have been disaster really bad -- disastrously bad. they represent youth. the last exit polls had it down four.
i have losing by 13, so not had a lot of confidence in exit polls from the very beginning. other polling, when you look at what it is used for, i think that is the important thing. people wanted crystal ball, but in terms of a campaign, what you use polling for his not be horserace. mr. weaver: the horserace is the least important part of the polling. you want to be able to allocate limited resources to persuade as many resources as possible. polling told you that bernie sanders had an hour and a half some speech. -- stump speech. what parts of those are most persuasive? polling was good at telling us what we should do in that regard. mr. hawkings: let us move on and discuss what did, in the aggregate, what do all of the polls, should they tell us about where this country wants to be taken next? mr. weaver: the most important poll is the one we had on
tuesday, the polling of the american people. i think that is the one we should look at in terms of where the country should go next. forhawkings: 47% voted hillary clinton and 46% voted trump?nie -- donald mr. weaver: yes. we can talk about this more in depth but clearly the democratic party has lost touch with rural voters. this was exposed with bernie sanders. working-class voters, young voters, and those problems persisted throughout the general election. add oneings: let me thing to that. i think there is a real failure in washington. i do not mean this as an washington, a mean this as one who lives here and it's from here. we talk about people coming together and everybody wants that. >> there is only one issue over the last 25 years that have had consistent bipartisan support and that is trade.
there is only one issue, bipartisan support in washington. mr. usher: there's is only one issue that brings together sanders supporters and trump supporters, and it is the thing that is activating and editable going more than anything right now and that is trade on the opposite side. people made the argument that the do not understand how trade helps them. at a certain point, after 25 years of doing the same thing and seeing as a result, we have to realize that maybe here in washington, we are not hearing people, and you cannot educate people out of their firm beliefs. you have to figure out what is going on. mr. hawkings: do you think the obama white house feels like it has understood the american electorate until the end? , whatill be their message would be the president's message to mr. trump today? it is today, right? >> yes, today, at 11:00. the obama white house
believed they understood the electorate at least to the point of helping hillary clinton get to 270 electoral votes until about a week and a half ago, and while he may have heard on cable news that president obama is having so much fun on the trail and let us play this clip and he is so good at this, and he is the happy warrior who is going to push her over the, i saw something else. mr. bennett: i believe i thought president for what he was, a campaigner and chief for what he was, a leader of the democratic party for what he was. i believe he realized week and a half ago that she was in serious trouble in pennsylvania, in michigan, in north carolina, in florida. but i think what may be woke up the president or got him out of there like we saw him last week was michigan, and i think the numbers scared him to death, and you saw the president talking
about the republican world teetering on this election. you know, a lot of criticism warranted of any president, but he says what he is thinking and feeling. he does not posture a lot -- does not posture a lot. that was really striking in his rhetoric last week. >> so what do you think he will tell president elect trump today, in terms of, i wonder, do you think he will say, here's what you need to understand about the country you are taking over, or will it just be promises of constitutional responsibility for a transition? >> i think the latter. president obama was very impressed with how president bush handled, and his team handle the transition, was very impressed, thought it was thorough, professional, very in-depth, and he said, we were ready to roll on day one. they talked about this for months and months, even when secretary clinton was comfortably ahead.
they want to make sure that, that the trump administration is ready to go on day one. the trump administration, they want them to feel even more prepared than they were coming in the door. that's what today will be about, making promises, whatever you need, whatever your team needs, i am here for you, i have told my team x, y and z, and he wants continuity to the greatest extent they can get that. >> thank you. the basethe country, of trump supporters and the allied collection of your supporters, i have been trying, i guess, they both seem to want to roll back the economy to the last century in some way, and that's not happening. can donald trump govern the country? >> first of all, the way you put it is completely wrong. >> ok. >> and in fact is why people in
washington suddenly don't understand what's going on in the world. >> that's why i asked. >> all the things that are manufactured in the world are still being manufactured. they are just being manufactured somewhere else. they used to manufacture them. it's not like we are not making televisions anymore. it's not like the days of buggy whips. nobody wants to make a product nobody uses or once, but there's a tremendous amount of products, many things that you can't buy an american version. people see these products, they are buying these products. they are not making these products. i remember a very funny story. bernie sanders went to china to visit, and he went to a walmart in china, and he was regaled by the american chamber of commerce about how great it was we had a walmart in china, so on and so forth, breaking into the chinese market. our stuff goes there, their stuff goes there. how many of our products are
made in america? 1%. you look at michigan, in many ways a classic example. if you go back and look in the newspapers, you will see these 1950's tract housing, cars, suburbs. this is one of the reasons hillary clinton in the primary, in the general election, have problems in michigan. the black vote was suppressed, because it was in that community, there's a memory of an industrialized middle-class of african-americans that has been decimated by these trade deals. so people, they don't want to turn back the economy, they just want to be able to make the products that their family buys. >> let me take the question in a different direction, and get to the notion of what pollsters are looking at. which is how they feel about the economy, how they feel about their job, and the reality is, the promise of trade has been that you will have better jobs, smarter jobs, and more jobs than the alternative.
that's the promise writ small. and also you will be able to buy things cheaper. leaving that third piece aside, people do not perceive either a, any sense of job security, or b, any sense of the job they have today as something they want to have for the long-term. and you put those two things together and you have people who, most people out of college, some people with a college degree, have no idea what things are going to look like in three years. and you say to folks, the answer is to have more trade, and i'm not talking about, you know, projections, but the visceral reaction, people raising a family. when you talk to them, and we need to do more listening in addition to polling, you hear uncertainty that says, why would i trust either side? neither side has delivered for me. and i'm not saying it means to roll the clock back, whatever way you want to talk about it,
but people want something real and tangible, and i think that's a reason why voter turnout was so much lower. >> we should pause for a second. thank you for mentioning the lower turnout. it was significantly lower, am i not right? mr. trump actually received two million fewer votes than loser john mccain? >> controlling for growth and population, it looks like 2004. 2008, 2012, 2000 looked similar, and 2004 and 2016 look similar. >> in terms of actual human beings pulling the lever, fewer votes by a lot than mccain, and also than romney. >> that sounds right. i don't have the numbers in front of me, but that sounds right. >> sorry, that was a digression. so can we, can any of us think of something tangible that we could have the trunk administration -- trump administration due to address the issues you just described? >> you are looking for a job?
go to work for him. [laughter] upthe truth is, you brought bernie sanders and donald trump talk about trade. how they would approach it is different. donald trump talks about putting carl icahn in charge of trade policy, a guy who made his career of ripping companies apart and firing people. i'm not sure that's the guy you want protecting the middle class or trait negotiations. bernie sanders would have a very different crew of folks in their negotiating. i do think these trade agreements, unless people want to keep losing elections, and that's what you do in a democracy, you know, ultimately, if people want to be elected, they have to listen to what people do within the country. you know, we live in sort of a rarefied environment. i come from a small town in vermont, but i live in a nice, beautiful affluent suburb here in northern virginia. there's cranes everywhere building. it looks like the gilded nature. but you drive through iowa, drive-through michigan, drive-through wisconsin, it's a
very different reality. >> go-ahead? >> i don't quite understand, you know, i guess, two hurdles to bring back all these jobs. number one, how is any administration going to bring back as many jobs as he's talking about, in so many different places? two hurdles, automation and corporate profits. companies want to make money, and having a big staff, i've been told my entire career, that people are my biggest expense. and automation, you can make things faster, cheaper, more efficiently with machines these days. so i think those are really big hurdles to how he's going to revive this manufacturing economy. >> i hear that. and it's likely to be true. but i will say, one thing trump did, probably unintentionally, when he did what many would argue was a relatively failed outreach to african-americans, he said to them, what you have to lose? you know who heard that? everybody else.
and we can say he sounded racist. we can say it was clearly he has no understanding of the community. but i will say, a lot of people you are talking about here that and say, you know what, maybe they don't have anything to lose, but i hear that argument that says, there's no hope for a job, well, what do i have to lose, to go with the guy who says the could be jobs? by going two start years down the track, and then we come back. so what happens, you two, sort of avatars of the outsider here. what happens in two years, you know, wendy mine is not -- when the mine is not reopened and the wall is not up? >> you mentioned that the democrats would do well in the midterm. that assumes he has not solidified the base. maybe the wall will be up. that is something that could be created. i obviously don't support it.
it is, excuse the pun, a concrete accomplishment. >> and the willingness of a republican, fiscally conservative, small government congress. >> i heard mexico is going to pay for it. >> just theoretically, what if that doesn't work out? [laughter] >> first of all, to go back to your earlier question, a way that he could make progress and make a lot of people happy, satisfy his voters, and many people who did not vote for him, would be to push for infrastructure. but you are right, the congress may come against it, which comes back to what was originally called, "can you govern." regardless of who won, the answer is, you cannot govern but you can get things done, and i think that's what we have seen. the notion of governing in the traditional sense, the notion of, we have a leader, people have disagreements, and in the end we fall in line and we have handling at some point, that is not there at right now.
>> i agree on infrastructure. the conventional wisdom was the first initiative of the hillary administration would have been an infrastructure program funded by tax repatriation, so there's clearly appetite on both sides to do infrastructure work. >> there is an appetite. i said it a minute ago. there is an appetite, among trump and nancy pelosi yesterday, sort of reached out to him on that one point and said, yes, we could work together on infrastructure. but his alleged colleagues in the republican majorities, they are not in the mood. paul ryan said flatly, that is not part of my agenda. we just did a highway bill. we just spent $300 billion over the next few years. we will not spend $5 trillion, the number trump has been throwing around. just, doesi wonder, the electorate want this? where's the juice for this? how does this president with a
narrow mandate, ultimately 290 votes in the electoral college, and a narrow loss in the popular vote, does he have a mandate? >> on this particular issue, everybody who, i'm trying to think of a major candidate who did not advocate some kind of significant increase in infrastructure spending. sanders had a trillion dollar plan. hillary clinton had a plan. trump had a plan. i do think this is an issue on which there was at least among the people running for president pretty broad consensus, that there needed to be an infusion. and it brings together industry people, it brings together unions who will get behind it, so the players in washington who are around this will come together pretty nicely. it's the paying for it part that is the messy part. >> the reality is, we now know which trump we are going to get. the eventual, angry trump, clearly part of who he is, and he will be looking to punish some segments of the republican party, some segments of the democratic party, and sort of
get his debts paid. if that's the case, nothing will get done. there's another side of trump which we can also look to, the guy loves to build big stuff. we can argue about how he does it, whether he pays for it, that type of thing, but he actually has pride in standing beside big holes and new bridges and things like that. [laughter] so, if that's the trump that gets there, and he loves to stand in front of his new hotels, i think there's a chance that he would actually do that. he will say, this is cool, this is something we want to do, and i think republicans are going to come in line. because as much as we talked about how if hillary won republicans would be a huge obstacle, because she has no support there, if he says jump, they will say, how high. >> on these issues. >> absolutely. >> it will be interesting to see, and i think that's entirely correct. he loved to stand behind his
projects when they are completed. what happens, and how does he respond, how does his team respond, when congressional conservatives say, we are not voting for that, we are not paying for that, and then he doesn't get his infrastructure built, how does he respond? the trump presidency, i hate to say first term, but it could pave it on how he reacts, and does he become the vengeful trump? >> from a polling perspective, if he came out strong on infrastructure and actually started to say, we are going to build this wall, i think his numbers would go up, and i think that is what will make congressional leaders change their mind. >> the other thing, he's not a traditional washington kind of personality, so we don't know to what extent he's willing to put together congressional coalitions that may have majorities of democrats involved. right-leaning republicans have traditionally tried not to push initiatives that didn't have majority republican support in the congress.
to what extent is he willing to say, well, i have a third of republicans and a group of democrats willing to come along, i will put together the coalition on this issue. what is his willingness to do that? >> and what is paul ryan's willingness to then pass bills with democrats pushing them across the finish line? >> right. >> so you all would agree, he is, well, would you audrey, that he is the -- all agree, that he is the least ideologically sinced president since, clinton, i guess, or maybe before? is he a nonideological president? are we actually going to get the sort of break of the gridlock, because he's a non-ideologue? >> so far we have talked about the optimistic side of him, but i think there's a real fearful side of it. i would not want to put him in that box, because of some of what he did, and talked about on the campaign trail, scares folks. and i think scares people who
understand both foreign policy and domestic policy. so i don't think he's driven by ideology. i think he's driven by ego, and by his belief about what is right at any certain time. so certainly in terms of the traditional way we think of ideology, absolutely, the least ideological person. >> this is a guy who was first single-payer, and now is getting rid of obamacare. he said some very negative things about gay rights, but has been a supporter of gay rights in the past. used to be pro-choice, now he is pro-life. so where he is, his ideology to the extent he has one at all, and is there one, or is it just a performance, is trump just performance art, is an open question at this point. >> we don't really know. is trumpism an ideology that is still being defined and will kind of feeling the lines as we go, starting in 70-something days? or is he going to hew more closely to a traditional
republican or even something farther to the right? i don't think we know that yet. >> where else do you think, other than infrastructure, the one thing he did mention in his victory speech on wednesday, early wednesday morning, what's your best sense of where he ands to go, top priorities, where do you think the electorate said he should go? >> well, he clearly wants to go around taxes, there are initiatives he talked about a lot, personally and otherwise during the campaign. and obviously there will be a tremendous amount of pressure from the republican establishment to try to push forward tax reform, particularly at the corporate level. trade, i think there's a tremendous amount. to the extent he has a mandate from the grassroots people who voted, in small towns in wisconsin and michigan, other places that voted for him, north carolina, it is on trade. and he has to start something on that fairly quickly or i think his credibility with that constituency will fade very quickly. >> and to go a step further to
what trump wants to do, if you look day-to-day, he wants to argue, he wants to negotiate, and he wants to build stuff, and the best opportunity for all three of those are infrastructure and trade. also, the area of foreign policy becomes a place where he's going to become interested in a real hurry, because of the way in he will have control over a lot of those decisions, and that is what gives people a lot of positive now. we talked about -- a lot of pause right now. we talked about paul ryan, mcconnell, people who could be checks on him. that is a place may be for another panel, where he can find he can do things that he likes to do there. that is in the end, people across the aisle would agree, what drives them to do what he does, what feels good to him, what feels right. >> that unilateral ability to do things, i feel there will be a huge push on regulations at the beginning, executive orders, repealing executive orders
around a host of issues. it will happen very quickly. >> yes. the president who spent so much of his second term focusing on three things, the pen, the pho ne, and the microphone, whatever, sort of the mantra there. it will be interesting to watch whether it republican congress that was so angry at president obama for his use of executive power, whether they will be internally consistent or probably not internally consistent at all in welcoming donald trump using assertive executive power. >> right. and if you look at the numbers on executive orders, they were becoming more and more popular for presidents. not just president obama, president bush, even president clinton. the thing about lawmakers, they hate executive orders except when their guy is the one signing them, so i would, you know, donald trump, he is a business guy, accustomed to making the call. i don't think there's any reason
to believe he will not use executive orders liberally. maybe not at first. maybe once he starts dealing with congress and seeing how difficult it can be to get things done, maybe in a year or two i would look for that to pick up. >> you all think the electorate was voting for somebody who would just come in and break stuff, assert himself, and while they want congress, they want washington to work, which those of us who live inside the beltway, inside the bubble, took ap civics, think means one thing. maybe the country thinks it means something totally different, which is just some guy who will come in and get 'er done all by himself? >> let's go back to the most important part. it remains an incredibly divided electorate. he doesn't have a mandate, in terms of the traditional notion, in terms of the lyndon johnson 1964, ronald reagan 1980 type of mandate.
having said that, yes, there are a lot of people who voted for him because they want to break stuff, and most important, they want to break stuff because they don't believe the consequences will be worse. by telling people who are desperate, who see their lives coming apart at the seams, and see their future coming apart, to say to them, you don't know how much worse it could be, their response is, no, you have no idea how bad things are right now. so i think that that is a mandate for both parties for the next couple of years, and for elections going forward. >> listen, the people don't, george w. bush, they would pull him, and then they would poll his issues and they were all unpopular. barack obama was not a particularly ideological candidate in terms of having super detailed policies. some of the clinton people would say they have many more detailed policies than he did in 2008.
people vote for president for a lot of reasons. leadership. they want something they like. they didn't really get it this time, although they probably perceived both candidates as not particularly likable. but they, like ability is an important factor. leadership is an important factor. all these intangibles that go into picking a president, i think in many cases become more important than where you are on this issue, that issue. >> it's interesting to note just one, one exit poll which i think is being repeated by everybody, 46% of the vote from an electorate, 63% of which think he's temperamentally unsuited to be president and 60% of which think he's unqualified to be president. so, discuss. what is there to say about that? i think one thing that is important as we think about the trump presidency and what people said when they came in, it is a lot of the norms we have come to expect in washington.
people have been pushing the edge of them in washington, and i think they are finding, it's not a locked door, it's an open door. and i go to the supreme court hold up. i go to the executive order, things like that. it is becoming pretty clear that the idea that we need to have a fully functioning supreme court, we need to not have executive power, that gets lost, and the norms that have held us together, if they get broken, could have electoral consequences. >> we may have time for a couple of questions from our audience. if anybody is feeling particularly crispy, please go first. see the microphone? thank you. jill weinberg with pbm. do you think budget deficits matter anymore? >> that was going to be my next question. thank you. >> from a political standpoint or economic standpoint, because those are different questions? >> of course they matter from an
economic standpoint, but from a political standpoint. does trump and the republicans have to pay for tax cuts, for infrastructure, repealing cbo says that would cost billions of dollars, etc. >> from an opinion perspective, the way people process things, issues like debt and trade inside of washington, and among a lot of folks, you say the word trade, you say the word debt, and people understand the consequences or benefits. i think for most voters, they are just a piece and you need to go to the next step, to say what are the consequences, and for that reason, i don't think debt per se or trade per se, going either way on them causes either opinion shifts or electoral shifts. you need to convince people that running up debt would be a problem, and i think if a president trump said, i need to
run up a debt to pay for infrastructure and put the down payment on the wall before it gets paid back, people will accept that. >> i don't think, it is not, certainly in this election cycle it was not a driver among people i met out on the trail, or encountered. you know, part of the problem is, there is no, i mean, both sides encourage tremendous amounts of debt. bush incurred tremendous debt for his plans. obama incurred tremendous debt for his plans. nobody paid the political price for that. there isn't one. [laughter] >> somebody else standing at a microphone? >> yes. two questions. first of all, given trump's own background that many of his products were made cheaply overseas, and that he bought chinese steel instead of american steel, given his own background, why was he then
consider such an effective messenger on trade, when his own record didn't really match his rhetoric? that's the first question. second question, now that we have had two elections in the past 16 years where the popular vote has been different than the electoral vote, why are we still holding onto the electoral college, something that many argue is a very outdated, anti-democratic system? >> you represented a candidate who thought the electoral system was broken. >> well, it is, we could have a whole for our panel about -- four hour panel about the democratic primary process and how it is broken, having to do with money and what have you. but in terms of trump being a messenger, i think trump was
effective in saying, i operate in a certain milieu, i hang out with rich people, i give money to candidates, including the clintons, because that is familiar i was forced to operate. and as president, i will change those rules and function differently. i didn't find that all that convincing, but i guess many people did, at the end of the day. they said, we understand it, you are a business guy, you have to lobby, you have to do the things we find distasteful, but that is the nature of the beast. college, ictoral think it does have to be some kind of reform. i come from vermont. i do like to think it gives a small place a little more impact, but i think we need to do something, if it's only to go to some kind of proportional allocation of electors within a state, maybe that's the first step, i don't know. i would not be opposed to abolishing it. you have to look at the implications of doing that. we had 20-some odd battleground states, people running around. you have to understand, if you do away with that, do you have candidates only advertising and
hanging out in populated centers? you have to think about the ramifications, not only of the election, but how that candidate relates to people in very estates, where are they going to campaign -- various states, where are they going to campaign, are people going to be left out? there are broader ramifications, but changes i think are necessary. >> that is precisely right. you are going to take the money and allocated all to california, new york, texas, florida, as opposed to being in places like florida but also other parts of the country, so you have to pick your poison in that respect. one other quick thing, going back to the first question. we have had two elections were the popular vote is different from the electoral college, but three of the last five elections have been elections in which one side thought they won and the other side thought they lost, at some point in the evening, and then really believed it, and that shifted. and that is sort of -- that sort of swing is something that was
notable. for those on the democratic side, they were on the short end of the stick in all three examples, but i will also say, that is one of the reasons why a lot of folks are feeling a little traumatized from this election. not just that they lost, but that people thought they had won and people who thought they had lost won. >> we will move along. jeff weaver, thank you so much. doug, thank you so much. john, thanks for joining us. we will make a quick transition for our next panel. [applause] >> so now while we do that, i just want to have a little bit of housekeeping details. we will have three panels in the morning and two breaks during the day. we will have lunch at 12:45. if you missed them when you came in, there are three things, the
conference brochure which has all the bios of our distinguished guests, the latest "roll call," which has been redesigned and looks terrific and has wonderful reporting, including john bennett's about the election. and then the new member's guide. the election impact conference has been held every other year ance 1980, and inside this is terrific amount of information about every newly elected member, the power structure of theress, and where landscape lies. i will join my distinguished guests. i may have to be, can you hear me? all right. this gentleman doesn't need much of an introduction. so i will keep it short. aic cantor is at the moment vice-chairman, and business executive.
he was the majority leader until 2014, and the u.s. -- in the u.s. house of representatives. he started in the virginia house of delegates in 1992 and moved over to the house in 2000. 2001 was when you entered office. you have a reputation for progrowth policies, and sticking to principles. and you were the early warning system, i think, of what we had happen on tuesday, because you lost in a shock primary challenge in 2014. theme start with where other panel ended. canou think the country continue to have elections where somebody gets the most votes but doesn't take the office? >> you know, i think our constitution is quite a document. it is a brilliant document, and i know there are parts of it
that trump would speak to and say, that doesn't work. my sense is right away, if you want to change that document, that is a tall order, uphill climb. but i do think, and one of the comments in the prior panel said, if you want to go and concentrate all the dollars, all the conversation, all the money on the coast and in the big cities, that is what you will do if you get rid of the electoral college. and the beauty of our country is, it is diverse, and part of that diversity is geography. clearly one of the thematics coming out of this campaign is, there is a lot of country out there, and it does not think like this town things, like new york things, like l.a. thinks, and part of the richness of our culture and the brilliance of the vision of our founders was to make sure that we didn't get so single visioned and
maintained that broad sense of vision that the country can offer. so i am thinking we are fine. david: ok. tell me, my six-year-old said to me, i told him i was interviewing somebody very important. he said, you always should start by saying, how was your day? i want to ask, how was your day yesterday? [laughter] mr. cantor: listen, i'm good. i'm really good. david: but how surprised were you, really? mr. cantor: i started the day, you know, by thinking, listen, i am no stranger to elections that can give you a surprise. [laughter] and, you know, i talked to my kids. i have three kids, two in this town and one in palo alto, and i told them, look, because they, as you know, there's been a lot of chatter, a lot of activity in the streets of the big cities especially. san francisco, washington, new there were heavy
concentrations of hillary clinton supporters, and they have now taken to the streets in demonstration. but i think my kids, having been through two years ago when my family went through, a real shocker, they too say, look, worse things can happen. we live in a great country. life will go on. and so, i saw the election returns, and like many of you probably could not sleep afterwards because of all the thoughts conjured up of what lies ahead of our country. as a republican, very heartened to see that both the house and the senate republican, now able to work with a republican white house. that caution myself, in positive vein of thought, and say, you know, there are no excuses now. my party has to act. david: yes. david hawkins, who ran the other
panel, started his column at 3:00 in the morning and said, you broke it, you own it. i know you wouldn't agree with the first part of that phrase. mr. cantor: listen, we can have that discussion,. david: let's have that discussion. how do we put this thing together? one of the reasons i'm really excited you are here, is of course you are now a businessman, so both perspectives. we will get into that. let's start with that. this election, both the primary and the general, revealed a real gap between the political class and middle class in america. so let's start with that. advisingf you are the democrats, do you say, your only hope is obstruction? if so, that just perpetuates the broken nature of the institution. mr. cantor: well, you know, when you look at this election, and i can't really ask this question,
who has read that book by ginny vance, hillbilly elegy? i just finished the book. i don't know if it was purposely written and published around this election, but what it is sort of indicative, i think, of a culture in a certain region of the country that perhaps is reflected elsewhere, of a broad swath of demographics that really has been disaffected and left out. for a variety of reasons, generational, just hasn't seen that kind of hope and aspiration and ability to rise that i think most of us would like to say that we and our kids had. and that is what donald trump tapped into, that disaffected sense, that anger, that notion that washington is really broken, when it comes to solving problems for that group of people. and it is quite something.
if you look at the way that he spoke to the voters, and listen, i was one of the first, when he would say some of the things that were vulgar or distasteful, to speak out, as many people in this town did on my side of the aisle, denouncing that kind of language, or those kind of things. saidyou know, peter thiel it at the republican convention in cleveland, something that i am very -- found very, very wise. that was, media, for many in this room, media took trump literally, whereas voters took him seriously. something tot is think about. because when he said some of the things that seemed so outrageous, there was this general sense that he was conveying to people who may not be living in this bubble of washington, new york, l.a., and the rest.
not think it is about speaking in this washington garble, approaching problems, given our society as it is today of the 24/7 rabbit information flow, to penetrate through to demonstrate that you hear somebody. now you get to the point where you have to go execute on those visions you put out there, because there's not a lot of granularity yet as to what exactly that means in a trump white house. david: absolutely. now, do you think the legislative agenda is really going to be provided by paul ryan? mr. cantor: they have been working on tax reform now for some time. it goes back to later, when dave camp presented the initial white paper. i think they will be ready. i think most of us were taken by
surprise at the outcome of the election, and i guess no one, neither party's ever really ready until the time comes. but i know there are some smart ready hard-working people to take the mantle and drive. now, donald trump seems to me to be one that clearly is going to have an idea of where he wants to take things. so having worked in congress and being elected during the bush years when we controlled everything, i look back on those years, and the white house has a lot to say, and a lot of influence on what happens, so i do think there will have to be some initial trying to feel out whose role is what and how it will play out. david: let's talk a little more about the politics. on paper, donald trump is the last vessel for that kind of discontent. a billionaire, glitzy television guide, famous -- guy, famous, yet people who come from much more modest circumstances who
are traditional politicians were not able to speak to that. so how does the republican party process, and speak to that in legislation over the next two years? mr. cantor: if you are going to ask, how do we observe it politically, i would say "done," because certainly donald trump has brought those voices, those people with that disaffected sense, into the republican polls. i think, david, you put your finger right on it. that is the challenge for the party now. moreo we go in, and i say, practically respond to the problems that exist, and not always adhere to the just strict ideological view? so much of what i remember the struggle was when i was in office, and in leadership was to to fellowy republicans and conservatives,
we need to be able to put our conservative principles of limited government, individual empowerment, free markets to work for people. and we have to be able to demonstrate the benefit of those principles, not just say because it is limited government, because it works toward balancing budgets, that it is necessarily good. and i do think that donald trump probably has a much better way of being able to convey that. david: i don't think i know him very well. but the thing i feel i really know about him is that he wants to be a winner, and ideological purity may or may not be the path to being the winner. winning on legislation, winning on jobs, and of course winning reelection. mr. cantor: you know, my partner, the founder of the firm i am now with, on the board of actually as well, he was one of donald's bankers a while back. from --ally predicted
he actually predicted a month ago that he thought trump was going to win. many of us, i think most people were saying, that was not going to happen. and he said, because what donald is selling is not just, yes, we want to win, and americans like to win, but also he was selling, i am a good deal maker, i'm a good deal maker, i know how to go and get you the better deal. swath ofink about the the electorate that came out that the party has had some difficulty bringing out, in the rust belt states over the last several decades, that's what they are looking for. they are looking for a shot in life. they are looking for somebody to say, i will deal you a better deck, i will give you a better shot to climb up the ladder. so yes, i think that will
probably be the narrative or the prison through which -- prism through which this white house will look at the legislative process. david: let's talk about the junior partner and all that, the democratic party. it seems to me in the last 36 hours people have been in a fetal position. there has been a very low representation of lawmakers, party leaders, out and about. they are still processing. help them process it. i mean, because we do want a two-party system, even you, i think so. so if they go to obstructionist, that may be the first instinct, but is that the right thing from them? mr. cantor: listen, the obstruction, you know, again, there's a much longer conversation about how that obstruction, how the minority party that i was part of camp
-- 2007 32010, we face an incoming president obama with a 70 something approval rating, and we had to do the same thing, we had to pick ourselves back up and say, how are we going to work together, and there were plenty of tents on my part, john boehner's part when he was leader and i was republican whip, to say to this white house and the president, we want to work with you, after they invited us in. we tried. many of you remember the days, the stimulus, obamacare,. frank -- dodd-frank, and the first shot was the stimulus bill. i renumber vividly the president coming over to them-leader boehner and i to say, come to the white house, present us your ideas, we are putting together this bill. remember, this was shortly after the collapse of the markets in
2008. we want you to be part of it. and we did. we had session after session in the roosevelt room of the white house, and i remember being so anxious at the time, i even brought in a one page white paper to the president. the president even said, you know, there's nothing crazy in here. we got a little juice out of that, thinking, ok. at the time, the discussion with republicans was, are we going to ofocate for the elimination the capital gains tax and all that, knowing full well you are dealing with a one-sided town here, and we didn't. but again, all that goodwill dissipated very quickly, and obviously we have our interpretation of it and they have theirs as to why. it just seemed we were left out of that bill. with that started the, we are going to be against what you are doing if you are not bringing a sin, which snow -- bringing us in, which snowballed. and the overreach that occurred in my opinion, those two years
in 2009 to 2010, allowed for the rebounding of the republican party in the house. fromnk that has lessened iparty now. -- for my party now. we don't want to go and commit an overreach as a party. to democrats, they owe it their constituents and the country to try to be a part of things and at least try and work. i know president-elect trump has said he wants to do that. and see if we can make it work. my sense is, the country has really had it with, you know, sort of blaming, two parties blaming each other and basically leaving so many people out. david: let's talk about some of the specific policy areas. trade has been a bipartisan consensus area. sounds like the election sent a strong signal, a lot of
people feel it's not working for them. i thought months ago that trump had been winning the argument on that and shifted ground. you, as someone in the business environment, now care very deeply about trade. how do you square those two things? mr. cantor: spending a significant amount of time in ina, both in southeast asia, china, hong kong, japan, there see real priority that i being placed on tpp prospects. much has been written in this country reflecting that notion, they see tpp more than just a trade sort of blueprint, they see it as a demonstration of american commitment to the region. and that is why most in the policy -- foreign policy arena think it is a really important thing. but then flip back to the voters
that really came out this election and said, you know what, trade is not working for me, so i think, first of all, this lame-duck there's no question, there's no trade. and there's no tpp, in my opinion, going to happen. but with donald trump and his insistence we are going to go in and rework the trade agreements, i don't think there's many people who disagree that you can improve upon the existing agreement. i think it all depends on what you mean when you say "reworked them." if you take a sledgehammer to the situation, i think it's really bad for our economy, and for america's role as an exporter, and the imports and what that will read down to the american consumer. i do think there are ways to actually deliver on his promises, depending on who the ustr is and how he works with that individual to go about
defecting things in a -- effecting things in a positive way. but sledgehammer, no. very damaging for us as a country. david: it strikes me, that is really, barring a crisis, the first of the medic challenge for president trump, isn't it? y of nations arrat that didn't want to reopen negotiations, so you have to find a way to do that with a needle rather than a sledgehammer. are you up for that job? mr. cantor: no, i'm good. [laughter] david: so taxes. tableform has been on the in the republican party. what are the parameters? repatriation? infrastructure? mr. cantor: i heard, walking in, one of the individuals of a prior panel questioned, are republicans going to pay for a tax cut? when i was there and still today, a. later, the rules are, we don't
sort oftax cuts, contrary to the philosophy we are about. but the infrastructure bill is something else. the infrastructure bill is something that will run into what i believe is an insistence by the fiscal hawks in my party that infrastructure be paid for and not just be borrowed, and that's where tax reform can come in, and that's where i think you have the marrying up of things that either both sides want, certainly the democrats and hillary clinton was out there saying she wanted to see an increase in infrastructure spending. donald trump wanted to see a big increase in infrastructure spending. so, that will be the test as to how much of an appetite there is on the part of the fiscal hawks on the hill to go for that. in related to tax reform, particular the international
peace, when you get to that repatriation. most of you know, that's a very controversial subject, that i think when you are talking upwards of $300 billion in terms of infrastructure, and that's, who knows where the number will be, but that's really where the money is. i don't know where else you get it. and so i think that the prospects are pretty good for donald trump to drive the infrastructure package. kevin brady, paul ryan, others in the house, can design and put forward real tax reform. david: chuck schumer has already said he favors the idea of repatriating. generally, the accepted number is about $1 trillion overseas that could be brought back with a tax holiday or a lower rate. did you ever have any interaction with schumer and the democrats on that? mr. cantor: absolutely.
there was a lot of discussion in a bipartisan way even two years ago when i left about that, about the marrying up of these two things. but it's not just a tax holiday. it is a putting in place an entire new regime, so you don't get nicked on the scoring. and if you are looking for tax enhancements, not necessarily revenue neutral, you need to go look at this one time tax or fee on profits abroad in exchange home reduced rate here at for corporate america and the insertion of territoriality into the system instead of the worldwide tax system we have now. those two things in broad speech are very controversial. that will have to be worked out. again, when i go back to this statement, talking to the type of voters who came out this time, talking to them, what matters to them, this garble-e
se i just went through is not really relevant, but it needs to happen in order to produce an infrastructure package that people around the country can understand and enjoy when they see improvements in their homes, areas. david: you work with the bipartisan policy center on infrastructure. what is your need on what we need -- what is your view on what we need so we can drive up 95 and not be frustrated? where is that vision? how much money do we need? mr. cantor: the estimate is $1 trillion-plus. a lot of money. but interestingly, when i served on the executive council at bpc, we would go around the country to denver, i took them to richmond, posted them there as to what virginia was doing with public private partnerships. my sense is that there is liquidity out there in the private sector, and a lot of the
institutional asset managers, matchto deploy capital to long-term capital with long-term pension commitments. insurance companies, the same way. firstpital keeps saying, of all there is not a pipeline of projects, we used to call it shovel-ready, that exist across the country. and, there's a lot of risk associated with that capital, particularly because of politics and permitting. executivek of the bpc council, and there is a report out there about some suggestions, heavily weighted to the states as to what you have to do to streamline things that the state level -- at the state level so you can see projects come forward and the process be more amenable to people willing to undertake risk. david: so infrastructure, there
is a lot of garble--es to get to bridge, but let's talk about something that is very hot and emotional and you don't need a lot of jargon, which is immigration. now, you were a supporter of jeb bush, and you supported trump when he triumphed in the primary process. on twitter for softening his immigration stance in august. let's talk about the politics of that, and where you see a possible consensus. mr. cantor: well. david: long road, isn't it? mr. cantor: is certainly played a role in my primary loss. we were trying to do something to move the needle, and if any of you recall following it, as leader i wanted to try to address the kids. because i never believed that our country has a policy or law that allows us to hold kids
liable for illegal acts of their parents. just from a pure legal standpoint, if you don't even want to get to the human aspect, let's see if we can move that way. up theain, that was too middle because both sides got upset because it was standalone, not comprehensive, and it was considered amnesty from my side in many instances. of thek, i think short first initial request for authorization to build that wall, and the money, you know, i guess, there's money needed until mexico sends its check, so we will see. but short of that kind of legislative action, most of the immigration policy will be dealt with at the administration level. i do think it will be executive order. and echoing the last panel, when
they said, you know, one party doesn't like executive orders when the other does it, i do think that the immigration piece will probably remain in that realm. the fundingagain, and appropriations necessary at the border for building that will. david: so you, so what does that mean, actually? what does president trump sign? where is he going with that? mr. cantor: you know, we will have to see. there were things said in the campaign, in terms of refugees, vetting, other things, that you initialally, from the position that donald trump staked out on immigration, it sort of gravitated back toward the center over time. and, if you think about the tools, the art of persuasion, negotiation, maybe that's what that was. when he said, look, trust me,
i'm going to be tough on this, and i have outpaced anybody on this by taking this position, and then we will get somewhere that makes sense over time. who knows? again, that's a question i know all of us are asking, because there has not been a lot of definition around the kind of policies that will be pursued under it trump presidency. cuomo, youquote mario govern in poetry, in this case maybe limericks, and govern in prose. where are the softening's? talk about the supreme court, isn't that a potential hazard area for overreach? he has two factions here, which is we have to have a solidly conservative justice, but then it turns into an ugly fight. he has a real crossroads this year. how does he do that? mr. cantor: to his credit, he
has been transparent about the kinds of people that he is thinking about and will offer up as justices for the supreme court. i think it's pretty straightforward on his part. yes, there will be controversy. there's always controversy. do the democrats want to filibuster that in the senate? if so, how long will that last? if they try and leverage that for something else, how does president trump react to that, and in the end will that nuclear option in place for other a pointees have to be applied to the confirmation of supreme court justices? rest assured, that will be worked out, and we will have a afterourt in good order the new administration and congress are sworn in. david: so you are putting that high, if not the first order of business, right up high? let's talk a little about the
house freedom caucus and your friends there. are they neutralized because of tuesday? mr. cantor: i think a lot of the, a lot of the tension, and i think there probably was not just two but probably three factions, if you will, or broad movements within the party. i think all that has pretty much gone away now. anning has its way of curing lot of that, and the former colleagues i have spoken with since the other night have said, we are going to get things done. i believe, not being close to it anymore, but i do believe they will do that, and given the opportunity with a president-elect who does not have a lot of experience in this town, certainly a vice president-elect, who i served with 12 years, many on the hill served with him and know mike pence well, he understands the process, so there's a potential
for good partnership, because of that, you know, coming in of an outsider together with all the insiders here to get something done. david: i have many questions, but i want to invite people. we have two microphones. if you make your way there, we will switch over to you and let you get a question or two in. if anybody's interested, go to the mic and i will point you. let me out. i was thinking what can i ask you now that i couldn't have asked you two years ago? i got a bump of questions. let's start with this one. who are your favorite democrats to work with? and who would mike pence be looking for to sort of work more in a bipartisan way? mr. cantor: there plenty of individuals i can name that i worked with on foreign policy issues,