tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN December 13, 2016 12:00am-3:01am EST
>> what brings me here? >> i am just back for another chat. >> we will see when i get up there. >> [inaudible] cia.am not in the it seems we need to focus on what is most important, what is happening in syria right now. aleppo is about to fall. >> [inaudible] he says he does not need a daily briefing. what are your thoughts? >> i think a lot of that will
change. there is a difference between being out of the seat and in the seat. take care. >> [inaudible] >> like i said, we are about to see a collapse in syria, iraq is falling apart. that is where we need to focus our intelligence efforts. >> [inaudible] groundskeeper, i think, at the white house. carson? what are you meeting about today?
>> hello, how are you? >> i am well. we had a very productive meeting. he has really cool stuff in his office. all of these athletes who have given him this memorabilia. i guess it takes a champion to know what champion. we got down to more serious business and we spent time talking about china. a rising adversary. we talked about hacking.
we talked about the opportunity the president-elect has to literally reset things, to reset the trajectory of this economy, to reset the role of government, to reset america's role in the world and how we are perceived in the world and i think it is why he is getting such fantastic people in his administration. the high quality of people he has named already says so much about his executive ability and it says people recognize the opportunity our new president-elect has to make a huge impact on people's lives in this country and on events around the world. >> [inaudible]
>> we were talking about the agenda we are working on together to create jobs and strengthen our economy and military. we have a great opportunity. we are all excited about the opportunity and we know will be a busy first few months. it is going to be a really good ride for the country and exciting to have a president who is focused on creating jobs and making america great again. >> [inaudible]
>> thank you, it was really good. we talked about a lot of issues and how we can work on making sure the issues are being listened to. it was a great meeting. >> did you talk about jobs at all? about a lot of different things. i am excited for america that we will have an opportunity to have a new administration. him, i am excited to do that. >> can i ask your take about the russian hacking probe? it but id to look into do not serve on any of those committees. exactly what
people are saying. it is interesting to me that you have the cia who keeps saying that something happened but we have not been briefed on any of those issues. >> [inaudible] >> we talked about a lot of things. it is always an honor to spend time with the president-elect. i walk away reminded that he is a man of action. i'm excited about the leadership he is bringing. the commitment to creating jobs and rethinking all of these federal agencies. he wants them to work.
defeated. the people united will never be defeated. the people united will never be defeated. >> where here to support women's rights -- we are here to support women's rights and the protest. show that ito matters. there are a lot of things that are not right but we can come .ogether peacefully a lot of people are here with me. >> we are here to support this. not too late. the electoral college can still do the right thing.
that some electors are demanding a briefing. a group of 10 electors sent a letter to the director of national intelligence today asking for more information in light of recent reports about russia's potential influence. the letter claims the issue demands close scrutiny and a liberation from the electoral college after trump's willingness to disregard conclusions made by the intelligence community and his continuing defense of russia and russian president widener prudent. some lawmakers -- president vladimir putin. senators dianne feinstein, patrick leahy, ben cardin are suggesting the commission have access to both classified and unclassified information and subpoena power. you can read more about that
story at thehill.com. mitch mcconnell was asked today about a special commission after he told reporters he supported a bipartisan commission. >> i think that covers what i am prepared to say about that issue. >> you talked about the investigation, you support a bipartisan investigation. >> we will follow the regular order. it is an important subject and we intend to review it on a bipartisan basis. does it concern you the
signals coming from the new administration of a different attitude or orientation and more friendliness toward russia? >> let me speak for myself. the russians are not our friends. they invaded crimea. senator mccain and our democratic friends met with a delegation from the baltic countries just this past week. they are nervous about the russians, to put it mildly. important and we intend to keep the commitments made in the nato agreement. it has been one of the most successful military alliance in world history. we ought to approach all of these issues on the assumption that the russians do not wish us well.
>> washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday, senior fellow from the brookings institute on her book about why presidents succeed and fail. alberta abouttim the role vice president should -- vice president elect mike pence will play in the trump administration. be sure to watch washington journal beginning live at 7:00 a.m. eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion. >> c-span studentcam documentary contest is in full swing. what is the most important issue for the new president and the new congress to address in 2017? joining me is a former studentcam winner of 2015 for
her documentary help for homeless heroes. ashley: my partner and i produced a documentary where we cover the issues of homeless veterans on the streets of orange county, california. these are the people who have fought for our country and the fact that they are now living on the street, not having anyone to care for them, was not ok. we will talk about this issue within our community and we decided to make a c-span documentary. i encourage all seniors in high school, juniors in high school, middle schoolers to use this , toform to raise your voice say that your generation .eserves to be heard advice for students on the
fence of starting this documentary is to really look into your community and see what is affecting those around you because they are the ones who you see the most. if there is an issue you see happen every day on the street, that is probably where you can start. you want to be a voice for your community. >> thank you for all of your advice and tips. if you want more information, go to studentcam.org. those who serve on the presidential transition teams of bill clinton, george w. bush, and barack obama share some of the lessons learned from their experience and offer advice to the incoming administration. this was part of the forum
cohosted by the brookings institution and miller center. it is 55 minutes. to brookings. >> welcome to brookings. we are very proud to covers this atnt with the miller center the university of just josh virginia -- virginia. the first year has not begun yet for the donald trump administration. have some already flavor of what life could be like in the first year. there is nothing like a trip down memory lane to try and understand the kinds of
challenges any administration has in its first year that the trump administration in particular will face come january 20 when president trump is sworn in. we have an action-packed program that will deal -- today that will deal with the various aspects of presidential leadership in the first year, from domestic to foreign policy to bureaucratic and organizational challenges. i am happy to have the opportunity to partner both with daryl, scholars here at brookings, and in particular with bill and the miller center.
bill is well known to us because for 10 years, he was the managing director of this institution before he became the ceo at the miller center. i will introduce him now and he will introduce the overall program, particularly work on presidential transitions. before he came to brookings, he worked at the white house where he was director of international economic affairs, the national security council, and the national economic council. his responsibility is included planning and negotiating for the g-8 summit. he also served as deputy director of the white house climate change task force before going to the state department , where he was on the policy planning staff and the bureau of economic affairs.
bill is well-equipped in terms of his own experience to lead in terms of presidential first years. welcome. it is wonderful to have you back here in brooklyn. thank you for the conference. [applause] bill: thanks. it is wonderful to be back. it is great to see so many faces in the crowd and the hallways. this is a home away from home. the first year is real, it is a real calendar driven period of time baked into our constitutional system because of an observation lyndon johnson made, which is you get one year because after the first year of congress, they stop inking about
-- thinking about you as president and start thinking about their own reelection which comes a year later. that drives two things in the political transition. first, the domestic agenda. if you want to pass things legislatively, you have to work with congress, whether that is the president of a different party of congress or other outsider presidents from one party who control both houses of congress, sometimes they succeeded and sometimes, they struggled. johnson succeeded famously. other presidents such as jimmy carter and bill clinton struggled in their first year. on the national security side, it is an omen for significant -- a moment to do significant change in the world, and also because of the relative experience of the team working with one another, it is often a moment of crisis. we saw that in 9/11 and bill clinton's first year when al qaeda attacked the twin towers. people often forget the trump
problem was in the first year of the clinton administration. policies gone astray, the day of pigs, the of pay -- shootdown of the spy plane over china, or a failed coup in panama which caught the first bush administration by surprise. out of those crises often become a team whining. the first bush team responded definitely to the fall of the berlin wall. we have been looking at presidential history for the last year and a half, preparing for this moment. i want to show you a short video and get right into the three terrific panels we have assembled today. [video clip]
[drum roll] ♪ >> an extraordinary democratic moment occurs with the peaceful transfer of executive power in america. ♪ >> thomas jefferson in his first inaugural address referred to the presidency as a post above his talents. jefferson humbled himself before the magnitude of the undertaking. it takes one year for a new president to go from here to here. >> mr. speaker, the president of the united states.
>> history teaches us the president's first year in office is crucial, a time of dangerous peril an exceptional opportunity. >> a problem for u.s. forces has been controlling the streets. >> the president was hit. he was wounded. >> i can hear you. >> the real world test, the untested commander in chief, and the new president must act. it is also win presidents can enact their enduring policies. >> the civil rights act of 1964. >> whether renewing america's, at home or making historic racers on the world stage. as the inauguration day 2017 approaches, our responsibility is to look beyond, prepare for the new president passes pivotal
-- president pivotal first year in office. how will the 45th president staff a cabinet, prioritize and -- prioritize an agenda and act on it? what risks and rewards dwell on the horizon? the miller center has launched a nonpartisan effort to research the pressing challenges and take those ideas directly to the presidential candidates and their staffs, opinion leaders, and the public at large. the first year project illuminates the major issue areas. public events, digital components, and vigorous promotion and communication strategies. we are connecting history with policy and impact. >> how are you feeling? >> i'm feeling pretty good. how are you? >> what is the trouble? >> well i got a little bit with the congress and a little bit
with indochina and the vietnamese. a little of it all over the country. i thought i would call you and get a little advice and inspiration. >> the miller center specializes in studying the institution of the presidency. we apply the lessons of history to contemporary public policy challenges, helping to understand and shape the modern presidency. our scholars conducted comprehensive oral histories for every administration since president carter, creating a living network of the most senior officials who have led our executive branch. the miller center brings the lessons of history to life and connects the past to the future. >> to dive into this, we have assembled three panels today that combine the terrific expertise of our own scholars
but also partners like the brookings institution. in putting together this project, we have articles written by over 10 scholars across brookings particularly from where i had the pleasure of being a senior fellow here. our thanks to darrell and his home team. one of my colleagues, the first principles, we are delighted to have two people who successfully did the last transition from the bush administration to the obama administrations. that will be moderated by my friend and colleague, barbara. after that, a panel on moving a domestic agenda and organizing global challenges. hand itnd it -- i will over to barbara and her counterparts for the first panel.
barbara: while our colleagues mic'ed, thank you, bill, so much. thank you all for being here today. i was telling bill this was my first visit to brookings, though i feel like i have been here due to the political scientists. i'm forever tuning in to and watching the brookings panel. it is such an honor to be moderating a panel here today for the miller center. as you can see from the program, arrayed anarade -- amazing group of scholars and
practitioners who have served in four different presidencies. in the case of josh, bush 41 and bush 43, chris, currently deputy secretary of labor in the obama administration, and elaine of the clinton administration. we represent four presidencies. we want to dive right into the subject of today, particularly as bill announced, the title of the panel is first years and first principles. all of you had the amazing experience of being a part of a presidency in the first year. some of you after that as well. we want to start off today with that very intriguing question. how does a president-elect go from being a campaigner to a short window of opportunity of being president-elect, then start the first year of his presidency? we will start with you.
>> i can say in one would they -- word, they do that poorly. democrat or republican, it is not a partisan statement and i will explain it with statistics. there are just over 4000 jobs the president has to appoint in the federal government. of those, only a little over 1000 are the big ones confirmed by the senate. even that is a big number. it is really the 700 to 800. a couple hundred of those are part-time appointments to boards and things like that. you're looking at 700 to 800 people to run the government and military about 4 million people. -- of about 4 million people. it is impossible. one thing a president has to quickly figure out, is, what is
the thing he has inherited? what happens is whenever a big blowup happens, guess who gets blamed? president obama was not in charge of writing code for the health care website. but i promise you the american people looked at him and said, uh oh, you screwed up. jimmy carter did not fly helicopters into the desert but that came back to get him. george bush was not delivering ice in new orleans, but that was a big black mark on his presidency. what happens is presidents tend to ignore the vast government they run, then the government blows up on them and surprise, they get blamed. because the american people think the president is the boss. the first thing the president should do is figure out what the
thing is and understand that in any given point in time, an organization that consists of 7 million people, two things are happening simultaneously. something is going very right, they have got the right intelligence on this problem, and the right expertise. at the same time, something else is going very wrong. they are understaffed and something is about to blow up. i will end with an anecdote i used in one of the chapters in my book and it goes back to the fall of 2013. on december 13, two days from tomorrow, 2013, there were two astronauts in space repairing a misfiring heating and cooling
system at the international space system. they were floating around in space suits, doing something that for most of us, would be inconceivable. two months earlier, the obama administration was facing the collapse of the meltdown in his health care website. in october of 2013, november and december, everybody started writing, the government, what a mess. it cannot do anything. blah blah blah. of course, the same government in the same fashion, has these two guys up in space wondering -- wandering around, whatever they were doing. the fact of the matter is, at the centers for medicare and medicaid and at nasa, federal bureaucrats had contracted the private sector companies to do a
job the government wanted done. at nasa, a company western massachusetts makes space suits. go figure. they make the spacesuits that these guys were wearing. in other words, it was not any different. it is just that at any time, something was going right and something was going wrong. presidents generally figured this out when it is too late. then they discover their campaign skills of messaging, tweeting, speechmaking, rallies, your campaign skills do not help you when the government has blown up in your face, which is why it behooves presidents to spend a little less time wandering around the country, and a little more time in their first year figuring out what is happening in the government that they are the head of. >> an example of things going up
makes me think of a first-year fiasco as it was called, the pigs. that certainly blowup in president kennedy's face. -- blew up in president kennedy's face. he went on national television and said, i take responsibility for this. i am the responsible officer of the government. his opinion poll rating soared 83%. there might be a lesson. if people will blame you anyway, take responsibility and it might work in your favor. let me go to josh in chronological order. a little bit about the fact you were with him throughout the campaign as the head of policy and then part of the transition in a short window of opportunity because of the bush versus gore controversy. >> thank you.
thank you for doing the program and the work you do. both at brookings and the miller center. i had the good fortune of being a part of the bush campaign, the bush 2000 presidential campaign, which began at the beginning of 1999, almost two full years before the election, i arrived in austin, texas, as the policy director of the bush campaign. chris, i know you started early in the obama campaign. that is the first way you start to build a presidency that could withstand the difficult time of transition that the president faces. president bush and governor bush bush, then governor
bush, said something interesting to me on my first day when i arrived in austin. i met him in his gubernatorial office. he said, go out and do a smart thing, but just remember one thing. i want to campaign the way i govern and govern the way i campaigned. every presidential candidate ought to begin a campaign that way. i doubt whether you use the same -- he used the same kinds of words, but i that president -- think that president obama said much the same ring. -- the same thing. what he was telling me and the rest of the staff was build a campaign, build a policy structure that is something i can take into the white house and implement, because what i say on the road is what i will do when i am in the oval office.
we were blessed in the bush campaign with having a campaign staff that was essentially a staff that was itself ready to move into governance. i was a policy director and became the deputy of chief of staff for policy. owl was the chief political strategist and became the strategist in the white house. hughes was the head communicator and she became the head of communications in the white house. when you have built a good campaign team that is ready to move into the white house, you are able to mitigate another source of great disruption during transitions, which is a total changeover in personnel. very often, campaign people are not good governance people and vice versa. in building a campaign and building a government, i think presidents ought to look for
both. so we were unusually blessed. we had only half of the usual transition because of the recount in florida. yet i think we came in with only 37 days worth of a transition, in a much better condition to know who was going to be in government, along with president bush, and what the agenda was . we had a 450 page policy book of -- book that spells it out. my concern for the current transition is that they are not in that sort of position. there is not a thick policy agenda with detail to it. there are certainly inclinations and directions and so on, which is what the public pays attention to and it worked very well for president-elect trump. there is also not the big
infrastructure of people ready to move in with him. it is incumbent upon all of us, including through processes like these, to help what is a difficult situation for the best prepared, for those that are coming behind us. barbara: the fact that the outgoing bush 43 administration worked very closely, chris, with the transition team for president obama. to make the transition is smooth -- as smooth as possible. chris: in every setting like this, i complement josh for the tone and he and president bush -- for the tone that he and president bush set. [laughter] chris: in 2007 for pledging full cooperation with the incoming president regardless of which party it was. the success we enjoyed in 2008 is in large measure because of the cooperation we received.
i was in daily communications, working through transition issues all 77 days. in return, president obama has pledged that same level of collaboration with president obama's successor. on balance, i think you're doing that. it is challenging. it is fair to say there is a playbook of how you transition from campaigning to governing. the president-elect is ripping that up. whether with foreign policy statements and tweets, the carrier deal, there are a lot of things here that we have not seen before. it will be interesting to see whether that changes or not. i suspect not. it will be an interesting ride for all of us. barbara: let's turn to governing itself. let's say we have gone through the transition. you have situations as in the case of president bush 43, where
he had a clear agenda in the campaign. to say i want to govern the way i campaigned makes for what seems to be a fairly smooth transition to priorities nation policy topics and policy issues. i wonder if you could talk a little bit about president clinton and his prioritization and what he brought in as a priority and what might have begun to be imposed upon him by events. elaine: well he had a similar saying. his saying was good government is good politics. if you get it all going right. therefore i think the most important thing he did was the very first budget in the first year, which, he got a lot of grief for. it costs us some congressional seats, etc.. but it was absolutely critical in setting us on the road to
what was by the seventh year a balanced budget, the first and only time we have had a balanced budget in many decades. there was a clear direction and he understood that was the most important thing he had to do. like reagan before him, reagan is the only other president i know who got this right, they understood that macro economic policy is a very blunt instrument and it takes a long time. you have to do the tough, ugly stuff. you have to do it in your first year. clinton did that with the first budget deal and the first reconciliation deal. so did reagan with his first budget deal. by 1984, it was morning in america. i remember this well. i was working for walter mondale and that was a pretty depressing campaign to work in. by 1996, i mean, we had
incredibly low unemployment and all sorts of things that become -- that presidents want to have. doing the tough things early is really the most important thing. then, of course, getting used to running a government, in my book, i talk about a scene that i witnessed between outdoor and -- al gore and bill clinton. it was one of the awkward things where there were a lot of people in the oval office and they all went off into betty's office on the side. there was a traffic jam so i was the last one and i could not get out. i was stuck. obviously, al gore wanted to say something to bill clinton. i stupidly stood there trying to pretend i was not there. i got to watch al gore say to clinton, you must say this, this, this, and this. it was a foreign policy
question. what was going on was al gore was more familiar with foreign clinton whong to was the best and lips beach in americanker history, this is one place you do not as lived. because foreign policy statements have resources in the world will purchase them and usually diplomats will work it out, whether medicaid or welfare or something like this. there is a lot of learning and sometimes very counterintuitive. i do not know who will tell that to president-elect trump. somebody will need to say to him. i do not know when he will learn -- that this
freewheeling campaign that he is run which has had many electoral advantages, will be a problem in governing. they all go through it to a certain extent but they all have some inkling of something. current transition is unusual. >> to say the least. chris, could you tell us about transitioning into policymaking, the links to the campaign agenda, which has health care reform at the top for president obama, but coming into office with an ongoing crisis, an economic meltdown in the financial world. chris: we started transition planning in april 2008 at we -- and we were focused on immigration, education, health care, a whole range of issues. by the time we took office on the 20th of 2009, the only issue
was the economy. i recall the first jobs number we got february of 2009. the country had lost 2000 jobs, more than south carolina. no matter where else i campaigned on, the number one governing principle had to be getting the economy of and -- economy off and running. weeks after inauguration day, congress passed a stimulus package. vice president biden oversaw the recovery act, it was to get the money out the door as quickly as possible with as little waste and fraud and abuse is possible. -- as possible. at that time, we had a couple of cabinet members confirmed and not many around them. the ability to get a hundred dollars out the door was in large measure because of the lear leadership who understood these are the programs you can put money into that will have the greatest impact as possible. there is often a criticism of career employees and their
ability to quickly and drive through change. we learned early, you cannot accomplish anything unless you have clear leadership behind you. barbara: that brings me to josh and president george w. bush. again, a very clear agenda coming into office. talk about how he implemented that agenda and to chris and elaine's point, executive agencies and in congress, and others in congress. >> president bush came into office having published two books for policy in his campaign. one was published in july and august of 2008, 400 pages long, it was detailed policy speeches and then five or six page fact sheets with all the speeches. you could tell a policy
direction and philosophy and principal from a speech. you have got the numbers, you have got the programmatic details, in the fact sheets. when we came into the white house in january of 2001, we did not have to have a lot of meetings about the policies the president wants to implement. we did not face a crisis around -- on the way in the door. we did face a economy headed into recession. we had policies that were well-designed to combat that recession. on itent bush campaigned butg necessary regardless also had advice from his economic advisers to the effect
that a recession was on the way. this would be the best antidote. theere not confused about policy priorities. education was a big one. no one will remember this, president bush campaigned on being the education president. that was his intent when he came in. in fact, campaigned against al gore on the notion that the clinton administration had become too distracted by foreign activities and nation building and the bush administration was not going to dissipate in that -- to participate in that sort of activity. i am probably anticipating a further question about how events change. the perspective of every president, they always do. on the way in, that gave us the
opportunity to focus. president bush did one other thing i think was generally regarded as having been a shortcoming of the clinton administration on the way in the door. maybe a short coming of the trump administration. that is, focus on the white house. there is a tendency in every transition to focus on the big shiny objects, the big cabinet posts. those are absolutely critically important. but it causes president elects and their senior team to neglect the construction of the white house staff, which actually is the group that will help drive the really critical presidential priorities. the government that elaine described so well in her set of remarks, was pretty resilient. some would say impervious.
but it is very capable of running itself, at least on a steady state, without substantial political leadership. it is only on those issues where the president really wants to take the country in a particular direction, especially a new direction, where the presidential leadership counts a lot. typically that comes from the white house. they do not have to be big public figures. the people the president brings in the white house, and empowers to drive the initiatives, are the key appointments early on in a presidency. i think those especially less familiar with the
governments have to affect that barbara: what of my favorite stories, we have done every presidential history from jimmy carter. starting with the administration of gerald ford. we are coming to the end of the bush 43 project. of my favorite stories from that administration . it is likely a lesson for president-elect trump given he is a media impresario. president bush 43 invited ted kennedy and his family down to the white house theater to watch the thin new film, 13 days, about the cuban missile price -- missile crisis. here is ted kennedy with george w. bush watching a film about his brother in the oval office and the cabinet room coming to
terms with the cuban missile crisis. the bush library, which i had the post -- pleasure for visiting for the first time last week. they have a hand written thank you note from ted kennedy to bush, thinking him for bringing him and his family down to the white house to see 13 days. he said, i hope i will have many opportunities to come down to the white house and watch you signed some policies that we can agree on. including education and health care. a part from that, that outreach and that ringing together to people from across the aisle. which ted kennedy had done on many occasions. and president bush had done in texas. grew the no child left behind policy. there can be issues about whether that was the best policy for education. outpoint was about reaching to the other side, and the other side accepting the outreach and moving on from there. after the tax cuts, the top
priority and that principal priority was the no child left behind act, for which president democratrtners were george miller in the house, and democrat ted kennedy in the senate. many people will recall that when 9/11 happened, laura bush was on the hill. she was with ted kennedy preparing to do a hearing on the no child left behind act. the act did get egypt -- adopted an ted kennedy was there in the rose garden, but the country with any different direction. in addition without the wonderful display of the handwritten note to president bush, it was also a painting. ted kennedy was a amateur artist. he gave that painting to first lady laura bush. we can work that
across the aisle. that takes us to the notion that crisis, domestic and foreign crisis can intervene and disrupt the best laid plans of an incoming president. 9/11,since you mentioned let's start there and talk about the impact 9/11 had on president bush's first year in office. overstatednnot be what a radical change in the agenda of the bush ,dministration of government the federal government and the whole country. it was the product of the 9/11 attack. the whole focus of the administration changed overnight. i think president bush was among the first to recognize how profound and complete the change would be when he convened his
war cabinet on the evening of september 11. different giving instructions. including to the fbi director, saying your mission just changed. your mission has traditionally been to catch the bad guy after the deed. to catch themhave before the bad deed. across,ry was written at least half of the government and change the focus of the tenor of the entire government. in ways that were completely unexpected in the campaign that resident bush ran. thoughts about president clinton and things like the waco disaster. was -- printedo clinton did not
have anything nearly like president bush. there was no need to attack on the united states. normal" much more " first year. everything from gays in the ofitary to waco was evidence the opening remarks. he was not familiar with the government he was running. he was an outsider. there were certain pieces of it he knew quite well. -- god for bid you made a mistake briefing him about medicare, because he knew everything. no president comes in knowing the whole shebang. clearly, there were mistakes he made in that first year. andeally did hurt him decrease his political popularity. just himit came from
and his cabinet not being a tune to what the federal government was doing. -1993 afterin 1992 three republican terms. to reagan terms and one bush term. what that means is, the last time you had democrats in any major role in the federal government was really a long time ago with jimmy carter. frankly, some of them were dead, a lot of them were retired. been out, you have the more difficult the transition is, because you the lastst go to democratic secretary of defense, or secretary of something or other and see help us. your bench is very thin. i think that that showed in president clinton's first year. about how thehts
crisis that was ongoing as you came in, as you are trying to move forward on health care , and other aspects of the policy agenda of president obama. it is interesting between the three administrations. when president have government majority, they think it will last forever. act we with the recovery were able to get health care passed. we were ready to go and we lost the majority of house and senate. we havelast six years, been relying on executive actions to get our policy agenda done. we used to always joke in white house legislative affairs, at least in frist there when staffers would leave, they would print out a piece of paper that showed all the bills we had gotten past during that period of time. i don't know what they do now, the list is much shorter.
it was a change in tactics that came about because of the 2010 election. few morewe have a minutes for one last question from me, and i want you all to think of questions you can ask in the last 10 minutes of our panel. i want to present this question to all three of you. what did you learn in the transition and first year of your respective administrations, that you wished you had known? it,ing back, now you know you wish you had known going into it? elaine: i don't know, there are a lot of things. i think that things we wished we had known was, exactly how complicated pieces of the government work. outside youhe thought you knew. once you got in, there were layers upon layers upon layers. -- bill clinton
had been governor of arkansas for more than a decade. al gore has been member of congress and senate for a long time. these were two guys with real experience. learninge was so much that went on in that first year. , probably making more times to do that would have put them better later on. more time to learn. i was surprised how fast this goes. you have that wonderful opportunity in the first year and that disappear so quickly. the other thing is, the political pendulum always swings back and meet other direction. the policy initiatives we try to push in the second term, we had a super majority. we could have gotten it done in the first two years, but we decided to do other things. we never got the chance to do them again. barbara: prioritization is key
at that point. josh: chris said exactly what i would say, which is to have a keen or sense of a clock. we came in with the conventional wisdom to understand that the most productive period is early on. understand well enough going in was how small the windows of opportunity for productive action are. therefore, the crucial questions to be concerned about, if you know what your priorities are, if you know what your policies one, to be aware that you will be knocked off balance by some sort of intervening crisis. number two is, it get the sequencing right and take the stuff you think is really important and run with it as fast as you can as soon as the window opens. the windows are not only in the
wrst year, but they are the first year. watch for those windows, pick the right issue, which we did not consistently do later in the administration, and run as fast as you can because the windows do not stay open longer. those oflet's turn to you in the audience. if you will wait for a mic to come to you. skinner.e is richard we have heard a lot of talk about the importance of the white house staff. everybody pays a lot of attention to the cabinet. often times, new administration runs into a particular challenge filling although sub this and's, many of which are extremely important. these are the people that can really sing third teeth into the detail, more so than the cabinet
secretaries. i am wondering what people on the panel have learned about filling those subcabinet positions? chris: we have 70,000 employees, wage rules.orkplace we are osha administrative is is really critical to enforcing. sector, butin that who runs these agencies and makes sure that you are doing the internal changes and watching your budget are important. eight -- i have a lot of thoughts about the trump transition. i think they are making a classic a stake on focusing on the, instead of the people immediately around the president who can help him get his agenda done. it will be interesting to see
with that sequencing change is. they have time. this running as fast as you can the first year scares me a little bit. my question is, can the first year do irreparable damage to our republic? do we have enough checks and balances, and sanity built into the system to keep us on an even keel somehow? night myn election son-in-law is an army captain and he said, well, it now we have to trust this constitution. i have been quoting that all of the time because the constitution does build in checks and balances. there are people who are nervous about where president trump might go in the first year.
to answer that specifically, it goes to the discussion we have been having. i think josh pointed this out. most candidates for president come into office with policy papers. they come in in a couple of key with a deeply thought-out policy agenda. we know that president bush really west he didn't education policy comment knew it as governor and came in with a vision. they knew where to go. if you come in having campaigned on it, given a lot of speech on it, you can pretty much do a good job in the first year. that is generally what tends to happen. the first your focus is on something that the president cares about, has thought about, there is a lot of guidance on. we areblem i think
facing, and what is making everybody nervous about the upcoming trump administration is, we have an absence of these policy papers. we do not quite know what he means. we don't know how much money do you want to spend on that, where are you going to get the money from, which part of the government are you going to task with implementing that and what is the legislation look like? there is a whole list of things you have to figure out. there does not seem to be that depth in the trunk transition area administration. that is brand-new. transition administration. that is brand-new. they generally come in with some expertise in some piece of the government. we are in uncharted territory here. can i throw in something, because i am not as pessimistic
as you might imagine. we spent years here in sayington with everybody the gridlock is terrible and washington never gets anything done. now people are saying, washington might get something done. [laughter] i am a believer in our constitutional system. it is a difficult system, it is a system well designed to governmental initiative. i cannot tell you the number of times when i served in the white house. chris, you have probably experienced this, you lane you as well. -- elaine you as well. i have parliament in me. if we just had a parliament, we
stuffjust go do this damn and get all of the people out of our way. but you can't in our system. i happen to be among those who think that, even though the with team is not coming in policy papers, i am a big believer in tax reform. there is wide consistent in this country that we actually need. yearse not had that in 34 . in no significant rewrite of our tax code in 30 years. the internal tensions that we have built into our constitutional system, and in growth of ideological washington have been too large to bridge.
on areas like tax reform, i am cautiously optimistic that a successful candidate, who is not ideologicaldeep divide in this country or deep partisan of this country, actually has a chance to help us break gridlock in areas where i think the american people will benefit. concerned, but i am cautiously optimistic about what our system can produce over the next year. barbara: obviously this could go on for the entire first year of the next president. i am going to use my moderator's to have the last word. to this gentleman's point, i have several favorite phrases from the federalists papers. wise men may not always be at the helm.
if men were angels, no government would be necessary. and ambition must be made to counteract ambition. with that as the three premises of our constitution, which has served us well over two centuries, i like josh have great faith. says, we will put our faith in the constitution. thank you for your attention. [applause] affectedlicy goals are by an incoming administration. this includes former officials from the reagan and george w. bush presidencies. we started to discuss in the agendanel, moving an
through is a great challenge. thingents often get one done. occasionally they get two and rarely they get three done in the first year or two. we are delighted to have a terrific panel to scout out what that looks like, feels like from the ground up. with that, i will handed over to nikki from the center. : we are going to go in the order of how a bill becomes a law. here dan, who worked with the reagan team, he was domestic policy advisor and assisted. in the white house as deputy assistant for legislative affairs and jen's sake who is the white house communications director for the obama administration. byould like to start us off
talking about with some of the challenges and opportunities of the first-year are for your particular places within the domestic agenda building. especially for domestic policies. luxury, or good fortune of watching transitions from the senate, then from the white house, then from the congressional budget office. i got to see transitions from different vantage points. as my former employed in the senate used to say, many of the things i remember never actually happened. [laughter] i want to make sure there is a caveat here so that my colleagues can correct me. , there wasth reagan a consistent message during the campaign. it was pretty clear what he was about, not necessarily in the
specifics, but on many policies. team around him as we talked about the white house staffing. jim baker brought people from california that he knew. .ave to congressman they worked very hard. by february, we had a new reagan budget, mostly together by dave stockton. the notebook that came to the hill was called the stockton black book. created, very quickly, a budget that reflected reagan priorities. ultimately, it was the first time reconciliation was use. past much of the budget. even included the news like states. taking a bunch of these programs and blocking them.
accomplished through the legislative process. we should probably start by saying what some of our previous panelist talked about. virtually everybody has something happen in their first year. foreign policy, sometimes it's terrorist attacks. in reagan's case it was an assassination attempt. it did interrupt some of the progress being made. towards the end of that first year after the successors were accomplished, the administration a package of social security changes. thinking that because they had successes, they could replicate that with social security, which reagan thought ought to be reformed. a number of provisions were not very well thought out. , whichg dramatically
many people took as being unfair. to go back to the beginning, we despair sometimes in the partisanship. we think about it differently in those days. the budget resolution in the senate, which embodied all of reagan policies. there were 39 straight amendments which had to produce 51 republicans because no democrats reported them. the house was then controlled by the democrats. coalitionto be a because the democrats helping republicans helping the president and it took a fair amount of effort to get there. bipartisanship was not the rule of the day.
the main lessons here are the consistent message in the ability tohe translate that campaign message into legislation pretty quickly, to move relatively quickly and it takes leadership. it improves the coalition in the house to pass the budget. the bush 41 transition from the at the white house. of course, the vice president was down the hall from all of us , and was in some aspects limited in his abilities to have a big agenda. he was one of the guys who helped create the reagan agenda. it was hard for him to say the last guy did it. modest changes and suggestions.
thought ite voters was another reagan turn. -- term. he had to be careful about how he positioned himself. there were some things he had to address. his initial domestic policy was somewhat limited. in the transition, there was not as much policy exchange. licking from the congressional budget office at the bush 43 transition, you see the same -- congressionalhe budget office at the bush 43 transition, you see the same things. there was an opportunity of the first window. but again having events intervene, including in the administration that was self imposed or self inflicted.
such as the failure of the health care plan. had a fairly large stimulus package. again, it was the combination of those things that moved clinton along in the first year. it was the first bush administration. the campaign rhetoric was not policies putthe together were quite defined. their ability to move quickly that they develop themselves along the campaign. we talked about some of the things that bush 43 accomplished quickly and substantially with no child left behind on the tax cuts in the first year. was in peasar there by 9/11 for the first time. again, looking at president
clinton, not only did the health get through, but it did slow them down and in peter and other things. security,n and social it is sometimes a problem. do so much. only resources are only so thick. damyou only have so many irish working for you. what is it look like an legislative affairs? >> it builds on what dan was just saying. it really depends on the circumstances in which you take office. by that i mean, what the congress looks i. when reagan one, he had a democratic house and a republican senate. president clinton won, he had democrats controlling both. when bush when he had a
republican house and a 50-50 senate. when president obama when he had a democratic house. much different circumstances for each one. i would suggest that that dictates the strategy to some extent as well. was in thewhen i white house, after president obama had one, i was at the end of the bush administration, i interviewed some publication that i had advice for my successor. who had been named as president obama's legislator of affairs. my comment was, his job will be much different from mine. i spent the last two years in the bush administration with the democrats in the majority of the congress. you are dealing with a divided government, which obama would have a unified government. what i meant by that comment was, his first responsibility is getting the agenda passed.
he will have to spend his time with being united with people in congress. they ignore the republicans who do not try or whatever. not gett is, you do those opportunities for he often. if you had not gone for it, he would've been forever criticized for it. i found no fault in that. that is my illustration of how they have to look at it. thoseou have decided first-year priorities based on what you ran on. whether it was any of the previous folks or president-elect trump wants to repeal and replace the affordable care act, whatever it is. i agree with what bill said, you can only do a handful of things. in additiont that to those things that you want to do, there are certain things you have to do.
you don't have any choice or business. for instance, they are faced with a continuing resolution. they have a debt limit they will have to do that first year. a requirement. there were probably be a supreme court nomination. you have these things filling up. for the calendar and which you need a strategy and you will have to get past all of those things. how are we going to approach what we want to do on health care and border security and theastructure foreign package. all of a sudden, as you later it on a gets a lot more complicated . that has to be considered a friend as well. to make sure you get all of this done. have decided what you are trying to do, you are set to develop your strategy for each item on your agenda. .ho are the key players
dan cited president bush. it was a different approach on bush 43.m using we are using reconciliation versus what he was doing with no child left behind. the other example you had is was not are reconciliation. with a 50-50 senate, he had to put together a bipartisan coalition. congressman george miller in the .ouse along with boehner i cannot remember if it was 50-50, who was chairman of the health committee. is -- you have to look at each part of your agenda and figure out how are we getting this one done. we, orh can me -- can will we do a reconciliation that is a bipartisan act. in the trump case, you will drive democrats away by doing reconciliation.
that will be deemed a necessity. i do not fault that strategy either. then they will have to come back behind that and try to put ofether a bipartisan coalitions on items that he can't do under reconciliation. which we have all learned, -- it'll bet of the a complicated first-year. that is the way you need to approach it in my mind. i wanted to go third because the policy and the legislative roles are what communication is all about. i would say one of the things that people forget, if they have not worked in government is that campaigns are aspirational. you're held accountable for basically nothing. [laughter] and now theretrue is a consistency, and there should be for what a president talks about when they are
running for office and when they come into office. that was true for president obama. including from many of the policy areas were her, -- his comments were perceived as controversial. like talking to our enemies. when you come in as a communication professional, were youan adjustment realize everything we do matters. we are under a different microscope. people are going to ask their questions. to pay foru going that and what are you going to give up. that is an adjustment from a communication standpoint. you really come in and learn very quickly. the things iome of am sure the new administration will will with, that we did as well is the prioritization. we talked about that a little bit here. for us, president obama talked about a lot on the campaign trail. when he came in, we were dealing with a financial crisis.
we were talking backstage about the work with the bush administration and the obama administration did together during the transition. it was essential to if we had not worked together, we would have probably ended up in a different place. the president came in and that is what we had to do, first and foremost. some prettyss unpopular pieces of legislation. there were agreements that they were necessary. whether it was the recovery act should not have been controversial. what the president really wanted to do later on was health care. hindsight is always 2020 in any of these jobs. you go back and look at what we could have done differently. of course there is things we would have done differently. what everybody has said here is true in our experiences. i was there in the beginning as
well as still now. you will not get everything done you want to get done. you really make choices. there was a big debate internally about how big of a health care package. if you set a smaller health care package, could we have gotten cap and trade? you go back and guess these sorts of things. that is the early prior ties nation that impacts the community. say is, thing i will while governing is entirely different from the communication standpoint, there are some things that help a president get elected that you can lose a thread on. lost it on winning the hearts and mine of the american people. it is very easy to come to washington and only talk to people here and think that you are going to convince people to come your way. making learned through mistakes, i would say in the first year is that, you really need to use the power of how the president got elected to win
people over and spend time doing that. to sell your policies in a way that you get the public on your side. that seems like there is not enough time to do that when you come in. certainly a lesson we learned. both of my colleagues referred to it. legislative setting strategy or developing policy, you have to keep in mind the kind of presidential resource you have. what time are you going to spend on these ironies. how many phone calls, how many trips to the hill? it is not just how far you can push the policy and how many votes can count, you have unlimited resources that go into those. president'sng the time, which is the most valuable resource. or, you three mp all seem very collegial. [laughter] expect there are some
tensions through your various areas. whether it is domestic of buyers -- domestic advisers of trying to convince someone. how did you navigate those relationships with of death within other departments in the relationships within other departments in the white house. >> when i went into the white rose, they said one of the hi is that, you are the lls eyes and ears in the administration. will betold me was, you surprised that the number of times you will be in meetings inside the white house and you have people who think they know what is going on on the hill, you are sitting there thinking,
that will get three votes on the hill. you get to kill it because you have to say that. you begin to question your own loyalty and wonder if you work for the cia. tension andalways a it is with communications as well. neither of us held to that completely. ofhave to be caught percent what the president said -- we have to be cognizant of what the president said. presidencies and how important it was we develop off -- policies. we develop speeches that reflected that. is a tension. policy folks thinks anything is possible. canlways will assume you develop a communication strategy from whatever the policy is. without understanding the
realities of your profession at all. jen: i joke with my staff on tough days that i will get a t-shirt that says of the communications problem. sometimes it is a communications problem, sometimes it is bad policy. sometimes we lose a vote in the house or senate because we think something will pass and it does not. these are some of the roots of the tension. , as a the things that communications person, you have a responsibility to recognize that it is not all about with your objective is. objective was solely on how things would sell with the american public, we would probably do different policies and push different legislation. often times, that is far more important. autoe early days, the bailout, which now we talk about as one of our big rings that we did that was so great. it was so unpopular. everybody hated it and they
thought it was the worst thing we could have done. we had a responsibility to sell it, because the president and the economic team that it was the right step. it turned out to be the right step. there is a responsibility in any white house to know that there is an objective. the leader has to recognize that the stories will be terrible for a couple of months because it is the right policy. one last thing i will share is, the other thing that people don't recognize is, there is a lot of limitation to what you can say. because there are national security reasons, or even on the economic front. we, theame in, political and press team wanted to say things are so terrible an awful you don't understand how bad they are. something more articulate, but that was the basic message. the economic team would say,
that will crash the markets. say,people look back they all you have a communications problem and there were things we could have done better. there are certain limitations you have when you have the responsibility of the presidency. that is sometimes hard to explain. nicki: do you want to throw in any further? >> i took my shot at the policy side. tensions not much between the legislators and communications. one of my observations in washington over my years here is , whenever anybody has a failure on one side of the other, usually in an election. or thecans in 2008 democrats in 2010, i can even remember back when i was on the hill in 1998 when republicans lost a handful of seats when they thought they would pick up seats. the messaging always gets blame.
it is never what you did, it wasn't because he were pushing impeachment in 1998. messaging. if only our messaging could be fixed. to thelways sympathetic communication site because they always got blamed for. jen: you can keep your health plan, notwas a policy a messaging plan. >> that is about all i have. we all think that colleagues we work with all think they can do our job. has a communication strategy that they are sure they will work if they pursue it. everybody is always with policy. nicki: what about those external
relationships that you have to navigate in each of your roles. whether it is the press, whether it is the public, congress? challenges, or experiences you had trying to navigate those relationships with the person in the white house who is reaching out to these other stakeholders? >> on the legislator frank, one of the things you have to get right is how you are going to manage that outreach to the hill. the ideal from my perspective who is need the person head of legislative affairs to manage that. that does not mean it's the only one who can talk to the hill. the legislative affairs team needs to know about it. every administration has therefore story. horror story.
by the time i was in the white house, my boss would talk to the hill. he was really good about it. i got a call saying to come down, that sort of thing. him, you hadlling a president who is a senator, a vice president who is a senator and you are just going to have a lot of people. i don't mean to single out, every administration goes through that. if you are going to have a successful first year, you need to sort that out very quickly on putting a system in place so that there is outreach coordinated under the legislative shop. jen: i think in terms of , iationship with the press think if there is in tension, you are not doing your job and the press is not doing their job . i mean that within reason. civility needs to i
think return or be a part of how people interact between media and public officials. in the early days was the only woman in the press office. this is not purely a gender thing, but a lot of my male colleagues were more likely to screen, slam phones and yell. it was not the most effective thing to be honest. press white house, the always wants more access to the president. we never want to give as much access as people want. there are some traditions, the exists because there have been enough assassination attempts on presidents that are is a public right to know. you can argue, do they need to go to the kids basketball game, or the restaurant?
have been through, i think over the last eight years, a lot of changes in the media. how peopleterms of consume information, and how we breached the public. what is challenging for somebody in my role, and i am sure will be challenging for my successor so many there is outlets now. there are so many ways people consume information that you cannot just talk to the white house press room. you will not reach a lot of people. those people in the press room are responsible for, and attuned to everything the president is saying and they hold you accountable. coal is a big push in which is challenging. sometimes we did things better than other which was making an official available. that is what people in the media want. they want to talk to the policy experts. sometimes they want to talk to
the legislators. the policy experts often will. that is very useful for presidents. you run out of resources and time and ability to do that. that is always something that is useful. there is always a push and pull with the press in the white house. element of that is healthy, but there are parts of tradition that should continue. thank god we did not have twitter, i could not imagine ronald reagan using twitter to -- twitter. [laughter] jen: you would not give him his password. [laughter] >> you said it is useful for some folks. i was always off the record, or whatever the term is we use these days.
ought to be made by the people we are working for. there are other outside groups. it is certainly a domestic policy in the white house. it is your responsibility in many ways to keep up with the outside groups. to meet with them, to talk with them, to make sure your policy papers get process, otherwise you lose. part of the white house contact pointhe for many outside groups supporting. we spent the last six years ago of talking about divided government when it comes to enacted a divided government. are there any falls to have a united government, or unadulterated good for your domestic agenda? >> dan could say it better than
i, sometimes much worse. you are expected to reduce well when you have a unified government. your party colleagues on the hill think they have more discretion to not agree or two intervene with policy or to try to get you to do things they want you to do. if it is not uniformly a good thing. >> there are a lot of pitfalls. going back to what we were talking about before, you come in with a unified government, there is expectations that get raise, that are sometimes hard to beat. i think you will see this in this coming year. they intend to do major tax reform, or repeal and replace affordable care act. you have limits under reconciliation in the senate.
i saw it with divided government in recent years were republicans controlled the house and the senate and there were some members who did not understand how to get things done. down.ment was shut it could force the president to sign something. it was like, where did you go for your civics class. it does not work that way. it still does not work that way. , people are not realistic. they set their expectations so high. you set yourself up to fail if you can achieve everything. that is the problem. think we are a two-party system. both of the parties, certainly the democratic party is big on it. i'm sure the republican party is too. that is the beauty of it, everybody does not have identical thoughts. there is an expectation that people will march to the same
drummer. everybody has different politics and different views, and these all come into play. if you look back at when president obama came in and we had the house and the senate with pretty sizable numbers, getting health care was really hard. it almost did not happen. that was with majorities in both houses. even with the incoming 51 tostration, you need repeal and 56 to replace. that is not easy, that is hard. place for aare in reason. i think sometimes you forget how hard it is to get bills passed. >> i like to think we have a tent, or an umbrella. jen: they are sort of cousins. nicki: i want to get all of your advise to the incoming administration. i want to start with jen.
you have been working very closely on creating new policies and strategies and navigating a changed media environment. what kind of advice would you give to the incoming team about how to navigate that? int things did you learn your time in communications at the white house that might be useful going in? jen: i would say that, the way that we view media now is, it is not a social media versus traditional media. there is a big spectrum and most outlets are on that spectrum. counting platforms, that are social media platforms. that is a different beast for a different panel. that is how we view it. i would say, the lessons we have learned our that, you want to prioritization, which is driven by your policy
team. and really force the system, to focus on those priorities. a thousand flowers cannot bloom in government because you are responsible for everything. in terms of the way that you communicate, we found that a mixture of what people would hate the i really terms traditional or mainstream media, but i will use it because people know what it is a reference to. social media is probably the sweet spot. -- our our a chip did objective is to communicate with the american people. aboutnnot beat snobbish this outlet only being around for five years, therefore they are not eligible. do reallyhose outlets interesting and good serious work. there is an inaccurate and unfair perception that people like to throw out there that we only do zach galifianakis.
i had them back for two years and that was the for aching back. that fact that i had in the objective to sign people up for the affordable care act. an an combination of what is online. we have done a lot around syria's policies that do good work. ushink there is sometimes an versus them on mainstream media and social media outlets that is not healthy. the last thing i will say is that, while it is important to recognize the opportunity with all of these new outlets, there is a lot of risk as we have seen. i don't mean risk for president, i think we have learned over the reporting from the last couple of weeks that, the way people consume information, it is hard for people to differentiate what they see online. i think it is important to take it vantage of these
options, there should be a discussion in this country about how to make sure people are getting reputable and accurate information. that is where a lot of the mainstream outlets come in that are not swayed. sometimes you are you in editorial boards. he can provide that information to the public. that was really a tirade on media. there is a lot to be said about this issue. the advice i would give is, relationships matter. get to know the reporters who cover you. get to know what they care about and what they are thinking about. focused on your priorities and your issues. don't be afraid to try new things and recognize that sometimes things fail. be humbled when sometimes things don't work. been are people who have in the press for a long time. ask what we, not to should say on things, but to get if this is ok, or
what should we be doing more of or less of your they have a better sense of the tradition of the white house that are important that in incoming staff -- that in incoming staff might not. what would your advice be for the incoming team? sure i have any advice on the communication side. i am curious to watch because, one of the things i have noticed , on the last few years is the conservative side you have a lot of folks who tried to influence the process from the right who see their role in life in trying to keep everything. . i'm curious in considering with how the president-elect got elected in his use of social media, how that will layout. republican, the
leaders are not going to agree on everything he wants to do. as john peter said, he got nominated and elected. he is much more independent-minded than your normal republican president. at some point there will be a tension of does he take to twitter? even individual members who might, all you have some of the groups on the right who might say that this infrastructure package is bad in this circumstance, and they try to make it hard for republicans to vote for. now there will be a counter pressure from the president .aying, they are wrong i would be very curious to see how it plays out. i think it changes the dynamics significantly. i am just curious to see it play out. nicki: we will go to q and a after this.
like dan, i do not have much advice for incoming administration. the one thing that helps in the policy strategy that i have been we have to is that, be involved in consistent message. you have to be saying something that is important or at least understandable to who you are talking to. i don't know what this president elects message might be on various things, but if you don't have a consistent message it is very hard. certainly to try to sell your policy, you need to be able to talk about it and consistently talk about it. are questions, if you will just wait for the microphone. charlie clark with government executive. the office of legislative affair under obama got criticism for
things like not returning phone calls or answering correspondence. summer cup josh some republicans said they would have if they were able to cooperate. in general, do they have a duty to return phone calls? [laughter] let me defend the obama let me defend that. administration on that. verybama folks, i think sincerely. heard those stories on the other side not just from republicans but they were not as visible. you know, it really depends upon
your post. case that atthe particularly the beginning of the administration, the focus needs to be on the democrats. so if the republicans got a little bit less attention i do that.nd fault with in divided governments, that is a different situation. look, if you're going to try to get your legislative agenda passed, you have to be figuring out how you are putting together 218 votes or 60 votes in some cases, so there is a lot of people you need to pay attention to and that is an important aspect of the job. >> i am basal. i used to work at the state department. my question relates to the filibuster. i'm sure you could correct me if i am wrong by the senate at the
outside, can they change the filibuster by majority vote? is that the case? secondly, would you expect it to happen? >> so, in theory you are 2/3 of the vote to change the senate roll. reid changedator it for a number of circumstances. nominees. some of the judges. so it could've happened, yes. will they don't upfront? no, i do not think so. senator mcconnell is an institutional list. this goes back to the conversation about unifying government and expectations. the first belt against filibustered, there will be in the-- conservatives house, conservatives on the outside -- you are going to say,
mcconnell you are blocking it because you won't get rid of the alabaster. that is something he will have to deal with. he is made a pretty clear that at least upfront he does that want to do that. he made it clear before he did not want to do it under the democrats. >> hello. bit general.s a how would you predict donald trump's presidency given that before he has come into the office he already said over 1000 for carrier -- saved over 1000 jobs for carrier company. and he is named so many to his cabinet. and he had a conversation with the taiwan resident which is a break. so how would you predict his way of residency? thank you. laughter]
>> that sounds like a policy and question.e i have had conversations with a lot of people. i start the conversation with, who knows? i speculate for 10 or 15 minutes and conclude the conversation with who knows. which thee a way in things that happen in a transition help foretell what will happen in the first year or are they just two different beasts? the -- >> i mean, the nominations made. surround any president themselves with and who they want to beginning them advice. for anyone with a long legislative history, it can be hard to predict what advice giving.is
>> i assumed the transition is an and decatur because people, whether this president-elect or any previous president, things do change when they get into a up as. in the beginning, i presume the transition is a predictor of how he will operate. of view on policy and experience, i would say the first budget is important. i am a member of the -- society, so i still look at those things. domesticthose priorities will be funded, some will be a unfunded, so at least it gives you a sense of domestic policy. a trajectory when they do the first budget. for jen.estion is if you could say little bit more about the discussion that the communications team had with the economics team about what you could end not saying and if you could kind of reconcile that with trumps approach and the outcome of the election and also
where the market is. jen: a lot of things. i am not sure they are related but i will try. what i was trying to illustrate was the fact that policy does not always make easy communications. you accept that. days, ifthe early people remember, the election and the president first year or more essentially shifted and change starting in august or september before he was even elected. that hes a recognition had a role once he was elected and the even before when it was looking like it was going out way, that he would have a powerful role to play in helping get some policy like tarp across the finish line. there is the old story of secretary paulson, maybe you are in for this and you can speculate better than i can. getting down on his hands and knees and begging them to help pass.
us, we had an economic team reunion on friday night. don't be jealous. it was a wild and raucous party. it was great. one of the things they talked about was how they are terrible communicators. they are brilliant, brilliant economist and very smart people but you recognize early on that if we had our druthers you would have people who were not professionals by trade, but very good at television. but that is not often nor should it be how you pick cabinet secretaries. right? so our experience is there were many, many conversations come not just one like this where it was always a pleasure in all between the press and communications team and economic team about what can be said publicly in terms of articulating to the public about things work. that you didn't want to scare
people at the same time. one of the earliest mistakes we made early on was when christina romer made the prediction about the unemployment rate. that was perhaps necessary at -- i guess people in the meeting would've argued that was going to get people to vote for the recovery act. i do not not that was torn up and then i told us to a standard we could not meet. we could never meet that are with our -- on the aside. that was challenging. i am notates to today, sure. it is different. i mean, the economy is in in entirely different place. there are obviously lots of -- the economic agenda is always a big part of what any president typically faces or addresses. there are lots of things under that umbrella or tent or whatever you want to say. i can make any predictions about how president-elect trump or anyone will handle things.
>> in terms of your saying that -- i thought i heard you say that essentially you perceive the economy to be a lot worse than you could say. >> i did not perceive it. it was. yes. it was worse than we articulated from the government. >> right. jen: and there were lots of other people saying it but there the press.ng about the president, the treasury secretary articulating how bad it was, there was a concern about how bad of an effect that would be on the market. the economy. that was a real discussion we had on a very regular basis. >> sure. but i mean i guess the thing i want to look at is typically i hear people talk about how great things are right now. and that is obviously something trump did not do and i would probably argue that is part of what made him popular. he said, things are pretty bad for the average person. i wonder if you could jump into your timesheet, would you do so
and do some -- say something a little differently. >> can i take a quick crack at that? there is a difference when you are running and when you're governing so i don't think jen would disagree when president obama was running for the presidency he talked a lot about how bad things were. candidates do that. once you get elected, there is an instinct i guess that kicks in to try to talk about how it is going to get better. it did not certainly get better right away. my recollection is it is not grandma but we're going to put these things in place. i have been in the same type of meetings that jen referenced where it is expressed, you do not want to talk down the economy because it discourages people and you are trying to inspire confidence so that is the distinction i would make.
jen: we're going to have to clear the states for another set ofair you date panelists -- erudite families. but thank you. [applause] >> now a look at how the trump administration agenda could be affected by the national security and foreign relations. 50 minutes. >> a terrific day, want to thank everyone for coming and powering through three of these terrific discussions. we are really delighted to have three of the best here. i have gotten to work with all three of them over the last seven years and this is a of people.oup starting with our moderator and the executive vice president here at the brookings institution, my colleague who was twice ambassador to israel and also worked as the special coordinator for middle east
peace and the white house. he has seen this from all different sides of the equation and he was going to be a panelist but the moderator, bruce jones, the vice president for foreign policy at brookings came down 60 we're going to ask martin to do double duty because i think he has his own observations and in put on what these transitions are like and what they look like. and two colleagues from the i was center, want a film fortunate enough to have as a colleague and government and another one with all been fortunate enough to have as a public servant, a miller professor at the miller center. and in the history department of the history at virginia. millerdirector at the center and executive director of the 9/11 commission which was a crisison the first year in american history.
and air gettleman, who was important in my first are government. he is the distinction -- and i will tell this jokey vanessa mcgivern some of you have heard it -- who has been chief of staff and later national security advisor for vice president cheney. take colbert once said to air, you must either be the greatest foreign service officer in the history of the department or a whore, to which aircrew responded "the two are ." mutually exclusive also under the slush and your chair at the miller center which is a chair and doubt -- the schlesinger the chair. other posts as well. also when the visiting will be a ends, he
senior fellow at the miller center starting in january. so with all of that, i will handed over to martin. martin: thank you very much, bill. i had the honoring and challenge of serving the president. bill clinton and the white house in his first year in office. i was handling the middle east. as bill has explained, we have rich experience between me three of us when it comes to first both of presidents, republican and democrat when it comes to foreign and national security policy. i was just reviewing the record for the miller center. that in clinton's first year in office, and february he had to deal with the
world trade center bombing which few people will remember. the initial one. six people killed and 1000 injured. in june, clinton ordered the first use of force in his presidency against saddam hussein, a retaliation for the attempt to assassinate george h.w. bush on a visit to kuwait during the first year of clinton's presidency. gays in we had the the military issue, the famous " policysk don't tell that caused political blowback. in september, we had user arafat arafat and- user rabin on the white house lawn, the accords.
and then black hawk down and the whole reaction to the situation andogadishu and somali withdrawal of all of the troops and somalia which had a big impact in his inability when it came to deployment of force. then in december, we had nafta. -- ands just a reminder i still can talk about 9/11 impact on the bush agenda. eventsnevitable that would often remind people. driveevents that seem to foreign policy in the first year. thet is likely to be in first year of president trump's administration as well.
what is the advice to presidents in the first year to draw from your experience? what should they try to put in place to deal with the kind of hydranton from the fire when it comes to foreign policy? ofso, the default tendency government is to drift and remain on autopilot. often accompanied by noise and then things happening and you react to them and your tenure ends up getting defined by your reactions. that is the natural default. the hardest thing to do in government is actually to corel people together and accomplish something purposeful. that requires great skill.
drift is actually not very hard. and, in most agencies, actually at most times in some ways that is the default mode. people continue doing what they have been doing and stuff happens. always be busy. the inbox will always be full, there will always be events and circus noise and turbulence. the dog barks and the caravan will move on. my advice and this gets more into process if there are people concreteactually want advice on how to make a difference. for this sophisticated washington group, and there are some veterans here of many things, i want to single out three things. anythingou want to do big, you have got to do it with
the congress. do it with the congress. there is a very great tendency in this sort of meeting about foreign policy is to be very executive-branch centric. but in fact, and i have served in many executive branch jobs and have only worked with congress when i had to but i have had to several times. let me illustrate what i need with concrete examples. one might now could be informative to this administration from the past. all of you know that president-elect obama did is one of his first acts, i am going to close guantanamo. the first act. now, he did not, in preparing this, they put everything in motion. the executive order, this beach. a did not deeply consult with congress before they made their
move will stop had they consulted with congress before they made their move, were there people in congress who would've quietly said, yes we will help you. yes, there were such people. senator john mccain, for example. was,ee, the challenge here if you're going to close guantanamo then replace it with what? if you have a plan for, let's replace it with this and then we have kind of a plan developed that is basically which state is ?oing to get it then, you might have a chance of getting political support among the representatives of all of the other states. laughter] philip: and get it out of the way. so by announcing, we are going to close one tunnel. and then you had not done the homework with, was about where and how, what happens? every member of congress gives
out a statement. the politics then becomes poisonous and movement is impossible. here we are eight years later and guantanamo is not closed. i believe this was a possibility. it might not of been, but it could've been done. you were thinking executive branch centric did not work. now an example from right now. a discussion in the news about terror. about different things to restrict trade, which is a weston. torrent policy maybe the most important foreign policy question in the foreground for immediate action by this administration. shorthandf you -- rey if you know what i mean when i say the words "destination basis taxation." all right. there are six or seven of you. this is hugely important with respect to trade right now.
right now, the house majority, led by paul ryan, kevin mccarthy, and kevin brady are developing corporate tax reform that fixes all the rogue and stuff having to do with income shifting, profit shifting, all of that which is a long, broken problem. very serious. according of gigantic cash power overseas, all of that. there trying to develop an approach to that which has to do and something called destination basis which would basically turn our corporate tax system into an income system which is a facsimile of a consumption-based system like the systems almost all of our trading partners use and would create an even playing field for most companies. because of the border adjustment that will happen and implementing the system, not altogether different from the border adjustment you make if out,uy a product and taken
this will have the effect, if their plan goes through, of having a huge impact on import intensive products. there will be no taxes at all on pete -- on things being sold for export. it has enormous application for terms of trade. watching this are understand. there will be a lot of adjustments to it and arguments so on.o compliance and i happen to think that is a creative idea of great interest. my point is this. if you, in the executive branch, if the people right now on the landing teams like the end of miguel and others and those interested in doing something that shows economic nationalism and who are thinking about whether or not to withdraw from nafta will hold their fire, you cannot work that agenda and also do what paul ryan is trying to
do at the same time. and of paul ryan has a chance of getting through his package, it is going to have such a substantial impact that you are what thatait and see impact is before you decide whether or not you want to do a lot of other stuff that could result in the repatriation of hundreds of billions of dollars and a lot of other positive things that kevin mccarthy and describedy will loudly to you. congressional partnership, i spent a little time on that. i won't spend as much time on the other two suggestions because i want to hear from air and so does martin and so do you. is, a premium on policy staff work. written policy. in my professional experience now going back more than 30 years, i have seen an enormous decline in the quality of
britain's staff work in the government, regardless of administration. what happens is people make hold staff larger and they more meetings because people do not know actually how to do written analysis. written, concrete operation analysis where they detail choreographies, describe pros and cons and isolate the key writing for decisions to concentrate time and focus. this seems like a trivial procedural detail, quality staff work is a matter of life and death. it is not hyperbole. that is a true statement i have seen happen in the wars in iraq and afghanistan. it is a matter of life and death and scarcely even talked to people going even into mid-level offices. third and final point.
there is a lot of good discussion which we will get into about the staff, relation to executive departments and so on. i want to tag something that does not get much attention which is the need to link policy planning and policy analysis to budget development. development. if you actually studied the nfc staff and did not notice, where does omb fit into the nfc staff system. the answer is, not much really. but everyone in here who is private sector experience knows this is a first sensible. of course you manage with budgets. except in national security. except at the top of the government. that has large consequences. we are about to enter a time in which there is going to be fantastic budget strain and budget arguments which i hope will be result. it will be a first importance. that is a maxim worth
remembering. >> thank you phil. air, what is your advice? eric, what is your advice? >> let me start out with a confession. yesterday was watching the redskins instead of preparing. to beat the managed philadelphia eagles. i was having pangs of had conscience about not preparing, i was watching the game and i thought, tomorrow i got to talk , the blocking and tackling simple things that need to get done in government that we do not do. i would say two things. one on personal, one on policy, and they really are the same
thing. first, personnel. one of the biggest challenging things a present has a national security is getting her arms around the apparatus of the government that conducts national security affairs. it is not a new observation. henry kissinger made this observation back in 1966 before he became secretary and justly -- in a justly famous essay about domestic structure and foreign policy. seven years ago i think i was here on this brookings stage doing a book event for the late author's book, "presidential command." this is the first and enormous task a president has. the focus on personnel is really important but as one of the earlier panels noted, the tendency tends to be on the high-profile cabinet positions
and not enough attention gets focused on putting together teams of people who both within the agencies can work together and across the agencies can work together because if you can't get that kind of tumor, you will inevitably have all sorts of dysfunction, particularly in the first year when a lot of people it confirmed and on average takes about nine months and i believe it will be longer in this transition, to get partbody in place, we were of the rubbermaid transition team planning in 2012, we began evework in july and by the of election we were prepared to go in. philip was on the intelligence side, was on the defense side, and we had slates of candidates for all of the senate confirmed had.- positions that we
very much on the question, how can we get people who can work together so you do not get the kinds of dysfunction you , right now like with secretary carter and the navy secretary. and we have had another defense departments with the subcabinet appointees and the difficulties they can present. part of that personnel issue is careerrstand that the elements in the department of defense, department of state, and central intelligent agency and other agencies are not the enemy. they are the subject matter experts that can help you succeed but only if you establish a relationship of trust with them and provide them leadership. commander's have intent, as we see at the department of defense, they have to know which direction the new team is trying to move in. and i will just say on that score they have to overcome the
new team, whoever it is, has to overcome a deep bias. servicer foreign colleague used to of which he iron-law transition. no matter how much you hated your overlords before, the new t makeshift nostalgia for the old team. the roughestimony to shakedown cruise that almost every first year of administration turns out to be. the second piece of advice i would give is to try and, in the early time, spend time in the first few weeks before something happens. before events start to drive you, to actually understand the policy before you start trying to change it. inevitably caricatures
is.hat the policy actually the folks in the government have been working this an extraordinary detail. there is a lot that can go wrong when you start to make adjustments. it is not that you should not change the policy. every administration wants to do that, appropriately. but you need to understand what you are changing before you start changing it and all too often people come in with a lot that have not, as philip said, and i completely agree, they have not been adequately staffed and the first-order business for an orderly staff change is to understand what is in place before you start to change it. >> thank you. one of the things i would like to focus on is the relationship between the white house and the anderent departments agencies of national security,
nowlearly have a situation where there is a good deal of tension between the incoming president and the cia and the ciadard tension between the and the fbi. if you think back to henry kissinger's days, also with withon ski -- also brezhinski and vance. they were at loggerheads for much of those early years in the nixon administration. the carter administration, the same. 43 between rumsfeld, powell, and vice president cheney. so, what is your sense given your experience with all of that?
how to ensure that it does not end up dysfunctional? or is it just in the nature of the personalities who structured things that you are going to have these kinds of tensions? is there anything you can advise on what needs to be done in that regard to avoid the kinds of royalesate -- battle we are in the past? >> yes, there is. i will touch on the nfc first. the nfc staff, is a too large? yes. as of micromanage? yes, i think so. i think it is because basically it is extremely large and they are holding constant meetings because they do not know better. but it is not a of a credit-republican phenomenon. kind you are talking about 400? >> yes.
it is generally regarded as having been a highly functional stuff. >> i thought it was too small. >> actually, it was not too small. [laughter] >> no, we were only able to end gulf war.ar and the by the way, franklin roosevelt won world war ii with a large national security establishment. running 50% of united states economy to boot. they did that with nine white house staffers. this is not because roosevelt was disengaged. aboutells you something what you are doing being important and there was an eisenhower system that was totally different but also highly functional. the point about that is, rather than get into shrinking it by one third. i was on a transition where we got that.
shrink and by one third. that is a meaningless thing to say. like, what do you want the staff to do? what do you want the executive departments to do? then work on the staff numbers that flow from that if you are actually clear on the jobs. most staff jobs do not even come with a written job description much less training. i mean, not even one day of training. if you work on the substance of what these people do, with the different roles are, a lot of the stuff will then begin to take care of itself. if you actually begin to realize the more you bloat the staff, and some way should make staffers more powerful. you don't make the president any wiser or more powerful. that is the point. i am uneasy about this, when i did the 9/11 commission work we were, one of the administrations clintond at were the
administration. you may remember, martin, it had a dysfunctional relationship with the director of the fbi. who suspected his white house clients might be engaged in criminal activity he would have to investigate. , no matter who is going to be elected in november, this was a difficult relationship with the f dei director. it was not assured but that is one of the reasons congress tried to give the fbi director a high degree of independence and how they set up job. we will see how that works out. if you fire the current director, it could be worse actually. so there is a problem. thehave all this stuff with intelligence community. the point i wanted to make about iss, all of this flak
undermining a condition of trust. i want to stress the value of trust is not so the president will salute when the intelligent walkselligence community past. that's not the point. you get the trust not so they will always agree, you get the trust so you can have healthy arguments. of distrustndition results in frozen relationships where each side begins behaving and passive aggressive ways and drawing their assessments across. what you do not get is the healthy give and take and interaction which can be tough-minded and has to be. the greatest intelligence disaster of my lifetime was the wmd disaster. the problem that catastrophe was interacted too
little, they should have interacted much, much more. much mored've had a tough-minded interaction about the nature of intelligence and that should've been going on even back in the clinton years when those assessments originated, actually. so, you are building trust, frankly, so you can have those kinds of discussions with different intelligence agencies quarreling over different things and the fbi has this day, the cia has that take, but nobody in the conversation feels like they are threatened by that. as the atmosphere gets frosty or, it is not a matter of who agrees with home, it is the quality of the talk and quality of discussion. >> i largely agree with philip. your cabinet that officers and the other members of the national security
council, when they meet in the various forms whether deputies are principles, are going to represent the view of their agency which has a specific mission and therefore will look at things differently. in department of defense, we look at things differently than we did in the department of state and from the white house you have get a different view and having at different points in my career being in all three of those positions, it is natural. disagreement. you don't want unanimity. when i say you want teamwork, it is different than unanimity. the last thing you want is groupthink, premature closure on issues where people think they have the answer before them actually talked it through. as philip was just suggesting, that was a very hard thing to orchestrate particularly when you have very big personalities etc. evious reputations
in particular, one of the challenges is that the cabinet secretaries and the director of cia or the director of national ofelligence have a kind janus-faced role. on the one hand, they are the face of the president extending his hand on the institution. on the other, they are the voice of the institutional interest and prerogatives of the institution they said on top of. and trying to make that point of view heard in the interagency deliberations. maintaining the wants of those two roles is very hard for individual cabinet officers i think. frankly, an emotionally intelligent president will be looking for people who can balance those two roles when they pick their cabinet officers. expect ther of you
same kind of bureaucratic warfare where seen between andious security advisers secretaries of state, sectors of defense. exactly who the secretary of defense and zipping -- ends upnt, but being at this point but we have as national security advisor the pretty strong views about the intelligence agencies so it looks like it is baked into the system already. >> as one of the panelists earlier said or a couple of the panelists earlier said, who knows? it is hard to tell. it does nothinks matter whether someone was a three-star or four-star never worked a day in the pentagon.
think that i will be very interested to see how the -- [crosstalk] --general flynn, who was a first-rate intelligent professional, it will be very interesting to see that dynamic. >> does it matter that we might have a general in charge of civilians in the pentagon? >> i do think it matters. i think the law was drafted and carefully back in 1947. these circumstances have changed from the circumstances we faced then when we were initially unifying the military departments in creating the unified department of defense. so maybe the urgency is a little bit less than it was.
still is iow, there think, there are a number of issues that come along with this. i know general mattis. outstanding, thoughtful, extremely well-red officer and i am sure he is very well aware of the pitfalls and dangers and i am sure he will be trying very hard to avoid stepping in this. but there are issues i think having to do with democratic clinical civilian control of the military that arises from that. congress andack to a different dimension of this. >> i was conjuring up this mental image of high school chemistry classes gone wild. where you let the students use any compounds they want and start mixing them up and who knows what will happen. you kind of stand outside in the hall, you hear all of this stuff fizzing and smoking in the hall,
fumes begin to leak out to the door. you say, i wonder what is happening. laughter] >> it feels like that. happen.der what will >> where all wondering, everybody i am sure is wondering, we have not had a president that sees the asruptive diplomacy as constructive, productive way of moving forward. what kind of challenges that pose pose to the national security agencies where the first instance of that was with the president of taiwan. kellyanne conway today said that president trump is going to move the u.s. embassy to jerusalem. >> the chinese embassy to jerusalem. from beijing to jerusalem. centralize the operations and
asia. [laughter] drag so, do you have any experience with this? about how national security deals with this kind of disruptive approach? >> this is kind of what they thought was going to happen in december 1980 after ronald reagan was elected. they thought the apocalypse might be coming. out thatt quite turn way. but you just have to kind of recover some of the images be plowed back then but this is different. is different. a different situation, on the one hand no one who went through this campaign thinks a natural born diplomat is he. laughter] philip: but on the other hand, this is a man who has written a book called "the art of the deal."
actually, i have an 800-word as a coming out tomorrow called "the art of the global deal." in which i say, if i really took their position seriously, here is how i might go about connecting the dots. here's the interesting thing i think they will encounter, there are some things they're going to want to get done. the domestic agenda alone i can see where that is going and there are serious people involved in it and that is going to take up 150% of the oxygen in the room. just the domestic agenda plus immigration. >> tax reform, infrastructure bill. >> and a little thing about health care. man. they are serious. is 150% of the oxygen the room. what is left over for foreign policy. how much noise to they want foreign policy to make in the first 6-9 months.
when george bush came into office, he was not looking to make a lot of headlines on foreign policy, he had heavy lifting he wanted to do on the domestic side. and thisl ryan administration. i can find people on this team who will want to pick fights with about three quarters of the countries in the world. seriously just about get there without working hard. it turns out that if you do that , you are going to make a lot of noise and take up a lot of oxygen. i actually think the last few years have been very bad for the united states and the global system. big take away from that is, ladies and gentlemen, we are now entering a time of prepared need to now enter a time of preparedness. they give this is 19 seven to
after the vietnam war. 19 35.er analogies, we would counsel preparedness. preparedness does not mean you go around picking fights with everyone you can find while you are getting repaired. if you speak softly and carry a big stick, first start getting the big stick ready. ideally, that would mean you would actually avoid all fights while you were making your institution stronger and you would try to attract all of the friends you possibly could if you really were worried about our situation and the world. you see, that begins to drive you even if you are worried about the condition of the world, which the president-elect says he is. that could drive you into thinking about diplomacy. if you want to attract friends, avoid unnecessary ire while concentrating on preparedness. diplomacy will be your hand
maybe -- your handmaiden. >> interesting. since you work for vice president cheney as his national security adviser and it seems clear that vice president pence is going to take on a lot of the load when it comes to national foreign policy, what do you think about that? how will that work itself out? >> i think there is one big difference between the relationship that president george w. bush and dick cheney is in thedy carter crowd so he can correct me if i'm wrong but -- and the relationship that president-elect trump and vice president-elect pence have and that is that vice president cheney had no higher political the relationship he therefore had with the president was i think on freighted by that. natural tension that
occurs between other presidents and feist residence. vice president pence i think clearly as someone who potentially has a political politics andcted that will introduce, i think, potentially some tension. veryo think that, i have high regards for vice president elect pence. i think of all the statements threey any of them in the debates on foreign affairs, he was the most articulate, the most compelling when discussing syria and russia. in the second presidential debate it did not take too long before the president-elect disowned it and threw him under the bus in terms of those positions. i think there is potentially some danger here and that. i would say to your earlier
point this i know is sort of heresy for the foreign affairs clara c but i was not troubled from the by the call taiwanese president. fine to perhaps throw folks in beijing off balance but what does bother me a one would have hoped it was result of a deliberative process and a clearly thought out strategy with a plan for how to manage this. it is clear from the president-elect comments over the weekend that was not the case. the reactionthat from beijing, which was actually pretty mild, should not have elicited a tweet storm. it isf the issue is that
fine for the president to try and change our policy. he was elected, he has the right to do that. it is fine to decide you do not want to be behind by the one china policy anymore but to just say we're not going to be bound by things we have undertaken as a nation before through multiple administrations has i think ripple affects he might not yet be aware of in terms of the way it will call into question both for our allies and potential adversaries, america's amendments in other parts of the world and i think that is a very, very -- the credibility of us has already been undermined by some degree by the incumbent president who is not paid enough attention to that and to is been pretty dismissive of harping on credibility but i think it is very very important. >> just to give you an illustration of what we mean my diplomacy and strategy, air just withd about phone calls
the president of taiwan. we share the view that in itself that is not necessarily shocking. then there was the follow-up tweet storm. getting ready to adopt an economic approach that is probably going to confront china economically and some fashion. they are in arguments about how. we are already planning to push them fairly hard economically. the question is a strategic matter. you say to yourself, if we are actually going to have an economic confrontation with china in the coming year, you also say to yourself, let us escalate this and make it a confrontation with them on their other core interest. having to do with their definition of sovereignty and other things in the region and let's confront them on all of the score interest at the same time. play?t the smart
>> the president-elect addressed that yesterday as something he would trade off. that i think the president of taiwan would have a little bit of a problem being used in the trade-off. imagine, if henry kissinger on steroids was available. i am going to create confrontation. >> he is not taking steroids anymore. [laughter] >> if you confront all the simultaneously, now we are worried about everything. we are to construct this incredibly elaborate deal, we're going to roll back our relations to wear was in the mid-1970's and then tried to re-crafted the whole bargain from scratch on all of these issues. of ofould test the skills the wisest and most experience we have.
one thing's oldest of mystic stuff. our trillion dollars of treasury bills. you see the problem. it may be in the way of the rebuttal to the kind of strategic approach that air can in dire counseling which is not so much ducking a fight but how to structure it. the chinese at leaders know a difficult phase is coming but they would like to try to constructively and manage the internal threat in their world. >> let's go to the audience and take three questions and come back to the panelists. >> please identify yourself. >> i am affiliated. majorny different
initiatives can he knew president handle on his team and how would you split that between the mastic where you have legislative in the first year versus international awareness where there are a lot of things not under your control but important things like china and the middle east. >> retired foreign service officer. philip, you talked intensively about preparedness. yourld like to know what definition is. we are hearing about a big military budget buildup which of .ourse would become a fight i would like your definition of what repair this -- preparedness means. philip: --
>> air, do you want to start with priorities and preparedness? eric: i think if the president elect is going to make good on his philadelphia speech where he talked about rebuilding the military, then i hope he would take advantage of the window of opportunity people in previous handles have talked about in terms of united government to seek a repeal of the budget control act and sequestration of the defense budget and a move ick to the top line will stop would argue, as we did in the bipartisan national defense panel that reported out two years ago at request of the congress that it he at the level 2012bob gates said for the budget for the obama administration before the sequential shouldn't -- before the sequestration hit. that was cutmoney out of the defense budget during the last eight years because i think that is going to be
important for having a diplomatic effort. i am fond of quoting one of my foreign service colleagues who gave a lecture in 1946 at the national war college in which he said, you have no idea how much more civil and civil and polite diplomatic exchanges are when you have a little bit of military power sitting behind here. and i think that is an important facilitator for the president. i would add that i think there ought to be a supplemental, an emergency supplemental as chairman thornbury and senator tom cotton have called for to deal with some of the readiness problems that have been identified by the obama administration and the chiefs by now. >> on the question about the number of priorities. that is a shrewd question. andy looked after this question in 2001. if my memory is correct, there were two big ones, taxes and education, both on the domesti