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tv   Public Affairs Events  CSPAN  December 16, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm EST

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>> continue to watch this program on our website, c-span.org. we take you live to the u.s. house meeting and what's expected to be a brief pro forma session today. the speaker pro tempore: the house will come to order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. december 16, 2016. i hereby appoint the honorable george holding to act as speaker pro tempore on this day . signed, paul d. ryan, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offered by the guest chaplain, reverend monsignor kevin hart, st. peters catholic church, washington, d.c.
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the chaplain: oh, father of us all, you have woven your divine providence into the very fabric of our nation. against all odds, you were instrumental in bringing it to birth. in the face of our enemy mes from without and from within, you have safeguarded the freedom for which so many of our brothers and sisters have given their lives. you have endowed our country with natural and human resources that make it a land flowing with milk and honey and a beacon of hope for those who yearn for the freedom that we enjoy. with these blessings, o god, comes the responsibility to use them wisely. inspire and guard the members of this chamber so that through them you may bring to fruition the good work you have begun in us. god bless these united states of america. amen. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 2-a of
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house resolution 944, the journal of the last day's proceedings is approved. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from eorgia, mr. loud loudermilk. mr. loudermilk: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 4 of rule 1, the following enrolled bills were signed by the speaker on wednesday, december 14, 2016. 710.lerk: h.r. h.r. 1150. h.r. 2726. h.r. 3784. h.r. 3842. h.r. 4352. h.r. 4939. h.r. 5015.
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h.r. 5099. h.r. 5612. h.r. 5790. h.r. 5948. h.r. 6130. h.r. 6138. h.r. 6282. h.r. 6302. h.r. 6304. h.r. 6323. h.r. 6400. h.r. 6431. h.r. 6477. senate 8. by speaker pro tem thornberry on december 16, 2016, h.r. 6014 to allow the administrator of the federal aviation administration to enter into reimbursable agreements for certain airport projects. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? mr. loudermilk: i ask unanimous consent to take from the speaker's table the bill s. 3084 and ask for its immediate consideration in the house. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the right --
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title of the bill. the clerk: an act to invest innovation through research and development and improve the competitiveness of the united states. the speaker pro tempore: is there objection to the consideration of the bill? without objection, the bill is read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives. sir, pursuant to section 1238-b-3 of the floyd d. spence national defense authorization act of fiscal year gun, 22 united states code 7002, as amended, i am pleased to appoint the following individual to the united states-china economic and security review commission to secede michael r. russell whose term is expiring. this appointment would be effective january 21, 2017. mr. jonathan stivers of washington, d.c. thank you for your attention to this appointment.
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signed, sincerely, nancy pelosi, democratic leader. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: it the honorable the speaker, house of representatives. sir, pursuant to section 1238-b-3 of the floyd d. spence national defense authorization act of fiscal year 2001, 22 united states code 7002 as amended, i am pleased to appoint the following individual to the united states-china economic and security review commission to fill the existing vacancies created by the resignation of mr. jeffrey fielder to serve for the rest of the term. this appointment won effective january 1, 2017. mr. michael r. russell of falls church, virginia. thank you for your attention to this appointment. signed, sincerely, nancy pelosi, democratic leader. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 2-b of house resolution 944, the house stands adjourned until 4:00
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p.m. on tuesday, december 20, 2016. >> the houses meeting in non- legislative pro forma sessions. continue live here on c-span. a live picture now from the white house briefing room where president obama will be holding what may be his last news conference as president. mr. obama and his family are leaving for hawaii later today for the holidays. aboutect the president 2:15 p.m. eastern time, about 10 minutes from now. we will have a pre-live on c-span. until then, it portion of onay's "washington journal," executive orders issued by the president over the last eight years.
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>> talking about the president's record on executive orders. explain what an executive order is. one form of executive action, the one people here about most often. it's numbered and put in the federal register and then instructs the executive branch , usually withg the full force of law within the executive branch. to citeuired by law what provision of the constitution or law passed by congress that the president's implement. outside of thely legal framework setup by
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congress. of actions the president can take, which includes potential memoranda, regulations, and a whole host of some formgs that air of action the president can take by himself without relying on congress. host: why would a president do this? what are the conditions that a president assad executive action -- a president to sign executive action? guest: sometimes congress passes law that is supposed to last for decades. the president must do this and the president says i am a busy guy, i cannot do everything. an executive order may be used to delegate to some executive agency or department who is responsible for implementing the law that congress just passed. it can define some terms of legislation that congress passed or raise the standards.
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use our president obama using executive orders in the area of federal contracting, to say if you contract with the federal government, you have to pay your workers a certain amount. you have to pay men and women equally. you have to give paid leave. you can't discriminate. those are all things the president can do, as for the purchaser in chief, to use executive orders in the area of the executive. host: phone number is on the bottom of the screen for our guests. we will break the lines down. republicans, democrats, an independents. our guest is from ohio, educated at ohio university. "cincinnati inquirer." he has been with "usa today" for several years now, served as a
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congress and politics reporter and is now the white house , reporter. he is gregory korte. as our guest mentioned, a directive issued by the president to federal agencies, department heads, where employees can be amended or rescinded by another executive order. can you explain that part of the process? guest: that is what a lot of people are talking about now. president obama has signed 267 executive orders. they are implemented with the stroke of a pen. as ted cruz said repeatedly in the presidential campaign, you live by the pen, you die by the pen. president obama signs an executive order with just his signature. trump can just as easily rescind many of these. he may not. many of these are pretty uncontroversial. pretty low level administrative kind of stuff. some of them may be more controversial. those president trump could undo very early on.
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there is a pattern that has developed where there is sort of a republican set of executive orders. antidemocratic set of executive orders. democratic set of executive orders. what i would expect president trump to do early on is to rescind the democratic package. it has things like union protections for federal workers. yet to notify federal workers of their union rights. certain regulatory teams and contractor roles that that democratic presidents like. there's a different package that republican presidents like. i would expect him to reinstate some of those. george bush, ronald reagan-like policies. host: couple more details. we have established a congressional approval not needed but the judicial branch can get involved. they can block in order, right? guest: a lawsuit can be brought and this applies not only to executive orders but any kind of executive action.
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there has been a number of cases where obama on his immigration and clean-air plan, some of the executive actions he has taken have been blocked in lower courts. there can be a check, not just with courts but also congress. rescind can resend -- an executive order by amending the legal underpinning for that order. the reason why they have not done that with obama is obama can of course veto those attempts to supersede his executive orders. i also mentioned that oftentimes the president will sign the executive order and that order will be codified by congress. congress will say we agree with that executive order and they will put it into law. host: we started to help get this conversation going. change calling on federal agencies to integrate consideration for climate change
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into their policies. we the mandate for private employers to offer contraceptives. also, the deferred action for child arrivals. also, more than 20 executive orders to combat gun violence and also the minimum wage. some of the highlights of the president's eight years in office. anything you want to speak to? guest: what i would say is, the nomenclature gets confused. those are all examples of executive action, not all of them are executive orders. even sometimes people at the white house will conflate those two terms. they are not always important for c-span viewers to know the difference between an executive order and presidential mandate. -- present on memorandum. except for one thing. for a while he was making the claim that you will find fewer -- signed fewer executive orders than his predecessors. he seems to be making the case that he was less aggressive in his use of executive orders. if you only counted executive orders, that is true. when you look at presidential
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has the sameich legal effect, there are a few stylistic differences. you add those together he has used more than any resident since -- any president since harry truman. host: sterling, virginia. caller: good morning. i am calling to question about the executive orders. with the do-nothing congress we have had, have there been examples of congress doing less where a president had to issue executive orders? guest: i have not seen the final numbers but we have seen to be hitting a new historic low as far as bills passed. these are imperfect measures because a bill can do everything from renaming a post office to
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implementing the affordable care act. they don't have the same weight. looking at the numbers of bills doesn't always tell you the full story, but this congress has been less active and president obama has used executive action to fill in that action. -- that vacuum. president obama never used the term executive action in the first three years. it was only after democrats lost control of the house of representatives in 2010 that you really start to hear president obama frustrated he couldn't get anything through congress start talking about using the pen and phone strategy to get around congress to accomplish things like increasing the minimum wage. he can't do that from employers, but he can do it for federal contractors. , thatpe that other people it sets an example and raises the bar.
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the federal government is a huge enterprise and controls a significant portion of the american economy, so the president feels that he can congress things, even within the federal government, then that might have trickle-down effects in the rest of the economy. host: we have carlton from virginia. caller: i am an american career military person, and i have one question for our country and i love it dearly. that is, how do you stop a conglomerate when there are people who do not own elitist in any nation and they are trying to run and graham the people with limited government? -- and ram shod the rest of the people with limited government? thank you. i will hang up and listen to your response. host: thank you, carlton. guest: i am not sure exactly what you're asking. certainly, we have an ideological divide in this country between republicans and
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conservatives and liberals about across about the scope of government and what the proper role is in regulating health care decisions and the health care marketplace, should be involved in setting labor standards? how much is the government responsible for the economy in investing infrastructure and other projects? that is what is discussed everyday on c-span. we have had for the past six years, a divided government. with congress and the president unable to agree on much, the president's use of executive power to advance his agenda, but we have been entering into a period of unified government. they will be able to -- they have demanded to congress that.
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-- the mandate to be able to accomplish that. host: in oregon, independent caller. howard, you are on with gregory korte. caller: i would like to ask a question about our new president. donald trump. if he's going to write executive orders like obama did, we have -- are we going to have any oversight to be able to know he will not be lying about everything? guest: first, obviously, with president-elect trump, he is not been sworn in yet. i would expect not to see a lot of executive orders the first two years. we will see in the first few days president trump rescinding some of the obama era executive orders. but then they will have a republican congress that will send him bills that he can sign to implement the policy changes
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he wants. we will have a republican congress that will send him bills he can find to implement policy changes that you would want. there may be regulations to implement that new legislation. i would not expect president trump would need to resort to a lot of unilateral power because he has republican congress. host: others are writing about this "the new york times," president obama was once skeptical of executive power and has come to embrace it -- their interpretation. take the first part of that. do you think he has been skeptical and why? guest: when he was a senator, he was skeptical of executive power and was critical of how bush used it, especially with national security in terms of warmaking. he wanted to curtail the president's ability to wage war. he was also critical of president bush's use of signing. when congress passes a law, they
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president can either sign or veto it, or they can allow it to go into law without signature. often times, the president will have a signing statement that will tell the rest of the world how he intends to enforce that law and interpret it. president bush, the criticism was, easy signing statements to -- used to these signing statements to reinterpret law to get around provisions of law that he did not like but obama was critical of that. what we have come to see over the past eight years is president obama, especially without the support of the democratic congress, except in the first two years, has resorted to some of the tools that he had been previously critical of. the advanced policy that he was interested in pursuing, he that they were the right thing to do. i think it is probably true of every president. when you're in congress, your
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-- you are very protective of the congressional prerogative. when you're president, you have the perspective of the white house that the world is too dangerous of the place to have congress debate these things for months on end. you need to take action and that is what presidents do. host: a little bit more comparison of president obama and past presidents with executive orders. the american presidency project puts it this way in terms of numbers -- at the bottom of the list, president obama to end at 260 and working up the list, george w. bush, 291, bill clinton, 364, ronald reagan, 381 and richard nixon, 346. the current president is at the bottom of the list. guest: that is true, but as i have said, if you take the presidential memoranda, similar to executive orders and have the same legal effect, and you have those numbers together, he would leapfrog over those predecessors.
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host: back to calls. rosie, houston, texas, democrat. good morning. caller: good morning. what i don't understand about congress, the people who are ahead or over congress, they have rules that they are supposed to be going by. i don't understand now they're pushing the rules away from trump because they are his family -- there he is tweeting, doing everything he is big enough to do -- looks like a club going in and out, in and out into the trump tower. everything you said you cannot do, he is doing it and he is getting away with it. that is hard to understand. it is not nothing that is nice, look like it doesn't have any --
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i cannot think -- i cannot really think of what i am trying to say. it does not have any class. they act like just a bunch of saloon people. he is getting away with all the things they said he could not do. guest: i remember when i was younger, i grew up during the reagan presidency and reagan had these huge electoral landslide victories and would talk about how that was a mandate to enact his policies. donald trump does not have that. he lost the popular vote, won the electoral college, and we now have unified government, both houses of congress and the the president all the same political party, that is where he gets his mandate. you see a new group of people coming in through trump tower.
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they are people who have not been in power for the past eight years. they are going to put the policies together that are different than what we have become accustomed to in the past eight years. that is what the election would -- was about. as president obama would say elections have consequences, so , that is what we have got the next two years. remember, congressional midterm elections in two years, either house of congress could switch that and take away president trump's mandate to do anything like what happened at president obama in 2010. host: in new hampshire, independent caller. hey, catherine. good morning. caller: good morning. i have a suggestion and had to -- and how to pay for it. it is an executive order and i health care suggestion. and i called my plan the obama-trump dynamic duo. they would go down in history together.
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president obama could issue a holiday executive order expanding the affordable health medicare single-payer for all. when taking office, president-elect trump could implement a plan and carry it forward. to pay for it, there would be a 4% say of national sales tax on all sales and services except food. money could be used only to pay for health care. by having these small increments, it is manageable for people. rather than all this insurance stuff. also, companies and businesses wouldn't have to pay worker health insurance because you wouldn't have the above plan. therefore, they would be able to raise minimum wages to $15 an hour and their workers would have more money to spend, thus, support the 4% national sales tax to support complete health care plans.
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i think that would be a wonderful christmas present -- holiday present for the american people. i would wish they would do it. host: thank you. guest: i hate to do an ice -- to throw an ice bucket on your plan because it seems you have thought through this quite a bit. it cannot get done by executive order. the power to tax and to spend is exclusively that of the united states congress under the constitution. if you want to raise taxes, or have a single-payer system, or change the affordable care act, that will have to come from legislation to congress. i expected to be some kind of legislation to repeal the affordable care act and then i -- in the next congress and replace it with something. unfortunately, i think for your plan, what republican congress has in mind is to go the upper -- go the opposite direction, away from single-payer and more to market-based -- i don't know what they have in mind exactly, but it would not be in the
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direction of what you're proposing. host: do executive orders cost a lot of money to put into place? guest: fascinating question. a few years ago, congress attached to the office of a president a revision that says every time the president signs an executive order, the office of management budget should sent to congress a report on how much that executive order costs the american people. i have looked at every single one of these reports and have yet to see a dollar figure in them because what onb says is, look, we cannot spend any money not appropriated by congress . all of these executive orders might have some cost, but it will be within our appropriations. we cannot spend money that congress does not authorize. so none of these reports of congress has given any details on what the cost is.
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they must have a cost because executive orders do things like give federal employees raises. they did things like establish a minimum wage for federal contractors. what happens is the money that gets spent on those items just displaces spending elsewhere within the money that is already appropriate. host: robert understands what you are saying. on twitter, he writes obama has hogtied the economy with executive orders. you think there is a big national economic impact to them. guest: executive orders, probably not so much. presidential memoranda -- i referred to these and i think it is important for people if they want the full picture of executive action, to look at not just executive orders but presidential memoranda -- presidential memoranda are more regulatory and they start processes like the clean power plan or labor regulations, fair pay, paid leave policies. they usually start with not an
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executive order but there is more of a soft power because we are not saying to an agency, you have to do this. it says to examine the issue, do a report and then develop regulations that may come a couple years down the line. often times, a presidential memorandum will start the process that leads to an executive order. if the -- not the caller but tweeter is suggesting there is a cost writ large absolutely. , host: steve, ohio, republican. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you doing? host: doing fine. caller: i was very concerned with the 2014 national defense authorization act that president obama signed. during that time, charlie also signed hr 1509, which is from
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from age 18 years old 45 years i was also looking a few days ago at the college debt, those kids will be timed examples for the the declaration of war or the use of military force. and we are putting troops back in paris are going to syria. the way i understand it is that
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goes on the way back to 1984, when ronald reagan signed that bill and effect. what does this draft mean for the american people? guest: there are a couple things going on with selective service. we have an all-volunteer military right now. we have not had a draft since the vietnam war. we have also had -- it gets to be sort of a wedge issue, where members of congress will bring it up from time to time, almost as a rhetorical device. one is to add women to the draft. that proposal has been made sometimes by republicans, sometimes by democrats, sometimes i have to say disingenuously to try to force a
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vote vote to create a record during an election year. what happened this year is congress and the to the defense provision and created a commission to look at adding women to selective service, requiring women to register when they are 18, but there is an issue that they allude to that congressman rangel is part of that also requires the president probablyte the draft , not another form of executive action we have not talked about his proclamation to activate the draft anytime he authorizes the use of military force somewhere. that would put more american skin in the game. that means it would not go to work as likely because americans would be can scripted. those are all policy decisions that congress has been debating.
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they have not made any decisions yet. they come out supports and recommendations. obama became the first president since jimmy carter to endorse adding women. he did that a week or so ago. that has little impact with president obama leaving, but it will be debated for years to come. host: how about the proclamation? guest: proclamation is the oldest form of executive action. think about the emancipation proclamation. they are arguably, historically, have been even more muscular than executive order. executive orders only have legal impact on the executive branch. a proclamation, as in the emancipation proclamation, can impact all of society. presidents have not used them quite as much lately. president bush used a
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proclamation to call up the national guard, which remains in effect, but when you hear about the proclamation, the one president obama signed was one honoring john glenn and ordering the flags to be flown at half staff in his honor. they're mostly celebratory or honorary, but every once in a while, the proclamation can have pretty sweetening effects. host host: can an executive order supersede a law? guest: no. the law says when the president issues an executive order, he does it typically say what real authority he has to enact that executive order, but the thing is, laws are vague, antiquated, can become obsolete. presidents take advantage of that by using executive orders to fill in the flakes where congress may not have anticipated, congress did not
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explicitly prohibit the president from doing something, and so residents can use executive orders to fill in those blanks. host: back to ohio, mark is calling on the independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. i appreciate the opportunity to speak my mind here in america. mr. korte was speaking on president obama has signed more executive orders and what was the other term? guest: presidential memoranda. caller: that made him a more aggressive president the presidents in the past. well, would you not agree that he had to because the night he was elected, he was told by a room full of white people that they were not going to let him work, ok, just like the night that the question of independence was
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signed, there was a room full of white man deciding what is going to happen in america. although 60 million-plus american citizens voted for this man, he won the popular and the oral college. in both elections the white men decided it is better than america, and now that we have another white man who has won an election, everyone is saying, let the man work. how come they didn't just let obama work? that is what america is about. guest: there is no question that we have just seen a period of nearly unprecedented obstruction, gridlock, dysfunction in the divided government.
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[no audio] with a republican congress and democratic resident, there is no question. even when president obama had a democratic control of congress, there were republicans intent on using any legislative maneuver they could to deport his agenda. they disagreed, but as i suggested with trump, the mandate comes not necessarily from the popular vote or the electoral vote. it comes from more than anything, in my opinion, is congress. when the constitution was written, the framers put congress in article one of the constitution. they have the power to make the laws. the president is an extremely important office, but it is congress that makes laws. so president obama has resorted to these narrower executive actions to try and get things done. he would be the first to tell you that he would prefer not the issue of executive actions on immigration and minimum wage and
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gun control, he would much rather have congress enact laws that he could sign. [no audio] they're much more permanent. president trump can undo all of president obama's executive actions. also, there is sort of the mandate, a permanent than the consensus that comes from having congress rather than the president. host: gregory korte, earlier this fall, president obama expenses executive order beyond earth -- what was this about? guest: we see a lot of these kinds of executive orders, putting into place policies. this one had to do it face weather. i am not a scientist so i'll tell you about this on
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precisely. there are cosmic rays, solar radiation, and weather events that can disrupt electromagnetic systems on earth, communication systems. if there is severe enough, they can disrupt the magnetic grid. what the president that is people don't pay much attention to them at the time but they put in place a system where, ok, this has not happened yet --
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president obama: all right, everybody. that afternoon. as is the most wonderful press conference of the year. i have got a lift that -- a list of who has been naughty and nice to call on, let me make a couple of quick points and then i will take your questions. presscally use this
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conference to review how far we have come over the course of the year. understandably, i'm going to talk about how far we have come over the past eight years. as i was preparing to take office, the unemployment rate was on its way to 10%. today it is at 4.6%, the lowest in nearly a decade. we've seen the longest streak of job growth on record, and wages have grown faster over the past few years than at any time in the past 40. when i came into office 44 million people were uninsured. today we have covered more than 20 million of them. for the first time in our history, or than 90% of americans are insured. in fact, yesterday was the biggest they ever for health than 670,000e americans signed up to get covered, and more are signing up by the day. we cut our dependence on foreign oil by more than half, the
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production of renewable energy, enacted the most sweeping reforms since fdr to protect consumers and prevent a crisis on wall street from punishing main street ever again. none of these actions stifled growth of as critics are addicted. instead, the stock market has nearly tripled. since i signed obamacare into law, our business has added more than 15 million jobs, and the economy is more durable than it was in the days when we relied on oil from unstable nations and banks took risky bets with your money. and it all up, and last year the poverty rate fell at the fastest rate in almost 50 years, while the median household income grew at the fastest rate on record. gains were largest for households at the bottom and the middle than for those at the top. and we have done all this while cutting our deficits by nearly 2/3, and protecting vital
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investments that growth the middle class. in foreign policy, when i came into office we were in the midst of two wars. 180,000 troops are down to 15,000. , rather than being at large, has been taken off the battlefield, along with thousands of other terrorists. with the past eight years no organizationrist has executed successfully an attack on our homeland that was directed from overseas. through diplomacy, we have insured iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon without going to war with iran. we opened up a new chapter with the people of cuba, and we have brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could very well save this planet for our kids.
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and almost every country on earth sees america as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago. in other words, by so many measures our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started. it is a situation i'm proud to leave for my successor. give thanks to the american people, to the hard work that you have put in, the sacrifices you had made for your families and communities, the businesses invested in,ted and the way you have look out for others, and i could not be more proud to be your president. are more not mean we mindful of how much there is to do. in this season in particular, we are reminded that there are people who are still hungry, people are still homeless, people who still have trouble paying the bills or finding work after being laid off. there are community still
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mourning those who have been stolen from us by senseless gun violence, and parents who still are wondering how to protect their kids. and after i leave office i intend to continue to work with organizations and citizens doing good across the country on these and other pressing issues to build on the progress that we have made. around the world as well, there are hotspots where disputes have been in trackable, conflicts have flared up, and people, innocent people are suffering as result, and nowhere is this more terribly true than in the city of aleppo. for years, their work to stop the civil war in syria and alleviate human suffering. it is the one of the hardest issues i have faced as president. the world as we speak is united in horror at the savage assault by the syrian regime and its russian and iranian allies on the city of aleppo. we have seen a deliberate strategy of surrounding, cg, and
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starving innocent civilians. the have seen relentless targeting of humanitarian workers and medical personnel. neighbors goods produced to rubble. there are reports of civilians being executed. these are all horrific violations of international law. responsibility for this brutality lies in one place alone, with the i sought regime and its allies, russia and iran, and this blood and these atrocities are on their hands. we all know what needs to happen. there needs to be an impartial international observer force in aleppo. they can help coordinate and orderly evacuation through say core doors. corridors. there needs to be full access to humanitarian aid. there needs to be a broader safe for that cease-fire that serves
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as the basis for a political solution. that is what the united states will continue to push for with our partners and to multilateral institutions like the u.n. unsurprisingly, russia has repeatedly blocked the security council from taking ashton on these issues, so we will keep pressing the security council to improve the delivery of aid to those who are in such desperate need and ensure accountability, including continuing to monitor any potential use of chemical weapons in syria. we will work in the u.n. general some as well to advance a political settlement. because it should be clear that although you may achieve a tactical victory, over the sad regime the as cannot slaughter its way to legitimacy. that is why wilco will continue to press to a transition for more representative government, and that is why the world must
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like convert their eyes to the terrible events that are unfolding. the syrian regime and its russian and iranian allies are trying to obfuscate the truth. the world should not be full, and the world will not forget. even in a season where the incredible lessons that we know around us,s are all even as we enjoy family and are reminded of how lucky we are, we should also be reminded that to be an american involves bearing burdens and meeting obligations to others. american values and american ideals are what will lead the way to a safer and more both here and7, abroad. if you foundy, those ideals like our brave men and women and their families.
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i want to close by wishing all of them a very merry christmas and a happy new year. with that, i will take some questions, and i will start with josh of a.p. reporter: there is a perception that you are letting president clinton to get away -- putin to get away with interference with the u.s. election. are you prepared to call out president putin by name, and you agree with what we are expecting now that the hacking was partially responsible for clinton's loss? [indiscernible] first of all,a: with respect to the transition, i think they would be the first of knowledge we have done
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everything we can to make sure that they are successful, as i promised, and that will continue. it has just been a few days since i last talked to the president-elect about a whole range of transition issues. that cooperation will continue. there has not been a lot of squabbling. what we have simply said is the onts, which are that based uniform intelligence assessments, the russians were responsible for hacking the dnc and that, as a consequence, it is important for us to review all elements of that and make sure that we are preventing that hind of interference throug cyber attacks in the future. that should be a bipartisan issue. and my hope is that the president-elect is going to
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similarly be concerned with we don't haveat potential foreign influence in our election process. i do not think any american wants that. and that should not be a source of an argument. i think that part of the challenge is that he gets caught up in the carryover from election season, and i think it is very important for us to this english between the politics of us election and the need for as a country, both from a national security perspective, thealso in terms of integrity of our election system and our democracy to make sure that we do not create a political football here. respect to how this thing unfolded last your come let's go to the fact that he
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quickly. summer,eginning of the we were alerted to the possibility that the dnc has been hacked, and i immediately ordered law enforcement as well as our intelligence teams to find out everything about it, investigated thoroughly, to brief the potential victims of this hacking, to brief on a ofartisan basis the leaders both the house and the senate and the relevant intelligence hadittees, and once we clarity and certainty around what in fact had happened, we publicly announced that in fact russia had hacked into the dnc. and at that time we did not or anyte motives
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interpretations of why they had done so. we did not discuss what the effects of it might be. we simply let people know, the public know, just as we had let members of congress know, that this had happened. and as a consequence, all of you wrote a lot of stories about both what had happened and then you interpreted why that might have happened and what effect it was going to have on the election outcomes. we did not. and the reason we did not was because in this hyper partisan atmosphere, at a time when my primary concern was making sure that the integrity of the election process was not in any whenamaged, at a time anything that was said by me or anybody in the white house would
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immediately be seen through a partisan lens, i wanted to make sure everybody undisturbed we were claimed the think straight, that we were not trying to advantage one side or the other, but let people know that this had taken place and so if you started seeing effects on the election, if you were trying to happeningy this was and how you should consume the information that was being leaked, that you might want to take this into account. and that is exactly how we should have handled it. imagine if we had done the opposite. we would have become immediately just one more political scrum, and part of the goal here was to make sure that we did not do the work of the leakers for them i raising more and more questions about the integrity of elections right before the election was taking place, at a time, by the way, when the president-elect
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was raising questions about the integrity of the election and, finally, it is worth pointing out that the information that was already out. it was in the hands of wikileaks. that was going to come out no matter what. what i was concerned about in particular was making sure that that was not compelled by byential -- compounded potential hacking that could effecting the election process itself, and in early september when i saw president putin in china, i felt that the most effective way to ensure that that did not happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out, there were going to be some serious cuts went as if he did not. seein fact, we did not further tampering of the election process. but the leaks through wikileaks had already occurred.
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so when i look back in terms of how we handled it, i think we handled it the way it should have been handled. we allowed law enforcement and the intelligence community to do its job without little influence. we briefed -- without political influence. we briefed all 11 parties involved in terms of what was taking place. when we had a consensus around what had happened, we announced it, not to the white house, through the intelligence communities that had actually carried out these investigation, and then we allowed you and the american public to make assessments as to how to weigh that going into the election. the truth there was nobody here who did not have some sense of what kind of effect it might have. i am finding it a little curious that somebody is acting surprise that this looked like it was
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disadvantaging hillary clinton, because you guys wrote about it every day, every single leak, about every little juicy tidbit of political gossip, including email.desta's this was an accession that dominated the news coverage. wortho think it is reflecting how it is that a presidential election of such importance, of such moment, with so many big issues at stake in such a contrast between the candidates came to be dominated by a bunch of these leaks. what is it about our political system that made us vulnerable to these kinds of potential manipulations? which as i said, were not
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particularly sophisticated. ,his was not some elaborate complicated espionage scheme. they hacked into some democratic party emails that contained pretty routine stuff, some of it embarrassing or uncomfortable because i suspect that if any of us got our emails hacked into it might be some things that we on theot want appearing front page of a newspaper great telik cost, -- telecast, even though there was not anything particularly illegal about it, and then it just took off. that concerns me, and it should concern all of us. the truth of the matter is is that everybody had the information.
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it was out there, and we handled it the way we should have. i thinking forward, there are a couple issues that this raises. number one is just the constant challenge that we are going to have with cyber security throughout our economy and throughout our society. culture.digitalized and there's hacking going on every single day. there is not a company, there is not a major organization, there is not a financial institution, there is not a branch of our government were somebody is not going to be fishing for something or trying to penetrate or put a virus or malware, and this is why for the last eight years i have been assessed how do we continually upgrade our cyber security systems. and this particular concern around russian hacking is part of a broader set of concerns about how we deal with cyber
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in ways thatused can affect our infrastructure, affect the stability of our financial systems, and affect the integrity of our institutions like our election process. i just received a couple weeks back, it wasn't widely reported on, a report from our cybersecurity commission that outlines a whole range of strategies to do a better job on this. but it's difficult because it's ot all housed -- the target of cyberattacks is not one entity, but it's widely dispersed and a lot of it is private, like the d.n.c. you know, it's not a branch of government. we can't tell people what to do. what we can do is inform them, get best practices. what we can also do is on a
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bilateral basis warn other countries against these kinds of attacks and we've done that in the past. st as i told russia to and indicated there will be consequences if they do it, the chinese has in the past engaged in cyberattacks directed at our companies to steal trade secrets and proprietary technology, and i had the same conversation with president xi, and what we've seen is some evidence they have reduced but not completely eliminated these activities partly because they can use cutouts. one of the problems with the internet and cyberissues is there's not always a return address. by the time you catch up to it, you know, attributing what a particular thing
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is not profble in court. what we've also tried to do is to start creating some international norms about this to prevent some sort of cyberarms race because we obviously have offensive capabilities as well as defensive capabilities, and my approach is not a situation which everybody's worse off because folks are constantly attacking each other back and forth, but putting some guardrails around behavior nation states including our adversaries so they understand that whatever they do to us we can potentially do to them. we do have some special challenges because oftentimes our economy is more digitalized. it is more vulnerable partly because we're a wealthier nation, and we're more wired
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than some of these other countries and we have a more open society and engage in less control and censorship over what happens over the internet which is also part of what makes us special. last point, and the reason i'm going on here is because i know that you guys have a lot of questions about this and i addressed all of you directly about this. with respect to response, my principal goal leading up to the election was making sure that the election itself went off without a hitch, that it was not tarnished and that it did not feed any sense in the tampering somehow had taken place with the actual process of voting and we accomplished that. that does not mean that we are not going to respond.
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it simply meant we had a set of priorities leading up to the election that were of the utmost importance. our goal continues to be to send a clear message to russia or others not to do this to us because we can do stuff to you. but it is also important for us to do that in a thoughtful, methodical way. some of it we do publicly. some of it we will do in a way that they know but not everybody will, and i know there have been folks out there that suggests somehow if we went out there and made big announcements and thumped our chests about a bunch of stuff that somehow that would potentially spook the russians. but keep in mind that we already have enormous numbers of sanctions against the russians. the relationship between us and
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russia has deteriorated, sadly, significantly over the last several years and so how we approach an appropriate response that increases costs for them for behavior like this in the future but does not create problems for us is something that's worth taking the time to think through and figure out. and that's exactly what we've depon. so at a point in time where -- and that's exactly what we've done. so at a point in time where we can divulge publicly we will do so. there are times where the message will be received by the russians and not publicized. i should point out, by the way, part of why the russians have been effective on this is because they don't go around announcing what they're doing. it's not like putin's gone around the world publicly saying look what we didn't.
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wasn't that clever? he denies it. so the idea that somehow public shaming is going to be effective i think doesn't read in russia process very well. reporter: did clinton lose because of the hacking? president obama: i am going to let all the political pundits in this town have a long discussion about what happened in the election. it was a fascinating election. i'm sure there are going to be a lot of books written about it. i've said what i think is important for the democratic party going forward rather than -- parse every aspect of the election. i couldn't be prouder of secretary clinton.
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i think she worked tirelessly on behalf of the american people and i don't think she was treated fairly in the election. i think the coverage of her and he issues was troubling, but having said that, what i've been most focused on appropriate for the fact i am not going to be a politician in days, - what is it, 32 41, 34? [laughter] what i've said is that i can maybe give counsel and advice to the democratic party. i think the we have to spend the most time on, because it's the thing we have most control over, is, how do we make sure that we're showing up in places where i think democratic policies are needed, where they are helping, where they are making a difference, but where
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people feel as if they are not being heard? and where democrats are characterized as coastal, iberal, latte-sipping, you ow, politically correct, out-of-touch folks, we have to be in those communities and i've seen that when we are in those communities it makes a difference. that's how i became president. i became a u.s. senator not just because i had a strong base in chicago but because i was driving downstate illinois and going to fish fries and sitting in v.f.w. halls and talking to farmers and i didn't win every one of their votes but they got a sense of what i was talking about, what i cared about, that i was for working people, that i was for the middle class, that the reason i
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was interested in strengthening unions and raising the minimum wage and rebuilding our infrastructure and making sure that parents had decent childcare and family leave was because my own family's history wasn't that different from theirs even if i looked a little bit different. same thing in iowa. and so the question is, how do we rebuild that party as a hole so that there's not a county in any state, i don't care how red, where we don't have a presence and we're not making the argument because i think we have a better argument. .hat requires a lot of work you know, it's been something i've been able to do successfully in my own campaigns. it is not something i've been to candidates build erms and sort of
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a sustaining organization around. that's something i would have liked to have done more of, but it's kind of hard to do when you're also dealing with a whole bunch of issues here in the white house. that doesn't mean, though, that it can't be done, and i think there are going to be a lot of talented folks out there, a lot of progressives who share my values who will be leading the charge in the years to come. michelle. > this week we heard hillary clinton the f.b.i. announcement made a difference in the election. we just heard in an op-ed her campaign chairman talking about something being deeply broken within the f.b.i. he said the investigation early on was lackadaisical, in his words. what do you think about those comments? do you any there's any truth to
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them? do you think there's a danger there, that they're calling into question the integrity of institutions in a similar way that donald trump's team has done? and the second part to that is, donald trump's team repeatedly -- i guess, given the indication that the investigation of the russian hack as well as retaliation might not be such a priority once he's in office. so what do you think the risk is there, and are you going to talk to him directly about some of those comments he made? president obama: well, on the latter point, as i said before, the transition from election governs season is not always smooth. you know, it's bumpy. there are still feelings that are raw out there. there are people out there
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thinking how things unfolded and i get all that. but when donald trump takes the oath of office and is sworn in as the 45th president of the united states, then he's got a different set of responsibilities and considerations. and i've said this before. i think there is a sobering process when you walk into the oval office. haven't shared the conversations with the president-elect. i will say they are cordial and me making some pretty specific suggestions about how to ensure that regardless of our obvious deep disagreements about policy , maybe i can transmit some the ts about maintaining effectiveness, integrity,
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cohesion of the office, of various democratic institutions and he's listened. i can't say he will end up implementing, but the conversations themselves have been cordial as opposed to defensive in any way. and i will always make myself available to him just as previous presidents have made themselves available to me as issues come up. with respect to the f.b.i., i will tell you, i've had a chance to know a lot of f.b.i. agents. i know director comey. they take their job seriously. they work really hard. they help keep us safe and save lot of lives. and it is always a challenge
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for law enforcement when there's an intersection between the work that they are doing and the political system. it's one of the difficulties of democracy generally. we have a system where we want our law enforcement investigators and our prosecutors to be free from politics, to be independent, to but sometimes that involves investigations that touch on politics and particularly in this hyper partisan environment we've been in, everything is suspect. everything you do one way or the other. one thing that i have done is to be pretty scrupulous about for investigation
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decisions or prosecution decisions or decisions not to prosecute. i have tried to be really trict in my own behavior about preserving the independence of law enforcement, free from my own judgments and political assessments, in some cases. and i don't know why i would top now. mike dorney of bloomberg. mike: thank you, mr. president. on aleppo, your views what happens there, the responsibility of the russian government, the iranian government, the assad regime, but do you as president of the united states, leader of the free world feel any personal, moral responsibility now at the
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end of your presidency the carnage we're all watching in aleppo -- which i'm sure disturbs you -- secondly, also on aleppo, you again made clear your practical disagreements and president-elect trump has throughout his campaign, and he said again last night, that he wants to create safe zones in theory. do you feel like in this transition you need to help him toward implementing that or is that something you need to be doing? mike, i always feel responsible. i felt responsible when kids were being shot by snipers. i felt responsible when millions of people had been displaced. i feel responsible for murder
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and slaughter that's taken place in south sudan that's not being reported on partly because there's not as much social media being generated from there. there are places around the world where horrible things are happening and because of my ffice, because i'm president of the united states, i feel responsible. i ask myself every single day, is there something i can do to save lives and make a difference and spare some child who doesn't deserve to suffer. so that's a starting point. there's not a moment during the course of this presidency that i haven't felt responsibility. that's true, by the way, for our own country. when i came into office and people were losing their jobs,
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losing their homes, losing their pensions, i felt responsible and i would go home at night and ask myself, is there something i could do or smarter i could be that would make a difference in their lives, that would relieve their uffering and relieve their hardship? so with respect to syria, what i have consistently done is taken the best course that i the civil war nd while also having to take into account the long-term national security interests of the united states, and throughout of process, based on hours eetings -- if you tallied it up, days and weeks of meetings where we went through every
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option in painful detail with maps and we had our military and e had our aid agencies we had our diplomatic teams and sometimes we'd bring in outsiders who were critics of ours, whenever we went through it, the challenge was that short of putting large numbers u.s. troops on the ground uninvited, without any international law mandate, without sufficient support from congress, at a time when we still had troops in afghanistan and we still had troops in iraq and we had just gone through over a decade of war and spent trillions of dollars and when e opposition on the ground
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was not cohesive enough to necessarily govern a country and you had a military superpower in russia prepared to do whatever it took to keep its client state involved and you had a regional military power in iran that saw their own vital strategic interests at stake and were willing to send in as many of their people or proxies to support the regime, and in that circumstance, unless we were all in and willing to take over syria, we were going to have problems and that everything else was tempting because we wanted to do something and it sounded like the right thing to do but it was going to be impossible to do this on the cheap. and in that circumstance, i
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have to make decision as president of the united states as to what is best -- i'm sorry. what's going on? somebody's not feeling good. all right. why don't we have -- we got -- we can get our doctors back there to help out. somebody want to go to my doctor's office and just have them -- all right. where was i? so we couldn't do it on the cheap. -- it may be >> can we get a doctor in here? can that be arranged? president obama: can somebody doc out, please, and get jackson in here?
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somebody grabbing our doctor? >> thank you, mr. president. president obama: of course. in the meantime, just give her a little room. doctor will be here in a econd. you guys know where the doctor's office is?
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so just go through the palm doors. it's right next to the map room. there he is. all right. there's doc jackson. ok. the doctor's in the house. -- i mean mean that that with all sincerity. i understand the impulse to want to do something, but ultimately what i've had to do was to think about, what can we sustain, what is realistic? and my first priority has to be, what's the right thing to do for america? and it has been our view that
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the best thing to do has been to provide some support to the moderate opposition so that they could sustain themselves nd that you wouldn't see anti- assad regime sentiments just ouring into alnews are a and al aeda or -- al nusra and aeda or isil and we engage our partners to get all the parties involved and to try to resolve this through diplomatic and and political means. i can't claim that we have been successful and that's something as true with a lot of issues and problems around the world, i have to go to bed with every night, but i continue to
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believe that it was the right approach given what realistically we could get done. absent a decision, as i said, to go into much more significant way and that i think would not have been sustainable or good for the american people because we had a whole host of other obligations that we also had to meet, wars we had already started and that were not yet finished. with respect to the issue of , it is a continued problem, a continued challenge with safe zones. if you are setting up those zones on syrian territory, then that equires some force is willing to maintain that
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territory in the absence of consent from the syrian government and now the russians or the iranians. it may be with aleppo's ragic situation unfolding that in the short term if we can get more of the tens of thousands ho are still trapped there out , that so long as the world's eyes are on them and they are feeling pressure, the regime in russia concludes that they are willing to find some arrangement, perhaps in coordination with turkey, whereby those people can be safe. even that will probably be temporary, but at least it solves a short-term issue that's going to arise.
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we are not there yet because unfortunately we have russians and assad claiming that basically all the innocent civilians who were trapped in aleppo are out when international organizations, humanitarian organizations who know who are on the ground said unequivocally there are hundreds of thousands who are trapped and are prepared to leave under any conditions. right now our biggest priority is to put pressure wherever we can to try to get them out. ok. mike, i can't have too much -- mike: responsibility moving that direction or help president-elect trump? president obama: i will help president trump, with president-elect trump with advice, counsel, information that we can provide so that he, once he's sworn in, can make a decision. between now and then, these are
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decisions that i have to make based on the consultations that i have with our military and the people who have been working this every single day. peter alexander. peter: mr. president, thank you very much. can you, given all the intelligence we have now heard, assure the public this was once and for all a free and fair election? and specifically on russia, do you feel any obligation now as they have been insisting that this isn't the case to show the proof that it was, put your money where your mouth is and declassify some of the intelligence that exists and as it relates to donald trump on this very topic, are you concerned about his relationship with vladimir putin, especially given some of the recent cabinet picks, including his selection for secretary of state, rex tiller ton, who toasted cham pain with putin over oil deals? president obama: i may be getting older because the multipart questions, i start
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osing track. i can assure the public there of tampering nd that e voting process was our concern and will continue to be of concern going forward that the votes that were cast were counted, they were counted appropriately. we have not seen evidence of machines being tampered with, so that assurance i can provide. at doesn't mean that we find every single, you know, potential probe of every single voting machine all across the country, but we paid a lot of attention to it. we worked with state officials, etc., and we feel confident
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that that didn't occur and that the votes were cast and they were counted. so that's on that point. what was the second one? declassification. look, president obama: we will provide evidence that we can safely provide that does not compromise sources and methods. but i'll be honest with you, when you are talking about cybersecurity, a lot of it is classified and we are not going to provide it because the way we catch folks is by knowing certain things about them that they may not want us to know and if we are going to monitor this stuff effectively going forward, we don't want them to know that
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we know. so this is one of those the tions where unless american people think that the professionals in the c.i.a., the f.b.i., our entire intelligence infrastructure, many of whom, by the way, served in previous administrations and who are are less trustworthy , then people ns should pay attention to what our intelligence agencies say. this is part of what i meant when i said we've got to think happening to happening to our
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political culture here. the russians can't change us or significantly weaken us. they are a smaller country, a weaker country, their economy doesn't produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil, gas and arms. they don't innovate. but they can impact us if we lose track of who we are. they can impact us if we abandon ur values. mr. putin can weaken us like he's trying to weaken europe, if we start buying notions into intimidating the press or lock up dissidents or discriminate against people because of their andh or what they look like
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what i worry about more than anything is the agree to which because of the fierceness because of the partisan battle, you start to see certain folks in the republican party and republican voters suddenly and g a government individuals who stand contrary to everything that we stand for as being ok because that's how much we dislike democrats. think about it. some of the people who historically have been very critical of me for engaging with the russians and having conversations with them, also
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endorsed the president-elect even as he was saying that we should stop sanctioning russia and being tough on them and work together with them against our common enemies. it was very complimentary of mr. putin personally. that wasn't news. the president-elect during the campaign said so and some folks who had made a career out of being anti-russian didn't say anything about it. and then after the election, suddenly they're asking, oh, why didn't you tell us that maybe the russians were trying to help our candidate? well, come on. there was a survey some of you poll,ere -- it's just one
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but pretty credible source, 37% of republican voters approve of putin. over a third of republican individual mirof putin, the former head of the k.g.b. ronald reagan would roll over in his grave. how did it happen? for ppened in part because too long everything that happens in this town, everything that's said is seen through the lens does it help or hurt us or relative to president obama.
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nd unless that changes, we are going to continue to be vulnerable to foreign influence because we have lost track of what it's about and what we stand for. with respect to the president-elect's appointments, it is his prerogative as i have said for him to appoint who he thinks can best carry out his foreign policy or his domestic policy. it is up to the senate to advise and consent. there will be plenty of time for members of the senate to go through the record of all his appointees and determine whether or not they are appropriate for the job. martha. reporter: i want to talk about individual mir putin. again, just to be clear, do you believe vladimir putin
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authorized the hack and authorized that to help donald trump. one of the things that donald trums saddam hussein and weapons of mass destruction and they were never found. can you say unaquiffically that this was not china, this was not a 400-pound guy sitting on his bed as donald trump said and do these tweets and kinds of statements from donald trump embolden the russians? >> when the report comes out before i leave office, that will have drawn together all the threats and so i don't want to step on their work ahead of time. what i can tell you is that the intelligence i have seen gives
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me great confidence in their assessment that the russians carried out this hack. reporter: which hack? president obama: the hack of the d.n.c. and john podesta. but again, this is exactly why i want the report out so everybody can review it. and this has been briefed and the evidence in closed session has been provided on a bipartisan basis, not just to me, but provided to the leaders in the house and the senate and chair and ranking members of the relevant committees. and i think what you have already seen is, some of the folks who have seen some of the evidence don't dispute the basic assessment that the russians carried this out. martha, what i want to make sure of is that i give the
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intelligence community a chance to gather all the information. but i would make a larger point, which is, not much happens in russia without vladimir putin. chial a pretty hierar operation. last i checked, there is not a lot of debate and democratic deliberation particularly when it comes to policies directed to the united states. we have said and i will confirm that this happened at the highest levels of the russian government and i will let you make that determination as to whether there are high-level russian officials who go off rogue and decide to tamper with the u.s. election process
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without vladimir putin knowing about it. reporter: i wouldn't be wrong saying vladimir putin was behind it. president obama: i have given it to you. reporter: do the statements and tweets by donald trump embolden russia? president obama: as i said before the president-elect -- it's still in transition mode from campaign to governance. i think he hasn't gotten his whole team together yet. he still has campaign spokespersons filling in and appearing on cable shows. there is a whole different attitude and vibe when you're not in power as when you are in power. so rather than me characterizing the appropriateness or inappropriateness of what he is
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doing at the moment, i think what we have to see is how will the president-elect operate and how will his team operate when they've been fully briefed on all these issues. they have their hands on all the levers of government and have to start making decisions. one way i do believe that the president-elect can approach this that would be unifying is to say we welcome a bipartisan gives ent process that the american people an assurance counted that votes are properly and the elections are fair and free, but that we have earned lessons about how
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internet propaganda from foreign countries can be released in the political bloodstream and we have strategies to deal with it in the future. nonpartisans can be , the better served the american people are going to be, which is why i made the point earlier and i'm going to keep on repeating this point, our vulnerability to russia or any other foreign power is directly related to how divided, partisan, dysfunctional our political process is. that's the thing that makes us vulnerable. if fake news that's being released by some foreign government is almost identical
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that are being should through partisan -- issued through partisan news venues, then it's not surprising that that foreign propaganda will have a greater effect. it doesn't seem that farfetched compared to some of the other stuff folks are hearing from . mestic propogandists to the extent that our political dialogue is such that everything is under suspicion, everybody's corrupt and everybody is doing things for partisan reasons and , youf our institutions are volent actors lo
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and if that's the story that is being put out there, then when a foreign government introduces that same argument, the facts are made up, voters who have been listening to that stuff for years, who have been getting that stuff every day from talk radio or other venues, they're going to believe it. if we want to really reduce foreign influence on our elections, then we better think about how to make sure that our political process, our political dialogue is stronger than it's been.
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mark. reporter: thank you, mr. president. if i could move you from russia to china for a moment. president obama: absolutely. reporter: your successor spoke to the president of taiwan and wasn't sure that the united states had to be bound by one china policy and could be a bargaining chip to get better terms on a trade deal. there is already evidence that tensions between the two sides have increased a bit and just an , the chinese have underwater drone in the south china sea. do you think our china policy could be having a fresh set of eyes and or do you worry these types of unorthodox approaches e shutting us on a political
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discourse? president obama: i'm somewhere in between. i think all of our foreign policy should be subject to fresh eyes. i think -- i have said this before, i am very proud of the work i have done. i think i'm a better president now than when i've started, but if you are here for eight years in the bubble, you start seeing things a certain way and you benefit from the -- dem -- democracy benefits and america benefits from new perspectives. and i think it should not be the prerogative or but the obligation of a new president to examine what makes sense and what doesn't. that's what i have done when i came in and any new president is going to undertake those exercises. and given the importance between united states and china, given
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how much is at stake in terms of the world economy, national security, our presence in the asia pacific, china's increasing role in international affairs, there's probably no bilateral relationship that carries more there's ce and where also the potential if that relationship breaks down or goes into full conflict mode that everybody is worse off. i think it's fine for him to take a look at it. what i have advised the president-elect is that across the board on foreign policy, you want to make sure that you're doing it in a system attic, deliberate and intentional way.
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and since there is only one president at a time, my advice to him has been that before he starts having a lot of interactions with foreign governments owner the usual courtesy calls, that he would want to have his full team in place, he should want his team to be fully briefed on what's where in the past and the potential pitfalls may be, where the opportunitiesr what we've learned from eight years of experience. taking as he's been foreign policy in a new direction, he has all the information to make good decisions and by the way that all of government is moving at the same time and singing from the same hymnal.
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and with respect to china and let's take the example of taiwan , there has been a long standing agreement essentially between china and the united states and to some agree the taiwan ease, which is to not change the status ". tie juan operates differently than mainland china does. china views tie juan as part of -- tie juan as part of china, but recognizes that it has to approach taiwan as an entity has its own ways of doing things. the people of taiwan have agreed that as long as they are able to
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continue to function with some agree of autonomy that they won't charge forward and declare independence. and that status quo, although not completely satisfactory to any of the parties involved, has kept the peace and allowed the people of taiwan to be pretty successful economy of people who have a high agree of self-determination. but understand for issue, the ssue of taiwan is as important as anything on their docket. at the of one china is heart of their conception as a nation.
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and so if you are going to upend this understanding, you have to have thought through what the consequencesr because the chinese will not treat that the way they'll treat some other issues. and won't even treat other issues like we have had around the south china sea, where we have had a lot of tensions. this goes to the core of how they see themselves. and their reaction on this issue could end up being very significant. that doesn't mean that you have to adhere to everything that's been done in the past, but you have to think it through and have planned for potential reactions that they may engage in. all right. politico. reporter: two questions on where this leaves us. president obama: where my
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presidency leaves us? it leaves us in a really good spot. [laughter] reporter: what do you say to the electors who are going to meet on monday and thinking of changing their votes? do you think they should be given an intelligence briefing about the russian activity or bear in mind what you have said and be battle ready. should folks be bound by the state votes as they have gone? and long-term, do you think there is need for electoral college reform that is tied. president obama: sounded like two but really was one. [laughter] president obama: two questions, but each one has four parts pfment reporter: on the democratic party, your labor secretary is running to be the chair of the democratic national committee.
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what do you think the party needs to be focused on and what do you think about the complaint the democratic committee shouldn't be part of your approach, part of that is decisions that you have made as president and leader of the party has structurally weakened the d.n.c. and democratic party and has led to or help lead to some of the losses in elections in the country. do you regret any of those decisions? president obama: i'll take the second one first and say that tom perez has been i believe one of the best secretaries of labor in our history. he is tireless. he is wicked smart. e has been able to work across
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labor, business activists. he's produced. and if you look at his body of work on behalf of working people, what he's pushed for in terms of making sure that workers get a fair deal, decent wages, better benefits and their safety is protected on the job, he has been extraordinary. now others who have declared are also my friends and fine people as well. and the great thing is, i don't have a vote in this. so we'll let the process unfold. i don't think it's going to happen any time soon. i described to you earlier what i think needs to happen, which is that the democratic party,
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whether that's entirely through the d.n.c. or through rebuilding of state parties are some other arrangement, has to work at the grassroots level and has to be present in all 50 states and has to have a presence in counties and has to think about message and how are we speaking directly to voters. i will say this and i'm not going to engage in too much punditry. but i could not be prouder of the coalition that i put together in my -- each of my campaigns. because it was inclusive and it drew in people who normally weren't interested in politics and didn't participate. but i'd like to think -- i think i can show that in those
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elections, i always cast a broad net. i always said first and foremost were americans, that we have a common creed, that there's more that we share than divides us. and i want to talk to everybody and get a chance to get everybody's vote. i still believe what i said in 2004 which is this red state blue thing is a construct. now it is a construct that has gotten more and more powerful or a whole lot of reasons from errymandering, to big money to a way that the media is splintered and so people are just watching what reinforces their existing biases as opposed to listening to different points
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of view. there are all kinds of reasons for it. but outside the realm of electoral politics, i still see people the way i saw them when i made that speech full of contradictions and some regional differences. but basically, folks care about their families and care about having meaningful work. they care about making sure their kids have more opportunity than they did. they want to be safe and want to feel like things are fair. d.n.c. and leads the any candidate with democratic brand going forward, i want them to feel as if they can reach out and find that common ground and speak to all of america.
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and that requires some organization. and you're right. and i said this in my earlier remarks that what i was able to do during my campaigns, i wasn't able to do during mid terms. i spent time and effort into it. blue but the coalition i put together didn't always turn out to be transferable. the challenge is that -- you know, some of that just has to do with the fact that when you are in the party in power and people are going through hard times like they were in 2010, they are going to punish in some degree the president's party regardless of what organizational work that is done. some of it has to do with deep standing challenges for democrats. the electorate is older and we
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do better with the younger electorate. we know those things are true. and i didn't crack the code on that. and if other people have ideas about how to do that even better , i'm all for it. so with respect to the electors, i'm not going to wade into that issue. because again, if the american people's job and electors' job to decide the successor and not my job to decide the successor. and i have provided people with what of information about happened during the course of the election, but more importantly, the candidates themselves i think talked about their beliefs and their vision for america. the president-elect has been
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very explicit what he cares about and what he believes in. and so it's not in my what about long with respect to the electoral college? long-term, the electoral college is a vestige, a carryover from an earlier vision of how our federal government was going to work that put a lot of premium on states. it used to be that the senate was not elected directly. it is the same type of thinking senatorss wyoming two with a half-million people in california with 32 million get the same two. there are some

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