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tv   DNC Chair Tom Perez  CSPAN  November 4, 2017 7:01pm-8:01pm EDT

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and upcoming elections for new jersey. he is also asked about the indictments between former president trump campaign officials and funding for research of a dossier on ties between president trump in russia. posted by the christian science monitor, this is one hour. by the christian science monitor, this is one hour. >> ok, folks. here we go. our guest this morning is tom perez, chairman of the democratic national committee. this is his first appearance at one of our events. although we have been meeting with d&c chairs since larry 1968.n in we also appreciate having the chief psychology officer here as well. thank you for being here. chairman perez is a native of buffalo. his parents were immigrants from
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the dominican republic. he earned a bachelor's degree from brown university where he is now teaching part-time, working a variety of jobs and where he worked his way through school, working a variety of jobs. he was deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights and the clinton administration. te served as deputy assistan attorney general. he was elected montgomery county council member, and led the state of maryland's labor department. in the obama administration he was assistant attorney general for civil rights, and secretary of labor from 2013 until 2017. thus ends the biographical part of the program. now on to mechanics. we are on the record here. please, no live blogging or tweeting. in short, no filing of any kind
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while the breakfast is underway, to give us time to listen to what our guest says. there is no embargo when the session ends probably at 11:00. to help you curb that relentless selfie urge, we will email several pictures of the session to all reporters here when the breakfast ends. as regular attendees know, if you have a question -- [indiscernible] raffie, it is kririan. we need a proofreader. no live blogging or tweeting. no filing until 11:00. we are sending out pictures to everybody here. as regular attendees know, if you would like to ask a question, do the traditional thing and send me a subtle nonthreatening signal.
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i will happy call on one and all the time available. our guest will make some opening comments. then, we will move to questions around the table. with that, thank you for doing this, sir. tom perez: good morning to everybody. it is great to have my colleague , our chief technology officer. one of the reasons i am bullish about the hopes of the democratic party moving forward. personnel is policy when you have people like raffi on board. our capacity to move forward is limitless. i can't -- i was quick to jump in what we are doing at the dnc, but i cannot help but reflect as someone who spent 13 years of my life at the justice department, including time as a career prosecutor under both president bush and president clinton before i transitioned later on to a noncareer position. the seriousness of what we observed yesterday cannot be overstated. we know the facts at the dnc.
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the facts are the russians hacked us. they did so with the intent to try and help donald trump be elected president. what we saw yesterday was a guilty plea from a person who was referred to by donald trump as a great guy. mr. papadopoulos. it is clear that the russians were trying to traffic in the emails, and present them to the campaign, the trump campaign, so that they could help donald trump get elected. you can see with the indictments of manafort and gates, the rot went all the way to the top of the campaign. it is clear to me that the investigation will continue, and this is not the end of the criminal charges moving forward. it is troubling to me to see such appalling silence from so many republican leaders.
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because the silence isn't simply deafening, it is appalling. because we are americans first. this was indeed an assault not just simply on the dnc but our democracy. i'm happy to answer any questions about that. i want to turn to the dnc, though, because we walked into a dnc that needed to up our game. about it.o doubt i have said that many times. we fell short on many levels. being the sports fan that i am, when you play a football game, or coach a football team or a basketball team, and you do not do well, you watch game film, you learn from your mistakes, and you build a better mousetrap, a better game plan. that is exactly what we have done at the dnc. we didn't just look at what happened last year in 2016, we looked over the last eight years that resulted in the loss of over 1000 seats in state legislatures. we went from 60 seats in the senate to 48. we went from 30 governorships when barack obama took office
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into the teens. we lost a number of trickle seats in state attorneys general and secretaries of state. we took a very broad look at what went wrong, and what we need to do. number one, we have to change our mission statement. we have done that. the democratic national committee is not simply the party that helps elect the president, we are the party that helps elect democrats up and down the ticket, from school boards to the oval office. when you are focused on every democrat, and when you do that by design, we do so by making sure we build strong party apparatuses, and strong partnerships with our friends in the labor movement, our friends in planned parenthood, organizations in the democratic ecosystem. that is how we succeed. that is exactly what we are doing. we weren't organizing everywhere. way half to be present and compete in every state and in every zip code.
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and our new partnership with the 50 states we call it every zip code counts. because we have to make sure we're competing everywhere. we have to organize, organize, organize. not simply mobilize in the three months up to an election. we need to organize 12 months a year. we've taken the term off year out of the lexicon of the democratic party. because we win in 2018 by organizing in 2017. and we win by making sure we have a technology infrastructure that's second to none. with the addition of raffi krikorian, we're well poised to do just that. we win by making sure we're investing in other forms of infrastructure. our millennial engagement infrastructure, our voter protection and empowerment infrastructure. i met with the lawyers counsel yesterday. we're building a 50-state voter protection operation that understands that voter suppression is a staple in the republican playbook. it's been that staple for a while. and we have to understand that. by building that infrastructure that's a 50-state
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infrastructure. and we also have to make sure that we're connecting with people. that we communicate and live our values day in and day out. we've been doing that in special elections across the country this year. in oklahoma there were three special elections in state legislatures where donald trump had done overwhelmingly well in the 2016 cycle. we won all three elections. new hampshire by way of example. there was a state senate seat that has been republican since 1984. we won that election. florida most recently, another special election for a state senate seat that republicans won by double-digit margins last year and we won that seat. what was the key to success in these areas? what was the key to success in iowa where we won the special election there as well? the key to success was the same. organizing, boots on the ground. making sure that we have good candidates delivering a good message and we were able to win. and win in trump country. because, again, the new
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democratic party is competing everywhere. we're leaving no zip code behind. and that is what we're doing. we're invested right now very heavily in virginia and in new jersey. because virginia and new jersey are the two biggest prizes of 2017. 2017 to me is shaping up a lot like 2005. in 2005 you had a very unpopular republican president, as we have now. engulfed in a culture of corruption. as we see right now. governing with a very unpopular republican majority in both houses. and imagine what would have happened if social security had been privatized right before the great recession. that would have been absolutely calamitous for the american people. in 2005, that was the last year that the democratic party, the democratic candidate, won the race in both new jersey and in virginia. and we are investing in new jersey, we're investing in
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virginia. and by way of example, 0% of our investments in virginia are on television. 100% of our investment is in building, organizing capacity. we've doubled the number of organizers on the ground shortly after the primary ended. we've located them in areas where we're not only helping ralph northam and justin fairfax and mark caring, we're helping candidates for the house of delegates because we need to take 17 seats in virginia to turn over the house of delegates. ordinarily there's only about 40 or 50 democrats running for those house seats in at least the last 10 years or so. this year there's 88 candidates running in the house of delegates. we are strategically situated so that we can help them as well. that's the new d.n.c. working from the school board to the senate and in the case of virginia, helping to make sure that we're helping people at the house of delegates level. because we can do work there, we
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can make real progress and we communicate our values. one of the big values in virginia is people care about health care. whether you live down in roanoke or whether you live in northern virginia. people care about health care. they understand that ralph northam is fighting to make sure that people have access to health care. while ed gillaspie and donald trump are fighting to take away people's health care. those are the issues that people resonate with. this job is fundamentally at the d.n.c., it's an infrastructure building job, and it's a messaging job. in virginia and new jersey, with the candidates at the top, up and down the ticket, and in these special elections that i mentioned, we're playing hard in washington state, 45. because if we take over that senate seat we flip the senate and the old d.n.c. probably wouldn't have been active in that race. the new d.n.c. is all in. the effort in nevada to recall three democratic senators who were elected last year, actually two are democrats, one is
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independent, who caucuses with the democrats. they won last year fair and square. what are the republicans trying to do? they're trying to recall them. even though they've done nothing wrong. where we've made a six-figure investment in that race as well. because the new d.n.c. is active everywhere. and when we elect democrats up and down the ticket, that is how we prevail and when we are invested in this infrastructure and leading with our values, that is how we succeed. look forward to your questions and thank you for your time. >> thank you. i am going to do one and we will go to richard pawlik, janet --k, richard kline, handed hannah trudeau. my one is just this. do you expect the two indictments and the one guilty plea yesterday to have any major effect on your ability to regain control of congress? or is it -- are local issues going to predominate and the investigations not so much?
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tom: i think yesterday was a somber day for america. because we now have pretty clear evidence that there was an undeniable attack on our democracy. what we also see is that yesterday was the beginning. when you look at the history of watergate, it took way too long for all too many republicans to recognize that they need to put country over party. you look at the deafening silence from leader mcconnell and speaker ryan and that is unfortunate. again, i spent the majority of my career at the department of justice. i have great respect for the institution. and i have respect for director mueller and the work he is doing. so my number one goal is to make sure this never happens again. because this was an assault on our democracy. you read the revelations today about the volume of propaganda
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that was put in on facebook. you couple that with the clear evidence that the trump campaign and the russians were colluding to affect the results of the election. and if the tables were turned and that had been president hillary clinton aided and abetted by the russians, you'd have articles of impeachment filed probably before the inauguration by the republicans. so i'm concerned about our democracy. i hope that republicans and democrats alike, and there have been a few republicans who have courageously spoken about it, but i hope more do so. because this is serious business. >> we're going to go to chuck from the st. louis post. reporter: thank you for doing. -- thank you for doing this. senator mccaskill was on the "meet the press" on sunday and was asked about the democratic party and leadership in the party and she said, quote, i'm one of the few senators that's left that's not afraid to call myself a moderate. and then she was asked, well,
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why is the democratic brand so toxic in missouri? she talked about president trump being able to connect on social issues in ways that democrats haven't done in many years. chris matthews made sort of the same point today, hawking his book "bobby kennedy" and inferred that bobby kennedy wouldn't be welcome in today's democratic party of the because -- in today's's democratic party because of the stress on social issues over economic issues. can you address that point? is that a fair criticism? tom: i'm reading chris' book right now. it's on my bed stand. i think bobby kennedy and all of these remarkable democrats would be very welcome. because bobby kennedy's book is about moral leadership. moral leadership means that there are no such things as alternative facts. moral leadership means you're the president of the entire united states. you're supposed to be out there trying to help everyone. and so the moral leadership of bobby kennedy, i think, is absolutely the heart and soul
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of what the democratic party is. i'm a huge fan of claire mccaskill's and we're going to -- we already are working hard to make sure she gets re-elected. because -- what she has been doing is something that the democratic party needs to do more of. she has been all over the state, in every zip code. we didn't pay enough attention to certain parts of all too many states. and we have to do that. and again, by way of example, in virginia, we have a presence everywhere. we are out there talking to people because, frankly, the message that health care is a right for all and not a privilege for a few, it resonates in roanoke and it resonates up in fairfax. it resonates in rural missouri and it resonates in st. louis and kansas city. people want to make sure that they have retirement security. they want to make sure they have a good job that pays a decent wage. they want to make sure that the democratic party and their leaders have their back. and that's why claire mccaskill continues to get elected and
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that's what we have to do as a democratic party. demonstrating through our actions that we have people's backs. reporter: along those same lines, there are even other democrats that worry that the party will become the mirror image of the republicans, just as extreme and intolerant of internal dissent. i guess, where do you stand on welcoming democratic candidates who might not be for abortion rights? like in that mayoral race in omaha. it seemed like you were using a litmus test. tom: when i think of a litmus test right now, frankly i think of the republican party. jeff flake voted with donald trump 91% of the time and that apparently wasn't enough. the democratic party, i mean, the best example i can think of to illustrate what i see as an emerging unity in the party is what happened in virginia. when tom perriello got in the
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race, frankly the media with hindsight wrote the exact wrong story. they wrote the story of the bernie sanders-hillary clinton redo. and if you look at the arc of all the stories leading up to that primary election, because senator sanders and senator warren had endorsed tom, and tim kaine and mark warner and others had endorsed ralph northam, that was, again, another example of how the democratic party forms a circular firing squad. we know what happened. you have two really qualified candidates who agree on just about everything. their emphasis might be different. they ran a spirited, high road campaign. when tom didn't make it over the top he immediately pivoted and endorsed ralph wholeheartedly. i've campaigned with tom perriello and ralph northam. and they came out of their campaign united as opposed to the republican primary where they came out of that campaign divided.
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unity doesn't mean unanimity. it doesn't mean we agree on every issue as a party. unity doesn't mean that you have to be a rubber stamp for the party. and we have areas where people may not agree. but at the same time what unites us far exceeds what our differences are. and that is why i think the democratic party is well poised moving ahead to win both next week in the races i've described, and to win moving forward. because -- reporter: just a quick follow-up. is it smart for democrats to focus on impeachment? tom: again, we're focused on making sure that robert mueller can do the job he needs to do to figure out if there was an attack on our democracy. we know from -- we know that we were hacked by the russians at the d.n.c. we now know from yesterday that
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the trump campaign and the russians were in regular contact. they weren't getting together to trade vodka recipes. they were getting together to affect the outcome of the race in 2016. and so our focus is on this attack on our democracy and making sure we hold accountable who was involved and then equally, importantly, making sure we never let it happen again. >> richard pollock from the daily caller. reporter: thank you for joining us. you've now had a week to investigate the d.n.c.'s relationship with fusion g.p.s. and i would like to know, first of all, if you would confirm how much money the d.n.c. paid the law firm to pay fusion g.p.s. second, who authorized it within the d.n.c.? and third, who were the people within the d.n.c. who actually
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got the information and interacted with fusion g.p.s.? tom: as you know, i wasn't working at the d.n.c. at the time of this contract. when you do opposition research on another candidate in a presidential cycle, i would assert, especially in the context of what we know now, that opposition research is not simply something that ought to be done. it would be malpractice not to do it. especially when you have a presidential candidate who blew convention out of the window. he didn't disclose his tax returns. first time that's happened in decades. he has a very shady relationship with russian authorities. so absolutely. the research that was done, opposition research, initiated, as i understand it, by a conservative organization, and
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then when their work was done, it was given to -- then it was continued by the democrats. what we know from the research is that donald trump or the trump campaign and the russians were talking to each other. and their conversations, again, as we know from yesterday, were about serious things. interfering with our democracy. we have not hidden the fact that we had operation -- opposition research that was done. again, it was done by the law firm that was hired by the campaign. i don't know how much of the opposition research was the fusion opposition research. i have not disaggregated that amount. but what i do know is the issue at hand is whether the trump administration, trump campaign, and the russians were conspiring
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to affect this election. and certainly mr. papadopoulos' guilty plea yesterday and the indictments that came down yesterday, that is serious stuff as it relates to collusion. >> a quick follow-up. since last week, i can understand that this happened under the previous administration. but now that you do know that the dnc spent money on fusion gps, have you investigated with employees, attorneys, former attorneys? have you done an investigation about the role the dnc played with fusion gps? tom: i was unaware until about 48 hours before it was released. my number one concern is what happened in the election. did the russians and the trump administration collude to affect
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the election. that to me is the issue at hand. >> we will go to john from the star-ledger. >> [indiscernible] reporter: are you confident of winning the election? tom: i am confident. i have campaigned with bill murphy and what i hope will be lieutenant governor oliver. where we make some history in new jersey. i have campaigned for people up and down the ticket. i was in senate district nine campaigning for a remarkable senate candidate who is running a spirited campaign. because again, the new d&c -- dnc is about electing democrats up and on the ticket. the reason i believe the murphy all of her ticket is going to
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win and the northam fairfax ticket is going to win along with mark caring is because we have great candidates who are talking about the issues that people care about the most. bill murphy is talking day in and day out about having your back. he has a remarkable presence and he has a remarkable vision for new jersey. chris christie has led them into a ditch. he is, i think, the most unpopular governor i think in the united states. i may have that slightly off. he may be second or third. but what he has done -- chris christie has been all about chris christie. similarly in virginia, i feel optimistic we does the voters of virginia want to see progress. they want to see someone who will be fighting for them and ralph northam has had a lifetime of service to others as opposed to ed gillespie. he is in what i call the dog
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whistle phase of the virginia campaign. he is talking about immigrants. he is putting those dark commercials in place. exactly the trump playbook. virginians do not want donald trump in richmond. they have had enough of donald trump in washington. that is why i feel good about virginia in optimistic about virginia. >> good morning. obviously, you are aware of steve bannon trying to recruit candidates to run from the right against sitting republican senators. what is your opinion of some of the contested primaries being talked about like wyoming, possibly mississippi? do you see that as a possible roadmap or a venue for democrats to win control of the senate in
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2018? mr. perez: we are fighting for the house and the senate. in 2016, in nevada, catherine cortez masto won because she was a great candidate and we ran a great campaign. organizers were on the ground in 2015. exactly what i said before. 2016 was heck no. no,motto in 2017 is hell because we want to beat dean heller. we have a remarkable candidate and i was with her recently when we were in las vegas, the weekend before last. similarly in arizona. i think we have a real shot there. and obviously we have races elsewhere. tennessee, alabama. and we have opportunities in all of these races.
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you mentioned missouri. yes, we are defending more races in the senate this year but what every single one of those races has been common for democrats is we have really good candidates who are defending those seats. they got elected because they are really good. i was in indiana last week, joe donnelly is a regular joe. people know who he is. these attacks by the koch brothers on the airwaves trying to paint joe donnelly as someone hoosiers know he is not. joe donnelly is fighting for working people. just like claire mccaskill, fighting in every zip code. if steve bannon wants to continue to facilitate circular -- the circular firing squad the republican side, i am not going to stand in the way of that. i am focused on making sure that we are helping to elect democrats up and down the ticket by again investing in our infrastructure, investing in our
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i.t., making sure we are communicating the message that the democratic party has your back. reporter: when you mentioned tennessee, do you have a candidate in mississippi? mr. perez: in mississippi there is a candidate and the governor is considering whether to get in. i don't know if you will or not. i think we can compete everywhere. we have won a number of special elections in mississippi. you look at mississippi, it is a good example of what democrats can do if we implement our game plan of organizing. because if you look at statewide elections, elections for state candidates, not federal candidates, the most recent election, if my memory serves me, the biggest vote-getter in the statewide elections was jim hood, the attorney. i have known jim because i did work in the civil rights
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division down in mississippi. jim is a very popular leader because he is a great leader. hillary clinton got something like 44% or 45% of the vote and -- in mississippi and there was no ground operation at all. imagine what you can do if you are actually out there talking to people. i think democrats can win in mississippi, they can win in tennessee, they can win just about anywhere if we are investing in the infrastructure and recruiting the candidates like the quality candidates that we have defending our seats in the u.s. senate now. >> janet hook from the wall street journal. reporter: to take you back to the virginia governor's race. why do you think this is so close? i know polls are all over the place. but this is not like running in montana were georgia's sixth. this is a place that has nominated a democratic president. why is it closer then new jersey? could you talk a little bit about what is at stake for the party as a whole in winning this?
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there are some democrats feel that if we don't, it is a gut punch to the morale of the party to not win in a state like virginia. mr. perez: virginia has a history of close races at the statewide level. sarah mcauliffe won by a point and a half year ago. mark warner, 2014. he won by a small margin. it is a state where you are always going to have close statewide elections. this is no different. what gives me optimism is that democrats are investing all over the state. in roanoke, virginia, for instance, there is a remarkable candidate for the house of delegates. you may recall his fiancee. his fiancee was a television journalist murdered on the air by a disgruntled former employee. a tragic incident. chris has stepped up.
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he is running a spectacular campaign and it is an example of the new dnc. there are 88 people running in house of delegates races. obviously, we are not going to win 88 seats but we are competing everywhere. that is something we have not done before. i think that is something that is really important. we need to field candidates everywhere. we need to have school board candidates, because today's school board member can be tomorrow's mayor. i know a senator in 2004, that became president of the united states. i think those are really important. virginia is one race we are focused on but not the only one. we plan to win everywhere and we are investing to win. the key to virginia is we have built a really good field infrastructure. raffi, his team has been helping
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folks with tech issues. we are helping our partners in the ecosystem. that is the new dnc. that is why i feel optimistic moving forward. again, we don't put all of our hopes in any one state at any one time. we are investing everywhere, washingtonis in state, new jersey, virginia, and elsewhere. we are going to keep fighting. >> we have about 20 minutes to go. we will go next to rick kline, jennifer epstein, todd gillman. merrin's. rick? abc news. reporter: in virginia, the importance that you see from where you sit, is there something about this race for your donor class or for figuring out what new tools work? could you or raffi speak specifically about what you're
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trying to do in virginia beyond what the old dnc would do? what specifically is getting done there? >> the races in new jersey and virginia are important as this is a 13 year election cycle race. same thing as next year. the next governor in virginia is going to preside over redistricting. we have lived with the consequences for the last 10 years of bob mcdonnell winning in 2009. the hyper gerrymandering in virginia is not reflective of what virginia really is. that, for me, is one of the major reasons why the new dnc and what we are doing and what we are investing in are so critically important. i will turn to raffi to talk about our tech investment. but we can learn a lot about these races in virginia and new jersey.
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that is exactly what we are doing. some of the experience -- experiments we are running. raffi, let me turn to you. >> some of the things we are trying in virginia is understanding different ways we can engage with voters and volunteers. for example, specifically we are seeing if we can leverage your list to have a one-on-one conversation to get people out on election day. we have been looking at different ways for when you page or thecebook facebook page of a candidate to try to recruit you. we are trying to figure out the tools and harness the technology ecosystem, the progressive system. there are hundreds of engineers that want to work on this problem, to harness them and focus them on enabling the candidates on the ground. >> hannah trudeau from the national journal. reporter: i'm wondering what the new dnc has been doing to reach out to and target women in the
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first year of trump's administration. mr. perez: we just had a meeting of our dnc in las vegas. one of the things that we did at our general session -- and we chose las vegas in no small measure because nevada is a perfect example of how to do it right. in 2014, they lost a number of elections. the motto in 2015 was, never again. a remarkable cadre of women was recruited in nevada. not just catherine cortez masto. but members of congress. one of whom is now a candidate for senate against dean heller. and what we have been able to do is activate our women's leadership forum, work with our partners in the ecosystem. emerge, for instance, is an
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organization that has done remarkable work recruiting women candidates. our new ceo just o'connell -- jess o'connell came from emily's list where she was the executive director. we need to make sure we are firing on all cylinders when it comes to reaching out to women. we have been doing engagement of african-american women, because african-american women are our most loyal constituency. we need to make sure that we are engaging aggressively with that constituency. because they have always been there for the democratic party and we need to make sure we are there with them. the new dnc with our investments that i have outlined, if you
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look at virginia and there are some remarkable candidates for the house of delegates, women that we are actively supporting with our organizing and digital investments. we think they can win. nevada is an example of a statewide effort that was very successful that we want to emulate elsewhere. we've got to do it with our partners. that's a big part of the new d&c, fortifying our relationships with our colleagues in the ecosystem. whether it is emily's list, or merge, planned parenthood, other ,ocal emerging organizations and the like. these two questions are related, but they can be one question. the first is about the alabama senate race.
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i was at the meeting and you seem to be very passionate about your personal relationship with him and being driven by the civil rights mission there. but there is -- there has already been a fair amount of debate of how much the d&c and other national groups should play there and how public they should be. what is your thinking at this point about that? some of it will be a read off what happens next week. d&c --re do you see the dnc's role there? the second question is about some of the dynamics of what happened, the meeting in las
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vegas around the rumor about the at-large members and this anger coming from i think fairly involved african-american women, this whisper campaign. are you concerned that for all of the efforts through the unity commission, through trying to bring people together that there is an undercurrent of frustration and resentment, some of it coming from the primaries last year and some of it coming from other things? it all feels very much there in the party and causing tension? and making it harder for you to do your job and for the democrats to win? tom: let me take your questions in the order you have asked them. i have known doug jones for a while. i worked in the clinton justice department when he was the u.s. attorney. i have great respect for him.
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he is undeniably the underdog in that race. and he is fighting hard. he has always been a fighter. the dnc is -- we have an every sip code strategy. strategy.y zip code we will be providing assistance to doug jones. i think the voters of alabama will have to make that judgment. i have spent a lot of time down there in alabama in the course of my career. i have hope that the underdog can pull it off. the issue of unity is something we have to fight for and continue to strive toward every single day. i am not oblivious to the fact dnc whereked into a we had work to do on the unity front. again, i mentioned in response
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tp ,ara question,ra's virginia is a great example of how we have come together. another example is the effort to oppose the repeal of the affordable care act. we had not one vote to spare and we were 100% united as democrats in the effort to ensure that people struggling with opioid abuse can continue to get access to treatment. our unity is our biggest strength. i think it's donald trump's worst nightmare. that is why they try to sow seeds of discontent. but every single day, i am working with people across the aisle, across the spectrum of our party to make sure we understand that what we have in common is what our -- far exceeds what our differences are.
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there is a very real understanding that this is the most dangerous president in american history. while we may have a disagreement on issue x or issue y, this existential threat to our democracy is where we need to train our focus. that is why every single day we are working to build that unity and i see it in new jersey and i see it in virginia. i see it in washington 45, i see it in nevada, and i work on the recall campaign. and we have seen it in places like oklahoma, where we have already won, in areas where donald trump one by -- won by big margins. reporter i have two related : questions. in texas, is tried who has these low approval ratings, is he a big enough albatross to win the
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senate seat from ted cruz or any other statewide office? the related question is, george allorker, flake, they mustered trump in the last couple -- they all blistered trump in the last couple of weeks. what kind of credit the republicans get in your mind should they get for resisting trump politics? >> let me take your questions in order. we are running a spirited campaign in texas. what i love about what he is doing among other things is he is going to places in texas the democrats should have been going to, but hadn't when they were running statewide. -- indown in midlands, in midland, in rural pockets of the
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state where democrats have not been seen. he understands it if he is going to win, he's got to be competitive. swaps -- is too many swaths of the state where we are not competitive. he is running that campaign. i think he is running it in exactly the spirit and fashion. if you look at the people donating to his campaign versus ted cruz, it is significantly more. i think we can be competitive in many places where we haven't historically been competitive. but only if we build -- we have good candidates like doug jones and jacky rosen in nevada. and then we have to build that infrastructure that i mentioned. if you don't have the long-term organizing presence, if you're
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thereeir building -- not building relationships with people, joe biden taught me all politics is personal. in order to do that, we have to build those personal relationships in communities. that means being there. fighting for issues they care about, good schools, good jobs, retirement security, those issues are about making sure kids have a better life than they do. that there is constantly that movement forward. reporter: my second question, the trump albatross question. tom: if you look at his popularity in virginia and texas and his popularity in many corners of the country, it's tanking, especially with independent voters. that is because he talked about draining the swamp. look at the puerto rico contract
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that is now apparently under review and investigation by the fbi. i flew coach when i was the labor secretary. those coach seat are plenty comfortable. you don't need to be flying in a government plane at taxpayer expense. that is not draining the swamp, that is -- at the same time you tell meals on wheels recipients that we don't have enough money to fund your program. reporter: my other question had to do with those republicans resisting trump. two you give them credit for that? -- do you give them credit for that? tom: i have respect for jeff flake. i think he is a person of integrity. that includes senator corker. at the same time, the issue i have with them is not whether they are people of integrity, they absolutely are. i am confident it is not easy for them doing what they are doing.
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but it is a heck of a lot harder for that person struggling with opioid addiction to face the spectre of not having health care. the reality is jeff flake was with donald trump 91% of the time, including the bill to repeal the affordable care act. john mccain showed courage in that vote. jeff flake went with the rest of the crowd. while i appreciate the predicament that we are in, it is a real illustration, the notion you can support the president 91% of the time and it is not enough. it gets back to mara's question from before. in my kids' school, 91% is usually an a grade. apparently, it's an f for republicans. is on themy question uranium one issue. the think that going to have
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is going toink that have legs and to what extent is the dnc preparing for that? what do you make of the president and others calling the party the democrat party instead of the democratic party? do you care, and does it matter? tom: on uranium 1, that is distracting donald once again. yesterday, sarah huckabee sanders says it had nothing to do with anything in the campaign. maybe she didn't get -- i looked at the papadopoulos materials. how can you look someone in the eye with a straight face on the podium where she stood and say that papadopoulos, his guilty plea has nothing to do with the campaign? that is beyond the laugh test. i am confident that some folks
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who want to be part of the distracting donald movement will continue to try and go down that rabbit hole. that was the steve bannon rabbit hole. again, if you want to distract from the task at hand, you do that. hisracting donald is currency, is to distract especially when the , heat gets white-hot. the heat is very white-hot right now. i can expect there will be a lot of things. we are the democratic party. the democratic party is about fighting for everyone. it is about making sure everyone has a fair shake, not just a few at the top. that's what we are fighting for as democrats. >> washington examiner. -- tom: the democratic
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party is the party that has been fighting for opportunity, fighting for the notion that we all succeed only when we all succeed. reporter: do you care about the word choice? tom: we are the democratic party. i am not going to sit here -- i am focused on getting people good jobs. i am focused on making sure they have access to a sound retirement. those are the things they want us to focus on. that is exactly what the democratic party has been focused on. i use the term democratic party because we embody democratic principles of inclusion and opportunity for everyone. reporter: thank you. another thing that came out of vegas was how much of the dnc is struggling to raise money at a time when individual candidates are doing fairly well. i just want to know, why is it so difficult for the dnc right now to get donors?
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tom: i am happy to share this information with you or anyone else -- if you look at the fundraising going back to 2003 and 2005 in these off your -- off year cycles, we have been where we have been in just about every cycle. to put it differently, the republican national committee routinely outraises the democratic national committee. when we took over the house in 2006, we were outspent 2 to 1 by the rnc. when i see those pieces now, when you look at it in the historical context of where we've been, they have more wealthy donors than we do. what we have been able to do this year -- first of all, the first three months of the year, we were just getting started. again, i walked into a dnc that had
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obvious room for improvement. even though we got a late start, we have already been able to basically match the past year cycles. what is interesting is we have been able, among other things, to significantly step up our small dollar fundraising. the first quarter, we raised a little over $5 million in increments of $20 or $21. 70% of money we raised has been small dollars fundraising. we will continue our efforts there while we pursue others. reporter: one of your party chairs said small donors are over the party. you don't agree with that assessment? tom: i don't agree with that assessment. what we know is when you have strong partnerships, you win elections. when you allow the infrastructure of the party to fray, you don't do so hot. we have not done so hot in recent years, and elections up
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and down the ticket. the reason i ran or this is when ran forfor this -- i this is when you fortify your values, that is how you succeed. reporter: what role should we play in crafting a message for democrats up and down the ballot? you mentioned the itemized issues. i think you alluded to a message. what you think that message should be? is there anything comparable for the dnc? tom: we are involved in the message development issue. we do that in concert with a number of folks in the democratic ecosystem. democratic party, i am a democrat because my parents taught me the democratic party always had people's backs. we had people's backs in the 1930's when we were fighting for
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social security. we were fighting for wage fairness. we had people's backs in the 1960's when we fought for medicare and medicaid. we had people's backs when lbj courageously said liberty and justice for all means for all. not simply a subset of the population. and we have had people back in the obama era where we fought and passed the affordable care act. what we have to do through our actions is show we have people's backs. phil murray is winning in new jersey because he is telling people day in and day out, i will have your back. look at his campaign literature. we have to prove it through our actions, because undeniably there are some who were asking that question, whether we had their back. they voted for donald trump because they wanted change. i think they wanted change that would improve their lives. what they are seeing is they are not getting it. the reason why we are able to win elections in oklahoma and elsewhere -- in oklahoma, the issue is education.
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those voters in a district -- in three districts that donald trump won by double-digit margins voted for democrats. because on education, they saw republicans engaged in radical social engineering that was making it very difficult to get access to quality education. they saw democrats fighting to have their backs. the chef i want to thank you. i apologize for being out of time. thank you for doing this. my apologies for running out of time. hope you come back, sir. thom: thank you for your time. >> [chatter] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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announcer: tuesday is election day in new jersey and virginia. watch live coverage of victory and concession speeches on the c-span network. candidates in new jersey are democrats fail murphy and the lieutenant governor kim o'donnell. >> in virginia, lieutenant governor ross north and and at gillespie. online, on c-span or listen on the c-span radio app. >> next, former president clinton takes part in a discussion on how to combat opioid discussion. then we can look at president trump's beach on the uss arizona memorial followed by the objectives and goals of the president's trip to asia. now, from a president bill clinton along with current and former policymakers and public health at work join in a summit addressing the opioid epidemic at the johns hopkins bloomberg school


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