tv Washington Journal Brent Cohen CSPAN July 4, 2019 10:26pm-11:10pm EDT
that is 9:00 a.m. eastern, testimony for the house judiciary committee. he will take questions from the house intelligence committee. both are open sessions. his report into russian interference in the 2016 election will air live on c-span three come on c-span.org or listen with the free radio app. bread: joins us -- brent cohen joins us. he serves as director of generation progress action. with thehe connection center for american progress? guest: it is the young adult education abacus c-arm of the center for american progress. towork with 18-35-year-olds advance progressive solutions to the most pressing problems facing the nation and our generation. will be talking about generations, the millennial generation and generation z.
define those terms. guest: millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. we were thought to be the youngest generation out there, but generation z is now of voting age. you have 18, 19, 20 euros in that age range. host: every election cycle there is excitement about the potential for the youth vote. every cycle without fail, the youth vote has the lowest turnout compared to other generations. 2018, it was 30% lower than the 60 plus-year-olds. do you have expectations that that pattern is going to change in 2020? guest: yes. i would reframe 2018. we had the highest turnout in 25 years in 2018 midterms. midterms, from 2014 which is nearly a 50% increase
overall. when we take away from that is that there is great opportunity, 31% voted which means 69% didn't so there is huge and -- opportunity. the movement and advancement is hugely promising going into 2020. host: how do you get to the rates of 60 plus-year-olds who are, the turnout rate was just under 70% for 60 plus-year-olds. will you ever get there with the youth vote? guest: there are systemic , before millennials came of voting age. talking about things like automatic voter registration, pre-registration, same-day registration, things we know really matter for young people who are the most transient in their lives. 60 plus aren't going anywhere. many times, they have their house and they have been there 30 years. they registered to vote and they vote at the same place every year. millennials move. you are in college, somewhere you, you move for a job,
have to re-register each time even if you are just going across a few streets down but it is a new precinct. variousre any of those -- barriers being lowered? guest: they should be. the majority leader mitch mcconnell, and who was blocking -- increasedas a access for young people, same-day registration so if you move you can register to vote the same day. other things, combating the influence of big money in politics. he called it a power grab. i think what is happening is to keep the power they have already stolen. the: hr-one is known as for the people act. in the segment we talk about the youth vote for the next half hour. phone lines are split up differently this morning. they are split by age. 18 to 35, (202) 748-8000.
36 to 60 years old, (202) 748-8001. if you are over 60, (202) 748-8002. you can go ahead and start calling now. you talked about the barriers to actually voting. what are the issues that will be driving the youth vote? guest: generation progress has organized issues around five key areas. climate change is huge for young people. it is important. we are the ones that will be dealing with the repercussions of climate change, the inaction, as well as our kids. many millennials have young children. criminal justice reform. we have suffered through mass incarceration. we have lost generations to it. it is time to end mass incarceration. gun violence prevention. 50% of homicides, gun related homicides involve young adults under the age of 30. 15 to 29-year-olds. that is hugely disproportionate. immigration. we have seen it with dreamers. we have friends, colleagues, classmates that are dreamers.
having those protections rescinded was hugely impactful for us. also, the humanitarian crisis the trump administration created at the border impacts many of us personally, either we know folks or because for older millennials with young children, we see our children in those cages, to-year-olds without diapers being cared for by seven-year-olds. it's egregious. and student debt. one in three young adults have a student loan. we know the rates around default. around homeownership. student debt is a big reason why people are having trouble getting there. guest: are you a fan of the plans to eliminate student debt? guest: we need a plan to limit -- to cancel student debt in this country, yes. host: there is the bernie sanders plan to eliminate debt, elizabeth warren is a tiered plan of how much debt would be eliminated contingent on how much your family makes.
guest: we put out report. cancellation is important. i think the considerations are simplicity, cancellation needs to be simple. two is equity. make sure we are targeting those most at risk for other systemic depressions in this country. including things on wage discrimination on the backend. not just a plan but is critical that happens here. host: usa today's editorial board after bernie sanders put out his plan last month said both sanders and elizabeth warren are pandering to young voters with their student loan plan. here is what they said. the most obvious thing to say is proposals like these are arbitrary and inequitable and make fools of people who saved and ate romen noodles. the retirement plans are unfair to people who have already paid back loans. they undermine the concept of debt and legal obligation.
guest: it is clear they don't understand what student loan debt is. that's the bottom line. the cost of college has risen eight times faster than the cost of wages over the past 40 years. we are in a situation where we have for-profit colleges that are doing predatory lending. not dissimilar to what happened in the mortgage crisis. you have people who ate ramen noodles, lived with five people and ended up with student loans and are trying to pay it down 10 years at a time to find out that up and they went now own more than they did when they first took out the loan. i would encourage the editorial board to look into the issue and better understand it. host: when issue is criminal justice reform. this is something that will bring young people to the polls. i wonder what you think of the first step act, the act president trump signed into law and touted as his achievement on criminal justice reform. guest: there is no question there is some good that came out of it. specifically with the
,etroactivity of sentencing which is beneficial. there are also problematic things, including the expansion of electronic monitoring, the way that it is written expands the footprint which is concerning. it is not just the we have many people in prisons. it is that we have many people under the control of the criminal justice system. what is more problematic is donald trump is not just touting the first step act. he is touting this as, look what i did for black people. look what i did for people of color. every other policy he has out there in fact harms the very people he is claiming he is here to help. host: brett cohen taking your phone calls in this segment of washington journal. phone lines are split by age. we will put the phone numbers on the screen as we hear from betty on the line for 60 and over out of virginia beach, virginia. go ahead. caller: good morning and happy fourth of july, although this will be a bad one with that rotten parade that trump is
putting on. about the youth vote, the youth vote, and i'm a progressive but i want to say one thing. i am still for joe biden. i guess people in my age group, a lot of them are still for joe biden. i like a lot of these progressive ideas very much but in my opinion, just my opinion, some of the candidates that are far out on the left might win the nomination but they will not win the general election if they're too far out on the left. i am going to vote for whoever the democrats put out. i like mayor pete. i like kamala harris. i did not like her going after my guy joe but she had her point and she made her point and maybe she could go up against trump and be successful. host: you talked about going after your guy.
i wonder what you thought about congressman eric swalwell going after joe biden, echoing john kennedy and telling him to pass the torch to a new generation. what did you think of that exchange backup -- that exchange? caller: i love him. one of the reasons i love him, he went after joe, not as forcefully, but she had her point. she is fighting to win the election. i love eric swalwell because i'm very much for gun control. this is the third community i have lived in that had mass shootings. i'm originally from sandy hook, connecticut. then i lived in charleston, south carolina when that terrible shooting happened in the church. i went to the pastor's funeral. i had people in my building that went to that church. now we had one here in virginia beach. at least he is for gun control.
look, half or more of these people that are out there don't have any chance of becoming the president anymore than i do. they have a right to be up there. they have the right to run for president, but a lot of them are taking away time from people that are serious contenders. host: brett cohen? what do you take from that? guest: i think young people are be 37% of the electorate in 2020. when you think about millennials and generation z, we have a wealth of candidates. werewas impressive was, we able to have two days of policy conversations without name-calling and telling lies, which is significant contrasting with the trump administration. whoever the democratic nominee is, whoever is running for president, it's important they are speaking to and connecting with a wide array of people, including young voters. host: when you say 37% of the electorate, you don't expect 37%
of those who vote in november of 2020 will be under 35? guest: 37% of millennials and generation z are eligible voters. the question is, how do we motivate and engage in turnout -- and turnout folks? the main way to do that is to speak about the issues that matter most to millennials and generation z and develop real concrete policies that address those issues. host: cape coral, florida. mike, how old are you? caller: i am 35. just finishing up. i wanted to say to your guest, the democratic party has been pandering to black people since the 1940's. to say donald trump is pandering to black people because he does something that the black community, i am a black man. that is ridiculous. let's have a conversation on
solutions. not talking about the 20 democrats that are pandering, as well. now to the issue of student debt. it is a real issue so maybe you could touch on this point as well. student debt is a real issue. i'm a teacher myself and i'm trying to go through paying back loans which i should not have to do. why are you not talking about the colleges who are raising prices? why are we not talking about colleges who are putting in all these unnecessary courses and classes that students have to take in order to get their degrees for the careers they choose? if you're serious in your organization about student debt, why not talk about the colleges and not just complain about a loan program that was put in place to get people in debt by saying you can take all the loans you want? don't worry, you will have to pay it back every now and then. guest: absolutely. there were two points raised.
on the criminal justice reform, you need to look at trump's stances on this holistically. i will leave out the fact that he calls for the execution and the guilt of the exonerated five from central park. that underlies what his policies have been. look at the appointment of jeff sessions, the nomination of william barr. these men literally have fought every step of the way, any type of criminal justice reform, have said they don't think mass incarceration is a problem. william barr wrote the book on mass incarceration. he literally wrote the memo on what it looks like to use mass incarceration. the need for the drug war and the need to ramp up here. and has not disavowed that in the last 30 years who many people have. they have said, i went to far. and there were, not even unintended consequences, but a level of consequences that
impacted communities too harshly. it's important to look at the trump record in that context. secondly, one more thing on that point, they infect tried to roll back criminal justice reform so significantly that they were trying to prevent people going into a diversion program from becoming federal employees. diversion programs are set up by states and localities and courts specifically so people do not end up with a conviction record, so they don't get impacted by the collateral consequences. he wanted people to require to fill out whether they have been in one. 3500 people spoke out against it, the washington post and advocates on the right spoke out against it and the white house pulled it back. but that is trump's record on criminal justice reform. on college affordability you are absolutely right. i strongly believe any debt forgiveness, cancellation, needs to happen hand-in-hand with college affordability plans. college affordability has been part of the policy debate for quite a few years now largely
in part because of efficacy led -- advocacy led by young people. more than 80 organizations have come together to say it is a huge issue. we need guardrails around what affordability looks like. we need to make sure for-profit colleges are not praying on the most vulnerable students. we need to make sure we have plans, debt-free college or free community college or a multitude , thatns beyond tuition addresses college affordability going forward so we don't end up in this situation again. we need to recognize the system failed over the last 30 years, and put low and middle income students into huge amounts of debt that isn't forgiven by anything, even as serious as bankruptcy. we need to address that as we address college affordability. host: fort washington, maryland on the line for those between 35 and 60. pamela. good morning. caller: good morning. i have to disagree with brent
when it comes to the difficulty of registering to vote. i don't think it is any harder to register to vote for young people. i think it is easier because you have the advent of online things you can do, and now they basically, they have a card and they renew when their license and they can register at the dmv. when i was younger, we had to actually go to these places, or actually send a form to these places. i don't see where that is any harder for younger people. the other thing i disagree with is, when you say people that are , they areer stationary. a lot of them are actually
snowbirds and things of that nature, so they still move around a lot, and they actually still have to find places to where theyure out are living at verses where they vacation at or live part of the year. whether they can vote there. let me give brett a chance to respond to that. guest: one of the policies that pamela advocated for, going to the dmv and register to vote, that is automatic voter registration. that is what we are advocating. it doesn't happen in all 50 states. it should. she is right. that is a type of policy that would increase access to the polls. in regards to being stationary versus not, i will give my own personal example. in three years in college i lived in four different cities.
they were all within 10 minutes of each other. i lived in richmond, california, oakland, berkeley, albany. that means four different voter registrations. for someone dealing with the full course load of college classes plus work and trying to figure out where to register to vote, that is different. that is not saying anybody else does not have to figure out where to register to vote, but there are some inherent things to the younger generation today, not even comparing it to the younger generation from yesteryear that makes it less difficult for older folks. host: windham, connecticut. stephen on the line between 35-60, good morning. caller: good morning. i'm calling on the get out the vote effort. in my town to secure education, we have to get out the vote. we have a large hispanic community. we engaged the hispanic community and it took a long time to get out the vote. then we won.
our interest waned, and then we lost. to get out the vote in the hispanic community, because they don't vote. they really don't vote. unless we get the women engaged, we lose. what are you doing, and i don't see any of the candidates getting it or talking out getting out the vote in the debates. president trump, biden. i'm interested to see if either of them get to talk about get out the vote today. i doubt they will talk about it. but if you want to win, you have to get out the vote. what are you doing to persistently get out the vote? host: i will let you answer the question but i wanted to show viewers this chart from elect project, turnout rates by race and ethnicity. this is 2016 some of the last presidential election. hispanic turnout rate was the lowest among those on the graph. just over 45%.
non-hispanic blacks at about 60% in 2016. non-hispanic whites a little bit more than that. guest: we can't have a conversation about, first of all, get out the vote is critical. but we can't have a conversation about voter turnout rates, particularly by race, without talking about voter suppression, which is alive and well, the reason stacey abrams is not the governor of georgia. it is why north carolina doesn't have a sitting congressman. they literally throughout ballots from communities of color. if we have a real conversation about get out the vote, it is what we are doing now, engaging folks on the issue they care most about and help and provide solutions that are concrete to address the issues. it is about addressing systemic barriers and the machine of voter suppression and gerrymandering. we saw it with the census. the underlying reason to ask a citizenship question was to
specifically and concretely under represent certain communities. it was very intentional and intentional to the latino community in particular. there is a desire there for a power grab and we are seeing that in elections and things like the census, which determines how money is spent in local communities. host: this is matt in ohio, a key swing state. go ahead. caller: i was calling to talk about people who did not go to college. i have been in the trades pretty much my entire life right out of school. you guys want to talk about doing away with student debt. how are you guys going to pay for that? it is $2 trillion. the people that pay student debt -- i'm stuck paying for the stuff i got to pay. essentially it sounds like you will end up taxing us to pay for
people's student debts. guest: i think equity is hugely important here and being intentional about how we address the student debt crisis and also recognizing the impact on the economy. i think being cognizant going forward about what this looks like so college affordability is an option for folks that want to go to college. and people who determine college is not the path for them have opportunities, like this color caller did, tos have meaningful opportunities to ascend and be financially secure. both of those things have to happen hand in hand. this is in fact part of a broader approach here. for 18 to 35-year-olds, one third have student debt between 24 and 35. this is not a small sliver of the community. this is huge. 1/6 of all americans of all ages have some student loan debt. we have people getting social security wages garnished to pay
for the debt. this impacts quite a big group of people. as we look at the $1 trillion tax cut that trump gave to his most wealthy friends, i would rather the money go in this direction. host: the 60 and over line, this is marsha out of florida. good morning. caller: good morning. i just want to say that people my age and older are clumped into one group where they believe the millennials don't have it right. as far as i'm concerned our future depends on the millennials going back to what fdr had in the new deal. mored best when there were government controls. it has been the goal of the republican party ever since
justice powell, before he was a justice, wrote a memo that was a guide path for corporations to have a bigger influence in government than the people. and they have been systematically winning on that. we had nixon, who was bringing in drugs, putting them into black communities, making the blacks look as bad as they possibly could and as dangerous as they possibly could. this was the goal because blacks primarily voted democrat. wherever democratic influences prevailed, the republican party got their swords out and shot whatever they could to keep democratic votes from counting. guest: marsha is right. she should be sitting up here.
she is absolutely right. the only thing i would add to what marsha said is bill barr, the current attorney general played a role in making sure nobody was prosecuted for iran contra, which is how they were laundering money and bringing drugs into black communities at the same time they ramped up their so-called war on drugs. bill barr is now the sitting attorney general of the united states. host: sarasota, florida. mary. on the line for those 35-60 years old. good morning. caller: good morning. i think this young man underestimates the power of the trump tax cut. for the first time in about 30 years we did not have to pay income taxes when we filed our federal tax return this year. it does benefit most people. it does not just benefit the rich. you are incorrect about that. as far as counting on
millennials, i have a child, 28, married. another one just turned 30. they also benefited from the tax cut. they paid for their college. they have minimal student loans, but like many of their friends they did not squander the student loan money. they were careful about what careers they prepared for so they could actually have a good job. the other thing that bothers me, why would you not want anyone who votes to have proper id? you always talk about voter suppression. i would like to have "are you a u.s. citizen?" on the senses. -- on the census. i don't think that states which promote illegal immigration should be rewarded with my tax dollars. guest: the census, that is
counter to the constitution. it says how many people live in the area, not how many u.s. citizens live in the area. the motivation here matters. the treasure trove of emails is clear that the reason to include that question was to suppress the number of people who came out to be counted on the census specifically communities of color as a way of getting more money into predominantly white communities. that is a huge problem. on the student loan debt issue, there is a mischaracterization in some ways and it assumption that folks squander this money. or didn't use it appropriately. but we know is that a lot of folks who are going into the for-profitnt to colleges, predatory institutions that went after the most vulnerable communities who believed in the american dream that if you go to college you will get ahead. you have a lot of single mothers who went to for-profit colleges while working full-time in an attempt to get ahead. folks from communities of color k-12have had poor
education systems and decided they are going to pursue higher education to achieve the american dream, and they caught the short end of the stick. for-profit colleges didn't lead to the type of jobs on the backend. we need to be clear about who is impacted. host: why wouldn't you want someone who is going to have proper id? guest: let's walk through the steps it takes to require that. i don't think that is a huge issue but you can get him an airplane today without having a driver's license. there are other ways to confirm identity. who is able to get id? not everybody drives. access to dmv's, particularly in rural areas. what does it look like when we have driver's licenses? in wisconsin, there was voter suppression because they needed the house number on a particular id to match. , those didn'ts
exist and it was an intentional attempt to keep people from voting. my question response would become a why don't you want people to vote? if it's a democracy, why wouldn't you be pursuing policies that get the greatest number of eligible people to be able to vote? that's the part i'd never understand and i never hear a defense for. host: brent cohen with us for another 10 minutes. we are discussing the youth vote in campaign 2020. phone lines are split up by age. i wonder if you think the age of the candidates matters the young -- matters to young people? guest: yes. i don't know if it is the determining factor between who wins the primaries and who doesn't, but the fact we have younger and some millennials candidates on the stage matters hugely. we are having a debate that includes our voices up there. elizabeth warren and bernie sanders may be leading on the student debt. julian castro also has a policy. they are leading but none of those three are millennials. yet you have eric swalwell and
mayor pete saying i have $100,000 in student loan debt. whether or not they agree with the particular policy issue, they can recognize it is an issue. host: this is mayor pete from an event in des moines explaining why he thinks his age is an asset to his candidacy. [video] >> i believe it turned out to be an asset that i come from a different generation. that maybe i don't look the part in terms of having quite as many silver hairs as you expect a presidential candidate to have. what i see, and i see in this room, is the potential to build a generational alliance of people who are focused on the future. [applause] >> we have to have a democratic message that makes sense, even when 2020 comes and goes. even when this presidency comes and goes. it has to make as much sense in
2030, 2040 and 2054 when god willing i come to be the the age of the president today. that it makes as much sense then as now, which means by definition it can't be a message that revolves around the president. we all have strong reactions to this white house, and the campaign that brought this white house in. we have to confront falsehoods and confront policies that are harmful, but it can't, the more we allow ourselves to let it be about him, the less it will be about you, the less it will be about our everyday lives. we have a chance to change the conversation. a horror show is a hard thing to look away from, but our responsibility is to change the channel and change it to something better. host: brett cohen? guest: he said a lot of good things there. 2054, he will be the same age as the current president. he is building a generational alliance. it is tough to look away from a horror show but we have to do
it. we need to be building not just pre-trump. we don't want to go back. we don't -- we want to go to post-trump. what does america need to look like? who do we want to be as a nation? do we want to be in the business of torturing children at the border or something better? i think that is what this, so every candidate vying for this primary has the obligation to say, how do we create this multi generational alliance? how do we create a coalition of folks who save we are better than where we are right now? host: a little bit of time and a lot of callers. we will get to as many as we can. robert out of stark, florida. the 60 and over line. caller: i'm old enough to know when the u.s. government paid college at 70% to cover students, and now it is down to 17%. loan, off the student
colleges did that a long time ago. another thing. online i saw a student had a debt of $37,000. he paid $10,000 of that and still owed $20,000. what kind of loans are these? who is putting these loans out like this? it is like a mortgage. host: brent cohen? thank you. host: brent cohen? guest: absolutely right. the government used to subsidize significantly more the cost of college. the cost of college has risen eight times higher than wages, and get government investment has dropped precipitously over that same time. wages, and get government investment has dropped precipitously over that same time. that is why the crisis is faced today -- crisis faced today is so much different than older generations faced. the context is usually helpful. we were told that was the way to get ahead in this country. that was the way to enter the middle class and upper middle class. yes, that is in fact part of this conversation here. les on the line for those
-- caller: good morning. i want to touch base and is forgiving of the debt situation for these college students. have you ever been forgiven for a debt? beeneither one of you ever forgiven for a debt? guest: i have not been forgiven for a debt. caller: my point is that when you are forgiven for the debt from the person that forgives you for that debt, that is a tax write off. in your name that goes into the -- that will be put on you as the yearly income when you are forgiven for a debt. i went through it with harley-davidson motor credit, which i never apply for one before. never in my life if i apply for a harley-davidson motor credit.
when bank of america forgave me of the debt and harley-davidson somehow bought that debt, it was for a tax write off for them. host: what did you want to jump into? guest: he is right. what needs to happen for any legislation to include forgiveness of debt, we heard from the previous caller about $10,000 and you now owe $20,000 more, is predatory in many ways and the government should not be making money off of the debt. it needs to be clear that forgiveness is not taxable income. before,question asked and it was asked this morning on twitter, what do we tell the millions that managed to pay off their loans? guest: with the assumption i did not do the right thing or that
43 million people at their did not do the right thing? the question really is, how do we have so many people doing the right thing and being treated so differently under the same system? it's a systemic problem, not an individual problem. karen on those 35 to 60 years old. caller: what is the impact of our educational system that does not accurately teach history or youth?on voter apathy in guest: it is huge. we are partnering with organizations to make sure we are in fact making sure high school students get the type of civic education that is critical. in is hands-on education where it can be. that is why preregistration policies are important so civics education can be paired with something a 17-year-old can do right now which is go to register for preregistration and when they are 18 it becomes automatic. it makes it concrete and real.
there is the modified history that is too often taught in textbooks combined with civics education. we need to be clear that folks matter. it is not just about federal elections. it matters at the local election. if you care about immigration, it matters to your councilmember is and your mayor is because they determine sanctuary city policies. health care matters at the local level. we need to pair it actionable items like preregistration. out of florida for the line for 35 to 60 years old. caller: i would like the table -- take a couple of issues with her guest. let's talk about student loan debt. i have a younger brother that would to college and had student loans. he paid it back. my youngest daughter went to college and she has a student debt that she is paying back. it is called responsibility.
everybody has a responsibility in this country. if you go to a bank and you borrow money, you need to pay that loan back. have is you want to talk about voter suppression. i am so tired of hearing about voter suppression. most of the voting laws are regulated by the states. they go in cycles. if you have not voted in an cycles, in four or five you are removed from the voting role. if people are too lazy to get off their rear ends and go register to vote, that is their problem. that is not mine. i registered for the selective service and registered to vote when i was 18. i take pride in this country. agree.i
i expected to be better than it is right now. that is why i'm working so hard for. interesting framing around too lazy. it harkens back to some less than comfortable times in our history that are clearly still present. when were talking about voter suppression, i would like to not talk about it anymore either. we actually have to stop voter suppression. those things go hand-in-hand. on the student loan debt, yes, everybody has responsibility. that includes the lenders who are praying on young people who were trying to get ahead. that includes the for-profit colleges that are predators in this space. it includes the government attempting to make money off of young people going to higher education. you should not be paying $80,000 in student loan debt and owe more than what you started with in principle. responsibility goes across all sites here. host: p
is executiveohen director of progress action and vice president for youth engagement at the center for american progress action fund. go to americanprogress.org. announcer: cb span journal with news and policy that impacts you. coming up, we talked about the state of health care in the u.s. including proposals by democratic presidential candidates and the trump administrations related measures. then rob richie of faribault discusses the recent supreme thet decision regarding census citizenship question. watch "washington journal" at 7:00 eastern friday morning. join the discussion. announcer: tomorrow, the national education association hosts a forum with several candidates,
focusing on issues that impact students, educators, and neighborhood public schools. it takes place in houston. it is at friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. announcer: this holiday weekend on american history tv, saturday at 10:00 p.m. on reel america, the 1970 film "honor america day," featuring comedian bob hope and the reverend billy graham. >> she is never threatened by problems and faults. with our freedom of the press and open communication system, we don't sweep our sins under the rug. racial tension exists, if riots occur, the whole world knows about it. instead of an iron curtain, we have a window. announcer: sunday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on american artifacts, living history hobbyist craig hall portrays a soviet cavalry officer and discusses the soviet
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