tv DCCC and NRCC Chairs at Texas Tribune Festival CSPAN September 30, 2019 10:00pm-11:02pm EDT
democracy, et cetera. however, everyone's district has a different makeup and they have to take that into account. some members will be going home, especially these members who most recently came up for impeachment in trump? winning districts, they will be defending their choice to support and impeachment inquiry where trump won whereas others will be going home and saying finally, we have everyone on board, you know i have been hoping for this and pushing for this for a long time. host: catherine telling mcmanus -- katherine >> the chairs of the democratic exainl committee and the national republican campaign committee cheri buston and tom emmer take part in the impeachment inchoiry against president trump. the texas tribune hosted this
hour long event. >> welcome all. i'm abby livingston. i'm the chair of the texas tribune and i'm delighted to welcome two of the most pivotal people in the american politics. they have the jobs that are not most well known. to my meet left i have cheri bus tos. >> hello. >> and i have congressman tom emmer and he's the chair of the national republican committee. it took me a while to understand the acronyms. they're not as well known as. >> n.c. chairman or d.n.c. chairman. but these are members of congress who have been elected by their colleagues to basically get the gavel whether that means protect it or take it. and so it is a difficult job.
they manage millions of dollars. they decide who gets that money in ad spending and it can be a brutal process if your side is not doing well in the election year. i had one former chairman describe to me what it's like during the house floor and tell a colleague i'm so sorry, i just cut off your television ads and you're going to lose re-election. y'all might have heard of a man named rahm emanuel. he leveraged that job to very high levels of the american government. and so i find the job fascinating. but i would like to start off -- and i'll start with congressman bustos. can you describe to me what this job is? >> sure. hello, everybody. first of all, thanks for being here. i want to thank the texas tribune. i'm a newspaperwoman, that's my guac background. > i forgot to do bios. >> we're not afraid to talk about ourselves.
[laughter] that's what i did. i was a newspaperwoman. i have a great appreciate what abby livingston does out in washington. and then i worked in health care very briefly worked in healthcare for another 10 years. worked in marketing communications, public relation first a health system and nonprofit health system. and while i was doing that was on the city council which any city government folks here? no. i think it is a great training ground for serving in congress because there is actually no excuse for not getting the job done. you've got balance the budget every year. you've got to answer to your neighbors and all that sort of thing. i love the fact that, you know, journalism i think is a great background for pretty much anything you go into, if you know how to write, if you know how to communicate su sippingtly. if you care about people and their stories and what motivates them and what concerns them. i mean, abby ought to go into politics as part of our next -- her next career.
i just think it's a great -- i think it's a great background to. have so that said, i still remember march of 2011. i'm sitting at my desk at the health system and get a call who is with the d triple c. i said what in the heck is the d triple c. and now i'm running the place. it's the democratic campaign committee. it's the political arm of house democrats. we have two jobs and two jobs only. i happen to be in the majority party. our job is to hang on to the majority. and job number two is to grow that majority because it is -- if you're a democrat, which i have been pretty much my whole life, you believe in what we stand for, what we fight for. and -- and so that is why it's not just for political purposes that we grow the majority and hang on to the majority, but because i think it is the right thing for our nation. and so the job is those two
things. and as you said that we -- we work with millions of dollars. it is -- you know, you race money to make sure that you can get your messaging out to -- to people here. and i hope we have a chance to talk about texas, because texas is ground zero in 2020. and i'm very, very excited to talk with you about that. [applause] yes, thank you. it's a very, very exciting state to be in from a democratic perspective. >> chairman emmert, can you give us a little bit of your view of the job. >> i'm a family guy. i've got seven kids aineds was doing the city council stuff, coaching, all of that. you, kground is as i told i'm not a professional storyteller. i tried cases for the better part of 20 years usually defending people and their businesses in civil courts in the state of minnesota, wisconsin and north dakota.
i came to politics late. this job is -- well, it can be defined this way. the national republican congressional committee is just a name. the business is roughly at $200 million with 80 to 100 in a building in d.c. in a network that spreads across the country that will run 435 campaigns on its way to restore a republican majority in 2021. that's what it is. >> all right. so i'm going to jump to thing everyone's talking about and thinking about. it's been a long week. it's been a crazy week at the capital. i was there for the rest of the week. i'll throw it to chairman emmer -- i know we haven't had much time to poll. what is your political read? and what is the advice you're giving your candidates about impeachment right now? >> what i would say, abby, is this socialist democrat
majority, that currently occupies the majority, their hatred for the president is so deep -- >> wow. wow. >> it is so deep that they can't focus on anything than undoing the 2016 election. they went for three years -- two years and $32 million to get a report that show nod collusion. quid pro quo. i hope everybody has read -- >> i do too. please read every word of it. >> and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are getting nothing done. this will be the end of the new socialist democrat majority in the house. and it's why we're going to win next november. >> so abby, i hope i can -- i don't even need a question on that. [laughter] so i happen to be one of the 31 democrats who was elected a district that donald trump won.
so i am -- i can tell you positively you know, any kind of socialist label is just -- doesn't even have any kind of fit whatsoever for the vast majority of democrats in congress. we believe -- first of all, we believe in democracy. that's important to note in light of what's happened this last week. you know, i brought the -- the -- the transcript from the president's conversation -- president trump's conversation with the president of ukraine. and i was going to bring it up here. i know it's in the back there. but please do read that. please do read that. look, i did not call for any kind of impeachment, impeachment inquiry. i didn't even utter the word that started with i. please take the time to read it. it will take you 30 minutes to read both the transcript and the
whistleblower's report. the president literally is trading defense assets to under mine the 2020 election. and tom, while we're up here, i guess i'm really curious how you defend that conversation the president of the united states had with the president of ukraine? i would love to hear the defense of that. >> first off, you've completely mischaracterized it. please read it. when you talk about no socialism democrat party. when you have 150 of your members that want socialized medicine, that want to kick people off of their private health insurance and their employer sponsored health plan, when you have 100 members supporting the new green deal which we're told by folks on your side is nothing more than redoing the free market economy. it's not about climate. clearly this is is the new
socialist party of america. if you're not willing to fight for it and take it back, you own it. >> tom -- >> the hatred of this president and his family, the out right hatred of this president and this idea that anything we can do -- we can do anything to try to undo the 2016 election is the reason -- >> i understand pivoting. i was a reporter for 17 years. i understand whi people are trying to evade a question. my question is how do you defend the president of the united states getting on the phone with the president of ukraine saying let me do -- let me ask you a favor, after the president of ukraine is talking about defense, and then the president talking about the favor being can you dig up dirt on the guy who you think is going to be my opponent in the 2020 presidential election -- >> again, you mischaracterized what's in it, cheri. >> that's in my red bag back there. if i can read the first full paragraph, i will be happy to read it. it's out there for everybody to
see. >> they should. >> they absolutely should. you guys are silent -- it's like crickets. it is like crickets. how do you defend the president trading our defense assets so ukraine, the leadership in ukraine digs up dirt on his political opponent? i need the other one too. by the way, unclassified. can i read this, abby? >> very briefly. this is not a litigation. >> the only thing i would say which is the skilled newspaper reporter, you can't. you have to read the whole memo because this has been the problem on your side. cherry pick certain cherry pic sentences and take them out of context. >> everyone here has access to the internet. >> just read. >> why is what better? >> what is the context? >> read it. just read the entire thing. >> this is not my words. this is not my words. this is the whistleblower's
words. >> i think you should read the one from the president not the whistleblower. >> i'm happy to do that. >> why are you reading the whistleblower? i hope you read the whole thing. >> this is the president of ukraine saying i would also like to thank you -- this is his conversation with president trump on the phone word for word. i would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. we're ready to continue to cooperate for the next step specifically. we're ready to buy more javelins. this is the defense system from the united states for defense purposes. the president of the united states. first words, i would like you to do us a favor though -- that's the first words out of his mouth. and he goes on to talk about the mueller report. he talks about -- he goes on to talk about mr. giuliani just recently -- and we are hoping very much that mr. giuliani will travel to ukraine. you will meet once he comes to ukraine.
and then he goes on to say, the other thing -- there's a lot to talk about biden's son. that biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. i mean, look, these are the president's words. and again, i would just ask you, chairman emmer of the nrc, where are the republicans calling out for full and complete transparency of the president of the united states getting on the phone saying this to the president of ukraine? >> now, you've already taken out of context the military discussion because it was about -- again, if you would like me to finish i would be happy to. you can yell over the top of me. you can characterize specific sense sentences. it talks about the fact that germany hasn't been paying the fair share. they talk about the great relationships that these two countries have. then they move to an issue by the way i thought you were very concerned about and that is ukrainian med knowingly the u.s. elections an russian meddling.
you spent $32 million trying to go through all of these details and when there was nothing there, now, you're trying to make up facts that don't exist in this. yes, you absolutely are. well, you are. this is -- this is the last thing -- if you study our history. this is the last thing you should be doing. the american public know there's an election 13 months from now. that's where it should be handled. the fact that socialist democrats hates this president and his family so much that they want to undo the will of the people in 2016, it's going to cost you at the ballot box in november of 2020. >> all right. let's move on. [laughter] and i think this is going to be almost as controversial. i'll start with chairman emmer. how many seatses are in play at the u.s. house level? >> there's one that will be competitive. texas is -- texas is not in play. texas is going to stay red. we'll probably win back two of the seats that we lost.
and you know, you've got to -- you've got a state that donald trump won by nine points. you've got 550,000 trump voters that didn't show up last fall but showed up before. but more importantly, i wish my colleague in her conference good luck trying to sell the socialist agenda in this state. kicking people off their health care plans, making private insurance illegal, ending eating hamburgers. and by the way ending fossil fuel -- you're going to stop all production of oil, that makes a lot of sense in the state of texas. it's not going to sell well. >> you're referring for medicare for all -- sorry, sir -- we'll have audience q&a. >> it is funny. i don't blame you for laughing. >> you're referring for med care for all and the greenbay new deal. >> that's just the beginning. those are the easiest ones. >> congresswoman bustos. >> do i need to talk in this or is this fine? this is fine?
i think you should have asked the chairman a little bit differently. i think you should have asked me how many seats are you going to lose and ask me how many seats are you going to win? >> we will hang on to lizy fletcher and collin allred two seats that we flipped in 2018, austin members. they're off to a great start. we're going to play in six additional seats. and the word of the day since we're sitting in austin, texas is texativ. what does it mean? it means that already on the other side of the aisle there have been 18 members of the republican members of the u.s. house of representatives who have announced they're going to retire. five of them are in texas. and so -- anybody who studies politics knows that when there's an open seat, you've got to -- you've got a better shot at picking that up. so we believe that we can play
in six of the seats. if we want to call one out right now, it would be in the farthest southwest corner of texas where will herd who was viewed as by the way, the rising star in the texas -- or in the republican u.s. house of representatives and will herd announced that he couldn't take it anymore and is retiring. we've got gino ortiz jones is a candidate that lost by under 1,000 votes and is running again. is one of the best fundraisers if you want to look at that as a sign of strevpkt. is one of the best fundraisers among all of the candidates. we believe we will play in six additional districts on top of the ones we already flipped. >> chairman, i asked this from some of your candidates yesterday. when i talked on the phone to republican operatives and we go through the numbers, some of them are pretty close. michael mccall race. some of them i didn't see coming. and these opener actives will
say just the beto effect. without beto in the mix. there aren't going to be the coattails. what's your response to that? >> this is a ptial cycle. and all of the districts that i just talked about where we will play, trump is under water in every single one of them. and there will be -- >> is that your internal polling saying that? >> it is polling in general. you've got internal polling. you've got external polling. it is polling that shows that trump is under water. so let's look at texas. is everybody -- who's from texas? ok. so just about everybody. so you know your own politics here. you've got changing demographics that are pointing in the way of democrats. you've got a more suburban state in the key area where is we're looking at pick up these districts. it's becoming more and more suburban and more and more diverse and it is more college educated. so all three of those things point in the direction of ben fitting democrats.
on top of that in the six districts where we will be playing, the republicans won those by five points or fewer. so that's the science part of it. so you know, there's always a science part of politics and there's the art part of politics. and the art part of it is making sure you have great candidates. and so -- so we are -- you know, in fact, earlier today, i met with several candidate who are looking at running and some of whom have announced that they're running. that's the combination. and you look at somebody's work ethic. what's their background? do they enup having -- end up having the resources to win? if i could have one part of or texas strategy. e texative is not just happening. we've been in text for many months now. we identified as soon as the 2016 election was over and saw that we flipped these two seats and came so close in the six
others that we were going to -- this was going to be ground zero for us. so we have had a headquarters opened for many months now in texas. we have some in houston, dallas and san antonio. we have people all over the state. so we are already communicating with the key voters that we want to make sure that we bring in and we can turn out to vote in 2020. strategic a very methodical step by step process that we think will lead to some success in 2020. >> mr. chairman, what's your response strategically to what she just laid out? >> well, retirements is nothing new. the difference between republicans and democrats in the u.s. house is that in the democrat conference the way you advance you merely have to outlive the person next to you. on the republican side, people come in, they move up the ladder. their term-limited with chairmanships and they go back to the private sector. the seats that were brought up
earlier, they have a republican advantage on average of 14 points. i love the -- the narrative that we're trying to create that somehow this is where we're going to invest all the money. i've got polling. polling that's been published. i think politico put it out a couple of weeks ago. lizy fletcher is already down by two points in houston. and we're seeing that all over because again the socialist democrat agenda, this radical socialism that they're pushing for the people in the suburbs it doesn't fly. >> this is what you're going to hear between now and 2020. that's their only line that they've got. that's it. >> it doesn't fly. and here's the other thing. i think it's great if the strategy is invest all our money in a state called texas where we're not going to be successful because we've got 55 seats and we've targeted 31 of those seats donald trump won just two years ago, in fact, with democrats in
there. eight of those he won by more than double digits or won by double digits. what they should be doing if they were going to try to protect the house is move to a more moderate approach in terms of their agenda instead of this radical left wing government take over agenda and they should focus in areas they want to defend instead of going after texas which is going to stay republican. >> could we talk about this radical agenda that brings down the cost of healthcare? can we talk about the bill that allows medicare to negotiate the prices of the top 250 prescription drugs? make sure that seniors don't have to pay more than $2,000 out of pocket. that makes sure that the prices that we're paying as americans n't so far outweigh what our neighboring countries are paying that make sure that if there's an increase in prescription drug prices that it can't exceed the cost of living, the inflation
rate -- and if it does the money has to go into the national institute of health that is so radical. can we talk about -- thank you. can we talk about making sure that if you are bound and determined to be a killer that you have to go through a criminal background check in order to buy a weapon? can we talk about all of the bills that we passed in bipartisan in the u.s. house of representatives that we sent over to the senate that mitch mcconnell just leaves in his bottom drawer? that is so radical that we want to bring down the cost of health care and we want to bring people's wages up. so radical. >> so i, first off, let's be clear that the new socialist majority that is in the democrat conference they want to eliminate obamacare. they want to make sure that private insurance is no longer. that's not -- >> who's they? >> listen, if you read ocasio-cortez's tweets today you'll know what your speaker -- >> you're talking about one
member of the u.s. house of representatives. >> it's 150 that want this government takeover. i try to respect and i -- allow you -- >> i believe in context. >> i'm putting it in context. we have a new socialist democrat majority in the house that has passed nothing. they will not work with people in the house with their colleagues in the house. they won't work with their colleagues in the senate. and they won't work with this presidents because -- this president because they hate him so much. >> come on. >> you can go look at the votes. they have passed only things they want with their radical agenda. they do have things they want to talk about but they aren't working with anybody in congress. by the way, that's because they're so focused on undoing the 2016 election. and now they want to move to this impeachment process. this is why they're going to lose their majority in 2020. >> it's an inquiry, first of all. and the other thing is every single one of the 10 bills that
we've passed have been passed in bipartisan fashion. all 10 of them have been passed. >> mr. emmer, the night will herd announced his retirement, my phone did not stop buzzing until about 2:00. and it's operatives in texas, mostly republicans. it was one of the most chaotic nights i've had in my career. i have a hard time articulating it. why was that a big deal? >> first, will defies gravity. will does things that most people haven't done in a lifetime. will at his young age has accomplished things most people will never see. second, he was a valuable member of our team. i think that's probably why. he's one of our young up and comers that decided he didn't say -- i've had enough. he said to me, i've got an opportunity -- i'll tell you what that is later. it's time for me to do something different. i'm going to go back to the
private sector. great. our job is to recruit the best candidates across the country. we have over 100 women running across the country. we have almost 100 veterans. 100 minority candidates running across the country. that's what you do. we need more will herds at the federal level. >> i have a question and i want one answer from both of y'all. who is the most vulnerable member of the texas delegation from your offices' party? , chairman with you bustos. >> why doan we say of the six that we're taking a look at, so it's texas 10, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 31. >> yeah. >> i think i'm right on all those. >> [inaudible] >> good job! i don't want to say who is the most vulnerable.
we're going to play in all six of those. three of them now are open seats. and -- you know, i probably would have said will herd in the fact that he was one of only three republicans in the entire country serving in a district that hillary clinton won. and he only won the seat by less than 1,000 votes. so that was -- and you've got gina ortiz-jones run if the second time. when i see these candidates run for the second time, you think they're starting off where they left off the last cycle. and you saw how they grew as companies. that -- as candidates. i think we'll do well. >> who's the most vulnerable one? >> henry claire. he's the most vulnerable democrats. they have socialist democrats. henry cuellar. o'halloran.
des if asio. you get primaries from the far left every single day. d i would say, henry cuellar is more of my grandfather's democrat he's the most vulnerable. >> i think henry is going to be fine. he knows his district inside and out. he listens to people. he is all over -- people know who he is. they like him. they respect him. he is very partisan. i don't know where he's on the ranking of folks who work to. but he believes in working to and working hard for people. he's smart. he's a good family man. i think henry cuellar is going to be fine. >> i'm not saying this was all across the board but there were more of a handful of people who say i don't know a republican besides will he, rd can hold that district. can a republican besides will hold that district? >> this is a narrative that someone would like to start.
the index is our plus one. we have a great candidate named gonzalez who is getting into the race that i think is going to do very well. and there are others. we concede no race in this state. and it will stay republican. we will hold these seats. >> i'll come back to you, chairman bustos. can you explain the position and i'll ask congress emmer this of the dccc on primaries. do y'all pick sides when you've got competitive districts? >> well, i think -- it's up to the candidates who have announced and are running in these districts to make sure they can show they can win. my district is in northwestern, illinois. i cover the entire northwestern corner of the state. i'm going to add a little perspective. hopefully this will make sense in my answer. we have 118 congressmen in illinois. 13 are democrats. and five are republicans. 12-13 democrats are in chicagoland. and i'm 13th.
so i'm what's call the down stater. s the mostly -- it's, you know, it's a republican area. again, donald trump won -- won my district. and -- and when when i was first run television a republican i defeated to get to congress. it was a crowded primary. there were six people in the primary. a the first quarter that i was in, i outraised a all five of my opponents combined. so what that -- that sent a message that first of all, she's got a team put together that know what is they're doing. she's working hard, because you can't raise resources as a brand new candidate, and i did not have a big political base, without working very hard. so what happened after that first quarter is some of those opponents started dropping out. by the end of the second quarter, i outraised everybody again, they started dropping out further. by the time i had my primary, i
had two very weak opponents i barely had to spend anything and had all the resources i needed to defeat a republican in the yen election. the reason i share that is because what we look at as the political arm of house democrats is who can make it happen. we want to make sure the person coming out of the primary can win the general. it's up to the voters. but you know, how you demonstrate your strength is. this do you have the resources? so much of this is about mistake avoidance. don't make mistakes that are deadly. build a great team. make sure that your views are being shared with the people in your -- in the district that you represent and that they understand that, you know, you're one of them, so to speak. all those things just have to come together. >> mr. emmer? >> the national republican congressional committee does not play in any primary. one of my complaints when i became chair, i believe we
republicans had become too washington centric. i think the people whether we agree or disagree, i think the people that rive live in the area that are looking for their representative, they know best what they want representing them. so it's about making sure that anybody who wants to run, which i think this is the issue in the republican party, we've got an incredibly diverse grass roots party across this country. and it's really important that we let everyone know at the grass roots level that we want you to run. that we want you to step into the arena and have a voice and represent this country and do good things. that's why i believe we're having so much success with the people we're attracting. we've got across the country, today, we have more people running as republicans for the u.s. house of representatives than at any other time in modern history during this pint in the cycle. we're over 630 candidates filed and running already across the country. the last time this includes even
2009, the last time that the 400 and pped, it was something. the intensity is out there i think people -- our job is to make sure we help them. no matter who they are. we don't pick. we'll let the people out here pick who they think best reflect theirs voice and best will reflect their values in washington, d.c. our job if you're going to run as a republican is to give you the tools you might need communication training, you might need precinct information or data. there's other things you may need. it's having a big impact in terms of our ability to recruit and attract people. >> i think part of the problem, abbey is that if you look at the -- so many of the policies of the republican party, they're so out of sync with the diverse nature of our nation. u could literally -- the democrats in the u.s. house of representatives are literally
like a mirror image of america. with the makeup of our women. we have 89 women who are members of house democrats. or 13 republicans. and two of those 13 women have announced they're retiring. one is our first baseman on our congressional women's softball team and we play against abby, by the way. and the other was the woman who was tasked by house republicans to lead recruitment. and it got to a point where she has announced that as chair of recruitment, she's not running for re-election herself. i think that makes it kind of hard to recruit awesome women to want to join the republican conference. but we literally are a mirror image. if you look at the makeup of our congressional hispanic caucus, our congressional black caucus, our asian caucus, our equality caucus, our women's caucus.
we are a majority minority caucus. and i'm very proud of that. it is a very, very different story if you look across the aisle. very different. >> i want you to respond to that but i want to put it in a different way. in 2014, i covered very closely both committees at another publication. i'm very defensive of the republican party when people criticize them about diversity. chairman prix bus was doing a great deal to bring different voices into the g.o.p. and so did chairman walden as much as he could. but the hands-off primary attitude meant there were a lot of women who ran for office in 2014 and lost their primaries. i think mia love was one of the few who got through. it was much more difficult than i expected. what is the thought process at the nrcc level of bring manager women and minority into the party? >> that's my commitment. that's number onism told you,
we're -- we've got 630-something people already running. out of those, the people that we've recruited, you've got over 100 women. almost 100 veterans. almost 100 people from different minority communities. susan brooks, who is our recruitment chair, she's actually the perfect person that you want to do this. because you don't want people going to washington, d.c. and making it their home forever. you want them to go, serve, make a difference and then let somebody else from home go out there and do that job. most people when they leave washington, d.c. all you ever hear from them this place is broken. this place is horrible. i don't ever want to see washington, d.c. again. the people are terrible. susan brooks is leafing, you know what she's saying? it's an honor to serve. aye enjoyed my time. i've reached a point in my life, i've done more than a decade of public servicing, my daughter has just moved to a different stating, my son is in a different state, i want to do some more family stuff now and i want to turn it over to the next person. when she's talking to our recruits she's doing it in the
right way. this is an honor to serve. if you're a woman and you have a family or you're doing other thing, place works for you. i'll show you how. we're going to be very successful in changing this. the message i'm going to tell you, abby is going to to resonate. what the other side offers with this move to socialism, it's the right to self-determine. it's the right for everyone to make the decisions that impact themselves and their families the most versus the other side which is government is going to tell you what you can have. government is going to give you your health care and tell you what that consists of. government will tell you how and where you can educate your children. government will set what you can drive and where you can live. versus freedom. i can guarantee that when people in the suburbs, educated, not educated, walk into that ballot booth next year and they realize that this socialist democrat majority has solely been focused on atabbing the president rather than impacting their lives in a positive way they will lose their majority.
>> you are seeing the republican playbook right here in front of you in live time, just so you know. it is this label that does not make any sense. again, we've got 31 democrats who serve in trump districts. i doubt very highly that they have a socialist bone in their body other than to make sure that people are doing ok that people have a chance to succeed. my father, who was a newspaper reporter also, he would read seven newspapers every day. just absolutely avid reader. he would be my first phone call every day. he'd say you should call this person, think about this piece of legislation. he would end most of my phone calls by say, i love you, i respect you, and help the helpless. i'm very proud of the fact that as a democrat we believe there are people who need a little help. we don't believe that everybody needs to be out there without any kind of help whatsoever. we did not agree with this tax bill that gave 83% of the
benefits to the richest 1% of the country. we don't believe in that. i'm not one of these that wants to divide, but i do know that we've got to be fair in this. we've got to look at rebuilding our country. chairman emmer, again, we passed 10 bills to bring down the cost of health care. we are in the middle of negotiating and in-- an infrastructure bill and will pass that. we just introduced a major piece of legislation that helps people afford their insulin and makes sure that if you are diabetic you can actually afford the medicine you need to stay alive. we passed what's called h.r. 1, the for the people act that by the way, that gets dark money out of politic, it would require presidential candidates -- candidates to release tax returns that would make sure government works for people instead of just for the folks at the top. we've gotten all kinds of things done. this label that you keep repeating over and over and over again, i think we're going to be sick and tired of it by the time november of 2020 rolls around.
it is not true. it is fake. it's not going to stick. [applause] >> congresswoman bustos, you had a pretty rough summer. there was some -- >> my son got married. i was excited about that >> so there were some complaints amongst staff at the dccc about diversity incorporated in the leadership. can you give us your side of the story and what has changed since those reports. >> sure. i don't know if i'd even characterize it as my side of the story. it is -- look. we had a structural problem. that we needed to fix. and i recognized that. i take ownership of that. i acknowledge my shortcomings in not addressing it before it got to the point where frankly it got bigger than i ever would have hoped. but we are fixing it. and we are doing it in a way that i think is respectful to our members of congress, our
staff internally, the folks who support the democratic congressional campaign committee, and we ended up with new executive director who knows politics inside and out. is from texas. her name is lucinda gwynn. lieu sin dark i don't know if you like the tv camera, she is the first latina in the history of the democratic congressional campaign committee to serve as executive director. she is at emily's list last cycle. talk about somebody who understands success, take a look at the women elected last cycle, lucinda had a hand in over one of those races. i'm excited that -- we had an issue that we addressed. you know, i think anybody who runs a large organization, and ours will end up being about a quarter billion dollar organization by the time november of 2020 rolls around, we'll have somewhere around
250-ish staff. i think when you run a large organization you hit a bump in the road. we hit a bump, we addressed it, we're moving on and we'll be stronger for it. >> i'm going to throw a question that i didn't think of until yesterday at both of you. i had a young friend running for office. he doesn't know how to do it. he doesn't -- he's trying to get his bearings. as a reporter i can't give him advice. when you get a call, i'll start with you, chairman emmer from a candidate. if there's someone who wants to run for state leg or congress, what do you tell them to do? >> first i ask them if they're crazy. i want to go back to something else before we leave it. there was a lot of talk about bills getting passed. first off, if the new socialist democrats want to run on h.r. 1 -- >> oh, please, tom. >> if they want to run on this i wish them all the best. because it was giving them $5
million for their own campaigns. their federal campaigns. i can guarantee you because i've seen the polling, it doesn't end well. if that's what they're going to claim is their major accomplishment, it is a mistake. second, you talk about passing bills but the reality is, this majority will not work with their colleagues in the senate and refuses to work with this president. so the question is, what major think of substance have you done? it's nothing. at the end of the day that is going to spell disaster for this majority. that's why it's going to flip. anybody who wants to run, please, call. we'll sit down with you. we'll sit down with you and we'll ask you question, why do you want to run? there are two kinds of people i've been told in my lifetime that like to run for office. those who want to be somebody and those who want to do something. for me, i think we got far too many of the former, not enough of the latter. if there are people out there who really want to make a
difference and you think you can, i really dent care, realistically, i told you my grandfather was a proud democrat. and we used to have this debate on a regular basis my grandfather once told me, i couldn't be catholic and be a republican. because he told me, he was the only kind, loving, compassionate resident of his community because he was the only democrat. i love the man. we had great debates. but our debates were the right of an individual to self-determine versus the size and scope of government and where that line is. it's changed. you can say that not everybody on the other side of the aisle agrees with the complete government takeover of the economy, of health care, of you name it. i understand that. but far too many doo and far too few are fighting. so if you believe in the right to self-determine if you believe that people should have choices, that not only improve their own live bus help everybody around them, come see us. we're happy to talk to you about how you do this.
we don't pick people for races. they step into the agree rhee in a and if they are the right people, the people that vote for them will select them and we'll work with them. so that's how we handle them. >> what i would tell your friend is he a democrat or republican? >> republican. >> ok, then i wouldn't tell him this but if he were a democrat what i would say to him is, we have all kinds of programs all over the country that train people on the fundamentals of running for office. and in fact, years ago, i am in my fourth term. susan brooks who is leaving, she's in her fourth time. she served in congress for all of, less than seven years right now. i think that argument that, you know, it's like serving too long and ready to move on is interesting. >> i'll tell her you don't think she should leave. >> sure, go ahead. that's fine. ut anyway. i started a program that we call
build a bench. it was very apparent to me that we needed more younger people. to run in offices at all levels. we needed more people of color to run. and we needed more women to run. because when i look around at the elected bodies all over this country, that's where we're lacking. so i created a program called build the bench. i'm a former college athlete. i played college basketball and volleyball, division iii, not like i was an awesome athlete or anything. but i look at it as, anybody here play basketball ever? ok. so you got five people on the court, right? and what happens when somebody fouls out? you got to go to the bench. what happens when somebody gets injured? got to go to the bench. what happens when somebody is tired? got to go to the bench and so, i kind of use my own sports analogy to say, we need to build a stronger bench. so i recruit people, when i say recruit, if somebody has interest in running as a
democrat in the state of illinois we do these boot camp we do them about every other month to every three months. i pay for all of it out of my campaign. it costs them nothing. i never want somebody's income to be an impediment for them getting involved in politics. we train them in the fundamentals. i think it's four things, look at what do you need to understand if you run for office, it is messaging. grass roots organizing. s a raising money. because you've got to have the resources. and it's making sure that, you know, you're able to put all of it together. that you know the fundamentals of putting those things together. people walk away from our training and know that whare what they're doing. there's another program, illinois women's institute for leadership, senator durbin's wife funned it several years ago. it's an all-year program, you spend friday, saturday and sunday somewhere in the state of illinois and learn how to run, you learn how to win. we have all kinds of these programs as democrats.
in 3re9ity much every state in the country. -- in pretty much every state in the country. what i'd tell your friend is if he wanted to be a democrat we'd be here to help him. >> i'll ask one more question, if you could keep your answers short so we can get to q & a. i wear pearls. i clutch them a lot in washington. your roles are in leadership. what kind of onus do you feel in studying the tone to your staff and to your colleagues and how you communicate with each other internally and across the aisle? i'll start with you, chairman bustos and then to chairman emmer. >> so like demeanor, from a demeanor perspective? >> yeah, i mean, i'm not going to get into examples in the last week but i've seen some eye-opening stuff on both sides of the aisle that i was like, we didn't do that two years ago. >> i'll tell you, i would draw the line, at the democratic
congressional campaign committee, i said this from day one and this applies to how i run my own campaigns. i dent get personal. i d not get personal. you can look at every race i've ever run going back to my city council days, so going back to 2006 when i first filed. and i don't get personal. i don't talk about people's wives. i don't talk about people's children. i don't talk about if somebody is in marriage counseling. i don't talk about those kinds of things. you could talk about somebody's voting record. and i think all of that is fair game. but i don't believe in getting personal. this week, it's just like so crossed the line. so crossed the line that chairman emmer at the republican congressional committee, the nrcc, went after the wife of a member of congress because she put on her social media about
marriage counseling. and took the nerve to take the impeachment inquiry and ask the question whether this spouse and her husband who is a member of congress would be talking about the impeachment inquiry while they're in marriage counseling. that is -- you talk about crossing a line. so what my message is, don't get personal. we don't need to get personal. we've got plenty we can talk about when you look at voting records. plenty. we've got plenty we can talk about about our own accomplishments. look, i come from a trump district. you've got to understand. if you're a democrat in a trump district, and i won by 24 points in a trump district, the biggest margin of any democrat in the country in a trump district. you cannot succeed politically if you go low all the time. >> i'll just play devil's advocate, i published a story a week and a half ago where a democrat in my delegation called a republican a name i can't use in front of my nephew.
is that -- >> you asked how i handle it. i'm running the political arm of house democrats, i said in my first talk with staff at the dccc, i don't believe in getting personal. i don't believe in getting personal. i believe in -- there is, again, there's plenty to be critical of when you look at their voting records. plenty. i think we will be successful because our views, our values, making sure that people have access to affordable health care, making sure we are doing what we can to bring up people's wage we believe in equal pay for equal work, we believe that no matter what color you are, what background you come from, what your zip code is, people should have an opportunity to advance in their life. we believe in all that. i think our values are very much in sync with what most people want for their families. and so from where i sit, i don't believe in getting personal. i believe in focusing on what we are accomplishing. and i believe it's fair game to
talk about someone's voting record. >> chairman emmer, where are you on this? >> first off, the thing that my colleague is talking about, those -- that was published in a newspaper and that's where it was taken from. so -- >> so it's fine for you to amplify that? >> if you'd like me to finish, i would. >> go ahead. defend it. >> so first off that was already published. so if someone's got a problem with the publisher of the statement, that i think is where that should go. second if there's a commitment now from my colleague after, i know what you're saying today but what you did a week and a half ago to another member of the texas delegation, whose family, spouse and family did not inject themselves into a campaign an get published in a local newspaper, you went after the spouse and the children and they weren't involved at all in the campaign process.
>> can you elaborate? i have no idea what you're talking about. no, tom -- >> you should have better control over -- >> don't accuse me -- >> you already accused me. >> does anybody want to call up their tweet that criticized -- >> no, we're not doing that got to get to q and a. >> do not bring that up. give me facts. give me facts. >> we will always be honest. >> give me facts. what did i do? >> i told you. a member of the texas delegation, you and your people went after his wife and children. >> who? who? >> you can look it up. >> i'm giving you the pportunity to expose this. >> we have five minutes for audience q and a. let's start. i will remind everyone, this is the state of texas, our motto is friends. these are both nice midwest people. let's start with the woman right ere.
>> i have an observation more than a question. which is that i see republicans are really good at labeling and i've heard a lot of this radical socialism. radical socialism mean mis27-year-old daughter who work farce small company that does not offer private health insurance, means she can get health insurance, then i embrace that label. i think it's great. bring it on. bring on the socialism. >> that's your right. that'll be the choice in 2020. because at the end of the day, in order to do what you're talking about, one, you have to get rid of all private insurance options. two, you have to get rid of employer-sponsored health care. and once you do that, then you only have one choice and that is the government program, whatever they offer. i'm going to suggest to you, you may like that, but i believe that when people go in and cast their ballots next fall, they're going to say we want to have the choices, we want to make the choices, we're not turning that over to our government.
>> obamacare, the republicans wanting to take it away, she has nothing. small employers do not offer health insurance. >> the radical socialists want to eliminate obamacare. >> how about this gentleman in the back. >> i think it was your side of the aisle that wanted to repeal and replace and had no replacement? >> actually, we had a great plan. >> where is it? >> what would have happened. you haven't offered a thing. >> tom -- >> what we should have done. what we should do, i'd love to work with my colleagues. let's restore the state's ability to put the programs together necessary and most appropriate for their demographics. for their population. let's restore the state's ability to do that. before obamacare, minnesotans, 94%, were insured under some form of coverage. by the way, the 6% that weren't had access. you just couldn't force them to take whatever it is. we can do better in our state than letting the federal government make the decision for us.
>> let's move on to the next question. >> i guess my question is, i'm observing and thinking about 2020 and i just get the feeling as i'm sitting here, especially at the trib fest that kind of prides itself on bipartisan, nonpartisan dialogue that you guys are kind of an illustration f the problem. and here's what i mean by that. that especially congress at the national level is increasingly a product of redistricting which is polarizing everything. and it's trickling dun to our states. and it's trickling dun to our cities. and the polarization just continues. and will hurd is sort of held up at this -- as this moderate and yet he was the vulnerable one. so when you're picking off the
people that are willing to reach across the aisle, there's no relationship between you two. at all. nd that's the problem. when will hurd is the vulnerable one and there are no relationships anymore, ultimately that's how you get rid of misunderstanding, is relationships and dialogue and i just don't see that. and whenever we have these redistricting rounds and we're going -- another one is coming up around the corner, it's just going to get more polarized. you get the safe seats and people that are happy sitting on the edges, spouting off their stuff because they know hey, i'm safe. and you know, i don't want to make a false equivalency here, i've got my own political opinions, you know, in terms of democrat and republican, but just the dysfunction. it's almost like i came into this session and it's just what the heck? it's been a great weekend, though.
[applause] >> i would just say we have two very different goals obviously. i'm very passionate about making sure that democrats hang on to the u.s. house of representatives. because right now we are the only firewall. that is it in washington, d.c. that is making sure that the president can't continue to act on his worst impulses and we have seen this week how bad those impulses are. so i am very, very passionate about it. i have a very bipartisan record, there's a list of people who are, you know from the least bipartisan to the most bipartisan, as the head of the political arm of house democrats i've got a very good ranking on being bipartisan. again, i come from a swing district. as part of our for the people act, eh.r. 1 that chairman em'em -- chairman emmer was criticize, we call for redistricting in a way that offers balance. that offers fairness.
i don't believe in carving out little sections so this district can be completly republican an this district can be completely democrat. i don't believe in that. i think if we had more sing districts like the one i come from as a truly swing district if i'm too crazy this way or too crazy this way i cannot be successful. i believe in what you're talking about. but i believe very, very strongly in the importance of elect manager democrats. you're right, we do come from very, very different perspectives. >> but you should have an honest debate. what my colleague just said, cheri is talking about, we proposed a great solution for redistricting. i disagree. i think the state of texas should decide what their dicts look like. if you don't like the way it works, talk to your texas legislature and the governor. you shouldn't turn that over to the federal government. that's an honest disagreement. we should have robust and healthy debate in the public square. people should wok it. but at the end of the day it's
not personal. we're both american. we want the same things at the end of the day nor country we just have a little different way of getting there. >> that's all the time we have. i think everyone -- i thank everyone for coming out. i want to -- these guys took out of the time from the end of the quarter, which is big for fundraising. i am grateful. >> you guys have a great city. thank you so much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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