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tv   Dan Pfeiffer Yes We Still Can  CSPAN  July 30, 2018 1:03am-2:23am EDT

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through that experience i could share that unbelievable meeting with him. i told the whole story in the book. i got to go bring my mother and children and wife. it didn't just become about me but how i could share and to place his hand on and there is so much of a bigger lesson to learn. >>host: sean spicer. congratulations thank you for sharing time with us. >> thank you michael.
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[applause] welcome. i am the executive director. and el. [applause] how many of you were here for the very first time? raise your hand. welcome back it is so good to
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see you. it is very cool to see a sold-out crowd but it is not surprising that this book is number one on the new york times. [applause] it is my absolute pleasure to welcome him back so when president obama first decided to run for president. he was the first higher as communication director. he was at his side for two presidential campaigns and six years in the white house he now has the incredibly popular pod to save america and now the author of "yes we (still) can" part memoir for
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democratic activism and with those circumstances with president tromp getting elected. with the internet from obama's time in office. will also in discussion with alyssa mastromonaco. [applause] and you know the former deputy chief of staff and new york times bestseller. and with the newly launched podcast as part of the crooked media network.
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only dan could get her to a true sign of their friendship. if you get hot we will turn up the ac. if you are a fan of other crooked media podcast, we will have another forum on august 8. we are live streaming tonight on facebook for those who are not lucky enough to get tickets to the sold-out event. if you tweet please tag us. please download the totally free podcast on itunes. and with that thank you so much for joining us tonight please give a warm welcome to
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g5 t5. [applause] dan pfeiffer hello. i have a question for everybody here. how many have already read the book? we have some ground to cover. but everybody has the book. [applause] and is a sign of true friendshi friendship. when your friend beats you on the new york times bestseller list. so i need everyone to understand how dan and i
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became best friends and how we met. it is very quick but very embarrassing. [laughter] i was working for barack obama and i got on the plane and sitting in the back with robert gibbs and all of these reporters were around and i thought who were they talking to? that is dan pfeiffer. and i said that is dan pfeiffer? he is kind of handsome. [laughter] so we landed at the airport i get into a long -- he gets into a town car and i get into a minivan. [laughter] and then fast forward four months i meet him for the first time and he is talking about people he will hire to work on the campaign.
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i am sitting in my overalls. [laughter] he is talking about this person and i turn around with no personal boundaries and they say here's the deal he hooked up with me because he wants to work with barack obama and on the campaign. he never did. [laughter] so first. the talk of the day is the supreme court of the united states. >> everybody groans. buddy. what do you think about all of his baggage and i mean shady
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shit. [laughter] >> considering we are in a synagogue. >> thank you for giving me the heads up. sorry. [laughter] >> there are hints everywhere. [laughter] i would say personally i am not a fan of judge kavanaugh. and i think if he is confirmed analysis says he would be to the right of roberts and alito which is pretty far right. and as everyone knows we are losing kennedy who is the swing vote but now the swing vote will be john roberts from the left.
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i say a couple of things. this is a hard fight to win even if they get every single democrat to oppose judge kavanaugh and i hope they do and try hard. and that is through no fault of the democrats. it is a fight we are likely to lose but one that we need to have and aggressively. >> because if we just decide it will pass anyway but with the red state democrats do what they want to do and get it over faster. that means they will put at risk the affordable care act and roe versus wade civil right and then he should be
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fully vetted but also every day be shouting from the rooftops. and then to do the right thing and if that were to happen and even if we lose the fight and fight aggressively that will set the stage for the fight to come. their voters cared about the supreme court the reason why many bet their town and voted for donald trump so i think about the election and how that's different if people were bernie sanders supporters had filed about the fact that whoever garland for whoever was appointed would have been overturned by citizens
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united. so we have to talk to our voter voters. this is it. generations. >> they are our age. >> judge kavanaugh used to play in pickup basketball. he is not old. he will be around for a minute. and we have to ensure that if we take the senate back, donald trump will not get another appeals court judge through. so we need to motivate people he 17. >>host: do you say we should be motivated by the fact that he believes presidents should not be indicted? and it seems awfully shady to
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me. out of nowhere also has a side , all of the women democrats saying he could even pick a woman. i don't want a woman to take away my rights. i would rather that be a man. i saw that conversation online. that is stupid. [laughter] >> it is notable that mitch mcconnell told tromp that of those he would pick that judge cavanaugh is the hardest to confirm working with george w with a paper trail also decisions around surveillance and other issues so do not pick cavanaugh because it could be harder with these ideologue white guys and i'm
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sure tromp did not lead single brief or study anything he outsourced that but he had a final choice with me why do one who expressed an opinion that cannot be investigated is probably notable for fact. >>host: so you will this book everyone should read. so your book is very upbeat but you wrote that in a dark time. so when i finish my book i had to rewrite it as if hillary would win.
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so it is a mindset. >> the first draft, i had never written a book before nothing any thing longer than required from the white house and i wrote three chapters and said to my publisher and my editor like mi headed in the right direction? did i screw this up? and the first chapter i wrote those january february march and he said it is too dark. [laughter] so as i was writing it. it's reflected my emotions of the moment those months that we save the affordable care
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act? so then trump gets gore search through. so then two things were helpful. to step back from the news because it was like being on a treadmill that never ended because what was true when i sat down at the coffee shop was not true by the time i got a book talk about bob mueller i would say there's a good chance for the time i turn the book that trump will fire him and that will be a useless chapter so to think about from a bigger picture and looking in the moment and then to say
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it wasn't that long ago that we had a president like barack obama someone who was thoughtful and decent. it was less than a year ago. when you think about it that way there is a longer work of politics and then all the people i have had a chance to meet over the last year and a half in america whether at our shows. [laughter] [applause] or i was in d.c. at the women's march or with the protest at the muslim dan and the people that you meet at those events and some pretty great young people and
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when you do it to the context of those people you can see is not a guarantee but it is possible than what you would believe. >> that is totally true. i agree. so when i wrote my book when you the for me, i was packed up and we said goodbye and she went to minnesota for college i drove out the gate i felt so free i was listening to led zeppelin then 30 minutes later i am completely depressed what have i done? when i wrote the book i thought it was a nice moment to go back so did you have nostalgia?
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>> yes. absolutely. i thought it was more like brenda. [laughter] as long as i am aligned brunett brunette. >> i went and. >> reporter: the books from our friends and david axelrod's book and read some news articles from that time. i did not keep a diary because you should not do that if you work in the white house. [laughter] but i did spend a lot of time in front of congress so i had to read things to remind me of what happened in context. but i was most struck by the nostalgia was the people. the people we worked with or fo for.
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and there was something magical. it is an incredible honor. like if you don't feel magical then you should not work there. >> and obviously we think very highly and the shared experience together. and was really hard with a great group of people that you love and trust it is so different than the trump white house. >> may work in the white house and i work in the white house they were my favorite people
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that danielle and i held hands because i was so nervous but you see what they are doing now so even that one iota of that respect for the people in the building so when i went and looked through it some of those stories i kept watching the manassas video the last rally of barack obama and then i would just re-watch watch the video and say do you remember this? like it was two weeks ago. [laughter] >> my farewell gift from obama at the white house was a video he put together of all the photos of our time in the white house. >> we all got that.
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[laughter] just kidding. >> you are in some of them. but i looked at that album to think about the book. to say we did this and it was special. it is all you could hope for in politics to go to work for someone you deeply believe in who turns out to be good and decent into it with a group of people that are smart and loyal and fun and more family than friends and to take that journey all the way as we are so blessed we got to do it. >> we are blessed.
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i will not ruin this for you but this is what i remember and there is a chance the hip-hop artists who had known obama most of his life put it back into the interview his dad was the state director in the senate and chant said he is a good man even if he wasn't president he would just be a good man working at red lobster. [laughter] [applause] >> yes i put that in the book. >> here is a funny one at the last, it was obama's birthday card -- birthday party you were there to we were all there together lots of famous people the chance the wrapper was there after the book had
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come out so we don't often and talk to them i'm not grade at small talk after i really enjoy your this i have nothing else to say. so my wife and i said we should go say hi. we saw him in concert we have to go say hi. we walked up to him as a beloved child and it was so great. we listen to you all the time and i said. i work with your dad. [laughter] and she said to judas go up to a wrapper and say i work with your dad? [laughter] >> it was factually accurate but not cool.
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[laughter] >> at least you went up to him and that we were in london meeting the queen and david beckham was there i know he wanted to do it with me but tee5 talk to me all night and i said he wants to do it with me. >> you could feel it in the air. [laughter] and did my makeup. [laughter] so with a trip down memory lane but what is your favorite memory from this moment? >> it was the knights of the affordable care act.
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>> but it was true and but michelle obama was out of town. but i was not invited. and then there was champagne and cocktails. and then would visit the gettysburg address. so it was amazing.
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>> that is loftier than my favorite memory. so then when does he hate you? i remember every time the potus hated me. [laughter] >> there were many times. [laughter] there were a time in 2011 things were not going great and we were getting criticized in the press so therefore it was my fault. so every day for about three weeks barack obama would call me down and point out several articles he would agree with i
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can imagine what his twitter account would be like. [laughter] there are many things when the time came. that i agreed to do this town hall. yes. you did. when did i do that? in front of ten people. [laughter] he is a great boss but sometimes he did have short-term memory about the things he agreed to and did not want to do after one year i sent a memo.
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>> and we try to get them to sign off just put your signature right there. why would they do that? i don't know. my least favorite memory was exactly the same. with a 24 hour or 48 hour day during the campaign we were here and there and we made it to jay leno and then back in 24 hours everybody was high-fiving themselves. and then potus looked at his schedule and he turns to me and says that convention tomorrow? i say you know that he said no i didn't and then i was iced out the rest of the trip.
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>> and delivering with the white house correspondents dinner and then to remember this and then to work on jokes for the radio and television correspondents dinner. like it would be good press outrage. and then we were bouncing jokes back and forth and obama was walking down the hall and he says what's so funny? he said we are working on jokes for the correspondents dinner. he started to walk away.
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and he said was that? [laughter] we said you. and that reminds me because my feet are hot. once i walk into tee5 office and i am barefoot but benjamin netanyahu is in there walking down the hallway and potus that is alyssa he looks down at my feet and he said god dammit. [laughter] i try to cover them up with apollo but it didn't work. [laughter] mom -- a pillow. but i'm trying to give you what you came for. we are shooting the crab.
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we went on a lot of foreign trips. so what was your favorite foreign trip for any reason? >> the best was when we went to ireland. >> i did not go there. >> you were hanging out in buckingham palace. to make this is so crazy. we went and visited him in a special irish town and you need the redeye to ireland and hopped up on caffeine because
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we went to an irish. he has to drink a guinness because that is what you have to do at 10:00 a.m. so were we. >> sacrifice for your country. [laughter] and then take a two hour nap on the way back. >> to remember the time we were on the boat? [laughter] that then one of the best pictures of all time. but i'm leaned over like this. i took this photo of you guys. because he is really sitting there saying you will make
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it. you will make it. and i can try to similar track with my seven week old and it does not work. [laughter] >> okay. so we all watch the news myself included and one tee5's favorite thing to say about me i am consistently disappointed by those who disappoint me. so i get enraged at donald trump because i cannot believe what he has done. i say this isn't fair. this placement isn't fair. because deutsche bank will be implicated. [applause] allegedly. allegedly. always reminds me to get
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people going. before our shows mike barack obama comes on and people applied. then joe biden. then bob mueller and people go bananas. >> bob mueller is just so handsome every way. stop terrorist. for justice and he is tall. [laughter] [applause] i love him and i was in a meeting with him once said mr. president i will kick it off and i said you are forever my boyfriend. but you are doing your book
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tour so how do you keep yourself down? but generally? >> this is a question that we get from people that i'm tired. what do i do? this is exhausting. you don't have to be visible all day long. not is a save it as i do. donald trump is president and will be. so i think it is okay.
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>> it wasn't a rule once he won we had to be miserable 247. and this will go on for a while now. and pick up the phone and do some phone banking. >> you like phone banking? >> i wouldn't say i'm great. but my wife runs a tough
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ship. so if we are therefore a phone bank i know i'm there for more than that. >> when i was 21i did a phone bank for bernie sanders because i was an original. and he said here is your call list they give me the most northeast part of vermont the most impoverished part of the state. i was so embarrassed. i only got $50 that i was yelled yelled at a lot to get that. >> donald trump so today he was on the south on and then
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if i didn't want to do about it you don't want to do about it. and when people asked him so he could give a primetime address last night. he was late for it we would have been killed for that. to get all the eyeballs with this judge kavanaugh person and didn't answer one question about the children who are missing. today we find out the government missed the deadline there are still 3000 kids, over 100 under the age of five. and he just doesn't answer this is a social media.
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that isn't why they should come here in the first place. i feel like nobody pushes back. he just got on the plane to blowup the nato relationship. >> there are two ways to think about that. he is president but also historical ratings his campaign manager is in jail entire family is investigated, his personal lawyer is about to turn state's evidence. >> maybe when that happens i will feel better. [laughter] >> it is an important point.
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or how handsome he is, he may put a lot of trumps friends and family in jail. and that make people personally better because jared kushner was in pretrial detention center. >> unbelievable. tonight i hope that mouse and the wall gets him. >> and here is the thing. the only one with accountability to give to politicians. so hopefully the senate in 2018 he did not get away with it.
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and then to wait around for bob mueller that will not happen. but donald trump is president with a party that will let him do whatever he once. the republicans will not convict him and we should not wait for that. and that is coming very soon. we just have to turn out the vote. and when the party has lost big elections that is not fun so to think about what it will mean if democrats have subpoena power. right now no one has any idea
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and the trump administration will not tell us and republicans will not force him to do it. and democrats could actually have accountability. but he will know on 2018 and that's why it's so important. >> when we travel there is wind chief of staff and he healed me once. i was trying my best not to cry in a foreign country. and tee5 saw all of it and he said here you go buddy. play angry birds.
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i said i don't even know this game. he sat next to me probably like his daughter and said here is how it works. pull the bird back and let it go. [laughter] and valerie jarrett walked in and i'm sitting there show me again? she said i don't know what you are doing. goodbye. [laughter] so now we have to take questions. celeste talk about kanye. i don't like him but i think the story is great. >> there was only one thing i was nervous about. that this could upset barack obama. and i will tell the story but it was the interaction.
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that they had patched up this event after previous fights. so what is this friendship? and i turn in the book and to rule the dice. then the book came out i was still a little worried about kanye west. [laughter] so in 2014 we were doing a fundraiser with the small events with a couple dozen people and they got to ask barack obama questions. we are flying to l.a. up the time for this fundraiser. and they say can they come?
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most people don't remember barack obama was caught on a microphone calling kanye west a jackass after the taylor swift fiasco in 2009. and kanye was a big supporter and did not like being called a jackass. in many interviews since then has complained about that fact. so we are in a tough political spot. and to looks like a limited we will spend a week so i need breckenridge says what should we do? get out of this.
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let's not do it. and then they said they will cancel the event. we said okay. i never sit in on fundraising events. i am a recluse in the staff office looking at my blackberry and schmoozing. so we are in the library at this point everyone is seated on couches. mostly just rich people from hollywood and was such a good boy. and kanye west and kim kardashian.
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i am a huge fan of his of his personality not just politics so i grabbed a seat in the back just to see what happens and they told myself i had to be there is a communications person in case something happened. of course the first question was about climate change and kanye is just sitting there very quietly on the couch. more shy. so i sat in this whole fundraiser for no reason. and then one more question. and then kanye puts his hand up. here we go. we are running late already. he starts.
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he never really stops. so he starts by saying. mr. president. you and i have a lot in common. we first came on the scene everybody loved us. and were both from chicago. we both have a lot of haters. and then it went from there. we have opposition. like coke as pepsi and nike has adidas and i have drake. i had no idea he considered drake to be his main rival. [laughter] and then he went on a stream of consciousness for 30 minutes maybe?
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and some highlights include him saying that one of the things obama should do is bring all the best people together. all the geniuses at the white house. like elon musk and yo-yo -- yo-yo ma on the cello and me and jay-z on the microphone. i was drinking a fresh pressed juice in japan and i'm looking at their packaging and that i was riding a bike in shanghai. and i was thinking about climate change. it's real. [laughter]
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but that is like smoking a pack of cigarettes. it went on and on. kim kardashian was getting very uncomfortable. [laughter] visibly she had been down this path before. and eventually he had to take a breath. obama is being the seasoned professional he is says kanye. thank you so much for your thoughts. [laughter] we should get together soon thank you everyone. i've got to go. [laughter] >> at this point it's amusing that i am a little nervous that obama will look at ourselves and say i am the president of the united states and you made me listen to kanye west for 30 minutes and he didn't even wrap.
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[laughter] so is the last day of a very long trip and we are headed home. i wasn't sure. what does the potus think? we're talking. and valerie and the president and i get into the limo as soon as the door closes he looks at us and says you know what i was thinking the whole time he was speaking? i said yes sir would like to know. he's had that shit cray. [laughter] [applause] that had to be told in person he's like you're not going to believe what happened. it is time for questions.
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please line up we will alternate. >> to be interested in foreign policy one of my favorite podcast it is brilliant i have a two folded question. so the damage done by the bush administration was irrevocable but the work that you and the obama team quickly helped to elevate us back up again but now is going back to the better things to this administration so i'm curious what you think we need to do one level to regain ourselves on the world stage? and i have another question so
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what is the most awkward encounter you have had with a foreign dignity -- dignitary. [laughter] >> i think to the first part of your question. there is a good answer to the second part. but first, the best job in the world will be the president who replaces donald trump because just think about it. the entire world they will be so jazzed. you will be elected and sworn in. you'll be sinus up for paris and nato and then you will get
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parades everywhere because we will be so happy. [laughter] can we survive globally four years of his terrible mess? yes. i do think for as much as people hated bush, i think the world leaders viewed bush as a very bad but normal u.s. president. there are many wars the u.s. has fought and that were disagreed with but trump is different they say a whole you are not that much better than us you could also be led by a nutcase. so that shine of american exceptionalism but a new president who returns to diplomacy first and don't personally attack your allies will work so the most awkward
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encounter was saudi arabia? >> that's exactly what i was thinking the most awkward encounter first saudi arabia and king abdullah. we were told to go to the receiving line he will shake your hand and we go through the receiving line. david axelrod then he gets to me and valerie and the president is like this is david axelrod and he looks at me and says this is valerie and alyssa because nobody knew what to do with us and he went to shake our hand i made a scene because my hand was glued to my thigh am not having an international incidents by not wanting to shake his hand and then every member can see you so stop
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talking. that is what i still get hot about. >> we were staying at the kings horse farm which is very nice as you can imagine so they were sharing these bungalows it was the trip for the president would deliver his speech of the month in cairo. very important. and i was in ben's bungalow working on the speech and then we look out the window with a range rover that pulls up in a couple of guys get out in full saudi gear. they walk up to the door. they have a large box. and we thought what do we do? so i open the door. hello. [laughter] he said something not in
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english but includes the words ben rhodes then shoves the box at m me. i said okay and took the box and they said then you got a box. [laughter] and reported on the kitchen table and opened it and it is filled with gold. [laughter] jewels, diamonds, like a treasure chest. what are we supposed to do with this? i think we have to give it back. [laughter] so that when we got back to our bungalows there were boxes with our names filled with jewels. >> i had emerald. >> we had to turn them in because you're not allowed to keep those things but for brief moment we were rich.
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[laughter] >> that sounds great. thank you very much. >> i work at a nonprofit with fundraising. we've been around since 1980 and we are working in all 50 states part of an international coalition writing letters to the editor meeting with members of congress and we see great changes with child mortality but we need to grow and from a communications perspective and then to be part of a chapter with members of congress that works who want to inspire more people to join. >> i would suggest to find ways to tell your story in
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video short shareable apparel bowl -- videos about individual people or communities. and then ask those supporters that you do have to share those to generate. it's always hard to get media coverage but we are pretty cheap in this day and age to create your own content.
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>> good afternoon and welcome to the 34th annual chicago tribune printers row lit fest. want to give a special thank you for all of our sponsors. today's program will be broadcast live on c-span2's booktv. if there's time at the end of the session for a q&a session with the author, we'll ask

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