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tv   Discussion on Vice Presidential Candidate Selection Process  CSPAN  April 26, 2016 3:01am-4:02am EDT

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process for selecting a vice presidenttial candidate with former campaign staff from the 2008 and 2012 elections. they discuss how someone is vetted for the job and the relationship between the presidential candidate and running mate. this was hosted by the bipartisan policy center.
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good morning. i'm john fortier, director of the democracy project at the bipartisan policy center. thank you for being here. we are here with a distinguished group of people who have been thinking about vice presidential selection. i have a few minutes to introduce people and give the lay of the land and then i am going to turn it over to our group. we are here today with a product of the working group on vice presidential selection. many of you have it in your hands. others can find it on line. it is a group that came together over the last six months, people who have seen up close the vice presidential selection proon both the democratic and republican sides and have advice for the campaign who are at it today and for the media who will be covering the selection over the next couple of months. our day today is going to -- we're going to begin with chairs
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of the working group as well as the other members coming up here. the chair saying a few words. then we'll have a couple panels to delve more into the recommendations both with panelists and one of the leading scholars on the vice presidentsy. begin with some introductions. i'll save the chairs for last. but we have on the panel, and many of them with us today. maria ceno. vice president, americas for u.s. government relations for hewlett packard. was also the president and ceo for the 2008 republican national convention and has been involved in other convention as well as other campaigns. amy called house a partner at albany and myers. former white house schedule. in the 2008 campaign. aneeda don, former white house communications director and a communications director for 2008, obama presidential campaign. and like everyone else, not only that campaign, but many other
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presidential and other campaigns. ben ginsburg, partner at jones day, and national counsel for romney for president as well as many other candidates. tom per elie is not with us today. a former u.s. associate attorney general. scott reed, again, not with us today but the senior political strategist at the u.s. chamber of commerce and campaign manager for the 1996 bob dole presidential campaign. mat rhodes, with us, chairman of america rising and campaign manager for the 2012 roomny presidential campaign and manny ramirez, involved in numerous campaigns and public policy here in d.c. a distinguished group. let me introduce the coe chairs. they will talk and give us high highlights of the exercise. the chairs of our commission of our working group are bob bower.
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bob is a partner at perkins cooey. a professor of practice at new york university law school, general cone cell and general counsel for the 2008 and 2012 obama presidential games. and john black, senior adviser to mccain presidential campaign and involved in presidential campaigns going back at least to reagan in 1976. a wealth of experience. let me invite our co-chairs, bob and charlie, to come here to the podium and then the other working group members to come assemble sit. hear a little bit from them and then we will move into the panels after we hear the announcement of the report, the highlights and we'll delve more into them during the day. thank you. >> well, thank you very much for your taeng attendance and for those who are viewing. we hope you will enjoy this
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experience. we have the bipartisan policy center sponsors many very, very important projects in order to try to bring our country together and to promote good government. in this case, you know, we know each other. the men and women who work in politics and presidential campaigns in both the democratic and republican parties know each other. we have a lot in common. we have philosophical differences, and sometimes get into partisan combat. but you know, in my experience everybody who is a professional in either party really wants good government. they want their candidates with their viewpoint to win, but they really want the government to be effective. and that's what this project was about. we, with all our experience in both parties over the last 30 to 40 years, we've seen that vice presidential selections could be
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done well. and that sometimes they are not. and that sometimes it's just a matter that there is so much going on in a nomination contest that the process of selecting a vice president is started too late or not properly planned and sometime not properly vetted. so we thought it was important and appreciated the bpc bringing this together to neat and discuss this and try to come up with some suggested best practices. i think we've got some good ones. obviously, a consensus between people in both parties. i'll let bob tell you a little bit about the highlights and then we'll go to our panels. >> well, as john mentioned, we also have with us today a leading scholar on the vice presidentsy. it is in many respects an unusual institution but it has evolved dramatically. an institution about which obviously skepticism was discussed early in the republic.
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i think daniel webster said something to the fact that he did not propose upon it being proposed that he be a vice presidential candidate, he didn't propose that he be buried before he died. and other comments to that effect. the circumstances has changed. the vice president is an extraordinary example of a high governmental institutional office that evolved into a substantive and significant role for custom the vice president is accountable. indeed the presidential nominee is instrumental in choosing the individual. our report looks at what this entire privatized but highly significant vice presidential selection process needs in the way of structure. as you will hear -- and i won't go into great deal because the
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panel also explore it. we talk first and foremost about the importance of timing. that as election processes may go later into the year it becomes essential that the process be structure in a timely fashion so there is ample time to do what is properly called the vetting. but also time for example, for the presidential candidate, for an office that requires so much mutual confidence and trust to be effective to get to know the vice presidential nominees from among whom the choice will be made. we talk about the structure of the vetting process, about the importance of confidentiality, about rooting out potential conflicts of interest that can distort the addition making process. and we talk also about what it means to account to the public for the decision-making process on the vice presidential selection. how the role out of the vice presidential nominee might be structured, and basic questions be raised or rather addressed that the public will have about the criteria that the presidential candidate weighed
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and ultimately decided the selection upon. and so we walk through all of this in these recommendations. i want to echo something as i close that charlie said. which is it's always a pleasure to be in a room of people with whom you might be in somewhat regular partisan or political combat but across the table they are working with you as people who care about u.s. government, they care about u.s. politics in a thorough goingly non-partisan sense in the public about and all of russ deeply appreciative of the support we received from none for theier and his team here at the by part san policy center. obviously without their dedication, this would not be possible. on behalf of the group assemble and on behalf of the co-chairs charlie and myself, we want to thank bpc. >> i think i'm here.
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and then we just move down the road. so we are all here. we heard a little from bob and charlie. i'll going to start thinking about how this exercise came together. i remember sitting with bob bower and thinking -- he saying look i have been thinking about this for a while. do you want to tell a little bit of story why you thought this exercise was necessary? what brought you into the thinking that more substantive thinking of how they stlekt the vice presidential candidate is done. >> it is an unusual process. the second highest institutional officer, then person who will step into the role of president should it become necessary and what w.h.o. increasingly is going to have a very senior role in the government. the second most important role in the government as an adviser and as a troubleshooter and as
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somebody who is a full partner in a governmental administration. and yet, as we know, the person who decides who that will be is the nominee of the party. granted conventions can sometimes have some role. that is to say apparently in the past conventions have made it clear at least in one case i can think of that somebody who was on the mind of the presidential candidate would not pass muster with the delegates. it is therefore a personalized process and and a privatized process. everything that's done in the selection of the vice presidential nominee is done essentially behind closed doors. the vetting process by custom the nominee is examined and qualifications scrutinized takes place behind closed doors. some of it has to take place behind closed doors. thomas it raises if you know questions about preparation and democratic accountability. so i've been button holing people overtime with comments on this topic. i remember i wore down a guest
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at weddingert pa, matt bye. in order to escape me he promised he would write about it. i want to thank him for writing about it. and i button holed you, the right person. >> charlie, two questions for you. one is, you know, bob -- come to charlie lock, and charlie you thought also this is something that needed a bipartisan look not just one party. tell us why you thought it was necessary or something from your experience that made you think it was necessary. do that first, and then i'm going to get into one thing that you said early on in your deliberations, this was one of the key recommendations about getting to know the vice president. start with the general and then we'll move to that. >> i've been involved at least on the fringes of vp selection in six or eight campaigns. i've been in the middle of it in two or three. i observe what the democratic party has done over this time.
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it seemed to me that we weren't always vetting properly. sometimes the nominee was making a decision without all the background information that they needed. secondly, that on occasion they are looking at a list of people, some of whom they have never met or they have met them just to shake their hand and the prospect of spending eight years with this person as your chief deputy if you don't know them pretty well is not good. and also, the -- i like for both parties to perform well and have the issues debated. sort of force the press to cover the issues and not chase personal skamgcandals and thing i like for both parties to do it women. bob and i both talked about this. we were bipartisan mission before o'and we started talking about it, and he was right in what he said. so thanks to you again for
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pulling our group together under the bpc in order to discuss this and produce this report. yeah, i notice d in both partie sometimes a selection that looked good on paper, and it might be good politically, at least on the surface. and parenthetically, vice presidents usually don't decide the election, no matter who you pick. the last time the choice of running mate made a difference in the election was 1960. because if kennedy had not picked lbj, lbj would not have sent john conley down to south texas to steal enough votes to carry texas for the democratic ticket. and i refer to you robert cahill if you want more detail on that. but nevertheless, it's very important. it has an important role in the government. and you want somebody who not only will be in sync with the presidential's policies but also
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the president's style and method of operation and the way of doing business. so i think if you put more focus on the process of getting to know people and getting to see how much they think alike and can work together, it's going to be that much better when you get into the government. i've also been around administrations when they wished they could move the vice president's office over to the new executive office building or something just to keep them from butting in on things, and it's just not the way it should be. we should have a good debate sxand win or lose we should have a good team running the government. >> i promised i'd follow up on a specific recommendation. and we have a number of recommendations, sort of like picking your favorite child here. but you have a -- i'd say our two biggest ones relate one to the timing and the timeline of how long it takes, a significant amount of time. and two, that the presidential nominee really has to get to
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know these vice presidential choices or the people in the small circle that he might pick. and you brought this up. in a way it's a very simple point. tell us what you mean by that, why it's so important and why this choice sometimes has been made where there hasn't been a lot of knowledge between the two people. not a lot of time spent between the two people. understanding who that person is. >> i can give you good examples and bad examples. i'd prefer to focus on the good. matt can tell you how mitt romney got to know paul ryan well by campaign iing with him. he also had others that were potential running mates campaigning with him. so that the chemistry was there. a couple of vice presidents had to sort of get to know the nominee after their selection, and that's in a time when
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they're campaigning in different directions. and maybe they're together once a week. and so if you do win you get to the white house and get acqua t acquainted and figure out what the role should be. you'd be better to have somebody you know and trust from the beginning. >> i was going to turn to matt because in our report you even described some of the ways in which the romney campaign went out and tried to build some of those relationships among the top choices. so tell us what worked and what you'd recommend to others. >> first i want to thank bob and charley for inviting me to be part of this panel. it was a real honor. it's probably the first bipartisan thing i've ever done in my life. probably the last. >> but you survived. >> i think. if you look at the report there's three important things that go into selecting the vice presidential nominee. and i've been on both sides, where i've been a part of the team defending the pick and then i've been part of the team
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trying to undermine the pick in 2004. i was the research direction, on the bush-cheney campaign. and i think obviously -- >> undermine the pick of the other party. >> of the other party. not my own. >> clarifying that for you. turns out i was right. thank you, charlie. but obviously, the person has to be qualified to be president. they have to pass through the vetting process, which they'll get into the next panel. but i think chemistry is absolutely critical. and charlie's right. i was exposed to it. congressman ryan ended up endorsing governor romney during our long slog primary process as we were leaning into the wisconsin primary. it was probably march i think of 2012. and the two of them had met randomly at aei events. but they didn't really have a real relationship. they had talked a few times. and i didn't have the chance to be on the road because i was
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chained to my desk in boston running the campaign. but immediately when they started campaigning together i started getting reports back from our advance team like oh, my god, you've got to see these guys together, mitt's on stage doing town halls and he's asking paul to come on stage and answer the questions and it was so obvious right out of the gate that there was chemistry and a partnership was already forming. and then i used to have, because i was in boston, i wasn't on the road as much, i had 15 minutes at least every day set aside for governor romney and myself to talk and go over things. and during the leadup to the wisconsin primary it was like talking to your buddy in high school who has just met a girl he's smitten with. and all he was talking about was paul this, paul that, paul thinks this, paul thinks that. and it was just so obvious that that chemistry existed and the partnership was forming.
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and it's so important because not only? sth going to be a political prarn at the top, it's also going to be a partnership between teams. and in the end the ultimate goal is to form a partnership that's going to create a good government. so i think chemistry's incredibly important. and like you said, there's a lot to pull out of here. but that's one area i would highlight. >> so let me turn to anita. my question to you is something that's just implicit in the group here. we brought together a group of people who have been political people, involved in the political campaigns at a high level. we could have had a bunch of good government people come and say eat your vegetables, pick a vice presidential candidate who'll be a good vp, and maybe it wouldn't have been as believable because obviously you know that there are political considerations as well as governing considerations. so maybe you could just give us a sense of presidential campaigns and how they're balancing these things or how these considerations come in and how a good process might bring in more focus on picking someone who is actually ready to govern
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as a vice president, not just a political type. >> well, first of all, i want to share in everyone's thanks to you for pulling this group together and to our two chairs. as one who was exposed to the very early rantings from bob bauer about this process, i can only say that the fact he has this platform to communicate is a very good thing. you know, john, it's an interesting question because i think we all agree in a very -- across the board that somebody who is qualified to be president is now the absolute first thing that needs to be taken into account but it's a political process. as a political prime process is a process. and that some of the considerations that i think traditionally people have felt were important politically really aren't. and i think the group agreed on this. vice presidents don't bring their states with them. okay? because you're actually voting for president, not vice
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president. we have numerous examples. lloyd bentsen was re-elected senator from texas as michael dukakis was losing texas rather substantially with lloyd bentsen on the ticket. obviously, john edwards didn't bring north carolina with him. you can look at many of these examples. so you know, they're not going to bring a state except under very unusual circumstances. whether bob graham might have made up 532 votes, you know, in 2000 for al gore, we'll never know the answer to that. but by and large, they don't bring states with them. they can serve to address and balance out some of the concerns that may be present around a presidential candidate. so for example, you know, in 2008 when barack obama was winning the nomination, there were concerns around experience level. certainly something the republicans had been attacking senator obama on. that john mccain was signaling
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would be a clear argument that he would be making in the general election against obama, that he didn't have the experience particularly in world affairs. well, a vice president like joe biden who obviously had a huge amount of experience in foreign affairs in washington, as a united states senator, as chairman of the foreign relations committee, as someone who had dealt with these issues for years, had helped to reassure voters as voters can be reassured around experience issues if they feel like somebody's going to be putting good people around them to advise them. which is not irrelevant for a few of the candidates who are run'll now. >> one other small thing i want to touch on is i know i saw a prominent pollster in our audience. we talked about polling. none of our group was overly enthusiastic that polling would provide a lot of information. maybe some bits about the political help of the vp selection. but not so much about what the public thought about them in terms of governing or -- you
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want to say more about why we were all skeptical? >> well, we're steptical because polling is a here and now and a campaign is a forward-leaning exercise. so the idea that a poll can really predict whether a vice presidential candidate at the end of the day is going to help or hurt you is, you know, it's interesting but it's not dispositive. i think that a lot of vice presidential nominees aren't well nobody. a lot of the people running for president right now were not well known at the beginning of this campaign. so part of the vice presidential process is of course that person getting known and being introduced to the public. but a poll which gives you hypothetical arguments is simply not going to -- is not going to be a good predictor. and in many ways can give you a false positive. >> we talked about one of our big recommendations, that is, that you really have to -- if you don't know the person you're going to pick, you have to spend
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time getting to know the group you might pick among and campaigning for other options for getting to know them. the other big one is getting to know the timeline. in fact, we even have in the report a useful graphic, which shows that not only is it -- does it take some time and it's always important but this year for a variety of reasons, one of them is we have earlier conventions than we've had in 20 years. and another is that, on both sides at least, we don't have mathematically determined nominees, that they're -- the time is short. so i want to talk a little about the timeline. bob, can you tell us about what we thought the core elements of the timeline are, why you have to reserve and why you can't just wing it at the last moment? >> we thought there was an absolute minimum that would be very, very difficult to operate on a schedule of less than eight weeks. and that was tight. that was tight because you're talking about identifying an appropriate roster of candidates. we're talking about as you said
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finding opportunities, assuming that the presidential nominee doesn't know all the candidates for the presidential nominee or the putative nominee to get to know those vice presidential candidates. at least the ones who are close to the top of the list. the vetting process is not a predictable process. it takes a while to put it together to make sure the component parts -- what's remarkable is it's a purely privatized process. the government doesn't lend a hand here. there have been times in the past. 1976 was one. where the federal bureau of investigation provided at least a name check and at least a one-party vetting process. but that's not done anymore. the fbi doesn't have the authority. some campaigns wouldn't be even comfortable being given the choice if it was offered to them. so you have a process that has to be structured to do a complete review. and you don't know whether in the course of that process issues won't develop that are going to require time beyond what you originally budgeted. i can think of an example a number of years ago where a medical issue arose that needed
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to be run to ground. it was run to ground successfully, but it required an adjustment in the timing of the process. so this is a weighty responsibility, and it cannot be rushed. so we basically looked at the possibility that the parties might find one or the other of themselves in a position. obviously, there's a lot of speculation that could happen for at least one of the parties this year. that the nominating procedures -- the nomination would be in doubt all the way through the convention. and a hurried last-minute processar to selecting a nominee is fraught with the potential for disaster given the recommendations we've made for the components of a well-structured process. >> charlie, do you want to weigh in on this too? there's a core process. the other thing out there, of course this year might be an unusual year. we don't know. so our recommendations certainly are that all the campaigns need to get going on this soon, need to begin. maybe there needs to be some
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amendment depending on some of the circumstances of there being several candidates out there and the possibility of an open convention on the republican side. nonetheless, though, i think we all thought that ideal to start now and even if there are some of these problems to get something going now. so -- >> that's right. that's right, john. i have recommended through the media and today through this presentation that all the candidates in both parties start right now with a -- the creation of a process of how they're going to select a running mate and then begin the process now. what you really have to do like in our party where we have a real tough three-way race for the nomination, which is likely to go to a contested convention and multiple ballots, they've got to pick people they can set aside from the day-to-day campaign activities who can work full-time on this. and the candidate has to devote some time to it because you have -- the candidate has to have a long list in mind and
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they have to develop it down to a short list. they're going to talk about vetting in the next panel, so i won't get in too much detail about that. but the eight weeks is really after you've developed the short list and gotten permission from people to vet them. so yes, i hope everybody will start now. and go ahead and do it the right way so that it's fine if we nominate somebody at the last minute on a wednesday night and they pick the running mate on thursday morning if they've all been vetted properly and you've had them show up at the convention, i guess. >> couple of other recommendations we have relate to the sensitive nature of the information that you're getting from these candidates, getting the most personal. you're asking the most personal questions, you're getting personal answers. that information is floating around in the campaign. we've thought about how to deal with that. and then also thinking about how one rolls out the vice presidency. maybe i could start with matt on
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the sensitive nature of the information out there. campaigns really have to think about who gets to see it and how tightly this is held and what to do with the information afterwards. do you want to speak to that? >> beth myers is the person who ran our presidential selection process, and i think she did a great job. it's a balance. you need to have people with a political background, political antenna to be able to go through these materials. and beth certainly had that. but there is sensitive information that's included. for example, i was mitt's campaign manager, and i just recused myself from looking at that information, and i relied on beth and governor romney to, you know, identify any flag that existed that would disqualify someone during the vet. it was really easy to do. and the reason i did it at the time i was 38 years old, and i thought that there was a chance, which there probably isn't anymore, that i would do another
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presidential campaign. and i just didn't think it was proper for me to look through the vetting reports of all these people who inevitably would one day run for president themselves. as it turns out, many of the people on our list have and will in the future. i think that's important, striking that balance. and it's easy to recuse yourself. i did. i don't think it impacted my ability to provide any recommendation if mitt wanted it at the end of the day of who i thought would be the best choice for him. like charlie says, it's a very personal choice. it's not about political operatives. it's about the person at the top who makes it. >> you can speak to that if you'd like but i also want to focus you on our last set of recommendations, which is thinking about the vice president's announcement as the beginning of kind of the rollout of the fall campaign, how it relates to the convention, how you do it, what sort of pitfalls to avoid if you're announcing the vice presidential selection.
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>> thank you, john. in the report we described this vice presidential selection and i strongly believe this. it is the first decision of the presidency. so it really is an incredibly important decision. it's a governing decision. as much if not much more so than a political campaign decision. and it tells you something about what kind of president that nominee is going to be by who they pick and by the process by which they have chosen this person. and the rollout, the announcement of who the choice is is the opportunity for the nominee to really communicate with the american people, what were the important things he or she looked for. what is important to me when i think about this from a governing perspective. and what was the process they used to give people a sense of how they're going to approach important decisions of their
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presidency. so this really is the first presidenti presidential-level decision and needs to be communicated with the public in that context. there's been a lot over the years that has changed about presidential and vice presidential rollouts, but it has to serve that dual purpose of communicating something important about the nominee and also introducing the vice presidential nominee in a very different light if they're well known or if they're not very well known. it's the opportunity to introduce them to the american public. a few pitfalls. even if they're an extraordinarily experienced elected official and even if they were running for president in that cycle and had the opportunity to participate in debates against the eventual nominee they don't know the nominee's positions. and they're going from being a principal speaking about their record as themselves, what i believe, what i have done, what i voted for, to having to go be in effect a spokesperson for the
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nominee. it takes a little time to get up to speed. so traditionally you don't want that person to have to be out there answering a zillion questions right away simply because they need to have a little time to actually learn the nominee's positions and get used to the idea that they're no longer just speaking about their record, their beliefs, what they have done, but they're speaking on behalf of a ticket. so they become in effect very high-level spokespeople, which is a different role that most elected officials aren't used to playing. >> just to add to that, and i think that's another reason why chemistry is so important. the partnership begins immediately. and you have to have two individuals that are familiar with each other, have had time to think about each other's ideas, which mitt and paul certainly did on campaign buses throughout wisconsin and then everywhere else in the country. and it matters. and i do think that the element of surprise is important, and i think we were able to pull that off in 2012. i know it was incredibly
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important, and scott reid couldn't be here, but for senator bob dole. senator bowl loves surprises. and when he picked secretary kemp he was able to pull it off because he's kind of different from everybody else. this is a guy that knew everybody that's ever been involved in politics. sew could successfully pull that off and have the surprise there because he had built-in chemistry. even at times -- even though at times it wasn't always good with secretary kemp. >> i'll add to that that in fact dole and kemp knew each other very well but they were on opposite sides of some big issues like taxes. and they didn't particularly like each other. but in a series of meetings that scott was able to manage to have kemp and dole sit down and meet and talk at length for hours without it getting out to the press, jack was able to say, look, i know who's in charge if we get elected, and i will be loyal to your agenda.
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and i hope you'll be open-minded and consider some of my ideas. dole rejected the gold standard immediately, by the way. just kidding. but they not only developed a way to work together. jack was a tremendous asset to the ticket. it turned out with the economy being so good and bill clinton being such a great candidate there was no way dole was going to win that year. but jack was a positive addition to the ticket. and most people that you asked in either party would have said he was capable of governing had he gotten to be president. so there's more than one way to get the chemistry. they'd probably never gotten together, kemps and doles gotten together for dinner in their history. before jack was on the ticket. after the election all the way up until the time of jack's death they got together as friends very frequently. >> and i'd just add one thing.
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the next panel we'll go in depth into the issue of vetting, which everyone here has mentioned and is critically important. but in addition to the private vetting process, which is, you know, the extreme personal information that matt as campaign manager didn't want to see and that political consultants also should not see because they may end up doing races against these people at some point and they shouldn't know these negative things, but there's a public vetting process as well or a public research process that goes on in a parallel track that the campaign can do and that the research and communications offices will undertake, which is to go through that public record. in the case of joe biden that was a public record that began when he was elected to the senate in the early '70s. that's a lot of votes. and to go through that record and to start looking at those differences and issue positions. start thinking about how the campaign is going to answer those questions and identify
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some common themes, some common things. there's a kind of public research process that goes on at the same time this intensely personal private vetting process is taking place. >> i'm going to give a warning to the microphone in the room that we are going to open up to audience questions shortly but i want to give bob and charlie a chance to say one last important thing you'd like to say, whatever you would about the report, and then we'll turn to the audience for your questions. and when you do ask a question please identify yourself. >> i just wanted to stress again what anita said about than the part about my ranting about this being a governing decision cannot be stressed enough. one of the other points to be made about the partnership between the president and the vice president that has governing consequences is the message that it sends to the staffs. that is to say it reduces the likelihood that you're going to have friction within the west wing and the old executive office building vying for visibility or control or access
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to policy because the principals have made it very clear what the role of the vice president is and that the president and vice president are unified in their vision of how that partnership will work. i think it's extraordinarily important, and i would also underscore finally that a lot of the attention that's being paid understandably because as anita said it is a political process, we all understand that, a lot of the attention that's going to be paid to sort of the political significance of the pick, the message i think, one of the messages we're communicating is this is an extraordinarily privatized highly personal behind closed doors choice that has massive governmental consequences. and in many respects the process by which those consequences are prepared for and addressed have been sort of outpaced by an evolution in the office. and so our hope would be to help campaigns think constructively and sort of thoroughly about how this can be done in a way that's equal to the task. >> last point i would emphasize, john, is the privacy point about
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the information that's gained in the vetting is critically important. but also the more private you can keep this process, so you don't embarrass good people when they don't get it, everybody's going to have to develop a short list. it's the only good way to make a decision. but the more private you can be and the fewer embarrassments you give to the people who don't get it, the better. >> i know we have a mike on one side of the room and we are going to call on you in the audience and you should identify yourselves. so why don't we start right here? we've got mikes from both directions. there you go. >> don wolfensburger with the bpc. i think you all agree it doesn't matter what state the vice presidential candidate is from in terms of making a difference with voters. what about other factors like religion? socioeconomic background. thangz that maybe will resonate more with voters. does that make any difference in
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the selection? >> just for my part i'd open this up to the panel. it is not a choice without political dimensions. after all, it does communicate something not just about the candidate's governing choice but what the candidate thinks is politically important. and so you could think of circumstances, for example, like in mondale's choice of geraldine ferraro in 1984 where there's a statement being made about what kind of candidate he wants to be, there's a political significance to the decision made. and then of course that's an example where questions were raised about how the entire vetting process worked and whether it yielded the best possible result. i happen to be myself quite a fan of gerry ferraro, but that obviously became a controversy. i don't think anyone's suggesting there isn't some political element to the communication, to the choice. and you put your finger on a few. >> yeah. i wouldn't put two billionaires on a ticket. >> i have a problem with one. >> i'm against putting one on
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there. but no, the fact is there's a lot of appeal to the people who are self-made people. joe biden and his blue-collar background and the fact he's never been a person who sought wealth or became wealthy, it does allow him to relate very well to a lot of average americans. and i think that's been an asset to the president. you take that into consideration but it's the total sum of the man or woman and that chemistry that matters the most. >> i would just add that yes, of course it is important. i think that the religion piece, again, if you're trying to make a statement. but what is important at the e7d of the day is what are you saying to people with this joint dictate? for instance, in 1992 bill clinton picked a very unconventional choice in al gore. they were from the same region
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of the country, for example. they were both pretty much from the same part of the party, the more centrist part of the democratic party. and -- but it was a very generational message, the two of them together. and their chemistry was quite good. and gore was obviously qualified and had run before, which i regard as a huge asset for anybody entering this process. you know, when john mccain picked sarah palin in 2008, she had a reputation certainly in alaska as being a reformer, being a maverick, similar to mccain's profile. and i think that from a messaging perspective was probably part of that consideration. she was someone who stood up to special interests and had taken on some tough issues in her state where other issues are obviously. but you think about what are you communicating, that is as much a part of it. what are we going to be saying about this ticket, about where we want to govern. this is a political process too.
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>> bob's right. there's a political dimension to every choice you make on a campaign. but i think recent history shows the candidates that looked at qualifications, and chemistry selecting the individuals were the most successful vice presidential running mates. >> why don't we go back here in the blue striped tie? >> hi. my name is umam amza. i'm a first-year law student interested in election law. i guess my question is rather than talking about the individual impact of a person on the process, maybe if you could talk a little bit about, for example, like how technology could play a role or the process of selecting a vice president. i know in the 2008 election cycle the idea was to announce the vp candidate by text message. so maybe looking at process or a way of maximizing electoral interest like through a
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different process might have an impact on the election. >> i'll start by -- so in 2008 the obama campaign announced we were going to let our supporters hear who the vice presidential nominee was rather than giving it to the press first, which is consistent with an approach we had in that campaign of communicating directly with our supporters and of building a basic community. of grassroots supporters out there. didn't quite work because a network based on a faulty report went ahead and reported it. but part of this was organizational. and i think that -- which was we wanted to get people's cell phones. so we could text them and communicate with them on an ongoing basis on the campaign. i think that clearly there are two things that campaigns will continue to do. and the sanders campaign in particular this year has done an extraordinary job with this. and one is to build this strong
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community using technology to allow them to communicate very directly with voters in a way that used to be done by political parties at the grassroots level in a very specific way with local leaders communicate things. and i think technology will continue to play that role. i also think that technology can be used as we've seen certainly in congress to bring pressure on phenomenonnese, you know, a huge online effort to petition to take this person, online pressure so that what in 1984 was a lot of very public pressure from women's groups that the democratic party needed to have a woman as their vice presidential nominee to signify that women had really arrived in the political process. that that all moved online now. and in a very powerful way. i think it plays a huge role. >> do you want to say also about -- we had some recommendation concerning social media and that being a new thing we have to look at.
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>> we talked about technology is certainly going to impact the vet. and right now there's some young man or woman that is leaving a social media footprint as we speak that 20, 30 years from now they're probably going to regret. and although one could say we have a front-running candidate for president in one political party who's left a social media footprint that is something to behold. >> raising the bar for those young men and women out there. but there will definitely be regrets. and people have to be cognizant of that. and it will certainly play into the vetting. and how the rollout is perceived because of the footprint that's left behind. >> and i think even right now for the children of potential candidates that the vetting process has to include them in a way, in a much more comprehensive way simply because anybody who's under the age of 30 has been living in a social media world that their parents
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didn't grow up in or inhabit and has a footprint that you don't necessarily want coming out or at least you want to know about before the poor kid is under the klieg lights as the child of a vice presidential nominee having to answer for everything they've ever done on social media. >> question in the back here. the bowtie. the mike's right there. >> leon peace of the peace group. following up on this line of question and answer, given the eagleton event from years ago, what procedures are in place now to avoid having that type of event occur? >> and for our younger audience members, if someone will explain eagleton. >> i'll let you take that. >> i won't be able to give you the timeline. but the gist of it was eagleton was a very well-received vice presidential choice of george mcgovern in -- >> he was a senator --
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>> we'll start with a senator from missouri. yeah, that's a very good point. highly articulate and very well received. very well liked in the senate. and then it turned out that post-selection it was discovered that he had undergone shock treatment and other therapy for depression. and we're in a different world now, arguably. then this was the trigger for an immediate outcry he couldn't be a suitable candidate for vice president and couldn't be a heartbeat away from the presidency. and eventually eagleton had to resign, that is to say, resign his spot on the ticket. and he was replaced by sergeant shriver, who's a 'cause binn marriage of president john kennedy. selected by i guess the democratic national committee at the recommendation of the nominee george mcgovern. what had apparently happened, just to finish this off, is he had been asked the all-inclusive is there anything else you want to tell us question and he chose not to disclose this.
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>> you have to get everybody's medical records. >> so you have to get everybody's medical records. and i mentioned earlier, thorough, if there are questions they have to be run down. right now as we pointed out, you know, probably a lot of people don't remember this episode terribly well. but it's just built into the process or dyed into the fabric of the vetting process right now that you would never say to a candidate -- the candidates will always be asked the putative -- the prospect will always be asked the omnibus question, sort of the open-ended question, is there anything you want to tell us that we haven't thought to ask you? but to the extent that there is a path that the campaign can travel to if you will trust but verify and to explore the area where like medical histories on their own initiative with their own due diligence, that's what they are compelled to do. >> for the political junkies in the room room the 1972 convention at which senator eagleton was nominated for vice president actually helps define
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chaotic convention if you -- and it was one where the nominee of our party didn't get to make his acceptance speech till, what, 2:00 in the morning. 2:00 in the morning. this is probably one of the examples one would use as why you don't want to rush these things because it was a contested nomination all the way into the convention. and probably not as much time spent on this in retrospect as they would have wished. >> we can hear joel goldstein on the second panel, history of the vice presidency. i think we'll hear from him. but this really is the time frame where the vetting becomes much more serious starting in 1976. but i guess the other point, you passed over a little bit. but in theory there can be cases where the party has to come back and pick someone else. in this case they didn't reconvene the convention, but the party leadership -- >> yeah, that's my -- once again, the candidate drove the selection process. they looked to mcgovern to say second time around who would you
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like to run with? but -- by the way, as you can also imagine, that was later in the process. and the number of people who are raising their hands offering to be slaughtered in the general election had diminished significantly. >> that's right. and it just -- the important of the decision cannot be overstressed. this reflected very badly on mcgovern as a leader. he wasn't going to win that election anyhow, but he didn't need this distraction. you want to pick a good vice presidential nominee and then you don't want distractions. i used to say and i still say about two days after the rollout of the vp, if you see the vice presidential candidate on national news it's bad news. >> okay. why don't we go eyre? >> i'm kay oshel, retired department of labor employee. do you think the electorate would be ready for an all-female
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ticket? >> depends on who it is. i absolutely don't think that there are very many voters who would vote based on the gender of the ticket, but if you put somebody on there that's otherwise not popular or doesn't vet well and becomes a distraction, it would be a problem. in the end these voters, 98% of them vote for the top of the ticket. and the vp doesn't take that much difference. if they become a distraction or a negative, yeah, it makes a difference. >> i think any challenges secretary clinton's having right now in our primary because she's a woman is people find her dishonest and untrustworthy. that's a whole other problem. but it won't impact who she picks as a vp and it won't
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disqualify anybody on the female side. i actually think on the short list i think there will be quite a few women. i think that senator elizabeth warren will be on secretary clinton's short list. as she gets pulled more and more to the left. and i think there will be other people including senator jean shaheen up in new hampshire. >> and i would just say that it is actually from just a woman's perspective a great election year in which the one candidate who in both parties is seen as the most qualified and experienced candidate, the one most prepared to actually -- who has the best credentials to be the president is the woman of the five of them. public polling has been very clear about this. and focus groups as well. that if you -- who's qualified and who's got the right experience. it's the woman this time. so it suggests again -- it would depend if people thought it was a choice because it was the most -- it was a qualified person ready to be president,
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then i think people would be happy to accept that choice. if it was seen as a political play, people would probably be skeptical like anybody else. >> i think we have time for maybe one more question. we'll go right here. >> yes. miss dunn, you brought up if a vice presidential nominee is not well known that it's on the campaign to really lay the groundwork to introducing this person to the nation. and i think -- i mean, i'm young. i've only had six elections. i think in my life the person who's the marquee example is sarah palin. >> mm-hmm. >> how much do you think media played a role in introducing sarah palin to the country? and i ask that because i feel that a lot of people's first impressions of sarah palin was tina fey on "saturday night
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live" and if they looked at sarah palin the rest of the election as more of a comical, unfit because -- or unintelligent person as was played by tina fey, that could affect people's perceptions of the ticket and mccain as a whole. so how much do you think media plays a role in shaping the view of the vice president? >> they play a huge role, which is one of the reasons you why want to get these things correct. i will say, though, and you can go back and you can look at public polling and coverage, this was a very well-received nomination initially and that if you look at the coverage for the two weeks after the republican convention, the race was never closer than during that period. and i can only tell you as the obama communications director i was getting all these questions about oh, you're going to lose the woman's vote, oh, you're in trouble, oh, the polls are so close, which we didn't think because we thought underlying that it was actually a weak choice. tina fey didn't invent those
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problems. okay? i mean, the vice presidential nominee, sarah palin, went out and did -- in her interviews and in her public appearances said things that gave tina fey the material to create an extraordinary impression of her. but i would only refer you to her interview with katie couric. okay? because that all came right out of her mouth. okay? you know, what newspapers do you read? it's a gotcha question. okay? so i think that the media doesn't invent these things. candidates actually give them the material to do it. and it's why this public piece of it, in addition to the private vetting, the public piece of it is so critically important as well. you don't want to put someone out there who's not prepared. or this will happen. and in 1988, and i think the report touches on this, dan quayle, the same thing, who had very little time to get prepared. and he was a united states senator. you know, pretty well liked by
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his colleagues. and you know, had been around for a while but was totally unprepared. for the different level of attention that you get when you're suddenly a candidate for national office. >> and part of this lead time that we're suggesting is so you can -- if you get people on a short list you spend time with them, not just the candidate but the staff, to you know, drill them and debate them and make sure that they're willing to take advice. in governor palin's defense, she was picked and probably had two hours of that kind of briefing before she rolled out. later in the election she had a very good debate against joe biden. which is not easy to do. joe biden's a great debater. but that's because the staff spent a week with her practicing and drilling and training and she'd had a great debate. by then it was too late to recover from the tina fey stuff. but anita's right. on sunday night september 14th, the mccain campaign's tracking
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poll had us three points ahead. in other words, in the margin of error. with senator obama. the next day lehman brothers went under. the great financial stacrisis started. and two weeks later we were 12 points down which had nothing to do with mccain, but it was -- you know, luck of the draw. >> i know there are more questions there. but we are going to wrap this panel and then take a -- we're not going to break the room here. we'll take a quick change of the people on stage and move to the next but i want to thank all of you here and all of the task force people for a great report. so thank you. [ applause ] . >> there he is. >> here she comes. >> all right. welcome back. i'm john fortier, the director of d


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