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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 5, 2014 9:00pm-11:01pm EST

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if we had one, by the way, we could reduce delays by 30%, reduce fuel costs, and hopefully that would translate into cheaper airline tickets. there is all kinds of work we can do on the infrastructure. this may be one mechanism that republicans are comfortable in financing those kinds of efforts. so that will be part of the discussion that i think we are prepared for on friday and then in the weeks to come leading into the new congress. whew. major works me, man. jim acosta? >> thank you, mr. president. i know you don't want to read the tea leaves, but it is a fact that your party rejected you in the midterms, by and large they did not want you out on the campaign trail in these key battleground states. how do you account for that and your aides have said that this is the fourth quarter of your
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administration. but i don't know if you saw the morning talk shows, but there were several potential candidates for 2016 who were out there already. is the clock ticking? are you running out of time? how much time do you have left? and what do you make of the notion that you are now a lame duck? >> well, traditionally after the last midterm of the two-term presidency since i can't run again that is the label that you guys apply. here is what i tell my team. i told them this last week and i told them this, this morning. we had this incredible privilege
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of being in charge of the most important organization on earth. the u.s. government. and our military. and everything that we do for good around the world. and there is a lot of work to be done to make government work better. to make americans safer. to make opportunity available to more people. for us to be able to have a positive influence in every corner of the globe the way we are doing right now in west africa. and i'm going to squeeze every last little bit of opportunity to help make this world a better place over these last two years. and some of that is going to be what we can do administratively. and you know, simple things like how do we make customer service
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better in every agency? are there things that we can do to streamline how our veterans access care? are there better ways that we can make businesses understand the programs that are available to them to promote their business or exports? there is a whole bunch of stuff to do on that front, and as i said before, there is going to be opportunities to work with democrats and republicans on capitol hill to get laws done. and if you look at the history of almost every president those last two years all kinds of stuff happens.
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in some cases, stuff that we couldn't predict. the one thing i'm pretty confident about, jim, is i'm going to be busy for the next two years. and the one thing that i want the american people to be confident about is that every day i will be filling up my time trying to figure out how i can make their lives better and if i'm doing that at end of my presidency i will say we played the fourth quarter well and we played the game well and the only difference between i guess basketball and politics is that the only score that matters is how did somebody else do, not how you did. and that is the score i'm keeping. am i going to be able to look back and say are more people working? are their bank accounts better? are more kids going to college? is housing improved? is the financial system more stable? are younger kids getting a better education? do we have greater energy independence? is the environment cleaner? have we done something about climate change? have we dealt with an ongoing terrorist threat and helped to bring about stability around the world? and those things, every day i've got an opportunity to make a difference on those fronts. i wouldn't be satisfied as long
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i wouldn't be satisfied as long as i'm meeting somebody who doesn't have a job and wants one. i'm not going to be satisfied as long as there's a kid who writes me a letter and says i got $60,000 worth of debt and i don't know how to pay it debt. and the american people aren't satisfied. so i want to do everything i can to deliver for them. >> how about democrats? the fact that they held you out of the battleground states? >> listen, as i think some of you saw when i was out on the campaign trail, i love campaigning. i love talking to ordinary people, i love listening to their stories. i love shaking hands and getting
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hugs and just seeing the process of democracy and citizenship manifest itself during an election. but i'm also a practical guy and ultimately every candidate out there had to make their own decisions about what they hought would be most helpful for them and ill wanted to make sure that i'm respectful of their particular region, their particular state or congressional district and if it was more helpful for them for me to be behind the scenes, i'm happy to do it. i don't have -- i'll let other people analyze that, but what i will emphasize is that one of the nice things about being in the sixth year of your presidency is you've seen a lot of ups and downs and you've gotten more than your fair share you know, i've d,
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had the limelight and there have been times where the requests for my appearances were endless. there have been times where politically we were down and it all kind of evens out, which is why what's most important, i think is keeping your eye on the ball and that is are you actually getting some good done. scott, last question. >> thank you, mr. president. you mentioned that where your policies actually were on the ballot, they often did better than members of your party. does that signal some short coming on your part or on the party's part in framing this election and communicating to the american people what it is that democrats stand for? >> you know, i do think that -- you know, one area where i know we're constantly experimenting and trying to do better is just making sure that people know exactly what it is that we're trying to accomplish and what we have accomplish in clear way that is people can -- that understand how it affect them. nd you know, i think the
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-- thatunderstand how it affect them. and you know, i think the minimum wage, i talked about it a lot on the campaign trail but, you know, i'm not sure it penetrated well enough to make a difference. uh, part of what i also think we have to look at is the 2/3 of people who are eligible to vote and just didn't vote. one of the things i'm very proud of in 2008 and 2012 when i ran for office was we got people involved who hadn't been involved before. we got folks to vote who hadn't voted before, particularly young people, and that was part of the promise and the excitement was if you get involved, if you
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participate, if you embrace that sense of citizenship then things change. nd not just in abstract ways but change in concrete ways. somebody gets a job who didn't have it before, somebody gets health care who didn't have it before. a student is able to go to college who couldn't care for it efore. and sustaining that especially in midterm elections, has proven difficult. sustaining that sense of the you get involved and if you vote then there's going to be big change out there. and partly, i think, when they look at washington, they say nothing's working, it's not making a difference and there's just a constant slew of bad news coming over the tv screen, then you can understand how folks would get discouraged. but it's my job to figure this out.
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as best i can. and if the way we are talking about issues isn't working then i'm going to try some different hings. if the way that we're approaching the republicans in congress isn't working, you know, i'm going to try different things, whether it's having a rink with mitch mcconnell or letting john boehner beat me again at golf or more weekly press conferences. i don't know if that would be effective but whatever i think might make a difference in this, you know, i'm going to be trying out up until my last day in office. but i'll close with what i said in my opening statement.
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i am really optimistic about america. i know that runs counter to the current mood. but when you look at the facts, our economy is stronger than just about anybody's, our energy production is better than just about anybody's. we've slashed our deficit by more than half. more people have health insurance. our businesses have the strongest balance sheets that hey've had in decades. our young people are just incredibly talented and gifted nd more of them are graduating from high school and more of them are going on to college and more women are getting degrees and entering into the work force and one part of the reason i love campaigning is you travel around the country, folks are just good.
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they're smart and hard working and they're not always paying a lot of attention to washington. in some cases they've given up on washington but their impulses are not sharply partisan and not ideological. hey're really practical, good, generous people. and we continue to be a magnet for the best and brightest from around the world. our armed forces, you talk to them. i had a chance this morning to just call some of our health service that is operating in liberia and the amount of hope and professionalism that they've the entires galvanized country and they've built a platform suddenly for other countries to start coming in and we're seeing real
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progress in a country that was a month, month and a half ago was just desperate and had no hope so all that makes me optimistic and my job over the next couple of years is to do some practical, concrete things as much as possible with congress. where it's not possible with congress, on my own, to show people why we should be confident and to give people a sense of progress and a sense of hope. that doesn't mean there aren't going to be ongoing nagging problems that are stubborn and can't be solved overnight. probably the biggest is that despite economic growth, wages and income have still not gone up and that's a long-term trend we've seen for 10, 20, 30 years and it makes people worried about not just their own situation but whether their kids are going to do better. which is the essence of the american dream. i think there are things we can do to make sure wages go up.
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minimum wage in those five states was a good start. but i think more than anything, what i want to communicate over these next two years is the promise and possibility of america. this is just an extraordinary country and our democracy is messy and we're diverse and we're big and there are times when you're a politician and you're disappointed with lection results. but maybe i'm just getting older, i don't know. it doesn't make me mopey. it energizes me because it means that democracy is working and people in america were restless and impatient and we want to get things done and even when things are going good, we want them to do better and that's why this is the greatest country on earth and that's why i'm so privileged to have a chance to be president for the next couple of years. all right?
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hank you, everybody. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> house speaker john boehner will hold a news conference to talk about tuesday's elections and the new congress. we'll have live coverage tomorrow at 12:15 eastern. call will2, c.q. roll hold a meeting. over on c-span 3, the american enterprise institute will host a discussion on the midterm elections and look at what the g.o.p. take over of the senate
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means for the future of the obama presidency. live coverage at noon eastern. the 2015 c-span student kam 2015 is under way. there's 200 cash prizes for students and teachers. for a list of rules and how to et started go to student cam.org. >> senator mitch mcconnell spoke to reporters at the midterm election results and the agenda once republicans take majority control in january. he's expected to be elected party leader by his party.
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[applause] >> good afternoon, everyone. i'd like to introduce dr. ramsey, the president of university who is here. jim, thank you for joining us today. [applause] and you may recognize these youngsters over here. they're in a scholarship program that worked on with the university over the last 20 years. good to see you. it's the best and brightest program for the students inside kentucky, not nonresidents. ten each year. and they're here today to witness what we may talk about. let me make a couple of observations. i think what the voters were
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saying yesterday was a couple of things. number one, they're obviously not satisfied with the direction of the administration, but at the same time i heard a lot of discussion about dysfunction in washington. i think there are a lot of people who believe that just because you have divided government doesn't mean you don't accomplish anything. earlier today i got a call from the president, also from senator reid and the speaker and ted cruz, too. which i thought you'd be interested in. all of whom i think have the view that we ought to see what areas of agreement there are and see if we can make some progress for the country. i would like to remind people that divided government is not unusual this country. we've had it frequently. i think even more often than not since world war ii when the
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american people choose divided government, i don't think it means they don't want us to do anything. i think it means they want us to look for areas of agreement. reagan never had the house in eight years. clinton didn't have the house or the senate for six of his eight years. i can think of at least four fairly significant things done. reagan and tip o'neal saved social security for a generation, did the last comprehensive tax reform. we need to do that again. bill clinton and the republicans fare reform and actuallybalanced the budget for three years in a row. i think we ought to start with the view that maybe there are some things we can agree on to make progress in the country. from an institutional point of view, the senate needs to be fixed. i made a speech back in january, not widely covered, probably shouldn't have been widely covered, but a lot of people inside the senate paid a lot of attention to it. the senate in the last few are
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yearsbasically doesn't do nything. we don't even vote. senator begich who have been defeated yesterday had the handicap of trying to explain to the people of alaska why in six years, he hadn't had a roll call on the floor on an amendment. the first thing i need to do is get the senate back to normal. that means working more i don't think we've had any votes on friday in anybody's memory. it means opening the senate up so that amendments are permitted on both sides and it means occasionally burning the midnight oil in order to reach a conclusion. i can remember the way we used to get bills finished was for the majority leader to announce on monday we're taking up a particular bill and we were going to finish it, finish it thursday night, friday morning, or saturday, but you have to mean it, andit's amazing what happened on midnight thursday.
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people who were very aggressive on tuesday morning were awfully anxious to leave friday morning and amendments would go away and bills would pass. another thing that will sound astonishing to all of you, the completes need to be relevant again. if you've got both democrats and republicans who are interested n seeing it pass, a bipartisan constituency for moving forward. now, having said that, there are differences. and we will certainly be voting on things as well that we think the administration is not fond of. they seem to have had no interest, for example, in doing anything serious on the energy front. we haven't had an energy bill in seven years. when you say energythese days, people think of the keystone pipeline, but that's only part of it.
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we need to embrace the energy revolution that's going on in our country, promote it. it's hugely advantageous to america. the employment figures connected with keystone are stunning if we would just get going. there's certainly going to be areas of disagreement, but that's not unusual going back to the founding of the country. so where that, let me throw it open and -- >> [inaudible] tell us based on what the message of the voters was, many say they want to see gridlock end. what can you do and canensure the gridlock will end under your leadership? >> the senate it was problem, not the senate. the houses passed over 300 peaces of legislation, many of hem on a bipartisan basis.
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the american people have changed the senate. so i think we have an obligation to change the behavior of the senate and to begin to function again. that doesn't guarantee that the president is going to agree with everything we do, but we're going to go back to work and actually pass legislation. i've, by the way, been called by three prominent democrats since last night, prominent democrats. they're anxious to be relevant again. you know, they're anxious for committee work to be respected. they're anxious to vote on things on the floor. that's the way you get rid of gridlock. it doesn't guarantee you have a presidential signature on everything. presidents do have the right to veto. i think he's vetoed two little billings in six years. the first three years he loved everything. the last four years, the current majority, he never got anything that he didn't like. that's how you cure gridlock. jeff. >> after all this, how can the american people believe you, believe -- >> they demonstrate it.
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>> [inaudible]. we have to -- i'm sorry. >> what are a couple of things you think you can work with the president on? >> trade agreements. the president and i were just talking about that right before i came over here. most of his party is unenthusiastic about international trade. we think it's good for america. and so i've got a lot of members who believe that international trade agreements are a winner for america. and the president and i discussed that right before i came over here. and i think he's interested in moving forward. i said, send us tradeagreements. we're anxious to take a look at them. the president's indicated he's interested in doing tax reform. we all know, having the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world is a job exporter. all this talk about job exportation, exporting jobs is having the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. he's interested in that issue and we are, too so those are two very significant areas of potential agreement.
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>> [inaudible] work with you or do you believe that he will be [inaudible] by his own party to do it? >> there's only one democrat who counts, the president. let me illustrate the point. when joe biden and inegotiated the fiscal cliff deal in 2012. the thing i thought would be the most important thing for kentucky was a estate tax exemption. a lot of people who have family farms and small businesses look like they're worth a lot of money, but they really aren't. if you're lucky enough to have children who want to continue to farm or continue the small business, you can't get it down to them -- you could not in the past because of the estate tax exemption. --we could save
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99% of the farms in my state from having to be sold. the leader of the democrats in the house made it quite clear to me that if that was in the final deal, house democrats wouldn't vote for it. i thanked her. it was in the final deal and only 15 house democrats voted against it and only three senate democrats. the point i'm making is the democrat who counts is the president of the united states. democrats in congress will support whatever he agrees to do. that was a perfect example of exactly what i'm talking about. so -- and we were very much inclined to support president bush as well. this is not unusual when you have the white house, the most important member of your party is the person in the white house. so we'll see whether we can work with the president. i hope so. that's what he says and we'll find out. david. >> thank you. senator mcconnell, except for a few deals you've worked out, mainly with vice president biden, the president and
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congressional republicans don't havea good track record of working things out. can you talk about how you think a united republican congress possibly will have the ability to send the president a bill or force the veto might altar the dynamic? >> i'm not sure he's going to sign everything, but we're going to function. we are. we're going to pass legislation, some of it he may not like, but we're going to function. this gridlock and dysfunction can be ended. it can be ended by having a enate that actually works. >> [inaudible] forced negotiation with the white house might be fruitful as opposed to the way it's been so far? >> well, i mean, the veto pen is a pretty big thing. the president of the united states can deliver the members of his partyto vote for a deal he makes or he can beat the legislation. he's important. that's the way it works.
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>> yesterday senator paul said the senate will be sending bill after bill to the president to repeal obama care. seeing as that's one of the ones the president is likely to veto, what other forms can you use to slow down the legislation. >> it's no secret that every one of my members, thinks that obama care was a huge legislative mistake. it has fouled up the health insurance market, put states in deep hole in terms of their ownability to finance it years from now. if i had the abilities, i'd get rid of it. obviously, it's also true that he's still there. we'll be discussing how to go forward on this issue when we get back. i will say this for sure. there are pieces of it that are deeply, deeply unpopular with the american people. the medical device tax, which is
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-- which hasexported enormous number of jobs, the loss of the 40-hour workweek, big, big mistake. that ought to be restored. the individual mandate. people hate it. think we will be addressing that issue in a variety of different ways. >> senator mcconnell, you're -- as you know -- regardless of what happens, ou'll still be short 60 votes. how realistic is it -- should our base, should bit a reality on how far r base you cango on pushing a conservative agenda in the new congress? >> well, we'll find out.
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what you state is stating the obvious, that it takes 60 votes to do a lot of things in the senate. some things we can do with 351 votes. the budget. i and most of my members think that the bureaucratic strangulation of our economy is a real -- is a huge factor in the slow growth that we've experienced after the deep recession of 2008. so i think it's reasonable to assume that we will use the power of the purse to try to push back against this over active bureaucracy. and of course we have a huge example of that here in this state with the war on coal. not authorized by congress. couldn't get the strotes pass when our friends on the other side own the place. they have huge majorities in the house and senate, they couldn't pass the cap and trade. i think the president is going to try to do that. you can look at those kind of things through the spending tool in our governmental system. >> \[inaudible].
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>> we'll see how we do. ok. >> in the debt sealing fight, afterward you told me that it was a hostage not worth shooting, but it was a hostage worth withholding for ransom. the debt sealing is coming up sometime in the spring, this summer. are we going to have another brinksmanship moment there? >> there will be no government shutdowns and no default on the national debt. let me make clear. >> \[inaudible]. >> one thing you've mentioned is immigration. we expect that the president will move forward with some sort of action on -- executive action in this area. what will the republican response be and would you pass a republican immigration plan? >> i think the president in choosing to do things
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unilaterally on immigration would be a big mistake. it's an issue that most of my members want to address legislatively, and it's like waving a red flag in front of a bull to say, if you guys don't do what i want, i'm going to do it on my own, and the president's done that on obama care. he's done it on immigration and threatening to do it again. i hope he won't do that, because i think it poisons the well. >> \[inaudible]. >> i wouldn't do that to you. >> could you tell us a little bit more about -- >> you obviously have worked with the president for a number of years now. you've had communications with him sometimes cordial, sometimes not so cordial. what do you sense, having talked to him today, about his mood, what he's willing to do. everybody talks about tip o'neal and reagan. that was a wonderful camelot moment with bipartisanship.
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can you achieve that? >> the relationship 50eu6 had with the president was always cordial. there's no penalty problem or anything like that. i think my attitude about this at this point is trust but verify. let's see. the american people -- let's see. the american people have spoken. they've given us divided government. the question for both the president and the speaker and myself and the members is what are you going to do with it. i've said i want to first look for areas that we can agree on. and there probably are some. that's what we're going i want to work on some areas we agree on. >> you promise there were not big government shutdown. >> he will not be shutting down the government or defaulting on the national debt.
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>> do have any concerns about those numbers that might want to run for president, like to step outside of your leadership. how will you handle them? >> i know a lot of people that want to run for president. what i tell them all is the best day you have will be the day before you announce. short of being in combat and being shot at, there isn't anything harder than running for president unless it is running for reelection. i have no problems with people's ambitions, i am serving in a body with a bunch of class presidents.
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they are all ambitious or they would not be where they are. a lot of folks with sharp elbows and big elbows. i am not troubled by ambition and i think we can accommodate that and still make progress for the country. codes even if it goes against your goals? >> you are asking me a. >> it has been rejected that the republican senate would ring this to a grinding halt. how do you expect to handle the president's combination, many very important one still lingering. what are your thoughts are rolling back the nuclear option? >> to a job the second issue. >> that is something we ought to address. the most important thing that the majority leader decided to do which was to break the senate to change the rules of the senate. overruling the parliamentarian
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has said you cannot do that. it was a huge mistake in my view, it is hard to unring a bell, they have now established a precedent. it is a big issue and a big discussion that we will have in the coming months. >> he is calling to congratulate me on my election and was impressed with the margin. i was pretty happy about it myself. we had a good friendly conversation. >> do you believe that it will be more difficult for you to have a responsible government?
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let's we have a whole bunch of people in the 54 member senate. >> it was a very cordial conversation, i appreciated the call. >> he called to congratulate me on my election. he's a pretty independent guy. i think he will announce what he will do. >> he said twice that it would not be default but would you insist on because that correspond with any debt ceiling increase the way that john boehner? >> we have the opportunity now
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to pass a budget, which has to do with how you will spend. you have other mechanisms that were unavailable to us with the previous configuration of government. i think that that is a pretty important tool. >> can you talk about your phone call with harry reid, you have had the most acrimonious relationship. you said, the open acrimonious relationship with any two leaders. >> we have had some spirited debates about the way the places being run. but, we don't have an acrimonious relationship personally. what was your conversation -- what was your question? >> what was your conversation like? >> called actually to complement me on what a skilled campaign we ran. he obviously paid very close attention to it. that seems to be the new paradigm since daschle was defeated, you get a presidential
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level campaign if you are leader of the senate. harry followed it very closely. he complimented me on a campaign well run. >> will you return the favor to him in 2016? >> i did not get involved the last time he was up and i don't tend to be involved this time. >> and you talk about what your objectives will be as the senate majority leader? >> well, the immediate concern in the health there is, obviously the ebola crisis. with regard to the authorization to help the syrian rebels him as you know, we insisted terminating at the end of this year. that is one of the things that the president mentioned today that will be on the agenda friday.
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>> we have to finish this year's session first. i think the media discussion we will be having is what should we try to wrap up during the lame-duck. there are number of things that have been put off we will be talking about whether to do a tax extender package. there are number of things that have sort of stacked up and i think i've said it before, i will say it again. the senate hadn't been doing anything. there is a whole lot of unfinished business sitting there.
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some of which, it might be advantageous to get out of the way. democrats may want to do it, we may want to do it, in order to clear off some of the necessary work that has been undone in a dysfunctional senate. >> the banking committee is certainly will be taking a look
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at dodd frank. i have called the obamacare for banks. the big guys are doing just fine, the committee bankers are struggling. i do think the banking committee will look at how much damage it has done to the little guys that had nothing to do with the banking meltdown. >> you are surprised that president obama did not shift more towards the center. does he have a responsibility to do that now and e.g. communicate with him in the phone call? >> you cannot really do anything without a presidential signature. several of you have mentioned it. the veto pen is a pretty powerful tool and i think both reagan and clinton are good examples of accepting the government you have rather than fantasizing about the government
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you wish you had. in other words, they don't but they had. reagan never had the house. the president has got a choice, because of the strength of the veto pen, he could stay on the current course he is on. just be telling any effort we make to push back against what he's doing and having the people that work for him do his bidding or he could say, let's see if there are some areas of agreement. i have mentioned a couple that i think are pretty big and important issues that i think we have potential areas of agreement. trade and tax reform. we will see. >> are you ready to meet him there?
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how would you prevent members from yanking you back? >> i am pretty familiar with our conference including the new members coming in. the vast majority of them don't feel that they were sent to washington to just fight all the time. as i've said repeatedly here, divided government is not a reason to do nothing. in fact, it has been pretty productive. i think the vast majority of my members would rather make progress on things that they think the country needs to be dealt with them not. but, in our system, the president is the most important
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player because of the obvious constitutional advantage he has and it would require his complicity to do that. and he has been protected from having to do that the last four years by the dysfunctional senate which doesn't pass anything, doesn't send him anything that he doesn't like. now, he will have a congress that will be more challenging for him but the choice is really his. i'm hoping that he will decide to move to the center. >> ted cruz declined whether he would say he would support you for majority leader. did he pledges support to you? >> let me make a prediction for you, a week from tomorrow, i will be elected majority of the senate. thanks, everyone. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014]
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>> we will bring you panels looking at the results. later, obama hosted a news conference to talk about the election. on the next washington journal, we will get more analysis and look ahead. and jackiel chaddock kucinich will join us.
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washington journal is live at each morning on c-span. here are a few of the comments we have received. a i wanted to comment on declaration on the of war and war powers. it was interesting to watch the demonstrated some of the ineptitude of the that,servative opposition at the beginning of every war, the president has the ultimate hearsay in the country's to go to war. >> i would like to commend
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informationiring from writers on greece. it was excellent information to interactions and dynamics. that posttraumatic stress disorder can climb up and if you continue to interventions. >> i think american history greatestn is the programs available. to let us know what you think about the programs that you're watching.
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e-mail us comments or send us a tweet. join the conversation on facebook and twitter. >> the conversation on the election results. was hosted by the national journal. minutes.[applause] >> fantastic. we're going to get started with our first panel about last night's analysis of key election results and the outcomes. i want to welcome to the stage ron fournier, who is a senior
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reporter for "national journal" and ron will be joined onstage with, by, whit ayers, founder and president of north star research. celinda lake, president of lake research partners. ron, i'll let you go ahead and get started. >> i was doing an interview back there with celinda. thank you all for coming. whit and celinda has been good political sources of mine over the years. since we're dealing with a couple of pollsters i was going to start with a handful of numbers that jumped out at me with the exit polls and maybe a thought experiment and i would like you guys to think about that as well. you look at the exit apologies, a little over a majority of the electorate who voted last night disapproved of president obama. no surprise. 80% disapprove of congress as an institution. 60% disease approve of their leadership in congress and at the white house. only 44% of the people who voted have a positive opinion of the
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democratic party. less than that, 40%, have a positive opinion of the republican party. 2/3 of the country thinks the nation is on the wrong track. only 22% of americans right now think the next generation is going to be better than the current one. only 22% of the public still thinks there's such thing as an american dream. if people who were voting last night had the same buffet of choices in politics that they have in the theater, where they're going to shop, how they're going to shop. where they're going to eat. if people had that kind of buffet of choice in politics last night, how many republicans and democrats would have been thrown out of office? celinda, whit? why don't you answer that question. how much of the republican victory yesterday was a choice between two evils? >> there's no question that people are discouraged about
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washington and the direction of the nation. but yesterday was a whopping rejection of this president and this president's agenda. the people who lost yesterday were democrats. republicans picked up or will pick up nine senate seats and are within an eyelash of picking up a 10th in virginia. we defeated five, or will defeat after the louisiana runoff, five senate incumbents. we were going to pick up at least 11 seats and maybe get the largest majority in the house since world war ii. we held the governorship in florida and picked up three governorships in deep blue states of maryland, massachusetts, and illinois. so it's pretty clear which party lost yesterday and which party one. >> the second part is not clear. your party was able to prove that yesterday your party was
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not quite as bad as the other guys. how does the republican party stern yesterday's democratic defeat into a true governing that improves the republican brand going forward? >> by demonstrating that we can govern. the smartest politicians all believe that people vote for things as well as against things. they vote for positive agendas as well as against agendas they don't like. that's the reason why the r.n.c. put together a list of principles that republican
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candidates can stand behind and it covers the array of various policy areas and that's the first place i think a republican congress can go. show that they can govern. >> celinda, i would suggest that we didn't see many of those principles presented by republicans in the election. it would be great if we get them going forward but it was mainly an anti-obama election. do you degree that last night was a shellacking or thumping of president obama? >> i think that, obviously, the democrats got badly beat last night but i think there are three things i would say. one, i think the table was set very poorly from the democrats from the get-go. structurally, an off-year election, the array of seats that were up and the midterm election when the turnout was lower. >> why couldn't you get your base out? what happened to the coalition? >> it just turns out every four years. >> that's a big problem, isn't it? >> it's a huge problem.
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>> why is it a problem? >> it's a problem that gets better every year, though, because the republicans are living on borrowed time on their coalition and this is the question i think democrats have to answer. why is there such a problem despite great organization in turning tout base and why did we do so poorly, particularly among independent women? i think the answer to that is the economy. we did not end on an economic message. we've never won elections when we haven't been ahead on the economy. on the election eve we were ahead on the economy. we only split economic voters. all those voters that you listed, the ones that think the economy is not good, we lost those voters. >> whose fault ask it that the democratic party didn't have an economic message. >> well, it starts at the top because i think it's very hard for an individual senate candidate to articulate an overall economic message. >> why has the president fumbled
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that? it's his economy. why didn't he do a better job of presenting a plan? >> i think either by choice or by circumstance, he had a lot of cree cease in the fall. >> but presidents have to deal with crises and run a campaign. what's the explanation? >> you can call and talk to him about that. >> what would you tell the president today? >> articulate tomorrow an economic vision for the country and say, just as bill clinton did, we have done this but it's not good enough and we're going to work with republicans to get these things done. >> last night the president's aides were pretty defiant. one was quoted as saying he does not feel repudiated. what does that bode for us going forward if the president thinks that last night was not a repude occasion of his record so far? >> one of the lessons from this selection that arrogance will bite you. this president is the most arrogant politician of my entire lifetime. he set his own people up. he really did.
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he set his own people up. the only way the kay hagan and the mark pryor's and all the other democrats who lost yesterday were going to survive was to separate themselves from the presidents. the president's response is that's fine, they'll vote anyway. the president made the republican argument for us. we barely even needed to make it and the response yesterday was well, if these democrats hadn't withdrawn from the president many of them would have done better. what alternative universe are these people living in? it is breathtakingly arrogant, and this president helped make our case for us and helped sink all of these democratic senators. >> on the topic of arrogance, john theory, a well-known and
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respected republican consultant said last night the hard right is not controlled by the republican agenda anymore. the inmates are no longer running the asylum. do you think that's true? is the hard right no longer running the republican party and on what would you base that? >> i think part of the key for the republican victories yesterday is that we had candidates that managed to unite the republican coalition and that's another takeaway from yesterday, is that candidate quality really, really matters. across the board we nominated better candidates who ran better campaigns. three quick examples. cory gardner in colorado was a far superior candidate than we nominated last time. he ran a great campaign and he won comfortably against a guy who beat the war on women to death. senator uterus. >> senator, let's get the name right. >> sorry, mark you tall.
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joanie ernst ran a great campaign. i'm so proud of ed gillespie i'm about to bust. back on labor day i said they needed to keep an eye on ed gillespie. he was going to be an upset special and a lot of people thought i was nuts. but if you know ed you know how good he is, how smart he is and he was within an eyelash of knocking off somebody who people thought was virtual limb unbeatable. >> you didn't really answer the arrogance question. there was a poll that came out last week that said the number one issue that voters were looking for in candidates was
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the economy. a close number two was they're looking for people who would break gridlock. i've seen no evidence that the president of the united states is either willing or capable that the president is breaking gridlock and i've seen no evidence that republican party establishment is willing or capable of breaking gridlock? >> i disagree with you. if you listened to mitch mcconnell's speech. >> words are words. >> mitch mcconnell was pitch perfect last night and he basically said what i said to start this panel. we need to demonstrate that we can govern. mitchell mcconnell believes that. >> the president is going to say the same thing. why should we believe it's any different now? >> because i think you have an attitude of people who got elected yesterday that realize they field to advance a policy of agenda. whether this president is even willing to work with them or not i have no idea. he's shown no inclination to do so. >> so you think republicans are
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incented to compromise. what about democrats? >> first of all, i disagree with the assessment that the president hasn't tried to work >> he reached out today and said let's get together. divide government, congress on one hand, president on the other, far more productive than mixed government. >> why is that, you think? >> because i think that the house and senate will be able to agree on a lot and deliver it and i think neither side is interested in just government by veto. so i think it is greatly incentivized a come promise. -- to compromise. when you have one house and one senate, they never set anything up. the other thing i want to say that i think is the most important lesson of last night.
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this is the one thing i don't agree with you on. the democratic agenda was not rejected last night. democratic candidates were. i think the republicans were very in initiating the right. >> can you explain? >> across the board, when voters had the ability to directly vote on the issues. minimum wage, four states, legalizing marijuana in several states and you can go on and on. rejecting the two-party primary. across the board, the democratic agenda did very well. when voters had the abilities to vote directly on the issues. >> is that a fair distinction, whit? i know it didn't matter yesterday but is that a distinction maybe that the democratic party can learn from?
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>> lot bigger issue was obamacare in these critical senate battleground states. obama care was an albatross around the next of democrats who voted for it, not just because of one factor. it's a combination. it's the substance of the law, it is what it represented, a large government intrusion into the health care sphere but also how it was passed. major social changes get passed by bipartisan majorities if they're going to stick. a majority of house republicans voted for medicare in 1965. a quarter of the senate republicans voted for medicare. medicare prescription part d that passed during george w. bush's administration passed with democratic votes in both the house and the senate. obamacare -- we had clients who remember perfectly willing to
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work with the president on a health care reform and the basic attitude is we have the votes, we don't need you and so they crammed it down the throats of republicans, changing the rules in the senate to get it through, and created a political issue that basically has killed seven promising democratic careers and is going to be an ongoing issue because of the way they passed it. >> so for the sake of argument, democrats have an agenda and on its own can be popular and in this election, obamacare was a big anvil and the president was. 2016 presidential race, a different elek rat. obama will step out the door. obamacare will be two years older. by the way, the country is fastly becoming a minority majority and the republican party still advertises itself as a party of white people. >> come on, ron. >> no, that is the brand. interesting if you can push back on that the next two years.
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>> we do not advertise ourselves as he party of white people. >> it's a very uncomfortable place for a person of color right now. >> we need to do a better job reaching out to majority. 35% of latinos voted for republican house candidates yesterday. we need to be up with the 44% to 50% that george bush got or kay baily hutchison got. >> how do you get there? >> it's all about how we govern and how we nominate. some of us are old enough to remember the so-called republican lock on the electorate college back in the 1980's where there was no way the democrats were going to be elected again. bill clinton comes along and says i want to end welfare as we know it, i'm for the death penalty and in one election he turns the party around. the republican candidate is one election away from election at the presidential level.
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>> do you see that candidate out there now? >> well, i happen to have a few options. marco rubio is a client of ours and i happen to think he does more for the republican party than anyone else out there but there are a number of possibilities that can give a new image and new face for the rental party. >> what happens if in two years we still don't have immigration reform and still 11 or 12 million people still living in the shadows? >> let's not take those assumptions. we have a new congress and it's a new day. >> you agree that's an important issue? >> sure. no question. in 2010, 77% of the electorate was white. every mid term, about two percentage point less non-hispanic white. it was 72% white less than in the mid terms and so we'll have an electorate in 2016 that's about 70% white, about 30% nonwhite.
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it doesn't take a generous who figure out we have to do better among asians, latinos, african-americans. >> so if president, as you say, was repudiated. if one of the things he does is by fiat legalizes illegal citizens and he's right this kind of legislation in our country to be durable has to have legislation support. what does he have to do? i tweeted yesterday it would be the equivalent of flipping the bird to the american public. the american public doesn't want necessarily the chief executive to do it or his or her own. they want compromise. >> i think the number one reason that -- i mean, the people that won last night at the governor level i think are very illustrative because they were governors who have to deliver. the republican governors were able to say to themselves because they have to deliver. i think that is a lesson for the senate. i think if the senate will not -- if the senate passes bad immigration emple -- reform that's going to be as bad as not
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passing any immigration reform and if the president says these people will not work with me to have decent humane and practical immigration reform, i'm just going to get it done. then that's an entirely different message. >> are you sure? is the public going to buy the explanation he couldn't get it done so he's doing the right thing or this is just another politician who's giving lip service to compromise and we're going to punish his party again? >> for one thing, if you pass immigration reform -- >> i'm saying by executive order. >> i understand but real people see something different on tuesday than they had on monday. when you get something done, it affects real people's lives. >> the ends justify the means? >> i think it matters less how
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you get it done. i think the major frustration last night was with, they can't compromise but they're not getting anything done and rome is burning and they're not getting anything done. >> real quickly on that? is getting immigration reform done any way ok? >> you can't just pass something. i mean, it's obvious we have a seriously broken system that hurts our economy, that hurts everybody involved with it and when you have a seriously broken system, it's incumbent on the congress to fix the system. it is not incumbent on a president to arrogantly try to do it on its own. that's the best way i know to kill immigration reform is to come out and get an executive
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order to something even he has said should be the province of congress and try to do it on his own. >> i want to turn to 2016 but before i do, two pollsters up here, i have to ask about these polls. they were all off. they basically overestimated the democratic turnout. this has got to be a scary time to be a pollster. can you explain why they were all so off yesterday and how your business is going to have to change to be more accurate? >> i think the number one thing -- >> both of you. >> the number one thing that helps explain why the polls were off is that we overestimated the women's vote. you know, utah electorate was
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72% -- 75% white. it was more white, older and less female. and many of the pollsters i think accounted for it being older and many accounted for it being more white. most of us did not account for it being less female. >> why not? what went into the thinking? >> for example, in 2010, the electorate was not more female. in some ways the structure of the electorate. >> resembles more 1994. you lad a decline among women. in 1994 it was called the year of the angry white man. we lost yesterday because we had fewer women and because we lost women -- won women by less than we lost men by and that's a formula for big defeats so i think women voters are a big piece of last night's story and one we haven't talked about so much on this panel and it's a big reason why the polls were off. >> ron, i don't accept the premise that the polls were way off. this was a classic wave election. waves break late.
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we did bill frisk's race in minnesota 1994. he was up by four points. by thursday he was up by seven, by saturday, up by nine and he won by 14 percentage points but you would never and caught that unless you polled all the way up to election day. if you look at the polls over the course of the last week it was very clear that where democrats were leading like new hampshire and north carolina, the leads were narrowing and where republicans were leading, like iowa, like colorado, like arkansas, the leads were widening. i mean, the trend was there clearly and i think what happened was a classic wave where you came in very late, within the course of the last week, and you ended up getting a substantial republican boot >> all the persuadables went one way. >> exactly. that's what a wave is.
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>> i agree with whit on that as well. i most of us think -- good point. >> policy-wise why did women stay home? what did the democratic party do wrong or the republican do write to keep them home? >> i think the number one thing is men think it's a good thing when government hasn't done anything bad to you. and there is the challenge for republicans is that women want to get something done and women have two major, major concerns on their minds. incredibly concerned about this economy and the impact it's having on their families and a belief that no one really understood their kitchen table economics and the second thing
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was the mounting security concerns about the instability. isis, ferguson, ebola. people, women in particular thinking new crisis after new crisis of new crisis of things i've never heard of affecting my family. >> why did that keep them home? >> because i think they felt no one spoke to them. no one gets my life. no one is going anything for me. >> first of all, let's not make too much of this. a majority of the people who vote yesterday were female. it was 51-49. >> but it was less than we -- >> a point or so less but it wasn't like there was a huge shift in the gender electorate that voted yesterday. women have a tendency to place a higher priority on issues like education and health care and i think any politicians, republican or democrat, who homes to appeal to women, has got to have something intelligent to say about both of those issues. we don't have as many people as
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we need to be able to articulate a position on education. it's not coincidence that the last republican president was very, very good and talked a lot about education. lamar alexander talks a lot about education. we don't have as many as we need to paint a compelling picture. >> good point. >> by the way, i would say the last two republican presidents -- >> good point. >> george bush sr. -- we may disagree with their policies but they articulated strongly on education. >> and the president before as well. in tallahassee and presidential suites around the country there were men and women who were thinking about running for president surrounded by family and consultants digging into the results yesterday and wondering what does this say about my chances? what can i learn that might make me the next president?
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who do you see as being the early winners and losers in 2016 based on these results? who can find good things in this numbers and who should be worried? >> he's the expert on republican primaries. >> i also want to talk about secretary -- >> i don't know that it's particularly productive to -- what we learned was, there is no one faction of the republican party that is large enough to produce a presidential nominee. you can't run from one particular slice and hope to win the nomination. whoever wins it will demonstrate an ability to join the party, libertarian, social, conservative, all in one coalition and get enough of each of those groups to build a majority.
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>> given the numbers i talked about earlier, is that more likely to give someone who has gotten things done outside of washington? >> it all comes down to the quality of the candidate, i think. candidate quality really matters. what is more important is the caliber of the candidate and their ability to lead and have a vision for the country than where they come from. >> i agree with what he is saying. you think about 2012 for week ended with people declaring they were not witches and that there was legitimate right. in 2014, it was really dramatic. we have is our front runner secretary clinton who is considered a supreme quality candidate by the voters. we have a woman candidate who really speaks to women's lives. she always has mobilized women voters and can be very
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effective. we have an economic plan and we will fight, fight, fight until the economy is back on its feet for ordinary people. i cannot imagine anyone better to nominate dan a clinton. i think 2016 is really good and i plan to be on vacation all of 2015. >> i live in virginia and when i was walking out of the voting booth yesterday after really not deciding who i was going to vote for until the last minute, i realized i wish most people had a choice like this. gillespie and warner, that is the reason why we're so close because it was one of the places where people had to good choices.
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this is an electorate that is really down on all large institutions, we have lost faith in them. we are really down on washington and politics. secretary clinton is an institution. how in an era when people are looking for change and freshness in a new way of covering in this new century, however someone of her background breakthrough that, how do she make herself the change agent that i think the next president is going to have to be? >> i disagree with you sincerely a little bit about this change notion. it wasn't a true change election. if it were, republican governors would have lost, too. it was a message, get something done for a change.
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that is the change that people want. hillary clinton in her own record, and in general linens communicate a different kind of notion. it is competence, qualifications, getting things done every and the ability to compromise to do that. that is the history there. people have very positive memories of the clinton years, perhaps more positive than they were at the time. secretary clinton herself has shown an ability to work with the person that beat her in the primary. tom delay, she authored the foster care bill for children. last night was a mandate about get something done. >> in a few minutes we will be taking questions.
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if you line up at the microphones. do you agree with what she is saying about secretary clinton? >> there is no question that secretary clinton will be a very formidable candidate. i don't think anyone believes she won't be. i will sell you that it is exceedingly difficult for one party to win three presidential elections in a row. history suggest that is a very unusual event. it occurred in 1988 with george h.w. bush. keep in mind that ronald reagan was a far more popular president than barack obama. making the case that you are the candidate to follow an unpopular president for a third consecutive term for one party is going to be a very challenging case for her to make.
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>> besides the history, what else goes against her? because we defy history all the time. >> i think people think eight clinton presidency and a barack of bash barack obama presidency would be very different. nobody questions her qualifications or experience. back she was part of the obama administration and a key component of the national security foreign affairs team that people now disapprove of obama for handling. it's going to be real tough for her to separate yourself from an administration in which she served. >> i'm sure we have much smarter questions out there than i have been able to come up with. any smart thinkers out there? >> you talked about the democratic issues coming mentioned minimum wage and legalization of pot. is that part of the republican agenda now? >> it should be. >> why?
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>> because the voters are in favor of it. the drug laws are a nightmare. this is an insane policy. we should be legalizing marijuana in this country. >> or changing the severity of the sentencing? >> we should be doing both. the majority of americans support legalizing marijuana. >> with regard to how the election outcome in the senate may have some impact on the president in terms of his judicial appointments, and specifically if a supreme court justice decides to retire over the next two years, how do you think that's going to play out, both in terms of who he might nominate as a replacement and how the senate might deal with it? >> i was going to say, in some ways i think honestly -- my expertise is nothing more than i would have written in national journal.
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i think many democrats hope that everyone stays healthy for two years. >> the quick answer is, it's going to be a very different nominee than it would have been before. >> anymore questions out there? i want more from the audience, please. can each of you quickly mention the biggest warning sign use all in the results for your party? what was the biggest red flag for your party. >> i would say to red flags. well, how many. a couple of things. one is turnout. we had unparalleled turnout, but
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i think we have vastly underestimated and don't have enough respect for the turnout operations of republicans. it doesn't look like hours, but we don't tend to respect it. we underestimated it. >> i looked at the rnc micro-targeting effort. it is very real. >> the second thing is, we are not going to win anything if we are not -- the number one thing we need to do is lay out our economic plan and agenda for the future that ensures that everyone in this country can have a chance for themselves and their kids.
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>> a congressional committee put in place is light years better than it was two years ago. as we have learned, we have adapted. >> my column today will be on this. everybody be sure you see it this afternoon. >> which is why no one political party has a lock on everything. the other party adapts and figures it out. the biggest warning sign yesterday was exactly what we saw coming, the exurb of march of demographic change. it will be 2% less white four years from now than it was yesterday. we got a third of the hispanic vote. with got to do better with hispanics, with asians. we have seen that coming.
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it is simply the challenge that we have to meet successfully. math is math. >> i appreciate your comments about the female voters. i'm curious if you can been some analysis on the female candidates that one last night. >> and don't pretend to be an expert, so correct me when i get it wrong. it seems like the gear of the republican woman candidate. there are two things that i think, or three things that i think happened. the public and women made it out of republican primaries better than they have in the past. democratic primaries are about 58% female. republican mayors are about 45%
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women voters. our primaries include some of the voters that are most in favor of women candidates. african americans, liberals. the republican primary traditionally has included some of the voters who are least in favor of women candidates. what you saw is republican women having a hard time getting out of their primaries. whether it was utah or iowa, they got out of their primaries. i agree, she was able to use her gender and bracket, for independent women in her state as well. she is a real model for future republican women. last night was the year of the republican women. i believe we now have a record number of women in congress and a record number of republican women in office. >> a new member of congress is 30 years old. >> a huge victory yesterday in a
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swing district in northern virginia. what is happening? >> you have better, more qualified, more capable females that are running and doing well. i hope that in the future, not all republicans e-mails will start an ad with the word castration in it. [laughter] >> but she carried it off well. >> she carried it off beautifully. it was a hell of an ad and a hell of a campaign. >> if we could just pull back a little bit, i'm so interested in how vastly changing the populace is and how it is affecting all
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our institutions and leaders against two cents. for a pollster you are at the edge of change in how you identify and pull quality information out of people. tell me how the polling industry has changed the last few years and where you think it is going. >> i will be glad to answer that question. i want to point out one demographic change we have not discussed today which is also huge, and that is the rise of unmarried voters. 42% of all births to unmarried women. we talked about education which is something we have to bipartisan only work on. in places like omaha, it is already true.
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there is a sea change going on out there and it's going to demand a lot of changes in policy. >> and a disproportionate number of unmarried women stayed home. >> we would have won a lot of those senate seats because unmarried women voted 65% democratic. married women voted republican. this is a huge change and getting that turn out the vote is very important. both of us have more gray hair than we want to admit. on our side we try much more a combination of cell phones, online, over the telephone. we are in the field for longer
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times, because it is much more difficult to reach people. >> what do you think polling will be 10 years from now? >> our industry is in the midst of the same kind of transition that occurred in the 1960's when we moved from door-to-door interviewing two telephone interview. we had the same kind of complaints then. not everyone has the telephone, for example. if there is a survey that doesn't include cell phones, you should not pay attention to it, frankly. i'm not exactly young person anymore, and i don't have a landline. the idea that you can do is significant survey without a significant portion of cell phones is fanciful. we will be at 50% very soon here in our samples. then ultimately we've got to figure out how to go to online data collection. that has all kinds of challenges regarding randomness.
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you can have panels, but you still have to opt in to the panels. 10 years from now most of our data i think will be collected through some version of online data collection, but we have a lot of methodological challenges to work out. >> this is really interesting. i thank you guys so much for helping us out. >> thank you. [applause] >> more now from the national law journal with a look at last night's election results and the likely impact on congress. we will hear from former senators olympia snowe and bob bennett.
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>> thanks, everyone, for being here. i appreciate all these former members coming here right and early. it's the first thing we want to discuss is the question of whether the next congress will be able to govern any better than the current one, given what we saw last night. the 113th congress has been historically unproductive, has gotten very little done. after last night i think the big question is, with the republican majority in the house and a new republican majority in the senate, is this congress more likely to come together and agree on things and get the president to sign them, or less likely?
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west congress is going to have to move forward. the move to legislative it is going to be critical. mitch mcconnell underscores that in his speech.
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engaging the rank and file. returning to the senate to its original purpose. beelieve that is going to the final objective. >> even house and senate republicans, seeing what he will do, and preagreed with the white house and work things out? >> beginning this week with the president is meeting with .eadership it is going to be areas in which they generate -- they differ.
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they have to find areas of common ground. most especially when it comes to the economy. ithink from that standpoint would be wise to be able to work in synchrony on these critical issues. both in the lame duck, just getting what needs to be done. with the new congress beginning, establishing those areas in which they agree, immediately, such as repealing the medical device tax, for example, or infrastructure. >> the two big issues, immigration reform and tax reform are what people talk about most. the last nights results make either of those deals more likely? >> first, if i can mention that former councilman tom davis and i have written a book about the issue of partisanship in congress that will be out in
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january. you will hear more about it at that time. you correctly identified the two toughest issues, which will be the real test of whether you can have bipartisan cooperation. tax reform is a very difficult issue because you have a lot of special interests, and to try to resolve this issue will be a real test of whether you can operate on a bipartisan basis. immigration reform is a hardly complex issue. i often tell people that immigration reform makes social security reform look like a walk in the park. it's so difficult to come to grips with. those are the issues that will
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be the test of whether you can have true bipartisanship. i was in congress in 1986 when you did have the last immigration reform bill passed. it was not perfect and took a long time to get it done. the role of the president is very important here. hopefully, president obama will see these last two years as the opportunity to build whatever legacy he has as the president, and that he will then want to work with the new republican leadership in congress. that has yet to be determined how successful that will be. while the institutional problems you will have is in the house of representatives, there are so many safe districts, it either safely republican or safely democratic because of the way the lines are drawn. republican are worried about a challenge from the far right and democrats worry about a challenge from the far left. people change their voting patterns because they are afraid they might lose in a primary, and that makes it more difficult to meet in the center and
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compromise. the jury is out, we are all hopeful and would like to see bipartisanship and cooperation, but we cannot tell you whether it is really going to happen. i think mitch mcconnell is a very able leader, at think he will want to try and get some things done. the question will be for him, just as john boehner has a similar question, how does he deal with the more extreme element in his own party? can he get them to be willing to join in this dialogue and do something constructive? we cannot tell that yet. the extreme element, the tea party element, had a veto power over what john boehner could do in the last congress. we are all hopeful. this is a new day. i'm old enough that i remember the cartoon when richard nixon was elected president in 1968.
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he had a clean-shaven richard nixon sitting in a chair and said everybody should get a clean shave, everybody should start a new. that is where we are right now. we will see if all these folks can work together. >> the idea that the house republican majority has gotten bigger and that a lot of tea party a line republicans are coming in its a lot of press attention. there are a lot of members elected from northeastern and upper midwest states who might be more sympathetic. to those new members may be push boehner in a direction toward compromise? >> if you look at new york and a couple of the other -- maine, for instance. you have the tea party faction but you have what i call pragmatists. people who want to govern. that's going to strengthen the speakers hand moving forward. you're still going to have the
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hell no caucus, the people i affectionately refer to as chuckleheads. mitch mcconnell and john boehner, you have two people who are dealmakers, who can put together the legislative packages. people talk about the hastert rule in the house. it's not that you have to have 218 votes, but you have to have the majority of the republican conference. if you put together 120 republicans with a like number of democrats, and steny hoyer is a great dealmaker as well on the other side. you can get some of these things done. we will see.
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the president has to dance, but if the president dances, they can get a lot of stuff done. >> john boehner had a little bit of a scare. there were a few members who want to vote against him for speaker. do you see anything like that happening again? >> you will have people show up on opening day and say i think we can take him. i think the speaker's have circled the wagons as well and made it pretty clear, to the rabble-rousers, and the other lessons that emboldened the speaker come the republican establishment did a very good job of making sure that normal people were nominated. when you don't nominate nuts, the squirrels have nothing to eat. it was all about barack obama and his record rather than a nut running against this person or that person. pick senator bennett, going back over to the senate, you know mitch mcconnell well.
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he said he would have a more open floor process, more freewheeling debate. he is even more circumspect on what he will do with harry reid rule changes on nominees. will he allow an open amendment process? >> i don't know exactly what he will do with respect to the rules. i do know that he is deadly serious about returning to regular order. he made that speech almost a year before the elections. i'm told by people that were in the conference that republican senators came up to him and said if you do not do what you just
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promised to do, we will replace you as leader. one of the things it has been ignored with all the cutting and slicing and dicing of the data, half of the senate is in their first term. you have half the senate who has never seen legislation occur in their lives. they have lived with continuing resolutions and omnibus bills and blocking of regular order. they have never attended a conference of any kind between the house and the senate. they don't understand how that is supposed to be done. they don't understand how amendments have been handled. when i was there, the normal pattern was, you had a string of amendments, you spent your time as manager of the bill, or
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managers, because you had a republican manager and a democratic manager, negotiating with all the people offering the amendment saying please do not offer that for the following reasons. or saying, we will accept that, and then we will drop it in conference. just so that we can move ahead on this. you end up with about four important amendments that are debated, voted on, and then you take the bill to conference. half of the senate has never seen an activity take place. and mitch is determined to return to that kind of the world. when you go back to that kind of the world and start to educate the people who have come into think that all you do is make a speech and all of the legislation is cooked into the leader's office, and then tucked in as a drop into a must pass cr or something of that kind so
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that you as a senator have no input on any legislation, the leader takes care of all of that, for all of the historical analysis of lyndon johnson and how powerful he was, lyndon johnson never had the kind of legislative power that harry reid has abrogated within his office and staff and mitch is determined to change that. i think when that begins to happen, all kinds of good things will begin to happen. again, if you have two managers on the floor, republican and democrat, you have to get together. olympia has done it, she has managed. you cannot be mad at your democratic counterpart when you're trying to move a bill across the floor. all kind of one of things begin to happen and that is mitch's
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number one goal, he has an enormous advantage that is not available to most senators. he knows that he is not going to be president of the united states some day. consequently, he will focus on the institution and making it work. one other thing that if i were advising him at this point, i would say do this to get rid of some of the difficulties that gripped the senate and i think the house. it eliminates the sequester. go back to the days when appropriators made decisions based on what needs to be done instead of being locked in a straitjacket of a sequester that says we are going to lower the spending without regard to any need, all we thinking about is the top line number and we will force everything to that. if he can restore regular order
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and convince boehner to convince his troops, let's get rid of the sequester and go back to legislating intelligently, i think it would be enormously powerful. i think it is the best thing that republicans can do in preparation for 2016. in 2016, the question will be which party which parties could bowl of governing. right now the answer is neither one. if the republicans by controlling both houses of congress and tamping down on your comments, tamping down the chuckleheads, it can establish itself as the party that should win, i leave you with this one piece of history, i am older
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than you are. yes, i remember the cliché for nixon and so on. 1964. the analysis after 1964 was that the republican party was doomed. and it was only a question of how quickly a new party would be formed to replace it. because of the tremendous shellacking, to use president obama's word, that republicans had received in the 64 election. four years later, the republicans won the presidency because of all of the difficulties that were there and the inability of the democrats to deal with their biggest problem which is the vietnam war. so, i don't think that the
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republicans are doomed for the future, i don't think they will disappear. they have to demonstrate that they can govern and that means in the congress they have to demonstrate that they can legislate and that is mitch mcconnell's number one priority. >> i'm am old enough to remember even when appropriations used to pass bills and regular order one by one and most or all would get considered separately. do you think that all republican-controlled congress means we will go back to that or would that still pass? >> i was there when we birthed the blue dog coalition. after the devastation of the 94-95 election cycle as we saw a
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lot of change. i had a career threatening night, i looked around and saw a lot of blood on the table, a lot of colleagues around the south. we put that centrist coalition together. we wanted to project that we will working legislators, we were not there to carry party labels or the president's agenda. it was a reaction there, but to pick up the pieces and say, we are serious about this. we intended for this to be a bipartisan group. the new republican leadership put its thumb on its members. we had committee assignments that they threatened us with an error member some interesting conversations about that that i tried to dodge but we did come together as a democratic group. but i made it to the appropriations committee. a serious appropriator with
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serious issues that affected my congressional district. getting those bills done was important to me. i know to senator mcconnell, mikulski, shelby, the appropriators over there that i know are serious about returning to the day when those bills can be passed, the job can be accomplished and not done by cr. the dust will begin to settle. what harry reid's attitude is now coming in off of this very bad night, that the democrats had. quickly, because i want to involve the audience in this, we will see at the next two years, the message of last night is translated by new members and members coming back from the trenches. this is a time to fight the president, this is the time to repeal obamacare, repeal obamacare.
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we have serious issues that need to be addressed. the appropriations process, certainly. you had issues that will seriously affect the economy. can tax reform be addressed? steve and i are involved -- i chair a board called center forward. we try to bring ourselves together to bring senate members across the aisle, house numbers across the aisle, together over issues, specific topics to try to show what kind of give and take is going on. i hope we see more of that. >> on the question of regular order and i was in the house for 26 years, we have had a succession of speakers starting with newt gingrich continuing through nancy pelosi, continuing through dennis hastert, john boehner, all of whom have said they wanted to return to regular order, none of whom actually did
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it. they decided they needed to write bills in the speaker's office. returning to regular order, maybe that is possible in the senate. it is hard to do because leaders of the house are not inclined to go to regular order. they are inclined to have a strong speakership and to have a top-down operation. it is very hard because you have democratic and republican speakers. there are very few centrist that are there that moderate with their leadership is coming from. >> he took some stance and make some deals with republicans that his own party was not happy with. i'm wondering if you think that president obama will react by bucking his own party, by willing to do things that a majority of this party does not want to do.
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>> it really rests with the attitude of the president. if the president decides that he really does want to try and get things done on a bipartisan basis and he is going to take some risks then i think democrats will follow his lead, if he kind of hides in the white house, if he doesn't take a strong role, then i'm afraid it would be much harder. i am hopeful the president will in fact look to his legacy and provide some real leadership. >> one of the big issues that has bedeviled hungers is the debt ceiling, it is coming up again, maybe in march, maybe in tax revenues. senator mcconnell has made clear his not interested in government shutdown. the issue whether it moves in a clean way like the white house keeps wanting or it has conditions attached to it, i am. says do what you think will happen. >> they need to have a bipartisan agreement that that is not going to be where they
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will spend their time. >> what do you think? >> i think certainly they don't want to repeat the fiasco of the debt ceiling crisis in 2011 which could have been avoided. you think about all of the crises that has occurred, designed by congress. everyone was manufactured. i am sure that senator mcconnell will want to avoid getting into a major conflict on that very question because frankly we are in the worst postrecession recovery in history. as a result, the economy needs certainty. i'm sure they will find a way to pay forward. that would mean other issues along the way, setting the agenda. what will be key for senator
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mcconnell and's weaker boehner is to agree on the areas in which they should take action. frankly, that is what is different today than it was in previous times when all of us served is that the first year after the election, you could really count on legislating and governing. now, the perpetual campaign. establishing that agenda, because the more conversations between the president and the bipartisan leadership and regularizing those meetings between the president and bipartisan leadership and communication will be essential. they both had to have the motivation to make divided government work. that is what the american people
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want. this will occur in the legislative process. you have got to nail it down sooner rather than later. certainly on these critical questions. i'm sure that senator mcconnell and speaker boehner will want to clear the decks so that they can begin a new. >> a test for senator mcconnell will be whether he is willing to tell ted cruz from my state that he is a leader, ted cruz is not the leader. he is got to make it very clear that he is in charge and that ted cruz cannot be the tail wagging the dog. >> mitch mcconnell may not envision himself as president but a lot of other republican senators envision themselves as president. we could have multiple members of the chamber running all at
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once. will that make it harder for mcconnell to move things when you have people that want to make a stand? >> there is no cannier politician in washington than mitch mcconnell. my sense of things not being there, this comes from conversation, mitch has very carefully, very methodically, very much under the radar isolated ted cruz. he is kind of sealed him off like the body puts a sack around some foreign manner. the tea party caucus was formed that was going to be so powerful, we heard about that in utah when mike lee was elected and he said, oh, you're not going to be will to do anything. he said, i'm going to have -- we're are going to take over. by the time they got through, it was ted cruz and jim demint. and jim demint left and rand paul didn't join, marco rubio didn't join, and all of these other people.

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