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tv   Public Affairs Events  CSPAN  December 16, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EST

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very explicit what he cares about and what he believes in. and so it's not in my what about long with respect to the electoral college? long-term, the electoral college is a vestige, a carryover from an earlier vision of how our federal government was going to work that put a lot of premium on states. it used to be that the senate was not elected directly. it is the same type of thinking senatorss wyoming two with a half-million people in california with 32 million get the same two. there are some structures in our
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political system as envisioned that sometimes are going to disadvantage democrats but the truth of the matter is that if we have a strong message, if we are speaking to what the american people care about, typically, the popular vote and the electoral college vote will align. , i guess part of my overall message here as i've that for the holidays is if we look for one explanation or one silver bullet or one easy fix for our politics, then we probably are going to be
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disappointed. there are a lot of factors in what has happened, not just over the last few months, but over the last decade. that have made both politics and governance more challenging. has raised everybody legitimate questions and legitimate concerns. i do hope that we all take some time, it take a breath, that is what i am going to advise democrats, to just reflect a little bit more about how can we , how can we get to a place where people are focused on working together, based on at facts.ome common set of how can we have a conversation about policy that does not
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demonize one another? how can we channel what i think is the basic decency and goodness of the american people as it reflects itself in our beingcs as opposed to it so polarized and so nasty that in some cases, you have voters and unelected officials who had more confidence and faith in a foreign adversary than they have in their neighbors? and those go to some bigger issues. somes it that we have voters or some elected officials who think that michelle obama's healthy eating initiative,
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school nutrition program is a thener threat to democracy government going after the press if they are issuing a story they do not like. issue thathat is an i think we have got to wrestle with. and we will. how i feel asked me after the election and i say -- look, this is a clarifying moment. this is a useful reminder that voting counts, politics counts, what the president-elect is going to be doing will be very different than what i will be the need people feel to compare, contrast, and make judgments about what worked for
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the american people. and i hope, that building off the progress that we have made, that what the president-elect is proposing works. what i can say with confidence is that what we have done works. that i can proof. were inow you where we 2008 and i can show you where we are now. and you cannot argue that we are not better off, we are. think theat, i american people and more importantly i think -- not more i was, as importantly -- going to say josh ernst, [laughter] for that, i think the american people i think for the men and women in uniform that serve, i
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have not yet gotten to a point where i am overly sentimental. i will tell you that when i was doing my last christmas party photo -- right at the end of the line, the presidents marine corps band comes in. and i take a picture with them. and that was the last time i was going to take a picture with my marine corps band after an event and i got a little choked up. i was in front of marines is so i had to tamp it down but it was just one small example of all of the people who have contributed to our success. i am responsible for where we screwed up, the successes are widely shared with all of the amazing people that have been part of this administration. ok. thank you everybody. >> [indiscernible]
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pres. obama: i enjoyed it.
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>> a year and news conference for the president in the white house briefing room to what could be his last news conference with reporters before leaving the white house next month. president obama and the family going to hawaii which is the
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holiday tradition, later today. we would like to get your thoughts on what you heard from the president for the last hour or so at this year and news conference. numbers are on your screen. .748.8921.s, 202 tweet us atou can c-span or leave a comment for us on your -- on our facebook page. the president reviewing a number of what he considered his accomplishments over the last eight years and answering a number of questions. he was asked about russian hacking and vladimir putin, the integrity of the fbi, the war in syria, the humanitarian crisis in aleppo, the presidential transition and the u.s.-china relationship particularly about donald trump's comments about china and his phone call with the taiwanese president. and today's news that china had
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stolen for lack of a better term and unmanned naval vessel in the south china sea. situatione russians though, this news came out during the news conference. matthew daly of the associated press tweeting that the fbi supports cia's conclusion that russia interfered in the presidential election with a vote of supporting donald trump. that news while the president was holding his final news conference of the year before heading to hawaii. let us go to your calls now carry your thoughts on the news conference today by the president. jackie joining us on the line for independence from east lake, ohio. caller: lake, ohio. caller: hello. i thought our president was extremely reasonable. answers weret his
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very to the point and not trying time in the white house more than it was. i think that the market has grown. you go back to 2008, it has grown from 8000 218,000 under president obama. from 8000 to 18,000 under president obama. as far as russian interference in our elections, it is a serious matter. i watched fox news the other day and they were making a joke of it. it is not a joke when a country can come and interfere with your elections and quite possibly election, face of the that is a very serious matter. i think you have to be more than
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afraid of what is happening. and i thank you for letting me speak. host: another color from ohio. athens, ohio on the democrat line. hello. caller: i am really going to miss barack and michelle obama in the white house, i tell you. i have always thought he was one of the best oratories of our time and to hear his thoughtful and careful answers that he gave today in the news conference really speaks to how analytical his mind is. i am just afraid we will not have as intelligent and productive and man in the white house for quite a long time after this. and i wanted to call and say that his legacy should be intact and we are really going to miss him. calling.nks for we will take your calls for another 15 minutes to get your
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thoughts on what you thought regarding president obama's year and conference. and we will take you live to an event with two politico reporters. let me get the name street. anna palmer and jake sherman of political will be talking to sean spicer, the communications director for the republican national committee. that is coming up at 4:30 p.m. eastern time. the political playbook. live coverage here on c-span. in the meantime, more on your calls. john is joining us from exeter, new hampshire. sayer: i simply want to that i am an independent as i indicated. thise going to deeply miss mansard today, once again, he showed a balance, he showed a reaching out, we are in a system, a situation today where there is all too little of that. we are going to miss it.
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i cannot say more than that. i salute his final press conference. int: to a republican caller st. petersburg, florida. caller: thank you for taking my call. i just want to say that i was glad to hear the president speaking about how the russians database and the service. i do not condone that. and some action needs to be taken to direct that manner but what is important is to understand what the president said. the vote itself was not hacked. the people voted and that was not hacked. i wonder to ask you as a republican, what you thought commente president's
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regarding some republicans and saying of vladimir putin ronald reagan would be rolling over in his grave. caller: i agree with that. ronald reagan would be rolling over in his grave as would andnts -- patton eisenhower. i do not condone any type of collusion with vladimir putin or his government or his cronies. that theyit is absurd have any footprint in trying to change our democracy. and by them interfering, hacking into the dnc servers to get that information out there and publicize what was going on behind the scenes is absolutely absurd. it should not have been done. but it is important to understand that the people did
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--ak and there are two parts the election part where the people voted and there is the dnc parts. i believe it has been misconstrued regarding what has been hacked and what has not. the vote was not hacked but the dnc. and i do not condone that. i believe anyone that does of russia iscts not a true american. you cannot be a true american if you condone that type of act against our democracy. host: let us show that part of the news conference again where the president was reacting to russian hacking and the potential russian influence on the united states and where he made those comments about ronald reagan. it.. obama: think about some of the people who historically have been very engaging with for russia and having conversations also endorsed the
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president elect even as he was saying that we should stop sanctioning russia and being tough on them and work together with them. against our common enemies. that was very complimentary of vladimir putin, personally. not the president elect during the campaign said so. and some folks that had made a career out of being anti-russian. they did not say anything about it. and then after the election, suddenly they are asking -- why did you not tell us that maybe the russians were trying to help our candidate? come on. there was a survey, some of you
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just one, now this is poll, but a credible source, 37% of republican voters approved of vladimir putin. over one third of republican approve of vladimir putin, the former head of the cagey b -- of the kgb. over ineagan would roll his grave. and how did that happen? because forin part too long, everything that happens in this town and everything that is said is seen through the lens that helps us or hurts us relative to president obama.
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and unless that changes, we are going to continue to be vulnerable to foreign influence. because we have lost track of what we are about and what we stand for. president obama from his ear and news conference that concluded just a few moments ago. taking your calls now to get your thoughts on what you heard from the president before he he heads to hawaii for a family holiday getaway. the numbers are on your screen. this if you were tweet regarding the subject you just saw a moment ago -- jack says president obama cannot speak for ronald reagan, jfk, or any other dead president about how they would view vladimir putin.
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calls, pamela in sloan's bill, new york on the democrat line. go ahead. hello. caller: hello. hey,-- benjamin, from columbus, ohio on the independent line. caller: thank you for taking my call. as an independent, i agree with the independent who spoke earlier and we will miss this man. i did vote for hillary in the general election after i saw ohio was pulling for donald. ohio is a strong bellwether day. i think we has won need to come together as a nation. i also agree with obama and he said that we are so divided and that is why russia can affect us. we need to find common ground
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around topics of employment. i hope that happens as we go forward. host: republican perspective from chicago. caller: hello and thank you for taking my call. obama, that president this press conference -- i think he showed a lot of not only current but forgiveness -- not ourage what forgiveness. he has class and style which we may miss with the new president-elect but i also see that he took responsibility for the things that were screwed up during his presidency. thehe also shared that things that went right, he shared that with everyone. graciousnk it was very talking about the president-elect.
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we as a nation, we are so focused on -- this is a democrat, this is a republican. we are not seeing -- who is the best person for us? because youl of us cannot please all of the people all of the time, of course but who is the best person for us as a nation? agree as he said -- 37% of the republicans agreed how the russians, i feel -- can you say you are an american when you agree with another country that does not have your country's interests at heart? notall, i think that he was judged on what he could do, he
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was judged on who he was. that he was a democrat. democratsk and say -- are this or republicans are that but as a president, i think this man was very intelligent, very eloquent. he was sincerely for the people. for the people in this country. maybe he did not get everything he wanted but i feel that he will go down in history as , one of one of the best our better presidents. maybe not the best, and we do not know what the best is because we are still here but he will go down as one of the better presidents. and i hope the president-elect, when he comes in, that he sees this is one country not one political party against the other. respects all of us as americans. and thank you for letting me have my say. host: thank you for the phone
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call. your calls continuing now for about five minutes more or so. we will take you live to an event with the rnc communications director, sean spicer speaking to folks from politico today, anna palmer and jake sherman here in washington, d.c. we will have live coverage here on c-span at 4:30 p.m. more calls.few susan from hamburg, new york. sayer: i just wanted to that i am truly going to miss president obama and mrs. obama. he has shown today again his dignity, cautiousness in handling sensitive matters. one thing i am kind of disappointed in is his reluctance to answer the question concerning briefings going to the electoral college.
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that was kind of a disappointment. and he is right that we are truly divided as a nation because mostly, the campaign. i think a lot of people have gone to sleep because they got sick of listening to all of the rhetoric. and idia in particular, know he had mentioned the media coverage, they have to stop playing into president-elect donald trump's tweeting and concentrate more on issues that are important. like climate change which is really coverage. wanted to, i just thank president obama for the awesome job he has done and how much i appreciate him. host: thanks for the call. susan mentioned the electoral college. we will be covering the electoral college at work this coming monday from a number of locations here on c-span. you can watch that live, our coverage from springfield,
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illinois, harrisburg, pennsylvania, lansing, michigan and richmond, virginia. that gets underway monday morning at 11:00 eastern time. carmen in cleveland, ohio. hello. what did you think of the president and his news conference today? caller: i thought his news conference was great and he is always a great order as others have said. the only thing i would have to say that i'm really worried term, in in his last the lame-duck session, he had passed an order where anyone who is suspected of being a terrorist could be arrested without due process but he added something saying -- as long as i am president i will make sure that people have due process. now, we have a president elect coming in that does not necessarily have to do that. that is the one thing that worries me. and that he did not get a chance
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to get his supreme court appointment even though he was a republican. that is one thing that i really respect and love about him. he picked the people who were right for the job regardless of whether they were democrat, republican, white, black, chinese, puerto rican or other. he picked the people who were right for the job. what is coming in is just the opposite and i am really worried about that. and i pray that the electoral college is really looked at. and i remember when i first started voting at 18, i did not understand how the electoral college can supersede the vote of the people. and my father was a republican and he tried to explain it to me -- i neverr couldn't could understand that. it now, i kind of understand it. i pray that the electoral college can really do its job. it was put in place that if the
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people elected someone that really should not be there, that they could step in and correct the mistake. thankfully, let them do their job. that is what i have this a correct and thank you for taking my call. and thank you for being you and broadcasting all of this to people. i tell everyone to watch c-span if you really want to know what is going on in the world. host: thank you for calling in and thank you for the compliment. here he is on the line from -- gary is on the line from maine. caller: i will not miss president obama answering questions indirectly. the question he did not answer hundred is was he when percent sure that the russians were responsible for the wikileaks. he did not answer that directly. i do not think he is 100% sure. host: what do you think? caller: i do not know.
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no one knows. host: thank you for calling. christopher, on the line from democrats in colorado city, texas. caller: yes, sir. this is christopher. i just want to say that growing in a republican-based area, i am going to miss barack obama because i voted democrat ever since i could. i am 25 years old and one thing i want to thank him for is the care act. there are a lot of problems that need to be worked out but into the future, allowing me tuesday rance until i' insu am 26, in may, that has really helped me out. i think he has answered the
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questions as best as he can. -- ir as president-elect just have to wish him the best support because if he wins, we all win. pure you,arvis in illinois. a republican color. hello. -- in peoria, illinois. the republican caller. i have watched c-span for a while. donald trump gets up and says that he does not know if the russians had anything to do with it. and yet he is saying that they had something to do with it. where are we add in this country? where are we going to? he has done nothing for the
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united states. he is not the man and he never will be the man. donald trump has got the plan. he will take care of us. he will make sure our jobs come back. i think american people need to clarify when they see something what they are hearing. real about it. it is out of control. i want jobs. most of us americans who voted for him -- we want our jobs back. you cannot say that russia hacked into the d&c if they are not proving it. host: thank you for calling. we will be take you live to political, and event there. a live look on your screen now. chiefect to hear from rnc strategist and communications director sean spicer talking to palmer and jake sherman. we will have that live for you
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when it gets underway. and a reminder that coming up later, we will take you to another one of president-elect donald trump's victory rallies. he is in orlando, florida this evening at 7:00 young eastern time and then he will be in mobile, alabama on saturday. we will have that for you live as well. were :00 p.m. east coast time. we understand that he plans to spend much of the christmas at his resort in florida. meanwhile, president obama and his family, as they traditionally do, are going to hawaii to spend the holiday. and the president held his year and news conference that ended about a half hour ago. and we are getting some of your reaction to what he had to say. let us take a few more calls as we wait for the political event to get underway. sally joins us from haywood, california. on the line for independence. -- independents.
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caller: all of the calls that come in really concerned people that do not have the venue to voice it. but one of the outstanding statements that the president made -- we do not look at what is going on worldwide. all of the suffering. all over this continent. we live in this bubble in the united states and everything is ,entered around what we need and what they don't have, and what they have and when can i get it. children are starving all over the world and it did my heart good to hear president obama say that even though no one else has said anything else to follow up on that. people to pay attention, about what is going on around the world. black,ing hung up on white, democrat, and republican.
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thank you so much for taking my call. host: thank you for calling. the line for is on democrats from atlanta. youer: first of all, thank to c-span for bringing everything out to the public so it can be heard. first of all, president obama did an excellent job in office and so did his wife, michelle. they represented america. they did not stop and represent , theyicular call -- color worked hard to represent america. from the things that donald trump has claimed in his party that he is doing now, were the very things that barack obama tried to do when he first came to office. he told you we need to work together. he told you we need to reunite in order for anything to be done. what the republican party did everything it could to undermine
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destroyed really anything president obama tried to do which hurt the american people. -- whenas one thing president obama was elected, that was the first time in all of the history that they had been taught about america that it was true, everyone was equal. but when donald trump was elected and got the vote, my friend said -- do not worry about building walls, because we have already started building our own. i want people in america to start thinking about that this will not only mess with us but all over the world because represented that spot of freedom and justice. and i pray that the american and i inc., please --
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pray that the american people think, please think. you: cynthia, what did think about the president year and news conference today? caller: i was really disappointed that he would even comment on the debacle going on with the electoral votes coming up monday. i feel what we are actually witnessing is the democratic party having a nervous breakdown. they cannot accept thei feel why witnessing fact that donald trump has ascended to the presidency. anyone can recall, during the dinner, donald trump was in the room full of 600 people and president obama and seth meyers made tasteless jokes about how donald trump could never become president and
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donald trump just sat there with his eyes in front of him. everyone was laughing at him and making fun of him and making him look like a full -- a fool. and now, who is laughing now? i feel the democratic party is basically, right before the eyes from the president on down, they are having a nervous break down and they cannot accept the fact that mr. donald trump is now president of the united states. seeident obama, i hate to henley but he did not really doing anything -- he did not do anything. i am an african american woman and he did not do anything for the city of chicago. he even refuses to go there. the inner-city people of chicago are disappointed that they put him in the white house and he does not show his face. i am so disappointed in mr. obama. i really am. i was glad to see that we actually had an african-american but he did not do
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what he promised as far as bringing hope to the people. like the gentle and that said before me, jobs, jobs. i have three sons, all three were unable to get jobs simply because the fact that there were no jobs available for them the cousin of illegal immigration. i could go on but i feel like what we are seeing with the electoral college debacle and the fact that hillary on down and the president, everyone from the false media -- i mean the fake news going on that we are experiencing them going crazy. it is amazing to me to see this on television with people who are educated and supposedly so smart. they are acting like they cannot take the truth. accept the election. move on. let us take care of the problems we have in this country and stop
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fighting over something they have no control over. overturneve they can the election. it will not happen. we voted. the public voted. donald trump is our president. host: thank you for the call, cynthia. let us get another caller or two in. more voices on before the event begins with political. we understand it is running just a few minutes late. sean spicer is stuck in traffic. we did get word that it should begin in about five minutes or so giving us time for a couple more phone calls. we start with everett in missouri on the line for republicans. your thoughts on the president and his your and news conference today. republican, i am a and i do agree with the lady that just spoke. was what was promised and we did not receive them. can wewe go forward,
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please have jobs, jobs for all americans. americans. we stop the divisiveness that is going on in this country and come together and get things accomplished? instead of sitting down and having a tea party when you do not like what is going on with the other side and what they are trying. we cannot have that in the senate or the congress. this is accomplishing nothing for our country. this is a great country. and i want it to move forward. i want it to grow back to what i saw when i was a little girl. seeing it regrow from world war ii. say thatg to end and speech.ive a very good
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and what he had to say, i wish he had been more clear with the american public. host: did we lose that caller? us.rah is not with thank you for calling, deborah and thanks to all of our callers. we will take you live to the political playbook even with sean spicer of the republican national committee talking today to politico's anna palmer and jake sherman. sherman: thank you all for joining us. in on c-spanning and our livestream. this is our last playbook event of the year. here we are. host seanilled to
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spicer, the chief strategist and communications director for the rnc. you can apply. [applause] -- you can applaud. [applause] has had a fascinating career in washington. he has a lot of thoughts. he is in the middle of all of being made byons donald trump your before we get started with the program, i was like to extend a special thank you to bank of america for their tremendous support for the playbook series. mr. spicer: they have been a true partner in the series. tonight, we want to thank them for their ongoing support. delay, pleaser welcome to the playbook stage, sean spicer. [applause] and bearing gifts, apparently. thank you so much for doing this. sherman: would you like to
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start? twospicer: tonight is important events. it is seven days until festivus so we can 3 -- there are some -- some grievances. and it is your birthday. i wanted to give you something politico could use. it is a republican bag. [laughter] to get started. every day, you are reminded of who is in charge. i wanted you and anna to have something to have your drink in. very nice. mr. spicer: we have a couple of stickers for you.
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something for your car. and this is a very nice tie you can wear. mr. sherman: another republican tie. i don't really want to wear one, right now. last one youhis can wear and it is something very special. i wish i had brought an extra. i hope you really enjoy this. you must wear it. -- "makean: it says political great again." for the record, i believe that politico is great because sean is here. if you have not noticed from the
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guests -- ms. palmer: as a reminder to our audience in the room and online, we would like this to be an interactive conversation. if you would like to ask a question or have a comment about how we are doing in these next 45 minutes, please tweet us and we will look at those here on stage. we will get started. hard to follow that opening. is in thee elephant room and it is the worst kept secret in town. that you have had some modest disagreements with politico to say the least so we wanted to clear the air at the beginning of the conversation. we have a new administration and a new year. can we all just get along? mr. spicer: i am there. mr. sherman: sean spicer is there. mr. spicer: in all seriousness,
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and i think i speak on behalf of the president elect, in that we understand and respect the role that the press plays in a democracy. it is healthy and important but it is a two-way street. not everyone in the media is that and not every reporter is that but i think in the case -- ie'si welcome carr elevation here at politico. i believe she is honestly trying to write some wrongs and i give her credit for that. with howhave a problem politico has engaged in covering politics, especially our side. i think it is tweet happy, click bait, and devoid of many facts. look for example -- mr. sherman: the props are not dumb. mr. spicer: this is every story politico has done on the rnc today.
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this is the tweet -- politico. 37 electoral could flip. and and i donald trump the vote. that is like it -- in three, this building could float away and go to mars. that is not journalism. that is not a serious thought about what is going on in the election. and i think yesterday you had another person tweet out something unbelievably vulgar which i will not repeat on stage. no story ins politico about their own sayinge writing and stuff about the president-elect of the united. it was disgusting, reprehensible, unacceptable. mr. spicer: this -- this person was reprimanded and no longer works at politico. mr. spicer: but there was no coverage in political about this. walks, it isan jay
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front page story. if little tommy at thomas jefferson middle school says something inappropriate, the rnc gets a phone call asking how they will respond to it. should he step down? [laughter] if you are going to engage in that, there is a similar level of responsibility you have to hold your own people accountable and put out a story saying -- politico fired this person the his behavior was unacceptable. willing, in my current capacity, engage with reporters that want to engage in serious discussion about the news. sometimes, we are on the wrong side and when we are, we need to be called out on it. that there is not one story in this package that says something positive about the rnc. not a single headlight. if you look at the fact that the rnc spent when a december $5
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million in data and put together the best ground operation in political history and everything becomes a story about how we have come up short or we could have done it better, i think at some point you have to give us credit here or there or cover it in a more responsible way. [applause] mr. sherman: fair enough. that, asarly, i think you said republicans make mistakes, reporters and news outlets make mistakes, and not only politico. across the spectrum. you can see that probably quicker -- mr. spicer: maybe, the new york times. ms. palmer: airing the grievances. thesherman: it is responsibility of a news organization to take responsibility and correct it. mr. spicer: what is important to me is that you cannot put the genie back in the bottle.
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when you tweet out a headline, and you say that you are going it -- alk about mr. sherman: may i get some credit for drinking out of this? mr. spicer: we will see. is i think that the problem is that it is tweet first, fix later and that is not acceptable. i think there are times when news is breaking and i get that. and i have lived in this world long enough to know you're competing against others. i get that. youwhen you get it wrong, cannot go back and take away what people have seen. -- two daysxcuse me ago, there was a story that a reporter in politico put out saying that sean spider disinvited -- sean spicer disinvited later from the
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meeting -- twitter from the meeting. and i was never asked by about that. and now i cannot put that back into the bottle. once it is out there, it is out there. that is what is unfortunate. the attempt to quickly put up headlines and be provocative is not good journalism. mr. sherman: understood. can we move on to some other topics? mr. spicer: i could go on. mr. sherman: but we have 35 minutes left. and there are other things we want to talk about and you as well. let us talk about some things in the news recently. a couple of hours ago, president obama gave his pre--- i am going to hawaii press conference. the cia and the
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fbi and the director of national intelligence are now in unison believing that russia interfered in the election. do you think that is true? mr. spicer: i and not an intel person and i am not read in on this but there are two different things. i have changed my gmail six months in the last two months. do i think there are hackers out there trying to do things? sure. do i think russia and others trying to probe u.s. sites, government and others? absolutely. we do it. they do it. but the problem i have with the story in the narrative out there about russia is a few things. number one, this would not have happened had hillary clinton not a secret server. she did not follow protocol. the hacking would not have
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happened? wroteicer: the stuff they was inappropriate. and i am not excusing hacking. but there are multiple pieces to this story. and wrote what they wrote they are saying that it is russia's fault. that being said, and the third is the wall street journal had it right yesterday. the dnc security measures were not up to stuff. they tried by all accounts to probe us. if people are mad in the democratic world, they should be mad at the dnc i.t. department. what do you know -- you guys pushed back against the fact that the rnc was hacked. can you explain the situation?
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mr. spicer: we got a call last friday night from the washington post and the new york times. mr. sherman: your favorites. mr. spicer: you are up there. [laughter] they said that we have sources in the intel world and they are saying that because both institutions were hacked and the only a loud information to go out on the dnc, that clearly russia intended to influence the outcome of the election. and i said -- we did not get hacked. so the premise is wrong and the conclusion must be faulty. we worked with the washington post and we explained but stuff and they said, ok the new york times went ahead with it. now, we are seeing comments that our system was probed. mr. sherman: what do you mean by probed? mr. spicer: people throw around
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to terms that are important to know. one is hacking is actually penetrating the system and getting in and being able to extract data. programming is when you are doing fishing exercises -- probing is when you are doing fishing exercises. probing you open those emails, that is a successful fishing attempt and that is how they get in which we learned from the dnc was a way they were able to hack into their system. hoping is them bounced -- probing is them knocking on a one isd seeing which open or which window is open. in the case of the dnc, they found an open window and went in. that is a different thing.
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our point is twofold. we were told that the conclusion was based on those facts. if the facts are not true, then the conclusion must be faulty. the other thing that is interesting is that on november 17, the director of national intelligence, klapper, went to the house intelligence committee and made it clear in open testimony that the connection to russia, and i have the testimony here to get the exact quote, it was politico's story on it. but he said in open testimony that it is inconclusive that russia was behind the wikileaks. devoid ofhas been this conversation. and all i am saying is that you in open testimony stating it while we are called saying --why can you not accept this as fact? mr. sherman: he says they have concluded that russia did mettle.
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mr. spicer: there is the difference between probing and them elect -- affecting the outcome. ,hey said before the election they said we want to be clear -- there is no way you can hack voting machines and have an effect on the outcome. our voting systems are so desperate. there is no way you can hack or change the outcome of the election. they were asking for our assistance to reassure the american public that we believed in the integrity of the voting system. but right after the election, you have john podesta and others trying to get electors to change their votes and calling into question the outcome of the election. it is ironic that it is them doing what they accused us of doing and we are on the defensive with the media. [applause]
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that is my staff. ms. palmer: let us move on. let us be more forward-looking. this morning, you went into detail about the press operations and what they will look like under donald trump. i think we have to look at everything. i don't think the briefings need to be daily. bushave worked in the fresh out. what model are you looking at when you make comments like that? mccurry hasmike said he thought that was a mistake and needs to be examined. it is not a question of saying this will happen or not. but in washington, too often we say this is how it has been done, so let us keep it going. dialogue thatlthy can happen saying --what would make these more informative? better tool to
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have these be at more of an adult level? maybe we do things that allow members of the public to ask the white house press office something. had ar too long, we have very stale operation which is all the mainstream media folks get front row seats. here are the broadcast networks. what about some of the conservative media getting priceprised seats in, -- prized seats in there, i think that's a conversation worth having. i think there's a need to at least have the conversation and discuss it. and figure out what would make things more open, for as long as you guys talk about transparency, let's have the discussion. mr. sherman: who would be in your front row? mr. spicer: i haven't thought this through, it's not my front row. mr. sherman: in donald trump's front row. mr. spicer: again, maybe it's a rotating pool. maybe the first come, first serve.
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[laughter] but it is. look. all i'm saying is, there should be a conversation. it shouldn't just be like, hey, heerings the status quo, let's keep going. frankly, that's the problem with a lot of what goes on in this town. this is how it's always happened. i think that what donald trump represents is someone who comes and says, let's get it done, let's question the status quo, let's end business as usual and make real change. ms. palmer: speaking of that. mr. spicer: you guys can clap. mr. sherman: they should be clapping every time you say something. ms. palmer: in terms of that, though. you tack about business as usual -- talk about business as usual. we were at the white house for president obama's christmas party. do you think -- donald trump will keep those long-held traditions, the grid iron dinner, the white house correspondents dinner? mr. spicer: if you think that's what we're focused on right now -- look, i do think if you look at the people and the pace at
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which he's put together a cabinet, that's where the focus is. you look he did with boeing, the tech titan meeting the other day. this is a guy who's focused on getting things done, not worry being whether or not we change the color of the drapes or what parties we're going to put on. he wants to put on a party for america and offer real change. you can say what you want. our focus is not whether or not we're attending the grid iron dinner. mr. sherman: the roam of the white house communication shop is going to be decidedly different, right? because donald trump has the ability and has been remarkably successful at communicating -- i mean, he sends stocks all over the place. we talked about a company. so what do you think, as you kind of, you know, envision the next four years or even the next six months, what do you envision, how do you envision the press shop changes? is there a changing role now that he's able to and has been successful with feet tweething and -- -- tweeting --
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mr. spicer: absolutely. he has millions of people on twitter and facebook and instagram. he has the ability like no one, not just no politician, i would argue probably no one else to really communicate in the most effective, direct way, that anybody's ever seen. i think that's a very, very powerful tool that will be used in the presidency to communicate directly with the american people. mr. sherman: where does that leave someone like you? mr. spicer: i don't think it's a one stop shop. you just don't tweet your way for four years. it's a powerful tool. i think he's going to use that as part of toa whole arsenal of communications tools. you saw that with -- there are new and evolving technologies that he's utilized, whether it's facebook live or twitter, instagram pictures. there's a way that, again, this isn't about bypassing the press, it's about saying that there can be -- it's not a single avenue to communicate with the american people. ms. palmer: what do you think was his most effective tweet?
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mr. spicer: today? that's a great question. i have not analyzed them. i think the stuff he did around carrier was very effective. if you just look at it objectively and say, at the end of the day, he goes out there, talks about a company staying and, you know, the holiday season, there are a thousand people and their families who from thanksgiving to christmas, now can actually breathe a sigh of relief that he did it. i think that -- the pressure he put on them to understand how important this was was great. he means what he says and i think at the end of four years, people and a lot of people -- i notice this in the tech meeting orte day, aside from the people who are on his payroll, i don't think anybody in that room voted for him. but i tell that you when they walked out of that room, they were unbelieveably impressed with his desire to get things done and get it moving real quick and not take bureaucracy for an answer.
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mr. sherman: so, who do you think covers trump fairly? mr. spicer: i think -- ms. palmer: not "politico." mr. spicer: there's a couple reporters here and there. there are some folks at bloomberg who have done a good job. there's -- ms. palmer: dot, dot, dot. mr. spicer: i think there are people who have written good stories from time to time. i've seen stuff out of the "wall street journal." there's a lot of folks in conservative media, that despite being conservative media, i think have done a good job of being objective and writing straight-up stories. but i've seen good packages here and there from different outly thes but i think objectively there's a lot of them -- outlets but i think objectively there's a lot of them that, i know a lot of times conservatives talk about bias, it's fairness and having facts right.
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ms. palmer: one of the questions our colleagues, we kind of crowd sourced our questions tonight, one of the things that the white house reporters were really interested in was about access to the building. right now reporters can wander around, they can walk into the press shop, go talk to josh ernest if they want to. there's been talk, i think, during bush's administration, of closing that off for a little bit. is that something that you guys are even think being yet? mr. spicer: i think it would be extremely premature to talk about that kind of aspect. because i don't have the authority to have that discussion. i'm not trying to punt the question because -- it would be highly inappropriate for me to answer that. ms. palmer: do you think access is important that they have in that role? mr. spicer: sure. the question is, how do you define access. i think the question is, is it being able to walk into the press secretary's office all the time? is it access to a workspace where there's key staff? i know the obama administration has been the subject of some criticism from the white house press corps. i think what is -- i mean, i'm not trying to be coy about, it as long as we get our phone
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calls returned. if you talk about access, i've talked to folks who have dealt with this in the last several years and there are correspondents who only show up during key things. so is it -- is there may be eastbound a better way to have an open -- even a better way to have open dialogue with folks? one of the things is important is not just the media. maybe it is inviting more people from the public to be involved and doing things, you a.m.a.'s, s, facebook town hall, twitter town halls, where you're involve the public in the discussion and not just limiting it and saying, the only people who can ask members of the white house are members of the press corps. ms. palmer: do you think press conferences are important? it sounds like you're moving in different directions here. mr. spicer: f.c.c. interaction with the press is a healthy part of a good democracy. mr. sherman: you've been around d.c. for a while. you've seen a lot of press secretaries in the white house. in the bush white house, in which you worked, in the obama
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white house, and there's different styles. fleischer was an aggressive press secretary. that's how he's seen. he was seen as a pretty combative, aggressive, sharp guy. someone like jay carney was seen as a little bit more laid back. your boss reynoldsered his opinion on josh ernest last night. unexpected twist of a speech. talk us through what you think is an effective strategy for somebody in that role. mr. spicer: thu one of the things that -- you guys know this, is that there's this west wing in the show version what have a press secretary does, which is, like, stand up in a podium for 12 hours and answer questions and then go on tv at night. i think that as you guys know, a lot of this, not a lot of it, 95% of it is off camera, helping to facilitate the press, get the answers to what they need. i think that the best thing that a press -- not just a press secretary, but a press shop can do is to make sure that they are aggressively getting the facts and figures out. and shaping stories.
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working with reporters to get it right. it's a two-way street. i recognize that. if we don't get the facts out there, then it's bad on us. i think it is incumbent upon any press shop to make sure that they are educating and informing reporters. one of the things, when i speak to groups of up and coming press secretaries, is i say, don't put the secretary in press secretary. by that i mean, too many times i'll see someone and they'll say, my boss got a call from "politico," so i had him call jake back or ana back. that's what a secretary does. they give a message and say, call this person back. the question that i have a lot of times is, did you educate the reporter? sit down and say, hey, did you read this study, blah, blah, blah, here's why we think that this is an important decision or here's why i think sometimes the narrative is -- isn't correct on this, have you done your job to work with the reporter to inform them to the best of your ability? if you've done that, and i think that's the healthiest thing that a press shop can do, to make sure that we are getting the facts, figures and
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story out to the best of our ability. ms. palmer: how do you see your role? you've had combat of exchanges with people on the campaign trail. myself included sometimes. is that the role, kind of the posture of mcdonagh, fighting back, is that how you -- mr. spicer: it depends. if there's a conversation and it's a true conversation with roorper, i'd like to do a story on that, tell me what you think about this, what do you have, are there good folks in your shop that can walk me through this? if that's the case, and at the end of the day we come out and don't like the story, that's one thing. i think too often the phone call i get is, can you give me a quote, we're writing a story that says the following. that's not journalism. i'm not going to just hand over quotes to legitimatize a story that attacks us. and that's where i think too often i have the problem and i'll go aggressively at a reporter. which is, that's not reporting. that's just collecting and cutting and pasting. i think that's the problem too often. i need a quote, my deadline is
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in 10 minutes. well, all we're doing is adding legitimacy to a cut and paste exercise. [applause] mr. sherman: that's your staff also, i think. mr. spicer: there's a couple "politico" reporters. mr. sherman: let's talk about your role now. you've been at the r.n.c. since 2011, is that right? mr. spicer: yes. ms. palmer: long time. mr. spicer: it's a long time. mr. sherman: tell us about, you've now been up in new york, 111 nights at marriott this ear. describe your -- tell us about your interactions with trump. how does he consume media, what's he like behind the scenes? mr. spicer: i've always believed that the more people him, the et to know better. he is unbelievably caring and gracious. you laugh. but you look at the people that have been around him at trump tower and trump organization.
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10, 15, 0, 30 years. not just at trump tower, but his properties. he takes a very personal interest in people's lives. and -- i don't want to get into, it but i'll say that he is -- he has done that with me as well. where he will call and check on you, he will show concern and i know the exterior sometimes is a tough guy, businessman that gets it done. he's got a true concern about not just the people around him, but when you're in meetings with him, potential cabinet secretaries, business leaders, his constant question is, how do i get that done? he's so motivated to make things better and -- for this country, it is something that frankly escapes the narrative that's out there and it is something that i wish more people could see on a one-on-one basis. mr. sherman: you bring up an interesting question. why don't people see that? mr. spicer: that's something that town halls with the
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families that have existed, i think there are consistently more opportunities that we're looking for to do that. it's a side of him that i think, as president, a lot of times he doesn't want -- he doesn't -- as much as he is in the camera a lot of times, there's a lot of moments that he wants in private, are we wants to have a discussion with a family that's going through tough times or someone who's experienced a loss. as much as he appreciates the spotlight, he has a very private side it him -- to him that is very, very underknown, if will you. ms. palmer: tell us a little bit about your story. you're in front of the cameras a lot. a lot of people know your public persona. you're from rhode island. you went to connecticut college and got a masters at the naval war college. what's your washington story? mr. spicer: i was a japanese language -- going to be a major in japanese language.
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mr. sherman: do you speak japanese? mr. spicer: no. that's where the story ends. mr. sherman: you were a japanese language -- mr. spicer: i went to college and thought, in the early 1990's, i went to college in the late 19 0s, japan was coming on the scene as an economic powerhouse and thought to myself, i grew up in a very, very working class family. my parents struggled to help get me through college. i thought, i could make money if i learned japanese. i had an interest in the economy. i was the kind of kid that was the constantly selling something, greeted greething cards, all that stuff at the back of the magazine. get rich quick. everybody in my neighborhood was like, what are you selling now? but i thought, and so i went for the first couple of years, you know, an hour and a half every morning, you go to the language lab at night itcht didn't enjoy it -- night. i didn't enjoy. it i took a government class. i'd done a little of this in high school. i really felt challenged.
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i enjoyed the discussion about the role of government and politics and i felt energized by it and i started volunteering on campaigns. in 1992 i volunteered on connecticut's second district campaign. we lost by 2,300 votes in a race, i think we spent $50,000. then in 1994 he hired me back to run one of the field operations, we had two field operations, 54 towns and cities throughout eastern connecticut. we lost by two votes on election night. i came down here, interned for the house ways and means committee. we had just taken over congress. worked at night at the senate committee doing research. we used to do this thing called coding weefment go through the congressional record and type it in to a dos database and get, i think it was 75 cents per article. i worked from 4:00 p.m. until midnight at the senator al committee in a basement -- senatorial committee in a basement that's now a gym and did everything i could to get a
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job in the press. finally, everyone kept saying, you'd be really good that the but you have no experience. mr. sherman: the irony. mr. spicer: it was. it was a catch 22. hope that wasn't my cup. ms. palmer: the back. mr. sherman: it didn't break. mr. spicer: of course it won't. you can knock us over but we're not breaking. mr. sherman: i knew that was coming. mr. spicer: bottom line is, there was finally a pollster i'd been affiliated with who called me and said, hey, there's a race in western pennsylvania. he said, the guy's in a primary, he's probably going to lose the primary. do you want to do it? i'm like, yep. so i moved to washington, pennsylvania, to work for a guy out there. larry welsh. he dropped out of the primary right before. but at the time, this is important, then i was -- for
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whatever it was, three months then, a campaign manager and a press secretary. ms. palmer: got the title. mr. spicer: another pollster who had dropped -- been affiliated with the media consultant said, hey, lobiondo is running for re-election in new jersey too. he's looking for a campaign manager. i said, i'm a campaign manager. just happened to be free. that kicked off. so then i think i worked now for 11 different members of congress. enjoy the hunt. i love the press piece of this. i think one of the things that i like is that at the end of the day, you either got the story, you know, killed our got it to come out the way you wanted it. or you got crushed. but you know every single day where you stand. did that package come out the way you wanted it? did you shape the story, did you lose? so you can have good days and bad days. every day you're fighting out there. i think -- and that's -- it is -- you can be a legislative assistant and sometimes work for a decade to have an amendment passed in an omnibus.
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but i think -- and for a lot of people that's their passion. they want that to happen. i just can't wait that long. mr. sherman: you talked about press access. one of the things that the trump campaign gained notoriety for and was criticized for was banning reporters, banning outlets. "politico" was one. they you said, i think, that you're not -- that's not going to happen. mr. spicer: there's a big difference between a campaign, where it is a private venue using private funds and a government entity. i think we have a respect for the press when it comes to the government. that is something that you can't ban an entity from. conservative, liberal or otherwise. that's what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship. i think there's a vastly different model when it comes to government and what should be accepted. that's on both sides. ms. palmer: talk about that
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interaction. the press corps and the trump campaign has had kind of contentious relationship. as far as the press pool, started to work a little bit more collaboratively? mr. spicer: yeah. you're seeing that. i think it is, you know, we've got a press pool that travels with him now. mr. sherman: alongside him, not with him. mr. spicer: right. ms. palmer: which is unprecedented. mr. spicer: i don't know where he'd sit on the plane. the back compartment is secret service. he's in the middle. to the extent that we have brought the press along, i think part of it too is that there's a balance. i think all you hear from the press is, we want, we want, we want. i think there's a balance between you're there, you're available to see certain things, but i get it, you want to see everything and you want to be in every meeting. i'd like to be in some of your meetings. it's a two-way -- as you know, , i go, ok, that's not -- so think when it comes to government access, that's one
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thing versus what happens in a private entity. mr. sherman: how voracious of a media consumer is trump? mr. spicer: i think very. you see it in terms of how he reacts. he watches a lot. he reads a lot. obviously he's on twitter quite a bit. but i think, look, i do think that on its whole, you look at the coverage that he gets and honestly, a lot of times it's hit first and ask later. it is not on balance fair. there are hits that he takes that are just -- it is constantly -- there's almost no end to what he could do to satisfy the press corps in terms of knowledge and information. there's a point at which nothing is good enough. mr. sherman: one of the things that -- let's talk about some of those hits. why not? the drain the swamp message. he talked about draining the
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swamp. his cabinet is made up, and these are people who have objectively impressive careers, but he ran his final ad about a global financial conspiracy, and then has filled his cabinet with several people from wall street. again, that's not passing commentary on wall street, but if you match what he said in the campaign and you match what he's doing now, do you think those -- mr. spicer: but, just because you work somewhere doesn't mean, like, for example, you take a guy like tillerson. the guy grew up and started working at age 8. he lived in a house that had one bedroom. he slept on the couch until he went to college. he's now head of exxon. you want to talk about a guy who knows success, who knows what it's like to be dirt poor, who now knows what it's like to be successful and work hard every day, and you look at the countries, the work that they're doing. he's unbelievably qualified. he brings a perspective that is so outside the box. but yet the focus is on his net
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worth. it's not a question of -- it's not like all these people -- mr. sherman: i didn't ask about his network. mr. spicer: i think the problem i have is it always becomes a question of how much are they worth, not what are they equal tied to do. mr. sherman: i'm asking specifically about the disconnect between what he campaigned on -- mr. spicer: that's what i'm getting at. these people are committed to his agenda. they're not coming in, saying, thanks for the job, i'm going to go off and do what i want to do. you understand in a trump administration that you are there to advance his agenda and to get things done. believe me when i tell you, if you don't get things done, he's going to replace you. mr. sherman: how long does someone have to get things done ? mr. spicer: it depends. he wants to hit the ground running. i don't think it, i know it. he wants to bring real change right away, day one. and that means getting things done, focusing on the economy, getting job creation, reducing regulation. those things are going to happen day one.
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mr. sherman: how long will it take to replace obamacare? mr. spicer: part of that depends on what can be done by executive order and what has to be done legislative and statutory-wise. ms. palmer: we are almost out of time. we do want to ask you about your role, obviously you've been here for a lightning time, there's a lot of speculation that you will be the next press secretary. we'll have the pleasure of dealing with you more in that role. is that something you're looking forward to? you are hoping to do? [laughter] mr. spicer: i appreciate the speculation. there's been no announcement. i mean this, until the president-elect makes a decision on any position, and you've seen this with some of the cabinet, you never get ahead of him. he makes the decisions and he's not made his decision. ms. palmer: you have met with him about it, though? mr. spicer: no. mr. sherman: when you say that, that's actually interesting, anna and i, always in writing playbook with daniel and think being when we see speculation about cabinet secretaries that
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come out that are wrong, does that mean that he made a decision and that his decision changed? mr. spicer: no. it means a lot of -- i think what happens in this process is that there are people who come in and make the case, either the potential candidate or members of the staff, and believe he's going in a certain direction. i've never once seen him change his mind. it's that people believed he had made a decision based on some reading of the tea leaves. but until he says hit send on that, it's not final. mr. sherman: you think it's just speculation, people saying -- mr. spicer: i know it is. mr. sherman: he reacted positively about something and they took something away from that? mr. spicer: yes. mr. sherman: that's people on your staff. mr. spicer: or the potential job candidate who's come in and believes that because of some sort of facial tick or, hey, that means this. but, no. until he makes a decision, it's not final.
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mr. sherman: we have two questions. one i'll ask. you are known at the r.n.c., you are in the navy reserves. you are known for wearing your uniform. mr. spicer: that's not true. mr. sherman: you don't wear your uniform? mr. spicer: no. when i have returned from the pentagon, i have come in and taken it off. there is a clear delineation between anything i've ever done for the navy and any type of political work. have i walked into the office coming out of a garage, absolutely. have i changed immediately? yes. mr. sherman: ok. fake news number one. this is real news. ms. palmer: this is the most pressing question -- mr. sherman: we didn't know this until today. peyton manning ms. palmer: i got several emails about this. there's one question that everyone has been asking us to ask you. will you reprise your role as the easter bunny at the white house as you did when you worked under the bush administration, and -- mr. sherman: let him explain this.
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mr. spicer: no decision has been made on the easter bunny. ms. palmer: tell us about this. how did it get started? mr. sherman: give us the back story here. mr. spicer: that's one i'll definitely press him for. take that. i've been at ustr. my wife, who is in the audience, was at the white house at the same time. i said, you know, how does one become the easter bunny? she said, ar sa -- sara armstrong is the head of the visitor's office and she decides. really? i emailed her and said, can i do the easter bunny? are you serious? i said, yeah. how cool would that be? she's like, yes. i said, can rebecca be the handler? she said, yes. i will tell you, though, that the same costume that you see has been around i think since kennedy. let's just say it need as little dry cleaning. you're going to want to get in early when you're the white house -- the early morning shift is where it's at. because i will tell you, once
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the sun comes out, it is not the place to be. mr. sherman: we'll leave it on that, i think. ms. palmer: yes. thank you so much. mr. spicer: happy birthday. ms. palmer: for coming here. [applause] coming to play. we appreciate your candser. and we want to thank all of you here in the audience and in live stream for joining us and thank you again to bank of america for their continued partnership of the playbook series. this is our last one of the year, so stay tuned for 2017. police stick around. there's cocktails, or deserves and we'll be asheds to hors d'oeuvres and we'll be around to talk to people. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016]
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>> can i ask you a question? >> no, not today. >> i'll give you my card. >> thank you. good to meet you. >> i'm the executive director of -- [inaudible]
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>> i can put a word in with the transition team and try to get a meeting but the secretary-designates aren't having meetings at all. i'll try to have somebody from one of the lands teams -- naudible] -- >> affordable housing and community development and economic development type of stuff. mr. spicer: i'll make sure i ouch base. good to meet you. >> i really enjoyed that. [inaudible] >> i'm with the bbc. mr. spicer: hi, how are you? >> i'm good. [inaudible] >> i'm rachel with the daily
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caller. mr. spicer: how are you? >> good. i'm curious if you saw the report saying that the f.b.i. now a agrees with the c.i.a. that russia -- mr. spicer: i heard it, i haven't read it. [inaudible] ike -- mr. spicer: it's not a question of buy into. it's a lot of, here's what we hear they say. i have not seen anything -- >> people are taking this and using it to suggest that russia -- mr. spicer: that's my point. what i'm say is, to your first question, it's a lot of -- this is what sources say and this is what we're hearing. i'd like to at some point -- [inaudible] -- >> you have heard anything from anyone that would actually know -- mr. spicer: no. i don't get read into that stuff. good to meet you. >> also with the daily caller.
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president obama obviously pledged to have the most transparent administration in history. that didn't come true. what do you hope the trump administration will do in the coming years to increase -- [inaudible] spice what i was saying earlier is -- mr. spicer: what i was saying earlier, it's not just about being transparent, it's letting others be involved. i think too often we focus just on the key, you know, sort of mainstream media types. fine. they're a great part of a healthy media. but there's a lot more ways to involve the public in seeing what's going on and participating in the democracy. >> thank you. mr. spicer: thank you. >> i'm a freelance writer. [inaudible] do you -- [inaudible] mr. spicer: some people. there are some that won't give him a break. others are pretty good. >> how do you think of the "new york times" and cnn?
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mr. spicer: it depends on the individual reporters. i don't want to paint everybody with the same broad brush. i think some reporters are fairer than others. >> thank you so much. inaudible] >> you're as i amazing. doing a good job. -- you're amazing. doing a good job. inaudible] mr. spicer: thank you. inaudible] >> more politics later tonight when president-elect donald trump and vice president-elect mike pence continue their postelection rallies.
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it's live in orlando. scheduled to get under way at 7:00 eastern. florida politics tweeting that governor rick scott will appear with donald trump in orlando. and the white house correspondent for the d.c. xaminer sent this message -- here's a quick look at secretary johnson as he entered trump tower. >> mr. secretary, mr. secretary. > mr. secretary. > sir. >> a quick look there at trump tower earlier. again, our live coverage of president-elect trump in orlando here on c-span at 7:00 eastern time. we'll also have live coverage this monday as the electoral college votes for president and vice president. it works this way. electors meet in their respective states and cast
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ballots. we'll be watching the action in four different cities, springfield, illinois, harrisburg, p.a., lansing, michigan, and richmond, virginia. it's all live, monday, beginning at 11:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. follow the transition of government on c-span as president-elect donald trump selects his cabinet. and the republicans and democrats prepare for the next congress. we'll take you to key events as they happen. without interruption. watch live on c-span, watch on demand at or listen n our free c-span radio app. >> c-span is talking with incoming freshmen members of congress. we caught up with them at an orientation meeting on capitol hill. >> representative-elect darren soto, representing the ninth district of florida. tell us about your background. mr. soto: well, i'm of
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puerto rican and italian descent, originally raised in new jersey. my whole family came from the tri-state area to central florida and up from puerto rico, and now there is over a million of us in florida, and that was a big part of my election here. >> you said you will come out here and represent the interests of florida but also the interests of the island. mr. soto: certainly. you find out quickly when you represent central florida the close cultural and business ties we have between central florida and the island of puerto rico. you realize in addition to the 760,000 constituents in your district, you have 3.3 million other folks relying on you because they don't have voting representation in congress. >> what about your experience, that factor of your area, but also your heritage -- what do you think that brings to the job and the work you will do in washington? mr. soto: well, we hit the ground running. i am a grizzled veteran. i know it doesn't seem like it. i've served 10 years combined in the florida house and
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senate, passed members bills helping firefighters, helping dreamers, fighting against fracking in our state, making sure to increase education opportunity and economic opportunities, and brought back millions of projects, new colleges, new roads, new ommuter rail system to our area. we come up here with an army of folks who have been working with me over a decade and a lot of airtight ideas on what we want to do and what committees we want to sit on and what the needs of the area are. >> what is your background in civil rights? rep.-elect soto: well, i was nominated class counsel in a federal voting rights act suit at 26 years of age against the city of kissimmee. there was a similar voting rights suit being levied at the
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time by the department of justice because we had at-large elections in kissimmee and osceola county which discriminated against hispanics. we fought to try to change that system. it was ultimately changed in osceola. a funny thing happened during the lawsuit -- we as spanish, became a plurality and lost our cause of action. at the end of the day, it was a good push that led to a very diverse city commission and county commission now with 2 hispanic members in osceola and three in the city council. e have really arrived. reporter: you have said that you are a self-described environmentalist. what does that mean for you? mr. soto: i've been known as the greenest member of the florida senate, leading the charge against fracking in florida, fighting for our springs, fighting against offshore drilling. in florida our identity is as conservationists. we have the most beautiful state in the union and we are also a tourism and agriculture economy.
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our perception as being a beautiful, clean state is critical to both our tourist industry and agricultural industry. and so we take that very seriously in florida. and we are not an energy-producing state, historically. there was a big battle over that one that we prevailed so far in and my peers on the state level take care of the torch, but there is other issues we will be looking at in that arena on the federal level, particularly with regard to natural resources, our parks and our sovereign waters. reporter: you are a democrat. how did you get an a rating from the national rifle association? mr. soto: well, that was one year back in 2010. it was actually a bill pushed by the afl-cio to allow workers to have their legally carried guns in their trunks when they go to work. half the caucus voted for that, half the caucus voted against it. i actually have a d rating overall. but the second amendment, it exists, and i believe people have the individual right to bear personal arms like handguns and shotguns, while military-styled arms like automatic weapons and things like that i don't believe our founding fathers intended for
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us to be able to carry. that is kind of where i stand on a lot of those issues. reporter: what influence do you think your parents had on your ideology, your outlook on these issues that you have just been talking about? mr. soto: well, my family is the classic american dream. at work, my grandfather and grandmother moved from puerto rico because my grandfather did not want to make a few dollars a day cutting sugar. they moved up to new jersey. my father worked nights and was in the navy in order to be able to go to school while still having a family. we went from living in an urban environment in paterson, new jersey, to ultimately living in a suburban environment in new jersey and following many tri-state types to central florida, and we have been there for the past 15 years. my family from puerto rico has been there for about 20 years. we not only represent this rise out of island poverty, urban poverty, to living the american
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dream, but also followed this classic migration that has led to this story that has elected me as the first puerto rican from florida elected to congress. it has been a much bigger story of our community that helps lift me up and bring me here today. reporter: what message would your parents want you -- have given you over the years or advice they have given that you keep in your head as you approach this new job? mr. soto: well, there is no question that higher education was stressed in our household. there was no question that my brother and i would go to college. from there, they asked us to follow our dreams. both of us, my brother and i went to law school in washington, d.c. i went to george washington, my brother went to georgetown. a little bit of a rivalry there. at the time i never anticipated coming back here. i always voted and read up on politics, but it was going back to the neighborhoods and
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volunteering for races that got me to fall in love with politics and representing our community. i think at the end of the day it was about making sure we had a good education. and that is something i will certainly keep in mind as we are looking at legislation and opportunities in the budget going forward. reporter: you are replacing representative alan grayson, who ran for senate. any lessons from his career for you as you take on this new job? mr. soto: one thing i definitely learned is he was very prolific in filing amendments and i happen to share that same trait, and filed more amendments every year than every other senator in the florida senate. i expect to continue that tradition of messaging and providing alternatives and better ways of doing things. i have a more, how can i say, measured style, and it is from being a lawyer in the courtroom quite a bit.
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i practice law to this day. i just won my trial on monday, family law trial. certainly the congressman did his best to represent the district. there is a lot of new areas in the district because we went through redistricting, so i'm taking on areas that congressman ross had before, as well as congressman rooney. so there is a lot of shoes i am having to fill now in the district. reporter: you will be busy. how will you balance your work here with your life back home and your family? mr. soto: well, it is one foot in the district, one foot here in d.c. my wife is quitting her job at orange county public schools and going to be coming up with me. i believe that is critical. she is my not-so-secret weapon as a public school teacher and a strong believer in women's reproductive rights. but we have represented this area for a decade. i already know where the district offices are going to be, what staff we will have. all these were decided the past
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couple months. we have hit the ground running with our infrastructure in the district and what our team is going to look like, and we will be thankfully coming up on mondays, coming back on thursdays, and live pretty close to the airport. i view it as one step up from a 4-hour drive to tallahassee from orlando. reporter: any kids? where do you guys plan to live when you are out here? mr. soto: well, missus already took care of that. we already filled out our bid for an apartment five blocks from the capitol in -- i believe it is called penn corner. hopefully we will get that one because i know that makes her happy. we are a team and we plan on living close to the capitol and being very involved in committee work and hopefully passing key pieces of legislation through amendments and through improving existing bills, as well as bringing home some projects to the district. reporter: finally, anything you are looking forward to doing out here in washington? mr. soto: i tend to be creative, i tend to have almost perfect attendance in
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committees, and i tend as a lawyer to be a pretty cerebral type. i plan on being very active in filing amendments, and floor speeches to a certain extent. but i believe it is all about committee work, it is all about oversight, it is all about day-to-day business of the house that is going to help distinguish us and meet the goals of our district. reporter: our c-span viewers will see you on the house floor. representative-elect darren soto, thank you for your time. mr. soto: thanks for having me. appreciate it. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> for the next hour, a book tv exclusive. our cities tour visits tempy, arizona. to learn more about its unique history and literary life. for five years now, we've traveled to u.s. cities bringing the book scene to our viewers. you can watch more of our visit at >> for 50 years this country, after the great fires of 1910,
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which traumatized the u.s. forest service, tried to take fire out of the landscape. the problem is we took good fires out as well as bad fires out. half the time we've tried to put good fire back in. and that is very difficult. but that's been the theme. it's not one that's generally communicated. because what we see in the news media are the bad fires. that's what's gripping. that's the conflict. that's what sort of stimulates character. and choices. e sort of deep, patient, cultivation of good fires has been much, much trickier to do. we don't have a strong narrative. we have good, powerful narratives for fires of disaster, taking out hundreds of people, destroying communities in the 19th century, well into the 20th
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century. and we have great stories of fire fights. sort of the crew digging in, battling or hiding out or trying to find some refuge. often when people film fire or write about it, they default to a kind of war story. it's a platoon. you follow the platoon through the campaign, from beginning to end. you learn the personality. we're familiar with that. that can be adamented to fire. but that's really not fundamentally what the story's about. it's very hard to tell the story of how do you put good fire back in. there were a series of really horrific, catastrophic fires. genuinely disastrous fires in the 19th, early 20th centuries. 1910 blowup in the wildlands in the northern rockies really traumatized the forest service and they got serious. we were going to handle the fire menace. they decided the way to handle it was to take every fire, address every fire so it could
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not become large. you can never have the potential. so it's a kind of full scale resistance model, we will tackle any potential threat before it has a chance to do anything. this took a lot of effort. it wasn't until the 1930's, with the new deal and the civilian conservation corps, that they finally had the wherewithal to begin tackling this in the back country. at that point the forest service adopted what became known as the 10:00 a.m. policy. the universal standard. across the country. all environments, all settings. control of every fire by 10:00 the next morning. if you fail, then plan to control it by 10:00 the following morning and so on. a sense that we could once and for all, by putting enough political capital, by putting enough resources and people into it, which we now have available, we can solve the fire menace, we can tackle it. that lasted until the 1960's. and then you started getting real pushback.
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so there was some institutional pushback, people didn't want the forest service to set the national policy, there were lots of private landowners who wanted access to fire because they had traditionally used it successfully. a civil society emerges to challenge what was becoming a government monopoly, tall timbers research station in florida was instrumental in this. the nature conservancy becomes involved. what they saw is a series of problems, part of it was sort of the sense of monopoly, monolithic character that had evolved with the forest service as the focal institution. part of it was the landscape consequences. grasslands and slublands were becoming overgrown with trees. forest that had been used to frequent fire, that is every two or three years, long leaf pine in the southeast, pond rosa pine in the southwest, -- pondaro is, a pine in the
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southwest, they were not getting frequent fires so they were growing up. stuff was building up. stuff that fell down was stuff that fell down was no longer being flushed out. with light burns. it was building up. the character of the forest was changing. you have the continuity of fuels from the surface up to the canopies. you're getting different kinds of fires, resulting. fires to which these particular forests are no longer adamented. they're adapted to a particular pattern of fire, not just to fire in general. and there were areas that , mply have evolved with large what are called stand replacing fires, that seem to incinerate large chunks through the canopy. and then they recede. this is how -- this is the kind of fire they need. so, all of these fire regimes are sort of out of whack. and we need to get fire back in. partly because if we don't, we have diseased, unhealthy
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environments. we also have fuel building up to the point that they stoke really disastrous fires that we can no longer control. so even from a fire control standpoint, fire protection perspective, you're losing the game. the more you keep doing this. most people live in urban settings of some kind. they see fire that that context and they understand it. that doesn't apply to wildlife. they're different entities. so every fire you put out in the city is a problem solved. most fires that you put out in wildlands are simply problems put off. and they become worse. the longer you keep postponing it. the catalytic year is really 1994. the first being bl-dollar suppression budget for the -- billion-dollar suppression budget for the feds. 34 fire fightsers were killed, including 14 at south canyon fire in colorado. why that particularly mattered is that two years before norman
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mcclain had published a best selling book, "young men and fire," and that gave fire a cultural context that it had not had before. that proved critical, i think. that book really did make a dwinches. -- difference. if we think, so what, people write books, what does it matter? this book really did matter. it changed how the fire community thought about these fatality fires, resolvinged that they were not going to let this happen again, it took a long time to work all the mechanics out, and that is now pretty well imbedded in the fire -- in the culture of fire fighting and fire management now. even the names, it used to be divisions or departments of fire control. by the early 1970's they are divisions of fire management. we are going to find ways to work with fire, we're going to put fire back in where we can. we're going to let natural fires have some room.
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what does that actually mean? a lot of false starts, number of failures, i think now they're working most in the west with the concept of some kind of managed wildfire. so they don't have to throw everything at it and try to control it in its tracks. which they can't do anyway for a fire of any size. they're going to contain it. they're going to confine it. they're going to work with it. kind of loose herding that fire. pulling it here, pushing it there. protecting critical assets. keeping fire out of communities. protect municipal watersheds, keep it out of is a i couldia groves, and so forth -- is a i uldia groves -- saquoias groves. part of what unhinged, i think it was the fire revolution, was , this the mid 1980's awkward, stupid, geeky term is coined.
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it comes out of southern california. but the describing this -- the consequenceses of sort of unrestricted urban sprawl moving into areas that are naturally fire-prone. and the fires that result. sort of the really unhealthy, even lethal consequences of mingling two things that really should be separated. and that has -- of course the smallest continued. we're recolonizing what had been a lot of rural landscapes particularly in the west, but not just in the west. that has restricted a lot of the room for maneuvering. particulately because the public doesn't want wildfire in their backyard, understandably. they don't want smoke. they don't want smoke lingering, perhaps for weeks, while these fires burn themselves out or whatever. nd they have, by creating, forcing this sort of protect rat around these areas, -- protect at around these areas,
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they've -- protecta -- protectorate around these areas, they've really shrunk the area. the space that had been there that you could play with to tackle fires in a kind of efficient, safe, and perhaps ecologically useful way. this problem has been sort of one quarantined in the west and the narratives about westerners, particularly california. the issues are really in the southeast now. that's not a message most people are aware of or particularly want to hear. people want to move to a quasi-rural setting because they want some kind of nature, they want peace, they want privacy, they want to deal in seclusion. they don't want to have to be burdened with all kinds of regulations and institutions and taxes and all the rest of it. but if they do that, unless they take very active measures on their own, and most of them
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are not going to, or want to, they're going to find that they don't have any fire service to fall back on. lack of capacity is a huge issue. there is an effort to build up volunteer fire departments in areas, a lot of federal programs through the forest service primarily to help build up capacity. there are efforts to reintroduce controlled burning into many of these areas as a relatively benign way of keeping the problem under wraps . there's now even legislation in some states that, you know, speak to a landowner's right to burn. hey, there are certain rules but you followed those rules, you're fined. florida has even changed its liability considerations to put a bias in favor of burning. because the alternatives are so awful. so, there's a lot of movement going around but we have a lot of experience with our cities burning throughout the 18th and
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19th, even early 20th centuries. and we fixed that primarily by political decisions. we're not going to have these towns and cities burn like this anymore. we're going to put in codes, we're going to enforce the codes, we're going to build up a protection system. despite all of the sort of voluntary efforts that is are going on in many communitieses, that's what it's going to take. and it's unlikely that that will happen at a national level. but some states are finally making those choices. that doesn't help with the backlogged years of bad sprawl but it may help a little in the future and fire agencies are simply refusing to defend areas that are in a sense indefensible. they're not going to put people's lives atry to save a at risk to save a
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structure. so that has impact. the insurance, fire insurance hasn't worked very well. i mean, these fires are not big. one category 4 hurricane is worth a century of these fires. these fires are about the same evel as tornadoes. they're very graphic and ture the imagination but in terms of numbers, they're just not there. i think you'll have a political decision that will establish a beas level for the market to operate in. that's how we did it with cities, i think that's what we're going to have do to -- to do with these. the wildfire and urban interface which has been misdefined in some ways. there are houses arn it. we could invert that and say, this is an urban fire problem, we're fighting landscape. if you need to find it, the decision is pretty obvious wha


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