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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  December 22, 2016 11:17pm-11:58pm EST

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hit the ground running. >> lee zeldin, thanks for with us. rep. zeldin: thank you. >> next up a conversation with congresswoman norma torres. we begin with an interview we did with the california democrat in 2015. >> where in guatemala is your family from and have you been back there rep. torres: i have. i'm from a coastal estate. i have been back twice, once as mayor and three years ago i went as a state assembly member. i was invited by the government the second time around. it is very difficult for me to travel to guatemala. i'm very popular. i had no idea that they had been following my political life. in the central american countries. this is an issue that we have been trying to address. the governments are very, very
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corrupt and the people saw me as this is an example of someone who, you know works full time, works the graveyard shift, you know, and still serves their community. i think that's what they want to see out of their government. >> in fact, aren't you the highest ranking guatemalan in our government today? rep. torres: i am. that is a very difficult position to be in. not only do i have my district to represent, but we get calls from all over the u.s. it is quite an honor that the people from the 35th congressional district have given me. >> we're can california congress come norma torres. we showed our audience a clip of our last interview with you in 2015 talking about your almost celebrity stat us in guatemala and abroad.
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how has that community reacted to the 20 16th rble election? rep. torres: it has been very tough for them adapting to what the reality is. we have a president that was retty mean-spirited to imgrattons in the u.s. and abroad. so they are -- immigrants in the u.s. and abroad. they are pretty scared. my job now is to reassure them, for them to understand that there are people like me here in congress and in the senate that have their back and that we will continue to support them and we need them to continue to go to work. we need them to continue to end their children to school who are american citizens. >> that conversation last year, in our previous interview, you expressed some frustration in the pace of
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getting things done here. did any of that change over the course of the remainder of the 114th? rep. torres: no. i'm still a little bit frustrated about how slow things move here, but i'm very proud that as a first term member i actually got a lot of work accomplished and i'm very proud of that. i'm very proud of the team that i was able to assemble that helped me deliver not just to my district or my home state, but also to american citizens throughout the u.s. >> a couple of the top things you felt you got done for your constituents in california? rep. torres: sure. we have introduced and passed out of the house a few pieces of legislation dealing with sipe cybersecurity. e of them, training that helps to train police officers across the u.s. creating, putting that kind of program into law.
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t is in my district, public-private partnership for water projects and infrastructure projects. remember, i could not get a single hearing or a single republican member to co-author that bill with me, but yet we were able to work with our colleagues in the senate. we were able to inserted part of that bill language into the bigger senate transportation bill. got out of the senate, here in the house, we were able to do the same thing and my bill, even though it doesn't have my name on it, it is law. >> we saw the issue of california's drought come up in a couple of water bill debates. what work would you like to see the congress, the house in particular do to provide further relief for california's drought? rep. torres: absolutely. i think we may have an opportunity with president-elect trump. he is talking about putting
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more money into infrastructure projects. i hope that he sees the necessity that we have in california to shore up our recycled water to ensure that we have the ability to deliver and have the infrastructure to deliver that recycled water into areas that would typically not be able to get it. a lot of money that we need to spend on that and doing that. and i hope we'll have an opportunity to talk to him about that. >> as the 115th starts, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing congress and more broadly, the u.s.? rep. torres: there are challenges that we have facing not just congress but the u.s., is the fact that we have a president that will be taking the oath of office who has been so mean-spirited to many groups across the u.s. and that process of healing,
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that process of bringing about peace to our communities is going to take a long time. we have already seen many, many cases of racism playing out, not just in our streets but in our schools, from kindergarten to high school to college campuses. i think that is one of our priorities that we need to address and bring about calm and civility to our community. >> what do you think is the biggest thing that you have learned in your two years so far in congress? rep. torres: the biggest thing wet i learned here is that have to get along with everybody. we have to build bridges. and there is humidity that comes with that. for example, human illity that comes with that. the pieces of legislation that i passed to help my district do not have my name attached to them. that is ok.
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more than caring about having your name on a bill, i cared about the legislation that was needed in my community. now we have the airport that is back at the hands of local control and i think that to me is a great reward. >> you come to the position as a former mayor. you have been a police dispatcher in pomona, california. how well do you think the congress hazardsed the needs of cities like pomona, not just the big cities but smaller cities like yours? rep. torres: one of the lessons for democrats specificly that we're learn learning. have not heard enough about those needs in the communities. the infrastructure for example that needs to be financed and improved. the homeless crisis that we
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have in our major metropolitan cities need to be addressed. my own home city of pomona has a huge crisis in dealing with the homeless population. assisting our veterans. there is a lot of things that we have not been able to work on together but we need to ensure we do a better job of. >> you talked about getting used to things like the weather on the east coast. how well have you adjusted to the bycoastal travel? rep. torres: i travel every week. i go home every weekend. you never get used to eating at the airports and taking naps on an airplane. but it is part of the job. it is part of the challenge. of being a member of congress. >> thanks for being are us. rep. torres: thank you. >> join us on tuesday, january
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23 for live coverage of the opening day of the new congress. watch the official swear swearing in of new members of the house and senate. live coverage begins at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span or or you can listen to it on the free c-span radio app. >> senate majority leader mitch mcconnell spoke with bill goodman on a pbs affiliate about the 2016 election and what to expect from the 115th congress and the trump administration. one to one is courtesy of ket. ♪ mr. goodman: welcome to "one-to-one." on this final and special edition, i will sit down with a man who has had a pretty good year. senate majority leader mitch
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mcconnell is in control of the senate. republicans rule the house and the oval office and the kentucky senate and, for the first time in 91 years, flipped the state house of representatives to a republican majority. happy holidays, senator mcconnell. he is next on "one to one." mr. goodman: senator, welcome to your 14th appearance on "one to one." undoubtedly a ket record. senator mcconnell: you were listing all the wonderful things that happened from a republican point of view in 2016. my wife is going to be in the cabinet. secretary of transportation. before we get going, i want to thank you for doing a great job for lo these many years. you handled the debate in my
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last election. did it flawlessly and objectively. wish you well in your new gig. mr. goodman: thank you, sir. take us back just a few weeks to november 8 and a telephone call you got on the evening of the election from now speaker elect jeff hoover. can you reenact what that call meant to you and what it meant to mr. hoover? senator mcconnell: i was at the national republican senatorial committee building in washington. i thought we had a pretty good chance of taking the statehouse after all of these years. never thought we would get 64. i thought that was probably the last celebration i was going to have that night, because we found that out around 8:30, 9:00 at night. i honestly thought we would not hold the u.s. senate. i thought we would come up short. and i did not think president trump had a chance and i thought that was my last celebration, 8:30 at night. an exciting development for
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republicans who feel like we have a better agenda for the future of the state than the one that was constantly killed in the state house of representatives. even though it is not part of my job, i have had a long-standing interest in helping those guys when i could, and i played some role in that. it is indeed a new day in kentucky. and we will see whether a very different kind of agenda can move our state into the future. mr. goodman: is there any way to compare the emotion of holding the u.s. senate and president trump's victory and this statehouse victory now? on a scale, it would seem like -- senator mcconnell: given my expectations, doubly exciting because i thought we would come up short on the senate. we had a lot of exposure -- 24, and the democrats only had 10. a lot of them were very difficult states for us in presidential years. that was really something.
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but it never occurred to me that he might be able to win as never occurred to met be able to win as well. ,hat gives us an opportunity through his appointment, to change the court system and to move the country in a more competitive direction and tried to deal with the excessive thatation and other things get the economy underperforming. it was exciting. you get more excited with things you don't expect. >> you said this was a come back for rural america. lot ofconnell: a people, white working-class people in michigan, pennsylvania, who looked at the democrats and said they are a party of groups. this group then that group, and i am not in any of those. what about me?
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were of people felt they no longer a part of the democratic party's view of what was important in america. and then if you look at the rural areas, a stunning margin of victory. not that republicans wouldn't have carried a state like kentucky, but hillary clinton lexington the vote in . west virginia, 27% of the vote. there was a lot of feeling among ordinary people across the that the current administration did not care about them and trump was able to convey a message from a billionaire who lives in concern for genuine people who felt left out.
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who were offended by all of the political correctness around them. did not feel like this was the america they were accustomed to. all of that came together. i thought the most extraordinary thing about trump's victory, the pollsters were correct. hillary clinton won the popular vote. what was amazing about trump's victory, he pierced the blue wall, pennsylvania, wisconsin, michigan. you have to go back to 1988, the last time we carried pennsylvania. 1984 almost does not count because reagan was carrying 49 out of 50 states, a landslide. the last time a republican presidential candidate carried wisconsin. he was able to break through and that is why he won a comfortable
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the electoral college victory. mr. goodman: it is all most the adage, be careful what you wish for. you have now learned the majority in the kentucky state house area in the president-elect comes in soon. what is the challenge there? you have learned of his gift, what do you do with it? sen. mcconnell: it is no time of for hubris. all majorities are never permanent. think about how the democrats were feeling, they were already celebrating hillary clinton's victory. you have to perform. i think the country has been underperforming. the way i would characterize it, if you look at the growth rate, not a single year, a 3% growth rate during all the obama years. we need to average around 4% to have the kind of jobs and opportunity for the next generation.
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another way i put it in speeches, it is like we have had our foot on the brake, when you are foot on the accelerator to get the country going again. how do you do that? the two biggest reason than the -- the reason the market has been surging lately, the prospect for doing something about massive overregulation and the prospect of genuine tax reform. because now many of our businesses pay us taxes. which is the principal reason jobs go offshore. we need to perform. the american people are very demanding and never right to be demanding. they are never satisfied very long, so it is a big job. to have responsibility and produce results. we intended to do it. mr. goodman: i think you would say the same thing about the state, hoover told the media and told me there are things
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they want to do but they will not rush into it. and jobs in the senate and house our priorities. sen. mcconnell: yes, it will be easier. they have 64 out of 100 votes in the u.s. senate i have 52 out of 100. most of the things we do require 60. there is not much i can do, republicans only in the u.s. senate. these massive majorities and a republican governor, there are a number of things they can do. even though they have not announced their agenda, i think we know the major things they can do that will make kentucky appear to be way more business friendly than it currently is. changing the prevailing wage law, making us eligible for public charter schools. we are one of seven states that do not allow public charter schools. and reform. it is a very litigious state.
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address those things as rapidly as possible with these super majorities. i think the governor and his old team will be able to say this is a different kentucky from the one you look at a few years ago. we are now competitive with tennessee and indiana and our neighbors. mr. goodman: before we move to the news of the day, let me ask you this. do the democrats, or do others that do not vote with you in the state and nation, do they have anything to be alarmed about or afraid of or intimidated by about this majority? sen. mcconnell: no, no more so than we were in 2009 when president obama had 60 democrats and the majority in the house. elections have consequences. the first two years of president obama, there was the stimulus,
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obamacare, and dodd-frank. six years later, there are more elected republicans at all levels of government, local, state, and federal than i have been in america in 100 years. the president himself is a unique political phenomenon. he was able to get himself elected twice. that almost every opportunity the american people have had to react to what he has actually done, they have elected more republicans. i would say toward democratic friends, these things come and go. the american people decided they were not satisfied with the condition of the country and want to go in a different direction. i do not expect them to support most of what we're trying to do. but there are times to come together. me and joe biden made significant partisan agreements during the first obama term.
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there will be opportunities for us to do things together. infrastructure, for example, is a possibility. i think they just need to accept the fact that they lost the election. these things do happen. america will be just fine. mr. goodman: on the news of the day, sort this out for me please, sir. the russian hack, the cia, the headlines, the call for a special committee; where do you see this today? this is today's news. sen. mcconnell: it does not require a select committee, we have a senate and house intelligence committee run by knowledgeable, responsible people. no question the russians were messing with our election. it is a matter of genuine concern and it needs to be investigated. in the senate we will
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investigate that in the regular order. we already have a committee established to do this. we do not need a special committee to do what we already have the ability to do. it is a serious matter and it will be investigated. mr. goodman: what rises to the level of a special or select committee? sen. mcconnell: we do not do it very often. just once and a while. the most famous select committee was the watergate committee back in the 1970's. i am sure there have been a couple others. mr. goodman: benghazi? sen. mcconnell: we did not. i think our intelligence committee, fully capable of handling this. mr. goodman: your hesitation to form or ok a special committee
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on cyber activity, does it lessen your concern about what russia allegedly or now might have proof of doing? sen. mcconnell: no, it is very concerning, very concerning. i am plenty concerned about it and upset about it and we will get to the bottom of it. mr. goodman: how do you do that? and getting to the bottom of it would result in what? sen. mcconnell: we have in place a committee that is fully staffed and capable of dealing with these things. we want to know exactly what happened. there is nobody yet to suggest that they actually changed the outcome of the election. but it needs to be looked at. it is not news that the russians are messing around with a elections, they do it in europe all the time. they want to discredit democracy to the major extent possible.
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if they were trying to elect donald trump, my guess is they made a bad investment. because look at who he is picking for the cabinet. general mattis for defense. mike pompeo, intelligence expert, number one in his class at the academy. the head of the cia. if they were trying to elect a particular candidate, they could find out it did not do them any good. mr. goodman: part of your good a month and a month and good fall has been the appointment of your wife, secretary chao, coming from labor during the bush years. secretary of transportation. if confirmed, i cannot imagine. how do she greet that news?
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was it a surprise? sen. mcconnell: this is her original field. how she got to government in the first place, she was a recruit. when elizabeth was secretary of transportation, she brought elaine in for a federal commission. and when bush was elected she was the deputy secretary of transportation, the number two job in transportation. eight years later, when bush 43 got elected, she made an effort to get appointed secretary of transportation then. at the time, they decided to give it to the democrat. and she ended up in the labor department, and enjoyed it and spent eight years there. this is her original area of expertise and i think i am safe in saying she's excited to have an opportunity to be secretary of transportation in this new
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administration. mr. goodman: what has she told you, not yet on the job, or is she -- about her challenge or opportunity in transportation? sen. mcconnell: it will be whatever the president decides it to be. to give you one example, he is talking about doing a big infrastructure bill. if they decide to go in that direction she will be in the middle of that. think of all the innovations in transportation. how about driverless cars? drones? what an interesting time to be secretary of transportation, with all these transportation innovations that technology is bringing us. mr. goodman: you mentioned some of the other cabinet members. i think all but three have been named to this point as up-to-date.
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are you concerned about tillerson as secretary of state? sen. mcconnell: i know rex well, it was his job, to be exxon ceo. they searched for gas all over the world. the government is not one we are particularly fond of. i thought he did an excellent job of doing what he was hired by exxon mobil to do. i do not agree with him at all that we should not have posed sanctions after the russians went into crimea. i have no doubt that rex tillerson will be representing the united states of america. rex will have an opportunity before the senate committee to explain how he sees the new role. my guess is that vladimir putin will be very disappointed with the rex tillerson he gets as secretary of state.
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a very different job, representing the united states of america, as opposed to one of the country's largest businesses. mr. goodman: another secretary of state, a former secretary of state, henry kissinger said on sunday, in his meeting with president-elect trump, found him to be one who acts by instinct. a different style than we are accustomed to. i think everyone knows that already. what do you think about that statement? governing by instinct? sen. mcconnell: regardless of how he gets to a decision, i think all of these cabinet selections have been quite good. interestingly enough on rex tillerson, he was supported by condoleezza rice, bob gates, jim baker, former secretary of
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state. no matter what process he goes through, to get to an outcome, i think the appointments have been quite good. mr. goodman: as you -- as i mentioned earlier, you finish of the year with a few initiatives we know of. we will try to talk about a couple of those, protecting kentucky coal miners, retirees, on health care. tell me how important that is. sen. mcconnell: a big issue, most important kentucky issue at the moment. we were able to get coal miners health care. this was a result of bankruptcies across coal country. you have a lot of retired coal miners were losing their health care this very month we're in. i made an effort to get it extended to the end of april and then we will try to go for a permanent fix.
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because these folks deserve to be protected. their health care deserves to be protected. it is important, it is collateral damage from the decline of the coal industry, much attributable to the policies of barack obama, which i hope the new president will reverse. mr. goodman: coal remains a topic in the news. what will you do for these miners that have lost their jobs? are those coal jobs going to come back? sen. mcconnell: we will find out, probably not all of them. everyone i know in the coal business, many running companies that are now bankrupt, believe that the over regulatory environment contributed mightily. environmentalists say it is just competition to natural gas. natural gas is more abundantly available.
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but we have natural gas prices of various points in the past. the government itself contributed a lot to this. how much we can get back, i do not know. but we can at least deal inside the government with the regulatory part of it. i am hoping that the claim power directed as existing and new plants will phase out and have a more sane approach at epa. the new head of the epa originally from lexington, kentucky, has been quite active in suing epa for much of its overreach. i would remind viewers that none of this had anything to do with congress passed. this is all executive branch, executive orders or regulations by this administration, targeting the coal industry.
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we have seen the devastation left behind. mr. goodman: on the 21st century act named for beau biden, the vice president was in the chamber the day you spoke. final passage of that, that is a monumental effort to rid this nation of cancer. sen. mcconnell: not just cancer. this will be remembered at the single most important piece of legislation of the 114th congress. it jump starts precision medicine, something the president is interested in. the cancer moon shot the vice president is interested in. i have a particular interest in regenerative medicine. for example, taking stem cells from one part of your body and putting it into another. there was a fellow from tennessee that we met who was legally blind, managed to get into a clinical trial.
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they took stem cells from one part of his body -- he is now emailing and driving. the fda was resistant to this. there are fda reforms in their to give these new treatments and opportunity to move faster rather than get bogged down. it is a very significant piece of legislation. i think in many ways, the proudest accomplishment of the 114th congress. mr. goodman: are you still pleased with the way you have opened up senate order and the way you are conducting business they are after two years of majority leader? sen. mcconnell: we had in the first year of the 114, 200 rollcall votes, previous years were 15.
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we passed massive, five-year highway bill that had not happened in 20 years. we did a complete rewrite of no child left behind. a whole variety of things that were important. not going to make the front page of "the new york times," but important. there was bipartisan agreement and we got a presidential signature. did we have differences? yes, but i try to focus on the things that we could agree on that were worth doing. by any objective standard, we had a very accomplished 114th congress. mr. goodman: what third of conversations have you had with your friend chuck schumer who takes over for harry reid? sen. mcconnell: we will see, democrats are in a feisty mood these days. mr. goodman: will they use the filibuster on a daily basis? sen. mcconnell: they will make it difficult. i objected to changing the rules
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of the senate with a simple majority. it lowered the threshold for confirmations, to 51. all of these cabinet appointments they are complaining about are going to get confirmed as a direct result of what they did three years ago. i told them at the time that when the shoe was on the other foot it might not be the same thing. mr. goodman: do you plan an epilogue in a second or third printing of "the long game," something that will talk about the statehouse in this republican victory? sen. mcconnell: that is another big thing that happened in 2016, my memoirs came out. maybe there will be another version at some point. mr. goodman: what are you most thankful for this holiday season? sen. mcconnell: this great country of ours is extremely resilient.
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we just went through a very nasty campaign. i know a lot of people are upset and bent out of shape about things that happened this year. i just want to remind everybody this is an extraordinarily resilient country we live in. we have had tough times were people were upset in the past. but we have had nothing like the great depression. we have had nothing like the change they came across the country when andrew jackson got elected, it was totally different than anything anyone had seen. we all have faith in this great country of ours. its resilience, ability to change and move in different directions. regardless of who people supported, i feel good about the country. mr. goodman: you remain hopeful and confident. my question is, are you hopeful?
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it seems you are for what lies ahead. sen. mcconnell: i am. i was not happy the last eight years, but we will move in a different direction and hopefully the american people will like that. mr. goodman: thank you, making it 14, "one-to-one," hope to see you down the road. for "one-to-one," i am bill goodman. ♪ >> tonight a look at the life and career of mike pence. and then a profile of the next democratic leader, charles schumer, of new york. and a couple of interviews with congressman steve russell of oklahoma and brad ashford of nebraska.
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a number of senators are retiring this year. tomorrow night we will bring you speeches,d farewell starting with mitch mcconnell talking about his colleague, harry reid. and then barbara boxer and kelly .yotte reflect on their careers later, senator reid talks about the legacy of president obama. 8:00 eastern on c-span. look atday night, a christmas at the white house, including the tree arrival, and the tree lighting ceremony with the obamas beginning at 8:00 eastern. "washington journal," live with news and policy issues. coming up friday, attorney samuel morrison will talk about the process president obama
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underwent when commuting the prisoners, the3 most ever issued by a president in a single day. amer discusseskr her book which examined the evolution of her resentment against the so-called liberal elite and how that played out in wisconsin with the rights of scott walker. atch "washington journal" 7:00 eastern friday morning. join the discussion. coming up, a look at the political career of mike pence. tony cook joins us for a discussion on the issues that shape to the vice president-elect. and an interview with mike pence after winning his first house race and conclude with the at ther speaking
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conservative political action conference. >> on c-span, we are going to take a look at the career of mike pence. lawmaker is leading efforts and is likely to play a major part in the trump administration. he was elected in 2000 after unsuccessful attempts in 1988 and 1990. and after working as a conservative radio and tv talkshow host. coming up, a brief interview we did with congressman elect mike pence in 2000. >> mike pence is the representative elect in indiana. in orientation what have you learned about setting up a new congressional office? gov. pence: it is as we expected a massive undertaking. we are trying to build on a solid foundation of people's experience, who can focus first on the meeting and addressing the ongoing needs of the people of the second congressional district. >> tus


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