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tv   Road to the White House 2020 Sen. Cory Booker at Political Party Live...  CSPAN  June 9, 2019 1:35pm-3:00pm EDT

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includes steven bullock, pete jude budget -- pete would --udge, -- pete would you can watch online and listen on the free c-span radio app. senator cory booker is one of the residential can't --sidential candidates presidential candidates we will hear from today. this is part of the series of interviews with the presidential candidates.
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>> nice to meet you, what is your name incredible to be back. >> have you been here before? >> we have been all over the place. >> i hear you have been really busy. the darkest horse. --i was waiting for someone >> thank you, corey.
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he has never voted in any election. >> how exciting. iowa? you from >> i am from illinois. [indiscernible] >> pleasure meeting you, sir.
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>> i went to stanford and oxford. [indiscernible]
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>> nice to meet you.
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>> how are you doing?
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>> we just want to get a picture with you. thank you so much. a little bit more up here. thank you. >> thank you very much. how are you?
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>> margaret, it is cory booker wishing you all the best. it is an honor to have a chance to meet you and i hope to be your president. >> thank you.
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hi, it is nice to meet you. >> where are you from?
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>> grand rapids. >> we are about to get started. i would ask that you take your seats. because our special guest has arrived. everybody ready? let's do it. folks, welcome to "political party live!" we are honored to be doing our
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six caucus episode with the good senator from the state of new jersey, mr. cory booker. [cheering] [applause] [chanting] >> that is a hawkeye welcome right there. >> the people's chant is here. [laughter] senator booker, -- >> thank you, you guys that have a platform that is really powerful and i think your podcast not only reaches a lot people, but it inspires them to be more of a part of what the change that we need in this nation. i'm grateful you all are doing this and as a fellow african-american, black radio has had a powerful force movement building element. if you go back to the 1960's and the role the black radio made in our communities, it was essential to the movement.
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i think what you are doing is an out road -- outgrowth of that and i'm thankful. >> thank you so much for that. we appreciate that. [applause] ok. senator booker, i'm not going to waste any time. i'm going to get right to it. you have run tough races before. and now you are currently seeking the highest office in the land. but you are doing it alongside of some incredibly talented individuals that are making for a historic field. tell us, what is your plan doing -- to win this thing, what is your pathway to victory, and why are you the best candidate to take on donald trump? sen. booker: let me reverse the order. why run is a most important question. life is about purpose and not position. i got into politics in 1998 because i lived in the
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neighborhood i live now, an inner-city black and brown community below the poverty line. i got in there to fight for people like that. here i am two decades later plus, and we still have a nation where there are too many communities being left out, left aside. and on top of that, folks think the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces holding us together. my career is showing i cannot solve the problems but we can if we pull together to create stronger coalitions, we can achieve things other people think are impossible. i'm running because i believe in us. i do not think we need saviors. i think we need each other. i think we are at a time where we have a politics of tribalism which is fear-based. us versus them. zero-sum game politics. we need to have in our country a revival of civic grace. we need to put more united back into this one nation under god to so we can solve the problems that are in my neighborhood. this is one of my biggest
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worries. on my block, stuff was going wrong before donald trump was elected. on my block, jihad smith was killed with an assault rifle. that was going on before donald trump was elected. on my block, my neighbors who work longer neighbors than my hard working parents, they need food stamps. right now, for decades, we are stripping the dignity from work. i live across the street from this great drug treatment program. when i go over there and sit with the fellas and they do not like when i bring vegan food, but they tell their stories about how their drug addictions or mental health treatments were treated with jail and prison. all of this stuff, including the fact that there are kids in my city who drink bottled water because there are 3000 jurisdictions in america where children have more than twice the blood lead levels of flint michigan.
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for us as a party to make this, and i hear voters. the number one thing that is polling is wanting a candidate to beat donald trump. to me, that is the floor. it is not the ceiling. it may get us out of the valley -- [applause] sen. booker: i got into politics to get to the mountaintop. i am running every single day to let's not make this about one guy and one office. i do not want to return to the of 2012 and 2014 when stuff was not working for most americans. i am running to get ourselves to focus, keep our eyes on the prize. this is a moral moment in america. we need to come together, better than we are now and solve the real challenges that are facing this nation and our generation. >> wow. sen. booker: i get the viability question all the time. you will know this in iowa.
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i had a reporter asked me nine times about, you are not doing well in the polls. i'm like please, the people winning in the polls are not the people you that usually become the nominees. the people that excited me in politics like barack obama, what into single digits going into iowa, what wins in iowa is connecting the people. building an organization. we will win the caucuses here because we have the best organization on the ground. we are going and getting endorsements from folks, i put my endorsements in this state from people who make a difference in caucuses against anybody in the race. and we are having town halls. the great thing about the town halls is that we get incredible percentages of the people who are coming to hear me speak will sign a commitment caucus card. we win new hampshire, even if we win the top three coming you guys know this, the party changes dramatically. with african-americans being the majority in so many of the key
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primary states after that. even 30%, 40%, significant populations. i was with jesse jackson when he ran but the black vote consolidates around the people we think most authentically will work for, speak to, and deal with our issues and the issues of other communities that struggle like we do. i'm confident this is the proving ground for the 2020 election. this will be the culling field to use that metaphor. and we will have the momentum we need to win the primary. >> senator, as you were talking about your neighborhood and your neighborhood prior to trump being elected, it was speaking to me in the context of how we talk about our times, these times right now, and how divisive things seem. when you say we are more divisive now than we were pre-trump? sen. booker: it is a long arc of history. i have family, my grandmother was born and raised in des moines, iowa.
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her cousin's still here. 100 years old. when you talk with our elders about what it used to be like, we had some pretty viciously divided times. where people used to escape to iowa from the terrible scenes of sins of looking at somebody white the wrong way. we literally -- people forget. we just had the anniversary of the bombing, one of the only aerial bombings of a town in oklahoma. we had terrorism in our communities like never before. thousands and thousands of african-americans ripped from their homes, lynched at night, murdered, disappear. to talk about this in the context of history is really important about the challenges we have. i am not unmindful of the fact that i live in a time, my dad said this, when my father was born in the jim crow south, and
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he looked at me, when i was working in the projects, i moved in there for almost a decade, one of the toughest housing complexes. a shooting just happened, and he said, my son, i really worry . this is my funny, incredible father, who said, i worry that a young black boy like me, born to a poor mother in a segregated community had a better chance of making it in 1936 versus the challenges facing us today. i am a data guy. i studied numbers when i was mayor all the time. when i looked at the numbers of challenges facing young black boys who live in segregated environments, let's be real. new jersey is one of the fifth most segregated states in the nation. the challenges facing it -- we rightfully are talking about the horrors of mass shootings in america. let's not forget that between 50 and 60% of the homicide victims
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in america are african-american men. let us not forget that we now have a system of jim crow in this country and a criminal justice system that treats you better if you are rich and guilty then if you are poor and innocent. it has so horrifically, under our watch, since 1980, gone up 500%. from the time i was in law school, to the mayor of newark, we were building a new prison every 10 days to house overwhelmingly nonviolent offenders. now we have gotten to a tragic present where there is no difference to blacks and whites, when there is no difference between using and selling drugs. you are four times more likely to be incarcerated as a black person. in iowa, this is one of the worst states of america for racial disparity in incarceration. this is reflecting michelle alexander's book, we now have more african-americans under
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criminal supervision than all the slaves in 1850. we have come a long way. there are things we should celebrate. the victories of our ancestors. but now to be at a point in history, i am watching them attack voting rights. i am watching them attack civil rights. i'm watching a presidential roll back protections for kids going to schools. lgbtq, the murders of trans, a black trans women is horrific. i'm watching a nation right now where we are seeing a voter suppression schemes, so many of the gains, women's rights, so many of the gains that our parents generation fought and won and now being rolled back. i agree with you. we should celebrate the fact we are a nation, black and brown, goodman, cheney
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dying together. we are where we are because we overcame so much. why is it now? what happened to our empathy for each other? let me give you the thing that makes me so angry. i grew up listening to the stories of this nation responding to tragic death. for girls killed in a bombing in birmingham. the whole country rose up after that. go back further to the shirtwaist factory fire, where in the worst working conditions, women trapped in sweatshops and a fire threw themselves out windows to die on the pavement below. we responded, people from all backgrounds said we need to change workers conditions and rights. now? slaughtered in a church in south carolina. we do nothing. slaughtered in a synagogue in pittsburgh. we do nothing. concert in las vegas, nothing.
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a nightclub in orlando, nothing. children hiding under their desks, murdered one by one and we do nothing. in my committee, people killed every day, why am i running for president? i know who we are. i know that this is a moment where it is not about one kinds. it is about who we are going to be to each other. it is a referendum on the soul of our nation. we need leaders that will call it again. to be a beloved community that tightens the bond between us that we can solve our problems. >> senator booker, you are alluding to this. your campaign has released the most ambitious and comprehensive gun reform policy measure of any campaign running for president today. can you talk to us about that policy proposal? more importantly, why do you think that if you're elected president, that you can finally
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move the needle? we have been here before. thoughts and prayers. we get outraged. sen. booker: i love you for the question. it is the right question. it really is the right question. come on, booker. we have another black dude who was president, and he tried these things. what will make you different? let me say the obvious. you can go to my neighborhood and people look at my proposal. the press is calling it the boldest proposal on gun violence that any presidential candidate at any time has put forward. people in my neighborhood are like, come on. that is like a good step. we need to do a lot more. you live in a community where literally children, where they hear firecrackers on the fourth july, they are hiding under beds. so, what people in my neighborhood are shocked about
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is why have we become so impotent in our ambition that we are allowing the corporate gun lobby for decades to frame the debate? it is so insidious that most americans don't even know that this is the one industry that has exempted itself from negligence suits. if your iphone blows up and hurts your cornea, you can sue apple. if your gun blows up, you cannot sue. it has taken all this talk about the demagoguery of poor migrants trying to come to this country. you know how much billions of dollars we have done to increase the numbers of customs and border patrol agents? of people involved in immigration?
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you hear the president talk. he uses the language, this is why knowing history is important. he uses the language leica political party from our past. the know nothings. they tried to stop italian and irish immigrants. trying to make us afraid of people coming from the southern border with brown skin. you know how many deaths have happened in terrorism since 9/11 and where that has come from? as much as they want us to make it afraid of people trying to come here of people escaping terror, not remember him him me try to -- turning away other immigrants trying to escape terror there , was a shift during world war ii, with a bunch of folks trying to escape the holocaust and they got killed in the holocaust. the shame of that, you think we would learn our lesson about people coming here to seek asylum and escaping terror. since 9/11, the majority of our terrorist attacks have not been foreign terrorists. they then right wing extremist groups.
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the majority of those white supremacist groups who are using guns to go into synagogues and churches and shoot people. the one agency that is in charge, billions of dollars have increased, undocumented immigration is down. since the last 50 years, of all -- more people die of gun violence of all the wars combined from the revolutionary war until now, and terrorism, the problem we have, we saw in las vegas and in virginia beach, there are people getting guns. the one agency that investigatep guns coming in, we didn't have gun manufacturers in newark. i went down to meet with the head of the atf. they were so candid with me. they said, we don't have the resources to enforce the laws we have. that is who has been framing the debate.
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that is the insidious thing they have been doing that. by putting forth a bold plan, it suddenly forces the conversation to shift. i am glad every presidential candidate hasn't responded to my plan. they should. how are we going to get this done? that is why i am happy to be sitting up with hip-hop generation folks who understand so much of change has to be creative. the creative artists of our past do you think dorthea cotton and james bevel, who challenged king in may of 1963 and said you are going to lose in birmingham, that is not how they said it. they said dr. king, let's creatively think of something. they decided to do what was called the children's miracle. these young people said if you organize children to march, you will awaken this country. when people at home in iowa and new jersey watched children get bitten by dogs. suddenly it raise the consciousness of this country. the power of the people is greater than the people of power.
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you are going to have a president that has experience of getting impossible things done with coalition help. i could not get supermarkets to come to newark. the first time i went to las vegas to talk to a supermarket chain, they laughed at me. it was so insulting. i said under my breath, you will be in newark. i had to do creative things. this is a funny story. i was watching tv at home. late night talk show host like to kick cities in the gut. they make chicago jokes, detroit jokes. they love to kick black and brown committees. i just waited. conan o'brien came on tv. this is when he was on the tonight show. says, i heard newark has a new health care program. i was proud. i lowered prescription drug costs. i think the best health care program for the city of newark is a bus to get out of town. i went to the city hall. people talk about trump using
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twitter, most people say i was one of the original twitter innovators. what i did was put on tv. i put it on twitter, the video, said, i am cory booker. by the power invested me in the city of newark, conan o'brien, you have insulted us. banereby they knew from -- you from newark airport. try jfk. the video goes viral. so viral the tsa put a clarification on their website that american mayors cannot ban people from their airports. i started getting all this earned media. conan goes back on his show, you think he would have been done and apologize, but he doubled down and banned me from burbank airport. folks out here in iowa you know , that if you are flying to l.a., you are flying to lax. i said, it is on. i banned him from the state of new jersey. it became the number one trending story in america. no newark mayor could've gone on the jay leno show. i am getting more earned media
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for our city. every show, i brag about our city. how we don't mistake wealth with worth. we may be low income, but we are scrappy and strong and our communities have value. before you know it, all over national tv. conan apologizes on his show and apologizes. gives $100,000 to newark charities. that's not the best thing in the story. now folks know who i am. i call foundations, they returned my calls. we built the first new hotels in 40 years. literally, we got hundreds of millions of dollars toward our city. to turn newark around, we had to change the moral imagination of the nation. see the value and worth of our community. if i am your president, i come the power ofuse the kind is you should -- constitution. i come from a legacy of organizers and grassroots artists who found ways to build out coalitions to get things
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done. you think we got civil rights done because bull connor said we should get some rights? the longest filibuster in the senate is still his, stopping civil rights legislation. we overcame him because we mounted the moral imagination of the nation. we said enough is enough. governments are formed for the common defense. now the carnage in our country is at a greater level in some areas than more. -- that are at war. we will find a way to solve this problem. i will be the president that gets it done. [applause] >> i will try to cover a few more topics while we have you. sen. booker: that is a kind way of saying, you are giving us lectures on every answer. >> we love it.
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it seems a presidential candidates are finally starting to have conversations that progressives have cared about for a long time. the legalization of marijuana, the thousands of individuals behind bars who have been prosecuted for petty marijuana crimes, many of whom are persons of color. coates wrote about reparations. sen. booker: we have that in the show notes? >> i will make a note to do that. now we are talking about universal health care and whether or not health care is a right or privilege. we are finally having that conversation about whether or not education ought to be a universal right or privilege for people. i listed a few issues. can you let us know where we are at on these big-ticket issues that progressives care about? marijuana legalization, reparations, health care and education.
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sen. booker: you know i am the lead senator on criminal justice reform. more marijuana arrests in 2017 then violent crime arrests combined. overwhelmingly disproportionately low income people. they don't stop folks at stanford university and pat and down for marijuana. they stop folks in low income communities. i led in the senate on this issue. the first time i propose marijuana legislation, people looked at me like i was crazy. now the bar is moving. we will win. we will end prohibition for marijuana on the federal level. let the states do what they must. anybody who has this conversation, and i talked to a lot of folks about this, do not talk to me about legalizing marijuana if you are not talking to me about expunging the records of people who have been unjustly imprisoned. [applause] sen. booker: i am the person in the senate who sponsored the legislation, who pulled together
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the brightest minds and to create a national commission on the issue of reparations. it is because we live in a country where my family, just to move in our house, we had to get a white couple to pose as us. it's a legacy going back to slavery that created massive economic disparities. all of us should have an interest about leveling the economic playing field. let's bring together the best minds in the country on how to deal with this issue to make recommendations. that is something i'm going to continue to say time and time again. people don't understand the drama of the black white wealth disparities america, in cities like boston, where the average white family's wealth is $250,000. the average black family is eight dollars. people don't understand the compounding problems of mass incarceration. vanderbilt university did a study that shows we would have 20% less poverty in america if we had incarceration rates of our industrial peers. if it is disproportionately
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targeted at afghan americans, you are impoverishing african-americans through this new jim crow. why is newark newark? there was redlining and fha loans in newark that walled off amenities to wealth. the g.i. bills, social security, i can go through the explicit design which excludes pathways for african americans to create generational wealth. this is about balancing the economic scales. if the scales are balanced, all of us do better. has a multiplier effect in this nation. we live in an ecosystem that is a not a zero-sum game. if your family does better, everybody does better. >> hit us with a few positions on universal health care and education. sen. booker: we are at a point where either republicans will poll and say we should not live in a nation where they can't afford life-saving medication.
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even republicans will say, when children are born, they should have access to health care. it is a shame in this nation leading industrial nation in , infants and maternal mortality, we live on planet earth where the most valuable national resource is the genius of their children. in other countries, they know that brain development is done most from the second trimester to the third or fourth year. other countries have universal access to health care. other countries have doula care for low income women. other countries have prenatal care in the emergency room. some have postpartum care. it puts ours to shame. they have universal childcare, a ffordable childcare, paid family leave. all these things should be fundamental in our democracy. i believe health care is a right. the next president, on day one, should be doing things to bring down the cost of health care. that's what i will do. pragmatic things that could drop the levels of prescription drug costs.
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other countries have laws. pharmaceutical companies cannot raise drug prices higher than they are selling the same drug in other countries. we are paying for our research drugs that are causing problems. but you get charged five times or 10 times for the same drug. we will push a law that if you do that, we will take away your patents and exclusivity and let the generics undercut you. commonsense laws that other countries do that we are not doing. >> education? sen. booker: there is no pathway in a democracy, but through education. there has to be a commitment in this country to public schools. i come out to iowa, unlike new jersey. the fact that there -- i know
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this in town halls, but your legislature is attacking teachers in ways that are unconscionable. they are attacking teachers' rights to organize. they are attacking teachers' rights to benefits. they're attacking political funding. they're coming up with schemes that will result in the destruction of public school as we know it. frankly, the resegregation of many communities in this country. i am the only person in this race that had to take on directly, it wasn't my job as mayor we have a different school system, but i said, i'm sorry, we cannot have a city that thrives. i'm willing to risk my political capital to turn the school system around. we had tons of community meetings where we had shared values and ideals and then we ran at the problem. what did we do? we closed our low performing charter schools that were not serving our kids.
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i said you cannot cream and take the best students. we created a one enrollment system. you have to expand. we expanded our magnet schools. we have created a system in america. if you are a black kid, your chances for going to a high-performing school from the suburbs went up 400%. we are now the the number one school system in america. four b the odds schools. for beat the odds schols. i got my teachers union's endorsement twice. we should focus on two things. those of the first two things we will focus on. we must raise public school teachers' salary. we can do it by saying, carried interest for these folks who work in hedge funds, you can pay a lower percentage of your salary and taxes than a teacher does? let's reverse that. let's give teachers a special tax bracket and school
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professionals. we shouldn't just type about teachers, it is psychological professionals that work are schools. we should say that you will get a lower tax bracket which will raise her salary. for people that are willing to teach, we should forgive their student debt and do it rapidly. [applause] sen. booker: we do not do what we should do for americans with special needs. in our schools, we massively underfunded special education. if we did that, especially for low income districts, it would bring millions of dollars to the schools. i will do that as president. the number three thing what , betsy devos has done to the department of civil rights within the education, she has gutted it. reverse what obama was doing. reversed protection for our trans children and lgbtq rights. we have to have a president that stands up and says, every kid should have a school that is free of bullying and violence. 30% of lgbtq kids have missed
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school at some for fear of their point safety. we should have a president that stands up and says we should have a public school system that works for everyone regardless of zip code, race, religion. we will be a country that educates all children. that is the only way to lead the planet, through your education system. [applause] >> could you drill into that? regarding your experience in newark with public education versus charter schools and talking a little bit about how you see nationwide that combination of charter-magnet-public working? we saw charters as a mixed bag. high-performing charters. we went to close the low
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performing charters. for the ones that were succeeding, we challenge them and said you can't have different rules that apply when it comes to things like enrollment. you might end up with the most activist parents going to those schools. we don't have private charter schools. private prisons. there are things i don't think should be privatized. we said join us in creating something unique in this country, which is a system that is one school system that every parent now has to go through multiple enrollment policies. it stops creaming. it creates a lot of equality. we share teacher training and i am proud of that. let's be clear. charter is only 3% of our nation's schools. a big deal is made out of it. statewide, most of my kids, over 90%, are going to public schools. i thought against charters opening in places they don't belong.
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imagine a rural area having a charter school. i creates unnecessary competition ripping resources apart. for our community, identical -- a densely populated black and brown community, it works. kids, and ourall kids are going to -- 3% charters, we need to focus on traditional public schools and empowering them. magnets are an interesting question. i talked to someone who was a magnet school teacher. 11 my residents complained that their kids could not get into magnet schools and how they were creaming. i said, what we are going to do is we are going to ask our magnet schools to expand so they become more operational. we'll make sure our high schools and middle schools raise their performance and we will do that by getting resources there, because we do not want to create a system that is bifurcated. we want to create -- nationally as the president of the united states, these are the three goals i think we can achieve in my first term. raising public teacher salaries and professional salaries.
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supporting our special needs kids and getting back to making sure public education works for all children from all backgrounds. we and discrimination and end of the school to prison pipeline. keep kids safe and thriving so they can go on. i want to say one more thing. every kid is not going to college. 35% of kids do. one of the things we are making a mistake is not preparing kids for jobs in the 21st century. that is one of the things i supported in newark and we need more of in america is vo-tech schools who have federal funding. there are programs that fund kids to get training for things they might want to do. working on cars will be there. you have to have serious computer training to do that now. start in high school. i want to see that expanding. i will be one of those presidents that works towards an apprenticeship program. community colleges. >> i want to shift focus a bit.
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we are in iowa city, iowa, johnson county, referred to as the republic of johnson county, because of its progressive politics. this is a friendly and supportive crowd. i'm curious as to what you think, or how you think we can go about having conversations with people who may disagree with us politically who may not look like us, and who fall in a different tribe? you talked about being the first twitter president. twitter has devolved. sen. booker: i don't go on there like i used to. >> it's nasty. how can we have conversations and seek unity in a country that is so bitterly divided? in race, gender, class, religion. even where you live? people have been to my town halls. i will talk about the issue
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generally. the whole theme of my campaign is about that. china has built 18,000 miles of rail. our busiest rail corridor runs half an hour slower than it did in the 1960's. our competitors are out educating us. they are out researching and developing because we have cut our investments in r&d. i can go through the things in which we are falling behind. when i played football at stanford. the older i get, the better i was. i used to know when we were going to score a touchdown. when i could hear the defense fight among themselves blaming , each other, getting on each other, i was like, we will blow through this team. we have this point in america where we actually agree a lot more than we disagree. i just said that on health care. must americans agree that over $1000 a year, the average american is paying for the
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prescription drug costs, we share common pain. dirty water. unclean air. climate peril. it is affecting the midwest. midwestern fires. sea level rise, i can go through all the common pain we feel. we have lost our sense of common purpose. that's why i am running for president. i believe we have to heal that. we, not me. if a president or candidate comes before you and says, i will solve your problems, please get up and leave. we have heard that before. we do not need a savior. we have to save ourselves. all of us have to take responsibility. i am warning you, this 2020 election stands for the number of candidates running. you have a lot of options in this race. if you will let me president, i am asking more from you. i will not say sit back and
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and the and the house senate. nancy and i will take this on, no. we have to start stepping up as a society and doing the things we must do with more courageous empathy, greater civic grace, to begin to see we need each other desperately. to your i am telling you, as a point, guy, i have crossed the floor. during the health care debate. john mccain back to the floor of the u.s. senate just having been , diagnosed with terminal cancer, and i saw a guy i worked with before on bipartisan issues. i crossed the senate floor, in front of c-span cameras. i think like 15 americans saw me. i hugged john mccain. i am being torched on twitter by the cruelty there. they said, how could you hug baby killers? -- a baby killer?
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i said if we have gotten to the point in our politics where we have so demonized each other that we cannot work together, that even touching another person is such a betrayal of your tribe that we hate people we are at -- we have to start following this. have. the power we i walked into a town hall here. keep going if you want me to. says, i want you to punch donald trump in the face. go, that is a felony. sit-down and let me tell you why the best techniques to beat this
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guy is not fighting him on his terms. it is like i set a four letter word to him that he found more offensive. but by the time i finished that this was a moment that calls for us to appeal to the best of who we are. if you want someone who wants to fight fire with fire, support that candidate. i am not running for that reason. if this party embraces me as their standardbearer, god bless america. if they don't, i will commit
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myself to getting elected. [applause] we are given give our panelists one more question. then i will do a lightning round. our volunteers will ready the mike's that we have for a few questions. we have some more water coming for you in a second. sen. booker: i thought you would be pouring beer up here. >> we heard you don't drink. [laughter] >> you are getting the questions
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we have time for. [laughter] >> here's the thing. you are in a title fight. this is not a tough go to run for president at such a critical moment in our nation's history. things are crazy. you guys are releasing policy plans. crisscrossing the country. how does a person like you stay centered? sen. booker: if you want to get personal-- >> as personal as you are willing to get. sen. booker: my foundation is my faith. i was raised in church. i begin every day on my knees in prayer. i take time to meditate and then
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prayer. i take time to meditate and then go out into my day. i am one of these people, and the reason why i feel comfortable talking about this is because i'm one of those people who says before you tell me about your religion, show it to me and how you treat other people. in my faith, if you're black, gay or a woman, the christian record on justifying oppression -- for me, i love people. i have a reverence before god's creation. i see the soul. i would much rather hang out with a nice atheist then i mean christian every day of the week. there's a big about when i pray in the morning, it centers me and grounds me and makes me feel a sense of awe and humility. i have close friends running for president. i've had intimate conversations with some of them. it's a frightening thing to step out on the national stage where you have people digging in and making stuff up.
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you don't even have to be true anymore. when i see my fellow people on the campaign, most of them, i hug them. i am hugging amy klobuchar. i respect them for putting their heart, spirit and ideas before the american people. my mom has always been a great counselor. she challenged me to go to newark. she said, she quoted to me the story the talents. the master gave three people their talents, two of them took chances with it and make profits and presented them to the master. the other, he did not. he hid his talent. he was rebuked. the master was upset. my mom said, boy, tell me what you would do with your life if you knew you could not fail. i raised you not to be fearless. everyone has fear. i raised you to guide your life by faith and not fear. if i could not fail, i would move to the toughest neighborhood i could find in new jersey.
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that's why i moved to the neighborhood i'm in right now. i moved there because faithful people believe us. this was one of the moments in my life, i was doing my pros and cons. the list of reasons not to run were about my ego and fears. the reasons to run were about my dreams for my nation, my hopes and aspirations.
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my love. there are tough days. this could be a discouraging pathway. one day you are up. i watched my friend elizabeth warren, one day they are praising her, the next day, they are trashing her. you go through a cycle. you have to have the fortitude to keep going forward. it's not about you. it's not about your ego. get out of your own way. one of my favorite quotes from mother teresa said, someone said, how do you measure success? she said, god didn't call me to be successful. he called me to be faithful. this is a moment where i am stepping out on faith. i want to do the best i can with letting people see me for who i am and what i am passionate about, where my heart and head is. if that is not enough, i am a united states senator. i can go back to service. you don't need a title for service. this is an incredible service to me. i see some courageous, fearless people who stand up in crowds like this and tell painful
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stories, demanding from me and other leaders to step up to the challenges of this time. i want to meet the same level of faithfulness. we all do that. we are driven by our faith and love and decency. we will achieve what our aim is. [laughter] -- [applause] >> you have mentioned getting creative, needing to get creative to solve significant problems and challenges. you mentioned the border earlier tonight. painful stories as well just now. what would be your ideal immigration plan and what would those first few steps look like?
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sen. booker: that is the power of this. you go out and meet with people. i live in a city with a lot of immigrants. i have seen families separated. the moral vandalism of separating families and putting them in cages. the immigration policy from the president is tearing up my community and newark. i was in nevada with a 14-year-old who said her friend was assaulted, but she would not come forward to talk about her assault because her parents were undocumented. if they showed up at school, they would be deported. the first thing i'm going to do is reverse the toxicity, sinister of an immigration policy that hurts people, our values, punishes american citizens, and punishes americans.
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giving people the security to know you have a president to seize your dignity and will have immigration laws that reflect our values. i will tell daca children that you are americans in every way except for a piece of paper. i will to people that are in that the status that the president revokes, that you came here to this country escaping horrors. you are secure here. i will have immigration policies that show americans and folks that are here that we need in our economy that they should not fear their president and policies. i will fight to do what you were talking about. before i came to the senate, my senior senator work across the aisle and have a bipartisan immigration bill. those people who see themselves as fiscally conservative, that legislation would have cut $1 trillion from our deficit. $1 trillion.
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when you let people come out of the shadows and pay taxes, they increase our economy. i will be fighting, doing the things i can do on the executive branch to stop the prioritization that he is doing right now, the tearing apart of communities, the separating of families, the hurting american citizens. i will also start working on that kind of bipartisan bill that can keep us safe and secure, and make sure we get on the road again of being a nation we have always been, a nation of immigrants that have made us stronger. [applause] >> this is my last question. i will try to make it a good question. sen. booker: i feel kinship with you. [laughter]
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sen. booker: we have saved a lot of money. we are economical. >> true story. that is why i started cutting my hair. i couldn't afford it in college. sen. booker: sen. booker: you go to stanford, and you are like where is the black community that can cut hair? i'm sitting in a chair and the guy looks at me you need to stop paying. you need to do this yourself. i tried to get him a tip in change. you need to do this yourself. i started cutting my own hair then. most of the audience is like, ok. really. all the proud bald brothers stand up. me and tim scott, that is the first time in american history to big bald black guys on the senate. last week, kamala harris and i were talking. someone said, black caucus meeting. the first time in america you have three black people in the senate. tim and i passed a powerful piece of legislation together. bipartisan, working across the aisle. he said he wanted to do something about poverty. we passed the golden opportunity zones, which, everywhere i go, i get stopped in town. it is like i'm walking into a meeting like this and some of
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says, thank you. i say why? they say, you brought a lot of jobs to our city with opportunity zones. i said, can you please say that in my first question? it is great to be able to find kinship with folks who could write a dissertation on my this agreement with them, but we can come together and talk about how we cut our hair, find common ground and build toward legislation. >> you mentioned a black united state senator from south carolina. i want to return to race in america. in 2008, we elected the first black president in barack obama. 2016, donald trump was elected. it seems like we have taken a big step backwards on race in our country. in many respects, you were barack obama before barack obama
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was barack obama. you were this young, talented, smart, inspirational black figure in national politics to many thought could ascend to the nation's highest office. here you are running for president as a person of color. if you are elected, what will you do about race in our society and how the eu reach people who may have been compelled by some of the rhetoric and fear and divisiveness that donald trump was able to capitalize on when he ran and won? sen. booker: barack obama and i are very different. he was born in one of our 50 states, hawaii. i was born in washington, d.c., which is not a state yet.
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if we cannot deal with race in america, it will become our undoing. we will never achieve our potential. we still have a lot of issues we cannot just cover over. we have to be better at talking about them. and so, i see my response ability to deal with this and have hard conversations. when i got to the senate, i looked around and i said, this is one of the least diverse places i have been. my job is to make the senate and the democratic party better. i went to chuck schumer, a great senator from hawaii, and i said, these are things we want to work with you to see. we want to see the rooney rule, like the nfl does, that if people are hiring people for top jobs, they have to hire diverse people. number two, if you want to change things, measure the people you are managing because people care about how they are
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measured. could you make it a rule in the senate that every single democratic senator has to publish their diversity statistics? in the senate, i looked at the judiciary committee, not only were there no black senators, but i cannot find by people on staff. talk about being in the room when it happens, and these things are affecting black entities into his proportionate ways. he published those statistics, and amazingly, guess what happened to the numbers echo women and minorities, asian americans, latinos, it is incredible. this means us having uncomfortable conversations. the letters from the birmingham jail -- it wasn't a letter to racists. it was a letter to white moderates who were asking why they were judging all this up. he said, you can't heal something by covering it up. we are creating creative conflict to expose the unfinished business of america. that is why when i talk about
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things like the committal justice system, i want to point out the racial disparity. black women have four times higher chances of dying in childbirth. asthma. black kids and white kids, control everything but race, the black kid is 10 times more likely to die from asthma complications. these things have legacies in a dark past that we have to have conversations about. we have to have conversations in a way, rene brown, i have a lot of respect for her and her writing. she said it is hard to hate up close. pull people in. that is something we all have a responsibility to do. we have to try to find ways to create a dialogue or create an environment to deal with these issues. i see a president who is spewing racist things. for us in the new jersey area, it is like the central park
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five. you can go through this whole career, and he is a powerful moral platform. the way he talks about black women in congress, the way he talks about black athletes, the way he called african countries [bleep]hole countries, those words don't die. they reverberate and shape and mold. a lot of what i want to return to the presidency is somebody who was very conscious of using the platform to lift people up, not to spew hate, but to ignite a more beloved community. that has to be a conscious intention. [applause] >> i have asked staci if i could ask you one more question. he said yes. it is piggybacking off of what you are describing in the context of the same question.
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in a recent interview, you said the founders were imperfect geniuses. they wrote a lot of our bigotries into the constitution. if you think about how we have overcome those things, it has been creating first call to consciousness, speaking truth about the injustices, and bringing together those uncommon coalitions. must they be expressed sequentially and where are we in that experience? sen. booker: margaret the king said i could pass legislation that will stop you from lynching me but i can't make you love me. there are people being hurt by laws and rules that i am about changing right away. the fact that i live in a nation where if you are gay in america, you can put your pictures on facebook and then, your boss finds out about it and in the
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majority of states, you can be fired and have no legal recourse. i remember people watched green book, but the story of my family having to take cross-country drives, now it is knowing that there are storeowners who could deny service to a gay couple just because they are gay? that is so contrary. you give me the power of the presidency, i will be about protecting folks from violence and discrimination in protecting people from white supremacy. i am not saying that this is not important, but i am saying that every single massive move you you could call progressive leaps, has always been done -- we call it the rainbow coalition.
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when people from differing backgrounds came together and were willing to fight for that injustice. for me, it is important to learn from my history. my parents never shirt at our dinner table from telling me the ugly truths about their experiences. even my mom, she came home with some stories. my dad would put on some coal train. it was like he could decompress. at the same time, they spoke to me of the power of the love of allies. when the real estate agents would not show our family homes in the 50 years ago this month, my parents got a white couple to volunteer to pose as them in the home buying process. on the day of the closing, they did not show up. a volunteer lawyer, a jewish guy, came. the real estate owner did not capitulate then. he punched the lawyer in the face and six a dog on my back. every time i dad told that story, the dog would get bigger. i bought a pack of walls to get you in this house.
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my parents told me i was a manifestation of a conspiracy of love. when the laws were not there, it was people who met in secret, even though it was illegal to do some, the plot to be involved in the biggest interceptor project, the underground railroad, they talked about people meeting in church plate -- basements to go out and get beaten back to try to expose the bigotry. frederick douglas'last meeting, people don't know. read more about him. he was a union organizer. he was the president of a major union. his last meeting was a suffrage meeting. he knew about the intersectionality of all of ideals of justice.
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i'm going to use the powers of the presidency to affirm the individual rights and protections of every american. why is the baking industry not loading two women at the same rates? those things i will be fighting. the bigger call that is necessary to great department to make progress of weeks forward is to be the kind of president that calls us to create the coalitions of our past area the kind of unity we need. we don't need everybody. i say this all the time, that patriotism and love of country that starts with loving your country, if we can inspire more of that innovation, i promise you a to b dq rights, -- i promise you, lgbtq rights, a lot of the things that seem so hard and impossible that they want to change filibuster rules for, and i'm keeping those options, but what we have right now is a need for our country to have a stronger muscle of empathy and love for one another to do what we did in the past where we fought for each other and joined
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in a common cause to make our nation be who we say it is we put our hands on her hearts and swear that oath that we will be a nation of liberty and justice for all. [applause] >> i want to call another audible. we have a lot of folks here who have a lot of questions and i want to be respectful of everyone's time.
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i will play a leading round game. then perhaps, after that, you can stick around and answer questions. we will skip the audience q and day for this one time. the good senator has promised to stay around and chat with you all individually. are you ready for the lighting round? first question is hard. do you believe that russia interfered with our election? sen. booker: yes. i believe we have a president who is not protecting our nation. if he is not going to defend america, he needs to get out of the way. >> part of the way we could begin the process of getting him out of the way, aside from winning in 2020 would be to bring articles of impeachment against the president. do you support that? sen. booker: i support starting impeachment proceedings he is now saying he is above the checks and balances and mandates of the constitution. he is trying to be an authoritarian leader where he is above the law. it is the job of congress to hold accountable the executive. he is denying subpoena requests, request for witnesses, information and documents. we cannot tolerate in our
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society, a president that flouts the law and refuses the mandates of the cost of vision and acts like an authoritarian ruler was about it. -- ruler who is about it. -- above it. my grandchildren asked me, when we had a president that was tilting our nation back toward authoritarianism, what did you do? i want to say he should be held accountable and we should use impeachment proceedings to get the information we need to know to keep the checks and balances. [applause] >> greenert new deal. do you support the precepts of the green new deal? sen. booker: i support it because -- and this came from young people who set let's have boldest, most ambitious plan possible to save our planet from peril.
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stacey: right now in this country, women's reproductive rights are under attack. what would you do to address this issue? sen. booker: repeal the hyde amendment. make roe v. wade permanent. fully funding planned parenthood around this country. [cheers & applause] sen. booker: putting judges on the supreme court, the circuit court, at district court who will affirm roe v. wade, but even more than that, this is a bigger problem. i will create a white house office reproductive freedom to make sure we coordinate amongst departments on all issues that empower women, and that is not just abortion care or health care, it is not just access to contraceptives, who has endometriosis and other challenges, but it is also about the maternal mortality rate. it is also about low income beingwho are really
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attacked in these states, it is about having the resources from transportation to health care trueneed to control, reproductive freedom. [cheers & applause] stacey: the next one is not a question, it is a thank you for introducing the algorithmic accountability act. you can go ahead and explain what that is. [laughter] sen. booker: again to my have lived in low income black communities for decades, and i see how people run and out rhythm, and their algorithm can be very biased against someone because of their geography or their race. i have had to fight this and there are a lot of things the prison uses to assess the dangerousness or recidivism likelihood. if you start using zip codes, then heck, i will be caught up in that algorithm. if you start using college attainment, that has race-based
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proposals in it, like who can go to college. if you extend that to credit worthiness, extending it to issues that affect your economic will be in, issues that affect your health care and access, private companies are now using these algorithms, when facebook is deciding what you see and what you do not see based on the algorithms, having these biases based in, it will have an effect on our economy and our culture, so we need to do what we can to make sure we can to make sure we're not compounding dissemination and bias. i am very proud of that bill. you are the first person on this campaign to ask me about that, and i am very grateful for that. stacey: we have the darkest horse to thank for that. they brought that up during the earlier interview. so thank you for that. [cheers & applause] sen. booker: i guess i will say, seahantey.
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stacey: like beyoncé. sen. booker: i have to get it one more dad joke. stacey: what are you reading right now, what are you watching on netflix, hulu, what are you listening to? sen. booker: please don't make me talk about what i am watching on netflix. [laughter] sen. booker: now -- stacey: now we need to know. sen. booker: i have a lot of challenges with falling asleep, so i try to watch thing -- i do love documentaries -- stacey: sure. i do the same thing. sen. booker: you have a good interview style. you let the guysuffe -- you have pauses where you let the guy suffer. i watch things that a guy much younger than me would watch, like cartoons.


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