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tv   Alyssa Mastromonaco Discusses Who Thought This Was a Good Idea  CSPAN  April 18, 2017 11:51pm-12:50am EDT

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they've ever had, the highest paying job they've ever had in a job they do not want to give up. their reelection is more important than the actual problem solving that needs to go on in d.c. >> watch after a sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span twos, but to be deputy chief of staff to president obama shared stories about her time in the white house in her book "is that this is a good year. she recently made an appearance at a bookstore in new york. this is one hour. >> good evening ladies and gentlemen. thank you so much for coming up to now. my name is susanna. co-owner of up on books and music. before i introduce the guess i like to point out we have a gentleman filming.
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this is sean for c-span and this will be broadcast on book tv. we ask that a silencer cell phones and since it is being filmed, the q&a will need to be holding this microphone if you have a question. then i will be around with the microphone. before you speak have the microphone enhance. as want to mention were having a fantastic event sunday afternoon at 4:00 o'clock. kelly will be here, she's the editor of the feminists essay collection called here we are. it's a collection for ages 12 and up. if you have a young feminists in your life it's a fabulous collection and it has essays from everyone. come out and meet kelly she will be here along with christine, one of our most incredible young adult writers.
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i hope we see you again. tonight we are thrilled to welcome back a native alyssa monaco. [applause] liss' new book is who thought this was a good idea another questions you should have answers to when you work in the white house. militia is chief operating officer. previously she served as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff at under president obama. earlier in her career she was director of scheduling for senator john kerry's presidential campaign in 2004. she currently serves on the board of trustees for the john f. kennedy center for the performing arts and is a contributing editor at marie claire. she'll be signing books after she speaks. we have them available for purchase at the front desk. grab one before you head back to have it signed.
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please join me in welcoming alyssa. [applause] >> i thought i would read a little from the book and then we can do q&a if that works for everybody. my selection was picked by my best friend of 30 years. over the years my parents let me hold my own hand a lot. i think there was just hope my sister not which are not to be good people. they didn't care of how successful are prominent or wealthy we would be. so dance classes, the extra curricular choice for, send girls no matter your generational era. i took cap, ballet and jazz for 12 years and what i lacked a natural ability and made up for in enthusiasm.
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i danced in the wings of finale because of my height. i assumed if i was sweating i was succeeding. my sister was a killer, a great dancer. as i got older i realize because i can see an example of someone so suited to dance, like me but i was investing a lot of time in hours each week and something is not that good it. it made me feel bad i never had a solo. i never had a solo, mom. i was 16 when i finally tell my mom i wanted to quit although quitting is a thing people are taught never to do shouldn't flip out. she did lose her mind about not having a circular saw my college application. she said it was okay. if you do it responsibly, quitting something that is not benefiting you, whether it is dance classes that everyone is taking or soul sucking job that has nothing to do with your
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interested in can change your life. when you finish dance i did not set it round cruising the highways and byways of rhinebeck. i was first flute in the band and school. i took french. i babysat for a family down the street every saturday night and i also worked at the enemy barn. that was back in the day. i would wrap the flowers and wet paper towels the newspapers to prepare them for the long trips back to the city with tourists every sunday. this is not some -- barn. it was an actual bar with power tools in a tiny space heater. my best friend cara visited me every weekend and brought me super donuts or a bagel. i loved it there. i also had a job as a checker. -- old-school, a grocery store in the center of town. anyone has worked at kmart,
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walmart or their local grocery store may not believe me but i really liked it. sure, some days you want to hang with your friends instead, but i was good at bagging groceries. it meant that i could afford tickets to see fish or god straight line of the grateful dead. i could buy crystals, they are very cool then. and dresses from winter sun. i also learned a lot about people, what they bought who use coupons, who didn't, who helped to pack and who just are there and waited who watched you scan every item in question the pri price. our store was only one of a cute view that accepted food stamps in the area which gave me more perspective than anything else experience growing up. a moment when you see them a woman with a kid or an older person trying to figure out what food stamps cover.
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the humiliation they can endure why holding up the liner having to put things back. forever for my opinion on how we should help those in need humanely and respectfully. unfortunately there are a lot of people who would disagree. years later we're having a discussion about food stamps in the white house. my job was never policy focus. i scheduled, coordinated and planned to with times and dates and personalities. i often said in a policy meeting so i can understand priorities and use my judgment as my team decided. out of 100 different choices per day how best to use a presidents time. this discussion was a follow-up to conversation obama had with someone else. he would often gather senior staff to talk over issues after meeting with a particular person. because of the economic recession there are a lot of people on food stamps at the beginning of his presidency. the number dropped but we didn't have meetings about what was happening at the moment because if you just dealing with things as their happening you're not
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preparing about things to come out of the blue. this meeting was in the roosevelt room but i was not sitting at the table. i was sitting along the wall. seating is limited in the west wing. the chairs are huge and not that many people fit around the conference tables, many are historical or have other significance. invitations to meetings are exclusive. everyone in the room needs a good reason for being there. from the beginning of my career politics i hadn't imposed policy about swimming in my own lane and not over commenting on things i was not an expert on. in this case i cannot take the rods of this ivy educated gay. they were talking about the limits on what food stamps cover in town. i could tell none of them ever knew a person who had ever needed food stamps. i raised my hand, something i think i only did what i wanted to talk and told them it was
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what it was like to see people humiliated in line trying to buy generic cereal, canned soup and milk. for them to realize what they couldn't get and how ridiculous it was that sports drinks were covered but something like sunny delight which is much cheaper than orange juice and has a decent amount of vitamins, was not. there was nothing they could do. i can feel my face get read in high is place like the white house theoretically what you say should be based on facts, figures and evidence. if your face is red aren't showing too much emotion? i don't know, but i got my point across. it was not a conversation intended to resolve or change anything at the moment. the president made it clear he was on my side. , so i figure you guys might
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have questions maybe we should just go to questions. i can read more if you don't have questions. to greet me to read more? okay. here we go. how much more? oh hello. >> the best part about those jobs in high school, all of which i gained some satisfaction from and remember family even at the time was thinking i would rather be watching 902's ten. they come in a poor way to rationalize what my career seem to work my life was going off course. if i am never good at anything else i'm good at this. you might think it's depressing but it has given me comfort. there's no greater feeling of independence than to provide for yourself. nine if you had a job and you'll probably hate job separates points out your life you can leave and be okay. when it came time for me to play college i had one of those moments where i needed to remember at the end of the day,
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at least i was really good at making groceries. [laughter] that if i didn't get into harvard or even chose to apply i would end up where i was supposed to end up. the time was 92 - 94. no e-mail, no internet. drove to barnes & noble and bought the u.s. college guidebook. we spent hours taking pages and talking about were wanted to go. i underlined addresses in the summer before my senior year i wrote a way to asked for applications. we visited georgetown, berkeley, stanford, and uc santa cruz. the places i apply to, the university of vermont, university of wisconsin, cornell, brown, georgetown, albany and -- and myself. i did my essays which no one proofread. i wrote the essays and study fr the sats and did well,
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especially verbal. my mom did help me thought the checks for the application space. if you haven't seen sent almost fire you cannot fully understand my mindset at the time. i really wanted to go to georgetown. the movie takes place one year after group of friends graduates from the tries to find their way in the world. for some reason, even though i haven't thought much about getting into politics at the time, i wanted to be alec. amazing. he was a very self-important 22-year-old working on a congressional campaign and cheating on his live-in girlfriend. who is too good for him. the characters were very weird role models, they drank a lot, couple of them did a lot of coke and they spent too much money. they were attractive, funny and ultimately made it out alive. i credit this to the fact they had gone to georgetown.
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[laughter] i thought that if i got in i could access some of the backpack energy. i was top ten in my class and by top ten i mean number 11. out of 76 and not short on confidence. who wouldn't want me? i got all my rejections for saint anne april. after returning from our second pilgrimage to georgetown where i have bought a car sticker because i was so convinced i was going to get it, got home to realize cashier had forgot to put the sticker in the bag. later, when my dad got the mail and i open my very thin letter from georgetown and all of the others, we realized it was a sign. signs like this only work in retrospect. i am choosing between the university of vermont and the university wisconsin. coming from such a small town i worried i be to fish out of water from medicine so i happily
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applied and i registered for housing and a meal plan and all the things that make you feel like your new life is about to start, i never step foot on campus. [laughter] kind of funny when you think about it. sometimes i do leap and then look. sometimes it works out great, other times things could've gone a little bit better. if i have a sense of myself in high school, i lost it in college. this was the first time i realized money matter and how you spent it matter more. since my family put value on getting the most out of our car i thought for tour station wagons were aces because they lasted forever. i had no idea who i was. a group in a town where you didn't know who had money and who did it. the wealthiest family were probably the quiet veterinarians
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and they drove beat up suburbans and waken ears. i don't really remember anyone wearing makeup. save little gave her up for - me. i were close from gap or marshals of my hairstyle was from a bowl cut to a shake. think about it when hits eddie betters was shorter and the layers were more similar to the rachel. it wasn't all bad, is good friends with my roommate amy and our flow had a lot of indigo girl listening sessions. a lot of talks about what bugged you out. they could describe any number of situations. when you encounter someone weird, when he smoked bad pot, when you had experienced your first bout of insomnia because the guy insight did not sit next to you and you can figure out why. what respect this is very fun. my classes at me branch out. i majored in french and became good at japanese which i signed up for a win. one semester i took a course in rural sociology which focused on poverty in the northeast kingdom of vermont and i later use
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rather to make small talk with oprah while at an obama event in iowa. it was very good, she was super impressed. from the beginning of sophomore year i began to realize my french major was not taking me in the direction i wanted to go. vermont is very political people say what they think. they disagree without being disagreeable and have discussions without fighting. state and local officials were always on campus. governor howard dean came to register to vote. i got to jump on a reviled republican's car. i found myself -- with a contract with america is a terrible time. i found myself gravitating toward the political stuff whether on or off campus. that winter i decided to apply for an internship with bernie sanders. bernie, the revolution.
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with spring break rolled around i found out the budget for the french department was being cut and it might not be offered as a major. i thought this was a site so reapply to the university of wisconsin madison to transfer in my junior year. a few weeks later i also got the bernie sanders internship working may through august and his congressional office. unlike -- and politics. bernie sanders, john kerry, just saying. the internship did not pay but i was able to stay with a couple of friends in burlington and apartment on south street on a liquor store. i slept on a futon more than once woke up to find a spider? sleep. it's so gross. but it didn't matter, nothing had ever been more exciting. it was an election year so bernie was in the office a lot and he met with constituents more than any politician i had known. i answered phones and took down
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notes from voters. at night i will call people at all parts of vermont trying to raise money. i was in super successful but i did a great job of reminding people to register to vote and telling them of the bernie event to be doing around the state. from time to time i got to drive bernie around. he looked the same way he looks now. super disheveled, gruff but fair. he would always read the newspaper even though we had the windows down, never air-conditioning. sometimes he asked about my family and explain to me what was going on in the world. i once try to impress him by telling him about the time my friends and i jumped on the car. his attitude was what else would you have been doing? before i met bernie i have felt politics was about the adjourned show mission and nothing really happened or got fixed. instead of focusing on the large-scale changes, he showed
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me how to see the people whose problems he could impact insult. the people who work for him also seemed dedicated to helping his constituents. it's not necessarily true of others. many politicians have staff made up of climbers who move from one senator to another to get up the ladder with the ultimate goal of becoming a legislative director chief of staff. of course, some politician staff levels want to go on and run for office himself. a lot of times ambition in washington is just about being powerful. you can be powerful without a seat in congress. bernie was so committed to his issues in vermont that politics did not seem -- before i left for madison i changed my major to political science. two important things happen. first i got a call for burning from a 608 area code which is madison, wisconsin.
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bernie was running late so i told the man on the line, that he might have to wait a few minutes. in the meantime i asked questions. i always try to learn about people coming in the office especially people who are talking to bernie. i want to know what made them important enough to get the time and attention. when i got on the phone and he had to wait a summer chance. i knew ed was a very important labor attorney. he had unionize nfl players association and was a progressive leader in madison. i told him i was going to be transferring to madison. he replied that i should come see him when i arrived on campus. i work for him for two years i lived there. as a side note, ed garvey passed away about three weeks ago and he ran for governor several times and was a great human being. i was glad i actually wrote about him in here because he was wonderful. the other important thing that happened was his team invited me
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to be an intern in the d.c. office the following summer. i don't know if anyone in the office will understand what that meant to me. i felt like wonder woman. i packed up and went back to my back. from babysitting from a family outside of madison a couple of times a week and all i got for my 21st birthday for my summer in d.c. shannon was going to law school i joke to metropark and took the train to capital south. i had five outfits to rotate each week. i had tomato mayonnaise sandwiches. i walked into bernie's office ready to jam. this was a different buy. the interns were competitive and i would rather bang and a jump circle all day and never have to compete. i had a minor crisis of confidence. then i remembered that i knew 100 times more about vermont than any of these guys.
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i was busy every day walking briskly and professionally which are professionally getting signatures and bells on amendments, running anything and everything to offices and drafting letters to constituents. if legally blonde had come out by then i would've fancied myself version of elwood meets norman ray, the union organizer. when my internship ended i was convinced i would be back the following summer after graduation to start my career as a humbly committed government employee. i do not get to interact with bernie that much but it didn't matter. working for him give me a clear picture of who i was what i wanted to do. [applause] so now it is time for questions. i can tell you a story about how the title came to be witches, do you know?
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president obama does not like to be cold, ever. he's from hawaii, despite what donald trump says. it was a very end of the 2008 election and we were in pennsylvania and so is john mccain. it was supposed to snow and john mccain canceled all of the events. we are in chicago and i went in to see david, i was the one who is going to tell the man who hates the cold that he was going to keep on going. so i did, and i e-mailed reggie love was his personal aide and robert gibbs who became white house press secretary. and i said hey were again and go in pennsylvania and they wrote back and said boss wants to know who thought this was a good idea.
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that was not the first time that happened or the last time. but i said no it's fine, it will be great. my deputy, danielle who is like my work soulmate, she and i got to the office early and were sitting there and watching it on tv and it was not just snowing, was sleeting sideways and hitting him in the face. daniel said oh my gosh, it's like the worst possible scenario. we watch him and he gets his face and i did an npr interview and they played me back that actual event. and i'm like i was so right. it's an awesome event put at the end of the event he is drenched and full of sleep in a ghost walk offstage and put his hand up and reggie will put the phone in his hand and my phone rang ten seconds later. and i picked it up and put my head down on the desk and said it's in.
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so mike hello, like you are awesome, amazing. john mccain canceled all of his events, you're the best. and he said where are you? and i said i'm at my desk. he said must be nice and he hung up. then, many months later damien winter who took the photo won the pulitzer prize for that photo. so that came out that they we were in texas and went kenny thompson who is there that day and pulled the photo up and said look, you won the poster. and he said yeah, i did i won the pulitzer. so that is where the title of the book came from, because you always have to know who thought it was a good idea questions?
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>> how are involved are you now in the political arena? >> i work at a private company. i am not as political as a probleprobably would be otherwi. my march, a tweet, don't tell the people i work for. i try to support woman-owned businesses and people who support the aclu and planned parenthood at any term. so, for the first presale of this book went to the women's march. next week this is my cowriter, lauren. next week will do a day were close to planned parenthood. in some ways it's like you can't march every day. but what is happening now is garbage. we have to keep doing stuff. >> what is your take away from
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the experience being in the obama white house. what have you learned? >> what i have learned is that you can be successful without being abusive. that actually be in the team that rose in the same direction is the best way to be. and that i'm better with the group than i am alone. >> if we were sitting in a conference table waiting for president obama to come in and run a meeting about some policy issue, what was his style of running a meeting? what would it be like in terms of how he would orchestrate that meeting? >> i would say that he would, there were times that he would come in and sit down and normally the white house you get the paper the night before and read and know what it was about. he would come down and he loved
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to go around the table and ask everybody what they thought. even if it wasn't their specific area of expertise. i think he believed as much as anybody who is set in the oval office that the econ experts is not the only person who has a gut on economics. so even the example of the foodstamp, when i told the story about my experience, he turned around and said alyssa knows as much as anybody because she was there. i would say he was very open, like that is the -- yes, i would say he is very open-minded. he is caring.
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>> i have a career advice question. i'm a staffer, currently in finance. last cycle i was doing a little scheduling and that's where i would like to go now. to have advice as to how to get into that. >> it's not that hard of question. i would say that you need to if that's really what you want to do, like what makes you want to do that? >> it slightly more political but you have to be super anal-retentive. >> you do. i was not supermodel normal. i was super annoying for couple of years. i would say, get into it and a slow way and see if it's really what you want to do. it's a lots. it is 24 slash seven. not just for someone who runs for president but for anyone. you're always dealing with
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someone else's life. if you're okay with someone else's life in your life you will be okay. if that annoys you that will be a problem. >> i'm with wisconsin and we didn't really have a schedule, it just became me. >> well, then you're good. >> you need the microphone. >> i feel like i am at a press conference. >> me too. >> i have a two-part question. the first witness, do you miss it? >> oh, i do miss it. i almost wish that i could've left for a year and then went back. you get your energy back. i miss it. i miss having a mission every day. >> how does it feel being sandwiched between two of the most unpopular presidents so far
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in american history? >> i would have to say i know that for most people george bush is pretty unpopular, but it's okay, i will say that when you look at what is happening now the transfer power, the bush folks were so generous and so helpful. it is very hard for me to think anything bad about them at this point. who wouldn't give to have met romney in office right now. [laughter] >> i just wanted to make a comment, i've had a really nice life and i very rarely read a memo or biography worm jealous. this made me jealous. >> that is awesome. thank you. i appreciate that. even the ibs with the pope?
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did you read that part? >> i did. >> you are going to continue working on the barack obama library. >> yes, i am. it's still in the early stages in his in french polynesia right now doing, i can't say. but all of us, myself, danielle and we are all part of the foundation committee. it should be good. -- chicago. >> i work with young college students who all want to drop out of college and march every day. and not get an education because they want to go fight a fight. i'm wondering if you have any sage advice for me to tell them to stay in college and get the degree and then fight the fight. but i'm wondering is someone who was on the hill with people with college educations, how do you see her college education having
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led to the path that you took? >> i was safe for the kids, it's very hard. couple weeks ago on march 8 ahead the strike, day without women straight. for a lot of us, i wanted to strike but i couldn't. i had to work that day. i couldn't just not. there are a lot of different ways to protest and support without going out in march and every day. you can support women on businesses. you can volunteer a couple of hours a week on the city council. or the local campaign, there are a lot of ways to show your support and protests without dropping out of school. at the end of the day, who knows, that is probably not a good idea. >> did you ever find people you worked with did not have college degrees? >> actually, david did not have a college degree.
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he did not graduate, think he left the month before his foster graduate. but he went without his diploma. there are people like that who got swept up. my assistant at the time was at harvard, iv. and he left the campaign and then he came and volunteered and worked on the campaign and then went back and got his degree. if you do that yet to be really committed to go back otherwise you just pissed away three years. >> you need a microphone. >> i recall hearing you say you are in wisconsin which was known as a very liberal state. and leading an education. it is totally changed now. do you have any observations or insights onto what happened, was it gerrymandering, all of the
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above? what can you tell us about that. >> i do not know entirely. i think some of it probably had to do with the same phenomenon that wisconsin went very trump which was unexpected. there are a lot of people who are, i think we can't discount the bernie revolution and i think they showed us a lot of people showed us their voices are not being heard and our single issue voters around economics. i think that was a real issue and for wisconsin the gm plant went out of business. that affected them in very different now than i was when i was there. >> hello. thank you for being here.
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i imagine the president gets very caught up in the business of the white house and government. how did they stay in contact with their constituency? how do they remain in touch with the people there trying to serve and keep that momentum and interest in support? >> i do not know how president trump does it. but president obama every night got ten letters from real people. the woman, it's a great story because there's a woman, fiona who is in charge of the white house a pulling those ten letters every day. when she was getting ready she did it for several years and when she was getting ready to leave cbs did a profile on her about how hard it was for her to pick between the letters. every night he got ten letters and took them up and wrote personal responses to each one. what you would not know is that he would pull out, someone wrote
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say they needed a refrigerator. and he would write them a response and then he would put a sticky note on and say alyssa, figure out how to get them a refrigerator. i found out as you can do a lot with the salvation army. without fingerprints from anybody on the administration we call the salvation army were able to get them out refrigerator. those are the things he did but we went home every night. we all knew it would all get the notes. we like to get a letter from us like? any have to think figure out how to solve this insane problem. he said i was sent that and so nobody ever knew that they came from other organizations but that's what he would do every night ten letters.
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>> i just have a follow on for that. right to your senator sang congresspeople, they will respond. >> they will, especially if you call. like they are inspired to listen to all of the voicemail. >> they are supposed to keep a log. . .
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very worried that people that tt supported bernie might think they don't have to get out and vote for hillary. what do you think is going to happen? he's not going to break 37%. wrong. but, when president obama came out that the nex the next day ay clinton gave up was one of the best speeches of the campaign and said this is it. this is how we are going to do it. i'm going to help him and i think there are not many democrats who didn't think hillary was going to win. it is insane, but the president very much believed that the transition of power is such an
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important thing that he just encouraged all of us to get on the program. >> class of 94. >> where do you think we would be now if john kerry had won the election? >> i don't know. that is a good question. it wasn't the right time and while i'm not excited donald trump has one, i think it has galvanized something that may have been dormant in people and they are more aware and being participatory where it matters. if john kerry had won, and it's only my guess, it might have
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been a one term thing. it's a feeling ithe feeling in s so fluid and so i don't know who would be president now that i don't know that it would have made that big of a difference necessarily. >> this is on your scheduling, you have a great story on obama. was there any special preferences you have to keep in mind when scheduling? >> i'm looking over to make sure that i'm not saying anything terrible. he isn't a morning person and he likes to have dinner with his family. he doesn't like to be rushed, and i mean that in any day in the white house, you could have
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a meeting on troop withdrawals from iraq, a meeting on the financial crisis and the thing you start to realize is someone that is intellectually curious as he is, you can't go from one to the other to the other without taking a pause to sort of absorb what has happened so that is sort of the one thing we learned is he needed time to think not like a lot of time but not just from one to the other [inaudible] i'm just wondering is there any anger translator you don't have to get specific but like no drama obama did he never get angry? >> dot at all and that is why the whole thing was a caricature because the extent of him
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getting mad was literally like raising an eyebrow so he wasn't someone that would sit there and like the things that trump has said out loud, you will pay, president obama would literally be like a duck's disappointing. i can't remember a time he yelled even when healt healthcav was a disaster he was just like this is a problem and you know it wasn't like he was being soft on you but it got him to the point he had to say that europe the creek. anyone else? how much do you think the voting rights act rollback had to do
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with the election in states like wisconsin and -- >> i woul >> i would say generally my feeling on the election is democrats were too complacent. they thought that it was in the bag. they didn't think that donald trump could possibly. and in states that wisconsin -- and i say this for all the love with secretary clinton in my heart that they were not even there and so having to go -- having gone to wisconsin i can't remember and election all the way back where the democrats didn't show up in madison and get people excited. and i think that there might have been a bit of a focus. it would be that we ended up in a different place if not for the win
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>> do you think that when he came out ten days before was that whole thing and also the russian influence she might have leaked it out. that might have had an impact. >> i will say that when the fbi director was leaving and we needed to find his replacement, i was one of the people that interviewed replacement for the fbi director. and i can tell you that there was no one more impressive than jim comey and i have to assume he did whatever he had to do, and we don't know why. but i assume the best of intentions on his part. and i don't know that that is what drove people at the polls. i think there was something even
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a little bit more fundamental. >> as fake news has been developing, it's started slow during the obama administration. how was he in the administration during the development of? >> no one called it a fake news back then. they were like no, really. answer the question. were you born in the u.s.? and he was. so to us, it was sort of like we were exasperated, but i don't think that he saw it ever as what it would become, which is insane. it's good that facebook is addressing how some of that
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stuff gets populated on social media along with some of the others like twitter and google i guess. but no, we were never like this is fake news. it didn't seem like a movement. it just seemed like something we could cite low. >> what was the funnest day that you had at the white house? >> i don't know if you are ready for this. >> by funnest day is when we went to london for the queen's jubilee and i am obsessed with the royals, so this was awesome, but we threw a party for the queen at the windsor house which is the ambassador's house in london, and it was full of
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lawson and colin firth and david beckham, she was sent there but -- so we were excited and it turned out the queen was going to do a receiving line with all of us and i was talking to john on the trip. he may have given a famous podcast. so we were all there like you go first come in your hands on and will like you. the queen was in the most fantastic down but so elegant and sparkling and had a tiara on and i was beside myself.
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i had a very bad cold that day, and i definitely i'm telling you they are like david beckham thinks you're hot. [laughter] the best part is it's not the most flattering so what solids e the two. colin firth is the star of one of my favorite movies, love actually, so his wife, the king's speech had just come out and she said what is your favorite movie and i thought she meant of colin firth, so i said i love love actually. and she said really. i said yes. and i went on to do an
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impersonation of british people in the middle of twins or house where i said we love uncle jamie, we hate uncle jamie and everyone was appropriately horrified. so that was my most fun day. [laughter] >> we have time for one or two more questions. what are the most influential reasons you think you've accomplished what you have because you have accomplished a lot. >> i think i came from a community that was quite egalitarian, and where we went to high school and basically all thought we were the same and there wasn't like a hierarchy i don't think and we all worked
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really hard and it didn't matter. everyone had an afterschool job and we all did our own stuff so that was one of them because they never expecteinever expecto anything for me. number two, i think i was lucky with the people i worked for and i think i only worked for people he deeply believed in, so there wasn't any sort of a moral compromise. let's be honest when i worked for barack obama it was like one good speech at a convention and that was it. i never thought he would run for president. so i think one being well-rounded and number two, just following the moral compass not working for people just to get ahead but working for people
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i believe in. [laughter] >> i was just wondering during your time in the white house, what was that either biggest or first most emotionally impactful moment that you saw the president under go where you felt like something was fundamentally very serious and have been to him and how he viewed his role? >> i would say that it was newtown. it's a super downer way to end this thing. i would say the one thing you don't realize in the white house is that this morning i think and don't quote me, but we remember we got a report that there might be a shooting at a mall in connecticut and then we heard that there might be a shooting, like something totally crazy,
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like a shooting in a high school, and then the third report was providing. you have a bunch of people like you can't stop and be sad like this is terrible, but you have john brennan who went on to beat the cia director but at the time was the assistant to the president for the counter intelligence and homeland security and we were in the room explaining what we heard from the governor of the connecticut's office and we were all just doing our work that barack obama and john brennan and i come to you just work through the tears and that was probably the first and most impactful followed by the gun legislation not passing a few months later. maybe we should do one more question so it isn't such a bummer. [laughter]
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>> tell us a good national story to the -- michelle story. first lady michelle obama believed when we would go to a foreign country and we were having a state visit that it wasn't like a party for us. this was work. so, we were in tanzania and i was at a table and the tourism minister and interior minister were on either side of me. for some reason people were not talking that much that there was a lively band playing and she looked at me and was just like and i knew that it was my time to get up and leave the line to get everybody out. [laughter] and so i did. valerie jarrett got up and we did this line and at the end of the night she was like why are the boys on their blackberries
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and i knew i was in good shape but maybe they were in trouble, but that was a great memory. >> thank you so much. [applause] thank you all for joining us here. she will be signing books and you can purchase them up at the front desk. the signing line will start here and go this way
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>> on those that pose threats to the country can individuals seek to use that information to make a name for themselves. as long as they make a splash they care nothing about the lies they put at risk o the damage ty cause to national security the role they played and the sacrifices. we have been loyal to the core value and task ever since we were founded and that is that we are an alliance where we've promised to protect each other. over one and one for all.
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>> the nobel prize laureate addresses a joint session of the canadian parliament. >> 113 million are out of school today. they may not have the studies or know their statistics the statie understand that education is the only path to guide the future. >> we discussed the current state of u.s. russian relations. there is a low level of trust between the two countries. the world's foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship. >> c-span programs are available at on the homepage and by searchinhome pageand by o library.
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>> the senator that has been written about the most is joe mccarthy there's a dozen books about mccarthy yet there is no biography of the senator that has a back bone to stand up to him first. the selection of speech is going back to 1989 sunday night at eight eastern on c-span q-and-a.


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