tv Campaign 2020 Covering the Presidential Campaign During a Pandemic CSPAN December 7, 2020 9:42am-10:55am EST
c-span your unfiltered view of politics. politics. >> next, political reporters talk about covering the 2020 presidential campaign during the coronavirus pandemic, hosted by rice university's baker institute. ins an hour, 0 10 minutes. >> i'm john williams, co-director of the program. today we have two panels, you'll enjoy, i know i will. frankly my first one is comes out with political reporter more than 25 years who i took a job with secretary baker more nan 16 years ago. the title of the first panel, adm admittedly ironic, a view if the campaign bus. it was ironic because there was no campaign bus and covid prevented that and the panel is
leading journalists who covered the 2020 election season including jonathan allen award waning journalist, covers politics. and e-co-authored, shattered, about hillary clinton. and from the dallas morning news, covered elections, including the campaigns of george w. bush and barack obama for president. and columnist for "the washington post", a fine eye for politics. and she began in santonio, her biography of nancy reagan will be insightful about our late first lady. and the panel will be moderated
by a correspondent who joined cnn in 2015. a veteran reporter she's profiled presidents george hb bush, george w. bush, jimmy carter, barack obama. jamie, congratulations on your scoop last night former presidents obama, bush and clinton will take the covid-19 as a way to breed confidence in this possible cure. >> thank you so much for having us. can we see everybody just to start? because i'm not-- there you all are. one more, karen. there you go. i am so thrilled to be here with all of you today and i just want to start because john mentioned the lack of a bus
this year. so, you know, let me just ask each of you how was this-- this campaign was different in so many ways. what we're used to, but karen, let me start with you. how was it different for you because of covid? >> well, at "the washington post," we were all sent home the second week in march and you know, unless you could make an argument that your travel was absolutely crucial, the paper put a lockdown on it. in fact we're not back in our office until probably next june at the earliest. so, i think those of us who have been out there for the primary season, you know, this is the very moment where this is kind of pivoting into the general election. we know who the democratic nominee is it going to be and i just really felt that it was very, very difficult to sort of try and get a sense of what was
really going on, but we were not the only ones to have that problem. in the middle of march, jen o'malley dylan joins the biden campaign as their new campaign manager. she was supposed to gear up the whole inning for a general election season. she goes into the philadelphia headquarters for her very first meeting with the staff and her first meeting she has to tell everybody they are going home for the duration. so, she ended up essentially running the campaign from the attic of her house in suburban maryland with seven-year-old twins and a two-year-old underfoot. so, you know, it was not just the journalists, but it was also the campaigns trying to figure out how to adjust to all of this. >> i think that you're one of the few people in the press core, you went to debates, you went to rallies, am i correct?
>> yeah, i went to the secretary debate and then trump traveled a little bit and i was able to catch him on a couple of panel discussions and then the social distance rallies of kamala harris incoming vice-president had, so, a couple of those, but it was really tough and as karen said, there's such a -- march was the texas primaries and you had the extraordinary moment when south bend mayor pete buttigieg and amy klobuchar the senator and they all dropped from the race and met joe biden in dallas to sort of like rally around him and it became clear after winning with texas that he would-- and other states that he would become the nominee. now, usually, as karen pointed out, we're all ready to go now
and we know the players and we're ready to get into it, the conventions are on hand, we think, and, yeah, we got sent home as well. we're still in the back at the dallas morning news in our offices either. and you have this weird, weird few weeks and months where, is there going to be a convention? will they get this straightened out in time for there to be conventions? and when will they get out there campaigning? when will we get back out there? and of course, it never really happened the way it traditionally happened and that was, in a way, kind of sad because we get this every four years, right? and it's kind of our super bowl for political reporters. and we didn't have it, of course. you know, the goal was for everybody to be safe and to stay well and we understood that. but in a way, you know, much like a sporting event, our season was severely altered and
changed. >> jonathan, i'm thinking back to the conventions, particularly-- i mean, we had two very different conventions with each candidate, but where were you for those? and what was it like watching them? i think you need to unmute yourself. >> i was just-- i was in the best place possible to watch the conventions, which was my living room. it's-- the conventions are wonderful, but as the other folks on the panel know and as you know, every four years, especially when the conventions are back to back, you know, trying to get through those weeks as a journalist and survive and maintain your sobriety and all of those things are very difficult. so at some level, it was very refreshing to be able to sort of sit essentially in quiet and pay attention to the speeches
and not have the sort of outside aggravations that you have. on the other hand, it's a huge loss in terms of sourcing. the conventions are a great place to faulk to people who are on the campaigns that are unaccessible often to talk to other political officials who are inaccessible and put on your roledex, as far as the public goes. these are scripted and we don't normally see that. everyone can remember 2016 when ted cruz walks down onto the convention floor and says, vote your conscience. and everyone remembers democratic conventions, torn apart by which delegation was going to be seated. you know, a little before my time, but you know, the mississippi freedom delegation versus the non-mississippi freedom delegations. mississippi delegates, what was going to happen with the delegates in the ford-reagan race in '76.
carter and kennedy, i mean, conventions can be really sort of unpredictable times and in this case, we sort of lose out on that. >> you really don't just run into people, do you? i mean, that's the big thing that happens. i want to ask the three of you. jonathan, why don't we start with you this time. i like numbers. today is december 3rd, a month ago, believe it or not, was election day, november 3rd. the tally, at least as of last night, was joe biden, 80,942,426 votes. donald trump 74,87,368. biden wins by almost 7 million.
306-2 306-272. i want to ask you a month later, is it over yet? >> yes, it is over. it was over-- look, i look at the moment when donald trump went on early wednesday morning and basically election night and started talking about fraud and at that moment, you could tell that he thought he had lost. or certainly was moving in the direction of losing. you don't come out and talk about fraud if you think you're in a good position. and from that moment on, only became more clear that biden won. and no apersian cast on mine or any others being careful. that's responsible. but takes almost a week to call the election. i don't think there was a point during that period where it looked like donald trump was, you know, was going to come back based on votes that were still outstanding and even since then. you know, there
wasn't a question who won the election. >> it was it close in terms of the electoral college. >> yes, absolutely, historically, but there's not a question about who won. >> karen, talk a little about, we've been through bush v gore relatively recently, but talk a little bit about what the last month has felt like from big picture, historic perspective, to be going through this. >> well, i mean, it's, you know, donald trump continues to sort of dominate the stage and, but his antics, i think when-- leading up to that 47-minute video yesterday, seemed to be getting more and more desperate. his legal team, and i use that phrase loosely, is getting thrown out of every court that they are taking these
challenges to. they have produced absolutely no evidence for their challenges. so, you really do get a sense that it is almost like street theater. the election results is not in doubt and it wasn't really all that close. but i do think that we-- to me the great mystery of the 2020 election is why the polls and the expectations were so correct about the presidential race and why they were so wrong about everything else. the all the polls, all the expectations would have suggested that the democrats were going to pick up seats in the house and that the republicans had a better than 50-50 chance of losing the senate. i've covered, and this is the
first one you've seen a new president come in with absolutely no coattails. whatever the reverse of coattails is, socks? and i think that's what is going to be studied about this election in years to come and i think there's something fundamentally flawed in the exit polls, and i think there's going to be a lot of analysis that can maybe explain that to us, but there's some real mysteries about the outcome of this election that, you know -- the outcome of the presidential election is not a mystery, but there was a lot going on in the lelectorate that we didn't understand. >> just to talk about karen just raised with the polls, there are two words you hear a lot in washington d.c. and conventional wisdom. and some of that is based on experience, and history, and i
think a lot of it is also based on the polls. considering what karen said about downballots. >> right. >> what is-- what surprised you? what do you think went on looking back? >> well, i think a lot of ticket splitting went on. there were people set on going to the polls to, one, vote either for or against donald trump and a lot of people voted against donald trump, who then said, you know, while i want to vote against donald trump, but i don't want to send my party or the republicans a draconian message so i'm going to vote for senator john cornyn in te texas as well. aim he going to vote for republican candidates as well. in texas they thought they had a chance of taking control of
the texas house, that would be for the first time since 2001. and maybe win a statewide race on the strength of biden winning, you know, or challenging trump in texas. they thought maybe that biden could win texas. it didn't happen and a lot of it was because nationally because people perhaps, goal number one, vote against trump, try to get trump out of office, but at the same time, we like our state rep, we like our congressman, we like our republican senator. perhaps that-- some of that went on. >> jonathan, looking at the numbers that we've seen for both biden and trump, were you surprised at these record turnouts? >> if you'd told me 81 million people were going to vote i might have believed, but, but i thought it would have been both sides not 81 million for one
candidate. i mean, we're looking at roughly 155 million people voting. i think in the last election we were at the 120-some mark, 125, 128 something like that. the increase was surprising to me. i expected that more people would vote for trump than did last time. i expected that more people would vote for biden than clinton, but certainly not in terms of the level of the increase. people wanted to vote and just, briefly to address the other question that you had just asked, i think one of the things you saw here was the split, at the presidential level and at the congressional level was, there was so much anger and chaos and sort of attention to extremism going on and i think what you saw was an electorate that collectively, you know, kind of rejected both of those things, right? so, on the republican side, you had trump as the sort of
lightning rod of extremism, on the democratic side, you had trump battling against what he said was socialism and people didn't buy that about biden. he was battling against defunding the police. police didn't buy that about biden, but might have at the state level and the message may have penetrated. and lower the volume a little bit. >> jonathan, just to follow up on the numbers. considering covid, considering the economic fallout in the country, were you surprised at how many votes donald trump did get? >> i was surprised at the number. i was not surprised that there was an increase. his entire campaign philosophy was to find people who agreed with mimm already and get them to the polls. so to try to increase with this base-only strategy.
i figured that would work to some degree, i didn't think it would work to quite the level that it did and i think what we're-- what we watched happen on both sides is some of that. the amping up of the bases. we got to a point i think 4%-- ... undecided down the stretch. that 4 percent made a differenc difference. the parties have figured out the game of getting more people to the polls i'm not surprised to see the numbers increase. >> we surprised by the >> karen, were you surprised by the numbers? >> i was surprised by some of the numbers within the numbers. for instance, trump did much better among latinos overall i
think than people expected him to do. he did very well in places like miami-dade and the rio grande valley, and that probably made a difference in democratic members in florida who were on nobody's radar screen to be a danger who lost. i think though the best analysis i have heard as to why that would be, a couple of things. one is that immigration was not as high profiled an issue in this election as it was in 2016, but it was a reminder, too, that latinos as a whole are younger than the population at large, which means they are less likely to be struck down by covid. and they are also in a lot of the industries that were hardest hit by the shutdowns, the hospitality industry, hotels,
restaurants. as a result, economic issues for a lot of latino voters, those were survival issues. that drew them in a way that the polls were not picking up two trump's message. i think that is one of the things that is going to be studied about this election going forward. >> gromer, same question. to me by the time we got to election day, 250,000 americans had died. bob woodward reporting had come out, the audio of president trump privately telling him back on february 7 that he knew it was airborne and how dangerous it is. were you surprised at all that he got such big numbers,,
considering kisses handling of covid? >> not really because we had kind of been there before with that in 2016 with the "access hollywood" tape and the comey announcement reopening the clinton investigation company look like a dead man walking until that happened and he performed quite well. i figured he would get his base back out, and he didn't think the numbers would be as high as they were but i figured maybe he would get a little extra by db get the base back out again. where he made his mistake is about fromm the beginning, as a sitting president coming in in 2016 you sort of have a clean slate and ability to sort of expand that base, and he really didn't do a a whole lot to expd
the base. if you look at the 2016 election, the close margins in michigan, pennsylvania, wisconsin, suggested or should it suggested to him if he didn't do some expansion of his base, even if they got them back out and had a marginal increase, that the democrats were coming for him, they would be ready this time, they wouldn't have apathy, it wouldn't sit on biden like this out of hillary clinton somewhat. i think that's what happened. they were coming for him. he w knew that but he didn't expand the base. he got his base back out but he didn't do enough to sort of, again when michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania or some other places that maybe he could have won if he had been a more, president that wasn't just a base on the president right. we saw that for three years.
let me go back to covid to all three of you. and the difference between what might've happened, which i think is always dangerous with trumpet there's a lot of coulda woulda shoulda with them but if on february 8 instead of not telling everyone what he told bob woodward, he had said let's all be superheroes. let's all wear masks. i'm going to make maggie masks, sell a lot of trying to masks. if he had handled covid differently -- gromer, let me start with you on this -- you think he would've won a month ago? >> probably. much closer race. the economy, he got credited for building an economy that was humming. in times of crisis americans
want to rally around their leader typically come right? if they think you are trying come if you think you are making moves that are based on logic and science, they give you the benefit of the doubt even if there are some rocky patches. but ifit you just throw it aside and say hey, you know, for instance, mock people, mock biden for wearing a mask, if you don't take it seriously. in thing in the late summer months sort of kind of abandon even, that's what look like, then yeah, that's when the people will say you know what, maybe we need a change. if you saw how he suffered with senior voters, and senior voters are usually with the president,
with republican candidates. i think he took a dip in senior voters and it could've hurt them in the election. i think it'sle because of his handling of covid. it was the last straw. the chaotic years, people could have forgiven that, but then he couldn't get his arms around covid and they think that, yeah, you're right, i think if it had not been for that maybe he winced. >> jonathan, i see you nodding, i see karen knotting, but jonathan, you start. >> look, again, i don't know how many errors a team would've made with a different shortstop, you know? it's impossible to play out, but it do think the president more than anything talked himself out of the presidency. there is a rally round the flag effect when there's the crisis. think about 9/11 or pearl harbor, not that the disease is
quite the same as an attack on american soil but i think the public gives the president a lot of latitude to make the errors that gromer was talkingre about, have rocky path a little bit. everybody was scared. i think what you saw from the president started as overly rosy, and then he decided he was going to issue a stay at home guidelines which made a lot of sense, and then struggled with it openly. he thought himself in public on the dais, on the podium at the briefing room everyday say how much you wanted to reopen the economy. he was having this fight with himself. i don't think that helped him but i think it was like when you started to get into the territory of i am going to prescribe i hydroxychloroquine. i'm couldn't tell you you can inject leached into yourself. the loss of trust, funny and comical because we all know that's an idiotic thing to do, but i think the loss of trust
even had a handle on seriously dealing with this disease was a problem for him, and it's like he could've looked at clover from a global perspective as an opportunity to show leadership and to walk out a bit stronger. and when we did with a condom turkey saw this huge economic get and he was very confident, smartly so it would be some rebound at some level that he could show, and he just didn't do that withld the pandemic tury never figured out how to deal with it. he dealt with it as a problem for him politically instead of as an opportunity politically. as we all know, and no matter how many times we go through crises, the best politics is to simply deal as straightforwardly and as effectively with the crisis in front of you as you possibly can, and he did not appear to be doing that. .
>> so it is almost rhetorical. the one incurred argue for the pieces of the covid response and signaling of the leadership style and the lack of seriousness that were difficult for many voters. >> i think he was hurt by his willingness to politicize like wearing a mask. and whatever is the opposite of virtues signaling. turning things that should have been basic public health measures, turning into a signifier if you are a democrat or a republican , people also understood the only have more cases because we have more testing made absolutely no sense and they could also see that responses
and other countries were more effective. this was a time when reality did catch up with him. also wondering what might have happened if the pfizer vaccine announcement happened two weeks earlier. >> following up on that secretary baker ran a famous campaign in the white house at his time and thinking back they were known for disciplined and process. this was a president who had wild and dramatic moments.
but there was one this fall i would have liked to be sitting next to secretary baker watching his face. that is when president trump went to walter reed and then got into his car and drove around and was waving and then finally when he returned to the white house with the big helicopter scene and going up to the balcony and taking a false mas mask, what were you all thinking watching that moment? because each of you have talked about the big picture in his handling of covid. that's october. not that long ago.
what did you think was going on? >> it was one of the most bizarre things i have ever seen in the time of covered politics. at least they could talk him out of the idea to take official revealing a superman t-shirt under that. but americans at that point i think it was over 200,000 people had died and people understood that donald trump had access to treatment that their loved ones did not. he didn't want to signal it was not that big of a deal and he had some super constitution that makes him superhuman or something, that was so at odds with the reality people were seeing and feeling in their communities and their home that it didn't send a message
he thought it would. >> a lot of times the presidents first instinct is to go to his showmanship background. this president the last 15 minutes of celebrity apprentice. it's a real serious situation where you try to set the tone or individual the rest of the country. you just had covid-19, treatment that other americans can't get. here you are, in a moment where and use the moment to show leadership, he could have emerged and say i have dealt with this, noble insured want
this. please wear your mask. do what you have to do. because you don't want to get it like i did. and show some compassion and leadership. he took the reality tv without going up to the top and looking out, have people and they start to call these things happen. what is going on? and they mentioned it seem like it was the last 15 minutes of a reality show when someone is doing something that is more spectacle. >> this is one of those moments and remember 40 years
ago same way would be even covid to not make a profit. what do you think? >> to the point about showmanship i kept thinking this stagecraft is excellent and reaganesque and using the power of the presidency and the trappings and seems to be completely out of touch for the moment so a bill clinton on bush or instrument bush would have done is in danger people's lives for the benefit of the state.
so it seems so dissident to me watching the president behave in this manner that seems so presidential from that trapping standpoint and from a level of how do i protect the american people. >> one of the things i just realized is that we have been talking for the minutes about donald trump. not it on - - not about president-elect biden. so now let's go back to the campaign strategy are both sides. so talk to be about joe biden and what messages worked, what strategies worked, how did he get to be president-elect apart from what president trump was doing? >> for those of us that were
following the very large directly fields in new hampshire and iowa and nevada, joe biden looked like a dead man walking. he got his clock cleaned and iowa, he went to new hampshire and it did even worse. he barely barely barely pulled out a second place finish in nevada. so that in south carolina really it was a testament to his own tenacity. he ran on the same message beginning to end. it was an election about character. he was not allowing himself to be drawn to the left. but a single endorsement of james clyburn that essentially
pulled the biden campaign out of the ditch and put them on the road to the nomination. and at that point that campaign was out of money, it was not at all equipped that was a completely primary endeavor. and the reason they could rebuild itself, not only for normal general election but one conducted in this environment is such an extraordinary story. and i hope it will be good books written about this. because the discipline that campaign showed. there is a lot of talk about
texas they sent kamala harris down to texas. but they knew there was a lot of states they needed to win mostly in the upper midwest and they really kept the focus where they knew they needed to win. and they want those states and they got a couple of bonus states like georgia and arizona and florida. but they did what they needed to do but as they begin to build the team for the presidency, presidency, those that are picked for the key jobs are breaking a lot of glass ceilings coming to gender and race but at the same time these are all coming with the deep backgrounds and the issue will be dealing with. this is so different the trump
transition from celebrity apprentice. >> it really has look different remember trump tower and the elevators? gromer, looking back at the biting campaign from the clyburn moment what made it work big picture quick. >> he caught a couple of weeks he had a long-established connection to communities of color particularly black voters under barack obama the other front runners did not have. 's after but the judge came out of iowa and new hampshire he had nowhere to go.
0 percent with african-american voters. you cannot win that way. most of the other contenders struggled as well and pretty sanders became the first runner that helped biden because they could rally around him because they do the sanders nomination would be a disaster from the party on - - for the party. so they rallied around that and have the wherewithal to survive and hold on because you know you will get rotten media coverage coming out of iowa and new hampshire and nevada. and the campaign struggled. they were not raising money. this tragedy on - - the strategy was off. but he wasn't put in a trap with the socialist message
that they were throwing at other democratic candidates and people could say in general o'malley said it's a great choice to pull the campaign out the ditch and knew that he had trump on the other side and then let it play out to have success and that's what happened. >> o'malley's name is been brought up a couple of times pointing to a column returned in august that i thought was
instructive. i tend to look at this at the old-school route of campaigning having written a book at the election and look at the mistakes clinton made and that was a mistake for hillary as overarching. her campaign was a failure to connect her biography to a message that told voters what would one - - what she would do for them and that is what biden succeeded more than anything. and sent the message very early talking about the character piece the character, competence and compassion he did a good job of that early.
that is also the campaign he would have won had he wanted 1980, 94, 1988, he thought about 1992. this is like the seventh presidential campaign to develop his toes in the water. i don't think it will look any different and it was good for the democratic primary without getting into so far to the left he would have trouble in the general. and to go back to the and talk about the competence and compassion and character that's a big difference from what you saw from clinton the democratic candidates in the lesson of teddy kennedy failing in 80 to explain why
the other problem is the first debate where donald trump comes out on the stage anything more wildwood been a rabid squirrel on the stage. that was also a real turning point in the selection. >> if you have mentioned kamala harris because after all this time, now that a woman and a lot of people just take it for granted all of a sudden. >> on inauguration day people not take it for granted.
&-ampersand will be interviewing them to gather because they seem a little bit surprised as they build the administration have done more to flesh out what her role will be in her portfolio. if people are to the point that are starting to wonder what she fit but on inauguration day that would be a very powerful pictur picture. >> how big of a role was in the victory? >> it played a significant role because i thank you made the best choice.
sometimes you get in trouble when you don't make the best choice and take a chance. and that we were strongly considering someone else but senator harris was the right choice and went with that. that's what worked out. it was the right choice and did not create problems with his base or african-american voters and black women. and now asserts that the situation to be a historic partner in this process. look at george w. bush and cheney it was a novel concept.
biden can create a role from senator harris to move forward like vice president and then to create some things to work on. so the message of democrats it is the party and if you deployed senator harris in the right way then that would bode well for the future on a number of reasons. most notably how the party looks and the energy it projects to democrats. >> one more thing to remember
probably i think probably likable. i think she provides cover for biden in some areas where he has problems or at least questions trump could use against in terms of his record on the crime bill, anita hill, some of the things he said in the past on school busing and that sort of whole area of race. she provides some cover for in there. she provides cover for him from women's groups have not always been happy where he is been a things and made it harder for trump to attack him there. what you saw with kamala harris is something that might happen had joe biden not been in the race but did not happen in the primary, which is black women became very unified behind her. that was not the case in the primary but once she became the nominee that was helpful in terms of organization and turnout and energy for the ticket. she was in every sense as gromer
putter, like the right pick for biden and at the same time as the story. that speaks, jamie, to why there might not of been as much attention in the media to this sort of groundbreaking moment. i don't think it's lost on any person of color and sermon on any women of color, what huge moment that is. and even her being picked. i spoke to the political director of the clinton white house when that it was made and she told me she had cried when it was made. i talked to her like within an hour and she's like, stroking the of. i talked to a couple of other prominent black women at the time and they said what joe biden has done just like putting her on the ticket is to etch the names in the images of women of color into the history books and that something for what joe biden should never be and will
never be forgotten. whatever is going on in our sort of like media conversation, i think in thenv real world on the ground it will has been a groundbreaking moment. and again i forget which of the other two said it but on inauguration day we'll see it. >> jonathan, let me quickly add senator harris is not a darling of progressives. there were some progressive democrats and progressive women other side of her on issues criticized her for what she did as prosecutor in california who were still overwhelmed by the moment and shed tears as well and appreciate the moment and supported her in the ticket. so you're right about those tears any motion si people had when she was selected. of minutes before we are going to take questions from people
who've been watching this. i want to ask a little about press coverage because we have had existential dysfunction i would say the last four years. reporters generally don't like to say the l word. the fact check. we don't like to say he lied but it's changed a lot. even now as we are dealing with the two realities in this
country people who see and believe the election was stolen and people who don't as a reporter and a columnist, what are the challenges with dealing with that? >> the challenges are people have gone into their media silos and worked for legacy news organizations. on the fact checking ability to call things out and build context into things even if they are just questionable i think we are doing a lot better than when
donald trump first appeared on the scene and everything he did was covered as though it was the second coming. but i think where we have really fallen down and the trump years is that we haven't distinguished well enough for the readers and the viewers to create 15 distractions a day and we swing at every ball he's throwing at the plate. people in the country get exhausted with the whole thing. >> one of the criticisms i get from the discerning readers and
viewers is when can i have my normal news back. when can it not be all about trump every day, every hour and swinging at everything. this came from a viewer and reader and that is pretty much what you get when you turn on the news and in the era of trump people want to get back to the sort of regular news where there are other players they watch
what they want to watch and usually that is what reaffirms they watch what justifies the positions they hold. how we get out of that i don't know. it's decades in the making how we get out of this saying i am a republican but that's wrong or i'm a democrat but that's wrong. that is the big problem i think and i just do not have an answer to that. >> i know you have a solution to this. >> [inaudible] >> you froze for a minute. you are back.
>> the good old days are not as good as billy joel. i remember when i first started covering capitol hill there was a new congressman named steve king you may be familiar with him he said a lot of things that were offensive and i remember i would interview him and he often had insight into where the party was. i would always look at my notebook and be like i don't need to give airtime because it isn't adding anything to the conversation. however, he would sometimes say things in a way that were reflective of what the thought process was so there's a judgment at the individual level of what are you going to highlight and it's difficult and
we have all become sort of local news in terms of if it leaves it leaves and donald trump is spraying blood everywhere. but i generally think that the responsibility for the individual reporter is to try to limit the scope of what they are promoting and be more reflective of the mainstream of thinking influencing decisions instead of who said what crazy thing. with trump is a challenge because he's the president of the united states and so typically anything that comes out of the mouth of the president is news and has been treated as such and to limit or define that and to only chase things that actually matter
because there isn't that substantive peace you would look for and say this is the thing that matters and this is what doesn't because he treats them all the same. a. >> let me try to take some questions now. forgive me, i'm going to try to read these with my glasses. the first question is from, i hope i pronounce the name correctly, david. did the democrat with the congressional race arise from their failure to continue to emphasize healthcare in 2020 as they did in 2018? he feels instead they focused on other issues such as black lives matter. who wants to take that on?
>> i do think that the inability to come up with a position on the social justice issue, the inability to fend off attacks if you are for defunding the police i do think democrats wanted to talk about healthcare in a way they did in 2018 and they tried to tie the healthcare issue to the pandemic because now more than ever people need to be insured with the socialist type messages out there they didn't
have the provisions or they allowed themselves to be exploited in a way that they would have to spend money against the charges that they were for defunding the police. we have a lot of questions here do you think that it will change how presidential candidates will campaign who wants to take that on? >> i think that it will change the way the president's campaign. number one, the ability to get votes early in some places and be able to see the behavior even if there is early voting everywhere where do they show up
on election day and it will affect the messages that they use in different parts of the country going down the stretch it will affect how they raise money and spend it. how it will affect all those things, i can't say but absolutely it will affect at the end the biden campaign had more money with essentially spending and they were trying to bank those votes by mail as early as possible to have a picture so we already saw the spread of script difference in the way that the two campaigns were and of course voting by mail and voting early became partisan and weaponize as an issue, which i don't know i would have anticipated ahead of the election. but the short answer to the question is yes absolutely it will change. >> do you think a significant
trump's case it was more than probably normal. >> i'm going to ask the three of you to do a little predicting because we are not that january 20th yet. will donald trumwill donald truf and his children, what do you think? >> i don't think that he will pardon himself, but he will pardon one or more of his children. i think that there will be pardons and the trump family but not themselves because some of the things he's facing are uncovered by the federal law and therefore it's just not in issue. i don't think that he's worried
that. here is a scenario that i have no basis to believe. what if he were to resign and have have vice president tense pardon him and that would get you out of the can a president pardon himself that leads to my next question which is we have had some reporting in cnn that he is unlikely to go to the inauguration but as we know five minutes from now that could be completely different. so, do you think you will attend the inauguration?
>> i can't even imagine that. we have three presidents in our history signing onto the inauguration so he may be the next one to do that. >> the report said he might hold a rally somewhere to the presidential bid it's more likely and let me and quickly one of those moments that was a tough race but he stood up and was acknowledged and did the right thing and it was a powerful moment. i remember that moment. >> do you think that the trump's will invite the biden's to the white house for any of the usual
transition welcomes that we have seen in the past? >> i don't know. it would be unlike him. >> jonathan, both questions. do you think that he will attend the inauguration and do you think there will be any invitation over the white house ahead of time? >> because we are in prediction mode, i'm going to go against the panel. i think that he will go to the inauguration. after four years of acting unusually it might be a good moment for him to be remembered. he's going to move into the legacy area right where he's thinking about his legacy. the other thing is i don't remember when he had the opportunity to be on television where he turned it down.
and even after as the former president you have cameras on you, you have the tension on you and generally speaking if you behave like a normal president, people say nice things about you. >> dividing them to do things it really doesn't look like that. the one set of people that they seem to have respect for our people his age and i do think that he was a little less nasty about joe biden the than he hasn about other people and he tends to be again, more respectful if he will think that it's the right thing to do to act.
>> politicians seem to have a combination of shamelessness in ego, and donald trump has both of those in the extreme. i would rule nothing out in terms of him running again. >> there you go. with that, i wish all three of you a wonderful 2021. my wish is that it's a little more normal, a little boring, and may the vaccines be safe and effective. but thank you all for doing this today. john, i headed back over to you. >> thank you so much, fellows. i appreciated. from news junkies everywhere, thank you for that enlightening entertaining conversation. it was a good one. >> congress returns facing a a friday deadline to extend federal funding and avoid a government shutdown. also on the agenda at $740 billion defense authorization bill that is bipartisan agreement in both chambers but faces a veto threat from the president. efforts continue on another
covert relief package but so far there's no specific bill on the schedule. congress is back today. watch the house live on c-span, the senate libelant c-span2. >> tonight on "the communicators" chief policy officer for parlor amy peikoff. >> we believe it is the best approach when you're talking about hate speech, so-called misinformation, anything else to address those problems with the more speech, not with unique types of content restrictions. we act accordingly. >> watch "the communicators" tonight at eight eastern on c-span2. >> the chair of the joint chiefs of staff general mark milley outlined defense priorities and national security challenges in a discussion with the brookings