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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 8, 2009 10:30am-11:00am EDT

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push our analysts forward, to push them off campus and get them out into the broader world. we have found that their maturation as analysts as accelerated greatly. what is the way ahead for you? i am just giving you the charge. i think i am reflecting your curriculum about being an american and a citizen of the wider world. scripture talks about being gifted. you have been gifted by the curriculum you have had here. what is being asked of you now is an echo of what the president has already suggested. it is really quite simple. you just have to tell the truth. your education will soon be further enriched by your experiences. it will give you insights. your burden now will be to share
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those insights with folks who perhaps do not welcome them. as an intelligence officer, i can tell you the toughest briefing you ever have to give is the one that contains "the unpleasant fact." let me lay out a challenge i think you are have. you are choosing to live in the nexus of the world as it is. is your job to report on that and reflect that. then there is the world that the policy-maker wants it to be. you have to be relevant to both. if you are not relevant to that policy-maker, your sound is just noise and not wisdom. in the relevance to the policy-
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maker, you still have to maintain that autonomy. you have to describe the world as it truly exists. it is not always easy. it involves telling a president that the strategy in iraq is not working in the summer of 2006. it involves telling the congress in the spring of 2009 that the techniques actually did work. it is tough work, but it is very rewarding. as you go into the agency in the marble hall that has become the iconic image of the cia, off to the left there is a quotation from the scriptures of saint john. "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." that is your task. i envy your future.
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thank you very much. [applause] >> we have a programming note for you. david simon will talk about journalism and his work in television, including his series "the wire." live coverage begins at 2:00 p.m. on average companion network. tonight, dennis blair will discuss his recent trip. we will have live coverage of his speeches at 8:30 p.m., also on c-span 2. >> authors and journalists who cover the white house on the constitutional roles of the president and congress, including the relationship between the branches of government. this is hosted by washington &
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lee university. it runs about one hour and 45 minutes. >> i hope you are enjoying your meal. i think it is time to start the program. i will do that with great pleasure by introducing professor connally. he has been with us since 1986. he has a ph.d. in american government from the university of virginia. he has a master's degree in philosophy from boston college. before beginning his academic career, he worked for the connecticut general assembly and as a legislative assistant on capitol hill. in 1991 and 1992, he was a guest scholar at the brookings institution.
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he has published numerous scholarly articles. he has also been a political commentator for news outlets like "washington post,""new york times,"and abc news. he authored a book about republicans as minorities in the house. he has been a faculty adviser to the presidential convention. he also founded the nels washington program in 1987. in 2007, he received the higher education outstanding faculty award. he will moderate our panel. he will introduce the panelists. please join me in welcoming him. [applause] >> thank you. i appreciate that.
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thank you again to the reynolds foundation for generally -- generously supporting the symposium. i would like to begin by acknowledging the alumni who have joined us today. i created the washington term program 22 years ago. without the loyal support of the alumni in washington, i could never have kept the program going. they have provided helps with -- they have provided help with internships and visits. they have been enormously helpful. over the many years when i have called on alums for help, no one has ever said no to me. of course, none of you will ever break that record. i think again to the alumni. the washington alumni are very supportive. i would like to ask my current
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students to stand up to be acknowledged. the students this year are interning in a wide variety of offices, including the office of the speaker nancy pelosi, cbs news, the american enterprise institute, the center for american progress, the health committee, and a variety of other internships. these are my current crop of students. they will also be alums and be very supportive of the program in the future. [laughter] [applause] >> the title of the symposium this year is above what the president and the congress, and in balance of power?" george bush and dick cheney greatly expanded the power of the executive at the expense of congress.
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they expanded war powers and executive privilege along with the use of task forces, wireless tapping, and surveillance. we're told that has inspired a push back from the democratic congress. is this deja vu all over again? american history is replete of charges of presidential overreach followed by congressional reaction. during the early 1970's, legislate force in scholars condemned the imperial presidency under lyndon johnson and richard nixon, premised on the vietnam war. in the 1980's and 1990's, the shoe was on the other foot. some leveled charges against an imperial congress under democratic speaker jimw wri ght and the republican speaker,
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newt gingrich. there was the so-called dictatorship of abraham lincoln . then there was what some dubbed "congressional government." is this pendulum swing built into the constitution? is it an invitation to struggle? does the constitutional separation of powers in power and bumbhumble presidents and congress? we found the anti-federalist opponents of the constitution careful of the presidency. the federalists responded that energy in the executive was a leading characteristic of good government. federalists alexander hamilton and james madison found themselves at odds over it
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shortly after the ratification of the constitution. they did such an effective job of drafting the constitution. they found themselves at odds over executive power across the constitutional divide that is now defined by the length of pennsylvania avenue. he criticized and defended washington's proclamation in the 17 nineties. who is right? prior to the 2008 presidential nomination contest, an article was written about the as have been, unknown next president's likely posture towards executive power. it was titled " handshake, same grip -- it was
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titled "the same handshake, same grip." in january of this year, vice- president dick cheney, reportedly the architect of aggrandizement, made a similar statement. he said the obama administration was not likely to give authority back to the congress. he said that they would need all the authority that they could muster. under nancy pelosi and harry reid, is the pendulum swinging back towards congress tomorrow both democratic congressional leaders have made it clear that they do not work for president obama. the question remains about whether we have an imperial presidency or an imperiled president and the same thing of
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congress. we have able individuals who have observed in participated in the separation of power for many years. i will go in alphabetical order started at the end of the table. terry eastland is the publisher of "the weekly standard." his written numerous books on politics and law -- he has written numerous books on politics and law. shailagh murray from "washington post" has written extensively about congressional and presidential elections. shchip ried has anchored political coverage for m.s. in the sea and work for abc and cbs. he is filed stories on the war and terror worldwide. don wolfensberger is a well-
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known congressional scholar and a former chief of staff of the house rules committee. we will begin with brief opening comments beginning at the end of the table. we will have a brief opening statements from our guests. then there will be questions and answers with a guess. -- with the guests. we look forward to your participation. you can either sit or come up here, as you wish. >> i am happy to sit. let's sit. [laughter] good, thank you. can everyone herar? a guess you have set me up for
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this in terms of it being a struggle. i do think the constitution ranges with the kind of struggle you have described. it is a tension that involves the third branch as well. we should not leave that out. it is useful to recall some of the detail behind what went into the constitution. it is more or less a tax but. to say that the constitution separates powers. each time the constitution vests power, it states the nature of the power vested in the specific branch. each one has a home. what is important to understand about the institutions of government is that they represent different things.
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the congress and the judiciary represent the rule of law. that is where our representatives make the choices about how we should be governed. alexander hamilton called it " rules for the regulation of society." it is interested in the rule of law. the executive is where it's very interesting. the executive is much different in this respect. article 2 begins by saying that the executive power will be vested in a president of the united states of america tree in other sections, is spells of the various duties and powers of president has. hamilton calls these cases of power. these are familiar to us. commander-in-chief, the power to make treaties, the power to make nominations, to appoint
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ambassadors, judges, and others in the executive branch. the duty to make sure laws are faithfully executed. we know the constitutional history behind these provisions. there was a weakness in the government created under the articles of confederation. this led to the framing of the constitution that has served as ever since. a big reason for the weakness is that it lacked what the framers called "energy." that is an interesting word. they understood that trigger the republican government dedicated to the rule of law could fall into anarchy and tyranny. they knew the law itself is not self-enforcing. if you passed a law, someone has to enforce it. they knew it was not in perfect. it is not always contain the right resolution for a particular case. there could be exceptions in
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qualifications. they knew that life is not always placid. they knew that man, by nature, is recalcitrant. things happen, so to speak. necessities arise. necessity comes to us in crisis. how many times do we hear a president use the word "crisis"? if the government does not have the energy to respond, it might not last long. this was the concern of the framers. the writers and the federalists new there was criticism. -- knew that there was criticism. they did something interesting in the federalist papers. they mentioned the need for energy in government without mentioning the executive until late in the papers. madison was on the other side of
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the founding debate that bill mentioned. federalist 37 says that the energy in government is essential to that security against internal and an external danger and to the execution of the laws that enter into the very definition of good government. it is about 40 essays later that the writers of the federalist papers tell us that this energy needs to be in the executive. that is where we find the statement that bill quoted that energy in the executive is a leading characteristic of good government. i want to emphasize "good" in that formulation. he can be republican and salute the rule of law and still not be good. it might not be able to last. good republican government still
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has to have the requisite energy. that is how the framers conceived of the executive. they structured the office to have the necessary energy. i will not go through all of this. you can read it in the constitution, in article 2. but unity in the executive was an essential ingredient of the energy. one person is more easily held accountable than an entire committee. congress is a plurality, by contrast. the duration of office was four years, long enough for the president to undertake what hamilton called extensive and arduous enterprises for the public benefit and for the people to be able to judge the efficacy of the programs. this office is set up in
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structured a certain way. it has various powers and duties given to it. the veto power was initially conceived as a way of defending the executive from invasions' by the congress of its constitutional rights. he used analysis to describe the various functions. he formulated a new understanding. when the president takes an oath of office, he is taking an oath that tries to reflect this understanding of the office. it is the only a oath as spelled out in the constitution. it encompasses more than the duty to faithfully execute block -- the law. if we were to be purely republican, we would say that is
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all the president should do, enforce the law. the constitution spells out the oath. it speaks of the duty to faithfully execute the office and preserve and protect and defend the constitution of the united states. our presidency was unique in its creation. there is not another one like it. it can be strong. he can also be weak. it is designed to do what the people would want to have done if they knew the circumstances. the president is to be responsible for what ever arises 24/7. it is the only institution of government that is open 24/7. it moves beyond urgent necessity like 9/11 to other necessities like being an effective, the good administration gon, and
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getting things done the way they should be. think of undertaking an extensive and arduous enterprise for the benefit of the people. some people do aim to be on mount rushmore. a little fame may be united with the interest of the country or not. it is probably true that only a strong president can be a great president. with regard those as great that have excelled as war presidents -- we regard those as great as self -- as great those who have excelled as war presidents and undertaken other large enterprises. when urgency hits the president, they choose to do things that the other departments of government object to. they can also object to projects that would reshape politics. the objections are typically
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made in terms of the rule law expressed in the other branches. in other times in our political history in our history since 9/11 may be written in terms of this contention between energy and discretion on one hand and the rule of law on the other. court cases have been filed and adjudicated. there have been hearings in congress in discussions back and forth from 2006 until last fall. i want to make one point for each of the presidents we will be talking about. regarding president bush, some supporters have criticized his presidency as preoccupied with
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executive power. it might be that of the vice president. this preoccupation was imprudent because it ironically led to the weakening of the power itself through adverse decisions. the results of a political weakening of the president. -- there was also a political weakening of the president. jack goldbergesmith wrote "that terror presidency." he served in the office of legal counsel. he wrote a book in which he made some of these criticisms as did others. there is merit to much of what he says in his book. goldsmith would say it is better not to talk so much about executive power, but nonetheless
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hold a robust view of it at the same time. he says it is better when having to resort to extreme uses of executive power to do so with "a grudging public face with explanations of why the steps were important for national security." the point is to republicanize the extraordinary use of power to civil liberties and the rule of law. i will talk about how bush might have done this differently. about obama, we're now learning that the ideas in potential conflict are not the property of only conservatives, liberals, democrats, or republicans. liberals now complain that on a
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range of national security issues, president obama it is george bush. next -- brazil, is now -- president obama is now george bush, redux. liberals may have more to complain about with this president. the president has inherent powers to conduct wireless surveillance. the president has said that no supreme court decision has ever said that. that is different from saying what he thinks on the issue. it is a very careful response. it reserves for another day his own pronouncement in which she will affirm that authority. there is an obscure federal court called duff eisa -- called the 5fisa review court.
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there is a case that goes back to 1978. the court held that there were these inherent presidential authorities and that they could not encroach on the power of the president. we will see what happens with president obama on this issue. in a recent press conference on april 29, the president was asked a question concerning whether in an extreme case he might be able to consider a technique like torture. it was a multi-part question. this was the second of the two.
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maybe we can pull out the transcript later and look at the exact wording. what was striking to me is that he said that at no time in his presidency had he seen the need to go in that direction. what if he had been there in the fall of 2001? with those circumstances have been different? -- what those circumstances have been different? -- would those circumstances have been different? thank you. >> i want to share some things that i have picked up from covering president obama as a candidate for almost two years inch from covering the congress -- inch from covering the congress -- inch from covering the congress. in assessing this new president and congress, it is especially
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challenging for all of us. it is a unique environment. some of the things that make it unique are obvious. we have a president that does not look like any other president we have had. he brings that moment forward in a lot of ways that are intangible but also create a sense of goodwill that i have never seen in a president before. you can see it across the political spectrum. there is a desire, a widespread desire among all lawmakers to see this presidency to succeed strictly on that basis. people see it as a positive step for the country. in that context, there are enormous challenges we have not seen for many years.


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