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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 19, 2009 7:30pm-8:00pm EDT

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i will read this question. much of the administration's political policy and legal agenda seems to be strategically responsive to the success of the federal society legal agenda. [unintelligible] rather than the one that we can achieve and how can we move toward that society? in the heart of the context of legal policy, where do you think we need to be going? >> as you watch how he approaches the enhanced
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interrogation techniques and the military commissions of those issues, this is somebody -- i cannot know if you heard his speech on this report of issues. he believes in this document and understand what it means for people in this country. because of who he is and where he comes from, you are going to -- you already see part of the fabric of the decision making that is happening in the administration. as we come into office, we have come in with a number of serious problems where we are having to react which is what leads -- it is reactive on some issues and a clear agenda on health care and education and the economy. over time, hopefully, we will see more of a movement out of your office. >> but that certainly is our
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hope. one thing that is interesting that i did not appreciate before is how much is reactive. how much you have matters that are coming to you and how you have a finite time of the day and you have to figure out what i have to do today and what i have to get crossed off the list and what can i do tomorrow. the kind of thing. certainly, thinking about this in terms of the big picture is important. it is also important to react and deal with what is on your plate on a given day and that is something i did not have full appreciation before. >> i think in terms of judicial legal philosophy going forward, so much of progress of legal doctrine in my lifetime has been set by a sense of courts as being lovers of social change. i think -- president obama has
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revitalized politics. we have the executive branch of government. there will have to be more developed and continued developed thinking about the role of courts and politics and the intersection of democracy and using political processes and persuasion to politics as much as through the judicial around. the other piece i would add, this feels to me and maybe it is because where i am. this feels like a unique and different time in terms of the modern regulatory state. we're at this transformational moment almost like after the civil war or the new deal. we are seeing that in the restructuring of a lot of government and that will have to shape our judicial philosophy going forward. i was reading again a while ago the metaphysical club about the
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rise of pragmatism that came about after the civil war as a judicial philosophy. i was struck by that and it strikes me as a similar moment that it maybe less ideologically driven. courts can play a role in promoting. >> the president has shown his desire and his ability to be quite aggressive in using executive authority. some of that is invested in the task force with respect to the recovery bill. where do you think the limits of that are or would you say we're not going far enough yet? congress will have to get its
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act together? >> i do think that because of the kinds of problems we face, you do have a president and vice-president focused on working with congress. in terms of energy policy and financial reform and education policy, they are things that are going to be done in conjunction with congress. when you look at what the president did in his first 100 days in the 25 days since then and the days since the that, there is going to be a period of legislative outlook. -- output. i think that that is our primary
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focus. there are ideas -- areas where the president can act with authority. some of which reversed bush policies and some are more affirmative in nature and we continue to look at areas where he can act to do that. the vast majority of time and energy and focus are on the policy issues and we're working with congress to bring about real change and health in the economy and energy and education. >> do you think the president really ought to take the full sweep of the power that he can exercise under the constitution and push forward with that under the statutes of the united states? >> it depends on the circumstances. when you got a congress that is of your party, there is no reason why the president politically should put everything on his shoulders, because if things go wrong, he bears the blame. you have one president and when
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the president's actions are based on his decision, he alone bears the blame and reaps the glory. when you are in a position of sharing it with another branch of the government and congress, that makes sense to do that. that is what president bush did tha. i am not surprised that is what president obama is doing well he has a congress of his own party. i expect there are going to be areas where president obama just like with president bush cannot accomplish his policy goals working with congress. a good example is that do not ask, do not tell policy. i do not know where the majority of congress is. if the congress is not where the president is, as i am understand the law, the president could change that policy fairly quickly if he wanted to. i think the president ought to be prepared to fully assert his power when he needs to. you do not have to be stupid
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about it and you should not do it when you do not need to. >> does anyone want to take that case sap? -- case up? you guyus are cowards, come on. [laughter] i can't get a rise out of you all? ok. i can't get a rise out of this crowd. often the questions about transparency is about the of ministration communicating with the public and the public seeing what the administration is doing. the question is, how does the public communicate with the administration? how does a regular citizen or member of acs make their concerns known to the administration? >> one of -- it goes along with
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transparency. the illustration is using technology in ways you have not seen before and has a vibrant website and is encouraging interplay on the web site. i think that is obviously one way. the other way is the traditional way especially for members, talking to us. we really do want to hear ideas. this is an administration that is eager to hear good ideas. i do not recommend regular mail to the white house. i received an invitation to an inaugural party. it was being irradiated someplace. e-mail and through the website and talking to us. >> this white house's office of public engagement is of a vibrant part of the white
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house. just in terms of being involved in substantive policy. they have an e-mail that is -- someone actually checks it every minute. it is checked and someone processes it. the technology peace is going to be more vibrant. it turns out for the folks on the campaign, there were restrictions that did not apply. new rules are being promulgated as they need to to make sense. there is a process under way and the technology tools will get better as the year progresses. >> i think it may be fair to characterize this and i am trying to pull a couple questions together. the bush presidency ended up being consumed by iraq and a single-minded in its focus on the war on terror. particularly the war in iraq.
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this president may be is going in the opposite direction. he has health care and education and the budget. he has financial regulatory reform. he has iraq, iran, the middle east, north korea. is there a danger in the public kind of losing the idea of what he is trying to do? how do you balance bringing a transformative drive to policy- making with remaining in touch with people's concerns and peoples preferences and understanding about where this presidency is going? >> the president is doing -- as he receives every night a dozen letters from people who have written to the office of presidential correspondence. he reads them every night. i have seen him put a note on
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and say to timothy geithner, is our program helping this person? he is fighting the bubble in a way that i have not seen and i do not know with president bush but because of coming in as he did, he is trying very hard to stay in touch with people and what people are thinking. that is one concrete way that he is doing it. >> i think in terms of the agenda, as the president is fond of saying, he does not have a choice. he cannot tell the economy to wait until he has fixed health care and cannot tell health care to wait till he has fix the economy. he cannot tell financial reform to wait until he has fix these things. these are problems that demand solutions now. i think the strategy is going to
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prove to be extremely successful. the same thing with global problems. we have two wars going on its. they cannot be told to wait. in the first year of the clinton administration, we spent an enormous amount of time debating what order in which to attack different problems. long meetings about welfare. for health care, nafta before this. we spend more time fighting over the order in which we were going to approach problems than we did in getting the problems solved. sometimes we out-thought ourselves in this sequencing game to our detriment. both out of necessity and out of a sense that it is possible and in some ways, more effective. the president is attacking these problems simultaneously. we will have success on all of
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them were majority of them in bringing about change in these areas. >> where do you see the biggest potential, biggest pitfall for stalling in the tremendous agenda he is putting forward? >he had a rough week on health care. >> through all these things, there is a certain quality of perils of pauline. the ominous music playing in the background and finally a happy ending. we will get to a happy ending on health care and energy. regulatory reform also will come out good. these are problems the country needs to address. we need to solve them. these are not optional exercises. these are not things we're tackling just because they are good sport or good fun. that necessity of addressing them is going to compel action. >> back to the cards.
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how can progressive activists who are lobbyists for workers' rights and health care and the like, persuade the administration to treat lobbyists no differently than other representatives and leaders of their organization when it comes to government employment and policy engagement? can we make it distinction between lobbyists for nonprofits and lobbyists for commercial interests? do you want to go after that one, spencer? >> i worked on these issues during the transition. it was difficult. there are some issues that we struggled with. it really came down -- it is difficult to say these are the good lobbyists one likes and these are the bad lobbyists and lets them get -- let's get them out of here. the president made a commitment
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to clean up washington in terms of not focusing on special influences and special access but listening to all americans. he has been strong in his commitment and there has been some criticism across corners. in a stand and appreciate, -- i understand and appreciate, can i come back to acs -- the message to the american public that we are going to do things differently. we will not have a closed door session with some executives from a particular agency or particular industry. no one will have access to that that public will not have access to which is making a sea change with regard to those issues.
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i am understand that is complex. i understand that there are some people who are committed goose -- who devoted their life to public interest lobbying and other issues. there are some difficult cases. in terms of the overall change of the administration and what we're doing with regard to ethics and what we're doing with regard to sending a message to the american people. i think we are in the right place and we're moving in the right direction. >> we are basically about out of time. i want to go down the line starting with you, spencer. i would say that there is as i am looking at these questions, there is a significant amount of skepticism about military tribunals in the crowd and questions about that. there are a couple questions about whether the administration
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is being too tepid in its support for [unintelligible] and there is skepticism about the continuation of policy on state secrets and more questions about that. these are some of the things we talked about. here is my favorite question. i offered you time to close up and get some final thoughts and maybe reflect on this which is my favorite question of the day. what does the obama presidency mean to you? so take any of those topics. we had hundreds of questions here and i am sorry i did not get to them. if anyone wants to talk about military tribunals and why they are necessary, or state secrets, feel free but answer that question. what does the obama presidency mean to you? >> i think it really does mean
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change. there are some things that are government things and components, turf battles, all this kind of stuff. i think it really does mean change and i -- for me, it means the fact that there are so many people that are in this room who are going to have an opportunity to contribute and participate in terms of government service. i look at it as an opportunity for all bus. whatever time we have is finite in terms of making a difference, whether it is four or eight years or maybe longer. i do not know. it is finite. for those of you who have been engaged in one way or another, maybe you are not part of the administration. i would say please just stay engaged. we have got a period of time.
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maintain the faith. continue to pay attention and -- this is a marathon. it is not a spread. the days seem like sprints. we're going to need you. in september, whether it is to accept a position or to do something. i would encourage you all to stay engaged, offer your talents, offer your talents in terms of support in volunteering by your service in terms of joining the administration. please stay supportive and engaged. >> i am honored that you invited me to be here today. i can remember eight years ago when we in the federal society gathered in this room and how elated we were that the president that we supported had just been elected and many of us had played such a key role in
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that election. i can only imagine the joy you feel being in a similar position and i congratulate you on that. enjoy it. it is wonderful. it does not last forever. [laughter] on the question what does president obama mean to me? that is easy. i spend my livelihood representing tobacco companies, oil companies, employers that have massive numbers of employees, so when i see things like legislation that imposes fda regulation on that tobacco companies, emerging energy legislation that will impose a regulation on the oil companies and massive regulation of employees in unions, i see enormous amounts of business. that is what the obama presidency means to me. [laughter] [applause] >> we are happy to keep you
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employed. [applause] >> if you look at what this administration has done in 125 days, whatever it has been now. from the signing of the lily ledbetter act or schip to tobacco regulation, this is what it means. standing there with the president when he assigning these, yesterday with him signing the memorandum on extending benefits in same-sex couples. people are in tears. people are impacted by this. this change is not abstract, it is real. the problems in national security are very difficult and people are working on them.
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some of this -- helpless and give us your ideas and stay with us as we work through them. >> i appreciate noel's candor although i am not so sure about the elected thing eight years ago. [applause] [laughter] >> i was trying not to use that word knowing the crowd i was in. >> not over it yet. look, i do think that it is hard to add to what was said
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about what president obama's presidency means. i will say that to see -- what this presidency means is change but change at a time when the nation so desperately needs to change. it is the combination of the man, the agenda, and the moment that are so powerful for me and so moving for me. why i am willing to get up early in the morning and stayed late at night and missed my kids and do all the things i do to serve because i think you have an extraordinary leader. an extraordinary person in terms of judgment and talent and ability to lead the country. an agenda, a policy program that really can put the country out of the cycle of boom and bust economics we have been on an ad of the problems we have had on the domestic and international front and put us on the right footing at the time when we
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could not needed anymore as a nation and as a world. the demand for this kind of change and action is so acute and so urgent and i think when you put those things together, i do believe we're at an historic moment and witnessing a historic presidency and fold -- unfold. that change will not be possible without its supporters and allies, its thinkers and advocates who are not part of the administration staying engaged and supportive and operating -- offering those suggestions. one thing we wondered, those of us who were involved early on is what would happen to acs if there was a progressive president. would it remain impact will and
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important? seeing the crowd here tonight at this convention, i am glad to see your answer is a resounding yes and i hope it continues to be so for a long time to come. >> i think back to this time june 2007 after senator, started running for presidency. i see the possibility of transformational government in the same way his -- [inaudible] [no audio] >> coverage of the radio and
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television correspondents association dinner. president obama will make remarks. see it tonight at 8:25 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> people do not want to think of roosevelt's conservation as a policy as much as a passion. he put aside almost 240 million acres. people are talking about environmentalism and grain movements. roosevelt is becoming the figure to understand because he was the only politician who observed the when and understood biology and understood migratory patterns and mating habits of deer and elk and antelope and actually did something. >> sunday on "q&a". the first two hours with dou glas brinkley.
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download the c-span podcast. >> leaders talk about the protests in tehran following last week's presidential election. they spoke after the house voted to pass a resolution in support of the iranian dissidents. this is 20 minutes. >> thank you very much for being here with us. i am so honored to represent a district that knows about the lack of freedom, knows about the lack of human rights and constantly fights for getting those universally accepted human rights respected in my native homeland of cumin. iran should be no exception. how honored i am havto be here h a long line of heroes speaking
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on behalf of the iranian people who feel they have no voice. they're being listened to internationally. the people have been denied their most basic human rights and civil liberties by an oppressive iranian regime which uses a sham process and candidates handpicked by the ruling apparatus. real reform and democracy were never an option. the regime relies on so-called elections to provide them with a veneer of legitimacy, but he that assaad has been shattered by iran -- that facade has been shattered. the state department's's human rights record of 2002008 noted t continued to commit severe violations. the government limited citizen's right


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