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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  February 7, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

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that a lot of this would end up in the pockets of afghan officials and would not reach the people. it was very moving to see children cryin. you mentioned that woman whose husband had been this big old soldier -- face all -- faithful soldier. in theff-season, he was owing poppies, because it was the only way he could make money. host: you describe that team going through a field and a woman coming out of the house to star screaming. these children have no father, how will i provide for them now. the chief lookstricken, you write. if the men trying to enforce the law is so and conflicted -- if
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the men trying to enforce the law are so conflicted -- how much incentiv is there to enforce thisoppy-year dedication policy -- pop e- eradication policy? guest: asked one poppy former -- i asked one popppy farm -- poppy farmer how they transported it and they said police cars. the fundamental problem is the doctrine of clearing, olding -- holding, building and transferring. after the marines and is building, they will hand things over to the afghan government and police.
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they're not trying to hold these areas. ho: ryan, independent caller ornia.ta barbara, calif caller: i was wondering how you came to reach the 90% number. also, maybe if you could speak a little bit about maybe the surrounding afghanistan, russia and iran, i believe both seem to be using opium. could you speak to both of those four little bit? i would appreciate that. guest: that number is presented
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by the united nations. in 2010, the marines have had this program in heand province where the majority of the opium comes from to pay farmers to self-erratic 8 -- self-eradicate. it was a minuscule growing season. there's a plague of insects. there was a lot of frost. the marines were there, providing money to people to not grow. it remains to be seen whether that program will continue to be successful. raff 33 q: number is 90%. the other question had to do it -- roughly speing, the number is 90%. the other question had to do with surrounding countries these are not necessarily countries where most of the
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afghanistan opium is consumed, but they are with the supply lines are. along the borders, you see a lot of statehouses where the opium -- safe houses whe the opium is stored before it is transported to other destinations. one thing that makes opium such an attractive crop is that you can sort of hang onto it forever. unlike grapes or something like that, you can wrap up the opium, which is essentially this paste in cellophane and store it indefinitely. they will do this when the prices too low main demand is not high -- meaning demand is not high. it will hang on it until conditions are more favorable.
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host: is this the -- this is from twitter. guest: afghan farmers will not give it up unless they can find another way to make money. you see in the province to the east of kabul that they have given up for the moment on poppy cultivation because we have flooded the zone with aid from the west through ngos and a variety of other things. it seems like a button can village -- a situation -- farmers are only making about 60% of what they made with poppies. the question is whether we will stay long enough and in need to throw enough money and continue
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-- and continue to throw enough money into afghanistan. on their own, they will continue to grow poppies. host: good morning. caller: i went on of a tr that studied this at. and the latter days, they were controlled by drug lords or tribal chiefs. 10 years ago, my niece was teaching in kazakhstan. the border was very well guarded. she says the places: addictive people -- place is full of addictived peoe.
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you have to give these people an extra livelihood. this is just the simic -- this is a systemic, cultural problem for the people. you could have a subsidized program. it is an entire social problem. host: let's get a response from robert draper and look at this image from "national geographic." it shows a recovery center for opium addicts celebrating after a t--- two-month recovery program. guest: addiction is a problem in
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afghanistan, butot so mu between the farmers, because they are subsistence farmers who have to sell all they have. we went to a town -- there are some really striking photographs of the village where we found a village of attic -- addicts, including children and animals. we were noticing and commenting on how the children were drifting toward this guy while he was lighting up opium. they say everything is addictive. the rafts -- rats are addicted. you can see a strange menagerie
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of all stripes. host: good morning, matt. caller: i have two-quick questions -- two quick questions. i'm a veteran of the wars in iraq and afghanistan. we have a vested interest as to the outcome. my first question is what sort of discussion, if at all is going on -- if at all, it is going on regarding possible trade, industry, either privately or a government- regulated, that might be able to help generate revenue to help pafor the war and to help pay for the government there? second question, what sort of liberties areeing extended to the afghan people to play a role in what happens to the opium industry? guest: eyes to the first, i do
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not think it is ever want to happen that we're going develops some kind of economy and in afghanistan that will allow the afghan people and government to help pay for our presence there. it is not likely to happen. 're putting a lot of money into a afghanistan right now. i think your energies should probably be focused on making afghanistan -- a our energies -- i think our energies should be focused on making afghanistan self-sufficient. they will not be paying us back money. as for liberty is being extended, there are plenty of them -- liberties being extended, there are plenty of them. problem is -- i have not yet seen a program that looks like it has the kind of staying power that is required to develop about an alternative -- to develop an alternative.
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there is a blueprint that was put togethefor president karzai for how they attack the opium problem and how they move on work, including a lot of programs related to, for an immigrant off-season crops -- growing off-season crops. therare good ideas that have not been implemented. there is another question we could get addressed. when i was with the marines in the province which produces 54% of the opium in afghanistan, just this one district -- the colonel was talking to me about this he is a smart guy. he is full of energy and very proactive. heaid, why don't we developed vocational training for afghan farmers? why don't we build a chicken
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coops? he rattled off all these programs. they sounded really good, but it gave rise to the question, "aren't you talking about things that liberals propose for what should be done in rural america ?" we're talking about spending billions of dollars to create what some conservatives might derive as a state by waning them off of poppy. it is iornic. host: looking at images from the peace -- piece you elaborated on. it shows melon growers. we talked about the idea of growing other crops. good morning, north carolina. i don't think we have our
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caller. caller: hello/ hello? i'm from kentukcy. -- kentucky. i was going to agree with the caller that said marines were guarding the opium fields. i would have to disagree with mr. draper. eight months ago, i watched an hour-long special by geraldo rivera who was interviewing the marines in one of these provinces. i cannot remember which one wou. he was interviewing a commanding officer. i have been saved on my youtube accoun where he did say that
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they were guarding the opium fields in that province and they were stopping farmers from growing anything else. guest: let meee if we can find an area of agreement. if yo're talking about careens, that would be helmand province or kandar province -- about marines, that would be helmand province or kandahar province. it is true that they are guarding the opium fields. it is not true that they are overseeing with the kind of indifference the cultivation of poppies. what they have done is paid the opium growers not to grow and instead to self-eradicate. this may be what your role gemara -- geraldo rivera was talking about. they gave the farmers a deadline
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to eradicate. let's say march or april. the deadline passed. a lot of them hadn't done so. they may have extended the deadline. this does allows farmers the opportunity to very quickly cultivate -- disallows farmers to vy quickly cultivate the opium, then get profit, then do the eradication. maybe we are in agreement that it has become little bit of a shell game, but it is not like the marines are saying, we want them to grow poppies and we will protect them from people who do not want them to. in this last growing season, the marines were a bit permissive. they're trying to win hearts and minds, but they do not want to become too heavy-handed.
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we have a deadline. we will begin pulling out this summer. the afghan farmers know. the question is, are we want to set a predicate of making it look like this surly, heavy handed force of malevolence in southern afghanistan and give these people -- the farmers -- reason to be swayed by the taliban? host: robert draper, "national geographic," and also writer of "rolling stone magazine, the uncensored history."
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you quote a farmer named rehmatou. guest: i think there are a lot of callers who would agree. i know there are people who say, look, why don't we just do the eradication are self? -- ourself. british troops did that, but it cause a hue and cry and we backed off. the taliban has not put a gun to their heads.
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essentially, economic conditions have. until they find another means to survive, this is what they will continue to do. host: john, democratic caller, new jersey. good morning. caller: i am tired of the constant revision of history as written by journalists across the country. mr. draper is a good example of this. the fact that the taliban did outlaw the growth of the poppy under their governance -- it's not up to the time we were attacked on 9/11 and we, as a result of that, attacked. the taliban had come up to that time, limited the growth of the poppy in afghanistan.
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when another caller had questioned mr. draper in his statement that, under the taliban, the growth of the poppy in afghanistan was actually why didn't -- that is incorrect. the only reason the growth of the poppy is reestablished in afghanistan is because the united states invaded and taliban uses the funding from the growth of the poppy to fund their war against the occupation of their country. guest: i am glad you brought that up. that is true. the taliban did forbid poppy cultivation in 2000. they did not from 1996 to 2000. this is telling. why 2000? what we learn is that the price of opium was weighed down. essentially, they sat on the product and allowed the demand
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and price to drive itself up. before the american invasion in 2001, they were already starting to sell poppy's again. this is intelligence we have received over the years. it is incontrovertible. a drive to the fact that taliban from 1996 to 2000 was allowing this to flourish. i spoke to one member of the taliban and ask if this was forbidden or not. he says, you can have an interesting debate. it was anything but unequivocal on the subject. he said, yes, we did ban it for a serieof years. he himself did mended it was only for one year. i think it is false to draw a causal relationship between the invasion -- the u.s. invasion of afghanistan and the sudden partnership of the taliban with
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opium. it does not bear out factually. host: to quote from your piece -- as one former farmer told me, there was a resulting reduction following the invasion. after that, war lords cranked up production. let's hear from michael on our independent line caller line. caller: i was wondering how many of our tax dollars are being pumped in on this war on opium. guest: it is a good question and, unfortunately, i do not have the figures in front of me. it is billion dollars, not just
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government dollars. a lot of money is going in. i think part of the concern is that there is not all whole lot of progress. you see there are areas where one can point to highways being built near schools and clinics, new police stations that are the fruits of this revenue, but it isn't as if the mentality of the afghan farmer has been turned irrevocably away from poppies and toward american largess. anything but. they do not find an attitude of boyk, are we sick poppies. we have not discussed the afghan government, which has been a huge problem. the government, on all levels, is incredibly corrupt. there have been a number of allegations and none yet
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conclusively proven, but circumstantially with pretty overwhelmi evidence. the idea that hamid karzai's brother is involved in the opium trade. there are a lot of players. when money comes in from the west, a large part of it ends up in the pocket of the government. this only makes the afghan farmers more cynical, more of a belief that this is just for show. host: davidn houston, welcome. caller: yes, i was wanting to ask mr. draper how much of what occurred in 1967-1968, th roughout the vietnam era, is occuring in afghanistan,
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including the surrounding countries. afghanistan is but a route -into turkey. it used to come out of vietnam, cambodia, laos, and burma. i had the opportunity to work in south vietnam in 67 and 68 and has been quite a bit of time in regard operations in the northern half of cambodia, laos, burma, and north vietnam. i am very much aware of the cia, air america, deals made with some of the lords.
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guest: alex, it's -- it is interesting that you spent time in vietnam during that time and got a sense of it on the ground. what happened in afghanistan is a function of their other agrarian markets shutting down. they had grown cotton, pomegranates, other things. these were real coveted ojects -- products. the soviet invasion cost infrastructu to be destroyed, factories that process cotton, for example. by the time the soviets had left, afghanistan had discovered a few things.
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first, that all this infrastructure had been destroyed. infrastructure had been destroyed. secondly, they had destroyed products like orland and pistachios and etc.. there were drug suppliers who were looking for a place where poppies could be grown. predictably one where the government was unstable, center to a lot of debris and wear a black market could flourish. afghanistan qualified on all three of these points. in that sense, and not -- i think it could be a good analogy with a number. pohichost: here is a tweet. is there any connection between
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the troops being prone to do these drugs? guest: it is not as great a problem there like in vietnam it is true that some of the isaf soldiers have been using drugs. and did you do -- and they do drug testing. some of these guys literally wand off the reservation after being struck out and are not to be s seen again. >> coming up later today, and panel discussion on the role of white house press secretaries. schedule but dissidents include several former presidential spokespeople -- several participants include former presidential spokespeople. you can see that live here on c-
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span. >> tonight, on "the communicators," karen evans and timothy car -- karr on the ability of the u.s. to shut down the internet and deborah wheeler on the impact of the internet on the middle east and its contribution to political awareness. tonight on2. -- tonight on c-span2. >> every week and, 48 hours of people and events telling the american story. here first-person accounts from the people who have shaped modern america on oral history. history bookshelf features the country's best known writers. travel to battlefields to learn about the figures and events that shaped in error during the 150 a anniversary of the civil war. as a college classrooms across the nation as professors bill into america's past during
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lectures on history. join curators and historians behind the scenes of museum exhibits and historic sites on "american artifacts," the presidency has pulled through historic speeches and insights from the experts. american history tv on c-span3. all we get every weekend. get a complete schedule online and sign up to have them e- mailed to you using our c-span alert. >> earlier today, president obama took a short walk across the street from the white house to give a speech to the u.s. chamber of commerce where he called on business leaders to show "responsibility to america" and invest now in the future of the nation. following up on many of the themes unveiled in the state of the union address last month, the president renewed his request for such things as infrastructure investment and regulatory and tax overhaul. he also cited past disagreements between the chamber and his administration but said the
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white house business leaders must work together for america to prosper. this is just under 40 minutes. >> president and ceo of the u.s. chamber of commerce. [applause] >> thank you very much, and good morning. i am pleased to welcome the 44th president of the united states, barack obama. your visit continues a century old tradition stretching all the way back to william howard taft, who suggested the creation of this institution in 1912, and we are honored you are here today
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to continue that tradition, and you probably noticed next year we will have our 100th birthday. our representatives are here on behalf of organizations that make up the chamber of commerce organization. let me add that getting a seat here was one of thought is tickets in town. let me also reaffirmed of business communities absolute commitment to working to enhance our shared objectives. first and foremost is the compelling need to strengthen our free enterprise the economy, create jobs, and put americans
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back to work. our focus is to find a common ground to ensure america's greatness in the 21st century. america works best when we work together. it is my distinct pleasure and high of privilege to present to the president of the united states. [applause] >> thank you, thank you very much. thank you so much. thank you very much. please have a seat. thank you very much for the gracious introduction.
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i want to make a few acknowledgments to the chamber board president. there are some members of my administration i want to make sure i introduced. my chief of staff, bill daley, is here. the senior adviser, who is interfacing with many of you and has gotten terrific advice from many of you, is here as well. now they run hood, transportation secretary -- ray lahood, transportation secretary, the director of the national economic council is here, and i also watch to make mention our export import bank chairmen, the overseas private investment corp. president, and
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i also want to mention paul volcker, the outgoing share of the economic advisory board. thank you all for being here. [applause] is good to be here today at the chamber of commerce. i am here in the interest of being more neighborly. maybe if we had brought over a fruitcake when i first moved in, we would have gotten off to a better start, but i am going to make up for it. the truth is this is not the first time i have been to this chamber or the first time we have exchanged ideas. i have sought and vice from many of you as we were grappling with the worst recession most of us have ever known -- i have
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sought advice as many of you were grappling with the worst recession most of us have ever seen. for my administration, it meant a series of emergency measures i would not have over -- would not have undertaken under normal circumstances but were necessary to stop our economy from going over the cliff. on some issues we found common cause. on other issues, we have had strong disagreements common -- disagreements, but i am here today because i am convinced we can and must work together. i know that all of us share a deep, abiding belief in this country, a belief in our people, a belief in the principles that have made america's economy the envy of
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the world. america's success did not happen overnight, and it did not happen by accident theory but it happened because the freedom that allows good ideas to flourish, that has allowed them to thrive -- capitalism to thrive. it happened because in this country, hard work should be rewarded. opportunity should be there for anyone who is willing to reach for it. it happens at every juncture of our history. we came together to remake ourselves. that is why i am so confident we will win the future again. that is the challenge we face today.
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we still have the largest and most vibrant economy. we have the most productive workers, the finest universities, and the free as markets. the men and women of this room are living testimony that american industry is still the source of the most dynamic companies and the most ingenious entrepreneurs. we also know the competition for jobs and businesses has been fierce. we know that businesses can produce their goods were ever an internet connection exists. the truth is as countries grow and develop larger middle classes, it is possible for
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global companies to pursue these markets and set up facilities in these countries. combined with a brutal and devastating recession, these forces have shaken the faith of the american people. they see a widening gap of wealth and opportunity in this country, and they wonder if the american dream is slipping away. they wonder if the middle class rather than expanding as it has is a myth of inextricable contraction. we cannot ignore these concerns during and we asked to renew
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people's faith in this country, that this is a place where you can make it if you try. we have to do this together. we know what it will take for america to win the future. we need to out build our competitors. we need an economy based on what we make and what we sell around the world. we need to make america the best place to do business. this is a job for all of us. as the government, and we will lay the foundation for you to grow and innovate and succeed. we will update the network so you can move could send information quickly, so you can
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hire the most skilled workers in the world, and we will work on things that make it difficult to compete, but i want to be clear. even as we make america the best place on earth to do business, businesses also have a responsibility to america. i a understand the challenges exist. i a understand you are under tremendous pressure. i understand the obligations to your shareholders, but as we work with you to make america a better place to do business, i am hoping all of you are thinking what you can do for america.
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ask yourself what you can do to hire more american workers. that is why i want to talk about the responsibilities we all have to secure the future we all share. as a country, we have a responsibility to secure american innovation. we have always been driven by new ideas common but what you also know is that it is not always possible for you to invest in basic research. it is very expensive, and the payoffs are not always clear. that is why government has traditionally helped invest in this kind of science.
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that is why we are making investments today in the next generation of stray ideas, in biotechnology, information technology, a clean energy technology. we are improving our system so innovation can move more quickly to market. steve case is heading a new startup to help entrepreneurs turn new ideas into new businesses and new jobs. i have also proposed of a bigger, a permanent tax credit for all of the research and development for the research of this country. i believe that this a priority. we also have a responsibility to provide our people and businesses with the masses, most reliable and not wait to move goods and information. the cost of the inadequate
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infrastructure is enormous. any of you who have been traveling to other countries know it and see it. that is why i want to put people at work on rebuilding roads and bridges superior that is why i want to make it possible to -- and bridges. that is why i want to make it possible to put a high-speed internet in the reach of all americans. you understand the importance of this. the fact isn't the chamber of commerce does not -- 5 in the 10 they do not agree on whole lot. they are not facebook friends. i did not check on this, but
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they agreed on the need to build infrastructure. i want to do so with tax dollars of leveraged private capital and with the system is determined not by politics but what is best for our economy. the responsibility is to invest in the skills of our young people to reagan if we expect people to do business in america and -- are young people. if we expect people to do business america, we need a pool of workers that can outperform anywhere in the world. that is why we are training 100,000 new math and science teachers. that is why we are making college more affordable. recently, i visited she, of
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which it -- ge, which has partnered with a local community college. students earn a paycheck, and they get their tuition covered, and as a result, young people can find work, and the entire region has become more attractive to business. it is a win-win for everybody and something we are trying to duplicate across the country. to invest in education and infrastructure, government also has responsibility to cut spending we cannot afford. that is why i promise to cut any bill with too many earmarks. that was why i propose we freeze domestic spending for five years. this will reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade.
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it will bring this spending down to the lowest share of our economy since eisenhower was president reagan thought was a long time ago. that is not enough. we are going to have to do more, because the driving force on our deficits is entitlement spending, and that is going to require both parties to work together, because those are some tough problems we are going to have to solve, and i am eager to work with both parties to take additional steps to put our nation on a sounder fiscal foot. by stopping spending on things we do not need, we can make investment in the things we do need, the same way families do. if they have got a fiscal problem, they do not stop paying
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for johnny to go to college. they cut out things they do not snead, but they still make investments in the things that are going to need for the future. did make choices, tough choices, but smart ones. in addition, we are also making it more effective and consumer- friendly. we are trying to run the government more like you run your business, with better technology and faster service, so in the coming months, my administration will reorganize so we can serve the goals of america, and we want to start with the 12 different agencies that deal with america's exports. if we hope our businesses can sell more goods around the world, we should hope we are all going in the same direction, and with 12 different agencies in
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charge, nobody is in charge, but we are going to fix that as an example of how we can make a government that is more responsive for the american people and the american business, which brings me to the final responsibility of government, breaking down the barriers to success. that means opening new markets for your good. i will go anywhere to be of a booster for american businesses, american workers, and american products. [applause] i do not charge a commission. we recently signed deals with india and china that will support more than 250,000 jobs
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in the united states. we finalize a trade bill that will support of these 70,000 american jobs, and it is a deal that has an unprecedented support from business and labour, democrats, and republicans. that is the type of feel i will be looking for as we pursue deals, as we work to bring russia into the international trading system. those are going to be our top priorities, because we believe america has the best products. there is no reason we cannot do a lot better than we are doing right now. another barrier is a burdensome corporate tax rate. you know how it goes.
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some industries pay a rate as four times or five times higher than others. companies are taxed, yet the company actually pays to invest using leverage. you have too many companies making decisions based on what the tax director says instead of what their factories produce three did that puts our entire economy at a disadvantage. we need something simple and something fair. that is why i want to lower the rate so it does not had a dime to our deficit. -- does not add a dime to our deficit. the other thing is unnecessary regulations. i have ordered a government-wide
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review. there are rules on the books of her needlessly stifling economic growth, and we will fix them. already, we are dramatically cutting down on the paperwork and a huge administrative costs. we are improving things like medical devices to get innovative treatment to market faster. i have also ordered agencies to find ways to make regulations more flexible for small business, and we have turned a tangle of pending lawsuits into a single standard and will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, save consumers money at the pump, and give car companies the certainty they need. it is all negotiated by stakeholders without the need for congressional legislation,
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but ultimately, winning the future is not just about what the government can do for use to succeed -- for you to succeed. it is also about what you can do to help america succeed, so we were just talking about regulations. have a's businesses responsibility to recognize there are certain basic safeguards, some basic standard necessary to protect the american people from harm or explorer who -- or exploitation. not every regulation is bad. not every regulation is burdensome on business. a lot of regulations are things that all of us welcome in our lives. in of us would want -- nto live
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a society where the air is not clean your your -- is not clean. the fact is when standards have been opposed in -- proposed in the past, and they have warned it would hurt business and free enterprise. we can look at the history in this country. early drug companies worried the bill creating the fda would destroy the sales of remedies in the united states. that did not happen. auto executives predicted having to install seat belts would rein in the downfall of their industry and region would bring in the downfall of their industry. -- seat belts and would bring the downfall of their industry. none of these things came to pass. in fact, companies adapt and
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standards often spark competition and integration. i was traveling when i went to penn state with my secretary of energy, and he won a nobel prize in physics, so you catch one out of every four things he says, but he started talking about energy efficiency and refrigerators, and he pointed out the government set modest targets a couple decades ago to start increasing efficiency. they were well-thought through. they were not radical. companies competed to get these markets, and they hit them every time and exceeded femme. it uses half as and -- it uses a
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quarter of the energy it once did, and you do not have to put in warm water in the freezer and that stuff. it saves billions of dollars. regulation and hence the industry and made our lives better. -- enhanced the industry and made our lives better. how do we design necessary regulation in a smart way and get rid of regulations that have not used -- outlasted their usefulness. we saw in the financial crisis where you have sound rules of a road. but was not good for business.
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that is why with the help of paul volcker, we passed a set of common sense reforms. the same can be said of health insurance reforms. we simply cannot accept the status quo that has made our entire economy less competitive. as we have paid more for health care than any nation on earth. nobody is even close. we could not except of broken system for patients went into bankruptcy because of medical bills. i know there were troubles because of this law. it is going tosn' increase the cost even more.
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the nonpartisan congressional watchdogs estimates that health care tax credits will be worth nearly $40 billion to small businesses over the next decade. experts not just from the government of those commission by the business roundtable said just health insurance reform should ultimately save anywhere from $2,000 cater $3,000 per family --to $3,000 per family. now i will repeat here today, i am happy to look for other ways to improve the laws including patient safety and medical law practice reform. i want to correct a law that has already placed unnecessary burden on small businesses, and i appreciate the chamber's
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health in doing that, -- help in doing that, but we have to understand commonplace regulations will make sense for businesses as well as neighbors and co-workers. the responsibility goes beyond looking into certain standards and safeguards. if we are increasing exports to help you compete, it cannot just translate into greater profits and bonuses for those at the top. they have to be shared by american workers who need to know that it will lift their standard of living as well as the bottom line. we cannot go type of the economy we saw in the years leading up to the recession were growth in productivity did not translate into a rising opportunity for the middle class.
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it is not something we can regulate but something all of us need to take responsibility for thinking about throwing of how do we make sure everyone has a stake in late trade -- for thinking about. how do we make sure everyone has a stake in trade chairman -- in trade? ordinary folks and of seeing their standard of living rise as well. too many boats had been left behind, stuck in the mud. if we as a nation are going to invest in innovation, that should lead to new jobs for manufacturing on our shores. the end results for investment cannot simply be that new breakthroughs in technology are discovered here in america but that manufacturing takes place
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overseas. the brakes the social compact. it makes people feel as though the game is fixed and they are not benefiting from the extraordinary discoveries that are discovered here. the goal -- intel pioneers the microchip and then puts thousands to work building them in silicon valley. henry ford perfected the assembly line and then puts a generation to work in the factories of detroit. that is how we built the largest middle-class in the world. those folks working in those plants -- they go out and they buy and ford. they buy a personal computer. and the economy grows for everyone. that is how we will create the base of knowledge and skills that propel the next inventions
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and the next ideas. right now, businesses across the country are proving that america can compete. caterpillar is opening a new plant to build excavators in texas that used to be shipped from japan. in tennessee, worrell was opening their first new u.s. factory in more than a decade. dow is building a new plant in michigan to manufacture batteries. a company called geomrgic decided to close down its overseas centers in china and europe and move their r&d here to the united states. these companies are bringing jobs back to our shores, and that is good for everybody. if i've got one message, my message is now is the time to invest in america. now is the time to invest in america. [applause]
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today, american companies have nearly $2 trillion sitting on their balance sheets, and i know that many of you have told me that you are waiting for demand to rise before you get off the sidelines and expand, and with millions of americans out of work, demand has risen more slowly than any of us would like. we are in this together, but many of your own economists and salespeople are forecasting a healthy increase in demand, so i just want to encourage you to get in the game. as part of the bipartisan tax deal we negotiated with the support of the chamber, businesses can immediately expense 100% of their capital investments, and as all of you know, it is investments made now that will pay off as the economy rebounds. as you hire, you know the more americans working will mean more sales for your companies. it will mean more demand for your products and services.
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it will mean higher profits for your companies. we can create a virtuous circle. and if there is a reason that you do not share my confidence, a reason you did not believe that this is the time to get off the sidelines, to hire and to invest, and i want to know about it. i want to fix it. that is why i have asked jeff of ge to lead a new council of business leaders and outside investors so that we are getting the best advice on what you are getting out there. we will be holding our first meeting two weeks from now on the 24th so you can get your e- mails in early with your ideas, with your thoughts about how we keep moving forward to create this virtuous cycle. together, i'm confident we can win the competition for new jobs and industries, and i know you share my enthusiasm.
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here is one thing i know -- for all the disagreements that we may have sometimes on issues, and i know you'll love this country. i know you want america to succeed just as badly as i do. so, yes, we will have some disagreements, and yes, we will see things differently at times, but we are all americans, and that spirit of patriotism and that sense of mutual regard and, obligation -- that has carried us through far harder times than the ones we have just been through. i'm reminded toward the end of the 1930's, amidst the depression, looming prospect of war, fdr, president roosevelt, realized he would need to form a new partnership with business if we were going to become what he would later call the arsenal of democracy. you can imagine the relationship between the president and business leaders during the
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course of the depression had been rocky at times, had grown somewhat fractured by the new deal. so roosevelt reached out to businesses, and business leaders answer the call to serve their country. after years of working at cross purposes, it was one of the most productive collaborations between public and private sectors in the american history. some, like the head of gm, had not previously known the president, and if anything, had seen him as an adversary. but he gathered his family and explained that he was going to ahead of what would become the war production board, and he said to his family, "this country has been good to me, and i want to pay it back. i want to pay back." in the years that followed, automobile factories converted to making planes and tanks, and
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course of factories made great belts. a toy company made compasses. a pinball machine maker turned out shells. 1941 would see the greatest expansion of manufacturing in the history of america. not only did this help us win the war, it led to millions of new jobs that helped produce the great american middle class. we have faced moments of tumult, moments of change, and we know what to do. we know how to succeed. we are americans, and as we have done throughout our history, i have every confidence that once again, we will rise to this occasion, that we can come together, we can adapt, we can thrive in this changing economy, and we need to look no further than the innovative companies in this room.
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if we can harness your potential and its potential of your people across this country, i think there is no stopping us. so thank you. god bless you. and may god bless the united states of america. ["hail to the chief" plays] ♪
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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>> you've been watching president obama and his remarks earlier today to the u.s. chamber of commerce. if you missed any of the president's remarks, we will show them again tonight starting at 8:30 eastern here on c-span. that tonight, on "the communicators," karen adams and timothy karr on the ability of the u.s. to shut down the
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internet, and deborah wheeler of the u.s. naval academy of the impact of the internet on the middle east and its contribution to political awareness. tonight on c-span2. >> mr. president, it is my great honor today to speak on the floor for the first time as a united states senator. >> the new class of freshmen senators have been giving their first speeches on the senate floor. all their appearances on line with c-span's "congressional chronicle." track the daily house and senate timelines, read transcripts of every session, and find a full archive for every member. >> on television, on radio, and online, c-span, bringing public affairs to. created by cable, it is washington your way. them coming up in about an hour, we will bring you a panel discussion on the role of white house press secretaries. scheduled to take part, several
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former presidential spokesman. you can see that live starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern here on c- span. to get us there, here is the current white house press secretary, robert gibbs. he briefed reporters earlier today and talked about the economy and the situation in egypt. he also announced that this was his last week on the job. this is just under an hour. >> thanks for a couple of questions on the chamber speech. the president said as he was walking back that egypt is making progress. can you elaborate a bit of what areas he thinks they are making progress? >> i think again what the president was referring to is that, as you heard him say on friday, that we have the beginnings of a process that is
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taking place. a process that we know has to a process that we know has to include a series of steps that have to be taken and a series of things that have to be negotiated with a broad section of the opposition parties in order to move us towards a free and fair election. i think that, you know, we will -- meaning the world, and most importantly, the egyptian people will evaluate where we are in terms of the steps that are being taken in order to see the words that are spoken about meaningful change actually result in some concrete actions. i think that is what people are looking for. words are not enough. it is actions toward a meaningful change that the egyptian people are most looking
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for. >> the president has expanded -- >> i think it is important in a couple of things. what you said is important. this thing does change very quickly, hour by hour. understand, vp take half a step back, what we have seen happen over the course of 10 to 14 days. you have heard me describe it. you have seen some monumental changes in egypt. a leader has said that he will not run for election. he says his son will not be running in his place for election. the appointment of a vice president and the tasking of that vice-president to lead a process to result in a free and fair election. many other points along the way.
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i think that is important. again, the most important thing is there has to be a process toward a meaningful change that we has to see again the we has to see again the government sit with a broad cross-section of society that makes up -- when i say the opposition, people that are not in government. to get us toward the free and fair elections that we know ultimately will be a result. >> it was not exactly clear from the president's comments yesterday to the muslim brotherhood whether in that broad spectrum you are talking about being comfortable with that group b and part of the conversation, in fact, whether he thank you for that. >> the -- those that will be involved in the discussions
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about what happens next in egypt, as we have said throughout many occasions, will not be determined by us. i also think if you look at what has happened again over the last 10 to 14 days, i think the notion that somehow all of what you have seen is a result of one political faction or one set of beliefs is not at all the case. there are a whole host of elements throughout egyptian society not represented in its current government, seeking the rights that we have enumerated in here that they have sought that want to be part of this discussion. frankly, we strongly support democracy in egypt. again, i said probably more than a week ago, democracy is not one group hijacking of process said that they can take power from another group that they did not think fairly represented their
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views and their rights. that is not democracy. democracy has to be a broad section of people that are represented in what would be a free and fair election. >> the reason i ask in particular -- the line >> one more interruption. i think it is very important to restate, as we have said many times, we will be a partner to a government that does exactly what i described, and we would expect that that partner with of hold particularly the treaties and obligations that the government of egypt and hopefully the people of egypt have entered into. >> i'm asking in particular about the muslim brotherhood because in his answer yesterday, the president acknowledged -- i do not recall the exact wording, but there is an anti-american strain to some of the thinking, so the american people might look at at an ask where this
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president stands. >> again, who is involved in a larger process is up to the egyptians to determine. understanding again that the only -- i think it would be horribly inaccurate to simply say that there are two factions in egypt. one is the muslim brotherhood and the other is the government of egypt. that is clearly not the case and clearly was not the case in what we have seen transpire on the streets, but obviously, as the president said, the anti- american rhetoric and the anti- -- the rhetoric that goes very counter to the very regional peace and stability that i have spoken of is, of course, not something that is supported by the united states. >> i want to squeeze in a quick question here about the chamber. in his speech, the president said to the chamber leaders, "ask yourself what you can do to hire american workers and support the american economy."
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i understand the point about shared responsibility, but why does he think he would need to say to them, "ask yourself where you can do to hire american workers"? does he not think they are already doing that? >> i think it is clear we are coming out of a period that we have not seen in our country's history in probably the last 80 or 90 years. the economic collapse that we saw, the jobs that were lost as a result of it -- obviously, what the president wants to see and have a continue discussion on our ways that we can foster ideas for innovation, for building, for education that continue to give business confidence in the strengthening of our economy. that is how they are going to make decisions. we want to do what we can to
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help them make decisions to hire folks here in this country because they feel like the economy is getting stronger and coming back. >> what is the u.s. assessment of how badly the protest in egypt are hurting the economy? >> look, i think there is -- >> look, i think there is -- without getting into the assessments that we may discuss in private, i think you can see there is a lot of reporting about concern about food and fuel prices in egypt, and as we talk about last week, we were concerned, and there have been several meetings on how we help get commodities that are either closed or at the edge of entryways or in imports to the cities where they are needed most. obviously, we are concerned that
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-- obviously concerned about capital that might lead and obviously, we continue to monitor to see whether -- what impact some of these -- all of these actions might ultimately have on the global economic recovery. again, at least the last time -- i had a long discussion about this -- we did not see it headed in the suez and things like that that would result in big fluctuations. >> that means so far, the assessment on the global economy is not a major concern? >> i think that obviously, we continue to monitor important things like the suez. as we have talked about, egypt is not an oil exporter, but i think -- needless to say, this
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is something -- whenever you have a crisis in a country with a magnitude of this, its impact on the global economy is watched quite closely year. the mall while you are weighing at least or threatening on one hand to look at your aid policy to egypt based on how they respond to protesters, are you looking at potential financial help to help the country because of this? >> again, we have had discussions about ways to assist the movement of goods and services, commodities throughout the country. obviously, the president has discussed on a lot of his conversations with other world leaders about the situation, not just what the united states, but what other countries can do that are closer in the region to help the process of business and commerce. obviously, you got banks that
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are opening back up again and such. >> question, on the chamber, if i may. a lot of people from the chamber were hoping or expecting that the president today what outline some kind of specific way forward for the panama and colombia trade pacts. why did he not do that? >> we -- be patient. that is all i would say. let me expand on that a little bit. we picked up an agreement with south korea that had not made any progress. we spent a lot of time working on that agreement to insure that all of the stakeholders felt like it represented the best interests of this country. we walked away from what would have been a nice pr hit in seoul because we did not think the agreement did what is needed to
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do for us. only to come back and get an agreement that we thought was even better. which then god stakeholders from the left and right, liberals and conservatives, business and labor to support the agreement that we did come up with. i think the president believes that is a model for moving that is a model for moving forward on other trade pacts , and as for that, i would stay tuned. that led does this have a timetable? >> we would like to move forward. those are discussions that are beginning. >> we had solicited suggestions from industry about job growth. has the president and pointed any regulation details that can be changed immediately or in the short term so as to help job growth? has the white house viewed any
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of these regulations? >> i do not know if there is an update on what our op-ed was a couple of weeks ago. i can certainly check. the president -- and i think he mentioned it again today -- a review process that goes through and looks as outdated or unnecessary regulations. at the same time, we have to balance that with, as the president said today, sensible standards to ensure safe and clean drinking water and safe and clean -- the safety and cleanliness of the air that we breathe in order to create, again, some sensible standards to protect our families. let me see if there is an update on what the president wrote about. >> a couple of weeks ago, we were told the president had been confronting mubarak directly
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over human rights and reforms. that was the strongest words you guys had used today to describe the conversations. usually, it was just a readout. can you elaborate a little bit more on how confrontation with the president has been with mubarak -- how confrontational the president has been with mubarak? >> this is a topic on human rights, democracy, on freedom of assembly that the president has had on a number of occasions with president mubarak. it is brought up in virtually every bilateral meeting that i'm aware that our country has had at any level with the egyptian government. i think you saw a pretty clear statement about elections that were held last year and a pretty clear statement in opposition --
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in our opposition to their decision to continue emergency law. one of the things that has to be looked at in the process of negotiations going forward now. again, i do not know that i would ever get into reading out with some specificity the tone or what have you, but i can assure you, as those readouts have said, you guys have gone back into your e-mail to look at, you know, we have been clear with president mubarak and the egyptians about what we needed to have happen, and that is true not just of this administration, but many of these arguments have been made for many years with prior ministrations. >> but bringing in with just words one thing. since the crisis began, you have data that the prospect of
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reviewing aid to egypt and of how the government deals with this crisis. that is an action, to threaten to withhold aid if certain steps are not taken. was that done in previous administrations? one final -- apparently the google executive has made an announcement. i just wondered if you guys had any response to that or if you were involved in any of that. >> let me checknsc on whether -- let me check with nsc on whether or not we were involved. >> is president mubarak president in name only? >> the vice-president has been tapped by the president to lead the transition process, but it is important to understand this is about a process, not a series of personalities. this is about insuring that we have meaningful actions through negotiations between the
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government and the opposition that lead us to free and fair elections. again, -- i do think, again, as i said earlier, stepping back and understanding we have a vice president for the first time in almost three decades of president mubarak's leadership in egypt. he cast the vice president with the process of working through these changes, and i think it was clear when the president said yesterday that egypt has let the world know they are not going back, and our policy is obviously to move egypt forward. >> how does the white house view him, president mubarak? is he still the go to prison for the administration, or are you dealing mainly with the vice
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president? >> i've not been apprised of any leadership changes in egypt. obviously, president mubarak resigned on saturday his leadership position in party politics. we have conversations with a whole host of players throughout the egyptian government, and it is important that the leadership of egypt is not going to be determined by us. it will be determined by the egyptian people. and what the egyptian people want to see most is a meaningful process that brings about these changes. they are going to be the judge of whether this process is moving at a pace that is required, and we want to see
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that process move forward. you heard the president -- and again, not just say yes, but said on friday the transition has to begin now. >> going back to the question about the muslim brotherhood. i know you keep insisting that this is something for the egyptian people to figure out and not for the united states to interfere, but with the white house be comfortable with the muslim brotherhood playing a significant role? >> as i said, we have significant disagreements with -- we have not been in contact with the muslim brotherhood. but the united states does not pick leaders of other countries. >> right, but would you be comfortable if they took on a leadership role? >> we have said in other countries in the world that becoming part of -- you have responsibilities if you become part of the government, to adhere to the agreements that
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that government has laid out, to adhere to the rule will law and to the constitution and to adhere to nonviolence. obviously, we have many disagreements with the rhetoric of some of the leaders in that organization. >> one other thing on sarah palin. ne reaction to the remarks that she made? >> i read the answer several times, and i still do not really know what she said. >> do you have anything on the reports over the weekend and more today about mubarak possibly going to germany? you are not aware of the discussions going on about that? >> i have nothing to report on that, no. >> what is the president doing?
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is he still making calls? >> i do not believe the president has made any calls today. i think tommy read out the latest calls from over the weekend. there obviously was another -- a fairly standard meeting this morning at the deputies committee, and this obviously was a huge chunk of the daily briefing that the president got this morning. >> from the administration point of view, what exactly is the will of the vice president? >> he is, as i said to dan, the individual task with the government's part of a process toward meaningful change. the change that ultimately leads to a recognition of rights, an announcement of the e emergency law, and the emergence of free
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and fair elections. this is about a process, not about a personality. it is important that the people see progress toward that meaningful change, just as it is important that those on the opposition take part in this process and put forward what they want to see come out of this. so that there is a meaningful discussion and meaningful negotiations about what egypt is going to look like going forward. when the president says it is clear egypt is not going back to what it was. >> on yesterday's interview, before the civil, did the president have any feelings about it afterwards? >> i think he was eager to watch the game. >> how about you? what did you think about it? >> i was also eager to watch the game. [laughter] >> has the white house received
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a readout of precisely which opposition groups have met with the egyptian vice president? >> obviously, we get some update on who is involved in the process. again, i want to be clear -- it is not for us to determine who should and should not be involved in the process. for the process to be a legitimate process, it has to include a broad cross-section of those that are in egyptian society, in egyptian civil society and not involved in that government. there are -- this is a process that is going to be at times bumpy because when for 28 years you have had one leader without you have had one leader without a series of -- without really a robust opposition, it is going
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to take some time to work this stuff out, but i think what is important is that process -- as the president said, the process has to begin now. the process has to move forward, the process has to move forward, and the people in egypt will know whether the process is moving forward at the pace that they need it to move forward and that whether or not the concerns that have brought them to the square are being addressed. i think that is what the world is watching. >> do you have an accurate way of assessing what they average egyptian believes or wants at this point? >> certain people who have are anti-the government take to the streets. we have seen some people perhaps on the government payroll on the other side of the street. i'm just wondering what the at it -- average egyptian going about his or her day -- do you feel like you have a way of assessing what they are thinking at this point? >> one of the things that the embassy is tasked with and does well in egypt is to have conversations with a broad
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cross-section of people in egypt. and this is not just potential -- or people that are -- or just focused on government. obviously, there is business. there is cultural. there is a whole cross-section of people that are important for us to communicate with, and those are primarily done and done fairly routinely out of the embassy -- the embassies that we have around the world, and i think our ambassador there is doing a remarkable job. >> on the chamber, real fast, on efforts to lower the corporate tax rate, i'm wondering how far along in the process are you guys at this point? is everything still on the table being considered? obviously, you wanted to be deficit neutral, right? >> i think what is important is
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that this has to be an open process that is one that -- and i think you the president discuss it clearly today, that those involved in the structure and the system take part in. you have seen, as a result of some meetings we had, discussions that secretary geithner and others have had -- i think we are in the midst of this process and hearing from stakeholders about their ideas. >> i know tactics are changing all the time. what is our policy toward egypt right now? that our policy toward egypt is we watch, and we are strongly encouraging the process of meaningful change transpiring,
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resulting in a more open, more transparent society, more responsive government, one that the united states can continue to partner with, one that results in -- a process that results in free and fair elections, and one that is democratically elected. >> not as good of an ally as it has been. is that a policy failure? >> i do not think it makes a lot of sense to get into electro hypothetical. our focus is to fold -- twofold. 1, to continue to speak out against the violence. i think we will continue to see more of this. i know you are probably more aware of this because these are your colleagues that are coming back who we saw were targeted and beaten last week. obviously, those type of actions
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cannot continue. violence cannot be the response from this government to the cares and concerns of its people. our energy right now is focused on doing what we can to encourage this process. again, it is going to be bumpy. it is going to have to be determined by the egyptians. >> do you guys get the sense that mubarak himself is becoming increasingly isolated inside his own government? >> i did not honestly have anything for you on that. >> you said definitively there has been no american contact with the muslim brotherhood. last week, you indicated we were
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reaching out to a broad spectrum. last week, were we reaching out to everyone except the muslim brotherhood? >> last week, i was describing some of what i was talking about earlier, which is we have the regular regular -- fairly regular and robust discussions with a lot of different people in egypt. the last time i talk about this with them, we have not had conversations with them. >> but you would not rule it out? >> again, there is a responsibility, as i said earlier, for those that want to have responsibility in governing, that they have to do several things. democracy is a commitment to something larger than themselves. >> did the president call last night? >> i do not think he has called anybody yet. i think they are going to call some folks this afternoon. >> he still has not called? >> i think that is scheduled for a little later this afternoon.
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>> you are just killing me. >> obviously, ambassador rooney is a good friend. it was a good game. i think everyone -- i think the president -- look, the president was hoping for a meaningful process that resulted in his bears being in the super bowl. now that we do not have that, you want a good game. >> did they deal with the release of 150 documents in great britain on the lockerbie case, showing that the labor government may indeed have developed a policy behind the scenes to do all it could to ensure the release of the lockerbie bombing. can you comment on that? >> all i will say on this is i think our position throughout this process was public and very clear. we did not think in any way, shape, or form, that his
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release was in anybody's interest. we continue to believe that. john. >> a week from today, the president is going to be releasing his budget. a lot of the things he has gone for in the last couple of years have not gone through. things like cutting farm subsidies. but now, you have a new crop of republicans -- >> no pun intended. >> and with who might be more middle. i'm trying to find out -- >> trying to find our read on that line? >> is there any outrage that would go on before the budget released to members of congress, especially new members of congress, to try to make sure that some of these proposals actually have life? >> let me see -- we can check and see if there was anything.
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obviously, the budget gets -- the process of putting together a budget starts -- has been going on for many, many months. i think, obviously, this is -- the introduction of the president's budget, as you saw and heard the president discussed, will contain some very significant and very tough decisions -- significant cuts and some tough decisions, resulting in the five-year not security discretionary freeze. about $400 billion in cuts, and will result in our government spending the smallest share as a percentage of gdp going back to the eisenhower administration. we have made some significant cuts, and the truth is, this will be an ongoing process and
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an ongoing discussion that will be had over the course of many months. the president is anxious to hear from democrats and republicans. we understand we have to make some serious changes in our fiscal policy is going forward. >> the five-year freeze -- is that what we should be looking for as far as tough decisions, or is there anything beyond that? >> i do appreciate however but it puts out ideas and they are quickly cast aside. $400,000,000,000.90-year idea that takes us to the smallest share of government spending as a product of our gdp since dwight d. eisenhower was roaming these halls. i think just to throw that out, do we already know what is in it -- you will get more specifics, but obviously, that is the top line of what you're going to see. >> with -- was jennifer lopez
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provisionally interested in the game? >> i think a good time was had by all. unless you are a steelers fan. i think they invited us, but i could double check on that. >> on egypt, does president obama see any merit in what was said over the weekend? >> i want to be clear. as i think many of us told you, the former ambassador is not an employee of the government. he was, based on his broad experience in egypt, asked by the state department, and i would direct you to the state department on the specifics of anything regarding him, to travel to cairo and have a specific conversation with president mubarak. he did and reported that back to us. but his views on who should or should not be the head of egypt's do not represent the
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views of our administration. the views of our administration are the those are decisions that will be made by egyptians. >> were you aware that [inaudible] >> again, i would direct you to my friends at the state department who brought this recommendation to us. >> can i comment on that also? >> i did not know that i'm going to add much to the fact that you should go to our friends at the state department. >> there has been considerable criticism of the obama administration and the president for sending him in light of patent laws at the time, business interests in egypt, and i'm wondering -- let me ask the question. then you can say you are not going to answer. >> are almost certain of what i'm going to say, so i'm
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shorting the experience. shorting the experience. what i'm saying is that the state department selected him based on his experience with egyptian policy. again, the specifics of what you were just -- what you just said and what you were just about to say, i would reiterate for the third time that there are many good people over at the state department that have answers to those questions. >> my question is -- in the future, do you think you might consider these kinds of interest more seriously before sending such an envoy? >> please call the state department. >> [inaudible] safe to say that biden has him briefed? >> counterpart to counterpart, vice president to vice president relationship. >> and a call from president obama? and one final call question --
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did the president called for here of jane harman's decision to leave? >> not that i'm aware of. i think some people may have known that she was interested in that position, but i do not know that -- i can check and see if there's anything on that. >> the question on the chamber -- he is talking about the $400 billion, that is net after he has made the investments he wants to make. that is correct, the $400 billion? >> there is -- we all understand we have to cut spending. as you freeze the level of spending over the course of five years at a certain level, you are still spending a certain amount of money. inside of that money, you can cut some and add to others, but the baseline is a freeze. >> in terms of cutting, he says he is going to make room for the
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new investments he wants and they will all be paid for. will the budget monday explain how all of it -- how much all of these are going to cost and how he is going to pay for them? >> the details of next year's budget will be released next week. >> he has not given any indication of how much is going to cost? that is all going to be revealed? ok, my question about egypt -- when he talked this week and about how there should not just the two factions or we should not look at it as two factions, how much influence does the united states or does the president feel he has to encourage the third, fourth, or face options for egypt? >> i think we have and we continue to reiterate that the process must include a broad cross-section of those in
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egyptian society, and representing the viewpoints of that group of people, and it is clear that -- it is clear as we watch what transpired over the course of many days that this was not a series of protests organized by one group. they were the cares and concerns of a lot of different people in egypt, and democracy, which we are supportive of in egypt, has to include that broad cross- section. there is not just two factions in egypt. >> there is one really organized one and a bunch of other ones that turn out to protest. >> you just proved my point. >> ok, but the other thing you said earlier -- we expected to
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uphold their treaties and obligations -- you feel that whoever and whatever is the next government of egypt should be bound by the previous government? but just as we are and democracies throughout the world. you want to try it one more time? >> is it true what they say on egyptian television that he did is not ready for democracy at? the question is, has the administration spoken to him about these statements, challenged him to explain them in anyway? >> i did not know that there has been any contact with the vice- president today. again, i did not need anybody to call the vice president of egypt to know that our government and many past
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administrations have believed strongly that the emergency law needed to be lifted. it is quite clear that what we have had in egypt for three decades is not what we're going to have in egypt moving forward. the notion that egypt is not ready for democracy, i think, runs quite counter to what we see happening on the streets of cities throughout the country of egypt. it is incumbent upon the government to play a meaningful role and encourage a meaningful process. it is clear that statements like that are not going to be met with any agreement by the people of egypt because they do not address the very legitimate grievances that we have seen expressed as a result of these
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protests. that you have set a couple of times the it is not a matter of personality, it is processed. but is the point that a lot of demonstrators are making that it is personality and whatever process begins cannot be legitimate with mubarak still in power and pulling the strings? >> i think -- quite frankly, i do not think -- we want to see this process move forward. we understand that there are a whole host of things that those that seek recognition of human rights, legitimate rights want to see. we have heard the government and the people discuss constitutional changes that they need or would like to see before we get the free and fair elections and they are important, but i think it is important that we cannot see
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meaningful progress if one side is where the vice president's remarks are today and the other side is we are not going to do anything until everything changes. the process has to be dynamic, and we have to see the government take part in a meaningful way, and outline a series of steps and a timeline that the egyptian people are comfortable with, and we have to see those that are not involved in government put forward a set and a series of ideas of what they would like to see so that negotiations can take place and we can move forward. i do not think it is in anybody's interest to have two sides be so far apart and that the process be stopped. i do not think that is progress.
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now, the leaders -- who did the leaders of egypt -- that is going to be determined by the egyptians. and we are not saying -- i want to be clear. this government does not come down on the side of one way or the other with those leaders are. that is a process for the egyptians. >> you are saying you are indifferent to the personalities. it is the process involved. are you not taking sides against many of them who say that the process needs to begin with mubarak leaving? >> no, because i think i was pretty clear about what the government just said as being unacceptable as well. i guess the point i'm trying to make is if one side says we are not going to change at all and one side says we are not going to participate until everything changes, you are going to simply have a very static situation,
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and i think what is important is we have to have and see meaningful progress, and both sides have to be involved in the process. >> two very important things you said -- he said about the economic impact. what about the status -- >> we are monitoring the economic impact. i think we have not seen impact in the suez in particular. >> what about the pipeline in jordan? >> we need to monitor and set of dates. >> i think he said president obama had resigned to it -- that of president obama is still very much [inaudible] i'm sorry. no. >> i think he said president mubarak had resigned from his leadership -- eli >> of the
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ruling party. it was announced on saturday. i think he resigned that on saturday. >> what does the president think of this recession to this chamber of commerce speech? >> i did not speak with him directly about it. >> a lot of applause lines in there, and they sat on their hands. total silence when he talked about such things as regulations. moderate applause when he said go anywhere in the world and talk about exploiting u.s. goods. does he think he got his message across? >> the president did not go there so that everyone would clap when he came in the room. i think he went there to -- you go and deliver the speech is because as the president said in the very beginning, we have a lot of work we have to do together, and the only way we're going to make progress is if we work together on a whole host of issues in a very challenging global economy. i think the president is clear
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that we are not going to agree on everything. we have seen some of that transpire over the past two years, but as the president has said, we are not looking to re- fight the battles of the past two years. we have significant challenges that continue to lay ahead of us, and the only way we are going to make progress is to tackle the challenges together. i think -- let's take the president's infrastructure proposal. as a way of our building our worldwide competition. to watch that endorsed by the head of the chamber and the head of the aflcio is exactly the type of bringing together that i think the president believes has to happen in order for us to break out of the boxes in washington and make some real progress. >> two questions on the health
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care ruling. one, does the administration believe that the penalty for not carrying insurance is considered a tax justified by the general welfare clause? >> i think we have covered this in many past briefings, and i would point to those answers. >> judge vinson said an injunction is not necessary on the decision because longstanding presumption is that the official of the executive branch will adhere to the loss by the court. in this case, is the administration adhering to the law? >> again, there are many courts that have heard many cases on this. 12 have dismissed the case. two have -- more than 12, i'm sure, have dismissed the case.
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two have ruled in our favor as to its constitutionality. two have ruled against us. implementation of the health care bill rightly continues to move the roll -- they roll on its constitutionality. i point to you, you saw just late last week the state of wisconsin, despite the attorney in the's participation in the's participation lawsuit in state of wisconsin announced implementation moves forward. i would point out one of the state houses in the commonwealth of virginia passed by a vote of 95-3 to begin to set up health- care exchanges.
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i think that is pretty clear indications the implementation of this import law move forward. >> did the administration get in touch with any republicans [inaudible] that we have had specific average. i know the governors' association is in town later this month. our policy continues to be willingham -- implementation moves forward. >> one of the times the president [inaudible] retirement spending is dragging on the deficit. i am wondering -- you mentioned that social security as a way of reinforcing a system, but is this something the president wants to address to deal with the long-term deficit?
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>> i would say as the president mentioned in the state of the union, unless we deal with all of our budget -- we don't spend enough in discretionary spending to solve the problem. you are awfully excited today. until we deal with -- i think the steps the president took in health care clearly have an impact on the long-term deficit. that is why the cbo said repealing health care would cost more than $200 billion, and is certainly cost more in the 10 years after that because you are changing the arc of health care spending. there is no doubt this has to be a process that is dealt with, but also a process everybody is
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involved in. we are not likely to see big changes around that unless all the stakeholders across the political spectrum are involved. >> just two questions. >> i think you are next. there you go. >> you mentioned retirement spending. >> she is sitting next to you. what do you mean? >> a bipartisan process has to involve more than just him. you have seen his willingness to tackle some of our health care spending as a way of showing how
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serious he is about addressing this. i think he wants to have a serious discussion and work with those serious about this coming forward. >> thank you. just two questions. there was a great deal of media coverage of the president inviting guests to watch the super bowl with him. great deal of coverage of the menu. menu. can you tell us whether the president also asked guests to watch within the army navy game, or did he skip this classic which is older than the super bowl? >> obviously the army navy game is -- have you been to the army navy game? >> i have been to 43 of them. it is a remarkable tradition. >> did the president watch it on
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tv. >> i don't know whether the president watched the army navy game. >> what does the president think of the move that already involves 20% of the state's to require presidential candidates to prove documentation of their natural born citizenship status in order to be on the presidential ballot? >> [unintelligible] obviously, first and foremost you saw an overwhelming turnout. you saw an equally overwhelming support for independence. i think it marks a new day in the region.
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it is something the president and his team have spent an awful lot of time on. there is a lot of work that needs to be done but we are heartened by the participation of those who sought their freedom. >> is this your last week with us? >> it is. i will miss almost all of you. [laughter] >> from the white house briefing for today -- to hear from former white house press secretaries. they will discuss the job and how it shapes the news. those who served under president clinton are going by dana perino and ari fleischer. this is happening at george washington university live on c- span. president obama spoke at the chamber of commerce today saying the white house and business communities should work closely
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together. we will have the president's speech after our live coverage.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the president of george washington university, dr. stephen knapp. [applause] >> good evening. welcome to george washington university. here at george washington, we provide our students and friends and neighbors with a front row seat in the theater of history. we are delighted to have on our campus four former white house press secretaries will have been the voices of presidential administrations spanning two decades of history. i am pleased for one of them, dana perino, this event is an extension of her teaching role.
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i am also glad we are joined by cnn senior white house correspondent ed henry, who is teaching in our school of media affairs. partevening's program is of a conversation series hosted by former cnn white house correspondent and washington bureau chief and emmy award winning journalist who serves as director of george washington school of media and public affairs. please join me in welcoming frank. [applause] >> thank you very much. what a great proud to -- what a great crowd. i think he will hear a conversation that you will remember. i want to thank the support of
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the university for helping to make this conversation series possible as well as dean of the arts and sciences. i would like to thank our national council members who are here and the great students of the school of media affairs. also a word of thanks to the graduates school of political management who helped us put together a wonderful reception for our guests this evening. this event is produced by the center for innovative media and periodically we meet with people in this remarkably public sphere of life to discuss the direction of the country, the role of the media and the way we now communicate as a society. in the past start guests have included hillary clinton, tom ridge and the late tony snow.
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we examined this remarkable intersection of media and public affairs because that is what we do. we study and explore political communication. tonight's event is an ideal place for those here in washington to explore this strange intersection. i am happy to say it is being broadcast live on c-span. it will air multiple times on the satellite radio and will be heard on the potus channel. i am also privileged to have as one of our visiting fellows
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cnn's senior white house correspondent, ed henry. eyewash ed with -- i watch ed with a close eye. everyday he reports to work at the white house, not a bad address. he is teaching a course this semester along with a former white house press secretary who is unfortunately not able to be with us. he passes along his regrets. a few days ago he was having the surgery and his leg was broken, so he has just gone home. he has started his physical therapy and sends his regards. it took a broken leg to keep him away. we know we are doing something right. ed teaches with joe. i have asked him to get us started with a brief remarks on
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what is at stake when he goes to work at that place called the briefing room. please welcome ed henry. [applause] >> thank you, every buddy. it is really great to be here with frank because we have a new blog at we just did this tribute to ronald reagan. when i was growing up i did not know much about ronald reagan himself. what i learned i learned through the journalists covering him. they set the standard of keeping politicians on this. the carrot that they took to the craft of journalism is what inspired me to try to one day become a white house correspondent. i was always impressed with their work, especially frank. he was covering ronald reagan
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when he was 15-years old. earlier today i got an e-mail inviting me to a farewell party for robert gibbs. it said the nation's highest- paid kindergarten teacher is finally leaving the classroom. [laughter] i thought it was funny until i realized it was an insult to my colleagues and i. i have been here since march 2006. ari fleischer backstage threaten to turn this around and have the former press secretaries asked me questions. but my point is that i can tell you having done this for five years this is serious business. when at cnn beside me to the white house i was a little scared. this is a big beat. capitol hill is big, but it has
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a narrower scope of domestic politics. for the first time i went out on the north lawn and have covered through crisis in north korea and egypt. i know every word i under is dissected here and abroad. people in dozens of countries watching these reports on their iphones. with the social media there is even more pressure to get the story purse and to get the story right. the pressure that we have as journalists, multiplied that when you talk about press secretaries who are at that most public podium. their words can come back to haunt them. we have seen the cover-ups that literally can change history.
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so the work we have to do to make sure we get our reports right, you have to multiplying it even more for what these press secretaries have to do. that is why i have enormous respect for all the people coming up here. it is a story i want to pass along when i was covering the bush white house. and it was one tony snow was the white house press secretary. thankfully he left behind a lot of lessons that can teach us about how to carry ourselves. he had just come from fox news over to the bush white house and i was at cnn so there was already that. i was pressing him on the war in iraq. one time it reached a boiling point and tony said zip it. it came out of nowhere.
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a few days later at bombed into him on the north lawn and we were talking to him. from a distance his assistant saw us and thought we were close. he said pretty soon i am going to have to buy you guys some boxing gloves. tony said something i never forgot, he said this is not personal. ed has a job to do and i have a job to do. the decisions of enormous gravity that presidents have to make. there needs to be a healthy dose of respect on what we call both sides of the podium. not for it -- without further ado, i will bring back frank. [applause] >> thank you very much. our guests tonight have given
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voice to all the incredible history, from black hawk down to the impeachment of a president, 2 9/11. their job is may be impossible to represent the president, to articulate policy and communicate with a skeptical world, to manage the media. to tell the truth or we hope and trust not to lie. when dee dee myers step to the podium there were about 50 active web sites. when dana perino left the job there were 20 billion web sites.
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how times have changed. whether we believe the impression or the information is credible, it is only three years. tonight we will explore the role of the white house press secretary with people who have articulated and shaped this remarkable history set against this phenomenal media backdrop that we all shared in one form or another. i would share one story with you and you will hear many more. after 9/11 i was a bureau chief at cnn. ari fleischer was the press secretary. he initiated a pool call to the network bureau chiefs and said we are in a different time now.
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the country has changed. what you must understand is what you say and broadcast will be seen in afghanistan at the same moment it is seen in albany. he had special instructions we may talk about but he was asking us not to report on the whereabouts of the president. it was a really sobering moment. we know the world continues to change in sometimes unpredictable ways. let me start by bringing out to you and men who was the press secretary to bill clinton at a rather compelling time in his presidency. mike mccurry, press secretary for 1994 to 1998. [applause] i hope many of you know from
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your experience with her directly in class -- apparently she is a twitter phenom. dana perino. [applause] >> look what i did. there i go. torry fleischer was press secretary at a remarkable time in our history, 9/11, the war in iraq. among other things he is deeply entranced-sports. ari fleischer. [applause] finally, as i mentioned when she became the first female white house press secretary, dee dee
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myers took a job -- i am having trouble with these monetarists -- at a very important time. [laughter] we are off to a great start. ladies and gentlemen, dd miers. [applause] >> i am going to sit down and try to be safe here. how many watched the super bowl last night? [applause] how many green bay fans do we have? how many steelers fans do we have? i will put you on the spot. none of us raised a hand because we learned to not take sides. >> before the game barack obama
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sits down with bill o'reilly of fox news for another contest, a secretary is, good idea or bad idea. >> great idea. it is live and there is no editing. everybody in america is in a good mood. bill o'reilly knew that. i thought president obama answered wonderfully. he was that likable person you remember from the campaign. >> i heard some people say it is not dignified enough. >> he is showing he can take on bill o'reilly. >> the lion's den takes us to the next topic. i want to start with you, we have a real time crisis in the world which we are watching closely.
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i am talking about egypt and the unfolding crisis. the president and white house has called for a transition. they said it should be now but there has been some confusion over what know means. do you know what the policy is? >> not really but understand it is involves -- i think that one of the problems yesterday was having two different spokes people from the administration and president obama speaking at the same time. when you are in a crisis you should probably feel things out. >> this is one of the great examples of the complexity of this job in the global world we live. if you are a white house secretary or state department spokesman you are speaking to
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multiple audiences simultaneously and you have nuanced messages you are delivering. the ambassador has a specific message he is delivering to president mubarak. that may not be the same message you want a global audience to reach. how do you target days message in a time when everything is instantaneously verbal? >> mubarak has to be there until september. meanwhile we have people saying the transition needs to begin now. confusing? >> this is the reality of when something is so hot and sensitive. i think you are hearing in the intense focus on the subtleties. i happen to think -- don't tell anybody this, that obama is handling this quite well. >> this is one where you want to
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be slow and steady. slowly say goodbye to president mubarak and slowly pushed for reform. if you think what you are watching now is chaos, just wait until the army decides to settle it. then a gets really massi with a lot of loss of lives. he knows that and he is trying to walk the tightrope. >> i will let you watch a little piece of that type rove -- will piece of tight rope robert gibbs has been walking. i think we have it. let us let you take a look at this.
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>> now means yesterday. when we said now we met yesterday. this is -- now started yesterday. the time for a transition has come. that time is now. you are asking me if now is september? it is unseasonably warm but it is not september. [laughter] >> bring back memories? >> the meaning of the word is [inaudible] [laughter] [applause] >> i think each of us could probably name 100 times we wish we had it to do over and explain more articulately as our co- pilot. it is hard when events are breaking and you are trying to walk that fine line and send the
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right messages to the right audiences. and sometimes you step too far over the line. >> usually you have your best thoughts at 1:00 a.m. >> what happens if you don't expect that question? >> not in my office. that was kind of the role. the worst thing that could happen would be for me to be surprised at the podium. i can remember a few times where -- [laughter] >> one thing that has changed is because of the 24/7 news cycle reporters are asking questions all day long, so by the time you have gotten to the podium you knew what they were going to pass. you could tell where robert gibbs was looking. that is where ed henry sits. you know where they are
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generally trending and you know what they need to get on television. >> he was trying to diffuse the moment and in the questions. >> this is a good example of something important. these are the raw ingredients of news coverage of the white house. i've -- it was an idiot who allow the tv cameras to go in there. that would be made. [laughter] when you are trying to tease out the calibration of what a statement makes that the president has made means, it is not supposed to be carried live on national television. it is supposed to be what reporters used to go to other sources and formed a story they present to the american people. >> you brought cameras to the briefing room. >> a bad idea when monica lynn
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steed came along. -- when monica lewinsky came along. >> let's come back to the crisis and talk about this moment because this is the serious business. sending messages from the white house podium, ari, i know you were there when the war started and took place. what role did you play in sending messages? were you conscious you were the messenger? >> on september 12, that was the first time george bush declared war publicly. that night when he addressed the nation he spoke of reassurance and the next day he deliberately showed up and used the word of war. that changed everything because all of the sudden york press secretary -- you realize troops
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are starting to move. that sense dramatic signals around the world. it was my job to make the statement that saddam hussein has 48 hours to leave. >> you issued the ultimatum. was that a deliberate strategy? why the white house press secretary? >> it was a last-minute issue with prime minister blair. we were hoping to saddam hussein would leave the country. it appeared that he would. it was a last-ditch hope to say he has 48 hours. i said saddam hussein has 48 hours to leave otherwise the consequences will be immediate. people jump from their seats and iran. >> did you know you were going out there?
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>> i did not want reporters to jump from their seats. >> did you push back and trailed those who said we want you to say this? >> no, you knew eventually it was going to happen one way or the other. for six months i was getting prepared for it. what signals did you send the liberally from the podium? >> new kind of caught me -- i did not have to send any to saddam hussein. i was thinking today about when president clinton in his first year was putting together his first budget. one of the things we were doing as the country was coming out of recession. we were trying to send signals to the financial markets that the president was going to move towards a tax deficit reduction. we tried to send those markets
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to get some response so we could show the markets would respond positively. that is one example of a less militaristic situation. it was successful. weaver able to use this positive feedback we were getting. >> when you go out there with a signal like bad when we are in the middle of egypt like this you have multiple audiences. who are you talking to and how do you calibrate your message to reach those audiences? >> sometimes when you are the press secretary you can walk out into the briefing room which is a lot smaller than it looks on tv. in some ways you can get caught up in answering questions to the 20 people assembled there and you forget people are listening to you. i remember being surprised there
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were two places i was recognized more than anyone else. it was south korea and israel. i think that was because at the time the north koreans were quite aggressive in their diplomacy. and the south koreans would watch every day because they want to know is america still with us? that was the same with israel during the 2007-2008 timeframe when we were looking for a way to get prime minister abbas and olmert to come to the table. that is the one piece of advice i pass on to robert gibbs. don't forget while those people in the briefing room can drive you crazy people all around the world are watching because they want to know where the leader of the free world stands. >> you are very unusual among
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white house press secretaries because you have an experience with the state department. >> i told president clinton of the two great job as he gave me that was a more challenging job to be at the podium of the state department because it was harder work. it is a much more substantive press corps. they'll have graduate degrees and don't go for a lot of the silly stuff that happens for the white house. if you have to rise up and express righteous indignation from the white house podium on a matter of critical foreign policy substance after you have been engaged in some political sparring about the republicans are doing, it is jarring for the american public because they don't know which hat you are wearing. are you the official spokesman
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on behalf of the u.s. government? we developed conflict in this role for the press secretary that needs to be resolved. probably all of us agree we were better off when we brought other people in. so that they could actually speak on behalf of the u.s. government. i have been concerned to many of the political actors who worked for the present and migrate into the role of being official spokespeople on matters of state. the briefing since mike allow the cameras in it has become a tv show. that is not the real relationship between a spokesman and the press corps. reporters play their aggressive role. they really fire away the questions. i do the same thing and give the
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answers. the real work is done 20 times a day when they walk into your office and talk one-on-one with you. >> i am going to conclude that the american public will not be well-served. what happens to the information that is supposed to be coming from that podium? >> the public recognizes they get their news from a tremendous number of directions. >> i think one of the things we have to do -- we are in the 21st century and are using a 19th century format to educate the press corps. one person no matter how good looking standing at that podium each day and all the news funnel in through the white house is an antiquated way for the american public to get its information. we have to reinvent the public function within government and
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marginalize the role of the press secretary. >> there is one thing i want to add to that. every day you see the press secretary defending the president. would you don't see is defending the press to the president and senior staff. that is never seen. you are trying to make sure the press corps can get into the median. that happens a lot. one of the most important roles of the press secretary was to protect the role of the press. to remember that they had a job to do. tony snow once said -- it is a really important role to remind everybody that while they might drive you crazy, it is what has made our country so great. >> give us an example of when you have pounded on the desk of
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the oval office and said -- >> the big issue is access. they will not be satisfied until they can watch everything 24/7. the press secretary's job is to fight for as much of that is reasonable. on september 13 the president was going to call mayor giuliani to announce he was coming to new york the next day. that was the famous bull horn moment. i suggested let the press handle it. >> what was your motivation for that? >> i thought it would be good for the country to see the president talking to the leaders. >> that is actually where he got emotional. he feels like i do. >> a reporter asked him a question, how do you personally
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feel about what is going on? for the first time with the cameras rolling, an emotional man? asked an emotional question. he said something along the lines of i and a caring kind of guy but my job is to care for the people who are the victims and not worry about myself. he was about to lose it. >> there are those who would say that to bring the cameras in to a moment like this is stagecraft. >> he took questions after that phone call. people are yelling about each other about a divided policy my answer would be of course not. >> this bears directly on this.
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we solicited questions online from those who were attending and others who might be interested. they were voted upon. this one is from aaron. he asks when is it ok to with that -- knowingly withhold ever mission on behalf of the white house? >> never. >> those are two very different questions. [laughter] >> i famously got in trouble. sometimes the art is telling the truth slowly. i listened to you do a lot of that. >> all of us have had situations where we know things are going to happen but we cannot talk about them because sometimes you might put someone's life in jeopardy. there are other times when the political protocol's don't allow you to acknowledge something
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publicly at that moment. but you can never consciously lied because that destroys the trust that is elemental to serving the president. dana made a good point that you are caught in this position. the geography for those who have watched the "west wing," the back door of the office that all four of us had, you walk out of it and 25 feet away you are with the president yelling at you about how bad the presses. you are literally just -- juxtaposed between these actors. you have to try to keep both halves of that happy. it is a very tricky thing to do because you will not make your colleagues from the white house happy. you can never make the press corps happy because they are
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always bitching about something. it is a formula for having to establish a way in which people get your queues of what you are trying to -- >> do you feel you have lied on behalf of the president? >> because on that i said here is the state and i have. i was very conscious since i did not know what the whole truth was. i never went beyond a statement that was approved by lawyers. it was a very uncomfortable thing. i prided myself on being on top of the informational and giving it to the american people come bank but it was a matter that was being investigated by a very determined prosecutor. the president had some privileges that we cannot put in
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jeopardy. so we wouldn't pollute the environment by saying what is the deal with you and this check? -- you and this chick? >> you were asked any number of times to decline things. what does it mean when he says this? >> other reports that are out there. those all came to you and a lot of them you talked around. -- the white house line was this was a political line that the special prosecutor was pursuing. and the president was reportedly denying some of these things happen. you had to repeat that the nile. i did not repeat that denial. i repeated the statement he had issued and said that has been
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asked and answered. the president is doing the job he got elected to do. the good news is the american people agreed with that over time. they said the press needs to find the off button, because they are pursuing this thing. >> how tough did it get for you? when you know something is happening legislatively or a scandal, where you have more information you want to pass on. >> i think that is something you learned to do over time because not only do you have to give accurate information, but you have to set up your answers so they don't track you down the line. i got trapped by one of my answers. when president clinton first came to the white house president h. w. bush went back to kuwait to celebrate the
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second anniversary of the liberation and there was an assassination attempt on his life. the fbi began to investigate. i started to give guidance prepared by the national security council. it was the fbi is investigating. the president will make a decision about how to proceed. i would periodically get asked a question what is going on with the assassination attempt? i would give the guidance in exactly those words. on friday i was going through my briefing with the deputy for national security and he said nothing has changed. the president will look at the results when they come from the fbi. i got asked a question. and announced to me the president received the information they did before. he decided iraq was responsible for the assassination attempt and the united states would
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retaliate by bombing day agency in baghdad on saturday. i did not know it. then i realized i have now given them that guidance. i realized in hindsight what i should have said was when the president receives information from the fbi he will make a decision. but i did not. i think it is an example of how you have to think five moves ahead of all the time because it is not only about what is happening today, but the future. i learned to do that much better. >> some things people don't realize is in many ways the press secretary acts like a reporter as well. i don't know the answers to everything. i will call somebody at the
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national security council that i trust. i might also ask the chief of staff to make sure i got the same answer. then you know those two have to talk. >> the most common question is who tells you what to say? no one tells you what to say. >> or everyone tells you what to say. >> it is of to the press secretary to be a reporter. >> what is the biggest mistake? >> that was it. >> i am sure you could put a montage together and it would be horrible. [laughter] >> funny you mention that. [laughter] >> it is a burnout job because you have the press banging on you to get me everything, don't tell me you don't know the answer. you have other times where you are not going to. especially after 9/11 a lot at
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it was the security-related. it was covered by aljazeera whether the u.s. would move security forces on to the ground. we have pre deployed our troops. [laughter] >> but aljazeera wasn't the only one. >> in the american media there was a report that we capture the bad guy. regularlysecretary's have to confront things on a background. reporters came into my office and said is it true we capture this guy in yemen? i said i cannot help you on that. i am not asking for your name, just tell me yes or no. i said i cannot help you. the press secretary's job is to help. i cannot even explain at the time but i can say it now.
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when we did capture a bad guy we did not want anybody to know. we wanted his satellite phone to ring again. we wanted to get another e-mail so we could chase it up the line. if i acknowledge anything, the trail could go cold. this is where you are doing what you think is right that the press never thinks is right. >> i will give you an example of a mistake i made that was not substantive, it was tone. there is a lot of pressure on the secretary. i remember one time in particular embarrassing a reporter for asking a question that had already been asked. they were behind by about five hours with the news. i embarrassed him on national television and it was really unfair. the easiest thing to do is to be
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sarcastic and try to be funny. the most important thing you can do is swallow that and save the funny moments for your deputies and give the reporters in the randy information they are seeking. i did call and apologize to the reporter but it does not take back the fact i did it. >> tone and substance are very important. i am reminded of a situation we encountered at cnn. after 9/11 we put together guidance as a result of the conversation you and i had. we understood we could be used as a vehicle for nefarious means. the obama -- osama bin laden tape, what is our responsibility? we said we were going to be
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sensitive to issues that might imperil operations of national security. we will try to tune it in. there was a time when we first deployed u.s. troops to lose pakistan -- to uzbekistan. we were approached and asked not to report that because it might jeopardize security. we chose not to report that. then if it leaks some other place and a pakistani news organization puts it up. another network reported it in the u.s. what is your guidance to news organizations? how can you say i will not address that when it is going out through these other means? >> this is why that clash takes place. whenever the president called me in the oval office and said were
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you the source i would give him a honest answer. i said to you go with it. you go with it and the president sees it on cnn and ask are you the source of it? i would say no, the source was another organization. >> it is a world of difference for someone in the name of the u.s. government and the president to confirm something than some murky report. >> you would rather live with that ever mention that comes from another source? >> i would rather make sure journalists working to keep the american public informed move towards the truth in a way that is not going to jeopardize people's lives. someone is getting ready to
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write something that is flat out wrong or going to move away from the truth, then you have an obligation to warn them against that. can press secretaries lai, the answer is no. the only press secretary that ever did that is jody powell who denied a rescue mission was underway to get the hostages out of iran, long before many students here were born. that was the test case. it has never been challenged sense because nobody has ever lied to the press corps. what gets you killed is when someone forgot to tell you something, which is why dana is right. we have to be reporters ourselves to get sources. it is hard work to stay on top of that. >> what is the day in the life of the press secretary?
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>> i don't think they ever sleep now. i think it has changed a lot. you don't sleep as much as you like to. you have to have the papers read it for the first meetings. >> do you get phone calls in the middle of the night? >> there were five web sites when i left the white house. >> you are looking pretty good for 105. >> for all of us to remember the old fashion newspaper is, even when you are on the hill you know something will be in the paper thin next day where i have to open it up and find a story. then you are either happy or sad. now there is no element of surprise anymore. a "washington post"reports would not necessarily know they were beaten with a story by another
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paper. >> back in the day when there was a bulldog edition of the papers what would happen is there would be something coming out that was a proprietary story. i would sit there and wade and the fund would start to ring. there was no black berry. -- the phone would start to ring. that was a big deal. they could cram it-just in time for their deadline. >>ari, if you had to some of the job of white house press secretary in one tweet, what would you say? >> ec, joyful, lots of sleet. -- lots of sleep. i would call it the most intellectually stimulating job.
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>> one of the things that we studied in political communication and throughout our school is framing an issue and how agenda's for issues get set. i would like to ask you from your perspectives, who set the agenda? did you set the agenda from the podium? is it reporters who set the agenda? could you control it? did you try? >> all of the above. >> the press secretary rarely sets the agenda. the president certainly can. events outside of the white house, weather it is markets crashing -- >> it is pretty rare. that is the exception. >> that is the precedent setting the agenda.
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-- that is the president setting the agenda. >> people in power tried to set an agenda. >> what worked best? >> anytime the president makes hard news. and the press assembly covers. my easiest briefings were when there was one big story going on. the new 30 minutes would be on that nasty topic. on a slow news day, my hardest. 15 or 20 questions, they always asked interesting questions. >> we used to say is it going to be a kitchen sink day? that was a lot harder. >> you tried to set an agenda. you try to move away from what was called suicide bombing. talk about that. >> where everyday lives are
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being taken as a palestinian suicide bombers were taking lives in israel. it was reaching an unparalleled proportions. it occurred to me one day if this is called suicide why are all these other people getting killed? i asked condoleezza rice what do you think? she said she will bounce it off the national security adviser. i did not bring the president into it. i call them homicide bombers. that seemed a more accurate description. >> how did that work? >> it caught people's attention. i think it worked well. a lot of people still use that phrase. >> do you think it worked well? >> i think changing the vocabulary on something like that is a way in which you can use that job to do things. use that job to do things.


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