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tv   American Perspectives  CSPAN  February 12, 2011 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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poll will be. no, it will not be obama. thank you. >> one feature of the conservative political action conference every year is the presidential straw poll, voted on by those who attend the conference. the top winners are the same as last year. ron paul got 30% of the vote followed by mick rahm 8 with 23 percent of the vote. former new mexico governor gary johnson and new jersey governor christie receive 6% of the vote. last year pottery third-place finisher was former lasted governor syrup island. this year she finished ninth with 3% of the vote. next, former white house press secretaries to talk about life
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in the white house. then the white house congressional dinner. after that from the conservative political action conference, mississippi governor haley barbour. now, a discussion of the role of the white house press secretary. we will hear from michael mccurry and dee dee myers preserved under president clinton and president george w. bush's press secretaries dana perino and frank sesno. george washington university's school of media and public affairs posted this event. it is about one hour 30 minutes.
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>> we are delighted to have four former white house press secretaries who had been the faces and voices of presidential administrations, spanning two decades of american history. one of them, dana perino, this event is an expansion of her teaching role last semester at art school of government management. we are joined this evening by senior is cnn correspondent ed henry who is teaching in our school a media and public affairs. the program, live from the white house -- making and shaping the news -- is hosted by former cnn white house correspondent and washington bureau chief and emmy award winning journalist, frank
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sesno, who serves as the director of the george washington school of media and public affairs. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming frank sesno. [applause] >> thank you very much. what a great crowd and a great pleasure to be here with you tonight. i think you'll hear a conversation this evening he will long remember. i want to thank the president and board of the university for helping make this conversation series possible. i would like to thank our council members who are here with us this evening and the great faculty and students of the school a media and public affairs. also, a word of thanks in recognition of the graduate school of political management to help us put together a wonderful reception.
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this event is produced by the center for innovative media at the school of media and public affairs. periodically with these public sessions we meet with people in this public sphere of life to discuss with them the direction of the country, the role the canadian place -- the role the media plays, and the way we communicate as a society. our guests have included robert gates, hillary clinton, walter mondale, and the late tony snow. we examined this remarkable intersection of media, political communication, and public affairs. that is what we do it -- we study, teach, and explore political communication and the fundamental connection between government and the media. this event is an ideal conversation for those of us at
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the university to explore this intersection. i am happy to say it is being broadcast live on c-span. it will be heard on the potus channel. i am also privileged this year to help as one of our visiting fellows, cnn's senior white house correspondent ed henry. i watched ed henry with a very close eye having been in the white house correspondent job for a few years. i know a little of what he goes through every day. every day he reports to work at the white house. he is teaching a course with us at the university of this semester along with joe what part, a former white house press secretary, who is unfortunately not able to be with us this
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evening. he passes on his regrets and disappointment. he was having surgery and during the surgery his leg was broken. he has just gone home. i am happy to say he started his physical therapy and he sends his regards. it took a broken leg to keep them away. and it teaches with joe. he is here this evening. i asked him to keep us started with brief remarks on what is at stake every day when he goes to work in that place called the "briefing room." ladies and gentlemen, please welcome ed henry. [applause] >> thank you. i appreciate it. thank you, everybody. it is great to be here with frank. we had a new blog at we just did something on that
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ronald reagan's birthday. i did not know much about ronald reagan himself. i learned from the journalist who covered him. they set the standard for keeping politics honest. the care that they took to the craft of journalism is what inspired me to try and one day become a white house correspondent myself. i was impressed with their work, especially fred. he was only about 45-years old. that means he was covering ronald reagan when he was about 14-years old. he was a prodigy. i got an e-mail inviting me to a farewell party for robert gibbs. 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 myself and my colleagues in the media who are in that romper room every day.
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ari fleischer a few moments ago backstage threaten to turn this around and have former press secretaries ask me questions, something i did not want to do. i can tell you, having done this for five years, this is not kindergarten. this is serious business. i have to admit i was a little scared. this is a big beat. capitol hill is big as well, but it has a narrower scope of domestic politics. you have all the hill, leaders like dick armey who did not have passwords. the first time i went on the no. 1, i know every word i uttered or any other correspondent otutters -- which social media and the way
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it is growing, there is even more pressure to get the story first, but more importantly get the story right and be fair. the pressure we have as journalists -- just multiplied that when you talk about these press secretaries. the whole world is watching them. their words can come back to haunt them. they are the ones who are touching the stories every hour as they come in from everywhere. the work we have to do to make sure we get our words and our reports right, multiplied what they have to go through. their words can literally topple a government or move a market. that is why i have respect for all of the people coming up here at this moment. there is a story of what to pass along from when i was in the bush white house. tony snow passed away far too
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early. we miss him, but he left behind a lot of lessons to teach us all about how to carry ourselves. he and i got off on the wrong foot because he had just come from fox news over to the bush white house and i was at cnn. i was pressing him all the war in iraq. tony finally snapped at me and said, "is it at." it came out of nowhere. it surprised me. a few days later i bought into him on the lawn of the white house. from a distance, his assistant, and buckley, salt us and all we were about to come to blows. they tried to diffuse the situation. the city would bring us some boxing gloves. tony said something i never forgot, "this is not personal. he has a job to do and i have a job to do." when we get into these emotional
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debates, all of this happens day in and day out. there are decisions that presidents and press secretaries have to make. there has to be a healthy dose of respect on both sides of the podium. dieu, -- urther ad >> our guests tonight have seen, shape, and given voice to an incredible history from black hawk down in somalia to the impeachment of late president to 9/11 and the war in iraq. their jobs are complicated and may be impossible once to represent the president, to articulate administration policy, to communicate with a skeptical world, to manage the media -- let me think about that for a minute -- managed the media, to tell the truth, or at
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the very least, we hope and trust, not to lie, and to do radio, television, face big -- facebook, etc.. when dee dee myers stepped to the podium there were 50 active websites. when dana perino let the job, there were about 20 billion websites. my, how times have changed. some things do not change, and that is whether we believe the information and whether the information is credible. in three years, as mentioned, we have had twitter. the press secretaries are people who have seen, experience, and articulated this remarkable history set against a remarkable media backdrop that we all share
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in one form or another here and around the world. i would share one story with you and we will hear many more. after 9/11 -- within days after 9/11 -- i was a bureau chief at cnn. all reflector was the press secretary. he initiates -- are fleischer was the press secretary. he said we are in a different time now and the world has changed. he said what you must understand that what you say and broadcast will be seen in afghanistan at the same illness is seen in albany. he has special instructions, which we will talk about in a bit, but he was fundamentally asking us not to report the whereabouts of the president. it was a really sobering moment. we know the world did change then in the world continues to change in a remarkable and
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sometimes unpredictable ways. let me start by bringing out for you the man who was the press secretary for bill clinton at a rather compelling time in his presidency, mike mccurry, press secretary from 1994 until 1998. [applause] someone i hope many of you know from your experiences in class, if not, watching and listening to her. apparently she is a twister phenomenon. when she tweets, the world listens. dana perino. [applause] ok. >> while. -- wow. fleischer was press
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secretary at a difficult time in our history. [applause] finally, as i mentioned, when she became the first female white house press secretary, dee dee myers -- my goodness. i am having a hard time with these monitors. we are off to a great start, are we not? [laughter] ladies and gentlemen, dee dee myers. [applause] i am going to sit down and be
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safe. well, how many was the super bowl last night? [applause] how many green bay fans do we have? how many steelers fans do we have? i will not put you on the spot. >> we learned to not take sides on a question like that. [laughter] >> before the game, barack obama sits down with, of all people, bill o'reilly of fox news for another contest -- press secretaries -- good idea or bad idea? >> it was a great idea. >> why? >> millions of people watching. there was no editing. bill o'reilly had a chance to ask a couple of questions. i thought for the debt obama
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answered wonderfully. he was the person we remember from the 2008 campaign. >> some people said it was not dignified enough. it was not the right forum for the president. >> he showed they could take on bill reilly. >> that takes us to the next topic which is where we began. i want to start with you -- we have a real crisis in the world now that we are watching and is taking shape tremendously. i am talking about egypt and the unfolding crisis in egypt. the white house and the president had called for transition. they said it should be now. but there has been some confusion over what "now" really means. do you know what the policy is as communicated? >> not really. i understand it is because of circumstances and events. i think one of the problems
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yesterday with us having two different spokespeople from the administration, plus president obama, speaking out of the same topic -- it is not necessarily a problem -- >> this is one of the great examples of the complexity of this job in the global world we live. if you are a state department spokeswoman or press secretary, you are speaking to multiple audiences simultaneously. you have sometimes nuanced messages that you are delivering. the message may not be the same as you what a global ones to reach. how do you target these messages in a time where things are instantaneously global? it is a real challenge. mubarak has to be there until september. meanwhile, we have people saying
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the transocean needs to begin now. >> as mike indicated, this is the reality. i think you are hearing a focus. i happen to think, do not tell anybody this, but barack obama handled this quite well. this is one where you want to slowly say goodbye to president mubarak. the reason i say slowly is because if you think you're watching problems now, wait until it really gets messy. i think he knows that. he has tried to walk a tight rope. >> i am going to let you watch a piece of the tight rope robert
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gibbs has been watching lightly. he was asked to clarify after the president's remarks what "now" means. let us let you take a look at this. >> how do you fight -- defined now? >> now means yesterday. now started yesterday. the time for the transition has, and that time is now. >> does now main september? >> it is not september. [laughter] >> bring back memories?
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>> the meaning of the word is -- [laughter] [applause] i think each of us could probably name 100 times in which we needed eight do over, particularly with hindsight. it is hard when events are breaking and you're trying to walk that fine line and send the right message to the right audiences. you handled the situation as best you can and sometimes you step too far over the line. >> is that what happens? you go out there and say, "i did not expect that question." >> that was my press office. the worst thing that could happen was for me to be surprised at the podium. i can remember a few times.
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[laughter] one thing that has changed is that because of 24/7 news cycles, reporters are constantly asking us questions all day long. by the time you got to the briefing room at noon, they have been asking questions since 4:00 a.m. you can tell where robert gibbs was looking. you kind of know where they are generally chanting and you know what they need to get on television. >> he was clearly trying to confuse the moment and dodge the question with humor or by repeating it over and over again. >> these briefings or the raw ingredients of news coverage at the white house. they are not news in and of themselves. the idiot to allow the tv cameras to go in there -- >> that would be made. [laughter]
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-- that would be me. [laughter] >> it is not supposed to be carried live on national television. it is supposed to be what reporters used to test and go to other sources and foreign the composite, which is the story they submit to the american people. >> you brought cameras to the briefing room on a regular basis. >> a good idea in 1995, a bad idea when monica lewinsky came along. >> i want to come back to that in a minute. this is the serious business of your job. in sending messages from the white house podium, -- you were there in -- on 911 -- what role did you have in sending messages and were you conscious that you were the messenger?
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>> yes. on september 12, that was the first time that george bush said at war publicly. that night when he addressed the nation, he spoke of reassurance and i hope. the next day he used the word clock -- use the word "war." you realized that troops were starting to move. america had a seriousness of purpose after 9/11. it was my job to make a statement within 48 hours. >> was that a deliberate strategy? how's that decision made? >> it was a last-minute summit with prime minister blare.
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president bush returned from the summit. it was a last-bitch hope that -- last-dietz hope -- last- ditch hope. reporters literally jump from their seats and ran. >> i did not know that reporters had jumped from their seats. did you push back and grill those? >> they had been begging for six months. it was eventually going to happen one way or another. >> dee dee, what signals did you send it deliberately from the podium? >> the kind of caught me -- i
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did not have to send any. 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 -- the country was coming out of a recession -- we were trying to send signals to the financial market that the president was going to take balancing the budget seriously. we tried to send signals to the markets to get some response silica sand congress a little bit further. that is one example of a less militaristic situation, but it was successful. we were able to use the feedback from the people that were driving the markets. >> especially a signal light that -- signal like that, you have multiple audiences.
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to are you talking to add you calibrate your message to reach that audience? >> in a way, when you are the press secretary you can walk out into the briefing room -- it is a lot smaller than it looks on television -- >> it is about the size. >> you can answer questions for the 20 people who are assembled there. i remember being surprised that there were two places i was recognized more than anywhere else. it was south korea and israel. i think that was because at the time the north koreans were quite aggressive in their form of diplomacy, i guess. the south koreans would watch every day because they want to know if america is still with them. that was the same with israel, in particular the 2007-20008
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timeframe we were looking for a way to get president abbas to the table. that is the one piece of advice that i passed on to robert gibbs when he was coming into the press office -- do not forget that while this 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 on those issues. >> you had experience at the state department. >> i told president clinton one time that of the two jobs he gave me, that was the far more interesting and challenging, to be at the podium in the state department. it is a much more substantive press corps. they all have graduate degrees in international relations. they do not go for a lot of the silly stuff that happens at the
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white house sometimes. that is one of the problems. you stand up and express righteous indignation from the white house podium on matters of foreign policy after you have just engaged in some political sparring back-and-forth about what the republicans and democrats are doing. it is jarring to the american public because they do not know which pat you are wearing. are you working for the president or are you the official spokesman on behalf of the united states government? we develop conflict in this role. the press -- it needs to be resolved. we all agree that we were better off when we brought other people in -- the secretary of state and other people responsible into the briefing room so that they could speak on behalf of the united states government. i have a concern that too many of the political actors migrate
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into the world of being efficient spokesman on critical matters of state. i am not sure that is their role. >> cameras have been allowed in to cover briefings live. it is not the real substance of the relationship between a spokesman at the press corps. reporters play an aggressive role. they know their editors are watching. i do the same thing in reverse. it is a tv show. reporters what is your office and close the door and talk one- on-one with you. >> if you are telling me it is a tv show, then the american public may not be very well served. what happens to the information that is supposed to be coming from that podium everyone is posturing? >> i agree with that one
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better%. what the things we have to do -- we are in the 21st century and we are using a 19th century format to speak to the press corps. no matter how good-looking you are at the podium every day, doing a briefing for the press corps is a totally antiquated way for the american public to get its information. we have to reinvent the function of public and fro within government. i think it marginalizes the role of the press. >> i want to add, every day you see the press secretary defending the president at the podium. what you do not see is defending the press to the president and to the senior staff. that is never seen. unless you are trying to make sure the press corps can get into a meeting. that happens all lot.
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-- that happens all lot. what the roles of the press secretary is to protect the role of the press and remember that they have a job to do. tony snow white said on the record -- tony snow said of the record is an important role to remind everybody that although they may drive you crazy, it is their role. >> when you pass that on the desk in the oval office -- >> the press always wants access. the press secretary's job is to fight for as much that is reasonable and doable. i remember on september 13, 2001, the president announced he was coming to new york the next day.
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normally that would just be a private phone call. i suggested that he let the press in and let them see the phone call. >> what was your motivation for that? >> it was good for the country to see the president talking to the leaders. >> it showed the president in a good, strong commanding light. >> that is actually where he got emotional. >> a reporter asked him a question about how he personally felt about what was going on. the first time with cameras rolling, an emotional man was asked an emotional question. he said something along the lines of "i am a caring kind of guy. my job is to care for the people who are the victims." he walked out about to lose it. >> there are those who would
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say, and justifiably, to bring the cameras into a moment like that is stagecraft. >> p to questions after the phone call. he brought the press in when there was strife in the oval office. >> let me ask you another one. it bears directly on this. we solicited questions online from those who were attending and others who might be interested. there were voted upon. this one asked when is it ok to lie or knowingly withhold information on behalf of the president and the white house? >> never. >> those are two very different questions. [laughter] that is no light. >> in his late got in trouble.
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-- i innocently got in trouble. all of us have had situations where we know things are going to happen, but we cannot talk about them. sometimes you might put someone's life in jeopardy. sometimes there is a political or diplomatic protocol that does not allow you to acknowledge something publicly at that moment. you can never consciously lied because that destroys the credibility of the trust that is elemental in serving the president and the press corps. dana made a very good point. you are caught in this weird position. the geography for those of you who have watched the television program, "west wing," the back door of the office that all four of us have, you walk out of it
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and 25 feet away you are in the oval office with the president yelling at you about how bad the press is. if you turn left, you go into the briefing room. you have to try to keep both halves of that equation happy. it is a very tricky thing to do. you usually will not make your colleagues in the white house happy. you can never make the press corps happy because they are always bitching and moaning about something. [laughter] it is a formula for having to establish a kind of a way in which people get your queues of what you're trying to say. >> if you feel like you have lied on behalf of the president? >> no. here is the statement i have. i will not go beyond it. there were parts i did not know because i never went beyond the
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statement. i famously said i would not parsed the statement. it was a very uncomfortable thing. i prided myself on being on top of the information and having a good brief to give to the american people. on the monica jelinski-hall matter, it was being -- monica lewinsky matter, it was being looked at by a very rigid prosecutor. we could not put it in jeopardy. we did not pollute the environment by going in and saying, "what is the deal with you and this chick?" >> you were asked a number of times to define things. what does it mean when he says
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blah, blah, blah. a lot of them you ducked. the white house line was that this was a political line the special prosecutor was pursuing. the president was repeating -- repeatedly denying some of the things that was happening. you had to be the spokesman and repeat that. >> i repeated what the statement was he had issued. it was asked and answered. the president is doing the job he was elected to do. the press needs to find the off button because they were pursuing the thing to ridiculously. >> how tough to get for you? that line where you knew something was happening whether it was legislatively, a scandal, or an event where you have more information did he want to pass
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on. >> i think that is something you learn to deal with because you learn that not only do you have to give accurate information, but you have to set up your answers said they do not track you down the line. i once got shot by one of my answers. you probably all know the story. when president clinton first came to the all -- white house, president h. w. bush went back to kuwait to celebrate. the fbi began to investigate. the national security council was set up guidelines about these things. i would get asked a question about what was going on with the fbi investigation. one friday i was going through
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my briefing with the deputies for national security in my office. they said nothing had changed. same guidelines. the president will look at the results and make a decision about how to proceed. the president had received the information of the day before. the information was that iraq was responsible for the assassination attempt on president bush and the u.s. retaliated by a bombing of baghdad on saturday. this was friday. i did not know it until the following day. i realize that i had given them that guidance. i realised in hindsight that what i should have said was, " when the president receives the information from the fbi, he will make the decision. until then i have nothing to
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say." but i did not. you got to think ahead all the time not only about what is happening today, but what is happening in the future. it was a painful experience. >> i would add one thing to that. what some people do not realize is that in many ways the precedent -- press secretary acts like a reporter as well. i do not know the answer to everything. i did a question. i do not know. i will call somebody at the national security council. i may also ask the chief of staff to make sure i had the same answer. if i do not have the same answer, i note these two have to talk. >> no one tells you what to say. you go out there with the information. it is up to the press secretary to go and be a reporter. >> what is the biggest mistake you have made?
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>> that was it. >> anymore big mistakes? >> i could put a montage together. it would be horrible. [laughter] >> it is a barn elms job. yet the press on you from -- it is a burnout job. you have the press on you. after 911, i was at a live briefing that was covered by al jazeera. i told them we had redeployed our troops. let me give you another example. we rolled up one of the terrorist we had been looking for. the press secretary -- the
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reporters ask me if it was true we had captured a terrorist in yemen. i tell them i cannot help them on that. they wanted a yes or no said they could know if they could write it or not. they grow angry at you. why can you not just say yes or no? i can say it now. we did capture a bad guy, we did not want anybody to know. he won his cell phone to ring again. in what is satellite phone to ring again. if i had acknowledged anything about him, the line could have gone cold. this is where you are doing what you think is right to represent your boss, but the press never thinks is right. >> i will give you an example of a mistake i made that was not
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necessarily substantive. it was tone. as we all know, there are a lot of pressures on the press secretary, but there are a lot of pressures on everybody. one time in particular, i embarrassed a reporter for asking a question that had already been asked. i embarrassed them. it was really unfair. the easiest thing to do when you are the press secretary is to be sarcastic and try to be funny. the most important thing you can do, i think, is to swallow that and save the funny moments with her deputies and bring it back up in your office and get the american people and reporters in the rear of the information they are speaking. i did call and apologize to the reporter, but it does not negate the fact that i did it. >> tone and substance is a very important thing. i am reminded again your story
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of the situation we encountered at cnn. after 9/11 we put together dinettes -- guidance. we understood that we could end up being used for nefarious means. we just his left hand, is that a signal to launch another attack? where do we get guns from. we said we would be sensitive to situations that could diminish in national security. we took lots of calls. there was a time when we first deployed u.s. troops for the staging. we first learned about that. we were approached and asked not to report that. we chose not to report it
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because of national security. a pakistani news organizations reported that at another network reported in the united states. what is your -- how can you say you are not point to suggest that when it is going out to all of the other media? >> by standard was when someone asked me if i was the source, i would give them an honest answer. if i say to you on that ground "go with it" and you go with it, the president asked if i am the source of it? >> yousuf, note. i am not the source of it. >> you told your editor that ari was resource. >> if someone in the name of the
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united states government confirms or says something then some murky report -- >> you would rather live with that information out there that comes from another source -- >> i would rather make sure that a journalist working to keep the american public informed moves towards the truce in a way that is not going to jeopardize people's lives were more or security. as someone is getting ready to write something that is flat out wrong were going to move away from the truth, then you have some obligation to warn them against that. can press secretaries alike? the answer is no, never. the only one who ever did that is jody powell to categorically denied to the press that a rescue miss it -- rescue mission was underway to get hostages out of iran. that was before the students
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were born. it was a test case and it has not been challenged because no one has ever outright lied to the press corps. we have to be reporters ourselves. we have to knock down the doors to get sources, to get the information. it is hard work to stay on top of all of it. >> what is the day in the light of the press secretary? do you get up at 3:00 in the morning? >> i do not think they sleep now. i think it has changed a lot. you do not sleep as much as you would like to. if you start early. >> de get all calls in the middle of the night? >> sometimes. >> you are looking pretty good for 101. [laughter]
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>> even when you are on the hill, you know there will be something in the paper the next day. when the alarm goes off, you go down to get the paper and read it. now, but there is no element of surprise anymore. in fact, a washington post reporter would not necessarily know that they had been beaten on a story by the new york times until 5:00 in the morning. now that happens at 7:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. >> for me what would happen is there would be something coming out that was proprietary to the new york times. i would wait in the fall would start to ring. there is a story in the new york times and i have a match. that is a big deal. they can cram it into the paper before the deadline. >> ari, this question -- if you
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had to sum up the job of white house press secretary in 1 weeks -- 140 characters or less, what would you say? >> i would call it the best job i ever had. in a stimulating job i ever had. -- the most stimulating job i ever had. >> one thing we study in political communication and throughout our school is finding an issue and hal agendas for issues get set. from your perspective, who sets the agenda? the set the agenda from the podiums? is it reporters? all the above? could you control it? we know you tried.
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>> all the above. >> the press secretary does not set the agenda at all. events outside of the white house altogether whether it is egypt or markets crashing -- >> the president can make a speech and not set the agenda. >> it is pretty rare. that is the exception. >> that is the president setting the agenda. >> it is the struggle with politics and communication in a democracy. >> what works best? >> any kind of -- there was wine really big story going on. it was a nasty topic.
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on a slow news day, my heart is beating. we had 15 or 20 random questions. they are interesting questions about extracurricular activities. >> it is going to be a kitchen sink date because you're going to get everything. >> if you try to set an agenda. he certainly tried to use the language to move away from suicide bombings. talk about that. >> during the second infantada were suicide bombers were taking lives in israel, it was unparalleled. if this is called a suicide, why are all these other people getting killed? i asked condi what she thought? she was fine with it.
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i went to the totem -- podium and called them "a homicide bombers." that was a more accurate description of what was going on. >> how did that work? >> i think it worked well. a lot of people started to use that phrase. i thought it was a more accurate phrase. >> i think changing the vocabulary on something like that is a way in which you can use that job to do things. it is a rare opportunity to use the podium to -- >> or you just being a spin doctor in doing all of this? >> the danger associated with that job is the american people do not source -- do not trust the sources of the information. they do not have faith in the media. they have seen too many people who do this political speak and they do not have charts for that. they are looking for someone who can help them sort out what
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really matters in their life. that is the hardest part of this job. as i said before, you have to do it to be an advocate and a protagonist for the president's point of view. you have to convey factual information to the american public that the american public needs to hear. >> how do you all think barack obama's messaging and his press secretary, robert gibson, have done at capturing the message? [whistling] [laughter] what a surprise. >> president obama lost 53 seats in november. it is not a message problem, it is a substance problem. he overreached his mandate. he enacted policies that an
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overwhelming majority of the american people disagree with. i do not think it is a communications issue. >> de you agree with that, dee dee? >> if not entirely. i think the process of making legislation -- it is ugly. president clinton had some of the same problems, one of which is if you want to accomplish anything in washington as president, one of the things to do is legislatively. president obama came in saying he wanted to reform health care and reform the financial system. those are big, legislative things. the republicans have adopted the strategy of "just say no." could the president have done a better job of intervening and speeding it up to hold people
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accountable? yes. those things you could do better. i think there has been a lot of political capital. he took it out and he spent it. >> he went into debt with it. >> he did. he is willing to do that. who would have thought two months after the midterms he would be in the political shape he is in now. >> we called model rated the great communicator. is barack obama a great communicator -- we call ronald reagan the great communicator. is barack obama a great communicator? >> peake estate in the moment and deliver on that. >> i think the ability of the president to use the bully pulpit to help move the country in a direction that is so different today than it was in ronald reagan's time because of the difference in the media,
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technology, and the way we reach people. at some fundamental level, the people want to have an emotional attachment to their president and know that the president feels what they feel and understand what their lives are about. i think president obama is good at the art of doing that effectively. sometimes it was not prevalent in the first two years. >> robert gibbs, who is in some of the important and was during the first two years to the president -- i am interested in my colleagues pointed you on this -- it is nearly impossible to be a key policy maker on behalf of the president and simultaneously do the job we have to do. you almost have to be a fly on the wall watching all of these actors play out their role, but then what's the president make his decision -- but then watch
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the president make his decision. >> you are a participant in the process. this is what george stephanopoulos ran into. if you are a participant in the process, your colleagues know you have a point of view. i do not think -- i consciously never tried to give the president my opinion on something when there were a lot of cabinet officials are realm. i gave him my point of view sometimes in private, but not part of the policy-making. >> i totally agree with that for a number of reasons. i think it is difficult to return all of the telephone calls. you have to be a hand-holder. you have to spend some time doing that. you cannot be an adviser. another thing is you cannot
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alienate your constituency. it is beyond the credibility you may have with them. you have to get back to the people on the other side. they are not going to be as reliable when you report to them. you got to be an honest broker in side. >> i want everyone to come spend made. >> right. >> i want to hear everyone's pointed view and then i can figure at al. >> when i was press secretary, i had access to all the meetings -- meetings. i would play that fly on the wall role. usually what i would give was not necessarily my personal opinion, but i did have a sense for -- i am just going to tell you -- if you go down that road, this is what is going to happen. it does not mean we cannot manage it. we made decisions as press
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secretary said that we have to deal with. >> president bush vetoed that bill twice. it's point was that he wanted the money to go to the poorest children first. we are crazy, we are not going to be tell it what, we are born to veto it twice. >> how bad example that when you go to the president, warning, warning, or you said something that was wrong. when did you all do that?
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>> george bush was the easiest. >> his dad had run for president than he had run for governor, then he had run for president. there is not a reporter he had not tangle with. he had the highest tolerance for bad news of any principle that i have ever known. >> clinton did, too. he would take it in and blow off a little steam and then he would be ok. >> he did not have that, really. >> president bush had done a press conference and he was in the briefing room, and after he left the followed him and we went to the oval office and he said yes, that world war iii, it
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is probably going to get a little press. i said i don't think that is going to be the headline. about 3:00 in the afternoon, he said i just want to call and tell you, you were right. >> mine was somewhat similar. it was mid-year, 2003. the war in iraq was ostensibly winding down but all the sudden the attacks started up and we started to lose a lot avert troops -- started to lose a lot of our troops. president bush said that if anybody tries to attack america's military, my message is bring it on. i said to mr. president, think
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how that is going to sound to a mother who has a job fighting for our country in iraq. just as not sound right. he got indignant, and said what i am trying to say is i have so much faith in our military, bring it on, because you will lose and we will beat you. he was sending a message to our military about how much faith he had and our military. i said mr. president, it did not come out that way. >> he did not yield, but he got the message and he never said that again. >> a question from one of my colleagues. i love this question. why did the democratic white house press operations usually have more trouble controlling the party's message compared with republicans?
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>> i will take a crack that. if you scratch any professional democrat or people who work in the party, they came up in the 1960's and 1970's through movement and politics. there were anti-war activists, environmentalists, feminists, they work in movement politics and believed that the press was going to be on their side, that they were in the business of speaking truth to power. republicans never had that fiction in mind, so they started from the viewpoint that was more corporate, were fueled in public relations. you go back to the structure of the modern white house communications apparatus, it goes all the way back to nixon and the way in which it was first set up in those years. it was more about mass communications. i think republicans are more adept at the skills of mass communication, advertising,
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public relations from the beginning. >> i think that is pretty plausible. bush had the advantage of watching all the mistakes made in his father's administration. you have a lot of powerful individuals who fought against each other not really on behalf of his father. you could go into a meeting in the oval office and the next page it would be on the front page of the washington post. bush made the decision that the people he hired would really be team players. none of us gave it out. my point is, with bush's father, the press but the leaks. are the ministration, he did not -- you would get headline saying of the white house was secretive and tight-lipped.
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>> congratulations. >> that is where you have a clash of priorities. when i covered the reagan and bush white house, some of it was disarray. some people had agendas, but other people actually felt they wanted to put information out. >> summer fighting for their own turf. -- some were fighting for their own turf. >> they seldom if ever leaked in the bush administration. i am proud of that. >> there is a myth that the republicans did not have a message problem. if you look at the emigration they reject immigration debate, that is not a cohesive message.
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>> it is the same problem that obama had at election time. it is not a question of message, it is a question of policy. >> that is still going to be debatable. when you take on these big issues of energy, health care, it is not necessarily -- your not going to have a big, cohesive message. >> lightning round time. i want to go up to some questions here and flipper. with regard to television series "the west wing" -- how realistic was the depiction of your position? >> the creator of the program had written a script and he asked me if i would consult on the show. i said sure, and all my friends
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in washington started calling me and saying hollywood never gets washington right. the show is going to be a disaster. and then the first show came on and i got called from all my friends saying, why are people walking so fast in the halls? they don't talk about national security stuff and they are walking through the west lobby. until weeks later they said they had a story idea for me. " truly, i think it felt like the clinton white house. >> sort of in disarray, everybody walking. >> in some ways, the culture was right. we did have people walking past through the halls. events move fast, and it was a way to depict the constant motion of events. the one thing that was pleased realistic was there were about five people that made decisions in the fictional west wing.
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i think the sense that most people are working hard in trying to do the right thing every day, the fact that just when you think you have the answer to one question, another issue comes crashing over your transom. the gravity of what people face every day, and sometimes it is the little things and sometimes the big things that win the day or not you of your course. particularly, i think it was the characters that people related to. there is a sense of idealism that each one of us would say there are good, patriotic americans who are trying to make the country a better place. >> the panel represents two decades of media relations. what are the most salient changes over the past 15 or 20 years? >> in some ways we had fundamentally different jobs. i think that reporter-wise, you
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lost a lot of the senior level talent both in print and broadcast media, and it is a shame, because that historical perspective really was good. i remember being able to ask for advice, saying this is coming down in a couple of hours. is this the right thing to do? terry is the most powerful person in washington. there is a more cooperative relationship than you think. i don't think it is as partisan as it is made out to be. on the technology side of things, at first i resisted the social media. >> how many followers do you have on twitter? >> i don't know, not enough.
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i think is 30,000. >> how many followers do you have? >> i get these things and saying so and so wants to follow you, but i am not leading anywhere. >> here is a very interesting and important question from another colleague. 5.3 billion mobile phone subscriptions around the world. high-resolution remote sensing satellites generating enormous amounts of data from anywhere on the ground, more satellite news network's everyday. the question is, how has this changed what white house press secretary or government can do to set national and international priorities? is the nature of government itself changing because of
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global information and technology? >> asked mubarak. >> one of the challenges we are going through right now is how we slowdown the transfer of information so that people can actually get information and use its, a bit, derrick information and use it effectively to make decisions, whether they are mike -- writing a story to inform the public. all the competition in the news business has been based on speed every day, cnn has breaking news, every 30 seconds. we have got to slow that down so that people will -- it can win the white house goes out and consciously says you are all going to report a lot of things that will end up making you look ugly if you do not stop and get things right. one of the things that has
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eroded the confidence of the american people in the press is all this misinformation that it's out there when there is a crisis, when something bad happens. we had a congresswoman from arizona who was dead for two hours because of what was being reported in need of the moment. learning how to slow down, be thorough, is something that both sides of this adversarial relationship have to get better at. >> how is this changing the nature of governance? >> i think it is changing the press more than governance. reporters have got to respond to it, get it out, get it fast, get it right, not necessarily in that order. >> you have bloggers and social media. >> i think it has changed the press corps that has changed government officials. the white house still has a higher obligation to get it right, even if it is three hours
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of to the event. in 2001, it was reported there was a plane crash on long island. the governor and the mayors at the bridges and tunnels. i was coming in about 7:15 and i heard it on my car radio. i did not come up to breathe until noon, until i was comfortable i had enough black -- enough facts. that five hours was an eternity. they were furious with us. i made some enemies in the press that they because i would not free until i was ready. i slowed it down. is it terrorism, yes or no? >> if you get it wrong, then you have to try to correct it. >> the consequences of us getting it wrong is that we lose the job.
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we lose credibility. we are not effective in serving the president. the consequence of you getting it wrong as a journalist, is you have to print a correction. >> it is a little tougher than that sometimes. i also know that it just changed the decision making function and the roles that people are playing. and you have pictures coming directly into the white house in the hostage-taking situation, i know for a fact that the white house was watching those pictures in real time. when you elevate that and put all that on steroids and attach it to 20 million website, that has got to change the way you are making decisions. >> that is part of it. look how difficult it is for the white house to sustain a narrative on a topic they want to talk about. they talk about jobs, jobs,
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jobs, and in egypt blows up. the president wants to go out and sell his health care message, and he has about 15 seconds to get that message out before everyone is onto something ouelse, no matter how inconsequential it may be. >> that takes us to another question. what skills do you rely on most as your rolle id press secretary and how to do develop them? -- what skills did you rely on most in your role as press secretary and how did you develop them? >> you want to be in communications or press or vice versa, and in some ways it is following year buyour gut and kg
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when it is going to be a big story and when it is not. most press secretaries have had some for role in journalism at some points -- some sort of role in journalism at some point. also understanding what it means, a journalist would call and tell you i have this story and i have to sources. you might go and tell the chief of staff that something is want to happen with two sources. a little bit of training from that respect, but a lot of it is trial and error. i had a wonderful chief of staff who taught me a lot. by first call was from brightly of dow jones.
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-- my first call was from brian lee from dow jones. i asked him how his new company felt about the first mega number. >> what advice would you give a former journalist applying for jobs in the white house press shop? >> i think it will be a great test for jay. when you are a journalist, every skill you have is to cover the news, which really is different than selling the news are promoting your boss. this will test him now to see help ably come under fire, he
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can make that transition. he is smart, fast on his become a very good-looking. he will do great on camera. it will be a great test for him. >> i disagree with something dana said earlier. i think a sense of humor can diffuse really tense situations. >> if it is self-deprecating. but if it is mean to get someone else, no. >> that is absolutely correct. >> you dodged and weaving all the time and he managed to preserve yourself somehow through the whole monica mess. >> i try not to relive those days. >> i don't think i could get away with some of this stupid things that happened out there
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because they would be on youtube. >> i watched you once on live tv when i was on capitol hill and you said on live tv to a group of reporters, let's go on background. >> he tried to but the president on background. i remember that. >> it did not work. >> do you have a comment about the recent news that aol is buying huffington post? >> no. [laughter] >> why? >> whatever. just three months ago, "newsweek" was sold for $1.
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the buildup, the overhead costs that of a legacy costs, and not being able to keep up, and the new media it has taken the world by storm. it is a really great chance for aol. >> there is a real danger if we think that all information that we value ought to be freely available to us because it is out there on the internet. as consumers of news, we don't buy you and pay for the content that matters. >> it started as a liberal blog. >> what is fascinating about it is, it is a proudly liberal organization, and now it has merged with a secular organization. this is like the turn of the last century. in new york city, there were 23
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or 24 newspapers. we are back to an era where all the news comes from a point of view, and people don't really expect anything else. the huffington post was established in 2005 and was profitable last year. >> can they save aol? >> it is as good a shot as anything. auriana huffington has proved herself to be someone who is a creative -- she has created something. the other person who is running in "newsweek tina brown who is running a purely online news source. the only way that "newsweek"
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>> every model under the sun is being tested to see how you make the news business profitable. >> you have had incredible job, an incredible view of history, an incredible opportunity to help pave it, at the margins. you were not president, but pretty close to that person. i wonder as you look at our political process now, as you look at our media and technology now, as you look at the nature of our civil discourse in this country, and think about our students, young people, many of whom would like to do what you have done or contribute in some
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way to our national -- how do you define this moment in history, and how someone who is 20 or 21 years old should look at where we are as a culture and in the world of journalism and governance, where we are as a body politic. i would like to take that wherever you go, but is your opportunity to look forward a little bit. i think it is a great way to close conversation. >> i am very optimistic about where we are going. in the short term we have a lot of this function, bitterness, poison sulfur in the environment of our political culture. over time, i detect among young people real pragmatism and desire to solve problems, a real hunger for really affirmation that allows them to make choices that will allow them to shape their own choices about the future, and i think that is
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going to result in everything we were just talking about. it is going to be new journalism with new business models that are effective. it will result in a new civil discourse that is focused on solving problems, when we get rid of a lot of the baby boomers. our generation has failed in not answering honestly the question of how much government do we want and how much are we willing to pay for? we have punted on that question for a generation now. i know we are all celebrating ronald reagan's 100 anniversary, but it began when we basically made that false promise, that you can cut taxes and not cut government, which happened in his presidency. until we resolve that and get serious about those fundamental questions, we will not be back to a place where reckon have coherence and our government. i think the students here today will be much more courageous in
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addressing those questions, and they will invent new politics, new journalism, a new way of keeping us together as the self- governing noble experiment we have been in america. >> i think it is more like asking young people where we are as a culture. things are changing so quickly, and i think the tools that are available and the abuse resulting from the technology that you guys are all growing up in -- what is happening in egypt is a facebook revolution. it never would have happened without allowing people to express outrage about murder of civilians and to organize planned meetings. that is just the beginning of people organizing themselves in new ways. we are in a bad place, but i
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think the next generation can jump over where we have been to create a completely new model. i think the model of the white house press secretary, it is the same model of the network news anger. we are not going to have another generation of network news anchors. we are going to have something totally different. it is an exciting time. with all that energy and all that democracy, it is unmanageable by anybody. the repercussions are completely unpredictable. it is the potential to unleash innovation, new ways of thinking and creating wealth for the country and for the world and raving -- raising living standards and fighting disease and conquering problems from clean water to clean air. it is mind-boggling to think of the potential. it is an exciting time to live in.
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>> i share the optimism, and i would set a couple of things. d.c. politics in general is not as partisan as some people think. i think we are showing that tonight. you can disagree on things and still be able to have a civil conversation, which i have witnessed since i got a chance to teach last year, and i really enjoyed that. i am very excited about the fact that -- i grew up in rural environment, and one of the best things is that the internet has allowed people all across the country between washington, new york, and los angeles, to have a say in what is happening. that has made some people uncomfortable. not just the tea party, people
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all over. people from wyoming, where i am from, who are now online and participating and reading things -- you did not have access to all this different kind of information. no one is dropping off the new york times at my grandfather's ranch in the middle of wyoming. now they can have access and they can participate. last year when scott brown won election in massachusetts, one thing they were successful in doing was getting small donations from people all over the country. the other thing i would say to the students here is, take advantage of being in d.c., and take the internship, the one that does not sound very exciting.
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you start with a credibility deficitalways take the deputy j. that is how i got to know president bush. i travelled on weekends and holidays. i listened to some young girl people who are so exhausted all the time and i think -- younger people who are so exhausted all the time and i think, how can you be so exhausted? i first met ari on capitol hill -- dare i say the year? 1995, and we still have this relationship and are close. it is a wonderful place to be. this is a fantastic school to have that experience. >> 1995 sounds like yesterday to me. you get the last word. >> i started on capitol hill right out of college. my advice to the people in this room is that if you like
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politics, if there is a cause to believe then, died in. that is what makes biscuits -- in.eved in, divine that is what makes this country so great. we have always had rancor and disagreement. you just hear more about it now. as tough as people will say things are, look around the world. we settle our differences peacefully in this country. it is a noisy process. dived into it. but yourself into the process. it is so easy to do as gw student, because it is right at your doorstep. capitol hill has more young people than anywhere else with influence and power. you go to wall street, you will spend decades before you can really make it. if you come to capitol hill, you can move up fast, move up well
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if you are sharp, smart, a team player. it is the best pound for ideas and creativity. it can also be -- best talent for ideas and creativity. it can also be a very positive place. somebody said as we were walking over year, because so many people here were political communications majors, this is kind of like a rock concert. my advice to you is, get better rock stars. [laughter] [applause] >> on that note, i would merely say, first of all, but i think we are all privileged to have had a fascinating conversation here tonight where we have explored some of the cultural, technological, journalistic and political trends that are out there as well as some remarkable personal insights on the lives you have led and the history that you have seen. so, to our radio and television
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audiences on c-span and elsewhere, thank you for joining us here at the george washington university in the heart of washington, d.c., and our conversations with our four analysts. we hope to see you at our next conversation series on march 23rd. we will be speaking with a pioneer in media as well as a founding father in many ways of washington post sports scene. thank you for joining us this evening. have a pleasant and safe evening. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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>> next, the 67th annual washington press club foundation congressional dinner. after that, remarks by mississippi governor haley barbour. on "newsmakers," the new
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chairman of the democratic congressional campaign committee talks about getting ready for 2012 congressional campaigns. that is sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. now, the 67th annual congressional dinner, hosted by the washington press club foundation. speakers include members of congress from both sides of the aisle. the master of ceremonies is abc news chief washington correspondent. this is about one hour and 15 minute.
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>> honored guests, members of congress, journalism colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the foundation goes the 67th annual congressional dinner. -- foundation's 67th annual congressional dinner. it is the gala season as you know, so keep those out its hand. -- outfits handy. before we get into the program, i want to introduce our distinguished table. please hold of your applause until i am finished with the introductions. the congresswoman from alabama is one of tonight's speakers. senator kelly from new hampshire is another speaker tonight. david myers of roll call, our
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foundation secretary and one of our dinner co-chairs. the congresswoman from florida. senator john corn and of texas. -- cornin of texas. abc senior white house correspondent. majority whip kevin mccarthy of california. minority leader nancy pelosi of california. our other dinner cochair. senator chris coons of delaware , and congressman john duffy of wisconsin, a speaker tonight. and now, a round of applause. [applause]
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okay, i have a queue clich thank you's. particular the dimare co-chairs for the tireless dena bunas and david myers and the wonderful director suzanne puron who did magic with planning and logistics for tonight's event. i also want to thank the foundation sponsors and friends who made the work of the foundation possible and help us put on tonight's event. we have the hill, ceq roll call, the u.s. chamber of commerce, ford motor company, api, also the evelyn y. davis foundation, toyota, aarp, the comcast network catcem, many thanks to
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sydney wilkinson, the cartoonist for the philadelphia daily news, for providing the cover art for the program, and to bloomberg television for the lifetime achievement award video. and of course, the mandarin oriental hotel and the great staff to have accommodated our needs and are serving you tonight. i encourage all of you to stay after our program for the hill's after party. you will get a special bipartisan treat them, too, that is the second amendment. it's a second because the plan old amendment, disbanded and came back together. they will be in the house. the future the congressman collin peterson and howe these macabre -- savvy is mccotter and others. you know, it was ten months ago
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we held this dinner when times have changed. in just three months, we had an extraordinary election, a newsy lame-duck section and an outrageous tragedy. we have congressman debbie wasserman schultz here at the head table. congresswoman, i would like to see that next year it is our sincere wish that your friend, gabbie giffords, will be sitting there in your place. [applause] six lives were taken on january 8th and tucson, and we grieve and have grieved for all of them. yet with so many congressional
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staff members here in our midst, it is with you that we remember gabe zimmerman and salute what he represented and that you try to live up to every day. [applause] 92 years ago a group of pioneering women journalists formed the women's national press club in an expression of solidarity to establish their own voice in otherwise male-dominated business. we are proud heirers of that legacy to carry out the original women's national goal of equality, scholarship and excellence in journalism. in keeping with that mission, the proceeds of tonight's dinner go to the foundation's charitable projects including collecting oral history of women
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pioneers and journalism and a successful internship program that includes "the new york times," the associated press, doud -- del jones newswire, the houston chronicle and "the los angeles times." it is now my pleasure and a great relief -- [laughter] -- to leave our program and the more able hands of our emce, jacob tapper, abc white house correspondent. when i covered the hill, i used to listen to his reports on tv, read his blog and his tweets for the value of the information in them. now, as the white house reporter i read them more defensively with dread, and i seem to be reading them all the time tall hours. we are deeply grateful for jake taking on this job.
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if only to stop the tweeting. [laughter] mr. tapper, take us away. [applause] >> is congressman chris lee here? [laughter] right, i'm the bad guy. [laughter] i just see that he left his phone. [laughter] you guys can make fun of congressman lee all you want but he will give you the shirt off his back. [laughter] before i begin, has been asked to give an important message to the vice chairman of the armed forces, general corelli, are you here, valerie jaret would like a
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refill. [laughter] i had actually been seriously asked to alert congressman lee that the auditions for the chip and dales will begin after the event. is that joke too 4:00 for you? [laughter] the scandal was quick, congress banned. some of you probably don't even know about it. the story posted at 2:30. it announced his resignation before the evening news. he told the woman on craigslist i won't disappoint, but i have to tell you i'm disappointed. i want more. freshman congressman and senators do not follow the example of congressman lee. [laughter] drag it out. do not ended immediately. anyway, as we all know he can be a divorced lobbyist for real and
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not just on line. so welcome to the 67th annual washington press club foundation dinner. the first in a series of the vince cure the nation's capital seemingly designed for those who think that reporters and politicians are not chummy enough. as i look out i am struck by the sight of the money even as a freshman than i have seen since i've got to go back to spring break, daytona beach, 1988. [laughter] kevin was there. there are in fact more freshman legislators than at any time since the late 1980's. new republicans and 90 democrats in the house. 13 new republicans and democrats in the senate did you have to go back to the 1920's to find a time when there were as many new republicans and so few new democrats in the congress and of course that decade ended well so
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good luck with that. [laughter] seriously though it's always great to be a bunch of freshmen before the street slam's all over you. you are full of idealism, determined to change the ways of washington. it's just horrible. [laughter] 20% of the new congress is made up of freshmen which reminds me as a former capitol hill reporter to take to the opportunity to let you know the rules you might not know about that they didn't tell you. kevin, nancy. first there's elevators on the house side the that say members only to beat you are required to wear those full leather paul eurith and members only jackets when you are on them. chris van hollen since he has won used that he can sell to. second, i know a lot of you were elected after a some might say unhinged election season but the deal is we have a new tone so
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job killing, health care bill, i'm sorry, that's out. you may have noticed speaker boehner now uses the kind term job crashing. kevin suggested job mutilating, job disemboweling. [laughter] job dismembering. before i forget, michele bachman asked me to provide the constitutional justification for my remarks tonight. i will be submitting those with my birth certificate. [applause] [laughter] congressman steve king if he's here. also the congressman kucinich wi-fi earlier the presentation is bringing you a special serving a jello and a waiver of some sort for you to sign. [laughter] it's been an interesting time for me personally at the white house i spend a great deal of time covering exuberant protests
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in the street leading president obama increasing and then slowly backing away from a close ally, close ally who is seemingly oblivious to the will of the people, but it's good to see you tonight, minority leader pelosi. [laughter] [applause] i thought that there were republicans in this room. it's a press meeting, never mind. [laughter] as you may know the club was established in 1919 as the women's national press club at the time female reporters were not allowed to become members of the national press club or the gridiron club. the national press club was still wished to make sure women had an equal place in the newsroom and from the front row with the right to veto briefing room. i know i speak for chuck, wendell, jeff and jam when i say bravo, levy's, bravo peery [applause]
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you have come a long way, baby. [laughter] so this dinner is not to only welcome the new congressmen and their hard-working staff but also to salute the journalists who work hard to try to get the story right day after day after day. there are a few of us left. on the serious note we reword the david lynch regional reporting award to a journalist who represents the high standards that david n. bodies throughout his career and from his corner cubicle in the gallery before his untimely death in 1999. the david lynch memorial is given annually to a washington-based reporter it recognizes excellence and coverage of congress from a regional perspective and the winner of this year's award is barbara of mcclatchy newspaper. [applause] her work was selected because of her excellence in reporting on issues affecting north carolina and particularly for the thorough research and well-written coverage of how
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tariff policies affect the state. please come to the podium. [applause] [applause] on january 12th congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz was at her friend, congressman gabbie giffords. flying back she described watching her signs of recovery as being comparable only to experiencing the birth of her children. she joins us as a conduit to gabbi we wish her godspeed, converse woman debbie wasserman
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schultz tell her we are seizing a space for her next year. ladies and gentlemen, congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz. [applause] >> thank you very much. i really have to start by telling you i wish i wasn't standing here. i wish the defense had been different, but i am thrilled to tell you that i just spent a wonderful day and a half with gabbie in houston and am overjoyed to share with you she's doing great. as i assure all of you know, gabbie has begun to say a few words, which is an excellent development and a great indicator of the progress of her recovery. i can tell you that i spent the entire day all the way into the evening with her on monday and was sitting with her while she was eating breakfast in the hospital monday morning. if you've ever had hospital of meal common you can understand
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why she was eating a fabulous meal and looked at her trey, looked up and said toast. [laughter] so i was thrilled to be able to be there when she asked for toast. it seems small, but obviously given the event, we know that that's just one step on what we know will be the road to her recovery and return to us and her colleagues in congress and to her friends and family i do look forward to next year's dinner when i can be seated back in the audience and gabbie can be standing here addressing you saying even more. thank you. [applause] as we move forward from the national tragedy in tucson we must honor the lives of those lost and the spirit of those recovering. bye pledging to raise the level
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of discourse in our democracy to that let us promised to debate passionately but without demonizing those with whom we disagree. president obama's clarion call from tucson urged us to honor the victims in particular 9-year-old christina tayler green. by doing everything in our power to make our democracy in our nation the of our childrens' expectation. in the week following the shooting, the weeks that shocked the nation and rocked the foundation of washington, no words scarred me more than that of my 11 year old daughter who knows gabbie from our family vacations together. she asked me mommy, does this mean you're going to get shot? i swallowed hard and told her no, of course mauney will be okay. you know that we are careful. but she pressed further is going to pass an immigration law just like arizona and then people will be mad at you. my heart sank further that week when my leader made a republican reporters that we feel safer when you are in washington.
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our children are paying attention more than we realize. they listen to and understand our dialogue here in washington just like they know and understand the conversations of their parents. in my nearly 20 years of public service, i watched our national rhetoric become increasingly toxic. i searched my own soul for moments when my behalf crossed the line for none of us but i know this when it has become easier to accuse those with whom we disagree of being an american or less than human than it is to simply make the most passionate case for the policy we believe best for our nation than we have field in which children. let me be clear the massacre in tucson was likely caused by the voices inside of one deranged man's had than those of the vitriol on our airwaves but i cannot blind myself and forget that during the health care debate, gabbie's district window was shot at or gunshots were fired at the office of eric cantor. i cannot erase from the memory
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that her political opponents held a fund-raiser with the slogan of removing her from office any more than i can forget that one of my own opponents did the same and shot at a human silhouette paper target with my initials written. republican or democrat, we are all americans first. we are all on the same page. we must file back. let us show our children and the world our political opponents are not our enemies. and try harder to find common ground. it would be a real example for a were children. president obama eloquently spoke of the her resume in tucson that tragic day. four days tended to her wounds and kept her alive, the men in the grocery store who tackled the assassin, the elderly woman who ran away and ammunition that really could have taken more lives. the night before she was shot, gabbie learned that her friend, trey grayson, the republican from kentucky, had been named at
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harvard university institute of politics. in her very personal way, she warmly congratulated him by the appointment to such a prestigious a point and asked for his help in her words to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down. now that she is once again spoken, perhaps she can teach us all how to speak without the futrell that has been ripping the nation apart. thank you very much. [applause] senator crist coons should not be here tonight. [laughter] not just because the democratic leadership is holding their retreat in charlottesville, the stars had to have aligned themselves just perfectly for chris to win the senate seat in delaware first president obama
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had to win. second, he had to have chosen as his running mate a gas prone senator, joe biden, who has never once used the word literally literally. [laughter] but then senator obama girded his loins and kicked joe biden to be everlasting delight of the white house press corps. that created a vacancy for the delaware senate popular republican congressman mike castle, seeing such issue in for the republican nomination, vice presidential son and state attorney general api cited not sure run the bin cantelon christine. so we know the story, new castle county executive coons is now senator coons. ladies and gentlemen, he's not a witch. [laughter] but he may be warlock. please welcome the angry birds champion of the senate, chris coons. [applause]
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>> thank you, jake. i a understand this is the biggest washington press club foundation dinner ever. the biggest dinner with the shortest speaker. i take this is in the first time that jake has been the second choice to fill a job first offered to chris. [laughter] no good deed goes unpunished. you are doing a great job filling in. [laughter] i would like to start this evening by thanking the people who made it possible for me to be here in the united states senate, the republican primary voters of delaware. [laughter] and i'd like to extend a special and personal thank you to sarah palin and jim demint. without whose timely endorsement i would not be here either.
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[laughter] much like my colleague, senator kelly. this is an amazing experience though. i must say never in my wildest dreams was like convinced i would be united states senator until right at the end when it was pretty obvious. [laughter] it was an honor to be invited this evening to address the members of my opposition research team or were you my opponents communications team. sometimes it was frankly a little hard to tell the difference. i am the senator from delaware, as jake mentioned so the organizers must meet this evening particularly to be short. [laughter] i will be brief, i am always short. but frankly barbara boxer and on behalf of the vertically challenged decided to form a caucus so we can stand up for
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the rights and interests of those who come up short every time they stand. and you know, just as an aside, if you are short and happen to become a person in how well, somehow people think you have an napoleonic complex. i don't know why this. it interferes with my important work like the invade russia act, which didn't pass this time but i will try again next winter. as some of you know i just drove back up from charlottesville where the democrats are in retreat, i'm sorry, i read that wrong. [laughter] where the democrats are at a retreat. but i really wanted to be here. i thought it was important to be here because if i learned anything from the exit poll of the election in my state of delaware it said that there are thousands and thousands who really wanted a senator who would see lots of laughable
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things. [laughter] my opponent was, after all, magic. and if you read the news today, apparently she was the president's number one opponent as well, which is why there were so many things flying around after the primary, and there are a lot of people who think she is the only reason that on one. well, that and my perfect hair. [laughter] folks, i'm not kidding. all of this is natural. [laughter] and the reason why scott brown is the sexiest man in the senate will soon come to an end. [laughter] [applause] it is really though going to take quite a lot to live up to my predecessor, taking joe biden's seat in the senate is a
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challenge because he's got really big effing shoes to fill. [laughter] actively i asked the vice president what i would most like about service in the senate and he said you're going to love the health care plan. it covers hair plugs. [laughter] but, you know, i think if i really wanted to have a thousand little holes punched into my head i should have gotten here before ron left the white house. [laughter] in addition to that advice, joe biden also gave me a lot of his amtrak frequent traveler miles because he literally, literally has millions of them. [laughter] during the campaign, my opponent made some headlines when she admitted she had doubled in witchcraft, but i admired the way she attacked her critics head-on. you may remember when she said no, there is no way i would ever be associated with some fringe
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movement. i am a member of the tea party. i have a few skeletons in my own past, too, you may have read it's true a double with republicanism. it was 1980, it was the reagan era, i was young, everybody was giving yet. [laughter] nonetheless, during the campaign, someone dug up an old article i'd written in a college newspaper where i refer to myself as a bearded marxist. the proletarian a great deal of this, but i told them please come comrades, it was just a joke. [applause] ultimately so i think my victory really was the result of good old fashioned retail politics. during the campaign, i did a bus to work all the way up and down my state. [laughter] it took about 20 minutes and
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cost $400 in tolls. [laughter] [applause] and today i am tremendously proud to serve as a senator from the state of delaware. after all, it's not the size of your state, it's how you use it. [laughter] especially in the senate. being a senator, i know it won't always be easy, but i have taken on tough challenges before, as you may know, i am a lawyer with a degree in ethics. that sort of like it superman had a degree in kryptonite. now i am addressing you tonight as a 47-year-old freshman, college, law school, all of that, and i'm a freshman again. a lot has changed. back when i was 18, freshman year was all about keg parties and this year it's all about tea
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parties. as a freshman ulin on the seniors to give you advice. i went over to dick lugar the other day and said the senate can be the best for decades of your life. [laughter] freshman year is the time to try something new, sit on committees you've never sat on before, discover new special interests you never knew you really left. [laughter] think about what sort of caucus you want to rush, do some exploring, yourself. koln chris really does remind me of high school quite a bit. we have a recess, lockers of the gym, assigned seating at our desks. i remember when i went to sit at my desk on the floor for the first time, just as a high school i was nervous would be assigned to me if i found myself between tom carper and bernie sanders. [laughter] to my left. sure enough, right before my first vote, senator sanders
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leans over and goes "i hope you're going to grow that beard back conrad." [laughter] once again, all of my friends were doing it, so i asked someone to the prom. i mean the state of the union. my date was senator bozeman of arkansas. i got him a wonderful corsage, something that went with his eyes but not so much his life back physique. once we got through talking about how we were both from chicken growing states there was a lot of awkward silence. [laughter] just like at my high school prom. actually been there for the state of the union was a high point for me. i was inspired, by the way democrats and republicans sat together. and in the same spirit, joe lieberman sat by himself. [laughter] and by the way, sitting all
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yourself is not a euphemism for something christine o'donnell doesn't really approve of. after [laughter] i was so genuinely inspired by president obama's team, his call to win the future. of course it was a little unfortunate that the acronym for win the future is wtf. [laughter] that's why i was so glad our vice president stepped in and offered a different contract, building futures daily. yeah. [laughter] but seriously, folks, what we in congress and you in journalism do every day is to build a
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better future for the country. if you will indulge me for just one more minute, i will say honestly how much i admire the folks who are here this evening, the people who don't just have a job, don't just work in the media but find in journalism a profession and calling. it was just in the past few weeks that we have seen individual examples of the sort of courage, bravery and risking of one's self to give a window into what's really going on on the ground. as journalists have braved the most chaotic circumstances to give a glimpse into the reality of change. in the world with more sources of information today than ever before, your work is more essential than ever and that is why the time is distressing to watch as it times profit has replaced principal, entertainment crowded out news and so many areas of the media. i'm not sure deer has ever been a time when americans of needed high-quality professional journalism more than right now
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and that is why i was so honored to accept your invitation and join you hear in supporting this great organization, the washington press club foundation so thank you. thank you for the work that you do and the service to the public, the community and the nation and for providing a forum where reporters were allowed to listen to a freshman senator from delaware. [applause] [applause] >> senator bill baggens everyone. [laughter] and i never told you i'm from philadelphia, your state is cute. [laughter]
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senator kelly ayotte was not just the first female attorney general, she and her husband in iraq war veteran created a snow removal company, and on the subject may i please suggest, senator, that you call me your gray and explain the process by which molecules of water vapor and hear directly to dust and other particles creating snowflakes which can land on the streets and caused traffic. thank you. unlike senator kunes, this is one of the smarter bets, dubbed the grand grisly coincidentally congressman nickname when he was at dartmouth. [laughter] the senate republican party leadership recently saw an ayotte to deliver the republican response to the president's weekly address neither of which were heard by anyone outside of the immediate family and friends. she lives with her husband, 5-year-old daughter catherine and some jacob. ladies and gentlemen, calfee ayotte of new hampshire.
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[applause] >> good evening. it's great to be here with all of you tonight. for those of you that don't know me, my name is kelly ayotte, and i naturally one of the few republican elected officials in america that has a reason to go to new hampshire every weekend. [laughter] and i know exactly why you invited me to speak tonight. you couldn't get marco rubio, come on. i'm still getting used to washington, but i've got to tell you this is one strange place. this is the first jobsites ever had where you are sworn in and then they give you two weeks off. i mean, it's a tough schedule. i do not know how i'm going to keep this up for the next six years. [laughter] you know, i heard that congress is a lot like high school, but i never thought that i did get to
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relive my high school prom. but when senator blumenthal asked me to the state of the union, how could i say no? i mean, john thune was already taken. [laughter] and you know, the state of the union was quite an experience. did you know that they didn't even have a seat for me? no joke. they set up a folding chair and put me in the ogle. come on, they will get chris coons a booster and they won't even get me a seat? [laughter] [applause] but there was quite a speech the president gave. i found it interesting president obama called this our sputnik moment. i mean, we always kind of suspected he was a communist but we -- [laughter] i don't think any of us expected him to be so obvious about it.
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[laughter] regardless, i am so thrilled to be here to support the washington press club foundation, and i am pleased to join all of you in recognizing the achievements of bonnie angelo and barbara barrett. it is also a pleasure to be here with congressional leadership and i am so excited and thrilled to be part, to be a new member serving in the 112th congress. and we have got quite a crew tonight. we've got sean duffy, i can't wait to hear what the real world, and terri sewell. i want to commend the house for coming together to read the constitution, or if least the christine aguillera version of it. [laughter] i have to say i am delighted to be here with my friend and colleague, chris coons.
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and i think we all know exactly why chris coons is here. i mean, don't get ahead of me. he was really motivated. if he lost, his opponent would have turned him into a toad. [laughter] but, chris, i want you to know don't worry, i'm not a witch, but all i am a mamma grizzley. senator coons and i have something in common. we are seceding distinguished veteran senators to read and succeeding judd gregg, and chris is succeeding joe biden. chris, those are some pretty big shoes to fill. actually, vice president biden has been so great, god love him. he presided over my swearing in ceremony, and i had my entire family with me. and this is a true story. i had my husband, my two children, and the vice president kneeled down and said to my 6-year-old daughter how were
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you? she said are you 17? she laughed and said 96. the vice president and said you're not allowed to date on till you're 40. i smiled at him and said mr. vice president, keep your individual mandates away from my daughter. [laughter] i do respect the vice president and of course president obama, and i appreciate president's overtures to work with republicans. but we have some real disagreements. i mean, the health care law we should clearly be overturned by the court. the precedent is right there in bush v. gore. we win, they lose. it's in the constitution. what can i say? is a tough business. i have to get used to it and so do my kids. i mentioned my daughter. well, my son is three, and the campaign was reallon him. i realized just how effective
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campaign ads or when he came up to me and called me job killing kelly ayotte. [laughter] but fortunate, i won and i am eternally grateful to the people of new hampshire for placing their trust in me. they should know that i am going to be hard working, a go getter just like every one of here tonight. in fact, the other day i was talking to mitch mcconnell, and i said to him leader, i want to learn everything. you have any tips? how do you pass legislation? how do you stop legislation? he said kelly, for starters, you're in the men's room. [laughter] but she wasn't the only one to offer me advice as a member of the senate. rand paul told me to buy gold. [laughter] [applause] chuck schumer told me having a press conference every single day is just a good start.
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[laughter] and john ensign told me i should get to know my staff really well. [laughter] [applause] be on the senate, everyone has been so nice to meet. tim pawlenty, new gingrich, haley barbour, you know, they have all offered to come to new hampshire and shuffled my driveway. [laughter] and mitt romney has been very nice, too. he invited me to a reading from the paperback release of his book, no apology, the case for american greatness. it is a sequel to his other book. i apologize, i was governor of massachusetts. [laughter] my husband joe and i get invited to a lot of these events as you
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can imagine, and for those of you that don't know him, he piloted combat missions in the war in iraq and he is my hero. he has been so supportive and he's had to put up so much as you can imagine with his wife running for the senate. people here in washington keep coming up to joe and congratulating him on his victory. and he put his arm around me and says i couldn't have done it without this little lady right here. [laughter] in all seriousness, i have been reminded more than a few times but i don't exactly look like a senator from central casting. for example, a couple of weeks ago i was sitting at my desk in the chamber waiting for boats and a door and came up to me and said three seriously i'm sorry, those tasks are for senators only. i share that because the idea of this event, the organization and the purpose of this organization to promote equality, excellence
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and scholarship is something that we should all cherished. when you apply those ideals to journalism, like all of you do, every single day in the most difficult times and the most turbulent times of the country and around the world, you simply help make the greatest country in the world even better. i want to thank you for having me here tonight, thank you for what you do, and it's really fun to have politicians here that are being here and being funny on purpose instead of when we are funny and we are not trying to be funny. so i appreciate you having me. thank you. [applause] >> that's the funny thing about senator ensign, he and senator vitter voted to promote secret holds, but i'm not sure -- [laughter] you are way ahead of me. [laughter]
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its weird, senator ayotte, but senator blumenthal to keep to the state of the union because he told me he took you to hanoi. [laughter] i told for anybody tweeting tonight life - tag is wpcf. the next speaker is congresswoman terri sewell, the democratic class devotee so much more impressive of the class didn't consist of only nine members. [laughter] not even enough to fill a table. but sewell has achievements on her resume, the first african-american woman elected from the state of alabama. [cheering] the first black to allow the torian of high school, her mother was the first black woman elected to the sell the city council and member of travelers on the 1965 march from selma to
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montgomery, stephen her mother's homestead during that civil rights journey. i do not want to give away her age but she once interned in the congressional office of an alabama democrat named richard shelby. ladies and gentlemen, congresswoman terri sewell of alabama. [applause] >> what an introduction. it's a great pleasure to be with you this evening. it's also a great pleasure to have the opportunity to share the stage with such wonderful women and the work that you do hear the foundation. it's so important, and i just want to say it's a pleasure to share this evening with all of you. well, i have to say that it's exciting times in washington, d.c.. the 2010 election ushered in a new wave of newcomers. the political excitement and unpredictability was never ending. why just last week i heard
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congressman mike pence had decided not to run for president in 2012. this really shakes things up. i mean, who will be the tenth place winner in the iowa caucus if not mike pence? .. i am very happy and, frankly, i'm sure he is very relieved that he won his senate race. he knew that it would be impossible to find another job if the last entry on this
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resonates was the person who lost to kristine o'donnell. and then there is delhi who i got a chance to sit next to and get to know. kelly, of course, won her 2012 election with the help of some mini republican presidential contenders. i mean, it was sarah braylon that gave you the most support, kelly. i mean, it was she who said, i can see the presidency from your house. give me a break. [laughter] as we celebrate fresh faces in congress this year, i have to tell you that this new job of mine is more like being a high school freshman. the names have changed, but experiences are still the same. mornings -- learning to go when the bell rang, looking forward to recess, choosing a locker -- i mean, an office.
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running for class officer, presumably your class is larger than nine people. i was even a cheerleader in high school, and now i get to be a cheerleader for the best district in the state of alabama, the seventh congressional district, home of rich culture, good people, and great food. you all or should i say y'all know us albanians as the greatest state in the union. the states that have won back-to-back national collegiate football championships. more eagles. [applauding] we are also the state of two consecutive heisman trophy winners. i understand from my staff that it is heisman trophy winner. you can borrow that next time you parachute into a combat zone. now, all of us have had our on combat zones. no one will forget the combat
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zone that chris faced when he won delaware. i have to tell you that contrary to what my staff make tell you, i am not a witch, and i do not have brims in my office. i do have two whips, one senior, and one. you will be happy to know that they were not made in china. they were made in america. [laughter] the land of the free and the whole of the brave. only in america can you rent your home, move to another city, go back to where you rented your home, be free to run for mayor, get kicked off the ballot, get back on, get kicked off again. you can't make up the stuff. this country we call home is a wonderful place. it is a place of dreams, where dreams can really come true, a young black girl from alabama can go to college, law school, and even oxford, england that is. i think my neighbor's still think that i went to college
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with her nephew at old ms. and now i get the wonderful pleasure of representing my home district allowed to find out that i am a freshman in the lower chamber in the minority. i would like to just say that i am comforted by my grandfather's words, reverend tom gardner who would say that the last shall be first in the first shall be last. so i will enjoy being last first. i am not complaining. two weeks ago i received a great honor when i was chosen to serve on the escort committee to what president obama into the chamber for the state of the union. interestingly, what it was announced that i would be an escort by the time i got back to my office i had for messages but from eliot spitzer. [laughter] what is it about these new york politicians?
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[laughter] i was impressed with how gracious the republican response was to president obama speech. i actually heard a number of >> alabama. a story keeps growing. by the time -- did you see the coverage of the cnn camera crew and reporters being beaten to the ground? that simply was appalling to see the cnn reporters on the ground. it was appalling to me, but fox news called it a feel good video of the year. the buzz continued. the big buzz now is bipartisanship, and i believe in doing my part. i look forward to seeking common ground with my colleagues across the aisle. on climate change, for example, even one skeptic admitted to me that we can and should lower temperatures dramatically. of course, he said all we needed to do was just switched from fahrenheit to celsius. that is a start.
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president obama's appointment of bill daley as his new chief of staff was a real effort of bipartisanship. i mean, this is the same bill daley who part for mondale in 1984, by and in '88, gore in 2000 and most recently on wall street. that track record of success doesn't please my republican colleagues, i'm not sure what does. i have learned very quickly even in walking happier that the name of the game his seniority. congressman duffy, at least you should be used to that the lack of seniority. i understand that you are the tenth of 11 siblings. i also understand that you were 14 by the time you got to use the bathroom in your own house. as freshmen many of us rode in on this wave of change. i have come full circle. the last time i lived and worked in washington d.c. i was a college intern for my then congressman richard shelby.
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things really have changed. back then richard shelby was a democrat, and show was lieberman. arlen specter was a republican. jerry brown was a washed up california politician. arnold told us he would be back. kristine o'donnell was actually a witch, and joe biden was getting in trouble for his mouth. well, i guess not everything has changed. it is amazing how life brings you to places you never thought he would be from alabama to princeton to oxford a harvard law school, all that end up in congress because there are no other jobs, right? that is why most of us ran. and so we made it and so it is exciting to be sworn in on january 3rd. my parents came in. all of my family came in from alabama. i was overwhelmed by the thought of being sworn in in front of some mini family members. it was on january 3rd. two weeks later we celebrated martin luther king jr. day or as
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when beck calls it, monday. now, dr. king's legacy has always held a very special place in my heart. i know that folks marched, many in this audience, many in this audience so that i could be the first african-american woman to serve in congress and the state of alabama. i know that i am living proof that dr. king famous dream speech is now a reality. i can only think of ending this torture by paraphrasing dr. king's most famous speech. by hasan know that tonight i will be judged not by the color of my skin but by the contents of a comedy routine. please be kind. [applauding]
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>> the nicest congressional district in alabama. what is that like? pablo it sounds awesome. [laughter] where are you, but? [laughter] americans were first introduced to our final speaker in 1997 when he appeared as the seventh most interesting cast member on the real world boston. [laughter] perhaps keeping in mind that footage might make its way into an attack ad 13 years later, john duffy, a conservative republican kept it pretty clean. must be honest, there was an exchange or two that was a little dicey. he knows what i am talking about. duffy later married the only other conservative to appear on mtv, a cast member from the real
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world san francisco. they had six children. somehow during that ten years he has been a prosecutor he has posted a 90% trial success rate. ladies and gentlemen, a politician who can truly claimed real-world experience, the republican congressman from the seventh district of wisconsin, john duffy. [applauding] >> very kind. thank you. good evening and thank you, ladies and gentlemen. i do want to take a moment and think the washington press club foundation and the sponsors for tonight's dinner. a very nice job. the food is very good. my name is john duffy, freshman congressman from the seventh district of the great state of wisconsin, also home to our super bowl champions, the green bay packers. a great game last sunday, right? [inaudible conversations]
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it is a great honor to be here with nancy pelosi. how are you doing? you may not know this, but we have something in common. we are both the last speaker. [laughter] listen, i know you guys have enjoyed -- [laughter] you all have enjoyed writing about me. for those of you who have not seen it, i did mtv 15 years ago, a show called the real world -- 13 years ago. thank you, jake. almost 20 years. a long time now. but it is a show that takes seven strangers, but some in the house, and they have them live their lives for six months and film them. a great experience, except when they air it you see all of the cat fights, the arguments that take place between all of these
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people. i am so grateful, so thankful to have that well in my past. just to prove it i want to show you guys a glimpse of my more dignified life here in the u.s. house of representatives. if we can't you our tape. >> i ran for congress, in part, because i wanted to be that to the man from wisconsin. >> they talk about all of the freshmen being treated equal to be guided the smallest office, and i can't believe that stinking duffy get the biggest one. >> test to get the hottest notes. >> there were talking everyone talk about what kind of skills never going to have. >> i hope he never gets to the senate. can you imagine if he is allowed
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test filibuster? >> one thing i have known for combusting might be votes on line with facebook, mike ipad. facebook, ipad, e harmony. pander. then she treats him that she already has. better luck if he would have told her it was a seat from her old air force plane. >> john runyon but on the freshman 15 so fast. when he sits around the house he sits around the house. >> these freshmen. i can tell you, we won't be doing a signed copy again. >> congressman don't even read bills. back bay. >> yes.
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>> my new colleagues. they do, guys. some stated that i am a living testimony that the american dream is alive and well. i am a descendant of pioneers. by logroll, and now i am a member of the u.s. house. now, some of you have taken to comparing me to sarah palin. i get it. we are both outdoorsy like politicians. we both have shapely legs. i know. but there are some key distinctions. i am from wisconsin, and she is from alaska. i chop trees, and she hunts moose. she put lipstick on a big, and i put tanning lotion on the speaker's pac. [laughter] now, the truth is that she told me i was for zero. my election to congress gives
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her hope and inspiration for the future and not because i help retire a 42-year incumbent who was in the chamber of appropriations, but because i am living proof that you can get elected to higher office after doing a reality tv show. now, some are amazed that i have six kids. you can imagine, my wife here tonight, she is hispanic. i am irish. we are both catholic. we give all of the credit to a long wisconsin winters. [laughter] which is why we are both for global warming or as my wife puts it, birth control. now, i here barney frank is in the crowd tonight, and he is excited that jinnah bush is out supporting his new ad on gay marriage.
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by the way, i was just speaking to her. she said that she will try to hook you up with egyptian president. she has heard from a pretty reliable source that he is out. what do you expect from a reality tv star? come on. okay. you know what, we have a great republican freshman class. they are full of new and innovative ideas, especially on the environment. take, for example, a freshman from south carolina who has been instrumental in redesigning. this is that new nissan car that will run on electricity. thanks to his hard work it will now run on a tangle that goes up chris matthews leg every time he hears the president's speech. great work. now, speaking of innovative ideas, i have my own. i know how we will secure the border with mexico.
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what we do is dig a longboat and fill it by having the speaker talk about the american dream. after 7i have to tell you, on a more serious note i want to taks time and tell you why my friends in the republican aisle and i are not going to support our democratic colleagues in their initiative to improve airline security. this is going to be a $35 billion bill, and it doesn't do anything to upgrade the training of tsa agents who will continue to go after their own pets. >> jake, how are you doing? i want to thank you for hosting tonight's events. nice job. we appreciate you are filling in you are a great journalist, but you are no christina.
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the bottom line is for me she is one who truly embodies the diversity that is america. you may now she is have british and half iranian, which means that with her afternoon tea she likes a little yellowcake. now, listen. all kidding aside, i look forward to the work in congress. we are going to have a c-span covering every battle, disagreement, outburst on the house floor, a committee hearing. i will feel like i am back in a reality tv show. charlie rangel was lucky he did not get voted off the island. listen, i hope the congress can work productively together so our fellow citizens will not merely see us as idol americans, but all of us will emerge as american idylls. thank you all very much and have a great night.
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god bless. [applauding] [applauding] >> in the last part of the presentation. [applauding] [laughter] somebody who led two of his jokes go over your head. [laughter] after 11 years as a washington correspondent covering politics at the white house the woman we are honoring with the washington press club foundation lifetime achievement award was appointed london bureau chief and became the first woman to have a time euro overseas. her rich career has taken to all 50 states. we would like to thank
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bloomberg. do we have that tape cued up? hello? we would like to thank bloomberg for compiling this video. if they don't run it i will keep going. grauman's i am a journalist from the time i was old enough to wre my name which would have been about the third grade. i never wanted to do anything else. i pretty had my career, which was a wonderful experience. i was able to break a lot of traditions, shall we say, restraints is what i really mean against women. they sent me tell london as bureau chief, which was a real breakthrough. it was a grand assignment. my first major story over there was a woman named margaret thatcher who talked about trying to be prime minister. >> bonnie gave the impression of
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graceful, composed, professional reporter, someone who obviously had enormous good taste and then you would come into this story conference with her. she was an absolute pistol. nobody had a sharper news judgment or a tougher, more critical eye for the story of the day. >> what i was involved in was breaking down the barrier where women journalists could not do the same things in washington that a male journalist could. and so as president of the women's national press club i was one of the leaders of that movement, and i also was one of the targets. that is not a pleasant thing, but we did when. i was the first white house correspondent when women were admitted to the dinner, and i was at the head table. >> it was a bitter battle, and she took a lot of flak, but, you know, at all of 5 feet tall she was not going to have anything of it. you know, all of that, much more
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impressive to know this was a moment he made such a big difference and change and the culture in washington. >> i did not understand that i was a trailblazer. i knew that i was going places that may be no woman had before, but i thought of it as just getting the story. >> body is going to be remembered and discovered again by generations of journalists for what she did for women in journalism in this town, and that is the legacy that will last forever. >> it is a total picture that having worked these many years in journalism. it is just one i would not change for anything. [inaudible conversations] [applauding] [applauding] >> president of the women's national press club when it was at the forefront in the battle to end the practices of
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discrimination that prevented women from doing their job as journalists. she wrote first mothers, the women he shapes the president, member of the international women's media foundation. my honor to introduce bonnie angelo. [inaudible conversations] [applauding] [applauding] >> i just want to say that it has been one hell of a run. i have loved it. i started with my own little newspaper. it was so well as did. [laughter]
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when i was eight and a half years old i got in early. i stayed late. i loved every inch of it, and i am not out yet. [inaudible conversations] [applauding] [applauding] >> folks, thank you very much for being here. i think that was of fitting end to tonight's dinner, and i would like to thank all of our speakers, especially jake for his wonderful works tonight. [applauding] so, good night. go out and have a blast at hour after party.
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don't wake up too late tomorrow. good night. [applauding] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> the patriot act made it easier to conduct surveillance on terrorism suspects. but provisions of the bill ending this month, lawmakers are trying to renew expiring provisions. all the history of the bill on line and track the daily for action in the house and senate with time lines and transcripts of every session. i know full video archive for every member at /congress. >> next, remarks by mississippi governor haley barbour and florida congressman alan west. in presidential press secretaries talk about life in the white house. tomorrow on "washington journal," political roundtable with stephen diamond of the
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washington times and politico senior editor david mark on the news of the week. robert bixby previews the rollout of the next federal budget, and a georgetown university professor discusses the muslim brotherhood in the situation in egypt. "washington journal," live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> my concern is to be an agent for change. whether i am president of egypt are not is totally immaterial to me. whoever they think is the right person for that job. >> that is from an april, 2010 interview. now regulator, hosni mubarak has stepped down as egypt undergoes a major change of government. see how it happened on the c- span library.
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mississippi governor haley barbour was one of the speakers on the final day of the annual conservative political action conference held in washington. criticize the obama administration in areas concerning health care, economic stimulus, energy, taxes, and government spending. he is introduced by the former chairman of the american conservative union. this is about 35 minutes. >> while we hate to lose, we need to worry about what we would do when we win, because we don't have people to run a government. the conservative movement was new. we don't have people with experience. we don't have adults who can really take over and make the kind of changes we want. that was 1964. today, conservatives in this
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country number among them some of the most competent, intelligent, experienced political leaders that this country has seen. look at the governorships around the country. look at the people that hold these jobs. [applause] somebody asked me the other day, of all the people being talked about as potential presidential candidates, is this a very good group? i said, i have been involved in politics for 40 years, and i have never seen a group of people or principal, more competent, more experienced, more able to take over the reins of this government and make the changes that the american people are insisting upon than we have right now. [applause] one of those people is with us today. one of the best governors in the
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united states today. i work on a lot of different issues. i was talking with a liberal friend of mine not too long ago and i said of all the governors republican and democrat, who has done the best job? he said there is no question, it is haley barbour of mississippi. on almost any question, this is a guide whose -- a guy who solves problems based on principle. we heard from another governor like that last night. there are others of the conservative side who have that same kind of experience. but haley barbour is a special guy to me, because nine new him when he did not have any experience. his wife is down here -- i knew him when he did not have any experience. when he got his first job in washington we had to go out and buy him a place to live, then he came over and took over the city. in 1976, when ronald reagan was
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running for president, we had a little trouble in mississippi, you may recall. those of you who remember that race, the state chairman decided that he would switch from ronald reagan to gerald ford, and he wanted to set up a press conference. his executive secretary was a young fellow named barbour. he has been a conservative and one of us from day one. he has been a friend of this organization, a friend of the american conservative union and a friend of every conservative in this country for as long as he has been active in politics. he has run for office. he was one of the best national republican chairman in the history of the party. one of the best governors in the country today, and from my perspective, one of my best friends and public life, and it is an honor for me to present my friend, haley barbour of
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mississippi. [applause] >> thank you. i appreciate hour-long friendship. it goes all the way back to reagan in 1976. thank you for that warm welcome. speaking of warm, this global warning is about to freeze the to death. [laughter] i have spoken here many times, and over the years, this conference you live focuses on what is wrong with the left. to deal with that subject today would take a month, not just the weekend. the policies of the left are why
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since the last time i spoke at cpac, our political fortunes have changed dramatically. 29 republican governors, including nine out of 10 of the key swing state for 2012. more than 600 republican state legislators, and the largest republican majority the u.s. house of representatives in 65 years. [applause] in know what we call that in mississippi? a pretty good start. the 2010 election was the greatest repudiation of the policies of president and a party in american history. november 2 was the crescendo of a stunning rejection of a leftist political velocity that is profoundly at odds with america's founding principles and our history of democratic self-government an
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entrepreneurial capitalism. for two years the obama administration and the democratic congress pursued an agenda bent on -- at the expense of the public good and contrary to the will of the people. american needed a growth strategy to revive our recession-wracked economy. they gave us a one trillion dollars stimulus bill that only stimulated war government. as unemployment soared to 10%, americans needed and called for policies that would spur job creation. instead of focusing on jobs, the obama administration and the democrat congress spent a year concocting a government run health care system, one that stifles job creation as well as drives up the cost of health care. at a time when we desperately
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needed incentives to create new jobs, obama and his congressional allies tried to impose the biggest tax increase in american history of small business owners by letting the bush tax cuts expire. along the way, the president and the democrat congress pushed federal government spending to 25% of gdp, sucking trillions of dollars out of a productive, private economy. they forget that every dollar taxed or borrowed by the government is a dollar that cannot be invested by an entrepreneur or small business person in a job creating product or facility. [applause]
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a dollar that cannot be saved by family hoping to send their children to college. in the liberal ideology, every dollar earned belongs to the government. they believe reducing taxes is some kind of government giveaway to the taxpayers. despite job creation being the top priority for country, obama's policies have been more hostile to job creation than any other i have ever seen. after his policies have contributed to unemployment rates stuck at over 9% for almost two years, suddenly it president obama and the democrats are paying lip service to job creation big except this time they call their spending investments rather than stimulus. happily, the new conservative majority in the house
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understands that jobs are created by the private sector, not by government. [applause] never forget a bigger government means a smaller economy. because of last year's election, we have extended the bush tax cuts for another two years, and republicans will cut spending and take the first up toward restoring sanity to the federal budget. these are important accomplishment, but as i said, they are only a start. we won an important victory in november, but we don't control the government. our house majority the only gives us control of one half of one-third of our national government. our new majority can stop the worst excesses of


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