tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN February 20, 2015 11:28am-1:31pm EST
coming up at noon, cspan 2 will bring you live coverage on how to -- like isis and integrate former fighters back into society. a discussion on combatting violent extremeism is hosted by the washington institute. also, all this week, we are reairing "washington journal's" recent tour of historically black colleges and universities and today, a look at tuskegee university in alabama and at 7:15 it's xavier in louisiana. while congress is on its president's daybreak this week we're showing american history tv in prime time. tonight, japanese interment
during world war ii. it starts at 8:00 eastern with real america and a documentary and the living conditions. at 8:20, lekctures in history with a course on how the press handled the japanese interment and american artifacts takes you through the japanese american national museum and at 9:55, oral history with normen manetta. here are some of our featured programs for this weekend on the cspan networks. saturday morning starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern live on cspan, our nation's governors get together to discuss issues affecting their states. guests include danny meier and maria bartarmo of fox business news and on sunday we continue the meeting, featured speakers
include jay johnson and gina mccarthy. on cspan 2, saturday, book tv is on the road, appearancing the literalry life of greensboro. and sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern, wes moore we re traces his career choices from combat veteran to white house fellow, wall street banker to social entrepreneur to find his life's purpose and on american history tv, saturday night, just after 7:00 the 1963 interview of former nation of islam minister malcolm x discussing race relations. and sunday at 6:30 p.m. eastern former cia chief of disguise tells the story of a husband and wife spy team that infiltrated the cia through the use of sex in the 1970s. find our complete schedule at
cspan.org and let us now about the programs you're watching. call us, e-mail us or send us a tweet. join the cspan con verversation. like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. a washington center conversation now on the upcoming 2016 presidential election. the debate schedule and primary process. this is about an hour. thank you so much. it's an honor and a pleasure to be here this morning and talk about the topic that is really the topic that we all talk about all the time in 2016. everywhere that i go and i think
the panelists would agree, everyone wants to know what's up with the race for president. what's up with the race for the white house and it is sort of a national session. one of the panelists -- we can introduce appropriately, but steven diamond, political editor at "the washington times" and in the center is the, i call you legendary, but just calling you old. if you're not familiar with the show, it's constantly at the front lines. and i do see amy here. so, amy can join us. how long have you lived in washington? okay. and my former colleague, the national editor of the political report.
so i want to start, we're going to plow through some 2014 stuff u and do a lot on 2016. but let aes start with the big question in 2016. what are the chances this is bush v. clinton. steve? >> i don't think clinton runs and i'm sticking with that. >> even though the evidence mounts the other way, i'm still sticking with that, even though we have seen, you know, potential other rivals such as martin oy mallie suffering a big blow in not being able to transfer the governorship to a democrat there. i will say i don't think clinton runs. i think romney runs. i think more likely would be a romney/clinton than a bush/clinton. you know, i see it being a very tough, tough primary for jeb bush.
the tea party movement was a reaction not only to president obama, but also to president bush, very much so to president bush. there's a lot of bush fatigue in that party. so i -- the republican primary is very disjointed. with mitt romney's announcement it's starting to get even bigger than we thought, more disjointed. i don't think anybody is making a prediction about that right now is crazy, but i think it's probably more likely you see romney clinton than jeb bush/clinton. >> what do you think, bill? >> speaking of ryan lamb, by the way, good to see you all this morning, i hope you recognize how fort you are to have brian here today. he usually charges a lot of money for these. [ laughter ] >> and you should consider
yourself lucky. on the clinton -- i do think it's going to end up being jeb bush and hillary clinton. it's going to be another bush/clinton. i am already bored to death. i think that's the worst thing that could happen to either party or the nation, to tell the truth. on the republican side, i mean, at least the way i see it, look we all know that jeb is the brightest of the bunch, he should have been president, he would have been. he was the pick of the litter, and we ended up with a dimmer bulb or whatever met article fors are all over the place. george gold it, he didn't, so jeb, you lost your chance. that doesn't mean you get a third one. i don't think the nation is ready for a third bush. to go back that far for the republican parties, to someone who has run in a competitive race for like 20 years i think is to make a big mistake, but i say thing on democratic side.
what does it saying about the gene pool of this nation that we have to go back to 1992 to get a democratic candidate for president. i love hillary, but again i think she had a chance and blew it. blue blood, new face, new ideas, new leadership, and it would be better for both parties and for the nation if we had any other choices. >> amy, what do you think? >> i'm going to go with a -- definitely a -- -- is. >> is your mike on? turn it on at the top. >> i agree with bill there is a yearning for change, there's just nobody within the democratic establishment which isn't surprising. there's been a rallying around one person for eight year. this happens a lot. it's hard to get in the senate every midterm election. i think there's a greater yearning for change among republicans than democratic voters.
or scott walker from wisconsin they have the experience and a republican governor, whether mike pence or john casic or scott walker from w wii. they have the experience and they have the fresh face and they're not from washington. they're not from washington. they will have trouble raising money all you need is one really friendly billionaire, and suddenly your money problems are over. >> you talk about the need for a fresh face and you hear that in politics and particularly in
today's media yet bush, clinton, romney of environment, it's something new, fresh, different. course it's a legacy cane, santorum, huckabee. we're talking about a large number of with the exception of george w. bush, you have to go back to nixon, i think in 1960, to find a nominee who wasn't a second or in bob dole's case a third go around. that part of it, but i think democrats probably have -- may have an easier primary if clinton does prong and i'm proved wrong, as i suspect. no, you know, the thing about the republican primary is not just a legacy primary. you do have a number of fresh faces there, so at least the republicans will have a discussion. after a very bruising and sometimes different conversation. that person who emerges is the person that maybe they didn't all want, as we saw with several previous nominees, but at least they were okay with rallying
behind. if they do core onate hillary clinton, they don't have that conversation. it may be better for them for winning an ease electric. and if there isn't much of a ben back there, you know, i think the party should hope that jim webb and elizabeth warren or something are serious about running, and do run just to have that conversation. >> you mentioned the need -- as a general rule, is that something new, fresh? >> i think in both parties just a quick note on the dynasty question. it seems to me there is a difference, and steve is right.
nominee, carried the banner and lost for the party and giving him another shot. this gets back to the adlai stevenson factor, right? he was a lot stronger the first time around. so i think it's -- it's problematic if not dangerous for either party to do that. to your question on the democratic side, i have been -- and i say this as -- at a fan of hillary clinton for a long time, but the democratic party's biggest mistake would be to -- if she gets in, to just sit back and let her have the nomination and think she'll be a stronger candidate without having a primary ballot. that is a huge mistake. primaries are important.
they shape the agendas, they shape the candidates, and this to me, this is elizabeth warren's moment. this her barack obama moment. absolutely right. if she doesn't go, she'll never be president and never have another shot. i this that elizabeth warren could run, could win the primary, could be the nominee and could be the president of the united states if she went for it. if she doesn't, bernie sanders is going to go for sure, from vermont, he'll become a democrat and he'll run, and something's got to get out there and i believe challenge hillary clinton and raise some issues she'll never talk about. >> do you agree with that, amy? do you think she so cake el secretly or not so secretly want warren in the race, give it a fight and make her a better candidate over the course of a several months, or is it be careful what you wish for?
>> politics, and rick appreciates this too as a baseball fan, is a lot like sports. you want to go to spring training, you want to work out the rust, the kinks, this feels a lot to me like the -- siri wants to weigh in. >> i'm trying to turn my phone off and all i good -- >> siri, will hillary clinton be president? [ laughter ] >> you know, al gore, there is that challenge, too, to al gore. oh, he's part of the establishment. we need somebody new. bill bradley came in, he got a bit of a fight. at the end of the day it wasn't as competitive as people hoped. >> here's a difference to me between a jeb and hillary. everybody knows their last names, but nobody knows jeb bush. all right? if i went into a crowd and i said where is jeb bush from? they would probably say, i don't know, he's from texas? actually he's from florida.
what else do you know about him? unlike hillary clinton who everybody knows, he has a chance to redefine himself. she's going to try to redefine herself, the pop you list messenger, the voice of the working people, whatever it is we are hearing out there now from the focus groups, but people know who hillary clinton is. jeb bush actually has a better chance to do that. he's old, but actually at the end of the day he can be newer, simply because he's an unknown. >> real quickly, within challenge for jeb bush, and i say this somewhat tongue in cheek but not completely. it strikes me really different to run for president, when your own mother las told you not to. barbara bush repeatedly has said it's time for somebody new. i don't see how that's not the first argument, your own mother thinks you guys should stop running. let it go. >> although maybe you can be related. how many people had a mother who's like, i can't believe you're marrying this guy, i
can't believe you would ever do -- and it's like, thank god i didn't listen. >> she's been there though. she knows exactly. this is not someone fwr the outside. the first lady and mother of a president. >> she says she's come around on it. >> after he said he was interested. who knows, it's -- it's -- i assume that that will not determine the republican nominee, what barbara bush thinks of her son as president. as a voter, i would leave that out there, you know, that even the mother -- the person the head of this dynasty, so to speak thinks we've had enough of a dynasty. first lady and mother of a president. >> right. >> she knows what she's -- she said she's come around, and
after she said she was interested and to go out there for a year. who knows? i assume that that will not determine the republican nominee what barbara bush thinks of her son running for president. as a voter, i just would leave that out there and my brain is, you know, even the mother and the person ahead of this dynasty, so to speak thinks we've had enough of the dynasty. >> and to what happened a couple of months ago. it's sort of baked in now, but it was a terrific time. and everyone thought it was a bad election. two questions i want to pose for the group, first, what happened? and second, does it matter or what impact does it have on 2016? what do you think? >> what happened to the democrats? >> the republicans got more votes. >> oh, this is why he gets the big bucks, folks. >> you are absolutely right. the democrats got wiped out at every level. lost the senate, lost seats in the house, lost and a lot of people are not talking about this. lost governor ships that you should never have lost and lost 500 in that range and 800 state legislators and more and more today we see particularly because washington is gridlocked and constipated and not getting anything done. the action is happening at the state level and particularly with redrawing. >> and the bench.
>> right, at the state level. the fact that the governor's offices are controlled by republicans is more than -- they're building a bench and they're also determining a lot of policy, medicaid expansion. again, redrawing of districts and transportation policy, you name it. president obama, access to the internet and states are involved in that. so it was a total wipeout. i think the democrats were just totally off message. they have issues that the american people have really resonated with the american people and the republicans were and also, was there one other failing. the democrats always have been better at turning out the vote. i heard someone mention voter turnout as we came in. there was a question about that. this time the republicans had a ground game, and it was a better
ground game, believe it or not, than the democrats had. >> we've seen for a while now, if different electors show up during the midterms. >> the republicans are very, very good at getting people out of midterm elections and democrats notoriously duck -- they just stay home for a midterm election. >> you've been researching this and you wrote something about democratic turnout just today that i saw. >> thanks. >> it's interesting. bill is exactly right in that the turnout was a big problem, but it is, rick. it's always a problem in midterm elections for democrats. their voters are younger, more diverse, less economically sound. they're lower income voters. they tend to vote in presidential elections only and
they have the opposite of that, whiter, older, more financially secure voters turn out all of the time that is a problem for democrats. there were two issues going in, and the map just stunk for democrats. let's face it, the days of a democrat winning in the deep south are just over, and it was just a matter of time before it caught up to democrats, right? and this was the year. so they lost in deep red states. there was no surprise there. i think what was surprising for democrats is they didn't have a message and pew came out with a new study that i thought was interesting with the economic agenda. what do democrats stand for? what's their economic message. democrats said we don't have a message that talks to those voters. those female more diverse less economically secure, younger voters. all we're saying is, i don't know, a whole mumbo jumbo of information. the republicans have an easy message. obama stinks. that motivates their voters.
that's not hard. democrats didn't have that message. the question is will they find that economic message to go to those voters who came out for barack obama, but they just don't traditionally vote in obama, but they just don't traditionally vote in mid-term elections. will they come out for hillary clinton? is she the kind of person who can attract those voters? i think that is key. my colleague comes up -- has a great -- i guess it is an analogy between the two voters. there are the quacker barrel voters and the whole foods voters. and he looked at every county and who they voted for for the president in the last election and over layed the cracker barrels and whole foods. and if you live in a county with whole foods 77% voted for barack obama.
and if you are in a cracker barrel county, only 26%. and cracker barrel is rural and whole foods is urban. and this was a cracker barrel election and nechblt year is go -- next year is going to look more whole foods election. so the question for 2016 is can cracker barrel win in a whole foods. >> i kind of like them both? >> maybe now you are a swing voter. there you go. >> and stephen, we are seeing democrats trying to get this election. and chris van hollen has a lot of what elizabeth van warren is talking about and we saw her campaigning in kentucky and west virginia. there was a sense that the elizabeth warren populous
message could win. and obviously it didn't. but that is how you bring back the blue-collar and working class democrats that are born. >> i don't know that i would read -- i may be dense and basic, but i don't know that i would read too much more into message out of 2014 than amy summed it up as republicans said, obama just isn't getting it done and that resonated with republican voters and a lot of independent voters. it really didn't need to get any further beyond that. presidential election is different. we will have a conversation about the big ideas that warren is talking about. we may have that conversation depending on who gets nominated and what they choose to pursue. and as you said, there are two interesting people. rand paul who is -- i hesitate to say -- a warren-like figure in the republican party because
that is not an accurate comparison but in the fact he is willing to go to places and talk to audiences that other republicans have not necessarily -- well they've left out and ignored or don't mar particularly go after. mitt romney, the 47% that won't vote for us and rand paul doesn't believe that 47%. he with try to make the case to them. and in the same token, like you said the elizabeth warren. and the tax increases on the wealthy with tax breaks and a wealth transfer of money from wealthy to lower and middle-income folks through -- well through tax credits for income and work and what not. it will be interesting to see these sort of proposals that never get anywhere in congress but they do serve as a good economic rallying cry. would you like to see that as a -- as an issue the democrats
decide to run that firmly on in the next election because they are very important points to raise about who is doing well and not doing well and you get republicans will have to defend why the tax code does have carved out and why the rates look like they do for the wealthiest and why the income, even under president obama the top 1% and the top 1% of the 1% continue to have done very well. >> let's turn it to the republicans. because they won. they have the keys to the castle. i think everyone on the stage would agree and please stop me if you don't agree they are on probation with the american people. this was not a kind of water shed election that reoriented for a generation where things stand. we've seen enough over the last decade of the back and forth to suggest that any majority is temporary. the american people are not sold with either party. bill, what do they need to do over this two-year period to
satisfy the probation officers of the american people to say that they were right in the judgment that they made in 2014 and wrong in the judgment they made in 2006, 2008. >> well first of all, i must say i don't expect to get a call from wright, mitch mcconnell or boehner, on what the republican party would do. i think you're right. and i think mitch mcconnell has said this in effect. we have won and now we have to deliver. now we have to prove we can get this congress moving and get some things done. we can govern. and so i got in hot water for a column i wrote as a democrat saying i feel -- i have some optimism, not a huge amount but
some level of optimism about the ability to get things done over the next few years because the republicans, mcconnell and john boehner recognize they have to show some accomplishments and i think certainly barack obama does too in terms of his legacy. so the ingredients are there for total chaos and the ingredients are there to come together on some issues like trade or tax reform and some others. so what i think the republicans have to deliver which is why i'm a little puzzled by the way they've started out having control of the congress and the first moves were to repeal the dream act. when you only get 27%, was it of the latino vote in the last presidential election i don't think you want to go into this one by starting out with a decoration of war against the latino community. that was a strain -- now mitch mish connell in the last day up
in hershey, pennsylvania, told the house republicans, we are not going to do that in the senate and we're not going there because we don't think that is a smart move for the party. so i think they have to do that to deliver on issues important to the american people and get off anything obama is for is wrong and get off the basically the chamber of commerce if you will, anything for the 1% is good. and deliver on some things like immigration reform, i would suggest. maybe even climate change, tax reform, trade issues. not far left issues but things where they could come together. >> but amy we've seen this play out predominantly, the last four years since the rise of the tea party. they have been trying to hold back speaker boehner is trying to hold back inside his own conference and pushing and pushing and they shut down the government in the most dramatic display so can republicans deliver their own withoutin
surection in their own ranks and deliver to the country in their own ranks right now. >> the question is can they do that and does it matter in 2016 and whoever the republican nominee will have to answer those questions which is why it is important that the nominee for republicans doesn't come from within washington. it is important to separate yourself, they can't figure it out, but we figured it out in my state. fundamentally to figure it out why it doesn't -- you figure out the difference between the house and the senate which puts you in a category different than most people. but more than ever the house is just so incredibly polarized that it is almost impossible to expect that republicans are going to vote for something that
is more to the center or center-left or democrats voting something to the center-center right. there are only five democrats left in the house of representatives that sit in a district that barack obama did not carry. okay. five. so whenever there is a compromise, those are the only people that republicans have to go to. basically five people. the same on the republican side. there aren't -- i think there is something like 20 republicans who sit in an obama district. 87% of the republicans in congress are white and they're male. the average district is 75% white and the -- if you understand where they are coming from and what the districts looks like it can help you to understand how difficult it is to get some of the pieces of legislation through. they don't have to worry about a general election and they don't
have to worry about losing in november, they have to worry about losing in a primary and when they say people in my district aren't talking about these things they are not wrong. they are not talking about those things. because they have home oth nuss -- hem oth nuss districts. mitch mcconnell's challenge is they have groups that are incredibly polarizing on the republican side but he also has to worry about the and hadful of republicans in 2016 who represent blue states pennsylvania, illinois florida, an ohio race next year there is wisconsin. so so, mcconnell's challenge is how to protect the people in blue states and representing the ted cruz and the other conservative republican agenda and that is just never going to get fixed.
>> one other thing to throw into the mix on this is national security, foreign policy. we saw it come up late in 2014 with the rise of isis ebola. which seems distance now but it is very much on the minds of voters. and i think we've seen politicians tap into this with the broader anxiety out there, that people feel insecure generally. as good as the economy has been there is an economic security and knock on wood we've been safeguarded against terror but you see things like what happened in paris and belgium and realize we are on the precipice of something serious. stephen, is this going to be a national security election? will it be poised? >> more so than the last two.
but the national security is having an effect. part of the reason why the republicans are not going to insist on these provisions with stop the dream act and stop the president's november executive action on immigration is because of what happened in paris and because of this pipe bomb plot here from -- out of ohio to bomb the u.s. capitol a couple of blocks away. that was very much on republicans' minds as they are meeting in pennsylvania. so real quickly, the two provisions to stop the actions the dreamer action and the president's november action on immigration were attached in the house as amendments to the homeland security a spending bill and if they insist on keeping them in there they will filibuster them or the president will veto them. and that means they can't use the power of the purse and they
lose the leverage to stop the immigration actions. as we just said, that is a clear indication they realize national security is going to be more important and is more important and will have an effect on what happens in congress. another very immediate effect out of pennsylvania yesterday is house speaker john boehner was asked about the plot to bomb the capitol and this plot by his bartender at his country club in ohio to poison him which sounds crazy and the guy has some history of mental issues so it is not clear how real it is but the fbi did charge him with plotting to murder a federal official. but he said something interesting. the plot to bomb the capitol part of the way the law enforcement came across that plot was because of the section 215 in the foreign intelligence surveillance act part of the patriot act, that allows for the government to collect business
records. it has been very controversial and allows for the bulk collection of data by the nsa. he wouldn't go into detail to say what the fbi used to learn about the plot. but his colleagues will have to keep that in mind. that section expires as of june of this year and if it is not renewed the section 215 powers disappear and boehner made the case, those powers are important and we have to keep that in mind. there is a big movement to end bulk collection of data and those two things will clash over the next few months. so another example of where national security is playing a role in politics. >> and that splits republicans. >> it splits both parties. so it was interesting you had a couple of months ago in the senate, you had a bill to end bulk collection come up the bill passed the house and came up in the senate and the senate republicans led by mitch mcconnell, they filibustered
that bill to block it, saying no we need to protect the powers and the democrats were rushing to get it done before they lost control of the senate because they knew republicans would be more reluctant to let it pass and we'll see that play out. and it splits republicans far more and it will be fascinating to see -- if they don't do anything, it all goes away. and that is interesting. and rand paul wanted to see the senator from kentucky wants to see the end for the bulk collection of data he voted against it saying if we do nothing, all of the powers go away in june. so strategic strategy there in june. >> what do you think, bill? >> it was interesting listening to stephen. this all ties together in the sense of i think the challenge for the republican-backed party
is, is it a national party or a regional party. they know how to win congressional elections hands down, no doubt about it. but they have to reach beyond that. and i think that is what the interplay we are seeing again play out in hershey is on some of the issues where the tea party has been able to rule the day for the last couple of years, some -- what do you call them -- centralist or establishment or wiser republicans are saying, look, our big goal is to get the white house and we have to calm that craziness down a little bit and show some leadership on some issues and come toward the dissenter on -- toward the center on some issues. and on national security, absolutely. we have mentioned, it is isis it is boko haram, it is aqap and some al qaeda-left.
very much so and now the real threat is not the big attacks but the smaller attacks like we saw in paris two of them in one week. and how do you possibly protect against two guys? >> right. >> it's -- it's got everybody on edge. and then on top of that it's cyber security. i think everybody is concerned about it. that is one issue where republicans and democrats are both looking at it and saying wow, we are vulnerable after sony and target and home depot and now cent com and even the white house was hacked into. and everybody is vulnerable. and they agree they need to do something about it but i haven't heard anything to do about it
except get better hackers on our side. >> and we have a lot of guys in their basement in their underwear right now that we can recruit, playing video games. >> we can recruit them. >> i say we should bring edward snowden back and make him head of the nsa. >> and right now the war against isis is being fought against the authorization of forces from 2001 to go after al qaeda and afghanistan and the 2002 language to oust saddam hussein. and the president said if you want to send up your own language. but the congress said what you are doing now -- we need
authorization and it is up to you to send it up. so we have spent the last months to fight over who will write this war. it looks like we have gotten past that and the administration will finally send up language which is a big step and then we'll have another war debate here. you talk about national security yeah, that is for both parties. there are folks who think we should have the power to have ground troops in iraq or wherever they are needed to combat isis. there are other folks who want a clear declaration of no ground troops. and other folks for no time limit, open-ended such as in iraq and afghanistan and other folks who want a tight control on that. and all of those will be debated. and judging by the past debates, i don't know if anything will get done. and i think six months from now we'll still be fighting these
wars on the old authorizations. >> and in sitting in focus groups on the last elections you heard it from voters, things seem out of control. and one woman summed it up well and quite sadly when she said the bad things are starting to become familiar. every day you turn on the tv and whether it is ferguson a school shooting, the -- whatever is happening in paris it seems like -- >> beheadings. >> whether it is domestic or international, it is bad bad and nobody has control on it and nobody says here is how we deal with it or a leader saying here is how we keep you safe. and there is a level of feeling safe at home, feeling safe financially, feeling safe in terms of your retirement, what will happen to your kids. and more than almost anything else in talking to especially
women voters there is a sense that really fearing for their children doing very basic things like getting on the school bus. and that is a very -- that is a really depressing place for a country to be. >> if i could just -- >> we're going to leave time for questions, if you want to line up for something. >> and i have a foot note. about this authorization for the use of military force or aumf as we call it here in washington. it is stunning we've been at this war with isis for eight months maybe and it is an undeclared war and congress hasn't even wanted to take up a new authorization for the use of force. they were going to do so and there were some people that wanted to do so before the november break. oh, no, we can't do it now it is too complicated so they went off for six weeks or longer and then came back and wanted to do
it before christmas, oh, no don't make us work so hard now. we'll wait until after the beginning of the year and here we are the beginning of the year and still they haven't taken it up yet. and in the senate, the two strongest voices to say we can't continue this war without a declaration of a use of military force are rand paul and tim kaine. >> and menendez the top diplomat on the foreign committee. and it split parties. >> and on the house, the same thing, barbara lee the strongest voice in the and tea party members and this government or the president acting without congress authorizing it. so you would think they would want to take this up and do their job. >> real quickly i would take what you said there with the stalemate over the authorization of the use of force, that has been -- to take that more broadly, that is describing the last four or i would argue the
last six years of government. president obama's last big accomplishment through the legislature other than must-do things like spending deals and the debt deal with spend lines the last big legislation was dod frank when he had vast majorities and he has not been able to work with congress since he lost vast majorities. and republicans said -- they made it a point, not a single one of them voted for the affordable care act. three of them voted for the stimulus write-off and one of them switched parties and one of them left congress or the senate. there is only one person who voted for the stimulus out of the members of the house and senate who is still there from the republican party. the republicans said, hey, voters, if you give us a majority we'll be able to stop the president and then we will do our agenda and they got control of the house and they weren't able to get their agenda through and you had stalemate.
they said give us control of the senate and we'll get there. now they have control of the senate and nothing has changed. the president said -- you all have to work with me. you have to show me some good faith you are willing to work on my issues and the republicans say no we won the last election you have to come to us. you have both sides like the aufm saying you have to make the first move, no, you have to make the first move. it is like the boys and the girls at the middle school dances on either side of the dance floor waiting there for either side to make the first move. >> and you might blame the voters. >> so give us your name and tell us where you are from. >> mark hill from seton hill. we've heard the speakers express the idea that the president's foot goal as a senator was a liability once he was in office and he may have had numerous
ideas for his legislative agenda but once he was in office it became difficult for him to get the ideas passes because he didn't have much of a relationship with those in washington not a back slap and smooch. and you mentioned elizabeth warren in the democrat primary and chapz to shape -- and perhaps to shape clinton's views but mr. press you seemed enthusiastic but she could win the primary and be elected president. but she is a freshman senator do you think she could end up with the same problems that president obama has. >> working with john boehner and mitch mcconnell? >> that is a long and complicated question. first of all barack obama everybody said don't run. you don't have enough experience. and he did run and he won. and his success -- or lack of
success of president, i would not attribute to the fact he had only been in the senate for two years. it might have been better to have more experience but i think there are a lot of other reasons. i don't think he took -- and i'm writing a book about it right now so there is so much going onto it. but i don't think he took advantage of the powers of the presidency from the very beginning whether he could have or should have, whether he served in the senate two years or 20 years. the reason i'm enthusiastic about business -- about elizabeth warren it is a barack obama-moment. she doesn't have experience. but that train doesn't stop at the station very often. i think maybe one stop and she either gets on or she doesn't. the reason i think her candidacy is appealing is because she's talking about the economic populous issues that american
people care about income inequality and minimum wanl and there are one out of five children in this country that live in poverty today. nobody is talking about that. she's saying the 1% are doing fine, we have to help the middle class and rebuild the middle class and i think that is what the people want to hear. and that is what the democrats have to be out there with a message and she can deliver it better than anybody. and so can bernie sanders. hillary clinton will not talk about those issues, i believe, unless she's forced to. >> i actually -- i'm going to disagree with bill which means i'll be wrong twice today including my point about clinton. but president obama's lack of legislative experience has had a major effect on the way he's conducted his presidency and lack of accomplishments. one of the issues i cover is immigration and i've looked at his history as a state senator in illinois up through his time as a u.s. senator and then on and there are two things that come out of it.
first, as a state senator, he was reluctant to take hard positions on a number of the issues. there is a driver's license bill that came up in the state senate in illinois and he did not want to be out there seen as being on that because he told the sponsor, this is too politically tough for me. if you need me in the end i'll be with you on the vote, but i don't want to have to go out there and vote on this if i don't have to. in the end the sponsor turned out to be one vote shy of getting it passed and he never brought it up for a vote and obama never had to take a position in the state senate. and there were a number of issues where immigration was a difficult position for him where he struggled to figure out how to approach the legislative process. i think one of the reasons -- and i actually -- i think he's used his presidential powers to -- in extreme degree is not right, but to a full degree i
would say his immigration executive actions with being challenged in three separate -- four separate courts right now. obama care is being challenged, including a lawsuit by the house of representatives, folks that think because he's been unwilling to work with them on legislation and he's struck out on his own, they've gone to the courts to try to reign him in. and the president after passing obama care, said we're not going to repeal it but if you bring me suggestions on how to tweak it that is great, let's do it. but we've seen there is bipartisan support not overwhelming bipartisan support, but there is bipartisan support for changing the medical device tax, to raise revenue for obama care and the 30-hour or 40-hour workweek definition which obama care defines 30 hours of work as full time. there are democrats that support changing that. there is a movement in congress
to do that. but the president said no. because that is on a step to repeal. so he's shown an inability to find areas where he can cooperate with a republican congress. >> thank you. >> steven ericson from hofstra university. mr. press, you touched upon what i was going to ask. but realistically, i find it increasingly difficult for the republican party to win a national election considering the demographic changes and how the electoral college is structured. what do you think they could realistically do to change their perception as the old white man's party in the next few years. >> more for the riens previs.
>> that they come to the conclusion that they have to do a better job of reaching out beyond the older white male base and reach out to women and latinos and african-americans and do so with their program and their policy and agenda. that is what the report said. lindsey graham after the 2012 election said republicans -- i'm paraphrasing here, but we'll never win the white house unless we show that we're the party of in collusion and -- inclusion and diversity. and ryan prevus said i include it. >> and that is why they push jeb bush bush. he is from florida. he is married to a spanish woman. he speaks spanish.
and if you take florida off, they can win the white house and that is a big impediment. but it allows you to go into places like claur audo and nevada. but the fact that the republicans were able to win in col or audo -- cory gardner who won for that senate seat, he's given say good road map on how you win in a state where demographically it would look impossible for republicans. and the final thing to say is republicans don't need to win 50% of hispanics 50% of women, 50% of younger voters in the same way that democrats don't need to win 50% of white voters. they just need to do better than 27%, right. so it is really about increments. and that is not as hard as to say, you need to go out know and go from 27% to 55%.
that is hard. from 27% to 40%, 42% 43% -- okay. >> which is what george w. bush got. >> right. and the other question is -- look, the slide on the white voters it did not start with barack obama and the democratic party, that slide has been going on for quite sometime but how low can it go. it is true the demographics definitely favor the candidate who can win in more diverse selection of voters but also you can't lose -- you can't get 27% of the white vote and win just as you can't get 27% of the hispanic vote and win. >> yes. >> seth blake harvard university. the comparison was made between the american people not knowing jeb bush and us knowing hillary clinton. as a voter i believe there is a misconception in the media that
we do know hillary. while we know her policy, do we really know her. what can she do to rewrite her narrative to the american people to make her appeal not just to her core base, but to independent voters and excite the youth again as obama did in the last two presidential elections? >> that touches on the -- probably the most lasting critique of hillary clinton's campaign that we never saw her. we didn't see her as a mother or a wife, we didn't see hillary. has that changed? >> gosh, i don't know if you can do that 25 years later. you know what i mean? like, she's been in the public eye for so long that the perceptions of her are pretty hardened. i don't know what she could do to go out there and -- if she put a buy onic out there right now about my -- a buy onic out
there. and there was a change about policy policy, policy no personal. but bringing in the personal will be helpful. but i don't know if that will change anybody's perception of her for better for or worse. i don't know. do you think it is doable? >> i don't know. i think it is locked in. basically hillary is who she is and the american people know her and like her or not. it is very hard to change the public image she has. maybe running around with charlotte, the new granddaughter. >> thinking a lot about that. >> that shows her a softer side of her. she has been using that. so has bill. whether that is not enough. >> matt alberts from eli
university in north carolina. chairman prvus was here, and talking about accessing money for the primary money and chuck todd said, paraphrasing, that is the stupidest thing he could have done. so which is the better? >> whenever you try to go and -- nobody knows what this process is going to look like. it is the same thing with the debates. we'll have fewer debates than last time. rick and i worked on the debates last time. >> i thought the debates were great. >> but it was more about the candidate's performance not the number of debates. but when you have people saying not smart things in debates, that tends to be a problem. if you had people saying smart things in the debates the
debates won't be a problem. and the same thing with the calendar -- and both parties do this, this didn't work this time and let's re-engineer based on the past. nobody can know what 2016 will look like. maybe it will be great and maybe it will work. and to chuck's point i don't disagree in that by shortening the time frame you don't vet the candidates well enough and you have a unprepared candidate come into the general election. the fact that the guys are starting off today, we're vetting them for two years, i don't think that the shortened time frame is a problem at all. my whole thing is i don't know that tweaking here and there the primary or the state schedule or the convention has any impact on whether this person is elected president. >> stephen do you think that matters at all? >> i don't think so. >> it is what the dnc or the rnc
has left. >> that is the issue. >> on the candidates and the money and even on the infrastructure, they don't need the parties for the voter base. they have outside vendors who do this and super-pacs so they are trying to insert their influence, which i appreciate because they are what we want to be relevant, but i don't know that it matters. >> and they moved up the date of the convention and now it is in july. like they make a big deal. who cares. we'll be there when it is. >> in july? do you think august would have been better? >> no. >> and phoenix. why doesn't everybody go to phoenix. >> it is 120 degrees in phoenix. >> i'm a fan. >> i wanted it to be in vegas. >> thank you. >> my name is amy coleman and i'm from harvard university. every time we have a conversation about the 2016 election, it kind of evolves into speculative politics particularly and i'm seeing this from people in the media and
what i'm wondering is, the media seems to have this power where they could educate and inform the public, so instead of focusing on the speculation, do you think maybe with this upcoming election the media could possibly move toward hard-hitting investigative journalism that we haven't seen in so long to help the public actually make informed decisions instead of feeding this contention machine we see. >> let me start this off. >> i was going to say, member of the media. >> representing the mainstream media today. first of all, the media is not monolithic and nobody on the stage can say how this is how the media will cover it. there will be extensive media and silly stories done. which sometimes the candidates feed because they realize this. and i'm of the opinion that getting people involved in the process and accessing their interest and getting them to come in at any level is what -- is what is ultimately important.
and there is definitely a core of people in this country i would not argue it is a majority or anything close to it that wants to know the policies and the investigation and the back grounds and everything like that and there is a segment that won't pay attention until the hats they are wearing and the outburst in iowa. people vote for a lot of reasons. and some people vote based on the policy decisions and some vote because they like somebody or somebody and they like the musicians they like. we don't get the power to just say, this is what people are interested in and therefore it is the news it. doesn't work like that. and i think we're all going to strive to do fulfilling and important coverage of an election. but i don't think anyone here will say we're going to give up on the other stuff either. >> there are enough of what you're talking about out there. there is never enough. but there are plenty of
substantive stories out there. but what has changed over the years, the number of people covering the campaign and who i work out of the senate press gallery in the capitol and the number of people -- the number of reporters who are now covering that institution has probably grown three or four-fold on a daily basis when i started there 15 years ago and there is about the same amount of substance and policy still out there and those stories are still being written. what fills the began of all of the other people is the other stories. i also think as rick said voters engage this stuff on different levels. if you want to find serious policy stuff and where every single person stands on an issue, that is out there and you can find that out and people are doing the hard-hitting stuff. what is proliferated is the fluff and candidates do feed into that because so many voters do vote at that level as well. but this is true for -- this is true for congress and the white house and for all of these things, whatever level you want to engage as a voter -- a voter
wants to engage in politics, it is out there for them to find. it is a matter of going and finding it. >> and it is not even -- i was just doing the scott walker background information. you type in scott walker into google and the milwaukee journal sentinel has great stories about his tenure in office and discussion about stuff he's done. you can spend all day -- i watched his state of the state union. i'm officially a dork, it is okay. i admitted this. i watched the state of the state because thanks to cspan, they show them. >> and click on that. >> and it is all there for you. and i think we have to stop just looking at the big media and blaming them and saying instead to voters, it is not hard with google. there is a lot out there. it is hard to know what to trust, but i would trust a major
newspaper or news organization before i would trust something that your uncle sent you in an e-mail list. oh, my friends are saying this. look at this. >> my beef is -- look, we're not all proud of the political coverage we see and a lot of it is too silly. but one of my big beeves is we are always talking horse races. to talk 2016 today is great. to talk 2016 in january of 2013 -- not great. i sort of have this self-imposed rule, we're not going to talk about 2015 until 2015. and i must admit i broke that but we try to do that. and the same thing -- you cover the senate and the house -- they never take time out between campaigning to governor. and that is why stuff doesn't
get done. they are always in a campaign mode. so sometimes we feed into that. but the other side of it is we report what the campaign is all about. and the candidates are not always talking serious issues too and they would rather talk -- either attacks on their opponent or their lifestyle or whatever -- i would like to see them more focus on substantive issues and the substantive differences between themselves and their opponent and why -- where they would take a country or the state in a different direction. i think we would -- we would have to follow that. >> and a great place to leave it. bill stephen, amy, thank you. sorry we didn't get to the other questions. we don't have time. >> we're going to take a break. but i want to present our guests with their fashionable and functional bags so they can look like you and they look ten years
younger and you have your own coffee mug in here. and we want to play special recognition, and amy walter is an alum of the washington center, so thank you for joining us. >> i didn't know that. there you go. no wonder you're so smart. >> we're going to take a two-minute break and refresh the stage and get our next panel up. here. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is celebrating his 73rd birthday. john boehner tweeted out this birthday greeting. all this week cspan 2 is showing the washington journal recent tour of black colleges and universities and today it is a look at tuskegee university in alabama at 6:30 eastern and then at 7:15 the tour of daver --
xavier university. and tonight japanese internment and a 1944 documentary in the living conditions in internment in arkansas and wyoming. and then a course on how the press handled the japanese internment. and then artifacts from the japanese national museum and then at 9:55 normal mineta assigned to a japanese internment camp with his family. the cspan city tour takes book tv and american history tv on the road, traveling to u.s. cities to learn about their history and literary life. this weekend we partnered with time warner cable for a visit to greensboro, south carolina. >> after months and months of cleaning the house charles
hallpern was making one walk through and in the attic making one walk-through he saw an nfl with a green seal on it and walked over and noticed the date was an 1832 document and he removed a single nail from a pam in an upstairs panel room and he discovered a drunk and portraits stuck up under the eaves and there was this treasure of dolly madison's things. we've had this story available to the public. some displaying different items from time to time but trying to include her life story from her birth in gillford county to her death. some of the items on display a calling card case that has a card enclosed with her signature and that of her niece
anna and some carved perfume bottles and some shoes with slim laces and a peach gown she wore earliest in life and a red silk gown which is intrigued that it lasted and also now a legend that also accompanies this dress. >> watch all of our events from greensboro saturday at noon and on sunday on cspan3. coast guard admiral zunkunft
from the coast guard here at the washington university and his comments last about an hour. >> welcome and thank you for coming out this morning. i'm kathleen hicks, i'm the kissinger chair here at cis. thank you for the lockheed martin for this here today and the coffee you are enjoying and i'm glad to introduce paul zunkunft and peter daly. we have partnered to try to bring a forum together to discuss major issues in the maritime. and it is wonderful to have as our second speaker just after the cno spoke the commend -- the 25th commandant of the coast guard admiral zunkunft. we have the bridging of the
worlds of homeland security and law enforcement with national security and the coast guard lives every day in that space. from his own personal experiences, serving as the federal deepwater horizon oil recovery efforts to the asia-pacific, the admiral per sonifies what the coast guard is about and without further ado and thanks in advance for admiral dally for moderating i would like to introduce admiral zunkunft. [ applause ] . >> thank you very much and admiral dally thank you for stepping up to moderate. as i scan the audience i see many writing physical reports about me today.
and it is important. because i spoke at sna yesterday and there were people that didn't realize all of the great things that the coast guard does. as a first and foremost as member of the armed services and as a law enforcement agency and as a humanitarian force and american agency and intel community and all of the great things we do for our country so i want to thank you first for taking time to be with us today and i certainly want to entertain your questions as well and leave ample time for us to be able to do so. when i stepped into this job about eight months ago, the first thing i did is i put my commandant's direction very straightforward, about service to nation and duty to people and commitment to excellence but building upon the eight commandants that served before me while i've been on active duty and take the best of their ideas and provide continuity of command rather than transition of command as i stepped into this position.
but i also looked at how we've been executing our budgets since 1790. i'm sure when ten revenue cutters were charted under alexander hamilton we wanted 15 but we only got ten. but we work with what is left over. and my first approach is we need to have a budget that is driven first and foremost by a strategy. by a strategy that is relevant, that resonates across whole of government. and so we've been able to do exactly that. the first piece that we rolled out under my predecessor admiral pap is a strategy. i released a strategy for the western hemisphere and i'll talk about that at length here shortly. in the next several weeks we'll release a strategy for cyber and i'll talk a little bit about that as well. and i'm also very focused on what i call the energy renaissance. every day a new tank barge is entering our waterways with a
u.s. certificate of in speks on it right now -- inspection on it right now because right now we export more oil than we import. we are a net producer and an opec nation. we produce more oil and gas than any other nation in the world right now which is why gas is hovering oil around 46 dollars per barrel. so let me talk about the western hemisphere. there was on the smithsonian back in the late '70s there was this vignette that plays out. basketball players three in white shorts and three in black shorts and you watch as they pass the basketball among them and if you paid very close attention, they passed the ball about 12 times. and in about 65% of the people get it but those 65%, what they don't see is the middle of that vignette, someone dressed up in a gorilla suit does a moon walk between them and no one saw it
happen and no one saw it take place. i use this gorilla metaphor in the context of the western hemisphere. today eight out of ten of the most violent nations are here in the backyard of the western hemisphere, to include violent crime, under minding rule of law, good governance and how did that happen? what happened is the gorilla was organized crime, moving drugs an people and poving weapons into central america. much of that destined for the united states but that is why we now have eight of the ten most violent nations here in our backyard. we saw this play out this past summer with unaccompanied minor children and some of us, if you look at that, the first thing you want to do is think we need bigger detention facilities, we need more beds how do we place these children. and that is treating the symptom. and what are the cause? the parents of honduras
guatemala, el salvador, the violent nations, honduras number one, trying to get their children to a safe haven. to leave a country with 40% unemployment, 50% poverty, but a young child being born in honduras today one in nine will be murdered before they reach the age 21. so how did that happen? so i'm looking at the cause of that and how that is taking place here in our hemisphere. besides the unaccompanied minors, we're looking at drug flow within the western hemisphere. i'm taking an offensive approach in attacking organized crime where it is the most vulnerable and that is when it is on the water. we realize that when drugs come ashore, that they are not coming ashore in the united states, they come ashore well south of here. so when i look at where does our maritime border begin it begins
at the territorial sea of 41 countries with whom we have bilateral agreements to do counter-drug operations. once the drugs come ashore, very difficult to detect. so one of my imperatives under my commandant's direction is we'll have intelligence drive operations. we've been a member of the national intelligence community for over 12 years now 13. and it is time that we vector ships to where we know the threats are at. the last ship i commanded i left over 13 years ago, we would go out and i would pick a spot in the ocean and i would say they are going to come right here. and more often than not it was like forrest gump before they caught the shrimp but more often than not you went home and were skunked and that is not the case any more. the cutter that returned just before thanksgiving with over half a billion dollars worth of
contraband on the flight band. 13 interdictions in one deployment. and for those of you in this line of business, one a year is staggering, but 13 in one deployment and this is all intelligence driving operations. our intelligence product is so good today we have at least one layer of intelligence on about 80% of the flow in the eastern pacific and in the western caribbean and some of the flow destined toward europe as well 80%. on the best of days, i have an airplane, i have a cutter or a frigate that i can vector to go after 20%. so i can -- the 60% get a free pass. and so why is this of concern to me? obviously we have this challenge with regional stability in central america. but this is a $750 billion enterprise. i have a $10 billion slingshot
in my budget. but if we use intel appropriately, again where organized crime is the most vulnerable and where i have the upper hand is at sea complemented with the authorities that we have -- and the thors are -- the authorities are one thing. but it is the competency of the people and i'm honored to lead what is by far the best coast guard in the world today so much so many countries are trying to replicate the united states coast guard. they have the color scheme right and the stripe right and they want our ships but what they can't replicate is our people and they can't replicate our authorities and our governance and so any maritime needs to look to our united states coast guard. and that is where we are having a difference. and as i try wake others up to this challenge, this gorilla, if you will there is another troubling number and that number
is 450,000 and those are the number of american citizens since 9/11 who have died due to drug overdose drug crime here in our united states of america. we now have more people dying to drug overdoses and drug violence each year than to highway fatalities. so i need to build up this -- click it or ticket, but at a much higher level as we look at how to invest in the coast guard as we look at the challenges that we see in the 21st century. the next line of the western hemisphere besides going after combatting networks is safeguarding commerce. 90% of the trade currently rides on the sea. yesterday -- this re lates to our cyber strategy, we hosted a public meeting for the maritime industry. in 2002, the maritime
legislation impacted a number of facilities that do international trade. and they balked at first when we said you have to build a higher fence, more cameras, so forth. but now they're coming to us and saying, well, we need to know what the international standards are for cyber. if you look to see what's playing out right now on the west coast with the ilwu renewing its contract, we're starting to see gridlock in our courts, and we live in an inventory economy. so there is no room for error if there is a disruption in any of our ports. especially if you look at a port complex like l.a. long beach, where over a million dollars goes through that port complex. that just goes through there. what you don't see is warehouses in the heartland. that warehouse is on a container that gets on a railcar that gets to the factory floor just in time. that's keeping our economic engine running.
i was down in sabine river about six weeks ago. and on the sabine river there is a facility called shaneer that will be the largest lng exporter in the world when all six of those liquefaction plants come online over the next four to five years. just after that i went to the panama canal. i went to the expansion project. it is 180 feet wide. they can accommodate ships with drafts of over 60 feet. that should open on or about april fool's day of 2016. with that there will be a flow of gas ships. there will also be a flow of container ships, some of them carrying up to 18,000 container units coming through the canal which may have an impact on where we do trade here in the united states. but behind all of that, the coast guard is the enabler.
we do not want to be the inhibitor of allowing all this maritime commerce to take place. so that's a key element as we look western hemisphere and then how we enable congress and keep that engine running as well. then the third piece of our western hemisphere strategy is securing our borders. and this question comes up time and time again. in the maritime environment, our border is not our territorial sea. our border begins at the port of demarcation for any nation that does trade with the united states. our maritime security regime, we have teams that go out and we audit all of the ports, all the facilities that trade with the united states. and their compliance with the international port security codes, they get a clean bill of health. if they are not any ship that calls on that facility within five times before it arrives here in the united states is going to have a welcoming committee. a very stringent inspection to
make sure that their security standards have not been compromised as they go through these ports. so what that does to a shipper is either they don't do commerce at that port or that facility says, well, we better come into compliance. well, it's a very indirect way, if you will, to correct compliance on an international scale. at that point, as that ship leaves, the coast guard and customs and border protection at the national targeting center here in reston, virginia, we look at the cargo manifest, we look at the crew member, the contents of that product. we look for any anomalies. is there a person of interest? is there perhaps something with that manifest that may cause grave concern? obviously, the worst case being a weapon of mass destruction. so we screen all of that well in advance of those ships coming into our territorial sea, way out in the high seas. we have 12 bilateral agreements
with flag states of convenience that allow us to go on those ships if we think that there is a weapon of mass destruction on those ships. we don't have to ask for permission. but you don't want to board that ship as it's coming under the golden gate bridge. that's why we have flight deck-equipped cutters. that's why we have a tier 2 team, a maritime security response team that use fast rope, that uses the exact same tactics, technique procedures as our special operations forces to go on board. and if it is a worst case, to take positive control on that ship and buy us that trade space, that time we need of what do we do with the final disposition of this ship that was destined for the united states and perhaps torching off a very worst case scenario? and the other aspect of our border is the flow of illegal migration. it's not just here in the united states, it's playing out in a global scale. it's playing out in australia
with migrant flow going to that country. we're seeing that in the european union in just the last several weeks with very large numbers. the coast guard has been dealing with the phenomena now since the maritime boat lift of 1980. last month we had a 200% increase in migrant flow leaving cuba. there was perception that our feet dry policy was going to change, and what we saw were, as rudimentary as these vessels are, these were really makeshift chugs trying to get to the united states. as i'm dealing with that threat and moving ships around, we have a 50-year-old fleet of 210-foot cutters. they do have a flight deck on them. so if you're holding 100, 150 migrants, it takes several days to go through a screening process before you repatriate these individuals.
we have been doing a great josh job. they're 20 years beyond their service life, but we're still operating them for 50 years. so what's the consequence? we have these great, brand new fast response cutters. they're about 154 feet long, a crew of 22. but that crew of 22 is now holding 100 migrants for a period of five days. as these migrants get anxious, some of them will self-mutilate to be medically evacuated and then they become feet dry to enter the united states, but those fast response cutters were not designed to hold migrants for days on end as we look at the final disposition of these individuals. this phenomena i don't think is going to change in the 21st century. when i look at the abyss between have and have not nations, when i look at stability in the region, you don't have to look beyond the country of haiti
whose economic engine just doesn't seem to get started. but there are a lot of other leading indicators throughout the region where the united states is going to become a very attractive target to emigrate to, much like we saw in the 1900s with the european phenomenon. they'll do so illegally, and we want to screen out who is a person of interest that may cause harm to the united states, and who is a bona fide economic migrant looking to better their way of life. that will be a challenge as well. i'll shift gears real quick to another area i'm looking at and that's the arctic. when i say arctic, it's also antarctica. when people ask me what do i lose sleep over, it's the coast guard cutter polar star that is grooming the channel as i speak. things are going a little slower than expected. a little bit more work than they anticipated. we have great imagery, but the ice is thicker, it's more dense,
there is fast ice in here as well, but what happens if they have a major engineering casualty while they're breaking in? there used to be a point in time where i could send another heavy icebreaker to the rescue. right now they're going it alone, and every time i would swim in water over my head, it was always good to have a buddy. but the united states doesn't have a buddy system right now as we're operating at the very far extremes of the world. we have equities well beyond scientific research in antarctica. then as i shift to the arctic, for the next two years, the united states will chair the arctic council. the head of that delegation will be my predecessor, admiral pat. as we look at how do we view the arctic in the 21st century, what i see as the most blooming challenges will be safety of life at sea and protecting the environment itself. so we will stand up on arctic coast guard forum and we will
host all eight members of the arctic council -- this includes russia -- in march as we look at a government structure for the arctic going forward. first and foremost, safety of life at sea and also band width. how do you communicate up in this region? to deal with a very complex contingency. a major oil spill in the arctic may only be several thousand barrels, not on the magnitude of a deep water horizon event. we need to be sense tifr toitive to the indigenous nations that have been living there as well. we are doing that on a daily basis, but we have the opportunity over the next couple of years to really make our presence felt in the arctic, but it's hard to do so in a very persistent manner when our nation -- these are national assets -- our heavy icebreakers is one. and our medium icebreaker, our
fleet, is one. so i'm keenly interested in recapitalizing on our capability as we go forward. there is a number of directives that i've teed up as i look at this world around us, and the first area i look at is our human resource competencies. we operate in a much more complex environment. we have boson mates that are pursuing boats 140 miles offshore using warning shots up to and including deadly force and doing the arrest as an e-5. we have a cyber command, we have intel specialists, we have an acquisition program that is not only mature but received five federal government awards in the past year. our ships are much more complex, the systems on there to leverage them to their full capability, you cannot send others to sea.
we get to the journeyman approach. they leave and it brings in the next apprenticeship. we have to be proficient in 21st century. that also includes our prevention. we regulate an industry that is now turning to alternative fuels. they're offshore supply vessels using lng as a fuel source. i don't want to find ourselves luring from an industry we're trying to regulate. we should be imposing the standards and not learning from industry. we've never had closed loop communities other than the aviation community within the coast guard, and we need to tighten those circles a little bit more than we have in the past whether it's seagoing, doing response doing prevention, doing intelligence, acquisition, all of our support missions, every one of them are valuable. i need it all, but i need to make sure that i've got competent individuals and i have an assignment process that grows those subject matter experts, because we can no longer be that swiss army knife, that jack of
all trades, master of none as we're doing brain surgery out here in the 21st century. so we're going to overhaul that as well. i'm also directing, as we look at the flow of oil within our inland waterway system. two years ago, about 2 million barrels of oil went downriver. last year it was 50 million. it went up by a factor of 25. as i mentioned, more barges are being built when they come down on high river conditions. they're shifting silt, and there's a lot of exposure and something could go bad, but i need to make sure that maritime transportation system, the waterway, is reliable. we're maintaining that with 60-year-old maritime buoy tenders, so if you thought those ships were old, i have something even older yet. i need to take a harder look at that and how do we recapitalize that. there is a lot of talk about, hey, we have gps.
we have electronic navigation. we won't need that anymore. but what happens if that gps signal goes dark? then what do we do? i'm very focused on that aspect as well. of what some of those -- we never thought of that, but that keeps me awake a little bit at night as well. not just in our navigation systems, but this is our timing system. our financial market relies on gps. there is no backup right now. that's another key focus area of mine as i look into the 21st century. i also look at climate change. not what's causing it, but i know that the sea level is rising. you know, we've measured the ocean temperatures. those are rising. and there are two phenomena that i observed in the last year. in 2013, it was super tycoon hiphan. that came into sea at 196 knots, highest ever recorded in history. we topped that this year and
that was super typhoon vongfong. as they were digging out 18 feet of snow in the southeast, they were dragging snow across the united states. if you can imagine one of these beasts coming ashore in the united states, katrina was a category 3. sandy was a category 1. this is a category 5-plus-plus. do we have the resiliency within the coast guard to respond to an incident of that magnitude at a point of time where my active and reserve combined are less than 50,000 people as we look at how to respond to some of these contingencies. we're staying very focused on that as well. i close by saying there is no point in time where we have not had a better relationship with the united states navy. i'm meeting with admiral greener on a regular basis. very soon we will swap out the strategy for the 21st century.
when i look at the challenges he's facing, gone are the days when you have six months to lead up to a contingency. when you have unpredictable leadership on the korean peninsula threatening our country with icbm missiles, clearly the navy does have to reposition. and as they reposition, what do you pull from? so in many cases the navy has had to pull from the western hemisphere. as they do that first and foremost, i applaud the great support, the team work we had with our navy, with law enforcement attachments on those ships. it has been a game changer. i paint a bleak picture, but it would have been more bleak had it not been for the great relationship we had with our navy. but as the navy repositions to the pacific, i'm repositioning to the western hemisphere. our presence is up 40%. obviously, i did not put together a fleet of 40%
overnight. we're using intelligence, we're doing what i call risk-based decision-making, but one of my highest priority threats on a global scale, and right now they're right here in our backyard to go after that gorilla. it's a great time to lead this organization. when i spoke to the corps cadets at the coast guard academy, i said, your biggest challenge when you leave this institution, you're going to lead an enlisted workforce that is more secure, more mature and better educated than you are. and if that's your biggest problem, then bring it on, but the strength of our human resource capital, i've never seen where it is today. so when i step back and look at our united states coast guard, i could not be more optimistic. i could not be more thankful to the 88,000 active duty, our reserve, our civilian, and our auxiliarists.
to a person, every one of them are punching way above their weight class. i look forward to hearing your question. thank you for hearing my view of our world from a coast guard perspective. so peter, i'll turn it over to you for some moderating discussion. >> thank you. >> my intent here is to just ask a couple questions and open it up quickly to the audience. admiral, thank you for your remarks. we had a forum last month where a speaker who really looks at this closely looked at the coast guard's acquisition construction and investment accounts and noted the fact that historically it had been at 1.5 to 2 billion and now is 14 out centered on more than 1.1 billion. you mentioned that the cutters were over 40 years old. what does this do to your ability to recapitalize that
force? >> my primary responsibility, as i told my work forces, i spent most of my career as an operator, and now i'm in marketing and sales. i need to market the united states coast guard. we've done our due diligence. for two years running now, we have a clean financial audit opinion. we were the first military service to do so and then the marine corps followed suit last year. well, we did it again. when you look at the fact that we can maintain a ship for 50 years, it was designed at a point in time where that ship was designed to maybe go out for two weeks and do search and rescue before the magnusson act was even signed dealing with fisheries and how we have been able to magnify that cutter, train our people to remain relevant in the 21st century. i think we have been a good steward of the resources, the platforms that the taxpayers have provided the united states coast guard. but over the last several years our acquisition budget has gone
from 1.5 to just south of $1 billion. and i cannot run our coast guard on a budget like that. we need the fast response cutters. the national security cutter has been a game changer for us. gone are the days where you go out for a two-month patrol. they deploy, they provide persistent presence, and are providing tremendous return on that investment. quick sea story. coast guard cutter just completed a rim of the pacific, the largest rim of the pacific this last year. as she was doing her workups in san diego, we diverted her twice and she did two drug interdictions. she was the first time the pla participated in the rim of the pacific. when that was said and done, they went out and forced our e.g. against fisheries all in one deployment.
this is a very capable asset. what i'm lacking now is the middle ware. that is our offshore patrol cutter. we are down to three competitors i've gone back to my staff and scrubbed every specification on there with a view towards affordability. we view this as though i am personally paying for it out of my checking account, one that is affordable, but two, this is going to meet the requirements that i foresee in the 21st century. but i can't do it on a budget south of $1 billion. >> shifting gears just a minute, you've been commandant now for about seven and a half months. in some sense you spent most of your life preparing for the job, and there's probably no surprises. but i always feel like it's worth asking, now that you're the man, you're the number one guy, is there any aspect now that you're in the job that has surprised you or at least was
unexpected? >> actually, two surprises. the first surprise is in the last month, i was on five continents. i've met with every geographic component commander, and they all said we want more united states coast guard as an instrument of national security in their area of responsibility, because many of the threats that they see are coast guard-like, criminal activity. law enforcement authorities are requisites. that's been the first surprise of how far and wide can i spread this peanut butter across the globe? we've tried to do that in years past, but now i'm stacking peanut butter, i'm stacking some of that in the western hemisphere. that's the first surprise. the other actually comes as no surprise and i call ourselves the silent service. because we don't overstate. in fact, we often understate our value to the nation. how few people understand what the coast guard delivers to our
nation day in and day out. we have daily contact with american citizens, with bad guys and we're great instruments of diplomacy overseas, but very few people understand that. the epitome of that is when we do our coast guard foundation awards, and we had a rescue swimmer in the last year save 13 lives on multiple rescue missions. this wasn't just on the open water, this was in the search zone against the cliff as people are being scraped across barnacles, and all 13 of them in all likelihood should have perished. he saved all 13 of their lives. as he stepped up to the podium to receive his award, i said, would you like to say a few words? he said, i'm a rescue swimmer, this is what i trained to do, and i had duty that day. and he walked off. it is mind-numbing. we have 88,000 people just like that. we train them, we empower them, they do great things.
but the value they provide the nation is often underappreciated. >> you talked about the west hem and the fact that the navy is maybe focusing more on the asia pacific, the other side of the asia pacific. this opening with cuba, and today represents a bit of a threshold because some of the requirements eased up just today on travel restrictions and the amount of money that could be spent, use of credit cards, things like that. what does this opening to cuba mean to the coast guard? >> first i'll say what it means to the coast guard and i'll mention what it means to the department of homeland security as well. we've had this unique policy with the government of cuba now for a number of years, this feet dry policy, and it's been very challenging for those of us on the front line having been there as the likes of key west appear on the horizon. a lot of times people looking to better their lives will go to desperate efforts to try to make
landfall here in the united states. once they do, they're home free. it's the only policy like that. so it would make our world of work a little bit easier. what i don't know, would the government of cuba try to prevent people from leaving because there's been a policy change? and then if they do, there might be a reverse effect. you might have cuba nationals leaving the united states destined for cuba and trying to embark there and then bring them back the other way. so it could play out one of two ways. i look at it from a couple different aspects there. from a department of homeland security aspect, we're unique in that we're 22 components but we're not weaved together like the department is under the goldwater nichols act. secretary jeh johnson released a memo shortly after i became commandant talking about unity of effort in the homeland
department of security. how do we apply it to what are the most relevant threats viewed by the departmental level? we created three task forces. a joint task force east, which is led by vice admiral dean lee, who will be double hatted at the area commander focused on dhs equities maritime. his deputy will be a member from customs and border protection. there will be a joint task force west. that will be led from the border patrol, commander robert harris. his deputy will be a coast guard individual. then we'll have another joint task force for investigations, which is really getting into the criminal networks, led by immigrations and custom enforcement. his deputy will also be coast guard. so we're starting to turn dhs a little bit more peripheral by the creation of these task forces as we look at emerging threats, and then how do we apply -- resources will always be scarce, but how do we optimally apply resources and deal with those threats?
>> do you foresee that you'll be able to deploy, or at least employ, coast guard forces further south in the hemisphere and maybe operate from other countries or have more access to launch activities from? >> these are not staged questions, by the way. it's a great question. you may know the white house, when we released our western hemisphere strategy, if you release a strategy, you want to make sure you have connective tissue. so our first connective tissue is to our department that has a southern border and approaches campaign. but the next piece is to the white house that has a strategy for central america. president obama has met with the presidents of honduras, guatemala, el salvador. he has heard their concerns. a lot of that violent crime is collateral damage for the flow of contraband destined for the united states. so there is a responsibility for
the united states to step up to the plate. so as we look at, i have six patrol boats in bahrain as i speak today, and they've been there 12 years, the very same concept could apply in central america. a dedicated squadron of patrol boats operating in this region could first of all help build up their coast guards, but at the same time there is actionable intelligence. i can divert them to either do unilateral or combined operations with these countries. as they look at their navy model in this region, the countries of this region, it's very much a coast guard model. so it's a very good fit for us, and i think it's a very good fit for our nation as well. >> thanks. just as a guy who operated out there in the persian gulf with those wpds, i just want to say that they were fantastic in their contribution, and to the mission also, super impressed with the junior structure obviously in those small wdbs
and what those officers and crew accomplished out there was impressive. as promised, i wanted to open it up more quickly to audience questions, and the gentleman right in the back there. sir? >> admiral, good to see you again, sir, as always. your initiatives are incredibly aggressive, they're exciting to hear. we hear the added almost tasks that are being put on you by our country and our global partners, but it still seems like we're still using admiral loy's analogy of the dull knife. is the administration and the department of homeland security ready to go to congress and work with them on their offer to get the coast guard the funding needed to get you not to be the dull knife but the sharp tip of the spear? >> my responsibility, and i'm very optimistic in that regard,
especially when i go to my boss, secretary johnson, and his first concern is counterterrorism. obviously. look at what played out in belgium, look what played out in paris before that, and we're operating under a continuing resolution right now. he's been very vocal, one, in lifting that continuing resolution and having a fully funded department as he looks at counterterrorism. his number two concern is recapitalizing the coast guard. i'm happy being number two. we haven't always even been in the top five, but to be number two at an inflexion point where we need to invest in our coast guard to be relevant in the 21st century, i'm very thankful for the leadership i have in the department of homeland security right now. >> we have a question right here. sir? >> good morning, admiral. good to see you again.
will watson of the maritime security council. can you speak a little bit to the coast guard's role in safeguarding american or u.s. flag owned and crude shipping in high risk areas like the gulfs of guinea, et cetera? >> ironically, there is only one u.s. flag bona fide crude ship and it's out in hawaii. it's primarily a form flag fleet. we just released a notice of proposed rule making in the last day or two. as we look at violent crime, we look at safety standards on cruise ships, and very early on in my assignment, i think it was in week two, i met with all the ceos in the cruise shipping industry. and i said from this point on, we're going to have a relationship, but what we are not going to have is a partnership. it is in our mutual best interests as a regulator that we provide enough maneuvering space
between the two of you, and we do periodic inspections on these ships, make sure they're in compliance with international code. but now we're doing spot checks. we show up unannounced just to keep them honest. and it's in their best interest to say we got a coast guard seal of approval and we've been spot-checked. so it provides us better credibility, but it's certainly good for their business product line as well. but the next piece of rule making, and it's still on the street right now, this ranks in my top five regulatory packages i'd like to see get through next year. >> the lady in the back row there? >> i would like to ask you a question concerning your arctic capabilities, especially in the interim of budget cuts and what are your immediate plans to increase your polar iceberg fleet? thank you.
>> first we need to start with what are the requirements for the 21st century. and if you're going to be operating in the arctic domain, you want to make sure you meet or exceed the environmental standards that are in the arctic. that's everything from gray water to the type of fuel you burn, the emissions, and right now none of our icebreakers meet today's modern standards, and those are going to be updated even more so with the release of the polar code. i say that because we're also looking at what will it take to bring the coast guard cutter polar sea back to life? it's been laid up for over six years. some of the parts were used to put the polar star together. it could run for about 10 years, so we're still doing an assessment of what would it take to bring a 40-year-old ship back to life and then hopefully keep it on life support for another 10 years. but it's like that old car you just don't want to let go of. at some point you throw good money after bad, but this is
taxpayer money, and i want to make sure we make a sound investment. but if i'm sinking so much money into that too the point where i could have recapitalized the ship outright, you know i don't want to find out four or five years later that that's exactly what i should have done, because it is going to take several years for our shipyards to be able to produce a heavy icebreaker, just the technology that goes into building a hull with a hull skin of several inches thick, which is what we have in our polar icebreakers. clearly this needs to be a new line item in our budget. i can't do it with the acquisition budget that i have right now. but clearly an ice breaker is not, you know the coast guard operates and maintains it, but it really answers a lot of mission needs for a number of agencies within our federal government, and also internationally, as well. so we're looking across all of government to find the resources to put in to a recapitalization of our arctic capability.
>> this lady down here? >> thank you. marissa lena with northrop grumman. thank you for your comments. you covered such a broad scope, it's hard to decide what to ask. but i am curious. you mentioned being in panama for the -- to look at the canal. what are your thoughts on the chinese building a canal in i think it is honduras. >> nicaragua. >> not a new concept. >> well, my term is four years, and it won't happen on my watch. just from the outside looking in. nicaragua, fresh water source, as we look at the invasive species, there is an environmental component, if this were ever completed to transit that canal than it would the panama canal. what's it take to operate and maintain that. so does it provide competition?
but i think there's going to be, yeah, many, many challenges. and seeing that to fruition. certainly what shippers want as we look at you know shipping going through the northern sea routes especially in the container fleet, they want to meet schedule. no surprises. no time for disruptions, which is why you don't see container ships going up in the northern sea route. what they need is to ship some of that cargo because it's been diverted to another direction. so it's not just the canal, it's all the infrastructure that we need to go around that in order for that to be a viable waterway. much like we have with the suez canal. a very mature panama canal, as well. so, it will take decades for that to really realize its full potential. even if that canal was completed.
>> i'd like to just go back to the dhs, you know, the competition for resources for a moment. you talked about the fact that yes we have free capitalization challenge. we talked about that. now, you're at a higher priority within dhs. but at the risk of getting to a sensitive subject, dhs itself has a target on its back politically because of the association with the very highly charged immigration issue. how do you see that playing out? everybody else has a full-year budget. you don't. what type of -- needs to be done to protect the coast guard in this environment? >> again back to the marketing and sales at expect of this job. so with 114 congress my responsibility is to engage, you know, the many overseers, the appropriators, the authorizers, that impact the coast guard budget. and also at the same time indicate that we are part of, you know, the third largest federal agency in our government
is the department of homeland security. number one is dod, number two is veteran affairs. number three it the department of homeland security. just on that note, sometimes i'm asked does the coast guard fit well in the department of homeland security? my answer to that is you bet. you look at the qhsr, much of that resonates with the coast guard. what i'm doing is i'll take that a step further and the coast guard will have a qdr, if you will, a five-year strategic intent for the coast guard. and i've had some of my predecessors when asked, how big does the coast guard need to be? i need to be able to provide at least a floor but right now i am below that floor right now when i look at the mission requirements i have at hand. but what i owe my boss and what i owe our nation is a strategic intent that takes into account the external environment some
of those challenges opportunities that i laid out before you, but put that into a coherent strategic document, and not a fist pounding, saying i need more, but to be able to articulate that in a strategic manner that resonates with our national strategic objectives. >> thank you. time to open up to more. >> independent consultant and former army adversary in the western hemisphere. i had the privilege of working with your attaches throughout the region, in particular the one in haiti. in that vein, do you have something akin to what the army has in the -- you know, the rapid equipping force office. the possibility of optimizing on the spending that you have for special mission sets? >> yeah, one. one of my collateral duties is
the interdiction coordinator, chairman within the national drug control policy. and within that interdiction committee is ambassador brownfield from inl. so as we look at opportunities that may be beyond my resource base right now we're putting teams downrange. you know, using, you know, state department support to be able to do so. but we're doing it with a whole of government approach, just before the thanksgiving holiday, i took the entire leadership team, from the interdiction committee, and we went first we went to puerto rico. puerto rico is seeing a 300% increase in flow. and at the same time they've seen a violent -- tremendous spike in violent crime there, as well. but i haven't seen 300% increase in flow leaving puerto rico. at least not by sea. so i met with the governor, i met with their regional commissioner, we're protecting
that front door, but what's leaving the back door? from there we met with the presidents of panama, honduras, and colombia, so they could see firsthand what the challenges are downrange. met with the country teams as well. and the demand signal for u.s. capabilities, whether it's capacity building, or whether it's basing resources in those countries is as loud as i've ever heard. but you really need to get down and see firsthand, you know, it was important that you bring other members of this leadership team, whole of government down to see for yourself. so i don't see, and i'm trying to tell the person next to me, and as that communication goes down the line the message gets scrambled and it's not understood. we're all seeing the problems from different aspects but with whole of government, on what needs to be done down there. and i'm very optimistic for the opportunity that have presented themselves. >> we seem to be at the end of