tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN November 24, 2009 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
association. >> madam dr. culverhouse, mr. martin, my time is expired. i will not interrupt you again. >> i will take a stab at it. i appreciate the question. i am not certain if you can distance an athlete from his predisposition to go out and perform. i do not know how you can protect his financial incentive versus this incentivizing him to protect him from the injury. >> use your microphone. >> it would be very difficult for the nfl to mandate to the owners how to structure this. that would be a difficult thing. as i can tell you, the owners are like a bunch of mavericks,
and it would be very difficult to mandate to them how to have their players play because incentive bonuses are the way you get those players back in the game and you win. . . business. the bottom line is making money. if their players ain't playing, and the team is losing, that is the bottom line. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have gone over, and i yield back. >> senior member, bob goodlet. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to direct my questions primarily to mr. questions primarily to mr. goodell and also mr. smith. it regards, first of all, the problem that has been very well described by everyone on this panel today in terms of the risk of these head injuries and the fact that this is something that starts becoming a problem
at a very young age in junior high school, high school, up through college and long before they get to the nfl. there are a number of good ideas that have been expressed. mr. hodge had some very good ideas regarding nuregal exs and with regard to -- neurological exangeses. >> one of the problems is getting the information out. i'm not sure that given the wide variety and changing opinions that this is suitable for legislation from the congress. but i'm wondering, does the nfl during games use public service announcements, for example, to educate young people and their parents about the risks of head injuries and things that could be done on a practical basis to
avoid them in little league play and in high school, and so on? >> the answer to that question is i believe we have used public service time. we could probably use more on this. but i would tell you that the most important thing is we set the example on the nfl field. we saw this this past monday night when we had brian westbrook, a player go down in the game with a concussion. he was taken off the field and did not come back to the game, and it was done in a cautionary and conservative way. we will look at the idea of whether we can give more public service time. >> i millsed that play. did it involve a -- missed that play. did it involve a play that required a penalty or some other action on the part of the referees to indicate that this injury was sustained because of
inappropriate activity? >> it wasn't inappropriate activity. it was a knee that hit to the back of a player, which happens in our game and in our sports. >> i wonder if you would review the policy you have. i see many public service announcements that promote various things on the broadcasts of professional sports, and you could work with the broadcast companies to promote greater information, just promoting the very ideas that mr. hodge promoted. mr. smith, i wonder what you think about that, but also what involvement the players association has in getting that kind of information out to young people and their parents? do you favor having greater contractual requirements for the players to actually get out whether voluntarily or as a part of their contract, be more engaged in communities around the country to promote this
kind of safety? >> congressman, our players are doing that right now. i think to answer your question succinctly, there are four or five things we can actually do, and i'm proud to say we are doing. our players in the national football league i believe should be the model. i think that commissioner goodell is right. we have an obligation to set the standard. that standard is the standard that will be followed in college, it will be followed in high school, and it will be a role model for youth football. both of us are vitally involved in the u.s. football movement. we use that vehicle to not only encourage youngsters to play football, but to do it safely. third, our players are also a number of the individuals who end up being coaches not only in the national football league, but coaches on the college level, coaches on the high school level, and as merrill indicated earlier, coaches on the youth football
level. so having our players understand and embrace all of the information to make safe choices is yet another way in addition to p.s.a.'s that we can get the message out. lastly, we do a tremendous amount of work on the players association to get players appreciate -- to appreciate the best and the right helmets to wear. we believe that if we advise the players and give them all of the information, the most up to date information, urge them to wear those helmets, that is yet another way that we serve to set the right example and to get the information out to the people you mentioned >> thank you. it sounds like both of you are very committed to trying to reduce these injuries not only within the nfl, but in the sport of football at large, and i think getting that information down to particularly the parents and coaches at the high school level and college level is very, very important. i think you could both use more
resources than are devoted it it now to play a major role in that since you are the ultimate beneficiaries of that entire system that find and recruit the finest football players, gets them in the nfl and gives them the opportunity they have and that all americans have to enjoy professional football. wouldn't it be the best path forward for the nfl itself or private parties to come up with sluges? are either of you arguing that congress should be making that decision, and if so, why? >> we are not arguing that. we have pushed research and education. we have made changes to our game and equipment. we have made significant changes which i am happy to put into the record with respect to the management of concussions. i think we are doing a terrific job and a much better job, much improved job, of conservatively treating concussions and managing them when they occur,
so we don't have incidents like merrill hodge spoke about before. i think we are doing a job that is important because these are serious injuries, and we need to continue to make advances. >> congressman, we don't believe that legislation is the only answer. one thing that we all know just by all of us being brought here today is this great body not only can spark public debate and serve to inform to better the lives of everybody through legislation, but also by having these hearings. we have talked a lot today about a university of michigan study, but one of the things that will be entered into the record is the fact that over the last 10 years, there have been hundreds of studies on this issue that have talked about the links between on-field head trauma and the early onset of a number of mental illnesses. so while we are here perhaps because of the recent articles and the news that has come out
about a number of players, the reality is that over the last 10 years there has been study, after study, after study, after study. i do believe, to go back to your earlier point, how do we do a we are job? it is to understand and embrace these studies as being game changers and player safety, and getting that information out to all of the -- not only the kids who will play football from youth football going forward, but to the coaches and to the parents who gladly have their kids be involved in physical activity. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. before i recognize maxine waters, we are pleased to appreciate the presence of jim brown of the cleveland browns in the room. thank you for joining us, jim. >> thank you. >> the distinguished gentlelady
from california, maxine waters. >> thank you, mr. chairman and members. before i raise a few questions, i would like to submit forward full disclosure of my husband's affiliation with the national football league, having previously played for at least three teams, the cleveland brounls with the great jim brown, pittsburgh and the washington redskins. so i do have intimate knowledge based on my interaction with a number of players and owners about the nfl. georgia was a very close friend, and john shaw, who is president of the rams, and chip, the new owner, our friends. however, having said that, i remained extremely concerned about the polite -- plight of football players, particularly
some of the older ones who worked and played when times were even a lot more difficult for players. let me just ask mr. goodell. in an october of 2009 issue of q.g., we were told the story of mike webster, the legendary center for the steelers. at the height of his career, mike webster was publicly revered as an unstoppable tight and and formidable force in the league. yet shortly before his death in 2002 at the age of 50, he spent his latter years homeless, suffering from dementia, while in a contention legal battle with the very organization that made him a legend. they called it a battle against a multibillion-dollar industry that seemed to have used mike
webster, allowed him to be destroyed and then threw him away like a rotten piece of meat. i bring up his case because he had dementia which obviously associated with the years he played. why could he not get taken care of by the nfl? >> well, congresswoman, this was before my time as commissioner. i will say -- and i'm happy to say -- in our current state right now, he would be eligible to participate in our a.d.a. plan and would get the benefits of the a.d.a. plan regardless of whether that was caused by playing in the game. >> how many players do you have out there who are suffering now or have suffered from dementia or from our injures related to playing football that have not been taken care of because of the benefits packages of the past? for example, i think you changed it, but i don't know. those people who took early retirement were not eligible
for disability. did you change that? >> yes, we do. we opened a window to allow them to come in and get those benefits. we opened that window about a six-month period. >> we know that the nfl and the nfl players association are currently renegotiating their collective bargaining agreement. what are you doing in this bargaining that you are involved in now that will deal with the very issue that we are talking about related to brain injuries and dementia, alzheimer's alzheimer's and all the other things relate todd this kind of injury. what are you negotiating that will better recognize the injuries and how you are going to take care of them and their families? >> let me take the first start at it, and d. can contribute to it. i think both of us have identified that the plight of our retired players -- >> i can't hear you.
>> both of us have identified -- i believe there is on. both of us have identified in the collective bargaining process that this is a prior for the players and owners one of the reasons we conducted a survey that may have been one of the campus -- the enimp etus for this hearing. >> all like to take back my time. i appreciate where you're going. we have heard from the nfl time and time again. you are always studying and trying. you are hopeful. i want to know, what you are doing in the negotiations that are going on now to deal with this problem and other problems related to the injuries that
football players obtain, and its impact on their health later on? >> again, we are at the early stage of negotiations. i believe that we will be addressing these matters in a responsible fashion, and maybe we can come back before you to say that we have addressed this in a way that is responsible. >> mr. chairman, i appreciate the opportunity for the hearing. i know that my time is drawing to a close. let me say this to mr. goodell and everyone else here today. i think it's time for the congress of the united states to take a look at your antitrust exemption. york $8 billion organization has not taken seriously responsibility to the players. a fact of the matter is, if yes, people want to play. they are going to be injured and we know that no matter what kind
of helmet you build, no matter what kind of equipment that you have, it is a dangerous sport. people are going to be injured. the only question is, what you going to do -- are you going to pay the injured player and their family for the injuries that they have received and how can you be a multi-billion operation? se profits, but i think the responsibility of this congress is to take a look at that anti--trust exemption that you have. in my estimation, take it away. i yield back the balance of my time. >> i thank the gentlewoman for her modest suggestions. [laughter] the chair recognizes howard from north carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
what does the alumni association have to say to active pro, college and high school players about the importance of early and completely presenting to team physicians any sims that may have been called by concussions? players are probably reluctant to do it for fear of maybe losing a college scholarship or losing a lucrative pro contract. what do you say to that, mr. martin? >> thank you very much for the question, sir. first of all i would say that one of the major activities that alumni athletes have is going back in the community and giving back. we position ours as examples pro and con, good and bad, and we have a platform that we take very seriously. it is my job and will be my responsibility to make sure that that is enhanced particularly as we are
addressing these very serious issues. the problem and the challenge we have is disseminating this information among a wide grouping of constituents, and a lot of our members don't have this information. i think it is vital that they receive it. once we obtain that information, we have to be ambassadors to go back, as i said in my earlier point, to make sure there isn't a propensity of these things happening down the line. that is our charge. >> i'm glad to heavy you say that. in a recent "new york times" piece concerning concussions, a former quarterback is quoted to say they are legislating hitting out of the game. we have had the same sort of comments from retired players echoing the same sentiment during television coverage of games. this suggests, it seems to me, that some of the retired
players are concerned that the game is not tough enough any more as a result of the rules made to hopefully protect players. how do you respond to that, mr. smith? >> congressman, last weekend i met with the 40 pf person congress who represents retired players. they talk about the toughness of the game, but they also talk about the life-long injuries that they sustained, the loss of their ability to keep a train of thought. when you talk to the chair of the wives organization, they will tell you a story about players who are unable to move on mondays and tuesdays. when i watched brian daunte culpepper ins walk down the steps -- on a monday afternoon, and while i shook his hand and went to embrace him, he put up his hand and say hey.
well, i don't think there is anyone who plays football today who doesn't believe this is a very, very tough, tough game. no, we are not looking to legislate hitting out of the game. but in the same way this congress has stepped in historically, whether it was the increase increase almost 40 years ago, -- ncaa almost 40 years ago or other sports to ensure the safety of the players, this body works, where you ask us tough questions, where we put forth information. but i do believe that this congress, this body, does have a role in making sure that the people who play this game on the professional level all the way down to the peewee football level are doing so safely. >> thank you, mr. smith. >> thank you. >> doctor, as your second study proceeds, what other research would you like to see performed to help better understand why,
if at all, football head injuries cause long-term neurological impairments in the players affected? >> as best i understand it, the study underway should shed interesting light on the progression of head injury cases. i think it is actually of great importance to compare college athletes and professional athletes to those who did not participate to look at the risk of each of those levels independently. that will probably require a larger study than that. there have been some criticisms of that studies because it is being conducted directly under the auspiceses of the league. that could be remedied by an independent board. it would be a shame if that research ended up having no value because it was simply not
considered credible. i suspect it will have great value. that is the kind of study we need, long-term follow up of people. >> thank you, dr. we're. i see the red light has illuminated. i yield back. >> thank you, sir. the chair recognizes the distinguished gentle-woman from houston, texas, sheila jackson lee. >> thing thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for this brilliant hearing. i would like to acknowledge, roger, that both you and maurice make a good pair. you should look at yourselves as part of the 21st century nfl. i wanted to make mention of a meeting that i had this morning with nfl hall of famer jim brown. we talked about the value of the nfl, the value of the players particularly today. we talked about the raging violence among our communities
and young men. you have been with me, and we have addressed these questions. we have acknowledged the fact that the nfl is respected and admired. the young men that are a part of this great family that you have can be wonderful role models. and of course mr. brown is aware of the dire need of mentorship and manhood training. he was in the room today, and we talked about the idea that i shared with the attorney general recently that tracks mr. brown's program, but it is to build a partnership with the nfl and our government on this whole question of violence, and in particular young african-american men, young men, to create a new revolution in mentoring, to have nfl players out across america in these schools and addressing the questions of manhood, and how do you be in essence a manned-up man, but also a compassionate caring person
that does not take up the gun. all of our young people admire you, and i wanted to pay tribute for jim brown and thank him. i am going to ask a very quick question to mr. goodell. would you work with us to implement a program that i would like to start with the d.o.j. and others on this question of violence among our young people? >> congresswoman, yes, we would. as i said earlier in the testimony, we believe we set the standard on the nfl level, that our players do on and off the field. i have spoken to mr. brown about the work he is doing, and i encourage it. and i would welcome the opportunity. >> the full disclosure, and this separates from the questioning, this would be different from what you traditionally do. mr. smith, would we be able to work with you on this issue? >> absolutely. i am always happy to work with the attorney general and with you as we have done in the
past. we have challenged our players to not only be good players, but to be good men in our community. >> this would be not an existing program, but we are talking about a whole new approach. >> absolutely. >> so i look forward to that issue. that leads me to why i am here questioning today, because i want these young men to have completely vibrant lives into their middle ages and older ages. i thank jim brown for staying in the room, and we acknowledge you and thank you for sharing your great leadership. thank you so very much. my questioning is in his name but also in the name of earl campbell, my champion, my tyler rose, among the many others who have come out of the colleges in texas. let me say keep on coming. i do believe it is important, and my colleague made an important point. we do not do this in anger. we do not do this in the need to undermine a great organization. frankly, many will say you are america's pastime.
the great interest of who bought the st. louis rams was not about trying to deny capitalism. it was to have you have the right image, the right attitude. that is why some of us expressed our opposition to who might be buying the rams. these are my questions, to mr. goodell in particular. how does a former nfl player qualify for the league's pension plan and disability plan? it is my understanding that the football player does not qualify for the pension plan until they have play for four seasons? however the average span of an nfl career is 3.6 years. considering these physician, it appears that the substantial amount of players are not eligible for the benefits that the league does offer. does a disability benefits plan operate under the same way? do they have to play four years? >> it is three years. >> they have to play three years. >> they have to play three
years, and they only stay for 3.6. mr. smith, could you imagine there are injuries prior to three years? >> there are. there are people who do suffer those injuries. there are people who suffer significant injuries prior to their third year second game. >> so in actuality, this legislation as we look at it, and the idea of the anti-trust exemption, which many of us are looking to consider as a way of helping the nfl, are you suggesting that this kind of effort is very important to saving lives and saving future quality of lives? >> i think anything we can do to take a look at all of the information to make reasoned decisions based upon that information so that we can aid mauer players who play this game, any step in that direction is good. >> mr. kolb, -- could you tell
us again about the nfl players who couldn't film out the forms? give us that detail again, please? >> yes. i have surd a concussion. i actually had a brain sheer and could not access words for two years. that was one concussion. you can imagine players who have sustained players who have sustained repeated concussions. they are now in their 40's and 50's. you look at ream's of paper bourque. the print is so small, i have trouble with my glasses. they look at it, and they say gay, i don't remember what year, what game, what date. i don't remember that. and then they look at all of it, and they say is it worth it? what am i gooding to get? what am i going to get at the end of all of this? and they would much rather go home, take a pain pill and lay on the sofa.
it is downtowning, and there are no advocates to help them filth paperwork out. it is almost as though if you have the intelligence to jump through those if you had the intelligence to jump through those hoops, you are not disabled. >> let me say this, mr. chairman. we are the help in this room. we are not upon assures but we are the helpers. frankly, we need this extra hammer, which sounds punitive. i believe these young men and i believe the nfl -- it warrants the involvement of this congressional body, and rebuke, whether a question of the antitrust issue -- mr. goodell, we are friends but we must save lives. these young men have so much to give america that we must use that now.
i count that -- i count myself as a friend of this sport. i am from texas. but we want these young people to live a good quality of the light, come back from the nfl, and share their life stories. mr. chairman, you have been very kind. >> the chair recognizes the distinguished gentleman from california. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let's not fool ourselves, football is controlled violence. that is the nature of the game. you do not have to play in the nfl to hear it. i have knee surgeries and a new head and i did not play varsity at notre dame. the question is, is the violence controlled? teddy roosevelt saved football at the beginning of the last century. things such as the flying wedge were allowed, and players died.
the question is whether they were going to outlaw this game in the united states. teddy rose velts brought the leaders of the -- roosevelt brought the leaders of universities here and said get your act together. this hearing serves a very good purpose. i would like to concentrate on two things. one is education. the other is on-the-field enforcement. players have a responsibility to do the right thing. we had a quarterback for the redskins not long ago who head-butted a wall before a game and gave himself a concussion. we see players head-butting one another in celebration today. that is just nuts. there is peer pressure that needs to be utilized with information that the commissioner's office and the owners and the players association can give.
i mean it is not macho to be head-butting one another before the game, for goodness sakes. so education is extremely important based on scientific information, i have no doubt about that. but part of that, and this was in a briefing we had with the nfl earlier. a couple of days ago i asked do you have any control over your commentators? the answer was no. but do you educate your accomodate norse -- commentators so that they don't make stupid statements about the plays on the field that will encourage that kind of conduct, maybe not by the players in the nfl, but by the kids watching? so i would hope that education would be an important part of whatever you do. both the players, the commissioner's office and the owners. the other thing is on-the-field enforcement.
we have had changes in rules. i'm old enough to remember jack tatum. i'm old enough to remember the cover story of "sports illustrated" where he was called the assassin, and where he talked about trying to hit a player hard enough in the head that he hoped he would drool while he was playing there on the field. nobody spoke out against that in those days. that was the norm or the bar you wanted to achieve. i nova we have gone in a different direction sips then, but we need to go even further. tim tebow, probably the most famous college football player there is today, suffered a major concussion, and he was playing the next week. i don't think that met merrill hodge's standard of seven days. i wonder about the story. i know there are doctors involved. i attended a game at my alma
mater two weeks ago, and i saw a head hunter on the field that tore a helmet off a player, and he was left dazed. no penalty. the next week that team played in the l.a. coliseum. that symptom player did the same thing to a player from oregon or oregon state. no penalty. he tore his helmet off. he is the second guy hitting him, two weeks in a row. no penalty. what the pack 10 has just done is suspended the official for not calling a penalty. no penalty on the player. i realize that is college, not pro. but i would say, without talking about that particular instance, mr. martin, what message would that send to the team or to the players if two weeks in a row -- i will take it away from that circumstance. two weeks in a row a player did something which really went
after a defenseless player, and no call is made on that player two weeks in a row? what message does that deliver to the team and to the players? >> first of all, from my humble opinion, and thank you for the question, not only does it send the wrong mental to the player himself, but the institution and the coach. i know from a structured point of view in the nfl, those situations would not happen. but i think there has to be a point where the players themselves through education -- which i think is vitally important -- the player has to realize it is incumbent on him to conduct himself as a member of that organization. i am from the old school and from the yesterday spirl of the nfl. i have taken my responsibility of giving back to the community and my obligation to my teammates very seriously. i think that is one of the reasons why i now head this post. i would like to see more of
that conscience yussness in this. >> mr. goodell, i have to say this. when that play has been shown, the ones i refer to, the commentators almost always say and this person will be a first round draft choice of the nfl because he's the kind of guy they are looking for. i just want to tell you -- i know it is not your responsibility, but that message seeps down to kids, and kids see that, and these are their heroes. and if that message gets out that that is allowed on the playing field, frankly, you will have more assassins out there and more kids hurt. i don't think we can stand to allow that to occur. with the knowledge we have now gained from the medical community which we did not have before. so i hope -- i am taking in good faith what you have said, what mr. smith has said, what the doctors have said.
i truly hope you are taking this more seriously because the tragedy of the nfl players that have suffered dementia is a tragedy, or any player who has, but i'm thinking about the kids coming up. and i hope that you folks are genuine in what you are telling us here today. >> thank you. we have two judiciary suspension bills on the floor right now which requires that we declare a recess. we will have lunch, et cetera, and we will resume after a series of votes as early as we can. it will be about an hour or half an hour -- probably 45 minutes to an
the committee stands in recess. >> following the break, committee members return to hear more emperor -- more testimony from roger goodell and other witnesses on the long-term effect of head injuries suffered by nfl players. this part of the hearing is close to an hour. >> i had made some notes. this is a very informative hearing. i thought i saw dr. cantu. is he still with us? i take it that he has left.
maybe someone on the panel can answer this question. it's a medical question, i presume. the term cte, and in what i have read, the information -- the research done has come from a result of autopsies. is there a technology now that exists that allows for the diagnosis or determination of cte in a young male that is alive? i do not see anyone that knows the answer to the question. >> i am not qualified as -- everyone is looking at me.
i am not a neurosurgeon or general pathologist. dr. merril hoge -- dr. maroon could answer that better. my general position is no. it is not easy or simple to make a diagnosis of cte from an imaging study right now. certainly there are in march -- mri -- mri changes associated with dementia and related diseases. but specifically asked, my answer would be no. >> i understand that he is part of the second panel. i tell you what concerns me -- obviously the league itself is the standard in terms of where young people -- this hearing is
not just about the nfl. it goes beyond that. there was testimony earlier, i forget from whom, that there are 3 million participants in youth football today. presumably that excludes the universe of young people that are playing at college and even playing a high school level. what we have at risk here is not just players in the nfl, but thousands, hundreds of thousands of young males participating in football in this country. probably the most popular sport because of the popularity of the nfl. i guess my question, if there were to be a technology that could serve -- that was a
diagnostic tool that could diagnose cte and young people as they played this sport, this could serve as an early warning of a potential problem, and personnel who are coaches or athletic directors, they could see that this young man should not be participating in a sport where there is a potential for a concussion. and if that diagnostic tool does not exist, it might be incumbent on congress working with the administration to examine the feasibility of providing funding through nih or some other appropriate, relevant agency, to do some real serious work to develop that, so that we do not have young people out there playing when they should
not be playing. i think it's parents, they could feel much more comfortable because the stories that have been related to the committee by this panel are truly horrific. and as a parent, and your testimony, ms. kaul person -- culverhouse, your affection for your players, if you could see as part of your extended family, multiplied your fear by literally hundreds of thousands sets of parents, it really demands an answer about this issue. it is not just about the nfl. the nfl is here today because this committee has antitrust jurisdiction. but working together, it needs to be responded to.
that was my main question. and why don't i conclude with that in your back? >> this will be gone further into in the second panel. the distinguished gentleman from iowa. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the witnesses for your testimony today. one of the things that came out of it for me was being in the room with george martin and willie wood and jim brown. i did not think i would never actually see that. i appreciate that and i want to remind people here, just as i watched on saturday night on the iowa-michigan state game, there were two injuries resulting in players being taken off the field. they were held-to-helmet contact. as i listen to the members of the committee discuss this, and
you've covered a lot of territory, sheila jackson lee said that she is concerned that the owners need the right image. her opposition to who might be buying the st. louis rams and her reason for that is honors that might not have the right image. she was not any more specific for that. we know who she is talking about, rush limbaugh. i would ask commissioner goodell this question. your position on the owners having the right image and i would directed to your statement on the 13th of october 3 you say is the visit comments and they are not what the nfl is all about. i would like this -- not like to see those comments from responsible people in the nfl. i take you as a man of your word. but i would point out that you have a couple of owners that have performed lyrics in songs that are far more offensive. in fact i don't think anything that rush limbaugh said was offensive.
but they allege that the cia are terrorists and wires and promoting a sexual abuse of women and use the n-word, verbal pornography, etc., and they are the owners of the dolphins. it is ironic that they were approved as an honored on the day that you made your statement against rush limbaugh. i would point add to the committee that the statement that rush limbaugh seems to be the one that survives the criticism. "we had a little social concern in the nfl. the minute -- the nfl has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. they are interested in black quarterbacks doing well. i have scoured this to find something that could be applied as racism on the part of rush limbaugh. i cannot find it. there's an implication of racism on the part of the media. that is the only " that has survived as britain -- the
scrutiny. there were at least nine quotes and eight were complete his fabrications. they are complete fabrications and the one that remains stands true and shined the light against the media, not against rush limbaugh. if you're concerned about this, mr. dell -- mr. goodell, are you prepared to put the same charges against the other two owners, are you -- or are you prepared to apologize to rush limbaugh today? >> let me take this and a couple of different directions. my comments at the end of a meeting were directed about specific comments about donovan at nab. i will make the point and i make it again today that the nfl is about bringing people together,
about unity, and we do not move toward divisive actions. in fact, our teams have demonstrated that both on and off the field. nothing can bring that team are community together better than the nfl. >> are you considering those other eight quotes or just the one that i read to you? >> i am not signing any kind of light on rush limbaugh. i am not an expert on all of his quotes. i like to reinforce something i said at the time. he was not even under active consideration as an nfl owner. i have stated this several times before, that we have not started a process to review ownership groups. they had not even determined themselves -- the st. louis rams. >> you said that the comments that russia specifically about
donovan, i disagree with very strongly. >> i'd do, because he is an outstanding young man and an outstanding quarterback. >> i will close with this. here are his positions. after 20 years on the radio, there is nothing there what that would undermine that. "my belief in a colorblind society where every individual is treated as a precious human being without regard to his race." i will close with that, mr. gelb -- mr. goodell. go back and look at the language from the dolphins and the salt that they have recorded. review those lyrics and i will provide those songs to you and i will ask you a comeback and respond to that question after the hearing, it will put the scrutiny of those honors that have put a negative light on the nfl, rather than someone with whom the nfl does not seem to agree with his politics. and i yield back.
bubblers the chair now turns to the gentleman from new york, mr. wiener -- oh, wait. we will the firm -- are only member whose athletic prowess was recently displayed just a few days ago. i would now turn to mr. steve cohen, the gentleman from memphis, tennessee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank the gentleman from new york. the game monday night that was here in the d.c. area, are running back for the eagles was
injured. he had degraded ii concussion -- he had a grade iii concussion. the coach has reportedly said that he is counting on him to be back on the field. that doesn't sound like he is looking out for the most careful approach to his concussion. mr. goodell, d a think that the coaches comments were appropriate? it sounds like he is putting a burden on him to rise to the occasion and played just six days later? >> i have not seen that, but i know coach read. he has heard me repeatedly say that these are medical decisions. they must be made by medical professions. but resumption would be that he has gotten medical advice on how he has responded to the entry, and he continues to be under a a
very strict and very careful medical attention. the doctors had given an indication that he should be able to play. >> let me say this. dr. culverhouse made clear that the team's doctors -- they are counting on him. they have to get the 3 yards. it is first and goal, he is the guy. when his 60 years old, he might feel that it was not good for him to be there on third and goal. to play six days after a gr ade ii concussion? >> i offered to you that our doctors do not work for the coaches. in many cases, they did not actually work for the team. they work for other institutions, highly respected, well known medical institutions. they are doing this as part of
their representation of that institution or this is an addition to their other private practice. >> i am sure that they do. but someone signs a check in chooses among all those fine firms to they are going to pay. and just like caesar's wife can be beyond reproach, and to be sure that the players are being looked after, what did not be nice to have an independent panel in the circumstances where there is of player looking to play within 67 days of an injury? >> if the decision is made by medical professionals, i was supported. >> they might say that it was ok for mohammad ali to fight larry holmes. that was a serious mistake. he did it for the money. i just think you have to look after the players. dr. culverhouse is to be committed. i read about her last night on
the web site. she has a great love for the players. dr. culverhouse, do you think let player -- a player like that should be sent on? >> thank you. absolutely 100% not. no, there is no way. i have suffered a concussion. i have watched my players suffering concussions. i have talked to my players about the concussions. there is no way that the player should be back on the field within seven days of that kind of stage three hits. there is absolutely no way. >> you think there should be a system of doctors that the ama could work with? >> absolutely, that is why i mentioned earlier that if you have an independent neurologist -- and you only really need one per game. that would work for both teams
as an independent evaluator. but these players -- we grew up with marcus welby. we trusted our doctors, even when they said something we did not want to hear, we trusted dr. welby. these players go into the nfl and they trust their college doctor. they trust their team doctor. and then all of the sudden, their team doctor is shooting them up in the locker room before they go out to play. so that they can make the score, said that they can block. and then at halftime, they are putting cops around their arm to iv them for the full of loss. that is not best medical practice for iving a player. the player is not being looked after by dr. marcus welby. he is being looked after by eight coaches ally -- a coach's
ally whose goal is to get that player back on the field and make the score. >> mr. chairman, one last question. where are the other owners? did they have the same feelings that you have about these? >> not to my knowledge. i am a rebel with a cause. you have to understand also that mr. goodell works at the pleasure of the owners. so actually take this representing here every honor in the nfl. if he was not saying what they wanted him to say, he would be replaced. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> the chair is pleased to recognized lilly gohmert -- louie gohmert of texas.
>> mr. smith, congratulations on being the director of the nfl players. i know something about your background. i understood one of the benefits it was deemed to have someone with your prestige that does some lobbying -- it was the context that you had -- context that you have had with congress. is there something that you had in mind that you had and have that congress might do to help the nfl? >> the nfl players. >> you don't want to help the nfl, you just want to help the players? >> no. >> i would think you'd want to help the whole nfl. >> i think that you want to help both. i think that this hearing today is in this instance and historical lead -- historically
one of this great body's major roles, not only the light that comes from asking tough questions of people who are brought before this committee, but also serving in your role to bring it out to the public in general. i think when congress asks tough questions and we are asked to come forward and present information, i think that is a good thing for the national football -- national football league and i know it is a good thing for the players of the nfl. >> when i say nfl as an outsider, i think of the players, everybody, owners, managers, coaches -- all of that within the nfl. that is what is in my head one way say the nfl. so it is nice when you work better together than congress does. dr. culver house, i really appreciate your compassion for the players and all.
i am curious. you see congress needing to step in and start telling the owners and players in the nfl what they need to do? >> absolutely. you're the only body that can attend -- tell the nfl what to do. >> i see. what if we decide we do not want you as an owner anymore? that kind of thing? dollars fine with me. did someone honest, straightforward, and it cares about the players instead. >> what we find your in washington in it -- is that it depends on who is in office. currently we know from the insurance industry that when the white house or leaders in congress get upset with an industry and threaten them and say, we may yank your anti-trust exemption, that they are willing to retaliate and do something like that, so there is a message
there. some of us think it is important to make sure that everybody plays fair and that there is a level playing field and then make sure in the case of the nfl you have the players and the owners on up -- on a level playing field to work things out to benefit the entire nfl. but when congress steps end, it seems like invariably we do not make things better. we create more problems. .
so they would have somebody they could beat up on. that's my concern. and mr. goddell, that is my concern. so often when we come in and weigh into an issue, sometimes we muck it up even worse. >> i have more trust in you than that. >> well, you haven't been in congress, obviously. >> hope springs eternal in my world. >> it springs eternal in mine and that's why i'm still here. but i still think the role of government is not to be a player but to be a referee and make sure everybody is playing fairly. and that's the only time that we should step in. but if we get too involved in the intricacies of any industry, ask the car dealers, could
grief. -- good grief. i have just dealt with so many people that said if i had known what you were going to do with our need by the time it got to the floor and got voted on, i would never have asked congress to do anything. please keep that in mind when you ask for anything t. may come out as something you never dreamed. that makes things worse. i appreciate all your patience. i appreciate the pleasure that you brought to so many. we do want to make sure that people stay as healthy as possible in such a tough game. thank you very much. >> thank you judge gohmert. the chair recognizes linda sanchez of california. >> i believe mr. weiner is ahead of me in line. >> two interceptions, plenty of respect. what are you talking about? i'm very delighted to recognize
the starring player representing the congress, mr. weiner from new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to recognize someone who lived up to his storied family name, tom rooney from florida, who played a remarkable job at tight end. and from time to time did that thankless of all jobs, offensive line. did you a great job in the game as well. i want to thank you, mr. chairman, and ms. sanchez. i want to establish for the record, commissioner, who is dr. irv cassin? >> ira cassin? >> yes. >> he's a doctor that he serves on our mtbi committee as co-chair. >> isn't it fact the committee asked for his presence here today and he's an employee of yours, is that fair to say? you sign some element of his paycheck? >> he's not an employee of the nfl. >> does he represent you? >> he represents the mtbi
committee as co-chair. >> and have you -- we asked him to participate in this hearing. he was unavailable and we asked for your help in having him appear here. can you just clarify the record. did you ask him to be here and he said no? >> i did not get involved in that, no. >> if you could, while i'm asking my question, if members of your staff could find that out. i also -- i think the record should show that beyond any work of any member of of congress, even you, mr. chairman, you, ms. sanchez, alan schwarz of the times has been driving this issue with some of the reporting and we probably wouldn't even be here today if it were not for some of the stories he's written both at the college level and pro level about this problem. a recent expose that he published frankly went into the questions of credibility about the study the league is currently undertaking. and basically three points of
contention emerge from his reporting. in the first is the notion that any of the nfl supported and funded research would lack a basic level of independence. that some of the statements that have been made on behalf of the nfl put a cloud over whatever research might show. a second concern that was raised by experts not associated with this debate but associated with just research is the relative pause it -- paucity of subjects that are being studied for the purpose of trying to clear some of the dust around this issue and get down to the brass tacks which is what every every member of the committee has testified they would like to do. the third has been the role of this dr. cassin who has taken some rather high profile positions, pooh poohing some of the research that has been done and driving a fairly high line
saying, going as far as to say, or question and be a little dismissive of the notion that multiple concussions do lead to problems later on in life. wouldn't it be for the purpose of this conversation getting back on to a more even keel where it's not seen -- we had a member of the nfl staff refer to the research that had come -- that reinforced dementia links as phantom. bad use of language. everyone agree that shouldn't have been language that was used. let me give you the context of that quote give you a sense why i think this debate is not going in the right direction. i say phantom says joe brown, an nfl spokesman, we have not seen this analysis in our office. if it was done it obviously was written for the nfl player union in preparation for the congressional hearing, that's this one. putting aside lines have been drawn here. for the purpose of allowing the public to have confidence in the
end product and given that this has been characterized as a political issue between the players and the league, and given that there are experts who can give sound advice on this, wouldn't it be perhaps most wise to put the brakes on the study that's going on, i guess the 88 plan that has raised so many questions about its impartiality, whether or not the people supervising it have not formed opinions, and say let's try to err on the side of absolute impartiality by saying let's try to find someone separate and apart from this whole debate but someone who is good at this kind of stuff, that both sides, the debate at this table and all sides of the debate in public can take a look at that information and say we have confidence in. for those of us for whom this is -- this is a worker safety issue for a lot of us. putting aside whether or not we like your product, i do, this is
a worker safety thing. no different than if someone was coming off the assembly line at a production plant and 20 years later they all had arthritis in their right knee. we would look at it in the exact same way i would think. if you can give me the answer to that question about why it might not be better for your own purposes to say, let's take this out of the existing structure where so many questions have been raised and do something truly independent. stop this where it is, something truly independent, something that the league, congress, everyone agrees is independent and start from scratch to try to get this right. >> the answer to your question is we want you to have confidence in the studies. that's one of the reasons for the 15 years that we have been involved in this issue we have published every piece of data that we have ever done. we have published it publicly. we have given it to medical journals. it is peer review. i think that when you talk about dr. cassin and others, we don't
control those doctors. they are medical professionals. they are scientists. they do this for a living. they look at these issues independently. they draw conclusions from that. we have obviously debate -- >> are you confident of that today as we sit here that dr. cassin is an independent viewer of this given some of the statements he's made? do you believe that? >> independent of what? my views? >> no independent in the independent of this -- of a position here. it seems to me that he arrives at this debate with certain notions. look, the nfl has said research has not shown any connection to long-term problems in nfl players. obviously that's -- i mean today i doubt you would say that multiple concussions don't create long-term problems today. knowing what you do now. the question is the confidence in this report has been seriously undermined. you read mr. schwarz's reporting. he went around and called academics and physicians and they asked him a couple questions.
they said in these important areas already, today, before a single bit -- i shouldn't say that, at this early stage of the research, there are already so many questions why continue going down this path? why not try to address the structural problems and the research? we don't have the classic garbage in, garbage out, not to be too harsh or question anyone, just the appearance is clearly that this research is stacked and is lacking in credibility. and it's also clear that the parties involved have developed -- i think you would agree with this -- have developed a sense of loggerheads about this issue that i don't think serve most of the public. most members of public are not partisans for the players or for the union. we are basically want to get this policy right and try to make sure people are protected. wouldn't it be better to start, get a fresh start with a fresh report? >> well, we want congress, we want the medical community, we want everyone involved to have
confidence in the work that's being done. that's why we have medical professionals involved. that's why we put it up for peer review and why they choose that. if this committee believes there are ways we can improve that by making it more independent in some fashion, i would be happy to work with the committee to do that. we want you to have confidence in the work that we are doing. we have led the way. many people have taken our research and used it, including it was mentioned earlier this morning, the department of defense. we have met with them and shared our research. >> i appreciate your willingness to assess this as we go along. did you find out an answer to the question whether a member of your staff made any effort to secure dr. cassin for this committee? >> i'm just reading this to you as i get it. our office was not asked to help get dr. cassin to testify. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. i'm pleased to recognize judge ted poe of texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
thank all you-all for being here all day. and your testimony. as the chairman mentioned i'm from texas. when you talk about football, we believe we are the best, you know. i have two favorite college teams, university of texas and anybody that plays oklahoma. brother-in-law played for the new york giants for five years. everybody plays football. nts it's a wants to. my son started at 9 years of age and went all the way through college, played college ball, never miss add football game. football as all of you-all know is something that we do. and report and your testimony about this report is i think important for us to be aware of injuries that can occur.
but i'm really not clear as to what congress ought to be doing involved in professional football. if congress gets involved, it would seem to me it would be the end of football as we know it. we would all be playing touch football out there on these football fields, whether it's pros or college or high school or peewee league. people know when you play football there is a chance that you're going to get hurt. parents know that, players know that. and all of you-all know it better than anybody. my question really is, what do you want congress to do about the information that all of you-all have testified about and to report? what is it you want us to do? commissioner? i'll start with you on this end if you don't mind. >> congressman, as i stated in my opening remarks, we are not
waiting to see where the medical research goes. we are taking steps now to improve our game, prevent injuries, make sure when injuries do occur that they are treated properly, conservatively, and safely, and that we are caring for our athletes. we have to do a better job of that. we must continue to push this research. i think the exposure and issue that is raising this is a public issue, a public health issue and the debate that goes on within the medical community is healthy. because it does put on a spotlight to something that can affect millions of people. alzheimer's itself is projected to be affecting over 100 million people in the very foreseeable future on a global basis. this is a significant issue. we want to be part of the solution. we want to be able to share our
data, share our information, and continue to make progress in this area that will affect thousands of people that are not playing football. that are playing other sports or may not even be involved in sports. if our data can be helpful to that we would like to be part of that. >> i understand what you said. and the research has been carried and passed on to not only other sports but to the health professionals as well. the research that has been done. but that doesn't answer my question. what do you want congress to do? do you want more research? funds from congress to the private sector? >> with all due respect i was asked to come here. i'm not asking congress to do anything. >> that might be a first. let's just go on down the road. if we have time. mr. smith, thank you. >> yes, sir. i think two things. one, ensure -- i think should ensure or seek to ensure that
there is the disclosure of the aggregate medical data that's being collected on nfl players. i think that's one. number two, to take up your point earlier, i think it is congress' role to make sure that the business playing field, or the other playing fields that businesses engage in is fair, is equal. so when congress assures itself that it has done everything it can do in order to protects the safety of the people who play this game on the professional level, on the college level, on the youth level i think that is congress serving its role. >> thank you. >> i'm about out of time. i'll let anybody else weigh in on the last minute i have. anybody else want to weigh in on that? >> i'd like you to help me keep my grandson from being damaged. >> from what? >> how would you expect congress to do that?
>> i think congress is very creative. i think -- i believe in congress. i believe in the united states. don't get me started on that. but i believe you have power that others of us don't. that's why we elect you to this office. as a constituent with six grandchildren, i'm asking you to please help the youth of our day now and the future football players of tomorrow to stay safe. call it an osha deal, call it anything you want, but they go from being our youth in america to our employees. and we have, i believe, as americans, an obligation to make this a safer sport. >> i appreciate that. the last comment, mr. chairman, as i mentioned you're not the only person with grandchildren. i have 7 1/2 and four kids. i think it's parents' rome at
the very early age to take care of the safety of the children. i don't think the federal government has a role to intervene in that, but congress may have a role in making sure that there may be some funds for research and development. getting involved in the everyday operation of a -- an nfl football team, congress is not qualified to do that. maybe we should do -- stick to what we know best. with that, thank you, mr. chairman. i'll yield back the remaining portion of my time. >> we discuss things. debate. >> the chair is pleased now to recognize former subcommittee chair, linda sanchez of california. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. i want to start by making a comment first on some of the testimony before i move on to the questions that i had. and i want to start with
something that mr. goodell said. you were quick to mention some improvements the league has made in the last two years to try to minimize some of the red tape and hurdles for nfl retirees who are applying for disability benefits. and i just wanted to point out to the skeptics on this diaz that -- dais that the changes the league made were very much in keeping with some of the suggestions that came out of the subcommittee's hearing on this very issue in june of 2007 which is about two years ago. so for those of you that think that congress is ineffective, i think the congressional scrutiny might have had a little something to do with some of those positive changes. now, before i get to my questioning, i want to first show a brief clip that is courtesy of hbo's "real sports." >> ira cassin leads a team of doctors that has a study of several hundred active players. is there any evidence as far as
you're concerned that links multiple head injuries among pro football players with depression? >> no. >> with dementia? >> no. >> with early onset of alzheimer's? >> no. >> is there any evidence as of today that that links multiple head injuries with any long-term problem like that? >> in nfl players? >> no. >> mr. goodell, you are about to be hand add copy of a program flet i believe is currently distributed to nfl players. i would ask you to please read the highlighted portion of the pamphlet. if i may ask unanimous consent to also enter it into the record, mr. chairman. >> certainly, without objection. it will be. >> mr. goodell. 50 a yes. >> yes, please. where it starts if i had had more than one concussion.
>> yes. >> can you read that outloud, please. >> i'm sorry. current research with professional athletes -- >> pardon me. back up and read the question and then the answer. >> if i haven't had more than one concussion am i at increased risk for another injury? >> answer, currently research with professional athletes is not shown having one or more concussions is with permanent problems if each is managed properly. there is no magic number for how many concussions is too many. >> thank you. now, the questions that i have for you is, i'm a little concerned and i hear the concern expressed by some of the witnesses on the panel today, that the nfl sort of has this blanket denial or minimizing of the fact that there may be this link. it sort of reminds me of the tobacco companies pre--1990's when they kept saying no, there
is no link between smoking and damage to your health or ill-health effects. they were forced to admit that was incorrect through a spate of litigation in the 1990's. my question to you is, wouldn't the league be better off legally and wouldn't high school and college football players be be better off if instead of trying to minimize this issue, the league took the opposite perspective and said, look, even if there is a risk however minuscule there may be this link, we really need to jump on top of it and make kids and parents aware of this so that there isn't this sort of sense that the nfl is really just snow walking the issue, by saying we have been studying the issue for 15 years, we are going to study it another 15 more years when there is already non-nfl paid for research that suggests there is this very high correlation with cognitive impairment? don't you think the league would be better off legally and that
our youth might be a little bit better off in terms of knowledge if you guys just embraced that there is research that suggests this? and admitted to it? >> congresswoman, do i believe that we have embraced the research. the medical study of this issue. >> you are talking about one study. that's the nfl study. you are not talking about the independent studies that have been conducted by other researchers, am i correct in stating that? >> i'm not sure of your question. >> there are other studies, research in dementia and c.t.e. that show there is a link, but again the league seems to down play that and say we are conducting our own study when we have that completed then we'll know. >> i think what we are doing is because we have to a large extent driven this issue by making sure that we have medical professionals studying this issue. i am not a medical professional.
>> i understand that. i undertan that dr. ira cassin is, who unfortunately is not here to testify today, because there are a number of really great questions i would have loved to ask him. i would think that as the person who is spearheading the research and the one who is individually examining the players who will participate in this study it would have been really important for him to be here today. i hope that in the future, maybe you didn't get asked, to have him here today, but i think in the future it would be really appreciated by the congress if you could ask him to come so that we could put specific medical questions to him. without him here it's -- i'm not going to get medical answers out of you. that's very clear to me. i just want to briefly go through one of the big issues with respect to the research that's currently underway by the nfl. there are other professionals who have looked at the methodology and some of the concerns have been already raised. i just want to kind of go
through them again. one of the criticisms of the study is the statistical comparison is going to be between professional football players and people who played football in college. that's sort of like comparing two pack a day smokers with one pack a day smokers to see what the differences are instead of two pack a day smokers with the general population to see whether there is an increase the risk of the activity they are participating in to their health. that's been an issue that i think merits your going back and talking to the doctors who are conducting this study about trying to tweak in the study. the second thing that really troubles me is that the subjects be are sort of self-selected. you sent out phone calls and letters and ask people to participate. homeless people don't typically have addresses where you can send letters. and people with cognitive impairment, some of the effects of which are slurred speech, trouble focusing, memory loss, physical incapacity, they are
going to be unlikely to really respond to a phone call or to a letter or to physically many of the worse cases be able to travel to new york be to be examined by dr. cassin. you need to go back and rethink how are you selecting the participants in this so-called unbiased study. third, and this is probably the most troubling as was exhibited by the clip, it appears that dr. cassin, who is the only one again who is going to be examining these former players, has already made up a determination of what the conclusion of the study is going to be. my question is, why are you even going through the charade of presenting the final analysis of going through this study if the determination in my opinion has already been made by dr. cassin, and is denied in the pamphlet that they hand out to nfl players? >> first, let me say i do not -- i think you stated he's the only
one examining these patients in the findings. that is not correct. >> he is not controlling the examinations or the findings? >> i would not say he's controlling that at all, no. >> he's participating in it, though. >> i do not know if he's participating in the examinations. i can find that out. >> he's been a consultant to the nfl, is that correct? >> he's been on our committee for several years. >> some of the people who are participating in this study have other conflicts of interest. one of the committee members on the concussion committee owns the company that makes and markets used by most of the until teams, the neuropsychological test used in the study, isn't that true? >> i don't know the answer to that question. >> i'm concerned because there are several people that are part of this study that are nfl related either being paid by the nfl as consultants or actual employees of the payroll. >> congresswoman, i go back to something i stated early on in my opening remarks.
we had a medical conference in 2007. you are correct to your point the last hearing we had here was very helpful. i will submit for the record about 20 changes we made that are significant to our player benefits. i will submit that. so we do acknowledge that. we appreciate that. but i have also been commissioner for three years. i want to make sure that that's clear. you are also raising a very important point. i don't control the doctors' output. the doctors we have involved in this i do not judge whether they have a particular view going in or going out. this is a cleektive group that -- collective group that are tremendous professionals, that have studied this and other issues on a scientific basis, and this is part of medical debate. i think it's clear today there is a significant medical debate about the impact what the impact is, and what point.
as i say we are trying to move past the medical debate on one level, which is control, we can control and try to bring solutions. >> my suggestion would be, my time has expired, my suggestion would be that instead of having nfl connected consultants and doctors, that perhaps the true findings of a truly unbiased study would be better conducted by people who have not been on the payroll or retained by the nfl in any capacity. with that i will thank the chairman for his patience. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: thank you. very much. tom rooney of recent amateur football fame is now recognized. the gentleman from florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank representative weiner for recognizing the people on the line of scrimmage for allowing you to be heroic and getting the defensive game
ball. i'm going to recuse myself from asking questions specifically of the panel although i do want to thank you all for being here for your testimony today. i like the commissioner played college football at
washington and jefferson. and also on the other side of the table, although i see he's gone now, is roommates with merril hoge for a year or so. i certainly empathize with both sides of this debate. although like some of my colleagues i'm not really sure what our role in congress should be in getting involved with the national football league. football is a very violent game. and certainly as one who played it and suffered concussions myself i can say that those that choose to play football, those who involve themselves with the sport fully understand that. i will take the liberty, briefly, to say and to question the statement that was made earlier that pro football teams
don't care about their players beyond scoring touchdowns. i hope that's not true. i hope that that isn't what was meant. in fact i know that's not true. beyond this hearing, but at
least this hearing i will say, mr. chairman, raises the serious issues of safety and head injuries and that's a good thing. i'm confident that the nfl and players union will continue to work together to make sure that they are doing everything that they can to improve the league and improve player safety for years to come. i yield back. thank you, mr. chairman. the speaker pro tempore: thank you very much, mr. rooney. i thank the witnesses. commissioner goodell, in response to a question from the gentleman from new york, mr. weiner, you indicated that the committee never requested that dr. ira cassin testify. i understand that you would like
to clarify that response? >> i was handed a note to respond to the congressman. i just have been handed another note which i'll read to. tell them you will check further and get back to them in writing tomorrow. i have not been contacted. >> this record will be opened for a while afterward. >> i will check with the staff further. >> i want to thank this panel. this has been surprisingly well attended. the views are various. but the -- i think there are some things that we can come to an agreement on about the serious nature of these injuries and the fact that there is still more that can be done about them.
for that reason i'm in your debt. i'm sorry we took so long to complete this first panel. i thank you very much. and you are now excused or invited to stay and hear the second panel. thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> c-span will look at first lady michelle obama's preview of the dinner. guest arrivals, and the toast by president obama and the indian prime minister. our coverage of the dinner begins at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> on "washington journal" tomorrow morning a discussion on lobbying efforts used in the health care debate. our guest is sheila krumholz, executive director for the center for responsive politics.
later tom scully, former administrator for medicare and medicaid services talks about how scommare part d operates and how health care legislation may affect the program. and former arkansas senator david prior -- pryor stops by. "washington journal" takes your calls starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. >> thanksgiving day on c-span, at 10:00 eastern, bill clinton is on hand to present steven spielberg with this year's liberty medal from the national constitution center. also stanley greenburg and alex costalanos, part after panel assessing the obama presidency. and nick burst and lesley gell on terrorism and nuclear weapons. at 5:00, hip-hop artist and act lewda chris. thanksgiving day on c-span.
>> coming this thanksgiving on c-span, american icons, three nights of c-span original documentaries on the iconic homes of the three branches of the american government. beginning thursday night at 8:00 eastern, the supreme court, home to america's highest court, reveals the building in exquisite detail through the eyes of supreme court justices. then friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, the white house. inside america's most famous home. beyond the velvet ropes of public tours, our visit shows the grand public places as well as those rarely seen spaces. and saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, the capitol. the history, art, and architecture of one of america's most symbolic structures. american icons, three memorable nights. thursday, friday, and saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. and get your own copy of american icons, a three disk d.v.d. set, $24.95 plus shipping and handling. order online at c-span.org /store. >> tonight president obama holds
his first state dinner. first lady michelle obama gave a preview of tonight's festivities in honor of the indian prime minister. this is 35 minutes. >> good afternoon. hello, how is everyone? today is such a big day for this administration and i know it is a moment that all of you have been anxiously awaiting to be able to see what the event is going to look like this evening. and also to hear a little bit about the history of state dinners. one of the groups that i want to welcome, you guys are the first to really see this, is our meantees. so i want to welcome all of you to what are the place settings for tonight's event. as you know, this is very important to us that we open the
doors of the white house and make certain that our youth has every opportunity to experience what is going on here. so with no further ado the woman that really is making it happen i'd like to introduce you to the first lady, michelle obama. >> thank you. welcome, everyone. how are you-all doing? it's good to see you. well, as desiree mentioned this is a very exciting time here at the white house and we are just excited to welcome all of you. we've got a big day going on. this is our first official state visit of the obama administration. it's very exciting for us. and today the president is welcoming and working with the indian -- india's prime minister singh and this evening, tonight, the president and i are going to be hosting our first state dinner. we are hosting for the prime
minister and his wife who we met earlier today. so one of the things we thought, i don't know about all of you, is whether you wonder what are these state dinners all about? and these state visits, because when i was your age i didn't know what they were doing. so we thought it would be fun to take a little time to expose you to what's going to happen today and this evening. so that's why you are all here today and we are really excited to have you. the state visits and dinners are a really important part of our nation's diplomacy. throughout history they have given u.s. precedents and the american people the opportunity to make important milestones in foreign relations. so these dinners and events are really critical to what we do internationally. they help build stronger ties with nations as well as people around the world.
that's what president obama and prime minister singh are doing today. i know that all of us on our team here at the west wing, east wing we wish that we could include many, many more people in today's events and this evening's events because it's not often you get to do this. even with a big house like the white house there is only so many people that we can invite. so one of the ways that first ladies in the past have tried to include the broader public on what's going on is by holding these types of events where we invite the press to share some of the incredible behind the scenes work that goes on to planning and pulling off this amazing day. but today we are also doing something a little different by you-all here. as our meantees know, one of the things we talked about, the president and i have tried to do
is really open up this white house to our neighbors. here in washington, d.c., especially to local students and to children in our community. because what we know is that even though many of you guys live just a few minutes, maybe a little bit away from here, but you're close, these events probably seem like they are miles and miles away. like they are just untouchable. that's why we really try to think about ways to include kids in the community all throughout today's event. at the opening ceremonies today we invited about 50 students from local schools to attend the welcoming event. and that's why we are so happy to have you guys with us here today. for those of you who don't know these girls are part of our young women who participate in the white house leadership and mentoring program. we are really thrilled to have you guys here. because this is your white house. and we want you to be a part of
what we do here. how do we get this stuff done? the president and i are going to host this really neat dinner outside in the tent. but we describe it, it's sort of like a swan where we are kind of calm and serene above water, but we are paddling like mad going, craze -- going crazy underneath. there's a lot of work that goes into making this a we have a lot of people helping to put it together. and it takes everyone at the white house, the state department, and the military office who work so hard to put all of the events together today. the guest list, the invitations, the place settings you see here. you got to figure out who sits where. all that fun stuff. it takes all the folks in the kitchen. we have our incredible white house chef, chris, some of you guys met, and the rest of our
kitchen staff. tonight we are going to include a guest chef tonight. a gentleman by the name of marcus samuelsson. he's one of the finest chefs in the country who is going to cook the dinner. chris and our kitchen staff are working on a wonderful menu tonight that you'll be able to share in a little bit. it's going to showcase the best of american cooking. it's going to include the freshest ingredients from area farmers and purveyors. and because of all of the hard work of some other kids in the community, we've got this wonderful white house kitchen garden out in the south lawn and we are going to use some of the herbs from that garden in tonight's dinner as well. but there's also more to the dinner than just the food, even though that's going to be exciting. dinners like these also need great entertainment. so who do we have tonight? we've got someone you guys probably know a lot about, oscar winner jennifer hudson will sing
tonight. yeah. but we also have a.r. rahman, he's also an oscar winner and helped create some of the music for the film "slum dog millionaire" don't know if you guys got to see that movie. we are also going to have grammy nominated jazz vocalist curt elling. a chicago hometown guy. we are pleased to have him. we'll also have the national symphony orchestra under the direction of marvin hamlisch, one of the greatest composers in this contry. it will be an incredible night for a lot of our guests. in just a few minutes you are going to hear a little bit more about the whole process of state visits and dinners from white house historian bill allman. he's going to give you a little bit of the background how these things have worked in the past. you are also going to hear about the importance of protocol from tonya turner, who is protocol
officer from the state department. and protequol is critical. protocol, how you stand, how you sit, who walks where, all that is really important. tonya will share with us how all that works and how we think about it. but before i turn it over to them, i just want to take a few moments to share with everyone here also why today means so much to me personally. as you have seen from this year i have been on the other side of these visits and dinners. as a guest in many countries. since becoming first lady i have had the opportunity to visit eight countries with my husband, the president. and in each and every country during each and every visit i have been moved by the warmth and gracious hospitality that our host and the citizens of the countries that we visited have extended to the president and to me. it means a great deal when
you're visiting and your hosts make you feel like you're at home. like they are excited to see you. it means the world. each visit has also been unique and profound in its own way. it's not just the pomp and circumstances and the lights and cameras and the fancy dresses, but when we have gone to other countries, we have done some incredible things. we have seen the jewish quarter in prague. we visited the sistine chapel at the vatican. we have been to the coliseum in rome and the american cemetery on the beaches of normandy in france where the world comes to honor the brave soldiers who died there. these places are more than just monuments to history, truly. they compel us to see the world through a broader lens, not just from your own backyard or school or your neighborhood. but they teach us to look at the world broadly and to look at our
place in it in a different way. to respect and admire each other's cultures and traditions in a very different way. and to honor all the values and the interests that we all have in common across the world. you see this not in the pomp and circumstances but in the people that you meet. we have met tons of incredible people over the course of our trips. the children and the nuns who care for them at a beautiful orphannage i visited in russia. young girls, girls just like many of you that i got to spend some time with in london at the elizabeth garrett anderson school. it was an amazing day. the nurses in the maternal health clinic in ghana in africa that we got to see. see all these people, the
children, these caretakers, the girls, their teachers, these nurses and mothers that you have seen that we have met, what you learn is that they all want the same thing as you do, as we do. folks around the world, they want to live in peace. they want to pursue their dreams just like you guys do. and they have big huge dreams just like you do. and they hope for a brighter future for the next generation, just like we hope for you. doesn't matter where you're from. these dreams are the same. so what we figure out from these visits is that all across the world no matter what our religions or races are that we are all buildings that future together and building that future is not just the job of any one country alone. no one country can do it by themselves. it's the responsibility of all our countries all over the world to work together.
and that's why the president has worked so hard to begin what he's called a new era in our relation was the world and other countries. -- relations with the world and other countries. he's worked to strengthen diplomacy, he's worked to renew old alliances so we are talking differently with countries and people we haven't talked to before. he's building new partnerships, and these partnerships he hopes will be based on mutual trust and respect. but one of the things that the president has said is that this new era of engagement can't just be between governments. it's not just about the presidents and the prime ministers getting along. this new era of engagement also has to be between the people, the diplomats, the business leaders, the scientist, the health care workers, and, yes, the teachers and students. young people just like you are part of building that future.
and that engagement, the ability to exchange with one another as young people, as you are, is critical. and that's why the president when he goes to another country he makes it a point to visit and to speak with students all around the world. whether he was in europe or cairo or china he always reaches out to young people. and we need to expand that type of educational exchange so that students like all of you here have the opportunity to experience and learn from other cultures and to share your own culture, however unique and different, with other parts of the world. deepening these ties is one of the things that the president and the prime minister are working on today. one of the reasons for the trip to india and this state dinner is for these leaders to work together. whether it's along the lines of working on the economy or
climate change or global health, they know that young people like you, students, our future leaders, are among america's greatest ambassadors and india's greatest ambassadors as well. in fact, india sends more students to study in this country than any other country. this year alone more than 100,000 students from india came here to america to study somewhere. so by doing that they learn from us and we learn from them in a very fundamental way. and as a result of those interactions we are all the richer for it. and after today's visit, we'll hopefully span these exchanges even more. and who knows, maybe one of you-all sitting at this table, one of our little meantees will be living and studying somewhere in india, maybe new delhi or
mumbai. just imagine that. start thinking about your future in that way. this visit at this table is the beginning of that for all of you. because again governments alone can't build a future that we want for the world. that's the job of each and every one of us. that's one of the lessons for today. it's our job and that's one of the lessons of the relationship between the united states and india. back when the president was a senator, he kept a picture of mahatma gandy, the father of india -- gandhi, the father of india in his office. it was before he was a senator. he was always a big supporter and admirer of gandhi. because gandhi inspired so many people in india and around the world with his example of dignity and tolerance and peace and with a simple call gandhi
would say, to be the change we wish to see in the world, we are that change. we are that change. so again, today is a celebration of the great ties between the world's two largest democracies. that's the united states and that's india. but it's also an opportunity to deepen those ties and a reminder to be the change that each of us seeks. whether that's in your home or in your school or in your community or in your country. you are all the change that we need. so, i'll stop lecturing. and i will now turn it over to bill and to tonya who will talk a bit more about the history and protocol and then we get to test out some of the food. so again we are proud to see you. happy to see you. we are going to see you again in december because we are going to do some more fun stuff. i know we have three new
meantees here. can you guys, the new meantees, raise your hands. i see some new faces. welcome. it's good to have you. we are going to have a lot of fun. just ignore them. pretend they are not here. and i'll turn it over to bill. thank you guys so much. bill. >> good afternoon, everyone. today we understand a state dinner to be when the president entertains a counterpart leader from another nation. usually at a guolla evening at the white house. but such diplomatic travel was not so common prior to world war ii. and in the 19th century state dinners at the white house were actually three events that the president held for the diplomatic corps, for the cabinet, and for the supreme court. so there were three formal dinners throughout the 19th century because visitors from
abroad were extremely rare. those who came were usually members of the royal families of other countries. coming over to see what was going on in america. and that included the prince of wails, the hare to the british thrown in 1860 and the grand duke of russia. they were not always male visitors. in 1893 president and mrs. grover cleveland entertained the princess of spain. she had been sent over with the idea that relations with the united states and spain were not too good because we abdicated cuban independence from spain and spain didn't. so there was a state dinner held. anti-princess arrived. she was supposed to go upstairs to be received on the oval room on the second floor just as the prime minister of india will be this evening, but she got here a little late. she rushed straight to the east room. the clevelands had to rush down from upstairs. the band started the march. they all started processing and
apparently the confusion made an otherwise controversial dinner into one that was enjoyable and relaxed in the end. the first actual state visit to the white house was in 1874 under president and mrs. grant. it was king david, the king of the hawaiian islands. and state dinners were much smaller than they are today. in fact, probably everyone on the north side of this table, you're not actually in the dining room in 1874. because that whole north end of this room wasn't part of the state dining room. it was a staircase. it led to the private quarters. it was how the family went up and down to their bedrooms. so the dining room was much smaller. it ran east to west. it had a fireplace at each end. they put a long rectangular table, maybe sometimes like for the hawaiian dinner they put a branch at each end of the table and create a great i shape
table. but dinner was 40 or 50. that was the diggest dinner you had in the white house. for the grand duke of russia they had just a single table. 36 guests. they served soup, fish, roast beef, lam chops, a few -- lamb chops, a few vegetables, in the 19th century 20 and 30 courses were not uncommon for a state dinner. in 1902 president theodore roosevelt had a formal dinner for the brother of the keyser -- kaiser of germany. he wanted to have a very large party so he had it in the east room instead of here in the smaller dining room. the other end of the building. it was an all male dinner. no women were invited. now, the prince of germany thought himself better than all americans. and the ambassador from germany actually suggested that the prince would go into the dinner by himself first. at which point president theodore roosevelt replied, no
person living precedes the president of the united states in the white house. this is his home and here's where he's in charge. but later in 1902 president theodore roosevelt renovated the white house and he had the state dining room enlarged to what you see today. imagine it in 1902. the walls were dark wooden paneling and there were wild animal heads hanging all 7 hangling all around the walls. there was a moose above where i'm standing today. looked more like a german hunting wlodge. too bad the prince of germany had already gone home when teddy roosevelt got done renovating this room. but it could accommodate a u-shaped table or e-shaped table. you could have as many as 100 people for a formal event. probably the most famous pre-world war ii state visit was in 1939. the king and queen of england came to the united states. this was before the tradition of having them come and having an
official arrival ceremony on the lawn. when they arrived at union station on a train from canada, president and mrs. roosevelt went and greeted them at the train station. then they had a parade back to the white house. they said a half million people lined the streets of washington to see the king and queen of england on the first visit by the -- probably our most famous royal neighbors and relatives. there was a grand dinner at the white house. the first one held beneath this portrait of abraham lincoln which had just been given to the white house by the lincoln family in 1939. the animal heads were long gone. they were kicked out of the white house in the early 1920's. the king toasted to friendship between the united states and great britain. and a world of peace. two months later world war ii broke out in europe and peace was gone for a while. so were state visits to the united states. but that visit in 1939 was perhaps most famous for the fact that president and mrs.
roosevelt took the king and queen to their home at hyde park new york and had a picnic for them. nobody remembers what was served at the state dinner at the white house. everyone remembers that the king and queen were served hot dogs. in the early 1960's president and mrs. john f. kennedy changed some of the state dinner practices. the meal was reduced to four courses. circular tables were used to preplace the formal single table. men and women left dinner and enjoyed coffee together in the parlors. prior to that time the women were expected to enjoy coffee in one room and the men with coffee and probably cigars in another room altogether. for the state dinner for the president of the sudan in 1961 mrs. kennedy actually invited the teenage daughters of then vice president lyndon johnson because she thought they would enjoy the after dinner entertainment. the girls telephoned mrs. kennedy to be sure there wasn't a mistake because they were only
17 and 14 and they were sure they weren't really supposed to be invited to a state dinner at the white house. mrs. kennedy assured them that, no, she wanted them to be guests. but their mother, mrs. johnson, said you can't have the wine. then in 1964 president and mrs. johnson having become the new president had the first state dinner in the rose garden. and it was for the chancellor of west germany. and music that night was provided by the national symphony orchestra who is going to be part of tonight's entertainment as well. for some especially noteworthy visitors, dinners had been held in the east room, not just in 1902 but more recent times where you could accommodate guests up to about 230. 130 in this room, 230 in the east room, more on the grounds. .
the social secretary recruited of very nervous last-second replacement, that was me. early in his administration, and jimmy carter invited his 8-year- old daughter amy to come to a state bennett -- dinner. she spent the evening reading a book while the other guest were talking around a table. in 1976, to honor the bicentennial, there was a big dinner for queen elizabeth ii in the rose gone -- rose garden. that afternoon, most of the resident staff including myself rushed outside to try to hold the tent down during an
afternoon thunderstorm that might have taken off the whole thing. it might have disappeared in a big summer storm in washington. back in 1927, at a dinner that president and mrs. calvin coolidge gave for the president of cuba, podcast managed to break a seat and not unlike the one that you were sitting on today. when he stood up, the chair came up attached to his posterior. something's happened. all part of tradition and history and a granddaughter of state dinners and every other event that takes place at the white house. welcome, everybody, and i hope that you have a nice afternoon. [applause] >> good afternoon. it is an honor and privilege for me to be here today on the occasion of the official visit
prime minister singh. i thank president obama for inviting me to speak here today. i would like to recognize the chief of protocol of the united states. one of ambassador marshall's goal is to cultivate an environment for successful diplomacy. our work hopefully helps to achieve that goal of strengthening the united states relationship are around the globe and advancing the foreign- policy goals of the obama administration. protocol is historical and about common ways for nations to show each other respect. as a member of the protocol team for over 20 years, i can say without a doubt that state and official visits are always a highlight of my job. as a matter of fact, bill, and you mentioned the visit of president mandela. i as a young protocol officer
was the protocol officer for president mandela's state visit current -- during the clinton administration in 1994. i was completely blown away by mr. mandela and the ceremonial aspects of a state dinner. once the president invites a leader to the united states, our office and immediately begins working with the embassy, the white house, the united states secret service, the andrews air force base, the military district of washington on all aspects of the visit. our protocol officers work on the front lines of diplomacy every day. in fact, a protocol office are is with the prime minister and his delegation now and during the entire visit to ensure our guest cost visit is comfortable and everything runs smoothly. we will introduce detailed schedules to make sure that all of the motorcade movements and movement at different events run
efficiently and on time. we choreographed a visit like a date. all the movements have to smoke -- have to flow smoothly and distinctly along with correct timing to ensure that their experience in the united states is positive and productive. the office of protocol is heavily involved several key aspects of the planning and execution of an official visit. we like to involved -- we like to say that protocol brings a gas to the table. an official visit cannot occur without the guests attending. so when prime minister singh are right, the office of protocol was there to welcome him to the united states on the behalf of president and mrs. obama. protocol extends the first hand to a foreign leader on arrival
in the united states, and the last when he departs. a red carpet was in place. the official greeters included high ranking american and indian officials all along with the military band, which played the national anthems of both countries. also present were young students from the indian-american community, approximately 100, standing along the fence line at andrews air force base. after the playing of the anthems, it was so exciting, the prime minister and his wife would traditionally going to the vehicles and a part for their residence in washington. to our surprise, the prime minister looked over to the fence line, saw all of these young people and their national dress, and he and his wife walked over and greeted each and
every one of them from the beginning of the line until the very end. imagine the exuberance and excitement that these young people experienced at that moment. the white house arrival ceremony. president kennedy's administration brought the arrival ceremony to the south lawn of the white house from the grounds of the washington monument to provide a more welcoming and personal touch. the united states military plays a large and vital role in the full honors ceremony as they provide the music, the national anthems, the 19-gun salute, and the red carpet. as a courtesy, the united states and thumb is never played before the far national anthem on u.s. soil. also, all foreign guest always stands to the right of the president because it is traditionally the place of honor. my favorite part of the arrival
ceremony is the musical troupe and review by the old guard, part of the ceremony where it occurs outside. i would like to share a little information about the old guard. the origin dates back to the revolutionary war, when general george washington personally selected a group of continental soldiers to be his personal escort. these soldiers were hand-picked because of their high standard of discipline, conduct, military proficiency, and professionalism. today, the standards of excellence are the hallmark of the unit and make it the army's oldest active duty infantry regiment. the official luncheon -- the first official luncheon visit is taking place at the u.s. department of state in honor of the prime minister of india. this is a longstanding tradition.
in past years, i the vice president or the secretary of state has hosted. this year is co hosted by vice president joseph biden, his wife, dr. joe biden, and secretary of state hillary rodham clinton. this year we have approximately 220 guests. they are members of the president's cabinet, members of congress and other u.s. government officials, all along with top business leaders, academia, and journalists. it is an array of gas representing many different areas of interest -- of guests representing many different areas of interest. protocol is very important. what do i mean when i say protocol elements? the white house and other people helped to organize as a way to show respect to the people of india. the white house official our arrival ceremony and state
dinner are both examples. it is acknowledgement of our important friendship and a step toward strengthening our partnership. these are time-honored ceremonies based on the history and traditions of the united states, and showcase our hospitality while offering gratitude and our friendship. in conclusion, i would like to a say that when on -- i would like to think that when our efforts go unnoticed, we have done well. this is the behind-the-scenes work, and that makes this very proud to serve. thank you. [applause] >> i like to thank everybody for coming this afternoon. a special weapon to our young guess again. you will be the beneficiaries of a wonderful desert that we have planned this evening. enjoyed. thank you very much. [inaudible]
>> now will look at behind-the- scenes of what goes behind a an official state visit. down toward -- the downpour we have had in the last 24 hours things have been moved to the east room. mario french joins us on the phone from dallas. thanks for being with us. but now ask you first of all, this week is as much ceremony as it is policy. what goes into planning for this type of ceremony? >> there is a great deal of planning, as you might know. it begins very early. and exactly about the time that
the national security council and the president decided upon a visit. the chief of protocol calls a meeting at blair house and invites the white house manager, state department, the embassy from the country that will be visiting, national security council, secret service, a diplomatic security, almost anyone that would have a part in this visit. from there, a senior broker -- senior protocol visit officer is appointed to take the schedule from the white house and the state department on a minute by minute schedule for both the president and the prime minister from the time they touched down in the united states at andrews air force base until they depart. >> who determines that india will have the first state visit? and why india? >> bad decision is made by the president and his advisers -- of that decision is made by the
president and his advisers and security council. i'm sure it comes about because of our relationship with various countries and to we want to -- who we want to order for a state visit. everyone is very happy that this year is india. >> president bush -- host: president bush favored having a state dining room, which would see typically 140 or 150 guests. you are no stranger to the south lawn tense during the clinton administration and they are back now. total guests are around 400. what led to that decision? guest: i'm not sure what led to it, but usually it is that the first lady would like to be able to accommodate more people for the state dinner. india is a very large country. we have a lot of people in the united states from india. we would like to be able to cut
-- to showcase our country and the white house and what we do here for other countries. a tent is just like room when you actually go into it. it is very, very beautiful. you would probably not know that you are not inside the white house. it is not advertise that it is a tent. most administrations and enjoy doing this. more people can get to know each other, visit, and it does promote relationships between the two countries. host: the other closely watched by respect to this is the guest list we have a preview of some of the big jewels invited. -- of the some of the individuals indicted. we have mayor bloomberg, steven
spielberg, david geffen of dreamworks, the republican governor of louisiana. also, a pro winfrey is on the list, but bill clinton is not on the list. guest: i think that probably former closet -- president clinton is giving secretary of state hillary clinton the advantage of being able to portray her office and the things that she does without his presence. he is, at this point, a very famous individual and the emphasis tonight is on president and mrs. obama and the secretary of state, the vice president, and the prime minister and his delegation from india. host: your of the white house, the weather forecast showed rain continuing overnight. what led to the decision to move this event inside? guest: i'm sure the obvious is
why it has been moved inside. and my goodness, what an undertaking that is. the military district of washington who directs the ceremony with the military outside on lawn -- bolon always has a plan to -- outside on the golathe lawn i'm sure went intoa very fast kiron was working into the wee hours of the morning to make this change. they're doing beautifully and if it will work out fine. but it is such a gorgeous are one and so impressive -- ceremony and so impressive when it is done on the south lawn. it is a shame it had to be changed this morning. host: she served during the clinton administration as the chief of protocol. one question of planning is the
dinner menu because the prime minister is a vegetarian. guest: yes, the white house social office does plan a dinner menu. i wouldx++!s that maybe lamb ( served, and of course, fresh vegetables, knowingco that he ia vegetarian. the protocol office puts all of this together with the embassy with -- to get the likes, dislikes, food preferences for the prime minister and send all of that to the social office. it is worked on until it is protected by the embassy and they come up with a fabulous dinner menu. i am sure it will be quite acceptable to the prime minister. host: i will put you on the spot for does a moment, if i may. have you ever been in a situation during your years of
the white house where things did not go as scripted? and if so, what were the circumstances and how did you respond? guest: [laughter] occasionally we did have things that did not go esker did. what you do is you improvise. -- did not go as scripted. what you do is you improvise. i learned from very professional people there what you do when something does not go right. you do it with a smile and use dave barry colman - host: mary mel french, thank you for being with us. >> tonight president obama host his first state dinner for indian prime minister manmohan singh. we will look at the preview for
the dinner, and a toast by the president and prime minister. that is 9:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. on "washington journal" tomorrow morning, a discussion on lobbying efforts used in the health-care debate. our guest is the executive director for the center of it responsive politics. a former director for medicare and medicaid services talks about how it operates and how health care legislation may affect the program. and a former arkansas center -- senators stops by to drop -- talk about his new book. "washington journal" takes your phone calls and e-mails every morning at 7:00 a.m. hear on c- span. dollars face giving day on c- span at 10:00 a.m., bill clinton is on hand to present stevens the war with the liberty medal
from the national constitution center. also a panel assessing the obama presidency. and from the jfk library and museum, terrorism and nuclear weapons. at 5:00, a hip-hop artists on youth mentoring. howard dean and dick armey on capitalism. thanksgiving day on c-span. >> topics that today state department briefing include the political situation in honduras, the secretary's meeting with indian officials, and the u.s. refusal to sign the international line mine treaty. spokesman ian palin speaks with reporters for about half an hour. >> i'll wait for mr. burns to make his way up here. ok, well, let me give you a quick rundown on the secretaries of events. you know she attended the bilateral over at the white house this morning, and she is
co hosting a luncheon upstairs with vice president biden. in addition, in about 45 minutes, if she will sign a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation on energy security, energy efficiency, clean energy, and climate change. that is with the indian foreign minister. for this memorandum, both countries will work jointly to accelerate development and deployment of clean energy technologies and to strengthen cooperation on it? treason -- on adaptation to climate change, climate science, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forests and land use i. later on this afternoon, she will go over to the willard hotel to have a meeting with prime minister singh, where they
will discuss progress in our strategic dialogue with india, how the united states and india can work together to meet global challenges like terrorism and climate change and other matters of regional and bilateral interest. and with that, i will take your questions. >> do you have any response to the report in the nation regarding what it says was as a joint operation between the joint special operations command in pakistan's and xe services, nee blackwater? >> i do not. i have not seen this article. >> so you have no response to that? >> well, i do not know. i'd just not aware of this article. we will look at it and see if we can get a response for you. >> i have a question on the prime minister's visit. the president this morning again reaffirmed that the u.s. is fully committed to implementing the nuclear -- civil nuclear deal. but there's this question of the reprocessing agreement, and that
does not seem to have been mentioned explicitly during this visit, and is a significant holdup. and i was wondering if you could tell us where we are with the reprocessing deal, why the u.s. is not approved it yet, and what is the outlook for approval going forward? >> this is an important agreement and we do look forward to implementing it. i think that to address some of the specific questions you have, though, i think we may need to get back to you on what exactly is holding up the reprocessing part of it. we do support this deal. i think it benefits both of our countries. it helps -- india has committed itself to some of the safeguards
and standards that are implicit in this kind of civil nuclear agreement. and so we look for to implementing it, but let me see if it can -- if i can give you a more -- >> i could be wrong but i am told that this is a state department decision. any explication you can give on the process of where this approval comes from, that would be great. >> fair enough. ok, andy, we will do that. >> to you have any comment on the british launching an inquiry into the cooperation with the u.s. in the iraq war? >> we of obviously seen the report of the launch of it. we are very appreciative of all of the cooperation that the united kingdom extended to us in
there -- and they played a very important role in the south of iraq. we know that the transition is a difficult matter, but we have been working closely with united kingdom on this transition. this is an internal matter for the united kingdom, and obviously we would have to refer you to them on this inquiry. >> is there no diplomatic question about providing witnesses for the british? they wanted to have american participation. >> we would be happy to cooperate insofar as that can be helpful. yet they need information and if it is in our power to provide the kind of information, of course we're willing to cooperate. it is an important democratic process. yes. >> i was wondering the state
department's position on the upcoming elections in honduras. >> the state department's position on the upcoming election on honduras? well, that has not changed. we are providing technical assistance to help the hondurans ensure ithat this is a free, fair, and transparent election. it is going to take place in the number of days. we have an embassy on the ground, and the embassy is closely monitoring the lead up to the elections themselves, which take place on sunday. i think it is important to understand that these elections are being carried out by the independent supreme electoral tribunal. it is not being conducted by the de facto regime.
the supreme electoral tribunal was selected and installed in a transparent, democratic process before the coup. the candidates for the election -- i think there were six -- were nominated well before the coup. so this whole process has been in train for quite a while. i think one of the six candidates -- he was an independent -- has dropped out of the race. and we support this process. we think it is important of the people of honduras have the opportunity to express their votes in a free and transparent way. >> if i can follow up with that, the candidate that did drop out cited human rights abuses which were noted in the amnesty international report as well as
human rights watch. so under that climate which is still ongoing in honduras right now, you will support the outcome of the elections under that climate? >> we cannot say until november 29 how this will come out, so we cannot say we're going to support something -- support an outcome which has not happened yet. however we will say that while we had some concerns about a number of decrees restricting civil liberties and some restrictions on the median in place, they have since then been rescinded. and we particularly welcome the news that opposition television channel 36 is now able to broadcast free of interference. so we did have concerns, but
many of those concerns have been already addressed. dollars this is following up on this. >> and i wanted to say one last thing on this. >> go ahead. >> the oas and the union of south american nations has pulled out all their observers and condemned these elections because of a lot -- a lot of the things i mentioned, as well as four of the officials who will be part of that cabinet overseeing the elections are former affiliates of the micheletti government, which means he does have some people will be overseeing this election in that cabinet. so what kind of message do you think that is sending to south and central america that despite the fact that the oas and the union of south american nations refuse to and knowledge this election, the united states is supporting it? >> first of all, i would have to see exactly what the oas and this other organization has said about the elections. i am not aware that they have condemned the elections.
we see the running of these elections as a -- assuming that they are run in a fair and transparent way, we see them as an essential part of the solution of this crisis. now, again, it is important that these elections be seen as free, fair, and transparent, and are monitored by a credible international monitoring process. and this is exactly what we are supporting. but we cannot judge the outcome of something that has not happened yet. the process that we see in place is a process that we are supporting. having said that, we are watching this very closely to ensure that the elections are as free, transparent, and open as possible, and that includes this
-- the run-up to the elections, this period of time right now. i just made that we -- our position is that after the elections take place on november 29, we will make a judgment then. we will consult with the international observers who are in place. and after consulting with them and with our friends and allies in the region, we will make our determination. yes, indira. >> brazil this morning criticized the u.s. for not agreeing to delay the election, and specifically said that they were on "disk or pointed and frustrated with the united said -- that they were "disappointed and frustrated with the united states, they hope the u.s. would change its position, and that the u.s. stance on refusing to
delay the honduran elections would hinder regional ties." what is your response to that, the largest country in latin america taking a very strong leadership stand, and saying that the u.s. is alone on this basically with panama? >> i do not know that we're alone. >> i think it is just the u.s. and panama. >> and a columbia. dollars and a columbia, she is saying. >> will have to take a look at what the oas is said and what other organizations have said and what brazil has said. i do not have a specific response to a press report. but our position on the election has not changed. i just laid it out to you. we see it as one way for honduras to come up with a
solution to the crisis. this is one part of it. another part of it is, of course, the implementation of the rest of the san jose-to googly adopt -- the san jose- tegcigalpa accord, and that is the formation of the government of national unity. we're still urging both sides to establish that. but as i said before, we're not going to judge the outcome of elections that have not taken place yet. andy. >> change of subject to iran. the iranian foreign ministry today is saying that they may consider sending low are rich uranium overseas, but they would need what they're calling 100% guarantees from the west that they would get fuel in return. and this is being interpreted by some as a softening of their position on the possibility of sending the l.a. you overseas. i was just wondering have you
heard of this? does the u.s. have any position on giving them guarantees of fuel and response for uranium that they send overseas and what is the status of that situation now, as far as you understand it? >> well, our position is that there is a very good and very balanced proposal on the table. this proposal has been agreed to by the united states, by russia, by france, and has the backing of the international community through the international atomic energy agency. and i am not sure exactly what they mean by 100% guarantees, but this is a very good proposal on the table. and unfortunately iran has so
far refused to accept the proposal and has refused to engage with the p 5 + 1, because part of the agreement in principle from the october 1st meeting was that we would meet again to engage on the nuclear program. so we feel like this is a good proposal. it addresses the needs of iran. it addresses the humanitarian needs that they have, the responsibility that they have to their people. but it also addresses the responsibilities that they have to the international community. and that is helping raise the confidence of the international community in their intentions with their nuclear program.
we are still hoping that iran will choose to engage the international community and resolve some of these concerns -- very, very deep concerns -- of the international community about the nature of their program. >> a quick follow-up. any more word on scheduling for the next p 5 + 1 meeting on its own? i know there were talking after the last meeting that there was going to be one soon. >> they have agreed that they will have one. i think right now the next important event is thursday when the board of governors from the iaea will meet and discuss the assessment by the director general on iran's nuclear program and make their recommendations. so i think once that takes
place, i think the partners in the p 5 + 1 will consult on what the next of saar, including a possible next meeting. >> on north korea? does the united states government make any decision to go -- to read a list north korea as a terrorist country? dollars to put them back on the list as a terrorist country? >> yes. >> i am not aware of any decision to put them back on the list. >> congress requested the president for the reel list of the terrorist list. >> what did congress do? >> congress asked to the president final say on that. do you have anything on it? >> i am afraid i do not have anything on that. >> yesterday you said you might have something on the land mine treaty conference in -- >> yes, i do have something on a
land mine friday -- the land mine treaty. maybe i spoke too soon. boy, i did have something on the land mine treaty. and i do have something on the land mine treaty. it's under miscellaneous. >> that is a good place for it. >> 0 colombia's present to rebate invited president obama to attend the second review conference of the ottawa convention in cartagena. the u.s. hasn't accepted the invitation and will send an interagency delegation of humanitarian mine action experts from state, dod, u.s. aid, and the center for disease control and prevention to observe the conference which is next week, i understand. the u.s. is proud to be the world's single largest financial supporter of humanitarian mine action. since 1993, the u.s. provided more than $1.5 billion worldwide
dedicated to building new partnerships with more than 50 post-conflict countries and supporting efforts by dozens of ngos to support stability and set the stage for recovery and development through mine clearances and conventional weapons destruction programs 3 and we congratulate colombia for this important conference. >> what about the u.s. signing on to the land mine ban? >> this administration undertook a policy reviews and we decided that our land mine policy remains in effect. >> why? >> y? >> i think that we are one of only two nations and somalia is about to sign it. we're going to be the only nation in the whole world he doesn't believe in banning land mines. why is that? >> i am not sure about that, but
we made our policy review and we determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs, nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we sign this convention. >> was a made public? >> i don't know the answer to that, robert. it is possible. we did not make a statement on it. dollars what you planning to do at the conference? >> we are there as an observer. as a global provider of security, we have an interest in the discussions there. but we will be there an observer, obviously, because we have not sign the convention nor do we plan to sign the convention. >> so that is official? the review is finished and the u.s. will not sign the convention? >> the policy review resulted in a recommendation to maintain the policy towards land mines,
towards the convention. >> when was that decision made? >> i do not have that information, indira. i am not sure when it was done. fairly recently, i think. charlie. >> another topic, can we turn to afghanistan? amidst all the speculation that a decision or soon will be made an announcement is coming, can you share with us what preparations the department and the secretary of state are making to carry that forward? will the secretary be participating in congressional hearings, and how will she be reaching out to friends and allies? >> well, without reference to any kind of decision that the president will make and without making any kind of implication about when it will take place, of course, the secretary looks forward to implementing the
president's decision after that decision is made. we have an important component to the afghan strategy through our -- the civilian aspect through state and usaid development efforts, good governance efforts. and under that rubric, of course, comes support for the afghan government in building a more transparent and accountable government, helping them fight the problem of corruption. i think that you have probably seen that nato is conducting its own assessment of the international security assistance force, the nato-led
by south force in afghanistan -- isaf force in afghanistan. there is going to be a force generation conference in early december, i think, sometime after the president has made his announcement, and the secretary looks forward to consulting with our allies on the international role in the afghanistan strategy. >> what about in the domestic realm? will she be going to capitol hill? >> i think nothing is set yet, but that would be inappropriate role for her and for secretary gates, because an important part of this will be to brief congress on the rollout of the strategy in, the rollout of the president's decision. congress needs to -- >> can you confirm that she will
testify before congress next week? >> no, it is not confirm that she will testify before congress next week. you have heard what the president said that -- the announcement will come sometime after the is giving an early december. there will be hearings set up sometime after that per >> will ambassador i eikenberry be participating in any way? >> i cannot add any information on that, charlie. i would imagine that he will play a role in this. >> and can you say when you expect the president's account -- announcement to come? >> no, i cannot, charlie. i refer you to what the white house has said -- after thanksgiving, early december. >> just one more question on this. is there anything you can add to what the president said about his policy will be aimed at finishing the job? >> is aimed at finishing the job? i think we all want to make sure
the mission is done there, the message of destroying al qaeda and of giving the afghan government the wherewithal to provide for their own security and provide services to their own people and deny terrorists a safe haven. christophe. >> you say the secretary will consult with your allies after the president's announcement, so will she ask them to send more troops to afghanistan? >> i think that this is something for the countries themselves to work out. i think that the secretary general of nato has approached the allies, and i think that nato looks for to playing a role in how we go forward with afghanistan. but it is not accurate for us to say that we are going to make any demands on our allies. that is up for them to decide
how they want to contribute. >> she might try to convince them, for instance, without making demands. >> that implies that we would make these kind of demands and allies, that they would not make these kind of decisions on the run. i am not going to try and prejudge that. yes. >> i asked about another treaty yesterday, the convention on the rights of the child. that is the treaty that the u.s. is not ratified, the only country that has not ratified the treaty. do you have anything on that? >> i do, and then i think that this is that to be the last question because we have a camera spray a for spares. the u.s. is fully committed to the goal of promoting the well- being of children worldwide and protecting their rights. this resolution by the general assembly highlights working
issues of children's rights and interests, particularly their ability express their views in matters that affect them either directly or through a representative, and their ability to participate in decisions that impact their lives. the u.s. is committed to this principle. and many u.s. states have already put in place offices of child advocates ombudspersons. the child advocates provide an important vehicle through which children can make sure their voices are heard in crucial matters that affect them, such as child custody, foster care, and juvenile justice. it also underscores key protections for children against exploitation and promotes their health, which are core principles in which the united states believes both domestically and internationally. the u.s. is joining consensus on
this resolution, and we also join consensus on the similar resolution from 1995 to 2001. >> you're not joining the treaty? >> sorry? dollars you are not joining the treaty? have you made a decision whether you're going to ratify the treaty or not, or are you conducting a policy review? >> you may be asking about a different thing that i just gave you an answer to. >> i am not asking about a resolution. >> we have an answer to the resolution. the convention on the rights of the top? >> the international treaty. >> well i got long talking points on something totally different. ok, here is your answer. supporting this resolution is not an indication of intent to submit the convention on the
rights of the child for ratification to congress. any decision to pursue ratification of the convention will result from an interagency policy review that is looking at many human rights treaties to which we are not party, including the crc. we support the goals of the convention on the rights of the child and are committed to undertaking a thorough and thoughtful review of it. so there's your answer. we're conducting a policy review of it. ok? thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> on "washington journal" tomorrow morning, our guest is the executive director of the center for responsive politics. later, tom scully talks about how medicare part d operates and how health care legislation may affect the program. and former arkansas senator david pryor stops by to discuss
his new autobiography and washington politics. "washington journal" take your calls and e-mails starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c- span. in a few moments, a panel of political strategists from both parties on how their deal with partisanship. at 9:00 eastern, live coverage of president obama's per state dinner hosting indian prime minister manmohan singh, including gas to rivals in the toast. after the dinner, you will see this morning's our arrival ceremony and a joint news conference with the president and prime minister. >> is given day on c-span. bill clinton is on hand to
presents even spielberg with this year's liberty medal from the constitution center. also, all panel assessing the obama presidency. from the jfk library and museum, nick burns on terrorism and nuclear weapons. at 5:00, a hip-hop artist and actor on youth mentoring. and later, howard dean and dick armey on the economy and capitalism. as giving day on c-span. >> now, a forum on how to reduce political partisanship. this panel of republican and democratic strategists met recently at tulane university in new orleans for little more than an hour.
>> we are proud to honor and host this summit today. we have had a number of the colorful politicians here. i can add a lot more to the list. in fact, politics is one of our favorite pastimes in this great state. we talk about i can -- we talk about it continuously and usually from partisan viewpoints. another reason why am particularly happy that we are having a bipartisan policy center here today. in new orleans, there are many hot political topics and sometimes there are so many that sometimes it is hard to fit into any one subject. whether it is paris, state, our national politics, we will have
opinions in be more than happy to share the money issue. today our program is called a what is fair and politics." and that is a good question. it will get different answers from centers vitter and lan true, for example. -- from senators vitter and landieu, for example. i'm sure that you will leave with different thoughts from six individuals speaking about this. i had the privilege at lunch to join our 16 consultants in an off the record, informal conversation about various topics. and since it was off the record, i cannot talk about the substance at all. but i will tell you this, it was civil, it was thoughtful, and it was encouraging. and i for one learned a great deal about a lot of issues and
found a lot more common ground than i ever thought was possible between people representing two different parties. the first person i recognized today as walter isaacson. he is a great american, all wonderful historian, a trusty of tulane university, and quite honestly, he is my press agent. walter, a delight to have you back here on campus. and next i want to call out mary matalin and james carville. we are also proud to have them as new orleanians now. the moving here after hurricane katrina was important for all of us, but they have proven to be outstanding citizens and representatives of our particular city and our state.
they are also very responsible, the both of them, for the summit being here telling university. and i want you to know that i am extremely proud of james as a professor of political science at tulane university. he has done a marvelous job, the students love him, and yes, he is bipartisan when he teaches his class. there were two conditions of employment. one was by partisanship and the are there was rhetoric about lsu on the tree-lined campus. and he has abided by both of those since he has been here. i am not been as successful with mary, getting her to be a professor here, but we will not give up until we get her to teach a course. please welcome to the podium marion james. -- married and james.
-- mary and james. >> our role is only to welcome our friends. we're not on any panel. we have our friends, we're taking the poison out a partnership. we, the cave and john gazan -- kate and jon gosselin of politics, are going to take the poison out. but i do want to support our friends in new orleans. how incredible this panel and all the consultants are. james and i both work with all of them for the last how many years and for the past -- for
decades, charlie -- these are the leaders and politics. there is no race and nothing you have not seen it all of our adult lifetimes that these people have not been involved. for them to come and participate at this time, we are very grateful for. we want you to have a great time in this wonderful place. and to our friends from washington, you will meet them here and at our home, some of the best activists in the country. i don't even know what their politics are. i do know that in addition to -- you already heard about the roles in merging the two federal and local assets -- we would not be here it was not for scott and everybody. and walter.
it is walter up on the other end of pennsylvania knocking on everybody's door, calling everyone in the metal door -- in the middle of the night, doing what he can to get done for the city. it is a great merging. we will learn something from the washington side to get stuff done on the ground without killing each other. coastal restoration, [unintelligible] i think you will hear it tonight about construct -- restoration. but thank you so much for coming, and thank you for providing this forum. one man's poison is another man's kool-aid, honey. [laughter] >> justice stewart once said
that it could not define pornography, but he knew it when he sought. i will not try to find talent, but you are looking at it. what i like everyone to do is read the biography of the people here in this program. understand that the people on the stage are the people you're going to see throughout this afternoon to mark, people that have enormous influence in this country, not that they work for politicians or companies or interest groups, many of them are in the press. i just want to emphasize how much we in new orleans are delighted that you came down here, each and everyone of you. and to every bill is cnn, we have to do our best the put our best football are. -- into every louisianan, we have to do our best to put our best