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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  November 27, 2009 2:00am-6:00am EST

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to a boondoggle in gettysburg. partisanship is not in my blood. on the question on whether the elevator's going up or down, if you look at bill clinton, that elevator went up and down many times. i think that this is a metaphor. we have not had president obama with the kinds of swings in the approval that bill clinton did. . . .
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>> you have to look at both of the obamas. you have to look at the polling. i do an opinion poll with a democrat, what how we describe barack obama with these numbers. we did the 14 attributes, and he's put these between the personal ratings, and things --
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these are things that have to do with his job. he averaged a 61% rating. although those ratings have slipped, he had really declined in the job rating. this is a country that, given the problems, they wanted the president to be successful. i think these are exacerbated by the economic tension. we are thinking, one year from now, if the economy is not better, who do you blame? bush and the republicans or obama and the democrats. i like the idea, if this is not
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better, who do you blame? 24 points more said that this was tied. they said, these are your ideas. i think that we will be turning into -- we will have a very good 2010, but just like 1982 and 1994, this does not mean very much for 2012. my other quick note is there is a chance that he will have a jimmy carter presidency, and there is a one in four chance that he will have a transformational presidency. we have had the republican governors who have done very difficult feelings, and they had very lousy numbers.
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people look up and they said, we did a lot of great things, and he changed this state. the numbers go up very sharply. there is a drop to come, but we could be looking at jimmy carter. this is a president with very wrong-track policy. >> did you want to talk about this? >> it is nice to be with people who can see beyond the moment, and look forward to the trajectory and where this may be going. i think that right now, the president, this is very consistent. what he is benefiting from is a feeling that he is in a difficult set of circumstances. he took over at a difficult time. he has done a commendable job,
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calling this like he sees this. he thinks hard about things and he tries to do the right thing. he has a lot of fast balls that are coming his way, including the strikes. at the moment, this is sufficient. there will be a moment where people begin to change the criteria, and they will say, what is all of this yielding? at this moment, the voters are patient because they are looking across the landscape, and they do not see many alternatives. they are not ready to cast their lot with the leadership of congress, or some alternative leader of that is out there. this is who they have and they are relatively satisfied.
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he thinks that he is on top of things, and he is genuine and sincere and very smart. there is a personal style their and i think that at the moment when people say, enough of that, i demand results. that is the sole criteria. they will be able to turn around at that moment. that is what is on the horizon. >> thank you. i think the elevator is going down. but they do go up, eventually. this is going down because obama is doing so many things that you cannot see the story of any of them in particular. you see the common denominator,
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which is spending and debt. this has scared the independent voters. and this has regretted the democratic party as the party of economic responsibility. they have been moving away from that. they will lose a lot of seats in 2010. this will be a big break pedal, with the car on the edge of clip -- the edge of the cliff that is going very fast. the only way that you have any power for that -- the good news for obama is that he will be defeated in 2010 when he is not on the ballot. two years after that, we can say, we will move.
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deficit reduction. his numbers are better. nobody is wanting to reject them. he is going to get his second wind. all that he is giving republicans is an opportunity. >> you represent the candidates at the front line. can you think of any conditions that may threaten the democrats on the frontier of the majority? >> a couple of things to put in perspective. the republican branting is that they knew-time low. interestingly enough, this is where obama was at this time, but the foreclosure rate is
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almost double. the consumer index is worse. things are relative. the reason i think the elevator is going up, he is breaking the rules. he does not wait for the elevator. the voters are rewarding the presidents who do very bold things. ronald reagan and bill clinton. they will give him his reward. those who are a little bit complacent -- they thought they were not getting anything done. jimmy carter, george bush. they were given a penalty. but this is all about the competition. only 20% of americans are republicans. when you ask a question about who they trust, the number of obama to republicans is not two- 1.
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if you ask, do you think obama is trying to work with republicans, 60% say yes. if you ask if republicans are working with obama. this is 60% of people saying, no. the generic ballot, and the simple question, are you likely to vote democratic or republican, this is positive for democrats. literally, this is the high- single digits. people talking about the huge wave in 2010 is hopeful thinking. >> i want to talk about the conflict.
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>> this is being lost in the obama presidency. what is your take about where he is, in terms of the policy? >> president is getting a great deal of latitude from the american voters. i do not think anyone else would receive this for historical reasons. i am a big supporter of john mccain, even though i liked obama. i was off of him after the election. i am on the right side, but i want for him to succeed. i am not hating obama. i think about john mccain if he was president, or help with clinton. if you walk this through, they would not have have the latitude, and he has dealt with major problems that would have been difficult for anybody.
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we have such a short memory. i remember during the economic collapse, i was thinking, where it might buy guns and get a bomb shelter. it was very dark. because of a lot of things that george bush did, and the tough decisions of obama, the stock market is up by a few hundred points. we are a functioning society. 10 months ago, this was a little bit questionable. he will get the benefit of the doubt for now, but not much longer. he will have to man up to own what he has, because people want that from their leadership. the other thing i will say is that the fun thing about politics is the conventional wisdom is so often wrong.
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this game is so unpredictable and vacillating -- fascinating. i remember in 1992, when george bush had approval ratings of 90, after the gulf war. that is when the democratic party -- they did not run because george bush was not running because he was so popular. this opened the door for bill clinton. i remind people how rapidly the landscape can change. >> one aspect that has unfolded, perhaps not the way that he wanted, is the level of conflict. he was introduced in 2004, in a speech that would transcend the boundaries of the color red and the color blue, and racial boundaries. the health-care bill this weekend, one republican was voting for this, and no house
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republicans voted for this. the latest average in the gallup poll has a 68-point gap between his approval among democrats and republicans. this is a very polarized debate in washington. why is this not changing more? is this obama, or the republicans? is this the forces that are bigger than both of them. you are someone who has worked on both sides of this. why has the chasm not narrowed more than has? >> this is an extension of what happened earlier. there are so many mechanisms in place right now, redistricting and cable television. everything is driving the political debate to the extreme. and there is no reward for being
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in the middle. all of the reward is being very loud, the most partisan. we have to find a way with this system, in terms of bipartisanship. we have to find a way for a penalty for the political class for behavior that is unacceptable, or politics that are not acceptable. the only way that this is done by voting. we have to translate into voting behavior. >> let me talk about the partisan analysis. i challenge my republican friends. i think that they share this but i do not know if we can have this kind of discussion. what is driving this is the politics of the republican party, more than anything. 60% of democrats are self- described moderates and conservatives.
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40% of democrats are liberals. the predominance of the democratic party are people who are trying to run. if you look at the voting records of members of congress, the democratic members have trended towards mainstream opinions. this is polarizing on the republican side. there was a study from a few weeks ago, about the self- identified republicans, who were voting straight republican. they are conservative republicans. they are twice the number of moderate republicans. basie the president as a threat to the country and part of what is driving this is that kind of process. if you look at the specifics, look at civil society. i was looking at the response of the health care bill.
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they had supported a provision, and there was a sentence that said, there were taking no position. the health care plan is supported by wal-mart, not the chamber of commerce. the american medical association. civil society is not a bipartisan. politics would be separated from this society. capt. trade is market-oriented. the center-left parties that are everywhere. utilities and many businesses. the health care bill is an individual mandate, that is a republican idea. the republicans have been there for those ideas. as the republicans become more
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hamas -- homogeneous, the internal process has made it more difficult to have a bipartisan policy. even as the policy becomes more moderate. >> there is a dark part of the republican party. however, this nation, unlike others, if you do not tell people what to do, you live your own life. that is something that many republicans feel very passionately about. yes, that is something that republicans are passionate about. but we have just seen candidates who believe that that went independent. there is a great amount of
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concerns that people at the top are taking all of their money and their resources. and they have policies to run their lives, when they would rather do their own thing. they would have money to invest. there are things that are worth fighting for. you should not be required to reject the base. the problem with obama is that he got to lucky. he was the winner in the house and the senate. to keep his party together, he does not want to play to republicans. he has to keep his party together and he is moving to the left. i think that by partisanship, this is out of reach because
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there is nothing worse in politics than success. >> you have done a lot, particularly in the health-care field. it is remarkable to see the american medical association supporting health care reform. the pharmaceuticals are not supporting this, and also -- on the energy side, they are supporting tappan trade as well. this has not translated into any support. i was actually talking to the former congressman from around here. two-thirds of the money that big pharmaceuticals have given has gone to republicans, but they could not get a single republican to support health care.
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are those in the business community who will support where obama is going, and there is -- there are these conditions -- >> they have 60 votes in the senate, and margins in the house. let's talk about the pollsters. i think -- this is what is important. if you ask if the stimulus was a good idea or a bad idea, there were lots of republican ideas that were very good policy. we spend the money quicker, and these were ignored. they bought general motors and chrysler. what happened is, a lot of people said, another trillion dollars and four of lot of americans, they woke up and they said, the american government is owning general motors and
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chrysler? what has ruptured? there is concern that there is way too much big spending. this is not the fault of the president. they have combined billions of dollars from the big banks, and there is just huge, massive spending, and that is the stimulus package. we have 14% of the economy, that is the percentage of the debt this year, to the overall gdp. in 10 years, this will be 70% of the economy that will be -- this will be the gdp. it is rational to say, that is out of control. i think that this is huge. so much has happened. the fact that we bought those companies is a big deal. many people said, we are
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spending way too much money and using too much government. what happens in the election? the republican party has a lot of trouble. the mid-year election, this is too far. what has happened to health care is that the 80-vote margin in the house and the senate. there will be a bill, and we are better off negotiating in good faith, and trying to get a different solution because there will be a bill. what will happen is that there is still this possibility that the american medical association is there because they thought they would get a permanent fix for the 10-year deal. this has not been fixed just yet. if it not fix this before the final vote, i do not know that they will be there. they will have 96% coverage. if a lot of stuff happens and they get 92%, they will not be
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able to afford this. >> why did this not translate into any republican support? >> we are down to 170 votes. we have lost 54 seats. we may lose a seat in new orleans. candidly, 177 seats. there is not a lot that you can lose. are we going to lose every seat? we will lose three or four. we have lost everything. there is a certain freedom of not having anything left. >> listen, does anybody know anything about the republican health care bill? there is a deafening silence. the reality is that if i was a republican i would be concerned because they are becoming the party of no ideas.
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newt gingrich always had ideas. he was always thoughtful. the reality is that the republicans say it is better to kill this that it is to come up with by partisanship. i will reiterate those numbers add 63% believe that obama has been trying to work with republicans. 60% to not think that he has tried to work with obama. you have to come to the table with ideas. at the end of the day, people are prophesies in a big loss from the democrats, not understanding that we have big victories on health care and cabin trade. kneecap and trade. -- cap and trade.
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we will be rewarded for that. i am looking forward to the campaign when i can say that the ama and the aarp and wal-mart, the catholic bishops. and then on an island on the republicans with the insurance industry. >> this may not be the campaign that you run. the deals that were put in place, to have what you are describing, my very far away away. the other thing that i am is saying is that in the short term, in 2010, that is how this is looking. my former wife said that my worst habit was quoting myself from television appearances. but she is gone.
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let me quote myself. the health care bill has both parties believing that this will be to their political benefit. >> you may be right in the long term, i believe that the political success may be a liability. it will be so knew going into that time. >> i will go back to that. you have a lot of friends in the white house, and you have their analysis about why you see the level of polarization in congress and the public opinion polling. it is so difficult to get republican votes and maintain any kind of approval rating among the republican partisans. >> they will not be in favor of new spending. they do not believe in that. >> >> give me your assessment. >> i think in a fundamental
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level, what has been said about the belief of republicans -- >> there are differences in ideas. but one senator says that this is republicans not wanting him to win anything. how do you change this? you are not going to change this. but you can do some things to try your best to create an atmosphere of bipartisanship. there was -- speculation that there was a partisan strategy in congress behind how health care was going to be passed. this is not farther from the truth. the early discussions is that this is unthinkable that this would go through with democratic votes. how do you make the compromise that will bring everybody in?
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this continues to be a process of trying to have every player at the table and not completing -- not continuing the clinton mistake. the congressional level -- the finance committee, to his credit -- they were nearly obsessed with trying to gain republicans, people like chuck grassley. you basically have to do your best to find a way to meet in the middle. you have to find a way to find a meeting of the mines. at the end of the day, you have to have two to tango. if this is simply an exercise in how to make political points -- it was more important to cover people and bring them health care. >> let me ask you about some
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structural questions beyond the individual motivations of obama. the reality is that when a president has an approval rating of 15% among the partisans, it is not easy to ask someone to cross the party lines on a major issue. we saw this on george w. bush, when they thought they would bring the red-state democrats. bush was so unpopular among the democrats, you had to think twice. obama is at 14% among republicans. if you work with him, there will be a lot of grief. what is the chicken or the egg? the approval rating among the other party is declining faster. does it make it impossible to get support from members of the other political party, or visit the lack of support that will drive down the approval rating?
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which way does this go? >> again, i would say -- this is very interesting and very well- written, about the republican base. i was wanting to say to him, let's look at the democratic primary voters. they are not the heartbeat of america. political parties -- they have certain beliefs. they are allowed to have beliefs. we have a large chunk of middle america -- they are not the same. the people who serve in the house and senate have ideology. we have resolution among these differences. but with 40 votes in the senate, 177 in the house, those people who have survived are not -- they are the people who
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feel most strongly about the size of government and we are not going to vote for these bills. olympia snowe is a good example. she has a great feeling about the center in maine. we have seen this since 1978. this number, this is 176. the republican vote came after 2018. he was with the leadership because he would not be there for 218. the public auction is the same thing that means that this is too much government health care. this is not acceptable for what we think should happen.
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mitt romney passed a mandate, and it said, you do not need this for public out -- for a public auction -- public option. >> is it possible for a president to have a robust approval rating? something close to 50? or is this something of the past? >> does this work? i have been told by the microphone does not want you to listen to me. >> we did that earlier. >> it is possible for this president, right now, to be popular with republicans. it takes no more to be popular among independent voters. the obama who talked about budgeting during the campaign, he supported that. if that came back, he would score points. if obama said today, my girls go
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to the best school in washington. every american should be able to take their schools -- their children to the best schools. he would find republican support. >> let me ask you about that. no matter how much a president is reaching out, there is a transmission belt on the media, with the certain shows on fox news, rush limbaugh. they would not be stopping -- they would not be talking about the agenda, they would talk about parts that are against this. they would find something new in his education agenda. with the transition belt in the base of each party, every president will have 20% of the other side. >> you have to remember. the major problem is that the republican party has 20% self
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id. you could almost put them all on a cruise ship. this is so small right now that this is almost unrealistic for his numbers to go up. and the other thing -- >> they did win an election all across america. >> >> you have potential. >> interestingly enough, the independent voters, right now, in november, say, obama was here, and now he is bad. guess what. when you have the idea go from 40 to 20, where do they go? the independent voters are republican-dominated. we have to remember -- >> i have a final question.
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>> i think i have a problem -- for the same reasons that are being talked about. the independent voters are what matter here. if you look at the last elections, the democrats are in double digits among the independence. 60% of the democrats are moderates or conservatives. the people that we have elected to come out of the affluent suburbs, the rural areas, this is a diverse party. we are not going to hold on to that majority unless we are appealing to that. obama has a strong political incentive, because he speaks to independent voters, and the moderate conservative majority. that changes the dynamic on the democratic side. >> first, two quick things.
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the washington post has 20%, so those numbers exist. when 92% of americans boat, there will be signs that they are not voting. that is australia. what will happen in 2010, 103 people will vote. you will look at what has been happening, what has been happening is that the generic vote is not in the single digits. this is very close. the people who chose to vote or radically different in new jersey and virginia. the intensity of the people who want to hit the brakes right now -- this is very strong. that is what happens in the off- years. we have tremendous problems for 2012.
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that is a different conversation. it is fair to say that if you look at what the president is proposing in spending and the projected deficits, purchasing general motors and health care, and reasserting the public auction -- option, he cannot say, i agree with that agenda. i think the president deserves credit -- deserves credit for not releasing the photos from iraq, and the commitment to afghanistan. he has done this with charter schools and others. a smarter republican party would get up and they would say, these are the the initiatives. >> we have people with microphones -- >> if you look, historically,
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quite often the great leaders are defined by people who were willing to make tough and unpopular decisions. they have been trying to win popularity contests and they are not well-judged by history. it is certainly possible that obama can get a share of support among independent voters and republicans. but he will have to step on the toes of the core constituency. we are all watching that decision very closely. i like the way that this is headed. i think that he will gain a measure of respect and support from republicans. >> do you think it'll be possible for the house republicans? >> he is going up against the labor unions. >> we will go to the first question. >> i am and orthopedic surgeon. i went to lobby congress.
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louisiana has three congressman who work in this position. when we went to meet with them, they said, in april, we will not be part of that discussion. do not bother talking to us about health care. i was disappointed that we were led to believe that there was going to be a partisan discussion about health care. but they said, we have been taken out of the discussion in the house. we will not have anything with what is going to happen. i do not think that this is all on the republican side. they have to be walking across the street. >> this is a good story. when the press was asking the president about health care, one reporter said, he will be bipartisan. you have not met with the republican leader on health care since the month of may. where is your bipartisanship? you are not at the table.
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>> this is not on the level. if you take the senate finance committee, part of the support from the president over health care was the decision to let the financial community lead with the bipartisan republicans at the table, the bill that emerged had no public auction, with no tax increases, this was no employer mandate. the only vote was olympia snowe. this is not on the level. i do not blame the republicans. they are -- in this context, they want for him to fail. they are doing a terrible job of showing the. >> as he was negotiating all of this, and as he was doing this, we were publicly suggesting that there would be a primary challenge against him if he went too far. the other democratic senator
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from iowa took the occasion to tell the capital newspapers that maybe we should start voting over whether the chairmen are keeping their gavel. this was a message not to go too far with the deal. there is a mechanism that is here, and i saw the liberal groups announced that they have raised $3 million against any democrat who is against the health care bill. are these the individual leaders, or is there a force to prevent the kinds of things that they seem to do? >> the committee did pass the bill. the president -- they strongly support him, to make a bipartisan deal. >> with a democratic majority, in the house and senate, he does not have to reach across the aisle. he does not have to present
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legislation that is acceptable to mainstream republicans. if we want bipartisanship, the best thing to do is take away those democratic majorities in november, -- >> necessity being the mother of invention. >> you spoke about something earlier that is very true. any time a republican tries to be bipartisan, he is crushed the next day by rush limbaugh and bill o'reilly, and sean hannity. they start to rally candidates to run against him. that is a structural impediment to bipartisanship. certainly, one candidate is being hammered for his support of the stimulus plan.
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>> this is the struggle that the democratic party went through 10 years ago. this is a debate with the people with the biggest microphones happen to represent a particular faction. that is why i see this as a missionary job to go out there sometimes, to reflect a different sort of progressive republican sentiment on a number of issues, to suggest that there is a room for alternative voices. people with big microphones tend to reflect this. but i think that this is healthy for the party and we did see significant evidence, on last tuesday, that there were people with both things. they were supporting the republican principles, but they also ran on centrist issues am not talking about social issues. >> the democrats did go through
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this 10 years ago. what we decided was that it was ok to have someone from louisiana who was pro-life, and he could vote the way that he wanted to to be a democrat. >> there is an advertisement attacking democrats who voted against -- >> you can be a republican but still be liberal? >> on the economic policies, down the line, he is a populist and a democrat. we built a majority with people like travis shoulders from mississippi. as well as others and you have showed on tuesday that you are not willing to do that. when you have a moderate republican, you will blow her up. you see, no need to apply. right now, if you have moderate
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republicans, you are never going to get to a majority by eating your young. >> i have to say something. >> go ahead. >> the democrats did that to get the majority. but what will happen in the abortion belt, what happened is they tolerated these democrats because they needed them. >> they voted -- >> they voted against the health care bill without retribution. >> look where the money is coming from. i do not believe that a pro- life, a pro-life democrat with these numbers -- that they will survive very long with this majority. >> the reality is that nancy pelosi, they said, take care of yourself to get reelected. >> the opposite of a democrat in
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the united states, the difference is a conservative, not a republican. you cannot be -- a republican if you are not against big spending. >> keep thinking that. >> here is what i would say. what i would say is, look at virginia. bob macdonald reached over, not by moderating his principles, but by saying that his principles were not only good for saying, no. he says he wants to grow the economy, but he just wants us to do it, not washington. there is a positive, republican agenda out there. we will see more of that in 2010.
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>> when i first opted to propose the question, this was slightly more off-base. i want to bring up the idea. i came down here from boston, where republican was a dirty word. not because of the belief system but the reputation. my question is how much opinion is placed in the word, republican or democrat. and how much is in the ideology. how much will this affect things over the last year? how much has that changed? >> it is an interesting attachment to the word republican, as there is to the word liberal. both of them have baggage right now. by a majority of two to one,
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people consider themselves republicans over liberal. the job will be to reattach conservative to the sound of democrat. >> there is a certain simplicity to the belief and he is so persuasive by almost all for this. there is a social dimension like john was talking about. this encompasses things like abortion and gun, and those kinds of values. there are the economic beliefs and the foreign policy things. what makes this complicated as, those things did not have to be connected with an ideological framework. you are not without your core
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beliefs, if you have -- if you are a hawk on foreign policy, and you are an economic liberal. the problems that you run into is when you have the sense of ideological purity, that keeps people from getting ahead. they get ahead if they do not fall in line on every single issue. you have trouble with elections, and you have trouble getting things done. you basically have the most balanced group of your party, who can actually make it through the process. >> i want to squeeze in one question from the audience, and had one question of my own. >> you said that two-thirds of americans say that they are conservative, only 20%
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identified as republicans? do you feel that you are doing something wrong by identifying republican with conservative? how can you change that to keep people from feeling isolated. in the last election, i felt isolated, being socially liberal and economically conservative. >> 44% -- they are identified this way. the assumption is that conservatives and republicans are together. this is true. we have two-thirds of the party, and they are reaching outside. these are described as moderate or conservative democrats. the transformation of the democrats went through and they addressed the kind of issues that you spoke about. this was starting under bill clinton.
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they were fiscally conservative, wanting to balance the budget and dealing with the big issues, like crime and other things, the national security issues. >> all of those things happen with republican majorities. >> this is part of the democratic party. until the last few months, democrats were trusted on the spending deficits by a lot. given the history of bill clinton -- >> can you tell me what has happened? >> let me ask the final question. >> we will start with alex and larry and we will go that way. it is possible that in the next few months, we will pass the biggest addition to the social safety net since social security with the health care bill, and we will do this entirely on the
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party-line basis. we have medicare and social security. there will be substantial republican votes for both of them. this can happen with one party, virtually alone, with a major expansion of the safety net. if health-care reform is passing in something like the form that the details -- they may be out now and then. do you believe that the republican candidates in 2012 will be running on revealing the health care reform, and if they do, what is the implication for the democrats? do you think that they will? >> this is a good question. i think that they will run on repealing much of this, reforming the rest. those things that you mentioned, medicare and social security have current, unfunded obligations of 100 trillion dollars. -- $100 trillion. this makes the $10 trillion that
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we have right now look like small potatoes. we are modeling the future after that. this is built into the stock price right now. people have seen health care and spending stories and they will not see any effect, immediately, on the health care before the next election. this is not enough to change the political equation. the those democrats will get by extending health care to people who do not have it, those are democratic votes right now. they will lose votes from people who will see the costs go up in the next few years. they will want to reform this, we will start over and do a more thoughtful, incremental approach that will really control the cost. >> at one level, i agree with this.
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i do not think that this is the end of health care, and we will never have a health care policy debate again in this country. people are going to look at what has happened and how this comes out, when this comes of congress and god willing, this is signed. there will be things that will need to be changed over time. we have reform medicare and social security. there will be improvements down the road. do i think that anybody is going to come out in an aggressive manner, and campaign to repeal this? no. what he has said earlier, by 2010 he will not see this kind of thing taking hold, or the specific changes that are there because it takes to long to get this going. by 2012 we will see positive changes.
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there are these -- these unfunded obligations with social security and medicare. we not hear anyone saying that we need to repeal this. nobody says we should go back to the good old days, when people were denied coverage for ended -- pre-existing conditions. can we get back to the days we had a cap on the coverage that we got? there are things that will radically change for the better in everyone's health care, and people are going to be very reluctant to turn back to the days --, the good old days. >> you probably polled more on health care than everybody. in 2012, will they be repealing this if this goes into law? >> i do not accept that premise. will happen, i am not certain that this will pass. if it does, they may have
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critical elements with what we have seen. i think the president will lose a lot of seats, and he will say, what do i have to fix before i get reelected. and he will do two things. they will fix health care in 2011. there will be an entitlement commission. they will try to fix the long- term spending. he cannot run for reelection without fixing those issues. we do not get to 2012. we have congressional action. the democrats will want to read just with what they have done on those issues. >> in 2010, the candidates will run on trenching, or on doing what was done? >> overall, what we see is that, there could be a huge international debt. afghanistan could go horribly.
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i want to say as i always do, some strange thing could happen beyond the pale gray that will affect the election. but if this does not, they look -- they will lose a lot of seats. the president will say that they have to fix this. >> history is that on this. >> the last, largest social program that was implemented by republicans, medicare part b -- d for seniors. that was not implemented after -- until after the next election. there was opposition, and this was not implemented with a favorable rating. hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to demonize the health care bill. there will be a bomb on us. -- bump on this.
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we did not win any of the seats heating up republicans on the medicare part d. and you will not get anything like going after us. >> hawaii except the question. -- i except the question. if you are talking about going back to the health care system, they carry the framework for the 2010 election. this is not going to be the issue. if you lose a lot of seeds, this is because of the economy coming back. this will be the driver of this thing. general motors and chrysler are going out of business.
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we have unemployment coming down, with any confidence in the future. they will have to repeal this. >> they will not run on this in the primaries. .
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whose voice has running out for the people of africa. a czech play write. i remembered it all the way here. because i only called him haval. i never called him by his first name but you know who i'm talking about. and his weapons were ink and a conviction to lead a revolution. ation couple of former presidents. george h.w. bush and -- william jefferson clinton.
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[applause] and what they did together, aside from freaking everyone out, they raised awareness and the funds for the victims of tsunamis and hurricane katrina and struck back against the unnatural toll that natural disasters take on the least fortunate members of society. ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor, my pleasure, i really, really like this man. please welcome past liberty member awardee, the chairman of the national constitution center and the 42nd president of the united states of america, william jefferson clinton. [applause] >> thank you very much.
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thank you very much, governor, mayor, superintendent mcleod, the officers and the board members of the constitutional center and my colleagues and everyone who made this night possible. i would like to thank wonderful musicians who played the theme from ask the schindler's list." and my friend whoopi goldberg. mostly i think all of you for being here tonight and i'm grateful for the opportunity to actually present the liberty medal to steven spielberg. now i'm the last speaker so this is one of those deals where everything that needs to be said
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has already been said but not everyone has said it yet. i will therefore attempt to be brief. by way of making full disclosure. steven and his wonderful wife kate capshaw is here. where are you kate? stand up. there she is, over there. stand up. don't be so shy. [applause] and their seven amazing multi-talented, multi-racial, multiethnic, multi-everything in the whole world have been great friends to me and hillary and chelsea for a long time.
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it is an honor for know recognize him with this honor. he has entertained us and i'm glad governor rendell said that. this thing was about to get too somber. he has informed us and he has inspired us. he was thinking about how what he was doing with film would fit into the landscape of his personal life and the life of his nation and this time. he was 18 when he made his first film in 1964. the movie made grand total of a dollar but he gave it all away to the perry institute home for mentally handicapped children. i'm happy to say that after "jaws," "e.t.," "jurassic park"
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and all his films he could have a little bit of money left over for himself and his family. he used the proceeds for "schindler's list" to give every living holocaust victim and their living relatives the chance to record their testimony. 105 noo hours of precious footage and now they are working to do the same thing from the survivors to have rwanda genocide where 18% of the country was hacked to death with machetes. these efforts have led the foundation for similar projects. one that hillary and i have
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supported in new york, the voices of 9/11, the living memorial to collect the histories there and so many others. so we honor a man today who has always been able to take a simple story and make it scary. a simple story and make it interesting. and a simple story and remind us of the greatness in us all. i remarked to another friend of mine in the movie business after i saw "schindler's list" they thought they should just go ahead and give it an oscar and let all the other movies compete because i thought it was the greatest movie i had r seen in 10 or 15 years and i still believe it is one of the five or 10 greatest films ever made.
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[applause] but i -- i say that because it was made by a man who was always paying attention and never misses much. a man who knew that all great things had to come from the mind and the heart. a man who never wanted a story of loss of life to be without a happy ending, to show a -- the show a sfougs his determination. to give dignity to the family members and to give the power to the next generation of victims to avoid their fate and have the happy ending millions and millions of jews were denied. he knows something about the meaning of liberty. most of us americans take it for granted. i got to see what it meant when
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i was asked not very long ago to take a little trip to north korea and bring to american -- two american journalists home and both asian americans. i didn't really do much. i just showed up and did what i was supposed to do. and brought them home. i tell you what. i got to see these two young women, barely older than my daughter having been in a jail for five months having been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for stepping across the river about this wide. all of a sudden be free in a plane bound for home. and realized that i too often took it for granted. once you see somebody gasping almost as if they have been
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suffocating to take in the air of free people it makes you appreciate "schindler's list" and "amastad" and "munich" and the foundation and every other good and decent thing this wonderful man has ever did. he has empowered us all. if he simply look and listen and respond in kind. ladies and gentlemen, the recipient of the liberty medal, steven spielberg. [applause]
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>> thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, the 2009 liberty medal recipient, steven spielberg. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you very, very much. thank you. oh, my god. i'm just so moved to be here in philadelphia at the constitution center receiving the liberty medal from one of our greatest presidents and a dear, dear friend of mine and my family. [applause] you know, this is the second best thing you've ever given me. the first was your eight years in office. [applause] i'm very moved. i'm very, very honored. i've always been a pate of thic person.
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the house i spent five years in h was in haddon heights, new jersey, not far from here. you know haddon heights. wow. i wove red, white and blue crepe paper through the spokes of my bicycle. if you had seen me then and been told that this kid would eventually wind up in the entertainment industry you might have otherwise have guessed i was headed for my own segment on fox cable news. but -- but there was an anger and the patriotism -- this -- there wasn't anger in my parents' patriotism.
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an indebtedness of giving something back. she would park me under the statue of that great american eagle and ee i had been raised to feel that america was my home. waiting for my mom to pass the
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time, i daydreamed, which is maybe the beginning of the journey that has led back here to philadelphia tonight. is like most american kids growing up in the 1950's i was told to recite passengers from the declaration to the pream to believe the constitution and the gettiesburg address. we need to prepare for the future of our governing principles by introducing these texts even before words can be fully understood. in the music of their language there is something that speaks to and educates the rhythms of the heart. we the people of the united states in order to have a more perfect union provide for the common events, promote the general welfare and secure the
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blessings of liberty to ourselves do ordain and establish this constitution to have united states of america and i'm convinced that as i recited these words with their kind of exciting rising up, up, up tempo that i was being given lessons in american democracy but i was also being given lessons in art in the importance and power of great ideas and also of magnificent soul-stirring expression. this area, that hall, is dedicated to 4400 words of prose out of which essentially the united states of america was invented. the constitution described how our country might work even though at the time it was touch and go. the bill of rights imagined ideals that we are still trying to realize. we are citizens of a country made up out of words. we had been written into
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existence and written by lawyers but by lawyers who could really write. [laughter] jefferson and later abraham lincoln knew that the way great ideas were expressed was essential to their success or failure in finding a home in the human imagination. would the american experiment in democracy have succeeded if jefferson had been a bad prose stylist? would slavery have been abolished if abraham lincoln hasn't been the writer of genius? we'll never know because lincoln was the writer of genius. he clearly thought that the artistry of the text mattered. these were great artists. is it useful then to consider the constitution or the united states itself as work of arts? is it use flt to suggest our best leaders, the ones who speak
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to the better angels of our nature all seem to have understood the necessity of keeping a regular honest contact with their own souls, exactly what the best directors, singers, painters, understand. for me it is useful. it helps keep in mind the great connection between making art and making a better world. between the world of the film set and the studio of theater and the greater world that our children are having to grow up in. now contemplating the list of previous recipients to this beautiful medal, of course, i'm very, very genuinely humbled by this. you have recognized doctors and scientists and jurists and emancipators and people who prepare what is broken in human society. who work on our consciousness and our consciouses. so i think in part today you have asked me here and placed me
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among humanitarians and activists and organizes to challenge me and all artists with your conviction that art is and should endeavor to be among the human enterprises to the building of free and decent societies. art helps sharpen our longing for progress. i began my life as a minimum maker wanting to emulate the films i loved, not so much for the styles of those films but their combination of popular appeal and depth. addressing life and all of its complexity. the films of william wiler, john forge just to name a few. i've always believed that to truly entertain and fully engage your audience, you must always fully engage with yourself. you have to -- you must engage fully with your audience, engage
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with their fears and passions and what life is actually like with history and you have to engage with imagination. artists are at their best when they are not treated like subjects so over the course of the years i've changed and who wouldn't want to be able to say that. more than any other factor it was having children of my own that made me take on films like "schindler's list" and "saving private ryan." i don't feel like those are necessarily superior to films with lighter or more fan it's a cal subject matter, my kids want me to get back to making those pictures. but i can observe there has been a darkening of my choice in material and my treatment of it which reflects the gravity of being a dad. i'm not saying that my children
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are told me grim, old maybe, but not grim. watching children grow simultaneously, i think it connects you with the future and also powerfully with memory and history. to know where we're going, with vev to know where we're from and being a father has prompted me to consider more seriously how art is one very important way that the human community remembers what it's been through. one way that we distill what it is and what it has meant to us as we try to understand ourselves. my family life outside of movie making changed the movies that i made beginning of course with "schindler's list." these movies appropriately led me back out to the world again. they opened up a path of work in world that i now do and pointed me toward the task of repairing a broken world. compelled me toward giving.
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these are mitzvas. blessings about what you say to yourself about what i was taught to say by my parents, you simply don't not do that. the show of foundation, the righteous person's foundation are very close to my heart. nothing i ever expected to get awards for. people have i met through this foundation have told me about life under the most unimaginable duress have rekindled my awe in our species' fortitude and grandeur. heading foundations takes money and i consider myself fortunate that like many of my role models i've always had the appetite to make nart the marketplace. it has it possible for me to create foundations that have anfect on the world but i never
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believed all art must playist itself on the marketplace. poetry, theater, dance companies, museums require the material support of the society to which they make a vital contribution or they will not exist. there are experimental filmmakers. they are challenging programming for television that isn't to the taste of mass audiences but which expands vocabularies and audiences. of course there is a critical need to create future audiences by providing art education in schools. [applause] so -- so if we believe art can matter, that art can help transform our lives, if we reject the idea that art is a disposable luxury, we believe
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the questions raised by art is essential, the answer that politicians sometimes provide then perhaps our country will begin to do a better job funding the arts through governmental subsidy. if we entertain the idea that our country, our world is a work of art and our leaders are artists too. then from one artist to another, let's all por the arts. -- support the arts. [applause] but i'm perhaps most grateful today for the extraordinary company in which you have included me. the previous honorees and everyone who has gathered today, thank you for this operation, galvanizing context. i'm going to treasure this honor as a call to action in these times of danger and these times of hope. everything we do has heightened consequences. every choice we make matters. i will strive together with my wife kate and my kids, destri,
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mikhaila, max, thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome richie havens. >> how are you doing?
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[applause] >> a lot of good doing is happening right behind me and in front of me. i'm privileged to be here. and to tell everybody in the audience, we really -- listen to this. we still look good. really good. ♪ sometimes i feel like a
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motherless child sometimes i feel like a motherless child sometimes i feel like a motherless child a long way from my home
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freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, sometimes i feel just like i'm a motherless child sometimes i feel like a motherless child sometimes i feel just like a motherless child a long way from my home
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freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, sometimes i feel like reich i -- sometimes i feel like i -- sometimes i feel just like i -- a long, long way, a long way from my home
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freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, clap your hands clap your hands clap your hands clap your hands calling up from my heart
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♪ [applause] >> thank you so much. thank you. congratulations. congratulations. >> ladies and gentlemen, richie havens. [applause] thank you for attending the 2009 liberty medal ceremony.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> coming up next, a discussion on america's future and its place in the world. live at 7:00 eastern, it is" washington journal." topics include the latest developments in the real estate market and how the role of the vice president has changed over the years. after that, scholars talk about the race to build the first atomic bomb. >> on this vote, the yeas are of, mays are 39. having voted in the affirmative. the motion is agreed to. >> with that vote, the senate moves its health care bill to
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the floor starting monday and through december follow the entire debate and how it would affect access to medical care, abortion, medicare. live on our companion network, c-span 2, the only network that brings you the senate gavel to gavel. earlier this month the new york historical society held a discussion on america's future and its place in the world. we'll hear from mort zuckerman and richard haass. this is an hour and a half. >> the question of america's decline does nothing new. go back to that. when the popular refrain was, " come home america," and isolation was on the rise.
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many said that our form of government was different than the soviet union, but it was not necessarily better. we had to learn to live without, not to mention the rising price of oil, the emergence of the middle east cartel, the first bout of hyperinflation, high unemployment, and the idea of stagflation was going. then came the 1980's, and almost everything went in precisely the opposite direction, which is why this panel is not called america in decline. i am not suggesting that last time was an anomaly or that this time will necessarily be different. but tonight, the question will be what our esteemed analysts think about the future of the united states as we stand here at the end of 2009.
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we really have an extraordinary group of panelists. let me just share their introduction so everyone knows who they are. i have learned that people like introductions. certainly, i like it louise gives me that wonderful introduction. we will first hear from richard haas, counsel for relations, who has worked with two presidents. as council president, he has truly been an entrepreneurial leader. it has always been important, but richard has he brought many scholars and expertise and wide range of subjects. his most recent book is called a " war of necessity, war of joyce," -- "war of necessity, war of choice."
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glenn hubbard is no ordinary academic. he is dean of columbia business and a tenured professor of finance and economics at the columbia school of arts and sciences. he has worked for the treasury and as a consultant to the federal reserve bank, and recently he wrote a book called "healthy, wealthy, and wise -- five steps to better health care system." next is robert keeton -- kag an, senior associate at the carnegie endowment for international peace. he has served in the state department as a member of the policy planning and writes a monthly column for the washington post-and is the author of a great history book, dangerous nation, america's
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place in the world. finally, we have mort zuckerman. his activities span the world of business, where he is co-founder of one of the largest and most successful real estate empires in the country. and the media world. as co-publisher of the new york daily news, his editorial voice in those publications and many others is a strong and powerful one, and he provides deep insight on many questions. each of us will talk for of five minutes to explain their views, and then he will -- i will try and engage a panelist for
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questions i have prepared and we will do that for 20 minutes or 25 minutes. at that point in time, we will open it up. with that, let me welcome richard haas. [applause] >> let me thank roger, not just for assembling my colleagues tonight, but for all that he does to introduce the themes i talk about in the next few minutes. his contributions are important. you cannot discuss the future of the united states without discussing the future of others in the world. to put it another way, the las vegas metaphor does not work. what happens here will not stay here. it will go there. what happens there will not stay
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there, it will come here. so our future, for better or worse, is inextricably intertwined with the future of others. at the risk of being misunderstood, though, let me say something about our future. the united states will continue to grow economically, maybe not as robustly, but it will continue to grow, it will continue to get stronger militarily. so by absolute measures, we will grow and get stronger. we begin from a higher base, as opposed to those who have gdp in the whole or per-capita. that is simply a fact of life. the fact that the united states will decline in relative terms, relative terms, is neither good nor bad in itself. it just is.
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indeed, one of the great moments, the golden year as, was the aftermath of world war two, were the united states grew absolutely, declined relatively, and engineered that decline, and a principal part of it was called the marshall plan. the idea of a relative decline is not bad, but it depends what happens here. what is the pace and nature of change and what happens elsewhere in the relationship between the two. let me just say something about the two sides of the future. what happens elsewhere, what happens here. economic growth is inevitable, particularly in asia, the most dynamic part of the world, and we would like to stay that way for the foreseeable future. and the growth in others is something we cannot control. in principle, the fact that
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others get stronger gives them potential to contribute more and become part, so the challenge for american foreign policy is to influence how others use their guerin -- growing strength and capabilities, to integrate them into an international order with the arrangements that we take the lead in shaping. essentially to help give them skin in the game said it will play the game are rules that we support. we want -- we do not want anyone to think, any leader to think that they can gain more for their country were themselves by overthrowing the rules of the game, by violating them. essentially, we want them to stay inside international relations as we promote them. one principal way to do this is through trade. for others to export to us, they
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need to maintain high levels of employment. that is one reason, for example, that the u.s.-china trade imbalance, rather than a source of great concern, is also something that gives china something in international or early arrangements. we can keep in the game and want to with financing. what others to work with us with climate change, dealing with endemic diseases. we're trying to slow terrorist record and an act of terrorism. this is essential the goal of american foreign policy, to integrate others as they inevitably grow stronger, both in absolute terms and relative to us.
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for ourselves, there's a different goal. that is to make sure the united states stays strong enough so we can participate on the world tries to tackle these global problems and also to discourage anyone from thinking they have more to gain for overthrowing the system rather than working within it. we do not want anybody to be tempted to become what energy -- henry kissinger called a revolutionary power. that will not just happen. it will require us to get stronger, and that means, of other things, we need to take steps to get our economic house in order, to reduce our deficit, not to eliminate it overnight, but to set it on a path toward gradual reduction. we need to educate ourselves. we do not have the citizenry able to cope with the challenges of the 20th-century, and we need to think of education as not to
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something and people do, but something that is a life of an enterprise. we need to build economic safety net so people continue to get agitated -- educated. we need to change immigration policy and get beyond the obsession and think about how the united states once again opened its borders and long numbers to a highly educated people who can help for kendall of culture and the reality of innovation so they can stay here when they have so much to contribute. we need an energy policy and independence, an unrealistic goal, but it would help reduce consumption on fossil fuels. lots more, but we need to put our domestic house in order, essentially. let me say that the biggest question facing the united states is not the rise of islam or anyone else or terrorism or
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anything like it. the biggest question facing the united states is ourselves. it is rather whether institutions are ready for the challenge to function and tackle real challenges. i do not have the answer to that. in the past, we have the capacity of making ourselves, of dynamism. it is more a political science question as to whether our politics will allow our country to tackle the deficit, or whether politics are so entrenched that they have made these problems tragic. at the end of the day, what makes history more than anything else is people and ideas. i believe again that the child -- the trial for us is to
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continue to create a political process for people and ideas to proper. i'm afraid that the answer to that is not obvious. i think there are real questions about whether the politics of the united states, whether the institutions have become sufficiently sclerotic, and special interests, whether we are in a position to assert leadership. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you for your leadership. this is an amazing place. when roger asked me to speak this evening, he said, i want you to talk about the entire future. listening, 22 minutes can give you the whole world. i want to do something really
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simple and focus on only two numbers as a touchdown. because this is a said the toll of history, i want to frame and in a historical story. back to an interesting improm tu exchange between then vice president nixon and premier kruschev and the notion of whether which country was better able to satisfy consumer wants. vice president nixon challenged him on the superiority of colored television in the united states. this was a big deal for vice president nixon to have brought up. he acknowledged, though, that the u.s. might not fare so well if the comparison were about missile construction or missile thrusts. fast forward a year to the
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debate with senator kennedy for the presidency. kennedy called nixon on that and said it is unacceptable to me, senator kennedy, that we would say this because clearly missile thrust is more important and what is amazing to me as an economist is what vice president nixon said. nothing. the correct answer. an economic counselor would have told him is the superiority to have united states is you can have both colored television and eventually better missiles because of a small number that is critically important and it is called productivity growth. t growth. vice-president nixon's error was a simple one, but it really was the key to why the race between the united states and soviet union was vastly different.
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there was also an essential air -- error. crucial for got a simple number. the no. i'm about to say is a constant. it never changes. it is called 100%. the tierney of 100% is that the shares of government spending must add to 100%. why do i raise an obvious fact of arithmetic? what crucial for got -- khrushchev forgot was that an allocation towards defense is simply with the resources of the productive sectors of the economy, undermining productivity growth. in the same argument of government spending shares adding to 100%, our tierney has
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to do with missiles -- not missiles for defense, but entirely -- entitlement spending, looking forward and spending so much more on our entitlement programs that we must have the ability to project american authority and defense or educate our children, a simple number that the congressional budget office tells us if we do not do anything, 25 years from now we will consume 10 percentage points of american gdp, more than they do today. for that to happen, crowding out would occur. these two numbers give a snap the pitch to the story, which is that productivity growth is so important, what can we do about it? two things we can do about it are to write the shift of our
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financial system, which is a bulwark of our strength in recent decades and to pick up on something richard said, to continue to promote openness in the american agenda and free trade. on entitlements, we cannot raise taxes sufficiently to fund promises under current law. i make that statement less as a matter of politics as arithmetic. to do so would crowd out the entire increase in american growth that has happened in the past 20 years. i would just wind up with the point richard concluded on, which is that the real thing here has to do with these numbers, the tyranny of 100% and productivity growth. they are not economic insights. there's a real question as to whether we can deliver not only the right outcome for productivity growth but the right mix for our budget. because i am the eternal
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optimist, i would close with the note that american history has been replete with such arguments on the economic side. we have been successful, and we will. [applause] >> thank you. then a star with three stipulations. one is that we have had this discussion practically every decade for the last four about impending american decline, but that does not mean we are not right to be having now. we've gone through this before, in the late-80's, and secondly, i would stipulate that what goes up must come down and the united states is not going to be no. 1 forever. at some point, and the question is, are we at that point, 20 years away, a century away, or
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more? that is the question. if we are counting on the quality of our political leadership and the abandonment of special interests, we are again dead. because my reading of american history is that that is the norm, not the exception, people rising above the norm is rare, and we succeed despite all of our sclerotic politics. and that is why bismarck said god looks after drugs, children, and the united states of america. i want to try and dispel to debut exaggerations' that i think lead us to accept pessimism about our current situation. one is the tremendous overestimation of the power we
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had. i heard that america can no longer do everything it wanted to do. i do not remember the time where that is true. if you look of the entire history of the cold war, it was marked a lot by not being able to do what we wanted to do until we were finally able to do what we wanted to do. but if you look at the time frame that people talk about a decade around the end of world war two, if you think about the events, the marshall plan and reestablishment of nato and getting europe's trade, other things happened. the iron curtain fell, and that shook the entire cold war in an adverse way. there was a major setback soviet testing of a hydrogen bomb, the
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korean war, and the 1950's. the united states still enjoys a substantial of vantage as a great power and super power. one is the oldest behalf, which is geographic. we're the only major power that does not live in the neighborhood, doing major power. this is what i call the wolf fourth principle, because it is by a political scientist by that name illustrating it. if you look at the major powers
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like china, russia, and india, in order to get to where they are perched american power, long before they get to the point, they will get to those around them that have, as geography has it, some other part to look for for assistance. so as china grows bigger and stronger, it is not surprising that we find greater eagerness or more american involvement in the region, not less. and i think although our west european friends are in different, our eastern friends are not, so there is a natural checking mechanism. it does not have to work, but it is something that other powers have to overcome that we do not have to. so that is a natural thing. i continue to believe that we're the most dynamic economy even as we are going for doldrums, and it is up to other people in the
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panel to say whether something we're doing now is fundamentally changed that dynamism to the time where we can no longer be dynamic, but our ability to adapt historically to changing circumstances has been greater than those of other countries. i am not persuaded that is no longer the case. finally, there is the fact of our enormous defense capability, not just measured in the size of our $600 million budget deficit, roughly 3.5% of our gdp, which is a very large number, 3.5% -- it is historically a low number. we were spending up to 8% in the cold war. upwards towards 15% to 20% in the first decades. so our ability to sustain high spending is substantial, and in addition, to the extent in which the debilities for personnel
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training are there, it is far better than potential competitors. there are weaknesses, potentially, and pitfalls i worry about. we have mortgaged our future, that will have an affect on our power, but that is not something that we cannot do anything about. i worry about the strength of our allies, because if you want to talk about relative decline in the world, the unmistakable decline is for our european allies. they are in a state of decline, spending less and less, less capability, falling behind. now have to worry about china, which soon will be of spending the entire european union in dollars and capabilities, and also russia and india. so i worry about our allies and about ourselves for different reasons. i worry that we are prone to commit suicide for want of being murdered.
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by which i mean that we will convince ourselves that we are in decline before we are actually in decline and begin to take actions which, in fact, hasten our decline. we begin in particular to start ceding power and authority to other great powers before it is necessary or right to do so. thereby, in a way, we create a self-fulfilling prophecy. that is the shorthand. i will be happy to talk about it in our questions and answers. finally, does it matter? richard suggests, i think, that is neither here or there and it just depends what. we were declining relative to our european partners during the cold war, during the and, relative to japan. i do not consider that actual decline. if your allies robert, you get stronger. that was the genius. where is different and i disagree with some is to talk
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about china in the same way. i do not see china as a future partner and buddy and strategic pal of the united states. i see china as a competitor. i think that they see themselves as a competitor. i do not think it will be easy for us to sway them from that notion because it is so fundamentally true. we can talk about this in the question and answer, but when we talk about integrating powers, especially rising powers, there's the question, do they want to be integrated? we're asking them to be integrated into a system of our making. it serves our interests. the one system that serves our interests and is of their choosing, and i think our ability to integrate will to a certain extent be limited and we will have to engage in old- fashioned realist activity of balancing and checking as we try to integrate. i know that richard does not disagree with that. let's not kid ourselves that
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it does not matter. there is a lot about the situation that is the product of american power, and i think that a lot of people live under the illusion that we can proceed but all the things we like will stay the same. that is an illusion. things we like about the world will begin to disappear as other people shape the world in ways that we may not like. thank you. [applause] >> good evening. as i've listened to my colleagues here, i'm reminded of the old line of the difference between an optimist and a pessimist. an optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds and the pessimist fears he may be right. [laughter] i find myself contemplating my own personal history here in the united states. i'm an immigrant to this country. i c


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