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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 14, 2014 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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i believe that the affordable care act is a modest step forward. we need to recognize that health care in the year 2014 must be a right of all people. we must move to a medicare for all, single-payer program. [applause] i said a word before about education. i will add a few words to that. education is what it is about. education is what life is about if you are 90. every psychologist who has ever studied the issue, it is not a debate anymore. i understand the -- that the most important formative years in a human being' life is 0-4.
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it is important that the kids that age get the emotional and intellectual nourishment that they need, they will do much better. despite all of that knowledge, today in new hampshire, today in vermont, all over america, millions of working families are struggling to find affordable quality childcare. they can't do it because it is too expensive. the result is that millions of kids have inadequate childcare preschool education. the disgrace is that we are paying our childcare workers minimum wage in many cases. low wages without benefits. what kind of priority is that? when we entrust little kids' lives to them. we do not give them the training, we do not give them
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the income, we do not give them the benefits that they need to make that an important career. [applause] i think maybe we might learn something in terms of education in -- from countries like germany, denmark, sweden. they have said that in a competitive global economy, they understand, they need the best educated workforce possible. what they understand is that it is insane to say to working-class kids, we are sorry, you may be really smart, you may be really energetic, but you cannot afford to go to college. if you do go to college, you will come out $50,000 in debt. maybe we should learn something from countries all over the
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world that say that you will get a college education without cost regardless of who you are. [applause] think of what that means to kids in manchester, vermont. in manchester, vermont and manchester, new hampshire, and manchesters all over the country. and kids in fifth or sixth grade know that if they study, they will be able to go to college. he will be able to make it into the middle class. we can transform education from all over this country. i want to talk a little bit about another area that i have spent time working on. that is the issue of retirement security. at a time when only one in five workers in the private sector
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have a defined benefit pension plan, when half of americans have less than $10,000 in savings and two thirds of seniors rely on social security for more than half of their income, our job is to stand up strong and say to our friends on the other side of power, our right wing republican friends, you are not going to cut social security. [applause] i am going to give you --there is a lot of difficult news. i want to give you a success story. i want to do in you back two or three years ago to washington dc. my republican friends were saying that we have this
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terrible deficit. we have got to get that deficit in a minute and how it was caused. we have this terrible deficit, therefore we will have to do -- what do you call it? we are going to have to cut social security. they come up with this expression because nobody has a clue what it is. it amounts to significant cuts in benefits for seniors and for disabled veterans. as chairman of the veterans committee, i was more than aware of that. at that point, virtually every republican, you had many democrats talking about it. you had the president of the united states talking about it. people like pete peterson, he is a wall street billionaire.
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he has put hundreds of millions of dollars into an obsession to cut social security. the last time i was on this campus, a year and a half ago, pete peterson's group, he has a group running around talking about the deficit. we had a group of seniors from vermont and massachusetts say hello to those folks. we filled up not this room, but another one. it was an interesting meeting. pete's folks heard from people they did not want to hear from. with so many people living on the edge and when poverty among seniors is going up and the meals on wheels program and many seniors are in trouble, it would be morally grotesque for anybody to talk about cutting social
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security. our job is to expand social security. [applause] when anybody tells you -- i will use a nice word, misinformation. about social security going broke. we all know that social security can pay out every benefit for the next 19 years. you can make social security stronger for the next 50 or 60 years. right now, somebody makes $10 million a year. they both contribute the same amount into the system. [applause] lift that cap and social security is strong for the next 50 or 60 years and we can expand the numbers. one thing on an issue that is
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very troubling to me. it is an interesting issue. we pride ourselves on being a free society. we need to have a serious national conversation about what that is. are you a free society if every telephone call you make ends up in an nsa file? are you living in freedom if some of your e-mail exchanges are intercepted or there is knowledge on the part of the government about the websites that you visit? i do not think so. that is why i voted against the usa patriot act and against the reauthorization of the usa patriot act. [applause] we have obviously got to be vigilant against terrorism. it is a very serious issue.
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let me touch on -- i keep saying this important issue. each one of these issues is gigantically important. having to do with whether or not this planet really survives. that is the issue of climate change. despite what you may see on fox tv or the media in general, the scientific community is overwhelmingly an agreement that climate change is real. it is caused significantly by human activity. right now, we are seeing devastating results in terms of floods, heat waves, forest fires, extreme weather disturbances. scientists are telling us that that situation will only get worse unless we address the
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problem and significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions and move towards sustainable energy. i do not mean to be overly partisan today. i am partisan, obviously. my republican colleagues is a point me every day. why we can't have disagreements on so many issues. it is frightening to me and to you that you have virtually entirely the republic party rejecting science. in terms of climate change. they do not reject science in terms of cancer research. they do not reject science in many areas. because of the power of the fossil fuel industry, the oil industries, the coal industries, the gas companies, they are willing to push aside what is the overwhelming scientific evidence. the truth of the matter is that
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if we are aggressive in reversing climate change, if the united states of america becomes the leader, we can have a huge impact in moving china, in moving india, in moving other countries. when we moved the issues like energy efficiency, in vermont right now, we are weatherizing thousands of homes. your senator has been very active on this issue. when you do these things, you cut people's fuel bills vary significantly. you cut greenhouse gas emissions. you create jobs. that is what you do. [applause] be patient. i am coming to the end.
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i do not know how to juggle. why did you put this thing first and this thing second? they are all important. they are about the future of america. i want to get to something else. what for many people is not a particularly sexy issue. it is at the heart of everything. campaign finance. [applause] now, a few years ago, the united states supreme court made a decision that had people scratching their heads. they said in the citizens united case, my understanding is that citizens united is one of the hosts of the republican event,
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they said that corporations are people. equally important, that individuals could now spend as much money as they wanted in the political process because they have the first amendment right of political speech to do that. what is the impact of the recent case that we heard a couple of weeks ago. here is the impact. i want you to think very seriously about this. everybody in vermont, new hampshire, we all have different opinions. that is called democracy. i would hope and respect to those people that fought and died to defend democracy and our way of life, that there is not a difference of opinion. in the united states of america,
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billionaires should not be able to buy elections. [applause] let me give you ver concrete examples of what is happening today on the other side of town in new hampshire. a few weeks ago, we saw a remarkable spectacle in las vegas, nevada. they have a lot of spectacles in las vegas. this one was quite remarkable. that was sheldon adelson, worth billions of dollars, beck and republican presidents -- candidates for president for them to tell him what he would do for him and support his agenda. i understand i am stepping on sensitive toes here. you think that new hampshire has the first presidential primary
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in the country, right? the adelson primary is the first primary in america. the difference tells you everything you need to know about what is happening in politics today. in new hampshire, candidates come. they are democrats and they are republicans and they talk to people. people vote democrat or republican or whatever they like. the adelson is about, and if we do not change it, this is the future of american politics, a billionaire telling me, tell me what i want to hear. if you do tell me, i am prepared -- adelson earned $11 billion last year. i may put hundreds of millions of dollars into your campaign.
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i may put a billion. it does not matter. obama spent a little bit over one billion dollars. these guys could take $1 billion out of their pocket today and they would not notice it was gone. what you are looking at now is a situation where billionaires are going to control the political process. if we do not get our act together, we are moving rapidly down the road to an oligarchic form of society were billionaires control not only the economic life of the nation, but the political life as well. my friends, of any issue that we bring people of any political persuasion, i do not care if you are conservative or progressive, we have got to fight to defend american democracy and not allow billionaires to take it over.
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[applause] by the way, while it is absolutely true that the republican and right-wing billionaires are spending a lot more money, there are democratic billionaires as well. we have got to oppose that. i am not much into constitutional amendments. some people, 50 different constitutional amendments every day. i am not into that. i do believe in introducing a constitutional amendment to overturn citizens united. [applause] and in my view, we need to move toward public funding of elections.
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honest people can and do and will have differences opinions. that is called democracy. what we want is campaigns that are based on ideas and not simply the ability of billion to flood the airwaves with ugly 30 second airs. let me tell you why it is important and what is going on today. on election day, back in 1980, david koch -- i'm using this as an important example -- david koch back in 1980 -- he financed most of the campaign.
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that is all fine. i want to take you down a road now. i want you to understand this. i want you to understand what this libertarian platform ran on in which ago one percent of the vote on. the ideas that he espoused were considered extremist, wacky, kooky, way out of the mainstream. today the political tragedy of the times is those extremist ideas are now mainstream in the republican party. i want to give some examples. i will give you quotes from the libertarian platform of the 1980 party that koch ran on.
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"we urge the repeal of federal campaign finance wars and the immediate abolition of the despite -- you understand what that means? do you understand that two weeks ago in a decision it was said exactly that. that is where the republican party today in 2014 is moving. they want to end on restriction on campaign financing. that would mean a handful of billionaires will sit in a room and say, let's put $20 million into new hampshire. let's put $150 billion in two california and vermont. it is a drop in the bucket. to allow unlimited spending, we will certainly lose the foundation of american democracy. that is what they were talking about 34 years ago and that is
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what is happening today. here is another plank 1980 libertarian party. "we favor the opposition of medicare and medicaid programs. they haven't succeeded, but they are trying. if you read the ryan budget passed by the house last week, that budget would end medicare as we know it and move it toward a voucher type program. this we are going to give you when you are 65 or 67 and they probably want to raise the age relativity anyhow, here is your check. you can go to any private insurance company that you want. if you have cancer, that would last about one day maybe. that is their plan to have a want to deal with medicare.
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enters the medicaid and other health-care programs, the ryan budget does not end medicare, but it would go away insurance over a 10 year period by cutting medicaid by more than $1.5 trillion and would end the affordable care act. this is what they also said. "we favor the repeal of a fraudulent, ritually bankrupt and increasingly oppressive social security system. pending that repeal, participation should be made voluntary. many of my republican colleagues believe just that. furthermore, the koch brothers
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party said -- we support the repeal of all taxation. as an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against taxation should be terminated immediately. today's republican party does not believe in the end of all taxation. but the recently passed ryan budget passed by the republican house provides a $5 trillion -- the ryan budget would provide an average tax break of at least $200,000 per year for millionaires. lastly -- again, see what is happening today.
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the libertarian party stakes out a very clear position on the minimum wage. "we support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment such as minimum wage laws. do understand what they are saying? many people do not. there's is a we not only oppose increasing the wage, and we want to do away with the concept of minimum wage. our freedom loving friends at the other end believe that you should have the freedom if you're in a high unemployment area to work for three dollars an hour. you don't want the government coming in. they should have the freedom to throw all of their crap into the river and air and pollute our society. if you don't want to restrict them from doing that. if you are hungry, you have the freedom and feed your families.
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we do not believe in nutrition programs. if you are 65 or 70 and you are sick, you have the freedom to die. we do not believe in federal medicare or medicaid. [applause] that is the essence of what the koch brothers and their organizations believe in to get richer, freedom for coal companies to continue looting our nation, and moving us in a
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disastrous -- freedom of wall street to continue to go about their greedy, illegal ways to disrupt our entire economy. that is their definition. in my mind, here's where we are. i touched on a lot of issues. all of them are important. there are many that are terribly important as well. where we are in this moment is pretty clear to me. that is whether or not -- it doesn't happen by snapping your fingers, whether or not we can bring about a political revolution in this country which demands and urges millions and
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millions of working people, middle-class people, young people, old people, people who are so disgusted with the political system today that they do not want to vote or go near it and they turn off the tv. can we somehow bring that into the political process. on every single issue based on every poll, what these guys, the right wing guys are talking about, they may be reflect 10% of american people. 15% of american people. go to alabama, mississippi, stand on the street corner and say, do you believe that we should cut social security, medicare, medicaid and get tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? they will laugh at you.
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no one believes that. our job is to understand there are issues. i believe in gay marriage. we have to understand and respect differences. for reprint together working families all over this country to stand for an america that makes sure that every single person has a modest living. can we do that? i think we can. it's with the challenges about is whether we move in that direction and bring in tens of millions and get them involved in the political process. have meetings like this all over america. having debates and having discussions and expanding and strengthening our democracy. that is the way i think we have got to go. there is another way.
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that is a handful of billionaires pumping hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars into campaigns and having candidates come before them and getting that -- that is where we are in america. it will strengthen democracy and i vote for democracy. thank you. [applause] i just looked at the clock. my goodness. thank you for your patience. how will we do this? we have some questions, i think. i would be happy to --
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[taps microphone] >> if you could give this address to every home in america, i think you would be president. [applause] i have a request -- question for you. a simple request -- can you do two things if we could require television networks and every station and all of the cable news to get their licenses from us to give free airtime for 90 days before an election? we would not have to raise billions of dollars. the other question is you talk about jobs. young people on the street corners, college students getting wasted a few nights a week.
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they don't all, but it happens. how about a youth core requirement that you cannot start college at 18. you got to work for the country for two years. you will go into the military or the hospital or an indian reservation. they will be paid by the government, by the american people to work for the greatest country in the world. it used to be the greatest country in the world. >> they are both sensible ideas. why the democrats so passive and laying down and almost conceding that we are going to lose the senate and it will be taken over by mitch mcconnell and his right wing packs? why are we letting this happen? that is three jumbo jets equivalent to crashing every week.
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people would stop flying and start paying attention. most do not know that their data. most people do not know that bill mcguire took $1 billion with him. people do not know these things. they would be if they did. here is what my view is. i talk about the republicans. we have had a long history of republican governors. the have had moderate republicans in the senate and in the house and in government. those moderate republicans today could not get into the door of
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today's right wing republican parties. the lately that politically, they had to move from essential right party to a right wing. if you look at the the credit party, look at what harry truman talked about 1948. truman was considered them to be a conservative democrat from missouri. read what he has to say here and there a few democrats who could talk and his language today. focus on the american working class to a centrist party which sadly -- it receives a lot of corporate big-money as well. i agree with you. i caucus with the democrats. i often rave on this issue. the democrats about to stand with the working class of this country. [applause]
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they have got to have the bucks to take on big-money. there are more good democrats that are working really hard and you know. they do not get into the media terribly often cared they will not get on tv talking about the important issues. i think we have got a question here. >> thank you. my question is in tune with education. the union later a couple of weeks ago did a story on an effort that i am making with introducing an alternative or an improvement to the affordable care act. has even gone as far as to
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putting up a website what i have done is about three years in the making. anyway, i made the effort of talking with schultz and kelly ayotte's office said. the discussed the program. >> time is short. >> would you be willing to take a serious look at this if you want to see it as improvement? >> we'd be happy to. i do not know if you have time to do all of the questions. be as brief as you can.
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>> i was so happy to hear your words on the finance reform. but even before citizens united was decided, we were in a mess with campaign-finance. can't we go farther? can we restore the right of the people to limit campaign funding? it is not just operations to limit the rights of wealthy individuals. >> the answer is yes. >> how? >> that is what public funded elections is about. i think that makes a lot more sense when we limit the amount than having billionaires by elections. it is hard stuff. we have got to figure it out. but he a situation where a series candidate can jump up and run an election knowing that
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here she is a certain amount of money to get the word out without having to spend half his or her life raising the money? one of the dangers things that the citizens united decision does is the other side is that the good guys have to keep up. it is no great secret that members of congress are not worrying about unemployment or education. it is a terrible situation. >> hi. i want to bring up two issues. one is about a war that is happening in ukraine. hitler in the 1940's carried out genocides. it is a bigger issue than just russia is a bad guy, etc. we are looking at something that
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is driven not by the local commissions there, but why the collapse of the european and u.s. financial system. the bailout that began in 2008 has created a condition for them looking to bail in. it is basically a detonator for the financial system. that is that driver for war. i would say the way to get this nation off this track is for the temples of the democratic party who are opposed to a lots of the policies of obama to break with obama. as long as he is in office, that is are the nation is heading as towards war. we need to break with wall street as well. that is something i know you are a proponent of. >> you raise an important issue. it is one of the issues i hardly
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got into at all. one of the things i will extrapolate a little bit, a right wing friend -- the reason they had to cut social security and medicaid is because of the deficit. how do we get into this situation? does anybody remember that when clinton left office in 2000, the country was running a significant surplus? the economists were projecting that surplus would only increase. what happened? he went to war in iraq. i voted against the war in iraq. i think history will record that as -- does anybody here recall that all of those guys were just so anxious to get into that war -- to remember what it would do to the deficit?
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how do we pay for that? it just slipped our minds. and there we gave huge tax breaks to the wealthy. in terms of issues of another thing, forgive me. military spending -- everyone agrees terrorism is a serious threat. there is something a little wacky when the u.s. is suspending -- spending almost as much as the entire rest of the world on defense. in france and germany, they have got health care for old people. their kids get free education and we paid the military bill. maybe want to think about that as well. >> thank you, senator, for come to speak to us.
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could you comment on the natural gas industry and exports? >> lot of people use propane here? propane gas prices have shot up. serious problems. we wrote to the department of commerce and asked them to stop the export. we have people in vermont and hampshire seeing a huge increase. i would suggest we take care of people here first. >> yes. thank you for being here. i'm a proud member of the new hampshire alliance for retired americans. we work strongly to make sure that we do not get those cuts in social security.
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my question to you is i am appalled by the fact that we elect congresspeople and senators to washington to work for people when in fact they spend at least 70% of their time on the phones trying to raise money. what about the people and not just the politics? >> that is a moment ago. i have got to tell you, both sides do it. they get on the phone. here is the problem that you have -- if you knew, if you were a senator and you knew there was an unlimited amount money that would come in, what do you do? what the koch brothers and all of these guys has made is a bad situation much worse. we have to stop it. that is why spend so much time talking about the need of campaign-finance reform and overturning citizens united and moving to public funding of elections. your point is that it is not
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just the fact that we have so many 30 second ads. in both parties, they are distracted. someone is coming to your stay and you were senator and you'll spend $20 million. give them the phone and not focusing. that is why you need to change the system. ok. the line keeps getting longer and longer. [laughter] we do two more from both sides? >> i'm a disabled veteran. quick question -- how does the self-serving attitude of congress get changed to where the common folk are themselves?han
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>> i think it gets back to a simple point. they do not stay up nights worrying about you when they are getting their funding from millionaires and billionaires. they worry about their agenda and not yours. you're a veteran, yes? i'm chairman of the veterans committee. we have introduced the most offensive veterans legislation introduced in 20 years. a long way to deal with the many serious problems in the community. all of the veterans organizations reported to the floor because most of you -- most americans think it takes 51 votes to win. that doesn't. they could filibuster after filibuster. do not have favorable --
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republican votes i got -- do you know how many republican votes i got? i needed three more. to answer your question, -- look, it is not easy stuff. you have got to bring your representatives in. what is your agenda? if you're not voting for your agenda, you tell them, have a nice life. you're not getting reelected. that is what it is about. not saying it is easy. it is not. hold them accountable. >> i'm a disabled veteran from massachusetts. thank you for what you do for the veterans on the veterans committee. two quick things -- my daughter is 29 and still paying off her college. there's a lot of chatter on
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facebook with some of these people who want to pay the fine on the affordable care act and who do not want health care. she cannot file a bankruptcy. i don't think people willingly take on health care should be file a bankruptcy and the rest of us have to pay for their health care. i think there should be a two tier minimum wage. i think it is worth more to have someone work for some best to juggle schedules and things like that. it would give them less of an incentive to give employee things like walmart does. there should be a $12.50. obviously, there are exceptions, for walmart or target like that. >> thank you.
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>> i'm from new london. i have got two words in a phrase for you -- soil, water, endless warfare. in 1981, the agriculture department reported that the six feet of topsoil that covered the plains was down to two feet. the soil is going down to the gulf of mexico. it will be gone. as for the endless warfare, what do we do about the pentagon's drain on the civilian economy? r&d and job creation, and what do we do this for brave young men among whom which were two of
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my childhood best friends, sent abroad to fight and die for the sake of what i will politely call it official story. thank you. >> thank you. >> last question right here. >> i would love to see him on the ballot the next inheritor of the norman thomas program. i think we are entrenched in 19 century thinking of economy. nothing seems to improve. it just sits there. people seem to be satisfied. you have tried to engage in political conversation, but they do not want to get into it. what will it take for someone on the left? >> people are not satisfied.
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people are frustrated and they are angry. they may not know how to go forward. i have to say that these guys have done an amazingly good job in dividing people up. there dividing people up. it is on gun issues on the abortion issue and the gay issue. that is what they do. our job is to do the opposite and bring people together. [applause] let me just conclude. i want to thank you for coming out. around here we haven't had that many beautiful days. this is what american democracy is supposed to be about. let's do this all over the country. let's get millions out there
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talking about the real issues facing america. we will change this country. thank you for being here today. >> thank you for being here. >> thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> a live look at the cherry blossoms here in washington dc. herry blossom festival is that it's be great now -- is at its peak right now. it will ended this week but thundershowers are per t rejectd for tomorrow -- thundershowers are predicted for tomorrow. john boehner and seven house republicans are in afghanistan. they met with the commander of u.s. forces in afghanistan. some other members of congress are in their home districts, ohio congressman right wing from wenstrup and others tweeted --
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>> again, a picture of the cherry blossoms across the potomac. annualnt obama held the easter prayer breakfast this morning. he began this with remarks on the sunday shooting at the retirement home that led three people dead. r prayers are with the people of overland park. a gunman opened fire at two jewish facilities, the community center and a retirement home. innocent people were killed, their families were devastated, endless violence has struck at the heart of the jewish community in kansas city. victims, and grandfather and his teenage son
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attended services at the united methodist church. during my inauguration reverend prayern delivered the service at the national cathedral, and i was grateful for his presence and his words. he joins us at our breakfast the easterand at service for palm sunday last night he had to break this terrible news to his congregation. as jews were now, preparing to celebrate passover cabanas christians were observing palm sunday. it makes this tragedy all the more painful, and as passover begins, we're seeing a number of synagogues and jewish community centers date added security precautions. nobody should have to worry about their security when gathering with their fellow believers. no one should ever have to fear for their safety when they go to
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break. -- pray. as the government we're going to provide whatever assistance needed to support the investigation. as americans we need to open our hearts to the families of the jews and stand united against this type of terrible violence which has been place in our society. we have to keep coming together across faiths to combat the ignorance and intolerance, including anti-semitism that can lead to hatred and violence. where all children of god, we are all made in his image of all worthy of his love and his dignity. we see what happens when this kind of religious-based or tinged violence can rear its ugly head. it got no place in our society. to the national press club here in washington
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dc. comedian lewis black who is best known for his appearances on comedy central's "the daily show" will talk about issues. this is live coverage on c-span. of our members worldwide, i would like to welcome our speaker and those of you attending today's event will stop our head table includes guest of our speaker as well as working journalists who are club members. theuld note members of general public are attending, so it is not necessarily evidence of a lack of journalistic objectivity. i would also like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences. you can follow the action on twitter, using the #npc lunch. after our guest concludes, we will have a question and answer. . we have already received a number of good ones. let's introduce our head table
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guests and i asked each of you to stand briefly azure name is announced. mike hamblin,t, ap broadcast the rising editor. amy morris, radio anchor. pat post, reporter from defense daily. nikki schwab from u.s. news & world report. gary lynn, guest of the speaker who is the executive director of americans united for separation of church and state. larry hughes, also a guest in our speaker, retired "washington post" editor and writer. jerry's room ski, washington bureau chief of the flow news and chairman of the speakers committee and a past president of the national press club. skipping over our speaker, barb -- bob carden, a speaker and organizer of today's event.
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tori clarke, a guest of the speaker and former spokes person for donald rumsfeld. lucas masaki, reporter. director, w usa tv. [applause] it is one thing for a comedian to make you laugh. it's quite another for that comedian to make you think, make you mad, make you question authority. our guest today does all of that. lewis black's original humor with angry rants and so nervous breakdowns portray an everyday man at odds with the mass society around him. knownack is probably best for his appearances on comedy central's "ailey show." his "back in black" commentaries
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are among the shows most popular segments. ocularck lampoons culture, family values, politicians and religion. few subjects are off-limits. is that mr. black is a writer and the first performer. he's written more than 40 plays, a few books, release several comedy albums and produced and starred in numerous specials for hbo, comedy central, and others. he has also acted in the "law and order" tv series and appeared in a number of films. the son of an engineer and school teacher lewis began writing plays at springbrook high school in silver spring, maryland and in college. he attended the university of north carolina chapel hill and maintains a residence there. lived in ac, he theater commune. he earned a masters in fine arts from the yale school of drama in 1977.
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mr. black is a progressive thinker who once described himself as a socialist. beingscribed his humor as " on the titanic every single day and being the only person who knows what's going to happen." [laughter] critics and observers think mr. black belongs in the same company as those people who influenced him, george carlin, richard pryor, and lenny bruce stop one thing is for sure -- he is funnier than i am. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome lewis black to the national press club. [applause] >> if i knew there were going to be these tings i could read off of -- seriously. nobody told me there was -- i
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thought you are doing that by heart. [applause] i would have written the speech and stuff. instead, i've just got notes. andhose watching c-span public whatever you are out there, i may use profanity, so tough. [laughter] i can't work and really speak without using it and talking about some of the things i'm talking about. if i make it through the whole thing, it will be exciting for both of us. i want to thank all of you appear on the dais with me, just so i could say the word deus. it's the only time you use that word and i would like to thank my friends who joined me today and i think our absolute proof at tori to look barry lynn, i have the entire clinical spectrum of washington.
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so when people say he was right to say -- i do say i'm a socialist and i am a socialist. as powerless aut position as you can be in in the united states. i really just wanted to start with that because the idea of of maybenyone outside bernie sanders a socialist, to call obama a socialist is you've got to be out of your mind. there are seven socialist left in the country and if you want to see the leadership of the socialist party, you can go to a cemetery and find them. we have no effect. as a fact -- as a matter of fact, when i was a kid, you read i can imagine many of the history books have forgotten that evolution is a real thing, that socialism is even discussed historically.
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for my this act ground parents who are here today. father was a mechanical engineer and my mother was a schoolteacher. and they are really the ones who shape the way i look at things. if anything upsets you, they are here. [laughter] you can discuss it with them. [applause] it has been tough because i've been trying to figure out -- i have 25 minutes to speak and to actually speak to what i would speak to, you would be sitting here for an hour and a half and then you would probably leave and i would still keep talking. there really is a bunch of things i want to cover.
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my parents are the last of the middle-class families in america. i was raised middle-class. absolutely middle-class. when i hear a discussion in congress about the disappearing middle class and what needs to be done, i don't think they have a clue. i don't think they have any sense of history. i don't think they have any idea of how it works. it worked really remarkably. i don't look back at that time and go it was a golden age. tv wasn't in color until i was much older. so it wasn't that great a time. realize thatto there was a sense in the community i was and where everyone was middle-class stop there was truly a sense that
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somehow, everything would be ok. things would be taken care of. we had a thing back then, and i know this will come as a shock in washington called taxes. listen to the lack of a laugh in this room. listen to the lack of a laugh in this room. taxes. ha.a you can't even talk about it. you won't even crack a smile. it is extraordinary. to werese taxes went things like when i finished school, at the end of the school year during the summer, there was a 10 to 12 week program down the street that i walked to that was a recreation center run by montgomery county in which i
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could go there at 8:00 and go there until 5:00. called childcare. it was called get the little shit out of the house. as a result, i spent a lot of time at that place. my parents didn't have to worry. it was extraordinary. those don't exist. they may exist in pockets around the country. gone. gone. a community effort, gone. there was a high school, junior high, elementary school. we went down six times a year, not just me, the whole school, went down to watch the national symphony. that's where i learned i had no interest in classical music. [laughter] an it was arts in the school. now you have to fight to get arts in the school because nobody wants to pay for it.
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nobody wants to pay for anything anymore. that's the way i look at it. nobody wants to pay to get the things that would allow really to be a great education to children. and i had that education and we were middle-class. it wasn't some wealthy neighborhood. my parents were earning your basic kind of salary and they have health insurance. my mother taught at my high school. she was a substitute teacher there and i will tell you just that mye, the fact mother was a substitute teacher where i went to school and that i don't have asthma today is really extraordinary because that's the kind of thing that could really break a child. [laughter] but my mother was seriously funny, which has made it easy for me to deal with the other students because students would come out after a class and talk
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about how my mother had told somejackass sitting in the back row what an asshole he was. my mother would say the reason you have to learn this is because in two years, when i drive up to the sears on the corner to get my gas, i don't want you to be standing there pumping it. [laughter] i got my mother -- part of what formed the way i look at things as my parents, we would sit around with my brother, my parents, myself and walter cronkite. until a fewthought years ago that walter cronkite was a part of my family. and then my mother would go in and out of the kitchen and whatever was on the tv, she would yell about. i can't believe they are doing
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that today. just sit there and when the vietnam war acurred, i think it was profound change in my life because -- let me get this off while i remember it will stop -- while i remember it. if we are not going to have an army that is drafted so there's no kind of failsafe system thatn their system so people might respond to a war in another fashion because we are insulated from the army, it might well be considered that if you want to go to war, there will be a tax and then maybe people will think about it. that's just a thought. apparently no interest here. [laughter] my mother was immediately against the war in vietnam. my father was a mechanical
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engineer who worked for the navy department or the department of defense -- navy? the navy department. .e made sea mines see mines are a defensive weapon, for you younger member of the audience, it looks like a beach ball and has spikes and submarines at them. you put them in the water to protect your harbor from an invading ship. he listens to my mother yell on and on about this. one of the main reasons we declared war was that the decision was made over something called the gulf of tonkin resolution. which i would have googled last night but on a very busy man. know father said he didn't if the war -- the gulf of tonkin resolution was based on the geneva accords, so that we were
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going to war over these geneva accords. wasather said my mother full of it because she didn't know if this was a legitimate war or not and that he was going to sit down and read the geneva accords. anyone, do you know anyone, anywhere, a distant relative, send out e-mails today , that you know that read the geneva accords? you didn't. did you really? of course not. the geneva accords, he sat down and read them. he went to the library, he got them, he finished it and he announced there was no legal basis for us to be in vietnam. there was no legal basis to go antiwarnd so he took an stance, as did my mother.
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mainly over the legitimacy of it. during the course of the next mindears of that war, we haiphong harbor. harbor,mined haiphong we put sea mines there. so my father who was essentially building defensive weapons, his weapon was being used offensively. he decided at that point in time conscious, heod could not stay at his job. at the age of 55, he retired. that's my agent. i will have to go now. there are big things on my horizon. his retirement had a profound
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i had never because seen anybody, and i've seen few people in my life make a choice out of conscious. i've read about people and my father did it all stop and it was an extraordinary thing to do, to do it at a time in which i am in my last year of school, of college. my brother is in his first year of college, and he's going to walk away and i'm going there's the cash going to come from? away and became an artist and went ahead and did what he wanted to do, probably from the very beginning of his life, which was to do art. but you don't come out of the
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depression and go i'm going to paint. unless it was a house. it really affected choices that i made during my life. you choose what is you want to do. he was a much happier person after that. andtarted in stained glass that was becoming too much and he said he could not get as much done and he studied acting. at the age of 83, he retired as a painter. at which point i said why are you quitting? and this is the greatest thing i've ever heard any artist say and the most honest -- i've run out of ideas. mother would yell and scream about anything she found appalling. apparently there was a lot.
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them, i wastwo of of conscience, at least for myself. one of the most important lessons of my life -- do what it is you want to do. whenever i'm asked by kids what is your best advice to young person, do what you want to do. everything will fall into place. don't worry about money. don't worry about money. it's the last thing you worry about. you worry about your satisfaction is a human being. my parents lived on a very frugal budget. it was really irritating to me. i had no really proper vacations as a child. you would not believe some of the places we ended up. even a would arrive there and go
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holy god it looked better in the magazine. [laughter] result, they have survived and survived well. they are 96 and 95. [applause] my father has the same health insurance as the members of congress do. the same health insurance was given to my dad. as a result, they've been able to live nicely, not over-the-top. said, the things someone something i thought was one of the great angst about my youth will stop i had no sense nor did i care i wasn't rich.
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we lived next to a rich neighborhood in the building for eger and they had nicer lawns, but i didn't care. i couldn't imagine they had more than i did, except vacations. i know they had eger -- they had better vacations. them, just two pieces together in a quilt -- the three things that had an effect on the way i look at life that was outside of me, and the reason i think i ended up feeling the democrats and republicans really didn't work for me and that i did leave, that i did feel socialism was the way i felt about things, part of the reason i believe in socialism is because of you are going to have a christian philosophy, if that is the asis for the country you live in, and it is a christian
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philosophy and i know this , that youm a jew might want socialism because what it is is enforced christianity. you put your money where your mouth is and shut up. we're not going to wait on you to help the poor. you're going to help the poor, like it or not. ski.hski shit three things had an effect on the and my folks. one is edward armour wrote's documentary. no concept of this. i was 12 years old and lived a really sheltered life in a really nice community. all of the sudden, i'm looking at the people who are the ones picking the food and gathering it and getting it to market and they are living in squalor and
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they are not getting paid for it. and i'm going there is something wrong with this picture. that makes no sense. raised at aorn and time -- here is another sidebar. when you take a look at this city and they talk about downsizing the federal government, because that's the most important thing that possibly has to happen is to make government smaller. you're going to make government smaller, watch what happens to washington dc. why do you think it's out there? what do you think the motor is behind all of those restaurants? it's the government. it's the federal government. the federal government combined with all the lobbyists coming in -- do you think it is taurus? out -- are you out of your goddamned mind? when i was a kid and was smaller, this did not exist.
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and lower --dward hoo ha. andhad small downtown area behind the capital were the worst slums in the united states will stop the worst. i know this because the washington post every two years when i was a kid would show a photo of the capital and it would be a big photo and behind it there would just be slum after slump after slum. that had a profound effect on me. then my mother -- i don't know if she did it consciously or didn't want to leave me alone in the house because she knew i might earn it down. we had a housekeeper who would come once a week and she would drive her home into the slums of washington. whyid not compute for me
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she had to live like that and we could live like this or why the people -- how congressman could sit there and see that and watch that and nothing would change. , in part, the great society came into being in part because of lyndon johnson sitting there. anybody with half a whit of sense looking out that window would have to think maybe we should do something. you were looking at one of the that worked in an anti-poverty agency. in washington dc. know try tords -- i comprehend this -- an anti-poverty agency will stop the mind reels. imagine that all stop an agency
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of the federal government which would hopefully try to change poverty, not by saying -- and this was the appellation regional commission -- due to some sort of mistake in my civil service application under the nixon administration, i got through and i got a job there. they were going to raise up -- they did some good wings for -- for appalachia, but the idea that was basically proposed in terms of raising the --ital in appalachia and the and improve the living of the citizens there was to build golf courses.
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once again. i expected a better laugh. because it's true. i didn't make it up. golf courses. they were going to build 16 golf courses there and make appalachia a place you would take a vacation. my family wouldn't, but others would go and i was stunned by this. it was amazing to me that attempt was made in some fashion or another as opposed to hoping and praying that an entrepreneur shows up on the scene. if i hear another thing about entrepreneurs and the fact that what we really need are more entrepreneurs -- how do you asshole?t happens,
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how does an entrepreneur happen? it's some shamokin has a learning disorder that's totally focused on something you would never obsess about. hard to find them. you don't have a school. there's one in chapel hill and i've told the guy who runs it that he's full of it. and entrepreneurship school. you can teach somebody who has an idea what to do with the idea. but to say it all going to be done from the private sector is psychotic. what truly irritates me about this town more than anything else is how simple it is. takethat simple am a you -- you look your the private sector needs, you look at the government should do in terms of facilitating it and you've got two parties, both have a different ideology and if you come to a compromise between those two parties, you actually have a solution.
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the is nonsense, to watch fact that jobs are not being created. just the beltway alone was old by idiots and it continues to be just a piece of shit. [applause] and you live with it. you live with it. there are ways to get things done. these people actually have to sit down and do it and the fact that you live here, your job should be, you should quit your jobs and just go and stand around congress and say you're not coming out until some shit gets done. is that 25 minutes? [laughter] [applause]
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mom, you want to stand up? here are my folks. [applause] that was actually -- she did that on her own. she's a trained in this. trained gymnast. >> how is the first doing in our country? goodm doing pretty fucking with it. [laughter] >> do you get more material from republicans or democrats?
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are equal opportunity. now i get a little more from the republicans than normal. it usually depends -- the interesting thing is when bush left office, a constant thing wasn't what are you going to do now? i said just because bush left office it doesn't mean stupidity fled the country. so i always look to both sides. between them is the republicans say really kind of stupid wings from time to time. sorry, is funny. when you hear something stupid, you laugh. democrats are dumb. when you hear something dumb you just go why did you say that? [laughter] >> are you disappointed with president obama either as president or as a source for
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comic material? withm not as disappointed president obama because i never bought into hope. [laughter] age where hope just doesn't work for me. hope is a young man's game. because iisappointed did not expect anyone who took the presidency after the eight years we had gone through and the war that we went through that the next president was going to be dealing with the country as if -- and i certainly would hitw the shit the fan in terms of the economy. but dealing with the american people would be like dealing with a stroke victim. the best entertained president could hope for was to get the country to raise its right hand. to the nextds me question.
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who would you like to see as president and why? >> in terms of material? nothing would give me a greater pleasure than ted cruz and sarah palin. it would be a heinous time to live through, but i think i could sell out stadiums. [laughter] [applause] >> what advice would you give to hillary clinton regarding how she could win the presidency? >> i'm sure she will be listening to this will stop -- listening to this. when you are looking to political advice, you really want to turn to me. i think one thing that would help as geoeye for a while. get out of the public view and then pop out again and then we go oh, that's right, she's going to run. cycle,ust comes that
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over and over and over again. by the time she's going to run, you go she just irritates the shit out of me. it's not that she's irritating, i've just seen her too much. where is deputy dog? >> chris christie wants to be president. what advice would you give him? >> lose 80 pounds. ha.a seriously. panx.ere -- or wear s i like that kind of shoot from the hip style. it's nice, but you are going to have to make some tracks because your shoot from the hip style had an effect on what happened in terms of the george washington bridge incident.
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it may be good for you, but it's like i can have the folks -- i have a number of people who work for me. personalitye yakking and stuff, i can have people working for me acting like me. [laughter] >> when cbs hired stephen colbert last week to replace david letterman, rush limbaugh war "cbs has just declared on the heartland of america. going to be comedy a covert assault on traditional american values will stop now it's just white out in the open." what is your take on what mr. limbaugh said? >> that's the kind of sentence
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that is stroke inducing. i go through that paragraph and about halfway through, there's a slight twitch of the i and i can feel it blood vessel beginning to pump too much will stop he's an idiot. he is really just a mean-spirited prick. an assault on america -- let me see that. [laughter] -- here is how big an assault it is going to be on american values. colbert has five children, happily married, has a was still hanging in with the cap flick church when people were fleeing en masse. -- the catholic church. he doesn't know shit.
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withat is it like to work jon stewart. what it'suld ask jon like to work with me. he's great. he's smart. i've known him since we were both breaking into the clubs and he took off really quickly and i've watched his career. we have been friends in the sense of office friends. we don't hang out, but we respect what each other does and i consider it a pleasure to work with them. he is brilliant, which is really irritating. what is your thought on colbert replacing letterman? should stewart have been considered? jon.will ask i don't even know if he was considered.
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i don't know if he would have taken it. jon directed a movie recently and he writes. he's written a book -- i think j on is looking around for things. i think if the movie went well, he may end up with that. but stephen is kind of born to it. , i choice of stephen colbert wrote to him every so often they get it right. that's one of the few times i went that's right. >> is your father a better painter than george w. bush? >> my father, if you actually watch, one of the things i neglected to mention, i did two specials and one of them we literally took a painting of his and turned it into a three-dimensional set that i
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worked on. 2, last one, which is on may which i use a lot more profanity for those of you who panicked over those words. painting ofl-scale his that we blew up. he's a much better painter. he is a hard edged obstructionist. go home and look that up. i still don't know what the fuck it means. --s is how i know he is good when he started bringing the stuff home, i started saying my father has lost his mind will these squares and rectangles and all different colors. who is your favorite artist, i asked. mondrian. you know who that is? he made squares of colors. what kind of painter is that. color better than him. it was brilliant. after studying his paintings for
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25 years, he's brilliant. >> how do you respond to critics who say you've destroyed their will to live in our society? [laughter] >> i would like to meet them. if i've destroyed anybody's will maybee in our society, life wasn't for you. [laughter] >> do you think we should charge people for health care by the pound? oh, boy come in a bad question. -- that that question. right now, considering what i way, yes.
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with what i way, it would work out pretty well. i don't think we should do that. no. not by the pound. i only said that because there were so many sad people in the audience. >> at your passover seder -- [laughter] seder, are your the wise son, the bad son, or the sun who is unable to inquire? >> i'm the son who didn't make it home. knowu know the seder, you they put out a cup of wine for elijah and there's a seat for elisha and he never shows up. i'm elisha. -- i'm elijah. elijah leads people to the messiah. >> i'm out looking.
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[laughter] he's not at the target. >> donald trump will be at this dais soon. >> no. >> may 27. >> i've got to see him. >> what would you say to him? >> i would say to donald trump -- i did a thing on ronald trump about three years ago on the daily show. member when can or it was, but it wasn't nice to stop it was funny. that's what i would say to you is next. about having him here. call from his secretary and says donald trump wants to talk to you after i did this
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thing, the next day. i was really busy and my parents were coming to town. i got my assistant to call his assistant and say i'm a busy man. and i'm thinking -- then he called the next day. ting? say are you shit i'm a comic and have too much to do. you're an entrepreneur, how can you have time? so i say don't call me again. is he going here -- to speak? no. i don't ring -- he has had his time. got through -- when he its with the birther thing, self advertising.
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you are allowing self advertising. i did not bring my cds here today. [applause] >> should the redskins change their name? >> yes. i think they should. [applause] -- how sadand raised applause was that? everybody also still on the fence. i don't know. maybe when we get home we will talk about it. interesting is you are born and raised here and have .een a redskins fan all my life it's not got any connotation to me at all. it doesn't mean anything. it really means nothing to me. it's just a name. i see it on the helmet and it's just been there for so long.
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but in terms of the reality of things, everybody in the room knows if it was the washington jews, people would say we are going to have to change that. what dan snyder has done with team on any level whatsoever and he's one of the i'veirritating years watched in sports. year after year after year, let's pay $100 million for somebody who's just going to lie down on the bench for three hours. let's get stephen spurrier -- are you kidding me? i knew stephen spurrier was not going to be a good football coach, what the hell do you have for brains? then daniel snyder said he was going to keep the redskins name and since that's what he wants, i'm dead set against it.
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[applause] >> should anthony weiner change his name? >> no. do a joke about anthony weiner -- if you didn't have your own joke, you really need to see a doctor. anthony weiner is one of the few somebody shames himself in public and the something awful and then go away for three or four years and they come back and everybody is like what did he do, i'd are member, he looks better now and seems nicer and much more christian than he was before. thatou usually leave for amount of time. he didn't. i believe anthony weiner could leave forever and it would make no difference. he could leave for 10 years and when he comes back and you see that knows, you just go there he is again. it's not his name.
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>> how did you rate eric holder's asked age impression of you? >> eric holder did a really great impression of me. of havingly thinking him do my next two performances. just to see if my audience even notices. >> what really makes you mad? >> kind of what i was talking about earlier, i think. stupidity really makes me mad. like you see the word legitimate rape. that sends me around the bend. i don't even come back for a day , i'm like a barking dog. -- or that thing
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when somebody says something like when you are raped, the woman will reject -- you just when did they stop teaching science? that stuff really. is ourally makes me mad educational system is 17th in the world and i think in the course of my lifetime, my tookation, to its credit the greatest education system in america and got it to 17th. i think we can get it to the 25th by the time i drop dead will stop -- dropdead. >> did you always set up to be a comedian or satirist? >> i set out to work in the american theater will stop --
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american theater. my parents would take me to see plays at what was initially the shubert theater, where they would bring in shows, so i got sawee all of these -- i shows before they would go into new york and then that got me intrigued. we would go to new york and they would take me to shows and then my father got tired of seeing mainstream stuff so he takes me at the age of 15 emily go down to the washington theater club real was the first initial step forward. beckette doing stuff by and he's taking a 15-year-old down there. it was great stuff, so i got hooked on it. then i wrote plays. that's where i thought i would be. i thought i would be a playwright. then i discovered the fastest way your play could be read as if you actually took your play and put it in a bottle and then
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if you threw it in the potomac river, eventually someone would find it. i was pretty sure once they got to play out of the bottle, they would read it. >> what do you do for fun? i call my parents and pretend i'm somebody else. to keep them on their toes. , i try to read a bit. when i'm in new york, i try to spend as much time with my and if i get an chance to go to a show or watch somebody else work, that's always thrilling. golf, i wouldn't call it fun, but your brain doesn't
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think about anything but stupid wings. -- anything but stupid things. what is that joke going to be and are you going to talk about that today. i've got your member when i swing, i have to river to breathe in through my ass. >> aside from your mother and father, who inspired you as a youth? friends were, my all interesting. interesting people. they were at the time and they were all really funny. -- mys one for you parents were really great. in my youth, they did not really do anything.
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hovered over they me. where are you going now? i would come home and my mother would say it's nice to see you, now go away. go play with people. she did not track down who i was playing with and stuff. able to get,i was unbeknownst to them, and i don't know why they never looked at it . my mother will say i'm lying afterwards, but i got a thing called the realist written by somebody named paul krasner. it came like it was pornography. thing in a brown folder and they would not open it. i would grab it and open it up and it had a huge effect on me. i was 14 or 15. i won't repeat what is it all stop i've written about it in my book. one of the things he had is i
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opened up the second issue i got or 16,re was -- i'm 15 and there's all the disney characters done by a guy from disney, an artist, and they are all doing the most perverse things you can imagine. mickey is shooting up. -- for somebody who is worn and raised on davy crockett, this put everything into perspective. that really shook up my world. martin luther king, the marx john kennedy in the kid, youwhen you are a look at them and it's like he's great and you actually want to
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hear what he has to say. that was extraordinary. people, fulbright, wayne morris, i have an endless list. carlin, bruce, all of them, bob newhart. there are others. you can go to my website. that was the penultimate question and thank you for the expansive answer. we are almost out of time, but before i ask you the last question, we have a couple of housekeeping matters to take a -- to take care of. first of all, i would like to remind everybody that there are some upcoming events that we already mentioned. nextirst, on april 21, monday, debra hershman, the outgoing chairman of the national transportation safety board will give her farewell address at a national press club breakfast. on april 23, the u.s. air force chief of staff come in general
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mark welsch will discuss the future of your forced. on may 27 them as we revealed a few minutes ago, donald trump, president of the trump organization will speak at a luncheon, just like our guest today. presentwould like to our guest with the traditional national press club mug. >> i'm going to sell it to my parents. [laughter] >> i'm going to arrange that we give a mug to your parents. so don't leave without it all -- don't leave without it. we will arrange to mugs for your parents. the last question. stewartesume that jon is watching here on c-span. please explain to him why he should speak at a national press club luncheon all stop lexi won't do it? >> maybe he will take advice from you.
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lewis here. you are really do want to do this. unbelievable. to think i've been here an hour and i'm getting $150,000. i had access to a really nice condo downtown right across from the verizon center. free tickets to the caps and wizard games and every meal was, by the press club. juste you a credit card, take it. you really want to do it. you should do it because you will get a kick out of this. you really will. if you do do it, i need 10%. [applause] >> thank you so much for coming today.
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we have three minutes. >> this is going to be really fast. appreciate it's a privilege to speak here. i didn't know who i would be speaking to. i don't know who you are or why you showed up all stop what i was honored to be here and also , thet wanted you to know only other thing i want to mention is, and i mean this, i and thereuso tour's is a big bill coming from the military. we have a lot to pay for for that war in terms of what those folks went through. you are going to have to pony up. about it.nd, or butts a lot of attention has to be paid to these people. spent a lot of time with them and their sacrifices are
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unbelievable. if every american had 10% of the sacrifice of those in the military, we have no problems in this country today. thanks. [applause] >> thank you. thank you all for coming today. thank you for watching on c-span and tuning in. i would also like to thank the national has club staff, including the institute and broadcast center for organizing today's event. if you would like to get a copy of today's program and there will probably be a lot of requests for copies of today's program, or to get more information about the national press club, please check out our website. thank you. we are adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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atcoming up on seas and two 2:30 p.m. eastern, about half an hour from now, the former ambassador will join villa the council -- the atlantic council. he will be able to see that an c-span2 started at 2:30 p.m. eastern,-span at 3:00


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