tv Book TV After Words CSPAN December 25, 2009 10:00am-11:00am EST
who decorated the white house for christmas. this is about 10 minutes. >> please enjoy,, michelle obama and -- ladies and gentleman, michelle >> hello. good afternoon. welcome to the white house and happy holidays. thanks to all of you for joining us today as we preview how we will mark the holidays at the white house. like many years past, we have been planning this day since this summer. our starting point was a very simple idea, that we include as many people and as many places in as many ways as we can.
we decided to do something different. we took about 800 ornaments left over from previous administrations and sent them to 60 local community groups and ask them to decorate them to pay tribute to a favorite local landmark, and send them back to us for display at the white house. today, thanks to the east wing and residence staff, and 92 volunteers who spent more than 3400 hours decorating over the last several days, we have ornaments hanging on the tree throughout the white house and ever were else that includes the statue of liberty, mount rushmore, the kennedy center space center, as well as davy crockett park in tennessee, pompeii's pillar, and the lincoln park zoo in chicago.
we also have one of our favorite traditions on display, the gingerbread masterpiece by our brilliant chef and his team. this year we included something different. in addition to the gingerbread white house we also have the white house kitchen garden on the south lawn, a shadow box that lets you look into the gingerbread white house and view the dining room. there is also a boat replica, so that is a new edition. we opened the doors last night to the first of more than 50,000 visitors who will come to the white house during this holiday season, and is safe to say everyone was really impressed. i heard you all party in last night. you had a great to time. for many people a visit to the
white house is a once-in-a- lifetime experience. is it is made more magical because of your hard work. i want to take a moment to thank our volunteers who spent so much time making this white house a special treat. we hope you had as good a time as it sounded like last night. your work has transformed the white house which is the people's house. we are grateful for everything you have done to make this a special treat for all of us. i want to take a moment to talk about why we chose this year's theme which is reflect, rejoiced, and renewed. for the obama family, christmas has always been a time to reflect on our many blessings, to rejoice in the pleasure of spending time with family and friends, and renew our
commitment to one another and the causes we believe end. i wanted to continue that during our first holiday season at the white house. this year has been filled with an infinite number of blessings for me and my family. i say this all the time but every day i am honored to be the first lady. from the day my family arrived here i wanted the american people to share in our journey, to share in the excitement that makes the white house such a special landmark in this nation. that is why we have worked so hard to invite as many people as possible to events at the white house. we have tried to showcase talents and contributions of our artists and students and masters of -- ordinary citizens of every age. the idea has been to create an
environment where every story is a welcome and the white house and for all of us to rejoice in their accomplishments and celebrate contributions. in the new year we intend to renew this effort and continue this average so that everyone feels like they have a place here at the white house. i know many people approach the holidays in the same way in their own lives. at this time of year for so many people they are looking for opportunities to give banks and give back. we are doing the same thing -- to give thanks. we are doing the same thing this year. we are supporting local food banks and the taurus -- the toys for tots program. hunter is on the rise in this
country. a recent report reveals that in 2008 an estimated 1.1 million children were living in households that experience under multiple times over this year. -- that experienced hunger multiple times. no family should have to worry that they will not have food on the table, not just during the holidays but every day. to combat hunger in coordination with the u.s. department of agriculture, we are launching the united we surf feed a neighbor initiative. -- united we serve feed a neighbor program. this is a great way for you and all americans to give back not
just during the holidays but throughout the year. by going to serve.gov, this program will connect americans to delivering meals to homebound seniors, offering professional skills at a food pantry or planning a community garden. we are pleased to be supporting me toys for tots program. i have had the privilege of missing servicemen and women and -- privilege of visiting servicemen and women. each time i visit a base or meet with members of the armed forces i am struck not just by the sacrifices they and their families make to serve our country, but by all they do to help others in their own communities.
the u.s. marine corps reserve toys for tots program is a great example of how servicemen and women are doing even more than just serving our country and in uniform. for more than 62 years marines have distributed more than 400 million toys to more than 188 million needy children. in 2008 the program was active in at 657 communities in all 50 states, pr -- puerto rico and the virgin islands. they destroyed it toys to 7.6 million children. i am thrilled this year that the white house staff will be supporting these efforts with the toy drive to make the holiday is brighter for children. the headquarters is located outside of marine corps base
quantico and i look forward to visiting to personally deliver it toys that we collect here at the white house. these are just two ways we will be marking the holidays here at the white house. the president and i are urging everyone to join us in these efforts or to find some way to give back some time during this season. on behalf of the obama family, i wish all of you a joyous holiday season. it is my pleasure to introduce toys for tots president, lieut. general pete osmond will provide additional information. thank you very much. so good to have you. >> thank you. the first lady really said is right when she said that service members serve our country in so
many ways. not only overseas and some hazardous areas, but also on the home front. for the last 62 years marines have been collecting and distributing toys to less fortunate children to help bring to them the joy of christmas and send a message of hope for those children. as she said, the program has been around for 62 years, started in 1947 with a single campaign in los angeles. in that year marines collected 5000 toys and distributor -- distributed them to less fortunate children in that area. this year we are conducting 691 local campaigns in cities all across the nation in all 50 states and the virgin islands and puerto rico as well.
last year we are able to distribute 16.2 million toys to over 7 million children. we could not do this without the work of the marines behind me and all across our country, our thousands of volunteers, but most importantly from the support we get from the american public. this year we all know the demand for toys will increase. we expect a huge demand and we want to meet it. we don't want to see a child wake up without something under their christmas tree, so we are appealing to the american public to make that difference that we need. mrs. obama, i want to thank you for your efforts on our behalf
and the collection of toys that will take place here. i want to thank you for the great support you are giving the entire campaign across the nation this year. i would ask all americans to join mrs. obama, the marines standing behind me and those all over the country in helping to collect toys that we need to bring the joint of christmas and -- to bring the joy of christmas to less fortunate children. thank you again, mrs. obama. it is only 23 days until christmas. [laughter] >> thank you again for being here. enjoy the house. thank you for your help. happy holidays. take care. [applause]
>> a rare glimpse into america's highest court threw unprecedented conversations with 10 supreme court justices about the court and the history of the supreme court building. five days of interviews with supreme court justices starting monday on c-span. get your own copy of our documentary on the beat the. it is part of the american icons -- a copy of our documentary on dvd. it is available at c-span.org >> now available is -- now available isc-span's book on abraham lincoln. from his early years to his life in the white house and his relevance today. abraham lincoln, at your
favorite bookseller and now on digital audio. learn more at c-span.org /lincolnbook. >> "the economist" magazine hold an event earlier this month. we will hear from a panel that includes david gregory, eric cantor and joseph lockhart. this lasts about an hour. [applause] >> please welcome daniel franklin, eric cantor, joseph lockhart, adam boulton, and david gregory. [applause]
>> pete has taken you around the world wants and we will go around the world but start with this country. let me introduce our panelists first of all. congressman eric cantor, very familiar to everyone not just in this town but this country. republican whip and a busy year ahead of him. joseph lockhart was chief spokesman for the clinton white house and is now a founding partner of the [unintelligible] which is a large and flourishing specialist in media relations, and very familiar around this town as well. adam boulton is a familiar face
on british television but knows his way around washington as well. he was here for the first 100 days of the obama administration, but he is also one of the most experienced and respected commentators on not only british politics but politics around the world. last but not least, david gregory who is the host of "meet the press." a chance to thank you for allowing us to be present at your program yesterday. thank you very much. congressman, i imagine that we are sitting here one year from now and you are looking back on 2010. apart from the her wrote republican victory in the midterms, what would be the highlights of the political year? >> if we are looking back one
year from now the story has to pay the progress -- the story has to be the progress made on the jobs front. this has been a year in 2009 about whether washington will focus on getting americans back to work. if i look at where we have been in the last 11 months, i remember the instance when i was meeting with the president in january. it was said by both parties that we would do everything we could to try to get this economy going again. what has been so baffling to me is how is it that we continue to say we are putting jobs first but we see the kinds of proposals that continue to be revealed that don't help people get back to work. today in the news very much is
the issue of climate change and cap and trade. and the promotion of that effort. now we see an effort to declare a public endangerment of carbon emissions. that has sent shock waves through industry and through the job creators. we have a situation where there is a disconnect between the proposals being pushed by this administration over the last year, and i am fearful the same thing will occur in 2010. we all want to get americans back to work. i think long-term we will look back and see what this town has done about the deficit we are facing. people understand the credit card is maxed out and there are limited options.
you can borrow from the chinese or raise taxes. neither of which help the primary concern of americans, which is getting back to work. i gave a speech last week of proposals we can take that don't cost anything to try to help this economy. if we live in that direction, maybe november will turn at tivoli. -- if we move in that direction. people in this country have a real sense of pessimism because they are scared and they don't see leadership addressing their concerns. president obama was elected because he said we needed change. what people want now this certainty. >> as an outsider coming into
america i am struck by the fundamental optimism of this country. what you are describing speaks to a grumpy mood next year. do you think that is right? will we see the optimistic upside of america on display as well? >> we saw a part of this administration that said, it has been 11 months, maybe we ought to talk about jobs and the kinds of issues people face around the kitchen table, which is worrying about college tuition or if they can retire early. if jobs is the key to that maybe we should take encouragement. what i did not hear was the recognition on the part of the white house that we ought to do something to reduce the price of risk. that is what we are counting on
to create jobs need to hear. until we see some focus on the number one issue, which is economic security, i am fearful we may see a grumpy electorate. >> are you fearful or do you want it? >> will your thanksgiving table next year be more cheerful? >> thankfully i am not running for everything so there is a lot i can disagree with. we can turn this into cable television quickly and that is not good for anybody. there are some analogous circumstances to where we were in 1993. if you have a difficult economic
situation, much worse than when president clinton took over. what you have seen this year is a lot of tough decisions made. this president did not want to save big banks, that is not why he ran for president. i don't think he wanted to run deficits, but the economy had to get going. how quickly do all of these things -- how quickly will they turn the economy? it will turn, i am optimistic about the future. i don't think we have seen our best days. if it does not turn quickly enough -- last week was a good first step but we will see steps forward and backwards. it will be tough if it does not turn quickly for our incumbents.
>> one of the issues for the democrats is motivating the base at a time when things might be rough and you don't have the excitement of any presidency. how do you see that? >> midterm elections are difficult for the incumbent party. this is a country that is grumpy and looking for a solution to difficult problems. if there was an instant solution i assume president bush would have done it before he left. we were talking about -- democrats in 2008 made significant advances on how to motivate people through technology. whether that can be built upon
for 2010, if it can that is a big advantage. i am certain republicans have their own plans. we tend to leapfrog each other. >> do you feel the democrats [unintelligible] >> i worked for john kerry for a couple of months in 2004. i was surprised by how much smarter the republican campaign once. in 2008 republicans were surprised by what's -- by what democrats were able to do. i think democrats on paper have an advantage. a couple of years in the wilderness is a motivator. if we don't have that advantage,
that points to a tough year. >> you are familiar with america but coming with an outsider perspective. he spent a lot of time here at the beginning of the obama administration. what do you see the dynamics next year? >> i am not sure the midterm elections will matter that much. i think the rest of the world already perceives the president is having a great deal of trouble with congress with trying to get through what he wants to get through. i suspect just as president obama gets the nobel prize, the assumption could be the wrong one, is that he looks like a two-term president. they tend to go for two terms.
i think there is still in europe a tremendous amount of goodwill and feeling that the economic crisis has been handled well. the government's in britain and america have behaved in a similar way which makes it paradoxical i would agree with congress, -- agreed that gordon brown will lose the election. that is partly because of the fact they are tired with the incumbent government. its effect of time for change. gordon brown is on charismatic. -- gordon brown is unchar
ismatic. there is another factor which we have not mentioned it sufficiently, which is bad britain has turned dramatically against the post-9/11 conflict. there are 100 casualties in afghanistan for britain this year. that is the highest number, and that has poisoned politics for the incumbent governor. tony blair is a viciously unpopular in britain. there is no section of society where you mention his name and people don't -- people almost spit at the mention of his name. it is not surprising he spent so much time abroad. >> there are other reasons for
that. >> what most people want for christmas is they would love the -- they would love tony blair to be convicted. it is expressing itself in [inaudible] >> in this blessed world we live and you are describing a situation where it is probably news that tony blair is so unpopular in britain. [unintelligible] >> obama was certainly more popular abroad. >> president obama is still much more popular abroad and his popularity has not rubbed off abroad to the extent it has in this country. the reputations don't travel as quickly as you might think
others travel. cracks it is because of democracy. if you have rival party is going -- international politics, there is a bunch of leaders in office. it does not matter where they come from ideologically. the other factor is that we are at the end of an era where people make political assumptions that the market was good and it could sort out a lot of the problems that the world faced. now there is realization what we call a state, has a bigger role
at a time when the government can find the money to occupy that bigger role and has to rely on individual responsibility. that is the question we have been talking about, that balance between private enterprise and the role of the central state. >> how do you think it has been in the past? what has been the dynamic of discourse in washington? what momentum will be approaching in 2010 as the political temperature heats up? >> new president's understand it
is a tough place to change coltrane late. there is limits to what presidents can do with their own coalition even within their party. then they run at the ambition of the other party. i think congressman cantor does well. there are what republicans will take into battle in the midterm year, which is a look at the status quo. they are not a party of ideas because they don't want to be. i think they will move into a time where they will get more aggressive in presenting contrast, but now they are happy to say look at the unemployment and the deficit. they will do this to say look at the status quo.
i think the discourse got off to a bad start. the white house underestimated how difficult health care would be as a matter of public debate. they could have taken a closer look at how quickly the debate can be sidetracked during the clinton administration and how the opposition chose to go about it. the president was irritated at the response in his press conference when he held forth and explained the remedies of the health-care system. the question came up about professor gates. the president was irritated that was the take away. he didn't realize he was not breaking through, which is difficult to understand.
i think the this course will continue -- i think the discourse will continue. there is a reason why congress is never popular, they are involved in the ugliest process. presidents are evaluated by achievement. when the president -- when he gets health care passed, you will see that become more popular, but he needs some achievement. >> let's suppose health care does happen. what does the agenda of move on to? there is still climate change. >> they will talk about that. it is about jobs.
last week was an interesting juxtaposition. i think jobs are more likely to define him. if you look at the recession in the early 1980's, it dropped within seven months to single digits. that was perfect in time for the election. the democrats -- they need this under their leadership. in 2004 karl rove said to president bush, if the question is terrorism the answer is george bush. that worked. it termed a viet nam war
veteran into someone tough enough to take on the terrorists. the democrats have to find a way to turn this in a better direction by the midterm point. >> could i come back to you on something joe said, that somehow in this constantly changing battle the democrats moved ahead in terms of their use of technology. what can we expect from the republican party in the midterm? >> i think the best place to look is in virginia new jersey in the gubernatorial elections. i know in virginia wheat out surpassed -- we outsurpassed the vote -- it is coupled with a
very disciplined campaign led by bob mcdonnell. cho is correct, the motivation of those out of party -- joe is correct. on also think that it has to do with real challenges. people have problems at home. when you look at unemployment and it is at a 10%. they say the unofficial rate, is working part-time jobs or giving up is probably closer to 20%. that is extraordinary. everybody who is not out of a job knows someone who is. when you see a candidate like bob mcdonnell put forth a vision
to say i will be the jobs governor and translate that vision. i will take an issue with david his says we don't talk about issues. we don't think it is a sexy of a story to cover our ideas now. the president [inaudible] it is their agenda which is now -- >> what is the big idea ? >> the big idea is to produce an environment where we can have job creation. that is where the obama administration policy agenda disadvantages democrats in the upcoming election and advantages us. the same was true in virginia.
>> they're all are to nevitt ideas -- there are alternative ideas. there is discussion about a need for a second contract with america. maybe they wait until 2012, but right now the republican party wants to say, did the prosecution prove its case? away from the substance is the sheer politics. what is it that republicans want to be? i don't think they have worked that out. is it bob mcdonnell and virginia? or is it sarah palin and 2012? there is a process where republicans have to decide what is the way back? >> i know for myself i very much
believe is in the role of bob mcdonnell. i don't think it is so clear-cut we could do one or the other. if you look at what he stood for, he was very conservative on all issues. he focused his principles of free market and limited government on the kitchen table issues plaguing virginia voters and began to represent a leader that could deliver some results. >> there is a broader problem that is a trend with a disgruntled oppositionist right -- we have the uk independence
party opposed to europe. australia has had the opposition conservative party just allis its leader for supporting climate change. we have one in italy and here we have glenn beck and rush limbaugh. it seems like there is a clear and turmoil on the right -- there is a clear turmoil. >> there are a lot of voices in both parties and there is a different motive in terms of those in the media than those of us who owe it to our constituents to live up to promises made. i think you are right in that people are castoff in this country -- people are pissed off in this country. as people are out of work they
become more enraged with government. >> if you want to talk employment -- if you want to talk about unemployment you do not want to talk about obama being a racist. >> people are looking for leadership and they don't care about that issue. >> when you have that put on the agenda that is a problem. >> i want to make this a less partisan and talk about history. my history does not kopach. law but i remember the 1990 costs where we made a budget deficit and made a surplus. we gave that to the republicans and lost the surplus. the unemployment rate did not start at 0 in january of this year. this was the financial mismanagement that went on for a decade.
the president is doing his best to turn that around. that is my partisan speech. elections are not about history, they are about the moment. one of the reasons obama was collected was people thought, he seems to be promising, he is different than the bum we want to throw out. the same with clinton and jimmy carter. it is a tough year for the incumbents. just to pick up on what did it was saying, one positive sign for democrats this election is not to let. [laughter] because i don't think the president is responsible for these problems but he ownes them. it goes to work democrats and republicans are as far as what their leadership is.
democrats have an advantage that they do have the presidency. it is what is interesting looking at democrats is the reaction to the afghanistan speech. half of the party in congress did not support that speech, but they are going to move forward and they will be with the president. if you look at the midterm elections, there is more of a struggle. it is the scariest thing in the world to me that these people will use common sense and take a candidate and emphasize his strengths. and you also have new york 23 where republicans won the election and overplayed their hand because there is part of the party that believes being
practical does not make sense, you have to be on the far right. that struggle will play out over the next year. your group may when but they may lasik -- but they may lose, too. >> i want to escape from the american perspective. we have had the most extraordinary recession, if you could think there would be trends you could observe in response to that. that would be anti-incumbency or would swing to the right. it is hard to detect global trends. some incumbents have got back and. if anything, brokers have tended to swing to the conservative in
the british traditional sense of the word, not towards the right. what do you see? >> there are some other trends cannot taxes have gone up in both britain and the u.s. -- there are some trends, taxes have gone up. a lot of the european countries are not that far behind. my feeling is this is a certain realization of the limits of what government can do in those countries where the government assumed a bigger role. i was at a meeting with a member of kamron's team and summitt
said that was fantastic -- and member of cameron's team. what we are not hearing in the general election but will happen afterwards is [unintelligible] it will be real cuts in spending. i think we will see it that across the spectrum. >> i spoke to a prominent person in american finance who said the real question are around the world is, what is, on in america? in asia that has been the case for awhile. china has had a sense of growing american weakness. they feel they have more leverage over the u.s. and the less inclined to be supportive on other political areas like iran and north korea. lots of south america and latin
america. europe is having a hard time, but they questioned this person said is, what happened to capitalism? this talk of regulation, the bailouts, there is a fear about where america is headed. you see that reflected in our major companies who don't like uncertainty about health-care reform and energy policy. i have spoken to ceo's who say where is the impetus for economic growth? this is a point of tension as the administration is trying to jump-start the private sector to create jobs. i think one of the trends on the policy side is there is a question about the role of government with regard to the economy worldwide. a lot of that is looking at the
u.s. and wondering what is happening. >> the outside world always looks to america, particularly at this time. we heard from peter about elections in iraq and brazil. you will be taking up with your own campaigns. are there any lessons you can pick up from other campaigns that have just been fought and around the world? >> if you look at south america, maybe there is a lesson there. take a look at what happened in your client last week -- what happened in uraguay last week. he committed to the voters that he saw himself in the fashion of governing like brazil, not like hugo chavez in venezuela.
contrary to some of the trends in europe and elsewhere where we may see a backlash, and in the u.s. going towards a conservative end of the spectrum, i think that election points to the fact that people will alleged leaders that can produce results for them. if you are good for people and is more in tune with market- based policies from an economic standpoint that will recognize human rights, i think those are themes that can produce a somewhat different way, very much grounded in what we call the common-sense conservative outlook that started back with the founders in the 18th- century. i think you may see a trend again, deliverable spawned by a hearing to market-based
principles -- spawned by adhering to market-based principles. >> i think for next year there will be this growing trend that is boring but very significant, which is the fact that teh g-20 is the -- the g-20 will be the global economic regulator. it is a major shift in what was the [unintelligible] >> two g-20 summits are next year. can i ask one final question and we will go to the floor? europe, not something that people spend too much time worrying about, but there was a
famous kissinger question, europeans have agonized for eight years over -- it was no longer called a constitutional treaty which has given them a so-called president and high representative. they have chosen people in these roles which are described as people and nobody has ever heard of. does anybody care about europe as an entity? has anybody answered the kissinger question for america? >> i think it is an evil thing question. >> can you name the president of europe? >> [inaudible] i know who wants to be the president. >> he did not get it. >> i know.
i think it is not a pressing question because europe is a trusted place in this country. we did not agonize very long about going into a military conflict in europe in the last decade because it was europe. while there were exponentially more devastating genocide committed in africa. i am not taking a position, it is a way of highlighting the deep connections. little think we worry much about europe. as europe -- i don't think we worry much about europe. as they become more powerful i think we made. i don't think the average american thinks in -- thinks of europe in the way europeans want them to. >> the obama administration in
europe is that he has taken his allies for granted in focusing on reaching out to some parts of the world where relations have been more complicated. there could be a reaction by europeans. he will need allies in afghanistan. >> that goes to the previous question. one of the reasons there is not a trend right al is that the u.s. around the world is not as polarizing as it has been in the past, with both republicans and democrats. issues reject elections are decided by issues on the ground and not cold war issues. you could go through europe and look at elections that turn on whether you work anti-american enough. -- whether you were anti- american enough. no one ever thinks they get
enough time from the american president, and is positive and some ways troubling because the world needs leadership. we are very internally focused on putting our own house in order. that is potentially dangerous situation. cracks there is a huge divide between europe and the u.s. with regard to strategic issues. there has been a change in orientation about the war on terrorism which this administration does not use. there is something provocative about obama compartmentalizing the war on terror, but we covered our respective presidents at the same time, and the british public was not there at all, certainly not on iraq or
afghanistan. you are saying that. the-and at the nato alliance and maybe it will pledge 7000 troops. it is nice to have a coalition of the willing, but this is america's war. the british have been there and said, no thanks. i am not saying there have -- they have not been in afghanistan, but we just don't want to have a sustained commitment there. >> i think americans don't see the british as european. >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> let's go to questions. who would like to ask? wait for the microphone to come. >> there are people here. [laughter]
>> cedro you are first. cracks -- >> he raised the point about the ceo and american capitalism. i am surprised [unintelligible] i am surprised she is not part of the conference. there are some ideas about the forces of globalization have unleashed problems that drove economics to go road. i am surprised -- trout economics to go rogue. i am surprised we have not addressed that. >> i think that was more of a statement. can we go to the back? >> i am with the foundation for job creation. is america's problem of not
being able to create jobs -- where do lobbyists that and? are they interfering with innovation and job creation? >> where did the lobbyists fit into job creation? do they interfere with the process of job creation? perhaps they help it. >> that is a tough question. in the broadest sense, even the best ideas get altered and not for the better because there are a powerful lobbying interests in this town. the lobbyists do well and their job is not to advocate for the public good, but for the narrow. despite the president running on
a platform of let's take the special interests out of politics, it is still very prevalent. most broadly, i agree with republicans when they talk about the private sector will create the bulk of new jobs. we don't want to create 10 million new government jobs. what the federal government can do is create conditions where jobs will flourish. we have had periods in the 1990's where conditions were good. we have not seen that in awhile, and that is what we need to do. >> i am not sure how to answer the question of whether lobbyists as a whole are helpful or harmful to job creation. there are a lot of lobbyists in this town sum representing big
corporations and some small. i think the job for the party in power and the minority is to try to work together to produce an environment that can foster some job creation in the private sector, because deep down americans understand what has made this country prosperous. that is the entrepreneurialism risc-based investment characterized by the american dream. -- risk-based investment. what big businesses say is too much uncertainty. we have to do something. we cannot have the uncertainty of cap and trade, the uncertainty of health care, the uncertainty of tax hikes that businesses don't know how that will pou