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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  November 16, 2010 12:00pm-5:00pm EST

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because of this information is of tremendous value, and would be of interest to generations of researchers and the general public. second, the museum at the bush center will be quite unique engaging the audience directly in the experience. the galleries will be arranged by examining key presidential decisions, and exploring the four principles of freedom, responsibility, opportunity, and compassion that president bush has enunciated. within that framework, the exhibit will also show the decision-making process the president followed when the many challenges of his administration were before him. the museum will employ interactive digital technology to reach our diverse audience, both on site and virtual. and, finally, the library will benefit greatly to its close partnerships with the bush institute and with smu. with the institute we look forward to working with its fellows on research, taking part
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in its programs and joined the students who come here to work the institute is doing around the nation and the world. at the same time, we are proud to be in and of the smu family, and we're greatly appreciative of the wonderful welcome we have received from the faculty and students here. under the leadership of president gerald turner and with great students like jake torres, smu has reached out to the library in so many ways. we look forward to the many partnership opportunities ahead with students and faculty. throughout the presidential library system, we seek to educate and to inspire. we believe that from civic understanding comes engagement at the national archivist is proud to be part of that important effort. now i would like to thank president turner for his leadership, and bring him to the podium. [applause] >> on behalf of the board of
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trustees, the faculty, staff and students, and alumni at the university, i welcome all of you to our beautiful campus, the home of the george w. bush presidential center. and we thank you, president and mrs. bush, for making this day possible at smu. thank you. [applause] >> if this is your first visit to campus, that we hope that you will stay with us long enough to be able to experience the energy and vitality of our campus, as well as the beautiful oaks and stately collegiate georgian buildings. but having the bush presidential center on our campus provides a unique opportunity to develop joint programs involving the faculty, staff and students at the university, with the fellows and visiting scholars of the bush presidential center. last year, for conferences of
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the bush institute on important global issues resulted in a partnership between the institute and the university, and gave us a glimpse of the tremendous potential that is available for the future. in addition, groups of students have already visited the temporary library side that alan lowe has made possible and they enjoyed classroom visits by president bush. some of them barely survived that experience when he walked in. [laughter] but having the historic resources of the library and the, will provide remarkable opportunities for research, not on for our faculty and students, but for scholars worldwide. and close to home, these resources will provide educational experiences for the almost 200,000 k-12 students who live in the metroplex. but it is the joint programming and interaction with fellows, visiting scholars and leaders at the institute that will constitute most of the
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intellectual dialogue and debate that will carry the impact of the bush presidential center far into the future. today, is another milestone. along a timeline that began for us in the summer of 2000, when we determined to try to bring the bush presidential center to smu, the alma martyr of the first lady. although the process at times was challenging, we have never wavered in that quest. we knew that smu would benefit from the presence of the presidential center on a campus. and we believe that the presidential center would benefit from its association with smu. because of the academic resources, vitality of dialogue and research, programs and our location. in the heart of on the most dynamic regions in the united states. this groundbreaking foretells the great celebration of the center's opening in 2013, and
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the development of a vibrant educational partnership, both now and for generations to come. so it is an honor to have the bush presidential center on the smu campus. and now to bring greetings from our students, it's a privilege to introduce the president of the student body, jake torres, a senior from merson, texas, majoring in english and spanish. jake torres. [applause] >> thank you, doctor turner. it is a wonderful day to be a member of the mustang family, and a special privilege to be here representing the 11,000 students of southern methodist university. it was a great day when we are chosen as the future home of the george w. bush presidential center. educational opportunities and partnerships have are to be made available to the students of smu come and will continue to
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benefit the smu community for years to come. over the past two years president bush has made surprise visits to classes as dr. turner mentioned, and students have attended bush institute conferences and even served as interest for president and mrs. bush, and for the bush foundation. many of us chose smu because of its location in dallas. it's a small class sizes and its excellent faculty. but we also selected smu because of its commitment to provide experiences outside of the classroom that benefit and enrich what we're learning inside of the classroom. the fact that i'm here today and am joined by several hundred fellow mustangs is a perfect example of how the bush center is enhancing our smu education and experience in a way that none of us will ever forget. thank you for allowing us to share in this special moment and president mrs. bush, on behalf of the smu student body, welcome home. [applause]
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>> gthank you, jake. it's now my honor to introduce the chair of the george w. bush institute advisory board, former secretary of state and what we really like, an academic, former provost at stanford, dr. condoleezza rice. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you very much. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. thank you. well, thank you for that warm smu welcome. mr. president, mrs. bush, mr. vice president, and my
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fellow members here, i could not be more delighted to be with you, and more honor to serve as the chair of the george w. bush institute board. on behalf of my fellow institute of board members, the advisory board looks forward to continuing the great work that has already begun under the excellent leadership of jim glassman. i want you to know that the institute looks forward to continuing to be a place where smu students feel welcome to, where they can participate in the work of the institute, and where faculty from smu, from around the country, scholars and practitioners from all over the world, can come together to explore powerful ideas, and to find ways to put them into action. the hallmark of the presidency of george w. bush was the
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fundamental bedrock belief in the inherent works of every individual. and because every individual is worthy, every individual deserves to live in freedom. the president and mrs. bush believed that america had a special responsibility to use its power and its generosity and its compassion, to advance freedom for those at home, and for those abroad. a belief that free people are most creative and most fulfilled in free economies, where their activities and their creativity can lift millions out of poverty. a belief that every individual has the right to be free from ignorance, and that the transforming power of education is owed to every child, because every child can learn.
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a belief that human beings also need to be free from disease, and that healthy societies are more likely to be partners in peace and in prosperity. a belief that societies that do not fully bring the potential of their women to bear will be poorer for it. and ultimately, that societies that treat women badly are dangerous societies. and abc's that no man, woman or child deserves to live in tyranny. that tierney must be spoken of and broken down in every corner of the world. a belief that the voices of the so-called power can be incredibly powerful, that they have brought down walls and that they have brought down dictators. the institute will seek the best
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ideas to put these principles into action, and then go about the work that is left to us. the institute, and my fellow advisory board members, believe very strongly that we are all doing this in the belief that while we have to deal with the world as it is, we do not have to accept the cynical notions that this is the best that we can do. president bush was sometimes considered an idealist, and at the very least, an optimist. but i would say that president bush, and mrs. laura bush, were more than that. they were optimists and idealists, but they were realists, too. because they realize that we have seen so many times, even in our lifetime, with the impossible one day seems inevitable the next. and so we will do our part to
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advanced towards the world, not as it is, but the world as it should be. i am really excited, and look with great anticipation, to the for the work of the institute as a part of the george w. bush presidential center. it's going to be a great future. thank you. [applause] >> i had the honor of inviting to the podium and absolute, ask you to join in honoring the 46 vice president of the united states, richard c. cheney. [applause]
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>> thank you. thank you very much. well, i've often been overlooked during my two -- to was a vice president. [laughter] so i'm delighted to be here today. i want to thank condi and president and laura, and all the rest of our friends who are gathered here on this historic occasion. it's great to be back in dallas, the city that my wife, lynne, and i called home for five years. flying down here yesterday, as i got to thinking about my time as a texan, we loved dallas. we miss it, sometimes. and happily we now have another very good reason to come back often and see america's newest presidential library and the man whose name is on it.
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[applause] >> of course, the george w. bush presidential center isn't much to look at it just yet. but the workers are ready, construction will move fast after today's groundbreaking. this may be the only shovel-ready project in america. [applause] >> my congratulations on the start of the center, mr. president, as well as the success of your new memoir. the robust sales it has only had don't surprise me in the least. two years after your tour in the white house ended, judgments are little more measured than they
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were when times have been tough and the critics have been loud, you always said, you had faith in history judgment. and history is beginning to come around. [applause] >> ten years have passed since governor bush asked me to be his running mate. and the days right before that decision, we spent some time getting to know each other better. i suppose he was taking my nature, i know i was watching him pretty closely, too. there are some basic attributes to look for. in a fella who may become president. to dust off a phrase from the 2000 campaigns, i saw those traits in this guy, big time. [laughter] >> one of the things that struck me from the beginning and that continue to impress me
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throughout our time in office was george bush's refusal to put on airs. it's a happy experience, and everyone, to find the most powerful person you know it's among the least pretentious, that at the commanding heights, a man can be so respectful of his office, so serious in his duty, and yet so unimpressed with himself. kipling made a fine virtue for one to walk with kings, yet keep the common touch. and nobody has ever done it quite like our 43rd president. [applause] >> i've seen him hit with the various august figures who come to the oval office. icing and dealing with folks who look out of the presidential
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household, and it's always the same. we could all forgive a president for tearing himself with a certain expectation of privilege, but with this president, no such allowances were necessary. there were no aspect nation's about them at all. he meets everyone as an equal. and attitude you don't expect to find in government, much less at the very top. but it's a classy way to operate. very american, and wonderful to see in the oval office. it's also quite to anyone who knows the family. is courteous, fair-minded and kind, capable of great strength and great gentleness, and of all this, very much his father's son. mr. president, when you and i started our association in office, we knew that big responsibility awaited us. and though of course we couldn't have imagined all that was to come, somehow your life had
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prepared you for some of the most serious decisions in a president ever had to face. when the worst game, you did your job with courage and clarity, and with the strength of our. when i think of september 11, the days that followed, one of the images that always comes to mind is the president standing on a flat firetruck throwing his arm around every country worker saying through a bullhorn that the people who knocked these buildings down would soon hear from all of us. [applause] >> far into the future, visitors here will still see that bullhorn. when they do, i hope to picture the world as it was that day and realized how it was transformed in the months and years ahead. america went from being on the
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defense against terrorists going on offense against uzbek history is always an account of what happened, but sometimes the greatest story of all is what did not happen. and because you are determined to throw back the enemy, we did not suffer another 9/11, or something even worse. [applause] >> i had a few more thoughts on the man and his presidency, but i will save them for what we're all back in dallas again for the grand opening of the library. enough for now to say that it was a privilege to serve beside him for those eight years, and a daily pleasure to share in the journey. i know that all the lumps here he'll just the same. i know the american people will always think highly of him because they can tell a decent,
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goodhearted, stand stand up guy when they see one. and i know that all the texans in this audience are ready now to lead the cheers for our friend, the 43rd president of the united states, george w. bush. [applause] >> thank you all. thank you all. okay, thanks very much. thank you for those of you who are not privileged to live in texas, welcome to the great
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state. [applause] >> and welcome to one of the finest universities in the hold united states, southern methodist. [applause] >> i can't thank big enough for coming. i've been doing these interviews, trying to peddle my book -- [laughter] >> i am asked about dick cheney. is what i say. dick cheney was the right pick in the year 2000, and as i stand here, there is no doubt in my mind he was the right pick them. he was a great vice president of the united states, and i'm proud to call him friend. [applause] >> i want to thank all the
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people who made this event possible. i want to thank my pal, mark langdale. and secretary don evans for the leadership. i do want to call out an smu columbus, ray, for being such an efficient and effective leader in this effort. [applause] >> i appreciate ambassador jim glassman's leadership at the institute. i want to thank my pal, the former secretary of state, condoleezza rice, for joining us. [applause] >> one reason that smu is such a superb university is because its leadership is superb, starting at the top with gerald turner. [applause] >> i thank david for joining us and alan lowe, the archivists. i am grateful that our preacher,
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mark craig has joined us. and i want to thank the student body president, jake torres. [applause] >> now, mr. president, a word of advice. [laughter] >> it is not too early to start thinking about your memoirs. [laughter] >> i am proud to be associated with you and the student body. it is a great group of future leaders or our country. [applause] >> with us today is a man i have befriended during my presidency, one of the really courageous leaders in the world, someone who understands the importance of democracy and freedom, someone who understands you cannot negotiate with terrorists. and that is the former president of colombia, have ever read a.
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me amigo. [applause] >> we are proud that a lot of soldiers from fort have joined us today. i -- [applause] [applause] [applause] >> i really don't miss much about washington.
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[laughter] >> but i do miss being your commander in chief. [applause] >> i want to thank all the people from our administration who have joined us today, and i thank you for your noble service to our country. [applause] >> and i appreciate the 160,000 donors whose generosity has insured that this building was fully paid for before we broke ground. [applause] >> and i thank all the people joining us via webcast. it is hard to believe that there's this much excitement about shoveling dirt. [laughter] >> today's groundbreaking marks the beginning of the journey.
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we take the first step towards construction of this presidential center, which will be a dynamic hub of ideas and actions based upon timeless principles. truth of the matter is, this moment is a continuation of a journey that began many years ago. just over a decade ago the american people went to the polls to choose their president in the 2000 election. just under a decade ago, they figured out the results. [laughter] >> and a lot of us believe i the only present to have won the same election five times. [laughter] >> back then, none of us could have predicted what would lie ahead for our country. we witnessed our nation attacked, and our country united and results.
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we felt the grief of war and the jury of liberation. we remember vividly young girls going to school in afghanistan, and voters waiting purple fingers in the air. we saw that, with clear purpose, and accountable action, we could help aids patients to live, struggling societies to develop, and storm victims to rebuild. through the trials and the saunas, the good days and the bad, the decisions we made together for guided by certain principles. we believe that freedom is a universal and the hope of every soul and the ultimate path to peace. we believe in free markets are the best way to empower individuals at home and to lift people abroad out of poverty.
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we believe you can spend your money better than the united states government can spend your money. [applause] >> we believe that america's interest and consciously meant engagement in the world, because what happens elsewhere in negatively affects us here. we believe the call to serve and the admonition to whom much is given, much is required. and i believe that the ultimate responsibility of a leader is to not do what is easy or popular, but to do what is necessary and right. [applause] >> the decisions of governing are on another president's desk and he deserves to make them without criticism from me. [applause]
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>> staying out of current affairs and politics does not mean staying out of policy. i solemnly believe the principles that guided our service in public office are the right principles to lead our country into the future. these principles don't belong to any president, or any political party. their fundamental american ideals that arise for a founding and have expired -- inspired millions aroun around the world. all three outlets of the presidential center will play a role in advancing those principles. ..
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economic growth and human freedom. for example, we lost launched an innovative new effort called the alliance to for education leadership which focuses on improving the quality of school principals and administrators. we've begun a study of new ways to integrate maternal health services on the continent of africa. we've started compiling a repository of documents and interviews from freedom
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advocates around the world which will spotlight the triumph of dissy dents and inspire others to join their cause. one of the most exciting parts of the presidential center is the institute's women's initiative. laura and i believe women are often society's most effective agents of change and one of the institute's core missions will be to support the efforts of women to lead the freedom movement in the middle east and in other parts of the world. we are fortunate to have laura overseeing this initiative and i have been a lucky man to have her by my side for 33 years. [applause]
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it is now my privilege to bring to the podium a fabulous woman and great first lady. lara bush. [applause] >> thank you so much. and thank you, george. thanks everybody. thank you all. thank you so much. thank you all and thanks to everyone here for joining us today. george and i are thrilled to share this moment with so many good friends, so many cabinet members and white house staff. vice president cheney, thank you so much for joining us. dr. rice, thank you very much for being here. i also want to recognize president uribe from colombia. thank you so much for joining us as well. ambassador langdale and dale turner.
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ambassador jim glassman will be executive director of the george w. bush institute, thank you all very much. you just heard about some of the bush institute's goals from fostering economic opportunity to improving access to health care and education and to expanding freedom around the world. the reason we've included women's initiatives at the institute is clear. the success of each of these important goals will depend upon the contributions of women. vibrant economies rely on the creativity of women entrepreneurs. free political systems, require the insights of women in government, journalism, and the law. healthy nations depend upon wives and mothers to make informed decisions that will keep themselves and their families safe, and every successful society depends upon women who can read.
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mothers are our first teachers. which means that educating women yields rewards for generations to come. as the great egyptian poet ibriham said, when you educate a woman, you create a nation. over the past decade i've been inspired by the examples of strong women that i have met across the world. in africa i met hiv-postive women who educate other women so that their babies will be born hiv-free. in saudi arabia where cancer carries a stigma, dr. almode works with the komen global initiative to raise awareness about breast cancer. in the remote jungles of thailand dr. cynthia mong runs a klain i can -- clinic to care for fellow refugees who are fleeing oppression
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of burma's dictatorship. as ambassador the u.n. literacy decade i met women around the world who met other women who lead healthier and prosperous and fulfilling lives by giving them access to basic quality education. this past march george and i hosted a conference on the u.s.-afghan women's council here at smu. the council's work is a powerful example of the strides that have been made by women in afghanistan. under the rule of the taliban women were routinely subjected to unspeakable degradation and tomorrow meant and shut out completely from their society. today afghan women now lead as provincial governors and as elected members of the national assembly. they work as entrepreneurs, as lawyers, and community health workers. many also serve in a
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profession that is close to my heart, teaching. these inspiring leaders remind us that investments in women are always worthwhile and they remind us that laws and customs that deny women their basic rights and that deny society's of women's contributions are never acceptable. this is a message we need to spread. this past summer americans were horrified by the "time" magazine cover featuring ayisha, the afghan teenager mutilated by her taliban husband. last year the murderer of an iranian music student and peaceful protestor nada sultan, who was gunned down on the streets of tehran during protests, showed that other women often pay the ultimate price in pursuit of freedom worldwide.
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and for most of the past two decades the leader of burma's democracy movement, a nobel lawyer rat, was a prisoner in her own own home. the free world rejoid this week at her release but came only after she was banned in participating in burma's recent elections. and she has been released before only to be placed back under house arrest by the military regime. this time we hope that she is freed without conditions and she is allowed to continue her peaceful work until the day when all of burma's citizens live in free freedom. [applause] around the world all of us who live in freedom have the obligation to condemn barbaric acts against women
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because an electorate that shuts out women is not a democracy. in a population that belies, denies the rights of women is not a free society. the goal of our women's initiative is to stand with the women who despite these challenges, are determined to carry on their courageous work, to promote democracy and freedom in the middle east, we'll join with political and civic leaders, faith-based organizations, corporationing and foundations to help women become more engaged and better educated and be participants in government, business and civil society. through a partnership among african nations, western nations and ngos, the institute will lead an effort to deliver integrated health services to expectant mothers, hoping to protect their own health at a critical time and to keep their babies safe from hiv
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and malaria. today nearly 800 million adults are illiterate 2/3 of them are women. if we want women to be the bedrock of stable, democratic society, they mu be able to read. here at the bush institute the women's initiative will champion literacy and will keep working to improve the education that girls and boys receive in school both here at home and around the world. at the u.s.-afghan women's council meeting held here at the bush institute, one of the participants was an afghan woman. during the taliban years, dr. ukube operated upped ground literacy centers at great risk to her own life. today she runs more than 40 women's centers across afghanistan teaching hundreds of thousands of
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women to read. at the conference dr. sakubi asked participants to invest in the future of afghanistan and to support the ongoing progress of women. yes, it's difficult she said but be patient with us. don't be sorry for us. be with us. through the women's initiative the bush institute will stand with dr. sakubi and all who are working to guaranty equal rights for women. thank you all very much for your support of the bush institute and thank you for joining us here today. [applause] >> and now, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming. the speeches are over. it is time to shovel dirt. >> joining president and mrs. bush at this time, to break ground, we welcome the coordinating co-chair of the
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george w. bush foundation, national finance committee, ray hunt. building architect, robert a. sternl. landscape architect, michael van vuklenberg. chair of the smu board of trustees, sharon prothro, director of the george w. bush presidential library, alan lowe. ♪ . >> there you are, dick, right there. you got it. thank you, sir. okay. everybody ready? time to shovel dirt. hold it up, look at the camera, turn it.
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♪ . ♪ . >> thank you for attending today's groundbreaking ceremony.
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for the george w. bush presidential center. please exit at the rear of the tent, and please travel safely. ♪ . ♪ .
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♪ . >> we've got more live events coming up. first to the white house for president obama. later today he will present the medal of honor to a serviceman who served in afghanistan. again that's live at 2:00 p.m. eastern. also here on c-span2. and later more live programing with a
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congressional hearing looking at the safety of air cargo. that homeland security committee event gets underway at 3:15 p.m. eastern here on c-span2. a look at the u.s. capitol here and some news from this morning. according to the associated press, a house ethics panel has found democratic representative charles wrangle of new york guilty on 11 counts of breaking house rules. next the full ethics committee will conduct a hearing on the appropriate punishment for the former chairman of the ways and means committee. the committee will then make a recommendation to the house. possible punishments include a house vote deploring mr. wrangle's conduct, a fine and denial of privileges. the 80-year-old congressman was charged with 13 counts of financial and fund-raising wrongdoing. the senate is out today but the house gavels in a little over an hour at 2:00 p.m. eastern. 20 bills and resolutions are
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on the calendar. you can watch the house live on our companion network, c-span. earlier today senate democrats and republicans chose their leadership teams for the 112th congress. both parties will keep the current leaders in place. the house will choose their leadership teams tomorrow. >> listen to landmark supreme court cases saturdays on c-span radio. >> in texas women still are not able to receive abortions from licensed doctors because doctors still fear that they will be prosecuted under the statute. >> this week, part two of roe v. wade, argued in 1972, it is still considered one of the court's most controversial decisions. listen to the argument at 6:00 pn eastern on c-span radio. in washington, d.c. at 90.1 fm. nation wooived on xm channel 132 and online at c-span
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>> next, washington, d.c.'s delegate to congress, eleanor holmes norton, joins a panel of scholars and journalists to discuss how the political landscape has changed after the midterm elections. the georgetown black law students association hosts this 90-minute event. >> all right. well, good evening and welcome. on behalf of the georgetown black law students association we just would
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like to welcome all of you to our event this evening. my name is britney. i'm attorney general of our chapter. and we're pleased to have a very distinguished panel to discuss this evening the election results from this past week. i want to begin by giving you all a brief overview of the results and then we'll proceed to panel statements. the 2010 midterm elections were held on november 2nd of this year. president obama's first term in office. in the house election was held for all 235 seats and republicans made a net gain of 64 seats and became the majority party. this highest number of house victories for a single party since 1948 and the highest midterm election since 1938. in the senate, the total 100 seats, 37 were up for election. 19 held by democrats and 18 by republicans. republicans defeated incumbent democrats in
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arkansas and wisconsin and won open seats in illinois, indiana, north dakota, and pennsylvania. this is largest number of senate gains for the republican party since the 1994 election. and also on the first time that they successfully defended all of their own seats. while the party controlling the white house usually loses seats in midterm elections, the losses for this term were above average. this has been attributed to many factors including high unemployment caused by the global financial crisis that began in 2007. unemployment rates which hovered around 10% this year and other factors have discussed the controversial health care reform bill, lower -- exposure during these crises and higher and older turnout for conservative voters. statistically the turnout was 3% higher and the
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electorate this cycle was 25% of the electorate was 65 years and older. nicole brown, our communications direct will now introduce our panel. >> good evening. i am truly honored to be introducing this very distinguished panel this evening. it is sort of an easy job because i'm sure, that if you're not familiar with them by face but definitely you will be familiar with them by name and the organizations they're representing this evening. so without further adieu our first panelist is congresswoman eleanor holmes norton, representing the district of columbia. next we have congresswoman donna edwards representing the fourth district of maryland. we have ken vogel, a staff writer for politico. and last but not least, marcia johnson blanco, representing the lawyers committee voting rights project. before we give with questions we'll give
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panelists opportunity to make opening remarks. congresswoman? >> first, let me say i'm used to coming every other monday to teach at georgetown where i taught full time and remain a tenured professor by teaching here every other week. i am not used to be here on thursdays but i'm pleased to come in this capacity. my students call me as i insist, professor norton. here i guess i really am congresswoman norton. let me, i jotted some few random notes. let me quickly see what in the world do i think about this election. i'm pleased to talk about democrats. since i'm a democrat and have to look at our adversaries, let me say something about republicans, especially what most surprises me. as polarized as country is,
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and it is just as evenly divided as it was, what most surprises me the opening salvo of the republicans. there is almost unanimous agreement, it is hard to get that, across the line on what was most important to the electorate. indeed, we are criticized for not somehow understanding that, much as i disagree with that. but, jobs and the economy. we are told, whether you are talking to republicans or democrats. although republicans will speak about the deficit. it is hard to get away from the fact that with the unemployment above 9%, that that's the driving force of an election like this. so what do the republicans open with? in both the house and the senate their opening salvo is, we must repeal health
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care, hey. how do you get that as the message from this election especially if you look at the exit polls? do you really want to relitigate health care and not get to the economy? i think there's a reason for it. actually two reasons. one the election was driven by the tea party and the fringe of the republican party. and two, they really don't know what to do about the economy. so they believe that for their base health care is unpopular. so, let's repeal health care which of course they can't do anyway. the, it's important for all of us, particularly those of us who are democrats, to understand that these were midterms and what a midterm is. it is by definition a small
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slice of the electorate. it is always skewed toward those who feel most deeply about their parties. it is a truism that the party in power always loses seats during the midterm. that's not so good for democrats of course because democrats people who are harder to get to go to the polls even though they have the most to lose. the democrats represent poor people and african-americans and hispanics and yet democrats now are the major party representativing young people. earlier in the day i looked up what the rate of people your age was in voting this time versus the 2008 election. your rate was 30% in 2008 and 18% in this midterm.
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you can begin to see why we didn't do so well in the midterm. but, you are going to have a full-bodied election in 2012 and that will almost look as if it is two different elections all together. for example, clinton and reagan both were more unpopular than the president was in both won a second term. there must be there for, really large differences between midterm turnout and, and full election, presidential election turnout. so what is different? republicans, and this ought to give us, donna, some, some, something to smile about. republicans won by taking back the very seats we took
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from them. so that means that this was a, that this was driven by seats that swing from democrats to republicans, and that means they're holding some seats where there are a fair number of democrats. so they can come talking about, talking as if they were all right republicans if they want to but at least for those seats and their majority is virtually the same as the majority we won in the last two elections plus 10. very, volatile electorate. more volatile than in the past. we were, i have been in, i was in the minority for 12 years. now, four years we were in the majority. so this is, the democrats were in the majority for 40 years. before then. what is also new is the
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degree to which the deficit became an election issue. each election the deficit is discussed very earnestly but exit polls never show that the deficit was determinative or that the deficit mattered this time, at least to those who came out. and i think it's because the country hasn't seen what they thought was so much spending in so short of a time. . .
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>> and that means that we're going to be back to the time when, for example, it took 15 or 20% to put down on a house. and that's how it's going to be all over the world. somebody has got to tell the american people about that so they don't expect the kind of economy they are used to beginning in the 1990s. we're left with an election that was driven more by turnout then policy proscriptions. the exit polls showed something very interesting about the people who determine elections which turn out to be neither democrats or republicans. for years now, decades, independents have determinant elections and the exit polls showed that 58% of them have a negative view of democrats and 57% of them had a negative view
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of republicans. we have real problems to overcome. we lost the middle of the country. we lost the area. we lost the legislatures and, therefore, an important once in every 10 years opportunity for redistricting and we'll be on a hugely defensive posture. expenditures, citizens united. republicans are left with a mandate based on frustration and an election driven entirely by a new fringe element of their party which puts them in a very poor position to win next time. when the election will be driven by independents who are likely to be a whole lot less angry than they were this time. >> thank you.
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>> hi, everybody. i happen to be from a wonderful state and one of those progressive districts in our country. and so this election cycle was not from the fourth congressional district in maryland. it was very much about the economy. i had the great privilege of being able to travel to a number of congressional districts around the country to try to help people to get the vote turned out. and i can tell you what i saw when i was out in places that were not the fourth congressional district of maryland. what i saw traveling to places where the real unemployment in certain pockets and certain areas was hovering around, you know, the high teens to the low 20s in terms of unemployment. traveling to districts where the real unemployment is really
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solidly throughout a state at about 15% out in nevada. traveling to congressional districts where 1 out of every, you know, 20, 25, 50 homes is in foreclosure. that's what this election was about. people need jobs. they want opportunity. they are losing their homes. and they're trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel. and so i think when i look at this election cycle i see several things. one, i see that we had volatility in the 2006 cycle. we had volatility in the 2008 cycle. and we had volatility in the 2010 cycle. it just happened to democrats held more seats in 2010 than we did previously. and so then republicans did and so we lost a lot of those seats. i look at some of these districts, they are districts, you know, in the scheme of things i think about the first congressional district in maryland in that district.
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john mccain won that district in a state that went overwhelmingly for barack obama in 2008. that was going to be a tough haul. it didn't matter what was happening in the broader -- in the broader economy. i also look at a state like virginia where somebody who really strongly supported a large part of the president's agenda and the agenda in democrats in congress. but also a state where rick boucher who pushed back against that same agenda also lost and so what does that tell us? it tells us that there's a lot of volatility with the electorate. i know we have an awful lot of independents out there who are deciding things but those independents -- a lot of those independent there is, you know, they are democrat-leaning, they're republican-leaning and they switch back and forth. that's what makes them -- makes them independent. i also think that, you know, you look at something like the auto
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bailout that was largely portrayed as something that was to benefit only a handful of states and one industry but i think about our state of maryland and look at the number of car dealerships that have been lost as a result of what's happened with the auto industry. parts suppliers that are in my state where jobs have been lost as a result of what's happened with the auto industry. it was really critical for us to do something to revive that and i think that we've been able to see in their performance in this economy now and growing and building back that we've been able to preserve what would have been a really lost american auto industry. it's a good thing that we did it but it's a tough pill to swallow. i've not been in congress very long and one of the things that i learned very quickly is that not only do our electorate indulge in very, very short-term thinking but so do we in congress. and what that means is that it's really tough to see when you're
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engaged in putting forward really tough economic measures in a really difficult time, you're trying to transform a health care system that has been widely viewed as in need of reform. and all of those things happening at the same time and those of us who are experiencing that, people at home, people who are struggling with jobs and taking care of their families go oh, my gosh, you know, what's going on here? it's a lot to digest. and, you know, i suspect what's going to happen is that we are going to see a 2012 election cycle that is as volatile as the three previous cycles we will have had experienced. and so is that a safe bet? a safe haven for the new republican majority? i don't think so. i think it means that we have a lot to do as democrats to convince the american public that we're out there fighting for working families, for families who look like the
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people who are voting. for our seniors and our young people. i mean, i knew it was going to be a tough election when my congressional district in my house -- i was having a hard time convincing my 22-year-old that there was something in it for him to go out and vote. let me just assure you i did it but it wasn't easy. if i was struggling in my own household, in my own congressional district can you imagine across the country the struggle to convince young people that all of that change that they voted for wasn't going to happen right away. but would take some time. it's a really tough pill to swallow. seniors who forget all the scare tactics about social security, about medicare, about you were health care, it's not going to materialize, you know, just believe us. it's really a tough pill to swallow. you know, that part of the electorate, that slice of the report that congresswoman norton talked about that showed up for this election cycle, that pretty
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much mirrors other election cycles to be sure. and the fact there's a 3% bump in turnout from this one to the last one, 3% that's a margin of error, who knows there was really any bump in turnout? but what we do know who didn't show up. and a lot of those folks who showed up in 2008 and who need to be energized and they will in 2012 and they'll be part of that electoral base will be the one that republicans and democrats will be struggling for in 2012. and so i just say let's look at this over a period of time and look at the volatility and don't draw any conclusions about what this election cycle means because it's been happening for some -- for some period of time. and i'd say lastly that i've cautioned my progressive friends across the country -- don't read into this that somehow there was this sort of progressive, you know, force out there because a lot of the progressives want our congressional districts. sure, we did. we're in a lot of places where
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we should have won our congressional districts. but if you look at some people, i think about carol shea-porter up in new hampshire. she's a very solid strong progressive but she lost in that district. and so this wasn't about -- so this wasn't about some sort of overall feeling within the democratic party and the democratic party base that, you know, there's this wide shift to the left or to the center. what it means is that we have some places where we're always going to struggle with the electorate to try to make sure that we can convince them that we are working in their interest and i think i take a very pragmatic approach to this as we look to -- to regain a majority and let me tell you something, as soon as election night was over, that's what i was thinking about. let me look at all these races. let me see who won, who lost, what they are. what the percentages are? how do we win that electorate back?
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and i think we do it by being smart about recruitment and about the issues being raised and we do it by being smart and tactical about our -- about our status as a minority party as we're going forward because i don't think all those people in the middle are going to tolerate the nonsense that is not creating jobs, not creating opportunity and not looking toward our future. and with that, i'll end. >> thank you. >> hi, i'm ken vogel. i'm a reporter with politico. i'm thrilled to be a part of this very distinguished panel and thankful for the georgetown blackwell student association for inviting me. i agree with a lot of the conversation and a lot what the two congresswoman said about the demographic trends and the natural cycles that we've seen played out over many election cycles and played it's during this election cycle. i do think that there are some things that we can learn from it. i think it's particularly
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interesting to look forward to the effect of this election on the coming congress. and even more so on the 2012 election because as we've heard a little bit here this coming congress in many ways is going to be very much about the 2012 election, whether folks pretend it's not and push legislative initiatives that have no chance of passing like the republicans have talked about the repeal of health care. it's clearly geared towards 2012 and some have forthrightly and probably regrettably from their perspective actually admitted that in fact the coming congress is going to be all about 2012 senate minority leader mitch mcconnell the republican from kentucky said that his number one priority was going to be defeating president obama in 2012. so again probably a little bit of candor that he regrets there. but very revelatory and that's probably what a lot of folks are thinking.
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it's always a fascinating time when you have a new congress or particularly when you have a change of power in one chamber like we saw with the house. we're going to see a lot of power struggle between republicans particularly in the house republican caucus where you have this new insurgent force, the pear that, you know, had a lot of to do with republicans retaking the house and arguably had them failing to take the senate because two of the -- at least two of the lawmakers who lost their senate bids were sort of tea party favorites who won their primaries over more establishment-backed republican candidates who probably were more viable in general elections but we'll never get a chance to find out because they won the nominations and then losing the general election. we saw that in delaware with
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county politician jeff coons defeating defeating christine o'donnell. and additionally in nevada where senate majority leader harry reid was able to hold off a challenge from this tea party-backed candidate sharron angle. and i think we're going to see the tea party really try to exert its power. and what many tea party activists and politicians see as its mandate to some extent in the house republican caucus and that's going to be a problem. for republicans going forward. because they're going to feel a pull from the sort of the right wing of their party on -- certainly on fiscal issues which are some of the issues that the tea partiers really held out as their number one priorities but i think across-the-board on social issues, on, you know, abortion rights, same-sex marriage and gay rights. and issues that republicans probably would rather not talk about. headed into 2012. but because the tea party really
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flexed its muscles and showed itself as a political force by republican lawmakers and candidates who are going to be running for the first time in 2012 or some of these folks who were -- who won in swing districts who defeated incumbent democrats in the house are going to feel a lot of pressure to sort of cater to the tea party wing of the republican party and that could cause them problems in their 2012 re-election campaigns because it is as congresswoman holmes-norton talked about. it's going to be these same sort of set of swing districts that are going to determine the election in 2012. both at the congressional level in the house and also potentially at the presidential level where there are, you know, key states or key districts that have swung back and forth over the years and it just happened that 2010 it was a republican year they swung republican but guess what? the democrats are going to be back making a strong case in
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2012 for why those districts are better served by having democratic representation in the white house. from democrats perspective i think again they'll talk about their legislative agendas but there's also going to be a lot of focus on 2012 and democrats trying to get back in power in the house of representatives trying to hang on to their majority in the senate. i write about campaigns. you probably hear from the tenor of my comments i'm not talking a lot about policy except as it affects the campaigns. one of the things i found most interesting that i think both the congresswomen alluded to is the outside spending in the 2010 midterm elections and the way that some of these big groups were able to take advantage of this united states supreme court decision that came down in january in a case called citizens united versus federal election commission that basically -- i mean, the ruling
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was that government -- that laws that prohibited corporations and unions from spending money on political advertising were unconstitutional. that they violated the free speech rights of corporations and unions by extrapolation. but this was taken as sort of license on the right in particular for these large, you know, corporate-funded specialty groups, many of which do not disclose where they got their contributions, to air tens of millions and probably by the time we're counting it up, hundreds of millions of dollars of ads attacking democrats. and they will have to mount something in 2012 and raise money like that from their supporters or i think congresswoman everett is going to speak to this. they are going to try to change the campaign finance rules to require additional disclosure with the hopes perhaps that this
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would scare off some donors who wanted to remain anonymous but still wanted to have an impact on the elections. so it will be interesting to watch that play out, this sort of decision, the pull between whether they want to toughen campaign finance rules which, you know, could help them politically but also -- this is a good government argument there is well. that you want -- you want the voice of the voters to be more important than that of large corporations. or whether they want to try to play on the same field as republicans headed into 2012. that will be interesting to watch. and from a legislative standpoint i think we can expect quite a bit of gridlock, you know, the repeal of health care being a prime example. that's the number one priority for many republicans. and there's really no way that they can pass it. i mean, there's no way they can defund it which is another argument that you hear. since it seems to be a little bit at odds with one of the arguments they made during the
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debate itself which is a lot of it was unfunded mandate. if it's an unfunded mandate it's difficult to defund. but, you know, the tax cuts potentially see a debate over that. i think that's a debate that we're already seeing some progressive -- expressing some unhappiness with the obama administration over what seems to have been expressed on a recent day an unwillingness to compromise on extending some of the bush tax cuts for the wealthiest americans in exchange for permanently perhaps extending the tax cuts for middle class americans. but, you know, other than a few areas where you see some work occurring, where the administration is reaching out to republicans i think we're just going to see a lot of gridlock and gridlock that is sort of posturing with an eye towards 2012 which is where i'm focused. >> thank you. >> hello again. i'm a voting rights attorney
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with the lawyers committee for civil rights. and i thank them for inviting me to be here on this panel. i'm very honored to be here with very distinguished panelists. my perspective is going to be of a voting rights lawyer and the work that i do in protecting the franchise and also as an observer of the elections. and some of it, you know, has already been said about the push and pull of elections and what motivates voters. and i see electoral success being driven by opposition rather than support. in 2006, we had opposition to the war and there were gains for the democrats. then in 2008 the economy crashed. there was opposition to the bush presidency again for the democrats and then here in 2010, there's an opposition -- the voters who came out and voted were motivated by opposition to what they say as government
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playing too large a role in their lives and that also is influenced by the messaging that has been prevalent throughout the obama presidency. so we have here this election that was decided by less than 40% of voting age population who participated. but i see this as one of the most important elections in recent years because as was mentioned before, the legislators who were elected particularly on the state level and during this election are going to be deciding who are are investigating be the representatives for the next 10 years. they will be shaping political boundaries and who the voters are going to be choosing and which pool of voters are going to be choosing members who will be in the congress. we have state legislatures and the governors.
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we can't discount the role that governors are going to play in determining what the congressional districts are going to look like moving forward and who will be representing the voters of these districts. so right on the federal level you have, you know, the debates about the role of the federal government at the time of the economic crisis, jobs, the deficit. on the state level, we're going to have these legislatures or in some cases commissions deciding who the voters are going to be choosing in 2012. and obviously in redistricting, the members and the politicians are trying to protect their voters because that's who got them elected in the first place. but then how do you account for the demographic shift, the changes in populations? how do you ensure that there's
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equal representation. and that added to all that you've heard before tonight is going to shape who the representatives and is going to influence that push-pull that we're going to be seeing in the coming elections. one of the drivers for citizens and voters in the process, you know, there seems to be this prevalence, dissatisfaction with the status quo, which is coupled by insistence on quick results, you know, we have -- as a country we are facing very broad and deep problems and how do we address those problems? and the electorate seems to want instant results and when they don't get it, they move on to the next party. and the entrenched -- the entrenched voters on the left, the entrenched on the right and then you have that middle of independents who keep going back and forth and looking and trying
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to determine who is going to provide the best solution. and coupled with that you have this ongoing historical debate that seems to gain resonance which is the role of the federal government, what the government needs to do to address problems that voters are facing. so we have, you know, an electorate that's very quick to change allegiances and then we have a lack of confidence in our institutional structures. and that, i think, influences and will affect how the elections are going to play out and how the governing process is going to play out during the next two years. and so as we look at what the political landscape is going to be over the next two years, and looking at who the motivated voters are and who the voters
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who are going to comprise the voters that the politicians need convince that their agenda is the one that is best suited for the voters we also couple that with a time where we have very polarized messaging. we have now a media infrastructure where i don't have to listen to any machine that i disagree with. i could only -- i need only focus on what i agree with. and what will re-enforce my please. and was mentioned with the citizens united case and the money that's flooding into the system, we have a lot of money trying to convince me that what i believe is right. and what -- and anyone who disagrees with me has an illegitimate position that should be discounted and not given any agreedance and when you have such a polarizing and -- this highly -- this
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disparate and very volatile and environmental -- the opinion of the others is discounted, and then added to that, when you have a media that doesn't really focus -- and not to disparage, but doesn't focus so much on nuance and depth but on the horse race aspect and voters are getting their -- are trying to decide, you know, who's telling me what is really -- how can i really find out what's going on? and i might -- when the time when i'm trying to keep my job and ensure that my kids get a good education, do i have time to really get in depth and determine how the policies really affect me? and i'm influenced and i'm by
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what i hear and what i hear is more on the atmospherics of the candidates rather than really getting into depth about the implications of the policies that they're talking about. and who has the best message? who has an appealing framework on what i see as my reality? and that, i think, also plays a significant role in determining how voters are deciding and choosing their political allegiances. so from the voting perspective and the concern we have about cases of the -- the implications of cases like citizens united where there's a lot of money being flooded and a lot of
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messaging that is focused and not always -- does not always have a lot of depth but is focused on getting one party elected and vilifying the other, it's how do voters -- how do you motivate the electorate to actively participate with an understanding of what the policy that best affects their interest? and i think there's been a lot of commentary recently about what it that the democrats failed to get out the messaging about what they were doing or it's wrong for the democrats to say it wasn't about the messaging. they need to look at their policies and be aware of where the country is -- you know where the country is and where the voters who actually got in and vote and what motivates them to go out and vote.
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it's a very complex scenario. but i do agree within the congress for the next two years we're going to have a lot of hearings picking apart the first two years of the obama presidency and teeing up the positioning for the 2010 elections. and i'll leave it there. >> thank you very much. we are going to ask the panel a couple of questions that were submitted beforehand. and if any members of the audience have a question, we have a mic right here. you can just line up and we'll take your questions is well. to start, president obama attributed the outcome of the midterm elections to frustration with the pace of the economic recovery. do you think the president should have done more in this area in its first two years of office and how do you believe the republicans will act to create jobs? and we'll take whoever wants to ju in first. >> i'll jump in because i think
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that, you know, frustration with the pace of the economic recovery -- you know, we came out of and perhaps we didn't clarify this for the public in the way that we needed to. but when the president came in to office, we all know that we lost 750,000 jobs in january of that month. and then we began this steady pace which we have undergone over the last eight, nine months of slow but steady recovery. clearly not fast enough. but if the numbers are any indication in this last -- in our last jobs numbers, in october, that indeed that pace is picking up. now, i think that -- i've been saying for a very long time that we have a couple of different kinds of unemployment. some of it is chronic unemployment.
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that has, you know, for some people this recession isn't just one recession. it's the last three recessions. and for other people we have lost jobs in industries that we may never recover but we haven't had a strategy for two decades about how we rebuild a different kind of -- a different set of industries for the 21st century. i think if republicans want to seriously move forward on job creation, i will borrow, beg or steal one of their ideas. and it's around the research and development tax credit that the president has said he supports. i think we have to ramp up our research and development tax credit. i think that we have to couple that with incentives for manufacturing in the united states. and when we do that, both offer additional credit for research and development and credit for domestic manufacturing, that's enough of an incentive for somebody to say you know what we're doing all the technology
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here in the united states, wow, we can produce those products in the united states, too. that's a good old-fashioned, frankly, republican idea. but it's actually one that's about job creation. now, if republicans are serious about creating jobs, then let's find some common ground on something like that. i happen to believe that there are ideas like that. we saw that in the small business infrastructure measure that we passed where we really didn't get any republican support and yet that was a republican idea. and i think what the president experienced over the course of this last year is reaching out and reaching out and being slapped back and slapped back. and has been true on some of these ideas. and i would like to see the president and i think he's on his way to doing that saying okay, let's put your money and your ideas where your mouth has been. i'm willing to -- i'm willing to deal and i think one of the first places to deal would be around this idea of incentivizing domestic manufacturing.
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>> anyone else? >> i think several people want to talk out there because after they've heard so much from us. i just want to say two things. i don't believe that we can make a deal on anything. with the republicans, not because we don't want to. but because the party is being driven by the tea party. and it is difficult to imagine if the deficit is the only thing they're concerned about. it's difficult to imagine something that will stimulate the economy and will get some republican who will be looking over his shoulder to see whether he's going to get a primary opponent if it looks like he has cooperated with democrats. so i regret to say and i hope this isn't cynical but the
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president on health care spent six months waiting for a gang of four to reach a deal. it set us back tremendously. and hurt us and hurt him. could the president have done more? look, one of the difficulties that every new majority has is that they have a whole list of things they want to get done. we had a whole list of things when push came in, they had a whole list of things. you remember that list, social security. [laughter] >> when they began to do their things, that they piled up they inevitably overreached. did we overreach? we'll never know. or we'll never say. but i think that we did the same thing. we had a whole bunch of things we wanted to get done. and people were right at the
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head of the line were wanting to get them done. health care reform, climate change. the economy. financial reform. and if you ask specifically is there more the president could have done, what you really have to s get you where you
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want to get and it will certainly not get you anything from the republicans all i can tell you is i don't think the president and since he's the one that's going to be blamed would have fared any better if he had said, all right, i'm going to put these three or four things aside. i'm going to do nothing but the economy. come to the table with me, republicans. if anybody sees mitch mcconnell coming to the table and say, that's what i really wanted to hear, barack. i wish you would hold up your hand. [laughter] >> if i could take that even a step further is, you know, if the original question is whether if the president had focused
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more on the economy and done more for the economy, whether democrats would have fared better, i think the answer is a resounding no because what he did do and what -- and what democrats and republicans were able -- very few republicans were able to work together to do what was the is it fair to say. -- stimulus. it took a lot of political capital and a lot of political will and guess what? almost every republican who voted against it, that was most, campaigned against it. and attacked democrats for supporting an attacked president for supporting it. the impact of it, you know, arguable, i guess, but clearly if democrats came under such fire for supporting the stimulus -- the idea that if they had done more along those lines it would have helped them, you know, stave off this waive in the midterms is probably suspect. it probably -- you know, and it's also questionable whether
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it would have actually helped the economy. the economy is in a down period and i'm not an economist, but various measures that have been proposed, you know, the impact of them has been debated ad nauseam and probably will continue to be debated. but i don't think that there's a whole lot that -- i don't think there's a whole lot more the president could have put forward in the economy that would have passed. he pretty much got everything that he could. and what he got was routinely -- roundly attacked by republicans. so it was kind of a no-win situation for him and for democrats and, you know, arguably for the country. i mean, voters are upset because the economy is bad. and they blame the folks who have the reins of power and happen to be democrats. >> and if i could just add two seconds onto that. the frame from the right on the stimulus was that it was an entitlement program that has
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added significantly to the deficit and i just think it would be interesting in the next two years when we're looking at the republican agenda and the focus on cutting the deficit and what is considered an entitlement program and what programs are going to be under the knife and how that would be received by voters and now that message will be framed from both parties. >> okay. questions from the audience? [inaudible] >> they are frustrated to see democrats to see during this campaign season. but i feel like most frustrating saturday morning all others seeing legislation go die and and so i'm wondering -- should the senate push for reform of the filibuster even though
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democrats are close to losing their majority for the good of the country in the next two years. >> i'll repeat your question just so we can have it on live feed. your question is, why democrats in this election cycle did not campaign on their legislative victories and also considering on the filibuster; is that correct? >> yes. >> all right. >> i think we did. but you're right. it is remarkable that we are the party that saved the economy from another great depression. we kept the -- that's what the
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stimulus did. we did a financial overhaul. a complete and financial overhaul including a new consumer -- much-needed consumer reform that is part of that overhaul. an intense rate month of job growth. i'm really piling up things you could think people could run on. the small business tax credit when it was clear that the banks would not lend to them. larger student loan and grant changes. in decades. meaning that especially for this in law school, loans will be a substantial reduction in paying off those loans. the new gi bill. thousands of young men and women. literally able to go to school.
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really getting paid with their tuition, books, et cetera. it really -- and this is the kind of thing that members look to run on. and my own sense is that with the first election where a great deal of money had to be spent immediately so shocked the electorate that you could no longer run on things that cost money. i've seen no other explanation for it. i have never seen any party not run on everything they did. sure, the progressives ran on this. but the people who most needed something to run on could not or felt they could not run on this
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remarkable agenda. i looked at the -- donna, you must have seen the ads for our colleague gerald connelly. it was just so amazing to see him. he comes from a swing district in northern virginia. he almost got beat and he's the only one of those who came who didn't get beat. and he had to run a negative campaign, he felt, from the beginning. he never ran on any of the things we did. he is himself a moderate. the republicans before him, a good friend of mine, tom davis was a railroad track. -- was a democrat. tom davis would have voted for some of this. but the fact that this guy was president of his class, could not run on anything did tell me
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that it's not the messaging. he said it's not -- can't you see what we've done for something. something that happened that was very different as far as the electorate was concerned. and when something this new happens that it was impossible apparently for them to absorb and we kept piling on things that had to be done, they were unwilling to swallow all of it at one time. now, that doesn't leave me saying well, i guess we shouldn't have done all those things. but it does say that if you are in -- the lesson by the way we overrun the lesson from the last time and that's part of the problem but it does seem to say that if -- at least when it comes to spending money because i don't think this is going to go away, that if you get signals
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that people have had it as we did in august when some of our conservative democrats were hammered to death that you begin to think what to do. shucks, i was gung ho for going ahead on health care reform. but i have to tell you -- and it's interesting to look at some of the health care reforms are some that voted for health care reforms and some of them lost, some of them won. but while i don't have an alternative strategy for you because we live in real time, i cannot at the same time say that i believe we did everything right. that any party benefits by
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simply -- without debriefing yourself and without self-criticism. and i'm trying to -- as a progressive democrat work up a self-criticism that will satisfy me without pulling me back from the things i believe. but i think the most dangerous thing you can say is well, so much for that. i've explained away how much i think can be explained away. this was not a full bodied electorate. but it was not a totally unrepresentative electorate. so we need a very serious critique of what was at work in this election and the kind of surface analysis that we all do, what politicians do is not what we need. we need somebody to look beneath the numbers. to look beneath the trends. to talk to voters. to come back with some data. so that we really know what was going on here.
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>> if i could just say something quick about the senate part of the question. whether reform of the filibuster is necessary or possible, i guess, is more operative. i mean, this is all -- to some extent this is just a way that the dynamic between the two chambers of the u.s. congress has always worked. and propossibilities of it would say that it's in some ways consistent with what founders in intended. that the senate was a more deliberative body, where an individual member could, you know, flex more muscle, have more power to hold up legislation or to bring forward legislation. i know that's little comfort to, you know, progressives such as, you know, you sound like when you see legislation going from the house passing in some cases quickly like climate change. my wife works in the senate. she works for joe lieberman and she worked for a year and a half to have a climate change bill
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that could pass muster there and all it took one republican to say -- i mean, they courted republicans and they got lindsey graham on board and when he pulled out, that's it. that's just the way the senate works and you could argue and many have that that, in fact, is anathema to sort of smoothly flowing efficient legislative process. and you could even argue that the filibuster has been abused. but it's sort of always been the case i think it probably always will be the case that the senate is going to be the sort of slower-moving body and probably from some house democrats perspective that more, you know, foot dragging obfuscating body is well. but i don't see a whole lot of prospects for reform of the filibuster in particular nor do i see much changing on that basic dynamic. >> i think there is going to be some change in the rules
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actually. and i also think that if we could argue that the filibuster had actually been used for the purposes of deliberation, i think that would be one conversation. but that's actually not the way that it's been used and increasingly that's been true over the last several years and so i think it begs for some change that allows for a filibuster to be used when it's appropriate but doesn't allow it to constrain the process and i fully expect that the remaining democratic majority in the senate is really going to look at it as it sets its rules. let me just say one thing on the politics because i had this conversation with a number of my colleagues. a number of them who have lost their seats. and it's this. that if -- and i think that we passed a very robust, you know, amazing agenda over this last -- over this last congress. and these were not easy victories, in fact.
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but at the end of the day, you have a d after your name. you're a democrat. and no matter how much -- even in whatever environment, in whatever state you try to pretend otherwise, at the end of the day there's a d behind your name. and if you are in an environment in which everybody is saying this was the wrong thing to do. this was a bad thing to do, you did it. you voted for it. your party voted for it. your face is being morphed into ads that have nancy pelosi coming through them, you cannot run from the fact that the d is after your name and that's part of your agenda because it was your party's agenda and the more, in fact -- i would argue the more that you run away from that agenda the greater likelihood it is that people are actually going to believe that you did something wrong. and so i'd like us to take actually a different approach
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even in some of these most difficult districts. i look a district in arizona who did in her very, very tough district really did stay largely with the democratic agenda and she ran on it in her district and she won on it in her district. even though it was only by a few thousand votes. and we have other places where we see that. and i think, you know, one of the most difficult parts of the election night actually was tom perrilioa's district and in michigan where they ran on the agenda and it was a much tougher way to go from them. but when it's all said and done, it's not as though people are going to believe somehow you're a closet republican when you have a d after your name and you're running away from the things that your party did. >> i just have to direct one motion from my good friend from politico.
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it is absolutely not the case that the filibuster has always ur n'cau). whatsoever. and i mean you can get unanimous consent on something trivial. but the filibuster has become almost a one-man item.
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the whole notion that, you know, after all the framers intended this is, a, historical, of course it was meant to slow it. it wasn't to stop. it wasn't meant to paralyze. a complicated country. this is one day going to be so serious that it's going to lead to a constitutional crisis and worse. and the only way -- and there is no incentive for either party to stop it. just think about it. we found a mechanism that can nullify majority rule all together. so if you're in the minority, you have no incentive to try to reinstate majority rule. of course, if you're in the majority, that's what you want. the democratic party isn't going
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to do it. the republican party isn't going to do it. the only way i think this can be changed -- two ways. a crisis in the country or grassroots movement. from outside of the congress itself. but it is very serious. it is not the usual kind of thing so get used to it. don't get used to it. you will not be able to stand it. you will get nothing done. at least your generation should not buy the notion that that's the way that it was meant to be. this is so new that it is not even a decade old. >> thank you. next audience question? >> yes. actually the congresswoman's remarks leads into this perfectly. i feel like one of the main problems with the government these days is the political party, the two-party system. i feel like it's completely tearing what the government is
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supposed to be doing apart. nationally speaking, you look at the congress nothing gets done. you mentioned already on the panel, you know, from now on, everything that happens will be about the 2012 elections. it's not about doing things for the country. it's about political power and political process for the party state. locally i've worked before i came to law school i worked in county and state government in new jersey. and since as new jersey -- even though we have a republican governor now, northern jersey in particular it's a very solidly democratic area. and so the party there works as a party boss. and it's a very corrupt system. so i think both locally and on a national scheme the two-party system is failing the american people as a whole. my question to you is this. in looking at the affects of the tea party on this past election, midterm as it may have been, do you think there is actually a possibility of legitimate non, you know, main two-party becoming operational? do you think there could be --
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the tea party can become its own party to stand on its own feet or will it constantly be republicans? you know, on the democratic side you look at some of the more -- take blanche lincoln there was a big democratic fight with her because people didn't feel she was progressive enough one of my questions to you is do you think there's any room either politically making it possible or will from the people themselves to have other parties entering into the system which can then allow the filibuster -- the rule wouldn't have to be changed. it's more of a parliamentary system so you can get around in certain ways. there's more room for compromise to happen. that's my question. do you think there's any realistic possibility of any parties propping up in the next 10 years or so. >> i don't basically. and take the tea party as an example. there had certainly been some talk, you know, forming a third-party either in this
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election or even more acutely in the next election if some of these lawmakers who are elected are tea party blessing or support go to congress and end up letting down the folks who, you know, saw themselves as the tea party activist, the muscle behind their victories. the system is set up in a way that it's just very, very difficult and you can probably address this more than i can to access the ballot to be able to have the type of infrastructure that's necessary to mount, you know, a third-party or any real threat to the two main parties. where i think you'll see sophomore action is in the the respective party's primaries which you saw with blanche lincoln in arkansas and what you saw with some of these tea party-backed challengers to mainstream establishment republican candidates and -- i mean, we saw it where tea party candidates defeated sitting united states senators in
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primaries. in alaska and utah. and so i think that's sort of where we're more likely to see change. and frankly, the change that we'll see from that perspective is change that in many ways exacerbates the problem that you just described. because we'll see dissatisfaction with the two main parties manifesting itself in primary challenges from further on the right or the respectively and if they are respectful and if let's say bill halter wins the general election in arkansas, which he didn't do either of those. blanche lincoln beat him and then lost in the general, then you'll have a senator who is even less inclined to work with, you know, moderates in his own party or republicans because they'll see his mandate as being from the far left. and if the tea party candidates are successful and go on to the
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senate, they will see their mandate from being from the far right and they'll be far less to work with the senator. unless there's some individual or interest that is frankly wealthy enough to provide the infrastructure and provide the -- you know, the processes and the boots on the ground or whatever you want to call it necessary to get people on the ballot from that third-party, it's just unlikely and, you know, the interests that are likely to have that are likely to have this political interest and the financial wealth to be able to do something like that tend to be heavily court by the two parties so as to prevent the possibility of them, you know, throwing their weight behind, you know, a third-party, whether that's, you know, barack obama going and having breakfast in new york with michael bloomberg who could who are conceivably has the wealth to run as a
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third-party candidate or whether it's the republican party going to meet with the koch brothers in kansas or new york to get them on board with their agenda. to prevent them or to minimize the possibility that they would go ahead and fund a third tea party. ... >> and i think what we really need to be thinking about is how
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is it that so many american voters, and not just with this election because we have been divided country for a long time, but how is it that they get convinced to vote against their own best interests? now, you've been thinking and working for american working people, for american students, for americans of all stripes and colors, right? that we have to think about the messaging. i think the content is not the problem. i think it is the messaging, and we need to think about it. and not only on the level of individual campaign, but in larger structures of our society. maybe this is just too big to tackle. we've got to at least, you know, one television network, station that is completely devoted to campaigning against your interests. and we have radio stations that do this hours at day. and so the structure of our society has changed in a way
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that makes the messaging, or our ability to craft the message and get out our message, that there were tax cuts that benefited more americans in the last two years than any number of years. and people did not know that. so it is the messaging and it is of the campaign techniques. and i think when you do think about it on these levels, as much as on the content of the policies. so, may i ask -- [laughter] >> that's a tough one. >> before i became congresswoman i spent 20 years working on progressive policies and politics that i used as the time because i didn't understand, why are these people voting against their it just that i decide is after the wrong question because in this last election, people were voting in their own interest. and i will tell you why. because they decided that their
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interest is in having a child. they decided that their interest wasn't having a home. they decided that there, you know, their edges was in protecting their families. and the people who were in charge didn't allow them to do that. they were to voting for republican, but they were voting in their interest. they weren't speech we will be this now to take you live as president obama presents staff sergeant salvatore giunta with the medal of honor at a white house ceremony. staff sergeant giunta earth the recognition due to his actions in afghanistan. this is live coverage. ♪ ♪ >> let us pray. almighty and merciful god with whom we place our trust, we invite your holy presence,
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together as a nation, to honor the excellent actions above and beyond the call of duty presented by staff sergeant giunta, an american soldier, patriot, hero. our hearts forever resonate with the noble theme of heroes proved in liberating strides, more than self, their country loved, in mercy more than life. make our remembrance of sal's mission to three years ago inspire all americans to bring pride and humility that we have selfless warriors like sal living among us today. as we do the count of his heroic action, may we also remember that all of our armed forces and those who stand in harm's way across the world today are through the narrative of sal's courageous action against the enemy and his selfless devotion to pressure a fallen comrade maybe i'll recommit ourselves to sacrificial and self-service for our families and our fellow citizens. calls our reflection on the holy
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union forged among soldiers during combat to inspire renewed unity in our own land, especially during times of crisis and conflict. as we celebrate a special day with sal's wife, his parents, his brother, his sister, may we remember in prayer all military families await a safe return home of their loved ones. and, finally, as we post remember the many freedoms we enjoy as a nation, let us never to give thanks more than we do right now to those especially who played the glorious liberty passionate voice liberty through the very blood, sweat and tears, this we pray in your holy name. amen. >> good afternoon, everybody. please be seated. on behalf of michelle and myself, welcome to the white house. thank you, chaplin carver, for that beautiful invocation.
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of all the privileges that come with serving as president of the united states, i have none greater than serving as commander in chief. of the finest military the world has ever known. and of all the military decorations that the president and a nation can bestow, there is none higher than the medal of honor. now, today is particularly special. since the end of the vietnam war, the medal of honor has been awarded nine times for conspicuous gallantry in an ongoing war or conflict. sadly, our nation has been unable to present this decoration to recipients themselves, because each gave his life, his last full measure of devotion, for our country. and, indeed, as present i've presented the medal of honor three times, and each time to
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the families of the fallen hero. today, therefore, marks the first time in nearly 40 years that the recipient of the medal of honor for an ongoing conflict has been able to come to the white house and accept this recognition personally. it is my privilege to present our nation's highest military decoration, the medal of honor, to a soldier who is humble as he is heroic, staff sergeant salvatore giunta. now, i'm going to the office click here for a second, and just say, i really like this guy. [laughter] [applause]
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>> i think anybody, you know, we all get a sense of people into the are. and when you meet sal and you meet his family, you are just absolutely convinced that this is what america is all about. and it just makes you proud. and so, this is a joyous occasion, something that i've been looking forward to. the medal of honor reflects the gratitude of an entire nation. so we are also joined here today by several mirrors of congress, including both senators and several representatives from staff sergeant didn't is hosting a file. we're also joined by leaders from across my administration and the department of defense including the secretary of defense, robert gates, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen. where is my? there he is right there.
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army secretary john mchugh, and chief of staff of the army general george casey. we are especially honored to be joined by staff sergeant giunta's fellow soldiers. his teammates, brother somehow company, second of 503rd, 173rd airborne brigade and several members of the rarest of fraternity that now welcomes into its ranks in medal of honor society. please give him a round of applause. [applause] >> we also welcome the friends and family who made staff sergeant giunta the man he is, including his lovely wife jenny, and his parents, steven and
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rosemary, as well as his siblings who are here. it was his mother, after all, who apparently taught him as a young boy in small town iowa had to remove the scream from his bedroom window in case of fire. [laughter] what she did know was that by teaching sal how to jump from his bedroom and sneaking off in the dead of night, she was unleashing a future paratrooper. [laughter] who would one day find in the rugged mountains of afghanistan and a thousand miles away. during the first of his two tours of duty in afghanistan, staff sergeant giunta was forced early on to come to terms with the loss of comrades and friends. his team there at the time gave him a piece of advice. you just try, you just got to try to do everything you can when it's your time to do it. you've just got to try to do
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everything you can when it's your time to do it. salvatore giunta is time came on october 25, 2007. he was a special spin, just 22 years old. sal and his platoon were several days into a nation in the korengal valley, the most dangerous valley in northeast afghanistan. the moon was full. life had cast was enough to travel by without using their night vision goggles. with heavy gear on their backs and air support overhead, they made their way single file down a rocky ridge crest so steep that the sliding was sometimes easier than walking your they hadn't traveled a quarter-mile before the silence was shattered. it was an ambush so close that the cracks of the guns with bullets were simultaneous.
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tracer fire hammered the ridge at hundreds of rounds per minute. more, sal said, than the stars in the sky. the apache gunship sought all that couldn't engage with the indy so close to our soldiers. the next platoon were too far away to join the fight in time. to lead men were hit by enemy fire and knocked down instantly. win the third was struck in hell and fell to the ground, sal charged headlong into the wall of bullets to pull him to safety behind what little cover there was. as he did, sal was hit twice, one around slamming into his body armor, the other shattering a weapon slung across his back. they were pinned down. the two wounded americans still light up ahead. so sal and his comrades regrouped and counterattacked. they drew grenades using the
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explosions as cover to run forward. shooting at the muzzle flashes still erupting from the trees. then they did it again. and again. throwing grenades, charging ahead. finally, they reached one of their men. he had been shot twice in the leg, but he kept returning fire into his gun jammed. as another soldier tended to his wounds, sal sprinted ahead, at every step meeting relentless enemy fire with his own. he crested the hill along with no cover but the dust kicked up by the storm of bullets still fighting in the ground. there he saw a chilling sight, the silhouette of two insurgent carrying the other wounded american a way. who happen to be one of sal's best friend. sal never broke stride. he went forward, took aim, killed one of the insurgents and wounded the other, who ran off.
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sal found his friend a live, but badly wounded. sal had saved him from the enemy, now he had to try to save his life. even as bullets impacted all around him, sal grabbed his friend by the best and dragged him to cover. for nearly half of our sal worked to stop the bleeding and helped his friend breathe until medevac arrived to lift the wounded from the ridge. american gunships were to clear the enemy from the hills. and with the battle over, first platoon picked up their gear and resumed their march through the valley. they continued their mission. it had been as intense and violent a firefight as any soldier had experienced. by the time it was finished, every member of the first platoon had shrapnel or a bullet hole in their gear. five were wounded, and two gave their lives. sal said, sergeant joshua brennan, and the platoon medic,
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specialist hugo mendoza. the parents of joshua and hugo are here today. and i don't that there are no words that even three years later, can ease the aches in your hearts or repay the debt that america owes to you, but on behalf of a grateful nation, let me express the profound thanks to your sons of service and their sacrifice. to the parents of joshua and hugo please stand. [applause]
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[applause] >> now, i already mentioned i like this guy, sal. and as i found that myself when i first spoke with him on the phone, and when we met him in the oval office today, he is a low-key guy. a humble guy. and he doesn't seek the limelight. and he will tell you that he didn't do anything special. that he was just doing his job. and any of his brothers in the unit would do the same thing. in fact, he just lived up to what his team leader, and instructed him to do yours before. to do everything you can. staff sergeant giunta repeatedly and without hesitation, charge forward to extreme enemy fire, embodying the warrior he says i will never leave a fallen comrade.
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your actions disrupted a devastating ambush before it could claim more lives. your courage prevented the capture of an american soldier. you brought that soldier back to his family. you may believe that you don't deserve this honor, but it was your federal soldiers who recommended euphoria. in fact, your commander specifically said in his recommendation that you lived up to the standards of the most declared american soldier of world war ii, on the murphy. who famously repelled overwhelming enemy attack by himself for one simple reason. they were killing my friends. that's why salvatore giunta risked his life for his fellow soldiers. because they would risk their lives for him. that's what fueled his bravery. not just an urgent impulse to have their backs, but the absolute confidence that they had his. one of them, sal has said, of
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these young men that he was with, he said they are just as much of me as i am. they are just as much of me as i am. so i would ask sal's team, all valid, who were with him that day, to please stand and be recognized as well. [applause] [applause] [applause] [applause]
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>> gentlemen, thank you for your service. we are all in your debt. i'm proud to be your commander-in-chief. these are the soldiers of our armed forces. highly trained, battle hardened, each with specialized roles and responsibilities, but all with one thing in common. they volunteer in an era when it's never been more tempting to chase personal ambition, or narrow self-interest, they chose the opposite. they felt a tug and they answered a call. they said i will go. for the better part of a decade they have endured a tour after tour in distant and difficult places. they are protected us from danger. they have given others the opportunity to earn a more better and secure life or death courageous men and women serving in afghanistan, even as we
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speak. they keep clear focus on their mission to deny safe haven for terrorists who would attack our country, to break the back of the taliban insurgency, and build the afghan capacities to defend themselves. they possess the steely resolve to see their mission through. they are made of the same strong stock as the truth in this room, and i'm absolutely confident they will continue to succeed in the missions that we give them in afghanistan, and beyond. after all, our brave servicemen and women, and their families, have done everything they have been asked to do. they have been everything that we have asked them to be. if i am a hero, sal has said, then every man who stands around me, every woman in the military, every person who defended this country, is. and he is right. this metal today is a testament
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to his uncommon valor, but also to the parents and the community that raised him. the military that trained him. and all the men and women who served by his side. all of them deserve our enduring thanks and gratitude. they represent a small fraction of the american population, but they and their families who await their safe return, carry far more than their fair share of our burden. they fight halfway around the globe, they do it in hopes that our children and our grandchildren won't have to. they are the very best part of us. they are our friends, our family, our neighbors, our classmates, our coworkers. they are why our banner still ways, our founding principles still shine, and our country, the united states of america,
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still stands as a force for good all over the world. so please join me in welcoming staff sergeant salvatore giunta for the reading of the south asian. -- salutation. >> the president of the united states of america, authorized by acts of congress, march 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of congress the medal of honor to then specialist salvatore giunta, united states army. specialist salvatore giunta distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the korengal valley, afghanistan, on october 25, 2007.
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while conducting a patrol as team leader with company b., second battalion airport, 503rd infantry regiment, specialist transit and his team were navigating the harsh terrain when they were ambushed by a well armed and well coordinated force. while under heavy fire specialist training engage the enemy. saying that his squad leader had fallen and believed that he had been injured, specials giunta exposed himself to withering enemy fire and race towards his squad leader, helping to cover and administered medical aid. while administering first aid come any fire struck specialist transfers body armor and a secondary weapon. without regard to the ongoing fire, specials giunta engage the enemy before propping and throwing grenades using the explosions for cover in order to conceal his position. attempting to reach additional wounded fellow soldiers who were separated from the squad, specials giunta and his team encountered a barrage of enemy
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fire that forced them to the ground. they came continued forward and upon reaching the wounded soldiers, specials giunta was another soldier was to separate it from the elements. specials giunta been advanced forward on his own initiative. icy crest the top of the hill he answered to insurgents carrying away an american soldier. he immediately engage the enemy, killing one and wounding the other. upon reaching the road soldier he began to provide medical aid, as his squad caught up and provided security. specialist giunta unwavering courage selflessness and decisive leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a file american soldier from the enemy. specialist salvatore a. giunta extraordinary heroism and selflessness about and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, company b., second battalion
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airport, 503rd infantry regiment, and the united states army. [applause] [applause] [applause]
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[applause] [applause] >> let us pray. great and loving god as we conclude this ceremony, keep us mindful of your call to each of us to devote ourselves, even our very lives here can be have of others. may staff sergeant salvatore giunta's courageous actions challenge and inspire us all to do the same for our fellow citizens. for generations to come. please give sal and gin great wisdom and strength of a new responsibility and roles that lobby for them. may they continue to make them all with dignity, honor, courage and humility. may your divine faith and internal wisdom rest on our president, upon all the national leaders as they strive together
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to lead and serve our great country. god bless the numbers of our armed services, and god bless america. we pray in your holy name, amen. >> thank you so much, everybody. once again, sal, one big last round of applause. [applause] [cheers and applause] [applause] ♪
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♪ >> join us later for more live coverage with a congressional hearing looking at the safety of air cargo. a live look at the u.s. capitol here with us and is out today, but the house gavel in at two eastern, 20 bills and revolutions on the counter. watch the house live on our companion network, c-span. earlier today senate democrats and republicans chose their leadership teams for the 112 congress. both parties will keep the current leaders in place. the house will choose their leadership teams tomorrow.
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>> a discussion on republican efforts to in the air marking process in congress from today's "washington journal," this is rresentatinutes. representative chaka fattah is joining us this morning to talkt about what's next foris next congressional democrats that i want to begin with leadership of thae that will be happening on wednesday for houset democrats. representative mickey shuler decided he willdo you support nr minority leader? why'd you disagree? guest: for those waking up in washington, i know they are a little shocked about the eagle'' victory over the redskins but the last time they play the
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redskins beat the eagles. the fact of the matter is nancy pelosi have led us from the minority into the majority. we did suffer an election loss on the first tuesday of november. but i am convinced, and i think the overwhelming majority, not withstanding the press fascination with the leadership fight, nancy pelosi will win 90-plus% of the votes in our caucus because she is a very capable leader who led our caucus. yes, we suffered an election laws but that was after a tremendous accomplishment in the last session. when social security was passed, there were losses, when medicare, there were losses, when social security was passed by president johnson. he said he was consigning his party to losing the south for more than a generation. sometimes to move the country forward it always creates unease
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and there could be electorial losses. but that doesn't mean we shouldn't goes forward. host: but the cnn opinion research poll taken right before the election, when survey those likely to vote, 70% said this election was about a rejection of democratic policies. so, given that, 70 -- 70%, and only 17% said it was a mandate for republicans. but still, but when forward with the same leadership, you are not concerned? guest: when the republicans lost their majorities, you did not see them shake up their ranks. they got behind boehner and cantpr and the and now in the majority. i think organizations and teams have to be careful as you are moving forward. if leaders are moving in the right direction, there are going to be setbacks. to can't have major efforts
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deal with social injustice in the country like 30 million people without health insurance and not create some unease. there are health insurance companies that are upset, major wall street firms. they spent tens of millions of dollars, a lot of it secretly on ads. they ran 161,000 ads targeting nancy pelosi nationwide. that does not mean we did not do the right thing. sometimes you have to be prepared to take election losses. there were democrats who voted for the assault weapons ban under the clinton administration who walked on the floor and said we know we are going to lose our seats, we know there are going to be people in the district who are going to think that this is somehow the slippery slope to people taking all of their guns from them, and they are going to vote us out. but we will save thousands of lives in the process. the person is served in the district next to mine voted for
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the clinton economic plan. she knew she was going to lose a seat, but we have millions of new jobs and balanced the budget. sometimes you have to be prepared to take a step back in order to move the country forward. i am convinced we did the right thing. and i think that over time history will judge the decisions we made in the 111th about saving the economy, and vesting and american oil and manufacturing, about to stabilizing regulations on wall street so we would have a financial crisis again, that those were the correct decisions, even if we suffer in the electoral losses at the polls. host: what do you want the democratic leaders to do as far as pushing the agenda? do you want them to push an agenda that is more to the left or a little bit more to the center? guest: what they care about is an agenda that put people back to work. they care about an agenda that will balance the budget.
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the question of tax cuts and a few weeks here, and, in a, i am joining today with senator warner saying rather than tax cuts for the wealthy, let's make them available to small businesses who are going to create jobs, so over the long term we need to be investing -- democrats need to be part focused on growth, smart growth, development of our economy, putting people to work. this discussion about left-white is washington -- left-right is washington. i travelled round country. people are not focused on that. they are focused on jobs, how to secure their homes, the future of their children, how to educate their children. host: on the tax-cut issue, you see that as a compromise, what senator mark warner put out. what are you hearing about republican support for that idea? guest: what the republicans said is let's keep the tax cuts for
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millionaires and billionaires because they will potentially invested in business creation and therefore spur economic development. what senator warner has said, which is why i joined with him this morning on it, is let's cut out the middleman. let's make those tax breaks, let's take 65 billion or $75 billion over the next two years and make a long-term reduction over a decade in small business taxes so that they can develop their companies and put americans back to work. host: if that proposal does not go anywhere and the only compromise on the table is extending the tax cuts for everybody for two years, would you vote for that? guest: i don't know -- i know you had discussions about earmarks. earmarks the $16 billion and the tax cuts in total are $4 trillion. added to our national debt. which we will then borrow from
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countries around the world and some other investors. that debt will be paid for by our children and grandchildren. i am not sure we should just be willy-nilly about this. i think we do need to continue to spur economic activity. the recovery is not as full blown as we would want. so, i am not opposed to a temporary extension of tax cuts for people at $250,000 and under. but i am not sure i of for a permanent extension of tax cuts for anyone. i think we need to think long and hard about how to get the country out of debt. we have a debt commission that laid out $4 trillion in cuts. you have a tax cut proposal that would be $4 trillion in lost expenditures. it would take us right back to where we are now. if you implement the both of those we would be still about $12 trillion in debt as a
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country with $1 trillion-plus and deficit each year. you have to think it through. then we still have to do the appropriations bill for this year. you really would not be at 0 but you would add another trillion on the spending side. we have a tendency, kind of like the red meat we are offering is earmark reform. it is so minor in the scheme of things. but it is a great distraction from the real problem. the real problem is we are running a government in which we want the best military in the world but we don't want to pay for it. the costs of about $1 million poorer -- per soldier on the ground and afghanistan a year, right, so we are spending billions a week in afghanistan but we don't want to pay for it. the first time in history, war bonds, were taxes -- so, we can have the best education, best
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health care, best military and not pay for it. republicans keep saying it is a spending part boom. i think it is in part a revenue problem. we want more government that we are willing to pay for so we are willing to borrow from the chinese and others. i think it has got to stop at some point. host: your colleague, democratic senator charles schumer from new york has a proposal as well to extend the tax cuts for those making $1 million and less. what do you think about that idea? guest: i think it says that is a very good compromise that has been offered. i like senator warner and little bit more, because it deals with the question of the recovery. the only way we are really going to get out of debt as a nation is we have to -- you know, we have millions of americans on the sideline who would rather be contributing, not only paying their own bills, but helping to
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they need jobs. i like the warner proposal because i see it as a growth model. i have a friend back home who is a big democratic supporter but he says we have to push more on development. even though the president has done all along on smart reinvestment, electric battery investment, we need to see an economy for the future of the nation. we need to invest in it now. small businesses where the jobs are. host: carla in virginia beach, virginia. go ahead. caller: i first want to say thank-you to the representative for his service. second, we have stopped to -- got to stop looking to these rich folk for taxes. we have a lot of people who are out of work, hurting, they do
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not have health care. these folks do not know how much money they have. we have to pay attention to the people in the country who are hurting. we have people who cannot eat, who cannot get medication. we need to do the right thing in this country. guest: i appreciate the call. people need to get more accurate information. a lot of people here my republican colleagues talk about the tax rate, and that it is high compared to other countries. the truth is, many other countries have no tax exemption. more than two-thirds of companies pay no taxes at all. so when we hear politicians
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sobbing about the corporate tax rate, how it deters economic activity, it is not true. when we talk about people who are wealthy, $500,000 and above , jerry johnson -- he used to write for "the new york times." he showed that billionaires' paid little or nothing in actual tax rates. when warren buffett can say why is my secretary paying have -- higher taxes than me? people need to listen up. you need to ask the real question. what is the effective rate? what are people actually paying? there are tons of loopholes in
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the tax code for no other reason than for people to avoid tax liability. we have a responsibility to the country not just to rile people up at rallies, we need to tell people the truth. that will give them a better idea of what we need to do. host: brenda in berlin, texas. good morning. caller: good morning. in regards to you communicating to the public, you could do more, you could be more effective, but there are democrats in texas. those who do not hear you are listening to that other channel. also, i want to talk about the tax deal. please do not renig on that.
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third, you do not need to keep on justifying nancy pelosi. we love her. i can say this without a shadow of a doubt. republicans hate her, she must be good for our party. have a fantastic day. guest: i love texas and i am pleased to hear she loves our speaker. i think she had done an extraordinary job. she is the highest ranking woman to rise in our government. this is the only countries where the number of women will not increase. it will decrease. we do not have the kind of representation that we should. the speaker is a great example of someone who is in politics, has made a tremendous contribution. i offered a bill on taxes that
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would reform our tax code, that would get rid of the income tax and create a fairer tax system, and also get us out of debt. i hope there will be all the proposals and that we can have a real debate in our country about how we pay our bills, how we deal with it fairly. i hope the majority -- morthan republicans came in with this contract of america and they said they would do away with the income tax. they never brought up a bill for a vote in the house. and they controlled the house for 12 years. this is what i'm talking about in terms of being straight with people. it is one thing on the campaign trail, but when it comes to doing work, we do not see it.
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president obama has moved nuclear power plants forward for the first time in 30 years in our country. so again, i think people are getting a lot of bad information. host: a "all street journal" editorial calling it a victory for republicans. are you concerned about this? guest: i am not concerned about it in the sense that the wall street journal and others who comment on it are in a raw state about earmarks. we need to focus on what we are going to do on the $4 trillion in cuts proposed by the debt commission. i think they should be applauded for putting together a vigorous plan.
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i do not agree with the notion of freezing combat pay, pay for our military for three years. the details you can pick apart. the fact that they have said to the country we are in a deep hole and we need to figure out how to get out of it, has forced others to come up with a plan. their plan does not even get the country out of debt. this is $4 trillion in cuts that does not even get to balancing our budget. i think this is what we ought to be debating, what we are going to do about earmarks. there is no legislative body in the country where members will
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not be able to influence what happens in certain projects. whether they influence it in a bill, in communication with the executive branch -- but the notion that you will have a congress that will be impotent in its ability to affect what is going on, that is not true. we will be here 10 years from now and "the wall street journal" will be writing an editorial that the congress is somehow influencing how projects are done in the country. host: so this is just a game? guest: it is a distraction, a purposeful destruction led by the new incoming republican majority. they want people to focus on earmarks. the truth is, it would not matter one way or the other in terms of the country's financial
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circumstances. it does not cut spending. those of us in congress will still find ways. they would call the secretary of education up and say we have a project we would like you to consider. host: clare mechanical of missouri disagrees with you, saying it would -- clare the castle of missouri disagrees with you, -- macaskill of missouri disagrees with you, saying it would -- guest: whether they do or do not end it, it is not a big deal, in my opinion. let's look at the real numbers. $4 trillion this year. we have another one $0.20
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trillion next year. in the scheme of federal funding, it is not much. host: marietta, california. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you doing? you are spinning them pretty good this morning. the last one he talked about, earmarks. of course, republicans. i am one of them. it is not this one% you just keep talking about, sir. by the way, this continuing resolution is going to be coming down the pipe from your famous, fabulous leader who is from california. i would love to have this lady
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from texas adopt it. that would be fine with me. we passed our budget, $19 billion. we just came out with $26 billion more in debt, but that is not the point. the bottom line with earmarks is, it is the grease that pushes the sled along. guest: i am not going to react to that. it is a distraction. the republicans had a majority and they slowly increased earmarks. i do not remember the exact number, but it was a big increase. we will see what happens. if they are going to end earmarks -- we will see.
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host: next phone call. glen. caller: you are talking now to one of the most important investors, an american. i would like to know how someone can get away with putting our country in so much debt and walking around with a smile on his face, as he looks under the table while still in office and says, there are no weapons of mass destruction and laugh? how can someone like that walk around after putting our country in a hole like this. he is a criminal. we are the investors in this country. no one else should be investing in this country. host: you are referring to former president bush? caller: that man is a crook.
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guest: i would not accuse the president of being a criminal. i will say this. there was a hearing that i was in. the new bush and administration was about to take office. they had a plan to get the country out of debt. we were talking about paying off the entire debt of the country and what that would do for our economy. greenspan was talking about how central banks around the world would react to that. eight years later what we have is not trillions in surpluses, but he doubled the national debt, in rough numbers. when president obama was sworn in, we had close to $11 trillion in the actual debt,
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that is debt, plus the deficit at the moment he was sworn into office. a lot of people want to blame him for that, but this is what he inherited. bush continued tax cuts, he declared two wars, and the combination of giving away revenue, spending more, including the cost of the wars, he doubled our debt. we understand he is a republican hero, but at some point in time, the math needs to add up. republicans want $4 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years. what they offer in their pledge is $16 billion in cuts. the math does not add up. host: chaka fattah talrepresents
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the second district in pennsylvania. next phone call. caller: when president obama was running for election, one of the problems he made was appealing the bush tax cuts. the top 1% of the people in the country own 26% of all the private assets in the country. i think letting the tax rates go back to where they were when president clinton was in office would not be a real hardship on them. even warren buffett said he pays less taxes than the secretary in his office, proportionally. if he thinks it would be all right for him to pay a bit more in tax, obviously, he sees the discrimination in his country.
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that is my only comment. thank you. guest: i agree that we should let the tax cuts on the wealthiest 2% expired. i would like to see us take those revenues and use it for job creation, like senator warner of virginia has suggested. the other thing i would say about taxes is, you hear republicans say that some percentage of americans do not even pay income taxes. but when you challenge them, they say it is just income taxes, not general taxes. this is just how they continually misrepresents the facts. the truth is, most people have their payroll tax. most people pay a higher percentage in the payroll tax that these upper income people
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pay at $250,000 and above. nobody in the country is getting away scot-free. if someone is not carrying their weight right now, in terms of the challenges the country faces, it is at this upper income level where people have used these exec -- exemptions to avoid taxation. on your commentsweet earlier about democratic spending. guest: he is referring to the last few years of the bush administration. the congress spent lessees of those years than president bush requested in the budget. that is because democrats were determined to hold him to a
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better fiscal standard than his republican colleagues in years prior. there is a difference in the sense that the bush should ministration also, through their tax policies, brought the country to the brink of financial disaster and bush had to ask for a bailout which we called t.a.r.p. what this caller wants to suggest is somehow the bailout the democrat'son democrats bac back, and it was done to keep us out of depression, but i think the need to be fair with each other. we need to talk about not who is to blame. even though i am perfectly prepared to show, republicans
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did what they did and all the angels are not on their side on this issue. more importantly, how are we going to get our country out of debt? i have a proposal that would get us out of debt in 20 years. i want to generate the notion that we should have a debate about that and how we should make our country. why should we be the largest creditor nation in the world to being the largest debtor nation in the world? host: you serve on the appropriations committee. have you had earmarks in the past, will you continue to try to get them for your district? guest: i will always represent the interests of my district rather than seeking to find appropriated funds for the district, programs.
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in the house, they say they are going to ban all earmarks, so there will be no possibility for individuals to seek earmarks under the constraints for which they seem to be putting in. i will be working my friends in the senate to make sure the things i am interested in are considered in the process. if they ban them in the senate, i will call its administration to push for those things. there is no legislative body in the country where members are not going to push things they are interested in. if people believe that is going to happen today, i have a bridge to know where they could be interested in buying. host: stand in south carolina. good morning. -- stan in south carolina.
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caller: i have been listening and i think there is a lot of misinformation coming from this man. everything is about tax cuts. everyone is at a certain tax level. if this is extended, they will be at the same level. there will be no cutting. you all want to say cutting. that has the connotation of reducing the tax. there is no tax cutting. secondly, congress has the last word in the money being spent. do not mislead the folks. congress has the last word in signing off on any spending bill. thirdly, here we are with no budget for 2011. guest: first of all, you are absolutely correct.
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what president bush and the republican congress did is they put this forward as a tax cut. cbo scored them. in order to avoid a real cost to the budget, they put an expiration date on it. it expires at the end of this year. now the question before the congress is whether to continue those or not. he wants to have a semantic argument. i agree. it is a question of whether these rates will stay in place or not. whether they will expire as president bush designed to them to. they say we need these in order to have job growth. just look at the 10 years they have been in place and see if we have had job growth. and look at the years prior to that to see if we had job
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growth. you will see 23 million or so more jobs in the clinton years. but their argument is the need to have these tax rates go forward in order to have economic growth. these tax rates have gotten us to where we are now, an anemic job creation, on the brink of financial collapse, but this gentleman says the wisest thing we could do is not only going forward to do the same thing, but use words to make it sound more pleasant. host: ginger in the augusta, georgia. independent line. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. in reference to tax cuts, i do not think it has been brought up that the upper income people already get a 7.5% tax cut because they do not pay social security on the income above
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$106,000. that is never mentioned. guest: i think the debt commission missed the opportunity when talking about social security to suggest that we should have income above the cut off now calculated in social security. you are right. for people who earn above a certain amount, they do not have to pay the social security tax on net earnings. this is part of a more candid dialogue. maybe c-span can have a whole day where they can talk about how taxes actually affect americans. i think it could be informative. host: the presumptive next speaker of the committee, if he gets a waiver from his caucus, jerry lewis, writes in "the washington times" key steps to balance the budget. just a couple of things he
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mentions -- would you agree to those? guest: first of all, emergency spending is a challenging situation. you have a hurricane, a real emergency, you have to deal with it. he is saying we should not use those items we know we have to budget for and call it an emergency. democrats complained about that when republicans put the cost of the census -- which is in the constitution that we have to do every 10 years -- whether we should have budgeted for that in emergency spending. we need to be mindful of using this emergency gimmick. once it is an emergency, it does not count for the budget cap. so i agree with jerry lewis on
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that. the president said that he wanted a freeze on non-defense discretionary. republicans have called for a rollback. it seems it would have cut 25% or so from the fbi, education programs, the whole list of programs that could be problematic. at some point, we need a more honest discussion about what cuts can be made fairly, and where we might need additional revenue. that is another point where the debt commission fell down on. this notion that we have two thirds cups, one third revenue, it should be half revenue, half cupsts.
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the truth is, i am not sure if there are cuts that can be made which could be required. host: next phone call. caller: i am a republican but i am not locked into the idea. i want to put an idea for about job creation and the economy. what does it sound like to build 20 hospitals in each state run by the government's and then somebody like me can pay $200 a month for their services? i would be glad to do that. it would also take care of education if you had doctors work in the hospital who had their education paid for. what do you think guest: about that?
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-- but do you think about that? what do you think about that? guest: the president said that we want to do as much as we can to allow people to keep their current coverage. most people get their coverage through their job right now. we want to provide tax incentives for businesses so they can afford these benefits. the system that was designed in the affordable care act is really a building block of the current system. having public hospitals would not fit into the context that our country works and, a system of capitalistic free enterprise. we have great hospitals that are run as nonprofits, organizations like sisters of mercy, for-
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profit hospitals, medical schools connected to universities who trained doctors. i think we have the best health care in the world. the biggest problem in the world is access to it by million two did not have access. -- who do not have access. we need to focus on cost containment and make sure it is affordable and make sure we control the cost better. host: florida. bob. thank you for waiting. caller: i want to know how much it costs the american taxpayer to keep a congressman in office. this includes housing, staff costs, travel, supplies, committee compensations, your salary, everything that is
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included to keep you in office for one year. guest: there is no housing provided to members of congress. there is a cost for staff, salary, all of this is public intermission. if you want to call my office, we would be happy to point you to the data that would show you the numbers for any member of congress, including mine. the cost of our form of government is high, but it is the best form of government known in the world. that is why, as americans, we have been willing to pay the price for a democratic process in which people
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me. >> listen to the landmark supreme court cases saturday. >> women in texas are still not able to receive abortions because they fear they will be prosecuted under the statute. >> this week, part two of roe v. wade, listen to the argument at 6 p.m. eastern in washington, d.c. at 90.1fm, nationwide, and online at >> c-span2, one of c-span public affair's offerings. weekdays live coverage and weekend book tv. 48 hours of the latest nonfiction authors and books connect with us on twitter, facebook, and youtube, and sign us for schedule alert
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e-mails at >> john pistole, the head of the transportation security administration is testifying today before the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee on new cargo air security measures put in place since the attempted parcel bomb terrorists attack from yemen last month. committee members are expected to ask about new pat-down security methods at u.s. airports. the customs and border patrol commissioner is also scheduled to testify at the hearings. it's chaired by joe lieberman and expected to get underway momentarily. this is live coverage on c-span2 [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. the hearing will come to order. our suggest today is air cargo security.
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beginning with the attacks against america on 9/11, our terrorists enemies have consistently sought to use airplanes as weapons of max destruction. and more generally, they have seen in the aviation system a strategic choke point of international transit and commerce that could be brought to a halt, or at least stopped through terror attacks. we've seen shoe bombers, liquid bombers, underwear bombers, again and again terrorists have sought different ways to blow up an airplane. in the most recent attempt, of course, terrorists hid bombs inside the toner cartridges of printers and sent them to the u.s. as air cargo. this plot, as the others before it, was forwarded in this case largely because of the extraordinary intelligence.
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and here we give thanks and credit to our friends and allies in saudi arabia. there was in this an element of good fortune, and luck. luck is not a strategy to defend our nation from a threat of terrorists. as this most recent plot demonstrates, good intelligence and strong foreign partnerships are critically important. but i think the point that remains with us, and it's that phrase that echoes from the 9/11 report, the cain hamilton report, 9/11 occurred because of a failure of imagination. our failure to imagine that people could possibly try to do what the terrorists did to us on 9/11. every time one of these events happens, it compels us to figure out how we can better anticipate
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terrorists next move, not just react to the last one. former tsa administrator and deputy secretary of dhs admiral james loy said in "the washington post" after contract -- after 9/11, we hardened the cockpit coors. -- doors. then we tried the liquids and we cracked down on liquids. then the underwear bomber came close to bringing down a plane over detroit. now we've gone to full body imaging. of course, i support every one of those steps this we've taken. now terrorists are going after a weak spot in cargo inspections. and we are respond to that as well we should. but they, our enemies, will keep looking for new vulnerabilities.
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and we have got to continue to try to think as they would and raise our defenses before they strike. we were lucky as i've said that none of these attempts succeeded. but they will continue to probe our weaknesses, attempting to detect our flaws and then defending against them. and we have to make sure that not only does our luck not run out, but we are prepared to stop whenever they try. here's -- here are some of the questions that i'd like to ask our witnesses today. clearly both the gathering of intelligence and acting on it is crucial. and i want to ask how we can improve our intelligence beyond even where it is now. intelligence is always important in war. never more important than in the particular war where islamic, extremist, terrorists that we
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are fighting to do. for all of the reasons that i've just talked about. threats of terrorism come from within the united states or from aboard. our ability to deter, detect, or intercept that foreign threat here is limited by our own sovereignty. we got to depend on foreign partners to implement strong security programs. and i want to ask both of you what we are doing to strengthen those relationships and implement international security programs. obviously we have limited direct control over incoming passenger flights and cargo flights. while our government has achieved 100% screening of air cargo on domestic passenger flights which is a significant accomplishment consistent with the 9/11 legislation we adopted, only about 60 percent of cargo
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on passenger flighting coming into the united states from abroad is screened. and there's a kind of patch work system on cargo shipments on all cargo aircrafts. naturally, i want to ask how we can improve that and convince our foreign countries to expand and accelerate their screening of cargo coming either on passenger flights or all cargo flights to the united states. right now we require air carriers coming from europe, asia, africa, and south america to provide cargo manifest information after the plane is taken off. four hours before it's due to arrive. can't we move that time line up? isn't there additional or different information that maybe helpful in identifying high risk cargo. and finally, how are we propairing to -- preparing to identify the next gap that
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terrorists will likely try to exploit. do we have an institutional way? as difficult as unprecedented as the enemy in threatening our homeland security to try to think ahead of them. our witnesses today are, of course, ideally positioned by the offices they hold now and by their experience to help us answer these questions. tsa administrator john pistole, and custom and border commissioner alan bersin. i thank you for being here. i look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, your testimony, particularly when you are quoting admiral loy shows us that the terrorists remain unflagging in their determination to exploit vulnerabilities in this security systems developed since 9/11
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9/11/2001. in the past 12 months, the united states has narrowly avoided two terrorists plots directed against aviation. the first was averted by sheer luck and the quick action of the passengers and crew in the skies above detroit on christmas day. the second, which we've just discussed, was disrupted due to intelligence shared by our allies and the hard work of federal law enforcement, intelligence, and homeland security officials and several international partners. and i want to commend the two leaders who were before us today who i know worked around the clock once they were informed of this threat. in these two failed attacks, we see the if patient the our enem.
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though thwarted, these plots should prompt us to re-examination whether our priorities are correct and our resources properly deploy. today the committee examines the most recent attempted attack. we are all aware that last month terrorists exploited weaknesses in the air cargo security system. and succeeded in putting explosives inside printer cartridges. they found their way into the cargo bays of the air bays, including one passenger plane. if detonated, the results would have been catastrophic. this is the nature of the terrorists threat that we face. it is dynamic, it is ever changing. the chairman reminds us of the
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caution of the 9/11 commission that we cannot suffer again from a failure of imagination. as we strengthen our security systems, the terrorists counterrer with a different kind of threat aimed a different target, using different means. the potential to plant an explosive of the cargo shipped around the world is clearly a vulnerability. the department of homeland security must use it with other countries, airline carriers, and shippers to tighten the security network. we must move quickly to shore up our defenses without interfering with the legitimate flow of commerce. and, of course, that is always the challenge that we face. al qaeda, is, after all, seeking
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to destroy our economy and way of life as well as to kill our people. we must not allow either goal to be accomplished. dhs should analyze how government can best focus it's limited screening resources on the highest risk cargo. the successes in the risk-based screening of maritime cargo could provide a road map for risk-based screening of the air cargo. currently maritime cargo manifest information must be submitted to dhs at least 24 hours before the cargo container headed to the united states is even loaded on a ship overseas. using this information, and other intelligence, the dhs targeted high-risk cargo for inspection prior to the ships departure to this country.
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in sharp contrast, air cargo manifest information is required to be submitted only four hours before the cargo arrives in the united states. that is a major difference. and it means that the information is often transmitted to dhs while the aircraft is in the air, providing no opportunity to conduct further inspections of flagged cargo before departure. and in some ways that reminds me of the problem with the abu moeal lab. seems to me we have a similar problem in the case of our air cargo.
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based on the shipping information, about the two packages, the agency flagged them as high risk upon arrival in the united states. but our whole concept is to push out our borders. so that that screening, that flagging of dangerous cargo occurs not when the cargo arrives in our country, but as -- before it's even put on board a vessel or aircraft bound for this country. now i recognize that the tempo of air cargo's supply chain is different from maritime cargo. but regardless of the mode, we have an obligation to examine vulnerabilities in our supply chains and to manage risk. we can make better opportunity
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on cargo overseas. instead of attempting to screen almost all cargo at airport, it could be screened at a warehouse where the package is sealed long before it arrived at an airport and kept secure until it's delivered. that would avoid the potential delays trying to do everything immediately prior to loading packages on aircraft. i mentioned that dhs must constantly reevaluate the allocation of it's security resources and priorities. in that vain, i still remained concerned about the intrusiveness and effectiveness of the advanced imaging technology in the potential negative health effects. as mr. pistole knows, this is an issue that i'm neverred to him many times, as well as secretary napolitano and multiple letters to the administration.
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i believe the department should independently evaluate the health effects of the technology and should consider software that is in use at skipo airport in amsterdam that respects travelers privacy by automatically identifying objects that maybe threat, but by using feature-less images of travelers. to date, the department's response to my inquiries have been inadequate. now i know that mr. pistole was on his way to view the technology when the plot from yemen was uncovered. i want to acknowledge that. obviously our governments first priority is to protect our people against terrorism. and the public will accept a certain level of intrusion and inconvenience. but dhs should be using
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technology and techniques that are as safe and as effective as possible that minimize privacy concerns whenever possible. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, very much. senator collins. administrate pistole, it's an honor to have you back with us. we welcome your statement now. >> thank you, ranking member collins, senator levin, senator brown, good to be here today with the commissioner to address the committee on the role of tsa and cbp in the area of air cargo security. appreciate the committee leadership and your ongoing efforts to ensure the security for air cargo and passenger aviation for the american people. three weeks ago as we've noted, we and i use the collective we in the broadest sense, the intel, law enforcement, aviation security and private sector communities along with homeland security communitied disrupted
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this attack when the individuals we believed to be aqap, al qaeda on the arabia peninsula, hid devices inside the toner cartridges. they were shipped from yemen destined from the u.s. i got a call at 10:30 from the white house security and counterterrorism regarding specific, credible intelligence that we know is so rare in the business as to exact packages that should be assessed. identifying and assessed. of course, we worked through the night, and staying in close contacts with our colleagues throughout the u.s. intelligence law enforcement and communities and our international counterparts, of course, the private sector, including cargo and ups. i immediately grounded all air cargo coming from yemen. at the initial response, we took
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additional steps in conjunction with cbp, we, cbp, and our partners located all u.s.-bound packages from yemen that were in transit. cbp working with the jttf located and identified the packages to make sure they were not a risk such as the other two toner packages. with the community, we defined the targeting tools to provide additional focus on current threats. i sent a team of tsa security inspectors to work with the yemeni authorities to provide guidance, expertise, and detection of equipment to the yemeni government. i had a speech to the nation's security world conference in frankfurt from where i was supposed to go from amsterdam, met with counterparts around the
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world. while there, i met with the international transport director, world recognized export in the area, along with head of aviation security for icao. where there, i went to yemen five days after we became aware of the plot to meet with the u.s. country team, and the yemeni authorities including the deputy prime minister and the minister of transport and other yemeni government officials. several days later, they spoke with leaders in the international shipping, dhs, fedex, and tnt and as well as director general, without disrupting the cargo supply chain. on november 8, we announced that air cargo will be banned from
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the future. we indicated the no high risk cargo would be allowed on the aircraft bound to the u.s. and, of course, toner and ink cartridges weighing 16 ounces around 500 would be prohibited on the passenger flights and flights inbound to the u.s. and also all high risk cargo would have receive additional and enhance screening including inbound international mail packages and worked with the postmaster general on some of those issues to implement that which must be screened individually and certified to have come from an established poa -- postal shipper. these are some of the step that is we have taken. i would note back to august 2010, we have required the 100 percent screening of all air cargo transported on domestic and parted from u.s. airports. we have worked, as senate collins outlined, in large part
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to the certified cargo screening program where we have 1100 private companies in the u.s. to do screening away from the airport just over 51% now of all air cargo flying out of the u.s. or leaveing domestically is done through these private screening facilities that we certify, we inspect, and ensure . >> excuse me for interpreting. is that for passenger planes and cargo? >> right now for passenger planes. we are looking at the possibilities with cargo, recognizing that fedex and ups have their own screening regimen and do a very good job independent of what we would do. also in their best interest also. this very practical security program keeps commerce moving without creating screening bottle necks at airports and we are looking at that as a worldwide model for implementation. it's just the issue of capacity of development. a number of different issues that we are addressing which i
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can get into more detail in response of the questions, perhaps. i would just note that since june of last year we have met on the targeted system, atf, to better target high-risk cargo on inbound flights. ease efforts compliment our continued diplomatic work to improve screening on the flights. thank you for the opportunity to be here today. i look forward to working with the committee. as we fur sue -- pursue the efforts, glad to be here. >> thank you. mr. bersin, we welcome your testimony now. >> thank you committee, senators levin and brown, i joined administrator pistole in acknowledging the committee's leadership and exploring gaps and the deficit that is we have so we can more effectively confront terrorism. i'd like to address in this
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state three dimensions of cbp work. first is the air cargo processes that we currently engage is. the second is building on administrator pistole's response to the 10-29 event. last with the partnership in the tsa and way away in the steps that we have contemplating taking together. first with air cargo, it arrives in two ways, commercial passengers flights in the hold, and the belly of our cargo jets, or within a specifically designated cargo-only aircraft. in fiscal year 2010, cbp processed nearly 334,000 such flights and inspected and screened over 57 million regular and express airway records.
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this is a massive part of our international trade policy and economy. currently, as pointed out by senator collins, our systems and processes are designed to identify high risk cargo for inspection after their arrival in the united states. they are not designed to identify dangerous cargo as is the regime in the maritime context. after the trade act in 2002, they must provide manifest data four hours after the arrival of the aircraft, or it gets to the point less than four hours from the continental united states. upon receipt of the advance manifest data, cbp processes the information through it's automaticked targeting system or ats. the system as you know identified potential threats
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related to terrorism, narcotics, hazardous materials, and other areas of concern to the agency and to the nation. ats is the primary platform used by the department of homeland security to match travelers and goods against screening information and specific intelligence that maybe received. it's used by our air cargo advanced targeting units at local airplanes to conduct risk assessments. it's also used by our national targeting center cargo located in virginia which conducts high level sweeps for shipments of concern based on intelligence and specific targeting rules that are written to reflect present and perspective threats that we perceive through intelligence or otherwise. these rules identify risk factor that is are paren in the manifest data that we receive from the carriers. each of the risk factors receives a quantitative value or
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a score. and if the shipment exceeds the predetermined score or threat -- or threshold for the national security concern, we place it on hold and conduct inspection. we identify all high risk air cargo or cargo identified by high risk by the local, advanced targeting units. they must include a nonintrusive inspection if equipment is available or physical inspection of the shipment as well as a mandatory radiation scan. we also partner at cbp with the trade community to enhance supply chain security through the cbp pat program, under ct pat, supporters and shippers adopt minimum security standards
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which they must adhere to throughout their security chain. in explain, cbp treats the shipment as lower risk and provide fewer inspections. as the administrator pistole indicated when we became aware of the threat on 10 clash -- 10/29 we responded by holding all cargo shipments from yemen to the united states, among with the pack packages in question. we asked what more could be coming toward us, who could have been sending it to us, and how quickly can we mitigate or neutralize the risk? wees a irritates the location of each equipment and held them for inspection. we then completed inspections with canines and equipment.
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we can go into further with questions and answers, 38 shipments in total. we identified them within hours. within days, we had the shipments with the millions of that arrived. within a week, we had actually satisfied ourselves and cleared those cargoes as a result of techniques of scanning that were applied to them. where do we go in the days ahead and the months ahead with the help and guidance of experts and of -- including those on this committee? we have ever since the december 29 incident involving ab due --
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ab due meal lab. we need to do the same now. we believe it's the best source. currently cbp is providing assistant to tsa to fulfill the maundeds -- mandates to explore the aircrafts. we are also collaborating to explore the ats, automaticked targeting system, as a risk targeting tool in the air cargo context that can be shared between cpt and tsa. this will allow us to leverage information already collected to meet tsa's mission to secure international inbound air cargo. we also acknowledge the importance of partnering with the private sector. with our partners in that sector, so that they can assume
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a considerable assistant and lend us considerable assistance in securing the supply chain. we also recognize that we must receive information in advance of what we are currently receiving. we are working with tsa to determine what the parameters of that are and importantly consulting with our private sector partners to get their views as to how they can most expeditiously provide that information. it is clear that our receipt of manifesting four hours prior to arrival does little to help prevent dangerous cargo from being loaded aboard. let me abbreviate the statement to get on to the dialogue of questions and answers. we believe that we have the foundation in place to implement the more effective system. we believe that the working with
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tsa and with other agencies in the united states government we can strengthen the system and do it relatively quickly. but we should do it cautiously and deliberately and i look forward to working as i'm sure secretary napolitano do in working with this committee and this staff in reaching a satisfactorily outcome and building the next level of security into our air cargo system. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, commissioner. we'll go to the questions now. seven-minute questions rounds for each of the senators. administrator pistole, we have focused on air cargo security, but obviously more broadly on the question of aviation security. i want to ask you a question related to tsa, the so-called pat down procedures that follow and that are associated with the use of the whole body imaging
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scanners which i recall because we held hearings on this subject after the christmas day bombing attempt. and most of us were calling for you to go to the whole body scanners either in the amsterdam variety or what you've done. and i wanted to give you an opportunity before the committee really to explain the pat down procedures that have troubled people and why you think that they are justified. >> thank you, mr. chairman. there is a ever-evolving nature of the terrorists plot that has been well described here this afternoon. the challenge for tsa and the whole u.s. government and our allies around the world is to develop the both the best techniques and tacticked enabled to detect those plots. as we've heard, the various plots outlined here this afternoon, this is clear that we have to be one step ahead of the
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terrorists and it's obviously that we are not always in that situation as evidenced by the last three plots that would -- could have been successful. so really comes down to a balance where partnership on one hand, working with the traveling public and the security safety issues on the other hand and what is a proper mix? so what we try to do is understand we want to be sensitive to people's concerns about privacy, about their personal being and things, while ensuring that everybody on every flight has been properly screened. we've recognized, i particularly recognized that the responsible people with disagree as to what the proper balance or blend is between privacy and security and safety. that being the case, i think everybody who gets an a flights wants to ensure and be assured that everybody else around them have been screened.
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everybody on the flight wants to know i have been properly screens or you have been. how do we reach that challenge? that's the challenge that we go through. i believe the advanced engine technology is the best technology that we have to detect the nonmetallic device. like we saw on christmas day. if we have an advance that opted out of technology, let's say abdulmutallab had done that, if he had opted out, i'm not going to receive a thorough pat down. i it get on the flight. if that had been successful on christmas day, we'd have a different dialogue. i want to reassure the public we are concerned about your safety, security, and privacy. let's work together in partnership to ensure that we can have the best way forward. >> let me just take a moment or two more.
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let me make clear if you will to the committee and public maybe listening and watching, how does someone get suggested to a pat down procedure? >> there's actually a very small number or percentage that would have the pat down. it would occur almost exclusively when the situation has somebody has opted out of the advanced screening technology or they have alerted on that because there's something still in their pockets or they maybe trying to carry some contraband. >> in other words, they've chosen not to go through the scanner or they have gone through and there's some alert. >> there's alert and some basis for doing that. so even with that, it is a very small percentage of all of the passengers. so very few people, even though the information out there, the public out there because it is a new technique if you will, the
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other thing that i said, i've been in europe several times in the past few months and observed the pat downs being down in many airports. it's very similar. our pat down approach is very similar to what's being utilized in europe and around the world. we know it's even much more thorough in other parts of the world. >> i know, chris, you have the same gender person, tsa employee doing the pat down. i presume they are put through training. this is a difficult balance because obviously they are -- this has to be a more intimate and intrusive investigation because of the choice that has been made earlier on what the machine has shown. but that they are instructed in a way that will determine whether somebody is potentially dangerous but also in doing so, try to do minimal harm to their privacy. >> correct. and they go through training and the clearest outcome of that training is to be professional,
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and to give clear guidance and a lot of clarity as to what they are going to do in terms of the actual pat down and to make sure the passenger understands that and responds to that. there's been a lot of publicity out there about a certain individual who recently tried to travel, but did not want to have that pat down. i think if people get away from just the passenger to hear what the security officer was saying, very cool, calm, professional, and that's what we expect out of our security officers. to do this in a way that is professional and, again, the bottom line is if you have two planes that are getting ready to depart, and one, you say, everybody has been thoroughly screened on that plane. you can go on that plane or another plane where we have not done a thorough screening because people didn't feel comfortable with that. i think most of -- if not all of the traveling public say i want to go on the plane has been thoroughly screened.
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>> i agree with you. i think you are doing the right thing. perhaps the reaction to the pat down procedures got ahead of tsa's or the departments description of what you were doing and why you were doing it. if, god forbid, that bomb on abdulmutallab would have gone off, congress and the public would be demanding not just the body imaging, but the pat downs. i understand the privacy sensitivities, of course. it's awkward, it's unusual on the other hand, we get on the plane and we want to have the confidence that nobody has evaded security in a way that will allow them to blow up the plane and kill everybody else on it. so this is unfortunately the
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world in which we live. it wasn't our choice. but we have to do everything that we can to protect the traveling public. and i think that what you are doing here with the pat down procedures is difficult, it's sensitive, but it's necessary for the security -- homeland security of the american people. my time is up. senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. pistole, let me start with a fundamental question. but for the intelligence tip that was provided by our ally, would our current security systems have detected these package bombs? >> my professional opinion, no. >> and so that raises the issue of what can we do to make sure that in the future if there's another attempt to exploit the
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gaps in air cargo security that we have closed those gaps because in many ways we were lucky that we had an ally with extremely specific intelligence information that allowed us to target these packages before harm was done. what's the single biggest change that you think we should be making? >> we have high confidence in the known shippers in that supply chain. those that do business in the shipping industry. there's over 8 billion, only 9 billion pounds of cargo that come into the u.s. 2/3 on cargo planes such as ups and fedex, 1/3 on passenger planes. we have high confidence in the shippers with the established records. the challenges becomes those
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such as the individual packages out of yemen or other hot spots around the world where there's not a known relationship with the carrier or the shipper. : and whether they share our roles. >> you raise a very good point. what i was describing was the fiscal training but the insider threat if you will, what type of
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vetting and validating of those individuals is being done, and that is obviously uneven around the globe. >> mr. bersin, i mentioned in my statement and you talk about it as well, that we have a pretty well-defined system for the screening of cargo that comes by the maritime system, and in that casecase, 24 hours before the cargo is even loaded on the ship overseas, we have a manifest that is combined with other information to allow us to identify the cargo and target that which may be of high risk. why can't we do that with the air cargo? what are the -- and frankly a system that says we want to know four hours before it arrives at our shores provides very little protection.
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like maybe already on route. >> senator collins, as mr. pistole said, one method of dealing with this is to segment the traffic between cargo we know and shippers we know from shippers and cargo we don't know enough about or about which we have adverse information. the other method of doing this is the risk management that we have applied and i think effectively so, in the maritime context. the three elements are, as you suggest, first receiving information in advance, sufficiently in advance so that we can apply our targeting rules and actually attempt to identify the high risk cargo. then of course the third issue is then scanned or screened using appropriate technology. but, in effect, we should be looking at the same techniques in the aviation cargo context that in fact we have begun that process.
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we will want to customize it if it is the nature of the trade. the differences between the maritime and aviation context but the broad categories senator i want to give us good guidance. >> are you looking at increasing the amount of time before cargo is shipped to our country, where you receive a listing of the cargo? four hour strikes me as something you could change immediately. for example, it in response to the times square bomber attempt, tsa acted immediately to change the update rule on the targeted individuals. are you looking at the four hour rule? >> yes, senator we are and we are working with not only with tsa and other government partners, but working with the private sector shippers, the airlines, the cargo carriers, to
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reach a determination about how we can advance that deadline for providing information to the cbp and we expect that we will be coming up with a revised recommendation in the near future. >> mr. pistole? >> i would just add to that, it is as much a pragmatic issue, if we could just go ahead -- i could issue a security directive today and say eight hours or 24 hours whatever it may be. the question is are the carriers capable of implementing that today, so that is what commissioner bersin is determined as far as working with them. but can they do electronically? a number of the smaller carriers around the world are not fully electronic in terms of communication so how do we actually implement that? clearly in the intent is there but had we make it happen? >> thank you. >> senator collins, we will call
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in order of appearance senator levin, senator brown. >> thank you mr. chair. i just want to pursue senator collins' question again. right now the rule is you have got to have your manifest for hours before the arrival of an airplane. is that correct? >> yes, for those destinations that are less than four hours from our source, it is upon wheels up. >> now, why can't -- what are the practical problems with increasing that? >> the first is the electronic systems in place to get the information to us, but that we can work on overtime, as we have in the passenger context. >> that is the same as four hours, six hours or eight hours, isn't it? there has to be an electronic system get get you the information so you could do eight hours with the same problem. the same challenge.
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>> we could and we are trying to work out with the carriers that can do that what would be the best system that would actually provide us with the information in an effective advance period. >> that is not a practical problem. what is the next problem which is not practical allegedly? >> well, the problem of making sure that we are getting it as quickly as we can and then getting information back to the carrier, putting a hold on certain high risk cargo that would be identified by our targeting rural. >> why can't, why wouldn't eight hours or 12 hours help you? >> it would help is. >> so that is not a practical reason not to increase four hours to eight hours or 12 hours so i mean we were told the minutes ago there are practical problems. >> the practical problems i think that mr. pistole alluded to and they are indeed obstacles, not ones that we won't be able to work with the
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private sector to overcome but there are airlines as we have seen in the passenger data area that simply do not have the capacity to electronically transmit that data to less. >> that is true whether the six hours, eight hours or 12 hours. >> if i could jump in. part of that senator is the carriers themselves don't have that manifest data. sometimes only two to three hours before we will draw. >> i'm saying it requires it be eight or 12 hours it will have a manifest. that is not a practical problem. that is just saying you have to have a manifest data, eight hours, 12 hours whatever it is prior to wheels of. >> if there is a last-minute shipment or something -- basically they are out of luck. >> that is true now to come is that? >> no. >> it is one hour before arrival >> if it is four hours. >> but a last-minute shipment. that is tough. what are some other practical
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problems? >> so the small carriers around the world, we are not talking about the ups or the fedex and in fact we are working with them to provide a media notification when they receive the manifest whatever the timeline. it may be a couple of days. >> that is not a practical problem me there. i haven't heard a practical problem yet. i'm waiting to hear practical problem. we are just not saying a directive. it is eight hours, 12 hours whatever. why can't you do that right now? >> so for much of the world we could do that. for small carriers, that would eat dealing with a number of high-risk packages, let's say from central asia or someplace. those packages, their system as i understand and when you get to subject matter experts to talk about it in more detail, they would not have the capacity to provide information to cbp board and four hours in advance at this time. >> why? >> i would have to differ that.
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>> okay, the longer number of hours the greater number of hours prior to arrival it seems to me the easier it is to get the information if you are not electronically hooked up, not harder. you would have more time. i don't get it, folks. i don't see the urgency in your testimony here. i don't get it. to such an obvious question here that i am a little bit -- dumbfounded here that we don't have a direct answer. you say there are practical problems but we haven't heard one yet. >> i think the practical problem is going from a situation from the status quo to where we want to be. i don't think anyone is saying that we shouldn't move there. >> that is not it problem. that is an issue of issuing a directive. it is now eight hours. >> the practical problem is the trade will tell you it hasn't been done because it has been perceived that it would unduly interfere with the commerce in the world. when we come to a situation like this, there is an urgency and in
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fact we overcome a lot of the practical problems that were keeping the situation from being handled that way in the past. >> well, i have got to tell you, i read your comment mr. pistole about -- i will see if i can find it here. about the length of time. you say that the security cannot bring business to a standstill. i don't think anyone is suggesting business be brought to a standstill. the question is, is it reasonable to tell people you have got to have your package and your documents and 12 hours before a plane lands. that doesn't bring it to a standstill. that just slows it down by eight hours. so the question is, will the public of the world except a delay of eight hours and getting something to where it has to go in order to have greater
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security? my answer is, i think i kind of of -- senator lieberman's frankly points on the pat down. yeah. this is easier than pat-downs. this is just slower. doesn't bring it to a standstill. i was a little worried about your comment mr. pistole about there is it delicate balance. i agree with that but security cannot bring business to a standstill. i don't think anyone is suggesting that. is a strawman that seems to me you are raising and rather then you kind of telling us yeah, you don't see any practical reason neither and by god we are going to get it done, we are trying to overcome practical problems you haven't been able to identify, at least to me. >> i agree with their risk management and assessment construct but the issue comes down to if we would impose for example on all cargo worldwide, the same that we have here, the estimates i've seen that they cost of doing that would actually exceed the actual
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revenue from that cargo so that is my. >> increasing four hours to eight hours? >> no, different issue. >> i think you ought to get your experts to provide for the record what those practical problems are. my time is up but i think you should get in line by suggesting providing for the committee what those problems are. >> acceptor suggestion and i make that formal request of our two witnesses. thank you. senator brown. >> thank you mr. chairman. good to be back. thank you for putting this together and thank you for appearing. my concerns are pretty simple. i want to know what tools and resources you need to better do your job so we can figure out, god forbid, that this doesn't happen again in terms of the extreme possibility of what could have happened. also as someone who flies and family members to fly a want to make sure that when i or my family or friends or anyone in this country gets on a plane
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that the cargo underneath is screened. so how common is it to have a full flight of passengers and to have some extra room on a passenger plane and have that cargo then be filled with fat free available space? how common is that? >> if the issue is whether it is screened or not, 100% of that cargo on passenger flights is screened for guard was. >> originating in the u.s.? but what if it is a tale to trail transfer and it is something coming in from yemen or another country? where are we with that? >> so, as the 9/11 commission act required 100% of that type of screening internationally on passenger flights, the bottom line is we are not there yet because we don't have either the host countries are civil aviation authority to not put in the same procedures that we have an error estimates anywhere from
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two-thirds or perhaps 80% of all of that cargo is scheduled to be screened. the one taken way is we save 100% of the high-risk and we don't provide that publicly because we don't want to provide a blueprint but the known shipper issue, how does that work? so it is a good point. >> so, toner cartridges from yemen, does that have a red flag? we have plenty of toner cartridges here and why are we importing them? dozen bad or didn't that raise a red flag? >> it absolutely did, both by the shipper who had identified it as a suspect package. >> i didn't even get on the plane then i guess. >> because different protocols. it is not yemen even though the shipper had identified. that is why it was segregated in dubai. so in addition to the specific credible intelligence, they had identified it as a suspect package. you are absolutely right.
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>> when you last for the cooperation of various carriers, cause the carriers did you get the cooperation of all of them? >> absolutely. there were no questions asked. they been very capable partners and looking for solutions that make sense as opposed to us issuing an edict or a rule for security directive that says we will do this now work very closely with them to do that. >> so is there going to be an update or improved screening and inspection plan when it comes to those tail to tail transfers? is there something you are proposing are working on that gap? >> yes, so the key is how do we work with their international partners and we do that in several ways. one through the international civil aviation organization. under 90 countries who signed off on aviation security declaration last month in montréal and then working through the international air transit association and what they are doing, trying to leverage their resources in a way that frankly builds capacity and some of the series of the world that need additional
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either screening protocols are actual trade detection equipment or whatever it may be. >> and ec, i mean i've been to other countries and you see the cargo. it is just they are lying around and you get access to it. i think it is going to take a real commitment to ensure that our partners, aviation partners, when i say partners i mean people who fly in the united states and deliver goods to the united states who take their job seriously. i recognize the comments of the two previous questioners regarding the timing. is there a way to ensure speed and accuracy when it comes to the x-raying and inspecting? do we have the technology to do that, to make sure that we don't slow down rings to a crawl and we can continue on with our superior delivery of products throughout the world? >> i would say generally yes and that is when it comes down to the known shippers, trusted
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partners if you will throughout the global supply chain. the problematic ones are those individual shippers that we just don't have any history on. we don't have any intelligence about, who this person is and what they are shipping. but as you indicated somebody is shipping a toner or computer printer from yemen to chicago. okay that is a red flag so that is exactly the type of information we are getting. cbp is getting through that four hour window of what we are seeking to get additional time on. >> and how much of your cargo is actually being screened today? i think you testified earlier. >> 100% in the u.s. on u.s. passenger flights. >> how is it done? is a through x-rays? though we both do it through a series of over 1100 certified cargo security screeners, facilities around the country away from airports and they use a variety to clearly x-ray perhaps technology x-rated,
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physical inspection if necessary so they screen it and then ship it, transported usually just a few miles in a secure fashion to the airport. >> so in conclusion, i just want to try to solve the problem. i want to try to figure out what you need to get that job done and whether you come over and either one of you and deliver that, we have a private meeting or however it works. i would like to mr. chairman just know what they need. we have identified and by the grace of god we have been very lucky but at some point we are not going to be that lucky. i want to be able to say that my friends and family and anyone i meet in massachusetts, that i gave you the tools and looking at any one of us. because this isn't about poly part of six. this is about the safety of our citizenry and also the ability to keep commerce moving. so if you could just maybe
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post-testimony at some point that would be a big help. thank you mr. chairman. >> good idea senator brown and we will arrange for that. senator burris, from the beginning of your service in the senate to this apparently her last week with us, you have been a most faithful member of this committee, probably attending or than anybody else except senator collins in maine, so thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. the interest in this committee and even this topic here has really caught my interest because i might not be on point with all my quick questions, but i have several concerns about tsa and about travel across this country. maybe mr. pistole, you can answer how do you tell what the high-risk packages? what is the criteria for a high-risk package? >> so we don't define it publicly because we don't want to provide the blueprint.
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>> thank you. but tell everything else. we have to know the secret to this. we have to stop putting everything out. i am sorry, go ahead. >> thank you senator. so it is generally outside the known shipper trusted shipper arena, and just generally, individuals who are shipping packages with no history, perhaps from some hot areas such as yemen or the horn of africa cut -- africa but it is all intelligence driven so what intelligence do we know about the shipper? did the person properly identify themselves when they came in to drop off the package? was the package physically inspected? what do we know about the cargo carrier, where the package was dropped off? how thorough are they? how thorough is the airport? so a lot of criteria go into figuring out what is a high-risk package. >> those packages that the
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synagogues were allegedly in chicago? that is another major concern. let me shift gears a little bit. on the pat-downs, we have some airports that are staffed by contract screeners. is that correct? they are not all tsa? >> that is right. 17 airports have a 453 are staffed by contractors and not tsa employees. >> how do you deal with those pat-downs in these airports? do we have jurisdiction over those individuals? >> absolutely, senator. they have to follow the exact same protocol, the standard operating procedures we put out for all tsa employees. >> have they gone through the same training. >> the same training. they are identical to the transportation security offers and all of those tsa employees other than. >> why are they contract employees in kansas city, you
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all couldn't find enough tsa people to hire? >> well, congress decided that should be an option, that should be the option to have federalized airports are to have private security done, so there are some members of congress who feel very strongly about that and want to have additional airports that have private security as opposed to tsa. >> you say that is written into tsa law? >> sbp. >> mr. chairman i don't have much longer in the senate but we have to look at these private contracts and i'm concerned about the number of private contractors, not only tsa but the other government agencies and then dealing with liability because i wonder where the liability is going to be of one of those passengers who feel that they have been over screened, just what the liability there would be. and, in terms of the underwear bomber, with patting down have
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caught the underwear bomber? in your estimation? >> yes. >> you not the machine, but the patting down? >> yes. >> because allegedly the diaper type of arrangement. >> yes. >> so they are going that deep in terms of patting down individuals? >> the pat-downs are based on the latest intelligence and the information that we have. >> there was no intelligence on this gentleman that was on the flight to detroit. and he was on the plain. >> that is right. that is why we changed the policy. >> so, okay. and our personnel have received adequate training because mr. chairman do we know what will happen, because the pilot association and the flight attendants association are
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getting ready to bring some type of action as i'm getting information because of the excessive patting down a flight attendant and the pilots. is that the case? >> that has been the case. pilots have of course not generally gone through the advancing technology because they have to keep their shoes on and that is a different issue but have had a number of conversations with representative of pilots associations and we are actively exploring options as it involves pilots, because we are using using a risk-based approach and the question, it begs the question if you have somebody who is in charge of the aircraft they can put the aircraft down, as could be the case, then why do we have the screening. actually, in the near future i will be announcing some new policies on that. >> that would help. there is also a question mr. pistole, about the degree of
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x-rays that these individuals have to go through in the course of their day-to-day work and what that will do to their physical health. if they go through the x-ray machine rather than the excessive pat-downs. >> sure and that is one of the concerns i think that has been raised. what i rely upon is the scientific literature in the studies that have been done using the specific machines including fda, nationalist into the science technology and johns hopkins. they have all done independent assessments of the advanced imaging technology machines, the amount of radiation. i've seen several analogies but the one that sticks in my mind is going through one of these machines is similar to receiving about three minutes or -- three minutes of radiation that you would receive at 30,000 feet on a normal flight. so it is very minimal, well within the established scientific standards for safety and we are always trying to
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update that independent validator and others have opinions about that. >> how about the protection of the tsa personnel? i mean if i get accused of grabbing a ladies or a female gets too close to male, how are they protected now? >> there are always same gender security offers those who would do that pat-down, and then people can request a private. >> would there be a witness with that pat-down? >> we would have a witness their present. >> so the tsa person, can the tsa person request a witness employee to be there with her or him when he is patting him down or she is patting her down? can they have a personnel within there to protect them? >> it is not our current policy but unless it goes into a private screening area, the closest to the tv would capture virtually all of that because every checkpoint has dtv enable.
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>> i'm also concerned about our tsa personnel and they listen to these people, please take care of tsa personnel. some of them don't have health insurance. some of them are working part-time and i listen to these complaints and the new administrator i am counting on you to take care of those people who are going to take care of us getting on these airplanes. we can't have disgruntled tsa personnel trying to protect us on these flights. >> i couldn't agree with you more senator and i appreciate your support. >> thanks very much senator burris. senator carper in the senior -- the seating of senator cousins yesterday he becomes not only senior in service but the oldest member of the delaware delegation and we are going to treat you with a lot more respect. senator carper. >> thank you mr. chairman. while the senator -- i want to second the motion that was expressed by our chairman about
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your service here in the unitedd states senate seat. not only to participate in full committee hearings but he is a terrific subcommittee member and i've been privileged to welcome him to our hearings for the last three years. he is almost always present and ask thoughtful questions and is just a joy to serve with. we are going to miss you my friend and i just want to put that on the record. >> mr. pistole how are you doing in your job? >> since july 1 i am doing very well, thank you. >> any surprises? >> a lot of challenges and a lot of moving parts but i've been impressed with the quality of the workforce in the senior leadership team is outstanding, the interagency work is outstanding, and it is a vital mission that people are very focused on. >> is there anything that we in the legislative branch ought to be doing more of her less up to help you in the folks that are serving? >> thank you senator. i know there've been several issues that have been teed up. i would defer to the legislative
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affairs folks in terms of getting staff and working with that but thank you. >> good enough. uncovering this most recent cargo plot and a failure of other attempted attacks over the years, it has become increasingly difficult since 9/11 for terrorists to exploit vulnerabilities to our aviation system. at the same time however some aspects of the response to the foiled attacks or at least a little bit worrisome and the ban on cargo from yemen and somalia and the limits on for example printers cartridges may be necessary, but very specific response to a failed attack as you know. they followed similar rules put in place over the years related to liquids, related to electronics and to other matters. recognizing that if the terrorists are still targeting aviation and are constantly adopting and changing their
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methods. what are we doing to make sure that we are just as nimble as they are and aren't spending too much time responding to the last disaster? my old days as a naval flight officer we talked about the old days of fighting last war and we have tried to learn to fight the current war in the next war but what are we doing to make sure we are not spending too much time responding to the last disaster? .. >> this concludes the worse that we have to be informed by all of those. we don't want to be led. we have to be forward looking to
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make sure we are not acquiring, for example, the technology today that deals with yesterday's threat, by trying to anticipate by the intelligence not only the u.s. community, but around the world as to where we should be going. and i think we are doing that. >> okay. do you want to share a thought or two with us? >> just to add to the administrator's comments, seems to me we want to develop a deeper partnership with the private sector. in fact, given the number of parcels that we deal with, last year as i indicated in the opening statement, we dealt with 334,000, and 57 million packages. we have to recognize we cannot do this without the help of the commercial airlines that carry the cargo as they -- we as we enlisted their support in the passengers context.
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and that with the expressed carriers that we need to make the grand bargain with them that would give them earlier release on cargo that's assured and help us deal with that smarter percentage that we don't have sufficient information on to make a good judgment. >> okay. thanks. administrator pistole, tsa has been receiving a fair amount of negative attention in the recent days too to the discomfortable as we've heard of some airline passengers with the screening methods that were used at airports, specifically the full body scanners and the pat downs. you've had some considerable discussion already. i missed part of that. i don't want to get into the specific discussion on how the two procedures are right now. but i do want to talk about with tsa that could possibly limit
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the number of passengers to more intensive screening. my staff and i have learned a lot in recent months about tsa's spot program. which chooses as you know agency personnel, training behavior detection methods to identify passengers who might pose a high risk. i think before your confirmation hearing we talked about this a little over several months ago. senator brown and i have introduced legislation that aims to build and expant on the problem. can you take a couple of minutes and discuss with behavior detection and increased the use of intelligence about transportation security how they may be used to target our efforts at the airports? >> thank you, senator. i think the behavior detection, the use of behavior detection officers is a key component in our overall layers of security. not a fail safe or single point of failure in any respect.
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but it's one of those multiple layers that we use to help try to try to identify something that's act the suspiciously and somebody not quite right. i have seen the interviews in terms of line and things like that, think it's a valuable resource. the question is how do we show outcomes if we have not identified a terrorists, an abdulmutallab, because identified him because he's sweating. he saw a canine and went this way. when they saw somebody in line, he backed out of the line. any number of indicators that can be helpful. as we know, the israelis do quite a bit in terms of how they screen passengers. that's one the keys.
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i'm a strong proponent. i'm looking to expand the program. thank you for your support. >> yup. thanks so much. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. just a touch on a couple of issues. first of all, i know this is basically on air cargo, but folks have been getting into a few other areas. so let me on the enhanced imaging, there's been reports in the media that have said certain religious groups, you know, want to be exempted, you know, because of religious reasons. and can you address that as are you going to, you know, allow person groups to be exempted from that because of the religious belief? >> senator, we try to be sensitive to each individual and groups that have particular
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sensitivities as to whether it's head wear or certain sensitivities about being viewed and touched. we try to be sensitive to those issues. at the same time, the bottom line is we have to ensure each person getting on the flight has been screened. we have options if somebody does not want to go through the advanced imaging technology, it is optional. walk through metal detector and have a pat down that would identify any possible items. that can request private screenings. if they don't want to be screened in public, they can go to a private area. have a witness with them. we try to address the concerns in every way possible. recognizing the financial analysis. everybody on the flight wanted to be assured with the highest level of confidence that everybody else on the flight has been properly screened and including me and you and everybody. >> i realize this is a difficult question for you.
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but so are you going to make no exceptions then? >> everybody -- >> i know you are trying to responsibly accommodate. within those reasonable accommodations, okay, let's just say that, listen, you know, my religious whatever does not allow me to be touched by somebody else, does not allow me to go through that screening. what happens in negative -- in those cases? >> very small people go through the pat down. >> they have to go through the pat down or the screening? >> no, unless there's the alarm or they opt out of the advance imaging technology, they would in all likelihood never receive a pat down. pat down is only very, very small. >> no, no, let me -- maybe not i'm taking my question. if somebody is random screening. i just got randomly screened at the airport.
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whatever reason, any number seems to come up quite often. if that happens and either the imaging, okay, was one the options. or the pat down. i don't want either of them because of religious -- because of religious reasons. what happens to me? >> so while i respect and we respect that person's beliefs, that person is not going to get on an airplane. >> and there will be no exceptions just because of religious. >> no. that was. >> that was the answer that i was looking for. when it comes to going back to a little bit to cargo, and i know this is addressed just a little earlier, i just want to go back. when it comes to cargo planes and going to passengers planes, that seems to me the biggest potential concern because it's not as big of a target to take down a fedex plane or a ups plane as it would be a passenger plain -- plane.
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i think in all reality, we recognize that. it would seem to me -- i guess it would be a better question. i understand you are working on all cargo eventually being screened. since we screen it going out, we're in the screening all cargo coming in. when will we get to that point? what's the schedule? >> sure. two aspects. all cargo going on passenger planes. and there's various estimates between 2/3 and 80% that coming internationally into the u.s. that is screened. i don't have a way of validating that or verifying that. that's really self-reporting from airplanes and cargo companies. the all cargo is largely unregulated. what we've done with the cargo since the printer cartridges, we
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differentiate between known shippers and high risk. those individuals and things coming from certain areas. those are the two areas. in terms of the time frame we are -- i know you are going as fast as we can. >> yes. the bottom line comes down to building capacity in certain parts of the world that don't have that capacity. >> i see. the terrorists are always looking for ways to -- as soon as we come up with one set of security systems, they come up with another way. like the dogs and how you wrap the packages and things like that, just kind of explain a little bit without letting the terrorists know exactly what we
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are doing. kind of explain the role of canines versus other types of detection techniques. >> so the bomb-sniffing, canines do play an important role in the overall screening here in the u.s. it's uneven around the world. we are the leaders. there's really two types. one that can detect the actual explosives in this box. then the vapor wake. if somebody has been carrying a bomb like the july 7th bombers in '05, and london and their backpacks before they got on the london tube. they had explosives in their backpacks. dogs trained would be able to pick up that trail, that scent if you will, after they have walked by. as long as the year hasn't been too disturbing. those are the two main approaches. the challenge is to have enough dogs in enough locations worldwide to make a meaningful difference.
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especially in the high risk areas. we need not only a trained dog, but a trained handler. it's a terrific technology, if you will, enhancer for us. it's really the question of scalability. >> okay. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thanks, senator. not really on the subject. last week i was in the afghanistan to visit our troops. i saw remarkable demonstration of bomb sniffing dog there. these dogs are really extraordinary. and, you know, saving lives every day. >> well, it's only because of the outstanding veterinary care they get from my profession. >> without question. i had no idea i was being set up to set you up. [laughter] >> gentleman, i got a few more questions if i might. going on the basis of public reports at the public hearing, it appear that is the two bomb ships from yemen last month were screened and cleared perhaps
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more than once. and i wanted to ask you as a result, is tsa or cbp, but folks on tsa reviewing and reevaluating what types of screens it's uses or certifies in light of the tough reality? >> mr. chairman, you've hit on a key point in terms of the specific screening that was done in those two instances in dubai and the u. -- and the uk. how does that inform or actions or judgments? we have reviewed the forensics and the screen that have been described to us. we are doing that. and as you note, because the sensitivities of that, i would defer to a closed here in terms to discuss the details. we are informed by and taking action that is are consistent with what we found. >> understood. and, you know, this is
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consistent with senator brown asked before, in this coming budgetary round, do you feel you need more funding support for r&d or grant programs to develop better technology for screening? please don't hesitate to ask us. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and in response to what senator collins mentioned earlier, in terms of the automated target recognition if i could just -- >> yes. please do. >> we are aggressively testing that currently here at our transportation security immigration here at the airport. we are cautiously about it being the next generation of imaging technology. it's nice modification to the hardware. the issue of the rate of
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positive. we have to work through that. i'm not ready to request funding for that until we ensure those false positives are lowered. it is an effective tool. if there are high false positives, the result is pat downs. so we're trying to get away from that construct. this is the best technology. clearly, it's an issue. it creates efficiencies for us. we don't need a separate screener in a separate room. thank you. we are exploring that. i'd say the biggest issue is on security inspectors worldwide. that's where we are working to move forward. >> which means to try convince and influence leverage. other considerates -- other countries do a better job. >> exactly. >> okay. just to make it clear, the next generation of imaging system, in
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the original imaging portion of its process, it's more protective of privacy. >> it's basically a stick figure >> yeah, either a stick figure or a blob. >> if the alarm goes off there, it still requires the sat down. >> yes, although specific. with the argument keg in addition, it will show a box in the area of the body where there is an anomaly. it maybe some place else. >> so it may limit the pat down. the area of the pat down. as you said your concern now is that there maybe a higher rate of false positives so that in the end, there would twill lay be more pat downs. >> right. >> okay. you'll keep us posted on that. i know that on november 8th, the tsa issued the energy amendments
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and they were designed to reduce the risk to the aviation network by limiting the able to transport ink and toner and preventing all shipments from yemen and somalia for the at least the next month. i know that one the ways that trying to balance what we talked about before about the time by which you get the manifest. one the ways to balance the interest in security as against the interpretation of commercial is to have higher standards as we go from people with cargo coming from certain countries. the question obviously arises, we've watched this with people too, what do we do if the terrorists understand that and start to move their cargo
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through interim points in europe or asia? >> interim parts? i think in terms of the risk management pointed out that it's unlike the packages. they don't carry those characteristics. in so far as we get advance information and what we need to do is actually get more information, more specific information earlier so that our targeting rules can adapt. you are exactly right. the high-risk packages could as easily come from europe as they would from the persian golf as they did in this case. we need to adjust the targeting rules whenever it comes towards the homeland. >> are we tending to do that?
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>> yes, sir. >> that too puts an emphasis on good intelligence. there's nothing better than having the kind of information that we had in this case to target and move those packages out. is there anything being done on that -- going back to a question that i asked at the beginning of a hearing. i know we worked very hard in the post 9/11 of our information. we have doing better. both in gathering information and sharing it. is there anything from the perspective of your two agencies that you have asked the intelligence community -- obviously, being more general than specific here that related to cargo, for example, and information related to cargo. is there something different about intelligence gathering that you are looking for? >> without being specific, senator, the answer is yes with regard to informing the targets rules that we use out of the national targeting center.
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>> okay. same. let me ask this, if i understand this intricate world, cbp gets more information that tsa does? >> to the extent that we get under the -- 2002 act and the regulation cbp is imposed on the four hour requirement, the information comes to the targeting center. but i think it's fair to say, it's one the great developments that, in fact, we've been fairly seemless and will become even more seemless in terms of that information being able to inform tsa activity. >> that was my question. are you cooperating and sharing information between cbp and tsa? >> absolutely, senator. >> you are getting what you need? >> absolutely.
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great relationship. >> final question. just broader goes back to something else that i asked at the beginning. which is how do we? this is the imagination, the evil imagination. institutionally, is there somewhere now within your two agencies within dhs and the intelligence community if not should there be where we are doing, we are trying to think like the terrorists. obviously this is very difficult in an open society like ours and in a globally connected world both in terms of ease of movement of people and goods, cargo. but still, the record is as i stated. we do seem to respond to the last attack understandably. of course, i'm grateful that we do. but is there some way we can gear the system so that we get ahead of the -- of what they are
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going to try to do to us next? >> yeah, just the nature of the targeting enterprise requires that you attempt to do that. it typically is better informed when there's intelligence. but, for example, in thinking about the risks and the gaps that exist now, something that we haven't talked about at great length here but that we need to explore downstream would be international mail, for example. >> right. >> not subject to much of the kinds of safeguards and risk management techniques that we have. so to that extent, yes, we try to keep ahead recognizing the difficulty of that challenge. >> are there people in cbp or tsa who are charged specifically with doing that? >> as i say in the targeting centers. >> targeting centers. okay. >> we have people doing that all the time. >> i want to simply add, mr.
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chairman, that there are people within our intelligence within tsa and intelligence and our explosive group. i would share paper with you in a closed setting. a look forward basically red selling the whole issue of what is the next target and these are done by our explosive exports informed by intelligence and working within the entire community. nctc, everybody, saying okay, what is the next possibly and then what do we do with that to inform the judgments and actions of our folks. i think you'd find that paper interesting, just several pages. what if and how can they do that? given what we know, how they are using the atp, 12/25, and the most recent. what is the next type of device that we are looking for? >> that's exactly the kind of thing that i was hoping to here. we are doing the kind of reds,
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military says med teaming, you are saying red selling. but it's the same basic idea. i thank both of you for your testimony. i thank you for what you are doing. i think it would be a good idea. first i'd ask you to respond as soon as you can to the few questions that we ask for more information. and perhaps when we come back after thanksgiving, we don't know exactly how long we will be here. it'll be helpful to do a closed meeting with the two of you. do either of you want to say anything finally before we adjourn the hearing. >> i was just -- i'd like to take the opportunity, mr. chairman, in an appeal to the american people traveling with next week, thanksgiving, all of the people going home to see family and friends, look at this as a partnership between the u.s. government and tsa. those security offices are there to work with you to ensure that everybody on that flight has been properly screened. everybody wants that assurance.
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just trying to patient, work with our folks. they are there to protect you and your loved ones. let's make it a partnership. >> well said. we'll keep the record of the hearing open for 15 days for additional questions and answers in statements. without anything else to say, the hearing is adjourned. [gavel] they'd they'd they'd they'd [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> a programming note for you, tomorrow on the c-span networks, john pistole, the tsa administrator who you see right now on your screen will be testified again. this time on the senate commerce committee that's live tomorrow at 10 a.m. and you can check for scheduling information.
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some political news for you from the associated prez. -- press. a senior republican national strategist quit, gentry collins left behind a resignation letter that he delivered to rnc members. he blasted michael steele for spending as much as 70% on fundraising and credits other groups for the parties gain. the resignation outlined how he views the party, broke and badly in need of repair. that from the associated press. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> here's a look at the capitol. the senate is not in session today. but earlier, elected it's leadership slate for the 112th congress. senate democrats and republicans have returned their respective party leaders to their post. senator harry reid of nevada keeps his position as majority leader, and mitch mcconnell, the minority leadership. dirk durbin will continue as assisted majority leader, and charles schumer will stay on as
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vice chairman of the democratic conference, and patty murray from washington remains the secretary. on the republican side, john kyl of arizona remains gop whip, and continued conference chairman and joe barrasso remains conference vice chairman. reminder, you can watch the u.s. senate live here on c-span2. and tomorrow join us as british prime minister david cameron fields questions from the house of commons. that's live tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. eastern here on c-span2. >> like al


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