tv U.S. Senate CSPAN May 2, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
chaired by the former president of spain that includes names like lord trimble, the former peruvian president and the former president of the czech republic and a number of others. and the british historian andrew robert and catholic -- and a catholic theorist. and there's no particular party nor a specific policy not single politician. it's the state of israel, it's our goal to protect and to defend in a positive way. it's that kind of -- it's a region of a number of democratic regimes and it's a land of opportunity and we tried to
spread our message in a very small -- in the market. we are not a grassroots movement. we are not a think taping tatank . to give you an example when brazil former president lula started last december to propose a latin american bloc to recognize the palestinian state and the 67 borders, we took a delegation on our initiative and we tour all the countries in latin america from argentina to mexico to try to explain why we consider that a mistake for the peace process benefit. so we tried to help those who are taking the position today to avoid major mistakes. it's our way of doing business. >> thank you. lorna, bicom? >> bicom is a not-for-profit
independent organization supported by 300 wonderful individuals. we are seeking to be and hope we are an authoritative source with a mission to help to create more supportive environment for israel and britain. and although the way we do that is focusing on the polity, the opinion-formers. people who form opinion in the media and people who are opinion-formers in the media. we take them to israel. we do public and private events. we do research. for example, we're the home to what goes as empirical data what britains think on israel and related issues. and if you tempt me i might tell you because some of it might surprise you. >> i promise to tempt you. >> yeah, okay. as an ex-politician i just say that those people who think that the public who aren't smart should leave the politics.
and we try and also make this benefit the community. so we're doing something quite unique on the 15th of may, which is we brought together the most extraordinary group of communal and noncommunal organizations to run the biggest conference that has ever happened in british history on israel with an ambition of getting 1,000 people, both jews, christians, not aligned to a conference on israel to show the breadth and depth of support. we've got cabinet ministers, international figures, local politicians are coming. now, i tell you this because britain has got the home of the english speaking media. i know america is the font of real power but i'm going to tell you some folks that might worry you. two years ago the bbc's research
showed that there was a 26-year low in american-owned media's cooperative foreign affairs. there was a corresponding 58% growth in elite households from alaska to tennessee choosing british online media sources. the biggest market for the bbc, the guardian, the financial times, the economist and now online the daily mail and followed by the telegraph is your market, america. and the biggest news-gathering monopoly in the world is the bbc and with the way the media market is going, that is only going to continue. now, i am the biggest and for all intents and purposes the only organization dealing with the media in london.
guess what my budget is? 1.6 million pounds. and i get asked consistently from friends across the pond, what are you doing? and everybody is very bothered about what is happening in london. but minority support is funding pro-israel work in britain. there's lots of organizations that are bothered about what is happening in britain and spain, but indigenous local organizations that are are in report key to the long-term sustainable fight-back and change in the balance of power are not seeing a penny of the money that is being raised on the backs of the concerns about delegitimatization on the hopes in london and spain. we are doing what we can but we need more juice in engine to actually change the balance of power. [applause]
>> if i can add just one thought about this. you were asking about the global nature of the network that is engaged in the campaign to delegitimatize israel. so what we have learned in this work is that it's concentrated in a number of hubs of major cities. and a single digit number of organizations are truly dedicated to this cause. everybody else sort of tag along in one way or the other. and the response is local. exactly as lorna said. so if there is an issue in seattle, the people that would be best equipped to respond to that situation in seattle is the local leadership. and this is one of the most difficult elements here. no one from jerusalem or tel-aviv or even washington -- we may be able to give advice but at the end of the day it's the local players who will determine the outcome of the situation. and that's why it's so important
to bring the network together. >> and that's what we discovered at ajc that we're most effective at our regional, you know, office spaces, no question about it. >> not surprising. >> as you can imagine the audience both here in washington and globally have a great many questions and i'm going to begin to turn to those questions. the first question comes from an audience member and as is follows, and i'm going to -- i'm going to focus this question on you, gidi, please. radar to the next flotilla, why is the focus on what always what israel should do. shouldn't we focus on what the u.s. can do to stop the flotilla from departing? >> for sure. the way -- the way we should understand the first flotilla is a strategic strike against the political position of the state of israel. it was orchestrated -- some of you may not be aware of this for 14 months out in the open in the
internet in places that are friendly to the state of israel at the time turkey, london and the bay area so on. it was organized by a activist. the vast majority of people who were not delegitimatizers they were concerned about israel and their concerns may or may not be legitimate by people in this group. in many ways, a small group of delegitimatizers organized the flotilla. now, the people in israel -- if you look at the way israelis have been frustrated about and talking about our response, it is as if we discovered the flotilla after it sailed from turkey. so it's all tactical. it's whether the naval intelligence spoke to the military intelligence and what the navy seals and how they were equipped. this is not the way to think about it. we need to go after the network that produces the flotillas and
the same network that produces the bds campaign and it's the same network that produces the networks and it's the same one that does the demonstrations behind -- around the fence. this is what we need to be doing. and our approach needs to be very simple. with regard to these delegitimatizers. as you said, few and far apart. outing, naming, shaming. most of their -- the positions that they present to the public are false. and we can call them on this. with regard to their sort of collaborators willingly or unwillingly with liberal and progressive circles, substantive engagement. these are the two words. we have to be able to engage in substance but most importantly, we have to be able to build relationships. every success story of encountering an attempt on delegitimatization -- in each and every one of those stories, a personal relationship was deployed. what i mean is, someone called another person on the other
side, had coffee with them, had a meeting with them, had a conversation with them and talked them away from the delegitimatizers. so the ability to deploy relationships -- and here i'm talking to the audience at ajc. so you talk to the right, we undermined these flotillas of the policies of the israel in israel by, you know, making sure that there's no humanitarian crisis in gaza. not that there was but making sure about it. but also in creating a campaign that will undermine the logical flotilla. >> and what you're saying at the grassroots level, we've got to communicate that. >> we have to talk. we have to engage. we have to build relationships and we have to be willing to talk about substance and take responsibility when we make a mistake. >> okay. let's now go from the top down. [applause] >> rafael, what are the friends of israel initiative doing in terms of reaching out to heads
of state in this regard? >> well, as you know, at the time of the first flotilla, turkey wasn't a partner of the alliance and i think we need to make sure anyone who was a member of the flotilla that they have to pay a price. and so what we have to do of the decision-making in nato to help those friends of israel, like the czech ray hubbard, the u.k. government, france to posit a message to the rest of the allies, that something is brewing up in the country, like, for instance, spain was taking the half of the new flotilla organization. well, you get a telegram from your allies that this is the wrong thing to do, you create an environment that's less conducive for that information to act freely. the thing we are trying to
obtain. >> very good. thank you. we've received a good many questions almost naturally about a concern about what does the panel make of the fact that there were so many jews who appeared to be in the forefront of the delegitimatization movement? and lorna, as a non-jewish friend, i'd like to have your perception? >> i think you're all too bothered about it. you're more upset -- i mean, i do a lot of work outside of my sort of day job inside the british jewish community. and the most angst ridden conversations why are the jews part of organizations and the title is not that bad but the views of the organization are very pejorative in people believe in the state of israel do not support justice for palestinians. and so there's a lot of hurt, but the truth is we play our
enemy's games if we focus on those individuals that only exist if we shine a light on them. i don't want to be too disparaging. some of them are important. but we may too much care and attention and legitimatize them. we need to concentrate on the silent majority. that's how you win elections. that's how you change politicians' minds. that's how you make sure apart from the key of relationships which there are no shortcut to. you have to have the personal relationship. what made tony blair in the end use the last drop of political capital he had as a british prime minister in supporting steadfast for the state of israel during the lebanon war? it was the relationships that he had developed that meant in the end he made the decision to use his political capital on
something that eventually cost him his job. and you have to develop relationships. and we constantly pander to those that shout louder. now, i come from a political party that spent 18 years in the wilderness because we didn't learn the lesson. it's not about those who shout louder because they only want your attention. it's about the quiet people that you presume are against you actual peril. the truth is why did i become a gentile zionist? because somebody smiled at me and allowed me to ask some silly questions. and didn't presume i was an anti-semite because i was ignorant. yes, the truth is skeptical. yes, i find it hard to be true. i understand the issue of trust for the jewish people. you cannot do it without the non-jews and excuse my inference -- i come from the north of england and we use intemperent language --
>> that's okay. i come from chicago. [laughter] >> take northern, they are like a naughty child. i mean, i'm being slightly -- i know some of them are very serious and very pernicious. but the truth is we are going to change the balance of power on the people that you're not talking to rather than those people. [applause] >> gidi, rafael, any further comments? >> well, i don't care. i think the beauty of democracy. there's no single voice. there's a lot of discrepancy and you have to live with that. so instead of focusing as lorna said on those elements. you have to focus on the different group of people and try -- maybe i'm wrong, but i think we have failed miserably when we have taking our reactive policy to our legitimaters and we need to go on the fence and
we need to go on the fence with positive message. we have to change our narratives. we are presenting israel always in a positive moral. we don't engage other people who are criticizing israel because i think for us, maybe they have a right to pursue but not for us. we try to change their mind of those people who are more receptive and try to avoid confrontation which also always prove for our cause. >> we have just launched in the house of commons in britain a campaign about the case of israel and it was launched by labour members of parliament, deputy secretary-generals in some of the trade unions in britain and nobody would particular their head in the climate of britain and they were proud to. and they were absolutely proud -- they'd run to the media to speak the case for israel. and it wasn't about, therefore, being defensive. it was about being positive.
and giving people that narrative. and if we're not doing it, who is? >> this is -- this is, i think, a critical point because in many ways we're talking about driving a wedge between the delegitimatizers and the liberal and progressive groups. they are trying to bring on board their camps. in many respects what has happened is that they've been able to drive a wedge between israel. and it use to be unifying issue for communities and now it's a dividing issue. there's great passion around israel and many jewish communities. and we can leverage this passion or re-engagement of israel telling the story of zionism, not in the old way which was sort of simplistics and based on myths and then ended with expectations for unwavering political financial support. but in a new way, in a way that is more nuanced and more sensitive to the complexities and even the idiosyncrasies of life in israel.
zionism is an expression of the right of the jewish people of the realization of the right of the jewish people to self-determination in a very complex environment where we balance democracy and identity and security and request for prosperity. this is a challenge where every voice in jewish -- in the jewish world is represented in israel. and has -- and tries to shape its future. so there is a big opportunity here to re-engage with israel within the communities. second opportunities for us to begin to work across the fault lines within our community. left and right. the assault on the delegitimatization of israel is the assault on the right of every jewish person to self-determination. and the last thing is, we need to be able to talk within our community, but two big questions. who is the delegitimatizer and what is pro-israel? because if we expanded the tradition of what is delegitimatizer and we throw those that are critical of
israeli policies and so on, and we narrow the camp who is pro-israel which means if you don't support israel, no matter what, then we're fighting with a narrow base against a very big community. we're not going to win. [applause] >> but if we expand -- the flip side is, if we expand the tradition of who is pro-israel, we're more tolerant and more voices and narrow the voice who is the delegitimatizer and focus it really on the bad guys it negates the right of israel to exist then we will win because they are few and far apart but this requires left and right to understand. the right -- they must understand that the most credible voices standing up against delegitimatization comes from the left. and the left needs to understand that there has to be red lines, not everything goes. so these are difficult conversations that we need to have within our communities but it's also a big opportunity. >> thank you.
>> lorna? >> i think that this is critical. absolutely critical. i found the middle ground nonexistence on british jury. all the left wanted to prove the right was wrong and the right wanted to prove they were right and the left was wrong and the rest of us could go whistle. this conference -- this conference is a juggling act. i have the u.k. version of the new israel fund in the conference with the zionist federation, the jewish national fund, you know, all the pillars of left, right and everything. it's like herding cats, i have to tell you. [laughter] >> but we are nearly at our destination. and all i say is as rafael said, if you want us to believe in the argument, which we do politically and supporting which
is we are you and you are us in terms of israel, okay, then it's very, very important in terms of winning that argument and doing exactly as gidi says. if you can't have it both ways, you can't want our support and say actually we are inseparatable because it's about democracy and values in the future -- i took this job, okay, because i was a new middle-aged mother who suddenly realized that the best insurance policy for my precious child was to make sure that the one candle that was in the most undemocratic region was not blown out because i knew that that meant they were coming for me next. and so i beg you, do not make it about you and about being right.
make it about my son and then all our children will stand a chance of being safer. [applause] >> here, here. here, here. [applause] >> as you may imagine, we have a great number of questions so i need to move on to the next. and the next is from abe novak who is -- is one of our webcast audience. and he asks, what relationship do your panelists see between delegitimatization and the big lie strategy of nazi germany? and i'm going to start with you, rafael? [laughter] >> i knew it. [laughter] >> it's a good question. [laughter] >> i don't know. unfortunately, i don't have all the answers to all the questions. >> i have an answer.
>> lorna, i knew you would have an answer. >> you go the right to assist israel and you end up against the right of the jewish people to assist and live. and there's the connection. but i think it's important to understand that the short-term goal of the legitimatizers are to reduce the ability of the state of israel to act and to reduce the freedom of expression of those friendly to israel. and i know that coming from you you're a friend of israel you have to start worrying. and the legitimatization campaign is making more difficult for those people to do that it and to defend israel in critical situations. second, i think we have to go beyond the rapid reaction mentality. whenever there's a crisis somebody has to say defending israel because we won't have the
rest in life. it's very critical. we have to plant the seeds in a constant and consistent way if we want to win the battle of the legitimatization. because unless we do that consistently, every day, every single hour, you know, in a peaceful manner instead of any crises we're going to see also a kind of -- again, as lorna said, we are doing this -- i mean, i'm doing this because it's an altruistic sentiment and coming from spain, but i'm doing that because i'm defending myself, i'm defending the west, my entity, my values. i want my son to live in peace and nonthreatened. i'll finish with a little antidote. when i was 5 years old, my father brought me to a basketball march in madrid between the real madrid.
who won it doesn't matter anymore. >> of course, it matters. [laughter] >> a few days a week i can't remember exactly later when i was at the school i was asked to come up to the drawing board and list european countries. and i said, i saw the champion league and i put israel, spain and i got a mess and i don't understand why people are still criticizing israel as being part of the west today. [applause] >> ah, if you go back to what gidi and i were talking about, about the delegitimatizers and everything, i don't know whether any of you are familiar with robert chadini's work. any of you want to be
influential over your fellow citizen, whether you're an aspiring sales person or politician or whatever, you need to read it. you really do seriously need to read it. need to read it because attacking about how in this very, very revolutionary world -- and i don't mean revolutionary, i mean, technological change that our parent can only gawk at the amount of information you need to just standstill to exist in the modern world. and he talks about the animal kingdom's reference to a click society which is the lens of your eye -- in other words, you make a judgment that will be on the balance of your life and death literally sometimes on actually your perception with one snapshot. and it's this perception that is king. and if you were confident and if you were standing with the right people and the perception is x,
y and z, and in this rapidly changing world where people decide whether they are going to give due consideration for communication on. while the house wife will put the sound on while cooking for the kids. okay, it is about confidence and it is about perception. and at the moment the opposition are gaining the balance of power. and we are not aiding ourselves because all we're doing is talking about delegitimatization and we're making it into a huge to do. to be truth, we actually not borrowing about their confidence but bothering about our lack of confidence. we have got to get back the wind in our sails because in the end, we know that it is a smoke and mirrors operation that our opponents are using to project a balance of power. i would be rich if i had a pound
for every senior diplomat in britain that i've spoken to who said the british public think x. and i was slightly cynical, yes, when was the last time you spoke to an ordinary member of the public? you haven't done any polling about how brits think of the middle east and israel and actually i have and here it is. and don't use the public who have a good commonsense to excuse what you think and what you want to do. we need to call people's bluffs. so let's sharpen our game because alex ferguson, who plays the only real game in town for those of you who play football would never go on the pitch without having his own game plan. yes, he would be aware what the opponent's team is going to do but he would have his own strategy. so if we are going to be winning, the next time we meet as ajc, we will be talking about
our campaign and not their campaign. and we will be well into the way of making sure that we have the wind well and truly back in our sails. [applause] >> thank you. >> our next question in a way really follows up on the comment that you just made now. i'll direct it to you, gidi first, which is what strategies do you believe will work to counter delegitimatization in the social media? i'm talking about what's current. what should we be doing on facebook, twitter, youtube and so forth? >> first of all, lorna is a true zionist because this is the spirit of zionism. when others were talking, we were doing. when there was all this controversy of whether in the early days in the early 20th century about whether, you know -- what is the future, the political future of zionism, we were building settlements, roads
and so on and one thing led to the other and here you have the state of israel today and by the way i think this is the ultimate answer, with a formal government objective, believe it or not, to be one of the 15 leading countries in the world in terms of quality of life. ....leading countries in terms of quality living life. i know that many of you are still traveling on missions to israel where you go from one pocket of poverty to another area. [laughter] [applause] and by not saying there are no social problems, don't get me wrong, and then you end up in the cocktail in the king david. [laughter] but there's a different story brewing with all of its complexity. we want to be world leader. the israelis are disproportionately present at every humanity today. a relatively speaking, we are like the size of britain in terms of the technology and breakthrough ideas and many
different areas so this is th the true character of israeld to the world i think is thea platform. this hash to do with a lot of branding israel project and many other ideas that aree going on. this i believe is the mainstream of the answer and we have spoken about, you know, dealing with the delegitimizers which are few and far apart and separate them from liberal and conservative circlesr and weut spoken about all these elements. but if we're able to do that this will come into play in the social media. we have so many groups out there that are doing thew work.ou you know the conference that lorna is speaking about in london is very similar inc its lon i can what is goingr to happen this coming weekend here. bring together a very diverse group of people to talk to each other. it is the in the people inf the frontier, on the ground they have the experience, they have the insights andt they share it and learn fromgh
each other and each and everyone of them is broadcasting station. and they have manyhey have manyd all sorts of communities that they talk to and communicate with. so we are able to sort of coalesce our network, educate, we get more effective, vibrant, learn faster than we will see the response, you will see us back in 2011. >> very good. i just want to follow-up on this for a moment in connection to what she was talking about earlier. and the question i have is whether the traditional media can place this whole debate and whether the media by which to, you know, contradict that or counter it. any thoughts about that? >> if you want to repeat the question, sorry.
>> fair enough. you early on talked about the fact of the influence that for a sample british media has not just in britain but in the united states among elites or whatever and the impact that may have and the inference that can place the whole, you know, the size of the deal legitimization movement and whether the social media is a means by which to, you know, to counter that. >> i have to say i am by trade and i don't have a facebook site and i have never tweeted in my life. [laughter] [applause] every single campaign i have ever run has relied on one individual asking another based on the relationship and i feel we are over relying in on the idea of the viral media or the
new media, and we will repaint if we don't remember as said several times it's about people, stupid, therefore you need to go out and sit to the most of the people and a smile at them. you can't tweet your way to success. [laughter] [applause] the other thing i would like you to do is to realize, and ensure that it's not about being clever. it's about being smart. the reason people want to be with you is for many reasons. it's not just because they share your political views. it's because they liked and respected as an individual. you are the "it" person, the elf a person, and we get too clever about the dynamics as human beings. and the truth is as the book really sets it from the way we
respond is the scene from generation to generation and from century to century and we need to remember that first of all, nobody expects. and the most disarming thing you can do is tell somebody that you don't know because it builds trust and respect. the second thing you can tell them is that there is no good answer to a question. complexity is our friend. but all too often because we are scared, we end up trying to pretend that israel is the only perfect democracy in the world. and therefore we put ourselves outside the normal consensus and therefore people don't want to engage with us. so although you would like to talk about the new media, the truth is i think it is a red herring to what actually most of us can do.
and in the in what is going to count more than anything else. and remember, in the end, the reason that you buy a diamond, house or whatever is because of the individual as well by looking into their office and i'm sure you've all got beautiful winning mize. [laughter] >> thank you. [applause] >> lorna, yet to say i'm your kind of person. i don't devotees took the jeter and i've never twittered and i'm the least technologically proficient person probably in this audience. there is a question from jonathan who is watching the webcast here in washington did to you and if i can read it, so organizations and individuals who identified themselves as pro-israel have supported sanctions against settlement construction stating that it is
kind of tough love for israel. you also mentioned red lines. sanctions are red line and if so, how should pro-israel activists who believe the settlements are a part of the problem response? >> i had this coming, didn't i? >> you really did. >> one of the difficulties in responding to the d legitimization is the sophisticated manner in which its challenge to us. it is that brings forward issues where alliances can be built deep into groups that are not legitimizes as well as within israel and this is why a lot of times it's not about the issue is about the person and i know this is a complicated answer. but let me give you two examples. if the person calling for the boycott on the settlement product is an israeli, taxpaying
citizen from serving in the military, living in israel, building a home in israel, then it's whether you like it or not or agree with it or not it is a legitimate act of progress because the motivation is the security of the state of israel and these are people that care deeply enough about the future of israel to make a controversial political lacked. but of those calling for a boycott on the settlement are people that promotes the once staid approach this is a euphemism for the political elimination of the state of israel and so on and it's an act of the legitimization. this is why the movement is a delegitimized movement, look at what they're singing and then you have a clear answer and the fact that the focus on softish use doesn't deny the true identity. in dillinger of these organizations are of course on
the left. this is an issue that comes primarily on the left. if the answer is in my view if you want to see whether the group on the left is part of the pro-israel group even if you hate their position or not, you need to look for soft tissues, intangible issues. can you see her love for israel? can you see is real receiving the benefit of the doubt? can you see the intent to provide the context where the actions could be understood even though it's not support, just understood? is there an attempt to show that win is rell -- israel fails but when it succeeds it is a societal look success because in many cases limousine is really success is a local marginal personal success but failure on the human rights issue that is the entire society. so these are the things to tell
you where does this group stand, and i know that it's not so easy but those of us that have been in this business, we can smell and we can see and approve of the putting a lot of times is. so, that is a little bit. it's not clear answer. >> thank you we are coming close to the end and i would like to pose a question to each of you if you could respond, limiting your response to two minutes and the sums of the essence of the discussion which is why is israel the only country in the world to have the right to exist which is the key point of the deal legitimization, and raw file, if i could open with you.
>> for different reasons it depends on in europe we started to say in the beginning and there's a cocktail of reasons and historical reasons from the left and the right that there is the complex environment to go against israel that's why it's a multifaceted way put in question but it's like the weather, like it or not, it is what it is, and there are people, enemies of the state of israel better using all kinds of weapons, soft approaches, hard approaches, anything that comes to fight the idea of israel as a free space state of the jewish people, and the thing we have to fight. i don't want to answer into
whether we are here or there will build our wall here or there because those are the decisions to be taken by the israelis because the of the political institution, democratic and the leadership's will pay a price of their own like the idea of freedom. so i think we need to focus on what we are trying to do in the focusing on the right of israel as a jewish state and avoiding the issues that are normally seen as the dates, normal dates in the space country in spain, the u.k. and here in the u.s.. but if the israeli is the only country that is put in doubt and the question continuously mightily for the jewish people listed at israel but for all of us chaim ephriam. >> thank you. >> lorna? >> i will not surprise you i agree with my eminent colleague. if with all these things it's
like a nasty cocktail with all different things and it depends on where you are and whom you are which is the most preeminent reason for you being in the camp you might potentially question whether there should be a jewish state in israel, and some of it say for example in britain is because people don't understand the jews are a nation for the people. the vast majority of jews in israel or ian glenchur secular and also their awareness has risen about the result nature of the conflict with the palestinians that they think they have a choice. they think somehow there's a choice on the table that would pick the fact that the state of israel exists. and in the original funding resolution is a jewish state which they seem to have had m. nisha about and why was it easy then and it's not easy now?
the truth is it is back to the same issues that people don't understand what it is to be jewish and they also do not understand what it means to us in relation for the need for us to stand side-by-side and protect and promote the state of israel because we are looking at the mirror image of ourselves, and if we deny israel and the jewish people that right then we take away our own right and it's only a matter of time. and so, it's not easy, but one of the things we base our work on in britain is the absolute non-sequitur of israel as a jewish state. it is no longer good enough to rely on the language of the homeland for the jews because the debate has changed and it
doesn't mean to say that you take a position on to be or not and why he uses it. it means that it's far deeper and it's far more important to the future of the jewish people and of the free space world. >> as we say in the u.s., you are batting cleanup. [laughter] >> it is confronted% since inception and part of the diversity is the complicated story we are telling where people in the sense that we shared history and heritage and memories and destiny and care about each other with their religious or secular we are a nation that is accurate in the specific area and the land of israel where it is the great deal of the civilization. we are also religion and these negatives are baffling all the time from the first days of
zionism until today. all of these places are present in the israeli public sphere. it's very, very difficult for people to put their arms around this complexity. they want to pigeonhole us as a people come as a nation and a religion and make their life simple, but we are much more complicated and it's hard to sort of put us in the box. but this is also our opportunity. because these are all different gateways to the story. not with just within israel but also within the jewish communities as these are different opportunities for the world to engage with us. one day israel will be one of the leading forces in the world in making a difference for the 2 billion people in the world that are poor. we can do it. we have the technology, the resourcefulness, we have actually agreed and we can bring value to the people they're struggling with the security and water security and so on.
so, what i'm saying is all of these narratives from ancient narrative's are being played out in israel today and zionism for the last 200 years and in the future and that will continue to make the life of people outside of our community difficult because they don't understand us. and therefore they are trying to make us into something simple when we are complicated. we are a mess but a mess in progress. [laughter] and this is also i believe the big opportunity within the community they would communicate as said a simple message about israel is over, but if we communicate the true story of israel about its complexity and its diversity many people can be brought on board and engaged with and i feel this is a big opportunity that is coming out of the challenge we are facing. >> thank you. [applause]
>> i think that we have all found this the most enlightening and useful and frankly enjoyable discussion and i want to thank the three panelists, rauf il, lorna fitzsimons and gidi grinstein. before we conclude the program though i want we have been on the front lines with regard to, vetting and countering the the legitimization many ways not the least of which is our project interchange seminars and we have a brief video that we would like to show on the project interchange.
[applause] with medulla i want to think the audience watching and the audience will be watching on c-span and finally but not least the audience that just joined today in washington. thank you. the program is concluded. [applause] some ladies and gentlemen, please proceed to the breakout session listed on the back of your name tag. thank you.
>> congress returns today from a two-week spring recess the senate gavels in 2:00 eastern starting the day with general speeches. we'll look for reaction to the killing of usama bin laden. we're expecting comments from majority leader or minority leader mitch mcconnell. they turn to judicial nominations today. that will happen at 4:30 eastern. we'll have it for you live here on c-span it 2. u.s. house meets at 2:00 eastern. the senate will look at two
bills naming federal buildings. repealing two provisions in the health care law and blocking federal funds for abortion. live house coverage is on c-span. canadians are voting today on a new government. prime minister stephen harper has been in power since 2006. he has won two elections but never with a ma jort of parliament's 308 seats. if he doesn't get it this time the opposition parties are expected to try to form a coalition government. we'll have live coverage of the election results from the cbc tonight starting at 10:00 eastern here on c-span2. >> the private sector and the government coming together to push innovation makes all the sense in the world. >> the ceo of walmart sad down recently for a conversation with "the wall
street journal" executive in new york city. michael duke has been the head of walmart since 2009. his discussion with "wall street journal" deputy managing editor alan murray focuses on the future of retail, the economy and diversity issues at walmart. during this event a protest against walmart started outside this manhattan restaurant. the event is just over an hour. >> your feedback. thank you very much, thank you very much for being here. can we assume your presence here is a harbinger of the store finally opening in manhattan. >> i thought that question might come up this morning and i'm glad it is first, alan. i do hope i get to make more visits to this great city. >> so, anything you want to announce? >> as you might expect we don't have any announcements today and we'll have to look forward to coming back. maybe that's a future
breakfast. >> soon? >> it is one of those there are a lot of steps in the process that here. we are frankly and it's very clear if you ride in a taxicab here in the city we're very, very interested in new york. i think many of you here have already said that to me this morning. and said how can we help? and that's what we're in the process of doing is really discussing, looking at the options. but the important thing we know there are millions of customers here in this great city that doesn't have really easy access to a walmart store. we'd like to help solve that problem. we also know with fuel prices many residents of new york city have to drive distances to shop in our stores. if you drive away from the city on a weekend, you'll see many, many, residents of the city out shopping in a walmart store. we believe, alan, that last year new york residents spent $195 million in
walmart stores, not a single dollar of that was in new york city. >> do you know that? is that something you can tell from credit card records? >> exactly. you think of the sales tax and jobs and, you know, all the factors about what it would mean to the city but that's right, that's our actual data based on the information available. >> well, we will look forward to the announcement. you were talking about data. people in new york like to make guesses about what's going on in the economy all the time. at walmart you know. you are the economy. i mean you have all this data. tell us what you're seeing right now in the united states. >> well of course we do have a lot of data because we have a lot of customers. we have in the united states approximately 140 million customers visit us in the u.s. every week. so by that, just the sheer volume of transactions of
customers visiting our stores we can look closely at what they're buying, when they buy it, and all of -- we of course do look at that very, very closely. frankly we do see the customer in the u.s., our core customer, is still under a lot of pressure and, you know, here as we get toward end of a month for example the paycheck cycle, when customers are really running out of money and when they're shopping in the store and they have got just very limited income left to get through the end of the month, we can see the purchase pattern of smaller pack size, less discretionary spending. often just the basics to get through the end of month. then when the first of the month comes and the new cycle, the customer, you might say, been replenished. they are able then to come back in the store. it is always interesting, you know, i enjoy looking at sales for the first day of each month. always, and especially during times like this.
we get bigger increases in sales year-over-year in that first couple of days of the month. then at the end of the month it is really dropping off. so even compared to a year ago it shows greater pressure on the consumer. >> more pressure today than you had a year ago? >> still, probably even more. we saw over the last 12 months, even that end of month cycle continuing to be a concern and frankly i think again it's the walmart core customer. you know, it's not, we'd like for all of you here to be customers of a walmart store here in new york city but frankly, really think across the united states. and really the communities, the small towns, across the u.s., we really end up representing the customers across the whole u.s.. >> so your customers are not showing many signs of feeling of recovery? >> not yet. frankly, we may be one of those where a lot of the economists, which i'm not one, you know, try to
determine leading indicators or trailing indicators. i can't say we are one or the other but we do see that there is still pressure on the consumer. >> what about prices? what do you feel going on, very price-sensitive customers? obviously a lot of basic materials prices are going up. you're dealing with a falling dollar. how is that affecting prices in your stores? >> first of all, you know, i think if i even talk about the walmart-u.s. business because here this morning we may talk about different businesses because we have the walmart u.s., the sam's u.s., and then, which is a different customer in many ways, a different approach to business. and then there's our international business we operate businesses around the world. so, for your question, let me focus on the walmart u.s. business because i think that's probably the interest level. there are two dynamics right
now. over the last couple of years the economic crisis has brought even more focus on value and price. so the customer has been looking for savings and real emphasis on opening price points. the customer is real knows more about pricing than ever. as we do our own research and understand how customers look at the price of products we've seen the last couple years has brought european more focus on understanding price. . .
>> if you think again this wal-mart core customer with a fixed and now i spend more money to put fuel in for my car, that means i have "x" number dollars to on discretionary items. i still have the fixed amount that i still can't exceed. >> what's about prices in your stores? the prices in the goods you're selling. do you see prices rising there. >> there's so many products across the store and certainly there are some areas that are seeing inflation. there's no doubt about the fact that some of the fresh food areas -- that are real basic needs for customers are seeing
some inflation. on the other hand, there are areas of still continued deflation. i continued to be amazed and it's a wonderful thing for our customers that deflation in electronics. it's becoming available to broader and broader groups of people around the world and i think deflation in technology continues to be something that is a factor that's a positive. >> so ben bernanke is having the first fed press conference in a quarter century this afternoon. if he calls you up before then you have your finger on the pulse, you know, on balance, do we have an inflation problem? what would you say to him? >> i would say, mr. chairman, we have several problems. [laughter] >> i would always be careful in isolating one as though, you
know -- and, frankly, that's where i'm cautious even if i speak to a leader like him to try to offer advice that i may not be qualified to offer. and that's why i'm cautious to say i'm not an economist. we operate a reasonably good-sized retail business. we have a really good relationship with consumers, but all of the dynamics of a very complex economic system across the world -- this is not -- in the world today, the united states can't look at just isolation, nor can only look at one issue like inflation and come up with a very -- it's a broader poppy that would be the fed and i think our elected officials to have look at. >> so you have, over the last -- i think now have seven consecutive quarters of
declining same-store sales in wal-mart in the u.s. at the same time as you point out there's been a lot of pressure on the average wal-mart customer to find better prices. in past times that led to rising same-store sales for wal-mart. what's been going on for the last seven quarters and what makes you think it's going to get any better in the future? >> even though we started off the conversation this morning talking a lot about external factors, what we spend virtually all our time at wal-mart would be internal. what do we manage? what do we control? what are we in charge of? so we relate it to same-store sales. some ask about pressure from the economy and other things. what we really focus on, what have we done and what do we need to do different? and that's the way i'd answer your question. what we really see, we need to do in the wal-mart u.s. business and the leadership team in the business and u.s. is doing is really going to our core business.
what made wal-mart so great in over the many decades since sam walton opened the first wal-mart store in 1962. it was really about every day low prices and wide assortment. frankly we'd gotten away from some of those core principles. sometimes it takes a wakeup like this to cause you to step back, look at your business internal, not worry about the external, but to really be focused internally about what do we need to do to grow our traffic and grow sales in our comp stores? and it really is back to the basics of every day low price, wide assortment, having put the customer needs with one-stop-shopping. you know, with rising gasoline prices, one-stop-shopping becomes even more and more important. last week i was -- i do this virtually every week. i dropped in a store in huntsville, alabama. and it's really kind of fun because we'll go to the wal-mart -- we fly, you know, wal-mart planes. it makes it, obviously, easier
to get around fortunately sam walton was a pilot and that's the way he left bentonville and fly into a economy. and that was a great model -- >> no warning. >> not a bit. >> how long does it take them to figure out you're there? >> well, i'll tell you what was interesting is -- and again, it was really -- it's always fun to meet the associates. even others on the plane didn't know where we're going until we were in the air. i didn't want to take any chances today with technology where people can send a blackberry email message and say we're on the way. so we got out of range of sending email messages, and then i told the group we're landing to huntsville, alabama. and we landed -- >> there's a banner over the store. >> no. [laughter] >> what was funny we drove around the store and went in the garden center entrance. and the associates in the garden
center spotted me and i started talking to the associates. they started explaining about garden center sales and we had a great visit. and then the comanager came up and spotted me. and we had a really, really great visit, but she was very, very surprised. [laughter] >> the store manager happened to be out of the store, but also a young lady who's been with the company 17 years is the store manager of this store. but i think within 20 minutes she was back in the store. [laughter] >> and we had a fantastic visit. [laughter] >> but a lot of -- you know, really, that's so much of my job because we spend the time talking to our associates on the front line and talking to the customers that are shopping in the store, but i remember in that store one customer said, more than ever that i'm here at wal-mart because one-stop i can get everything i need. this was an elderly lady, a
customer, who's paying a lot more in fuel and she said i'm thankful i can come to wal-mart and get everything we need in one stop. and i think back to your first question about our comp sales. we really needed to really bring back product, put the right assortment in the store, have that trust, that assurance about my basket of products that no other place i can buy, multiple stops even can i have a lower basket than shopping at wal-mart. and that's really what we're focused on to drive comp store sales. >> so you brought more products back into the store, and you made some adjustments. are you seeing what you want to see out of that? are you going to have rising comp store sales in the next quarter? >> well, i don't commit to that, you know, in terms of when and amount. so what i can tell you is i really like the traction and the direction that the wal-mart team is focused on. what was quicker and easier was to bring the food products back
because food has a shorter cycle time. you can think of a product in a wal-mart supercenter -- some product has a very short cycle time from the supplier and within 30 to 60 days, some short cycle can be back in the store like food. that's well on its way, probably -- we're probably over 80% completed in the area of food of having the product in our stores that we want to have. on some of the product, that's longer lead time, like some of the general merchandise categories. we're probably looking at the third quarter of this year before we'll really have our full assortment in our stores. >> but do you think there's any possibility that you just kind of tapped out? that you've reached maturity in the market? that you're not going to see those rising same-store sales that you were accustomed to in the past? >> i just don't see that as any possibility. [applause] >> 'cause frankly, i think customers across the united
states really need this one-stop-shopping with the assortment and prices. i don't mean to be confident to the extreme of saying, you know, it's not just wal-mart. it's the fact that the customer needs wal-mart in this type of offering more than ever. >> do you see any of your competitors, for instance, target getting some attention these days with these discount -- the 5% discount on anybody who comes in with a red card? you see people using discounting more effectively that makes you think maybe we should try some of those tactics. >> i think when we look at the whole landscape, more than ever what we need to do is even be more focused on every day low price. i mentioned earlier about technology. and the use of smart phones, mobile technology -- i see customers in our stores now and you'd say will this wal-mart customers? absolutely, using technology to check pricing and i think that's
transparency -- knowing all the prices of products that i shop and buy in a store, it really works to our advantage. so that's why in lieu of thinking about special discounting and other kinds of approaches, i think that's why the every day low price model that sam walton created is even more important in a time of technology and transparency. >> what percentage of the products in a wal-mart store today come from china? >> the vast majority of our products are produced locally. >> the vast majority. >> that's right. think -- and i don't have percentages, you know, it'd be difficult to know percentage of products. but again, picture a wal-mart supercenter and i know even though we don't have any in new york city, hopefully most of you somewhere in your travel have been in a wal-mart supercenter think about all your food products that represent a huge portion of the business in a wal-mart store, and the vast majority of that comes here in
the united states. >> but you have all the clothes, you have the consumer electronics, you have the toys, you have the -- >> certainly there are categories in any retail store that's produced in different places around the world. >> i mean, you must have some idea what the figure is. your critics use a 70% figure. who knows where they get it. but you must have -- you have access to all this data. you must have some idea what the real figure is? >> it's not something we can track the source of product, the factory is not something we publish. but if you can consider the vast majority of units sold are produced in the united states. and this is just again -- think of the shopping basket. if you go and look at the checkouts, and i do this a lot, stand out in front of the checkouts and look at the baskets of what customers are buying and just visualize the
food consumables, the basic needs that people are buying in wal-mart stores and, frankly, that's why, you know, you'd understand what i'm saying. certainly, the categories you mentioned, alan, apparel, toys, electronics -- much of that is made outside of the united states, but that's true of all of our competitors, you know, it's true -- all the companies that you mentioned that compete in those businesses, those products are made in countries around the world because, frankly, that's what it's like for the customer. >> i was asking partly because i wanted to get some sense how your global sourcing may have been changed in the last year. are you -- are you -- we were talking about price pressures. are you feeling price pressures from your chinese suppliers? are you moving into -- needing to move into other markets in order to get the prices that you promise to your consumers? >> actually, in china the wage inflation and that becomes a
factor that will end up affecting the cost of products. there's no doubt about that. but i would expect that china will continue to be a large producer of product. i wouldn't see, you know, dramatic kind of kind of shift on that. i'm not speaking about wal-mart, i'm speaking of retailing around the world. looking to source products that are right for customers. and likely there is some wage inflation coming out of china, i think they will be a large producer for retailers. on the other hand, you know, i think the -- if you look back over decades, source and how product is produced moves from market to market. it's just part of the global dynamics of how manufacturers look at how producing product. and i think that will be part of the natural evolution of cycles that take place. >> talk a little bit about your business in china. how important is that it off wal-mart these days? >> it's very, very important.
i think our retail business is very, very strong. there is a rising middle class. many, many more consumers in cities across china and, frankly, wal-mart is very well positioned. again, i think our every day low price, wide assortment of product, a sam's club that operates in china -- we're doing very well and we see much, much more opportunity. you know, what's interesting, much of the product in china is local, of course, too, because so much of the product is food and basic needs. but what is also really interesting is to see the multinational -- many u.s. companies that are u.s.-based that are global companies where you see much of the product in a wal-mart store in china. and related to your other questions, now as we open retail outlets around the world, it
really provides great opportunity for u.s.-based companies to actually distribute product on a more global basis. i happened to see the hershey store. it was next to our hotel. it's interesting because i thought about our relationship with hershey. a great supplier, a great company. as we opened stores outside of the u.s., hershey's is now distributing product life and even hershey's kisses that were not previously distributed in the u.k. and they are in the stores in the u.k. so i think china is a giant opportunity. it's an opportunity for our overall supply base. it's probably our largest retail growth opportunity outside the united states. >> and do you get the support you need from local governments in china? how would you compare, for instance, the locality in china to new york? [laughter] >> well, you know, it's interesting. that is an interesting question. [laughter] >> and i would not --
>> answer it probably. [laughter] >> just like we have here, great relations in new york city, we have great relationships in china. [laughter] >> but you raise an interesting point about imports. if the world is going to make it through the economic transition it has to happen in the next decade or the next two decades. clearly the united states has to reduce debt. the surplus countries have to reduce their surpluses. and to get through that transition without austerity here is going to require the u.s. becoming much more of an export nation. >> right. >> you watch the flow of goods across borders. do you think that can really happen or the policies in place or the businesses in place to see as the president has called for a doubling of exports in the next decade? >> there are things, i think, that the u.s. does need to do. the topic of globalization and global trade -- it's here.
you can't deny it. it's not something that we could kind of look at and say, we can't participate. and so the topic of trade globally will benefit the united states. and some of the trade discussions and agreements that have been in process like colombia, panama -- those really need to move ahead and get -- and get approved and finalized. and, you know, i think -- i think the times in the u.s. -- if we chose not to participate, the greatest one being penalized would be our one country. >> what else has to happen? i know you had a one-on-one not too long ago with the president. [inaudible] >> we'll get to that in just a minute. india. what else has to happen in order to make this turn to an exporting nation and what did you tell the president in that one-on-one meeting? >> well, of course, a one-on-one meeting with the president would be a private discussion so i
wouldn't -- i probably wouldn't be appropriate to get into a lot of details to get into discussions what we might have. you know, i would say, you know, again, looking at a global business environment that we operate in, one of the things we have talked about is the tax structure. and the u.s. tax reform -- this is a critical topic. i saw even on tv this morning there's a lot of discussion about it. and it really is time. one of the big issues would be corporate tax reform. that u.s. companies that operate on a global multinational basis, many like wal-mart would be penalized. we are competing against global retailers that are based in other countries with a much lower effective tax rate. so we're looking at a acquisition in another market or growth in another market, then we're competing against a large multinational retailer from the u.k. or from france, then a
u.s.-based company is at a disadvantage. [inaudible] >> there's some of those things that need to be considered. >> the president has talked about a revenue-neutral tax reform. are these your friends in the back? [inaudible] >> i'm not sure i recognize them. >> i wonder if we can do something about that just to get rid of the noise. the president has talked about a revenue-neutral tax reform, which means that some people would have tax reductions, but other people would face higher taxes, probably heavy equipment, manufacturers, oil and gas, et cetera. are you okay with that? >> i can't speak to the whole -- but i think the country is faced with a dilemma about balancing the budget. and the budget deficit, this becomes again more complex than just one simple solution, but i do think when you look at long-term, the country can't put
u.s.-based companies at a disadvantage. i think it's part of the overall reform that has to be addressed. >> you have to put up with this very often or is this a special new york treat? [laughter] >> this is probably just a greeting. [laughter] >> well, hopefully it will quiet down in a minute so we can continue the conversation. the gentleman back there asked about india. we were talking about international markets. india is obviously a growing market but a market you're very challenged? >> actually we've got a startup business in india. and our first focus that we are invested in is cash and carry or business to business. there are many, many small businesses in india that rely on our stores now that we've started up of buying product and then selling through the supply chain and, frankly, we've been very, very pleased with that. today the indian government, the
law of the land does not allow -- does not allow foreign ownership or investment in retail. we can't invest in that. we have a great partnership with a great company in india that we work on a basis of partnership. the truth is partnership is with their investment able to serve customers. but we are optimistic, quite frankly, with meetings in government that that will change. we see india as a great opportunity, though. today, for us, it's a small business. but over a long period of time we think india will be just a real huge opportunity. and i'm optimistic that the laws will get changed. >> so can people in the back hear okay? let's -- you get a lot of this -- you do get a lot of this kind of criticism largely from labor unions. you also face now -- i think --
is it the largest class action lawsuit that's ever been brought an american company? any company? >> that's what i understand. of course, what you're referring to -- some call it the dukes case, that's a gender case -- >> it's not named after you. [laughter] >> it's very interesting. that's what some would ask and i'd say, no, it's not -- that's not a relationship there. but first let me say it's related to gender discrimination. wal-mart has had for years strong policies that prohibit discrimination. and, frankly, it's one of those that goes back many years to the foundation of our company, that we would not allow any form of discrimination in our company. and the three plaintiffs that are challenging their situations individually, would not be representative of the thousands of women at wal-mart that have
been promoted, advanced and serving the company in many, many different positions. so the case is not representative of wal-mart. >> but you're a big company. you're the largest employer in the united states. you are a natural target for this kind of criticism. it's obviously something that you have to deal with on a regular basis. you're a juicy target for trial lawyers. how do you deal with that as a company? >> i would rather view as a successful, growing company serving millions of customers, providing over 2 million jobs around the world. that kind of comes with the territory. the fact that we have 140 million americans visit us every week and we have over 2 million associates that work for us, i think some of that, as you said, a large target. i'd love it to be a larger target than a smaller target. [laughter] >> and, frankly, we'd like to continue to grow. we want to continue to be successful. we want to continue to serve
customers. and with that i guess comes with some things that goes with the territory. >> the company has made a big push in the environmental area over the last five years. some partly think to take the edge off the union criticism. would that be fair? >> i really have to applaud, lee scott started this. lee was my predecessor as a ceo of the company. and it has just been a fantastic initiative. the thing about sustainability. i think it reinvolve around two things. first it's the right thing to do. if you look at a company like wal-mart -- and we think of our footprint that we have on the world and being more responsible with all of these topics of sustainability is really just a part of who we have become. and very, very important. i'll tell you, it's right for the business, though. we've saved millions of dollars. i mean, when we end up reducing fuel costs, shipping product to stores more efficiently, when we
look at reducing electricity in our stores, reducing packaging, we work with our suppliers and have taken a tremendous amount of waste out of packaging that goes to landfills. and so what ends up the right thing to do and it's right for our business. this has been beneficial to shareholders. i think, alan, the other thing that's been fantastic is wal-mart people, wal-mart associates love working for the company with a purpose. and with this sustainability initiative, it has made recruiting much, much better. it's made people more proud to be a part of the wal-mart family. >> and it doesn't cause you to take your eye off the every day low price cost production -- >> as a matter of fact, it has enhanced. as i mentioned every day low price depends on every day low cost. operating a low cost business is our business model. the focus on sustainability has helped us reduce costs and even be stronger with every day low
price. >> you've talked about creating a sustainability index that could go on all sorts of products not just in wal-mart stores. is that -- is that an appropriate role for wal-mart to play? do you think you can have change beyond your doors in the environmental area? >> of course, in the area of sustainability index, we're working with many outside universities, ngos and really trying to create something that all retailers could use. it's not -- this is not a unique wal-mart competitive advantage because we believe in the long run consumers want the transparency, just like price transparency. consumers would like to transparency about product and we think this is again long term. it's very complex to be able to do this. but we think and are working with universities and ngos to try to develop information for consumers to know about the sustainability of the product that they purchase. >> and whether it was
intentional or not, that push into the environmental area, which has been applauded by many people has helped ease some of the criticism that you were getting five years ago or six years ago from democratic interest groups. it may not have made a big difference in new york, but around the country it's changed the political profile of the company pretty substantially, right? >> yeah, i think we are respected and appreciated more. and i do think sustainability has helped, you know, in those areas. i think frankly, whether it's elected officials or ngos or like many of you get to know our company even more, then it really helps with our relationships. >> i want to open it up because i know a lot of people here have questions. open it up to questions in just a second but before i do, talking about the social issues and you've made it very clear that you think social issues is an important mission as ceo. >> that's right. >> do you see pay inequality as
a social issue? i mean, one of the things that gets brought up by the critics is the vast difference between the $7, $8, $9 many people make in the wal-mart store and the 19 million or so that you made last year. >> uh-huh. >> is that an issue that you feel you need to address? >> first of all, you asked some questions that are not quick and easy, simple questions and that's a really good question for all of us to consider. i will tell you, though, that a company and board of directors, all major multinational companies to have look at how do you have the best talent in every position? and frankly whether it's at store level, the best talent serving customers in a store, the best talent to be a store manager, the best talent in senior executive positions. boards would not do their shareholder service nor serve customers well if you don't look at it and say it takes having the best people to run a
business, and that's part of this. i'll tell you for our company, though, what's also rae important is ensuring outside of a associate level in our stores that we are being competitive and that we have the right wages, benefits, and the right work environment is having the best people on the front lines serving customers. >> we're in one of these periods of times because of the downturn and the financial problems that we've been through, you see in the public opinion polls that antibusiness sentiment generally is fairly high and often it focuses on this issue of pay disparity. what needs to be done to convince the public that the social compact is still intact? >> i think first of all, more transparency is important and frankly i think the move towards and proxy reporting. i, frankly, think that's very
productive, very healthy. that being transparent with all of this. and, frankly, the key, let's say think of a wal-mart store. when we open a new store and we may create 500 jobs in a new store, we may have thousands of applicants where our wages and benefits are competitive and when we go into a community and we see lines of associates or potential applicants that want to be a part of it, it ends up demonstrating to wider group of people that the jobs at wal-mart are good jobs. frankly i think we need to just even sharing more. it's about part of transparency. 70% of our u.s. wal-mart management started as hourly associates and worked their way through. so the communication and transparency about pay benefits and opportunity i think is really part of the story. >> why don't we open it up to
questions. yes, sir. >> hello? >> with the financial crisis, people have said that the consumer is resetting his objectives, his position and her position going forward. would you comment on what do you see as the reset on the consumer side going forward? >> uh-huh. >> you know, i do think that during this crisis, the consumer has learned and is paying more attention to what they pay. so shopping smarter is part of that. i think today consumers want to be proud of being smarter about the way they spend money. and to me, that's a form of reset, of being more informed about the way that i spend money. that's probably one of the more significant ones which has multiple implications.
it means that price transparency is more important. it means that the quality of products is more important. that if i spend, i want it to be longer lasting. i do think there's some value judgment that consumers make about discretionary spending. and what do i need? so all of this becomes personal for each family. and each consumer. but i think it has implications longer term. one of the -- i don't think it's driven necessarily only by the crisis, but one of the things that i mentioned, price transparency and about value, the social networking today is much, much more a part of consumer purchase decisions. i mean, many here know about facebook and participate personally, but consumers are communicating with each other.
and, frankly, that's become part, i think, over the last couple of years of the dynamic change and about sharing information with my friends about how i spend money and products that i buy. and that's an important area that wal-mart is very much interested in and engaged in. >> esther. >> thanks. take alan's question about environment and sustainability and sort of the same question about health and health care, but a few specific points. it's both what you sell the consumers, your pharmacies and so forth and also the -- not just the health insurance but the policies and now you're offering your employees various kinds of software tools to engage in healthy behavior. if you can talk about that but also when you decide to do the things for your employees that
presumably have cost now and will pay off in the future, what are your assumptions about the length of time an employee will be with the company and how does that vary from your hourly associates to your management? the reason i'm asking for this transparency is so that other employers can learn from your example which would be great. >> a series of questions that you've asked and some of which involved a lot of data. i wouldn't be prepared here to be able to recite or share a lot of the data about the cycles of health care. what we really just start with the belief that healthy living is good for all of us. and so associates in our stores or in management being healthier is just good long-term practice anyway. so some of the communication about exercise, about healthy diet and living, creating a desire among our associates to
live a healthier life we think just creates a better company with happier, healthier associates. now, in the long run, we do think it would also benefit health care costs. and certainly -- but that's not a -- that's not an approach that's easy to model. so i can't tell you that we've got data that would say over x period of time these initiatives would lead to x savings. we just believe that it will but if we think it's better anyway for our associates. there are a number of initiatives go in the area of health care. it goes back a number of years where we've tried to help bend the cost curve in the united states. and, frankly, i'm kind of focused on u.s. discussion again as opposed to countries around the world that we operate in. but we've said for a number of years that rising health care costs, that businesses like wal-mart face, is something that needed to be better managed. we and the overall environment
in the united states needed change. we tried to be a part of that. one of the big initiatives that we think changed the pharmacy business was the $4 prescription program that we implemented. that changed the whole approach. fortunately, it even changed how our competitors changed their prescription for billions of americans across the united states. we're looking for ways to reduce health care costs and help bend the cost curve for all employers. >> other questions? >> hang on just a second, cathy, for the microphone. identify yourself and then -- >> you talked about going back to your core principles and your core business model and yet there's a clear tension with the new technologies and how you can really start to evolve your business, take advantage of what new technologies offer. you've announced a pilot in
california with home shopping. what is the internet going to offer you in terms of expansion and how will that affect your thinking about your business model? >> clearly, we think ecommerce is very, very important. and so a number of initiatives in the area of ecommerce that we're involved in, you mentioned just a few days ago we communicated that we're doing a test. it's a test in one store by the way in san jose by doing food ordered online and delivered to your home. so if you live near san jose, california, in a few zip codes, it would be worth the test. but it's one of those long-term kind of initiatives that we're evaluating. we had a program now for several years called fight to store. that's a program that you can order online and pick up in the store. and that's been very, very successful. we just started rolling out a few months ago -- we call pick
up today. so you could order online and pick it up today in the store for a product that's available in the store. and we see mobile technology, the social networking communication -- ecommerce is just going to be a part of commerce. it's not going to -- it's not different channels. it really is the way customers will shop in the future. >> but it's an interesting question. if you look 15, 20 years down the road, is your big competition target or is it amazon? >> you know, i don't think sam walton, back in, say, 20, 30 years ago would have tried to predict who the competitor would have been 20 years later. so i wouldn't probably think -- i think our competitors are getting better, and there will be new competitors that we probably don't even think of today that we'll be sitting here -- someone would, 20 years from now talking about the great retailers. wal-mart will probably be in that discussion also, though.
>> there's a question right here and then a question over here. >> recently in one of the financial journals, a man wrote an article indicating that he had gone into one of your competitors and bought a representative stock of items. the same items per dollar, he spent a dollar in this place. it would have cost 63 cents in wal-mart. how do you feel about this comparison, with as great -- >> i'd love to see that. [laughter] >> and love to see many more of those where -- and, frankly, we do that every day. this afternoon i'll drop in a few stores -- i don't buy everything in competitors, but i will look at pricing and then
i'll look at our pricing in wal-mart. clearly, our focus on every day low price is about having a basket that a customer can save compared to any competitor. and that's really the every day low price business model leads to that opportunity for customers. so i think that's -- that's the way we want to see business operate is we save customers money. >> a question right over here. >> you mentioned a lot of the challenges -- >> i'm sorry, identify yourself. >> i'm sorry. karen tally dow jones. you mentioned a lot of challenges getting sales back on track and you're addressing them. >> uh-huh. >> very ably and you're on your way. what's the biggest one? what's the biggest challenge? what's the harrest that you have to overcome? >> yeah, i'd really say there's two. one is just really establishing that every day low price and
every day low cost approach to operating the business -- so really kind of reenergizing the business model so like the gentleman's prior question, that every customer getting that wider savings and we want to widen the gap of savings. that's what really every day prices is a bigger gap than savings. and the second is the assortment. getting all the product in the store that the customer wants. the customer should make the decision on what's in a wal-mart store and really the customer insights, knowing what customers want and having the product. so i mention that customer in huntsville, alabama. how do we know in every community the store of the community so that those local customers have the product they want in the stores, so price and assortment would be the two greatest challenges that the wal-mart u.s. team is working on. that will then lead to growth in
sales. >> a question right here. >> i'm roslyn clay carter with a & e television networks. i work in human resources and one of the things we struggle with diversity representation and gender representation just because that's the essential for our business these days. i would be curious for wal-mart what in the management levels and for that matter your senior staff you would see the diversity and gender representation? >> well, diversity is a top, top priority at wal-mart. and what i always say is diversity and inclusion because it's both. because creating an inclusive environment where different people with different backgrounds, different perspectives, men, war on terrorism and everyone can have an open platform to contribute to the company and it's probably one of our most important
initiatives for a number of years at wal-mart. and, frankly, our senior team -- if we look at our officer staff of the diverse office team of vice president in the company is very, very important. you know, it's interesting here in new york and some of the meetings taking place here, roslyn brewer is the division president that runs one-third of the wal-mart u.s. operations. roslyn probably has responsibility for $100 billion in sales, 80 to 100 billion in that range. roslyn was here in the city yesterday because the third of the u.s. on the east coast is in roslyn's area. there are many examples that we could point out about senior leadership that i could -- i just happened to pick roslyn as one example. but, frankly, we look at our customer base. our customers are very diverse. to know our customers, our
leadership, store managers, two vice-presidents and the senior executives should be to represent our customers. very, very important initiative. by the way, it's an important initiative globally. it would be easy to talk about just the united states in this topic of diversity. around the world, i view this as a great competitive advantage. in our japanese business, for example, we have a major nerve -- initiative with women and leadership and one of the things i mentor and is involved in is our council of our most senior leaders from around the world. we do video conferencing and we do face-to-face meetings several times a year. but it's our most senior executive women from all of our businesses from around the world. and those from japan, for example, is one who represents and really leads the efforts back in japan. or daniella in brazil, and i
work very closely with the senior women leaders because i really believe it will be a competitive advantage -- it will be great for our customers and great for our business in the long term. >> other questions? yes, right here. >> i wanted to specifically ask you specifically how are the higher gas prices affecting consumer behavior? are you seeing customers, you know, taking fewer trips and loading up? also food inflation? are you seeing, you know, a shift away from dairy to soda? i've been hearing that. what are some of the changes you've been seeing in behavior? >> right, first of all, on gas prices, a couple of things i mentioned earlier. i think for many of our core customers, it does mean that they -- if they spend more on gasoline for their car, they'll have less discretionary spending to spend on other products.
so there's just no way around it. that's the way math works for our customers. and the customer does have to cut back on other discretionary items. on the second related answer to that is in consolidating trips. i mentioned earlier about one-stop-shopping. customers will make fewer stops to retail stores. so if you think of not just wal-mart but in general the customer will drive fewer trips to go to retail stops, that's why one-stop-shopping becomes even more important. it does mean the customer in our store will make fewer trips, but will buy more when they're in the store. will actually consolidate purchases. we see that taking place. we've seen it in the past when we've had spikes in fuel prices like we're experiencing. yeah, i think in food inflation, that's one -- i don't know that
i could say that in this short cycle, this relatively short cycle, of inflation that we've already begun is i don't think customers have made dramatic changes as you mentioned from dairy to soda. i don't think that it's happened in any dramatic way. i think there can be subtle changes. i think it does mean at times customers have to cut back, though. they may -- they may still buy the basic needs. but they may have to find other areas where they have to reduce discretionary spending. >> hello, mr. duke. aaron smith from cnn money. so you're keeping prices down, commodity prices are up. i was wondering what are you asking of your suppliers? what sacrifices are you asking them to make in order for you to keep your prices down? >> uh-huh. what we're asking is that we work together even more closely, collaboratively to take out waste. you know, when i visit our own stores, i look at how much more
opportunity we have to be more productive and now we can be more efficient in operating our business. when i look at the supply chain from manufacturing a product all the way to the customer's home, i think about the improved efficiency. what we really try to work with suppliers on is how do we work together to be more efficient with the production and delivery of products? i had a meeting on friday with one of our large multinational global suppliers, the ceo and senior leadership. we were talking about how do we look at from the point of product that's manufactured in their factory and look at all of the supply chain? transportation, distribution, inventory management, packaging -- how do we look to find ways to be more efficient to find win-win situations? we believe for suppliers it's really important to work collaboratively and create win-win. it's not win-lose. it's where we have to work
together to take out the excessive costs and then deliver still value to consumers. >> of course, that's what you've been doing for years. do you ever reach the point where you've squeezed all the efficiency chains out of the supply chain? does have that anything near to the seven quarters? >> we're not anywhere close. >> i see that in our own business how much more efficient we could be. >> bridget heller, merck consumer care. one of the beautiful things about sustainability for wal-mart was -- and i really remember when the announcement got involved was the impact you could have by bringing visibility to it. you had this amazing ripple as you brought it to the attention of suppliers everywhere that this was something you were going to be looking at, which caused this amazing ripple for me to look at it and, therefore, for actions to be taken. as we look at health care, it
is, i think, one of the galvanizing sort of issues worldwide today as every government and every company is looking at health care, is there the same type of potential ripple that wal-mart could have? and if so, how are you thinking about that? >> that's right. >> you know, i think it is one of those great opportunities. and as you were thinking about health care worldwide and delivery and meeting the needs of customers to be healthier and really to have the right solutions when there are medical problems. i do think working together, like we've done in sustainability -- you know, i think the focus on sustainability was not an independent wal-mart action. it wasn't where we kind of locked ourselves in a room independently and said let's work on sustainability. we reached out broadly to ngos, to suppliers, to those with much more expertise than we would
have had. i think it's a similar situation we're attempting to do with health care. i think working across all of industries related to health care, our suppliers, our ngos, governments and that's what we're attempting to do is really approach health care from that wide open standpoint of looking at all possibilities. and, frankly, again, i reiterate like the other question. we want to create even a healthier environment for our people. you know, sam walton -- alan, i have to so often go back to the founder of our great company. before he passed away in 1992, mr. sam said he had an idea, a vision of seeing people all over the world save money and live better. we've taken this live better and really tried to magnify that even more. and i think healthy living for our associates, for consumers -- you know, the recent
announcement with the first lady, michelle obama, in washington about healthy food. all of this fits together, i think, and health care is not, you know, just a simple single discussion the way sustainability is not. and i think a lot of our approach would be in some ways parallel of working very broadly to help people live better and that's part of the health care solution. >> you talk about mr. sam like he's a relative but you didn't join the company until '95, did you? >> that he can. the culture is obviously pretty intense. did you ever meet him personally? >> never met mr. sam walton personally but i really feel like i know him personally because the culture is so strong. i think -- you know, it's a tremendous strength of wal-mart and i really give the founding family credit, the business model is a fantastic business model, this every day low price, but the culture of the company
is also what i give such tremendous credit to mr. sam, ms. helen, the walton family. and then the leaders, the ceo that followed sam walton was david glass and then lee scott and then myself. and as i have gotten to work closely with my two predecessors that followed sam and before i was in this office, i've had a chance, i think, to get to know sam walton through a lot of people. >> do you like living in bentonville. >> i'll tell you what, it's a great place to live. >> does it feel a little small sometimes? it's not cost phobic some >> it's interesting, my wife and i really viewed that as home because we have now, you know, the positive thing -- we have a daughter and a son-in-law and grandchildren very close by and a lot of great friends and a lot of involvement in the community. and it's a great place to live. >> a question right here. >> hi, jeff hornstein with peter
solomon and company. the prices have been flat how do you affect that and b, how does that affect the morale of the people and the executive team? >> i think the way we address it is by improving comp store sales and a lot of the earlier discussions about -- about just the factors that investors look in buying in a company. the growth of our business -- we talked, as i did yesterday, with some about growth, leverage and return. so, you know, i don't wake up and start each day saying, i need to increase stock price. i look at how do we grow our business, serve more customers, and then leverage that to produce return for shareholders and i think that's what we'll end up ultimately affecting stock prices. related to the question of morale, i will tell you i think over the years companies have to
realize how do they evolve and change in the way that they motivate? and that is something that over many years the company does that. and whereas a startup company might have one formula, wal-mart was a startup company at one time. and back in the 1970s when it went public and then had significant share price growth over the 1970s, there would have been one method then that would have been the right thing for mobilization of subjects. now, in this period of time there becomes different ways to create motivation incentives and to drive performance of both management and associates. it's different for a mature company that's a large global business like wal-mart than it would be a startup. >> and you don't feel like analysts pay too much attention to that same-store sales metric? is that the right one to keep an eye on? >> you know, i think it's a very, very important one. so i wouldn't -- i think there are others that are important
also. but i would not deny -- i think -- i think any business looking at the base of operation and what's the strength of that base is very, very important. you know, companies want to agree and add and make acquisitions and build new stores. that's important also. but it's also important to look back at the base of operations and that's what comp store sales really ends up being about. >> we can take one or two more quick questions. anybody over here who i've missed? esther again. >> and not about health care. this is on the fuel thing. are you considered or do you already have car pooling or vans using social networks to encourage to car pool? >> that's something in our home offices we do and where we have large groups of associates, it's one of those, i think, that we've explored some
consideration about customers. and, frankly, haven't really addressed that. that's one that we'll get more thought to. i think, you know, with customers and how customers get from their home to a wal-mart store with rising fuel prices, i think there are opportunities. in some areas in markets around the world, we have different approaches to helping customers. and i think it's worth consideration, something we've talked about some. you know, i think it's one that gas prices and there become as you hear it sometimes in media, thresholds that create differences in behavior. and over a long period of time i expect gas prices to continue to rise. and i think it's something that ideas like that will get even more consideration from customers and businesses. >> so, mike, i hope you appreciate this rousing welcome to new york. [laughter] [applause] >> i really do. [applause]
>> the private sector and the government coming together to push innovation makes all the sense in the world. >> tonight, intel vice president peter cleveland on the obama administration's efforts to improve american innovation by assisting the u.s. technology industry on the communicators on c-span2. >> now available c-span's congressional directory, a complete guide to the first session of the 112th congress inside new and returning house and senate members with contact information, including twitter addresses, district maps and committee assignments. and information on the white house, supreme court justices and governors. order online at c-span.org/shop. >> while the u.s. senate is about to gavel in after a two-week spring recess. senators will begin the day with general speeches, republican leader mitch mcconnell has
announced that he'll be on the floor early to talk about the death of osama bin laden. at 4:30 eastern the senate turns to two judicial nominations. votes on those scheduled for 5:30 eastern. they are district court nominations covering florida and tennessee. and now live to the senate floor for live senate coverage here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer.
the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, father of all mercies, let your presence be felt today by all on capitol hill and beyond. may the awareness of your nearness make a positive impact upon our thoughts, speech, and actions. as we learn to cultivate companionship with you, may it improve our decisions, our relationships, and our aspirations. teach us your ways and lead us
in your truth. lord, as millions react to the death of osama bin laden, may we remember your mercies to our nation and our accountability to you. bless the many who have sacrificed so much to keep us free. we pray in your merciful name. amen. into the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., may 1, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable christopher a. coons, a senator from the state of delaware to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: following leader remarks the senate will be in a period of morning business until 4:30 today. following morning business the senate will be in executive session to consider calendar number 74, roy bale dalton of florida to be united states district judge for the middle district of florida. calendar number 76, kevin hunter sharp to be united states district judge for the middle district of tennessee. there will be an hour of debate. at 5:30 this evening there will be a roll call on the sharp
nomination. the dalton nomination will be confirmed by unanimous consent. mr. president, late last night we heard the news we've been longing to hear since the worst morning in our memory, osama bin laden brought to justice. this was an american mission. last night's news stumped the world but this operation's success surprised no one. america's special forces and intelligence operatives are the best, best trained, best equipped and best led. every day of every year they risk their lives for our safety. they are the most professional and proficient forces on the planet. and yesterday they brought down the most wanted mass murderer on earth. their success is the most significant victory yet in the fight against al qaeda and terrorism. it sends a strong and unmistakable message to
terrorists who threaten our people and our interests. this success is a direct result of president obama's leadership and the national security priorities he outlined when he took office and the green light he gave our forces this weekend. president obama insisted that we refocus on afghanistan and pakistan as the center of battlefields in our fight against terrorism. there was tremendous military, diplomatic and economic efforts are the reason we woke up this morning to the world that is no longer home to osama bin laden. the end of his life is not the end of the fight. yesterday's operation is indeed a measure of justice. it is only one measure of justice. it absolutely is a definitive victory but it does not define absolute victory. america welcomes the success of our fellow citizens' extraordinary mission. even as we breathe a sigh of relief, though, we're not relieved of our duty to be vigilant, to be persistent and defeat our enemy and to make our nation stronger. the leader of al qaeda is gone
but his organization is not. we know our enemy is widespread and motivated. the truth is it may be more motivated today than it was yesterday. our troops continue to fight. our intelligence professionals continue to work. their families continue to sacrifice. we continue to support all of them and support each other. we also pause today to once again lend a shoulder to those whose grief never ends, not with time, not ever. this significant measure of justice is but a small measure of comfort to those who lost loved ones at bin laden's direction in america and around the world, in new york, virginia and pennsylvania, board the u.s.s. cole and american embassies in africa, trains in london and madrid and so many other places. bin laden's death does not bring back the thousands of innocent people and make whole families that will be forever incomplete
but it is an important milestone that reminds the world america does not suffer the wicked and does not submit to evil. our resolve is strengthened but it is challenged in our unity, though it too sofpb tested, is unbreakable. because of the work of our american intelligence and american forces, a long chapter in america's history closed yesterday. today we welcome the spring of a new optimism and renewed patriotism. we hope the chapter ahead of us will bring security and peace. while the nation and world absorbed this crucial development, the work of the senate continues. today we begin a new month and a new work period and a new opportunity to come together to create jobs. i hope this month will be a productive month. there are several important and time-sensitive items on our plate. one, to help wrap up the small business jobs bill. this has been on the floor for
weeks and weeks and weeks, far too long, and we need to resolve it so we can move on to other matters. two, we'll have the same debate in the senate that the american people are having at home. that is the question of whether we should keep giving away money to oil companies who clearly don't need handouts. that will be part of a larger debate we'll continue having about how best to invest in foreign oil. thraoerbgs vote on the -- three, vote on the house-passed budget. the majority of the american people will reject it and the senate will soon have its say. finally we'll confirm judicial nominees, many of whom we've waited a long time for in the senate. if the minority forces us to file cloture on these nominees in order to get a final vote, we'll file a final vote. we cannot waste any more time or play these games for a longer
period of time. the country needs these empty benches filled. we also have other nominations to confirm including the attorney general's number-one deputy. the deputy attorney general runs the day-to-day operations of the department of justice. he is also the person who signs our warrants to permit our intelligence officials to conduct surveillance on suspected terrorists. we must do that soon. especially given last night's development, it is unthinkable that we would keep a well-qualified nominee out of this important national security role. a moment ago we began this remarkable day in the senate the same day we begin every day in the session. we begin it with the pledge of allegiance to our flag. its closing words were the powerful closing words of president obama's address to the nation last night and the meaning is even more profound today, the first day of this new
era. those words "liberty and justice for all" represent america's purpose. this weekend the name and pursuit of liberty heroic americans halfway around the world secured justice for an evil man's victims, for americans, their allies and the entire world. liberty and justice for aufplt aufplt -- liberty and justice for all. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, today americans and all who long for justice woke to good news. nearly ten years after the united states set out to kill or capture osama bin laden, justice has indeed been done. the man who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks and who reveled in the horror of that day is dead. and those who followed his twisted vision are again on notice: america is in pursuit. this is a long time coming.
for two decades osama bin laden and the al qaeda network he created sustained and led had been at war with the united states. the path of terror extended from the first world trade center bombing to the bombing of the khobar towers and the u.s. embassies in kenya and tanzania to the bombing of the u.s.s. cole to the horrors of 9/11 and through two long and difficult wars that followed. 9/11 may have been the day that this pattern of violence became suddenly and undeniably clear. bin laden's destructive path was already long by then. and for the past ten years america has been determined to bring this monster to justice. from the beginning of this fight, the mission has been clear, to deny al qaeda and any of its affiliates around the world a sanctuary from which they could plan, prepare or launch another attack on u.s. soil. and the effort to prevent that
long feared attack has been an undeniable success under two administrations in the ongoing war on terror. a few short years after 9/11, al qaeda gained enough strength to once again pose a serious threat to the united states. meanwhile the taliban had reestablished its headquarters in pakistan and gained enough strength to return to afghanistan and to risk the success of our mission there. as the years went by, osama bin laden's ability to elude capture had become a greater source of frustration to us and a source of propaganda to his followers. over the years americans had become all too familiar with bin laden's dark pronouncements from his declaration three years ago before 9/11 that it was the obligation of every muslim to kill and fight americans and their allies, whether civilian or military in any country, to his declaration after 9/11 that he had calculated the number of
innocents he could kill that morning and that he was the most optimistic planner of them all. last night those pronouncements ended at the barrel of a gun. the last thing osama bin laden saw on this earth was a small team of americans who shot him. so americans can be proud of the efforts of our military and intelligence communities and the focused efforts of two administrations in fighting al qaeda and now in capturing its self-appointed leader. this is indeed a signaled achievement, a huge victory in the war against terrorism, a day of great pride for our country. the president made the right call, and we thank him for it. we could never bring back those who died on 9/11 or those who have given their lives in this long and difficult war, but all americans can say with renewed confidence today that we have kept our pledge and that this is
a war we will win. some will recall that osama bin laden launched this war many years ago on the false assumption that america didn't have the stomach for the fight. and while it may have taken longer than we hoped, last night he and his followers learned just how wrong he was. we take great satisfaction in knowing that osama bin laden will no longer be able to carry out his evil plans that he has made his last video, and that whatever -- and that whenever someone suggests that the u.s. has grown weary and complacent in this war, we have shown how determined we are to fight it to the end. history is full of fallen despots and madmen who underestimated the resolve of the united states. last night we added one more to their ranks. but we don't rest because we know al qaeda's determination to
attack the united states didn't end on september 11, 2001, and it didn't end last night. we continue the fight knowing that al qaeda remains committed to attacking our homeland and our allies. we were reminded of this last week when police in germany arrested three men associated with al qaeda who were planning an attack there. since the beginning of operation enduring freedom, we have matched the terrorist threat with the valor of our armed services and counterterrorism professionals. the men and women of the central intelligence agency's counterterrorism center have unselfishly devoted themselves to preventing attacks themselves and hunting down bin laden. last night their efforts met with success, and we're deeply, deeply grateful for their efforts. as for the broader war, the death of bin laden may create the opportunity
to renew our efforts to bring fresh pressure on al qaeda's leadership. president obama noted that it is essential that pakistan joins us in this fight. in the coming weeks and months these same counterterrorism professionals will focus on determining what bin laden's death mean for the death posed for al qaeda affiliates in the remainder of al qaeda's senior leadership. but today the world knows, once again, that wherever al qaeda lurks, wherever they lurk, we will find them. it may not be days from now. it may not be months, but those who plot harm to innocent americans and our allies will be captured or killed. for them justice will be done.
anyone who lived through the horror of 9/11 remembers exactly where they were on that terrible september day. now they will remember where they were when they first heard the news that the man behind it had been killed by brave american forces inside pakistan. we'll remember where we were when, after year of effort, we finally got our man. america didn't seek this fight. it came to us. but ever since 9/11 we've been determined to fight al qaeda to the end. we knew from the start it would require patience and great sacrifice. and that effort has paid off. thanks to the skill and perseverence of many brave men and women we have done what we said. america has not wavered, it has not lost sight of the mission, and we will prevail.
the presiding officer: under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order the senate will be in a period of morning business for debate only until 4:30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. tester: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, it was a little less than ten years ago i was in northern wyoming driving home. it was the day of september 11, 2001. and on that drive home that evening, i heard the press report saying that osama bin laden was behind the terrorist attack on the trade center and the pentagon and in that field
in pennsylvania where the plane went down. i said to myself then, it's just a matter of time when the united states will catch him and justice will be served. well, mr. president, across the remote mountains and dingy suburbs of afghanistan and pakistan, thousands of american troops dedicated themselves to stamping out osama bin laden. and the evil that he defined. all those americans made painful sacrifices at home, many still are, many struggle with injuries seen and unseen. thousands have given their precious lives. and, of course, we'll never forget the innocent lives taken in cold blood on that day of september 11, 2001. we all know how that day changed the course of world history. one man was behind it. we've hunted him for the best part of a decade.
now, thanks to the hard, diligent work of america's special forces and intelligence agents, this man is dead. at long last, catching him in a corner, a handful of american troops delivered justice for the entire world. the price of osama bin laden's death was enormous, and although yesterday's precision strike was executed by the toughest, the smartest and the most effective special operations on earth, it's justice as a result of the countless soldiers, airmen, marine, sailors, intelligence agents and families who went all in for us over the past decade. this country, now and among future generations, will never forget their sacrifices. 36 montanans have been killed in worldwide operations since 9/11, dozens more have been seriously wounded. a few were longtime service members but many of them joined the military specifically because of that day and what
happened on september 11th. we are so thankful to them for all that they gave and for all that their families gave. and while osama bin laden's death is a true victory, our vigilance in the worldwide fight against terrorism doesn't end here. mr. president, the thousands of montanans still civic abroad today -- serving abroad today remind us that every day -- yesterday we blotted out osama bin laden forever and that will make our world safer, but working together with the international community, our nation will continue to be steadfast in our commitment to the security, the safety and the opportunity for all americans. security and opportunity and freedom aren't just american values, they're human values. and as americans, we will never be afraid to fight for them. in the days and the months ahead, i expect we will refine and recalibrate the future of u.s. involvement in afghanistan, and as this next chapter unfolds, my thoughts and prayers will always remain with the hundreds of montanans serving there.
senator from nevada. mr. ensign: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. ensign: mr. president, i rise today to deliver a very difficult speech. this will be my farewell speech to the united states senate. serving as nevada's 24th united states senator has truly been the greatest professional privilege of my life. growing up with a single mom and very humble surroundings, i simply never imagined that one day i would end up as a member
of such an august body as this. unfortunately the experiences that extend from the more than 10 years of my senate service cannot be summed up in one single speech. i owe a humble thank you to many people who helped to get me here and served me effectively. from campaign volunteers, staff, donors, to some of the best people i have ever worked with, my senate staff. i cannot thank you enough for the honor of the past many years. each of you has helped me to achieve more than any individual talents alone could have accomplished. when i look back over my time here and in the united states house of representatives, i'm very proud of the many accomplishment that's we, together, that we have been able to achieve. i would like to take a moment to mention just a few. the beauty of the state of nevada has been greatly enhanced and protected for the enjoyment for future generations because
of the public lands management act and several other important lands bill. because of these lands bills, nevada has been able to keep over $3 billion that has been raised from land sales in southern nevada. this money that did not have to come out of the united states treasury. in the past, balimland was exchanged for sensitive land around the state. as a result of the lands bill that we worked on, we were able to instead auction this b.l.m. land, raising far more money for the stat of nevada than the land exchanges ever were able to do. this land revenue has been used to purchase sensitive land to protect it for future generationsings but also to construct 100 beautiful parks and trails in southern nevada. i cannot tell you how proud i am when i drive around las vegas
and i see these family enjoying these beautiful areas. this has made the great quality of life that much better. additionally for northern nevada, my love for lake tahoe has been evident throughout the years. i worked hard to ensure that the beauty of those waters an surroundings are just as beautiful decades from now as they are today. in our lands bills helped to achieve this goal. through this legislation hundreds of millions of dollars have been devoted to preserve its echosystem and important fuel reduction projects around our state to help prevent catastrophic wildfires that so threaten the future of our state and its breathtaking landscape. additionally, i have been a passionate add row cat for education reform. our lands bills have directed millions and millions of dollars to nevada schools as an endowment that our state will reap the benefits from for many
years yet to come. i want to thank senators reid and bryant for their cooperation in drafting these great pieces of legislations that our states benefit from so greatly. i want to thank the folks on my staff, especially john lopez who worked so hard to turn these pieces of legislation into law. speaking of legislation that became law, i would also like to highlight another accomplishment of which i'm so proud. as the only bipartisan provision in the so-called obamacare bill, senator tom carper and i worked against some powerful interest groups to get the healthy behaviors act added to the health reform bill. our provision was modeled after efforts by safeway in the private sector to both improve health care quality and to reduce the costs of health care. essentially our provision rewards people in the form of
lower health care premiums for making healthy choices such as quitting smoking. if we, as americans, continue to eat too much, exercise too little, and to smoke, it really doesn't matter what kind of health care reform we enact in this country. costs will continue to escalate. i hope that this provision will highlight the individual contribution that we can all make to reduce our health care costs, and certainly this legislation would not have become law if it were not for the spectacular job that michelle spence from my office did. as i mentioned earlier, i simply cannot list the number of things or the number of people on my staff who have helped me with legislation. we have accomplished a lot. i wish i could do it in just one speech, but it's not possible. i could speak at length about my fight for lower taxes and individual freedoms, protection of constitutional rights, the dignity of our service men and
women, education reform and so much more, but there is not enough time. and i hope that my voting record and legislative record here in the united states senate will continue to speak for me longer -- long after i have left this chamber. i would like to speak, though, about a few observations that i have made through the course of my time here. when i first ran for office back in 1994, i was rather naive. i was also very idealistic. i simply wanted to make a difference in this great country. throughout the years, i may have lost my naivete, but i never lost my idealism. i still strongly believe that the united states is the greatest country in the history of the world, and it is worth fighting for and worth protecting. i will leave this place knowing that there are some really outstanding people here who are just as idealistic or maybe more so than i ever was, and they're
willing to take the tough political votes that are necessary to save this country from total bankruptcy. my prayer is that more people will join them in that courage. our children and our grandchildren deserve to have the same country that we enjoy, and it is up to the house, the senate and the white house to stand together with the american people to save the future of the united states from self-destruction. when i first arrived in the senate, i observed several people who were so caught up in their own self-importance and business that arrogance literally dripped from them. unfortunately, they were blind to it, and everyone could see it but them. when one takes a position of leadership, this is a very real danger of getting caught up in the hype surrounding that status. oftentimes, the more power and prestige a person achieves, the more arrogant a person can become.
as easy as it was for me to view this in other people, unfortunately, i was blind to how arrogant and self-centered that i had become. i did not recognize that -- that i thought mostly of myself. the worst part about this is i even tried not to become caught up in my own self-importance. unfortunately, the urge to believe in it was stronger than the power to fight it. this is how dangerous the feeling of power and adulation can be. my caution to all of my colleagues is to surround yourself with people who will be honest with you about how you really are and what you are becoming, and then make them promise to not hold back, no matter how much you may try to prevent them, from telling you the truth. i wish that i had done this sooner, but this is one of the hardest lessons that i've had to learn. i believe that if i had learned
this lesson earlier, i would have prevented myself from judging two of my colleagues when i had no place to do so. when i was chairman of the national republican senate committee, i was confronted with the personal issues facing senator larry craig and senator ted stevens. following larry's admission and ted's guilty verdict, i, too, believed in the power of my leadership position and i called on both of them to resign. i sincerely struggled with these decisions afterward, so much so that i went to each of them a few weeks afterward and admitted what i did was wrong and i asked both of them for forgiveness. each of these men were gracious enough to forgive me, even though publicly i did not show them the same grace. i'm very grateful to both of these men. when i announced my personal failure two years ago, larry craig was one of the first to call and to express his support.
i truly cannot tell you what that meant then and what it means to me today. the purpose of me speaking about this is to humbly show that in life, a person understands mercy a lot more when they need it and when it is shown to them. again, this is a hard lesson that i have had to learn, but i hope that i can now show mercy to people who come into my life who truly need it. as i conclude, i have a few others that i want to thank. my colleague from the state of nevada, senator reid. i ran against senator reid in 1998. he beat me by just a little over 400 votes. afterward, when i -- two years later, when i was fortunate enough to win the election, senator reid and i sat down and we kind of made a pact between us that we were going to get along even though we are of different parties, we were going to put the past behind us and we
were going to work together for the people of the state of nevada. a funny thing happened along the way over these last 10-plus years. senator reid and i developed a friendship. two people with opposite voting records, opposite views on major national issues, but we work together on a lot of issues that affected our states. friendships formed between our staffs and a true friendship formed between senator reid and myself, and for that, i want to thank him. to my senate colleagues, i would like to take a moment to apologize for what you have had to go through as a result of my actions. i know that many of you were put in difficult situations because of me, and for that i sincerely apologize. to my wife darlene who has been through so much with me and who has fought through so many struggles, is owed more than i could ever repay. i do not deserve a woman like
her, but i love her and i'm so grateful that the lord has put her in my life. our children trevor, ciena, michael, have never known anything other than their dad leaving each week to come back to washington, d.c., for my work. all three of them are incredible, and it's been a blessing and a privilege just to be their dad. i have also been very blessed with a great set of parents who have stood by me through thick and thin, and also the rest of my extended family. i also have wonderful friends who have been there with me and my family through the highs and the lows. and lastly, most importantly, i want to thank god for allowing me to be here. i have been encouraged by some not to mention god because it looks hypocritical because of my own personal failings, but i would argue that i have not mentioned him enough. i'm glad that the lord not only forgives, but he actually likes it when we give him thanks. so, lord, thank you for all that
you've done in my life. i hope that i can do better in the future. i hope that i can learn to love you with all of my heart, soul and strength and to love others as myself. my colleagues, i bid you farewell. know that you will all be in my prayers. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: ask consent the be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: and consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, we've heard some terrible stories about severe weather and damage it's causing across the united states. my heart just goes out to the people of tuscaloosa, alabama, and all of the communities in the south that were ravaged by tornadoes of record force and velocity. in the midwest, our problems are more subtle but also devastating in terms of the impact to flood waters. it's not new in our part of the world. we have the confluence of the illinois and ohio rivers at the southern tip of our state. further north -- i'm sorry, the confluence of the mississippi and ohio rivers at the southern tip of our state. further north on the mississip mississippi, the illinois river, the missouri river. and whenever there's heavy rainfall in one area or more, it
ends up raising the levels of those rivers to perilous heights which can inundate communities. i can't tell you how proud i am of the people who've come forward in the midst of this type of challenge every single year. it just seems like, thank goodness, there's never a lack of volunteers. people are willing to step up. you start with our national natl guard. they always do the best job possible and i thank them over and over again for what they do. then the local law enforcement that just works overtime, the firefighters, the police, and all the rest. extra work that's going on in the hospitals and clinics and nurses and doctors working overtime. in my part of the world, too, state and federal employees have really pitched in at every level, starting with the army corps of engineers, the department of natural resources of the state of illinois, the illinois emergency management agency, the federal emergency management agency.
it's an amazing outpouring of support. last friday, i bored a plane -- boarded a plane in chicago, flew down to marion, illinois, and took a helicopter into caro. caro is, of course, the southern tip of our state, as i mentioned earlier, the confluence of the ohio and miss is rivers. and i saw -- the mississippi rivers. and i saw there things that were going on in the town of caro, illinois, that were frightening and disturbing. this is a town in its day, in its heyday, was one of the major port cities in middle america. caro, as the ohio and mississippi came together, and then coarsed on down to the gulf of mexico, was a major city with major economic activity. over the years as river traffic changed and the economy changed, caro changed too. it now has a population of a little less than 3,000 people. many of them are very poor. they have an african-american mayor, mayor childs. i believe he is the first, if not the second, african-american mayor. they've had issues of racial
strife over the last 50 years. they struggle to keep businesses in place. their schools are always challenged. and now on top of that comes a flood. if you went along the ohio river leading up to caro, you'll see an amazing levee. it's the kind of wall of protection, concrete wall of protection which every river community would love to have. on the mississippi side, not so much. but the interesting thing that i found when i went down there is even that side of the river, ohio river, with this huge concrete levee has serious problems. it turns out the water level is so high that the pressure of the rising ohio river is forcing the water into what's known as sandboils. so out of nowhere in the midst of a lot or street, up pops a geyser of river water. you think, what's going on here? it's, you know, 10, 15, 20 feet
away from the levee. we will, that's because the entire ground is so saturated an the river is working its way underneath eating up the under layer. i walked along with a national l guardsman taking pictures of the screen. we took to one place where water was bubbling and as the national guardsman was taking my photograph, the street collapsed under him and he fell two or three feet down because all of this water had eaten out all of the substrata under the street. that's why this has become so serious that the mayor, mayor childs, started with a voluntary evacuation and then last saturday night said, let's everybody leave this town. we don't know what's going to happen next. and that is the reality. not only of care row, but of several other communities. the 2,800 people of cairo were evacuated saturday when the ohio river reached its highest level since 1937. it rose above the 15.5 foot
level this weekend and is expected to go higher. five other illinois communities are now under a voluntary evacuation order. old shawnee town junction, brookporkts and galconda are being asked to evacuate. the water levels there were continuing to rise in cairo a few days ago. this is a picture of a home in cairo, illinois. the water slefl so high the homes are inhabitable. i saw many homes like this but i also saw some superhuman efforts, which are hard to even describe, where people decided even with a home that close to the river they were going to build a wall of sandbags around their home and save it. it sounds impossible, but they're doing it. and the sandbags are up to five feet high, holding back the water which, tab it weren't
there, would have in-- which, if it weren't there, would have inundated the home. people are up night and day, 24 hours day, in rowboats going back and forth trying to preserve the one thing on earth that means so much to them: their home. that's the kind of battle taking place in homes all around alexander county and cairo. the sustained water level has put an unprecedented amount of pressure. the ohio river expected to stay at or above flood stage for the foreseeable future. and the levee may not withstand that pressure. with cairo's levee bursts, the army corps estimates that the town will be inundated with as much as 15 feet of water. the entire state of illinois is operating under a state of emergency.
320 national guardsmen were on patrol. the army corps of engineers and local visa sponders are putting generators and supplies where they're needed. my thoughts with are the people and families, especially those who have had to leave their homes. i am grateful for all the people who are work around the clock to control the ohio river. general walsh is in charge of the army corps of engineers in this area. i talked to him several over the weekend. he has a very, very difficult decision to make. i have seen it made in the past. it is never easy. the decision he has to make is, if a city is threatened, like cairo, illinois, he has to determine whether it is the right thing to do to open a levee to relieve the water pressure of the rivers by flooding adjoining farmland. so people who are now perhaps
only minor victims of flooding would see their farmlands inundated. that's in missouri. and they don't like the idea. who would? they've resisted it in court and at two levels now, the court has said, it is an army corps of engineers' decision. i speak with general warble all through the weekend and he walked me through the decision. i said, this is a difficult, hard decision you have to make. you'll get no pressure from me. i believe that cairo, illinois, is right now teetering on the edge and could be inundated with floodwater and 2,800 people could lose their hoaxes that's my side of the equation along with their other communities. but i know you have to make a calculation on rainfall, the level of the rivers, and trying to make some calculation about critical infrastructure in both instances, and i said, just use your best engineering and
scientific judgment. i'll back you up, whatever you decide. he's put in place the explosives to blow the levee downriver on the ma missouri reid side to relieve the pressure not only in illinois but in kentucky and i think parts of tennessee as we will well, i think that may be a decision to be made within the next few minutes. whatever his disirks whatever the army corps decides, i will stand by it because i know it is a good-faith effort to do the right thing and thill a say: if they end up flooding some farmland in missouri, i'll stand by my colleagues from that state as w well as all other in the midwest to make sure those people are made whole, that they have some recovery through our government for losses in farm profits and the liefnlgt it is the least we can dovment if they end up saving a city, then the cost to the government will be dramatically less than it might otherwise have been. it's a hard, hard decision. having seeing it first hand, my sympathy goes to the army corps of engineers and all the professionals who are fighting
this battle every single day. mr. president, i'd tyke make one additional statement and ask consent to be placed in a separate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, last night about 9:00, i received a call at my home in springfield, illinois, from vice president biden. it was kind of a surprising call on a sunday night, and i was even more surprised when he said that osama bin laden had within captured and killed and president obama would be making a statement very shortly. i waited up to hear that statement. i was catching a plane early thorntion but i wanted to hear it first hand. i guess every single one of us can remember where we were often 9/11. i know where i was. it was just a few feet away heemplet we were in an office, a room just off the capitol floor here, the senate floor in a meeting with senator daschle when we'd heard about a plane crashing into the trade center in new york and then another one, and then we realized this was not an accident. we watched as america watched,
and we wondered, would we be next? this building, this big target of a building, the united states capitol? thank goodness the courage of passengers on a plane that was brought down in pennsylvania probably saved many lives, maybe my own. but we knee -- we came to know that mind it all was a man named osama bin laden had declared war on the united states of america and was prepared to kill thousands of innocent people to push his terrible extremist agenda. for ten years we have been engaged in the largest global man hunt in the her to find this man. president obama i am a sure used every resource of the government to do that job, and i am i commend him for that effort. but last night because of the courage of navy seals and our military who stepped up, osama bin laden was captured and killed. i know having spoken to people in the white house that the president stuck his neck out on this because there was a
question as to whether he was actually there. and they believed there was enough evidence, the president said go forward. we did it without any loss of life on the american side or any loss of innocent life of civilians. but it appears now that we have taken away the leader of al qaeda. that is a good development for all of us. i don't know if it means that there will be a more peaceful world. we probably should assume the opposite for at least the tim time-being. that these terrorist organizations will now strike at the united states to establish that they're still credible. well-well, we've got to be vigilant and stop them before it happens. and we've got to pursue them for whatever it takes to bring them to justice. perhaps though it will go into another drefntle perhaps we will find that once al qaeda, the head of the snake, has been chopped off, perhaps al qaeda will start to wither. if it does, maybe some other organizations will have second thawlts about the terrorism business. that would be the best outcome,
even better if we could start bringing our troops home from afghanistan. but i want to commend the men and women in uniform, those yesterday that showed such courage, those in the intelligence community who have worked night and day for almost ten years trying to find this man and i want to commend the president for showing the kind of leadership we needed, to bring to justice the most dangerous terrorist criminal on the face of the earth. it is something that i think speaks well for our government and for our people. there's one other point i would like to makers mr. president, and the president made it last night in his statement. he repeated what this been said by president george w. bush after 9/11. i had my differences with president bush, but there were moments wouldn't i couldn't about agreed with him more. particular lit moment when he made it clear that our war against terrorism was not a war against islam. it was not a war against muslims or muslim americans. i was so glad that he did it because we've seen ample evidence of discrimination
against people of that religion 0 who have had nothing to do with terrorism but, unfortunately, have been discriminated against. last night the president repeat what had we all believe: islam is not the enme mi. extremism and terrorism are the enemies. we'll work with muslims americans and muses limbs around the world to protect their religion, their honored religion, and will work with them to reduce terrorism. the president also reminded everyone listening last night that when it came to the victims of osama bin laden's terrorism, muslim people were the victims time and time again. he was no friend of the muslim community himself. his life, unfortunately, of killing and violence took its toll in many communities, including muslim communities around the world. i commend those who were working, continue to work night and day at every single level, federal, state, and local, to deal with the eraduation of
terrorism. there's still much more to be done in terms of fighting this bavment i take pride in the work that has been done, a pride that is shared, i'm certain, by every resident of illinois and people all across the united states. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent that we vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent that w to proceed in machine. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: everyone knows where we were the moment we heard the tragic news of the attacks on this nation of september 11. i trust that all of us will long treasure the moment that we first heard the news last night that osama bin laden after a decade of determined and diligent work by our armed forces and the men and women of the intelligence community, had at long last been captured and killed. the successful operation by the navy seal team yesterday was the capstone of 10 years of distinguished and honorable service by our brave men and women in uniform.
in afghanistan and in iraq and around the world, literally tens of thousands of americans over this past decade have faced battle resolutely, carried out their mission with valor and made all of us proud. when i visited our troops in afghanistan in february, i saw firsthand their determination, their level of professionalismes and their commitment to this important and long task. and i hope as we face the days ahead and the your honor certainty of what will be the path forward in our continuing conflict with al qaeda and all who would do us harm that there is no doubt about the determination of the american people about our resolve to pursue, to capture and to kill all who would plan attacks on the united states and on innocent civilians around the world. i wanted to pause today, mr. president, and simply reflect on all who have sacrificed so much. there are hundreds of
delawareans currently serving in afghanistan, some active duty, some are the reserves, some with the national guard, and my wife and i and our family pray for them every night, a i know so many do in our nation for so many who serve us overseas. personal friends of ours, brook james and troy baucus and jeff steinberg, are all folks who are on repeat deployments and whose families we know, along with hundreds of othersment,, that bear the sacrifices of deployment. and there are many others -- 17 in the caves delaware -- who have made the ultimate sacrifice had this decade of conflict in iraq and afghanistan. sergeant sean mowdy, seaman air mn liz and many others mourned by their families and communities. the senate foreign relations committee begins tomorrow a series of six hearings on afghanistan and a review on our
relationship with pakistan, alliances in the region and incredible investments that we need to continue to make to sustain our effort to take the fight to those around the world who would do us harm. but i just wanted to come to the floor today and for a brief moment pause on what this historic moment means for the american people. it was just a decade ago the attacks of 9/11 that a group of determined and hardened terrorists led by osama bin laden believed they had struck a blow, believed they had hit their target when four aircraft that had been commandeered were turned into missiles and sent at principal targets that they thought were the centerpieces of america. two of them succeeded in striking the twin towers and in knocking down columns of steel and glass. one of them succeeded in striking the pentagon and setting ablaze the center of our
military might. and one more, were it not for the intervention of incredibly brave american citizens, might well have struck this very building in which we meet today, mr. president, or the white house. they did succeed in tragically taking thousands of innocent lives. they did succeed in striking a tough blow to our economy. they did succeed in surprising us with an unexpectedly vicious attack on thousands of innocent civilians. but, mr. president, they utterly failed. they failed to strike at our spirit. they failed to knock down our resolve. and i know around the world many marvel while thousands of folks flooded out of the pentagon and the twin towers, as hundreds of determined volunteers and public servants flooded in, risking, and in many cases sacrificing their own lives to try and save some of their fellow countrymen.
most importantlily, in the months afterwards millions of americans took up the cause of volunteering to rebuild and restore our community, and thousands volunteered to serve in our armed forces. it is their resolve, it is their commitment, it is their professionalism. the great leadership of armed forces and the decisions made by president obama and vice president biden in leading our nation today that have brought us to this moment. i just want to close, mr. president, by saying those who struck us on 9/11 missed their target. they misunderstood our spirit and our resolve as a nation. and last night on the other side of the world, justice was served. the tragedy of those who were lost and the sacrifice of those who have chosen to serve will never be forgotten, but last night on the other side of the world justice was served. so let there be no doubt among any around the world who would
wish us harm, who would today plot to carry forward the terrible terrorist dreams of this now-dead man, osama bin laden. our spirit is not broken. our resolve is unbending. and justice will be served. thank you, mr. president. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. p? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations, roy
bale dalton jr. of florida to be united states district judge. kevin hunter sharp of tennessee to be united states district judge. the presiding officer: under the previous order there will be one hour of debate equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask that my full statement on the judicial nominees be made part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and, mr. president, i would ask consent that i be able to use up to 15 minutes of my time that's allotted to me as the representative of the majority as though in morning business so that my statement made during that appear at the appropriate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: i thank the -- i
thank the chair. mr. president, as many others have said, today is a memorable day in our nation's history. osama bin laden, a man responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent victims, including so many americans lost on september 11, 2001, has been killed. i commend president obama and his national security team for the careful planning of this operation as well as the members of our intelligence agencies who spent years collecting information that made it possible. many of us know that when the president nominated leon panetta
to be the director of the c.i.a., he told him that his first directive must be to find osama bin laden. i've known director panetta for nearly 30 years. i know this is a man who takes on a task and takes it on very seriously. in commending him, i also commend all those men and women who worked with him on this. i know that he gave singular attention to this issue. but i also want to join americans across the country in praising the brave team that stormed the compound of bin laden where it appears he had been hiding for years. they completed their mission without loss of american lives, took care to avoid civilian casualities. mr. president, i've had the
privilege of going and watching some of these people, part of this special forces train. i've watched the tremendous training they undergo, whether the seals or whatever it may be. remarkable, remarkable people. and every one of them had to go there yesterday knowing that they may not return. we also remember today the victims of all the attacks perpetrated by a man who more than any other represents the face of international terrorism. the september 11 attacks at the forefront of our mind, nearly 3,000 lives were lost, including victims of the world trade center and the pentagon, on the four airplanes. i remember that day as vividly as though it was yesterday.
we also remember with gratitude the first responders who rushed in to save lives even knowing they were risking their own and so many who did die in trying to save others. what amazing acts of heroism. then, of course, the passengers on flight 93 who put the lives of americans on the ground ahead of their own. but we should not forget and must remember the victims of the 1993 world trade center bombing and the victims of the embassy bombings in kenya and tanzania in 1998 which left 224 dead, including 12 americans. we certainly must remember the lives of the 17 sailors killed in the bombing of the u.s.s. cole in october 2000. now the death of osama bin laden
will not bring them back to us, but we should all hope it may help bring closure to those family members and friends who still grieve their loss. today we remember the lives of the brave american service members who served in the war in afghanistan and the sacrifices made by their families who mourn their loss and tprofr injuries, as we do those who serve in iraq. some have answered the call to serve, some with multiple deployments, most recently with the 86th infantry brigade which returned last december. of course we thank the brave men and women who worked tirelessly to protect american soil from additional attacks. now, osama bin laden cloaked his attacks in anti-american
rhetoric, but his murderous and criminal path took the lives of innocents around the world, including many of his own faith. he proved himself to be what he was: a cold-blooded murderer whose indiscriminate attacks led to the death of muslims and people of other faith all around the world. regrettably, he leaves behind followers who are committed to the same message of hate and destruction. they have no regard for the values that unite the rest of humanity and common cause. this is -- we should not cloak this person in the guise of somebody who deals with religious fervor. he is a murderer. a murderer. a murderer. president obama pledged that we'd bring osama bin laden to justice, and last night we learned bin laden suffered the consequences of his atrocities.
justice has been served. now i hope that americans will claim this moment to stand side by side as we did in the weeks and months following the september 11 attacks. let us do as we did then, transcend our differences and stand in unity, unifying our support for the victims of bin laden's crime and our resolve to keep our great nation safe. we also stand united in our commitment to the principles that define us as a democratic nation that respects the rule of law. actually that respect is what distinguishes us from those who seek to harm us. it is what will ultimately enable us to succeed against them. and it is what people around the world expect of america. regrettably, the september 11 attacks and other acts of international terrorism have
often been used to justify policies which stray dangerously from those rights and principles. and when that's happened, it's damaged our global rell ation. it's hurt our credibility. but also ironically it made it more difficult to build the broadest alliances against terrorism. we also have to remember as so many of our military leaders have told us, the military force while at times is necessary as it was in the operation against osama bin laden, is not a counterterrorism strategy. we've seen how nearly ten years after 9/11, having spent hundreds of billions of dollars, maybe trillions, to combat terrorism, recruitment of terrorism among disaffected youth continues to pay around the world, including in our own
country. we've also seen how much more we have to do to counter the misper sessions and misinformation by extremists of our intentions. addressing these challenges should be a priority as we go forward. so i urge all americans to support our president in this continuing effort. i urge all of us in congress to join together for the good of the country and all americans. it is remarkable what this country accomplishes and how strong and brave and wonderful we are when we stand together. now is the time to stand together. we've done it before. we can do it now. and we're a better country when we do it. mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum and ask consent the time be -- i
apologize. i see the very distinguished senator from california on the floor. i would yield to her. i would ask that if there are quorum calls between now and the vote on the judge, that they be divided equally between both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, i want to thank senator leahy for his eloquent statement that he made about the capture and the killing of osama bin laden and its impact and the need for us to come together as one nation. and i want to thank him for his leadership for the judicial nominees that will be on the floor and i support the one that will be voted on later. is it necessary that i ask consent to speak as if in morning business at this time. the presiding officer: yes, it is. mrs. boxer: i would ask unanimous consent that i ask to speak as if in morning business and at the conclusion of my remarks that senator murray be
recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: mr. president, 10 years ago -- almost 10 years ago, after the horrific attacks of 9/11, i voted to go after osama bin laden, as all of us did in the senate at that time, to make sure that justice would prevail. and now we know and the world knows that osama bin laden has paid the ultimate price for what he did. his death doesn't lessen the tragic loss of all those killed by al qaeda or the pain of their loved ones, but it closes a chapter on his unspeakable acts. and there were more than one. they go back to october 2000. they go back to 1998 when their operatives attacked our people
at u.s.s. cole and the u.s. embassies in nairobi, kenya, and there were other attacks that occurred as well. what i want to do just in a few minutes here today is go back to some of the things i said on september 12, 2001, when i took to this floor from a very different seat because i didn't have as much nort seniority. i was over there somewhere in front row. and the reason i want to do it. the reason i want to restate and read from the record as to what i said on that day is because i think it's important for me, for myself, for me to get the type of closure that i wanted to get when i cast that vote to go after osama bin laden, to go to war and get him. and it reminds me of that thirst
for justice that we all had on that day and this we still have. so this is what i said on september 12, 2001: today i rise with pain in my heart and great emotion to offer my prayers and my kol dole enses for the -- condolences for the people in this country who have been directly hit by an act of war. people in the state of my birth, new york, looking at that skyline, the people who work at the pentagon every day, who have chosen to work to protect our nation, and the people of california, my state, who were on those planes that were hijacked and, of course, to every other individual who was directly affected and to all of us who have been affected. i went on to say this: one of our colleagues said we remember
where we were when tragedies have hit this country. i remember two things, not as many as perhaps senators who were older, but i certainly remembered where i was when i saw john kennedy go down and martin luther king go down and the challenger disaster and yesterday the image of those planes, commercial american planes, four them going down, crashing into buildings, used as lethal weapons against our people, an image that has shaken us, but has not shaken our resolve. and i went on to say this, mr. president: i'm going to make very strong statement. when we look back into history and what happened in bosnia, people suffered again side because of their genocide because of their nationality and to the holocaust people suffered annihilation because of nags --
nationality. people were killed because they were americans. that's what i said on the day after 9/11 2001. -- 9/11/2001. and then i said it's time for us to fight and stand up for them and their memories. we will take a stand against humanity that occurred on our own soil. we are resolved to honor those who died. we are resolved to make our nation as safe as it can be from those acts. we are resolved to hold those who plan and these attacks an harbored these people absolutely 100% accountable. we will hold them accountable. that's what i said on september 12, 2001. they must pay because this is the test of a civilized nation. they must pay. we lead the civilized nations of the world and we will not back down. and i said, i stand proudly with
my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and with our president. we will be resolved to do everything and do it well and do it right to bring justice to the world. and later that day to the press i said, i've never been a at ground -- been at ground zero in a war, but after this, war is not an overstatement. the people who perpetrated this are the scum of the earth in their views, their philosophies, their version of civilization, if you can call it that, will not stand. so, mr. president, i'm going to conclude my remarks by saying that in my heart the flames of justice are burning bright today. i want to thank our president for his resolve for ordering
this attack, this successful attack on bin laden's compound, to the bravest of the brave. i understand there were navy seals who went in there not thinking one second about their own lives. the fact that the president ordered this, that he kept it quiet while he had to be distracted from things that, let us just say, he shouldn't have been distracted with, but he did it. he kept his focus. and it's an important -- it's an important moment in our history. the message is going out to anyone who had heard us, they'll be held accountable. they can can run, but they're never going to hide from us and from justice. and we know we can't let down our guard. we know that. but we also know that we're not
going to coulgoing to hide in a. we are prepared we are going to do everything we can to be prepared. but this is quite a moment. i will never forget seeing the pentagon on fire. flames shooting out of it. i was in an office right near here and looked out the window and we were told to evacuate the capitol. that's seared in my memory. and anyone who cares about justice, anyone who cares about the truth, anybody who cares about fairness and responsibility has to say that this is a day when justice was done. yesterday justice was done. so i'm going to close by reading the names of the californians who lost their lives. because i told them and -- i
told their families i will honor each one in every way that i can and i think that en ending my statement by paying tribute them to is important. david angel, lynn angle of pasadena, sema ayama, melissa barns, allen bevean, caroline brewing of los angeles, mark bingeham of san francisco, deora, tori, table brownherst, david bradhorse, suzanne kelly of san martin, jeffrey coleman, darlene flag of cor noorch, wilson flag of corona, ronald
gamboa, andrew garcia, edmond gla krmp ier, andrew curry green of los angeles, richard gandago of humble county, stanley hall, gerald heartacre, steven highland of claremont, barbara keating of palm springs, calvin keller, natalie larson of los angeles, table lee, monglovia lopez, dora, lori niara of los angeles, rubin ornada, thomas porarely, mary of santa barbara, otis tober, timothy ward of san
diego, john winkess of torrence. i said then on september 12 in the name of these californians and the names of all of these other innocent victims, it is time for the terrorism to stop. thank you very much, mr. president. i yield the floor. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington state. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor today to talk about the tremendous news that our country received last night from president obama. almost 10 years ago on september 11, 2001, i too remembered looking out a window here at the nation's capitol and seeing the black smoke billowing in the air over the pentagon. on that day america was brutally attacked by terrorists who took aim at the financial, military and political centers of our country. although these evil men killed
thousands of americans and caused great devastation, they were unable to do what they wanted to do most, break our country's spirit. we came together as a community, we mourned, we rallied around the families of those who were lost and we struck back against those who did us harm. mr. president, last night's tremendous news is the close of a major chapter in the war on terror. it is a great day for justice and for all americans to remember the strength and resolve of our nation. i applaud the superb work of our intelligence communities and the work of this administration who brought the mastermind of the worst attack on our nation's history to justice. but today i want to pay special tribute to the men and women in uniform who have answered the call to serve after that fateful day 10 years ago. since the attacks on new york and washington, d.c., more than two million american service members have stepped forward to
serve our nation. nearly half of these service members have done more than one tour of duty abroad. many who have served have come from the ranks of our national guard and reserves and have turned a part-time commitment into a full-time job protecting our nation. these men and women who chose to join our all-volunteer force come from all walks of life and from every corner of our nation. in my home state thousands have come forward to serve while thousands more have come to washington state to train and make their home at our major military installations. these service members have done everything we've asked of them and more. while it appears that yesterday's raid came without american casualties, that, of course, has not been the case for so many missions in our fight against terrorism. since 9/11 nearly 6,000 service members have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and more than 40,000 have been
wounded. for many of our service members the scars of their service are visible and for others they are invisible. many have lost those closest to them on the battlefield and have come home with a burden that few others know. others will need a lifetime of acare from the department of defense and the v.a. and all have left families that love and miss them behind to protect our country. we cannot forget these families and the fact that they have sacrificed right by our service member's side. moving from base to base, giving up jobs, putting that i loved ones and the country before their own needs is a gift that we must repay. as the chairman of the senate committee on veterans' affairs it's my job to ensure that the lifetime of care of these service members and their caregivers need will be delivered. so today as we appropriately take pride in the most significant victory y i