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tv   Book TV Viewer Call- In  CSPAN  November 21, 2011 2:45am-3:30am EST

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question chelsea asked me is something we ought to be always constantly asking ourself, should this be privatized, and should it not? if you have a doctrine position each way, you might wind up with a bad decision. i'll give you another example. the united states is virtually the only big country that does almost all of its large infrastructure with 100% public funding. other countries don't do that. so the president actually has asked the congress to adopt the infrastructure bank proposal that has bipartisan support in the senate to have the government seat an infrastructure bank with a relatively modest amount of money, let's say $10, $15 million, and i suggest in the book ways to get it. and then allow the bank to sell bonds to allow american citizens to invest in many it and also to take money from overseas
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interests and from pension funds, but also from sovereign wealth funds from governments all over the world because these infrastructure projects yield a very high rate of rump. return. and i think we shouldn't be the only country in the world that's afraid to take private sector money to build our infrastructure. and i don't mean just roads and bridges, i'm talking about, you know a decent electrical grid, faster broadband connections all over the country. it should bother you that south korea's broadband download speeds are four times faster than ours. and so having good government policy doesn't preclude some things being done by and with the private sector. >> well, one government policy that you discuss in a few different places in your book and that i know you're personally advocating, um, for is the extension of the 1603
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green tax credit. um, which is particularly germane to the title of the book, "back to work," because as you articulate in your book, roughly a billion dollars that's invest inside a new coal-firepower plant yields about 187 jobs, and a billion dollars invested in building retrofits yields between somewhere in the order of seven to eight thousand new jobs. so maybe you could talk a little bit about the green tax credit and why it is set to sunset in 2011 and sort of hearkening back to the first part of your book, a political history, and how those of us in this room could try to help change that dynamic for 2012. >> when the president and the congress were debating after the 2010 elections whether the bush tax cuts would be extended
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because of the recession and whether it'd be a bad idea to raise anybody's taxes in this down economy, one of the things the republicans said is tax cuts are all the wonderful in a -- always wonderful in a down economy, but spending cuts don't hurt at all which is self-evidently crazy. i mean, there's really no difference from a macroeconomic point of view as our friends in the u.k. are finding now. when they went for an austerity response for the current circumstance. one of the things they wanted to get rid of was the 1603 tax credit, and they said it was a spending program. this is the kind of argument that ought to be held in a seminary over some obscure provision of scripture. [laughter] in my opinion. but you be the, you be the judge. the republicans say we ought to get rid of 1603, it's a spending program, it's not a tax cut.
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and it is, but it isn't. when the congress did things like loan guarantees for new energy companies, like the infamous solyndra loan guarantee was actually adopted during the bush administration, signed by president bush and supported at the time by almost all the republicans on the energy committee. it's hard sometimes to mix winners and losers. 1603 recognizes that a lot of people building solar and wind installations are start-up companies, so if you give them a 30% tax credit that you would ordinarily give someone for building this new factory, it'll be worthless because they have no income to claim the credit against. so what 1603 does is, basically, give them the cash equivalent of the tax credit if they're start-ups.
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a very significant number of the new solar and wind projects have used 1603. so my argument is it ought to be extended because we've got thousands more facilities in solar and wind powerture becoming more -- which are becoming more economical. the price drops about 30% every time you double capacity, and solar in particular has had significant technological advances in the last three years. it's, ironically, one of the reasons solyndra went down because the technology, other technologies got cheaper faster than anybody figured. and took them out of a
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competitive mix. so i like this 1603, and i think it should be continued because i think we should be supporting start-ups as well as existing companies. and a very significant percentage of america's new jobs over the last 20 years have come not just from small businesses, but from small businesses that were five years old or younger. so this is the kind of thing that i think, you know, my argument is we should say where do we want to go with this country? we wallet to build shared prosperity and modern jobs, and then back up and say how do we get there? what's the government supposed to do, what's the private sector supposed to do? i think if you do that instead of saying government/no government, you come out and say this 1603's a heck of a good deal, and we ought to keep doing it. >> since you mentioned the end of 2010, i wanted to give you an opportunity to sort of repeat something that you said to me earlier which is that the one part of your book where you feel like you gave the president a bum rap was around the debt ceiling debate.
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>> yeah. >> so, that's been in the coverage a lot, i thought you could address it correctly. >> i was really upset, and i didn't know whether it was the white house or the congress that resisted raising the debt ceiling in 2010 after we lost the election. >> when we still had the majority. >> when we still had the majority because i knew the congress was meeting in november and december of 2010. and i knew if we waited until january, the republicans would drive a very hard bargain. and so i said in a very kind of muted way that for reasons that were still unclear to me this didn't happen. and gene sperling actually sent me an e-mail and said -- who worked for me and is a scrupulously honest person -- said, oh, we tried. you know, we didn't make a big deal out of it because there was such -- the main subject was were the bush era tax cuts going to be extended. but this shows you, i'm trying to force myself to say once a
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day either i don't know or i was wrong. [laughter] because i think it would be therapeutic if everybody in washington did that. [laughter] and so i want to be as good as them. so he's something i was wrong about -- here's something i was wrong about. since raising the debt ceiling simply ratified the decision congress has already made to spend money and since the budget is the only thing that the senate votes on that is not subject to a filibuster, i thought that the debt ceiling vote was not subject to a filibuster. and i was wrong. so gene sperling sent me a message and said senator mcconnell said he was going to filibuster it unless we agreed right then to all their budgets that they'd run on. so turns out he couldn't raise the debt ceiling, and i was wrong. see, it didn't hurt too bad. [laughter]
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and that's one way we get less ideological politics, if people find errors they make and fess up. >> moving a bit out of washington, um, one of the things that you do frequently in the book is to cite examples of kind of where you think this sort of appropriate partnership and shared responsibility between government and the private sector is working at the state level. maybe you could talk a bit about your theory of that and also share some of the examples particularly from your time as governor of arkansas, sort of what worked then and then also what has continued to work and not worked subsequently in arkansas. >> well, first, i think we americans are used to people at the state and local level hustling business, trying to save businesses, trying to expand businesses, trying to locate businesses there. and it is largely a bipartisan
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activity undertaken, perhaps, with varying levels of exuberance by elected officials. but one reason i was able to stay governor for a dozen years and never got bore with the the job and loved it is the whole economic development aspect of it. and the interesting thing is that in most every state in the country, although it's gotten more partisan now since 2010, but i think that'll settle down, it's largely a bipartisan activity. and so i tried to cite some areas in the book. for example, to give you just one practical example, there's a long section in the book about what i would like to see done to clear the mortgage debt more quickly. and i guess i should back up and say these kinds of financial crashes take historically five to ten years to get over.
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and if you have a mortgage component to it, it tends to push it out toward ten years. we should be trying to beat that clock. we can't do it, in my opinion, even if we adopt -- i'm for the president's jobs plan. i think there are a lot of good ideas in there. but, and they'll give us one and a half, two million jobs according to the economic analyses. but if you want to return to a full employment economy, if you want to start having 240,000 jobs a month, i think we averaged 227,000 a month for eight years. if you want that, you've got to flush this debt and get bank lending going again. and so kenneth ro rogoff at harvard recommends that since some people say, well, but if we lower the mortgage rates, if we bring the mortgage down to the value of the house, then the people who hold the mortgages will lose money. who's going to compensate 'em? and what's it going to be? rogoff has suggested that the
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banks are the people who ultimately hold the mortgages. instead of writing them down, just cut them in half by taking an ownership position in the house so that when the house is ultimately sold, the people who issued the mortgage will, or own the mortgage will share in the profit, and you get the same practical result. you no longer have a bad debt on the books, and the homeowner's got a mortgage that he or she can pay. and i said in the book, i know this'll work because in, when i was governor in the late '70s and early '80s and our farmers got in trouble, we had then hundreds of small state-chartered banks who did not want to foreclose on the farmers. they knew that they were just having a couple of bad years, and they couldn't pay their farm loans off, and they didn't want to take possession of these farms. so we allowed the banks, we changed the law, allowed the banks to take an ownership
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position in the farms and then gave the farmer an absolute buyback right to the take his farm back at full title once they could pay off the farm loan. ..
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>> and i went to the signing with president reagan on the white house lawn with a republican and democratic counterpart we worked with the committees, the democratic chairmen and the republican minority leader and never once the gulf politics. we always talked about how this would work or how would affect working people and what do we do. then with the first president bush in office come i represented the democrats and rewrote the national education goals. i was in the "state of the union" with my republican counterpart we stayed up all night at the university of virginia we only talked
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about what we wanted. the need that again. every time an election rolls around we stove disagree to have one heck of an election but when it was not going on we thought we would go to work for you not for them. right? i could give you other examples of things of economic strategies to be developed a andrew cuomo did a great thing organized york into 10 regions and the legislature set aside money and they are competing with this to get the cash $200 million they have not decided how to divide it but they have to come up with the regional development plan new york is a very diverse state. my went the other day up to all the need to meet with the thousands of people that represent these regions and i am telling you know, even
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those that don't get the money are way ahead because they're actually talking about what they want to do and how they will do it instead of having idle political debate that is what i think chesley is referring to. we ought to give the tiniest the market? even though we have greater capacity and domestic demand am much better venture-capital than they do? and the price drops precipitously? and if you know, what should we do about it? the government and the private sector the same thing with the wind in governor cuomo just signed a great bill kidney york called on bill accounting. the bottom line, if you retrofit your home or your office building, you can get
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it financed in that way then pay off all the from your utility savings because they add it to your utility bill. it is the just say yes system creating 10 or 12,000 jobs in new york to put billions of dollars into this economy within a matter of months as soon as it is fully implemented. those of the kinds of things we ought to do more of. >> host: having conversations like these and writing books and advocating is this a niche that civil society should fill to discuss the role of the public sector and in many ways you has a unique ability but i think a lot of us can make the sorts of contributions. >> yes. bubble like to explain.
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the non-governmental organization has largely done two things in the modern era. one is going on with back to before we became a country. the first ngo in the united states is the volunteer fire department benjamin franklin organized and philadelphia before the constitution was ratified. and he was doing old fashioned ngo work 18th-century style. there will always be a gap between the private sector will produce and the government can provide we did not have enough government to afford a fire department and not enough buyers to make it profitable. on the other hand, if it was your building you thought
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there we're eat enough buyers. so we organize the volunteer fire department. one of the morning television shows i did today, the "today show" after i left, they have what is fast becoming the biggest family in america, did you see it? this family with 18 children , 19 about to be 20. he is a conservative republican in the arkansas legislature my last year of president. i met him 11 years ago but we were talking to his kids because they are proud of the fact that he is a volunteer fire man were i established a fire department has governor because we set up 700 departments the point* is that is the ngo. that is the gap because what the private sector can
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produce and what it can provide. the new and additional improve role is to basically hopefully work with public and private institutions to figure how to do things cheaper faster better because you to have to turn a profit every quarter and unlike the government be embarrassed that you fail. you can say i tried to do this and it did not work. we will try again. that is what you do in school. you try to figure out how to take statistically disadvantaged kids to prove they are just as smart as everybody else and having the chess tournament will increase their learning level. i think with what we did with ctia america we tried to bring people together about what we could do to
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create jobs. there are other examples where private foundations create employment directly in partnership with public and private groups and in san diego now is the center of activity the largest number of nobel prize-winning scientist from any country university of california san diego, all of these other things but they have other foundations investing and they all work together on a common plan. that works in the modern world. cooperation works in real life conflicts works in politics and news conferences. it does. i am as guilty as the next
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person i have three cheap thrills for every one serious. >> adam of that is breeding conflict exactly. [laughter] that you get the idea we need the ngos. the robin hood foundation funds both kinds the harlem children zone does that kind of work so there is difference is there is an important tool for the ngo because they take a lot of heat off of businesses to have to turn a profit and take the heat off of government who want to try certain things but maybe scared of getting too much heat if it fails. >> meeting the laboratories of the democracy. >> but the cities are to. that is really difference between now from when the
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framers wrote the constitution the cities are just as much as a laboratory. look at what might bloomberg did to put up $100,000,000.2 build local million perversity lab center to generate high tech jobs. i don't know who will get the contract tracked i think the consortium should get it. >> as a stanford alumni. >> that is in competition for the money. but the point* is it is one heck of a bandit idea. the way the world should work. i think it is wonderful los angeles has a vast new consortium that includes greater energy efficiency am putting up more solar power and how they finance it will be the biggest commercial retrofit project the country has yet undertaken. they have figured out to do a. full disclosure based on the
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climate change initiative worked with them but we just provided technical help and support. they figure out how to finance it. the cities can do a lot of these things but the congress should not make decisions and makes them more difficult. they should be in powering and rewarding and incentivizing. >> host: it is election day to day not in new york city but in many cities across the country and mayors are being elected a reelected. but yet i don't think questions like this happen very central to the coverage in advance of even those local elections for broke although it is credible you have been a governor that people expect the governors and mayors that seems to not be central to the discourse around even local elections.
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how do we make that more fundamental? i know you are racing around the country trying to do that but you're not paid salable resellers although almost inexhaustible one. [laughter] how we think about that dynamic? >> i already said i was wrong but now i don't know. when i was a governor, i really work hard and the national governors association and the educational association and there were a lot of things that i did when i was governor that arkansas was the first eight like councilors four kids in elementary schools. i was proud of that but i was more proud when we were
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the second state to do something. because it showed we were not too proud to learn from the edge of learning and one of the real problems education and health care, is a lot of the challenges america faces for example, to provide health care at lower costs and higher quality so we can afford to be competitive in other areas those challenges have already been met by somebody but the challenge is not travel almost every challenge has been met by somebody with the idea doesn't travel. part of that is competition in the public sector with a monopoly on revenues and customers and in the private sector where the status quo has more power and resources in lobbyist and the future but one of the big challenges i tried to talk
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about with the admittedly not having the answer is idea make the ideas travel? what city in america has the highest energy efficiency standards for new buildings? answer, the oil capital of houston texas. why? because the then mayor bill white was a deputy secretary of energy when i was president, had been my friend for a long time and i knew he knew what about oil and gas but also wanted to build a modern energy economy he is elected mayor the first thing he did was retrofit every home of the 20% who were homeowners
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below and come then he had the highest new building standards in terms of energy efficiency in any city in north america except vancouver canada and reelected over 80% yet the idea has not travelled so well although they do travel better than you would think but we need to think about that in the united states because this can bubble up but if you look at this book that i wrote about the next american economy talking about the prosperity centers be need to figure out to have more of that and how people learn from each other on the basis of that. >> want to ask you about something not in your book but what came out yesterday the census bureau announced a new draft methodology how
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we calculate and assess poverty in the united states. the early eat hypophysis that we have 49 million americans living in poverty the highest number ever. and more elderly americans living in poverty than previously assessed because of higher out of pocket health care expenses because although the vast majority are covered under medicare, it only covers 80% of in hospital expenses. follows somewhat challenging given the numbers, children living in poverty it is lower than had been previously determined largely because of the supplemental nutrition programs, chiefly free school lunches and
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breakfasts but as you think about that emerging data, how does that impact both you diagnose as a challenge in the book chiefly around social security and sustainability and also your recommended prescriptions? >> first, the childhood poverty numbers are still appalling but they are smaller. the children health insurance program started when i was president and expanded beginning 2007. we had 5 million kids think now 10 million can get health insurance under it and they will be maintained and that number will be expanded with the health care reform bill implemented. that was nutritional
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supplements like the school lunch program does or the percentage of people who are in poverty and in fact,, what happened to the seniors even though social security checks go up more than the real cost of living goes up exclusive of health care it has gone up so much that it is affecting older people who are on medicare but as chelsea pointed out, a 20% of the hospital stay is not covered. if you are very poor and old you get medicaid as well. what has happened especially since the states are busted and lobbying against raising the eligibility locals for medicaid, this money 1/2 to pay is going up in a number of older people who qualify
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for both medicare and medicaid is not going up to make the difference. >> the states are not commensurate with the changing their medicaid parameter. >> and because of the budgets. and for example, 2007, gdp going down 7.5%. most people worried about going broke and 5 million americans lost their health insurance so ironically the private sector drove 3.5 million to the public sector bashing the public-sector the states did not have the money to pay in the federal government deficit was increased. what do i draw from that? the conclusion that one of
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the best things about the simpson bowles commission is that it recommends natalee savings in the social security program but which is what france and switzerland approximately spend that would save us
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$187 billion per year. how do we do that? >> it would save the federal budget. it would save you 850 million. that is what the charitable trust was an analysis of the health outcome and wealthy countries and they generally conclude that america ranks about 30th that is not fair. but oil is choose germany and france are normally ranked at the top and it is true they get better health outcomes for spending less money. and it is also true if you gave us more credit for having the longest breast cancer survivor rates in the
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world and a heart surgery if not some deals to be giving this talk tonight, you still have to face the fact you get what you pay for the way by finance health care in teachers service is. chelsea's to work. >> i did not get the stanford credit mackenzie issued a three volume study trying to analyze the differences between what we spend for a health care and other rich countries would spend and they essentially concluded the biggest deal was instead of paying the overall enrollment which dartmouth and others have
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said that leaves to about 40% of the american people getting health care that is likely to be more expensive second the way we finance with private insurance companies which add massive amounts to the administrative cost not just the insurer but the company but also the am sure it. if you have insurance on the job than it is more paperwork for the medical providers, the employers in the insurance companies themselves. about a $200 billion item we would not pay if we had administrative cost of any other country and repay more for medicine than anybody else but if we we bought in bulk we could do that. 75 or 80% of the difference.
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the biggest chunk left is about $150 billion because we have higher rates of diabetes and any other country in the world with the intended consequences which is why childhood obesity is a number one health problem and 1,000 other little things that make up the 5%. >> host: we're almost out of time. if you want people to leave with one glaring call to action or one fact to help lead to more fact based debates as we move from this election day to the next one in november, what would it be? >> if i can only say one thing everybody should be
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involved where they live to tried to support state and local initiatives that do bring government and the private sector and ngos together to do what we did that cd-i america together. start with where you are. this is still the biggest economy on earth. as much as i worry about their retirement and the baby boomers come i am the oldest one, you should feel good about this. 10 years ago i was about to leave the presidency little rock arkansas had a terrible tornado ripping up the worst part of the city a little african at the munich and community was level after i had done work there 20 years. i ate barbecue back when i could do that. [laughter] besides me only two others
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had finished college or made more than $50,000 per year but the number one goal was not retirement but it not imperil there children's ability to raise their grandchildren if you give up on america, remember that. it is still a good country. people make rational decisions based on what they know. in spite of all of that, our average work force ages still younger than europe and japan. the other longstanding wealthy places. canada may be a little younger but not much. and is easier to start a small business here we still have all of these laboratories for support that other countries don't
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have and a lot of indigenous streaks and a better sophisticated venture-capital networks and we know what we need to do. there is plenty of money out there if we can figure how to unleash the money of corporate treasury. i am not pessimistic but we do this kabuki dance in washington over the same thing we have been debating since we were told in 1981 that government is the problem. it may be the not the only problem and it has to be part of the solution. my view to do one thing, start and come up doing something to support your state and use that as evidence to break a logjam in washington. because there is not one of
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the most important points is i go through all the other countries that are ahead of us with faster download speeds in more modern infrastructure less income inequality and faster job growth and lower unemployment, not a single example of planet earth of a successful country that got there on the anti-government strategy which is the most important thing you can do never and never attack somebody again. not one. but of all the countries we rank 31st in the percentage of national income going to taxes. mexico and she lay are lower
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than we are. we are ranked 25th going to spending because all the money we have to come up with with the consequences of the financial collapse. i want you to change national policy but somehow we have to find a way to break the psychology. i am happier if i have something to look forward to in the morning so i do not just complain all the time. one thing you can do is make something good happen. hire somebody. i have a company that is the largest mass mailing company in the country if you get "sports illustrated" every month you got it from them and most other magazines. on november 1st, they challenged every country in the united states with 500 or more employees to hire
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one more person. they said it even wal-mart hired just one more person there be another 1 million people working in a month and it would change the psychology of america. just do something then you can tell the members of congress what you did and ask them to follow suit. >> host: thank you all very much. i hope you will do that and by the block. [applause] -- by the buck. >> thing keogh. [applause] >> booktv live coverage from the miami book fair international continues to #2 of a 2011 miami book
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fair. it is the big street fair here on the campus of miami-dade. of three events still happening we have another call and with jim lehrer. we still have some webcast happening at isabel wilkerson will, then chat -- jeht mahal to talk about herblock you may remember her at the national book festival and then jim lehrer will be speaking in chapman hall as well and in the miami book fair 2011 concludes with author michael moore at 6:00 p.m. eastern that is


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