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tv   Alyssa Mastromonaco Discusses Who Thought This Was a Good Idea  CSPAN  August 7, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am EDT

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from humanity's to music so every day in one of those areas. when somebody like myself from foreign affairs and then on the airplane to laredo or houston to washington and spend a lot of time on the plane. that this same time you were constantly learning.
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. >> good evening i am. order of the bookstore tonight a like 2.0 so we do ask that you silence your cellphone and since it is being filmed q&a then i will
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be around with the microphone. to have a fantastic event called here we are. if you have a young feminist in your life to have every -- essays from everyone as one of the most incredible young adult riders. and tonight we are thrilled. [applause] and alyssa mastromonaco book is called "who thought this was a good idea?" and other
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questions you should have answers to when you work in the white house" the chief operating officer at price media serving as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff under president obama. director of scheduling for senator john kerry campaign and serves as the board of trustees jfk center for performing arts. she will be signing books so be sure to grab one. alyssa mastromonaco. [applause] >> it is clear that i peeked very early about it would read from the book then do some q&a. my selection was picked by
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my best friend for the last 30 years. my parents lineal hold my hand a lot they just told we return now to be good people. so for example, the extracurricular of trice from the generational era. and for what we lack of enthusiasm by danced in the wings and was succeeding. my sister was a killer and a really great dancer is settled or realized partially because i did see an example was someone that i was investing a lot of time and hours each week with something i was not that good at.
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it made me feel bad but i never had a solo. [laughter] i was 16 when i told my mom i wanted to quit. she did not lose her mind or believe me or to say i had been dancing for so long. she said it was okay if you do responsibly putting something dead is not benefiting you whether it is dance class is for a soul psyching job has nothing to do with that then you change your life. i did not sit around after words i was first fleet in the event and it took french babysat for a family every saturday night.
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i would prepare flowers for the trips back to the city it was a real barn with power tools my best friend visited meet every weekend to bring me soup or doughnuts and i loved it there. i had a job as a checker. and restore in the center of town anybody working at k-mart or wal-mart may not believe me when i say i like it. definitely want to hang with your friends if i was good at bagging groceries i could buy crystal because they were cools.
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i also learned to use coupons and his adjusted there and waited. of our store was one of the few that accepted goods stamps -- food stamps. the she mediation and and there are a lot of people that would. having a discussion about food stamps and with those policy meetings and to use
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my judgment with a hundred different choices per day. in this is a follow-up and after reading with a particular person because of the economic recession and a lot of people at ft stamps at the beginning of the presidency the number dropped because as they're happening the meeting was of the rows of room and the chairs are huge not made people sit around a conference table with other significance. everyone in the room needs a
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good reason for being there. i had a policy about swimming in my only and not over commenting on things that was not an expert but i could not take the pontiff occasions of this id league game the limits on what food stamps cover in don't and i knew that none of them had ever known a person who ever needed food stamps. raise my hand i think really did that one wanted to talk and told them what it was like to see people humiliated to buy generic cereal or soup or melt can watch them realize what they could not get and how ridiculous it was sunny delight that is much cheaper than orange juice was not covered. but there is nothing they could do for cry could feel
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my face get read and then you realize your worked up. and with those facts and figures are you showing too much emotion? and then made it clear she was on my side. >> the thought that was going to read because of bigotry should go to questions. >>. >> the best part about those jobs in high school that i gain some satisfaction
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banking and would rather be watching nine '02 one o. to rationalize when the career seemed doomed. if i've never good at any thing else they've been at this. but that gives me comfort to be able to provide for yourself. then you can be okay. one of those moments right beecher remember at the end of the day i was good at begging for trees if i didn't get into harvard i would end up pouring was supposed to end up. there was no e-mail or internet we would spend hours talking about where we
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wanted to go. and then i started to request applications we picked a few schools to visit georgetown berkeley santa cruz. the university of vermont, wisconsin, a cornell and fairfield. i wrote the essays for ago that nobody read. [laughter] and studied for the s.a.t. and did pretty well. my mom did help me fill out the check for the disclaimer you cannot fully understand my mind said if you have not seen st. almost fire broke so that is where the movie
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takes place in for some reason even though i had not thought much about it. working on the congressional campaign who was still good for him for girl the role models drink a lot and did a lot of coke but they were attractive than funny and made it out alive. i thought if i got did i could access the brat pack energy i was taught in my class i mean number 11 out of 76 and not short on confidence i got all my rejections of the same day in april and i bought a car
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sticker because i was so convinced would get in demigod all realize we forgot to put the sticker in the bag and when i opened my very thin letter and all of the others we realized it was a sign. signs on the working end retrospect. coming from such a small town to be part of the freshman class of 1994 were registered for the meal plan i never set foot on campus. [laughter] it is funny. sometimes i do leap for better or worse sometimes
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they could have gone better. if i had a sense of myself i lost it in college the first to realize that money mattered in how you spend it matters more. i thought those ford taurus station wagon and lasted forever her cry group in the town you did not know who had money and you did not. the wealthiest family was the equine vegetarian but drove the be that suburban. and nobody wore makeup and the hairstyle rode the wave. think about it. that was not all bad and a
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lot of talk about what bugs you out. that could describe any number of situations smoking negative pot and with your ' of insomnia. and in retrospect i branched out to major in french which is signed up for on a whim. the focus on poverty and later used small talk with oprah and she was super impressed. [laughter] still around the beginning a sophomore year maybe not taking in that direction. and then to have discussions
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without fighting there were always on campus howard dean whitaker just to vote i found myself the contract with america. [laughter] i found myself gravitating whether on or off campus. but that summer internship with bernie sanders. when spring break rolled around and realized it may not be offered as a major sore reapplied to the university of wisconsin to transfer in my junior year and i was accepted a few weeks later i got the bernie sanders internship. i am like forestalled of politics.
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bernie sanders and john kerry and barack obama. it did not pay but i could stay with a couple of friends in burlington and i slept on a foot down -- futon to see is better i had crashed in my sleep. nothing was more exciting but it was an election year and he met with constituents more than anyone i have nonsense. press clips and never call people trying to raise money. then did a great job reminding people to register to vote and from time to time looking the same way he looks now and read the
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newspaper with the windows down never air-conditioning. and then to explain what is going on in the world. but he was unmoved his attitude was what else? [laughter] before i met him i thought politics was about theater and showmanship been nothing will happen and. and with those large-scale changes he showed me how and those people that worked for him genuinely dedicated to helping his constituents. many politicians that moved from one to another to become a legislative
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director or chief of staff. this sometimes ambition in in washington is about being powerful without a seat in congress. he was so committed but before i left for medicine the change my major to political science. one day to imprintings happened that had a call common -- kahn in he was running late side told the man he might have to wait a few minutes and i tried to learn about the people in the office especially meeting with bernie sanders and wanted to know why there were important to warrant time and attention so and he had to wait i had a chance he was a very important
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labor attorney and was a progressive leader in madison. the total levy transferring and in the month he replied i should come see him when i applied on campus and were treated for those two years and he passed away three weeks ago and ran for governor several times. actually wrote about him and hear. the other important thing that happened that day was to be an intern in the d.c. office. i a do not know what that meant i was ready to strike out i saved all of my money that year.
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and then and then going to the metro i had five of its to rotate i made tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches. every day. i walked into his office but the interns were competitive but i would rather bring in a drum circle of bright had a minor crisis of confidence that a new 100 times more about vermont i would see them walking briskly running anything to other offices hoping to drop letters to constituents if legally blind had come out by then i would have fancied a version
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of myself. once i was out of money i was convinced i would be back. i did not get to interact with bernie but it did not matter to give a clear picture of what i wanted to do. [applause] before questions i can tell you a story. president obama does not like the cold. it was very end of the 2008 election in a river in pennsylvania with john mccain he canceled all
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this evidence and we were in chicago because he is cancelling his. i wasn't going to tell the man who hates the coal to keep going so i emails his personal aide and i said we will keep chester pennsylvania and the rollback and said the boss wants to know "who thought this was a good idea?" that was not the first for the last time i said it is fine it will be great so my deputy got to the office early and we were sitting there watching him on tv and it wasn't just snowing but it was leading sideways and
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hitting him in the face. daniel said it is the worst scenario. i actually had the npr interview and a playback that actual event for i was right. this was off some. but at the end he is full of sweet he goes to walk offstage and puts out his hand he puts his hand phone in his hand in my phone rang 10 seconds later. i said hello? i city were awesome and amazing he said where are you? i said i mmi desk and he said it must be nice and hung up. [laughter] but then many months later that the person who took the
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photo won the pulitzer prize for that photos so and that came out amazingly we were in texas cop who was there that day and we pulled the photo op he said yes i won the pulitzer. so that is where the title of the book came from casio is wants to know who thought that was a good idea. [laughter] questions?. >> how involved are you now in the political arena?. >> i work with a private company i am not as political as i would be otherwise but a march, i tweet don't tell the people that i work for. and i try to support those
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to support the aclu and planned parenthood so with the presale of the book went to a womenswear and we will do a day nectary because in some ways you cannot march every day but that is garbage. so i and political as much as a candy what is your take away from the obama lighthouse where did you learn. >> you can be successful without being abusive that
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is the best way to be in that i am alone. >> if we were sitting at the conference table waiting for obama to come with policy issues was is that style to orchestrate that meeting?. >> i said there were times he would come in normally he gets the paper the night before and he was ted, down and would love to go around the table to ask everybody what they thought even if that wasn't their area of expertise because i think he believed that only the
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economy expert is not the only person that has been that with the economics just like my story about food stamps. he turned around and said alyssa mastromonaco knows as much as anybody because she was there. he was very open. very open-minded. he is carrying. -- carrying. . .
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>> i just think it's more political than finances but you have to be super anal-retentive. >> you do, i was not supernormal, half my mom and dad. i'm super annoying for a couple of years. i would say, get into it the slow way and see if it's really what you want to do. it's a lot. it's 24/7. not just some of who runs for president, but anyone because your eyes deal with someone else's life. if you're okay with somebody else's life in your life, you'll be okay, but if that annoys you it will be a problem. >> we didn't really have a schedule and just, came to me. >> well, then you're good. you need the microphone.
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>> i feel like i am at a press conference. >> me to. >> i have a two-part question. the first one is, do you miss it? >> oh, i do miss it. i almost wish i could've last for one year and the night go back. did you get your energy back. i miss it. i miss having a mission every day. >> how does it feel being sandwiched between two of the most unpopular presidents so far in american history? >> i know for most people george bush is pretty unpopular, but, it's okay. i will say that when you look at what is happening now in the transfer power, the bush folks were so generous and so helpful,
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it's very hard for me to think anything bad about them at this point. it's like who wouldn't give to have mitt romney in office right now. [laughter] >> i just want to make a comment. i had a really nice life and i very rarely meet a member are biography where i'm jealous. this made me jealous. >> that's awesome. thank you. i appreciate that did you read the part with the pope. >> yes, i did. >> i read early on, you are going to continue working on the barack obama library. >> yes, i am. >> it's still in the early stages and he is in french polynesia right now doing, i can't say, but yes, all of us,
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myself and danielle we are all a part of the foundation committee. >> it should be good. >> i would work with young college students will want to jump ou drop out of college in march every day because they want to go fight a fight. to have any sage advice for me to tell them to stay in college and get the degree and then fight the fight. i'm wondering if's someone who was on the hill with people with college educations, how do you see her college education having let you in the path you took? >> for the kids, it's very hard. a few weeks ago on march 8 they had the strike, a day without women strike. for a lot of us, i wanted to strike but i couldn't because i had to work. i cannot just not.
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so there are a lot of different ways to protest and support without going out and marching every day. you can support women owned businesses. you can volunteer a few hours a week in your city council. or the local campaign, there are a lot of ways to shoot your support without dropping out of school. at the end of the day, that is probably not a good idea. >> did you ever find the people you worked with did not have college degrees? >> david did not have a college degree he did not graduate -- i think you left the month before he was supposed to graduate but he went back and got his diploma. >> there are a couple people who like to get really swept up. my sister and at the time was at harvard. and he left the campaign. he left and came in volunteer
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and then he went back and got his degree. think if you do that you have to be committed to go back. otherwise you just pissed away three years. >> i was hearing you say you are in wisconsin which was known as very liberal state and leading in education. it has totally changed now. you have any observations or insights as to what happened. was it gerrymandering, all of the above? what can you tell us about that. >> i don't know entirely. some of it probably had to do with the same phenomenon that wisconsin went very trump which was unexpected. there are a lot of people -- i
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think we can't discount the bernie revolution showed us there are a lot of people who feel their voices are not being heard into her single issue voters around economics. i think that was an issue for wisconsin and i know like the gm plant went out of business. i think that affected them and they were very different now but i was when i was there. >> thank you for being here. i imagine a president gets rape caught up in the business of the white house and the government. how do they stay in contact with their constituency? how do they remain in touch with the people they are trying to serve and keep that momentum and
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interest in support going? >> i don't know how president trump doesn't, but president obama every night got ten letters from real people. it's a great story because there's this woman who is in charge in the white house a pulling those ten letters every day. she did it for several years and when she was ready to leave cbs she did a profile about how hard it was for her to pick between the letters. but he would write personal responses to each one. what you would not know is that he would give us a pullout someone wrote saying they needed a refrigerator and he would write them a response and then put a sticky note on it say alyssa, figure out how to get them a refrigerator. you can do a lot with the salvation army. without any fingerprints from anybody in the administration we
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would call and get them a refrigerator. those are were the things he did when he went home every night. we would all get the notes were like did you get a letter from leslie. you have to figure out how to solve this problem, but it was great. he would follow up with you. and i be like yeah they got it it was fine. nobody knew a lot of the things we did were from him because they came from organizations. >> i just have a follow-up to that, right to your senators and congresspeople. they will respond. minded. >> it's true. especially if you call. they are really required to listen to all of the voicemails.
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to they keep a log? >> there are supposed to. >> i hate to ask this question but i'm wondering what it was like in the white house after the election? i wondered also if obama had any ultimate kinds the words of wisdom, it's been so devastating for all of us but he has been quiet at some point. at some point perhaps he will enter the public arena more. >> i had left the white house by the time the election happen. none of us thought this was going to happen. i will be super honest. i told all of the kids, you have to go vote. i was very worried the people who supported bernie when think they had to get out and vote for
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hillary. i was like what you think is going to happen, and is like trump is not going to break 37%. but when the president came out the next day after secretary clinton gave was one of the best beaches of her campaign, and he said that, this is it. he's the president, i'm going to help him. and i think there are not many democrats that didn't think hillary was going to win. it's insane that donald trump beat her. the president very much believed that the transition of power such an important thing in the continuity of government that he encouraged us to get with the program. >> hello. where do you think we would be in the country now if john kerry
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had won the election? >> i don't know. that's a good question what do you think? i don't know. i think it wasn't the right time for john kerry. in the same way think that while i'm not excited that donald trump has one, i think it has galvanized something that may have been dormant in people. people are more aware of being participatory and how much it matters. so, if john kerry had one my guess is it may have been a one term thing. the feeling in the country was so fluid. i think i don't know who would be president now.
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i don't know it would have made that big of a difference necessarily. >> with your scheduling we be back with a great story about obama, whether any other special preferences you had to keep in mind when scheduling him? >> he is not a morning person, i think that's fair to say. he likes to have dinner with his family. he does not like to be rushed. and i mean that in any day in the white house he could have a meeting with troop withdrawals from iraq, meeting on the financial crisis, the thing you realizes someone who is as intellectually curious says he
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is, you can go from one to the other without taking a positive beat for him to absorb what has happened. that was one thing we learn. he needed time to think now like a ton of time but not from one to the other. >> went on the white house he appreciated -- i'm just wonder luther, banker translator, was he like no drama obama, did he ever get angry? >> no not like that. the extent of him getting mad was literally like raising an eyebrow. who is not someone who would sit there, like the things trump would say out loud, you will pay, you will do this. obama would be like that's
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disappointing. i can't remember a time he yelled, even when healthcare was a disaster, he said this is a real problem and he wasn't being softer but if he got to the point that he had to say that you like okay how much do you think the voting rights act rollback had to do with the election like in states like wisconsin. >> generally, my feeling on the election is that democrats are too complacent. they thought it was in the bag and we didn't think that donald
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trump could possibly. in states like wisconsin, i say this with all the love for secretary clinton in my heart, but the democrats weren't there. having gone to wisconsin, i know i cannot remember an election all the way back to al gore with a democrat didn't show up in medicine and get people excited. there may have been a bit of a focus on the kill instead of just going for the win. the win i think we may have ended up in a different place if they went for the win. >> to you think when comey came out ten days before with that whole thing and also the russian
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influence that i know none of us will ever know, do think it really had an impact? >> i will say that when fbi director mueller was leaving that we needed to find his replacement, i was one of the people who interviewed the replacements for fbi director. there is no one more impressive than jim comey. whatever anybody thinks, i assume that he did what he had to do. we don't know why, but i assume the best of intentions that on his part. i don't know that is what really drove people, i think there is something more fundamental. >> is fake news has been
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developing, it started slow during obama's administration. how perceptive was see into the administration of this development? >> nobody called it fake news. they were like answer the question, are you muslim? there's nothing wrong if you have been. were you born in the u.s.? and he was. to us it was we were exasperat exasperated, but i don't think we saw it ever is what it would become. which was insane. it's good that facebook is addressing how some of that stuff gets populated on social media along with twitter rent others. we were never like this is fake news, we're just like of crap. it didn't seem like a movement,
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it just seem like something we could -- off. >> what was the most fun day you had at the white house? >> i don't know if you are ready for this. my most fun days when we went to london for the queen's jubilee which is the celebration of the queen 60th year on the throne. i am obsessed with the royal so this was awesome. but then we threw a party for the queen at windsor house which is the u.s. investors residence in london. it was full of people, david back him -- i'll get there. she was not there, she was pregnant, she just had harper. so he was alone.
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so we're excited and it turned out the queen was going to do a receiving line with us. says talking with john who is on the trip and he has a very famous podcast and so john, we're all their were like you go first, your handsome in the queen will like you. so john went first and muttered something. we went through the receiving line in the queen was in the most fantastic sequined gown. it was elegant and she sparkled, and i was beside myself. it is like your highness, goofy and lame. but then, i have done the seating for the table so i was sitting with nigella lawson and david back was over here. and i'm sorry, i had a bad cold that day and some champagne and
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it's not regulated like it is here. i'm telling you, even the guys are with me like he's looking at you, but i think the best part it's the most fun but maybe not the most flattering but colin first is the star of one of my favorite movies, love actually. his wife, the king's speech had just. his wife was like what's your favorite movie and i thought she meant of colin first and so i said i love, love actually. i said really and i went on to do an impersonation of british people in the middle of windsor house race that we love uncle jimmy. and everybody was appropriate for five. that was my most fun day.
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>> we have time for one or two more questions. >> hello. hi bethany. >> i wanted to ask you, what are two or three of the most influential reasons you think you have accomplished what you have because you've accomplished a lot. >> one, think i came from a community was that quite egalitarian where we went to high school and basically thought we are all the same there wasn't a hierarchy. we worked hard and everybody had an afterschool job so that was one. i never expected anyone to do anything for me. to come i think i was lucky with the people i work for.
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only work for people a deeply believed in. there is not any moral compromise. it's not like i just wanted power, i just wanted to impact change. whether is bernie, john kerry, or barack obama, when i worked for barack obama he had done one good speech at a convention and that was it. i never thought he would be president to run for president. so i think just being well grounded and following your moral compass and networking for people just to get ahead but working for people i believe in. >> during your time in the white house, what was the biggest or most emotionally impactful moments that you saw the president undergo we thought
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something very serious happened and how he viewed his role as a leader. >> i don't know if you want this answer. i would say was newtown. immaculate it's a super down our way ten this whole thing. it's okay, but i would say that one thing you don't realize in the white house that morning and don't quote me, but we got a report there might be a shooting in a mall in connecticut and then we heard there might be a shooting, nothing totally crazy like in high school, and the third report was horrifying. you have a bunch of people who are trying to do their job. you can't sit down and be sad and say this is terrible, yet john brennan who was went on to
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be cia director. but at the time his assistant to the president and we're in a room explaining what we heard from the governor of connecticut's office. world doing our work but barack obama and john brennan and i, you work through the tears. that was probably the most impactful followed by the gun legislation not passing a few months later let's do one more question is not just a bummer. >> a good michelle story? the first lady, i know there are many, she very much believe that when we would go to a foreign country that we are not and we
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devastate visit, it was not a party for us. this was work. so we were in tanzania in the tourism minister and another was on the other side. people were not talking much but there is a band playing she looked at me and she was just like -- i knew it was my time to get up and leave concha line. inside it. valerie got up and we did this conga line and at the end of the measures like why were the boys on their blackberries? i knew i was good shape and they were may be in trouble. but that was a good michelle memory. >> thank you so much. [applause]
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thank you all for joining us. alyssa will be signing books. you can purchase them at the front desk. the signing line will start here go this way. >> thank you. [inaudible conversation] >> tomorrow night on c-span, author david horwitz and malcolm -- join others for discussion on the situation the middle east. in the policies of the bush, obama, trump administration's. this was at the annual conference in pasadena, california. here's a preview. >> one thing that has been missing for decades, written three books about it, going
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after the ideology of isis and al qaeda. they are an apostolate stick cult because they've taken people corrupted and their the executor of god to bring about the end of time. in the greater those people in this country and the west who say it's the muslims that are the problem. no, they are not. i know what the 1.6 billion muslims want. the 2017 toyota corolla. what they don't need us to have a small fraction of a percent of a colts that existed and have that equated to people who do not follow the quran, who pretend they are muslims and you
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have to rely on guys like me from the intelligence community to tell you that the guy sitting to my right is a muslim, a special forces soldier to my right is a muslim. in essence 911 -- not just our own defense. >> you can see that discussion from the shoes political conference in california tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> c-span has been on the road meeting with winners of the student cam documentary competition. at laramie high school, the mayor gathered with family and school officials to accept her price of $3000 for her document on the fossil fuels. in golden, colorado eating
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crampton had a second place prize of $1500 for his documentary and cyber security. also the third-place award of $750 went to tenth grader for their documentary about digital theft and hacking. st. thomas moore high school in south dakota audrey, grace, and carolyn won the third-place price of $750 for their documentary on racial inequality in america. a seventh grader received a third-place price of $750 for his documentary on the national debt. a classmate a number one honorable mention in $250 on his documentary and marijuana. a number of students one honorable mention, sarah one for
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her documentary on the national debt, joe asmussen, rita collins and sean baker one for their documentary and terrorism. >> thank you to all the students who took part in the 2017 student cam documentary competition. to watch videos go to student and student cam 2018 starts in september with the theme of the constitution and you. choose any provision of the constitution and create a video illustrating why it is importa important. >> you're watching book tv on c-span2, the top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. tv, television for serious readers. >> one of the things we like to do is preview some of the books i will be coming out this fall.


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