tv Author Discussion on Politics CSPAN November 19, 2018 1:41am-2:59am EST
guy he thought he was there bad guy. that is a powerful thing and i don't think donald trump would reflect this. a short colorful history of american populist political editor of fox news thanks for being with us in miami. i was going to miami because it's a wholele different categoy just going around talking with everybody.
good afternoon, please take a seat. i'm the dean of the honors colleghonorscollege here at miae college and it is an honor to welcome you to the 35th annual miami book fair. [applause] we would like to thank our premier sponsors of the foundation, royal caribbean, the bachelor foundation and closer to home we would like to thank our friends if you ar were here please wave to be acknowledged for your support. i would like to ask you to please silence your cell phones and also to note the session will be for 45 minutes with 55 minutes of q-and-a at the end of the session. the authors will be available to the right of the elevator. it's now my distinct pleasure to introduce today's panelists for you.
first, we have been roads from 2009 to 2017 served as the deputy national security adviser to president barack obama overseeing the administration's national security communication, speech writing, public diplomacy and global engagement programming. prior to joining the administration from 2007 to 2008, he was a senior speechwriter and foreign-policy adviser to the obama campaign. [applause] i would also like to introduce the cohost one of the advisors the white house director of communications under president obama from 2009 to 2013. the senior adviser to the president from 2013 to 2015 is
the author of yes we still can politics in the age of obama for her and trump. [applause] and finally the host of free speech tv, former cohost of msnbc and cnn crossfire. the author of several books including the obama machine and s trump must go to top reasons o want to keep in. let's welcome bill frist. [applause] i will give a few opening comments about my book and then we will take questions.
we are on an agreement of some of the things happening around the country. my book i started at the end of the presidency and president obama like everybody else is trying to t make sense of what happened then we were driving at the conclusion and he turns to me andnd he says wha that if wee wrong. i didn't know what he meant. i hav had been wrong about a lof things. he said what if we pushed too far. what if i was 15 to 20 years too early and they realized it was a much more profoundiz question
about the direction of the country. i will come back to it. i wrote this because when i went to work for the obama campaign, i was 29-years-old and relatively anonymous. so i had a vantage point over a decade of coming-of-age in this rule in the white house and i thought i could with my experience be an entry point for the readers to see how they change personally empowered perspective on politicsu could show a bit of what happened and how things ended up the way they did. it seems almost impossibly a time ago. the first major speech was in the summer of 2007. he called for going in to pakistan and he called for
direct diplomacy with iran and thought it would be a major step to lay out the foreign policy would be as president. bywever, he was attacked by his opponents for saying he was going to pakistan. i moved up to chicago my girlfriend at the time, wife now thought i was doing this incredibly stupid thing and i wakebe up to what a lot of peope do which is about something in the news and what had happened is essentially my speech got road and caused a national incident. people were burning american flags in the street and i get an e-mail from the deputy
communications director to the senior leadership of the campaign it was hyperbolic for him but i remember being terrified that i have caused this huge problem. then i remembered when i went to work that day the focus was how we make an argument about what we believe and not how do we correct this and block position. it was i think these things are right i don't know why we would go to pakistan. let's have this argument and then i remember in that debate is the leader he kind of doubled down and said i'm not good electorate on experience because
the mistake of a lifetime and i realized there was something unique about obama he was truly authentic but it's actually a good recipe and that's been covered my experience coming into the white house. i had close calls along the way and i described writing the speech which was ultimately one of the most risky things that we did. we wanted to show that you could occupy this iconic role of thesh presidency. the whole speech culminated and then we are a community of faith. a woman ran out in the street when they were air dropping food and declared we are a community of faith. you keep trying to find new ways to say the same thing.
the idea was him saying this in german. three hours before the speech i got a call from the interpreter to tell me that that word was the theme of som one of the firt speech as. so i had to go up to the suite of my boss and told them that part of the speech but they really loved was actually echoing hitler. [laughter]
he said you better get working on a new ending. so then the stories about the politician and the person. someone who is genuine and authentic indwelling to fight and thefive andthen someone dowd accessible that laughs at the absurdity of the circumstances we found ourselves in. then i had the vantage point of being there for all eight years and i won't do that now because that will take the about eight years to recount. i had focused on national security. the night they took out bin laden as we were hearing he told me remember how much grief we got about the speech it turned out okay. the many years of painstaking diplomacy to try to deal with the issue and get a nuclear agreement personally and here in
miami i ended up leading the negotiations, something i never would have envisioned at the beginning of the administration spending two years flying off to meet with representatives of the government finding myself as a vatican walking into the office of the secretaryn of state who looked at me and said they are normalizing relations with cuba, didn't quite believe it and i said yes. he knew he was hosting this meeting that he didn't know why. he looked at me and said who are you and does john kerry know about this. [laughter] this is the kind of opportunity given to me because he thought the policy could change if we could make the world a better
place. at home we didn't get everything right but the feeling we were moving in the right direction and the big question to do the right thing to avoid the war and promote peace and climatear chae and avoid the spread of nuclear weapons i think at the same time in the book it was how it was burning in the decades i described. in the campaign it was from people's racist uncles we would have to debunk that became s-sierrsarahpalen as the vice pl candidate and that became all these different forces that were
meant to paint obama outside the mainstream or pit americans against each other. i try to wrestle in the book that obama was more forthcoming about the public. we used to pressin have to presm for a lot of press conferences. to get in his mindset we would walk them through you are going to be asked this what are you going to say i will say yes next question. he obviously wasn't going to say that this was a part of the backdrop of the presidency there was a bit of a toxic brew developing like an organism taking over the party before our eyes. first the tea party and then ultimately through the politics that the most likely republican nominee when he came down the
escalator of the tower. i try to trace the threat of the direction i thought we were moving into the negativity that was brewing underneath and by alanth in becoming a husband ana father in this time and i will just close returning to that question what if we were wrong. what he was getting at is progressive as i am they tend to think the progress as we would define it is inevitable moving in that direction more rights for americans and the economy at home. what we see today these things are not inevitable, they are contested and there's no one smarter about it. president obama also used to say to me i used to get a lot of grief from the republicans because i have the background and fiction writing.
never before has a masters degree somebody got become such a political march against them. it is our entire job. what he meant wasn't was in th, but everything that we did and how we comport ourselves in office and carry ourselves abroad. that is a good way to think about our policies. i think what we hear today is there are two stories about america and there've always been. declaration of independence took place at the time there sar was slavery. i think that the future of america is going to look more like the actio direction than we
are feeling today. [applause] i think all kinds of things are on our site including our side r history and biography. but to get there we have to listen to dan said he will tell us how we are going to win that fight. [applause] >> i'm very excited to share the stage tonight because he's been my friend for ten years and i feel like this attack panicking about the speech. i woke up that morning to a piece on good morning america that said i will invade pakistan to get bin laden which if you are running as an opponent of the war that is suboptimal to say the least.
so, finally the truth comes out. the best way to explain my book is a sort of tell the story how i decided to write it. when i was leaving the white house in 2015 through the normal checkout procedure for any senior white house aide i turned in my blackberry. i wasn't going to write a tell-all book because unlike tel all book because unlike people in the white house i was interested in the idea of book.g a i had been struck by all of the books written about the obama white house and the people on
the outside whether it was bob woodward and they were accurate. i'm not screaming fake news, but they were a mere of what we went through. the only people that can call the true story of the obvious bias are the people in the room that were actually there for it. but i couldn't figure out what story i will tell. what would be my take on what would happen. my friend talked about the two campaigns and first couple of years at the white house and treasury secretary about how we see the economy. what would my stor story be andf course barack obama is going to write a book in a lot of these things. it wasn't until despite being bought by a literary agent every month and a half i was able to come up with a book i've right
untiwriteuntil the morning afted trump was elected. i went to the hotel i was staying at is being too depressed to even draw my sorrows i just kind of stared at the ceiling wondering what had happened because i was so confident that hillary was going to win. i said don't worry she's going to be fine. ..
troubling. i wanted to tell the story. not just to relive the worst parts of my job. because it didn't seem fun for me to write. but with the hopes of possibly learning lessons. to extract some things. look at the things we did right. the things we did wrong. in extract some lessons that can be applied to the future battles. against these very forces. against not just donald trump but the very idea of trump -ism. i tell ideas how obama dealt with the conspiracy how a bomb was forced to go to the briefing room and the war has and hold up his birth certificate and say, i am an american citizen. and how it is that even after he did that, the strong republicans still believed that barack obama was born in kenya. i talked about how twitter change the very way and how we talk about politics and the
media and politics. and i do all those things in an effort to try to bring out, like a to do list for democrats. it battle plan and how we defeat trump-ism going forward put out that this was a worthwhile undertaking for a book because i thought there were stories, that the stores have not been told necessarily about the different perspective for the more historical books that were written about.but also, because we are at a moment of crisis in american democracy. and my belief is, and then and many others, is that the only way we will get out of the crisis is for democrats to take power again. we have an uphill road to do that. i think, actually think i made all of the chaos and panic and everything that we see about washington today, we actually understate the threat that exists to american democracy. we have been, ben and i have been in those rooms.
when all the decisions presidents make me know how to get to the point. and i can tell you from someone who has seen it firsthand, it is actually worse than you think it is. right? and it is more dangerous than you think it is. so that puts additional pressure on democrats. i wanted to write this book also because i think a lot of democrats and people in politics walk around thinking well, donald trump is up in two years. we will probably beat them. and everything will be back to normal again. and that is not true. donald trump is a symptom, not a disease. trump-ism, there is like the force of trump-ism which is this racial victimization with nostalgia powered by propaganda and billionaires with bottomless pockets. is what propelled trump, he did not create it. but it will be there after he's gone. and so we are in a -- as democrats we are in a long-term struggle against this very dangerous force in american
politics. and then this is same reason that we have our podcast. which is to have an opportunity to tell all of the stories through my story. through how i end up in politics. it was like to make politics a career choice. to dedicate my life and make all the sacrifices that come with you know we are in campaigns, moving around all the time. sacrifices from your family and friends. but i wanted to tell that story that it can be this worthwhile endeavor. it is a fulfilling career because we need young people to believe in politics. we them to get involved in politics. that is not just the idea that we need them to vote. like we need to get the millennials to vote, the democrats will win. that is true but we deftly need our best and brightest young people to think politics is a good career. what are the best and the brightest to come to washington instead of going to wall street and then looking for a hedge fund to try and figure how to
make them ultra-wealthy are to go to silicon valley and use all of their technical skills and big brains to figure how to get people to look more instagram posts. we need them to bring those abilities to solve america's problems. my hope in writing the book was telling my story as a because i young person, i am older than ben. but someone that got involved in politics. and to encourage them. >> that is what, that is the book i wrote. a book that is about a bomb is battles against trump-ism. what we can do about and where we go from here. the morning after election i woke up and i sat at my desk and i started pounding -- eight email my literary agent who had been ignoring for a while. i said hey, i got an idea. for what to write. he responded with questions about how we lost florida. which i choose not to engage in.i sat down and i pounded
out an outline. i lost my mind for three hours and i just wrote the outline for the book. and i said it to him -- i sent it to him and he send it back to me in a time that was pretty quick and said, hey, i will look at this but you need a title. i was like that's what you get paid the big bucks. and i said what am i going to call this thing? in the middle of may election, i was like staring down the barrel of the trump presidency. i wanted to not think this was the end. whatever. everything that we stood for. and so, i call that yes, we still can. and i picked that title because even now, two years later, i am still hopeful. but as a conditional hope. i'm not telling anyone about things are going to be fine because i don't know that the rp but i know as a party if we do the right things over the next few years, we can make it
so that years from now when we look back on this period the trump era will be an aberration. it will be a very -- [applause] it will be a very damaging speedbump on the path to america that looks like the one barack obama talked about. thoughtful, inclusive. that was my hope in this book. thank you very much. [applause] >> good afternoon. great to see let me just start off with a couple of quick comments. i have to tell you how exciting it is to be at this miami book fair. look -- [applause] as a voracious reader, book collector and an author, defined thousands of people here, hundreds of people in this room, who love books, who read books and to buy books! thank you! great! [applause]
and i also have to say how honored i am to share the platform with ben rhodes and dan pfeiffer. two of the smartest and most decent people that ever worked in the white house. i was sitting there thinking, remember the day when we could be proud of the people who worked in the white house? [applause] and remember the day when the people who worked in the white house could be proud of the president that they work for! [laughter] [applause] quickly, i'm here about two books actually. two books out this year.one of them is a person that you will read and a person you will learn to love. me! [laughter] it is my memoir, it is called bill press from the left, a life in the crossfire. all about my days on cnn with pat buchanan and bob novak.
there were five of them.i was the only one on the left. i beat them every single night. [laughter] and about my political career starting with some really great people that i got to know and work with. starting with jean mccarthy in 1968. then i was jerry brown's policy director in california. went off to do some media, came back to washington. was honored to be able to be part of the press corps through the eight years of the obama administration. and the first briefing room. and then all the way to my helping senator bernie sanders get organized and launches campaign for president in 2016. ... [applause] i call it the top 100 reasons to
dump trump and maybe one to keep him. you know i consider this like the companion to bob woodward's book. fear, and bob wood ward painted the disarray in the white house. what i tried to do in this book was really lay out the reasons why trump has done so much damage to the united states in just 20 months, damage i think will take us decades to repair from. woodward and that anonymous op-ed, if you remember in the "new york times" all show the same thing. a white house in total chaos, and a president unfit to governor. i believe the happiest person on the planet or used to be on the planet today, the happiest american ever today is willered fill more. -- millard fill more.
because on every list of the worst presidents, fillmore was always at the bottom. well now he's number 44. and number 45 is no. 44. so obviously trump has to go. the question is quickly, how, when and why? how -- that's above my pay grade. there are various responsibilities. he could be face criminal indictments. he could be impeached or run out of office or forced to retire because donald trump, jr. is indicted, who knows. but clearly, i would say this. we got off to a good start on tuesday, november 6. [applause] sadly, not good enough here in florida, but when you look across the board at almost 40 seats in the house, when you look at 7 governorships, when you look at 7 state legislature
chambers flip. when you look at 372 legislative seats flip from red to blue, we're talking about let's say it. it was a blue wave and i'll give you one good example. in california. former democrat chair of california, of course was the heartland orange county was john wayne country. i know every one of those districts. there's 7 congressional districts in orange county california, today they are all represented by democrats. [applause] in fact, there are 53 congressional seats in california, 45 of them are now democratic, 8 are republican i consider that a good start. so, how he goes i don't know. when he goes we really don't know. all i have to say is the sooner
the better. my own feeling is 20 months is too long. we can't stand another 2 years. i don't think we can stand another 6 months. but i just wanted to get the ball rolling, and thomas jefferson who said i can't live without books also wrote the declaration of independence where he told us that we have certain inalienable rights that our leaders governor at our consent only and that any time they go too far or infringe on our liberties, we not only have a right but we have a duty to stand up and replace them. jefferson said the first thing we have to do right from the deck lrgdz of independence, this phrase, let's the facts be submitted to a candid world. and that's why i tried to do in this back to lay out the facts, what's wrong with the presidency of donald trump. what damage he's done to
america. with then and with me we're policy nerds. we start by looking at the policy differences between an obama a and a bush, or obama and clinton. we do that with donald trump. but first and with donald trump you have to start with donald trump the person. when you start with that you have to come to the conclusion he is a totally obnoxes human being. which is why i start in the book with a personal reasons for donald trump. the first reason number one, he's a pathological liar. number two, if i can get there, it's a long because i list a lot of the lies, but three he's woefully ignorant. he said an overgrown toddler. he's a racist, he's a sexist, he's a sexual predator t goes on and on and on. and i also talk about the policy
differences. very damaging. very dangerous, pulling out of the paris climate accord, trashing the iran nuclear deal, on o and on. here's the problem with the book. it was obsolete the moment it was published. because there are more than a hundred reasons. show of hands you could all have your own reasons. and i just jotted down this morning just in the last ten days if i could, adding reasons to this book. one of our allies committed cold-blooded murder of a journalist, donald trump has done nothing about it. he flew to paris was afraid to go out in the rain to honor our american dead at the american cemetery. he came back to washington, on veterans day, and refused to go to arlington national cemetery the first president in modern history to do so. he told an african reporter to
sit down and shut up. he told another african american reporter that she asked a racist question. he accused another one of asking a stupid question. this is piles on and on. he yanked the press pass of jim
acosta for asking a tough question. he blaimentd the california fires on the firefighters for not clearing enough wood from the forest when these were not forest fires in california, and a two weeks he expressed not one word of sympathy for any of the victims who lost lives or family members or their property. he named matt whittaker named him attorney general, and then turned around and said i don't even know him. he sent 15,000 troops to the border against an enemy invasion that doesn't exist. he accused george soros of paying for the caravan and i really love this one. he accused the people of florida
coming to vote and getting in their car and changing their shirt and putting on a different hat and going in and voting again. anybody here -- [laughter] anybody here want to fess up
to that? [laughter] unbelievable. but the worst thing i believe is and i think dan and ben would agree with this. i'm someone who promotes -- always respected the office of the presidency. republican or democrat because that person was our leader and was someone we all looked up to that person and we told our kids to look up to the president of the united states. you can't look up to donald trump. you can't look up to a person who calls women dogz, and calls african american baseball players sons of -- he's not
someone we can look up to we are better than that and we deserve better than that. i honestly believe -- [applause] final word. i honk believe donald trump is the worst public official since the roman emperor. culeagueula since he pointed his horse a counsel of rome. but the people of rome were lucky at least they got the whole horse. thank you. [applause] >> it's hard to follow that -- i'm going to defact o moderator, there's a mic, as bill said you know the drill. why don't we start with this gentleman and we'll try to take
as many questions we have with the time we have. >> i'm a florida voter and i didn't change my identity. [laughter] anyhow my question for the three of you is given the recent "new york times" revelation and the front line documentary about facebook, how should we handle what are your thoughts on handling the problems with social media and getting that under control? thank you. [applause] >> bill: i think we have an interesting perspective on this. i describe in the book becoming aware of the scale of the russian interference in 2016. i felt like i understood it better because i had worked on russian disinformation campaigns in other parts of the world. essentially what happens after the invasion of ukraine in 2014. as russia figures r figured out. if they created enough of the
propaganda, fake news, and flooded social media feeds in the target location, they could bend the narrative in those countries. so in europe that was happening in ukraine or i remember speaking to the person that said there will be a social media story about a syrian refugee about raping a american woman. they found out it never happened. by the time they figured it out and figured it out it was from a social media account in russia they couldn't turn it off. you come into the united states, and the russians found they didn't have to invent new lines of argument. and they would say bright bart seems to be spending a lot of time about hillary clinton's health, so we're going to make up stories about her dying or having a disease. 50% of people get their news from facebook.
they have no way of knowing if it's from a real source. what was so frustrating to me is we had a very deliberate and long conversation with facebook and other social media company about terrorism and isis propaganda and how to identify where certain things came from. the scale of the problem was too big and their approach has been to downplay what the problem is and to avoid dealing with it. and that is completely irresponsible. because if they are going to be a platform on which half of americans can get their news, then they have a responsibility to the public discourse. they have a responsibility to their users to let people know where information is coming from and whether or not it's verifiable. i think congress needs to take a hard along at what additional regulation needs to be in place. if companies have this size of a platform how they're regulated and what their requirements are.
beyond this, and not with this administration, there needs to be a real dialogue, tomorrow it could be china, if we have open platforms they can be manipulated. i look at this and realize that russia has essentially found the weak spot in our democracy. they have found that they can follow the poison of the right, maybe with the direction and the collusion of trump officials, and oftentimes on their own. they can plow information on these platforms and thus far, facebook's reaction has been to avoid doing something that has to shift now to doing something so that people know where they're getting their news from and whether or not they can trust it. i'll add two quick points to that. the first is theoretically stopping russia or china or iran from interfering in our elections is a mostly solvable problem. technology, ai oo should be able to fix that. the problem is much greater than
that relating to facebook and all social media platforms. they're business model accen chutes the worst parts of american politics. this idea is i am very skeptical that facebook is going to clean up its mess. asking them to ask their problems is like asking the nfl to solve a concussion problem. a business is a business. a new democratic congress and administration needs to look at how we regulate the social media companies. how do we deal with the fact that two companies control 95% of the digital advertising. we would never will you that and we need to look carefully at this. the way facebook is set up benefits republicans. republican conservative politics
is fueled by outrage. it is why bright bart content is some of the most seen in the country. and democrats we're not going to get facebook to fix their algorithm but we have to get ways to get our content and message to go viral without becoming a paler shade of trump's orange. i think about the way to do that is going to require tools, ideas, and new messages. you think about the kinds of content they see on your facebook page, one is something that misses you off. some terrible bright bart headline, but the other one are the ones that inspire you. the things that hit an emotional chord, whether it's some dog who found his way home, or the videos we see of military parents surprising their kid at school, or at a basketball game. that also goes viral. so that's the arena democrats
have to plan. how can we have messages to hit that chord. i don't know if you saw the video of beta o'rourke, that video was seen 50 million times within less than two weeks, and not that we can all do that all the time but that is a model for how you get a democrat can get a hopeful message out in this environment. >> one quick point, echo what dan and been have said. to this day despite all we know despite robert molecular has indicted 20 russians with evidence, name, rank, serial number donald trump has yet to acknowledge that rishens have tried to undermine our democracy in 2016. i meant we have that kind of leadership from the white house nothing is going to happen.
>> first i'm going to make sure i don't switch my hat -- i'm going to go on basic this question is kind of a hypothetical but based on assumptions that are pretty fairly correct. there's going to be a lot of investigation of trump. he's going to be weakened. he may bye be impeached in the house he won't get kicked out of office because of of the senate. going into 2020 you had rick wilson and max bued ontalking about the ideal candidate who can win, and i'd like to define a hypothetical to beat you to beat trump, 2020 candidate, and tell me who the person in the public eye, doesn't have to be a politician who closest meets that if you can do that. >> that is a hell of a question. this is where it's hard to be the guy that goes first.
i -- here's what i would say. first of all we know there's going to be like 25 people on the stage, a wide open race, and let me start by saying that's a good thing. we need to figure out what we're for and what the best message is. and to get out of that kind of field you have to have a message that resonates with people. that withstands good and bad days on the campaign trail. second, i will say the risk of betraying some biases, if you look at when democrats win, it's usually when someone can data themselves as a reformer, as an outsider, as a changer. barack obama, bill clinton, jimmy carter have all fashioned themselves that way. when i nominate the inside establishment person, jon carry, hillary clinton, walter mondale it's harder for them to build a
movement. so i do think my personal bias is towards somebody who can cast themselves as an outsider, as a changemaker as a reformer. i think that is to the benefit of mobilizing the type of movement that barack obama built in 2008. trump is very good against running against people he can callous as part of a corrupt establishment. we saw that already. the second point is we need somebody who can fit that bill, and the third point is you need someone who is compelling enough, inspiring enough that they can shape and control their own narrative about who they are. because donald trump is going to try to turn anyone he runs against into a cartoon character. you need someone with authenticity, they cannot be cast as someone they are not because they are so clearly comfortable in their own skip and they have their own vision and it's immediately pattern to people. you need somebody that can
create the moments of inspiration that dan speaks of. what does that lead for people? i think it should be wide open, i'd like to see who has the message at this moment. i think in the last cycle no democratic candidate did that. beta o'rourke in texas, he got people to vote who didn't, he got votes if he runs he should get a careful look. a lot of other people as well. the washington candidates are good and they'll get their turn in the spotlight but i'd like to see how some of to these outsiders hold up on the campaign trail. we're going to have a couple mayors and governors going. people like cumalharass -- i would look at that crop if there's three lanes, essentially the establishing people and bernie and elizabeth warren run.
they're running in the progressive end. who in this third category of people may come out of nowhere and build a movement that can overwhelm trump. that's what i'll be looking at for the first few months. >> i think it is a fool's error to -- the consensus of all the smart people in the washington elite crowd was that the only way democrats could win in 2008 was to nominate a moderate democrat from a red state who imeu how to win over republicans. and then two years later -- what we know now is going to seem foolish next week let alone 14 months when people cast their first votes in the primary. as i think about a candidate, all the things i think we agree with. a the democratic party is currently engaged in its
biannual but eternally stupid debate of should we be progressives who turn the base out, or should we be moderated to reach out to senseerous voters. the reason that debate stupid is until we abolish the electoral college, you have to get massive turnout between new voters and periodic voters and you have to win over independence. that is how barack obama won. and the democrats in the red districts won, and the difference -- there were some turnout differences the main reason barack obama won florida, and hillary lost it, he won independence she lost it. the best way to do that is with a progressive message. you can be progressive and win
over voters as long as you do it in a way that is an inclusive progressivism. populace in orientation but acknowledges some although voters in rural areas, people who voted for obama, but we are open to their point of view. if you can do that in a non-cond sending way, you can win. we have the model because before this electoral disaster we did one two electoral landslides with barack obama, who was able to put together the coalition. the next candidate as well. >> first of all, i want to say i'm first looking for some republican with enough balls to run against donald trump in the a primary. [applause] i doubt we'll find that person but i think jeff flake will
flake -- again. [laughter] secondly, i agree that i think governors do best. just by my rule was until we got through the midterms i was not going to talk about 2020. i don't have that excuse anymore but i'm sorry the governors i believe are the strongest candidates, they come from outside washington. they have executive experience, as ben said somebody who can speak to the heart lieutenant and represent the issues to middle-class americans, who democrats always used to speak to and failed in 2016. someone with authenticity, bernie sanders brought the authenticity in 2016. and somebody i heard maximum boopght say somebody who is good on television. because donald trump is. on my show thursday morning we went through and went through a
list of all potential democratic candidates, celebrities, outsiders, and came with a list of 29. i like all 29. but i'll be honest with you, today i don't see a definitely front runner that kwr79 to get behind so i'm waiting to see if how things shake out, in a word, i would probably say i would love to see a younger bernie sanders. even a female younger bernie sanders. [applause] >> you write about this in your book dan, you talk about how difficult politics is, my first job out of college was on the 14 gubernatorial, i've never been on a winning campaign.
i feel it's getting harder and harder. you all grew up on the idealism of the west wing, i grew up when everyone in college was watching house of cartdz. ben i looked at your speeches, dan i looked at the ways you approach media in different wise, and got the president's message in other ways that no communication department had. what advice do you have for me to keep the faith and keep going but also what tools do you think i should be using in the next two years topologist to polish , and nonlike you said, november to san francisco, i feel like i was fans of both of you before it was cool, but now it's cool that everyone else is fans. >> that is a very weird thing to hear, but thank you. first you would note that i also worked on a lot of losing
campaigns before being on a winning one. that's the lot of being a democrat. you lose a lot of campaigns. james carville famously worked on 40 campaigns before he won his first one and the second one was bill clinton. you have to keep at it, and the best this is probably how you ended up in this situation but the best advice i try to give everyone is whenever you're choosing where to work for in a campaign or politics chooz the person you want to win not the person you think is going to win. once again for someone you are passionate for, the people who work for beta o'rourke, they feel so much better even though he lost, because they felt they were part of something special. so just keep doing it and know to yourself that every campaign even a losing one, particularly in a key state like this sets up the next one.
the voters who registered, the doors you knock, the list you cleaned up. the message you got out there you slowly moved. it's not as fast as we'd like but it's progress in the right direction. we talked a lot about the issues in the where you say have the issues we were not going to solve while obama was president because politics is slow, republicans are intransient, but we thought we could begin to move the country around them. there are people who organized and i would say keep doing what you're doing, i know it's hard and we are lucky to have someone that will continually get up and work for the next campaign. >> i talk about that in my book from the left, i've been involved in more losing campaigns than winning campaigns. bernie sanders for president, hillary clinton for president,
and i have learned as much if not more from those losing campaigns a than i did from the winning campaigns. you learn a lot each time and you build each time. and georgia is stronger today because of stacey abrahams. [applause] florida is stronger today because of andy gill nor, and bill nelson, you have to remember it's a long game not the short game, and then after losing so many times, god it feels good to within one. >> i am 2-0 on campaigns. kidding. i worked on losing city council races in brooklyn. this is the story that i was going to tell, dan and i were early in that cycle in 2008.
i was working for mark warner. now that those people decided to run for president. i always wanted to work for barack obama. warner stepped out when obama dipped his toe in the waters. there's no better advice in politics than if you care about the person you work for, it makes everything worth it. you will be ten times better at your job. the reason to go into this line of work is you get to be passionate about what you're doing, and if you care about the person or cause you're working on you will be good on it. the good thing about campaigns is you can learn a little of everything. i went in as a speech writer, i've never talked to press in my life. but suddenly someone has to do a bit of everything. running fax sheets, talking to the press, running position papers, debate press. it's a great way to learn a little bit of everything and become a utility player and find
out in that work what you're good at. i should say there's nothing better than going out and going on book tour, i'm sure dan gets this, meeting people like you is the single most rewarding thing since i left the white house, because it tells me there are people out there that will pick up the work and carry it forward. and if they don't we're going to get terrible outcomes in the united states. but if you guys are setting the pace, it make me very hopeful about the future. [applause] >> question from mr. rodes, during the long afternoon and night that the american consulate in benghazi was besieged, what did your team do, what overt actions did your team do to try to rescue the american ambassador before he died?
>> i told this story in great detail in my book because i thought it was important to do so. part of what people have to understand is how chaotic circumstances are. i think there's a if you looked at the conspiracy theories that emerged at benghazi, for instance, there was a supposition that we could convene in a room and immediately deploy an army to immediately deal with the event that was take place. the reality of that day as we lived it, it's the anniversary of september 11th, and there is a violent protests that begins in egypt at our embassy in cairo. so i'm in a bunch of meetings throughout the die where we're seeing scary images in cairo. people scaling the wall of our compounds, of our embassy compounds, waving black flags,
looting, rioting and trying to break into the embassy where we had a lot of people. that's playing itself out during the day. then, that afternoon, we hear there's something happening in benghazi. and already there's a bit of a asymmetry because in cairo you have international news media, we have a huge embassy we can see what's happening in realtime. benghazi is fairly off the grid. we have a very small diplomatic post in intelligence post in benghazi. there's not a national media presence so you can't see this happening. all we have are the reports we're getting from the people a who are there which immediately go dark, and in a really chilling moment i knew the ambassador, chris stevens. i had met with him before he had gone out. and one of the ways we could get information from him. we hear this initial report that
there is an attack, then we hear nothing and then there's a phone call from chris stevens cell phone from a hospital in benghazi. then it turns out the call is from someone else saying he's gravely wounded, probably not going to make it. so we're dealing with this situation where we have little information coming in other than this is under attack. so what do you do? president obama was coincidentally meeting with the secretary of defense and the chairman of joint chiefs of staff when he learned of this, and he said find out what other resources we can get to defend our people in libya. we find out where are the military responses from libya. and what can we move from outside of libya, so from europe into tripoley and this is taking
place over the night. the reality is there was not a military capacity to essentially deploy forces from europe right to benghazi. what we had to do is deploy forces from tripoli to benghazi, four americans are killed, and it's a hovering event. it's one of the worst days i've had in the white house. but i woke up thinking this is one of the worst things i'm going to be involved in. the country we had intervened in has been thrown off course. even the next day we p incomplete information. it takes a long time to find out what happened in a place so far away. what i then trace in the book is my deep regret at how this issue overmany years became more and more toxic in our politics.
because again the theories that would come out were clearly intended and this gets into dan's conspiracy theories. barack obama was sitting in the situation room monitoring this all and choosing not to do something. or that we could have deployed military resources. the premise of all these things is that somehow, you take a step back. the premise was somehow we could have saved americans and chose not to. and that is -- that's beyond offensive, and beyond anything that if you know barack obama he'd move heaven and earth to help americans who are in harm's way. it was something so ugly about the fact that that was the basic presumption of what had happened. and what i also saw over the years is that the conspiracy theory would move. sometimes it was about how we talked about what happened after the event, and we could litigate that until the end of time. all i can tell you is we gave
people information when we had it. but i thought it was useful in the back to trace whrawpped whad to been gaza in politics. it does show you where things led. this became more and more toxic, the word benghazi didn't know what it was other than an accusation. the investigation led to hillary clinton's email server. what that has to do with benghazi a i have no idea. i had the experience of getting death threats because i was a player in this drama. i describe the appearance of knowing there was a whole system out there i didn't know about. because i had a white house twitter account. and a few days i'd get a few people tweeting me, and then one day thousands of them tweeting me. and i knew some story had posted
about me one day i was a muslim brotherhood and then another day a jewish conspiracy. it was my first interaction of the media ecosystem which is ginning up anger, and to end i think it's important for us to understand how that got manipulated for political purposes. it's also important can't we get back to a place in our politics where the tragedy is that four americans were killed, and the thing that needs to be corrected is that we need better security at facilities, and not see any event dhaps around the world as a cods to launch a conspiracy theory to demean the motivationals of people who are serving in government. that's who we should be in america. [applause] >> hello. just want to ask about
venezuela, miami, and how should democrats what should be the policy message that trump has talked about invading venezuela -- how can we be progressives and do the right thing but also deal with humanitarian crisis happening. >> i'll try to take a stab at this. there's the policy issue of the deterurating situation in venezuela. first i have to say there's a lot more the united states should be doing to solve the humanitarian crisis that is taking place. that includes support venezuelaens should have the ability to come here. there should be protected status for them to come to this country, that is something democrats should get behind. secondly, we're not spending -- i was in columbia, there are a million venezuelaens in columbia, we should be providing support to countries like this
who are hosting the people. that is how we would be dealing with it in office. that's how we deal with the refugee crisis in the middle east. why wouldn't we dealing with that in our neighborhood? we should support the vens people who are outside of venezuela. i think the democratic party can do a lot more to raise the human issue immigration and foreign assistance which is two things the trump administration is not going to do. they give a lot of lip service to supporting venezuela people but they're not doing it. on the policy front i think the military invasion language is not helpful. i do think what is needed is a truly full-court constant diplomatic issue to try to revolve the issue. i'd like to see a dedicated person at a senior level appointed to do nothing else but going to south america and try
to shuttle between the parties and the office meetings opposition of empvenezuela. and see what a transition in venezuela could look like. how do we break the cycle of collapse that's taking place to get to some type of transitional government that can begin to allow the international community to put assistance into the country, bosma dur o won't support accept. that's a negotiation supported with the country's in the region as well. i do think this is an issue that has become more and more prominent in the next two years and i think it's incumbent upon democrats to come forward with their own ideas and issues here otherwise if it's just a rhetorical thing about who can say more bad things about madero, that's not constructivive. i agree, this is a regime that's been terrible for the people, the wegz question is how are we going to help the venezuela
people and i hope democrats are able to focus on those issues. [applause] >> just a quick post script on that. again, maybe reason 101 is this is another place where donald trump is evidenced his profound ignorance of latin america and what's going on there. the history of the united states in latin america which is a history of invasion and of staging coo's against elected leaders and assass ninety aassag leaders, when it was given to him in the oval office his response was to invade venezuela. >> let's take your questions back to back.
sir, last question. >> in our two-party system where our politics tends to split itself evenly with a given poll the parties r parties attend to apply to the fringe or those who which didn't vote in the consecutive election. for republicans it was the kkk, last election. in florida the lesson of 2016 seems to be lost on us where 1% of the vote here that went to third parties that were green parties or to the left of the democrat party, voted for that and we lost the election because of that. the same thing happened with gill hospital, so 1.5 percent of the vote went to four left-leaning parties. so what do you think went wrong or what can we do to reel those
people in who would have given gilham a win with more votes than he lost by? >> that is a very hard question and i've been thinking about that for a long time. my first campaign was al gore's run for presidency. i spent 37 today during the recount and none of that would have mattered had raffle nadir taken enough of the vote to hand the white house to george w. bush. i think i think instead of trying to think about -- there was a theory if we could convince these people who voted for jill stein to vote for democrats, then everything would be fine. in my mind it's a fool's errand. instead of having a message that is centered around the 1.5 persons of floridians that voted
for left leaning parties. we need a message as appealing as possible, and we need to turn out as many voters as possible. in close elections that number can creep up to the delta between winning and losing. but that is why we have to register more voters and have voters who vote for democrats. because in florida and everywhere else in this country there are significantly more people who if they voted would vote for democrats than republicans. they just don't vote forgiven for whatever reason. for our strategy should be about solving that problem as opposed to trying to get a one person i, if you get to the door and you can make the argument about why hillary clinton would have appointed a supreme court justice that would have
overturned citizens unite said. but i think we need to increase turnout while still winning independence. i think that is a viable application to win this state. and we've seen it in 2008-2012. >> i have to say i try to get along with everybody, but i cannot kirsten gillibrand without saying you cost amfranken his seat in the united states senate. i saw ralph nadir and i can't look at him without saying al gore would be president of the united states without -- but at the same time i agree with dan. i'm not for shutting down other voices or creation of other parties if they're successful to do it. i think we have to make sure our message is stronger, mere r more appealing we work harder, one of the things we have going against
us is rick scott talks about voter fraud, let's talk about voter suppression in georgia and florida. [applause] i think that has to be a top priority for the democrats in congress all these efforts on the part of state after state after state to either get rid of early voting or shorten early voting or shut down polling places as we saw in george or disenfranchise people, so just as a final note on to that point. i want to salute the people of florida for letting 1.4 felons having the right to vote. [applause] and i have no evidence to support this but i will state categorically that had that been the case before november 6th, andy gilham would be the governor of flor. so good work. >> that is the perfect note to
end today's conversation. thank you for a wonderful panel. (applause) 30th annual miami book fair. well anna clark, there are stories that come over our transom, and they burn brightly, and then they go away. the flint, water story is one of those. remind us, how did it all begin? >> well in some ways it began just a few years ago. in others ways it began decades ago. the short story is that the city of flint, michigan, it had been getting its water from the great lakes through detroit for more