Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 17, 2014 11:30pm-12:24am EDT

11:30 pm
having good relationships. the same is true of a good rework asked a good working relationship between the executive branch and the legislative branch that also among legislators. >> i agree. i find it incredible that people turn down white house invitations. it seems like your kind of dissing the institution of the president. >> i really think, for many republicans, a photo of that republican next to the president , to president obama, will cost you the primary. it has happened at every primary since 2010. and for us not to discuss that environment, which is very after 2010 -- i am a democrat and i am not blaming all the republicans and i think the president did make a greater concerted effort at times and establish those relationships. but we should not fool ourselves. this is not george w. bush's.
11:31 pm
it's not clinton's term. it is not george w. bush's term. this is a different environment and i blame leadership for not trying to rein in that kind of behavior. but i'm not really sure what leadership is going to do in the way of discipline or aggression. but what do you do with that political environment that is so poisoned that you have actuallyls that would turn down an invitation to go meet with the president and go to the white house? >> it gets back to valuing, compromise and -- valuing compromise and consensus. you are on one side or the other. they don't want any of the gray areas and sorting through the issues because it doesn't generate a lot of ratings. also hasis what
11:32 pm
happened, whether it's through cable networks or any other form of media. the point is people want to know if you are on one side or the other. at the end of the day, we will all have differences. the question is how are you going to get over those differences and solve the problem? that is not what is happening today for this country. so it is going to be up to all of us to get involved in these elections and in real-time and demand that and get back to what you are saying, charlie. then it does not become punitive. because of the primaries and the focus on primaries, but rather you have now a broader support among the population for compromise and consensus. that is why reforms have to take place that we are focusing on as well. >> even if you don't believe in
11:33 pm
compromise, if you don't want to compromise, you can delete in civil discourse. this report on the results of our first online audience question. can the senate retain its reputation without the filibuster or other minority rights? 77%. yes 23%. we want to cause a second question to our online audience. here is a question from the audience. boston college high school student.
11:34 pm
what role does gerrymandering play in dysfunction? i asked that particularly because of the conversation we had about members who would we reserve fight in the district for talking to the president because it is such a republican district. has gerrymandering had the effect of setting us up for this lack of function or this kind of dysfunction? >> i think gerrymandering plays a major role. when you think about how you shape a district, how you shape the districts, and persons wanting to be in a particular place and not another and perhaps getting elected and then find that their district is not capable of providing for them in the way that other districts might be able to do so. it is a difficult rss when you get to -- difficult process when you draw the lines.
11:35 pm
in many instances, it distorts a great deal of what made a district strong in the first place because you take so much away from it, so much out of it. so manyyou have created lines among each other it is difficult to build it back. i have not seen it builds back in my years. >> you look at a place like texas, lots of gerrymandering there, congressman's allis. >> there -- commerce man gonzales. >> yeah, there is some evidence of that. [laughter] there were some lawsuits in texas. i was so tired of taking the witness stand. as the reverend was alluding to, what you are trying to do is get as many seats as you could possibly win. that is way comes down to. but as i minority, what enters the picture will be minority districts. and you can say, when you create
11:36 pm
that, are you creating a democratic district? and that has been a legal argument all the time. the answer is generally yes. because of voting patterns and such. sometimes there are these compromises, but actually, it is out of respect legally speaking of the minorities rights to be able to elect someone of their choice. might be republican. might be democrat. most likely will be democrat. it is not as easy as i would like to present to you but definitely there has to be a better way of arriving at congressional districts every 10 years. >> some of the biggest political fights in this country are over redistricting. we have discussed in meetings with this group over the past year some reforms that might be considered to take that out of the equation. example, of iowa, for
11:37 pm
writes them about as independently as anybody could do. and that versus our home state, charlie, it's done by the state legislature. the governor gets involved. outside interests get involved and it is a bloodbath every 10 years. >> what are the odds texas would agree to nonpartisan redistricting? >> that is something that the state legislature has to agree to and they are up for reelection this year so i can't you offhand. but i think they ought to at least consider it. anause, again, we have example of one state that has been a pretty objectively thus far. another consideration would be what california does where you have jungle primaries and you don't have individual primaries of democrats and republicans and you have everyone in one pile. >> the jungle primaries where the first two finishers -- >> if you don't get a majority, you have a runoff. it might be to republicans or
11:38 pm
two democrats. clearly, there are ideas that should be considered by states to take this ugly fight out of the equation. haveout a dozen states adopted already independent redistricting commissions. frankly, you don't have to change every state in the country. you just have to change enough to alter the political equilibrium in the house of representatives, having more competitive seats. depending on which study you look at, one study last year of 435ed that 35 seats were competitive. verses 21 seats out of 435. it gives you the degree to which these districts have been significantly altered to fit the political. >> in california, it was the citizens that passed a referendum requiring that nonpartisan redistributing.
11:39 pm
it wasn't the legislature that decided to give up some of its power. here is a radical idea from a tweet from george sanders of larchmont, new york. would you ever support approval voting? approval voting is where you would go to an election and you vote for more than one candidate. and the candidate with the broadest acceptability would win the office. what do you think, senator bennett? you are kind of shaking your head. >> no. [laughter] >> i agree. >> they have a form of that in nevada. in nevada, you can vote none of the above. [laughter] and none of the above never gets more than four or -- four percent or five percent of the votes. but none of the above has determined the outcome of the election. i think harry reid would not be
11:40 pm
the senator of nevada if they hadn't had none of the above on the ballot because people who don't like harry but they don't like his opponent either so they just say none of the above. and if they were forced to make a choice, then they probably would have voted for harry's opponent. harry happens to be a friend of mine. he did a lot of wonderful things for me while i was in the senate. people would say to me, oh, harry reid is evil. i say, you like my record and all of the great things i did for you? oh, yeah, you are a terrific senator. well, i could not have been able to get any of it done without the behind the scenes from harry reid and he is a westerner and we westerners to together. he would say, i can help move that through. naturally, i am very careful about saying nasty things about harry reid because i will need
11:41 pm
in the next time something comes up. genericidea of having a "we hate everybody, was quote above" or "do notp approve," that is a copout. one. here is a question on twitter -- what is the line between acceptable minority party opposition and latent of structuralism? i wonder where that line is depends on what side of the line you are on, whether you are the party in power or not. andhere a line and how -- are we stepping over the line these days? >> i think there is a line.
11:42 pm
i think there is a line. i cannot see how there cannot be. a party andays there is always another party. there is always a group. there is always another group. there is always people who have their ideas of what politics are and another group who has a different idea. you are always going to have those kinds of challenges. it's not going to be easy to change it because this is the way it's been so long for so many. and anything that is different to them would seem to be that you are just tearing up that which they truly believe in and that would cause another degree of problems that we might not be able to solve. line betweenhe where to stand and being abstraction is, how do we know when someone is on one side of that line or the other?
11:43 pm
>> if you are always voting the party line and always voting basically because it's the republican deal or something, you are probably going to run into some problems. you will vote against every amendment in committee because it is republican. i think that is probably the zipline that you could probably draw. it would be some line of demarcation. i always thought, in our wildest dreams as we set there and there is a scoreboard, there is 435 of us and the senator will tell you that it is easier to call at 100 names than 435 so we vote electronically. i used to think, wouldn't it be great on a real controversial piece of legislation we could vote. but no one would know that that was your vote. you are legally entitled to vote. i wonder what that vote tally would look like. you would have some real bipartisanship going on. i think if you just always do not entertain the idea from the
11:44 pm
other side of the aisle, vote against it because of the origin , i think that is probably the easiest thing to identify. do you think a two-year budget makes sense? would we have less of this cliffhanger stuff? >> just getting a budget would be remarkable these days. [laughter] i do think a two-year budget would be a significant reform. in fact, pete domenici who chaired the committee, the ,udget committee for many years he introduced by annual budgets back in 1999. opportunity for
11:45 pm
congress to establish a two-year budget process and to have a yearsar resolution, two for appropriation and then go back in and engage in aggressive oversight of government programs and how they are functioning, what we can do to make them different, what works, what doesn't work. the kind of oversight that is vital and essential. that gives the opportunity for the congress and the committee to weigh in and then make adjustments through supplementals. so they don't always have to address the 12 appropriations simultaneously. adjustments that can be made over the two-year process. we already know how bad the process is from the shutdown that occurred. we have not had a budget in the united states senate until this last agreement in december.
11:46 pm
but on the appropriations side, the 12 appropriations, we well appropriations passed before the fiscal year of october 1 since 1996, which was under senator trent lott's leadership. and only 13 appropriation bills have passed since 2001. only 13 total, not in one year but total. just to give you the degree to which this current process has failed. so it would add significantly to improving it and getting them on a course of evaluating federal programs. >> so what are the odds of a two-year process? >> i think they are very good and we have an example. the murray-ryan but it is a two-year budget. we have actually done it. and let's see what happens in this two-year period.
11:47 pm
>> do you take this as a green shoot of spring that they were able to reach a budget deal? >> i think they did it without realizing what they were doing. [laughter] could i go back to the previous question? we kind of went over it very quickly but it is a very significant point. where do you draw the line andeen possible opposition absolute of structuralism? and there wasn't anybody who had stronger principled opposition than 10 eight -- than teddy kennedy to many of the positions that republican presidents took and he was outspoken about it. history. in the ratification of the constitution was one of the most bitter, divisive fights we ever had.
11:48 pm
everybody thinks, oh, they came out of philadelphia and they waved this marvelous document and there we were. no, they came out of philadelphia into a massive opposition. and the fight for ratification of the constitution state-by-state was a bloody fight. and the two states where it was the bloodiest were the two states we had to have in the union or we would not have had a country. and that was virginia and new york. all the other states could have ratified. if virginia and new york state, we would not have had a country. it was a narrow thing in both state. and james madison, fighting the fight in virginia, was opposed by edmund randolph, the member of the constitution convention who put forward the virginia plan to begin with, and then voted against it in the convention and came home to virginia and campaigned against
11:49 pm
it on the position that it takes too much sovereignty away from the state and i can't before it. and the most powerful orator in the state of virginia, patrick henry. and they want the constitution every step of the way. and it finally was ratified by a very narrow vote. ok, what did patrick henry do when people came to him and said, all right, what do we do to stop it? he said, we have lost. now we fight within the system. i will not fight the constitution anymore. i will now work within the structure that is created to get what i want later on. that is where the line should be. fight as best you can for your position and then, if you are defeated, you say all right, that is the way things are. now i will work within the
11:50 pm
system for what i believe instead of saying, all right, now i will shut down the system. that's the line that should be drawn. >[laughter] [applause] we have a pretty notable example where that has happened, the affordable care act. republicansgo, the had tried to repeal it. where do you take a principled stand in an act that you disagree with and being up structures? how do you know which side of the line you are on? >> i think senator bennett just said it beautifully. i think that a constant attempt to undermine what is already , i think a partyline vote or a decision that no by a party leader, that no matter what comes up you will never vote with another
11:51 pm
and decision to filibuster everything that comes from the other side come i think that is just of structure and is him. justis not -- that is obstructionism. that is not principled opposition. to totally revisit laws that have -- and i am feeling very strongly and personally about the affordable care act obviously, but to have a law that has been passed by both houses of congress, signed by the president, approved by the supreme court of the united states and still be talking about it over and over and over and over and over again, not about how to make it better, but how to undo it, i think is really not historically as far as i know what we have done. obviously, there are things you can improve, but that is not in the conversation. >> does anyone on the panel think that republicans --
11:52 pm
[applause] to repeal ofight the affordable care act had done the right thing, principled opposition not an example of opposition. is sincerethey feel opposition. there might be a fringe group that just wants to be negative on the president regularly. the most part, it is not limited to one party either. there are lots of people on both sides that have a lot of issues with it. i think are the most part, the majority of those that are constantly trying to change it or eliminate it are sincere in their feeling. alert -- i said pinocchio alert. [laughter] >> that is what i am sensing from the heartland. the think it illustrates
11:53 pm
fundamental primary issue why we are all here. the process isn't working. i gave it my level best. [applause] >> i know that for a fact. former chief of staff asked me do you know where this is going and i didn't. you have to take it to the and then decide. andhave to draw that line decide what you can support and what you couldn't and i couldn't. that's why the process matters. you have both sides weighing in on significant issue. it's the largest domestic initiative in our history. working at the table -- it you think about the civil rights act and how it passed, that was
11:54 pm
bipartisan. social security and medicare, how to gratify the constitution, giving the women are the right to vote. it is because the united states congress's willingness to work on landmark initiatives and that is not happening with the affordable care act. it should have been a process in which everybody was engaged on both sides. i won't get into the why it didn't, but unfortunately it didn't. ultimately, people are paying the price today. that's why i think so many people are saying, you know what, i prefer gridlock. with so many problems of the implementation, they say. not that there wouldn't be as your problems with an initiative of this kind, but it would be less awesome because you have more interest to make sure it works when you have both sides working on a major proposition of this kind. >> i know i have already spoken
11:55 pm
but i can't -- i have to tell you the story. [laughter] senator wyden and i in the previous congress put together a bipartisan health-care bill. we called it the healthy americans act. and mary landrieu called it the noah's ark built because you go ill becauserk b you go about it to buy two. we got up to 19 cosponsors. 10 and he had nine. lott, lamar alexander, ok, the election occurs. president obama is elected. health care is on the agenda. i get a call from don -- from tom daschle and says will you help us? and i said of course.
11:56 pm
but i said, tom, i want a seat at the table. he said, absolutely, you have a seat at the table. and tom daschle ran afoul of the confirmation process. did not get to be the secretary of hhs. a new team came in. i got a phone call -- i will not tell you the name -- i want to visit with you about health care. great, come on in. the individual came in. -- wed, i appreciate appreciate all the work you have done on health care. love to have your support as we work to get this bill done. be glad to do it. but i want to make it clear, it's not going to be the american health act. is not going to be your bill. i am here to to tell you that i want you to support our bill. but there are some things in this bill i really believe in. well, we are going to write the bill.
11:57 pm
i said, do you mind if i tell ron wyden? and he said, that is why i'm here. the phone andd up i called senator wyden and said our just been told i x that bill is dead on arrival. yeah, they have been working on me to get me to abandon it and i won't so he figures, if you works on you and you will tell me to abandon it, i will abandon it. cosponsors, including 10 republicans, including two members of leadership who were willing to work on a bipartisan solution because we believed that the current health care ,tructure was impossible terrible, bad for americans, needed to be changed. and we were frozen out of the conversation and told to go away. and it was passed with 60 democratic votes and not a single one of the 10 republican
11:58 pm
cosponsors was ever asked to participate in the process of putting it together. where iwas one place chalk it up not to anything evil. i am not rush limbaugh. i am not summit who says he hopes the president will fail. i think this is an example of the president's in experience in dealing with the congress. he had a great opportunity and he muffed it. >> i don't know how many times i hear if ted had been in united states senate at the time he would have worked it out because he is a master at writing legislation and understands the give-and-take of the legislative process. profound --n with a visiting the kennedy institute and seeing what the senate was all about and what it is going to be about and the interaction
11:59 pm
and what inspires so many young people to run for public office knowing how that process works and how he made it work. >> i have to chime in for just a second. there wase house, tremendous respect on both sides for ted kennedy because of the way he operated. i guess in speaking in broader terms of out people that used to be in the senate and the house that operated from that vantage point, where they really wanted to get the right thing done and, if they couldn't get their way, they were not going to lay on the tracks and call a news conference and stomp their feet and try to get you in their next election. he never did that. and i think that is best just to build on what olympia is saying -- was one of the great things about him. someone who is kind of a master legislator respected on , has a strong point of view but is willing to work
12:00 am
-- is there a young senator or someone who seems like a prospective ted kennedy figure? >> lamar alexander. >> i would agree with that. >> any other nominees? >> it would be easier if we had a list to look at. i give you a name that will surprise everybody? chuck schumer. member of theing rules committee when chuck was the chairman. everybody said to me, this is going to be terrible. feinstein was dianne dianne -- feinstein. we worked everything out without any difficulties, no problems. has moved onto
12:01 am
intelligence. you have schumer. he's a tough partisan. he's going to be awful. i never asked chuck for anything he didn't give me. i made sure all of my requests or reasonable -- were reasonable. downld go to chuck and sit , and chuck would say, ok, we can work that out. i know he has a reputation as a brass knuckles, back alley and he is as tough a partisan as you are going to come across, but chuck is transactional. if he can make a deal. i think if chuck were the majority leader, or i prefer minority leader -- [laughter] alexander was the majority leader, i think you would see a very different senate. >> a couple quick names. is one.tch
12:02 am
in the house, bill shuster. hal rogers. they may not be household names, but they are within the institution itself respected as people who really want to work with you to try to accomplish. >> it is interesting that senator schumer and senator alexander are mentioned. they are working on new processes in the senate to get things going. it's report -- let's report. would you support a two-year budget so congress can conduct budget talks half as much? 87% yes. 13% of no -- no. finalask our third and question -- would congress be more productive if members of their family spent more time in washington? you can vote at our website vicki kennedy, i've heard a lot of people talk about the need for people, members to spend
12:03 am
more time in washington. membersoll, we asked if of congress should move their families to washington or leave them in the district. by six to one, americans said they should leave their families in the district. concernedmuch more with members losing touch with what their constituents wanted them there was about forging relationships that would help in washington. just a turtleat's you can't overcome when it comes to spending more time in washington or moving your family there. leavingnk the notion of your family back home is a relatively new phenomenon. historically, families always moved to washington. certainly, it was expected. senate, for a six-year term, the idea that your family would be someplace else -- teddy used to talk about it -- he would say, they are in five days a week.
12:04 am
the idea that your family would be someplace else was just unthinkable. well, tochance, as have a chance to have dinner with your family if you could. he did this really with my children, as well. we would have picnics on the capitol lawn. the senate would be in session. sometimes, there would be a band. the marine band would play on the capitol lawn, and on a certain day of the week -- do you remember that -- we would sit under the tree and had a picnic. the bell would ring, and he would go back in for a vote. it was the idea that you could have a civilized life, but you also had the sense of normal family life. it allowed you to meet other senators, to meet their families, to meet their spouses in the senate spouse club where we would have regular lunches. i had wonderful across the aisle -- a wonderful relationship with senator bennet's wife, other spouses, and that made a difference in how -- how our
12:05 am
responses interacted on the floor. all of those things make a difference. know each other as human beings. i think it is a terrific idea to spend time in washington. you are there to do a job. it is to represent your constituents in washington -- washington. think about being in a workplace. if you aren't getting along with your coworkers, how productive can you be? if you don't know your coworkers names, how productive can you be? i'm very much in favor of it. [applause] >> this audience agrees with it. i think it must be hard on a member of congress to not have their family living in washington. when your constituents are suspicious of the idea, what do you do? can you book them and say, no, it's important for me to have them there? -- aere is a distinction big difference in the term of a senator and a term of the u.s. house representative member, which is two years.
12:06 am
winhim in november -- you in november, and a year later, you are filing for office again. my dad was elected to congress in 1961. mom and dad had eight kids. we were lucky to have a home back in san antonio, much less one in san antonio and one in d.c. theould visit dad in summer, two and a time because he lived in an apartment. when i was in congress, i still remember the congresswoman from new mexico was in charge of 75%ng a survey or poll -- of the members of the house did not have their families in washington. it's not that you don't want them there. one, i think it is a financial situation. it's really difficult. running foru are office. you will be back home whether you like it or not during that campaign year, which is every other year. seeuch as i would like to
12:07 am
it, because it does make for a more complete member to have family there, it just makes it a better paris and, enables you to get along, and you'll see other members -- henry nye, we doubled with my step kids and your kids, but they were just visiting back see the advantages. it is just the practicality of it with the two-year term and the financial constraints and challenges would make it really difficult. are goode and i examples. conservative, liberal, we get along great. we didn't agree on a lot of things when we were in congress, but we always got along. at him ay got mad couple of times, and vice versa, but we did have opportunities to hang out like that. it really helps when you are trying to work on something. maybe it is too out of 10 issues that you might agree on, but is more than you have not.
12:08 am
-- it is more than you have now. if you are for continuing dysfunction in washington and gridlock, you probably don't want members to spend more time in washington. to workant them together and get along more, you will want them to be in washington more. you do build those relationships that make it harder to just be .gly for political purposes it just lends itself to more compromise. >> here is a question from our -- shee, from kate atkin writes, what message do you have for the millennial generation both his voters and individuals who might run for office or otherwise engage with government? what responsibilities and incentives to they had to get involved, and how should they get involved? i wonder also if there might be some attitude among some young people, why would they want to get involved in a political system where it is so hard to get things done and where there
12:09 am
is such a personal cost? havethink the millennials already proven, if you look at the last presidential campaign, that they are interested. they want to be involved. they want to be engaged. they don't necessarily know means,hat all of that but what they do know is who they want to be seated in the white house or in the congress representing them in their particular communities and particular areas. believe as they grow, and particularly in this age where they have access to all of this hardware to communicate with each other, i believe you are going to see some turns very soon in terms of how they connect to one another and how they go to the polls and how they see themselves in relationship to other people who are surrounding them. see aelieve that you will mage grew -- a much greater
12:10 am
turnout in the future because they see themselves as the future. them, pushrate with them, help them to understand politics better than they do, i think that we will find that this will be a generation that may really change the whole scope of politics as we know it today. millennials are elected to office and increasingly taking positions of authority, will they be different from the current generation in terms of how they work? >> they will be. they think different. they talk different. >> what will be different? come out ofhey institutions, universities, and other places. and they have a different mindset about what life is about . most of them are relatively mature. they have exceptional communication skills. speak in be able to
12:11 am
such ways that they can present and people understand what they mean by what they say. i do believe that we are going to see a dramatic change in the next 2-3 years. i'm using just populations of young people because i use them so much. their ideas are great ideas. at this point, they need to find a way to get people to listen. >> when the millennials rule the world, how will it be different? >> i think they will learn not cues from the current climate in washington. i've definitely gotten that impression from young people as i've traveled across the country, speaking on college campuses. the constantly ask me question about what they can do to change it. how best can they contribute. they do wonder or not they should participate in running for public office or in public service. i tell them they absolutely must.
12:12 am
they always ask me the tricky question, if you left the united states senate, why are you asking us to get involved? [laughter] i said, that is a good question. i said, i met another stage in life. i can best contribute this way in convincing people that you dynamic.e the current they are early in their lives. they have their entire lifetime ahead of them, as well as the country. they need to be involved and make an impact because of what at stake. results nowo demand from those in public office because it will have profound implications for them going forward given the enormity of the debt and the other problems that had been long deferred. so many.pressed with they are problem solvers. they are looking at the world around them. they are aware. they want to change this political system. it is going to encourage them to run for office.
12:13 am
as i did in my generation, i was inspired by president kennedy, and we need to have a whole new generation of young people thinking about it, especially at these times when there are so many issues that could have a tremendous impact on their futures. >> let's look at the results from the third question. be more, would congress productive if members of their family spent more time in washington? here is what we heard from you. yes, 60 one percent. no, 39%. a little at odds with what we saw with our nationwide survey of americans. we have gotten several e-mails and comments that go to campaign-finance and what kind of factor that plays in dysfunction. he wrote us, can we get money out of politics and keep members
12:14 am
in congress over weekends in d.c. and reduce their vacations? he has a lot of things. and this -- obscene amounts of money are squandered to buy media soundbites aimed at distracting voters and discrediting opponents. because unelected officials are beholden to their benefactors, the idea of voting based on the goal of representing constituents is lost. is campaign-finance the most critical component of both congressional reform and restoring congo -- public confidence in government? senator bennett, what do you think? >> ok, here we go. wand, ild wave a magic would repeal mccain-feingold. i would get presidents elected under the old system starting with the john f. kennedy. his father had all the money in the world.
12:15 am
he said, my father said he would buy me the presidency, but he was not going to buy a landslide. can you get money out of politics? the answer is no. if you cannot. it's like trying to stop water from running down the hill. you can build a dam that can store a little bit of it for a while and i've heard where it comes, but it is going to run down the hill one way or the other. done withve heard -- campaign-finance reform -- i realize i'm very much alone in this, but here we go -- in the name of campaign-finance final is weakened the parties in taking control of campaigns away from the candidates. it is improper to give that much money to the party. it is improper to give that much money to the candidates.
12:16 am
since we have something pesky in the constitution called the expressendment, you can yourself in a political campaign. if you can't give the money to is party, you can't give much as you want. you can't give to the candidate is much as you want, then you become sheldon adelson and you buy your own ad. pretty soon, the outside expenditures takeover the campaign and distort the campaign. the people who buy those ads are b, bad marketers. they produce bad ads. that is part of the circumstance where everybody is turned -- off about politics. a woman in new hampshire said, i don't vote for any of them, it only encourages them. they hate politics because of the way it's been done. if we could go back to the old days when the parties that were
12:17 am
professional, that knew how to do right kinds of campaigns and intelligent kinds of ads, and candidates who could say, no, you are not going to run that ad in my campaign because it is going to make me look bad, i think we would have a whole better situation that we have now. now, it's all, get money out of politics. you're not going to get money out of politics. all we are doing is distorting the direction which the money who and empowering people otherwise would have their down by themped power of the parties themselves. the parties are weaker now than they have ever been in american history. the candidates who were elected before we started campaign-finance reform. people like frequent roosevelt and dwight eisenhower and jack kennedy -- we did pretty well in those days -- the final passage
12:18 am
of mccain-feingold occurred, and we said, now this will get big money out of politics. the first election fought after that was between al gore and george w. bush. yeah, that was an election with not very much big money, wasn't it? that was an election where we saw all of the benefits that came out of that, didn't we? hot buttonched a with me, and i appreciate the opportunity. hiss all youoo and want. that is the position i take. >> it's unfortunate you don't have any opinions to share with us. [laughter] we have this system where we don't control the spending by billionaires. should we loosen the restrictions on party or eliminate them altogether so that it would strengthen the parties? what do some others on the panel think about that idea? >> the supreme court is probably going to be dealing with that.
12:19 am
there are restrictions of what we can raise as an individual in the primary and in the general. the parties are restricted to a certain amount, but super packs pacs are you're not going to get the money out of politics. it is going to find its way in some fashion. the question is, can you do some things that might level the playing field? i'm not real crazy about just saying, no limits at all. you should be able to give me $5 million to run or such. i don't know if that is the solution. can do that and shift the money over. i do think disclosure could be an important item. we could be doing those things so at least you would know where that money is coming from for
12:20 am
the multimillion dollar ad. we can't even do that in congress. of thet don't get rid money. it is going to find its way in one way or the other. >> i think it is an important issue for us at the bipartisan policy sector, as well, and looking at recommendations, given the supreme court highern, which is a hurdle now, in citizens united, which did release the fourth of the super pacs. my issue in mccain-feingold was trying to draw a distinction between ads that were electioneering ads that influenced the outcome of an election. those were purely advocating a position on an issue. the first supreme court challenge. it did not survive the second, which was citizens united. then the court to get another 100 years back and said that
12:21 am
corporations were people. that ultimately led to the super pacs. i think it is important to demand accountability and disclosure of donors to these organizations. that is one way of having transparency. many of these organizations that have one donor or thousands -- i think that would help to some degree. short of a constitutional amendment, getting around citizens united -- i think we should get rid of leadership pacs. i think i was down to one of three in the senate maybe when i left who do not have a leadership pac. i wasn't there to raise money perpetually. leadership pacs are designed to get more money in addition to your reelection committee. to placet of pressure
12:22 am
on an individual, senators and members of the house. more than half of leadership pacs, as well. it is more money and more of a time commitment. there are some things we can do. looking at others emphasizing small donors, and maybe we can get through tax credits and that sort of thing to help bring in smaller donors and have a greater emphasis on their participation. >> i have to leave a little early, but i do want to point out that this group has discussed at great length in the last year the amount of time senators and house members have to spend raising money not just for their campaigns, but for their parties, senate, house pa cs and all of that. something has to be done to cut back on that. [applause] they spend in many cases up to half of their time in washington raising money. >> that is a result of
12:23 am
mccain-feingold. seriously. >> no. of my the first half career, the most i could ask anybody to contribute to my campaign was $1000. do you know how many phone calls you have to make add $1000 toece to get enough money wage a senate campaign? >> it was indexed. >> now it is $2500. you don't spend quite as much time on the phone. mccarthyle of eugene who probably took out lyndon johnson in the 1968 election -- eugene mccarthy went to five people, raised $100,000 from each one of them, fully disclose who they were, and went to new