tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 6, 2014 1:00am-3:01am EST
preference to see congress act on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would strengthen our borders, would streamline our legal immigration system so that it works and we are attracting the best and brightest from around the world and that we give an opportunity for folks who live here in many cases for a very long time, may have kids who are u.s. citizens, but aren't properly documented. give them a chance to pay their back taxes, get in the back of the line but get through a process that allows them to get legal. the senate on a bipartisan basis passed a good bill. it wasn't perfect. it wasn't exactly what i wanted but it was a sound, smart piece of legislation that really would greatly improve not just our immigration system but our
economy and would improve business conditions here in the united states. and make sure that american born workers aren't undercut by workers who are undocumented and aren't always paid a fair wage and as a consequence employers who are breaking the rules are able to undercut folks who are doing the right thing. we got a bipartisan bill out of the senate. i asked john boehner at that point can we pass this through the house? is there a majority of votes in the house to get this passed? and speaker boehner i think was sincere about wanting to pass it but had difficulty over the last year trying to get it done. so when he finally told me he wasn't going to call it up this year, what i indicated to him is i feel obliged to do everything i can lawfully with my executive authority to make sure that we don't keep on making the system
worse, but that whatever executive actions that i take will be replaced and supplanted by actions by congress. that is a commitment i made not just to the american people and to the business and evangelical community and law enforcement folks and everybody who has looked at this issue and thinks that we need immigration reform. that is a commitment that i made to john boehner i would act in the absence of action by congress. before the end of the year we are going to take whatever lawful actions that i can take that i believe will improve the functioning of our immigration system that will allow us to surge additional resources to the border where i think the vast majority of americans have the deepest concern. and at the same time, i will be reaching out to both mitch
mcconnell, john boehner and other republican and democratic leaders to find out how it is that they want to proceed. and if they want to get a bill done, whether it is during the lame duck or next year i'm eager to see what they have to offer. what i'm not going to do is just wait. i think it is fair to say that i have shown a lot of patience and have tried to work on a bipartisan basis as much as possible. and i'm going to keep on doing so. but in the meantime, let's figure out what we can do lawfully through executive actions to improve the functioning of the existing system. [inaudible question] if you want to get into the details of it, i suspect that when i announce that executive
action it will be rife with detail and i'm sure there will be a lot of follow-up questions. chris jansen? >> thank you, mr. president. i want to follow up on a couple of things and start with immigration. and are you concerned that if you sign an executive order on immigration before the end of the year it will scuttle whatever chances there may be for there to be some sort of compromise on the issues that you talked about? i wonder given the unhappy electorate why they publish the republicans versus the democrats by far? >> when it comes to the analysis, that is your job. what is also true is i am the president of the united states and understandably people are
going to ask for greater accountability and more responsibility from me than from anybody else in this town. appropriately so. and i welcome that. and the commitment that i will make to the american people and the way i have tried to conduct myself throughout this presidency is i will wake up every single day doing my absolute best to deliver for them. there are areas where we have made real progress. i think economically i can look back and there is no doubt that on almost every measure we are better off economically than we were when i took office. but what is also true is there is still a lot of folks out there who are anxious and hurting and having trouble making ends meet or are worried about their children's future and it is my job to give them some confidence that this town can work to respond to some of those worries that folks have.
and we haven't done a good enough job convincing them of that and i understand that. if they have been watching washington over the last two, four years what they have seen is a lot of arguing and a lot of gridlock but not a lot of concrete actions at least legislatively that have made a difference in their lives. and so we have got to make sure that we do a better job. and i'm committed to doing that. on immigration, i know that concerns have been expressed if you do something through executive actions even if it is within your own authorities that that will make it harder to pass immigration reform. i just have to remind everybody, i have heard that argument now for a couple of years. this is an issue i actually wanted to get done in my first term and we didn't see legislative action. and in my second term i made it
my top legislative priority. we got good work done by a bipartisan group of senators and it froze up in the house. i think that the best way if folks are serious about getting immigration reform done is go ahead and pass the bill. and get it to my desk. and then the executive actions that i take go away. they are superseded by the law that has passed. and i will engage any member of congress who is interested in this in how we can shape legislation that will be a significant improvement over the existing system. but, what we can't do is just keep on waiting. there is a cost to waiting. there is a cost to our economy. it means that resources are misallocated. when the issue of unaccompanied children cropped up during the summer, there was a lot of folks who perceived this as a major crisis in our immigration
system. now the fact is that those numbers have now come down and they are approximately where they were a year ago or two years ago or a year before that. but it did identify a real problem in a certain portion of the border where you got to get more resources. but, those resources may be misallocated separating families right now that most of us, most americans would say probably we would rather have them just pay their back taxes, pay a fine, learn english, get to the back of the line but we will give you a pathway where you can be legal in this country. so where i have got executive authorities to do that we should get started on that. but i want to emphasize once again, if in fact republican leadership wants to see an immigration bill passed they now have the capacity to pass it and
hopefully engaging with me and democrats in both the house and the senate it is a bill that i can sign because it addresses the real concerns that are out there. and the sooner they do it from my perspective, the better. johnathan carl? >> thank you, mr. president. mitch mcconnell has been the republican leader for six years, as long as you have been president. his office tells me that he has only met with you one on one once or twice through the six year period. as somebody who came to washington promising to end the hyperpartisanship, it was a mistake to do so little to develop relationships with the republicans in congress? >> i think that every day i'm asking myself are there some things i can do better. and i will keep on asking that every single day.
the fact is that most of my interactions with congress have been cordial and constructive. oftentimes we haven't been able to get what is discussed in a leadership meeting through -- through caucuses in the house and the senate to deliver a bill. the good news is that now mitch mcconnell and john boehner are from the same party. i think they can come together and decide what their agenda is. they have sufficient majorities to make real progress on some of these issues. and you know, i'm certainly going to be spending a lot more time with them now because that is the only way that we will be able to get some stuff done. and i take them at their word that they want to produce.
they are in the majority. they need to present their agenda. i need to put forth my best ideas. i think the american people will be able to watch us and they are paying attention to see whether or not we are serious about actually compromising and being constructive. and my commitment to them, and i said this when i spoke to them, is that anywhere where we can find common ground i'm eager to pursue it. >> are you going to have the drink with mitch mcconnell that you joked about at the white house dinner? >> i would enjoy having some kentucky bourbon with mitch mcconnell. i don't know what his preferred drink is, but -- my interactions with mitch mcconnell. he has always been very straightforward with me. to his credit, he has never made a promise that he couldn't deliver and he knows the legislative process well. he obviously knows his caucus
well. he has always given me i think realistic assessments of what he can get through his caucus and what he can't. and so i think we can have a productive relationship. >> thank you, mr. president. another deadline coming up is your negotiators by november 24 have to figure out if they will reach a deal with iran on a nuclear agreement. i'm interested what your current perspective is on how the negotiations are going? also, if it is your feeling that you have the power to implement any type of agreement that is reached without any action from congress? and then also wanted to quickly touch on the aumf. more of a codification of the limits that you put in place for the mission up to this point? or what should we be looking for on that when you send it to the hill?
thank you. >> on aumf, the leaders will be coming here on friday. an expanded group, not just the four leaders but a larger group who all have an interest in the issues we are discussing today. and i'm actually going to invite lloyd austin the cencom commander to make a presentation about how our fight against isil is proceeding. and i think to answer questions and assure that congress is fully briefed on what we are doing there. with respect to the aumf, we already had conversations with members of both parties in congress and the idea is to right-size and update whatever authorization congress provides to suit the current fight rather than previous fights. in 2001, after the heartbreaking
tragedy of 9/11 we had a specific set of missions that we had to conduct and the aumf was designed to pursue those missions. with respect to iraq there was a specific aumf. we now have a different type of enemy. the strategy is different, how we partner with iraq and other gulf countries and the international coalition that has to be structured differently so it makes sense for us to make sure that the authorization from congress reflects what we perceive to be not just our strategy over the next two or three months but our strategy going forward. and it will be a process of listening to members of congress as well as us presenting what we think needs to be the set of authorities that we have. and i'm confident we will be able to get that done. and that may just be a process of us getting it started now.
it may carry over into the next congress. on iran, because of the unprecedented sanctions that we put in place that really did have a crippling effect on iran's economy, they have come to the table and they have negotiated seriously around providing assurances that they are not developing a nuclear weapon for the first time and they have abided by the interim rules. we have been able to freeze their program, in some cases reduce the stockpile of nuclear material that they already had in hand and the discussions and the negotiations have been constructive. the international community has been unified and cohesive. even countries where we have differences like russia have
agreed with us and have worked with us cooperatively in trying to find ways to make sure that we can verify and have confidence going forward that iran doesn't have the capacity to develop a nuclear weapon that could not only threaten friends of ours like israel and trigger a nuclear arms race in the region but could over the long term potentially threaten us. whether we can actually get a deal done, we will have to find out over the next three to four weeks. we have presented to them a framework that would allow them to meet their peaceful energy needs and if in fact what their leadership says that they don't want to develop a nuclear weapon, if that is in fact true they have an avenue here to provide that assurance to the world community and in a progressive step-by-step
verifiable way allow them to get out from under sanctions so that they can re-enter as full fledged members of the international community. but they have their own politics and there is a long tradition of mistrust between the two countries and there is a sizeable portion of the political elite that can cut its teeth on antiamericannism and still finds it convenient to blame america for every ill that there is, and whether they can manage to say yes to what clearly would be better for iran, better for the region, and better for the world, is an open question. we'll find out over the next several weeks. >> sir, if the -- on whether or not you have power unilaterally to relax sanctions to implement an agreement? >> there are a series of different sanctions. multilateral, u.n. sanctions,
sanctions that have been imposed by us, this administration unilaterally and i think it is different for each of those areas. but i don't want to put the cart before the horse. what i want to do is see if we, in fact, have a deal. if we do have a deal that i have confidence will prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon and that we can convince the world and the public will prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon, then it will be time to engage in congress and i think we will be able to make a strong argument to congress this is the best way to avoid a nuclear iran. it will be more effective than any other alternatives we would take including military action. i would rather have no deal than a bad deal. what we don't want to do is lift sanctions and provide iran
legitimacy but not have the verifiable mechanisms to make sure that they don't break up and produce a nuclear weapon. ed henry? i missed you guys. i haven't done this in awhile. >> i missed you. thank you, mr. president. i haven't heard you -- i haven't heard you say a specific thing during the news conference that you would do differently. you have been asked it a few different ways. i understand you said you are going to reach out. almost like you are doubling down on the same policies and approach you had for six years. why not pull a page from the clinton playbook and admit you have to make a much more dramatic shift in course for the last two years? and on isis, it was a pretty dramatic setback in the last few days with it appearing the syrian rebels routed, gitmo detainees who rejoined the battlefield helping isis and other terror groups is the report. my question is, are we winning?
>> i think it is too early to say whether we are "winning" because as i said at the outset of the isil campaign, this is going to be a long-term plan to solidify the iraqi government, to solidify their security forces, to make sure that in addition to our air cover that they have the capacity to run a ground game that pushes isil back from some of the territories that they had taken, that we have a strong international coalition that we have now built but that they are on the ground providing the training, providing the equipment, providing the supplies that are necessary for iraqis to fight on behalf of their territory. and what i also said was that in syria that is complicated and that is not going to be solved any time soon.
our focus in syria is not to solve the entire syria situation, but rather to isolate the areas in which isil can operate and there is no doubt that because of the extraordinary bravery of our men and women in uniform and the precision of our pilots and strikes that have taken place that isil is in a more vulnerable position and it is more difficult for them to maneuver than it was previously. there is a specific issue about trying to get a moderate opposition in syria that can serve as a partner with us on the ground. that has always been the hard effort piece of business to get done. there are a lot of opposition groups from syria along a spectrum from radical jihadists who are our enemies to folks who believe in democracy and everything in between.
they fight among each other. they are fighting the regime. and what we are trying to do is to find a core group that we can work with that we have confidence in that we vetted that can help in regaining territory from isil and then ultimately serve as a responsible party to sit at the table in eventual political negotiations that are probably some ways off in the future. that has always been difficult. as you know, one of the debates has consistently been should the obama administration provide more support to the opposition? could that have averted some of the problems taking place in syria? and as i have said before, part of the challenge is, it is a messy situation. it is not a situation where we have one single unified broad-based effective reliable
-- let me answer the question, ed. and so what we are going to continue to test is can we get a more stable effective cohesive moderate opposition. but that is not the sole measure of whether we are quote, unquote, winning or not. our first focus, ed, here is to drive isil out of iraq. and what we are doing in syria is first and foremost in service of reducing isil's capacity to resupply and send troops and then run back over the syrian border to eventually re-establish a border between iraq and syria so that slowly iraq regains control of its security and its territory. that is our number one mission. that is our number one focus. there are aspects of what is going on in syria that we have got to deal with in order to
reduce the skype of -- the scope of isil's operations. for example, our support for kurds in kobane, that is not just because we are trying to solve a syria problem. that is also because it gives us an opportunity to further weaken isil to meet our number one mission which is iraq. in terms of things to do differently, i guess, ed, the question you are asking is one actually i think i have answered. if you are asking about personnel, if you are asking about position on issues or what have you, then it is probably premature because i want to hear what -- >> something about the -- >> ed, what i would like to do is to hear from the republicans
to find out what it is that they would like to see happen. and what i'm committing to is making sure that i am open to working with them on the issues that where they think that there is going to be cooperation. now, that isn't a change because i suggested to them before that where they think there is area of cooperation i would like to see us get some things done. but the fact that they now control both chambers of congress i think means that perhaps they have more confidence, that they can pass their agenda and get a bill on my desk. it means that negotiations end up perhaps being a little more real because they have larger majorities for example in the house and may be to get some things through their caucuses that they couldn't before. but the bottom line to the american people want to know that up -- and that i'm going to
repeat here today is that my number one goal, because i'm not running again, i'm not on the ballot, i don't have any further political aspirations -- my number one goal is just to deliver as much as i can for the american people in the last two years. and wherever i see an opportunity no matter how large or how small to make it a little easier for a kid go to college. make it a little more likely that somebody is finding a good paying job. make it a little more likely that somebody has high quality healthcare. even if i'm not getting a whole loaf i'm interested in getting whatever legislation we can get passed that adds up to improved prospects and improve future for the american people. sam stein?
>> thank you, mr. president. following the elections, congressional republicans are pushing for major reforms to the healthcare act. can you tell us what specific ideas you are ruling out? have the election results changed your calculus on reforming the law? and how confident heading into the second enrollment period? and have you settled on a nominee to replace attorney general eric holder? and if so, who is it? >> you want to spread out your news a little bit, don't you? you don't want it all in just one big bang. on the attorney general we have a number of outstanding candidates we are taking a look at now and in due course i will have an announcement and you will be there, sam, when it is announced. i'm confident that we will find somebody who is well qualified and will elicit the confidence of the american people and will
get confirmed by the senate. on healthcare, there are certainly some lines i'm going to draw. repeal of the law. i won't sign. efforts that would take away healthcare from the 10 million who now have it and the millions more who are eligible to get it we are not going to support. in some cases there may be recommendations that republicans have for changes that would undermine the structure of the law and you know i will be very honest with them about that and say look, the law doesn't work if you pull out that piece or that piece. on the other hand, what i have said is there is no law that has ever been passed that is
perfect. and given the contentious nature in which it was passed in the first place there are places where if i were just drafting a bill on our own we would have made those changes back then and certainly as we have been implementing there are some other areas where we think we can do even better. so, you know, if in fact one of the items on mitch mcconnell's agenda and john boehner's agenda is to make responsible changes to the affordable care act to make it work better i'm going to be very open and receptive to hearing those ideas. but what i will remind them is that despite all of the contention we now know that the law works. you have got millions of people who have health insurance who didn't have it before. you have states that have expanded medicaid to folks who
did not have it before including republican governors who concluded this is a good deal for their state. and despite some of the previous predictions, even as we have enrolled people in the affordable care act and given which is saving us about $180 billion in reduced overall costs to the federal government and the medicare program. so we are i think really proud of the work that has been done, but there is no doubt that there are areas where we can improve it. so i will look forward to seeing what list they have of improvements.
>> the individual mandate one of the lines you can't cross? >> the individual mandate is a line i can't cross because the concept borrowed from massachusetts from a law instituted by a former opponent of mine, mitt romney, understood that if you are providing health insurance to people through the private marketplace then you have got to make sure that people can't game the system and just wait until they get sick before they try to go and buy health insurance. you can't ensure that people with preexisting conditions can get health insurance unless you also say while you are healthy before you need it you have to get insurance. there are hardship exemptions. some folks who even with the generous subsidies provided still can't afford it but that is a central component of the law.
in terms of enrollment, we will do some additional announcements about that in the days to come. starting in the middle of this month, people can sign up again. i think there are a number of people who the first time around sat on the sidelines in part because of our screwups on healthcare.gov. that is one area, ed, by the way, is very particular. we are really making sure the website works super well before the next open enrollment period. we are double and triple checking it. a lot of people who maybe initially thought we are not sure how this works, let's wait and see, they will have an opportunity now to sign up and what has been terrific is to see how more private insurers have come into the marketplace so that there is greater competition in more markets all around the country. the premiums that have come in that are available to people and the choices that are available are better than a lot of people i think had predicted. so the law is working.
that doesn't mean it can't be improved. major garrett? >> thank you, mr. president. and if you do miss us, allow me to humbly suggest we do this every week. >> we might. who knows? i'm having a great time. >> let me go back to immigration. moments before you walked out here, sir, mitch mcconnell said, and i quote, if you in fact use your executive authority to legalize a certain number of millions of undocumented workers it would poison the wealth and would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull. do you not believe that is the considered opinion of the new republican majority in the house and senate? and do you also not believe what they have said in the aftermath of last night's results that the verdict rendered by voters should stop you or prevent you from taking this action because it was a subtext in many of the campaigns?
i will ask you a couple of specifics. republicans haven't made it a mystery -- >> do i have to write all these down? >> you are familiar with these. keystone excel pipeline. ask you to repeal the medical device tax as part of the mechanism to the affordable care act, and repatriate by reforming the corporate tax code without touching the individual tax code. to use your words, are any of those three lines you will not cross? and also deal with what you perceive to be republican attitude about immigration? >> i think, major, i answered the question on immigration. i have no doubt that there will be some republicans who are angered or frustrated by any executive action that i may take.
those are folks, i just have to say, who are also deeply opposed to immigration reform in any form and blocked the house from being able to pass a bipartisan bill. i have said before that i actually believe that john boehner is sincere about wanting to get immigration reform passed. which is why for a year i held off taking any action beyond what we had already done for the so-called dream kids, and did everything i could to give him space and room to get something done. and what i also said at the time was if, in fact, congress, if this congress could not get something done that i would take further executive actions in order to make the system work better, understanding that any bill that they pass will supplant the executive actions that i take.
i just want to reemphasize this, major. if, in fact, there is a great eagerness on the part of republicans to tackle a broken immigration system, then they have every opportunity to do it. my executive actions not only do not prevent them from passing a law that supersedes those actions but should be a surge for them to get something done. i'm prepared to engage them every step of the way with their ideas. i think we should have further broad-based debate among the american people. as i said before, i do think that the episode with the unaccompanied children changed a lot of attitudes. i think what may also change a lot of attitudes is when the public now realizes that was a temporary and isolated event and that, in fact, we have fewer illegal immigrants coming in today than we did five years ago, 10 years ago, or 20 years ago but that what we also have
is a system that is not serving our economy well. so -- >> republicans who say the reelection was a referendum at least in part on your intentions to use executive authority for immigration. >> as i said before, i don't want to try to read the tea leaves on election results. what i am going to try to do as president is to make sure that i'm advancing what i think is best for the country. and here is an opportunity where i can use my administrative authorities, executive authorities, and lawfully try to make improvements on the existing system, understanding that that is not going to fix the entire problem and we are
much better off if we go ahead and pass a comprehensive bill. and i hope that the republicans really want to get it passed. if they do, they will have a lot of cooperation from me. so let me just tick off -- on keystone there is an independent process. it is moving forward. i have given parameters in terms of how i think about it. is it going to create jobs and reduce gas prices that have been coming down? and is it going to be on net something that doesn't increase climate change that we have to grapple with? there is a pending case before a nebraska judge about some of the siting, the process is moving forward and i will gather up the facts. i will note while this debate about canadian oil has been raging, keep in mind this is canadian oil, this isn't u.s. oil, while the debate has been raging, we have seen that some
of the biggest increases in american oil production and american natural gas production in our history. we are closer to energy independence than we have ever been before or at least as we have been in decades. we are importing less foreign oil than we produce for the first time in a very long time. we have got a 100-year supply of natural gas that if we responsibly tap puts us in the strongest position when it comes to energy of any industrialized country around the world. if you -- when i travel to asia or i travel to europe, their biggest envy is the incredible homegrown u.s. energy production that is producing jobs and attracting manufacturing because locating here means you have got lower energy costs. so our energy sector is booming. and i'm happy to engage republicans with additional ideas for how we can enhance that. i should note that our clean energy production is booming as well. and so keystone i just consider as one small aspect of a broader
trend that is really positive for the american people. and let's see. okay. medical device tax. you know, i have already answered the question, we are going to take a look at whatever ideas -- let me take a look comprehensively at the ideas that they present. let's give them time to tell me -- i would rather hear it from them than from you. major, you know, conceivably i could just cancel my meeting on friday because i heard
everything from you. i think i would rather let mitch mcconnell -- i would rather hear from mitch mcconnell and john boehner what ideas they would like to pursue and we will have a conversation with them on that. on repatriation, i said in my opening remarks there is an opportunity for us to do a tax reform package that is good for business, good for jobs and can potentially finance infrastructure development here in the united states. the devil is in the details. conceptually, it is something where we may have overlap and i'm interested in pursuing ideas that can put folks to work right
now on roads and bridges and waterways and ports and a better air traffic control system. if we had one, by the way, we could reduce delays by 30%, reduce fuel costs, and hopefully that would translate into cheaper airline tickets. there is all kinds of work we can do on the infrastructure. this may be one mechanism that republicans are comfortable in financing those kinds of efforts. so that will be part of the discussion that i think we are prepared for on friday and then in the weeks to come leading into the new congress. whew. major works me, man. jim acosta? >> thank you, mr. president. i know you don't want to read the tea leaves, but it is a fact that your party rejected you in the midterms, by and large they did not want you out on the campaign trail in these key battleground states. how do you account for that and your aides have said that this is the fourth quarter of your administration. but i don't know if you saw the morning talk shows, but there were several potential candidates for 2016 who were out there already. is the clock ticking? are you running out of time? how much time do you have left?
and what do you make of the notion that you are now a lame duck? >> well, traditionally after the last midterm of the two-term presidency since i can't run again that is the label that you guys apply. here is what i tell my team. i told them this last week and i told them this, this morning. we had this incredible privilege of being in charge of the most important organization on earth. the u.s. government. and our military. and everything that we do for good around the world. and there is a lot of work to be done to make government work better. to make americans safer. to make opportunity available to more people. for us to be able to have a positive influence in every corner of the globe the way we are doing right now in west africa. and i'm going to squeeze every last little bit of opportunity to help make this world a better place over these last two years. and some of that is going to be
what we can do administratively. and you know, simple things like how do we make customer service better in every agency? are there things that we can do to streamline how our veterans access care? are there better ways that we can make businesses understand the programs that are available to them to promote their business or exports? there is a whole bunch of stuff to do on that front, and as i said before, there is going to be opportunities to work with democrats and republicans on capitol hill to get laws done.
and if you look at the history of almost every president those last two years all kinds of stuff happens. in some cases, stuff that we couldn't predict. the one thing i'm pretty confident about, jim, is i'm going to be busy for the next two years. and the one thing that i want the american people to be confident about is that every day i will be filling up my time trying to figure out how i can make their lives better and if i'm doing that at end of my presidency i will say we played the fourth quarter well and we played the game well and the only difference between i guess basketball and politics is that the only score that matters is how did somebody else do, not how you did. and that is the score i'm keeping. am i going to be able to look back and say are more people working? are their bank accounts better? are more kids going to college?
is housing improved? is the financial system more stable? are younger kids getting a better education? do we have greater energy independence? is the environment cleaner? have we done something about climate change? have we dealt with an ongoing terrorist threat and helped to bring about stability around the world? bring about stability around the world. and those things, every day i've got an opportunity to make a difference on those fronts. i wouldn't be satisfied as long as i'm meeting somebody who doesn't have a job and wants one. i'm not going to be satisfied as long as there's a kid who writes me a letter and says i got $60,000 worth of debt and i
don't know how to pay it back. and the american people aren't satisfied, so i want to do everything i can to deliver for them. >> how about democrats? the fact that they've won in battle ground states \[inaudible]? >> listen. i have think as some of you saw when i was out on the campaign trail, i love campaigning. i love talking to ordinary people, i love listens to their stories. i love shaking hands and getting hugs and just seeing the process of democracy and citizenship manifest itself during an election. but i'm also a practical guy and ultimately every candidate out there had to make their own decisions about what they thought would be most help helpful for them, and i want to make sure that i'm respectful of their particular region or state or congressional district. if it was more helpful for them
for me to be behind the scenes, i'm happy to do it. i don't have -- i'll let other people analyze that. but what i will emphasize is that one of the nice things about being in the sixth year of your presidency is you've seen a lot of ups and downs and you've gotten more than your fair share of attention. and, i know, i've had the lime light and i've -- there have been times where the request for my appearances were endless. there have been times where politically we were down and it all kind of evens out, which is why what's most important, i think, is keeping your eye on the ball, and that is, are you
actually getting some good done. scott orsley, last question. >> thank you, mr. president. you mentioned that where your policies actually were on the ballot, they did better than members of your party, often? does that signal some short coming in your part or on the party's part of flaming this election and demonstrating to the american public what the democratic party stands for? >> you know, i do think that one area where i know we're constantly experimenting and trying to do better is just making sure that people know exactly what it is that we're trying to accomplish and what we have accomplished in clear ways that people can -- that understand how it affects them, and i think the minimum wage, i talked about a lot on the
campaign trail, but, you know, i'm not sure it penetrated well enough to make a difference. part of what i also think we've got to look at is that two-thirds of the people who are eligible to vote and just didn't vote. one of the things that i'm very proud of in 2008 and 2012 when i ran for office is we got people involved who hadn't been involved before. we got folks to vote who hadn't voted before, particularly young people, and that was part of the promise and the excitement was if you get involved, if you participate, if you embrace that sense of citizenship, then things change, and not just in an abstract way but they change in concrete ways. somebody gets a job or health care who didn't have it before.
or a student can afford to go to college who couldn't afford it before. and sustaining that, especially in midterm elections has proven difficult, sustaining that sense of if you get involved, you know, then -- and if you vote, then there's going to be big change out there. and partly, i think, when they look at washington, they say, nothing's working, it's not making a difference and there's just a constant slough of bad news, -- news coming over the tv screen, then you can understand how folks would get discouraged. but it's my job to figure this out as best i can and if the way we are talking about issues isn't working, then i'm going to try some different things. if the way that we're approaching the republicans in congress isn't working, you know, i'm going to try different things, whether it's having a drink mitch mcconnell or letting john boehner beat me again at golf or, you know, what will --
what -- more weekly press conferences. i don't know if that would be effective, but whatever -- whatever i think might make a difference in this, you know, i'm going to be trying out up until my last day in office. but i'll close with what i said america. i know that runs counter to the current mood. but when you look at the facts, our economy is stronger than just about anybody's, our energy
production is better than just about anybody's, we slashed our deficit by more than half, more people have health insurance, our businesses have the strongest balance sheets that they've had in decades, our young people are just incredibly talented and gifted. more of them are graduating from high school and going on to college. more women are getting degrees and entering into the work force, and one part of the reason i love campaigning, you travel around the country, folks are just good. they're smart and they're hard working. they're not always paying a lot of attention on washington.
sometimes they've given up on washington, but their impulses are not sharply partisan or idea logical. they're really practically good, generous people. so -- and we continue to be a magnet for the best and brightest from all around the world. we have all the best cards relative to every other country on earth. our armed forces, you talk to them -- i had a chance this morning just caught some of the -- our health service that is operating in liberia, and the amount of hope and professionalism that they've brought has galvanized the entire country and has built -- they built a platform effectively for other countries to start coming in and we've seen real progress in fighting
the disease in countries that just a month or a month and a half ago was just desperate and had no hope. so all that makes me optimistic. and my job over the next couple of years is to do some practical concrete things as much as possible with congress. if not possible with congress, on my own, to show people why we should be confident and to give people a sense of progress and a sense of hope. that doesn't mean there aren't going to be ongoing nagging problems that are stubborn and can't be solved overnight. probably the biggest one is despite economic growth, wages
have not gone up. that's a long-term trend we've seen for ten, twenty or thirty years. the essence of the american dream is are your kids doing better than you. i think we need to make sure that incomes and wages go up. minimum wage in those five states was a good start, but i think more than anything, what i want to communicate over these next two years is the promise and possibility of america. this just -- this is just an extraordinary country and our democracy is messy and it's diverse and we're big. there's times when you're a politician you're disappointed with election results. but maybe i'm just getting older. i don't know. it doesn't make me mopey. it energizes me because it means that democracy's working and people in america were restless and impatient and we want to get things done and even when things are going good, we want them to do better and that's why this is the greatest country on earth. that's why i'm so privileged to have a chance to be presidents for the next couple of years. all right? thank you, everybody.
program for the students inside kentucky, not nonresidents. ten each year. and they're here today to witness what we may talk about. let me make a couple of observations. i think what the voters were saying yesterday was a couple of things. number one, they're obviously not satisfied with the direction of the administration, but at the same time i heard a lot of discussion about dysfunction in washington. i think there are a lot of people who believe that just because you have divided government doesn't mean you don't accomplish anything. earlier today i got a call from the president, also from senator reid and the speaker and ted cruz, too. which i thought you'd be interested in. all of whom i think have the view that we ought to see what areas of agreement there are and see if we can make some progress
for the country. i would like to remind people that divided government is not unusual this country. we've had it frequently. i think even more often than not since world war ii when the american people choose divided government, i don't think it means they don't want us to do anything. i think it means they want us to look for areas of agreement. reagan never had the house in eight years. clinton didn't have the house or the senate for six of his eight years. i can think of at least four fairly significant things done. reagan and tip o'neal saved social security for a generation, did the last comprehensive tax reform. we need to do that again.
bill clinton and the republicans did well for reform and actually balanced the budget for three years in a row. i think we ought to start with the view that maybe there are some things we can agree on to make progress in the country. from an institutional point of view, the senate needs to be fixed. i made a speech back in january, not widely covered, probably shouldn't have been widely covered, but a lot of people inside the senate paid a lot of attention to it. the senate in 2 last few years basically doesn't do anything. we don't even vote. senator begich who have been defeated yesterday had the handicap of trying to explain to the people of alaska why in six years, he hadn't had a roll call on the floor on an amendment. the first thing i need to do is get the senate back to normal. that means working more i don't think we've had any votes on friday in anybody's memory. it means opening the senate up so that amendments are permitted on both sides and it means occasionally burning the midnight oil in order to reach a conclusion. i can remember the way we used to get bills finished was for the majority leader to announce on monday we're taking up a particular bill and we were
going to finish it, finish it thursday night, friday morning, or saturday, but you have to finish it. it's amazing what happened on midnight thursday. people who were very aggressive on tuesday morning were awfully anxious to leave friday morning and amendments would go away and bills would pass. another thing that will sound astonishing to all of you, the committee need to be rellvant again. if you've got both democrats and republicans who are interested in seeing it pass, a bipartisan extinguish wednesday for moving forward. for having said that, there are differences. and we will certainly be voting on things as well that we think the administration is not fond of. they seem to have had no interest, for example, in doing anything serious on the energy front. we haven't had an energy bill in seven years when you say energy these days, people think of the keystone pipeline, but that's only part of it. we need to embrace the energy
revolution that's going on in our country, promote it. it's hugely advantageous to america. the employment figures connected with keystone are stunning if we would just get going. there's certainly going to be areas of disagreement, but that's not unusual going back to the founding of the country. so where that, let me throw it open and -- >> \[inaudible] tell us based on what the message of the voters was, many say they want to see gridlock end. what can we do and can you ensure the gridlock will end under your leadership? >> the senate it was problem, not the senate. the american people have changed the senate. so i think we have an obligation to change the behavior of the senate and to begin to function again. that doesn't guarantee that the president is going to agree with everything we do, but we're going to go back to work and actually pass legislation. i've, by the way, been called by three prominent democrats since last night, prominent democrats.
they're anxious to be relevant again. you know, they're ankles for committee work to -- anxious for committee work to be respected. they're anxious to vote on things on the floor. that's the way you get rid of gridlock. it doesn't guarantee you have a presidential signature on everything. presidents do have the right to veto. i think he's vetoed two little bills in the first three years. the last four years, the current majority, he never got anything that he didn't like. that's how you cure gridlock. jeff. >> after all this, how can the american people believe you, believe -- >> they demonstrate it. >> \[inaudible]. we have to -- i'm sorry.
>> what are a couple of things you think you can work with the president on? >> trade agreements. the president and i were just talking about that right before i came over here. most of his party is unenthusiastic about international trade. we think it's good for america. and so i've got a lot of members who believe that international trade agreements are a winner for america. and the president and i discussed that right before i came over here. and i think he's interested in moving forward. i said, accepted us trade agreements. we're anxious to take a look at them. the president's indicated he's interested in doing tax reform. we all know, having the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world is a job exporter.
all this talk about job exportation, exporting jobs is having the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. he's interested in that issue and we are, too so those are two very significant areas of potential agreement. >> \[inaudible] work with you or do you believe that he will be \[inaudible] by his own party to do it? >> there's only one democrat who counts, the president. let me illustrate the point. when gentlemen biden and i negotiated the fiscal cliff deal in 2012. the thing i thought would be the most important thing for kentucky was a state tax exemption. a lot of people who have family farms and small businesses look like they're worth a lot of money, but they really aren't.
if you're lucky enough to have children who want to continue to farm or continue the small business, you can't get it down to them -- you could not in the past because of the estate tax exemption. we could save 99% of the farms in my state from having to be sold. the leader of the democrats in the house made it quite clear to me that if that was in the final deal, house democrats wouldn't vote for it. i thanked her. it was in the final deal and only 15 house democrats voted against it and only three senate democrats. the point i'm making is the democrat who counts is the president of the united states. democrats in congress will support whatever he agrees to do. that was a perfect example of exactly what i'm talking about. so -- and we were very much inclined to support president bush as well. this is not unusual when you have the white house, the most important member of your party is the person in the white house. so we'll see whether we can work with the president. i hope so. that's what he says and we'll
find out. david. >> thank you. senator mcconnell, except for a few deals you've worked out, mainly with vice president biden, the president and congress republicans don't have a good track record of working things out. can you talk about how you think a united republican congress possibly will have the ability to send the president a bill or force the veto might altar the dynamic? >> i'm not sure he's going to sign everything, but we're going to function. we are. we're going to pass legislation, some of it he may not like, but we're going to function. this gridlock and dysfunction can be ended. it can be ended by having a cincinnati actually -- that actually works. >> \[inaudible] forced negotiation with the white house might be fruitful as opposed to the way it's been so far? >> well, i mean, the veto pen is a pretty big thing. the president of the united states can deliver the members to vote for a deal he makes or
he can beat the legislation. he's important. that's the way it works. >> yesterday senator paul said the senate will be sending bill after bill to the president to repeal obama care. seems like the president is likely to veto that. what other forms can you use to slow down -- >> it's no secret that every one of my members, thinks that obama care was a huge legislative mistake. it has fouled up the health insurance market, put states in a deep hole in terms of their ability to finance it years from now. if i had the abilities, i'd get rid of it. obviously, it's also true that he's still there. we'll be discussing how to go forward on this issue when we get back. i will say this for sure. there are pieces of it that are deeply, deeply unpopular with the american people. the medical device tax, which is exported enormous number of jobs, the loss of the 40-hour workweek, big, big mistake. that ought to be restored. the individual mandate. people hate it. i think we will be addressing that issue in a variety of different ways. >> senator mcconnell, you're -- as you know -- >> tell us what happened in the -- regardless of what happened in the election, you have a diverse conference including a number of blue state republics who are up for re-election in 2016.
should this be a reality check for your base on how far you can go on pushing a conservative agenda in the new congress? >> well, we'll find out. what you state is stating the obvious, that it takes 60 votes to do a lot of things in the senate. some things we can do with 351 votes. the budget. the president does not sign the budget. that determines how much we're going to spend. i think it's been our power to pass more appropriation bills that fund the government. there is no threat. i and most of my members think that the bureaucratic strangulation of our economy is a real -- is a huge factor in the slow growth that we've experienced after the deep recession of 2008. so i think it's reasonable to assume that we will use the power of the purse to try to push back against this over active bureaucracy. and of course we have a huge
example of that here in this state with the war on coal. not authorized by congress. couldn't get the strotes pass when our friends on the other side own the place. they have huge majorities in the house and senate, they couldn't pass the cap and trade. i think the president is going to try to do that. you can look at those kind of things through the spending tool in our governmental system. >> \[inaudible]. >> we'll see how we do. ok. >> in the debt sealing fight, afterward you told me that it was a hostage not worth shooting, but it was a hostage worth withholding for ransom. the debt sealing is coming up sometime in the spring, this summer.
are we going to have another brinksmanship moment there? >> there will be no government shutdowns and no default on the national debt. let me make clear. >> \[inaudible]. >> one thing you've mentioned is immigration. we expect that the president will move forward with some sort of action on -- executive action in this area. what will the republican response be and would you pass a republican immigration plan? >> i think the president in choosing to do things unilaterally on immigration would be a big mistake. it's an issue that most of my members want to address legislatively, and it's like waving a red flag in front of a bull to say, if you guys don't do what i want, i'm going to do it on my own, and the president's done that on obama care. he's done it on immigration and threatening to do it again. i hope he won't do that, because i think it poisons the well. >> \[inaudible]. >> i wouldn't do that to you. >> could you tell us a little bit more about -- >> you obviously have worked with the president for a number of years now. you've had communications with
him sometimes cordial, sometimes not so cordial. what do you sense, having talked to him today, about his mood, what he's willing to do. everybody talks about tip o'neal and reagan. that was a wonderful camelot moment with bipartisanship. can you achieve that? >> the relationship 50eu6 had with the president was always cordial. there's no penalty problem or anything like that. i think my attitude about this at this point is trust but verify. let's see. the american people -- let's
see. the american people have spoken. they've given us divided government. the question for both the president and the speaker and myself and the members is what are you going to do with it. i've said i want to first look for areas that we can agree on. and there probably are some. that's what we're going i want to work on some areas we agree on. >> you promise there were not big government shutdown. >> he will not be shutting down the government or defaulting on the national debt. >> do have any concerns about those numbers that might want to run for president, like to step outside of your leadership. how will you handle them? >> i know a lot of people that want to run for president. what i tell them all is the best day you have will be the day
before you announce. short of being in combat and being shot at, there isn't anything harder than running for president unless it is running for reelection. i have no problems with people's ambitions, i am serving in a body with a bunch of class presidents. they are all ambitious or they would not be where they are. a lot of folks with sharp elbows
and big elbows. i am not troubled by ambition and i think we can accommodate that and still make progress for the country. codes even if it goes against your goals? >> you are asking me a. >> it has been rejected that the republican senate would ring this to a grinding halt. how do you expect to handle the president's combination, many very important one still lingering.
what are your thoughts are rolling back the nuclear option? >> to a job the second issue. >> that is something we ought to address. the most important thing that the majority leader decided to do which was to break the senate to change the rules of the senate. overruling the parliamentarian has said you cannot do that. it was a huge mistake in my view, it is hard to unring a bell, they have now established a precedent. it is a big issue and a big discussion that we will have in the coming months. >> he is calling to congratulate me on my election and was impressed with the margin. i was pretty happy about it myself. we had a good friendly conversation. >> do you believe that it will be more difficult for you to have a responsible government? let's we have a whole bunch of people in the 54 member senate.
>> it was a very cordial conversation, i appreciated the call. >> he called to congratulate me on my election. he's a pretty independent guy. i think he will announce what he will do. >> he said twice that it would not be default but would you insist on because that correspond with any debt ceiling increase the way that john boehner? >> we have the opportunity now to pass a budget, which has to do with how you will spend. you have other mechanisms that were unavailable to us with the previous configuration of government. i think that that is a pretty important tool. >> can you talk about your phone
call with harry reid, you have had the most acrimonious relationship. you said, the open acrimonious relationship with any two leaders. >> we have had some spirited debates about the way the places being run. but, we don't have an acrimonious relationship personally. what was your conversation -- what was your question? >> what was your conversation like? >> called actually to complement me on what a skilled campaign we ran. he obviously paid very close attention to it. that seems to be the new
paradigm since daschle was defeated, you get a presidential level campaign if you are leader of the senate. harry followed it very closely. he complimented me on a campaign well run. >> will you return the favor to him in 2016? >> i did not get involved the last time he was up and i don't tend to be involved this time. >> and you talk about what your objectives will be as the senate majority leader? >> well, the immediate concern in the health there is, obviously the ebola crisis. with regard to the authorization to help the syrian rebels him as you know, we insisted terminating at the end of this
year. that is one of the things that the president mentioned today that will be on the agenda friday. >> we have to finish this year's session first. i think the media discussion we will be having is what should we try to wrap up during the lame-duck. there are number of things that have been put off we will be talking about whether to do a tax extender package. there are number of things that have sort of stacked up and i think i've said it before, i will say it again. the senate hadn't been doing anything. there is a whole lot of unfinished business sitting
there. some of which, it might be advantageous to get out of the way. democrats may want to do it, we may want to do it, in order to clear off some of the necessary work that has been undone in a dysfunctional senate. >> the banking committee is certainly will be taking a look at dodd frank. i have called the obamacare for banks. the big guys are doing just fine, the committee bankers are struggling. i do think the banking committee will look at how much damage it has done to the little guys that had nothing to do with the banking meltdown. >> you are surprised that president obama did not shift more towards the center. does he have a responsibility to do that now and e.g. communicate with him in the phone call? >> you cannot really do anything without a presidential
signature. several of you have mentioned it. the veto pen is a pretty powerful tool and i think both reagan and clinton are good examples of accepting the government you have rather than fantasizing about the government you wish you had. in other words, they don't but they had. reagan never had the house. the president has got a choice, because of the strength of the veto pen, he could stay on the current course he is on. just be telling any effort we make to push back against what he's doing and having the people that work for him do his bidding or he could say, let's see if there are some areas of agreement.
i have mentioned a couple that i think are pretty big and important issues that i think we have potential areas of agreement. trade and tax reform. we will see. >> are you ready to meet him there? how would you prevent members from yanking you back? >> i am pretty familiar with our conference including the new members coming in.
the vast majority of them don't feel that they were sent to washington to just fight all the time. as i've said repeatedly here, divided government is not a reason to do nothing. in fact, it has been pretty productive. i think the vast majority of my members would rather make progress on things that they think the country needs to be dealt with them not. but, in our system, the president is the most important player because of the obvious constitutional advantage he has and it would require his complicity to do that. and he has been protected from having to do that the last four years by the dysfunctional
senate which doesn't pass anything, doesn't send him anything that he doesn't like. now, he will have a congress that will be more challenging for him but the choice is really his. i'm hoping that he will decide to move to the center. >> ted cruz declined whether he would say he would support you for majority leader. did he pledges support to you? >> let me make a prediction for you, a week from tomorrow, i will be elected majority of the senate. thanks, everyone. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014]
excellent. him. gains and posttraumatic stress disorder can climb up and can be resolved if you continue variousarious intentions. >> i think american history television is one of the best programs. thanh we could do it more once a week. >> continue to let us know what you think about the program. us or send us a tweet. us and like us on twitter.
>> the conversation on the election results with republicans and [applause] >> fantastic. all right. we're going to get started with our first panel about last night and the election results and the utcomes. i want to welcome to the stage ron fournier, who is a senior reporter for "national journal" and ron will be joined onstage with, by, whit ayers, founder and president of north star research. celinda lake, president of lake research partners. ron, i'll let you go ahead and get started. >> i was doing an interview back there with celinda. thank you all for coming.
whit and celinda has been good political sources of mine over the years. since we're dealing with a couple of pollsters i was going to start with a handful of numbers that jumped out at me with the exit polls and maybe a thought experiment and i would like you guys to think about that as well. you look at the exit apologies, a little over a majority of the electorate who voted last night disapproved of president obama. no surprise. 80% disapprove of congress as an institution. 60% disease approve of their leadership in congress and at the white house. only 44% of the people who voted have a positive opinion of the democratic party. less than that, 40%, have a positive opinion of the republican party. 2/3 of the country thinks the nation is on the wrong track. only 22% of americans right now
think the next generation is going to be better than the current one. only 22% of the public still thinks there's such thing as an american dream. if people who were voting last night had the same buffet of choices in politics that they have in the theater, where they're going to shop, how they're going to shop. where they're going to eat. if people had that kind of buffet of choice in politics last night, how many republicans and democrats would have been thrown out of office? celinda, whit? why don't you answer that question. how much of the republican victory yesterday was a choice between two evils? >> there's no question that people are discouraged about washington and the direction of he nation.
but yesterday was a whopping rejection of this president and this president's agenda. the people who lost yesterday were democrats. republicans picked up or will pick up nine senate seats and are within an eyelash of picking up a 10th in virginia. we defeated five, or will defeat after the louisiana runoff, five senate incumbents. we were going to pick up at least 11 seats and maybe get the largest majority in the house ince world war ii. we held the governorship in florida and picked up three governorships in deep blue states of maryland, massachusetts, and illinois. so it's pretty clear which party lost yesterday and which party one. >> the second part is not clear. your party was able to prove that yesterday your party was not quite as bad as the other guys. ow does the republican party turn yesterday's democratic
defeat into a true governing that improves the republican brand going forward? >> by demonstrating that we can govern. the smartest politicians all believe that people vote for things as well as against hings. they vote for positive agendas as well as against agendas they don't like. that's the reason why the r.n.c. put together a list of principles that republican candidates can stand behind and it covers the array of various policy areas and that's the first place i think a republican congress can go. show that they can govern. >> celinda, i would suggest that we didn't see many of those principles presented by republicans in the election. it would be great if we get them going forward but it was mainly n anti-obama election.
do you degree that last night was a shellacking or thumping of president obama? >> i think that, obviously, the democrats got badly beat last night but i think there are three things i would say. one, i think the table was set very poorly from the democrats from the get-go. structurally, an off-year election, the array of seats that were up and the midterm election when the turnout was lower. >> why couldn't you get your base out? what happened to the coalition? >> it just turns out every four years. >> that's a big problem, isn't it? > it's a huge problem. >> why is it a problem? >> it's a problem that gets better every year, though, because the republicans are living on borrowed time on their coalition and this is the question i think democrats have to answer. why is there such a problem
despite great organization in turning tout base and why did we do so poorly, particularly among independent women? i think the answer to that is the economy. we did not end on an economic message. we've never won elections when we haven't been ahead on the economy. on the election eve we were ahead on the economy. we only split economic oters. all those voters that you listed, the ones that think the economy is not good, we lost hose voters. >> whose fault ask it that the democratic party didn't have an economic message. >> well, it starts at the top because i think it's very hard for an individual senate candidate to articulate an overall economic message. >> why has the president fumbled that? it's his economy. why didn't he do a better job of presenting a plan? >> i think either by choice or by circumstance, he had a lot of cree cease in the fall. >> but presidents have to deal with crises and run a ampaign.
what's the explanation? >> you can call and talk to him about that. >> what would you tell the president today? >> articulate tomorrow an economic vision for the country and say, just as bill clinton did, we have done this but it's not good enough and we're going to work with republicans to get these things done. >> last night the president's aides were pretty defiant. one was quoted as saying he does not feel repudiated. what does that bode for us going forward if the president thinks that last night was not a repude occasion of his record so far? >> one of the lessons from this election is that arrogance will bite you. this president is the most arrogant politician of my entire lifetime. he set his own people up. he really did. he set his own people up. the only way the kay hagan and
the mark pryor's and all the other democrats who lost yesterday were going to survive was to separate themselves from the president. the president's response is that's fine, they'll vote anyway. or while i'm not on the ballot, my policies are. the president made the republican argument for us. we barely even needed to make it and the response yesterday was well, if these democrats hadn't run away from the president, many of them would have done better. what alternative universe are these people living in? it is breathtakingly arrogant, and this president helped make our case for us and helped sink all of these democratic senators. >> on the topic of arrogance, john theory, a well-known and respected republican consultant said last night the hard right is not controlled by the republican agenda anymore. the inmates are no longer running the asylum. do you think that's true? is the hard right no longer running the republican party and
on what would you base that? >> i think part of the key for the republican victories yesterday is that we had candidates that managed to unite the republican coalition and that's another takeaway from yesterday, is that candidate quality really, really matters. across the board we nominated better candidates who ran better campaigns. three quick examples. cory gardner in colorado was a far superior candidate than we nominated last time. he ran a great campaign and he won comfortably against a guy who beat the war on women to death. senator uterus. >> senator, let's get the name right. > sorry, mark udall. joanie ernst ran a great campaign. i'm so proud of ed gillespie i'm about to bust.
back on labor day i said they needed to keep an eye on ed gillespie. he was going to be an upset special and a lot of people thought i was nuts. but if you know ed you know how good he is, how smart he is and he was within an eyelash of knocking off somebody who people thought was unbeatable. >> you didn't really answer the rrogance question. there was a poll that came out last week that said the number one issue that voters were looking for in candidates was the economy. a close number two was they're looking for people who would break gridlock. i've seen no evidence that the president of the united states is either willing or capable that the president is breaking gridlock and i've seen no evidence that republican party establishment is willing or capable of breaking gridlock?
>> i disagree with you. if you listened to mitch mcconnell's speech. > words are words. where has there been any action that suggests that the republican party can do this? >> mitch mcconnell was pitch perfect last night and he basically said what i said to start this panel. we need to demonstrate that we can govern. mitchell mcconnell believes hat. >> the president is going to say the same thing. why should we believe it's any different now? >> because i think you have an attitude of people who got elected yesterday that realize they need to address a positive agenda. whether this president is even willing to work with them or not i have no idea. he's shown no inclination to do so. >> so you think republicans are incented to compromise. what about democrats? >> first of all, i disagree with the assessment that the president hasn't tried to work with republicans. he has. >> he's talked about it but he hasn't been able to get one single compromise.
i have to assume either he can't or won't. >> he reached out today and said et's get together. divide government, congress on one hand, president on the other, far more productive than mixed government. >> why is that, you think? >> because i think that the house and senate will be able to agree on a lot and deliver it and i think neither side is interested in just government by veto. so i think it is greatly incentivized compromise. when you have one house and one senate, they never set anything up. the other thing i want to say that i think is the most important lesson of last night. this is the one thing i don't agree with you on. the democratic agenda was not rejected last night. democratic candidates were. i think the republicans were very in initiating the right. >> can you explain?
>> across the board, when voters had the ability to directly vote on the issues. minimum wage, four states, legalizing marijuana in several states and you can go on and on. rejecting the two-party primary. across the board, the democratic agenda did very well. when voters had the abilities to vote directly on the issues. >> is that a fair distinction, whit? i know it didn't matter yesterday but is that a distinction maybe that the democratic party can learn from? >> lot bigger issue was obamacare in these critical senate battleground states. obama care was an albatross around the next of democrats who voted for it, not just because of one factor. it's a combination. it's the substance of the law, it is what it represented, a large government intrusion into the health care sphere but also how it was passed.
major social changes get passed by bipartisan majorities if they're going to stick. a majority of house republicans voted for medicare in 1965. a quarter of the senate republicans voted for medicare. medicare prescription part d that passed during george w. bush's administration passed with democratic votes in both the house and the senate. bamacare -- we had clients who were perfectly willing to work with the president on a health care reform and the basic attitude is we have the votes, we don't need you and so they crammed it down the throats of republicans, changing the rules in the senate to get it through, and created a political issue that basically has killed seven promising democratic careers and is going to be an ongoing issue because of the way they passed t.
>> so i'm going to stipulate that you both were right in your answers. so for sake of argument, democrats have an agenda and on its own can be popular and in this election, obamacare was a big anvil and the president was. 2016 presidential race, a different elek rat. obama will step out the door. obamacare will be two years older. by the way, the country is fastly becoming a minority majority and the republican party still advertises itself as a party of white people. >> come on, ron. >> no, that is the brand. interesting if you can push back on that the next two years. >> we do not advertise ourselves as he party of white people. >> it's a very uncomfortable place for a person of color right now. >> many of us have been argue energy a long time that we need to do a better job reaching out
to majority. 35% of latinos voted for republican house candidates yesterday. that's not where we need to be. we need to be up with the 44% to 50% that george bush got or kay baily hutchison got. >> how do you get there? >> it's all about how we govern and how we nominate. some of us are old enough to remember the so-called republican lock on the electorate college back in the 1980's where there was no way the democrats were going to be elected again. bill clinton comes along and says i want to end welfare as we know it, i'm for the death penalty and in one election he turns the party around. the republican candidate is one election away from election at the presidential level. >> do you see that candidate out there now? >> well, i happen to have a few options. marco rubio is a client of ours and i happen to think he does more for the republican party than anyone else out there but there are a number of
possibilities that can give a new image and new face for the republican party. >> what happens if in two years we still don't have immigration reform and still 11 or 12 million people still living in the shadows? >> let's not take those assumptions. we have a new congress and it's a new day. >> you agree that's an important issue? >> sure. no question. in 2010, 77% of the electorate was white. every mid term, about two percentage point less non-hispanic white. t was 72% white less than in the mid terms and so we'll have an electorate in 2016 that's about 70% white, about 30% nonwhite. it doesn't take a generous who -- genius, ron, to figure out we
have to do better among asians, latinos, african-americans. >> so if the president, as you say, was repudiated. if one of the things he does is by fiat legalizes illegal citizens and he's right this kind of legislation in our country to be durable has to have legislation support. what does he have to do? i tweeted yesterday it would be the equivalent of flipping the bird to the american public. the american public doesn't want necessarily the chief executive to do it or his or her own. hey want compromise. >> i think the number one reason that -- i mean, the people that won last night at the governor level i think are very illustrative because they were governors who have to deliver. the republican governors were able to say to themselves because they have to deliver.
i think that is a lesson for the enate. i think if the senate will not -- if the senate passes bad immigration reform, that's going to be as bad as not passing any immigration reform and if the president says these people will not work with me to have decent humane and practical immigration reform, i'm just going to get it done. then that's an entirely different message. >> are you sure? is the public going to buy the explanation he couldn't get it done so he's doing the right thing or this is just another politician who's giving lip service to compromise and we're going to punish his party again? >> for one thing, if you pass immigration reform -- >> i'm saying by executive order. >> i understand but real people see something different on tuesday than they had on monday. when you get something done, it affects real people's lives.
>> the ends justify the means? >> i think it matters less how you get it done. i think the major frustration last night was with, they can't compromise but they're not getting anything done and rome is burning and they're not getting anything done. >> real quickly on that? is getting immigration reform done any way ok? >> you can't just pass something. i mean, it's obvious we have a seriously broken system that hurts our economy, that hurts everybody involved with it and when you have a seriously broken system, it's incumbent on the congress to fix the system. it is not incumbent on a president to arrogantly try to do it on its own. that's the best way i know to kill immigration reform is to come out and get an executive order to something even he has said should be the province of congress and try to do it on his own.
>> i want to turn to 2016 but before i do, two pollsters up here, i have to ask about these polls. they were all off. they basically overestimated the democratic turnout. this has got to be a scary time to be a pollster. can you explain why they were all so off yesterday and how your business is going to have to change to be more accurate? >> i think the number one thing -- >> both of you. >> the number one thing that helps explain why the polls were off is that we overestimated the omen's vote. you know, utah electorate was 72% -- 75% white. it was more white, older and less female. and many of the pollsters i think accounted for it being older and many accounted for it being more white. most of us did not account for it being less female. >> why not? what went into the thinking?
>> for example, in 2010, the electorate was not more female. in some ways the structure of the electorate. >> resembles more 1994. you lad a decline among women. in 1994 it was called the year of the angry white man. we lost yesterday because we had fewer women and because we lost women -- won women by less than we lost men by and that's a formula for big defeats so i think women voters are a big piece of last night's story and one we haven't talked about so much on this panel and it's a big reason why the polls were off. >> ron, i don't accept the premise that the polls were way off. this was a classic wave election. waves break late. we did bill frisk's race in tennessee this 1994.
he was up by four points. a week to go. the tuesday before. we polled through the weekend. by thursday he was up by seven, by saturday, up by nine and he won by 14 percentage points but you would never and caught that unless you polled all the way up to election day. >> even polling through the weekend is kind of hinky, right? >> if you look at the polls over the course of the last week it was very clear that where democrats were leading like new hampshire and north carolina, the leads were narrowing and where republicans were leading, like iowa, like colorado, like arkansas, the leads were widening. i mean, the trend was there clearly and i think what happened was a classic wave where you came in very late, within the course of the last week, and you ended up getting a substantial republican boot >> all the persuadables went one way. >> exactly. that's what a wave is. >> i agree with whit on that as
ell. i think whit is making a very, very good point. >> policy-wise why did women stay home? what did the democratic party do wrong or the republican do write to keep them home? or to get more men out? >> i think the number one thing is men think it's a good thing when government hasn't done anything bad to you. and there is the challenge for republicans is that women want to get something done and women have two major, major concerns on their minds. incredibly concerned about this economy and the impact it's having on their families and a belief that no one really understood their kitchen table economics and the second thing was the mounting security concerns about the instability. isis, ferguson, ebola. people, women in particular thinking new crisis after new crisis of new crisis of things i've never heard of affecting my amily.
>> why did that keep them home? >> because i think they felt no one spoke to them. no one gets my life. no one is going anything for me. >> first of all, let's not make too much of this. a majority of the people who vote yesterday were female. it was 51-49. >> but it was less than we -- >> a point or so less but it wasn't like there was a huge shift in the gender electorate that voted yesterday. women have a tendency to place a higher priority on issues like education and health care and i think any politicians, republican or democrat, who hopes to appeal to women, has got to have something intelligent to say about both of those issues. we don't have as many people as we need to be able to articulate a position on education. it is no coincidence that the
last republican president was very, very good and talked a lot about education. lamar alexander talks a lot about education. we don't have as many as we need to paint a compelling picture. >> good point. which is a good transition to 2016. >> by the way, i would say the last two republican presidents -- frankly george bush senior was very strong on education. we may disagree with their policies but they articulated strongly on education. >> and there is another bush who -- >> is very strong on education as well. >> in tallahassee and presidential suites around the country there were men and women who were thinking about running for president surrounded by family and consultants digging into the results yesterday and wondering what does this say about my chances? what can i learn that might make me the next president? who do you see as being the early winners and losers in 2016 based on these results?
who can find good things in this numbers and who should be worried? >> he's the expert on republican primaries. >> i also want to talk about secretary -- >> i don't know that it's >> i don't know that it's particularly productive to -- what we learned was, there is no one faction of the republican party that is large enough to produce a presidential nominee. you can't run from one particular slice and hope to win the nomination. whoever wins it will demonstrate an ability to join the party, libertarian, social, conservative, all in one coalition and get enough of each of those groups to build a ajority. >> given the numbers i talked about earlier, is that more likely to give someone who has gotten things done outside of ashington? or somebody inside of
washington? >> it all comes down to the quality of the candidate, i think. candidate quality really matters. what is more important is the caliber of the candidate and their ability to lead and have a vision for the country than where they come from. >> i agree with what he is saying. i think difference, if you think about 2012 for week ended with people declaring they were not witches and that there was legitimate right. in 2014, it was really ramatic. we have is our front runner secretary clinton who is considered a supreme quality candidate by the voters. if women were a problem then i think the democrats are in good shape because we have a woman candidate who really speaks to women's lives. she always has mobilized women voters and can be very effective.