tv Capital News Today CSPAN July 26, 2010 11:00pm-2:00am EDT
i can remember meeting in the white house one evening when president bush turned to him who i had not yet met, and said, we have got to get this done. and he got it done, i can tell you. [applause] and later he served as u.s. ambassador to the european union. bobbie ellis, staff director and chief counsel disability policy subcommittee. he helped to draft and negotiate more than 20 disability-related bills which were enacted into law, including the american with disabilities act, and he is currently with a law firm here in washington.
[applause] last, i bring up the general. patricia wright who served as the director of government affairs for the disability rights, education, and defense firm. she served there for 1980-2005. she is widely recognized as the person who brought together all the different elements of the disability rights community. she is one of our chief strategist during the campaign to pull this all together to pass it. patricia wright is back here with us again. thank you, general. [applause] this is our first panel. the second panel will be a number activists and people from the community who have been so instrumental not only in the beginning, but the evolving
structure of the ada since 1990. let me take it off. we will start with a starter here. the person who put his first name on the bill. to tony, what was it like? just reminisce about what it was like at that time when you are a person with this ability yourself, with epilepsy. what was it like getting this thing going? >> tommy, it was interesting. i did not know what reaction now would get from my colleagues when i put the bill up and did the first dear colleague letter. i put it out, and people would come up to me from the house floor and they would say, tony, you know that disability bill that you have, i want to go on it because my mother and my father and my aunt, my uncle, my next-door neighbor, whatever was, as a disability and i do
not like the way they have been treated. liberals, conservatives, democrats, republicans -- did not make any difference. i doubt that anybody had read it. but they just fell to and since the and fairness of the way people were treated to had disability. if people stop me all the time and wanted to go on the bill. i was fascinated with the number of people who came on to the bill immediately and was bipartisan. it was exciting to get the crosscurrent that i felt. i knew we would have a tough time because there were people in the house opposed. i do not mind saying and steve will verify if we had people in the republican leadership and the democratic leadership who are opposed to us moving the bill. they felt it would boomerang on the leadership and the congress.
and they were opposed. what was exciting was the grass roots in the congress, they felt strongly about it. that was the most shocking thing and i felt griot -- great about it. and then i had a great lieutenant who would encourage me to keep moving forward, steny hoyer. that was a fascinating thing to see. >> tony, thanks. let's go to dick thornburgh. maybe you could talk about what it was like as an attorney general at that time, and some of the efforts involved in our bipartisan efforts, but first and foremost, you have a hat there in front of you. help explain that. [applause]
>> it doesn't sound like it needs any explanation. for those of you who do not know, this is the fabled justin dart sombrero that he wore on his travels to all 50 states, many times, planting the seeds that gave rise to those crossroads that mobilized america on behalf of people with disabilities. his wife just came and after you introduced us. [applause] the fact that at is here imparts a degree of validity to this happening -- gathering that could not otherwise come to it. it was a real privilege to serve as attorney general. that is about as good as it gets. notwithstanding the observation
made by eisenhower's attorney general years ago that any attorney general who is popular is not doing his job. and i can attest to that. because i did my job. it really was a great privilege in particular to be the administration's point man on this particular piece of legislation. and for me represented don't rare opportunity to merge what my personal agenda was with my official agenda, because jenny and i have a son now 50 it was very seriously injured at age four months. he has had intellectual and physical challenges throughout his life. to have the opportunity to translate our concern about our own flesh and blood into a concern for some 50 million
plus americans with all kinds of disabilities was a rare privilege indeed. an extra incentive to put forth maximum effort on this. i want to say one word -- president george h. w. bush was a true champion of disability rights, and don't you forget it. [applause] this is not a cause that he undertook for political advantage. this is one that came from the heart and one he was steadfast in his support. i do not think any of us are among the 3000 people under a hot july sun, people with disabilities and people without, caregivers and family, just a cross-section of america on the south lawn of the white
house, and heard the president's close his remarks as tony pointed out, to let the shameful walls of exclusion come tumbling down. and a roar went up from that crowd, the likes of which you will never, ever hear again. it is a privilege to be here to join on this groups reminiscence and congratulate you and the legislative leadership for so many good causes on behalf of people with disabilities. >> thank you very much. i have one goal anecdote. there are republicans and democrats in this town. one of the things that i encountered in doing all off the record lobbying. you do not lobby when you are a cabinet member. but i ran into a few pockets of opposition from some of my
republican colleagues who have an ingrown suspicion of civil rights bills. at that time, we were dealing with the aftermath of the decisions handed down in 1989. one of their real issues was the issue of whether we were promote a quota system, something the president was very upset about. that had a lot of discussion back and forth. i would grab these guys and say that this is not a quota bill, this is a bill -- this is a republican bill that seeks to empower people. [laughter] [applause] >> that is the dick thornburgh i know and love. i have to tell you, my favorite
image of that day down there was when president bush said those words and then he went down and signed the bill, and he got up, and he shook hands with several people, and then he leaned over and kissed justin dart on the head. that sticks in my memory. steny hoyer. for 20 years you have been fighting to make sure that the ada lived. we had some setbacks in the supreme court, as you know, and then we ought to get the amendments and you led the charge on that with jim sensenbrenner and the house. looking back over 20 years, what comes to your mind on a day like today? >> this is reminiscent of the tenet -- lt. hoyer.
[laughter] i had the honor of being a co- sponsor when tony introduce the american with disabilities act. not having any idea that tony would be deciding to leave voluntarily to do some other things, and he called me into his office to draft me as the leader of the effort in the house of representatives on the behalf of the american with disabilities act. so many of you heard me say that when i love back on my career in congress, this will be one of the two most significant things i think that i have been able to do and that has enriched to me. i am glad that the effort has helped others, but i want all of you to know that from a selfish standpoint, i looked at this is one of the reason that i ran for
office back in 1956. -- 1966. in any event, tony said that this is very important and me. i know it is important to you. we need to get this passed. the bill had been assigned the five different committees and numerous subcommittees. it was an effort of communication, of bringing people together, of bringing them into the room and explaining them the various facets of the bill. and contrary to the vicious attacks of the member of the two-party -- we did read the bill. [laughter] >> a typical member of congress. you did not hear what i said. [laughter]
>> luckily, tony was not in the congress and they did not have to put up with that all the time. not only did we read the bill, but we went to the bill meticulous way, because although the vote in the house of representatives was well over 400 when it passed, and overwhelmingly passed in the senate, it was an extraordinarily difficult bill to pass and to get people to seek comfort level that produced those numbers. sitting at the table with me is patricia wright, the general, it was in the room all the time. [applause] sitting with me was steve barton. i cannot express enough of my appreciation. not just for the skill and knowledge that steve bartlett brought to the room, but the commitment and the emotional and
intellectual commitment that he brought to the success of the effort of making sure that america's promise of inclusion and opportunity was extended to all americans, irrespective of their abilities and what those abilities were. and not focus on the dis, as i say, and disability. i want to thank you for your extraordinary effort as a partner. >> in that room on the seventh floor, my conference room, as the chairman of the caucus, steve and i sat that pat wright was there, many of you were in that in the room from time to time. we worked with all of the subcommittee chairs and so many of the members. bob michael asked steve to
handle all list. and i regret that there was not c-span covering or cnn covering the proceedings. as dick thornburgh has pointed out, this was a bipartisan effort. not republicans and democrats, but american representatives and senators cup coming together to figure out how can we make america a better place for those -- whatever the number was? millions of americans who were not fully included in the promise of america. that would have been such a positive experience for the american people, to see steve bartlett and steny hoyer, bob dole and tom harkin and ted kennedy, orrin hatch working together for common objective of
making america better. that is after all by the people sent us here. today is by only a historic day, a you -- and we recognize the american with disabilities act which passed, and the subsequent amendments which said to the supreme court, you do not understand. it is not about the wheelchair or the crutch for the hearing aid for the cane. it is about discrimination and prejudice. it is not about making someone old. it is about insuring that america, you cannot exclude because of some prejudice, some perception that someone cannot do something. the reality is that we can all do something. that is what the americans with disabilities act is about. today is going to be an historic day for another reason. an extraordinary member of the united states congress from
rhode island came in as a young man as 16 and participated in a police program -- cadet program , is -- a bullet went off accidentally and hit him in the spine and disabled him. we think. but today you will see it did not disable them. it did change his life. it did make it necessary for him to do things in a different way. but it did not disable. and i am quoting this song because i just love it, josh grubin sings the song, you lift me up to walk on stormy seas and you let me up to stand on mountain. i stand on your shoulders, you lift me up.
i ask him to change one word. you lift me up to all that i can be. today someone will be lifted up by a mechanical device called their reasonable accommodation. they lift them up on the first level, and the next left will lift him up to the second level, the highest level on the rostrum, and he will sit in a mechanical device, a wonderful the fis, that lets them up further, and he will preside over the house of representatives on july 21, 2010. [applause]
we think speaker policy for the efforts that she made to ensure -- we thank speaker pelosi forever is that she made to ensure that would be the case. and it will be at 3:00 p.m. so that you can watch that on television. you can see that historic event occur. it symbolizes a part of what the ada did in terms of accessibility. out went back another person that should be in this room. bobby silverstein who did such an extraordinary job on behalf of tom harkin and the senate. and on behalf of the representatives, too, your extraordinary in your work. i want thank you for your efforts. and melissa, who did the same thing for me. is melissa here? melissa was the one that
coordinated those five committees and numerous subcommittees and all of those members along with steve and his staff. i want thank you. i have lifetime experiences, i could pick up the phone and say, we've got a logjam here and you needed to get it done. he did it because he knew that his principal, its philosophy, the president of united states wanted it done. i thank all of the people on the panel. i think all of you in this room as well. as i say so often, this bill would not have passed if it were simply the members of the senate and house. it was that thousands, the tens of thousands, indeed, the millions of people across this country who had the courage and vision and tenacity to say, knocked down these barriers. ronald reagan said bring down this wall. all of you said, bring down this
wall of discrimination and exclusion. what a wonderful effort we have made. but as justin dart would say, we have got to keep on keeping on. thank you. didn't remember at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon, an extraordinary day in the house of representatives. you can be there in person. >> when is it. happen in the senate? -- when is it going to happen in the senate? >> well -- [laughter] long she spansw languishing on the beaches at in mexico, papyrus still there. -- the fire is still there.
i mentioned my lawyer, but there was also ralph neas said did such an extraordinary job -- who did such an extraordinary job. >> thank you for mentioning bob dole. he was invited to be part of the panel, but could not be here. he sent this letter which i would like to read. dear friends of americans with disabilities, it was the most important civil-rights over the past several decades. almost as important is that the bill had bipartisan support and was signed into law by republican president, george h. w. bush. i was proud to be a part of it. and though it has helped thousands of americans with disabilities for the past 20 years. it has enhanced the freedom of people with disabilities and therefore everyone else, demonstrating that america can be a shining example.
i think those of you who played any part in making ada a reality and look forward to further challenges and successes ahead. god bless america. bob dole. again, you mentioned several times about our directly with the president. i can testify openly about how much president george h. w. bush was so focused on this and wanted to get it done any had a great latinity it came to our meetings, working with us. boyden, give us insight about working with president bush and with us in bridge some of the gaps that we had at that time. >> thank you very much for the opportunity to celebrate this wonderful legislation.
one of the key people that i think should be mentioned and on and, you mentioned his name briefly, evan kemp. he was in many ways our -- [applause] it was in many ways our teacher in the white house. pat told us what to do but evan introduced us to her and said do when she tested to do. [laughter] evan was an extraordinary fellow. every one up here knew him and he was originally a nadarite. he grabs a weighted from law school and could not get a job because he was disabled. i cannot believe today that something like that could happen.
someone said this morning, he had been turned down by 57 law firms. he was a great friend to all of us and became very close to president bush. one will all anecdote. -- one little anecdote. the president had him and his significant other, a friend of us all, and took him to dinner in the residence in the white house. the first occasion, they could not get in. the circuits service would not let them in the gate. -- a secret service would not let them in the day. president bush was getting agitated. the secret service said that she had a police record. she had been a weatherman and had served time in the jail where she was given an award for activism.
for the good. [laughter] she had a record and the secret service would not let her in. and the president called down personally to the gate and said i want them in the residence and i want her now. and they'll let her in. and the rest is history. president bush was very impatient about this. he would not take no for an answer. another person that has to be mentioned is henry bett. [applause] he runs a clinic in chicago, a rehabilitation clinic. he was a teacher not just the boss of -- but of president reagan before. i did not mean any disrespect,
but of all the politicians wrangling with this issue, no one had the direct intuitive connect with people of disabilities like bush had. there was no hesitation, boom. he had members of his family that was disabled but so does every family. i just want to say that his view about all this was so truly instinctively amazing. it was a pleasure really a lesson to work with him. another anecdote, two more anecdotes and then i will shut up. one day someone came to visit him when 41 was vice-president, a group called california first. all of you should know about that -- down syndrome. they submitted to president bush
and he was so taken with this group, he said if he could get this under reagan schedule. he marched them on down to the oval office. i sat twiddling my thumbs for a full hour while reagan and bush had fun with this group from california. both of them were intuitive about this. i think it was under reagan that he signed the education act, so there were other things going on in the reagan years. but working for president bush was a joy. and he was very impatient about this. one final thing. toward the end of the term, the head of walt march -- the head of walmart came in. he was going to retire.
he said that there was a big miss judgment. i told you that we would fight the ada, but now as they retire, i owe you an apology. i know the present an apology. this has been the greatest thing that ever happened to walmart. the disabled workers are the most loyal, hard-working people that we have. we've increased our commerce and our stores with disabled people. this is the best thing that has ever happened and i want to comment as they retire and thank you for what you have done for the american business community. >> i said many times that i've had a love-hate relationship with wal-mart. on the low side, every time i walk in, they're people with disabilities upfront working.
that is a wonderful thing that wal-mart has done all over america. i thank them for that. steve bartlett, who worked so hard on the house side with so many reaching out to the republican side to get them on board to the different committees. steep, just some thoughts about what it was like >> as tony said, it did start from the grassroots. folks with disabilities and family members, people that knew others. we have seen the barriers directly and up front talking with individual members of congress. it started with -- that there was a guy outside, a commissioned salesman along the gulf coast who developed blindness as an adult. he would not talk even on the telephone when it came to offering his own driver.
he says i am hired to sell chemicals, not to drive a car. he became the no. one salesman of chemicals, so it kind of worked out. [applause] so many instances of a young guy who was fired from a kitchen job in the department of agriculture, actually. the food station of dirty dishes was sitting beside him and stacking up beyond his ability to sort of deal with that cognitively. the department of agriculture would not put the station behind him. we were able to get him a job coach. we will call that once we passed the ada, but today we will call a common sense. -- it common sense. [laughter] [applause] >> that's pretty good.
>> it started with hundreds of thousands of stores as people would talk with their members of congress and build the need for this, build the case one on one . it left those of us not just to read the bill, but to write the bill and get it right. this was bipartisanship with a purpose, it wasn't just bipartisan to be able to say -- we were going to pass the bill all along with an overwhelming vote because of the title of the bill. but both steny, others, all the members of the house wanted to get it right. we sat on the same side of the table. we were on the same side of the table going to that piece of legislation line by line, session by session, word by word. it wanted to make sure we got
the right balance between litigation and common sense, and making sure that we got it right. to make sure that we have every single element coming out in the right way. we all thought that we have applied this to state and local governments, but little did we know -- by and large, it stood test of time. we have a long ways to go. the world is not perfect and there are still barriers. both in law and in practice, those kinds of ways. those barriers are over, all because of the americans with disabilities act. it was a result of bipartisanship with a purpose. justin dart was bipartisan just by himself. the republicans thought it was a republican, the democrats just knew he was a democrat.
he was a texan and that was ordered not fought -- and good enough for george bush and me. [applause] >> + thought that with a disability he could overcome. -- some of us thought that was a disability he could overcome. [applause] >> everyone would like to know that he is here. it is good to see him back, he was a great advocate for our community. he was involved in all kinds of activities for us. he placed a lot of people in this administration, people with disabilities. he has had his own personal difficulties. it is so good to see paul miller here today. [applause] [applause]
the second thing i would like to say is just that, if you read the book open " my father, my president, there is a chapter on ata and there. the president says that the ada was the most significant thing he did as president of the united states. and that should tell you something about his commitment to disabilities. the only other thing i would say is that steve will tell you, it has become a little bit of a tidbit, i asked newt gingrich to make sure that he supported and helped us get it through the congress. he committed to do so, and he was involved in helping steve and making sure that the republicans did not oppose this,
and he worked with us all the way through. those are tidbits of information that are good for us to know. >> following up on that, i think it is important to note that the national council on disability had come up with proposed legislation in 1986, i believe it was. and we kind of worked on it, but the first bill introduced with that title was introduced by a senator in 1988. [applause] he first introduced that bill and it was one of my co- sponsors. but he did not return after the 1988 election and i became the chief sponsor in the senate. he also wanted to be here on the panel, but he is attending an
ada celebration in connecticut. he could not be here with us at this time. she is probably too quiet into reserved to say anything. but i will call on pat right. my image of pat wright is having all these different meetings. a lot of people think that the entire disability community was united as one. [laughter] everybody had different opinions. it is like herding cats to get everyone together. my image of pat wright was going from one group to another group, and i will have more to say about that when i introduce bobby silverstein. but pat wright was a break in bringing people together. tell us about those things.
[applause] >> there are some things that i like to say about that. congressman fish, they were the first republican sponsors that were willing to go on the bill. on the house side. and fish was one of the best chance we had on the house side to get that bill passed. i miss him a lot, and i think the house misses him, too. sandy should be mentioned because she has not been mentioned at all. she should be mentioned for a number of reasons. one, she has more gusto than i
do. she is the parent of a disabled child who, because of that force, the national council during the first draft of the ada when they did not want to do it at all. we miss her here in washington, and here she is writing a book. i am sure we will all be in it. she has a place in the history of the '88. >> before you go on, sandy is in town. she will be at the white house this afternoon and will be at the gallic tonight. with her will the roxanne who was also on the council at the time. the two of them were the ones that came to me to introduce the bill at the time. i made sure they came to today's
activities. >> another person who hasn't been mentioned, norm minetta. on the house side, the transportation peace changed the 80 a. as you know, it wasn't really popular. it was normal stood up and made sure that that remained in. another group, i would like to make comment to adapt. [applause] as a result of their commitment to the transportation issue at the time, their demonstrations across the country, everyone remembers the people climbing up the steps of the capital. there weren't any washington lobbyists because they wouldn't
get their pants dirty. it was people from all but around the country who did that memorable scene. wayne was absolutely wonderful leader that worked very closely with us even though they were not in washington. they were in charge of the council at the time that sandy did the drafting. there is a lot of people for me, personally. my mentor who i think taught me everything i know about the stability and then some. i was always the one put out front because i had a pair of pearls and a necklace. they were in the background most of the time, so you don't know what about them.
but their works with -- and their work was invaluable to make me act like i should have. so i guess a couple of thoughts to say to you, i was a little shocked when this panel was described as the past panel, when the next panel was called the future. first of all, i hope you guys have been working on these issues. that is important to me. what is important to me is that the ada was never the and. it was really the floor, the foundation for me is the constitution of the united states. the ada became the floor that we build upon that constitution. i look in this audience, and it is up to the rest of you to keep
building that structure. if you are going to quit, that is not what it is about. i will go back to mexico if that is what you tell me you are going to do. historically, up until that point, a disability policy was based on the disabled person being the problem as opposed to the ada actually saying the environment was the problem. the structure of some of our laws were the problem. the ada came through and shifted that paradigm. it is an old bush term, because i don't know how many times our paradigm shifted. i think it was true during the ada, it was disabled adults and the parents of disabled children standing up and asking congress to help change society
on how people with disabilities were viewed. i think i look at the ada as the standard not to fall below. one of the important principles that i held onto throughout the entire fight was that it was an inclusive bill. everyone should be treated the same no matter what your disability was. if i could say anything to all of you, it is to hold on to that principle. your disability may be the in disability, and next year, it might not be. it knows no socioeconomic background, it knows no political background. certainly, there are not some disabled people that are better than others. that inclusive park was one of the secrets to keeping that coalition together. we were not saying that anyone
was better than another person. i still think we have remnants. i say to all of you that the work is not done. i look at education from being away from public policy, as long as the word special is still in education, we are not equal. [applause] as long as in health care, we are still looking at whether we can be part of a group for not, we are not equal. when we are looking at health care and we can't even get in the doctors' offices, we are not equal. there is still a lot of work to be done, but i say that the ada is the floor, not the past. [applause]
>> thank you for mentioning norm in transportation. i also have to mention very strongly that in working at the transportation issues, no one was more helpful than sam skinner, the secretary of transportation at that time. he was a strong supporter, and i didn't want the occasion to pass without mentioning his strong support. >> i have one more thing to say. >> i have one more thing to say. there is one person in this audience that has always been the behind the scenes person that never take any credit and deserves an enormous amount of credit. that is liz savage. [applause] >> hey, liz savage.
>> stand up, liz! [applause] for those of you who don't know, she is the one that organized the lobbying effort. she whipped all of the lobbyists in the shape, found out the problems that members had, sent the information back. and all the other lawyers that worked with us, they really wrote the new language to address those issues. she was like the -- the other person along with that that doesn't get a lot of credit, this 88 could never have passed -- [applause] the ada could never have passed without the link to the civil rights community. ralph was the main stream, he
opened the door to embrace this ability as a civil rights issue. thank you. >> i should say that liz, when she was doing this, she was working with the epilepsy foundation and got all of these different communities heavily involved which made a big difference. the disability movement was in silos that worked against each other as opposed to trying to work across disabilities. liz worked aggressively hard to bring us all together. >> i hope i can tell a short story here. anyway, we were working to try to get this bill together so that we can go to the senate, we didn't want to have any real battles on the floor.
things were kind of touch and go, we wanted to keep everybody,. so i get a call from bob. he calls me up and says, watch tv tonight. he said, we are going to help you with the a. i thought, uh-oh. [laughter] what are you going to do, bob. he said to just watch. i was trying to keep everything,. or they going to do? that was a day that they all got their wheelchairs' up to the capital, got out and crawled up the steps of the capital. i can't tell you how that reverberated around the entire united states. it sort of coalesced in everybody's mind what we were talking about. i have always been so grateful to all of the people ever since then for that one action they
take. i know a lot of things, people say they went too far. he always have to have someone on a point of the spear. [applause] >> can add one more thing? >> the general always gets the floor. >> the problem with starting to name people is that you have the name everybody. it reminded me of the role that ccd played. if it wasn't for paul and the coalition at that time, they funded most of the education advocacy work that went on. most of the people that came here, they supplied epilepsy - foundation, office space, and without that work, the coalition
could not form. i see mark back there, and it was the same way of really being the backbone of being able to turn to various independent living centers in getting people to target various members. again, it is a coalition effort. thank you all. >> there are not enough words in english language for me to express the gratitude i have for bobby silverstein. [applause] we all did a lot. everybody pitched in and worked hard. but bobby committed himself. heart, soul, time, effort, a day in and day out working to bring these groups together.
my best memory of bobby, we finally got to the and and there were some things we could not agree on. i called together all the groups that were in erode -- a room over here. they were still disagreeing, we could not agree on things. i said, bobby, you have got to get them together. he said, go in there and tell them that. i said that we are not leaving until we get an agreement. i went back to my office to do other things, and after several hours, bobby came out so in sweat -- soaked in sweat, but he had all thr grou -- the groups together. i thank bobby. [applause] >> i would first like to take a
minute to recognize my colleague on the subcommittee who was my right hand person who made all of this happen. cady, stand up. i would like to start by sharing and off the record conversation. please do not share this with anyone. [laughter] they called an all-staff meeting that arrived shortly after the election when some of the kennedys said that time would be the chief sponsor. he called an all-staff meeting, and i was relatively new to the staff. he asked me to describe what we were going to do with the rest
of the staff. at one point, one of the fellow staffers basically said, tom, you have got to be very careful. you know that no democrat has ever been reelected to the united states senate in the state of iowa. bitet's be a little cautious here in terms of what is in the '88. and tom turned a little red, and if you have seen tom lose his temper, which happens on occasion, he basically at the top of his lungs says, i did not come to washington to get reelected. my brother is deaf. i understand discrimination, and we will do what ever is necessary to make this law.
[applause] the second thing i would like to do is share with you another remembrancer on july 13 of 1990 when the senate was considering the conference report. i don't know how many of you in the room experienced that, but senator harkin made history in another way that day. for the first time ever, somebody debated a bill in silence, only using sign language. >> i said the other day, it was the longest speech given in the
senate that no one heard. [laughter] >> i want to share with you a very short poem. is bob williams here? bob, it is called open " signs of changing times. there were no self-righteous demagoguery. no more yielding to the next senators latest whim. for once, there was only silence. the silence of truth. signs on the senate floor, brother to brother, across our nation. he stood there tall, silent, firm, and resolute. like another man of the prairie. changing a sign of changing times, a mosaic and a dream of
what some day will be a more perfect union abroad and our land, declaring in a bold and sweeping symphony of arms, hands, fingers, and hearts, that with this day and with this law, we are saying no to exclusion, no to isolation, no to segregation. no to the one true crippler in justicein our land -- in our land. with his words and his tears, he set us free. tears that streamed down our faces freely, proudly now. like so much of written history onto a blank page. tears for dreams, dreams
deferred. nightmares remembered, dreams, sweet dreams. dreams yet to be drenched. [applause] -- dreamt. [applause] to me, this experience in addition to making the most incredible friends in the disability community, i learned something about these folks about other members of congress, about politicians in the white house, and i learned the humanity, the profiles and courage. if we had time, i could tell you stories about each one of these
folks, senator hatch, and others. politicians get a bad name, sometimes appropriately so. you know, the folks were so incredible in what they did to make this happen. obviously with the disability community and others, but as a staffer, i saw the other side of these folks, and they really do deserve year round of applause. -- your round of applause. [applause]
i purposely did not wear a dark suit. this is the greatest group of people to have the honor and privilege to work with. for those of you that talk with me recently, i think of this as the perfect storm. never before. i do not think that you can create it again. the leaders that you see at the table, the group of lawyers that i have the privilege to work with, -- i think that i would disagree. >> we did this 20 years ago and we did it three years ago and the same numbers are there.
the community is there. we will do it again. this community can do it, will do it and has done it before. i disagree with that. [applause] >> who else has anything? >> i think we are going to have to go to the next panel. i think all of my friends. -- i think all of my friends and colleagues. my friendsk all of and colleagues. everyone appear took part in the amendment and every single person here was involved in that. everybody was involved in that. the effort continues. another bush president signed it into law.
senator hatch was actively involved in that. the bipartisan support for disability rights in this country remain strong -- remains strong and committed. we will keep pushing those barriers. a couple more things have to be done. we need more employment for people with disabilities. [applause] >> thank you, and we will get the next panel appear. -- appear. -- up here. >> tomorrow morning, a look at the affect the gulf of mexico oil spill is having on tourism. we will hear from the vice president at the mississippi gulf coast tourism commission and ken feinberg, who heads up the gulf compensation fund. that is on c-span3.
later in the day, a confirmation hearing for a marine corps general. he is president of thomas choice to head the central command. -- he is'president s choice to head the central command. >> use the c-span video library to follow the story and to watch an oral history with congressman rangel. the c-span video library is on line and free. it is washington, your way. >> a colorado senate republican primary debate. can bunt and jane norton faced one another -- ken of black and jane norton faced one another on recent comments that people should vote for him because he does not wear high heels.
norton later released a campaign and responding to buck's ends. -- comments. from the fox 31 tv studios, this is about 25 minutes. >> from colorado's collection at headquarters, this is a fox 31 news special presentation to the u.s. senate primary debate between ken buck and jane norton. >> good
evening and welcome. a debate for the next 30 minutes between the two republican candidates for senate. i am pleased to introduce jane norton and ken buck.
we will get to as many issues as we can. let's get to the events of the last week. we have seen advertisements from you. we have heard your candid response and said he does not wear high heels. let's look it will both of you said and then we will talk about it. >> why should you both for me, because i do not wear high heels. >> you think that he would be man enough to do it himself. >> we have seen the ads. shouldn't
both campaigns be raising the discourse? >> he has had the luxury of $1.5 million to hide behind the three do not have to's disclose who they are. i have put my name on all of the odds that -- all of the ads that
i have done. >> if you had to over again, -- to do over again, would you do it again? >> of course. people want to know these kinds of things. ethics matters. >> the want to respond? what sure, i have not put a single negative ad on. i do not know who is running the ads. both of the ads that you talked about were run by jane. she has mentioned a number of times that people should vote for her because she has high heels. her campaign manager is telling people to vote for the person with the skirt. it is light-hearted when she says it and it is meant to be light-hearted when i say it. why put it on the air? it is a cynical political move and it is unfortunate. >> the questions that i have
been asked is about the differences. i said that i was a girl. i did not say that you should vote for me because i was a girl, but that was the difference. we are not telling people that they should not vote for me or not vote for me because of my gender. what i have said is that it is just a difference. >> should we be raising the discourse? >> absolutely. you told people that you should vote -- they should vote for you because you would be the first female center. >> i will go with a different subject. you had someone at one of your rallies. >> the greatest threat to the constitution of the united states, the greatest threat to our way of life, everything that we believe in, the greatest threat to the country that was put together by the founding fathers is the guy that is in
the white house today. >> controversial comments. if my memory serves me correctly, can you distance yourself from those comments? >> jane, i think that you said that you do not necessarily agree with him. how do you feel about those comments? >> there is a degree of truth in what tom says. he does not always say it -- i think he sometimes gets carried away. he has been a harsh critic of mind. he was talking about the size and scope of the proposals that the administration is putting on the american public and the deficit and the debt and spending is a consideration that we are all concerned about. >> you distance yourself from those comments. >> i said that i did not believe president obama was the biggest threat to america. for it -- if president office leaves office tomorrow, we will
have the nightmare of having joseph biden be president. i think this would be the course that would be taken in the last 18 months. >> he may end up running for governor. if he does that, he is giving him the job. he is hurting republican candidates everywhere. scott mcinnis is against him. are you concerned that at the top of the republican party, there is some problem that may affect republicans everywhere? >> sure, what a strange year this is. who would have thought we would be here right now.
typically, historically, a third-party candidate does not do well. they hurt the other party. it is going to be a very interesting thing. i think that it will shake out. >> to you agree with that? what i do. >> do you think that scott mcinnis should drop out so dozen damage other republican candidates? >> i am concerned about ken buck. i am not want to go there. i do not think it is appropriate. >> i am focused on the u.s. senate race and i believe that the voters of the state will have to make that determination. >> how important, for a republican candidate, is the key party and the backing of the tea party? i believe that the tea party is an exciting movement here in colorado and across the nation. anytime that you have people fired up about being involved and who believe in the constitution and those kinds of things, you have to be determined.
i see it as a positive. >> do you also see it as a positive? i see it as a positive. i see it as a group of people that feel disenfranchised. the have not been represented in the past by the republican establishment. they want their voice heard. they have started to organize outside of the republican party, although i think that they will find republican candidates will align with them. >> is it important to get their endorsement? >> i do not think they endorse. the most important thing is to connect with them. i do not think that formal endorsements by two-party groups mean very much. >> i believe that you need to be out there for every single vote. many people have never been involved in the process. it is a good thing. >> we will take a break and come back and we will have more on different issues when we continue. >> we are back with jane norton buck.n
let's talk about health care. i would assume that if elected, you will go to washington and try to repeal the health-care laws. if you do that, what would do instead? >> my background is health care. i worked in the red in the administration at the department of health and human services and was the secretary. governor owens asked me to run as lieutenant governor to actually help bring the cost of health care down for our small group members. obama-care is the wrong way to go. we need to bring costs down. we need to make it more affordable. we need choice and competition. we need to make sure that there is portability, that there is
tort reform. there are a variety of things that we can be doing to bring the cost down. >> to you believe that health care is the wrong way to go? what i am in favor of repealing healthcare. i think that one of the things that i hear around the state from small business people is that they are afraid of expanding because they do not have the certainty that they need to determine where they will be in a few years. if we do not introduce free- market principles, we will continue to see a growth in government. the trillion dollar deficit that we have will grow. >> do you feel that you to work reasonably close on the issue? >> certainly, we both believe in the constitutional challenge.
i say, that we should start of the beast. we should not appropriate money to the program specifically. and there is a procedural told that is being talked about. it would insure that they will have a vote against it. there would be 280 members of the house to vote to reconsider. there are a variety of boats -- and of ways to repeal obama- care. >> can you speak to what you would do? >> certainly, my view of free- market principles is that you give individuals a tax break as opposed to giving employers a tax break. those individuals go into the marketplace and force insurance companies to compete. we need help savings accounts -- we need health care savings
accounts. when people go to the doctor, there is not a huge amount of paperwork for reimbursement by the government. we can cut costs with electronic records three we can cut costs with tort reform. going to the senate as a conservative, i will work with other senators on those ideas. this was not considered by the majority in the last go around and that is why we have forced this discussion. >> i want to bring up the oil spill. how would you assess how the government has handled and reacted to that tragedy? >> the federal government has been very disappointing. the president should have brought the federal agencies together and set up a command
and control response. he should have brought all the scientists and engineers that could have brought their best minds to bear on what the issues were. he could have immediately waived the jones act so that folks could come in and helped. he should have worked with the governors in the affected area in terms of watching the louisiana governor that wanted to scam the oil and it was a sluggish response. i was disappointed. >> would you agree? >> i agree. the response was poor. looks like the recovery aspect is poor. the underlying problem with this is the core energy policy that we have had for years. republicans are just as much to blame as democrats. if we don't do something, we will continue to put pressure in
the wrong places. >> remember, ken buck is a good fighter. >> we are back with the debate. you have a fundamental disagreement on afghanistan. you believe that there should be some sort of timetable for withdrawal. correct? >> no. >> what do you believe que? >> we need to make sure that afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists. we need to disrupt and dismantle the drug trade coming out of afghanistan. when we have accomplished those goals, and those are not 50 your goals. when we accomplish those goals, and we will withdraw troops. we are not engaged in the nation-building exercise. we're trying to create a western-style democracy.
>> but you believe in an exit strategy? what's absolutely. -- >> absolutely. >> can at said that -- ken has said that there is a cost- benefit analysis and the terrorists know that they should not attack america. i do nothing that the christmas warmer got the message. neither did the times square bomber. what we need to do is to disrupt, dismantle and the ft al qaeda in afghanistan. -- and to seek out kai -- and al qaeda -- defeat
al qaeda. >> have you said those things? >> know. i do not talk about timetables. the christmas day bomber was not trained in afghanistan. he was trained in a camp in yemen. the other farmer was actually an american citizen, not trained in afghanistan. -- the other bomber was actually an american citizen, not trained in afghanistan. >> come much longer should we be interact? >> i believe that the surge is working. they are taking over important responsibilities in the military and then it will be time for us to go. >> i do not think there is a timetable. i think that the bush strategy is an appropriate one. i hope and pray that our troops are able to leave and get out of
harm's way. the governing of iraq should be turned over to iraq. >> voters are more polarized than ever. what can you do? >> i do not think it is a good thing. there is such a frustration with people saying that they do not like the direction our country is going. we have a president that wants to fundamentally change america. i believe that every day americans and others that have been on the sidelines are now saying that we need to have a voice. our republic is in jeopardy. >> can you work across the aisle? >> absolutely. there are some things that i
will not been on, but in terms of being able to reach across the aisle, absolutely. i think there are kinds of things we have to find common ground and move forward. >> we will take a break and come back. >> we have one segment left with the candidates and we have a couple of questions from viewers. first, this is from charles in aurora. if you could get a piece of legislation passed through the senate, how with the benefit colorado? what's a balanced budget amendment. -- >> a balanced budget amendment. we need a balanced budget amendment. without raising taxes. we have a $13 trillion debt and we are mortgaging our children's and grandchildren's future.
>> i believe in constitutional term limits. the people in washington d.c. too long. they believe that that environment is normal. without moving people can and out more frequently, we are going to end up with the kinds of problems that require -- >> you both agree on term limits? >> i believe the power has gotten so strong that we do need term limits. >> she has changed her position. i am happy for her. >> i have not changed my position. i have talked about coming to that conclusion. >> would you vigorously introduce and support an anti- illegal aliens a bill similar to the one in arizona? >> i think that it is unfortunate that the federal government is not doing their
jobs and require the states to play in the sandbox of their playing in. -- that they're playing in. i think it is important that we protect our citizens. >> we absolutely have to secure our borders. i say no to amnesty. we need a temporary guest worker program. we need a program for people who want to become united states citizens. our immigration system is broken. i am pro-legal immigration. i am against illegal immigration through the this is an issue that we have to soften the federal government should take the responsibility. >> we have a couple of minutes left. >> thank you for having me. i appreciate being on here. i just want to talk to the viewers for a second. i have run a grass-roots campaign and i have listened and
learned and what i have heard from colorado citizens is that more government is the solution, rollin. i strongly believe that we have an opportunity for limited self- government. we should return to the principles of our founding fathers. i hope to earn your support. my name is ken buck. if you would like to support me, please go to buckforcolorado.com. >> thank you so much. i am running for the united states senate because washington is broken. we are overspending, overtaxing and over regulating. it is not only stifling job creation, but it strikes to the core of who we are. washington thinks that the
answer lies in them. we know that the answer lies in the strength of the american people in more freedom, more opportunity, more growth, more prosperity. i have three priorities that are colorado priorities. first and foremost, we have to create and keep jobs and strengthen our economy. secondly, we need to stop out of control spending. third, we need to keep america free, safe and sovereign. i believe that colorado deserves a senator that will stand up to the big spenders in both parties who have a record of cutting budgets and who will bring integrity to the senate. you can go to my website janenortonforcolorado.com >> thank you both for being here. it is important for everybody to get out and cast their vote. we urge everybody to do that on august 10.
thank you both for being here. that is our show. i hope you enjoyed it. i will talk to you next time. good night. >> the colorado senate primary election is on august 10. here is a look at the couple plan local ads airing in the state. >> i am jane norton. i approve this message. ken buck is attacking jane norton. what is he saying? >> why should you vote for me? because i do not wear high heels. >> play that again. >> why should you vote for me? because i do not wear high heels. i wear cowboy boots. >> now ken buck wants to go to washington? he will fit right in. >> americans have not given up
on our country's experiment in self governance. >> he never does anything halfway. >> i want to second the nomination for my dad because he is not going out without a fight. >> we will make the kind of history that al children and grandchildren will be proud of. >> i am ken buck and i approved this message. >> on c-span, a number of political activists events from the weekend. we start with house speaker manciple a sea and in senate majority leader harry reid at the netroots waters convention. ggers convention. >> a house subcommittee will meet and discuss ethics charges against representative charlie rangel.
we will have live coverage thursday at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. >> c-span is now available in over 100 million homes, bringing you washington your way. a public service created by america's cable companies. >> and nancy pelosi talks to a group on priorities for the rest of the year, including anti- discrimination laws and climate change in the economy. the event is hosted by netroots nation. >> welcome, everyone, to our keynote session. i and the co-founder of business strategy. we are a consulting group that helps nonprofits for social good.
log.so bogg i am proud to be a member of the board of directors. it give yourselves a hand for waking up early. [applause] i know that you all were up late last night. i saw you on twitter. thank you for coming. we invited you to send in your questions to the speaker of the house. today, speaker nancy pelosi is here to answer your questions. [applause] we will also take a few questions from the audience here in las vegas. please write questions on the cards on your table. those will be collected and
eight team will select a few questions for me to ask the speaker. for this session, the speaker will join us in a few moments to provide a few remarks and then we will sit down and we will have a casual chat among friends. first, there will be a personal introduction of the speaker. introduction of the speaker. i would like to share a bit of her biography with you. representative jan schakowsky represents illini's ninth congressional district which includes places like evanston and the north side of chicago from schol give it up. fantastic. [applause]
shares in the house democratic leadership as the cief deputy whip and has won her time throughout congress. her twittered name is @jan schakowsky. she in 1969 led the fight that put freshness on products in supermarkets and you have her to thank for the delicious and mahon dangerous and salad sandwich you recently picked up at the 711 or maybe that is just me. she carries on the tradition in congress with efforts to safeguard the rights of victims of identity theft and to protect consumers from predatory lenders. in the 110th congress schakowsky sponsor and led the consumer protection safety improvements act to the passage which put in place among other things mandatory standards and testing for infant and toddler products including high chairs and krebs. she recently introduced the safe cosmetics act so your lipstick won't slowly kill you with land.
[applause] yes, that's right. let's give it up for that. th's important. [applause] she played a critical role in the passage of comprehensive health care reform in the 111th congress which among many protections is ending the nightmare of being denied insurance coverage because of a preexisting condition. schakowsky was responsible for provisions into law to require improved review of insurance company premiums and other initiatives to increase the number of health care providers. she's a champion for the nation's seniors and has worked hard to prevent the social security and medicare. she opposed the iraq war resolution and was a founding member of the out of iraq caucus. [applause] fantastic. she's a steadfast supporter of immigration reform and is an of original cosponsoof the comprehensive immigration reform asap act. she believes that all people should have equal protections and rights under the law and is a foundinmember and vice chair
of the ecology caucus which promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and trends gender equality in the united states and the world. in short, she is a pretty amazing example of what women in power can achieve for us all. so please give up for representative jan schakowsky. [applause] [cheering] >> it is an honor and pleasure to be with you all of you and to have the distinct honor of introducing my friend and the speaker of the house nancy pelosi what happens in vegas stays in vegas suspect this crowd of boulders and tweeters and media entrepreneur is pretty much nothing that happens here is going to stay here. [cheering] so let that be a warning to
everybody. this is a marvelous opportunity at netroots nation to ask the eaker questions. this will give absolutely candid answers. i do believe hat nancy pelosi will go down in history as the most effective speaker of the house that we have ever had. [applause] and of course it is historic being the first woman that this has also been the most productive session of congress in recent history and nancy pelosi has led the way passing comprehensive health care reform has been an effort over 100 years to do that. and i know, not perfect and we are still working on amending it to making it better. by the way, we just introduced a public auction bill in the house this week. [applause]
[cheering] you know, as part of the president's commission of the fiscal responsibility at reform, i am saying that we need to do that because it saves $60 billion. in addition to all of the other good things. [applause] but wall street reform, fda regulation of tobacco, the american recovery and reinvestment act to jump-start the economy and create now ase certified 3.5 million jobs, and we know there is a long wato go to give tax cuts to small businesses and 95% of americans and that is just he beginning. none of this, none of this would have happened without the relentless leadership of and optimism of nancy pelosi. she is a trailblazer who boldly and proudly represents our progressive values. and i havead the honor and
pleasure of working with speaker pelosi throughout my 12 years in the house of representatives, and i can tell you that all only is she tireless, she is completely fearless. don't we need more of that in conagra's, completely fearless. [applause] and the most skillful organizer that i have ever seen i've also been a community organizer and a consumer organizer and i am telling you i have never seen the kind of skill that this woman has. her organizational perales was essential in a unifying and the democratic party to stand up to president george bush and winning back the house in the 2006 and under her leadership we beat back president bush's reckless drive to privatize pos social security which by the way others have aken up that in the republican party and are pushing privatization nd imagine in this economic climate without
would mean to older americans and the 1.3 million children, let's not forget those children who rely on social security. i want to tell you one story that i think actually to stories that tell you about nancy pelosi. in the thick of the debate over health care when the chips were down, she has back-to-back meetings from morning till night with every segment of our democratic caucus talking to resoe the issues they had and i was and one of those meetings. when someone in our caucus said i don't know if i c vote for this. it's just we have done some polling and it's not very popular in my district and at the end of the day i'm not sure that i can do that. and manzi said the kind of setting up a little street we all have to remember why we are here, and she said if i had to
walk out of this office right now and never be the speaker again but to get health care for all americans, i would do it. [applause] and there wasn't a single person in that room who didn't believe that that was exactly what she meant. but of course she didn't have to do it because when asked about whether or not we were going to pass this bill, she said we will go through the gate. if the dat is closed we will go over the fence of the fence is too high we will pole vault. if that doesn't work we will parachute in but we are going to get health care passed for the american people. [applause] and she did. [applause] notice i am using paper and not my i pad. my age is showing. [laughter]
any way and though i never did actually see nancy pelosi pole vault i want to tell you if she had to, she would. and she was true to her word, and again, she united the democrats and without a single vote from the republicans we passed the comprehensive health care reform. [applause] we have to do it alone, we will. even if we don't want to, we will. and as we continue to knock down the barrier for about the progress of the agenda because the -- there is so much work still to be done, speaker pelosi continues to rally our troops, to choose all of her tools including what she calls her mother of five boys and her andmother to get it done for the america people, and so now give a great welcome to my friend, my leader, our champion, speaker of the house nancy pelosi. [applause] [cheering] thank you.
[cheering] >> thank you very much. good morning. >> thank you. how are you. it's wonderful to see you. [applause] isn't jam schakowsky wonderful? wouldn't you like to be introduced by her any day of the week? she is a remarkable member of conagra's and when she came there it was such an infusion of energy and idealism and progressive thinking about how we got into the future. the congress is greatly enhanced by her leadership and her
service and i am honored to serve with her in the congress and to call her a colleague to be introduced by heard here this morning. thank you, jan schakowsky for being so great. [applause] now let me finish the story that japan began -- jan began. thank you for the beautiful red roses after we passed health care. the thousands of the rose is that you sent and and then take to alter reed where the families were so thrilled to get the flowers from all of you it was pretty excing. i wanted to acknowledge the network routes nation and the dailykos for your help in passing the bill. t me finish the bill of jan. jump in, pushed en the gates,
all that. so after it was finished, the press came to me and said well, which one of those did you do? and i said actually weushed open the gate. we pushed open the gate because we had 220 strong members committed to health care for all americans and the bright not a privilege that although we had some differences of opinion of what approach to take we all knew that this was a chance of a generation to get the job done for the american people. we were able to push the gate open. but i'm here to say to you on the university of the netroots nation we couldn't have pushed open the gate without you. so i'm here to say thank you to you. [applause] the debate that was engendered a nationally, the force of the conventional aspect of the bill, the unity that we have had that we had to make this different,
that the leverage had to change and be a favor of people instead of the insurance copanies. you helped us do that. and again, one of the reasons i was delighted to receive the invitation was to be here to see thank you for that andor some other things we will talk about now. because there we were right there, standing tall among those who had passed social security in the 30's, medicare in the 60's and now health care for all americans. and i am pleased to be in nevada to be in the state so important when president called the day after the vote and said last night when you passed the healthcare bill i was ppier than i was the night i was elected president of theunited states. so mr. president, i was pretty happy last night myself, but i wasn't happier than when you
were elected president o the united states. [laughter] because if you were not elected president of the united states, we would not have had this tremendous victory. we trusted each other and we both trusted harry reid who got the job done. so i want to salute harry reid and titus who had a tough break. we have to support her, and courageous member of congress. [applause] and shelley berkley. i think we are in her district here. there's shelley and dina and shelley berkley is just wonderful. back to the president, imagine that he would say happier than i was when i was elected president the united states. well it's more important to him. and he knows the importance of the netroots and the netroots nation and the rule that you played in that. and so telling you what he thinks about it i want to
introduce this film so that he can tell you what he thinks about that. ladies and gentlemen, netroots nation, the president of the united united states. [applause] i wish i could be with all of you in las vegas but then i realize this weekend what happens in las vegas will be webcast and tweeted by 2002 but i'm grateful for the chance to talk with all of you because we need a difficult moment for america. over the las 18 months we have been worki to put our countr back on the right path. to dig our way out of this recession and to begin building an economy that makes america more competitive and our middle class more secure. and while we have a long way to go i am confident that america is once again moving forward. still, change hasn't come fast enough for too many americans. i know this. it doesn't come fast enough for me either. and i know it hasn't come fast enough for many of you who
fought so hard during that the election. the fact is that it took years to get here. it will take time to get us out. we know that from the beginning of the campaign. but i hope you take a moment to consider all accomplished so far. >> it turns out in this administration are the biggest or the first or most important in generations. wall street reform agreement on health reform, the stimulus bill. it doesn't throw a lasso are not our entire economy and yanked it back from the brink. it also pumped about $100 billion into the crumbling in their dislike of the national infrastructure and transportation systems. tax ncentives for renewable and clean energy unheralded but the giant investment in science and tech also expand state kids' health insurance to cover another 4 million kids. >> bill lee ledbetter fair pay act and the deal with russia that would reduce both countries ourselves by one-third and rational way forward on that radical left-wing proposition of ronald reagan, a world without nuclear weapons.
the heat cramps prevention act also known as the matthew shepard back dismantled the plate minerals management service to read this to be of the student loan system, the last time any president did this much in office bruce was t legal. if you believe in politics and government that addresses the problems shears to that spirit we begin to deliver [inaudible] and we are not done. we are working to repeal dn't ask don't tell. we are working to close guantanamo in a responsible way. and thanks to the heroism of our troops we are poised to end our combat mission in iraq by the end of august. completing a trickle down of more than 90,000 troops since i took office. we are moving america forward. when we come this far we can't afford to buy black -- fly backwards. that is the choice between going into the field policy that got us into this mess an moving forward the policy is leading us
out. lamb asking you is to keep making your voice is heard, to keep holding me accountable to keep up the fight. change is hard but if we have learned anything the past 18 months and this change is possible. it's possible when folks like you remember that fundamental truth of our democracy, the change doesn't come from the top down it comes from the bottom-up, the netroots, the grassroots every american who love thir country anbelieves the committed diffence. we've done it before and we can do it again. let's finish what we started. thanks so much. [applause] ank you for bringing some of your friends and family along. i would like to acknowledge representative don edwards who
is here in the audience. [applause] [cheering] and the speakers daughter and granddaughter christine and her daughter are here. [applause] cheers all this is going to work. we posted the opportunity to ask questions on, dailykos, facebook, trader and if you came in via the old fashioned e-mail. [laughter] there will be three phases to the conversation. we will take questions from the internet, questions from the audience and then if time permits we will get a littl personal with the speaker. here is a reminder please use the cards that are being distributed on your table to jot down your questions and they will be collected and put on the monitor on stage. please also respect your fellow netroots who took the time to submit questions in advance and
don't shout questions from the audience nor should you bum rush the stage. [laughter] we have a track backstage and arnot afraid to release it. [laughter] [applause] i will do it, too. don't test me. [laughter] the speaker and i have a lot in common. we both have families in baltimore and hail -- baltimore, shelled out. san francisco, the san francisco bay area, and we both love dark chocolate so hopefully this should be alot of fun. let's get started with a few questions that came from you for the internet. i'm going to start with the most popular questions from folks on-line. congratulations on passing the repeal of don't ask don't tell in the house. [applause] [cheering] recent polls indicate that the majority of americans support the passage of the employment nondiscrimination act and now
has 198 codes will you and president obama have both been strong advocates in this passing the bill of the second committee and promises haven't been kept. dr. julian p. on twitter and jack and jill politics and the perfect store on dailykos want to know will we see the passages any time soon? >> thank you very much for the the opportunity to be with you on stage here. to take the question i am honored because of who you are and how you are part of the ture with our common roots in baltimore and our shared love of san francisco and our chocolate. thank you. and it has been something that has been a part of my being since i went to the congress and then some years later about 16 years ago we finally have legislation that we could rally
around. this is an absolute priority not only for me personally but for the house democratic caucus. under the leadership of george millerthe chairman of the education and labor committee which has primary jurisdicton we have been working very hard to try to iron out some of the -- have clarity of language that could dispel some opposition. this is something that has to be done. it's almost it's so long overdue it is almost embarrassing to have to say we have topass a bill to end discrimination workplace. i'm happy so that it fits comfortably on the path we are on. we said we were going to do hate crimes fully inclusive hate crimes, and we did pass that legislation as the matthew shepherd legislation. we are very proud of that that it was fully inclusive and then next to my agenda was the
support to take up the don't ask don't tell and we are very proud we passed that in the house. i might say that i would have hoped that there would be a moratorium on any discharge from the military. [applause] by 2010 comes to an end so does don't ask don't tell, and that at the same time we are holding -- i need your help to get the biggest possible vote on this. all these issues to tmes. when we started the heat crime that is what i can to congress 23 years. there wasn't an issue of gay, lesbian, bisexual, but then transgendered can issue and the challenge became greater. the same thing with enda. but discrimination against
everybody and anybody in our bill was inclusive. [applause] >> i can't give you a time, but i can tell you that it is a priority and it has been our hope to do it this year. we have to finish "don't ask, don't tell." >> who is blocking the package of enda? >> i would pass it in a targeted way. this is america. show your appreciation to those who are less. encourage them to model may be a vote but a leader on the issue, persuader, appear pressure that is theirbecause i don't think some of the opposition comes from those in the business community who may not understand the practice of how ts can be practically accomplished. we think it can. i think that should be the least when we are talking about ending
the discrimination in the country. so my advice would be let's get the drum beat coming and for the as enthused as they have them. we have 40 votes on don't ask don't tell. 40 votes. at is a very big -- we hardly won anything by four votes much le 40 votes in the congress. >> we want enda now! >> don't shout out from the audience. >> your impatience is justified. let's make it productive so that we can all work together nd strengthen each other as to get this passed as soon as possible. very important. >> thank you, speaker. [applause] >> i love enda. i have pride being there at the start of all of that. barney frank, tammy baldwin, now jared who is going to be here this weekend. it's been an important part of all of this. >> thank you, speaker. both my parents were educators,
and we know what makes good hools. small class sizes, classrooms with well-trained teachers who are free to be caring and creative, face clean schools. over 40 tweets the last 24 hours urged me to ask you about the promise act which has 235 co-sponsors yet hasn't been brought up for a vote yet. this bill has practically applications to reduce gang violence and make schools and neighborhoods safer. education is a top priority for americans, yet often a low priority for congress. why is that and when will the promise act, the dream act, which would legalize immigrant use of the great already in the school system and other bills that create good schools take the center stage? >> first of all thank you for the question and let me talk about promise and then go on to other aspects of education. the promise act is legislation introduced by congressman bobby scott from virginia. it's hard to think of anything
that is more important than getting opportunitis to young people in the country especially kids who are in circumstances who need education, mentoring, community support and the rest and promises and acronyms for all these things. many co-sponsors what he hoped to do is bring it under suspension so that it would get two-thirds yet and we are trying to figure out how we can prioritize some of the issues with dennett. again so bobby scott is taking the lead on this and it's coming from the committee george miller's committee and also from the judiciary committee. if it appears you know what is gog on in the senate. you don't know it can pass in the senate ever. i will let my message be to you today the republican senators
have held up job creations for our people this would be a difficult. we don't know what state this would meet in the senate, so we may try to take pieces of the bill and put them on other trains leaving the station to get as much of it passed without having it go over there and just sit there. so again, when you think of all of the things you can do to make america great, to honor our commitment to the equality o opportunity and giving kids a chance it is hard to think of anything more important in education and special features that are captured in the promise act. d as far as education is concerned conagra's we have had a strong, medication. in fact we passed education bills on the reconciliation bill that have helped health care on it that saved $60 billion we used about 40of the to increase would tell grants and funding
for community colleges that kids who may not be four year college bound but need training to work and their fields would have access to education and to reduce the cost of the student loans. $60 billion, rachel reference to the bank's rating of all this money. $60 billion saved, so it is reinvested in another way and saved the taxpayer $20 billion reducing the deficit by $20 biion. you mentioned the dream act. the treen acts aptly named. as most of you know that is a bill that would give young people who are not fully documented to have access to higher education. there is a difference of opinion about how to go forward on that and in our house we are commted to comprehensive immigration reform. the congressional hispanic
conference doesn't want us taking one piece that might be appealing and leaving the undocumented behind. so we are -- our principles are secure the border, enforce the law, protect the workers, don't exploit workers coming but have a path to the legalization for those who are here not fully documented. and if we take off some of the rosy pieces of eight the fall is a would diminish the prospect for comprehensive immigration reform. others have a different view. that is wrong with it if we can get it passed. that ia debate we have but the senate caucus is of and i support that. and also what is happening in arizona also shouts out the need to have comprehensive immigration reform that is put
all the things i said in that unification of families and the rest. so we know what we have to do. we know what our values are. we are going to do this respectfully, and to go too far from education to immigration, but we meet with business communities, evangelicals not always our usual allies on some of thee things that they understand we have to have comprehensive immigration reform so we have to keep the heat on for that and when the time is right to pass it and that time hopefully will be soon, but that's why we haven't allowed the co-sponsors and support the treen act to the chris -- dream act don't want it to diminish dealing with the undocumented in the country. ..
i would just like to put this in a cotext that i hope you share with me. i have so much admiration for jan schakowsky as i mentioned, and that is why she accepted the invitation to serve on the fiscal responsibility commission. very important. from my standpoint, we are talking about two different subjects. it is very important for us to be fiscally responsible. we have have to subject overspending to harsh scrutiny and eliminate waste, fraud and
abuse, duplications. pay-as-you-go, make harsh decisions about our priorities. we have pay-as-you-go. the president has a stern budget we are even stricter than he is in making cuts in the budget and we have this commission, so we are moving on all fronts to reduce the deficit. when you talk about reducing the deficit, and social security, u are talking about apples and oranges. if we want to have a conversation about social security and how we keep it solvent, what are the things that we can do to keep social security solvent way down the road so it is there for future generations? that i believe is an appropriate conversation. it shouldn't involve reducing benefits or raising the limit or whatever, but you could talk about how you keep it solvent.
to change social security order to balance the budget, they aren't the same thing in my view. that is and what we should do. [applause] so i will admit, and accept the fact that as we make social security more solvent, and it is solvent for-- until 2030, to make it more solvent will have a positive impact on the deficit, but we shouldn't go looking on reducing benefits or raising ages and all the rest, period and we certainly shouldn't be doing it to reduce the deficit. two different sides of the ledger. i thinit would be great if the unified and said we all support social security. we oppose the privatization of social security. it is important that our seniors know that.
august 15 is the 75th anniversary of the establishment of social security. the 75th anniversary. [applause] let's use this month of august, and the time around it to renew our commitment to it and not to use it for a purpose other than what it was established to do. to be social security for our seniors. [applause] and okay, we will talk about the solvency of social security over here. we will talk about balancing the budget and reducing the deficit over here. now, if i may, stop me. when social security was implemented, when was first, the idea first came and this is about you, frances perkins who was the secretary of labor at the time, she went to president roosevelt and she went on and on about her plan to establish
social security. and of course, he knew about all this but she would find out when and how we were going to do this. he said francis, you have convinced me completely. now make me do it and th is the message i bring you. we all know that this needs to be done, whether we are talking about social security or whether we are talking about health care whater it is, we can only do so much in terms of persuasion and maneuvering and the rest internally. internal maneuvering, outside mobilization is essential to getting anything great don. so i thank you, i thank you arco. [applause] when franklin roosevelt said that to frances perkins, he could have been saying it to all of you into all of us, because your persuasion and bringing people on board, that does more
to change people, transforms people's thinking more than just picking one member for a vote so make us do it. [applause] >> thank you. folks are really interested in the economy and jobs and this has received a lot of questions about that, particularly on blogs. will congress worked through the summer recess to finish work on the jobs bill and be on the stimulus package, what more can congress do or areou intending to do to get unemployed americans back to work? >> if i might just put this in the context, some of which the president said in my will just touch on it briefly. the president is inaugurated january 2010 steps on the capital asking for swift bold action now for education for the 21st century, use our soil, our wind, our son to run our
cars and fuel our factories. he knows the agenda he put forth. one week and one day after his speech the house of representatives passed the american reinvestment and recovery act. it has saved ocreated 3.6 million jobs in this year and a half. not enough. we want more but without it, we would have been going in the opposite direction as the president said. we are going forward. we are not going back. in the course of the time that has followed we passed in the house the energy bill. now we have had health care and we pass th education piece in the reconciliation bill. all of those are job creators and they were all with the president had in mind in his budgetf last year. it was a budget that was passed the economic stabilization for our country, to lower taxes for the middle class, to reduce the deficit and to create jbs around free principles, energy
and climate change, education and innovation and first among equals health care. it has taken so long to get those do, we had to have some other job spills in the meantime we passed the president signed a higher active that is created some jobs, but we passed two days ago, when we passed the unemployment insurance bill, which we are very happy about passing, but they give it a. in the house we passed that bill in december, in december. in the senate held it up all that time. in an even more recent build six or seven weeks they held up. when they sent us, if you watched on tv and this may be more than he went on now on the subject, they sa we are now going to have an amendment to the amendment and the amendments to the amendment struck summer jobs, jobs for youth, build america bonds, jobs now,
creating jobs all over the country. a full list, concurrent receipt for our veterans or with disabilities, veterans tax, all of this page paid for. the list goes on. that is what the amendment to the amendment did. it dropped all of those downed initiatives and they sent us the bare bones or coat the fight was over the republicans wanted to have their unemployment insurance paid for, $34 billion they insisted that it be paid for. and then finally at the end one republican, they got enough votes so they could go forward. at the same time as they were demanding to pay for $34 billion to pay for tha they were saying that we should have tax cuts for the wealthiest people in america costing $700 billion, $700 billion and paid for. tax breaks for the rich, unpaid
for but we can't pass unemployment insurance for america's workers who play by the rules, lost their jobs through no fault of their own, a safety net for the whole capitalistic system, not just for those individuals. so it took all that time. thank god he made the bill retroactive so people will get the money, but how many people can wait six or eight weeks for their check that should have been the mail a long timeago, cept for the obstruction of the republicans in the senate. think of what we would do if they would not be obstructing everything ery step of the way. so take on this thought. again i refer to the president. president. we are making progress. more needs to be done but we are not going back. in the first eight months at the end of august, the first eight months of 2010, more jobs will be created under barack obama in the democratic congress than in the eight years of the bush administration.
[applause] in eight years of the bush administration. as we goforward into this august district period, we will be talking about social security because it is august 15 and because the republicans again want to privatize it and they-- that goal. we will be talking about making it in america and initiative are caucus has put together working with the white house about how we can make things in america so that people can make it an america. steny hoyer came up with-- we had made in america, making it in america h a double meaning. we have a big manufacturing strategy for creating jobs in the u.s. and of course we will be talking about how we do this and reduce the deficit at the same time. jobs, jobs, jobs yeah it is very important that we have to get it done. people have to see the difference between what the
republicans want to do about this, nothinand what we are advocating. >> thank you. just a quick follow-up on a question. vicki jardin koegel and many others on facebook asked and supporting manufacturing and you just briefly touch on that. can you tell us a little bit more about what you are doing their? >> barrett number of initiatives we are bringing bills up to the floor and many of them initiated by our new members freshman and sophomore members who have come most recently, many of them from the midwest and our country where the need for jobs is so great. all over the country, here in nevada and califnia but where are manufacturing heartland had been. the idea that we must stop the erosion of our manufacturing base of our industrial base and our technological base. it is a national security issue
to do so. if you had no other justification. some of the bills that we have considered and they are putting on the table, one that we pass the other day. we make it easier in terms of our trade treaties for any fractures to get their raw materials that they need to manufacture and it makes all the difference in the world to them. it got an overwhelming vote. to put it this way, the republican leadership down the line voted against the bill. 39 republicans voted against the bill. they all voted for, it makes so much sse. we were very pleased to get over 300 votes, a huge vote. this is about fairness to american manufacturers and how this treaty would be used to help them get the raw materials they need to make our products in america. another it is, for example, maybe this is more on the subject all of you want to know
but for example,in china, if you make your product and american companies, make your product in china, chinese raw materials, chinese labor and all the rest, you can bid on government contracts. and it is all made in china. but in the united states, anybody can bid on contracts in the united states. so we are trying to have some reasonableness as far as that is concerned and how we get that done. we have tax credits-- using e tax code, using the appropriations process and using policy to set standards for domestic production. this is an all out make it in america manufacturing strategy. we are finishing some of it up w but it it will be on line so
you can see it but one bill after another. there is a strong interest in our caucus too of holding china accountable for its manipulation of its currency. [applause] if that wereo change it would make a tremendous difference in our trade because manipulation of the currency is really a subsidy to their exports to america. that is an unfair advantage. so we are coming at it in many different ways but it is very exciting and we want everybody to make it in america. >> alright, thk you. we are going to ta one more question from the internet and then we are going to take some questions from the audience. racial profiling and police brutality but remain a fact of life are for black a brown people in the u.s.. we are both from the bay area so know you are familiar with how the killing and locker bay area. and congress third two measures to address unequal treatment under the law and i'm going to summarize a lot of folks who
asked about these two acts, the fair sentencing act which would eliminate the 100-1 drug quantity ratio sentencing structure between crack and powder cocaine. and the end racial profiling act which is sponsored by representative john conyers which would eliminate law enforcement prtices singling out people for heightened scrutiny based on their race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. when will congress acts to make our streets safer for everyone? >> thank you for your question. we hope to take up the fair sentencing, the differentiation on crack and powder cocaine hopefully this week. this is something kind of shocking to you. this has already passed the senate. [laughter] kind of surprising. remarkable, remarkable.
and i think it was a voice vote or something but anyway i am sure they didn't. we are hoping to take it up this week. we want to take it up under suension. we are trying to get as much bipartisan support as possible. we are operating under principles that it is possible for us to get republican support for code some of that is in doubt, but we are optimistic that we can go forward, so our hope would be to take it up under suspension this week, get a good strong vote for this to lessen-- it doesn't eliminate the disparity but it drastically lessens the disparity between crack and powder cocaine. this is so unfair and members know that, and it is my hope that it will happen this week, early this week. >> fantastic. >> then of course we all support what mr. conyers is doing on the racial profiling and that is some of the concern that we have
about the arizona law. all the more reason for us to. >> fantastic. now let's take a few questions from the audience. thank you for submitting those. this week the senate announced that they are not attempting to pass climate change legislation, even though cap-and-trade with a republican idea. will they get an energy bill this year but that really shifts the u.s. from oil to alternatives and brings jobs to the u.s.? [applause] >> i certainly hope so. let me say when i'd became speaker of the house my flagship issue was energy, security and addressing the climate crisis. it is somportant and the priority that i established a select committee, established just for this purpose. ed markey of massachusetts, a
master on all of these issues, is the chair of that committee. probably 100 members who wanted to be on the committee, everyone wanted to be on it. it is very important. this is not an issue that the senate can walk away from. this is a national security issue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. it is a health issue to reduce the emissions of fossil fuel emissions into the air. it is a competitiveness issue for our country so that is the economics of this. the whole world is out there doing new green technology to save the planet. we can either lead in that or we are going to be left behind. we must act upon this, and the third, fourth if you believe as i do that this planet is god's beautiful creation and we have a moral responsibility to preserve it, that is why we work closely with the evangelical community on this issue. we all agree we have a moral
responsibility to pass it onto the next next generation in a responsible way. time is running out. this is not an issue you can walk away from cause we have spent a billion dollars a day on foreign oil that goes out of the country. there are $65 billion a year going out of the cotry. so in any event, i don't know what their bill will look like, but whatever it is, we look forward to going to conference with it. over one year ago the house of representatives passed legislation called aces, which do all the things that i talked about here. it doesn't mean it is the only way to get it done. we welcome whatever the senate can pass to again reduce our dependence on foreign oil, on fossil fuel, enhance our competitiveness internationally and new green technologies as well as when we build the green
infrastructure of america, but sooner or later this has to happen. the center, the better because the emissions continue. the price tag continues, the threat to our national security continues and just hope they have a build that is substantial enough that we can go to conference on it. but we are not going away on this. we have to continue this fight until we take charge of ourselves and our role in the responsibilities that i mentioned. >> we are running short on time so i want to take one more question from the audience and then i have a personal question for you. this was a popular question also on line so thank you for bringing it to our attention here from the audience. do you expect the house to vote on fair elections now act in
september, to demonstrate the democrats resolved to challenge big money special interest? >> two things. [applause] first of all, that is where we need your help too. look, i have been for this initiative for 23 years that i've been in congress. verse we got 80 votes in than 100 votes. it is no use bringing up the bill unless you are going to ow strength. you are going to win or show you have to be reckoned with, but you can't show weakness. so the time that we can take up the bill is the time when all of us get out there and talk to members and tell them how important this is to you. this is fundamental. it is about our democracy. it is about the people centrist. it is about removing the perception in the public's mind that people who contribute large amounts of money have some different access than the poor
kids who need the prome act for them. so this is fundamental to it democracy, fundamental to the confidence that people have in government. so i urge all of you to call-- whatever twitter, whatever it is, but make your voices known and nothing is more eloquent to a member of congress than his or her own constituents. so we can agai maneuver and persuade and this or that that hearing from all of you, remember francis-- make us do it. in addition to this we pass to disclose act icongress. this is americans unite and response, really i think horrible decision by the supreme court to allow business is undisclosed, unlimited money to come into districts and spam a
have an impact. even if they have a large foreign ownership, foreign companies have an impact on american elections and you don't even know it. so the disclose act doesn't eliminate the decision but it eliminates the nondisclosure, and that is in the senate now. chris van hollen of maryland has made a big, has had great leadership on this so tell the senate to pass the disclose act. tell all of us to pass this public financing. what is the official title of that? fair elections. we all know what it means. it means people being in charge of government. it is very, very important. lots of people are working very very hard on it so let's grab
that all of us and run with it and see if we can't get the biggest on this vote on that. john larsen, part of the democratic leadership, has just been relentless on this and jan schakowsky has been a leader on this issue. donna edwards, part of who you are for a long time, so they are all together on this but i like to show strength, so going to the floor. >> i said at the beginning, reference that with the elections in 2006 when we won the congress and especially when we elected a president of the united states, that the leverage change. and all the things that rachel is saying and the president was saying and we were talking about wall street reform, it is about the consumers. thank you elizabeth warren if you are here. know she will be here later today. for her leadership. [applause] that bill was the most substantial reform in the
financial services industry in decades and the most important consumer protection in history, in history. the leverage has change. health care for all americans. no longer will we be deprived of health insurance because of a preexisting medical condition. no longer will a woman be of preexisting medical condition and. but you know the list of things on the house house bill with a rate review and medical loss ratio i'm holding the insurance companies accountable, the leverage has change. this doesn't happen in a republican congress under a republican at illustrion. when they talked about reining in big oilith our bill, what we did take great courage in the use for the members to say no to big oil.
big car patch, the oil patch the gas patch, we have every patch in the world but they managed to resolve many of our differences because we had a bigger goal. and the leverage has change. so underand what is at risk when we go into these elections 100 ys from tomorrow. 100 days from tomorrow will be the election. 101 days from tomorrow will be the day we find out what the results are, and on that day we want to have no regrets, no regrets. we all have to say, we took the responsibility. not because of a political party or any particular politian. one in five people in america lives in poverty. these kids that need the promise act, the kids who need the dream act. one and 50 children in america are homeless.
the issue about jobs where they say people don't need unemployment benefits. they just want them because they don't want to go to work. what a terrible cruel thing to say. how we talk about not just putting people back to work, we have to get many more jobs for people who haven't been to work. at every different level of our society. [applause] this is about a different priority as i said, the leverage has changed in favor of working families. no longer will be recklessness on wall street cause joblessness on main street. how dare they privatize and nationalize the risk at the taxpayer pay for it if we don't do well. what is going on here? what was going on here? never again. and the republican chairman of the committee the other day, perhaps some of you sought, republican chairman of the house election committee said when
they ask, if yo win what will you do? he said, we will have the exact agenda as fore. and the senate committee chairman stood up and said, people will look with fondness on the bush administration. we have news for them. we are not going back. we are going forward, and we need your help to do so. [applause] >> one more, one more. one more question because speaker your personal story is so important i think for young women and you are the first woman elected to the speaker of the house. [applause] an amazing accomplishment. >> the first italian-american i might add. >> that is great. i'm a little bit italian myself. women remain a minority and congress and state legislatures around the country. what advice do you have from
your personal experience for all the bright young women in the audience you want to be successful in the soetimes brutal world of politics and what would you say to the righteous man out there to encourage them to support an increased role for women in politics? >> thank you very much cheryl for that question. i wish i could have, i will speak for them and they will contradict me if i'm not accurate. donna and jan, i think they would agree that runng for office is not for the faint of heart. this is tough and it is about power, especially if you are talking about control of a legislature, control of the congress or who is going to be president, vice president, speaker of the house. the advice that i give and i wrote a book about it, it says know your power. i say to women, know your power because when you go out there to run, it is difficult but have
confidence in who you are because there is no one like you. you have the unique contribution to make, and there is nothing more wholesome for our political process or goernmental process than the increased participation women. [applause] and don't let anybody diminish your experience, your knowledge or the rest because it isn't the same path that people may have taken before. i went from the kitchen to the congress and a serendipitous way but i did face a high value on my experience as a mom, five kids in six years, the organization that that's a, that the siplin, the focus and interpersonal skills. [laughter] the management of time. but that is the hardest job in the world, raising a family so some of you will be coming in
the way i did afer your children are grown and now you have the time and the discipline and the sense of organization to get that done. some of you i hope will be thinking at a much younger age to be involved becau we really need young women in america to see young women at the feet of power. the young women at the seat of power. they have to see th because then they know somebody who shares my experience who has to juggle all that i have to do with children are not is there. some people may not go the family routes, but i will tell you this. whatever you choose your past to be, whether it is to have a family or not, to have it sooner or later, whatever it is i honestly believe women have a special intuitive sense. some people caught it intuition. it it is not emotional. it is very intellectual. it is about use of time.
it is about let's get the job done, it is about we need results and your presence at the seat is very important. if i may just tell you a story and some of you may have heard te of before. you can read about it in my book, know your power. think of those words, nor your power, what you bring to it. and to our supportive male friends in the audience, thank you because will tell you it is a whole generational change. when i was little my father protected me from everything. life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness all of that, just because i could get a boo-boo. [laughter] baghdad's now, see what their daughters can do, encourage bad and when i became a whip i got so much mail from dads of daughters and the way boys are
ised now with a respect that young girls can go on to be anything, everything. to the men in the audience to support women in public life, thank you for doing your patriotic duty. >> let me just tell you this story. cheryl is going to cut me off. especially the speaker-- verse when i was elected to leadership i went to the white house for the first meeting that i would go as leader in the house of representatives. and i didn't even think about it in avance because i had been to the white house many times as an appropriate or, an intelligence coittee member all these things so it never even, had no apprehension about going to this meeting. that when i got there, and the door close behind us in this ball table, the president, the
vice president, the leaders, house and senate i wasn't speaker yet. i realize that this was unlike any meeting i had ever been to in the white house before. in fact it was unlike any meeting and a woman had ever been to the white house before because i was seated at the table of power and i wasn't there as an appointee of the president, where my presence was derived from the president making an appointment but as the representative of the democrat do have a commitment to equality and they sent me to the table. president bush ever gracious started his opening remarks about agendas. i felt i was really being crowded out. it was packed and jammed. don't know what he was thinking as i was going like this and all, but i realized
that sitting there on the chair with me and this is the only time this has ever happened to me, seated on the chair with me was susan b. anthony, elizabeth cady stanton, you name it, evybody that you can think of who ever worked to promote women, whether it was professional, political, women who had the right to vote, women to take a stronger role in government. they were all there on the chair you know some of the others who were there. and i could hear them say, at last we have a seat at the table [applause] and then they were gone. my first thought was, we want more. we want more women, we want more minorities, we want more. and i know, i knew even before
then but i stand on the souls of many who went before to have the speakership but i also know that many young women will be standing on my shoulders as well jan and donna, we all understand their responsibility to women. if i may, the house democratic caucus has something in common with you. we have a very diverse demographic, as i am sure the blogosphere does, the netroots nation does. we succeed because we listen to each other, we develop a consensus over many diversities, genders, generations, geography, philosophy, ethnicity, you name it. we have every difference that you can name what we listen to each other and because we are different, we don't hand down a
bill. we build a bill together and rebuild a very strong fiber, listening to each other and becauswe are different it is all stronger, and i see that in the blogosphere as well that your strength is that you have lots of opinions that come forth maybe even on the same philosophical place on the spectrum, but with different ideas about how to achieve the goal. we all want to do great things for our countr. we strive to find common ground and if we can't though, we cannot not act. we like bipartisanshi that doesn't happen, as i said earlier-- it is not about us. the president has said we will measure our progress by the progress being made by the american people. that is our standard. we are not going back.
thank you for the opportunity. >> thank you very much. >> more from the net rig's nation conference. we will hear from majority leader harry reid who was -- could talk to someone who was discharged from the army from being gay. this is about an hour. formerly known as michelle. [applause] thank you all for sticking around for saturday afternoon in the session. and coming back to las vegas. how many here were here last time around back in 2006? [applause] alright. remember back then, remember how dan balz and marine dowd and
byron were all here to sort of peer at us and look at us and tried to figure out who we were, find out exactly why this group of ordinary americans really thought they could change politics. remember how that worked? well, some of you may remember that one of the reasons that first yearly cost convention now known as netroots nation got so much of that village or curiosity. it was because of the man you are going to see today, then minority leader harry reid so it it was the first elected official to agree to come talk to us. that clued people in. they thought, minority leader is going to talk to these people. maybe we should go see what they have to say. he took us seriously then, and that is help us gain legitimacy. it turns out he took us seriously for a very good reason. because remember what happened than then in the next two
elections? 2006, 2008. we were instrumental in taking back republican seats and turning them blue. so, in honor of then minority leader harry reid and now senate majority leader harry reid, nevada zone, i am honored to bring him out. [applause] [applause] >> thank you very much. before i begin my remarks, i
want to recognize somebody that deserves a little recognition. first lieutenant dan choi. [applause] [applause] first lieutenant dan choi, graduate of the military academy at west point was discharged from the military this week. wrongfully so. dan is a perfect example of why we need to eliminate "don't ask don't tell". [applause]
why we need to pass the unemployment discrimination act. i try to do both. we do have the "don't ask don't tell" in the defense authorization bill. so we are going to continue to work on this and do the very best we can because fairness deserves and i will do a rethink i can to make sure in the future there are less dan choi's in the world eliminated by a system that has no reason to humiliate anyone. [applause] i want everyone to stop and look back a little bit. in fact, look back a long ways. let's go back to the beginning of the united states as a country, the colonies. the colonies were a perfect example of how the rich and
powerful directed their lives and it was really power, the king in the land of gentry. how did the united states come to be? how did the colonies break away from that? they did it in a number of different ways but one was through small little publications. you remember seeing those pictures in the town square. they would have somebody who had written what they referred to as a newspaper that was literacy. people would come to the squares and read these publications to others. we have the federalist papers. well, we broke the chains of monarchy and-- and great britain but the powerful and the rich continue to have tremendous influence in our country. newspapers no longer were the ones who posted on a bulletin board in a town square. newspapers became big and powerful and spread information all over the country. editorial policy was extremely
difficult on occasion. it said that franklin roosevelt never had more than 10% of their support any time in his career, but something came along to change that and that was the radio. the radio became very powerful. it allowed the common folk to be more involved in what goes on in government. they knew more and to show the power of radio, we can look in many different places. before he leaves the newspapers nevada had some real good examples of how newspapers operated. to very powerful nevada politicians, dale pittman, lieutenant government, lieutenant governor and his brother keith pittman served in the united states senate for 27 years. one of the best friends franklin roosevelt had. they owned a newspaper here in
nevada. they wrote the editorials, they hired and fired the people there who worked for the newspaper. they try to buy out their competitors and they did on an occasion or two. as i mentioned radio came along and it changed things quite a bit. it began to give an illustration of the strength of radio. father coughlin, father coughlin in the late 30s and 40s was a man who had tremendous power. the country was much smaller than. his listening audience with 8 million people. this man who had got on the radio and spewed this anti-semitism and his racism, had a lot of power and on the other side there were others who were more mainstream, the lowell thomas world that radio had tremendous power and then came television.
television was really good, specially when we started having a news broadcast for television. and when it came to a 30 minute, that took a while and that was a big breakthrough to have news every night for 30 minutes a night, it really helped involve the american public and what was going on. but, guess what happen? in the reagan years, with the complicity of congress, we decided we were going to change that and what we did is turned everything back to the rich and powerful by consolidating the press. certain companies now own more than 1000 radio stations, multiple tv stations so what happened is that the rich and powerful in the time we were colonies until recent times, suddenly became the voice of the rich and powerful. the rich and powerful were controlling everything.
it is pretty interesting. after was wrongly decided that bigger is better, the next few decades saw unprecedented consolidation and collaboration. a single person could own thousands of stations. millions of americans only heard the voices of a few. and then guess what happened? the personal computer came along, the pc. and then you came along. you brought back the voice of real americans. you, but david, fought back against the-- never before have individuals been able to so it effectively overpower the powerful and thankfully today the loudest voices in america are yours. i do believe, i know you are a humble bunch of people and that deserves some applause.
[applause] weather whether on the internet or on the senate floor, the same striking contrast, the people versus the powerful. the contrast is nothing new in american history. as i have said, it is american history. it is the story of our nation's founding and its growth remains the backdrop of every important issue today. it is also the story of young professionals. the press of course have historically been a platform for the powerful. now more than ever when i talk about the media, we need a megaphone for the masses. thew the netroots nation are the reason for that change. and boy you are sure a quiet bunch of people. i think that deserves another round of applause. [applause] not for me, for you. that is what this is all about. i know that there are times, i
am told, that i get on your nerves. [laughter] and i'm here to tell you you get on my nerves sometimes. [applause] but, let's all understand this country would be in a lot more trouble if we weren't around. [applause] the people against the powerful is in the guiding principles of taking on corporate american i know it is then your guiding principle as you have taken on the tea party and other machines and especially the republican party. and you have done a remarkably well. i admire how you perceive the
truth as relentlessly as you reveal hypocrisy. you shine much needed light on scare tactics and misinformation. i am calling you to keep calling them out on those issues. what you do is not only critical to the democratic process but it also creates the pressure we need to shape the conversation, the conversation about how people keep their jobs, their homes, their savings and even their health care. there is no doubt in my mind that we would not have accomplished all that we have in this congress without your efforts to explain the facts about what we are doing, to expose the truth about what the other side is doing it to examine the real crisis americans face every day. [applause] that is why it is encouraging to me that you are growing so rapidly. a quarter of a million bloggers are registered at daily costs
and a number of you have come to this forum and has increased dramatically since your first year when we were just a short distance from here at the riviera hotel. so, before i continue let me say thank you, welcome to las vegas. i am glad you are here in my state and you know i am really glad i got up this morning to be here to be with you. i kind of doubted it at 5:30 this morning but it is better now. [laughter] it is because of your voice that we have been able to do so much for so many. the most famous congressional watcher we have called this congress the most if congress ever. [applause] many others agree with him. health care, wall street reform is historic and long overdue. these two alone would have made for an impression session.
i've been in a number of them. they would have made for an impressive session but add to that economic recovery, stimulus, credit card reform, mortgage fraud, everyone of my family members smoke. when were they addicted to tobacco? when they were teenagers. for the first time the fda is going to control tobacco. [applause] you know we passed lilly ledbetter legislation, equalize pay for men and women. [applause] children's health insurance, hate crimes bill. [applause] long overdue, long overdue, travel promotion for our country to final you have activity to bring people to visit our country. most every other country has it that we don't. we do now. we passed, and some people have
jumped over but there've been editorials written all over the country better landfill, the most significant environmental legislation written up an "l.a. times" and many other newspapers in more than 25 years, creating more than 2 acres-- 200 million acres of-- ted kennedy tried to get that for four decades. we passed it now where young men and women can be involved in public service and to be able to get a college education and doing so. [applause] and after another seemingly endless republican charade, emergency unemployment checks are friendly on their way to nevadans and every other state in the union. [applause] there are a number of reasons we were able to break through but one of the main reasons we did this was because of the endless
support of all of you, especially john who is here with me today. [applause] referred to also as--. i know you wish some of these reforms were even more sweeping and believe me i do too. but we also have to be realistic. i wish we had a public option. [applause] but we are going to have a public option. it is just a question of plan. that is why include i included in my health care bill, but keep this reform in context. generations tried to do what you and i did this year dealing with health care. every time in the past they gave up. you did not give up. i didn't give up. now is the law of the land and
it is starting to work for people in nevada and around the country. look at the polls. now majority of americans support health care reform. [applause] nevada's families and businesses cannot afford for us to let the perfect be the enemy of the good i hope you know as well as i do that if we waited for the other side to come around on some of this stuff, we would still be waiting. senate republicans have gone so far to the right they don't care who they run over along the way. remember that historic vote on christmas eve? remember when republican senator said the day before, the night before the vote that he hoped senator erred died. well, understand, senator byrd was wheeled into that senate chamber, looked up at that clerk and said this is for ted kennedy, aye. we had 60 votes. [applause]
i'm not going to dwell on it but i know people say, why didn't you do more than 60 votes? remember we only had 60 votes were a matter of a few weeks. remember ted kennedy was sick for a year. it took us from november until june to get the great senator franken from minnesota. [applause] sixty votes was a fleeting time in history of this country but we did a lot during that period of time. i wanted also to say this. i am going to say it whether i want to or not. the republicans, and they declared they are not corporate anymore. they have packed it in, they are through. but remember also, don't badmouth all republicans because senate republicans