tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 20, 2015 10:00am-12:01pm EST
and take jobs. a lot of people feel like there should be a better process in place. if people want to get legal while there are over here instead of just coming over here and trying to get the slap on the wrist. it is affecting our budget as far as taxpayers money. free welfare or health care. the whole system as far as immigrants coming over these to be a better system.
united states and our military one of the encouraging things is to have our guest in a position of influence. sometimes, you spot somebody when they are new and you recognize that they are capable and will make a tremendous contribution to the nation's interests over time. because of their judgment, their integrity, their willingness to work. their charity. their understanding that congress is a place of people with different views and you have to understand how to persuade people of their terms on what is important in the country. i'm not going to praise him too much because it will embarrass him, but it is wonderful that he
is chairing the armed services committee. it is gracious of him to be willing to make remarks with us today. without further ado, i will introduce the new chairman of the house armed services committee. [applause] >> thank you. i appreciate your words. i appreciate you and your colleagues. as well, all of your contributions to national security. being selected by my colleagues to chair the armed services committee is a great honor. it is also a great responsibility.
the first and foremost job of the federal government is to defend the country and our people. congress has a unique and irreplaceable role in carrying out that duty. when i work -- when i walked into the main committee room i sat wishing for some harry potter magic. at hogwarts, the headmaster to consult with his predecessors by talking to their portraits. have not found any that would talk back yet, but i'm still hoping. i am honored to join their ranks. i'm sobered by the challenges ahead. i don't believe that any of my predecessors face such a wide array of complex security challenges that we face today. from the renewed aggression of
major nuclear powers, to grappling with the new domains of warfare to terrorism and horrible diseases, the list of security challenges is long. ahead of the british defense staff, the world is becoming a more dangerous, less certain less predict double, and more unstable place. i don't know of many people who would disagree with him. the dangers are swirling around. what macauley called the red whirlwind. americans and american interests were inevitably swept into it. americans are uneasy. apo ll -- a poll in november said that 80% thought the
threats were increasing and 60% thought we were not as secure as we were a year ago. i suspect those numbers are even higher. one of the portraits is of chairman carl vincent. his tenure was 50 years. he came in with a springfield rifle and he left with the icbm. he has an aircraft carrier and our main committee room named after him. it is said that benson forgot more about the navy than most admirals will ever know. if those pictures ever do start talking back to me, i hope it is his. in the 1930's, when the threats were large and the budget tight, vincent took up the cause of naval modernization. a new deal in social spending dominated the budget.
defense dollars were scarce. vincent insisted on buying new ship's. we are a maritime nation that needs a modern navy. in the 1930's, three large ship holes -- ship hulls were laid down. those sank four japanese carriers at the battle of midway. 3000 japanese sailors were killed that day. it could've been 3000 americans had it gone the other way. when i talk about the job being sobering, that is what i'm thinking about. if vincent were here today he may find a familiar political landscape and similar frustrations. the deliberate ignorance of danger the want of strategic
forethought, infinite demand to spend money elsewhere. those are all parts of rhythms that churchill called the endless repetitions of history. fortunately, for the battle of midway, congress got it right. that doesn't mean that congress always gets it right. the country paid a heavy price. you may argue that on 9/11 because our national leaders did not see or chose to ignore approaching dangerous --. congress consists of human beings from all over the country and all rocks of life -- all walks of life with all of our accumulated talents and thoughts. what is this body is proper role when it comes to national defense. the founders gave certain powers to congress which they viewed as
the branch closest to the people. james madison said these power should exist without limitation because it is impossible to see or define the variety of national needs. in article one a of the constitution six suspects -- six suspended -- six specific duties were placed. congress will size, shape, and the soul of the military. the president will determine how to use it. security from foreign danger is one of the primitive objects of foreign society. that fundamental object has not changed in 200 years. the way that we need that object has to change. the 37th congress that with a
southern rebellion and the suspension of habeas corpus. king george burned down the office of the 13 congress. in our time congress had to deal with a blend of all of those things. the thought of the capital burning, as it did in 1812, was remote for two centuries. only the courage of united flight 93 prevented it from happening on 9/11. only good intelligence and law enforcement stopped they plot within the past few days. we may not have the same av's debates, but we struggled with the right balance of privacy and security. we do not have a naughty germany, but we have a resurgent russia and a rising china. through these repetitions of history the 114th congress has the same obligation is the first
. to build a military capable of defending the country. it is not clear that everyone understands our constitutional system. congress is criticized for our -- criticized for exercising our propyl role in defense. some may have heard that congress is forcing the army to buy tanks because it doesn't want because of some donor lobbyist, or interest. the reality is we made a judgment call. there is one plant in the country that makes tanks. the army said foreign sales would keep that plant occupied until 2019 when they needed to refurbish our own tanks. the house and senate appropriations committee and armed services committee went through the arguments and believed the math did not add up . we started upgrading our tanks earlier then the army planned to make sure the plant stayed open,
that the workforce was engaged and that the tanks would be fielded sooner. some may differ on the wisdom of that decision, but there is a reasonable logical, national security argument for it. it turns out, last month the u.s. army sent 101 tanks back to your in response -- back to europe in response to the ukraine crisis. that is evidence we made the right call. one year the air force wanted to discontinue the global hawk and rely on the 50-year-old you -- 50-year-old ua10. they proposed --. the navy included no money in this year's budget to begin
re-fueling the george washington, a carrier with 25 years worth of life left. the pentagon has asked congress for another round of base closures when we have not yet broken even from the last round 10 years ago. and all of these incidences, congress on a bipartisan basis disagreed with the administration's request. that is how the founding fathers intended our system to work. sometimes the pentagon is penny wise and pound foolish. sometimes the white house tries to cut military spending for other parts of the budget. sometimes the priorities are wrong. congress forced the pentagon to buy the predator. they didn't want it. pilots do not like pilotless aircraft. it is countercultural.
i don't know many people who would reverse that decision today. each of us has a responsibility to represent the interests of our district or state. we don't no one else will. this congress sometimes make the wrong call? absolutely. please do not fall into what was said in another context, the soft bigotry of low expectations. the constitution gives congress the responsibility to raise support, provide, and maintain lee terry capability. congress can rise to meet the historical moment. that is what you, the american people, should expect us to do today, even if the president does not always rise to the moment in carrying out his constitutional duties. some expect lawmakers to just cut the check and not ask
questions. the congress should not give blank checks and be a rubber stamp. it is the branch of government responsible for the character and contours of our military, including the organization and structure. congress created the war structure and reorganized it into the department of defense in 1947 and restructured under bill water nichols. speaker sam rayburn said too many people mistake the deliberations of congress for its decisions. the deliberations that lead up to a bill like goldwater nichols can be messy. the complexity of our security challenges grow and so does the necessity of congress living up to our sponsor abilities under the constitution and playing our part to defend the country.
doing our constitutional duty also kenexa our people with national policies. a csi study entitled beyond goldwater nichols has always struck a chord. they said congress is the place where ideas become national policies and commitments. having met to messy, frustrating debate in congress changes the clinton policy for this or the bush policy into that into the nation's policy. congress is the indispensable link to the american people they wrote the connective tissue between the national leaders and policy. to be that connective tissue we have to do our job in congress. a big part is building the military capability to deal with the threats that we can see, and also for the volatile,
unpredictable world we live in. that requires the united states to have a military that is strong and agile. we have a lot of work to do on both fronts. last thursday as a republican retreat, british prime minister tony blair was there and he repeated the advice he is given the united states for years, be strong. don't worry about of people around the world but a few. what the world needs is for america to be strong. to be a strong we have to stop the slide in defense budgets. to reduce our base defense spending 20% since 2010. two weeks ago on fox news sunday chris wallace asked general dempsey if it some point the resources would be cut so much that we can no longer defend this country from the threats we face. general dempsey replied "yes,
absolutely. it is called sequestration." i can recite facts and figures all day about sequestration from the plummeting readiness levels, the equipment in disrepair, the soldiers not getting to the rifle range. the real problem with sequestration is more than facts and statistics, it is about if we have the capability to do you would be needs when the time demands. it is about the increased danger that comes to our people from diminished training, aging equipment, and a tempo of operations that stretches them and their families too far. it has to be fixed. even without sequestration we have to make decisions on our
investments. on people and technology. our people are our most valuable assets. we will get reports of military compensation and military realignment. we need a comprehensive look at the benefit structure, rather than trying to nickel and dime our service members to death year after the administration proposes. i will be looking not only at the financial impacts of that study, but about how it affects our ability to recruit and retain the best our country has to offer. that is the key to our future. we have to improve our acquisition system to get more value out of the money that we spend on goods and services. in 1952, the navy issued a requirement for a lightweight writer. then the first a4 skyhawk flew.
then the next --. compare that to the f22. the air force requires tactical fighters. in 2005, 24 years later the f22 was first introduced. instead of 750, we brought 195. if boeing can field a new commercial airliner in five years and ford can take a car from design to production in 24 months, it should not take two months to put a new fighter in service. things have to change. we fix organizational problems with more organization. i've seen estimates that show one third of the acquisition budget goes to overhead costs. this system is so gummed up it
is a wonder things come out the other end. the have a military that is strong and agile means that we cannot tolerate to delays and cost overruns that have delayed our pretreatment system. every delay means that technology doesn't get to the troops in a timely way and jeopardizes their mission and risks their lives. i am optimistic that working under secretary kendall we can thin regulations and increasing accountability for program performance. it won't be easy or quick. agility requires organizational structures that can adapt to meet new challenges. an organizational culture that promotes learning and thinking. in his autobiography edward teller writes that the substance with the greatest inertia knows
demand is the human brain. the only substance more inert is the collection of human brains found in a large organization. maybe he can say that, but with the speed of change that we confront, we cannot afford inertia or failing to learn and adapt. we cannot tolerate organizations that stifle learning and adaptation. colonel john boyd understood the pentagon and its flaws and warned that complexity causes commanders to be captured either own internal dynamics and prevents them from adapting to changing circumstances. without saying it goes that there are many people in the department of defense doing good work with good results. too many of them are captured or have their work captured, by the accumulation of regulations and bureaucratic processes imposed by congress and
administrations over the years. this issue has to be a focus of our congressional oversight. the oversight will be fair, aggressive and thorough. that is exactly as the framers intended. part of her job is to update the oversight for the threats that we face and what we need to protect the country. we made a good start with an oversight of cyber operations and military operations they go on around the world. we have more work. we have to make sure the oversight is not only focused on the capillaries, but the big trends that defined our world and security. that is not a new problem. president lincoln asked for a report on a developed rifle. when a report arrived lincoln looked at the binder and said, if i sent a man to buy a horse for me i expect to hear about
the horse's points not how many years it has in its tail. sometimes -- how many hairs it has in its tail. sometimes congress contributes to this. too much effort with two little result. history and common sense tells us that congress has the indispensable role in reforming the pentagon. without us it will not happen. as long as i'm privileged to hold this job defense reform will be a priority. not just words own sake, but for the sake of ensuring our military is as prepared as possible for the wide array of threats we face and the unknown security threats that we will face tomorrow. we will focus on reforms taking us closer to an efficient effective, accountable department of defense with military capability that is strong and agile.
great powers, and great military powers, that fail to adapt to shifting realities are relegated to history. that has been true from the greeks, to the romans, to the soviets. updating and strengthening congress'role in self-defense is updating the role the congress was always meant to play in self-defense. building the military and rejuvenating america's role in the world. at one time it was said that the sun never set on the british empire. today the sun never sets on the security challenges facing the united states of america. in meeting those challenges, the american soldier never goes to bed. our challenge and congress is to fulfill the roles and responsibilities the constitution places on our soldiers -- our shoulders with
courage, dedication, intelligence commitment to service. just as our military personnel carry out their jobs every day. tim towery is one of the most amazing man i've ever met. winning a pulled surprise. he was -- winning a pulitzer prize. he was a prisoner of war by the japanese in world war ii. he said not all men are called upon for battlefield conditions, but all will face situations where courage, duty, and responsibility are required, and where the true measure of their worth is how they respond to those challenges. in all of the noise and clatter of our day. in this day of social media and and was news cycles it is easy to be distracted from what is important. we cannot afford to be distracted. the world is too dangerous.
dividing for the common defense is the fundamental obligation of government and the most important job we have. i will work every day to make sure that congress fulfills that role with the courage, duty, and sense of responsibility that is for a full to the founders the amazing men and women who serve our country in the military, and to the generations yet to come. thank you. [applause] >> will thank you. -- well thank you. we will chat for a few minutes. we will chat for a few minutes
then we'll go to your questions. i will attempt to be brief, and give you plenty of time to answer. you discussed in your remarks the role of congress in, as the constitution says, raising armies and maintaining navies. they did not mention an air force in 1780 seven for understandable reasons. from your experience and i know from my experience, that those who serve our thoroughly familiar with these issues. you mentioned there are 535 members. the other ones deal with health care, education, and those issues all the time. do you think they are as familiar as they need to be with military issues? i'm not blaming them, but what
can be done institutionally to raise awareness of these issues among the other members and senators? >> there's no question that other members are not as familiar as they should the with these issues. that is part of a we face. with such a wide array of complex threats, it is not as simple as it used to be. to understand all of the different sorts of challenges we have. it is absolutely true that we have to put a greater emphasis in our overall gatherings on national security. it was terrific to have tony blair talk largely about the u.s. role in the world and how important that was. members looked to members of the armed services committee for the details of readiness level personnel, and so forth. we have to do a better job. and not just spouting
statistics, but in helping other members of congress understand not only what is happening, but why it matters. >> to them and their constituents? >> and to our country. >> you remember what a challenge it was when you were new what a challenge it was to absorb the lexicon of the pentagon. a lot of members probably find that challenging. carl vinson made sure that we laid the hulls for the aircraft carriers. if you are not done that we would not have had them. is there a capability that you will, in particular, are concerned we need to have and may not have in the future if we do not -- i know there are a lot of priorities.
is there anything that you are particularly concerned about? >> several things. the sheer number of ships is a big deal. that is u.s. presence around the world. the administration has proposed retiring a number in recent years arguing that modern ships are more capable than old ones. that may be true, but they can still only be in one place at one time. in terms of the quantity of things i worry about the capabilities for new domains of warfare, outer space, we have a tremendous capability in cyberspace without the laws to make use of that capability. the last one that i will mention is that i am concerned about biological weapons. it is not that we do not have some capability in the country but we are on different tracks. dod and ahs are not working well
together. a biological threat could be devastating. i am afraid we are not doing what we need to do. >> i am glad you are conscious of that. i cochaired a commission on wmd terrorism focusing on the bio threat. it was a concern that we had. and on the number of ships, i wonder if you recall hearing the quality versus quantity issue. they said we did not need as many ships because of the quality and capability of those we have. why don't we just have a navy is one ship i can do everything? i think you made a good point. i would love to know your thinking on this. you talked about institutional issues in the congress. let's talk about another issue. the chief.
it is a difficult line or them to walk. there do chain of command. it is there -- they are in a chain of command. it is there duty to execute administrative decisions. they have a competing concurrent, and competing responsibility to give congress their best and most honest professional judgment about the issues that they confront. i'm not sure that we sympathize that that is difficult. is there a message you want to send to the chiefs in that regard? >> we expect you to shoot straight. it is not fair to expect them to become advocates for our positions. especially if they contradict the president on. -- president's.
we have that information. as you pointed out, their obligation is not just to the president, but to the country. that includes congress and its key role in providing for the military. that is part of the reason we have gotten out of kilter when we talk about congress and national security. one reason is that it is important to start out by reminding everyone how central congress is in carrying out those duties. if the chiefs are reminded, so much the better. >> appreciate your references to the constitution. i know you are aware of another constitutional provision bears on this. the powers granted in article one of the constitution to congress are permissive. you do not have to have a bankruptcy code, right? article for said the united states shall provide.
the one mandatory function. >> given what texas faced last summer, with the invasion of minors, thousands of people streaming across the border presented all sorts of challenges. it is the federal government's responsibility to deal with that, absolutely. >> i want, and then i will open this up for questions, i want to get into the acquisition reform. your words could not have been more important or true. i appreciated the sentence, you do not fix organizational problems with more organization. hurrah for you in saying that. do you want to share, and i know you do not want to prejudge the
outcome and you will hold hearings, that what things you may think of as the right path to acquisition reform. as a jumping off point i will give you if you want to take it the national defense panel's recommendations over the years that we discipline ourselves and trying to design and develop platforms that we can design and develop in 5-7 years. a default than over time. you mentioned an a4 and f22 and things like that. >> chairman mckie asked me to coordinate this effort last year . we have gotten a tremendous amount of valuable input from people in the system, industry, and a variety of folks that have lifted this over the years. i've not found anyone who said it is fine, don't worry, it's
not a problem. i've found people, like you, who say this has been tried before and it gets worse. why are you going to make it better? there is that skepticism. in the spring, i will probably put proposals out there and ask for feedback. then the idea would be that they would be incorporated into this year's any aa. the point is they will not be a 2000 page bill solving acquisition. it does not exist, no one is that smart. we will first try to do no harm. second, we'll try to make things a little better. next year will try to make more better. and then we will keep after it as long as i have this job. your point raises another point. this is not just about
legislation, or regulations. it is about how we conduct oversight on these programs. congress can help make sure there's not the kind of requirement creep that has delayed and resulted in cost overruns over the years. how we do our job in budgeting and oversight and not just about putting out a regulation or repealing regulations. again, in the best of circumstances you will not fix acquisition. the world is moving too fast for us to be satisfied with the pace of acquisition. the pace of fielding technology today. i'm sorry, i get carried away. that is why you get folks overseas that are deployed to take their cell phones. what you can buy at the verizon
store is better than what you will get issued. we have a lot of work to do. it is really important. >> i appreciate your emphasis on accountability. the former secretary of the navy john lehman was responsible as anyone for building the number of ships in the navy in the 1980's. he constantly emphasize accountability within a tight chain of command. >> that is what you have to have. if you want to hold someone accountable for a program that goes off the rails, who do you hold accountable? there are so many people that are part of the decision-making that can slow things down or change it it is hard to know who to hold accountable. we have to do better than that. >> with accountability goes responsibility and doherty. the program managers and service secretaries would be pleased to know that your oversight will be
exacting but supportive for those who make those decisions. i do not a halt the chairman -- hog the chairman. let's open it up to questions. wait for microphone, then give us your name. >> sydni, breaking defense. you mentioned a couple of reports and appeals. quite a few people, don pinero, the first thing to do on acquisition reform is to repeal some of the layers of organization. to cut away things. you mentioned how big a piece of this are you considering? how high on the agenda? going through and taking things
out as opposed to rewriting or adding? >> secretary kendall has been working with us to identify overlapping regulations that he can thin out or we can thin out working together. that process is pretty far along. taking additional steps require us to change or repeal laws. i don't know how far we can go until we see what the market can bear. that is part of the reason we will not throw out an acquisition package and try to get it through the committee and a short time. i want to hear feedback. that back-and-forth discussion not just this year been in years to come, will help us get back to that accountability that jim and i were talking about. it is not about bureaucracy
organizations, it is about to has the authority and can you hold them accountable for the exercise of that authority. that is the goal we have to move toward. >> yes sir. >> thank you mr. chairman. you emphasized funding. the military needs more funding and sequestration is a problem. are you proposing some kind of appeal of sequestration. and do you plan to do it only on defense. you have seen the democrats response. saying that you'll never get an increase in defense spending unless you do something on the domestic side. >> my pair may point -- my
primary point is that it has to be fixed. it has to pass the senate and be signed into law by the president . the armed services committee alone cannot fix it. you have to have 218, 60, 1 to get it done. i don't know that anyone has a magical formula to do that or it would be done by now. i think it is very important for us to help all of our members understand the damage that has been done, and how it is more expensive and a lot of first backs -- and a lot of -- how it is more expensive to operate in a sequestration. the inability to plan. most agree that sequestration needs to be fixed. there is not an agreement on how to fix it. whatever can pass the house
senate and get signed by the president i am for. >> that is very relevant. the greater the sense of urgency, the greater the understanding of the problem the senate has, the greater sense of urgency to fix it and the greater possibility of coming to an agreement you are talking about. >> the military bends over backward to get the mission done. you don't see the delayed maintenance, the training that doesn't happen. it is harder to quantify and see. that is what we have to help people understand. >> the lady in the back in the aisle. >> i'm with the i.t. alliance, a division of iti. i want to thank you for bringing the armed services committee together to look at acquisition reform. what we are found to be the hardest not to crack -- hardest
not to crack --. i was wondering, how are you looking at that process? where do you see flexibility? are you engaging in the code to enable acquisition? >> we have been discussing with the appropriations folks not only acquisition reform, but everything we are interested in. i do not think there has been in time, that i've seen in the past 20 years where there has been closer collaboration between the armed services committee, the defense appropriations committee, and the subcommittee. that will only get stronger. rodney and i are determined to make it so. as-- i.t. acquisition presents
special challenges. some folks say we need a separate authority or wage procure i.t.. then when you look, what is i.t.? it is integral to everything we buy. is hard to segregated. -- hard to segregate it. yet that area changes so rapidly, and makes it difficult especially for the current german system to keep up with the technology and field the best for our folks. there are some authorities we looking at, and hopefully some brush we can clear way to improve it. there's not a magic answer, but hopefully we can make it better than it is now. and keep working to make it better and better. i.t. will be a focus on how we gauge that. >> thank you.
mr. chairman, i wanted to ask you about the budget priorities that the pentagon is wrong about. funding, ships, retiring airplanes that you don't believe should be retired. the pentagon says that by finding these things it takes our money away from readiness. so they choose readiness. what type of budget maneuvering will take place to be able to fund what congress believes to be important, but also the readiness that the pentagon believes they need? >> this gets back to the discussion we were having. under the sequestration and deductions. 21% of the base budget has been cut since 2010. that has to have an impact.
part of the rest of the story as those of us in congress look at the world, we are saying we don't know we want to give up the a10, the tanks or the 25 years left on the george washington. is there a cost to preserving that option? sure. it just adds a sense of urgency we have to get this overall budget on a more reasonable footing. are there going to be difficult choices? systems to be retired? of course. with the volatility we have seen in the defense budgets, and with the volatility in the world situation, most of us want to be careful about giving things away, because it will be hard to get them back. the key thing in my mind, is
that a mission where we have not broken even after 10 years, if we give up a base or timing range, it is gone forever. are we sure, have we thought about our role in the world enough, the military capability needed to fulfill that role? have we worked through the steps? so that someday we won't say, i wish i had that training range back. it is that caution about giving things up that you may regret in such a volatile world. >> the national defense panel was supported of that analysis. as you know we recommended that department come up with a long-term plan. until you have a sound long-term plan about what for structure you will need you do not want to give up aces and then -- give up
bases and then rebuild them. >> the ranges, in particular are very valuable. it will be hard to reconstitute if we give them up. >> a brief comment about industrial base issues. one of the keys to opposition reform is completing these programs. meaning that you had to have a robust industrial base. >> those are some the hardest issues we will face. i mentioned the tank. what if we decided it was not worth the money to put into that plant because we did not needed today and it closed. we lose the constant -- we lose the ability, we have to pay a lot of money to reconstitute, or we go to foreign sources.
we are facing that and a lot of areas. we have to decide whether or not to put money into something we may not need right now to preserve the capability of having it domestically. those will be the most difficult decisions for us, going forward. >> thank you for joining us and honoring us with a thoughtful speech. that sets me up for an opportunity to put you in a headline that will destroy all of your hard work. and when asked about the defense budget in the new republican congress. there's a large majority -- the largest majority and a longtime. the first hurdle for this year is the budget resolution. if you're trying to undo sequestration.
last year's projection, the number for 2016, the budget included a substantial increase in the defense top line. since then, the world has gotten scarier. and american interests more at risk. let me ask you a question if i may. with you except anything less than the figure specified in last year's budget resolution, which i believe this $541 billion. do you think that is enough? how do you think your colleagues in the republican caucus will respond to this proposition? >> mr. chairman, before you answer everyone here has been good about not making long statements before their question except one of our aei scholars who could not resist the temptation. if you want to graciously answer
-- >> at one time worked on the house armed services committee. he has a couple of connections. i think that you should be careful about drawing redline's. if you draw a red line and you don't live up to it, your credibility goes down. if you think about what is happening to the american credibility around the world the stories we have seen about may be assad can stay after all, it is about our credibility in the world. i would say not one d -- one dime less. there is not a magic number, but there has to be a real cut.
if you take inflation into account, defense spending, base defense spending, will go to 515 under the secretary should for 2016. the world is getting more dangerous. -- will go from $521 billion to $550 million under the sequestration for 2016. the world is getting more dangerous. there is a world rent -- there is a whirlwind around the world. this is on the voter's mind, and that translates into their elected representatives. we need to be able to talk together enough to be able to find the path forward. i want to emphasize that
includes the president of the united states. it is not enough to sit up there and throw tomatoes. he has to engage in a reasonable conversation about how to get from here to there. passed the house, passed the senate, and get his signature. >> the budgets that are criticized, do you plan on getting the executive branch to transition some of those funds into the base budget in the future? >> we have been working on that to not make up for base budget deficiencies, but to move those programs to the base budget so that oak oh -- so that oak oh -- so that they can be funded for current operations around the world. some are saying it doesn't matter about low sequestration
caps. that is not a good way to run a railroad. it is not a way that enables managers to plan. it costs more to do things that way. it does not reassure the world about our commitment to our allies and to our country lost interest. it is not a good way to go. -- our country's interest. it is not a good way to go. if you move into the base budget you still need oko for operation she don't expect. the paste of those operations is accelerating. >> megan with defense daily.
you and secretary kindle seem to be in line with priorities on how to go ahead with the reform. i was wondering if you had spoken to senator mccain. and will you be partnering or taking different approaches? >> we have been talking about it. acquisition reform is high on his list of reforms as well as online. with senator mccain's emphasis and our emphasis in the house with secretary carter and under secretary kindle, we will have a group of folks who want to get things done. folks in both parties on capitol hill. that is part of the reason i am optimistic. do not expect everything to be solved in a single bound. it does not work that way, and it is dangerous to try.
we need to take it step by step. >> we have time for two more. this gentleman. >> the o would group, thank you for your leadership. -- the elwood group, thank you for your leadership. what can interest rate due to support your goal and build trust with the department of defense. we need to reverse the adversarial environment. what can we do as an industry to support you? >> industry has done a lot. i will continue to rely on industry a lot as we work through some of the reform proposals. that is an issue that comes up a fair amount. i've had people in industry tell me we could give them a better deal, but they will not talk to us. there are ethical guidelines that makes sense but we have
all seen the swinging pendulum that goes too far. and in so doing as much harm as benefit. that is part of the reason i emphasize greater flexibility whai think that empowers them to not be so cautious within having these exchanges in the industry. if you look back, the united states is really unique in the world. the partnership between government and industry that provides for our military capability. the extent to which there is tension in that relationship, it makes it harder for us and to defend the country. again, we do not want sweetheart deals.
we ought to do what makes sense and what makes sense is having, allowing, and encouraging in an ethical construct the exchange between government. -- government and industry. >> one final question here. >> thank you. they put restrictions on reimbursement funds from pakistan. it is their job to certify -- what are your thoughts on pakistan, would you give them a pass on this topic? >> i think i got the just of the question. it was a little hard to hear. >> we have goals that we went
pakistan to achieve. it is just as clear that pakistan plays an important role in helping provide for our troops in afghanistan and fighting the al qaeda core, and other terrorist groups that are in that region. needless to say, it is a balance of how much care we need to take to achieve the desired results. i would say that i appreciate the military operations they have undertaken. it has put pressure in an area where there has not been a lot of military pressure before. i think all of us -- our hearts just break with the sort of school shooting terrorism that they endured. we imagine something like that eventually happening elsewhere.
it has been an up-and-down relationship but we want to use the right combination of characteristics to get to the best point. that has to be evaluated step-by-step as we go. >> very well. thank you again mr. chairman. thank you for your great service and willingness to answer question. thank you to all of you for being here. [applause] >> tonight, president obama
delivers his state of the union address. live coverage begins at eight p.m. eastern. that includes the president's speech, the gop response delivered by iowa. your reaction on open phones on c-span and c-span radio. on c-span2, watch the speech and reaction in the u.s. capitol. the state of the union address live on c-span, c-span2, and c-span radio. it is also on c-span.org. >> two former white house communication errors -- discuss white house communications. deputy white house press secretary and president george w. bush look at transparency and how social media has changed communication. the lessons they learned when problems arise. and compton moderates and shares her experience on covering the white house. the washington center is hosting
the event. >> welcome back. i would like to introduce our moderator for the panel -- white house, the view from the in side. ann compton has covered 10 presidential campaigns and also served a one-year term as president of the white house correspondents association. ann has traveled to all 50 states and six continents with american presidents, vice president, and first ladies. she has also been a panelist on two presidential campaign debates. she has one and a mean her
coverage as the only broadcast reporter on air force one on september 11. she has been inducted into six halls of fame and is the recipient of multiple honorary university degrees and lifetime achievement awards. one fun fact about ann is that her husband found one morning that she was number 12 down in the sunday new york times crossword puzzle. please welcome ann competent. [applause] >> thank you very much. >> i am also a frequent attendee at some of these washington programs. this is the icing on the cake for your very constructive week. we have heard from some of the most influential voices in washington.
for dessert on the last session you will get a chance to hear from two people who were inside the west wing. but kind of eyewitness account of what it is like for the policy when it is being made and how communications are shaped. i am pleased to have you welcome i need it done -- anita dunn. she was with the obama campaign and organizing for america. then she was the communication director inside the white house starting in 2009 when president obama took office. tony i covered at the white house just before. he was deputy white house press secretary during the george w. bush -- last year of george w. bush administration. this is a very influential and strategic thinkers working on
the outside issues and policies. they are still terribly, terribly engaged in what is going on in washington. i want each of you to start very quickly by not telling us what your job was in the administration, but what is your background -- what in your background made you suitable for that? >> thank you ann. thank you for being here. i was actually an intern in the florida white house which is where i got bit by the bug and never looked back. i am a cheap believer in programs that bring people to washington -- i am a chief believer in programs that bring people to washington. you all always have their a challenging questions. what in my background qualifies me? well, i was the communication
policy research and press director. i had those under my jurisdiction for the obama 2008 campaign. i had from 1993 until 2009, been a partner at a washington media consultant firm where we did political campaigns. i was also the communications director for the bill badly coming -- presidential campaign and the obama one. i worked with numerous campaigns and elected officials throughout my career. i have worked on capitol hill when he was posted minority leader and sonority later. that is when ann was reporting on september 11. i was at the capital when they told us it was a good idea to get out. i have served in a number from
the time i started working in politics and i loved dealing with reporters because they were so smart and so interested and so engaged. anyone who has done field on a presidential campaign has to knock on doors. it is fun to deal with people who already know, at least from my perspective. i look communicate with reporters, the public, and in many ways, i feel like i spent my entire career working on being communications director. i was appreciative to have that opportunity. >> when you came in, the new president -- he were with the campaign -- and when president obama was elected and got some of those first briefings on how bad the economy really was, what was that like for the senate? >> starting in september, 2008 -- september 15 to be precise --
our nightly campaign communications call came from being -- i did the agenda for them -- starting in september, they stand -- started with an economic briefing. it was not the usual thing that you do in a presidential campaign. normally you start with here is what is in the news today and here is where they are pulling stories from here and this is what we think the other campaign is doing great it is a very focused all, so suddenly we are doing economic briefings. we are doing briefings on what will happen on capitol hill and what we are hearing. it was such a scary time that every day after president obama was elected he started having a morning economics briefing right after his national security briefing. all presidents have a top-secret morning briefing over -- where
the national security adviser brief them on what is going on in the world. it is a scary briefing a lot of the time. i will tell you that the economics briefing were very scary. especially for the first half of 2009. i cannot imagine what tony went through. >> tony with the deputy press secretary during the same. period. you have always been the financial guy. anything having to do with that side of the agenda. you were the go to guy. talk a little bit or maybe pick up -- well, first talk about what it was like inside of the white house at that point and did your job as secretary deputy , the counting kind of swallowed everything up at that point,
didn't it? >> it actually brings back a lot of memories. the last time i did do a briefing and i am 100% certain that they i did not think i would ever be on the stage getting questioned by ann contin again. i have always been honored. you reminded me of a lot of memories of those days and anita -- i remember we were trying to do our best, and one of the things we were really proud of in a chaotic and difficult. was a very -- chaotic and difficult period was a very tightly knit as possible, while
protecting the candidate also. we do not want them to be put in a position where he had to lay his hands on consequential decisions that we were making because we did not want to hamstring him. we did not want to hamstring the obama administration. we wanted to make sure we were doing everything so they could be informed. on january you were well prepared to take the reins on that difficult series. we are very proud of that. i try to know exactly the type of information you are sharing at that time. economic talk, i was relatively an old deputy press secretary. i do not know that i knew at the time that it would require a lot of energy to do it.
when i went, i worked at the white house from treasury in 2006 and i was 40 years old. that is really, really old to be a deputy in the white house. in the white house press office. yet hours are insane and the workload is crazy. >> what time would you go in the morning? >> i would wake up at 4:00 and dana, when she was the principal deputy and press secretary, she and i would e-mail each other at 4:00 in the morning or 4:30 in the morning. i would have four sections of newspapers friend before i even got to the white house at 5:30 in the morning. i would pull up to starbucks on pennsylvania avenue and have two
copies waiting for me. an espresso and the grande dark. the national security meeting with that 6:30 the press conference and meeting at 7:15. senior staff at 7:30. the communications meeting at 8:00. in the early days, we were getting ready guy cold. -- gag hold. >> you were there from 5:30 until 6:00 because it had to be live on the air. the broadcaster and cable, talk radio, all of the needed information currently that morning. that is the glamorous part of the white house. you have to get up at 4:00 every morning. >> the irony is that when i was recruited -- i had been in
treasury from the very beginning of the administration. then i was deputy assistant secretary to deputy secretary. i enjoyed working on these issues and really loved that fielding. i loved working with everyone there. tony snow recruited me to come to the white house in 2006 because the economy was doing so well and the feeling was that we do not have anybody at the white house to talk about the economy to help people understand how well the economy is doing. one year later, it was clearly not doing well. tragically, it was a lot of work . the irony, i was there to talk about a great economy, but the great benefit for me personally and professionally and for the white house is that i was at the right place and the right time to talk about an economy that was in crisis and recession. i was able to be useful while up
there. >> let me follow up on that before we open up to questions. towyny, was there at best a best today or worst day to your recollection. ? can you describe the kind of pressure cooker you were in? >> the worst day for me, personally it was a lesson i learned. these are life lessons in whatever you do in life, but also if you happen to be standing in front of a president and giving advice, it seems to be more consequential. early in my time at the white house, i should have known better and understood it better and this moment is even embarrassing for me. early at my time in the white
house, i was standing in the oval office with president bush and it was me -- and i will not say the other two senior economic advisers to the president who were standing next to me -- there is no need to. there was a discussion of what was going on in credit markets at that time and it was really early on. it was before there was broad understanding. >> early signs of instability? >> yeah, some real credit problems. the president asked the question i am hearing from some people about problems in credit markets. what is going on with this? one of his advisers said, i do not think it is really a big deal. we are not seeing a lot.
it left an impression on the president that it was not a big worry right now. what i knew, especially having come from treasury, there was a problem there. at this particular economic advisor, his is by -- his experience with not markets. i knew that and i choked. i choked. i should have said something and i didn't because i thought well, i am kind of -- i am not as senior as him. he does the economic advisers and is much as i know, that is not what i am paid to do. what i got paid to do was give advice on lookout for people and help them when they are missing things. i went back to my desk and thought about it some more and what happened was when the
president was going to do an interview, he was asked about it. he said on the record that it was not a big concern. i was aghast. i was embarrassed. it was not a big deal when you look at the record and probably do not even notice it. i noticed it. that was the moment i said to myself that i will never ever do that again. i will never ever not speak up and say something to avoid hurting somebody else's feelings because i thought i had information. at was an awful day for me. i went home really trouble. you cannot be that -- you have to have the courage and the bold headedness to speak up. >> can i ask uneven the same question? leading up to the year that you were communications director
where, lesson learned the hard way? >> i was fortunate and learned tony's lesson when i was in internet white house. i worked for the chief of staff, hamilton. he was one of them is brilliant political minds of the 20th century, easily. he was an extraordinarily person. he was not as organized in his personal life as perhaps he was in terms of his brilliance in his political life. i was an intern, so i was below the bottom of the food chain. there was a huge summit at camp david and the entire senior staff of the white house was up there. they were up there for about one week, 10 days actually. the president came out, but hamilton's had a flat tire and
he left it parked on pennsylvania avenue. a very recognizable car with georgia plates. everybody knew it was his car. it was in a do not caps on. i was just an intern and i was like this is a problem. it is getting a pilot tickets every day i look at it. it has been there for three days. the woman i worked for said, do not worry about it, it is not a big deal. the next morning, it was on the front page of "the washington post." it was getting towed. as a kind of example of how the administration was spending out of control funds. you do not want to give those people that idea. that was a lesson to me. if you think strongly that there is a problem, you open to everybody to put that feeling
heart. -- to push that feeling heart. aard. you over your best advice and knowledge. you do not know them -- you do not go to miss congeniality and i will get along with everybody in the room. there are ways to deliver messages that are less offensive than others, and i try to do that. but you do all the modesty. if there is a problem, do not do them any favors by not telling them about it. there were certainly point in the campaign, in particular when things were not working as well as they should have, particularly during the primaries when we ran into a very rough six-week. . period. this is one senator clinton and obama -- and president obama
were both winning some and losing some during a very long primary season. >> we did see that request we thought we would win the nomination, but at the same time we were treading water. one of the political problems we had the time was the factor of sender obama -- of somebody who had inspired him for the title. somebody who had a history of in the southside of chicago as one of the most moving and exciting amazing experiences you can have at an african-american church. they have very, very hot rhetoric. senator obama was under pressure
to deal with an issue that was his pastor. he was taking out in be -- in bits and pieces and it made it sound really bad. it is your minister, and that it is a very personal and close enough -- and personal relationship. he said it was a huge problem small problem. it was a very painful moment but i was not doing him any favors by just cutting him think out there. >> we will open in just a moment to questions. let me ask you very quickly starting with tony, with their best moment at the white house? >> i have too many -- honestly, i never had -- is for that one day. i don't think i ever had a bad day, not that there were not trying days. it was such a privilege to work there. for me, personally, and
italian-american kid from a working-class neighborhood in pittsburgh. it was the last place i expected to end up. standing behind a podium at the white house. i appreciated every single day that i was there. i got a lot of -- i had a lot of really great, great days. some of them were personally fun. the week that the president was going to be throwing out the first pitch at national park. that we, he was like, you are going to warm you. i brought my glove and today's that week me and the president on the south lawn were catching balls. it was a great way to spend an afternoon.
i was like yeah, i made sure that the white house photographer was there to get every moment of it. >> unneeded, how about you? --anita, how about you? >> the first friday of the month when they would release unemployment statistics. it was horrible. i can just say, it was the worst day. >> this was a. in which literally 700,000 people were out of work each month for a short. of time -- for a short period of time. quite it was a terrible friday. many of you may have noticed that the rates came down. every friday, the first friday
of the month, there would be hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been lost and the unemployment rate going up. the day we had over 10% wasn't easy statistic for the press to grab onto. it showed them how bad things really work. and things were terrible. things were horrible. it was heartbreaking. we would pretend letters and night from citizens to actually hear what people are thinking about. it was just heartbreaking. to read those letters, it was a terrible, terrible time. i think my best day in the white house was not the day when i was still working in the white house, but it was a day that i still thought the real ownership -- >> you are always part of the white house. >> you are always part of the white house. it is just hard to describe the
emotions around that. i was on capitol hill in the clinton administration working for the financial committee in 1993 or 1994, i worked with senator bill bradley when he ran for presidency. he put a very good plan for health care reform that of course he did not get elected four. that did not happen. actually getting it done after president have had to do it -- i try to do it for 70 years, it is very hard to describe. for as many mistakes as we may and as i made in terms of that law, it was without a doubt the most moving moment. >> let us open the microphones to your questions. i know we are limited on time so if you can introduce yourself and address if you want to ask one or the other of your panelists here.
we will try to make the answers and thinks to get to as many. >> i eric anderson and i go to drake university. my question is, we recently heard from cheryl akerson and other speakers talking about the lack of transparency within the white house. for the sake of discussion, what would be your response? >> let's start with tony on that. >> look, they definitely have talked about transparency in the obama white house. but they did talk about clinton as well. i think in the case of babar white house is though, you can call the lack of transparency and in some cases maybe it is. i think it is just more disciplined than it was in the clinton administration.
relatively, wild west to me, lots of people just walk around and it is chaotic. we look at that as in we need to be more disciplined. we did talk to the media and decide when. it morphed into in the bush administration was this notion that we never had any agreements on things. there were never any arguments and the president was not hearing the news. which is completely untrue. it was poured out in lots of books on information in the white house. i thought leader in the administration at policy meetings and deputy meetings, there was a lot debate on direction and what we should do
one issues. what we were not interested in doing was having that debate in front of reporters. that is not appropriate because it allows outside politics to infect what ought to be a clearheaded debate over complex issues. that is the way we felt a little bit and why it made sense to be done like that. we could open up a lot more. i think the white house should open up a lot more. if i had known what i knew now, and if i was to go back, which i won't, i would encourage a lot more openness. >> anita? >> we have a lot of questions on the lack of transparency because during the campaign in 2008 at
one point we unguarded he said that health care association should be televised on c-span. that was one of those things that you kind of wish you could take back in retrospect. having said that, the obama administration has done some things that no previous administrations have done. for instance, if you want to go and see how many times somebody has visited the white house whether it be a donor or lobbyists, a policy person, you can go online and see that. that has never been done in an administration before. where you can actually see everybody u.s. than in an out and who they went to visit. with the exception of people -- with national security reasons who will not show up on the list. that is the next ordinary thing when you think about it. you cannot say that for any member of congress, your senator, and you cannot get any kind of public record whatsoever of who they are meeting with and why they are meeting with that
person. you can do that for the executive office of the president. i think there is some significant move in transparency. the real tension which is private discussions, in order for them to be genuinely good, in order for people to get the president their best bluntness and unguarded advice, they cannot be carried out in public so that person can become the target of a vicious twitter campaign because they actually said something that might be a little controversial. if you are going to give the president advice, you have to know that it will be advised to the president and he needs to have some degree of confidence that he or she can have those honest conversations as well. the other thing that has happened during the obama administration and the years he has been president that i think has led to some ill feelings between the press corps that
covers the white house and the white house itself, it is the technological changes in communication and how people can simply. it used to be solely geared toward communicating to the american public. now what is driven by technology to communicate to people where they are getting their information. there is a huge amount of direct medication that goes on with the evolution of resources and the white house. you are communicating directly to voters and not through a filter as we discussed. because of that, there is a feeling amongst the press that the white house is bypassing them a lot of the time. they see it as bypassing. the white house sees it as evolving to be able to actually do what they are supposed to do,
which is communicate with the american public. it is not that they are less important, there are a lot of things added. >> let's keep going with questions as quickly as we can. >> mining was daniel and i am from the honors college. can you please clarify the difference in function between press secretary office and the communication office? is there any overlap or do you work in the same place? >> i would say that they are offices that basically work together very closely. if you think about the offices of communication, it is really the office that is in charge of the broader world of communication or the administration. in many ways marketing different proposals, putting together plans, the press secretary office is on the line. they talk to reporters answering questions they are doing the day-to-day communication on behalf of the
administration. they do that to the press corps. the communication office will be much broader work with overall initiatives in the administration. they will leave working on longer-term planning and a lot of direct communication. for instance, video units and all of that. >> i think that is right. the press secretary office is much more tactical and day-to-day. they deal with short-term immediate things. that does not mean we do not get involved in planning and strategies, but really communications office -- to think about strategy and tactics, strategy, planning, long-term, thematic is short term day-to-day combat with reporters. >> we are talking all day long.
>> good question. >> my question is, president obama has been known to embrace the media on platform like twitter, facebook, and most recently, an instrument, can you talk about how you were able to -- how effective it has been during the administration? >> that is a great question. when tony left the white house and we came in, the white house computer system did not let me access facebook. think about that for a second. it did not let me access facebook because it was seen as a personal social network that people would waste time on. >> but we did have a lot. >> it was a policy, not a law. >> it was how he would handle presidential records on social networks that were brand-new. the law wasn't clear on how you
would treat white house communication on those things, so other things that in going on. >> in the 2008 campaign, it was not the communication tool that it was in 2012 and today. back then, it was more people staying in touch with each other and not an integral part of the campaign. twitter was almost nonexistent in 2008. we started seeing the white house press using twitter for the first time in 2009. it was a toll to influence reporters -- it was a tool to influence reporters. one third of millennial's, which is you, get most of your television -- 60% of you are
either dvd or on demand. or you are online or on mobile. you are not sitting in front of a television, right? many of you, i would say the majority, do not watch network broadcast. there is nothing that is growing faster than digital images on the web feed. if you are a white house communication operation, you need to use it to the extent -- it is not likely have a gigantic staff in 2008 or like we had a gigantic staff on the campaign. we had a tiny staff. but you need to continually look at your resources. i think one of the things that the white house is always doing is taking a step back and saying, what has changed since two months ago in terms of how people are looking at news. ?
whether it is through facebook instagram, and it is easily one of the most popular things out there. doing videos and doing the kind of content that people are actually looking at. as opposed to saying, ok, now we are going to stand behind the podium one more time. how do we get people to listen to what we are saying? part of it is the delivery mechanism. what is the landscape going to look at in the next white house? even in 2012 the landscape has changed so dramatically. >> great question. >> james from central michigan university. she talked about the importance of the press conference -- cello press conferences for the
president. to say that each of the succeeding presidents from clinton to bush, i just want to know if you are directly involved in it, was there a particular strategy for the cello press campaign -- or solo press conference that you all have voiced question mad? >> i think there was one for 40 minutes or 35 minutes. it is a function -- it will never had to stay or decide if you should do one or not, it is negotiated between the head of state whether he wants to do one and whether especially for both countries, whether there is a need. if there is a message and goal that you are trying to achieve.
are biased was always toward doing one because we knew it was generally helpful for the head of state to be standing with the president of the united states. it was good for them domestically, so we were always happy to do it. sometimes they did not want to do it for one reason or the other. in the case of a lot of them, they are really shared goals. i think the u.k. prime minister and president obama did have a lot of important messaging on terrorism and standing with the french. it was a very timely and important opportunity for them to come out and speak and show solidarity. that is probably why you would do it. >> one of the most interesting things i have read lately, president john kennedy clipped the record for the most number
of press conferences and days of office. he had it televised press conference on average of every five or six days. the reason he didn't -- the reason he did it was because he was using television as a way to go around. i think that is hilarious. this was a way for him to use the new technology because in 1960 it was a very new technology. he was very good at it. he really enjoyed it and it was extremely helpful. in fact, everyone watched it. it was an efficient way to reach the american people. the american people could hear from him directly. now, it is not broadcasting networks are not very large, we had a primetime conference that was carried live in 2009. now, it is a huge announcement.
they will not want to carry because it caused a huge amount of money and it will not have as much value as they would like to see from it. it is one tool to communicate and a useful thing to do in terms of the white house getting immediate access, but you only have so much time and so many resources. you have so many people getting their news in different ways, so it is one of many ways to communicate. as for john kennedy, it was that way and the best way. >> i can say from first-hand experience with both the bush administration and obama administration, the president has reached out and done more one on one interviews with local reporters, network reporters and significant newspapers. it is a technique that both of these presidents have used. they can much better control of one on one interview and get their point across that he can by fielding questions coming
randomly from 15 or 20 different reporters. >> maybe you all don't know, but we certainly do know, what were the worst event of the most difficult that have been answered by president at a press conference. the first half of the press conference is usually very predictable questions and responses can be prepared for. it is the last question in a press conference that ends up completely offending whatever method you were trying to get out and whatever the early questioners were trying to get out. you have no control over it. i always thought about it like when you are putting microwave popcorn. you get to the end and the pops are too far apart. take it out of the microwave because only bad things can happen after that.
there is a point when you have to cut it off and move on. >> of course, reporters love that last question. president obama was asked about the black harvard protesters arrested by massachusetts police officer and the last question led to the beer summit. >> nobody remembered another moment from the press conference. >> from the white house communication standpoint it wasn't designed to talk about health care. it is an interesting format. >> in the minutes we have left we will try to get to all of the people who have requested a question. >> i am from stanford university and my question is for you. could you describe what it was like being on air force one on september 11 2001 -- september 11, 2001?
>> 50 or 60 of us were camping out every day. every day, there is a list of one television reporter, one radio, one newspaper, and one wire services, one camera 2, 2 or three skilled photographers. on september 11, 2001, it was my day to be with the president all day. i was standing in the classroom where he was and listening to second graders do their reading drills. i saw the president chief of staff walk-in and whispered to the president. i was shocked. i wrote it down in my reporter's notebook. nobody would interrupt the president, even if i have a classroom of second graders. it then began to snowball. we were standing in a classroom with 12 reporters in the poll. they did not know about the plane crashes.
we heard about one plane crash and i went over to the side of the room, and i caught andy i and made a sign of a plane going down. andy nodded and put up two fingers. at that moment, i knew that one plane crash would be a tragedy two. that was real trouble. the president stopped and made a statement. he made a statement to the school saying there was an apparent terrorist attack and he had to return to washington. the door shut, we thought we were taking off for washington and then the pentagon was hit. i know president bush got briefed that we were not going to washington. if a terrorist attack has not just put up a financial center of the united states at the world trade center's, but now it has hit washington dc. we did not know how many other planes would be out there. it was clearly, for me as a reporter, i thought a doomsday
scenario would open. it is a military plan, not a secret service plan. it was not to protect george w. bush, it was to protect the constitutionally elected government of a democracy. whatever needs to happen, had to happen in a succession of power. it was to watch a very well oiled plan come into effect. it is amazing to me on board air force one, where we to around four hours. we cannot land and cannot go anywhere. the extent of how little we knew on the plane. president bush, as i recall, had three telephone lines. he could talk to the white house, to mayor giuliani, but he could not really get much of a field -- much of a feel for what
was happening. the communication staff was able to pull up a very weak tv signal from the ground. that is where we could see, for those of us on the plane, the first tower fall and then the second. it was a very frightening -- we finally landed in louisiana. basically, air force one told me they were out of fuel. they only had enough fuel to get back to washington. at that point, i made the argument to end the car, the chief of staff, that you cannot -- you have to have an independent voice that can assure the world and american people. to their credit, they allowed me to stay on as the only broadcast reporter.
we spent basically 10 hours with the president. there was a remaining core group of us that were staying with him. i was allowed to use my cell phone to call in what the president was doing. it was nobody at the white house i could call because they had evacuated. i called abc news and they would put me on air live with peter jennings. i knew that every word i spoke and the kind of sense and told that i used would help to describe what the commander in chief of the free world was doing at that moment. hours and hours later, we landed in omaha, nebraska, and he was able to go underground in a bunker. he did have closed surface communication and held a security meeting.
the president decided he wanted to get back to washington. i thought it was critically important that he knew he had to show that the government had not been crippled. as i recall, i was not in washington, i was with him. members of congress gathered on steps of the capitol. it was a real test of how the american government, under any president and any unemotional circumstance, how the government is protected and how it was able to move forward. thank you for asking. [applause] >> i will give you one quick note to that because you are are all college students. toward the end of the day, i got a voicemail message. it was from my daughter, and she said mommy, how come you had
time to tell peter jennings you were ok and you did not call me russian mark -- and you do not have time to call me? when i got back, i had two sons at vanderbilt, and i got back and i open my e-mail when i got back to the white house at 7:30 that night. the first e-mail said mom he was on the 93rd tower of the -- 93rd floor of the tower. at that moment, it suddenly had a face and it was a handsome young college student. he did not survive the day and never knew what hit him. it impacted -- the impact that people feel for that day is a very personal. >> i feel bad asking my question after that. i'm definitely limits from harvard university.
-- beverly lennox from harvard university. how do you feel to guarding the president's image and message coming out of the white house versus informing the press with transparency to the people? >> i understand the way you phrase it regarding the president, and there is some of that. there is a caricature or overplayed seeing that any president is bunkered in the white house. what we are there to do is to keep the press away and to be a barrier and to be in between and protecting. we're supposed to be really defensive, and i never really thought that way. i think even though you are in a
place where you have the world's biggest megaphone, which is the voice of the president of the united states. if the loudest and most important voice in the world. you are still finding attention to get hurt and break through to audiences -- to get heard and break through to audiences. it is so hard to do. the idea of protecting obstacles and blocking is never the frame of mind that i had. i would always try and find ways to get out and get information out, to get a point of view out our arguments and you are struggling to get through in a very loud place. that was the opposite for me. i always thought that the press -- i have great relationships with press because i always
wanted to share more information, openly talk. i think everybody knew that they could come to my door, sit down and talk for as long as they needed in order to get through anything i could help them with. i was always happy to do it. i wanted it. i wanted them to come and see me and talk to spend a lot of time because it is really hard to break through. >> i would add, when you are working on a campaign, you are trying to win voters with choice. you are trying to win an argument. when you are working for the president or senator, or any part of the government, you are actually in public service. yes, of course you want them to look good and to communicate effectively, but especially when you're in the white house, the issues are so much bigger
whether or not it is your job. people's lives -- may impact people's lives. it is a very different kind of communication than a campaign. the campaign has a very narrow set of facts and image two people to help bribed them to a choice, whereas governing is a much broader kind of communication where you are in broad public. information that will help build. it will also educate around issues and to tell them what is going on. ann's story about 9/11 is perfect for that. >> we will leave the last few moments of this program for speakers of house. it will get underway at 2 p.m. eastern.
there are expected to work on that current terror attacks. they will recess at 5:30 eastern. the house chamber will be prepared for tonight's state of the union address. live coverage of the house right now. this is on c-span. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, , cpet with thuneds of reprentis. an ocledapon corathe proin palr commalse exprsliby e u.s. ofsees the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. january 20 2015. i