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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  April 11, 2015 9:30pm-11:31pm EDT

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are motivated by resentment. and if the sense of being put upon. and of those people really do not understand us. here's a guide who does understand us and will stick with it. that happens on both sides predict hillary clinton will give her own version. i don't think that was actually two through 30 years ago. resentment has always been part of politics, but the degree to which it is almost exclusively the motivating factor in truly committed republicans and democrats. >> the white house correspondents dinner takes place saturday, april 20. he can watch live coverage here on c-span speeches from president obama and sicily strong. -- cecily strong.
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next, a look at just given by previous presidents. including president clinton. he begins by referencing travels to africa and chile. [applause] president clinton: thank you very much. thank you very much. thank you, mr. powell. good evening, ladies and gentlemen. as you know, i have been traveling to other lands quite a lot lately. i just want to say what a pleasure it is for hillary and me to be in your country. [laughter]
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since i live tear -- arrived here i have been struck by the beauty of your landscape. in the spirit of your people. the color of your native garb. the crowd to greet me here are not quite as adoring as in other nations. but they seem occasionally friendly, none the less. i have even sampled some of your indigenous cuisine. your hamburgers. quite tasty, sort of a meat sandwich. it appears that democracy is arriving here. there are regular elections contested with vigor. honored by some. [laughter] [applause] president clinton: any
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legislature -- in the legislature, persistent coup attempts have so far failed to upend the balance of power. you have a lively press confident in its judgment and bold in its protections. protestant -- persistent, i might add. hillary and i will never forget our visit here. as i have come to do on these tours, i want to take a few minutes to reflect on our shared history. the past decades indeed centuries, are filled with regrettable incidents. mistakes were made. in justices were committed. certainly, the passive tense was
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used too much. ladies, i regret so much, hour-long neglect of the planet pluto. it took until 1930 two welcome pluto into the community of planet. that it was wronwas wrong. i am so sorry. [applause] president clinton: that whole era of leisure suits and beanbag chairs. we had to in your the cheesiness of the 70's -- we had to endure the cheesiness of the 1970's and that was wrong. and then there was an bfthe susan
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b anthony dollar. it looks too much like a quarter, and that was wrong. the expression, happy campers. it was cute the first couple of times and it got old really fast. i recently used it at a cabinet meeting, and that was wrong. pineapple on pizza. some things are just wrong. i would like to also, in this moment of cleansing take just a moment to reflect on past treatment of the white house press corps. i apologize for the quality of the free food you have been served over the years. thatyou deserve better. it was wrong. for many years, when the space
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that is now the briefing room in the white house was a swimming pool reporters had to tread water for hours on end. that was wrong. sort of. i would really like to apologize or all the information you have had to attribute to anonymous sources over the years. of course that apology has to be off the record. were that, i am truly sorry. now that we have put the issues of the past behind us, i really would like to thank you for inviting me to the nice dinner. it's is a night i get to poke fun at you. that is my definition of executive privilege. i am at a bit of a disadvantage this year. i have been so busy, i have no ready newspaper or magazine since the pope to cuba -- went
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to cuba. [applause] president clinton: what have you been writing about since then? i hardly have any time to read the news. mostly i just skim the retractions. i have even stopped watching mccurry's briefing. he never answers a single question. i don't know how you put up with it. i have told him again and again you can answer any question he wants. what his he told you? seriously, i have been looking forward to seeing all of you this weekend. i want to know one thing. how come there is no table for
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salon magazine? that is supposed to be funny. don't take yourself so seriously. you will see the light. don't worry about it. loosen up. one of the things i like about this dinner, as it as it is, it is smaller and more intimate than the white house pundit's dinner. i don't have anything against political pundits. some of my best friends used to be political pundits and some political pun used to be my best friends -- pundits used to be my best friends. i am here to warm the audience up for ray romano. i feel ambivalent about it. he is us the star of a show called, everybody loves raymond. i cannot stand a guy with 100%
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approval. i want to come congratulate the winners. i would like to say something to mike, now that you have won this will work, i think you should slow down and work less read enjoy the finer things in life. intoand to ron, he is the only person who came to washington with me is not in subpoenaed. but the night is still young. i am happy to see peter mayer is getting an award for his excellent work. i was worried, since he was nearly mauled by a cheetah on our africa trip, he ought to be given the purple heart. come on, could you write a joke peter mayer?
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it was reported that sam donaldson scared away elephants with his to stink the voice. that is not fair. elephants are smart. they knew he works for disney. they thought he was trying to round them up for a new theme park. this has been an extraordinary few months. no wonder you have been swarming around. there is nothing to cover on capitol hill. listen to this. all over, tv executives are asking, what can possibly fill the gaping hole on thursday night once seinfeld goes off the air? i got it. congress on c-span. there is a show about nothing.
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[laughter] not that there is anything wrong with that. there is nothing wrong with that. there are beardarely 40 days in the 10 fifth congress. this is congress with nothing to do and nothing to do it in. one news item coming out, i met with the senator to decide who should be the next sting which member of congress hurled into the our reaches of the universe. we have our man. godspeed, diggck armey. on tuesday, speaker gingrich is holding a press conference to proclaim tony the tiger is not
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selling frosted flakes to children. last week, he said the movie titanic glorified smoking. i cannot believe it. this week, he will accuse it of glorifying drowning. it's funny if you think about it. for all of you who do not live in washington, this is a unique and unsettling moment in washington. i am not the only one who is anxiously awaiting the release of steve brill's new magazine. i have an advanced copy. it is called,"content." why would anyone want to call a
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magazine that? mccurry says, it is called 'content"content." why would anybody want to call it that? you might be interested in what is going to be the first edition. i have it here, the table of contents. makeover tips. by john king. george mitchell writes about the prospects of lasting peace between barbara walters and diane sawyer. six recipes for harvest burgers by david brinkley. a retrospective, cbs news from
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her -- he got what he deserved. by maureen dowd. he was an article called waiting in the wings cowritten by all gore and brian williams. i think they are both going to make it. here is lenny davis's review of spin cycle. he liked it. i have to say one thing. this book implies the coop kabuki dance between the white house and the press is a recent phenomenon. it is a cherished phenomena in our history.
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i had the national archives send over transcribes to make this point. there is good from the hoover institution. housing starts were up in the third quarter of 1931. these hoover bills reflect a commitment to private initiative. the president is proud they bear his name. in 1814, a white house official disputed the idea that the burning of the white house was a setback for the medicine administration. -- madison administration. yes, fire consumed the mansion but it was in need of renovation anyway and this effort by the british aids us time and taxpayer money. here is one from the jefferson administration. a spokesman for buys president aaron burr -- vice president
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aaron burrus asserted, people do not kill people. guns kill people. we back in 1773, a spokesman for samuel adams asserted the boston tea party was not a fundraiser. no one paid to attend. there was no quid pro quo. it was just a town meeting for colonists to get to know each other and discuss details of the new tax law. we have an at this a long time. helen hunt to know. -- helen ought to know. she was there. let me say one serious. helen thomas is not just the longest-serving white house responded. one reason she got the award is she is still the hardest working. the first to show up every morning about 5:00. five days a week for nearly 40 years. and i daresay, tonight is time
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she has been completely scooped. by mike hanke cancellation, she had about 10,000 mornings, thousands of notebooks ballpoint pens, cups of coffee sometimes brought to her by staffers. never has it come from i stir yet. for -- compromised her yet. for us, she is a rock. a symbol of everything american journalism can and should. the embodiment of fearless integrity. the insistence on holding government accountable. all of that on the spirit of the free press. by tradition, you always get to ask the first question at the press conference. to honor the tradition, you can ask me anything you want. remember, and in even older
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tradition, i don't have to answer. thank you and good night. [applause] >> president george w. bush first attended the correspondents dinner in 2001 where he presented a slide show of the bush family including pictures of his father mother, and siblings going up. [applause] president bush: thank you.
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thank you very much. thank you, arlene. i am delighted to be here with all the major leaguers. tonight, i decided to do something different. my mother over the years has put together at least 70 scrap books about our life as a family. what i have done is full of the actual -- pull out some of the actual never before seen photos from these scrapbooks and create a little slideshow. gordon, if everybody's cell phones are turned off, you can hit the lights. tonight, i present a bush family album. what you may not realize is i
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grew up at a time in texas history when it was still a rough and tumble frontier. we were ranchers back then. this was my favorite horse. he was surefooted, steady. i trusted that horse totally. here's the weird part. his name was dick cheney. but times were hard back then. [laughter] president bush: this was during the great drought of 1953.
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dad, and the rest of us. my family with those kids in the tub, it is not arsenic in the water i would be worried about. personally i have always preferred a private bath. this is my actual first grade report card. it says, george w. bush. notice the final grades on the right. writing, a. reading, a. music, a. art, a. my advice is, don't peak too early. [laughter] [applause]
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president bush: here i am with my fit rate science project -- fifth-grade science project. bolted myself. it is still meeting our energy needs. i went on to college and graduate school. somehow, the press has gotten the wrong idea that i was a smart alec party guy. this is an unfair perception. in college, i did a lot of independent reading. after graduation, i joined the texas air national guard. i am the one who committed the state of texas to defend taiwan from attack.
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[applause] speaking of pilots, i am proud to honor a lieutenant. [applause] president bush: i hope you and your crew will be coming to the white house soon. i know you will like it there. i said this personally but i am proud to say it publicly. welcome back lieutenant.
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some people wondered, and i'm sure there might have in a few out here, how i would handle the recent incident in china. the truth is, i have long been a serious student of the orient. my mom and dad of course were in china when dad was the liaison there. people ask me, is a difficult to follow in the footsteps of a man who was president and vice president, you and investor, -- un ambassador? is it hard been such a man's son? not really. [laughter] most people don't realize it, but that has had some tough times. -- dad has had some of times.
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back in the 1950's, he went through a time when he thought aliens were trying to contact him so he built this contraption to receive their signals. as for my mom after bearing six children, she herself became a bit stressed. [applause] she took to acting strangely. for while, she thought she was too tall and walked like this. as if that weren't strange enough she wrote a book with that dog. i hated that dog. my mother treated the dog better than she treated me. she never to me right my book -- write my book.
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i will say this however. my mom always stuck up for us kids. here she is responding to a reporter's question about something barbra streisand said recently. fortunately, i have great brothers and a sister. some have asked if the vote recount left any hard feelings between my brother jeff and me. -- jeb and me. not a bit. in fact, here's a picture of the governor of florida. [laughter] [applause] president bush: this brings me to a serious point. eventually, i met a woman named laura.
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she changed my life. she has given me as an adult i enjoy as a child. that is a loving family. the defining moments are not when my father was elected president or when i was elected president. the defining moments have been telling moments. -- family moments. i have been blessed with a family full of love, and i pray the same for you. good evening. [applause]
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>> the following year, present bush continued the slideshow theme by showing candid shares from the white house photographer chronicling his first year in office. [applause] president bush: thank you. thank you very much. 8?lthank you very5 much. mr. vice president. members of the white house
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correspondentsz0z association. ladies andhz( gentlemen. zñ 0xp0: :rlaura and i are honored to be here. thank you for the invitation. [applause] president bush: what a fantastic audience we have tonight. washington powerbrokers. celebrities. hollywood stars. ozzy osbourne. [applauspresident bush: ok, ozzy.
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might have been a mistake. the thing about himçúz(z is he has made a lot= of the kitñ"z z@ recordings --j big hit recording. xpparty with the animals. : yseven, bloody sabbath. @(bloodbath in paradise. mom loves your stuff. [applause] drew carey is our entertainment tonight. he has a fun tv show called "whose line is it
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anyway." drew, do you have any interest in the middle east? last year at this dinner, i showed some photos straight out of the bush family photo album. tonight, i'm going to show you some actual never seen before photos taken by the white house photographers over the past 15 months. we have created just for you this little slideshow. what life is really like inside the bush white house. if everyone is in the seats you have assigned them, karen hit the projector. when i look back to the last year, i have grown in office. i am more focused.
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i feel relaxed. occasionally, there are moments where i heal a little stressed. [laughter] i may have aged a bit. one of the great things about being in the white house is having laura close by. whenever she drops by, my day is nice. she helps me in a million ways. here she is helping me pronounce azerbaijanis. we have to bring dogs -- two dogs.
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this is our dog, barney. i tell him when i rose that, he ought to be a senator -- with eyebrows like that, he odd to be a senator. he been telling you is in trouble here. this is the day he chewed up the list of undisclosed locations and we cannot find dick. the little guy keeps a lookout like this, our after our. -- hour after hour. kind of wish tom ridge had ever had that talk with him about homeland security. this is our dog spot. people asked me how i came up with the name. i don't know, i am just kind of a creative guy. the thing about spot she is the president.
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-- the thing about spot is, she thinks she is the president. here she is coming back from a fundraiser for the american kennel club. she is truly a great canine american. i value her counsel just as i do the others on the staff. we have a very experienced mature team of professionals down here at the white house. this is josh. he is the white house the beauties -- deputy chief of staff. america should sleep better knowing this column, levelheaded man is helping to guide our nation. as nick calio -- this is nick calio, the head of legislative affairs. i said what are the chances of the senate passing anwar?
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nick really prepares me well when congressional leaders come from meetings. syria's, testing out a what the question -- here he is, testing out a cushion. we have a motivated group. no matter what the task at hand each gives 100%. the truth is. the door to the oval office has a little peek hole. this is karen hughes, peeping on me. this is karl rove. this is condi rice. spot has her own peephole.
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this is andy card. and ladies and gentlemen this is the vice president of the united states looking through a peephole. dick, i hope you are not doing what it looks like you are doing . [applause] president bush: this photo has nothing to do with anything. i thought it would -- i would show it to you because it is the only known photo off alan greenspan smiling. this is ari flesher. i was chewing him out here. i am saying, i am sick and tired of you not fully answering all the wonderful questions asked by
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our hard-working press corps. are you sure? we are not leaking enough. have we given them enough access to me? i have an idea. i will do more interviews. with baseball tonight. part of the job of a president is to meet with representatives of special interest groups. here i am meeting with representatives from the american cloning counsel. i try to work with republicans and democrats alike. for political reasons, some prefer it not be known they are working with a republican president, so they sleep in the back door. like hillary clinton here -- slip in the backdoor like
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hillary clinton here. it is not all work of course. one day, i decided to show some of the staff the white house bowling alley. boys and girls there is a reason you where those special shoes. [laughter] of course, another job of the president is dealing with the press corps. you ask tough questions but to tell you the truth, i don't you have laid a glove on me. here i am at the last press conference. in closing, i thought about turning serious. talking about all we have been through since i was last here. then i decided, this was not the time or place. you came to have a good time.
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we have to carry waiting to entertain us. instead, -- we have drew carey waiting to entertain us. instead, i will leave you with one last photo of our dog spot. i ask you, is this a great country or what? thank you very much. [applause] >> we move ahead to president obama in 2011. he gave a speech poking fun at some of his potential opponents.
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this happened a day before a military operation resulted in the death of osama bin laden. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. >> ♪ american the rights of every man i am a real american fight for what is right when it comes down and it hurts inside you've got to take a stand you don't have to hide
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when you hurt my friend, you hurt my pride i am a real american fight for the rights of every man i am a real american fight for what is right ♪ ♪ >>president obama: all right everybody please have a seat. my fellow americans. [applause] president obama: it is wonderful to be here at the white house correspondents dinner. what a week.
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as some of you heard, the state of hawaii released my official long form birth certificate. hopefully, this puts all doubt to rest. just in case there are any lingering questions tonight i am prepared to go a step further. tonight, for the first time, i'm releasing my official birth video. [laughter] now, i warn you. no one has seen this footage in 50 years. not even me. let's take a look.
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[applause] president obama: back to square one. i want to make clear to the fox news table, that was a joke.
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that was not my real birth video. that was a children's cartoon. call disney if you do not believe me. they have the original longform version. anyway it is good to be back with so many esteemed guests. celebrities. senators journalists. essential government employees. nonessential government employees. you know who you are. i am very much looking forward to hearing set myers tonight. -- seth myers tonight. a young fresh face who can do no wrong in the eyes of his fans.
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seth, enjoy it well at lashile it lasts. i think it it is fair to say, when it comes to my presidency the honeymoon is over. some suggest i am too profess oriole. i would like to address that head on by assigning you some reading that will help you draw your own conclusions. others say i am arrogant, but i have found a great self hope tool for this. my poll numbers. i have even let down my key core constituency, movie stars. just the other day, matt damon
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said he was disappointed with my performance. matt, i just saw "the adjustment bureau," so- -- [applause] president obama: there's someone i can always count on for support. my wonderful wife michelle. [applause] president obama: we made a terrific team at the easter egg roll. i gave out bags of candy to the kids and she smackednatched them back out of their hands.
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snatched them. and, where is the national public radio table? you guys are still here. that is good. i couldn't remember where we landed on that. i know you were a little tense when the gop tried to cut your funding. personally, i was looking forward to new programming like, no things considered. or "wait, wait, don't fund me." of course, the deficit is a serious issue which is why paul ryan could not be here tonight. his budget has no room for
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laughter. michele bachmann is here, i understand. she is thinking about running for president. which is weird because i hear she was born in canada. yes michelle, this is how it starts. [applause] president obama: templetim polenti seems all-american, but have you ever heard his real middle name? what a shame. my buddy jon huntsman, is with
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us. something you might know about jon. he did not learn to speak chinese to go there. oh no. he learned english to come here. [applause] president obama: and then, there is a vicious rumor floating around which could hurt mitt romney. i heard he passed universal health care when he was governor of massachusetts. someone should get to the bottom of that. i know just the guy to do it donald trump. he is here tonight. i know he has taken some flack lately, but no one is prouder to put this verse to forget -- this
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birth certificate matter to rest many donald. -- than the donald. that means he can get back to issues that matter like, did we faked the moon landing? what really happened in roswell? [applause] presentsident obama: all kidding aside, we know about your credentials and breadth of experience. for example, just recently, in an episode of "celebrity apprentice," the cooking team did not impress the judges from omaha steaks.
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you recognized the real problem was a lack of leadership, so ultimately you did not blame littlejohn or meatloaf. you fired gary. these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. [applause] president obama: well handled, sir. well handled. say what you will about mr. trump, he would bring change to the white house. let's see what we got up there.
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yes, this has been quite a year of politics. also, in the movies. many people were inspired by "the king's speech." wonderful film. some of you may not know this but there is now a sequel in the works that touches close to home. because this is a hollywood crowd, tonight i can offer a sneak peek. can we show the trailer, please? >> the following preview was begrudgingly approved by the president of the u.s. the film has been rated unwatchable. the year is 2011 and opposition rises. >> congressional republicans could force the government to shut down. >> a president must face -- >> it is a serious business.
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>> his greatest challenge. from the people who brought you universal health care and the huge backlash to universal health care comes the true story. >> as our economy added -- they say that, let's start over. >> the president has lost his home. -- prompter. >> he has gone from, yes we can to know we cannot. >> i will also visit chile. let's try that again. >> mr. president, what are you going to do?
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>> he returned to a man who never let prepared remarks stand in his way. who broke all the rules. >> his mom lived in long island for 10 years or so. god rest his soul. god bless her soul. >> who spoke from the heart. vice president biden: i have never seen so many insurance commissioners. lord, i am not that old. actually, i am your. >> is the story of friendship and the power of the human spirit. mostly, it is this. 42 hfor two hours. vice president: in someone we
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appreciate. she is better looking than rahm emanuel. >> join barack obama. renowned fruit and vegetable enthusiast michelle obama. and passenger of the year, three decades running. joe biden. as the president loses his teleprompter. but wins the future. president obama: thank you. my outstanding vice president joe biden is here. coming to a theater near you. [applause]
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president obama: let me close on a serious note. we are having a good time. as has been true for the last several years, we have incredible young men and women serving in uniform overseas under extraordinary circumstances. we honor their courage and valor. we also need to remember our neighbors in alabama and across the south that have been devastated by storms. michelle and i were down there yesterday, and we spent a lot of time with some of the folks who have been affected. the devastation is unimaginable. it is heartbreaking. it is going to be a long road back. we need to keep those americans in our thoughts. we also need to stand with them in the hard months and years to
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come. i intend to make sure that the federal government does that. i have faith that the journalists in this room will do their part. report on their progress, let the rest of america know when they will need more help. those are stories that need is telling and that is what all of you do best, whether it is rushing to the side of the devastating storm or braving danger to cover a revolution in the middle east. in the last months, we have seen journalists threatened, arrested beaten, attacked?, and in some cases even killed simply for doing their best to bring us the story. give these people a voice. hold leaders accountable. through it all, we have seen daring men and women risk their
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lives for the idea that nobody should be silenced. everyone deserves to know the truth. that is what you do. at your best, that is what journalism is. that is the principle that you up old. it is always important, but is especially important in times of challenge like the moment america is facing now. i think you for your service. the contributions that you make. i want to close by recognizing not only your service but also to remember those who have been lost as a consequence of the extraordinary reporting they have done over recent weeks. they help, too, to defend our freedoms and a low to flourish. god bless you -- and allow
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democracy to flourish. god bless you and god bless united's states. [applause] >> you can watch this year's dinner live april 25. guest arrivals, speeches from president obama and saturday night live cast member cecily strong. were you a fan of c-span's first lady series? it is now a book. based on more than 50 interviews.
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learn details of all 45 first ladies who made these women who they were. and unique partnerships with their presidential spouses.
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>> it's a huge honor for me to be up here because that you are truly -- they are truly two of the best novelists working in english. i'm a huge fan of their work. i was at the southern festival of the book a couple of weeks ago in nashville and i saw you walking through the hotel lobby. i contemplated walking up to you, but i was a little star-struck and shy. i thought you might run away. but now i realize you're a captive audience here so if you try to scurry away, i have this whole audience who can tackle you. i want to get down to serious business. a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time. i wanted to begin on a couple lighter notes. i was reading in "new yorker" about a book tour for your
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paperback, "little failure." you noted you packed 46 ativan tablets to combat stage fright. i'm wondering, how many of those tablets did you end up taken and do you have any left? >> today i just took half a milligram of ativan. i feel comfortable in washington. you're nice. and i think most of you yourselves are on drugs as well. >> and one other note of nonseriousness before we get down to serious business -- and i'm cognizant of the fact it's been a long day for all of you and i want to make sure i keep you fully awake. gary, you've written many times both in your memoir and novels about the excessive hairiness of you -- or furryness, as you put it of some of your
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protagonists. this is sort of a self-conscious preoccupation of yours. i will just say for the record and maybe afterwards we can have a shirtless exception i believe i'm hairier than you. when i shave, it's kind of arbitrary where i stop. but if we did that probably the national zoo would turn up. >> i can't believe you're having a hair-off and keeping me out of the conversation. >> all right. so at end of this we will all -- we will have a hair-off and the national zoo will come collect all three escaped chimps and take us back to where we belong. getting down to more serious business, i would say that with regard to your respective writerly styles and sensibilities, you're in some ways extremely dissimilar novelists. if you're looking at analogs from the pantheon of american literary greats, i would put joe more in the tradition of scott
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fitzgerald, heavy company to be in. both of your novels have kind of a nick carawayesque voice. i would put you in the tradition of of saul bellow and ross. not because of your jewish themes but the carnivalesque writerly voice. if we're going to put it in the russian tradition, i would say, gary, you're probably more in the tradition of satirical absurdists. but joe, with your restraint and writerly precision, it's probably chekhov or nabokov. one place where you do overlap in both your fiction and nonfiction is writing about expatriates and the immigrant identity crisis. in your novel, gary you have the main character vladimir
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working in new york and you describe him as the immigrant's immigrant, the expatriate's expatriate the enduring victim of every practical joke the late 20th century had to offer. and the characters in your book are both americans expats in dubai and a dutchman in the u.s. and netherlands. i saw you quoted in an interview, joe, you don't have a home turf so you have no choice but to float around on postnational currents. i realize you have both spent your entire careers in some sense talking about that but could you each talk very briefly about, how does being an immigrant or a displaced expatriate inform your writing? let's start with you, gary. >> when i came to america it was 1980, and being a russian was the worst thing you could be. there was all those movies "red dawn, " "red gerbil".
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everything was red. i was sentenced to hubris school for a crime i did not commit. when i was sentenced there, it was so bad being a russian, a commie i had to pretend to the kids i was born in berlin not in leningrad. i had to convince jewish kids i was actually a german. but ten years later, i showed up at oberlin college, a small marxist college in ohio and being an immigrant was the coolest thing you could imagine. no one wanted to be a heterosexual white male. i tried to annex another college. and it was a really -- it was productive. [ laughter ] >> you haven't annexed any other colleges?
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>> what? >> you have not annexed any other colleges. but you came to america from holland via turkey if i'm not mistaken? >> i'm sort of a -- i'm a permanent migrant. my father is irish. i was born in ireland. my mother is turkish. i grew up in africa and in holland mainly. and i speak french with my mother. so in other words new york was a very good fit for me and i sort of felt at home there. >> so we're in washington so we probably have -- it's an appropriate place to ask this question. what's the relationship of the novel to politics? you have both in different novels dabbled in satire has sometimes been a political genre going back to jonathan swift. in your book "the dog," i actually saw you quoted outside the context of the novel in an interview that -- this, i think, speaks to your own political sensibilities -- but obama
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famously bought your first novel i think when he was on martha's vineyard. >> did he buy it? >> maybe they gave it to him. someone asked you how you felt about that. you said, he's now been in office six years and they're still force-feeding people in guantanamo bay. so for both of you, what bearing or relevance do your novels have on politics and do you see yourselves as political novelists? [ laughter ] >> yes. i think novels are inevitably political, but the political content of the novel actually depends on the reader. if you're disposed towards asking ethical questions, then practically any text becomes kind of bloated with physical
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meaning. but i certainly feel like my most recent book for example, a book set in dubai, is a kind of -- investigates sorts of more sorts of physical things about how countries are structured dubai in particular and what that says about, for example, american society as well. >> for sure, yeah. >> i can speak from the former soviet whatever you do get political. i just want to capture sort of the feeling of what it's like to be in these two giant countries america and russia. i was fortunately to be born in one superpower that collapsed and move to another superpower that's doing great. it feels like everywhere i go whenever i land in beijing, they're like okay. step on back. [ laughter ] but yeah i mean, it's really -- it's a very 20th century experience i've had.
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but part of me wishes i was working at a burger king in denmark and kind of having a decent life. >> that's a good segue. the possibly of both of you working at a mcdonald's in denmark. because what do you think the future of the novel is? >> oh, man. >> phillip roth a few years ago called the novel, quote, a dying animal. and he elaborated. maybe a small group of people will be reading it. maybe more people will read them now than people read now latin poetry. kind of in that range. as we were preparing, i was kind of googling around and i thought that was a great quote by roth. i found an review you did -- interview you did, gary. you said who knows, maybe literature will come back some day. it just suction sucks to be in the butt hole of it at the moment. >> take everything with a grain of salt.
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in the industry they call me a sap, a soviet ash ashkenazi pessimist. and long-form text in general, i know professors of english who tell me i haven't read a book in a while because i don't have time. i just read parts of books or tickets on books or a review of book. it's very hard to read an entire book. that's why the tv serial has got on so much because it provides the narrative we all need. we still are wired for narrative but we watch it passively now. reading a book it's i have to enter the consciousness of this guy and he has to do the same with me. it's an incredible mind-meld technology. but it's almost over. >> do you agree? >> i'm still trying to get over the whole, entering gary's
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consciousness. a mind-meld. actually i'm just going to stay there because it's such fan. actually -- such fun. actually, i agree with that. i also think questions of money come into it which is to say it's just not lucrative for anybody to read at length or to get people to read at length. not like it used to be. there are other technologies, many technologies that are overtaking that. because everything -- all human activity is so connected to profitability now in a way that wasn't the case in my childhood, for example. that it just seems to be kind of strange that he was becoming invalid about reading a novel or a lengthy text. it's as if, you know, everything has to be sort of reduced to sort of bullet points. >> so is the novel just a contingent kind of time-limited thing from early victorian era to 15 years ago? and what's next?
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i mean -- >> i think the novel is contingent with the enlightenment and i think now we're coming especially to the end of the enlightenment or to a new phase of the enlightenment where information and the validity of information depends on its profitability. so, for example, news information now doesn't depend on its accuracy but its sellability to the market. the best things novels have to offer is contact with reality and truth, that's what good novels do and that's not a particularly valuable commodity anymore. i think that's where you track it in relation to the enlightenment. >> almost it's nice when people major in the humanities every once in a while. that used to be a major part of this country. the liberal arts after the gi bill people flocked to the universities and there was a vibrate intellectual culture. but that's over with now. we just have to accept that reality. >> so if and when the novel
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dies you have a background as a barrister. you could go back to being a lawyer. you say by circumstances what else could you have been than a writer? what could you do next? >> i like air conditions and refrigerator repair. >> with climate change -- >> it's huge. i'm trying to push my kid -- he's only what, a year old, but i'm trying to -- develop his love for refrigeration. [ laughter ] >> having -- sorry. yes. i think i'll join his company. [ laughter ] >> if you need repairs, we're -- so while it still exists, what you see -- this relates to the political question. what is the function of the novel? w. h. auden famously and overquoted at this point said poetry makes nothing happen. and the same could be said of the novel. it's a question. is your aim when you're writing to entertain?
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to enlighten? to -- what's the function of the a novel and what function can it serve that ""breaking bad" can't serve? >> that's tough because "breaking bad" is really good. [ laughter ] and it's incredibly novelistic. the way these things are structured, it's chapters of a novel. 56 episodes that corresponds to 56 chapters. a really good show like the the the the "sopranos" lets you delve into many characters and has elements of war and so forth. but like i said before when i buy a book from one of us you're entering us for a while, living inside here for a while. and that's a whole different technology. to see that completely destroyed is sad. to see it play a minor role as it has been for the last two decades is okay with me. we'll all teach in our programs and half of brooklyn will come and so it will be nice.
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[ laughter ] >> i think gary is right. that these specific technologies that the novel offers insight into subjectivity and the human consciousness so we enter people's minds and tv can't do that. i also think even the smartest television -- i watch "the sopranos" and "breaking bad" -- there's always a moment where you say, that's just stupid. they had to do something stupid otherwise the plot would get boring. whereas in a novel -- literary novels novels, there's no real payoff for being stupid or pressure for being stupid. and in fact you're penalized for it. form doesn't reward stupidity. whereas even in something as smart as "breaking bad," you have all these moments where it's kind of entertaining, i suppose, but it's just unfortunate and not as -- and then trying to pick up the novel, vice versa.
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>> does holding the ativan make you feel better? >> it does. it does. >> thank you for allowing me to do that. >> we want to make you feel -- >> this is a good year 2014. good year. [ laughter ] >> we're running short on time but people are always interested to know. so -- trying to figure out how to frame this as simply as possible -- how do you get your ideas for your novels? how do you develop your characters? what's your writing process? there's kind of a taxonomy. many writers i work with for the atlantic who are ekers who write seven words a day but they're all perfect, and blurters, who they just spew out thousands of words, most of it's crap and they have to edit it back. i'm kind of like a constipated blurter, which is the worst of all possible worlds. but how do you guys work? >> just the whole work thing is not my forte.
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you know, i actually think that idleness is what i do best. and in fact if you were to sort of -- look at my life as a novelest you would say, he spends a lot of time lying around going to the fridge. not even, incidentally, none of this stuff on tv. i just sit there thinking and mulling and actually not mulling things over for a few years and then i often go away. to canada usually and write in two week bursts and get most of it done like that. >> and very briefly, you? >> there's an exciting incident that happened. the last -- i was in a cabbing in moscow and the driver was drunk on the sidewalk and he's crying saying, i can't feed my family. i have to move to america. you know a country with a much greater immigration policy? canada. you can move to canada. and he said i can only live in
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a superpower. i thought, there's a book. >> there's a book. thank to all of you. [ cheers and applause ] >> i highly recommend both of their previous books. thank you all for coming. [ applause ] on news makers this weekend, dr. robert wall is our guest. as president of the american medical association, he talks about healthcare issues related to the affordable care act, and the so-called doc which would change the way medicare pays doctors. >> what we're talking about is a sustainable growth rate, a program which has been in place for quite a long time originally passed in 1997. and it was thought to be an effort to control the costs of the medicare program. it resulted, however, in about 17 patches over the last 10 or
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12 years, and each one of those patches just paid for the 1-year period. it didn't pay for the accumulated interest, if you will like a credit card on past things. and by taking the can -- kicking the can down the road each year congress accumulated a lot of this interest, so that now, april 15th if the senate does not act, there will be a 21% cut in physician payments, which is essentially the accumulated interest of all these years of kicking the can down the road. i do want to talk a little bit about the term "doc fix." as a physician, i'm a little biased against that primarily because it's my belief it isn't doctors that need to be fixed here. it's medicare that needs to be fixed. so we're seeking a fix in medicare that will stabilize the program for the future for our patients that are in the medicare system and that's where we are. so the term "doc fix" has been picked up by a lot of journalists and whenever i get a chance i try to correct that
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it's medicare that needs to be fixed, not doctors. >> and one of the implications if the payment program isn't adjusted is that fewer doctors might take medicare patients is that correct? >> absolutely. like any business, if doctors are faced with a 21% cut in their payments from the medicare program, it will be more challenging for them to continue to see their medicare patients. if that happens, the medicare patients will have a harder time finding doctors that can take care of them and so they may have to drive further or call more doctors offices and it would be a more challenging environment for patients to find the care they need in the medicare system. >> you can see that entire interview with dr. robert wong tomorrow afternoon at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> during this month, c-span is pleased to present the winning entries in this year's student cam video documentary competition. student cam is c-span's annual
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competition that encourages middle and high school students to think critically about issues that affect the nation. the theme was the three branches and you, to demonstrate how a policy, law or action by one of the three branches of government has affect them or their community. shannon lamb, faith burton and brittany ericsson from eastern middle school in silver spring maryland are one of our second prizewinners. their entry focused on cultural sensitivity. >> as the leaves begin to change color, all of america, people's minds turn to football. sunday games are part of the typical american lifestyle. among the nation's fall football fever, the washington redskins are causing a nationwide controversy on the question of whether their name is mascot is offensive and should be changed. on june 18th, 2014 the united
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states patent office part of the executive branch of government, canceled the redskins' trademark, claiming it was disparaging of native americans. >> in the dictionary it is defined as a racial slur. we as native americans know that "redskin" was the inside of a scalp, taken and shown as bounty. we have two redskins. we have just murdered two indians, and here's the proof. >> the redskins were allowed to keep their trademark while continuing to appeal the decision. senators have also spoken out about the washington team's name. >> mr. speaker it's time for the national football league and the nfl commissioner roger goodell, faced the reality that the continued use of the converted "redskin -- word "redskin" is unacceptable. it's a racist derogatory term and patently offensive to native americans. >> one day, my daughter came home crying, and it hurt me.
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why are you crying? what's wrong? as a concerned parent, i was very inquisitive. she said the name of the girl had called her a dirty redskin. now, that name was not meant to honor my child or my culture. it was meant to hurt her. >> this controversial issue raises the greater question of how to handle cultural and social issues that some, but not all, find offensive. in 1996, the washington, d.c. basketball team, the washington bullets, was changed to the washington wizards. washington d.c. was the crime capital of the country at the time and some people felt that "bullets" was socially insensitive. >> washington bullets a wonderful man and president saw all the gun violence taking place in the d.c. area.
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what did he do? he voluntarily decided the name "washington bullets" wasn't any good and changed the name. he didn't want his team to be associated with bullets. >> i think that was dumb also. i think they should change it back to the bullets. he was a wonderful man. i know why he did it. i think that was overreaction as well. >> some people find the redskins' name offensive and think that it's a racial slur, but others do not claiming the name is not meant to be offensive and that it should not be changed. >> if they read up on the redskins' history, they will not find it offensive. they will find it with pride and with joy. the redskins are my favorite team because i was born and raised in silver spring and i like all the home teams. >> christine brennan, nbc sports commentator, finds the name offensive and racist. >> pure and simple it's a racist nickname and i believe
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it should change and i believe it will change. >> if the redskins' name were to change the local community would change as well. >> i would turn in my season tickets. i could not support them. >> the redskins still hold tremendous sentimental value to local fans. >> i love the washington redskins because -- i can remember as a kid sitting down with my dad and my grand dad and my father was watching the washington redskins. and it brings back fond memories. >> it's an iconic symbol for me. i grew up with the redskins sang "hail to the redskins" when i was a kid. in this town to me it's an iconic symbol and a brand that it would be tough to lose. >> all of the redskins
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merchandise that people have would lose its value. the changing of the name would hurt the redskins community, but some think it would create even more money for the owner daniel snyder. >> snyder is a smart marketing guy. imagine if he changed the name how much gear he would sell. everybody would have to buy new jerseys with the new name new logo. he would make a fortune. i think he would be crazy not to change it. >> we need to continue the respect and dignity of these individuals and it's time to update the relationship. >> after the united states patent and trademark office canceled the redskins' trademark, the team sued the native american activists in order to overturn the decision. on november 20th5th, 2014, there was a federal court decision that they were correct in suing the native american activists. it affected the local community. >> traditionally courts have
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always ruled 80% against indian issues so we're kind of used to it now. >> people are angry. they're going to protest the essence of the united states on so many topics. >> overal the redskins name and mascot created a nationwide conversation on how these issues should be dealt with as well as what real the federal government should play in these issues. >> i say to my colleagues, the patent office, a federal agency has said that this term is a derogatory slang and disparaging to native americans. >> trademark of the patent office and potentially the fcc, it is potentially playing a role. >> no one who started a team today would ever name the franchise the redskins. they might call them the braves the blackhawks the seminoles, the chiefs. no one today would start a
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professional franchise and call it the redskins. >> if somebody truly finds it offensive, i think you have to look into making the change. >> i mean it's just another speed bump and a long road ahead of us. >> to watch all of the winning videos and to turn more about our competition, go to and click on student cam. also tell us what you think about the issue these students addressed in their documentary on facebook and twitter. >> here on c-span tonight, a look at efforts to stop a growing shortage in the worldwide water supply. and ahead of this year's white house correspondents dinner in two weeks, a look back at some of the speeches given over the years by presidents bill clinton, george w. bush and barack obama. national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] maude barlow is chair of the nonprofit organization food and water watch. five years ago she was an victory advocate helping the u.n. declare water as a basic human
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right. she spoke recently at xavier university in cincinnati at what he calls a global water crisis. this is one hour and 20 minutes. maude barlow is the world's preeminent water rights activist. in fact, if you google the phrase "water rights activist" she's the first and only person specifically named in the results. she chairs the board for or is a member of the counsel of canadians food and water watch, the international forum on globalization, and the world future council. he holds 12 honorary doctorates and has received numerous awards for her work on water rights. most recently the earth care award, the highest international honor of the sierra club.
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she's highly published and her latest is "blue future, protecting water and the people for the planet forever." we're honored to have her here at xavier. please join me in welcoming her. [ applause ] >> thank you. wow, thank you very much. i'm absolutely delighted to be here. thank you, mark for your beautiful words. i'm quite embarrassed. thank you so much to nancy and ann doherty and elizabeth for the sustainability committee. thank you so much, james buchanan, for your beautiful words and work. and cynthia ia for the great work you do. and a shout-out to edward the founder. and i just want to say it's a true pleasure speaking at a university where your stated goals have to do with peace and
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justice and that's actually up front who you are. it's not that common actually, and so it's just really a treat to be here. i want to talk to you a little bit about the global water crisis. and welcome, by the way, to the high school students. i'm really happy you guys came here. it's really special that you're here. and then i'm going to talk a little bit about what we can do and what we are doing. because i want to say to you that i hate it when people my age come to talk to younger people and say, oh, it's doom and gloom and you should just forget about it. there's nothing you can do. tear your hair out. and actually there's lots we can do about the crisis that i'm going to talk to you about and i do deeply believe that hope is a moral imperative. if i share with you some of the bad news it's also because i'm going to then share with you what i think we need to do about it. but i do think we need to face the actual dimension of the crisis. we have seen an enormous increase in the amount of water
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that we are using as a human species in the last couple of decades. basically a 50% increase in withdrawals in a very, very short time. we're seeing what some of us are calling running dry. we're seeing massive pollution of our surface water and even massive pollution of our groundwater. i don't know if you know, but in the united states it is legal to dump toxic waste into the groundwater sources, and massive amounts are actually being dumped out of sight, out of mind i guess is the thought. but i was sharing today with others that they found an aquifer under mexico city. mexico city is in real trouble water-wise. they've taken out all the water under the city but they did find another aquifer. and when they pulled the first glass, cup of this few fresh-water up the engineer drank it and said it's delicious. he said, this is why you don't
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destroy your groundwater because some day you're going to need to no matter where you are. we're also damming rivers and pulling up groundwater, i call it groundwater mining way faster than these groundwater sources can be replenished. and we're damming rivers so that most of the major rivers in the world no longer reach the ocean and where the rivers -- where freshwater meets saltwater is one of the very important spawning grounds for aquatic life. we're doing this for many reasons, but the most urgent demand on water is for food production for the global market economy. it's really important for us to start off with a knowledge of something called virtual water. virtual water is the water that's embedded in the things that we eat or the clothes we aware or computers or -- wear or computers or whatever. up until not long ago, the united nations was saying each person on earth uses x amount of water. and now we understand that that's probably about one tenth
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of the water we really use. nine nine tenths of the water we use is not something we see or touch. it's embedded in our dinners and so on. if you sit down as a family of four to a small steak each, you're consuming the equivalent of an olympic-sized swimming pool with that steak. we're beginning now to bring this into the equation and understand what this means. what's happening and kind of like a bathtub. a bunch of us sitting around a great big bathtub with a lot of water in it and we have blindfolds and straws and we're drinking up that water really fast and we think it's fine because there's lots of water and there's lots of water for everybody. and then all of a sudden there's no water for anyone. it's called expunential over use of something. you can't see it coming. it's not like 1 and 1 makes 2 and 2 and 2 mocks makes four. it's the exponential overuse of something that's finite.
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last month there was the world economic forum held for leaders around the world in davos, switzerland, which it always is. always every year they do research ahead of time on what are the major experts and they talk to 900 experts around the world and to a person they said it's the coming water crisis. it's here in terms of impact. another meeting of the u.n. ban ki-moon, secretary-general, brought 500 scientists together and they said what we're doing now is what they said planet to -- water, and a planetary transformation, as great a change to the world and the planet as the melting of the ice age. and they also in a separate different study, -- again, this one done through the world bank -- the statistic that stunned the world at the time was that two years ago, by 2030 the demand in our world for water will outstrip supply by 40%. this is just almost impossible to try to understand.
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and, of course you stop and think about who is going to do without? it's going to be the poor the marginalized. it's going to be the people around the edges. it's going to be the people in slums, the massive slums of the global south the people in poor communities here in north america. it's also going to be the animals. it's going to be the species that can't survive easily without water. so i just want to give you a few examples of what we're talking about. india is in terrible trouble. 60% of all of their water for farming comes from irrigation and so they're pulling up, again, their groundwater and damming their rivers really seriously. depleting water in some places by five feet a year and literally in some of the states beginning to run dry. china, 75% of all their surface water is polluted. and here's a stunning new report that since 1990, half of the rivers in china have
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disappeared. what do you mean disappeared? they're gone. they're disappeared. that's partly from hydroelectric coal mining for hydroelectric power, but it's also because they're using their water, air and soil to produce so much of the stuff that gets sent around to the rest of the world. there were two lakes i want to tell you about. one was a sea in the former soviet union. so big a lake it was called a sea. the other is lake chad in africa. once the fourth largest and sixth largest lakes in the world, no almost nothing. -- now almost nothing. both of them almost down to a bare trickle. in each case, it wasn't climate change as we have come to understand it. it was absolute overextraction. the story that most disturbs me right now is brazil. brazil has been until recently considered the country with the most water, most water-rich country in the world. never had droughts. tons of water. the aquifer, rainforest a massive area between the
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rainforest that holds a tremendous amount of water. but suddenly sao paulo, the second biggest city in brazil with about 20 million people living there, has gone dry. i mean, when i tell you in the last two years, there was no problem 2, 3 years ago, it is going dry incredibly fast, a massive drought the last few years across brazil. it turns out it's because they're cutting down the amazon. what we now know is that when you cut down forest or rainforest or vegetation it changes the hydroologic pattern. the rainforests give off massive amounts of humidity and vapors called flying river. think of it as a river in the sky being held up by air currents and travels thousands of miles and delivers rain to sao paulo and other places. they're cutting down the rainforest because they're
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growing massive amounts of sugarcane and soybeans to make ethanol to put in cars not only in brazil but around the world. so much of this is for export. not only cutting down trees but massive amounts of water in the form of virtual water and sending this water away. the great lakes, a very big issue for those of us living -- you guys live about as far away from the great lakes as i do. i live in ottawa, canada. we're about equidistant to the great lakes. they're in very serious trouble. invasive species, massive pollution. but we also have overpumping, overexploitation of the water system itself. i won't give you too many studies, but one study said if the great lakes are being pumped as mercilessly as groundwater around the world, the great lakes -- and i quote -- could be dead-dry bone-dry in 80 years. if you've ever stood on the bank of the big lakes, superior and
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michigan and so on you can't imagine. that's why i told you about the sea. it is possible to take a massive amount of water and destroy it. we're also dealing with eutrification, blue green algae. from industrial farming, agribusiness. the nutrients running off into our water symptoms. 67,000 square miles of agriculture, agribusiness around the great lakes basin and it is poisoning them. the patch we thought we got rid of in lake erie is back and it is a very serious issue. you probably know your own ohio river has been named the most polluted body of water in the united states for seven years running. i know there's a tremendous amount of work being done in cincinnati and in the state on
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renewable energy and on this being a kind of very exciting area for high-tech solutions to our problems but we're not stopping the water pollution at its source we need to understand this. 23 million pounds of chemicals were dumped into the ohio river last year and we have to find a way to stop this. martin luther king said many wonderful things, but one he said was that legislation may not change the heart, but it will restrain the heartless. sometimes i see people doing wonderful things but their government still will not stop the people doing bad things from doing those bad things and it's like you can't catch up because you can't keep up with the destruction taking place. so we absolutely need to regulate and say nobody is going to be allowed to do that to these lakes. and the recent concern that i have is that the great lakes are increasingly being used as what i call a carbon corridor to move the dirtiest energy on earth by train, pipeline around and even
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under the great lakes. most recently being shipped on barges and into ships on the great lakes. this is from alberta tar sands and we're fighting very hard in our country because this is an oily substance and the only way to get it through pipelines is lace it with liquid chemicals. when they spill they make massive, massive, you know dead zones and create terrible pollution. now the coast guard in the united states has given the okay to ship on ships on american waterways wastewater from fracking, which is among the most volatile substances. and to my mind when we know what we know about the water system, the water situation, the water crisis in our world how we can do this continues to be just stunning to me. colorado, the colorado basin lake mead which is the reservoir created when the hoover dam was built, all of
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these are down. a new nasa study says they have taken enough groundwater out of the colorado basin to provide all the water that's needed for all american households for eight years. i mean we just put these bore wells down and drink this stuff up. there are 200,000 bore wells in the ogalala aquifer. the massive aquifer that goes right down the spine of the u.s. down to the texas panhandle. again, building massive industrial farms to grow corn for corn ethanol and pumping up that groundwater with pumps that weren't designed until the late 1950s. so before that they had no ability to pull up that groundwater. it's only in you know 70 years or whatever that we've been able to to green the desert in that way. but there's a terrible price. and the terrible price is that the department of agriculture here in the united states said two years ago the ogalala
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aquifer will be gone in our lifetime. you try to say that to people who farm there or live there it's going to be gone. and people say, i don't know what you mean. yesterday, the los angeles times -- if this isn't a headline that will get to you, i don't know what will. it was their major headline major editorial. they said, california has one year left of water. are we ready to ration yet? look it up. don't believe me. look it up. how can we get up every morning and say it's business as usual? it's not business as usual. i just go back to the people in sow paula. -- sao paulo. this is from a water rich area two years ago, three years ago. they have water from 5:00 to 6:00 in the morning. just a trick. and water from 10:00 to 11:00 at night. you better do whatever you need that needs water or try to collect it in those two hours. that's the water you get. you don't have to go that far
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away. i've been working with people in detroit, michigan, who have had their water cut off, many thousands of them. we actually got a moratorium. we got the u.n. involved and brought u.n. experts to actually look at what's happening. but this is an area where a lot of money left thpt the inner city, most of the people left behind are poor mostly african-american older people or single mothers. very high unemployment. they don't have the funds and so the city near bankruptcy then now in bankruptcy, doubled the price of water. people can't afford it so they're coming in and literally go house to house and turn the water off. and try raising kids. try looking after somebody ill with no water. so it's not just happening far away. it's happening in the so-called rich parts of our world north america as well. now, these are real issues and again, just the last of these stas stats.
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another nasa report that just came out last month reported that there is an unprecedented megadrought coming in the midwest in the united states and parts of canada. the great plains and the southwest. over the next few decades. and they say that it will last decades. that it will be unlike anything in living history or memory. here's a prediction i have for you. you've got a presidential election coming up. i predict that this issue will not be on the table. i predict that they will not speak about it and they will not write about it and they will not be asked about it in debates. why is this? well i just have four thoughts on why this might be. the first is what i call the myth of abundance. we all learned back in grade six or whatever there's a finite amount of water that can never be destroyed. it's not only the same amount of water but the exact same water that was here at the beginning of the planet and it goes around and around and we all have this
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kind of diagram in our heads. it's almost like a big river around the earth and you can stick all the straws you want in it. we learned we couldn't run out. i also think that in the global north or the west or whatever you want to call it we tend to think there will always be a technology that will fix it. that myth is deep-rooted and it's really hard to get rid of. secondly we tend to see water as a resource for our pleasure and profit and convenience. we don't see water as the element that is necessary for life. we don't respect water. we don't think about it. we don't care about it. it's just to serve us period full stop. one of the advisers to president hoover when they were building the hoover dam and those other big megadams said america will be great when she learns to conquer her rivers. this whole notion that water is here to be conquered for our economic model is really a powerful -- a really powerful one. i also think that we have
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misdiagnosed the water crisis. if you talk to any environmentalist or most environmentalists or most people involved in climate change they will say that water is a victim of climate change that's been induced by greenhouse gas emissions. and that's true. the melting glaciers and the melting ice packs and all of that is true. but what they don't say and what's missing from the diagnosis is that when we take water from water retentive landscapes, when we move it to where we want it that's the entire story in california. they have enough water. it's that they're moving it all over the place so they can produce 85% of all the almonds for the entire world right, in a state running out of water. so as they say, water runs uphill to money, right? so we have a situation where we're misdiagnosing what the situation is and our mistreatment our displacement our abuse of water is one of the major causes of climate change and it's really very very much past time that we started
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putting this in the mix and that we started talking about water and the way we treat water and how we could undo what we've done as one of the answers to climate change. and finally, i would have to say to you in terms of reasons for our politicians not talking about this -- ours don't either i'm not suggesting it's only here in the united states. i think it's very common except in a few countries where they're facing water shortage like the water is running out now. but it's the dominant model of economic development which says more growth unlimited growth. we could just keep going forever. more trade. more stuff. more market economy. i want my strawberries in january and i don't care where they come from or who it costs. we have this notion that we can have all things at all times and we have created a global economy which is basically, i would argue, not only creating
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enormous wealth gaps between rich and poor -- do you know that in the year 2000, there were 111 billionaires in the world? there are now over 2500 billionaires in the world. 15 years, what does that tell you about policies of the 1% for the 1% and by the 1%, right? so i would argue that the way we grow food for a global market is a way of like putting a huge pipe into our water systems and sucking that water up and taking it away. and remember when you grow food -- when you water to grow food, you're consuming that water. that water does not get returned to the watershed. so what do we need? well i call for a new water ethic. and a new water ethic would say that water is not just a resource. and as i say for our pleasure and profit and convenience. but it is the essential element that gives us life. and it is to be respected and
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revered and we need to come up with a new relationship with water. we also -- and if i were queen of the world and could make every leader in the world do as i say and save the world's water, all policy, and this has to happen at all levels -- municipal, state, federal, international -- all policy has to ask the question what's the impact on water? our energy using fossil fuels is not only bad for air. everybody knows that. it's terrible for water. fracking uses destroys abuses huge amounts of water. growing corn for ethanol, it takes 1700 gallons of water to make one gallon of corn ethanol. so yes, okay maybe that's a better use for your car, but the water footprint it's leaving is not worth it. i would argue that ethanol is worse than fossil fuels because of the way it's treating water. we mustn't set up this air
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versus water kind of reality. what would it look like if we asked the question about the impact on water of food production? well, i'll tell you what it would look like. we would have to stop using chemicals. we wouldn't have anymore, you know toledo green water if we stopped having those factory farms. if we stopped putting all those pesticides and narcotics of every kind into animal feed and so on. if we went back to the way we know how to grow food, more local, more sustainable, family farms, organic. and food for local consumption, we could take -- we could cut the water consumption of the world in half. so what would be the -- what would be the question, then is always what is the impact on water of these trade policies? what if we took into account, okay, all trade maybe isn't the same. say i've got a white shirt coming from this country and a white shirt -- excuse me coming
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from this country and they both took the exact same amount of water to produce, but the water -- but the water in this country is almost gone and so that shirt is coming at the price of the local people's water rights. in this country, they still have water so it's not quite the same. so we don't ask that question. we never asking the question in these trade agreements are we protecting our natural resources? are we protecting our people? we also have to declare water to be a public trust. public trust is a very old concept in the united states. very deeply entrenched particularly in the northeastern states, less so in the southwestern states, where they have more of a first to come here, got the rights to water sort of thing. public trust basically says that water is a commons. it belongs to all of us and governments must protect it in the name of the people for all and for future generations. that doesn't mean you can do whatever you want.
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it's not a commons that you can say, well i can abuse it because it doesn't belong to anybody. we're seriously going to have to protect this commons and we're going to have to say what is the -- what is the -- what are our priorities have people having access to this water? because you just can't have it for anything anybody wants it for. i give you an example. vermont. i worked on this legislation, the state of vermont has beautiful water. lots of groundwater. but a few years ago, they had a whole bunch of bottled water companies coming in and setting up a plant and drinking the local water source until it was gone. they were really concerned. so they brought in legislation that their grandeoundwater is a public trust. they actually said, to protect it we're going to give priority to water for people's daily needs, water for protection of the ecosystem and water for local food production not for agribusiness to make money
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sending our water and food far away. they had that hierarchy of access and were just able to use their public trust doctrine because there was a nuclear facility that was leaking tritium into the local water source, and the local company, the nuclear power company, said yes, but it's our water, we have water rights. then the state was able to say, no the fact that we've made it a public trust trumps your private right to dump tritium into this water and so we're taking it back. so it's a very exciting concept that -- excuse me we need to go back to. and i've been working a lot with the groups, people around the great lakes. we want to get the great lakes to be declared a commons a public trust, and a protected bioregion so that we stop seeing it as your piece of it and this piece, but we see it as a whole watershed. we need common laws. we need common protections. we need common enforcement. you get enforcement totally
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different on different parts on the lakes. we need together to say, no more shipping of this extreme energy. we cannot put this water up at this kind of risk and it's a kind of new way of thinking in terms of watershed governance, which they're doing in europe. since 2000, all of their watersheds must be governed by committees and legislators from all of the countries that surround these waters sources. -- water sources. so it's not my water, i'm only going to try to get this amount. it's going to be our water collectively. at a global level i'm calling for what i'm now naming a marshall plan for water. the marshall plan was a plan led by the united states to rebuild europe after the second world war. europe was in tatters and everything from rescuing orphaned children to rebuilding schools and hospitals to putting an economy back together, it was
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an absolutely incredible endeavor. and we need a marshall plan for water. we need our leaders to come together and say, this is a crisis. when you read that california has one year left of water, i don't know what people in california think when they read that, but i think a lot of them are going to be moving here i guess. we might see american refugees moving from one part of the country to the other. what do we think of when we read that? we have to take this very, very seriously. and the united nations needs to set up a separate process for water. right now, water is linked into and comes into the umbrella of climate change. if you go to those climate summits -- and i go to every one of them -- all they talk about are greenhouse gas emissions. which are very important. i'm not for a moment negating that. but they don't talk about water as anything but a victim. they don't hear the stories about how if you rebuild water-retentive landscapes, if you've created a desert if you
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bring in the technologies and the techniques we know and if you put people to work rebuilding and refurbishing the watersheds, the rain comes back. it's absolutely miraculous. i mean there are so many wonderful examples of where we've done this. the key components of this are absolutely at the heart of it. would be watershed protection conversation and restoration. we have to stop destroying our water systems. we have to repair those that have been hurt. national and international projects to replenish water-retentive landscapes i'm working with a wonderful scientists named michael in slovakia. he had a lot of land that had been destroyed by bad farming practices, by old, bad industrial dumping and so on. and he's -- he convinced many municipalities and their own federal government to allow a project where they put thousands of people to work rebuilding the kinds of small berms and dams,
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water retention, water collection rainwater collection and so on. and they have greened an amazing amount of the land. same in india. there are many projects where a wonderful man they call "the rainmaker" has brought back water to just a massive amount of land. a wonderful engineer in southern australia that convinced his government to let him gather all the rainwater, the storm water, the sewage water, put it all through massive lagoons that were planted with the kind of plants that eat bacteria and the poison, they've got so much water they've greened the desert the birds have come back. the animals have come back. it's a miracle. because we need to remember that nature will come back. if we stop hurting nature, nature loves us wants to come back to us as soon as it can. we need food policies that promote local


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