tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN December 16, 2016 4:41am-5:37am EST
something that the government would do that would allow the energy of society to regenerate itself. charles: okay i'm going to pick that up and run with it. you're going to get all the optimism out of me in the next two minutes. tamar: and then one question from the audience. charles: that is that we have had a history in this country of revivals, of reawakening's, they were called. they were religious. we had three or four of them over the course of history and each one of them had huge effects on all of the culture. the civil rights movement was a kind of great awakening and that happened basically in the blink of an eye in about ten years with the core of the movement from 1954 to 1964. there is then also i think a lot less resistance in 2016 to these things we've been talking about with family and work than there
was 20 years ago, 30 years ago, much less resistance to those. tamar: people at least willing to stay? charles: i have not gotten hissed once in this audience and i couldn't have said a lot of these things 25 years ago without getting hissed and i think that there is the potential for this kind of cultural revival. what are the odds? they're greater than zero and given how little we know how to do programmatically with government interventions we better go with the only game in town and i think that is culture. tamar: let's take one, and if we have room for more than one but a lady in the back, you guys have been so patient all day no questions. tell us who you are. >> hi, i'm kaitlin with the nurse family partnership and you
had mentioned that programs, maybe when trying to do a program when a child is 17 or 18 or a young adult has been employed typically don't work, have you seen anything with early intervention programs such as home visiting programs when you're going in even before the child is born and when the mother is in a vulnerable stage, her first time pregnancy? charles: the debate over the record on really early interventions is intense. you have a very famous advocate in the form of nobel laureate james eckman who was taking it upon himself to argue the data justified a lot of these kinds of interventions. i'm prepared to argue it out on the merits and i think the evidence in favor of those interventions is weak and that fadeout is most pronounced in those and early studies from the
1960's constantly cited as evidence of great success and we've had much larger, more rigorous studies since then. now i've switched my pessimistic mode again. tamar: >> i should never have opened the question. charles: but let me say something else picking up on a previous panel. there are some things that are goods in themselves even if you can't measure the results. so if you have pre-k to use that as an intervention suppose you have pre-k for a child in a very punishing home environment and for three hours a day that child is in a nurturing warm environment. in a way you don't have to prove to me that child has a lower chance of incarceration 15 years later. what is happening to the child who needs our help is a good thing. you do have to go ahead and prove that the child is getting a nurturing warm environment but once you've done that i'm willing to say a lot of these
early interventions are goods in themselves. tamar: i want to hold onto this glimmer of optimism with this last question. whatever we can or can't do about the cultural forces and the economy, can we reduce the cultural difference on the lack of respect and the polarization and separation between the working class and the elite middle class and how good a thing would that be? charles: thank you so much for giving me an opening on this. remember what i said about out where i live, there are problems that we are seeing. there are also really good people living out there, and who are handling their lives just fine, thank you very much, and the disdain that is openly expressed by the new upper class, in the case of a neighbor of mine who bought a weekend place in west virginia, and his
georgetown neighbors, he literally lives in georgetown, would sort of make jokes about "deliverance" and the kinds of people they must be. they are great neighbors, they are great friends, they are great people, and the new upper class has been very open in its disdain and that's why you got donald trump, if you want me to oversimplify. one of the main reasons is this terrific anger at watching the elites behave the way they have so to my fellow members of the new upper class in this audience, and that means just about all of you, we've got to start behaving ourselves a little better and be better neighbors to our fellow citizens. tamar: okay, well i think we're out of time, but we are now -- thank you so much, charles. [applause] ways: grim, but in some the optimism was hard won. atwe have a special webpage c-span.org to help you follow the supreme court.
go to c-span.org and select supreme court. once on our supreme court page, you will see four of the most recent oral arguments. to see all the oral arguments covered by c-span. you can find recent appearances by many supreme court justices or watch justices in their own words, including one-on-one interviews with justices kagan, thomas, and ginsburg. there's also a list of all current justices with links to their appearances on c-span, as well as many other supreme court videos on demand. follow the supreme court at c-span.org. >> as the congress and donald trump take office in january, changes are expected to the federal health care law. a discussion looks at what a replacement might look like. live at 9:15 a.m. eastern on
c-span 2. then, outgoing u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon gives his end of year news conference from new york city at 11:30 a.m. eastern. presidential transition team members from the clinton, bush, and obama transitions talked about the trump administration and their policy agenda on a panel hosted by the brookings institution. this is about an hour. good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. welcome to brookings. it is a pleasure to have you here for a very special event. brookings is very proud to cohost this event with the miller center at the university of virginia, and
secondly because of the topic, which is presidential leadership in the first year. believe it or not, the first year hasn't begun yet for the trump administration. but i think we already have some flavor of what life could be like in the first year. a tripre's nothing like down memory lane to try to understand the kinds of challenges that any administration faces, but that the trump administration in particular is going to face, come january 20, when president trump is sworn in. have a action-packed program today that will deal ofh the various aspects
presidential leadership in the first year, from domestic to foreign policy. i'm happy to partner with darrell west and the scholars here at brookings. antholicular, with bill is and the medical center. bill is well known to us because for 10 years he was the managing director of this institution, before he became the ceo at the miller center. i'm going to introduce him now and he's going to introduce the overall program, particularly the work on presidential transitions. bill, before he came to
worked at the white house, where he was director of international economic affairs of the national security council and the national economic council. his responsibilities included planning and negotiating the heup of eight summit, and also served as deputy director of the white house climate change task force before going to the state department, where he was on the policy planning staff. bill is very well-equipped in terms of his own experience, ,o lead us off this afternoon in terms of presidential first years. , welcome.lis thank you for this cooperation. [applause] bill: thanks, martin.
it is wonderful to be back. great to see so many familiar faces in the crowd. and in the hallways too. this is a home away from home. the first year is real. it is a real calendar-driven period of time baked into our of antutional system observation lyndon johnson made, which is, you get one year, because after the first year, congress stops thinking about u.s. president and starts thinking about their own reelection. that drives two things in our political transition. first, it drives the domestic agenda. if you want to pass things, you have to work with the congress, whether that is the president of a different party or other outsider presidents from one party who have controlled both houses of congress, have sometimes succeeded, but sometimes struggled.
johnson succeeded famously. other presidents such as carter and clinton struggled. it is a real calendar driving issue. on the national security side, it is a moment to do significant change, but also, because of the relative inexperience of any team working with one another, it is often a moment of crisis, where other countries will test the united states. we saw that in 9/11 and in bill clinton's first year when al qaeda attacked the towers. people forget the truck bomb was in the first year of the clinton administration. or on policies gone astray, such as the bay of pigs, the spy plane over china, or a failed coup in panama which caught the first bush administration by surprise. but out of those crises come a team learning well. we were reminded that the first bush team deftly responded to
the fall of the berlin wall. that all happens in one year. we had been looking at presidential history for the last year and a half, preparing for this moment. i want to show you a video and get into the three terrific panels we've assembled today. ♪ >> an extraordinary democratic moment of courage, with the peaceful transfer of executive power in america.
thomas jefferson, in his first inaugural address, referred to the presidency as a post above his talents. jefferson humbled himself before the magnitude of the undertaking. it takes one year for a new president to go from here to here. >> mr. speaker, the president of the united states! >> history teaches us the president's first year in office is crucial, a time of dangerous peril and exceptional opportunity. >> the president was hit. he was wounded. >> i can hear you! world tests the
untested commander-in-chief. and the new president must act. it is also when presidents can uring policies, whether renewing america's promise at home, or making historic breakthroughs on the world stage. as the inauguration date approaches, our responsibility is to look beyond, to prepare for the new president's pivotal first year in office. how will our 45th president staff a cabinet, prioritize and agenda, and act on it? what risks and rewards dwell on the horizon? the miller center has launched a nonpartisan effort to research those pressing challenges and take those ideas directly to the presidential candidates and their staffs, to opinion leaders, and the public at large. the first year project
illuminates the major issue areas, featuring public events, digital components, and vigorous promotion and communication strategies. we are connecting history with policy and impact. how are you feeling? >> pretty good, how are you? >> hell. >> what is the trouble? little bit inot a congress and a little bit with china, the vietnamese, a little bit all over the country, and i just thought i'd call you and try to get a little advice, a little inspiration. >> the miller center specializes in studying the institution of the presidency. we apply the lessons of history to contemporary public policy challenges, helping understand and shape the modern presidency. our scholars have conducted
comprehensive oral histories for every administration since president carter, creating a living network of officials who have led our executive branch. the miller center brings the lessons of history to life and connects the past to the future. bill: so we've assembled three panels today that combine the terrific expertise of our own scholars, but also partners like the brookings institution. in putting together this project, we've had essays scholars, almost 10 particularly from government studies, where i have the pleasure of being a senior fellow here. great thanks to darrell and his team. the first panel includes one of amarck,eagues, elaine k and we are delighted to have the
two people who successfully developed transition from the bush administration to the obama administration, chris lu and bolten. after that, we will have a panel on moving a domestic agenda and organizing for global challenges. with that, i handed over to barbara and her counterparts for the first panel. barbara: while my colleagues are 'd,, i was telling bill
this is my first trip here. but as a political scientist, i am always coming -- tuning into c-span and watching. as an honor to be moderating panel for the miller center. as you can see from the program, we have an amazing group of scholars and passion -- served iners who have four different presidencies. in the case of josh bolten, bush 41 and bush 43, chris lou, secretary of labor in the current obama administration. and a lane of the clinton administration. we represent four presidencies and want to dive right in. particularly, the title of this years and first principles. all of you had the amazing
experience of being part of a presidency in the first year. some of you, long after that as well. but we want to start off today with that very intriguing question of, how does a president-elect go from being a campaigner to a short window of opportunity of being president-elect, and start the year -- first year of his presidency. we will start with elaine. ealing: ike -- >> i can say in one word, they did that poorly. or republican, this is not a partisan statement. i will explain it with a couple of statistics. there are just over 4000 jobs the president has to appoint to the federal government. but all -- out of 4000, a little over a thousand are the big ones that are confirmed by the senate.
even that is a big number. to 800, some are part-time appointments to boards and things like that. 700are looking at seven -- to 800 people to run a military of, 8 million people. it is impossible. one of the things the president has to figure out quickly is, what is this thing he hasn't parroted? -- inherited? because whenever a big blowup happens, guess who gets blamed. president obama wasn't in charge of writing code for the website -- the health care website. but i promise you the american people looked at him and thought, oh, you screwed up. jimmy carter didn't fly
helicopters into time ran -- t ron -- taiwan, but that was a black mark on him. what happens is presidents tend to ignore this vast government they run and the government blows up on them and surprise, they get blamed. because the american people think the president is the boss. the first thing presidents should do and really do, his figure out what this thing i and understand that in any given point in time, an organization that consists of several million people, two things are happening and simultaneously. something is going very right. they've got the right intelligence on this problem, the right analysis on this problem. the right expertise. at the same time, somewhere else, something is going very wrong.
[laughter] they are understaffed, something is about to blow up. thatl end with an anecdote i used in a chapter of my book. it goes back to the fall of 2013. on december 13, just two days 2013, there were two astronauts in space preparing a misfiring heating and cooling station at the international space station. it were floating around in space in space suits doing something for most of us, is inconceivable. two months earlier, the obama administration was facing the collapse of the -- the meltdown in its health care website. and november3
and december, everyone started writing, oh my gosh, the government. what a mess. it can't do technology, loblaw -- bla bla. government in the same fashion, had these two guys in space walking around. the fact is, at the centers for medicare and medicaid and that had, several bureaucrats contracted private sector companies to do a job the government wanted done. at nasa, there is the company in western massachusetts that makes spacesuits. go figure. it make the spacesuits these guys were wearing. another words, the process wasn't any different. its just that at any given time, something is going right and something is going wrong. generally figured this out when it is too late. discover the
campaign skills of messaging, tweeting, speechmaking, rallies -- your campaign scales don't help you -- skills don't help you when the government has blown up in your face. which is why it behooves presidents to spend less time wandering around the country and more time in their first year figuring out what is happening in the government that they are the head of. example ofaine's things blowing up reminds me of a first year fiasco, the bay of pigs. certainly, that blew up in president kennedy's face and he went on national television and said, i take responsibility for this. i am the responsible officer of this government. polls went ton 83%. , if peoplelesson in
are going to blame you anyway, take responsibility and it might work in your favor. let me go to josh. we will go in presidential order. a little about the fact that you were with him throughout the campaign as the head of policy ,nd then part of the transition but in a short window of opportunity because of the bush v gore controversy. mr. bolten: thank you. doing thisou for program and the work you do. both at brookings and the miller center. it is an important public service. fortune of being part of the bush campaign, the bush 2000 presidential campaign which began at the beginning of 1999. almost two full years before the election, i arrived in austin, texas is the policy director of
the bush 2000 campaign. you started pretty early in the obama campaign. that youhe first way start to build a presidency that periodhstand the typical that a president faces. president bush said something interesting to me on my first day in austin. i met him in his office and he go out and do a smart thing, put all the policy together. but just remember one thing. i want to campaign the way i am going to govern. i am going to government -- govern the way i campaign. every presidential candidate ought to begin a campaign that way.
i doubt whether he used the same kind of words, but i bet president obama said much the same thing. what he was telling me and the rest of the staff was, build a campaign, a policy structure that is something i can take into the white house and implement. because what i say on the road is what i'm going to do when i am in the oval office. we were blessed in the bush in having a campaign staff that was essentially a staff that was, itself, ready to move into governments -- governance.-- karl rove became the strategist in the white house after being chief political strategist. becameef communicator
the head of communications in the white house. when you build a good campaign team that is ready to move in the white house, you are able to mitigate another source of great disruption during transitions, which is a total changeover in personnel. very often, campaign people are not good governance people and vice versa. in building a campaign and building a government, i think presidents ought to look for both. we were unusually blessed. we had only half the usual transition because of the recount in florida. and yet, i think we came in with only 37 days worth of transition in much better condition to know who was going to be in government along with president bush and what the agenda was.
-- page 450 phage policy book that spell that out. i concern for the current is they are not in that sort of position. there is not a thick policy agenda with detail to it. certainly inclinations and directions and so on, which is what the public pays attention to and worked very well for president-elect trump, there is also not the big infrastructure. work withle ready to them. it is incumbent on all of us, including through processes like these, to help what is a difficult situation for the best prepared -- for those coming behind us. the fact that the outgoing bush 43 administration worked very closely, as i understand chris, with the transition team for president
obama to make the transition as smooth as possible. >> in every setting like this, i complement josh for the tone he and president bush set. >> that's why i come to these things. [laughter] for pledging full cooperation with the income -- incoming president, whoever it was. success we enjoyed in our transition is in large measure because of the cooperation we received. we were working through transition issues all 77 days. president obama has pledged that same level of collaboration with his successor. it is certainly challenging though. there is a playbook of how you transition from campaigning to governing. this is not only a candidate who is turning it on its head, but tearing the playbook up.
the carrier deal, there are a lot of things here we have not seen before. onwill be interesting to see january 20, it will change. i suspect it will not. this will be an interesting ride for all of us. barbara: to be sure. let's turn to governing itself. we've gotten through the transition. you have situations in the case of president bush 43 where he had a very clear agenda in the campaign. and so to say "i want to govern the way i campaign" makes for a simple transition to prioritization of policy topics and issues. elaine, i wonder if you can talk about president clinton and his prioritization and what he brought in as a priority and what might have become to be imposed on him by events.
elaine: he had a similar saying, josh. his saying was that good government is good politics. all going right. therefore, i think the most important and he did was the very first budget in the first year. he got a lot of grief for. cost us some congressional seats, etc.. but it was critical in setting us on the road to what was, by the seventh year, a balanced budget. first and only time we've had a balanced budget in many decades. there was a clear direction, he understood that was the most important and he had to do. and like reagan before him, reagan is the only other president i know who got this right. economic --ood that
macro economic policy is a blunt instrument and it takes a long time. you have to do the tough, ugly stuff. you have to do in your first year. with then did that first budget deal and the first reconciliation deal. so did reckon with his first budget deal. by 1984, it was morning in america. i remember this very well. i was working for walter, a depressing campaign to work in. i 1996, we had incredibly low unemployment and peace in the world. kinds of things incumbent presidents want to have. doing those tough things early is the most important thing. then of course, getting used to running a government. a sceneok, i talk about i witnessed between al gore and bill clinton.
it was one of those awkward things where there were a lot of people in the oval office and they all went off into the side office and there was a traffic jam. i was the last one and couldn't get out. i was stuck. obviously, al gore wanted to say something to bill clinton, so i stood there stupidly trying to pretend i wasn't there. or say to clinton this, this, and this. it was on a foreign-policy question. what was going on was gore, who was more familiar with foreign-policy was saying to clinton, who was maybe the best ad lib. speech maker in american history, this is one place you don't ad lib. barbara: what of -- because the world looks at what
policy situations and parses them out. language matters. as opposed to when bill clinton was talking about medicaid or welfare or something like this. ande is a lot of learning sometimes it is very counterintuitive. i don't know who is going to tell that to president-elect trump. to need to sayng to him -- i don't know when he is going to learn that precision in language matters. that when you are president, there are consequences to what you say and this free reeling -- freewheeling campaign he has run, which has many electoral advantages, is going to be a problem in governing. to a certain extent, they have of some england -- inkling something. this current transition is unusual. barbara: chris, could you tell us about come -- transitioning
into policymaking? campaign agenda, which had health care reform on thetop for president obama, coming into office with an ongoing crisis and economic .eltdown in the financial world chris: we started transition planning in april 2008, we were focusing on immigration, education, health care, the whole range of issues. inthe time we took office january 2009, there was only one issue. the economy. i recall that very first job number we got in february 2009. the contrary -- country have lost 800,000 jobs. the number one governing principle had to be getting the country back up and running. after inauguration day, the stimulus package was billed, then vice president eitan who
oversaw the recovery act had to get the money out the door with as little fraud as possible. we had a couple members confirmed. not many around them. the ability to get $800,000 out the door was due to the leadership of the career departments who realized these were programs you can put money in two that would have an instant effect. there is often a racism of career employees and their ability to learn quickly and drive change. we learned quickly you can't accomplish anything unless you have the career leadership behind you. that brings me to josh and president george w. bush. again, very clear agenda coming into office. talk about that. -- hebout how in implemented that agenda. and to both chris and elaine's point about being able to reach out to leadership, both in the executive agencies and in
congress, and others in congress. bush came into office having published two books on policy in his campaign. one of them we published in july or august of 2008. 450 pages long. it was detailed policy speeches. and then five or six page fact sheets with all the details that went behind the speeches so you could tell the policy and direction and philosophy and principle from the speech. you got thenumbers, programmatic details in the fact sheets. when we came and the white house in january of 2001, we didn't have to have a lot of meetings policieswhat are the that the pollock -- president wants to implement immediately?
we didn't face a crisis on the as the otheror campaign did. but we did face an economy headed into a recession. we had policies that are well-designed to combat that recession. in particular, a large tax cut, which president bush had campaigned on being necessary regardless, but he had also had advice from his economic thesers to the effect that recession was likely on the way and this would be the best antidote. we weren't confused about what the policy priorities were. education was a big one. president bush, by the way, no one will remember this. president bush campaigned on being the education president. that was his intent when he came in and in fact, campaigned against al gore on the notion that the clinton administration
had become too distracted by foreign activities and nationbuilding and the bush administration wasn't going to participate in that sort of activity. anticipating -- >> amazing. [laughter] anticipating a new question about how things have changed. but on the way in, that gave us an opportunity to focus. president bush did one other was generallyhink agarded as having been shortcoming of the clinton administration on the way in the door. themaybe a shortcoming of trumpet administration on the way an the door. and that is, focus on the white house. there's a tendency in every transition to focus on the big, shiny objects which are the big
cabinet posts. those are absolutely critically important. but it causes presidents elect and their senior teams to neglect the construction of the white house staff tom a which actually is the group that is going to help drive the really critical presidential priorities. that elainent described so well in her first set of remarks is pretty darn resilient. and some would say impervious. [laughter] it is very capable of running itself, at least on a steady-state, without substantial political leadership. it is only on those issues where the president really wants to take the country in a particular direction, especially a new direction, where presidential
leader ship accounts up for a lot. particularly, that comes from the white house. a don't have to be big public but the folks with the president brings in the white house and empowers to drive those initiatives are key appointments early on in a presidency. i think, especially those who are less familiar with have a tendency to neglect that aspect of the early part of the transition. stories wey favorite have done every presidential history from jimmy carter. starting with the administration of gerald ford and carrying on through. we are coming to the end of the bush 43 project. those are still confidential, but this is in the public record. one of my favorite stories from that administration.
it is likely a lesson for president-elect trump given he is a media impresario. president bush 43 invited ted kennedy and his family within the first few weeks of the administration down to the white , house theater to watch the thin new film, 13 days, about the cuban missile crisis. here is ted kennedy with george w. bush watching a film about his brother in the oval office and the cabinet room coming to terms with the cuban missile crisis. and the bush library, which i just had the pleasure of visiting for the first time last week with bill, i noted they have a hand written thank you note from ted kennedy to bush, thanking him for bringing him in his family down to the white house to see "her teen days." -- 13 days. he said, i hope i will have many opportunities to come down to the white house and watch you signed some policies that we can agree on. he said including education and health care.
apart from that, that outreach and that ringing together to -- of two people from across the aisle, which ted kennedy had done on many occasions and governor bush had done in texas. from that grew the no child left behind policy. there can be issues about whether that was the best policy for education. the point was about reaching out to the other side, and the other side accepting the outreach and moving on from there. 's, after thebush tax cuts, the top priority and that principal priority was the no child left behind act, for which president bush's partners were democrat george miller in the house, and democrat ted kennedy in the senate. many people will recall that when 9/11 happened, laura bush was on the hill. she was with ted kennedy
preparing to do a hearing on the no child left behind act. eventually, the act did get adopted an ted kennedy was there -- and ted kennedy was there in the rose garden, but the country with any different direction. barbara: in addition without the wonderful display of the handwritten note to president bush, there was also a painting. ted kennedy was a amateur artist. he gave that painting to first lady laura bush. with a very nice inscription. again it does show that we can , work across the aisle. course to takes us of , domestic that crises and foreign crises can intervene , and disrupt the best laid plans of an incoming president. josh, since you mentioned 9/11, let's start there and talk about the impact 9/11 had on president bush's first year in office. josh: total.
it cannot be overstated what a radical change in the agenda of the bush administration of government, the federal government and i think of the whole country, was the product of the 9/11 attack. the whole focus of the administration changed overnight. interestingly i think president , bush was among the first to recognize how profound and complete the change would be when he convened basically, his war cabinet on the evening of september 11. he started giving different instructions. including to the fbi director, saying your mission just changed. your mission traditionally has been to catch the bad guy after they do the deed. it has changed. we have to catch them before the bad deed. that story was written across,
at least half of the government and change the focus, the tenor of the entire government. in ways that were completely unexpected in the campaign that resident bush ran. barbara: elaine. thoughts about president clinton and things like the waco a disaster -- disaster, for example. elaine: the waco disaster was -- clinton did not have anything nearly like president bush. there was no financial crisis, there was no major attack on the united states. he had a much more " normal" first year. there were -- everything from gays in the military to waco was evidence of my opening remarks. which was he was not familiar , with the government he was running. he was an outsider. he had been a governor.
but -- there were certain pieces of it he knew quite well. he could go -- god for bid you made a mistake briefing him about medicare, because he knew everything. right? no president comes in knowing the whole shebang. ok? clearly, there were mistakes he made in that first year. it really did hurt him and decrease his political popularity, etc.. a lot of it came from just him and his cabinet not being a tune -- attuned to what the federal government was doing. we came in in 1992-1993 after three republican terms. so what that means is, two reagan terms and one bush term. what that means is, the last time you had democrats in any major role in the federal government was really a long time ago with jimmy carter. and frankly, some of them were dead.
a lot of them were retired. its harder. the longer you have been out, the more difficult the transition is, because you can't just go to the last democratic secretary of defense, or secretary of something or other and say help us. , your bench is very thin. and i think that that showed in president clinton's first year. barbara: thoughts about how the crisis that was ongoing as you came in, as you are trying to move forward on health care reform, and other aspects of the policy agenda of president obama. chris: it is interesting between the three administrations. when president have government majority, they think it will last forever. as we quickly learned in 2009 with the recovery act we were able to get health care passed.
and we were ready to go and we lost the majority of house and senate. lost in house, certainly. and then really for the last six years, we have been relying on executive actions to get our policy agenda done. we used to always joke in white house legislative affairs, at least in the first term when staffers would leave, they would print out a piece of paper that showed all the bills we had gotten past during that period of time. i don't know what they do now, the list is much shorter. [laughter] it was not only the change in policy priorities it was a , change in tactics that came about because of the 2010 election. barbara: we have a few more minutes for one last question from me, and i want you all to think of questions you can ask in the last 10 minutes of our panel. but i thought we would go down the road and i wanted to present this question to all three of you. what did you learn in the transition and first year of your respective administrations, that you wished you had known? looking back, now you know it, you wish you had known going
into it? elaine: i don't know, there are a lot of things. i think that the thing we wished we had known, was exactly how complicated pieces of the government work. that, from the outside you thought you knew. and then once you got in, there were layers upon layers upon layers. you know, here you have -- bill clinton had been governor of arkansas for more than a decade. al gore has been member of congress and a member of the senate for a long time. these were two guys with real experience. and yet, there was so much learning that went on in that first year. and i think, probably making more time to do that would have put them in better stead later on. more time to learn.
more time to learn. chris: i was surprised how fast this goes. you have that wonderful window of opportunity in the first year and that disappear so quickly. the other thing is, the political pendulum always swings back in the other direction. and i think about the policy initiatives we tried to push in the second term, we had a super majority. we could have gotten it done in the first two years, but we decided to do other things. we never got the chance to do them again. barbara: prioritization is key at that point. josh? josh: chris said exactly what i is, tong to say, which keener sense of a clock. we came in with the conventional wisdom to understand that the most productive period is early on. what i do not understand well enough going in was how small the windows of opportunity for productive action are. therefore, the crucial questions to be concerned about, if you
know what your priorities are, if you know where your policies are, is one, to be aware that you will be knocked off balance by some sort of intervening crisis. and number two is, it get the -- get the sequencing right and take the stuff you think is really important and run with it as fast as you can as soon as that window opens. the windows are not only in the first year, but they are widest in the first year. and then watch for those windows, pick the right issue, which we did not consistently do later in the administration, and run as fast as you can with them. because the windows don't stay open long. say words tould live by for the administration to come. let's turn to those of you in the audience.
if you will wait for a mic to come to you. >> high my name is richard , -- hi, my name is richard skinner. we have heard a lot of talk about the importance of the white house staff. everybody pays a lot of attention to the cabinet. often times, new administration runs into a particular challenge filling although sub this and's, -- sub-cabinet positions. many of which are extremely