tv Campaign 2020 Discussion on Presidential Transitions CSPAN October 4, 2020 3:05am-6:01am EDT
the world, specifically the united states. the outpouring of love has been incredible. i will never forget. thank you very much. >> later saturday night, president trump's white house physician released another update on his health. it reads in part, while not yet out of the woods, the team remains cautiously optimistic. the plan for tomorrow is to continue observation in between doses of remdesivir, closely monitoring his clinical status, while fully supporting his conduct of presidential duties. former senior officials from presidents george h.w. bush to barack obama's administration joined a forum on presidential transitions. they talked about how they had reacted to news of president trump testing positive for coronavirus and issues
transferring from one administration to an other. >> good morning, and welcome to talking transitions. we all woke up to shocking news this morning so before we get started, let me give our best wishes for a speedy recovery for president trump, the first lady, and all the officials who work closely with the president. 3, month out from november americans have started voting in the most presidential election in a generation. president-elect joe biden or reelect president donald trump will face a double digit unemployment situation, growing pandemic, a reckoning on racial
inequality. these problems is the federal government and the federal government needs to be effective. why it is critical for effectiveness on effectiveness. a smooth transition this year is not enough. bestyear will be the transition ever in american history. should president biden win, the challenges are daunting. in normal times, a new president a 78 day. bank to form a government, select more than pout -- 4000 political employed teeth -- appointees, managed a $5 and lay out an ambitious policy agenda.
that's normal times. but today is not normal. in addition to the normal challenges i just mentioned, the to get 13will have million people back to work, vaccines, 330 million and bring our country back together again. win, theesident trump transition will also be incredibly challenging. our data from the last two-term presidencie-term showed halfs of officials leave within the first six months of inauguration. it comes on top of more than 133 senior positions that are currently vacant without an incumbent or without a nominee, so a huge challenge for a
reelected president trump will be attracting competent and qualified people to serve. preparation, as we have learned on our podcast, is essential in year four and your five. inthere is a change administration, the outgoing presidency will have a solemn responsibility under law to facilitate a smooth transition much as president bush did for incoming president barack obama. transitions are always hard. they are chaotic. this cycle and if the election is not decided november 3, there will be even less time. getting ready for day one will become more difficult, because every day will matter. that's why this event, talking transitions, comes at such an important time. we are pleased to be hosting non-partisanent, a
event in association with the presidential libraries for the past four presidents. the george and barbara bush foundation, the george w. bush presidential center, the obama foundation, and also the uva's center, the leading research center in the country on the american presidency. thank you all for your incredible support and collaboration. our work at the partnership for public service has never been more important. have workedles, we to make transitions better, smoother, and faster because the success of a presidency is directly correlated with the success of their transition, and throughout this cycle, we work with three important actors, the trump white house, career officials throughout the government preparing for either eventuality as well as the biden team.
we have thousands of people watching this event. must prepare for either eventuality. a reelected president trump or a new president biden. we realize how delicate your work is every day and we support you and salute you. i want to thank a few people before handing it over. steyer has been an advocate for transition planning before anyone focused on it. a world-class advisory board, one i've benefited from sage advice, counsel, and support. my longtime friend, president clinton's first chief of staff, josh bolten, president bush's
chief of staff, who i call the godfather of smooth transitions, governor mike leavitt who led the romney transition effort. mikeee did not win, but created a new gold standard and one of the few people i know who has been equally successful in business, government, and with philanthropy. let me also think the amazing teams at the partnership, at the libraries, and at the miller center who pulled this event together. click that, let me turn it over to penny crisler. penny: thank you very much for that gracious welcome. let me begin by wishing the president and first lady a speedy recovery. been ayou have tremendous leader of this vital project and we are so grateful you have dedicated your time and your energy to this important effort for the benefit of our nation.
we are also so very grateful to your dedicated team at the center for their long hours. the timing of today's conversation could not come at a more critical point for our nation. given the diverse audience we have today reflects the interests people have in a presidential transition, even if the process is not well understood. we have people from capitol hill, private industry, good government organizations, transition subject matter experts, political appointees, those who served on campaigns and transition teams, and the media. we also welcome the many federal career professional staff joining us this morning. institutional, knowledge, and willingness to support administrations from both parties during a presidential transition and over
the life of each administration is to be commended and we are sincerely very grateful for your public service. as a person who came from business into government service and who was given the honor of a lifetime serving in president obama's cabinet, i was blown away by the incredible talent, expertise, and innovative spirit of the career professionals not only in the department of congress, but across the entire government. honestly, some of the most capable people i have ever worked with were the career professionals in the national institute of standards and technology, the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, the bureau of industry and , theity, the census bureau national weather service, and so many more important offices within our government.
day out, they do this significantly important work on behalf of all of us, and frankly, they get too little credit or respect for it, so i want to thank them all. in terms of our event today, the caliber of our speakers is a testament to the nonpartisan convening power of the partnership for public service and their vital work to make our federal government work better and it demonstrates the impact of the centers ability to provide support, expertise, and resources to a wide variety of groups that are transition stakeholders, including federal agencies, political appointees, and presidential changes in teams -- transition teams.
brings unparalleled capacity to support presidential transition planning and execution. their work is deeper and broader than any other, the three main stakeholders. the administration, federal officials responsible for planning, and the biden transmission team -- transition team. i am proud to serve as cochair of this effort along with matt, josh, and mike love it. leavitt. as david said, today's program is a one-of-a-kind event that draws together a highly respected group of senior officials from every administration, from bush 41 to scholars,sidential and respected journalists.
it demonstrates one of the most important parts of our democracy, our commitment to the peaceful transition of power. purpose of this event is to inform the public about how presidential candidates transition teams and the federal government are critical to the success. by design, we do not have representatives from the current administration given our desire for each discussion to remain bepartisan and to the practical and nonpolitical. in our first panel, market brennan, face the nation moderator and senior foreign affairs correspondent at cbs news will moderate a conversation with josh bolten, andy card, denis mcdonough and matt mccarty. four art standing former white
house -- for outstanding former white house chief of staff. they will talk about their experiences preparing to take office, leave office, and what to expect in 2020-2021. melody barnes, former director of the domestic policy council, will then lead a disc ussion about transitions and crises, and why this transition period could be the most important and consequential since 1932. let me say one thing about john. he has more senior transition experience than probably any other living person and it could have been on the first panel -- in fact, we asked him to be on the panel with chiefs of staff but on reflection, me and john thought given his experience in
the 2008 transition, for he led the obama transition during a financial crisis and two wars, he would be hugely value added on the second panel entitled "transitions in crisis." and that may be, perhaps, the most relevant topic for today. panel, amy walter, national editor of the cook political report, will talk with valerielic servants, jarrett, karen hughes, and margaret spellings, about the complexities involved in the shift from campaigning for the presidency to governing when elected in either a first or second term. thank you soce, much for joining us today and for your many excellent questions. we hope to get them as best we can through the mornings program.
you could also be part of today's conversation on twitter ask public service #talking the hashtag ngtransitions. >> thank you very much. for all of the nonpartisan work publicto explain to the how the institutions that support our democracy function or are supposed to function. this is an extra ordinary morning. a lot of us have woken up to a the one certainty of 2020 that nothing is certain and to expect the unexpected. us is a big conversation today to have this powerhouse set of been inside the west wing at the highest level to talk us through what planning
needs to look like, what it should look like, and what it is like in a moment of crisis. crisesbattling multiple as a country right now, economic, health, racial strife, election uncertainty, and now this news this morning. i want to start by digging in right away to the conversation with chief, and it is going to be a question for all of you, which is, we are four years into the company. -- in the trump administration. are they ready? is mike pence ready for what is happening right now? michael carty, if you were chief of staff, what would you be doing on a morning like this? mike: i'm glad to be with you. thank you for your engagement in a bipartisan basis. i would like to thank my fellow chiefs, you set the table
perfectly as you always do. margaret, i think all of us as chiefs of staff would agree the vice presidential pick decision is important during the campaign the criteria for a vice president is he or she needs to be ready to step in if there is a moment that requires that, and able to discharge the responsibilities as commander in chief, president of the united that is, fromarly day one, an absolute essential element of any effective administration, so this morning, you would be focusing on that. be fullycertainly engaged with the president and his family at this time, and you would, as dennis and andy and josh will comment on, have a multiple number of other issues that will be inevitably confronting you, even in times
that are not quite as unprecedented and unsettling as these. margaret: let's go to andy card. you know what it is like. what do you do on mornings like this? our prayers are with the president and first lady. politicalre what your stripes or philosophy or bias, we all pray the president and first lady will recover quickly and be able to meet the responsibilities. i would also point out the white house has to keep everything working no matter what is going the first responsibility for chief of staff is to make sure people in the white house have the confidence to be able to do their jobs and give them permission to do their job and distracted by events
or the president's inability to attend meetings. just having discipline and confidence and a steady hand makes a big difference. it is also important for the chief of staff to maintain the momentum that every cabinet member has been asked to maintain with regard to the policies and objectives. i would leave the pang -- campaign work to the campaign workers. i would say my job would be to help the government meet its responsibilities and let the campaign worry about campaign responsibilities. whenruth is, it is a time we have to be prepared for more unexpected things to happen and these unexpected challenges are likely to show up, and we want people to have confidence in our government, confidence in our
it is the white house's responsibility to set the expectation up so people will have confidence their government can function during these times of trouble. publict: we are seeing a that is riddled with anxiety right now and questioning so many of our institutions. now this. what would you be doing if you were chief? do we need to see the president come out today? what do you need to signal to the public today? signal to the public the government is operational, normally, naturally, and as the president is available, sure. put him on camera, as well. it is something -- my own best shes go to the colleagues and families, thanks to the
presidential foundations and you, margaret, for bringing us together on this important topic. i think the topic just gets more we face awhen disruption, a potential crisis like we are having right now. in a sense, it is kind of a dry facing inat we may be other elections. intoret: i want to get some specifics about election day, but i want to give dennis mcdonough a chance to give his take on what we need to hear from the president today, from joe biden, perhaps even. if you were chief, what would you be doing? dennis: again, want to thank my fellow chiefs for the chance to be with them. i always enjoy that. i want to thank david and penny for all the work, their
partnership. the first and most important thing is what vice president biden has said today and each of the three chiefs have said, and you started with, which is our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery for the first obviously, and express our ongoing appreciation for the medical staff inside the white house which has obviously been working overtime since last january when this news first broke. look, i think demonstrating the government is at work is really important. hopefully reassuring the american people. that is really what was behind the written communication from the white house chief position overnight. obviously, it does sound to me the white house is talking about very clearet
evidence of the president at work today and it would make sense to me. pointd add one thing to out that colleagues have already troops all have around the world right now. we have allies all around the world and i would expect to see communication not only with the cabinet, but communication from the white house to our allies, that obviously work continues, official business continues here andi would be prudent careful about the development of the first family, but continue has been said as on the official business of government. that includes staying vigilant with our allies. margaret: we know this morning the president is symptomatic, so from our reporting, he is mildly
symptomatic at this point. the question of how ill he becomes, something we hope to learn more about and as you point out, is potentially a national security crisis because of the question of competence. josh bolten, i want to go back to a comment you made in your first answer. you know, we as a country, because of our high anxiety, are asking so many questions about basic civics of how transitions work, how the election will work. the details are so important because of this unprecedented circumstance in which the next election will be happening with this global pandemic. given your observations of the campaign and the transition planning that is happening behind the scenes, how confident are you? what concerns do you have about a transition, either to a second trump term or into potentially a biden administration?
josh: well, margaret, the good news is that i think everybody should be comforted at the kind of work that is going on in both places to prepare for a transition. obviously, that work is much more substantial and intense with respect to a potential biden presidency. but they, like, like other campaigns before them, not all, but most campaigns in recent times, have taken the transition very seriously. they have an excellent team in place. and i think they are likely to be well positioned to take over, despite the difficulty with the potentially multiple crises that they will be inheriting.
i saw that firsthand in 2008 and 2009 with the obama transition, which was run by one of your next guests, john podesta. very professional, very well organized, a good partner. and i think we're seeing the same thing from the biden team. so on that side, it's good. but we also know that the trump white house is taking their responsibilities seriously. they're, of course, hoping and planning to remain in power. but i hope they're also treating it as an opportunity to refresh and reset as needed. margaret: you're talking about the mechanics of the process behind the scenes, led by chris guaido and others on the team. we know that the president's remarks have brought this into the public space as a
conversation of what a transition might look like. and to that point, dennis, can you pick up on that? we're told to expect a litigated outcome to this election. we won't have clarity for potentially days, maybe weeks after november 3. we know that just based on the amount of time it will take to tally up the record number of mail-in votes that are expected. how concerned are you about these circumstances and what influence they could have on a transition? dennis: yeah, thanks for the question, margaret. obviously, prudence dictates that everybody take this period of transition very seriously. the fact is, as josh has just briefed through, the institutions, that is to say the transition team at the biden campaign, the transition team,
that there's been some reporting on inside the white house over the course of the last couple of weeks. but then, as importantly, david and penny teed up at the start, the senior seville and -- the senior civilian federal workforce, who have mobilized and organized and prepared for a transition in either case. that is to say, into a second president trump term or into a first president biden term. all those wheels are moving, and moving quite effectively as near we can tell. i think it's important to, in a context of your question, i think one thing president obama always thought that this period is important for two reasons. one, there is only one president at a time. when there's a change, it's important the current president run through the tape until january 20.
but it is also important, and this is the second point, that the current president recognize the transition and effective transition and a clean handoff to his successor is also part of the job description and the definition of an effective presidency, especially in the times of the kind of crisis that we're living in. and so, i hope that informs the ongoing work of the transition team inside the government, as i know it will among federal service, and i hope it informs the decisions that president i hope it informs the decisions that the president makes in the days leading up to voting and then coming out of voting. the institutions are strong. they work. that's how josh started this a minute ago. i have every confidence they'll work again. i hope the president and his team understand that. the definition of an effective president starts also with the job description that includes the transition, clean handoff,
especially in a time of crisis. margaret: andy carr, back in 2000, we saw a contested outcome, as you well know, and because of what happened in florida, that delayed the transition period, certainly delayed clarity for a long period of time. what was the net effect of that and how do you see that as a potential parallel to an outcome we may see come november? andy: margaret, thank you for that question and thank you for your leadership in this conversation. yes, that was a challenge. however, it was also a blessing. i got to spend time with the president elect that we didn't even know it was the president elect at his ranch, planning what kind of government he wanted while secretary james a. baker iii and joe albo were
managing the recount and the question of hanging chads and dealing with the lawyers and everything else. we were focused on building a white house staff first and a cabinet second. and the president elect and i had a wonderful time working under the radar screen because most people were focused on what was happening in florida. we could spend time getting to know each other very well, and having me understand what his priorities were, not just in policy, but also in his relationship to people in the white house staff and in the cabinet and going through names and kind of building a white house staff without the expectation every day of having to talk to the press. and so that was a blessing. but we did leave the question of who won up to jim baker and joe albo. josh bolton was focusing on the policies that we would want to have as our first priority when
we took the office on day one, and happened to be education reform. and we already had joe hagan, who was already working to help make sure we had the infrastructure of support to get things done. a lot of people don't recognize there were kind of two transitions. one transition is truly a white house transition, and that's where the president has immediate impact on putting somebody into a position. he can say in the morning, i want john smith to be on my staff, and in the afternoon, he shows up. with the cabinet, you have to make sure you go to the process of informing the senate and giving them a chance to ratify that decision. so, there are two transitions. one is the white house to get ready for the real transition into governing, and then the transition into governing. i was blessed to have the experience of an uncertain election result to spend more time organizing a white house
staff than you normally get to do, and some presidents have suffered because they didn't get their white house staff organized under the end of the process. and it's really better to have it done at the beginning of the process. the team the president elect to together, starting with jim baker and karl rove and josh hagan really helped make a big difference in having the white house ready and helped the rest of the government understand the priorities of the new president. margaret: and josh, can you pick up on that, josh bolton, a little bit. we heard some of the positives, but there were complications because of the delay as well. those were pointed to you in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the abbreviated transition and some of the negative impacts that may have contributed to problems within the administration. practically speaking, how complicated does it become in these circumstances?
josh: well, let me add one point to what andy just said, to which i completely agree with all of it, and there's one thing we took for granted that is very important in this circumstance, which is that we had two candidates who are prepared to live by the adjudicated results of the election. and this goes back to right at the outset, which is it's crucially important in what could have been a severe national crisis because of the ambiguity in election results out of florida in 2000, could have been a big crisis, we had two candidates who told their staffs, we will live by the legal outcome here. we will live by the results. and both candidates, before the supreme court ruled in mid
december, both candidates made it clear to their entire teams that we'll fight this as hard as we can through legal means, but once that string is out, it's out, and whoever is declared the winner is the winner. that's what's important. the mechanisms that we've been talking about are all extremely important, but the leadership comes from the top, and the two candidates need to go into this, what could be a delayed or ambiguous election results on election day, they need to go into it with an attitude of country first. margaret: well, some of the mechanics may be complicated by a delayed or abbreviated transition. can we pick up on that idea that josh bolton just raised here which is, yes, there are mechanics.
yes there are institutions here, yes, there is a plan for a transition but some of what underpins all of this is the assumption of comedy, the assumption that the rules will be played by and abided by. are you concerned that will not happen this year? >> this is a highly unusual election year, margaret, by any standard with the pandemic and the way this campaign is taking place. and there clearly are concerns with how the voting process is going to be conducted. the president has raised that. there have been countless news articles. margaret, the hallmark of any working democracy is a peaceful transition of power after a free and fair election has been conducted. i mean, that's at the very core of our democracy since our founding fathers gave us the
constitution, a republic if we could keep it. question -- the administration that had a handoff to the next administration did so, after the campaign, which is always famously contested, and that is putting it diplomatically. this year, perhaps this campaign, but had a real transition, a real spirit of cooperation. and the most sacred responsibility, margaret, as you so well know for any commander-in-chief is the safety and security of the american people. it is just essential in transition that you have a peaceful transition, a smooth transition from one administration, in cases from one party to another. we all benefited from that in our transitions as chiefs of staff. i hope and pray we see that this year as well. margaret: you all hope and you pray.
what do you think happens on that constitutionally laid out date of january 20? >> i hope first of all -- this is going to be a different election for sure. i don't think anyone has a perfect crystal ball. when you hear people that you really expect, the chairman of the federal reserve using the word unknowable, that gives you some indication of the uncertainty we're living and notedg in, as you already in your opening comments. what you hope is there is a clear understanding and acceptance of the election results. and then from that, you start to move forward with the transition. that's the real question. margaret: denis mcdonagh, you were supposed to be involved in then president-elect obama's first intelligence briefing, and
i am told by david mar check and his team of researchers that the cia was under instructions to only brief president-elect obama and no one else. do you know what happened during that meeting, that briefing? i mean, it occurs to me in a year when we have so many national security crises and issues confronting the next commander-in-chief that the sharing of intelligence and a conversation like this is going to be of extreme heightened importance. denis: yeah, thanks, margaret. that's not my recollection, so maybe i should talk to david. but i remember sitting with president obama on the morning he had his first briefing. in fact, i remember it because i had been in chicago for an extended stay and my wife and i had very young kids whom i hadn't seen in some time, and i came back home to see them at my
wife and had hoped to be able to stay there but that was directed to turn around and go back to chicago to join the president for the brief. but you're absolutely correct that the sharing of intelligence is maybe one of the most concrete examples of the kind of sharing that needs to happen across the board. and to josh bolton's good credit, in 2008 and 2009, that happened. and so my participation with the president on that pdb is an example of that, but it's only one of several examples, and many of those examples that josh set, i tried to emulate that eight years later in december, november and december 2015 and january 2017. and i want to go back to one second on your earlier question
, margaret, because i feel like we're not giving you the answer that you want, which is, are we worried about transition? the short answer to that is yes. each of us was in that job because we're worriers. if you're not a worrier, you will not qualify for this job. i guess what i also want to communicate as clearly as i can is that there are, as you noted in my answer, institutions at work right now to ensure we're ready for a variety of eventualities, and individuals will be making decisions in the context of the election results. nobody has suggested that the results will be inaccurate. people have suggested the results will be perhaps delayed because of numerous vote by mail opportunities. so, if there were an effort to curtail the counting of people's votes, yeah, i would be worried
about that. but i think the current team has to understand that the first judgment on a great presidency will be whether you run through the tape and fulfill the job responsibility of being president, and one of them is a clean, effective handoff, particularly in a time of crisis. and i believe because of that, individuals will make the right decision. let the votes be counted so that the american people have confidence that the way they vote is counted and gets counted accurately. and we will continue this 240 year tradition of peaceful transition. margaret: thank you for your clarity. that is a question the public is asking quite a lot these days, whether the date of the election, the date of the transition, whether some of what the president said publicly can, practically, actually, can be implemented. which is why i asked it. let me pick up on what you just mentioned, which is that you
were part of briefing the trump incoming team and the trump administration. they went through a few iterations, as we know. what did you do to help prepare them, and what effect did your attempts to do so have? where -- -- to do so have? were the attempts well received? denis: i did several things, but so did hundreds if not thousands of other people. so the wheels are turning right now, especially as they set at the start, with the federal service, are substantial. and they're preparing for either eventuality, and that's a big amount of work. so yeah, i did some things, but most importantly, the government did a lot of things. there were two big challenges in 2016. one was the wholesale change of the transition team after the election, which delayed the
trump team's start of the transition. which is, the transition itself is very short if you compare our transition period to other countries around the world. so anything to curtail it even more is unfortunate. the other thing is that, that own the building of their team, and not necessarily for my first-hand knowledge, although i have some of that, but from a lot of reporting, including by michael lewis and others, that a lot of the material prepared for the transition team just was not consumed. now, time will tell whether that is, you know, what the overall impact of that is. but the fact is that it was a delayed start. it does appear the prepared material was not consumed, even though it had been prepared.
and it looks to me like the biden team right now, as josh suggested a couple of minutes ago, is learning from that and is really digging in all these questions, and i think that gives me great hope in the context of a very tumultuous period. margaret: josh bolton, why was it so important to president bush and your team to create the model that both you and dennis have talked about? josh: well, the most important thing is we were in the midst of two wars in iraq and afghanistan, and particularly at the time when we began to start thinking about the transition, it was a lot easier to do if you are a second term president than if you were a first-term president. but there we were approaching the end of a second term in 2007.
the situation in iraq and afghanistan was not particularly good. the country remained under physical threat, and in early 2008, president bush called me into his office and he said this will be the first transition in modern history conducted when the nation is actually under threat, and i want it to be the best and most effective possible, regardless of who wins. it came from the top, and there were a lot of good people doing their jobs. it really came from the top with the president setting the tone and saying we're partisans. we want republicans to win, but the transition should come first. that's especially true in the midst of a crisis. margaret: andy carr, we're also looking at the possibility of the transition simply being from
term one to term two. what do presidents need to do in year four to be preparing for year five? andy: first of all, they have to acknowledge that there is a transition. you're not just taking yesterday and repeating it. people sometimes feel they shouldn't be replaced so they want to hold on to the desk. first of all, president bush was also ready to have a very good transition should he have lost reelection, so he had told us to be prepared to transition to another president. so, he was, as josh said, he was just as focused then on the responsibilities of being a leader of our great democracy as he was of being, yes, i'm the president, and he was prepared to pass the baton if he had to. i do remember meeting at camp david that thursday after the
election and he called me into his office and said i'm going to make a number of changes in the staff, the cabinet, and i will make some changes. agenciese the cabinet he wanted to change. and i said that was wonderful. you should probably start with your chief of staff because that will send a signal to everyone in government that there may be new people coming into your position. he said, no, i need you to help me make those changes. this is a side story, but i said, you've got to talk to my wife. i'm not sure that i can put up with it for that much longer. he said i'll go ask her right now. he jumped up and went out and saw my wife and said kathleen, and he said he can't do this if you don't agree. [laughter] but anyway, he wanted me to help make changes and one of the most challenging aspects of the chief
of staff was you do not get to hire people. you do good to tell people your services are no longer needed. and that's a tough thing to do, especially for cabinet members who feel the president won the reelection, therefore they should keep doing their job. of ahanging people is part transition, part of a friendly transition from team one to team one plus, and that's what you have to do. yes, there was a transition even though the government was the same. president bush was the same president on january 19 and january 21, but he did have a new government at the executive branch to make his new policies and momentum what he wanted. he had a lot of things he wanted to finish and get done, so we focused on that. we had an honest transition, and it made a big difference. i thought that the second term started off very well considering we were in a war and
we were dealing with unbelievable challenges. but he was able to get a lot done. margaret: what do you think needs to happen year four for a year five, and how do you continue to recruit good talent to come into an administration for a second term? >> building on what andy had said, i think he outlined some of the tenants of a change to a second administration. i think, so importantly, how a campaign has gone before, reelected -- president clinton was the first democrat to be reelected since president franklin roosevelt. i think it is critically important for the country to feel that the reelected president, leader, has a vision, a renewal moving forward and not just really resting on laurels or being stuck, so to speak, or
at least slow with that first-term. it's got to be a renewal, a new vision. i think as far as leadership people are concerned, i think there's a natural transition there. the chief of staff position -- .ohn podesta was i think each of president clinton's chief of staff served in times that they were well-suited for. i think the same goes for the cabinet. so, i think there's a natural renewal there of new people. it's got to be done however, in an orderly, smooth, thoughtful, purposeful manner. margaret: but how do you -- i guess josh and dennis can weigh in on this, too, the question of turnover, the question of being able to recruit good talent? david started us off with that statistic that almost half of senior leaders depart in the first six months of a second term.
what is the practical impact of that and how do you recruit good talent? josh? josh: it's hard. but andy did a good job. and it's a challenge throughout a second term, but it has to be done. and for the transitioning administration, i agree with andy. the risk is not so much that you won't be able to find good people to replace people you had. the much bigger risk for a second term administration is that you won't realize that this is a good time to replace people and reset, and everything about an administration makes people feel like they're in place and they deserve to be there, but they need to be reminded what andy carr reminded the bush white house staff of regularly,
that we are tenants, not owners, of this place. we need to keep it fresh. we need to keep energy, and we need to be prepared to leave when the time is up. and therefore, use every day you possibly can. by the way, margaret, it actually gets harder -- the recruitment side gets harder the later you go into a second term. i took over from andy in year six of the bush administration. and when it was time for a new treasury secretary it took me several months. [indiscernible] it turned out that may have been my biggest contribution to government. margaret: pretty key selection
at a pretty key moment. josh: yeah, because we ended up in an economic crisis at the end of the administration, which hank paulson had a lot to do with basically rescuing the world economy. and so i think of it less as a transition problem, but the ongoing problem of how do you keep the staff fresh, and how do you get the best people in government? by the way, no one ever assumed if you have only got a year or six months that nothing can be done. margaret, you started out exactly right by saying expect the unexpected, especially now. margaret: we've had already tremendous turnover in the four years of the trump administration. do you have concerns, and what is your advice for a second term in recruiting top talent? dennis: yeah, look, i think am i concerned? absolutely, and that is the
lifeblood of the administration is the people that you're able to bring in and that you're able then to work with federal service, which, as josh said, is talent is a principal challenge from a in that bridging first term into the new second term. underscore and a believe mostly because this is really good pieces of advice we got from former chiefs including is you from josh which have to be very intentional this and very focused on question of keeping talent, but also being clear eyed when you need to evolve existing talent into new talent.
you have to be looking for signs of fatigue, a consummate taking care of your team, but also constantly be looking for new talent because you will need it. here, just say one thing how the congress and isate handles confirmation an issue in this. both as it relates to how and the tom fuller that comes along. tomfoolery with it. you end up losing an opportunity to get really good talent on the field because they are dissuaded.
the last and most important point is there is massive strength in the procedure. mixing in team with the old team, part of the diversity is making sure the country -- it looks like america. you see this in the biden it in theyou see biden campaign promises, that he wants to build a team that reflects the full gender and racial diversity of the country and i think that will have -- each of the three chiefs that are out here similarly tried to build their team. virtue all its own. ,ow the team works properly that has a self reinforcing impact over time and so the fact they are starting with such a focus on this gives me great
appointed so we .ot all of our cabinet in place general andttorney we could not have asked for we gotcooperation until our own person and we got our attorney general request. that's how it was then, it's very different now. ever wanted people to work much better. hopefully that will prevail. recruitit's harder to people to serve in government now then it was years ago. >> is actually worked very hard of the confirmation.
i believe he is had an effort to try and reduce the number of people that need to be senate confirmed which would get rid of some of that that takes place on capitol hill. one of the many complications out there is the fact having in-person conversation is complicated these days. not even talking about of the congressional hearings in person , what about on the practical fact -- this is a question from our audience member, this is likely to continue through 2021, what hurdle will this present when it comes to recruiting talent? anyone want to take that? >> i'm happy to jump in. this is going to be a new challenge across the board.
think intentional about finding the talent clear and candid about the team you're going to run and the team you are going to run with that talent, not many people stand up and come in. the senate business notwithstanding. this new remote work is kind of the -- i think that will be what we will be dealing with across-the-board not just in the transition of federal government, but all the other >> >> the american people are in. of thethe challenges process is it's hard to build a culture of support from workers. when you are working
in the white house, the offices are really quite small and it is an intimate place to work. it is very easy to have an impact on the way people work. it's going to be difficult to do that if we have to do everything remotely. motivating people to feel as if they are a team established because of the distance relationship we have to have in so many different aspects and it's not just the government, it's across america as well. thatwill add quickly to with the white house, you have new people coming in, it's not like an existing organization where you know people, you work with them. whether the you have promote ,ork, you still have that bond
certainly in the trump administration and the biden administration, people of worked together in the past. point, picking up on the it is such a challenging time, hopefully it will call people to surface in terms of talent. a question on the national security front, the united states has demonstrated to the -- oure may have commander-in-chief is the most protected men in the world with access to tremendous medical care yet he is vulnerable to the virus. we have it -- we as a country have demonstrated we are vulnerable to a public health crisis. are you concerned on day one in a transition what that will mean in terms of the national security threat for a currently incoming president? >> i am. it is not something to be panicked about but it is
something to be worried about. it took president bush in 2008 you tell me we have to do the best transition in history because the country is under threat into your point, there is no greater moment of that day ofy than the transfer of power as the new team is coming in. let me underscore something mac eluded to -- alluded to. on january 17, 18th is packed with the and on the staff night of january 19, everybody is out. 20,he afternoon of january a totally new team walks in. they are not going to be able to necessarily walk in to their
office. but even if they could be there in person, pretty much every single person is leaving their job. that's why the transition efforts it -- are so important as a moment of real national security vulnerability because what they tried to do in a primitive way in 2008 and extremely well in 2016 is bring in the new folks, a pair them up with their counterparts, especially our national security, so people would know how to react if one of our adversaries feasted on this moment of vulnerability and decided to mount some kind of attack on january 20 or 21st. >> didn't the obama
administration do that with pandemic preparedness? >> a great good credit to lisa and susan, the presidents homeland security and national security advisers. we went the exercise through with the incoming team and the outgoing team was precisely that. we learned that from josh. there is so much that all of you have just institutional knowledge, such a great opportunity to ask you these questions. i have plenty more questions, but our time is up here and i wanted to hand it back to the partnership. melody i believe is standing by. >> thank you so much for that
wonderful panel and hearing that has led people to raise additional questions that we can continue that conversation. to those in charlottesville, we hope you can get you back to your alma mater soon. i am thrilled to be here this morning, we have a wonderful panel to talk about really important issues. i want to thank the center for residential transitions and the miller center for putting this together. me like january 20, 2009 was just yesterday. i remember after taking what was probably one of the worst white house id photos possible, making my way to my printer office in the west wing, the parade was just getting started outside. when i walked in that office,
the phone was bringing. the further -- the person at the other end had questions. i raise this example because government never sleeps. in these unprecedented times, in times of economic and political crisis, when the stakes are high , the 75 plus days between an election and an inauguration are important to prepare the new administration to begin its work. barely sufficient , they are absolutely necessary and absolutely critical. so this morning, we have with us a panel of experts who can help us understand the importance of a transition in highly unprecedented times and a panel that brings a great deal of expertise to the table because of their previous work. i want everyone as we have this conversation to remember that in
the day of transition, in the early days of a new administration, unexpected things happen that lay her on that a newcrises administration are facing. rescue, waco, the inauguration day promulgate her. attacks on the arabi and peninsula. all of these things happen during the transition or the first days of administration and we want this panel to help us understand how you prepare to deal with those kinds of challenges. so with us this morning, we have barbara parry, a professor and director of pandemic studies at the university of virginia possum miller center. steve with george -- who is george w. bush's national security advisor. president obama's
counterterrorism advisor and john podesta, who was counselor to president obama and chief of staff to president bill clinton. i want to thank you all for being with us this morning and looking forward to diving into the conversation. with that, i would like to start with you. as a historian and someone who can put this in a little bit of context. >> unfortunately i've lost sound, but i think i know the first question was, we had talked about this before, so thank you to everyone for putting together this wonderful panel into all of our partners. i wanted to leave plenty of time for the true experts on this panel. participated in transitions
and administrations, my role was to talk about transitions historically and one caveat is i've not studied all 44 presidential transitions in depth, but it did occur to me there may be two ways in which we are using transition, one is the handing over of the rains and the development of a new administration. particularly in the modern era post fdr where we have a hasation the bureaucracy moved on words. even more important to populating a vast federal bureaucracy. but also it occurred to me we think about transitions not only internally about how the rains are being handed over and how the new administration is being populated or the turnover that the first panel talked about that is quite necessary to
repopulate. also, i think of it in terms of transition, in particular there is a crisis underway. put together essay where they have looked at five crises situations, five political crises and five economic crises in history where transitions have happened are very helpful. what would -- what was the best transition and what was the worst. these are easy when you're talking about anything related to the presidency and a president coming into office in terms of the worst is the civil war and obviously that transition from buchanan to lincoln all the countries breaking apart and fighting the civil war has to be the worst. we hear about lincoln setting up that lincolnivals was trying as hard as he could
to put together a team that proved his rivals among various factions and we give him more credit for that. yet the country split into civil war. would take is a good transition and a historical pattern if there can be a pattern established would be the 41, that the reagan to bush there've not been many sitting vice president two of succeeded in being elected president, i think it was martin van buren who was the most recent until bush 41. i think it is helpful if there has been a vice president under a president and we go from the same party to the same party and the vice president can carry forward. there were differences in the party, bush 41 was seen as more of a moderate and there were some skepticism about bush 41.
had issue steve hadley participated in this wonderful documentary in the miller center put together called statecraft about the bush 41 policy team. i highly recommend that documentary. i would also say a point made by the last panel and by the way, the vice president dick cheney has said this on a number of byasions, he said we did terms of the president both with resume, but they hadn't really worked together as a team. so when the panama crisis hit, he said they had worked together the team and by the time gulf war came around, they were up and running, but it does raise that question of trying to
tabletop exercises that happened at the end of the bush 43 era into the obama era. i will lay the groundwork historically and send it back to you. >> thank you. forwardlso moved us historically. johnt to turn to you next, , take us to 2008, 2009. the financial system is collapsing, we were involved in two wars and simultaneously, president-elect obama knew that he wanted to move several big pieces of legislation including health care. , andg the transition thinking about the policy process, you arranged for general jones and larry summers, the national security council security council the nec respectively to coordinate as though they were in the white house. thaturious why you decided
that was important and if in act it turned out to be better strategy? >> thanks to the miller center and to the partnership for putting this program on, it has been terrific. i think this is a good transition from the last panel. theously i had had experience of coming in to the clinton administration in its early days and then handed off to andy and josh at the end. i had reflected a lot on that. when i first was asked to cochair the transition and help run the transition, that was in the summer before the financial crisis had really developed. i went out and saw then senator obama in his home in chicago and we talked it through.
i told him i thought one of the big mistakes that president clinton had made was that he waited until the very end to pick his white house staff. he concentrated on picking his cabinet and that i thought was understandable where his cabinet was his staff. suggested we reverse the process. transitionabout the to bush 43 made the same point. we picked the white house staff very early so that they could begin in the transition to for the prospect of governing. when lehman out, brothers did collapse in the financial crisis hit, i think that was reinforced -- that reinforce the need to get people who were being selected, the economic team, the national security team were selected
relatively early postelection to begin to work on what their plans and strategies were in both a national security space with respect to afghanistan and iraq and certainly in the economic space. i don't think during that summer to the whitewent house, we were anticipating the kind of economic crisis that unfolded in the fall and we went to work immediately. i will say just one last word, which is we've talked about the transition as if it's from the beginning to end, but there were two big phases. one before the election and one after. , there waselection enough -- the first rule of transitions is don't make any trouble with the campaign.
completely to plan in a secure environment in silence, do not let anything trickle out that might be a crisis for the campaign or force the campaign off its message and so we had to develop that economic program almost divorce of the campaign, but once the president was elected and came into office, it was critical that the people willing to serve him in those key white house roles in key cabinet roles got together, work together, practice together as barbara said and in fact, the recovery act was developed during the course of that transition. >> to your point, people often talk about not looking like you're measuring the drapery in the transition or the pre-transition process while the
campaign is underway. one more question before i turned to steve, in that moment when we knew about the state of address,my and had to you talked about the recovery act, simultaneously you have a candidate who has been campaigning on a number of things he wants to accomplish for the country. in that moment in its transition, how can a transition team think about its long-term priorities and also managing an immediate and near-term crisis? clearly then president-elect obama had a lot on his plate. he had big promises to the american people. the first thing we ended up doing was trying to make a down payment on those promises through the recovery act itself. major investments in education,
clean energy, putting people back to work that needed to get done for the country. you also had to be thinking about what were the big promises made in the course of the campaign. number one was the commitment to try and create health care for all. the beginnings of the affordable care act were really sketched how the structures of white house and hhs which yield responsibility for developing that program began and that i think occupied a tremendous amount of the president upon time thinking about how he was going to get that in front of the congress and of course he was successful in passing that, but he also had because of the economic crisis, he had the challenge of passing dodd-frank
and, the one, i'm a big climate activist. ,he one thing i felt ended up because of so much on the table, the climate change got sort of delayed at least in the senate until the second year of the first term and we were unable to pass the bill which passed in the house. but because of the sequencing, would you have to make decisions of and decide what your priorities are, that got pushed off a little bit. the president came back to it in the second term. we got a lot done, but that was one in the early days. turn to you, steve and bring lisa into the conversation, because there you are, there's the national
security advisor, you know everything that we've seen in the paper and everything we are not reading in the paper. so you have a strong sense or a very clear sense of all the national security challenges facing the nation. you are also preparing to hand off those issues to a new administration. how that affected the way you daysdecisions in the final of the bush administration? privilegeand it's a to be part of this panel and program today. just a little perspective, i was on a transition from president ford to president carter. to show you how different it was in the day. then, all of the staff or president ford were let go. i was one of three or four people who were asked to stay on. so when the new team came in there was basically no staff in the national security council.
the second thing is when i came into the office on the 21st of january, i turned to the safe in my office were all the documents were capped and all of the documents were gone. they left with the new administration. so in the new team started to fill in, there was no paper record in the white house. i would call it a non-transition in terms of national security. was for the then bush team to try and help the obama team, to be able to hit the ground running. we did that in a variety of ways and didn't -- and of course the process was run by the chief of staff, but on the national security side, since it was a presidential transition, advisors had been the coordinator of the team. we encourage the cabinet secretaries to meet with successors individually, talk
about the departments, talk about the issues that were at stake. we also had a series of briefings -- outgoing bush administration and incoming obama administration met together and we would talk through where we were on various issues. one of them was a saturday morning session right before inauguration, where we were supposed to talk about iran and that weekend we had gotten intelligence there was a potential threat to the inauguration itself. that saturday morning, we had the fbi director come in and briefed the existing and incoming national security teams about that threat, what we knew about it, what we were doing about it, and had a roundtable discussion. we thought we were the veterans helping the new team learn the
ropes and then secretary clinton asked the most obvious question -- what do we tell president obama if he is in the middle of his inauguration bangh and here's a loud bombotential mom attack -- attack? how does he want to handle that moment? that was a very productive discussion brought to the attention of the group was someone with great experience, secretary clinton. that was the kind of coordination you want to have. there was a reference to the fact that we thought we would do an exercise with the new team about how to respond to a terrorist incident. we thought we would let them role-play the roles but we decided they would probably not want to do that, being new to
the positions and working with each other. we stepped through a scenario and try to explain to them what resources were available, institutions were available, processes were in place, so in the event of a terrorist attack, they would've in some sense has some familiarity. that is one thing you can try to do in a transition, put the new team in a position or as soon as they come in the door handle the responsibilities. the phone rings as soon as you walk in the office on the 21st of january. >> thank you. building on that, you have the counterterrorism responsibilities, and also the homeland security coordination responsibility. in a second, i want to ask you about the tabletop exercise you
ran, it came up in the last panel and in this panel. you might want to add to what steve was talking about, and the question a lot of people are curious about, what is it that you are saying in a transition period to a campaign, and what is it you are saying to a president elect? what kind of national security and homeland security information are you providing and who makes that decision? >> i will round out the thank yous of my fellow panelists for holding this discussion. it is nice to be on the screen with some friends and former colleagues. i have been part of three different transitions in some way, shape or form, from president clinton, to president george w. bush, from president inh to president obama, and
2016, the obama to trump transition. it is the importance of this safe, effective, comprehensive handoff that has been talked aout, it is so critical from national security and homeland security perspective. i would suspect steve would agree, it is a signal to our allies about consistency and a signal to our adversaries that this is not a time in which to test us. that is the first point i would make. in terms of the information flow and who is making those decisions, one thing i think to note is, there is a lot this government that is governed by norms and convention. periodtance, in the john talked about the two big phases of a transition, before
the election and after the election, and that is relevant when we talk about what information is shared. before the election, the notion of information sharing and sharing intelligence, it is a product of convention. there is no requirement to have these types of intelligence briefings and information sharing or national security information sharing. the campaign and the candidate gets information and a briefing about national security issues, including threats to the election itself entirely from the current administration's willingness to share that information. i think it is an incredibly important point for people to be mindful of. it is the president and the director of national intelligence setting up a process to brief the candidate prior to election day.
after election day, there is a provision that requires the president elect, although i would note i don't think there are any provisions for the vice president elect to get this information, there is a requirement the president elect get some form of the president's daily brief. decisionerience, that is made by the intelligence professionals, the director of intelligence, to find a briefer to the president-elect and give the president elect a steady set of briefings in the transition period similar to what the president and his team is getting in that period. in my view, that should be made by the intelligence professionals so there is that steady buildup of understanding, what the threats are, what the
state of big strategic issues is so there can be that handoff. the last point i would make was i was in a transition from o presidentush t obama, i was then that chief of staff to a formerly little-known washington lawyer named bob miller, when he was chief of staff with the fbi, and i remember going out to chicago to be with the then fbi director bob muelller to provide the first briefing president obama got on the homeland threats, the state of terrorist threats days after the election. it was incredibly productive, it we very, very important that brought the president elect up-to-date on those threats. i think it is something very
clear from then president bush that you to happen and there need to be that full information sharing and flow so there was an understanding of what the threats actually were. you tont to stay with talk a little bit more about the tabletop exercise. it came up in the last panel, it has come up, it has been written about in the press. au and susan rice organized tabletop exercise on ebola. i was wondering if you can describe it a bit more detail what that tabletop exercise look like? steve was talking about the challenge for people who had not necessarily work together in the beginning to go through a role-play exercise, so what does it look like? when i want you to give us a sense of how this might work in
an environment like the one we are in today, when so much is happening remotely. this is a larger question for our panel once you finish about how we can go through the transition period when many people are not physically in their offices. what are the constraints? what things should slope normally? -- what thing should flow normally? what does that tabletop exercise look like? >> credit should go to president george w. bush and his team. dayswe did in 2017 a few before the inauguration was a lesson learned from what the incoming obama team got from president bush. it has been talked about that president bush laid a clear direction for his team that there will be a professional and
comprehensive handoff and part of that was not tabletop exercise. i was at that tabletop exercise with then fbi director bob mueller and i remember being in their with the outgoing national security team from the bush administration sat shoulder to shoulder with their incoming counterparts or designees from the incoming obama administration and walked through a set of scenarios and talk through the issues that steve laid out. to a person, people felt like that was incredibly useful. incredibly useful, productive and well-run session. fast-forward eight years. i am now the homeland security advisor to president obama and we are discussing the transition and president obama was very clear in his direction that one of the best things he
experienced at he was very thankful to president bush and his team for having that comprehensive and professional transition. that was a really high bar, but let's exceed it. my job and that transition was to build out exactly what that tabletop would be. i knew even if we had not gotten the direction from president obama, that we would apply that same tabletop exercise. what we did is, we said, what should be the set of issues we think we really want to relate to the incoming team so they can be thinking about it? i sat down with my team of mostly career national security and homeland security professionals drawn from across several governments. what are the scenarios we want to discuss with the incoming team? we chose a syverson area, a
a cyberne -- eight scenario, a hurricane, and a pandemic scenario. we knew the incoming team would face some sort of emerging infectious disease as a crisis because we had experienced h1n1, ebola. it was good to reason this would happen. the intelligence community had been saying for several years that emerging infectious disease and the danger of a pandemic was something very, very high on the worldwide threat assessment we included a pandemic scenario, a novel strain of flu. we put that in the scenario planning and we had -- just like the bush administration did for the obama team -- we had the incoming designees sitting literally next to their counterparts walking through
these sets of scenarios and i asked my then and coming successor, who president trump had asked to succeed me as security advisor, i asked him to cochair it with me, to walk through the scenarios with the incoming team. it was something we knew we were going to do and we knew we had to do because it was a virtual certainty that this set of issues would turn up in some form for the new team. that and using that as an example, but there are so many other ways that the incumbent administration and a new incoming administration have to work together. i am curious, and this is a question from an audience member about the impact of teleworking,
taking precautions because of covid-19, what impacts might that have on a transition? i will talk to the panel for anyone who wants to jump in first. >> go ahead, steve. >> i was just going to say a couple things. one of the things you need to do, and again, you are going to have to -- initially the new team will have to rely on the existing staff. in the transition to the obama administration, they wanted the senior people on the team, the senior directors to leave. we ensure there was an existing director who was going to be running each of the respective offices. that you can do now, and that gives the new team someone to deal with and turn to from the
get-go as soon as they come in. one of the problems will be access to documents. the other thing we said was, these are presidential records, they will disappear, but we asked the directors running the offices in the transition period, make copies of the documents you will need to do your job. that might be harder to do in terms of a virtual environment. the third thing we did was, we -- in the months running up to the election and after, i was accumulating a list of initiatives that were underway that were decisions the bush administration could take but also additions we could hold over to the obama administration. one of the things i did was i to these stacks of issues and questions and sat down with tom donlon and jim jones and went through one by one and said, do
you want us to take this action? is this something you want us to hold on for the new administration? we took the results to our respective presidents and got the sign offs. you can do that even in a virtual environment. the trick will be access to files and records, that will be more difficult in a covid-19 environment. the people to people part of it is manageable through that zoom tools that are available. >> john, do you want to? youteve alluded to this, are not doing classified briefings on zoom. that gives another layer and difficulty to operate in a classified environment when homes have not , i think ther that
last panel hit on the biggest issue, which is building the teamwork necessary to be able to create a culture that is going to work together and work together effectively from the get-go. we have all gotten used to working remotely over the last several months, and i think that there will have to be a lot of attention given by the leaders who are either there now and -- if president trump is reelected, and we wish him well -- but also if there is a new incoming team creating that culture inside the white house and the administration, it will be more challenging operating remotely. eventually, i think they will be physically in the office, as we
see most of the people in the current administration, that has its own challenges. i think it is going to be hardest on the national security team, quite frankly. issues, i amther watching our clock and there is so much to talk about. i want to ask a question about the legislative branch. we have been focusing on the executive branch, incoming administrations, transitions for an existing administration, but one of the audience members is thinking about this, as well, what role for the legislative branch in all of this? how can the legislative branch facilitate the transfer of power to ease and improve a transition? i am curious about that. there is an historical context
for this, where congress has been better or worse, more helpful than not, that you also but what do add to this. stab at that. a one way to look at that is through the lens of 2000. first of all, i think our nonpartisan conversation today through these panels, people who have participated in these presidencies, bipartisanship and inter-partisanship can happen and make our country better. 43 to obama, we have talked about that, and from obama to trump, the best transitions are best for our country. it is best -- i should say they
are best if they are bipartisan and inter-partisan and people are working as teams across party lines. i want to mention something she will know about because she came through the staff process of edward kennedy on the hill, and he was noted not only for having the best staff but sending them on to other positions, so she went onto the white house for president obama and was involved in the transition. i bring up senator kennedy because he reached out to bush 43 and bush 43 reached out to him because president george w. bush, coming from the governorship of texas, had worked in a bipartisan way in texas with members of the legislature. he had a practice of doing that, as did edward kennedy. he was noted by those who opposed him as having been partisan, but he could be
bipartisan and maybe even nonpartisan when it was toward a common legislative goal. was no and bush 43, it child left behind, education reform. houseere in the white within a few days of the inauguration in 2001, and you need to think back at how divided our country was. v. gorehe bush uncertainty. to senatorched out kennedy, invite him and his family down for a nice supper at the white house and talk about the cuban missile crisis and senator kennedy's brother. , the georgeat smu w. bush library, you will see a handwritten thank you note for which senator kennedy was
famous, he wrote a lovely handwritten thank you note to the president, george w. bush, thanking him for inviting him to the white house to see that movie. he said, i know you will have differences, but i hope on education and health care who will find common ground and i will be at the white house. if that is not a pattern that we need to follow now, i don't know what is. thing ank another legislature can do is, following the pattern of what they have already done, memorialize a statute, best practices. we have the transition act that was passed after 9/11 for some of the best practices that the bush administration did do. this requirement for tabletop
exercises at the sharing of the type of information is now in that statute. building on lessons learned and memorializing them and putting them into statute can be a very, very helpful role to the legislature for future transitions. >> i would also mention, the most important thing that congress, particularly the senate, can do is speed through the confirmations of cabinet officials for the new president. that is clearly the most important thing they do -- get the president's team in place so the president can start their administration. >> i would just add one more to sworn in-- congress is on january 3. they receive the votes of the electoral college on january 6. they begin working before january 20.
we are talking much transitions and a time of crisis. during that period of time in 2009, there was a good deal of work being done by the transition with the congress to deal with the simultaneous economic crises that were with the country. we worked to save the auto industry, to build the recovery act that got people working again, we were losing 500,000 jobs a month. if vice president biden is elected, which i hope you will hope he willhich i be, they will have an opportunity to simultaneously tackle the economic crisis and really work to put in place their strategy for dealing with the covid-19 crisis.
because the economic crisis cannot really be resolved until we finally resolve the pandemic crisis. the congress has a vital role to play in those conversations will start taking place in december, in january. as you remember, the recovery act was passed in the first week of february. barbara's calling out senator kennedy's work with the president that led to no child left behind and some other legislation that they worked on together is a model for how people can begin right from the get-go say, can we cooperate? on what? what can we move? who will control the senate will be resolved. you have to begin working right
off the bat to basically implement a program as you are coming into office. aboutwe are talking working across the aisle and bipartisanship, what you can get accomplished, i want to ask -- this is probably the final couple of questions -- a question about innovation. maybe from a couple of different perspectives. how does areate or new administration or a year five administration create a culture of innovation? it could be an incoming administration, changes in personnel in year five, what we have seen or read in the paper -- a highly recommend it --
different presidents have approached this in different ways. the team of rivals approach, a literal team of rivals approach, bringing in people from an opposing party into your administration, ways to shake up the thinking, create opportunities for innovation, i am curious in what ways do you think we might approach innovation? is it even imaginable at this point, given the polarization in the vitriol that exists, that we might have people from different parties or even different wings of the same party that are coming into an administration or year five? >> what you are already seeing, to your last point, a sense of unity among the democratic party in terms of drawing on the
diversity and expertise and ideas of the different ways of the democratic party, that is evident in a lot of what we are seeing in the campaign and the development of vice president biden's approaches, positions and platform. on the question of innovation more broadly, i think there needs to be a sense and a reminder that people in government should never forget that they are not the sole source of wisdom on a set of issues. having a productive way of collaborating and getting information from the private sector to draw upon innovative ideas outside of government, bringing those perspectives to the table, i think it is absolutely invaluable. we point to things obama ministration did with the creation of the u.s. digital service and steps like that to
try to bring innovative and cutting-edge talent into and onoss agencies to deal with the digital side of things, that those types of practices should continue. >> i want to invite you in on this one, john, there are a lot of ideas out there. i think the trick is figuring out, politically, what are the ideas whose time has come and then sequencing them? i will give you some criticism of the bush administration on the domestic side for which i was not responsible, so it is easy for me. we lead with social security reform about giving people access to the stock market where we probably should have led with solvency. we probably should have done immigration first before we get social security reform because we did immigration reform to
close to an election. part of it is ideas and innovation, but part of it is having a political strategy -- what ideas have their time, and what is the priority? the master of that is john podesta. tell us how you do it. (202) 748-8000 usuallynk presidents don't think about performance nearly enough. the public, quite frankly, is skeptical about whether the government can actually deliver. one of the things i think bill clinton did at the beginning in -- in charge of the reinventing government initiative was consciously focus on regaled and trust in government and the vice president deserves a lot of credit for being able to do that and have the american people have the sense that government was deliberate.
and i think that you saw that in public attitude about their faith and the ability for government to deliver. i would advise that the administration, whoever is leading it, pay more attention to that and again, i think that one of the things that -- because of paying attention to this campaign -- that the vice aesident has done is woven story together about the need to simultaneously attack the pandemic crisis, the economic crisis, the racial justice crisis and the climate crisis. that takes a huge amount of coordination of the white house to top of mind strategy but at the end of the day, it really means implementation, implementation, implementation. that has got to be number one.
well, with our last one minute 45 seconds i'm just --ious [laughter] >> no matter who wins the election, what do you think the biggest challenge is for a transition. you can obviously put that in historical context. if you are turning to me come --, may i offer this, it is an interview we did with the 43 project but it was with the house minority leader during bush 43. this was after 9/11 and he speaking to the pentagon -- the president, and he said the most
important thing now is that we all trust one another. this is about life and death. our first responsibility is to keep the people safe. we failed, we all failed, and we have to do better. truth anditics and everything happens as it should, but we have to keep politics out. we cannot play politics with this, we have to do whatever we can to do the right thing to avoid anything like this happening again. obviously it was related to terrorism but i certainly think now, that is what we have to keep our eye on. absolutely. absolutely. well, i have thoroughly enjoyed being in conversation with you all, i can do it for another hour. thank you so much for sharing your expertise and now i want to turn this over to amy walter. >> thank you so much. i'm amy walter, i'm the senior
editor at the political report. trying to wrap my head around getting this transition correctly. excited for this next panel that i get to moderate. governor,ase the late candidates are able to campaign and i think no one understand that reality better than the four women who run going to talk to in the next moments about making that transition from being candidates, even if that candidate happens to be the sitting president of the united states, to coming in and transitioning in that time to taking office in january and putting forward an agenda that you talked about on this campaign trail.
all of the folks i'm speaking with have also had experience coming in at times of crises, political or economic. think they will have important insights into what the 2021 process may look like. and going to interviews us right now. i'm going to start with alexis who served as secretary of labor under president clinton. dncwas also ceo of the 92 and deputy director of president-elect clinton's transition to. karen hughes, counselor to president george w. bush and services director of communications, a texas governor, and on his 2000 campaign. the senior advisor to president and the secretary of education under george w. bush, nexthe also worked for the
governor in his administration as a senior adviser. thank you all for being here. i'm going to start with you because not only do you share the experience going from campaign to governor, but you have done it for a candidate, going into a first term, and then a president who anded, obviously you won went on to serve a second term. can you help us understand what that looks like, being the candidate and then being the incumbent and how you approach both of those? sure, thank you. it is absolutely right to say you campaign in public.
you have to serve for how you want to get done, and deal with all of the incoming. i was one of the cochairs of president obama's transition in in first term and we started july, by taking four democratic and working with the policy folks from the and who we thought would be most affected to do the policy work once he was in office. the priority is that you've articulated, finding the right people, and we put a lot of time into interviewing candidates, president obama made it very
clear that we were only going to be as good as our weakest link so we wanted to be sure to assemble a team that shared his andes and his integrity, 1.i will make that does not get as much attention as i think it deserves is how incredibly helpful president bush and his team were during the transition. he made it very clear he wanted a smooth transition of power. even though they disagreed on just about every possible policy you could think of, there was a treasure trove of information that could have been viable and they could not have been more to make sure that we were approaching the benefit of their experience so that we could hit the ground running as soon as possible. going into a second term is different. you don't have the initial challenge of the team that has worked together in the campaign, people coming in.
byma said often beginning the second term he thought he had the best team. many in the cap it stayed for the second term but it was a disciplined process every two years to say here is where we are, here are the priorities. what we must do, what it would be great to do, what we both to frame our energies and time management as we wanted to. what i would say about the first transition was of course, we were not, nobody was expecting what happened in september of with the ensuing crash of the banks. millions of people losing their but i willeir homes,
say that the continuity going administrationan to a democrat one was made much easier by having a good win,cessor and once you that is not just an affirmation of what you did in your first term, which makes you realize two things, you must be on the right track in terms of how the country views your theblishment, secondly, rush to the finish -- >> really good points. i'm going to go to one of them. you also have the rare experience of a very compressed time, i think december 12, 2000.
before youe a month are inaugurated. i want you to talk a little bit about how we balance. and then folks, who were working with the texas governor bush in that period in between. you were still doing the legal work on the legal case, you are essentially still a candidate, you are not yet president-elect, and how you made that transition work. >> you can imagine it was just an excruciating time. gets youthing that through something as intense as a presidential campaign, every day you tell yourself in two months, it's over. and you come to election day and you stumble across and of course it wasn't over. afelt like i have won marathon and somebody told me keep running and we will let you know when you stop. it was personally a very chaotic time. we were going to move to
washington, i needed to sell my house. i couldn't afford to have two houses. things like that, and i couldn't put my house on the market because i was afraid that the reporters would take that as being presumptuous that we had won. we had several things that really benefited us. one is that president bush, when he first wild the campaign for said i wantctually you to come up with a plan for what i do when i win, 15 month before the election. has been quietly working on transition planning all that had givent some point me a very comprehensive setup of information about the communications functions of the white house and how they are set up and how they are organized president bush actually talk to me the day of the first debate.
i would have thought there would have been other things on his mind but we were on a long walk about where we were staying in missouri and he started talking to me about how he was thinking about structuring the white house staff we had some preparations. recount, it was so intense. we were on the phones with the lawyers, james baker in florida every day, i was in austin with the president. there really wasn't much time during florida itself to be inking about the transition to the white house. that happened all very quickly when the election was decided on and immediately made plans to go to washington. that was president clinton and vice president gore, the transition team had the goal of having the senior staff appointed by the 15th.
one of the things that president bush i think it very effectively whoblended a team of people knew him well with a team of experienced people who knew washington well. vice president cheney had served as chief of staff and secretary of defense. thoselly blended experiences. president bush, when he getting my job is griffin, i said what do you mean by this house order for the president? and he said i want you to go to every meeting were a major decision is being made and tell the people in the room how i will approach that decision and then i want you to tell me what you really think. meetings about things about which i also knew very little, but we had people around the table with our senior staff who
also knew a great deal about washington and about policy issues. >> when it comes to you, on the political side, you move over to the transition. you are one of the people here on this panel who is working for a candidate who defeated a sitting incumbent. this is sitting down with the folks who you beat. how was that? what is that experience like, this year, you come into an office where the sitting staff, they are not leaving because down,guy has been turned they are leaving because you beat him. >> it's interesting you pose the question that way. thank you and hello to my fellow i've had, all of whom the fortune to work with in some capacity over the years.
never, personally, i will forget the day, and karen used the term transition planning, something you don't really talk much about, that secret moment the you're engaged with transition process and you can't knowsbout it and no one you are in this tiny office preparing for that eventuality if the president wins, and then you talk formally about transition. for me, i was a part of that with transition plan that eventually led to the transition process. dayi did the company that to the white house, warren christopher, the head of you never know how feel, but ig to have to get andy a lot of
credit. he wasvery professional, very welcoming. we were sitting there in the roosevelt room and you have your list of the critical issues that you want to make sure you understand what the handoff process is going to be about. so for us, in our transition process, we were very clear about the critical issues and the key agents that we wanted to engage the white house on and not just the larger white house agenda. turned, quite frankly, into a real business meeting. it was a real business session that was very respectful. honestly, i had reservations going into it because we just really weren't sure about the
degree of -- that we would receive. i had a little insight because i was in the carter administration as counsel to the secretary of labor and director of the so i hadureau experienced that transition on that, really of from an agency perspective in a very limited role. my republican counterpart, and i will never forget, president bush's leader of the opm and she -- connie was my contact so i suspected, quite frankly, that transition to mirror what i had experienced many years before as a part of the ford- carter transition and i was not disappointed.
and i know that with other administrations, there have been challenges, but i have to say, that handoff that day in the roosevelt room for us was the respectful, disciplined, we did not go into the agencies not knowing who each of our contacts would be. and that's very important and there was a white house team that made it very clear to us available told be us for whatever was needed and we had to take advantage of that offer. for me, respect and cooperation and clear lines of communication as you engage in that process. all of the preconceived notions and ideas and the partisan moments that often can come into play when you just come off of a .ery political environment
>> i hope there are certain people listening. i want to talk to you about the process of this. again, you've been on the you both worked for the governor said you know him personally. a transitional campaign staffer maybe never met this candidate, but how would you ensure that all these promises that you make on the campaign trail, all these commitments you make on the campaign trail, are able to translate into policy, especially in those first chaotic 100 days as you are howl trying to figure out to stay focused keeping what you
talked about on the campaign moving forward into governing? is terrific to be with everyone, these fantastic women leaders. i think it is a testament to both of our bosses that we were all involved with them, as we all know, things were better when you have women involved. great to be here. yes, i think you have to know what you are all about and you have to have a focus on priorities and in president bush's case, we need in that that education was something that obviously had great comfort for him. he didn't need a lot of tutoring or talking points, had a great record in texas. what onessage about does and state policy and the under station -- understanding of what we were trying to achieve in washington. something that in the aftermath of the contentious election really is something that
,mericans can gather around that certainly was true in the eight years of the bush administration, working with people like senator ted kennedy miller,ressman george and continued into the obama administration. i was on a panel yesterday with arnie duncan. we leaned into those issues that i think all americans nod their heads about. that,ms of just managing i really just want to emphasize the point about having people around you as president who know you well, who know what you are about as well as people who know washington well. and i remember having that feeling of gosh, i don't know a heck of a lot about what they are talking about but i do know a heck of a lot about george w. bush and i know how he thinks about things, i know how he thinks about priorities. point, being, to alexis'
humble in the opportunity, understanding the gravity us of visage -- the gravitas of the ofuation, the soberness being at the white house and the awesomeness of your charge and really, there's plenty of work for everybody figuring out how to create a symphony of players with the expertise that can get something done. priorityse, the first was no child left behind, and all the things that president bush did on week one in office to build those bridges, bilbo's relationships, and get things done. i do have one quick story about that when he first met with senator kennedy in the oval , literally the second day of the administration, probably. and i remember him saying, you are probably in the room at the time, so the press is going to come in here and they are going to ask us about school choice
and vouchers and here is what i, president bush, and going to say about that. i'm going to say we had a great conversation, that we are off to a great start and not take the day, essentially. and senator kennedy returned the favor and i think it was the first of many goodwill gestures that they both showed to each other along the way. piece ofin neighborly important landmark legislation and mental health clarity, on and on. the question about that is obviously this was a key issue on the campaign trail, but did the fact that the election was so contentious and that it ended the way it ended push the idea of having a bipartisan deal with senator kennedy to the very top? it might have been number three or four. >> absolutely. you recall during the transition bushpresident-elect
invited washington leaders to the governor's mansion in texas including congressman george ander, who has watched admired the work that we were doing in texas to close the achievement gaps, to measure and disaggregated data and invest resources and whatnot. solely, time -- absolutely, timing is everything in life and certainly in politics and policy that we had this need for something that could be a common and aacross the aisle cast of characters and some we wereand frankly, taking republicans were they have never gone before and maybe somewhere uncomfortable about going. the people who were here to for abolish the department of education type republicans but they were following the leader in important ways and i think that is how we started the
conversation. go back toi want to something you said about being in this tiny little office and you can't talk to anybody and you are sort of holed up. can you demystify this process for the rest of us? everybody here on this panel has made clear that this kind of planning starts over the summer of an election year. office for six months, several? >> iran, as you indicated, the that was july-- of 1992. i went immediately from the convention operation, shutting it down, to being a part of this small office called transition planning. and i think every president is different in terms of how they approach you, but the first rule for us, and there were five of that weis office, was
could have no conversations with anyone, especially bill clinton and hillary clinton. they did not want to "jinx the process," that was drilled into our heads. you can't talk about it. i was like, how do you do the work if you get the input but you can't talk about it? the first thing you do is you get this small team, you get the ground moving. i'm in little rock along with this huge campaign operation, and it's like, why do i say i'm here? and they gave me some script about labor, i can't even remember what it was. in i did a little of that terms of labor unions and i had been at the labor department before, but i could never talk about transition planning. what happened, to be very
specific, you have three lanes in transition planning. there's the white house lane where you are looking at the white house operation, that first 100 days of how you lost the presidency and the cabinet. is that national security lane, and you have to have someone in transition planning that already has the national security clearance. doingt they can really be the very quiet and delicate work of all the national security issues with the national security clearance. that you actually can get ahead of time from the agency, from the state department, because you do have to reveal who is working on what. one, and thishird is how we were all charged, was everything else. the agencyed liaison, that was my portfolio.
i was responsible for organizing all of the issues, the critical agenciesd all of the as theu would inherit incoming administration, but also you have to take into account the plan that was going on in what i called lane one, the president's agenda, the white house's agenda, those first 100 days. what agenciesw would impact the execution of the president's agenda. case, bill clinton's economic plan was going to be the first thing on the table which was a heavy lift for treasury, a heavy lift for the economic council. clear about the treasury operations, the department of commerce operation, all of those agencies that especially impacted that first 100 days would be at the
top of my list. in that transition planning process, you are laying out the priorities, getting the lanes straight, and then a key leadership team that will go into each of these areas should the president win. wasother hat that i wore, i --hair for senator kerry up senator kerry's operation. so -- but you have all these people that you are quietly reaching out to. to say to them i need you to be on standby for the president win. waitingave a team in
that you have to be ready to shouldthe very next day the president win the election. , it'ss a quiet operation a lot of planning. you have a sure handle on the very critical --ues that previous administrations may have been dealing with that you know you're going to inherit on day one and the -- there cannot be time to think about what you're going to do. you have to have made some preliminary decisions about how we operate. interestedcularly when in the earlier panels they said hillary clinton asked what
happened because they were inherent -- inheriting an environment that was very different from ours. so you have to really be thoughtful about what you are inheriting. , but alsobout you it's on the current administration's plate. >> thank you for drawing the curtain back for us. with valerie,art but anybody else, feel free to come in as well. registrantsen from to the conference. careerr of those government staff. how do you work with them? was useful types of information that were shared to you -- shared with you by staff.
another was about the recommendation you give to career staff about how to prepare for the transition, fromially transitioning one party in power to the next. that depends on the cooperation from your predecessor. that made our job a lot easier. have been in the government before, one of the helpful asre very well. think it was really important that we signal to the career teams all over that we value
their inputs, that we weren't just going to come down with this top-down priority without listening to their counsel. them, particularly in intelligence agency and justice department, they've been around for a long time and we deferred a lot of their professional judgment not just during the transition, but during our time in office. again made much easier. is final point i would make as we popular the agency, myself agencies going to the to try and demystify who we were . there is always a sense of fear they come.
we have senior people from the white house get outside of the white house and travel around the agency. i learned a lot from those. are career of public service are a treasure. our culture carriers are incredibly knowledgeable and just a tremendous asset. you need to develop those agent -- relationships on day one especially at the omb they will help you develop the budget into details around things like the state of the union that are quickly going to be developed and delivered. was they areence valuable, we listen to them.
to overlook or to suggest they are part of the deep state or some such is really disrespectful and tragic because they are such a treasure to our citizens and to any administration. when we first went to the white house, such a source of institutional knowledge, i remember one of the first things i was planning a visit. we only use the rose garden for good news. just the little things like that and what is tradition in what is not. because our transition was so truncated, we did not have much interaction with our predecessors of the white house the first time we came in.
when i became under secker firtash undersecretary, public diplomacy at the time at the state department, you may remember the information agency had been into the state department. when i got there, they were it the usia. i want to send a signal that it was -- public opinion was important and valued. you to include some of the best officers in the state department because i want others to look and say this is going to public diplomacy. i wanted to send a signal this was important and we would have the very best people. others were fabulous public
servants and taught me so much every day i was at the state department. i agree wholeheartedly there, absolutely a treasure and were completely invaluable to my ability to do a job across the country. the elephant in the room so to speak about the potential if former in 2021 vice president joe biden were to , this president assad a lot accusationsaround that the election will be rigged and that -- i want you to weigh in on a couple of questions. after 200 plus years of peaceful transitions, if you still
believe that's going to be the case this time around and the second is even if we assume this is going to go smoothly and we have inauguration day and a new president is sworn into office, that the transition as you were talking about all sounds lovely and people are hopeful and work together and use the time in between election day and the thinkration, what do you is going to be the case this time around? who wants to start with that one? >> i think we have to remember that we have had difficult elections before in our history. i went back in preparation and reread president bush's speech the night he became president --
it became clear hit one the election on december 12 when the supreme court stopped the recount. i read that speech and i think that's exactly the speech we need to hear. he talked about another difficult election in 1800 where there was a tie in the electoral college. it took six days and 36 votes to be resolved and thomas jefferson became the president. transfer of first presidency and our young democracy's history from one party to another. shortly thereafter talked about the standing character of our countrymen is a rock to which we can safely board. he wasnt bush, the night to start -- determines to of won the election talked about the steady character the elect -- of the american people and the
respect for each other and urged the generosity of spirit and respect for differences. say on out of his way to the prism of one country -- president of one country. he was very gracious to vice president gore and said he knew they went through the same thing and could not imagine how difficult the moment must be for him and he thanked his supporters. both his supporters and vice president gore's supporters. i certainly hope we will hear that this time. there have been difficult and divisive elections before in our history. i hope that gives some comfort as we go back and realize our country has done this before many times. >> i would add to what karen has just said.
, theain a prisoner of hope way karen has just said this. felt.de me remember how i i was literally still in my office, trying to quickly pack desk andks and my really to get out of that moment on capitol hill. agentt remember who that liaison was who was there, but i was there with tears in my eyes. i remember this person looked at know this is a painful moment for you and i said we have a new president. know what this moment is
going to be like. those servants. ,f this election is elongated we are going to be very dependent on their steadiness and the continuity of their leadership. benefits still have to be taken care of. hope we will show -- if we already moment of crises and i hope we will remember this service we just talked about. shouldersbe on their during that time. add isink what i would first of all, president trump is no president bush.
yes it is a contentious campaign, but -- but it has been a contentious for years. vice president biden set him running as a democrat but if i win, i will govern as the american president and represent the whole country. i don't think president trump is done that in his last four years. , i alsoeful by nature recognize how hard it is to be hopeful. my former chief of staff in the last term in the white house and i met him when he was a field 2007, so i'mk in known him a long time. rice present biden has given him this responsibility. hope for the best but you to plan for the worst. i think there's going to be a lot more responsibility on vice
president biden's transition team to reach out to those folks. i don't think they will get a lot of cooperation from senior people and certainly not from the president. work in theose who white house or are political heartened by was the comments we saw from many of the republicans on the hill who doubled down to reinforce the transition of power. i am not confident and i'm worried deeply and profoundly beyond that if it goes november 3, which i think we should expect it might. that this notion that this illegitimate when we've been doing it in the military's civil war.
i would, that is ginning up a lot of anger among the american people. i think the challenge is not just to ensure government itself is functioning while going to the next term, but the polarization of our country, i think that's going to be a real challenge. add at quickly to practical point, the beat goes on. the business of government must go on. if there is a transition, executive workers who have been issued fairly recently can be revoked if president trump is reelected, there will be a changing of the guard, there will be personnel changes. the practical reality of making cause people to rise to
the occasion and get over to politics and beyond it one way or the other. we have all been privileged to two people who are respectful of the role they certainly signal back to the people around them. we have a couple of minutes left and it leads to this question we had from one of the audience about the recommendation you would give to career leadership to prepare for the moment that may be coming for them. you all have talked about how you leaned on them during the transition, what should they be prepared for. do you want to weigh in on that? >> i think it is so important.
they talked about the out rate -- the outreach they did in the beginning. it's important to remind them they are public servants of the american people. that at the end of the day, that is who they serve. they have to reach deep into their -- themselves to take pride in the work they are doing that they are making a difference. armorve to put on that and be prepared to just continue what your work, continue you are planning and remind yourself and your colleagues that you are making a difference on behalf of the american people. understandsay to
what the principal of what the president wants to accomplish and get smart and get strategic and get creative about how you help him achieve those objectives. that's one of the hard things when you're first there is what is the priority. clear sense of what needs to be done, when and what's most important. there is so much coming at you, it is important to have that clarity. think what i was responding to, if we don't have a clear outcome, it's up to them to keep that focus and if you are not getting that direction, that is very hard. >> i think they have been frankly beaten down a lot over the last four years.
winsnk if i present biden -- if president biden wins, it needs to be made clear where there have been changes in the norms, like an independent justice department or reliant on alliances or believing the intelligence community i think you have to be very intentional if you are vice president biden, how do you go in. many assure you there are who are feeling pretty wounded over these last four years. >> we have come to the end of our time, i want to thank everybody on the panel for some incredible advice. to billg to hand back
who is going to close it up for us. >> thank you, amy. really we have covered an enormous waterfront. me come back to some key takeaways from the last great the first is the peaceful transition of power. that president needs to spring needsh the tape that also this show deference to the people's will and that means helping the incoming president prepare if the sitting president is defeated. ,ven the worst transition abraham lincoln, that happened.
but there are also great examples of great handovers within a party, from reagan to bush 41. but really between parties and that contestant -- contested 2000 election. presidenteir -- both bush preparing well behind the bushs and president-elect getting ready to take office. we saw a transfer in bush 43 to obama. theident bush knew from experience of 9/11 how important it was to have a peaceful transfer in case there was an emergency and there was an emergency at that moment, the financial crisis. my second take away as there are two phases to a transition. the pre-election phase when the incoming team is preparing
itself. that is while the election is going on. they need to work silently on personnel and policy planning and should stay away from the campaign. but then after the election, the transition team needs to trust the planning and start to build, that's going to be a big challenge this year. we heard covid is not just a crisis which needs to be addressed along with the economic crisis, but then we also have the racial justice. but also covid presents real challenges, building a culture as we do every day in her own workplace, how hard it is to work with one another, building a brand-new team and doing that in a state of crisis is going to be hard and then there are additional challenges on that, access to documents, not just having security clearances, but to secure operating facilities.
to work that out in the transition period. part three goes to building the team. dennis mcdonough talked about the importance of the diversity in the team that looks like america and both of those things are really important. the white house team is particularly critical getting that done first can be super helpful. it's also important as we heard doneay, having the cabinet by inauguration day is a good benchmark. they are going to have to go through confirmation hearings. they pose an increasing challenge because the confirmation politics. perhaps that is something the whole country can focus on doing well. discord, but to try get beyond it. deepen the discord, but
try to get beyond it. there are a host of civil servants across the government who are prepared to help and who really pride themselves in preparing a president and the new cabinet to hit the ground running when they arrive. take away four is prepare for the worst. that really requires coordination between the incoming and outgoing teams. we heard about national security challenges, including the current and sitting administration thinking through what positions they have to make and what can be deferred to the incoming president and then coordinating with that president. that is challenging because of security clearances and other things. it is something previous transitions have done well and something that should be able to happen even in the current pandemic. proves thedemic
importance of this. nexting for pandemics, the one could be a different one. could have different transmission rates, infection rates and mortality rates. there was a different pandemic kicking off, how would the government responds differently? some emergency efforts can be done with congress as well that hisansition, congressional response to emergencies, funding new activities in an economic crisis. to negotiateeding those during the transition, as is what happened in 2008 to 2009. finally, look for opportunities to bring the country together. going from campaigning to governing is a difficult challenge. 43, particularly out of the contentious election, bush
immediately started reaching out to ted kennedy. tone for ae mood and year of hard work that led to no child left behind. clinton started focusing with the outgoing on passing what became nafta. which happened in president clinton's first year. when a budget was approved he turned to a bipartisan legislation to helping the country back together. i think that was my five takeaways. we look forward to hearing yours. with us. in touch now is my time to start thinking people. thanks to all of our panelists. a pleasure to join five chiefs , three former cabinet
secretaries, two of the finest ,ournalists in the country heroes do not just me, but my two daughters and my superstar colleagues know. especially our partners jim mcgrath. partnershipr your , at the dave mar check partnership for public service in my co-author now on this study. which is available on the miller center website. george and judy marcus which went into all of this. supporters and finally, thanks to all of you and for playing the most
important job, that of an informed citizenry. our big thanks to everyone. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] has top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. today at noon eastern, 82-hour live conversation with jill lepore. "afterwards," lou dobbs is interviewed by author and hoover institution senior fellow. watch "book tv" this weekend on >> incumbent republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina and jamie harrison participated
in their first debate. the first of three scheduled meetings. senator graham chairs the judiciary committee which will be holding supreme court confirmation hearings for judge amy coney barrett. polls indicate a close race. this is courtesy of wis tv in colombia. >> mr. harrison, you won that toss. the next moment on the floor is yours. >> thank you. georgetown law school. -- first in my family, i went to yale,