1. Campaign Strategy

Uploaded by StanfordUniversity on 28.09.2012

[ Music ]
>> Stanford University.
>> All right, well welcome everybody.
Thanks for coming out to the first class
of what will be hopefully a very exciting and interesting
and stimulating experience.
We're here to talk about the election.
My name is Rob Reich.
I teach in the Political Science Department.
This course will be co-taught along
with Jim Steyer who's seated at the end of the stage there
and history professor David Kennedy
who regrettably couldn't be with us tonight
but will be here next week.
I want to give you a few things just logistically
about the class since this is opening night.
As you can tell, we're not going
to spend much time with introduction.
We're going to leap right into the substance with some
of the guests we brought today.
Today's topic is campaign strategy.
What I want to do now is turn the floor over to Jim Steyer
who will say a few words about our roles as moderators
and introduce the guests we have tonight.
>> Great, thank you Rob.
Great to see you guys.
[applause] I am totally psyched for this class.
I am so glad we are here.
And I think tonight will be a-- despite the motley crew next
to me, I think it will be quite a lineup.
Let me-- I want to just echo a couple of reasons that Rob and I
and David Kennedy who will be here next week
who actually is going to lead next week's class being one
of the great presidential historians of our time.
But why we're teaching the class.
I think a big reason is that we think this is an absolutely
critical election not just for this country
but for young people and the next generation.
I cannot think--
it's interesting listening to both President Obama
and Governor Romney talk about how critical this is
and how much they think they're coming from--
this is really a decisive moment
when you can choose one or the other.
But I think if you're a young person today
that these stakes are incredibly high perhaps even higher
for the continuing [inaudible] who will be integrated
by next week into the audience.
We will now have the sitting arrangement that Rob said.
But I think that the stakes are huge for our country
and I think they are particularly huge
for young people because we as a society
in many cases have ignored a lot of questions that are going
to determine your guys' future.
And so I think this is going to be an extraordinary opportunity
to look at, that with some of the smartest, most interesting
and in this case outspoken people you can imagine.
>> Also good looking.
>> And also good looking, Chris, thank you very much.
And actually I was going to save this for later,
but who do you think there's a movie out in which one
of our guest is now being portrayed.
And you can-- we'll answer the question at the end
of the evening, you can write it down, who portrays Chris Lehane
in the movie that is now out.
That's a big question for the audience that you'll have
to decide since you've raised the good looking issue.
But back to the substance of the class, this is going
to be a great opportunity and I think every work we're going
to have fascinating speakers with the diversity
of opinion and that is the goal.
If we-- We are going to try to integrate as much as possible
as Rob said questions and input from the class.
The online nature of the class has changed a little
and all the Stanford General Counsel rules that Rob is,
bless him, negotiated over the last couple of days
as they tried to put restrictions
on the class which we understand.
But I think we're going to have amazingly provocative guests.
The one thing we really want to say to is no matter
if you are very conservative, very liberal,
no matter where you are in the political spectrum, we are going
to be open to your views.
We're trying to bring a diversity of opinion
and we will do our best to do that.
But we also believe that you, as members of the class,
can do that as well and we want to approach it with both an open
and provocative attitude to debating some
of the big issues facing our society,
not just in this election but in the next 10 or 20 years,
but also with intellectual rigor
and Professor Gary Segura who's here tonight is one
of the leading experts on polling in the United States.
So we are going to integrate people who are
in their front lines of running national campaigns
and building foreign policy and domestic policy with scholars
and I think it's going to be a fascinating class.
A role-- a comment about Rob's and my role as moderator
and David Kennedy,
when Professor Kennedy is here next week, he can speak
for himself and no one would speak for David on this.
But I can say that because being a prof is not--
I taught here for 25 years but this is not my only job.
I actually have very strong opinions about the issues.
My real job is in the field of child advocacy
and that's the field I've worked
in education child advocacy for 25 years.
So I have very strong opinions about some
of the issues we're going to hear in this class.
And while Rob and I are moderators,
I feel that I would like-- I will--
I am sure inject my opinions and thoughts into both some
of the questions and comments I make.
>> I'm sure about those as well.
>> You about-- sure about that as well.
[laughter] Professor Reich,
maybe a slightly more classic academic
in that way [inaudible]-- but I just want to want upfront,
that because you have 3 different professors
in the class that we do feel in addition to moderating
and asking questions, that we will also present our views
'cause we feel there's going to be a broad enough array
of opinions that all good voices will be heard,
and obviously you are free to disagree with any and all things
that I say, Rob says, David Kennedy says
or our 3 aghast panelists say.
Our goal is that you learn, [laughter] that you--
that you get engaged and it's certainly
for you students that you get active.
That's what I would like to see happen out of this class.
You learn, you get engaged and you get active.
So tonight, we're going to talk
about where we are in the 2012 campaign.
And we have 3 pretty remarkable guests.
We had a fourth, Mike McCurry,
who among his many great career accomplishment was the press
secretary for President Clinton before Mr. Lehane
and who is stuck-- was stuck in a runway
at Dallas Airport today.
He was flying out just to do our class and he is going to return
on the night of August 20--
October 23rd because he is actually the chairman
of the Presidential Debate Commission.
So he is going to come here the night
after the last presidential debate and discuss his view
of the 4 presidential debates
that he's ever seen plus foreign policy 'cause before being
Clinton's spokesperson, he was the spokesperson
for the state department.
So tonight, we're going to have 3 experts
on the campaign process.
Let me introduce them in order, give them an opening question
and let them take it from there.
The first on my right, your left is Mark McKinnon,
who is quite simply-- we'd put all these guys' bio on the web,
so if you haven't looked them up, please go look them up.
Mark is one of the great political
and media experts in the United States.
Among his many accomplishments were spearheading Ann Richard's
victory as governor of Texas.
And then along with his good friend Karl Rove being the brain
behind the election of George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004.
He is considered across the board to be one
of the great political communications experts
in the United States.
He has a range of interests ranging
from the no-labels organization that he founded.
He's on the Board of Common Sense Media,
the organization I run.
And most of all, he's one of the smartest people you'll ever meet
in talking about politics and he always wears a Stetson.
[laughter] So that's Mark and let me do the quick intro
and then I'm going to carry the question you're going to get.
Next to him is Chris Lehane who yes, there is a movie
out called Knife Fight which would be a description
of Mr. Lehane's career as a political consultant
which has run the gamut from Chris faced up McKinnon
in Bush v. Gore in 2000 when Chris was the spokesperson
for Al Gore and the key campaign strategist for Gore
in the 2000 election, maybe they will rerun
that election for you tonight.
He is also-- [laughter] and he is one
of the great political experts
and consultants in the United States.
This is the last time I'm going to have a chance
to say anything tonight, guys.
One of the great political consultants in the country.
He and his partner Mark Fabiani who were first known the masters
of disaster because they handled all of the Monica Lewinsky press
in the Clinton White House during the mid 1990s.
And that is where-- and so Chris was a long time veteran
of both the Clinton White House, the Gore campaign.
He was originally John Kerry's press secretary
until he fired John Kerry as a candidate and is one
of the most important political consultants in the country
and in the State of California.
Gary Segura is a professor here
in the political science department at Stanford.
He's one of the great experts on polling in the United States.
In addition to his duties as a professor
at Stanford his expertise in the area of polling,
he also does polling particularly on issues related
to Latinos in the United States and is employed
by both leading companies and non-profits
to examine Hispanic voting patterns
and quite frankly polling all across the country.
And as Rob described, is very, very--
runs a program that looks at all the different data
that we're going to talk about tonight.
My opening question to the 3 gentlemen and start
with Mark then Chris then Gary and then we're just going
to turn it into a discussion of the campaign is this,
the opening question-- and this is certainly okay for Mark
and Chris is one, name the--
this is our opening so that you can get to know them--
name the dumbest thing you ever did running a presidential
campaign in the United States.
And then second, after you've finished telling us the worst
mistake you ever made running a presidential campaign,
how do you think the campaign is going right now?
Is sitting on September 25th,
how do you think the campaign is going?
And the one thing we are going to do with each
of the guest is ask them to make a predication of who is going
to win the presidency, who is going to win the Senate
and who's going to win the House.
They're going to be on record tonight
and then the class [laughter] on November 8th,
their colleague Steve Schmidt, also known as, "The Bullet,"
who was the campaign manager for John McCain in the 2008 campaign
after Mr. McKinnon left the McCain campaign.
Steve is going to come and grade them and decide
who is the winner from these 3 gentlemen, they will get a prize
from Rob, me and David Kennedy for the best accurate prediction
of the electoral result.
So the opening question to Mark,
Chris and Gary is dumbest thing you ever did
on a campaign followed by how do you think it's going to
and how you-- and then we'll get
to the predictions from each of you.
>> Boy, it's a long list.
[laughter] Yeah, as Christ say, we learn more from our losses
and the stupid things that we do from our victories.
I guess probably the dumbest thing that I did was I was--
there was a filing--
a fundraising filing for a candidate
and the deadline was quickly coming.
It was a very complicated system of different committees
that was far too complicated for me, A,
to understand, or B, explain.
So ahead of time, I asked the treasurer of the campaign
and said, "Please make sure you're here
when we file this report because I need you to explain this
to the press because I can't do it."
And sure enough, filing day came and he'd left town and so it--
you know, the press was on deadline,
they're all calling me,
I'm trying to figure out something to say.
And finally what I get quoted on at saying in the lead paragraph
of the New York Times is, "It's not as bad as it looks."
[laughter] And I got a call as soon as the--
you know, it was like 5 a.m. and the phone rang
and I knew it was the candidate and he called and he said,
"Damn it, McCain and I can get people to say
that about me for free."
[laughter] So the campaign today where it stands, it's--
it's so fascinating our politics and that's why we do it
because it's, A, it's often--
we often throw a conventional wisdom out the door,
we try and predict these things.
But our predictions are always based
on what I'd call pattern recognition.
It's just things that have happened before that we assume
because of the patterns will happen again.
And it's-- we have a very limited history rolling.
You know, I think of all the times that things
that people said, things wouldn't happen
like electing a black president, you know,
you elected a black president.
So it's a fun to be a part of and to try
and predict what' going to happen.
But just to give you an idea of a strategic framework.
In 2000 when we ran, the conventional wisdom was
that the democrats we're in good-- fairly good position.
People felt pretty good about the direction of the country.
And so-- and most academics and [inaudible] predicted
that Al Gore was going to win that election for a variety
of conventional wisdom metrics.
You ask people what issues they cared about.
It was health care, Social Security and education,
and you ask which party did a better job on that.
It was democrats by 10 points or more so it looked
like a good environment for democrats.
So we are in the position of being sort of the challenger
because the incumbent party saw the strategic framework
in that election was we were trying to argue,
things are great so it's time for a change,
an odd kind of strategic setup.
But certain dynamics happen that we'll talk
about a little bit later.
Flash forward 4 years in 2004,
now with the incumbent president,
things are pretty screwed up, the economy is not
in good shape, foreign conflicts, and now we're
in the strategic box of just the opposite of what we're saying.
Things are kind of screwed up to stay the course.
[laughter] And so-- but this election,
from the beginning has reminded so much of 2004 where we had,
you know, a situation where less than 50 percent
of the country liked President Bush,
less than 50 percent liked his policies,
less than 50 percent thought the country was heading the
right direction.
And yet through the dynamics of the campaign, a lot of which had
to do with our opponent.
We were able to win that election.
And so as I see this election, you know,
this is almost impossible given that conventional wisdom
and we can go through these numbers.
Nobody has ever lost an election except for 50 years ago
when FDR ran when the employment rate was right above--
>> Above 8 percent.
>> -- above 8 percent
and there's always things we can look at.
See, there's no way Obama can win this election.
You could put up any republican candidate
and win in this election.
And yet here we are and we'll [laughter]--
we'll hear the numbers in a minute
and now it almost looks impossible for Romney to win
which is pretty amazing when you think about it.
So the state of the race I think--
my only caveat is that I remember very well in 2000 press
when you guys had a great convention,
stepped on our bounds, suddenly you were up 3.
We call the Black September, rats, moles and bad polls.
And everybody said we should be fired.
The ads were horrible.
You know, so it's very similar.
I've heard this-- I've seen this movie before,
so the external events going to impose themselves, there can be,
you know, meltdown in the Middle East.
Romney could have a great debate performance, things happen
so that's kind of my view of the state of the race.
>> Okay.
>> You want me to go next?
>> Yeah, why don't you go ahead Chris and later we're going
to come back and make-- we're going to nail them down,
be very specific numerical predictions,
that we'll revisit on November 8th.
>> Well, thank you for having me here today.
This may age a little bit, but my wife had Professor Steyer
as a professor and his similar class at some point
in the not too distant past, right?
>> Correct.
>> And Rob thanks-- Rob, thanks for having me back.
I didn't realize this is also a combined law school sort of,
you know, multicourse approach so I
like the law tutorial at the beginning.
I feel much more-- and for the record I will just state
that I am pro-integration and I hope in the next class
that we could [inaudible].
[laughter] I will stand by that statement.
You know, the dumbest mis-- the dumbest that I may have done
in a campaign maybe actually answering that question
about the dumbest thing I've ever done.
But it's somewhat of a serious level.
I think the dumbest thing without naming specific names
that I have done in a political campaign is made a decision
to work for a campaign or a candidate because I thought
that they were most likely to win as opposed
to making a decision to work for someone or get involved
with someone because I believed in what they stood for
and I believed in their candidacy and them as a person.
And that's something they often get asked about, particularly
from a younger crowd, about how do you make decisions
of who you'd work for.
And so for whatever that's worth, I will just pass
on if you're looking of getting involved in a campaign
or working for someone, don't pick someone because you think
that they're going to win or they're in the best position.
Pick someone because you believe in them.
In terms of where I see this race, I think maybe 6
or 7 months ago, the Obama Campaign I think did something
that has to be very-- is going to go down the annals
of campaign history as being one
of the most brilliant strategic decisions ever is they obviously
had to have inserted a sleeper agent into the Romney Campaign
to run the Romney Campaign on a day-to-day basis.
[laughter] Given the fact that everything
that Mark has said is 100 percent right.
If you look at all the underlying data out there
and the historical data, you know, this is a race
where the republican should be able
to have nominated a refrigerator
and the refrigerator would be ahead, you know,
at this point in time.
[laughter] I guess, you know, if you go-- and at some level,
you look at what the Romney Campaign is doing
and it's almost as if they still believe they are running
for president in South Carolina, right?
You win the primary and the campaign is over.
I mean that is effectively the type of campaign
that they've run from beginning to end.
And I think, you know, at the core of it,
modern presidential campaigns come down essentially
to a massive character, test of character comparing [inaudible]
and at the center of that is the issue of trust.
And I think the Obama-- I think the 2004 analogy is where we
at because I think in 2004, the Bush Campaign, in large part
because of Mark's contributions understood it was an issue
of trust.
And everyday, they got up and ran a campaign that was designed
to make you feel better about then President Bush
and the trust issue and have concerns
about Senator Kerry on trust issues.
I think the Obama Campaign has taken a very similar approach
which is everyday they get up and they want
to raise questions about trust.
And when this campaign, you know, began in earnest
because of where the economy was and because he is the incumbent,
the burden of proof at some level was on the president.
He has effectively shifted that burden of proof particularly
on the trust issue onto the Romney Campaign
and to Romney himself.
And thus far, you know, Romney has not been able
to meet that burden of proof.
And you know, you see it day in and day
out whether it's not putting out the tax returns,
whether it's the 13 or 14 percent answer,
whether it's the 47 percent answer.
These are a bunch of percentages out there.
None of them are still going to get you over 50 percent
because they all ultimately go to raising concerns
about the trust issue.
And so I really think as you look at--
you know, we are I think a thousand hours left
in the campaign or maybe a little bit less as of tonight,
you know, the Romney's last best shot absent some major external
event is going to be the debate.
And the debates have had an impact in 2000,
as Mark indicated, Al Gore was up anywhere between 3
and 5 points depending on which polls you believe and sort
of on a good trajectory and had a debate performance
that really re-inverted the campaign at that point.
In 2004, I think Bush was on a very strong path,
didn't have the strongest debate performance in the first debate,
that raised that type again all of sudden.
So I do think that there is a pattern out there
where these debates have allowed for a re-alignment.
But I do think that that is the last best chance that Romney has
to fundamentally change where this election is going.
Other than that, you know,
I think that that the president has decisively ran this cross
argument, understands that this is a character up
and down contest and it's a running campaign design
to take advantage of that.
>> Great, so let's turn to Gary, so you don't have a story
to tell from inside the campaign of the dumbest you've done.
>> I've never ran a presidential campaign
so I've never done anything wrong under those--
[laughter] I'm a polster just a polster.
And actually I do have a story
of a polling mistake I make 'cause it's going to come
up in just a minute which is
for a very small client earlier this year who had no money.
We tried to do something for this client to see
if we could get any answer
to the question he needed an answer then so we attempted
to do IVR polling or robo-polling
of Hispanics in both languages.
>> You might explain what a robo-polling is.
>> A robo-polling is when you get interviewed for a survey,
not by a live caller but by when the phone rings,
a voice gives you the first question and you touch 1 for yes
and 2 for no, et cetera.
Turns out Latinos don't really do that.
[laughter] The first night--
the first night we made 4600 telephone calls
and got 4 complete-- [laughter].
That's actually going to be relevant
in a minute so hold that thought.
We ended up completing the thing by telephone and losing money.
[laughter] But, which is really bad.
Okay, so I'm going to talk about the campaign with a little--
put up a little science thrown in.
I don't disagree with anything that's said so far.
I think I would phrase it a little bit more clearly.
President Obama is going to be reelected in November.
The victory train has left the station
and nobody sold Mitt Romney a ticket.
[ Laughter & Applause ]
By the way, that doesn't necessarily mean
that President Obama should be reelected and I'm not talking
about your polit-- particular political positions.
I'm talking about, you know,
the way the administration has engaged the political process
through his term and the way the campaign has been run,
I think it has been a good campaign
but not a great campaign.
Maybe my colleagues will disagree with me up here
but I think that his opponent has run a tragic campaign
and so barring a crisis or a big inversion in the debates
as these folks have talked about,
I don't see a change coming and actually, the literature
and political science suggest
that if there's an international crisis for example
if Israel were to bomb Iranian nuclear sites,
that actually benefits the incumbent party historically.
People rally around the president even
if 3 months later, they're unhappy with his policy.
In the immediate offing,
international conflict helps the incumbent administration
and in terms of the debates, there's very little evidence
that debates have ever really changed minds.
I don't care who you're voting for but hold your hand
up if you strongly s support either President Obama
or Governor Romney, hold them up.
Okay, now keep them
up if there's anything the other candidate could say
in the debate to persuade you.
[laughter] Uh-oh, so, that's the thing and there's
like one person and who's watching--
who's watching those debates.
Well, there's folks like you but the vast majority
of America will not watch the debate.
They will do things like, you know, work on junior's homework
and give the baby a bath because that's frankly more important
to them.
So there's not-- I just don't see a lot of change coming.
I wanted to talk about the polling briefly.
This has been a remarkable election if for no other reason
and the polls have been unbelievably stable.
The president has never jumped out to a very large lead and I--
there might have been one day in May and one day in mid-summer
where the statistical average of the polling dropped to close
to zero but he's never been behind.
Governor Romney has never led.
Now, here's the polling notion.
Polling varies dramatically in quality and if you look
at the polling averages right now, the polling averages
of all the national polls suggested the President is ahead
by approximately 4 percentage points.
If you take out Rasmussen and gallop for different reasons,
you get a much bigger spread.
You're talking about the president by 5 and a half
or 6 percentage points.
Now, why-- this is going
to sound partisan I don't know the person individually
and maybe you guys do.
Why anyone believes anything Scott Rasmussen publishes is
completely beyond me.
At one point, every poll in America had Obama up by 4
and Rasmussen had Romney up by 3.
First of all, you just--
when you mail that number out to the press, don't you sort
of look at it and go, hmm.
So the reason these polls vary is
because they use different methods.
They-- some are robo-polls like I described
to you before, some use live colors.
We get much lower compliance in robo-polls,
not as many people answer.
So the nonresponse bias is much bigger.
Robo-polls are never ever, ever translated into Spanish.
Keep in mind that Hispanics are about 9 and a half percent
of the electorate this year and about 1 and 3
of them speaks Spanish as a first language
and would prefer to answer in Spanish.
What that means is that about 3 percent
of the electorate is not represented in any poll
and they break two to one democratic.
So any poll that's not translated and done in Spanish
and by the way that excludes all of the robo-polls.
Calling cellphones.
Many of you live on your cellphone.
It's increasingly common that Americans live
without a house phone.
If the sample does not include cellphones,
they're missing a lot of younger people and a lot
of more technologically savvy people and a lot of people
who are in what we call early adaptors,
people who just decided to ditch their home phone early.
That's a distorting number.
So, lesson number 1 is not all polls are equally reliable.
Now, the swing state polling looks even better
for the president than a national polling does.
In fact, I went and looked back at the last 2 weeks
of polling for-- in each of the swing states and this is
like 50 different polls on 10 different swing states.
And I could find one poll
that favored Governor Romney in North Carolina.
Every other poll including other polls
in North Carolina has the President ahead
in every swing state.
I would suggest to you that that's an insurmountable lead
that Governor Romney just doesn't have a prayer
of overcoming.
However, the Romney campaign especially today has been
pushing back.
And their argument is all the public polls are wrong.
Lesson number 2,
when a candidate says all the polls are wrong,
they're going to lose.
[laughter] Now, now and I think these guys up here
who know this business better than I do would agree with me
that a poll is frequently wrong,
but all the polls are almost never wrong.
You just-- you're going to be way too many people
for that to be the case.
So, the question is why--
>> Gary--
>> Yeah.
>> -- just one point of that, I mean,
the rationale whether you agree with it or not is
that the other factor that you haven't really touched on is
that polling is based on a turnout model.
So, everybody's basing their numbers on a turnout model.
Now, I don't know what most of them [inaudible] but some them,
I mean, with the Romney's Campaign
and Dick Morris was saying.
I know, I know.
[laughter] I'm just explaining what they're saying is
that a lot of these polls are making a prediction based
on a 2008 model-- on a model, and then,
that was a heavily democratic turnout and that there won't be
that democratic kind of enthusiasm would turn out,
and therefore the numbers will be different.
That is--
>> They don't believe you guys,
they don't believe young people turnout.
>> But there's an empirical question here which is,
what is the likely voter screen being used?
And of course we could just simply ask them.
>> Yeah.
>> I mean, it's not like it's hard.
But that's not what the Romney camp is going to do.
So with all due respect, don't believe anything they're saying
about polls 'cause I don't think the polls are wrong.
So why? Why is-- why would 8.3 percent unemployment is Governor
Romney so disadvantaged?
The first-- I would identify 2 reasons,
one of which I think is fairly obvious which is
that the primary season had a weak set of candidates
and at the same time, the extreme--
or the more extreme wing of the party has kind of taken control
of the GOP and it pushed Mitt Romney very much further
to the right and his political career has thus far ben
conducted, and that has made it difficult for him.
He was severely handicapped with the middle of the road voter
at the start of the election.
But the second reason and I think this echoes some
of the thoughts that have already been indicated,
is that the Romney Campaign is a train wreck.
Now, I-- here's the question I have for my colleagues
and I'm going to be very interested
to hear how they answer this.
Campaigns can be train wrecks for 2 reasons.
One is that they can be poorly managed and the second is
that they have a good manager
that the candidate doesn't listen to.
That candidates micromanage campaigns
and I'll let these guys respond to whether
or not they think that's happening here.
But messaging is a train wreck.
It is approaching October 1st,
there is still not a unifying theme in the Romney Campaign.
>> How do you really feel about this?
>> Well, let me finish and you guys can shoot it all down.
The vice presidential pick.
The vice presidential pick did a good job energizing voters
that all of the polls prior
to his selection indicated were already going to turn out
and vote for Romney in large numbers.
A convention was a missed--
missed Clint Eastwood, enough said.
>> I was waiting for the empty chair.
There's almost no policy content in the Romney Campaign
and I thought of the perfect term
for Mitt Romney's candidacy.
He is the anti-Clinton.
So, Bill Clinton is famous for speaking for 10 minutes
and giving you 12 concrete policy proposals.
Mitt Romney can speak for 10 minutes and not articulate one,
like, there's no actual proposal,
and I think that that's really handicapping him
because of course the press has been on him
and his opponent has been on him.
There's also been some sort of weird stagecraft
like in one particular episode and something I follow,
Romney introduced to his Hispanic outreach team.
There was this big event and all the regional directors were
there and the woman who was running the Hispanic outreach
for the Romney Campaign was there,
and she was asked the question about how they plan
to overcome Governor Romney's immigration position?
And she said, "Well, the governor hasn't arrived
at a firm immigration position," which the campaign had
to walk back 15 minutes later because of course they had.
It was just-- I mean, it was supposed to be a big sort
of reset for outreach to Hispanics
and it was a train wreck.
And we could go on, and on, and on,
but the point is I think it's a poorly run campaign.
I only have one more thing to say and that is
that in political science, we have a theory
in international relations called gambling
for resurrection.
And the theory of gambling for resurrection as imagined,
you're a tin-pot dictator
and the NATO troops are approaching your capital,
bad stuff is about to happen to you.
Now, you can either try to flee or go down in flames
with your regime or you can take-- get on the crazy train.
You can launch scuds at Tel-Aviv, okay?
So, put Mitt Romney in this position.
He's going to lose.
There's-- that unless the dynamic changes significantly,
he's going to lose.
He needs to upset the race.
How he does that?
I don't know.
But it would certainly be in his interest to throw a grenade
into the dynamics of the race either by coming
out with some significant charge against the president in terms
of policy like, you know,
after the election the president is going to abandon Israel
or after the election, the president is gone.
Who knows what it is?
But he needs to upset the equilibrium because if he stays
on the current path, he's going to lose.
>> To Rob, questions for-- let's go, Chris and Mark.
>> So, why don't we try and get you on the record now
about the electoral college because--
>> And then I want you guys to analyze the campaign--
>> Yeah.
>> -- 'Cause-- Mark-- you should know, Mark schooled Stu Spencer,
the guy who's running the Romney Campaign.
He used to work for Mark.
>> So you want-- [laughter]
>> Right?
>> We worked together on some campaign.
>> Okay.
>> I'll put that in the same category
as my wife having been thought by Jim, so-- [laughter]
>> So Chris, let me start with you.
Are you willing to go on record
with an electoral college prediction?
>> Yes. I think and I'm not going to do the math in my head.
But I would take the Obama states that he won
in 2008 less Indiana and I'll say less the Tar Heel State
and say that that's where he ends up, you know,
based on where we stand right now.
>> That's 332.
>> Thank you very much, that's excellent.
>> Mark, what do you think?
>> But let me-- but I also think that the margin will not be
as anywhere near as big obviously as 2000.
I actually think the margin will be quite tight
because I think the President really has a hard ceiling based
on where the economy is of, you know, a little bit
over 50 percent but even with that little bit
over 50 percent given where these swings states are
and given, you know, the electoral votes accounted there
and he can end up with a significant electoral college
when but a narrow, you know,
margin in terms of the percentage.
>> Okay, Mark?
>> You know, I'm just trying to think a best case scenario
at this point-- of a probable best case scenario
and I just have to-- I have to ask my electoral calculator
over here to help me out.
[laughter] So, let's say that Romney takes Ohio.
I know it's 8 down today.
>> I have to look that one up.
>> That's 20--
>> And let's say he manages to keep Florida as well.
>> Ohio and Florida, but what about North Carolina and--
>> And Indiana.
>> -- and Virginia.
>> Loses Virginia, wins the North Carolina, wins Indiana.
>> Okay, so that would give Romney, 39, 47--
>> Loses Colorado, loses New Mexico, Nevada.
>> -- 57, 62, that gives Romney 253 electoral votes,
he still doesn't want--
>> I think that's best case scenario [laughter] right now.
>> To let-- actually, let me follow-- that's good in--
here's-- McCurry said just--
'cause you should know 'cause Mike is going
to be here on the 23rd.
So, Mike said that he thinks Romney wins re-election
with 51 percent of the vote, 309 electoral votes.
I give him Colorado, Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio,
New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Michigan among--
>> Wait, wait, you said, Romney is going to win?
>> No, no, Obama wins [laughter] [inaudible].
>> You said, Romney.
>> No, maybe I was just--
yes, you know, I'm rooting for Romney so it is like that.
Romney finished with 48 percent, gets 229 electoral votes.
He gets Arizona, Wisconsin, Virginia and Missouri.
So, let me ask--
>> Do I get to-- do I get to--
>> Yeah.
>> Well, yeah.
>> Yeah, yeah, yeah.
>> 'Cause he's the expert.
>> Yeah, yeah.
Well, you already said the train left the station.
>> But I don't say by how much.
[laughter & applause]
>> How many cars are crossing the station?
[Inaudible Remarks]
>> I'll say-- I'm going to say North Carolina goes to--
Indiana is a loss, but I'll say 347 electoral votes
for the President.
I'll say, 52 percent of the 2 party vote.
I'll say the democrats do not take the House
of Representatives but the republicans get less
than 225 seats.
So, they get a majority but no more than 225
and the dems holds the Senate with 52.
>> I'll also add in the giant's peak Texas
of game 7 of the World Series.
>> And Stanford wins the national championship
for football.
>> Why not.
>> Anyone associated with Stanford knows
that when USC lost to Stanford-- [inaudible]
>> 49ers in the Super Bowl.
>> -- was done.
>> So, I actually want
to ask Mark question 'cause I was teasing him.
You-- what is the-- let's talk a little
about this 'cause we haven't talked
about the congressional stuff and about what's going on
and we really want to talk about these super PACs
and what happened with the Citizens United 'cause you guys
understand all of it.
But I actually-- 'cause I was teasing Mark about Stu Spencer.
Mark is actually-- if you think about this
and these guys know it better--
these 2 know it better than anybody, to win with Bush
in 2000, when you had peace and a surplus and a good economy
and it convinced them to switch horses,
just an amazing political victory if you just think
about given the depth, what do you think that--
Jim Messina, that's the campaign manager for Obama.
Jim Messina, David Plouffe is running the campaign
out of the White House and knows--
Gaspar, all the guys who run it for Obama,
what do you think they've done
that really worked here 'cause we have sort of heard criticism
of the Romney campaign but what do you they've done that's been
really, really smart in the way they've run the campaign?
And what has Obama done
as a candidate that's really made a difference?
First, Mark.
>> Well, one thing I think that they did
that was smart was they spent early heavily
and they spent heavily early.
They did a lot of wet work in the summer
and targeted states they-- you know, they--
it was a furious assault early on and there was some part
of the Romney strategy that suggested that they have
and are counting on big money late
which I think is a misplaced strategy because I think
that sort of post-September, everything becomes white noise
in terms of the advertisement, people are tuning it out.
So, I think the return on investment after the Labor Day
and the conventions is minimal.
So, I think that that advantage, if Romney actually has it,
there's some question about that at this point now to,
I don't think is going to be the--
I don't think it's going to be as effective
as they thought it might be in the beginning.
So, I think the spend early strategy was smart
in part of Obama.
>> Anything else in particular?
Anything that Obama himself has done or anything else
that you look at the campaign and Obama was very well done?
>> You know, I think as I look at it, it's--
you know, I don't think either campaign has been
particularly bold.
And I think that's been more problematic for Romney but,
you know, I think the Obama Campaign
in many ways has been planned not to lose.
I mean they haven't been particularly risky
or bold either, but given the way
that Romney has run the campaign, that's turned
out to be smart strategy.
>> Okay, by the way, one fact you should know about Mark,
in his office in Austin, Texas, there's a great note
from Barack Obama because after the republican primary in 2008,
Mark dropped out of the McCain campaign because--
>> Well, I--
>> It's really interesting.
>> -- just, okay.
>> Tell them.
[laughter] It's in-- unique in American political analyst
for the last 20 years.
>> Well, I had known John McCain and worked for John--
I mean, I've worked
in republican politics with John McCain.
I had a great respect for him.
Wasn't particularly interested
in doing another presidential campaign,
but said that given the sacrifices that he'd made
for his country that have-- and the honor that he'd sort
of share to his work that I, if I could ever to anything
for him, I would and he asked me to do his presidential campaign,
and I said I'd help kind of set up the advertising team.
And then the campaign melt it down, they all quit and I ended
up having to run the whole thing, but for the primary--
But-- when I joined the campaign,
I had spent a little bit of time with Barack Obama, met him,
read his books and I liked it.
And I disagreed with him politically,
but I thought his candidacy would be good for the country
and so when I joined the McCain Campaign, I wrote a memo the day
that I joined and I gave it to the Senator and the senior staff
and I just said, "Listen, it's--
I'm honored to have this opportunity
to work for he Senator.
Will do all I can to get him elected in the primary,
but if in the, you know, odd circumstances which were,"
you know, nobody predicted back then
that this was going to happen.
But I said if this guy Barack Obama wins the democratic
primary, I would feel obligated to step
out of the general election, A, because for the reasons
that I just mentioned but I also said, I don't think I'd be good
for the campaign-- for your campaign
because you don't want a guy whose supposed to be your sort
of trigger man with-- you know, who's got a soft trigger.
[laughter] And you know, something was just conflicted
about it because I thought it was a historic candidacy
and as I said, I thought it would be good for the country.
I just didn't want to be the guy
out there attacking Barack Obama, so I--
and then flash forward a year and a half later,
but he'd forgotten about the memo, Obama gets nominated
and I have to walk and say, "Senator, you remember
that memo," and he was like--
[laughter] and he was very gracious about it.
It couldn't have been-- and was very hard for me to do it
at that point because, as you know,
this is blood brothers you've been through,
band of brothers you've been-- you know, spend a lot of blood,
sweat, and tears and it's very hard to walk with.
It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do
but McCain was terrific and said it'll be very un-McCain
like to not honor your word and I love you for getting me here
and God bless you, so, that's what happened.
>> Anyway Chris, your take on-- [applause].
That is a pretty amazing story.
He also has in his office the voting booths
from Palm Beach County in 2000 with the hanging chad just
in case you think everything is wonderful in this office.
[laughter] Chris, what your take in this whole--
how do they run this 'cause we're about to get
into the [inaudible] and we really grabbing it
and we really want to back about what's happened
with the super PACs and the way this whole political--
I would have-- what does this all say
about where we are politically?
I mean how would you look at the way the--
you know, the Obama guys really well, Chris, you've worked
with these guys, well,
how do you think they've run the campaign?
>> You know, look, I echo a lot of what Mark said
and what I said earlier which is I think from early on, you know,
they had a very clear understanding what a
presidential campaign is about.
I think just [inaudible] say a character test
and they've run a campaign, you know, design--
and look, the President started off with, you know, this--
even when he was down in the polls in terms of favorability
and job approval, you know, he's always maintained a high level
of personal likability with the electorate and a very high level
of trust and there was always a dissonance even when he was
at his lowest in terms of job performance right direction,
wrong direction, favorability and from how people viewed him
from a trust perspective.
And so they started off with that--
recognizing that as a significant color
of their candidacy but also recognizing the presidential
campaign assuming that it's going
to be competitive is ultimately going to come
down to this trust issue.
And they've run their campaign from the very beginning.
I think they were absolutely right to go out
and to find early and put Romney on the defensive.
But I also think-- and, you know, you raised this,
you've touched on it, that, you know, Romney Campaign, you know,
doesn't seem to understand
that that's what this campaign is about.
Hasn't run a campaign with any recognition
that they bury burden to meet that trust issue
and I think the Obama Campaign is taking full advantage of it.
On the one thing in terms of the lack of bold ideas
or big vision, I would agree with it
but with the following sort of qualification or [inaudible]
to that which is I think the Obama folks know based
on the data that they've seen, that they're in a sort
of interesting position and you saw this
with the Presidents' speech I think at the convention which is
if he goes big and bold and talks about the audacity of hope
and becomes aspirational again, that worked great in 2008,
but ironically, because I think there has been some shortcomings
in their communications as President, it is difficult
for him to do that and not risk jeopardizing
that very trust issue that they need to win the campaign on.
So people saw him at the convention and I think a number
of folks, "he gave a solid speech
but it wasn't what we expected."
>> Yeah.
>> He did in the last 3 minutes.
You sort of saw the Barack of 2008 at the end of that speech
but he purposely dialed it down because he absolutely knows
that if he lifts it up, while it would have played great
in a room and may have played great in the short term
with the media, the long-term consequences is
that with the raised questions with the voter as well,
you know, are we getting promises again
that may not necessarily be met regardless
of whether that's a fair view or not.
And so I think that they have been hamstrung and well
at least, you know, handicapped a little bit in their ability
to go big because I think they recognize
that that potentially imperils the very trust issue
that they're currently winning on.
>> I think that's a great point.
Just 2 quick things, when we're running presidential elections,
people don't vote for presidents on single issues.
They vote on a constellation of attributes
that Chris has alluded to and during the campaigns that we did
in 2000 and 2004, there were 3 primarily that we looked at.
And the most important was the perception
of being a strong leader followed closely by trust
and shares your values.
So, those are the 3 things
that voters are really looking at broadly.
And you'd think about what the President has been doing
to shore up those attributes and how Mitt Romney has failed
to really communicate in a meaningful way any
of those 3 that's been able to convince a majority of voters
to trust him that he shares their values,
or that he's a strong leader.
And to you point earlier, you're exactly right and the thing
that I ultimately-- I think is my observation, I've been trying
to figure out Mitt Romney now for-- well for a lot--
forever, [laughter] well I should say 2 years,
but it actually goes back to the 2008 campaign too
when I was trying to figure him out then.
I think in his heart, he's a very decent man.
You look at the charitable stuff that he's done.
You know, there's that line about, you know,
"True test of character is what you do
when nobody else is watching."
He's done amazing things quietly and privately.
I think he's a good and decent person.
I think that-- I think in reality,
he is more like his father and more like he was as a governor.
I think that's who he really is.
But somewhere along the way and he's--
I mean, he lived in a business that was transactional
and I think he gotten to a transactional frame of mind
about how he can win a Republican primary
and there were certain things he had to do which he did to win
that weren't really him.
I don't think it reflected his soul or his vision,
or his ideology really.
And so, the tape that came out the other day,
I think that was an example of him saying things
that he thought we're conservative audiences wanted
to hear him say, you know, and that's why it doesn't--
A, it's not true, B, it doesn't sound compassionate, and B--
and C, [inaudible] support is another thing we talked a lot
about, it's not authentic.
>> Yeah.
>> So, I think that's kind of a combination of the problems was.
>> Yeah, and I would just add to that on the Romney side, right?
A few-- and I think everything that Mark said particularly
on those character attributes that has served as--
that taking together are what folks look for, right?
There's 3 ways you sort
of project your character particularly if you're running
as a challenger, one is through your personal story, right?
Romney-- and I think at some level potentially
because of his religious background.
>> Correct.
>> Particularly
in the republican primary felt very constrained
about being able to talk about some of the things in particular
that charity which certainly would have been a signifier
of his personal character
but that very rarely was talked about, or came out.
The second in a way to talk about is what you've done
in your professional career, right?
And again, you know, I think
that there was probably an opportunity early
on to turn his professional expertise
and experience into a positive?
Talk about creating businesses, talk about creating jobs, right.
But by trying to sort of pretend like Bane was
in the witness protection program, right,
he created issues with that, right, and never got a chance
to define that and tell his professional career.
And then the third element of how you sort
of define character is by picking some specific policies
that are signifiers to what you believe in, right?
The policies in it of themselves may not necessarily be the one
that's pulling the best
or be the one that's the most important issue to the public.
But picking some issues that tell people something
about who you are as a person, the values you have,
the type of leader that you will be.
And I think on all 3 of those, you know,
he really has not done the types of things that you would do
to sort of fill in who you are as a person, as a character,
and I think that's one of the big reasons why despite the fact
that every single economic and [inaudible]
out there would suggest, he should be ahead, he isn't.
>> Maybe we can-- [Multiple Speakers]
>> No, I did-- I do.
I wanted to add a kind of completely different dimension.
I-- though I don't disagree with what either of you have said,
which is that the Obama Campaign has done something
that it has stumbled into and have--
did intentionally which is they were eventually persuaded
by changing poll numbers on a number of social issues,
that they could actually take some steps
to reinvigorate their base.
And in so doing, they got the Romney Campaign
to swing it really bad pitches.
Everyday that Romney wasn't talking
about unemployment was a bad day for Mitt Romney.
Well, he got Romney talking about immigration.
He got Romney talking about transvaginal ultrasounds.
[laughter] He got Romney talking about--
talking about same sex marriage.
He got-- so, that the Republicans have really tried
to stay away from those social issues this year
because the polling doesn't favor them
in the way that it once did.
But I thought this is where the--
and by the way, Obama was brought kicking and screaming
into some of those things.
But what the campaign has done of its own volition is,
every cork of every republican in the House of Representatives
or in state level government has been hung
on the Romney Campaign, whether it's the rape thing in Missouri
or the ultrasound things and the anti-abortion states,
or it doesn't matter what sort
of socially wacky things someone is saying,
they're hanging Romney Campaign with it
and the Romney Campaign feels the need to respond
and everyday they are not talking
about unemployment is a bad day for them.
>> Let me say one thing that I see that's picked
up on something with Mark and then Rob again and we want
to shift it and I think we should.
I think-- Mark just said it but I think it goes back
to what Chris said about how he chooses who to work for.
>> Oh, I wanted, yeah so--
>> 'Cause I think that's an--
and I said that to you guys 'cause many of you are going
to get involved in issues or campaigns or whatever
for the rest of your lives and careers I hope.
You know, I think what's really--
I have a number of colleagues who know Mitt Romney very well.
Remember, he built Bane.
He was the head of Bane before he started Bane Capital.
One of my law school classmates start at Bane Capital with him.
I have a number of friends and colleagues here in the Bay Area
who knew Mitt Romney very well, and they like him a lot.
They think he's a very smart business guy.
You couldn't run Bane and Bane Capital
if you weren't a really smart competent business guy period,
full stop, end of story.
I think the thing that goes to the transactional thing
and Joe Scarborough-- Mark have spent a lot of time
on Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough being the host of one
of the top morning political talk shows.
>> He said he's transactional?
But he also said that he's just ambitious.
So, he never really defined why he wanted to be president.
He just wanted to be president.
And I think that's a real thing
that you guys are all saying in a way too.
He's such a successful guy,
but he's never really said why he wanted to be president in--
with a-- and other than that, it was this next stage
in life that he should be.
He was the governor, he was the head of Bane, Bane Capital,
governor and then president.
And I think that goes to the transactional thing,
because on one level or another, you have a sense
of why Barack Obama wanted to be the president.
And you actually-- with George W. Bush had a sense
of why he want to be president and you did with John Kerry,
and you did with Bill Clinton certainly.
And I think that's a challenge, but I think it's a point
to everybody that ultimately,
you're off intensity is who you are.
When I know Mark and we'll talk about Mark
as a media specialist, will always say,
"Just Jim, be who you are.
Don't try to pretend you're anything that you can't be."
Because we're all who we are, and I think in terms of--
in a campaign where there's that much scrutiny
and that much media, and that much 24/7, it's a message to all
of us in how ever you [inaudible] students.
You ultimately are who you are and you have to own who you are.
You can grow, you can renew, but you are who you are and I think
if Romney was-- came out and really was who he was,
he'd be a more effective candidate.
>> Yeah exactly, and you put your finger
on the most important thing of all.
For anybody running for president, or any office,
or any business, it's all about rationale,
a clear compelling rationale.
And, you know, you'd think it's something that's so obvious
and we talk about this all the time
and there's the famous example Ted Kennedy
on 60 Minutes getting asked that question in an interview,
about why he wanted to run for president.
And failing utterly to articulate a rationale
about why he wanted to run against Jimmy Carter.
In fact, what he articulated was a good reason
to re-elect Jimmy Carter.
And yet you think about Mitt Romney and there really is
that sort of fundamental lack of a clear rationale.
I don't think the people really understand why he wants
to be president.
I wanted to just pick on what you said about candidates,
and the importance of working for people for the right reason.
I had a similar experience just in that--
in the first sort of part of my political career.
I thought that the way--
first of all, I got into it because I was passionate
about politics and so, what I did was I'd have sort
of the things that I believe in and I had my sort
of little witness test of important issues
and let's say there were 10 and I'd see, you know,
there would be a multi-candidate field and I'd find the one
that lined up most neatly, you know, who had 9 out of 10
of the things that I'd checked on my list.
And what I discovered overtime is that quite often,
I try to candidate who matched up 9 out 10, or 10 out 10,
but were miserable human beings [laughter] you know,
that I don't-- horrible ethical problems, whatever it might be.
And then ultimately, that I learned
that character is much more important.
Now you can-- we talked a lot about what does character mean
and I think people have different evaluations of that.
But I certainly came to believe and I think that a lot
of voters have the same sort of dynamic going
on when they're thinking about voting for president as well.
>> Can I give a contrary question now,
swim upstream a little bit?
Yeah, Mitt Romney should be who he is and maybe
if he was more authentic, he'd be doing better
in the general election.
Is the true Mitt Romney nominatable
in the republican authority?
>> Well, that-- I don't think so,
and I think that's why he became somebody else.
All right, so I want to try shifting the ground
to the conversation just a bit to issues of campaign finance
and the role of money in politics.
So, one of the things which both of you have touched upon is,
you know, the transactional nature of campaigning
and certainly in my sense is, not from the inside,
but from the inside of the campaign,
things are somewhat different in 2012
than they were just 4 years ago in light
of the Citizens United decision with unleashed unlimited amounts
of money that could be raised, not given directly to a campaign
but to an advocacy group that in theory can't coordinate
with campaigns, but in practice seem
to be quite closely aligned.
So, I'm wondering now what it means first
from your perspective within the campaign,
how now you manage a cam--
you know, a candidate's electoral strategy
when some very significant proportion of the money
that ostensibly is on your side is not really under your control
and you've got all these other dollars that wash
in the super PACs which can be deployed
on your behalf or perhaps not.
Again, not coordinated or maybe so.
So, what does that mean for a campaign manager
when you've got all these money on the outside, and then I want
to get you to think
about whether this is a good development
for democracy more generally.
But so first, what does it mean from a campaign structure?
They have all this money on the outside.
>> Which one of us do you want?
>> You first, Chris.
>> I'll sort of bifurcate this into 2 levels.
>> Yeah.
>> You know, at the presidential level while it's obviously a
huge-- having a huge impact out there as defined by that amount
of money that's going into it.
You know, at the presidential level I think
where you've seen the biggest impact right now
and I'll put an asterisk about this 'cause I think it's going
to evolve and manifest itself in different ways as we go forward,
but what really sort of shows itself
in this particular election is that you can have ads
like the Romney Welfare ad or the ad
that the Obama Super PAC did featuring the guy from Ohio
who you know, allegedly his wife had somehow died
because of the connections that--
>> Yeah.
>> -- to Bane.
And those are ads that probably would not have necessarily run
in the past because-- for a couple of reasons.
First of all, when a campaign does those types of ads
and there're questions about toricity or accuracy,
that can really blow back on you.
Secondly, you do an ad like that, you know,
you're negatives pop-up and there's always a battle
of positives and negatives.
And so, for those aspects, you will--
and so, you sort of have almost an--
and this a little bit of a flawed comparison
and it's always parallels to do a military analogy.
But you know, these Super PACs are almost
like the groans, right.
It could be a guy sitting in an office, you know, in Nevada,
you know, dropping a missile into a place in Afghanistan
or Iraq when you're not really right there having
to take the bullets back and the back and forth.
And that's a little bit of how this sort
of campaigns are being run now at the presidential level
in the-- I think that it's going to change
as it goes forward a little bit.
To me where the-- you know, the more sort
of pernicious impact right now is that you basically
because of a serious as Supreme Court rulings Buckley v. Valeo
which said money equals speech.
The Citizens United, you know, you've almost had
for a legalization of the sort of corrupting power of money,
you know, in the process, and I think it's beginning to mani--
really impact how our democracy, small D, works right
and we have a constitution designed to forge consensus,
to send people to the middle, to reward compromise.
You know, the current political process
because of outside money, because of the importance
of ideological group that control that,
because of safe districts, because that you now live
in a perpetual campaigns like this [inaudible] campaigns
like what's perpetually preparing for a campaign, right,
all those aspects have created market forces
which reward people going to the opposite end zones as opposed
to actually trying to forge consensus compromise solution,
so you have a Dick Lugar who when I was
in DC was considered a fairly conservative Senator
who gets thrown out of office in Indiana in a primary
because he had the temerity to actually try
to seek [inaudible] solutions and things
like the budget deficit which, you know, were in theory
in the best interest of the people of Indiana.
And so I think from a small d, democracy perspective, you know,
I do think that this is, you know,
troubling from where we are particularly given our country
is in a global economy facing enormous challenges, you know,
where ultimately regardless of what you believed,
government's role should or should not be,
the government does have to play something
for the leadership role.
And so, you've had very simple things like a gas tax
with for 50 years had been evoked that comes
up on the floor, a voice fought, and he goes on,
and it became a 4-month fight this year.
You had obviously, you know, the fiscal clip
that people are going to be looked and these are issues
that typically would not have ever gotten to the point
that they are that they do think, you know,
are very compromising to our democracy and just to put sort
of a fine point on that, you know, if you look at some
of the economic data in this country right to--
the economy slowed significantly in the second quarter
of this year when a lot
of private sector folks basically came to the conclusion
that whoever wins, you know, we are going
to have brinkmanship again when it comes to what we're going
to do on taxes and our deficit, and actually began to--
and our deficit and actually begin to retrench in terms
of what they were doing from a jobs creating perspective.
That's having a huge impact and all sorts of people out there
who don't necessarily had a voice and ultimately
that does reflect for this perversion
of a democrat process, that was probably a little bit, you know,
more of a polisci or a professorial explication
but I do see it's for manifest.
>> That will be easy in this-- [Multiple Speakers]
>> -- at Stanford so I figure I tell you-- [inaudible].
[laughter] But I don't want to be entirely pessimistic
because I do think our country has gone
through similar periods like this.
You know, reconstruction, you know,
before the progressive era, there's--
the '20s had been periods when our democracy hasn't seem
to has-- have been working as well as it should
and we figure it out, you know.
There's a reason people are willing to climb over walls
to come to this country,
we still offer things t hat no one else in the world does.
So I do you think we ultimately figured it out,
but I do think we're in one of those periods right now.
>> Mark, do you want to address this
as well any question about money?
>> You bet.
Well, first of all, I'm from the--
I went to the University of Texas so I've no idea what
that multi-syllabic word means.
[laughter] Don't know what the hell that was.
But I know at Citizens United.
[laughter] And I feel very strongly
that it is an absolutely corrupting influence
in a profound, profound way on our politics.
I mean first-- so your first part of your question,
it creates these bizarre dynamics in campaigns
where you have people who've been in the campaigns,
who'd been the campaign managers who go off
and start the committee, who are supposed to be legally separated
but they have all been working together, working forever.
So that sort of Chinese curtain is ridiculous
in the first place.
It's a curtain and not a wall.
But it also creates an odd dynamic in the campaign
because campaigns should be accountable, you know,
you should be accountable for the things you say
and the things you do or the things that are said
on your behalf and this is a legal mandate
that you not be accountable.
That there's something out there that is not accountable,
and that you can't be-- you know, legally,
you're not supposed to be accountable and so it happens
and the President can't even disavow the damn thing.
And not only not accountable but, in many respects,
it is unlimited money and we don't know
where it's coming from.
So you have this-- think how ridiculous is we have laws
that say that you can only give 2,500 dollars
to a presidential candidate.
But you can walk across the street, start a super PAC
and give it 10 million dollars.
Where is this-- where is the sense in that?
Now, what's the-- what's-- how does that really translate
into what's the real impact that--
well, the impact is that you now have--
I was going to say this is a [inaudible],
but I think it will be true and this will--
in this Presidential Election as well,
you'd have more money being spent
by special outside interest than the candidates themselves.
This is true and, I used to make this example
over the last senate race in Colorado
which is a very purposed date [phonetic], big senate race
and the Labor Unions and the Chambers of--
Chamber of Commerce and other associate interests raised
like 5 or 6 times more money
than the candidates running for that race.
So it wasn't a race between the candidates.
It was a race between the Chamber
of Commerce and the Labor Unions.
So it's becoming all special interest money and, you know,
you play that out to think what the ultimate impact is
and how you can-- you know, you can go into a state
like North Dakota, you want to buy yourself the senators,
it's not going to be that hard to do it.
>> I'll just add one thing 'cause I think this is some--
again, I think about this in the contact of you, the students.
You know, this is the first--
the last couple of years are the first time
in my political-- conscious political.
But you could--
>> Maybe we should back up
and explain Citizens United a little bit more?
>> Does everybody understand Citizens United?
>> Okay or not?
>> Okay, it's Stanford Mark, not UT.
Come on. [laughter]
>> Ouch.
>> Anyway, he can take it or your friends
for a long time trust me.
Anyway, no I think this is the thing that I want--
that I want young people--
particularly the students to think about.
The first-- and the word is the accountability thing
that Chris said, where truth doesn't matter at all,
where fact no longer matters.
What kind-- no, I really mean that.
What is this say-- I work in the media field most of the time
so you'd look at the impact of an online world where fact
and fiction can blur, et cetera.
There's issues there from an educational [inaudible]--
but what-- where are we in our society where fact
and truth no longer have any relevance and we've seen this
in the last few years at a level that's never ever,
ever been taken.
And where our-- where there is no accountability.
I mean, that's a fundamental challenge
to the basis of democracy.
That if I were 19 years old, I'll be really pissed about,
thinking about I'd live with that
for the next 60 or 70 of my life.
So one is the-- that accountability.
The second piece is this in a world that where it works
like this, where money-- where you can buy it like this,
where you can argue
that political folks will consciously spend most
of their time at obstructing some form of compromise
or consensus which they know would be--
which any sane person knows is good for the country
but because they think
in an electoral system that's been perverted by money,
they can ultimately win so we might
as well let everybody suffer for 3 more years 'cause at the end
of the day, we'll get power and push our ideology.
That's an unbelievable thought from a sort of a patriot--
I hate to use that word since--
but from what sort about a patriotic standpoint
about what's good for the country.
But where you have or you have that's--
where a Dick Lugar who Chris mentioned who I used to think
of as a conservative republican too, is thrown out because he--
because he was known to compromise around big things
like deficit reduction or how do we balance things like that.
That's a very, very fundamental issue for young people.
And I agree that with-- if there is no accountability,
because of their-- of that campaign, finances
and then the broader No Labels issue that Mark cares
so much about, we have a very,
very big cliff facing us not just in January but in terms
of the democracy you guys are going
to inherit and lead some day.
I think it's a very profound issue for us to deal
with as society, that haven't--
that the politics no one really talk about
but I think it's very accord to what's going on.
>> Gary.
>> I want to add 2 footnotes.
The first is that Mark mentioned that you can go
out and buy a senator.
You might even actually be able to buy a president.
During a republican primary process,
the [inaudible] candidacy was kept alive by one guy.
One guy. You might actually affect the shape
of the party platform, the positions
that the candidates are taking or maybe even nominate someone
through the moneys of one person.
>> Yeah.
>> That's crazy.
Then in addition, I'm glad Indiana came up.
And my apologies if there're any fans in the room but the person
who displaced Dick Lugar as the republican nominee is a moron.
[laughter] And-- no, I mean, he's like [inaudible] like--
[laughter]-- and the problem is
that when the candidates are raising money,
being [inaudible] is fatal, like people don't want to give
to a candidate who's an idiot.
They want to give to candidates they believe in or whatever.
But super PACs are just about trying to buy an outcome,
buy yourself a senator.
And so Mourdock is now famous for saying,
his idea of bipartisan compromise is democrats except
republican positions.
That's not going to work out for him.
So the idea that we've created this train wreck
for Citizens United is absolutely incapsulated
in the living breathing example of Richard Mourdock.
>> Well, can I just say one other thing that's--
that just testifies to the extent of the problem.
The Koch brothers, 2 brothers are expected to spend more money
in this presidential campaign
than the entire John McCain presidential campaign, 2 people.
>> All right, so we've been talking about the role of money,
we talked about polarization, it's not a--
not an optimistic story we're telling here about democracy
and I guess from a local perspective,
I want to add one more thing, put one more thing on the table
and get your view about it.
Despite the fact that there's all this money,
almost none of it is being spent in California,
the most populous state, the most electoral votes
and in fact the only time the candidates come to California is
to treat California as an ATM machine to raise money
for their campaign and when they--
they head back to spend it elsewhere.
n your view, I mean this is of course the world you live
in as a campaign strategist as the electoral college,
how do you assemble the number
of electoral college votes you need to win?
>> For the record, I just dealt with the popular vote in 2000.
There are other people in the campaign
who did the electoral college-- [laughter]
>> I love the electoral-- [Inaudible Discussions]
>> And butterfly ballots, no doubt.
>> Sorry, we'd interrupt.
>> No, not at all.
>> We've got this polarization.
We got the corrupting role of money.
We got a primary system which pushes candidates
to the extremes rather than to the middle,
how about the electoral college arrangement itself?
It-- should we take that as a fixed--
is that something that is consistent
with the fulsome view of democracy?
Because on the surface, it just seems odd
that the most populous nation--
state in the nation and with the most votes never sees a dollar
in political advertising at the national level.
>> I'll differ initially to be advocate
of the electoral college.
>> Well, I actually-- I would love to see reforms.
I mean I think it's a crazy system
where our candidates are going to, you know,
very lightly populated areas of the country
to determine the outcome of the presidential campaign.
We have places like Iowa and New Hampshire
which are wonderful places but they hardly reflect sort
of a broader demographic of the country so I'm--
I completely support the wholesale reform in that front
and would be open to any sort
of notions including just a straight a popular vote.
>> Chris?
>> Yeah, I mean I obviously strongly subscribe to that view
of the world and in fact, would argue if it ever happens
if he applied retroactively.
[laughter & applause] The constitution notwithstanding
but I mean I would say-- right, I mean there's--
we're here in California, right?
Everyone makes the line about it, in the ATM,
we get I think depending on any given year somewhere between 60
to 80 cents back in every dollar that we send to Washington,
the smallest of any of the states in the country
and completely believe obviously the electoral college does need
to be changed and reformed and there's various efforts.
I'm not sure what the real chances of success are,
but California still does end up exercising influence
and an impact on this campaign, you know,
in ways that you may not necessarily think about
and first of all, it is the economic engine of the country.
Now, people are talking about economic visions
and economic approaches and those ideas are coming
from California and disproportionally from right
where we're sitting, right?
In Silicon Valley, places around here.
You know, secondly, California looks
like what the country is going to look like, you know, 5, 10,
15 years and so some of the cultural patterns,
what's happening in politics,
the types of stuff that's taking place in California,
for example, the impact--
I'm sure there's something you can talk
about even more extensively of the Latino vote.
That is a foreshadowing of where this country is going.
There was no-- it wasn't just mere happenstance
that the democrat convention was chaired by a Latino,
the mayor of Los Angeles featured a keynote address
by the mayor of San Antonio and in it of itself,
having Latinos featured
that prominently impacts the national dialogue,
impacts how people are viewing these issues.
So I do think that California ends up exercising, you know,
a lot more influence than necessarily surely
through the electoral process.
We also have the largest delegation in Congress.
We also-- when you go through that primary process
and I know the democrat one better
than the republican one obviously but, you know,
a quarter to a third of every single constituency group,
the membership comes from California.
Those constituency groups end up being some
of the earliest primaries within the primary process.
So California actually does end up exercising more influence
and I think sometimes we give it credit for it when you look
at purely, you know, through the electoral college prism
but obviously I think the electoral college needs
to be changed.
>> Let me ask-- can I ask a foll--
I want to ask you guys a followup question related
to that and then in a more generic one about the election,
so the followup question to that is-- and Gary you do,
but all 3 of you guys, if the political system is as flawed
as it is right now and we can see it
in the dysfunctionality [inaudible] you said last night
Mark something that-- you know,
the do-nothing Congress passed 900 bills,
this one has passed like 100 or 115.
It's a non-believable number, the lowest in history.
>> The Congresses here has worked 44 full days.
>> Yeah, if there's a value added tax,
they want your penny in any taxes.
[ Laughter ]
>> If you run campaign, he would be very quick
with those one-liners, guys.
Here's the thing, if you could do one thing,
one thing to fundamentally change the--
I mean Mark, this is an area where, you know,
you are a major national leader, what would you do to change--
that's question number 1 and the second one is this--
>> What would you do to change what?
>> How would you change the political--
>> Okay.
>> -- you could throw out, you know, one thing,
but the second is does anyone here believe
that the public is smart enough to see that and it's going
to vote a ticket all the way, meaning republican president,
republican senator, republican [inaudible] 'cause they sort
of see this dynamic in a gridlock, does anyone believe
or that you'll get-- since you all think Obama is likely
to win, you get a republican house--
I mean a democratic house
and a democratic senate 'cause even though people,
they're just frustrated with the dysfunctionality.
So 2 questions, 1 the number 1 reform you would absolutely
insist upon, could be electoral college, whatever.
Second, anybody see a democratic house or senate
or a straight republican that [inaudible] across the line.
So they're separate questions.
Reform first.
>> Yeah, well, I think the one thing would be
to overturn Citizens United.
I do think through the work that organizations
like No Labels is doing, they're--
we're advocating a lot of kind of process reforms
that aren't ideological.
They're not designed to, you know, address the fiscal cliff
or immigration but there are so many things that are jamming
up the works of Congress, just to name a couple.
For example, we propose that there should be a 90-day up
or down vote on presidential appointments, okay.
The president should be able to put people to work
and put people in jobs.
There are hundreds if not thousands of very important jobs
in the federal government that today are unfulfilled
and hundreds of those in key jobs.
You know, the treasury secretary was over there
with his baby sitter trying to fix the fiscal meltdown
because he didn't have a staff.
I mean, it was ridiculous.
And I'm-- I was appointed by President Bush to a position
that had to oversee radio for Europe
and other American broadcast around the world in a time
of high security and really important,
I couldn't get confirmed for 4 years.
And there are just thousands of stories like that.
So up or down vote, 90 days.
Filibuster reform, that's jamming up the Senate.
I mean, there are all kinds of things that we can do
to grease the wheels and to make things work better.
You know, in some ways, I hear what you're saying
about it'd be great to--
I almost even though I have my own ideas about the outcome
of the election in some ways to break the grid lock,
I'd love for either party to just have the executive,
have the Congress, have the Senate to just break the jam,
let it go, do everything you're going to do, and then,
you know, take it from there.
>> Chris?
>> That's a great question and obviously, to the extent
that you could remove money.
I'm not sure ultimately even if you've changed Citizens United
and Buckley v. Valeo whether ultimately that's realistic
and it will always find a way to manifest itself.
I'll tell you what I would do
and it's not particularly popular with the voters with--
I would make voting mandatory.
If you're required to get a license to drive,
you're required to serve on a jury, like why shouldn't you
as a citizen of the greatest country in the only planet
that has people that we know of not be required
to actually participate in a democracy, you don't have
to vote for someone, right?
You could just check the box and none of the above.
But if the mere fact of requiring people to vote
in a democratic process will have an enormously positive
impact on the types of policies
and how our politicians conduct themselves,
and look, I'm a democrat.
I come from my progressive background.
You know, from my perspective, you know,
that people who have the smallest votes and voice
in the society, you know, would be the ones
who would benefit the most from a process
where everyone was required to vote because their vote--
their voice would be much more augmented.
>> Which is done in some countries.
>> Yeah. And it's done in Australia,
some places in Western Europe, yeah,
and that I think you can see how it reflects in their policies.
>> Gary?
>> Gary.
>> Abolish the Senate.
[laughter] I'm not kidding.
>> Professor [inaudible] over there--
>> I know, who would have thought a professor would come
out with that instead of--
>> By the way, overturning Citizens United is
certainly possible.
The rest of it, the electoral co--
that's all pipe dreams because the amendment process
which requires two thirds of both chambers and three quarters
of the state which means
that any 13 states can block the changing of the constitution
and it's in the interest of the smallest states
to block the abolition of the Senate.
It's in the interest of mostly small states
but also a few strategically placed states
to block the abolition of the electoral college.
It's not going to happen.
But the United States Senate currently awards the same level
of representation to the 480,000 residents of Wyoming,
that it does to the 38 million residents of California.
There is nothing even remotely democratic, small D,
about that arrangement.
And it was created at a time
when the 13 colonies had been functioning effectively
as independent units and were coming together to sort
of revise the Articles of Confederation in such a way
that their interests
as sovereign entities were still protected
which wouldn't have happened if you had pop--
just total, you know,
population-driven representation 'cause Virginia, New York,
and Massachusetts Bay would have dominated whatever future
Congress there was at that time.
We're not living with powdered wigs and wooden teeth.
[laughter] We do not need a second chamber.
Second chambers do 2 really crazy things.
The first is,
it's malapportioned as I just described.
So we have voters in Wyoming having 70 times the impact
on policy as a voter
in California that's not democratic.
But the second thing it does is it makes it harder for voters
to make the conscious decision agendas they're asking
that they make, that they think
through what policies set preference do I prefer
and I'm going to vote for that party.
And the reason is because we have 2 chambers
and an independently-elected executive, so you don't--
no matter who you're voting for,
you don't really know what policy is going
to come out of that.
I don't know Westminster system like the United Kingdom,
you elect the [inaudible] you know you're going
to get these policies.
You elect labor, you know you're going to get these policies.
In the United States, because of federalism and--
you don't know what you're going to get because--
in fact, two thirds of the Senate don't even change
in any given election.
So I would think about abolishing the Senate.
The other thing is that the House term can't be 2 years.
The idea that we elect anyone for 2 years
so that they start campaigning the moment they're elected
poisons the environment.
>> How about one 6-year term for the president?
>> I'm with that [Inaudible Remarks]
>> Hey Rob, what would yours be?
>> Maybe we could also put in national ballot initiative
as someone who does validation of campaign--
>> No. [laughter] [Inaudible Remark]
>> Really?
>> We've got just--
>> Rob, Rob, what would yours be?
>> In a serious note if-- right, the reality of being able
to get rid of the Senate is slim to not, right.
A national ballot initiative would effectively give you a no
confidence vote on a series of things that wouldn't--
could effectively put in place something similar
to a parliamentary system if there are the rights
for the parameters put around it?
>> Or a national ballot system can give you a nationwide Prop
13 so that we bankrupt the entire country instead
of just California.
[laughter & applause]
>> That is true, but you just talked about the positives
of direct democracy, right?
>> No, no, I talked about the positives
of representative democracy with a single chamber.
Congress has to balance a budget,
the state legislature has to balance a budget.
The problem with direct democracy is,
if you were the voters of a particular state
in a single day, you could mandate doubling expenditure
on the environment, education and social services
and having the state tax right and you could do that.
No one says you have to balance the budget as the population.
Bad idea. [laughter]
>> We've got just a couple minutes left and actually I want
to wind up our conversation here.
>> You want to make about what you do or not?
>> No, I want to get to this last--
>> Okay.
>> -- last bit.
>> Okay great, okay
>> This has been a far more depressing conversation,
[laughter] just the last 30 minutes
so that I anticipated coming in.
And because I know we have a room full of political junkies
and people who care not only about the outcome
of the election in November but about the health of democracy,
I wonder if you could not only think about this one reform
but speaking to everyone here in the audience who cares
about the health of the country
and about democracies more genuinely.
Beyond working in the political process
and getting involved either, you know, for Obama or Romney
in this particular campaign.
What can they do to affect some of these broader changes?
If you're talking to idealists and activists who want
to do something, give them some marching orders
about post-November, how they can affect some change.
>> Nolabels.org.
>> I'm-- and I'm serious about that,
I mean this is an organization that is committed
to bipartisan problem solving where we've come
out with a whole list of reforms
that congressional slated reforms, a bunch of reforms
without the executive branch.
We have 600,000 members across the country, many of them
in California, and it's getting a lot of attractions.
It's getting a lot of credibility and [inaudible]
and it's serving as a catalyst to bring members
of the opposite party together to work for solutions at a time
when we have so many challenges ahead of us.
So, that's-- and as I said, it's growing quickly.
Lots of organizations like these are popping up.
I think that ultimately democracy is a marketplace
and ultimately, the marketplace response to voters
and we're seeing enormous appetite among real voters
for members of parties to come together and workout solutions
because the problems are just so great.
Additionally, I'd say that I'm seeing a fabulous response
from people who are going around the system.
And the one I love about the generation that I see is
that while, there's a level of cynicism
about the political institutions that are familiar
and we've seen a drop off in trust for government,
drop off in trust for the parties,
growth and independent voters, that people maintain an appetite
and a commitment for change
and it is doing it in different ways.
They're doing it through NGOs and civic participation
and they're finding more meaningful ways in the private
and entrepreneurial sector to embrace
and create innovation and change.
>> Chris, that's great.
So back into this a little bit which is--
saw a really interesting statistic then
by some polisci sociologist that looked at the 1976 Election
which was a very close, you know,
basically a-1 point election.
And, you know, at that time, well over half
of the country lived in voting precincts that mirrored,
you know, where the national election was.
So, living in what we would today called purple precincts,
If you look at 2000, 2004, 2008 a little bit less
but still fairly close and I suspect 2012, you know,
less than 25 percent, you know, of the county lived or lives
in voting precincts that reflected what were very,
very close election and in fact, lived in--
the vast majority of the country lived in voting precincts
which would have been landslide, you know,
[inaudible] marching one way or the other.
And at the polarization that exists out there, you know,
you have a Fox world, you have an MSNBC world but at the end
of the day, you know, like I said, I'm still an optimist.
You know, I do think that people still are Americans,
they believe on what's unique about this country,
what's great about this country.
I actually think-- and I think this is what No Labels is
getting at, is that most people are pretty close somewhere
in the 45, 48 yard line and you set them down, you put them
in a room and they'll be able to come
up with pretty good solutions
that would make sense for the country.
And so, I guess my longwinded suggestion is, you know,
if you're from the left, now spend a little bit of time,
you know, reading what's on the right or watching what's on--
in right lane TV channels just to get a sense
of how folks are thinking and if you're on the right, you know,
do the same on the left.
But ultimately, you know,
our political leaders are called leaders
but very rarely do they actually lead.
They follow the public, right.
It's ultimately up to us, you know, people in this room,
people around the country, to provide the impetus
so that you get the type of leadership that you want.
I think that's ultimately beginning to sort
of address some of the polarization
that lives in our society.
>> Gary.
>> How many of the students in the room know Michael Tubbs?
Holy crap.
Michael Tubbs is running for the Stockton City Council.
Probably many or few of you know Rey Saldana who graduated
in 2008, member of the Stanford College World Series
Championship team, and he's now a member of the City Council
of San Antonio, Texas.
They did-- They got Stanford degrees but--
be prepared for this, they did not go into investment banking
and they did not work for Facebook.
[laughter] Don't go into investment banking
and don't work for Facebook.
[laughter] Go out there, and do something
that you actually give a damn about
and don't tell me you give a damn
about whether there is an unlike button next to the like button.
[laughter] Go out there-- go out there and do something.
And I don't care if you're on the left or the right,
but it turns out that when smart people get involved
in government, they do better things.
They do better things, whether they're
from the left or the right.
So, follow Michael Tubbs, follow Rey Saldana, and don't go
into investment banking or Google.
>> Okay, Rob, you know, typically,
when you ask this question,
and I was asking what you're thought like.
So, Tubbs [inaudible].
Thank you very much for--
and by the way, you should all send Michael Tubbs' money
'cause-- I'm allowed to say this election hearing.
Michael Tubbs needs money.
He's running for the Stockton City Council
and everybody can send them 10 dollars
and help him and get elected.
>> There's on longer the equal time provisions, so that's good.
>> That's correct.
>> And by the way-- can--
let me interject that Michael Tubbs is running
to join the City Council of a bankrupt city.
>> Correct.
>> So, he's not running because he sees this as the first step
to the presidency, he's running because he's from Stockton,
he wants to change the town he grew up in.
>> But the biggest thing I was going to say--
it's interesting that we all ended
up in the same place 'cause this is what I was thinking
and was sort of-- I was sort of asking Rob
that question earlier.
I actually think that the key to this--
'cause I agree that it got a little depressing there
when we're looking at all the problems there 'cause they are
pretty big right now.
Actually I think the key is sitting in this room
because I really do believe-- I actual-- that--
and it's the one thing that frustrated me
about the occupy stuff.
Because what I felt was-- is that whatever your position is,
wherever you are in the political spectrum,
if young people would speak out in a loud way
and a continuos way over the next few years,
you would fundamentally change the system.
It is the one voice that is not--
it has been heard in the NGO world,
it has been heard incredibly in creative entrepreneurship here
and around the country.
But is the one voice that I think would change everything.
And if young people would demand change,
it would change 'cause old people would be ashamed
of the situation that we've allowed to happen.
I'm really serious and I think--
I would put it on that 'cause this is what this class is
about, which is how do we take--
what are we going to do with our 2012 Election?
David Kennedy is going to you an amazing historical perspective
on how we got from probably 1800 to 2012
in an hour and a half next week.
But I think the big thing for everyone
and I say this 'cause we're in-- I'm with--
hang on, I'm with-- I'm for integration.
>> You mingle with your elders.
>> You're going to mingle with the elders.
[laughter] But I'm not looking at the elders as the solution,
I'm looking at you guys as the solution
but it's a loud persistent and in most cases are collected,
boys, 'cause I think this will change.
I actually am very optimistic it will change,
but I think the change is going to come from you.
>> Rob?
>> This has been a great start to our class.
So please join me in thanking our guests.
>> All right.
>> For more, please visit us at standford.edu.