Policy Talks@Google: Representative Anna Eshoo


Uploaded by Google on 14.01.2008

Transcript:

ALAN DAVIDSON: Good afternoon and welcome, fellow Googlers
and to all those who are watching this on YouTube.
I'm Alan Davidson, head of US public policy for Google,
based in Washington, DC.
And thank you for joining us today
Tip O'Neill famously said that all politics is local.
And so we really could think of a nobody better to kick off
Google's policy speaker series for 2008 this exciting
election year than our own local
Congresswoman, Anna Eshoo.
Congresswoman Eshoo has been involved in politics and
public service here in Northern
California for many years.
She's been representing the 14th District of California,
our district, since 1993, over 15 years.
She's been a Congressional leader on many high-tech and
internet policy issues.
And she's also emerged as a national leader on other
issues that many people at Google care deeply about, that
we should all care deeply about, like children's health
and green energy issues.
Early on, I think--

as somebody who's been involved in the internet
policy space for a while, I've watched Congressman Eshoo.
And she has been a real leader and one of the what I would
call most clue-full.
And that's a term of high praise here at Google.
One of the more clue-full members of Congress about the
issues that face the internet.
I think early on, she really recognized the power and
potential of the internet.
And and she's been a leader on issues, whether it was early
on on encryption policy, on issues about regulating the
internet and keeping it open and free.
More recently, she really led the charge in the last
Congress on net neutrality legislation.
She's been wonderful on patent reform and a whole host of
other issues that are incredibly important to the
whole high-tech and internet industry, and to and to Google
in particular.
I'll share one small story.
In 2006, we were in the middle of a very pitched battle, as
it were, a real fight about net neutrality.
And Congresswoman Eshoo was really one of the people who
really led that charge for us in the House of
Representatives.
But there was a very contentious
markup, it's called.
It's when a committee votes on a bill.
And there was a markup in her committee, the House
Telecommunications Subcommittee of the House
Commerce Committee, on telecommunications
legislation, in particular on this net neutrality bill.
And at the 11th hour, kind of out of nowhere, another member
of Congress, who will remain nameless, and who is really
opposed to net neutrality and to openness on the internet,
introduced what some people called the
Google killer amendment.
It was an amendment that would have--
hard to describe, but it would have really heavily regulated
search engines in particular, and us in particular.
And it happened sort of in the middle of this scrum, in this
subcommittee markup.
And it was Congresswoman Eshoo, along with
Representative Ed Markey who really immediately understood
the problems with this language, and leapt into the
fray, and actually persuaded her colleagues-- this was a
committee that was at the time dominated by members of the
other party-- and persuaded her colleagues not to vote on
would have been a very bad piece of legislation for us.
And it's that kind of understanding for which we are
very grateful to have her, both as a representative of
our district and us as a company, and also somebody who
is out there fighting for freedom and
openness on the internet.
So we're honored to have her here with us today.
She will be joined in a fireside chat by our own CEO,
Eric Schmidt.
Please join me in welcoming Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.

ERIC SCHMIDT: I have wanted Congresswoman Eshoo to come
here for a long time, because she is almost the perfect
example of a Congressperson.
She understands technology.
She understands what we need.
She understands politics.
She's long-term committed to the success of the country.
And I think it'd be interesting to explore with
you a little bit about how the world has changed so much in
your now 17 or so years in Congress.
ANNA ESHOO: 15.
I don't want you to think I've been around for a long time.
ERIC SCHMIDT: I first met Anna at the Democratic convention
in 1996, where I was at Sun, and we were carrying around--
we were doing a little radio show for the internet.
Internet radio was just being invented.
And I was struck by how much time she was willing to give
me, because no one else would give me any time.
And I never told you, but we only had about 100 listeners.
But her grace--
but the fact that she was first is an example of the
kind of leadership that she represents, I think, for our
whole district.
So I thought the first question I would ask is, this
amazing thing, from California's perspective,
happened with the Democratic transition, that you had been
in the Congress for the entire time you
had been in the minority.
So you had become skillful in operating in a minority
situation from basically 1994 until 2006.
What has changed?
You're now part of the inner group that's running Congress,
as best I can tell.
Nancy Pelosi, of course, is the leader.
And the whole team now, Ed Markey, all the people we've
worked with are now essentially in charge of
policy for the United States.
ANNA ESHOO: Well, first, it's very exciting.
But let me just say thank you to everyone.
I'm really delighted to be here.
Google is a constituent company.
I think most of you are my constituents.
And even if you're not, believe it or not, when I
vote, it has an effect on you.
So I'm delighted to be here.
I'm really happy to be here.
I'm proud of you, and what you're doing.
and what you're achieving.
This is a place where people come to visit, to be inspired,
because you're all about the future.
And everyone in the country, and people around the world,
know where this place is.
Every member of Congress thinks that their district is
the best. And of course they would.
But the other members always say, Anna's is.

So I'm really glad to be here.
It's fun.
And I know that you've had all of the big stars here,
presidential candidates.
I'm not running for president.
I'm not interested in running for president.
But I love representing you.
So what changed, Eric?
Well, first, on a personal note, the Speaker of the
House, she's third in line in the Constitution.
Imagine that we would say she.
This is the first time in the history of our country that a
woman, a Californian, an Italian-American, a mother, a
grandmother is Speaker of the House.
This is huge in terms of history.
And she belongs to us.
And she's been a friend of mine since our children were
very young.
So just from a personal slash emotional standpoint, to see
my friend become Speaker of the House of Representatives.
As I just said it, it still has an effect on me.
Enormously, enormously proud of her.
It's worth being in the majority for many reasons.

Now, my first term-- and I just want to tell you this
anecdotally.
And I was saying this to Allen and some of the people that I
met with when I first arrived here this afternoon.
When I was first elected, I became part of the Congress
with a new president and vice-president.
So was when Bill Clinton and Al Gore had just been--
they were inaugurated after I was sworn in.
And the young president and the young vice-president came
to our Congressional district.
And they came here.
They came to Silicon Graphics.
And I think it was the third month of the presidency,
either in March or April.
And they came here to announce the new administration's
technology policy for our nation.
And here we are.
Look what history has been written since then.
So my first term, the
Democrats were in the majority.
That went away real fast. And then what I think was an awful
lot of darkness, I think, visited upon the country
policy-wise and otherwise.
And sometimes I'm amazed that I stayed when I look over my
shoulder of all the different occurrences.
There are very few members of Congress in the history of our
country that have had the following two votes to cast,
impeachment and war.
Imagine that.
And when I took my oath of office in January of 1993, I
never dreamed--
I really never dreamed that those two issues
would be on my watch.
So now, after a very, long difficult struggle, we won
back the majority in the House and the Senate.
I'll start with the Senate and then say a few more things
about the House, because they'll be more positive.
And that is that when we won the Senate, we won custody of
the Senate.
And that's the bare minimum, because the Senate is not a
majority body.
And I don't want to get into government 101, but that is
the entry-level understanding that we all have to have of
the Senate.
It is not the majority body.
They have different rules.
You have to have 60 votes in order to take up an issue,
debate it, and then actually vote on it.
So there's all this run-up, including filibusters.
And those are the rules of the Senate, whether the
Republicans are in control, or whether the
Democrats are in control.
But just think of it as bare minimum custody.
In the House, the House is a majority body.
So it's 218 members.
That's the magic number.
And we have that now.
What happens when you have?
I don't think any of you would check off, I want people to
vote their party all the time.
But imagine if the Raiders and 49ers went into a stadium, but
they weren't the Raiders and the 49ers, and you just put
all of those players out on the field.
It would be chaos.
So parties are organizational.
They organize.
And it creates a team.
But there's also a basic philosophy, even though a lot
of people think that it's blurred on the Republican side
or blurred on the Democratic side.
So now we're in charge.
What does that mean?
We control the agenda.
We control the agenda.
So if there have been--
example.
Crooked contracts that have been let by the government in
different parts of the world or in the United States.
The Government Reform Committee, Henry Waxman, can
have a hearing on that.
He can write legislation and launch it as the chairman.
And he can do investigation and oversight.
You set the agenda.
You have subpoena power.
And then you shepherd these things through the committees
to the floor of the House and actually have the
votes to pass them.
Is it difficult?
Absolutely.
It always has been.
There isn't anything automatic about this.
But Congressional Quarterly examined votes cast and the
most effective Speakers at holding members together for
national policy over the last 50 years.
And Speaker Pelosi has been the most successful one in the
last 50 years.
I bet you didn't know that.
And I'm not just cheer leading.
I am a great cheerleader for her, because
I know her so well.
I have so much confidence in her.
But these are contributions for the country.
So a new energy policy was passed by the House.
We're going to go into that.
I could talk and talk.
I just give you a flavor of what it's like.
And it's exciting.
It's exciting.
Unfortunately, and I just want to--
and then we'll get back to you asking me questions and then
hopefully [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
I have a lot to tell you.
I haven't been here.
So I'm excited to be here.
Is that in previous Congresses--
and I really haven't so much experienced this, I
have to tell you--
I don't think the Democrats were great at it, because the
longer they were in power, the more they thought that the
power was theirs.
There's kind of a sin that develops with a majority.
When the Republicans took over, they very quickly fell
into that pit.
Ours was developed over 40 years of being the majority.
And what I'm suggesting is that there's not enough
bipartisanship.
And so many of the bills that we passed this last year,
important ones, were bipartisan.
But there are others--
and the biggest one, the war--
we don't have enough votes for.
So it just kind of gives you a flavor.
But you can tell I love being in Congress.
And I'm challenged constantly by my constituents.
Because this is this is the place.
This is the place.
It's the place of ideas.
So in many ways, I have to keep up with you and what
you're doing and then try to represent it well, introduce
it to other members who represent different parts of
the country.
But I love that.
And I'm energized by it.
I come home every week from Washington.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Think about the frequent flier miles.
ANNA ESHOO: Oh, Eric, who wants them?
Who wants those miles?

I'll give you some.
I've given them to people that need to come that don't have
the money to come and whatever.
But traveling is hard work now.
It really is.
I don't know, maybe you need to take over
United Airlines next.
ERIC SCHMIDT: That's not on the list, guys.
ANNA ESHOO: Not a sexy industry, I guess, yeah.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Let's get into some of the issues.
And let's start with, I think, the one that is the most
controversial, which is the war.
The rough situation is this war's been going on for three
or four years.
It's generally unpopular.
There's some evidence that the surge is working, or at least
temporarily.
If you were president, in charge of Congress and the
House, and you can just decide what to do, what would you do?
How would you solve this problem now?
ANNA ESHOO: I would begin redeploying.
I would begin redeploying.
Just some background on this.
I served-- the work we do in Congress is very specifically
the committees that we're on.
So I'm on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Very powerful committee.
You go to Google Earth, and you see planet Earth.
There's a picture of planet Earth just
outside the hearing room.
And when I went to the committee, I said, why, this
is a lovely picture.
But why is it here?
They said, that depicts the
jurisdictions of this committee.
In other words, it's really powerful and all-encompassing.
The other committee I serve on is the House
Intelligence Committee.
And so I raise that because intelligence is
the tip of the spear.
And it was abused and manipulated as a
rationale to go to war.
ERIC SCHMIDT: By whom?
ANNA ESHOO: By the administration.
By the Bush people.
That to me is hands-down.
And I think many Americans today understand that.
In fact, if you ask people if they think that we had the
right rationale to go to war, they say no.
And I think it's a tragedy.
I think it's a tragedy.
Now, very pragmatically, we're there.
What do we do?
American people are very decent.
They don't want to pull the rug out from under people.
They know that the Iraqis have suffered.
They understand that not only was the execution of the war
bungled, but also this whole issue that the American people
were not told the truth.
And so they don't want to leave the Iraqis in a lurch.
And in fact, we wouldn't.
Because that doesn't reflect who and what we are.
But what's the mission of our troops now?
Can anyone define what the mission of our troops is?
Is it to be the best policemen in Baghdad?
Is it to trying to keep the warring factions apart?
And then what?
What is it?
When we commit people to war, they give their lives.
They give their lives.
2007 was the bloodiest year yet.
Now, the surge has tamped down on the violence.
I think maybe sometimes Democrats don't want to
acknowledge that.
I don't know why.
You just acknowledge that it has tamped
down some of the violence.
But, you know what, if we put 30,000 to 50,000 police
officers into a major urban area, you
know what would happen?
It would tamp down violence and crime.
So of course it has helped with that.
But that's not the issue.
The issue is the presence of America there.
I think that this has--
this is my opinion, obviously--
I think the invasion, and the presence, and the occupation
there has really been a gift to the terrorists
that really hate us.
Because we have organized them in a way that I don't think
they could have imagined when we began all of this.
And at the beginning, and in the run-up to the war, I said
to colleagues, we do this, if we do this, it's going to
strengthen Iran's hand.
And you know what?
They laughed at me.
Many of them [UNINTELLIGIBLE] what are you talking about?
Where you getting that from?
And I think that it has.
And I think it's destabilized that part of the world.
It'll take anywhere from 10 to 12 months-- that's what the
military says--
to redeploy.
But I think that the monies that are approved by the
Congress should be monies that are going to support a plan to
bring our troops home safely an honorably.
And that when they come home, that we give them what they
need, and certainly what they've earned.
So you can tell how I voted.
But I want to tell you something.
It wasn't popular to vote against the war resolution.
It really wasn't.
It wasn't.
I got a lot of push-back from constituents.
Some said that I wasn't patriotic.
I did not think that it was the right policy.
I don't think preemption is befitting of our country.
And I thought the policy was dangerous.
I thought it would have broad and bad implications.
And I said on the floor of the House, I hope I'm not right.
I hope I'm not right.
So this is where we are.
Whomever's elected president is going to have
to deal with it.
ERIC SCHMIDT: And whichever president will have to deal
with this, as you describe.
ANNA ESHOO: Right.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Let's talk a little bit about
the domestic situation.

The Congress, when you were in the minority, passed a series
of tax cuts to stimulate the economy.
There's a lot of issues that have been raised
about all of that.
A lot of other things have been going on with respect to
domestic policy that you now have a chance to really
affect, either by blocking or by influencing President Bush.
And whoever is the ultimate president will have to deal
with you all in any case.

Are we going into a recession?
Is Congress going to act in any meaningful way to address
any of the structural imbalances that people are
complaining about?
What are the you're going to take over the next few years
to try to make sure the domestic
situation is a good one--
jobs, good growth, et cetera.
ANNA ESHOO: Well, this question belongs to all of us,
not just me.
Because the next President of the United States is going to
be the largest determinant in terms of policy direction and
the proactive presentation of policy to the Congress.
And then Congress--
Congress is not-- you should know this--
it's not a proactive institution.

It isn't.
It it goes to all jokes and the bad things that are said
about Congress.
But I thought before I got there that it would be.
And I very quickly learned that it's not.
It is not proactive.
It's reactive.
And so the elections are going to set a huge tone and a
policy determination.
Maybe not the specifics, because Congress is the one
that writes the legislation.
The Congress funds the policies.
And there are always--
even if it's all Democrats, they're still going to scrap
about different things with one another.
So this question belongs to all of us, who the next
President of the United States is going to be.
Look what they're talking about.
Number one on the mind--
I can tell you my constituents, I hear from
8,000 to 10,000 constituents a month.
It's the highest number of contacts of
any member of Congress.
8,000 to 10,000 constituents a month.
Imagine that?
And you know what?
I read it all.
You probably don't believe me, but I do.
Because I need to hear where people are.
And then we can talk about outreach, and how we do it,
and what you're doing to beef up all the campaign tools.
So the war is going to have to be dealt with.
This will be over a trillion dollars in terms of cost.
First is the cost to our precious troops, both their
injuries, what their families are going through.
This is long-term.
Long-term.
This is not going to go away, even if every last one of
them, we bring them home.
So the war is one.
Domestically, people are very worried about the economy.
Eric, I'm not an economist. I'm a very pragmatic person
about where I think investments should be made.
And then when it comes to be the huge economic issues,
there are others that weigh in on that.
And I'm being very frank with you.
But I do think that legislation is going to come
up this year on a slice of our economy by which we measure
our economy.
And that's housing and the whole issue of the subprime
market and foreclosures.
There are two bills, one in the Senate, one in the House.
I think in the first half of this year that we'll reconcile
those bills and send legislation to the president.
Now, all of this, there's a delayed reaction before it
actually has an effect.
But it's something important for us to do.
I think what we constantly have to--
do, anyway.
This is where I come from.
Is that we make the investments now that are going
to serve us long-term for our country.
There's plenty of short-term stuff around.
There are the fiscal quarters for companies.
We have to deal what we have to deal with day in day out.
And so there's plenty of short-term term stuff that we
can talk about and we know we have to do.
I like the long-term stuff.
That's why I helped develop what we call
our innovation agenda.
And so the '09 budget, we're going to be looking at
funding, and certainly the Office of Science.
Because that's not something the private sector does.
It's really a national role.
And the federal government funds this.
So children's health care.
We still have to go--
why a President of the United States would ever veto
legislation that insures children in the country.
Imagine that.
Want me to tell you story about that?
I was at the White House not all that long ago.
And it was a nice occasion, because the president was
signing my bill on a moratorium--
it's the longest moratorium got.
And I wanted permanent.
But it's a moratorium on internet access taxes.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Can we stop and congratulate this?
This is amazing.

Something that we worked on in the late '90s that you managed
to get through.
ANNA ESHOO: We started then.
It started them.
So it's great.
See how it takes time?
But he signed it into law the day that the
moratorium was expiring.
So, typical of Congress, we got just in under the wire.
But at any rate, I went over to the White House.
Was invited to go there for the bill signing, which is
very nice, obviously.
There's nothing that you ever take for granted when you look
up at the Capitol and if you're at the White House.
It's always moving.
Regardless of who's there, you're still
overwhelmed by it.
We're citizens of this country, and what that
represents is extraordinary.
So anyway, we go in.
They say, the president is in his office.
We go into the Oval Office.
And it's nice.
He couldn't have been nicer.
He was happy as a clam.
And so it's toward the end of the day.
And I went over to his credenza to look--
I love to look at pictures, even if I don't
know who's in them.
I did know who was in the family pictures, because his
grandfather--
I was born and raised in Connecticut.
His grandfather was our US Senator from Connecticut.
So all of a sudden, who's standing there but himself?
And he, do you know who's in these?
You know who that is?
Do you know who that is?
I said, I do.
I do.
I said, that's your grandfather, Prescott Bush,
your grandmother, your mother, your father.
And they were holding president, today's president,
George W. Bush, as a baby.
And he had cute little cowboy boots.
On he said, look, look, who's that?
Who's that?
And I said, oh, I said, just precious.
I said, you're so precious.
And he said precious, precious?
I said, then.
Not now.
Not now.
Not now.
So we had some fun together.
I really didn't know what to-- he wanted to talk.
And I thought, what am I going to say to him?
And meanwhile, these other members want
face time with him.
I was happy looking at the pictures.
So at any rate, I asked him what he had done that day.
I said, tell me what you did today.
He said, I'll tell you.
So he whips out his schedule out of his pocket.
And he starts going through it.
And he said, and then I went to such and such an
organization to speak to them about SCHIP, the Children's
Health Insurance Program.
I said, Mr. President, this is so wrong what you're doing.
This isn't right.
This just isn't right.
He said, I know you don't agree with me.
And I said, Mr. President, you have a prayer framed over
there on that dresser.
And I said, what you're doing doesn't match that prayer.
And then he went on to the rest of what he did that day.
So I think that's an interesting story, don't you?

ERIC SCHMIDT: When we talk about--
it I'm glad you mentioned it, the internet tax thing,
because you have been pushing much of the fundamental
legislation that has enabled the technology industry.
You have worked with us on broadband.
You have worked with us on internet taxes.
You have worked with us on H-1 visas.
Since you're part of the core team, give us a sense of over
the next year or two, what are the next battles that will
favor technology and technology industries and the
internet as a whole?
What are you working on for the internet?
ANNA ESHOO: I hope what you all hear is not--
it is a compliment.
And I appreciate it.
But my philosophy in all of this is, I don't know all of
the innards of what you do.
When I read about cloud
ERIC SCHMIDT: Computing.
ANNA ESHOO: --computing, I thought, this brings a new
meaning to head in the clouds.
It's fascinating to me.
And at the same time, it makes sense.
Because I think there's such a duplication or a
redundancy of equipment.
And so you're putting it someplace else.
It's better for the user.
It's open.
There's more accessibility.
It could be cheaper.
I like that.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Have you ever heard a member of Congress
actually describe our strategy to us in front of us?
That's wonderful.
ANNA ESHOO: And I'm democratic, with a small D. I
don't think anyone should stand in the way of what a
consumer wishes to consume, how
they wish to use something.
And so that's the way I operate.
Net neutrality, net neutrality is so important.
I think we named this thing the wrong way.
I don't know whoever came up with this term.
And I've said it to Alan many times.
Because it's like, what the hell is net neutrality?
We should have had something--
I don't know who coined it.
But at any rate, we're going back at that this year.
And the legislation is going to be broader so that we can
get broader support.
I think if we have a Democratic
president, maybe even--
I don't want to think myself that it's going to be
Republican.
But I think that an enlightened president is going
to know that this is for the future of our country.
There are huge interests against this.
And you know what?
It's always about money.
It's always about money.
There's no quarrel in this.
But there are some that don't get the open access and what
this will contribute in terms of broadband for our countr.
Imagine, we don't have broadband policy for this
great nation.
Can you believe that?
It's unbelievable to me.
So we have work to do.
And I hope that we will be even more successful on net
neutrality in 2008.
There is a bill.
I'm an original cosponsor of it with Ed Markey.
You should have--
Does Ed Markey come here?
ERIC SCHMIDT: Yes.
ANNA ESHOO: Isn't he fabulous?
Did you hear him?
With that Boston accent?
He's a character.
He really is.
He's very, very smart and able, though.
So we'll work on that.
Patent reform is very important.
That's kind of the blueprint of how people can operate in
the country.
The pharmaceutical companies don't like what we've done.
But you know what?
There's always someone that doesn't like what you do.
And we passed a very good bill in the House.
It's come out of a Senate committee.
And I think we could get a patent reform bill.
I think the president will sign it in.
And that's a good sign.
Because it is such a complicated area.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is a real leader in that.
And she deserves a great deal of credit on that.
ERIC SCHMIDT: And actually, she's coming over
to see us in a bit.
ANNA ESHOO: That's great.
That's great.
So let's see, what else?
Net neutrality.
All the privacy issues are large.
And as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I know
I've done battle there to not only protect our national
security, but that we honor our Constitution.
The issue of privacy wasn't born with the dot com
generation.
But I think more than any other generation,
you really get it.
Because there's an application across the board, not only
with the government, but how government
weighs in with companies.
They want to take your information.
They want to know how long you keep it.
They want to know what you do with it.
Well, what are they going to do with it?
What are they going to do with it?
And there been, I think, many violations along the way.
I can't tell you everything that goes on at the
Intelligence Committee.
But I can tell you that I wasn't for granting immunity
to the telecommunications companies.
I don't know what they--

how do we know?
How do we even know what they gave them?
And you know what?
There is structure, a legal structure that the government
could have gone through in order to have created a legal
zone for the telecommunications companies
to give information at a very, very tough moment in the
history of our country.
But grant immunity, to whom, for what that we don't know,
and make it permanent?
I think that's pretty bad precedent.
So I think I'm wandering off the range here.
But you can tell--
ERIC SCHMIDT: Well, every one of these is
right on our agenda.
ANNA ESHOO: These are really big, big things.
ERIC SCHMIDT: I have one final question.
But I'm sure people have comments or questions.
ask people to line up.
And I'll ask you my final question.
Which is--
let's just talk politics here.
We've got the--
ANNA ESHOO: I love it.
ERIC SCHMIDT: And you're the expert.
ANNA ESHOO: I don't know about that.
ERIC SCHMIDT: We've got a primary on February 5th, where
Google, of course, is encouraging everyone to vote,
Republican or Democrat, whichever candidates you like.
We've got Super Tuesday.
We've got these elections before.
Looks to me like it's a food fight on both the Republican
and the Democratic side.
And what do you think is going to happen?
Who are you supporting?
Give us your read.
ANNA ESHOO: I knew I wouldn't come out of here without
someone asking me all of this.
And I'm excited.
Because a year from now, we'll have a new
president, number one.

And I want--
I think the country wants a great
president and a good president.
The American people, I think, have an inner exhaustion and
pent-up frustration.
Because people, especially young people, have an
unobstructed view of where we need to go and where we need
to land and the best ideas about how to get there.
So that's what this year is about.
That really is what this year is about.
So what do I think?
I think I don't know, given the outcome of Iowa and the
outcome of New Hampshire.
What both of those, a caucus and a primary, I think tell us
is that this is going to be a big battle.
It's heavily contested.
And it is on both sides.
And for the first time, I think, on the Republican,
since 1950--
this is wide open.
There isn't any heir apparent, unless people think that
Hillary Clinton wears that mantle.
But I think it's a little different category.
So it's mixed up.
And I think it's very healthy.
I do think it's very healthy.
And I think that whomever the two nominees are, they will
have really worked hard for it.
They will have really worked hard it.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Do you think we'll know on February 5?
ANNA ESHOO: No, I don't think.
ERIC SCHMIDT: You don't?
ANNA ESHOO: No.
But what do I know?
I'm just guessing.
I'm just guessing.
And I say I'm not sure about it because in the top tier of
Democrats--
and I think that John Edwards is in there, but I don't think
he's bringing to the table what Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton are.
I think we can probably all stipulate to that.
I don't know.
And I'm not saying it against him.
It's just an observation.
They are both very well-funded.
And they're both--
they're heavy contenders.
They're heavyweights.
And so unless there's some kind of breakout trend in
South Carolina, Michigan, and that-- but I don't--
right now, I don't see it.
I think that there's a real push and pull.
And let me just say this to you.
I thought of this some time ago.
Just imagine this.
If Hillary Clinton hadn't been as anxious to run for the
Senate and file, go to New York and offered herself as a
candidate for the United States Senate in New York when
Senator Moynihan was retiring, and had gotten into the next
cycle and gone back to her home state of Illinois, there
would not have been a Barack Obama.
Isn't that interesting?
I'm fascinated by having thought of that.
So I don't know.
I think it's mixed up.
I think it's great.
I haven't come out for the candidates that
are in the race now.
Boy, do I pick them--
but he's my friend.
They're all my friends.
But he's been a longtime friend, Chris Dodd.
And there was a wonderful piece on Joe
Biden and Chris Dodd.
I don't know whether it was in the Post or The New York
Times, or whatever it was.
But paid tribute to their knowledge and their
experience.
So I don't know whether I'm going to endorse anyone.
But I'm going to vote in the primary.
I'm not going to tell you for whom yet.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Our first question.
AUDIENCE: You mentioned exhaustion.
I call it outrage fatigue.
And it's been seven years.
And when you said, we're going to have a next president a
year from now, I'm not even sure of that.
I really don't put it beyond this guy to
declare martial law.

ERIC SCHMIDT: You would not be a President Bush supporter.

AUDIENCE: No.
Very perceptive.
That's why you get the big bucks.
ANNA ESHOO: Did you hear that?
Did you hear that, Eric?

AUDIENCE: We could be at war with Iran tonight, for all we
know, for some Gulf of Tonkin type thing.
And I know you get requests daily to impeach these guys.
And what do you say beyond, well, we don't have a
super-majority in the Senate?
We're in big trouble.
And know eight years ago, a blow job was impeachable.
But now displacing millions of Iraqis, killing hundreds of
thousand people.
How high does the bar have to be?
ANNA ESHOO: I think the call for impeachment is borne out
of all the things that you described.
And I recognize that.
And not for one moment do I differentiate between us in
terms of all those emotions, where you're angry, where
you're frustrated, where you're disgusted, where you
think, I can't believe that these things are happening.
So I have not carried any brief for this administration.
But I think some people I think that I do or have
because I'm not for impeachment.
And let me tell you why.
I've been through it.
I've seen what it's done to the country.
I saw what it did to my constituents.
It pitted people against one another.
It tore at a very essential part of the
fabric of our country.
And I know all counter-arguments.
What he did was-- what Clinton did, and whatnot.
I'm just telling you where I'm coming from--
AUDIENCE: It's cause.
There's impeachment for cause.
ANNA ESHOO: Not to debate it.
You asked me, and I'm telling you.
And it's a blunt instrument.
It's a blunt instrument.
And everything comes to a screeching halt in the
Congress when impeachment is taken up.
Just go back.
Do a Google search on it.
And so I've come down on the side that, A, I want to get
things done in the Congress.
We have a new-found majority.
I think I have an obligation to optimize that for my
constituents.
This guy is going to be gone.
And it would take longer to launch impeachment
proceedings.
And at the end of that process, and what the country
goes through, the votes are not there to impeach him.
So that's where I am.
And I know that there are a lot of people that
disagree with me.
I know that, and I respect it.
It would be easier for me to say, I'm for it, and not have
people hit me upside the head.
But that's where I am.
AUDIENCE: And then Dick Cheney's president anyway.
ANNA ESHOO: That's right, yeah.

There's a joke--
ERIC SCHMIDT: So you would not be a Dick Cheney fan either.
ANNA ESHOO: Yeah, yeah.
AUDIENCE: I was just making an observation, Eric.
ANNA ESHOO: There's the joke, do you know what would happen
if President Bush were impeached?
And the answer is that Dick Cheney would be president.

But it's a heavy thing.
So that's where I am.
What's your question?
AUDIENCE: Congresswoman, I want to thank you very much
for being here today.
ANNA ESHOO: I'm delighted.
AUDIENCE: I'm not going to talk about who I'm in favor
for for the president or the nomination.
And I think there are legitimate criticisms of
Hillary Clinton.
But I've been absolutely appalled at the undercurrent
of sexism in almost everything I've read.
They write about her wrinkles and call her a
tired, aging woman.
When they write about Fred Thompson's wrinkles, he's a
grizzled, leathery cowboy.
And I wanted to--
and whenever you say that, oh, you're just
playing the victim card.
I wanted to know your opinion of that, both in the
presidential run right now, and also how sexism has
affected your own career.
ANNA ESHOO: It's a wonderful question.
And I'm pleased that it's coming from a man.

ERIC SCHMIDT: There's a few.

ANNA ESHOO: Let's see how I can answer you.

Our country has made progress in some areas in fits and
starts about when--
make the decision of who really kind of cuts the
mustard in order to do the job.
And for a very long time, women were very successful at
running for school boards.
Why?
Because they were active in the PTA.
They raised children.
They nurture children.
And so the public saw that as a natural.
They'll be all right there.
What can they break?
And they know something about it.
So it's taken many years for the public confidence to grow
and that women be judged by the same
yardstick as anyone else.
Now, is it easy?
No.
I have to tell you that I still believe that--
and I know.
I experience it every day in Congress, a majority male
body, that I have to work harder, and that I'm measured
in a different way.
But I decided a long time ago that's all right.
You set the highest standard, and you know what?
I'll go past it.
I'll go past past it.
You see?
So I can't spend time by the side of the road saying, oh my
god, did you hear what so-and-so said?
Although I love to tell my House stories, because they
are what they are.
I have an obligation to represent people and get
things done.
Now you see the country trying to adjust to--
I think there's been a great deal of maturity on the part
of the country in terms of Hillary Clinton's candidacy.
But I have said to close friends, buddies,
and I'll say it here--
you are my constituents and my friends--
that I have debated with myself about whether the
country is more racist or sexist.
And so there will be manifestations of that.
We are not rid of this yet.
We're growing, we're growing, we're growing.
And I think that Barack Obama's candidacy is nothing
short of extraordinary.
Because--
it gives me goosebumps trying to say it, because there are
people around the world that see in him--
when they look at him, they see themselves.
And women fought back very, very hard in New Hampshire and
really created the win, the 2% win.
But she needed the win to stay in the--
it would have been the biggest body blow if she
had lost New Hampshire.
So we're still growing.
We're not out of these things yet.
And so, in the history of our country, in our day, in our
time, in 2008, we're going to have more growth.
But meanwhile, they're going to talk about wrinkles.
I don't think any of you will say that about me.
But it's the way it is.
It is.
It still is for so many people.
I experience it every day.
ERIC SCHMIDT: That's an extra extraordinary answer.
And if you think about the Bay Area majority, majority women
in Congress, two Senators.
ANNA ESHOO: And the California Democratic delegation is for
the first time in the history of our nation
a majority of women.
Isn't that something?
ERIC SCHMIDT: Next question.
ANNA ESHOO: Nice to see you.
What's your name?
AUDIENCE: Michael.
I recently came across two interesting concepts by John
Dean, who was the chief counsel to Richard Nixon.
And I was just wondering if you could comment on--
it's hard for me to even know how to validate them.
So just I was wondering if you could comment on them based on
your experiences.
He has one, the concept of a unitary executive branch,
where there's been a concerted push by neocons, basically,
from Reagan until present to concentrate power in the
presidency and kind of work in secret.

There's a lot more secrecy because these people have
something that basically 75% of Americans would disagree
with if they actually knew what these guys were up to.
And that goes along with that is this notion of an
authoritarian follower personality type, which tends
to be-- this person claims, or the research that he cites
claims, a personality type where you tend to be basically
a conservative neocon, and you take a position that's a set
of axioms. And you don't think too hard about it.
It's more an ideology versus being data-driven.
And you're very Machiavellian in your pursuit of your goals.
And you just do anything that you can to get to your goal.
And one manifestation of this is maybe we see fewer
whistleblowers now in the Bush Administration than we used to
see in the '70s and so forth.
Is there any validity here?
What are your observations on this?
ANNA ESHOO: Well, you've asked a lot of big questions.
First, many of you don't even remember John Dean.
But I was a young mother watching
the Watergate hearings.
And so I remember him testifying.
And so now you may be familiar with him because he does
commentary on some of the networks and cable stations.
And he's written a book.
What is fascinating to me about what John Dean says now,
looking over his shoulder and having experienced the history
of the Nixon administration, and what his commentary is now
about the Bush administration, many of us thought--
or were shaped or seared by the experience of Watergate.
Because it was a signal--

well, I don't even know what the adjective is to describe
it, where a president really was challenging the
Constitution.
And there was a huge struggle.
and I've never experienced that in my lifetime.
And other people hadn't.
And that's why it remains with us.
And so does John Dean.

It's fascinating to me that his analysis of this
administration is--
we thought Nixon was secretive.
He wouldn't give up the tapes, right?
That this is the most secretive administration in
the history of the country.
And then the damage that occurs with
that kind of secrecy.
Because we're an open society.
It's the greatest blessing that we have. It's also our
vulnerability, given what we face in
terms of global terrorism.
The other part of it that you raise is the power of the
presidency.
And there is no question.
And historians, I think, have documented this and documented
well that the Nixon administration, not only by
Nixon himself, but those that were in key positions--
Dick Cheney being one of them-- and he was really
shaped by what they were about and the mark that they wanted
to leave. And that was in many ways what we call today or
refer to the imperial presidency.
And many of those same players that were part of that
administration have come back into this one.
Now, I would just caution you, though.
There isn't any person that's become President of the United
States that has said, you know what, I think we should shrink
the powers of the presidency.
So it's going to be fascinating to me as a citizen
and a member of Congress to see what the new
president will do.
And that's where the Congress is so important.
That's where the Congress is so important, that we retain
the balance that the Framers not only dreamed of, but set
down, and what we've operated by, that there be equal
branches of government.
But I would not automatically make an assumption that with a
new president, even with a Democratic president--
I don't think the secrecy will be the same, but in this area,
I don't know.
We're going to see.
I hope I've touched on what you asked about.
AUDIENCE: This may be cheating.
And feel free to discard this question.
ANNA ESHOO: No, Eric was going to do that.
AUDIENCE: But you mention the importance of Congress, which
I wanted to key in on.
And checks and balances, for me, regardless of your
ideology, you have to support the notion of checks and
balances, especially when we see what happened over the
last eight years.
What happened with Congress and the war with Iraq?
Where were the checks and balances there?
How did they pull that off?
ANNA ESHOO: Didn't question enough.
There was timidity.
The winds were blowing very, very hard.
And the administration put out the information.

If I just came up to you right now, and I said, this is a
threat, an imminent threat to the United States of America,
and this is what you need to do, would you start asking a
lot of questions?
Would you feel, oh my god, this is what I've been told.
And it's our country.
It's our democracy, the Republic, and whatever.
60% percent of the House Democrats voted against the
war resolution.
But what I would recommend to you is-- it's a fascinating,
fascinating examination, the documentary that Bill Moyers
did of the examination of the media and the press in the
run-up to the war.
I felt like someone had just punched me in the gut.
Because it reminded--
I tried to go to sleep.
I thought, why are you so upset?
You already kind of know this.
But it was that I was reliving every
single day in the run-up.
And it's extraordinarily powerful.
You can tell where I am.
I can just tell you where I am and why I am where I am.
ERIC SCHMIDT: We're in the process of
running out of time.
So I want to make sure we get our questioners.
So if we get a quick question, go ahead.
AUDIENCE: Quick question.
A question about foreign policy and intelligence.
The country that most concerns me in the Middle East isn't
Iran, but Pakistan.
My belief is that Pakistan is an army with a country.
And there's some evidence to suggest that its army has been
compromised with Al Qaeda sympathizers.
So as a member of the intelligence community, how do
you deal with Pakistan?
You trust them as an ally?
Are they credible?
Do we have to have a different approach?
ANNA ESHOO: It's a great question.
And I would take it up to the ultimate notch.
They have nuclear weapons.
And that's an elite club in the world.
You're in an elite club if you have nuclear weapons.
So this is more than menacing.

We get briefings at the Intelligence
Committee on Pakistan.
And we'll have more when I go back, because it's
ever-changing.

We are partners with someone that is that once described as
embracing democracy but playing footsie with the other
side, in order--
this is Musharraf--
in order to stay in power.
So we don't have the best of all worlds.
Because neither one is either correct or attractive.
So in my view, this is where some hardcore pragmatism has
to be applied.
Because you can't just operate with theories.
It's very important for our national security and our
national security interests that Pakistan and its nuclear
weapons not fall into the hands of those that really
want to do us the greatest harm.
So where there were calls on the part of some members of
Congress that we withdraw all funding, that we do--
I'm not for that.
And these are not attractive things, because, as I
described, who's there and how he's conducted himself, to
challenge the Supreme Court, to arrest all the legal
scholars and lawyers.
Some people like that.
Get rid of the lawyers.
But at the end of the day, we want the best lawyer on one
side of us, the best doctor on the other.
So I think that we have to be very pragmatic in this.
But we also--
you see, this is what happens when you have a blurred
message as a country, that how critical democracy is.
And I know many scholars, because I've attended
conferences is with them, whatever, and we're online
constantly about what's going on there.
As the Brits would say, this is a sticky wicket.
So those are some of my thoughts.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Our next question quickly.
ANNA ESHOO: I don't think there's a
silver bullet in this.
There's not just one answer.
AUDIENCE: You mentioned a need for more bipartisanship.
It's been said that, given the challenges of the next
president, it might be as hard a job since FDR's first term
in the Depression.
Kyoto expires.
Bush's tax cuts expire.
The first of the Baby Boomers retire, forcing enormous
pressure for change in health care and Social Security,
never mind Iraq and all the rest of it.
True bipartisanship or post-partisanship, as Mr.
Obama would like to say, is always
desired, but so, so hard.
Outside of a world war, it almost seems like you don't
really get it.
What elements of that have you seen in your career?
And what scenario can you even envision for a recipe of that
truly coming together in this next term?
ANNA ESHOO: It's a very important question.

In any relationship, you have to have a
willingness on both sides.
Whether you're married, whether you have a partner,
you know that in relationships.
You put a huge multiplier on that in terms of how we
function there.

I saw how President Clinton--

this was my experience, how every time there was a meeting
on an issue at the White House, or when the White House
Congressional people would come to the Hill, they always
included Republicans.
They always included Republicans.
A very important model.
Because I think when it's all one party, it can be conducted
well and admirably.
Or one side can say to the other, you know what?
Just give you the freeway salute, in plain English.
We have the votes.
We don't need you.
We don't have to talk to you.
We don't have to operate with you.
And that's what's happened.
And it's very unhealthy.
Don't underestimate for a moment what the country says
and what they give to the next person that's president, how
they have run, the issues that they carry, and that the
stronger their hand, the better that hand is to deal
with the Congress.
And from the beginning, I remember Dick Armey saying to
me, your president.
Imagine someone saying, your president.
No matter how much I love being a Democrat, I've never
thought that the president is just my
president or somebody else's.
It's our president.
But I remember Dick Armey saying to me, your president
didn't even get 50% of the vote.
And we're going to make sure that he gets even less.
So you see, from the get-go, it was like this.
So the next president and the built-in fervor of the
American people on these issues will give the president
a strong hand to deal with them and help solve them.
We do these things, you know.
Just because they're unaddressed doesn't mean that
we can't or we don't know how.
It's the willingness.
ERIC SCHMIDT: What I'd like to do is I want to make sure we
hear our two last questions.
Maybe--
ANNA ESHOO: I talk too much.
ERIC SCHMIDT: No, no.
We want to hear you.
ANNA ESHOO: I talk too long.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Maybe we could ask each of you to ask your
question, and then you can give a combined answer.
And do our best. So say your question.
AUDIENCE: I'm on a slightly different topic.
Do you do your own taxes?
ANNA ESHOO: Do I do my own taxes?
AUDIENCE: Do you do your own?
ANNA ESHOO: No.
AUDIENCE: Do you use a tax program?
ANNA ESHOO: I wouldn't dream of doing my own taxes.
AUDIENCE: Why not?
ANNA ESHOO: It terrifies me.
AUDIENCE: Is the tax code too complicated for you?

ANNA ESHOO: No, because I don't have
a complicated portfolio.
I never have. I'm not--
I just don't have a complicated portfolio.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Was that your question?
Or was that leading to something?
ANNA ESHOO: And let me tell you why.
Let me tell you why.
Not why I have an uncomplicated portfolio, but
why I have an accountant do it.
ERIC SCHMIDT: But maybe we want to find out why he wanted
to ask this question.
AUDIENCE: Well, curious why the tax code is so insane.
ANNA ESHOO: Well, I know why.
He wants the tax code redone.
Sure.
First of all, I wouldn't know how to navigate it.
And B, I don't want to spend my time doing that, because I
have other things I have to do.
But C, holding public office, if there is one blip, and you
see that on the front pages of the newspaper, you're going to
run me out of town on a rail.
So I have to tell you, that scares me.
But the bigger story is about its complexity.
And I don't know.
You know what?
I think it's become kind of a campaign slogan, where
candidates say, we're going to un-complicate this.
And we're going to rewrite it.
And who can figure it out?
I think there are other things that will be done before that
is, to tell you the truth.
Now, do I think there are going to be changes to the tax
code itself?
Yeah, I do, starting with the gigantic tax cut that has--

I don't think it was the right way to go policy-wise.
At least I touched on it.
I think I got to what you were suggesting.
ERIC SCHMIDT: You have the honor of the last question.
AUDIENCE: I'm wondering about a House resolution you voted
in favor of back in, I think, May of 2007 which would amend
the Sherman Antitrust Act to make illegal foreign oil and
petroleum exporters, specifically OPEC.
And I was wondering what the justification for that was and
if you think--
ANNA ESHOO: You know what, we have to--
I don't even remember the vote, I have to tell you.
AUDIENCE: Ah, OK.
ANNA ESHOO: And don't hold that against me.
I need your name, your email address.
And I'll go back and look at it.
I don't remember it to give you a sane answer right now.
I'm not going to make something up.
ERIC SCHMIDT: What I want to do is--
we ran over, but I think Anna's support message is just
so fascinating.
I appreciate you guys running over.
Thank you for staying so much longer.
ANNA ESHOO: Thank you, Eric, for your hospitality.
Thank you, everybody.