2010Google Politico Entire


Uploaded by citizentube on 28.09.2010

Transcript:

JONATHAN CAPEHART: Hello everyone, and good afternoon.
I'm Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post Editorial
Board, and also an MSNBC contributor.
On behalf of Google and Politico, I want to welcome you
to Innovation and Democracy, A Preview of the 2010
Midterm Election.
Today we're here at the museum, and we have a distinguished
roster of guests to share their insights with us.
And not just with us here in the room, but the entire is,
you here in the room know, is being live-streamed on YouTube,
on Politico, and our friends on the cable side are coming in
and out of the interviews this afternoon.
We have asked the public to participate in this event using
Google Moderator, which is Google's public engagement tool
that gave people between Friday and noon today the opportunity
to ask questions and vote on others that should be asked
throughout this program today.
Our guests will include some of the biggest innovators and game
changers on the web and in politics.
Co-sponsoring today's program is Politico, and I am delighted
to turn the microphone over to Politico's chief
political correspondent.
You know who he is, Mike Allen, for his interview
with the President's Senior Advisor, David Axelrod.
Mike is the author--.
Please, applaud.
It's Mike Allen.
Mike is the author of The Playbook, which is the bible of
politics from the White House to everyone else who cares
about the political conversation in this country.
So please, let's give them a warm welcome again, while
they're getting all hooked up.
Thanks, Mike.
MIKE ALLEN: Thank you, Jonathan.
Thank you very much.
DAVID AXELROD: The bible, huh?
The bible -- who can argue with that?
MIKE ALLEN: Oliver North used to tell a joke when
he was running for senate.
He would say, "Every morning I wake up and I read the bible
and The Washington Post -- get both sides."
David, thank you very much for being here, Senior
Advisor to the President.
You have a big responsibility going into the fall.
Your campaign was known as the tech-savviest, the
hippest campaign in 2008.
How has technology changed for this fall?
How is technology going to affect this fall's races
and looking ahead to 2012?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, first of all, just looking back to 2008,
obviously, technology played a huge part in our campaign.
I'm not sure that a Barack Obama could have been elected
President of the United States but for the fact that we were
able to build a relationship with people all over the
country through the internet.
Communities grew up often self-generated to
support that candidacy.
We organized through the internet.
A lot of our fundraising was done in small contributions
through the internet.
I think you're going to see those trends, and you're seeing
those trends continue here.
That's a great democratizing--.
[INTERPOSING VOICES]
MIKE ALLEN: The other side has--.
DAVID AXELROD: They're not tricks, Mike.
Yes, I think you see on both sides of the campaigns -- I
think some of the tea party candidacies have been
propelled by some of these grassroots techniques.
So, it is going to have an impact.
People are organizing through the internet, as we organized
through the internet.
They're raising money through the internet.
You see the Democratic National Committee has
13.8 fans on Facebook.
I think 5.--.
MIKE ALLEN: 13.8 million?
DAVID AXELROD: 13.8 million.
5.5 million followers on Twitter.
[INTERPOSING VOICES]
This enabled us to have a--.
MIKE ALLEN: Are you allowed to tweet?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, no.
Gibbs is the authorized tweet guy in the White House.
But I do post things from time to time, and we do
engender a reaction.
We've had a very aggressive program at the White House to
have the dialogue with the American people and put the
President in online press conferences and responding
to questions and so on.
It is a very healthy and positive thing.
I see that our friends on the Republican side also put
this America Speaking Out site on there.
The thing about that is when you look at--
MIKE ALLEN: This was the House Republicans--.
[INTERPOSING VOICES]
DAVID AXELROD: --For their pledge that led to their
pledge to America.
The interesting thing about it is in order for these things to
be effective, you can't just establish a dialogue; you
also have to listen.
The number one item on their list was to end these tax
cuts for corporations that send jobs overseas.
But that didn't find its way into their plan.
Another one was to reform earmarks.
That didn't find a way into their plan either.
So they set up the device to listen, they
just didn't listen.
MIKE ALLEN: The House Republican leader, now the
minority leader, he wants to be speaker Boehner, John Boehner.
He was on television yesterday and he said, "Once Americans
understand how big the problem is, then we can begin to talk
about potential solutions." What do you make of that?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, I think what happened was they put out
their solutions and the solutions were so dismaying to
so many people, that they decided to back up a little and
describe it merely as a discussion of the problems.
The fact is they did put out a blueprint, and it looks so
remarkably like what we saw before this President
took office.
Pete Sessions, who's the chairman of their campaign
committee, said several weeks ago on television that we
just want to go back to the same agenda we had before.
Of course, that was the agenda that took Bill Clinton's $237
billion dollar surplus and turned it into $1.3 trillion
dollar deficit that turned the special interest loose, Wall
Street loose, the oil industry loose to write their own rules,
and ultimately led to the biggest economic disaster
since the Great Depression.
If you look at their plan closely, the same precepts, the
same tenets, are all there.
So I think Mr. Boehner is now distancing himself
a little from that.
You know, one of the interesting things about the
new technology is the people who are the hardest on their
pledge were people within the Conservative movement in their
own party who felt that it was [? pablement ?]
and went very quick on the on the web to express themselves
on it and got a real dialogue going about this.
So I'm not surprised to see that he's trying to
back away from it now.
MIKE ALLEN: Well, David, you warned, the President warned--.
DAVID AXELROD: Well, this notion that people need to
know what the problems are.
I think the American people understand what the problems
facing this country are.
They want to know what direction we should go and
they don't want to go back.
MIKE ALLEN: Well, they seem to be blaming your guy
for some of the problems.
How bearish are you about this fall?
You clearly are bullish.
DAVID AXELROD: Well, look, I told the President two years
ago when we got briefed on what was about to happen in the
economy, what was happening in the economy, that this was
going to be a challenging election, that his numbers
weren't going to be the same now as they were two years ago.
I said all of those folks who are being heralded as really
smart guys were going to be called idiots by the time the
next election rolled around.
It was all I think very, very predictable.
But I do think this is going to be an idiosyncratic election.
You know, I read the bible, too, you know.
Your bible, as well as mine.
MIKE ALLEN: Amen.

DAVID AXELROD: And I understand what the conventional wisdom
is about this election.
Certainly when you're the majority party, you're going to
bear the brunt of people's frustration, and there's a lot
of frustration out there and understandably so.
We're digging out from a tremendous economic catastrophe
and a lot of people are still struggling through it.
But what's different from the past elections, '94 for
example, is the Republican Party brand is not
strong at all.
There's no real sense of man, if we just had the
Republicans in there things would be better.
Because I think people understand that essentially
the Republicans aren't offering anything new.
It's the same sort of corporate special interest sponsored
party that was there before that led to so many of the
problems that we have today, that it's not a party that's
fighting for the middle class.
And it's not the party that will bring the kind of
growth that will lift most people in this country.
So for that reason, I think that this is going to be an
idiosyncratic election.
You're going to see Democrats winning in places that you
didn't expect them to win.
So I'm eager for November 2.
I think it's going to be an interesting night.
MIKE ALLEN: How could you be eager for November 2?
DAVID AXELROD: As I said, I think it's going to be
an interesting night.
I'm not Polyanish about it.
I understand that we have a much more exposed, in terms
of seats, and we'll lose some ground--.
MIKE ALLEN: So when you say it's an interesting night,
are you saying that it to be better than--?
DAVID AXELROD: Yes.
As I said, I think we are going to win some races that you
guys, perhaps, don't think we're going to win, and the
numbers are going to be a little bit different
than you guys predict.
MIKE ALLEN: What's a race that you're optimistic about that
the conventional wisdom has you losing?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, look, I think that you look at some of
these senate races that a few weeks ago people were
suggesting were slipping away from us.
Like in the State of Washington, for example, where
Patty Murray; in California where Barbara Boxer is running
against Carly Fiorina.
I think what's happening all around the country is as people
begin to focus on the choice and understand that this is not
just a referendum on one party or on the state of the economy,
but a choice between two directions.
And they focus in on what the direction the Republican Party
is offering, which is backward to the policies that help
create the disaster to the same formula.
I think they're concerned, and you're seeing some of
these races open up in favor of Democrats.
MIKE ALLEN: David, we've been taking questions online
through Google Moderator.
The first one is from Jackie in Hamden, Connecticut.
She says, "I want to know what are the Democratic plans for
heading off a watershed in November?" She says,
"Democrats," and she's talking about you here, "have been
short-selling our message.
It's a shame we don't have a way to get our message
other than the President.
The right has several talking points on their side." Why are
Democrats losing the message war?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, I mean I'm not going to sign on
to that characterization.
Obviously, we have a little bit more of a burn-in in the sense
that we're the majority party -- Republican Party's basically
sat out the last 20 months and they've been sloganeering while
we've been trying to solve some very difficult problems
that they left us.
MIKE ALLEN: It seems to have worked for them.
DAVID AXELROD: Well, we'll see, Mike.
We'll see.
Politico, as important as it is, doesn't get to decide.
The public gets to decide -- all the folks who are watching
today get to decide.
And I think to the extent that people get galvanized--.
Every poll suggests the same thing, which is that if there's
a large turnout, that Democrats are going to do well.
And the Republican advantage is largely predicated on the
notion that it'll be a small turnout of very motivated
anti-voters who will come out on behalf of Republican
candidates.
I don't think that's the way it's going to be.
And I don't think that's the way it's going to be because we
do have a message and it's a message about how we rebuild
this economy in a way that lifts the middle class that
promotes small businesses.
The President signed a bill that we fought for several
months over Republican opposition the senate today to
cut eight different taxes for small businesses, to expand
lending for small business is desperately needed.
We think that's part of the prescription to move
this country forward.
We think things like the Credit Card Bill of Rights to keep
people from being exploited as they have been in the past by
hidden fees and penalties is part of the formula of
standing up the middle class.
We think taking $60 billion in unwarranted subsidies to the
banks and giving it to kids who need the help, working class
kids for college aid is the way to go.
And
By the way, one of the interesting things about that
Republican plan that was released last week, is that
among their prescriptions for the future is to cut education
by 20% and cut student aid for eight million kids
across this country.
Anybody who knows anything about the world today and the
global economy in which we're in knows that that's not the
direction we need to go.
The Chinese aren't cutting back on education, Europeans aren't
cutting back, the Indians aren't cutting back, our
competitors aren't cutting back.
We need to improve our education system and
give people more access and not less access.
So, there are two competing visions about how you build
a stronger economy, how you build a strong country.
One is being dictated by special interests and this
notion that if we just cut taxes for the wealthiest
Americans and give free rein to the special interests
that the economy will grow.
Well, we tried that experiment--.
[INTERPOSING VOICES]
MIKE ALLEN: --That's not quite how to describe it.
DAVID AXELROD: Well, Mr. Gillespie's coming.
He can describe it in his own way.
But I think that if you look at what was done from 2001 to
2009, that's exactly what happened.
We tried this experiment.
It ended in disaster.
We lost four million jobs in the six months before this
President took office.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, David, you and the President have been talking
about the dangers of outside money coming into these
raisings because of the Citizens United Ruling.
Now, there's money on your side, too.
Why is more coming in from the Republican side?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, I think the for a very simple reason,
and that is if the Supreme Court opened up a gaping hole
that said that corporate special interests could spent
unlimited amounts of money in these election campaigns,
what's happened is that a series of committees with
benign sounding names, like Americans for Prosperity, and
the Crossroads Fund, America Crossroads Fund, and so on, are
taking in millions and millions of dollars from corporate
special interests -- Wall Street, the oil company and the
insurance companies, and they don't have to disclose it.
It's kept secret.
They're running ads and they're pounding Democratic candidates
across the country to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.
You could do a public service here, Mike -- I know Ed's going
to be here, and I like Ed.
When I took his job at the White House, he couldn't have
been more helpful in making that transition easier for me,
and he's a thorough-going professional.
He and Karl Rove are running the main vehicle for
these contributions.
You should perform a public service and ask him to disclose
whose funding all of these negative ads, these tens of
millions of negative ads.
You know, they say the only people who want to keep
things secret are folks who have something to hide.
Ask him what they're hiding.
MIKE ALLEN: And just to be clear, they're not running
it, but they founded it, got it going.
DAVID AXELROD: But you saw the piece in The New York Times --
Karl who is, as we know, very shrewd Ed, a great political
operative -- are coordinating all these different groups and
they're operating in The New York Times words, as a "shadow
party organization" running negative ads paid for by
millions of dollars from special interests who don't
have to reveal their participation.
MIKE ALLEN: What is your research showing you about how
effective those are, how much a difference those
ads are making?
DAVID AXELROD: Well look.
I'll give you an example.
In Colorado we have a very close senate race.
Their Senator, Michael Bennet, is running against Tom Buck,
a Republican candidate.
He has been the beneficiary of a torrent, Mr. Buck, of
negative ads against Michael Bennet.
Thousands and thousands and thousands of gross rating
points of negative ads week after week after week.
Michael is holding up well.
I think that he will win that race.
But it's clearly a closer race than it would have
been had there not been the spending on his behalf.
And believe me, that is the purpose.
I think you can ask Ed.
I don't think they're spending tens of millions of dollars
on negative ads and a flood of mail for the exercise,
they're doing it to try and influence these elections.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, speaking of jobs in the White House, you've
started to talk a little bit about your future plans.
How long are you going to be in Washington?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, I've always had the understanding
with the President that some time after these two years,
probably some time in the spring, that I would go back to
Chicago and begin working on the next project, which is
the re-election campaign.
And--.
MIKE ALLEN: What would your role be?
DAVID AXELROD: As you know, my family is still in Chicago.
I love many, many aspects of this job, but the separation is
not -- I also love my family, and the separation is something
that's been difficult.
For those reasons, I'm going to go back.
And my role will be essentially what it was in the last
campaign as a strategist working with the media and
the message in terms of promoting our argument.
MIKE ALLEN: We're going to bring in another question
online from Google Moderator.
This from Gary Kubiak in Chicago.
There you go.
"What effect will Jon Stewart's rally have on election day?"
DAVID AXELROD: You know, I don't know.
I think the greatest service that he and others can perform
is to encourage people to participate.
As I said, we're in the position where the
more people--.
MIKE ALLEN: Are you worried about us sapping energy, or
do you think it will help?
DAVID AXELROD: The more people who participate, I think the
better off we're going to be.
And I think it says something about our respective parties
and our messages that we're hoping for a larger turnout,
they're hoping for a smaller turnout.
One of the great things about this exercise here today is
we're going to reach a lot of people, and my message--.
And whether they're for us or for the other side,
come out and participate.
I think Jon's rally can help in that regard.
But one concern I have is that it's right before the election
and there are people who'll be at that rally who perhaps could
be out contacting friends and neighbors and urging
them to come out.
But that's a trade-off we'll live with.
MIKE ALLEN: So, on balance, you believe the Stewart --
their rallies will be helpful to your side.
DAVID AXELROD: I think to the extent that they encourage
people to come out to vote and participate, I think
that they will.
Obviously, I don't know what they have planned.
I know they're both very, very smart and clever people.
But if, at the end of the day, the notion is that it reminds
people that there's an election--.
And by the way, in most of the country that election
is already beginning.
In some states early voting has already begun.
So, if people are watching us today, they don't have to wait
until November 2 to cast a ballot; they can do
it at any time.
They can go online, certainly on our website or other
websites and find out exactly what the details are in order
to cast those early votes.
MIKE ALLEN: Now David, you're looking trim.
There's a little room there in your collar size.
You told me you were on a strict diet.
Tell us what your secret is.
DAVID AXELROD: The real secret was that I went on vacation.
The first day I went on vacation I got sick and learned
that I had a parasite.
So that got me going in the right direction.
MIKE ALLEN: It's not going to be a best selling book, like--.
[INTERPOSING VOICES]
DAVID AXELROD: No, no, no.
And I want to make clear that this happened
outside of Washington.
This is not a commentary on Washington that
I had a parasite.
And then when I started losing weight I thought you know
this is not a bad idea.
So I just kept going with it.
I gained 30 pounds during the campaign and they've been
stubborn pounds, that it turns out was related to the fact
that I was eating everything that was put in front of me.
So I've decided to adapt a different strategy and
be a little bit more measured in what I eat.
MIKE ALLEN: How much have you lost?
DAVID AXELROD: About 25 pounds.
MIKE ALLEN: So are you skipping meals, or what's your secret?
DAVID AXELROD: No.
I'm eating with some discretion.
So I'm eating healthier food and I'm eating
a little less of it.
MIKE ALLEN: You said you played basketball yesterday?
What was that like?
DAVID AXELROD: I did.
Well, I like doing that.
I had not not done it for awhile and I
went back yesterday.
And it turns out that being 25 pounds lighter is helpful.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, your departure coming up, it looks almost
certain that Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel is headed out.
A number of other changes.
These are all people who spend a lot of time
with the President.
The ecology around the President is very delicate,
and that's going to have abrupt changes.
Like--.
DAVID AXELROD: Well, and I think you'll see some people
leave and some people stay.
New folks will come in.
Some of those people will be very familiar to the
President, some will be new.
MIKE ALLEN: You said you expect David Plouffe, the President's
campaign manager to come in.
DAVID AXELROD: Well, I certainly think that he's
highly prized and regarded by the President.
He has said in the past that he was, and having rested up for
two years and written his book and recharged and spent time
with his family, I think he's ready for a duty if asked.
MIKE ALLEN: Will he be essentially taking your job?
DAVID AXELROD: That's a question for the President.

I'm not here to make any announcements about personnel.
But I do believe that I think there's an evolution in every
administration, there are changes around this time, and I
think that's a healthy thing.
I think it's good to bring in new energy, some different
ideas of folks who spent the last two years on the
outside coming in.
I think it's very positive and I look forward on the outside
to working with some of the folks who will be
coming in now.
MIKE ALLEN: Do you think we'll see David Plouffe in the White
House before the end of the year?
DAVID AXELROD: As I said, I'm not making any--.
I would doubt that, and I'm not making any personnel
pronouncements.
One thing I can tell you is David Plouffe is as integral
to the President and his operations as anybody.
We wouldn't be here without the leadership he
provided in the campaign.
He's a person of enormous talent and great principle.
So whatever he does in service of the Administration and
the President will be valueed and important.
MIKE ALLEN: In addition to these sorts of personnel
changes, after this election, clearly the election's
going to be close.
Clearly, Republicans are going to be stronger regardless
of who has control of the chambers.
What does the administration do to say we get it?
What are you going to do to say you've responded to what
you hear they're saying?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, look, I think that one of the things
voters are saying is they want to see some level of
cooperation to solve problems.
We have extended that invitation repeatedly
over the last 20 months.
My hope is that as we come out of this election, however it
turns out, that there will be on the other side a new
willingness to participate.
My concern, because we all have a responsibility that
goes beyond partisan responsibilities, to move this
country forward, and nobody has a premium on good ideas.
But here's the thing.
I get concerned when I read Senator DeMint say
his goal is gridlock.
I get concerned when I hear on the House side, the vice chair
of their Congressional Committee warning Republicans
that we may have to have a government shutdown so
be prepared for that.
I don't think that's what the country is asking for.
They want more cooperation, not less.
Because they understand we face great challenges.
And we're prepared to do that.
But the question is what will happen on the other side?
I think you're going to see some great struggles within
that Republican caucus on the other side because you've got
the kind of establishment, corporate, Republicans here in
Washington, and then you've got these Tea Party folks who have
an entirely different view.
You saw some of that friction last week when they came up
with their retro-grade pledge to America that was so
reminiscent of the things that got us into trouble
in the first place.
So I think it's going to be an interesting time in this town.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, David, what do you believe the Tea Party's
effect will be on the Republicans in 2012, as they
start to look for their nominee?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, it'll be interesting.
You know, look, I think that the Tea Party movement is
a grassroots movement.
Some of it may be encouraged.
We read the story in The New Yorker about the Koch brothers,
the oil billionaires, who were kind of under the table and
secretly funding some of the organizing efforts
for the Tea Party.
But in the main--.
MIKE ALLEN: It's not that secret.
DAVID AXELROD: Well, it isn't anymore, but I don't think
it was meant to be--.
Believe me, when the Tea Party folks went to their meetings
and no one put a sign up saying "brought to you by a couple of
oil billionaires," I guarantee you that wasn't the case.
But it was ferreted out by a reporter and now
it's widely discussed.
I think it's going to be an interesting process.
Normally the Republican party has been a top-down party.
The folks in Washington decide who's the candidate's going
to be, and generally is that candidate.
That was true with Dole, it was true with Bush,
it was true with McCain.
Now they have this grassroots movement within the party and
I think there's going to be a big struggle.
I'm sure that Ed and Karl and others think that they'll be
in a position to, once again, dictate who the
candidate will be.
I'm not sure that's the case.
MIKE ALLEN: Who do you worry about for 2012?
Who on their side is strong?
DAVID AXELROD: I worry about you, Mike.
MIKE ALLEN: No comment.
DAVID AXELROD: I'm not going to handicap their candidates.
Let's remind ourselves that at this time in 2006, Barack Obama
wasn't even contemplating a race or--.
MIKE ALLEN: He wasn't being contemplated, he was
contemplating already.
DAVID AXELROD: Well, maybe by this time in 2006, but just
beginning to contemplate running for president.
This is an eternity, right?
So we don't really know who all the players will be.
And the thing about the new technology and the new
political reality in this country is that you can start a
race up much more quickly than you'd done in the past.
MIKE ALLEN: So you think there could be somebody
that we're not focusing on.
DAVID AXELROD: There may be.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, what do you think of the New Jersey
Governor, Chris Christie?
Would he be a strong candidate?
DAVID AXELROD: Look, I actually like him, so I just doomed
his candidacy by saying that.
But no, I think he's a serious person and I don't agree with
everything that he's doing, but he's an attractive person.
But he just got elected Governor.
He's trying to do some things in New Jersey.
We don't know what the outcome of some of
his policies will be.
And I would be doubtful that he would leave the work
he just began and start a race for president.
I think he's been pretty clear on that.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, the President's going to be out
very heavily this fall.
The First Lady also has announced the heavy
schedule of rallies.
She's going to be out a lot.
She's avoided politics until now.
What do think the effect will be of having her out there?
How did you talk her into it?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, look, I don't think she's -- it's not
going to be politics in the traditional sense.
She's not going to be out there sort of engaging in the
back and forth of campaign.
She is going to go out there and lift up principles and
candidates who stand for the things that she and the
President care deeply about, particularly as they relate
to families and children.
This is her focus, both in public policy and in life.
So she wants to affirm candidates who have stood with
her on some of these, and with the President on some
of these questions.
And so--.
MIKE ALLEN: Who does she appeal to or what do you think
her effect will be?
How will she help?
DAVID AXELROD: I think she's a very, very popular person, and
not just among Democrats.
Obviously, I think as someone who is so concerned about
families and the struggles of work, family balance, and so
on, I think, obviously, a lot of women will be interested in
her message, but not just women.
So I think she'll have impact out there, but I know there's
a lot of interest in seeing her and she's eager to go.
MIKE ALLEN: Now , we've had a question through Google
Moderator, now we have Google in person with a question
hear in the audience.
And if you could just introduce yourself.
PETER PASI: My name's Peter Pasi from Arlington, Virginia.
I had a question.
What will you or the White House do if Republicans win the
Senate, or if Republicans win enough seats to slow or stop
some of the legislation you haven't yet passed?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, first of all I don't know if--.
MIKE ALLEN: Purely hypothetical.
DAVID AXELROD: Yes.
Yeah, and I'm not going to deal with hypotheticals.
But on your last point, I don't know if you've been watching
for the last couple of years, but they've slowed a lot
of stuff down as it is.
In fact, the normal course of events in the United States
Senate for the last 20 months has been the Republicans
have filibustered.
And sometimes they've filibustered on things that
they then ended up voting for.
In other words, they've stopped us from getting an
up or down majority vote.
We've had nominees, we have -- there's a record number of
judicial nominees who are be held up, many of whom have been
approved on a bipartisan basis by committees.
And simply to slow the work of the Senate down, they have
stalled those appointments.
The result is that we've got a critical lack of people on the
bench in the Federal judiciary.
We're trying to deal with that right now.
So that wouldn't be a new development.
What we're hoping for is a different philosophy.
And if the Republicans have more votes, presumably they'll
have more responsibility that goes along with it.
I think the American people will demand that.
We have great challenges as a country.
I'm really confident we can meet them, but only if we
work together to do that.
We haven't seen that yet, but perhaps with a few more seats
into each chamber they'll feel more of a sense of
responsibility.
MIKE ALLEN: Thank you for that question.
Peter, now David you may not have heard this, a little
breaking news here.
Bob Woodward has a book out, "Obama's Wars."
DAVID AXELROD: What's it about?
MIKE ALLEN: It's about you, among other people.
I think you're referred to in there by the President's
National Security Advisor as part of the Politburo.
What's fascinating to me about this book though is it Bob
didn't have to go to parking garages to get these sources.
He came up front driveway.
I saw him sitting in the White House, the West Wing
Lobby waiting for news.
Why did you guys decide to cooperate so extensively
with this book?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, Bob is an excellent reporter.
He's got great sources honed over decades.
It was obvious that he had quite a bit of information,
and it was important that that information be
placed in context.
So we thought it was the right thing to do to work with him
and to sit down with him and work through some of the
questions that he had.
MIKE ALLEN: And how do you feel it came out?
DAVID AXELROD: You know, obviously, the things that you
guys focus on are the palace intrigue aspects of it.
MIKE ALLEN: Yes, sir.
DAVID AXELROD: I know.
I know.
But those who actually read the full book will find that it
tells the story of a President who ran a very, very rigorous,
thoughtful and tough process to impose in Afghanistan a
strategy that we, frankly, didn't have for seven and a
half years before this started.
Secretary Gates said this is the first time that Afghanistan
and the fight against Al Qaeda there has been fully resourced.
We lost a lot of time and we're trying to catch up now because
it's important -- that's where we were attacked from, we have
security interest in doing that.
But I think people who read the book will see that the
President was very much focused on the right things and finding
a thoughtful way forward.
MIKE ALLEN: Did you talk to Bob?
DAVID AXELROD: I did.
MIKE ALLEN: How long or how often?
DAVID AXELROD: I don't remember how long it was.
I had a few conversations with him.
MIKE ALLEN: And are you glad you did?
DAVID AXELROD: Yeah.
I don't have any regrets about talking to him.
MIKE ALLEN: What did you learn in the book that surprised you?
DAVID AXELROD: Honestly, I don't think I learned that
much that surprised me.
I think, obviously again, Bob has written many, many books.
Not only is he a great journalist, but he's a master
marketer, so he knows what the titillating kind of tidbits you
include in order to get press and sell books.
But to me, the more interesting stuff really had to do with
what we lived through, which is how that decision was
made -- the challenges associated with it.
So I just wasn't that surprised by what was in the book.
MIKE ALLEN: We have another question from Google in person.
TIM FARLEY: Yes.
Thank you for taking my question.
I'm Tim Farley with Sirius XM, POTUS.
I want to ask you about it from the standpoint of being a
strategy expert and a marketing and a messaging expert.
Candidates more often nowadays, circumventing traditional
media, we're in an evolving world.
There are times when -- well, the White House has, at times,
withheld appearances on Fox, but there are Republican
candidates who don't want to do interviews with
traditional media.
I guess the question is as media, whether it's internet,
newspaper, television, radio, et cetera, evolve, is this
going to be easier to do to choose your place, where you
want to get your message across, without having to
go to traditional media?
And if that is possible, is that going to be a good or
bad thing for democracy?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, look, I think you raised a
very good question.

I was on Fox a few weeks goes on a Sunday, and I think
it's healthy to mix it up.
The President raised this in a speech that he gave at
the University of Michigan.
The real concern is not just where we appear, but
the viewing and reading habits of Americans.
What he said was, I hope that people won't just watch the
stations that affirm their point of view or read the
newspaper that affirms their point of view, go to the
website that affirms their point of view.
That it's healthy to get other opinions, even if you don't
fully agree with them.
That is an important part of democracy.
One of the concerns I have is that we get so polarized in
our, not just in our politics but in our viewing habits,
that we simply don't hear other points of view.
TIM FARLEY: Could you still do it and win, though?
DAVID AXELROD: I think that you can.
I think you can, if you've got a solid argument.
TIM FARLEY: No, I mean just go with somebody who's just,
if you will, a friend.
In other words, just go [UNINTELLIGIBLE PHRASE].
DAVID AXELROD: I see.
TIM FARLEY: Can you win an election just going to--.
DAVID AXELROD: Here's the reality.
And we started on technology.
So, the reality is that people get information from many
different places now, and not just from TV stations, but from
friends, from social networks, from a whole array of sources.
I think if you want to communicate with the American
people, then you have to communicate as
broadly as possible.
Actually, for someone like the President or someone on the
Democratic side, I think there's more of an
impetus to do that.
The truth is that a lot of, at least among conservativs,
Republican Conservatives, Fox has consolidated a base.
Democratic supporters tend to be more diffuse in
their viewing habits.
So we have an imperative, even from the standpoint of
politics, to be as creative as we can in touching as many
different avenues of communication.
MIKE ALLEN: David, have you found that you need the
mainstream media more than you expected?
Had you expected to be able to go around to filter more
than you've been able to?
DAVID AXELROD: You know, I don't know about that.
I think we were aware -- certainly, the way we ran, we
were aware that communications had changed dramatically.
But that you guys can still drive a story, and that in
today's world some unfiltered piece of information that comes
up on a blog or a website can dominate the mainstream media.
So, we live in a new reality.
We're aware of it, we deal with it, and we also understand that
the day when the President of the United States could simply
stand in front of a battery of microphones at a press
conference or a speech and command the attention of the
vast majority of voting Americans is gone.
It's not that simple.
So you have to work harder to communicate, and
that's an imperative.
MIKE ALLEN: David, you know Chicago politics, both as a
recovering Chicago Tribune reporter and as a consultant.
If Rahm Emanuel runs for mayor in Chicago, what
does he need to do?
What would his chances be?
What would his outlook be?
DAVID AXELROD: Rahm is, as you know, a formidable person.
And he would be a very formidable candidate.
He loves the city.
MIKE ALLEN: Would he be the favorite?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, I'm not going to install him before
he even announces what his intentions are.
I'm not going to install him.
And I think the thing that makes Rahm so formidable as a
candidate is that he would never view himself as a front
runner, nor would he run as one.
He understands that if he does make that decision, that he's
going to have to do what he did when he ran for Congress
and go door to door.
He would start off every day at 6:00 in the morning at the
L stops and he'd finish at midnight at the fire houses.
I expect he'll do that same thing again.
One thing I know about Chicago is nobody's going to hand you
anything; you've gotta earn it.
He'll be prepared to do that if he runs.
MIKE ALLEN: So he wouldn't run as a front runner,
he would run how?
DAVID AXELROD: He would run flat out for every vote.
I think it's a terrible mistake to impute onto yourself
a front runner status.
People would resent it and they should.
But that's not his style, that's not his way.
MIKE ALLEN: David, there have been a couple of articles that
have talked about the toll that Washington has taken
on you personally.
I wonder if you could talk--.
DAVID AXELROD: Look at me, I'm fading away to nothing.
MIKE ALLEN: Are you glad you did it?
Do you agree--
DAVID AXELROD: Can I tell you something?
MIKE ALLEN: --That it takes a toll?
DAVID AXELROD: And I see some of these people in this room,
Republicans and Democrats.
I've met some wonderful, wonderful people here, and
associations that I'll value for the rest of my life.
People who I think are well-motivated and are doing
this work for the right reason -- I do get frustrated with the
sort of the group pathology of Washington sometimes -- the
who's up and who's down and viewing everything through the
prism of the latest poll and elections.
I'm not just--.
I'm not staring at you for a reason, Mike.
MIKE ALLEN: But over the years, your team has benefited
from that as well.
DAVID AXELROD: Yeah, but at the bottom line, this is a
very critical time in the history of this country.
We've got a lot of challenges and a lot of choices to make
that will really determine whether we're competitive in a
global economy, the kind of lives our kids will lead,
and they're serious issues.
And we shouldn't just tunnel everything down into the kind
of board game of politics.
So when people ask me about Washington, I say what
my mother said to me when I was a child.
She used to say, "I love you, I just hate some
of the things you do."
MIKE ALLEN: What did you learn about Washington
that you didn't know?
DAVID AXELROD: You know, the thing is that I didn't come
in here with any illusions.
I knew that there were folks who came to work here who
had the capacity to do very positive things.
And then there was this other aspect of it.
And nothing, nothing surprised me.
I do think that the media environment has evolved over
time to the point where you have to spend an awful lot of
time dealing with these white hot stories that a week later
have faded into the rear view mirror and nobody can remember.
That takes up more energy than you like.
Let me just say one thing about Washington, though.
We ran our campaign on the premise that change begins from
the bottom-up, and that we wanted to come here and effect
some changes that would help people in communities
accomplish what they want to accomplish.
A good example is education reform where Arne Duncan has
done his race to the top.
You've seen 48 states adopt higher standards, not because
of a mandate from the Federal Government, but because of
competition at the local level.
So we try and keep our eye on the ball and remember
why we were sent here.
MIKE ALLEN: So David, next spring, will you leave
Washington more optimistic about the country or
more pessimistic.?
DAVID AXELROD: I'm always optimistic about the country.
I think this is a great -- I'm the son of an immigrant, and as
such, ingrained in me is the belief that this is the
greatest country in the world.
And I still believe that.
I think we have enormous capacities, I think we're
unrivaled in our productivity, in our innovation.
I just want to see us take advantage of those things in a
very challenging century so that my kids can have the same
sense of optimism that I do.
MIKE ALLEN: So why are you doing the re-election
campaign in Chicago?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, we haven't made that announcement or
decision, and I should add that I'm a little presumptuous
because the President hasn't formally announced his
re-election campaign either.
So we'll make that decision later.
But the argument for doing it there is that there is an
element -- and one thing you asked me about Washington.
This didn't surprise me, but it's something I know now more
than ever, and that is there's a different conversation in
this town than you hear at like Manny's, the deli where
I hang out in Chicago.
People don't talk about -- I hate to say, The Politico,
over lunch in Chicago.
They're talking about their kids and how they pay their
bills and how their businesses are going, and the normal
things that people care about.
It's healthy for a campaign to be rooted in that environment
and not in the hot house of Washington.
MIKE ALLEN: And, David, as we say goodbye, you've become
known for sneaking your iPad into meetings in the West Wing.
I wonder what you use it for.
DAVID AXELROD: Well, a variety of things.
It depends on whether my Cubs are playing.
MIKE ALLEN: MLB Live.
DAVID AXELROD: Yes, MLB Live.
It's really actually very useful because you can keep
track of what's going on and--.
MIKE ALLEN: What apps do you use?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, Politico, of course.
I Google things all the time.

But I have many, many apps -- most of the news organizations
I have on there.
I do have a few sports apps on there and keep track of that.

The one thing that I have on there that was a
bad mistake is Pacman.
I do waste more time than I should, even in meetings, as
I'm listening to people, do that.
MIKE ALLEN: How do you do?
DAVID AXELROD: I'm breaking my personal records all the
time, which is a bad sign.
MIKE ALLEN: David Alexrod, thank you for sitting
down with us today.
DAVID AXELROD: Thank you.
Thank you very much.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: I don't know about you, but I think I was a
little surprised that he's playing Pacman in meetings.
But that's just me.
Thank you, Mike.
And thank you, Mr. Axelrod for your time.
While they go off the stage, and we get Jesse
Friedman up here.
He's a Product Marketing Manager with Google Maps.
So Jesse get to have a lot of fun.
And I use Google Maps actually all the time.
And while you're pulling that up, I'm going
to move over here.

I know people here are watching online.
They know that they're watching Innovation and Democracy, the
2010 midterm election preview.
But just in case, I'm Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post
and a contributor with MSNBC.
And this fellow next to me, as I said before,
is Jesse Friedman.
Are you all set up?
JESSE FRIEDMAN: We lost the internet.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: We lost the internet?
JESSE FRIEDMAN: Yeah.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Uh-oh.
JESSE FRIEDMAN: Hang on one second.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, there's a picture
of the museum.
You can see that.
You can see that there.
When we were doing this in rehearsal, I made the mistake
of thinking that Jesse was from the west coast, but he
reminded me that he was actually in New York.
While they're setting that up, Jesse, why don't you--?
You're set?

Can you talk and type at the same time?
JESSE FRIEDMAN: Oh yeah.
No, we're good, we're back up.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Oh, we're back up?
Good.
Oh, you're going to switch?
All right.
So while they're switching that, what are we supposed
to be looking at?
What is this?
JESSE FRIEDMAN: So what you're looking at here is a Google Map
where we've taken race ratings from top-trusted,
non-political sources.
We've got Rothenberg, Cook, CQ-Roll Call,
and RealClearPolitics.
We're taking their ratings of all the Senate, House and
Governor races and letting you compare them all
in the same place.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So, you're just starting out with these
four, but you can add to that as time goes along, right?
JESSE FRIEDMAN: We've got a few weeks left before the election.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: About five.
JESSE FRIEDMAN: Within that meantime, we're open to
talking to more folks.
These are the ones that we launched with last year.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So, someone's who's watching online
right now who will probably be going there, let's
say someone in Iowa.
What do they do?
What exactly do they do to see their races?
Wherever they are, for the race, show us.
JESSE FRIEDMAN: The address the at the top is, you go to
maps.google.com/elections2010.
You get what you're looking at now where it shows you the
Senate races, and one of the four sources is randomly pulled
up and you can play around with it.
If you want to see a different source, you just click it
and it loads in right there.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So that one you just clicked CQ-Politics.
JESSE FRIEDMAN: CQ--.
Yeah, from CQ-Roll Call.
Now if you want to see a House race, just click House,
and there you go.
You see all the 435 races.
But it's a little hard to see, especially on the east coast.
So, you can just go in whatever state you're from, so you're
from Wisconsin, click that, you see the races.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Wow.
JESSE FRIEDMAN: Yeah.
And then you simply click on one of them and you see what
the four different sources are all saying about that race.
It might be a little hard to see on the screen.
But Rothenberg is saying that it's a toss-up/tilt Democratic.
RealClearPolitics says it's leaning GOP, and CQ and Cook
both say it's a toss-up.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: But you can get more information than just
that by using this site?
It's not just a place to go to find polls, right?
JESSE FRIEDMAN: Well, these aren't polls.
These are the ratings that these folks are doing based
on polls and other things.
But if you want to learn, say -- I don't know how many
people in the room know who's running in Wisconsin 7.
But if you don't know, you can just click on Candidates
and it'll tell you.
If you click on either of their names, it'll pull up a Google
Search that will help you find their campaign site, and
whatever other information you can find about them on Google.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Right.
That's the point I was trying to get to.
It's not just that you're looking at races.
You can go, if you want to look at Sean Duffy, you
can click there and get to that person's site.
You can click on the Democratic candidates and go to
that person's site.
It's very -- how should we say -- user friendly.
JESSE FRIEDMAN: Well, the idea is we want to teach people how
to use the tools in front of them to learn more about
what's going on in politics.
If you come back tomorrow or a week from now, it'll
look a little different.
Play around with it, learn more about what's there.
Google's a great way to learn about that sort of stuff.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: OK, so we've got five weeks
until the election.
So, does this go away in five weeks?
What do you hope to accomplish with this?
JESSE FRIEDMAN: Well, let's face it, after the election
there might be a little Monday morning quarterbacking over who
might have had a better--.
We're staying entirely out of that.
We're just showing what's there.
But our hope with this is to encourage people to think
about our platform.
Everyone knows they can search with Google, but there's
a lot more that we offer.
You know, Google Maps here, it's the most popular
API on the internet.
It's free to use.
It's got some developer effort, you can put something together.
But even if you don't, the technology that we use,
everything is completely available and it's free and you
can put your own maps together.
If you scroll down on the page, there's a link here to a
tutorial that'll teach you how to use the same technologies we
did to do your own analysis of data by congressional district.
With a couple of clicks, you can have a map in this
technology called Fusion Tables.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So, you can do -- I don't know if you
remember during the 2004 race [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
When I was in New York at the Daily News, and every day you
had people doing their own electoral count maps.
So now everybody can get into the act, not just with the
electoral, but just anything.
JESSE FRIEDMAN: You're no longer using paint and the fill
button, but you can actually use real data just as easily as
you would with Photoshop or something and you can actually
have everything work daily, streaming -- everything, you
can put it all together pretty easily now.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: That's great.
Jesse, thank you very much.
Jesse Friedman is the Product Marketing Manager
with Google Maps.
Thanks very much.
Next, please welcome to the stage Ramya Raghavan.
She's almost miced up.
Jesse's almost out.
And again, I'd like to remind you that this program is
being live streamed on the CitizenTube channel on
youtube.com and politico.com.
We'll be uploading the videos of the interviews and the panel
discussions will all be uploaded to the site and will
live on YouTube, actually, I guess in perpetuity.
Which leads us perfectly to our next guest.
You've got the hair right.
You're ready?
RAMYA RAGHAVAN: I'm ready.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: All right.
Good.
Ramya Raghaven.
We went through this in rehearsal.
She is a news and public interest manager at YouTube.
Thanks very much--
RAMYA RAGHAVAN: Thanks, Jonathan.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: --For being here.
So, OK, what changes have we noticed in how candidates
are using YouTube?
RAMYA RAGHAVAN: Yeah.
So, since 2008, I think we're seeing two significant changes.
The first is just in the massive spike in the
number of candidates that are using the site.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Massive spike meaning?
RAMYA RAGHAVAN: Meaning in 2010, over 400 candidates in
key hot races across the country have official YouTube
politician channels.
So they're registered with us and they're using all sorts of
tools to get out the vote.
And then shifting over to look at government, looking at
members of Congress, we see that 90% of Republicans have an
official YouTube channel, and about 75% of Democrats
have a YouTube channel.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Are you surprised by that?
I thought the Democrats were supposed to be the
technologically-forward folks.
RAMYA RAGHAVAN: Yeah.
Well, what we tend to see is that the challenging party
really starts to embrace technological tools and is
looking for creative ways to get out the vote and
inspire their base.
So it's not all that surprising.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So in 2008 we saw YouTube being
used during campaigns.
So, how have you built off that -- that popularity then?
RAMYA RAGHAVAN: Yeah.
So I think one key way is with debates.
And so yesterday was actually the 50th anniversary of
the Nixon-Kennedy debates.
We did the CNN YouTube debates in 2008.
Today we're actually announcing that we're doing a 2010 YouTube
debate series where in key races across the country, we're
asking citizens through Google Moderator in YouTube to submit
their questions for the candidates in both
text and video.
And the top voted questions will be asked in debates.
So, we're kicking off with the Nevada Senate race, and we're
partnering with the Nevada Broadcasters Association.
The Iowa Gubernatorial partnering with the Des
Moines register and IPTV.
And the Colorado Gubernatorial and we are partnering with
The Denver Post and KUSA.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So how many debates all together are you
hoping to have before the end of the election cycle?
RAMYA RAGHAVAN: Yeah.
So we've launched with three, but we have more in the
pipeline now that we'll be launching in the coming weeks.
Then we would invite any of your affiliates or anyone
out there who's interested in hosting a debate with
us, I can give you more information about that.
We actually have a great landing page that actually
walks local stations through the process of setting up
your own debate using Google Moderator on YouTube.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: And pie in the sky, what's the number of
debates that you would hope to have accomplished
by November 2?
I know you've got three set up, but--.
RAMYA RAGHAVAN: Hard number is tough.
I mean ideally we'd love to see a debate in every key
race across the country.
But we're going to make sure that we have good debates
planned with a good geographic distribution.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: And the last question.
The United States isn't the only country
that's using YouTube.
This is happening around the world.
RAMYA RAGHAVAN: Absolutely.
So, in the case of debates, we've seen debates in
Israel and Austrailia.
We partnered with Facebook on a debate in the United
Kingdom this year.
And taking it even from elections, we see world
leaders using YouTube to talk to their constituents.
Obama did a YouTube interview earlier this year.
And the Brazilian Supreme Court actually has a
YouTube channel, too.
So some really interesting global examples out there.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: That's great.
And you mentioned Facebook, which is a good seguay
to our next guest.
But Ramya Raghavan, thank you very much, from YouTube.
Thanks for being here.
RAMYA RAGHAVAN: Thank you.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Coming up is Adam Connor.
He is the Associate Manager for Privacy and Global
Public Policy at Facebook.
Are we switching mics again?

Hi, Adam.
How are you?
ADAM CONNER: Good.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: He focuses on government and political
outreach and directed the company's 2008
election efforts.
Adam, it says here you worked on the Hill
and on a presidential exploratory committee.
So you've seen it from all sides.
ADAM CONNER: All sides.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So, how are candidates actually
using Facebook.
ADAM CONNER: Well, I think one of the things that we've
succeeded in the last few years is I no longer go into meetings
with campaigns to the Hill and tell them what Facebook is.
Everyone now knows what Facebook is and many
of them are using it.
I think we really won the battle of getting campaigns
to use Facebook.
Now, where we've fallen short and I think they're still great
places to go is the candidates themselves really embracing
this technology and using it.
We have staffers use it.
But where you think you see truly exceptional use of social
media, like Facebook, is when it starts at the top.
When the candidate, the senator, the governor, whoever
it may be, is an active participant in this, and once
they win an election and head into office, that
just continues.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Are they all active participants, or are
they dragged kicking and screaming into using Facebook?
ADAM CONNER: You know, what I've found over the years is
it's a mix, to be honest.
You've got some people who are very interested and charging
forwrd, and I found that doesn't go down partisan lines,
that doesn't even go down lines by age or anything like that.
What it is is just there are some people who are pretty
interested, sometimes they're motivated by maybe the
political realities of their district, making them embrace
these new communication technologies maybe a little
quicker than if they were in a safer seat.
But it really is interesting and about how someone who is
in touch with that, when the people around them -- grandkids
or things like that -- are on Facebook and sharing photos.
It helps really involve that person, whether it's a
member or a governor, whoever it may be.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: I have to ask this question.
It's an awfully good question, but how many of these
principles, you know, members, elected officials, are actually
the ones who are providing information to their
Facebook pages?
Do you have any idea?
ADAM CONNER: You know, I don't have a number on that.
I think some people will have varying answers to that.
If you ask them or the staffers--.
What I have found is it sometimes will take
staff by surprise.
So, a staff member, let's say a press secretary, may think that
their boss doesn't understand what this is and goes
through the whole process.
He'll walk in and you say, well, actually I already have
a Facebook profile and 500 friends, and they're kind
of taken back by that.
But I do think you're seeing is growing acceptance.
So when a member goes to the House floor and says, it's
great, I'm getting all this constituent feedback from
my Facebook friends on my BlackBerry.
Check it out, showing it around.
That's a great thing for democracy and participation.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So we've got, as I've said about 1,000
times already, five weeks until the November 2 election.
So what's the best use of Facebook in this time that we
have before the election?
ADAM CONNER: Sure.
I think what you want to be doing is communicating to
voters, to media, and the folks like that.
And I think unlike some communications technologies
where it makes sense to run everything from the
communications director and go through 10 drafts.
You know, posting a photo of an event, a status message that
says, thanks for the rally, Des Moines.
Whatever it may be on the go, mobile, that's really where you
can have a significant effect.
I think authenticity translates in social media in a way that's
almost intangible, but it's really something that can't
be fixed no matter how hard we tryy.
So, giving that little bit of authenticity can go a long way.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: And so, look into your crystal ball or
whatever it is you use to look into the future, and answer
this question for me.
How do you think people are going to be using
Facebook, social media in general, in 2012?
ADAM CONNER: 2012.
You know, I think you'll see a lot of people buy Facebook ads
to targeted states, like Iowa or New Hamshire, if I were
just to throw some out there.
Really using that to identify, as early as possible, some of
the activist base that's located there that's really
going to be able to give folks the leg-up when it
comes to competition.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, fine then.
ADAM CONNER: All right then.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Adam Conner of Facebook, thank you
very much for being here.
ADAM CONNER: Thank you, John, I appreciate it.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thank you.

And we continue our Innovation and Democracy program by
bringing back Mike Allen.
Is Mike here?
Bringing back Mike Allen of Politico for our next featured
interview, and that is with Ed Gillespie, the former Chairman
of the Republican National Committee, among many positions
that Mr. Gillespie has had.
So please -- oh, here, they're both here.
Mike Allen?
MIKE ALLEN: Good job.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thank you.

MIKE ALLEN: --And before that he had been Chairman of the
Republican National Committee.
And it's true you started on Capitol Hill in
a very unusual way.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I was a Senate Parking Lot Attendant.
I parked cars for the Senate staff.
MIKE ALLEN: Honest work on Capitol Hill.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Then that led to an internship.
I also, my first job at the RNC was I was a phoner in
the basement in one of those little cubicles.
I would call people at home and bother them for money
for the Republican Party.
18 years later I was chairman on the top floor calling people
at homeand bothering them for money for the Republican Party.
So it was good experience.
MIKE ALLEN: Were you good at it?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I was pretty good at it, yeah.
MIKE ALLEN: Like what was the typical ask in those days?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: In those days it was to make sure that we got
more Republicans to help support President
Reagan's agenda.
But the nature of it doesn't really change.
I will say that I over time tacked on more zeroes, which
was good, in the ask.
MIKE ALLEN: So what's a typical ask for you these days?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: It varies.
There's no such thing as a typical ask these days.
But I'm asking quite a bit for trying to help the Republican
State Leadership Committee to elect State House and Senate
candidates around the country, which I think is
very important.
MIKE ALLEN: Also, reaching down Governor, Attorney General.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Attorney General.
The RGA, you know, the governors are pretty
well covered.
Governor Barbour's done a fantastic job at RGA,
and the folks there.
The Republican State Leadership Committee has everything down
ballot in the state elections, essentially, from Lieutenant
Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and State
House and Senate candidates.
It's a very good year out there for us for that, too.
MIKE ALLEN: OK.
And then let's real quick walk through your other hats.
You're a founder of Resurgent Republic.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Correct.
Which is a center-right organization.
It was modeled directly on Democracy Corps that James
Carville and Stan Greenberg had set up on the left.
They have done a very good job for a decade now of gauging
public perceptions and public opinion relative to the policy
debate going on in Washington and around the country.
I thought we need to take a page from their playbook and
set that up, along with a number of other of folks.
Whit Ayres is a very good polster in the Party, as well
as a number of other polsters on the Conservative side.
MIKE ALLEN: So you take polls and then what
do you do with them?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: We analyze them.
Everything question we ask we make public -- put it on
resugentrepublic.com and make all the findings available
on the internet.
We do an analysis of what we're seeing.
Resurgent Republic was really the first to spot the move
away from President Obama by independent voters.
That was really back in April of last year.
Gallup picked it up in June.
But we've been tracking those independent voters over the
course of the past -- since Resurgent Republic
launched last April.
MIKE ALLEN: OK.
And then a third big hat is your role in helping to start
American Action Network, American Crossroads.
Could you just explain those and your role in them?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, yeah don't want to overstate it,
because other folks have done a lot more than I
have in that regard.
American Action Network was started by Norm Coleman and
Fred Malek and others and they do a fantastic job.
There, Rob Collins runs it.
Doug Holtz-Eakin does the American Action forum, and
that's modeled largely on Center for American Progress,
which has been very effective, again, on the left in helping
to formulate ideas and promote ideas from a more liberal
side of the equation.
This does it from the more Conservative
side of the equation.
Then the American Crossroads and American Crossroads GPS is
a group that I helped to launch, along with Karl Rove to
offset much of the activity on the left by moveon.org,
Moving America Forward.
AFL-CIO, SEIU to try to compete in the political arena in a way
that on the right we really haven't since McCain-Feingold.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, what gave you the idea of trying to build a
network like this to duplicate what Democrats successfully did
while they were out of power?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: What Democrats successfully did
while they were out of power?
They were very good at adapting to McCain-Feingold and kind
of bringing together some institutions that helped them
become more competitive over time and re-invigorated them.
I thought with us losing control of the House, the
Senate, and the White House that it was time for
Conservatives and Republicans to take a look at that
infrastructure that the left had assembled over the course
of time, and see if there was some things they were
doing that we ought to be doing and we're not.
Some of the things we just talked about are
a number of those.
MIKE ALLEN: All right.
We know your hats.
Now let's take a little tour of the landscape.
Let's start out, how bullish are you about Republicans'
chances on November 2?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Very.
And it's hard to see with just a little over a month to go,
how the dynamic can really change in any
significant manner.
But as I've been traveling the country and talking to State
House and State Senate candidates and really seeing
the ground game that's going on out there, the energy is really
strong on the Republican side.
I've said this and I volunteered as General Chairman
for Bob McDonnell's campaign for Governor of Virginia.
I was saying back in 2009, the most dangerous place to be in
Virginia on Election Day is between a Republican and a
voting booth, and that's going to be the case this November.
The most dangerous place to be on Election Day is between a
Republican and a voting booth.
Our folks are very fired up, very energized, and coming
in, those independents that we just talked about.
They're going to be there in big numbers as well, and
they're going to vote to try to put a check on President Obama
and this Administration and to make changes to the
Pelosi-Reid Congress.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, Republicans would need 10 seats
to take the Senate.
What do think is the range of what's possible on your side?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I think we're at six to eight, but I also
think it's an Election Day where who knows what's going to
happen at the end of the day.
I don't think there's any--.
MIKE ALLEN: So you're skeptical of the idea that Republicans
would take the Senate.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I don't envision Republicans taking
the center right now, but I don't rule it out.
I think that this is an environment -- I don't think
there's any such thing as a safe Democratic seat.
I think we're seeing that right now in West Virginia,
among other places.
Maybe even New York.
I mean I think there's a lot going on on the
ground right now.
I would not be surprised to see Republicans in
control of the Senate.
MIKE ALLEN: OK.
So what are your 9, 10, 11, 12?
What are the ones that look out of reach that you could
imagine coming in reach?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, first of all, I start with I believe
we will hold all of our opens.
And then I think we're going to pick up a number of
Democratic opens as well.
Certainly, North Dakota, Ohio -- that's one of
our opens, I'm sorry.
But when you look around at some of the other seats that I
think are in play today that maybe six months ago people
wouldn't say, well, Republicans may be able to win
on Election Day.
Obviously, California, Wisconsin, Connecticut, West
Virginia -- all very much--.
I'm sure I'm leaving folks out right now.
But I think there's a very good chance that we could
be at eight or nine.
MIKE ALLEN: So, are we going to start to see Republican money
moving to West Virginia and moving to Connecticut?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, I read somewhere that the Senatorial
Committee had put down a buy-in in West Virginia, so I
think you're already starting to see that.
MIKE ALLEN: So, is your organization starting to look
at broadening the field?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, again, just to be clear, my
organization is the Republican State Leadership Committee.
We're broadening the field all over the place in terms of the
State House and Senate race.
I think we're going to win probably we're going to net 10
legislative chambers around the country, heavily concentrated
in the Great Lakes.
That's very important to us in terms of redistricting,
as you know.
So any gains that we make in the U.S. House in
this election -- we have talked about U.S. House.
I think we're going to win the U.S. House -- we'll be able to
have a pretty big impact in redistricting the way that
helps protect the gains that we make in this election in 2010.
MIKE ALLEN: OK, now let's set the scene on redistricting.
How many State Houses, how many chambers do
Republicans hold now?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: That's a trick question, Mike.
I should know that and I don't.
But I know the--.
MIKE ALLEN: Well, what does the net 10 do for you?
Talk about what the impact of that would be.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, the net 10 would be if you look at
somewhere like, again, talking about the Great Lakes,
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, maybe even Illinois,
we could win the State Houses in all of those states.
The Wisconsin State Senate we could win.
In the New York State Senate, if you look at New York, we
could win six to eight U.S. House seats in New York,
depending on what kind of a night it is.
Pennsylvania, three or four.
Ohio, three or four.
Indiana, three or four.
So having control of the State Houses and the redistricting
process in those states would be pretty important
to keeping those.
MIKE ALLEN: We talk about the redistricting process and that
sounds a little abstract.
What in very, like specific, mechanical terms can you do if
you control a State House when you go to draw these maps?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, there's redistricting committees in
most of the State Legislators.
There are some places where there's redistricting
done by commission.
Some places the Governor has a veto autority, some they don't.
But in most states the Congressional District lines,
as well as the State House and the State Senate lines are
drawn by the State Legislators.
And having the pen in your hand, because you had the
majority being the chairman of that committee,
makes a big difference.
So, and these states that we're talking about, being able to
draw the district lines in a way that is more favorable
toward your party, which is done on both sides of the
aisle, can have an impact for five election cycles
for a decade.
MIKE ALLEN: And Ed, how much money do you expect
the Republican State Leadership Committee
will spend this cycle?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I think probably for this cycle we'll
probably do around $30 million.
I think probably spend somewhere between $15 to
$18 million from Labor Day through Election Day.
MIKE ALLEN: And what was it in the '08 cycle?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Probably about $22.
So, about a 50% increase.
MIKE ALLEN: And is there an equivalent organization
on the Democratic side?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee,
which is responsible for their State House and Senate.
RSLC also houses, we have their Republic Attorney General
Association, Secretary of State Association, as well as the
Republican Legislative Campaign Committee.
MIKE ALLEN: You have quite a number.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: On their side they're broken up a little bit
more and they have different--.
As I say, we have a mall here where RAGA, and the RLCC, and
Secretary of State Association all are kind of housed.
MIKE ALLEN: And in your spare time you do the Catholic
University Board, you say?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I've just ducked out of a Catholic
University of America Board of Trustees meeting where I serve
on the Board of Trustees at my alma mater, but wanted to come
and spend a little time with you.
MIKE ALLEN: OK.
As we end the landscape here, let's talk about the House.
You said that you win the House, you would
need 39 pick-ups.
What do you expect?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I think we're looking at 45 and north of 45,
depending on how much things continue to build between
now and November.
But I would say a minimum of 45 seat pick-up.
MIKE ALLEN: OK, north of 45.
What's the ceiling?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: You know what, you get north of
45 it's hard to say.
I mean it's a dam break at that point.
MIKE ALLEN: And do you foresee a potential dam break on
November 2 and coming up to it?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Yeah.
I think so.
I mean you just look at the -- all of a sudden seats that are
coming into play that I think people weren't necessarily
counting on being in play.
Like I say, I don't think there's any such thing as
a safe Democrat today.
In any election I remember working for Haley Barbour and
after the '94 cycle, and he would talk about Congressman
Flotsam and Congressman Jetsam who washed up in the tidal
wave, and I suspect we'll see a few of those the Wednesday
after the election in November.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, Ed, YouTube and Politico took
questions online through Google Moderator.
I have one of those questions here.
This is from dukewinner123 in New York.
The question is, "The boundless expansion of online
communications has caused media to, generally, become more
partisan toward the left or the right.
How is media partisanship affected midterm races this
year, and what affects can we expect between
now and November 2?"
EDWARD GILLESPIE: That's kind of interesting.
The media, the media writ large does go through cycles.
There was a time in our history when the newspapers, a major
dailies picked a side, and you had the Waterbury Republican
and the Arkansas Democratic Gazette and everybody knew.
Then it became part of the ethos that generalists are
going to be subjective and not pick a side.
You can argue how effective they were at that one
way or the other.
But I think it's pretty clear now that folks are certainly
in the online community.
People are picking a side, and voters, I think, have access
to, obviously, a lot of information.
Voters are smart.
I put a lot of faith in them.
They filter out bad information.
They go to places, even if they know that there's a certain
ideological slant to it.
I'm sure everyone else here, I go check out a number of
websites in the course of a day and in the morning, and they're
not all ones that are reinforcing of my
point of view.
Many of them have a different take, but I like to
see what's out there.
There's credible information, there's not credible
information.
There's information from the left, and there's
information from the right.
And there's not credible information on the left, and
not credible information on the right, and credible information
on the left, and credible information on the right.
I think it's been a positive thing in terms of generally
the political process.
I do think it's probably contributed to greater
polarization in the political process.
But that's not necessarily a bad thing either.
I mean there's a reason there are two parties,
people disagree.
I think we can do that civilly.
But in terms of the internet and its impact, I think it's
generally been hugely positive and beneficial to voters and
have given people greater breath of information of
places to go to get it.
MIKE ALLEN: And the 2004 Presidential Election, when
President Bush was running against Senator Kerry,
your side had the technological advantage.
Your focus on microtargeting really put you ahead, and later
the Democrats copied that.
In 2008 they seemed to get the upper hand in technology.
How did that happen?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: It's the nature of politics.
Things leap frog, and the other side, you have to adapt and
react and then you move ahead.
We've seen that time and time again in the political arena.
I think we're seeing it now.
I mean we talked a little bit about some of the groups on the
right that we talked about.
In 2008, those who supported President Obama and his
election and down ballot from him, beginning with the Obama
campaign through the BNC, into the AFL-CIO and SCIU, and other
liberal-leaning organizations, they spent $1.1 billion in
expenditures to help elect President Obama and people who
supported his point of view.
On the Conservative side, there was only $634 million spent by
the McCain campaign and the RNC and folks that supported
that point of view.
So a $500 million gap had to come about over three cycles
after McCain-Feingold.
That pendulum may be swinging bac the other way.
So you have to adapt to the changed circumstances or you're
not going to be able to be competitive and be
a majority party.
So, I believe that we are in a position to reclaim our
majority status, but we need to adapt technologically and
to the process in order to do that.
And Democrats will respond accordingly.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, when you look outside the Party structure at
the money that's going into these elections, clearly
there's a lot more on your side this fall than there
is on the other side.
Why do you think that is?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I think it reflects being on the outside.
We saw that dynamic on the left when President Bush was in the
White House for eight years.
The intensity tends to be on the side of the
folks who are out.
When you're in, there's contentment, and you actually
get frustrated with your own side for not doing the
things you think they ought to be doing.
We're seeing that on the left now.
But on the right it's a lot easier to be unified.
As is the case on the left, it's always easier to be
unified in opposition to something, than trying
to get something done.
MIKE ALLEN: We have another question that came in
through Google Moderator.
This once again from Gary Kubiak in Chicago.
So he wins the prize.
He asks, "What effect will Jon Stewart's rally
have on Election Day?"
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I'm not sure.
I don't think a significant effect.
I think that Jon Stewart's show, obviously, a lot
of people get a lot of information from it.
But I'm not sure at the end of the day how much of an effect
it's going to have on the [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
MIKE ALLEN: David Axelrod was on this stage and he said that
on benefit, he believed that on balance will benefit his side
because it would get people excited.
Again, that's what they need for the reasons you've
been talking about.
He said the only slight drawback is that it may take
people away from working turnout efforts, but he said
on balance it helps them.
Do you agree with that?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I'm just not so sure.
I can understand him thinking that, but I'm not so sure it's
going to have a significant impact given the dynamics of
the selection that we're looking at right now.
MIKE ALLEN: Ed, at this point, what do you worry about?
What could go wrong for your side?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, I worry about intensity waning,
although I don't see it.
And I think actually, as President Obama and the
Democrats seem to kind of double-down in trying to
energize core Democratic voters, there's a flip side of
that, which is it continues to stoke core Republican voters
in response to that.
So I think they'll fix that concern on my part themselves.
MIKE ALLEN: So, the President's going out, he's doing some big
rallies -- he has one tomorrow in Wisconsin where they could
get 5,000 to 10,000 people.
Do you believe that's going to help your side?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I do, yeah.
You know, the President, unfortunately, and I don't know
at what point he changed from post-partisan to most-partisan.
But I've never seen a President of the United States on either
side of the aisle engage in the kind of personal attacks
against people in Congress on the other side the
way President Obama has chosen to do.
I don't think it's 1) not only it's good for the presidency,
but 2) I don't think it's politically effective for them.
MIKE ALLEN: If you were him, if you were his counselor, what
would you be advising him?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I'd say talk about the issues.

Make a case for your health care bill.
Make a case for your stimulus plan.
Try to get folks to understand why you think that it's
better than the alternative.
But kind of the personal screeds and attacks against
leaders by name, Republican leaders in Congress, I think
it's like nails on a chalkboard to a lot of Republicans, but it
also alienates a lot of independent voters.
That's not changing the tone.
Well, it is changing the tone, it's making it worse.
So, I think that when he goes out there and he stumps, I'm
sure it has some short-term energizing effect for core
Democratic voters, but I can assure you it has a very
energetic long-term effect on Conservatives and independents
and drives independents further into Republican arms.
MIKE ALLEN: The President himself has started talking
about the House Minority leader, the Republican leader,
John Boehner who would be speaker Boehner if Republicans
get the majority.
What do you think was in their mind?
What do you think is their strategy with that?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I don't know.
MIKE ALLEN: Well, what it clearly is is if you build him
up, then you can attack him or take him down, make him the
face of the Republican Party.
Is that working?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I think John Boehner ought to send the
President a box of chocolates and say, thank you because you
helped me buy this box of chocolates, as well as a number
of other ads I was able to buy.
And thanks for elevating the Minority Leader in the U.S.
House of Representatives in a way that's never been done
before in the history of the Republic, and thanks for
coming on down to my level.
So, I'm at a loss.
Other than that I think when you've got a raging river
coming at you, you'll try to grab for any branch to try to
pull yourself out of being swept away.
Near as I can tell, they've [? fibbetted ?]
away from that to another strategy.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, the donors to a number these groups, because
of the tax laws under which they're organized, do not
have to be disclosed.
David Axelrod said that we should ask you a question,
which I'm going to ask you now.
That is that if these people are so invested in the process,
like if these groups are so valuable to process, why
not disclose who the money comes from?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, first of all, again, my organization,
the Republic State Leadership Committee, we
disclose our donors.
It's a 527 and we have 85,000 individual donors and they're
happy to be disclosed.
MIKE ALLEN: But the big money on the outside, including
American Crossroads GPS does not have to be--.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: American Crossroads has a 527,
it does disclose.
There's a C4 that does not disclose.
As is the case on the left.
Center for American Progress and their ads that they run,
their donors aren't disclosed.
The Bill that Chuck Schumer and Ben Holland have introduced, as
I understand it, would exempt the AFL-CIO from disclosing.
MIKE ALLEN: But if I'm a voter, why don't I want to know
who's buying those ads?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I was just trying to point out that
there are geese and there are ganders.
And you know, both sides have organizations that disclose and
both sides have organizations that don' disclose.
And historically, on the left, they have had a big advantage
in those non-disclosed donors, and this changed the cycle.
So now we've gotta be able to try to change it back.
MIKE ALLEN: But let's talk about both sides.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: So let me just say, why would a donor
give and not want to be disclosed.
A couple of reasons.
1) if you look at the history of donors on the right who have
given to certain causes or organizations, they've been
subject to some pretty vicious attacks from the
organized left.
There are people who gave to a referendum out in California
who got flooded with emails, pretty nasty in nature, and
had their jobs threatened.
You saw what happened when Target supported a candidate
for Governor in Minnesota.
And then all of a sudden the organized left
went after Target.
The fact is, a lot of these folks who are opposed to more
government control of our economy, and more government
intervention in our economy, are already subject to a great
deal of government control and government intervention and
regulation in the economy, and there's fear of retribution.
There's a fear that, well, if I give to this organization, and
those who are in control and in power and who seek to further
government control of my sector or my company or my own
personal lives, they'll come after me.
Now that's I don't think paranoia on their part.
You're not really paranoid when they're really out to get you.
The fact is that there are, unfortunately, instances -- and
we just saw just recently the news report of a Democratic
member of Congress calling up a company and saying, hey, I
noticed that you weren't on my donor form.
You haven't given any money to me, but I've seen you've given
some other members of my committee, and I have a lot of
say over the business and your sector.
That kind of thing -- I know it's shocking, but it happens.
And believe me, it happens when you show up as a Conservative
somewhere, you'll hear from somebody saying oh, jeez, I see
you don't necessarily agree with my agenda, maybe I'm going
to have to change the nature of the way your business
is regulated.
MIKE ALLEN: OK, if we could just talk about these
big, undisclosed checks.
Do you worry that this could get out of hand?
That something could happen that in retrospect will
say, OK, that was corrupt?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, I guess there's always that
possibility, and the media, I'm sure, would do it very good job
of scrutinizing both sides, on the left and the right.
MIKE ALLEN: You're partly responsible for the worry--.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Like when the $500 million window opened up
between the left and the right and there wasn't much
consternation about at the time.
But I'm sure now that the right has evened the playing field a
little bit, there will be much more interest in
this on this front.
MIKE ALLEN: So, do you think that you're being held to a
standard that you think is inappropriate?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Let me deposit this.
Here's a -- I think it's a different standard that's
applied today than was--.
MIKE ALLEN: And what is the difference?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: That there are Conservative groups now
engaged in something that Liberal groups have been
doing for three cycles is the difference.
I have welcomed New York Times to your interest in this area.
But look, there's a flip side, by the way, in terms of
those non-disclosed donors.
Which is that if you're non-disclosed, and it's not
just that you're protected from being fearful of retribution
possibly from those who are in control and don't appreciate
you supporting those who don't share their point of view
while they're in power.
At the same time, the beneficiaries of it don't have
any idea who is participating in the process either.
So maybe there's a virtue that's not often noted.
MIKE ALLEN: All right.
We have a question from Google Moderator that came in online.
This is from pgunn01, and they ask, how many of the issues
that are big in this campaign were clear back in '08?
How many of these issues rose spontaneously; how many of
these issues could you see coming?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, the biggest that was I think
started to become clear in '08 is the economy, and the concern
over jobs and the economic growth of the country and the
financial markets, and that's still very prevelant today.
So actually, I think to a large extent, while national security
was an issue in '08, but not nearly as much as
it was in '06.
But clearly, from '08 going forward, the economy has been
the dominant issue set and remains the most dominant issue
set pointing to this November.
MIKE ALLEN: And Arianna asked me a question
on the way in here.
She wondered if we're now in a cycle where incumbents
will never last.
That the anger will always be turned, and whoever's there,
and so if we get a Republican in, like the Tea Party
will turn on that.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I think it's hard to extrapolate out from
one cycle down the line.
Every cycle has its own attributes.
There's clearly an anti-Washington,
anti-establishment strong strain in the
elector right now.
I think it's understandable.
I think that accrues to Republican benefit in a
big, big way this year.
But if I'm right and Republicans win control of the
House, and we're not responsive to what those voters are
looking for in a new Republican majority, we'll be next.
And there's no doubt.
Then this may tie into the earlier question, the previous
question about the impact of the new media and the internet.
You know, the cycles have accelerated.
These wave elections used to be every 40 years and then every
20 years and every 10 years, and now they're like
every four years.
There's no doubt that that's a contributing factor to it.
But I wouldn't project a straight line out from
this election year and, say, going forward.
I think this Administration has been extraordinary in the
breath and depth of government intervention in our economy,
and that's what's really fueled this anti-Washington
sentiment out there.
If the result of that is a change in control of the House,
and the results of that is that President Obama then moves more
to the center, in the way Bill Clinton did after losing the
House in '94, that could change the dynamic considerably.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, if Republicans get the House as you are
predicting here that they will, the Speaker will
be John Boehner of Ohio.
Now, Leader Boehner's history has not been as a bomb thrower.
And yet he's going to have a lot of like very aggressive,
emboldened members in his caucus.
How do you navigate that?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, he's a very skillful leader, and he's
someone I have a lot of respect for and admiration for.
But I don't think you have to be a bomb thrower.
He's also a Conservative.
You know, this is a guy who's been in Congress for over 20
years and has never sought an earmark for his district, who's
got a pretty good record when it comes to taxes and spending
and fiscal policy, as well as life and pretty much--.
I don't know off the top my head, but I'd say John
Boehner's ACU rating has to be 90 or north of it.
So he's a Conservative, and that's what matters most is are
you going to adhere to the principles and the policies
that we believe in as a Party, as a Leader of the
House of Republicans.
I believe he will, and I don't think you have to throw
bombs to do that.
MIKE ALLEN: So, do you think he should work
with the White House?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I think if there are opportunities to work
with the White House where, like I said, the President
is willing to work in an accommodating fashion with,
hopefully, Speaker Boehner.
It's hard to think they're going to get off on a great
foot, given what the President's been saying
over the past few weeks.
MIKE ALLEN: Well, it's been mutual.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Did John Boehner attack the President of
the United States personally?

MIKE ALLEN: There have been plenty--.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I missed it.
MIKE ALLEN: There been plenty of--.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I missed it if he did.
MIKE ALLEN: There's been plenty of tough rhetoric about
President Obama from your side.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Like his policies.
I think there's a distinction here that's important
in the political arena.
So, all that to say, if there are some areas where there's a
chance to work together, for example, in free
trade agreements.
I think that that may be an area where a Republican House
and a narrowly divided Democratic Senate and President
Obama could find some common ground and accommodation, maybe
even on entitlement reform, if the President were to try to
attack back toward the middle a little bit in response to the
signal from this election.
That would be an area where I think that they could
find some common ground.
MIKE ALLEN: So, do you think your side would be willing
to give some ground on entitlement reforms?
For instance, if the President were to accept some clear
long-term spending cuts, would your side be willing to
accept tax increases?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I don't think there are many Republicans out
there running saying vote for me and I'll increase taxes
if I get to Washington.
MIKE ALLEN: You were suggesting that in a governing mode, they
might be able to make some sort of deal.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, what I was suggesting was if you were
going to do entitlement reform -- look, and I'll leave this to
the policymakers -- but to me entitlement reform means
getting control of the spending that's going on in Washington.
And I'm not sure that there's a revenue problem right now.
I think there's a spending problem right now.
But that's a debate to be had if there's a Republican
House and a Democratic President, I'm sure.
MIKE ALLEN: Say that you have a Republican House, Democratic
White House, Democrat Senate.
What would House of Republicans be able to do?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, again, I think trade is an area where
you could get some things done.
And I think, look, at the end of the day, you have
to fund the government.
We saw this when President Bush -- we had a Republican
White House and a Democratic Congress.
I was there for negotiating the budget with President Bush
and Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats on the Senate side.
We were able to get accommodation on the budget.
Nobody got everything they wanted, but we were
able to move forward.
MIKE ALLEN: How aggressive do you think House of Republicans,
if they Majority, should be on subpoenas on investigating
the White House?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I don't think that's what people are
electing Republicans to do.
I think they're electing Republicans to try to put
the brakes on spending and make sure that we get our
fiscal house in order.
We don't double the debt over five years and
triple it over ten.
But there's obviously a legitimate oversight role for
the Congress, and it's an important one, to ensure that
taxpayers money is being spent properly, that things are being
done in a -- that the laws are being implemented as Congress
passed, and that's certainly a legitimate function of
the legislative branch.
But I don't think that Republicans should be
too sidetracked by it.
I think that the focus needs to be on policy and spending and
taxes and getting jobs going in the country again.
MIKE ALLEN: How much of an opportunity do you think there
is for your Party in 2012?
How vulnerable do you think the President's re-election is?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I think he's very vulnerable right now.
But 2012 is a lifetime away in politics, and that
pendulum can swing.
I think a lot of it depends on how does he react
to the changed dynamic after this election.
President Clinton was able to adapt because I think voters
saw him as someone who had moved too far left and he was
able to come back to the center, because he was a new
Democrat and third way.
It will be interesting to see if President Obama can do that,
because he did not campaign that way, and I'm not sure
that's how he feels about things.
But that said, pendulums swing in politics.
18 months ago, few people would think that here would be a
legitimate discussion here today about the prospect
of Speaker Boehner, like we just had.
So, I think that right now I would say he is very
vulnerable to defeat in 2012.
But I would also say it's right now, and that could change.
MIKE ALLEN: What potential candidates on your
side look strong?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, I think we're going to
have a great field.
I mean I'm excited by it.
This is always a tough question because you end up making
somebody mad for mentioning them or not mentioning them.
But, obviously, we've got a lot of the governors and former
governors out there.
MIKE ALLEN: Tick through what you see the field is.
[UNINTELLIGIBLE PHRASE].
[INTERPOSING VOICES]
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I would say Governor Romney, Governor
Polenti, Governor Palin, whether or not Governor Barbour
or Governor Daniels get in.
But a lot of talk about them.
Out of the Senate, Senator Thune, maybe Senator DeMint,
former Speaker Gingrich, former Senator Santorum.
I think a big field is good for Republicans.
And there could be folks who get elected now who could all
of a sudden be in play in this November.
We have a very interesting field of governors
getting elected.
I wouldn't encourage of them to get elected governor of
your state and then say I'm gonna run for President.
But I think there will be a lot of new faces--
MIKE ALLEN: Who's a dark horse like that?
Who's on that list?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: A lot of new people.
[INTERPOSING VOICES]
MIKE ALLEN: Who's on that list?
Who would you mention?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, I mean I think when you
look at some of the--.
I'm mean we're going to have some -- and women governors
that I think actually could end up on a short list.
I mean for vice president, certainly.
So I don't know.
I don't want to get anybody in trouble who's running to get
elected governor somewhere and then I'm throwing out
their name for--.
All I'm saying is it's a very fluid situation on
the Republican side.
And I think the Party is at a point in time where very
open to new ideas, new faces, new energy.
And I think that's good for us.
That'll be helpful.
MIKE ALLEN: Now, one candidate on your side has gotten a lot
of attention is Christine O'Donnell, the Republican
nominee in Delaware.
What do you of her?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I think that she is a clear reflection of
people's desire for change.
In the Republican primary, shaking things up.
I hope she wins.
I know the poll numbers show that if Governor Castle, former
Congressman Castle had been our nominee, chances were
better for Delaware.
I don't dispute that.
But I would also say that I don't count
that seat out at all.
And I think that Christine O'Donnell's been pretty
effective of late.

Like I say, there's no such thing as a safe Democratic
seat in this election year.
MIKE ALLEN: How damaging do you think those video
clips have been of her?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: You know, I'm not sure.
This environment is such where someone who's out there with a
very clear resonate message that if you send me to
Washington, I'm going to put the brakes on spending, I'm
going to make sure we don't raise taxes, I'm going to try
and get control of this out-of-control debt.
I think that gets heard over and above 20 year old
tapes about witchcraft.
I really do.
MIKE ALLEN: All right.
As we say goodbye here, David Axelrod told us about his iPad.
What is your toy these days, Eddie?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, I have an iPad, I have to say, but
I haven't learned it yet.
MIKE ALLEN: Haven't learned it?
What is there to learn?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: How to turn it on for one thing.
MIKE ALLEN: The Google.
EDWARD GILLESPIE: The Google.
So, I'm hoping to get a chance to learn that here when I
go on my next big trip.
MIKE ALLEN: What are your devices?
Like what do use to get news?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: I go on -- I just use my laptop
and my BlackBerry.
That's pretty much it.
MIKE ALLEN: And where do you go for news these days?
EDWARD GILLESPIE: Well, certainly, I go to
Google and Politico.

NRO, and The Daily Caller, and on the other side, Huff Post,
and check out what's going on in the KOS.
I like to see, because I like to read what's in the Daily KOS
today because I like to know what's going to be in The
New York Times tomorrow.

MIKE ALLEN: Ed Gillespie, thank you very much for sitting
down with us, taking a break from your board meeting.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: Nice zinger there, Ed.
Mike Allen, Ed Gillespie, thank you both for that insight into
the Republican strategy for this midterm election
and for 2012.
That concludes our featured interviews.
We'll be taking a closer look at 2012 with our
panel of game changers.
They will join us here as soon as we get all the chairs
and things moved around.
But while they're doing that, I want to ask the
audience a question.
And that is how many of you actually use Facebook?
Just a show of hands.

OK, that's almost everybody.
And how many of you use Twitter?
How many are you tweeting reading right now?

And the one person who's been tweeting the whole time,
actually just took off.
Tony Fratto.
I follow Tony Fratto.
He used to work in President Bush's press shop, and he's
been tweeting throughout this entire program.
And then a show of hands, how many of you agree with Ed
Gillespie that the Republicans will take the
House in November?

That's not many of you.
How many think that the Democrats will actually
hang on to the House?
That's even fewer people than who said that the Republicans
would take the House from the Democrats.
Interesting.
Interesting.
Well, I want to welcome everybody back.
It looks like the panel is seated.
I want to introduce the moderator of our
illustrious panel.
Arianna Huffington is Co-founder and Editor in Chief
of The Huffington Post, and the author of 13 books, including
the just published, Third World America: How Our Politicians
Are Abandoning the Middle Class, and Betraying
the American Dream.
She is also co-host of Left, Right & Center, public
radio's popular political roundtable program.
She has a leading role in utilizing the internet to
advance the political conversation.
Please help me welcome Arianna Huffington and
her panel to the stage.
Arianna?

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Thank you, Jonathan, and I'm
delighted to be here.
This has been fascinating so far.
Now I would like quickly to inroduce you to my very
illustrious panel starting with Stephen Hayes, who is a serial
writer at The Weekly Standard, and the author of Chaney, the
authorized biography of the former vice president, and he
lived to tell about it.
Before joining The Weekly Standard, he was a senior
writer for National Journal's Hotline, and director of the
Institute on Political Journalism at
Georgetown University.
Welcome, Stephen.

Becki Donatelli I met in the ladies' room, which is how
all good meetings begin.
So we're now already bonded.
She's the Founder and President of Campaign Solutions.
She's the first person to raise money on the internet for
a political campaign.
Her company, Campaign Solutions, has more online
money for Republican candidates and public affairs clients
than any other company.
And she was the Chief Internet Consultant to the John McCain
campaign, raising about $100 million online.
Amy Walter.

Amy Walter is the new Political Director at ABC news.
And she also provides on-air analysis on ABC news programs.
Like Steve, she's a veteran of the National Journal's Hotline,
and was a Senior Editor of the Cook Political Report where she
had a reputation as a top handicapper of political races.
So let's hope that she has her crystal ball with her.
AMY WALTER: It didn't fit in my pocket, but thanks.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: And speaking of spot-on election
predictions, of course, Nate Silver, the Founder of
fivethirtyeight.com, the popular poll analysis site
that is now hearted by The New York Times.
FiveThirtyEight won the 2008 web blog award for best
political coverage.
Among other things, Nate has been named one of
Time Magazine's 100 most influential people.
And has been called a spreadsheet psychic, and a
number-crunching prodigy.
So, we'll have a lot to ask you about that.
Welcome.

So, let me start with something that David Axelrod had said.
He said that there's a kind of group pathology in Washington,
which is one that the agency looks forward to
decamping to Chicago.
So, you who sort of are covering campaigns or working
on campaigns, how do you deal with a group pathology, and the
way in which what is covered in Washington does not reflect
either what is happening or what is being talked about
in that real America?
NATE SILVER: Well, I live in New York and there's no
pathology there at all.
But I think it's probably healthy to kind of get out
and have conversations with people who aren't like
yourself, I suppose.
And that's probably not a lot easier to do in New York
than in Washington.
But the kind of joke Ed was making about kind of reading
the Daily KOS and stuff.
I think it's important to read whether you're a Liberal, a
Conservative, read blogs and all sides to the spectrum.
Some of them are very good, some of them are less good,
but still give you a sense for the zeitgeist.
That seems so essential to me.
You know, watch both Fox News and MSNBC.
If you just want to stereotype them on one side or the other.
But just consume a lot of opinions.
And in some ways it's much easier now because we do have
the internet and you have people maybe who aren't online
who don't have as much of a voice.
But in general, you can know what the local paper in Topeka
is saying about a House race that you're curious about.
That should make things a lot easier in theory.
AMY WALTER: I employ the mother-in-law rule, which is if
I can't explain it to her, then whichever side is making that
argument isn't winning it.
I found that on health care.
She kept saying -- and I will pause it right now that
my in-laws are both Republican-leaning.
They live in Texas -- also, not a place that is known for
having -- they're not sitting in the middle of some
liberal bastion.
But at the same time, they're very thoughtful and they're
really just looking for an explanation.
Most people in this country, I find -- and I do this both
talking to them and other family members or other folks
who don't do what I do every day or what we all do every day
-- they don't read the blogs and they don't watch Fox and
they don't watch MSNBC and they don't have really strongly held
opinions on some of the things that we think are the most
important issue going on for America.
So, if you can't have something break through with them, then
the odds are that it doesn't matter if the right is all
fired up about it or the left's all fired up, it's not going
to move the regular voters.
To me, it just is so much, too, about common sense.
And we forget about that here when we get caught up in some
of the details of every teeny bit of legislation.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: But in fact, a lot of what is
happening right now, dominating the debate, is
not about common sense.
It is a lot of fear mongering, and we see now the new
spray of political ads.
And a lot of them are playing on fears, which seems to
happen every election cyclee.
And is it true that, still, fear is the way to go --
fear rather than hope?
BECKI DONATELLI: It's either love or hate.
As a fundraiser, we know we have to have somebody really
fall in love with our candidate or be deathly afraid
of the opposition.
So it's one or the other, and I'm sure we see it
all across the board.
Working exclusively on the internet, we think that we have
kind of a special seat, and we see first what the trends are.
We know if our money goes up, if our sign-ups go up.
If the info box is full of people yelling at us.
I mean we are on the first line.
If you go to your new media people, your web people, and
ask them the trends that they're seeing today, that's
going to be what's dominate a few days from now.
And it goes so fast, too.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: And you have actually done a real
interesting video, which was kind of really innovative with
the Michele Bachmann campaign.
Would you tell us about it?
BECKI DONATELLI: Well, that's the other thing.
Everything changes so fast online.
What we're doing today will be passe, perhaps, a year from
now, or what we're doing a year from now we're not even
thinking about doing today.
But the whole convergence of media is something that we've
been talking about for awhile and it is happening.
Television sets are computers are movie theaters, and
it's all crossing over.
So, Google has been an enabler of all of us to do
interesting and cool things.
So we did something for Michele Bachmann's campaign.
Her team, Greener and Hook, did some really great ads.
They were very funny, all centered on the Minnesota
State Fair, and if any of you have ever been to the
Minnesota State Fair--
AMY WALTER: It's awesome.
BECKI DONATELLI: It is.
It's got the most fried food.
Fried spaghetti, fried -- yeah.
Anyway.
AMY WALTER: Do they have fried beer?
BECKI DONATELLI: Yeah.
They fry everything.
So, her team did this ad that said basically MIchele
Bachmann's opponent wanted to tax the food at the
Minnesota State Fair.
And so, it was a great ad, very funny, played on
TV, blah, blah, blah.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Did he?
Did he want to tax the food?
BECKI DONATELLI: You'd have to fact check the ad.
AMY WALTER: They don't do the facts.
BECKI DONATELLI: Exactly.
But at any rate, so what Google has done with some of their new
innovations, is they allowed us to draw a circle around the
Minnesota State Fair, a geographic circle, and stream
ads into the people that are only inside the fairgrounds to
their Smartphones, and 2,200 people that afternoon watched
an ad inside the fairgrounds about her opponent trying to
tax their corndog at the fair.
So, there are no more boundaries.
We're really able to talk and communicate across
all kinds of levels.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: But is that a problem in terms of what we
just talked about for a second, whether this is
a factual ad or not?
I mean doesn't that really matter a lot when we have this
huge breakdown of trust.
The public just doesn't trust anybody at the moment -- not
the media, not politicans, not Democrats, not Republicans.
Aren't we feeding that mistrust, whether we are in the
media or campaign consultant if we put something out and we
don't really care whether it's factual or not?
BECKI DONATELLI: Well, I'm the only political consultant up
here, and I will tell you, all kidding aside, we do work for
very honorable people, and we have a standard of
ethics that we hew to.
We're very involved in our Professional Trade
Association, it does have a standard of conduct.
And I think it does begin with us to try to tell
the truth all the time.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: What else can the media do,
Steve, to backtrack?
STEPHEN HAYES: I think one of the upsides of the
proliferation of information sources is the fact that you
can go to places and find out whether an ad is
truthful or not.
I mean you certainly have, whether it's someplace like
PolitiFact, or whether it's local reporters that have
teamed up with national media outlets that are fact-checking
these things on an almost real time basis.
So, really interested voters and reporters who are just
trying to sort of keep up with all of this information, can go
to different sources and get, I think in many cases, an
authoritative up or down, yes or no, this is true or
it's not, scoring of these kinds of ads.
It's one of the reasons I think that having this kind of
information technology at your fingertips, whether it's on a
Smartphone, whether you're googling, whatever you're
doing, is changing the way that we operate on a minute
by minute basis.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: So you think actually people are going
to be less willing to just put something out there and hope
it lasts until the election?
STEPHEN HAYES: Well, it depends, I think, to what
extent they get called on it.
I think that they will.
I mean ultimately, as a believer in free markets, I
think if you put good information out there that
follows bad, if you can identify blatantly misleading
political ads, for instance, and call them on it, I think
that people will learn that it doesn't pay to run
those kind of ads.
Maybe I'm hopelessly naive about that -- it wouldn't
be the first time people have said that about me.
But I do believe that.
I do believe that if you provide people with good
information, you provide them places to get that good
information, they will ultimately use it.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: So, Steve, we were talking in the green
room about your feeling that they way the Tea Party's
portrayed in New York and Washington is a very
inaccurate portrayal.
So, tell us the truth.
STEPHEN HAYES: I do.
It's interesting.
I was struck earlier by what David Axelrod said when he was
talking about the Tea Parties, the issue came up, and the
first thing that he did was turn to this New Yorker piece
about the funding of the Tea Party and the Koch brothers.
To me, it was emblematic -- now, not to criticize him since
he's not here to defend himself -- but to me it was emblematic
of the problem with the way that Washington sees
the Tea Party.
There's this huge growth of outrage.
And in most cases, I would say it's voter outrage rather than
outright voter anger, that's grown in the country.
Everybody knows that it's the story of the
2010 election cycle.
And yet, when you look at The New Yorker, and certainly
The New Yorker isn't alone.
A lot of people have focused on the funding and the apparatus
of the Tea Parties.
The story for reporters that are based in Washington and New
York is all about the Koch brothers, or these billionaires
or how they're raising money or what have you.
That's not the story of the Tea Party movement.
It's not.
The Koch's have been giving money to Libertarian causes
for 30 years, and they've given money at the same
levels for 30 years.
The idea that what we're seeing in the country on a grassroots
level, which I think is incredibly organic -- almost
entirely organic -- is somehow manipulated by these two
brothers throwing money at it from Washington, is a total
misunderstanding of the way that the Tea Parties have come
to be and are operating on a daily basis.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: But Amy, in fact, it's not just the
Tea Parties were angry.
I have this sense as I've been traveling around the country
that everybody's angry.
It's just that people express it differently.
How else do see people expressing it?
AMY WALTER: They hate everybody.
I mean any institution right now is viewed skeptically.
And that's what makes it so hard with these attack ads.
I mean we saw this in 2006.
Republicans said, well, we're going to hold the House this
year because we're going to run these attack ads just ripping
the face off of all of these Democrats.
We got so much stuff there, we can't wait to start.
And they did.
And it didn't work because people didn't buy it.
And they were already so frustrated with the status quo,
that really unless he said, this person is cloning aliens
in their basement that are going to come out and take over
the earth, and we have pictures of those people -- and even
then it might not have worked.
NATE SILVER: What's next week's Bill Maher clip?
AMY WALTER: That's true.
That could be going on HBO next week.
That wasn't going to work either.
And so we're now seeing some of that coming back
to Democrats, right?
We're going to run these campaigns, we're going to give
people choice, it could be negative, and people
aren't buying it.
And partly it's because there's a lack of trust of any of
the messengers, right?
So if you don't trust the messenger you're not going
to trust the message.
Then I started talking to consultants about well,
who would be good third party messenger now?
So, remember there was a time you would want
Tiger Woods in your ad.
Probably not now.
A time you would want -- you know, I'm a successful
CEO -- maybe not.
Hey, I've made a lot of money on Wall Street.
Nope, nope, don't want you either, thanks.
I've used this example a lot -- and we're starting to see some
candidates do this -- but believe it or not, a humility
angle could work a little bit, as well as an acknowledgement
that things are broken and I get it.
So, it was last year, Dominos did those ads -- did you
guys see those -- that were really smart.
It started off with people in a focus group saying, this
pizza's terrible, the sauce stinks, the crust stinks.
And I thought OK, then I'm going to see the Papa John's
guy jump up and go, see, we did all these focus groups.
Instead the Dominos guy comes up and he's like yeah.
He said basically, we suck.
We know we did.
And we're sorry.
And we're going to make it better.
So, we're going to go out and then we're going to bring you
guys back, and we're going to give you your pizza and we're
going to win you back over.
Because we admit we screwed up.
That kind of acknowledgement is what voters have
been looking for.
The problem is now that every single person who's associated
at all with politics is viewed so skeptically that I don't
think it can break through today.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: This is an interesting find because -- I
don't know if you saw the story yesterday about the candidates
who had financial problems and their homes had been
foreclosed, et cetera.
And yet the public is looking at them sympathetically.
Maybe because they feel at least they get it.
So is that what we're really maybe in for?
Now you want candidates who've suffered themselves so that the
public can identify with them.
AMY WALTER: I don't know that the public is focusing on this.
I mean I agree to Stephen's point that most folks haven't
really keyed in on who these people are and they're just
a wash in all of these ads.
So I don't know if that part's part of it, why
it's not resonating.
But there's always that piece in American politics.
You want somebody who can relate to you.
And if you are in Washington, whether you've been here for 20
years or 20 minutes, voters are just apt to tune you out.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Does that mean that we are aimed for
continually electoral reversals.
Like whoever is in power is going to be the next target of
all the anger, the fact that government is not working,
and solutions coming out of Washington are not working.
And then the next guys are going to seize power.
Is this like what we're in for?
NATE SILVER: I think that's probably the
most likely scenario.
I mean if you look at recessions following major
fiscal crisis, they have long-term effects.
You know, three, five, seven years.
You know, it's going to be a long time before employment
gets down to 6.5% or 5.5%.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: How long?
NATE SILVER: I'm not an economist.
Or that's my degree, but--.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: But you're a predictor.
NATE SILVER: You know, I was optimistic about the economy
for awhile, but it seems like, you know--.
And also one thing about unemployment, too, is it
doesn't always go down to 4% and different kind of troughs.
Sometimes you only get down the 6.5% and that's as good
as you do in expansion.
But there are enough problems with the deficit and
the environment and the various kind of foreign
entanglements we have.
I don't want to talk too much about is this kind of the
beginning of the end of American hegemony, but these
are questions our generation might have to face, and it's
not going to be as easy to be an American president.
I'm sure in our lifetimes we'll have another couple of great
presidents, but they'll be also a lot of presidents who have
very difficult times, I would think, and majority leaders,
certainly, and congressmen and senators who have even
more difficult time.
It's almost like a game of kind of reverse musical chairs.
At some point the economy will improve, and whoever kind of
happens to be in power then will benefit from it.
But Republicans in 2011, let's say they come in with a seven
seat Majority in the House.
The Senate's kind of decided by Joe Lieberman anyway, and
nominally don't have Majority but no one's getting
anything done.
And unemployment's still slow, and they're having infighting
within their Party.
I mean it's not a great situation for them exactly
when people expect them to repeal health care.
Some of their voters will, and Obama has the veto pen.
So they could get themselves in a lot of trouble by 2012.
It's good for me, right, if you like messy, complicated, hard
to predict campaigns, we should have several of those, I think.
But I don't think we're going to have some
resolution unless--.
Who knows.
I mean like Amy, I'm thinking about third party
alternatives a little bit.
I think if you had maybe a Ross Perot type figure in the 2012
election, it could be interesting.
Maybe someone can come in and say, look, both parties are
such damaged brands, I'm the one who actually has
credibility on the deficit, for example, or an energy issue.
So, we'll see.
It should be interesting.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: But it's not just that it's not going to
be good for the politicians.
It's going to be really bad for the country.
So, given that the scenario that you put forward, and is
really going to be very dangerous for the country,
what are the alternatives?
Like where do you see the possibilities for actually
turning things around?
STEPHEN HAYES: Can I challenge your assumption?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Yeah.
STEPHEN HAYES: Why do you think it's going to be
bad for the country?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: No, not a challenge, you make assumption.
STEPHEN HAYES: Well, why do you collectively think it's going
to bad for the country?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Well, a lot of it because if
we don't even know--.
STEPHEN HAYES: I guess I think this is what politics is about.
NATE SILVER: I think we have some long-term structural
problems -- the debt, the environment.
If politics behaves as it has in the last couple of cycles,
then we're not certain to survive, those in tact.
As powerful as America is right now, and you have some big debt
kind of default issues, I think it's a real risk the
next 20 years or so.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Also, quite simply if we -- if unemployment
stays at the level that it's at now for a long time, wouldn't
you say that's very bad for the country?
STEPHEN HAYES: Certainly.
I guess I misunderstood you as saying this change back and
forth between political fighting or political parties,
that kind of fighting.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: The economic reality.
STEPHEN HAYES: I think that's great for the country.
I think, in fact, the more intense that kind of fighting,
I think it's much more likely to surface the kind of issues
that you're talking about where we can have an adult
conversation about entitlement, reform and things
of that nature.
AMY WALTER: I wish we could.
But do you really think that's going to help?
I just keep hoping -- and again, maybe I'm
like you and naive.
But that in a major crisis like we're in right now, that's
when leaders lead, right?
It's really easy to be in politics when we're flush
and when we're not at war.
But this should have been the time, this should have been a
time when we saw people stand up and just say, we're
going to work together.
And next year, too.
Like we're really going to talk about entitlement reform.
You want to do it?
Let's go.
STEPHEN HAYES: Look, see I would argue that we're
seeing some of that.
Now we may not agree on the ideas or the outcome of these
ideas, but I would say that when you have somebody like a
Paul Ryan who's making the campaign for better or worse.
He can disagree with his policy prescriptions.
But he's saying this is what we need to do.
This will work.
CBO scored it.
Here's where we need to be, and let's have an
argument about it.
AMY WALTER: And even Republicans won't go along.
I mean that's what I'm--
STEPHEN HAYES: No, I think you're right.
AMY WALTER: --Saying is like even his own party
is pushing back on him.
STEPHEN HAYES: Some of them, I think.
But you're also seeing this on early presidential discussions
with Mitch Daniels who's asked point blank, what
we do about this?
He said well, one of the things we need to do is consider
raising the retirement age on social security.
It's the first time you've heard -- look, I'm not getting
overly excited that we're going to all have this great debate
about entitlements in the next six weeks or the
next two years.
But to me it's one of the first times in recent memory that
you've heard people addressing this in a sort of head-on way.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Well, let's take a question--.
BECKI DONATELLI: We are having a dialogue.
That's just it.
The whole Tea Party movement, that's what that's about.
There are fringe elements to everything.
But most of those people are just concerned about taxes
being too high, government not working, they want to talk
about issues, they want to explore things, instead of just
have two bland candidates with greater lousy TV campaigns
to choose from.
I'm excited about what's going on.
AMY WALTER: What happens though if it doesn't work?
BECKI DONATELLI: What do you mean it doesn't work?
Dialogue is good.
AMY WALTER: No, no, no.
If they come here and all those--
BECKI DONATELLI: Then they will go again.
AMY WALTER: --Perspectives.
BECKI DONATELLI: And people in America want change.
They thought they voted for it in 2008.
They think they are voting for it in 2010.
And if whoever wins doesn't come here and change the way
they do business, they will be gone until we elect people
who will make things change.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: But I think what you said now, which was
change the way they do business, change the way
Washington works, is very different than the specific
prescriptions about taxes, the size of government.
I mean this is a different debate.
The debate I think that the country really wants to have
is how Barack in Washington, as people saw that.
And even in these last two years, despite the fact that
the Obama Administration came in wanting to change things.
If you look at the pulse, and I'd love to know what you
think, Nate -- I don't think that the anger is about the
size of government, it's about how incompetent
government has been.
I mean if you scratch the surface, it's about the bailout
and the fact that we bailed out Wall Street and Main Street
is still suffering?
NATE SILVER: Well, something like the Wall Street bailout
was not going to one of the more popular policies
in American history.
People don't see the upside, right?
I'm someone who thinks that if you go talk to a lot of the
economists, not all by any means, but they say, look, if
we hadn't done this, our hand was forced, then we could have
had 20% unemployment now.
And in some sense it makes me a little bit more understanding
of kind of the Bush argument about how to prevent another
kind of terrorist attack.
It's kind of the same thing where people see failure.
They don't see the prevention of a worse outcome sometimes.
There are a lot of things that align badly for
this White House.
I think they've also made a lot of mistakes, frankly, too.
But people are -- I know.
People, when they're unhappy, they tend to be unhappy
about everything, right?
So if health care happens to be on the docket, or cap
and tray or the size of government, right?
I'm not really sure that we're seeing some kind of
Jeffersonian uprising independent from the strain the
economy has put the nation under for quite a while now.
It's been a tough decade, going back to 9/11.
It's been a tough kind of time for this country, especially
since kind of the '90s.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Well, let's quickly go to a question
from the Google Moderator.
It's a question from Robert in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
"Why is it that Democrats have a brain but no spine, and
Republicans have all spine but no brain?
When will the American people get a poltiical party that
represents thoughtful and courageous human beings?"
AMY WALTER: It's really from Dorothy writing in from the--.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: So who is dying to answer this?
BECKI DONATELLI: Oh, I think we have brains and a spine.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Would you give us an example?
BECKI DONATELLI: Me.
No.
AMY WALTER: I think it's sort of simplis--.
I don't know that, but I want to--.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Challenge the question?
AMY WALTER: No.
I think he's right.
He's right in the sense that that's how he views these two
parties and how they set up.
And Nate's point about third parties.
You would think now would be the time where more and more
people are going to start thinking this way
and move outside.
We're seeing more people now who are identifying
themselves as independents.
37% in the last pupal identified themselves
as independent voters.
So that's clearly a sign that more people are
feeling this way.
I also want to go back to the point about how
people view government.
I think what you have in this country, and we've seen this
Allstate National Journal poll basically found this as well.
Which is you have a third of people in this country
that say government's the problem not the solution.
A third of people in this country say we need
more active government.
And another third, and these are those classic independents,
who say I want government to have a role, but I just
don't trust that they're doing it effectively.
And that's really sort of the heart of where we really need
to be going when we're talking about how politicians need to
address this stuff to talk to those people who really do want
to see something moving beyond just right and left politics.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: And in fact, isn't the way that the
media present everything as right versus left
counterproductive at some point?
I mean I'm constantly amazed by, let's say the debate
around Afghanistan.
There are so many Conservatives who oppose what's
happening in Afghanistan.
George Will, Pat Buchanan, Joe Scarborough, Tony Blankley, not
to mention the CATO Institute.
So this is not exactly the standard left-right debate.
And yet, the media reflexively present it that way.
STEPHEN HAYES: But I would argue that they're all part
of the media and they have platforms to make their case.
George Will's made his case persuasively I think.
I mean I don't find him persuasive, but he made a very
strong case in the pages of the Washington Post in the
platform that he has on ABC.
So I think to a certain extent they do have their case.
But I understand as sort of--
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: I'm talking about the framing.
[INTERPOSING VOICES]
STEPHEN HAYES: --Your broader point, particularly with
respect to day-to-day politics is certainly true, and I think
it's a function of our two-party system.
Now, things could change if we see the emergence of a serious
third party candidate, it won't feel as comfortable to sort
of have these right-left assumptions that guide the
thinking on these issues.
But basically I think our day-to-day politics are
run by those kind of basic assumptions.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: But don't you think it makes it
harder to have this debate?
Like right now, the larger debate about
redefining capitalism.
What's a functioning capitalist system?
You know, you have many capitalists who sleep with a
copy of Ayn Rand's Fountainhead under their pillow who are
upset by the bailout because they felt that you bailed out
companies that took excessive risk, and then the
taxpayers on the hook.
It didn't seem to make good, free enterprise economic sense.
And yet it's impossible to have that debate, because it's
all, again, left and right.
Do you find that at ABC when you read stuff and it's
all the left says that, the right says that.
Or you'd never do it.
AMY WALTER: I would never do that.
And we set up that brilliantly, right, looking for the nuance.
But I do think that bottom line, you had a lot of
Democrats and Republicans vote for the bailout.
And in the middle of a presidential campaign.
That's still pretty powerful stuff.
So, in some ways it's worrisome, because what it says
is you literally have to get to that cliff before you're going
to get both sides to hold hands.
And maybe sometimes, in this case, hold hands and then jump,
and many of those people aren't coming back to Congress
partly because of that vote.
But it also seems to be a truly American thing to
sort of wait until it gets really, really bad.
In some ways this goes to the of straight of American
optimism, because we assume it will never really get that bad.
It's going to always get better because it does.
We always come out of these things.
So we don't have to do these crazy things that they do in
Europe and other places, because we know that we
can pull ourselves out.
It's only when we see the cliff that we will do
something about it.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Well, let's go to one more
question from pgunn01.

"Are sites like Wikileaks and Twitter the future of news?
How will the editoral, fact-checking, and fairness
roles/responsibility of news be met by this new media?"
BECKI DONATELLI: Do you want me to start?
Well, obviously, it's hard to give a lot of information
in 140 characters.
But the fact of the matter is that's how we're talking
to people these days.
So the whole fairness or fact-checking.
When blogs started and bloggers started, they were very good at
policing themselves and making sure that they were
checking their facts and checking each other.
I think we've fallen out of that a little bit with there
just being so much information that hopefully we go back
to that self-policing.
But in essence, there's so much media out there that people are
customizing what they get and how they get it and when they
get it, and filtering the contents that they
want to receive.
There was a larger discussion earlier about the President
talking about looking at the other sides of the issue.
While I personally think that's a good idea too, the fact of
the matter is that people are looking for either what
interests them or mirrors what they believe, and pulling in
this information, rather than going other places where
it is served to them.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: But how do you see the preponderance
of social media?
And in this campaign cycle, Facebook, Twitter, how do you
see it affecting the midterms?
I mean we saw, for example, how masterfully Sarah
Palin is using Facebook.
I mean she can bypass all the mainstream media because she
can get all her messages, whether it's about a desk panel
or anything else on Facebook.
AMY WALTER: I think that Becki makes a great point, which is
the filtering piece of it.
So, when you're in an area where you're not trusting any
institution to tell you the truth, then you really are
looking to those people you trust most, which usually are
your friends or your family, or people that you've somehow
attached onto and saying, now this person is trustworthy.
I get, for work purposes, I have a Twitter feed
that is very narrow.
I don't have a ton of people, but they're the people that I
know that I trust what they're writing, I trust what they're
saying, and if they do have an agenda, I know what it is and
they're very up front about what it is.
And that's how I'm going to get all my information.
But you're totally right, I'm not going out
to get it anymore.
That's the real change is instead of I used to go
to my computer and go right to the papers.
Now I open my computer and go right to Twitter.
And that's where I'm getting most of my news first
thing in the morning.
NATE SILVER: Well, there's some data that, with the SecondTV
News, that Fox's audience is becoming more and more
Republican -- it's kind of a 4:1 ratio, and it was a 2.5:1
ratio just a few years ago.
And that's strikes me as dangerous.
I'm not saying people shouldn't have the right -- I'm not
saying any fairness doctrine, people should consume whatever
media they want, right?
But if people only hear the news presented to them the way
they want it, I think it's--.
I don't know.
I mean you can't force people to kind of eat their spinach
or read their kind of broad-sheet newspaper.
But being part of that community, I think we should
not lose sight of our real communities, which are probably
more diverse than our virtual communities in 99% of
all cases, I would say.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: And what can we do, do you think, to
strengthen our real communities then?
Because this is the problem.
I find that what's happening online is strengthening
real communities, too.
There's an enormous amount of self-organizing online.
AMY WALTER: Well, how many times have you been twittering
or forwarding something to somebody who's sitting in
the same room with you?
Because that's happened multiple times with me.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: You're leading a very
interesting life.
AMY WALTER: A very, very bizarre life.
I'm an avatar, right.
What's bad about that?
I like to stay out of reality.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: But if you go online you see, for example,
sites like recessionwire.com, howigotlaidoff.com.
And then solution-based sites where projectbouncedback.
It's just amazing how much is going on.
And there is about solutions, there is about barring weakness
or sharing stories of struggle online that does not get
into the mainstream media.
BECKI DONATELLI: But that doesn't mean people
aren't reading it.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Oh, no, absolutely.
BECKI DONATELLI: Because they are, they are consuming that.
They're just doing it in a different path than they--.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: And not in large enough numbers to make a
difference to the real communities that Nate
was talking about.
AMY WALTER: I think it's actually better because if you
think about it in its sort of "olden days," the place where
you're getting advice or information from was basically
people that you could physically see in a day.
Now you get a chance to go out and get opinions and
information from a gajillion people.
Now some of it may be totally bunk, but what were the odds
that your next door neighbor knew a lot about medicine?
Oh, I have a cure for that.
Really?
Have you gone to medical school?
I don't know.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Now, I actually completely
agree with that.
I feel very optimistic about what's happening online
around solutions.
And the reason I raise the point is because I feel if the
media, the mainstream media, including big sites -- I mean
we're trying to do a better job of that -- covered them all,
then others would learn about them.
It's more of how we cover what people are doing around
creating their own sites or using Facebook and Twitter.
It's really what Biz Stone calls as the next stage.
Twitter has been started as something that was fun, and
life mapping -- what you're eating, what you're doing.
And its role during the Iran uprising showed us how
incredibly important it would be as an instrument
of democracy.
And now Biz calls Twitter another triumph of technology
but a triumph of humanity.
And that's still aspirational, but it shows how it
can connect people.
Are you seeing that at all?
And do you have any examples of how Twitter, Facebook, social
media being used in ways that are really positive and are
countervieling forces to all the forces of division and
scapegoating that we're seeing?

BECKI DONATELLI: I think there are as many good things
happening within social medai and with the way people are
using the internet as bad things.
With everything in life, I think we tend to hear more
about the sensational, crazy things that are going on
than the every day just connections between people.
And it is virtual, and two people might be in the same
room, but they're still connecting, and they're
talking to each, and they're sharing opinions.
I think I have a lot more interaction with people,
frankly, since the advent of Facebook than I did before.
So I see this all as a positive.
Being a little bit older, I do get concerned on occasion how
much information people share about themselves, but that's
become the cultural norm.
So, that's just the way it is.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Let's take one more question
from the Google Moderator from Bill in Texas.
"In view of the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, what
is there to prevent foreign governments and international
corporations who are routing money through U.S.
corporations, which are either majority owned by or
a subisdiary of a foreign parent?"
BECKI DONATELLI: I think we had a Ben Ginsberg come up
and answer that question.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Ben, would you like to
answer the question?
BEN GINSBERG: No.

The truths is, they are lost in stuff, they've always
been lost in stuff.
There is no difference before or after Citizens United.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Would you like to try and channel him?
Would you like to chanel Ben Ginsberg?
BECKI DONATELLI: I think Ben said it's OK.
Everything's going to be all right.
We're going to prevent against this.
AMY WALTER: I was talking to someone the other day, who was
a non-partisan academic who studies campaign finance
reform, had a very good point about this, because I said, are
we seeing this flood of Republican fundraising
into third party groups.
Can we say that it's really -- there's a cause and effect
between the Citizens United ruling and how much
money they're raising.
Because to me it seems as if it's really generated by the
enthusiasm that's out there for Republicans versus the lack
of enthusiasm for Democrats.
And that was his point as well, which was I think a lot of what
you're seeing out there is more about enthusiasm, it's more
about the fact you have a lot of people with money who want
to affect the elections, just as you had a lot of people with
money in 2008 who were Democrats who saw themselves as
impacting the elections.
In fact, Republicans have always complained that their
folks are much less successful in doing third party
groups than the Democrats.
They always sort of look to groups like Act in 2004 or some
of the other -- and the labor groups -- as much better,
better funded, smarter than the Republican groups.
Now you're seeing more Republican groups sprout up.
Part of it is when you get a chance to one, flip control
of the House and the Senate, that tends to get money
into your couiffers.
And the second is to learn a lot of the lessons from those
groups that have already started doing it.
BECKI DONATELLI: And as a fundraiser, I will tell you
that most of the money is not coming in from large donors,
which is what you tend to see a little bit more on the left.
This is truly a grassroots uprising.
There are people with their contributions of $10, $15,
$25 dollars, there's just a lot of them.
So, we're feeling it from the grassroots.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Now you're also doing Carly
Fiorina's campaign.
Are you finding that even for a very wealthy candidate you are
able to get small donations?
BECKI DONATELLI: Absolutely.
She has such massive appeal across the board.
The average donation online for Carly's campaign is less
than $100 per donation.
These are regular, every day people who are
massing to give to her.
I'll tell you, we, since the help of the campaign, by
looking at who's giving and how much they're giving.
And Carly is just taking off.
People are really focused on that race, and we are
thrilled with the response that she's getting.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: So how much has she raisd online?
BECKI DONATELLI: I'm not allowed to say that, but
they'll report it, I think, in a couple of weeks.
A lot.
Let's put it that way.
They're very, very healthy.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: You can't just give us an
off-the-record number.
BECKI DONATELLI: No.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: We won't tell anybody.

AMY WALTER: More or less than a million.
BECKI DONATELLI: People like her.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: We're not questioning that.
We're just asking how much she raised.
OK.
We'll find out.
Now, Steve, you just did a major piece on Senator John
Thune, and the fact that he may very well be a presidential
candidate in 2012.
What is the impact that all the different people who are likely
presidential candidates on the Republican side, what's the
impact that they're going to have in the mid-terms?
STEPHEN HAYES: Well, I think you've seen them out and about
in the country trying to raise money for Republicans in 2010.
There's been sort of an interesting delay.
Jonathan Martin, I think, at Politico had a piece about this
a couple weeks ago, and it's reflected in conversations that
I've had with political types in Iowa, New Hampshire,
South Carolina.
Who say that the sort of on the ground activity that they're
seeing is at a much slower rate today than it has been in
corresponding times the past.
I think on the Republican side that's largely due to the fact
that major candidates or would-be candidates don't want
to be seen out there sort of pumping up themselves, when
they really want to be seen as raising money and doing
things for Party.
The focus they think should be on 2010, not on 2012.
So I think you've seen people sort of pull back and not be
quite as active as they have been at this time in different
cycles in the past.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Although, of course, they have Palin's
endorsement, and made already a big difference in the primary.
STEPHEN HAYES: But that I think feeds that broader perception
that she's helping.
She's helping these candidates.
She's giving them--.
There's a raging debate I think on the right about how much
influence she's had and has it really led to elections.
I think basically what she's done in some cases is take
people who weren't as well-known and make
them well-known.
She endorses somebody and a candidate who nobody has heard
of or few people have paid attention, particularly in the
national media, up to that point have to stop and say well
wow, that person's interesting.
What are the polls telling us?
Have there been polls?
And where we go from here?
She's got I think an uneven record.
Brian Murphy lost in Maryland, who was a Sarah Palin
endorsed candidate.
And Christine O'Donnell won surprisingly in Delaware.
So, I think you've seen her try to do, if she -- who knows if
she's actually going to run -- try to feed this perception
that what she's out there doing now is making herself
busy helping elect Republicans in 2010.
And I think other candidates have done the same with
probably not as much fanfare and coverage.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: So, as we're wrapping up, any
concluding comments from any of you?
Any big thoughts you have not yet shared?
Nate, your predictions?
NATE SILVER: Well, I mean I think--.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: How many did you say?
NATE SILVER: I guess the big thing, I think this election's
a little bit less in the bag for Republicans than people are
assuming on the House side, for example.
I think they have cases where they'll win 60 or 70 seats, and
it's like totally on the table.
But the campaign's still just taking place
in local districts.
Some local districts have fairly good polling for
Democrats, some have terrible polling for Democrats.
But you're getting somewhat more ambiguous messages.
If the Democrats can narrow that enthusiasm gap a little
bit, then they might save the House.
It's a question of whether they want to or not.
Would you rather have a three-seat Majority in the
House or a 60 Minority.
I don't really know.
But I think it's a hard election to forecast, there
are so many districts in play at the House level.
Still 100 seats probably.
We aren't quite sure how it's going to turn out that we're
going to be up late counting November 2, and the night
before we're goingn to have a somewhat better idea, but it's
going to be -- we should see more twists and turns, I think.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Amy?
AMY WALTER: I like the thought of twists and turns.
That means that the campaign will never end.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: And you have a lot to tell, right,
to your Republican in-laws.
AMY WALTER: I have a lot of stories to tell.
And Nate brings up a very good point.
We saw this in 2006 as well.
There are a lot of people who thought they knew exactly
what was going to happen.
But these things do tend to ebb and flow.
I think the enthusiasm gap narrowing will
help save some seats.
But the real question is where independent voters are.
And in so many of these districts, if you're losing
independents 60:40, you still can't win, even if you get
the Democrats to turn out.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Becki?
BECKI DONATELLI: For the first time in four years it's
great to be a Republican.
Our year.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Steve?
STEPHEN HAYES: I think it's actually going to be bigger
than most people think.
I think at the beginning of the the Tea Party and their
effects, people were talking about the Tea Parties as
astroturf, and it was a small group of people who
were really pissed off.
And we've seen now, since I think pretty credibly through a
variety of different polls, that that's simply
not the case.
That the enthusiasm gap that we had seen has been
growing and building on the Republican side.
I don't crunch the numbers like Nate, I'll never
be as smart as Nate is.
But I do have a big gut, and I think my gut tells me that
this will be bigger than '94.
And I don't at all think that the 60 plus numbers on
the House side are crazy.
NATE SILVER: And there are enough seats there.
But Democrats did really--.
I mean the Tea Party was a leading indicator, back
in kind of April of '09.
When Obama still has 60% approval ratings, the Democrats
really kind of missed it.
They kind of dismissed it and made fun of it.
And there are things that you can criticize,
of course, right?
But when they had protests in 200 different cities
or 500 different cities.
I did a piece -- I counted local estimates for local
papers of what the turnout had been at these rallies.
They're all tiny, right?
They were all like 500 people or 200 people or 12 or
1,000 maybe, right?
But in some ways you have that welling up in so many different
places spoke to the fact that it was kind of spontaneous.
When Democrats have a rally, they have a big 230,000 person
rally in Washington or New York or something, and those
sometimes don't get noticed as much as they should.
But that was a sign that people weren't just upset, they were
upset enough to go out and interact with their
neighbors about it.
I don't know, Democrats should have been -- maybe there was
something they could have done, right?
But that was a warning sign, I think.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: So, OK, my prediction is that we are
moving from hop -- you know, looking to Washington and
looking to politicians and elected officials to solve
problems, to looking to communities, so from
hop to hop 2.0.
And I think the social media and the actiity online around
that is fascinating and under-reported.
And the same way that you are saying that we were all kind
of taken aback by the Tea Party growing.
I think we're all going to be taken aback by how all this
disparate, little platoons, here and there all around the
country can coelesce to sort of a big movement.
It's very American of sort of people taking matters
in their own hands.
And actually for the good turning things around.
While, of course, we have all the other forces that
are more distractive.
But they're not going to be named.
But thank you all so much, Steven, Becki,
and Amy and Nate.

And Jonathan, back to you.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: I would say thanks, Arianna, since I'm not
hooked up to my microphone yet.
Hopefully, folks at home can hear me.
This is why Arianna's so good.
She is on it.
Thank you all very much.
Now they're unhooking it.

All right.

Mike Allen from Poltico's going to be up here.
Now I can hear myself, so that must mean you can hear me.
Mike Allen from Politico is going to be here
in a few minutes.
But before I talk to him, wrapping up today's events,
I'm going to talk to this fine, young lady here
who's sitting down.
Jenny Hunt.
She is the head -- and correct me if I'm wrong, Jenny
-- you're the head of Google's elections team?
JENNY HUNT: Yes.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Is that right?
And so of all the things we--.
Let me ask the question differently.
What do you make of everything that we heard today?
JENNY HUNT: Well, I think we heard a lot of the trends
that we're seeing already.
First I'll say that we just celebrated the eighth
anniversary of Google News.
And the top story and the history of Google News in the
last eight years wasn't World Cup or Brittney Spear's
saga, but it was President Obama getting elected.
And so think what we are seeing and understand is that more and
more people are hungry for direct access to information
about politics and news about the elections online, on
their mobile phones, wherever they are.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: And we should also point out that
today is Google's birthday.
JENNY HUNT: Yes, 12.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: The twelfth birthday.
So I you go on the Google homepage, yeah, you get
the little birthday cake.
JENNY HUNT: It's a great way to celebrate.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Apparently, it is.
So, let me ask you.
You were talking about Obama's election being the big news
thing for Google News.
But folks like me, we're so used to -- you know, we
would have to pay for information like this.
And I'll just say personally, it kind of -- as a journalist
who picks up the phone and calls people and has to hunt
and find -- used to -- have to hunt and find.
The idea that my own mother can get on the computer
and get the same amount of information that I can.
I'm sorry, it's just a little unnerving.
So, people can now, where I have to pick up the phone, they
can just do it from anywhere.
JENNY HUNT: Wherever they are, and--.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Desktop and PDAs.
JENNY HUNT: Mobile devices.
What's interesting, two things about this cycle.
One, we've already seen 170% growth in the number of people
who are looking for political and election news on
their mobile devices.
And we expect that number to only go up.
So wherever they are, they're plugging in and getting
constant , real time information.
It's also becoming localized.
There's an 800% growth in statewide candidates who
are using our platforms to connect with voters.
What they realize is if they don't have a campaign office
online, then it as if they don't exist in their
local community.
So it's really shifted to be much more local, much more real
time, where you want this information, and free and
open for anyone to access.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: We've heard how candidates can use YouTube,
and they can use Facebook, but maybe I'm a little slow or just
hungry -- I haven't actually had lunch.
But how can candidates actually utilize Google in the way that
a candidate would utilize Facebook and YouTube?
JENNY HUNT: Well, in several ways.
One is we have robust ad platform that candidates
can use to connect directly with voters.
They can target their ads to local areas.
I think we heard from Becki Donatelli earlier who talked
about how candidates are both using advertising on desktops
through search, and also through mobile platforms.
We also have a variety of ways that we can ensure that when
people turn online to search for candidate names, the
candidates website shows up and is relevant in those
search results.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So you saw explosive growth in 2008.
You're seeing more now, with this election.
So what are your projections for 2012?
Do you think it's going to spike even further?
JENNY HUNT: We think so.
Everything that we're seeing, whether it's use of social
networks and social media, mobile technology, or the
growth of online video, everything is pointing upwards
in terms of trajectory with online engagement in a more
local and relevant and real time way.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So, everyone's been asked the
crystal ball question.
So, crystal ball, 2012.
What do you think we're going to see in terms of political
campaigns and how they're using social media and using Google?
And two, do you think -- well, answer that question, then
I'm going to ask you another question.
JENNY HUNT: I think 2012 for folks like your mom or people
across America, it'll be very easy for them to both receive
ads directly from candidates, but also fact-check that
information directly.
Receive the latest relevant tweets from local reporters or
from candidates themselves, whether they've just had a
campaign stop down the street or are coming next week.
I think Amy Walter mentioned how information's being pulled.
People are going to be able to control what information
they want to receive from candidates, issues, and news
sources that they trust.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So, how many people are we actually
talking about here?
Because not everybody is linked to the internet,
not everyone is wired.
So, I guess the question is how much room is
there for you to grow.
It sounds to me like there's -- well, not exponential,
because there's a finite number of people.
But you have a lot of room to grow.
JENNY HUNT: Right.
Well, and the number's already large.
At least around half of Americans are turning online
and then to their mobile device to find political news, but
that still leaves another 50%.
I think the frequency with which they're receiving
that information is going to increase.
And they'll continue to engage in deeper ways
with campaigns as well.
So whether it's platforms, like Moderator, which we used today,
which will allow campaigns to directly have a dialogue with
their supporters in their communities.
You'll see that it won't just be about receiving information,
but actually participating.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, this has been great, Jenny.
JENNY HUNT: Thank you for hosting today.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thank you very much for sharing with us
Google Moderator and the platform today.
I want to bring up Mike Allen from Politico, because we've
got big stuff to talk about, or even bigger stuff
to talk about.

MIKE ALLEN: Great job.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thank you very much.
And great job to you.
Your two master interviews.
So, we've got, as I've said, now a gajillion and one times,
five weeks to go until the midterm elections.
November 2 is Election Day.
Your interviews with Axelrod and Gillespie, do you
believe either of them?
You've got Gillespie who's gung-ho about the Republicans
taking the House.
And you've got Axelrod whose attitude is, yeah, we're going
to take some losses but we're going to hang on.
Which one's right?
MIKE ALLEN: What they both had in common was they made it
clear that the conversation out in the country, out in the
states, our in the district is different from what's
going on here.
So, our assumptions, probably sort of one way or the
other, are probably too extreme, I think.
History would tell us that as we come into these closing
days, these races are going to close, and there's going
to be a little more drama.
So I think Ed Gillespie is right to be bullish about the
friends for Republicans.
But also, David Axelrod is right to recognize that there
are going to be surprises, and that these gaps are not as
dramatic as they've being seen at this moment.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, Nate Silver just told Arianna
Huffington that he thinks that the enthusiasm and confidence
of the Republicans taking the House is a bit overblown.
You're a veteran of all this.
So do you think Nate is right in his warning to GOP?
MIKE ALLEN: Nate is always right.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Good answer.
MIKE ALLEN: But I'm not going to argue figures with Nate.
But I'll tell you what the parties say.
What the parties say, and the reason that you are right to be
cautious, is that Republicans need 40 pick-ups.
You can get to--.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: In the House.
MIKE ALLEN: In the House side, you can get to 35, 36, 37, 38.
You can't sit here, we can't' sit here and write on
a Google product what the 40 flips would be.
But if we sat here at this same time in 1994, you wouldn't
have been either.
So, Republicans are counting on this wave to carry in a
few people that they can't be sure of.
Now, what the parties say is that some of these
seats come in clumps.
So, if you get to 36, you're probably going to get to 38.
If you get to 38, you're probably going to get to 45.
That's how these numbers start to get high.
If you get to 45, something big is going on, you'd
probably get to 50.
So that's why we can't sit here and forecast it, but it is
prudent to say we can't say exactly how these big numbers
of people are going to talk about would look in real life.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: I thought it was a leading question that you
had for David Axelrod when you asked him is there a race you
think the Democrats can win that would be surprising.
Is there a race in your mind that you think the Democrats
can win that no one's paying attention to, or they think
that the Republican can win?
MIKE ALLEN: Yeah.
Everybody's looking to -- turned back to
Oliver North here.
Everybody's wondering who's the Oliver North of this cycle.
That is 1994, huge Republican year.
He was the one prominent candidate who lost.
So who's the big Republican who's going to lose this year?
I think people would look at the Senate race of Delaware,
Christine O'Donnell, say that might well be one of them.
The polls right now, as Eddie Gillespie
acknowledged, are big.
But what I think you're also seeing in polls is that there's
a real opportunity for Republicans looking to 2012.
Just today, Politico, George Washington University
has a battle ground--.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Your big poll -- your big
battle ground poll.
MIKE ALLEN: It shows that only 38% people are certain they
want to re-elect Barack Obama.
So, there's going to be certainly an opportunity there
that something else that may close or may change, the
President's not on the ballot, he's not ready
running for himself.
But you're seeing a number of Republicans saying, hey, this
nomination might be worth having.
That's why I was very interested in the very long
list that Ed Gillespie went through of potential
Republican candidates.
There's going to be a bunch of them who think, I might be able
to do something with that nomination.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Let me ask you really quickly this
question of voters and polls asking would they vote for
President Obama again if the election were held today.
As a political watcher, do you think that question
is a helpful one?
I mean the guy's--.
MIKE ALLEN: OK.
The guy says, talk about leading questions.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: I'm going to be a writer.
I can lead the witness.
Well, push back.
MIKE ALLEN: No, I think you make a good point.
Like what is your -- you have obvious skepticism about it.
What's your skepticism?
Or what would be a better question?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, I just don't ask the question.
When we were focusing on the folks that are on
the ballot in 2010.
But here's my final question for you.
The president is going off to Wisconsin, going to college
campuses, trying to gen-up those first generation voters--
MIKE ALLEN: Did he bring back the students, yeah.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: --People of color.
Right.
One, do you think the President has any other option
but to do this?
And two, do you think he'll be successful?
Will he get them out in numbers, not as they came out
in 2008, but at least a point or two above where they were
the last midterm election cycle?
MIKE ALLEN: Yes.
He will get more of those first time Obama voters of the Obama
voters, than he would have otherwise.
The question is, the drama is Ed Gillespi's contention, but
this also revs up the Republican base.
So, the President's appearances around the country in these big
rallies, these 2008 sized rallies, they're clearly
going to have an impact.
The question is who is going to drive more.
So that could be the fun story for all us to watch
the next month or so.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: So the President can rev-up an
already revved-up GOP base?
MIKE ALLEN: Yeah.
He's going to get more of his people to turn out, if you can
get them out to work, get them out to the polls.
Ed Gillespie's contention is that that will also remind
the Republicans that they need to go.
That it's not in the bag.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Mike Allen, Chief Political Correspondent.
I always want to call you Chief Washington Correspondent Chief.
MIKE ALLEN: Don't call me late for dinner.
You did a great job, very smooth.
Thank you, Jonathan.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thanks, Mike.
Mike Allen of Politico.
MIKE ALLEN: It's a great audience and a great team
that put this event on.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Right.
Let's thank Google and Poltiico for having us here today.
Thank you all for watching at home.
Mike, again, thank you, and a big thanks to
Arianna Huffington.
MIKE ALLEN: [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
Moderator we'll call her.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Arianna Huffington for the
lively panel discussion.
Again, thanks to David Axelrod and Ed Gillespie for sharing
their thoughts and taking time out of their busy schedules.
Again, as a reminder, all the interviews will be
uploaded to YouTube.
And the entire program will be uploaded as well.
I'm Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post and MSNBC.
Thank you for participating in this Google, YouTube,
Politico jamboree.
MIKE ALLEN: Nicely done.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Election preview.
Thanks very much, everyone.
Good evening.
MIKE ALLEN: Thank you guys for coming.