June 2007

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In Their Own Words
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Senator John Edwards. (Streaming video is available.)
In Their Own Words

Remarks by Senator John Edwards

John Edwards was elected Senator of North Carolina in 1998. In 2004, he ran unsuccessfully for Vice-President as John Kerry's running mate. Since then he has founded the One America Committee and directs the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. On December 28, 2006, Edwards officially announced his candidacy for President in the 2008 election.

Edwards recently addressed the National Jewish Democratic Council's Washington Policy Conference. NJDC Vice Chairman Marc Stanley introduced him as someone who has the "candor, courage and guts to tell the American public about what he feels and not a crafted message." Stanley shared a private moment with the Edwards family shortly before Elizabeth announced the return of her cancer. She said John "is not in it for his ego. He is not in it for me.... He is in this to do what's right for America."

Senator John Edwards: I believe very deeply in our friendship with Israel. I have for a long time.

I know how important our relationship with Israel is.

I have been on extraordinarily emotional trips to Israel myself which have been very important to me. Tonight as many of you know in Israel a flag will be raised on Mt. Herzl to commemorate what happened in 1948 when members of Israel's provisional government signed a declaration of independence in Tel Aviv and celebrating Israel's independence is a wonderful historic moment for Israel. The nation is flourishing, the economy is doing very well. Israel continues to face, as many of you know very well, extraordinary threats to her people and security every single day.

I think there is a renewed need for vigilance. I was in Israel last summer --- in fact a few of the people who I was in Israel with are here tonight. We met with the Prime Minister, other Israeli leaders, and the Cabinet. We travelled to the northern border with Lebanon. This was about a month before the fighting broke out. This was one of my visits to Israel, all of which have had independent meaning for me.

On my first trip, we left the King David Hotel and left for Tel Aviv, and a few hours later the Sbarro Pizza bombing took place, which many of you will remember. Many died, including children. 

The peace process is faced with both great promise and great peril.

This last trip, where I had a chance, as I said, to meet with Israeli leaders, it became very clear to me that the peace process is faced with both great promise and great peril at this point. And particularly with Hamas being in charge of the Palestinian Authority it is clear to me that what has happened over the last few years is that the President and this administration have not met their responsibility to engage in a serious way in the peace process. I do believe that both Israel and the Prime Minister have time and time again demonstrated their commitment to peace, their commitment to a future where there are two states living side by side, with peace and with security.

But, as everyone here knows, Hamas continues to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exists, continues to refuse to renounce violence, continues to refuse to honor past agreements, and America has to find ways to help empower those within the Palestinian Authority who actually want peace, those who want to see a stable situation with two states living side by side in peace and security.

So I think we have an important role to play in that process, recognizing of course that it is not the role of the United States to impose peace, but instead to be engaged in a serious way. And, by the way, when I was in Israel we had missiles being lobbed into Israel out of Gaza. At that point the Prime Minister and other leaders were focused on the potential for disengagement from the West Bank and a realignment that was being talked about then. Unfortunately, that has fallen by the wayside as many of you know, as a result of what has happened in Israel.

I want to say a word about Iraq because it is important. It's important for the Middle East, and it's important for America. And then I want to say a few words about Iran.

America should be leaving Iraq.

First on Iraq. Many of you know that I voted for this war in Iraq. I was wrong to vote for this war --- I should not have voted for it, and I have to live with that. I have to take responsibility for that, and I do take responsibility for it. It is very clear to me now that America should be leaving Iraq.

Sometimes, I think we make this more complicated than it is. What's happening is the Sunni and Ba'athists ran this country under Sadaam, they are out of power; they are unhappy about it; the Shiia Malachi government is in power and they do not want to relinquish any of their power. And that political conflict is at the base of all the violence that occurs. There are other things that attribute to it, of course, but that is the primary cause of the violence.

And I think that what America needs to do is begin to shift the responsibility to the Sunni and Shiia leadership, and the most effective way to begin to do that is for America to begin to leave Iraq and to do it the right way. What I would do is draw down 40 to 50 thousand troops today, out of the north and south, I would continue an orderly redeployment out of Iraq so that our combat troops are out of Iraq in roughly a year, or hopefully in a little less than a year.

We ought to do what we have not done untl now, which is to engage other countries in the region and particularly the Syrians and the Iranians into helping stabilize Iraq. Because they both have an interest in a stable Iraq if America is not an occupying force there. If you see this through the eyes of the Iranians, the last thing they want are a million plus refugees coming across their western border. And in the case of the Syrians, they do not want economic instability, and in the case certainly of the Iranians, the last thing they want is a broader Middle-East conflict since Iran is a Shiia country in a Sunni dominated Muslim world. They do not, of course, want to see a broader Middle-East conflict. So I think both countries have an interest in a stable Iraq as long as we engage them.

Now, I do happen to believe that as America redeploys out of Iraq it is very important for us to maintain a presence in the region, which means we need to keep troops in Kuwait; we need to have a presence in the Persian Gulf, a naval presence in the Persian Gulf. Afghanistan is moving, unfortunately, in the wrong direction. The Taliban is resurging in the South, the heroin trade is up and up dramatically, the non-American members of NATO are not contributing the troops to Afghanistan, so it may be necessary for us to put additional troops there.

Prepare for the possibility of a very bad situation in Iraq

And I also think it is necessary for the President of the United States to prepare for the possibility of a very bad situation in Iraq. One of the mistakes we have made until now is we have not prepared for bad circumstances, and over and over and over they have occurred and America and the rest of the world for that matter was unprepared. I think we have to prepare, and we have to have a plan for containment in the event things move in the wrong direction.

But I think this path maximizes the chances for success, maximize the chances for there to be stability and for there to be political reconciliation in Iraq.

Drive a wedge between Ahmadinajad his own people

Now I want to turn for a minute if I can to Iran. My view of what is happening with Iran is that the president, Ahmadinajad, is politically unstable in his own country. He came into power on a platform of economic reform, strengthening the middle class, lifting families out of poverty ---sounds familiar, right? He has done none of those things, and primarily what he has spent his time doing is --- both in Iran and around the world --- is drawing attention to himself, engaging in bellicose rhetoric against the United States. Because of that, much of the political elite and some of the religious leaders in Iran and a significant amount of the population have left him, and I think he sits in a politically vulnerable position.

Now, while it would be a mistake for any president of the United States to ever take any option off the table, I think it is clear to me that there is a smart path for America and the rest of the world with respect to Iran. And that path will require America to work with our friends in Europe who have the economic leverage --- and the European banking system --- to apply pressure to the Iranians.

So here's what I think we ought to do. I think we and our friends in Europe should put a proposal on the table in a very public way ... a proposal that is both sticks and carrots.

Let's start with the carrots. By the way, the first part of this has been offered in the past. We should offer to make the fuel --- the nuclear fuel --- available to them so long as we and the international community control the fuel cycle. We should also offer a serious package of economic incentives. They are economically unstable, and they have a reason to take some action to provide some economic stability in their own country.

Now, the flip side of that is that we have to make clear to the Iranian people that if, on the other hand, they choose to follow a radical leader taking them down the path to proliferation, then there will be serious economic consequences. And that wedge between Ahmadinajad --- with all of the statements --- all of us know the statements he has made both about Israel and the Holocaust, Israel --- wiping Israel off the face of the map --- and the statements he has made about America --- how dangerous this man is and how radical he is. We need to drive a wedge between him and his own people and between the other religious and political leaders in Iran. And I think that maximizes the chance of a successful outcome short of taking other options. So I think there is a smart path here, particularly if we recognize the political instability of this president in his own country.

What America should be doing in the world.

I want to talk for a minute though, beyond the Israeli/Palestinian issue, and beyond Iran and Iraq, all of which are enormous issues for us and for the rest of the world....I want to take a minute if I can and put this in a broader context of what America should be doing in the world. Because I do think it is important, it is a natural thing to focus on all of these issues, because they are enormously important and important to the survival of the world, but I also think it is important for America to have a long term foreign policy structure that creates the greatest chance for stability and security for the world.

This is the way I think about this. Many of you know I have spent an awful lot of time working on these issues over the last few years since the last election. My view is that America is the only potential stabilizing force in the world. Because we are the preeminent power, we are the only place around which the world can naturally focus and rally when crises occur. An example is the one I just spoke about, with the president of Iran trying to get a nuclear weapon. There has to be some place around which the world rallies, some focal point, some point of stability, when these crises occur, because they are going to continue to occur. It is completely and totally naïve to believe that is not going to happen. It will happen. So the question is "Will America be that focal point?"

Well, the only way for that to be true is --- and I think this has been proven beyond doubt over the last few years --- the only way that that's going to be true is for the rest of the world to see America not only as strong --- they have to see us as strong, and I mean strong in every conceivable way: militarily, economically, politically --- but that strength has to be married to the moral authority to lead. I mean, the world has to see America as a force for good. And I think there are multiple ways for us to demonstrate that we are a force for good, but that is not the way the world sees us today. Anyone who spends any time --- and alll of you have --- in many parts of the world know that the world primarily sees America as a bully, and they see us as someone focused on our own selfish, short-term interests.

That has to change. We can not be the leader that we want to be. And by the way, you do not get to choose to be a leader on particular issues. You either are a leader, or you're not a leader. And we have to change the dynamic that exists today. We can not be the country of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and have the rest of the world see America as this great force for good that they want to follow. And this is important to the stability not just of America. It is important to the stability of the entire world.

The most powerful nation on the face of the planet declared a genocide ...  [in Darfur]
and then stepped back and watched it continue.

I think there are many ways for us to demonstrate this of which is this ongoing genocide in Sudan and Darfur. I mean, here is an issue on which America should be leading. I mean, the way I have talked about this in the past is to see this through the eyes of the rest of the world instead of through American eyes. This is what you see: You see that Americans declared years ago, in 2004, that a genocide is taking place. Hundreds of thousands of people killed, women raped, villages levelled, primarily at the hands of the Janjaweed militia supported by the Sudanese government. The Chinese play a role because they prop up the Sudanese government by buying oil from Sudan. So you are the rest of the world and you watch this happen, the most powerful nation on the face of the planet has declared that a genocide is occurring, and then stepped back and watched it continue. So here is the question: "What would you think of us?" I mean, it is really not surprising that the world responded the way they did.

So the question is "What should we do? What should and can America do?" I think there are multiple things that America should be doing.

First, we and NATO can enforce a no fly zone over Sudan, so that we no longer have the Sudanese government providing air support for this ongoing genocide and for the violence that is occurring in western Sudan. And by the way, as you know, this entire conflict has now spread into Chad and the Central African Republic, so it's not just happening in Sudan now. This is a very specific thing that American could do, and would have an effect.

Bush has said at least for now we are not gonna enhance sanctions. He is not going to push the NATO countries to enhance economic sanctions against the Sudanese government. This is a mistake. America should do exactly the opposite. We know that this government is engaged in the support of genocide, and some of you probably saw the news reports of them painting airplanes so that they could send them into western Sudan so that they could support what was happening there. So America and the NATO countries together should be enhancing the economic sanctions against this government because ultimately we need a security force on the ground .

The African Union security force is about 7,000, and cannot provide security for multiple reasons. Some of them, I think, do not even entirely understand their mission, or their mission is not entirely clear, but they also just don't have the training and logistical support that they need. There is another place that America and our NATO friends could make a difference. In addition to putting pressure on the Sudanese government to get a UN force --- a UN security force --- on the ground, which is now being blocked by the Sudanese government, we need to use our economic power and our diplomatic power to accomplish that. America and NATO should be there providing logistical support for that force so that they can, in fact, be effective in stopping the spread of genocide, in stopping the violence in western Sudan.

So there are a whole group of things that America can do to have an impact on what is happening in Sudan. And here is a place where America can demonstrate that we're willing to take action that does not appear to be in our short term strategic interest, because it is very hard to argue, in the abstract, that America has some short term interest in this genocide in Sudan, except that it is wrong --- it is morally wrong --- and America has to stand up and show that America will stand up for what is right, even when it is not in our selfish interest. And this is the way -- it is an example ---it's a way to demonstrate our commitment not just to ourselves but our commitment to humanity.

I just want to say a couple more things and leave plenty of time to take your questions. But I also believe that whether it is what we're doing in Iraq, which is a bleeding sore for America right now, by any measure....what we're doing in Iraq , what we do about Iran and nuclear weapons, what we do about the Israeli /Palestinian issue, what we are doing bout this ongoing genocide in Sudan, it is not just what we do outside our borders, it is what we do here.

Having 37 million people in my country,
the richest nation on the planet,
who wake up every day worrying about feeding
and clothing their children, is wrong.

Because many of you know --- and [NJDC Vice-President] Mark [Hoyer] mentioned this just a moment ago --- many of you know that I've been running a poverty center at the University of North Carolina.

Is this a powerful political issue?

Maybe not. I don't know whether it is or not.

Here's what I know. I know that having 37 million people in my country, the richest nation on the planet, who wake up every day worrying about feeding and clothing their children, is wrong. That is what I know. And we --- and this organization [the National Jewish Democratic Committee], by the way, is terrific on this issue --- we need to speak out.

Tell me who is gonna speak out for the poor in this country if we do not. No one will. No one will, and there are so many things that we can do. I will not go through my whole agenda on this because I would spend a lot of time on it, but there are some obvious things: Making work pay for those millions living in poverty, and truly universal health care, so that they all have universal health care coverage. I am proud of the fact that at this moment I am the only candidate with a truly specific universal health care plan; I hope they all have one. I do not want to be lonely in this. I want to see everyone have a universal health care plan because we need one. We desperately need one.

Ending Poverty in America

And by the way, and I saw a few people perk up when I mentioned poverty, for those of you who are specifically interested in this, we have a new book out , I am the editor of it, it came out under the auspices of the Poverty Center at the University of North Carolina, called Ending Poverty in America. It has the best minds, I believe, in this country: academics, practitioners, policy wonks, politicians, everybody speaking out on their ideas about how we end poverty. I would love for you to get a copy of it if you're interested in reading it. Ending Poverty in America, that is the name of it.

The Two Americas

I mentioned universal health care; I mentioned poverty; I do feel I have to say also just a word about not just poverty but the extraordinary economic disparity that exists in this country today . I mean, some of you have heard me talk about the Ttwo Americas --- you know --- one for those who have everything they need, and one for those who are struggling.

The reason people have wanted for so long to come to this country is the idea that in America you can come from nothing --- as I bet many in this room have --- come from nothing to having everything. You can come from nothing to spending $400 on a haircut. There are great opportunities (it is so embarrassing,by the way).... There are great opportunities, but the problem is the barriers have become worse, and worse, and worse, and we all know it. Last year the top 300,000 income earners in America made more than the bottom 150 million. This is not OK.

And we have so much work to do. I talked about a few of the ways we can do it:

  • raising the minimum wage,
  • extending the earned income tax credit,
  • making it easier for workers to organize themselves and have a collective choice,
  • access to college, which is a huge issue...

There are many things. I will not go through them all now, but I think there are very specific steps that we can take.

Whether it is ending poverty --- and I belive we can do it --- making universal health care available, dealing in a serious way with the great economic inequality that exists in America, and America showing moral leadership on what is a huge moral issue for America and the planet, which is climate change, global warming.

And the way I envision there are very specific things we should do about that.happy to talk about it if you're interested and want to talk abut that, but we have to demonstrate both in what we do oversees and what we do here by example that the United States of America is a moral force for good on the planet, both at home and in the rest of the world.

America has to stay engaged with the rest of the world.

It is absolutely crucial, not just for us feeling good about ourselves, but for us being the leader that we have to be on the planet, and I will just say, I do not know if this is an issue in this room, it is in some places, I think it is an enormous mistake, and I worry about this, for our party to look at what has happened in Iraq and the incredible mess of Iraq, and to say "We are going to draw inward" and to say "We can not engage with the rest of the world; we need to solve our problems here at home."

What a horrendous mistake that would be.

A tragic mistake.

America has to stay engaged with the rest of the world. The fact that Bush and his administration have made such a mess abut it does not mean American should not be engaged, does not mean that American should not be leading. We should be leading in a way that demonstrates our moral authority so that the rest of the world wants to be like America, so that America can be the light again.

That is what we ought to be doing, and we have to be leading. We have to be engaged in the rest of the world . It is critical not just for us; it is critical for the future of the planet.

Thank you all very much.

Question and Answer Session

Q: Is it morally acceptable for pension funds to be invested in Sudan and Iran? 

A: One of the things that we should be doing is American companies should be saying we no longer will invest in a way that supports the Sudanese government that is engaged in genocide, and I think there is a similar situation in Iran, so the answer to your question is "No."

Q: What would you do as President to encourage renewable energy, and how do you finance it?

A: What I would do is cap carbon dioxide emissions in America. I would have a national cap. I would ratchet that cap down every year. By the way, the goal, and I think it's an achievable goal, would be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

And then below that cap, I would auction off the right to emit greenhouse gasses. Most estimates are that would generate anywhere between 30 to 40 billion dollars. And then I would invest a sizable chunk that money --- at least 13 billion dollars --- in a variety of things: a national investment in a comprehensive both development and marketing the use of clean, renewable sources of energy: wind, solar, bio-fuel, not just ethanol. I would put a billion dollars into America developing the most fuel efficient vehicle on the planet instead of having them built somewhere else; I would put a billion dollars into the development of both clean coal technology and carbon sequestration technology. I think we should ban the building of any additional coal fired power plants until we have clean coal technology and carbon sequestration technology available to us, but we need to be moving toward that. And actually the sequestration technology is moving, but it is in its infancy. America's gonna need to invest in it to make it work.

I also think that beyond all these investments we live in a country with 4% of the world's population emitting 25% of the world's greenhouse gasses. We are a terrible example for the rest of the world. And as you know well, this is not an American problem, it is a global problem. So America needs to take the steps to clean up our own house and then we should go to China and India --- China more specifically -- and make the technology available to them because they are gonna need access to the technology and we need to make it available to them so they will participate in this effort.

Also, my view is that it's time to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war and we ought to say to America "We can not solve this problem without you sacrificing. You are gonna have to take responsibility. You know, this President said after September 11, "Go shopping." I think that we need a President who says to America "These problems can not be solved by the President of the United States alone. It is going to require you to take action and take responsibility. And in this specific area that means conservation. It means we are gonna have to not only develop must drive more fuel efficient vehicles, we're going to have to be willing to conserve in our homes, willing to conserve in our workplaces. We ought to be using smart thermostats at home so that we can see how much electricity we're actually using -- and I think we ought to be able to produce at least 25% of our electricity by the year 2025 from renewable sources of energy.

So basically the big pieces are: national cap on emissions, pulling that cap down over time, reducing our greenhouse emissions by at least 80% by thew year 2050 -- that is an aggressive goal, but an achievable goal according to the scientific community; and then we are going to have to invest in these alternatives, the money can come from auctioning off the right to emit. And America develping the technology that is gonna make it possible to make this transition. And, of course, sacrificing and being willing to conserve. I think those are the big pieces, and that is what I would do.

Q: As President, what would your foreign policy be towards Saudi Arabia, which is financing worldwide the most extreme fundamentalist Muslim religion, which creates jihadists.

A: I think that, first of all, our dependence on oil so drives our relationship with the Saudis. America uses 22 million barrels of oil a day, and of those 22 million 12 million are imported, and the Saudis, of course, are the greatest oil producer on the planet, so they are responsible for providing a huge part of our oil and the oil for the rest of the world. It gives them power and leverge in dealing with us. That has to change.

That must change.

I think that in addition to that, once we have more of an arm's length relationship with the Saudis --- and everyone in this room knows where the September 11th terrorists came from --- and I think what America must do is first of all we should deal with the Saudis in very much an arm's length way, which I do not think we do today, which is very much driven by our dependence on oil from the Saudis, and that dynamic has to change.

I think they actually have, should they choose to use it, they have the capacity to stop a lot of what is happening within Saudi Arabia. The Saudi leadership professes their great relationship with America and with the American people, and then they wink and nod and finance the madrasas that teach their young people to hate America, to hate what we represent, to hate Israel, to hate the Israeli people. That has to stop.

That has to stop if America is to continue to have a serious long term relationship with the Saudis. So I think it is a thing that requires us to get off the Achilles heel that requires us to deal with them the way we do today. And secondly, in our arm's length relationship with them, making serious demands that they stop what they have been doing up until now.

Q: I assume you're not in favor of privatizing Social Security. What would you do about Social Security (that's the softball) and Medicare (that's the hardball).

A: (laughing) Next question.

No, I am not in favor of privatizing Social Security, you're correct about that.

Let me start with the harder question, Medicare, because I think that is the more intense, short-term financial issue. I think the financial strength of Medicare is helped by having a truly universal health care system for multiple reasons: because of the efficiencies in the healthcare system that are created, because people go into the Medicare system healthier, because they have had health care from the time they are born until the time they are eligible for Medicare, and my system does not eliminate Medicare --- I should say that --- so I think that having a truly universal system that brings down costs, creates better efficiencies, provides better care, fills in the cracks in care that exist today, chronic care, preventative care, long-term care, all those things will help with the financial sovency of Medicare.

I think in addition to that we should use the power of the government to negotiate better prices. Prescription drugs is the most obvious example of that, but I think there are equipment, supplies... in all those areas we should use the power of the government to get the prices down.

I think we need a more efficient way to manage chronic care within the Medicare system. In my universal healthcare system we have a mechanism for measuring what treatments and what care are most effective. It is all done in a regional basis, in a very systematic way, regional feeding into a national system, and I think we should do exactly the same thing with Medicare, which we are largely not doing today. Those are in the short term the things I would do about Medicare.

As for Social Security: first it is not as intensely sick. We know that we are moving in the wrong direction but we are not there for decades. I am not in favor of cutting benefits, and I am not in favor of raising the retirement age. This is one of those areas where it is so politically hot, and I think the big mistake Bush made when he created his "commission" was you knew at the outset what they were gonna come out with, I mean, because of the people he selected. I think you have to select non-ideologically driven, non-partisan people who can put together a set of ideas for how we address this in a serious way, because it is so difficult and so hot politically.

I can share with you one idea: the fact that we cap Social Security taxes now at I think it's $96,000 or $97,000. There' s a very good chance that we just need to take that cap off. And one alternative to that is to create a bubble above $97,000 up to maybe $150-175,000, so that there's some protection, you know, at $100,000 a year, people still struggle sending kids to college, paying the bills, et cetera, I am not sure that we want to raise taxes on that group, so you can create bubble just above it and then lift the cap above that, but that is at least one way to create another revenue source to help pay for Social Security.

Q: I have a son serving in the US Navy, and he has just returned from an eight-month tour in Iraq, on land. So you know where my feelings are, where my priorities are. However, let's move forward perhaps to January 21, 2009, and perhaps I can say "Mr. President, when you are settled into the Oval Office, what would be the first of all these issues that you'd anticipate tackling?"

A: I would do two things at the same time. You know, you do have to be able to walk and chew gum as President at the same time.

I would do two things. The first thing I would do is submit a Universal Healthcare bill to the Congress and work immediately with the leaders to establish the path of that bill.

The second thing is, I would immediately begin travelling the world, because I actually think that the greatest short-term responsibility of the next President is to reestablish America as a leader in the world and I think that will require time and effort. It will require speaking not just to leaders behind closed doors, but speaking to people of the world in the way great American presidents have in the past. Many of us remember John Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech. But the world needs to hear from the President of the United States, and especially considering the draught we have been through for the past eight years as of January 2009. I think it is pretty clear what the message should be. The message the world needs to hear from the President of the United States is --- and others have used this term, so it's not original with me --- is that America is not just a place, America is an idea, and the idea (I'm speaking for myself now) the idea is equality and diversity. That is what we are in America. we believe in everybody having a real chance and we do not just tolerate diversity in America, we embrace it. It is who we are. Cultural diversity, faith diversity, ethnic diversity, That is what America is. And the world needs to hear that from America. The world needs to hear from the President of the United States.

And I will add --- some of you have heard me talk about this before --- and I really do think it is important, and it is not a policy thing, it is more of a personal and character thing, I really hope, as all of you, and this is a very smart and sophisticated audience, I hope that all of you, as you look at the candidates for President, will not only look at the specifics of their policy proposals, which I think are crucial, I am not understating it, I think that is one of the two most important components, but the other is, I think because of the place we are in in America today, and because of the place America is in with the rest of the world, it is so important for the President to be able to reestablish trust with the American people and for the President of the United States to reestablish trust with the rest of the world.

For that to be true, we have to have a President who is honest, and open, and who is viewed by America and the world as a good and decent human being, somebody who, even if we do not agree with him on a particular issue, our reaction is "He is a good person trying to do the right thing." Because we can tolerate disagreements, that just the way it is. You're never going to agree with the President all of the time, that is just the nature of who we are, that is the great thing about democracy, but you want to constantly think, because you know it is true, that every day when the President is in the Oval Office and is confronted with a conflict between the President's personal political interest and the interests of America and the world, that the President will always decide in favor of the interests of America and the world. You have to believe that. And you have to believe the President, when faced with difficult choices, and hard decisions, will be open and honest.

And that means, by the way, beyond speaking out and being truthful with the country is we have to get rid of this secret government that's been going on for the last few years . We need transparency. The government does not belong to the President, it belongs to you, it belongs to the American people, and the American people need to be able to see what is happening within their government because that is one, I think, of the most critical elements of reestablishing trust and faith between America and its leader and between America and its government.

Previous Interviews

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