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John Kerry ─ Every Day is Extra

You hello and welcome to this year’s Noah Krieger memorial lecture and our conversation with secretary Kerry about his new book every day is extra I’m Susan Moffett I’m the director of the talbin Center for American politics and policy here at Brown University I am so glad to see all of you here tonight welcome welcome all so this conversation tonight is in honor of Noah Krieger who was an outstanding Brown University undergraduate with interests in economics and public policy and political science and in honor of his memory the Krieger family has generously supported a range of programs and opportunities at the Talman Center this lecture being one of them this is one of the most important lectures on on Brown University’s calendar every year and in addition to the Noah Krieger memorial lecture the Noah Krueger Memorial Fund also supports internships for Public Policy concentrators as well as a Noah Krieger Prize together the the lecture the internship and the prize all provide opportunities for our students to engage with applied public policy and public service beyond the training that they receive in their classrooms and as our conversation with secretary Kerry tonight we’ll highlight public service in all its its facets is vital to cultivate so we are grateful to their Krieger family to Sarah sandy and Carol who are with us tonight for so generously supporting our students and invest their dedication to public service will you please join me in thanking and welcoming the Krieger family the Talman center focuses its research and programming on three themes the cost of living the value of democracy and the price of security a secretary kerry’s life and work embody and speak powerfully to these three themes and the ways they intersect John Kerry’s lifelong dedication and extensive commitment to public service includes serving as Secretary of State as US Senator as Lieutenant governmen wealth of Massachusetts as assistant district attorney and as serving as an officer in the United States Navy his experience truly spans local state national and global public service Secretary Kerry we are honored to have you with us tonight and moderating our conversation tonight is Edward Steinfeld who’s the Howard R swear director of the Thomas J Watson Institute for International and public affairs professor Steinfeld is also a professor of political science and the director of the China initiative here at Brown University Thank You Eddie so our time here together will unfold in the following way secretary Kerry and professor Steinfeld will engage in conversation for about 30 or 40 minutes and then we will open up the floor to your questions for about 45 minutes we very much look forward to your questions we are a full house tonight which is wonderful but it invites us all to be mindful of our airtime including me so when it is your turn to ask a question we would invite you to ask one succinct question please then pass that microphone on to the person behind you and share the air with your colleagues thanks so much for your help with that we would like to remind you as the announcement in at the beginning that this event is being recorded and live streamed and this includes the question and answer period and after we wrap up we would invite you to join us in the lobby to continue the conversation well there’ll be a book signing opportunity with secretary Kerry now once again we please join me in very warm welcoming secretary Kerry and professor Stein secretary Kerry I have to apologize because occasionally I’m gonna trip over titles you are my senator in Massachusetts for 28 years and you are always in my mind Senator Kerry answer you want to call me or worse name then write this I thought today we would talk a little bit about your book this is an extraordinary book I highly recommend it it’s a book about an extraordinary life with many more acts still to to live I thought we’d begin with a vignette that it may not be the grandest story in the book but it’s one that move me it’s it’s you told it about your experience as a freshman senator from Massachusetts and I think 1985 when you decided to speak to the Senate Prayer Breakfast and in that experience you were able to connect with people like Ted Stevens who couldn’t have been more different from you temper mentally and politically and generationally there was something about that meeting in that institution that allowed trust that he built I wonder whether you could talk about that and maybe talk about whether that’s still possible today well I could talk about that very quickly no it’s not possible today but except in the rarest of instance but can I begin first of all when they first told me I was coming here and that Seinfeld was gonna interview me I said great I’m coming no you’re worried you’re not the first to make that mistake it was bait-and-switch folks and you’re not the first to be disappointed all right okay but tell me I’ll be the last that’s what’s important I just want to say worried about being here I wanted first of all sandy and Carol thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and sensitivity and remembering no other way you are going forward I think that’s wonderful delighted to be here under the auspices of the Taubman center and the Watson Institute and Susan thank you very very much with Susan run off to there she is thank you so much for our conversation a little bit earlier and for having me here I’m really very happy to be here for a lot of different reasons I’m very happy because the guy in the second row wearing a Red Sox hat I love with the Red Sox did there you go so that puts all of us in a good mood folks let me tell you although the Astros are looming and we got a state together but the reason I’m really happy to be here is my daughter is a graduate my daughter went here and I spent a lot of time coming down here and having a good meal at Al Forno or up in the hill and and walking around the campus with her and learning about brown and being here when everybody walks on graduation and all of that it’s really wonderful it’s a great spirits a great College and I had a privilege of coming down here great University privilege of coming here a number of times ever since I came back from Vietnam and and it was of course being taught on on the Vietnam War and John Kennedy jr.

Was taking the course then and he was a friend of mine and I came down here with him so there are special connections but of equal importance if not more to my life professionally I want you all to know that almost everybody has run for president or anybody who’s been in public life for a time is if you’re lucky you get somebody that you click with intellectually and emotionally and in terms of your vision shared sense of values and life and I did so with the young intern who came to my office an intern who came directly out of Brown University and he went on to become my chief of staff in the United States Senate and my chief of staff in the State Department name is David Wade proud graduated the University and and so you know it’s a it’s a lesson about number of things the themes that had asked about about service and and engagement in public life and how you make a difference but Brown more and more I think is contributing in many ways and I hope that many of you here will think hard about that particularly at the end of this conversation thank you for letting us translate lecture into conversation which i think is an important concept at this particular moment and I appreciate it though I really do look forward to the Q&A with all of you so here’s the deal it’s a it and it’s a very important question it’s it’s a complicated place to start the journey if you will because it has me post-war in the Senate a lot of things have already happened but some of my being at that prayer breakfast is is relevant to the title of this book every day is extra and I have a very short author’s note I struggled as all authors do with do I write a foreword do I write a long introduction about why I’m writing it in everything I said no you know let’s just get right into it and then I said I’m just gonna explain the title because if they bought the book and they’re smart enough to want to read it open it up boom well the title is an expression that my crew I was the skipper of a gunboat in Vietnam 50 foot aluminum hull gunboat massive armament with twin 50 caliber machine guns above my head we had a machine gun in the bow we had another 50 caliber on the stern with 81-millimeter mortar it doesn’t mean a lot to a lot of you it’s a heavily-armed little boat and we would go up rivers in the Mekong Delta that were definitely narrower than this I mean 50 feet is about right here to that wall if that and sometimes you could barely turn the boat around in the river we ran the nose was in the mangrove the stern was in the mud and we’d somehow turn just to give you a sense of it and and you know we’re we were always ambushed we never I don’t think we ever really shot first we shot cover fire or harassment fire to keep people from shooting at us but we never had a specific target we shot first and so we had a fair number of casualties you know a lot of people wounded wounded lightly I was wounded lightly never suggested otherwise I was very lucky and that’s what it is folks it’s luck if you’ve ever gone to war or you ever have to go to war or you ever it’s luck you know I left country with about a hundred and some holes in the boat and several of them were this far above my head inches so when I came back I I knew that just coming back was a gift it was mystical and it moved me enough to have this feeling with all of us and our crew we had this saying we would sign off with it every day is extra just remember it and it’s a reflection of the mystery and gift and responsibility that comes with a survival if you’re lucky enough to make it back then you have a special sense of obligation and responsibility and that’s how we felt how we felt anyway because we all volunteered to go and it was 1965 we raised our hand when President Lyndon Johnson said we want 500,000 troops we got to go over there and fight communism and so forth and you know allegedly we’d been attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin by gunboats serious questions about that ever having happened to this day and we responded because we were the sons and daughters of Greatest Generation parents World War two very different kind of thinking I might add and I’d been very connected to World War two through my mother through a home in in France which was used by the Germans as that headquarters which they bombed and burned when they left and I’d already had a fair sense of war because I went back there in 1947 holding my mother’s hand when I was four years olds my first memory and I remember seeing beaches of Normandy d-day with the detrás of the Normandy invasion still on them in 1947 and and it had a profound impact on me and my thinking about war responsibility fascism invasion by another country you know liberation and America’s role in the world so it’s a long way to get into the prayer breakfast but I have to give you the background because I came back agnostic as hell it may be a nice way to say it because couldn’t understand the concept of a merciful God omnipotent and omnipresent who had a plan for people not to come home and have their marriage and have a child and and that’s what happened one of my best friends was killed six weeks after seeing his six week old baby in Hawaii another friend was killed in Tet Offensive he was engaged to be married and never did obviously so you know you have to reconcile you know what’s where is the plan and all of that so anyway I’m not going to go through and make this a Divinity School lecture but long story short I was wrestling with all of this and I did a lot of reading I read papal encyclicals you know the law resolved itself into G and which pope john paul ii wrote after he was shot four times in an attempted assassination and and he talked about this I mean how could he the Pope be shot this man of God and and so forth and you have to think about these things and people have wrestled with these things for the ages folks there’s nothing new in any question I asked I humbly tell you that I’m sure any question you may not have asked when you look up at the sky at night you see the Milky Way or you learn that matter is going through a black hole at 365,000 miles an hour or whatever it is nobody knows where the hell it’s going I mean these are big questions for everybody you don’t have to be an undergrad or high school person or you know at any stage of life and people wrestle with it so I was wrestling with it and I’d found a certain measure of reconciliation in the notion of salvific suffering and a way of bringing you closer to the meaning of love God and whatever as in terms of the Supreme Being it wasn’t the answer to everything because it’s very hard to explain why volcano explodes or you have floods or hurricane hitting Florida what was sitting here and people losing their lives but I began to put it in a place and I talked about this Ted Stevens was a senator from Alaska very senior Republican and he had lost his wife in an airplane accident he cradled her in his arms when she died it was in the accident his kids were there they survived but it was a terrible thing and he could never after that put things in their right place until after the conversation we had in the United States Senate he came up to me afterwards and buttonholed me and used to wear a you know a Hulk tie as a reflection of his temper which he had and it could explode on the floor of the Senate or privately but he was so peaceful and collected when he said to me you know I never really have been able to understand why there might be a reason that what happened happened until you spoke at the prayer breakfast today and we would meet in complete a political status on a Wednesday morning in this building in the capital off the Senate floor Republican and Democrat alike senators would run the meeting one senator would probably talk about his or her special journey over time and their faith relationship and it was educational it was really important it was a brilliant moment within the Senate I eventually so Ted told me he said you know thank God I met you I’m so privileged that we had this conversation and it brought him back from from a place tragically he died in a plane accident in Alaska a number of years later and but it meant something to me but ultimately folks I had a confrontation again with sort of how I felt about things you have to read the book to really go through this a little bit but but I’m pretty not pretty I am absolutely candid totally frank about it and I lay out my thinking about that journey and ultimately I drifted away from the prayer breakfast itself because I still couldn’t reconcile the way some people would come in there and talk about their faith or talk about the message of Jesus Christ or talk about where they were going and then go up to the floor of the United States Senate and vote against kids vote against the elderly vote against the poor I just you know it didn’t it just left me so uncomfortable that I sort of step back I didn’t condemn anybody I didn’t say anything but I do write about it in the book because it wasn’t any notion of the faith that I grew up with which I still think is charitable and engaged with people in a very different way so I think you know it’s a worth of reading now here’s the theme that I think we ought to focus on in terms of this place is you know how do we get back to a Senate where you can work together and do things particularly given the last few weeks in Washington the Senate is not irretrievably broken but it is mighty broken and I write about the old Senate that I came to and the way we got things done a Senate where I could go over to Ted Kennedy’s house in the evening and we’d have dinner and three or four Republican senators would be at the dinner and we’d sit around and laugh and joke make fun of ourselves but we would talk about serious issues too and the next day we could go into the Senate perhaps build into men out of the relationships that came out of that dinner he described Instagram on climate change Lindsey Graham Lindsey Graham became my partner on climate change we wrote it we wrote a joint op-ed in 2009 for the New York Times on how serious it was why we had to do something about it and I write about what happened I mean he just got pummeled months later as we were getting closer didn’t care about it when we first announced it but when we had about fifty five votes built up in the Senate one of the coal companies I tell you they were a Peabody Coal spent a lot of money in South Carolina trying to mess up Lindsey Graham and they succeeded sufficiently that I one day got a phone call from him quite upset I don’t describe I won’t go through it all here but upset enough that he said to me I’m out of here I can’t do it this is over and it was the politics of personal destruction that we’re taking place regrettably I didn’t see the sensitivity of the lesson of that in his comments unfortunately which were an assault on one party on one side and you know kind of leave you wanting bottom line folks here’s the deal it’s not that the rules of the United States Senate have changed that make what is happening in Washington inevitable of this I am absolutely certain I’m telling you something that I’m clearer on than anything else it’s not that the rules of the Senate dictate that you have to behave the way the Senate is currently behaving it’s the people and you need to remember that as you think about what you’re going to do to act out your responsibilities of citizenship to reclaim our democracy here in the United States of America because we have to and the fact is that it’s the people and I watched this begin to happen in 1994 1990s you could see little vestiges of it if you go back in history and look at the southern strategy of Richard Nixon and Richard Vickery who was a famous direct mail guy who began some of the focused attacks through direct mail this began it began to get ugly but it really didn’t get you know stressed in the way that you see today until beginning in 1994 with the Gingrich contract for America and the Gingrich revolution and then we had the Tea Party the Tea Party was a reaction to the Gingrich revolution not delivering what were the promises lower taxes less government less regulation get rid of roe v wade run a list it’s a it’s a litany you know the list and when that didn’t happen then the Tea Party came along and they started demanding greater ideological orthodoxy and then along came in the failure of them to deliver the freedom caucus and then along came a guy with the initials DJ T who exercised a hostile takeover of the Republican Party and he did it and you can’t you can’t diminish you know the cleverness of sort of the message in manner because he tapped into that anger and he’s still tapping into it and he tapped into it very clearly you know by giving people a sense that he was the guy who could actually drain the swamp now if you look at the reality of what is happening there the swamp is more filled with alligators and crocodiles and ugly formats than it’s ever been Phillip and I mean that the embodiments clause has been shredded vast sums of money are going into corporation through without any distinction between governing and non governing and you saw a lot of the basis of it all in the New York Times article and money and so forth it’s ugly I just I mean I can’t call it anything else I’m not being partisan it is not the Washington that I was part of when I had to go through the most rigorous ethics analysis and and and recuse myself from a B and C anything that anything to do with my family or some possible investment we couldn’t touch that’s not happening today there’s almost no process but secretary Kerry Donald Trump and the Tea Party and the freedom caucus they’re winning elections so that must there’s somehow engaging a public and it may not be necessarily the public overall I knew it no no it is it is a big public speaking yeah it’s really the next place to go to here why is this happening what why what has happened here well you know to use the best of the Queen’s English American voters are pissed off and there’s a reason because politics and I learned this at a university of the Southie here where a professor named John Morton Blum left me with an indelible phrase in in a big lecture course at college and he said to me something I remember this day and I practiced later on he said all politics is a reaction to felt needs felt needs that doesn’t mean they always have to be real but if they felt that’s politics and the truth is that beginning in 2008 it began long before that actually it’s been building up with trade a lot of Americans came to believe that nobody cared about their jobs nobody cared about their income nobody cared about them fulfilling the American Dream so you began to see people’s lives ripped apart when a company left to go to Mexico went somewhere else and they blamed it on that even as many more jobs were being created in the country through technology and other things but those folks didn’t share in that this number one number two you began to see communities fall apart the Rust Belt the Heartland different places and they blamed somebody and they’ve lined up blaming some of the trade agreements and other things or they blame people who didn’t vote less government or vote less tax or whatever now inherently I voted for tax cuts but I also know that we’re gonna have roads to drive on you got to pay for them if you’re gonna have a hospital that works for poor people you got to pay for it if you’re gonna have health care for people who simply can’t afford it as it gets more and more expensive somebody’s got to pay for you got to find a way to de-risk ensure and get healthcare to people I mean you could run the list of things but with 2008 with the crash that came about because of absolutely irresponsible investing and runaway notions on Wall Street about responsibility about how you invest I don’t know how many of you have seen the big short if you haven’t seen it download it tonight watch the Big Short and get a sense of what went on so housing got shorted after it was completely irresponsible in terms of how it was being funded and people who had a two hundred and fifty three hundred thousand four hundred thousand five hundred thousand dollar mortgage suddenly at a home where they owe it the same on the mortgage but their houses weren’t half as much and they were maybe downsized in their job if they still had a job you know what folks that’s a recipe for a very angry voter and that’s exactly what happened so who came along and spoke to that well two people one on the right one on the Left Donald Trump on the right and Bernie Sanders on the left and both were right they both represented a dissatisfaction that people better understand I mean I’ve talking about this for years to be honest with you this goes back to 2004 in my race when I talked about fair tax reform and and you know this equation but the but is that that that now it’s getting worse the distribution of income as a result of the tax bill that was passed under this president has added a trillion dollars to the deficit it’s added two trillion dollars to the trade deficit given what’s happening with the tariffs and we’re looking at by 2020 trillion dollar deficit every year we have a hundred and six percent of GDP to debt today which is the highest I’ve ever seen in my lifetime from 1800s until 2017 it was an average sixty-seven percent now it’s 105 and going up now some people argue deficits don’t matter but there is a point where they matter because they squeeze out the money and the lending from the public sector so it’s a problem in the long run in lots of ways particularly if growth is limited so the point I make is this is what effect it this is what is affected America’s voters but folks as we sit here tonight fifty-one percent of America’s income is going to 1% of Americans and I’m just going to tell you bluntly that is not a sustainable political equation that is going to strip away that feeling of felt needs being satisfied and served so we can change it there’s plenty of ways to change it and change it fairly but that’s the anger that is being appealed to in in a Congress that barely gets anything passed doesn’t do anything I mean I hate this because I’ve friends down there and I spent 28 years there but but it’s rare that the week is worth what it takes to get there whether in Hungary or Poland or Britain or here if we’re in an era of politics of anger and identity can the answer be policy in other words can the answer be a better more equitable tax system or better distribution of income can you answer anger with detail about policy or reason well I believe you I believe you not only have to but you have to answer it with a little bit more than that you have to I think you guys tell me in the Q&A if I’m wrong but I think I mean I think what we have to do and I say this after you know being elected to the Senate five times and coming within one state you know a few tens of thousands of votes in one state of being president I got a pretty good sense of politics I managed to win 48 or whatever primaries and win the nomination I’m telling you that I believe that the American people are fundamentally disposed towards wanting to believe in a vision for our country that makes us stronger and better I think the American people hate what they see in Washington today I think they would welcome an opportunity to have a real debate about how we make America stronger about what we do to resolve the problems that we face and with the exception of a hurricane or a new volcano or something with the exception of God created or whatever you want to call them created catastrophes there isn’t a problem on earth that isn’t created by our fellow human there’s a one problem that I know of I don’t know of any child two and a half years old three years old who hates another person I mean maybe they don’t like their broccoli or they get mad at their babysitter for whatever but they don’t hate the way we see hate today it’s taught it’s taught by parents who’ve used bad words at the dining table or in a kitchen or wherever it’s taught by by fear from other people who hide at school behind the cloak of bully dumb or of cleek who you know pick on the weaker people I mean these things can be managed folks ultimately if we work at it and certainly climate change can be addressed and I’m going to talk about that before we quit here because I’ve made a vow to myself there’s nowhere I’m going nowhere the last year and a half where I don’t talk about climate change with every group because talk about missing an opportunity we could rebuild America by putting in place the policies that deal with climate change none of which we have to wait to learn about we have them right now we’re just not making the choices so to come back to to to the foundation your question what would make a difference I think America I think the American people are waiting to be brought together again I think they’re waiting to have a sense of possibility but has to be real not rhetoric not rhetorical not phony not political not purely ideological how do we solve these problems I mean do you like getting in your car and taking three hours to go somewhere that should be 15 minutes or 20 minutes because we’re absolutely gridlocked and the streets of our nation not to mention the world I don’t know I travel a lot I don’t know a city in the world today that isn’t struggling with a kind of traffic we see here but you know what in Europe and other places they’re building public transportation systems I rode on a train in China that goes 300 miles an hour from Beijing Tianjin I’ve also written on the regional Amtrak train here I mean folks you know our train the Acela from Washington anyway can go 155 miles an hour and you how many miles that goes 100 over 150 for Washington in New York 18 miles it cannot go fast under the Baltimore tunnel because it’s going fast vibrations might cave the tunnel in it can’t go fast over those Chesapeake Bay bridges because the Train will wind up in the Chesapeake minor deal I mean think about this where the country that went to the moon where the country that invented the internet where the country that is cure diseases and does amazing things but we’re not appealing to that best instinct of our fellow citizens which if I think we did and we showed people how we can afford it and how we can do it without raising massive taxes and other things I think we could get these things done so yeah I do believe people are going to be exhausted by the end of this but nobody should be talking about or working on or thinking about 2020 in 27 days we have the greatest course correction opportunity we’ve had in years we can change a whole bunch of things in 27 days and if you’re not involved in some campaign somewhere where it makes a difference in the next week’s you got to make a phone call spun you know say how can we help you can I Drive people to the polls on Election Day can we canvass in the last week to identify your vote how do we help you write our country and and that’s the best simplest way to draw us back from this precipice it really is no magic solution beyond that of course part of the answer maybe most of the answer in our system is to win at the polls one of the ballot box but I think throughout your career you’ve demonstrated that you’ve been able to build consensus and build bridges across people of very different perspectives and on that note I wanted to ask you about your friendship with John McCain you both of course shared a experience of service and in the military distinguished record of service but you also seem to have many differences you after Vietnam testified famously in 1971 and characterized the war as having war crimes on a day to day basis and being the wrong war and a war to support a corrupt regime and of course in 1971 John McCain was in a Cell and Hanoi but and I imagine he could have viewed your testimony as a kind of a betrayal not that it was necessarily but somehow you were count this in the book in 1991 you were able to come to a reconciliation how did that well it would be no surprise to you folks that to a prisoner of war to somebody locked in a Cell who had been tortured in Hanoi to hear that people are protesting the war back home it’s not a surprise to you that those of us who protested would not have been particularly popular with those guys and people saw to it that we weren’t I might add but we weren’t in a popularity contest we’re in a contest to save our country from a massive mistake from a war that was wrong and that people that lied about and we wanted to save lives we wanted to save that next soldier from being sent over there to a war that didn’t have the support of the American people than that couldn’t be rationalized in the context of what we were going to achieve and where there was a strategy that was shockingly wanting I went over there to fight in the war but I learned when I was over there it wasn’t what they were telling us and so those of you who go back and read the history of that time you know Daniel Ellsberg left the Pentagon a very bright man to release the Pentagon Papers which were the story of the deception that had gone on and a basis for years you read the book bright shining lie by Neil Sheehan it’s one of the best books about Vietnam summaries of the war that I’ve read it didn’t come out till many years later after we demonstrated but I was shocked to read his chronicling and documentation of how early the deception began I mean I went over in 1968 two years after graduating and he was chronicling these deceptions in 1962 three four five guys in the field reporting people killed who weren’t killed or growing the numbers there any number of things that just took place so you know I spoke out when I came back I I led a demonstration of 5000 veterans to Washington everybody wore their green fatigues and uniforms and guys who had won medals wore their medals and we had guys in wheelchairs and people with their stumps of limbs as I said then as the only witness to what they had done and Richard Nixon talked about putting us in jail arresting us on the mall and we had a vote very democratic people voted to stay notwithstanding the order to get out of there and the police in Washington refused to arrest us every veteran there was prepared to go to jail for what we were trying to say so I mean that’s what it takes sometimes folks you know we had a president who was had an enemies list 1971 – he was vilifying the Justice Department and the FBI was using the FBI politicized it we had he fired the special prosecutor Archibald Cox he fired the you know person afterwards resigned because he fired him Elliot Richardson I mean this was a difficult time in our country it’s by the way why this book is an optimistic book I’m interrupting myself but I want you to notice it is this book says we can do things why do I say that because we’ve done it before we’ve done it many times in the course of our history in the 1800s you can find really difficult periods in the 1900s with a Red Scare and other complexities and in this particular period we had pipe bombs going off in America people were being actually killed in various demonstrations or whatever happened we at Kent State where the National Guard unfortunately was ordered to open up and students and they died we had strike in universities and colleges across the country we had we had people with machine guns going in some people’s homes and abducting them we had a racial tension that was growing and growing built because of the draft and because of the people who were being forced to fight the war versus the kids who had the wherewithal and connections to get out of the draft and you know go on to grad school with the deferment how many fifty Furman stood down from five five he had five deferments for bone spurs and he couldn’t remember which foot he had the bone spurs in I’m kidding you’re not Dick Cheney five deferments there was light night and day difference between my buddies at school you know who decided we have to serve dick Pershing who played on the soccer team with me we’re both on the varsity soccer team is unbelievable athlete grandson of General Pershing of World War one volunteered 100 first airborne went over in Tet he was killed you know other guys who write what am i debating I was on the debating team the International debating team one of my fellow debaters john white killed so i mean i can run through lists but the point i’m making to you is there was a different sense of citizenship and a different sense of responsibility so I think that McCain viscerally naturally sort of having been shot down over Hanoi and spent up to that point about four years in prison camp five years four years at that point intrinsically had to say what are these guys do and they they ought to be our country my country right I’m wrong no matter what etcetera John came back and he had a hard time he had to sort of process it so one night this is the Senate working its will John and I were placed opposite each other on an airplane to fly to Kuwait after Desert Storm and the other senators had fallen asleep we were a delegation going over John was opposite me we’re going sitting because seniority seated us where we were and John and I really hadn’t talked even though we’ve been in the Senate together for about four years I struck up a conversation and I asked him about his father and Annapolis his grandfather the weight of what he went through to be a student at Annapolis about his life about flying I’m a pilot I love flying we talked about that so we had a wonderful time conversely and he asked me questions he asked me about the war he asked me about my war he asked me about my protest why I protested and John was curious and to his credit and I wrote this after he died he had a capacity for forgiveness he had a capacity to look beyond things so John got to a place where he had many friends who had protested the war leaders of the protest and that was part of his maverick ISM if you will it wasn’t always a maverick mind you to I mean he made me very angry when he ran for president and sort of chucked climate change and and didn’t and he wrote about it I mean he knows he did that but the point I’m making is we all come from different places we all bring our baggage to the table no matter what you each of you do it today and you will do it through your lives it’s it’s part of the human interaction you got to find a way to get over those things takes bigness of spirit you have to build that a little bit the character that’s willing to do it well John did the man of character we decided several things one we decided we needed to work together on something too we decided that we had to try to put in place a strategy that dealt with Vietnam not as a war but as a country and begin to move beyond the war we’re talking 1990 now folks the war ended 1973 but America had not put the war to bed America was still at war with itself which is what I talked about in the in the oh I write about the war at home and and families were divided literally fathers sons brothers people who decided to go to Canada rather than fighting in a moral war and so forth so that’s our country that’s the strength of our country and we work through that and I on the third thing we worked on was not just ending the Duchess getting a strategy with Vietnam we decided we were gonna try to end the war here at home and right at that moment a Newsweek magazine appeared with a cover story that said that there were still suggesting there were still American soldiers alive being held prisoner and tiger cages in Vietnam it gained great mythology in America powerful notion so much so that Sylvester Stallone starred in a series of Rambo movies many of you may have seen them where we always rescue people who are being held people believed it so John and I said we worked on a committee in the Senate that created a select committee I was chairman of it John was my wing man so to speak and we worked for several years to get the answers of what had happened to people who were last known to be alive but for whom we had not accounted that’s where it grew this said wow that person was alive what happened the Vietnamese must have hoped akela quit might have killed him but they probably were holding him so we went back to Vietnam many times we sent American soldiers into villages and hamlets where they’d heard helicopters descending with troops on Search and Destroy missions only we came in in helicopters to ask people or to investigate or to go to someplace where we had information someone might be held and we we eventually solved that we solved the problem fundamentally we got 13 United States senators to unanimously sign an agreement that said we have no evidence that somebody is still alive but in the process we set up folks where even today as you’re sitting here in a beautiful climate change in Bude evening you are privileged to have American soldiers on the ground in Vietnam digging down into c-130 crash sites or phantom jet sites or whatever to try to find the remains of Americans and we have repatriated with this effort we put together over 700 remains so families have had closure and we’ve been able to do it’s the most extensive accounting for people missing or lost in war by any nation in all of human history and Americans should be very proud of what we are still doing to this day John McCain and I went back to Vietnam to Hanoi we stood together in the Hanoi Hilton in his cell where I talked to him about his experience in his cell and I have to tell you folks it just hit me there and John and I talked about I went out to see him but six weeks two months before he died we chatted about this he smiled he loved it because he knows what we accomplished and I said you know if a war protester and a Pio W can help end the war in Vietnam and the war here at home about Vietnam and we could stand in his cell where he had a reason to hate a lot of people and find common ground we can find common ground on any issue confronting this country and that is a lesson that I hope leaps out of this book that we can be bipartisan we can compromise we can find the way forward it depends on the character of the people making the choice thank you you know I have so many questions about all of the different policy areas you are involved in we have all night that’s right but I think it would be much better if we just open it up at this point so if people could come to the microphones just line up and we will start taking some QA why don’t we go ahead and and start and why don’t you just quickly do you know what I’m gonna suggest is that we go through about three questions quickly maybe all right once I’ll try to go around attack will take a couple of questions and please try to be brief Thanks thank you for coming tonight of course my question as a fellow Navy veteran you how do you reconcile your complaints about Vietnam with the forever war that is continuing in Afghanistan to this day okay great question from the set people talk about artificial intelligence as a uniquely transformative technology with the possibility of automating tons of jobs in this country and also increasing income inequality I’m wondering do you think it’s uniquely transformative technology or is it like previous technologies that what kind of come and go okay great question also next I was wondering if you could speak to the influence of foreign governments on modern American politics for my historical lens okay is that your thesis we could keep taking questions but at some point you are gonna have to answer I’m not sure how I would these are tough questions one more great I’m just wondering what you make of the criticism that the Senate is sort of inherently undemocratic in nature of having two senators from every state and the sort of unequal populations of every state all right let me try to run through these guys Afghanistan is not like Vietnam in its inception and is not really like that on today it could become like it depending on what choices are made in the future but it is not Vietnam and I have no problem distinguishing between the two Vietnam was built on a lie on the domino theory the notion that you had to stop communism there and that if you didn’t everything was going to fall seriatim which didn’t happen and as the lie of that has been proven but it was also a proxy war it was a war with China Russia the Soviet Union back then who were supporting the North Vietnamese and it was their way of turning up our nation exactly the way they did and tying up our resources and you know distracting us Afghanistan is the place from which our nation saw the biggest attack since world huh since Pearl Harbor it was it was unexpected out of the blue a bold simple assault on who we are what we believe and it required the United States to respond but going after the people who perpetrated that attack and it was entirely legitimate that we send people into Afghanistan in order to go after it now I had a complaint at the time with President Bush and the administration for the way in which they went after Osama bin Laden I thought that we did not deploy our troops adequately we had special forces at the base of the Tora Bora mountains we never unleashed those forces to go up and kill him we farmed out the job to the Afghan to act to people who we have weeks before it then maybe fighting on the other side but the Warlord’s and Osama bin Laden slipped away and it wasn’t until President Obama made an extremely courageous to see in the face of what happened to President Carter with desert one in the in the Iranian hostage rescue effort years ago to say I’m gonna authorize helicopters to go into Pakistani airspace and raid a quarter not even 100% true that Osama bin Laden was there had all kinds of risks folks and it came it happened we succeeded so the issue then is so what are we doing there now what’s happening well basically we’re supposed to have a platform against terrorism that’s really a rationale for our having some platform we’ve now built up something bigger than that obviously by training an army building it the government supporting the government trying to help them I think we have to reframe that require a sort of transition without setting any public dates without setting a terminal date but clearly begin a transitional process that’s just some responsibility in a way that they could meet certain goals and targets understanding that we’ve been there for 17 years and I don’t think the patience of the world is going to be forever it’s not going to be a Jeffersonian democracy at least not in the near term and we have to set goals that are realistic and and within our capacity so that’s the difference on Afghanistan I am NOT in favor of just pulling the plug and walking away I think that’d be a disaster when we went in there were million approximately a million children in school almost all of them were boys today there are about 8 million children in school and about 45% of them are girls and there’s been a revolution in terms of what’s happened with women and in society there I met 10 women who are running multi-million dollar businesses in Afghanistan so you know you can’t take all these people who have invested so much in in the possibilities and just say oh sorry we didn’t mean what we said and I’m not for that so we’ve got to figure out how we’re going to do this this transition but we have to sort of start working at a real transition on the issue of transformation of artificial intelligence I think it’s going to be enormous ly impactful it already is being pay impactful and before I left a Secretary of State I convened a conference at Harvard and MIT with the top people in both institutions who are working this were issue of the future workplace and in fact I commissioned I have a group of fellows at Yale working with me and last year I commissioned several of them to focus on the transformation of the workplace where are we going now what do we do to do to prepare for it etc well obviously folks there’s a variance in the studies one professor at this event was as high as saying that maybe 47% the American workforce could turnover as a consequence of AI other predictions were in the seven to nine percent maybe 12 15 percent whatever there’s a lot of variation nobody knows for certain but uh you know it’s happening now I mean banks are at ridding personnel because more and more of what happens in managing the bank transactions and the movement of money etc is being automated we know what’s happening with driving automobiles I don’t know when it’s gonna you know come I may be old-fashioned but it’s gonna be a while before I’m driving around in one I want to see a lot of testing other people but but it works I mean it does work with certain hiccups here and there’s the hiccups that are gonna make a decision but there’s going to be a massive transformation in my judgment because so many things are going to be done through cheaper and cheaper chips and cheaper and cheaper programming and cheaper cheaper capacity and the marketplace is going to demand these certain kinds of things I mean more things will be automated in your home more things will be you know automated I mean we’re going to have virtual virtuous grids sometime in the future which will be managed and automatically a lot of choices you make and heating and lighting your home or whatever cooking turning on things off things a lot of things are gonna wind up being automated obviously I am not fearful of this though I don’t think we should be what will happen is what happens in all economy is over time other things get valued a lot of money is gonna go out and chase and by the way a lot of the world still needs to be built then one of billion people without electricity there are countless countries where people do not have adequate hospitals so things these are things gonna have to be constructed they’re gonna have to be managed they’re gonna have to be you know skills that have to be taught to people that so I think there’s just a world of opportunity when I was in college and you know your stage and for all of you here are the severe poverty rate of the world was 50% today for the first time in human history it’s below 10% 450 million people came out of poverty in China 400 million in India you had a Korea 15 years ago Korea was a country receiving aid now Korea is a country giving aid the world is changing and I happen to think that by and large is changing in dramatic ways that are making a difference to the choices we face about how we allocate capital in our in our in our world in our life and the marketplace will make many of those decisions but I think government’s going to have to help with a few with incentives like energy water transportation there are things that we need to do which will address the quality of life issues and sustainability issues over a period of time I think artificial intelligence can actually help us get there and do that much more effectively so I’m not scared of it you know we we will value different services particularly that only people can do will start to gain in value people will earn through doing those things in the world will shift a little in how we do it on the issue of look foreign governments have always tried to influence things but not until the internet did they have the access and ability to be able to do it as overtly and the way they do it now so we’re living in a different time in a different moment with a different challenge and it’s very difficult to keep faith with our notions of freedom of flow of information freedom of choice of access of Association under the First Amendment and of course protection of privacy which is a cherished notion in our democracy in our world so there are dangerous in what is happening now China which the president has lobbed some big grenades at in the last months is not involved in the same way Russia was in going after our political system this is sort of a misnomer in the way he has to find it what they’re doing is lobbying and and hiring people to push a different attitude about some trade regulations or about other so they are trying to affect the outcomes but there’s no sense that I have unless there’s a new briefing and I want to disqualify this I am still I still have my security clearance but I haven’t been briefed I can’t tell you if there’s some other evidence they have that they’ve now got but I haven’t heard it in the chatter of the Intel community in around places Russia on the other hand is overtly not only still doing but did have an impact in our election has been trying to now was it dispositive was it the determinative factor I don’t believe so personally others may suggest but didn’t change votes in a machine there’s no evidence of that it didn’t it it had an impact on the debate in the campaign by getting WikiLeaks the information and then WikiLeaks of course was feeding it out and that had a profound impact on the discussion and but no no not more in fact than I think Jim Comey did ten days before the race I think that was the single biggest impact from all the polling data I saw at the time and what was happening the country had fundamentally separated itself from mr.

Trump and and and they may not have liked Hillary or felt that they completely you know were in the same sync and so forth just being honest about it but but they weren’t gonna vote against her and then when the mistrust issue came up because they announced this investigation they’d say well what the hell I’d rather have almost throw a few bombs we need to change the dynamic that’s what happened but we have to stop these countries from doing this we have to hold them accountable we have to be tough it was extraordinary to me that the presidents could stand on a podium and Helsinki a few feet away from President Putin was doing this and and not talk about what he had done and how he had invaded our system but say how vehemently he had denied that they had anything to do with it notwithstanding all the conclusions of our Intel community that to me was a moment of infamy and you know called it a moment event for me John McCain and others it just was really you know distressing the final thing what about the Senate inherently well I became you know there’s a there’s a certain wisdom in our system there are problems there problems in every system folks go back in all of history you know there was a millennium that was spent with pretty raw rules of the road for how nations behaved and there were empires Greek and Roman and others and you know Genghis Khan and so forth then you can come into the Middle Ages I mean the Dark Ages the Middle Ages and run through the age of reason and enlightenment and Renaissance and all these other great moments of demarcation in human history and in all of that time human beings have been struggling with how do we organize our for a long period of time it was might makes right and then we tried to get more refined about how we’re gonna live and we’ve had some really bad moments in the last century folks we’re not so far away from that I mean I after all as I told you you know held my other’s hand in the aftermath of a world war and and where we had to step in at the final moment to try to save people from fascism and and terror we succeeded and we’ve gone from there to various kinds of democracies parliamentary constitutional presidential and I will just say we’ve also seen communism and we’ve seen socialism and we’ve seen fascism so I personally believe we I don’t know if somebody has a new form of governance that actually works I haven’t seen it that’s why I buy into what Winston Churchill said that democracy is the worst form of government except for everything else so think about it because we’ve got this system where we try to balance interests the supreme court the legislative the executive we’ve got checks and balances supposedly but now we have a president who’s violating some of that and we have a new theory that’s beginning to surface suggesting that maybe presidential power has been too restrictive I think we got to be really careful on how this plays out in the next month’s but importantly with 535 people you know 435 in the house 100 in the Senate we have a special kind of representation in that every in that you know staggered election to the Senate every year there 33 senators when you’re in this 34 but it to each state gets a whole you know two centers to balance out the passions of the moment and it’s a way by giving a six-year term the theory is you you diminish the capacity of people to be swept up in the moment to to like a chant of locker up directed at a United States Senator a rally that’s the beginning of danger and two years in the Senate is supposed to give people the ability to vote their conscience and differently unfortunately the orthodoxy police in the caucuses have made it very difficult by threatening senators with primaries and that’s the gun to drive a different kind of outcome but I don’t think changing two senators to whatever is going to change that we have House elections every two years course correction and then the Senate hopefully is a wiser process coupled in some years with presidents in some years not but I have found that having our smaller states in the nation represented in that way actually is good for our nation in my judgment because if you didn’t do that and everything were dependent on sort of a popular vote you’re gonna have an East Coast West Coast domination of the presidency and the legislature and you may find a lot of people very restless in this country to the point even of thinking about you know violence or other things to redress it because they don’t feel represented so there is a virtue and I’m very cautionary when people start thinking about getting rid of the electoral college or changing this because I don’t think you’ll find a calmness in the body politic of the nation if we would it be so subject to the passions at the moment and then let’s go they quit so we’ll take a few more and I’ll ask you to keep your questions brief and Senator Kerry will try to get as many questions in as possible so if you can keep your answers brief that’d be great yes so thank you so much for being here secretary Kerry my question is do you have any personal favorites for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 and do you think that our current president will be a two-term president current president okay next question I was wondering about your opinion over the Cavanaugh hearings okay you really wonder next what steps do you think can and should be taken to combat the rising economic inequality in our country ok one more yes one more I um when was the moment when you realize that you wanted to run for public office okay I’m gonna take the last one first and just quickly say to you when it was clear to me that when did I decided I was gonna run for office I thought when I was demonstrating against the war you know it’d be impossible to ever think about running for office it wasn’t the road to you know election but after doing after being an activist for a number of years and struggling to raise money all the time to pay for the telephones and pay for the travel and pay for some staff and buy a typewriter we had typewriters back then and you know it was hard it was and I said to myself you know doesn’t it make a lot more sense I mean if you have a salary in the House or Senate or legislature at home and someone’s paying for your staff and you know you’re putting time into getting the issue worked and so when the war kept going on despite the fact that in 1968 President Nixon ran for office promising that he had a secret plan for peace and by 1972 the only promise he kept was the plan was still a secret so we decided you know I decided okay you know we got to go down to Washington and hold him accountable I worked very hard I originally thought I was going to run in the race and then I didn’t and supported father Bob Dryden who ran Massachusetts against Phillip Philbin a war Hawk and we beat him and that made a difference in sending the message we have to end the war so that was the moment when I decided that it was important to run for office in order to hold the system accountable in terms of 2020 I’ve said again and again I’m not being coy at all I don’t want to talk about 2020 27 days before a course correction election I still think it serves any purpose because nobody knows what that is going to happen on on in November in a few weeks and that is going to decide a lot of the playing field and what’s possible and what is impossible so you know I will be engaged one way or the other and trying to help make sure we elect the president so that we answer the other question that no this president can’t be reelected but that’s something going to be decided by the vision of the program we put to the country that the country has confidence that whoever it is has the ability to get the job done the ability that is is if somebody you can trust and somebody who is going to fight to bring the whole country together and make things happen I think those the qualities we’ve got it’s something how fine and there’ll be plenty of people out there knocking on your door folks free of that on the Cavanaugh hearings I thought it was tragic for the country tragic for the Senate it it hurt our it was one of those hurtful moments for the system and it just struck me that it was not well managed in the sense that you know there were choices that people could have made that could have tried to organize a legitimate investigation with a legitimate amount of time to properly look at those charges and to have eliminated a lot of agony for the nation if that had happened but once what happened happened I found that I thought she was extraordinarily not just courageous about thought she was extraordinary believable I thought it did great damage to the notion of how difficult it is for women to come forward I started a rape counseling unit when I was a when I was a prosecutor I was the chief administrative prosecutor in the largest one largest district attorney’s offices in the country when the ten largest and we started these things and it made a difference we started a victim/witness assistance program we started ways of trying to help people through it and back back when this allegedly happened it’s inconceivable to me that we that that what she said wasn’t the way it had to be understood and and trust it now I also found that his testimony was lacking in credibility and again and again and it was it was just a sad moment to see this thing come to the point that it had I don’t think anybody feels good about at this point in time I hope people will feel deeply motivated to rescue us from that kind of proceeding I also felt it was I couldn’t believe when Lindsey Graham said you guys have been trying to delay this and we’ve been waiting two weeks and we got to do this when we waited for 14 months they have Merrick garland treated fairly not just by having a hearing but having one meeting on the hill and they refused to give him a hearing and I think when you have a majority leader in the Senate when a new president is elected and and he is asked what is the agenda of the majority and he says our top priority is to make sure this is a one-term president you are just changing the quality of what our legislative process ought to be so Cavanagh hearing was sort of part of that it was the next step in a process of deterioration and we’ve got to stop that we’ve got to find chairmen of committees and people on those committees who are willing to be bigger than that and and get beyond that but to suggest that you’re going to have a legitimate investigation when you don’t even call people in who are eyewitnesses is being alleged and then you have the gall to suggest that you can’t vote for against somebody because there’s no corroboration but you haven’t started to get that corroboration that is Joseph Heller catch-22 to the worst order and it’s a disgrace and I think everybody feels let down by it so that’s my feeling in full about the hearing with respect to how to combat the rising inequality you had to have a fair tax code and you got to encourage companies to pay people fairly and there are all kinds of ways to do that folks but the principle thing you need to do I don’t know let me ask you who here in this theater room has their own page in our tax code anybody here have your own page in the tax code so you can get a break well I Got News for You volumes page thousands tens of thousands of pages of tax code with individual pages for individual industry or individual companies in many cases you got a lobbyist you might be able to get a page the simplest thing we could do in this nation to begin to give people a sense of fairness again is to make sure that people who earn a lot of money are actually paying their fair share of taxes look at what that New York Times story laid out how can you have a body politic of your nation that believes in the system and thinks everything’s on the up-and-up if the people who make a lot of money have the biggest ability of all to find some kind of loophole where they can hide it pass it on not pay fairly and some poor working person is struggling in the country with their money taken out automatically in the workplace they don’t have any say about it they can’t use one of those systems so you could put more money in people’s pockets by making sure we have a fair system and when as I said earlier when 51% I think I said this earlier when fifty-one percent of America’s income is going to 1% of Americans we have an unsustainable political social structure it can’t and the question is what what what explosion is going to take place that’s gonna try to redress that at some point in time if you want to sustain your democracy our democracy you need to make the system work now through the peaceful process and regular process of having representation that is trying to set the record straight now I I feel that very very strongly and and it you know I think there are moments we had in the Senate where we thought we could get a fair tax code change and we just you know have not been able to doing it we have about ten more minutes for questions at the end of this session secretary Kerry is going to be available to sign copies of his book in in in the back he won’t have time to personalize the signatures but I’ll have time to sign but why don’t we take a few more questions yes related to the Supreme Court confirmation process what qualities and characteristics do you think are important in a nominee so every transit initiative in San Francisco through 2040 could be paid for with just 73 hours worth of US military spending and yet people are still averse to transit spending in this country what do you think the way averse to what averse to transit spending spending in public transportation so what do you think the way forward is to actually fund transit projects in the US is it through private companies like the bright line in Florida or is it through reauthorizing M track to be more like the FHA or is it just reallocating funding or is it something else okay next I’m wondering what tack you think Democrats should take in responding to Republican attacks whether you think they should be more like Michelle Obama when they go low we go high or more like kind of Michael avenatti streetfighter hit back harder yeah next question oh you briefly mentioned Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers I was wondering if you could speak to the comparison the modern-day comparison of Edwards so into Ellsberg and how we can reconcile our need for security with privacy concerns compare the comparison of Ellsberg to Edward Snowden yeah hi you were a an activist at an incredibly different time for social media and before the Internet and I was wondering what the biggest lesson is that you think that we as young activists could take from your time as an anti-war act what’s the biggest lesson of what that we should take from your experience as an anti-war activist all right let me try to run through these Ramos or everybody so let me try to shoot through this I can quickly read justice Potter Stewart who wrote when he looked what he thinks the qualification is you have to look for in a judge and he basically said when I read an opinion I want to read a legal opinion that is written and thought through in a way that I don’t know I can’t tell whether the person who wrote that opinion was a Republican or a Democrat a liberal or a conservative I just know I’m looking at the opinion of a good judge that’s the quality you need to look for and unfortunately I thought in the Cavanaugh rehearing in his demeanor in his comments the attack the partisan attack the notion of a Clinton revenge and conspiracy and Search and Destroy mission stepped way over the normality the the normal legitimate expectation of people with respect to demeanor and when justice Stevens steps in and writes retired that because of that alone he thought he should not be put on the court you ought to stop and really listen that’s an extraordinary event I can’t think of a time when a prior justice intervened in saying something about this situation by the way Merrick garland would have made a great judge period so on transit I wrote a piece of legislation which I worked very hard on an infrastructure bill and I and I spent a couple of years trying to so that think it through and put it together and I went talked with Goldman Sachs I went to the Bank of England talked to them European infrastructure bank other people and what we settled on was an incentive system where you you attract capital to projects which return a really good investment return and and you do it in a way that beats other deals that might be available in the following way for ten billion dollars of federal money seed money investment cost which is what would happen if you lower the interest rate for specific infrastructure loans at the Fed window harder to do when you’re almost near zero but now that they’re going back up again this has greater meaning you then create a spread between the deal that would have been available in the deal you can now make available for private sector investment and for a revenue producing infrastructure deal I mean Amtrak’s problem is you can’t charge enough for the people who ride because you can’t put it out of their reach and that’s your ridership so you’ve got to find a way to make it you know you there for the bond if you’re floating a bond is going to be too expensive you got to find a way to make it affordable the way to make it affordable I believe is through federal sub mention on the Fed Reserve and also attract it to deals where the revenue stream is sufficient to be able to pay the cost and that’s doable I mean many countries have privatized certain projects and made them as a result you know function more effectively than they did when they were just pure subsidy and federal expenditure the calculation by big investment houses like Goldman Sachs and others was that if you did this you could attract about 650 billion dollars of investment into water projects water facility water treatment because water you pay for transportation because you mostly pay for it not completely but you could even that out and finally energy now this is my moment to say I said I’m not going to leave here without saying something about climate change energy is what I want to talk about just a moment okay I’m gonna come back to it let me answer the other two questions and we can sort of wind up on the other so I’m gonna come back to that but that’s the way I believe you could build a lot of infrastructure in this country now if you have to spend the money use regular tax regular system spend the money why because the productivity loss of hours spent in the car though that’s been improved a little bit with the internet and with interconnectivity etc you can at least do some work but still massive productivity loss in in travel and we could significant contribution to global climate change in the fumes that Goods go up particularly trucks because of the sitting in traffic for hours and hours not to mention the loss of quality of life the loss of time with family loss of time at home loss of time studying and so forth so I think I think you make a very powerful argument to the nation that what we need to do is build America again and if you go to some of our airports there are disgrace LaGuardia is trying to rebuild now in the middle is rebuilding in the middle of trying to provide service it’s a remarkable thing they’re doing it’s not a federal project it’s a Port Authority project and they deserve enormous credit for it Jerry Brown was trying to get a high-speed rail going out in California another state project I cannot name for you I may be wrong but I cannot name one single enormous federal infrastructure program in the United States of America that we can be proud of and say look what we’re doing like the Chinese building in three huh extraordinary high-speed rail or said we’re not we not doing it the last one I know of was the Big Dig in Boston which Tip O’Neill and Ted Kennedy and I and others work to get the federal funding for so it costs money but look at the boon to Boston of getting that Green Monster down and connecting the harbor to the city those are things that are hard to quantify folks that’s part of politics by the way is how you quantify things that are hard to quantify value system go read Robert Kennedy’s speech at Indiana University I believe I think it’s Indiana during the 1968 campaign it’s it’s called the gross domestic product speech if you google Robert Kennedy and gross domestic product speech you’ll get it and read how he warned us in 1968 that in the United States of America we we we measure in our gross domestic law a gross domestic product not gross national product he said we measure our gross domestic product by all these things that that that you know don’t make a difference to us he says we measure the bombs we build and we measure the the pollution that comes out of our factories and we measure the carnage in our streets and so forth but he said well we don’t measure is the quality of our kids education we don’t measure the beauty of our poetry the strength of our marriages though I mean there’s a real list and and then he summarized it by saying in the end we measure everything except that which makes life most worth living that has always stuck with me and I hope it’ll stick with you when you’re in it that’s what we have to bring back to American politics because that’s what that’s what America is about believing and how you make things better how you live better how you make the quality of life better how you live a life that’s fulfilled because we have time it goes back to John Adams also wrote about his sons and why we study Warren you know we study war so we can you know study you know philosophy and study music go on and then we study that so that ultimately we can study arts music and poetry and it’s this extra line of how you get to a better world so I think that’s really important to think about as we as we contemplate the the the the choices that we have with respect to getting things done in America again so I am kind of longer answer and I apologize but it’s worth thinking about how we’re gonna rebuild America and the infrastructure and I appreciate the question and I’m willing to do both but we can do a lot with the private sector on transit prospects I think that speaks to it on how to respond to attacks I think you have to do both a little bit sometimes I think you want to try to err on the side of high and go high but there are moments I mean the other not too long ago president Trump tweeted and attacked me suggesting that I had a conversation that by having the conversation with the former with the foreign minister of Iran anywhere was inappropriate well I met with the foreign minister as did sitting United States senators in the wall street I mean the New York Times editorial board and the Council on Foreign Relations in the context of the UN General Assembly weekend while in New York which is when you do that and I also met at the UN at the Security Council meeting in Munich at the Munich Security meeting and I met in Oslo Norway at a peace conference but since they made the decision to get out of the deal I’ve never met with them haven’t met with him so when he tweeted I just said enough is enough and he took me on for my conversation suggesting I had done something wrong so III tweeted back you know mr.

President the the the conversation you really ought to be worrying about is the one that Paul Manafort had with Bob Mahler and and you know this was this was the day that this was the day that man afford to cut a deal with Muller so I wasn’t kidding when I said that’s the one you better worry about and I will just say to all of you that I don’t know what the reports gonna have where it is but but you know we have to try to stay high you don’t want to go in the gutter and I don’t want to see that happen every day it would just turn everybody off you’ve got to express a vision that I’ve been trying to articulate parts of here for how you bring people to the political table to do better and if we do that after a while his tweets have been of vanish and people they’re not going to matter I’ve said too many people the media should stop paying attention to these things we stop talking about it I noticed last night even c-span cut away from his rally good on you everybody should cut away from these things and point out we’re not going to give them a platform from which to take ugliness out to the American people and maybe that will change what happens secretary Kerry we have about one more minute so if you want to take a minute to make some final comments that would be great okay let me answer this question because it goes to where we’re heading here I hope that all of you will take the time it’s hard sometimes I know when you’re at college and you know you’ve got exams and you’ve got theses and you’re working your tails off for the future and we’re living in a more competitive world in a lot of ways we’re pressures weigh on you not just for the debt you may leave University with but also for what kind of job you can get and how well you do and it’s hard I’m not I’m not suggesting it is but I have to say this to you folks we need you and no student is exempt from the responsibilities of citizenship certainly taking the time to vote 9% of Barack Obama’s vote and too many in the Millennial category and elsewhere did not come out to vote 9% of Barack Obama’s vote went to trump and 9 and 7% of Barack Obama’s vote didn’t vote at all so that’s 16% of the vote that we lost in the last election you know what that tells me not just that there are a lot of people who are whining and crying in their tea cups and not brave enough and big enough to understand that sure you can lose an election sometimes things go bad but when there’s an explainable reason for why you lost it which is that not enough people voted there’s a remedy and where there’s a remedy there has to be a will and a way to try to change it now I can’t you know I could sit up here and talk to them below the face or whatever if you if people don’t make the decision to be engaged when I was in undergraduate remember Allard Lowenstein who was then you know doing civil rights movement came to Yale and spoke to us and I listened and I said wow that guy really you know we were motivated and what we did was we actually put buses together that left from right outside our college and went down to Mississippi to register voters in Mississippi so we could break the back of Jim Crow in this country students did that students led the environment movement that I talked about an earth day when we beat those bad votes students led the effort to try to get Equal Rights Amendment and changed the relationship of women to our own society and students helped to end the war so for great things happen in a short span of time because people said we’re gonna change things each individual can make a difference it matters now you are ultimately only going to prove that to yourselves I can I can tell you what’s happened historically but to me one of the most important concepts that we are blessed to exercise here in this country is citizenship almost nowhere else in the world few places match ours and and where they do by the way they vote much higher percentages so we’ve got to start taking that vision for what we want life to be and doing something about it and I know I’m gonna go over but I’m gonna tell you this on climate change folks I’ve worked on this for 35 years Al Gore and I and a few other people were in their first hearings in the United States Senate 1988 I was in Rio in 1992 when we had the earth summit and George Herbert Walker Bush signed a voluntary program into place but I watched the failure since then and I know because scientists are telling me this the same people who can write a book that that tells you when the moon is going to rise next year the exact seconds and where those same people are telling us this is what is happening and it makes sense when you actually stop to think about it not just dismiss it the way the current president has but it’s happening you all know what’s happening so but here’s what people don’t know when we passed the agreement when I negotiated I had the pleasure of negotiating this agreement in Paris finally and I went over to China and I negotiated with President Xi and got the Chinese to join us for the first time ever in joining together to put a program that we could take to Paris and say we’re going to win this time we’re gonna actually come together and make something happen so 196 countries came together and said we’re gonna try to keep the earth’s temperature rise to two degrees centigrade we’re gonna try even to have the aspiration of degrees well as we sit here today we’re on track in this century to hit four degrees centigrade that’s seven degrees Fahrenheit what the IPCC just reported and every single one of you should draw down and read the summaries of it is that we’re struggling now to hold it to we’re at one where one degree now from 1800s whenever until today one degree but the one the next point five that brings you to the one point five we’re on track to go beyond that way beyond it and we don’t have a mechanism in place yet to guarantee we can stop there so what does this mean well folks you know this literally means vast populations moving refugees food interruptions water interruptions massive die-offs of people due to extraordinary heat we’re already seeing some of that die off now it means more fires it means more hurricanes bigger storms more water last year we you spent two hundred and sixty five billion dollars on three storms clean up we can’t get a hundred billion dollars for the Green Climate Fund that we promised in Paris that will help lesser developed countries to be able to develop without burning coal to move to modernity we can’t if we have ten million against the 100 that was promised and three of that comes from us one that the promised and one of it we actually got into the budget before we left Trump’s put zero in so we got a problem we’re gonna have open seas in the summers and no ice noise in the north we’re gonna have you know dramatic impact on fish stocks other things that we don’t even know we can’t even I can’t sit here and tell you what exactly will happen I just know some of these things gonna happen so there’s a precautionary principle in public life and the precautionary principle is if scientists if the wisest minds are telling you this is what’s going to happen you ought to try to think about responding we buy insurance for our cars we buy home insurance for fires we buy life insurance but we’re not buying the insurance we need against what we know is happening because scientists are telling us it’s happening so I get mad about this because lives are gonna be lost billions of property is going to be damaged because we’re not doing what we know we can do what is it we know we can do energy policy energy policy is the to climate change if we would do a better job on our automobiles and so we’ll move faster to electric which we know how to do if we would produce the electricity and the ways that we know how to do I’d rather build a fourth generation modular nuclear plant any day then see one more coal-fired power plant built anywhere so between 100 percent clean nuclear and we by the way could lead that we have that technology we’re just it’s expensive now because we do one offs we don’t have a enough demand that’s moving in the right direction but we don’t even need that we could do solar solar up because it 100 square miles of solar you could produce almost the amount of energy you need for the nation I mean you could do these things and solar today is completely competitive with coal it’s cheaper three cents a kilowatt hour or maybe they’re letting contracts now two point nine cents I’ve seen coal they don’t even factor in the cost of black lung they don’t even factor in the cost of transfer of the coal they don’t factor in the cost of children highest cause of young people being hospitalized in America and the summer is environmentally induced asthma fifty five billion a year we spend on that but we can’t find the money to fund the things that we know would make a difference we don’t even have a grid in America folks big hole in the middle of our country no grid east coast grid west coast grid aligned from Chicago of the Dakotas and then Texas has its own grid no surprise so I mean but think about this so I just close by saying everybody here you know up until the last breath I’m gonna keep fighting on this because it’s going to happen because it is happening sea level rise Newport Naval Station in Rhode Island they are concerned about what is happening with the rise of sealable I went to the Norfolk station I met with the Admiral in command and the whole thing they are taking precautions now to change how they can man their ships men and women today bringing people because if the sea level rises they’re not going to have access to the ships anymore the port gets changed they’re serious challenges here so this is what you call existential and what’s amazing to me about it is there are tens of thousands millions of jobs to be created what we need to start talking about now as the economics of this it’s the biggest job creator we’ve ever seen it’s a multi trillion dollar market today four to five billion users today going up to nine billion users in the next 20-30 years that’s compared to the tech market of the 90s where we made a lot of money in the country that was a one trillion dollar market with 1 billion users this is the mother of all markets and we ought to be able to persuade Americans you know the best testimony that they’re only 55,000 coal people in the country there are currently 300,000 wind tech solar tech people fastest growing job in our nation it’s there to be done if we will call in all the major corporations start leading people get the g20 to sit down put the money on the table and all join in to recognize what is a global life-threatening challenge the solution is there and the way we will do this is for you all to talk to your friends talk to your family talk to anybody and everybody you know and get them to make this a voting issue something we will organize our futures around and if you do that everything else is going to flow I promise you let’s do it thank you all

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