My Interviews with Rep. Blumenauer and Gov. Kulongoski

from my blog, Basie!

Tonight I had the distinct honor of speaking with United States Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a Portland Democrat, at a function for the Multnomah County (Oregon) Democratic Party. My full article on the event will be available on the blog Blue Oregon tomorrow (hopefully). For now, my brief interview with the Congressman.

Jonathan Singer: Probably the number one most important issue for the Democrats right now of course is Social Security, but obviously the Republicans don't want a bill to come forward in the House until something happens in the Senate. What will the House Democrats be doing to at least try to initiate something or to try and block the Republicans?

Earl Blumenauer: One of the things that we're doing is just telling the truth about what the Social Security system is, what it represents, and what's at stake. There are people here that are not trying to fix Social Security, they want to dramatically change, eliminate - some of them would just as soon get rid of it all together.

continued after the jump...

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My Exclusive Interview with CAP President John Podesta

From the diaries--Chris

from my political blog Basie!

This morning I had the chance to speak with John Podesta from his office in Washington, DC. Podesta is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for American Progress. He previously served as Chief of Staff to President William J. Clinton from October 1998 until January 2001.

Jonathan Singer: Thank you for joining me this morning. I very much appreciate it. You're speaking to me today from the Center for American Progress, which of course is your creation of a think tank to represent the left. When you go up against Heritage and Cato and just a handful -- more than a handful, even -- of right wing think tanks, how can you compete in this world where there's just not a balance?

John Podesta: I think there's no question that, to start with the other guys, that the right has put a tremendous amount of resources into building up big institutions that have both generated ideas for the radically conservative brand of politics we see in Washington these days and also been pretty effective at selling it to the American public.

[much more after the jump]

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My Exclusive Interview with Vice President Mondale

From the diaries--Chris

from my blog, Basie!

This afternoon I had the unique honor of interviewing former United States Vice President Walter Mondale from his office in Minnesota via telephone.

Jonathan Singer: You were part of a generation of Democrats in the Senate -- including other people like Frank Church, George McGovern, Birch Bayh, Gaylord Nelson -- who helped enact a large body of progressive legislation that makes America great today. But now, the President and the Republicans are trying to overturn much of your work. How do the Democrats regain that momentum?

Walter Mondale: It is true that the agenda of the Bush administration and of many in the Congress is a radical assault on the legacy of Roosevelt and the Lyndon Johnson Great Society years and many of the fundamental reforms that were put in place in the period that I served in the Senate and the White House. But I must say I don't know what the Democrats do to regain momentum.

[continued after the jump]

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My Exclusive Interview With Former Sen. Birch Bayh

originally from my blog, Basie!

This morning I had the unique opportunity to interview former Indiana Democrat Birch Bayh from his office in Washington, DC. Bayh was a Member of the United States Senate from 1963-1981, during which time he served on the Judiciary Committee, the Appropriations Committee, and the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Senator Bayh authored two Amendments to the Constitution -- the Twenty-fifth Amendment on Presidential and Vice Presidential succession, and the Twenty-sixth Amendment lowering the voting age to 18 years of age. He is the author of Title IX to the Higher Education Act, which mandates equal opportunities for women students and faculty; co-author of the Bayh-Dole Act, which revitalized the nation's patent system; and chief architect of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Jonathan Singer: When you were first elected to the Senate in 1962, your freshman class included notable liberals like Abe Ribicoff, George McGovern, Dan Inouye, Gaylord Nelson, and of course yourself. That group didn't arrive from nowhere, though. What was happening in the 50s and early 60s that helped foster your generation, and can it be replicated today?

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Exclusive interview with 1984/1988 candidate Gary Hart

This morning I had the opportunity to speak with Gary Hart via telephone from law office. From 1975 to 1987, Hart served as a Democratic Senator from the state of Colorado. In 1984, he was the runner-up candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination for president and in 1988 was also a leading candidate.

During 1970-1972, Hart managed Senator George McGovern's insurgent campaign for the presidency, and most recently, he co-chaired both the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, which issued three public reports forecasting the age of terrorism and outlined a new, post-Cold War national security policy, as well as the Council on Foreign Relations task force on homeland security, which recently released its report "America--Still Unprepared, Still in Danger".

To begin with, I asked Senator Hart to speak about 1972 and its relevance today.

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