Obama Talks Tech at Google

I'm down in Mountain View at the Google world headquarters for the coming dialogue with Barack Obama. According to media reports, Obama will lay out his tech agenda, which includes the creation of a chief technology officer position to ensure that the federal government is conducted in an open manner, and a commitment to net neutrality. The event should be starting momentarily and I'll be liveblogging with thoughts throughout.


Obama next takes questions from the audience. The first questioner notes that Bill Clinton was the only Democrat in the post-war era to win two elections and asks Obama what he would learn from Clinton. Obama says that he believes int he importance of the moment, that Clinton understood the moment in the early 1990s, worked as a different kind of Democrat, which was a powerful message for that time. The moment today, Obama says, requires an honesty with the American people, and not necessarily doing things the way they've been done before.

Democrats lose when they are not strong about what they stand for. Democrats lose when they don't know what they stand for and get defensive when they get hit rather then going back on the offensive. In effect, Obama says "bring it on" to Giuliani and Romney about the culture of fear, saying that we don't need to redefine torture-like tactics to make them legal, that we don't need to double the size of Guantanamo.

On a question regarding the deficit, Obama says that the first step is ending the Iraq War. Obama also talks about honest accounting, not hiding debts. But the biggest problem Obama sees in terms of the federal budget is healthcare spending, Medicare and Medicaid. Technology, he says, could help with the costs. So, too, could investing in prevention.

The next question comes on the "perceived weakness" surrounding the issue of experience. Obama talks about the fact that the people who founded Google didn't have a whole lot of experience running Fortune 500 companies, which elicits more than a few laughs. Obama then says that judgment and character are paramount, but also that his experience can be put up against that of any of the other candidates. Obama points to achievements within the Illinois state Senate. Obama also speaks about standing up for what he believed in even when it wasn't necessarily popular, such as when he spoke out against the impending Iraq War even when George W. Bush was at 65 percent in the polls. Obama also speaks of finding the right talent to achieve the goals of his administration.

The final question comes on fighting special interests -- how to get insiders to fix a system they benefit from. Obama says that people need to use shame, pointing to his successful work with Russ Feingold on the toughest lobbying reform since Watergate. Transparency is important in the process, he says, because the more the American people know the more government will be held accountable. On healthcare, Obama says the lesson from the Clinton healthcare plan is that the plan shouldn't be created behind closed doors, that he would bring everyone to the table but that that table would be in the open (on C-SPAN, on the net). "And if they put up 'Harry and Louise' ads", Obama would go on YouTube and talk back. Obama also says that decisions should be made on facts and reason.

Prior updates below the fold...

Obama is now taking the stage. I'm hearing that this crowd is significantly larger than the crowd for previous candidates, including John Edwards. Obama speaks of unlocking the potential of the future through a recommitment to science and innovation. Obama strongly endorses "an open internet", "tak[ing] a backseat to no one" in a commitment to net neutrality. Obama sets a goal of every American having broadband access, and working to speed up broadband. As President, Obama would make governmental data open on the internet in a number of formats, data including legislative info, lobbying contracts, etc. To achieve all of this, Obama would create the position of chief technology officer.

As a way to show his commitment to technological advances, Obama speaks of his campaign's embrace of new technologies. For instance, Obama points to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have signed up on his site or made contributions to his campaign online.

Obama also makes a commitment to doubling federal science grants and ensuring long term research and development tax credits. In addition, Obama voiced strong support for comprehensive immigration reform.

Following his remarks, Obama is taking questions from the audience. The first question is what would be exceptional about his presidency. Obama speaks of the audacity of America from its beginnings and through to today, but also that America is at a transformational moment in history when it needs someone who can transcend today's divisions, someone who can govern. What's more, Obama speaks of the need of having someone who has fought special interests, as he has. Finally, Obama talks about his ability to heal America's relationship with the world as a result of the "credibility" that he has and claims others don't.

The next question is on the Iraq War. Obama says that he will work with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, his Secretary of State nominee and his National Security Advisor nominee to set the new mission: ending the war in Iraq, which he believes would take about 16 months. Obama pledges that there would be no permanent bases. The only missions remaining for American troops would be protecting the embassy and civilian personnel, and a narrowly targeted mission of going after terrorist camps should they arise. Obama also speaks about the importance of diplomacy towards this end.

To the next question, which also focuses on diplomacy, Obama says that he will speak with Iran. To be clear, he says that this does not mean conceding to them, but rather having the conversation. That conversation, even if it did not bear fruit in new action from Ahmadinejad, would send a clear signal to the Iranian people, that we aren't their enemy, and to the rest of the world, as well, to build our credibility. On Pakistan, Obama says that there must be a reversal of course, including a suspension of military aid until the emergency state is lifted and political prisoners are released. He says that the lessons from the Cold War must be learned, that it's not beneficial to support autocratic regimes. Obama also speaks of the importance of lifting the culture of fear in America, that Guantanamo must be shut down and that waterboarding must be ceased.

On a question relating to the economy, Obama says that he believes that globalization is "here to stay" and that it can be a force for good -- but that everyone must be able to reap the potential benefits. Obama also speaks to the importance of improving the American education system. To this end, Obama speaks about the need to have creativity and innovation in schools. What's more, Obama says that college must be more affordable, which could be achieved in part by getting prvate companies out of the college loan industry. Obama also sees a need to rebuild social safety net, which hasn't been updated since FDR. This would include universal healthcare, but also retirement accounts that follows you where you work.

The next question centers on race. Obama quotes W.E.B. De Bois saying that the problem of the 20th century is race, and stakes his own ground by saying that the problem of the 21st century is "the other." Obama points to problems in Sri Lanka and "virulent anti-immigrant" sentiments here in America, for instance. Obama sees an "empathy deficit" -- an inability to see the world through others' eyes. Obama notes, though, that he sees the world through a number of angles given that his father was Black, his mother White, his sister half Indonesian, his childhood in Hawaii, etc. Tangibly, Obama speaks of the importance of enforcing civil rights law.

Tags: Barack Obama, Google, net neutrality (all tags)



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by dearreader 2007-11-14 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Talks Tech at Google

You'd think Google would put these things on line.

I mean, aren't they a technology company?

by Bush Bites 2007-11-14 02:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Talks Tech at Google
They Do:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4yVlPqeZ wo
by bolson 2007-11-14 09:30PM | 0 recs
Line about Pakistan
On Pakistan, Obama says that there must be a reversal of course, including a suspension of military aid until the emergency state is lifted and political prisoners are released. He says that the lessons from the Cold War must be learned, that it's not beneficial to support autocratic regimes.

Is this new?  I don't think I'd heard this before.  To actually freeze military aid until martial law is lifted?
by psericks 2007-11-14 02:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Line about Pakistan

Not specifically.  I have not heard this before either although it is in keeping with a broader message in his August 2007 speech:

And Pakistan needs more than F-16s to combat extremism. As the Pakistani government increases investment in secular education to counter radical madrasas, my Administration will increase America's commitment. We must help Pakistan invest in the provinces along the Afghan border, so that the extremists' program of hate is met with one of hope. And we must not turn a blind eye to elections that are neither free nor fair -- our goal is not simply an ally in Pakistan, it is a democratic ally.

Senator Barack Obama - The War We Need to Win 1 Aug 07

by Shaun Appleby 2007-11-14 02:55PM | 0 recs
Press release from Obama's Senate office

dated November 8th:

U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today wrote to Senator Robert Byrd, Chairman and Senator Thad Cochran, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, urging Congress to set conditions on U.S. assistance to Pakistan in light of President Musharraf's declaration of a state of emergency this weekend.

The Senate and House are currently negotiating the FY08 State Department/Foreign Operations appropriations bill, which includes some of the U.S. aid to Pakistan.

In the letter, Obama asks the Committee to continue funding for Pakistan in the Foreign Operations bill in the areas of counter-terrorism funding, public education, health, micro-enterprise development, humanitarian assistance, and democracy and rule of law programs, but temporarily suspend all other funding for Pakistan in the Foreign Operations bill until the Administration certifies that:

1) U.S. funds are not being used to repress democracy in Pakistan;

2) parliamentary elections have been scheduled, media restrictions have been lifted, and those people imprisoned because of the state of emergency have been released; and

3) the Pakistani government has developed a strategy to combat Taliban and al Qaeda forces.

by psericks 2007-11-14 03:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Press release from Obama's Senate office
Link for full press release:
http://obama.senate.gov/press/071108-oba ma_urges_rig/
by psericks 2007-11-14 03:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Press release from Obama's Senate office

Cheers, I missed that.  And timely too.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-11-14 03:38PM | 0 recs
I wish I had a full transcript or video of that

answer on race.  That sounds interesting.

(By the way, thanks, Jonathan, for liveblogging!  Great work!)

by psericks 2007-11-14 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Talks Tech at Google

Thanks. I'll look.

by Bush Bites 2007-11-14 02:48PM | 0 recs
Great line
"And if they put up 'Harry and Louise' ads", Obama would go on YouTube and talk back.

That's also a great line.
by psericks 2007-11-14 02:54PM | 0 recs
Video needed

If anyone has a video of Obama's appearance today at Google HQ, please post a link. Thanks.

by rosebowl 2007-11-14 02:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Video needed

Not sure how long it takes for these things to go up, but this seems to be the page:

http://www.youtube.com/user/AtGoogleTalk s

by Bush Bites 2007-11-14 03:38PM | 0 recs
by rapcetera 2007-11-14 04:54PM | 0 recs
Re: The video is up now
That's the short version, full hour long session here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4yVlPqeZ wo
by bolson 2007-11-14 09:29PM | 0 recs
No, Barack the defense budget is the biggest

 problem for the budget.  Nothing...I repeat, NOTHING is more costly than permanent war and the corresponding MIC.

by jgarcia 2007-11-14 03:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Talks Tech at Google

What is a Harry & Louise ad?

by Piuma 2007-11-14 05:54PM | 0 recs


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