After dinner on our first night in DC, Manav, Demetri and I decided to catch the Devils and Rangers game before calling it a night. A rainy morning couldn’t dampen our mood for the Fiscal Summit. After checking in and enjoying the continental breakfast, we proceeded to the Mellon Auditorium for the opening remarks by Peter G. Peterson. This was followed by an interview with Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner by the Wall Street Journal’s David Wessel. Next up a video screening of several politicians addressing the many fiscal issues facing our nation. Michael A. Peterson, President of the Peterson Foundation delivered the keynote speech of the summit, “A Better Economy, and A Brighter Future: America’s Case for Action.”
Former NBC Nightly News host Tom Brokaw and former President Bill Clinton were next up on stage to discuss “Bridging Divides and Building Consensus.” President Clinton stayed after the discussion to talk to members of the crowd and signed a copy of the UFR curriculum for us. He was the only panelist throughout the day to do so. After a brief break, the first panel discussion, Finding the Political Will to Act, was moderated by Politico’s John F. Harris and included Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Kathleen Hall Jamieson (Director, Annenberg Public Policy Center) and Patricia Murphy (Political Correspondent, The Daily Beast/Newsweek).
Lunch offered us our first good opportunity to mingle and network with other attendees.PBS’ Judy Woodruff moderated two separate interviews with Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Chris van Hollen (D-MD), both members of the House Budget Committee, during the lunch break to keep the theme and momentum of the summit going. “The Everyday Impact if Rising Debt and the Benefits of Fiscal Reform” was the next item up for discussion as ABC’s George Stephanopoulos moderated a panel including former Wyoming Senator Alan K. Simpson, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, and Jay S. Fishman, CEO of the Travelers Companies. A campaign like speech from Speaker of the House John Boehner before his interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett wrapped up proceedings for the summit.
We decided to switch up the music theme on the trip back as Manav took over DJing duties for a large chunk (no Spice Girls, Aqua or N’Sync like some previous DJs) of the ride.