Presidential Ideas Festival Kicks Off in Charlottesville

May 22, 2019

(L to r) CBS correspondent John Dickerson; former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley talk about foreign policy on the first day of the Presidential Ideas Festival in Charlottesville.
Credit Marguerite Gallorini

The Presidential Ideas Festival kicked off Tuesday [May 21st] in Charlottesville. Organized by the Miller Center and taking place on University of Virginia grounds, the three-day event aims to examine some of the most pressing challenges facing democracy around the world through the lens of the American presidency. WMRA will give you an overview of each day of this event – which will culminate on Thursday afternoon with a closing keynote from President Bill Clinton. Here’s Marguerite Gallorini reporting on the first day.

The Presidential Ideas Festival is receiving big local and national figures in Charlottesville. And its first keynote conversation was moderated by CBS correspondent John Dickerson – who is also a UVA graduate. The theme of the discussion was national security and foreign policy, which naturally led to talks of U.S.-China relations. Here’s former national security advisor Stephen Hadley on the issue:

STEPHEN HADLEY: It is true we are going to compete with China. The question is: can we also be strategic cooperators? And we need to be because all those global issues – of terrorism, of environment, of climate change, of water resources – can't be solved by either China or the United States alone.

As for the presidency itself, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright offered insight into the various forces pulling a presidency – forces that can sometimes be at odds.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: Foreign policy is not the only thing that a president does. For the most part, domestic policy issues dominate. The only problem is I can guarantee you that the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor never get along except when Henry Kissinger had the same job.

[Laughs from audience]

HADLEY: It's exactly right!