Live Coverage of the Washington Ideas Forum, Day 2

Notes, quotes, and big thoughts from newsmakers 
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi with Atlantic Editor-in-Chief James Bennet at the 2013 Washington Ideas Forum (The Atlantic)

Welcome back to live coverage of the Washington Ideas Forum, presented by The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute, and the Newseum. We'll have live updates on all the speakers at the Newseum in Washington throughout the day right here, so stay with us or check back frequently. This page will automatically refresh with updates. You can also watch the events here and read a chronicle of Wednesday's speakers and panels here.

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12:49 p.m. That's a wrap, folks. Thanks for joining us. Check out full coverage of the Washington Ideas Forum here. See you in a year!

12:48 p.m. Greenberg: Clinton is the dominant Democrat for 2016; the main challenge is the economy. Christie can't possibly win a primary after embracing Obama and accepting Obamacare funding. Rove: It's worthless to handicap now, but "Clinton is as dominant in 2016 as she was in 2008." That's rather faint praise! On the GOP side, Rove names a whole slew: Many familiar names and also, weirdly, Rick Snyder of Michigan. He says how selflessly they conduct themselves in 2014 will determine their prospects.

12:43 p.m. Rove: The 2016 GOP nominee will run on Obamacare repeal. Greenberg: That's why Republicans won't be competitive in the presidential election. It didn't work in 2012, it won't then.

12:43 p.m. Greenberg: Republicans are in denial about immigration, climate change, and also the long-term effects of Obamacare.

12:41 p.m. Brownstein: Is the GOP willing to do what it has to do to win minority votes like Bush did in 2004? Rove: We'll see—the party hasn't learned yet from repeated defeats. Greenberg: Nope.

12:40 p.m. Brownstein to Greenberg: Here's the flipside: Why are Democrats doing so poorly with whites? Greenberg says it's essentially a Southern problem, not anything else. Rove quips that he disagrees, but hopes Democrats are convinced it's only regional.

12:39 p.m. Rove: There were fewer white voters in 2012 than in 2008—Obama was successful at convincing blue-collar white voters not to turn out.

12:37 p.m. Greenberg: House/White House divide is a product of concentration of Democratic voters in urban centers. Density is at least as important as gerrymandering.

12:34 p.m. Brownstein: Why can't the GOP win like it did when Rove was driving strategy? Rove: "The country's become less white." But you can't always extend trend lines permanently.

12:33 p.m. Greenberg essentially blames Rove for the Tea Party—with whom Rove has battled—for encouraging base activism. Now Rove is pushing back. "You're just saying things that are wrong." 2004 was not about the base, he says.

12:32 p.m. Brownstein: Describe the state of your respective parties. Rove: The GOP is in flux. He calls the Tea Party "yeasty" (your guess is as good as mine), and says they're different from traditional Republican groups, but says their demand to get everything is similar to movements of the past. But he thinks the Republican divide is actually getting better, not worse.

12:30 p.m. Now up: Karl Rove, Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, and Ron Brownstein of National Journal.

12:26 p.m. Rohde on working conditions for journalists in Syria: "It's a disaster."

12:24 p.m. Rohde: I'm still Facebook friends with the Pakistani officer who kept me safe after I escaped from my captors.

12:16 p.m. Rohde: "It was amazing how fast it happened." After being kidnapped, Rohde was driven for several days, then made to walk nine hours over the border into Pakistan, which he figured out when he saw a sign that said "North Waziristan." "I knew the worst place to be taken to was the tribal areas of Pakistan."

12:15 p.m. Rohde is telling the story of how he was kidnapped by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan four years ago this week.

12:12 p.m. Now up: Reuters' David Rohde with Atlantic Chairman David Bradley.

12:11 p.m. Sperling is delivering a long and rambling soliloquy on the importance of extending emergency unemployment insurance. Leonhardt seems skeptical that an extension would pass Congress.

12:07 p.m. Sperling: It's important that people understand the protections they'll be forgoing if they stick with plans outside of the ACA exchanges. He predicts many people will realize that the exchange actually offers them a better deal.

12:04 p.m. That said, Sperling is trying to correct history: "What the president wanted was to say that ... " He says Obama believes most people getting cancellation notices will be able to get better plans in the exchanges, but the president is asking Kathleen Sebelius to clarify that if you're in an individual-market plan that they can renew for 2014. But as Sperling says, the problem is that insurance companies can still cancel plans—which is what's causing many cancellations.

12:02 p.m. Before discussing Obama's announcement of fixes, Sperling checks to see if the president is peaking yet. "Hey man, you don't survive 11 years in the West Wing without checking to make sure you're not getting ahead of the president," he quips.

12:01 p.m. Sperling: The Upton bill allows discrimination based on gender and pre-existing conditions.

12 p.m. Sperling predicts Democrats will not support the Upton bill, especially as Dems come to understand the bill doesn't smooth the transition but rather sets out to disrupt Obamacare.

11:59 a.m. Leonhardt: Are Democrats newly willing to undermine the law? Sperling: People who really care about improving our health-care system long term realize this "is a rocky road, but it's a rocky road to a far better health system than we've had before." He says Republicans have no plan for fixing the system.

11:57 a.m. Leonhardt: Why should anyone believe you'll get it right the second time? Sperling says it's fair that the burden is on the administration to show they can fix it and that they screwed up. But "part of the problem is you don't always know what you don't know."

11:56 a.m. "We still believe this is a good system, a good product that provides unprecedented protection for Americans." He says it guarantees that Americans will no longer have to worry that they're one illness away from bankruptcy.

11:54 p.m. Sperling is trying to hammer home the 1 million figure for people who have completed the application process for insurance but have not yet bought a plan.

11:53 a.m. "There's no question that the president and all of us are deeply frustrated about the website," Sperling says, but he says the White House is confident it will be fixed. "It is getting better by the day. We have to put our head down 24/7 and get it fixed." Leonhardt asks if the site will be ready by November 1; Sperling hedges a bit: "That's still our aspiration and our expectation."

11:51 a.m. Now up: Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling and David Leonhardt, Washington bureau chief for The New York Times.

11:50 a.m. NB: People like things like Airnbn and Lyft because "it's just so great to own your own business."

11:48 a.m. Thompson: Don't most people find it weird that hosts are letting people stay in their bedrooms? How does the "trust economy" work? NB says he understands the skepticism. One key feature is that both guest and host review each other, creating expectations.

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David A. Graham

David Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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