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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., spoke about the future of the Democratic party at a CNN town hall in Jack Morton Auditorium Monday. Lisa Blitstein | Hatchet Photographer

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., spoke about the future of the Democratic party at a CNN town hall in Jack Morton Auditorium Monday. Lisa Blitstein | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by reporter Joshua Porter.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., participated in a CNN town hall with reporter Chris Cuomo at the Jack Morton Auditorium Monday night. The town hall, which was broadcast live, focused on congressional priorities in light of an impending Donald Trump presidency.

Sanders offered broad strategies for the Democratic Party during the new administration and addressed audience members’ concerns for the future.

Here are the big takeaways:

Compromising with Trump

Sanders urged fellow Democrats against unilateral obstruction during the Trump administration, while still acknowledging characteristics of Trump’s campaign which Democrats should guard against.

“I will tell you this: He ran a campaign whose cornerstone was bigotry,” he said. “It was based on sexism, on racism, on xenophobia, and on that issue, I will not compromise.”

After criticizing Republicans for blocking President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme court, Sanders suggested some Democrats may use a similar strategy toward the GOP. Still, he urged bipartisan cooperation when possible.

“Where Trump has ideas that make sense that we can work with him on, I think we should,” he said.

The future of Obamacare

Sanders, who ran his 2016 presidential campaign on free education and free healthcare, noted that the U.S. is one of the only major countries not guarantee health care as a right. Saying that it was time the U.S. government provide free health care, Sanders said that initial efforts like the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, would need to be tweaked over time in order to be successful.

Jessica Karabian, an audience member who relies on Obamacare to cover treatments for breast cancer, asked Sanders how he will make sure that the life-saving components of the Affordable Care Act remain.

“We are going to do everything we can to improve the Affordable Care Act. It has problems, but we damn well are not going to repeal it and not have anything there at all,” Sanders said.

The influence of trade

Sanders said that trade policy is one area of potential compromise between progressives and the Trump administration. Both Sanders and Trump have criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement and said they opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the 2016 campaign.

Ed Mash, a former Ohio corrections officer, asked Sanders how he will work with Trump to promote growth in areas like Ohio. Sanders pointed to international trade agreements.

“The issue is that for the last 30 years, under Democratic and Republican administrations, we have had trade policies like NAFTA and CAFTA and permanent relationships with China,” Sanders said.

Sanders voted against NAFTA and CAFTA in the past, saying that such agreements benefit multinational corporations rather than the American working class by outsourcing jobs to nations with low or nonexistent labor regulations and cheap manufacturing costs. Sanders said he believes in fair trade, not unfettered free trade.

“I believe we need a new trade policy. I believe we tell corporate America they’ve got to control their greed,” Sanders said. “Mr. Trump is prepared to sit down and work on a new trade policy which is based on fairness, not just on corporate greed, yes, I will be happy to work with him.”

Plans for immigration reform

Sanders highlighted his hopes for immigration reform that would give undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship and access to health care under the Affordable Care Act.

Jenny Gutierrez, a high school teacher from Maryland, and Osama Alsaleh, a GW student, asked Sanders about the future of immigrants and their children under the upcoming Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress.

In response, Sanders noted Democrats’ commitment to protecting immigrants as well as undocumented immigrants during the next administration.

“To see a man elected president who campaigned on dividing us up, turning us against each other. Your beautiful students should not be afraid. Young Muslim kids should not be afraid to walk the streets,” he said. “That is not what this country is about.”

Sanders added that diversity is what makes the country thrive.

“We must judge people on who they are, not where their grandfather came from or their religion,” Sanders said. “This is a principle we have to fight for.”

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CNN will host a town hall with Speaker Paul Ryan at GW next week, the media outlet announced Tuesday.

Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent, will speak with Ryan at the event on Jan. 12 from 9 to 10 p.m.

Ryan will discuss the future plans of the Republican Congress during the new administration, including the agenda for the first 100 days that President-elect Donald Trump is in office, according to CNN. Audience members will be able to ask questions during the meeting.

The town hall will air from campus on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español and will also be live-streamed online.

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Presumptive Mayor Vincent Gray answered students' and residents' questions at a town hall Thursday. Francis Rivera | Hatchet photographer

This report was written by Hatchet reporter Asthaa Chaturvedi

Presumptive Mayor Vincent Gray discussed D.C.’s education issues, from elementary schools to universities like GW, during a Ward 2 town hall meeting Thursday.

The meeting at the Foundry United Methodist Church is the current D.C. Council chairman’s attempt to get a handle on issues in each of the eight wards. Participants filled the first floor of the church’s sanctuary to see the Democrat.

“The onus is on me,” Gray said of getting residents to know him. During the primary election, only 27 percent of Ward 2 voters supported Gray.

Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans introduced Gray, citing the number of years they had worked together on issues like housing for the homeless as evidence of Gray’s compassion and leadership.

Freshman James Reed asked Gray – a GW alumnus – how he would incorporate universities into his transition as mayor.

Gray said he “looks forward to working with the Consortium of Universities [of the Washington Metropolitan Area],” citing the GW capstone honors program that he said would help the city research important issues.

After the town hall Reed said he thought the chairman handled himself well.

“He answered every question with great detail – like any D.C. native would. Gray answered my question about the local universities wonderfully – citing he would consult the Consortium of Universities to promote higher-level education in D.C.,” Reed said.

During the meeting, Gray didn’t skirt the issue about D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s resignation the day before the town hall. Rhee is credited with much of the turnaround the D.C. public school system has seen over the past few years.

“I want to address the fallacious rumors,” Gray said. “Michelle Rhee’s decision to step down as chancellor was a mutual decision about what direction we would pursue. She made a lot of progress. Let’s work off that.”

When asked about how he viewed the role of the chancellor, Gray responded, “I firmly support the authority given to that person.”

But Gray also acknowledged that the District is fiscally challenged.

“We’re into the bone marrow,” he said. “Some of the decisions are not going to be pretty.”

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President Barack Obama spoke at GW Tuesday where he encouraged young voters to mobilize before the midterm elections. Viktors Dindzans | Senior Photo Editor

The 2008 election was the beginning, not the end, of the journey for voters who were energized by President Barack Obama’s victory two years ago, Obama told an audience in the Marvin Center Tuesday night.

Obama spoke to and took questions from the crowd of about 175 voters for about 45 minutes in the Continental Ballroom, which was transformed into a circular town hall setting for the “Moving America Forward” event. It was sponsored by the Democratic National Committee as part of its mobilization efforts for the midterm elections Nov. 2.

“We’ve got a whole lot more work to do,” Obama said. “If you can muster and sustain that sort of energy, I’m absolutely confident we will do well, we will win all across the country.”

He cautioned that Republicans are ready capitalize on the current political climate with a “throw the bums out” message while Americans are still out of work.

“The other side right now is excited,” Obama said. “They see the opportunity in the midst of some still very difficult economic times, they see the opportunity to take advantage of that politically.”

Obama said this election season has been “unprecedented” in the way special interest groups have been spending millions of dollars on campaign ads, but said voters could counter their message by talking to their friends and neighbors about the facts.

“No matter how negative an ad it may be, it’s sort of background noise,” Obama said. “When they hear those things from you directly, that has more credibility than any other negative ad…and that’s how democracy ultimately should work.”

Obama called on GW junior Dan Lippman for a question, who asked what surprises Obama encountered during his first two years in office. Obama said the most surprising thing was learning to figure out how to navigate the new media environment most effectively.

“The 24-hour news cycle is just so lightning fast and the attention span I think is so short that sometimes it’s difficult to keep everybody focused on the long term,” Obama said.

Freshman Oscar Wang called being part of the town hall audience “a really great opportunity to meet the most powerful man on earth.”

A first-time voter in the 2010 elections, Wang said he did some phone-banking for the DNC two weeks ago and was asked to attend.

“I’m pretty much excited without words,” Wang said.

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Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010 6:46 p.m.

Obama visit shuts down large swath of campus


Police rope the sidewalks near the Marvin Center Tuesday. Francis Rivera | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Security preparations in advance of President Barack Obama’s visit to campus this evening have closed down H street in front of Kogan Plaza and the Marvin Center.

There is no word as to when Obama is supposed to arrive for his 7 p.m. town hall in the Marvin Center but since early Tuesday afternoon members of the Secret Service and University Police have been roping off streets and closing the Marvin Center. Traffic is being directed down 21st Street but pedestrians have been  cleared from the road.

Crowds awaiting the arrival of the 44th president have lined up near the School of Media and Public Affairs and Lisner Auditorium.

When Obama spoke at Lisner Auditorium in 2009,  a large white tent was erected near Lisner for the president to enter through.

The Hatchet was given pool access to the town hall and will be live tweeting from the event.

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