Stephanie Cutter Interview: Obama Campaign Deputy Director Lays the President's Foreign Policy

Stephanie Cutter is the Deputy Campaign Manager for Obama for America and she took a few minutes to do an interview with PolicyMic Pundit Edward Williams. 

Edward: Why should millennials consider voting for President Obama, specifically as it relates to foreign policy? 

Stephanie: What we have seen from the president is strong and steady leadership, a strong change from what we have seen over the previous decade. He has done what he said he was going to do. He has ended the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he's going to use the savings from ending those wars to do some nation-building here back at home. It is a big piece of the second term agenda. He has also taken the fight to Al-Qaeda. He broke the back of Al-Qaeda and brought Bin Laden to justice, and he has restored America's standing in the world.

He has also made record investments in our veterans, which were to make sure that they can go to college, that there are jobs here when they come home from fighting for us abroad, and that they're getting the health care that they need. So, the president has a very strong record of strong and steady leadership.

Edward: There is concern about the Middle East from the millennial generation. The region has been in turmoil in some way since our generation has been alive. Does the president have a real plan to fix the structural violence in the Middle East?

Stephanie: Well, which country, they are all a little different.

Let's take Syria. The president has committed to end the Assad regime in Syria. He's doing that through bringing the world together and enforcing the toughest sanctions that have ever been put in place in Syria. Assad is feeling the pressure of the sanctions. The president is also providing humanitarian assistance, resources, technological assistance to ensure that there is an end to that regime. He hasn't taken anything off the table, but he is doing everything he can to help that counry begin its transition to democracy.

Same thing in Libya. He helped to provide the resources without committing our troops on the ground and assisted in that transisiton. While there was a terrible tragedy that occurred there on September 11, that country has made progress. The president's approach to all of this is that there is a slow transition to democracy, and we have to be there to help them do it. He's doing that in a way that protects our interests. 

Edward: Stepping off of foreign policy for just a second.

Stephanie: But this is the foreign policy debate. 

Edward: Yes, but we will likely have few opportunities to talk to the Obama team's deputy campaign manager prior to the election.

There is a significant gender gap in the polls, some which show that President Obama has been slipping among women. What should that be ascribed to?

Stephanie: Well, it depends on what poll you are looking at, every poll is a little bit different. There is an ABC poll coming out today that has us at a 14-point gender gap, we were only at 13 in the last election. There will be a gender gap on election day.

Edward: Yes, but what's causing the gender gap?

Stephanie: What's causing the gender gap is an agenda that actually moves women forward.

The first bill that the president signed was a pay equity bill. The president passed health care reform, which stops insurance companies from charging women more just because they have babies. He put an end to discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, which is incredibly important to women.

He has also made sure that they can make their own health care decisions, that we're not ceding it to any bureaucrat, particularly men. And, whether it's protecting Roe v. Wade, or ensuring they have access to contraception, all of this stands in sharp contrast to Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney would not say if he would sign the Lilly Ledbetter Act into law. He has promised to repeal health care reform, which puts the insurance companies back in charge. He wants to put bosses in charge of whether women have access to contraception. That's not an agenda that speaks to women and says 'I believe in you.' He's taking from them, and having a binder full of women is not a record of proof that you have helped women move forward. 

Edward: One last question. How do you believe millennials should make their decision at the polls on election day?

Stephanie: Who do you want leading this country for the next four years?

President Obama is a proven leader. He has steered this economy away from the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Now, you probably don't remember the Great Depression, and I wasn't alive either, but we certainly know how turbulent it was, and we were on the brink of that. This crisis didn't happen overnight and we're not going to get out of it overnight.

Just look at the progress that we've made: 5.2 million private sector jobs, highest consumer confidence in five years, the lowest number of foreclosures in five years, housing starts are up, and the economy is moving forward. This country is moving forward, and it's no time to turn back.

Just look at the agenda: 100,000 new math and science teachers so that we can compete for those high-skilled jobs that we can't fill right now. They're there, they are in this country, we can't fill them. He will cut in half our dependence on foreign oil, not only so we can increase our own security, but so that we can create new industry here in the United States. This is an agenda that builds our economy from the middle out.

The last piece is reducing the deficit. I urge every young voter to look at both candidate's deficit reduction plan. The president has a detailed deficit reduction plan, $4 trillion, that reduces our deficit in a balanced way. Cuts what we don't need, but makes important investments in education. He asks for everybody to pay their fair share.

Mitt Romney doesn't have a deficit reduction plan. He has a $5 trillion tax plan and he won't say how he'll pay for it. Mitt Romney in the Bain boardroom would not take that deal from anyone, and neither should the American people. 

Edward: Thank you, Stephanie. 

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Edward Williams

Edward Williams is currently a 3L at the Georgetown University Law Center. He is a 2009 Teach For America Atlanta Corps Member. He graduated from Howard University in 2009 with a BBA in International Business and Finance with honors. He has interned at JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch in their investment banking/sales and trading divisions, and was a 2010 Teach For America Policy and Advocacy Leadership (PALI) Fellow at the National Council on Teacher Quality in Washington, DC. Edward is originally from Savannah, GA.

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