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Michigan Political Leadership Program annual breakfast hosts Ana Navarro and Howard Dean


CNN Political Analyst Ana Navarro and Former Presidential Candidate and Vermont Governor Howard Dean were in Grand Rapids Friday morning to engage in a friendly debate. The debate by Navarro and Dean came as part of the annual Fundraising Breakfast for the Michigan Political Leadership Program.

Started in 1992, the program is dedicated to training future public policy leaders. Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley began the breakfast by calling to mind that there are currently 11 graduates from the program in Michigan’s house and Senate.

“You can see throughout the legislature and local government across our state and in state government that type of impact that people who go through this program are making,” Calley said. 

While the exchange between Navarro and Dean was cordial and often at times humorous, Navarro made a point of thanking Grand Rapids for hosting a bi-partisan debate.

“I cannot remember the last time when I was at a political event where Democrats and Republicans were sitting there trying to move the conversation forward in a civil and constructive manner," Navarro said. "What you are doing here, this is not happening, keep on doing it.”

The conversation inevitably moved to President Donald Trump. Governor Dean, a Democrat, said while the President is not all powerful, there is still one thing that keeps Dean up at night.

“The stuff that worries me deeply is foreign affairs because I think there is no rhyme nor reason to his world view," Dean said. I think he is incredibly inconsistent which is very dangerous in foreign policy, and words matter a lot more in foreign policy than they matter in domestic policy.”

The leadership program is part of The Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University. Friday was their 15th annual fundraising breakfast. 

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