Tags: ted | GOP | retreat

House Republicans Try Out TED Talk at their Retreat

Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 10:10 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

The Republican Party appears to be embracing TED Talk and its "ideas worth spreading" theme as House GOP members gather on the eastern shore of Maryland for their annual retreat.

According to The Daily Beast, the decision to introduce TED Talk was the brainchild of House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who delivered the Republican response to President BarackObama's State of the Union address Tuesday night. Her spokesman Nate Hodson said the Washington congresswoman believes that bringing in different speakers from the different fields, which is what TED Talk is all about, will encourage lawmakers to think in new and more innovative ways about how to address the nation's problems.

“We wanted people who approach problems in their fields in ways you wouldn’t have thought of. It is just so easy to get trapped in the same ways of thinking because that is the culture here on the Hill," Hodson told the Beast."

To help GOP lawmakers look to the future, the retreat speaker guest list will include Simon Sinek, a motivational speaker whose best-selling book "Start With Why" focuses on the idea that "it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters why you do it.”

Former Silicon Valley hedge fund manager Sal Khan, who founded the non-profit Khan Academy that provides free online educational videos, will also be on hand, although he told the Beast he's a little perplexed about his invitation.

“Hopefully, they are finding [what I do] a refreshing way to look at issues,” said Khan. “It is not about technology versus humanity; it is about technology that empowers humans, about taking any system and thinking about it from an orthogonal direction, which can help any problem."

Also in attendance will be Christine Hassler, a motivational speaker and self-described achievement addict who, the Beast noted, counts herself as an expert on "Millennials and Generation Yers" that "helps families and corporations understand (millennials) as consumers and employees."

But Republicans will also hear from a few tried and true conservative voices, including National Review editor Ramesh Ponnuru and GOP pollster and consultant Frank Luntz. Former college football coach Lou Holtz, now an ESPN commentator, and Army Ranger Sean Parnell are also scheduled to speak at the retreat beginning Wednesday at a Chesapeake Bay resort.

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