At a CNN town hall Wednesday night, former FBI director James Comey was asked by moderator Anderson Cooper if he believes his book has added to the vitriol and division in the country.
ELIZABETH PETERAF, FRESHMAN, WILLIAM & MARY: Hello. I turned 18 just before this past presidential election, and though it was exciting to be able to vote for the first time, I’ve been very disillusioned with what is going on in Washington, not knowing who or what to believe. What can you say to young adults who are getting their first true taste of American politics during this tumultuous time? How do we comprehend thinking of the future when the present is so unsteady?
JAMES COMEY, FMR. FBI DIRECTOR: Don't withdraw. We need your voices. We need your minds. We need your hearts. We need your passion.
You are what is going to grow in the wake of this forest fire. Again, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, become involved. Not just vote, but participate in the conversation to make sure the values of this country are preserved and protected.
And I could imagine especially given how busy you all are and all you got going on, there’s a temptation to say it's so icky, I'll pull back. Please don't do that. The one small thing I hope to accomplish with his book and I’ve written so I hope you can enjoy it, is to encourage to you participate in the conversation, because we desperately need you.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Do you worry, though, that your book has just added to the divisions in this country? I mean, that people are choosing sides on you, they’re choosing sides -- that it just adds to this sort of flood of vitriol?
COMEY: I don't think so. I mean, I think if you read the book, the whole book, I think you'll come away with a view that I’m -- of what I’m trying to accomplish and it's not trying to hate across divisions, it's about trying to drive a conversation about something that actually connects all of us and unites all of us.
You think about William & Mary’s history, there are three buildings here named for three people closely associated with this great institution -- Washington, Jefferson and Madison. I lived in one of the three. And those people fought like cats and dogs about policy issues.
Madison and Jefferson didn't like the way that Hamilton was controlling Washington. But they had something in common, something above that that they lived their lives around, a set of values. We have to remember that and be inspired by that. And have 18-year-olds and 20-year-olds and 23-year-olds give that life today.