tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg July 6, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
>> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: we begin with a look at american history. the events have revived president obama's momentum in this final stage of his tenure. the supreme upheld the health or -- care law and upheld same-sex marriage nationally. a tragic killing and a black church led to a movement against
the confederate flag and ignited the conversation about race in america. relations with cuba were formerly reestablished. his latest article is called "10 days in june." guest: happy fourth of july. charlie: to you as well. 10 days, does that come back to your own russian knowledge? guest: started with shooting and ended with that amazing eulogy. charlie: resistance to forgiveness, furious debate, mourning and finally justice and grace.
guest: i was recalling a time when the health care plan had been unbelievably stumbling in the rollout and people were starting to say this is the beginning of the lame-duck presidency. what's next? a few months later you had the midterm election which were abysmal for the democrats. talk of the lame duckery only intensified and the thought was there was no way in the world obama would be able to get anything done. it was striking to me, not to
overstate it, not to say a new deal has been passed in the last couple of weeks. charlie: the theme was in the air. david: absolutely. the parameters were defined by a horrendous tragedy that seems so familiar and to see the president say, i have made these statements too many times before, and some of those statements always struck me as not political enough, not ferocious enough, not revealing enough of what one knows to be inside of him in terms of fury and frustration about what is going on racially and in terms of relations with the police and all the rest. this time that did not happen. this was a tipping point, at least in his rhetoric and what
he allowed the that day -- himself that day. then you had the eulogy in charleston. it was political, it was much of the black church. there was no holding back. this is who i am in terms of my politics, in terms of my solidarity, my allegiances and my passions, and to me it was extremely promising. charlie: i think it was about when he came to washington, he wanted to be aspirational, but he also realized there was a practical job. david: early on in the presidency, i was working on a book that became a biography about race. i got an interview at the end of
this process and we talked about race a lot. when it was over -- he was forthcoming as much as he could or wanted to be in the oval office. then he started walking down the hall away and came home way back and said, i have got to tell you, it's very difficult for me to talk about these issues the way i want to because i know just as i can move markets inadvertently with a stray word about financial policy, i can exacerbate the situation. i can make things worse or arouse passions on both sides that i do not want to do if i set a foot wrong on this discussion. the implication being the most
important thing i can do in the history of race in this country, which is the most painful narrative that we can talk about in american history on this holiday or any other. the most important thing, i have already done, i have been elected and subsequently re-elected. it seems to me because of these tragedies and the repetition of these tragedies, has allowed him -- himself to become more full throated on these issues. charlie: he lamented that he could not talk about economic inequality in the way that he wanted to because it would be defined as class warfare.
david: it was classified as warfare. he made one quote, unquote remark about "fat cat bankers" and you would think he was walking through america with a pitchfork. he lost a lot of support in the fatcat community. charlie: i think he said he only thing that stands between you and pitchforks is me. here is lewis in an op ed. he left at the emotional pinnacle of his tenure. david: he could perform and say things in a certain way that hillary clinton or any other politicians can. he is african-american.
that adds an emotional frayof of what happened in that church. charlie: it was one of the great moments anyone who has seen believe in someone having total command of the moment. there was a sense of ideas i believe in. david: same-sex marriage he also -- i do not see this derisively -- he played politics. when he was a state senator, filled out a questionnaire. one of the questions was, leave in same-sex marriage --do you believe in same-sex marriage. he said, yes, i do. he quivocated later or. charlie: he began to take, i'm evolving.
david: you read david axelrod's book. no one charge obama of leading the charge. i want to say one thing about those issues. we should be careful about thinking that race in america is a solved issue. people's views on this is resolved. confederate flags are going down across the south and yet the majority of people still think of the confederate flag is a symbol of southern heritage, not a racist symbol. these things take time. not everyone comes to the same conclusion all it one.
charlie: and same sex marriage and religious freedoms. david: there are two different ways of looking at that. there is one thing about people personally accepting a given issue. the other is politicians during the base by saying -- stirring the base by saying there is a war on christianity. one i understand. one is not healthy for american politics. charlie: rarely in our nation has such a sweeping set of challenges to past assumptions. david: people have been getting over the head and worse in the struggle for gay -- getting hit over the head and worse in the struggle for gay rights for decades.
it's not something that happened that came out of nowhere. it is a moment, like brown versus board of education, where there is a decisive break for a moment. charlie: this was a dramatic 10 days. what is the moment and what did it change? did it change something -- did it change something so that we cross the river? david: interesting to see reports -- there is a difference between something a movement and law of the land. local clerks in charge of marriage licenses saying, i will refuse to do this. it is -- on one hand, you are angry that person.
on the other hand, there is a sense that that person could not change from one day to the next 180 degrees. it is not shocking. on the other hand, that person cannot make up his or her own law on gay marriage as they can about a speeding ticket. this will be absorbed at different rates. it is now the law, and it is a moment of fantastic triumph. charlie: i want you to deal with the question of whether there is something beyond the law whether this has something to do with the psyche of the country. david: it does. think of where we were. andrew sullivan wrote a cover piece of the "the new yorker" -- "the new republic" about gay marriage from a conservative point of view.
charlie: he's a a gay man and a strong conservative. david: now we are discussing whether trans people should be able to serve in the military. that is an amazing thing struggling with these gender issues of equality and respect on things that were unimaginable 5, 10, 20 years ago, to me it makes a happy july 4. ♪
david: i have always thought obama hides in plain sight. i think he is the opposite of nixon. it always paid off when thinking about him to take him at his word. it never occurred to me that he was a left of center democrat. that was since the beginning of his career. his model how to deal with social movements was frank when roosevelt dealing with the nation's civil rights movement. this is a story that obama tells all the time. fdr's response is, make me. fdr cannot be the head of a
movement. the movement has to force a sympathetic president forward. we are congratulating each other july 4, a lot of the names of gay rights, whether they are more or less establishment liberals or radicals like larry kramer need to be congratulated and acknowledged. charlie: this is what he said to to you in a 2014 interview --
is that the temperament that is desirable, that kind of thoughtfulness, or some of the other stuff we're hearing right now? right now, running number two in the race is donald trump. charlie: so? it is a product of personality. david: the ultimate brand name. his name is all over the side of casinos and golf courses. he is a man willing to say any thing to be noticed. when he recently said -- what he recently said finally crossed the line. so egregious that a major television network said, no more. nbc throwing him off the air.
macy's -- apparently he has a men's line. charlie: it is a pretty nice line. david: it is, charlie. what a country. charlie: what a country that donald trump is out there. a business success but -- david: a grotesque buffoon. we should be able to call things what they are. there have been a lot of buffoon in american life, but this is somebody who uses hate. charlie: but you are clearly here to say, he knows he's a buffoon. it is a connivance to get more attention. somehow he may get momentum and some nomination to be president.
david: i very much doubt that. charlie: so it is a product of the moment? david: he likes attention. charlie: so he's not serious about wanting to be president? david: this is the most serious office imaginable. i don't agree with ted cruz on almost anything. ted cruz is an intelligent person. charlie: he is a rhodes scholar. david: that's any number on the republican side who are intelligent. there's another aspect.
charlie: there is also bernie sanders. he is drawing record crowds. david: madison, wisconsin is the white-hot center -- charlie: paul ryan, where he comes from. david: it is like austin, texas. it is an expression of people on the left who want hillary clinton to be more like them. it is an expression of economic populism. it's interesting to note, the black vote for bernie sanders ain't happening. charlie: there are not any black votes in vermont. david: or wisconsin.
charlie: he is trying to make a case -- he is a serious person. david: it is healthy for the democratic party to have a debate rather than a coronation. do you feel good about the -- charlie: do you feel good about the country on its birthday? you feel that -- you look at same-sex marriage -- david: i feel good about these things. the air comes out of me a little bit. that happened on thursday and friday and then on monday and tuesday, the same court made the ruling it made on the death penalty. supreme court will not go undefeated on the liberal side.
charlie: i meant this in a larger sense. here we are. we think about washington and jefferson and madison and adams, and we think about the creation of this country. by the way, it was not a perfect union, as we all know. david: in america there are a lot of people without resources and look at the widening gap of incomes and any other number of problems. it is great to celebrate july 4, but complacency is not an option. charlie: i want to leave you with president obama talking about his week. president obama: my best week was marrying michelle. that was a really good week. malia and sasha being born excellent weeks.
there was a game where i scored 27 points. that was a pretty good week. i have had some good weeks. i am blessed to have had those. i think last week was gratifying because number one, we were able to get a package of trade legislation that i believe will serve the american people, american workers, and american businesses. the affordable care act, the results speak for themselves. we have the lowest uninsured rate that we have had we started keeping records. my remarks in charleston were heartfelt.
it was not a celebration, it was a reflection on a consistent challenge of race in this country and how we can find a path towards a better way. last week was a culmination of a lot of work we have been doing. how am i going to spend whatever political capital i built up? the list is long and my instructions to my team and myself have always been that we are going to squeeze every last ounce of progress that we can make as long as i have the privilege of holding office. charlie: in his own words. david: that is the obama you want to see. i think a year ago there was this sense that the presidency might play out.
he felt defeated, he felt outnumbered. when you want to see in him or any president you have high hopes for, is that they leave it on the floor. even at the end of the term, things he pushes towards the good may not reach their culmination, but the next one might. that certainly was the case for health care. so many presidents failed to bring home and he did by a slim margin. charlie: thank you for coming. note the fact that leaving it on the floor, you indicate where your sports interests are. thank you. david: good to see you.
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in 1776, john adams writes and says to abigail, save every letter i write you. by the end of the lives of adams and jefferson, when they write letters to each other, they are writing letters to us. they know we will be reading these things. if they were wrong and the american republican experiment failed, we would not be here. but they turned out to be right and this is now the oldest enduring public. they discovered the two principles that over the course of the last two centuries approved -- have proved to be successful. a political system, democracy, and economic system rooted in the energies of individual citizens are the source of real productivity.
call it capitalism. charlie: who saw the future? guest: hamilton. most unbelievably fast thinker. the federalist papers were the great classics. this is a kid who is the bastard brat of a scotch peddler. [laughter] it was an epithet, but absolutely correct. he was born in the caribbean of a woman who was probably a prostitute. i had a student -- we were reading the correspondence between adams and jefferson. she said, jefferson is this. lyrical, floating.
adams is this -- so they bring those -- franklin franklin is the wisest. he is the grandfather amongst the fathers. charlie: here is when you say. no event in american history which was so improbable at the time has seemed so inevitable in retrospect as the american revolution. guest: we look back now and it seems like it was a done deal. we take it for granted. the oldest enduring republican in world history. it has faded. in 1775, 1776, the chances of this colony defeating a major military power in the world and the country that will go on to become the hegemonic power of europe is about one in 10,000.
charlie: was it the perfect storm that it happens? guest: that's nice. benjamin rice, in the continental congress -- a revolutionary guy. great friend of the adamses. is closer to jefferson. he reports a conversation where jerry is stepping forward and the virginia delegate is stepping forward. harrison says, when they catch us, you are lucky, or i am lucky, because i am fat and heavy. when they hang me, i will die quickly. you are thin and light and you
twist in the wind. the chances of them succeeding were so remote and if they failed, they would be hung. charlie: where most reovlutionaries go, to the gallows. you cannot argue that the times were so extaordinary. we all know that presidents are rated in history. guest: one day i had a revelation, and hamilton had a -- hamilton had a quarrel with washington, he painted washington as a moody and temperamental man. he wrote, the general and i have come to an open rupture. he shall repent of his ill humor. i remember sitting there actually stunned. george washington, ill humor?
this does not conform to the saintly image i had of george washington. it got me thinking that perhaps this most familiar figure in american history was in many ways the most unfamiliar. charlie: what do we know that makes the unfamiliar familiar? guest: i discovered that washington under the surface was a passionate, sensitive, complex man. he was a man of many moods and fiery opinions. he was a fierce, hard-driving perfectionist. it was cloaked under this command reserve and stoic aura that we know. there was a fierce, hard-driving personality under that facade. charlie: could you make that case with these, without george washington, the revolution would have failed? guest: an earlier biography is the phrase, the indispensable
man. what you find during the revolutionary war, eight and a half years he is the commander in chief of the continental army. there were probably generals who were superior from a strategic standpoint. while other generals are getting sidetracked and petty disputes george washington always has that whatever he has, he has a clarity of vision, tenacity of purpose, and there is a force of character, nobody in the world whom you would rather give a monumental task to than george washington. charlie: how did he come to those skills? guest: he had tremendous experience and we tend to associate him with the revolutionary war. he spent five and a half years in the french and indian war. george washington turns out to have been a prodigy. when he was 23, he was already in charge of all the armed forces in virginia and virginia was then the most populous and powerful state.
charlie: at 23? guest: 23. he is running an immense plantation at mount vernon when -- with not only with 300 slaves, but it is also a small industrial village. in his last years he is running one of the largest distilleries in the country. charlie: he was the logical choice? guest: he was. in 1775, he was elected unanimously by the continental congress as commander-in-chief and one of the few people who had significant military experience, even though he was then in his 40's. remember what is happening is the revolution has started up in massachusetts, lexington, and concorde. there are thousands of militiamen who gathered in cambridge, but they are new england militia men.
to give this cause a continental perspective, everyone looks to the south because then it would give it a national character. there is something about washington throughout his life that people are confident and entrusting power to him. he inspires confidence by his levelheaded -- he is not someone who becomes drunk with power. he is somebody who understands that military power has to be subordinated. he does this brilliantly through the revolutionary war. he has 14 masters. he has to deal with 13 state governors and is internally swaddling continental congress. washington's genius during the war is in many ways political genius. he was not a great general i discovered. charlie: what made him not want to be president for more than two terms?
and earlier not wanting to be king? guest: it's an interesting story. he starts out as a young man who wants money, status, and power. but then he gets more fame and power than any human being could dream up. during the revolutionary war he's away for eight and a half years. he only goes back to mount vernon once for three days in 8 1/2 years. at the end of the war he feels like he has sacrificed the prime of his life to this war. he goes back to mount vernon just praying for a little piece of privacy and tranquility. then what happens, because of his stature, because people feel that feel so confident, he becomes the president of the constitutional convention. he does it very reluctantly. he very reluctantly becomes the first president. the office is his or the taking. he was unanimously elected in the electoral college. he says to his closest friends
-- he said, i'm going to become president for a year or two, establish the legitimacy of the new federal government, then i'm going back to mount vernon. after a year or two his cabinet said, we are in the middle of a crisis, you can't go home. there was one crisis after another and eight years pass. if you look at the last 25 years of this man's life, almost the entire period sacrificed to the service of his country. when he went back -- this is a fascinating story. he was warned. someone said to him, you should get a special appropriation from congress because you will have people descending on mount vernon. he looks over the ridge and there are tourists, veterans and curiosity seekers. washington is an impeccably polite man. he feels obligated to feed and house everyone who comes to mount vernon. very often there are 10 to 20
people sitting at tables, a lot of them complete strangers. the saddest line in washington in the summer of 1785, he writes in his diary, i dined alone with mrs. washington for the first time today since i returned home from the war. he had been home from the war for a year and a half. unbelievable. even in the privacy of mount vernon, he becomes not only a prisoner of his own celebrity, he becomes a piece of public property in a way he can't escape and does not know what to do with. he is constantly complaining in the letters that all of these guests are showing up, they are drinking his wine, eating his food, and it becomes a tremendous strain on his finances. he made the mistake -- this person had advised him to get a special appropriation from congress.
he said, i don't need that. it becomes a major drain on his finances. guest: most americans do not realize we were fighting an undeclared war at sea. under fire, capturing ships. the undeclared war at sea could have ignited into a real war with the dictator, the emperor as he proclaimed himself napoleon. adams steered a treacherous course among the shoals and whirlpools of diplomacy and managed to keep america neutral, not to side with either england or france.
charlie: these people who have been so lionized, this notion that never before, never since in the history of mankind have so many brilliant, wise men come together to do something so important. guest: there is great deal of truth to that. they were fallible human beings. several of them were clearly brilliant beyond almost anything we can truly or fully fathom. charlie: who is on that list? guest: jefferson, adams, hamilton was brilliant. george washington was an immensely intelligent man. he was not learned and he was not an intellectual.
he was a great natural born leader and a man with phenomenal self command. charlie: early on in support of who ought to be leading the revolution -- guest: he put washington in nomination to command the continental army. he said jefferson ought to write the declaration of independence. he put john marshall on the supreme court, maybe the greatest chief justice we ever had. as a casting director, adams was quite remarkable. i think washington's greatest quality was that he would not give up, no matter how bad things got. the idea that we would defeat this british army, the best trained, best equipped, toughest army in the world, a pickup team of an army that washington had
poorly equipped, poorly clothed, inadequately trained, was going to take -- and no naval force, not a ship to defend any of our ports at that point. it was preposterous. he had never led an army in battle before when the war began. but he would not quit. when washington is retreating across new jersey in the late months of 1776, that is the absolute nadir of this nation, the lowest point. he hasn't a chance. it is over. charlie: and you can go through the presidency to the fact that he does not want to be king. guest: like franklin roosevelt who went through two crises in our lifetime, during the depression and the most horrible war in history, washington leads the country in two testing
times, the revolution and the period after the revolution. the only thing holding it together is the universal regard everywhere in the colonies everywhere in the states for george washington. charlie: what happened to the relationship? what happened to adams and jefferson to split them apart? guest: adams was elected to be the second president after washington. adams had been washington's vice-president. they had not been particularly close as president and vice president. when the election of 1796 came along, jefferson ran against adams. the winner became the president, the runner-up became vice president. adams being a nominal
federalist, and jefferson being a jeffersonian or republican what we would now call a democrat. you have the president of one party, vice president of the other party. jefferson did not support adams. he gave him no support. he cut himself off from adams. if anything, he was detrimental because he was busy organizing the political opposition behind the scenes. he was a skillful political general, backstage director of operations. the next time around, jefferson ran against adams, and adams tried for a second term and defeated adams in a vicious campaign of 1800. charlie: take me to july 4 1826, the last 24 hours. guest: each one is gravely
troubled, ill, dying each of them. each is dying in his home. each is dying in his own bed dying surrounded by his beloved books. they are also surrounded by family and servants. they each want to live until the 4th. jefferson succumbed first, he died in the morning of the fourth. adams died late in the afternoon, almost 6:00. among adams' last words, very near the end, he said out of the blue, quite clearly, thomas jefferson survives. and died shortly thereafter. charlie: he was of what mind about the revolution? guest: for a very long time he
referred to the british empire as a fine and noble [indiscernible] he wanted to say he believed he could be -- franklin was somebody who believed in moderation and compromise. he thought he could negotiate a settlement between britain and america. by late 1774, he sped up. he's given up and he comes back to philadelphia in 1775, declares he is a rebel, declares he is for the revolution, and became one of the patriots. charlie: always about him, ambition. guest: he's a very ambitious man, but he's proud of it. he said -- his father always quoted solomon's wisdom about i shall stand before kings. he said, to me, that was my ambition. that was mainly to be a printer and publisher. it said i stood before five kings and got to sit down with one.
charlie: he said something about power and avarice, and that men, using men is representative of all people, that they were driven by two things. one, the need for power and two, the need for money. he wanted money. guest: not really. he retires in his mid-40's and does not take a salary for working in government. he made a lot of money. he franchises print shops all over the colonies and he was the first to understand this notion of a media conglomerate. he has print shops all the way from boston down to the bahamas and bermuda. he becomes quite wealthy, but then he said, i would rather have it said of me that i lived usefully than that i died wealthy.
he retires, he's about 42. halfway through his life. he lived to be 84. he retires and he is arguing that people should not take a salary for serving in government. he said avarice and money, this ambition are the two things that drive people. you don't want that to happen. he was trying to conquer this in himself, conquer his ambition, and he certainly was able to conquer any grade because he was not a greedy person and did not strive to get great wealth. charlie: what did others think of him? guest: jefferson loved him. jefferson comes and replaces him in france. somebody says, you are here to succeed franklin. he said, i just hope to follow him. they were both avatars of the enlightenment and the person they both hated was john adams because john adams -- john adams
is very puritanical, very prudish, a little bit stuck up and franklin has at least two girlfriends in paris and is enjoying himself and john adams found that unbearable. he also found jefferson unbearable as well. charlie: what is relevant about benjamin franklin today? guest: in 1776, in july, when they are writing the declaration, jefferson writes a first draft. it is a messy draft. it has all sorts of cross outs and stuff. those of us who write longhand at first -- a big mess. jefferson writes the sentence on the little lap desk on market street.
he writes, "we hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable." then he sends it to two doors away to franklin and says, would you be so kind as to peruse the document and in your great wisdom, edit it for me? franklin does those backslashes and he crosses out sacred and undeniable and changes it that we hold these choose to be self-evident -- truths to be self-evident. the point he makes is we are creating a nation in which the democracy comes from reason, not religion. we separating ourselves from religion. we are all very religious, but the fact that we have our rights comes from our creator but also from reason. he is trying to create an enlightened nation that believes in religious tolerance.
if you look at the struggle of the last century, it was against tyranny, communism, and fascism. the struggle of this century is against intolerance and mainly religious intolerance. that is what this century is going to be about. that is why franklin's values the notion of religious tolerance and tolerance between tribes of people is the most important value to have in a democracy. when he died, he had donated to the building fund of each and every church in philadelphia. and right before he died, to the new synagogue there. carrying him to his grave were all the ministers of every church and the rabbi of philadelphia. and the people. all the itinerant preachers
low estimates in the second quarter. tell a what you think about our top stories. follow me on twitter. they look after the markets and now. indeed, it is -- reporter: it is worth looking at. it is down about 37.5%. the shanghai composite is not even a correction but more of a crash. we are seeing more weakness in china. parent back a little bit of the losses of this morning -- parent back a little bit of the lost this morning and you can see. some other major players. -- paring back a little of the losses this morning and you can see.