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tv   Charlie Rose  Bloomberg  May 20, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." >> we are going to want to have the four corners of the airplane, so to speak, the wings, the nose, the tail, and look at the evidence, and that will help them understand the sequence of events and also we the flight originated, if it was a failure, or an explosion. they can get that information from the physical evidence. charlie: also this evening, john dickerson on the political race in america. john dickerson: republicans do not want her.
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that is another reason why donald trump is bringing up the clinton years. he wants to create a sense of, you know, hillary clinton wants to talk about the job legacy during bill clinton, he wants to talk about other things. that reminds republicans to say stay focused on who the real enemy here is, and that is hillary clinton. charlie: and we conclude with bryan cranston playing lyndon b. johnson in hbo's "all the way." bryan cranston: i was fortunate enough to go from walter white and the complexity of that man to lyndon johnson, complex in different ways, but far greater a man than walter white ever was. because of his altruistic nature. charlie: what happened to egyptair 804, a conversation with john dickerson, and bryan cranston, when we continue.
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we begin this evening with egypt flight 804. the plane crashed on the way from paris to cairo. it crashed at 2:45 cairo time after making to abrupt turns. according to the airline, it was carrying 66 passengers and crew members. as of this taping, they have found some of the wreckage but have yet to confirm the cause of the crash. the minister for civil aviation's said an act of terrorism is more likely than a technical failure. a russian jet was exploded over the sinai peninsula last october, killing all people on board. and in march, a domestic air ight -- there was a standoff that resulted in no injuries. joining us from illinois is deborah hersman. she is the president of the national safety council. she recently served as chairperson of the national
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transportation safety board. in new york, michael hanna of the century foundation. we are pleased to have both of them. what do we know now, and what does it indicate? deborah hersman: they looked at the radar track, and there will be a couple different sources of information for them to take a look at. there is civilian radar but also military radar, intelligence information that will be coming in. they will try to overlay all of that and incorporate the information they have from different sources to create a mosaic of sorts, so they can see the picture of little more clearly, which is going to be an international effort where a number of sources are probably going to aid in that effort. charlie: any evidence this is terrorism? michael hanna: it is surprising that this really early stage in the investigation how much the issue has come up already. that it istimation in fact terrorism. i lack the technical expertise to comment on whether a sort of turn of the plane suggests terrorism, but clearly the egyptian aviation minister
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has mentioned this. we have reports from sources in american officials, and others, it looks that way, but one cannot be too sure. charlie: is there anything to say what may have been the cause it was not an explosion, deborah? deborah hersman: it really is early. it is the first 24 hours. they will be looking at things like mechanical failure, human error. there are a number of things. the weather does nothing to be a factor at this point, but they will be looking at all of the pieces. and you know, some of the evidence they are going to need would be the same, whether it is safety or security, they want those reporters. they are going to want to have the four corners of the airplane, so to speak, the wings, the nose, the tail, and really look at the evidence they have. that will help them understand the sequence of events and where things might have originated.
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if it was a failure, a mechanical failure, or explosion. they can get that from physical evidence. charlie: i would assume things they have going forward are that they have found debris and number two, they know something about possible width and depth of the accident scene, scene of where the plane hit the water. and that says something about how they might find the recording box. yes? deborah hersman: very helpful to have such good radar coverage in this area, and the fact that the debris is showing up so early. that is going to narrow the search field. the mediterranean is a heavily traveled sea, so they will have a lot more sense when it comes to recovery operations about what the challenges are there. the weather can be a help for them as they execute those operations. there is a lot of international resources in that area, that can be brought to bear.
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charlie: what should be said in the conversation at this point about this tragedy? michael hanna: people will think about terrorism, looking at the context of where it happened. you mentioned the metrojet crash. egypt has suffered from a variety of security issues for several years now. there is low level insurgency on the sinai peninsula led by isis affiliates. mainland egypt suffers from various kinds of antistate and anti-regime violence, focus on police and army. and more recently, we have seen now the sort of development, the evolution of international terrorism, focusing on things like civilian aviation. so, this would be one more very serious incident egypt has suffered in recent months. there has been no good news for egypt of late. you know, there has been no good moves for egypt as of late.
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this would be keeping with that. charlie: or with respect that france has authority. michael hanna: if it is in fact terrorism, we have this egypt angle, which we just discussed, but we also then have the possibility that this is a potential security breach in europe. , coming on the heels of the attacks several months back in belgium. this begins to look like a worrisome trend, and it will exacerbate political issues that are roiling the entire continent. asking, deborah, i keep starting this morning on cbs, why can't we be, or should we be developing even streaming, some way of being able to have outside evidence of what is going on in a plane that is not dependent on finding things that are in the sea. deborah hersman: there have been absolutely a lot of people advocating for something like this for many years. it really comes down to cost and the technology, the band with. that is a lot of information to be sent, but it is not something
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that is impossible, from a technology perspective. they already send data back. this question is, how often, how frequent that is, and what triggers sending back reports, whether it is maintenance or to the operation center. and so, there is the ability to do it, but it has not been mandated across the board for all phases of flight. charlie: why not? deborah hersman: cost is the biggest factor. at the end of the day, you think about all the data you could stream, and airplanes are so sophisticated. they are not just recording 13 parameters. they are recording 1300 parameters. and so, deciding which information to send back to the thrust, the control services, what are you providing? do you send all of that immediately or in real time? what do you want to capture? there is a lot of work that would be needing to be done to
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do this. but at the end of the day, it really does come down to the expense that it would really required to do this. charlie: it would require some kind of implementation of that technological equipment. and countries have to ask themselves, if we mandate this, do we demand the same way we demand other types of safety on a car? deborah hersman: absolutely. this is a situation where we are try to identify risk, high priority areas, and trying to identify what you want to send back. there has to be some prioritization that would take place, even it we were to go down this path. because implementation would not likely occur across the board. you would have to phase it in. charlie: thank you for joining us. great to have you. deborah hersman: thank you, charlie. charlie: we will be right back, stay with us. ♪
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♪ charlie: the political campaign heats up, and joining me is john dickerson, the political director of cbs news and an anchor of "face the nation." john: thank you. charlie: here we have the democrats fighting. bernie sanders does not want to go. he believes what? john dickerson: you are right, he wants his message to be protected here. he has built a movement. but he wants that the protected, and now there is a fight over
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whether he is being railroaded out of his movement. which is that he wants to take votes all the way through to california and washington dc. and he feels like the system has been stacked against him. so the question is whether these fights have been roiling, intricate in nevada. it becomes a larger part of his argument, which is the elites have rigged the system in the democratic party. with at then meshes larger argument that they have rigged the economic system. and will he keep that fight going, not only to the convention but afterwards, or will he put it back in the box and say, we fought the good fight, i was beaten fair and square, and i hand this case off to hillary clinton where she can prosecute on my behalf? charlie: or the unimaginable. he says this is a growing movement i am head of. we may even consider a third-party candidacy. john dickerson: they said so far they won't.
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but you never know. they will stay in the democratic party. one thing that happens in the fight over nevada and back-and-forth, you have debbie wasserman schultz, the democratic party chair, is suggesting sanders has been inciting this violence. sanders feels bad. kind of an effort to suggest it would push them out of the race. charlie: and calling her pro-clinton. john: saying the system has been stacked against him all along. so tempers get flaring in the heat of the event, you could, most of it is logistic, running as third party getting on the ballot can be hard to do. charlie: what she is doing, reaching out to get him, to say to him, what can i do to bring you on board? what is it you need, want for your supporters? john dickerson: right. they tried to do -- the problem, they tried to extend that friendship. the problem is the conversation, if you start having them too
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early, you are showing him the door. so, and they tried a number of gambits. hillary clinton has tried to say, when i was behind barack obama by a smaller margin than bernie sanders is now, i recognized when it was over. there was real contention between obama and clinton in 2008. they have been trying to play this delicate dance, let him have this extraordinary thing. if this goes that, through the rest of the process, that will make it easier for him to come into the fold. the question of what he wants are anywhere from a lot of different policy things to, what would a night of bernie sanders at the convention look like? that is what ted kennedy got, an entire night to serve him and his ideas, not just bernie sanders speaking, but a whole night build around his themes. that would be a great gift, it would honor what the created,
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but it would also be unpredictable and potentially have what happened in 1980. ted kennedy becomes a liberal hero, and jimmy carter is a nominee and kind of a second fiddle. charlie: and he goes on to lose to ronald reagan. john dickerson: of course he feels that ted kennedy undermined him to fight reagan. it made it impossible for him to fight on two feet against reagan. if sanders keeps going in philadelphia, the clinton people are saying you are handing this election to donald trump. charlie: who is going to win in california? john dickerson: based on everything we know, hillary clinton. charlie: by a wide margin? dickerson: with wide margins, she ends up losing. in new york, it was bigger than people thought it would be. new jersey, things looked good. california, they look good. you know, i think a win will be a win for her.
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math,en, there is the which is for her to beat her in pledged delegates, you have to do something almost mathematically impossible. charlie: and then there is no -- donald trump trying to unify his party. what he has been doing is attacking bill clinton and her, with what objective? somehow to drive down any connection there may be between women that might not be heading to support her and break into the republican fold? john dickerson: i think he has a couple of objectives here. one is to act as a brake against attacks on him. his argument is, you play the woman card against me, this is how i will respond. charlie: i will counterpunch you. john dickerson: right. and if you put it in the frame of counterpunching, it seems like it is an equal attack, but that is that the case. he is using an asymmetric attack. he is being attacked on family leave, he is being responding with bill clinton.
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if he is having a story written in the new york times about his relationship with women, he talks about bill clinton. they did not put this in the new york times. but what he is doing is saying, if you want to go in this direction and talk about relationships with women, i have plenty to talk about too, and that will cause pause for the clinton campaign because of this reason. race in a turfe he is more comfortable with, which is the kind of street yard fight. a ugly history there with bill clinton, monica lewinsky. charlie: and the question is, did she -- i would not show sisterhood with women who are the victims. john dickerson: no victims make up lies. well, if that is the argument, what about women that said things about your husband? she was asked about that, and she said they should be believed
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-- victims should be believed in the beginning. and if attacks do not bear that out, but that is public in a territory, and not a conversation she wants to have. she was to talk about anything but that. charlie: but it continues to be an issue. john dickerson: and he knows how to play the media. charlie: exactly. if there is one thing we know about the 2016 campaign, donald trump understands media. john dickerson: and he understands new media. he understands a conversation can take place whether they want that to take place or not. it will happen and social media and is going to get picked up. he has more control over that. and that is not because the gatekeepers are being lazy. charlie: he also has people he would announce for a nomination. i assume that is to satisfy conservatives in the party who had some real problems with them , even those who supported ted cruz. john dickerson: right. that is what he is doing.
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and normalizing. he is saying i am the nominee, i am doing these sorts of things nominees for president do. forget about things i said in the past. i am a candidate, and i am doing candidate-like things. he is saying, focus on the supreme court. because what you want is a body in the oval office, will name three justices, he said. the race comes down to that, everything else is secondary. the supreme court will lock in social issues in law or not for the next 40 years, maybe. so you can worry, he would say, about my personal life, but who cares? the court is the thing. so this puts focus on that. so both his credentials, but keeping the conversation about a thing that will get conservatives to say, i may have all these reservations about him. i may not line up with his policy positions, which is also an extraordinary thing that is happening. people are saying i do not
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believe in x, y, z. but i do agree in the court. charlie: we appreciate the consequences you say. he comes to new york, his home, and he meets with henry kissinger. dickerson: chris christie when he was noodling around, that is the argument here. do not worry. charlie: it is a scary idea. john dickerson: anyone who has been in -- i talked about secretary bob gates, who you have loved interviewing over the years. and gates says, you cannot learn it at all. if you are going to be taking lessons from people or taking a lot of advice, you have to listen. and so the notion that you can get up to speed quickly or have advisors around you to fill up your weaknesses is one question, but the second is, are you going to listen to them? and the further point that takes you need someone
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on your staff that tells you no. saves you from yourself. all presidents say that is crucial. charlie: and the important thing is they can give you all the information they have and tutor you all you can. but in the end, you need judgment. you need an architecture to make that kind of decision. in the end, these are big decisions, and presidents have to make them. all the advisors in the world will not make the right decision. john dickerson: i am smiling. because the first point i heard hugh tellinghat, me a story about henry kissinger. if you had all the information in a week, what tells you when to leap and not? that is judgment, character, values you created over a whole career you do not get from a brief. charlie: republicans seemed be falling in line. john dickerson: they really seem to be falling in line.
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there are those that make -- there was michael garson, speech writer for george w. bush, he said the republican establishment is weak and capitulating. and now they are falling behind him and proving them right, which is that there is the never trump movement, the notions of the third-party, that is all kind of going away. and the more trump gets, the more people fall in line, the more people are going to fall in line. and also -- charlie: and the train is leaving the station. john dickerson: and hillary clinton. republicans do not want her. and that is another reason called trump is bringing up the clinton years. he wants to create a sense -- hillary clinton wants to talk about job legacy of bill clinton. he was to talk about the scandal of those years. that keeps republicans focused on who the real enemy is here for donald trump, and that is a hillary clinton.
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charlie: the issue of money. donald trump has got to raise a lot of money. hillary clinton has, but she does as well. john dickerson: he is more interesting because he ran one end of the pillars, anyone that gets outside money is bought by the people that donate. now he is putting together a fund-raising operation with the republican national committee, so he would be presumably open to those charges. but you got to raise money to run a race, and he has a super pac -- charlie: adelson says he will support him strongly. john dickerson: in the old logic, that means adelson owns him. trump would never admit to that. and i thought that sheldon adelson, for why he is funding trump, made a strong case. you may disagree with all of my policy positions, but i earned a place. based on my experience with leadership, that is what i see in this candidate. the executives. argument, a lot
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of people that don't agree, i have never seen a candidate where people support him as the -- and disagree with so many policy positions. charlie: it is his style, temperament, everything else. but at the same time, on balance, i will support him whether it is supreme court, anti-hillary clinton, whatever it is. john dickerson: the executive experience piece is another pro-trump argument i am hearing a lot of. which is coming you know, he is an executive. the second question is, ok, he is an executive. he has that talent. but then what will he use it for? you say you do not agree. he will be very efficient at executing things you disagree with, and there is a logical gap there. charlie: politics is interesting. john dickerson: the worry is that donald trump and bernie sanders have surfaced things that we knew were out there, but they are complicated and based on this general feeling we have known for a long time.
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the disappointment with washington and disappointment with big institutions. charlie: institutions and wall street, democrats more about wall street and the establishment reflected by bernie sanders. republicans more about washington and -- john dickerson: well, that is right. washington, and at some cases, unelected judges. the kind of political correctness culture. and so, those roiling factors that are out there are still real and have remedies that need more than just the circus of the campaign. i mean, in other words, if wages are not getting any better, those people are still going to be angry if they feel like the system is still crooked. that anger and that part of the election is still really fascinating. and it can sometimes get overloaded by this other stuff. charlie: if you look ahead at the 2014-2016 election, most
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people who have followed politics would have said the issue is going to be the economy. there is just whole middle-class, it is decreasing. people look at their lives and don't think their children will have as good of lives their children have. they see the wages of people in the top 1%, to take an example, is increasing the disparity. and we are left here. and this is america, and we always that we would simply move forward. so, that issue we all thought would be there, but it has not gotten a solution in terms of policies, much more in terms of rhetoric. john dickerson: on the bernie sanders site, as you said, it is all about the banks. redo the rules that relate to the operation of the banks, increased free college tuition so you can increase earning potential of people, build unions so there is more bargaining power. so he, there is a policy argument on the left side.
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but much of the campaign has been about, are you trueblue or not? bernie sanders really believes this stuff. some democrats are skeptical of hillary clinton and there is incrementalism versus having a big vision. even though there are policy arguments underneath. donald trump has had a much weaker policy program, and he essentially has immigration, and he has huge tax cut and muslims, but his argument is, they are appealing to the voters who are furious about what you talk about, that basically believe a lot of it is because it is other people have special privilege or dealings. whether it is the elites or the special groups that are getting jobs. charlie: or the chinese. a goodckerson: that is point. the trade deal that have been arranged by elites. this goes back to the 19th century, when the east banks are
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making deal that ruin us. the elites are making trade deals, but also the fancy business people. they all think globalism and trade benefits them, but we are getting rid by these deals. who cares if goods are cheaper? it does not matter. my job is going away. that is right. that will be a huge question. it is a bit more broad, that trade debate. it haven't gotten policy specific. charlie: great to have you. john dickerson: always great to be here. charlie: john dickerson from cbs news. back in a moment, stay with us. ♪
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♪ charlie: bryan cranston is here. he reprises his tony award-winning performance as lyndon b. johnson in the adaptation on hbo of robert schenkkan's play "all the way." following the assassination of resident kennedy -- president kennedy, as johnson attempts to pass the civil rights act. the headline, cranston has captured the muscle and complexities, insecurities, vulgarities, and sometimes newly overwhelming political talents of the 36th potus. here is a trailer. >> i keep having this dream. a comanche war party searches the house. it is only a matter of time before they haul me up into the
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light, where their knives gleam. >> the president. >> accidental president, that is what they will say. >> what are you fighting for, in your heart? that is what people need to hear. pass presidento kennedy's civil rights bill into law. >> it ain't going to be easy, dr. king. >> we will speak to the fight until he does. >> we had to filibuster this bill. >> if you get in my way, i will crush you. >> this civil rights bill just killed your election chances. >> if the government does not do what is right, nonviolence will no longer be an option. >> is that a threat? >> that old car, boy. >> everybody wants power. they think it likes to be given like mardif charge, gras beads.
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nothing comes free, nothing. >> you will think everybody is going to start dancing to your town? >> all i am asking is to live as a basic human being. >> i am trying to turn his country around and prevent a major war. >> my people want this. >> it is time to act. >> get down now would be wrong for your country. >> nobody is surrendering. >> we are making history here. and you have to decide how you want history to remember you. ♪ charlie: i am pleased to have bryan cranston back at this program. interestingly that we ended with that clip. lyndon johnson did not live to see his history. bryan cranston: he died of what
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he feared he would die of, and that was a fatal heart attack. charlie: but he started smoking again. bryan cranston: he did. when he got on the chopper leaving washington at nixon's inauguration, he picked up a cigarette, and he said, i gave all my life to them. now, i will do for me. he let his hair grow down, it was nice and curly and gray, smoked again, kept drinking. he was a man who really lived under his terms, you know? charlie: yeah, but the point is, there is some, today, a good appreciation of his example. what he did in the arena, other than vietnam. so, he didn't see what was happening today. bryan cranston: two years ago, when we were doing the play version on broadway, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the signing of the civil rights act in 1964. and it was appropriate to then look back, and i think we are
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doing a play, and it was the anniversary. a lot of people writing columns and looking back at what i call the revisiting of history as opposed to -- we were not asking them -- charlie: revisiting. bryan cranston: there is a distinct difference. and i think if you look at the entirety of a man's legacy, yes, vietnam was one of them. it was his waterloo. it was a failure. and i think it took him down. charlie: it took him down. cranston: when it came to march 21, 1968, he said i will not accept the nomination, that was because of that. you look at his massive achievements, it is towering but he was able to do, one of which was free the corporation for public broadcasting. which we are watching now. we are thankful for that. at the same time, there was this towering ego, towering the capacity to take things in his hands, and get insecurity.
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bryan cranston: massive the highs and lows. tremendous ambition and guts and all that it takes to achieve at that level. and equally tremendous insecurities and doubt and frustration. and i remember bill moyers telling me, about three days before the 1963 election when all the polls were saying, he is in by a significant margin, he said, i don't want it, the people don't love me. he was worried about something. president, your. are not going to quit the race, you are going to win. and the people around him had to manage that aspect of him as well as counsel and guide the positive aspects of him. charlie: you see that in the first clip we saw in terms of, they will always think of me as an accidental president.
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bryan cranston: he was extremely worried about that. if he did not win the election on his own in 1964, he would have considered himself a failure. charlie: is he the most interesting figure that you have invoked in fiction or in reality, and was walter white more interesting than lyndon johnson? bryan cranston: boy, i tell you , that's a hard one. if i could move the categories fiction and nonfiction, that makes it easier. towering, lyndon johnson. i was fortunate enough to go from walter white and the complexity of that man to lyndon johnson, complex in different ways. and, but far greater a man than walter white ever was, because of his altruistic nature. it was a big bite. charlie: walter white and his intellect and the skills.
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bryan cranston: he did, and he had his ego. he was driven to succeed in that specific area of his life. made some poor choices as well, as we all do. i think if you get old enough in the game, you are going to make good and bad choices. i know warren buffett said to me when i asked him, so, is there a way you go about it? he goes, yeah. just make more good choices than bad ones. there you go. charlie: speaking of presidents, you had time with president obama? i saw a little piece -- not little, a big piece in the new york times. bryan cranston: it was a surprise to me that i got the call. charlie: what did they say, the president would like to see you? bryan cranston: it came from the writer of the new york times, a table for three, philip. they, of course went to the office of the president first. you had all interest in this, and then they came to me.
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and when he said yes, we could go, and that is the way it was presented. i would like to do an interview with you and the president of the united states. he has already approved it, now it is up to me. i thought, what day? charlie: i can be there. what was he like? bryan cranston: i had a few different feelings. we worked for 45 days, and the in a replica of the oval office, and it was the exact size. they did copious amounts of research to make sure of the accuracy of the decor and the pictures and everything. so that when i walked into the oval office this time it was like, yeah, this is familiar. i like the place. and i heard you are leaving. are you going to put it on the market? you know, that was me. and i probably, it is a default mechanism to try to get relaxed or comfortable in some environment. charlie: what did you talk about?
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whatalked about i guess the writer had in mind. bryan cranston: i found him charming, bright, funny, and engaging. and anyone who can make a guest feel comfortable and relaxed in their own home for their own work environment, that is a nice quality to have. charlie: what surprised you about him? bryan cranston: there was never a time that i didn't realize he was the commander in chief, president of united states. and i don't mean that in a way of preventing himself as being better than anyone or anything like that. but there was a dignity to his comportment that i appreciated, that i want in my president. charlie: but at the same time, people talk about lyndon johnson friendbest african-americans have had in the white house. bryan cranston: i think there is
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a lot of truth to that, especially during those times. charlie: john lewis. he said that. bryan cranston: and andrew young. he was there. they were very helpful, coming to the play and being supportive of the film, able to tell this story as honestly as possible. you need consultants like that. you need people who were there. who knew the man. dick goodwin, bill moyers, joe calafano. charlie: you talk to each of them? bryan cranston: yeah. just read the books. they opened their hearts and their minds to me and allowed me to pick their brains and ask what it was like, you know, to try to get a sense of the man. so, i am not doing an impersonation. but i am paying homage to him in the most honest way possible. charlie: yeah, but you are not doing the impersonation of him for sure. but at the same time, during the
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wonder of whatever happens one or two hours before you go on stage, it is remarkable. bryan cranston: thank you. he had thin lips and beady eyes, so thank you, charlie. he hadctually closer -- the squinty eyes, thin lips and in makeup, you can do a lot. i had cheek implants. i had a chin added, i had a nose, ears that poked my ears out, but also elongated them. you know, i put on a bunch of weight. like, 15 or 16 pounds, and i was in lifts that would add three inches to me. i was completely done up. i was not the same person. but it was an honor to slip into those shoes, it really was. charlie: i never met him, but -- i mean, to see all of the video i have seen, and the to see you,
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it works. bryan cranston: it does work. it also shows the complicated relationship he had with martin luther king. that our film, which is written by an awesome playwright, robert schenkkan, he shows the political acumen of both men, and how they jockeyed for position and try to to feel each other out and realized the two men, i believe in my reason, that they knew that they were trying to get to the same goal. but their agenda and scheduling and timing was always different. and consistently different. charlie: and martin luther king says do lyndon johnson -- bryan cranston: he tells them in no uncertain terms that there can be no changes, or he will look embarrassed in front of his own people. and he cannot have that. everything would be turned upside down. but martin luther king knew very well that the real jewel in the
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crown was the voting rights act that happened in 1965 year later -- charlie: that you change politics. instead ofton: that the african-american community begging to be included, now they get a voice. and then the politicians have to come to them and appeal to their sensibilities and intellect. and it changed things. unfortunately, things stay the same, and they change. and we have suppression of voting rights and this ability. we have gerrymandering going on, and the intent of the law has been abused. and hopefully, that will change back so that we realize the value of each person having a voice. that is what we should stand for. that is what should be our hallmark. charlie: the relationship with moyers, he is a friend of mine
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and i worked with him, is the most interesting and complex and undefinable for me. you know, people that were close to lyndon johnson said he would like a son, but he left. he left the white house. bryan cranston: he did. charlie: johnson, you know better than me. bryan cranston: i don't know if you know less, because you knew bill. he was a brilliant man and journalist. i was able to sit down with him and his wife judith. a story that judith told that was relayed to me and robert schenkkan, we did not have it in the play, but we put it in the movie, to show the impact that lady bird had on lbj. and it is a moment when, back in the day, in our youth, there were cigarettes on every copy -- coffee table in every house.
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and so, the ranch was the same. and at one point, lbj would pick up a cigarette and light it and just start smoking. and lady bird would not dare to embarrass him or scold him. so, she would pick up a cigarette in front of company. and light it. lbj saw that, he did not want her smoking. so she is smoking, and he put his out, and she would put hers out, not a word was spoken. and bill moyers was very, very helpful. he has a wonderful quote, "11 of the most interesting people i have ever met was lyndon johnson." [laughter] charlie: that is great. that is just great. and you feel that way yourself in terms of trying to understand him? bryan cranston: i think so. i mean, he is a complex man. one thing that triggered for me
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-- as an actor, the character is outside of you. and until you do the research and time and energy put into it, you hope and trust that character will at some point seap into your soul through osmosis, for lack of a better term or acting term. until that happens -- and the second time i went to the lbj library in austin, texas, which is a terrific library, i noticed a letter from jackie kennedy addressed to the new president , five days after the assassination. and she wrote, "mr. president, thank you so much for walking behind jack on pennsylvania avenue, behind the caisson. i know you did not need to do that, and i'm sure the secret service told you not to. you did it anyway, and it brought love and respect to the man. thank you also for taking the time to write two letters to my children, about how you love and respect their father. they do not know it now, but
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"hey will in time. he took the time to write to two children. when the responsibility, the unbelievable burden of taking over the presidency, and he wrote these two letters, that meant everything to me. i said, there is the soul of that man, the goodness of that man. as crude as he may be on the outside, rough and edgy on the outside, that is his center. charlie: and he understood that continuity in america. he wanted her in that photograph when he took the oath of office. bryan cranston: he felt it would be terribly disrespectful if she was not included. she is in agony. everyone is upset. no one really knows the protocol and what to do, or how we should arrange things, or where do we sit? so, it was a mess. charlie: how do you come to
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understanding him on vietnam, because we know there were conversations? with russell, richard russell, chairman of the senate armed services, i think. he is on the phone. russell had been like a father to him in the senate, and helped over defendingh, his own position. bryan cranston: that is the saddest chapter in his life. he was a domestic man. he really did not want the burden of international foreign relations. he wanted to focus on making america -- charlie: and the things were handed to him. bryan cranston: he inherited the situation of vietnam from the kennedy administration. robert mcnamara was a go-getter. very much a hawkish guy. read, it, from what i was advised that if we do this
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assault, we do this escalation, we will break the back of the north vietnamese, and it will be over. and he reluctantly said, do it. and it did not work. mr. president, this will work. do it. and it did not. ultimately, he is responsible, and he knew it. he failed in vietnam. he knew what it was doing. he could not find the answers. and he also, i must admit, i think he also had the political hubris that he did not want to be the first president to lose a war. charlie: he said it. i think he said that richard russell -- bryan cranston: but he knew instinctively that this was a bad deal, and there was a no-win situation here. and yet, because of that hanging over him, it continued. charlie: here is what i don't understand about lyndon johnson , in part. he went and received the silver
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star. there were a lot of people who made greater sacrifices, lived their life differently. he was a member of congress. and you would think that he would know. bryan cranston: yeah. it is sad. of course, in retrospect, you look and go, that was a mistake, clear and simple. have we learned from those mistakes. not always. hopefully, clearer heads will guide us in the future. but i think it is fair, as we said in the onset that after all this time, is to revisit his legacy, both in what he was able to achieve domestically and honestly, look at what he failed at in foreign policy. charlie: has this been a high level before? whetted your liking for history? and biography? cranston: i love it. i love it.
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i have become like a short nerd. unfortunately now i have to go do this, and you study this over here, and some ask you about the presidency, and i forgot that part. i have to bone up on it again. but it was fascinating. and here we are in 2016 with the most unprecedented presidential election ever. charlie: unbelievable. the question is, is it transformative or an exception? will it be different because donald trump has such mastery of social media, so far? we now see a series of celebrity candidates, or is he an exception in whatever happens? bryan cranston: well, i believe a few things. , i don't hesitate to think donald trump loves this country. i believe he does. i absolutely believe that what
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he believes -- charlie: as does hillary clinton -- bryan cranston: for all of our sakes, let's give each other that much breathing room. once you do that, it is hard to say he is destroying, he is going to -- and then the finger-pointing is lessened. the political nature has been pervasive. charlie: but at the same time, you can ask a series of questions doing with all candidates, and specifically donald trump. what are they prepared to do, and what line are they prepared to cross in order to serve their ambition? bryan cranston: that is the big x factor with donald trump, because nobody knows, not even donald trump. charlie: i agree with you. great to have you. bryan cranston, "all the way" on hbo premieres saturday, may 21, this saturday, at 8:00 p.m. the remarkable lyndon johnson, understanding history. thank you for joining us. see you next time. ♪ anna
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mark: you are watching bloomberg west. let us begin with a check of your first word news. the associated press says elite manifest for egyptair flight 804 contained no names on a current terror watchlist. it has not been verified. officials say it is still too early to tell what brought down the paris flight, which brought down 66 people. oklahoma governor mary fallin has ba voted


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