tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg June 2, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
♪ >> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: mitch mcconnell is here. he is the u.s. senate majority leader. he has represented kentucky since 1984 and is now in his sixth term in office. mcconnell has been at the center of some of the hardest-fought political battles in recent history, from campaign finance to obamacare to the current clash over president obama's supreme court nominee. john mccain once said, "there are few things more daunting in politics than the determined opposition of mitch mcconnell." recently, mcconnell pledged his support for donald trump.
sen. mcconnell: i think most of our members believe that he won the nomination the old-fashioned way. he got more votes than anybody else. and we respect the voice of the republican primary voters across the country. we know the alternative is four more years like the last eight. i do not think the american people are thrilled. senator thune was talking about the growth rate in this country. i believe it is the case the president has not had a single quarter with 3% growth in his presidency. this country needs to get going again. we know that hillary clinton will be four more years of barack obama. i think that is going to be enough to unify republicans across the country. charlie: mcconnell's new memoir is called "the long game." it spans almost the entirety of the senator's life, from his childhood bout with polio to his recent conflicts with president obama and senate minority leader harry reid. historian jon meacham calls it an engaging and compelling memoir, at once entertaining and essential.
i am pleased to have mitch mcconnell on this program for the first time. welcome. sen. mcconnell: glad to be here. charlie: how do you see this? what do you want the reader to come away with? sen. mcconnell: in an era where people are into instant gratification, instant information, there is still a place for early preparation and playing, as i call it, the long game. most people who are successful bumpse hit a few speed along the way to where they want to go. you could argue that someone like myself in today's political world is a little out of fashion. people are looking for something new and something they had not noticed in the political environment. charlie: there are some who say
dole was right for his time, you are right for this time, for the republic. sen. mcconnell: i think the founders of this country, a lot of people do not know much about american history anymore, constructed a system that is not into instant solution. power is divided among the branches of government and the two houses of congress are different. it is hard to make a law, do something quickly. they thought that was the best thing for this country. it worked out pretty well, but patience is not something frequently rewarded. charlie: velocity is a common term. at the same time, is it a conservative government the founders is established? checks and balances? they wanted to make sure this country did not rush into anything. sen. mcconnell: conservative in the sense they did not want rapid answers to complicated
questions. they constructed a system that guaranteed it would make it very , very difficult for the government to do things quickly. there have been occasions where one side was dominant. take the new deal the democrats had. 76 out of 96 senators at one point. could not even get all the democrats on one side. the senate, normally, we are on each side with the aisle down the middle. that is unusual. the first two years of president obama, had significant majorities. could do what he wanted to. after that, people seem to be suffering from buyer's remorse. charlie: he could argue he did not get all he wanted into his simplest program. sen. mcconnell: we would argue a trillion dollars is more than enough. out on top of that obamacare and
dodd-frank. he had control of the legislative process for two years, and the american people recoiled and decided to change the government. experience, same thing after two readers -- years. charlie: the country sort of likes it if the president is in one party and the congress is in the other party. sen. mcconnell: it is funny. americans complain not enough is being done but elect divided government. we have had divided government more often than not since world war ii. there is the feeling that maybe they do not want either side to get everything they want. an are going to have election this year which both of the nominees for president are quite unpopular. there will be a lot of ticket- splitting this year, whether you vote for trump or clinton. people will want to make an
independent judgment about their senate or house candidate. this will be unusual. fears whene of the donald trump became the presumptive nominee is you may lose the senate majority. some of your senators seem to have been worried about that. sen. mcconnell: let me give you an example, a couple examples that are instructive. when bill clinton was reelected in 1996, my party gained two seats in the senate. when ronald reagan carried 49 out of 50 states in 1984, republicans lost two seats in the senate. two ater, republicans lost seats. people were voting one way for president and hedging their bets in the congressional races. one thing you can say about senate races, they are statewide, big enough for the incumbents we have running in
states like new hampshire, pennsylvania, ohio, wisconsin, to paint their own picture. i think it is a good idea to support the nominee. if he won, he got the most votes, whether he was people's first choice or not. the way you get elected is get the most votes. charlie: we will talk more about that. does he represent the republican party? do his values match those of the republican party that you believe in? sen. mcconnell: not entirely, no. i do not think donald trump will change basic core republican beliefs. i do not expect him to change the platform. i am glad he is hopefully going to bring new voters to the party , but i do not think donald trump is going to change the republican party. charlie: some of the republicans are worried about that. sen. mcconnell: i'm not worried. charlie: some argue that the primary season is a different time.
i had colleagues say, if donald trump is the nominee, it will destroy the republican party. i know you are here to say the republican party is way too strong for that. sen. mcconnell: it will not destroy the republican party. charlie: barry goldwater did not destroy the republican party. sen. mcconnell: there are iefs most- core bel republican share. post-reagan, the parties and something. in the south, it was hard to tell the difference between conservative democrats and liberals. there has been a realignment and the labels mean something. the republican is right of center. charlie: some states go democrat. voted for obama in 2008. in 2012.inst sen. mcconnell: a competitive
state. charlie: when you look at trump, what does he say to you? when you have these conversations with him, when he comes to washington, does he express some sense of how he may not be what he seems? misunderstood, how he may be -- sen. mcconnell: he and i were at the nra meeting, which happened to be in my hometown of louisville. we are in the green room. i said, have you got a script? he said, yeah. i said, are you going to use it? he said, i hate using a script. it is boring. audiences do not like it. i said, donald, put me down in favor of boring. you have entertained audiences nomination.to the
in my opinion, you need to pivot at this point and use a script more often. i stayed and watched the stage. he did both. he entertained and begrudgingly pulled the script out of his pocket and read boring stuff. point is i think trump needs to convey to the public a certain level of seriousness for the position for which he is running. it is not inappropriate to follow a script. it means you have thought through the positions you are going to take, and you want to advocate something. m do not like the ad homony attacks. the attack on susana martinez -- charlie: after he was the presented nominee. sen. mcconnell: -- was unacceptable.
charlie: he always has a counterattack. sen. mcconnell: i have not seen him since then. charlie: he says, i attack after the attack was made. sen. mcconnell: if you are running for president, you can expect to be attacked. charlie: how do you see the race? sen. mcconnell: i think it will be close. you have a very upset electorate. they have a good reason to be upset. the average person has not done very well during this administration. people feel like they are falling behind. charlie: at the same time, there are two things happening. in the democratic party, a protest against wall street. more ofepublican side, a protest against government, a government and do not think works. a lot of republicans believe it is because they do not see things they believe in interactive. democrats say there is gridlock that is bad for the country because we are not making investments in the future. sen. mcconnell: well, i think
that is the attitude. i think democrats are upset about wall street. republicans are upset about government. there is a strand of democrats that think the president has not been liberal enough, which, to people like me, is truly astonishing. but whether they are angry at wall street -- charlie: not as liberal as bernie sanders. sen. mcconnell: apparently not. from my perspective, the president has been a far left guy. he had a chance to pivot to the middle. charlie: in the state of the union, the era of big government is over. sen. mcconnell: we balanced the budget three years in a row. reagan did the same thing. he and tip o'neill raised the age for social security ended the last comprehensive tax reform. both of them confronted with a congress that could not -- they could not totally control.
obama, after losing the congress , after losing the congress in the midterm of 2010, did not pivot to the center. he doubled down to the people he controls and continued to pursue which is why ia, am astonished i do not think -- the sanders people do not think he has been progressive enough. charlie: you basically said at the time he elected -- was elected, our responsibility is to see barack obama is not reelected. a lot of people said your responsibility is to make sure you act in the national interest of the country, not to play politics and depend on electoral success or failure. sen. mcconnell: i am glad you brought that up. in the book, i point out that one reporter got it right, bob snip off who did not
the rest of what i said. i said it two years in after he had been rebuffed early. i said, i would like for barack obama, politically, to be a one term president. the rest of what i said was, in the meantime, there is a lot we need to accomplish with the country. during that period between the time he lost the house and got reelected, joe biden and i negotiated three bipartisan agreement, the extension of bush tax cuts, the budget control act, which reduced government spending for two years in a row for the first time since after the korean war, and the december 31 fiscal cliff deal, which prevented a tax increase on 99% of americans. , there were big things i disagreed with the president on. obviously, as the republican senate, i hoped he
would not be the president in the second term. but there was the meantime. that is what i did in the meantime. people misunderstood? sen. mcconnell: i set the record straight in the book. charlie: you talk about joe biden and the idea focus. somehow could negotiate and keep focus in terms of getting something done. sen. mcconnell: what joe is willing to do is not lecture me like the president likes to do to me and others and impress us with his intelligent. charlie: you are suggesting he thinks he is the smartest person in the room and wants to show you? sen. mcconnell: he could resist that. and ikind of grating, hear that complaint from democrats as well. the beauty with joe is he does not waste time janet can smear things -- trying to convince me of things.
the president deserves credit for designating joe to do these negotiations. he knew what he was doing. charlie: a man of the senate. sen. mcconnell: and a personality type that did not try to convince your political opponents of something you cannot convince them of. so we did some business with the administration. ♪
during the difficult years, in terms of gridlock, to coming to a grand bargain? sen. mcconnell: that is a very good question. the two biggest things the country needs for the future are entitlement eligibility changes. that means medicare and social security have to be adjusted to the demographics of america tomorrow, rather than in the 1930's and the 1960's. today havebeing born a reasonable shot of living to see 100 years old. last year, the average male lived to 79. the average female, 81. the programs are unsustainable and eating up half the budget. charlie: people can lead a productive life for a longer period of time. sen. mcconnell: absolutely. the president is resistant to tackle that. he knows it needs to be done but
does not want to do it on his watch. the other thing we have been unable to do and what the country desperately needs is what reagan and tip o'neill did 30 years ago, is a major overhaul the tax code. ,harlie: in other words entitlement reform, and therefore having a look at revenue and spending and investment. you could therefore make changes in the tax code in terms of deductions as well. sen. mcconnell: the idea of the tax code is not to grow the government. reagan and tip o'neill had an agreement it would be revenue-neutral to the government. it was not revenue-neutral the people who lost preference in the tax code. the revenue produced would be used to buy down rates. president obama will not agree to that. eligibilityagree to increases. you catch my drift.
he is unwilling to make the deals that would have tobe made in dealing with a congress he does not control. issues,sues, those mega we have not been able to solve. charlie: my question was, how close did we come to a grand bargain. sen. mcconnell: not that close. charlie: there was the famous question about john boehner. sen. mcconnell: there was a serious discussion. i was involved in those. charlie: democratic senators were involved in that? sen. mcconnell: this is mostly the administration and republican leadership. would have had to bring the democrats along. they were not interested. it would have required the sort of thing reagan and tip o'neill did. these deals have to be done with a guy with a pen. there's only one person out of 300 million americans that can sign something in the law. the president is the most important player. , and i talk about
this in my book, when you have divided government, which happened after the 2014 election? i had a press conference after it became clear become the majority leader. i said, what are the american people looking for when they elect divided government? i think they're saying, we know you have differences. look for the areas you can agree on do those. cannot do the mega stuff because the president does not want to do it, but there is a lot of ended athat dysfunctional senate. we had 15 rollcall votes in 2014. we had 200 last year. everybody is getting to participate regardless of party. we did trade promotion authority, a complete rewrite of no child left behind, very
unpopular, left over from the bushes ministration. the highway bill had not been done in 20 years. permanent internet tax moratorium. comprehensive energy bill. a whole array of things. what were they in the category of? doing, but noth the mega issues we needed to tackle. charlie: are republicans in the senate, and you as their leaders, willing to say, in order for us to remain competitive, we need to invest in the future and make that kind of commitment that has to do with research and development, supporting science? we had a major bipartisan agreement on significantly plussing up nih, national institutes of health. , the president
and vice president are interested. the cancer moonshot, which we are interested in doing. the president is interested in precision medicine. reformserested in fda that will quit slowing down getting into clinical trials for exciting new things like interbody cell transfer. charlie: the research they have done on bring cancer at duke has gotten fast tracked. sen. mcconnell: we have bipartisan agreement. we can do it without dramatic overhaul. we are massively overspending. during added more debt the obama years than all the presidents from george washington ahead of george bush. some of the spending needs to go up. a highway bill is a good example. we had not passed a five-year,
fully funded highway bill since the 1990's. that is infrastructure, and that is important to the country. charlie: should we do more? sen. mcconnell: we certainly need to do more in selected areas. in selected areas. charlie: bridges, highways, rapid transit? sen. mcconnell: medical research. charlie: i am talking about infrastructure for a second. it seems to me, as a citizen, are there areas of common ground where we should have done more? are you simply saying, we have done more than you think we have? sen. mcconnell: we have done more than you think we have. everybody is angry about their own situation, blaming the government, which is understandable. but there is no dysfunction in the senate anymore. charlie: harry reid is the minority leader. sen. mcconnell: we are opening the place up. people are getting to vote, to participate on a bipartisan basis. we are bringing forward legislation. baseball forinside
a lot of people, but we are passing individual appropriation bills that fund the government, as opposed to a big old omnibus at the end of the year, which is embarrassing for both sides. all of those things are happening. they are not going to make the front page of the new york times, but they are happening. charlie: if garland were nominated by your president-elect, would you support him? sen. mcconnell: we are in the middle of a presidential election year. you would have to go back 80 years to find the last time a vacancy during a presidential election year was filled. you have to go back to grover cleveland to find the last time a supreme court vacancy in a presidential it -- election-year was confirmed by a senate of the opposite party. let's go back to 1992. joe biden was chairman of the judiciary committee. charlie: wishing he had not said what he said.
sen. mcconnell: he said, gratuitously, if there is a vacancy that occurs this year, he would not fill it. chuck schumer said 18 months bush 43, ifnd of there is a vacancy, he would not fill it. it is not about merrick garland personally, although the president calling him a moderate does not make him a moderate. charlie: talking about republicans in the past in terms of judicial appointments. he is on the court of appeals. sen. mcconnell: this is the supreme court. charlie: he is on the court of appeals. sen. mcconnell: so was crass thomas and robert bork. you know what happened to them -- clarence thomas and robert bork. you know what happened to them. charlie: acrimony about supreme court justices. sen. mcconnell: started under
nixon. there was a majority democratic senate shot down during nixon. then bork and thomas. it is safe to say i studied this a lot, wrote a law journal about it. what does advice and consent mean? whatever the senate says it means at any given point. senatorial period of assertiveness. , iting assertiveness inside was never going to be possible to fill a vacancy in the middle of a presidential election year. charlie: are you not rolling the dice? some will argue that, if hillary clinton is elected president, she may put someone more to the left of judge garland. therefore, you will get something more than you might have gotten it judge garland, who is a man of temperament --
sen. mcconnell: i have heard that argument. it does not get any more liberal than merrick garland. charlie: i would not say that. sen. mcconnell: i would. assume you may have had that conversation, but not official. i suspect there are other people that might be nominated. i do not think the president things he chose the most liberal , but who was as close as he could find in the center. sen. mcconnell: that is what the president is saying. i have looked at judge garland's record. charlie: do you think you could support him if he were nominated by president elect clinton? sen. mcconnell: i would not be voting for him. as to whether or not he would be confirmed, we will see what the senate looks like at any time. charlie: you are now in your sixth term. 32 years, right? sen. mcconnell: right. charlie: you sat next to
legends. bob dole, ted kennedy. how is it different? sen. mcconnell: i do not think it is all that different. charlie: in terms of the institution or membership? sen. mcconnell: the perception we are at each other's throats is incorrect. charlie: you and ted cruz are best friends? sen. mcconnell: i cannot tell you that every twosome loves each other, but it is a collegial place. most americans do not know much about american history. we had not had a single incident where a congressman from south carolina came over and almost beat to death a senator from massachusetts. that was in the 1850's. charlie: with a cane? sen. mcconnell: almost killed
him, and one of the major incidents leading to the civil war. anything we say pales in comparison to what hamilton and jefferson said about each other. charlie: we know that because of the musical. sen. mcconnell: we have had raucous debates. what is different today? the internet and 24-hour television. faces,ple get, in their the kind of debates we have been having for 200 years. charlie: the argument is made that, because of redistricting, in terms of the house of representatives, that we are getting more ideologues coming. they are less open to compromise and persuasion in the house and senate. sen. mcconnell: not true in the senate. we do not have a freedom caucus in the senate. this is a group in the house that has been a challenge for the speaker. two peoplebe one or that operate that way. they mostly go over to the house
i for reinforcement. members i would call the constructor caucus. they get up and say, how can we make a difference for the country? they're willing to talk to democrats. on annate operates extremely bipartisan basis in a lot of ways under the new majority. honestly, it was not always that way under the previous majority. i am interested in making progress of the country. charlie: does the president and his administration, not just the president, realize that you have been successful in communicating to them? is it resonating with them that you would like to, in the remaining seven months, do something really constructive in finding common ground? if so, they should be held accountable if it is common ground they believe in. sen. mcconnell: we have been doing that on a whole array of things. they are on the way to being signed. charlie: here you are giving credit to the president. sen. mcconnell: he has to sign the bill. charlie: exactly.
this president, who i have said these things about, found common ground and signed off on it. sen. mcconnell: charlie, why is that happening? is it because of what i and the speaker choose to send to him? we can spend all our time sending him things he will veto, or we can understand -- and we have done that at least once -- or we could say, we know we have big differences. why don't we work on the things we can agree on? i have given you a litany of things. more is coming, particularly in funding health research, that he will sign. the goal is not to make a point, but a difference. you make a difference in this current configuration of government when you pass something worth passing that you know will get a presidential signature. that has been the agenda. charlie: how about trade? sen. mcconnell: if it were not
for the gone you are talking to right now, there would be no trade promotion authority and no trade deal. that was an interesting situation in which i was totally aligned with the president against harry reid and nancy pelosi. and the republican candidate for president. that is a classic example of putting the presidential election aside, looking for what we can agree on, and that is how we got trade promotion authority. whether the trade agreement the president is now negotiated -- pagenaud negotiated can be approved, with all the major candidates -- you use that as a legacy act? sen. mcconnell: it is a step in the right direction. the question is, can you pass it? it would do the transpacific partnership much good to be defeated. charlie: will you bring it up?
sen. mcconnell: here's the point. if it is defeated, it is a big step back for international trade. if it is not done before the president leaves office, it is here, and so is trade promotion authority. it does not die at the end of the congress. the worst thing that can happen to the transpacific partnership is if it went down. trade promotion authority, the ability to negotiate the agreement, is there for six years. for this president and the next one. charlie: on the question of where we go and in terms of what can be possible to do, if there had been common ground found early on in the obama administration, say after the first two years, would we have found common ground? would there have been a lot more done? did we miss an an opportunity to
find things we can do together? you were not the senate majority leader. sen. mcconnell: i was involved in things. charlie: i just want to be historical for a moment. did we miss opportunities that because bothrved people would have realized what the possibilities were? sen. mcconnell: absolutely. i mentioned it. the biggest things the country needs for the future is changing the eligibility for popular entitlement programs and comprehensive tax reforms. issuesre the two mega that will determine whether or not we succeed in the future. and divided government is the perfect time to do hard stuff. because, together, no one can take political advantage. i was running for the senate after reagan and tip o'neill raised the age for social security. since they did it together, i was never asked a question about it. charlie: not a political issue? sen. mcconnell: it was not.
some people argue that divided government is the only time you can do hard stuff, which is why i mention reagan and bill clinton and to pony up. -- tip o'neill. charlie: obama is not transactional? sen. mcconnell: no. and willing to accept the government he had rather than the government he wished he had. clinton had the government he wanted, but the american people changed. charlie: this is 1994? sen. mcconnell: right. the question is, you do not have the ability on your own to do what you want to legislatively. politicalto the center and make deals? clinton did, obama did not. charlie: why is he so far to the left? sen. mcconnell: it is a regulatory rampage all over the country. this is the worst recovery of a deep recession since world war ii. america, on average, has
averaged a growth rate of 4% a year. this administration has not had a single quarter of 3% growth. in fact, it averaged about 1.5%. charlie: a big problem? sen. mcconnell: a big problem. they have done everything they can do with monetary policy. the answer is, in fact, creating more demand in the economy. sen. mcconnell: the way you do that is you stop the regulatory rampage. there is not a single business in america that is not being overregulated. health care, fcc, you name the agency. charlie: the question becomes, who does not think it is too much regulation? business people feel like they're is too much regulation. sen. mcconnell: they make the decisions to expand employment. charlie: do you think wall street is overregulated? sen. mcconnell: i am not talking about wall street. you can talk about wall street, but main street is where the
jobs are created. charlie: agreed. big firms onl: wall street can deal with any regulatory environment the government puts forward. it is the little guys who are drowning, the regional banks that cannot make loans. small businesses that cannot expand because of the regulatory assault going on across the country. --is a mainstream problem main street problem. charlie: are you talking about dodd-frank? sen. mcconnell: dodd-frank is part of it. charlie: regulations from various agencies? fcc, younnell: epa, name the agency. there is a steady stream of people in my office every week. there is a new rule from the labor department called the fiduciary rule. just one after another. what it does is it creates a scoliosis on the system.
your system is clogged up. that is why we have this tepid growth rate. rate isr participation back to what it was in the 1970's under jimmy carter. charlie: i argue with you a little on the fact that we need to create more demand in the economy so consumers want to spend more. i believe if consumers are spending more, businesses would be investing more because there was demand. therefore, they would be willing , if they saw the demand, to expand. that is the central economic argument. sen. mcconnell: you and i can argue economics. what i'm telling you is that, in my opinion, the people who create jobs, uniformly, across the country -- charlie: feel like they are not creating them because of regulations -- sen. mcconnell: they cannot borrow. i was just reading an article today by one of the founders of home depot, who said,
regretfully, they could not have started home depot in today's environment. charlie: because of environmental issues? sen. mcconnell: regulatory issues. quickie elections, the effort to turn us into a western european country. the president would not put it that way, but that is what he wants to do. charlie: give me an example of a western european country. he does not want to turn the country and the france. president obama does not want to turn the country of france. i am not defending him, i am just saying, why would he want to do that? go ahead. sen. mcconnell: he would not put it that way. look at what you have got in western europe. high taxes, overregulation, slow growth. last eight years? high taxes, overregulation, slow growth. the formula is the same.
when you do that, you slow the economy down. you slow the economy down. you do not have much growth. charlie: i am just raising questions here. takes great credit in what has happened to the economy. bear with me. sen. mcconnell: i am. charlie: he believes the economy has significantly improved from where it was when he was president in 2008. we came out of a recession in 2007, unemployment around 9% and 10%. it is now 5%. is that rye grass? -- progress? sen. mcconnell: depends on where you start the measurement. go back to 2007, we have not recovered. from the low point, things are better than they were. but remember, this was the most tepid recovery after a deep recession since world war ii. the pattern in the past has been
-- charlie: is that because of systemic problems in terms of structure or how bad policy is by a president? sen. mcconnell: overregulation. ask anybody in business anywhere in america. charlie: is donald trump talking about that? is your nominee talking about overregulation? sen. mcconnell: i do not know what he is talking about. charlie: he is your nominee. you wish you would talk about that rather than the republican governor of new mexico. sen. mcconnell: you and i are not talking about the presidential race all the time. we are talking about the book. charlie: let me go to the book. a lot of this is in the book. sen. mcconnell: much of it is. charlie: the interesting thing about "the long game," and i like the title, you have said to kennedy played the long game. he decided he wanted to be in the senate and he would have impact in the senate over the long haul. argue people would
like warren buffett have been successful investors because they're playing the long game. they hold over the long-term. sen. mcconnell: i like that. i think that is the clearest way to have a successful life, not to look for quick fixes, not to think you can an an overnight sensation. you just knuckle down and keep going. charlie: you had polio when you are two in alabama. a loving mother. had much to do with the man you are today. sen. mcconnell: it was an early lesson in what we are talking about, how to master the and hard work can overcome adversity and hard work can overcome adversity. i visited warm springs, the
polio center roosevelt set up. they told my mother that after two years of hard work, this physical therapy regimen four times a day, i was not going to have a brace. i would have a normal life. it was an early lesson in tenacity, hard work and love. charlie: she kept her eye on you. sen. mcconnell: she did. charlie: and understood the consequences. sen. mcconnell: she did, indeed. even at that early stage, i thought it was a good lesson. i have tried to apply it. said, theend of mine harder i work -- ♪
♪ charlie: you have changed kentucky politics. sen. mcconnell: the state has changed dramatically from when i began my career. charlie: as a judge. sen. mcconnell: we have a genuine two-party state, probably tilting in the republican direction. i take no personal credit for this, but i have tried to help along the way. we are now a state that i think
republicans will carry most of the time. that is a big change from the south you and i grew up in, where republicans were nonexistent. lyndon johnson said, i am changing the republican party in the south. sen. mcconnell: did not do it immediately. charlie: then came george wallace and ronald reagan. sen. mcconnell: it changed in presidential elections, but not all the way down to the state level in congress until very recently. look, i know you many people who look at america today and say, we have the best economy in comparison to other economies. as well as military. the best universities. we have the best, the best, the best. technology, all these things. the only thing that can stop us is washington. you seem to be suggesting that is right. in your judgment, if you impose too much regulation, you will
stifle the economic miracle that has been america. sen. mcconnell: there are things that need to be done. change the regulatory environment. adjust entitlements to fit the future, and do conference of tax reforms. those three things, the country will take off like a rocket. charlie: what is the responsibility of government having to do with conditions in the workplace, having to do with the environment, having to do with health? what is the responsibility of government in those areas to its citizens? sen. mcconnell: the government has some responsibility in all those areas. the question is, how much? like anything, you can overdo it. this administration seems to believe it can create employment. you cannot create employment. they can only make employment more difficult. there is a balance that has to be achieved that has been it essentially out of sync during
the obama years. ,ntil we get that balance right we will not have the growth rate that gives our children the opportunities we have had. charlie: is it about experience before the presidency? is it about instinct and ideology that he had grown to adopt? sen. mcconnell: it is about ideology. he is a very smart guy. -- think the fact he was a first-term senator had anything to do with it. it is an attitude, approach, philosophy. there is a reason there are two parties in this country. we have different views about what america ought to be. the democratic party is almost entirely the party of the government. we are the party of the private sector. you need both. what is the appropriate balance? thatie: would you say during the administration of bill clinton?
the democratic party was the party of government? are for welfare was, as patrick moynihan was -- sen. mcconnell: clinton vetoed it twice. he was pragmatic enough to conclude he needed to sign it. that level of pragmatism i do not see in president obama. divided government is the perfect time to do big stuff. charlie: do you see that level of pragmatism in donald trump? sen. mcconnell: i do not think we know. i think he is largely an unknown factor. charlie: does that scare you? sen. mcconnell: it is appealing to a lot of voters. charlie: does that scare you? sen. mcconnell: i think he will have to rely on the system, the constitution. the congress is there. he is much more likely to become like republicans mostly are. charlie: you cannot govern otherwise.
sen. mcconnell: this is not a dictatorship here. you cannot do anything you want to. you have to operate within constraints. charlie: what worries you most about the country today? what worries you the most? sen. mcconnell: it is not a happy choice for the president, but that is the choice the american people have given us. charlie: very unpopular. sen. mcconnell: both of them are. the american people will engage in a choice they are not happy about. this is a big, as you point out, successful country. we will survive the presidency of hillary clinton or barack obama. either one of them will be able to do whatever they want to do. i am eternally optimistic about our country. we have big problems, and i would have loved to do more, but we are who we are. we will be making a big decision , this country, about who we want to be in the white house for the next four years. charlie: did you ever get up in
the morning, look in the mirror, and see a future president? sen. mcconnell: no. i wanted to be the leader of my party in the senate. i hoped to be the majority leader. but the long game i have been involved in prevented that for eight long years. the election i got elected leader was right after we went into the minority in 2006. it was a long wait for the opportunity to set the agenda, fix the senate and dysfunction, and try to get us back to the days i observed as an intern in the 60's. charlie: here is what is interesting. me, the said to second-best job in washington is majority leader of the senate when the opposition holds the white house. sen. mcconnell: could be. opportunity for big accomplishments. that is what i hoped for. we will settle for something
less. charlie: suppose hillary clinton is elected. in the famous words of margaret v, this isbout gorbace a person i can work with. sen. mcconnell: i hope so. we will see who gets elected. if we have divided government, it is an opportunity for big things. it will not be done on the left if the republicans control the house and senate. within theircaucus body? sen. mcconnell: we do not have those caucuses in the senate. charlie: you have them in the house. this book is having people saying good things. game," senator mcconnell talking about from his childhood, the loving care of , the march tolio kentucky politics, and the march to washington. cowell,iage to emily
♪ >> the series now shifts back to california. >> the two best players in the world are going head-to-head. >> of the starters are healthy. >> no key injuries for either team. which means this year, no excuses. >> the chances are good, the chances are good. >> even when you double down, you find your way to be that double team. >> nicely done. [buzzer] ♪