tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg January 22, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm EST
♪ >> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: tomorrow donald trump will be sworn in as the country's 45th president. it marks the culmination of a surprising and tumultuous election season. an estimated 900,000 people are expected in washington, d.c., more than 60 democratic lawmakers have vowed not attend in protest. trump will enter office on friday with less popular support than any new president in modern times. a recent abc news "washington post" polls shows his favorable rating is 45%, with 54% having
an unfavorable opinion. joining me now with a look ahead to tomorrow's inauguration, jeff greenfield and joining us from los angeles, presidential historian john meacham. i'm pleased to have each of them here on the program. kathleen, i begin with you, you're in washington, what is the mood of expectation there? kathleen: it promises to be rainy tomorrow, if trump is wise, he's got about 900,000 umbrellas printed with trump on them or make america great again. everyone is trying to guess what the president-elect is going to say. especially as he claims to have written it himself. as for the 60-plus democrats who are not going to attend the inauguration, i'm curious to see who fills those seats and most of the action is going to be on
the mall with all the protest groups coming in. i think there's something like 90-plus, including all of those that don't require a permit because there are fewer than 25 to those particular group. 200,000 women are expected to march down pennsylvania avenue saturday and protest -- in protest of the then new president of the united states. charlie: jeff, what would you add to that? jeff: as much as i want to be on this show, i want to go out and print up a bunch of make america great again umbrellas, i think i could do some business tomorrow. this is capitalism. i want to stand in front of the trump hotel where i can't get in and sell umbrellas. i was just in the capitol. it's very interesting, actually. i was obviously both -- covering both obama inaugurations. and it the capitol is inundated with people who have come in for
the inauguration. and there's a lot of red hats, there are a lot of people who have driven far distances. i talked to some of them. a lot of people came by car from -- i talked to a couple from florida, i talked to some from kentucky. they're very excited. they are, to me they were sort of the classic examples of the people who have felt out and are coming to washington in celebration of their sudden inness. i would just add to what kathleen said, it doesn't feel the same way as it felt certainly eight years ago when it was a couple million people and mainly people are talking about the impenetrable security that is going up all over this city. and the -- the thing that everybody talks about all the time, the weather. charlie: you've done more and longer pieces, i think, about president obama than moat. give me a sense of how he's
handled this departure from eight years as our president and his own attitude about trump and the coming of the trump administration. jeff: you look back to the day after trump won where he had to gather, the president had to gather some inconsoleable staff members together and say, look, guys, this is the way it works. he won. we're going to hand off power smoothly. and you know, the thing about obama is no very high highs, no very low lows. the statement i always have in my head from obama is a sort of very hawaiian thing i once heard which is, you know, his understanding of the world is that the tide comes in, the tide goes out, the tide comes and then the tide goes out. he's been very smooth, sort of had an equilibrium. i can't say that's true about everybody on his staff. i was in the white house yesterday, it's surreal, we were standing in the west wing lobby,
moving men came with biden's furniture on pallets going out the front door. almost knocked dennis mcdonough down, the chief of staff. there is this kind of surreal feeling. i was walking out of the white house with a colleague and said it had kind of a saigon 1975 feeling. you half expect a helicopter to land on the roof, pick up the obama as and head out. we joked about what it would have felt like if hillary were moving in. would have been a big difference. i think everyone is captured by the surreal quality of this moment. charlie: 24 hours from now, donald trump will be president. if you were writing his speech, what do you expect him to say and what do you think he ought to say? >> i expect him to say some of what he ought to say. that is, every president since
jimmy carter has had a grace note about the departing president, often about their defeated rival. i think, hard as that may be for trump to do, he will likely do that. charlie: he's been most gracious about obama. >> i expect to hear notes of, bind up the wounds. i want to be president of all the people. but i also expect him to draw, and i think you should, a sharp line, no more business as usual. you elected me to drain the swamp. you elected me to change the culture of washington. kind of like what obama said but in a much more militant way. i do think -- i expect to hear him say things like that, what i devoutly hope among other things is that he does not ad lib. this is an inaugural address. this isn't a rally. if he starts veering off, say, believe me, i bet 16 republicans and nobody thought i could win which is in his d.n.a., that would not be a good -- charlie: and he was constantly
ad libbing at the rallies. >> this is not a statement of policy. the world will be looking that the unusual and unique figure, now that he's president what does he want to tell us? and i want to see who he's talking to. john f. kennedy only talked to the world, nothing about domestic issues. obama addressed economic things. >> i want to say one thing. one thing we've watched so carefully with president-elect trump is his tone and his style and it's not to say that that's more important than what he -- the content of what he says but it is important. forever, throughout the campaign, this is a man who almost never smiled.
was almost angry. in order to be the aspirational president we're hoping to see tomorrow, i wonder if he is going to lighten his touch a little bit? it would be very nice to see the president of the united states smile at america and when that gos to the point about who is he going to be talking to? it's always this angry -- even the picture he had taken of himself allegedly writing the speech with the pad poised mid air, he was looking fierce again. with the supercilious eyebrow raised. sort of, i'm going to get you, attitude. i would love to see that disappear and be replaced with something nor congenial as he tries to unify the country. >> can i add one thing to what jeff said? i've talked to a number of people who said that, you know, that the president and the president-elect have been speaking regularly, president obama has made it a point to try to be communicative with him and respectful to trump.
i wouldn't be surprised if trump has some very nice things to say about president obama. because most of all, he wants to be respected, as we know, and i think that might show itself tomorrow. i wouldn't be surprised. charlie: i wouldn't be surprised either he has basically said more than once, i like barack obama, he's been nice to me, we've had a number of conversations on the phone, i like him, i hope he likes me. >> they talk a lot from what i understand. charlie: about what? do we know about what? >> well, you know, i have hopes that they're talking about north korea and china and russia and all the rest and -- but i think a lot of it is mechanics. a lot of it is how do you actually day-to-day do the job. charlie: i want to do this even though this program will air at 11:00. can you tell us anything about the health of president bush 41?
>> my sense is, he remains in the intensetive care unit at methodist hospital in houston . the prognosis over the last 24 hours has improved. mrs. bush, who also went in with fatigue and coughing, has been diagnosed with bronchitis. but she is, i hear, her feisty self. i am also happy to report that when former secretary of state james baker went to call on them yesterday, he announced that today he was bringing a thermos of martini. i think that gives us some sense that as ever, the bushes march forward. thoughts and prayers, 92 and 91, so whenever pneumonia and 92 are in the same sentence you don't like it, or bronchitis and 91, you don't like it. but these are formidable people. >> it should be mentioned, as you have written john, after the 1992 campaign, the elder bush
and clinton formed an almost brotherly or familial bond and what strikes me is we're talking about the tone tomorrow, yeah, it would be nice if the new president said a nice word about his defeated rival but we should not forget that he also in the middle of the campaign called for her criminal prosecution. that's part of what makes this such a tricky transition and movement in that the nature of the language in this campaign and the nature of the language after the election, during the transition, has been unlike anything i've certainly ever seen and i don't think i've ever read anything like this. and your mention of the elder bush reminds me of, you know, john kennedy said in his inaugural, civility is not a sign of weakness. i'm not sure president trump believes that. charlie: because of tweets he's able to find a way to engage in controversy as he did this week with john lewis and meryl streep and others. >> an easy paragraph that i think all of us would like to write and hear would be to take
-- for trump to take advantage to have the fact that president carter, president bush, president clinton, secretary clinton, and president obama are all there and again, we could offer a paragraph that said, thank you to these presidents who represent the american story, a farmer from plains, a son of texas, our thoughts are with george herbert walker bush, the son of hawaii which would be rich in its meaning, and a son of arkansas and this formidable woman who has given her life to public service. there's a way of making himself part, at least symbolically, of a great transition an then go and draw the line you're talking about. >> i'm not betting we're going to hear that eloquent line that mr. meacham just articulated for some reason. i just don't think it's going to come out that way. >> my pipeline to trump tower is a little clogged, i suspect you're right.
charlie: if in fact there was someone within the trump earshot who is likely to be able to press him to do that? would it be his daughter? would it be his son-in-law? who would it be? >> don't you think it would be priebus? political professionals who know how to give speeches are supposed to go. >> would he listen to them? >> the thing that makes the line that john offered understandably cynical as jeffrey said is, he is uniquely also ahistorical. you almost never hear trump talk about other presidents, what tradition he's in. he never quotes even ronald reagan he says reagan was a great president, it's as if he is a thing unto himself. almost a self-creation which in some ways he is. that's another thing i'd love to see at the inaugural, some sense that he understands he takes his
place as part this 200-plus tradition. but it's something i never heard from him. >> he's never given us any indication that he thinks in terms of context larger than himself and the immediate moment. he keeps say, i can act presidential if i want to. again, viewed from his perspective, it seems as though it is an act. and he'll -- maybe he's watching movies or something to see how presidents act, or old film footage of people who he admired. >> like ronald reagan. >> yeah, watch those. >> i would be a happy citizen if he said something akin to, i'm humbled by the fact that i'm moving into mr. lincoln's house today. something like that. anything along those lines which would say he understands the gravity of the moment, the gravity of the job, the gravity of the place. >> one thing we haven't -- we haven't seen that kind of humility and awe.
>> no reports of that from people, even though we might not have seen it, no one as all of us here talk to people who talk to trump, don't hear that? there's no one saying, look, you'll be surprised at the fact that he understands the moment. he's talked to president obama, he's talked to others, he understands that this is a humbling and sobering experience he's about to engage in? >> the president he's talked about -- >> i have heard -- charlie: john first, then kathleen. >> the maggie haberman story from the dinner last night has him talking about andrew jackson. we know that steve bannon has talked about jacksonian moment. it's the president that i have heard the most comparesons obviously. i have some fundamental differences, i think the moment is jacksonian, i think we will be very lucky as a country if trump ends up having the, ultimately the discipline of
andrew jackson. i don't think that's possible. >> john, you are the biographer of andrew jackson, i think won a pulitzer prize for that. what do you think he's reading into jackson? bannon or trump. >> trump is reading into it that jackson was the first self-made man to become president, he was the first non-virginia planter or adams to be president, the first six were very much part of the establishment. jackson came to washington charging that the existing system had been corrupt and that he introduced populist economics in the words of the bank veto message to protect the farmers they can lay bofferers and the mechanics. -- laborers and the mechanics. and that the people themselves seem to be with jackson and jackson went over the heads of the republican lower race r, establishment that had sprung up in washington since 1800. and that there's a great
jacksonian moment. my own view is that i understand how that's an interpretation of it but andrew jackson himself was a highly disciplined man who understood his own weaknesses and was able to leverage those. he knew how to turn his vices into virtues. we have seen very little evidence of that so far. >> there are different kinds of disciplines. evidently, donald trump is highly disciplined in terms of executing a plan to win the presidency. maybe not disciplined in terms of resisting tweeting and resisting attacking opponents when it's not in his interest to do so, but in terms of pursuit of the presidency, he was highly disciplined. >> it's interesting. i don't know, john, whether andrew jackson would have been a tweeter but in one sense, trump's embrace of social media and his willingness to send these messages that quite deliberately provoke in one sense is almost jacksonian in the sense that maybe steve bannon means it. i think there's also the point that when people write about
foreign policy traditions in america, the jacksonian tradition of foreign policy is pretty suspicious about international relations, a kind of nationalist view that we really aren't that keen about other places and i think you get a sense of that in the way trump talks about everything from nato to the european union. so i think -- >> without getting too deep in the jackson weeds, i will say that's absolutely true in terms of the popular impression. when andrew jackson had ultimate power, he, for instance, defused a war with france through quite clever diplomacy, he defused a starnedoff with south carolina which was causing problems through careful legislative diplomacy. my question is, an it's my prayer in many way is that trump has that kind of jacksonian capacity to govern beyond the image. >> out here in the hinterlands of washington, d.c., you know, i think you have to take very seriously that donald trump views this as an executive decision. he takes seriously, this is the
executive branch, i am the boss, these are the people i have delegated, i will delegate these responsibilities to. i think his presidency will be run as a business almost and he will do whatever works best for the ultimate goals of that business as defined by donald trump. i think that's one thing. and you know, as to his -- his personality in the oval office. once the president is briefed on what he really does have to manage, i think it does change a person. if it doesn't change donald trump at all, then i would be questioning whether he's a human being. i remember once interviewing president george w. bush. he was telling me that, you know, people don't like me because of all the hard -- some of the things i've done. i've done the hard things. but the next president is going to be grateful because he's going to need it. when he knows what i know, he's going to need all these instruments to manage this rather mind bogglingly difficult job. charlie: there's one point about that i think is crucial. in all the misunderstanding
about donald trump, one of them i was hearing from republicans was, look, he'll get -- he wants to be president but he doesn't really want to be president. we'll send him things to sign. it'll be like mel brooks in blazing saddles, work, work, work. it seems to me that that may be the most fundamental misunderstanding about this gay. i mean if he thinks, if he's the president and he wants, i don't know what, replacement for obamacare or a trade policy that is at variance with every other republican, either he's going to roll over and sign what ryan sends him has got to be the biggest fantasy of all. >> the other thing on the briefing point, in george h.w. bush's diary, here's a man who had run the c.i.a., been at the u.n., vice president for eight years, when he was briefed on the chain of command for nuclear codes he was shocked.
he said it was stark and sobering. he had been vice president for eight years and he's talking to himself into his diary as he realizes that he is now the ultimate authority in a nuclear age. i can't believe trump hasn't that briefing. and we still have what we have. so i think the hopes that somehow or another there's going to be a briefing moment and he's going to emerge as franklin roosevelt is a little troubling. >> the bottom line is we have no idea. >> exactly. >> we have to hold out hope. >> the words of the moment. >> charlie, we have to hold out the possibility that there's an interior here and that he masks -- he masks the feelings of awe and humility and being overwhelmed. as a normal person would be overwhelmed at this moment. at least i'm hoping that there is an internal recognition that he needs other people, he needs to proceed slowly and deliberately on issues such as the use of nuclear weapons. we haven't seen a great deal of
thoughtfulness in his discussion about nuclear related issues and those of course are the -- the only issue ultimately that matters immediately. charlie: we -- we do know he'll be talking about general mattis who talked -- thought about that in a profound way. >> in the pentagon they're pray for mattis' confirmation tomorrow. they believe, it's an interesting dynamic. there are lot of people not only in the pentagon that believe mattis is the counterweight to trump. that's the single person who will keep the thing on the rails. charlie: i hear that too. >> if somebody is an enthusiast about trump listening to this program, they would say, you miss the point. he's going to washington, d.c. to be a different president. he rejects the entire two party sense of what should be done.
if he's rude or as a rule fwar and if he counterattacks, you know, in an uncivil way like most presidents haven't, that's why we want him there. you guys said the same thing about ronald reagan, he's going to blow the world up. you can hear people say, this is another taste of misunderstand -- case of misunderstanding what it means to really send somebody who is going to -- >> what i hear from talking to mike pence and talking, last night and an hour with paul ryan, the thing you hear from them most of all is that they want to somehow go at regulations. they think that regulations are the thing that was slowed down the economy, whether it's environmental regulations, business regular ligses, financial regulations, whether it's dodd-frank. >> i think that's true. that's at the top of the republican agenda for a long time and throughout that eight-years of president obama's administration and the feeling
is that much of the incentive for businesses to go elsewhere is that they are sort of highly, deeply regulated here and i think if you can loosen the strings a little bit in a wise way that doesn't cause harm but maybe fiend ways to tighten things up an loosen them at the same time if that makes sense, it'll be easier to incentivize businesses to come back here and bring jobs and money to the united states which the promise trump has made. that's been top of the agenda for a really long time. i do think you know, one of the things president obama said in his last news conference yesterday was that it may be that when -- of course it's natural that president trump will initiate the policy he is came to town with, but that he also may find he has to end up being in a similar situation as president obama has found himself. i'm rather curious to see what happens with obamacare because
once, you know if the president intends to make sure every single person has coverage and i'd like to know how he intends to do that without keeping much of obamacare in place. in other words, whatever president-elect trump has said, i don't think we can rely entirely on the results being what he has proposed. it's more likely he's going to do a lot more compromising than people expect because that's the reality. reality has its own agenda he's going to have to make some compromises. i do believe that. charlie: i mean this in terms of both domestic and foreign policy but if in fact there's a nixon going to china idea here about donald trump, what would it be? what is the idea that it would encapsulate? >> if you really mean a reversal of what we all assumed about him, it would be he said at some point in the campaign he thinks that the rich ought to be paying their fair share of taxes. it doesn't happen to be in the plan he submitted but that would be one example. i think the other one, the most dramatic, would be if he somehow decided, ok i'm going to make
sure a large part of my infrastructure notion takes place in the inner city. i think that's something that ronald reagan could have done and didn't do. the idea that he would meet with african-americans right in the heart of detroit, cleveland, philadelphia, wherever, and say, i know you people didn't vote for me, and he'd probably say you people, but i mean to show you that my way of doing things will work. that would be the nixon going to china moment. do i expect it? i can be the say i do. but he's talked so much about the devastation of the inner cities, i think it fit with what he would like to have people see about him. charlie: jeff, what would it be in foreign policy? >> there's -- russia -- getting tough on russia. or trump going to china and actually doing a little bit of brinksmanship and getting some concessions that are either real concessions or could be sold as real concessions. and then having a completely -- a relationship defined by exwhat anymority and cooperation.
the other one that struck me when you asked the question, i had an arab foreign minister ask me a few week ago, he said, do you think that donald trump will go to war with iran? and i answered intuitively almost, i said, there's a chance that the united states will be going to war with iran at some point in the next four years. there's also a chance that donald trump will be going to iran to open up a series of hotels and golf courses. i don't know. it's all transactional. it's all -- it's all based on a calculus that includes respect and dignity and opportunity and capitalist opportunities in particular. not a lot of ideology there. he wants to seem tough but he also believes that -- i have a very strong feeling that he believes that diplomacy through trade is the way to go.
so i would be -- i won be surprised by anything on that front. >> what if he ends up striking a fairly gentle immigration deal? goes back to the gang of eight or whichever that gang was, some form of path to citizenship, amnesty, declares that we love everybody, lets say economic growth numbers go up, a lot of folks of hispanic descent are working. he ends up being the wall becomes a distant memory and he becomes a true working class hero? >> one of the exercises people have tried to do is, can anyone imagine anything that would alienate trump's hard core supporters? i have a feeling you've hit on one. if there's anything that sean hannity would say that's a
bridge too far or a wall too far or a nonwall too far, that would be it. >> that's what the right said about nixon going to china, which was the context. >> both interesting. kathleen, last word to you. >> i think the wall will not happen. but, well, i'm just still kind of stuck on the image of, instead of butter instead of bombs, it's golf courses instead of bombs. globalization may be one continual golf course and only trump could pull that off. charlie: i believe this is going to be one incredible year. thank you jeff, thank you, john, thank you, jeff, thank you kathleen. ♪
♪ charlie: mr. vice president elect, thank you for joining us. mr. pence: thank you, charlie. charlie: feelings of what, anxiety? enthusiasm? mr. pence: i humbled very excited to get started. the president-elect is a man of boundless energy, confidence in the american people. i know all of us are ready to see him sit behind that kesk in -- desk in the oval office and get to work for the american president. charlie: he's an unconventional president-elect and an unconventional candidate. do you expect to be an unconventional vice president? mr. pence: that'll be up to the president to decide what role i play. i hope my experience as a governor, my experience on capitol hill will make it possible for me to support his
efforts to advance the agenda and the promises that we made to the american people and frankly right now, charlie, i'm very encouraged at the enthusiasm that the president-elect's agenda has been met with on capitol hill. we've been working not only in the transition assembling our government but with leaders in the house and senate rank and , file, put together plans to repeal and replace obamacare, and at the same time to roll back excessive regulations to start discussions of tax reform, all focused on keeping our promises, getting this economy rolling again, and i can't wait to get started. charlie: two things. number one, the idea is that as you know you enter this white house and this city with the lowest approval ratings of any person who has assumed the presidency. what kind of challenge is that and at the same time how important is it to double the efforts to reunite because of that? mr. pence: the american people will see a president inaugurated
this friday who is going to keep the promise he made on election night to be president of the all the people of this country. i think when they see the energy and the determination that he brings to getting this economy moving again, to reviving our cities, restoring our schools, rebuilding our infrastructure, rebuilding our military, unleashing the boundless energy of the american economy, i think you'll see tremendous unity across this country. we're going to see americans come back together. but i have to tell you, the polls weren't always right during the election year, i have skepticism about polls going into the inauguration. i can tell you the president-elect and our whole team are ready to go to work and really, just advance the kind of policies that, to borrow his phrase, will make america great again. charlie: you've been asked this before i'm sure are the tweets, a, necessary, and b, distract, -- distracting and does he have , to tilt at every windmill that criticizes him? mr. pence: one of the really
refreshing things about the president-elect is that he speaks his mind. and the american people hear him loud and clear. sometime he is does that from a podium. sometimes he does that in an interview. charlie: does it get in he way of his message on the economy or foreign policy? mr. pence: i don't think it does. charlie: you're ok with that? mr. pence: i will tell you, some of the treatment he's gotten and we frankly continue to get by some in the media is frustrating. his ability to reach tens of millions of people with his view of a particular issue or particular news is of value to the administration. i expect him to continue to use that. charlie: at the same time you say that, you come here to this town with the lowest polls of any president taking office, and the exiting president is leaving with the highest polls he's had since 2009.
mr. pence: first, i think there's always good wishes for departing presidents and the sacrifices their families have made. i would echo what the president-elect has said. president obama and the first lady have extended such hospitality, their teams have worked so closely with our team in the transition, i think the american people can be very proud. charlie: joe biden was a man of congress. you are a man of congress. you're close to paul ryan. has that relationship healed between paul ryan? mr. pence: what i can tell you is that speaker ryan and leader mcconnell and i talk on a regular basis but they also talk on a regular basis with the president-elect. i think the american people are going to see a level of collaboration between the oval office and the congress, the likes of which we haven't seen for some time in this city. i've always been reaching out,
charlie, to democrats. in the house and in the senate. sitting down looking for ways to , we might be able to work together on issues like infrastructure, child care in particular, that i think represent a real bipartisan opportunity. but -- charlie: let me interrupt you if i may. other than infrastructure and child care, where are the areas that you think, maybe tax reform, you can find common ground with democrats to push an agenda forward? mr. pence: i think there's brd -- there is broad bipartisan support for tax reform. the fact that we have a tax system today that traps the profits of american companies overseas, has always enjoyed broad bipartisan support for reform as the president-elect has called for. let me tell you, we're going to repeal and replace obamacare at the same time. we understand the democrats are not enthusiastic about repeal. but frankly i had meetings even this week with leading democrats on capitol hill talking about our desire for their input on what that replacement program
will be. charlie: when is that replacement program going to be presented to the congress? mr. pence: it's being assembled right now with leaders of congress and policy leaders within our incoming administration. i would expect in the early weeks of our administration the american people will see that plan and start to -- charlie: perhaps next week? mr. pence: might not be that quick but it'll be quick. you'll see a tremendous amount of activity, particularly both signing executive orders, repeeling executive orders, rolling back excessive regulations and of course the president-elect said he'll be announcing his choice for the supreme court of the united states before the end of the month. that's all going to be part of a very, very busy start. but we're assembling that plan. it's going to be a plan that the american people are going to see will allow them to purchase health insurance across state lines. it'll be an orderly transition, not creating anxiety for the american people but the promise of lower cost health insurance
and improving the lives of the people of this country. charlie: chelsea manning, her term was commuted, do you approve of that decision by the president? mr. pence: i do not. private manning was a traitor. compromised sensitive intelligence of the united states of america. endangered lives of our troops and those who support our troops down range. i strongly -- charlie: was there a humanitarian reason to do it, seven years in prison a couple of suicide attempts last year? mr. pence: again, i believe that while i think there was a 35-year sentence initially, it was a life sentence, but the compromise of classified information that literally compromised the safety of american troops down range and those who were supporting american troops down range, we actually, i read an account this morning, i haven't within -- have not been briefed on it but i read an account that some of the information private
manning released was on a hard drive of osama bin laden's computer. so this, you know, we have to take the protection of our nation's secrets seriously. that's why you heard the president-elect speak so strongly about his opposition and concern about leaks coming out, about intelligence information and i think this sends exactly the wrong message about the seriousness with which we protect our nation's secrets and protect those who wear the uniform. charlie: are you going to be a kind of prime minister for this president? mr. pence: the president has asked me to engage a long with my senior team and chief of staff on issues like obamacare, immigration, building the wall. i'm just here to serve. i hope my experience as a governor my 12 years on capitol , hill, will make it possible for me to get up every day and help members of congress and help people around the country. support the agenda of our new president that i truly do believe will revive our country
dome, led by quarterback matt ryan, atlanta is the league's top scoring offense. the pittsburgh steelers meet the new england patriots in the second game to determine the afc title. joining me now is bill cowher, he coached the steelers for 15 seasons where he won two affect -- afc championships and the super bowl in 2006. he is currently a studio analyst for "the nfl today" on cbs. we're pleased to have him back at the table. bill: good to be back here. good to talk to you. charlie: has it been a good season for the nfl? bill: i think it has. there's been a lot of story, the public city colin kaepernick brought early in the season, i brought toeness he some issues. i think we've moved forward. all the storylines unfolded. i think when it was all said and done and the dust cleared, i
think you have the four best football teams in the national football league playing this weekend. charlie: even though the dallas cowboys had the best record. >> the best record, youth, set for the future, but look at the four quarterbacks. when you think about aaron rodgers, ben roethlisberger, tom brady and matt ryan. three of the four outside of matt ryan have all won at least one super bowl. matt ryan arguably has had the best statistical season of the year. so you know, when you look -- all these teams so hot going into the playoffs. pittsburgh, new england, they've won nine straight. aaron rodgers and green bay, eight straight. falcons have won six of their last seven games. this will be a very intriguing week of games. charlie: if you assess these four quarterbacks, all, all star quarterbacks as you said but different styles. bill: very different. very unique. look at tom brady, the classic
pocket passer a guy that can pick you apart, a guy that you better not give presnap information to. very comfortable in the pocket and can spread and utilize the field. charlie: and read the defense. >> and the ball is out so quick. you're not going to get to him. he loves to get rid of the ball quickly. the converse to that, aaron rodgers. the master of extending plays. we watch him hold on to the ball nine seconds at a time. sit in the pocket. out of the pocket. back in the pocket. the unbelievable sense of where he is, presence on the field. right now his accuracy throwing the football, amazing. ben roethlisberger. out of the pocket and in the pocket. a guy who really loves to play through improvisation more or less. yet gives -- had some of the best weapons around him we talked about matt ryan. matt ryan, more like a tom brady. athletic enough to get out of the pocket. an amazing amount of weapons. maybe the most balanced offense
we talk about, running and throwing in the playoffs right now. i think he's had that type of year, he's hit i think 13 different receiver the year he's -- this year. the year he is had the , consistency with which he's pleaed with all year long, when you look at the body of working i think he deserves it. charlie: would you rather have a aaron rodgers-led offense or brady-led offense? bill: i think brady is the master of dissecting the defense. a master of understanding what the weaknesses are. understanding what to look for in matchups. aaron rodgers to me is so much fun to watch. i mean he -- you know , he can take you, he can take and throw things on a dime a. throw things with timing. but then he can extend a play. he has this great presence on the field where he's at. you know, you look at all four of these guys, i think you could
arguably say all four of these guys in the fourth quarter, they're at their best and they all do it in their own unique style. charlie: what rodgers does is as you said nine seconds at a , time he can scramble back , there, throw then erun, can -- throw it can find the perfect , place to hit the ball, throws it hard, i'm told, because he has the biggest hands of any quarterback in the league. bill: not just hard, you've seen the hail marys. it's not always hard. he can get height on the ball when needed. he's got great touch as well. charlie: does that mean the game may be decided by the ability of the defense to get to the quarterback? bill: yeah. that will have a lot to do it. particularly in the green bay atlanta game. particularly for the falcons. beasley jr. led the league in sacks. they're playing a home, they'll have noise as an advantage for them on defense.
but aaron rodgers, his offensive line has been good, he'll throw it quick, they like to do the screen game which can slow down a rush. but he loves to continue to hold the football. it is going to be imperative, i think, for atlanta not to give up the big play bus to give pressure on him. on the other side, one thing atlanta does is run the ball so well. they play action. they got the big receiver in jones. i think for green bay packers, the biggest thing for them, they've got to get some takeaways in this game. they've got to turn over and get the ball back into the hands of their offense. i don't see a lot of punts in this game between freeb an -- green bay and atlanta. i really do think it could be the case that the quarterback that has the ball last would win it. i think you've got to be careful how much time you leave on the clock for the other guy. charlie: have you seen a better game than the packers against cowboys? i think the only better game i've seen is clemson vs. alabama. bill: it came down to, you had
the sack, when aaron rodgers got hit in the last series, people were thinking where's the ball. , you thought it would be a sack, a fumble, it was a sack , he held on to it. i thought he was throwing it away, threw it town there hits -- down there hits the tight , end, jared cook, coming across, beautifully touch tele. -- beautifully touched throw. pinpoint accuracy. sets up for the game-winning field goal. two 50-yard field goals in the last minute of that game. it was amazing. charlie: if you were coaching today and let's assume you had an all-star quarterback, what would be your next priority? would it be a running back an , offensive line or defensive line? or defensive safety? bill: number one work a good -- with a good quarterback, it starts with the offensive line. you need to protect them. you need to be able to run the ball or throw the ball. you can have a great quarterback but if your offensive line doesn't give him time, you are
biding time for him to get hurt. when you look at these four teams you could say these are the four best offensive lines. the dallas cowboys no doubt about it. they have a great offensive line. charlie: who had the best special teams? bill: look at last week, steelers, boswell kicked field -- six field goals. first time ever they were outscored by two on touchdowns but still won the game. mason crosby kicks two big field goals for the green bay cac -- packers. in atlanta, one of the best field-goal kickers in the game. in new england that guy is good as well. i don't know who has the best, i think they're all very solid. that's why with all these teams, there's very few holes you have so these games will be decided, , probably the specialization, i always talk about, you know, winning the situational football. situational football is scoring touchdowns in a red zone, not being held to field goal.
situational football is converting third downs to extend drives. situational football is the end of the half, the end of the game, not giving the ball back to one of these quarterbacks with too much time on the clock. so situational football to me will determine and define a lot of these game this is weekend. charlie: the game has become so specialized for me as a fan and spectator. there are people now who do nothing but brilliantly run back punts. bill: yes. we saw devin hester a week ago, almost make a difference for the seattle seahawks going against his ex-team atlanta. unfortunately a penalty wiped out a couple of those returns. there's no question, those are the types of game plays you go in these games, we're talking about matchups, offense and defense, you're right. it's that return game that can make a difference in a game like this. edelman returning a punt. antonio brown, rushing a point. -- returning a punt. these are guys that can make big plays, have made big plays in the past, they may node them
-- need them again this week. charlie: and the four coachs? bill: they're all good. like we talked about they have , all also won super bowls. we know tom brady-bill belichick, sixth straight championship game, unbelievable run they've had. mike mccarthy and aaron rodgers have won a super bowl together, been together for nine or 10 years. same with mike tomlin an ben roethlisberger. there's a connection with the quarterbacks here that they are -- thrive on they understand , they have been in these , pressured situations before. the only when you have is dan quinn and matt ryan and you almost feel for matt ryan. i think the guy, in his nine-year career, he's been one of those underrated quarterbacks because he hasn't won the championship or been to the super bowl. and look at him and the fire in his eyes, the leadership he has, you almost would like to see him get one and win one just to validate the type of quarterback he is. charlie: it's been his year.
bill: this is a game that defines you. charlie: the opportunity to prove that that's not true. bill: i've been in six championship games and lost four of them. i went to two super bowls. when you lose this game, this is the one that hurts the most. you know, you get to the super bowl, you lose a super bowl and say, boy that must be the hardest one to lose. it really isn't. because this is the one right here where you're this close, you're one game away and it's with a chance to win a championship. when you lose this game, you have two more weeks to listen to the team that just beat you. and you kind of like have to hear football for two more weeks. and how great this team is. how great this is. all the storylines, you lose the super bowl, it's over. there's a finality whether you win or lose. this is a hard one. you're so close. charlie: almost like the best weekend in football. >> i think championship weekend
is the best weekend. having been there six times, won it, lost it, the pain hurts, i've lost the super bowl. it hurt more for me losing the championship game than it did losing the super bowl. charlie: more losing the championship game than the super bowl. wow. bill: we were that close. we had some of the teams we had . you get to the super bowl, that is all you can ask for. you have a chance, it's one game. you get to this game, you're one game away. and you have to listen for two more weeks. charlie: what do you think is going to happen on saturday and sunday? are both games on sunday? bill: both games on sunday. the first game is green bay and atlanta. and then pittsburgh at new england. green bay-atlanta, honestly, i said it before. i'm not sure if the last quarterback who gets the ball doesn't win this football game. there are some injuries that concern you with the green bay packers, particularly jordy nelson has been out. devontae adams. charlie: he is head injuries all
cedar -- season. >> how healthy will he be? seems like falcons are healthy. that's going to be a tough test for green bay. i think for the pittsburgh steelers, they're as helicoptery -- they are as healthy as they've been. but how do you bet against tom , brady and bill belichick at home? they've been there six straight games, this is their sixth straight championship. they are 2-1 at home and they are 1-1 i think on the road. they are 0-2 away. so playing them up in foxborough is a tough task for the pittsburgh steelers. i got to tell you, they're probably playing as good football as anyone. that's going to be a game to watch. both of these teams, nine game winning streak going into this game. charlie: wait and see. thank you, my friend. charlie: great to see you. ♪
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