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tv   Charlie Rose  Bloomberg  June 1, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT

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>> from oour studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. charlie: we begin this evening with the trump administration's climate policy. president trump is widely expected to withdraw from the paris climate agreement, according to many. the president tweeted thursday morning he would be announcing his decision over the next few days. the white house will weigh whether to initiate a formal exit from the united nations treaty. backing out would be a major step in unraveling president obama's signature climate achievement. a u.s. withdrawal also risks u.s. exit from the united nations treaty. leadersh climate arena, weakening
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president trump on the world stage. joining me now to talk about this amy harder. here with me is amy davidson a staff writer at the new yorker. amy, give me a sense of what the paris agreement accomplished and why it was so difficult to achieve and so important to engage in climate control? amy d.: 195 countries are involved in paris and though it doesn't have penalties in the traditional sense that some contracts do, it's a real commitment that each country is .oing to set a goal the trump administration has maintained it's unfair. never been clear on why it's unfair. seems almost more two thing at work in terms of their on mossity to paris. someone general animosity to
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international agreements, to an idea that there could be an accord and international cooperation in that way. nd the other is the attitude pervading the administration that there's something phony about climate change and it's holding us back. that's commg she -- something the e.p.a. administrator said, they say it's something somebody else made up. paris was supposed to counter that and show that countries could work together in some way, specifically for the u.s., we had a goal to cut our carbon emissions by about 25% from the 005 level by 2025. to be clear what is and isn't happening right now, trump, when they're caulk talking about formally leaving paris, the
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alternative seems to be to stay in paris in name only but abandon every policy and every action that would help the u.s. meet those goals. that's already been happening. in march the trump administration issue and executive order that basically killed paris as something that the u.s. really was working to make real. charlie: let me go to washington, amy, is there any chance he might not withdraw? amy h.: that's not what we're hearing. to mymy -- to amy's point, i would say, and a lot of businesses think this as well, the president has already effectively pulled out from everything former president obama was doing on climate change. withdrawing on paris is important for symbolic reasons because it will weaken the ambition of the deal. no doubt about that. obama was essential in getting that deal together.
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without the u.s., historically the biggest emitter of carbon in the world, it will weaken it. say said , he may try to something to show his administration cares about climate. the white house and the entire administration is actually pretty divided on this issue. the secretary of state supports staying in. ivanka trump and jared kushner who have been pushing even today. and most major u.s. companies and foreign companies that want the taos stay in. i do think he has to do something to that large consistency -- -- constituency of people. charlie: and gary kohn is pushing to stay in? amy h.: very much so. but the people who have been
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urging trump to get out of the deal have been louder and more persist i want than those urging the president to stay in. for example, you have large oil and natural gas and coal companies that have expressed support for the deal and those people are influential with the dministration. they haven't been as loud about staying in the deal as, for example, the e.p.a. administrator, who went on tv to say what a bad idea it is. and it's been a coordinated campaign in part done by the e.p.a. administrator who has really opposed the deal. amy d.: i think one point amy raised is important. it's not just an outlier of the trump white house. a lot of big players in republican politics are also saying, get out of paris. this has become really part of what the message of the republican party.
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charlie: where is the speaker of the house on this, paul ryan? >> he's not been a supporter of -- amy d.: he's not been a supporter of paris. he's been known to make jokes about going back to wisconsin and seeing snow on the ground. so his real commitment to climate change, though he's more careful in his language than a lot of others in his party, has not been -- charlie: and where is mitch mcconnell? amy h.: he sent that letter. amy d.: the only two options on the table were to leave the deal, or to stay in it and ratchet down what president owhat ma committed to. that's not staying in and being ambitious with the dealle it's the less ore they have two evils from a pro-climate perspective. amy h.: no matter how you slice
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it it's not good. amy d.: i would also add it's not great for the political discourse that the serious pro-paris argument being made within the white house, include big people like ivanka trump and jared kushner was, why bother leaving, words don't mean anything anyway, you can say you're in paris but not keep your commitment, make it look good, do a little marketing but don't actually do. charlie: it's almost worse to me in term of political discourse. word doesn't mean anything. just say you're supporting but on't do anything to support. amy d.: the parameters are so constrained and degraded, it's a depressing moment. amy h.: the people i talk to in -- the people i talk to in business and other countries, they say this is going to hurt, of course, the u.s.' standing on
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climate issues and set the entire world back on climate change. it's also going to have an impact on a host of diplomatic ssues. i think that's something we should watch for, with a lot of european leader. china is looking to step into the void. countries like china may lessen their ambition on this front given how the u.s. has weakened its ambition. but i don't think they're going to retreat. charlie: china has made some recent after being a significant polluter because they wanted -- they were pressured by the united states and because they wanted to see this agreement work. amy d.: they have and they haven't. i think china sees this as an opportunity not so much to save the planet from climate change, there could be an aspect of that, but it's an opportunity to be a leader, to say --
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charlie: if the u.s. is leaving, here's a video calm -- vacuum. amy d.: and if countries are saying, we want a major country to be a guarantor of this, china is saying we'll do it. charlie: amy, thank you so much. amy, thank you. amy h.: thank you. charlie: back in a moment. stay with us.
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chip al franken is here. he's a two-term senator from
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minnesota. before entering politics he was a comedy writer and performer on "s.n.l." and hosted a progressive radio talk show on air america. he's recently emerged as a forceful challenger of president trump. his tough questioning of nominees went viral. al: if there's any evidence that anyone affiliated with the trump campaign communicated with the russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do? >> senator franken, i'm not aware of any of those activities. i have been called a surrogate a time or two in that campaign and i did not have communications with the russians. >> i think if i'm understanding your question correctly around proficiency, i would also correlate it to competency and mastery so you -- each student is measured according to the advancement that they're making in each subject area.
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al: that's growth, not proficiency. in other words the growth they're making is in growth. the proficiency is an arbitrary standard. >> the proficiency is if they reached like a third grade level or reading, etc. al: i'm talking about the debate between proficiency and growth, what your thoughts are on that. governor. thank you for coming into my office. id you enjoy meeting me? >> i hope you are as much fun on that dais as you were on your couch. al: well. [laughter] >> may i rephrase that, sir? al: please. please. oh, my lord. charlie: there it is. karen tum adult -- tumulty of
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"the washington post" wrote, at the dawn of a presidency that stretches the limits of late night parity di-- parody, the former comedian and satirist may be having a breakout moment as a political star. he's out with a new book, a memoir called "al franken. giant of the senate." i'm pleased to have senator al franken back at this table. welcome. al: thanks, charlie. great to be here. i hope i'm as much fun behind this table as i was on that couch with rick perry. charlie: when rick perry campaigned, he wore the tpwhrass, people said he was tiing to look differently. obviously the glasses have continued. al: i found him actually very prepared for our meeting. he knew my stance on energy issues. and i found him actually to be -- he's the longest governor in the history of texas. they did a lot of wind energy.
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charlie: very popular down there al: very popular. and brought a lot of wind -- i the ht -- i think texas is largest wind producing state. dint vote for him because i didn't like some of his answers, i called him to tell him i wasn't voting for him and we said, let's get dinner. i -- charlie: you had dinner with him? al: i did not have dinner with him. we just said, let's get dinner. i hope to do that. i hope to do that. i asked him to become a student of climate. and so -- i think it'll take a few months to do that. charlie: might need that. there are reports and seem to be more and more evidence that the president will, although he's not announced it, withdraw from the paris climate. al: i think that one a big tragedy in terms of our
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leadership in the world. this is something that 195 other countries signed on to. every country in the world, i believe, but syria and nicaragua. we should be -- the whole world knows this is happening. we met in -- i went to paris. charlie: that global warming is happening. al: yes, that climate change is happening. and that if we don't address this, and if we address it, we're going to create so many jobs in renewable energy and we want to be a leader in that. i want to be selling that. that technology to china. instead of them selling it to us. they're choking on their fumes over there. this is tennessee opportunity. -- this is an opportunity. wind and solar have become cheaper than coal. this is something we have to do. and the cost of not doing it are so tremendous. charlie: alternatives are
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becoming much cheaper and certainly cheaper than coal. al: yes. and natural gas, of course, has replaced coal. these coal jobs -- charlie: but not fossil fuel. al: there's fossil fuel for driving cars, etc., like that. i think that will change but china is like putting -- if you produce cars in china, or ship cars to china, a certain percent of them have to be electric. they're spending hundreds of billions of dollars on energy technology, on research. we should be doing that. in this latest budget that the president offered, we see cuts in that region. charlie: he said he wanted to dismantle it. al: i know. charlie: an enemy of e.p.a. al: pruitt is awful, they're dismantling the scientific review boards there.
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they're getting rid of the scientists and replacing them with industry-friendly scientists. this is a disaster. i'm fighting as hard as i can. i write in the book that i don't -- i have three grandchildren now. and i don't want them in 50 years to say to me, grandpa -- charlie: why didn't you do more? al: you were a senator. you nuclei mat change was happening. why didn't you do more? and also why are you still alive, because i'd be 116 then. charlie: they would ask that. al: what are you doing alive, it's all the money we invested in n.i.h. charlie: my first question is, why are you alive. and second question, way back when you had a chance to do something and you didn't. al: i'm fighting as hard as i can. i blame the koch brothers. charlie: there's a lot of blame to go around, is there not?
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al: the republican party, john mccain in 2008 was for putting a price on carbon. and we can't get our republican colleagues now to acknowledge climate change and to do something about it because they're afraid of being primaried by someone from the right, that the koch brothers will put $10 million or $20 million behind. i know there's a debate going on n the trump administration and i don't know why today we had an announcement early in the morning and why this is being drawn out. i hope that the news we've heard isn't true. >> when you look at the -- what it says about america's leadership if you withdraw, and what it means for china, emerging as a global leader, not just a country that's interested in getting its own house in order. how do you see that playing out? al: again, i see it just in terms of jobs.
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just in terms of the investment in this technology that we need to deploy. i don't know what happens after this administration. i'm hoping we have an administration that understands what that 97% of climate scientists, 100% of those who have been peer reviewed, say this is happening. no one knows this better than the defense department. and in their quadrenall review they keep saying this is an enormous threat to us. if sea level -- when sea level keeps rising, we are going to have millions of climate refugees. if you think what happened in syria, which in no small part s caused by drought, if that -- that will look like nothing compared to what we're going to see. so we see the defense department ding some of the best stuff in
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energy efficiency and in renewable energy. making jet fuel, etc., etc. the clerk: there's a series of probes into whether there was any connection between russia and the trump campaign team or the trump administration. have you seen any evidence of collusion so far? al: we have a special prosecutor now. i'm glad you showed the sessions testimony, that was not true. he had met with kiss lie yak a couple of time -- with kislyak a couple of times. he answered a different question than he asked -- than i asked. i asked would he recuse himself and he answered that way. i think he did a pivot. and -- charlie: explain to everybody what a pivot is. you ex-say that's one of the things you learn when you came to the senate. al: when i was running in 2008 i had a hard time doing that
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because you'd ask me a question, i'd answer the question. but i'll talk -- give you an exarm. someone would say you're 20 points behind norm coleman. why do you think you have a chance of getting elected? the -- i would answer the question, but the right thing to do is pivot. minnesotans don't care about polls. what i hear when i talk to minnesotans, they care about how their kids are educated they dent go bankrupt if they get sick. that's your pivot. so he pivoted from i'd recuse myself to, i didn't meet with the russians. a lot of people have given me a lot of credit because then he had to recuse himself when it came out he met with the russians and after comey went, then rosen stein was in the position to -- rosenstein was in position to appoint mueller. a lot of people have given me credit. i like to take it.
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but -- that franken, he's playing three dimensional chess. four moves ahead of everybody else. he knew that sessions would pivot and lie and then -- he trapped him. yes. ok. that's exactly what was happening. that's what happened. charlie: but you said to david letterman -- and how was the conversation between you and david letterman? al: it was great. he's good at interviewing people. charlie: he is. we saw that for 25 years. al: there's a reason for that and he and i are good friends and we had -- we had fun. we had fun for an hour or so at the 9 n street. charlie: i sent far transcript, but we couldn't get one yet. one thing you said talking about russian probe, they're going through a whole lot of stuff here if they have nothing to hide. al: that's right. they do not -- they're not
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acting like people who have nothing to hide. and so when you ask me do i have any evidence? i think there's all kinds of circumstantial evidence. we have a special prosecutor. we have to follow the facts where they go. he'll determine whether there is evidence of collusion, cooperation. butst -- but it's hard to believe that jared kushner goes kislyakhis meeting with in the trump tower and forget he is had it. charlie: and michael flynn was there. al: and flynn was there. and he doesn't report it when flying his disclosure. security clearance. you don't forget that. so -- and it's hard to believe that he's talking about setting a communications within the russians' communication system hidden from our own
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intelligence, that's what he thought, without him telling his father-in-law. so you know, we may get to the point where it's, you know what did the president know and when did his son-in-law tell him? charlie: what do you think they have to hide? al: well, we know, all our intelligence community said that the russians interfered with this election. and we know that the kremlin has done this before in eastern europe. and there's something called the kremlin playbook a document which talks about how they do it. part of the way they do it is they corrupt people, and we see -- and then they own them. and we see manafort and flynn taking money from the russians. we see trump's son saying in 2008 that a disproportionate amount of our money is coming from russia.
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the president -- charlie: to what end, is my question. al: the russians interfered in our election to disrupt -- charlie: but did they want to put somebody in the white house who they had influence with, not with him but people around him? al: or with him. if the trump businesses are in large part financed by -- it's hard to borrow money in the united states after you've gone bankrupt many times. if your son is saying there's a lot of russian money coming into our business, he's presumably saying because there's a lot of russian money coming into their business. so that's -- part of the kremlin playbook is corrupting people, getting their claws into them by investing in them. and corrupting them. nd so we will -- this will unfold. we're at a fairly early stage of
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this. charlie: let me talk about the budget they have and look at this domestic agenda. is this going to mean that in fact for this president, he's going to have a hard time getting his domestic agenda passed because the focus will be on the investigations. al: i think he'll have a hard time getting his domestic agenda passed because his budget is pretty much dead on arrival. charlie: that's happened before, the budget is dead on arrival you begin to negotiate and figure out what is possible. al: i understand that, but there are so many cuts and things. you're cutting meals on wheels? cutting snap? cutting food for people? and -- charlie: why isn't the country outraged? al: there are a lot of people outraged and i'm glad they are outraged. charlie: so-called resistance? al: i guess so. and there are people engaged. an i think that's great. and we need people engaged.
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i ask that your audience become very, very engaged because this is -- this is -- he's not doing what he said he would do in the campaign. he said he'd never cut medicaid. he's cutting -- charlie: the argument is that a lot of what he promised in the campaign to the people that he helped -- that helped elect him are going to be hurt a lot by the budget. al: absolutely. charlie: whether it's the budget or the obamacare repeal and replace. al: i'm co-chair with pat roberts of kansas, republican, and i rural health caucus go all over minnesota talking to rural hospitals, small hospitals, clinics, nursing homes. people are freaked out about this health care bill because i -- you know, inperson, minnesota, a woman was crying because she said, my mom will lose her home health care.
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and my husband and i both work. and i don't know what we're going to do with my mom. charlie: do you believe that looking to 2018 election which democrats could take over both the house and senate? is it heading that way? al: you know, i'm not a prognosticator. i'm not going to go down that -- that's not a pivot. that's -- i'm not prepared to answer. that's a statement. i don't like to do that. i like to focus on what's in front of us right now. what's in front of us right now is a terrible health care bill that the president had ther is meny and the -- in the rose garden, which you don't do after the house -- charlie: that's not a mission accomplished time. al: and the president is saying, you know, you know, everyone -- no one knew that health care was
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complicated. until i figured out that it's complicated. that's -- you know, that's crazy. and we all know it's complicated. it's very complicated. sometimes i feel that my republican colleagues just had the affordable care act, which has its flaws and has weaknesses, they just were counting on hillary winning so they could keep bashing it around and didn't bostonner to find out how complicated it is. charlie: i want to talk about politics. why did she lose? why did the man you're looking at in the presidency today win? al: i think there are a lot of reasons. he obviously appealed to people who are angry. and -- charlie: why wouldn't she appeal to those people? al: i believe that part of what they're angry at is the establishment. and part of what they felt was, we just get somebody in there
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who hasn't been part of the -- charlie: the establishment, washington crowd, drain the swamp. al: there was that aspect of it. but people legitimately angry. i mean, i'm talking about people who for 40 years have seen the middle class squeezed. and who don't see their kids having a brighter future than they had. are angry about it. i think that we -- the democratic party have a different interpretation of why that's happened. charlie: did you make that argument clear? al: i think what happened was at a certain point, hillary had felt that donald trump had disqualified himself. i think they felt they were going to win. prevent started playing defense and then 11 days before, the comey thing hit. i'm not making any excuses for
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it. the extent of the russian interference in terms of 1,000 trolls in russia sending fake stories out and that's where fake news came from, and that going on facebook, taking -- once they hacked the d.n.c. and hacked podesta, they can put anything out there. no one has read all of podesta's emails new york one has read everything from the d.n.c. they can send whatever lies. if you're talking about did, was there cooperation with russians on that, there are some thicks where, you know, podesta's time in the barrel is -- barrel is very soon. harlie: roger stone said that. al: so that's kind of suspicious, don't you think? charlie: yes, i do. al: i mean -- charlie: she won minnesota.
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46 1/2% to 45%. minnesota. your home state. al: that's right. there are a will the of people who voted for -- a lot of people who vowed for me in 2014, who voted for donald trump. charlie: why? because of all the things we've been saying. al: the things we're talking about and you know, our job is to send the message that we are looking out for them. i think that it helps when this president is doing things that he said he wasn't going to do, like cutting medicaid and then giving that as a big tax cut to everybody who makes over $250,000 a year. i mean, it's an -- the health care plan had an $880 billion cut in medicaid and a $900 billion tax cut, almost exclusively for wealthy people. charlie: that's the reason he
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wanted health care to precede tax reform. al: yeah, i -- i want health care to -- i want it on the table because right now i believe they are deliberately undercutting the markets in the affordable care act, which are one of the focus -- charlie: deliberately undercutting the markets? al: yeah. they've been doing that for quite a while. the unpredictability they have created is making those insurance companies either want to leave the mark or raise the rates. and that's the last thing we need. and so this -- and i want -- i would like to hold them responsible if they -- if that continues to happen. what i would like to happen though is address that. the first hearing we had in this new congress in the health committee, which lamar alexander, whom i respect a lot, chairman, was exactly on that. s addressing this -- the
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exchanges. in order to address -- get more competition. and there are reasons that the competition has left. part of it was getting, republicans got something called the risk corridor which which -- which was -- would have paid insurance companies who got riskier groups. i understand why you want to move on when i get into risk corridors. charlie: no, no. i'll give you time to talk about them all you want to. al: no, it -- very often democratic messaging, i say this in the book, our problem is, is that all our bumper stickers end with, continued on next bumper sticker. and i don't want to do that here. ♪
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charlie: you said and have said that celebrity today in the political world triumphs ideology. al: actually trumps ideology. i didn't mean it as a pun. charlie: what did i say? al: triumphs. charlie: i meant trumps. al: maybe you have a hard time saying trumps. charlie: no, no. believing what, if you've got
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big name recognition you can win over people who are policy wonks. l: i think i first made this observation when i went to republican conventions for comedy central. conventions, people were like, hi, al. all i did was, you know -- savaging your people and hi, al people charlie: i remember that great skit, i'm going to vote for you next time. al: believe me. i write about the 2008 campaign and everything i'd ever done in comedy was put through a $15 million machine the republicans -- charlie: looking for an attack ad. al: to create an attack ad but they put everything through a dehumorizer. this machine was built with israeli technology which would
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decontextulize anything i've ver written. in satire and comedy you use irony and hyperbole. sometimes when those things are taken out -- i'll give you an example. so i -- i wrote this joke which was -- is a very conservative joke because it was warning the internet and you should monitor what your kids are doing on the internet. i wrote the joke with some irony. i wrote, the internet is doing great things for learning. my sixth grade son did a report ast year using the internet on bestiality and he down loaded a lot of great visual aids and the kids in the class just loved them. because at that age, they're just sponges. you're laughing. charlie: you made your point. al: you understand the joke.
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they just did an ad where they kind of did, al franken tells jokes about bestiality and it gos from infinity to, to your face in the living roosm. my mother-in-law cried when she saw the ad. i was -- unrecognizable as her son-in-law. it was rough. it was rugged. charlie: speaking of family. you said in that election, your wife of 40 years. al: 41 1/2. will be 42 this year. charlie: without her you couldn't have won the election because she had some bouts, i'll try to say that right. bouts with alcoholism. al: she's an alcoholic a recovering alcoholic. she did not like the way i was being portrayed and wanted to -- she said i want to do an ad.
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lling about my battle with alcoholism and you stuck with me. because what we're seeing isn't who you are. e did an ad with mandy grunwall. she did a one-minute ad. she talked about, we've had problems in our marriage, and i was -- had a problem with alcoholism. but the line was, how can a mother of two such beautiful kids be an alcoholic? e shamet line spoke to th that mothers feel. and that alcoholics feel. nd there was an anchor, esme murphy, an anchorwoman for wcco, the cbs affiliate who wrote a
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thing like, imagine this is the best political ad this year. this can actually help somebody. two days after the ad aired, we had a debate. it was a tissue it was in a gymnasium. when she entered that room she got a standing ovation. and i cried when i saw the ad. chuck schumer cried when he saw he ad. i was extremely, not only would i not have won, i would have lost by a lot if it hadn't been for fran nee. fran nee, it's funny. -- franie, it's funny. people come up to me and say, you have a thankless job. thank you. i go, no, a thankless job is a job where no one thanks you.
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frannie has a thankless job. i should thank her for making that ad, don't you think? charlie: you do, i don't believe you haven't thank herd a thousand times have you or not? al: i thank herd once, i felt that was sufficient. charlie: why did you decide to run? you start at the top. no political experience. you'd been a comedian. al: i didn't start at the top. we've seen that. paul wellstone, who -- i dedicate -- charlie: the progressive senator from minnesota. al: whose seat i hold, i guess. also hubert humphries' and walter mondale's. he was a hero of mine. i dedicate the book to him and o his wife sheila.
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he died less than two weeks before in a plane crash, he and his family and others. his daughter and wife and others in the staff and the pilot. and there were a sequence of events where there was a memorial for him that was very much about paul. paul had this exuberance an energy. and he was sort of -- i write about this at length in "lies and lying liars with tell them" and that was taken by the republicans and they said that we -- that there was some inappropriate things said during that and it was used in a certain way. norm coleman ended up winning that election and he beat walter mondale who had stepped in at the last minute. charlie: the former -- the former vice president.
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al: yeah. a couple of months after coleman had taken office , he did a profile, he did his first profile in "roll call" and he said, i'm a 99% improvement over paul wellstone. charlie: and you read that. al: i read that and said who is going to beat this guy? i didn't say guy, but i said something. and i had never, ever, for a second considered running for the senate. or running for office. until i saw that. and you know, frannie and i were going to be empty nesters. i talked to her about moving to minnesota. and i had the air america thing start here. i did that -- charlie: the radio show. al: the radio show in new york. but then we moved to minnesota to do the show and to explore. listen, i didn't necessarily think i was the guy who was going to beat norm coleman. and as the campaign progressed, it became less and less about norm coleman and more and more
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bout those who -- any cafe i'd go to in small towns anywhere, v.f.w. hall, american legion a , you'd see, you know, sheet up there saying, we're having a spaghetti dinner for this family because they've gone bankrupt because of a health care crisis. and elizabeth warren had been on my radio show telling me more than 50% of americans go bankrupt because of a health care crisis. it's related to a health care crisis. and i knew that. my radio show. ut the -- it got personal. it was personal with the people in minnesota. it's a petty reason to run for the senate. to say someone's got to beat this guy. but what it became more and more about was what paul said. paul said that politics isn't about winning for the sake of
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winning. it isn't about money. politics is about improving people's lives. and that's -- you know, i wrote this book to answer the question that i get asked more than anything else, which is, is being a united states senator as much fun as working on "saturday night live"? and the answer is, no. why would it be? but it's the best job i've ever had because i get to improve eople's lives. two weeks into being in the senate, johnny isakson from georgia, i call him up, i have this idea, this bill, to match vets from iraq and afghanistan with invisible wounds with ptsd, with service dogs. and he co-sponsored it and it went through and it passed. and that made me feel like i was
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doing something. and that's when you feel like, i'm a good senator. charlie: whatever might be wrong with our politics, before donnell trump, with donald trump, with democrats in control of the congress work republicans in krol of the congress, what's necessary to fix it? al: i was hoping hillary would win so we could have a supreme court that would overturn citizens united. i think this dark money is extremely pernicious. and so unfortunately that didn't happen but this big money in politics is very corrosive. charlie: you write about the fact that when you went to the senate, you were known as a comedian, you had to hide those skills. al: i had to show the people of minnesota that i was serious about the job. charlie: that this is not a joke for you. al: so much of the campaign centered on my comedy career and
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gain, putting it through the demuemor -- humorizer, drew whitman, my chief of staff said you're going to have a challenge here. you want to prove that you're going to be someone who is taking this job seriously. off lot of -- you have some celebrity, you have the republicans will be suspicious of you because you use your humor to heap scorn and ridicule on republicans. hillary sort of had the same parallel problems. i'm going to have you meet with tamara lazado who was her chief of staff. and hillary was a very effective senator. and so i met with tamara and she said, be a workhorse. not a show horse. and so that's what i did. and i tried to show, and i think
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i did show the people of minnesota that i was serious. that's why i won by a large, comfortable margin in my re-election. and so since then, it's freed me up to be a workhorse who has a sense of humor. charlie: here's what you -- speaking of sense of humor, here's what you said about ted cruz. here's what you have to understand about ted cruz. i like my -- i like ted cruz more than most of my other colleagues like ted cruz and i hate ted cruz. al: i point to him as sort of the exception that proves the rule. which is that to get things done in the senate you've got to be a good colleague. you've got to -- your word has to be good. you can't be toxic. toxic co-worker. he's like the guy who microwaves fish at the office.
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so i work a lot with my colleagues and make an effort, my republican colleagues, and maken afert -- and make an effort to reach across party lines to get things done that aren't partisan at all. charlie: take note of the fact that you and jeff sessions, now the attorney general, are friends. and your two wives -- al: i don't know if we're still friends. we're friendly. i really hate what he's doing as attorney general. i voted against him. i was tough on him. but i think i was fair. but his wife in ited a baby blanket -- knitted a baby blanket for our first grandson. and also -- charlie: what a big heart that is. thing to a wonderful do. i can draw a map of the united states free hand, i did that for ted for his grandson, not for ted, for jeff. and following the hillary model,
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what tamara said was go to every hear, go early, stay late, have good questions be prepared. i would go to judiciary hearings that were perfunctory nomination hearings, there would just be pat leahy, the chairman, jeff sessions, and me. i kept coming. jeff was like, he asks good questions. so one day, pat had to go to an appropriations thing. so he asked me to chair. so i got there early, i'm there early, in the chairman's seat and i have the gavel and jeff enters and goes, well, meteoric rise. i said, and well deserved. he laughed. it's hard for me not to like someone who laughs at my -- i'm a comedian. and we, he did some things that were acts of friendship for me. when republicans on the committee would get mad at me for being too hard on one of their witnesses. charlie: looked out for you?
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al: a little bit, yeah. and it's -- i did -- you can't unfairly demonize someone you're friendly with but that's why -- charlie: don't we need more of that? al: yes. we do. charlie: in our culture and in our political culture, liing is ok now? al: i guess so because this president -- charlie: it's pathetic if it's come to that. frightening. al: and calling the mainstream media the enemy of the american people. you know. it's -- saying things like hillary clinton had three to five million illegal immigrants vote for her. every one of them voted for her. you know. president obama tapped my phones. all these things that are just not true.
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just not true. and a president who doesn't seem to at all value the truth. and has no shame about saying things that just are factually inaccurate, provably factually inaccurate. affront very -- it's an to the american people. charlie: that phrase used in the campaign, i've forgotten, i think a columnist coined it. the people who support him don't take him literally but take him seriously. and the other people take him literally but in the seriously. al: i understand that. charlie: is that the argument made for the people who voted for him. it was about an image of someone who was going to clean the swamp. they knew he played loose with sort of precise facts. al: yeah, almost as if they
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enjoyed that. that -- it's almost like, you know, a movie based on a true story but you want to elaborate the story and it's more know,aining and -- or you we don't, for some reason, that's not a value we have, that someone actually bothers to understand that health care is complicated. charlie: i promised you more than four minutes or five minutes, which we did on the morning show. i think we've reached that point. more than four minutes. al: thank you, you lived up to your promise. it was good seing you two days in a row. charlie: thank you. as well. al: what are we doing tomorrow? charlie: whatever you'd like. not about politics. the book one more time, "al franken: giant of the senate" by al franken. thank you for joining us. see you next time. ♪ ♪
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