tv Bloomberg Real Yield Bloomberg August 12, 2017 3:00am-3:30am EDT
david: you are now both former presidents. mr. clinton: no one plays a song when you walk into a room anymore. david: what do you say to each other? mr. bush: generally, when does this program start and when is it going to end? mr. clinton: give shorter answers. david: what was the biggest surprise the first day you are in the oval office? mr. clinton: it really surprised me how easily i could be turned into a two-dimensional cartoon. mr. bush: my dad, he said, "welcome, mr. president." and i said, "thank you, mr. president." >> would you fix your tie, please? david: people wouldn't recognize me if my tie was fixed. i will leave it this way.
alright. ♪ david: i don't consider myself a journalist. nobody else would consider myself a journalist. i began to take on the life of being an interviewer, even though i have a day job. how do you define leadership? what is it that makes somebody tick? ♪ david: i like to start by acknowledging the presence of mrs. bush. thank you very much for being here. >> [applause] mr. bush: actually, i was supposed to do that. david: sorry. >> [laughter] david: i want to ask you about your parents. how are they doing? mr. bush: i hate these tough questions. thank you for asking. told dad today that i was going to be on stage with bill, and you were the moderator. david: what did he say?
mr. bush: he was surprised. >> [laughter] david: okay. surprised you could not do anybody better? oprah wasn't available. mr. bush: they are doing well, thank you very much. i am fortunate to be the only president with both parents alive after the presidency. every day is a blessing to have your mom and dad alive. and they are doing well. 92 and 93 years old. thank you for asking. i will tell them you asked. david: how is hillary doing? mr. clinton: good. if you knew our grandkids, you would know she is good. she is doing really well. she has been working on her book. we spend every available hour with our grandchildren. my grandson just turned a year old on father's day. which means every seven years, his father will celebrate father's day on his son's birthday, which is kind of nice. and my almost three-year-old -- almost 2-year-old
granddaughter sang happy birthday to him at his party. mr. bush: can your granddaughter sing happy birthday in mandarin? >> [laughter] mr. bush: mine can. mr. clinton: no, but she can sing in spanish. >> [applause] david: you both have grandchildren. what do your grandchildren call you? mr. bush: i am called jefe. >> [laughter] mr. clinton: i am more humble, i am called pop pop. >> [laughter] mr. clinton: you are the one that told me that once you become a grandparent, you are immediately at the bottom of the family totem pole. you're the least important person in the family. david: it is true. mr. clinton: we qualify. david: we will talk about your presidencies. but you are now both former presidents. what is the difference between being a former president and president? one day you have the nuclear codes. you can send nuclear bombs off, everybody is working for you. and the next day when you leave office, you have no power.
what was the transition like? >> [laughter] mr. clinton: nobody plays a song when you walk in the room anymore. >> [laughter] mr. clinton: i was lost for the first three weeks after i left office. i would keep waiting for the music, you know. actually, it is wonderful. very rarely in 17 years have i even given a thought to, i wish i were there, i could do this, or i miss this. i think you have to be grateful for the time you have and realize you should focus on today and the future. and i think it is both liberating and also it concentrates the memory. you don't know how many years you have left, but you feel that the country has given you something priceless and you owe something back.
and so, each in our own way, we have tried to figure that out. i have found it a really rewarding part of my life. i have loved it. mr. bush: i woke up in crawford the day after the presidency expecting someone to bring me the coffee. >> [laughter] mr. bush: laura didn't bring the coffee. >> [laughter] i think the thing that startled me was the sense of having no responsibility. in other words, during the presidency you kind of become accustomed to the responsibility you have. first it is pretty glut -- pretty great, then slowly but surely it becomes a natural part of your life. then you wake up the next day and suddenly you have no responsibility. that was probably the most stunning thing for me. david: when you are both president, you have someone on the opposite side of the political party typically saying it is a terrible idea. it is hard to get things done in washington.
may be harder than it has ever been, but hard when you were there. when you are a former president, do you find it is easier to get things done? mr. bush: yes. it depends on what you are trying to do. mr. clinton: i think it depends. first of all, you have to realize what you don't have and what you do. it is really true that i love the job and i loved all the responsibility. it is amazing how much of every day is taken up by things you have to do as president and by the incoming fire. when he was come up for example running, i watched all his debates with al gore carefully and nobody said, what are you guys going to do if al qaeda blows up the world trade center? you see this in a lot of different ways. if you don't deal with the incoming fire, it will undermine your ability to do anything else. if all you deal with is the incoming fire, you can't keep the promises you made when you were running.
so it is a lot of trouble. now when you get out, you change clutter power, all that for whatever influence you have, and whatever your experience and contacts will permit you to do, and you have to decide what to do. president carter was building habitat houses. that is what he decided he wanted to do. by doing that he helped habitat to grow in one of the biggest home building operations in the world. we all have to make these decisions. mr. bush: i don't think it is that easy, frankly to get things , done. for example, one of the great compliments in my post-presidency was the building of this building and installation of programs that we think makes a difference. but it was hard work to get there. there was just not an appropriations bill. >> [laughter] david: today when former
presidents get together, at funerals unfortunately, and sometimes when libraries open, it is not common that you get together. what is it like in the back room? what do you actually say together when you are getting together? do you tell secrets that you never tell anyone else? mr. bush: generally we say, when is this program going to start and when is it going to end? >> [laughter] mr. clinton: he'll say to me, give shorter answers. >> [laughter] mr. clinton: no, it is unusual with us. because when i left office, i told him -- i said, if i can ever help you, then i will do it. if i can't in good conscience, i won't, but i will never embarrass you in public. you know, hillary was a senator. i said, i may have to make some
comment that disagrees with a policy of yours, but i will always do it respectfully, and i want you to succeed. and i tried to be as good as my word. gave me one of the great gifts of his life, the chance to work with his father after the tsunami in south asia and after katrina. we had a heck of a time doing it. we did a lot of good. that brought all three of us closer. david: you ran against president bush 41. he called you names, you called him names. how did you come together? mr. clinton: he deserves a lot of credit because if we had not done the tsunami together, i am not sure the relationship would fly the way it did. mr. bush: i think it starts with being bill clinton being a person that refused to lord his victory over dad. in other words he was humble, , which was important in dealing with other people. ♪ ♪
david: you ran against president bush 41. it was a bitter campaign. he was defeated for reelection. how did you manage later to develop a close relationship? wasn't that very difficult or awkward at times? he called you names, you called him names. how did you come together? mr. clinton: i think it helped
that we had some contact before. i represented the democratic governors when he decided to embrace these national education goals and asked governors to help write them. and we started working together. and then, i tried never to take a cheap shot in the governors association. if we disagreed, we found things we could do together. and i think the other thing is, he deserves a lot of credit because if he hadn't asked us to do this tsunami work together, i am not sure the relationship would have ever flowered the way it did. we just like being together. it is like anything else. sometimes you click with people, sometimes you don't. i always admired him. i completely supported what he did in the aftermath of the collapse of the soviet union, supporting german reunification, supporting the european union, supporting the efforts he made
and i made, as you see with mixed results to integrate russia into the family of democracy. we just started working together on this tsunami thing. it is easy to forget because it was a long time ago. they lost 300,000 people in a matter of minutes and several countries. then president bush said, america's got to do our part. most people couldn't find those little countries on the map. but they were part of the global community that he was willing to take our fair share of the responsibility for. david: that was your responsibility with president bush one, but how did you become close? mr. bush: i have a different take on it. what i think is one of the most unique and important relationships in u.s. political history. i think it starts with bill clinton being a person who refused to lord his victory over dad. in other words, he was humble in
victory, which is important in dealing with other people. and i think dad was willing to rise above the political contest. in other words, it starts with the individual pot character -- individual's character. both men in my judgment displayed strong character. therefore the friendship was able to be formed. why do i have a friendship with him? because he is called a brother with a different mother. he hangs out. he hangs out in maine more than i do. >> [laughter] david: when you campaigned, you are campaigning against some of the things the clinton administration had done when you were running in 2000. mr. bush: yeah, probably. >> [laughter] bush: we are both baby boomers. we are both southern governors. we had a lot in common. he got along with people in his legislature, i got along with mine. we had friends in common. and so there was a natural
ability to respect and like each other. therefore if you disagree with someone, it does not mean you don't like him. mr. clinton: also i recognized that he was 44 days older than me. so i called him on his birthday and said, i'm calling you on bended knee because this begins my 44 days of respect for my elders. >> [laughter] mr. bush: when i was president i would call bill, and he was very helpful. he knew a lot about a variety of issues, particularly international affairs i was interested in. i knew i could count on him for good advice. and he was gracious in receiving my calls. david: president clinton, all of us have gone to school recognizing there is someone that is a class president and everyone thinks this person can be president. but none of them have actually made it except you. , most people burn out, and you
managed to pull this off. what do you think the qualities were? instilled by your mother? mr. clinton: i also lost two elections along the way which kept me humble. i think that stuff is overrated. i think i got elected because basically we were the last generation that was born without a television. i was 10 years old before we got a television. i grew up in a culture where people actually talked and listened to each other. i don't know how these people make it today. you have the average president talks eight second on television. snapchat is 10 seconds. twitter is 140 characters. my life revolved around meals. my father died in a car wreck before i was born, so i spent a lot of time with my grandparents and their generation.
and my great uncle was the smartest guy in our family. he presided over conversations and he involved the kids in them. and he taught me that everyone has got the story and most , people can't tell it, and that's sad. and that people are inherently interesting if they can get out of their own way. so what i was taught, listen and to look. i think that is what it is. i always thought i would have a better life if i could help someone else have a better life, too. and i got lucky. i don't care what anybody says. all these people say they are in a log cabin that they built themselves are full of bull. >> [laughter] david: i think i was partially responsible for you being elected president. because i worked in the white house for president carter. and you may remember toward the end of your term as governor, we put a lot of people in arkansas, which made it impossible for you to get reelected. i thought by not being reelected you were driven so much harder
to work to be president later on. mr. clinton: i really appreciate it. i don't think i ever adequately thanked you for doing that. >> [laughter] david: at the time you weren't that happy about it. president bush, i think i am responsible for your being elected. i worked in the carter white house. i got inflation to 19%. that enabled president reagan to get elected then your father , being president. did you ever think about that ? mr. bush: i don't think i ever would have run for governor had he not defeated dad. it would have been difficult for me to have beaten ann richards in 1994 because i would've spent my time defending george h.w. bush. who had been in the last two years of his presidency. by losing, it enabled brother jeb and me to run on our own for governor in our respective states. i was sitting in the oval office at the desk, taking it all in,
congress and both lost. you have that in common. but after you lost the first time you were trying to beat an incumbent congressman and you lost. did you say, i am out of politics? what made you say --? mr. clinton: mr. bush: i got a break in a way. the democrats did well in 1974 because president nixon resigned. but i ran against a congressman who was one of his father's best friends. he had an 85% approval rating, and 99% name recognition. mr. bush: that is called suicide. >> [laughter] mr. clinton: i was zero and he beat me. about three points. it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. we wound up being friends too. but this district we ran in had the highest amount of gasoline use per registered vehicle in america, because it was all on hilly roads. and you had to do stuff people
don't do anymore. your television ads did not amount to anything if you did not do retail campaigning. and i learned 75% of what i know about politics in that first race. david: at the time hillary came down to help you with the campaign. did you think she was going to stay down in arkansas and marry you? arkansas was not considered, in her world, the center of the universe exactly. mr. clinton: i did not, no. i already asked her choice to -- asked her twice to marry me and she said no both times. smart girl. so the third time, i told her, just come down here. they liked her so much at the law school they offered her a job teaching. she didn't have anything else to do. her other job -- she was working with the house judiciary committee. so when that whole thing was over she just took the job and it worked out pretty well. david: when you got married, you
said to your wife, or she said to you, i don't want to make any speeches. you implied you were not going to get into politics? mr. bush: not true. >> [laughter] mr. bush: we got married in november, and the next year i campaigned for congress. but i said she would never have to give a political speech. and she did. david: and she was good at it. when you lost, you ran the house seat and you lost. , did you say, i'm out of politics? mr. bush: for a while. but it turns out like bill said, it was one of the best things that happened to me. as the guy that beat me said, if i hadn't beat bush, he would still be on the agricultural committee. >> [laughter] david: when you decided to run for governor against incumbent ann richards, your mother and father said you have no chance of winning. mr. bush: the father did not say that, the mother did. david: what did you say when you won? mr. bush: i said, are you going to come to the inauguration? you know my mother.
you never pop off to her like that. otherwise, she'll floor you. >> [laughter] david: when both of you became president, your father had been aesident, you had not had father who had been president, but you had been around government. the first day you are in the oval office you learn the , nuclear codes, all the crises we may be getting into. what was the biggest surprise he found, and when did it you that you were the president of the united states? when did it first hit you the first day, the first month? mr. clinton: what surprised me, you spend so much time trying to talk people to do things you didn't ask them to do in the first place. what surprised me, one of his dad's best on me was that i was governor of a small state. that was actually true.
you are so far removed from the american people that it's hard for them to see you as a three-dimensional person. and i had to learn -- even as governor of texas, as big as texas is i think you had a much , more personal relationship. the lieutenant governor was a very good friend of mine. he loved george bush. and i think he helped him be a better governor. we were just used to being people and dealing with people. it really surprised me how easily i could be turned into a two dimensional cartoon instead of a three-dimensional human being. and you have to discipline yourself about what to talk about, how to talk about it. and you have to keep remembering there are all these layers between you and people that didn't used to be there. and that surprised me. i thought i was a pretty good communicator.
i just fell on my face four or five times. so i figured i had to do it or you -- to do it. david: you became president as a young age. you were 46 years old. if you have been president at 46 or 56, do you think it would have been different, or did you have more energy at your age? mr. clinton: i think i would have been better in some ways if i were older. but i think i would have been not as good in some ways. sometimes you get a bunch done because you are too dumb to know you can't do it area -- can't do it. you show up and you keep trying to do it and something happens. david: your father was president, so you saw what he did right and what he might have done wrong. did you take any lessons from that? or were you trying to separate yourself from your father? mr. bush: i learned a lot from watching him. i wasn't interested in separation from him, and he wasn't interested either. we have got a great father-son relationship. yeah i learned a lot from , watching him.
my most startling moment came right after the inaugural parade. i decided i was going to go into the oval office to see what it felt like. and unbeknownst to me, andy card had up -- had called upstairs to the residency and asked dad to come in. i was sitting in the oval office at the desk, taking it all in and in walks my dad. and i said, welcome mr. president, and he said thank you, mr. president. david: that must have been something. what was it like when your mother walked in and he were president of the united states? mr. clinton: she started laughing out loud. >> [laughter] mr. clinton: it was so ridiculous, the idea of it, that it could have ever happened. but on the other hand, when i started running she was the only person that thought i had a good chance to win. nobody else did. hillary and chelsea were undecided at the beginning. >> [laughter] but it made me feel good because my mother had a
pretty tough life. she was widowed three times. she had a pretty tough life. and she got up at 5:00 every morning and got herself ready and was at work by 7:00 and did everything she could to take care of me. so, i was proud to be able to show it to her. and she was ill then, but she lived another year. just a little more than another year about the time. excuse me, a little less than a year. she died the next june the sixth -- i mean january 6. , david: what's it like to live in the white house? mr. bush: you want to know what my mother said? david: i guess so. [laughter] mr. bush: get your feet off the jeffersonian table. >> [laughter] david: but your mother was proud of course. think about this. there was only one woman who had a son become president of the united states whose father was president of the united states. abigail adams, but i don't think
she was alive when john quincy adams became president. your mother was the only person who saw her husband be president and her son. pretty unusual. if you could run for president of the united states or former president of the united states what would you recommend? , mr. clinton: you have to live a long time as a former president to have as many impacts as you have as president. mr. bush: the decisions you make have got a monumental effect on a lot of people. it was exciting to be in that kind of environment. ♪