tv Obama Revealed Man CNN September 3, 2012 8:00pm-9:30pm PDT
the world's most wanted terrorist. >> some people now suggest i'm too professorial. i'd like to address that head on. >> if he was anxious, he didn't show it. >> by assigning all of you some reading that will help you draw your own conclusions. >> the planning had started in secret months before. how involved then was the president in the planning of this attack? >> he went through the plans at great length and ordered that they bring in more helicopters and land those helicopters inside pakistani territory so they could come in fairly quickly as a backup team. in the end, that turned out to be a pretty crucial decision. >> he asked each and every one of us in the small group of the national security counsel what our opinion was. and there was disagreement. so it came down, as it does in
these situations, with the hard decision, having to go to the president. >> when i'm making decisions, i try to pull back a little bit and take the long view. >> there were easier options. and the plan on the table risked hostages or casualties. >> i think for me to be able to step back and say, all right, what's best for the country, and not get caught up in the immediate fears, risks, concerns and pressures that you're feeling right then has probably been helpful. >> the president gave the order. >> he wanted to go for it. you know, he has that self-confidence. he has a sense of luck being on his side. >> the next day, the president and his national security team
watched as navy s.e.a.l.s raided the compound where osama bin laden was believed to be hiding. >> we were following it in real time. so it was a roller coaster of emotions that we were living through. >> the president described it as the longest 40 minutes of his life. then came the news. >> we got the word geronimo. what that meant is, we got him, we saw him, it is bin ladin. but we had to get our guys out. i'm not sure any of us breathed until we got word that they had crossed back into afghanistan. >> the president normally known for his caution had chosen the riskiest course possible and it paid off. >> i can report to the american people and to the world that the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda.
>> usa! usa! usa! >> to those on the left who watched how the obama presidency played out, the surprise was his aggressiveness. to those on the right, the surprise was his aggressiveness. they kept thinking he was a community organizer from chicago who had no concept of how to use american power. >> it would be hard to argue that any president had a duty higher than the ones that president obama has exercised. >> long before the bin laden raid, president obama had promised a change in american foreign policy. >> he came in on the platform of being the anti-bush. he said he would engage the rest of the world. >> and that promise brought the president the nobel peace prize
just ten months after taking office. >> he gave a speech that left the peace prize committee extraordinarily uncomfortable. >> i, like any head of state, reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation. >> since then, president obama has pulled troops from iraq. created a plan to leave afghanistan. is believed to have unleashed a covert cyber war against iran's nuclear program. and drastically expanded the use of armed drones to target terrorists. >> he may be known as the drone president. the president who relied on technology to do the business of troops. >> it is a topic the president has addressed only once before. but he discussed it with us. >> my most sacred duty as president and commander in chief
is to keep the american people safe. drones are one tool that we use. >> even if the target is an american. in 2011, one of those targeted for death was anwar al awlaki. an al qaeda leader living in yemen and also an american citizen. >> are the standards different when the target's an american? >> when an american has made a decision to affiliate itself with al qaeda and target fellow americans, that there is a legal justification for us to try to stop them from carrying out plots. >> many of his supporters are quite concerned because they view this as basically a form of targeted assassination. >> do you struggle with this policy? >> oh, absolutely. if you don't, then it's very
easy to slip into a situation in which you end up bending rules thinking that the ends always justify the means. >> when america's threatened, the president doesn't hesitate to act on his own. >> where he determined that we would act unilaterally, it was all about those people, those groups, that threaten us. >> but in a humanitarian crisis like libya's, the president prefers company. and until he has it, he won't act. >> syria has created great outrage and terrible humanitarian anguish but we don't have any international consensus about the way forward. >> it all adds up to what some call the obama doctrine. though critics call the president reluctant to lead.
>> the obama doctrine is less blood, less treasure, less intervention of a lengthy kind. >> as commander in chief, the president can fly solo. to solve the country's domestic problems, he needs a partner. >> the president was going to have to deliver half the democrats. i was going to have to deliver half the republicans. i was confident i could do that. princesses. i'm an expert on softball. and tea parties. i'll have more awkward conversations than i'm equipped for because i'm raising two girls on my own. i'll worry about the economy more than a few times before they're grown. but it's for them, so i've found a way. who matters most to you says the most about you. massmutual is owned by our policyholders so they matter most to us. massmutual. we'll help you get there.
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a gorgeous june day. the nation's capital. but this is no ordinary golf game. for president barack obama and house speaker john boehner, this is a chance to be partners rather than political foes. by june 2011, it had been eight months since the republicans won control of the house and the senate's top republican declared -- >> our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny president obama a second term. >> eight months since the midterms when a chastened president promised a new way forward. >> we were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn't change how things got done. >> and eight months since a bipartisan debt commission offered a host of painful
solutions. solutions washington ignored. by the time both men hit the links, the looming crisis over the debt ceiling threatened to make a bad economy even worse. >> it would be two to three times worse of a recession than the one that we were facing as the president comes into office. >> the stakes were high. >> thank you. thank you. >> and the republicans emboldened by their midterm victories. >> thank you, pennsylvania! >> the republicans were essentially saying, ha, ha, the president will get nothing and like it. >> so the president looked to a new partner. >> the president and i like each other. i mean, we actually do get along. >> i think he felt like boehner, of ohio, that he would be able to deal with him. that he was a kawanis club republican, that i could do business with a guy like that.
i think obama saw him as the great hope. >> the president and speaker boehner began meetings with their parties world apart. republicans wanted to cut spending. >> we got to stop growing government, hoping to grow jobs, and instead we got to start cutting the federal deficit. >> democrats wanted to limit tax giveaways to the wealthiest americans. >> what we've heard from our republican colleagues is they're not willing to close one special interest tax loophole. >> the president and speaker boehner came up with an ambitious solution. they'd craft a grand bargain to raise the debt ceiling. it would also include changes to social security, medicare, tax policy and defense spending. for both sides, it meant lots of pain. but for the nation, it could mean lots of gain. >> i think he genuinely thought there was an opportunity to do something big and meaningful to deal with our long-term debt and had what he considered productive discussions with john
boehner. >> new urgency this morning. >> the clock ticks. >> we've been here before but not quite this close to default. >> was there ever a time in that meeting when he said we have a deal? >> yes, ma'am. about a week before the debt ceiling was to expire, the president asked mr. cantor and i to come in the oval office where we basically sealed the deal. >> it seemed the president had bridged the partisan divide and could count reigning in the deficit as part of his legacy. but then in the final moments, the so-called grand bargain collapsed. >> i have offered ideas -- >> and finger-pointing began. >> not one time, not one time, did the administration ever put any plan on the table. >> it is hard to understand why speaker boehner would walk away from this kind of deal.
>> for speaker boehner, the problem was a last request to alter the deal. >> i said, mr. president, you know i can't do this. we've been talking about this for months. i'm already as far out on a limb as i can get. you know this. why are you doing this? it's unfortunate. he basically blew up the deal. >> not true says the white house. >> i think personally speaker boehner probably wanted to do something. he just couldn't control his caucus. >> but the speaker says his people were never the problem. >> i got into some tough negotiations with ted kennedy. he didn't flinch. he didn't back away from the deal. he went straight forward. that's courage. >> speaker boehner, he says you flinched. >> yeah, well, i'm sure that's his version of events. i was prepared to make some cuts and some changes that were very unpopular in my base and among democrats, if i got a little bit of compromise from the other side on revenue.
>> both men seem burned by the experience. >> if i look back over the year and a half or so that i've been speaker, my greatest disappointment is the president and i couldn't come to an agreement on solving our debt crisis. >> the final deal brokered by vice president biden was far smaller than the president wanted. for president obama, it was a turning point. >> it took him i think two years to the debt ceiling debate to understand that he was not going to be able to be the conciliatory president, the mediator in chief. >> now, more than a year after that golf game, the president says of republicans -- >> where i can work with them, i will. where they don't want to compromise, i'll work around them. >> and he set out on a path of go for the jugular politics. he laid out his jobs plan, championed the popular payroll tax cut -- >> tell congress to pass this tax cut without drama, without delay. >> and took executive actions
without the support of congress. >> we can't simply wait for congress to do its job. >> the republicans fired back. >> now we have our own modern day great train robbery. >> probing the bankruptcy of the taxpayer funded solar firm solyndra. and relentlessly pursuing fast and furious, anti-gun trafficking operation that cost a border agent his life. the bitter partisan divide was back out in the open. great shot.
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we're fired up. ready to go. >> seared after losing the grand bargain, and his bid for bipartisanship, the president turned his attention to a new battle. >> four more years! >> the election. >> i think his naivety has been finally squashed. and i don't think you'll see that naive yes we can man of 2008 ever again.
>> barreling into 2012, he shifted focus from wooing the other side to winning back disappointing supporters. chief among them, women voters. >> either woman should be in control of the decisions that affect her own health, period. >> he stood by his controversial decision to make most health care plans cover contraception. and he often reminds women he acted early to protect equal pay. >> upholding the principle of equal pay for equal work was the first bill i signed into law. the lily ledbetter act, first bill i signed. >> then gays and lesbians. >> hey obama don't you know, homophobia's got to go. >> the president said little on the topic of gay marriage for three years. then on "good morning america." >> for me personally, it is
important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same sex couples should be able to get married. >> he is not a person who likes to leave the box. but when he does, he's done it decisively. i think his embracing of gay marriage was very old. >> next latinos, an essential voting block. he had failed to press immigration reform. then, this june -- >> he said, okay, enough is enough. now we're going to take administrative action. >> his administration temporarily halted the deportation of the children of undocumented immigrants. >> they are americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one. on paper. >> campaign 2012 had begun. >> to be the transformational
president he wants to be, you have to have two terms. you can't do it in one. so everything is riding on this election for barack obama. >> ultimately, it will be up to voters and historians to assess his term in office. among his accomplishments, the death of osama bin laden. the passage of landmark but controversial health care reform. the restructuring of the american auto industry. averting a great depression. and keeping his promise to withdraw from iraq. >> the last 3 1/2 years will probably be viewed as one of the most tumultuous periods in american history. having that steady hand that the president has i think has really benefitted our country. >> on the other side of the ledger, millions of americans remain unemployed.
millions of homes still under water. a ballooning national debt. a broken promise to close guantanamo bay. and a nation more divided than ever. but isn't that what you ran on? in 2008, promising to bridge the divides? >> what i promised was we were going to look out for the american people. and that i would do everything i could to break through some of the old ideological gridlock and just focus on what works. and that's actually what we did. >> despite the challenges, president obama believes he can still do more. >> what i hope is, is that post election, if i'm -- the american people are willing to see me here for another four years that members of congress are going to remind themselves what they're sent here to do and that is
ultimately to work for the people who sent us here. >> for the president, it all boils down to the same advice he gives his daughter's basketball team. >> just always worry about doing your job, doing your best, getting better and thinking like a team. you've been watching "obama revealed." i'm anderson cooper, just ahead, jessica yellin joins us with key moments of "obama revealed." including more that was not in the documentary. and you...rent from national.
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welcome to charlotte, north carolina, and the democratic national convention. we're taking a closer look at the education of a president in cnn's documentary "obama revealed." one of the most eye opening moments is when both the president and house speaker john boehner traded barbs about the collapse of the deficit reduction deal last year. it's clear they are both still bitter about it. take a look. >> i said, mr. president, you know i can't do this. we've been talking about this for months. i'm already as far out on a limb as i can get and you know it. why are you doing this? it's unfortunate. he basicallylew up the deal. >> not true says the white house. >> i think personally, speaker boehner probably wanted to do something, he just couldn't control his caucus. >> but the speaker said his people were never the problem. >> i got into some tough negotiations with ted kennedy. he didn't flinch. he didn't back away from the deal. he went straightforward.
that's courage. >> speaker boehner, he says you flinched. >> yeah, well, i'm sure that's his version of events. i was prepared to make some cuts. and some changes that were very unpopular in my base and among democrats. if i got a little bit of compromise from the other side on revenue. >> well, chief white house correspondent jessica yellin is with us. along with cnn con trip uniters alex castellanos and james carville. what do these two men think about each other? were you ever able to figure it out? >> i get the sense there is at this point no love lost between the two of them. speaker boehner said at one point we didn't get to use -- president obama is not my kind of guy. and president obama sort of scoffs at speaker boehner. i think it's sort of a bromance gone bad and they sort of both feel frustrated they could have had this legacy making deal. >> james, it is interesting to see the style of president
obama. we sort of saw it in this documentary. do you think if he is re-elected that there will be much more change? there will be more back slapping? there would be more kind of outreach? >> i don't know. a guy you sort of -- i think the outreach -- he'll talk to people or something like that. as you saw him at 6:30, he like, he likes to go be with his family. now maybe his daughters, they pointed out in the piece, or the documentary i guess you'd call it, will be older. but he may engage in some of that. but by and large, he's a guy that's not a kind of back slapping kind of politician. he's very engaged. he worked hard. he knows that's not his thing. and usually a person of that age, seldom changes as they get older. >> well, it's interesting, because you hear president obama say if he's re-elected there
will be change -- do you think if he's re-elected there will be change in terms of their willingness to compromise? >> well, you know, with responsibility and power, you have to step up to the plate. it's all easy to fight gorilla warfare from the outside when you're in a minority. but if republicans do take the senate and the house, i think so. but otherwise, it's so ideologically divided right now in washington between the administration and the republicans that i'm not sure anything would change. >> do you agree? >> no, something -- the election will change something. if he wins or loses or if the republicans -- if the democrats keep the senate or something happens in the house. but basically the election is going to mean something. somebody should come out of this with an upper hand and some changes will be made. there was a fascinating thing on that whole zet story. there was a great story "the new york times did." it really went through kind of went through what happened. fascinating way the democracy works. it will change after the election. something will happen. something will give.
>> this long afterward, people are still arguing over what happened in that is fascinating. >> there are two different versions. the big picture what i do believe is i believe the president when he says that he now believes he'll work around the republicans when they won't work with him. what i mean by that is he did come in with his whole philosophy he's going to bridge the partisan divide. saying he would do that. he's not saying that anymore. i think he's learned about the executive power of the presidency. and he's learned how to flex his muscles in that. if he's re-elected, he will flex his muscles in the executive office more. >> there was talk about how he would leave things up to congress. do you think that was a mistake? >> i thought one of the great things that -- in jessica's piece is you got a sense of barack obama's demeanor, who he is. it's almost not a -- the character of a president. it's almost like a judge. like king solomon.
someone who sits above everything. and 's his job to weigh everything but believe in nothing. it's a little distant and cool. and i think that's one of the reasons that he let congress run early on. he sits above it. and he wants to be impartial and fair. >> do you buy that james? >> i mean, he was very involved in passing the stimulus. he said he wanted congress to stay in until they got -- there is something i want to say. there's a whole group of people, they'd say, these campaigns, the media, they cover things that don't matter. you couldn't have watched the romney documentary we put out. you couldn't have watched this. and anybody, any fair person say, you know something, i learned something today. i learned something about what happened. what kind of person romney is. i really learned something about -- i was watching, the last four years, i didn't realize all the stuff happened that happened. i was talking to candy crowley
outside, she said i watched it -- you go back and watch it -- >> it is fascinating -- >> you relive that. my general point is i wish somebody would sort of acknowledge that you know what if anybody wants to see this, they're going to learn something, no matter how much you own. >> it's going to be on at the top of the hour. stay tuned to watch it. "obama revealed." we got a rare exchange. some of it not captured in the documentary. up next, jessica's question on the president's orders to strike at terrorists and his answer. >> the difficulties of dealing with an opponent that has no rules, that's something that you have to struggle with. ntgomery abigail higgins had...
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president obama who almost never talked about u.s. drone attacks on militants. jessica asked him about the process of choosing targets. watch. >> do you personally decide who was targeted and what are your criteria if you do for the use of lethal force? >> it has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative. it has to be a situation in which we can't capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of
operational plot against the united states. but a lot of the terrorist networks that have targeted the united states, the most dangerous ones, operate in very remote regions and it's very difficult to capture them. and we've got to make sure that whatever operations we conduct, we are very careful about avoiding civilian casualties. >> do you struggle with this policy? >> oh, absolutely. look, i think that a president who doesn't struggle with issues of war and peace and fighting terrorism and the -- the difficulties of dealing with an opponent that has no rules, that's something that you have to struggle with. because if you don't, then it is
very easy to slip into a situation in which you end up bending rules, thinking that the ends always justify the means. and that's not been our tradition. that's not who we are as a country. our most powerful tool over the long term to reduce the terrorist threat is to live up to our values and to be able to shape public opinion, not just here but around the world, that senseless violence is not the way to resolve political differences. so it's very important for the president and the entire culture of our national security team to continually ask tough questions about are we doing the right thing, are we abiding by rule of law, are we abiding by due process, and then set up structures and institutional
checks, so that, you know, you avoid any kind of slippery slope into a place where we're not being true to who we are. >> the president rarely talks about drone strikes. joining jessica yellin and me are gloria borger, wolf blitzer and cnn political correspondent candy crowley. was it hard to get him to talk about this? >> no, and he was willing to obviously answer the questions but i asked twice if you've personally, mr. president, decide who was targeted for lethal action, and he wouldn't answer it. he said, you know, i have to be careful because these are national security matters. it's been reported that he does. you heard his answer. it was very carefully crafted. and he didn't really reveal very much in the end. but it was interesting to me that he did want to discuss it. because he seems conflicted. he thinks it's important that americans know about the policy, know that there are clear standards, but he doesn't want to reveal too much.
>> well, it's also interesting, wolf, because this is a president who's ordered more drone strikes, certainly exponentially more than under the bush administration, yet republicans are attacking him for being weak in foreign policy. >> it's been amazing when you think about it, not only more drone strikes, killing more terrorists out there, militants if you will, and going after them. the whole bin laden operation obviously went forward on that. we know some of what he has organized in iran for example, covert action, the cyber warfare that jessica reported. there's been other covert operations that have been going on as well. i wouldn't be all that surprised one of these days, given the fact he said the u.s. will not accept a policy of containment, in terms of iran having a nuclear weapon capability, i wouldn't be shocked one day if the -- if he gives that order to go ahead and use military action. on this, he's pretty determined. >> it was interesting to me, gloria, to listen to the documentary about how he makes decisions and sort of the coolness with which he recognizes he makes decisions.
>> just in watching him, it's very clear that like the methodical constitutional scholar that he is, nothing is taken lightly. no decision is made without a lawyer. no decision is made without a lot of forethought. i think what he wanted to talk, particularly to his liberal constituency here, is he hasn't done this without thought. because lots of the left ring of the democratic party are saying where are the battlefields, what are the rules of engagement? why do you feel it's fine to drop these drones? is that the right way to conduct warfare? i think in many ways he was sort of speaking to them. letting them know this is not a policy i just thought of overnight. >> also in the documentary, talked about the coolness with which he makes decisions. but also then occasionally taking great risk with very bold action. the bin laden killing was one. do you think -- i mean what role do you think foreign policy is going to play in people's
decision making in this election? >> i don't think it's much of an election about foreign policy. it's certainly an underlying -- it's always an issue, but it's so small compared, right now, to jobs and the economy. and americans have shown that in general that's kind of pretty far down their list. if you look at bill clinton beating president bush. president bush had a resume -- probably one of the best resumes in politics for foreign policy. bill clinton who had no foreign policy experience beat him. dole, clinton beat him handily. lots of places when americans have shown when they're looking for something else, particularly the domestic side, that that's what they care about. it is interesting, it is very hard for the republicans to challenge him on the specifics of this drone program because in fact they had -- that's something they have supported. it is the lesson.
it's been a pretty quiet left, by the way that has said, wait a second, two of the folks we killed were american citizens. and his son i believe. there were some things that really made a lot of folks on left squeamish but it has not been loud. this has been a plus for him. in some ways, it takes it off the table for this year. >> we have to take a quick break. president obama also talked about the conflict between trying to raise a family and the divide for getting things done in washington. take a look. >> 6:30, we want to be at the dinner table with the kids and i want to help them with their homework. i think that's sometimes interpreted as me not wanting to be out there slapping backs and wheeling and dealing. [ male announcer ] does your prescription medication give you the burden of constipation?
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in the documentary, "obama revealed" which will be playing in about nine minutes from now, the president opens up about his family life and what he likes to do on his nights off, even if it gets in the way of his agenda. >> when we're in washington, 6:30 we want to be at the dinner table with the kids, helping with their homework. i think that's sometimes
interpreted as me not being out there slapping backs and wheeling and dealing. and that really has more to do with just the stage we are in our lives. >> if you're re-elected your girls will be older, they will probably have their own weekend plans. they may not want to hang out with mom and dad. >> that's already starting to happen. >> do you think you'll do more outreach, what you call back slapping with members of congress? >> my hope is, people will have an opportunity to step back and say, you know what, the differences that divide us aren't as important as the bonds we have as americans. and some of that, i'm sure, will require additional effort on my part. hopefully we'll see more effort on the other side as well. >> though being a family man isn't always an asset in office, it is a priority for the president. >> well, you have to remember, this is someone who grew up raised by a single mom and his grandparents, whose father
abandoned him. and he's lived with that missing piece inside of him. and at a very early age he decided he wasn't going to be the kind of father he had, he wanted to be a present father opinion >> jessica yellin and our panel of correspondents are still with us. it's interesting, you were talking while this was on about the different kind of man he is on the campaign trail as he is in the white house, even his speeches are different? >> he is almost a warmer, more accessible person. it seems. >> on the campaign trail? >> on the campaign trail. than he is when he's in office. even if he's out in campaign setting when he's in office, out and -- a state selling something, he's not the same. >> is that because he sees the mantle of president as requiring a certain kind of demeanor? >> i think it's a way he feels held back. when there's a clear opposition, it frees him to be a different
way. he's such a different politician than, for example, bill clinton, in that respect. >> do you buy the reason he says he's not back slapping and calling up friends in congress and not schmoozing with them is because he wants to be at dinner with his family at 6:30? >> he doesn't like to mix and mingle, he doesn't like to call up people who are raising money for him and say, thanks a lot. not to take away from i want to be with my kids at 6:30, i'm sure he does. the bushes weren't wild about town people either. there's a way to bring congress over for a bbq, cocktails. post homework. there's ways to do that. clearly, they've talked about the 6:30 dinnertime a lot, i buy that.
it is also true that he doesn't like any of that. >> it's also interesting because it's not just reaching out to members of congress who are trying to convince people who differ in opinions. he's been criticized by fellow democrats who's saying, he's not signing the photograph that they request put on their wall, little things. >> right. >> he's aloof. it's not a new word that's used for him. what comes to my mind, when you think of mitt romney and president obama, they're both aloof in different ways. people say that mitt romney, when he's just with his family and friends is as warm as can be. but he gets on the stump, and forget about it, right? because he self-edits. when you think of president obama, he may be colder when he's in the oval office, when he's out on the stump, he relates to people in such a different way. so there are flip sides of each other. >> we haven't talked about michelle obama, she'll be speaking tomorrow night. it will be interesting to see
how her speech compares to ann romney. >> i think both of these men, mitt romney and president obama are blessed with wonderful wives. ann romney did a fabulous job last week. i'm sure michelle obama will do a wonderful job. she's a wonderful woman, great mother, the love of his life. and i think all of that will come through in her remarks tomorrow night. just as it came through with ann romney's speech in tampa a few days ago. i think this will be one of the highlights of this convention, the michelle obama speech. >> they're going to want to talk about ann romney's role, humanizing mitt romney. different role for michelle obama, though? >> she helps people get a sense of who barack obama is as a guy. and she's a great speaker. she speaks in simpler, more relatable terms sometimes than her husband. >> that's going to be tomorrow night here at the convention, i'm anderson cooper, wolf blitzer, jessica yellin, candy crawly, gloria borger, join us. it's going to be a fascinating week here.
you have another chance to watch obama revealed, that's going to be starting in about 15 seconds from now. we hope you watch it, no matter what side of the political aisle you are on. no matter how much you think you know what's gone on in the last four years, you'll learn something. i did. "obama revealed" next. great shot. how did the nba become the hottest league on the planet? by building on the cisco intelligent network they're able to serve up live video, and instant replays, creating fans from berlin to beijing. what can we help you build? nice shot kid. the nba around the world built by the only company that could. cisco. >> announcer: this is the day. the day that we say to the world of identity thieves "enough." we're lifelock, and we believe you have the right to live free from the fear of identity theft. our pledge to you? as long as there are identity thieves, we'll be there.
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i, barack hussein obama -- >> a candidate of hope -- >> on this date, we have chosen hope over fear. >> inherits a nation in crisis. >> the briefing was absolutely chilling. >> my first job when i first came into office was making sure we didn't get into a great depression. >> a leader driven to make history. >> health care reform cannot wait. >> he doesn't just want to be another president. he wanted to be a great president. >> cool under pressure. >> it was a huge risk that the president took. >> the united states killed
osama bin laden. >> his presidency marked by political division. >> speaker boehner, he says you flinched. >> i'm sure that's his version of events. >> i think the biggest failure is the president's unwillingness to listen to the american people. >> a man whose style would both help him and hurt him as a leader. >> when i'm making decisions, i try to not get caught up in the emotions of the moment. >> "obama revealed, the man, the president." it was an historic moment. >> prepare to take the oath, senator? >> i am.
i, barack hussein obama -- >> so help you god? >> so help me god. >> congratulations, mr. president. >> a new day with towering expectations. >> he looked at me and said, it's been an incredible ride, hasn't it? i said yeah. he said, it's just beginning. >> on this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear. unity of purpose over conflict and discord. >> for many, barack obama and his presidency symbolized much more than political change. >> for the sons and daughters of slaves, their offspring, for people who have build a capital. it means so much to every human
being that live in this country. >> may god bless the united states of america. hope is what led me here today. >> candidate obama ran on a message of hope and change. it's not just the size of the crowds but there's something different. people come and wait for hours for him. sometimes they start crying when he talks. >> barack obama! >> i need you to stand up! >> we want change! we want change! we want change! >> do you think people saw in him what they wanted to? >> there was some projection on to him perhaps morthan anybody could ever live up to. >> the country needed help and in a hurry. >> today, we learned that our economy shrank in the last three
months of 2008. that's the worst contraction in close to three decades. >> rahm emanuel would be the president's chief of staff. >> slightly like rolling thunder because you could have taken the economy, the auto, you could have taken the financial, you could have taken afghanistan, you could have taken iraq. usually, there's an "a," a "b." what happens when all five are as? >> it was basically awful. >> economic adviser austan goolsbee watched in horror as the stock market dropped more than 500 points in a day. >> there was a bottle of bourbon sitting there in the campaign. it had been there for a year and a half and i said, man, if there ever was a day to have a drink of this emergency bourbon, it's today. >> and then it got worse. >> the next day, dropped another 500 points. and then late in the campaign,
it happens again and somebody says, where's the bourbon? i said, the bottle's empty. >> the emergency bourbon was gone and the economy was in dire shape. one month before his inauguration, barack obama called an urgent meeting during a chicago blizzard. >> the president meets for the first time with all his economic advisers as a group for four hours. everybody is in the room is struck with the gravity of the situation. >> i said, mr. president, this is your holy bleep moment. you are facing the worst downturn since the great depression. we're going to have to hit this with everything we have. >> the president is very clear. we need to act. we need to make our mistakes on the side of pulling the band aid off fast. that was the phrase he used. he made the decision that day to go for a massive stimulus program.
>> when the briefing's over, i go up to the president-elect and say, that's got to be the worst briefing that the president-elect had since 1932 and maybe since abraham lincoln in 1860. and the president says, goolsbee, that's not even my worse briefing this week. >> my first job when i came into office was making sure we didn't get into a great depression and the economy could start growing again. >> also high on the president's agenda, his campaign promise to heal the nation's bitter partisan divide. >> we are more than a collection of red states and blue states. we're the united states of america. >> after a month in office, a whopping 76% of americans approved of the new president's job performance. though he was only just begiing. >> you could create whatever you wanted out of him. he was a folklore figure right out of the gate.
>> what do you think people expected him to do? >> i think people didn't know. the problem with change is change for what. >> the speaker who electrified crowds on the campaign trail would become a calm, cool leader once in office. a lot of people describe you as cool. that cuts both ways. fair description? >> people who know me well and people on the campaign trail, i don't think they describe me that way. i am in a lot of ways an extrovert when it comes to folks outside the beltway. i'm not sure it's hurt. except maybe for some of my relations i think inside of the beltway here in washington. >> he's not easily categorized in any way. he wants it all.
he's rationale first of all. he's a little bit deliberative and cautious. once in a while, he'll go for the bold stroke because he wants something larger. >> the president's next decisions would move the right to anger. >> you better wake up, america. >> the left to disappointment. and leave a nation more polarized than ever. >> i think he came in feeling his own exceptionalism. and then the realities of washington smacked him in the head. but how am i going to fund it? and i have to find a way to manage my cash flow better. [ female announcer ] our wells fargo bankers are here to listen, offer guidance and provide you with options tailored to your business. we've loaned more money to small businesses than any other bank for nine years running. so come talk to us to see how we can help. wells fargo. together we'll go far.
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january 2009. the president's promises of hope and change would be put to the test by the worst financial crisis in modern history. >> you look at any important economic statistic. they were collapsing faster in the fall of 2008 than they had collapsed in the fall of 1929. >> 11 million americans unemployed. 13 million homes in foreclosure. the president's chief economist saw an unprecedented hole opening in the economy. >> we were hanging on the edge of a cliff. in fact, we were starting down that. down into the abyss. >> for once, most in washington agreed. something had to be done.
>> things were bad. it needed to be big. it needed to be bold. >> but there were vast disagreements on how bold. some in the president's party wanted a rescue plan close to $2 trillion. >> it's a funny thing to say but every $100 million helps. so by doing a bigger program than what had been on table absolutely meant we were getting more job creation, more help for the economy. >> republicans balked at anything approaching even half that. >> i don't believe our colleagues had a sense that another $108 billion will solve the problem. >> ultimately, the president decide to try to rev the economy's engine with an $87 billion stimulus plan. the president felt he needed bipartisan support so he met with republican members of congress. before he took office, days after inauguration and on super bowl sunday.
he was pitching a bill that would give tax cuts to almost all americans. pay salaries for teachers and cops. build roads and bridges and more. republicans objected to the spending and to the president's tone. >> we outlined other ideas we thought would help get the economy moving again and put people back to work. those issues were rejected. and the president at that same meeting said, you have to understand that, you know, when we disagree, you have to remember, that i won. >> a phrase like "i won" wasn't winning the president any friends. but the presidt says he was listening to republicans. >> if anything i think i received a lot of criticism from my own party for going out of my way to try to solicit republican cooperation. and the fact of the matter was that politically there was a
decision that was made fairly early on among some of their leadership that said working with the president is not good politics. >> i think he came in sort of feeling his own exceptionalism. and then the realities of washington smacked him in the head. >> by the time the president went to sell the bill to congress, republicans seem to have made up their minds. >> on my trip up to the hill, they released an e-mail saying, we're going to be voting against it, before they'd even heard our presentation. >> in a stinging rebuke, every house republican voted no. >> the bill that was supposed to be about jobs, jobs, jobs, has turned into a bill that's all about spending, spending, and spending. >> two months after the election, the republicans said this is your problem. we're going to start planning for four years from now. >> the president scrambled his team to the hill to try to save the bill in the senate. when the stimulus finally passed --
>> and that's it, dana. >> that's it -- >> he came with the nearly $800 billion price tag and the support of only three senate republicans. one of them was olympia snowe. >> he just got off to a poor start. unfortunately, the wrong foot. and set the tone for the remainder of his administration. had only begun. >> she believes the president missed a crucial opportunity to engage republicans early on. >> i'm not so sure that he truly understands the relationship and the interaction that occurs between the president and the legislative branch. >> with hindsight, his closest aides admit room for improvement. >> there wasn't a whole lot of time left over for sort of hand holding and schmoozing. perhaps we should have made more time for it. but at the time it seemed like he was spending his waking hours
doing what he was supposed to do. >> republicans howled the spending was too much. and when unemployment blew past the administration's 8% projection -- >> i made a bad forecast. >> republicans slammed it as a failure. >> it turned out that the hole we were trying to dig ourselves out of was deeper than we had anticipated. >> years later the nonpartisan congressional budget office would find that the stimulus or recovery act saved or created more than 3 million jobs. but by then, the battle lines were drawn. in a clash of ideas that would dominate the president's term. >> between the belief that government is going to solve your problems to belief that the era of big government is over. >> the president had lost control of the message and the hopes for partnership with republicans. >> they were kind of coming at it like the old east german
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preserb, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. >> so help you god. >> so help me god. >> congratulation, mr. president. >> the first 100 days traditionally gives an incoming president a soft start. >> at the end of every day, we would either be in the oval office or we'd take a walk. >> president obama and his chief of staff rahm emanuel kept close tabs on their to-do list. >> then we made sure we had our -- he and i used this word interchangeably, our north stars. you know, it's easy in these jobs day to day to get thrown off course. what's your north star, what do you need to get done. >> did you expect there to be a honeymoon period? >> i don't remember walking the halls saying should we get a honeymoon? i don't really -- we got problems to solve. i don't have the luxury of looking at oil paintings and talking to them. >> even as the stimulus fight was at fever pitch, the auto industry was falling fatally
ill. >> literally, they were talking about two weeks and bust. there was not two years. there was not, we have a problem here. we think we can keep it alive for two weeks. >> if general motors and chrysler had been liquidated, in all likelihood, other automobile companies would have collapsed. an entire supplier network. the consequences would have been felt in either community in the country. >> the car companies had squandered their first cash infusion from president bush. months later when gm and chrysler asked pour more taxpayer money, congress refused. so the president did it on his own. >> we cannot and must not and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish. >> and he went against the advice of his own -- some cases, his own advisers. >> he bailed out the auto industry anyway in a wildly unpopular move opposed by nearly
three quarters of americans. as well as his future republican opponent mitt romney. at first the restructuring of the industry cost thousands their jobs. >> when you look at everything from the auto bailout which was very unpopular at the time. if i'd been leading with emotions or had my political hat on, we might not have done, but saved a million jobs. >> ultimately, the bailout saved jobs and it provided the industry a safety net. but the president was not effective at selling it. >> it would be great if you were sitting down for an hour-long lecture in a classroom but not necessarily try to sell it to the public. he doesn't think in sound bites. >> while the president pushed forward on his agenda, his critics reacted to what they saw as one liberal program after another. stimulus. auto rescue. homeowner relief. >> lennon and stalin would love this stuff.
>> then in february 2009 a defining attack on cnbc that tapped into a rich vein of rage. >> you know, mansions and a relatively decent economy. they moved from the individual to the collective. now they're driving '54 chevys. we're thinking of having a chicago tea party. >> the tea party was born. conservatives would see each new program as an ominous sign of the encroachment of big government. >> the economy's terrible because i think president obama is practicing a lost decade economics. more borrow. more demand side economics. a massive amount of uncertainty on regulation, on taxes, on interest rates. >> the president had angered the right. but he also riled the left when he asked for another $300 billion for the wall street banks. >> bailout working families! bailout working families! >> then staggering news.
failing insurance giant aig had received $170 billion. in taxpayer dollars. now it paid millions in bonuses to the very executives who wrecked the place. >> what happened with these bonuses was a mugging on wall street. >> privately, advisers say the president was outraged. >> and i think it offended people's values and it offended his values. >> but publicly the president was slow to respond. >> i think people are right to be angry. i'm angry. >> the administration let the bonuses stand. and the president missed an opening to champion the change he had promised. >> you get out of this president a lot of butter knife routines. you know, these some abusers on wall street. who? name the names. he doesn't want to do that because he doesn't like conflict. >> aides say it's just not his style. >> is he going to, like, get up on the sofa and yell and scream and stomp his feet? i don't think so.
i think people misconceive the expression of emotion with the idea of having emotion. >> ten months later, when more wall street bonuses were revealed, the president finally channeled his inner rage during an interview on "60 minutes." >> i did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of, you know, fat cat bankers on wall street. >> the bank bailout helped keep wall street alive and credit flowing. eventually the government recouped that $300 billion plus a profit. and the president got his wall street reform through congress. but before his first 100 days were over, he had upset constituencies across the spectrum. >> well, he's either called the golden mean or the brass mean. either one. because you're right, the heads of the banks hate him. a lot of other people think all he's done is protect them. he's both a socialist and advocate for the 1%. go figure how you are. simultaneously.
>> i thought that would be hard work but that proved remarkably easy to find ways to make everybody mad. >> out of the gate, the president seemed disconnected from the president and ready to tackle his own agenda. >> all the work we did with the recovery act and giving people tax cuts and saving the auto industry all were designed to make sure that we righted the ship. but as i reminded my staff, we ran in 2008 not only to get back to the pre-crisis situation but also to solve problems that had been, you know, hurting middle class families for a decade or more. >> in other words, the president wanted to get on with the work he went to the white house to do. and that meant the biggest battle of his presidency. >> let there be no doubt, health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait and it will not wait another year.