tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN December 26, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm PST
and good humor. he ran an administration that was largely scandal-free. and he did it all the while under a microscope because he looked different. in a sense, america made a big bet in electing barack obama as its first african-american president. and with respect to his personal character and intellect, most of the country believes it was a bet that paid off. i'm fareed zakaria. thanks for joining us. good evening, everyone. a very happy holidays to you. i'm jim sciutto. anderson is off tonight. president-elect donald trump is not. we know that because he's just been tweeting again. taking a swipe at president obama after the president answered one of those what-if questions that no one can resist. namely, what if he had been running against donald trump? how would things have played out? would they have played out differently?
the president was asked that very question by his former senior adviser, david axelrod. late today mr. trump responded. his tweet in a minute. first, what mr. obama had to say. the president telling david axelrod that a majority of americans still believe in his vision for the country and would have voted for it for a third time. >> i'm confident that if i -- if i had run again and articulated it, i think i could have mobilized a majority of the american people to rally behind it. i know that in conversations that i've had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction, that you point toward is the right one. >> again, we will have direct reaction from president-elect donald trump shortly. joining our conversation now, the man who did that interview, david axelrod. david, really a fascinating, very personal interview. you, of course, had a very personal relationship with the
president. but that comment standing out saying that he, mr. obama, could have gotten a majority of the american public behind his vision had he run again in 2016. was that a dig at hillary clinton? >> well, i don't think it was a dig at hillary clinton so much as a defense of where he thinks the country is and where the country is going. what he was making -- the point he was making is the country has not embraced the vision that donald trump has articulated because a majority of americans, in fact, voted for hillary clinton and he believed that he would have won the election had he run against donald trump. now, he was critical after defending hillary as having been the victim of unfair coverage, he did say that he thought the campaign may have taken too much for granted, may have played it safe and was particularly critical of not appearing in a number of those states that ultimately were lost and making the case enough in these rural communities and small towns. so clearly he felt that was a
deficiency in the campaign. >> well to that point, to deficiencies, as you know, the president likes to tell the story about the 2008 campaign, you know it very well, rainy campaign stop, south carolina, met that woman who led that small group in the now famous "fired up, ready to go" chant. he tells that story in part to tell how he connected with people in small towns across the country. how they connected with him. it seems implicit in that in his interview with you, hinting, perhaps, that there wasn't enough of that with hillary clinton in this election. >> there's no question about it. he believes that the democratic party has a case to make to working-class americans, white, black, hispanic, asian, but if you don't show up, you can't make the case and as he said, it's more than just policy, it's giving them the understanding that we believe for them that we wake up every day thinking about them and how we deal with some of the problems confronting their families and their communities.
and clearly what he was suggesting in this discussion was that didn't happen in this campaign, and the result was a donald trump victory. >> you're very close to president obama. you talked to him about his personality. also why he's become the politician and the man that he is. you call him a friend. going back 25 years. helped him in the senate, presidential campaigns. i just wonder as you speak with him in this interview and elsewhere how personally did the president take the results of this election? >> it was interesting because it was almost -- i almost was watching him puzzle through this as we talked in this conversation, but the way he reacted to it is very familiar to me. he tends to be very philosophical. he steps back. he considers things. and then takes the long-range view. and his conclusion was that america is moving in the direction of a more inclusive,
progressive future, and that was reflected in the fact that a majority of americans voted for hillary clinton and he said most reflected in the attitude of young americans he meets all across the country that gives him confidence that the future's very much headed in the direction which he was leading. >> he loved that like, arc of history long but bends toward justice. right? >> yeah. >> in fairness, though, because you heard this from hillary clinton from some, even in the party who said she hasn't accepted responsibility for the mistakes she made. if you look at the numbers here, the democrats have been losing power across the board virtually since president obama first won back in 2008. i mean, big losses in the senate. in the house. in state legislatures. that's going to be key, coming up to the 2020 census. also in statehouses. does president obama accept responsibility for that downward trend? >> you know, jim, i had this very discussion with him during
this podcast and, you know, he did in a way accept it because he said we got to the white house, we were grappling with these problems, and suggested that perhaps we lost focus on that element of leadership but spoke very, very strongly about the need to retrench, to rebuild that strength at the statehouse level, at the legislative level, and to inspire young people to seek these offices. so implicit in what he was saying was we should have done this, we didn't do it, we have to do it now. >> he also, perhaps, as a final point, talks about strength of his marriage. how michelle obama, a real force not just to help him through his personal time in the white house, raising kids, et cetera, through his political life. >> absolutely. his point on michelle is that she kept him level. that she always was willing to tell him the truth. and what he knew about his wife, his children, and this cadre of very close friends he's had for
a very long time is they would love him whether he won or lost. that, he found, was grounding for him as he went through these very challenging eight years. >> david axelrod, thanks very much. >> happy holidays. >> you can listen to the rest of that conversation between axelrod and the president by downloading "the axe files" podcast from cnn.com. and as we said, donald trump gave his response tweeting it out a short time ago. "president obama," he wrote, "said he thinks he would have won against me. he shouldn't say that, but i say no way! jobs leaving, isis, ocare, et cetera." a short time later he threw in this jab -- the world was gloomy before i won. there was no hope. now the market is up nearly 10% and christmas spending is over a trillion dollar. on that note, let's bring in the political panel. political strategist, angela rye. trump supporter and contributor to "the hill," kayleigh mcenany. matt lewis, senior contributor at "the daily caller."
"washington post" assistant editor, david swerdlick. matt, in effect, president obama picking two fights here, one with hillary clinton, at least throwing a jab that way, but at donald trump saying, listen, if i'd gone up against you, i would have taken you down. >> yeah. >> i would have been able to keep that -- >> what a good political athlete should believe. >> yeah. >> whether it's true or not. >> is it true? >> one of the counterfactuals, would joe louis beat muhammad ali? they're both heavy weights. i think very clearly barack obama is a much more charismatic, more talented politician than hillary clinton so my copout answer i think, though, is this. if it's 2012, i think barack obama would have been re-elected and would have beat donald trump. by the time you get around to 2016 as donald trump's tweet said, you have things like isis, look at the brexit vote, i think things were trending in donald trump's direction. i'm not so sure barack obama would have beat him. >> angela rye, do you think this is the right thing for president
obama to do, 25 days from leaving the white house? set aside trump for a moment, he was implicitly, he was explicitly criticizing hillary clinton here. what's the point of that? >> well, i think the point is he was talking to his friend, as you just noted in interview with david. this is someone who, you know, his guard's down and being completely honest. i think it's fine for him to believe that he would have had a good shot at donald trump. i think his approval rating affirms that fact. i think the fact that there are 20-plus million americans on obamacare and have health insurance speaks volumes. i think the fact -- >> but angela, point of order, if i can, you and i know that president obama, he's very careful with his use of words. you know, he's not a guy who tweets off the cuff often. i mean, this did not -- >> never. >> -- seem like an accidental message. it seemed like a very well thought-out criticism of the democratic nominee. >> i think my point is he was still speaking to his friend. i don't think he would have said it differently, necessarily, or
lied under any other auspices. i think my only point is that this is barack obama completely unguarded and he is almost out of the door. why not tell people exactly what he thinks? the reality of what he's saying, it may be more challenging than that. there's an organization called organizing for america that, if we're honest, competed quite a bit with the dnc for resources and as a result neither organization was completely effective. i think that that's why you have for the first time in some time a really contested dnc chair race with someone like my friend, jamie harrison, running saying, listen, it's time for new leadership. we have to grow a democratic bench. the president intends to do just that when he starts this organization, this foundation on the outside. so i think it's okay for him to say, hey, i think that i would have won and beat donald trump. again, i think his approval rating states the same. >> kayleigh, let me ask you, because in effect, he's saying that the party -- the party image that he projected would be successful for him and
presumably for other democratic candidates who don't make the same mistakes that hillary clinton made. as a republican and trump supporter, do you almost relish that? do you relish the democrats sticking with the plan, in effect? >> i do relish the democrats sticking with the plan because i think it's an awful plan and one that will ensure they'll continue losing for a very long time. you know, the president -- president obama has a point he is popular, more popular than hillary clinton. that's for certain. so, you know, there is that. i do think he would have been a more viable contender. what i have a problem with, what i think a lot of americans were very confused by when they watched this interview with david axelrod is when president obama said, we bleed with these communities, we feel for these communities, and he was so out of touch and tone deaf to me throughout this whole election, take, for instance, his last press conference where he spent the first few minutes saying this is what i have done for you, when he stood up at that rally, his first rally with hillary clinton and said, hey, pat me on the back, thanks, obama, your gas prices are
better, something to that effect. when he's laying forth this optimistic view of the world he has created -- >> kayleigh, don't the numbers -- clearly he's out of touch, lost the election, but unemployment's down, stock market's up from 2008, gas prices are down. i mean, by a number of economic issues -- by a number of economic measures, he can make a claim. >> but there's one economic indicator that matters and it's how people feel. and when you have 60% of the electorate telling cbs in a battleground poll, i feel the economy is rigged against me, rigged against me, those are strong words. that's how the electorate feels because the reality is poverty rates have gone up. wages are still not past where they were pre 2007, 2008 levels. there's a lot of hurt out there. and he underestimated that. democrats underestimated it every single step of way. >> david, i want to ask your view on that. that's a fair criticism. because in effect to some degree you're hearing from president obama, stick with the plan.
minor adjustments, a better candidate in way, better campaigning, maybe not a better candidate, we could have won the white house. as kayleigh makes a very good point, i mean, you went to these states, michigans of the world, there were districts that swung hard from obama to trump. is there a sense they're missing the writing on the wall here? >> i think kayleigh makes a point, yes, people out there did feel disaffected. i don't think secretary clinton did a good job always of making the case for continuing president obama's policies. where i disagree with kayleigh is there's only one metric. those metrics you just ticked off. stock market is almost at 20,000. the youth re-unemployment is under 5%. president obama has a 56% approval rating. you know, if the question is do democrats have problems and does president obama have a problem not having had coattails? yes, if the question was if he had run, could he have won? yes. >> i want to ask your view on this, angela, as well. speaking with david axelrod, he made the point that there were other mistakes from his point of view, identity politics, right,
in a way this coalition that -- if not ignored, it didn't pay enough attention to white working class folks. as you look at it from the outside, do you see, i mean, are you hearing democratic voices that hear that message, in effect? >> no. i think that democrats are in shock because unlike republicans who had years of soul searching and kind of assuming they were going to lose this election, democrats were shocked. you go through the 12 stages of denial and all that stuff. the other thing is president obama by his very nature, the no-drama obama thing, means he doesn't really ever overreact. he sort of downplays everything. i think he's downplaying this. democrats have a serious problem and it's hard, you know, to have a coalition. how do you satisfy black lives matter and millennials and coal miners in west virginia? you can't be all things to all people. i think the democrats have to do that soul searching that they weren't prepared to have to do. >> angela, is that a fair criticism? >> i hear matt, but, of course,
i respectfully disagree. i think here's the reality of it. we need to be careful with our words as well. we can't continue to say, or we shouldn't continue to say, white working class voters. the fact of the matter is, whether you're living on a minimum wage and you're white, black, green or purple, you're still living on a minimum wage and can't afford to pay your bills. we need to start talking to working-class people. we need to start saying, yes, black lives matter because everybody's life matters and we're not going to treat your life as any different. however, that's not what history has told us. and until we begin to recognize what history said, we can't begin to debunk the lies of the oppressor. so first we have to come to terms with the fact it's not the democrats who have an identity crisis, it's america. we have to start telling the truth. the sooner we begin to tell the truth, the sooner we can make life better in this country for all americans. >> you know, the one sort of expression, or rather, acceptance of responsibility at
least in this interview was from president obama, himself. if you look at the numbers, lost seats in the house, in the senate, in the state governors' offices, in state legislatures. going to be enormously important when you have redistricting, when you have votes in 2020 with the census. did that strike you, david swerdlick, that the president said, listen, here was my -- here's the mistake i made. >> yeah, no, i think president obama, if he didn't quite in this interview, needs to be more full-throated about owning some responsibility for not having those coattails other than in 2008. as angela said a few minutes ago, the fact that he created a separate organizing for america i do think hurt democrats in 2010, 2014, 2016. certainly. at the same time, i think because, in my view, president obama would win again were he to run, i think that a lesson that democrats have to take you need better, charismatic candidates who can communicate a straightforward message to other people. donald trump didn't win, in my
view, because of a specific policy. one, he knew how to reach people out there. >> kayleigh, final thought, there is a danger on both sides of overlearning the lessons, isn't there, a very close election. are you concerned the republicans might say we got to figured out, right, and perhaps overplay a mandate? >> no, i'm not concerned about that. you know, i think there are certain policies that president-elect trump has to deliver on if he wants to get another term. namely that is trade. it's the michigan voters, it's the wisconsin voters, it's the rust belt voters who are so disenfranchised and feel so left out in the cold. those are the voters that put the president-elect over the line and he must, has to deliver for those voters on trade, on taxation, and finally on obamacare. i think if he delivers, then i think we have learned all the lessons we need to learn and he'll have many terms -- he'll have one more term to come and the republicans will do well going forward. >> kayleigh, angela, matt, david here with me in washington, thanks very much. a lot more coming up tonight including president-elect trump's announcement that he is dissolving his charitable foundation. and the state attorney general
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charitable than most and perhaps is breaking the law to boot. more on all of that now from cnn's dana bash. >> reporter: the president-elect's team is frantically trying to figure out what to do about his vast business interests, even trump-owned properties like mar-a-lago where he's staying for the holidays, but they're off to a stuff start. >> a little bit of a dance. >> reporter: a christmas eve transition announcement about shuttering the trump charitable foundation hit a road block. the new york attorney general who is investigating the foundation's alleged violations said through a spokeswoman the trump foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete. a "washington post" investigation reported the foundation spent $258,000 to settle legal problems unrelated to the charity and trump separately used charity money to buy a six-foot-tall portrait of himself. a former gop white house ethics attorney says dissolving the
foundation could take time. >> you need to make sure the foundation is completely independent of your for-profit business enterprises. you cannot have self-dealing in foundations. and i don't know whether the rules were violated here or not. >> reporter: regardless of the investigation, ceasing operations on the trump foundation is hardly a heavy lift. trump hasn't donated since 2008 and it has no paid staff. the real question is how trump will separate himself from the for-profit trump organization, a worldwide empire including trump golf, international realty, trump winery and trump hotels. the law does not require a president to divest himself from business interests but potential conflicts abound. people could try to influence the president by staying in his hotels, for example, and the most difficult hurdle could be the emoluments clause of the u.s. constitution which specifically prevents elected officials from accepting any
present or money from foreign governments or leaders. >> there are a whole lot of problems that i think president trump could deal with by selling off his business interests or giving them over to a trustee, in a blind trust, so the trustee can figure out how to dispose of these properties and he could focus on being president. >> reporter: a press conference intended to detail how trump will sort all this out was scheduled for two weeks ago, but that was delayed until january to give them more time. an attorney for the trump organization tells cnn it is continuing to re-evaluate various transactions they are involved in to take measures to comply with all conflict laws. ethics experts say the only real ironclad way to separate the trump administration from the trump business is putting it in a blind trust, but the president-elect is resisting and instead sources say he's leaning toward finding a way to let his two eldest sons run the trump organization. jim? >> thanks very much, dana.
those sons likely involved in the administration. more now on that, the foundation and the legal difficulties facing it no matter what the president-elect plans to do next. joining us now, david fahrenthold of the "washington post," he's done the best reporting on the trump foundation. so, david, let's just lay it out there. no donation to the trump foundation by donald trump since 2008. that's eight years. very wealthy man. no donation and he had no paid staff. was the trump foundation actually a charity in your reporting, what your reporting found? >> well, other people give to the trump foundation and trump had given away -- what was donald trump's money. the big problem was, though -- can't take the money in your charity and use it to buy things for yourself. as dana described, a number of occasions he did that and that's what the new york attorney general is investigating. people i talked to at the foundation, worked with the foundation, been in the business for years, foundation was poorly
run, which broke the law and -- >> david, i want you to stay there. we're having a little bit of an audio problem coming through. we want to get that fixed so our viewers can hear exactly what you're saying. please stay there. coming up next after this, we have much more on the trump foundation and also potential conflicts of interest in the trump businesses. please stay with us. known for its perfect storm of tiny bubbles, it has long been called the champagne of beers. ♪ if you've got the time welcome to the high life. ♪ we've got the beer ♪ miller beer now we'll see what happens. these are my great grandparents. and ten thousand relatives i didn't know existed.
download the xfinity tv app today. welcome back. our apologies, we had some audio trouble with david fahrenthold's video before the break. we have him back on the phone. we can hear him very well. david, key questions for our audience maybe to split it up. one, the foundation, was it really a charity in your reporting, and two, what exactly the attorney general's accusing him of here. let's start with that. did he donate money to this charity? did it do good things for people who need things? >> so it is technically a charity. trump had given it money in the past. he started it, but he stopped giving it his own money as you said in 2008 and it was all other people donating to trump foundation which he would then give their money away. so it was a charity. it gave to charities. but often to charities that benefited trump in some way. some charity that did businesses
with him, rented out his ballroom, things like that. >> okay. so now let's look at what the new york attorney general is accusing him of here. what wrongdoing is the new york attorney general actually investigating with regards to the foundation? >> well, the basic thing, basic rule to remember here is if you run a charity, you can't take the money out of the charity and use it to buy things for yourself and trump appears to have violated that rule, it's called self-dealing, on a number of occasions. dana mentioned, the portraits he bought of himself. she also mentioned these two instances where basically trump's for-profit businesses got into lawsuits and to get out of the lawsuit, they agreed -- the businesses agreed to pay off money to a charity. instead of using his businesses, trump used his charity to give that money. he basically saved, used his foundation, charity, to save his businesses $258,000. i talked to a lot of charity experts said this is the most brazen thing they've ever seen somebody do with a charity. >> okay. brazen is one question. illegal is another.
attorney general's at least investigating that. if he finds legal wrongdoing, could trump himself be held accountable and even short of that, should we expect to see him being deposed for this, taken to court? what should we expect as the next steps? >> well, these are violations of the law, but it's not generally the kind of violation that would get you criminally charged. instead, what's likely to happen is there will be some sort of settlement in which trump -- the trump foundation will admit to having broken the law and trump, himself, may be forced to pay some penalty taxes for having managed the foundation poorly. this is not the kind of thing, i don't think, that would produce some kind of criminal charge. >> david fahrenthold, thanks for your patience on this. we're glad to have you on. >> thank you. now on a new testament holiday, some distinctly old testament action from israel and, of course, a tweet from donald trump. both come in response to friday's u.n. security council vote in which the united states crucially abstained permitting the passage of a measure condemning israel's west bank settlements. late today the president-elect
tweeted, "the united nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. so sad!" as for the israelis, they did more than tweet. cnn's elise labott reports. >> reporter: israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu is escalating his attack against the obama administration, clearly still angry over the u.n. vote declaring israeli settlements illegal. >> friends don't take friends to the security council. >> reporter: netanyahu summoned the u.s. ambassador and has accused president obama and secretary of state john kerry of orchestrating what he called a shameful ambush at the u.n. telling his cabinet he has ironclad proof. >> translator: from the information that we have, we have no doubt that the obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed. >> reporter: the white house denies that, calling the claim absurd. >> we did not draft it. we did not put it forward. >> reporter: the obama administration maintains the
u.n. vote was a last resort, after struggling for the past eight years to convince israel to halt settlement construction on occupied lands the palestinians claim for their state. >> for years, we've seen an acceleration in the growth of these settlements. frankly, if these current trends continue, the two-state solution is going to be impossible. >> reporter: officials are now worried with u.n. backing, palestinians will push for sanctions, boycotts and take israeli soldiers to the international criminal court. >> what this resolution just did is it gave the palestinians ammunition in their diplomatic and legal war against israel, and the united states not only didn't stop it, they were behind it. >> reporter: netanyahu is now putting his hopes in president-elect donald trump and members of congress who are promising to de-fund the u.n. unless the vote is overturned, hoping that will give trump leverage. >> i look forward to working with those friends and with the new administration when it takes office next month. >> elise labott joining us now. of course, president-elect
donald trump's tweet about the u.n. today comes on the heels of his angry tweets as well about this u.n. resolution where abstained by the u.s. >> that's right. basically when it first came out, he condemned it and said there's a new sheriff in town on january 20th, things are going to be different. over the weekend he got slightly more somber and serious about it and tweeted that saying that the vote will make it much harder to negotiate peace. too bad. we will get it done anyway. i have to tell you, jim, it's not just the israelis that are hoping that president-elect trump when he comes into office will be working on the mideast peace process despite the fact that donald trump has promised to move the u.s. embassy to jerusalem. despite the fact he appointed a very controversial hardline ambassador who supports settlements and -- >> is against the two-state solution. >> and is against the two-state solution, the palestinians say they are hopeful that donald
trump, with his unorthodox approach, may be, and they hope he will be the u.s. president to finally make that deal. and the old administration, the one that's leaving on january 20th, will be laying out its vision for what it wasn't able to accomplish. we understand secretary of state john kerry is going to lay out the administration's approach, how they see a mideast peace process maybe later this week, and it's really interesting how secretary kerry worked so hard on this, now is handing it over to president-elect trump. >> interesting to see israel and also trump's reaction to john kerry's speech when it happens. elise labott, thanks very much. joining us now, "atlantic" contributor, cnn political commentator, peter beinart. and cnn senior political analyst david gergen who has been in the room at some of the key moments between the american presidents and their israeli counterparts. so, david, if i could start with you here, how big a deal is this? is this, first the resolution, and now donald trump in effect, you got trump versus obama with
25 days to go on a major mideast policy issue. >> it's a much bigger deal than anybody would have expected, jim. nobody, i think, saw this coming and for the u.s. to reverse a longstanding policy, vetoing resolutions like this, and protecting the israelis from some of the, you know -- the u.n. has often been a hotbed of the israeli point of view of anti-semitism, anti-israeli feeling and the u.s. has always protected them. when the president did this at the last minute just before leaving office, it threw a hand grenade into the middle of things. i don't know where this is going to go. they might well have left some of this alone because there are bigger issues right now in the middle east that are demanding attention as you well know. how are you going to carry on the war against isis, work with the syrians? what are you really going to do about iran and the expansion of its efforts? i think this is going to complicate those -- the pursuit of those priorities and there is a danger, i must say, that i
think the trump forces will overreact in order to prove how pro-israeli they are, move immediately to move the capital and recognize jerusalem as the capital. that would really, as you well know, cause explosions all across the middle east. >> peter, you've been extremely critical of israel's settlement policy. how do you view this? do you think there is any value in calling out israel on a public stage for an issue that, frankly, republican and democratic administrations have criticized? a policy the republican and democratic presidents have both criticized. >> yeah, first i would just say i have to disagree with a little bit with my friend, david. i don't think this is as much of a break as he suggests. in fact, every american president going back to ronald reagan has allowed a u.n. resolution to pass that israel didn't want. ronald reagan actually voted, not just abstained, but voted for a resolution condemning israel when it attacked the reactor and withheld weapons sales. reagan allowed repeated resolutions to go through that
criticized israel on settlements. george w. bush allowed a resolution the israelis were bitterly opposed to calling for a gaza cease-fire in 2009. i think the larger context here is that barack obama believes that the two-state solution is dying. and many of israel's own leaders believe it's dying. we now have two former israeli prime ministers, and two former top security officials, who have said that israel is on its way to being an apartheid state. you also have barack obama -- >> you also have donald trump's choice for israeli ambassador has said -- >> james -- james -- right, james mattis, in fact, also, talked, because you remember, israel, in the west bank, israel controls millions of palestinians who don't have the right to vote, live under military law, and are not citizens. if that's a permanent condition, it raises very serious questions about israeli democracy and many top israelis, not netanyahu, but others have said that. i don't think obama thinks he
can change it, but i think with an eye to his legacy, he wants to be on the record of at least having tried to put down some kind of marker to say i did not acquiesce to this. >> david, i want to ask you because you worked in ra number of administrations through both parties through severe crises. you often hear from donald trump since the election on taiwan policy, on russia policy, here on the middle east that, well, he'll shake it up and maybe that will work. it's been so intractable. in your experience, does that work in the field of international affairs, in the field of some of the biggest national security challenges this country and our allies and adversaries face? >> i just think we've never faced or brought in a president who is as unpredictable, volatile and impulsive as donald trump. i don't know how it's going to work out. i don't think anybody does. i must say the presidents who've been most successful in international affairs are those who have a strategic sense, a broad sense of where they're trying to go, what they're trying -- what their priorities
are and they stick to them and pursue them pretty relentlessly and that seems to work. we won the cold war in effect because we had a series of administrations who embraced the same strategy of containment toward the soviet union. ultimately that paid off. and i don't see that here. that's why i have this fear, i think peter was right on a lot of things he said, by the way, but i do have this fear, peter, that donald trump is going to be tempted now to go further over to prove his faithfulness to the israelis and make it much more difficult to get back to a two-state solution process which i do think is dying and needs to be pursued. >> final thought from you, peter, do you think that's a real danger, a backlash, in effect? >> well, look, even before obama did this, trump had already appointed david friedman who's kind of explicitly against the two-state solution and explicit settlement advocate. look, this game is moving outside of america. what's going to happen is for better or worse, there's going to be increasing mounting pressure on israel from europe and from other parts of the
world to try to respond to the fact that israel is creating a permanent one-state reality and it's important to remember that when israel builds settlements, it's not like this is unoccupied land. a lot of these settlements are built on privately owned palestinian land. the land is taken from palestinians because they lack basic rights as noncitizens. this is a serious human rights problem. >> but peter, this is one thing, i think -- >> final thought, david, because we are going to leave it. >> you got the western wall in here in this resolution as being -- >> no, but david -- >> held by the israelis. >> nobody thinks -- david, there's never -- there's been never any negotiation which contemplated the idea that israel would not have sovereignty over the western wall. that's not the discussion. the discussion is there going to be a viable palestinian state or not when israel massively subsidizes, pays israelis to move into the west bank? >> gentlemen, that right there is an encapsulation of the difficulty of this issue. peter beinart, david gergen. our conversation will continue, no question. just ahead, we'll take you
to coal country and talk to people who voted for donald trump on the promise of more jobs even though the outcome now leaves their health and finances actually more uncertain than ever. how mining families reconcile casting votes that could come back to actually hurt them. that's next on "a.c. 360." [vo] quickbooks introduces rodney.
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promises including bringing back jobs to coal country and repealing obamacare that won him the support of many coal miners, yet now they're worried their votes will end up hurting both their health and their finances. cnn's miguel marquez has this report. >> reporter: the coal-laden hills of eastern kentucky. >> we're going to bring the coal industry back. >> reporter: trump country. neil yonts, a democrat and coal miner for 35 years, initially supported hillary clinton. but -- >> i voted for trump. may be a mistake, but i heard him say he'd bring coal back. >> reporter: a mistake, maybe, because yonts now suffers from black lung disease. >> from there to here, my breathing -- >> reporter: he voted for trump to bring jobs back but now fears trump's promise to kill obamacare will also end his black lung benefits. >> when they eliminate the obamacare, they may just eliminate all the black lung
program. it may all be gone. don't matter how many years you got. >> reporter: three sentences in the affordable care act made it easier for victims of black lung to get monthly federal benefits if they worked 15 years or more in the mines. if they died, the benefits automatically extended to their widows. >> i will be drawing $643.42. >> reporter: once a month. >> once a month. >> reporter: patty amburgey just got her first payment. her husband, crawford, after 32 years in the mines, died in 2007. >> to say somebody you live with 45 years, to go from a vibrant man to a child is very hard. >> reporter: getting the payment can also be difficult. even with the law, it took her three years. now her black lung widow benefit along with social security and a
tiny $62 a month pension keeps her financially afloat. so this money is important to you. >> absolutely. absolutely. it's not a large amount, but it's enough to pay the bills. >> reporter: keeping up with the bills here for many, a lifetime struggle, so trump's full-throated promise of jobs was a powerful message. the unemployment rate in lester county 10.3%, more than twice the national. >> this area has seen a decline in the number of coal mining jobs in the last five years and those jobs tended to be high-paying jobs. >> reporter: stephen sanders represents miners applying for black lung benefits. as jobs have evaporated, he says, obamacare benefits more important than ever. >> president-elect trump promised people that he was going to restore mining jobs. i don't think he thought about what the affordable care act
might mean to miners who are applying for black lung benefits. >> reporter: linda adams' husband, tony, died three years ago. she's now applying for black lung widow benefits. you supported donald trump from this election. >> i did. i did. >> reporter: but if obamacare goes away? >> if obamacare goes away, i'm going to be in a world of depression. >> reporter: today adams devotes her life helping others apply for benefits she hopes will apply even if obamacare is abolished. her enormous expectations now squarely on president trump. >> if he don't come across like he promised, he's not going to be next time, not if i can help it. >> reporter: trump's future opposition already taking shape if jobs don't return and obamacare benefits vanish. miguel marquez, cnn, whitesburg, kentucky. when we come back, we're going to do our best tonight to highlight the joy that singer george michael brought to the world even as we mark his untimely passing on christmas day.
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goodbye, sugar. hello, new splenda naturals. tonight, fans are mourning the passing of british pop star, george michael, who died on christmas day at his home in england. apparently, his manager says, from heart failure. his death, though, unexpected. he was just 53 years old. more now from cnn's george howell. ♪ >> reporter: it's the song that had the world dancing. that hit, "wake me up before you go go." it was 1984 and they were the british duo known as wow. they had several top ten hits together, but really, it was george michael with that statement t-shirt, those moves
that quickly took the spotlight, sealing his fame with this chart-topping song, "careless whisper" ♪ ♪ >> michael split from band mate andrew ridgely i1986 and launched his own solo career, never looking back, but headed straight into his first big culture clash. >> the year was 1987. george michael looking the confident rock star, in a provocative video with an equally provocative title. the legendary casey kasem refused to say the title of the song on his top 40 radio show and some radio stations wouldn't even play the song until after dark. michael's lyrics bumped heads with not just conservative who is thought he'd gone too far,
but with a hollywood desperate to bring attention to the aids epidemic and the need for safe sex. michael would later say his lyrics were misunderstood. by the late 1980s, george michael was a bona fide superstar, garnering awards, hanging out with celebrities and royalty, and delivering more hits, like "father figure" ♪ >> reporter: and "one more try". ♪ ♪ >> it can be said the 1990s weren't quite as kind. april 7th, 1998, michael was arrested by an undercover male police officer charged with engaging in a lewd act at a park in beverly hills, california. it took no time for his arrest to become an international headline. on cnn, not long after the
arrest, michael confirmed what had long been rumored. he was gay. >> and i want people to know that i have not been exposed as a gay man in any way that i feel, um -- i don't feel any shame for -- i feel stupid and i feel reckless and weak for having allowed my sexuality to be exposed this way. but i don't feel any shame whatsoever. and neither do i think i should. >> reporter: in the years to come, there were more scuffles with the law, drug-related arrests, and a nasty car accident in 2010. michael was found to be driving under the influence of cannabis and went to jail. in 2011, he fell ill with a severe case of pneumonia and had to cancel his european tour. but there was always the music. ♪ the first time ever i saw your face ♪ >> reporter: george michael once said, i still believe that music
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born with hope. >> people were crying in the streets. >> and with crisis. >> fragile financial system. >> likely to get worse before it gets better. >> financial panic. >> we were hanging on the edge of a cliff. >> health care hysteria. >> why don't they take the health care being forced down our throats? >> two wars. mass shootings. >> a gunman opens fire. >> spray of bullets. >> the mass killing -- >> racial violence. >> if i had a son, he'd look like trayvon. >> this guy is a racist. >> but barack obama made some big bets that paid off. >> welcome home. >> troops came home. >> i'm so happy! >> gays got married. >> america has lived up to her promise of liberty and justice for all. >> enemies were vanquished. >> justice has been done. >> usa!