tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 19, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PST
good evening from washington where inauguration preparations have ramped up and the man at the center is about to reach another milestone. in the final two days before becoming president, president-elect trump landed tonight at national airport for a pair of dinners tonight, one for mike pence, the other for his cabinet. when he flies back to new york later it will be his last time for a while on his private boeing 757. he'll return tomorrow on an air force jet which will land at joint base andrews and after friday he'll be taking air force one. breaking news about his cabinet getting confirmed, as well as george h.w. and barbara bush both in the hospital tonight.
we begin with the outgoing 44th president and a milestone for him, his final press conference including new insight on his conversations with the president-elect, how he sees his role as a former president and the mission of a free press. >> i have enjoyed working with all of you. that of course does not mean i've enjoyed every story that you have filed but that's the point of this relationship. you're not supposed to be sycophants. you're supposed to be skeptics, supposed to ask me tough questions. you're not supposed to be complimentary, but you're supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power and make sure that we are accountable to the people who sent us here. and you have done that. and having you in this building has made this place work better. it keeps us honest. it makes us work harder. you have made us think about how we are doing what we do and whether or not we're able to deliver on what's been requested
by our constituents. but there's a difference between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where i think our core values may be at stake. i put in that category, if i saw systematic discrimination being ratified in some facts, i put in that category explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote, exercise their franchise. i'd put in that category institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press.
and for me, at least, i would put in that category efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are american kids, and send them someplace else when they love this country, they are our kids' friends and their classmates and are now entering into community colleges or in some cases serving in our military. the notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids when they didn't do anything wrong themselves i think would be something that would merit me speaking out. >> mr. obama at his last news conference.
as for what he thinks donald trump will actually do as president, here's some of what he said. >> it may be that on certain issues, once he comes into office and he looks at the complexities of how to in fact provide health care for everybody, something he says he wants to do, or wants to make sure that he is encouraging job creation and wage growth in this country, that that may lead him to some of the same conclusions that i arrived at once i got here. but i don't think we'll know until he has an actual chance to get sworn in and sit behind that desk. and i think a lot of his views are going to be shaped by his advisers, the people around him, which is why it's important to pay attention to these confirmation hearings. that's probably the most useful advice, the most constructive advice i've been able to give
him, that if you find yourself isolated because the process breaks down or if you're only hearing from people who agree with you on everything, or if you haven't created a process that's fact checking and probing and asking hard questions about policies or promises that you've made, that's when you start making mistakes. and as i indicated in some of my previous remarks, reality has a way of biting back if you're not paying attention to it. >> the president ended his talk with some thoughts about where he believes the country is headed and some reassurance. >> i believe in this country. i believe in the american people. i believe that people are more good than bad.
i believe tragic things happen. i think there's evil in the world. but i think that at the end of the day, if we work hard and if we're true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time. that's what this presidency has tried to be about. i think we're going to be okay. we just have to fight for it, work for it, and not take it for granted and i think you will help us do that. thank you very much, press corps. good luck. >> he had plenty more to say. here to talk about it all, john king, gloria borger, carl bernstein, keirsten powers, carl used to work for a local competitor, though i always forget the name of it. it's a newspaper. ben jones is here, former obama senior adviser. and jeffrey lord joins us as well. so does "the daily beast's" matt lewis. keirsten, seems like one of the big headlines out of that press conference is that president obama, when he is civilian
barack obama, he's not going to stay quiet when he believes what he talked about is the core values of america. >> i think that's huge, especially when you compare it to how george w. bush sort of went off into the sunset and we didn't really -- >> george w. bush said that president obama deserves his silence. >> yeah. and i think a lot of people, at least obama supporters and perhaps obama himself really appreciated that. so the difference is i think president obama is looking ahead and expecting there will be some things he'll need to speak out about, things he cares deeply about, and there is a real divide between him and donald trump. so it's interesting now he's still very much in president mode because he is president and saying we're going to be okay. it will be interesting to see what he says when he's not president. is he still going to be as positive? >> it's interesting. george w. bush could have said when president obama became president, well, when the core values of the second amendment are threatened i'm going to
speak up. and yet he didn't. he said he deserved silence. why doesn't donald trump deserve president obama's silence? >> it's very simple. because obama came in to fix things that w. broke. trump is coming in to break things that obama fixed. it's literally the exact opposite situation. w. horribly unpopular, passing off a broken economy, passing off two terrible wars, said obama deserves my silence. obama passing off a growing economy, passing off at least not two land wars, and frankly a country that under his leadership at least was wrestling with some of these issues around inclusion. trump coming in saying all that sucks, i'm going to break it. >> i'll let you respond.
>> of course we have been at war every day for the obama administration for all eight years. i think that breaks a presidential record. in seriousness, you know, i understand why both in the media and the country get fixated on the personality of a president, any president. but the fact of the matter is that underlying this all the time are issues, serious issues, that go on until the country feels they are resolved satisfactorily. so as presidents shift, the issues keep chugging along here. and it doesn't make any difference if you're shifting from washington to adams or bush to obama or obama to trump. the issues if you they're not solved keep going until the country feels they are solved. there's nothing new about this. and the former president, president obama, goes out and does that because he feels strongly about it, god bless him. i wish president bush had spoken up. >> i think there's a tale of two obamas. mostly today what we had is the nice obama, the type of peaceful transfer of power, i'm moderate, i'm responsible obama. i like that obama. there's also the obama who on
his way out the door commutes a sentence of chelsea manning. >> yay! >> jeopardizes lives and makes a lot of -- and you have to obama administration who did that thing with the u.n. resolution saying that israeli settlements are illegal. so on one hand it's the conciliatory obama, on the other hand the very partisan, rub it in your nose obama on the way out the door. which one will he be as an ex-president? >> also pointedly talked about the importance ever the press. >> i know. >> and not that he said he always liked the cover. >> there you go. >> but that was not in a vacuum? >> you think? first of all, i've never heard a president be so nice to the press in my entire -- no president of the united states loves the press. it's not our job to be loved by the president. i think he kind of laid it on a bit thick today because he was making the point that, yes, the
press room should be here, right in the white house and you're so important. i don't believe for a minute he doesn't believe these things, except he didn't like it when he got some bad press but he was making a point about us, which is that we are important. can i just say one other thing about george w. bush. he wanted to get out of here. he wanted to be done with politics. he wanted to go to the ranch and that was it. i don't think that's the way barack obama feels. he's going to be in washington. his daughter has got to finish high school. and i just think, you know, he's not done in some way, shape, or form. >> just watching that event today, it just brought into full life and view the conflicts, the mixed signals, paradox, call it what you will. he leaves office with a 60% approval rating. the election was ten weeks ago. the anti-obama is taking office. the guy who ran against different. different in personal style, how they communicate, different in the policies.
he's leaving with a 60% approval rating. if he's so popular, why did the american people do what they did? harry truman put health care on the table. it took 50 years. he's the democrat who got it, but it now is at risk. the first democrat since fdr to win two terms with 50-plus percent of the vote. and he leaves office, he can be proud of that fact in history. his party is decimated. the republicans control the senate and the house and most of governorships and i think most importantly the democrats lost a thousand seats at the state legislative level in the obama years. it went from democrats to republicans. those are your future state senator barack obamas, your future governors and congressmen. it's this paradox he is personally popular but in any election where he was not at the top of the ballot, his party got sank. >> part of the reason it's hard for him to go off into the sunset is it's probably what you're saying, there are not 20 other barack obamas who are ready to step up and lead this fight.
>> cory booker doesn't think that's true. >> not 20. at least 19 people not going to be mad at me. but there are not 20. what i think he's trying to signal to the anti-trump resistance is you're mostly on your own but there are some issues i will help you on. the right wing heard it differently. we heard it as you're mostly on your own but there are core issues i will fight for. >> i think there are much deeper things he was trying to get across here. first of all it goes to the nature of donald trump and how different a president he is than any in our history. and donald trump in his view is ready to decimate those core values. also, when it comes to the press, he is talking about the fact that, the sub rosea message here is that donald trump has already tried to make the conduct of the press the issue, will continue to do so, rather than the conduct of donald trump. same thing that richard nixon did. it is a very effective tactic and i think the president was
saying don't let this happen. also first of all i thought he had an enormous dignity today that we've seen throughout his presidency and it really goes with his territory, and part of it came -- i was very moved when he said about one of the reasons that trump won, and that was a whole bunch of folks who voted for the president-elect because they feel forgotten and disenfranchised as if they're being looked down upon and their kids aren't going to have the same opportunities they did. he was talking about white disenfranchised americans. it was a remarkable moment and one that i think had hillary clinton taken note of that, she might be president. >> more to talk about, more breaking news ahead including serious heat on capitol hill when senate democrats grilled four more of donald trump's cabinet picks today, took off the gloves. it got ugly at times. we'll show you that. and the condition of president george h.w. bush and barbara
bush, both hospitalized tonight. president bush in the icu. sanjay gupta will join us ahead. . that's how i feel about blue-emu pain relief spray. odorless and fast-acting. it soothes all my muscle aches and pains. and it's convenient for those hard to reach places. and if you're like me, you'll love blue-emu super strength cream. it's made with real emu oil, it's non greasy, it's a deep penetrating formula that works itself down into your joints. take it from me. it works fast and you won't stink. blue-emu, it works for me it'll work for you.
more breaking news tonight. another busy day on capitol hill, the senate holding confirmation hearings for four more president-elect trump nominees. the least controversial of the four, south carolina government nikki haley. democrats grilled them on a host of issues. for health and human services tom price, some questionable stock purchases. manu raju has more. >> reporter: president-elect donald trump's cabinet picks. on the democratic firing line in contentious hearings today. starting with his choice to lead the health and human services department. at issue, tom price's stock trade. while pushing legislation that could benefit those companies, including the medical device firm zimmer biomed. >> did you buy the stock and then introduce a bill that would be helpful to the companies you just bought stock in? >> the stock was bought by a directive by a broker making those decisions.
i wasn't making those decisions. >> because you decide not to tell them, wink wink nod nod and we're supposed to believe that? did you take additional actions after that date to advance your plan to help the company that you now own stock in? >> i'm offended by the insinuation, senator. >> price traded roughly $300,000 worth of shares in health care companies over the last four years. republicans came to his defense, calling the democrats hypocrites. >> this appears to be a hypocritical attack on your good character and i personally resent it because you've always disclosed. let me just say this, can you confirm that you have always followed the law relating to trading in stocks while serving as a member of congress? >> thank you, sir. everything we have done habibov -- have done has been above board, transparent, ethical, and legal. >> reporter: the battle overshadowed if he's confirmed
to the post, to repeal and replace obamacare. price said that replacing the law would take time. >> i think that for individuals -- the american people need to appreciate that the last thing we want to do is go from a democrat health care system to a republican health care system. >> reporter: three other trump nominees also faced tough questions from senators. including billionaire businessman wilbur ross to lead the commerce department. and oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt, to head the epa. >> as i've indicated, the climate is changing and -- >> you haven't told me why you think the climate is changing. >> senator, the job of an administrator is to carry out the statutes as passed by this body. >> i'm asking you a personal opinion. >> my personal opinion is immaterial. >> really. >> to the job of -- >> really? you are going to be the head of the agency to protect the environment and your personal feelings about whether climate change is caused by human activity and carbon emissions is
immaterial? >> reporter: he broke with the president-elect calling global warming a hoax. >> so donald trump is wrong? >> i do not believe child enticement change is a hoax. >> reporter: in south carolina, nikki haley's hearing to be u.s. ambassador to the united nations. she took a tougher line than trump on issues like russia. >> russia is trying to show their muscle. it is what they do. i think we always have to be cautious. i don't think we can trust them. >> manu raju joins us from capitol hill. questions about another of trump's nominees. >> mick mulvaney chosen by donald trump to be his budget director, acknowledging in a questionnaire to the senate he did not pay taxes on a household employee between 2000 and 2004, a transition source telling cnn that that was a babysitter looking after his triplets after they were born. democrats saying this was enough of a similar tax issue that
actually dogged the nominee tom daschle under barack obama in 2009 forcing him to pull out. they're saying it's time for mulvaney to pull out but trump's team is standing behind him. >> thanks. even as today's hearings were unfolding key players were taking stock of the damage done to trump's pick for education secretary betsy devos. perhaps one of the most controversial choices and the grilling she got in the senate has gotten a lot of attention including the grizzly bear moment. jeff zeleny tonight reports. >> reporter: betsy devos is a michigan billionaire, a vocal advocate of charter schools investing time and money trying to overhaul america's classrooms believing that tax dollars should be diverted from public schools in favor of school choice. >> time to shift the debate to from what the system thinks is best for kids to what moms and
dads want and deserve. >> reporter: republicans argue she's committed to reform but she was on the defensive from democrats who called her unfit for the job. senator elizabeth warren questioned her qualifications to oversee the student loan program. >> have you ever taken out a student loan from the federal government to help pay for college? >> i have not. >> have any of your children had to borrow money in order to go to college? >> they have been fortunate not to. >> reporter: under questioning she at times struck to her script. >> will you insist upon that equal accountability in any k-12 school or educational program? >> i support accountability. >> for all schools that receive federal funding? >> i support accountability. >> reporter: on protecting the civil rights of students with disabilities, devos said she favored local control, before being told it was a federal law to provide all children access to a public education. >> i may have confused it. >> reporter: trump aides believe she will ultimately be confirmed but two top republicans on capitol hill told cnn devos had a rough day and were surprised at how she was thrown off on basic questions.
one comment about grizzly bears and guns went viral. >> do you think guns have any place in and around schools? >> senator chris murphy pressed her about guns in public schools. >> you can't say definitively guns shouldn't be in schools? >> i will refer back to senator enzi and the school that he was talking about in wyoming. i think probably there i would imagine that there's probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies. >> reporter: she also faced questions about trump and his behavior toward women that surfaced during the campaign on that "access hollywood" tape. >> if this behavior, kissing and touching women and girls without their consent, happened in a school, would you consider it a sexual assault? >> yes. >> reporter: devos was trump's first nominee to sit for a confirmation hearing without completing a full review of
potential conflicts of interest. hers is still pending in part because her amway fortune estimated at $5 billion, is a complicated portfolio. senator bernie sanders zeroed in on her family's wealth and political contributions. >> would you be so kind as to tell us how much money your family has contributed to the republican party over the years? >> i wish i could give you that number. i don't know. >> i have heard the number was $200 million. does that sound in the ballpark? >> collectively between my entire family, that's possible. >> okay. >> jeff zeleny joins us. a new report about her serving on the board of a particular group. >> there is indeed. she was asked that at the hearing. the mothers family foundation that gave controversial contributions years ago. she said she was not involved in those decisions and it was a clerical error she was listed as the vice president. as it turns out she's provided more information to the committee, she was on this foundation board, the board of
directors for almost two decades here. so some senators, some democratic senators believe they were misled last night when she said it was a clerical error because it seems it was a long clerical error. the reality is it may not matter at all. republicans of course control the senate, democrats can raise questions about this. she has long relationships with republican senators and we should also point out the ideology here is different. democrats simply don't like her view of education. this has been a long running debate. donald trump is likely to get his cabinet nominee in betsy devos. >> thanks very much. you saw the opposition from democrats. coming up, new details about how they plan to try to stop or at least stall some of the nominations. and the 41st president george h.w. bush tonight in intensive care. dr. sanjay gupta will join us with the latest. as well as his wife barbara, who is also now in the hospital.
cabinet nominees. none has been confirmed but with two days before the inauguration, tonight new reporting about negotiations between democratic and republican lawmakers. phil mattingly has the latest. what about these negotiations? what are you learning? >> reporter: according to senate democratic and republican aides involved in negotiations they are intensive, fluid, and there's a recognition how important the end game here is for the president-elect's new team. here's the dynamics at play. democrats want concessions. you've seen the real possibility they set up roadblocks to trump's nominees. to his potential cabinet selections. republicans right now working behind the scenes to try and clear those away. in order to do that, democrats want something in return. right now they're asking for space. they want more time to consider the nominees, more opportunities to vet some of the nominees. there's been a lot of complaints about how fast this process has moved. as of now there is no resolution yet but this will go a long way to deciding not just who the president-elect who sits in the president-elect's cabinet but who sits in it from day one.
>> how realistic is it that democrats would be able to stop these nominees without help from republicans? it's not possible, right? >> i think that's right. that's the crux of the issue right now. democrats don't have a lot of leverage. they don't have a lot of power. what they're threatening is procedural roadblocks, making things take a lot longer than they should. what they're threatening, is not stopping a nominee cold, but keeping him or her out of the position for a long time. stopping up other initiatives and priorities for the president-elect and his team. that's the threat here and that's the leverage they've got. but anderson, you nailed it. democrats on their own can't block anything on their own. that's why you're seeing the posturing and rhetoric and these intense behind-the-scenes negotiations now on timeline. >> a lot of republicans are pointing to 2009 when seven obama cabinet nominees were confirmed. how likely is that this time around? >> reporter: confirmed on the first day. that's the metric when you talk to republicans.
publicly they say we expect the same thing this time around. here's kind of the reality and this is what's going on behind the scenes. there are three national security nominees that are expected to be approved on friday on that first day if negotiations continue to move along. secretary of defense james mattis, homeland security jon kelly and cia director michael pompeo. what is the wild card is who else could also get there. there are enough noncontroversial nominees to get the number up to five, six, or seven confirmed cabinet officials. the big question is do democrats get what they want in these negotiations to let that happen. as of tonight, they have not. we expect news coming soon. negotiations still very fluid. republicans want as many nominees as they can. they know that's a huge component of the success of at least the initial stages of president-elect trump's time in office. >> phil mattingly, thank you. back now with the panel. john, how much of these hearings are really just about
politicians pontificating, wanting a sound bite that gets played on their local news? >> there's some of that. all politics there's ego, local politics. but we also have a president-elect to who's never held elective office, taken positions outside the mainstream or the establishment. so it's very important. he took some positions in the campaign that are contradictory, changed his mind, nothing wrong with changing your mind, but he's about to be president. so it's very important to have these hearings. republican want answers as much as the democrats. but how many votes you get on this day, second round of questioning, the old "saturday night live" skit, chuck schumer is the new leader of the democrats, trying to prove himself to his people. mitch mcconnell has only a 52-48 majority. so he wants to give the democrats something so you don't get off to a toxic start in how all this plays out. but there's selective memory. talking about mulvaney
withdrawing because he has a tax problem, like dashel. president obama got fighter in, who had a bigger tax problem. geithner. happens every four years. bipartisan amnesia. >> one of the headlines is how few nominees have talked about major policy issues with donald trump. that to me was the most fascinating thing of all. >> it's stunning. you had rex tillerson saying he never had an in-depth conversation with the president-elect on russia. you had price who's being nominated for hhs saying he hadn't recently talked to the president about what he intends to do with social security, medicare, medicaid. no small topics. nikki haley saying they hadn't had the conversation about russia and china. my question is, is this about their own credibility or is this about giving donald trump some deniability when he says we never had that conversation and
here's how i feel about x, y, and z. you're smiling, jeffrey. >> machiavellian. >> maybe there's a strategy to this. i don't know. >> i think it's very concerning. i don't think they're ready. i don't think they're ready. and that's dangerous. i remember how hard the obama team worked to be ready on day one. we had a bunch of problems to solve. but it was a relentless sobriety about being ready. my concern is not partisan. i don't think they're ready. >> at the cabinet level. the concern you get from the agencies, the people in transition, is that the number two, the number three, the number four and the names nobody ever hears, the people who sit at the desk doing all the work. >> these are not picks that are managerial picks. if you wanted to run a large bureaucracy like the department of education and, you know, take care of student loans, you probably wouldn't pick betsy devos. these are picks that are about
reform and vision. so betsy devos is about a big idea, a big thing, school choice. >> another way to say it, it's about ideology over competence. >> that's one way to say it. >> can we talk about swamp for a minute? >> sessions is about law and order, price is about obamacare. i think what donald trump is trying to do is tackle some big things and i think these nominees are indicative of that. but i also agree with van. it would not surprise me if trump is able to accomplish a few big things and if there's a huge scandal because of -- >> let me ask you about this betsy devos grizzly bear moment. because that's getting obviously a lot of -- >> i don't think it's fair. the big problem with devos for the democrats is ideological. they have a really different point of view. people have latched on because they think it's funny. what she said is this is something that should be left to locales and states, a boilerplate conservative thing to say.
and in fact there is a school in wyoming that has a problem with grizzly bears. that's a true statement. whether it should be handled with guns or bear spray is a separate question. but her point it's a local issue isn't that crazy. >> right. she was referencing somebody else who had talked about it. >> carl? >> we have a president-elect of the united states who went to the voters and said i'm going to drain the swamp and what a lot of this stuff is about is the absolute unwillingness of the republicans to go anywhere near draining the swamp. they want to rush these things through, don't want these people properly vetted. what we see in a couple nominees is they're waist deep in big money. price, for instance. and they want to push them through. meanwhile, the great dismal swamp is trump's conflicts of interest that the republicans don't want to look at themselves. the greatest conflicts of interest absolutely unheard of for a president of the united states. if hillary clinton had them, she'd be hauled up for hearings tomorrow.
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the nation prepares for the inauguration. attention is focused on the 41st president george h.w. bush and his wife. former president bush was admitted to the intensive care unit at houston methodist hospital. today his wife was admitted to the same hospital as a precaution. we're joined by phone by the bush family spokesman jim mcgrath. can you tell us how former president bush and mrs. bush are doing? >> thanks, anderson. happily, the news this evening is they're both on an upswing. president bush in particular had a rough morning, mrs. bush did for that matter as well, and -- but houston methodist, best doctors, best nurses in the world, they're getting the best care and they were able to certainly treat what was ailing the president this morning, successful procedure, and now he's in stable condition. they're going to keep him in the
icu for some observation. mrs. bush woke up this morning not feeling so hot, persistent cough and just general fatigue, so she also went down to methodist. she's resting comfortably. and i think she's on probably a quicker glide path to discharge. they're encouraged by what they found. it's not great to have a 91 and 92-year-old in the hospital, but they're fighters and there's not a lot of money to be made betting against george and barbara bush. >> certainly incredibly strong and tough. the former president, how long has he been suffering from pneumonia? >> he was admitted on saturday, anderson, with a shortness of breath. but he responded initially very well to the treatments. in fact, if we were having this conversation 24 hours ago he would have told you and i would have told you he was going to be discharged on thursday or friday. it's the complication that arose
this morning, pneumonia related, that kind of set us back here. but again, the team at methodist was able to address it quickly and successfully and so, you know, we're going to hope that the medicines continue to do their job. but it's a wait and see game and we'll take it day by day. we won't talk about discharge until they're fully on the mend. >> just to be clear, president bush is in the icu still. >> he is, yeah. >> okay. mr. mcgrath, our thoughts are certainly with both bushes and the entire family. please pass that along. thank you for talking with us. we appreciate it. >> most kind, anderson. thank you. >> our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta joins us with cnn special correspondent jamie gangel. in terms of what they're facing, sanjay, how serious is this? >> given his age and the fact this is pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs, that's different than a bronchitis, for example, which is inflammation of the air ways that lead to the
lungs -- >> bronchitis can lead to pneumonia? >> it can but they're different things. pneumonia obviously more serious. 92 years old, you and i have talked about this, you don't measure age in years always, but 92, his immune system is clearly going to be weaker. jamie and i talked about he had not previously been intubated, put on a breathing machine for pneumonia. he's had it in the past but never needed a breathing machine. cautiously optimistic. >> in terms of mrs. bush, how common is it for somebody to be hospitalized out of precaution? >> it sounds like there probably was enough -- you know, when they say out-precaution, probably a combination of enough to be hospitalized, she could be at home but it's safer in certain situations again because of her age. she's 91 years old. sounds like she has bronchitis-type symptoms, different from pneumonia. shortness of breath. you're 91, you want to make sure
they're closely monitored. >> jamie, you've been talking to sources and to family, what are you hearing? >> two things. just to confirm, she was diagnosed with bronchitis not pneumonia. so that's a good thing. the other thing is i think he gave everyone quite a scare this morning because i think he was having trouble breathing. they couldn't stabilize it, and it led to the intubation. that said, when he comes back from these things, sense of humor comes back. he's alert, conscious, he'll be in intensive care for a while. but i am told he had a video get-well message from none other than suzanne somers, and when he heard about it, his eyes lit up. >> really. a big fan of her? >> he is now. classic bush 41. that sense of humor comes back.
>> very sweet. >> right away. but look, in 2012, he was in the hospital for two months with this kind of infection. and so this raises alarm bells. people were very worried. he had another incident in 2014. but i saw him several times this summer and he was in fabulous shape. he was smart, alert, absolutely -- he said to me, jamie, i'm going to live to be 104. so, you know, this is a setback, but he's dealt with these, you know, challenges before. >> he's a fighter, no doubt about it. thank you so much. up next, inside a shocked obama white house the day after donald trump won its presidency, something you will not see anywhere else. be right back.
here is press secretary josh ernest talking about speaking for the president after donald trump had won the election. >> this is the white house where reporters are gathered and everyone is here. >> we are all waiting to find out what will be said. what will be said publicly. >> the first couple of days after the election other than the statement that the president delivered in the rose garden, that was basically the only democrat in the country who was out publicly answering questions. and that's the nature of the job. but all of the questions centered on the painful outcome of the election. >> i know it has been less than 24 hours, obviously the trump message resonated with the majority of the voters. what happened last night? >> does the president feel that the results were some sort of rejection of him? this is now real. surely the president must have some real concerns right now. >> listen, i want to be real clear about this. the election is over, the
briefings were difficult for me. and my staff. this isn't just a job, a 9:00 to 5:00 gig to pay the mortgage. a lot of the work is something people feel called to do. >> what are you suggesting? >> this is progress made over the last eight years. >> okay. served as white house communications director. now a political commentator. david axelrod has served in a variety of capacities, he's currently our senior political commentator and host of the x-files podcast. i'm sure you both relate to what he was saying. sure you both relate to what he is saying, the sense of it being a calling. whether you are serving, republican or democratic
administration, i think the feeling for many in the white house has got to be the same. >> yeah, no i think so. we certainly felt it. that was a big ethic of obama campaign. you know he said, in his farewell address, that he urged young people to hitch themselves off to something larger than themselves. that's the way, everyone felt. that you were there, it was a calling. and so, there is, there is a real seriousness about this. >> as this new administration faces the beginning, i moon you -- i mean, how do you transition from a campaign to governing? and what is that transition like? >> it is really hard. and presidential campaigns are challenging things. governing is ten times harder. right, aa ball in a campaign. major league fastballs in the white house. it will be a real challenge. the first few months and years were the hardest. the pace was the fastest. >> governing is harder there are more moving parts. >> mr. moving parts. -- there are moving parts. the things you say matter, right? like what the press secretary says the podium can make the market drop, start international incident. campaigns are, they're hard and challenging but different. the stakes matter. you feel that the day you walk in the building. >> when we entered office, we were in the midst of the raging economic crisis, we had 180,000 troops in afghanistan, iraq.
and, so, you didn't need any reminders about the stakes that you were dealing with. >> you know we heard on capitol hill from a bunch of the donald trump nominees that they haven't had substantive or serious in-depth discussions on major policy issues with the president-elect. does that surprise you? i mean, go back to the obama transition. had his candidates for, his nominees, had major policy discussions? >> i think the interviews with the nominees were substantive discussions of issues. i sat -- my office was right outside of his in the transition headquarters. people would go in, and they would come out quite a while later. and he would come out and review these discussions. so, yes. there were deep policy discussions before he made those decisions. so it is unusual. >> and in terms, obviously the obvious question, sort of the legacy of barack obama and it is probably too soon to tell and takes history decades to assess
a president. but how much of president obama's legacy is vulnerable, is at stake, depending on what donald trump decides to do? >> well i think some of the >> well i think some of the substantive accomplishments the president hoped would be here fur to eight years and decades are going to be something the democrats will have to fight about next few years. in the history books over time. people look at what he did to save the economy. how he inspired young people. i think that is going to stand the test of time. it will be up to historians years from now to write that. i feel confident he will be held in high regard. >> i also think there is this sense that somehow, all of these accomplishments will be reversed. the fact is the debate is much different now because of what barack obama did. even on this health care debate, the discussion, of course we are going to cover these 20 million people. of course we are going to cover people with pre-existing conditions. >> a few years ago. >> that would not have been the discussion. that's true on climate change. renewable energy. and fuel efficiency standards and whole range of things that
will never go back. certainly gay rights will never go back. i mean there are a whole range of thing that happen in this administration. that have changed this country in ways that, that won't be changed in four years or in -- in the future. >> when you heard president obama today talking about not remaining silent when he believes core values of america are being threatened. did that -- what do you think that actually means? logistically? >> i think he is deeply concerned about democracy. and when he thinks that there are fundamental democratic principles at stake, that go to discrimination, free press, so on, he's going to speak out. but it also means he is not going to involve himself in day-to-day policy debates. and people expect him to be the point of the spear on those things. should not expect that. >> it wouldn't be good for the country or democratic party in the long run for him not to give, to give the stage to the next generation, to start making a name for themselves and sort of be the point of spear. >> which is the concern about the -- the losses, the democratic party faced in state
houses, sort of the bench is not as deep as it might have been. >> the people will have to emerge. that's part of what he has been saying as well. >> yeah, david, dan, thank you very much. that does it for us. thank you for watching. "early start" begins now. donald trump one day away from assuming the oval office. final preparations behind us as trump rounds out his cabinet. we are live in washington. growing ethics questions surrounding the top cabinet picks. can democrats block these nominations? and president obama meets the media for the last time as commander in chief. we will tell you his advice to the incoming administration. welcome to "early start." pre-inauguration edition from washington. i'm christine romans. i'm john berman. thursd,