tv After Words CSPAN January 11, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm EST
stores this coming weeks and watch for the authors in the near future a booktv and on booktv.org. >> up next on booktv, "after words" with guest host dan balz chief correspondent for the "washington post." this week "meet the press" moderator chuck todd and his book "the stranger: barack obama in the white house." ended he argues the president is ineffective for several reasons, among them he says the refusal to reach out to congress and a lack of managerial experience. this program is about one hour. of. >> host: chuck todd, welcome to c-span. we've been on opposite sides of the table before as you've always us questioned in the past so this is my turn. >> guest: looking forward to it. >> host: the book is "the stranger: barack obama in the white house." first question, the obvious question, why the title? >> guest: i was trying to get in something about the book addicted he was an outsider, there's a part and that is a
political loner in some form and they think he was that as a badge of honor at some point in his political career. also to sort of i think it answers the question why has he struggled running washington? ultimately it wasn't a greater washington which is why people gravitated toward them. but i think as, here we are your sixth, getting intercepted this is to try to figure out i hope that i know people understand why has he struggled to run washington. he's a strange creature to washington and vice versa. washington treats them as a stranger. >> host: we'll talk about us throughout the hour but do you think is as much of a stranger today as when he first came here? >> guest: in some ways with some people yes. i think that came through when you saw him struggle just to get a small slice of the minority of his own party to sign off on a budget deal that he negotiated.
and the immediate reaction from members of congress in his own party, i didn't know he had my phone number. i think that reputation is certainly there. i certainly don't believe he he thinks he knows how this town runs. and i think he doesn't come in some ways i don't think he cares that he's been told he's not running it well. in many ways as he feels washington was broken before he got here, yes. i think he's upset that he wasn't able to quote-unquote fix washington but in my just tried to operate around it. >> host: a practical question. you are currently the host and moderator of "meet the press." were a number of years you had a daily program on msnbc, political director for msnbc and for the summer the chief white house correspondent. how did you manage to find time to write a substantial, serious analysis of this president transferring part of it is i'm two years late in their minds
they thought this book was coming out, the one point that i was going to be the december before the reelection. they thought december 2011. so there's that aspect. i had very good writing and research department. part of it is it was the luxury of television. i think i could not have done this in your job i could not have done this as a print reporter in some ways because, or even in my old job as a hotline because the little stuff that i pick up along the way one of the reviews i got in some ways almost called it output in a positive way charlie cook, it struck at some point as stubby couldn't get on air all the time and he wanted to complete the story. there is part of that with television that you don't feel like get to put everything you learn on the air. it fit. i can't explain it.
it wasn't a burden. it just sort of fit your i might not have felt as if i needed this as an outlet if i were a print reporter. >> host: to what extent did this project changed over the time you were doing it come in what ways? >> guest: it changed a lot. i mean, i thought at the beginning his relationship with hillary clinton would be a bigger part of this book. that wasn't the case. i certainly, you don't expect a third of the to end up on health care but it kept coming back. i didn't expect a lot of it to be a foreign policy. sometimes it's some of the issues, but i thought that there would be i think the biggest thing is the hillary clinton relationship. if i were disappointing that i thought would be more dramatic, and it really isn't there, i have some pointed as to why. i think that's the big aspect. >> host: i want to get to hillary clinton later when we
talk about the president and there is of the people, but i wonder, what were the biggest challenges of trying to assess the presidency in real-time? i had an editor some years ago who said, you can't write the beginning of a store in plano the end of the story. you are obviously not ever going to know the end of this story unless you are in years past your deadline. >> guest: to be honest, that was part of a challenge. my publisher was pushing me and i would push back. i did not want this book out before the midterms. i thought at a minimum it had to be after, basically after your sixth year is over. because i think the new start at the beginning. i remember feeling the same way on this question when robert draper was sort of the first one out of the box if you recall he wrote dead certain about george w. bush and it was in your six about the same time. i remember thinking the same
thing. but if you look historically presidencies don't change much after year six. incirlik okay, how was going to end? maybe an event or two may change something, but for the most part what the presidency was in the sixers is what the presidency is going to be remembered for. i also don't pretend it's exhausted. i do think in 10 years from now there might be more on the economy in in here. 10 years from now might be more of a foreign policy but for all i know. might be more of a race book. we don't fully know. i look at it this way. is what you an idea but it is the first draft of history i was only attempting to write a second draft. i'm not pretending it's a final draft. so i think as a work in progress and look i think i'd like this at the beginning, there's every chance that his struggles to run washington and to work with
congress on a footnote in 50 years, or there's a thing that defined his presidency. right now it defines a but we are in real-time. i think that's the danger providing in real-time is that, certainly some of the criticism i've gotten, that's where they have gone. if i were a critic, i would bring that question up too. but i feel comfortable enough that at least we know politically in real-time what this presidency has been about. >> host: one of the things that intrigue me as i was reading through this book is there are moments in us and just out of the narrative and provide a kind of chuck todd tutorial about how washington works. how did that come about? what were you trying to do with that? was that deliberate or is this the way it happened? >> guest: honestly it's the way it happened. you just are writing. i found myself i miss writing. i'm not as prolific as you are today as a newspaper writer but i wrote a lot.
so sometimes i did find myself, but i also believed this was a look that's important to include because if a reader wants to understand the prison with which i am judging them or looking at him or profiling him, then they need to understand how i view the system working here or a system that doesn't work there. so i do think it provides the context to help the reader understand the prism with which i am examining or analyzing president obama. >> host: people get a lot of the specifics you do within the book let me ask the obvious question. and that that is how to sum up the president's legacy at the end of year six, knowing it's not necessarily a definitive judgment country i go back to check? >> guest: i go back and i say the big idea of barack obama was the guy who is going to get rid of the polarization, the guy who's going to change our politics, the guy who was going
to take us out of this red and blue. we are as red and blue as we've ever been before. he wasn't able to do that. there is an argument that says certain circumstances did allow the this is not the presidency that is going to have. on september 15, 2008 his presidency way that is going to do and what it became, at least in the six-month, two different things. as rahm emanuel argue, saying hey, this was thrust upon him this is no time to change washington. we had to save the american economy. that's all well and good but the great promise of barack obama was that. that is something that some people say i harp on it too much but that to me is sort of that was the hope and change. that was to turn the page. i was all like it. on that score i think he is failed and he hasn't, when i say he has not lived up to his great
promise. as the president, as the commander-in-chief, as somebody who implemented the economic recovery, which i think over time is going to look better and better for him health care is a total, you know, does it ever get fully implemented? that's something i think that's still an open question to ultimately his legacy will be judged on health care more than anything else because it consumes the presidency. >> host: here's an unanswerable question but i suspect what you thought about. if we did not have economic collapse we had in september 2008 with that have allowed him to make more progress on bringing washington together? as you know, victory was things are so bad republicans and democrats would be forced to work together? >> guest: you are right it is unanswerable but i fully believe it. i fully believe that, i fully believe he would have the mandate would have been anti-whatever it is mandate as
fat. of which is, it's about bringing washington together. without the economic collapse you go through these areas what is the he doesn't have -- what would life have been -- this is my, the wargame i always want to do is what would his relationship with heavy with republicans if he always needed six to 10 to the with them from the very beginning? he didn't need them after. the republicans didn't have to work within either. people forget that, it's a two-way street. they have the luxury of seeing those guys can run everything they don't need a vote. any of the luxury of saying i don't really need to deal with you either. how would that have changed things? without the economic collapse it's probably 54-55 u.s. senators rather than none. that are all sorts of ways it would've changed in that first year. >> host: in this book you
develop in essence a series of case studies to measure his presidency. stimulus package, health care afghanistan, the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," era spring, so on and so forth. which of all of these do you think represents the best of obama's leadership style and which one do you think highlights the limitations? >> guest: i think arab spring does both and i'll get to that enemy. i think "don't ask don't tell" was the best. this was a case study when you look at "don't ask, don't tell," and really what i think was two months of his best to much ever worked with congress turned out to be right after the first shellacking. it is ironic but when you look at 2010 from november to january, that was as focused of a white house. they had a game plan on how to do everything. they didn't allow congressional democrats to bully the but it's the first time they told them put them in a place at the same time. they just had a plan to go about
whether it was putting joe biden on the tax cut, let's get out of that jam that we have to do the bush tax cuts when he decided to punt them for two years. then there was the "don't ask, don't tell." "don't ask, don't tell," you say which one "don't ask, don't tell" is in part of that in the fact they never quit. they were relentless about it anyway that you would say why -- after the points. >> host: why did that would work out the way it did? why would as focused on that? why was it that they had a plan that certainly predated the losses in the midterm? >> guest: they did and they had a plan. i think it was they were helped by the fact that was an inevitability about it. sort of in the pentagon which help. i think that there was certainly public opinion was in their favor on this one a little bit. the republican party didn't win on a. i think it was one of those things they don't like it could go off the radar in many ways
they did under the radar when you think about how we ended up with "don't ask, don't tell." i was new at covering washington but it was talk about something that consumed the first year of the clinton presidency. you could argue that was a bigger problem for him. >> host: and quite unexpectedly just a totally out of nowhere for bill clinton and set the table for what was a disastrous first 18 months for him. it was getting caught, of all things like you never come anyways public shocked you were caught up in that. he got caught up in it. for the president to so easily do but in hindsight it was weird, you know some other stuff i wrote over a five or six year period. the "don't ask, don't tell" chapter was two years ago and you're editing it and you're going back and looking at it and seem so arcane at the time. look at where we've gone on marriage equality since then and, but i still felt it was an
important story because it was the one time they didn't give up and to look for ways. the head scratching is a why didn't have that same mindset, that same strategic come and to think part of it and one person who owned it jim messina and was told to go make this work. he understood how congress works. they found republicans is going to work with them. there's some things fell into place, but they worked hard. it makes you wonder why didn't they always have these strategies like this? >> host: which the flipside? was the one that points out how he is not in an effective leader? is there one standout in out in your mind? >> guest: the are a couple. look, i think he set the tone early on and i think, i make a bigger deal out of it than most. when he went ahead and signed a spending bill. it was a leftover spending bill from the bush era, democrats
wrote it. and they decide to hold it for the democratic president to a new they're going to get a democratic president and so they said we can wait, we can wait. it was loaded up with earmarks, loaded up the -- >> host: 9000 earmarks. >> guest: to me this was the first test of washington versus obama, what was he going to do. the chicago campaign types, guys who want them to stick to his guns, you said you're not going to ever send budgets with earmarks in them. why don't you veto it? in a message to washington hands said don't make that chairman matt. don't raise the ire of nancy pelosi or it will make it that much harder to do your agenda laid. i think it was reminder that obama is much more pragmatic than some of his supporters realize. this is a guy who is very cautious and careful individual. his image was enough change
sometimes and that's what begin so he would push the novel a little bit and pull back. i think it's set a poor you know, it set a precedent into with congressional democrats. >> host: do think it's fundamental he changed perceptions of the presidency? >> guest: i think it's a little bit. we don't realize it in the moment but a few details that think about what that looks like. he vetoed a democratic bill to he is automatically seen as an independent actor in washington. republicans would be forced to say nice things about him in some ways in the way this town works. i don't want to use this word triangulate, but politically ideologically, there's ideological triangulation but it would have put him he believes to this day that that is the honest broker in the negotiating room. but he's not viewed that way by
his lyrical adversaries. i think this would have sent a better. i think he could've been the equivalent of firing -- the air traffic controllers to reagan. the idea that democrats were going to summer shutdown over it i think -- >> host: right, part of the argument can be if you do this they will poison on relationships with the democrats, and the rest of your agenda will be at risk, particularly health care. >> guest: trickle down and i think it empowered congressional democrats. hindsight, allowing congressional democrats to control the timetable in the legislation on health care. you know, put it this way dodd-frank, they learned. they wrote dodd-frank. part of it is because many people in the treasured for don't think it was only path for senators who understood that regulatory system for wall street had the ability to do. they felt like they had to do
it. part of the reason why they're so aggressive at writing dodd-frank is a realized that they couldn't let it get bogged down. they didn't have time to. >> host: to what extent do they have a plan to get health care through and how do they have to adapt as they ran into more and more problems? >> guest: they had a political plan and i think very good one that totally, i call it the butterfly effect. tom daschle not getting confirmed as health and human services secretary was the butterfly effect of health care reform. former senate majority leader. he was going to get an unprecedented cabinet post don't have an office in the west wing. he was going to be both set to hhs and in charge of the office on health care policy. >> host: what's the significance of an office in the west wing? >> guest: for a cabinet officer if you have an office in the west wing then you have access to the president, to the chief of staff in the way that
no cabinet secretary has that. if you just look at ask ask suggested clinton whether she had more influence as secretary of state or whether the national security advisor whose office is in the west wing, has more influence. as any city secretary of state that is living right now and they will say the national security advisor can be the last word. you get to be the last word. you can pull somebody aside. there's just intangibles. you are there all the time. look, i worked work in washington. all my bosses are in new york. sometimes you've got to be seen to be seen. if you want to work in any come is like imagine working at the "washington post" had a beer outside of washington. much harder to extend the intro dynamics of how the editorial process works. he would have been in the middle of that. >> host: you have a former senate majority leader.
does he lose olympia snowe? >> guest: former maine senator who was somebody who wanted to work is able to get max baucus was then chairman of the senate finance committee in many ways was slowing down the process because he was desperate to have a bipartisan senate finance committee bill? there are so many ways that this would've managed to fully. instead they panic. they have to find some of the kathleen sebelius certain qualified to run hp chess but she did not washington political skills. she just hadn't been here. -- to run hhs. they had a great plan, it gets upended because he can't get confirmed over a tax issue. they abandoned the idea of having a ceo of health care. it's essentially what they're doing to we are going to put ceo of health care reform. if you look at every problem they ran into from getting the legislation passed to getting it written to implementing, the
problem was no one person was accountable. and yet their initial plan, so they have derided it and then they abandoned it i would argue to quickly. >> host: what conclusion do you draw about the debate that went on at this point that whether to go big or go small get what you can't do not blow up the system and try to get the big comprehensive bill of? >> guest: look, politically understand the rahm emanuel argument, the chuck schumer argument which is, rahm emanuel was arguing he was the man argued for health insurance reform. to this as a small slice at a time to this is too big with the economy where it is. chuck schumer has made it very public how he feels about this very recently being number three in the u.s. senate. but if you look at the history of the modern presidential right now, and i say modern, go back the last 50 years most of the accomplishments, the big accomplishments and their own agenda happen in the first two years and the rest of the six
our managing events in some form or another our managing their own problem. if you look at it from a historical perspective, they were right to do whatever it took. i think the lesson a new president is going to have come at a think could be the wrong lesson short term because i think, is if you look at obama's success in getting health care by pillar ii to immigration to go to cap-and-trade, failure to do some of these other things, then they're going to look back and say, i should have done thrown more at the system the first two years to you only get two years to govern. you only get two years to get your agenda through. that could be how future presidents, what they take from, look at bush, you have a body of work of obama bush clinton and go back to reagan. he did get taxi from in the last two years but we can go back to lbj. it's amazing you basically get a smaller window to push your own agenda in hindsight i think
of barack obama. i should've been immigration early, i should've been cap-and-trade early, you know. overload the system and not have been afraid to overload the system. >> host: you write at one point that oil spill in the gulf is a quote fascinating lesson in what obama is and isn't as alluded what do you mean by that? >> guest: the product is a success. the oil spill got cleaned up. bp paid, not the american taxpayer. the gulf, we are still trying to measure what's, it's remarkable where the oil went. so job well done. what we learned is he doesn't do theatrics from the. there's a great early story where people are angry and, look, you know these guys down in louisiana. there's a really colorful politicians who aren't afraid of a tv camera perhaps maybe even seek out the tv cameras.
member all the different parishes have their own guy who aren't afraid of the press. they were dominating the narrative, dominate the storyline and they were looking and great at looking at where's a cowboy? what is be be doing? where's the federal government? it's grandstanding. this present were i say he is the least political, personally politically guy with after of separate political from a ideological. that's a separate conversation, but he's not a political animal in that respect. so robert gibbs at one point goes to him and says, mr. president, you need to look angry about the oil spill. you need to show some anger. a perfectly rational human response. i always these are irrational and very different from some of these -- and he says it's not going to clean up any oil but it will buy you some time and space
and it will get these guys off my back, referring to us. so the president got out there and he doesn't get angry very well. we all know when he is faking it a little bit but he did his best and he bought all a bit of political time but he had all hands on deck. they avoid it being a political, not only is it a political problem it did come the oil does. and this. as a potential -- it could've been -- >> host: it didn't look like as this is going to be the case in the middle of it. >> guest: it's a case study of it was, the federal government managed this very well too well. steven chu, energy secretary the pentagon how to get a camera down there which they dashed when needed. problem was getting 50 to all of us in television where people could see the oil spewing out everyday and it was a good reminder to so he handles it but their pr management with just a mess. i think part of it is that he's not instinctually he said this
to me in the last interview i had with it, i don't do theater very well. james foley he is a compartmentalize or, extraordinary. i think part of it is his upbringing. you and i don't have argued and i don't know what it's like to grow up african-american and have somebody did you by the color of your skin in this country, and he did. he had to learn to compartmentalize anyways that many presidents have. it's a unique skill. sometimes that doesn't, they can mess up perception. >> host: as you said there's a lot of foreign policy in this book. i want to talk about two things. first afghanistan. consumed a considerable amount of time during the first year he was in office. walked us through how he approached that, what it tells
us about his come again his leadership style the approach is take two big issues and also what lessons he took away from it. >> guest: it's interesting when you look at we came in and the recognition when he started coming to look at china a nine-month process of deciding how to fix the quote-unquote good war, and the reason i put that in quotes easy and so-called iraq had done more which always meant to afghanistan in his mind what he was sort of leading people to believe that he's not antiwar he's just anti-iraq war post by can i interject one question on that? do you think that was genuine or you think that was some political cover in 2008 because they want people to think he was a pacifist? >> guest: i would more cynical and assume that it was a political decision except for how he pitched himself as you lower approach, unafraid to go into pakistan and get an operative. it became a big deal at the time
the mobile independent do just that to get osama bin laden. so i think he did have a theory of the case when he was countable using military power and when he was comfortable acting in a lateral as commander-in-chief. i think he was not an antiwar guy. i really believe that. i think he is a cautious guy with the use of military but i think he is not fully antiwar and they think he is proven that. with afghanistan i do think it's sort of like the new there was an expectation, certainly by the military leaders, you basically campaign saying we were losing this war and you will provide all the resources we need for afghanistan. ..
this is daschle never made a general who thinks they have enough troops when they are running a war. though, i think that was a frustration for him. the lack that he couldn't get the pentagon to take seriously the idea of what if i told you i'm only going to give you 25,000 troops. come up with a strategy that would only as 25,000 troops. >> i ask for options than you give me one option. >> the same option. there is a sense in that box the president a b. and c. and they
are all versions of the same option and not how it looks like the president was getting for the pentagon. hundred 40,000 troops. he felt boxed in by military leaders. some of it was accidental. former chairman of the joint chiefs, mike mullen admit we did not fermanagh never intended to. he does eventually basically gives them a crystal user and the afghanistan war at that point before you get fired for the president, he gives them what he wants. but he does get to do one thing. of course now that inundate him. that sets in and day what she wanted to send a message to the pentagon look you are not going to tell me everything. you are getting your way but i am going to have to innovate. >> host: is that your belief
that setting was as much aimed at the pentagon as kind of the democratic space? >> he was elected to wind down all the wars in to finish the new norm on how to do it counterterrorism. that's one of the man if he got elected to end it took them so long to come around on isis and iraq because it's almost as if he's breaking promise that he was elected to do. i think what he took away from it and the relationship at the pentagon is he has done more and more to distance -- almost distance himself for the pentagon or find new leadership. the chuck hagel, the whole point of that is not that he wanted a
weak secretary of defense and it's clear he felt like he had more influence. it feels as if the pentagon just was always fighting them. >> host: each one of the previous three has had criticisms about relationships with the white house, some directly critical of the president himself. does this say something about the president's lack of understanding of what that relationship would be for the pentagon is such a large entity that is hard for any president to have command of that despite being commander-in-chief. >> guest: i think it allowed her. it's very hard to manage that building, especially when you're an active conflict. to his credit he wherewith somebody who's not known as an obama guy. this is a guy who cut his teeth
on clinton and bob gates who certainly was very critical of some of the president decisions and how he managed the pentagon but the inner circle is to wait inside and knows that building inside and out. but i do think it's an acknowledgment of president obama bringing in a chuck hagel, an outsider like this. >> i think the pic of ash carter is an acknowledgment that bob gates is a type of person you need running the pentagon. someone who i call a super staffer someone who's been a super staffer. >> host: i had forgotten until i read the book that he was a crushing from you that prompted the redline, and on syria. walk me through that. the question i have is was very
bigger foreign policy in the state that the president made or was this the biggest? >> guest: to management of the arab spring will be the most debated part of the foreign policy going forward because it's not for this, if not for this. i mean, i had a former democratic president who said pushing out mubarak, essentially telling protesters we are with you. pushing gadhafi, telling libyan protesters, we are with you. selling country and sending the message to protesters of any regime that america is going to be there for you. were there for the egyptians, libyans, syrians. you cannot look at the decision to strike at that time dealing with assad rhetorically without
ending the decision process of libya because i think they all sent a message, one to the other and the entire region. i think that part of this is going to be you back in hindsight. you know it's interesting and i change the premise of your question. what to do your spring a little bit because i think that president clinton or president mccain would not have publicly pushed mubarak al. i convinced especially the more i learned about the debate when you basically had joe biden old washington hands people in a way that barack obama didn't feel, maybe didn't have the sense of the long-standing personal relationship sameness is a necessary autocrat you have to deal with sometimes. >> host: who was on the other
side? >> guest: the other side was the young guns. by the way, the people that were still there. hillary clinton is mayor bob gates and the quote, unquote old guard. it was inevitable that in the united states. no one said this was an easy decision. it was a long-standing ally and you have the idea that america has been criticized over the years for standing behind totalitarian regimes at the expense of those who want democracy and freedom. so barack obama i think in hindsight, it turned out that this was more of a domino effect they maybe even she saw for anyone producing coming. so would things be different in the middle east? had he not done that quite could have been worse because mubarak might have thought harder?
or mubarak had left on his own without the united states being involved is much. there's a lot of ways where it is what it is. so that takes us to see rehab pizza go back to the original question when did he draw the red line. the day after todd akin missouri candidate if they are being truly raped and it became this just electrifying moment in the campaign and the obama campaign saw an opportunity to the romney in a corner a little bit and the republican party out of the mainstream. so the white house is looking for a way to talk about it without looking like an impromptu press conference.
this statement was something to report about the economy. lo and behold it untimely. the foreign policy was sort of you know these things in press conferences. i always feel like i'm not out there looking for chuck todd. and looking for all of us reporting. what issues have only touched on. let's do foreign policy here and ask about the chemical weapons. any use of it would be a redline. never use the phrase. used it twice. and i think he himself, what does he collect? he doesn't necessarily say he should have bombed syria, but he does admit how they handled it.
we could have gotten the theater right on those things. but you cannot but wonder would isis be bogged down in fearing civil war that would create to be more stable but stable and help overthrow assad sooner. it's a noble goal. >> host: terrible what it is. who are we to work on this? you can't do it. every state has a reaction. >> host: i would like to ask you about the president and various people who have been around him are that he dealt with if i would like to start with hillary clinton. he said you anticipated when he started this book there would be more. what is the relationship between the president and hillary rodham clinton? >> guest: personally a lot better than people realize. this'll be found in that i have
the impression they are more like as politicians and friends of hillary and bill are. they both have come to politics as the campaign side of it come to theatric side of it. they both had to learn it. it is not instinctual. bill clinton isn't actually populist and in the best sense of the word the same way towards george w. bush. even if their ideas are mainstream, not necessarily when we are seceding populism at the tea party and the rest of that but this idea of people, they are desperate to have everyone like them. it is they weren't -- they don't love that. they don't love that part of it. they bombed over that part of it in ways of the intrusiveness to
them intellectually personally. there are people in the obama world right now that are going to not work -- they're not going to get involved in 2016 because they can't bring the work against her. they can't bring themselves to work for her. and there are people that feel that way. >> host: what about bill clinton? we know that was the rock you relationship during the campaign. how good is it? i believe it. when the two of them see each other, they only see the flaws and they see the other flaws first. i've never been an executive doesn't understand sometimes how to explain politics to regular people. i think barack obama is a
discipline guy come intellectually, smart, but totally undisciplined. how do you do that to yourself? i think there is -- they see each other's flaws first. they certainly have come to respect each other more. i think there was almost a lack of respect between the two of them. >> host: what do you think changed that? >> guest: for bill clinton, obama suffering so badly in 2010. it was like okay, now you know how i feel. you've been complaining before. now you know how it feels. i think barack obama started to appreciate bill clinton's talent. >> host: which came after that. they're bonding experience happened with the meeting at the white house. a fantastic theater because this is not barack obama's idea. i can promise you that it literally they called the lingo
in the white house for us they were not going to produce any more news today. if you need to go home, you can go home. they decide they want to make a statement to the president. the doors locked, guys. can you let us in? christmas party time. you guys want to do well? >> host: about four years ago right now. >> guest: it was a tree. i have to do is stand up, i was there. i wasn't going up 10 i had to be there if i didn't have to but i had to be there for work. bill clinton's ability to explain potentially why obama had to break its promise and not repeal the bush tax cut that year. it was the first time he got the idea that explains the economy and he always will and of course that plan got bill clinton to explain barack obama 2012. >> host: what is the relationship of the vice
president? >> guest: very good. it is better between the two of them personally then the staff of the vice president. there's many members of the staff who view joe biden is a wonderful resource of political history of washington that they don't sometimes see him as the person that knows how to get something done. i think there are some of the staffers who as they've gotten older and seen the president's battles that appreciate joe biden skills more. president obama, what i think is interesting now and that could change but i am trying to think of the modern area that is the only thing you feel there's a vice president or president that they teach or president of lake each other all the way through. at some point right around this time come to six years of his presidency, clinton and gore had their public split. reagan and bush were never that tie. nixon never had anything but
many of his vice presidents. this is unique. this is one of those that is a longer, friendlier, more respectful relationship. >> host: this is not in the book, but i want to push forward on this particular issue because the potential tension between the vice president and hillary clinton over 2016. how has the president tried to manage that issue and not question? >> guest: it is interesting. he wants to give advice to joe biden on how to do this if biden wants to do it. they don't talk about it as much as they had before. there is in some ways the staff has taken advantage of what they assume is biden least interested level were some of the can issuance e-groups beat the president there, the president is done with it. so in some ways they allow him to have some of that. >> host: i think barack obama,
this is where one of his negative legacies is going to be. he's leaving the democratic party infrastructure wise in worse shape than it got there. it is amazing when you think about the infrastructure he was able to build for himself and was never able to translate. >> host: one point he treated the democratic national committee in the same way they treated their countries. loaded up with that but used their ability to borrow money, load up with that to do your campaign, but they never invested in it in the craddick national committee. they view themselves outside of washington to grow their own policy oriented. they almost wanted to be their own political party. >> host: first democrats, roosevelt to win a majority both time. >> guest: and yet he is seen
as somebody who keeps the party at arms length, has not been a party builder and doesn't care about the party. that's the way it comes across. >> guest: you want to know really why because that is what they see. the white house we show it to the events. we help them raise money for the entities. they've had different versions of what is called osa obama for america what it was for the president, organizing for america and then organizing for action, but they want to start the entity and they may be right that the obama coalition is unique to obama. but reagan tried -- the reagan coalition was unique to reagan, but it became a part of the democratic hardy -- the republican party the big criticism here is he is never as -- it got better and 14 but it was a little late in the game. early on bail must be the bee as
a toxic place. part of it was they were the nonestablishment daycare in the primary. do they automatic disembowel washington and the two shins were clinton institutions do not help equipment situation. that i think with some staffers that was burned deep enough. so that i think was part of the motivation. people that were members, they didn't want to take it over. anyway i know i got off on a tangent here. it will be interesting as a third term. i think you'd are you working harder for joe biden. i think joe biden would he ask you were more help. i think she feels as if she's got to walk the balance he not.
so he will be as helpful to her as she wants. but i get the sense that there would be more of a personal ownership of biden as the nominee then they would be for hillary. >> host: one positive legacy of presidents will be the way campaigns are run. >> guest: he certainly has redefined. have united campaign republican or democrat that is in not trying to emulate some pharmacopeia on the campaign room 2008 to 2012. he's redefined the idea that analytics are a huge part of this. you can't just rely on television advertising anymore. you have to have an holistic view and make your technology connected with everybody. all those things. and don't be afraid to go find people outside of the world of political consultancy to find these experts fear it in that respect, indeed the entire
industry rethink itself. i don't care for was a republican, conservative republican in kansas or liberal democratic california. in each of these cases, you have been using the obama template. >> host: one of the interesting things in the book as you say the president is frustrated by a first to pin him on the ideological spectrum. how does he see himself? >> guest: i think he believes he is a progressive. i would say that bill clinton and barack obama, yucatán issue is and they will eventually get to the same compromise, but they would get there differently. you know, so you know whether or how they do their personal politics are where they from on it. what bothers them that they doesn't believe he's as liberal as his opponents think he is.
i think this goes to the fact that his negotiating style, again i go back to this as it's very rational in one hand. this is the minimum i am willing to do when he lets people know right away. the rules of washington assume he doesn't really mean that the minimal. that's his opening bid. so that is where he sat. close though you also write about the issue of communication and the difference between candidate obama and president obama and the power of speech in his own frustration dirtiness presidency had not been able to communicate more effectively. people think of them has a very effective communicator remembering the campaign of 08 and 2012. but what is the disconnect of one versus the other and why was he frustrated by a? >> guest: he is frustrated because the campaign had a simple premise and does actually
work in both the reelect when they ran into a problem coming he to give a speech and it would fix it. for the most part, when you are talking about a political campaign it did work that way. it worked that way in some ways. you look at framing the economy and even that was a presidential speech, it was about framing the campaign. so campaign speeches worked for him. it would stop the bleeding on some political problems he was having. and so i think he learned the wrong lesson, which is when he has run into a problem to give his speech and that has -- that hasn't worked. this is where i think i can't fully judge this. are we living in an era where no president could manage the way our new media climate goes from crisis to crisis and enforces the idea that a president has to respond to everything, whether they are missing girls in
nigeria or a bombing in sydney australia or a lena gets shot down in the ukraine, let alone and oils though in this country where there is the central focus. where's obama? where obama? where is the president and this sort of -- i want to wait for the next president to see if anyone has a better theory of the case. i don't know if this is a manageable climate right now. i am open to the idea. i think they've been uniquely not good at it. i think they are slow. as fast as they were to respond to things in the crises and campaign, they are more methodical and now as president and head of the government. there is an argument to be made that methodical is a good thing. you don't want to be rash but i think they never found that touch like when to be immediately on top of something. it's funny. like watchmen handle ebola, they
were very up front. they try to be as out runs early on. nobody noticed when they were out front early on and then the ebola cases happen and they still took on water. not a lot. campaign year made it worse. with a non-campaign environment for the most part the infrastructure washington would've said he handled people are pretty well. >> host: your last sentence is this. the way to get some done obama was saying was to go it alone, just has to some extent he always had. there is a certain poignant day. >> guest: i know. i'm still learning as a writer. there's a lot better writers out there, particularly people that write about obama, david remnick baroness. but that is the lesson he is taken from his president he commented that, you know he can't make washington work collectively. he thinks that is washington's fundamental flaw.
i don't think he believes there's much he could've done differently done differently. i argue differently in this book. look at how he feels about how it's gone about climate change, how is gone on immigration. he is going to leave office with neither problem fully solved. but now he wants to figure at how to make progress on the only way he knows how to do it alone. post congratulations. the book is "the stranger: barack obama in the white house."
do "politico." as bill you have not read your own book. whistles while bags and washington handshakes. what are we doing with that quiet >> guest: well, this is our chance to decode and explain how politicians, people in washington and politicians at all levels from city councils to state houses talk. we thought it was interesting to capture some of the unique phrases and expressions that people in politics lobbyists, staffers, even us in the media
say. we tried to make it funny. we tried to make it understandable to the average person who might be a little interested in politics, but it may be confused by it. >> host: what is one of your theory that phrase is our dog whistles? >> guest: when doing research for this book i noticed the expression whinnied to have a conversation about how often president obama says it. he basically says whenever he is confronted with a crisis or situation that he doesn't want to deal with. he said that after the ad word snowden nsa problem and the school shooting in connecticut and it's basically his way of everybody just stopped talking shut up and listen to what i have to say about it. posted david marks about what is one of your favorites? >> guest: so many. one we heard in my research is my good friend on the house and senate floor, specifically the house floor where one member is talking to someone of the
opposition, sometimes their own party. my frame makes a good point in here is whether well. they're not really good friends. they probably don't know which others names because there's so many members serving in the body. so it is a polite come in a city. it's a derivation in the british parliament of the right honorable gentleman. >> host: does this decode washington for people? >> guest: we really aim to do. we try to say what politicians really mean when they say these things. for instance, in all candor, it really makes you wonder what they are saying the rest of the time they are not being candid and truthful. >> host: if you would like to feed david mark talk about dog whistles, walk back from washington and handshakes, type his name in the search function and you'll see an hour you'll see in our opinion on on q&a. gentleman, thank you very much. >> guest: we would like to invite viewers to enter their
entries and go to dog whistles book, all one word.com and suggest any phrases they would like to see. >> host: what are the suggested already? have you had suggestions that the website? >> guest: yeah, we have. so many have been without reader entries. we also try to keep up with the times in the latest political headlines like to take one constituency for granted named after former house majority leader, eric cantor, who lost his republican primary in virginia in june 2014. several others in their relate to the 2014 election cycle in the 2016 presidential rate. >> host: dog whistle book.com. gentleman thank you.