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tv   After Words  CSPAN  February 16, 2015 12:03am-1:01am EST

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alternative sector and that has created a very damaging spaces. the carb mechanism of establishing the mandate attached to it really allows california its own innovation policy. scenic in the last couple minutes but we have, this is a book of incredible research. you find out things not only in the u.s. but china, japan great storytelling and personality and a narrative. so now i'm going to ask you to go out on a lan or the end of a long extension cord and tell us what you think people should be driving in 2025 or 2030 the people here in this room and the people watching on c-span and across the country. >> the timeline for developing
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automobiles are so extended that you don't have to go too far out on the extension to nick those predictions. you know that by 2025 there is a mandate in california and these other states that says 3.3 million electric vehicles minimum are going to be on the road so that is the floor and not the ceiling. we know that companies have already created their timeline for deploying certain kinds of vehicles in the technology. they have a strategic roadmap for gravy aiding their level of economy starting in 2020 moving into 2025 by which they start to have the fully autonomous systems. they will get into electric cars. >> it depends what you want to drive us if you this if you want to drive an electric vehicle will be about to to drive an electric vehicle. if you want a car that has a ton
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of capabilities you should be able to purchase a car with substantial autonomous capabilities and then some people were not offered as options in 2025 some people will still drive their chevy silverado pickup truck. >> what are the features people will have? >> today we have a lot of autonomous features. you have lane keeping, dynamic cruise control that allows the car to slow down and speed up. 2025, they are saying that you're essentially going to be able to get in your car, program a destination and it will drive you from point a to point. >> this is quite a story. it starts a long time ago with henry ford and in a sense although it ends now it really ends in 2025 or 2030 as it plays out. so this is a book to take along
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on a trip and recommended the great race to everybody and thank you all for joining us. ' ♪ [inaudible conversations] now "after words" with david axelrod author of believer.
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mr. axelrod served as the senior strategist for obama's presidential campaigns and a former senior adviser to president obama. he discusses his life and career in politics with david, former speechwriter for president george w. bush. >> host: but just to jump into the most controversial passage of the book. you tell a story that has a concession call from governor romney who after the 2012 election one in which you said he was offended by what he took to the undercurrent of the compassion. one of the aids that is that it was phone on which the call took place said the story is not true and has been angry about it. how can those that were not in the room ss which of you is
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right? >> guest: there were five people standing around and several of them have already come forward and said their recollection was completely the same as mine which is that the president got off the phone and related the fact that in the course of the call had said we really surprised them with the way we were able to get the vote out in places like cleveland and milwaukee. i didn't get the sense that he was trying to be a gracious i think he was trying to pay a compliment to the campaign and it was about the different lens through which they saw the election and they thought that it boiled down to more of what happened in cleveland and milwaukee and that was the frustration. i was surprised at the reaction. i always applauded loyalty and the loyalty of governor romney's body meant that i think that he blew the thing out of proportion
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and as i said, i don't have any reason to believe the president got off the phone and told the five of us something that didn't happen. >> host: but we talk about your role in the obama white house. people who don't pay attention to the details may not appreciate how new a thing it is for presidents to install basically a chief political adviser as a staffer. george h. w. bush didn't put me at water on the staff, bill clinton didn't put james carville on the white house staff. i think think you it began with president bush who did hire karl rove and president obama interested you. what does that say about our government that this trend is occurring and do you think it will continue? >> guest: first of all i want to distinguish my role from carl and i don't pretend to understand exactly what carl's
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was. but i would describe my role something as two more akin to what mike did for president reagan's. i am someone who's been involved with the president and his message from the beginning of the relationship in the senate race in 2004. and i worked very much with him on the message and the messaging approach to the campaigns on speeches and policy rollouts and communication and communication strategy. i don't think that is that unusual or that it began with carl army. i think it goes back sometime. what it says is that presidents want someone around who
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understands their message and understand them and can help represent that to others in the white house so that there's some consistency and that reflects the values and the points the president wants to make. >> host: president obama has had an unusual relationship with the imperatives of politics. you write about that in the book. were you there to remind him that you don't get to govern unless you get elected and you do have conflicts over the need to listen to people like you rather than for him to follow what was more ideological. >> guest: i think everybody's strength is their weakness. his great strength is that he believes that there are more important things than winning elections and that is once you get elected doing the things you
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think are important to advance the country so we often have conflicts about the need to have some of the techniques and conformity is of campaigns in his presentation. it's a good example is dressed the discipline of how you answer questions and getting your message out front and keeping the answers short and making sure that you are punching through the point. he viewed interviews, town hall meetings as much part of the discussion in that he wanted to answer and often times he would get to the .7 minutes in and of that would be a frustration to me. >> the book is subtitled by 40
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years in politics and you have candidates for whom you worked not only president obama, senator obama as he was before. one of the themes that runs through the book is you wrestle with the problem what are the ethical responsibilities of the campaign consultant and i will say something about a competitor you said that they use the tools of the trade to propel into high office demand that proved himself unsuited to the governor what responsibilities do you think the consultant has? do they extend beyond just honor to the candidate, what responsibilities do they have to the general public? >> guest: first i should say the subhead that i wanted wanted on the book but was too long for the book cover was how my idealism survived 40 years in politics. as you know, having read the book, my interest in politics goes back to when i was 5-years-old in the john f.
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kennedy came to the little community in which i grew up in new york and really fired my imagination. i didn't quite understand what he was saying but i knew it seemed important talking about the future of the country and everybody was watching. it just seemed very important and that was the beginning of it. so i approach politics from that place. on the other hand when you are a campaign consultant you hire someone out to get elected and what you try to do is choose carefully the people that you work for. but i mean, i confess here in the buck i didn't always choose right. but once you are doing the race you are job is to get the person elected into you upgrade with a certain perimeter in doing so or you should.
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i loved campaigns where i thought i became disillusioned with the candidate. but there are those ambiguous situations and someone is less than you hoped but not so egregious that you're going to walk away from it. i found myself persuading in my case is that whatever they were they were better than the alternative and that's how i would motivate myself to go forward. >> host: what happens when it turns out not to be true and i'm thinking of a campaign that he ran for the longest serving mayor in cleveland history. you deliver quite a negative verdict. you say i didn't keep in close touch with him after all that i knew that it lived up to its great promise. actually the premise is interesting because it was here he first wrote to us that a lot
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of the themes, hope and change and division and unity that would appear in the obama campaign and then continued idealistic as it was governing is more difficult than campaigning and the public proved stubborn and he would be tarnished by charges that he is one of his closest friends and allies and of course cleveland was heading into trouble even before michael white but he punished a much deeper. when you look back on that michael is the one responsible and yet he owes a great degree his career to you. >> guest: first of all i would put the emphasis on the word entirely. i think that he did somethings that were important for a lot of the iconic structures that have brought back down had come cleveland with the stadiums and rock and roll music and have their efforts to bring those
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things there and make them happen and he did other things in cleveland that were quite positive. he may have overstayed his time there and there were problems at the end involving one of his associates that i wouldn't he want to suggest that either his demise was his responsibility order she didn't do anything good for cleveland and i'm realistic about the fact that no one is all good or all bad or all accomplished without flaw. that's not the way it is. i think he was idealistic. he hoped to get some important things done for the city and inspired people in an important way. so that's not one of the campaigns that i would say i was sorry. i was happy that i did that grace and i might have advised him to leave a little earlier than he did.
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but he did important things for cleveland. >> host: you rose to be one of the most important if not the most important of the democratic consultants in the state of illinois. you were there for a long period of time, generally successful. illinois now is in a pretty rough economic situation rated 50th in its credit rating of any major city i've ever been to in the trite. he was one of the top states during the great recession and as it walked into this desperate situation where today -- >> guest: a lot of them tied in together. the situation is one of the reasons why the state pension system filtered down in many ways.
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they have their own pension issue fighting their way out of it but the states centric problems are associated with the city finances that have contributed. >> there is no doubt that there is a legacy and i can see the result of both republican administrations and democratic administrations making unaffordable deals with public employee unions. we went through the era of the two governors that went to prison and some irresponsibility expanding the state's obligations.
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>> but not at the end when he got into real trouble but at the beginning. >> guest: i had concerns over what kind of governor he would be. he asked me if i would work with had and i said you can help me figure that out. i said if i have have to help you figure it out you shouldn't run for governor and he shouldn't. but by the loss of people many were clients of yours and i just again >> as you look back on the political choices do you look back on that industry that was good work or i don't know that my talents were -- >> guest: of me ask you which of my clients do you think were
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responsible? i am curious about that. most of the time when i was involved in the politics the governors were not my clients. the state legislative leaders were not my clients and the two that i worked for were harold washington who served briefly and the patronage politics of the city breaking down racial barriers and they made the face of the city in many ways that was considered a model mayor. it left some fiscal problems than proud of working for those guys so i'm happy to respond if you have a particular politician you think was responsible for the state's problems but
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imperious who that would be. >> host: i think it is the handiwork of many and as i look back on it how does one because the state is >> the other part of that is my candidate paul simon who has the essence of integrity so i chose my clients carefully. i knew the landscape and i chose my candidates but he carefully. >> host: it is to suggest they are less ethical than other parts of the united states is that a slur is that capture a genuine problem?
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>> guest: . but institutionalized corruption is not the problem that it was at but it was at times in history but we've had problems with production and one of the reasons i am so gravitated to barack obama is because he was on the reform side of the fight in the campaign finance reform bill that had been passed in illinois and a quarter of the century and they may have been involved in the previous one. it made it illegal to take campaign contributions.
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you could raise money and use it as your own personal income if you pay taxes on it and he ended that practice so illinois and chicago has had its problems and then people come along and try to address them. those are people i try to gravitated to. >> host: she ended up being afraid of medicaid and went to a prison. >> guest: other than in the course of a campaign was accused of medicaid fraud. he was an interesting person because i'm the one on the one hand he was one of the most powerful people in washington and i don't know anybody that relished the process working across party lines.
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up to eight or nine presidents and loved it. on the other hand he got prosecuted for what i consider unconscionable stuff like caching and stamps which may have been government issued stamps that might have been the practice in the 1950s but the norms have changed and he didn't >> host: if it's true there something in chicago and illinois, what is it? is that the great transportation hub so there is money that didn't belong to local people and it could be siphoned off without feeling like you were taking from your constituents?
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>> guest: i don't know what the sociology of that led to some of the corruption problems endemic to illinois at times of our history and i'm not willing to say that there are other states and localities in the country that haven't experienced some of the same. i do think that things are much different now in the city in particular. we don't have a vast patronage machine we once had. i haven't heard anything about rahm emanuel trying to promote the interest of the city.
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i think you would do a disservice to say there is corruption in the city and other cities it doesn't define the city that i know. >> an artist or writer there are themes that run through your campaign. the phrase was change and hope before you changed it to hope and change some of the economic inclusion and those are dealing with issues of our time but also your approach to things and they all converged in the work you did with president obama. how much of the campaign was waiting in your head for him ex- >> guest: how is it that we
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came together. i've known burdock obama for some odd years. i was introduced by a progressive politics in chicago. she said i think he could be the first african-american president of the united states. this is just when he returned from law school. i always take videos with the track because she can spot a winner well in advance but what i found is we shared the same sensibilities. he'd been president of the harvard law review.
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he'd been a community organizer and it was very clear to me that he was someone who wanted to make a difference. we became friends and in 2002 when i became disillusioned because i saw that he was going to get elected it's what i consider to be a cynical campaign. i am wondering whether i wanted to continue doing what i was doing and. we shared a lot of sensibilities about politics, the issue of the
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approach to politics. i think it was a little of both of what he brought and i thought that it was a really productive partnership and it helped animate the message and my view when you're building a campaign message if it is going to be successful it has to be authentic and who someone is. barack obama from the time that he was working as a community organizer before he went to law school, somebody that cares about how the economy work and it didn't work with large numbers of people in and he wanted to have an impact on that and believed politics was a noble calling to have hopes rather than their fears and someone who saw a change as something to embrace.
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it reflected her he was the at their there are moments. isn't it time to be the "? >> i believe it is a way to grab the wheel of history and turn it in a positive. i think it was a happy partnership between two people that shared a sensibility. >> the great defining crane has been the american middle class frustrated by the increasing
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difficulty of getting ahead and even maintaining this position. the struggling with world war ii after these people just continue to stay in the same position in society you got better and better off you didn't have to be anybody special in order to get better off and -- >> guest: wages rose with the gdp. that's been the arena that you play politics. there's a big article you may have seen. democratic leaning writer detailed to speak to a loved the
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campaign thinking. he suggested that he may have oversold his argument and there is an advantage based on the disillusionment of the voters with an experience of the past six years. this isn't a homework assignment the mobility has been pulsing through for decades and it's created disenchantment against whoever the incumbent party is because it is a constant theme
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of the forces larger than policy. so, they require some policy answers but it is a function of the changes in our economy of fast advancing technology and globalization. we see the same issues in other advanced economies and so, you know, it has been a persistent theme in our politics and it continues to be a challenge into each succeeding party has borne some of the brunt of the disenchantment about it but obviously we just came through a massive economic crisis that was in full theory when obama took office that helped exacerbate the problem. it depressed wages even further and made the problem of disparity even greater. so we have come through some tough years. i think though if you ask the average person who is fighting
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for the middle-class and cares about the middle class and made them their focus and asked whether that was the president or the republican opposition, i think that you would get a pretty healthy margin in favor of the president. it's one of the reasons he won a fairly substantial re- election in 2012. governor romney got some points for economic literacy proficiency but when it came to fighting for the middle class he lost that overwhelmingly. so i don't know. i think it is a misplaced. to say that it's going to somehow inherit the benefit of the disenchantment unless they come with an answer but i do find it interesting while the republican party generally was
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dismissive of arguments about the middle class, inequality, economic and mobility in the past all the republican candidates now are speaking to research suggests to me what a powerful and pressing problem is. >> i am looking here and i can't put it in front of you because we are only virtually talking but i won't show it to you and the c-span may be able to put it on the screen. this is by henry e. in the old part of 2014. he is one of the leading healthcare economists and one of the economists on x. a week of economic distribution. neither one is by any means a conservative and the agonized economic impact of the initiative of the first obama administration act and found the affordable care act confers great benefits of the poorest 20% of the american population.
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it confers into target to compete with but the value of the insurance guarantees that they run with swift four or five different complications and it depends how you look at it dividing 20% in the bottom 30% plans. the top 70 or 80% lose and the heaviest losses are actually in the middle of an economic distribution. very few people will know these figures but it does explain why the unhappiness in the affordable care act that we have seen. you look at other things the administration has done the president's recent initiatives of calling for free community college while texting. his big speech in kansas probably the most important of his presidency he announced the strategy of public sector.
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projects that will pay higher wages to government workers were contractors and some might trickle out to the west of society. >> host: do you look at at this industry is this a strategy for the beneficiaries beneficiary is in the public services at the expense of the rest of society. >> host: is that the cause of because of the difficulties the party has had? >> it's a little off topic from a book that i would be happy to. i assume that applies to the distribution of subsidies. the internal subsidies will be charged and i know you've are at a disadvantage.
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i can't dispute the conclusions because i haven't seen the report. since i haven't seen it with me just comment on what i know and the ability of people under their insurance plan because of the affordable care act has certain guarantees. to have no tabs is important that vital. i don't put the whole care system and i have a child with whole care concerns. i dove with the notion that i couldn't get another insurance policy because my child had a
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pre-existing condition. that is no longer. that applies to people up and down the lines. the security is knowing you can get injured at an affordable rate and if you lose your job or your employer drops your insurance, it's a security that's important. >> the economics in the report i'm very certain that not just the people in the bottom 20% of the people that have insurance. >> guest: you are a schematic figure. you think of all of these
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elections. how do you reality? i'm writing the music. this is a matter of just my own conscientious belief. >> guest: my concern obviously isn't just in the music but also the impact of the policies. i am not an economist but there are problems that i think are important if the question is are those going to be addressed. one thing is preventable of the
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president has if the president has to step for face challenges and problems and to provoke the discussion. i see the republican party introducing five years later an alternative to the affordable care act that there is an acknowledgment that there were flaws in the system. we are having a debate now about this issue of the viability of the middle class. republicans and democrats are participating. they have different descriptions. but at least we've identified the immigration reform is another. i don't hear people suggesting the mainstream american politician and daughter saying
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let's go back to where we were. there may be a purchase that were taken that have to be looked at. but you are talking about the challenges facing the country. it's a prescription for health care and you have to give them credit for taking it up because there is no political policy list that i wrote his own discussions with him the difficulty of moving on with care and i admire him because he
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thought it would implode would include a few dead-end. dead end. this was something urged that if we didn't repair the system it would implode and he took on the political risk through that and that's another story in the book that i was on the verge of collapse. >> host: it's obviously a person will book you talk about the scene with your earlier wife
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and/or ambition to the damage of your life that spoke of and it wasn't just you speak and i salute but you get her great credit for accommodating and making sacrifices. at the same time as it is intensely personal it is a general circumspect book but every once in a while you left a veil on some of the issues in the white house does those outside have heard reverberating on the conflict and there is a statement of course from some of those that you've worked with them a on the president's auditory land of their campaigns. i want to ask you as you look back on that now you tell the told story that rahm emanuel was eager to get delery gerrit into the senate.
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largely in order to get her out of the white house because he described him acting as a senior advisor was a formula for trouble. there's been a lot of trouble. she's become one of the most controversial members of the administration also they circulated in to speak about the credit to the family in north korea. was he wrong or do you think that he was onto something? >> guest: he had legitimate concerns based on his time in the clinton administration is hard to manage. if you are a manager it's hard to manage people on the staff who have an independent personal relationship with the president and first lady.
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i will say also there is benefit and many would say the same there's a benefit to having someone around with whom you have a long history who is fundamentally loyal and is unquestionably in your corner and has that relationship. i understood the concern and he worked hard to persuade her to run for the senate seat but obama was getting up in order to become president and at the end of the day it was the president who wanted her in the white house and i haven't heard him ever suggest that he regretted that decision.
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>> host: how has it been for the subsequent staff did they find it difficult to manage that relationship? >> guest: i think every one of the chiefs of staff have dealt with that relationship in their own way but i feel they work with him and her to make it work. >> host: we are recording at the time there is a great invitation into the president has been very open about his disapproval of the limitation and the premonition of israel has probably never been worse than today and that relationship has rarely been under more pressure than as today.
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refer to couple of times to paul simon from illinois. one of the things he defeated a republican and you used to be issued against charles percy and paul simon. what would the david axelrod how would he influencing that today? >> guest: we didn't use it as a messaging issue in 1984 it was a source of a love of fundraising for the senator as a strong supporter of israel.
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i told the story in the book after one of the leaders central to that campaign to subsidize me in business as a consultant and i was happy with the way the campaign came out and i said it obviously was a great offer to someone with no means to start a business that i asked if there was anyone who could work against that candidate. i opted out of that. i'm uncomfortable with a kind of arrangement where it's dominant how if someone is evaluated but
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in terms of the current situation, i would dispute one thing there is no doubt between president obama and benjamin netanyahu. in terms of the military assistance and other cooperation. this is far from a bad time. at the level of quotation is greater than it's ever been in the people on both sides would say that. president obama probably still believes. they have as a jewish democratic state and i think at times he was frustrated because he felt that the yahoo! was more
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concerned than he created friction between them. >> has there ever been a relationship as bad as this one? >> guest: when he took this before because of his relationship with president clinton it isn't new to have a relationship with the president. >> host: i think this visit to the congress is very much a part of that campaign. he was looking at this event to help them in a campaigner living moving in the right direction
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and there's still great controversy about it because you are a student of the press as i am there's a tremendous amount about what is happening to the relationship and then he viewed his trip as a needless provocation in violation of the nonpartisan relationship between the two countries. >> host: when netanyahu got into that crisis it damaged him very much because they trusted bill clinton as a friend of israel. a recent poll found 60% or more thinks they won't find a deal no matter how bad. he is not regarded in that way and when he gets into terms with this president it won't hurt in a way that he got in bad terms with president clinton. >> is a great deal of concerns about the state of relations
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with israel and the united states in part because of the actions of the prime ministers. again we can debate about this. but i hope we can talk a bit more about my books while i'm here. >> host: disc is a question drawn from the book. you talk about your opposition to cynicism and how you remain a believer in the best of politics if we are in a cynical time and sometimes you use what you found in the voters as a tool. you worked for john in 2003 the mayor of philadelphia.
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he found a bug in his office and you mastermind a campaign to re- elect him. you say to john ashcroft said that john ashcroft and the attorney general was going to pick the mayor of philadelphia and he won in a landslide. the investigation did continue. 15 people on the corruption charges and tax evasion charges and of course as you know the attorney general doesn't fight when the fbi investigates. >> guest: first that was partisan between democrat and republican but part of the practice has been not to surface the investigations and the final weeks of an investigation.
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people on the justice department would tell you if they are going to place a listening device in the office of the high public official that rises to the level of the attorney general so let's set that aside. he was never prosecuted or convicted of anything and it was a tremendous disservice. it was going to be surfaced once the bug was found. my view not raised in the philadelphia he saved the city
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from financial disaster and partnership. there was a guy as mayor but fulfilled his promises for the afterschool programs and do many of the things that are desperately needed in that city. i battled as hard as i could for him but it was his opponent who ended up in the legal difficulties after and ended up having to pay something like $2 million for the things he was involved in. if the question was probity. the street was the one that never ended up under indictment. >> host: up but your friend and the person being investigated would have probably been charged but we don't know that
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>> he was never invited or convicted of anything. his opponent had some legal but probably not on your research. the book maintains a life that is going to go on. the book remains in place. there is a new distinguished academic career. democratic party politics. it is converging on the person that you and the campaign back in 2008 so it's how henry clinton told the operation. and amen though that you wrote at the time about what was for the far ability in 2008.
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she isn't a healing figure the more she compounds herself as an opportunist and after two decades making us with the candidate of the future will be a challenge. those words on paper how do they fit in? >> guest: every period in presidential politics is different. i don't think that hillary clinton was in a strong position in 2008 in part because she supported the war in iraq and president bush's decision to go into iraq and that was a defining issue in the democratic party, very hard to be the nominee of the democratic party have been taken that position. also people were looking for someone outside of washington outside of the day-to-day tub and pool building on and obama
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stood apart from all that and candidate made him a strong candidate and people were looking for someone who would challenge the system in a way that he was willing to challenge the system. ..


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