tv After Words Bill Press From the Left CSPAN June 16, 2018 10:02pm-11:02pm EDT
[inaudible] [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television company. today we bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> 's on book tvs afterwards. television and radio host retraces his transition to progressive politics. he's interviewed by mona chair.
afterwards is a weekly interview program with relevant guesthouse intervie top ahors about their latest work. >> we have a new book life in the crossfire. it's a memoir and political testimonial about where you stand. >> it is. good to see you. >> i call it my memoir part one. >> host: barack obama wrote a memoir in his 30s. that doesn't say anything. >> guest: thank you. i have a good run and i want to talk about some of the fun things i have been able to do so far and people i have met so far. i really want to get this down
for the five grandchildren. >> and they the ones who are pictured. ddadas been up to.know what >> you are a delaware boy. who is carter and weiss in the story? >> guest: i have a cousin named bootsy, never realize the connection but carter was a wonderful guy who lived in delaware city. it's 15 miles south of wilmington. a forgotten town with 1200 people. i had a great life growing up there is a kid fishing, hiking, swimming and to me it was a good place to grow up if you are white. but delaware city was a segregated town. i went to the whites school and
the colored kids went to his tool outside of town. >> you had a local school you could walk a couple blocks. the black kids had to hike a mile. >> and there were white businesses and black businesses, white churches and black churches. i grew up with that. didn't realize how long it was. my father had a gas station that he bought himself. he was one if not the only business in delaware city who would do business with black customers. and even let them by on time, that's on credit. so at the end of the month my mother was sent out the bills to people and he would extend that to african-americans. and booty carter was one of his best friends. my father always made a point of
including him as a friend and then we would have a christmas always makur tt bootyd he would another african-american friends were invited. as i recalled he was the only one who would come. but he would always come. he would insist on using the back door. my father said that what you doing? and he said i don't want to be an embarrassment to you. i appreciate you inviting me. living through that experience the end that word was common. there is no axing other racists.
>> host: there are two parts in your book where you describe having to lie down flat in the vehicle to avoid danger. one was in croatia where you had gone and had to lie down in a boat, escaping enemy fire. the other one is you it talks more about how your life developed was in south-central los angeles during the ride. >> guest: let's talk about that one. certainly the more powerful. being shot at. >> host: it's like the most exhilarating thing in life is to be shot at and miss. >> guest: i was in los angeles than doing radio and tv in los angeles. at the time eyes with channel 13. the rodney king riots happen.
we are at the studio and i was a member of the first day ame church. it was a wonderful community. so i wanted to be with my people so i suggest our news director that i do my commentary on the evening news at the 10:00 o'clock news, two and half news. so i would do my commentary that night from the church. i knew people would gather and i knew the mayor was going to be there. he said that's a great idea, you go down there now and i will send a crew. so, i went to the church. people coming in it was my home. then suddenly it started to get
hairy. fires got close, we could hear gunfire, you could ash was falling. bob called me and said you're stuck, we can't get a crew in there, it's too dangerous. so standing on the step with a few administrators on one guy turned to me and said, how are you going to get out of here? i was the only white person there and don't one of the only white persons in the congregation. i said my cars right there. they said you're not going to drive home. >> host: at that moment white people were being dragged out of trucks and. >> guest: it was a war zone. so, he said i will take you and
i said no he said come with me and he was parked about a half a block away. so we would sneak through and got his car and he opened the back door and said get on the floor, i'm going to curry with this blanket and whatever you do don't move. when have to stop and start i don't know, but you don't move. i was scared to death. this brave guy drove me right through. he got me to west hollywood to where my wife did not know what was going on, it was very frightening for me and for the city. and i feel so badly that this guy really save my life certainly was a good samaritan
beyond what you can imagine. and i do not even know his name. >> host: he will know who he is when he reads the book. >> that whole experience, one other quick thing maybe our news director that same night went up on the roof of the studio and you could see the gangs coming up la brea avenue. and they were going from one side of the street to the other, breaking windows, torching the building and going to the other side. no cops came, it was anarchy. >> host: a lot of people held the l.a. police responsible for that thought it was -- on their part. >> guest: i was on the air at
that time and they said their snipers in the area. again, what you do you crawl under your desk or whatever they move the radio station up to the hills above pasadena for two days to vacate the areas we all just camped out there. >> host: one thing to talk about is how you came to be at this church which is a protestant denomination in you are catholic and study for the priesthood. let's talk about your attraction to the priesthood. did you feel like you had a vocation or just thought you wanted to be involved in public service? >> guest: it wasn't that dramatic. i wasn't knocked off my horse
like st. paul. i grew up catholic. my father was catholic so i was raised a catholic and went to mass every sunday. and then went to catholic high school. for me there was no big decision there. when i was in high school i was thinking about what to do after i graduated it was really public service i was interested in and i was thinking of either becoming a lawyer and be in a public interest lawyer. the priesthood appealed to me because the priest i knew at the school i went to a catholic boy school, they had a good life. they played a lot of golf, everybody love them.
they were considered up on the pedestal. people invited them to their home. no family, no responsibility or bills to pay. it looks like a good life in a public service life. wasn't the religious thing it was more of the lifestyle that appealed to me. so, i decided to give that a try. i did. i was in for nine years studying for the priesthood. in the tenth year on a leave of absence just to make sure i decided it was not what i wanted to do for the rest of my life. i was never ordained. i was part of a religious order and the order said even you have nine years, let's at least give it a year of trial before you cut the cord.
>> host: it confuses me in the way you describe the book is when you talk about leaving the path of the priesthood you say and my catholic what do i believe? any listed things and said yes i am, but i don't believe in jesus and i don't believe he was divine and things that would mark you out as a nonbeliever. >> broader them pope francis. there is a bridge there. i come out of the seminary is still a person of faith and looking for a new faith experience for which i cannot find in the catholic church.
i came back to the united states and did not want to go back to small-town delaware. i got a job teaching school in san francisco. simon san francisco and i went to a few catholic churches and it was not meaningful at all. i joined the methodist church. a wonderful active church. and it was in san francisco. when i moved to l.a. there is a baptist church that was the same thing. i first went there with jerry brown and i love the service in the sermon was good and the music was great and i thought if i ever have another church i'm going to go there. >> guest: my catholicism some people call a cafeteria catholicism. having been born and raised a catholic i don't feel like i
have to join any organized religion. i've never gotten a letter from anyone saying you are no longer catholic. >> guest: after this program maybe. >> host: you leave switzerland's and find yourself in california. you bounced around a bit with different political jobs and you helped a nasty guy get elected to state legislature. >> to the board of supervisors, he could be a wonderful person but he could also be not a good boss. but eventually find yourself working for jerry brown. tell about how that happened. >> i taught school and then got involved with volunteering for
president. it meant that a political job. i like politics so much i got a job working for the supervisor. then iran a campaign for republican a wonderful guy the number one environmentalists. i became his chief of staff and then i moved from peter's office to lead an environmental group called the environmental league. so i was head of the pcl and i met jerry brown who is secretary of state running for governor. this was in 1974. i did not support him because the speaker of the house carried our environmental legislation.
so he was our guy. so jerry gets elected. during the campaign jerry brown had four things he said this is what i'm going to do. one was that i'm going to create a new office to deal with state land-use planning. i heard him say that so many times one time i saw him on the plane and i sat down and said i just want you to know, never the same thing publicly but you don't have to create a new office is part of the governor's office is called the office of planning and research. so he gets elected. >> host: how much time elapsed between this conversation the time he got elected? >> maybe three or four months. so i'm going on my way and then i get a call from the legal advisor that said jerry would
like to talk to about the office of planning and research. he remember that. and he knew he who he wanted in there. he had someone an ierim basis but my call was to come in as a deputy and within a month or so move up to be a director. >> so again, this is jerry's way of doing business. this time around much more organized thanks in great part to a.m. his wife. but at that time it was loose. i said i would love to do it i'm here for the next three months and then carolyn i have a vacation to france. the night before we left, we're
packing and jerry secretary called about 10:00 o'clock at night saying the governor wanted you to know if you could join him for dinner to talk about the job. >> host: we went out for chinese food. >> guest: he said do you want when you come back so we did get the vacation. >> host: is going to ask about land-use planning. i want to ask about the way jerry brown operated. we tell stories about working on his presidential campaign and it sounds loony. he wasn't on the ballot and he decides to run in this or that state, can you talk about that? >> guest: when i got to sacramento ronald reagan was governor. the contrast between ronald reagan's tyler governing and
jerry brown's was night and day. governor reagan would come in there's a three car motorcade and at 9:00 o'clock in the morning in from his house east of sacramento at 5:00 o'clock you could set your watch by it. he would be out the door. with jerry, he lived in a bachelor pad across the park, slept on the floor in the mattress and he would saunter across capital park maybe around 10:00 o'clock. he would be there until two or three in the morning. so meetings always started later than they were supposed to. they always lasted longer than they were supposed to. they seldom covered the matter it was about. you never knew jerry was going to go. but they got things done.
it's amazing how you can get things done one way or another. >> host: but the presidential campaign. >> guest: when you want to run for president you have to be more organized. jerry surprised us by announcing one day to reporters sitting on his couch that he was going to run for president. he had not done any planning. there is no organization in place. he entered the maryland primary. at the time he had the most exciting rockstar politician in the country. >> host: by then was in it too late to get his name on the ballot? >> guest: he was [inaudible] the ballot of marilyn. we all thought it was a joke. nancy pelosi's father was mayor
of baltimore. and it was machine politics and they did not like jimmy carter and were looking for someone else. so we had the on candidate. none of the above maybe and jeremy went in and ran. then he recruited me and yanked me from my job to join the presidential campaign. so we went to oregon, rhode island, new jersey and other states. we won the primaries as unofficial candidates. but if your name is [inaudible] the ballot it doesn't really count. there are some states where if your name is [inaudible] the battle so it was impossible to ever get the math to get enough delegates. had he been on the ballot in all
the primaries, he would've been the nominee and been elected president. and then we joke about this, we were all in our 30s, what would've we done. >> host: it would almost be like now. almost like now. those were an exciting time and it was exciting to be working in sacramento and around the country where it's most exciting dynamic creative politician and smartest in the country. >> host: he talk in the book about your belief in land-use timing and i would say it's fair to say you believe in planning in general. i had an agreement with you about one thing i thought i would highlight that. that is that you talk about the fact that we bailout people who
build extensive homes on coastlines. then they get insurance from the government and not too smart as ross perot used to say. >> guest: it's insane. it continues in its building. there are certain places where you know it is not safe to build there. the people say that about earthquakes in california but you never know. but floodplains identified. and beaches, on the east coast especially and also on the west coast. in terms of tied searches and all of that. and also fire zones. you know the fires going to rip down those canyons. there is no style a building you can come up with.
>> host: they would not build there they didn't have the subsidize insurance. >> correct. so, my father retired and after he passed he had given -- to us kids. and hurricane sandy came along and we lost the house. if you wanted to rebuild on the property it would require you to put it up on stilts. otherwise they were getting flood insurance while they are having flood prone houses. >> not that land-use planning was big but it makes basic sense.
california we were able to get builders, developers and environmentalists together to say, let's identify instead of fighting over every project let's identify where new road should go and keep it compact. that seems to the a good sensible way of approaching it. >> host: wasn't it zoning. >> guest: zoning was a part of it. so rather than fighting over every project. >> host: you call yourself and environmentalists. one thing that i noticed was to issues that are the biggest threat and one was climate change and the other was population control. i thought, really? i thought that one out in the 1970s. >> you really think that's an issue is a problem for the world? >> guest: i do.
first of all, i am not for a not seen one child per family or anything like that. but think certain parts of the world particularly the developing world there are limited resources. an ever-expanding population in the maybe colonies on mars or the moon. >> host: we have tons of resources. >> guest: when i like across the country i see a lot of undeveloped land but a lot of it is undeveloped. >> host: if you look at the price of commodities over time that keep falling if they were scarce the prices would be going up, even the most basic commodity which is food in the second most basic was water and fuel. those prices have come down to.
it doesn't look like were facing a world of scarcity and the population growth has come down in the rich get richer and have fewer children. >> guest: certainly climate change is one what surprises me is i don't think this is an issue that should be a partisan issue. i think there are differences in what we do about climate change but i think to deny climate change and that it's actually happening and we will have serious effects on our lifestyle and crops and where we can live in all of that, the economy
particularly it's sticking your head in the sand. >> host: i suggest part of the reason we have this debate is that there are some people who simply say it's a hoax or not true, it's been made up by china or whatever it's been made up to hurt the american economy. >> host: there is some of that. but there's a lot on the left of if you do not agree with every proposal that we make for how to deal with this issue then you are a tinai or. they chose that term on purpose cause it conjures up holocaust tonight. we can have reasonable differences of opinion on how dire the threat is there's a l of uncertainty about it. it's not the same thing. as saint it does not exist. there is debate about how severe it will be.
then there's a debate about what the best courses some people say you have to do certain things to protect low-lying areas and take mitigation efforts. but don't you think both sides need to backed off the extremist talk to begin a constructive conversation? >> host: i think the beginning has to recognize the existence of a. thirteen of the last hottest years in recorded history. >> host: recorded history is not that long but to what we know and to recognize that the glaciers are disappearing. >> host: they are melting. >> guest: they are not there and they are not coming back.
>> host: i'm not saying it's not a problem i'm just saying there's a lot we don't know. >> guest: if we start by accepting it and then say what are some of the possible impacts and how can we avoided in the interest of everybody. >> host: it's wrong to do as al gore did to think that we can prevent this because even if we were to stop burning all carbon tomorrow it will still continue to warm and we don't know how long. >> guest: we have passed the point of no return. >> guest: we are not going to end it. no more then we are going to bring back coal is a major industry not just for the environmental reason but the economic reason.
>> host: you and i could fix this. now going to get to some things we really disagree about. so here i'm going to quote you from page 131. this is in central america. you say, regarding nicaragua by the way i worked on nicaragua issues when i worked in the reagan white house. i remember this well from my own personal experience. see say there is no reason except the feared communism left over from the cold war for the united states not to recognize this. now, -- communism? let's just talk about this, you don't talk at all in your book about the human rights abuses that they committed or the fact at the made an outright attack and they had cuban advisors on every block teaching
them how to spy on their own people, that they had tens of thousands of political prisone prisoners, none of this comes up. >> guest: i also am pretty sure my memory i really don't talk about the human rights abuses of the dictator nicaragua who we supported and the fact that we invited them twice in our history. >> guest: i think we have a very shameful history of latin america with nicaragua and what we did in chile.
the human rights abuse -- these people were elected partly because the nicaraguan people did not want to live under this dictator anymore. they had a revolution in they were the elected government and we decided when i was in america not the time to support rebels of the civil war against the elected government. >> host: the elected government of nicaragua was apraxia cuba and therefore of the ussr. they were originally elected in a broad coalition were democrats
and they immediately saw what they were doing typing cuba and trying to turn nicaragua into a communist totalitarian state and locking up opponents and doing secret trials in prison, whatever you might think about the dictator he was not an agent of our chief enemy. he was not an agent to cuba another one who wanted the ussr to hit us with missiles. why are you so eager to make excuses for a regime like that on the grounds that we have much to be ashamed of. >> guest: i've been to nicaragua
about five times. they were much happier under the sandinistas they did -- i'm not holding that up as the perfect role model for american democracy. but i think they were better for the american people when we had no business trying to overthrow them. that was not our job. i don't buy the story that yes the cuban missile crisis but but for decades we had to consider that that could invade florida. >> guest: they were sending people throughout the world to undercut governments. >> guest: so did we. >> host: bill buckley, my own
mentor used to say that this argument that you're making now it was for completely different purpose. so it's like saying lemming let me get the line i'll give you that there may be an element of that but it was not the primary reason. the fact is, most of the time the united states when it did intervene was doing so to stop an even worse regime from taking power. even worse than the ones there. we don't always get to pick an ideal democratic regime. but here's the great line from bill buckley. he said one man sees a bus coming in pushes a little old lady into the path of what the bus another one sees it and pushes the little old lady out of the path of the bus.
they're both condemned for pushing little old ladies around. so it really matters why you're doing something. >> guest: i agree. by the way bill buckley i love. we had some good times together. i admired him a lot. but i did not agree with him with everything. i think it's a simplistic approach to our foreign policy which is that overall it's still not that good today. the idea that danielle was a friend of fidel's, i think fidel was better for the cuban people and danielle was better than -- was. >> guest: then you get into the whole iran-contra thing but if they wanted to throw the sandinistas out which they did,
find that was their choice. >> host: as long as the government -- luckily, it turned out differently. i'm partial you have a great quote in here from somebody, have to mention it now because we just say bill buckley but the one person bill buckley started with, most the time he was happy and he was a gracious person. but he would try anyone. but he did say this funny thing that you quotes on that will bring us into the next phase which is that the only person
who can never escape for is the man who needs as well. i love that. >> guest: i think it's the best novel called washington d.c. >> host: you quoted that because you ran for state senate. >> guest: i was going to run for u.s. senate. and then dropped out. then i did run for insurance commissioner. >> host: how did that go? >> guest: i'm here, i did win. my other favorite quote that is in the book is never give up an opportunity to have sex or be on television. >> host: that's classic of him. >> guest: i still have the political bug.
when you have it you have to scratch it. the political itch. i was always thinking about maybe i could run for state assembly or may be state senate. i cap setting my sights higher. i just decided to go for broke and run for u.s. senate. i quit my job, raised a little money, quit my job and then i started this exploratory committee. pete wilson, u.s. senator at the time there is a democrat who is speaker of the seven who is very strong and had a lot of support from labor. the establishment candidate if you will. i realize there is no way we could defeat in the primary. later, this position of state insurance commissioner became an
elected position for the first time. to me it should've been a consumer protection, helping people with health insurance and car insurance is a big issue at the time. i thought that would be a good job in iran for that lost in the primary to the congressman from california. that was my experience. >> host: you just said you had gotten it out of your system. >> guest: running for office. >> host: medical you back, i guess iran for office for the same reason everyone does. mostly a desire to do good and improve lives. also the burning need to be recognized, approved, and fond over. this the only fatal disease.
and so on us. people don't usually admit that part of what motivates them is that it's nice to be admired. >> guest: by the way, you could take the same line and apply it to study for the priesthood. i loved the idea that these people were admired and looked up to. i think people who go into politics go into religion for the same reason. . .
>> that you can imove people's lives so there's a public service motivation too. but you can't -- ignore or deny the egogratification side. >> at one point when you were contemplating what you were running -- you mortgaged your house and you said you learned a lesson which is always spend other people's money opm. >> is that like a basic rule of politics that most people know? >> it was a basic of politics -- which too many people break -- and we did too and we didn't, you know, have a lot of money at the time and that's one thing that carol will rightfully always hold against me that i talked her to throw into the campaign and we never got it back. yeah.
well lesson learned. there's so many -- so many people particularly younger people particularly women running for office, you know, all over the country, state legislature, city council all -- god bless you. but my advice is, other people and remember that -- your money in there. and first of all, the whole question about, you know, we can talk a lot about this getting money out of politic or at least regulating or controlling. is a very big issue. but the way this system is today, you have to raise money in order to compete just don't spend your own money if you can't raise money to compete then you're probably not a good candidate. >> one argument on behalf of the -- supreme court's ruling and citizens united it make it easier for somebody who is is not independently wealthy to run
because they can make the money and that way you don't have to have -- rose being the -- >> would be yeah you can raise money from big corporations to didn't used to be able to give to politics therefore you're beholden to the -- to the corporations. >> big union. same. so -- >> they don't have the -- >> the huge pockets yes they do and of course now let's talk about -- the -- let's talk about your then jumping to so you -- also should sate chairman of the democrat party in california. >> yes, three years. >> that was an unpaid position so you had to work and you were on tv and radio and constantly sounds like you were working credibly hard. >> i was a volunteer state chair. >> right at my tv and radio as my real job. >> yeah, okay but it sounds like that was some -- >> it was a busy time.
okay, and then you -- you jumped across the continent to come here and -- be on cross fire. from the left. >> that's what we have -- right, and those days -- that was a great experience, but you know so i was -- during radio tv in l.a. -- which is second largest market in the country not a bad place to be. but i was always intrigued by the national media and particularly what struck me at the time -- was that when you watched the sunday shows particularly -- all you saw were the same people from the same area. they were all -- boston washington or bump, bump and i i read in l.a. times that as -- i was with the ab affiliate there i would try i call it brinkley show you know maybe i could come on once or -- it wouldn't return my phone calls. so i really -- at times -- cnn is looking for to hire someone to replace michael and
people they interviewed they were all the same people -- again. so i literally made a cold call to rick davis, executive producer -- >> i knew also of cross fire a said hey, you know, there's some wisdom west of the potomac maybe it just a different kind of voice and rick said so -- yeah. put you in the mix of -- to try out. of tryouts, and you remember what the first show was that where you were trying out where you were auditioning basically? >> i was only bob novak -- and our guest i believe there was only one guest which is unusual usually there were two guests but i know the guest i was up against was then senator don nickols from oklahoma and the issue was tax policy. tax cuts --
and -- i mean, not my long suit right -- but i really -- i really boned up for that. >> you must have. by the way this was novak's gravy. >> i know. seriously you live and died -- tax cuts. yeah. >> and -- so i remember after -- at the end of the show we had -- we used to call it the yip yap -- >> yeah. >> or we should probably explain you and i know what that was like. if guests were gone and it was justs maybe -- max minute and and a half or something real quick, the two host go back and forth and that was -- yip yap one last little shot each. right and then just giant are from the left -- from the right. and i remember novak turned to me and said so -- [laughter] what i want to know is what do you think? do american pay too much in taxes or not enough in tax? [laughter]
and the only thing as i have friends of mine to say i think some people pay too much and some people don't pay enough and i think everybody should pay their fair share with the -- we may be political but i don't know where to go. >> but you never backed down so that was one ofier strengths in the show i think -- now, looking back on the you were there for six years so who was the most -- or doesn't have to be the most but who was one of the most per sweys persuasive guests? >> john mccain. >> on what? >> i admired john mccain because he was a maf are rick which i liked consider myself swhaf a maverick also really honest. he was willing to -- take on his own party. i wrote a book called buyers remorse which i got crap from fellow democrats but there were some things that i believed
barack obama let progressive side down. so jins john mccain felt that his party was not -- living up to what he believes republican party should be he was willing to say so. he had a great relationship with the media he liked teasing and being around the media but i had to admire what he -- what he suffered for this country and what he's willing to do in the fact he stayed in prison when he could have gotten out given who his father wases and he said until my buddies get out i'm going to stay there. so -- you know how it is. you get up close -- to people in power and -- some of them become away with more respect for them and some of them with less and john mccain i came away with more respect for. yeah. >> so during the course of your time at cross fire we have them whole monica lewinsky thing and one of the stories -- >> don't go there. >> one of the stories that you tell is night after night you're
doing the same thing -- each new -- wrinkle in the story you're analyzing and arguing about in cross fire and you say one night i think it was you and kathy like we can't do it again, enough is enough. let's do something else and you suggest you know what about nato expansion which was actually an incredibly important issue arguably living with consequences of so you -- >> embarrassing. you do nato expansion, and what happened? >> rate arings went -- about we had that was the thing about television you know -- but in television -- and pat and i just begged please -- please -- don't make us do monica lewinsky is again tonight and nato expansion was important issue to pat i was somewhat interested but i wanted to get away from monica so we did it and it is -- still we're living with the consequences of that right now look at --
ukraine and -- we did it and nobody cared. i mean, it was -- and so -- basically rick davis and others who was in charge at the time said see we told you so. right -- so monica. >> what was that tell you be the state of the media and politics and how much of this -- these entertainment values determine our national debate? j well it doesn't say -- a lot of good thing about state of the media but back to a second because the first -- night that rick davis told me that something big was going to hit he wanted me to know they've been told something big was going to hit. about bill clinton and it was not going to be good and i was on the line -- and when i found out what it was, that first night and johnson was a guest host and other host that night -- you know, i took a position what
he did was wrong. i cannot defend it but not a impeachable offense and i stayed there and glad i did. to me that was solid ground all the way through. but back to what you said about the media, it's -- there are two, that's a certain amount of entertainment i think so that people will watch it can't be totally boring but -- the entertainment value has taken over particularly cable news today. i mean, how much time have we spent talking not about you and i but in the last few days talking about stormy daniels. gobbles up everything else because it is salacious -- and people get into it and the media must admit do help fan the flame. there's a story there. but the media does help fan the flame so they see that and they think oh that will get eyeballs that will get ratings --
and i think there's good investigativeournalism done today but i would rather not enough but rather see or more of that and real hard hutting stories no matter who they hilt than just an a easy -- go for glitz and glamor kind of stuff. >> a lot of snarling people aling at each other on television but when you compare to what we have now it seems like lincoln douglas -- because at least there was a half an hour devoted to one subject so you could dive in. cross fire was first and i think the best political debate show ever on television and certain i think classier. >> don't forget fiery line. no, no -- i feed you that, yeah admire
them a lot. but -- nobody had what he did. but compare to what we have today it was -- s it was very focused it was half an hour on one topic with two expert guests. and then two hosts enough to ask a couple of good questions to keep the conversation going and at the end of the -- people i think really knew a lot more about the topic and they could decide whether they wanted to come down on them. compare that to what i see today which is just screaming and no development of an issue and you have maybe two minutes or something to make a point and then they kind of move on. to something else it is really -- really cheap and sometimes i believe that cable television destroyed american politics. because everybody plays that's what happened by the way, to cross fire which i think was -- you know all -- i was only there six years the show left in 19 years for tom an --
all of that credit. they moved it to george washington university in front of studio audience and this became literally a gong show. >> right. before we -- before we were getting close to the end of our time so i want to get in one final thing and that is -- looking back over the last four years of arguing and so forth, is there a big issue on which you've changed your ?riew >> there are issues that i talk about when i was as -- raised a catholic right -- i mean i was really taught that homosexuality is -- totally forbidden and morally wrong don't believe that anymore
i was taught that abortion was under no circumstances ever to be condoned or permitted i don't believe that anymore. but those are a long time ago. >> any proifg view that you no longer think is right? >> i must tell you none pops into my head. i, you know, grouchy marks is these are my principles if you don't like them i have others. [laughter] a great line. that's a really good question and i wish i had a really good answer for you. [laughter] okay. so something -- i don't mean, see because i don't -- mean to think that i'm stuck in the mud. you know, and i'm sure there are, they just are not right to top of my head right now. i remember like -- medical marijuana pat and i used to debate that and -- in medical marijuana maybe i
brought them around. well other things that you criticized obama for for not being sufficiently progressive. version let's start with obamacare. i think obamacare was a sell yacht to me from my point of view -- it left the insurance company miss charge and pharmaceutical companies in charge and he had an opportunity to do which i think is the best plan master's degree medicare for all we can debate that but the trouble in obama was that he took that off the table -- wouldn't even let it be part of the discussion and to my mind, if you start by taking your strongest position off the table, then you're not going to get it. so i think we ended up with a plan that didn't cover everybody. didn't cover as many people as should and nsa didn't do anything about prescription drugs or too many people not having insurance. >> all right bill press thank you very much. it's -- great, great to talk to you.
>> an issue -- thank you on that. >> you can do that. thanks. nice talking to you. if you would like to view other afterwards programs online simply go to our website at booktv.org. type afterwards into the search bar, and all previous afterwards episodes will be available. c-span where history unfolding daily in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress. the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington d.c. and around the country. c pan is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider.