tv Senator Mitch Mc Connell Interview CSPAN December 24, 2016 7:24pm-8:01pm EST
that's not good for the system. it's good for me, great for jim mcdermott getting reelected, but it's not good for the system. the system would be much better with a public financing, such as they have in england and other places where the campaign is a month long and people stand up, , say what they are trying to do or whatever, and the people then make a choice. that to me would make the system better. greta: well congressman , mcdermott, thank you for your time. rep. mcdermott: my pleasure. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer 1: this week, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell was featured on kennedy -- kentucky television where he talked about the 2016 election, the incoming trump administration, and what to expect when the new congress meets in january. this was senator mcconnell's 14th appearance on the public affairs program one-to-one with bill goodman. the conversation is half an
hour. ♪ mr. goodman: welcome to "one-to-one." on this spinal and special edition of "one-to-one" for i 2016, will sit down with a man who has had a pretty good year . senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is in control of the senate. republicans rule the house and the oval office, and the kentucky senate, and for the first time in 91 years flipped , the state house of representatives to a republican majority. happy holidays, senator mcconnell. he is next on "one to one." ♪ mr. goodman: senator, welcome to your 14th appearance on "one to one." undoubtedly a ketv record.
senator mcconnell: you were listing all the wonderful things that happened from a republican point of view in 2016. i think you left out my wife is going to be in the cabinet. mr. goodman: we will get to that. sen. mcconnell: secretary of transportation. before we get going, i want to thank you for doing a great job here at ket for all these many years. you handled the debate in my last election and did it flawlessly and objectively. i wish you well in your new gig. mr. goodman: thank you, sir. i appreciate that very much. i will take you back just a few weeks to november 8 and a telephone call that you got on the evening of the election from now speaker-elect jeff gruber. can you sort of reenact what that call meant to you and what it meant to jeff hoover? senator mcconnell: i was at the national republican senatorial committee building in washington. i thought we had a pretty good chance of taking the statehouse after all of these years. never thought we would get 64.
i thought that was probably the last celebration i was going to have that night, because we've found that out around 8:30, 9:00 at night. i honestly thought we would not hold the u.s. senate. i thought we would come up short. and i did not think president trump had a chance of winning, so i figured that was my last celebration, 8:30 at night. it was an exciting development for republicans who feel like we have a better agenda for the future of the state than the one that was constantly killed in the state house of representatives. even though it is not part of my job, i have had a long-standing interest in helping those guys when i could, and i played at least some role in that. it is indeed a new day. in kentucky. and we will see whether a very different kind of agenda can move our state into the future. mr. goodman: is there any way to compare the emotion of holding the senate, the u.s. senate, of present trump's victory and this statehouse victory now?
i mean, on a scale, it would seem like -- senator mcconnell: given my expectations, doubly exciting because i thought we would come up short on the senate. we had a lot of exposure. we had 24 members of, the democrats only had 10. a lot of them were very difficult states for us in presidential years. so that was really something. but it never occurred to me that he might be able to win as well. and that gives us an opportunity to, you know, through his appointment, to change the court system, to move the country in a more, i think, more competitive direction. try to deal with the excessive regulation and other things that have kept the economy underperforming. so, it was really exciting because i think you get more excited when things you do not expect occur. mr. goodman: you said shortly after the election this was a comeback for rural america. senator mcconnell: yeah. yeah. i think there are an awful lot of people in rural america, and
white working-class people in larger states like michigan and wisconsin and pennsylvania, who look at the democrats these days and say they are a party of groups. there is the this group and of that group. i am not in any of those groups. what about me? i think a lot of people felt they were no longer a part of the democratic party's view of what was important in america. and so, it was, and then if you look at the rural areas, the stunning margins of victory. i mean, not that republicans wouldn't have carried a state like kentucky anyway, but hillary clinton only got 32% of the vote, only carried local elections. in west virginia she only got 27% of the vote. i think there was a lot of feeling among just ordinary people all across the country
that the current administration didn't care about them. and trump was able to convey oddly enough a message from a billionaire who lives in manhattan a genuine concern for people who felt kind of left out, who were sort of offended by all of the political correctness they see around them and didn't feel like this was the america we were accustomed to. so all of that kind of came together. and i thought the most extraordinary thing about trump's victory, the pollsters actually were correct. hillary clinton won the popular vote. what was amazing about trump's victory was he pierced the blue wall that i had not seen a republican kerry in a long time pennsylvania, wisconsin, , michigan. 1988 to to go back to find the last time we carried a presidential election pennsylvania.
1984, and 1984 because it almost does not count because reagan was carrying 49 out of 50 states, a landslide. the last time a republican presidential candidate carried wisconsin. so he carried massachusetts that day, so it almost doesn't count. he was able to break through, and that is why he won a comfortable electoral college victory. mr. goodman: so it is almost the outage be careful what you wish , for. you have no earned these majorities in the kentucky state house, the senate, and the house. the president elect comes in soon. what is the challenge there? how do you look at -- you have learned this gift, -- earned this gift, what are you going to do with it? sen. mcconnell: it is no time of for hubris. all majorities are never permanent. look at how the democrats were feeling. they were already celebrating hillary clinton's victory and handing out -- you have to
perform. i think the country has been underperforming. the way i would characterize it, if you look at the growth rate, not a single year of 3% growth rate during all the obama years. we need about we need to average , about 4% to have the kind of jobs and opportunity for the next generation. so i think, another way i always put it in speeches, it is like we have had our foot on the brake, when you are foot on the -- you need to put our foot on the accelerator to get the country going again. how do you do that? the two biggest reasons are the market has been surging lately, the prospect for doing something about massive overregulation, and the prospect of genuine tax reform. because now many of our businesses pay us taxes. -- pay the highest taxes in the world, which is the principal reason jobs go offshore. we need to perform. the american people are very demanding and have a right to be demanding and never satisfied a
, very long, so it is a big job to have responsibility and produce results. we intend to do it. mr. goodman: you would think, say the same thing about the state with that direction. jeff hoover has told me, told the media there are things they want to do, but they will not rush into it. and jobs and the economy in both the senate and the house are our priorities. sen. mcconnell: yes, it will be easier. they have 64 out of 100 votes in the u.s. senate. i have 52 out of 100. many of the things we do, in fact most of the things we do require 60. there is not much i can do republicans only in the u.s. senate. these massive majorities and a republican governor, there are a number of things they can do. even though they have not announced their agenda, i think we know the major things they can do that will make kentucky
appear to be way more business friendly than it currently is. mr. goodman: more competitive. sen. mcconnell: right, changing the prevailing wage law, making us at least eligible for public charter schools. we are one of only seven states that do not allow public charter schools. and it was some kind of torrent reform, because it is a very, very litigious state. address those things as rapidly as possible with these super majorities, and i think the governor and his whole team will be able to say to prospects, this is a different kentucky from the one you look at a few years ago. we are now competitive with tennessee and indiana and our neighbors. mr. goodman: before we move to an item or two, the editor -- the news of the day let me ask , you this. do the democrats, or to others that don't vote with you in the state ended the nation, do they have anything to be alarmed
about or afraid of or intimidated by about this majority? sen. mcconnell: no, no more so than we were in 2009 when president obama had 60 democrats in the senate and a 40-seat majority in the house. elections have consequences. what the democrats did with their majority the first two , years of president obama, there was the trillion dollars stimulus-- $3 trillion , obamacare and out six years later, there are more -- elected republicans at all levels of government, local, state, and federal than i have been in america in 100 years. so the president himself is a unique political phenomenon. he was able to get himself elected twice. but almost every opportunity the american people have had to react to what he has actually done, they have elected more republicans. so i would say to our democratic friends, you know these things
, come and go. and the american people decided they were not satisfied with the condition of the country and want to go in a different direction. i do not expect them to support most of what we're trying to do. we didn't support most of what they are trying to do, but there are times when you come together. joe biden and i made three very significant bipartisan agreements during the first obama term. there will be opportunities for us to do things together. infrastructure, for example, is a possibility. but i think they just need to accept the fact that they lost the election. these things do happen. and america will be just fine. mr. goodman: on the news of the day sort this out for me please, , if you will sir. , the russian hack, the cia, the headlines, the call for a special committee -- where do you see this today? this is today's news. sen. mcconnell: it is a serious
issue, but it does not require a select committee. we have a senate intelligence committee and a house intelligence committee run by knowledgeable, responsible people. it is no question the russians were messing with our election. it is a matter of genuine concern, and it needs to be investigated. and in the senate, we are going to investigate that in the regular order. we already have a committee established to do this. we don't need to set up a special committee to do what we already have the ability to do. but it is a serious matter, and it will be investigated. mr. goodman: what rises to the level of a special or a select committee? sen. mcconnell: we do not do it very often. just once and a while. -- in a while. the most famous select committee was the watergate committee back in the 1970's. i am sure there have been a
couple of others. mr. goodman: benghazi? what was it? sen. mcconnell: no. in the house. we did it. i am fully -- i think our intelligence committee, fully capable of handling this. mr. goodman: your hesitation to -- form orfor more ok a special committee on cyber activity, doesn't lessen your concern -- does it lessen your concern about what russia allegedly or now mighthave proof of doing? sen. mcconnell: no, it is very concerning, very concerning. and i am plenty concerned about it and upset about it, and we are going to get to the bottom of it. mr. goodman: how do you do that? and getting to the bottom of it would result in what? sen. mcconnell: well we have in place and intelligence committee that is fully staffed and capable of dealing with these things. we want to know exactly what happened.
there is nobody yet who has suggested that the actually changed the outcome of the election but it needs to be , looked at. it is not new that the russians are messing around with other people's elections. they do it in europe all the time. they want to discredit democracy to the major extent possible. if they were trying to elect donald trump, my guess is they are going to be a bad , they made investment. be -- they going to made a bad investment. because look at who he is picking for the cabinet. general mattis for defense. mike pompeo, intelligence expert, number one in his class at the academy the head of the , cia. and i just don't, if they were trying to elect a particular candidate, i think they are going to find out it did not do them any good. mr. goodman: part of your good
months and good fall has been the appointment of your wife, secretary chao, the secretary coming from labor during the bush years now of transportation. if confirmed, i cannot imagine. but you have to say that. how does she greet that news? was it a surprise? mr. goodman: this was her -- sen. mcconnell: this was her original field. how she got into government in first place, she was and elizabeth dole recruit. when elizabeth was secretary of transportation in the reagan years, she brought in elaine in for a federal commission. and then when bush 41 got elected she was the deputy , secretary of transportation, the number two job in transportation. so eight years later, when bush 43 got elected, she made an
effort to get appointed secretary of transportation then. and at the time, they decided to give it to a democrat. and she ended up in the labor department and enjoyed it and spent eight years there. but this was her original area of interest and expertise and i , think i am safe in saying she's excited to have an opportunity to be secretary of transportation in this new administration. mr. goodman: what has she told yet, on theough not job or is she, about what her challenge or her opportunity will be in transportation? sen. mcconnell: it will be whatever the president decides it to be. just to give you one example, he has been talking about doing a big infrastructure bill. if they decide to go in that direction, she will be in the middle of that. but just think about all the innovations in transportation. how about driverless cars? how about drones? i mean what an interesting time , to be secretary of
transportation, with all these transportation innovations that technology is bringing us. mr. goodman: you mentioned some of the other cabinet members. and i think all but three have been named to this point as up-to-date. are you concerned about tillerson as secretary of state like some are? sen. mcconnell: i am not. i know rex pretty well. he would be nominated as something. that was his job to be ceo of exxon mobil, one of the largest corporations in the world. they searched for oil and gas all over the world. in many of those places, the government is not one's we are particularly fond of. i thought he did an excellent job of doing what he was hired by exxon mobil to do. i certainly didn't agree with him at all that we should not have posed sanctions after the russians went into crimea.
i don't have any doubt that rex tillerson will be representing the united states of america. and rex will have an opportunity before the senate foreign relations committee to explain how he sees the new role. my guess is that vladimir putin will be very disappointed with the rex tillerson he gets as secretary of state. a very different job, representing the united states of america, as opposed to one of the country's largest businesses. mr. goodman: another secretary of state, former secretary of state henry kissinger said on face the nation on sunday that he, in his meeting with president-elect trump, found him to be one who acts by instinct. a different style than maybe we are accustomed to. i think everyone knows that already too.
what do you think about that statement about sort of governing by instinct? sen. mcconnell: well regardless , of how he gets to a decision, you were asking about the cabinet earlier, i think all of these cabinet selections have been quite good. and interestingly enough on rex it tillerson, you know, he was supported by condoleezza rice, by bob gates, by jim baker, former secretary of state. so no matter what process he goes through, bill to get to an , outcome, i think the appointments have been quite good. mr. goodman: as you -- as i mentioned earlier, you finished up the year with a few initiatives we know of. we will try to talk about a couple of those, protecting kentucky coal miners, retirees, on health care. tell me how important that is. sen. mcconnell: big issue, my most important kentucky issue at the moment.
we were able to get coal miners health care. this is all a result of the bankruptcies all across coal country. you have a lot of retired coal miners who are losing their health at the very -- their health care at the end of this very month we're in. i made an effort to get it extended to the end of april, and then we are trying to go for a permanent fix because these folks deserve to be protected. their health care deserves to be protected. it is important, it is collateral damage from the decline of the coal industry, much of it attributable to the policies of barack obama, which i am hoping the new president will reverse. mr. goodman: kohl's still remains -- coal still remains a topic in the news. what are you going to do for these miners that have lost their jobs? the question is are those coal , jobs really going to come back? sen. mcconnell: we will find
out. probably not all of them. but we will find out. everybody i know who is in the coal business, many running companies that are now bankrupt, believe that the over regulatory environment contributed mightily. all the environmentalists say it is just competition to natural gas. natural gas is more abundantly available. but we have had low natural gas prices of various points in the past. it is not totally new. and so, and the government itself contributed a lot to this. how much we can get back, i do not know. but we can at least deal inside the government with the regulatory part of it. and i am hoping that the claim power plan regulation, most directed at existing plants and new plants, will be faced out out -- and we will have a more
sane approach at epa. the new head of the epa originally from lexington, kentucky has been quite active in suing epa for much of its overreach. and i would remind your viewers that none of those had anything to do with anything congress passed. this is all executive branch, either executive orders or regulations by this administration, targeting the coal industry. and we have seen the devastation left behind. mr. goodman: on the 21st century the --act, named after named after beau biden, the vice president was in the chamber the day you spoke. final passage of that, that is a monumental effort to rid this nation of cancer. sen. mcconnell: not just cancer. this is, this will be remembered as the single most important piece of legislation of the 114th congress. it jump starts precision medicine, something the president is interested in.
the cancer moonshot that the vice president is interested in. i have a particular interest in regenerative medicine. what is that about? for example, taking stem cells from one part of your body and putting it into another. there was a fellow from tennessee that we all met who was legally blind, managed to get in to a clinical trial. they took stem cells out of one part of his body, put them in his eyes, he is now emailing and driving. and fda was particularly resistant to this. there are fda reforms in there to give these new treatments and opportunity to move faster rather than get bogged down. so it is a very significant piece of legislation. basis, andipartisan i think in many ways, the proudest accomplishment of the 114th congress. mr. goodman: are you still pleased with the way you have
opened up senate order and the way you are conducting business there after two years of majority leader? sen. mcconnell: it is very popular with everybody except the democratic leadership will continue to complain about things. we had in the first year of the 114, 200 rollcall votes, in the previous years there were 15. we passed massive, five-year highway bill that had not happened in 20 years. we did a complete rewrite of no child left behind. elementary and secondary education. a whole variety of things that were important. not going to make the front page of "the new york times," but important. upon which there was some bipartisan agreement, and we got a presidential signature. did we have differences? yeah, we had differences, but when i tried to focus on the things that we could agree on that were worth doing. and we had, i think, by any objective standard, we had a very accomplished 114th
congress. mr. goodman: what sort of conversations have you had with your friend chuck schumer who now takes over for harry reid? sen. mcconnell: it will be interesting to see. the democrats are in a feisty mood these days. mr. goodman: will they use the filibuster on a daily basis? sen. mcconnell: i think they will make it difficult. one thing i did was change the rules of the senate with a simple majority. it lowered the threshold for confirmations to 51. so all of these cabinet appointments that they are complaining about are going to get confirmed as a direct result of what they did three years ago. i told them at the time, you know, the shoe will be on the other foot sooner than you might think. mr. goodman: do you plan an epilogue in the second or third printing of "the long game," do you think you might pin something that will talk about the state house and this republican victory? sen. mcconnell: that is another
big thing that happened in 2016, my memoirs the long game came out. we are still doing book parties across kentucky. maybe there will be another version at some point. mr. goodman: what are you most thankful for this holiday season? sen. mcconnell: look, this great country of ours is extremely resilient. we have just gone through a very nasty campaign. i know a lot of people are upset and bent out of shape about things that happened this year. and i just want to remind everybody that this is an extraordinarily resilient country we live in. we have had tough times were -- where people were upset in the past. but we have had nothing like the great depression. we have had nothing like the came across the country when changes that came across the country when andrew jackson got elected. it was totally different than anything anyone had seen.
we ought to have faith in this great country of ours. its resilience, its ability to change and move in different directions. and regardless of who people supported for president i feel , good about the country. sen. mcconnell: i have asked you this before, but in 30 seconds remaining, you remain hopeful and confident. i think my question was are you , hopeful? it sounds like you are for what lies ahead. sen. mcconnell: i am. obviously i was not very happy with the last eight years, but we will move in a different direction, and hopefully the american people will like that. mr. goodman: thank you, senator. it has been a pleasure for the first 13, and for this one, making it 14 "one-to-one," hope to see you down the road. sen. mcconnell: thank you, bill. mr. goodman: for one-to-one, i am bill goodman. announcer 1: the first congress will begin and will include january several new members. we spoke with one of the incoming freshman new to capitol
minuses to every candidate. everything you have ever said is out there. the pluses were, that everyone in the second district knew me. that was very good. every candidate has pluses and minuses, and it cuts both ways , but it has served me well. i am kind of a policy guy, so i enjoyed talking about it, now i did a chance to make some of it. >> why is it that you decided to run and when? jason lewis: i think you know, you want to step up to the plate at some and make a difference. pointi do think this is a lot like 1980 where you can really have an impact this cycle. i watched the reagan revolution from afar and feel fortunate to be part of a new one. that is what gets me excited about it and why i stepped up this time. >> what is your background? where did you grow up? jason lewis: i grew up in iowa, but don't tell anyone in minnesota that. my mother had a house in
minnesota. when i got a chance to come back to minnesota and go into talk radio there, i jumped at the chance. we love minnesota. >> tell us about your family. jason lewis: i have a wife and two daughters, all swimmers. i remember the first time i went meet you was about 8:00 in the morning, i said to my wife, can we go? 12 hours later i was still there. having a wife who actually swam makes it easy because she understands that you have to stay there for 12 hours. you can call me with the events are in. but it has been good for the kids, and they love it. i did not know much about it. >> younger kids? will your family be coming up to washington? jason lewis: i hope so. we'll keep our home in minnesota. we have a daughter in high school, and an older daughter at st. cloud state. will be in minnesota, but they will be out every now and then. >> where will you live in washington? jason lewis: if i could predict interest rates, i would probably have a different job. we will see. >> who has been a big influence on you in your life? jason lewis: obviously my
father. i could remember as a kid getting up early in the morning, he would grab the front page, i would grab the sports section, now i get up, i read the front page, and my girls read the sports section. so you may not think about it at the time, but leading by example with interest in the state, i it was a big give lawrence on me. -- think it was a big influence on me. >> what would he say about public service and what you're doing right now? jason lewis: i lost my father in 1989. i wish he were here in many ways. i think he would be pretty proud of the kid. i think it would be neat. >> what do you want to do when you are in washington? what issues do you want to work on? jason lewis: it is exciting to be a part of the republican conference this cycle. we can really move the needle. we have to get the economy moving again. going up 1% -- you look at, we have not moved up more than 3% since 2007. the five quarters during the reagan era, we were growing at
reagan era, we were growing at -- 5%, 6%, 7% growth. so this 1% growth, we have the economy that is still on life support. we have got to jumpstart the economy. we need deregulation and tax reform. obviously with minnesota being the epicenter of the health-care crisis, we have got to take a strong look at that. >> do you have any political euros that sort of represent what you are talking about, the issues you want to work on? jason lewis: reagan was a big influence. as a 24-year-old kid, one night in the san fernando valley, a few nights before the election, i had the chance to go to a rally before the election. ended up working on jack kemp's presidential campaign. jack obviously have that right temperament, the optimistic conservative. but going back to reagan, you sometimes have to be tough. i paid for this microphone, esther green. to rate across the aisle
agree with someone, but sometimes you have got to hold your ground too. all i am try to do is make sure we have a government that promotes freedom and prosperity. that is the name of the game. >> what was it about that reagan event that you will never forget? jason lewis: he looked at me. i was a 24-year-old kid who had just tried to eat it, without to work. i was in the san fernando valley two nights before he was elected. and i gave him a thumbs up, and he gave me one back. and that i had a chance to meet him later on in life, and that was really neat. >> what was it about that? him looking at you? is it the message? jason lewis: he was the first candidate in my adult political life that you felt stood for something. in politics, it is the old groucho marx line -- sincerity, if you can fake that, you have got it made. but reagan wasn't faking things, and that is what resonated with him. people don't have to agree with you on hundred percent of the time, but they have got to believe you know what you are saying and do what is best.
they may not agree with you 100% of the time, but that is good enough for a lot of voters. you do what is best for your district and in my case, the second straight in minnesota. >> have you gotten any political advice from the political leaders out here in your party? jason lewis: sure. a lot of it, most of it confidential. >> why is that? jason lewis: here is what i would do. we just had a seminar on what i would do if i were a freshman vendor again. -- member again. the old adage is true -- the freshman is better seen then not heard. >> why do you think that? jason lewis: there is a learning curve here. you want to make sure you know what you are doing before you jump in the fray. that does not mean you cannot be part of something really big. we will have monumental votes, and there will be a flurry of activity in the 100 days. firstthat is what makes this so much fun and exciting. >> c-span will be there so representative elect lewis, thank you for your time. jason lewis: my pleasure.
atnow on c-span, christmas the white house. we will show you the official white house christmas tree on arrival, followed by a look at this year's holiday decorations. then, first lady michelle obama's talks to military families from the east room and joins the children for christmas craft. after that, a look at the first family at the national christmas tree lighting ceremony on the national mall. all of these events took place just after thanksgiving.