Skip to main content

tv   Profile of Senator Mitch Mc Connell  CSPAN  February 18, 2019 8:03pm-9:26pm EST

8:03 pm
time. join the discussion. tomorrow, remarks from former treasury secretary jack lew on the impact of sanctions. treasury secretary from 2013-2017, during the obama administration. he speaks live tuesday at the atlantic council. that begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. at the same hour, air force chief of staff general david goldstein gives a keynote speech on his ranch's strategy, funding and personnel needs. he was between audience at the brookings institution, tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on c-span two. a discussion on u.s. plans to withdraw from afghanistan and how that decision could impact stability in the region. it is hosted by the center for the national interest, starting five at 1215 eastern on c-span. >> someone once told president george w. bush that you were excited over a certain vote and he said, how can you tell?
8:04 pm
why so few yards? -- were? sen. mcconnell: i'm not afraid of talking, but i thought i learn more by listening. i will take away start of listening -- and frequently start out listening, and think about what i want to say before i do it. i think it is fair to say that i'm in the era of trump, i'm probably very different in my approach to commenting on public affairs. that was mitch mcconnell in 2016, talking about his memoir, "the long game," is now the republicanving congressional leader in history. our goal over the next hour or so is to look at his senate career and his rise to leadership and power. to help us do that, we would use the c-span video archives. we will also talk with two-time longtime congressional watchers.
8:05 pm
mr. kane, you have been around this town almost as long as mitch mcconnell has. what is his reputation in the political class? >> i think what he was just telling senator alexander there sums up his demeanor and the way he was always thinking and sometimes, people who interview the old timers from the mcconnell staff really like him, they will get the final word of advice. it will be, when you meet the boss, if he is just staring, don't feel like you need to fill in the air. don't feel like you need to keep talking. he is processing and thinking what his next phrase will be. he is constantly a strategic tactician. it is always what he will be known for. if you look at any sort of profile of him, strategy and tactics are the first two things that come to mind. extreme discipline as well.
8:06 pm
we will get into this at some point. he grew up with polio and battled polio throughout his childhood. lifeering that later in physically and mentally, mcconnell always practiced what he called the long game. thinking about the next step ahead and the step after that and the one after that. toa child, he literally had in order to get around the house and the school. that is his hallmark all of these years later. host: what do you want to add to that? guest: mcconnell is the type of politician who thinks more than he talks. reputation of being a master of the senate. in my view, that is accurate. he is a master of using the ink -- the intricacies of the senate to shape how people view politics. he understands the tools and levers. obama whitein the
8:07 pm
house, normalized the legislative filibuster on pieces of legislation. it was used before that. he did it to a level not seen before. he is the reason we say things like it says -- like it takes 60 votes to pass a bill and the senate. that byl understood mounting that level of obstruction to the obama agenda would convey to voters that something extraordinary was happening and that it would split the democratic base because they would not able to pass his any pieces of legislation. it would unite his party against him. that was an enormous impact on what obama was allowed to do. host: what's it like to cover him on capitol hill? guest: he's complex that he never speaks in hallways. he it truly disciplined about that. he is one of the rare exceptions. when the roy moore news broke, senate allegations of him being a child lester, senator mcconnell gave a speech on the floor, and he spoke to reporters
8:08 pm
and said this is reprehensible, we cannot accept this. i cannot support this man. hes a challenge, because thinks more than he talks. he doesn't always let on what he is thinking. guest: people like chuck and nancy pelosi and before that, going back to trent lott and tom daschle, very expressive. they would like to tell you what they were thinking. they would try to work the press, to spin what we would be reporting on. mcconnell, that extreme discipline i'm talking about, at a breakfast with reporters in 2020, he called -- 2010, he caught himself the master of the of expressed thought. people were trying to get him to weigh in on something. they asked in five different ways. is to say, at the risk of being redundant, i have nothing further to add. he rarely steps in it.
8:09 pm you don't get the stream of koch is this that you get on donald trump's -- the stream of consciousness that you get on donald trump's twitter feed. i would be surprised if mcconnell ever opened the twitter app. end, it is all about winning. he is just trying to win. seats,s to win senate every vote is calculated at that , at a pure partisan power play. there are very few figures up there that are that partisan and that powerful, that will execute in a fashion he does. host: the rare moments, the remotes were he slips and speaks a little too much or talks about the strategy that is going on in his mind. the famous example was early in the obama years, where he told
8:10 pm
the reporter, our single priority is to make barack obama network the presidency. that thet surprise us republican leader would want to defeat the democratic incumbent. the way he said it was callous. it's not the economy? is to defeat this man? sometimes he says more than he thinks because he is such a strategic mind. in his mind, none of this would come as news. sometimes that translates to philly. host: we will get into that later in this hour. i will turn to you what we play the video and have you look at that -- when we play that video and have you look at that. one of the things we want to do is expose you to the c-span video library. mitch mcconnell has been on c-span since 1986, only for start of covering the senate. even prior to that, we still had cameras out and about town. we will show you the first time that mitch mcconnell appeared in
8:11 pm
the c-span video archives. he was elected in 1984. this is from 1985. sen. mcconnell: the people of kentucky elected me for one reason. they wanted me to come to washington and cut out wasteful spending. i'm bringing lots of good kentucky cost saving ideas to washington. for example, take education. i've introduced a bill to teach driver education and sex education in the same car. [laughter] [applause] sen. mcconnell: i guess you noticed that richard vickery, plans to ride the spatial. -- space shuttle. in fact, they are making a movie out of it. they will call the far right stuff. [laughter] tommy robinson led off and we were talking
8:12 pm
behind the podium behind the kit that before he came out. we knew he would be the first of the six freshmen to make our comedy debuts tonight. just before he started speaking, he gathered all of us together and said, the bombing begins in five minutes. thank you. [laughter] that,we were watching paul kane, a couple of chuckles from both of you. all, that is an incredibly young version of mitch mcconnell. we don't see that anymore. it's that really dry humor and the really dry delivery that is still the same. that hasn't changed at all. his version of a joke is not with a lot of emotion or anything. it is not a chris farley movie
8:13 pm
with mitch mcconnell. it's always been about politics right down to the far right and stuff. host: the fact that mitch againstl was protesting the very conservative republicans at that point, he still has had that issue today hasn't he? mr. kapur: he came up as a moderate republican. he was very unapologetic about those things. kentucky is a state that has relied on federal government subsidies. he recognized that as part of his role. the funny thing about the clip, his body language. he feels so much looser than he feels today. he smiled so much more than i see him smiling today. he never smiles at a press conference. he smiles to convey something different today. host: the fact that he was out
8:14 pm
and about in washington, does that surprise you? mr. kapur: not particularly. he has to be somewhat public. he has to go to some things. that doesn't surprise me. making jokes that surprise me. mr. kane: you wouldn't find him at an event like that today. he wouldn't be the mc, joking around, because he is already reached his pinnacle. the job he's always wanted since high school or college. a younge him as senator, first year in office, thinking, these of the things that get you ahead. i'm playing the long game. and going to appear, make jokes, and everyone will last -- laugh. that will put me on the path. host: most senators look in the mirror and see accredited. -- mr. kapur: most senators look in the mirror and see a president. he has never seen that. he wanted to be a senator.
8:15 pm
brought up anl activist still working today. that is the only time he spoke up against the so-called far right. 1986,e is on the floor in going against a very popular president reagan. the president, as we all know, on june 12, 1986, the south african government imposed sweeping state of emergency regulations, which grant the military and police broad powers to question and detain individuals. since june 12, 1986, the government has acknowledged detaining close to 10,000 south africans. independent monitoring groups estimate more than 12,000 people have been detained. i'm not here to talk about the statistics as horrifying as they may be. i would like to take a moment to discuss just one victim of apartheid and the state of emergency regulations. the resolution i've introduced concerns the case of dr. abby
8:16 pm
n'komo. is a well-respected community leader. my colleagues probably wonder why i brought his case to our attention. as he distinguished him -- has he distinguished himself in some particular way? no. much like many other community leaders who advocate, including the black majority in the south african political process, and in his power. inextricably, it is these voices of moderation that the south african government has chosen to harass, detain, and put on trial. representedas thousands of black citizens and leaders who have advocated dialogue with the government. the government has responded with repression. he voted to override president reagan's veto of south africans -- african sanctions. he's had a weird relationship with republicans.
8:17 pm
affect, hehis doesn't have petty partisan brawl or overt attitude that some of them would like. he is also been a dealbreaker -- maker. he has written and many moments to break and passes on issues like government funding and the debt limit. democratic white house saw him as someone who would always deliver when you cut a deal. they do not think the same way about other republicans at the time. he has done things that i think someone in his position, someone who aspires to be the center -- that isrity leader, and led to some distress among the ideological leaders of his party. this is not a guy who will be fighting every step of the way for their goals. mr. kane: in this particular issue, the south african issue, he is had in months -- has had a long-standing issue with certain parts of the country and the world. he has been on the side of freedom. anmar, is another
8:18 pm
example of that, where he is trying to be a real advocate for freedom fighters there. he has been on the foreign operations subcommittee, the appropriations committee and that the top republican for debit -- decades. he is tried to use that perch to influence global events. it has been one of those few areas of policy that he truly cares about. we will talk about campaign finance reform and his fights against that. judges, and some of these global free will issues. we saw that recently, when he removing trips in syria and afghanistan. the president had more difficult exporters on that resolution than republicans because mcconnell was very forceful about not quickly withdrawing
8:19 pm
troops. for ais it common majority leader or minority leader in the senate to serve on committees as well? as we take today, -- taped today, he appeared at the senate rules committee because they were debating senate rules. it was about judicial confirmation and speeding up the judicial executive branch confirmations. it's rare for them to show up at a committee hearing and maintain usually, harry reid removed himself from all of his committees and held a marker at the appropriations committee, and casey ever wanted to go back to his committees. mcconnell has stayed on them. he is on the agriculture probation, appropriations, and senate rules. usually the leader gives up that
8:20 pm
spot because he or she is looking to get a vote from somebody. it is that favor of, i need you to vote for me on this, and i have decided i will give up my seat on this important committee and magically, you might get appointed to the committee. that is usually what happens. mcconnell has maintained his spot there. people thinke, that eventually, if he wins another term and he serves another six years, that maybe someday he will be the leader of emeritus and go back to those committees the way robert byrd did when he left as majority leader at the end of 1988, but stuck around for another 20 years. host: paul k mentioned that the judiciary is something that mitch mcconnell is very interested in. this goes back to 1986. you will recognize supreme court chief justice william rehnquist. this was at his hearing for chief justice. being in thel:
8:21 pm
same judiciary committee hearing room with justice rehnquist, it gives me a sense of jw -- deja vu. we have been here before, going back to 1969, when i was an assistant to a senator on this committee. you are assistant attorney general. we were working on what some would argue controversial supreme court nominations in those days, leading to an article that i published in the kentucky law journal, which i believe justice rehnquist is familiar, which i've align my own views to what the appropriate criteria are for the senate and advising and consenting to nominations for the supreme court. mr. chairman, i would like to ask the unanimous consent that that be included in the record at this point. that hearing probably happened before you were born.
8:22 pm
mitch mcconnell was still working on judicial issues. mr. kapur: he certainly is. is very little senator mcconnell cares more about than the federal judiciary. trump's first two years, he shepherded 84 judges, including two supreme court justices through the senate to confirmation for lifetime appointed roles. this is part and parcel of his philosophy of playing the long game. there is no more effective way of playing the long game than putting lifetime appointed judges, who are almost all them, in their 40's and 50's. they were picked with help from the federal society, a group of conservative lawyers and advocates who pick people who will fight for their causes. the campaign finance laws, which mcconnell has worked for, the work is done on the judiciary, they're going to protect the issues he has fought for. mr. kane: what is missing there, is his origination for this
8:23 pm
issue, which was born as his first two years as a senate staffer, working for republican marlow cook of kentucky. he was hired at of university of kentucky law school to work on supreme court confirmations. in 68were three in a row and 69 and 70 that were very contentious. he became the fulcrum of mcconnell's thinking of how he cared so much about the judiciary. the way that those nominations tilted, you end up with a slightly more moderate supreme court, because of the way those unfolded. mcconnell knows how much that impacted the arc of history from just -- justice powell. then again, and the mid 80's, you ended up with kennedy instead of bork.
8:24 pm
these are seemingly individual moments, but use them as the pivot points as judicial history. mr. kapur: if i can add to that, the single most important one that he saw was 2003 and 2010. mcconnell versus sec. he led the charge in the courts that laid the groundwork for citizens united. all it took was the replacement of one justice with another. pretty much the same case. one left and he got his wish. host: we will talk about campaign finance in a few minutes. a little bit more of the judiciary first. march 16, at 16, senator mcconnell rolls the dice. it is thenell: president's constitutional right to nominate a supreme court justice. it is the senate's constitutional right to act as a check on a president. and withhold his consent.
8:25 pm
the american people may well elect a president who decides to nominate judge garland for senate consideration. the next president may also nominate somebody very different. either way, our view is this. ine the people a voice filling this vacancy. paul kane of the washington post, what did we just say? that c? -- see? mr. kane: we just saw the defining moment of his career. everything from his work as a senate staffer to his views of the supreme court justices in the supreme court. it looked moment when like there would be a democratic president. everybody throughout most of 2016 thought we would have a democratic president. donald trump is not going to win. mcconnell takes the desk of
8:26 pm
justice scalia. that was in february of 2016, while on vacation with his wife over president's day weekend, have the ever -- hardly able to connect with members of his own car -- caucus. the matter -- he said on a letter saying, the matter who this person is, we will not allow them to go through. people were floored. he tried to find various presidents throughout history. there were none. there were not for senate majority leader to make this decision. he made it unilaterally. eventually his caucus came around and supported him. all but susan collins of maine. everyone else was ok with it. it was a major role of the dice, doubling and tripling down on everything. wills a bank shot that continue to reverberate throughout history because it galvanized the evangelical
8:27 pm
voters later that summer and that fall and helped elect donald trump. it helped save the senate republican majority and led to 84 federalation of judges the first two years, including two supreme court justices, one of him, the brett kavanaugh nomination, incredibly controversial. that moment began with mitch mcconnell on his own deciding no one is even going to get a hearing. judge rakoff i have asked -- mr. kapur: i had asked senator mcconnell and 2017 about the tax law that was going to pass that same day. he said that was not the proudest thing of his same day -- of his career. he said neil gorsuch was his prose achievement. nobody had done what he is done on a supreme court seat. he held it open for 10 months.
8:28 pm
he did it to preserve it ideological balance on the supreme court. a fiveould have been member democratic appointed justice majority of the court. it would have put a lot of issues to the left. this is a contradiction within him. he is known as an institutionalist in every ways. do away withaid to his institutional norms and step on them quite clearly in a case like this, if it advances and ideological goal that he holds dearly. host: you interviewed him in the december of 2017. rolle acknowledge his dice in the sense on the merrick garland nomination? mr. kapur: he said the proudest achievement of his career was near -- neil gorsuch and the federal courts. we know exactly what he was talking about. the decision to make that state remain open. -- seat remain open. when he talks about the courts, he talks about it in a matter of fact way. we want judges who will simply
8:29 pm
look at the law and not be legislators from the bench. he doesn't get into these things publicly. we know that the kinds of justices hughes worked to put on the events -- bench are ones that will protect campaign finance and gun rights. in many ways, oppose abortion rights. this is the long game he is playing. mr. kane: he sees it as the part of the long game where he is to strategically map out everything and see where it is going to end. he looks at congress right now and sees it as a dysfunctional which, they, and are not going to get to a big sweeping immigration border security bill. get theseot going to big campaign-finance issues done. where are they going to end up? where are they going to be decided in the courts? where are they going to be decided in the courts? in his mindset it is i am going to skip to the last chapter and
8:30 pm
get as many judges confirmed so as congress continues to deadlock on every issue the final judgment is going to come in the federal courts and he wants to shift the balance of the federal courts to try to get the outcome his way. mr. kapur: in 2013 when democrats triggered the nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster for most judges except the supreme court, the back story is often forgotten which is that mcconditional and his senate republicans led a blockade of three d.c. circuit court of appeals vacancies and said we're not going to consider anybody for those vacancies. it hadn't been done before. it was extraordinary. the idea a senate minority would prevent a sitting president and senate majority from appointing anybody to vacancies was the position mcconnell took. the d.c. circuit has an enormous amount of authority over decisions that get made by the president of the united states, executive actions on things like climate change and regulations. mcconnell rolled the dice there. go to the democrats and the nuclear option and that led to
8:31 pm
all the history we're talking about. we didn't even mention the fact hat mcconnell -- there were 60 votes right before that nomination and mcconnell said we'll confirm him one way or the other. host: i want to show you a little video from 2013 and 2016. >> the rule change will make cloture for all nominations other than the supreme court. senator mcconnell: if you want to play games and set another precedent you'll no doubt come to regret, to my friends on the other side of the aisle you may regret this and a lot sooner than you think, therefore i raise the point of order. >> three and a half years later republicans extend the change to include supreme court nominations. host: sahil kapur that was former majority leader harry reid and mitch mcconnell triggering the nuclear option.
8:32 pm
mr. kapur: right. and i think some democrats very much do regret the move they made in 2013, given that, yes, it helped them fill some vacancies but arguably made it what for mcconnell to do he did with the supreme court. there were many democrats convinced otherwise that mcconnell wouldn't have hesitated to make this move even if democrats didn't. this is one of the main things that helped then leader harry reid get the votes within his own conference to trigger the nuclear option in the first place. it was not a done deal. many older, long-time members like dianne feinstein and patrick leahy who were highly skeptical of that but were eventually sold on the democratic argument that mcconnell is not going to do -- he'll do what he is going to do regardless of what we do now. we may as well get the vacancies filled. mr. kane: the 2013 vote, the final people to come onboard or harry reid, weren't old line conservatives.
8:33 pm
it was leahy, feinstein, barbara boxer. at that time particularly they knew on the supreme court they had a pro roe v. wade majority and they felt like they wanted to protect that, you know, abortion rights most importantly. what changes mcconnell's mind is always when there is a deliverable big outcome. he can sit there in 2013 and say this is the worst thing you could ever do to the united states senate. he says that history would remember harry reid as the worst majority leader ever because they were unilaterally changing the senate rules on a party line vote. and, you know, three and a half years later is he willing to do the same thing? yes. if he gets a big end result out of it and that's a supreme court justice. now you see people clamoring for him to change the senate rules and do away with the legislative filibuster in order
8:34 pm
just to pass some really small potatoes things in his mind. and he's not going to do that. if there is ever a moment where there is a really big outcome in eliminating a legislative filibuster gets him there, he'll consider it. host: sahil kapur do you agree with paul kane that this decision will live on in history? mr. kapur: yes, i do. i do fully agree with paul about the legislative filibuster. he recognizes in the long haul it is going to be more useful to conservatives than liberals. i think when democrats come to power if there was no filibuster they would be freer, more likely have an easier time passing big pieces of legislation like medicare for all or pursuing some form of a green new deal. not saying that's likely. 50 votes for those things is not going to be easy for democrats but with a legislative filibuster it is essentially impossible to do. he doesn't want to be the majority leader of the pave the way for that. toward the last few weeks of
8:35 pm
his, you know, the previous session, there was clamor on the right as paul was suggesting to eliminate the legislative fill bust tower president llion in trump's wall --. not going to do that. mr. kane: a wall that could crumb natalee holloway 10 or 20 years. no. a wall that could crumble in 10 or 20 years. you would only do it for something big and important like supreme court justices and tilting the balance of the supreme court to the right for possibly a generation. mr. kapur: in a world where republicans came to full power and said we want to do big, transformative things like pass the budgets former speaker paul ryan put out in the obama years if there was something big like that and the legislative filibuster was the one thing standing in the way i could see a scenario where mcconnell seriously considers it but there was nothing like it. the legislative filibuster didn't in the way of much for the republicans. host: we talked a little about the judiciary. another issue senator mcconnell is known for is campaign
8:36 pm
financing. it is not just recently that he has talked about this. here he is on a c-span call-in show in 1987 talking about this issue. senator mcconnell: it is rather interesting. the senate has been involved in extensive debate and i have been leading that in opposition to public funded senate races and spending limits in senate races. caller: i've been watching the senate proceedings and i find it interesting that nobody has mentioned or made any comment about lobbyists who many americans perceive as the real influence peddlers in the country and i'd like to know the senator's thoughts on that. senator mcconnell: there certainly are a large core of lobbyists in this town. i might say in defense of some of them they do provide a useful service if you know how to use a lobbyist. by that i mean if you simply allow them to make their
8:37 pm
argument. many times they are a very useful part of the process provided you use them as information sources and don't allow them to have special influence with you. so the lobbyists, per se, are not necessarily bad and of course they are required to register. host: paul kane, defending money in campaigns and lobbyists is not usually a winning formula. mr. kane: no. it's not. but this is something that mcconnell learned early on is that everybody said they were for some form of campaign finance reform but a lot of people secretly didn't want campaign finance reform or lobbying in ethics rules. he stood up early and became the guy who would be the face holding up and fighting against what are seemingly really popular things and it was a way to earn credit from his colleagues who would publicly go after the cameras and say,
8:38 pm
yes. we should limit campaign donations and do away with lobbyists and then behind closed doors would pat mcconnell on the back and say, thank you for taking a bullet for us on this. this is like -- you're doing great work. keep going. keep going. and it was a really big early play for him in which he learned how to get, win friends, win friends, win influence, gain influence, and he also really learned some of the tactics of how to gum up the senate through this fight. host: sahil kapur, did all the republicans pat him on the back for saying what he was saying? mr. kapur: certainly not. one republican by the name of john mccain had fought to limit campaign finance. you know, the openness to campaign finance and mccain won this battle in congress despite the tooth and nail objections of mitch mcconnell. he teamed up with a democrat named russ feingold and passed
8:39 pm
the mccain fine gold bill. mcconnell could not win that battle. in the arena of public opinion something like 90% of americans believe there is too much monday anypolitics. this is not a winning issue if you go to the voters with it. mcconnell went to court. he found a first amendment objection. he won. he had the last laugh on the issue. host: here he is in 2016 and then we'll show you a little bit from 2017 but here he is talking about his relationship and this issue with john mccain. >> mccain/feingold was the law that passed. you fought at the supreme court. you lost. that was a pretty acrimonious battle. what is your relationship with john mccain today? senator mcconnell: very close. that is a good example of being able to have, you know, knock down, drag out fight over issues. it went on for about 10 years. it was really pretty stressful between us. at various points. but, you know, i called him up
8:40 pm
the day after he won in the supreme court. actually one of the worst days of my life actually was watching a republican house, a republican senate, and republican president pass a bill that i was opposed to. i am deeply opposed to and was the plaintiff and lost in the supreme court. called him up the day after and i said, congratulations, john. you won. i lost. and we found that there were a lot of other things we could work on together. we'd become fast friends and allies on a variety of different things and that is the way the senate ought to ork. --. . peters mr. portman. mr. reid. host: sahil kapur that second piece of video was from july 28, 2017. did you recognize it? mr. kapur: i did.
8:41 pm
i was up late in the senate that evening covering that vote. it was an extraordinary moment. my colleague and i had some rumblings earlier on in the evening that mccain was unsure of his vote and we were staking him out pretty regularly. throughout the evening he would keep a little bit tight lipped. he didn't specifically reveal how he would vote but he gave signals that he was highly skeptical and he was not happy with this going forward. you saw that. we saw that clip. we saw the thumbs down. we heard the gas. we saw mitch mcconnell standing there arms crossed, stone faced. this was a huge defeat for mcconnell. just a few days later he was asked about john mccain who had been diagnosed with cancer and didn't know how long he had to live. mcconnell said he was wuvent finest men i've ever served with. mr. kane: yeah. an incredibly complex journey. mcconnell gets to the senate in january, 1985. mccain comes along two years later. and their friendship is -- goes back and forth. there's rivalries. they were in -- mccain was
8:42 pm
pushing campaign finance in the 1990's the 90's into -- into 2002 when campaign finance reform passed. they had fights that ended up with each other accusing one of another of breaking the law. mccain essentially accused mcconnell of saying we can't push campaign finance reform because of big tobacco donations. they fought bitterly. and they got better after mccain's presidential campaign especially. he came back to the senate and he fully engaged in work. but then that fund down moment, mcconnell -- i watched that video over and over. i was there that night also but from above you can't quite see exactly what's going on. host: you could hear the gasp though. mr. kane: you could hear the gasp. mcconnell stood there without moving for 12 seconds. he just, arms folded, for 12 whole seconds. he hardly even blinked. they still had some
8:43 pm
sort of friendship, like two people from different sides of a war that years later, you know, can serve the bond over a common fight and mcconnell did go visit mccain in the sedona ranch a couple months before he passed away in a sort of quiet -- he barely talked about it afterward -- but he went and spent a couple hours with the senator and his wife as he only had a couple months left to live. host: so viewers know that was the obamacare repeal. not even sure i mentioned that. mr. kapur: so obvious to us who followed it closely but that was one of the top priorities of that congress and president trump. host: what does it tell you about senator mcconnell that he went out to see john mccain playing the long game again? mr. kapur: one of the things congressional leaders like to use, don't fight every battle as if it is your last one. mcconnell knows this.
8:44 pm
he lives by this rule because there will be some members who oppose him on some things. he will need them for other things. mccain as perfect example. he voted no on a.c. appeal and provided an important yes vote on the tax law a few months late they're passed that. it was an important achievement for mcconnell. if he had alienated and gone guns blazing against this man and ruined that relationship it would have been harder to win him on other things he needed him for including those judges. host: mr. kapur you brought up nancy pelosi. she and senator mcconnell have been around this town for a long time. what's their relationship? mr. kapur: it's a fascinating kind of duality between these two because they both have been leaders of their respective caucuses for more than a decade. they are both masters of legislative maneuvering, both very strategic individuals. i am not sure there is much of a relationship beyond strictly business. they are both appropriaters. they both like making deals and funding the government and
8:45 pm
bringing home some of their own priorities but their relationship appears to be strictly business. i don't sense any warmth there. they also know that the respect of -- respective other can deliver once they make a deal. >> they have some issues that are of similarity. speaker pelosi's early years on the appropriations committee she also did a lot of fighting on sort of international freedom issues, particularly related to china. so they have sort of similar areas that they -- areas of really but they're just different people. pelosi is a baltimore san francisco liberal. italian -- one of six kids from altimore who goes on to have -- mcconnell is quiet,
8:46 pm
expresses always calculating box. you rarely get to see what is turning. you just know the wheels are turning. with pelosi, she is talking. she is thinking about it out loud. they're different people. and their relationship will do in two how that goes years will have you look at a lot of issues potentially serious constitutional issues. host: they are two of the big four legislative leaders along with kevin mccarthy and chuck schumer who we have also profiled. mitch mcconnell's rise to power. he chaired the ethics committee. he chaired the rules committee. he was minority leader, majority leader, the longest serving republican congressional leader now in history. but he began as the national republican senatorial campaign committee chair. here he is in 1998 at a
8:47 pm
undraising dinner. senator mcconnell: to give you an idea of the scale of this event tomorrow we'll be serving top quality grain fed beef which is the equivalent of all the big macs president clinton eats in a month. i want to promise you something. with your generous support we'll serve up a whole lot more red meat to the democrats before this election is over. let me give you just a few choice appetisers. should we limit the fees lawyers can charge in tobacco cases at least to the obscene rate of $1,000 per hour? america says yes. the democrats say no. should we spend 95% of the federal education budget directly in local classrooms rather than wasting it on washington bureaucrats? america says yes. the democrats say no. should we end president clinton's era of drug permissiveness by launching an unprecedented new war against
8:48 pm
drug abuse by young people. america says yes, the democrats say no. host: sahil kapur what did you see? mr. kapur: well, 1998, a few months before that election, it was actually a bad election cycle for the republicans. a rare mid-term election where a party outside the white house didn't win a lot of seats and it was in part a backlash to the republican efforts to impeach bill clinton. i think the public perceived some over reach there. just a few months ago after the 2018 election mcconnell said before the cameras as he gave his assessment democrats should not engage in presidential harassment. this became a big issue and mcconnell was asked to respond after that are you saying the democrats should not aggravate the president? he said no. i was just saying i was there in 1998. i remember what over reach looks like and they shouldn't do that. mr. kane: that affs mid-term cycle where republicans
8:49 pm
actually thought they could get to possibly 60 votes. i think they had 55 heading into the election and they held even at 55 which felt like a big letdown. they thought they should have picked up more. he even face ad challenge internally to be chairman for the next cycle after that from chuck haggle of nebraska. mcconnell won easily but it was -- it was a down year for him. but he uses these positions to continue to do the things that other people didn't want to do. he was the guy, back then they had soft money, these unlimited checks that today they go to sort of dark shadowy nonprofit groups that have weird names. they used to go directly to the party campaign committees and mcconnell was the guy who traveled the country and asked for 50,000, a hundred thousand, $500,000 checks. that's a lot of work and most of their colleagues up there
8:50 pm
don't want to do those things. but he did it again and again for four years. he did that job. and that begins to lay the ground work for him to be able to say, will you vote for me to become leader? mr. kapur: because all of these things he is so untouchable with his republican conference. he's had competitive elections, base problems with his right. the one group of people he has no problems with are his senate republican members. they trust him to be leader. host: well he during the clinton impeachment in 1999 compared what was going on to an earlier case. senator mcconnell: the appropriate -- this morning to remind everybody who has not been around here for three years about the packwood case and the similarities between that case and the one we currently have before us in the senate. my worst assignment since i've been here was to be chairman of the ethics committee and i had the misfortune of having that job during the packwood matter.
8:51 pm
and you may recall, that was a case about sexual misconduct and obstruction of justice. it was a lengthy case. we reached the point in the case where under the rules of the ethics committee someone could ask for a public hearing. that is to repeat it all in public. that precipitated an amendment by my colleague senator boxer on the floor to direct the committee to have public hearings. so i have been there. i understand the argument that our friends on the other side of the aisle have been making during this proceeding about reaching a decision on the record. it's noteworthy, however, the arguments they were making three years ago when the accused was a republican. in fact, a senior member of our
8:52 pm
party, the chairman of the finance committee. my colleagues were making exactly opposite argument. host: paul kane of the washington post he has been pretty consistent hasn't he over the years? mr. kane: yeah. that was so -- the impeachment trial that was being held in the senate, they would have sort of legislative business in the morning and adjourn and then reconvene and do the trial . that was a large part of that especially the deliberations were held completely behind closed doors. and different members were asking to have some of it done publicly. eventually i think somebody -- some people would release their own statements was the compromise they reached. but the ethics case that he was chair of and cochair of, bob packwood, was one of the really defining moments of sort of the
8:53 pm
me too era from the 1990's. and he led along with dick bryan then senator of nevada a really long, brutal fight over misbehavior of one of their own. at the very end he was willing to vote to expel packwood and that's why packwood resigned. host: anything to add? mr. kapur: not particularly. host: after that he was senate minority leader. harry reid was the majority leader. and it always seems that there is a very contentious relationship between the two senate leaders. here is mitch mcconnell talking about his relationship with harry reid and then you'll see some video of senators reid and mcconnell together. >> the senate is a place of relationships. what about this relationship between the democratic and republican leader? are you friends? are you not friends? senator mcconnell: look, i've been very public about a couple things about harry.
8:54 pm
number one, i didn't like the way he shut the senate down. and prevented people from voting. i didn't like the way he ran the senate. and i think his public rhetoric is frequently very inappropriate. senator reid: the senate came together tonight in a bipartisan fashion to address one of the most critical economic challenges this country has ever faced. and we've sent a clear message to america, to all americans, that we will not let this conomy fail. senator mcconnell: thank you, harry. this has been the senate at its finest. in the years that i've been here i can't recall a single time where in this proximity to an election both sides have risen above the temptation to
8:55 pm
engage in partisan game playing if you will to address an issue of magnitude, great magnitude. host: sahil kapur, that second piece of tape was from october 1, 2008. mr. kapur: right. the relationship between mcconnell and reid has always struck me as a mixture of mutual rye spectrometry, occasional coop tempt, a need to -- contempt, a need to work together and a recognition they need to do things together in the senate to get the 60 votes to defeat a filibuster on pieces of legislation. now, it is very common for a minority leader hoping to become majority leader to critique the other's handling of the senate. the criticism is often that we know i want a more open senate. i want more amendments. i want more freedom for voting. that's how mcconnell criticized reid and how open rated in the beginning. he moved away from that. his leadership style looks a lot more like harry reid's than the one he envisioned for himself. he has prevented the other side
8:56 pm
from getting a lot of votes that they wanted. over time, there seems to be an equilibrium where senate majority leaders get to which is i'm not going to let the other side have all the power they would like to. mr. kapur: mr. kane: i think you can find a story by me in 2007 about how majority leader, minority leader they're both similar institutionalists. a lot of the things we said about mcconnell and how he did the ethics committee, he was doing, a whip, doing all the dirty jobs nobody else wanted to do, harry reid was the same way. they got to their positions the exact same way. what you were saying earlier about how mitch mcconnell looked in the mirror and only saw somebody who could be majority leader, never aspired to be president. that was harry reid. he never wanted to be president either. at first, it worked. they understood each other. they weren't angling to run for president some day. they weren't trying to one up each other politically. but the relationship deteriorated year over year, in
8:57 pm
part because they each faced tough re-elections in 2010 harry reid in nevada and 2014 mcconnell in kentucky and in that -- that poisoned the well a bit. but ultimately you're right. everybody begins their term as senate majority leader wanting to be mike mansfield. the longest serving senate majority leader ever who was very open. the process was incredible. the committee chairman had power. the civil rights act of 1964 was debated for weeks and weeks and weeks and finally they were able to break the filibuster because they'd run it so open. eventually they all become lyndon johnson. they all begin to shut down the place and there are fewer amendments now being voted on in the senate under mitch mcconnell than under harry reid and harry reid was the all-time, previous all-time low. that. >> vote where we saw senators reid and mcconnell together was the part vote right after the financial meltdown in 2008.
8:58 pm
october 1, 2008 was the date of that video. 74-25 that passed. the senate came together. mr. kane: it did. you saw on that -- there was a countdown clock on that clip and that was -- there was a debate that night that was happening. it was i think a presidential debate. if not, it was a v.p. debate. you were right in the throws of a massive -- the throes of a massive election for president and a lot of senate seats were up. people, mcconnell being one of them, he was up for election that year, too, were casting votes that were not popular back home. and it was a big moment where they came together and then the beginning of sort of the fraying of the reid-mcconnell relationship was probably a few weeks after when his democratic opponent in kentucky was airing ads being critical of mcconnell for supporting the bail out, the tarp bail out.
8:59 pm
mcconnell felt like chuck schumer and reid, schumer was running the campaign committee at the time, they were not just being honest brokers but they had sat there in those rooms and agreed to do something to save the global financial markets and now here mcconnell was being criticized for it. that vote and the fallout from it has really been a big impactful thing on the congress and also the senate leader relationship. host: sahil kapur you mentioned earlier he has had tough re-election campaigns. mr. kapur: often. i think 2014, talking about mcconnell here, expected to be frankly a lot closer than it was. it ended up being a blow out year for republicans. mr. kane: but he had to work his butt off in the primary and the general. mr. kapur: he did. and one of his top advisers josh holmes at the time who was overseeing the nrsc in some ways actually went to kentucky to be stationed there over the last few months.
9:00 pm
it seemed like a signal to reporters that mcconnell may be in trouble but it turns out he won pretty comfortabley. host: i think i saw a news report the democrats have already tried to recruit amy mcgraph, a female fighter pilot to run against him in the next round. mr. kane: yes. they're looking. you know, his numbers back home to your point, sort of the conservative activists just can't really trust him. they can never love him. they kind of respect him because sometimes he does things like, you know, bull doze brett kavanaugh through the confirmation process but then they just think god he's been there 30 some years. i can't really trust this guy. he always looks weak. and mcgraf ran in the lexington area. host: against andy barr. mr. kane: she was a dynamic candidate running in a tough district. had incredible ads that were really about her pilot history, what it's like to be a pilot
9:01 pm
and a mother and raising children. but she came up short. and the question is is that the right person to run against mcconnell? it is a real contrast. she's young, she's a woman. she raised tons of money. those are things that chuck schumer is going to look at as he is recruiting and think, that might be a good contrast. mcconnell is taking nothing to chance. he is raising tons of money himself. he already has a campaign team beginning to form down in louisville. mr. kapur: no matter how good the democratic candidate is kentucky is one of the toughest states for the democrats which is one of the reasons mcconnell has had this kind of longevity in his career. he always has some ace in the hole given the fact that it is a very republican state. host: january 3, 2015, a new era in washington. mitch mcconnell acheembs his goal to be majority lead -- achieves his goal to be majority leader of the u.s. senate. here he is talking about how he has used that role.
9:02 pm
senator mcconnell: senators are in here all the time in and out. my job as majority leader is to set the schedule to decide what we're going to debate. doesn't always guarantee the outcome because the senate is an unusual body and requires 60 votes to do most things and only rarely does one party have 6 o. you have to talk to each other. you can't do much in the senate on strictly a partisan basis. this is a bee hive of activity during the week. it is a very, very challenging job. you certainly can't make everybody happy. i mean, here is a way of looking at it. through some process you found yourself the leader of your party in the senate. you got a bunch of class president types who all have sharp elbows and big egos. on any given day they probably think they could do the job better than you. it is all carrot and no stick. and usually if you try to punish somebody the next time ou pay a heavy price for it.
9:03 pm
host: class president, sharp lbows, all carrots, no sticks. mr. kane: the funniest thing i thought of as i heard him talk about class president types is he was his class president. he was his high school class president at dupont manuel high school in louisville. he moved to louisville when he is 14 so he is not somebody well known throughout the school. it is not like he's been going to school with these kids since he was 6 years old. but he as junior running for class president. he knows he is not particularly popular but he knows who is popular. so he has a campaign for class president in which he goes up to the captain of the football team, the head of the cheerleaders, the captain of the baseball team, and says, hey, will you support me for class president? and he builds out essentially what we think of today as a whip list of his supporters and builds a little card and puts it in every locker, vote for
9:04 pm
mitch mcconnell for president. and their high school i think had an unusual arrangement where they had 7th and 8th graders also there. so he knew it was all strategy and tactics. he knew that if they saw that the captain of the football team endorsed mitch mcconnell for president, well i'm going to vote for the guy who is captain of the football team. so he is really the ultimate class president type in that regard. and even in that campaign you began to see the seeds of what he would do as leader about strategy and tactics. host: part of that strategy and tactics in that particular election, the 2014 election that made him majority leader was stamping out primary challenges from the right by candidates who were poisonous in a general election. he had been through that situation with todd aiken, who was a candidate who made some strange, controversial comments about rape, with richard murdock, similar issue.
9:05 pm
they lost very wanle seats and mcconnell in 2014 said enough is enough and i think he took matters into his own hands and very openly, emphatically opposed people like chris mcdaniel in mississippi who he thought of as someone who was flawed and potentially could lose the general election for the republicans. that affs very successful thing for him. one thing i will note about mcconnell is his convictions about how the senate should be run are very much colored by the political moment. i'll give you two things here. two examples. january 25. he says he will not allow the senate to become a theater for show votes and he will only bring up legislation that can pass the chamber and become signed into law. just a few weeks later february 12 he said he'd bring up a vote on the green new deal. the democratic resolution. everybody knows that is not going to pass. everybody knows it is not going to become law. a political move designed to put the democrats in a difficult position. host: one of the underlying themes of the last hour we've been chatting is the importance of relationships. particularly in the u.s.
9:06 pm
senate. mitch mcconnell has a relatively special relationship. here is a little bit more video. senator mcconnell: obviously it is a great pleasure to be here today. actually, chairman, it is probably not the first time the majority leader has been before this committee. i'm reminded of something bob at the nomination hearing for another transportation nominee, his wife elizabeth. we all remember bob for having of best sense of humor ever anyone who served here. this is how gean. he said i feel a little bit like nathan hale. i regret that i have but one wife to give for my country's infrastructure. well, that was bob dole for you. the nominee before us is extraordinarily well qualified,
9:07 pm
incredibly capable, and she's got really great judgment. a whole variety of things. i know senator paul will have much more to say about her qualifications when he speaks next. but let me just say --. host: so, paul kane, that was rather humanizing wasn't it to see mitch mcconnell in that role as husband? mr. kane: yes it was but humor wise he had to go to bob dole. host: best jokes we've heard so far. mr. kane: dole could have been a late night comedy sketch artist. but their relationship, this is r second turn as a cabinet secretary. elaine choo was labor secretary not far from here in the labor building. for almost eight full years in the bush administration. it really came as a surprise to some but really shouldn't have. within a few weeks of trump's
9:08 pm
victory, she was nominated to run the transportation department. host: is there a political kale lags by the president in that move? to nominate mrs. mitch mcconnell to be transportation secretary? mr. kapur: i am not sure. i don't know the answer to be perfectly honest. it certainly couldn't hurt to nominate the wife of the senate majority leader whose support you obviously need. i do remember mcconnell was asked early on if he was going to recuse himself from the process and that he clearly has a personal stake. his answer was very emphatic, no. mr. kane: he didn't even blink. i think there is -- he went up to trump tower at least once or twice during the transition. i think he made lots of different recommendations about who to appoint to which jobs and, yeah. i think there is some moment where some adviser to a president might say, gosh. you know, a, she is qualified and she is smart.
9:09 pm
she's already been through the confirmation process before. and, you know, let's do something that the majority leader will thank us for down the road. it's good to have friends and allies. host: again, back to the relationships that are mportant in washington, d.c. how would you describe the relationship between president trump and majority leader mcconnell? mr. kane: sort of like a yoyo. many times early on it seemed kind of fraught especially after john mccain flashed hands down in the health care repeal effort and it fell apart. what mcconnell does frequently that trump appreciates is mcconnell keeps all of his criticism, a lot of his criticism internal. he may tell the president to his face or over the phone,
9:10 pm
that is a really dumb idea, but he comes to the microphones, reporters, he passes reporters, and he just adds that i have nothing to add. i have nothing to add. i have nothing to add. so that has kept the relationship intact. those moments when he does speak out, like on the foreign policy bill about syria, those are moments that we should never under value because if mcconnell is publicly critical of trump, it is a rare moment and it's a moment where it is clear that he wants us to know that he really has broken with trump on an issue. mr. kapur: he has been exceptionally disciplined in not commenting on things the president does. sometimes it's been awkward for him because you can tell things have happened in the white house that make him feel uncomfortable and he usually holds his tongue. a lot of this goes back to the summer of president trump's first year. mcconnell was at home, speaking a little freely, around people that he liked and trusted. he said something to the effect
9:11 pm
of, he was asked why that congress wasn't doing more and he said something to the effect of we have a president who is new to this and you could imagine how that got taken. it was all over cable news. president trump saw it. he lashed out at mcconnell on social media. and that created a real problem as you can imagine for mitch mcconnell. he had to have a bunch of allies come out and say no we support him for leader. he should not step down. since then i think he learned his lesson and there were moments in the first two years of president trump where speaker ryan couldn't help himself but come forward and criticize, no i'm not happy with this. i condemn this. mcconnell would refuse to do that. mr. kane: and in that moment secretary chao at an infrastructure event in new york with the president was awkwardly asked about the criticism and what was her line was something like, i stand ehind both my men. so the awkward moments do happen. mr. kapur: if i can just add i subscribe less to the
9:12 pm
relationship theory of congress than to the structural theory. one of the reasons cross party relationships were possible in the 1960's through the 1990's the is two parties were idiosyncrasy logically incoherent. you had conservative and liberal democrats and republicans and cross party coalitions that could be formed. now the parties are sorted. their incentives back home are to not work with the other party. not because the people serving in congress today are less capable of cultivating relationships or less interested in doing so. it is that political incentives have wood them away from that. >> it was october, 2010, and sahil referred to this earlier that mitch mcconnell made a comment about president obama being a one-term president. that is going to stick with him isn't it throughout his legislative career? mr. kapur: it is and like you said mcconnell didn't understand why it was such a big deal. i remember talking to him right before the midterms a couple weeks after that comment. mr. kane: he said of course it
9:13 pm
is my number one priority. it would be harry's number one priority if it were president john mccain and it was democratic leader reid. host: before you go any further paul kane, we'll come right back you to. i want to show a little video from him talking about this remark in his memoir "the long game." senator mcconnell: on the obama one-term president i admire bob woodward whose the only major reporter in town who reported the rest of what i said right after that which was that in the meantime we had plenty of work to do and we had to look for ways we could work together. that was conveniently snipped off by almost everyone. so my big disappointment with barack obama, there are two things that have to be done to save america. from the path that we're headed. entitlement eligibility changes -- in other words you have to change the eligibility for very popular things like medicare and social security -- to fit
9:14 pm
the demographics of america tomorrow. not america in the 1930's, not in the 1960's. social security in the 1930's. medicare in the 1960's. the president knows that. he is a very smart guy. he doesn't want to do it. comprehensive tax reform t's been 30 years. we need to do it again. it is not for the purpose of get morg revenue for the government but making america more competitive but the president won't do comprehensive tax reform in any other way other than trying to get additional revenue for the government. so these two big transformative issues we have been unable to address because the nation's c.e.o. simply doesn't want to do it. host: paul kane of the "the washington post" sorry to interrupt you. that was may of 2016. just wanted to give that context. mr. kane: mcconnell likes to say that divided government is a good time to do big things. it happened in 2010, 2014, again, probably said this right
9:15 pm
after the mid-term elections which put nancy pelosi into the speaker's office. t's a thing he likes to say. he points out the early 1980's social security deal when tip o'neill was the speaker, the 1986 comprehensive tax reform bill which was a republican senate, a democratic house, and a republican president. but he's had these chances. he's had a lot of chances at divided government to do something big on entitlements. and the moments that john boehner who when he was speaker who actually wanted to also do something big on it, mcconnell was not very supportive of it. e didn't want to do the giving that he had to do. there were things that you have to give a little bit to get what you want and mcconnell has been pretty hesitant on those
9:16 pm
big deals that he seems to talk about as if he wants them. mr. kapur: mcconnell has understood i think especially since the 2005 efforts to partially privatize social security that dealing with entitlements in any way is like touching a hot stove. it is politically dangerous. he lacked bipartisan cover for it. that is the key with all of these things mcconnell says about divided government. he wants to make sure both parties share in the blame because by 80-20 margin or something like that the country doesn't like the idea of cutting social security and medicare and they'll be attacked and mcconnell knows that. the contradiction again is during the obama years he was very emphatic about the need to bring down the debt. he talked about it, in syria, as a threat to the country. he is a little more silent to know now because i think he sees that this president is also not eager to cut social security and medicare and the opposite of that.
9:17 pm
mcconnell is left on an island. do i still talk about the debt, about the need to bring it down even though the president and my party isn't doing anything about it sne just stopped. host: senator mcconnell has noted they speand lot of time on the floor of senate and also talking with each other and leading their delegations. senator schumer was a guest at the mcconnell center at the university of louisville in february of 2018. >> thank you, mitch, for that kind and generous introduction. we really do get along. despite what you read in the press. we try our best to understand each other. to never ask things that are impossible of the other, to be honest and respectful. to work in good faith and try to meet the middle wherever possible. that is how we get things done in the senate. sometimes it doesn't happen. no secret i didn't agree with
9:18 pm
the way health care and tax legislation were considered in the senate for example. but sometimes it does happen. we all know what president washington called it. the cooling saucer for the hot tea of politics. that can lead the senate through difficult times. if there was ever a time when our politics needed a cooling saucer it is now. that's what our history teaches us. host: sahil kapur, we're friends and the senate is the cooling saucer. what else did you hear? mr. kapur: it is interesting to watch chequamegon inner that clip talk about the middle and they need to find common ground and compromise. i think in many cases that is how schumer has generally viewed the senate. now all of a sudden he is minority leader, the democratic leader in the me too era and era of resistance and facing an enormous amount of pressure from his own left flank. there are people who protested outside his home in brooklyn for him not being tough enough on president trump. so he is facing some of the similar kinds of pressure that
9:19 pm
mcconnell faced from his ideological wing of the obama years. mr. kane: they both became minority leader at a time they expected to be majority leader so mcconnell is the republican whip in 2006 heading into those midterms. hey had a large cushion. they didn't think they'd lose six seats and mcconnell planned to be majority leader and boom. they lost six seats and all of a sudden he is minority leader and had to find his footing. chuck schumer in 2016 was certain hillary clinton would win and they were picking up enough seats in places like pennsylvania to become majority eader. he woke up the day after election thinking i got minority leader. how does my job work? what is my relationship with mcconnell like? it is a very different process
9:20 pm
and schumer is still sorting through that role and that relationship with mcconnell. it's better than it was with harry reid. but it is still not -- nothing like the old relationships of bob bird, bob dole at this point. host: paul kane you mentioned you were at the mcconnell center that day that we saw schumer speaking. mr. kane: mcconnell despite louisville being a very liberal town and mcconnell living in what is the most liberal precinct of louisville, he loves the town. he went to the university of , he has built a mcconnell center, and he uses that to bring in a big guest lecturer at least once a year and he loves to demonstrate mcconnell, he loves to demonstrate i have these relationships and so he brought huck schumer down.
9:21 pm
years ago he brought ted kennedy down. hillary clinton has spoken there, joe biden has spoken there. it is his way of trying to demonstrate to the world, like i can have good relationships with these people even if on the senate floor it looks like we're stabbing one another. mr. kapur: there is a story mcconnell told us in our bloomberg office when he came for an interview shortly before the 2018 election that right before the 2016 presidential election schumer called him to say, leader mcconnell, i hope we'll have a great relationship and mcconnell called him the day after the election and said, chuck, i sure hope we ill. the map was great for democrats and they fell short. the 2018 map was great for republicans and mcconnell never took for granted they'd win simply bawls of that. host: what is his reputation as leader of the gop? mr. kapur: among his members it is strong.
9:22 pm
he is someone who will let people air their grievances, someone who will generally listen to members' concerns. had contentious moments with various members but hasn't let it get in the way of playing the long game. the closest he has ever had con to having someone oppose him was around 2014 when senator ted cruz, famously acrimonious relationship at times with mitch mcconnell was making noises about not committing to supporting mcconnell but eventually won by acclimation unanimously. he doesn't have problems within his conference the way someone like speaker pelosi does in terms of people voting against him. host: and his ongoing legacy? mr. kane: his ongoing legacy will i think always be defined by first and foremost the decision to block the scalia seat, to hold that seat, and set in motion this historical arc which you get the trump
9:23 pm
presidency, right leaning supreme court for a generation to come and done through power partisan tactical play, which while the outside conservative activist world will never quite fully appreciate him, history ll judge him in a way as the most influential, conservative of at least the early 20th -- 21st century. host: paul kane is with "the washington post." sahil kapur is with bloomberg news. gentlemen, thank you for helping us in our venture to understand mitch mcconnell a little better. and we want to close with one last piece of video from our video archives. this is mitch mcconnell talking about the senate in general. senator mcconnell: well i think the senate has been the indispensable legislative body. because that's the place where
9:24 pm
things are sorted out. the place where only rarely does the majority get things exactly their own way. the place where stability can most people obviously don't think that. in an era in which everybody wants instant gratification if you're looking for instant gratification or perfection the senate would not abgood place for you. announcer: this week at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span we'll look at the political careers of the four congressional leaders. xxx using video from the c-span archives, and analysis by congressional reporters. on tuesday, it's speaker nancy pelosi. on wednesday we'll look at house minority leader kevin mccarthy's congressional career. and on thursday we wrap up the
9:25 pm
week with a look at senate minority leader charles schumer. watch this week beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> tuesday on the c-span networks we're live at 10:00 a.m. with former treasury secretary jack lu. he was at the atlantic council talking about the strategic use of sanctions. that is on c-span. at 12:15 we join the center for the national interest for a discussion on the risks of u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan. on c-span 2 at 9:00 a.m. the road to the white house coverage continues with senator kamla harris speaking to voters in new hampshire. at 10:00 a.m. air force chief of staff general david goldfein at the brookings institution talking about challenges facing the force. later at 11:00 a.m. the announcement of the george polk journalism awards with a discussion on journalistic uses of radio and podcasts.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on