tv Charlie Rose PBS May 13, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin again this evening with politics and talk to dan balz of "the washington post." >> if the end hillary clinton is sworn in in january of 2017, many people would go back and say well, what was all that about. we knew that she was the odds on favorite for the nomination. we few that she might well be the president. and we've ended up in that place. it took a lot of unexpected twists and turns to get there. but i think that what we have been through this year, charlie, tells us that we're in a different place in our politics. i mean the sanders challenge to clinton has been more successful than anybody would have imagined. and it says something about a portion of the electorate and the grieveances that they have. and their suspicion about, in a sense, establishment politics. and certainly the trump success
in becoming the presumptive nominee amounts to that in spades. >> rose: we continue with michael kinsley. his new book is called, old age, we take physical ailments in our stride. you break your leg, say you broke your leg. and six months it will be healed. and no one gets turned down for a job because they have a broken leg, or it must be very rare. but mentally, cognitively it's a different story. >> rose: we conclude with john meacham in conversation at sa-wani university also called the university of the south. >> there are two ways to look at the american experiment. if you come at it from a theological point of view, right, from a prove dengs one, then you may tend to believe that we are, in fact, a country that has been given extraordinary blessings and therefore have extraordinary
obligations, much is given, much is expected. so our politics are hyperbolic if you view the world in a theeo centric way because this is a quawsi divine project, where the stakes are so high. >> flip it around f you are entirely rational f are you entirely, if you think what i just said about theosen trissity is wrong headed. even if you are entirely a creature of the enlightenment, this is the most significant experiment in enlightenment era thinking and in the creation of a system of checks and balances to try to maximize the possibility of reason, operating on human affairs and human fashions. >> rose: dan balz, michael kinsley and john meacham when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the following:
>> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> in politics this week donald trump has turned his attention to making peace with his party and his party making peace with him. hillary clinton can't seem to stop senator bernie sanders. here with that and more of the week in politics is dan balz, he is the chief correspondent for the "the washington post" and as always i'm pleased to have him. so what do we make of the deal is, or or whatever it was that happened on thursday in washington. >> well, charlie, i think as everybody has seemed to state, this was a first step, not a final step.
it was an important set of meetings that donald trump had, first with paul ryan and then with the house republican leadership and then with the senate republican leadership. there was a joint statement, almost as if this was awe simmity meeting between heads of state in which they expressed confidence that they were beginning to get on the same page am but we know that particularly with donald trump and speaker ryan, they are very different human beings. they come from very different backgrounds. they have very different views about the world and on a lot of key policy issues, they're on different sides of the coin. and so while they may have a similar desire to have a unified party heading into the fall election, i think the expectation that they are ever going to be exactly on the same page probably is a bridge too far. >> rose: and they have two different concerns, donald trump to win the election, paul ryan to make sure that the damage to the republican party f there is some is money smiezed.
>> i think that's absolutely right. i mean if there is a top priority on capitol hill at this point, as they look toward the fall, it is not necessarily to elect donald trump t is first and fore most to preserve the majority that they have in both the house and the senate. obviously they would like a republican president because they do not like the prospect of hillary clinton becoming president and having four more years of the democrats controlling the white house and possibly eight more years of democratic control in the white house. but they will watch and wait warily as donald trump makes the evolution from candidate for the nomination to candidate for the general election. they as everybody else will be looking very, very closely at the polls, particularly in the swing states. and at some point they will make a judgement as to whether doned a trump is an a set, a neutral or a liability and they will then, i think, take their cu es
from that and we'll see in the final months exactly whether everybody is pulling together or whether they're looking to find of protect their own majority. >> clearly donald trump has said some things and done some things within the last week that worries the republicans. number one, the attacks on hillary clinton seems to suggest that he is going to run that kind of campaign. some people are nervous about that. also he has begun to hedge some of his positions, especially with respect to social security which he differs with paul ryan. i mean how different are they on issues rather than just style? >> well, they're very different on some issues. i mean on entitlements and on social security in particular, donald trump and paul ryan are in totally different places. donald trump went through the primaries as essentially almost the lone republican who said we don't want to do anything to change social security. we want to make sure that, you know, that this program stays basically where it is. paul ryan has been a champion
foreign titlement reform and significant entitlement reform. so that's one issue. trade agreements are another area, i mean republican orthodoxy is that free trade is good for this country. and donald trump has campaigned strongly with the idea that these trade agreements have been terrible for the country. i don't know how they reconcile that either of those issues. on foreign policy issues, donald trump is in a different place than many republicans are. you know, take two examples. one being what he has said about nato. many republicans, most republicans, i suspect, with say this is one of the most important alliances in the history of the globe. and done all trump is saying we ought to rethink it entirely. and also on the idea of you know, a nuclear japan. now he seems to have backed away on these things. but charlie, i think one thing we have to keep in mind that donald trump is a moving target on a lothof these issues. he has been through his entire life.
he has been a democrat, he has been a republican. he has been liberal on certain issues and conservative on certain issues. that is one thing that probably concerns a lot of republicans in particular. he could sit down in a meeting on any given day and sound like he has moved is relatively close to where some of the republican leaders would like him to be. and he can go out on the campaign trail a day later and espouse something that would be quite different. so i think that's one reason why these meetings while important, are not necessarily going to b definitive. >> he also says that he will have a different kind of campaign. and he has one point, which is he is on the verge of winning the nomination. he is a presumptive nominee and he has campaigned a certain way with big rallies. he also doesn't have a huge organization. he also says that data doesn't mean that much to him. that he wants to get elected president in the same way he got the republican nomination. >> you know, if you are in his-- if you're in his shoes, that's an entirely logical and rational position to take. i mean he broke a lot of rules that people said could not be
broken. and he still managed to prevail in this battle. and so in his own mind i think he says i have a sense of how the campaign ought to be run. we know he has a communication style that's different than most candidates have ever had. and it has been successful up to this point in getting him to where he is. but a general election is a much bigger enterprise. and in part because you are the head of the party, not simply a person trying to become the nominee. it is incumbent on to you do some other things to try to make sure that there is a full scale organization, and adequate amount of money, and in a sense the data and sophistication of a modern campaign that a major political party should expect of its nominee. so he's a long way from that. i mean they are moving to obviously beef up the campaign. but when he talks about things in the way he does, he's essentially saying i'm still prepared to run a much different
campaign than we have seen or than the republicans might have expected with a different nominee. >> what kind of vice president do you think he's looking for? he says he's looking for insiders. >> yes. >> i think that's obvious, that he's going to want to try to go inside. but you know, he's indicated he wants someone with legislative experience. does that mean he's going to go fix somebody who is currently in congress. does it mean he could pick somebody who has had legislative experience in the past and you know, i mean a john kasich who has said repeatedly he will not take the job, but john kasich has both executive and legislative experience. you know, i think he's going to want somebody who has some political chops. but as to who that would be, and who exactly is prepared to serve with him, i don't think we really know. he said he's got a short list of five or six people. yohave to take him at his word that he's got that.
but i will be curious as to who it is going to be. he indicated we're not going to know the answer to that in the next couple of weeks. >> until the convention. >> yeah, yeah. so there is a long way to go on that. >> turning to the democrats, bernie sanders continues to win primaries. >> he sure does. and he will probably win a couple of more. he very well could win a couple of more. i think the clinton campaign has always thought that until they get to that june 7th date when you've got california and new jersey and some other states, that some of these interim stops on the trail would be more favorable to bernie sanders. and they certainly were on tuesday night. so it, you know, it keeps the energy going in his campaign. it provides him with at least some rational to say he's going to keep fighting. he obviously has to make a turn at some point to figure out what his convention strategy is going to be. and what his final strategy is going to be. because it sure doesn't look like he's going to be able to
convert superdelegates to his side. but you know, it continues to cause a problem for hillary clinton, that she will have to resolve once they get to the convention and head to the general election. the sanders supporters are not fully bought in to hillary clinton's campaign yet. >> rose: in a significant way if you look at the exit polls. >> yes. and i think that the longer this has gone on, and the more fight that bernie sanders has shown, and in a sense the more support he's been able to demonstrate within a big chunk of the party, makes it all the more difficult for her to have an easy time putting the party back together. you know, this is a normal-- this is a normal process that any nominee has to do after a hard-fought campaign. but there is a gulf between the sanders supporters and the rest. party, or the other parts of the party. and i think that has become a
bigger problem over time than the clinton campaign would have thought if we were talking two months ago or three months ago, certainly. >> rose: and we just saw her this week move on med i care to a position a little bit left of where she had been and closer to where he wants to go. >> yes, she-- you know, she's continued to do that. he has pulled or pushed or whatever word you want to use, pushed her to the left. and she has continued to do that. i think in some ways that's the reality of where the party is. and it also may be vital to what she neats to do to win the election. i mean i think that turning out the democratic vote will be first and fore most her priority. and as opposed to trying to get swing voters of whom there probably aren't going to be that many in this election. and we know that the democratic party is a more liberal party today than it was eight years ago. and certainly when her husband
was the president, and so she has had to mick accommodations to that. she is much more of a centrist and an incrementalist and not a big, bold, you know, person from the left. but she has, you know, steadily over time adopted a number of those policies at least in spoken words. she may have a specifics that are different than bernie sanders. but she has had to move left. and i think that that may be a valuable asset for her in wooing and winning over sanders voter when they get to the convention. >> so a lot of people are looking forward if trump and hillary clinton are the nominees. so my question which you know i'm intrigued by, is this going to be a transform tiff election or simply a blip in the political landscape? >> well, i think it will be a-- end up as an historic election and a quengsal election. whether it's transform tiff, i don't know that we can answer
that. i mean if in the end hillary clinton is sworn in in january of 2017, many people would go back and say well, what was all that about. we knew that she was the odds on favorite for the nomination. we knew that she might well be the president. and we have ended up in that place. it took a lot of unexpected twists and turns to get there. but i think that what we have been through this year, charlie, tells us that we're in a different place than our politics. i mean the sanders challenge to clinton has been more successful than anybody would have imagined. and it says something about a portion of the electorate and the grieveances that they have, and their suspicion about in a sense establishment politics. and certainly the trump success in becoming the presumptive nominee amounts to that in spades. what the republican party will look like after this election, i am not prepared to say at this point. we know it is right now badly split. parties have a way of adapting,
even after terrible losses, if he were to lose in a significant way, they're going to have to pick up the pieces and perhaps they're equipped to do that. but if all sorts of ways, this election is saying something about our political process, about the state of the country, that i don't think we were as preerntive of as we are today. >> dan, thank you so much, a pleasure. >> thank you, charlie. >> dan balds from "the washington post," back in a moment. stay with us. >> michael kinsley is here, a columnist for "vanity fair." the sounder of "slate" magazine. he was previously editor of harper's and the any republic. dwight garner of "the new york times" says he possesses what is probably the most-- journalist voice in his generation. in 1993 he was diagnosed with parkinson's, a disease he hid for eight years. he writes about that and much
more in this new book. it is called "old age: a beginners guide." >> i'm pleased to have michael kinsley back at this table. welcome. >> thank you. >> i second everything that dwight said about you as you well know. what's interesting is that you view yourself as a kind of scout. for the boomer generation. >> yes. >> yes, that is the gimmick of the book. >> yes. >> is that i am experiencing what every one is going to experience unless they get run over by a truck. you know. but if they die the way most people die, with some sort of ailment, they-- it will resemble parkinson's which is very much like growing old. >> like the tremor is one thing, slowing some movement. >> yes. slowness of thinking. >> slow thinking as well.
>> yeah. >> so yeah, so i figured i might as well make it useful. >> well, we thank you, by the way, i'm about two years earlier than the boomers but i will take all the advice i can get. so we thank you for scouting and telling us what it is going to be like. i hope, maybe if we know what this looks like, we'll want to speed up whatever the alternatives are. >> well, there's a lot of good research going on. but they-- they also, a lot of good research that is not being funded. >> and research that would do what? help us understand what happened cellular in aging? >> well, i think at all levels. get your dna, and the key thing is they make, i never-- what do they call-- this is one of the symptoms. >> i hear you.
>> tip of the tongue. >> right. i'm not just playing. >> i know. >> anyway, this is part of the research. you guys are going on, trying to understand the age prog ses in a cellular level and how it affects the way the systems work, you know. and understanding the significance of it comes from the brain. parkinsons being a disease of the brain. >> right. >> as it alzheimer as is many of those diseases.als and cuz the brain, musclesk affects the way you breathe, your circulation, your heart, everything. >> the doctor who operated on me when i had my brain surgery said, he is a great believer in this. he says it will be a 45 minute operation in a doctor's office. it won't even require a hospital. >> the operation that took you eight or nine hours. >> yes. >> they drilled down, i guess, and did something. >> yeah, they attached, well, they drill down from here and
attach a wire, which ends in a point, and then they are coming in from the other direction with the thing i can't remember and they attach those. it puts out a little electrical signals which block the electrical signals that cause park insons or something like that. >> but did you set out to write about old age and it turned out to be more about parkinson and the scouting expedition. >> and as you say in the book, the-- anyone who wishes to buy it under this misconception. >> buy it. >> is going to. >> but, you have been able to look at something that others
have looked at and explained it in a way that made this more penetrating and more interesting and written better and to show us sometimes a contrarian point of view or sometimes a view from a different perspective. >> let's talk about parkinsons. >> when did you know. >> i guess it was my right hand was stiff and a little bit shaky and i asked my internist, should i do something about this. he said well, you could go see a neurologist. and then the neurologist took one look and said you've got parkinson. >> just one look. >> and hi no idea what parkinson's was. except for the fact that my colleague mort condks rochi, his wife had it. so thats with how i found out.
>> and you did, as you say-- you didn't announce it to the world. >> no. >> you didn't announce it to your friends. >> one or two, one or two arbitrary exceptions. >> well, because you didn't, as everybody says, you didn't want anybody to think of them in a different way, to show they are not who they have always been. >> yeah. i mean or a woman at a dinner party after i had gone public offered to cut my knee for me. -- cut my meat for me, even though i had just eaten the first course without any trouble. but she didn't see that. she looked right through that, at the parkinson's. she was well meaning. >> rose: yes, of course. >> yeah. >> were you angry? >> no. i feel that i just, you know,
lost the lottery. and i have done pretty well on the lottery. >> rose: well, you have a sense of accomplishment. but you say all these really wonderful things. and i want to get to them. for example, you talk about the four competitions. >> yeah, okay. >> rose: typical kins leann analysis. >> you start out wanting things. >> rose: material things. >> the famous bumper stiblger-- sticker, he who dies with the most stuff wins. >> rose: yeah. >> but ask somebody five minutes before they die would they trade all of the mazzeratti and everything else for more time. >> rose: right. >> they would say yes. so. >> more time with their family. >> right. so maybe it's not things, it's life expectancy. but then you think.
>> you live longer. >> but then you think some more, what good is life expectancy if you have lost your marbles. >> rose: right. >> and so what you really want is a long life with your cognition in tact. and then you think well, you're going to be dead longer than you were alive. >> rose: yes. >> and what really matters is the reputation you leave behind. >> rose: that's what stays and lives a lot longer than you have. >> yes. an in there, a canadian scholar wrote a book last year in which she-- in which she said that jane kus-- austen was nothing special but that she had people working for her. she had like pr forces working to make her reputation.
and apparently for the half a decade before she died and this other woman died she was regarded as number two. but fortunately for her, she had her brother, i think. >> you also tell the story of a magazine that you love, "the new yorker" amount of you were all prepared to be the new editor. tell us about that. >> and you suggested because i have parkinsons, and you don't want to go through this, i understand correct? >> yeah, basically. >> well, tell me. >> well basically he offered me the job and he withdrew it almost immediately. >> because of something you said? or because. >> well, it was-- i think i think so. i have no evidence and i i "reas
really angry. i felt hi been-- it had been given to me and then taken away. but in retrospect, i got to finish creating slate. and then i met my wife. >> patty. >> and there's a lot of good things happening. >> came out of it. >> yes. and david recommendnick has been an exslebts editor of "the new yorker." so it all ended up more or less happily. >> speaking of magazines, you also say that you don't want to write another book. that books is not your best forum. you are a colume man and a magazine man. >> yeah, well, 1200 words is my ideal length. and i'm going to stick to that.
>> rose: yeah. when you finally decide you had to tell people what happened, why did you do that. because it would be obvious. >> yeah, it was-- i mean the symptoms have not stayed still. but they moved pretty slowly. >> yeah. >> but they have not stayed still. and more people were finding out. and alsod people i told were telling other people. and the secretary rat-- secret was not going to hold. so i wrote a piece. that's what journalists do. >> yes. >> you are best known, you have said, in this book for a piece about how hard it was. i think way back when. maybe for "the new york times" magazine, i don't remember. how hard it was to find an apartment in new york. >> yeah. >> the most famous piece you say you have written despite how many columes and how many things about politics, culture, personality. >> it was. and any time you can get someone to write about a personal-- a
personal experience that has larger ram mi-- ramifications is a sort of peetion that i like. >> well, the sort of piece i like too. when you look at this thing in terms of being the scout, and your friends say, well, where is-- what should i do. >> well. >> do you say green and bear it, or what sth. >> there is nothing you can do about park inson's for the moment. except the symptoms can be controlled pretty well. >> rose: and thases' what you have done. >> yes. plus i have the operation, the deep brain stimulation. there are going to be big breakthroughs. >> when. >> well, that's what i keep asking. the doctor when i see him every six months. >> in talking about baby boomers, you also, you call for them to have a cause. to have purpose. and before they die.
and you want them to have some grand generational gesture. >> yes. >> your choice is interesting to me which is to attack. >> a little boring. >> rose: it's a bit like when bono said, you know, we've got to do debt relief. that is what africa needs. and people were surprised, the man who is considered a poet was mostly interested in debt relief. >> well, he's right. >> rose: i know he is. >> i think. it is, i have taken a lot of ribbing, about four or five years ago. i wrote a piece saying i think inflation is still going to be a problem. and a terrible problem unless we do something about it. and i got beaten over the head by everybody. and so far, at least, i'm wrong. but i think you know, unless you can spend as much money as you want and never pay it back and
just live like that,-- . >> rose: there is a day of reckoning. >> yeah. >> rose: what do you think, michael, i want you to tell me, i never ask you this. i mean all of us who are within the range of your generation, you are seven or eight years younger than i am. what is it do you think you had? what was the core competent of michael kinsley? >> gosh. i know what we had in terms of what we got from our parents. >> rose: yes. >> which is i mean the idea the ideal 1950st upbringing looks pretty good. it's what i had. and i feel extremely fortunate that i did. but what do we have-- . >> rose: were you born with the ability to write?
>> no. writing is painful, no matter how long or little you have been at it. >> rose: so let's turn a little bit to politics. the one word sticks out in your definition of donald trump is phoney. >> yeah, well, i don't-- does anyone want to challenge that? >> rose: well, he would. >> he won all those primaries. >> rose: yes. >> he was voted by citizens of the united states. >> yaw, it's distressing because it suggests that there is a larger gap than people previously thought. >> rose: and this is not just some. >> yes. tell me what you think. >> well, i am not looking forward to-- well, i am looking forward to voting against him. but dn-- . >> rose: you think he's going to claim out. >> yes, i think people are
saying how exciting this campaign is going to be. i think the excitement is over. i think-- . >> rose: his nomination an her nomination. >> well yeah, the convention will be entertaining. >> rose: if you had a choice of voting for bernie sanders or hillary clinton, which one would you vote for. >> i would vote for hillary. >> rose: because? >> because i think bernie sanders although he's really the most remarkable person to have emerged from this all, doesn't understand basic economics. and and is not-- i mean hillary, i think, is a little-- she is establishment. and she will always compromise. >> rose: that's what trump says he'll do. i'm a transactional man, he says. >> he does deals. >> rose: i do deals.
>> yes. >> rose: i negotiate. that's what actually they call the nuclear thing with iran, the iran nuclear deal. >> well, his case is that deals are how the world goes around. an there's something in that, i suppose. >> rose: sure, new clear deals. to get legislation by used to happen. >> the new clear deals i wrote a little thing in the post, "washington post" about this. remember this, nixon and kissinger thinking this is a game theory strategy, that if you are-- it's not such a terrible thing if people think you're crazy. because you know,. >> rose: it's unpredictable. >> if you look and there's putin, you think-- and we're
both sides are threatening to push the button, who are you going to believe? >> rose: but i remember what sonny liston said about mu ham i had ali, and he lost to him. under whatever circumstances we don't know. but he famously said to mohammed ali, about him. he said i ain't scared of no man except a crazy man. >> yes, that's it. and nixon and kissinger showed a bit of that, you think? >> i think kiss-- kissinger even does not deny it i'm not sure. >> rose: this is a tough question for me. but you were very close to bill buckly. >> well, yes. >> rose: well no, he liked you a lot. he respected your mind. he respected you. you were one of the intergators on his show, firing line. >> he was very-- i liked him a lot. >> rose: i know you did. >> he famously said to me here on this program, he said i'm ready to die. i said how can you say that?
he said well, i'm not going to commit suicide but he said i can't do all the things that brought me joy. i can't travel and make speeches. i can't sail. i cannot run the magazine. all the things that brought me so much joy in my life, i can't do. so i'm ready. >> well, i have a longer list than him. i'm not ready. >> rose: longer list of things that you can't do. >> that i want to do. >> rose: yeah what are they? >> oh, gosh. >> rose: well, just give me a hint. >> i would like to-- i would like to have another journalistic adventure or something, create something again like. >> you mean create something in a new form like slate was. >> yeah. >> rose: give me what that might be. >> well, i don't know. >> rose: but you're open to the idea. >> yes. >> rose: a new story-telling forum or something.
>> yeah. i think people are struggling to find it. the journalism and long form journalism and so on. i don't think anyone has nail nailed it wet. you think jeff bezos is trying to nail it at the "washington post"? >> yes, jeff bezos is the type of-- there are two types of propry tore-- propry teres. there is the one who says we-- we're going to-- i'm just going to be happy with a small loss every year. and then there's the one that says i'm going to spend a little money and really make this good. and usually they don't last very long, the secretary type. >> but jeff bezos is the second type has a deep pockets. >> yes. and he also is smarter than just about anyone you will ever meet. >> rose: absolutely. and in fact he-- not only
smarter but he also has a sense of being able to, i think, look around the corner. i mean what started out as an online book seller is now, he just made another announcement where he is going to challenge youtube. he has taken that retail business where in the end, he began selling books and in the end he said we want to sell everything to everybody. that is what he want to do, to then creating an enterprise in the cloud and all of that. and now saying he's going to challenge youtube. >> well, i would be scared if i were youtube. >> rose: i would too. >> but stay with me on this. you have got a long list. one is to find a forum. what else? >> oh gosh, to see places i've never seen. to, i mean in my career i haven't done a hell of a lot of traveling. >> rose: yeah. >> well, like everybody, to see grand children grow up. >> rose: right.
>> and well, those are three things. >> rose: that's pretty good. >> that will take a lot of time. >> rose: but i am interested well yes, that's one of the good aspects of parkinsons. as i say in the book. it gives you a sense of urgency without really causing you too much inconvenience at least at the beginning. -- i don't know, just that i think i'm pretty good at just taking what comes. and that-- this is what came. >> yeah. >> but you said dimension-- di
mentsia, is especially cruel. >> well, it's-- that's not you. that's what you said about these areas of the brain. >> well, yes. but what i should have emphasized more in this book is, you know, we take physical ailments and in our stride. you break your leg, say you broke your leg and six months it will be healed. and no one gets turned down for a job because they have a broken leg, or it must be very rare. but mentally cognitively, it's a different story. people, if, i mean i took a kog nif tiff exam, i took several, just to see what is going on whether there was any progress. and they did show some-- some regress, i guess you would call it. but you know, not all that much
and it's like having the broken leg. or not even that serious. but it does exist. >> what brings you the most satisfaction? >> the most satisfaction. in life. >> rose: yeah. >> well, i guess i had better say-- . >> rose: i mean really, i mean is it findk a great book to read? is it having somebody tell you something you didn't know in an interesting way. is it. >> a debate at a table between-- a dinner table where you can, you know, argue your point, which you've done so well in so many different forum and mediums? >> well, i don't think i am-- you are giving me too much credit. you are saying cuz i like the arguments that i win. >> did you win most of the time, do you think? >> you're talking in the past tense. >> you are continuing to win.
>> i do okay. >> yeah. >> you certainly do. this book is called old age, a beginner's guide. michael kinsley, thank you. >> thank you, charlie. >> back in a moment. stay with us. john meacham is executive editor and executive at random house. andrew jackson and the white house was awarded the pulitzer prize for biography, he has also written a biography for thomas jefferson and george bush 416789 he is a proud graduate of the university of the south where he graduated phi beta kapa. i recently went with him to his alma mater where they gave me an honorary degree. i made the commencement speech. also while on campus the two of us sat down for a conversation called the art of conversation. here it is. >> i grew up as an only child. and i grew up with huge imagination canned curiosity. and it began with my father went
to world war ii. and my mother moved back while he was away to a small village of a hundred. and helped her father run this country store. and then when my father came back, he stayed there for awhile and commuted to a business that he had about 20 miles away in a town of 18,000. but i, in the form tiff years between two and 12 literally lived above the store. and what the store did for me was a very southern thing. it was a meeting place. it was a heart. it was a place where people came and was the center of the town with only a hundred people, you know, a railroad and a service agent on one side and my grandfather's business on the other side. it was a place they gathered. there was not that much television in terms of what they were doing.
so they would come to talk. and they would come to share experiences. and if you were ang i was a young man, you had to ask questions to be a part, for them to listen to you. and if you knew something about sports and a little bit about politics and a little gossip and a little sense about crops and farming, you could do okay. so i quickly learned that. and so questions became my entree. >> your entree. >> so you were always around older people. >> yes. >> how did that affect you, do you think? >> i don't know. i'm sort of much younger than my age in terms of my attitude an always have been. have always been independent and for example you know, sorlt of in the middle of my high school years, i just got on a greyhound bus and went north. and end up in hyannis port when john kennedy was president. and saw him there, you know, and
got a job, all night working in something called the hyannis port inn where all the press would stay. that was the kind of independent spirit i had. it did nothing to diminish my sense of wonder lust, right. >> but you also, i would imagine it gave you a sense of, a disposition to listen. >> it did, absolutely. for a lot of reasons i realized i learned more listening than talking. >> that is true of many of us. not everyone. >> certainly not in this political campaign. >> no, no, no. we learn to read and write in school. how can we teach listening? what advice would you give people to be better listeners? >> i thought about this, actually. and it is also about interviewing. to be a good interviewer, you have got to be a good listener. and to listen, you have to be in the moment. and to listen, you have to-- you
have to hear, not just listen. but you have to really let it wash over you in a way that, you know, you can't overanalyze it, but you have to sort of see clearly what is someone saying and why are they saying it. >> right. >> what was that? >> just kidding. wait, that's why he is the interviewee. (laughter) or writing books. >> with all my friends. this is from a graduate class. when i read hunter thompson's fear and loathing on the campaign trail in 76y, i read prose about partisan politics that would fit into today's discourse. could it be that the discourse hasn't changed that much, rather that we look at the past through rose-coloured glasses. >> we can call it meacham colored glasses. >> maybe, i mean what do you think? >> well, you know, as i like to
say about jefferson, you know, at least my guy didn't get shot in injuriesy, in hamilton. you know, it's always been rough. i think one of the reasons we have hyperboal in american politics is-- is a particularly good place to offer this point. there are two ways to look at the american experiment. if you come at it from a theological point of view, from a provedencial one then you may tend to believe that we are in fact a country that has been given extraordinary bleg blessings and therefore have extraordinary obligations, much is given, much is expected. so our politics are hyperbolic if you thee the world in a theocentric way because this is a quawsidi vine project, the stakes are so high. flip it around. if you entirely rational, if you are entirely, if you think what i just said about theosentrisity
is wrong ed haded, even if you are entirely a create you are-- creature of the enlightenment, this is the most significant experiment in enlight em-- enlightenment era thinking and in the creation of a system of checks and balances to try to maximize the possibility of reason, operating on human affairs and human fashion. so you are hyperbolic about it because that is the most high-stakes project you can imagine. so from either worldview, either highly rationalistic or highly religious, it is incredibly important, each political moment is incredibly important. and so we are always, we are forever at a turning point. we are forever at the barricade. >> how many people in this odd yengs have seen hamilton which is on broadway? i urge you to see it when you get to new york, except don't come for another year. cuz you can't get tickets. but i mean you see a lot of that in terms of, age it's based on
ron chernout's book on hamilton. it's a wonderful thing because it has made people think about our history. people have forgotten of alexander hamilton other than he was on the $10 bill. and they knew he was a financial again us where and they knew about the federalist papers of which he wrote most of them, at least 45 or 50 percent of them. and he knew a whole lot. but he was not-- yet he had this remarkable life. but you know, i mean they got him because of an affair. he was different in that he fessed up and almost-- and insisted on writing a letter as to why he did it. then jefferson, jefferson, how jefferson schemed to win the presidency. you know that. >> he was strategically, i don't think he schemed. here is what comes out of his book about jefferson, one, jefferson was a political creature. and i mean whatever else he did. >>s that what it. >> he was a political creature.
and he was ambivalent about it which is why he, you know, wanted to remember him as the author of the declaration, the founder ofu va. >> and it is said about the bush 41 and the-- you know, that the bush family sort of wanted to say about, you knee, we want to govern an we're really good at governing, but we'll do everything we can to get elected wily horton exhibit one. hiring the group of people that he hired to run the campaign. i mean, roger ailes was a principal advisor to george bush. >> sure. >> i love him, knowing to see him in the last-- and enjoyed his company, have received letters from him. but at the same time, to the point that was being made here, the course of american politics is not new. >> no. and i think it's forever hyperbolic and will be forever
hyperbolic because every moment feels so frawt. and so i don't think we look back with-- obviously we have to be aware of not looking back nostalgicically. but at the same time we should not be fearful to look back and say this was a moment where congressman george herbert walker bush when he was representing the seventh, from 1957 to 1971 had two years under lyndon johnson and two years under richard nixon. he voted with lyndon johnson 52 percent of the time. imagine today a republican from texas voting with barack obama 52% of the time. >> you mean like the republican senator, like ted cruz. >> exactly. >> you know. >> but that's the-- that's the absence of bipartisanship too. >> right. >> you know, they do yearn for it. that has really been lost. even if you go back recently as ronald reagan.
ronald reagan and tip o'neill. ronald reagan was prepared to compromise. donald trump said that is what he will be. he is a transactional human being. and that's what he will be. >> do you believe that? >> do a degree, yes. >> yes. i do. to a lot of degree. >> oliver wendel homes said franklin roosevelt had a second class mind and a first class temperment. bob gates will tell you today, he's served lots of president, he will point to eisenhower and reagan as that they had the right temperment. and that's what i think people missed with donald trump. and i think trump is a product, he's really not a product of business. business was what he did. he's a product of celebrity. he's a product of the apprentice. he is a man who show got some insight, and this is what he has used about television, media,
from the experience he had. and it was unlike any other presidential candidate. >> yeah. >> you have interviewed how many presidents? >> back to nixon. >> back to nixon. >> yeah. >> where does obama. >> nixon famously said to me i was trying to probe into why, which is one of my favorite questions. it makes sense to me. you know, i don't like the psychological stuff. >> things mights have been a little different if he had. >> you don't want to go there. >> where does obama fit in your sense? >> i am ambivalent about it. >> he, for me, he's just so convinced he is either in his case probably believes he is the smartest person in the room.
yet at the same time he's the most curious person in the world too but he thinks the smartest person in the room. and he makes the decision that he knows what he knows. and then he doesn't, after he makes his decision. bob gates, for example, told me that george bush 43 would talk to the first-- and they would be lined up. and he would talk to them and ask what they thought. and you know, whereas he said obama, this is the same bob gates sitting in the same seat, obama would ask him, then we ask seven other people am and then you would see somebody some staff member in the fifth row, who has not raised his hand, and who averts his eyes and will call on him, what do you think. does it resonate with you. so there are a lot of thoughts he had. i think he brought dignity to the office. (applause)
>> so a final question, you spend a lot of time thinking about long-term scientific trends, economic, technological. how hopeful are you about the next generation or two? >> very, very. >> you know, i actually said the last two questioning to, i said to president obama. and he has said this. we have the strongest military, the strongest economy. we've got the most technological skills. we've got 18 of the top 20 universities. we've got all these things. and so i said to him, what, what could stop us from owning the 21s century. and not owning it completely because any relationship with china is not a geo sum game, and we should be in favor of the rise of china. and he said to me our politics. and i tend to agree with that. we're not funding science, we're not funding education. we're not doing things that have been part of the american creed.
this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. apple sags. the stock that's a big piece of many portfolios sees its lowest close since 2014. so what should you do when your blue chip turns a little gray? powerful ideas. the ambitious energy goals of some of the nation's biggest cities. brave new world of recruiting. why that mobile video game could be just the thing that helps you land your next job. all of that and more tonight on "nightly business report" for thur >> good evening. a virtual tie at the top. the top of the list of the most valuable companies in the world. apple no longer comfortably number one, it's