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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  May 17, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight tom brokaw, a lucky life interrupted, a memoir of hope, his book is now in paperback. we haveww a conversationir%du life.w;c:tá!)wm
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: tom brokaw is here, he was the anchor and managing editor of nbc nightly news for more than 20 years. he continues to report for nbc news as a special correspondent. this past weekend he spoke to the graduating class at ole miss. here is a look at his speech. >> tomorrow is not real world, neither was college nor high school. the real world t turns out, was junior high. that's when you first encountered the petty jealousy
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that you'll experience the rest of your life. the dream of equality for all is not an obligation of one race or another. it is a common calling in our unique society. we are still a nation of immigrants where the rule of law is inadequate. if the rule of heart is not also an equal partner. the digital universe is the single most powerful form of communication ever invented. and we are so in the seminal stages. in every aspect of human endeavor, communication, social, science, academic, commerce, political, research, the digital universe is the sun and the stars. it's a new universe and it's just getting under way. and it's also a universe with some built in parbels. it is your obligation, of your
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generation is defining this new universe, to be constantly on guard and engaged with one another about the wise use of the digital universe. >> rose: tom brokaw was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2013. his book is now in paperback called a lucky life interrupted, a memoir of hope. i'm pleased to have him back at this table. so there you were at ole miss. you not only said that. >> i know where you are going. >> rose: you said that if you were speaking at the university of all bma you have to speak in shorter sentencing and fewer words. >> i would have to use smaller boards and shorter sentences it for commencement i pick out the rival of the school. it went viral in alabama so i c v done a radio comen tear saying come on. >> rose: it was a joke. >> it was a jokement but if i were at alabama doing commencement i would do the same thing about florida state. if i were at ohio state, i would pawk about michigan. it's something that i have used over the years.
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and i knew as soon as i said it that alabama would go nuts. they lost the last two football games that they played at ole miss and i happened to be there. that is part of the reason i did it. >> rose: thanks to your friend curtis wilkie. >> he runs a very good journalism and political department down there. they have gone from 25 students to more than 200. and they won this past year the big collegiate press association investigative reporting for work that they did in the delta about how the delta has not changed, necessarily, since the civil rights movement. there are a lot of very bright students. in fact, i did a lecture there a couple of years ago and there was a young woman in the class and said i will get you a job right now as a researcher from meet the press. he said i have to go out and get some experience. we're keeping our eye on her. they have really bright kids. >> rose: that's very good. how is your health? >> my health is okay, charles. i'm here. >> rose: by the way, audience he calls me charles as my mother would love him for.
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>> we've known each other for a long time. my health is okay. i'm in remission, multiple myleomaa a place you want to be. although dr. kissinger said to me after his experience with nancy's cancer, where does it go when it is in rescission. i don't have an answer for that, one of my friends said it should go to hell, is where it should go. i am in remission but i take drugs right now as i speak. i'm on a chemo therapy drug. i take one every morning, five mill i gram, not 500. and that will go on for the rest of my life unless they come up with a cure. it's an incurable but treatable cancer. if you read "the new york times" over the weekend, in the magazine section, all the buzz is about mono colonal therapy, gene therapy. i really do think we are advancing quickly to what will be known as the golden age of cancer research. >> rose: there is also the "60 minutes" piece on the polio virus used for brain cancer. >> right. and one after another, what they are doing is taking our own
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genes and reengineering them and reinserting them. there was an astonishing case frank lolly wrote about in parade magazine about a woman cured doing that. at the mayo clinic, a woman was in her third remission that she fell out of for multiple m where leoma. she said we will give you a mega dose of measles vak even, they did overnight she was cured, she still is. so at this point they are throwing bowls at the wall. obviously they're paying a lot of attention to the research but that's the direction of which it's moving. using your own body, using those cells to reengineer them. there are good cells as well as bad cells and sending the good ones after the bad ones. >> rose: you also have spoken about how the health-care industry has learned from your experience. and what you have written. >> well, it's been very encouraging to me that hospitals and prominent doctors have said to me, you know, we need to do a better job of communication. that is a lot about what i write about. look i'm a journalist.
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i'm used to tough news. but i have thought a lot about that data that i was diagnosed as with blunt terms. you have a magazine il nancy, gerald even ferraro died from this, those were the first lines. i later said why were you so candid. he said we only had you for another 24 hours. you are a journalist and a trutionee here, so i knew you could do that. but if i hadn't been. if i had just been an ordinary layperson going in there and not knowing what they were going to say to me, i would be bewildered. now they leave the office, doctors do, for the most part, go back and they start working on the treatment. there are thousand questions that come into the mind of the person who has just been diagnosed. and so one. things that i have been working on is getting patients to find other patients who have gone through this experience and be in touch with them. andy anderson has a master list. >> rose: a direct orby of patients. >> and they are in the houston area so they are mostly there. if somebody goes and gets diagnosed with a kind of cancer they can find in the file, you
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know, joe jones, call joe jones. here is what you can expect. in my case, i had jennifer brokaw, a take no prisoners er physician. >> rose: and your doctor. >> she was at my side asking the right questions, and conferring with the doctors. that is the important thing to do. i told everybody since then who gets cancer, find a doctor who is a friend, man or woman, doesn't have to be an oncologist but they can help you through the mysteries of medicine. >> because they can sct right questions. >> got to sct right questions. and in your own mind, you can't treat a doctor's office as a mayan temple that you don't speak the language. you have to ask sensible questions. and by the way, it's very subjective. and multiple myloma is a type of cancer but it has a lot of variations on the theme on how it should be treated and how it affects you. you and i have a common friend going through a difficult time with this cancer. and i have been lucky. i have been in remission. from about eight months after they started treating me.
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and everybody is very happy. and it stayed there. >> rose: but let's take tom brokaw. tom brokaw knew all the best doctors in the world. tom brokaw had all the resources that were necessary. >> i did. >> rose: tom brokaw had a family that was there to ask the right questions. >> and tom could pay for it if he needed to, right so here is who i thought about, charles. and i really did, i thought where i grew up. i grew up in the great plains working class background. i thought somebody out there who went to a community college, worked at a gas station, put together enough money to buy his own gas station, maybe got two and a convenience store. now he is living the american dream. in his mid 40st. he is making $250, $300,000 a year. he gets my can semplet is he bewildered by it. first of all because he doesn't have the access that i do to all the experts. although if you go online, there is something called the multiple myleoma beacon. the mayo clinic has a great line about it, mb anderson, all the great cancer centers do.
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also the health-care plan is probably one he finances as a businessman. doesn't begin to cover the cost. he's not yet eligible for medicare. so these are the difficult things that we have to deal with. >> rose: you also say that there are two things. either you have cancer or you don't. it's two different worlds. >> it is. >> rose: if you don't have cancer, you can be sim pathetic. but if you do have cancer. >> you can be empathetic. when a member of your family gets cancer, everybody gets cancer in a matter of speaking. it takes over the family. and i don't mean that in the darkest possible terms. it's instructive to them. but the concentration is on that person with cancer. you see first hand what they're going through. for the rest of us, we hear a friend has got cancer. we're not there with them when they wake up in the morning or when they take the meds or incapacitated in some fashion. and we're not there for the moments of fear about am i going to make it out of all of this. and we see in three months later, hey, how are you doing? i'm actually doing pretty well. you think well, that was a piece of cake.
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well, it wasn't a piece of cake, that is the point. >> rose: when was it the worst for you? >> it was the fall of 2013. well, it was really bad right after i got diagnosed, a week after i got diagnosed i did a dumb thing out in montana. i went fishing, a hundred miles from the ranch. and i was in a paralysis of pain. got back to the ranch. i couldn't even get out of bed and meredith kept calling the mayo clinic. they kept throwing ever more lethal pain killers at me. and nothing worked so they had to med evac me out of there. that was a nightmare but these-- . >> rose: dumbest thing you ever did in your life, probably. >> really tough emtst got me down a narrow stair case and into a plane. by the time i got in the plane i was hall use ating. -- hallucinating. when we landed in mayo i thought we were back in new york. 24 hours later i was doing much better. but the interesting time for me was the fall of 20 sp, you won't remember this, but the weather was terrible here it was sleety and snowing and cold. and i had not-- i had confined
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my cancer to a very small group of people. people didn't know. but i wanted to go out every day and walk a half a block to get a bagel. and i do that to a coffee shop, and it was sleeting and snowing and i was not moving very well. and at the bus stop on the corner of 79th and madison avenue there is a huge, larger-than-life photograph and a poster of tom brady advertising ug boots. and the women would be moaning about him, he's a really great looking guy. and i'm in the worst shape of my life. i get up to him, and i look at him, pardon me, but i drop the f bomb on me. it made me feel better. i keep on going after that. >> i actually told him about it later am i never met him before. his friends all laugh. >> rose: would you keep it from your children as long as you did if you had to do it over? >> well, they didn't-- the children were tuned in pretty quickly it was the circle of friends and i-- the people at nbc, the only ones a told were, i big boss steve burk and debora
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turnis at that time. i didn't want to be on the internet, tom brokaw cancer vic tism i was doing a documentary on john f kennedy's 50th anniversary of his assassination. and i told my team, i got a bad back, we're going to have to edit at my house. so you can, these things are very portable now so i had my computer set up there. they would come out to the house. and i would work there. when i had to tape it, i went in and taped it. and then i looked at the tape and i looked god awful. and they said that was pretty good. i said give me another 24 hours. have i to go home and rest and i will come back and do it again. kind of got myself pulled together and then would you not have known i had cancer. and about christmas time one of our mutual friends said to me, are you going to be okay? cuz something was wrong. and i looked at her and i said i'm not, nor blanca nofar ephron was our common friend. and she kept it very quiet for a long time and was in i much tougher situation than i was. and that was all i said until about february or march when it
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got out. and the greatest line of all was that jon stewart, i had been on his show with the cancer, and i had asked not to have to make the big step up, the guy said i got a bad back. i want to sit at the desesk. semplet and jon wrote me a quick e-mail saying, you were one tough sob. i had no idea you had can semplet i wrote right back, and said jon, i didn't think there was any reason for me to trouble you with my difficulties. he wrote back and said you cannot be jewish. if hi gas i would trouble you with my deficits. so there were great moments about that. >> rose: but you find out about friends when something like this happens, don't you? >> well, you find out that, you know t the illusion that we're going to live forever goes away very quickly. and you know, the idea i pose ideally you just quickly set up the priorities. i'm not going to do what i have been doing all my life. i will change and do the bucket list kind of thing. i didn't feel that way. i have a great life and i want to continue as much of that as i could. i wrote a book that began as a
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journal, this book. a lucky life interrupted. i got back to a point where i could go fishing again. i, one of my friends said how is your tolerance for bs. >> i said bs and the people who are in the business of bs, have i no tolerance. i don't have to do that any more. >> rose: or time. >> and the other thing is in my job and this condition you get asked to do a lot of things. you know, preside at events as you do. you and i both do. i began to say i'm just not going to do as many. >> rose: at the same time one of your good friends said to me, the thing that i think most about tom is his generosity. he will get on a plane and go place toes do things for people understanding that his celebrity can make a difference. and you still do that. >> well, i still do the things that i think that are pornlt, that i can help people with. i mean i went to southern virginia where there was something called healing waters, a wonderful program for taking care of severely wounded veteran.
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they can learn to learn to fish in a stream and it was a cold and rainy weekend. and i would not have been anywhere else. i was so taken with who they were and how much they loved the sport that i care about. and all the people who are down there were there to help them. you know, then on the other hand, there are events in new york, you and i are both on call constantly for those kinds of things. you pick out the ones that have some meaning. tomorrow i'm doing a damon runyan breakfast because i want to do as much for cancer if i can. if i can help people understand what it is like and get everyone to step in to the fight against cancer, i think it will be a good thing is. >> rose: when are you you, also the awards keep coming in at a rapid pace. >> yeah. >> rose: it's just been announced that you have received the french-- french legion of honor. >> well, you know, one of the things i have been thinking about a lot is this election year and what is going on around the world and what is going on with the computer age.
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and i get the reason have i been a journalist as long as i have. and that it's all fascinating to me. i mean i just love watching the world change and its impact that it has on it. very early on i went to silicon valley, before i completely understood what the heck was going on. i met bill gates and worked at getting to know him. i still find myself doing that. i don't know how much you have been in lower manhattan recently. but we have a silicon valley here in new york. i mean, you know, facebook and with what they are doing in cornel, what they are dg in this building with bloomberg. so those things. these are huge transitional moments in the life of the world. and the history of the world bns but is what is happening to us politically a group of people feel like they've been left behind? and they do not see the rise in their life that they read and hear about somewhere else. >> i also think by the way it's not just being left behind in economic terms. i think that people, even people
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who have some prosperity are feeling completely separated from their government. and by the way, as i have been saying, my colleaguesk, are also feeling separated from what goes out over television every day. a lot of guys and women sitting around, well dressed. they make a lot of money, talking authorityively. somebody out in the middle of illinois who has lost a job, illinois is in great debt and they are saying you are not representing me. i got real problems. i mean this town is drying up. we have lost our little community bank and the main street merchants can't compete against wal-mart, those are the issues. >> rose: they blame the establishment, whether it's wall street or washington. >> and washington say big piece of it. i do think that money has not had the big impact on winning elections but the perception of money. and that chasing of money is real. and i think that a lot of people see that. so this was their year. and donald trump has been their instrument, to light up that. now here's how trump has changed politics i think for the long
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haul. when you stop and think about it, his most effective weapon has been twitter. not spending any money. he's tweeting and getting these people. he's creating rallies that are the equivalent of rock 'n' roll rallies. there is something entertaining, something to do. and he's taking on all, you know, all the great. >> what's interesting is that is happening to bernie sanders as well. >> same thing. absolutely. the other side, yeah. it's the mirror image. >> and the mirror image. they feel like they're out of control of institutions. in about 10 seconds i will give you the 20 minute brokaw version of how we got here. start with 9/11, people felt unmoored by that. the invasion was a disaster. wall street collapsed. nobody on wall street went to jail. out there, people lost their homes, lost their jobs, their kids were teenagers, around, millenials. they're spending most of their time on social media. president obama said he would not be the president of a blue state or red state america but a united states of america. but he had a big social agenda
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that was more liberal. republicans simultaneously met at the beginning of his administration and said we will do everything we can to deny him any kind of a re-election. the system just ground to a halt. and at the same time, we're sending less than 1 percent of our population to fietd this war, as you saw in "the new york times" the other day. he's now eight years at war, this president. >> rose: longer than any other president in american history. longer than abraham lincoln and anyone else. >> i said four years ago that i thought isil, i guess maybe three years ago. i thought that isil and the destablization of the middle east would define his presidency. i still believe that. i still think he can't leave the presidency with a lot of other achievements if this war is a war without end. and i really think it's a big, big issue. >> rose: do you think he is rachel -- ratcheting up with 250 special forces go into syria because he hopes to achieve something. >> yeah, i do. >> rose: before he leaves,
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hoping for the best. >> i think he was aware of the criticism he got when he didn't leave the baseball game in cuba when he was out in the southeast asia when he called isil the junior var is-- varsity. people said wait a minute, these are not hard-core republicans saying that, these are analysts that have been around for awhile. i felt that way. a lot about politics and being the president is reality and perception. you have to do the reality but you also have to dot perception part of it. the symbolic part of it, to be strong and say i hear you. i know why you are concerned. at the same time, i'm very concerned personally that we continue to talk about sant barbara like it will happen in the next nano second. we're not talking about all the mass shootings that occurred in the last couple of years. in organization organize-- oregon and other schools. so if donald trump says we've got to ban muslims until we figure that out, well, if you are worried about damage, what about bang the a-14, you know what about taking a look at
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that. but nobody wants to go there. and those are real smoos for us as well. i'm a gun owner, as you know, and i have got a lot of them. but at the same time we have to get sensible. >> rose: "washington post" today, hillary clinton's declining personal ongoing bat toll breakfree. chal friending senator bernie sanders and struggle to adapt to an anti-establishment mood among voters this year have become caution signs for our campaign and the focus of new efforts to forth fie her position as she prepares for a bruising general election. >> uh-huh steve schmitt was on morning joe today. and he reflected exactly what i believe. a big issue for her is that she has been in the public eye for a long, long time, since 1991, really. and before that in the governor of arc-- arkansas. she is a very familiar figure. and along the way she has become controversy on some issues as well. and part of the way that she is running against now is the wave that we want some new people in. there i mean part of the reason trump is doing well is that they
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say hey, he's got a fresh point of view. so people have been around for a long time are having a hard time. bernie sanders has been around for a long time but he has got a different point of view. look, somebody said can he win. i said he is one of two nominees, he has one in two chances. >> rose: yes, and they sa can donald trump win, is he one of the last two people standing, probably. >> exactly. >> rose: and anything can happen in politics. >> exactly. >> and by the way, it's not just about the candidates. or the campaign and how they run them. it's about the world. what happens in the world. you know, do we have exphek catastrophe and other series of terrorist attacks. there are all matter of things that could happen. china is economy which everybody is concerned about, which direction is it going between now anded election. all matter of things can happen. people forget in 1968 lyndon swron son had sto leave the white house because of gene
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mccarthy's challenge. bobby kennedy is killed, dr. king is killed, riots in chicago. richard nixon put together this other strategy and hugh better humphrey almost beat him. >> rose: a another couple weeks he might have. >> a couple hundred votes at the en. came close to he did feeting him. american politics are always dynamic. >> rose: let's talk about your life i assume even more than broadcasting, even more than being there when the berlin wall came down, it is the fact that you wrote a book about a generation of soldiers. that has given you a connection to the military and bonded you, one reason the french are honoring you is because of what you have done. how big does that loom when you think about the life you have lived? >> very big. and much larger, i didn't anticipate, i didn't sayure ecka if i write this book it will be huge. i was really writing the book for that generation, for my parents, the people i knew who
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had been through world war ii, the people that we met in the course of writing the book. but i also, this is now 18 years since i wrote the book. i get stopped honest to god three, four times a week in airports and other places saying i didn't understand my parents. and it is, i believe, how to a great degree, how i'm going to be remembered rrs i think it is too. it is the first line. >> and it's just fine. you know. >> rose: but it connected you to them too. they found some one, because you wrote that book, who understood and gave them a voice to think about their own lives. >> yeah. well, you know, i grew up, i was born in 1940. i grew up on an army base and then moved to a town that was all core of engineers building a big dam. everybody was a veteran. so i saw who they were and the sacrifices they had gone through, very much like my parents, nothing in the depression, whatever you could get you had to earn. and now they have this real opportunity. and all they want to do is put
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their head down and work hard and hope they can send their kids to college at some point. one of my favorite stories is a veteran that i met at the time didn't realize all he had been through. d a terrible world war 2, hisnd brother was killed in front of him, he was a marine. he was 16, lied about his age, went in. in a ferocious war. we were about four or five minutes into the interview and there was a long pause. i said are you okay. he said yeah, i just realized i am paying for this phone call. i said okay, hang up. i will call you back. that is a depression era. he has a good job but he's paying for the phone call. >> rose: reminded me of another story, one of your grand children called you up. >> my daughter, my granddaughter was in columbia. i texted her and columbia freshman thisser yoovment i texted her, to keep up this these ways you have to do that i said are you fie beta capa yet saying no, you won a nobel prize yet? so you know-- . >> rose: you got to be fast. >> no, those things keep you
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going. >> rose: the medal of freedom. i saw you before the world knew, remember, up in bloomberg philanthropies and i walked in. hi been told, i went over, and you didn't know and hadn't said anything about it. >> yeah. >> rose: but you knew you had received it. >> yeah. it was an emotional place and time. you think about your parents. you think if they could see me now. what else? >> you know, i thought i have to be kaiferl, i get very emotional. but i thought a lot about my parents. my dad dropped out of school at ten. and my mother wanted to be what i am, a journalist. but she was 16ing when she graduated from high school. cost $100 to go to college. couldn't do it. she became my managing editor. and my dad became go out there and do it you go the to do the job. and they were always there for
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me. and the other part is that my dad had a wicked sense of humor. when the news came out about the big salary i was beginning to make, he called me. i think you know this story. and i said you know, dad, we never talked about this of about. why are you calling. >> i'm just reading, i want to know. it came out next week and was even closer to the real number, big number. he called me again, is this true. i said why are you asking me. he said as long as we've known you, you have always run a little short at the end of the year. we need to know how much to set aside this year. >> rose: was your dad called red. >> yeah, red. he was very red haired. a brawny guy. and he was the toughest kid in town when he was growing up and determined to get over that reputation. and he became this surrogate father to a lot of my friends. and he fixed their cars and taught them how to tie ties. they still talk about him, my buddies do. >> rose: are you more your father or your mother. >> i'm a combination. i don't want to talk about the-- i have got brains and other parts of my body that my mother and my father, i'm a real combination of the two. my mother was, would have been a
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great journalist, by the way. and she cut right through things. and loved the idea that i had. and she was fearless. she came to new york one time and we introduced to her to nora ephron. she said we met before. we met at that tommee tune musical. she said i didn't god to the tomorrowee tune mus cool. my mother said yes, you did. and nora said i want to be that way when i'm. >> what is the toll of the cancer to you, beyond the fact that you have to moniter your health all the time? >> yeah. beyond the fact that you may get fatigued more than you have in the past. >> a lot of that, and look, i'm again, the lucky part because i went into remission, my chrome soans were in such order that i didn't have to have stem cell transplanlt which is tough. you go in, and it takes awhile and you have to be in isolation. i do deal with what i had. >> rose: but you chose not to do that. >> well, the doctor chose not to do it i didn't have to. because the drugs were so effective. and the other part of it is,
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that you wake up every day, being reminded of your mortality, you know, that's still in there. and you start to think differently about the end of life. i don't think it's going to come tomorrow. i hope to live for a good long time. but there is a different kind of reality about it. >> but how do you serve that reality? in other words, some sense, for example, david brooks has written about the fact that there's too much emphasis on your resume. you never think about your eulogy and you ought to think about it. and by that you mean the sense of what i want people to understand about me, to say about me, what have been my values, what have been the things that i have stood for. >> i do think about that from time to time. i quickly go, i'm not going to be around to hear it. let them say what they want. you do think about that a little bit. but at the same time i'm just trying to live the life that i love. >> rose: but you see life a bit differently with a more sense of urgency, a more sense
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of. >> not so much urgency as order. you want order in your life. listen, i lead a pretty chaotic life before, i jumped on to airplanes and go to war zones, whatever was going on, i do that. i showed up at events that i didn't nesesly have to be there but was trying to do a favor for a friend. i am much more selective about that now. i want to pick and choose more. mrs. brokaw doesn't think i'm doing nearly enough of the picking and choosing. >> rose: you are not saying no enough. >> the fact is, i like to be more con tell plative. when i was at ole miss, i went again to the faulkner household. which they have really done a beautiful job now of restoring it and it is very evocative to go to those homes of great writers and thinkers and try to imagine what it was like. and there was a chair where he just sat and thought. you know, and read other people's works. and thought again about his own work. you know, i don't take enough time to stop and think, quite honestly. >> are you going to change? >> no, i don't think-- i think that's hard to do at this age.
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>> you talk about the bath robe and a cup of coffee. >> yeah, and a new yorker. >> hi a little bit of that. i'm doing a little more of that. we took the last couple of winters we've taken a rental house down to boxa raton florida, and gi off into the surf and swim in the evening which i love to do. and we walk the dog on the beech in the morning and meredith and i just the two of us have a quiet dinner. we're not running up and down the street having to get to the latest theater thing or whatever. that's been a big, big change for me. i wish this summer we're going to be a little less chaotic. we've got cleveland and philadelphia and the olympics. i'm going to do some work before the olympics. i don't think i have to stay through the olympic. i also have to be careful about travel. because if i get exposed to stuff, so i'm dk-- . >> rose: because your immunity is low. >> my immune system s you know, is open to infection. and especially often what happens to people with multiple myloma die of pneumonia or a
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respiratory infection of some kind because the infection hits and they can't get it kroiled. in the middle of my treatment i got hammered by an infectious bron cheel condition of some kind. it was bad fluids which you would describe it as. and jenny from california said meredith, how is he doing. he said god, he's been sleeping 12 hours. he she said get him to the hospital right now. i went in, and i was on a lot of ivst and a lot of drips for a couple of days until they could jack me back up again. that is what you have to be on guard against. >> rose: you describe yourself as a wiz kid until you fell in love. >> i fell off, i did a commencement address that i had a double major in iowa. and so. >> rose: and then you had a woman who came along and said brokaw, straighten up. >> she has known me since she was 16. and she had my number. and it was meredith. so she got me on track again. and i thought our relationship was over. we were not really romantically involved. we had been dating some but i
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really thought it was gone. and then when she dropped a hammer on me, i really thought it was gone. >> rose: she changed. >> she said i changed and she said to her sister, it was a big surprise to people in south dakota when the two of us got together. my line is that we didn't get together earlier because she thought i fooled around too much. and i didn't think she fooled around enough. that was always my line. and she doesn't like me repeating that, but none the less t was meant to be. you know, but on regrets, sure, there were behavioral things you have done over the years, oh, god, i would like to have that one back. but by and large, i was very fortunate and that i had a skill set that worked for the rise of broadcast news. >> rose: what was that skill set? >> i'm pretty verbal. and i can also write. and i was quite fearless about getting on a charter airport in atlanta, 196 r5 and flying into wherever it was going on. >> rose: it's amazing when you this i about what you have done. if you happen to see up close
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the civil rights revolution. >> yeah. >> rose: you saw up close the reagan revolution. >> yeah. >> rose: you saw up close western. >> the cultural revolution, yup. >> rose: i mean it's-- i spoke to journalism students just because i was on campus at duke this past weekend at the commencement, you know. and i said to them, the chance to be an eye witness to history is a remarkable opportunity to have, a truly challenging and satisfying life. >> well, i've always kind of-- and i don't mean this in a self-congrat la tore way, but i always thought of myself as a reporter from main streevment i always thought that i understood the country. >> rose: because you came from main street. >> i came from main street but i had a big appetite for bright lightings big city and i wanted to know about that. and even when i was a teenager in south dakota, i was reading about it. i once told mike nichols that when i first heard him on the radio in south dakota, i knew there was other life out there. and i wanted to be a part of that. i said i was on pluto, you were
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on venus and when i was hearing what you were doing, i wanted to come. and i came to new york when i was 17, for a couple of days, on coins dense i was on a quiz show. and i walked all over the city and saw everything. and went out to in osfield, last summer they were here and bought tickets. i thought god, this is the life i want. once i got to the city i still loved it but i was drawn back to the wilderness, to the great plains. and i spent a lot of my time there will sw. so that is part of the privilege of my life. >> rose: does fishing, other than york, your biggest passion? >> that and bird hunting, quite honestly. i'm a bird hunter. a lot of people have a hard time understanding that. but i started doing it when i was ten. it's-- . >> rose: quail. >> it's a camaraderie as well, you are out there with your buddies. it's a tough sport, fes ants or quail or whatever you are shooting. beautiful settings. and i am a dog guy, as you know. we have the same-- and my dogs have been great. and that has been thrilling,
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frankly, to be out there doing that. so those two things. i just love the outdoors. and there is something when you are fishing, there is something that is spirit all about it, you know, are you in the water and in the vondings. and i remember last year in montana i was in a remote require and hi red, my dog with me. and i tushed around and about 35 feet behind me was a large bull moose. that was thrilling. it was also terrifying because they will attack you. and i was worried about red, noticing the bull moose. is he so focused on the river and where i was fishing that i just kement waiting, come on, red, wading across the river and hoping the bull moose would stay where he did, and he did. when i got to the other side, that was pretty thrilling, frankly, to be out here in the middle of the wilderness in a river and a big moose shows up. >> rose: it's also what you alluded to earlier, the idea of silence too. i'm not a fly fisherman but i know the times i have done it, it is the stillness and the silence, nothing but the
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russelling of the stream that you hear. >> yeah, i like pushing myself. and i'm not, by the way, am no means a world-class athlete. i'm good enough to do the things that i like to do, most of all. but you know, i have these really good friends who had a terrible, tecialg time this winter. doug tomp kins was the guy, founded north face and died in a drowning accident in pat goneia. but he was there with shanard and rick ridgeway and i have done things with all of these guys. we kayaked through the russian far east. and you know, it was take a step and drag thomas i always described it. but i loved being with them on these world-class adventures. and yee von and i talked over the years. he said you know, you were way over your head on a couple of these things that you did, you about you didn't give up. you kept pushing on. and i knew my limits. i knew how much i could get done and i want to do it. >> rose:s that a exactly what you got from the guy who was the prison of war of the japanese.
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>> yeah. >> rose: who told-- what was his name. >> louis zaparina. who told you how did you survive. he said i'm never going to give in, never going to give up. >> i talked to another japanese prisoner of war. when louis did for us was tell us the horrific conditions. i mean that's the untold part of world war ii until that book came out. the japanese prison camps were god awful. they were a violation of the most fundamental human rights. and all the guys who made it, and a lot of them didn't, said the same thing. you had to create your own world and liver within iter you couldn't do anything else. one of the guys that i wrote about saw his cap pain beheaded in front of him because he would not cow tow to the japanese commander, and they just beheaded him. i said what did you do he said i didn't do anything. i had my world, i had to live in that, if i were to survive. i had to lip only in my world. have to createhat world and
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your own world with the idea that i'm not going to get out of here right now. so you have to come in some way to deal with the day to day reality by creating your own world. and have i nfer been that tesessed by any means. >> one time i did say, we were in the back country at the end of a three-day mountain earring ski trip and i was so exhausted and i wanted to go one more peek and i didn't think i could do it. i said i can't do. this he said come on. i said i'm not feeling well, which was not treuvment he said no, no, it's okay. i said okay, i have got a fatal disease, i will say anything at this point. i'm not going do it. these are the books, the greatest generation, the greatest generation speaks, an album of memories. a long way from home, boom, the time of our lives, a lucky life
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interrupted. is there a if you book coming. >> i'm think being things. writing books are hard. i'm at a stage of my life where i have something to say, i think. and people seem to be responding to what i have to say. and i'm interested always in the future of this country. and how we got to where we are. how we may be able to get to the next place in our lives. and if i could add to that dialogue in a civil way, and do it importantly, i would like to do it. so i have an idea, whether i will get it done or not, i don't know. have i this kind of inform 58 testing of the water thing with john meacham and dorris concerns good win and others. they say what are you working on. oh. >> that's a good idea but we'll see. >> are you thinking about an idea that you might start in on. >> yeah. >> well,i don't know, i'm starting to write some essays around it. >> so one of the bucket list things was to write a short
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story. >> i still would like to do that. i'm-- i don't know whether-- i've got a notion in mind. but i don't know, my friend tom mcwayne who is a great short story writer. he is published constantly in the new yorker, it always intimidates me because i get kind of up to the point where i think can i start. then i read one of his short stories and i think i can't do that. but i do also like writing nonpics. soimee and kind of at the moment about things that i have seen and things i have experienced, things i have enjoyed in my life. >> i think you have had such a remarkable life. and such really amazing friends. i know of no one and i thought about doing this myself. i know of no one belter able to write about the essence of friendship than you. i mean you've had and have remarkable friends. >> yeah. >> they're famous. they're not famous. >> that's-- dwsh. >> you really are have an
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unparalleled sense of connection to a remarkable group of people, as i say, and they're not all famous. age they're people who have lived a life that you admire. >> yes. >> because of the values that they have come to. >> in many ways i'm more drawn to those who are not famous. you know, my friend shenard is famous in a small world but he's an anti-celebrity. and what i like about him is that he just goes out and gets the job done about whatever he is done stantly reinventing things. and then a lot of people that don't even have the name thattee von does, over the years i have stayed in touch with them because they're interesting and they don't do it for attention. they do it because it's rewarding to them in some fashion. you know, one of the things i like about writers without don't become really famous is that they stay committed to it and they have ideas that they think, you know, that the country should read and hear about. and so i am drawn to that. i was always aggressive about
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friendships. i was always finding interesting people, even in the small towns. i want to be a friend with this person because i'm going to learn something. >> but you're a note writer. i get notes from you now and you see something you have done that you like. >> you have a great sense of generosity to tell people well done, man. well done. >> well, i do that. because i think you deserve it for one thing. and i think it's part of being civil. and being a friend. i had a friend who made it to the major leagues. that didn't happen very off then south dakota. he played in those great athletic teams. the second baseman when reggie and all those guys were playing. they won world series. he almost wonned mvp but didn't get a hit in the entire series which he had to do. but he always remembers it, beginning from the time he went to triple a. i was writing him notes. okay, dik, this is your year, will you make t it's going to be fun. it was fun to watch him make his way up to the ranks and become a major leaguer. that was an unheard of goal in our small town. that he was a great athlete. >> any part of this planet that
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you haven't seen that you wish you could see? >> i mean you fished in montana. you have obviously fished in montana. i assume you fished in mongolia. >> yeah, i did fish in monday gol yavment i didn't catch one of the big, big guys but i caught clear lake i remember seeing in my life, way up on the soviet border. and we were saying in a yu rt and i caught a big fish. we had it for different. and then we went downstream, the most hilarious thing happened. it was during something called-- a horse festival and tribes come from all over. and they go to the capital. i went downstream and by the time i got back, two families had camped on the side of the stream. and their horse are tents and wild stal onses. hi all the fancy plot figurer equipment. they were fascinated by it. so i left flies for them. i didn't leave my fly rod because it was expensive. so they pulled out a horse for me to ride back to camp. and it was this wild stal on.
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i got on the damn thing and it went down through the river and back through the tent. that summer in montana. we had been learning how to break the behind quarters where you really have to stop the horse, you pull the headway around. i was pulling like crazy and finally got it under control. meredith will never forget it i came flying into camp on this horse and my weighters on this horse, because the stirups were so small, my knees were up to here, followed by about 15 little kids who were whooping and yelling on their horses. that was really a memorable moment. >> rose: did you for a moment think about politics. >> no, i really didn't. people often-- people have asked me both republicans and democrats, have you thought about doing it. no, i didn't. in part because i saw from the inside, i know how hard it is. and i wanted to be what i am. i wanted to be-- a plrt-- political journalist and i wanted to try to find a place where i could explain what was going on and why it was important to the american people. >> rose: warren buffett has said to me and others that he finds the world so exciting told that he would give up one year of his life if he knew what was
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going to happen in the next 40 years. >> yeah, that's right. i think that's right. and i-- you know, just when you get comfortable at a certain age and a certain amount of experience, and thinking you know, i think i've got a pretty good fix on what is going to happen, it changes. and you know, they get tired of me around nbc but i said my operating theory has been theu fo theerry, the unfore seeable occurred. i started that last year again, and they said we will hear that from you. i said donald trump is theu fo. is he the unfore seen occurring. no one saw this happening. i have been saying there are pundits in washington who look like they were the americans working in the em imassee and iran when it was taken over. they are stuffing their columes and burning their columes. >> rose: is trump the only one who is going to pull this off what he has pulled off so far? was it something about him and the kind of. >> yeah. >> rose: the kind of life he had livered, i mean a guy who had been's remarkable promoter.
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>> i think he had all the-- . >> rose: salesman. >> i think he had all the dna for the times. >> rose: for this time. >> let's stop and think about it all those candidates were running, former governor of florida. the floor do-- shall governor of ohio, senator from texas, all those candidates. by far and away the best known guy was done ald trump. america didn't know those guys. they knew donald trump. >> rose: but i also said early things, there was the birth of stuff which gave him a certain identity. then he comes along with the immigration thing which gives him a certain identity. >> he knew how to touched hot button and he has been on television for 14 years. >> rose: and now he's prepared to change. >> we think. >> rose: the idea is ask you change without losing that core support that got him here? >> conventional wisdom is it didn't change 180 degrees but how does he fine tune it so he doesn't lose the people who have gotten him to where he is, but he pulls people in who are not
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frightened of him. and see him as somebody that they can imagine in the oval office. a lot of folks are saying now is that the guy you want to see as the president of the united states, your want your kids to look up to somebody like that. and we'll see. >> rose: it's really one of the attractive things about barack obama, had his family. >> yeah. and i, you know, this is-- we've never seen anything like this before, charlie. i honestly think it's a game changer. i really think-- . >> rose: so that it will lead to what? >> the game changer is in part about how a presidential politics will be conducted in the future. all those guys, you and i know a lot of them, who have created dynasties as the managers and media buyers for presidential candidates. you get these huge media teams and at the ind of the campaign if they lose, you get the money and they are on to the next one. >> rose: yeah. >> this one was won oy nickels and dimes. this one was won on twitter. >> rose: indeed. on the other hand, bernie sanldzers.
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>> same thing. you know, the money he needed he raised in five and 25 dollar donations. so it is a big rejection of politics as unusual. there is just-- as usual, no question about it big pushback and again pushback against the so called keepers of the flame. >> rose: but you and i both mean look at lyndon johnsonat land slide against barry gold water. would it emerge, a man that you knew and covered well, who gave a speech, and then in 68y, four years later he is running in miami. >> when gold matter-- gold water got beat, howard k smith did a documentary called the death of the republican party. >> exactly. >> that is because of gold water. >> and then after mcgovern and what happened, lyndon johnson and the war. >> hubert humphrey. >> they were saying, they were also proactive things that happened after all of that. in the case of 18968, richard nixon who no one thought could make a comeback, saw with his
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kind of political brilliance, and did he this v, that he put together the southern strategy. you can get states-- . >> rose: silent majority. >> right. >> and when mcgovern lost in 72, bill clinton and guys like that found the third way as they described it. democratic governor of a southern state. he kind of knew where the temple of the country was in ways that other people didn't. that worked for them. >> conservative on fiscal policy and moderate on. >> exactly. >> and the other thing i always thought the best thing that ever happened to clinton was that he lost his first run for re-election as governor. and it didn't make him more humble, necessarily, but he learned who he had to deal with. he had to go out and see tyson chickens and-- . >> rose: some will argue that the fact that he was a southern governor and that he had to deal with the legislature was a positive thing. >> very positive. >> when he became president. >> i really believe that. >> and senator obama never had that kind of experience. >> you can also say the same
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thing about ronald reagan. you know, i covered him and then i go to the white house. and all my eastern friends are saying come on, it's not going to happen. watch. >> watch. >> he is also surrounded by stu spencer, a friend stu spencer who knew politics. i was just telling you one quick story, i got to the white house and after about eight weeks that i got there, i said to them i will tell you what he is going to win. he has been in office about six weeks and the extraordinarily skilled democratic leader of cat california democrats ran the state senate. he came to-- we were doing some business, he was a tough guy an he said this sob is so much smarter than we realized. and we can do business with him. and i didn't think that was going to be possible. so there was something about
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reagan in which he could shall-- and i saw that happen. now he-- . >> rose: it happened in the song a-- congress a little bit. >> he was also fearless about picking the right people. jim baker was one of the smartest things he could have made was making him chief of staff. >> rose: and one of the smartest things jim baker did was to get george bush not to continue, otherwise he would never have been vice president and therefore probably unlikely to have been president. >> that's right. >> rose: and you made that documentary with jim baker. >> yeah. >> rose: when everybody people like secretaries of state they think of kissinger, achinson, but they always come to jim baker as someone, when they look at him, they appreciate more its style he had. and it had to do with his relationship with the president. >> yeah. i have-- i've gotten to be so fond of him personally. but i really believe he is one of our great living statesmen. and that is just me saying that, it is wherever i go, democrats, rahm emanuel would say what is jim baker is saying, i want to
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know what baker is up to here. he has become a great statesmen, conducted himself extremely well. he was tough, smart, and it was not about him, you know, he knew how to serve reagan. by doing the things that he needed to do and he served his friend george bush 41. >> it's great to have you here. >> it's great to you have here. >> oh. >> rose: at this table, to see you my friend. >> you know, charlie, we've known each other a long time. you have always been generous to me, i'm grateful for that we'll know each other for a lot longer. >> rose: the book is a lucky life interrupted. now in paper back. tom bro kaw for the hour. thank you for joining us. see you next time. >> for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us online at pbs.org and charlie rose.com 7
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this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. >> what monday blues? stocks kick off the week in rally mode. after going nowhere for a year, are new highs within reach? china's oil industry is now struggling. tonight, rare access to that nation's oil fields. you're hired. what some employers really think of your online degree. all that and more tonight on a special edition of "nightly business report" from chicago. for monday, may 16th. >> good everyone, welcome. we're broadcasting from the heart of chicago thanks to our friends at the studios of wttw. the big

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