tv Charlie Rose PBS June 1, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin tonight with a look at the trump administration's climate policy. we talked to amy davidson of "the new yorker" magazine and amy harder of axios. >> the president himself has not indicated that he cares much about the issue. and a lot of his top advisors don't as well including steve bannon and the white house and also the epa administrator. but the white house and thed entire administration is actually pretty divided on the e who supports staying in. you have ivanka trump and jared kushner who have really been pushing even today, and you have most major u.s. companies and foreign companies that want the u.s. to stay in. >> rose: we conclude this evening with a conversation with al franken. es a democratic senator from minnesota. husband new book is called al franken: giant of the senate. >> she did a one minute ad and in it she talked about we've had
problems in our marriage and i was-- i had a problem with alcoholism. and but the line was how can a mother of two such beautiful kids be an alcoholic. and that line spoke to the shame that mothers feel. and that alcoholics feel. and there was an anchor esme murphy who is an anchor woman for wcco, cbs affiliate who wrote a thing like imagine this is the best political aad this aad could actually help somebody. and two days after the oord aired we had a debate in a gymnasium. a lot of people there on the floor and the bleachers. when she entered that room, she
got a standing ovation. and i cried when i saw the aad, chuck schumer cried when he saw the aad. and-- the add, it ad, extremely, not only would i not have won, i would have lost by a lot. >> rose: a consideration of president trump's climate policy and a conversation with al franken when we continue. funding for charlie rose is provided by the following. bank of america, life better connected. >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications city, this is charlie rose.k
>> rose: we begin this evening with the trump administration's climate policy. president trump is widely expected to withdraw from the paris climate agreement according to many. the president tweeted thursday morning that he would be announcing his decision over the whether to initiate a formal withdrawal or exit from the underlying united nations trettee. backing out of the agreement would be a major st in unraveling president obama's signature climate achievement. experts say with a u. withdraw-- will weaken president trump on the world stage. joining me to talk about all of this in washington amy harder. an energy and climate reporter for axios. here with me is amy davidson, a staff writer at the new yorker. i'm pleased to have both of them, amy here in the studio, give me a sense of what the paris agreement accomplished and why it was so difficult to achieve and so important to engage in climate control?
>> hunter-- 95 countries were involved in paris. and although it doesn't have penalties in the traditional sense that some contracts do, it's a real commitment that each country is going to set a goal and try to achieve that goal. what the trump administration has said from the beginning is that this say terrible deal for america, it's unfair to america. they've never been really specific about why-- . >> rose: the same thing they did about tpp and iranian nuclear deal. >> it seems more almost two things that work in terms of their animosity to paris. one is the general animosity to international agreements, to an idea that there could be an accord and international cooperation in that way. and the other is this attitude, that there is something kind of phoney and made up about climate change and that it's all just holding us back. that is something that the epa administrator pruitt has said. that's something trump has said,
that it show all is something that somebody else has made up. it fits into a lot of con spir tor yal thinking. paris was supposed to counter that and show that countries could work together in some way. specifically for the u.s., we had a goal to cut our carbon emissions by about 25% from the 2005 level, by 2025. now just to be clear about what is and isn't happening right now. trump when they're talking about formally pulling out of paris, the alternative within the administration seems to be to stay in paris and name only. but abandon every policy and every action that would help the u.s. meet those goals. that has already been happening. in march, the trump administration issues an executive order that basically killed paris as something that the u.s. really was working to
make real. >> rose: let me go to washington. amy, is there any chance that he might not withdraw? >> that is not what we are hearing. we are hearing that the president does intend to withdraw from the deal, to amy's point i would say though, and a lot of businesses think this as well, the president has already effectively pulled out from everything that the former president obama was doing on climate change. so withdrawing from paris is really important for symbolic reasons because it will weaken the ambition of the deal. there's no doubt about that. obama was essential in getting that deal together. and without the u.s., historically the biggest emitter of carbon in the world, it will weaken it. that said, he may try to say something that shows that his administration cares about climate change. now the president himself has not indicated that he cares much about the issue. and a lot of his top advisors don't as well including steve bannon and the white house, and
also the epa administrator. but the white house and the entire administration is actually pretty divided on the issue. you have the secretary of state who supports staying in. you have ivanka trump and jared kushner who really have been pushing even today. and you have most major u.s. companies and foreign companies that want the u.s. to stay in. so i do think he has to do something to that large contingency of people. it's unclear right now exactly what that is. >> and jared gary koan i believe is also pushing to tay? >> very much so. the what i was reporting today is the people urging trump to get out of the deal has been louder and more persistent than those urging the president to stay in, for example, you have large oil and natural gas and coal companies that have expressed support for the deal. and those people are influential with the administration. but they haven't been as loud about staying in the deal as people like epa administrator pruitt who has gone on tv to
talk about what a bad deal he thinks it is. and 22 senate republicans including the majority leader who doesn't usually sign letters. they sent a letter to the president last week urging him to withdraw. so it's been a pretty coordinated campaign, in part done by the epa administrator who has really opposed the deal. >> i think one point that amy raised is really important, that it's not just an outliar of the trump white house, but a lot of the big players in republican politics are also saying get out of paris, that this has become really part of what the message of the republican party including the institutional republican party. >> rose: where is the speaker of the house on this, paul ryan. >> he's has not been a supporter of paris. he's been known to make jokes about going back to wisconsin and seeing a lot of snow on the ground. so his real commitment to climate change, although he's more careful in his language than a lot of others in his
party. it's not been-- . >> rose: and where is mitch mb con el. >> he signed that letter. i would also add though that the two sides of this issue, the only really two options that have ever really been on the table was to leave the deal all together or to stay in it but ratchet down or throw out all together what president obama committed to. so that is not staying in and being very ambitious with the deal at all. it's really just the lesser of two ef vils from the proclimate perspective. so no matter how, no matter how you slice it, it is not going to be good for people who want ambitious climate action by the u.s >> i would also add that it's not great for our political discourse. that the serious proparis argument being made in, swn the white house including by people like i ivanka trump and jared curb mr is why bother leaving, words done mean anything anyway. you can say you are in paris but not follow the recommendations
of paris, not compete your commitment. make it look good, do a little marketing but don't actually do anything. >> rose: it is almost worse to me in terms of political discourse. words don't mean anything, agreements don't mean, just say are you supporting but don't do anything to support. >> what amy said, the parameters that we're talking about are so constrained and so degraded in a way that it is a depressing moment. the people i've talked to in business and other negotiators of other countries, they say that this is going to hurt, of course, the u.s. standing on climate issues and set the entire world back on climate change. it's also being to have an impact on a host of diplomatic issues. so that is something we should watch for in terms of the broader impact, how this will affect trump's relationship with a lot of european leaders. china is looking to step into the void. i anticipate countries like india might actually lessen their ambition on this front
given the u.s. has weakened its position, but i don't think countries like china are going to retreat. >> and china correct me if i'm wrong, both of you, but china has made some recent strides after being a significant po lawsuiter, because they wanted, they were pressured by the united states. and because they wanted to see this agreement work. >> well, they have and they haven't. i think china sees this as an opportunity not so much to save the planet from climate change, although there could be an aspect of that. but it is an opportunity to assert itself as a leader, to say, you he know. >> if the u.s. is leaving there is a vacuum. >> and a lot of countries are saying we want a major power to be a gawrn tor, again, as amy says, of countries not cheating, of the statistics being realment and china saying we'll do it. >> rose: thank you, amy. amy, thank you so much. good to have you. back in a moment, stay with us. >> al franken is here, he is a
two-term senator from minnesota. before entering politics he was a comedy writer and performer on snl. he also hosted a progressive radio talk show on air america. he has recently emerged as a forceful challenger of the trump administration. his tough questioning of cabinet nominees during confirmation hearings went viral. >> if there is any evidence that any one affiliated with the trump campaign communicated with the russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do? >> senator franken, i'm not aware of any of those activities. i have been called a surrogate a time or two in that campaign an i did not have communications with the russians. >> i think if i'm understanding your question correctly around proficiency, i would also corelate it to competent tensee and mastery so that you, each student is measured according to the advancement that they are making in each subject area.
>> well, that's growth, that's not proficiency. so in other words, the growth they're making isn't growth, the proficiency is-- an arbitrary standard. >> if they reached a level, the proficiency f they reached a like third grade level for reading, et cetera. >> i'm talking about the debate between proficiency and growth, what your thoughts are on that. governor. >> senator. >> thank you so much for coming into my office. did you enjoy meeting me? >> i hope you were as much fun on that dyes as were you on your-- dias, as were you on your couch. >> well. >> may i rephrase that, sir. >> please, please, please. oh my lord. >> rose: there it is. "washington post" wrote at the
dawn of the approximate presidency, the trump presidency, that stretches the limits of late night parody and the moment with a party is trying to find its voice, the former comedian and satirist pay be having a breakout moment as a political star. out with a new book, a mem-- memoir called al franken: giant of the senate. i'm pleased to have all franken back at this table, welcome. >> thanks, charlie, great to be here. >> i hope i'm as much fun behind this table as i was on that couch. with rick perry. >> rose: well, i did notice, when rick perry campaigned, this time and wore the glasses people say he was trying to look differently. but obviously the glasses have continued. >> you know, i found him actually very prepared for our meeting. he prepared, he knew my stands on energy issues-- stance on energy issues and i found him actually to be, he was the longest governor in the history of text as and they did a lot of
wind energy. >> very popular down there. >> very popular. and brought a lot of wind. i think texas is the largest wind electricity producing state. and so i actually, i didn't vote for him because i didn't like some of his answers on climate. and, but, i called him to call him i wasn't voting for him, and we said let's get dinner. and i-- . >> rose: you had din we are him. >> i did not have dinner. we said let's get dinner. that doesn't mean we're going to have dinner. we just said-- well, i hope to do that. i hope to do that. i asked him to become a student of climate. and so i think it will take a few months to do that,. >> rose: we might need that. because there are reports and seem to be more and more evidenence that the president wt althoughghit, drawawm the paris climate. >> yeah, i think that would be a big tragedy in terms of our
leadership, in the world. this ask something that 195 countries signed on to. every country in the world, i believe, but syria and nicaragua. the whole world know this is happening. we met in-- i went to paris. >> that global warming is happening. >> yes. >> if we don't address this, and if we address it, we're going to create so many jobs in renewable energy. and we want to be a leader. i want to be selling that, that technology to china, instead of them selling it to us. they're choking on their fumes over there. this is an opportunity, wind and solar have become cheaper than coal. this is something we have to do. and the cost of not doing it are so tremendous.
>> rose: alternatives are becoming much cheaper and certainly cheaper than coal. >> yes. and natural gas, of course, has replaced coal. so these coal jobs. >> rose: but not fossil fuel. >> well, there's fossil fuel for driving cars, et cetera, like that. i think that will change. but china is like putting, if you produce cars in china, or ship cars to china, a certain percentage of them have to be electric. they're spending hundreds of billions of dollars on energy technology, on research. we should be doing that. and i, in this latest budget that the president offered, we see cuts in that research. >> rose: the epa is run by a man who said that he wanted to dismantle it. >> i know. >> rose: an enemy of the epa. >> pruitt is awful and they're dismantling the scientific
review boards there. they're getting rid of the scientists and replacing them with industry-friendly scientists. this is a disaster. and i'm fighting as hard as i can. i write in the book that i don't-- i have three grand children now. and i don't want them in 50 years to say to me grandpa,. >> rose: why didn't you do more. >> you were a senator, you knew climate change was happening. why didn't you do more. and also, why are you still alive cuz i would be 116 then. >> rose: they would ask that too, wouldn't they. >> they would, they would say what are you doing a live. and i would say it is all the money we invested in nih. >> rose: my first question is why are you alive, and my question is way back when, 2017 you had a chance to do something and you didn't. >> yeah, well, i'm fighting as hard as i can. you know, i blame the koch brothers. significant freed and roy-- . >> rose: there's a lot of
blame to go around, is there not? >> yeah, but they-- you know, the republican party john mccain in 2008 was for putting a price on carbon. and we can't get our republican colleagues now to acknowledge climate change. and to do something about it because they're afraid of being primaried by someone from the right that the koch brothers will put ten, 20 million dollars behind. so this is making it very-- and i know there is a debate going on in the trump administration. and i don't know why today we had an announcement early in the morning and why it was being drawn out. and i hope that the news we've heard isn't true. >> rose: when you look at the, what it says about america's leadership if you withdraw, and what it means for china, emerging as a global leader, not just a country interested in getting its own house in order, how do you see that playing out? >> again, i see it just in terms
of jobs. just in terms of the investment in this technology that we need to deploy. and i don't know what happens in this administration. i'm hoping that we have an administration that understandings what that 9-- 97 percent of climate scientists, 100 percent of those have been peer reviewed say this is happening. no one knows us better than the defense department. and their quad ren yal review. they keep saying this is an enormous threat to us. and that if sea level, when sea level keeps rising, we're going to have millions of climate refugees. and if you think what happened in syria which in no small part was caused by draught, if that, that will look like nothing compared to what we're going to see. so we see the defense department doing some of the best stuff in
energy efficiency and renewable energy, making jet fuel, et cetera, et cetera. >> rose: there is going on in washington a series of probes into whether there was any connection between russia and the trump campaign team or the trump administration. have you seen any evidence of collusion so far? >> we have a special prosecutor now. and when-- i'm glad you showed the sessions testimony, that was not true. he had met with kislyak a couple of times. and so that was under oath and he told me something wasn't true. he answered different questions than i asked, by the way. i asked him essentially would he recuse himself. and he answered that way. i think he did a pivot. >> rose: explain to everybody what a pivot is. because you talk about that is one of the things you learn when you came to the senate. >> a pivot is this. when i was running in 2008 i had
a really hard time doing that because you would ask me a question. i would answer the question. >> rose: i will take an example. >> but i will give you an example. someone would say you're 20 points behind norm coleman, why do you think that you have a chance of getting elected. >> the right, i would answer the question, but the right thing to do is pivot and go like, you know, minnesotaans don't care about polls. what i hear when i talk to minnesotas, they care about how their kids are educated, that they don't go bankrupt if they get sick that is what minnesotaans, that is your pivot. so he pivoted from i recuse myself to, i didn't meet with the russians. and a lot of people have given me a lot of credit because then he had to recuse himself when it came out he met with the russians. and after comey went, then rosenstein was in the position to appoint mueller who is the right guy. so everyone, not everyone alot of people have given me credit
and i like to take it. but that franken, he's playing three dimensional chess. four moves ahead of everybody else. he knew that sessions would pivot. and lie. and so he was-- . >> rose: he trapped him, didn't he? >> yes, okay. yeah, that's exactly what was happening. >> rose: that is what i was intending, to trap the future attorney general. >> yes. >> rose: you said to david letterman, by the way how was the conversation between you and david letterman. >> wow t was great. is he good at interviewing people. >> rose: he is. >> yes. >> rose: we always that, for 25 years. >> there's a reason for that. he and i are good friends. and we had just-- we had fun. we had fun for an hour or so at the 92nd street y. >> rose: i sent for a transscript and couldn't get one yet but there are news accounts of what happened. one of the things you said talking about the russian probe, they are going through a whole lot of stuff here if they have nothing to hide. >> that's right.
they do not-- they're not acting like people who have nothing to hide. and so when you ask me, do you have any evidence, i think there's all kinds of circumstantial evidence. we have a special prosecutor. we have to follow the facts where they go. and he will determine whether there is evidence of kol-- you know, whether cooperation. but it's hard to believe that jared kushner goes, has this meeting with sis il ak in the trump tower and forgets that he had it. >> rose: and even michael flynn was there. >> and michael flynn was there. and that he doesn't report it when he's filing his disclosure. >> rose: security thing. >> yeah, security clearance. you don't forget that. and so and it is sort of hard to believe that he's talking about setting up a communications within the russians communication system, hidden from our own intelligence,
that's what he evidently thought. without him telling his father-in-law. so you know, we may get to a point where it's what did the president know and when did his son in law tell him. paraphrasing the payment question from howard baker during the watergate sessions. >> yes. >> rose: what did the president know and when did he know it. >> i think that was it, yeah. >> rose: what do you think they have to hide? >> well, we-- we know all our intelligence community said that the russians interfered with the slerksment and we know that the kremlin has done this before in eastern europe, and there's something called the kremlin playbook, a document which talks about how they do it. and part of the way they do it is they corrupt people. and we see-- . >> rose: and then they own them. >> and then they own them. and we see fan man a forth and
flynn taking money from the russians. we see trump's son saying 2008 that a disproportionate amount of our money is coming from russia. the president-- . >> rose: so to what ends, is my question. >> to what end? well, the russians interfered in our election to disrupt-- . >> rose: because they want to put somebody in the white house who they had some influence with, not with him w people around him? >> or with him. i mean if the trump businesses are in large part financed by, you know, it's hard to borrow money in the united states after you have gone bankrupt many times. and so, and if your son is saying there's a lot of russian money coming too our business, he's presumably saying because there is a lot of russian money coming too their business. so that,-- and part of the kremlin playbook is corrupting people, is getting their claws
into them by investing in them. and corrupting them. and so we will, this will unfold. we're at a fairly early stage of this. >> rose: let me talk about the budget that they have and look at this domestic agenda. is this simply going to mean that in fact for this president, he's going to have a very hard time getting his domestic agenda passed because all the focus will be on all of these investigations. >> i think he's going to have a hard time getting his domestic agenda passed because this budget is pretty much dead on arrival. >> rose: but that's happened before. budgets are dead on arrival. then you begin to negotiate and you begin to figure out what is possible. >> i understand that. but there's so many cuts in things, you know, you are cutting meals on wheels. you're cutting snap, you're cutting food for people. >> rose: why isn't the country outraged.
>> well, there are a lot of people outraged. i'm glad that they are outraged. >> rose: so called resistance. >> i guess so, yeah, yeah, yeah. and there are people engaged. and i think that's great. and we need people engaged. i asked that the audience going very, very engaged because this is, he's not doing what he said he would do during the campaign. he said we never cut medicaid. he's cutting-- . >> rose: and the argument is that a lot of what he promised in the campaign to the people that he helped elect him, are going to be hurt a lot by the budget. >> absolutely. >> in terms of-- whether it is a budget or whether it is the obama care repeal and replace. >> yeah, i'm cochair with pat roberts of kansas. republican. of the rural health caucus. and i go all over minnesota, talking to rural hospitals. small hospitals, clinics, nursing homes. people are freaked out about
this health-care bill. because i, you know, in perm, minnesota, a woman was crying because she said my mom will lose her home health care. and my husband and i both work. and i don't know what we're going to do with my mom. >> do you believe that we're looking towards 2018 election which democrats could take over both the house and the senate? >> is it heading that way. >> you know, i'm not a prognosticator. so i'm not going to go down that-- that is not a pivot. that's just-- a prepared answer. >> rose: that is an he vas vaisive. >> i don't like to do that. i like to focus on what is in front of us right now. and what's in front of us right now is this terrible health-care bill that the president had the ceremony and the rose garden which you don't do after-- .
>> rose: it is not a mission accomplished time. >> no. and the president is saying you know, you know, everyone, no one knew the health care was complicated. until i figured out that it's complicated. you know, that's crazy. and we all know it's complicated. it's very complicated. and sometimes i feel that my republican colleagues just had the affordable care act which has its flaws, which has weaknesses, they just were counting on hillary winning again so they could just keep bashing around and didn't bother to find out how complicated it is. >> rose: i want to talk about politics. why did she lose? >> y did the he win. >> there were a lot of reasons. he obviously appealed to people that were angry.
>> rose: why wouldn't she appeal to those people? >> i believe that part of what they're angry at is the establishment. and part of what they felt was, you know f we just get somebody in there who hasn't been part of this. >> kick butt of the establishment in the washington cloud and drain the swamp. >> drain the swamp. i think there's that aspect of it. but people legitimately angry. i'm talking about people who for 40 years have seen the middle class squeeze. and who don't see their kids having a brighter future than they had. and are angry about it. and i think that we, democratic party have a different interpretation of why that has happened. >> rose: but did you make that argument clear? >> i think what happened was at a certain point, hillary had felt that donald trump had disqualified himself.
i think they felt they were going to win. and they started playing prevent defense. and then 11 days before the comey thing hit, not making any excuses for her, the extent of the russian interference in terms of a thousand trolls in russia sending fake stories out, and that's where fake news came from, and that going on facebook, you know, taking, once they hacked the dnc and they hacked poddesta they can put anything out there. no one has read all of podesta's emails. no one has read anything from the dnc. they can send whatever lies. if you're talking about did, was there cooperation with russians on that, there are some things where you know podesta's time in the barrel is very soon. >> rose: as roger stone said that.
>> yeah. >> rose: before the release of the. >> so that is kind of suspicious, don't you think? >> yes, i do. >> good. >> i mean she won minnesota, 46 and a half percent to 45. >> right. >> minnesota. >> minnesota. >> rose: your home state. >> that's right. >> there were a lot of people who voted for me in 2014, who voted for donald trump. >> rose: why. >> because of all the things we have been seeing. >> the things we're talking about. and you know, our job is to send a message that we are looking out for them. and i think that it helps when this president is doing things that he said he wasn't going to do. like cutting medicaid and then giving that as a big tax cut to everybody that makes over $250,000 a year. i mean it is an-- this health-care plan had an $880
million-- billion dollar cut in medicaid and a $900 billion dollar tax cut, almost exclusively for wealthy people. >> rose: and that's the reason you wanted health care to precede tax reform. >> yeah. i want health care to, i want it on the table because right now i believe they are deliberately undercutting the markets in the affordable care act. >> deliberately undercuttig those markets. >> yeah, they've been doing that for quite awhile. and the unpredict ability that they have created is just making those insurance companies, you either want to leave the market or raise the rates. and that's the last thing we need. and so this, and i want-- i would like to hold them responsible if that continues to happen. what i would like to happen though is address that.
the first hearing we had in this new country in the health committee which lamar alexander whom i respect a lot, dhairm, was exactly on that. was addressing this-- the exchanges in order to address, get more competition. and there are reasons that the competition has left, a part of it was getting, the republicans got rid of something called risk corridors which would have paid insurance companies who got a riskier groups. >> i understand why you want to move on when i get into risk corridors. >> no, no, i'm talking about-- you have time to talk about them all you want to. >> no, no, no. very often democratic messaging, i say this in the book, that our problem is, is that all our bumper stickers end with continued on next bumper
sticker. and i don't want to do that here. >> rose: peek spooking of politics too, you said and have said that celebrity today in the political world triumphs ideology. >> i actually-- actually trumps, i didn't mean it as a pun because i used to say this before. >> rose: what did i say. >> triumphs. >> rose: i meant trumps. >> yeah. >> rose: i misspoke. >> well, maybe you have a hard time saying trumps. >> rose: no, no, i misspoke. >> like the trumps. >> rose: believing what, if you have a big name recognition as a celebrity, you can win over people who simply are policy wonks. >> i think i first made this observation when i used to go to republican conventions either for comedy central or for my radio show. i would go to republican conventions, people go hi,al. >> rose: remember that skit, tell me about it. >> yeah, yeah. and i go holy mack rel, all i do is, you know, write books
saffaging people, hi, al, because it's saturday night. >> rose: you are funny, i remember that great skit, i am going to vote for you next time. >> well, you know, believe me, i write about the 08y campaign. and everything i had ever done in comedy was put through a 15 million dollar machine that the republicans-- . >> rose: looking for an attack ad. >> well, to create an attack ad but they took everything, put it through this dehumorrizer. >> rose: explain that. because you-- you write about it several times. >> this machine was built with israeli technology, very advanced technology, which would decontext allize anything that i had ever written. and so you know, in satire and comedy you use irony. you use hyperbolee and sometimes when those things are taken out, i will give you an example. so i wrote this joke which was, is a very conservative joke. because it was warning parents
about the internet and you should probably monitor what your kids are doing on the internet. but i wrote the joke with some irony. and i said you know, the internet is just doing great things for learning. my sixth grade son did a report last year using the internet on bestiality. and he downloaded a lot of tbreat visual aids. and the kids in the class just loved them because you know, at that age, they're just sponges. okay. so that-- you are laughing. >> rose: you made your point. >> because you understand the joke. and they just did an ad where they kind of did al franken, does jokes about bestiality. and it goes from, you know, from infinite to through your face in to the living room. and my mother-in-law cried when she saw that ad. because it was, you know, and i was unrecognizable as her son in
law. and my-- you know, it was rough. it was rugged. >> rose: speaking of family. you have said that in that election fran yoo your wife, 40 areas. >> yeah, 41-- 41 and a half, will be 42 this year. >> rose: without her you couldn't have won the election because she had had some bouts, i'm trying to say this right, with alcoholism. >> she is an alcoholic, recovering chommic. yeah. and she did not like the way i was being portrayed and wanted to-- she said i want to do an ad telling about my battle with alcoholism and how you stuck with me. cuz what we're seeing isn't who you are. and she did an ad with mandy grunwald. mandy just talked to her. and she did a one minute ad. and in it she talked about we have had problems in our
marriage and i was, had a problem with alcoholism, and al, you know, but the line was how can a mother of two such beautiful kids be an alcoholic. and that line spoke to the shame that mothers feel. and that alcoholics feel. and there was an anchor, esme murphy who is an anchor woman for wcco, the cbs affiliate who wrote a thing like, imagine this is the best political ad this year, this ad could actually help somebody. and to days after the ad aired we had a debate. and it was in a gymnasium. a lot of people there on the floor in the bleachers. when she entered that room, she got a standing ovation. and i cried when i saw the ad.
cheuk schumer cried when he saw the ad. and it was extremely-- not only would i not have won, i would have lost by a lot. i think if it hadn't been for franie. and franie you know, it's funny. cuz people come up to me a lot. and they say you know you have a thankless job. thank you. and i go like no, no, no. a thankless job is a job where no one thanks you. that is what lorne michaels once said to me. and you know, franie has the thankless job which god, that reminded me. i should thank her at some point for making that ad, don't you think? >> i do. >> rose: and i don't believe you haven't thanked her a thousand times. >> well. >> rose: have you or not. >> i have thanked her. >> rose: have you or not. >> i thanked her once. i felt that was sufficient. >> rose: why did you decide to run, i mean you start at the
top, had no political experience. you had been a comedian. >> i didn't start at the top. >> rose: well, next to the top. >> well, paul wellstone, who i dedicated-- . >> rose: a progressive senator. >> from minnesota whose seat i hold, i guess, also hugh better humphrey, also walter mondaydales. he was a hero of mine. and i dedicate the book to him and his wife sheila. and he died less than two weeks before, in a plane crash, he and his family and others. his daughter and wife and others on the staff and the pilot. and there were a sequence of events where there was a memorial for him that was very much about paul. paul had this excube rance and
energy. and it was sort of, and i write about this at length in lies and lying liars who tell them, and that was taken by the republicans and you know, they said that we-- that there was some inappropriate things said during that. and it was used in a certain way. and so norm coleman ended up winning that election and beat walter mondale who stepped in at the last minute. >> rose: to become the vice president. >> yes. and a couple months after coleman had taken office, he did a profile, first profile in role call. and he said i am a 99% improvement over paul wellstone. >> rose: and you read that. >> i read that and i said who's going to beat this guy. i didn't say guy but i said something. and i had never, ever for a
second considered running for the senate, or running for office until i saw that. and you know, franie and i were gointo be empty nesters. and i talked to her about moving to minnesota. and i had the air america thing start here. i did that-- . >> rose: the radio show. >> the radio show in new york. but then we moved to minnesota to do the show and to explore, and listen, i didn't necessarily think i was the guy who was going to beat norm coleman. and as the campaign progressed, it became less and less about norm coleman and more and more about those who, any cafe i would go to in small towns anywhere, vf-w hall, american legion hall, you would see, you know, a sheet up there saying we're having spaghetti dinner for this family cuz they've gone bankrupt because of a health
care crisis. and elizabeth warren had been on my radio show telling me more than 50% of americans go bankrupt bawfs a health care crisis. it's related to a health care crisis. and i knew that, my radio show. but it got personal. cuz it was personal with the people of minnesota. so it is a petty reason to run for the senate, to say someone has got to beat this guy. but what became more and more about was what paul said, paul said that politics isn't about winning for the sake of winning. it isn't about money, politics is about improving people's lives. and that-- you know, i wrote this book to answer a question that i get asked more than anything else, which is is being a united states senator as much fun as working on saturday night live. and the answer is no, why would
it be. but it's the best job i've ever had because i get to improve people's lives. two weeks in to being in the senate, johnny isaacson from george, i call him up. i have this idea for this bill to match vets from iraq and afghanistan with invisible wounds with ptsd. with service dogs. and he could sponsored and it went through and it passed. and that made me feel like i was doing something. and that's when you feel like i'm a good senator. >> rose: makes it all worthwhile. >> i -- >> rose: all the hours and all the dirty tricks and all of that. >> yeah. >> rose: and the interesting thing is you won by a landslide. >> i clob erred him. >> rose: you sure did. >> by the smaller clobbering in history, 312 votes.
>> rose: and it took him like six months to decide without won. >> it took eight months. >> eight months. it took eight months. we have a very thorough process. i won the recount in time to be seated with my colleagues but then. >> rose: they challenged. >> norm coleman took it to court and we went through the process. >> rose: whatever there might be wrong with our politics before donald trump, with donald trump, with democrats in control of the congress, with republicans in control of the congress, what is necessary to fix it? ed. >> well, way hoping hillary would win so that we could have a supreme court that would overturn citizens united. i think this dark money is extremely pernicious. so unfortunately that didn't happen. but this big money in politics is-- is very cor rossive. >> rose: you write about the
fact that when you went to the senate because were you known as a comedian, you had to hide those skills. >> i had to show the people of minnesota that i was serious about the job. >> rose: this was in the a joke for you. >> yeah, well, so much of the campaign had centered on my comedy career and again, playing the dehumanizer that when i got to the senate, drew littmann, my chief of staff said you know, you're going to have a challenge here. you want to prove that you are going to be someone who is taking this job seriously. you have a lot of-- you have some celebrity. you have the republicans will be suspicious because you use ridicule on republican. hillary sort of had the same parallel problems. i will have you meet with her
chief of staff. so i met with tamara and she said be a workhorse, not a show horse. and so that's what i did. and i-- tried to show and i think i did show the people of minnesota i was serious. and that's why i won by a large comfortable margin in my reelect. and so since then it has freed me up to be a workhorse who has a sense of humor. >> here's what you are speaking of, here is what you said about ted cruz. here is the thing you have to understand about ted cruz. i like ted cruz more than most of my other colleagues like ted cruz. and i hate ted cruz. >> yes. >> it is, i point to him as sort of the exception that proves the rule which is that to get things done in the senate, you got to be a good colleague.
you have got to, your word has to be good. you can't be toxic, a toxic coworker. he's like the guy who microwaves fish at the office. and so i work a lot with my colleagues, and make an effort, my republican colleagues, and make an effort to reach across party lines to get things done. >> you take note of the fact that you and jeff sessions, and now the attorney general are friends and your. >> i don't know that we are still friends. we were friendly and i really hate what he is doing as attorney general and i voted against him. and i was tough on him. but i think i was fair. but his wife knitted a baby blanket for our first grandson. and also.
>> rose: what a big heart that is. >> it was a wonderful thing to do. and i drew a map, can i draw a map of the united states free hand. i did that for ted, for his grandson. and-- not for ted, for jeff also, you know, following the hill ree model, part of what camera said was go to every hearing, go early, stay late, have good questions, be prepared and so i would go to these judiciary hearings that were per funkory nomination hearings and there would just be pat leahy, the chairman, and jeff sessions the franking member and mement and i kept coming and jeff was kind of going he asks good questions. so one day pat had to go to an appropriations thing. so he asked me to chair. so i got there early. i'm there early. i'm in the chairman's seat and i have the gaffe el. and jeff enters. he guess well, meteoric rise. and i said and well deserved. and he laughed and it's hard for
me not to like someone who laughs. i'm a comedian. so and we, you know, did he some things that were acts of friendship for me when republicans on the committee would get mad at me for being too hard on one of their witnesses. >> rose: he was hard on you. >> a little bit, yeah. and you know, i-- you know, you can't unfairly demonize someone are you friendly with. but that's why i was-- . >> rose: don't we need more of that? >> yes, we do. >> rose: so you think in our culture, in our political culture lying is okay now? >> i guess so. because this president-- it's really pathetic that it's come to that. >> it's frightening. >> rose: frightening is a better word. >> and calling, you know, the mainstream media the enemy of the american people, you know, and you know, saying things like
hillary clinton had three to five million illegal immigrants vote for her. every one of them voted for her. you know, president obama tapped my phones. all these things that are just not true. just not true. and a president who doesn't seem to at all value the truth. and seems to have no shame about saying things that just are factually inaccurate, proveably factually inaccurate. and it is very,-- it's an affront to the american people. >> rose: what was that phrase though that was used during the campaign, and i have forgotten, i think a columnist coined it, the people who support him, don't take him literally but
take him seriously. and the other people take him literally but not seriously. >> i understand that. >> rose: that was the argument made for those people who voted for him. it was about an image of someone without would take and clean the swamp and they knew that he played loose with sort of precise facts. >> yeah, it was almost as if they enjoyed that. that it is almost like you know, a movie based on a true story but you want to elaborate the story and it's more entertaining. and we don't for some reason, that's not a value we have, that someone actually bothers to understand that health care is complicated. >> rose: i promised you more than four minutes or five minutes which we did on the morning show. i think we've reached that point, more than four minutes. >> thank you, you lived up to your promise it was good seeing you two days in a row.
>> rose: thank you, as well. >> rose: what are we doing tomorrow? >> whatever you would like. >> rose: not about politics. the book one more time, al franken, giant of the senate, by al frankern. 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. blaj blank captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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