tv KQED Newsroom PBS November 12, 2017 5:00pm-5:31pm PST
hello and welcome to kqed newsroom, i'm thuy vu. bill nye the science guy opened the world of science to kids in the '90s. he talks to us about his mission to defend science. are the election day wins for democrats a sign of a comeback? we'll discuss that and what the gop's tax reform proposal means for california republicans. donna brazile has roiled the democratic party with "hacks: the inside story of the break-ins and break have downs that put donald trump in the white house." brazile contends agreement between dnc and hillary clinton campaign gave clinton control of party operations a year before she was even nominated. brazile writes she considered
replacing clinton as the nominee. donna brazile joins me in the studio, good to have you here. >> wonderful to be back on the west coast. >> well, you write in your book that when you took the democratic party's top job in july 2016, you looked for evidence that the dnc was "rigging the system." in favor of hillary clinton. did you find any evidence? >> i became chair because the dnc was a victim of a hacking. the hacking that occurred allowed wikileaks and others to release e-mails. after the convention, i promised bernie that i would go back to the dnc to ensure that there was no rigging of the election process. so i did not find any evidence of the primary being rigged. but what i did find broke my heart. i write in the book that while the clinton campaign, along with the sanders campaign, has signed joint fund-raising agreements,
the clinton campaign had an agenda which gave them control of certain divisions of the dnc. i thought that the clinton campaign had unfair advantage of being able to fund the dnc, which was broke at the time. but they were funding three divisions of the dnc while the nominating process -- it did not impact the debate, it did not impact the primary calendar, and it did not impact any votes. >> you write in your book that the fund-raising agreement allowed the hillary clinton campaign to control finances and strategy. doesn't that, though, count as rigging in a sense? because it inevitably sort of moves the dnc in a certain direction against bernie sanders, does it not? >> well, this agreement which took place in september of 2015 basically gave the didn't campaign the ability to finance these divisions. these divisions that they were financing applied to the fall
campaign. for example, research division, they did not research bernie sanders or martin owe rally or mr. webb. or hillary clinton. they researched donald trump, who was becoming one of the top republican candidates. so financing these divisions in my judgment while a primary campaign was still going on was a bad judgment on their part to do so. because, you know, it would have a discussion of rigging, when in fact it wasn't rigged. >> this week on "late night on seth meyers," hillary clinton pretty much took your book to task. and we have one clip from that interview. let's take a look at that. >> donna brazile wrote a book, she's a long-time colleague of yours, she sort of in her book made this comment that your campaign through an agreement had too much influence maybe at the detriment of the sanders campaign. she sort of walked back those comments now. what was your reaction to that? >> i didn't know what she was referring to, because as has now
come out, that just wasn't the case. >> what would you say in response to her? >> first of all i would say to secretary clinton, who i respect and admire, that the memorandum of agreement that was signed between the dnc staff and her staff kept me from doing my job. it kept me as an officer of the dnc from doing what i believed was necessary not only to help her win, but for democrats up and down the ticket. the decision not to put resources in states that were critical allowed donald trump to break the blue wall. the firewall wasn't so strong that donald trump could come in there and take 78,000 votes and become president. and i believe that the russians with the campaign of disinformation and disruption sought to discredit hillary clinton. and my job was to try to defend hillary clinton. but when you're chair of the party and you cannot even spend the money that you raise because of this memorandum, i could not help hillary clinton.
>> one of the most explosive revelations in your book deals with hillary clinton's collapse following the 9/11 memorial ceremony last year. you said you were so concerned about her health that you actually at one point considered dumping clinton, instead nominate joe biden and cory booker. how serious were you about that? >> when the video of her falling down, stumbling, went viral, there fls a story that appeared in politico from a former chair of the dnc who said that the dnc should be prepared. and as chair of the party, my job was to confer with other leaders. we never had to take those extraordinary steps, but what i did do was tamp down the rumors, go out on television, and say that she's going to return to the campaign trail. >> as you know, many insiders, more than 100 former clinton aides, wrote an open letter criticizing that very point in your book, that you would even contemplate something like that shocked them. >> well, you know, maybe they
should read the book before they read excerpts and react. anyone who knows me knows that i care deeply about our country. i also write in the book that i knew that hillary would be able to go on. i had to make sure, because she's the nominee of the democratic national committee, not reverse. i didn't report to the clinton campaign, i was the chair of the democratic national committee, which nominated hillary clinton to be our nominee. and i supported secretary clinton's campaign 100%. >> you yourself have been accused in the past of giving special advantage to hillary clinton at one point, the hacked e-mails that you have talked about show that when you were a cnn analyst you tipped off the clinton campaign on questions in democratic debates. why did you do this? >> as a cnn contributor, not analyst, i did not have access to the cnn debate questions. what i did is i worked to exup and down the number of debates and town hall meetings and forums. during the winter of 2015-16,
the dnc came under withering attack for only scheduling six debates. and my job as the vice chair of the party was to advocate for additional debates and town hall forums. my cnn hat was to make sure that cnn, my cnn colleagues, had access to those additional town halls and debates. then my role back as vice chair of the party was to ensure that the candidates understood that we were not just expanding the debates and town halls, we would also have diverse moderators to ensure that questions involving the death penalty, questions involving mass incarceration, questions involve iing the cris i brought it to attention of both candidates. what i wrote in the book is i could not find any of the questions they said i gave to the clinton campaign or the sanders campaign, because my dnc account was hacked, then i lost all my e-mails.
we couldn't verify if these e-mails were accurate or not accurate. >> then why did you write in an essay for "time" magazine, your words, you said sending those e-mails was a mistake i will r forever regret. >> yes. >> what kind of e-mails were you talking about? it sounded like information that you had sent questions to the clinton campaign. >> no it's an admission that i sent e-mails to both campaigns, but i could not find them. i said it's one that i preget, because not being able to find them so i could verify to the american people and to my colleagues on the dnc that i was fair to both campaigns. i could not find those e-mails. at the same time, bernie sanders' campaign went public when these revelations came out. and you know what they said? they said, donna brazile was fair to us too. i was fair to everybody. i was fair to republicans. often when i would get topics about what we were discussing i would call sean spicer, sean before the white house, "we're about to discuss this, what do you think?" that's essentially how i do my
job as a political commentator, not an analyst. >> what were you hoping to achieve by writing this book? why did you write it? >> because our country was under attack in 2016. and i was afraid that the american people would not fully understand the hacking, what happened. the corruption of data. the misinformation. the intent on behalf of president putin to discredit and destroy hillary clinton. and, of course, the open wounds that i continue to see within the democratic party. i hope the reader will come away understanding what happened in 2016 and that we all agree to work to strengthen our democracy, to make it better, and to get the russians out of our electoral system. >> as you know, though, your book has upset a lot of democrats. in fact, charlie cook of the nonpartisan cook political report called your book a political suicide note.
is your book hurting the democratic party as it looks ahead to the 2018 midterm elections? instead of unifying, basically reviving old feuds and old divisions? especially given clinton and bernie sanders? >> i think i've upset the consulting class. i have no regrets in opening up a wound that wasn't going to heal properly unless we talked about it. you know, at the end of the day, if next year the democratic party invests in all 50 states and the district of columbia, if the democratic party recruits more candidates, not just those that the beltway decides are viable, and if ordinary citizens understand now how to protect their own personal identities from hacking and the united states government begins to protect us from hacking, then i would have done my job. >> donna brazile, error of "hacks: the inside story of the break-ins and breakdowns that put donald trump in the white house," thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. another political shakeup
this week on the anniversary of hillary clinton's loss last fall, several state and local races have handed victories to democrats. virginia and new jersey have new democratic governors in the statehouse. for the first time openly transgendered people were elected to state legislatures, city downsies, even school boards. and several cities elected their first black mayors. meanwhile, california republicans face tough decisions ahead as the senate and house senate tax reform proposals that threaten to hit many californians hard. to discuss this and more i'm joined by gop consultant sean walsh. and also democracy amy alison. a wave of defeat for dozens of veteran republicans in both state and local government tuesday. sean, you are the gop strategist, what happened? >> not a surprise, actually. going into the election, chris christie was terribly unpopular in new jersey from his sitting out on the closed beach scenario, to bridgegate.
ed gillespie for most of the summer was behind by 10 points. it's not a surprise that the governors race, some of the local races i think were a surprise. i think there is a blowback on mr. trump. i think that women and moderate republicans and democrats came and sent a message. >> amy? >> it wasn't just a referendum on trump, although that was very important. it was also that three other things happened. one was, some of the most inspirational first type of candidates. first black mayor. first transgender. first sikh mayor. those are the kinds of inspirational candidates who stand firmly for the values of what we call the new american majority. that's the multi-racial set of voters out of the electoral majority that elect and re-elected president obama. what's happened is on the ground, there are groups who are dedicated to expanding the electorate, talking to voters of color. and i believe what tuesday showed was as opposed to some democrats who say we should throw away identity politics by embracing our multi-racial identity and strong progressive values, we can be successful.
and i hope that they learn a lesson going into the midterms in 2020. >> sean, identity politics, is that what it boils down to? >> go for it. if you're a republican, i think that's a recipe for disaster. i think identity politics is terrible. i actually subscribe to the old bill clinton triangulation perspective. i do think that anger does motivate voters, if you can harness anger, you can get people elected. that said, at the end of the day, to continue to move forward and have broad-base support, you should not be doing identity politics, find a broad base. hold your base and then move to the center because the center decides elections. >> we're in this environment where president trump himself is the biggest user of identity politics. white identity politics. and using racism as a bludgeon, either openly -- when you attack immigrants you're using identity politics. but i think the lesson for democrats is, let's be who we are, but bolder. that combined with very real on
the ground, as opposed to tv ads and things like that, on the ground, talking to voters, that's the recipe for success. >> what's the lesson then -- we're hearing what the lesson for democrats, what's the lesson for republicans? gillespie was in an interesting position. he didn't really want to be identified with trump, he didn't want to appear with trump in campaign events. in his messaging he was aligning with trump in some ways. it seems to say, you can't have it both ways. >> you're right. republicans are in an awful position for three reasons. number one, they need to get stuff done in the legislature and congress. and they're not doing that right now, so people are going to say, why are you here if you can't get things done? number two, the president who tweets on a daily basis, if you get too close you get singed like icarus, wings fall off and you die. three, what's the centrist path that's going to get you elected without making the trump, rabid, conservative part of the party
stay with you? a very treacherous path for republicans and i'm not sure there is an exact formulae that i could present going into the 2020 election. and a minimum for the 2018 election, republicans have to get things done in congress. >> speaking of getting things done, let's talk about tax reform. how critical is it? is it a do or die moment? on the one hand there's this pressure to score a legislative victory. on the other hand, it threatens to end some really popular tax breaks that a lot of voters like. >> like the mortgage. >> yes. >> well, from a political perspective, republicans have to get a victory. i don't think it's do or die if they get it by december. if he get it when they come back into session. the more the senate changes it up, the more the house is going to have to go into conference, the more likely you're going into the new year without a tax plan. that means all the stories over the holidays are not just about sales at kmart or sears, it's going to say how republicans didn't get anything done. that's not what republicans want to see over the poll dholidays.
>> i'm going to make a prediction, on our website we did a study. we look the at the results of the 2016 election. we realized that there's a path to victory by investing in the new american majority electorate. i predict that democrats are going to win back the house in 2018 and that taxes is not going to get done. rolling back obamacare did not happen, as well as building a wall, there's a lot of things that the republicans and trump have said they can't get done because the party's at war with the centrist elements and the rabid elements as you said. i want to think -- making bold statements. >> going out on a limb. but here's the thing in california, though. i predict in california, which is the center of the resistance to trump, and really the leaders for a policy agenda that runs counter to the trump agenda, that we're going to attack tax policy from a different perspective. i think we're going to finally
take on prop 13, the rule that really has eviscerated education funding among other things in our state. i think we have a super emergency right of democrats who are emboldened coming from districts who are expecting proud and strong progressive moves to take on tax policy in our state. >> number one, so the shock is going to be if the republicans don't put something on the president's desk, the president's going to go to schumer and they're going to start cutting deals. the republicans are going to be twixt and tween when democrats and republicans start putting legislation up. number two, tax reform or taxes in california, you already have the split role that's the prop 13 skewing businesses versus property. if they do that, i think it's disastrous for the california economy. then you also have talked about with quote-unquote single payer in california, $250 billion. i think the democrats are -- i don't know legalizing medical marijuana, they've maybe talked
to people, because you can't do all the things the democrats want to do from a tax reform or increased taxes from a prop 13 perspective and the single payer and pay for it for the state to survive. >> i want to take a moment to talking about the gop in california. how endangered are the seats given what happened tuesday? we have republican congressman darrell issa coming out. ease in a tough re-election bid. saying, you know what, i'm not going to support the current tax reform bill without changes. do you expect more republicans will start taking this stand as they watch what happened on tuesday? >> i think it's a real problem. if i were the democrats and nancy pelosi is a californian, i would put a lot of money and a lot of effort into attacking california republicans. i think that -- i'm sorry to say that, i don't want to see that because i like our membership, but i think that sends a signal and sets the republicans off on a national basis. but democrats have their own problems. you've got a primary challenge with mr. de leon with dianne feinstein, that's going to be ridiculously expensive effort. what you have here right now is
you've got a civil war in the republican party, against itself, and the democratic party. where it comes out, i don't know. >> i hate to think of it as civil war. i think of it as very strong indication democracy is alive and well. the path to democrats taking control of congress is right through the majority people of color in those california seats that with investment, talking to those voters, we can do just like they did in virginia on tuesday and win those seats. >> all right. we're going to leave it there. amy alison with democracy in color, gop strategist sean walsh, thank you both. a generation of kids fell in love with science thanks to bill nye, the science guy. 20 years later, the former pbs host has a new role. taking on what he calls the anti-science movement. a new documentary reveals the man behind the bow tie. what drives bill nye to defend science and our planet from the threat of climate change?
filmmaker jason sussberg codirected. thank you so much for being here today. bill nye, you've gone from being the award-winning host of a popular tv kids show to now debating creationist and climate change deniers. why are you so passionate about defending science? >> it's not just defending science, it's having enough scientists and engineers to solve problems in the near future. and this is why i'm so concerned about climate change is that's going to be the biggest problem everybody's going to face in the next few decades. but then with regard to the creationists -- >> charles darwin never thought of evolution as anything other than a theory -- >> we need people to be able to think critically. and to evaluate evidence. and to decide if something is reasonable or not. >> do you think that today science is under attack, if so, what's fueling it? >> the fossil fuel industry has been successful in introducing the idea that scientific
uncertainty, plus or minus 2% or whatever, about this phenomenon and this temperature that play is the same as plus or minus 100%, it's doubt about the whole thing. >> the united states will withdraw -- >> what do you think president donald trump and his environmental policies and actions such as deciding to pull the u.s. out of the paris climate agreement? >> pulling out of the climate agreement is absolutely the wrong move, and i don't think it will last. that is to say, the people in this example, the environmental protection example, they're career bureaucrats. they're going to be there after he's gone. and i think very quickly everything will flip back. >> so jason, why did you make this documentary? >> at the time, it was 2014. bill had just debated ken hamm in february 2015. >> mr. bill nye and mr. ken hamm. >> ken hamm is the lead pastor of this organization called angels and genesis. he's probably america's most
successful, well-known christian fundamentalist creationist. >> -- you can't prove it. >> and david and i, the other director, were debating it amongst ourselves, was it smart to do this, was this a good idea? >> radio metric dating does exist, the universe is accelerating. these are all provable facts. >> then ultimately we were wondering, hey, who is bill nye? where is he now? what have you been up to since the show? and we ended up getting in a room with bill here in san francisco. we pitched him on our idea for the documentary. but it was born out of sort of bill's public re-emergence in 2014 after the debate. >> do you run the risk of giving people like ken hamm, people with anti-science views if you will, a platform to further promote their views and make them appear more mainstream than they actually are? >> well, the answer is, yes, i guess. in the short-term i definitely empowered him. but we'll see about the
medium-term and the long-term. the debate has had almost 6.5 million views. and as i tell everybody, my audience was not there in the room. it was online. and i'm very skeptical that 6.5 million people are watching that because they're hoping to get reinforced with creationist views. i think they're realizing how serious the problem is. that when the problem, i mean raising generations of kids who won't be able to think for themselves. >> jason, what do you think is the role of filmmakers, artists, and other nonscientists in speaking out about the value of science in society? >> it's incredibly important. as a storyteller, as a filmmaker, i don't have a background in science. neither does the other director. we are not engineers. but we appreciate the scientific method. that's how we know what we know. we can make better decisions with more data and more evidence. and so my job as a storyteller is to provide emotional stories
that convey the scientific world view. and there's no better person to actually follow than popular science communicators like bill. >> the film shows the uneasy relationship you have with celebrity. on the one hand, both craving it, on the other hand -- >> so i appreciate "craving." what i wanted, everybody, was to be influential. but part of it is i didn't see it coming. and the other thing is it's a kids' show host, people think they know you really well. it's sort of what you see what is you get. i am the guy on television. i am that -- is that a true fact or a false fact this. >> yeah, there's very little difference between the tv personality and the real human being. bill's excited about science, he's great at explaining it, and what you see is what you get. >> to that end, this whole thing, everybody, i love you all. fans are your bread and butter. but the selfie thing is hard.
>> you don't need a countdown, just go for it. >> people don't want to talk to me, they want a selfie to send to their friends. or something. and it's hard for me. >> do you think this selfie-cation, if you will, which didn't exist when you were doing your show on pbs in the '90s, do you think that makes it in some respects harder to reach kids through science? perhaps because their attention span has gotten shorter? >> i'm sorry what did you say? i'm kidding, that's a joke. here's what i tell everybody. before the electric internet and mobile phones and all that, you would go to the doctor's office or the dentist's office and just watch yourself when you pick up a magazine. just watch how fast you flip pages. whew, whew, whew, whew. people are the same. my claim is people are the same. what's different is how fast people are able to transmit to each other. that is a huge difference. >> what surprised you the most
about bill nye in the course of spending so many months working with him on this film? >> i guess what was surprising was just how passionate he was about explaining the fundamen l fundamentals of science every day. so everything turned into an info shop on how things work and the way they work. the flicker of a flame at dinner got explained in detail. so that was fun. >> bill, one of your mentors was carl sagan, the legendary astronomer whom you first met as a student at cornell university. what influence did he have on you? >> carl sagan changed my life. i don't think he meant to. there's a good example. i'm not sure carl sagan wanted to be famous. but like any professor, any teacher, he wanted to be influential. and he said, kids resonate to pure science. and that was just fantastic advice. and resonate was the verb that i remember so well. don't just be a string of cool science tricks or magic tricks
brought on science. focus on pure science. the big idea. >> bill nye and jaws son sussberg, thank you for being here today. >> thank you, this is very cool. >> thank you. >> and bill nye science guy opens in bay area theaters next friday, november 17th. that will do it for us. kqed.org/newsroom for more coverage. i'm thuy vu. thank you for joining us.
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