tv Charlie Rose PBS October 9, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin tonight with david sanger, the national security correspondent of the "new york times." >> we don't know what congress will do, but it looks right now as if the plan is for the president to decertify because he can't bring himself, having denounced this deal so often, to actually have to sign a piece of paper every 90 days saying iran is in compliance even if that's what the inspectors tell him because it just to him doesn't feel like they're in compliance because there are so many other issues with iran. then congress, if it does nothing, it would basically signal that the deal can remain in effect, and the president hopes that this would create some leverage to either reopen the deal or negotiate something else with the iranians. >> rose: and we continue with our white house watch segment as we talk to mike allen of axios.
>> this is such a window into what's happening in the west wing, such a watch for your white house watch. the president got back from vegas where he thought he had done okay in his consoler-in-chief role. flips on his cable tv, flips around and he doesn't see himself in vegas, he sees rex tillerson talking about whether or not he called him a moron. the president was seething about this, charlie, very unhappy about that coverage, so we're told that this relationship probably is irreparable. >> rose: we conclude with our observe sex about surfing and the new film "take every wave," the life of laird hamilton directly rory kennedy. >> you get a certain calmness that is demanded of you to survive it, so it forces you into a certain state that feels -- i think feels somewhat primal and natural, like it
feels like i need to be in that situation or i have been there many times before, and it's something that makes me feel complete like i feel like i'm actually accomplishing something here on the planet i'm supposed to be doing. >> rose: david sanger, mike allen, laird hamilton and rory kennedy when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
>> rose: we begin this program with news out of washington. after weeks of speculation and against the advice of his national security advisors, president trump is expected to decertify the iran nuclear deal next week. what does that mean for the future? david sanger joins me now from washington. he is the national security correspondent of the "new york times." david, let me just begin with you explaining the difference between decertifying or failing to certify and withdrawal. >> well, charlie, there is a big difference because the certification process is merely an internal u.s. government process in which the white house talks to congress, and, in this case, the president is required, under the legislation that passed after the iran deal was signed by the obama administration, to certify to congress every 90 days that iran is in compliance with the deal.
and the idea at the time they did this was to hold president obama's feet to the fire. they didn't really imagine how this would play out when a republican president got elected. it has no effect on the deal itself unless congress, in the 60 days after that notification, then decides to impose or reimpose the economic sanctions on iran that were lifted in return for iran shipping 98% of its nuclear fuel out of the country and dismantling a bunch of its facilities and allowing the inspectors free range. we don't know what congress will do, but it looks right now as if the plan is for the president to decertifcause he can't bring himself, having denounced this deal so often, to actually have to sign a piece of paper every 90 days saying iran is in
compliance, even if that's what the inspectors tell him, because it just to him doesn't feel they're in compliance because there are so many other issues with iran. then congress, if it does nothing, it would basically signal that the deal can remain in effect, and the president hopes that this would create some leverage to either reopen the deal or negotiate something else with the iranians. the problem they've run into is that the europeans have said, look, if you try to leave this deal, we're not coming with you, we think it's working. the chinese, the russians have all said that. president trump's defense secretary has said he believes that they are in compliance. his secretary of state has said that he believes they're in compliance. the chairman of the joint chiefs has said they believe they're in compliance. so it's only the president himself and the white house seems to be trying to contain this by just having him do a decertification with no further action. >> rose: and just kick it over
to congress. the interesting thing about this, too, is the president says something usual. he says, well, even if they're in compliance, they're violating the spirit of the agreement. >> that's right. so at the beginning of the agreement, as in most international agreements, there is preamble language that talks about using the agreement to foster peace and better understanding around the world and perhaps build a bigger and deeper relationship, and the president is saying that, because iran is continuing to support terrorism -- and it is -- because iran is continuing to meddle and deepen its relationship inside syria -- and it is -- because iran is continuing to launch ballistic missiles -- and they are -- that, as a result, the spirit of the agreement is not being complied with, and this is his way around the fact that the inspectors have said iran is doing everything that they're supposed to do. so the question here is does the
certification cover the literal words inside this 130, 140-page agreement, or does it also cover the feel of this? and if you look at the legislation, charlie, the president is within his rights to declare that he no longer believes that the agreement is in the national security interest of the united states. >> rose: but clearly, especially the secretary of defense said, in testimony, he believes the deal not only is working but should be upheld. i mean, he believes in the deal, as i understand what he said. >> that's right. he was asked in testimony earlier this week -- this is defense secretary jim mattis -- was asked do you believe that the deal is in the national interest of the united states? he said he did, and he said he thought he would advise staying within it which is what many other advisors have indicated as well.
now, why would mr. mattis say this? well, first of all, he's looking at a growing potential for conflict in the korean peninsula and he does not want to have two open-sore conflicts with potential nuclear states on different sides of the world at the same time. secondly, it's the tru view of t people in the defense establishment, certainly the pentagon, that if they're going to confront iran for its support of terrorism and activities in syria they'd much rather confront a non-nuclear iran. and there is no indication iran is producing any uranium or producing plutonium that would move them toward a weapon. those restrictions, if they're abided by, would stay in place another 13 and a half years. so mattis' view is let's worry about this as we get closer to the deadline. >> rose: he basically is saying this deal put iran
further from being able to build a nuclear weapon than it was without the deal? >> and i don't think there is any question about that. most of the israeli military establish meant says that as well, although prime minister netanyahu also refers to it as a disaster. president trump has been pretty clear about this from the first interviews we did with him last year during the campaign, he said he could have negotiated a much better deal. the problem is that the complaints that he's making about their terrorism activities, about the ballistic missile launches, those were not what the deal was about. the deal was limited to their nuclear activity, and he's saying it should be much bigger and that it shouldn't have sunset claws in it. >> rose: everybody who's part of the deal said if you included that, you would not have had a deal. >> that's right, because what would have happened is iranians would have traded off activity elsewhere for having
greater latitude to move toward a nuclear weapon and they didn't want to get into a position where other issues including human rights issues and other things were traded off. and when you think about it, think back to the arms control agreements two the soviet union back during the cold war, they dealt with arms control. they didn't deal with the horrors of communist systems, they didn't deal with the gulags, they didn't even deal with missile test launches. they dealt with nuclear weapons. >> rose: and there is also this, the president went to riyadh scrapia rallying all the muslim nations to be against iran. the president came down fully in support of that effort against iran and basically saying that iran does things that are not, you know, in the interest of peace in the region. >> well, that's right, and this is why many of his aids are saying to him, you know, mr. president, you can design a
strategy to push back against all of that and still keep the deal in place so that we're not dealing with a nuclear crisis. and when the president announces his decision next week, we expect that the nuclear deal will be wrapped in a much bigger iran strategy that he apparently has signed off on, an it's exactly what you would expect -- bigger pushback against iranian expansionism and aggression around the region, and that's got many tas et cetera t facets. the only question is how do they finesse the question of the deal. if you go back to your original question, does the decertification end the deal itself? it doesn't, but it could starve it to death, charlie. it could be the foreign policy equivalent of how the president is handling the healthcare bill, that, while the agreement, the bill would remain in place, over time, it would make it harder and harder and harder for anybody to engage with iran economically and, of course,
that's the benefit we promise to iran in return for their not producing nuclear material. so if banks in europe are unwilling to finance refineries, for example, because they're afraid of sanctions against them by the united states, that would, over time, erode the deal in the eyes of the iranians. of course, the iranians think that they got too few benefits from it. >> rose: let's turn to north korea. you accompanied secretary tillerson when he went to china. >> that's right. >> rose: give me a report on that in terms of how the secretary went about the business of being secretary of state, his relationship to the chinese leadership and what decisions might have come out of that that will have an impact on the crisis that is the most alarming sort of foreign policy issue of our time. >> well, chrl, it was a very --
well, charlie, it was a very brief trip, and that was because he was trying to tuck it in ahead of a big holiday in china that will be followed by the 19th party congress, which is once every five year party congress is expected to further the power of xi jinping, china's president, who's already got a bit of a cultic personality about him. and i think what secretary tillerson was hoping to do, and i think he accomplished this, was push the chinese incrementally to squeezing the north koreans por more and mored more, and everybody makes the point that the chinese are no more interested in nuclear north korea than we are. the difference is that the chinese still value stability on the korean peninsula as their number one value and disarming north korea as the number two and we're in the reverse position. so the chinese still don't want to do anything to the north koreans that they think could lead to the collapse of
the regime. and i think it's secretary tillerson's desire to try to convince the chinese that this stability is a false one, that if they continue testing, the u.s. is going to be forced to put so much pressure on north korea, that there could be instability and perhaps a conflict, exactly what the chinese don't want, and that there will be more american forces around thecin the korean peninsula. he did pretty well, looked like, with president xi and two other meetings with the state council and foreign minister. then he met a group offus in the living room of the american ambassador to children around and in the course of that he said the united states had what he called a couple or three channels of communication opened to north korea, and this enraged president trump when he read our stories about it the next morning because he believesths not time to talk to north korea yet and, so, he immediately
turned out a series of tweets that appeared to undercut secretary tillerson and led to all the drama this week about whether the secretary would quit. >> rose: regardless of whether the president was angry about it, is it a fact that we have these channels of communications with north koreans that american diplomats are talking to chinese diplomats? >> we have channels but not much is running through the channels. we have a telephone number to dial and someone answers the phone, but there isn't much of a conversation underway, and, in part, i think that's because the north koreans are first trying to figure out what the do next, but secondly because kim jong un doesn't want to get into any conversation with the united states until he has completed the nuclear testing cycle he is on, which is to say that he has demonstrated that he can launch a weapon that can reach the continental united states and that he can put a nuclear warhead atop it and that it
could survive reentry into the atmosphere. in other words, he wants to have a complete nuclear capability before there's any discussion about whether that capability gets frozen. and to freeze north korea in that position would be to basically allow kim jong un to hold l.a. or chicago or some other city hostage during any crisis and president trump said understandably he's not going to be forced into that situation. >> rose: it seems to me he may be winning kim jong un if in fact there are no restrictions so far that will prevent him, so far, from reaching that goal. >> that's right, and, look, i think he will reach that goal, and that poses some -- he may not reach it for a year, he may not reach it for 18 months. there are rumors of tests this weekend. you know, you never know for sure with the north koreans, but he will make more incremental progress toward it, and i think the american intelligence agencies are pretty clear that,
sooner or later -- probably sooner -- he'll get there. so then the question is what do we do? do we actually force a roleback of this? or do we basically acquiesce and freeze him at that level, basically at the level that pakistan was at some number of years ago, or india, or some other nascent nuclear state? and that's the tough decision for president trump because everybody's telling him there is no real military solution, except for general mcmaster, the national security advisor who says there are military solutions, they're horrible, they're terrible, but we might be forced to go use them, and the question is does he really mean that. >> rose: when he says horrible, you mean the number of people that would be killed. >> that's right. now you heard secretary mattis briefly say about two weeks ago that he has seen some options that he thinks would not result in an attack on seoul.
>> rose: everybody wants to know what that is. >> that's right, everybody wants the know what that is. one possibility is that it's a combination of missile defense and preemptive strikes or preventative strikes against their missile launching sites. in other words, take out a missile before it launches. another possibility is that it's a combination of that and cyberstrikes of the kind you and i have discussed before in which the united states has tried against their missile program starting in 2014 and a program president obama pushed along. there is certainly a lot of activity underway at the pentagon and the intelligence agencies to come up with new ways to foil these strikes that don't look like big kinetic hits on north korea that could start a war. >> rose: there is also this, david, one last question, how much is the trump administration willing to let the chinese handle this for them? >> you know, charlie, i think they would love for the chinese to handle this for them.
i think the chinese view is that they just want to -- their answer to every question is let the trump administration and the north koreans talk directly, and the president doesn't appear to be willing to do that and kim jong un doesn't. but it does raise an interesting scenario. supposing the chinese were willing to exercise all their power to remove kim jong un, maybe move some chinese forces into north korea to stabilize it. in other words, make sure that they get that buffer state between themselves and south korea and the united states by basically taking over the transition of power in north korea. would they be willing to do it and would we be willing to accept it? and i don't know the answer to that, but what i do find interesting is that, for the first time i hear that being whispered and speculated about in a lot of places in washington, not just think tanks, but also inside the
executive branch, and the question is how would the united states view that? would they mind it if the chinese basically solved this problem for them? and at this point, charlie, my guess is that the trump administration would probably welcome that, even if it caused a lot of trouble on thecine peninsula where, of course, there is an historic allergy to china's activities on the peninsula. >> rose: there is an easy way to do that -- the president gets on the phone and he says to xi jinping, mr. president, you and i both are worried about the same issue, it is a nuclear north korea. what would it take to get you to take a larger share of this? what can i do for you so you will help me and help yourself in probably doing something and taking a step to move us closer to a solution? that's the question that has to be asked. >> that's right, and, you know, xi jinping will be in a much
better position to answer that after this party congress, after he's consolidated his power. >> rose: david sanger, it's always good. thank you. >> great to be with you, charlie. >> rose: david sanger from the "new york times." back in a moment. >> rose: turning now to politics and our white house watch, we are joined by mike allen, he is the co-founder of axios and joins me from washington. mike, let's begin with the president in terms of a role that presidents have always been able to do. try to heal the nation at a time of tragedy and stress. we've had a series of hurricanes in the caribbean, we've had floods in houston, we've had a terribilita -- terrible disasten puerto rico and the worst mass shooting in american history happened in las vegas. how is the president doing in terms of operating as one who represents the nation's sympathy and grief? >> well, charlie, we have to
pause here and say how sobering those pictures have been from puerto rico and how sobering the vegas news is when you think about how many lives and families around the country were touched by that, a place where so many of us have had such great times. it's going to mean changes in our culture. there is no way it doesn't mean changes to the ways we move around places that were just formerly places of entertainment, so karma to those places. and you were asking about the president as consoler-in-chief. it's not something he's good that but here's the news, it's something he knows he's not good at. this is something for so many decades that wouldn't shake hands with strangers. the president said he's a germ aphone, he wouldn't shake hands and would use the purelle afterwards, this is a concession he made as a capt. , shaking hands.
but the human touch with regular folks is not his thing. but he's extremely attuned to the pictures. he watches what happens after these visits and he knows he has to be better at it. >> rose: especially in terms of puerto rico where the visible signs of the devastation, there were visuals of him throwing paper towels to people whicho phenned people because it suggested something worse. >> and people were offended by the self-congratulatory messages from several officials including the president about what a great job they were doing and how lucky they were and how they were busting the budget, but those are all thoughts for another day. this is what's true with a lot of what the president says but it may be fine and right and there are a lot of people who agree with him. sometimes it's just not in the moment. but this was a time that called for a filter and control and
the president wants to do well. he saw that he got very good coverage and very good marks for how he and the government handled the texas floods, and they were slow off the mark in puerto rico. i think they're hoping now, avert their gaze, hope it's all going to be fine, but there is no question that puerto rico could have gotten more help faster. the hospital ship "comfort" which only went to sea after many days of suffering down in puerto rico. >> rose: foreign policy, there is north korea. the president evidently called in some military officials, alerted the white house press and then said "stay tuned." >> well, this was the president as showman. so, charlie, we saw the president thursday night having dinner with these military officials, taking the pictures and then saying to the press corps, think of this as the calm before the storm.
and we have the commander-in-chief saying "calm before the storm," that is going to set off radars all around the world. so the reporters in the moment asked him, are we talking about north korea, i.s.i.s.? what are we talking about here? that's when the president said, "you will see." now, charlie, the president does have a number of important decision points coming up on national security decisions that may have been on his mind, he may have been referring to that. i think, charlie, it may have been a lot simpler. the president saw these military officials around and realized this would be a great photo with him in the middle, and the president is a showman, he likes his generals, and, so, i think that is part of it. so he likes to flummox the press, he looks to troll us, he saw a good picture and he likes a cliffhanger, he likes a teaser and that's what this was. >> rose: but at the same time, though, we had the white house and the president essentially saying to his secretary of
state, rex tillerson, who is trying to reach out to the north koreans, suggesting there is some backchannels that might be operative saying you're going to be unsuccessful, suggesting diplomacy will not work. so you have that, then followed by this, suggesting that maybe he wants to send the signal. we know diplomacy is not working, so something else is under urgent consideration. >> no, charlie, that's very astutely put, and in the case of rex tillerson who is over in beijing and said to reporters that there was a direct communication and the president saying basically leave it to me, rex, who is actually the secretary of state, leave it to me, don't waste your time. what i'm told, charlie, is that secretary terrellson's comments took people in the white house by surprise. i think that they suggested that more was going on than was. suggested that those talks were at a higher level or more
successful than they were. so i think a little bit the president dialing that back, you know. we wondered at first, is this a bit of bad cop in the white house, good cop, foggy bottom on the road in beijing. lining with everything in -- like everything in the white house, might be simpler, the president was taken surprise by the comments and wanted to slap the secretary down. that was only a pray lewd to quite a big week between them. >> rose: when can you remember the secretary of state holding a press conference saying i'm not leaving, i fully support the president? >> and beyond that, this followed that report in a meeting at the pentagon of all places that the secretary of state had referred to the president as a moron. i can tell you there is not a single person in the white house that doubts that he actually said that, but after being scolded, secretary tillerson, who has not been doing much with the press as your viewers well know, came out of the state
department and made a statement and didn't deny that he called his boss a moron. so that's pretty well confirmation of it. i think had it not occurred, he would have taken the opportunity to let that slip. his spokeswoman later said he had not used that language but, at that point, it wasn't particularly believable. but, charlie, what was fascinating is what happened next. the president didn't let it pass. the president didn't brush it off. the president was furious. >> rose: it is also noteworthy in axios this morning, in a.m. axios, which you have something to do with, there was a report that if, in fact, rex tillerson leaves, the person under serious consideration would be mike pompeo, director of the c.i.a. another thing i learned from your piece this morning, it is mike pompeo director of the c.i.a. briefs the president personally suggesting he has a very good relationship because often c.i.a. directors will have
a briefer brief the president. >> yes, i'm so glad you pointed that out. this was new to me, too, when i was researching this story with the other presidents i've covered, there was a briefer and he twops a very close personal relationship with that person. but at first people thought rex tillerson sort of had a stay of execution, that even though the president was upset not only about him having said this and the president definitely thinks that he said it, but, charlie, more than that, he was -- the president was very upset that rex tillerson didn't just go out and deny it. he wanted him to just go out and say it wasn't true because he thought that would sort of cut off the story. but here, charlie, and this is such a window into what's happening in the west wing, such a watch for your white house watch, the president got back from vegas where he thought he had done okay in his consoler-in-chief role, flips on his cable tv, is flipping around, and he doesn't see
himself in vegas, he sees rex tillerson talking about whether or not he called him a moron. the president was seething about this, charlie, very unhappy about that coverage and, so, we're told that this lationship probably is irreparable. so what's going to happen now? the new regime, the new white house chief of staff general general kelly wanted stability, he doesn't want a shakeup. the president realizes turmoil in the cabinet is not good for him. so that's where the idea came, what if he took mike pompeo, first in his class at west point, make him secretary of state, so you have somebody who's already around the table in the situation room and moving them over, someone hat the president is comfortable with? and, charlie, therere aren't a t of people that this president -- staff people that the president feels like he can have a peer-to-peer conversation with, but we're told he asked director
pompeo his opinion on immigration, how congress works, all kinds of things, and he does have the daily briefing. so this would be a way to have a change in a way that the president feels comfortable, wouldn't cause any disruption, and it's someone whose foreign policy and views and opinions were much more aligned with the west wing than currently is the state with secretary tillerson. >> rose: bringing this conversation full circle and back to the reference you made to the horrific tragedy in las vegas, there are two questions coming out of that, and we saw remarkable aspects of responders and people who were there giving risk to their own life to save other people. >> yes, throwing hemselves on other people. >> rose: you saw heroism, you saw sacrifice and you saw a common spert of how can we help. two questions come out of that, one is motive, and we still don't know the answer to that, why did this person do that. second question is will it have any kind of impact in congress
on gun control of any kind? is there a mood in the country today that might do, unlike other circumstances, produce some kind of change in our gun regulations? >> charlie, first on the motive and the shooter is turning out to be much more complex than people thought. at first turns out he had cameras on the hallway so he would know when people were coming for him. we saw today as i sat down here a head will that he purchased a thousand tracer rounds. we heard overnight and you've covered the fact that he was looking at other cities. so this is turning out to be very complex operation, and, charlie, as you know, the authorities definitely think that he had help. so i think there is a lot more for us to learn in that story. we've not had the final turn on that. on gun control -- and here's where we can tell your viewers something very helpful -- and
that is what's being said about republicans in gun control is much less than meets the eye, much less than the media is making it sound like. the media is making it sound like, oh, all of a sudden republicans are for the first time, like, considering something because they're willing to consider legislation on this particular device that he used the bump stock which makes it possible for a gun to fire like an automatic weapon. charlie, this is what we call down home in north carolina you would have heard this, "cheap grace," and that is this is a way for republicans to say, oh, yeah, we get it, we're going to do something on guns, but this is completely an anomaly, this is a device they didn't even know about. it seems obvious it should not have been approved as it was under the obama administration. so we think it will be fixed. we see the n.r.a., the white house for that, the leaders of congress is saying they're going
to consider it. but don't be confused by those headlines that there is no crack in the underlying opposition to gun control on capitol hill and, charlie, it's because it's not about the n.r.a., it's about gun owners, it's personal. this is the bedrock piece of the republican base and there's no sign in that. but, charlie, i do think, and we talked about this in axios a.m. this week, i do think this is a space for a leader who can talk about guns in a new way. we saw with trump's election that an unconventional politician can catch on. i think somebody who can say we're not going to take your guns, but we're going to think about this problem, this uniquely american tragedy and problem in a new way, and, charlie, what i said in axios a.m. is americans aren't going to give up their guns, but they're not giving up. >> rose: mike allen, thank you so much. >> happy weekend, charlie. >> rose: see you next week.
mike allen from washington. back in a moment. >> rose: within the world of surfing, laird hamilton is king. hamilton brought big wave surfing into the mainstream and revolutionized the sport. the subject of rory kennedy's new film, "take every wave," the life of laird hamilton. here's a look at the trailer. >> you're looking at mother nature build these mountains of water that are crashing down within intensity that nobody's ever seen. the biggest swell in years, a storm with hurricane force winds, it's the largest ever recorded. >> we heard it's undoable. it was just asking to die. >> i have been wait ago lifetime to ride this thing out here. >> surfer laird hamilton pioneered the sport of riding huge waves. >> he's fearless. we all thought he was crazy.
laird would do these things nobody had ever seen. >> when he was out there surfing, it was like he was in his backyard playing with his toys. >> he's controversial. cordial. he's as radical as they come. visionary. the legend. broader surfing world turned away there him. >> i was a little bit of a radical. >> a lot of testosterone and just obnoxious. >> he would pop in the air, do a flip, didn't even care if he ate it or not. >> he created a monster. as far back as i can remember, the ocean is where i could hide. i could get away from the land. that was where all the trouble was. >> laird completely ready find what it meant to be a surfer. >> he has demanded quite a bit of his body. >> he's had multiple injuries. there is definitely a road map of damage. >> i don't know how much longer he's going to be able to do
this. >> i think sometimes we all feel lie we're limited, and we are, but maybe less than we think. >> laird conquers that, that's what defines laird. >> we're subjected to mother nature. you made a mistake, you paid. when you did the right thing, you were rewarded. >> rose: i'm pleased to have rory kennedy and laird hamilton at this table. so why did you want to make this film? >> i didn't actually want to make a typical surfing documentary. what really drew me to this story was laird, and i felt in him there was a great character, and there was a great story that was largely untold. >> rose: and that story is? well, it's a story of somebody who has pushed the limits. i think both the human limits, his own limits, and i think the limits of the sport as well. he's been an extraordinary innovator, and he's changed the sport more than any person over the last 50 years.
i think you can argue that, in any sport, looking across all the sports, you know, what laird has done with surfing is pretty radical and individualized and pretty iredible. >> rose: but at the core of it is something you love and have loved since you were how old? >> as early as i can remember. i've never not wanted to be a surfer and never -- i can't remember not -- just not loving it, not always wanting to love it is tha. >> rose: what's the thrill? is it thrill the risk? or is it thrill something else? >> no, the thrill is something else. the thrill is an act in nature. it's -- for me, it's the ultimate act in nature that now the fact that it's thrilling and dangerous is part of.
>> rose: it's the feel. it's part of the act of a real situation in nature. >> rose: and when you were in the middle of -- when you're under -- >> a giant one. >> rose: a giant one, yeah, what's the focus of your mind? >> well, the focus of your mind is still. you get still and you get -- you get a certain calmness that is demanded of you to survive it, so it forces you into a certain stat that feels -- i think feels somewhat primal and natural, like it feels like i need to be in that situation or i have been there many times before, and it's something that makes me feel complete like i feel like i'm actually accomplishing something here on the planet that i'm supposed to be doing. >> rose: you were supposed to be surfing. >> i am. >> rose: you found out earlier on and the people that you
include in this film, one quality he had was fearlessness, yes? >> well, i think it's complicated. i think it's complicated. i mean, you know, laird will do things that nobody else will do, and there seems to be from the outside a fearlessness when you look at it, but i think the reality and i think the another thing that makes laird stand out is that he's extraordinarily disciplined, and i don't think he's reckless. so it's not -- >> rose: fearless does not mean to be reckless, i don't think. >> no, but i think -- so this is why it's complicated, because i think that he works with fear. >> rose: right. he has a relationship with fear that he learns from and i think that was really one of the things that drew me to the story because i think, you know, we all have moments of fear, and how you handle it and how you work through it, you know, is arguably kind of a spiritual path. and i think it's a space laird
spends a lot of time in and actually has some expertise in. >> rose: who was bill hamilton? >> he was my step-dad and my hero and my older brother and my competition and a lot of different people. >> rose: it's great, though. your mother moved to hawaii. >> yes. >> rose: your dad left to go into the merchant marines, as i remember. >> yeah. >> rose: and he became mentor, everything. >> big obligation for a 17-year-old. >> rose: probably as influential a person in your life -- >> as my mom. >> rose: as your mom. yeah. sometimes the best way to influence is how not to versus how to. >> rose: take a look at this. this is another clip talking about bill hamilton because he was so important in the beginning. here it is. >> my relationship with bill was really organic. it started in the surf. >> seeing laird playing in the water unattended, event down there and said what are you doing? where are you from? maui. i said what are you doing?
body surfing. i said you really want to know how to body surf? yeah. okay, hang on to my neck. i swam out, we would stand on the reef and wait for a wave and leap into it. i mean, four or five of those, he was, like, oh, my god! >> i remember the first time i got inside of a wave and in the tube was on his back. you know, in surfing, that's the holy land, to be able to go inside of the wave, that's intimacy beyond explanation. >> we get out to have the water and he looks at he and says, i want you to be my daddy. we walk down the beach and i see this beautiful brown-eyed 23-year-old woman and i was, like, i think, you know, it was my destiny. something happened. ♪ laird, joanne and i moved into
this spot right next to the world's best pipeline. the house would roll like a boat when it was 25, 30 feet. laird was getting this power infused in him. ♪ >> i was around places where the best surferrers in the world were coming to challenge themselves and i was learning how to swim in these environments. >> rose: let's talk about the foil board. you come along, introduce a foil board. tell us what it is and how innovative it was and why you wanted to do it. >> well, the foil board is actually, it's a hydrofoil, it came off an existing instrument that was for a water ski boat called an air chair. >> rose: right. and it's a keel that allows the board to lift up in the air
and reduce all the drag. >> rose: it looks a bit like that. >> yeah, there is an airplane underwater actually that's attached to it and makes the board fly. >> rose: when you created this thing, what did the other surfers you respected think? >> most of my friends were initially, oh, what's laird up to again. you know, i spent quite a long time doing it alone, which i have a tendency to do when we first kind of discover things, i'm usually a little bit on a solo path just because maybe people don't believe, and then once they saw the way, you know, i could ride waves with it and what i could to with it, then other people started participating. but i have been doing it for, you know, close to 20 years, using a version of it, and only in the last two or three years really has that kind of gained momentum. >> rose: in the last two or three years in terms of present time? >> yes. now there is companies building them and the people are surfing -- >> rose: and popular. popular. my main objective, like all my
objectives, has been basically either training for or ultimately trying to figure out how to ride the biggest waves in the world and i know that the hydrofoil -- >> rose: explain that to me. in order to ride the biggest waves -- >> a foreign idea, right, charlie? >> in order tore ride the biggest waves in the world i realized conventional surf boards wouldn't be effective because of the texture and the speed that the waves move. so the hydrofoil board allowed me to lift up from the surface and not be affected by surface tension. if waves get up to 100 feet, they move faster than we're capable of being with them, and, so, now we have to figure out other techniques. so through towing and through hydrofoil boards we can ride waves. >> rose: explain towing to us. so towing is a technique we developed that actually we use a water ski like technique to propel ourselves on to waves that are physically too big --
>> rose: get you going? a little like a space shuttle on an airplane. >> rose: did purests begin to question that, too? >> well, yeah, of course, becausen you buck the status quo. whenever you kind of shake -- you know, i say shake the pillars, people have a tendency to resist, and a big part of that is because people don't want to change. >> rose: of course. ( laughter ) that's why we have entrepreneurs, you know, and that's why we have change agents. >> absolutely. >> rose: are you still as good as you were at your best? how much have you slowed down some. >> i have a fake hip, several broken ankles, a ton of injuries but i think i've never been in a better mental state for doing it just because of the wholeness of my health, my family, my mental state, everything, you know, everything that's going on. if i lack a second or two in speed i make up for in wisdom
and patience, so, in a way, for me, i'm fortunate that i can say right now that i can perform at the highest level that i'm capable of and that i've ever been the capable of. >> rose: and are you surfing a lot? >> i am, yes. >> rose: how popular is surfing now? >> surfing is very popular. >> rose: is it getting more popular? >> yes, and increasingly so. they're still finding new places to surf around the world, and i think that it's -- and i think, you know, with paddle boarding, too, that's popularized being out on the water on a board. >> rose: it's essentially a surf board with an oar. >> exactly. that's drawn a huge number of people out on to the water as well. >> the biggest legacy at the end of the day. >> rose: the paddle board? maybe, when it's said and done, it might be the -- >> rose: is wind surfing less popular today? >> because of kite surfing.
there is an equipment barrier, conditions barrier. so many things. the olympics are going to put surfing in. they have a mechanical wave pool to produce waves so they can have an event sunday at noon so there's ways surfing is becoming mechanized so that we can make it better for speck at a timing. >> rose: maybe on that point, but the other day i saw this thing because, you know -- i surfed a long, long time ago and never really good, but i just loved the idea. in fact, i was inspired, although the pictures in north carolina, to go back and bring this big picture of me on a surf board just to show you how stunningly -- >> serious you were. >> rose: -- serious i was. because you have promised me to give me lessons. >> absolutely. it's a lifelong invitation. but, you know, we're all surfers. i tell people -- >> rose: it's a metaphor for life. >> absolutely. >> rose: you don't do that male modeling stuff anymore do,
you? >> as little as i possibly can. you've got to subsidize your passion. >> rose: it's given you everything. it's given you a life. >> it has. >> rose: it's given you a passion. >> it has. >> rose: you met your wife that way. >> i did. >> rose: i mean, it's been a wonderful -- >> it's kept me from being incarcerated. >> rose: incarcerated, yes. or committed. or committed. ( laughter ) >> rose: and now you're going to be even more famous because of her. >> that's true. >> rose: they knew you were a great surfer, now they'll know what kind of human being you are. i think from watching the film and also knowing a little bit about the sort, it is that -- you will see what laird has -- and he knows he has this -- it's the thing that makes champions champions. it is that extra thing. it is the x factor. you can see this. you don't have to say it's the x factor. you can explain a life and you
will see it. it's that extra thing. >> yeah. >> rose: it comes from somewhere. >> it's born. my step-dad said big wave riders are born and not made, so you come from -- >> rose: this is bill hamilton? >> yes. when i was growing up he was, like, you're just born that way. you know, people are born with that driveway is not always easy to live with, that relentless pursuit of something that's -- i mean, it's hard for the people that live with you,eth hard to live with. >> rose: exactly. no, it's a competitiveness, too. >> it is. >> rose: it really is. but i think that laird was really born with it because there are stories about him when he was very little, three and a half where he would sneak out from his nap time, climb out the window, down the tree and straight out into the ocean to pipeline with some of the biggest surf in the world at the time and the lifeguards would call his mother and say, he's out in the surf again, and she
would say, no, he's sleeping in his bed. it happened so many times that they tied him down with a brick, and tied a rope to the end of the brick and just pull him in by the rope. >> they devised an anchoring technique because napping wasn't working. >> rose: we have all this footage. i want to show this here. sam george, former editor of the surfer magazine, talk about you and the crew and how you changed big wave surfing. here it is. >> the thing was, they were still riding the bay almost exactly as they were riding it 30 years earlier. so beg wave surfing was the least innovative aspect of the sport. six miles up the road, laird and, you know, his crew, they were about to take the greatest quantum leap that has happened in the sport in the last 100 years. >> i come in to a summer where us the me, buzzy and derek doner, a lifeguard, big wave
rider, we're like the three musketeers. we're playing around, then boredom sets in and a lot of ideas come out of boredom. and we start wakeboarding, using sur surf boards. we start riding behind the boat, and there's a little bit of a swell, and either i towed somebody and they let go, or if i was being towed and i let go, so we started playing wit on little waves to get the technique down. at that point i had the epiphany like, you know, we could get towed on to waves. >> rose: and we talked about that. it was a huge innovation, too. tell me about "jaws." >> yep, it was a wave that was really being unridden on maui, and technique of being towed in allowed us to go out to this wave -- >> rose: and catch it earlier. yeah, and get on to a board designed to go faster and have
better performance and, through that relationship with jaws, we developed a notation device, rescue techniques that have allowed modern surfers go out and try to manually paddle into these waves. >> rose: and finding bigger and bigger waves. >> yes. >> rose: roll tape, the last clip. here it is. ♪ >> i towed layer the first time on a couple of waves out there. we tried our technique, and, wow, this wave is real will you you -- really good. the way it comes in is a really good setup. ♪ >> that was the wave designed for it, the technique. the wave was moving, there was nobody there.
♪ >> i road three of the baddest, biggest waves that i had ever ridden before, an after having all these adrenaline rushes, i peaked. >> it became jaws, the that was the nickname we called it. >> 40, 50 feet, spitting, regurgitating, it was horrifying. >> you're looking at mother future build these mountains of water that are crashing down with intensity that nobody's ever seen. and because i was hanging out with the wrong people at that time, mainly laird, i had to go challenge it. >> rose: now you're going to go to another sport for your next film? >> i'm going to outer space. we're doing a documentary about
n.a.s.a. >> rose: terrific. from the depths of the ocean to outer space. >> and they're also the leaders in climate change. >> yes, and looking at the health of the oceans. >> rose: how's your mom. thank you for asking, my mother is great. >> rose: made a documentary about her as well. >> yes. >> rose: thank you. see you in hawaii in december. >> got your surfboard waxt up. it's a date. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
steves: westminster abbey. this most-historic church in the english-speaking world is where kings and queens have been crowned and buried since 1066. while it was first built in the 11th century, much of what we see today is 14th century. when there's a royal wedding, the world looks on as, amid all this splendor, thousands of britain's glitterati gather under these graceful gothic arches.
the centerpiece is the tomb of edward the confessor, who founded the abbey. and surrounding edward are the tombs of 29 other kings and queens. this is the tomb of queen elizabeth i. her royal orb symbolizes she was queen of the entire globe. the abbey is filled with the remains of people who put the "great" in britain -- saints, musicians, scientists, and soldiers. for lovers of english literature, strolling through poets' corner can be a pilgrimage in itself. king henry vii's lady chapel, with its colorful windows and fanciful banners, has the festive air of a medieval pageant. the elaborate ceilings is a fine example of fan vaulting, a style that capped the gothic age. at the far end, a wall of modern stained glass marks the royal air force chapel.
kacyra: it kind of was, like, the bang that set off the night. rogers: that is the funkiest restaurant. thomas: the honey-walnut prawns will make your insides smile. [ laughter ] klugman: more tortillas, please! khazar: what is comfort food if it isn't gluten and grease? braff: i love crème brûlée. sobel: the octopus should have been, like, quadripus, because it was really small. sbrocco: and you know that when you split something, all the calories evaporate, and then there's none. whalen: that's right.