tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg April 10, 2016 7:00am-8:01am EDT
sen. sanders: it is what i said was in response to what she has been saying. "washington post" headline, "clinton questions whether sanders is qualified to be president." i thought it was appropriate to respond. charlie: is it tit for tat? is that what this campaign should be about? sen. sanders: no. i've tried to run an issue oriented campaign. they want to hear about what ideas we have to improve their lives, not just attacking each other every day but what i do have to say. if we're getting attacked charlie: do you do believe secretary clinton is incompetent? why can't you just say yes. she has a first rate resume in terms of a life in public service. sen. sanders: look --
charlie: she's one of the most qualified people to run. sen. sanders: she has years of experience, she's extremely intelligent. i have some experience, too. i have a pretty good record in congress. as a senator. as a mayor. i think i'm qualified to be president. so to answer your question, you're right. we should not get into this tit for tat. we should be debating the issues facing the american public. all i'm saying is people will attack us, if we distort our record, we're going the respond. charlie: people are saying the tenor of this campaign has changed and it's sounding more and more like the republican campaign. sen. sanders: let's not go that far. charlie: take a listen. this is what you said. clinton should apologize for iraq war debts. do you really believe -- sen. sanders: this is after i was asked to apologize for the tragedy in
sandy hook. charlie: but again, tit for tat. sen. sanders: it is tit for tat but i'm responding, you know, to attacks that are being made against me. charlie: i'm asking where the tenor of this campaign is going and is that going too far to say show bears responsibility for iraqi war debts? sen. sanders: do i bear responsibility for the tragedy and the horrors of sandy hook? let's get off of that. of course she doesn't bear responsibility. she voted for the war in iraq. that was a very bad vote, in my view. do i hold her accountable? no. but again i would hope we can get off this then nor. the issues facing the american people -- by the way, media has to bear some responsibility as well. the media may say it's terrible. they really like that kind of stuff, right? i see the smile on your lips, charlie. look, we have to ask why is the middle class declining? why is it we have more income, wealth inequality than any country on earth. see, why we're the only nation on earth, major nation, doesn't guarantee healthcare to all
people? why our infrastructure is collapsing. why kids are leaving school 30 to $50,000 in debt? those are the issues. charlie: she says in the beginning, she did not say you were not qualified. that's what she says and you say i looked at the headline in the "washington post." i mean, should you look at it more carefully before you say -- sen. sanders: that's what they say. on the other hand, read and hear what her surrogates are saying every single day. so to answer your question, i respect secretary clinton. i have known her for 25 years. i would hope that we can have a serious discussion about the serious issues. charlie: if she's the nominee you will support her? sen. sanders: i'm sure that she will support me. so i'm sure that we'll go forward in understanding, that it would be a disaster for this country, an unmitigated disaster to have somebody like a donald trump or ted cruz as president of the united states and i'll do everything in my power to make sure that doesn't happen. charlie: some people may say i can see republican attack ads now, senator sanders?
sen. sanders: the reason why i'm smiling is it's the same old story. you're talking about the process. we don't talk about issues facing the american people. what i want to do is debate. which candidate has stood up for working families? which candidate has focused on income and wealth inequality? the need to create millions of decent paying jobs by rebuilding our infrastructure. i think my record will come out pretty good. charlie: as you know a lot of people are talking about your interview with the daily news here in new york and talking about breaking up banks and talking about what's necessary to do, if a financial firm is too big to fail. they say you don't have a plan for that. you have these ideas but no plan. to lay it out. sen. sanders: go to my website, charlie. and you will find legislation that i've introduced which is pretty specific about how we break up the banks. and what that legislation requires is that the secretary of the treasury will determine which banks are endangering the fiscal health of america, which banks might be "too big to fail" and bring down a significant part of the economy.
charlie: how would you break them up? sen. sanders: how would you determine which banks are too big to fail? charlie: how would you determine that? sen. sanders: that's not very hard. that's what economists and fiscal analysts do. if a bank has a great deal of size, and the bank is unstable financially, and if that bank were to go under and bring down a significant part of the economy, that bank should not exist. if it's too big to fail it's too big to exist. charlie: what do you have to do to win in new york? because this is a pivotal
campaign. sen. sanders: one of the things i have to do is to have the media allow us to talk about the real issues facing the american people. i think our -- look, we've won six out of the last seven states and with one exception every one of our victories has been by landslide proportions. here's the truth as i see it. the american people are tired of establishment politics and establishment economics. middle class is declining. almost all income and health goes to the top 1%. not an issue the media likes to talk about but it's an issue the american people understands to be true. they want somebody who has a political record of standing up to wall street, not taking money from wall street, standing up to the pharmaceutical industry, the military industrial complex, the fossil fuel industry. i believe the american people want a president who is prepared to take on the big money interest and fight on their behalf. sen. sanders: what i believe about g.e. is they are one of the larger corporations in america. they have downsized
significantly. and they have moved to low wage countries all over. charlie: so therefore they are immoral. sen. sanders: i did not say immoral. i said one of the reasons why the middle class in this country is in decline is that we've lost millions of decent paying manufacturing jobs. charlie: one of the respects why we've lost millions of decent paying manufacturing jobs is a disastrous trade policy that's allowed companies like general electric to shut down in the united states of america and get cheap labor abroad. i want to change those policies. charlie: as you know, c.e.o. of g.e. responded to you and says he has a plant in vermont, that you have never visited. never visited. that employs constituents of yours in the plant. sen. sanders: that's not true. the plant is in rutland, vermont, and of course, i visited. charlie: why would he say that? sen. sanders: maybe he doesn't know about everything that i do. but they can't deny the fact that his corporation has shut
down plants all over the united states of america and moved abroad. that is a fact. and he can't deny that in a given year -- excuse me, charlie, in a given year, his corporation pays zero in federal income taxes. charlie: he says, in fact, they have paid federal, state and local income taxes. of course they have over the years but what i'm saying is, in a given year, in a given year, they have paid zero, despite making large profits. charlie: if you want to win the hearts and minds of new yorkers, what is it you have to convince them about bernie sanders? sen. sanders: well, you know, having grown up in brooklyn, new york, in a 3 1/2 room rent controlled apartment, coming from a family that never had very much money, neither of my parents ever went to college, i have to convince, i think, people of new york city, that i understand what's going on in the lives of millions of people, and the struggles that they are going through every single day economically. i think i have to convince them that i'm prepared to stand up for them and take on the powerful special interests today who are destroying the american middle class. charlie: do you have to convince
them you have a plan and america can afford your plan and these are workable plans because that's the question that secretary clinton is raising about your suggestions. sen. sanders: of course she's raising those issues. that's what, you know, her job is, to try to win the election and defeat me. so let's talk about the plans. do we have time? charlie: absolutely. we'll stay here as long as you want. sen. sanders: all right. plan one, our infrastructure is collapsing. our roads and bridges. charlie: most people agree with that. sen. sanders: okay. therefore, i think we need a major investment, i've suggested a trillion dollars of five years, to rebuild our roads and bridges and water systems. charlie: how would you pay for
that? sen. sanders: by doing away with an egregious loophole right now that allows large multinational corporations to stash their money in the cayman islands, bermuda, and in other tax havens. charlie: what taxes will be raised? sen. sanders: we're going to do away with that that would bring in about $100 billion a year. over a 10-year period would bring in the amount of money that i need to put 13 million people to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. number two, what i've said is that in the year 2016, when we talk about public education, it's not good enough anymore, given changes in technology and in the world economy to simply be talking about first grade through 12th grade. in fact, we need to make public colleges and universities tuition-free and substantially lower student debt. that's about a $70 billion a year proposition. a lot of money. how do we pay for it? through a tax on wall street speculation. that would bring in even more money. thirdly, at a time when millions of seniors and disabled vets are trying to get by on $11,000 and $12,000 a year social security and my colleagues want to cut it i think we should expand social security and we do that by lifting the cap on taxable
income. if you make $5 million a year, somebody makes $118,000 per year right now both are saying the same amount into the social security trust fund. do what i propose. we extend social security for 58 years an significantly raise benefits. charlie: when you look at social security do you think we have to raise the age? sen. sanders: no, of course not. i think. charlie: working longer? sen. sanders: as a matter of fact, it's interesting that you raise that but i'm sure you notice, upper income people, most people are living longer, working class people in many cases are not, in fact, seeing a decline in their life expectancy. so i think, bottom line is, when you have millions of people on social security, who can't make it on $11,000 or $12,000 a year we increase benefits and at a time of massive income and wealth inequality we ask the upper income people to contribute more. charlie: do i hear you saying tonight i'm embarrassed by these personal attacks that are taking place an all i've done is respond to attacks but i'm embarrassed and they are giving
a tone to this campaign i don't like, i don't like the fact that i have to participate in it, and i wish it would stop on both sides, are you willing to say that? sen. sanders: yep. i am. look, charlie, you're looking at a guy who has been in politics for a listening time, ran many elections in the state of vermont. i have never run a negative ad in my life. this campaign, as i'm sure you can appreciate every other day, people are coming up to me and saying aren't you going to attack hillary clinton on her emails, aren't you going to attack the clinton foundation. do you know how many times i've done that? let me finish. you saw me in the debate when i was asked about the e-mails, what did i say. enough of these damn emails. that's what i said then and that's what i say now. charlie: that's not what you're saying now. the tenor of this campaign has changed, when you're questioning the qualification of a person to be president.
whether they are questioning your qualification or you're questioning theirs. charlie: -- sen. sanders: you're right. but what i want to say is when i see the headlines clinton questions whether sanders is qualified to be president, you know what? we're going to respond. but don't -- charlie: don't you owe it to yourself and those people who may vote for you, to know more than simply look at a headline. you looked at a headline and then responded questioning her qualifications? sen. sanders: here's something else. after we won in wisconsin, i think the clinton campaign, that was our sixth victory in seven states, i think what they have said publicly is the tenor is going to change. they are going to go much more negative on us and they have. that's the fact. i mean, that's when cnn says, the quote, from the clinton campaign, their strategy, disqualify him, defeat him, and unify the party later. what does that mean? that means we're going to go negative. i hope it doesn't happen. if your question is to me i would prefer it -- charlie: not that you prefer it but you make a pledge that you're not going negative that you won't engage in this, that's
not the politics you want to play. take a look at this from you on "face the nation" in september 2015. sen. sanders: i happen to have known hillary clinton for the last 25 years. i respect her. i admire her. i'm not going to get into the business of attacking her. charlie: right. but you have and that's my point. sen. sanders: charlie, look, if i hired you tomorrow, paid you more than cbs is paying you, and said, charlie i need you to be my campaign manager, if you got attacked every day and surrogates got on television every day talking about how not qualified, distorting my record in significant ways, you're my campaign manager what do you say? don't do anything about it? you know -- charlie: no, i would say to you, i would be very careful about what i said, so that there was no possibility that i'm accusing someone of saying something that they hadn't said, based on a headline in a newspaper, based on a -- sen. sanders: i don't think that's fair. if you listen to what the
surrogates are saying, there is, you know, sometimes the way politics works is -- the surrogates are busy doing the dirty work. charlie: so you're saying her surrogates are doing the dirty work? sen. sanders: there have been terrible attacks. on and on it goes. look, i would hope, the point that you're making, which i agree with -- charlie: what do you think of cruz's momentum in the campaign against trump. you obviously know how to play politics because you're in a place that no one, including you, thought you might be at moment. sen. sanders: you think when we started at 3% that i would be surprised that the last poll had us a point ahead? look, i think there is growing embarrassment, if you like, over the candidacy of donald trump. it's not just the american people in general, who look at this guy and see a temperament that really is such that that type of person should not be president, but i think a lot of republicans are feeling the same way. charlie: what is it that disqualifies him to be president, donald trump, first?
sen. sanders: when you talk about -- when you insult -- not talk about, when you actively insult mexicans and latinos, muslims, you know, islam is one of the great, largest religions in the world, when you insult women, it seems, every other day, when you insult veterans, john mccain was not a war hero one of course he was. charlie: all of that disqualifies him? sen. sanders: charlie, did i say the word disqualify? charlie: i was raising the question. sen. sanders: i think what the american people are saying, you can't have a president that's busy insulting every group of people. this was a guy also, and sometimes we forget it, as you know, he was involved in this bench that movement before he was a candidate. that was an attack on the legitimacy of the presidency of our first african-american president, barack obama. this wasn't, i disagree with
obama. this was, he shouldn't be president. that you vicious and ugly attack trying to undermine the president of the united states. an attack not only on obama but the african-american community. when people see to it they added up and they say, hey this guy should not be president. charlie: do you think the fact that president obama has taken super pac money and he's supported trade deals means, what about him as president? sen. sanders: it means i have a disagreement with him. look, i have known barack obama for a long time. he's a friend of mine. he came to vermont to campaign for me when i won the senate seat. i did my best to see that he won and was re-elected. i have been very supportive of most of his initiatives. we have differences of opinion on, among other things, trade. i do not support the transpacific partnership. charlie: neither does secretary clinton. sen. sanders: oh yes. you're right. she came around after telling us
that it was a very good agreement, yes, after a lot of pressure from every union in this country, she did say that she no longer supports it. charlie: i want to come back to the iraqi thing one second, one more question. you have made a point that she voted for the iraqi war. or the people did as well. many of the people. sen. sanders: yeah. charlie: do you hold all of them responsible for the deaths of americans? then why say it, senator? that's the question. charlie: net that is not a reason to say, "i am saying it because i was attacked." sen. sanders: i hope you ask senator clinton.
look, we have these gun tragedies, sandy hook is about the worst thing that i can possibly think of. i mean, can you imagine mothers, dads, sending their kids to school and seeing that horrific tragedy. yet, and, by the way, i have worked to ban assault weapons, very weapon, that i understand was used in that terrible slaughter of children. i worked to ban it and now, you know, i'm being asked to apologize. charlie: we'll take a look. this is from the "new york daily news." bernie sanders, sandy hook shame. the same newspaper that had -- protecting and defending new yorkers when president ford essentially said new york, drop dead. the same newspaper -- does this bother? you of course it bothers me. sandy hook is such -- it's almost unspeakable to tell you the truth. that some sick, sick person could walk interest a school and do that. i have done, let me just -- you're looking at a man who ran for the united states congress
in 1988. one seat in vermont. i was opposed by all of the gun people. you know why, charlie? because i said that maybe we should not sell or distribute assault weapons designed to kill people in the united states. i lost that election by three points. maybe because i was sloughed off by the gun people. i have a d minus voting record by nra. yes, of course i don't like that. charlie: on the iraq question, do you believe, even though you say you said it, because you had been attacked, do you believe that? sen. sanders: do i believe -- charlie: that secretary clinton is responsible for the deaths in iraq because she voted -- sen. sanders: look, this is what i believe. charlie: it's the question of what you believe. sen. sanders: what i believe is that getting into the war in iraq and believing what bush and cheney had to say was the worst foreign policy blunder -- let me finish -- in the history of thi country. it led to massive destabilization of the region and the deaths of thousands of people. it was a terrible blunder. do i think that any member of
the senate or the house votes for, is responsible for every person who dies, of course not. charlie: then don't say it. sen. sanders: well, you know, charlie, this is a one way lecture here. but there are two candidates running. i have been attacked over and over again. i have been called, you know, unqualified to be president, and i don't like that. so if -- you're making the point many, many times. that you want the tenor of this campaign to be higher and i agree with you. charlie: do you make point that notwithstanding the tenor of this campaign, we're engaged in an energetic debate about what we believe in and what we would do as president, and that come november 2016, if hillary clinton is the nominee you will be supporting her? i will ask her. will you answer the question with respect to her. sen. sanders: sure i will.
i have said a million times, i think the idea of a donald trump or a ted cruz presidency would be a disaster for this country. i'll do everything in my power and work as hard as i can to make sure that does not happen and if secretary clinton is the nominee i'll support her. charlie: there is enthusiasm for your candidacy. my final question is, is it because they are opposed to secretary clinton or is it because somehow between you and the voters, in this primary season, there has been a connection about the future of america? which is it? sen. sanders: i think it's the latter. charlie: do you think it's part of the former? sen. sanders: i can't answer that. i don't know that, we just had a rally in philadelphia last night. 14,000 people. and a lot of working class people, a lot of young people, and who really understand, as the great nation we are, we can do much, much better than we have been doing, and they want to be part of the process. we have the agenda we've outlined is something they are responding to strongly. charlie: thank you for coming. sen. sanders: thank you, always
charlie: adam is here. he's a leading voice on national security. he's also a member of the select committee on benghazi. the inquiry continues to face controversy into its terroristion over the attack. i am pleased to have congressmen should appear at this table for the first time. ngressman adam smith here
at this table for the first time. he's been on the show but not at the table. so welcome. thank you very much. >> great to be with you. tell me in terms of isis, paris, brussels, what did they say to you about isis strategy and what do you know that we should know? >> what it said to me was that the problem we have long worried about, that is foreign fighters, people that left europe, that went to syria, iraq, and came back, that that problem is now
very manifest. you have this enormous number of people from france, belgium, more from belgium than anywhere else, they have come back and have been trained in warfare. further radicalized. they are getting help from fellow europeans that never went to join the fight but are serving as logistical hub, and unfortunately, there is no end in sight. there is still very poor communication between european countries. in terms of intelligence. in many respects these countries are much like the united states pre 9-11. charlie: these are people who have passports from western countries or from the united states? >> yes. luckily, we haven't had that many from the united states. we've had some. but the challenge in terms of the foreign fighters is far greater for europe. the challenge for us -- exactly. we benefit tremendously from those oceans. the more immediate threat for us the home grown radicals, those inspired by the isis propaganda. that's incredibly pernicious. we've not done much in combating that.
i think probably because the government sends a very poor message. not very good at social media and now we're using a more sensible one of empowering throws in the muslim world. charlie: how would you assess the french effort to stop this kind of attack? >> they begin with a far greater problem than we have an far less resources devoted to the task. they are ramping up their personnel. professionals can't be trained overnight. they are playing against the clock. and unfortunately, it shows in the tragic attacks that we've seen. charlie: they are also going through a reassessment themselves saying what do we do right and what did we do wrong? you had the incident of turkey, having one of those killed in the brussels attacks having been invited by the government. and that kind of thing so they are having to go through an agonizing reassessment. >> the fundamental question that europeans have to answer is, are they going to allow information to travel faster than people? because if they are going to continue to have this free travel within europe, then they are going to have to make sure their intelligence travels even
faster. right now it doesn't. charlie: people traveling faster than information? >> yes. absolutely. charlie: the encryption battle, we had apple versus the fbi and then the fbi somehow, an i can't wait to learn how, found somebody that could open that san bernardino terrorist phone. what does that do to the encryption debate? >> not very much. it takes it off the front burner in terms of the case involving the san bernardino shooters, but the issue hasn't gone away. indeed, it's become all the more acute in light of apple's announcement that they are encrypting everything. this is really a spectacular change. i was a prosecutor for six years, and i can't imagine as a former prosecutor, a world in which essentially a wiretap is useless.
as people migrate from land lines to cell phones. charlie: perhaps an agreement with the fbi's argument, then, if you hadn't been a prosecutor? >> it gives me an appreciation for it. that change, in which search warrants will have far less utility because you won't be able to open the thing with the most information, the phone, the fact that the telecommunications won't be accessible to wiretaps, those things are enormous changes but the other really enormous change, and this is why this issue is so challenging is for people in iran, and people in russia and people in china and people in grease and turkey, who are worried about their own government listening in, legitimate conversations, this is equally enormous and consequential. it's a very legitimate argument. charlie: apple makes the argument for china specifically because they have so many items sold in china. >> the real crux for apple may come if china poses the same
question that the fbi has. if china says, we need you to unlock these devices, if you want to do business here. charlie: what would happen if they make that demand? >> i don't know. i do suspect, and i think congress is nowhere near a consensus, but i do suspect the best path, if we can find our way to it, is to have government, privacy stake holders, technology, sit at a table like this and figure out what's within the realm of doable. i have asked the national county of sciences to do an encryption report. we asked them back in the fall. that i think will help guide us. charlie: is there a question of either we go through the courts or we go to the congress and is there a developing consensus that it ought to be the congress? >> i think there is growing consensus it ought to be the congress. that doesn't mean that the bureau won't in particular cases go to the court if they need to while congress works its way on it. i think apple is right. the weighing of privacy and security to be resolved in litigation. at the same time, apple also understands we're such a dysfunctional body, that if you leave to it congress we aren't likely to do anything and the status quo is in the technology sector's favor. but ultimately we do have to
balance these questions. they are enormously far reaching. i don't think we're equipped to do it at the present. i think we need a lot more information. one of the things i would like to know, and from independent experts, this whole technological question of whether you can safely have a door, if technology companies can guard their source code, if they can guard their electronic signature, why can't they retain a means, when they update a phone, for example, with a court order, to give access. i don't know the technological answer. i wouldn't want to rely completely on the tech sector.
charlie: according to their argument, if you force us to do it all of a sudden it will be opening up phones all over the world. >> that is the argument. charlie: do you believe there is a different way to find -- >> i don't know. i don't know. charlie: but i assume you've had conversations with these apple officials and others in the community. >> yes. absolutely. look, we want them to be successful. we need them to be successful. there is every reason not only from the economic point of view but from a national security point of view to want our own industries to be successful because even if we're locked out of encrypted information, the fact that companies are here, devices are made here, it's advantageous just across the spectrum. and this is part of the challenge, it's a global technology. even if we were to insist on doors here that doesn't mean that others overseas will insist on doors there. nor is it necessarily desirable
that they should. charlie: benghazi committee, where does it stand? >> that's a good question. i wish as a member of the committee i could give you the answer. the reality is we don't know in the minority. i'm not sure the majority knows either and this has been the problem all along. a committee in search of a purpose. we've uncovered nothing that alters the conclusions from better. charlie: say that slowly. you've not altered any of the conclusions of the any of the previous commissions or investigations? >> we haven't found new facts that alter the conclusions we had reached before we began this committee. charlie: is there an operative idea on the part of the committee that secretary clinton lied? >> well, look, i think operative idea on the g.o.p. side of this committee is clinton must be stopped from getting to the white house. but that's their political motivation. that's -- charlie: the benghazi, does have it any residence with the wider political community in america? >> look, i think the gop considers the benghazi issue a valuable one politically because it plays into a narrative that
they would like to tell about the secretary. charlie: which is, she's not trustworthy? >> they don't trust her, that she operates by a different set of rules. this is the narrative they want to sell to the american people. i don't buy it. charlie: what is your theory of the case, in terms of what she did at the time? >> well, look, she's acknowledged, it was a mistake for her to use her own server. she should have used the state department email system, as insecure as that ultimately proved to be. charlie: is that the benghazi commission? >> mostly no. charlie: maybe some things happened that are relevant? >> well, only to the extent -- the mission of the majority of the benghazi committee -- has been to uncover anything damaging to the secretary. charlie: the other idea which has some conversations in the community is whether secretary clinton might be indicted, because of the server. you're in the congress, you know the fbi.
where is that? >> i don't think there is any credibility to that. if you look at the facts, secretary, largely receiving emails, most of which were classified after the fact, not even classified at the time she received them. and those that may have been classified at the time were not marked as such. they weren't shared with outside third parties. none other criteria you with see in a criminal case. charlie: to lead to an indictment of the secretary, in terms of just simply having a personal server in her house. >> nothing that i can see. charlie: you supported the iran nuclear deal. with some caveats, it's fair to say. >> yes. charlie: what were your reservations about it? >> my chief reservation was that at the end of the period of the deal, in about eight or 10 years, some of it goes on longer, that iran would have a very fast and efficient industrial nuclear capability, for peaceful purposes, but nonetheless, what i had hoped would be a token nuclear program
at all, to save face, instead, it is a very substantial program. there are two breakout times. how long does it take to create fissile material and how long does it take to create the mechanism of the bomb. in 10 years the breakout times in terms of the fusion material will be close to zero. they will be able to produce the
material they need very quickly. that was a bitter pill to swallow. and, frankly, only the fact that you would go from a breakout period when we started negotiation of a matter of weeks, to more than a year for a decade, with this very rigorous process of inspections and the ability to snap back sanctions, outweighed that bitter pill that we had to swallow. charlie: thank you for coming.
brought the documentary tradition to the forefront. his civil war series was the highest rated series on public television. he's created authoritative accounts on the history of baseball, jazz, and much, much more. -- he revisits america's pastime with a new documentary on the life and legacy of jackie robinson. he was unwilling to accept discrimination before he came to major league baseball. >> from a little kid. he got it from his mother. she was a wonderful woman and he entered into this remarkable partnership. the film that we've made is, in many ways, a love story. a multigenerational for from the of a african-american family as well as a portrait of civil rights in the back half of the 20th century. when he came up and walked out on the diamond, charlie, on april 15, 1947, martin luther king was still in college. harry truman hasn't integrated the military. rosa parks was a decade away from refusing to give up her seat though jackie had done it back in 1944 in the army and got court-martialed. and then you realize what a wonderful great sort of judge of character he was, realized, this is the guy with the fiery temper
who was going to be able to hold that temper to make this experiment work. that withkie passes flying colors. you said he was not only the most important person in baseball, he was one of the most important americans who ever lived. >> i think so i would up him in the top 20, when you think about the lincolns and the washingtons and did jeffersons and the martin luther kings. if you think about what he represented, you think about the burden that he carried, fact that, you know, we're in the media business and we talk a lot. and he walked the walk. he got up every day, since that meeting in brooklyn heights, when he met, and i think he got up every day and tried to make the lives of other people better. charlie: what was that moment like? >> it was a great moment. we always posited, that he would pick jackie robinson. he was planning to pick up a lot of people. we always think, that he had the idea.
he was a great man and he did it not only for business reasons, but for humanitarian reasons. the african-american press had been pressing. the radical press, including the organizer of the communist party in america, was pushing. a liberal republican mayor of new york was pushing. lots of stuff, and he was beginning to fear that this moment was going to lose him. jackie sort of fell into his lap. he dispatched the scout, who we interviewed. you know, he checked jackie out and brought him to this meeting. he never said more than -- just screamed at him about what he was going to face, tall things that people were going to yell at him that did come true. and he said, jackie, can you not, you know, fight back? and he said, he thought he could do it. >> he said, do you have a woman? >> he said, yes. >> and he said good >> good, you , need to marry her. it's true, without rachel i don't think jackie survives. i don't think he gets through it. i think it's too much. but they formed this partnership and this bond, and she carries that message, the dna from
jackie to us to this day. it is very powerful and moving. charlie: do you think he doesn't get the credit? >> i think what happens is, that in our life, we like to simplify. we cut corners with jackie. we promoted in that 1994 series the idea that he had put his arm around him and it just takes a little bit of investigation, it's not in jackie's auto biography. there is no mention of it in the white press, no mention of it in the black press, which would have run 20 related stories. when you're playing first base and pee wee is at shortstop you don't go across the diamond and put your arm around. it is just not baseball etiquette. maybe later on when he played second base, he might have did it. i think time it's maybe that it's no pun intended that white people wanted to have more skin in this game. to think that we were good, as the historian says in our film,
that we wanted to do well. but, as you know what jackie , went through is beyond the pale. black cats on the field. opposing teams, trouble with his own teammates. pitchers pitching at his head. charlie: when did he change from taking it because he said you'll have to take to it make this transition? >> he said three years. first year in the minors, he's the aaa roger club in montreal. which was good. they were a little bit different about race. he did that there and he did it for two years. 1947-1948. he was told he was released and he was ready to go, so he talked back to umpires, he got on other players' cases, he spoke out in the media, why aren't the yankees integrating, they said, we haven't found a black player good enough. he wouldn't accept that. when he retired he used baseball as a bridge to the civil rights movement. he was going out and visiting georgia and alabama on behalf of dr. king. he was hosting jazz concerts in his back yard and sending the money south for the efforts of
the civil rights movement. he's hugely important. and he's a republican. who initially is supporting -- yeah, who is officially -- he is supporting the senate and then he is disappointed when king won't intervene when is thrown in jail. he's going to be sent to a chain gang. later, it's so interesting even today, jackie robinson, if you liberate him from the tyranny of mythology, all the stuff that's happening in the last few years but it's also, if you go to the 1964 convention with him you realize that's the moment when the republican party founded in 19 -- 1854, in wisconsin-- the sole purpose of abolishing slavery, decides to make the switch. charlie: the convention that nominated barry goldwater. >> earlier that year, there is a civil rights bill that's passed,
with a lot of republican support. a huge amount of republican support. in order to get it through. but at that point, the republican party, and particularly the goldwater campaign is going to employ what we call the southern strategy and they are switching from african-americans voting for the republican party to voting democratic. that began with the new deal. charlie: there is so much to talk about here. let me just show one clip. it shows you the reverence he's held in by so many people. this is the president and the first lady. roll tape. think any time you're involved in an endeavor that involves enormous stress, finding yourself questioned in terms of whether you should be where you are, to be able to go back and have refuge, with someone who you know loves you, and you know has your back, that's priceless.
michelle obama: just being able to find that solace and peace to withstand all the negative energy, you know, it's hard to do that alone. so there is nothing more important than family, than a real partnership, which is probably what made him such a great man because he had the judgment to find a partner that, well, i think -- it's true. i mean, that's a sign of his character, that he chose a woman that was his equal. i don't think he he would have had jackie robinson without rachel. charlie: very interesting moment with the president. >> this is a couple, the most powerful couple on earth arguably who are utterly transparent and just like every other married couple, the husband is trying to agree, yes, dear and it's so moving and funny at the same time. he's nodding, yes, yes. because he is saying i am somewhat the same way. i love it. charlie: i think he was probably nodding because i'm somewhat the
same way. a very strong woman. she's right. >> this is an african-american man going through one door for the first time and this is another african-american man going through a different door, obviously, a more important one, the presidency, but all of them drawing from the forbearance of jackie robinson. so when he says you're being questioned, to go home and have somebody who loves you and has your back, this is exactly what jackie felt with rachel. one of the most poignant things, is he began to speak of what he did on the field. aswould say, "what we did." if she was even there. if, even the spectacular play, hall of fame career that he hard, was theirs. and that they could -- they could together weather the storm as rachel says in the film. charlie: okay. how good was he as a player? as a pioneer? >> howard bryant says he's
arguably you could say the best american athlete ever. he was -- charlie: best american athlete ever? >> i don't know. i don't think he's the best baseball player. i think he's the most important baseball player. there is no other baseball player whose number is retired in all 30 stadiums in which no one, rivera being the last, who consciously chose 42 because he wanted it, that's allowed to wear the number 42, except on april 15, when everybody wears it, from the batboy to the manager to the star pitcher --its has to do with hi being a pinener and -- - a pioneering and -- >> that was -- major league baseball is wonderful, that was the place where the experiment happened. the first real great progress, societal progress, a cultural progress, after the civil war happens in baseball. baseball sometimes has followed but i think in retiring his number and making it so symbolically important, it speaks volumes about how jackie was. he said that the life is measured by the difference it makes in other people's lives and he actually lived that credo, and that's an amazing, amazing testament.
i feel that, with sarah -- what sarah and i and dave have been able to do is remove a little bit of the fog and say, here's the real man. complicated, mistakes, undertow, but much more interesting and inspiring. charlie: why did you choose jimmie foxx? >> we had not intended to have any first person voices, because we had so many witnesses to it. but there were enough things that jackie said in his writings and in his columns and in his love letters to rachel, that were going to fall outside the purview of even rachel's memory who dominates this film. and so i went to jamie and he said, yes, i said, i don't mean to imitate his very distinctive voice. i just want you to be the voice almost from the grave that sounds cliche, but reading the dozen or so quotes that we have throughout both of these episodes, to sort of hear from him. and there are sometimes when you want to hear from him, when he's turning the other cheek, an amazing thing about how he just wanted to turn to the philadelphia phillies dugout and go back and smash out the guy's teeth. he doesn't do it. but it's really good to hear
that that was what was running through him and so it's not just the saintly jesus like jackie robinson who turns the other cheek. charlie: what was life like after baseball? >> it was complicated. some family tragedies involved. great activity involved with the civil rights movement. a developing relationship with rachel. she wanted to have a job. a career. and he was at first reluctant, and she had to educate him and set him straight about that. and then, you know, he's, like dr. king, not an advocate of violent solutions, and so when malcolm x says we've been listening too long to the ignorant peachers who would suggest that we should turn the other cheek he's talking about dr. king but also jackie robinson so there is a while, at the end of the 1960s, where they are calling him an uncle tom, when he used to be, before sit-in -- freedomer before
-- the freedom writer before freedom rides. reedom rider before freedom rides. charlie: take a look at this remarkable woman what stood by him and was a voice as strong for him. here it is. >> we went to our first spring training on our honeymoon. it was terrible. we were bumped from two planes to getting there. we were bumped in new orleans, we were bumped in pensacola, florida. and white passengers were put on in our place. i had never seen signs on rest rooms, on water posits, and that kind of things. so i went into the lady's -- white lady's bathroom, just so i could recover my own sense of myself and i walked in there and did what i had to do. i nodded at the ladies and walked out. we finally took a bus to spring training. from jacksonville. on our honeymoon. we went to the back of the bus. and when it got dark i started
to cry. because i had felt my great husband, who had been a fighter and a dignified person, had been reduced by discrimination and by segregation. charlie: will we ever get past race or should we ever get past race? >> you know, when you realize that all the stuff that was happening with jackie is still happening, the pessimist in us would say no. this is, you know, the american original sin, human sin. the live of one own's metastasizes into the hatred of another. and in the case of a country that has a legacy of slavery, the way we respond to that is different among us. and we still have a lot of folks who still don't judge people by the cone tents -- by the content of their character but, as dr. king said,
by the color of their skin. but i sort of firmly believe that i had an opportunity here to interview the president of the united states, and the first lady, who are african-american, in a film about the first african-american to play in baseball. so i have to be -- i think history makes you an optimist. there was a thing in our roosevelt film where george said franklin roosevelt had a sense that history was a rising road. i have to believe that. we can get better. we must get better. we have to do that. the only way you do it is to confront it. you can't run from it, which is what we always do. charlie: thank you for coming. >> thank you. charlie: ken burns, part one and two, on the great jackie robinson coming up on pbs. thank you for joining us. see you next time. ♪