tv Bloomberg Pursuits Bloomberg August 12, 2017 9:30am-10:00am EDT
it's such a great thing. you have all these servants. you can go to camp david when you want. it is a pleasure to live there, or not so much? mr. clinton: i think if you have lived an informal life, even though i had spent almost a dozen years in the governor's mansion in arkansas, it is very different. i mean, if you have lived -- like i, basically was self supported from the time i was 19. it took some getting used to, but i developed a real respect and affection for the people that worked there. i developed an enormous amount of respect for the secret service and the risks that they take and i adjusted myself accordingly. and i loved living in the white house. i remember very vividly the last time i got off of the helicopter, marine one, and walked into the white house as president before i would soon be gone. and he would be there. and i was consciously aware that i was going in there more optimistic than i was about america than the first time i
walked in, more idealistic. i just never got tired of it. david: did you like living in the white house? mr. bush: i did, it was great. it is really -- they pamper you. we knew a lot of the staff. they were the same people that work there when bill was there, and many of the same as when dad was there. laura and i got to know them. but it is great. it is really a historic place. it is comfortable. i loved every minute of living there. david: what about camp david? most people have never been to camp david. what is it like? it is a great place to have a retreat and relax, or is it overrated? mr. clinton: no, i liked it. i mean it is a great place. , particularly -- i loved it most at thanksgiving. because i would bring all the family. i liked it when chelsea could bring her friends there. you have a little more -- at least you are under the illusion that you have more freedom of
movement, more wandering around time. it is great to get away. or bush: i went there a lot we went there a lot and probably used it more than any president. maybe ronald reagan did more. but the reason we went a lot was one, we could invite our friends. one of the great delights of the presidency was to invite friends we grew up with in midland and show them the oval office or show them camp david. the other thing i liked a lot is i love exercise. and the place is set up for a lot of hiking, running, mountain biking. there is a wonderful gym. i found it to be liberating. david: mountain biking is a dangerous thing. you have fallen a couple times. mr. bush: yes, that is true. david but you have not given it : up? mr. bush: i still ride. david: you are not worried about breaking things? mr. bush: no. mr. clinton: your dad was jumping out of planes at 85. david: your exercise is you play
golf, but you have lost weight since you left the presidency. you have gone on a vegan diet. isn't that hard to do? mr. bush: less burgers. [laughter] mr. clinton: not when you have quadruple heart bypass and you want to live to be a grandfather. i did not give it a second thought. i realized i was highly prone to arterial blockage. i thought i would cut my chances. i literally wanted to see if i could live to be a grandfather. unlike him who comes from great genes, i am now the oldest person from my generation man or woman. i thought i think i would like to hang around. i was having a good time being alive. it will be over soon enough. i figure i will stretch it out as long as i can. david: if you could run for president of the united states or former president of the united states, what would you recommend? mr. clinton: depends on how you keep score. but i think you have to live a long time as a former president to have the impact on his many people as you can as president.
and i have tried to do as best i could on that. but if you gave me the choice, i would serve two terms. mr. bush: me, too. the reason why is the decisions you make have a monumental effect on a lot of people. and it is exciting to be in that kind of environment. it insists that you use all your skills and energy in order to affect policy in a positive way. the interesting thing about the presidency is that it is often defined by the unexpected, which makes the job doubly interesting. mr. clinton: it is a very interesting. a lot of more successful former presidents are one term. john quincy adams went back to congress for 16 years, one of our most important anti-slavery advocates. william howard taft became chief justice. herbert hoover came out of retirement and wrote the civil service act. they did a lot of good things.
and i feel that george and i have been blessed. because we were reasonably young. barack obama is young. you can be double lucky. you can serve eight years as president and do good things. david: john kennedy was once asked at a press conference, what do you think about this job and would you recommend it? he said i guess not to others so so i can finish my tenure. would you recommend the job to people, would you say it is worth the aggravation factor to become president, or would you recommend they pursue something else? mr. clinton: in a heartbeat. [applause] david: the highest calling of mankind i always thought was private equity. [laughter] david: you say being president of the united states is better than equity? mr. clinton: i don't know. mr. bush: we make $200,000 a year in pension. what do you make? [laughter] david: money isn't everything. but yes. [laughter] mr. clinton: if we could say one serious thing, there are a lot of really big questions floating
out there. a mexican multibillionaire is a really smart guy and he gave a speech during the campaign. the campaign being what it was, obviously no one was interested in asking about it, but he said i believe this will be the first technological revolution that will kill more jobs than it creates. and therefore, i believe we will either have to have people with money pay even higher taxes to just subsidize people living who don't, or the richest countries are going to have to start planning first for a four-day and ultimately a three-day workweek because of automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence. no one knows the answer to that. nobody knows if he is right or not. but that means that it is not going to be boring. david: what would you say in your eight years you're most proud of getting done? mr. clinton: we had the broadest period of shared prosperity in 50 years. david: what would you say?
david: looking back on your presidency, you both served eight years. our country has had roughly 550 million americans over the course of our history, 45 of them elected president, but only 13 people have served two consecutive terms. and you were two of the 13. so what would you say in your , eight years you are most proud of having done? mr. clinton: i was proud when we left office we had the broadest period of shared prosperity in 50 years. that is, where the bottom 20% of income in percentage terms increased more than the top 20% and nobody was mad at anyone else over it. it was shared across racial and religious and regional lines. did i abolish inequality? no.
and you can't in a market society. but at least we found a way to have more shared prosperity, including free budget surpluses. because i think if everyone has got a decent job and something to look forward to in the morning, about 90% of the other problems go away. so whatever argument we might , have about health care policy or any other social policy, it will all become less significant if people think they can start a business and keep a job and educate their kids. when families are stable, communities are more stable, the problems get smaller. david: what would you say in your eight years? mr. bush: my daughters loved me. [laughter] mr. bush: as bill will tell you, it is a challenge to have teenage daughters when you are the president. it is a challenge anytime to have teenage daughters. thanks to laura's guidance and love, our family unit
strengthened. i think that is a great accomplishment. mr. clinton: me too. this is what people don't believe about people like us, if you take it seriously your most important job until your kids are out of the house is being a father or mother. david: isn't it hard? when you are president of the united states, did you have enough time to be a parent as you might want? mr. bush: it was hard. our girls were at harvard and the university of texas. our girls weren't handy, as they say. yeah, it is hard. but thankfully laura spent a lot of time nurturing them. and helping them out. i knew what it was like to the child of the president, and the criticism is harsh. regardless of who is president, and it stings if you are the child, someone you love getting criticized. we were worried about our girls reacting to the criticism that i got. laura was very good at comforting them, and i tried to
do my best. david: what is it like when you have a daughter and she goes out on a date and the father is greeting the young man, and you are president of the united states or governor or president of the united states? that is kind of intimidating for the young man, i assume. mr. clinton: at the time i certainly hoped so. [laughter] mr. clinton: i liked chelsea's boyfriends. she never went out with more than one boy at a time. but the chapters got shorter and longer, depending. but i remember, she had one boyfriend in high school that i really liked. but he wouldn't take his baseball cap off inside. so finally, he sat down at dinner one night and i said, i really like you, you know, that don't you? he said, yes sir, i do. i said, you can't wear that cap at dinner. i am an old-fashioned person, take the cap off. this guy goes on to become an architect.
when your dad put me to work on katrina, he was young person just starting out, and i ran into him in biloxi working with three people who had leave from their jobs. there they were just three young people trying to help people put their lives back together. i treasured knowing my daughter still brings 18 to 26 people home for thanksgiving every year. all of her foreign friends who don't celebrate things hitting or people who can't go home for , thanksgiving. and hillary and i feed them and they go around the table and say what they are grateful for. you can't be pessimistic about the future if you hear young people say that. [applause] david: what makes you both most optimistic about the future of our country? what makes you most optimistic? mr. bush: one of the most unique things about our country are the armies of compassion that exist throughout the united states
that exist in spite of the government. these are people that say, i'm going to try to improve the community in which i live. any nation with that kind of compassion is one in which the citizenry ought to be optimistic. david: when you became former president, one of the things you were now famous for doing is taking up painting. people were a little surprised because you weren't thought to be an artist before. [laughter] david: why did you take up painting? mr. bush: you did not think i was sensitive, david? david: how did you decide to pick up painting? and why does it give you so much pleasure? mr. bush: i hope people will look at the paintings in the exhibit after dinner tonight. it is right behind here. the reason i do it is because it heralds our vets. i painted the cause i was bored. i mean this foundation and , institute takes up time come up time, but not enough. my exercise program took up time, but not enough. i read winston churchill's
essay, "painting as a pastime." i said if that guy can paint, i can paint. [laughter] david: president clinton, since you left the presidency, you have changed your diet and other things. what gives you the most pleasure now? mr. clinton: building my foundation and trying to fund it. it got so big so fast that it just took up all my time. i am trying to make it more entrepreneurial. when something gets really big and can fund itself -- our health initiative gives medicine to over half the poor people in the world. we never took any american money. it meant we could help drive the price down of all medicine everywhere. the clinton global initiative, which we don't have anymore in
its previous incarnation but i'm , working on some specific things -- we helped 400 million people with that. but it is a lot of trouble. you have to keep at it all the time. and at first i thought, i don't want to do this, but i did. i am a workaholic, and i did not think i could be a gifted painter. [laughter] mr. clinton: but i admire him for doing that. i think he would tell you the best thing that can happen to you in politics is to be consistently underestimated. mr. bush: i was pretty good at that. [laughter] [applause] mr. clinton: he made me a genius, because i looked like a genius, because when the presidential race in 1999 started, i turned on the tv one night at the white house and i saw him sitting on a bale of hay in a tent in iowa watching him give a compassionate conservative speech. and i got on the phone and said,
you guys better pay attention to this, he could beat you. what he said to people who could go either way is a compassionate conservative, i will give you the same thing clinton did, but with smaller government and a bigger tax cut. wouldn't you like that? [laughter] mr. clinton: as we know we democrats are not as good at bumper stickers. and it was brilliant. and i thought they are going to underestimate this guy. i also saw him beat ann richards, and she had a 60% approval rating and he won anyway because he understood that politics is about candidates, conditions, and culture, and not just what position you take on the issue. he constructed a campaign that fit with where texas was at the time. didn't have anything to do -- you didn't have to dislike ann
richards to vote for george bush. so he maximized the number of people he could get. david: what do you think it takes for someone that wants to be president? i want to be like you, i want to be like you. mr. bush: humility. i think it is really important to know what you don't know and listen to people that do know what you don't know. mr. clinton: if you want to be president, realize it is about the people, not about you. and when it is over, that is what a lot of people forget, time passes. ♪
♪ david: how did the two of you come together to create the presidential leadership program? mr. bush: one of the real problems with these presidential centers is that they become a -- become irrelevant pretty quickly unless there is something that captures people's attention. margaret spellings said we ought to think about using these
platforms to call young people together and encourage them through leadership education programs. it made a lot of sense. bill and i talked together. it fit right into our view of how to be useful. that is how it got started. and most people focus their attention on these libraries on the coast. this is a valuable resource for people in what we call the heartland. youclinton: i also think should talk to these young people here. it is a nice thing to go to our libraries. we give speeches and everything. i bet you anything what they get most out of is being with each other. one of the things that is wrong with america today that bothers me more than anything else about our future is that we have separated ourselves into like-minded communities.
we may be less racist, homophobic, and sexist, but we don't want to be around many people that disagree with us. and we get news in silos. and the truth is, in an interdependent complex world, diverse groups make better decisions than homogenous ones. these people would make better decisions. and everybody knows that. but they almost can't help themselves because when you have a national election it all gets abstracted and we vote for the gridlock we say we hate. i think this is great. i was telling george before i came out, i just came back from lake tahoe where i started and he finished a plan to save lake tahoe. it is one of only two blue water lakes in the world, and the republicans and democrats on the ground made it possible. because they had the end in mind, and all we said was yes. i just came from colombia where
i started, but he mostly finished plant colombia which gave the country back to its people. it was a total bipartisan deal , because we started with the end in mind. we got to get back to that in america. this is killing us, all this fighting over nothing. instead of saying, what the heck are we trying to get done? david: we have time for one more question. both of you can answer this. for those who are presidential scholars or other people watching, if someone wants to be president of the united states, is the quality that is most important hard work, intelligence, optimism, luck? what do you think it takes for someone that wants to be like you? mr. bush: humility. i think it is really important to know what you don't know and listen to people that do know what you don't know. mr. clinton: i also think you have to begin with the end in mind. that is, you have to say -- yeah, you have to win the election, but why in the heck are you running? that is the other thing i noticed about him. when he ran for governor against
ann richards, he did not say she was a klutz, he said he wanted to be governor because he wanted to do 1, 2, 3 things. a couple of them i didn't agree with, but he had his agenda. it you want to be president, realize it is about the people, not about you. and when it is over -- a lot of these people that are real arrogant in office, they forget that time passes more quickly than you know. you want to be able to say, people are better off when i quit, kids have a better future, things are coming together. you don't want to say god, look at all the people i beat. or the people i worked over. i think the most important thing is to be humble, to listen, to realize everyone has got a story. all the things i learned. mr. bush: the only thing you disagreed with in my platform was that texas ought to take arkansas. [laughter]
mr. clinton: what i disagreed with is he wanted to get all of our water and not pay very much money for it. [laughter] mr. clinton: i would have swapped it out for texas oil. i told him. barrel for barrel. [laughter] david: president clinton, president bush. i want to thank you for your service to our country and for the leadership you have given to so many people, and thank you what you are doing in your post presidency. mr. clinton: thank you all. [applause] ♪ got you outnumbered.