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tv   After Words  CSPAN  February 22, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm EST

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and tangible. i'm the one hand, this is northeasterners in massachusetts and new york are your days out overseas this terrible threat of fascism and not see his son and also below the mason dixon line the threat of what you might call southern segregation. northeasterners pictures themselves and this is what my book is about him and that these massachusetts, connecticut, this area that pictured itself as the land of racial progress and tolerance and political liberalism. >> at now "after words" with cable axelrod, author of "believer." mr. axelrod served as senior strategist for barack obama's presidential campaign and and a former senior kaiser to president obama. he discusses his life and career in politics with former
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speechwriter for president george w. bush someone. >> host: budges jump into the most controversial passage of the book. you tell a story that has a lot of attention. a call from governor bonnie to president obama after the 2012 election. one in which was offended at what it took to be a racial undercurrent to governor romney's conception. one of governor romney is a fabulous histone on what paul said ways i've had stories untrue and has been very angry about it. how can those who want to room, which is he was right wakes >> guest: there were five people standing around when i talked to governor romney. several of them authority come forward and said their recollection was completely the same as mine was the governor got caught and related the fact
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that governor romney in the course of this cause have we really surprise them with the way we were able to get the vote out in places like cleveland and milwaukee. i didn't get the sense that governor romney was trying to be a geisha is. he was trying to pay a compliment to the campaign and was more a parable about the different lands through which they thought the election. they thought the election boiled down to more than what happened in cleveland and milwaukee and i was his frustration. i was surprised that her reaction. i always applaud loyalty and i applaud the loyalty of governor romney is embodiment. i think he blew the thing out of proportion and as i said, i don't have any reason to believe that the president got off the phone and told the five of us some and that didn't happen. >> limit talk about your role in the obama white house. people who don't pay attention
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to the white house staff may not appreciate how do a thing it is for presidents to install basically their chief political adviser of a staffer. george h.w. bush, bill clinton did not put morris or james carville on the white house staff here at this begin with president bush to hire karl rove and president obama entrusted me with the senior advisor should. what does this say about our government that this trend is occurring. do you think you will continue? >> guest: first of all i want to distinguish my role to some degree. i don't pretend to understand what karlsruhe was. i would describe my role is that the more akin to what i detert did for president reagan. i am someone who's been involved with the president and his message from the beginning of
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our relationship in the senate race in 2004. i worked very much with him on the methods and messaging approach to these campaigns on speeches on policy rollouts communications and communications strategy. i don't think that is an unusual and white houses. i don't think that began with carl were with me and it goes back sometimes. that is the role i play. what it says its is presidents want someone around who understand their message and understands them and can help represent that point of view to others in the white house so that their son message consistency of message reflects the values and points that the
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president wants to make. >> host: president obama has had an unusually ambivalent, even happy relationship with politics. you write about that in the book. were you there to remind him that you don't get to govern unless you get elected? did you conflict over the knee to listen to people like you rather than printed hollow some of the more ideological instincts? >> guest: you know, i think everybody's strength and weakness as i wrote in the book his great strength is he believes that there are more important things than winning elections and that is once you get elected, doing the things that you think are important to it as the country. and so we often had conflicts about the need to have some amount of conformity use of
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campaign in the presentation. the example that is just the discipline of how you answer questions. and getting your message out front, keeping the answers short, making sure that your punching through the point you want to punch through. he viewed as is much more of a discussion on it or they're thoroughly and often times he gets to the .7 minutes in. and that would were he. post the book is subtitled my 40 years in politics. you written any campaign that year were. not only president ima, senator obama as he was before. one of the things that run through the book is a problem what are the ethical responsibilities of the campaign
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and a competitor is that they may eventually use the tools of our trade to propel high office in surly on who did and governor rob okoye. what responsibilities do you think consultant has to base? to the extend beyond honor to the candidate? what responsibilities do they have for the general public? >> guest: david, first of all the subhead that i wanted on the book that was too long for the book cover was how my idealism survived 40 years in politics. you know as you know having read the book that my interest in politics goes way back to it was five years old and john f. kennedy came to have a little community in which i grew up in new york and fired my imagination. i knew it seemed really important that is talking about the future of the country that everybody was watching, and it just seemed very important to
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me. that was the beginning of it. i approach politics from that place. on the other hand when your campaign consultant you are hired to get someone elected. were you trying do is choose carefully the people that you work for. i mean i confess here and in the book that i didn't always choose right. but once you are doing the race your job is to get that person elected. you operate within certain apical and moral parameters doing though or you showed. but you know i left campaigns for a became a solution with the candidate and didn't think they were the right candidate. i quit. but there are those ambiguous situations where someone is less than you hope, but not so with regis that you are going to walk
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away from it. you know, i found myself persuaded myself in those cases that they were better than the alternatives. that is how i would motivate myself to go forward. >> host: what happens when that turned out to not be true. i'm thinking of michael way to became the longest-serving mayor in event history. you deliver at the end of that quite in negative verdict. you say i didn't keep in close touch after the election, although i knew his long tenure didn't entirely live up to its great promise. the promise is interesting because it is here you first wrote a lot of the themes, hope and change in positioning unity that would appear in the obama campaign and continue idealistic as it was, it was more district than campaigning. in the end he would be tarnished by corruption charges with one of his closest friends and
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allies. cleveland is a city heading into trouble before michael white, but he certainly put up much deeper. when you tap on that, michael white is the man responsible in that he owes to a great degree his career to you. how do you feel when you look back? >> guest: well first of all i put the emphasis on the word entirely. mike white did some things that were incredibly important for cleveland. a lot of the iconic structures that have brought back downtown cleveland revive downtown cleveland stadium and the lack of museums and so on have their roots in a first to bring those they are and they did other things in cleveland that were quite positive. he may have overstated his time there and there were problems in the end of one of his associates, but i would not be one to jazz either cleveland's
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demise was his responsibility or that he didn't do anything good for cleveland. look, i am realistic about the fact that no one is all good or all bad, all accomplished without flaw. that is not the way it is. i actually think he was an idealistic guy. not a perfect guy but he helped get some important things done for that city and inspired people in important ways. that is not what the campaigns that i would say i was sorry that i did. i was happy that i did that raise. i might have advised them to leave a little earlier than he did, but he did important things for cleveland. >> with wide net. this is still in your pre-white house phase. you rose to be one of the most important probably the most important of the democratic
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consultants. he would very long period of time, worked on many campaigns, generally very successfully. illinois now is pretty rough economic situation. it's rated 50th in its credit ratings in the city of chicago has a worse that any government in detroit. suffered heavily and was one of the top three seeds for unemployment during the great recession and is now in this desperate pension situation where today they are called. >> a lot of those things are called together. the situation is one of the reasons why the state pension system is filtered down. they have their pension issues in the city is trained to fight its way out of it. there is state censored problems associated with the city's finances that have contributed to their problem. there is no doubt that there are
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legacy of problems here and they are, you know i can say the results of both republican administrations than democratic admin is to ration making unaffordable deals honestly with public employee union and the rasul we went through an era of two governors who went to prison and some irresponsibility on the part of governor of expanding the states obligations without raising >> one of your candidates when he got his real trouble, but at the beginning. >> i had concerns about what kind of governor he would eat. he asked me -- he asked me if i
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would work for him. i said why do you want to be governor quiet he said you could help me figure that out. i set up by to help you figure it out you should run for governor. he shouldn't have run for governor. >> host: by lots of people, many of them clients of yours. >> guest: many of them not. you get them elected. if you look back on the political choices of the state of illinois what you did so much to shape, do you look back on that was good work or do you look back and say i don't know that my talent were the right direction. >> host: which of my clients do you think were responsible? i am curious. most of the time and i was involved in illinois politics you know the governors for my clients. the state legislative leaders for my clients.
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i mostly worked for mayors of chicago in the two that i work for poor harold washington is served briefly in the 80s and did a lot in terms of reforming the patronage politics of the city, breaking down racial barriers and rich daley who remade the face of the city in many ways was the third a model mayor and yes at the end they were fiscal issues and perhaps he overcommitted in trying to do some of the things that he did and left some fiscal problems for mayor emmanuel. i am proud of working for those guys. i am happy to respond if you have a particular politician who you think was responsible for the state's problems. but i curious as to what i would be. >> host: as i was saying i don't think it's one person. it is the handiwork of many. as one looks back on as a career of illinois politics, how does one because the state is -- this
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is maybe a related question. >> the other iconic candidate of mine from illinois was paul simon who i think was the essence of integrity. i'm proud of them. zora chose my clients carefully. i knew the illinois political landscape area well. i chose my kennedys pretty carefully. postcode you think it is a fair type of characterization you heard a lot just as politics of illinois are chicago's less ethical than the other part of the united states. is that a slur or does that capture a genuine problem quiet >> guest: there has been corruption endemic to chicago politics for some time. i think that institutionalized corruption corruption from the
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top is not a problem that it was sometimes an artist or a. we have had problems with corruption they are. one of the reasons why i so gravitated to barack obama was because he was on the reformed side of the fight. the first use of legislation he passed in the legislature was the first campaign finance reform bill passed in illinois in a quarter of a century. paul simon may have been involved in the previous one. what it did was that made it illegal to take campaign contributions for your personal use until barack obama came along in illinois you could raise money and use it as your own purse lip come if you pay taxes on it and he ended that practice. illinois and chicago has had its problems. and then you had people come along and address them.
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those are the people i try to gravitate to. >> host: you were disappointed. he worked for carol moseley-braun. he went to a person. >> guest: i don't know that carol moseley braun, other than the case of the campaign was accused for medicaid. there was never a public of any kind like that. he was an interesting person because on one hand it was one of the most powerful people in washington. i don't know anybody who's so relished the process of make and law and working across party lines to deal with a big question. he went back to the ad into medicare and was close to people of both parties including the first president bush who worked closely up to eight or nine presidents and loved it.
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on the other hand she got prosecuted for what i can figure unconscionable sort of penny-ante stuff. cashing in stamps for a test, which may have and government issued stamps, which may have been the crack is in the 1960s. certainly the norms had changed and he did. so you know -- the >> if it is true that something the chicago and illinois what is? it's a great transportation hub and there was money that flowed through that didn't belong to local people and they could be siphoned off without really like you are taking from constituents. is that the particular way the ethnic outtakes were? >> guest: i don't know what the sociology that led to some of the corruption problems that have been endemic to illinois at
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times in our history. i am not willing to say that their other states and localities in the country that have been experienced some of the same. what i do think is things are much different now in the city in particular. we don't have a vast patronage machine that we once had. i haven't heard any information about rahm emanuel based on anything but try to promote the interest of the city. so you know this is a vestige of the past. i think you do a disservice to the city to say this carrot arises chicago today. there are pockets of corruption in the city as there are other cities. i don't think it defines the city. certainly not the city i know today. >> host: one of the things that really run through this
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book like an artist or writer, there are themes that run through your campaign. the phrase i think was originally change and hope before you approve the hope and change. things about middle-class economics. those are partly dealing with issues of our time, but they also seem to be your approaches two things. they all converge in the work you did with president obama. how much of the obama campaign was waiting in your head for him and how much of it was brought to you by him? >> guest: well the real question is how is it that we came together? i have known barack obama for 20 some odd years. i was introduced in 1992 by a woman named billie lou saltzman was the progressive politics in chicago.
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she had met him and she asked me to say that this most impressive young man. i want you to meet him. happy to meet anyone you want me to me but why him? i said i think he could be the first african-american president of the united states. this is when he first returned from law school. i take betty to the track with me now because she knows how to spot a winner well in an. what i said is we shared sensibilities. i was impressed by a guy who would come back. he had been president of the harvard law review, could have written his ticket at any corporation of a law firm in the country. they were all going after he came back to chicago where he been a community organizer to do with voter registration and work for a small civil rights. it was clear to me that he was someone who wanted make a difference and make a difference for the right reasons. he didn't do politics at the
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business. keep your politics and public service as a calling. so we became friends. in 2002 when i became very disillusioned because i thought that he was going to get elected what i consider to be a very cynical campaign, i was very disillusioned and wondering whether i wanted to continue doing what i was doing. he had just lost a rational race and said he had one more campaign in him and he was going to run for the senate. we hooked up around that race. we shared a lot of sensibilities about politics, issues about an approach to politics. so i don't know, you know -- i think it was a little of both, what he brought to him what i brought to it. but it was a really productive partnership and really helped
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animate the message. in my view when you are building a campaign message, if it is successful, it has to be authentic and built around who someone is. barack obama from the time he was working as a community organizer before he went to law school, someone who cared a lot about how the economy work and didn't work for large numbers of people and wanted to help him pack on not. he was someone who believe politics was a noble calling someone who is more apt to summon people's hopes rather than their fears, someone who saw a change as something to embrace and steer rather than something to fear. so you know, he was a natural exponent of the message that we ran on the message reflecting who he was. are the elements in a previous campaigns? in part because they gravitated to those candidates.
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my tagline for paul simon when he ran for president in 1988 was isn't it time to believe again? because i do believe in this hence the title of the book "believer." i believe that politics, public service as a way to grab the wheel of history and turn it in a positive direction. obama shared that view. so i think it was a happy partnership between two people who shared sensibility. >> host: through much of your career, the great defining theme of american politics has been the american middle class frustrated by the increasing difficulty of getting ahead, even maintaining its position struggling with memories that things are different a generation ago. 35 years or so after world war ii with middle-class people, if
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you continue to stagger same position, you got better and better off. you didn't have to be anybody special in order to get better off. >> host: wages rose with the gdp. >> host: right. and now they haven't for a while. that has been the arena and advocating for the middle class has been one of your themes. there is a bit article you may have seen in the national journal. john judas democratic leaning writer who hailed the democratic majority has a published in the early part of the decade that inspired a lot of the obama thinking, a lot of the obama campaign thinking. he has just suggested they may have oversold his argument and there's an emerging republican advantage based on the disillusionment of voters with the era of the past six years.
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this is in a homework assignment. maybe have seen the article but if you've heard these things how do you react to that? >> let me address -- i think that this issue of the depression of wages, the increasing goals deterring growth in wages and the struggles of the middle-class and those who are trying to become middle class of economic mobility has been coursing through our politics for decades and it has created disenchantment against whomever the incumbent party is because it is a constant team and it is a function of forces larger than policy so they require some policy answers. it is a function of changes in our economy of fast advancing technology, globalization. we see the same issues another advanced economies.
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and so you know it has been a persistent theme in our politics. he continues to be a challenge. each succeeding party has borne some of the bronze of disenchantment about it. what obama -- obviously we just came through a massive economic crisis that was in full fury when obama took office that helped exacerbate that problem, depressed wages even further and made the problem of disparity even greater. so we have come through some tough years. i think zero if you ask the average person who is fighting for the middle-class, who cares about the middle-class, who has made the middle-class their focus and asked whether that was the president for the republican opposition, i think that you would get a pretty
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healthy margin in favor of the president. one of the reasons why he won a fairly substantial reelection in 2012, governor romney got some points for economic literacy proficiency. but when it came to fighting for the middle class, he lost that overwhelming. so i don't know. i think it is a misplaced. to save as the republican party somehow is going to inherit the benefit of that disenchantment. ..
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we're only virtually talking but i will share with you. there's a chart that c-span may be able to put on the screen. this is a study for brookings in the old part of 2014. henry aaron one of america's leading after economist neither either a conservative. they analyze the economic impact of the signature domestic initiative of the first obama administration, the affordable care act. the affordable care act for great benefits on the poorest 20% of the american population it and confers and it's hard to get the digital it's about of the insurance guarantees but they have run this now and it comes out base of depending on how you look at it, the bottom 20% of the bottom 30% wins.
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the top 70 for the top 80% lose and the heaviest losses are actually in the middle of the economic distribution, not at the top. very few people will know these figures but it does explain a lot of the unhappiness with the affordable care act that we've seen and middle-class american society. when you look at other things the administration has done, the president recent initiative calling for free community college while taxing the savings vehicles that middle-class families used to pay for for your colleges, and his big speech in kansas in 2010, the most aboard economic speech of his presidency was he announced a strategy of public sector led growth, the big idea. lots more that would pay higher wages to coworkers or government contractors and that will trickle out to the rest of society. you look at this fence is this a middle-class strategy or is this a strategy for the beneficiaries
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and providers the public services at the expense of the rest of society and is that the cause of the political difficulties that the democratic party has had? >> guest: it's a little off-topic from a book but am happy to address it. i haven't seen the study that you were referring to and i would assume that it applies to the distribution of subsidies under -- >> host: and guarantees and the taxes and the intro subsidies within the insurance market. i know you're at a disadvantage. if we had been a purse i would've given it to you before the interview. and maybe you dispute the conclusions, but -- >> guest: i can't dispute the conclusions because i haven't seen the report. i came on to discuss my book and not the report since i haven't seen it leverages comment on what i know, which is that the ability of people of general lee
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under their insurance plans, because the affordable care act has certain guarantees for people under their insurance plans do not have annual or do not have lifetime caps is vitally important to people who get seriously ill. i know something about this because just getting back to my book for just a second i dealt with health care system and i had a child with significant health care concerns. that is a tremendous sense of relief. i also dealt with the notion that i couldn't get another insurance policy because much of a preexisting condition. that is no longer a concern. that applies to people up and down the line. the security of knowing that you can get insurance at an affordable rate if you lose your job or if your employer drops her insurance is executed that is important to everyone.
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so, you know, i can't, david, comment on economics that are included in that report because i haven't read it but i'm very certain that the security that the affordable care act affords, not just to the bottom 20% but to people who have insurance come is going to be is important, now would be important in the future. >> host: this goes to the books great thing because you're a believer as you say. you are a schematic entry. you come up with these broad themes and their tremendous leap powerful and sway national election. how directly checks your beliefs? i know i'm writing the music. there are people across the way in the executive office building who are writing the lyrics. how do i test this?
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this is a matter of my own conscientious belief, the reality check of my music against their lyrics. ass >> guest: it's in the impact of the policies and you know, i'm not an economist, but there are problems that i think are important that more important the president felt was important the country felt was important and the question was are those problems going to be addressed. one thing i would say though is part of part of the role of the president is to set forth these challenges, set forth these problems and provoke debate and discussion. i see the republican party now introducing, you know, five years later but an alternative to the affordable care act but there's an acknowledgment that
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there were significant flaws in the system. we are having a debate now about this issue of the viability of middle-class in this economy and what we can do to help secure a broader inclusive prosperity. that's a step forward for this country and republicans and democrats operate is in the process. maybe they're different prescriptions. that's the nature of democracy and we have to fight those out but at least we have identified immigration reform is another. there are people unhappy with steps the president took but i don't have people suggesting, at least the mainstream of american politicians and voters saying, let's go back to where we were. support of leadership is identifying the challenges in moving the country forward and it may propagate debate. there may be imperfections in the approach approaches that
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are taken and have to be perfect overtime but there may be alternative ideas but at least you were talking about the big challenges facing the country and what the obama campaign was about in 2008 as much as anything was to try and tackle some of these things that you may not like his prescription for health care but you have to at least give them credit for taking it on because there was no political calculus that provoked him to do that. in fact, the political calculus was on the other side. in the book i write about this. in my own discussions with them about what the difficulty for any moving forward on health care, and yet he took that on. and i admire him for doing it decades ago because he felt that health care system would implode if he didn't. this is something that was urged not just by people who are concerned by the uninsured or the underinsured but by our budget people develop that if we did reform health care system the system would implode.
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and he took on the political risk to do that. he took on the political risk to intervene, and that's another chapter or another story in the book, to say the american auto industry that was on the verge of collapse. it was controversial then. it was unpopular then. it's not unpopular now. people don't look back at that as mistake because the auto industry has come roaring back ultimate the book is obviously a very personal book. you talk about the pain in your life, talk about the challenges you faced raising children. you have some self-examination about whether you've allowed your ambition to damage the marriage, he paid a very generous tribute to your wife who spoke up. it wasn't just you speaking and i salute and you give her great
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credit for accommodating in making a lot of sacrifice for it. at the same time as it's intensely personal, it is general lee a pretty tactful and circumspect about but every once in a while you lift the veil of out so the issues in the white house those outside have heard reverberating from the conflict. there's a famous story of course about the project, some staffers you worked with on the president's editorial in earlier campaigns. i want to ask you as you look back on it now, as you to the store that rahm emanuel in particular was very eager to get valerie jarrett into the senators who thinks that led to the downfall of rod blagojevich. lord in order to get her out of the white house because as you explain rahm emanuel was such an intimate friend of the president asking as a senior advisor was a formula for trouble. since then there's been a lot of
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trouble. valerie jarrett has become one of the most controversial members of the administration, although the administration internally has circulated a memo about her magic that would've done credit to the kim family in north korea. was rahm wrong or do you think he was onto something? >> guest: i think rahm have legitimate concerns and are based on his expressed in the clinton administration. that it's hard to manage. if you're the manager is hard to manage people on the staff who have an independent personal relationship with the president, with the first lady. and i've said before that that has its challenges. i wasn't also that there is benefit in many president would say the same there is benefit to having someone around you with whom you have a long history who is fundamentally
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loyal and is unquestionably in your corner. he has that relationship. they go back a long time and there is value to that. so i understood rahm's concern and he did work very hard to persuade valarie to run for the senate seat that obama was giving up in order to become president. at the end of the day it was the president who wanted her in the white house, and i've not heard him ever suggest that he regretted that decision. >> host: and how has it been for subsequent chiefs of staff? have the also found it is difficult to manage that relationship as rahm emanuel feared it would be? >> guest: i think that everyone of the chiefs of staff have dealt with the relationship
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in their own way but they all recognize that the president feels that boundary brings, and they work with her and with them to make it work. -- valery brings. >> host: there is great controversy over a painting invitation to the israeli prime mr. benjamin netanyahu to come and address congress. the president has been very open about his disapproval of this invitation to the relationship between the president of the united states and prime minister of israel has probably never been worse than is today. and the relationship between the united states and israel has really been under more pressure than it has been today. you referred a couple times to paul simon who was elected to the senate from illinois and i think 1980. you ran that campaign. 84, sorry, thank you. one of the big things, he defeated a republican named charles percy had been a critic official in one of the big themes of that election was use
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the israel issue against charles percy and in favor of paul simon. what would the david axelrod of 1984 how would he analyze the crisis in the u.s.-israel relationship to a? >> guest: first of all we didn't use the issue as a messaging issue, at least as a micro-messaging -- macro messaging issue in 1984. it was a source of a lot of fund-raising for senator simon who was viewed by a pack and some the organized jewish community's as a strong supporter of israel -- aipac -- than percy was. i told the story in the book after one of the aipac lives was very central to the campaign offered to subsidize me in business, to put in business as a consultant, was happy with the way the campaign came out. and i said that i i mean it's
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obvious it was a great offer to a young guy who had no other means to start a business but i asked if that meant that if there were a republican who or any candidate who is good -- that it could work against that candidate? we couldn't do that and i opted out of that. i am uncomfortable with that kind of an arrangement where one issue, however important that issue is just so dominant that that's how someone is evaluated. but in terms of the current situation, i would dispute one thing. there's no doubt that there's been friction between president obama and prime minister netanyahu, and i don't think that's the news. it is important to note that in terms of military assistance and
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other, military commission cooperation and so on this is far from a bad time. the level of operation is as great or greater than it's ever been and people on both sides would say that. president obama believes and believe what i was there, still believes i'm sure that it's vitally important to resolve the issue between palestinians and israel for the long-term security of israel as a jewish and democratic state. i think it times he was frustrated because he felt that presidentpresident netanyahu was more consumed by domestic political concerns their been pushing the peace process forward and it created friction between them. >> host: a little more than a friction. i mean, has there ever been a presidential prime minister bush and should as bad as this one?
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>> guest: well, i don't know you know. i remember that bibi netanyahu who lost the prime ministership once before because of his poor relationship with president clinton. so it's not new for him to have a test relationship with an american president. >> host: he may win the prime ministership because of his bad relationship. >> guest: he made but i think it's close enough that this visit to the united states congress is very much part of that campaign. i think that he was looking for this event this visit to try and help them in what had not been a campaign that was moving in the right direction. and there's still great controversy about it as you know, because you're a student of the israeli press as i am. there's tremendous amount of disquiet about what's happening to the relationship, and many israelis view his trip here as a needless provocation and a
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violation of the sort a violation of the nonpartisan relationship between the two countries. >> host: when netanyahu got into that crisis you mention with president clinton in 1997, it damaged netanyahu very much because israelis trust bill clinton as if unofficial. today a recent poll finds that 60% or of israelis think president obama will sign any deal with iraq no matter how bad. he is not regard in that way and the prime mr. goetz on bad terms with this present it doesn't hurt in the way when he got on bad terms with bill clinton. >> guest: the polling i've seen show spitzer great deal of concern about the state of the relationship between israel and the united states, in part because of the actions of the prime minister. so again we can debate about this stupid hope we can help a little bit more about my book while i'm here.
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>> host: we are talking, i think we're talking about the campaign. i hear the question because when things you talk about, you talk a lot about your opposition to cynicism and how you remain a believer in the best the politics despite -- and yet we are in a cynical time, and sometimes you used the cynicism you found in the voters as a political tool. i want to ask you about a story this is one thing i find a little disturbing. you work for the reelection of john street in 2003 the mayor of philadelphia at that time. he found a bug in his office and you masterminded a campaign based, it was an fbi bug and you masterminded a campaign to reelect him, use this bug place by the fbi and john ashcroft and
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the attorney general were trying to pick the mayor of philadelphia. the investigation and john street won in a landslide, which you were very proud of that the fbi investigation did continue. 15 people in the street circle was sent to prison on corruption charges. his own brother went to prison on tax evasion charges and, of course as you know, the attorney general does inside who the best -- doesn't decide to the fbi investigates. cleaning up corruption is important. >> guest: first of all david that was a partisan race between a democrat and republican. the justice department practice has been not to service these investigations in the final weeks of an election, so i don't think, and i think people around the justice department will tell you if they're going to place a listing device in the office of a high public official, that rises to the level of the
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attorney general. so let's set that issue aside. john street was never prosecuted, was never convicted of anything and it was a tremendous disservice to him for the story to surface a month before the election. >> host: but he was the one -- >> guest: he was going to be surfaced. it was going to be surfaced once the bug was found but it was going to be surfaced and so you know, i'm just, my dear john street and that race in philadelphia was here was a guy was instrumental in saving the city from financial disaster in partnership with ed rendell. he was a guy as mayor who fulfilled some significant promises to get abandoned cars off the street, afterschool programs and do many other things that were desperately needed in that city.
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so i battled as hard as i could afford but it actually was his opponent who ended up in legal difficulties after the election and ended up having to pay a million dollar fine for the things he was involved in. so if the question, street was the one who never wound up under indictment or any sort of legal sanctions. >> host: but his closest friend and fundraiser who is being investigated guide before he could be charged probably would've been charged and maybe, we don't know, of course. >> guest: like i said, street was never indicted, never convicted of anything. and his opponent had some legal problems, but that's probably not in your research. >> host: one of the things, you have a long life ahead of
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you. you have told many stories. the book then contains a life that is going to go on. you move, the book remains in place. and so you are moving out and you have a distinguished new academic career, you're going to be a very important man in democratic party -- politics. the parties can forgive a person that you enter campaign beat in 2008. you tell the story of how your cam -- your campaign beat hillary clinton's operation. you quote from a memo that you at the time about what her father but was in 2008. of all of advantages she is not healing figure the more she tries to moderate her image the more she compounds her exposure as opportunist. after two decades of the bush clinton saga making yourself a candid of the future will be a challenge. those words on paper how do they fit in your life in a new
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era of the democratic party moving into? >> guest: well i think every carried in presidential politics is different. i don't think hillary clinton was in a strong position in 2008, in part because she supported the war in iraq and supported president bush's decision to go into iraq, and that was a defining issue within the democratic party. very hard to be the nominee of the democratic party having taken a position. she also, people were looking for some outside of washington outside of the day today to let him pull that was going on. obama stood apart from all of that and that made him a strong candidate in that race. people were looking for someone who would challenge the system in a way that he was willing to challenge the system. i think that every election, no matter whether president is popular or unpopular, every
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election is defined by the outgoing incumbent, and nobody people choose the replicate of what they have. they always choose the remedy. barack obama was seen as the starkest remedy to george w. bush he was more nuanced in his thinking, because of some of the policy positions he took like on iraq, because he stood apart from a system that people were unhappy with. i think in 2016 and the people are going to be looking for someone who can manage the system. there may be less of the belief that someone can come in and through a change the system in washington but there was someone who can manage the system, move the country forward who they feel is skilled and equipped and experienced enough to do that. i think that's a circumstance that favors hillary clinton. so if 2008 wasn't the right environment for her i think 2016 is but i think, by the way that may be of benefit that
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flows through governor bush and proximity of the governors who are seen as people who are good mechanics in terms of dealing with the political process and might be able to work within the system better than they perceive that the president has. >> host: to step outside the book from him, talk about the next chapter in your life. you are in politics in the universe of chicago. this is a choice that people used to make a lot go to the cabinet and to teach but as you know well much more typically nowadays they make a choice to catch him. i am sure with your record of success that the options to cash in our enormous. you said no to that. that's unusual. why? >> guest: because i've done well enough in life that i don't feel like i need to do that. i never viewed this as a business. politics as a business. as i said earlier, i do this as
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a calling and i thought the best use of my time would be to try and inspire you and people to get involved in the political process. there's a great deal of skepticism not cynicism but skepticism among young people about politics because, because of the nature of the kind of grind we have seen in washington. and because, frankly, they've come up in a generation where it is a problem you create an app you organize people on social media. by the way things that occur should look at is a potential way to approach the problems in a different way. but they are very skeptical about politics and about government and the value of it as a means to solve problems. i always say to these kids that congress is going to be with them or without them as state legislator, city council, governments overseas but they're going to live with the
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consequences of those decisions and that decisions will be very consequential. in fact, all the equities they care about from right to left and i've students at the university of chicago across the political spectrum. we are going to be a better country if they invest their efforts in trying to steer the country in a direction they think it should go through the political process, not necessary as candidates, doesn't have to be that but as advisors, after journalists, as commentators, but be in the public arena. that's what i think is the best use of my time because for all its messiness, and believe me you know while we talk about the fractious nature of our times, you are a student of history, you know the history of this country is we played with examples. i sit here in new york city as we speak and across the river a sitting vice president shot and killed a former treasury secretary over what was largely
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a political dispute. so you know so i want to encourage these kids to make a difference within the political arena and make this a better and stronger country. and that timmy is more inviting than making a bunch of money trying to trade on my profiler or my connections. >> host: last half minute. you are a writer, as a newspaper man, this book is your work and nobody else's. will there be another? what's next? >> guest: well david you are a writer so you know he write a book and it's a little like my wife describes childbirth to me. it's very, very painful when you go through it and you can't imagine doing it again, but then you're pretty happy with the product, and over time the amendment of the pain recedes. so i'm not making any predictions about what i might
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do next in terms of writing, but i'm pleased to have had the opportunity to reflect on my life and my career and sure those reflections in this book. >> host: and it is very personal. i think people will find it very eliminating and you cover a lot of ground over a lifetime. thank you for your generosity with your time today. >> guest: all right thanks, david. >> that was "after words," booktv signature program which offers at least nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists public policymakers and others familiar with them into. "after words" airs every weekend on booktv at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday and 12 a.m. on monday. you can also watch "after words" online, go to and click on "after words" in the booktv series and topics listed on the upper right side of the page. ..
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>> he said i'm and go to bed at 8:00. now, that has nothing to do with his intellectual capacity or his energy. i suspect arthur visited more cities and countries last -- this year than collectively any table here. "the wall street journal" listed arthur in its feature article entitled "a gallery of the greatest people who


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