Skip to main content

tv   After Words with Senator Mitch Mc Connell  CSPAN  August 8, 2016 8:27pm-9:26pm EDT

8:27 pm
big brother is not watching and they should get to what we have. -- they can. according to freedom house it is a very restricted society. the same as china as far as the internet is concerned. and freedom house also ranks iran in their last annual report as the bottom of the list as far as freedom of the internet is concerned. and despite all of the difficulties, the shutdown of the -- the blocking of the poplar sites and so forth, our website just last year jumped 46% percent as far as views were concerned and that was mainly thank do is the jcpoa and the nuclear deal. we are moving forward with our internet despite all of the difficulties iran is creating and i am sure it is going to continue. >> host: you have been watching the "the communicators" at the voice of america broadcasting
8:28 pm
more here in washington, d.c.. more of our tour next week. >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you and coming up tuesday morning, jacob hacker, institutional for social and policy studies, director at yale university will join us to discuss the economic performance of the state and how historically blue and red states stack up over medium income, taxation and education level. and national association of corporate director peter glees n will be on talking about wall street is continuing to wane in the wake of the 2008 melt down. and talk about efforts to overhaul corporate governance. washington journal begins live
8:29 pm
at 7 a.m. eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion. tonight on c-span2, it is booktv in prime time with booktv's by politicians. pro-senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and john hickenlooper talking about the opposite of whoa. and then we hear from california senator barbara boxer who writes the art of tough. and darrell issa shares his book watch dog about his time of sharing in the house overnight and government reform committee. >> host: this is a book about a shy boy who group in alabama, overcame polio, was inspired to
8:30 pm
become a senator, did and set out to be the majority leader in the senate and did. mitch, when i was asked to do this here is what i thought, i have a confession, how can anyone get mitch mcconnell to talk for an hour. in your own book, and you point out you only speak to the press when it is your advantage. you talked about bill gates coming in and you both sat there and people remember uncomfortable waiting for you to speak. and you recount someone told george w. bush you were excited over a certain vote and he said how can you tell? why so few words? >> guest: i am not afraid of talking but found i learn more by listening. so frequently i started out listening and think about what i want to say before i do it. i think it is fair to say that i am in the era of trump probably
8:31 pm
different in my approach of commenting on public affairs. >> host: you are not the first one. bob novack used to say the hardest interview he had on "meet the press" was senator mark mansfield because he would ask a question and he would say yup or nope. the easy one was hubert humphrey with one question and he would talk for 30 minutes. >> guest: you don't get in trouble for what you don't say. there is nothing wrong with being cautious about your comments. i certainly don't mind talking but i usually like to know what i am talking about before i venture down that path. >> host: you are not so cautious in your book. there is a lot of unexpected material in there. there is there polio and we will talk about that. your first fight with dickey mcgrew and your vote for johnson in '64 over civil rights.
8:32 pm
when it gets to professor obama and senator harry reid, your democratic counterpart and the senate conservative fund, you don't hold back. most people would be surprised to learn you are an all-american tail gater at the university of the lewisville. let's start with polio. 1944, you are two years old and living with your mom in five points, alabama, dad is overseas and the doctor says mitch has polio. it is hard to imagine how terrifying those words must have been for parents then. >> guest: absolutely. and i learned there was a serious epidemic in 1944 all over the country. the disease is very, very unpredictable. first you would think you had the flu. and a couple weeks later some people would be completely normal.
8:33 pm
a couple weeks later some people would be in an iron lung or dead. in my case, it affected my left quadresp, the muscle between the knee and the thigh. and in one of the great unfortun unfortunations, in five ports there wasn't even a stop lith happ happened to be 60 miles from warm springs. and roosevelt having gone there in the '20s. -- >> host: he had polio. >> guest: he did. he got it at the age of 39. >> host: your mother had no idea of knowing if you would be like the president. >> guest: the worst case
8:34 pm
scenario for me was a brace on my left leg. i didn't have as severe a case as president roosevelt. but, you know, i am two years old. you know what 2-year-old kids are like. my mother took me to warm springs. they taught her a physical therapy regimen and told her to administer it four times a day and keep me off my feet. she literally watched me like a hawk for two years every making moment and tried to convey the subtle message, they didn't want me to think i couldn't walk, but i should not. >> host: how do you keep a 2-year-old from walking? >> guest: she watched me and prevented me from prematurely talking. my first memory in life was the last visit to warm springs where they told my mother i was going
8:35 pm
to be okay and that i would be able to walk without a limp. we stopped in a shoe store in la grange, louisiana and i had to get a pair of low top shoes which was a symbol i would have a normal childhood and i did. >> host: how old are you? >> guest: four at that point. this went on for two years. >> host: what an amazing -- you have a chapter in your book called resilience. i guess resilience must come from that to some extent. >> guest: you know, if impressions being made on us at that really early age are as significant as people think it sure had to have one on me which was if you stick through something you keep working at it and give it your best the chance is you may overcome whatever problem you are facing. >> host: do you have any impairment? >> guest: some. i am not great at going down
8:36 pm
stairs. but i have had a perfectly normal life. as a kid, i could not run long distances but i could play baseball. a sport that doesn't have the back and forth. >> host: let's move on to dickey mcgrew. your father encouraged you to have a first fight with him. what is that about? >> guest: i was about seven living in athens, virginia. i had a friend across the street who was a year older and bigger. he was a bully and kept pushing me around. my dad was out working in the yard and saw it. he had seen it before. he called me over and said son, i have been watching the way he has been pushing you around and i want you to go over there and beat him up. and i said dad, he is older and bigger than he is and my dad said i am older than he is and bigger than he is.
8:37 pm
given this choice, i chose dickey. i went across the street and started swinging. i beat him up and bent his glasses. it was an incredible moment to standing up to bullies. >> host: you have a chapter standing your ground. let's jump ahead to the university of lewisville. people looking at c-span might wonder what the senators talk about when you are on the floor. the odds are you are talking about the university of lewisville sports program. your honor thesis was senator henry clay and that inspired you to want to be a u.s. senate? >> guest: i had gotten interested in politics in school. where ran for president of the student body in high school. it was a big high school and --
8:38 pm
>> host: you said you were hooked. >> guest: i won. so i began to follow politics. i remember at age 14 when the conventions were really -- the coverage of convention was really dull. they focused on the podium and listened to the all of the speeches on tv. >> host: there was a big zenith radio and we would lis to know the whole thing. >> guest: pretty boring. i thought i was the only 14 year old but you might be doing it. maybe you were watching, too. watching those things from gavel to gavel. so i began to try to practice this craft and see if i could get good at it. and i was -- you know, ground for president and shooting council in college and in law school.
8:39 pm
and clay was the most famous politician in kentucky. >> host: what about clay inspired you most? >> guest: well, the fact that, you know, in a not terribly significant state some would argue had become a major statesman. in kentucky, people-focused on clay so i wanted to learn more about him. >> host: he was known for crafting compromises which is a dirty word for people today. >> guest: it is but absolutely essential. the constitution is full of comp p romises and we do it every day to make the senate function. i did my thesis on clay and the compromise of 1850 and continue to follow him. >> host: there was another aspect to the university and
8:40 pm
that is this athletic program. describe your tailgating schedule. >> guest: football is an important part of life. >> host: you take it seriously. >> guest: i do. i buy 12 season tickets every year. one of them goes back to college. and an occasional weekend we make a day out of it. we go out early and one of my friends has an rv in the parking lot and talk what will happen in the game, go to the game and then talk about what happened in the game. it is a lengthy exercise and one of the great joys of life. >> host: let's jump ahead. we are talking about the early 1960's when you are at the university of lewisville. you and i both drove to washington we realized in a green mustang at the end of 1960.
8:41 pm
you to work for senator cook and me senator howard baker. and i can remember senator baker saying to me you need to go over and meet that smart legislative aid mitch mcconnell. let's go back to lewisville, you led a march or part of a march on the capitol about civil rights. you were in washington as i was to hear martin luther king speech in august of 1963. the i have a dream speech. you had gold water come speak to the university of lewisville because you were president of which college of republicans but voted for johnson in 1964. what happened? >> guest: in our generation i think the civil rights movement was the defining movement of our generation. in '62, i was college republican president and gold water accepted the invitation and it was terrific.
8:42 pm
in the summer of '63, people like you and myself got to say the i have a dream speech and in '64 i was an intern in senator cooper's office. two important things happened. we broke the filibuster for the civil rights bill and nominated barry goldwater, one of the few people that voted against the civil rights bill, and i was mad as hell. i was so irritated about him voting against it and defining the republican party in a way i thought would be unfortunate that i voted for lyndon johnson which was a mistake. >> host: when president reagan vetoed the sanctions on south africa for an apartheid you
8:43 pm
voted not to override the veto. >> guest: i voted to override the veto. >> host: which most republicans did not do. >> guest: right. i felt like reagan who is widely admired by people like you and me was simply wrong about whether or not south africa sanctions could work. i know people think sanctions never work but occasionally they do. they worked in south africa and burma a number of years later. and i thought reagan was wrong and i did vote to override the veto. >> host: you talk about burma. how did you get interested in that? that lasted over 20 years and i remember standing up and watching you make speeches on the senate floor wondering what you were doing.
8:44 pm
>> guest: for the listeners not familiar with her, her father was the founder of the modern burma but he didn't live long and got assassinated. she went off to europe, lived in the united states, married a guy from britain and had two sons from england but went back to burma in 1988 to care for her sick mother when this movement started. she was sort of thrust into the leadership. the military hunter around the country since the early '60s decided to have a free and fair election and they got creamed. their reaction to getting creamed in the free and fair election was to arrest all of the people who got elected and put her under house arrest in her own house where she remained most of the time for 21 years. he would flip notes over the years and i offered along with others burma sanctions bills
8:45 pm
that ultimately made a difference actually. >> host: you visited her did you not not long ago? >> guest: you know, amazingly enough, the regime began to crumble in 2011. so we were able to talk on the phone and i actually went to burma in january of 2012 and got to see her in person and invite her to come to the university of lewisville mccall center later that year and she did come in september of 2012. now she is the de facto elected leader of the country even though the constitution prohibits anyone who is married to a foreigner or who has been married to it foreigner to be president. it was written in the constitution to keep her from being president. she is the de facto president.
8:46 pm
she is put in a president who is a close ally. >> you mention the mcconnell center at the university of lewisville. what is that? >> guest: it is a scholarship program for the best and brightest kids i started 25 years ago. you have to be from kentucky and there ten freshman, ten sophomore, ten juniors, and ten seniors each year. it is designed to try to compete with ivy league schools and to get sharper kids to stay in kentucky for education believing that if they stay there they are more likely to stay there after school. 70% of the graduates have chosen to stay where most of the sharp kids who go off to the east never come back. i bring in speakers and we have had great ones over the years. hillary clinton was there while she was secretary of state and cheap justice roberts has been there.
8:47 pm
it is a treat for the 40 that meet with the private speaker but they address a larger public audience while there. >> host: let's switch to politics. a subject you like to discuss and are good at. you have won six races in kentucky. 12 counting primaries. let's talk about the bloodhound commercial. the first one. i think all of us in the united states senate are political accidents. you surely were. you were 30 points behind in the election year. what was the bloodhound ad? >> guest: roger ails who is well known. he was doing political consulting. he had a couple clients he thought were going to win that year and me.
8:48 pm
and i appreciated the fact he was willing to fake me on but this is a tough competitor. you can see how he started cnbc and started fox for rupert murdoch. it was july of the election. i was down -- >> host: 1984. >> guest: 1984. i was down 34 points. we had a meeting and i said roger, is this race over and here is what he said. he said i have never known anybody coming from this far behind, this late to win, but i don't think it is over. a very competitive guy. i was running against a pretty smart democratic incumbent who didn't have a lot of vulnerabilities. we were looking for something. a needle hay stack. it turned out he had been making
8:49 pm
speeches for money while missing votes on the senate floor. so ails turned that into a couple of ads featuring a kentucky hunter type person with bloodhounds out looking for him to get him back to work. it electrified the campaign and got people interested and talking about it. there was a sequel later where we had an actor who looked like him and was being chased by the dog and literally ended up in a tree. and the key line there was we got you now. and they would treat him at the end. not a landslide. but the other way of looking at it even though reagan carried 49-50 states we lost seats in the senate and he was the only democratic incumbent senator in the country to lose. >> host: i think the democrats
8:50 pm
will say they will defy that method which is slapping them in the mouth before they get started. your toughest campaign beside that was the last one. you had the senate conservative fund coming from the right and harry reid coming from the left. it was a pretty big brawl but you started right out with an ad that called your republican opponent, now the governor of kentucky, bailout bevit. >> guest: you and i witnessed the results in 2010 and 2012. >> host: i was glad all of the attention was on you. >> guest: the senate tyfund and allies fund cost us ten races nominating people who could not win. at the beginning of 2014 i said not only in our race but other races we will not let that
8:51 pm
happen anymore. so what we did, not only in my race but other races around the country, we got the most electable people nominated. if you are dealing with a grup of people who think compromise is a dirty word and always want to make a point but not a difference, the only thing to do if you want to win the election is beat them. we won every primary including my own. as you indicated my primary opponent was a credible guy and got elected as the governor the next year. but he carried 2-220 counties. >> host: you took him on. josh holmes, an op-ed said the senate conservative fund has been walking around the country tearing up the republicans like every bar way they walk into. the only difference is if you
8:52 pm
stroll n mitch mcconnell's bar he will not throw you out. he will lock the door. those are fighting words. >> guest: i think that is what needed to be done. if you look at 2014, as result with my race and several others, we took the senate back. we had the most electable candidates on the november ballot everywhere. >> host: let's talk about the senate democratic leader harry reid. you and i were sat senator bennetts funeral and you both spoke and he said people think mitch mcconnell and i don't like each other but we are good friends. you say in your book you are friends are harry reid. but then you say he as a jekyllal and hide personality and when reed hears thathoods you are classless and like donald trump you think woman are dogs and pigs. you say, not in your book, but
8:53 pm
other places he may be the worst majority leader. the senate is a place of relationships. what about this relationship between the democratic and republican leader? are you friends? are you not friends? >> guest: look, i have been very, very public about a couple things about harry. number one, i didn't like the way he shut the senate down and prevented people from voting. i didn't like the way he ran the senate and i think his public rhetoric is frequently very inappropriate. so i don't think -- >> host: like what? >> guest: well the example you just mentioned. just a few weeks before we were taping this, he took all of donald trump's most outrageous comments and attributed them to me. i don't do that to him. so i don't think there is an equivalence but nevertheless to people it looks like we are feuding all of the time.
8:54 pm
we are not feuding all of the time. we have to talk on a daily bases s. i do object to the way he ran the senate. my goal and this current majority is to be as different in every way from harry and the way he ran the previous majority. in other words, i am trying to do everything totally different. so i do object to the way he ran the senate and i do object to this rhetoric like calling alan greenspan a political hack. he may be many things but a political hack he is not or calling george w. bush is a looser or saying the iraq war is lost in the middle of a major military exercise there. i cannot fail to express my objection to that kind of rhetoric which is frequently flat out wrong. >> host: let's take one other person. you talk about the senate
8:55 pm
conservative fund. you write about senator reid. you have a chapter entitled professor obama. why did you chose those words? >> guest: the president is a very smart guy. he knows a lot about a lot of things. i think he would do a better job of dealing with others if he would spend less time trying to acquaint whoever he is talking to with his brilliance and more time listening. this is the stark difference between the vice president and the president. i have been in major deals with the vice president that were important worth doing. he doesn't spend time trying to convince me of things he knows i don't believe and i don't spend time trying to convince him of things he doesn't believe. we don't waste any time on all of that. we get down to figure out what we can do together because i
8:56 pm
know how far he can go and i know how far he can go. i think the president would be better off. he is a brilliant guy and successful in his political career and rising quickly to the top in america politics but i don't think these incessant lectures are helpful in getting an outcome in a negotiation. >> host: let's talk about divided government for a minute. i have heard you talk about that and express disappointment that you and the president haven't been able to accomplish more together because i heard you say divided government is the time when you do hard things because you spread the responsibility around. now the democrats, say about you, that you said early on, your main goal is to make president obama a one-term president. i have heard you say you made a speech early on it is time to go to work on entitlements and offer a mand to do that and you
8:57 pm
never heard back from anybody. whose false is it we have not taken advantage of this seven years of divided government to do more together? >> guest: obviously i have a point of view on that. on the obama one term president. i ad mire bob woodward who is the only reported who reported the rest of what i said. >> host: which was? >> guest: which was in the mean time we had plenty of work to do and look for ways we could work together. that was snipped off by almost everyone conveniently. but i think divided government is probably the only time you can do big, transformative things. reagan and tip o'neill raised the age for social security and did the last comprehensive tax reform. bill clinton did welfare reform and balanced the budget three
8:58 pm
years in a row. big stuff. none of that could have been done in unified government. i will give you an example of when unified government couldn't produce an outcome. george w. bush was just reelected and asked us to tackle social security. i spent a year trying to get any democrat, any democrat even joe lieberman. and their attitude you have the white house, senate and president. if you want to do something do it. my disappointment with barack obama is there are two things that have to be done to save america from the path we are headed. entitlement eligibility changes. ...
8:59 pm
it's been 30 years. we need to do it again. it's not for the purpose of getting more revenue for the government committed to making a more competitive to the president won't do comprehensive reform other than to try to get additional revenue for the government. so, these two big transformative issues we have been unable to address because the nations ceo simply doesn't want to do it. >> host: i suppose maybe the best example of when we did do that was civil rights in the 60s when we go solve it. i remember when i first came up working for senator baker in the office you now have for days to
9:00 pm
see if they could get enough votes to get 67 which is what took cloture and they did that and johnson and dirksen did that together because the special relationship. and you have senator john sherman cooper as a youngster to the signing of the voting rights act in 1965 and you had a conversation with lucy. >> i had never met her at the celebration of her dad's birthday i said lucy, we've never met, but i was in this very room when your dad signed the voting rights act of 65 and she said i was, too. i'm sure everybody knew you were there. i was in the back of the room.
9:01 pm
she said i will tell you why i i am there. get in the car and i will take you to witness something important and explained to me down to the hill by dirksen was going to be prominently featured in the remarks. she said why would you have a republican mayor. and she said not only did most republicans vote, but the nation will be more likely to accept it if they think we've done this together. >> host: of course they had a relationship. everett dirksen took a phone call in the office and said no, mr. president, i can't come down and have a drink with you tonight. and about 30 minutes later there
9:02 pm
is a rustle outside and lyndon johnson said i'm here to have one with you and they disappeared at the back room of the same office for the civil rights bill. that relationship proceeds the institution of little bit and you even alluded to it earlier. the main goal is to restore the senate institutions. you are something of a historian you thought about getting your phd history at one time. he went on the floor before you are the majority leader and said he wanted to run the senate the way that mike mansfield ran it. at the time you and i both came here. >> guest: we were talking about this earlier. first of all, you have to open the senate up.
9:03 pm
the last year of the majority there were 15 roll call votes in the entire year. the first year of the majority in 2015 you open the senate up, let people vote. number two, when we talk about regular order which people -- it seems the bill is actually worked on together and comes out to the floor with bipartisan support and has a better chance of success. the best example i can think of happens to be your bill to completely rewrite the no child left behind bill passed in the early bush 43 years that proved to be unworkable and unpopular and by the time you brought it out of committee you had the democrats and republicans lined up and took it to the floor. it was open for amendments, not
9:04 pm
that everybody absolutely got everything they wanted wanted, t passed with a large majority. we have done that time after time after time on this majority, whether it was the trade promotion authority or the highway bill which most people think in 20 years, comprehensive energy bills, cybersecurity, permanent internet tax moratorium, major opioid and heroin addiction bill. we are hoping to achieve something important coming out of the committee related to some of the incredible viewers that seemed to be just around the corner for the country. now what does all of this have in common in the time of divided government we are focusing on the things we can agree on and do those because when people are elected i think what they are saying is i know you have big differences between you look for
9:05 pm
the things you agree on and do those coming at that's how this majority is different than the previous one. >> host: i heard you say it but you have to do as johnson did, give credit and no child left behind that never would have happened if patty murray of washington the leading democrat hasn't been as interesting in the result as i had. you came here 50 years ago working for senator cooper. what's different about the senate today and something that's the same? >> guest: the two-party labels mean something today. when we first came to washington there were a liberal republicans and democrats.
9:06 pm
i think the two-party labels today are more descriptive of the two-party system. the republicans were mostly right of center and the democrats are mostly left of center. so i think the labels mean more today than they did. what i think isn't different is there isn't as much animosity or unwillingness to work together as it is portrayed in the media. but thwith the internet and 24 r cable television going on people get hammered with what they teach them in journalism school but only bad news and conflict is news so people are way more upset about the process then they ought to be. they are legitimately upset about where they are in their lives and it's the fact they are
9:07 pm
3,000 or $4,000 a year worse off today than they were for example when president obama came to office, so that is a legitimate complaint. >> when i came to the senate as a senator having worked through it before i thought i knew what i was getting in too but i didn't realize what it was like to work in a body that operates in unanimous consent. most don't realize you are the majority leader. but you will stand up at the end of the day and say i ask consent the senate open at 9:30 and we have a prayer and go to this bill. if you had to suggest to someone a book to read about
9:08 pm
understanding the senate, do one or two come to mind quite >> guest: the senate is working out the way george washington predicted. according to the legend, he was asked what do you think the senate will be like and he said he thought it would be like the saucer under a teacup. why did he say that? until 100 years ago they were elected by state legislatures. the senate wanted to be a place they could apply pretty easily. and then over the years the notion of unlimited debate empowered every senator to have
9:09 pm
an impact if the house is like a triangle with the speaker at the top the senate is off the level playing field without having to first write a recognition. but after that it is pretty much a jump off. stepping back from a lengthy minutia, what should people take from the senate, and they are rarely done on a strictly partisan basis unless you have a huge number of the party. >> on the book lyndon johnson it's called the death of the senate. after the engineers come in and of the democrats havif the demoe than the republicans to even it
9:10 pm
out foout that is to be a wondel way to begin to think about the way the place works. let me switch gears completely. you were married and have three daughters, divorced while you were the mayor of jefferson county when you were a bachelor for 13 years and then at the suggestion of a friend, you have your assistant telephone the assistant for the chairman of the federal maritime commission and that is how you mac to you now married. that isn't a very romantic beginning it doesn't sound like. >> guest: you know, i befriended a couple of people when i was a staffer in the senate and went home to try to have my own career. as you indicated it's been i wanted to meet somebody new so i called up this friend from a
9:11 pm
long time ago and said do you know anybody knew and the family is a classic example of why we never want to totally curtail immigration in this country. >> host: tell something about tt the story. it's a remarkable story. >> guest: born in mainland china when they were young they were dodging and then when they got to be a little bit older, there was the communist revolution. they separately managed to get out of china and go back to taiwan. they had met briefly on the mainland so he searched for two years to find her. they got married and had three daughters.
9:12 pm
he wanted to do better. so he came to america three years by himself, worked multiple jobs to get a start in the business. he has been a captain in taiwan and wanted to be more of that. so, for three years he worked multiple jobs to get a start. he called for my late mother-in-law and three daughters to come over and they didn't have enough money for an airline ticket. they were the only people other than the crew and the commodity. finally they ended up in a small apartment in queens and he kept working. and they ended up with six daughters, four of whom had gone to harvard business school and he built a very successful shipping business.
9:13 pm
that's the kind of story that you see all across america which is another reason why there were moments we were frustrated about the attitudes to remember that unless we were african-americans who were brought here against our will. they tend to be the best so i think that evening and her family are classic example of that. one living and the rest of them deceased but the living one was john mccain. you had a big brawl over the first amendment and most people may not know that the first firt amendment do you have to do with basically no limits on campaign finance disclosure and you voted against a constitutional amendment that would have banned
9:14 pm
the desecration of the american flag. it was a pretty acrimonious battle. what's your relationship with john mccain today? >> guest: that is a good example of being able to have the fight over issues. it was about ten years it was pretty stressful at various points. i called him up the day after he won. watching the republican house and senate passed the bill and i was the plaintiff in boston supreme court called him up the day before and said congratulations. and we found that there were a lot of other things we could work on together and we have
9:15 pm
become best friends on a variety of things. >> host: do you consider john mccain and american hero? >> guest: each of them are deceased and the first that comes to mind about henry clay. >> guest: he's a great compromiser. >> host: lyndon baines johnson. it was mike mansfield. >> host: everett dirksen? >> guest: indispensable player >> guest: indispensable player who knew when to oppose and join up in an unsung hero in the civil rights movement.
9:16 pm
>> senator john cooper of kentucky. >> role model, great conviction, very smart. >> ted kennedy. >> p. was one that many books have been written. you and i both knew that in many ways i think the most accomplished kennedy, he never got to be president, never was attorney general, but i think in almost every way the most accomplished, certainly the most accomplished senator and maybe the most accomplished we used to laugh about going to dinners and all you have to do is mention the name when i made my first
9:17 pm
speech on the senate floor about american history he came over unsolicited, took my bill and got 20 democratic cosponsors within a day. so she knew exactly how to make the senate work. >> it could have well been. during the presidential campaign this year, governor christie got a hold of senator rubio during a debate. in your book you say when i start boring myself to tears, i know that i'm beginning to drive the message home. i am one of the few people that thought he was doing the right thing. good politics is repetition.
9:18 pm
if you are trying to drive a message, you have to repeat it a lot. if you are trying to make a point repetition is a good thing. >> host: after three terms you were elected and that is november 13, 2002. senator bill frist took the position and then at the end of january you have triple bypass surgery so why was gore range of
9:19 pm
emotions during the two and a half months? >> guest:. i was ten years older than bill frist. i had doubts during the period and i had just been bypassed by somebody that was ten years younger tha than i am and had a significant health problem. so i wonder if i would ever have an opportunity to have the job that i had been hoping to have for quite a while. so it was a challenging period but unlike the challenges i and others have come i don't want to make my story seemed all that unique. if you don't quit and you just keep plugging, the chances are you will get where you're head
9:20 pm
headed. we all have speed speedbump and setbacks. there was another disappointment. it wasn't the majority leader, it was the minority leader. >> host: you gave the blame for some of that to the republican and non- republican violence. we talk about that in the book about the politics of the gestures. what do you mean by that? >> guest: why don't we shut down the government to define the obamacare. obama is in the white house and it's obviously not going to sign such a bill.
9:21 pm
it's a way of describing. the only divide the party and that has been a challenge. it's been a bigger challenge in the house of representatives and the senate that have that kind of approach but it's been a challenge. but on the outside you saw with the actions the only way is to simply beat them in the primaries and if you don't have a nominee that comes into the senate and second with that kind of mentality thinking our job is only to throw stones at everything. >> host: one of the things is the message he would like to deliver which is that they are accomplishing a lot and it gets diluted because you have some republicans going around saying it's not and even the
9:22 pm
presidential candidate saying it's not. and to keep the republican majority. >> guest: we all want to do things for our country. i think not everybody that virtually everybody comes here wanting to actually accomplish things for the country and you have to deal with it the government you have. barack obama whether i like it or not has been mayo there for t years and to suggest that we ought to spend 100% of your time fighting within rather than trying to look for some of the things we could agree on has struck me as absurd. >> host: why did you decide to write the book now? >> guest: it didn't happen
9:23 pm
overnight. i thought it was a time in which the senate needed to operate differently as a pivot point. that's the reason we chose this particular time. >> host: if there were one law that you could pass, what would it be? >> guest: it would be the one issue that could sink the country is the unsustainable current way that medicare and social security are crafted. >> host: senators have a weekly prayer breakfast but tom daschle before the former majority leader said something stuck in my mind. he often thinks he wishes that
9:24 pm
he had even more than he did the power he had when he had it take advantage of this incredible accidental cover that you have. do you ever think about that? >> guest: i do. and all the majority is fleeting and depending what the american people decide on i could be they minority leadeseethey minority e majority position does present a real opportunity to even anybodn anybody like the senate, which is very difficult to make function. it's to move the country in the direction you would like it to go so we don't know how that is going to last. you have to deal with a government that you have.
9:25 pm
i wish obama wasn't president, but he is. >> host: we have about three or four minutes left. i want to give you the chance to answer a question. the cosponsors were about encouraging the teaching of american history in the schools so our children could grow up learning what it means to be an american. when they come on the senate floor they may go to try to find webster's desk into different. one question i want to ask you what message would you like us to bring back to the students about the united states senate and future of our country? >> guest: that's where the


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on