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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  May 13, 2015 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight, tom brokaw, his new book is called "a lucky life interrupted." it tells the story of his cancer diagnosis and how he lived through it. >> i've divided the world into two parts, the people who don't have cancer but know someone who does, you're sympathetic, but you don't fully appreciate how invasive it is and how it takes over your life, whatever the cancer, is until you or someone in your family gets it. >> rose: we conclude with al hunt and the story with u.s. secretary of commerce penny pritzker. >> the growth going on in the asia-pacific is something we have to have access to and today we don't. for example, if you want to sell pork in asia you could face a tariff up to 100%, autos up to 80%, chemicals a tariff of 30%.
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if a foreign company wants to sell here in the united states often you face a tariff. on average you face a tariff of 1.4%. so we're at a real competitive disadvantage. >> rose: brokaw, hunt and pritzker when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> rose: additional funding provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: tom brokaw is here. he was the anchor and managing editor of nbc "nightly news" with tom brokaw. for more than 20 years. he formed part of the big three
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network news anchors with dan rather and peter jennings. since retiring he continues to report for nbc news as a special correspondent and has become a best' selling author, latest book called "a lucky life interrupted: a memoir of hope." he describes his diagnosis of multiple myeloma in 2013. pleased to have tom at the table. >> charles, thank you. >> rose: you're the only who remembers that. she would be pleased and continue to thank you from heaven. here's what's interesting. think about the lucky life. inside the cover, tom brokaw has led a fortunate life with a strong marriage and family, many friends and a brilliant journalism career culminating in his 22 years as anchor of nbc news and best-selling author. you were living a glorious life and could not be better. you had everything -- >> no, given where i started in life, working-class family migratory in the south because we moved around a lot, my dad
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could always find work which was very help. to us. i met meredith when we were 15. took us a little while to get connected but as you know it's a match made in heaven, frankly, and it's been going on for 53 years now, and then i was able to work my way up through the various rungs of broadcast journalism and i was lucky because i started when they were desperate for people. they were looking for young reporters out there because the network news kind of blew up overnight. they had to get correspondents. i worked briefly in atlanta and was in the middle of the civil rights worked down there on wsb, the big station, and then suddenly said nbc wants to put you in los angeles. i arrived there just in time to cover ronald reagan running for the republican nomination for the governor of california and caught that wave as well. >> rose: politics was in your blood. >> that's why i got in the business. i love it so much.
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california was very dynamic place at that time. left there, went to cover watergate and did the "today show." >> rose: went to the white house as white house correspondent. >> right. biggest political story ever, i caught that golden ring. so, you know, i have been fortunate. a lot of my friends -- >> rose: did the "today show." did the "today show,." >> rose: "nightly news." i made the "today show" a morning political forum. i would get on a plane and go where the primaries were and keep it going. so i was very, very fortunate. >> rose: and then decided to retire. you knew at the right time to retire as anchor of the evening news. >> i did it intuitively, charlie. i didn't have a big game plan. i knew i had been doing it a long time. there were things that i loved in life that occurred during this period that i couldn't leave to do them, pheasant hunting in the fall in south dakota, steel head fishing, that kind of thing, and i wanted to be relieved of 6:30 every night, especially new york.
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wasn't bad in africa for the release of mandela but the fall of the berlin wall, but every night. and quite honest i felt strongly it was the next generation's turn. i had my turn, it was time to move on. i wanted more time to write. >> rose: in the meantime, you had best-selling books. >> yeah. i wrote "the greatest generation" which accelerated my interest in writing. other writer friends of mine encouraged me to write. at first, i didn't write long pieces. i was doing a lot of op-ed stuff but i didn't write a book because i didn't quite have the confidence to do it. i'm a big admirer of the literary world and i didn't want to cheapen it in some way. my friends said, look, you could write, you should try this, and "the greatest generation" gave me momentum, frankly and i wanted to write more books. >> rose: and you have. and i have.
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>> rose: when did you know that you were not well? >> you know, i didn't know i was not well until the diagnosis came. >> rose: you were having pain. it was 2013 and i had been bicycling with our mutual friend across south america, and then i went to africa where meredith had a big project and i was covering closing days of nelson mandela and going with other guys in the bush and came back fishing in montana and the backache would not go away. i had had them before and they could be relieved. a very well-known orthopedist in new york and another at the mayo clinic, said it's your lifestyle, did a conventional x-ray. >> rose: did they slow down? i had a smart internist at the mayo clinic. he said i think it's something else. so he drew blood, they ran tests and they called me over. >> rose: this was in minnesota. >> minnesota at the mayo clinic. i thought maybe i had a parasite from the african trip. i thought maybe that's what it
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was. and they brought in a very well-known hematologist. he reads off the screen these numbers, sounds like an s.a.t. test to me, spike in the protein cells and so on. he says you have a malignancy called multiple myeloma. you know people who have died from this, frank reynolds died from it, geraldine ferraro, the first woman to run for vice president of the united states. i always wondered how you would react to that kind of news. and then he said, it's incurable but it's treatable. so in a very calm voice, and i was kind of taking my temp at the time and i said, how long. he said, well, statistically now, five years, but i think you can beat that because of the progress that's been made and you're in good shape. we talked more about what i was in for. i didn't ask the questions i probably should have about how is this going to affect my family, how is this going to affect my ability to move and work and those things. he said to me later i had to be blunt with you because we were
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on a short stick at that point. you were due to leave the next day. i new you had a big fall planned. i wanted to get right to the case. the next day i went in for more tests and it was confirmed. >> rose: did you walk out there thinking maybe it's not, maybe they're wrong? >> no, i thought i had cancer but i didn't know what that meant, quite honestly, because i divided the world into two parts, the people who don't have cancer but know someone who does you're sympathetic but you don't fully appreciate how invasive it is and how it takes over your life, whatever the cancer, is until you get it or someone in your family gets it. so i was kind of at sea about how it was going to affect my life when i was in rochester. flew back to montana, broke the news to meredith and i thought i would resume my life. i went to central montana to fish, which was stupid. >> rose: you said it was 150 miles away. >> paralyzed with pain, i could barely move. i got back to the ranch and i
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couldn't move out of my bed. meredith was calling the mayo clinic, they were throwing painkillers at me, nothing worked. they medivacked me out of there, got me to the mayo clinic and that's when we went to war frankly. they said, look, we'll get you this room, that would be the best place for you because you live in new york and here's what you are in for and then began this long file. the part i was unprepared for was how significantly important my family would be, not just for emotional support, but they became my caregivers. meredith was keeping track of the pills i was supposed to take. she was standing in front of me saying you're not going to the speech tonight, tom. my daughter came from san francisco and joined the team. >> rose: were you going to keep it from your children for a while? >> i tried to at the beginning because i didn't want to upset them. but sarah the youngest whoad just had a child -- >> rose: you weren't going to
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tell them you had a life-threatening disease? >> i did but i was trying to deal with it in a calm fashion. i come from a stoic family frankly. my dad went through a lot of pain and difficult times and the last thing you do is draw attention to yourself. >> rose: your doctors were describing this to you throughout this. >> yes. >> rose: which is not necessarily good for them. >> they need to know and that's where jennifer came in. she would say, hey, he's in more pain than he's letting on and we need to be able to deal with this. meredith says the same thing. i where as a family you have to learn to manage your own cases. you have to go in and not treat a doctor like he's a high priest in a mayan temple. you have to learn to speak the same language and tell him, hey, wait a minute, i don't understand what's going on here. what i learned from this and i had excellent care is the doctors need to be more candid about what you can expect, frankly. >> rose: what it suggests and you make it clear that even though you're tom brokaw, you
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have access, on the board of a prominent figure in new york and in the medical community, you can command almost anybody you want, get them on the phone i want you on my team -- >> right. >> rose: -- but yet you still law imperfections in the system. >> we live in a family with eight doctors in the family and i've done documentaries on healthcare and i was still behind the curve on taking command. i did began to catch up. i had a terrific oncologist at sloan, heather, and the guru is a wonderful fellow by the name of ken anderson. i had been talking to him and i said can i get you to join the team and become the coach and offensive coordinator and heather will be the quarterback? he said, i would be privileged to do that. he's had more success than anyone else that i know of. >> rose: going through the moment, you put together the team. the imperfections in the system were what?
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>> the imperfections in the system -- and cancer is not math. you know, two plus two doesn't equal four when you've got caner. the best line about cancer cancer is the greatest enemy medicine has. a woman in ken burns' film said cancer doesn't care if you're a mother, father, have children, it only cares about waging war on your body and everything you throw at it, it will figure out a way to get around it in some fashion. so part of what i've learned very quickly is that you have to keep asking the questions and saying, wait a minute, they're trying something else over here. at one point, there was a determination i would have to have stem cell transplant but i had other friends going through this and said we're at an age where that takes a lot of time out of your life and they're having great success with just drugs. i talked to a doctor at mayo clinic, he said you've got to do stem cells and ken anderson said
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we can beat this with drugs so i decided to go with ken and it worked. >> rose: you both talked to people who had it work and not work. >> that's something i learned. i tell folks now there was a time when you would go online and get a tsunami of information and you didn't know what to trust. now all the major healthcare systems have terrific web sites mayo clinic, johns hopkins, cleveland clinic, m.d. anderson and you can go on and they say, here's what's going on in multiple myeloma so you can inform yourself. >> rose: so the emotional side of this, i would assume, knowing you, the last thing you ever wanted is to have someone say, poor tom, cancer victim. >> yeah, that's why i kept it secret, quite honestly. i didn't want to show up on the internet, tom brokaw, cancer victim and everybody looking at me saying, i think he's going to die. >> rose: it's an interesting phenomenon because, as you know, while you were on your back
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here in new york, you wrote me this lovely note because you have been watch ago fair amount of television. >> right. >> rose: and that was interesting and i was flattered and -- really flattered. one to have the loveliest notice -- one of the loveliest notes i've ever seen. then sort of being asked to do things you were scheduled to do. >> right. >> rose: i thought, what's going on? i need to call you up and say, brokaw, what's going on? and that's when you told me. i think that was early in the game. >> we were close enough, too, i thought you deserved to know. i didn't want you to be in some way stunned by reading about it when it leaked out. you know, we're all part of the nora circle and she kept it quiet for a long time and i finally said to a common friend, i'm not nora, i was thinking i'm not going to die but this is as far as i want to go right now. >> rose: what's amazing to me, a lot of people knew. >> yeah, and they protected me. >> rose: and they protected you. not one person -- >> they didn't go public with it. >> rose: i was stunned.
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well, that meant a lot to me because we were so concentrated on it -- >> rose: and we talk amongst ourselves. >> yeah, and i still concentrate on it at home, and i just had to worry about it, and i didn't want it to spill out, and i knew the people i really cared about were beginning to find out about it and they had the right perspective on it. so that's what i mostly cared about and meredith as well. i didn't want to put additional pressure on her, everyone calling in and saying how can i help, how are you feeling today. so i've kind of developed a routine, get a doctor who you know can be on your team. also get one of those caring bridge sites where you can let everyone know what's going on. the last line should be, now you're up to date, we're going to return to worrying about our treatment and come back to you when we know more. >> rose: there's the emotional -- there's the pain, pain like you've never seen before. >> it's terrible, right. >> rose: what is it like? i've never had pain like that before. i've had broken bones and things
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like that, but this pain was systemic, just raced through my whole system and concentrated in my spine, so that's where the nerves are and i would wake up and not be able to move in bed. i would be afraid of just turning my knee over. what happened originally was that our daughter who had just given birth to a wonderful new grandson, first one in our family, brought him over to give me a kiss out in montana, and she said i went into convulsions, the pain was so bad. then i got so i could walk a bit and i would use a walker or cane in the house. but when i went out, i also didn't want to be in a walker. i wanted to be at most in a cane, and i also wanted to have the restoration of my physical capacity so i was trying to keep that going. >> rose: so there are moments of humor in all of this, too.
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you would see bits of tom brady. you railed at tom brady. >> what happened is 79th street, there is a bus stop and an enormous poster of tom brady and you look at every inch of him, handsome, staring down 79th street. so i'd shuffle to a coffee shop and i would look up and say, you -- and it would give me a lift. i would say, i'm fighting back. i'm a giants fan. and i met him then, nine months later at the preakness, and i told him -- he said, i've watched you a long time. you have cancer, oh my god. i said, no, you have been very helpful. and i told him. he had a possie with him and they all exploded with laughter. they said, nobody ever said something like that to tom. he was great. it worked out great. >> rose: and he's in the news again. >> yes. >> rose: there's a note you were going down madison avenue
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and your hearing aid battery was dead. >> yeah, i was doing therapy to learn to walk again, if you will. it was a cold, blustery day. i wear hearing aids. most of us in this business have hearing loss because we have these things tucked up against our eardrums for a long time and the battery went dead. i was leaned up against a waffle stand trying to change the battery and i was there in the winter, wind blowing, i thought this is pa pathetic, changing my battery leaning up against a waffle stand trying to hear again and the guy doesn't care at the stand. >> rose: what is the emotional toll? >> i think toll is the wrong word. >> rose: okay, better word. what's the reconfiguration emotionally. it is a condensation of what it is that you really care about. i look at those grandchildren and i think i'm going to spend a lot more time with them now. i'm not going to just have casual weekends.
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we're going to build a tree house. they come to montana and they love it out there and one of them really loves to fish and i want more of that quality time. another friend of mine said how's your tolerance for jerks although they use add more colorful term than jerks. i said zip. >> rose: a friend of mine, we have a mutual friend who said to me after he had cancer, and he did everything had similar kinds of resources and he said, i have no time for pettiness. >> yeah. >> rose: no time for pettiness. >> that's right. that's how you feel. and there's a certain momentum in my life. i don't want to give up what i'm doing. i love journalism. it's very rewarding. i went to the 25th anniversary of normandy. i started the book as a journal just gave us therapy. >> rose: you mean the moment -- you mean early on. >> very early on because i had down time at home. and, you know i felt that it ought to be doing something and you know, i have been a journalist all my life, so i
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started keeping the journal because it was instructive and i began to think this could be helpful to other families if i could turn this into a book. didn't know if i could, but i'm pretty happy with it. >> rose: you know, what's required in a first-person story is authenticity. >> and you want to do that in a way it's not bragging, that you're not putting yourself so out front. i said to my editor the fact is i do know a lot of people and i have been at this a long time, but i also know a lot of people in the lower tier, not just the upper tier -- fishing guys, friends, farmers, guys who were classmates of mine. so there was a mix of how they all responded to it. i said i may be the only cancer victim who got on the same day a handwritten note from nancy reagan and an email from charles barclay. >> rose: i'm pleased to hear that about charles. i just saw him. also the president called didn't he, during this?
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>> yes and president clinton called and president obama wrote me a note and bush 41 wrote me a note. that was very touching to me. i kept the file to the side. a lot of my friends many whom you know say hey, we have to keep you around for the stories if nothing else. i was the story teller. >> rose: as we all know. ight. >> rose: there's this, though, i found especially important your daughter. she was angry because she thought you were going to leave and she wanted her son -- >> yes, that was early on and she just had this baby and she said to her mother when they were medivacking me, she said what's going on? meredith told her he has multiple myeloma. she said she got angry because i didn't want you to leave me.
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thomas was just six months old. she said i wanted to you to teach him to play baseball and fish and i didn't want that to go away. >> rose: what's the prognosis? prognosis is good. it's treatable but incurable. i now know a number of people 12, 13 years in and they're on a chemo maintenance. i'm taking the same drug but a much lower dosage. i'm on it right now. they're doing fine. >> rose: how do you feel? big issue is my back because of the damage done to the spine and getting my we'll be right back in shape again. we're working on therapy. i had some arthritis that creeped in as well. at the mayo clinic, the last weekend, i went into the final unit and i just needed to get better. i don't think it will get worse. >> rose: the first word we heard to your friends it's
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containable. >> yes. >> rose: we've got it in a corner. >> right. and from the early stages on they told me in september, you're going to have to do stem cell. and then by december, primary care physician at sloan said we're not going to have to do stem cell, you're doing so well on drugs and then bringing in ken anderson, he said we're going to war and in cooperation with heather at sloan they added another drug, and we did go to war and that helped. >> rose: so here's the question. could someone who's not tom brokaw get this today have it available. >> i don't think they had the access that i had. >> rose: and how do we make that more real? >> i was talking to healthcare people about it and i must say that the c.e.o. of the mayo clinic, and i'm on that board thinks that i'm doing a real service by being candid about what people need to know and how they need to get there. medicare part d which is the
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unfunded part of prescriptions, you can get the drug which is $500 a pill and you take two a day when you're in the middle of this treatment. medicare part d will take care of that for people who are medicare eligible. but if you're not eligible then finding the money to get that done is very tricky. the other piece of it is it's pretty much a confined culture. there are variations on the treatment. sinai here at sloan, dana at the los angeles hospital of m.d. anderson, very big treatment center in little rock, arkansas but they don't vary much. some believe more strongly in stem cells and a cocktail of prescription drugs, so you don't have that many chases. it's very uneven. you and i have a close friend who has a brother not doing well. he seems physically fit but does not respond and it's maddening frankly. again, it's cancer doing what it
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does. if it decides to declare war on your body, it's going to do everything it can to do that. >> rose: tell me and i don't know the answer but a friend of mine who is very bright and is a leader in the tech world came to me after visiting boston and people up there and said that cancer may be curable, and there are varieties of it and some has one genetic factor and others may have 17 genetic factors or 100 but it may be curable in ten years. >> yeah, it's the most encouraging time in the treatment of cancer and it's all about immunotherapy, gene therapy in which they use the cells from our body, reengineer and reinsert them. that's as far as i can go because that's kind of what i know about it at this point, and then those cells attack the cancer cells. and there is universal excitement about this in the cancer community and everybody is pushing hard to get this
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done. >> rose: and maybe there's a possibility of accelerating it? >> do i hope it will be accelerating it. we have an issue in this country with clinical trials and how long they take. >> rose: it's faster in europe. >> it could be faster. there's an astonishing story at the mayo clinic. there was a woman who had multiple myeloma, a minnesota woman, and she was in remission three different different times and they were out of hope, she was not going to make it. so they brought her to the clinic and say we have an idea. a measles vaccine which comes from your own system, we would like to try a mega dose, 10,000 times what you would normally get for measles and we think it may work with this. >> rose: it will attack the cancer cells? >> yeah. and she said i'm out of hope, try anything. they injected her, she had tremors, she went into a terrible fever, kind of allouis nations and the -- and
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hallucinations, the next day the carnes was gone and in three years she was cancer three. it was a hail mary for her. the clinic was very responsible. they told her what she was in for, this is your last hope we're going to learn something from this and she said i'm going to be the person you do this to. >> rose: same success with the poilio virus and the brain cancer. >> exactly. the care takers are there, the people there in the middle of the night for you and the people in the labs working over the microscope. i had a hard time in high school biology. there was a woman from turkey there working being trained and ken anderson said she's going to take what she's learned back to turkey so we can become a font for other countries to learn what's going on here. we are on the cutting edge of all this kind of work. >> rose: when i was near death in paris and came back here
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miraculously survived -- >> right. >> rose: -- first question everybody wanted to know was how has it changed you. >> yeah. >> rose: so the question is how has this changed you? >> i don't think dramatically. i have the same interests and i've not decided to go off to monastery and lead a monkish life of some kind. >> rose: but you think about priorities. >> i do. a book tour is not a good time to think about priorities. it's morning, noon and night. once this is over, i said to meredith the other day, i can't wait to get to montana, one of the last lines in the book because i'm looking forward to sitting by the sea in a white terry cloth robe and a great tub of coffee and meredith reading a quirky article to me. >> rose: your bucket list, want to play chess -- >> i owed like to write a short story that gets published.
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>> rose: was this serious on your part? >> yeah. i used to carry copies of checkoff with me because i could read any of them and i've read my friend some mcgwain has a great book of short stories. i got to know donald hall in a pen pal kind of way the pote poet laureate, he wrote a great book about his daughter's death poems about it and i got to know an author in nashville. i don't have to chase the big story every day. >> rose: what is your journalism future? >> my journalism future is, at nbc what they're interested in having me do is perspective. i just did two essays on the end of the war in vietnam which is
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40 years ago. i did one for the "today show," one for nightly news. so it's that kind of thing. i'll do meet the press with my friend chuck from time to time when he wants me there to kind of offer some perspective, but i'm not going to go out there and have sharp elbows and get myself on the front line. i'll do it when they want me to. i still pay attention. i'm still invigorated by what's going on. >> rose: are anchors as relevant as when you were there? >> i think they're working in much different conditions than when we were. we were the big three and there were not as many competitors for us and the other good fortune for us is, as you know, we were all three reporters, that's what we cared about. then satellites came along so we could jump on airplanes and get on the air from anywhere at that point and cnn was the big cable competition. that has now changed a lot, obviously. the screen is filled with all these outlets that are going on. so here's what i think -- why i
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think anchors are most relevant. day to day anchors are competing with everybody else. when the big event happens 9/11, war, a natural disaster there still is thankfully, not just a tendency but an instinct to turn to the anchors to find out what's happening. >> rose: kind of a hearth. ight, the ones they trust the heads of big news organizations, that's where they go and that was the most important part of my job i always thought is when it's really big, dan, peter and i were there when we went to war or whatever happened happened. >> rose: when you look back what's the best story you ever had. >> i have two that i always say i think in my lifetime, i think 9/11 was the hardest single time i ever had. that was so traumatic and we didn't know what was going to happen next where it was going to come from. but i think the story that be there a thousand years from now and we'll be examining it is the collapse to have the soviet
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union and not the reformation but the retooling of china. those were seismic events. >> rose: we're interconnected in a number of ways, as you know. i remember not long ago walking into mayor bloomberg's foundation headquarters and there was an event they do there. you were there and i saw meredith first and i said, i just found out tom was receiving the medal of freedom. and she said you knew but nobody knew. it wasn't public. >> no, we didn't talk about it. >> rose: and i went over and said to you, congratulations and i know this in ways i shouldn't know this but i know this. >> right. >> rose: and you said, it's the big one. i mean, it's the one that means so much to me. >> yeah. >> rose: is it because it's about country? >> yeah, i think it rises above all the others and it's testimony, i think as well, if you look at the other
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recipients, stevie wonder was there, the three young men killed in mississippi in the civil rights movement, prominent writer in america, we all came from different places but we're all the embodiment of the american dream in one way or the other and this is an acknowledgment of that so i accepted it in my own mind not just on behalf of my own nuclear family but my parents and meredith's parents and the people i ran with and i was a little my high school pals would storm through and say, wait a minute, there is another part of the story (laughter) >> rose: so now big decisions have to be made at nbc news in the next couple of weeks i expect. what's your rle and advice? >> i'm involved in the dialogue but i'm not making the big calls. you know i'm flattered they want to know what i think within the rank and file. i think it's fair to say a lot of people come to me and -- >> rose: the rank and file.
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yeah their concerned about what's going to happen. i try to assure theme -- them however it turns out there will still be an nbc news. people are able to separate those stories from the work they do. it's been a difficult time, brian and his family and everybody at nbc news but there's a strong process and let's let that play out. >> rose: the question is it's not so much brian as you said, being respectful of brian, this has been unusually difficult for him, a man who everybody knew and liked at the same time there are questions having to do with the nature of people who are looked to for credibility as you were. >> yeah. >> rose: how do you make decisions like this? >> that's what's helpful, charlie. >> rose: this is a place you built your -- >> yeah, i mean, first of all, you have to get all the irreparable evidence on the
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table. not just the rumor and the personal piece but what was true and what wasn't true. and then you make a judgment about what does that require of the people who run nbc and nbc news and how they deal with that. but what has been frustrating is that every day, you know, there is something that pops up on one of the major publications or web sites and whatever and most was pretty uninformed. that's why i found myself saying let's wait and see what all the material is. >> rose: the book is called tom brokaw, "a lucky life interrupted." a lucky life indeed and indeed interrupted and indeed he continues as a force in our life and his friends and as a personal friend of mine. thank you for coming. >> charles, thank you very much. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us. >> hunt: trade it may sound arcane, but the economic and political stakes are huge.
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it's generating an intense battle in washington this week with the white house and the on capitol hill. this however with a new twist. president obama and congressional republicans are allies with most democratic senators and house members on the other side. the centerpiece of this fight is potentially the biggest trade deal ever, the trans-pacific partnership, binding the united states and eleven other pacific rim countries. will this deal with a job creator or a job killer? a leading advocate is pen penny pritzker, a former top corporate executive in chicago and now the united states secretary of commerce. madam secretary, thank you for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> hunt: the first issue congress is considering is a so-called trade promotional authority which may be resolved in the next week or two. tell us why that's important and what it is. >> let's understand something, what's happened is the global economic environment has
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changed. the fastest-growing economies in the world are in asia. the fastest growing opportunities are outside the united states. 96% of customers are outside the united states. what the president understands is it's really important that our companies have access to this opportunity. >> rose: let me ask you this, why do you need what's called fast track authority? that comes before you get to the trans-pacific. >> what trade promotion legislation does is congress tells the administration, here are the priorities that we have that are necessary for us to then give you an up or down vote on a trade deal. so they lay out in this trade promotion legislation, 150 objectives that have to be met by a trade deal and say this is the bottom line if you don't meet the bottom line, we won't even give you an up or down vote so they lay out the rules for how the deal will then also get
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legislated once the president wants to sign it. >> what sandy leven, the ranking democrat on the house committee and others say what this is about really is the trans-pacific partnership, huge trade deal and we don't know the specifics of that yet. this is what they say if you give us the details, show us what it is, then we can decide whether we give you fast track authority. isn't that reasonable? >> well, al, remember something -- first of all, i spent 27 years in the private sector. this is my first government job. i've negotiated a lot of deals. it's tough to negotiate a deal when you don't have authority, right? and the problem, of course is, in negotiating the trans-pacific partnership, which is with 40% of the world's gdp creelly critical, we're nearing the end of what that deal will be and other countries are saying i'm not going to put my last and best and final offer on the
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table unless i know that the administration and congress are standing accordingstanding together. >> hunt: now need it. yes. why would you want to take a political risk if you know the united states is not going to be there. >> rose: you think it would be good for america. >> i think it's important for american competitiveness. first of all, you have the fastest growing markets in the asia-pcific. today about 500 million customers in asia-pacific, going to 3.2 billion over the next 15 or 20 years. we've never seen anything like this in the world. the companies need to participate in that or they will feet left behind. it's really important that our companies are there and have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. the other thing that's really important about the trans-pacific partnership is
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that for the first time labor standards and environmental standards will be part of the agreement and enforceable by normal trade enforcement regimes, and this has not been the case in the past. so, in other words, in the trans-pacific partnership, the terms will insist that a country has a minimum-wage, there are safe work standards, that there are environmental protections -- like not allowing overfishing or deforestation -- all of this will help make the american worker more competitive. >> hunt: and create american jobs? >> i think so, yes. >> hunt: but you know what the cynics say. they say that's what we heard in nafta 20 years ago. was nafta a job creator? >> i think you can't compare the two. i think this is what i keep emphasizing, the growth going on in the asia-pacific is something we've got to have access to and today, we don't. for example, if you want to sell pork into asia, you could face a
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tariff of up to 100%. you want to sell autos, you could face a tariff of 80%. chemicals, you could face a tariff of 30%. if a foreign company wants to sell here in the nays often you face a tariff in fact, you face a taf rif of 1.4%. so we're at a real exit i've disadvantage not just with tariffs but with labor and environmental standards and if we don't participate in those markets, our companies will get left behind our workers will get left behind. >> hunt: am i hear you saying nafta may not have been so good but this is different. >> this is different and the time is different. >> hunt: and nafta wasn't so good? >> i'm not going to compare to nafta. what i'm talking about is the world economy today. >> hunt: let's talk about some to have the provisions people have talked about a lot here. one of them caused a lot of furor is something called the investor state dispute settlement. elizabeth warren and other critics say what this would do is allow multi-nationals, not labor unions or not ordinary
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citizens, to go to a special court and possibly overturn domestic law. >> first of all, there have been only been 17 investor state disputes brought here in the united states, 13 have gone all the way through adjudication the united states has won every single one of them, so this is not a big threat. really what it is is protection for our companies outside the united states. our constitution allows that if the government takes some of your property, you have to be compensated for it. that is not necessarily true around the world nor are the courts as fair as our courts are. so investor state dispute resolution outside the united states allows american companies to be able to go to an internationally-recognized court with internationally-recognized processes in order to solve challenges they face if, for example, they face a taking in another country. >> hunt: but philip morris is going to court in australia and
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uruguay to try to overturn anti-smoking provisions packaging provisions. that's not the thing we want to encourage. >> we're not trying to change regulation. there's nothing in this process that will change american laws or regulation. >> hunt: but why couldn't someone bring a similar case against one of our anti-smoking provisions and say -- >> because you're not going to face a different set of laws or rules. what you're going to face is a fair legal process in the investor state dispute resolution. >> hunt: and better that kind of court than american courts? >> i'm not suggesting it's better than an american court. i'm suggesting it's important both american and foreign companies get a fair hearing with the law -- appropriate laws in place. i don't see -- the track record does not suggest any of our laws or regulations are a threat. >> hunt: final questio on this. what warren and others say seven
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dodd-frank could be a threat. this president, they say we know he won't engage in the activities we don't like, but let's say in two years there's a president cruz and he negotiators a deal with the europeans that makes it zero to go to the tribunal court and overturn something like dodd-frank, if that's the case why not just get rid of the provision in the trade package. >> because, again, go back to the track record. there's only been 17 disputes brought to the united states. the united states has won all the ones that have gone all the way through ajude -- adjudication. it's a protection for our american companies. >> hunt: so elizabeth warren is wrong. >> i think she is. >> hunt: could china get into tpp in a few years? >> i think what's exciting is once the trade deal is finished and approved by congress it's
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open architecture so that other countries that can meet the high standards for 21st century trade can join. obviously, congress has to vote on each one of them. >> hunt: if someone wants to get in, they have to be approved by congress. >> absolutely. but if they decide and are aspirational to meet the high standards, it would come to congress for a vote. >> hunt: let's talk politics. you know a little bit about politics. you have been very involved in the democratic party in chicago and illinois a long time very, very successful. i look at this vote and it's just remarkable. you will get a lot of republicans and you will lose three-quarters of the senate democrats and up to 90% of the house democrats. what's that message? why are democrats so anti-trade and anti-president obama's priority. >> trade has been historically a tough vote. it's never been one where there's an overwhelming vote in favor of trade for political reasons. so i'm not worried about the fact that this is going to be close, and i think the fact
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that, you know, today there's a bipartisan support for trade legislation is something that, you know, just shows we can get things done hopefully here in washington. >> hunt: why are you losing so many democrats? not just a couple, not just half but a huge majority of the democrats are voting against it. it's not just the old left-wing industrial state democrats. chris van holland in maryland kenny duckworth in your home state of illinois is against it. >> i think there's a lot of political pressure on democrats particularly by the labor yiewn -- unions to not support trade relation but i just think the pressure is wrong. i think this is good for the economy, the american worker, the american worker competitiveness. i keep coming back to the fact there are labor standards in the trade agreements and in fact the trade promotion legislation insist we have labor standards
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and there are environmental standards, intellectual property protection, all of this improves the competitiveness of the american worker because we live by those standards already. >> hunt: one of the other complaints from labor is drug prices. they say basically it will allow the pharmaceutical companies to keep patents longer and generic drugs will be less available and will take much longer for both americans and asians. is that a fair complaint? >> well, the question is finding the right balance, how long to protect the intellectual property for medications, and that's in negotiation right now and i'm optimistic that we're going to come out in a good place. >> hunt: when will you finish the negotiations, by the way? >> we need to get trade promotion relation done and that as you said is ripe on the hill right now over the next period. once that's completed, then there will be the last few rounds and i'm hoping this summary that the deal gets done and this is something we completely year end. >> hunt: and you can get it
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through congress by then. staying on politics for a second, though how about hillary clinton? she sounds very lukewarm to this deal. her husband, of course, was the architect of nafta but everything she said has not been very supportive of this. have you talked to her or her husband or john podesta to persuade them this is a good deal for america? >> i have not had conversations with the clintons or podesta recently but i do know this is good for america and this is good for american jobs and i think that that's something that i know hillary in the end will come to recognize. >> hunt: so you think she'll support this deal? >> i think in the end she recognizes how important our relationship, our presence in asia is. she was part of the rebalance to asia. she supported that. she knows that the rebalance is not just military, not just diplomatic but economic and it's critical that we play a part in leading. let me give you an example. let me bring this down to
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reality here. there is a company -- let's take a company called electric mirrors based on the west co-host, make electrified mirror products. they manufacture 100% in the united states. they're following their customer. their customer is the hospitality industry which is growing dramatically in asia. their customer says to them please, to move your manufacturing to china because then i won't have to pay the 35% tariff that i have to pay because you manufacture in the united states. c.e.o. says i don't want to do that, i'm not interested in doing that. i like manufacturing in the united states i employ several hundred people. please, i need the trade agreements so i'm on a level playing field with my chinese competitor. that's why this is important. i could give you hundreds of examples. i've talked to over 1,000 c.e.o.s in the united states about trade agreements, all of them want to see them either because they want more access to
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them -- 96% of customers are outside the united states, we have a fast growing market in asia, they want access to the markets. i'm not just talking fortune 50. i'm talking small and medium-sized businesses, they're the ones who will benefit from the trade agreements because they need to depend upon a law and rule of law and respect for rule of law and court systems. they can't go to the head of a government and make a special deal. so they need these agreements in order to get access whether it's electric mirror. take another one, world art group. they're based in richmond, virginia, employees 25 people. i think something like 20, 25% of their business today is in asia. they take original artwork and make posters out of it and sell them to offices and commercial spaces. their business is growing but they also face tariffs and barriers into asia that they're chinese competitors don't and they said, look we just hired
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three people because we want to grow more into asia. we'll hire more if we have greater access. this is possible all across the united states, but we need these trade agreements. >> hunt: we keep talking about china but they're not in this pact. >> they have free trade agreements with 17 different countries in asia where there's no tariff. >> hunt: you think this will be a counter to that? >> i do think it will be. >> hunt: state run country communist country, don't allow labor unions, will it be adequate protection in a place like vietnam? >> and part of the agreement in tpp is they will have minimum-wage, protections against child labor, forced labor, environmental protections. you may ask why does vietnam want that? vietnam recognizes to enter the 21st century and their population to have a growing income, they need to have different standards themselves but they want to make sure
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they're not at a competitive disadvantage. >> hunt: right. and the president, last week, we want to nike. that was a source of some controversy because critics have said nike is almost the poster company for exploiting jobs for cheap labor in asia. but you thought that was a productive trip. >> well, what did nike say? they'll create 10,000 jobs in america if the trade agreements are passed. that's a very positive commitment. in fact, that's not new in the sense they haven't created the jobs, but they have been thinking about how if these agreements come into place what contribution they can make that makes economic sense for them. they have been working on this hard, so i think this is great where you've got large manufacturing organizations like nike from all the over the world saying they're going to grow their manufacturing in the united states because of these
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agreements. that's fantastic. one of the things i'm responsible for at the department of commerce is something called select u.s. a. where foreign companies come into the united states and invest and create jobs here. they're interested in us having these trade agreements because they want to use north america as manufacturing platform. so we have both u.s. companies and foreign companies that want to locate here in these united states as a platform to export around the world. >> hunt: you've talked about how hard labor is working against this and you've also spoken of how beneficial this will be to so many companies. is the corporate community, is the business community as active and advocating for this as labor is in opposing it? >> absolutely. you see small, medium and large-sized businesses really being active to advocate for this really coming out. >> hunt: lawmakers in capitol hill where the final decision will be made? >> i'm an optimist. i think so. >> hunt: you are an optimist. it must have been frustrating to
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talk to some of your democratic colleagues and get the kind of reaction because you are very passionate about this. >> i fundamentally believe this is good for the the american worker and american business. >> hunt: i have a question about hillary clinton. next wednesday she'll be in chicago. >> i know. >> hunt: a fundraiser there will be held by your brother. >> yes. >> hunt: are you going to ask him as a matter of family tried would you put in a good word with hillary clinton? >> he's been a wonderful supporter for secretary excellenten and i'm excited for him to host her at his home. i'm sure they will talk about whatever they talk about but i'm not going to insert our issues into that process. >> hunt: you ducked that very dip lo matcally, madam secretary. >> i love my brother. >> hunt: just to recap you believe fast track will pass sometime before the summary and tpp will pass congress before the end of the year? >> that's my bet. >> hunt: so nice having you.
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thank you very much for joining us. >> rose: for more about the this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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