tv Charlie Rose PBS June 4, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight we look at the foreign policies of hillary clinton, donald trump and barack obama. >> it was a psychiatric indictment as much as it was an analysis of his policy. and what she did also very cleverly, i thought, was to stipulate that i can't really critique his policies because he has no policies. they shift. his ideas are not coherent in the way that you're used to hearing from politicians and, also, by the way, there is no record, since he's never actually practiced foreign policy or national security policy. so it really was a direct atta not only on character which you get sometimes later in campaigns, but on the mental health of her opponent. that's why we're in uncharted territory. >> rose: also tonight al hunt on the story also with whit
ayres, president of forth star research and peter hart of nbc news and the "wall street journal." >> i've never seen a less stable political environment than we have right now, in my career, anyway. i mean, you're talking about two presumptive nominees where an overwhelming majority of the country has an unfavorable opinion. you're talking about the left wing of the democratic party upset. you're talking about many mainstream republicans upset at their presumptive nominee. it creates an incredible instability, and i don't know how that plays out, but it just suggests to me that we're better off expecting the unexpected at this point. >> rose: jeffrey goldberg and al hunt on the story when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following:
>> 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: we begin with the week in politics. hillary clinton went on the offensive thursday delivering a foreign policy speech that was highly critical of donald trump. >> it's not hard to imagine donald trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin. (applause) this is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes. he praises dictators like vladimir putin and picks fights with our friends including the british prime minister, the payor of london, the german chancellor, the president of
mexico and the pope. he says he doesn't have to listen to our generals or admirals, our ambassador and other high officials because he has "a very good brain." he also said, i know more about i.s.i.s. than the generals do, believe me. you know what? i don't believe him. >> rose: there is also this question, what might american foreign policy look like under a clinton administration. jeffrey goldberg writes frequently on foreign affairs for the drank magazine. i am pleased to have him here. he wrote an article that is viewed as a seminal piece about obama called the obama doctrine. everybody around the planet read the article and is talking about it, right understand the president. now we're talking about another potential president. >> two. >> rose: so some friends of mine who follow this as you do are saying this may very well have been a deciding -- a change
moment. >> a pivot. >> rose: pavement. i agree. i agree. this is the moment, a, when she went on the offense. she pivment, first of all, to the general. bernie sanders was not a character in that speech, for one thing. there was only one character in that speech. so it was a pivot to the general, a pivot to offense, and it was the introduction or the almost introduction of a completely new strategy, and a what i mean by that is the following, it's a foreign policy speech. in a foreign policy in a presidential campaign, it's usually done through the prism of you're too liberal or conservative or this candidate is too interventionist and this one too isolationist. the breakdown was very different in this one. this one, i am sane, and my opponent is insane. it was done almost in a psychiatric way hather than a policy way. >> rose: and let me present you, please, with the
psychological profile. why do you think i say that? because he does this, this and this. >> it was a psychiatric indictment as much as it was an analysis of his policy. and what she did also very cleverly, i thought, was to stipulate that i can't really critique his policies because he has no policies. they shift. his ideas are not coherent in the way that you're used to hearing from politicians, and also, by the way, there is no record, since he's never actually practiced foreign policy or national security policy. so it really was a direct attack, not only on character, which you get sometimes later in campaigns, but you get on the mental health of her opponent. that's why we're in uncharted territory. >> rose: suggesting for example has he possibly thought through what he has said? >> at the very least, right. i mean, what is the fear when you talk to foreign policy analysts and other analysts and
they say there is a question, has he thought through what he's said? and others say i hope he hasn't thought through and when he does he'll come around to certain viewpoints. and then there is a camp that says he has thought it and this is where he's at. >> rose: this is what got him the nomination. >> and he will plow ahead with the unrt docks style of making his points. >> rose: what do you think was the most damaging. >> what hillary said? >> rose: yes, the overall psychological takedown. >> first of all, let's do the obvious. the obvious -- and this is the point i assume is going to be hammered home again and again -- is remember, american voter -- this is what she's saying -- american voter, please remember this man will be in charge of our nuclear arsenal. the finger on the button. this is the 3:00 a.m. phone call on steroids. the finger is on the button. watch this man, how he behaves in public and with people and ask yourself do you want this man to have more power than anybody else on the plan sheet and do you want him on a whim to
get us into war. >> that, i think, was the crucial point which is that she's presenting a person who is, in her view, so thin-skinned, right, so volcanic, so easily hurt and who takes slights so deeply that he will get us into a war -- this is her argument -- he will get us into a war because someone said something. he doesn't let anything slide off him. the other part of this that i think sesktive and maybe we'll see the effect iferness over time is this is a very deliberate attempt to goad him into saying something even harsher or more intemperate than some of the things that he said. you know, this is -- offense in this case means getting under his skin. >> rose: my suspicion is that he knows that. he knows they're trying to do that, yet he may not be able to -- >> somebody told him. >> rose: -- that he may not be able to help himself. that's who he is, if you strike me, i strike back. >> harder. and, by the way, that's his --
if you want to boil down his foreign policy, that is his foreign policy. i'm using here a frame that walter russell mead has developed which is the jacksonian approach to foreign policy named after andrew jackson president, which says -- and this is the appeal he has to his voting base -- the appeal is we don't want to be involved in the world, we don't want to mess with anybody, but we don't want anybody to mess with us, and if they do, we will hit them so hard that they will regret the day they were born. that's the essence of his foreign policy. it's protection against humiliation and protection against -- >> rose: but also doing some things that have been discussed in the elite foreign policy circles you know terms of should, for example, europe and n.a.t.o. carry a larger portion of the responsibility, do we depend too much on n.a.t.o., should we give weapons, does saudi arabia have nuclear weapons and if they do what does that do to the middle east is
the second part and have you thought about the first part. >> and you open up an interesting and uncomfortable discussion for the current white house, which is that donald trump in some cases is amplifying, maybe exaggerating, feelings that the president himself has expressed. when he said to me in one of these interviews, he discussed his resentment of free riders, allies that take advantage of our largess. donald trump has taken that to 11, obviously, but there is the same critique. >> rose: but here's the interesting thing, neither of them want to assume there is any similar later between what they say. >> right. no, they don't want to hear that, neither one for their own reasons, but both men have tapped into it. this is why hillary is somewhat an outlier on this basket of questions in the current american mood. both obama and trump understand hat the american people are inward looking, now, in a way that they haven't been for a while, are not that interested,
that syria is the perfect example. president obama has told this to arab allies for months now that, you know, hey, you guys have to understand that i'm under zero pressure from the american public, from my base and everybody else, to get more involved in your problems. and trump is articulating this in a different way, but it's the same articulation. >> rose: but as you know in an interview i did with him, i pushed him on some sense you are in part responsible for syria this happened while you were president. >> he didn't like that part very much. i remember that. >> rose: no, he didn't. but it's true, in part. he is partially responsible because of the country that he represents and the power, economic and political and military. >> i'll see you the point, but i will also counter by saying that one of the things that he has learned, that all presidents eventually learned is that, when it comes to the middle east especially, we have the power to
make things worse, not just better. and by the way, donald trump, any president will even carlisle learn -- eventually learn that just because you want to do something in the middle east doesn't mean it gets done. so president obama will look at you and in response to that say you don't understand, i am protecting america from our own best intentions. >> rose: right, as he so artfully laid out in your piece. >> the dirty little secret of all of this is that there is no good options in the middle east, aneast,. >> rose: my presentation impression is and david petraeus was here talking about this thursday night on the 11:00 show basically saying they have ratcheted up what they're doing and there is a possibility they'll certainly take fallujah, may take mosul and may even get raqqa. that could happen. and then presiden obama would py say, so what? unless you can go in and hold it. >> and sending kurds and shia
into the sunni places is not a permanent fix to your problem. >> rose: and if you kick out i.s.i.s., you still have assad. >> by the way, this goes to another sort of hobby horse of mine which is this whole campaign is discussing these issues as if president obama isn't doing anything in the middle east when, in fact, we're at war is that and, in fact, have been the longest of any president in history. >> has been at war since the day he bam president. >> rose: my point is general petraeus believes they have ratcheted up in terms of what they're doing and the special forces are doing. perhaps as it has always been, his footprint is a small footprint trying to do a lot. >> he doesn't like to talk about it in the same way. one of the differences between hillary clinton and barack obama is the way they talk about america and its role in the world. >> rose: how is that? well, the speech yesterday, the foreign policy speech she gave this week, this foreign policy speech she gave could have been delivered before the iraq war of 2003, could have
been delivered before vietnam, for that matter. it was america tas greatest exceptional, indispensable power. there was no acknowledgment and barack obama will never give a speech without acknowledging america has gone in and done ings we're not proud of today and has gone in and made things worse in certain places. >> that certainly did not include hiroshima. >> no. >> rose: he thinks a great power must be able to understand the rer repercussions of what we done. >> he sees hiroshima as a tragedy. >> rose: and a lesson. and is careful not to talk about it. >> rose: but she is, as you've said, more hawkish than he. >> and biased toward action and believes action will have good consequences. if you fed john mccain truth serum and said who are you closer to dispositionly, brack
brack -- barack obama, donald trump or hillary clinton, i know what the answer is. >> rose: hillary clinton i. lindsey graham, same thing. one could argue she's more prudent and. >> rose: and she'll listen to advisors and they will give her some insight. >> but i think they have the basic view of american indispensability. >> rose: back to the campaign, your sense is the clinton campaign said enough of this, we have to take him on, we have to get into a general election mode, and if he's going to say all those things, then we have to, in a sense, take him down in a smart way. that's what they're saying. >> right. >> rose: what's interesting to me is that it seems to be -- trump said bad things about everybody, so it's almost, you know, whether it's crazy -- whether it's crazy bernie or lying ted or crooked hillary, all of a sudden everybody gets that. she seems to be able to want to say whatever he has said about me, i'm saying about him
something that's much more substantial and much different, because all he did was label me with one name like he's labeled everybody else. >> this is direct assault not only on his character but his mental stability. >> rose: and not to be confused with all these general attacks on character that politicians have done if this election campaign. this is a different order. >> this isn't about lying. this is about pathology. this is about mental instability. >> rose: and the safety of the country. >> and safety of the country. and what was interesting about her speech, i thought, one of the things that was interesting to me is what a good time she had delivering it. she does scorn very well and a lot of democrats are feeling a level of relief, oh, she can fight, you know, she can take out the knives and start fileting this guy, and, so, look, the decision inside the campaign was, this is an unconventional opponent, very smart, very wiley. i mean, think about what donald trump has done.
he defeated a field of all of the best republicans that the country had to offer, most of the best republicans. >> rose: and the smartest republicans had a horse and he took that horse out first, almost. >> he knocked them down one by one. so certainly in the hillary clinton campaign, there is great respect for his abilities to excoriate -- >> rose: he enlarged the electorate a bit. >> remember jeb bush? >> rose: yeah, who could forget that? >> look at the stories about jeb bush. >> rose: all the people who wanted to be president to have the united states and couldn't make it through the season. >> most successful politicians in america hasn't made it as far as donald trump and he isn't even a politician. they have respect for that and his unconventional behavior, so i think there is probably a little bit of a war room in the campaign where they're saying how do we fight unconventional wawarfare. >> rose: donald trump has respect for it, he believes he road that horse to victory to get the republican nomination
and it's not time to get off the horse now. >> it's not time to change, he's not going to stop making nice noises about people he's never made nice noises toward before. he's got to dance with the people who brought him, the people who think they have an anti-p.c. warrior. >> rose: israel, i never thought they would find a defense minister more to the trying to of the existing defense minister, but they did. >> we're in a new world. (laughter) you know, it's interesting -- nu here's a man who did not believe in a two-state solution. >> right. >> rose: and he's replace bid somebody who i don't know what he believes. >> to get really complicated for a minute, if you don't mind, the previous defense minister was a pro two-state solution general who was disillusioned by the oslo peace process and became hawkish about it. the lieberman guy extremely hawkish comes out of the right
and lives in a settlement but has a reputation of being a pragmatic politician and said if you get me a deal that works i'll even move out of my settlement in order to turn it over to the palestinians. that's highly theoretical at this point. >> rose: it's interesting to hear that. is such a deal possible? >> not right now. i mean, peace is possible but not available at the moment, i think we would think of as peace. >> rose: his definition of a deal would be -- >> definition of a deal, is look, the formula is, you know, can israel give the minimum, you know -- the maximum israel gives doesn't meet the palestinian minimum, so we're still miles apart on that. so it's almost not even worth kind of -- >> rose: second question, the foreign policy people you know, what do they think about iran at this stage after they've had a chance, both in iran and in the region and in europe to think about the deal that the president made? >> so the president's formula is
that iran is holding to the letter of the deal but not the spirit. the iranians argue that there was no spirit of the deal. there was a deal. we fill up this reactor with cement and send out our material and you free up the money that you're -- our money that you're holding in our banks and you lift seven sanctions, right? so there is an interesting split within the administration, i think. i don't think president obama is starry-eyed about the potential for change in iran trial the supreme leader ayatollah khamenei is still alive. there are people in the administration more hopeful than obama was that the deal would set in motion a process by which the moderates -- member moderate being relative term in this system -- the mordz become empowered and eventually sort of replace the hard liners. >> rose: but the same
moderates argued, if we give this deal it can lead to other things, we can create a different relationship. the hard liners didn't believe it. my understanding is they told you it would not lead to anything better other than getting the money to spend on whatever we wanted to. >> iran goes to the missile tests to prove that they haven't knuckled under, they haven't buckled under the pressure of american sanctions, but what the missile tests do is cause people in washington, understandably, to say iran remains a threat and, so, we're not going to do business with them, we're not going to lift more sanctions and, so, you enter the same sort of cycle. the thing about the actual iran deal, the mechanics of the iran deal is so far they have adhered to the deal. we have to wait five or ten years to see whether this actually was the right bet. >> rose: where are the saudis
and those who think as they do about the future of the snelled. >> they're all like you and me. they would be happy to see president obama leave, right, because they don't think of him as a friend. they think of him as kind of a wary friend or as an ambivalent friend. >> rose: or a friend that they wish thought like they did. >> a friend who is more sympathetic to their needs, but they're also extremely worried about what's happening in electoral politics in this country. i would say this, that -- and i talked to a fair number of people in different parts of the world, the only subject anybody wants to talk about is donald trump and what he thinks. hillary clinton is the most known quantity overseas, the most known american quantity other than the president himself. >> rose: and they're okay with her? >> yeah, our allies are very okay with her, our allies in asia, in your opinion and the middle east, the key regions of the world for national security
interests they're all okay with her. >> rose: including the chinese. >> the chinese are interesting. i'm talking about allies now. the chinese are interesting because she's quite hawkish on china and dispeptic about understanding their motivations. so, i mean, if you're a hawk, if you're a john mccainish kind of hawk you look at hillary and say hillary is not going to get fooled by the chinese. but in terms of the allies, they understand hillary, she's a known quantity and her presence would reassure. donald trump's presence would do the opposite than reassure. that's something a lot of american voters would think is interesting and good but this is where the split between trump and the foreign policy establishment comes in because the foreign policy establishment feels stability is a good thing and making allies feel loved and values is useful -- >> rose: the same foreign policy establishment you wrote about saying the president that they were overrated.
>> this is the continuum in which trump and obama are in one sense on different parts of the same continuum. obama, something he's done very few presidents have done is question some of the underlying assumptions of american foreign policy including why are the saudis our friends, why do we have to be such close friends with the saudis, a classic example. >> rose: or why can't we get them to talk to each other. >> why do we have to constantly referee between a dysfunctional iran and dysfunctional saudi arabia, right. trump takes that, again, to a whole other level when he says if they don't pay for x then we're not going to be their friends. but the same anxieties produced in certain parts of the world by obama foreign policy, would be amplified in unusual ways by a trump presidency. >> rose: the unusual thing as you pointed out is donald trump is coming at hillary clinton from both the left and the right. >> up and down, east and west.
>> rose: north, south, east, west -- (laughter) he will say, she supported the iraqi war, i didn't. >> even though i think he did. >> rose: but that's what he'll say. >> yeah. it's fascinating because she's planning the whole time. she's planning the whole time to be running against a republican hawk. jeb bush, marco rubio, that kind of person, even ted cruz had hawkish ideas on certain subjects and here you have a guy coming at her from the left. that's why there is an elegance to what she did in this anti-trump speech. she's not arguing with him about ideology. she's arguing about psychiatry and basic character and basic mental -- >> rose: and there is an unpredictability about him. >> this is the resurgence of the crazy nixon approach to making foreign policy. obama doesn't believe in that but donald trump apparently does which is leave everybody guessing about your intentions
and, you know, this is what kissinger recommended back in the early '70s with our enemies. he would go to people and say, i don't know, the president is a little bit crazy, you don't know what he's going to do, and he would use that in a useful negotiating way. this president obama doesn't believe in that approach. donald trump to the extent he has a formulated foreign policy believes that projecting instability is useful to american interests. >> rose: this president, as you found out in your article, also believes that you don't go bomb somebody to prove that you're prepared to bomb them. >> right. this is where they're so different. donald trump is, you know, all spleen, all gut, right, and the critique of president obama is that there is no gut involved. that's why he has difficulty connecting with the american people about their fear of terrorism, for instance, because he's always rationalizing and sort of analyzing in a cool, deliberate way some of these things. he got into trouble with that repeatedly after the paris
attacks if you recall. donald trump is so different than barack obama in this, it's all emotion, it's all visceral, and with this president it's all cool rationality. >> rose: is anything else likely to happen to the administration or from the administration of barack obama that will change his place in history vis-a-vis the relationship with the world? >> something could happen tomorrow. >> rose: i know, but is it likely? >> one big question coming back to your question about the middle east and israel is are they going to, on their way out the door, lay down new parameters for what they think middle east peace should look like? >> rose: you mean present an idea or do something else? >> present more than an idea. >> rose: well, an idea with particulars. >> right, a new set of parameters to replace the old clinton parameters. barack obama is frustrated that he could not reach the promised
land, let's call it that and put it in biblical terms. he's standing on mt. nebo looking at the promise land saying i could not deliver peace, i tried, but i'm at least going to tell the world how i should look in specific terms that will make the israelis and palestinians upset but maybe lay the groundwork for future negotiations. that's one thing that could happen. right now, though, he's fixiated on handing a clean barn to his successor, meaning getting i.s.i.s. into a manageable -- the i.s.i.s. problem into a manageable -- >> rose: and that's why general petraeus says he's policed he's -- pleased he's ratcheted up. >> president obama knows he will be judged on how well he dealt with this problem in the last year. >> rose: let's assume he does, will the judgment on his foreign policy history be what? >> too early to tell. he's a gambler. the iran deal, more than anything else, will prove this
point. >> rose: if they go out and get a nuclear weapon, then he failed. >> ten or 15 years, if iran is nuclear, then president obama will look like a sucker. >> rose: then saudis and everybody in the region are nuclear. >> then you have a big set of problems. but, you know, around the world, how he manages terrorism, contains it and ultimately defeats it, if he's set america on the course to do that, one way to judge, iran is another way. managing china's rise. that's why the last asia trip didn't get huge amounts of coverage but lifting the arms embargo in iran is one of the most historic things he did. >> rose: i think he looked happier than in a while because he was in the act overdoing what he always believed in. >> pivoting. >> rose: pivoting. or there is a huge opportunity to do really remarkable things with a bunch of countries, many in asia and some in other places, that are open to new ideas and being different and a whole new level of leadership that separates them from their history. >> as he put it to me, you know,
america polls it 80% favorability in vietnam and says, if you're the american president, would you rather be in vietnam? >> rose: beyond the fact that they like us, he believes there is opportunity. china presented an opportunity phon relationships. >> and also it's demographics. vietnam, there are more people in vietnam than germany. asia to him is -- represents america's economic future. >> rose: exactly. so anytime -- this is a very successful trip for one underlying reason, nothing terrible happened in the middle east or there are no huge terror attacks in europe to draw attention away from him. he got things done. he got to go to hiroshima which is something he wanted to do and he wanted to close that out as another taboo h he can erase. the last couple of years have been about removing taboos from american foreign policy. >> rose: cuba. cuba the big one, obviously. talking to iran, making a deal
with iran. burma was a small taboo but it was. vietnam, hiroshima, all about taboo-breaking. >> rose: how do you define this relationship you have with him? >> i started talking to him years ago about specific issues. >> rose: when she was a senator ? >> yes, about specific middle east issues and those conversations were interesting. i have to say, i enjoyed them tremendously because he's a guy who knows his stuff and he's done his homework and he reads the same thing. look, in another -- if his life had taken a slightly different course, he would be a foreign policy analyst on pbs. >> rose: i would be interviewing him and not you. >> he would be the president of the council on foreign relations or something. >> rose: nobody said he would be an entrepreneur. >> he has this analytical mindset that people who do analysis find pretty appealing and, so, you could have these substantive conversations and
one things leads to another, and i'm interested in these issues of -- >> rose: okay, but -- -- of where america is in the world and i think he is, too. >> rose: absolutely. i don't agree with him all the time -- >> rose: we're all better because people are having conversations with hill and in your case we can read about it. do you send e-mails to him? are you on the phone with him? >> oh, no, no, no. no. >> rose: this is the most powerful person in the world protected by all this -- i'm curious. >> you're friends with everybody around the world. you're acting like, i don't know, you go bowling with putin, practically. >> rose: i'm act like a simple boy from north carolina trying to figure out how the smart guys do it. >> for the record, charlie rose does not go bowling with putin. >> rose: but he would. he would, in a second. and he would do it without his shirt and beat you. (laughter) >> rose: and i'd go bowling with anyone else. >> bowling with putin is the name of your memoir.
there it is. >> rose: (laughter) >> rose: but in the capacity if you do your homework and be smart about it, i learn more about obama in your article in the atlantic than i have from everything beforehand. >> that's a compliment. >> rose: my point, it's what we need is some capacity to understand how people see the world and to be able to be explain to you why they did it this way rather than that way and when you say yes, they come back to you. >> a small and important point about journalism, the atlantic magazine published the article in 19,000 words and live in the age of twitter and that's completely counterintuitive and succeeded. something the president understood is the atlantic magazine which abraham lincoln credited with helping him win
the civil war by the way that h atlantic magazine that has a history of doing serious journalism about foreign policy and national security that he felt like he could talk to me and have his views at least accurately represented, and that's -- and this age of journalism in which we live, that counts for something. >> rose: i know of no one who's not glad you that interview in terms of trying to comprehend the world we're living in and the world of the future. >> i'm glad it worked. >> rose: when will we see another book? >> not soon enough from my publisher's perspective. i hope not -- >> rose: is that for another day? >> i hope when we're talking about it there is an actual book sitting on the table. i appreciate it. >> rose: jeffrey goldberg from the atlantic. back in a moment. >> hunt: we are joined by two of america's premier pollsters.
whit airs, for a quarter of a century polled for major republican politicians including lindsey graham, lamar alexander, bob corker and marco rubio. he's the author of how republicans can elect a new president in the new america. peter hart has done the same for democrats for four decades including fritz monday, ted kennedy and the "wall street journal" nebraska poll, conducts focus groups around the country for university of pa's annenberg school. neither is associated with the presidential candidates this time. we are pleased to have them both with us. thank you all boancht good to be here. >> rose: before we get into the presidential race, describe in a few words the context, the mood of the election. whit? >> angry, frustrated with two-thirds of the country thinking the country is off on the wrong track. they want a change. they want a change in washington. they want a change in the government. they want a change in the
direction of the country. >> hunt: peter? ditto, ditto, ditto. thank you. absolutely the same thing. we tend to just think this just happened and the fact of the matter is, it's been there for 15 years, and all of the incivility in this campaign, all the sense of hollowing out of the. the -- of the middle class, all those things have been going on and all we're doing is seeing the cap of this. >> hunt: let me ask you about a dichotomy. the electorate is just as described, i think, and yet barack obama's ratings are up, he has a rating higher than any other politician, that seems contradictory. >> tells you two things. number one, i think he's had the best seventh and eighth year of any president in my lifetime. and you can go through them all. basically, he has been steady, he has handled the economy, he has dealt with all of the social
issues. >> the 2016 race then? i don't think so, because i think the times have shaped the race and yet, at the same time, i think barack obama's going to end up being the most important character in the 2016 election. i think he will do for hillary clinton what bill clinton did for barack obama in the convention. he will help to launch her campaign at that convention. >> hunt: how do you size that up, whit? >> al, i think there is one more component to barack obama's improving job approval. it started going up about the time that donald trump and hillary clinton became the presumptive nominees of their respective parties. both of them have overwhelmingly more negative views than positive views. so i think, in comparison to donald trump and hillary clinton, maybe some people started thinking barack obama looked a little better. >> hunt: not as bad as we
thought. peter, one question, if hillary clinton came to you for advice and say should i run as a third obama term or strike my distance from this guy, what would you tell her in. >> neither. i would tell her to define her own presidency. i felt that in the primary she helped herself by being tied to barack obama, but exactly what whit said, it's a country looking for change, it's not continuity. i think she needs to show that she rf her own path and direction. it will be both a continuation of obama, but much will change. >> hunt: whit, from what you've seen, does she have any clear message? >> there is not much of a clear message at least not that i can discern yet. but the interesting aspect of this environment is that with we have two very powerful opposing forces at work in the 2016 election. on the one harntiond we have this de-- on the one hand, we have this desire for change we've talked about which is overwhelming, and it's very difficult for hillary clinton
who has been a part of this system for the last quarter century to hold herself out as a candidate of change. that helps donald trump. on the other hand, we have an opposing force, the inexorable march of demographic change where every year since bill clinton's reelection the proportion of whites in the national electorate has gone down two, three or four percentage points, so in 2016, we're likely to have an electorate that's 69% to 70% white, the lowest we've ever had. that helps hillary clinton because she does so much better among non-whites as did barack obama than donald trump does, at least at the moment. >> hunt: i want to steel your book for -- steal your book for a moment because that's what you wrote about in this highly-praised book. in 2012, the electorate was 72% white and the 28% non-white mitt romney got only 17%.
donald trump's theory says 31% non-white this time, i can make it up by doing much bet were whites. >> if he does no better than mitt romney's 17% among non-whites, and at this point he would be lucky to do as well as that, he would need 65% of the white vote in order to win a majority of the popular vote. that is a level higher than anyone has achieved in the history of exit polling with the exception of ronald reagan and a 49-state sweep in 1984. i'm not saying he can't do it, given this overwhelming desire for change, but it is a huge force that is running in hillary clinton's favor that balances out this desire for change. >> his theory of this campaign seems to be from that old texas football coach daryl royal, you dance with the girl you brung, he's not going to change. would you like to tell him that smart or see him change? what advise would you give it to
him? >> there's no point in wasting our breath, he's made clear he is what he is and the real question is how these two strong, opposing forces play out. right now, they look to be fairly equal in power because the two -- the national polls are fairly cles at the moment. >> hunt: peter, would you give trump any advice? go ahead and do it anyway, even if he won't listen. >> i guess what i would tell him is america is looking for a commander in chef not an insulter in chief. essentially, when i do all my focus groups, the biggest problem with donald trump is not necessarily where he stands on issues -- he may not know a lot, but his stance is not bothering the american public. what is really bothering the american public is his persona, the way he acts, and it never changes. it may deviate for half a second, but it always comes back
around, and that's his biggest liability right now, and he's not curious. >> hunt: but, peter, your focus groups also show similar problems with hillary clinton, and especially with younger voters. what can or should she do about that? >> well, i think, for hillary clinton, her -- she's got two problems. leaving aside integrity, which voters have questions about, and recognizing that they see tremendous competence with her, her biggest problem is likability. and here is a woman who has a vast array of friends forever. where is that being shown? where is the light side of her life being shown? somehow, they have to change the focus. she is always out there either talking, lecturing at people, and there isn't a sense of camaraderie. there's no sense. i don't know if donald trump has any friends. i know hillary clinton has made
friends whether it is the senate or internationally or going all the way back to college days. somehow that has to be brought into the campaign. >> it does. one commentator david brooks wrote, you can't imagine her having fun. barack obama plays golf, w. and i did a bunch of things, but, whit, they're both going to pick a running mate in the next month or so. some people think that the choice of a vice presidential pick is exaggerated. is it this time? does it matter? >> it frequently is exaggerated. most of the time, if a candidate doesn't screw up the choice, it doesn't matter a whole lot. >> even when they do sometimes. but, normally, if they pick someone who is a credible, potential president, the choice fades into the background. you can't even count on a vice presidential nominee to carry his or her own home state unless it would go there anyway. john edwards was on the ticket
in 2004 with john kerry and lost north carolina. >> ron paul lost wisconsin. exactly. i think it may be a little different this time in a different way, though. the vice presidential pick will be donald trump's first governing decision, and if he picks someone who is widely admired in the party, widely seen as a credible potential president, that may give some republicans who currently have real pause about voting for him a little more reassurance. on the other hand, p if he picks someone who is widely deemed to be not ready to be president, that's lymph si going to re-- that's simply going to reinforce the doubts. >> someone like bob corker. he would be a credible candidate, widely admired on capitol hill, widely respected for his foreign policy knowledge as well as business acumen. >> hunt: you're not going to tell me who wouldn't be a good pick? >> i don't think that would be a
wise thing for me to do here, al. >> hunt: peter, how about hillary clinton. does it matter who her pick is? >> i think she'll pick in a smart, tactical fashion. my guess is she will be what we would say safely on the green, close to the hole. so -- >> hunt: you don't think she has to worry about appealing to the bernie people? >> i think she will probably go left of center. i think she will be looking at that group, but i don't think she's going to choose anybody that is really going to ruffle feathers or be a problem for her. >> but her choice, al, will show whether or not she thinks her main problem is uniting the democratic party by going left on her pick to pick up the bernie people, or whether she sees her opening as more disaffected republicans and independents with a more mainstream pick like a tim kaine. so i think that's an important strategic decision that she has to make as well.
>> yeah, but my guess is, listening to the campaign and following things, i think she's going to have to go left. i mean, i think there is work that she has to do with the sanders and warren coalition. >> you may be right peter but it's always been my view in recent years that the pick works when people say that was a good choice. i think that happened with cheney in 2000. i think that happened with biden in 2008. i think with that -- you know, it seems to me that even if she picks someone who's not in the bernie left wing, if people can say that's a good choice, a few disaffected liberals, so what. >> i think that's right, but i think i care more about the conventions. >> hunt: which one is more fraught with peril? >> cleveland. the problem with cleveland is not necessarily inside the convention hall. it's outside the convention hall. those are the people who will be protesting everything that's
going on there, but more importantly it's all the people who won't show up and they will be trying to get a shot of all the people not there and they will be on the air morning, noon and night talking about why they're not there. >> i asked barbara comstock a few weeks ago, the freshman congresswoman from northern virginia, said where are you going to be in cleveland? she said i will be in fairfax station one day -- >> a very fine congresswoman, too. >> yes. >> hunt: do you believe cleveland is more grawght frawght with peril? >> depends on what bernie does. m running as an independent?ays that opens the door as a center-right candidate running as a fourth candidate with the idea of throwing it into the house. but that raises a whole other question about this environment. i've never seen a less stable political environment than we have right now.
in my career, anyway. i mean, you're talking about two presumptive nominees where an overwhelming majority of the country has an unfavorable opinion. you're talking about the left wing of the democratic party upset. you're talking about many mainstream republicans upset at their presumptive nominee. it creates an incredible instability. and i don't know how that plays out, but it just suggests to me that we're better off expecting the unexpected at this point, given how much per meant is in the political environment right now. >> i was going to say, based on what we've seen in the last year. let me ask it this way for both of you. you're two of america's great pollsters. are there any bellwether questions in your polls over the next three or four months you will be particularly looking at as indicators of what's going to happen in november? >> well, i know for the nbc "wall street journal" poll we'll continue to have what we call
the generic pairing, do you want a democratic or republican president. that has been exceptionally helpful in the last year. while the rails looked very far apart, the generic pairing suggested it will be close, so i care an awful lot about that. to pick up on where it started, i'm looking for continuity versus change, and at what stage of the game does the american public say, this is too far? this is too much, i'm afraid of this kind of change? or do they look at the continuity and say, we're not going to see anything that's different? and finally, i think it is sort of just likability, and that is, over the course of the period of time, we've watched candidates sometimes grow in acceptability as we get towards october. will that happen for hillary clinton? will there be some sort of age alienation among the trump voters where they will start to have doubts at this stage of the game, they have got doubts but
are going with them? >> hunt: what questions will you be particularly interested in. >> i basically agree with what peter said. i think the real question is which candidate is going to produce the kind of change that you the voter really wanted to see? we know trump will be a change agent. the question is whether he's a change agent in the direction that the voters would like to see. and that, i think, is going to be a really critical question, because we know the demographics are going to work against trump and the question is whether he can make this change force work in his favor to overcome the demographics. >> i wrote a column this week, to quote one of my favorite authors, that you ought to take these people, you ought to take presidential candidates at the word of what they say they will do. presidents try to do what they campaign on. that's been the history. people ought to take both trump and clinton at their word, but are issues going to matter in this campaign? it seems now it will be more
about character and mud slinging, whatever, than taxes or foreign policy or healthcare or some of the really important issues. >> al, in some ways this feels like a second or third-world country presidential election. >> hunt: it does. which is dominated by personality far more than issues. it's you're a strong -- it's your strong man versus our strong man or strong woman and whatever they believe is what i believe, and in a certain sense it feels like that right now, where it's the personalities, the temperament, the attitude, the likability of the two principles that may just dominate this far more than issues. >> peter, you agree? yes, i think was right there. and one of the things that's fascinating to me is that when i'm out there and i'm talking to people, nobody expects donald trump to build that wall. i mean, it's just a non-starter, and they don't believe it, but that doesn't necessarily turn them off because what it says is he's going to be tough on
immigration. they didn't expect nixon had a secret peace plan, but at the same time they thought. >> well they didn't expect bill clinton would do something about gays in the military. guess what? he did. i think it's going to be hard for donald trump to say, guys, i was fooling you, he's got to try something. >> maybe so but they don't expect that and i think maybe attend of the day the problem for hillary clinton is she's giving you a lot of four-point programs. people don't know what they are, essentially. she needs to be able to hone down her message so when it comes back to what he says, i know exactly what she stands for. you know what donald trump stands for, but hillary clinton is a question mark right now. >> given these decidedly high negatives for both these presumptive nominees, what is the up side for an independent
or third-party candidacy in particular the libertarians, gary johnson, bill well, libertarians, usually we can just write them off. in this environment, could it be different? >> potentially, yes. depends on whether the johnson-well libertarian ticket provides a haven, a safe haven for disci's affected republicans -- disaffected republicans and democrats, for that matter and then it bombs who they -- then it becomes who they take more votes from. but in certain states, even 1 to 3% could affect the outcome. >> hunt: if they get 4% or 5%, who will it take from? >> i think it will hurt trump much more. >> young weed-loving voters in colorado might be attractive. >> we'll be looking for them. (laughter) what it really comes down to is turnout. right now, i think turnout is a
huge question mark. if there's a light turnout, you tell me what's going to happen. the only one thing i'm certain of is with the elections ahead of us, and there are events that are going to happen. how they're handled and what happens on those are going to determine much more about the election and how it turns out than anything else. >> hunt: to exempt your as many as and my other favorite pollster ann sellster, what grade would you give the polling community this year? >> i think it's better than some of the headlines suggest. the problem with predicting trump wasn't that we didn't have the numbers. the problem was we didn't believe the numbers. i remember in september the highest favorable ratings we had in the republican party were marco rubio, donald trump, and one higher, ben carson. we looked at the numbers and
said they don't know anything about politics and policy. when the lights come on, they will fade. right about carson, wrong about trump. >> hunt: do you agree, peter? yes, but to my way of looking at it, we judge an industry as a whole, and what's happened here is there is so many different types of polls at this stage of the game and there are very few industries that sort of get lumped together. if there's a bad move he made by paramount, nobody says the movie industry is falling apart. but a pollster, you know, has to have face whatever that latest set of numbers -- >> spoken like a pollster. (laughter) we've talked a lot about politics, but whit ayres you're a graduate of davidson college. you must be paying a lot more attention to these fabulous n.b.a. playoffs and the stab louse steph -- fabulous stef curry than the presidential races. >> he is amazing. the fact he came out of a small
lirm articles college north of charlotte is amazing. >> hunt: it really is. the mules have not produced any stef curry. >> no, but fortunately they came to the golden state warriors, i'm right with whit on this one. >> hunt: i want to thank both of you for an interesting discussion today. thank you all for watching. >> rose: for more about 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
this is "nightly business . report." with tyler mathisen and sue herera. jobs shocker. the hot streak may be over. the economy created an anemic 38,000 jobs last month and both wall street and main street want to know why. so where are the jobs? one company that's hiring is helping agriculture go high-tech as farmers look to grow more with less. car bow loading. why one entrepreneur hopes healthier bread and a bright idea will bring in the dough. those stories and more tonight on "nightly business report" for friday. good evening, i'm sue herera. tyler mathisen is off tonight. a stamp and steep slowdown in hiring.