tv Charlie Rose PBS January 24, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EST
>> and by wloog. a prider of multimedia and news and information services worldwide. >> we believe that in a country where every race and >> tonight the special edition of charlie rose. captioning sponsored by rose communications >> welcome to our program, we are live from washington, florida and new york, earlier this evening president obama delivered his fourth state of the union address, this marks a crucial moment possess the president as he pivots toward a reelection campaign, he called for economic fairness for all americans. >> no feature of the obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some americans by castigating others. having previous moments of national danger, we americans are all in the same boat. if we drift -- >> the defining issue of our
time is how to keep that promise alive. no challenge is more urgent. no debate is more important. will not settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of americans barely get by. where we can resto an economy where everyone get a fair shot and everne does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules. what is at stak aren't democratic values or republican values. they are american values. we have to reclaim them. >> rose: we are live and so we apologize, the first speaker you saw was the governor mitch daniel of indiana who delivered the followup opposition speech w warren buffett's secretary sitting aside president obama he urged the tax code be changed.
>> now, you can call this class warfare all you want. but asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? both americans would call that common sense. we don't begrudge financial success in this country. we admire it. when americans talk about folks like me paying fair share of taxes, it is not because they envy the rich. it is because they understand that when i get a tax break i don't need and the country can't afford it either adds to the deficit or somebody else has to make up the difference. like a senior on a fixed income. or a student trying to get through school. or a family ying to make ends meet. that's not right. americans know that is not right. they know that this generatios success is only possible because
past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to the future of their cub, country and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. that is how we will reduce our deficit. >> rose: the president also affirmed america's role as a global power. >> and anyone who tells you america is in decline or that our influence has waned doesn't know what they are talking about. [ applause ] that is not the message we get from leaders around the world who are eager to work with us. that is not how people feel from folk owe to berlin, from cape town to rio, where opinions of america are higher than they have been in years. yes, the world is changing, no, we can't control every event, but america remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs and as long as i am president, i intend to keep it that way.
>> rose: the republican response was delivered by mitch daniels, the gernorf inana, here he is again. >> no feature of the obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some americans by castigating others. having previous moments of national danger we americans are all in the same boat. if we drift, quarreling and paralyzed over a niagara of debt we will all suffer regardless of income, race, gender or other category. if we fail to shift to a pro jobspro growth economic policy, there will never be enough public revenue to pay for our safety net, national security or whatever size government we decide to have. >> rose: joining me now from florida is doris kearns goodwin, she is a pulitizer prize winning presidential historian, mark halperin, sr. analyst for time magazine, kurt andersen and
author and host of 260 and service employees national union, now at columbia university brett stevens from washington my political partner al hunt of bloomberg news, i am pleased to have all of them here, an interesting group of people to talk about, this may be the first big speech for the president for the coming political year as they thinks what the country is and where it ought to go. al hunt, your assessment? >> charlie as you know i have seen a lot of these, usually a state of union speech is about 70 percent political in a reelection year it is about 90 percent this was 99.5 percent political. i thought it was way too long, i don't think he is -- he is more inspirational speaker than bill clinton but not as entertaining a speaker as bill clinton, clinton can get away with a longer speech better than obama could, however i think he set smart predicates for the election and i think interestably the tax issue which has favored republicans in almost every election for the last 30 plus years, ihink this time the republican party has moved sufficiently to the right
that the tax issue may indeed help democrats this year. >> rose: doris? >> well, i think what really worked is he set out that the role of government is gone going the fundamental issue in this campaign and that the fairness question of fair play and fair rules by the game that we all have to be in together is a really strong point for him and i think he made the anti-class warfare thing inpretty good shape by saying the military has rich and poor people in it but the common mission is what makes it work. what we need is a common mission together so that counters th republican argument about class warfe and also defended in his state of union what he has gotten done so far and to a certain extent defended his international stuff, so i thought it was a better speech than al hunt did, it was long, at least not as long as truman fell asleep, 25,000 words so he didn't do that. >> rose: thank you, thank you. mark halperin. >> it is amazing that this is what it has come to.
the present dangers in one quarter or one-eight of his presidency is going to bepent simply doing politics and not trying to get anything done. clearly the thing was poll tested and focus grouped to within an inch of its life a lot of things are popular, a lot of things he believes in, the presentation is good but i judge it will it change the course of what the president can get done and i don't think it will change the course of what the president can get done. i think it frames his reelection but i think he was doing a pretty good job of that already. >> rose: what will change the course of what the president can get done? >> if he breaks the cycle of conflict between him and the republican leaders. >> rose: that is what he needs to do, how does he do it. >> he should have been called john bain ear month ago, john boehner hasn't talked to him in a while and find common ground. i know democrats will say he tried and just fight it over the election but i will say again, i can't believe someone who ran he is going to bring washington together to get things working is resigd to having a quarter
of his first term maybe a quart quarter of his presidency doing nothing but framing the next election. >> rose: and using the american military as kind of the model for what needs to be done is never do, working togethe common goals d that kind of thing. brett. >> i mean, if i were writing about the speech i would probably title the editorial or the common fairness do doctrine and harken us back to 1947, whenever that doctrine came in being. i thought it was based on nostalgia, there was an element that sort of harkd back to the 1940s or 1950's. there was some of it that was sort of carter e.r.a. nostalgia and then there was his when nostalgia for the presidency, he assumed, three years ago, talking about the financial cris, how we got into this mess, something that has become an irritant for a lot of voters, a president who seems to refuse to take responsibity for the course of hispresidency i thought there was a lot less that was forward leading or at least forward leaning in at least the large ways that americans want to hear about, by
an incumbent president seeking, seeking a second term and i wonder how well the fairness argument is going to go over, going to go over politically, it is going to please a segment of his base. i think americans wanted to hear was something about competitiveness, they wanted to hear something about not becoming europe, amount a debt crisis which is not quite the same as the financial crisis. i don't think he struck the right notes. i think he was looking at the past a trying to sound like harry truman, rather than looking like a 21st century president. >>ose: all right. andy? >> mean, i think the important thing here but that he did all the right things about his accomplishments and about sort of policies for the future, i think the ctext mannered mattered and i think the context is, there is an basic american belief in work and taking responsibility and i think he played very strongly to that. the issue offairness i think is a basic core gut value of americans, and i think drawing the line a saying i am tired of obstructionism and not going back to where things are and
laid out a series of things like a financial unit to investigate fraud and public lands being able to drill -- or alternative energy, from 3 million on, so i think he was strong and i think, you know, we should understand there is something very basic that americans understand that en you work hard, you should be rewarded and i think that is a key theme that is incredibly suessful. >> rose: kurt? >> i think given half or two-thirds of that speech, shown it in a blind taste test to people and here is a speech, who gave it? you could easily imagine a republican giving it. very rhetorical theme about the military, both to remind people that in foreign policy and in militarized foreign policy he has been a strong president, than by the way he killed osama bin laden, i think he implicitly and explicitly more than once referred to that and as you said the way he turned the, we are all in this mission idea of the military into a metaphor for how
we can all get along, but beyond that asserting america is not in decline and bashing china saying he has done more to open offshore drilling in the last few years than anyone. it sounded -- >> rose: very republican to you? >> very hard to say he is a radical socialist trying to turn us to europe it sms to me. >> rose: is this -- did the debate in the white house does anybody know, al, what way to go here is is there some debate about seeking the middle ground to -- and forward looking to appeal to independents or whether the mood and the necessity is to go as some have described it as, you know, populist and 99-1. >> i think that debate is over and ended months ago. i think they believe at this stage that some of this will appeal to independents, with this sense of fairness, as i say the context o is not just what the president said tonight, but the opposition. i think that today the obama white house feels more confident, much more confident, perhaps more confident than they
should, about their election prospects, not because they have done so much more, not because things hav gotten a lot better because they really haven't but because they look at that republican race and they think that that -- thatthey have really, really debased their brand even further and that gives them more running room, more leeway, more shots at that independent centrist voter. >> rose: do you think that too, brett? >> yes i think you are looking at a republican party that is self-destructing on various debate stages across the country, with front running candidates all, each of whom have some decisive flaw, either th santorum they can't appeal beyond their se constituents situate and romney and gingrich who hurl accusations at each other all of which are true. so that is a real problem for the republican party >> rose: and -- >> just, who just gave the rebuttal to the president, daniels who should have been on that stage at some point, you can name any number of serious
republicans who ought to have been contenders for the presidency this year, they all ceded the field for a variety of reasons, and this is what you have got, wn a party runs with losers it should expect to lose. >> rose: well, you have been covering florida -- bert, go ahead. >> i would just add, i talked to a top republican they said the good news is w we have a great bench. the bad news is all of thead news is on the bench. >> rose: you are covering the republicans. yes, doris, go ahead. >> i would like to just add, i mean, i think it may be true it soundenostalgic in parts but i think that is all to the good, to draw in history and make you know that at other times in america we had similar problems, i mean, i usually get wrenched out of whatever i am studying in order to talk on television, i feel like i am bad in 1900 right now, in fact, the census in 1900 says one percent of the people owned 99 percent of the wealth and teddy roosevelt used
irness to win and move the forward, harry truman used the fairness doctrine in 48, to win and move forward. and i think it is just fine that you draw on history and i do think there was stuff on the 21st century in there, the whole business about insourcing and preventing outsourcing and changing the tax code to relate to it, the stuff on energy and natural gas. even though each proposal might have been small, if you add them up together, then you look toward a direction for the future that will be different if there is another four years under obama. and i thought he sounded strong and i mean there were times when his voice really had some little to it, lilt, sometimes it is flat but i thought it was up and down, and i like that part when it is up and down. >> did it remind you of 2004 convention speech? >> well, to the extent that he went into the military at the end, i thought that was in some ways the strongest part of the speech, when he talks about they are not rich or poor, they are not black and white, they are together in a common mission that was very much like we are
not red and blue a at the 2004 speech and i think to start and end with the military was a way of the getting the whole audience to be with him, so i thought it was crafted pretty well. and agree with al, though it could have been shorter. >> rose: clinton who al mentioned would go to the state of the unionnd you know this well, and there would be a litany of small things he wanted to do and all of this would say it is not aspirations and not reto for, rhetorical. >> small ball. >> rose: small ball but always resonated out there and it always seemed to connect to people. did obama miss tt kind of opportunity? >> no, i mean, i think this is chockful of small policy or mid size policy. >> rose: that clinton would do. >> as clinton would do.nbo$qfais basic underlying american beef that if you work hard, you can succeed, you c own a home, raise your family, send your kid to college, retire with dignity and see the next generation do better than the other, that is the american dream, it is unique, people understand it is changing and i think the
president spoke to the needs to fight for it. it is a moment of change and if we don't fight for the middle class, the market worshipping trickle down tax cutting deregulating ideology that prevails in the republican party is not going to bring back the middle class. >> rose: but, if, in fact, gingrich gets the nomination and romney to an extent as well, they both, the democrats and the republicans will be talking about the american dream as they per steve it which has been lost. both are going to try to weave that narrative as their case for office. >> whoever the republican nominee is we may have a pretty good debate, better than we have had in a while about competing visions of the american way i think al is right about democrats may be over confident but a reality of where we are right now in the president's speech to reflect that is democrats believe from the president now to rank a file democrats i talk to as i travel all believe they are going to win and largely believet because the republican field is so weak. democrats have a lot going for them if you look at the bowling
data on these fights. the country overwhelmingly wants taxes to be raised as on the wealthy as part of debt deduction as a big talking point and the big thing the president will run on so he has tonight laid down the biggest marker yet about how he want the race to be fought, and he is willing to have that debate about the role of government. i think tonight he went a little too far in th direction for his own political good because there clearly has been a backlash against the size of government, the size of the deficit under the president. i don't thk he needed to go as far as he did for his own purposes. >> rose: and what do you think the governor daniels and what he said? >> well, i think the substance of it has a lot of appeal within the republican party. the reality of the response is, your presentation has to be really good, your make-up has to be really good and your lighting has to be really good to breakthrough and i think governor daniels given a stellar rock star performance tonight people would have been saying, oh man we need that guy, i don't think anybody looked at that and said we need that guy to take on obama and you should not use the
line steve jobs, didn't he have a great name? >> rose: the first may have been electrifying rock star kind of speech -- >> daniels can do it better than he gets credit for but didn't do it tonight. >> rose: what should he have included that he did not include somewhere did he miss an opportunity? >> >> i mean, iisnteresting he said very little about healthcare, just completely avoided it. there are very little about the budget and entitles. entitle.s. >> completely .. avoiding it, it is good politics but it is on the mind of the american people, both in(fmlike and what he neede the case?omi about in terms ofw he is going to run the country and deal with healthcare and the budget issues. i think those were missing but i do think, you know, bearing down on the tax issue and the fairne iss in s many different places laying out the energy agenda, the manufacturing agenda i think has a lot of resonance and i think makes a t of sense. >> rose: i think there is a america for hunger -- go ahead,
doris. >> i do think that fairness, fairness is an aolute fundamental value. studies have shown that people feel it sort of inside their heart so i think making that a theme is very important. what is interesting too he talked about it as an american value, normally in these last decades lueshave meant abortion, gay marriage, welfare queens and now she saying the fundamental value, what brought migrants to the shoaferz is the possibility if you work hard your life will get better. >> rose: if you work hard you will be rewarded. >> and you will be rewaed and he is feeling like the system is now stacked, indeed people have said that our mobility is worse than european countries now. that is the fundamental problem for this country when we believe in it so much. so i agree with what has been said in terms of that being the core talk that he gave tonight and i think it is the big part of his campaign. >> rose: is this a case in what the president said, a lot of people will free with, it is his record that they would not agree with in terms of what he says about his accomplishments?
>> well, he has to overcome that record, charlie, there is no question of that. and i agree with doris, the values part was very, very good. the close was just fabulous. those who stayed to the end i think were dab had to be mightily impressed by those last two or three minutes. it was really quite moving. you asked what could he have done. >> rose: right. >> the side that lost, the argument that lost, the governing strategy, if you will, would have done something bold like challenge speaker boehner to put simpson bowls on the house floor, each side agree you get three or four amendments and then you have an up or down vote that really would have been an inresting exercise which i think the governing part of the obama administration would have been interested in, but that was as i say dis missed several months ago. >> rose: i do do i hear your washington reporting suggesting that is one thing that was offered up and turned down? >> no, no, no. that is e sort of thing that i think you could ve done if you
wanted to say hey, we haven't given up on governing we don't want to spend as mark said earlier 25 or 13 percent of our ti in office just running for reeltion. >> rose: makes sense to me you are nodding your head. >> no. i think -- i mean, his failure to embrace simpson bowls, my great disappointment in the president, actually, and he could have stirred things up by coming out belatedly but as mark said it was a very safe speech. i mean, of course it is a political speech. every state of the union is a political speech. this is an election year and it was -- it was -- it was entirely safe and he didn't want to, i think, throw a long bombed and say -- and turn to speaker boehner and say yes, let's pass simpson bowls. .. clearly he wasn't about to do that. >> i mean, this is a speech, i think, where actually sea vulnerable president with a really mediocre record at best and that is puttg it charitably over three years, who is proposing this fairness
doctrine. >> rose: fairness values. >> fairness value, to take doris's phrase. that is a double edged sword, fairness because the question becomes who gets to decide what exactly is fai does barack obama and the people we don't like in washington makthat desion for us or who exactly gets gets to make that dermination? and it gives republicans or any talented repuican a huge opening to say no the fundamental value is free om, freedom to compete, freedom to succeed, freedom to fail and the responsibilities that go -- that go with all of those things. i mean, there is a robust and good debate to be had with a competent republican opposition that can seize on some of these issues .. and if romney were a more nimble candidate he would be able to do that and take his experiences at bain, at the olympics, in private industry, and so forth, and turn them into much more aggressively a virtues, instead
he has fumbled it every single time most recently on the tax - on this tax issue. his point should be not to feel guilty as he obviously does about the tax rates he is paying, should be saying, this is the best argument for tax reform and the insane tax system we currently have, but we don't have republicans doing that. >> rose: although we are convened to profess we know exactly how the speech will play in the country we don't really know i think the three reasons to believe that perhaps it will play better to the country than we are casting it. one is, the president's stylistically was at his personally most appealing, he was relaxed and conversational and he seemed big. two, like i said before, the thing was totally poll tested and tons in there that will strike a chord, that will find a lot of different constituencies, hispanics, independent voters, those who care about the environment, a lot of big issues and finally the republicans have been on display in these debates where they have not looked big in presidential and like problem
solvers and the president tonight more tha than he has ina long te looked le someone, looked like someone searching for solutions. >> rose: is gingrich doing well because he caught the wave of this sort of public rag against elitism and public rage against sort of the system? >> yes, the public within the context of the republican nominating electorate, and because he has been able to turn the contrast between him and romney into something a lot of voters are really seizing on. he, the center piece of every speech he says i will debate the president and i will win and in south carolina he showed he would stand up when challenged by the left, and in personified by reporters and in this case personified by john king, two of our colleagues that is something romney has not been able to do, romney has not been able to convince pple i will be ab to withstand the assault of a billion-dollar incumbent campaign. >> and the republican electorate
requires in orr to prove your consvative bona fide is his smugness and mitt romn does not. >> rose: he made debate performance an issue of electability. >> and again i don't want to bring alan here unless h is ready to review the past but the fact is, that gingrich has -- >> rose: i think -- >> gingrich has a decades long relationship with the grass roots of the republican party, sea celebrity and he has been a stalwart on fox news which a lot of republican nominating voters is a big deal. romney has none of that and in the context ofhis electorate, that is a big advantage. >> rose: it is an interesting thing -- yes, go ahead. >> charlie, charlie, i am going to kiss the game changing ring right now. back during new hampshire i made fun of mr. halperin for saying that newt gingrich could come back, win south carolina, win florida, i was wrong, he was right. the question now is when will
newt gingrich self-destruct? will it happen in the next week or two might it happen in three or four months. >> rose:. >> that is a really important issue for the republican party right now. >> rose: if i had known that mark was speaking this out, this kind of public apology i would have set up the tape so we could watch your performance. stay tuned. >> i just want contrition. >> rose: was that sufficient for you, sir? >> that was pretty good. >> the one healthy thing that seems to me the fact gingrich has gotten as far as he has by debate at let it means the supe packs have had less impact this time than we thought they would have. now, debates are important, i mean, at least we were having a discussion in this country rather than sply the ads making the big difference, so i think we can feel good about that. one thing he could have done tonight that he didn't was anything on campaign finance reform which is still the so source of money in the system, it is one of the reasons for income he inequality.
>> rose: one second, does that test well, campaign -- the super packs and -- >> well, .. the trouble for obama tonight if he has done that this the middle of raising a billion dollars for his own campaign probably would have been a little cynical but in the long run it has to be done. >> depending how you ask about it they tried it in 2012, the president made a big issue of it after citizens united,n 2010 and did nothing in 2010, they don't feel like something they are ready to run on although the president feels strongly about it. >>hat is really interesting is we see with gingrich, there is one group of people really mad at the new york elite, t media and another group of people mad at wall stet and the ban, i mean, people are uncomfortable, unhappy, angry in this country d i think what we are about to have a debate is what is the solution? is it the market worshipping privatizing deregulating tax cutting trickle down, where obama says i am not going back. i will stand in the way of going back to failed policies. or is there a different way
forward which heried to lay out tonight and i think that will be the essence of this election. >> well, i hope so because in that case the republicans can run againsthree years of precisely an effort to kind of sketch the alternative that you wanted, which gives us this result of plus eight percent genuine -- >> run against a jobless decade of george bush for ten years -- >> $21 million last year and paid 13 percen tax. i am just saying slightly more than john kerry and john kerry's -- don't remember that being a major. >> rose: and he lost. [ laughter ] >> that's exactly -- that is exactly right. i just want to say something about doris's point. you know, i think doris loves the sense that, you know, these debates we have been having that have been so decisive in shaping the republican contest are a healthy
throw back to lincoln douglas and another e.r.a. in american politics. i am not sure that is right at all. i actually find it terrifying a person who happens to have fantastic forensic skis and othe initials his background can be taking this, reshaping this nomination process, just because he is good on stage. ther a other virtues that one looks for in a candidate othe than to get 1,000 people cheering for you because you are disking the, quote, elite media that is asking you a perfectly normal question about your -- the conduct of your character. >> i will say, though -- >> fairly said, fairly said. >> >> rose: fair, doris said fairly said. >> i look back at the last ten, 20 years of, 30 years of the state of union addresses to see what kind of approval bump or dip they had. they usually don't have an effect one way or the other. and they seem, you can fail, you can lose points after state of
the union as jimmy carter seemed to do every state of the union address, but there is never an enormous spike as a result. so to talk about did he pla this well in political reelection terms? i think he set the table for his basic reelection, you know, agenda, but i don't think we should expect, oh, how -- will his approval rocket tomorrow or next week. >> rose: albert in the end will this election be determined not by whether it is a referendum on the president or whether it is a referendum on the republican nominee andis proposals, but will turn on how well the my continues to trend upward? and whether it is derailed by europe? >> yeah. that, i think, will be very important. i think it basically is going to be a question choice. however, if that economy is derailed by europe as you just said, unemployment goes back to nine percent or over, if the israelis try to take out the
iranian nuclear sites, if there is a third or fourth party, independent candidates are all unknown right now, i think the one thing that bara obama, he had a real gift tonight from mitd mitt, because mitt romney releasing those tax returns last night, brit may be absolutely right about john kerry paid a lower rate but the context is different, i will tell you something a minute on mitt romney when he released them, he said why didn't he release them seven or eight months ago in a republican primary? number one, he made a lot of money, check, good, numb 2, he paid a low rate, permissible low rate. check number 2. >> check. >> number 3, he gave a lot to charity. that is what we are supposed to like as republicans, right? check number 3, the only question is, why did it take him so long and why was it so agonizing and painful and just at the best time to give obama a gift on his tax proposs? >> rose: so because h could no longer resist the demand he do it. so speak to that, why, why, why? >> unbelievable.
he seems to be uncomrtable in anything involving his personal wealth. he has no sense of goaling situateness about it or humor or the .. comfort in public and no one on his team told him he has to do it differently. he built a giant house and addition to it in the context of this campaign, he is clearly not able to deal with these things in a way -- >> rose: -- >> about his personal wealth, he has some, some disconnect between his very big brain and his ability to deal with this in the political context. >> actually calls into question the very big brain theory of mitt romney. i mean, presumably if you are a gray neoyou are going to run a competent campaign. he spent a lot of money putting a camign shop his opponents could only dream about. you ask, don't you hire a contrarian who is going to stick a finger in your chest and say,
mitt, you have got to have an answer before you go to the debate aut whether you are going to release your turn returns. so that is a theory, serious question hanging over the whole case that romney is trying to build for himself, which is he is the competent candidate in this race. you know, say what you will abt the obama presiden, he raa very competent campaign and that was to some extent a necessary, not sufficient qualification for the presidency. so far we haven't seen that from the romney folks. >> rose: some people said that was the best run -- >> one qstion about romney, the biggest problem for romney is nobody wealthy running for president, teddy roosevelt was incredly popular, fdr was wealthy, jfk was wealthy but all had experiences in their lives that somehow chastened them to understand other people's life was dealt and unfair hand, roosevelt has polio, jfk was in world war ii, and that allowed
them to connect to people who were not of their class, and i think that has been the bigger difficulty for romney, time and again he made these strange statements shows he just doesn't understand where people are, making a $10,000 bet saying oh i made object $340,000 in speaking it wasn't much. that sho a lack of connection i think comes from his life of experience. >> rose: the way they handled the tax returns is part of a larger cultural problem within the romney campaign that will really hurt them, whether he becomes the nominee. when they are indignant about someing, indignant saying we are being judged by different standard, people haven't releasedheirax returns by this time in the recent past. gingrich is an outrageous person who couldn't possibly be a nominee. wh they are indignant they don't ally deal with in an efficient ceo way, they just seem indigna and somewtin denial and hurt them on the tax returns and hurt them on gingrich too, because they didn't bieve he could be the nominee, once they thought they killed him in iowa they forgot
about him. >> that is also -- i think a, true a little bit about the obama team, they have been a little tone-deaf when they all decided whatever it is, their independents, they are on a mission,er they are going to do well, you know, all of a sudden it takes at that little while, a little failure to make adjustmenti think they a now in campaign mode, they are much more nimble in the, almost like two obamas, the governing obama and the campaigning obama this is the obama you want to see in a campaign and i think the advisors now have a way that david -- who is so precise would just drive thisthing, you know, day after day. >> rose: the campaigning obama. >> yes, the campaigning obama, fairness, all the way through the election it is a winning strategy. >> rose: you know that people that working with their hands and labor, the value of labor, what do they want? what is is the deciding issue for the >> i do think this idea will work, responsibility and fairness. i don't want to, i don't want a handout, i want a handp.
i want sort of a level playing field. i mean people know the rules are rigged, whether it is campaign finance, whether it is k street and goezero to, as someone said the well-heeled and the well connected. people know something is basically wrong in america, that hard work doesn't pay and they are scared about their kids, and their grandkids futures and they have a right to be. interesting doris, lyndon johnson undersod that clearly and also bobby kennedy understood that, both of them. with. >> now, i mean, i tnk about the 1965 state of th union, that is one of the most memorae in the 20th century, because he called for civil rights, he called for education, he called for immigration reform, he called for medicare, because he understood that somehow people needed help from the government, the problem for everything tonight that mr. obama set forth is that as somebody said before, people don't have that faith in the government anymore, it is part congress has been so dysfunctional and partly because of the last years but it makes it harder for you to set out a program where government is going to do all of these things to help mobilize the economy,
make this a 21st century thing, make fairness happen if you don't believe in government so he has to figure out a way during the campaign to restore people's faith that government can be as he said that smart government acting in their behalf, which is where the military comes in, which i think is kind of the point. >> >> rose: two biggest take away of the presidents, one is the fairness issue, because i think there is somebody out there in the body politic about fairness at this time as value. i think the other thing, the way,the one success he can point to which there is little disagreeme is the military success and he has done that, better even than his predecessor did who made a great claim. do you agree with that, brett? >> i think that is fine. this is what obama has at least in republican eye are legitimate accomplishments th the killing of osama bin laden and the successes against al qaeda, which, you know, which he, of course, validated and pointed out. i don't think that republicans are going to get that much mileage running against the
president on foreign policy issues. you can say russia reset has been a failure and late on sir, i can't et cetera, et cetera, i don't think those are going to be winning strategies. but, i mean, look, in one sense, the president has picked up this kind of large idea in this speech which is about fairness, which isn't about an idea of how wealth should be distributed in society and how opportunity should be distributed in society, and that is something to have, you know, a real conversation, real, a real debate about, and as i said earlier, a talented republican could have and win that debate, asoris said, said just now, you know, the case for government is not a particularly popular case, to make. we are not living in the e.r.a of apollo and great government projects that succeed, we are living in the e.r.a of solyndra and disastrous, drair i are government fiascos in
technologies that no one really quite believes in, anyway, i mean kurt said earlier it is kind of carter administraon like. so this is a teabt that could be had, i wonder if it is actually going to be the substance of the next ten months. >> rose: do you believe this -- >> charlie. >> rose: al, go ahead. >> charlie, i just want to pick up on something brit said. if you talk to republicans what they basically hope is the 2012 isa reprieve of 1980, that is the model. and certainly on the economy, they have that same issue that the republicans had back then. thtwo things they don't have, however,. >> rose: ronald reagan is one. >> ronald reagan,. [ laughter ] >> ronald reagan -- ronald wilson reagan, for sure but also the national security. that was a huge issue back then with prisoners iran and hostages in iran and this time the guy who bagged bin laden is not going to be soft on foreign policy. i thinthe one thing i said earlier that the question was when would gingrich
self-destruct. i should learn to defer to mark halperin on everything gingrich now. i don't know if heill -- i do not know if he will self-destruct at all, but i do think that is the conventional wisdom among the smarter republican anythings and i would say for l-round these problems and they are very real and outlined tonight let's not forget there are a lot of things that newt gingrich hasn't handled terribly well, not just his personal issues. we broke that freddie mac story three weeks ago and still resonating today and still had to put another explanation out tonight. so it remains to be seen how newt will do as a stem front runner in the next week or so. i wonder if he, in fact,ad said, yes, indeed that iwas a lobbyist and yes indeed i made a lot of money but i was not in government and never thought i would be in government and run again. >> ros it would have been better if he had done that rather than looking like he has something toide and covering up and saying things that people believe might be shading the truth. >> you know.
>> >> he either did or didn't lobby which is a pretty reportable -- >> he was an influence peddler. he was not a lobbyist. >> again, the basic -- >> we are dealing with -- >> in the scale of values and appreciation who is higher lobbyists or influence peddlers. >> at least he is making an honest living. >> i vote for -- [ laughter ] >> rose: the lady in blue is happy to hear you say that. romney -- >> except that none for us historians have? how made the money he made by advising freddie mac. >> rose: nor do i -- >> >> rose: nor do i assume you have welcomed him into the club of presidential historians. you can question the timing of the way romney put out his taxes but the presentation was the way you should do it. they had on a very experienced lawyer, they had on a former
head of the irs and the person who ran e press and they laid it out as al suggested the gingrich cpaign has not done that on freddie, and that is the right way to do it. get the facts out in an organized way rather than a document every couple of weeks and no explanation. did he lobby? how much of the money did he actually get himself? and -- >> rose: in the end what do you think. >> i don't think the voters care that much about it. >> i think it is a big issue. >> it is important because it is connected to the using problem. i think voters -- >> rose: they are going to make it >> they discounted in a big way for newt gingrich being an undisciplined fast and loose guy so his bar for undisciplined fast and looseness is really high at this point. >> it is hard to see how he gets over that bar. it is very, very high. it is th high >> rose: do you assume as al assumes there isoing to be some giant eruption that will
threaten his candidacy again in is that automatic among those of you who have seen him since the beginning? >> yes, exempt again he is judged by such a different standard now that, it is hard no know what would throw him off. people who find him appealing most of them know all about his past, and all about his temperament and most don't seem to care. i think the party is in a real dangerous position if he wins two or three of the next primary, including florida i think he will be hard zero to stop and then the party will have a potential problem down the road if he does have something like -- >> rose: and he won the votes of women as well as social conservatives. >> almost every group of rich people. >> rose: from what group? >> all but the richest people. >> charlie, let me just pick up on this gingrich thing, because we are just running a story out tonight he released the second ntract, he was kindf forced to tonight, which said that his 1999 contract paid him $529,000 a year, that he was supposed to
help develop messages that would quote contribute to the achievement of freddie mac business goals end quote, and he was supposed to engage in strategic discussions with the chief fanny, freddi freddie mac lobbyists now you can call that lobbyist or call that influence peddling but it is certainly one of the two. >> rose: rather than historian. >> yes. >> he wouldn'tobby. >> the contract says that. >> rose: that he will not lobby. and that is where he is going to make his snd. whatever it is he was not lobbying because the contract said he didn't lobby. >> he created a problem saying historian and the mockery for people in our world, not necessarily for voters. >> well, i mean, look, i have been hd on republicans. there is one scenario. >> rose: i noticed that. >> -- in which you should seement some of the letters i get. there is one scenario. >> rose: from the owner? >> no. from -- [ laughter ] >> in which this works out for republicans. my colleague peggy noonan pointed this out a few weeks
ago. newt is a very good sparring partner, and if romney wants to get better and romney wants to go up against the genuinely campaign, competent campaigner like obama going just a couple of round with newt gingrich might actually do him some good. he might come to understand that this is -- that this is blood sport he has to be prepared to attack which is obviously something he is very uncomfortable doing, and that he has got to get his story and especially the potentially embarrassing stories out a heck of a lot earlier than he has already. so in that kind of scenario, you know, these guys go ten round, romney comes out, you know, alive and gets the nomination, he is a capableandidate. someone remind me that in february of 1980 reagan faced with george h.w. bush and howard bar and a number of other contenders wasn't necessarily being taken all of that candidate and he became a better
candidate as the campaign progress. >> rose: and he got rescued in north carolina by jesse helms. >> and got resed by his debate performance right before the election. >> romney problems seems to be just steppg further and further into the cicature of mitd mitt which is an inescapable problem at a certain pot. >> president obama -- >> rose: go ahead, doris, please. >> president obama got so much better while the hillary candidate made obama a much better campaigner before the general election. so i agree in general what was said it may make mitt romney a better campaigner but the democrats will be able to use this fiery stuff they are throwing at one another, in pretty good steld when the general election comes, especially the stuff about income and the way that gingrich has gone after romney for the wealth issue and the tax issue, i mean they can become adds on the democratic side but otherwise i think you are right, it is a strengthening thing to have to go ten rounds and if rom rom skated through,hen he would never have gotten better
than he has been so far. >> rose: i just want to make one argument nobody will free with, which is that i never have been convinced that president obama is a great campaigner. i have been convinced he had a great narrative in 2008, and that narrative was so powerful and the thirst of the american people for something different in something thawas youn and intelligent and attractive, and spoke to race and the whole range of other things is what propelled him forward, not that he was some brilliant campaigner who could connect, certainly with blue collar workers. that is my theory about that. and i don't know how -- do u agree with that? you wrote the book. >> he was a weak campaigner for a lot 2008 until he got better a he is very good. he is better - he is better than either of the republicans he is likely to face. >> rose: why is that somehow do you measure that? >> he knows how to do this. he knows how to communicate with voters. hot necessarily connecting the waa bill clinton does but he knows how to do the nuts and bolts income mechanics of a
going on a debate stage, giving a speech, being in television ads he has been through it and knows how to do it. >> rose: so you have said to me before, you thought the only new ideas you had heard about jobs was bill clinton's book and what bill clinton has to say, i mean, was any of that in this speech? >> there are some new ideas. >> rose: because jobs are a crucial issue. >> there were some new ideas and energy ideas he talked about and a big job creator. >> military savings, and do public works with the other half. >> rose: doris, that was also today the release of those jfk tapes, 45 hours of tapes. as presidential historian who knows a president's a family well what is the most interesting thing that came out for you? >> well, i suppose in some ways, just the personal thing that right near the end he was talking about that monday looking like a tough day, and of course monday was going to be the day of his funeral, he just got that erie sense when
somebody is talking near the end of their lives, but for me as a historian it is so great these tapes took place. i wish all of these presidents had tapes all the time. >> rose: the. >> nixon used to say it all the time. >> there is no question. i mean, i mean, when we looked back at the 19th century we have diaries, we have letters that people wrote to one another, and we can recreate the intimate understanding of what was going on, we won't have that 200 years from now, unless these characters -- well well tweets and e-mails be saved, will tweets and e-mails have intimate understandings? so these tapes really are valuable, it may have undone richard nixon but certainly has done good for his orians and glad to hear more of them have come out. >> rose: do you agree with that? >> absolutely. i mean, just in terms of raw material of history ofhe mind, whether it is ken at this, president kennedy tapes or the jacquelin kennedy tapes that came outlast year, i mean, they are -- they give dimension and nuance. >> rose: i agree.
>> to history. >> rose: and the thing i was intrigued by, i guess he doesn't speak to it clear and i am not sure anything will find where he spoke to it as clearly as one might have wanted was how he saw vietnam and how he thought might have seen vietnam after the ection in 64. >> well and h he also said there were two different views coming to him >> rose: exactly. >> and from the military people and they were so opposite, so that did give you a feeling that he was looking objectily from the outside in, and might not, might not have gotten caught up in what the military was telling him. but you never know. that's the question of if that makes it so unfair for poor old lbj, because he had to deal with it and who knows what jfk would have done. >> rose: and can we assume, doris, that since tse came from the kennedy library that they are only releasing those that they want to release and there are something that was damaging to the president's reputation they would not have released it? >> i hope not. i hope not. >> rose: what do you think? >> that would be damaging to
them. i doubt that, actually. and i may be wrong about that. but i mean, they can argue national security, not releasing but that is one of the reasons they waited so many years to release this, but once you start cherry picking, i mean that is the very thing that caroline did not do when she released her mother's tapes, some people criticized her for releasi ings that made her look bad but i said once i start doing that then the authenticity is gone so if they start cutting things out because of looking bad it is not a good idea. >> rose: caroline was different and i don't know how many more therere, let me close this by going around to each of you, in a short a way as you can and precise, what is going to be the defining issue of the campaign in 2012? al? >> it will be the economy and whether mitt romney can become that better candidate, if he is the mom knee, that was described earlier, the hope at brit said is that bill clinton was running third in june in 1992, he got pretty good by october. >
i think that's right. i think it is the sort of sappointment we know versus the potentially disaster we don't know. >> rose: that is well said. >> i mean, i do think it is going to be about the economy but it really is going to be about, is there a vision for america where hard work and taking responsibility actually pays? >> rose: i think that is the question that is out there to see who can best get hold of that. because the republicans and certainly gingrich or romney will try to figure that out. the president has already spoke to that in his own way this evening and if that becomes the issue, w really will have a nse where we are in america today. >> i think the issueis going to be whether there is a plausible alternative to the president, and i think americans would probably gladly give this president the boot based on his record if they could be assured the next guy isn't going to be a fiasco number 2. >>ose: well said. rk. >> one-third the economy, one-third who suggests to voters
they can deal with the fear and sang sigh at thiin an emotional way. i am talking in an emotional way and one-third what andy said, which is future oriented plans that could actually gethe ecomy turned around. >> rose: doris? >> capitalism and democracy are thtwo main pillars ofour country's history and the question will be are the republicans going to argue that the engine of growth it has to be free in order to keep going? are the democrats going to argue you need democracy and the people who rub the government to at least help you distribute it in such a way that people who work hard get a fair deal for what they are doing? capitalism, democracy are going to be the big arguments i think. >> rose: what i am pleased abt from all of you is this sense of -- i mean these are big ideas,ou know, and this campaign. >> right, right. >> rose: seems to be about big ideas, where we are in america, you know, what is the effective way to look at the kind of issues we know are out there and that challenge how we will be competitive. >> not the pledge of allegiae. >> rose: not the pledge of allegiance. important things about investnt in our future, important things about education
and important things about energy, important things about regulation, all of those things, and as kurt said goes to the core, i think of who we are and who who can tap into that and provide that kind of narrative stands the best chance of winning in 2012. thank you all. pleasure to have you here. thank you, we will see you tomorrow night. thank you. thank you. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org