tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg January 21, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
including some who feign surprise over the snowden disclosures, are probing our government and private sector networks and accelerating programs to listen to our conversations, intercept our e- mails, and compromise our systems. >> david remnick is here. he is the editor of the "new yorker magazine." he's the author of several books including "the bridge." he wrote a 22 page profile of president obama that appears in this week's issue of the magazine. it is called "going the distance, on and off the road with barack obama." the article is a result of hours of one-on-one interviews with the president in the oval office and on air force one. i am pleased to have david remnick back at this table. welcome. >> thank you for having me. >> here it is. >> use said 22 pages like it is a 500 pound weight. it is such an enticement to read.
>> 70,000 words. >> something like that. >> how did this come about? >> i wrote a book about him a few years ago. it is not a secret that every white house complains about the short attention span of the press, and politico, and how pressed they feel about it. we report on the white house all the time. let's try to do a portion of the president at a particular time with on the record interviews. it took some doing. finally, they agreed. >> do you feel like he feels like the media we have today -- that he thinks he is better in long form. >> -- how did lincoln communicate to the president question mark text and speeches, and people read them. there was no radio. no television. it was quite a different thing.
i don't want to overestimate his powers. that is the way he is oriented. even when he talks, he slows down. he is very deliberate. he is thinking two or three sentences ahead with political anticipation. also, to make sure that it comes out. some people find this annoying. some people find that it is a thoughtful temperament. that is his personality. >> you went on a trip with him to the west coast to raise money. >> yes. this is what they do in the modern world. the rattle the cup in the houses of the wealthy.
the rattle the cup in the houses of the wealthy. >> what is the nature of the man? is he conversational? does he seem like he had a message? or he wanted you? >> it is the end of a disastrous year. >> a horrible year. >> and the biggest wound was the self-inflicted wound to the end, the rollout of obamacare. this is his greatest domestic achievement in his terms. the ability to put 31 million additional people on the health care world for all of its flaws, and all the arguments. this certainly in his eyes was his biggest a miss tick achievement. no question about it. despite the sniping from the right. then it comes out that the website doesn't work. it was a disaster.
he has to do what is not natural to him, to perform his anger about this. this is not a publicly emotional man, certainly not for the media age. he is cool and collected. i think if you're sympathetic, you see it as a certain calm this. if you are not, you see it as aloofness and distance. but, he has to perform, even for his supporters, the idea of how annoyed he is. just like social security was fixed in 1937. >> is his power of analysis of what he expects in 2013 on the mark? >> one of the discussions we had was about the nature of politics. when you hear, what's the rap on obama, that he's aloof, that he doesn't schmooze enough. but he doesn't have
congresspeople over to dinner whether they are his allies. that he somehow doesn't like the rough-and-tumble of clintonian retail politics. because he doesn't like it, he loses. the biggest comparison is to lbj. lbj between the assassination of kennedy pushes through a raft of domestic achievement the likes of which we have not seen in a century. and he pushes up again. it is not about schmoozing. it is not about relationships. the difficulty that he has with congress is that there is a powerful and numerous far right that is even dominating at times the rest of the republican caucus and is hard to get legislation through. >> here is what is interesting. it is like he loves the godfather.
they make him an offer he can't refuse. they say they can refuse. >> they will refuse every offer. >> in reality, he knows two things. one, as william daley said, after 2014, no one cares what he does. this is a slight exaggeration. it means the midterms are coming. after the midterm elections, all the media there goes to the succession process. the next election. it is very difficult. he is not going to win the
house. he may even lose the senate. what legislation can he get through in 2014? may be. maybe. immigration is in the best interest of the republicans politically. whether they see it or not. >> he suggested they do something about it depends on who they appeal to. >> then they will not win the next cycle. >> what is the response at the white house? >> i never want to know. >> you do not write for them. >> i am not writing for them. i am writing for what i hope is an honest and deeper portrait of somebody we already know. >> you come away with what impressions you didn't have necessarily before you went on this trip? what is new?
in terms of how david sees the president. >> more than anyone policy thing, we will get to foreign policy in a second, he is cagey about marijuana, i see this since of a president who is willing to talk about may be his peril the limits of power. the limits of what he can get done. not only him, but anybody can get done. to talk about in these kinds of emotional, some fatalistic terms, is unusual. most politicians want to come off as a happy warrior. to be contemplative seems almost
defeat. dispiriting to your audience. he was not afraid to be this way at all. whether he was talking about the decision-making process where people are going to get killed, hundreds of innocents, and the difficulty of knowing you are going to fail on a lot of your agenda. inevitably. the terms in which he spoke about that, i found, interesting. >> it is said that bill clinton wanted to be a great demand. he felt like he didn't have an opportunity for the kind of
challenge that might have made him perceive is a great man. >> it is related to war, which in a sense is something not he meant it that way, but unattractive about talking about it. >> nevertheless. >> i think that goes to obama in a sense. he powerfully feels that the formative experience in his life in terms of foreign policy that they shaped his thinking about his term in office is as recent as the iraq war. this is not somebody shaped by vietnam or rwanda. what is shaping him is the notion of disastrous geopolitically and humanistic lee disastrous intervention in iraq. it makes them think many times over about getting involved in something like serial. >> sitting in the chair you sit in now was his former secretary of defense who for that same reason advice and not to go into
libya. >> i know. secretary gates advised not to go to libya. and then advised him on syria as well. and, they had differences over osama bin laden. i find that memoir curious. you asked me what was interesting. i asked about the gates memoir. the president was unenthusiastic about answering in anything that resembled detail. >> why? >> i think any president is aware whatever they say about anything, about this glass of water, about football, about marijuana, it becomes a thing. if he responds point by point, it is nothing in it for him.
what i got was a cloud of deflection. >> marijuana. what does he say about it? >> he said it's a matter of public record from his own book, but elaborated that he didn't just inhale once. >> he inhaled often. and with gusto. he is very honest about that. he has been skittish about answering about marijuana. he can't win. now he has one reelection. i think he was more relaxed about talking about it. even though he said that he didn't think it was more dangerous now call and so want, he does this thing where he argues with himself. on the one hand, he thinks the colorado experiment is probably a good thing. on the other hand, there are problems with legalizing
marijuana. he teases the amount. >> he things it is no worse than alcohol. likes yes. >> but he would not encourage anyone to do it. >> he tells his daughters it is a bad idea. they make their own decisions. >> he says about the nfl that he would not want his son to play in the nfl. the >> we were talking about -- we were talking in an office to review was glancing at the miami dolphins game. some disasters game. they were falling all over themselves. i finally asked him, do you feel as i do -- >> six hours watching pro football may not be the best use of your time if it is your last day on earth. and, he said no. [indiscernible] he said no, i don't feel guilty about it.
i wouldn't want my daughters or my son to play pro ball. i think his worries for younger players. but, he used the phrase -- >> [indiscernible] >> he said i'm not a purist. >> back to my question about him. did you form any new impressions of him. any different impressions that you have from previous? >> i am not an experienced white house reporter that has been around six white houses. that has never been my thing. you do feel, when i first met him, he was running for president and deciding to run, if there was any lightness then, that is long gone. lightness of experience. this is a heavy job. you can feel it in a person.
the way he is in the interview now is so radically different. >> the first him interviewed him was an public in phoenix. he was funny. he was light. he was on that book tour. now when you talk to him, probably because it is for print, he slows down, flagrantly thoughtful and deliberate. and certainly, mindful of stepping on a rhetorical landmine >> do know where he might live when he leaves the white house? >> no. chicago is the obvious place. >> what did he not want? >> chris christie. i had a follow-up phone call. i couldn't help myself. i asked about chris christie. he just said -- >> do you have a point he wanted to make? >> why would he do this at all? >> did he want at perspective on that year? to look at and think aloud about
it, and get his own thoughts? >> he wanted to think out in public what he can do in addition to pushing legislation, which is a hard road. one of the things that was announced in the inaugural year a year ago, when i expect to see at some length at the state of >> why would he do this at all? >> did he want at perspective on that year? to look at and think aloud about it, and get his own thoughts? >> he wanted to think out in public what he can do in addition to pushing legislation,
which is a hard road. one of the things that was announced in the inaugural year a year ago, when i expect to see at some length at the state of the union address, what to do about the widening income gap and opportunity gap in the country, which gets more her bring this all the time. we are at a point where ceos live a life that is so hyper deluxe, so vastly different from people who are working. something has to be done. >> it is from his sense of what the country ought to stand for. >> yes. >> i think he thinks it is better for the economy. there is so much they can spend.
it is better for the economy. [indiscernible] >> is redistribution of wealth. does he recoil from that? >> this is the argument we have had since the beginning of the republic about the nature of that. certainly, the reagan revolution was all about that. i think even conservatives now, if conservatives are starting to look at this radical gap in the opportunities for the middle class and the poor, something we never see discussed in the campaign anymore, and the opportunities are much more. it is horrendous. it is bad for the country. it is but economically. it has to be addressed. if they can be addressed through legislation, he is determined to do it through the bully pulpit.
at the same time, he is introducing those who fund political campaigns. it is not lost on barack obama. >> you suggest how he has three points to come out. he will show his gratitude for being there. then he will make the long-term arguments as to in the end, it is the long-term view that matters. >> that is hard to do. this is been the rhetorical mantra of the obama presidency from the start. we do not get hot up in the day- to-day. somehow we are always in it for the long game. that is the phrase. to some, that strikes them as tremendously high-minded. when it comes to foreign policy, or something like the opportunity gap, that is what
they are after. >> he came to washington -- >> in my mind, there are tremendous falls to this administration or investigated on policy. >> to see have some sense of that? some sense that we made these mistakes. they have attention that they were so wrapped up in the policy, and this is not just a question of marketing, that they didn't fully appreciate how important it was to communicate and connect the dots. he began to describe bill clinton as the great explainer. >> yet it never got marketed better or different. he is who he is. bill clinton who is who he is. we valorize lbj and what he achieved. what gets lost is it was a
disastrous decision to deepen our involvement in vietnam. and the fault of bill clinton are manifest. >> you talk about having friends over. he has a small group of friends. make the comparison with john podesta. with bill clinton, there was a large list. >> a lot of people needed jobs. >> and they deserve the job. wax when he was handling the transition and he called president obama and said who needs to be taking care of, and the list was short, he said he travels light. >> and he has maintained a lightness in the white house in terms of friends. you get the impression --he has
basically said we are friends, friends who got me into the white house. i think it is possible to make new friends myself. >> men in a particularly great at this after a certain age. a president knows he is a highly political transaction possible. he is wary of people's motives. >> some of the quotes, i found i knew much more because i read this piece. one of the things i have learned to appreciate more is you are essentially a relay swimmer in a river of rapids, and that river is history. i like the language. >> you get a brief shot at it. he said something interesting. i was interviewing ben rhodes, an important part of the national security team. a young guy who does
communications. >> we think of them as david rohde's brother. >> he said barack obama does not believe in the great man theory of history. obama says i do not agree with ben. >> he does believe the great man theory. >> up to a point. he can see there are things that a president can do. it is limited. their limitations in terms of time. >> to see feel he got cheated by the time? he had this whole first year that had to be totally focused on economic recovery. number two, some of the things he did produce the tea party, which produced a resistance seldom seen in which people
don't have a price. >> we do forget sometimes, the opposition to bill clinton was also hysterical. there was a challenge not to bill clinton policies, but his very legitimacy as a president. obama has this with an added factor, which is race. he is careful when he mentions race. >> he does point out as you suggest that he knows their are some people who somehow could not accept the fact that he was
a black man as president of the united states. >> and what did he say? but there are some people who give me a break because i am black. that piece of rhetoric is a finely tuned piece of business he has had in place from the beginning. >> he will say on the question of the federal system -- >> a lot of the media this morning on twitter, what did they do? they take the bit about obama playing the race card, ignoring the other bit. as if race were an absolute neutral thing and there was never any history, and nobody in the tea party ever give a thought to raise. that is a fantasy. i'm not suggesting everybody in the tea party behaves the way they behave because of race.
there are some that do. >> there seems to be -- bill clinton can do this -- looking at every issue from both sides. this the federal is an argument. he can say well we need a national policy, i understand how people think. he can give lip service or speak to an understanding about why he thinks conservatives may be and have the view they do. his recognizing that would like to explain why a national policy is essential in this case. >> that is a sign of a good mind. not just a lawyerly mind. a good mind. understand the debate you are having. and the motives of your opponents may not all be maligned. i think he understands there are
many rational conservatives who feel about the economy the way they do not because they are grinches. >> there is the issue about what you learn as president. there is no real training for it. he came to the white house believing he was uniquely qualified to somehow bridge the gap. that was the point he made in his 2000 speech for john kerry. we are one nation. my point is, does he still think that somehow it is possible, or has he said i was living in a dreamland? >> he does not say he was living in a dreamland. they didn't use that against themselves. reality and truth as we now know
from other journalists, the first day of a new administration that were meetings on the hill between and among republican leaders who pledged to block obama administration at every turn. this is a sign of how different the political parties are now. go back to lyndon johnson. there used to be republican party that was ideologically diverse. there were liberal republicans. there were centrist publicans. there were conservatives and hardliners. >> and wall street and main street. >> i suggest that they heart into the right a lot more. >> on the other hand, you point out that when he won reelection, he thought it would break the fever. that somehow now that he had won reelection, he could roar into a second term and perhaps things would be different because he won.
let's pause on that. 83% of the american people said link were for gun control. they thought they would succeed in getting some limited gun control. >> there is this. i will measure myself at the end of my presidency in large part by whether i began the process of rebuilding the middle class and reversing the trend toward economic bifurcation in this society. >> that is what he wants to be his legacy. >> domestically, sure. >> that is what he says. by how many people he brings into the middle class. >> there have been 40 straight months of job creation. all the limitations that we know. still, that doesn't solve everything. nor would a bill on minimum
wage. it would be the very beginning of the narrowing that gap. >> he gave a speech on friday in which he talked about the nsa and the balance between security and privacy. where is his mind? clearly, he said we have to have a debate about that balance. he seems to push the debate. he has stated his position, and then he kicked it to congress. >> that is exactly what he did. the first part of the speech, the rhetorical part, the martin luther king was spied on -- was brilliant. the actual policy changes are slight. on the snowden issue, everybody is being disingenuous.
this would not have come up without snowden. no matter who he is, no matter what his political beliefs are or were. i now hear stuff about the influence of the russians. i wish congress would not talk in those terms. i think that is wrong. you are going to accuse somebody of being in the hands of the russians we have no proof of it. that is vile. >> mike rogers? >> yeah. >> what is the president think of edward snowden? >> i asked him. he said, i can't give you a yes
or no answer. it is an ongoing case. >> ok. then did you come back -- >> and we can't let these things be in the hands of any 29-year- olds who feels like dumping. >> does he think he is a whistleblower or a traitor? >> he didn't use either word. >> how do you read his mind? >> when he was at the state senate he played poker a lot. he won. i think you can't read them. you cannot get him to say everything. i came up short on that. >> in terms of having a judgment. >> i think he will give a pardon to snowden, i would doubt that. i would really doubt that. >> and amnesty, he wouldn't go there.
>> to have the intelligence community, i doubt it. >> we saw what he wants to do to domestic programs. that is how he will measure the success of his presidency. you say at the core of obama's thinking, america's military involvement in the middle east cannot be the honorary instrument to achieve equilibrium that the new region so desperately needs. what is he thinking will produce the equilibrium? >> if you're not using a blunt force of military, what are you doing? diplomacy. there are three initiatives john kerry is running. >> and issued by the president? >> the secretary of state doesn't initiate anything. you have israel palestine. you have the iran nuclear issue. you have syria read all three of them, obama has been given a
less than 50-50 chance. >> he said it was important to do those. >> what surprised me, it is a present of your president admit that. despite the efforts of trying, my chances of success are less. >> the alternative is what? >> he points out that it is better to take the risk of failure than the consequence. which may be happy to take military action with the unintended consequences that might bring. >> if it succeeds, the answer to your question is simpler. if israel and palestine is on the road to being solved. the two state solution finds its resolution. then, the interest of israel and
the city states starts to align more than they are. i do need clear eyes iran -- >> less than 50-50 he will be able to achieve? you said he wanted to be big. >> they all started wanting to be big. >> not just a name on a long list of presidents. this is back to the clinton question. what is his definition of big? does he believe in and deep recesses of his mind the chance of that has slipped away? >> no. i don't. despite his dramatic doubt, despite that tone at the end of the piece, the fact that this
country didn't fall into a depression, and economic depression, which it could have done. the fact that we are out of iraq, getting there in afghanistan, the auto industry is saved, gay rights more and more insured now without health and the president, there has been no scandal in this administration, a rare thing, that science is discussed as science, that climate change how old were -- however woefully inadequate. >> is that a measure of greatness for you? >> let's wait to the end. >> those achievements are huge. >> here is what he said about lincoln, who he admires. what he liked was then known --
was the messiness. what is the meaning? >> politics is a mess. >> this is the dilemma for me. i am not sure that he really does. there is that antipathy toward fundraising, cajoling, punishing. >> they say nobody fears them. >> they say this on the international stage as well. and relationships with leaders abroad. they are not the way they were between reagan, clinton or the rest. i don't think they can count as a positive.
>> it is an interesting piece. barack obama going the distance. what you will find here in this piece, an understanding of how one man who sits in the white house sees the world that he lives within, and his take on the circumstances of the presidency, and his take on history and the longview, and the demands and push and pull of politics, and what it is in the burden of the office. nothing prepares you to be president. we get right here a very insightful look. the article is "going the distance." thank you. stay with us. ♪
family, with those that we serve with, and who we serve for. it becomes very special and about much more than an enemy. >> lieutenant commander rorke denver is here. he spent 14 years as a u.s. navy seal. he served as director of the seal training program. in 2012, he starred in an action film called "act of valor." it featured active-duty navy seals. he has a book that takes us further insight that world. the book is called "damn few." i am please to happen at this table. welcome. >> thank you for having me. >> let's talk about what it means. you take young man, all men. >> all men, currently. >> that might change. >> it might. >> they come, why do they come?
why do they want to be a seal? >> i think there is a mix. people seek the program and the brotherhood. for some different reasons. people want to be part of something bigger than themselves. they want to compete in a program that has a historic attrition rate of 70% to 80%. that sounds like the right odds to me. i want to work -- >> two out of every 10 make it. >> it is one of the elite brotherhoods. you get to participate and spend time with a very special group of folks. and focus on doing the nation's work. that draws a certain type. >> when you look at those you
have seen, what characteristics do they have? >> the funniest thing, you think you can pick out who is going to make it. then you throw that out. you will have a young man that looks like michelangelo. he has all the background. he will hit that cold water and quit. he will say this is not for me. this is misery i don't want any part of. >> here is where i have a question. i hate cold water. i would think that you would train for that. you would try to be ready, knowing that might be the tripwire. >> you know it is coming. there are folks, i have heard a guy talking in a bath water with ice water. i tell the guys when they show up, if you didn't bring it here, you are not going to find it here. you will have come here with the
alchemy of traits that will get you through, or you haven't. we can't teach it. we know you can make it. >> now we have to pass. to set a goal and see beyond. there was an obstacle that i wasn't going to go under or through. that is what we do. we offer a young man a chance to quit. and a lot of chances. >> of the water is too cold, what do you do? >> it is voluntary. no one has to sign it training. you walk over and say this is not for me. there is a bell that has been there. you bring that bell three times. it is a line in the sand. we don't do it to embarrass a man.
it is an affirmation for them at this is not for them at that point. you can come back and try again. officers only get one shot. >> you can fail and come back. >> two would have to go back to a flea or another job and then come back and reapply. officers get one opportunity to go through. it is a one-shot deal. when that bell goes off, it becomes the soundtrack of seal training. if you are staying, it is an affirmation you are tough enough. you can make it. you hear that, and it becomes a tune that strikes you. >> do you design a test that is who is most likely to pass? >> a good friend of mine who has been connected to the team several years. the test design actually determines who can't make it.
we haven't figured out how to determine who will blanket. he configured down to the 90 plus percentile who has almost no chance of making it. it is valuable. we can factor a young guy. >> before they admit them to training. >> before. >> if the testing says you will not make it, you will not make it in. >> they have an unbelievable -- if they are determined they might. that is that x factor. that is the need thing about the team. you have a guy that went to oxford as a rhodes scholar. next to a coal miner. all those personalities and backgrounds can work for you or they can. >> why do you think you miss judge?
>> early on you think you can see some physical gifts, or test scores. once they get thrown into the crucible that is seal training, which lasted long time into hell week. it starts on a sunday night on the fifth week of training. it starts on sunday night. it ends on friday afternoon. you get two hours of sleep. you are wet and cold and miserable grade running with a boat on your head. lying down in the surf. >> two hours of sleep for five days? >> it puts you into another world. by thursday, people start hallucinating. >> sleep deprivation. >> what we want to do is offer up multiple and intense opportunities to find out if everyone has that quitting gene. if you don't, if you somebody that we throw all that adds, we know we have a special piece of clay to mold. >> are you convinced that you
are equipped to be a warrior? >> a lot of the men that do well were warriors coming into the program. once you finish, you realize that status. >> how long do most people stay in as they passed the program? >> the seal trident is the insignia we use to designate a man a seal. we have a hypertension. they will stay in the committee for their entire career. it is rare to transfer. probably 10 years. >> what happens after? >> now that i have stepped off my active duty time, i will find guys who don't know how to transition. i am a sniper. i don't think that translates.
i don't think you are looking at it the right way. what you're looking for is someone who doesn't know how to quit. you have to focus on the task. you absolutely believe there is no go you cannot she. i do not know a person who doesn't want to hire that. >> of the success rates high? >> they are high. i think when guys transition, it becomes subject to what they can sink their teeth into. >> how does that affect your life? >> you are never out of the fight. i don't mean in a ptsd way. if a normal person is unaware of the threats in the world, i would live in the orange role. i'm aware of my surroundings. i know where the exits are. >> that is famous in spy movies. >> it is a natural thing. >> the guy talking to a recruit and said, did you see the
prisoners color that they had on? is that an awareness that people have? >> i think our generation does in that we have been sustained combat for such a big block of time, the gift in some ways the battlefield is you produce a noise and that extra in your life down to the singular. you are worried about your survival and your teammate survival. that never fully goes away. i don't live in a panic state. >> teammate survival is the most important element. >> the idea of the brotherhood. failing a team it would be worse in your mind and failing at your own task. you want to hold up your end of the brothers. >> take a look at this. the author of a book called
"lone survivor" was on this program. here is what he said. >> they died a warrior's death. the way, a proud death. their boots on fighting. cancer, old-age, people try to take care of them. they died with their brothers doing what they love. they call it chasing the dragon. some seals, when there is not a war going on, they spend their whole life to employ their skill set. those of us are fortunate enough to do that, it is a feeling you can't suppress. >> chasing the dragon is a phrase you know. >> a little bit. >> when the boys talk about it. >> the guys. we are all very close.
those are the guys. the enlistment guys. they are the shooters. they are the gunfighters. our job is to manage the chaos. my job is to run the boys. the boy job is to engage the enemy. i think a lot of men may be down at an elemental level. most of your listeners, and i can't say for women, i will learn, they will say what what i do if someone put a knife in my face? for some, it is not enough to have that unanswered. seeking a brotherhood of warriors where you test that on the actual battlefield is a transformational an important part of our life. >> to answer that? >> i have answered that. >> the book is called "damn few."
>> live from pier 3 in san francisco, welcome to the late edition of "bloomberg west." i'm emily chang and we focus on innovation, technology, and the future of business. let's get straight to the rundown. microsoft chair bill gates talks about his future and a conversation with bloomberg lp founder michael bloomberg. bloomberg has learned that amazon has acquired rights for an online paid tv service. how much could it affect? jelly, his first time serving as o