tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg March 10, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
>> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: the ongoing presidential campaign has brought this country's deepening ideological rift into stark relief. a recent pew poll found that republicans and democrats are more divided today than at any point in the last two decades. this polarizing atmosphere has inevitably impacted congress's ability to work productively. former senate majority leaders tom daschle and trent lott address that issue in this new
book, called "crisis point: why we must -- and how we can -- overcome our broken politics in washington and across america." i am pleased to have them both at this table. first of all, how do you two get together to write a book? mr. lott: we served together in the senate long time, majority and minority leader, both of us. through it all, we developed a good chemistry. it really involved -- i respected. we have different views, quite often. we developed a real trust. we became friends. we were together with our wives, and tom said, it is time to put our experiences -- charlie: you had the idea it ought to be bipartisan. mr. daschle: we could not write a book like that if it were not for two majority leaders who could share different perspectives about how we got here and the different views we have on issues to come to a consensus on what we need to do.
charlie: people always talk about two things -- president obama, it was a priority for him, he wanted to come here and be able to bridge the bipartisan rift. he did not do it and says he wishes he had the political skills of abraham lincoln or franklin roosevelt to accomplish it. the other person they cite is ronald reagan and tip o'neill, that they had the capacity. why is that not true now? is it because of redistribution and all of that? it has put people in races in which they have no primary opposition and therefore, they do not fear reelection and are pushed to their extremes? mr. lott: they do fear that primary elections. we talk about that among republicans and democrats too. it is a combination of things. these are different times, different people. the media is very different.
charlie: 24 hours a day. mr. lott: money is a part of it. tom and i labored over that. we do not agree on how to fix it. but we agree what we need is be campaign reform, which could impact the money aspect. we do not just talk about fixing the rules. we talk about the need for civic responsibility, making sure elections are accessible. vote on saturday instead of tuesday. mr. daschle: one of the things -- and i know trent feels just as strongly as i do -- we blame the airplane. people do not stay in washington like they used to. they leave on thursday, come back on tuesday, they try to run the country on wednesday. you cannot do that in a country this complicated. we use the word "chemistry" a lot. there is no chemistry.
charlie: because there is a constant campaign? mr. lott: and raising of money. because they go on so long and are so negative. then you throw in the super pacs running negative ads, and you are not sure where the money came from. charlie: a hard decision for you to come to any consensus on the campaign financial reform? mr. daschle: in part, it is because we are not confident we have the answer. i always favored an amendment that said money is not speech. if that is what it takes to overturn the supreme court's interpretation, i am for it. we can prohibit fundraising during the time when people are legislating. those kinds of things. they could have an impact even though, at the end of the day, we have to deal with the money. mr. lott: this is the way we lived in the senate too. i have a different view, but we did not focus on how we disagree. what we did do was, what can we do differently we can agree on?
charlie: how are you different as a leader from mitch mcconnell? [laughter] mr. lott: how long do you have? one of the differences is i had tom daschle as my counterpart on the other side. i do not know how much they talk. but we talk about it in the book. we had red phones on our desk. when we picked it up, it rang on my desk or his. charlie: what would you talk about? because something was happening? mr. lott: well, on 9/11, i picked up the phone when i realized we were probably under attack. i was saying, tom, we probably need to evacuate the building. security came to get us out of there.
we also used it to get around the media. it was like running a gauntlet. sometimes, we actually wanted to talk without our staff supervising what we were saying. mr. daschle: we had impeachment, 9/11, anthrax, a 50-50 senate, that really took a lot of chemistry, communication, trust. without that, you cannot legislate. it is impossible. what is your favorite quote? henry clay? mr. lott: john calhoun. the great compromiser. i do not trust clay. he is a schemer. but by god, i love him. charlie: is that the way you felt about ted kennedy? mr. lott: that is true. i worked with him on a bill one time, a health bill. he wrote me a nice letter. i wrote him a letter back saying, i enjoyed working with you.
ps -- if the world only knew. i did not know it, but he framed it. charlie: he showed it to me. mr. lott: when we spoke at the dedication of the kennedy institute, i said, i did not want the world to know. charlie: and certainly your fellow republicans. mr. lott: i was admonished after a speech in mississippi. i worked with kennedy on the issue. a guy came up afterward and said, you did fine, but that part about kennedy? do not say that anymore. charlie: why has president obama less successful than he wished in trying to build a relationship with speaker boehner? mr. daschle: at his core, he has long felt there is nothing he could do that could work. he had mitch mcconnell who, on basically on the first day said, my only job is to make sure he is a one term president. the president might say today, i
wish i had done more. the presidents sometimes underuse camp david. i went up there with president clinton, and it was amazing, spending quiet time away from washington. you get to develop a relationship you cannot build anywhere else. charlie: i do not know if it is true, but the president seems to reach out to historians and journalists. president clinton would reach out to members of congress to talk about politics. mr. lott: loved the game. 43, george w. bush would have us over for breakfast. tom and i would go regularly after 9/11. bipartisan dinners in the quarters, with our spouses, to build relationships.
relationships matter. because it develops trust. it develops people prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt. mr. lott: it is so commonsensical. mr. daschle: communication leads to compromise, compromise leads to progress. that is lost in washington. charlie: bob gates has said his strongest national security concern, washington. we are vulnerable in terms of how we commit to the future, education. mr. lott: budget policies, defense policies, foreign relation policies. i did not work that much in the international area in the house. but as majority leader, you get to know king abdullah or meet with putin.
the more you do that, the more it exacerbates the whole thing. we have had enormous turnover. they do not have the understanding, respect, or interest in developing relationships. that is where we suffer. charlie: here is what interests me. look at majority leaders on your side going back to lyndon johnson. think about you, harry reid. george mitchell. this is a different group of men. mr. daschle: it is. mr. lott: on both sides. both sides of the capital too. we talk about, when we were in leadership, there was a center. moderates on the democrat and republican side. i never camped in the middle, i was right of center, tom, left of center, but that group has kind of disappeared. both parties have pulled more to the left for the democrats and
right for the republicans, making it hard to find the sweet spot. you get results. do we need to do something about infrastructure in america? do we need to do a better job with the budget, make sure entitlements are there? yes to all of the above. i tell my conservative friends, quit cussing the darkness. tell me what you are going to do. if you want to change something, it takes action.
mr. daschle: i think it is -- going back to something we have talked about a bit, it is relationships. building trust, confidence among your colleagues that someone who can organize and lead is capable of rising to that level. it starts inside. you have to be able to think through the issues. mr. lott: i enjoyed working the members individually. i was a whip in the house and twice in the senate and enjoyed the relationship. you have to get up every morning and say, i am going to have a positive attitude today to get something done for my constituency and country. if you provide leadership, even though it gets you in trouble sometimes, it is amazing what you can a couple. it is not a constitutional decision. we did not have majority leaders until the 1900s. nothing is called up in the senate unless the majority leader says it is called.
charlie: is that good? mr. lott: you have to have somebody that uses it judiciously. charlie: there is no restraint on it? mr. lott: there is one. if you go too far, you will not be there long. you will be in the minority. mr. daschle: in addition to the first right of recognition, leaders have a lot to do with who serves on what committee. that gives you the authority and ability to maintain some discipline. that is exactly what mitch mcconnell has done.
charlie: let's talk about the republican party today. mr. lott: do we have to? it is the strangest year i have ever seen. i have been watching politics in america pretty closely for almost 50 years now. i would have never been able to predict what has happened. i want to say up front, i have been for john kasich from the beginning. i have volunteered to work with him, knew him in the house. we served together. he helped us on budget negotiations. he has the experience and knows how to get the job done. charlie: but does he have a chance? mr. lott: we are figuring a way that can happen. we will know by the 15th of march. charlie: will it destroy the republican party if donald trump is the nominee, as marco rubio said to me last night? mr. lott: it will certainly present challenges. like i said to somebody earlier today, i used to think how we treated one president would destroy it all. then i realized the position in america is bigger than anyone, woman or man. we can survive this. we have for a long time. we talk about it in the book. we have a lot of history in there.
the trump candidacy has dialed up the confrontational tone to a degree we have not seen in a long time. i think he has done serious damage to the country and i do not know where it is going to end. charlie: nor does anyone else. thank you for coming. "crisis point," senator lott and senator daschle. talking about one of the big issues that ought to be part of the campaign debate and part of the urgent agenda for whoever the president is.
you had this phenomenal relationship with steve jobs and others. somehow, you knew this place here, this culture, was different. jony: absolutely. charlie: and the imperative to create something was driven by something different. i am saying this to a person who is part of the creation of a product that has made you, this company, the most valuable company in the world and lots of people very rich. you created a product everybody wanted to have.
but that is what we said in 1998 when the company was struggling. you see, we did not say the goal was turnaround. if we set the goal in the late 1990's was to turn the company around, that is about money. you can turn a company around by spending less and trying to make more. we said in the 90's, the goal was to stop making products that were not great. the goal was to focus on making the great consumer product. charlie: this happened when steve jobs came back? jony: when steve came back, that is how he articulated what the goal of the company needed to be. this was not an exercise in wordsmithing. this was describing profoundly different messages and approaches to the problem at hand. it takes a tremendous courage, when you are losing fabulously large amounts of money, to say our goal is not turnaround. our goal is to make a great product.
that is not a natural sort of reflex to that situation. the reflex is, let's not spend this money and let's try to get more. charlie: save the company. jony: so i think that one of the things we have worked hard on is the way we describe the problem. this is where i think language is so interesting, because these ideas generally start as a thought. it becomes quickly words and discussions and arguments. it is very easy to make dramatic assumptions. if you make these assumptions, and they are often language-based, it is easy to miss huge opportunity.
this is something steve was very thoughtful about and very -- there was a lot of intention behind the words he used. there is a whole world of difference behind this goal. charlie: did you know him before he came to take over? jony: it is interesting. i described how i think the things you do describe who you are. via the work he did, i knew him. i had never met him. that is curious to me. to see this product and the reaction is, who made this? not, what does it do? i felt an immediate sense of his, what he thought was important. it was one of the reasons we first met, we clicked in the way
work that never made it beyond models. you could say, we have been exploring interesting designs. he recognized the work and was compelled and interested. he mentioned how incredibly ineffective i had been, and he was absolutely right. because we had a store room full of models. that was when we first met. on that very same day, we left the studio and went quietly to another room. and started work on what became the imac. we met that day and started that product that day. charlie: he became your closest friend? jony: we became extremely close. charlie: soon. jony: i guess i tend to have -- i believe a completely odd view that things of substance and depth take a long time. that shattered that view i had. we could become profound friends quickly. charlie: i know your relationship with mark, same thing. jony: yes. charlie: design genius. jony: one of the things was that we all see the same physical things around us. but there is something that happens between what we see and what we perceive.
i spent a lifetime of just noticing things in a very internal way, thinking about them. i remembered one time when we were out shopping together. i think we were in italy. he picked up a knife and looked at it. he put it down. i said, that is a nice knife. picked it up. i could see there was a tiny change in the gloss level between the handle -- i know
this sounds obsessive, worryingly so. i could see this tiny change in reflection between the handle and the metal collar. i realized it was the glue. it was no longer a knife. it was a bit of metal that had been glued. normally, i would not have said anything. but we noticed the same thing. there is that wonderful recognition.
jony: i have a wonderfully deep reverence for the creative process that was not motivated by what it can do for me. a reverence for the creative process. we both recognize that ideas were tenuously fragile. we both were comfortable at laughing at the appalling ideas we had. we were quiet and sensitive enough to be able to listen to the quiet idea. very often, i think we assume this big, grand idea that will eventually turn into something that can change the world can, and often does, starts as a quiet, tentative idea. i think we both knew how to listen, even if it did not appear we were paying attention. we could both listen.
charlie: would you think of yourself as an artist or designer? or a builder? jony: i feel part artist, part designer, part engineer, part builder. part craftsman. it is a mixture. in all of that, i am genuinely comfortable with being surprised and being wrong. i am the first person to raise my hand when something i thought was going to be good was just appalling. charlie: do you know why that happens? jony: i think because it actually saves a lot of time. i have seen so much time wasted because of dogma and clinging to views.
jony: if you genuinely care about the product, you have to be very explicit and very clear in terms of criticizing it. something i talked about before, something i struggled with, part of my role in leading a cohesive and tight group of designers for 20 plus years, where we are close personally and professionally, was having a tendency 10 or 15 years ago to be, perhaps, softer in my feedback.
on an occasion when he had been surgically precise and there was a wake from that surgical precision, from a distance, you can fixate on his behavior without bothering to find out why that happened. and i suggested maybe there was a slightly softer way of giving that feedback. he said, well, you are not actually bothered by the feelings of those guys? which i was, but not entirely. he said, you are just being vain because you want them to like you, and you are scared if you are absolutely honest, they will not.
jony: i think we could not want more than, when people are using our products, to not be aware of the complexity of the problems we solve, but for them to be aware of a deep sense of care that we did not have to express. it would have still switched on, performed the majority of the product's functions. but we went way beyond that. i think that sense that we did care and we went the extra mile and the extra mile, i think that is part of evolution. charlie: it is evident in the watches, how you can change the bands. it is evident in how these things are packaged, packaging. it shows you care.
packaging is more than protecting the product. it is the first time you get to see and use your product. you have seen the ones on display. and we enjoy that. sometimes when it is late, you wonder why we are worrying so much about the design that no one will see. but you know it is right. and we feel we are lucky to be working in a group of people that also believe it is right.
charlie: it is like the idea of saying no one will ever know and i will. i will know it is not as good as i could have made it. jony: i know. and i think the people will know, even if they do not see it with their eyes. my experience absolutely has been people sense it. charlie: what would you do if you did not do this? jony: i have no idea. it is all i can do.
charlie: but you have a set of skills and you have a remarkable experience and you have things that reflect insight and commitment. i sometimes think of you and ask myself, beyond apple products, is there something that jony ive could do that would change our world even larger? that has meant there has been a tremendous influence. there has been a reach to what
we have been doing. and it has been remarkable that we can, together, practice our process, which is unusual, clearly unique. charlie: steve said about you, if i had a spiritual partner at apple, it is jony. we think of products together and pull others in and say, what do you think? he gets into detail about each product and understand apple is a product company. jony: the one thing i do have a reasonable fluency in is moving from the big picture to the tiny details. and -- charlie: the fluency? jony: being able to move backwards and forwards. it is a dim reflection of
jony: it comes from culture, but the culture is necessary, but not sufficient. it needs to be composited with a bloody-minded, resolute view of, we are going to do this. we are clear about our values to do something new that has not been done. if there is a value, there is good reason for stuff being done. you are confronted with those reasons and you have two choices. you can say, that is a good reason. i am sorry for bothering you. or you can say, i do not believe that. i am going to find out more. i'm going to find someone who is more experienced. there is that sort of resolution where -- george bernard shaw talks about you have to reject reason to innovate. you have to say, we understand this is reasonable. this is what people believe.
but i am actually going to ignore you completely. and if you are a fairly sensible person and ignoring smart people is really difficult, the values of it are terribly important. they are easy to talk about. but there are behaviors that are necessary to turn those values into real products. charlie: what are those behaviors? jony: it is that resolution, that determination. those behaviors that can so easily be misinterpreted by people who have not got a clue about developing products, that sort of unreasonable drive, drive, drive. that decision to ignore expert opinion. that happens every single time
we do something that is new. charlie: here is what i found out about artists. artists, they study. you go to a museum. you go to a painting. and they are looking at the labor that went into creating the painting, more than the vision, how that color was conceived. it is almost like a journeyman worker having great pride and looking for the details that make excellence. you have to have the capacity to see that. jony: yes, yes. charlie: and know how hard it is to get it, which is what you are saying? jony: i think that is exactly what i am saying. i do not think it is a disconnect that there are behaviors that are necessary, vision and focus, and a culture, turn those into tangible,
manifest products. those behaviors can sometimes be misinterpreted. charlie: is there any possibility apple can get too rich and too fat and complacent to be as good as it has to be? jony: i am sure that possibility absolutely exists. i think one of the things that characterizes the way we work is that our hesitance to be down in the stables, worrying about what we are doing, our heads do not tend to be -- charlie: thinking about how great we are or what we have achieved. jony: i think we try to stay hungry. i think we are more aware of the
jony: i think the way you stay hungry -- you are not going to be much use if you are not eating. the way we have appetite for more is to be working and critical and aware that there is a big gap between our ambition and our vision of what we are doing right now. and that, each time we move forward, i think we are aware there is still that gap. i personally do not believe we will close that gap. it is what drives us. charlie: growing up, you were around a shop. jony: yes. charlie: you talk about models. it came to you reasonably early, didn't it? jony: it did. i grew up with an understanding that everything surrounding me was made.
charlie: this capacity to know that things are made and have the ability to work with your hands has served you as much as your heart and brain. jony: i think that has existed as an early childhood foundation. it seemed as obvious to me as the acquisition of language. that curiosity that turned into a modicum of understanding, upon that, that is how i started to see the world. what happened was it was a constant series of questions. why did they do that like that? why did they choose this material? even down to the simple -- i remember this white alarm clock that did not work anymore. i remember taking it to pieces. the back actually sprang off because of the main winding spring. all the little cogs were like this little city that you never knew was in there.
i do not know if it is part of the human condition in that we accept our surroundings in a way. charlie: one last question. when you are hiring young designers to come here, and they all want to come here, what are you looking for? jony: there was a time -- the process would normally be someone would send in a portfolio of work that would be reviewed. we would look very specifically at what they did, their design. i have always been more interested in the way people see the world. and this is a long time ago now.
anything he had done, decided we must hire this guy. to me, it is just how we see the world and share that ambition to, based on an understanding, to develop an expertise to sincerely join us in making the best products we can. charlie: thank you. jony: thank you, charlie. charlie: remarkable day here. ♪