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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 14, 2009 12:30pm-1:00pm EDT

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multiracial. what you're trying to have in a group is have people who are like-minded as possible and require not one group but many groups. you almost never put men and women in the group. men and women think about issues differently, they talk about a different language. men will interact with each other and get to a place, you know, that's so different than the way women -- you know, women. >> host: it's called venus and mars. >> guest: if you want to have a group that's comfortable with each other and frequently they're politically comfortable so when i do groups with people who write about in macomb county -- this is looking --..
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>> they would talk about it, and so focus groups enable people to be revealing. look at israel, i will look at
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south africa. belles lettres, rural, women. they have very well developed views. >> host: so what people are saying on television does not remotely revealed a focus group you're what you take from the focus group to take in your books, things that strike you as why didn't i think of that, or the way they express it? what i'm trying to tell our tutorial is, how much they inform polls. >> guest: well, they are used to different things. the most frequent thing is when i is start in a country where i haven't worked before, just like your your they all have strong views and they think they know things, you know, everything. so one thing i will do is i will do a focus group very open-ended, let people talk. almost invariably people will listen and say, i didn't consider that. just opens up people's mind and
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discover that people themselves are much more open-minded about these issues and that they haven't perhaps locked in reform in the way the politicians. the political class is locking. so part of this is opening the process up at the beginning. sometimes it's getting, a way of getting leaders in touch. nelson mandela came out of prison, 27 years in prison. they were involved in negotiations. i think there were three and a half years into negotiations to create a constitution. now, when i reported to the afc to him that people were saying you folks are out of touch, you have gone over -- you know you are hanging out with a wealthy white people. you have gone over to the other side into a losing touch with people. mandela's first reaction was 27 years in jail, we can be a little patient about the negotiation form it took a lot longer for us to do a constitution in america.
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he listened to people and he got it immediately. two things, both sped up the negotiation but also reporting to people on what was happening, bringing more people into the process of what was happening. so it impacted him when he saw how out of touch they were. >> host: so politicians have this capacity for, this is one thing that you and i share that there is our purpose, politicians are a complex people. we tend to attribute to their complex, complexities the various voters and whatnot, but there is much purpose. i don't know why you even get into business in any country if there wasn't some element of honor purpose. but speaking of mandela, and london and the uk, you have done all these international campaigns. james has done an. identity we have all worked together.
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he spoke to the universality of mandela hearing the focus groups and being responsive to those. for the universality of the fight, whenever we talk to anybody about doing international campaigns they are, not lost in a positive way, they are just dumbfounded. how do you do that? have you go to place we don't understand the language but there is later universality as going back to cicero that only 24 hours in a day, there is only one way to tell a story you're talking about the universal elements of campaign and then we will talk about the impediments, the cultural impediments that i'm sure cause. >> there's lots of impediments. you know, not having the first language, you have translation and things like that. so you always have local partners who are native. you are always working with research organizations that are from the country.
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so there's always a collaboration. it's never americans coming in and displacing what's happening in the country. again, any campaign has to have -- is a successful campaign has to be focused. >> host: there is at. gas mac has to have clarity. in my view the strongest, successful campaign, you know, pose a clear choice. in the title of this book, the war room of the clinton campaign, war room of the clinton campaign. >> host: often imitated but never duplicated. >> guest: but there is a common need to get everybody onto the same page, sharing a common understanding, communicating quickly, sharing information with each other, you know, in real-time. this is not a bureaucracy
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camping. >> host: let's take it step back right there because of the war room has become such a ubiquitous in our political conversation we get that it was your introduction of it in the 1992 campaign was a new paradigm. i like to think that all, any campaign i worked in was, as sharing of information but maybe it's because of the level i was working in. you guys did a couple of things here. what people think to think of the war room is what you just described the response which was unique. this is before, and i campaign think about, we had our biggest piece of technological equipment was a blast facts. you could reach 100 people with one button. that cell phones were 20 pounds and you do straws and the guy who lost had to carry the cell phone. imagine, you guys --
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>> guest: baiters. >> host: pages. okay, having bad flashbacks. so you get rapid response in a time where there was no technological capacity, no present technological capacity to do it. but you also brought, this is a good lesson for geos and corporations and all that, my husband is sort of famous, he probably stole it from you. why wouldn't you want everybody from the secretary to the candidate to know what the strategy is? if the stat untrimmed strategy is secret in the people -- >> guest: there's a big difference. first of all, you have campaigned. i've been involved in campaigns, i've camping in mexico in which you had divided power sectors, separate media, separate media. the war room is a decision to centralize. people lose power when you centralize. it's a measure of a successful campaign is the willingness to
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form. either way, part of this history, winners tell history. you know, when you win you're the smartest and your ideas are the smartest. i'm sure a good one in 1992 we would be talking about your war room for your form of the world. because of that all of these leaders that i write about here were formative elections in very tumultuous times, economic crisis, political rices. obviously south africa big transformation. entities were tumultuous times. so they were defining elections and the impact on the other elections. so we had the war room in little rock, but in that war room to observe was the chief advisor for tony blair and the labor party who observe the warm. >> host: by the way just being in little rock is a big change. just getting out of the epicenter of chatting class was. if people wanted to know what was going on, the press wanted to know what was going on they
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had to go down there. >> guest: it was bill clinton's judgment and it was one of the smartest things he did. we all hated it, but a change of. it brought us all together. discussing, sharing, keeping the focus, which is what election is about. became to the end of that election and in the last week, they were attacking us. >> host: we did. we went to every state. the body man on the plane. we went to every state gasbag and bill clinton wanted to respond to that and we said no. what's the fight about? they want a fight to be about experience. we want to fight to be about change and the economy. we're going to put up -- we're not going to respond. were going to put up an ad that schools although lowe all the n. we're not going to respond.
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you have to hold him down. he wanted to defend his virtue. in the end it was about at the end what's the fight about, can we stay on our definition of the fight. we did polling, show that it was working that by not responding, polling is a very important piece of it but it was all around the central project and all of these is keeping control what the fight is about. >> host: you are bringing up, i love when candidates are forced to, and people don't understand about the role of somebody in the campaign even to get everybody to get the bushes together, to stand up to the candidate. most candidates think they are a better campaign manager. it's like being your own lawyer. being your own campaign manager is always disastrous so there's an instance where you had to get in their face. and then there's instance and we both experienced this, they are looking at the polls and they are saying all this stuff, and
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even if you're not arguing against or for something, they said i don't care what the polls show. which become some badge of honor, but there is some quality that these leaders have had some responsibility, obligation that they -- it's not lighters. they know where they want to go and they believe in and they have to stand up to this. and i don't want to use examples because i know where you're going to go with it but that takes a kind of something based where does that come from? see if you can work with all these phenomenal leaders, i don't necessarily agree with all of them on everything, but there is some quality there that is not present in your mortals. >> guest: mandell is always in his own place, and they are all competent. these are not simpleminded people. as you will see in the book, they have conflicting purposes
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that sometimes at the time of campaign, aligns himself with the consultants but at other times particularly when they're in government there's a whole regiment of things that they care about that conflict with what consultants want. and what the political project was not brought into the election, they end up in a very different place. but that's because they are competent. they are more ambitious, more competitive, more focused and sometimes they have extreme highs and lows. they are different. tony blair is, you know, even in tempered. but nelson mandela, you know, can get very healthy and very stubborn. he's a great listener, but once he decides on what ought to happen, incredibly stubborn. they are all different but they all have qualities that have
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emerged ahead of everybody else who was there at the time. tony blair, there were lots of other people, and certainly gordon brown. other people who might have been leaders at that time, but there's special intensities and purpose. >> host: you know, there's also this, which that's not learnable. that's god-given. this is another thing that i think is learnable, but not to the extent they do it well is god-given. that's key mitigate. you may give them the words but they make the delivery. we just saw, james and i thought prime minister blair and i sat at this event, how people at the bush 43 white house and prime minister is going to speak, we would all shut down and watch them. he was so eloquent. and he was so found the right words, the right sentences, the right paragraphs. the way to communicate and he
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can do that spontaneously and not to stop at teleprompter, using that current negative thing that's been discussed out there, including that short for. we went and saw him once when our kids were little, and it came down in which everyone presumed to be and we know in talking in the book it's not as grand as we would imagine it to be so it is a little office. and the infant baby, a diaper adventure, was choking up your it was like can even see. nobody even says anything. it's literally the elephant in the realm. and finally i'm freaking out and he is like -- his kids are grown and he's not going to have another baby, what's he going to say. james apologizes in some way i can't even remember. certainly not as eloquent as tony says. that's the beautiful thing about children, they are so unpretentious. you could always go right to the
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-- and with no cement l. and bill clinton who i still think he is a better politician than barack obama. i think he is a thoroughbred. i'm not tried make comparisons but i am making a point that with all the tools you give them, with all the framework, with all the testing and in a manipulative way what's the best way to say. they -- it something else that they bring. >> guest: tony blair was particularly articulate. and he also had, you know, i write in the book, he had an underlying religious base which i think was very, was central to what would drive his purpose, and let you kind of a chaotic politics in britain because britain is so uncomfortable with the notion of religious parliament and expressed publicly. and so it was not something he could actually give voice to until 9/11 when i think he was
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then able to speak about kind of fundamentalist right and wrong, you know, the fundamental threat facing the democratic society. and he was able to speak in religious terms and really found his voice. that's when you particularly elegant in the post-9/11 period and the iraq period. but he listen to his advisors. i write about in the book because we actually, come apart. largely on how to deal with iraq and george bush in his third election. because i argue that he has to show some distance, some independence which i suggested by the way on climate change, not just on iraq. and that he has to show some morning on iraq. he can go to the electorate again here having been to iraq, giving with what happened with the intelligence, without showing some learning. and i did the research. i show the route forward. i also gave him notes prior to
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him giving the joint session address in washington. but he ignored it all. he said he couldn't go there. he said his view was that it was britain's interest to be aligned in this way. and he wasn't going to go there. eventually i think he paid a big price in the election. he won, but only 36% of the vote at a historically low turnout but that's what he believed. >> host: and that's why we love him, and sometimes you just, as you were saying earlier in a different context about barack obama giving things space to play sells out. now people don't look as desirably on the outcome of iraq when it now appears to be successful. again, tiptoe back from doing that. let's talk about, when we talk
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about barack i don't necessarily mean politically and i am not being political in his conversation. he is a huge antipodal an pivot. >> guest: he helped form the new government and effect unity in government. we will see what happens with that government. it's challenging right now in israel. but he is unique. i write here that i learned more from him in any of the other leaders. i have enormous respect from mandela. because he is an unbelievably, i mean, i don't know any political leaders, and i included tony blair and others who would have gone into these negotiations
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dealing with the palestinians or even syria. you know, he barely had a government and every time he took the slightest dent towards doing this, his government almost fell, his popular it would drop and so he went into -- and his approval ratings were about as low as president bush's approval ratings at the time of the iraq war at its low point. you know, when he went to go negotiate the future of the country. there just aren't many people who have the political courage. he knew that when camp david was over either he had to call it election, referendum, you know, recently give up at the end of this process. and he was way out on the limb so he was a soldier decorated, you know, willing to take great risks. he believes -- whenever i showed the polls, he knew he had to bring the people, he faced an early election. but we never pulled him on purpose reflecting what the public was.
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it was simply how can we get to the argument that people will support this kind of big total agreement. that's unprecedented. what is the strongest argument for getting there. it was all just about, you know, how to get there. now he also had, he would also talk about what it was like, he had trained with the french military -- >> host: share some of his war heroes because i think there is this little opportunity in this country and a large democracies in general to have the kind of military, that kind of military background in our present-day. these are not, he wasn't a soldier. >> guest: head of the elite commando units. now there is a history in israel of people in the military, you know, moving to major political positions. rabin was chief of staff and
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military haircut before he was chief of staff of the military he was head of the elite commando unit and he personally went into lebanon, to beirut, to take out the terrorists who had assassinated israeli athletes. he went in and a wig dresser the woman and participated in the operation, was overseeing the operation, the rescue, the hostages in gonda and so he was also went on to the twa flight. anyway, he has personally, personally very brave. and so when you meet with him, i know james would say when he met him i would look at his hands and i said i know he is guilty. you look at somebody -- >> host: he looks at my hand gessner you look at some indifferently. it comes to that level of a
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patriot, that brave for his country and his people. so it really does, you step back. we're not talking about prescription drug coverage for seniors or something, you know, or the issues are different in israel, but also the leaders frequently come out of an express which is different. but he would talk about pulling. and he talked about he was trained by, he went with the french through the alps. he said what i learned is it was impossible to march from where he went through the alps in winter. and get from one to the other. he said, but the way you do it is that at each step to reduce your risk in order, as long as you know you're going to a bold solution. select youth bowling. ghetto, you try to reduce your steps on the small steps. so you are able to make the big step. and for him it was just a tool that he used that he had a
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vision of where he wanted to go and he wanted to move the public. as i said i learned more from him, and the most important piece being jerusalem. what i said in the book is i had polling and two thirds said we can't divide jerusalem where you have focus groups where people were emotional. to keep the ideas like separating the head from the body, to divide jerusalem. and then he moved the majority to support it, and so i write in the book i can't believe my own polls on jerusalem. which of my polls should i believe. generally never, be careful before you tell a bold leader that they can't do something that they think they need to do. >> host: especially one with those hands. before we run out of time, belson mandella, he is very moving and your life, there is a wonderful picture in your viewers at this election and amc rally which will put up later.
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but talk about, because it's another example of a leader coming from an experience unfathomable, most americans are most people from anywhere else in the world. >> guest: well, first of all you always felt unworthy. not always. when i first met him. how do i get to deserve to have this meeting? what lysate is somebody who is been in jail for 27 years. what you discover is he is immensely gracious, solicitous, humble at the first meeting you make sure that people were serving as coffee. it was a big meeting later, later on, a conference. not big formative decisions being made. i look around and he is serving coffee and tea to everybody around the table. and so this big figure, you
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know, is also -- and that when i met with him, i presented him some very tough polling results but he was playing with his grandchildren before he would take the time to talk to us. he was dealing with his grandchildren. so he's a human being. you know, he's focused on kids, and gracious. and that's kind of a backdrop, and he is interested, and remember things that were said. i talk with frank and wanted to sign the back of his child pictured just so as somewhat of a good look at the picture and know that he was there with mandella. at the story of a debate preparation there, but obviously a special leader of the picture we talk about here is a big final rally, the banner of better life. and sony is probably the biggest, you know, in terms of people reading the book in understanding, you know, what a difference a campaign can make,
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or certainly what polling and how you listen to people. when we started, the slogan of the campaign was a better life for all. now, i'm sorry, the slogan was now is the time. now is the time was the slogan. now, that's reasonable. you have the apartheid regime, they were ending races, having blacks participate in government for the first time. now is the time, seems reasonable enough as a slogan. but what we found when we did polson listen to people, now blacks are going to take over the government if they are going to take over the seats of the power. this is about black power. and in the context of africa it's like everybody in africa is aware of the first democratic election, blacks will be in power. we found out in our groups that one was about black so that
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meant lots of other groups, racial blick, the asians, mixed groups, white were not supporting the agency because in part of the slogan. but also it was about power, not about what you were going to do with it once you were in power. and when we changed the slogan to a better life for all, that was inclusive, but also it wasn't just about power. not just about the past. and i presented it to mandella. and i said, you know what, we're saying, and i felt a little bit uncomfortable saying it as an american. i said we can't have an election about apartheid. do the agency has been fighting apartheid for all these decades that he has been in jail for 27 years for fighting apartheid and i think who am i to say to him that you can't have an election about apartheid. now, i'm saying this because i am listening to people. i'm listening to a vast mass of
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africans who say we don't want this stuff, apartheid. we want to be about what the changes you're going to bring what you come in. what's going to be better? it's not just about segregation or just for blacks to be in power. we need a lot to be better. and more inclusive, everybody sharing. so he got it. and he listened. and he then became the of lecturing everybody else to move to this new place. >> host: i love these stories. i had to grit my teeth through some of this book if you are a liberal, it's clear in his. but i think you have in this book showed where the honor and the purpose and politics can be. before we run out of time, is there any two questions page or one question and i will let you go. is there any republican that you would meyer at the current leading republican to finish these sorts of things? >> guest: i would say you but


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