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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  June 30, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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>> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> rose: additional funding provided by: >> rose: we begin this evening with our continuing coverage of the great debt crisis. prime minister alex ortiz called for referendum on friday, the latest bill out extended by the i.m.f. the european union and the european central bank expires tuesday, coinciding when
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greece has to pay back a loan to the i.m.f. greece said it will default on the payment. the banks are closed. the chief jean clawed claude junker said he wants to vote on the referendum. >> it had never been an option. i always told my greek friends they shouldn't believe at the end of the process i will be able to present the final solution. >> rose: joinl joining me is lionel barber, editor of the "financial times." here in new york, roger altman, chairman of evercore partners and investment banking firm. and joe weisenthal, editor at
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bloomberg markets. you have been following the story closely, lionel. tell me what a yes vote and no vote means. >> we don't know whether they will vote or what they're going to vote on because the deal rejected by the greek government over the weekend is not on the table, so in my view, it comes to the euro versus the drachma. do you want to stay in europe at a price or go backwards leave the euro and have your own currency which is tremendously perilous. let's say we don't know the result but a yes vote offers the space for new negotiations on a bailout plan for greece. it also likely would hold a new greek government, so mr. tsipras on far left grouping would likely not be in power or could
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be mr. tsipras with a new realigned party, and then everything starts over. i know i have to say charlie and i say this with some trepidation, i don't see how they avoid grease leaving the euro with all the momentous implications associated with that both political and economic, and believe me, in washington, that's not a result they want to see. >> rose: okay. roger, what's an exit for the eurozone means if in fact, it comes to that? >> well, there are catastrophic consequences i think for the greeks. returning to the drachma is extraordinarily difficult. it's a downslide and so many other things. greece is going to find a hard time if not an impossible time find anything lenders at any level. lenders to consumers, to businesses and to the government. it's going to be the beginning
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of a semicatastrophic period for greece. beyond that, the consequence force the rest of europe are pretty big too. >> rose: for the global economy? >> i don't think the consequence force the global economy or the global financial markets are very large. i think this crisis has gone on for so long and there's been such anticipation of a possible unraveling of the marriage between greece and the eurozone that i don't think the consequence force the global economy or global markets are that great and i think you see that today in financial markets. yes the euro has weakened but not drastically. the trading levels of spanish and ieltian bonds are up but not drastically. keep in mind, greece for all its indebtednessed isness is a maul
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country. only 2.7 of the eurozone gdp. it's a small zone. this will be a step backwards in terms of european integration and we'll see what britain does in terms of its referendum. but i don't think the consequences of global markets are great. >> rose: how about contagions from nearby states lierg like spain, portugal and ultimately? >> i don't think there is much a chance of that. much of what greek owes are other governments. you wouldn't expect to see any dramatic financial linkages. i think the story is long-term what does this mean for the future of the european and the eurozone project and i think that, over time, you have to be concerned about the forces that are pulling europe apart in
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other countries, like u.k., spain. i don't think these are instant concerns. it's not like lehman where you have one failure and then a series of failures, but you look at the trend of more radical parties on the rise pretty much everywhere, and you can't help but wonder, especially given the absence of robust growth, whether you see similar stories play out. >> rose: do you worry about it in terms of what it means for the greek people or beyond greece? >> one little comment there. i'm slightly surprised my fellow guests are even mentioning the words british referendum or greek referendum. they're somewhat different. we don't want to be put in the same sentence, thank you very much. but apart from that, there is a very serious point roger alluded to. there's a proud brit speaking here. there's a problem about real short-term suffering. the greeks are hurting already -- people not getting
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pensions -- >> rose: right. this is a country that's hurting. as roger says, if they leave and were to adopt their old currency, there would be a massive hit to living standards above and beyond an economy that's already shrunk around 10% since 2008. so that's real. but we have to look at the geopolitical consequences, as it were, and my little prediction tonight is in the event of a greek exit, you will see the french president and the german chancellor come together to issue a new declaration about strengthening both the institution and governments of the eurozone. there will be deeper integration to counter the forces of fragmentation that joe and roger alluded to. >> rose: in that context, he was saying this whole idea of this push going backtorially leaders for some kind of european integration is at risk here, too. >> well obviously, there is --
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and my colleague has written a great column for tomorrow about the death of the european -- >> rose: exactly. we have to remember that back in 1981, the french president wanted greece to come in as a statement that here you could extend democracy to greece and it would be a democratic family of nations in western europe and greece, of course, did ascend but didn't make the adjustments made in other countries like spain, portugal that has helped raise their living standards and it sort of got stuck. so, you know, giese is something of a special case. i do think that we need to be a little bit careful if we say, in effect, this is managing contagion because the shock of a greek exit -- they would still
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be in the european union remember. >> rose: right. leaving the eurozone doesn't mean you leave the european union but it would be a tremendous shock and setback for europe's leadership. >> charlie, i don't think it's yet clear there really will be a greek exit from the eurozone. >> rose: even if they default to the i.m.f.? >> that, i don't think, is the key event. >> no. that can be finessed and it will be finessed. if the greeks vote yes on the referendum, and i don't have any idea we'll see polls over the next 48 hours. it's quite a task for greece to hold the referendum. i've heard people express skepticism of whether it can be authentic referendum. but if greeks vote yes, i think they'll still stay in the
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eurozone. there is a possible greece stays at the table and it's obvious abyss economically speaking in terms of living standards that greece will face if this unravels. i don't think grease will exit the euro. i think they will remain. >> rose: so they will come back to negotiating table. >> either don't go through with the referendum and the shock of the few days leading up to the referendum will impel that or greece will return to the negotiating table. one the more likely than not. >> rose: lionel. what roger said is absolutely right, it's very important to note that europeans have left the door open to negotiations. i have been very clear on that. also the european central bank
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that will meet wednesday will look at the state of the emergency support for banks and again, i predict they will not shut this off. they will impose a cut on the bonds but they're not going to take the nuclear option. they want to keep the door open. so what you're saying is slowly right. >> rose: but tsipras walked away. >> he did walk away burks -- away but he didn't think the offer would be taken off the table. some would say it's a tacticallicle mistake by the european government. but they are up to here with the greek negotiators. they have no trust. the relationship between the key negotiators is shot. >> rose: what was the straw that broke the camel's back? was failure to negotiate? or was it calling the referendum? >> it's a hay tack not a straw. they are fed up.
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they have no trust. >> calling the referendum was a dramatic act. i personally think it was rather cowardly because tsipras knows the impact on his own people if greece exits and how draconian those impacts will be and basically is saying i'm not throwing away my own political career, i'll pass it to the people, very cowardly. i don't think it's blown up for good. >> we have been talking about this idea if greece were to leave the euro and go to the drachma would be a disaster. you hear people say it would be great, would print their own currency, look how fast iceland recovered. but it's important to consider some of the complications in the greek case. for one thing, you're talking about a country that imports the most basic of things from fuel, energy, all of that would become more massively expensive once the drachma collapses. the manufacturers become more
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competitive on a global scale but greece doesn't have any significant manufacturing economy. so what you would get is a massive hit to your imports without any obvious offsetting exports. so people who think that, oh they can just sort of solve this by going to their own currency probably are being a bit naive. >> rose: so suppose over in europe you could convene the smartest people on that side of the atlantic. what would they recommend as the right thing for -- to happen here and in terms of creditors as well as the greek government and the greek people? >> well, first first of all, the greeks need to accept they have to make certain further reforms and take some pain. the same kind of pain that the irish, the spanish the portuguese have taken in the last few years and that means pension reform.
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you've got to retire a little later. you need to stay in the workforce. these things and we form of the state. on the other hand, the creditors, i believe, need to hold out that they need to offer hope. they need to hold out the prospect of renegotiation of the greek debt. we know it's 160 billion-plus, but the fact is some of that's going to have to be written off. not now but that promise. so there needs to be a negotiation, and one of the problems is that the greek government, they have people not experienced in power they've not been willing to negotiate and that's made it very difficult. so the point about a yes would be however much new space would be offered for proper negotiation with some of the elements. >> the only problem i see with that argument is essentially greece has endured extraordinary amounts of pain over the last several years so the idea that
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greece hasn't swallowed the medicine or taken the difficult pain is, you know some of these other countries, you couldn't go to greece and say this is a country that hasn't taken paifnlt they have done fiscal adjustment, pension adjustment, some argue at a level far further than what others have. >> i would gently disagree a little bit. greece is running a cash deficit after all the so-called adjustment which means please lend us more money so we can pay current debts and borrow even more. given the amounts greece has already borrowed from the obvious entities, the e.c.b. the i.m.f. and so forth which is a huge amount -- i mean, 90 billion has been infused in the greek's banking system in emergency system and given that amount, asking them to put more money in while the greeks continue to run deficits and continue to need to bore re-- to
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borrow more is tot tenable in terms of european public opinion or finance. >> the point is it never made sense. the finance minister said it never made sense in the first place to pour all this money into the greek economy and banking system without fundamental changes to the size of the debt. so while it's true it doesn't make sense to pour more money in the initial bailout is widely agreed to have been structurally flawed, a lot of money that basically went to paying creditors without any attempt to solve the underlying problems. >> i was going to make the point that it's not about -- first of all, a lot of the private sector creditors were made whole in 2010 and arguably here i agree that some of the medicine administered to the greeks, to frieze in -- to greece in 2011
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in making creditors whole was not entirely productive. the debt has got upgreater and this they've take an huge amount of pain. but if you appear-to-be to be rewarding blackmail what joe was alluding to, the populous movements who made big gains in spain, it will look as though there's a reward for blackmail and that's what a number of governments in europe are worried about. >> that's important point because the current governments of spain and italy do not want the current european negotiating position towards greece to soften because it will just encourage -- it will be a step backward in terms of structural reforms andther reforms in their own countries they have been champing. while you think is spanish, italian and portuguese government are saying go easy on greece it's opposite.
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>> rose: who wants the european negotiating position to be weaker? >> i don't think any -- the french. i think the french have take an softer tone. i think they would like this to get solved, is my impression. >> rose: so if you have to give something to the greeks do it to get it solved or at least kick the can down the walk. >> i think the italian government has been more con cilia tore than the spanish government, but absolutely right, the leaders of these peripheral countries don't want to offer anything to embolden the populous. >> the reason i'm skeptical greece will exits. greece imports all the basics. if they exit they won't be import ago thing because there will be a period of time, maybe months, during which they will not be able to pay those who are exporting into greece and, therefore they won't export into grease.
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there will be food, fuel shortages it will be truly dark. that realization -- >> unless a parallel currency. >> rose: make the point, the parallel currency argument, lionel. >> well, yeah i mean, again this may not be so black and white as we see it. parallel currencies as we know from tarnlg tina case, they're not an easy fix. but you might imagine for example, that for certain transactions high-level transactions, that the euro could be somehow used within a drachma as a parallel currency. this is all corchlcated. i'm saying i couldn't imagine a situation where greece is literally thrown to the wolves for six months while they try to put this all back together. >> rose: that opens a question i'm especially interested in. if they do that, what might russia do?
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>> the chief mr. alexei miller was in athens today and talking about financing the pipeline. clearly, russia is not exactly flush with cash at the moment but you can imagine greece right now, this government is scraping every barrel. the reports of sequestering money from local authorities, municipal governments, they're looking for credit from other foreign countries everything to try and stave off the hard default. but i think just to go back to russia, there is some potential for them to get involved. they obviously were very involved in the cypress economy. they have a lot of money in the cypress economy and you can imagine, but not -- but their involvement is nowhere near the scale of the involvement of say the western europeans. >> there was a lot of talk when cypress had its crisis that
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russia come in and save them. cypress is so small and russia has so many efforts, they probably scoff done it. there's no way russia will, i don't think, come in with any sort of significant amount of money, but i think the geopolitical aspect is one angle that makes it important for european leaders not to let greece go. greece, it's an important point. physically a loft immigrants. migrants come up. so these factors do come up in terms of not wanting greece to leave. >> russia is so weak economically and financially -- >> rose: because you mentioned oil prices. >> that's right. and the shrinking of its own foreign exchange reserves and so many other aspects of weakness, if russia were to truly bail greece out in a one or two-year basis, it would be shocking and not a good day for russia. i don't think they'll do that. >> rose: you believe and go back to an important paint to understand this, that the greeks
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can vote no and still stay in the eurozone. >> no, i think it's not impossible but most unlikely. i think what's going to happen, sort of 60/40 is they goat yes or between now and the sunday referendum -- >> rose: return to the table? i think if they vote no, it's 95% over. there is a complicated theory there could be questions about the constitutionality of the vote, there could be dissolving of this government and brig forth a new government. there are far-fetched scenarios in which they could vote no and still remain in the eurozone. the much more likely thing is the referendum is carried off and they vote yes or the greeks return to the negotiating table between now and then and the deal is struck avoiding the need for referendum. >> rose: is that what you believe will happen? >> i think what roger is saying i'm only getting whispers and very small straus in the wind,
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that you could see them come bag to the negotiating table burks believe me, many, many tails would be seen between legs if the greek government was to come back to the table between now and sunday. there's a practical point about how do you get a referendum in place by sunday. this is a weak state that -- i mean there's bound to be cause that the referendum is illegitimate because it was badly organized. it's a nightmare. >> rose: i had a meeting with the c.e.o. of one of the largest swiss financial institutions that have nothing to do with the greeks and he made a shrewd observation is skepticism that greece could conduct a referendum that would have any validity at all as soon as sunday because the government is not functioning well, greece is not an efficient place by almost any measure, and carrying this off, think of how many far-flung places there are in greece.
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there's hundreds of islands and so forth. i'm not sure they will be able to do it in a way that seems authentic. >> it will be interesting if they pull off the referendum and if they vote yes what happens then. i agree with roger the odds that it would make it more likely they stay in the eurozone, but nothing they vote would be binding. the offer from the creditors is not on the table anymore, so feels like unless you get a radical change of government right after that, it's almost like you're back to square one in terms of, well, yes but can the two sides negotiate with each other. >> you definitely get a new government if they vote yes sunday. i'm convinced. the power play is -- >> rose: clearly it's a prime minister and finance minister for greece. >> well, actually, there are several key players whose names i either forget or probably won't want to pronounce on air but who are very, very important in the party, in the party --
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marxists -- >> rose: right. these are the people we don't see in public but they are pulling the strings and they are the ones -- they are the rejectionists. they don't believe in market economy. they probably don't believe in continuing membership of the euro. and this is why the government is a coalition, not just is a saritza. they have two directions, one looking at hard liners and the other with a vague attachment to staying in europe staying as part of the euro, and they thought they could out-negotiate the european partners. but i really would stress that, you know, this is a radical party with very -- with powerful people in the background who are pulling the strings. he is the nice guy is the good
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looks, motor bike and pictures in the magazines. but that's not the real saritza. >> rose: who is on the other side. >> the crucial player is markle. i would say she's given up on cypress and saritza but not greece. i think the other two players would be the european central bank president again with a very fine political touch interesting how the e.c.b. has not, you know, throttled the great banks. they're having very careful. the other player we haven't seen much of is alond (phonetic), very passive. behind the scenes as was alluded to earlier, he doesn't want to cut greeks off.
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he wants to keep the lines open. >> rose: because he worries about a contagion or because he thinks it's the best thing for greece, being able to get back on its feet? >> i think it worries about political contagion. but again remember, mr. alond is a socialist. he's a backroom functioner. he's not a centrist blair. when he came into power he soaked the rich on taxes. so he has political empty with mr. tsipras. >> rose: but, lionel as you know he's beginning to change that and talking much more about reform and changing the french economy. >> the other person -- >> rose: agreed but he has. the other person in the background but may or may not remain is christine leguard because she for example will have to finesse this default
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which occurs tomorrow and that a de facto grace period. in most private loan agreements there is a grace period. you get 30 days to cure it, things like that. the i.m.f. has the ability to do that and will in this case because of the referendum coming sunday and so forth and actually declaring an official default has a lot of other consequences they on won't want to do. but she is important as she has decided to let merkel and alond in. >> she came up with the best negotiation which is we need adults in the room. >> rose: perfect way to end. back in a moment. staystay with us. >> rose: we turn to what many consider to be perhaps the best week of president obama's second term. the week began with a victory on pacific rim trade with the senate giving obama the green
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light to move forward in negotiations with 11 other countries. (applause) on thursday the supreme court upheld the affordable care act for the second time in three years. >> today after more than 50 votes in congress to repeal or weaken this law after a presidential election based in part on preserving or repealing this law after multiple challenges to this law before the supreme court, the affordable care act is here to stay. this morning, the court upheld a critical part of this law. the part that's made it easier for americans to afford health insurance regardless of where you live. if the partisan challenge to this law had succeeded millions of americans would have had thousands of dollars worth of tax credits taken from them. for many, insurance would have been become unaffordable again. many would have become uninsured again. >> rose: the next day the
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court delivered an historic decision for guy rights 5-4 that the constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live. >> folks who were willing to endure bullying and taunts and stayed strong and came to believe in themselves and who they were, and slowly made an entire country realize that love is love. the countless, often i anonymous heros, they deserve our thanks. they should be very proud. america should be very proud. >> rose: and the week culminated with the president's eulogy for slain pastors and
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parishioners for the church in south carolina. >> we are here today to remember a man of god who lived by faith. a man who believed in things not seen. a man who believed there were better days ahead, off in the distance. a man of service who persevered knowing full well he would not receive all those things he was promised because he believed his efforts would deliver a better life for those who follow. the removing of the flag from the state capitol would not be an act of political correctness it would not be an insult to the valor of confederate soldiers, it would simply be an
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acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought, the cause of slavery is wrong. (cheers and applause) >> rose: joining me from washington is ed luce of the "financial times." today he wrote "last week brought to the fore both the majesty and limits of the u.s. presidency. it would not have been the same on anyone else's watch ." also from washington, al hunt of bloomberg view. what went into thinking about and writing this column? >> well, i had the phrase toward the end of last week from the former british prime minister harold wilson that a week was a long time in politics constantly on my mind, because it was quite an extraordinary week. if you think where the president was at the beginning of it and where he ended it with the ewing in charleston -- with the eulogy in charleston, was unbelievable.
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most of his own party were against the bill, if that failed that might have put an end to the main plank of president obama's pivot to asia and his main trade agenda. so that was the first success. the survival of the latest challenge to the affordable care act was obviously hugely significant. again, if the supreme court had gone the other way that would have eviscerated obamacare as its opponents call it, but the sort of peak of the week was when president obama, i guess was more african-american as a president than we've ever seen and more comfortable in that role, almost in sort of a role of a reverend preaching from a pulpit in the town charleston where the first shot of the civil war was fired, really
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bringing the nation together in an emotional but also intellectual way. i thought it was a brilliant performance. i thought it was ranked as one of the two or thee best speeches he ever gave and that, i felt, was the fitting end to a week into which his fortunes transformed. >> rose: it was dubbed the week the 2 is century began in america. we're seeing aptle renaissance, a term ed used. a lot of other people saying this is the man we thought we were getting in 2008. it has been an uneven presidency, but there did see something special about this week. you've seen a lot of presidents al. tell me about this week in the context of presidents that have come and in context of this president. >> well, i agree with ed's column, charlie. i thought that speech on friday was the most moving, personal speech i've ever heard a
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president give or deliver. i was traveling that day so i came back -- i read it first, thought it was good, then i watched it on youtube, then watched it two more times. it was so incredible. it was powerful. the singing amazing grace was just an extraordinary act and i just can't tell you how effective i thought it was. i think going to ed's point, it was a fabulous week. but what barack obama has really achieved is that goal he enopesiated -- enunciated in the reno nevada, paper to be a transformative president unlike reagan and clinton. history will determine whether he is great president but he is clearly a transformative president. >> rose: how does this stack up against foreign policy achievements or the lack of? >> i think that's still an open
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book in the sense we don't know whether the iran deal will hold, whether it will be good, if the trans-pacific accord delivers. unlike other trade impacts, i think it's geopolitical as well as trade that will be part of a leg sivment what will afghanistan look like in ten years? those are still open questions but this is a president that has done big things. he's a long-ball hitter. >> rose: david david rennic said we're a part of a long running story. we just try to get our paragraph right. what i learned to appreciate as your president you're a relay swimmer in a river of rapid and the river is history. you have a sense in being buffeted by history, he had come to believe that you could simply make your small part. looks like now he has a feeling
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that he's made a large part buttressing what you said, al. >> yeah, i think he also said to david, hit singles and twos. the contrast between obama a year ago when he was sort of almost depressive in his public profile, every other day there were, you know, new segments about how often he was playing golf, the contrast between him then and him at the beginning of his term when he had these grandiose visions of what he could achieve, was really the story of somebody gone from being ambitious to something talking of hitting singles and twos. and now we're back to something in between a president who is wiser -- very very much greyer if you look at a picture of him now and seven years ago it's a bit like what's happened to me. i've gone grey pretty quickly but he has the excuse of being president. and i think the last couple of years, particularly since the
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mid-term election defeat last november, has sort of liberated him. he feels to me comfortable with the big picture and the big stage without going too far being too grandiose, like he was in the 2008 campaign, and that's very interesting to see just 18 months left. most equivalent stages in a second term, we'd all be talking about lame duckery. but i don't think we're talking about that with obama. i think we're all pretty interested to see what he's going to do with the next 18 months. >> rose: what are the challenges he faces now al? >> well, foreign policy that we mentioned earlier charlie. so make sure the affordable care act works. he got a great core victory but a lot of questions are raised about it. i don't think there is going to be much legislation, but to head off anything he considers bad i think those are all major challenges. but i agree with ed. i think, again this is not going to -- we're not going to be talking about lame duckery.
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i think he was lip rated by that mid-term defeat he suffered. let me tell you one anecdote which is instructive about him. in 2004 i invited him to be a speaker at the gridiron dinner. he game, the g.o.p. speaker was mitt romney. he gave funny remarks but mitt romney broke into verse and sang that night. i was sitting next to obama. obama says boy that takes courage, i would love to do that some day. >> rose: wow. and he did it a couple of years later at the gridiron dinner. you could tell eh how proud he was of himself. those are funny occasions to do it tbhawvment solemn occasion at that church and to do it with such skill and courage and grace, that was remarkable. >> rose: so where are we in the question of race in america after charleston? >> well if you're asking me, charlie, i think we made a lot
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of progress. i think a lot of people were mesmerized as i was by the speech. it was in a black church to a black audience, he spoke like a black preacher and i think he reached white america. i think one of the disappointments of barack obama is that his administration has not healed the racial divides we have in this country or the red-blue divides we have in this country, and i think what he did last friday was important and someone wrote, i think jim fallos or ed maybe alluded to it, it may be his post-presidency will allow him to be much more a racial healer than he could do in the stream of the presidency. >> rose: ed, what do you think of the ed that some day he will be given an opportunity to speak to racial healing with far more power? >> i think that's a very interesting suggestion. i've spent quite a lot of time recently in chicago and the
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site he's selecting in hyde park, in the center of the south side, not just hooking to his past -- looking to his past but it's a deliberate attempt to signal what he's going to be focusing on in the future. so the idea of having a community organizer and chief as a post-presidential life is quite an interesting one. i think as al said it's been surprising the degree to which african-americans haven't necessarily faret that well as racial divisions haven't necessarily healed under president obama's presidency, to no fault of his own, and i think most significantly from a way day to day point of view, the wealth gap between african-americans and other racial groups have actually widened since obama became president. there are deep-seated socioeconomic problems here that he alluded to in charleston, but
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to which simple solutions are not obvious, and maybe the first presidential obama, through example, through work of the obama library and foundation can try and suggest ways forward in chicago. >> rose: what impact will this week have on the 2016 election? >> barack obama standing and his popularity is going to affect the democratic nominee, presumably hillary clinton. and if barack obama was 50% in the polls that's better for her than 42%. it translates that way. i think this week will make his standing more significant than otherwise. charlie, a year and a half or 17 months is a lifetime. all sorts of things can occur. but i think the sense that this is really a significant president who's done significant things, most of which i think at least if we look at this past week, will be rather popular with the electorate, then he's
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going to be an asset to a hillary clinton in 2016, much as reagan was to george h.w. bush in 1988. >> rose: in some cases, in that election people said george bush was running for the third term of ronald reagan. >> i think they're always going to say that and there's an always an extent that's true. it will be said again in '16 and to an extent true. it's also important for barack obama, we talk ability his legacy in the aca and the economic packages he's put together and some of the other issues iran, it's very important for him to be succeeded by a reasonably sympathetic president rather than somebody who's not. >> rose: what do you think about the 2016 elections. >> i think i have been reading about the debate of the impact of the supreme court ruling particularly on the field with very clearly divided, some believing this is a liberation
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for the g.o.p., they don't need to worry about divisiveness of same-sex marriage and the culture issues and the wedge issues of the past, they can focus on a forward-looking agenda with others saying the complete opposite, you know, that there is a quarter of america self-identified as evangelicals who feel deeply opposed to the supreme court ruling and who will voice the opposition by the primary process in places like iowa. so i think that one's hard to predict. i don't believe this will be bad for mike huckabee's candidacy. >> rose: well mike huckabee and others are defining this as a question of them of freedom of religion, and even the president touched on that idea in his remarks after the court decision. >> he did, indeed. the.can i just say one thing? i think it's quite remarkable of what al hunt said about obama
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being a transformative president. given al's experience in looking at the presidency and looking at his right on the political spectrum, it's quite remarkable the degree to which, you know, we have come to this point of view on obama's presidency. i used to be a lot more skeptical of his ability to grow in the job than i am today, and i'm happy to be -- to have been proven wrong on that. but i think it is quite a moment, you know, for al to be likening obama to regan reagan is quite an extraordinary thing. >> rose: do you accept that, al, his possibility of being transformative is as significant as what he said about reagan? >> yeah, i do. other than the center right, ed i accept everything. (laughter) >> i was struggling. well, some of my readers will be shocked by that.
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(laughter) but, charlie you know he gave that initial interview and he mentioned reagan in his book, and what he said was not that he agrees with reagan's policies but that reagan made a difference, established a regular order if you will, and what attracted a lot of attention back in january of 2008 was he said clinton did not, and bill clinton, for all his great political skills, reminded of the fact we didn't have a great crisis to deal with. obama's had crises to deal with and he's risen to the occasion. we're not sure how history will judge this. >> rose: he said i will measure myself at the end of my presidency in large part by whether i begin the process of rebuilding the middle class and the ladders into the middle class and reversing the trend toward an economic bifurcation
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in this society. that's certainly an open question. >> you, that would not be put in the success category. >> rose: no, exactly. the middle class is struggling every bit as seven years ago. we came out of a terrible economic crisis and he deserves credit for that, but middle class stagnation is as great today as the beginning of his presidency. >> rose: you're nodding your head, ed. you agree? >> yeah, i agree with al. if that's the measure of success of his presidency it's a failure. i'm he'll choose different measures now. i guess defenders of the president will say he's been pitching things at congress to ease the middle class crisis if not transform it such as infrastructure bills worker retraining, money for better worker retraining, pre-k registration, stuff that might help and hillary clinton adopted for her platform.
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but no by that measure the obama administration's record would be a failure. >> rose: ed the last two paragraphs, "will charleston make a difference by the massacre? some southern states have agreed to get rid of the flag. he reiterated his plea in charleston last week but the chances of congress doing anything for guns are slivment sometimes change change to stay the say. gun control is american lost cows. at other times such as the healthcare law change is built brick by brick, calloused hand by hand, as mr. obama put it after his first election. last week brought forth the majesty and limits of u.s. presidency. it would not have been the same on anyone else's watch. tell me what you meant in the last paragraph. >> the majesty is something the president used in full force in a way only he could with the the
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eulogy in charleston. let me get to the limits, gun control. i feel this issue viscerally. the sandy hook massacre, the new newtown massacre in december 2014, took place on my daughter's sixth birthday and the news happened to break when there were 20 kids, by uncanny coincidence, in my house celebrating my daughter's birthday, the same age as the 20 kids who were massacred that day. and president obama said he would use heaven and earth to use this tragedy for positive effect to try and get some kind of background check system, federal background check system for gun buyers and failed, the bipartisan bill, a very modest reform, nothing like the assault
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gun ban you saw in the '90s and it failed. i don't think anybody believes the president will be able to use the charleston tragedy to move the needle in congress on gun control so the plain fact of the matter is whatever the majesty of the presidency, the national rifle association has greater sway on capitol hill, including many democrats, than the president at his full majesty. so that's why i put the limits as well tas majesty were on display last week because we should be aware of both. >> rose: i suspect the regrets not being able to do anything about gun control as any one signal issue he faced in his presidency because you can see the pain of parents and you can see the pain cases in which he has compared our gun laws with the gun laws of other countries. >> yeah, and all those tragedies that ed alluded to and nothing happens. you know, i think it's an
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enormous regret. it's not going to change. there is actually going to be very little legislatively that obama's going to get, be able to accomplish in the next year and a half. maybe a trade deal. i think that's a real possibility. conceivably something on infrastructure burks not much. but i think he realizes that. i think he views -- he's thinking in terms of the power of the bully pulpit, if you will to raise issues, race being one, climate change being another. he really believes that the country is becoming slightly more liberal, not dramatically but slowly, and the pope certainly helped in the climate change issue, and i think he'll talk more about immigration, so i think he is going to use the bully pulpit, maybe some executive actions, and be a very activist last year and a half president. >> rose: i leave with this question as to whether he feels empowered now, whether any
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restraints politically or otherwise, that this week has given him some sense of how i can try harder to move the nation. >> i think this week plus as ed said earlier the med-term elections had a real liberating effect on barack obama. >> rose: the mid-term elections because he didn't participate in as a voter. >> no, because he realized afterwards that he couldn't go get 17 votes here or pick off this republican or democrat here because he wasn't going to get much, so, therefore, he was free to do things on immigration and other matters he felt constrained about before. >> rose: my point, al as you discussed before, in the midterm elections the democrats said we don't want you to campaign for us and he felt the case he could be making was not being allowed to make and i think he now believes he's allowed to make the case and use executive action in that cause.
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>> i agree, i think he was right and a lot of democrats were wrong. >> rose: ed you wrote the column that precipitated our thoughts in what we believe was a remarkable week in america. >> thanks very much for picking up on my column. a caveat i would like to add is the supreme court it ruled today, it struck down a large portion of the obama administration's climate change action of the e.p.a., of emission standards, so, you know, in the buildup to the paris climate change summit in december that al mentioned which is a hugely important piece of obama's ambition as president, i think we should be watching out for what he does on global warming what his response is to this because this, i think, is one of the big legacies he would like to be measured by. >> rose: ed, thanks so much for coming. albert. great to see you. >> thank you charlie. s a lot, charlie.
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>> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and others, visit us online at and captioning sponsored by rose communications rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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the following kqed production was produced in high definition. ♪ calories, calories calories! >> wow, it rocked my world! >> it just kind of reminded me of boot camp. >> i don't know what you had, but this is great! >> it almost felt like sort of country club food to me. >> don't touch it. it's hot! >> i gotta tell you, yo