tv Tavis Smiley PBS September 28, 2010 12:00am-12:30am EDT
harold ford jr.. he is the chair of the organization, and he also has a new book. also, from the grammy award winning group maroon 5, adam levine. they are out with their new cd. that is coming up, right now. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference -- >> thank you. >> you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working to improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment, one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your
pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] tavis: a few programming notes. tomorrow night, a conversation with geoffrey canada and david guggenheim. then later in the week, james ellroy, and robert reich would join us with seal. we also will have nancy brinker. tonight, we kick off the week
with harold for junior. the former tennessee congressman is now the chairman of the democratic leadership council, dlc, and and he has a new book, "more davids than goliaths." >> everyone should see that. what guggenheim and canada have done, it is inspiring. i hope people see it. >> it is a moving film. one thing i am sure that geoffrey and davis and i i am sure will talk about is that it is anti-union. what do you make of that? >> whether we are finding greater success in one model or
the other. i think probably one of the most poignant thing that has been said is it seems our education system that of to benefit adults where it should be squarely and comprehensively how to fix kid'' problems and how to answer the challenges they faced a today, so i love the debates. i am a charter school guy. i am not an anti-union guy. geoffrey, we should scale up what he is doing. the president is a supporter. let's do our best to help kids. i talk a little bit about education and reform in the book being one of the things that got me in trouble at times. you have talked about how your success has created some adversaries. tavis: oh, yeah. >> i am not at your level of
success, but largely, you have to try different things at times. in education, it is no doubt that many of our kids are not doing well. we can certainly us alternativet front. tavis: i want to get to your point. pbs ain't bad. harold fordone bad, jr.. let me ask you about the debate. it is not just going to debate. it already has. this is michael moore-ish, that kicks of this kind of debate before people even see the film. this debate is everywhere, i mean, from okur on down, given what this film is about, and i get that you are care about education -- from oprah on down.
it mentions, as examples, geoffrey canada and michelle rhee in washington. when michael fenty was in trouble in d.c., you know, and he called the white house and asked the president to campaign for him, the president did not show up for adrian fenty. now, he has lost, and people think that michelle rhee may be on her way out. what happens when you are in trouble after having run the president's game plan for four years, and you call him to campaign for you, and he does not show up? >> i will not get into the middle of that, but it is probably not appropriate for the president to engage in local politics, but that being said, it was education reform, and our president has now made that a focus, the race to the top, the enormous amount of time he has given, and i think the very able
secretary arne duncan. if, indeed, some politicians have to go up -- and there may be other issues in the d.c. race. i did not follow it. we do not ignore the numbers. the number of kids that are not prepared when they graduate high school, the number of kids who are on a waiting list to find a spot in charter schools, the number of kids that canada, geoffrey canada, has enabled -- a year here or a year or two there, and he says that he will take your kid in kindergarten and guarantee that a graduate college. this is what they need to do it every child. and if this movie forces us to figure out what is working in charters, what is not, which is working in public schools, what is not, fair enough. -- what is working in public schools.
i think there will be those who call on the president, including geoffrey canada, if he does not continue with the type of reform that has got us to this point. tavis: not to cast things on the president, but if this is the signature issue in the white house, and you believe in this, and you have got billions behind it, and these are your plans to have raised this issue, if you believe in that, i think the american people, whether a person wins or loses, there are some fights enough to fight even if you lose. on that issue. i would agree. -- some fights you have to fight even if you lose. now, speaking of david and goliath, he was up against this major giant. he lost in that point. >> i grew up in church.
you and i can relate to this. i grew up going to vacation bible study, in my vacation bible study pastor -- and my vacation bible study pastor, and nine years old, 10 years old, 11 years old, that would go in one ear and out the other. my dad would say that not all goliaths are bad. working at my dad's office doing case work, how i learned politics not from the standpoint of raising money, attack ads, and meeting people, the same way many members of congress, regardless of racial background, the way politics should be, i talk about my senate race, and i talk about re-deposited is from it. it was a terrible loss.
it was a painful loss. bill clinton says the way you behave tomorrow morning will determine whether or not you are elected to office ever again korea get up and do what you were going to do if you had one -- you are elected to office ever again. and get up and do what you were going to do if you had bought -- if you had won. people who enjoy politics, particularly young people looking to get in it i think might enjoy it. we may "the new york times" bestseller list. the lord has blessed me in that respect. tavis: given that you are a television star, i appreciate your crib notes for the viewer. with the time that i have now, let's talk about the senate race. it was a historic race. there were a lot of people wanting you to win that race, and you would of been the first
black senator from tennessee, in your subject to this racist, vicious attack ad -- and you were subject to this. there were some it may not have even paid attention to this race, but when this racist add up here, everybody started talking about harold ford -- when this racist ad appeared. >> this was an advertisement that try to take me on some social issues, but the feature of the advertisement was a woman who appeared to be white and appeared to have no clothes on, who appeared to have met me at a party. they could have used a black woman. i am in an interracial marriage. i was not married them, but i think that they were trying to draw that issue out in a way that hurts. believe me, no race issues will come up here.
about three weeks out, i was ahead by most polling. and then he said, "the gloves are off." i watched it for the first time on my campaign bus, and i said that was brilliant. it will alienate a lot of voters in tennessee but if i say something. if i say nothing, it will not alienate all lot of voters. i thought they might try to hedge justin or wage as in somehow. my answer, i talk about it in my book, is to of my governor and former governor to give people permission to vote for me, saying, "harrold is my kind of guy." "we have already told them you are already." the former governor would not. he just refused to the advertisement.
the lesson i learned from it, you have got to make sure you have not only a second plan but a third plan of back up, and my plan was to get out and work, and we worked and worked and worked, and i do not think we could overcome the kind of animosity and feelings that it conjured for some. we got close, but we could not push it over the line. tavis: i cannot do this justice in the 12 minutes i have. there is so much. we have 1.5 minutes left. you got elected at the congress at the ripe old age of 26. is congress a place these days that appreciates young people? is it a place that young people would appreciate? >> i think so. everyplace needs the young. i was not a proponent of term limits, but more and more, i think we have to have some limits around how people can serve, whether it is fund- raising limits or campaign finance reform, to allow more
voices to be heard. i do not begrudge congress or the people in the ninth district. i dedicate the book to the voters in the ninth district of tennessee to giving life to my dream, and to barack obama who just eight years ago, six years ago, most people had not even heard of him. even the rise of the tea party, some of these new candidates. it shows america is hungry for new ideas, and do not place a premium as some people in washington do that to have to be around 20 years before you can run for office. they want an answer. young voters put their ideas out there and offer themselves as candidates. tavis: his name is harold for junior. his book is the memoirs of a young life that is still being lived, "more davids than goliaths," was a lot more life left in it. harold, good to have you on the program. up next, maroon 5 singer, adam
levine. stay with us. adam levine is a talented front man for one of music's most talented of acts, maroon 5, "hands all over" is the new disk they have just released, and here is them video for "misery ." the way it feels to be completely intertwined. it is not what i did not feel it is what i did not show i am in misery
why will you not answer may ? ♪ tavis: by any definition, you have come a long way. you guys have done well. so good to have you on. i just want to say that my producer and i were talking about this, and i am note two albums late. i have to tell you how much i love this. >> thank you. that old thing? tavis: it is still in my rotation on my ipod. i am still digging that. you guys came out of the gate with smoke. >> that is crazy. the cool thing about it is it took a lot of work. when you become successful
bands, it is immediately forgot what you did before to get there. it took a lot of work. we were touring in a van, sharing hotel rooms, three to four in a hotel room. it took a long time, and then when we got there, we truly appreciated making it in our business. tavis: there is the back end and the feronront end. there is no such thing as an overnight success. they do not know your story. >> absolutely. tavis: you just let me know. >> i will quote you. tavis: the back end, once you become a success, then you have to do that again. >> you spend your whole life working at this goal, and you reach your goal, and if you are lucky, and we reached our goal beyond what we ever expected, so
you get to the point beyond where you have to sustain it, it is a whole list of new problems. it is not really a problem, because you never achieved 0.01 of what anyone has been able to achieve. -- you have achieved 0.01. you have achieved a kind of impossible task, and you think to yourself, you know what? you always have to take a step back and realize, hey, i am here. whether i stay here forever or not, it does not matter. i got here. that is the most important thing. it has been almost a decade, too. tavis: the first record, to your point, it is important to tell that to yourself. we have got to go there now. they want more sales. you guys about to find your own comfort zone, i assume. >> and, frankly, it is a declining business.
the business side is not good. the music side is alive and well. that is the first question i get a lot. "how do you feel about the state of the music business? " it is going through what inevitably it was going to go through. it is a very sticky business but to give an edge of a lot of people for a long time and did not do things right -- i know i will get a lot of flak for this, but this was inevitable for our business. so i think it is forcing people to re-work the business. the internet changed everything. nobody is buying records anymore. there is my space, all of those things you can do for self- promotion and put your records up, independently, which is a huge they now -- there is myspace. tavis: is there something -- i take your analysis there.
i am talking about your band, maroon 5, is there something that your band can do to right that ship? what can you do to help the business poll up out of that? does that make sense? >> numbers. tavis: right. >> music has now splintered off into so many different forms of media. mtv does not play videos. the radio is now the computer and internet. dansville just need to get back to an old school mentality and play live, which bans just need to get back to an old school mentality. note -- bands just need to get back to an old school mentality. we have fans that are loyal, in creating a loyal fan base that loves you and embraces what you do -- and creating a loyal fan base that loves you note, that
is the most important thing, as far as i am concerned, because who knows what is happening with this business? it keeps going down. you want to make sure that you do not live and die by these things. tavis: you have your critics. >> you always have them. it tavis: "they are a bunch of pretty boys." "they are just going to have one album." but i think you can outlive criticism the more you stick around -- >> i think you can outlive criticism. there are always want to be people who do not like you. that is an inevitable fact of any kind of success. there are people who do not like me. there are probably people who do not like you. you are a very charming man. tavis: i do not think there is any doubt, but i digress. go ahead. >> we understand that.
and, yes, it hurts our feelings when people say negative things about our music. our records are like our babies, and we love them. so that hurts a little bit, but at the end of the day, you also have to remind yourself that there are millions of people out there that love us and come to see us, so we speak to our constituency, you know? we have our people. we love that about our band and a community that we have created, so like i said, at this point, it is like the wild west in the music industry, and the only thing that really matters is truly connecting with your fan base and growing and evolving as musicians and as solo artists and as performers, too. tavis: has it changed over these three records? >> you know, that is another great thing about our shows. our fan base is so all of the map. largely female, but you would be
surprised. you'd be surprised of how many guys are at our shows. tavis: looking for those emails. >> those mothers and daughters. -- looking for those females. there is no type of person who likes our music. is really across the board. actually, chris rock said the funniest thing i've ever heard. i met him for like two seconds when i was introduced to him. he said, "maroon 5, my mother loves you guys." tavis: that was a good imitation of chris rock. >> that is a thing we like to hear. we are at the studio with a legendary producer.com in switzerland at one of the most beautiful settings i have seen -- with the legendary producer,
in switzerland. def leppard. ad/dc, that is why we wanted to work with him. we do not fit in anywhere necessarily. we are a little bit r&b not, rok and pop. ... you know, he pushed us harder than we have ever been pushed. he is very internationally minded. he always thinks of things as in, "how are we going to reach everybody in the world to speak? you look at our success as a good start. -- ."how are we going to reach everybody in the world"? that was a very humbling realization that we had, and so, we look at this as our first record. we have with every record on
individual basis, and we have never taken for granted the fact there we are where we are, and the fact that has made a successful is that people for lack of a better phrase, they buy it, because it is very genuine and honest, and it is what i am feeling. this is all very heartfelt and very sincere, and that is what our fans love about us, and if we keep doing that, regardless with what happens with everything else, i do not think we can go wrong tavis: i do not think you can either. you are off to a good start. three projects. maroon 5, adam levine, and they are out with project no. 3, and it is called "hands all over," and i am sure there will be hands all over. can i come hang out with you? you can catch me on the weekends, and you can access the
podcast. i will see you back here next time on pbs. until next time, good night from l.a., and as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i am tavis smiley. join me next time. geoffrey canada and david guggenheim. we will see you next time. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference -- >> thank you. >> you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working to improve financial literacy and remove obstacles of economic empowerment one conversation at a time.