tv QA with Bill Press CSPAN February 21, 2016 8:00pm-8:59pm EST
with a radio talkshow host and author bill press. and at 9:00, yesterday's-year-old mass or antonin scalia -- yesterday's the supreme for justice antonin scalia. ♪ talkshoweek on "q&a," brian host bill press. he talks about his book, "buyer's remorse: how obama let progressives down", and the controversies raised by senator bernie sanders' endorsement of it. bill press, when did you think about writing this book? i could not give you the date, but it was when i was sitting in the white house maybe for the
15th or 20th time. i was so frustrated by hearing president obama, a man i voted announcing measures or making arguments, or taking loops that i thought betrayed -- moves that betrayed the promise he had made to progressives, and not what i thought progressives should be doing. and then i remember the president that on more than one occasion, hold me accountable. hold me accountable. as we nearit is fair the end of his presidency, told him accountable. brian: how long ago? mr. press: about a year and a half. brian: you became an intern in bernie sanders' office in 2010 at your age. why? that's a long story, i'm not sure we have time. during that time i have to say, bernie and i never talked about
barack obama, or any disappointment in barack obama. i'm not sure where you are going, i want to make that clear. the reason i did it because i had applied -- i was a member of the white house press corps. i had a standing white house pass, went to the briefings every day. i got out of that for my own program, because i could ask questions. i thought i could expand that opportunity by getting a presidential unit -- press credential of the u.s. capitol. i applied, and i was told i had to appear before the full senate reporters accreditation because there were questions about whether or not i qualified. i was told because i gave my opinion -- actually first, i was turned down because i gave my opinion on my show. i may talk show host, of course
i give my opinion. i pointed out there were others on the press corps already who i thought should be disqualified. so they gave me a hearing in front of the full accreditation committee. me.vote was 12-1 against al jazeera voted against me. fox news voted against me. c-span, i'mte, from proud to say. methat point, somebody told that they had heard, they apply forat i should an intern position. briggs,lled michael senator sanders' press secretary, now the campaign secretary. we talked, he suggested it to the senator. i went over and met with the senator, and he hired me as an intern.
-- it was access way of getting back at the committee, andal the reporters there. i had more access than they did with my intern pass. brian: so are you still in intern? mr. press: no, i did it for one year. brian: how well do you know bernie sanders when you were an intern? mr. press: i didn't at all. i had lunch with him once. radio talkshow host, progressive talkshow host. we haven't had a lot of trouble with stations dropping progressive radio, not enough stations in the country running progressive or willing to take on progressive radio as part of programming. fcc ought toat the put pressure on stations to have a variety of voices and opinions. there was just a couple of
senators willing to take that on. -- berniemina was one sanders was one. i met him with another group of radio talkshow hosts. that was the only way i knew him. and then i got a call from his office, saying he wanted to have lunch with me. so i came over. that was the only time, the first time i had seen him one-on-one. we went to lunch in the senate dining room, which was also very funny, because it was the first time senator sanders had ever been in the senate dining room. he's not part of that crowd. senate, and to the the subway from the senate office building, and we went up to whatever floor it was, and we got off the elevator. irnie turned to me and said, had no idea.
we had to ask a police officer where the dining room was. in chargethe maitre d' of the dining room did not recognize senator sanders. he had never seen him before. probably more than you wanted to know. , therethe reason i ask is controversy over the fact that on the back of the book, this was all about how billessives don't like clinton, barack obama. i think i saw you, you are watching television and one of the shows asked, if bernie sanders does not like barack obama. why did he endorse your book?
mr. press: the question was askedon meet the press, by anderson cooper in the cnn and bernie has been asked that question many times. first of all, the blurb is totally homerless. -- harmless. it does not endorse the book. it repeats a point he makes in every each, which is twofold -- speech, which is twofold. one, we need a political revolution. that is his phrase. and that political revolution means progressives have to keep the pressure on the next --ident, who we hope president, who we hope will be a progressive and democrat, to stick to the progressive agenda and follow it through, and not compromise, and that the president has a responsibility
to rallied the progressives to keep the pressure on him, and put the pressure on congress. which is again, why i think the timing of this book is important. i think we are on the cusp of a progressive revolution. i consider both bernie sanders and hillary clinton progressives. one of them is going to be the next president, i believe. now is a good time to take this guy doow does that we thought it was a real progressive, how did we learn from that experience as we move to the next administration? brian: you called president obama in your book, hamlet like. meaning -- hard time making a decision, maybe taking too much time. it is both a blessing and a maureen dowd had a great
phrase. she says we went from george w. bush to barack obama, we went from mindless certainty, too mindful uncertainty. maybe somewhere in between is where we want to be. the core example, when syria used chemical weapons, and president obama had said, we are not going to intervene, and we are not going to use military force or send in troops, unless he uses chemical weapons. that is a redline. he said it. i was there. and then, it was agony. this? we do i think that it diminished the power of his decision when he in the end, we did
not do it because of a deal with the russians. it was the same thing when the president was decided to send in iraqre troops into towards the end of the conflict. i was sitting in the briefing room every day. it went from we are going to do it, we are not going to do it, send this many, it is just the agony of making a decision. this is why i used that phrase. brian: do you endorse bernie sanders? mr. press: yes. -- nothing against sanders isie saying, we will pay for college graduation and all that, and we got the money from taxing the rich. mr. press: he doesn't say that exquisitely. brian: here's my point. nobody talks about the point the minute he is
president, and he talks about thetax, it has to go to ways and means committee in the house of representatives. the leader is a conservative from texas, with a tremendous amount of power. why would you expect bernie sanders to be able to move that, when barack obama could not move it in the same world? mr. press: i think that has to deal with the revolution. i think that is what bernie is saying. if the american people really want change -- i think they do. i think bernie sanders and donald trump have tapped into something very real, that the political establishment and media establishment missed. the latest talking point of the clinton campaign is, bernie is just angry, and you just don't get anywhere by being angry. i don't think he's angry so much as determined. but the american people are
angry, angry that they had been left out, and the system has been rigged against them, and it has been that way for 40 years and no one has done anything about it. bernie recognizes, and he is a realist, he has been in the house for 16 years. he recognizes the difficulties. agenda,s that is his and if he can rally the american people to turn out and elect people to go along with him, or put pressure on the others to say we have to right this ship, we can get it done. but bernie would also raise taxes on the middle class, which he has been honest about. brian: how many years have you been writing? mr. press: since 1996. brian: how many years have you had your daily talk show? mr. press: 10 years. brian: where can people listen?
mr. press: on any progressive radio station in the country, if they are lucky to have one. there are only maybe 50 total left in the entire country. they can listen to it online. essshowonline.com. it, 6:00-9:00 a.m. eastern time. if people on the west coast are not up early, they can just go to the website, and listen to the podcast. they can pick up part of the show, when interview, or the whole three hours. by the way, in the archives, they can go back as long as we at least aodcasting, couple of years. brian: you are older than bernie sanders? mr. press: by one year.
[laughter] why would you ask that? well, i am going to ask it that way. for this reason. up at 4:00 in the morning to do a 6:00 a.m. show, be do you stayed up late to doing a show on cnn? a man at your age should be retired. why do you do it? mr. press: i love it. i think it is the best job in the world. ever since high school, and i talk about this in the book, ever since being on the debate team, i love debating the issues and studying the issues. i loved writing about them, or talking about them. my entire media crew, that was thein 1980,
commentary. i auditioned once as an anchor, and i realized that i did not want that job. news.ust report i wanted to talk about what it meant. good or bad. get to give my opinions, and i get paid for it. i enjoy it. when i stop having fun or enjoying it, i will stop. books,you can write write a column, gives speeches around the country, the or talk show. mr. press: on cnn's newest and -- i am cnn'sutor newest and oldest contributor. brian: let me go to some video. this is a weight -- way for you to talk about what you think about barack obama and this book. we are going to go way back to august 1, 2007. [video clip] >> i will provide our
intelligence and life was made agencies with the tools they need to talk and take out terrorists, without the need to undermine the constitution and freedom. that means no more illegal wiretapping of american citizens. no more national security letters despite spy on citizens not suspected of a crime. nomar tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. no more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. he was running, kind of vent. mr. press: look how young he looks. hair, he just looks much older today. i guess we all do. my reaction? promise made, promise broken. the national security area is one area where progressives had the highest hopes, and had their hopes dashed the most. almost everything the president mentioned, he either failed to do, or did the opposite. not --e issues, there is
there is no difference between george w. bush, dick cheney, and barack obama. we expected, that was the one area -- he promised that this was the one area he would stop these practices, like the nsa spying on americans, going after whistleblowers or journalists, and protecting our privacy. he didn't do it. as i mentioned in the book, as a senator, he was one of the most outspoken critics of the nsa. he and senator ron wyden from oregon with the two who introduced legislation and gave ineches, we have to reign our intelligence agencies. the first time senator ron wyden went to see his colleague in the oval office, he was stunned to find out that the president now
is on the exact opposite side, basically saying we have to let the nsa do their thing. it is the old needle in the haystack. -- old i think is bogus. needle in the haystack theory, which i think is bogus. the nsa has been allowed to eavesdrop, every single phone call made, domestic and foreign, allow them to spy also on our amassing this data and storing it, somewhere. it is on and on. in terms of journalists, this administration went after the new york times, fox news, associated press,
actually cap the phones of the associated press reporters who were doing nothing else than their job. is just outrageous. a very well-respected journalist said, for the media, this is the most dangerous administration ever. 2008, here is march 4, still running for president. [video clip] president obama: we are going to have doctors, nurses, members of congress, patient advocates. i will have the drug companies at the table, they just won't be able to buy every chair. to makehave compromises. but we will do all these negotiations on c-span, said the american people will be able to watch these negotiations. openness, transparency. you will hold me accountable, hold congress accountable. that is how we will get health care reform passed.
mr. press: i just did, in the book. brian: why did you wait so long? mr. press: i guess it just took time to build. i couldn't really answer that. but i did not deliberately say i'm going to wait until your number eight. by the way, hold me accountable, i talk about that promise, about negotiations on c-span. they were not. they were behind closed doors. there were many cases where the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies did by every chair at the cape -- table. but obamacare is his signature legislative achievement. it is one of the good things that he has done. it just does not go far enough. -- it iseally ends up as close to universal health care as we have ever had, but there are still 30 million americans who do not have health
insurance, and according to the office of management and budget, may never have under this plan.the pharmaceutical companies , we still cannot negotiate with them for medicare to get lower cost of drugs. we still cannot import drugs from canada, legally. the insurance companies, this is their big payday. everything all american under this act is required to buy insurance from a private insurance company. there's no other product, they don't have to buy a car, or a house. but you have to buy health insurance. brian: let me quote from your book. you are talking about a man named billy joe's in -- he was a democrat, and then a republican congressman, and headed big pharma. who barack obama excoriated as everything wrong, he did what? thatress: he cut a deal,
if they did advertisements on behalf of, or maybe did not oppose obamacare, that they would let him off the hook in terms of price of drugs. basically a packed the president made. brian: here is a short clip -- mr. press: can i say one more thing? the other thing is, the president recognized there was a real problem with this, in that it was making us too dependent on private insurance companies, so he came up with an idea called public plan option.basically medicare for everyone . he convinced me, and americans, this is the way we will have the public option. you don't have to buy private, you can enroll in medicare no matter what age. that would provide competition
to private insurance, and lower cost. .t was necessary for the competition and then suddenly, he dropped it. never brought it to congress, it was not part of the bill. brian: would you agree if bernie sanders were elected, and there was a republican congress, he would not be able to do this either? mr. press: i don't agree with it. bernie sanders would at least have fought, so it lyndon johnson and fdr. barack obama did not. that is one of the faults i have with him. there are too many cases. he did not fight and lose, heat just was not willing to fight -- he was not willing to fight. brian: i was starting to say, a clip, steve kroft on 60 minutes. [video clip] >> there are a number of things you could do on executive orders. one of them is to shut down guantanamo. >> i have said repeatedly i
intend to close it and i will follow through. brian: you say he had the power to do that all along. mr. press: if you remember, that was his first executive order. announced it was going to be closed. . in january 2009, he said guantanamo will be closed in one year. he was not able to do it, and did not do it. we willthe plan became hold on until we can get the population down below 100. at that point, it will not be from a monetary point of view, even the conservative congress will say, this is not worth spending money to keep this people there and they will allow them to be brought to the u.s. he hasn't done that yet. if he were to do it, the white house says he could do it because the authorization for guantanamo originally says they
can keep prisoners there as long as hostilities remain. who decides as long as hostilities remain? they say the white house does. the president will be able to say no more hostilities in al qaeda, so we can close one time he had -- guantanamo. he has had that power. he never used it. i think it is a case that the president, in too many cases, was not willing to make the fight or use the power he has, -- at a reluctant to reluctance to take full advantage of the power of the president. brian: he spoke to the national council of la raza conference in 2008. [video clip] >> i don't know about you, but i think it is time for a president who will not walk away from something as important as comprehensive reform is because it becomes politically
unpopular. that is the commitment i'm making to you. i marched with you in the streets of chicago. i fought for you in the senate. i will make it a top priority in my first year as president of the united dates of america -- state of america. brian: immigration, did he do itbrian:? mr. press: he's so good at that platform. he did not. i have a whole chapter on this. this is one area that he has still not delivered. for the first four years, nothing on immigration reform. nothing. the latino community was really -- they expected a lot more. it was all obamacare, all obamacare. nothing about immigration reform. year, heon the fifth came up with a plan, a couple of executive orders, which now are
being challenged. that he missed the opportunity in the first two years when democrats were in control. they could have gotten the reform. either he walked away from it, or for whatever reason, that was not a priority. he not onlyt, failed to deliver on comprehensive immigration reform, but he now has the title from the latino community of the deporter inief -- chief. as we sit here, the department of homeland security is rounding up people, breaking up families, and deporting people. he has deported more people in the last couple of years than george bush did in eight years. it is promising comprehensive delivering, but not and having this draconian round up of people who are here, and
family members here, leaving some here in sending the others back, that has the latino community very outraged. brian: does it ever concern you that there are all of these illegals in the united states that we are paying for, and that they have broken the law to get here? and why is it that so-called progressives feel that they ought to stay here and eventually become citizens, and so-called conservatives want them out? mr. press: first of all, as a californian, i have been dealing with this issue for the last 30 years. either when i was working for governor brown, when i was just -- first time around, i should say. when i was working the media in los angeles. very familiar with this problem. when i was democratic state chair, this was an issue in
california. there has been study after study, including the california business roundtable, looking at this question, whether or not people here illegally cost more than they contribute. every one of those studies has shown the myth that we are paying more than we are getting. it is a myth, in terms of taxes, and contribution. they are making a positive contribution, just like the immigrants who came before them. whereher thing is, progressives end up on this issue is where ronald reagan ended up. i forget what year, but he proposed a plan. said, these people came here illegally, but their families are here, they have they but they are to --
have children, they are going to school. we are not going to get rid of them. he called it amnesty. for him, it was 5 million. for president obama, it is 11 million. i think the argument is the same. -- you are not going to send them all back. you point out in your book that the last three presidential elections, that the republicans are getting less and less percentage of the vote from the hispanic community. if the hispanic community is so upset with barack obama, why did they vote almost overwhelmingly for him last time? the saving grace for barack obama and democrats on this issue is republicans are worse. themrats may be ignoring and have ignored them in terms of making them a priority, president obama is doing this round and deportation, and then you have mitt romney.
the republicans have declared on the immigrant community. look at the donald trump, look at ted cruz, even mitt romney talked about self deportation, extent that the republican national committee's what wentof wrong, that unless the republican party took the lead in immigration reform, they could never win the white house. for yearsre we are, later, and we are doing the same old stuff. brian: i want to take a short break from the obama clips, and show you for five talkshow host in the united states. mr. press: you have to watch out for those talkshow hosts.
[laughter] brian: these are all concerned -- conservative. they are very popular, they have the highest rating in the country, and since the beginning of the obama administration they have probably never set a good word about this president from the very beginning. i want you to listen to this, and kelly what you are hearing -- tell me what you are hearing. >> mr. president, if you actually believe that global warming is the biggest problem terror all around the world, and $18 trillion debt, $9 million of which is trillion of which is yours, ryan's in our streets, riots in our universities campus. the relations worse than 1960's, and the distress of our fellow americans unlike anything i have ever seen, you either are
mb.usional or du >> millions of americans have lost their homes because of obama's policies. millions of americans have more -- have lost their savings because of obama's policies. millions of americans are losing their pensions because of obama's policies. is the last time this guy talked about entrepreneurship, and private property rights? and self interest? government, government, more government. power, power, or government . >> i looked firsthand how bad that christ is -- that crisis is. we are being invaded by illegals from rogue states hellbent on
destroying our way of life. it is time for you to stand up, time for you to lead. >> obama has declared war on traditional values and dominant culture. we are in a civil war. shooting war,a but it is a civil war. these hooligans who have seized america.ve declared on brian: they all have very high ratings. ? why? mr. press: what do i hear? lies. pretty disgusting disrespect for the president of the united states. you will find any words like that in this book. you will not find any words like that in the book i wrote about
george w. bush in 2004. brian: the white house were sitting here, they went saying that is certainly has twisted and turned everything against this president. mr. press: i think they would have a hard time making that case. i am the author of the book, so certainly some bias, but there are 60 pages of notes that backup every statement i make. nobody is that the white house is not happy with the title of the book, they are not happy with the fact that i wrote the book, nobody has challenged one fact that is in this book. out, and give president obama credit for every good thing he has done. did you hear any credit at all in the videotape? nine. it is all lies. millions of americans have not lost their homes. lines of americans have not lost their pension.
there are 18 million people who could never afford insurance before who have it today thanks to president obama. this is pure propaganda. what is frightening about this is that there are millions of americans who believe these jokers, just like the millions of americans who believe donald trump, that he can build a wall in mexico is going to pay for it. and if mexico whatever pay for it or that would solve the problem. top four in the country, and there are people and that is the sole source of information. brian: i want to go back to the book. this president and his people would say we have been up , ainst this for six years republican congress that set out to say we want to make you a one hem president, at any time proposes something and put up
their hands and say no way. -- did you give up after the we do not give up after that? no, you don't give up. why did you get elected if you are not going to fight the fight? about it, at least for the last six years he has had a congress that is set against getting anything done. a couple of points. why didn't he do more when he had the democratic control of the congress? more to keep do democrats in control of congress? the members of congress i have talked to feel that he lets them down, because he was not out on the campaign trail, he was not backing them up. the president's job is to get things done, working with congress. -- one of theems problems he has had and he has not made any friends.
most of them say they do not have any relationship with him at all. he does not invite them down like bill clinton used to do for movies or dinners or receptions. there's no reservoir of goodwill, even among democrats . when the president was trying to get immigration bill passed, even among democrats, bill clinton, it can be done. whenclinton got more done it was the same thing, he lost control congress after two years. he got more done when it was republicans in control than democrats, because he worked with the speaker. ,bj, the civil rights bill democrats may be against him, but he did not give up. brian: would you vote for bill
clinton again? , and he let did us down on several issues. t,fense of marriage ac repealed glass-steagall act, while from reform -- welfare reform. brian: what do you think of mrs. clinton? i think she is much more liberal. i think she is much more , and may be more willing to compromise and bernie sanders. she is not as far left as i or bernie sanders is. i do not think she would be willing to take the country as far as bernie sanders. brian: why do you call yourself a progressive and not a liberal? mr. press: i am a liberal.
brian: why does that happen? in a sense, don't ask me. i always gave speeches saying i'm proud the new liberal. today everybody uses the word progressive why fight it? i liberal, proud to say it. progressives are those who are afraid of that term because republicans have made such a deal of it. i'm not afraid of it. to july 17, go back 2009. another issue. president obama talking about opportunities, not just for african-americans, but all americans. president obama: that is why my administration is working so hard not only to create and save jobs in the short term, not only to extend unemployment insurance and health for people who have lost their health care in this
crisis. thejust to stem in immediate economic record, but to lay a new foundation of economic growth and prosperity for not as african americans, but all americans. [applause] all americans. of every race, of every creed, from every region of the country. we want everybody to participate in the american dream. that's what the naacp is all about. i quote that beach in the book. -- beach in the book. i am not the right one to sit here and talk about where president obama has appointed the african-american community. as i have talked to reflect in there was the hope on the part of many leaders that he would directly be willing to address those
problems affecting the african-american communities like unemployment among young black men. like sentencing of so many young black men serving long prison sentences for very minor, nonviolent drug offenses. briefings thathe they would would raise these issues and the answer always ,ne, that the president whenever he talked about these issues, it would always be that i'm not just doing this for african-americans, it is for all americans. is hard to argue with, unless you are an african-american community that has not have the attention it has deserved for a long time, and that finally get the first african-american president, and he just puts them in with everybody else. not the areat is
where president obama has most disappointed people, but i was surprised and talking to african americans, that even they feel left down -- let down by their first president. the 16th,december 2012, this is the president talking about new town. president obama: since i've been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings. the fourth time we have hunks survivors, the fourth time we have consulted the families of the victims. we cannot tolerate this anymore. the strategies must end. to end them, we must change. i think the most moving speech that president wasa gave as president
three. when debbie conference was spot, and the charleston, s.c. at the mother emmanuel church. importanto more issue for the access to guns in this country. i know that president obama feels that as well. but here we are, at the end of his presidency, and nothing has been done. the first two years, and the first four years, nothing about gun violence. i will give you one example. i kept, as a record at the white house, i would raise issue with jay carney, what is the president doing about the ban on assault rifles? >> he supports renewing the ban. no, what is he doing?
he will sign it, but he wasn't doing anything to work to get it done. --an: it makes you think what makes you think he could get anything done if the nra is very powerful, and the republicans do not want to move? mr. press: the republicans are just powerful -- the nra is not as powerful as they say. congress is just cowardly. one of the things the president never did was go around and say we're going to get this done. rallying the american people. teddy roosevelt and frank roosevelt used it to you that people -- to get the people, not just exercised, but get them to act and demand action. this president never did that, if congress passes the i will
sign it. that is not leadership on this issue. it's very sad. eric holder hasn't the one regret he had is when he left office they had not done anything about gun violence. i'm sure when president obama leaves office he will say the same thing. that is a years wasted. aght years without commonsense measures that he has proposed, none being enacted. brian: when was the first time you knew that bernie sanders was even thinking about running for the presidency? rumorsss: i had heard around washington that he might be thinking about it. so i went to see him in his office, and i said what do i hear? mr. presshe told me he was thint it. this was 2014.
he was only thinking about it in realized that he had that the only way people will seriously take you seriously particular issue seriously -- or take your issue seriously as if you run for president. you can be a senator and give speeches, and nobody pays attention. if you are a presidential candidate, there is an are about that. these issues that he talks about should be front and center in this 2016 presidential primary. somebody had to do it. if somebody else did it, fine, but if nobody else did it he was thinking he might do it. the other person at the time they thought, would be elizabeth warren. had run, i'mwarren pretty confident to think that
bernie sanders would have never run. at the first meeting, i suggest, i said if you are really serious , what you ought to do is get a group of people together have been involved in presidential campaigns, and before that i isd if you do this, my fear you are going to run, you are going to be another ross perot or ralph nader, and take votes electedm the democratic . he said i would never do that. i said if you're really serious about that, if people together and let them know what you're thinking about. yet solid advice about whether
this is realistic or not. me, would youd to organize that? and i did. brian: what happened then? mr. press: i think to around in my house, and at that time people were saying this is worth likeing, and it looks there was a plan. chances, but money they might be able to raise. how much it would take, when they would have to start, very preliminary strategy. a group of about 10 or 12 political strategist david gergen advice. this is worthing pursuing, it is not crazy. this is a real uphill battle. you'll be up against the biggest
political machine in the country. one of the most experienced people in the country. brian: how long ago was that? april 2014. brian: and he announced when? march of: april or 2015. brian: how much more that did ue? pers did he ask you to come work for him? brianmr. press: no. he caught me at one point and off, i willy be have to check, but at one point he said i learned a lot at that, that was good. do you think we could have
brian: i suspect you would not tell me who else was at that dinner? it was done off the record. dinnerere people at that that now support hillary clinton? mr. press: i don't know. not that i know of but i don't know. brian: was there a great time that you worried that it would interfere with your talkshow responsibilities? because -- as a talkshow horse i could endorse. in 2008 i endorsed or clinton over barack obama. i wish it really doing a favor for a friend at getting some people together and giving him an opportunity to make his case. the rules were, just come and listen, no commitments. signing on
to the bernie sanders campaign. you're are one of the few talk shows in the united ace that unions support. are you the only one that unions support? mr. press: i do not know that. i know a lot support my program because i'm a lifelong union member right i'm close to the union membership. supportmost part i their issues. pipelineone for example. i am a union man. i just reached out to some unions, asking for their support in helping to sponsor the show. i have been very lucky and very grateful for the support we have had. brian: i want to ask you about the time when you are on tv. and you had your morning show on .rime tv, on mostly by al gore
what was your reaction when al that two -- soul that al jazeera? mr. press: i felt the road ahead and pulled out from under us because we had been told by the former vice president and others that this was a serious effort to build the first progressive television network in this country. we were in it for the long haul. from a call from a friend of mine that said what is up with al jazeera, we had never been told anything was in the works. god bless america, but i sort of felt betrayed that his interest that, heing wrong with saw an opportunity to make a lot of money.
he did. he did not pursue building this progressive network, which the country needed. anger inw much of the the united states centers around the fact that he sold out to an oil country? mr. press: i do not think it was that. brian: he is building this progressive network, that he cashes out at $500 million for an oil company. mr. press: what bothered me more that finally a statement came out from al gore and joel hyatt that we are selling to al jazeera, but they are just like us. we have the same goals, same interest, nothing is going to change. they are going to pursue the same agenda, which i said no way. this was going to be like rtv.
as of the state owned operation, and you know it will not be enough. ,hey put out a good newscast but things did not stay. brian: what was your reaction when you heard they were shutting it down? mr. press: i was not surprised. they were just a side note. it was crazy as a business decision. they are a lady had an al jazeera english channel, which is very good, which is covering the united states. this was trying to separate the american audience and think that they could build news that people would watch. was one of them told me at this time, because there was a transition time when we stayed on until the al jazeera was ready to go. couple of the people, and one of them told me the problem that american television have is that they like c-span, and they were only
appealing to 1% of the american people. all to zero was going to appeal to 99% of the american people, at which point i bit my tongue, on telling them to change their name. brian: you attend almost all the white house press briefings. you're known as a liberal progressive. as this president giving you an interview? mr. press: no. brian: have you asked? mr. press: no. brian: why not? i. press: for one thing, inquired about the possibility, and i was discouraged from asking. he gives very few interviews. i decided i was not going to waste my time trying to do the impossible. with the access i need, i can ask a question at a press briefing to satisfy my needs.
the name of the book is fire's remorse, subtitle how obama and the democrats let progressives down. our guest has been built price. mr. press: thank you, brian. ♪ >> for free transcripts, or to get your comments on this program, go to q&a.org. programs are also available as podcasts. >> if you enjoyed