tv QA with Bill Press CSPAN February 21, 2016 11:00pm-11:59pm EST
there are only maybe 50 total left in the country where they can listen -- or listen online. we string the show every day with our podcast they can also turn in -- tune in. 6:00-9:00 a.m. eastern time. later by just it going to our website. they can pick up part of the show or just one interview they want to listen to or all three hours. by the way, the archives that can go back longer than -- as long as we have been podcasting.
at least a couple of years. you can listen to july 13, 2015. >> you are older than bernie sanders. >> by one year. why would you at that -- ask that? reason, why do you get up at four clock in the morning to do a 6:00 a.m. show? what you stay up late at night to do cnn? a man that your point should be retired. >> out -- retirement you to -- -- i will retire when you do. ever since high school, i love debating the issues. and studying the issues. and writing about them or talking about them on the radio
or tv. my entire media career started in 1980 has been as a commentator. i never worked as a reporter or an anchor. i do not want to work as an anchor. anchorioned once as an and i realize just by the audition that i did not want that job. i had to report news. i wanted to talk about what it meant. opinion and get paid for it. it, i will and join stop doing it. television.how on cnn's newest and oldest contributor. >> i'm not sure. >> let me go to some video. about whatay to talk you think about barack obama
august 1, 2007. here's the president. that means no more illegal wiretapping of american citizens, no more national security that spy on citizens were not acted of a crime. no more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest and misguided rule. no more ignore the law when it is convenient. of an.as running kind that is how long -- how young he looks. >> just amazing. >> no gray hair. reaction, promise made, promise broken. the national security area the one area where progressives have the highest hopes and had their
hopes dashed the most because almost everything the president mentioned there he either failed to do or did just the opposite. the fact is that on these issues no difference between george w. bush, dick cheney, and barack obama. that was the one area -- and he promised that this is one area where he would stop these practices with the nsa spying on americans and going off for -- all after -- going after was a blowers. he did not do it. senator, one of the most outspoken critics of the nsa. morgan -- wyden for from oregon were one of the two say they should bring in the intelligence organizations.
president barack obama was stunned to find out that the president -- it done the exact opposite side of that. go in and let the nsa do their thing. the old needle in the haystack. the haystack it so big that you everyever find the needle single phone call made domestic and foreign, allow them to spy also on our e-mails, still amassing all the data and storing it, somewhere. it is the phone companies have it or the government has it. say it'sand on, as i , thisterms of journalists
administration when after the new york times, when after fox news, when after the associated press, actually cap the phones of the associated press reporters who are doing nothing else than the job. this is outrageous. journalist respected here in washington said this is the most dangerous administration ever. here is march 4, 2008, still running for president. [video clip] thee 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 chart we will have to make compromises. bode miller do all these negotiations on c-span, said the
american people will be in to watch these notations -- these negotiations. you will hold me countable, all caps accountable. that is how we will get health fast.eform passed to -- --passed. >> i did not deliberately say we will wait until your number eight. by the way, hold me accountable, i talk about that promise, about negotiations on c-span. they were not. a were held behind closed doors. there were many cases where the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies did by every care at the table. but obamacare is his signature legislature -- legislative achievement. it is just one of the good things that he has done. it just does not go far enough. it ist really 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, we never have health insurance under this plan. the pharmaceutical companies, we still cannot negotiate with them .or medicare to get it lower we still cannot import drugs from canada legally. the insurance companies, this is their big payday. every single american under this act is required to buy insurance am a private insurance company. there's no other product, they don't have to buy a car, or a house. or underwear. but you have to buy health insurance. .> let me quote your book you are talking about a man named billie joe, he was a democrat.
barack obama xor seated as everything wrong, what did he do? cut a deal, if they did advertisements on behalf of, or maybe did not opposed obamacare, that they would let him off the hook in terms of price of drugs. this is basically a pack the president made. >> here is a short 14 second clip. >> can i say one more thing about obamacare? the present recognize there was with this, in that it was making us too dependent on private insurance company's, so he came over the 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. it was necessary for the competition. then suddenly, he dropped it. never brought it up to congress, it was not part of the bill. >> we agree that a bernie sanders was elected president, with the republican congress, he would not be listed as either? >> i would say that bernie sanders would at least fight for it, so would lyndon johnson and fdr. he was not willing to fight. say, a 14tarting to second clip. [video clip]
>> you say he had the power to do that all along. he said, announced it was going to be closed. in january 2009, he said guantanamo will be closed in one year. it was not able to do it, and did not do it. so then the plan became we will hold on until we can get the population down below 100. notat that point, it will be from a monetary point of view, even the conservative congress will say, this is not worth spending money to keep those people there and they will finally allow them to be wrought to be united.
he hasn't done that yet. if you 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 a to say no more hostilities in al qaeda, ",.we can close one time -- he has had that power. he never used to. 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 >> 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 it? 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. finally, on the fifth year, he came up with a plan, a couple of executive orders, which now are being challenged. 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. as he said here in this speech. but, not only that, he not only failed to deliver on comprehensive immigration reform, but he now has the title from the latino community of the deporter in chief. as we sit here, the department of homeland security is rounding up people, breaking up families, breaking into homes, and to porting people to mexico. he has deported more people in the last couple of years than george bush did in eight years.
so, you know, it is promising comprehensive immigration, but not delivering, and having this draconian round up of people who are here, and family members who are here, leaving some here 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. statewide politics. 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. and every one of those studies even by the business community is, 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. the other thing is, where progressives end up on this issue is where ronald reagan ended up. at that time, it wasn't 1980, i forget exactly what you're, but during his eight years, there were 5 million people here illegally.
ronald reagan said, these people came here illegally, but their families are here, they have they have jobs, they have children, they are going to school. we are not going to get rid of them. shouldn't. he called it amnesty. the arguments are the same you are not going to send it home -- you are not going to send them all back. brian: 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? mr. press: the saving grace for barack obama and democrats on this issue is republicans are worse. democrats may be ignoring them 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 war on the immigrant community. look at the donald trump, look at ted cruz, even mitt romney talked about self deportation, to the extent that the republican national committee's own study of what went wrong, they concluded in the famous autopsy report that, that unless the republican party took the lead in immigration reform, they could never win the white house. and yet here we are, for years 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.
-- i think it is four or five talkshow hosts 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 -- never set a good -- never said 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 we face was terror all around the world, and $18 trillion debt, $9 trillion of which is yours, ryan's in our streets, -- riots in our streets riots in , our universities campus. race relations worse than the
1960's, and the distress of our fellow americans unlike anything i have ever seen, you either are delusional or dumb. >> 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. >> when is the last time this guy talked about entrepreneurship, and private property rights? and individual well and free will and self interest? never government, government, more government. power, power, or government. -- power, power, more hour. >> 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. the mn syria, afghanistan, pakistan. mr. president, it is time for you to stand up, time for you to lead. >> obama has declared war on traditional values and dominant culture. need i spell it out for you in plain english? i already did. we are in a civil war. it is not yet a shooting war, but it is a civil war. this radical hooligan and eric holder and the women surrounding them these hooligans who have , seized power, have declared on america. 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
-- year won't 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. i lay it out, and give president obama credit for every good thing he has done. did you hear any credit at all in the videotape? none. but it is all lies. rush limbaugh saying millions of
americans have not lost their homes. millions 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 , and this is the point of my book, 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. you have a 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 against this for six years, a republican congress that set out to say we want to make you a one term president, at any time he
proposes something and put up their hands and say no way. wouldn't you just give up after that? he speaks all the time. he talks about this all the time. mr. press: no, you don't give up. why did you get elected if you are not going to fight the fight? no doubt 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? why didn't he do more to keep 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 the 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. bill clinton got more done when 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. lbj, the civil rights bill, democrats may be against him, but he did not give up.
brian: would you vote for bill clinton again? did you vote for him twice? mr. press: i did, and he let us down on several issues. don't ask don't tell, bill clinton. defense of marriage act, repealed glass-steagall act, welfare reform. four bad bills, bad moves. brian: what do you think of mrs. clinton? mr. press: i think she is much more liberal. i think she is much more cautious, and may be more willing to compromise and bernie sanders. -- more willing to compromise than 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? mr. press: in a sense, don't ask me. i always gave speeches saying i'm proud the new liberal. -- i'm proud of being a 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. brian: let's go back to july 17, 2009. another issue. president obama talking about opportunities, not just for african-americans, but all americans. [video clip] 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. not just to stem the immediate economic record, but to lay a -- economic wreckage, 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. mr. press: i quote that speech in the book. i am not the right one to sit here and talk about where president obama has appointed the african-american community. but those i have talked to, i
reflect in the book where 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. i remember at the briefings that they would would raise these issues and the answer always one, 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. that 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.
i would say it is not the area where president obama has most disappointed people, but i was surprised and talking to african americans, that even they feel let down by their first president. brian: on december the 16th, 2012, this is the president talking about new town. [video clip] 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 hugged survivors, the fourth time we have consulted the families of -- consoled the families of the victims. we cannot tolerate this anymore. the strategies must end. to end them, we must change.
mr. press: i think the most moving speech that president obama gave as president was three. in tucson, when gary giffords was shot, this speech in newtown, little angels lost their lives in the first grade classroom and charleston, s.c. at the mother emmanuel church. there is no more important issue than this easy 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. in 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 -- as a reporter 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? who is he talking to in the congress? he will sign it, but he wasn't doing anything to work to get it done. brian: 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 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. going back to the bernie sanders blurb -- rallying the american people. how 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 -- eric holder hasn't said the regret he had is when he left one 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 eight years wasted. eight years without a 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? mr. press: i had heard rumors 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?
he told me he was thinking about it. this was 2014. he was only thinking about it in the sense that he had realized that the only way people will seriously take you 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 -- there is some or about that. he felt of these progressive 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. if elizabeth warren had run, i'm
pretty confident to think that bernie sanders would have never run. bernie: did he ask your opinion on whether he should run? mr. press 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 said if you do this, my fear is you are going to run, you are going to be another ross perot or ralph nader, and take votes away from the democratic elected. he said i would never do that. he said i would never do anything to help a republican when the white house. i said if you're really serious
about that, if people together and let them know what you're thinking about. get some real solid advice about whether this is realistic or not. and so, he said to me, would you organize that? and i did. brian: what happened then? mr. press: i kicked it around in my house, and at that time people were saying this is worth pursuing, and it looks like there was a plan. ted divine, a chief advisor, was there. realistic 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. -- clinical strategists and gave .heir good advice grad
but he was saying this is worth 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. hillary clinton. and who knows who else? so it was a way, way, way long shot. but it wasn't crazy. brian: how long ago was that? mr. press: april 2014. brian: and he announced when? mr. press: april or march of 2015. brian: how much more that did you persue? did you start to get interested? did he ask you to come work for him? mr. press: no. he called me at one point said -- i may be off, i will have to check, but at one point he said
i learned a lot at that, that was good. do you think we could have another meeting? we did. carolat my house and quote. the second was chicken cacciatore. [laughter] she has her own website. so we have a second meeting at our house. time, things had moved along. bernie was much more serious about it. if you are going to run, you have to run as a democrat. everybody said that at the first meeting. don't even think about running as an independent. run as a democrat. otherwise, you will not have any
support at all. the second time, it was you are not crazy, but you ought to do this. brian: i suspect you would not tell me who else was at that dinner? mr. press: that was in november, i believe, 2014. brian: this dinner was done off the record. mr. press: yes. brian: were there people at that dinner 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 -- was there every time that you worried that it would interfere with your talkshow responsibilities? mr. press: no, because -- as a talkshow host i could endorse. ,i certainly endorsed barack obama. in 2008, i endorsed hillary clinton over barack obama.
again, the rules were just come and listen, no commitment. by coming, you are not signing on to the bernie sanders campaign. brian: you're are one of the few talk shows in the united ace -- united states 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. -- union leadership. across the board for the most , part, i support their issues. the keystone pipeline 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. -- the time when you are on current tv. and you had your morning show on byrent tv and it was run financiers, al gore and others. what was your reaction when al that to al jazeera? mr. press: i felt the road ahead -- i felt the rug had been 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. i find out 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. i don't begrudge the vice president for making all the money. god bless america, but i sort of felt betrayed that his interest
was, nothing wrong with that, he saw an opportunity to make a lot of money. he did. he did not pursue building this progressive network, which the country needed. brian: how much of the anger in 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: that didn't make you mad? he is building this progressive network, that he cashes out at $500 million for an oil company. mr. press: what bothered me more was 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. this is a stay on operation and you know it's not going to be. they 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. brian: why not? because they never built an audience. they were just an asterisk. it was crazy as a business decision. they already 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. the other thing 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.
during that time i met with a , 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. al jazeera was going to appeal to 99% of the american people, at which point i bit my tongue, and i wanted to say you really ought to change your damn 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? mr. press: for one thing, i 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. i felt with the access i need, i
can ask a question at a press briefing to satisfy my needs. so i didn't pursue that. can't hold that against me. ryan: the name of the book is "buyer's remorse, how obama and the democrats let progressives down." our guest has been built price -- bill price. bill 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.