Bill Clinton Pt. 1

  • Aired:  09/20/12
  •  | Views: 86,535

Bill Clinton shares the fact-based aim of his Democratic National Convention speech and his reliance on evidence over ideology. (7:25)

>> Stephen: MY GUEST TONIGHTS THE 42nd PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

THE ANNUAL INITIATIVE QUICKS OFF THIS THURSDAY, PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

>> Jon: LET ME ASK YOU, SO GIVE ANY GOOD SPEECHES LATELY?

OR, HOW DID THAT FEEL AT THE CONVENTION?

COULD YOU TELL THAT YOU WERE CRUSHING IT AS YOU WERE DOING IT?

DID YOU FEEL THAT?

>> YES AND NO BUT, YOU KNOW, WHAT I MEAN BY THAT IS I WORK SO HARD ON THAT, FOR WEEKS AND WEEKS AND WEEKS.

AND THEN THE WHITE HOUSE DESIGNATED BRUCE REED WHO WORKED FOR VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN NOW, AND WORKED WITH

ME FOR EIGHT YEARS.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND WORKED WITH ERSKINE BOWLES ON THAT BUDGET PROJECT TO HELP ME.

AND GENE SPERLING, THE NATIONAL ECONOMICS ADVISER WHO ALSO WORKED WITH ME FOR EIGHT YEARS CAME IN AND WE

WORKED THE LAST DAY AND A HALF AFTER DOING ALL THIS OTHER WORK.

AND I WAS JUST DETERMINED TO GET THE FACTS RIGHT AND I, AND TO SIMPLIFY THE ARGUMENT.

>> RIGHT.

>> WITHOUT BEING SIMPLISTIC.

I DIDN'T WANT TO TALK DOWN TO PEOPLE.

I WANTED TO EXPLAIN WHAT I THOUGHT WAS GOING ON.

>> Jon: THAT'S WHAT WAS SO STUNNING, I THINK, THAT WAS WHY IT WAS SUCH A BRACING SPEECH.

THE PHRASE YOU MENTIONED EARLIER ABOUT GETTING THE FACTS RIGHT.

THE IDEA THAT YOU WOULD USE USE... YOU WOULD USE, IN YOUR ARGUMENT, I KNOW THIS IS INTERESTING, THAT YOU

THOUGHT WOULD YOU UTILIZE IN YOUR ARTIFACTS.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Jon: AND THEY WOULD HAVE... YOU WOULD ATTACH NUMBERS TO THEM, THAT WERE REAL.

I THOUGHT WAS A BOLD CHOICE ON YOUR PART.

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, WE WERE TALKING BEFORE THE SHOW STARTED, I THINK JUST FORGET ABOUT POLITICS.

THINK ABOUT ANY TIME IN YOUR LIFE YOU HAVE BEEN CONFUSED OR ANGRY OR FRIGHTENED OR RESENTFUL OR ANYTHING, AND

YOU DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON.

IN THOSE MOMENTS EXPLANATION IS WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN EL CONSEQUENCE.

AND RHETORIC FALLS ON DEAF EARS, SO THE ONLY CHANCE I HAVE TO GET ANYBODY TO REALLY LISTEN WAS TO SAY,

LOOK, HERE IS WHAT I THINK HAPPENED.

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.

AND ONE OF MY FAVORITE RESPONSES CAME FROM A GUY WHO SAID I'M A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN, I NEVER VOTED

FOR CLINTON.

I NEVER EVEN THOUGHT HE WAS ELOQUENT, BUT HE TREATED ME LIKE A GROWN-UP.

AND I APPRECIATED THAT.

BECAUSE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE PLENTY SMART ENOUGH TO FIGURE ALL THIS OUT.

BUT YOU KNOW, I HAVE A WIFE WITH A TRAVELING JOB SO I'M HOME ALONE A LOT.

AND... .

>> Jon: WHAT DOES SHE DO, WHAT LINE OF WORK IS SHE IN, THAT'S INTERESTING.

>> DEPENDS ON WHAT DAY IT IS.

BUT SERIOUSLY, AND I WAS PRESIDENT AND I WAS A GOVERNOR FOR 12 YEARS AND A GRAP WELL ALL KINDS OF ECONOMIC CHALLENGES.

AND I HAVE THE TIME NOW TO SPEND AN HOUR OR TWO A DAY TRYING TO WORK THIS OUT.

AND YEAH, YOU CAN GET ALL KINDS OF INFORMATION OFF THE INTERNET BUT YOU CAN'T BE SURE IF IT IS RIGHT OR NOT.

AND THERE ARE ALL THESE DISPAR AT FACTS OUT THERE.

SO WHAT I FRIED TO DO IS TO ORGANIZE THE INFORMATION IN A WAY I THOUGHT WOULD BE MOST HELPFUL TO PEOPLE AND

MAKE THE ARGUMENTS THAT I BELIEVE THAT PERSUADE ME THAT THE COURSE THAT THE PRESIDENT IS TAKING IS BETTER THAN THE ONE

ADVOCATED BY GOVERNOR ROMNEY.

I TRIED TO DO IT IN A CALM WAY WITHOUT CALLING ANYBODY ANY NAMES OR GETTING ANYBODY MAD.

I THOUGHT THEY HAD BEEN A LITTLE ROUGH ON HIM ON THAT WELL FARE AND MEDICARE RIP THEY ARE ON.

SO I HAD A LITTLE FUN WITH THAT, BUT OTHERWISE.

>> Jon: BUT THAT'S WHAT WE WERE SO SURPRISED BECAUSE PEOPLE TOOK TO IT IN A MANNER AS THOUGH YOU HAD

BROUGHT HIGH RHETORIC FROM THE MOUNTAIN IT WAS IN ITS SIMPLICITY, I THINK, THAT IS WHAT... IT WAS ALMOST AS

THOUGH YOU BROUGHT SOMETHING TO PEOPLE AND THEY WERE EATING IT AND THEY WERE LIKE OH MY GOD THERE SUN REAL, I

HAVE NEVER HAD IT.

AND YOU ARE LIKE, IT'S PIZZA.

THE SIMPLICITY OF IT... .

>> I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TAKE THIS ELECTION SERIOUSLY.

THEY KNOW THEY HAVE TO MAKE CHOICES THAT WILL AFFECT THEIR LIVES.

>> Jon: UH-HUH.

>> AND IT'S NOT VERY HELPFUL IF YOU TAKE UP THEIR TIME AND YOU DON'T EXPLAIN WHAT THOSE CHOICES ARE, AT LEAST

FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW.

SO THAT'S WHAT I TRIED TO DO.

>> Jon: ARE YOU SURPRISED, IT HAS STRUCK ME THAT THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN VERY YEAR THAT THEY DON'T

WANT TO GIVE THE SPECIFICS OF THAT CHOICE.

THEY HAVE BEEN GIVEN A CHANCE TIME AND TIME AGAIN.

WELL, WHAT LOOPHOLES WOULD YOU CLOSE, WELL, YOU KNOW, I WILL WORK THAT OUT AFTER I'M ELECTED.

SEE ME ABOUT THAT AFTER THE ELECTION.

SURPRISING WITH A GUY OF THAT KIND OF BUSINESS EXPERIENCE THAT YOU ARE DEALING IN NUMBERS AND YOU WOULD THINK SPECIFICS.

>> WELL, PART OF THE PROBLEM THAT HE HAS IS THAT... .

>> Jon: PART OF.

>> YEAH, HE MADE ALL THESE COMMITMENTS IN THE PRIMARY CAMPAIGN.

AND YOU REMEMBER, AND THEY JUST KEPT PUSHING EVERYBODY TO THE RIGHT.

AND SO SEEMED LIKE EVERY WEEK THERE WAS A NEW CHALLENGER COMING UP AND HE WAS PLAYING WHACK-A-MOLE, HE

HAD TO KNOCK THEM DOWN.

>> Jon: VERY KIND OF YOU, EVEN MOLE I THINK IS ACTUALLY... .

>> IN THE COURSE OF THAT HE WOUND UP WITH A LOT OF COMMITMENTS.

SO I MEAN, JUST THINK ABOUT, THIS DEBT IS A TERRIBLE PROBLEM.

HE SAID THAT YOU KNOW, AND THEY RAN THAT LITTLE DEBT CLOCK UP.

WELL, IT WILL BE A PROBLEM WHEN INTEREST RATE GOES UP IF WE DON'T, AS I SAID IF WE DON'T DEAL WITH IT, IT WILL

DEAL WITH US.

AND WE WON'T LIKE IT, NONE OF US, WITHOUT REGARD TO PARTY.

BUT IF I COME TO YOU AND I SAY WE HAVE THIS TERRIBLE NATIONAL DEBT AND HERE IS MY OPENING GAMBIT, FIRST THING

I WILL DO IS INCREASE IT BY 5 TRILLION DOLLARS OVER A DECADE BY DOING ANOTHER ROUND OF TAX CUTS, IT MOSTLY

BENEFITS THE PEOPLE THAT WE BENEFITING IN THE LAST DECADE EVEN THOUGH IT DIDN'T PRODUCE JOBS.

NOW WE'RE IN A REALLY DEEP HOLE, MUCH BIGGER THAN THIS CLOCK I JUST SHOWED YOU.

NOW LET ME TELL YOU HOW WE'RE GOING TO GET OUT OF IT.

WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE DETAILS.

SEE ME ABOUT THAT AFTER THE ELECTION.

>> RIGHT.

I WANTED TO TRY TO EXPLAIN THAT IN SIMPLE TERMS.

NO ONE ELSE WOULD DO THAT.

NO ONE... UNLESS YOU WERE BEING DRIVEN BY IDEOLOGY INSTEAD OF BY EVIDENCE, THIS IS A PRACTICAL COUNTRY.

WE HAVE IDEALS, WE HAVE PHILOSOPHIES.

BUT THE PROBLEM WITH ANY IDEOLOGY IS IT GIVES THE ANSWER BEFORE YOU LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE.

SO YOU HAVE TO MULL THE EVIDENCE TO GET THE ANSWER THAT YOU'VE ALREADY DECIDED YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE.

IF DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY.

BUILDING AN ECONOMY, REBUILDING AN ECONOMY, IS IT HARD, PRACTICAL, NUTS AND BOLTS.

>> Jon: WHEN WE COME BACK WE WILL TALK ABOUT THE CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE.

PRES

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