Exclusive - Barack Obama Extended Interview Pt. 2

July 21, 2015 - Barack Obama 07/21/2015 Views: 319,727

As Barack Obama nears the end of his two-term presidency, he reflects on his accomplishments and shares his opinion on the role of government in the U.S. (12:12)

>> PART OF THE PROBLEM IS ITHINK WE HAVE A TENDENCY TO,

I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.

WHEN THERE WAS THAT PROBLEM WITHTHE IRS.

EVERYBODY JUMPED INCLUDING YOU.

>> Jon: WHAT HAPPENED TO THEIRS?

>> LOOK YOU GOT THIS BACK OFFICEAND THEY'RE GOING AFTER THE TEA

PARTY.

IT TURNED OUT NO, CONGRESS HAS ACRUMMY LAW THAT DIDN'T GIVE

PEOPLE GUIDANCE IN TERMS OF WHATTHEY ARE TRYING TO DO.

THEY DID IT POORLY AND STUPIDLY.

BUT THAT BECOMES --

>> Jon: YOU REALLY ONLY DO HAVEA YEAR LEFT.

[LAUGHTER]

>> NO -- BUT HOLD ON, JON.

THIS IS IMPORTANT.

BUT THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER ISTHAT THERE WAS NOT SOME BIG

CONSPIRACY THERE.

THEY WERE TRYING TO SORT OUTTHESE CONFLICTING DEMANDS.

YOU DON'T WANT ALL THIS MONEYPOURING THROUGH NOT-FOR-PROFITS

BUT YOU ALSO WANT TO MAKE SUREEVERYBODY IS BEING TREATED

FAIRLY.

THE REAL SCANDAL AROUND THE IRSIS THAT IT HAS BEEN SO POORLY

FUNDED THAT THEY CAN'T GO AFTERTHESE, WE CANNOT GO AFTER THESE

FOLKS WHO ARE DELIBERATELYDELETING TAX PAYMENTS.

AND THE REAL SCANDAL IS TAXCODES WHERE MULTINATIONALS CAN

PAY ZERO TAXES MAKING MASSIVEPROFITS.

SO WE TEND TO GET DISTRACTED BYTHE FACT THAT THERE ARE GOING TO

BE ELEMENTS, BECAUSE GOVERNMENTIS A HUMAN ENTERPRISE WHERE,

SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE IS SCREWINGUP AT ANY GIVEN TIME.

BECAUSE IT'S A HUGE SYSTEM.

OVERALL, IT WORKS REALLY WELL TOHELP A LOT OF PEOPLE.

WHAT THE SCANDALOUS IS THE FACTTHAT WE ARE NOT MAKING AS MUCH

PROGRESS AS WE SHOULD ON THEBASIC THINGS THAT WE KNOW OUR

GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE DOING.

REBUILDING OURINFRASTRUCTURE, REBUILDING OUR

ROADS, REBUILDING OUR PORTS,SETTING UP A SYSTEM FOR

DISTRIBUTING ENERGY, MAKING SUREWE HAVE EARLY CHILDHOOD

EDUCATION.

YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT THATPART OF MY JOB FOR THE LAST

SEVEN YEARS AND PART OF MY JOBOVER THESE LAST, THIS LAST YEAR

COMING UP IS TO CONTINUALLYIMPROVE AND MAKE SURE THE

GOVERNMENT IS FUNCTIONING ASWELL AS IT COULD.

BUT YOU CAN'T USE THAT AS ANEXCUSE FOR THE BIG STRUCTURAL

PROBLEMS THAT WE'RE FACING RIGHTNOW THAT ARE NOT BEING ADDRESSED

ADDRESSED, TYPICALLY THAT HAS TOBE --

>> Jon: THAT'S WHAT I WANT TOGET TO IS THAT VISION OF WHAT

21ST CENTURY GOVERNMENT LOOKSLIKE OUTSIDE OF THE

POLITICALIZATION OF IT.

HOW DO YOU GOVERN AND DO THESERVICES YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT

WHILE BEING IN THAT SITUATION.

AND IF IT'S FOUR GUYS IN AT-SHIRT, ISN'T THERE AN

EXECUTIVE OPTION THAT CAN, THATCAN CUT THROUGH.

>> HERE'S WHAT WE DO.

>> Jon: YES, YOU'RE THECOMMANDER IN CHIEF.

>> AFTER THE HEALTHCARE.GOVFIASCO, WE BROUGHT IN A TEAM

OF GUYS BASICALLY VOLUNTEERINGTHEIR OWN TIME FROM GOOGLE,

FACEBOOK, GUYS IN T-SHIRTS.

THEY'RE NOT WEARING T-SHIRTSNOW.

THEY'VE DRESSED UP A LITTLE BIT,ALTHOUGH NOT THAT WELL.

[LAUGHTER]

AND WE HAVE CREATED WHATWE'RE CALLING THE U.S. DIGITAL

SERVICES AND WE'REBASICALLY GETTING THEM IN FOR A

YEAR OR TWO YEARS AND WE'RE JUSTPUTTING THEM ON A WHOLE BUNCH OF

THESE PROBLEMS.

WHETHER IT'S HOW DO WE MAKE ANS.B.A. LOAN EASIER TO GET.

HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THAT THISAGENCY IS MORE CUSTOMER

FRIENDLY.

HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLECAN GO TO ONE WEBSITE INSTEAD OF

16 TO FIND OUT THE INFORMATIONTHEY NEED.

SO THESE GUYS ARE SPREADING OUTTHROUGHOUT THE GOVERNMENT AND

THEY ARE IN FACT SYSTEMATICALLYCHIPPING AWAY AT A LOT OF THESE

PROBLEMS.

AND I THINK WE WILL, BY THE TIMEI LEAVE HERE, WE'RE GOING TO BE

ABLE TO SAY THAT GOVERNMENT ISWORKING MUCH BETTER, MUCH MORE

EFFICIENTLY, MUCH MORE CUSTOMERFRIENDLY THAN WHEN I CAME INTO

OFFICE.

>> Jon: IT FRUSTRATES YOUBECAUSE I CAN TELL WE'RE TALKING

HAVING A NICE TIME TALKING ABOUTTHE IRAN DEAL, I THINK IT'S

FRUSTRATING TO YOU.

>> OF COURSE.

>> Jon: BECAUSE YOU FEEL LIKEWE'RE AMPLIFYING THINGS OUT OF

PROPORTION.

I MIGHT AGREE WITH THAT ONCERTAIN ISSUES.

>> THAT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE.

>> Jon: THE V.A. THOUGH, I WOULDTAKE ISSUES --

>> NO, NO.

THE ISSUES WITH THE V.A. IS --IF THERE'S ONE VETERNA NOT

GETTING THE SERVICES THEY NEED,THEN WE'RE FAILING THAT

VERTERAN, AND THAT'S ABSOLUTELYCRITICAL.

LET'S TALK ABOUTHOMLESSNESS AMONG VETERANS.

WE'VE CUT THAT BY A THIRD.

WE'VE GOT TWO THIRDS OF THESEFOLKS WE'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE

HAVE PROPER HOUSING BECAUSE IFTHEY FOUGHT FOR US THEY SHOULD

BE ABLE TO FIND A HOME HERE INTHE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

>> Jon: SURE.

[APPLAUSE]

>> BUT THIS GOES FOR THELARGER POINT.

YOU ASKED ME HOW AM I DOING ANDAM I FEELING PRETTY GOOD RIGHT

NOW.

ONE OF THE THINGS I'M PROUD OF,AND THIS IS NOT JUST ME, IS WE

HAVE LOOKED AT A WHOLE SLEW OFPROBLEMS WHEN WE CAME INTO

OFFICE.

AND WE SAID WHERE CAN WE ADVANCETHE BALL DOWN THE FIELD EACH AND

EVERY TIME ACROSS THE BOARD.

AND WE DON'T SCORE A TOUCH DOWNEVERY TIME, BUT WE MOVE THE BALL

FORWARD.

>> Jon: DO YOU FEEL LIKEYOU'VE HIT THE METRICS THAT YOU

WANTED TO HIT.

>> YOU'RE ALWAYS GOING TO FALLSHORT BECAUSE IF YOU'RE HITTING

YOUR MARK THAT MEANS YOU DIDN'TSET THEM HIGH ENOUGH, RIGHT.

SO IN HEALTHCARE --

>> Jon: AM I BEING UNREASONABLETO YOU, AM I BEING UNFAIR

SUGGESTING IN THIS ONE INSTANCE,GOVERNMENT FAILED TO ADDRESS A

PROBLEM IN AN APPROPRIATE TIMEFRAME, FAILED TO DO IT --

>> I THINK YOU'RE BEING ENTIRELYFAIR THAT THE VA HAS NOT DONE

WHAT IT NEEDS TO DO IN TERMS OFOUR VETERANS, OKAY.

THAT IS SOMETHING THAT'S BUILTUP OVER 50 YEARS.

AND THE QUESTION THEN BECOMES --

>> Jon: WHOSE FAULT IS IT.

>> Jon: NO, NO, NO.

>> THE QUESTION IS, HOW DO WESET THE RIGHT BENCHMARKS SO THAT

WE KNOW WE'RE MAKING PROGRESSAND WE'RE MOVING IN THE RIGHT

DIRECTION.

AND THAT'S TRUE ON ALL THISSTUFF.

WHEN WE PASSED HEALTHCARE, THEREWAS A LOT OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT A

SINGLE PAYER PLAN WOULD BEBETTER.

WE NEED A PUBLIC OPTION OR THEWHOLE RANGE OF POSSIBILITIES.

AND A LOT OF THOSE SUGGESTIONS IAGREED WITH.

BUT WHAT I KNEW WAS, GIVEN THELEGACY SYSTEM WE'VE INHERITED,

GIVEN THE POLITICS OF THISCOUNTRY, GIVEN PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS

AFRAID OF SOMETHING NEW, GIVENOBSTRUCTION AND RESISTANCE FROM

THE OTHER SIDE.

FOR US TO GET THIS DONE ANDSUDDENLY HAVE 16 MILLION PEOPLE

WHO HAVE HEALTHCARE WHO DIDN'THAVE IT BEFORE AND A HUNDRED

PLUS MILLION PEOPLE WHO KNOWTHAT IF THEY LOSE THEIR JOB

TOMORROW, THEY CAN STILL GETHEALTHCARE EVEN IF THEY GOT

PREEXISTING CONDITION.

KNOWING THAT A WHOLE BUNCH OFIANPEOPLE SUDDENLY ARE ABLE TO GET

HEALTHCARE UNDER THEIR PARENTSPLAN? I'LL TAKE THAT.

AND GOING BACK TO THE IRANDEAL --

[APPLAUSE]

THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO SAY WELLON IRAN, WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST

COMPLETELY ELIMINATE ALLVEST VESTIGES OF ANY

NUCLEAR PROGRAM PROGRAMS.

HERE'S THE REASON.

A, THERE'S NO REASON THEY WOULDEVER DO THAT.

B, THE REASON WE GOT THEM TO THETABLE IS BECAUSE WE HAVE

COUNTRIES LIKE CHINA AND RUSSIAEVEN WITH ALL THE DISAGREEMENTS

WE HAVE, WE'RE ABLE TO ORGANIZETHEM TO FOCUS, MAKING SURE THEY

DIDN'T HAVE A BOMB.

AND TO KEEP THAT INTERNATIONALCOALITION TOGETHER AND SANCTIONS

TOGETHER, WHAT THAT MEANT WAS WEHAD TO TAKE SOME CONSIDERATION

INTO IRAN'S SAVING FACE AS THEYMOVE FORWARD ON THIS DEAL.

AS LONG AS WE KNEW THEY WEREN'TGOING TO GET A BOMB.

I GUESS WHAT I'M SAYING JON ISTHAT IT'S NOT YOUR JOB TO FOCUS

ON WHAT THREE QUARTERS OF WHATYOU GET YOUR JOB IS TO POINTED

OUT WHAT WE HAVEN'T GOTTEN.

THAT'S WHY OUR DEMOCRACY WORKSIS BECAUSE WE KEEP ON MAKING

IMPROVEMENTS.

>> Jon: YOU'RE GOING TO GOWITH THIS WHOLE

SANDWICH ANALOGY.

[LAUGHTER]

>> BUT WHAT WE CAN'T LOSESIGHT OF, I GUESS WHAT I DO

FIGHT AGAINST --

>> Jon: I FEEL IT.

>> NO, NO.

>> Jon: I FELT THE MOOD CHANGE. I FELT IT.

>> HERE'S WHAT I FIGHT AGAINST.

WHAT I FIGHT AGAINST IS THATCYNICISM, I'M NOT SAYING -- THE

CYNICISM THAT IS FED BY THISNOTION THAT GOVERNMENT DOESN'T

GET STUFF DONE.

AND THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER ISTHAT WHETHER IT'S OUR MILITARY

OR ALL KINDS OF PUBLIC SERVANTSIN THE VA OR IN AG OR IN ALL OF

THE AGENCIES THAT WORK AT IT,EVERY SINGLE DAY THERE'S A BUNCH

OF STUFF THAT IS GETTING DONETHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT AND

HELPS A LOT OF PEOPLE.

AND IF THOSE OF US WHO BELIEVETHE GOVERNMENT HAS SOME, IN THE

INTEREST OF FAIRNESS OROBJECTIVITY OR WHAT HAVE YOU,

DON'T ACKNOWLEDGE AND FOCUS ONTHE ENORMOUS SUCCESSES BUT ALSO

THE FACT THAT YES THERE'S AHUMAN ENTERPRISE, THERE'S GOING

TO BE SOME TRADE OFFS.

THERE'S GOING TO BE SOMEBODYSOMEWHERE SCREWING OFF.

WHEN PROBLEMS COME UP THEYSHOULD BE FIXED.

SOMETIMES NOT AS FAST AS THEYSHOULD.

WHEN WE LOSE SIGHT OF THAT WEARE LEADING INTO THIS NARRATIVE

THAT BASICALLY SAYS THERE'SNOTHING WE CAN DO.

THEN WHAT WE GET ARE THE PROTESTMOVEMENTS ON THE LEFT OR THE

RIGHT.

TO SOME DEGREE THE TEA PARTY ISAN EXPRESSION OF FRUSTRATION.

THEY SEE A BUNCH OF STUFF GOINGON THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND.

THEY FEEL THREATENED BY AND THEYREACT.

INCLUDING ME.

[LAUGHTER]

>> Jon: YOU MAKE THEM SOUNDLIKE BUNNIES.

[LAUGHTER]

>> SO I JUST, I MEAN THEONE THING THAT I FEEL DEEPLY

ABOUT, AND THIS IS SOMETHING IFEEL DEEPLY ABOUT WHEN I LEAVE

GOVERNMENT IS STUFF GETSBETTER IF WE WORK AT IT AND WE

STAY FOCUSED ON WHERE WE'REGOING.

IT DOESN'T IMMEDIATELY GET ALLSOLVED.

AND I WARNED AGAINST THIS WHEN IWAS RUNNING FOR OFFICE BECAUSE

EVERYBODY HAD HOPE POSTERS ANDTHIS AND THAT AND EVERYBODY WAS

FEELING --

>> Jon: HEY WE DIDN'TMAKE THOSE, YOU MADE THOSE.

>> NO, NO.

[APPLAUSE]

>> Jon: I'M PRETTY SURE THATCAME FROM YOU.

>> WHAT I'M SAYING IS THAT IFYOU LOOK AT WHAT I SAID AT THE

TIME, I SAID THIS IS GOING TOBE AN ONGOING PROJECT.

AND IT'S A PROJECT OF CITIZENS.

IT'S NOT JUST FIX THIS.

IT'S HOW DO WE WORK TOGETHER TOGET THINGS DONE.

AND IT ISN'T PERFECT BUT OVERTIME IT GETS BETTER.

AND HERE'S THE THING I CAN SAY,JON.

I CAN SAY THIS UNEQUIVOCALLY.

THE V.A. IS BETTER NOW THAN WHENI CAME INTO OFFICE.

IT IS BETTER NOW THAN WHEN ICAME INTO OFFICE.

GOVERNMENT WORKS BETTER THANWHEN I CAME INTO OFFICE.

THE ECONOMY BY EVERY METRIC ISBETTER THAN WHEN I CAME INTO

OFFICE.

AND SO THE REASON I CAN SLEEP ATNIGHT IS I SAID TO MYSELF DO YOU

KNOW WHAT, IT'S BETTER.

[APPLAUSE]

NOW, AM I SATISFIED WITH IT? NO.

AND SHOULD VOTERS BE SATISFIEDWITH IT?

ABSOLUTELY NOT BECAUSE OTHERWISEIF WE GET COMPLACENT AND LAZY,

THEN STUFF DOESN'T HAPPEN.

>> Jon: NO, THAT'S TOTALLY WHATI WAS SAYING.

>> YOU AND ME, WE'RE RIGHTTHERE.

>> Jon: CAN I TELL YOUSOMETHING.

>> YOU CAN.

>> Jon: I HAVE NO IDEA WHEREWE ARE COMMERCIAL WISE.

I'M GOING TO, I'M GOING TO JUSTTHROW TO COMMERCIAL.

HERE'S WHAT WE'LL DO.

WE'LL GO TO A COMMERCIAL.

WE'LL COME BACK AND TALK MORE.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUTNEXT.

I'LL LEAVE IT UP TO YOU,WHATEVER THE SUBJECT MATTER IS.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK WITH MOREFROM PRESIDENT OBAMA.