John Heilemann and Mark Halperin - A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the 2016 Election in "The Circus"

June 22, 2016 - John Heilemann and Mark Halperin 06/22/2016 Views: 7,158

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin discuss Bernie Sanders's underdog presidential campaign as well as the upcoming RNC and DNC conventions in their docuseries "The Circus." (6:18)

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Please welcome Mark Halperinand John Heilemann!

(cheers and applause)

Gentlemen, welcome to the show.

-Good to be here. -Thank youso much for being...

I am such a huge fanof your guys work.

You guys are politicalsuperstars, basically.

Are we allowedto say vice versa?

-Yeah, you can. You can saythat. -Okay, vice versa.

Can you say,"Who are you mixing us up with?"

-Yeah.-Who am I mixing you up with?

-I'm not mixing you upwith anyone. -Very nice.

You guys are the guyswho wrote Game Change.

You guys created The Circus.

-Quick question.-Yeah.

Why did you call the show aboutthe political race The Circus?

Well, 'causeit's a big circus.

Candidates say it all the time.

You know,when they're frustrated,

when they're exhilarated,it's a circus.

Travels around the countrylike a circus,

and there is a bearded lady.


Not saying who that is.

Think about it.Circuses are fun, right?

-Yeah, but circuses...-They're fun.

Do you not thinkthat offends the circ...?

The circus is planned,

the circus is methodical,the circus...

Like, people in the circus--it's not like it's...

Like, I'm sure the circus goes,

"Hey, we have our elephantsunder control."

-(laughter) -Yeah.-That is not something...

Do you thinkit is as crazy as it seems?

I mean, you guys areon the ground

every single weekon these campaigns.

-Is it as mad as we think it is?-It's not only crazy.

It's so physically taxing.

There's nothing like itin the world.

No one else picks their leaderslike this.

So the scheduling, the changes,

the back and forth,the social media.

It is...Circus. You're right.

It's probably more offensiveto the circus, but it is.

It is an out-of-control processthat tests the candidates,

their families,everybody around them in a way.

-There's reallynothing else like it. -Yeah.

And you guys have been doingthis together

for a very long time.

-I mean, you've written bookstogether. -Right.

You've now created the showtogether.

You guys are likethe Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

-of politics, basically.-(laughter)

-Basically. -I'm not sure whichone of those I want to be...

but, basically, I'd be happywith either one.

-They're both pretty...-Yeah, you know who you are.

-You know which one you are.-They're both pretty good.

-You know which one you are.-Okay.


But people often ask us whether

-this is the craziest electionwe've ever covered. -Yes.

We both... You know, we rememberboth... We covered 1992.

You had a third party candidate,Ross Perot.

-Incredible, right?-Uh-huh.

2000 campaign--a recount in Florida

settled by the Supreme Court.

2008-- Barack Obama,Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin,

world financial meltdownin the course of the campaign.

-Yup.-What's crazier than that?

-Donald Trump.-(laughter)

Donald Trump is crazier...?

So, yes, crazierthan all of the other...

-Than all of those thingscombined. -Combined. Correct.

Is there a fearwhen are you out there...?

I mean, you go to these events,you go to the rallies.

Trump is not a fan of the press,the media.

In fact,how do you get in so close?

Have you seen thingsthat nobody else has?

Like, have seen his hair wet?Is it hair?

-(laughter)-What's going on there?

You know, he has,on several occasions,

in the course of this campaign,taken off the hat.

-I know you have a hat, right?-I've got the hat.

-Everyone has the hat. Yeah.-Everyone has the hat. Right.

And he's had it... It's beenhot, and so it's slicked back.

And he looks a little,when it's slicked all the back,

he looks a littlelike Michael Douglas

as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.

-(laughter) -I'm not kidding.I'm not kidding. It's real.

Whether it's totally authenticis another question.

-But it's real.-That sounds like Donald...

There is something that's real.

-That sounds like Donald Trump'scampaign. It's real. -Yeah.

-Whether it's totallyauthentic.. -I can't say it's... another questionall together. -(laughter)

Doesn't fit in a bumper sticker,but pretty good.

That's a pretty good one.

You've been there from thebeginning with Bernie Sanders.

You saw when...

In the clip that we saw,there was a lot of speculation

about Bernie Sandersgoing into the convention,

making it contested,

looking increasingly likethat's not going to happen.

Were there signs of thiswhen you were on the road,

or did it seem like it was goingto be a madhouse?

It's gone back and forth.And look, he's still

gonna go and wantto be treated with respect.

There's a personal story.

We try to focus on the process,but more on the people.

-Not to do a show that's aboutpolling and strategists... -Yes.

...but really about the people.

So it's an incredible story,right?

Bernie Sanders could have walkeddown any street in America,

including his hometownof Brooklyn.

No one would have recognized hima year and a half ago.

Now he draws the biggest crowdsanybody's ever seen,

and he is a phenomenabecause of his issue positions.

We've never seen anything likethat in our modern politics.

-Yeah. -So he wants to goand still do stuff.

But he said just today

he knows he's not gonna bethe nominee now.

So it's an incredibly poignantstory.

It won't be the main thing

we coverat the Democratic convention,

but it'll bea really important story

of how he sort ofmakes his peace

with Hillary Clintonand with the Democratic party.

We started interviewing BernieSanders at the very beginning

when he started outon our show on Bloomberg,

and a lot of peopleweren't taking him seriously.

-I think he appreciated that wedid from the beginning. -Yeah.

And so, from the early phasesof doing The Circus,

we had a lot of great back...

behind-the-scenes,backstage access to him.

I was with himin his hotel suite

on the nightof the Iowa caucuses

when it still wasn't clearwhether he'd won or not.

And he was having the greatestpolitical night of his life.

And seeing him go from a guywho was cause candidate,

someone who was challenging thegreatest political dynasty...

-Yeah. Democratic,modern Democratic history,

to being... to winningall these primaries, and now,

having to go through all of it,then see it kind of slip away.

It really is... You know, wetalk about the high human drama

of presidential politics.

Bernie Sanders embodies thatbetter than almost anybody.

And going out with himon the road

and seeing 10,000 peoplein Tulsa, Oklahoma

on a Tuesday afternoon--it's just...

You know, it's kind ofan inspiring thing to see.

Whether you agree with himor not,

there's a lot of peopleout there really moved by

his passion and his convictionand what they see as his purity.

-10,000 in Tulsa on a Tuesday.-Yeah.

-Sounds like a greatmovie title. -Yeah, right.

-(laughter)-Yeah, it really does.

He has done a great job, though.

I mean, I saw Hillary Clintonspeaking today.

And, you know, in her speech,you can feel Bernie Sanders

-peppered through the speech.-Sure.

I mean, talking about free...

You know,the debt-free education

-for American college students.-Wall Street.

-Talking about Wall Streetbeing reigned in. -Yeah.

You know, you can feel Berniecoming through there.

You guys are goingto be at the conventions.

We're going to beat the conventions.

Bring your bulletproof vest.

I was about to ask youwhat I should do,

-and now you've told me.-(laughter) -You know, gas mask.

Which conventiondo I need it for, though?

-Both. Both.-You need it for both.

-100% for both. Yeah.-Gas mask, skateboard.

You needyour Hacky Sack uniform

in case you want to hang outwith the Sanders people.

-(laughter)-Yeah. Yeah.

Just, they're both goingto be incredible shows.

-It'll be your first convention,right? -It will be

-my first convention.-Okay.

You got to lock and load, buddy.

-Could be my last convention.-(laughter)

-Yeah. -Just comewith no preconceptions

and no preconditions,and you'll be fine.

-And a lot of alcohol in a really big bag. -(laughter)

-I'll meet you guys there.-Right. See you, man.

-Thank you so much for joiningme on the show. -Thank you.

-Thank you for being here.-(applause and cheering)

The Circus returnswith a new episode

starting July 10 on Showtime.

Mark Halperinand John Heilemann, everybody.

(cheers and applause)

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