Exclusive - John Podesta Extended Interview

July 26, 2016 - John Podesta 07/26/2016 Views: 5,542

Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta discusses her history-making nomination, her vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine and unity in the Democratic Party. (11:16)

Watch Full Episode

Please welcome John Podesta!

-♪ -(cheering and applause)

-Welcome to the show.-Good to be here.

First things first,congratulations

-on Hillary'sofficial nomination. -Thank you.

-It's a historic night.-It really is.

-We're in a historic city.-It really is.

The birthplace of our democracy,and we just elected

the first woman to lead a n...major national party ticket.

It is a fantastic night.Do you think sometimes,

uh, people forget whata historic occasion this is?

Do you think sometimespeople lose sight of the fact

that this is, hopefully,

going to be America'sfirst female president?

Well, you know, look,I think we got a ways to go.

We've come a long distance.We were, uh,

very happy that-that, uh,

we, uh, brought this conventiontogether.

Bernie Sanders, uh,off-offered her name in a...

by acclimation, uh,as the nominee of the party.

But we got a long fight aheadof us.

So, uh, if we do our job,

elect her president, thatwill be the real historic night.

Now, when-when you are, um...

-getting readyfor the conventions-- -Mm-hmm.

and I'm assumingyou watched some

of the Republican convention

and you see what Ted Cruz did--

does any part of you phone upBernie Sanders and go,

"Yo, can I see your speechagain, man?"

Is there a tiny bit of you thatworries in those situations?

Not this time. 'Cause we...He was with... he was with her

in New Hampshire and-andendorsed her in New Hampshire,

so we knew what we were,uh, coming into,

uh, Philadelphia expecting.

So, uh, we were excitedto have that endorsement,

and we worked hard, uh, to bringthe two sides together.

We... You know, our campaignslogan is Stronger Together,

and that means stronger togetherfrom the two campaigns

-being together.-You-you really... you d...

you really did work hard though.A lot of people don't know,

but you are the man who isreally behind this campaign.

You-you are running itfrom the top.

You were responsiblefor securing

Bernie Sanders' endorsement.

What goes into that process?

What is happening there?

Everyone speculates on the newsand everyone talks about this,

but how does that comingtogether actually happen?

Is Bernie still partof the Democratic Party

once he has stepped outof the race officially?

Sure. And, uh,we welcome him to that.

You know, we first met...Uh, uh, Hillary,

our campaign managerRobby Mook, uh, and I

met with, uh,Bernie and Jane Sanders,

uh, and his campaign managerJeff Weaver

just two daysafter the California primary,

when it was clear that she hadsecured the pledge delegates

we would need tomake her the nominee.

Uh, and from that point forward,we tried to work

to try to bring the partytogether

to put together the mostprogressive platform in history,

to try to find common groundon higher education,

on making college debt-free,

on expanding healthcare access.

And we were able to do thatover a couple of weeks,

and that led to that endorsementin New Hampshire

where, you know, they gottogether on the stage,

she endorsed himand shook hands.

And we welcome his support goingforward and his campaigning.

Because I think it's gonna havea big effect for us, and I think

it will have a big effect forDemocrats down-ballot, as well.

Now you have Bernie fansout there.

I mean, the numbers have shownupwards of 90% of Bernie fans

are going to vote for Hillary,or they say they intend to.

You still have ten percentwho are saying,

"We don't feel like we're heard.

We don't feel likethis is a democratic process."

With what happenedwith Debbie Wasserman Schultz,

her stepping down,you know, the DNC apologizing,

the party coming together,

what would you sayto those people who go,

"This isn't my voice," or,"This is not a fair election."?

Well, I think it was indeeda fair election.

We got 3.7 million more votes.

Uh, but I think what I would sayto them is

that, uh, you know,

Debbie Wasserman Schultzhas stepped aside.

We'll be led by a terrificwoman-- Donna Brazile,

who was the campaign managerback in 2000.

-A tremendous leaderof our party. -Yup.

I think people trust heracross the board,

and I think they can feelthat they had a big effect.

We have a new commissionthat will study

the rules of the partyto insure that we even get

a more democratic processgoing forward.

Yeah, so there's a few measuresthat have been proposed,

such as, you know,eliminating super delegates.

-Reducing by...-Yes, reducing the number of.

-Yes. -Drastically reducingthe number of super delegates.

Making the caucusesmore transparent.

Favoring primariesover caucuses.

Those are all thingsthat I think

are gonna make the whole processmore democratic.

And I think that, you know,

that's been a cry of Bernieand his supporters

and one that we've supported.

So if we can work togetherto get that done,

and most importantly, I think

work to get dark moneyout of politics

-by reversing Citizens United.-(applause and cheering)

That would be somethingthat we could shake hands on

and feel really good about.

Now... let's talk real quickly

-about Tim Kaine,if you don't mind. -Mm-hmm.

For some, I mean, who are deeplyentrenched in politics,

this is a man everyone knew.

For people in the mainstream,the question was,

-"Who is this Tim Kaine?"-Yeah.

He really came out of nowhere.

You know, there was, you know,Cory Booker,

Xavier Becerra,all of these names were floated.

What was it about Tim Kainethat the campaign saw?

What was special aboutthis person in the role of VP?

Well, you know,

Tim's done a lot of thingsover the course of his life,

but I think he has a tremendous,deep core that, uh, connected.

Hillary found thatreally compelling.

When he was in law school,he left law school

to go down to Honduras to teachin a Jesuit missionary school.

He came back and becamea civil rights lawyer.

He was, uh, a, uh,city councilman, a mayor,

a lieutenant governorand a governor,

uh, in the state of Virginia.

He's got a deep heart,a deep soul.

He's committed to politicsfor the same reason she is--

to make a differencein people's life.

And he gets results.

So I think they found--they're both mid-Westerners.

He's moved to Virginia'cause his...

his, uh,his wife is from Virginia.

She has an interesting storyas well.

Her father was a Republicangovernor in Virginia,

who is the first governorof Virginia to decide

that he would finally committo integrate the, uh...

-the, uh, the Virginiapublic schools. -Yeah.

And he, uh, he did that

not only by word but by deed.

He took Anneand her older sister

and brought themto integrate a public school

in Richmond, Virginia.

And I think that sheis the product of that.

She met Tim in law School.

So they're a tremendous couple

that have deep passionfor social justice,

and they've been about thatall... their whole lives.

And I think Hillaryreally related to that,

'cause that's what she didafter law school as well.

You say he gets things done,and you also get things done.

-You went out to meetwith Tim Kaine in person. -Yeah.

The story soundsreally clandestine.

Is it... is it true? Did youapproach him the way you did?

Yeah, we, uh, went...

of course, we were underkind of cloak and dagger.

We snuck up. He was campaigningfor one of his senate colleagues

in Rhode Island, and mycolleague Sara Latham and I,

uh, and, uh, two other peoplefrom the campaign went up,

and Sara and I drove over tohis hotel where he was staying.

He not having been told

that he would bethe vice presidential nominee.

Uh, but Hillaryhaving made her choice,

we decided we neededto spirit him out of there

and take him to Miami.

And so when she finishedher conversation with him,

said that she wantedto run with him,

and he accepted that,he said she told him,

"You know, I don't wantto freak you out,

"but John Podesta is sittingoutside your hotel

in Newport, Rhode Island,"

-That would freak me out.-where I'd been hiding...

where I'd been hidingin a darkened car

-(laughter) -for a... for a...for a couple of hours.

The worst part of this,of course,

was it was a beautiful dayand I'm in Newport at the beach.

And you can'tget out of the car.

And I can't get out of the caror roll down the window.

I wish-I wish that was what washappening with every single car

with tinted windows, is theywere waiting to tell people

that they... "Hey, you'regonna be vice president."

"Aah!"

-It's just as...-We-we...

we dubbed ourselfThe Prize Patrol, you know?

It's...

You've won a million dollars.

What a-whata fantastic surprise.

Um, let's talk about the onefinal question for you.

-Sure. -Um, Hillary's campaignhas a lot of pressure on it

for one of the big reasons,

uh, and that is Donald Trump.

-Mm-hmm. -Now, we've noticed,I mean, from the show,

we're always looking out forjokes and the Hillary campaign

has taken a substantiallyhigh road.

I mean, even yesterday,

you know, other thanthe sketches that were played,

people, you know, didn'tdig into Trump personally.

It wasn't a "lock him up"type thing. -Yeah.

It was-it was reallyon a higher level.

You do realize the world

is banking on your campaign?

-When you wake up, do you-do youunderstand this? -I am very...

-(cheering, applause)-I am...

I carry... Trevor,I carry that burden with pride.

And, uh, and we intendto be successful.

But I think, uh,just, uh, to respond,

I think what-what you watchedon the Republican side

is, uh, people whotry to meet him in the gutter,

meet him with insults,meet him on his level of bigotry

and division didn't do verywell. He wiped 'em all out.

I think what we are trying to dois be serious about him.

Uh, I like to say he's...he-he is not a serious man,

but he is a serious candidate.

And, uh, and he has shownhimself to, you know, adept,

uh, particular in these politicsof division. -Yeah.

Uh, which we've seen,uh, globally,

it's kind of new to us here,uh, in the U.S.,

at least in the last coupleof decades, to see someone

who's so divisive, uh,runs on, uh, on, uh, you know,

attacks Muslims,attacks Mexicans,

attacks people withdisabilities, attacks women.

Uh, we haven't seen that,uh, really played out here.

But we will meet himand describe what an America

with him in the Oval Officewill look like versus, uh,

-Hillary in the Oval Office...-It'll be gold.

It'll be gold--that's what it'll look like.

-There'll be gold everywhere.-There'll be...

I'm sure there'll be "Trump"on the-on the White House.

Uh, but-but, you know,it's a scary proposition.

He doesn't have the temperament

to have his fingeron the button.

We'll make that case.We'll do it, uh, vo... you know,

strongly and vociferouslyand she'll do it directly.

Uh, but we're notgonna get down, uh,

to the kind of insults,uh, that he does.

Uh, and-and, you know,sometimes they take his-his,

uh, iPhone awayand he can't tweet,

but-but for the most part,uh, I think

the kind of campaignhe's... he run...

You know, Michelle Obama,last night,

I think, indirectly--she didn't mention him by name--

uh, talked about what it means

to have people like the Obamas,uh, in the White House

-as a role model forthe children of America. -Yeah,

shapes the childrenfor four to eight years.

And I think, uh,what she was really implying

is we don't need Donald Trumpshaping the children of America

for four yearsin the White House.

(cheering, applause)

-Thank you so much.-Thanks, Trevor.

-Congratulations--a historic night-- -Thank you.

to you and the team.John Podesta, everybody.

We'll be right back.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)