Exclusive - Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 2

September 15, 2016 - Bill Clinton 09/15/2016 Views: 16,809

Clinton Foundation Founder Bill Clinton discusses Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and weighs in on why Donald Trump has struck a chord with so many Americans. (23:52)

Watch Full Episode

We're here joinedby President Bill Clinton.

Uh, before the break, we werechatting about the foundation,

all the work that you've done,

uh, the perception,you know, within the media,

the five-second, uh...

I guess it's the five-secondrule, it seems like now.

The headline is everything.

People raise questions.

I've... Honestly,I've read a few of the articles

where they go,"This raises questions,"

the questions are answeredin the body of the article

and you go, "Why was the articlewritten in the first place?"

Here's-here's somethingI-I do wonder:

you're a politician.

You understand the valueof perception.

If you were in a space,

whether it be it withthe Clinton Foundation or,

let's say, with,uh, Loretta Lynch...

You know, there was the story

where you were meeting heron the runway

and your jets were passing,

which are very high-classproblems to have,

and you... and youjumped off your jet

and you went to chat with her

and that automaticallybecame a story.

"Oh, Bill Clinton, what was hesaying to Loretta lynch?"

And no one really reports onthe fact that you appointed her

-in her early daysof your history. -Yeah.

-But surely, from your side...-That was dumb.

Here's the deal:she had announced

that she was gonnahave nothing to do

with the justice departmentinquiry

and to the state departmentin Hillary's,

-you know, practices... already.-Yes.

I hadn't seen her since she wasappointed attorney general.

All of her staffwas getting off the airplane.

We were close.

And I thought, "Well, I shouldjust go over and say hello."

When I got there, she said,"Look, it's 100 degrees outside,

come up and say hi." We talkedabout our grandchildren,

and one of her predecessorsJanet Reno.

I got off the planeand went away.

Uh, that is a perception issue.

And I justshouldn't have done it.

I should have said, "I'm sorry,I just wanted to say hello."

But she's a fine womanand wouldn't do anything wrong.

But we live in a world whereeverybody assumes the worst.

But that'sexactly what happened.

I-I just thought she'd begetting off the plane,

I'd shake her handand turn around and leave.

There would have beennothing wrong with that.

And, um... so...

I'm sorry if she gotput in a difficult position,

'cause she's a good person.

When you are in a space where...

a campaign is being run...

And this is turning intoone of the uglier campaigns

that we've seen. You know,a lot of hateful rhetoric

is coming up, you know, uh,

whether it be racial,

whether it be,uh, nationalistic,

you know, you see the rise ofultra right movements and so on,

uh, a lot of misogynisticcomments about your wife.

When running that kind of race,when you're out on the trail,

you are out there asone of Hillary's surrogates.

Do you feel some of that tension

or are you only seeingthe positive side of the race?

Well, if you goand have rallies,

you tend to have...the people who tend to show up

are for you, you know?And your whole goal

is to register more of them,make sure they understand

they have to voteand talk about arguments

that they can maketo other people.

But for most of my life,

each political partyhad a 40% base

and then there were 20%

that were genuinelyup for grabs.

By the time the 2000 racecame along

between Al Goreand President George W. Bush,

it was probably down to ten.

It may be down to less now,

because we're getting siloed.

We're-we're siloedin the TV shows we watch

and the Web sites we scan,everything,

that America has come so far.

We're less racist,sexist, homophobic,

and-and anti-religious...

specific religions,than we used to be.

We have one remaining bigotry--

we don't want to be aroundanybody who disagrees with us.

-(chuckling)-And, you know...

The crowd's laughing,but they didn't laugh loud

'cause they know I'm tellingthe truth.

And... You know,I had the stupid...

One of the reasons that I telleverybody I'm not very good

at this campaign is thatI've been living in a real world

for the last 15 years.

And in the world I live in,

it's a good thing when peoplewho have different opinions

-get togetherand do things together. -Yes.

One of the big supportersI've had

in my foundationis a Republican.

I don't even knowif he's gonna vote for Hillary.

I don't think he's ever votedfor a Democrat in his life.

But when they started allthis stuff on the foundation,

he called, he was laughing.He said,

"Now, let me get this straight,

"if I had given my moneyto the Koch brothers,

"it would have been buried,

"and no one would have known.

"But, instead, I spend moneytrying to help you save lives,

and I'm a thug."

He said, "There's somethingwrong with this picture."

And it's becauseof the kind of...

hysterical negative climatewe have created.

I still believe--

based onI spent half my life now

trying to help people get a job,start a business,

take care of their kids,educate them, get health care--

everywhere people are workingtogether across the lines

that would otherwise dividethem, good things are happening.

-Mm-hmm. -Everywherewhere they spend all their time

tearing down each otherand dividing people,

they may win a heckof a lot of elections,

given all the road ragethat still is out there

all over the world,with the worst refugee crisis

since World War II,

tensions over immigration,

and the long taleof the crash in 2008.

This, when you sawthe president's quote,

it's the first timewe've had a great report,

year on year, thatthe incomes of the bottom half

-of our population are going up.-Yes.

And we are so close to beingable to bust out of this.

If we can startgrowing together again,

we'll be in a better humor,

we will be psychologicallymore open

to the only thing that works.

The reason that we've hadall this success

at the Global Initiativefor 15 years,

or for 12, Global Initiative,

and for my foundationfor 15 years,

is that working together works.

Spending all your timetelling everybody how sorry

your adversaries areis a poor strategy

for helping changeanybody's life.

And it's disempowering.

We need to empower people,not enrage them.

We need to give 'em answers,not anger.

That's what I believe.

But it's hard sellin the political year,

especially now.

If you... if you're tryingto not enrage people,

if you're tryingto start conversations,

the line "basket of deplorables"doesn't help.


-I guess the question a lotof people ask is... -I think...

-they-they...-Go ahead. You ask the question,

-and I'll give the answer.-(laughter)

The question, the questiona lot of people ask is,

they say, you know,does Hillary realize

that this basket of deplorables

still needs to be governedby the president,

no matter who it is.Hillary would still have to...

Would she still havethe best interets... interests

of those deplorables,you know, in-in her mind

when she is running the country,or do they get thrown aside?

Now, the very factthat you asked the question

shows why the coverageis unfair.

Because you didn't say, "She didwhat any grown-up would do."

You cannot bein a presidential campaign

where you, your family,your friends

have been debased and mean,

vilified, called crooked,

where you watched a manyou admire, John McCain,

called a loser,

where you've seen a reporterwith disabilities

mocked in shameful fashion,

you've seen a Gold Star familythat lost their son

in combat in Afghanistan

ridiculed by your opponent

because he's a Muslim,

and all the other thingsthat have been done.

You've seen peoplethat are sympathetic to you

beat up at ralliesat the other guy's one.

All this stuff. A litany.You say one thing,

and, all of a sudden,that's a bigger deal

than the 1,000 thingsthat have been done.

Now, what does a grown-up do?

You can't be in a campaignwithout ever saying something

you wish you hadn't said.

Trust me, you can't. You can'tgo through this whole thing.

So she goes out and says,"I was overbroad.

"I think a lot ofthese positions are deplorable.

"I think hating other peopleare deplorable.

But I shouldn't have said that,and I won't again."

She's the only candidate,including her opponent,

who actually has proposedto do something

to help those peoplein coal country

make an economic transition

that will let 'em go backto work again

and give their childrenbetter futures again.

But the only people say is,"Well, 'deplorable.'"

He called her crooked.He said I was a felon.

He said we ought to reopenthe...

investigation into the shootingof one of my closest friends,

who committed suicidewhen I was president,

when everybody knowswhat happened.

He even said maybe Ted Cruz'sfather should be looked at

in the Kennedy assassination.

N-No feeling for other people.

But they get to saywhatever they want.

You make one mistake,and people ask you about that.

She did what a grown-up does.

She said, "I shouldn't have saidthat. Here's what I mean.

Here's what we should do."

And, yes, she sent me

to Eastern Kentucky and SouthernWest Virginia in the primary,

where they were all infor Trump, right?

And they don't likethe president,

and they don't like her, 'causeshe worked for the president.

They don't like me,'cause I'm supporting 'em.

Because they believeglobal warming's a hoax.

That way they never haveto worry about the coal issue.

-Yeah. -So I went down thereand said, "Here's why I'm here.

"Come insideand protest against me.

"You did wellwhen I was president.

"Your beef with usis not climate change--

"it's we haven't done enoughto help you build a future.

"So Hillary told me to tell you,

"you go ahead and votefor whoever you want to,

"but if she wins,she's coming back for you

"to put youon that escalator to the future

with the rest of us." That'swhat she really said herself

to these people. So...

it takes more than 30 secondsto say it, but it's the truth.

-(applause and cheering)-And we can do it.


The biggest...

One of the biggest themes that'scome up over and over again

in this campaign has been,

do you want more of the same,or do you want an outsider--

a man who doesn't believein logic and ideas?


Someone who thinks differently?

-It appears...-That's factually accurate.

-It appears...-(laughter)

-It appears...-(applause)

It appears there are a lot ofpeople who seem to want that.

It appearsthere are a lot of people

who say, "This is what I need."

Now, you arein the unique position.

President Barack Obama, manytimes on the trail has said,

"You don't know what it's likeuntil you sit behind that desk.

"You don't know what it's like

until you haveto make those decisions."

Experience is touted as oneof the most important things.

You yourself, though, came inas somewhat of an outsider.

So, the question then is--what is the most experience?

What isthe most important thing?

Is it the experience, or is itthe willingness to do something?

What should an American voterbe looking for

for the best outcome?

Well, first, I had an advantage.

I was... I had never had beenin office in Washington,

but I was... and I was young.

But I was the longest-servinggovernor in America,

so I'd had a lotof executive experience.

Uh, I think

that both these candidateshave had a lot of experiences.

They've made a lot of decisions.

Those decisionshave had consequences.

There is a record of them.

So this is being... it's...

Saying she's an insider,I'm an outsider--

there's one big difference.

Most of her strongest supportersare people

who have worked for her,or have done business with him.

-They're for her, too.-(laughter)

Most of hisstrongest supporters are...

"I don't... I'm againstthis administration.

"I just want something new.

"And I don't likeall these changes.

I mean, I want to come insideand close the door."

This is... And it looks...I get that.

There are a lot of peoplewho feel economically

-or culturally dispossessed.-Yes.

They want to come in,close the door.

That's the Brexit votein England.

-Yes.-The UK, I mean.

So, what I think is important

is a proven recordof making good decisions

that make good things happenfor other people.

People that work for you,

the peoplethat you were supposed to serve.

That's what I thinkis important.

And I think it's important

that you have a proven recordas a positive change agent,

because...it's superficial to say...

it treats... it turns somebodyinto a robot

if they've been in Washingtonfor a while.

I mean, for example, you hadthat funny little section

about Tim Kaine'cause he's a nice man.

-(laughter)-That's that, but...

He is the sweetest.

Yeah, but let's take Kaine,for example.

Kaine went to Guatemalaand worked as a missionary,

and I met with 24 leadersof Latino groups in Virginia,

and they were practicallyrunning him for sainthood.

And they said,

not only does he speak Spanishwithout an accent.

He actually has done things.

He's only one of only, I think,

30 peoplein the history of America

who have been the mayorof a big city,

the governor and a senator.

Does that meanhe's more of the same? No.

Hillary, if you lookat her whole life from the time

she was registeringMexican-American voters in Texas

and trying to getAfrican-American males

out of adult prisonsin South Carolina

while we were stillin law school,

has always been a change agent.

There is nothingshe has ever done

that she didn't changefor the better.

One example that you were kindenough to talk to me about.

I think the best thing

President George W. Bush didwas PEPFAR--

spending American money on AIDS,TB and malaria. -Yes.

When Hillary becamesecretary of state,

she found the programunder her jurisdiction.

She hired a man to run it

who opened the third AIDS clinicin America.

We were saving 1.7 million liveswith that money.

She immediately ordered them

to start buying onlygeneric medicine

that had been approvedby the FDA.

Overnight, we were saving5.1 million lives--

three times as many lives.

You do not know anyof those 3.4 million people.

I bet I've met some of 'emin Africa, but...

But I'll tell you this.

That's one big reasonthat the approval rating

of the United Stateswas 20 points higher

when she left office than it waswhen she took office--

because she wasa positive change agent.

In the last eight years,the leader of Israel

and the leaderof the Palestinian Authority

have met togetherone-on-one three times,

all when she was there.

I could just give youtons of other examples.

She even negotiatedthese Iran sanctions

and got Vladimir Putin

and the leader of Chinato sign on.

Positive change.

You want what you wantis positive change,

and I think...experience matters.

President Obama had thisfunny line at the convention

where he said she was betterqualified to be president

than he or I was.

-And he was right about it.-(laughter)

But for... for this time.

But the most important thing

is what do you dowith your qualifications?

What do you do with your money?

What do you dowith your leadership pos...?

What have you done?Is the change...?

Have you produced positiveor negative changes,

or have you just beena bench warmer?

If the other side was saying,

"We don't want somebodywho'll warm the bench

"and just administerthe programs

that president Obamahas already instituted..."

-Yeah. -I would say,"No, that's not good enough."

Because I think,ten years from now,

people will give himmuch higher ratings

on his management of the economythan may be the case today.

They'll look back and say,"We didn't have a depression,

"he saved the auto industry,he got us going back,

"and he did it when leaders ofthe Congress were determined

that he not do anything."

But we are just this close,this close, I think,

to being able to all risetogether again,

as we didwhen I had the honor to serve,

where we were allgrowing together.

And that will take downa lot of this religious,

racial, gender-based,

sexual orientation-basedconflict.

And it will make people muchmore open to working together

if everybody feels like

they got a fair shotto live their dreams.

A lot of this road rageis being fed

by something you don't seewhen you get up every morning.

Think about it tomorrow morning,all of you.

Too many people in this countryget up every day

and they start the daylooking in the mirror,

throw water in their face,and they think,

"All my tomorrows are gonna bejust like yesterday.

"I am now powerlessto change the future.

"But here are all these otherpeople doing all this stuff,

which is either negative to meor beyond my reach."

So that breeds road rage.

We're close to being ableto rise together again,

where we embrace each other.

And, you know, I never hada single... white person

come up to me and attack me

because African Americanfamily incomes

rose highest of all,Latino incomes second.

Why? Because they knewwhat we were trying to do.

We were trying to raisethe economy from the bottom up

and the middle out.

But because we were all rising,everybody was happy.

That's what we have to do again.

And as we do it,we will move away

from what you would haveto admit is this--

how shall I say it?--highly unusual campaign.


Or we can just keep on fighting.

You can win a lot of electionson that.

I saw a sign todaythat Hillary had at a rally,

-they had a "Love Trumps Hate"sign. -Yes.

It's very clever,but it's not always true.

Do you get...do you get afraid sometimes

when you seethe hateful rhetoric?


Look, I am a product

of what is supposed to beHillary's opponent's base.

A non-college-educated,

small town and ruralwhite working class.

I was the first person inmy family ever to go to college.

-(woman whoops) -I'llprobably be the last president

that ever lived on a small farmwithout indoor plumbing.

-(laughter)-That's a good camp...

it's good politics,it's a terrible experience.


In the winter,the outhouse is overrated.


In the summer,when the snakes come out, it is.


I know how fragile it is,

and I watchedunscrupulous politicians

play my people from the timeI was a little boy.

All the racism that was inspired

over the integration ofLittle Rock Central High School

in Arkansas.

Everybody lookingfor somebody else to blame.

Surely to God,there's some way we could be

just a little bit madderat each other than we are now,

just a little bit more divided.

And yet...the people I come from,

for all their anger...

they provided about--

that's the Scotch-IrishProtestants--

about 25% of the peoplewho ever wore the uniform

of this country,going back to the Revolution.

If your house was on fire,

you'd want themin the neighborhood.

'Cause they'd run intoyour house and save your kid

and put the house fire out.

But... they arebeing played now.

because their incomes are down,they're...

There are two countiesin West Virginia

where the number one sourceof income is a disability check.

This is the first drug epidemicin my lifetime

where the... the, uh...

addiction rates are highestin small town and rural America.

I've tried to do somethingabout it.

We... we got two companiesto develop

affordable Narcan, or Naloxone,that brings people back.

And we've gotten themto first responders.

And now one of these companiesdeveloped a nasal spray version,

and they're giving itto every high school in America.

I just try to thinkof what to do about this,

'cause I'm not in politicsanymore.

And I think the only wayto soothe people's pain

is to give thema positive response

that constitutes answers,not anger,

and empowerment, not resentment.

I think that's the answer.

But I get whatwe're going through,

and so far nothing that'shappened would surprise me.

I will be surprisedif she doesn't win,

because we're youngerand more diverse

and we're doing better thanany other big economy on earth.

So the only way that'll happen--

which is one reasonwhy the campaign's so negative--

is if everybody gets thisillusion and the turnout's low.


we have...

If I were 25 again--

that's like "Make AmericaGreat Again," I'd like to be.


But I wouldn't vote for anybody

who promisedto make me 25 again.

-(laughter)-But anyway, if I were,

and somebody said, "You can bewherever you want to be

30 years from now, but youhave to decide right now,"

I'd pick America,because we're better positioned.

But if we give in to thislowest common denominator,

everybody's our enemy...

tell me something bad about itor I don't want to know,

let's divide and demeanand demonize,

we could blow it all,

and we could lead the worldin a very different direction.

That's whythe election's so important.

And... when I... you know,I've tried to make the changes

-Yeah. -in the foundationthat you talked about,

so that people understandthat being president's

a whole different kettle of fishthan being secretary of state.

If I had made a mistake--for example,

on these foreign donations--

there was always appealto the White House,

the president could always say,

"No, I don't thinkyou should do that."

But if she becomes president,

I should justnot take foreign money,

not take corporate money,

farm out all of ourinternational operations

to others-- and I'min the process of doing that--

make those thatshould stay together

independent of me,

and remove all questionsof conflict--

I think we can do that.

But the main thing is,the model...

that we pioneer is the waywe ought to run the country.

You ought to geteverybody together,

agree on what you're gonna do,and make something good happen.

That's way better thanall this caustic fighting.

And it may mean thatyou'll have to look elsewhere

-for jokes on The... Daily Show. -(laughter)

That's a... that'sa good problem to have.

You know, I'll try to give youthat high-class problem,

-just do what I can.-That is a good problem.

I got to thank you so muchfor being here.

We could talk to you forever,'cause it really is amazing.

And you are right-- you are...

you're one ofthe happier people on the trail.

Uh, I did think about...I did think about...

-Go figure.-what-what gift...

what gift I could give youfor coming to the show.

I really do appreciate it,and I thought you are the man

who has everything,from people to influence,

and I... I did noticethat there is one thing

that makes you smile,so, uh, I wanted to give you

the gift of balloons.

-(laughter)-So, uh...

-(applause, cheering)-thank you so much...

for coming... to The Daily Show.

(cheering continues)

-(Noah laughing)-Yay...!


When I... when I saw the filmof the end of the convention,

I realized that,more than everybody else,

I was there playing with theballoons, and they were gonna...

hook me off the stage,and I thought, you know...

I really amin my second childhood.

-Thank you so much for beinghere. -Thank you. Thank you.

-President Bill Clinton,everybody. -(cheering, applause)