tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg December 16, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. charlie: he is an author and correspondent for "the atlantic," where he writes about politics and social issues. his latest cover story is about president barack obama. it is called "my president was black: a history of the first african-american white house and of what came next." i'm pleased to have you at this table. welcome. it is great to have you back in america. congratulations on the national book award. ta-nehisi: thank you.
charlie: how was paris? ta-nehisi: i can't lie, i loved it. charlie: was it the uniqueness of paris or something even more? ta-nehisi: i think it was more. things that may sound superficial that are very important to me like food. the food was great. the line was great. wine was great. i like the alienness of it. and in that sense it could have been anywhere. i like how when i want to down the street and people talked, i had to struggle with what was going on. i felt like i was on rollerskates the whole time. i like that. it's a sadomasochistic thing, because you may want to understand one person at one point and then someone at
another moment. the alieness of the language and the culture, i felt like i was learning every day. charlie: did you see from a america any differently? ta-nehisi: i did. i am hesitant to talk about it because i don't know how much is personal and how much is true based on a real knowledge on the culture. there are a lot of impressions i had, but not enough that have been backed with actual knowledge. charlie: people who have not had your experience will talk about your experience and give you insight into it. ta-nahisi: the one thing i am sure about is the relative absence of handguns shaped the culture. i'm pretty clear on that. when my son would get on the subway every day to go to school, the idea that he would
get shot, it just wasn't part of it. part of anything. the police, and to be clear, france has all sorts of issues between its minority population and the police, but there is no notion, or considerably lesser notion that the people they are going to face ou have handguns. we talk about violence between the police and black communities and violence in general, you have no idea whether this person is armed or not. they did not exist in the same way. charlie: when did you come back? ta-nehisi: i got back in june and i went away again. i live here in new york and i wanted to ease my way back into new york. charlie: how did this come about? was it your idea?
"the atlantic's" idea? ta-nehisi: probably a combination. i had written about the president from afar and then i was invited to briefings of conversation. i think for the past three years or so, we always had in our mind that, if the journal that started out as a journal of abolition, that we could take some consideration of our president. charlie: let's start from the beginning. you think he has been a great president. ta-nehisi: i do. i do, i do. that does not mean i am without criticism or everything he did was great. over the past eight years, i have been radicalized. i have become more conservative.
i had to when i wrote this piece. this is hard for me to even say. i had to judge him against other presidents. i couldn't judge him solely against an ideal of what should happen in the country. i had to take consideration of what presidents have done throughout history. charlie: did he rise when you did that? ta-nehisi: he did. lincoln is considered one of our greatest presidents. i certainly feel that way. when i think about lincoln going from a log cabin and having to ,ecome this intellectual embracing the abolitionist point. as late as 1863 or so, lincoln is still embracing this idea that black people can be shipped out and immigrate to somewhere else. but he is a great president.
you can go through this with anybody who you think of as great. it is the same for obama. charlie: we will talk about how you think he is unique as well because he sees white people differently than you do. ta-nehisi: i think so. charlie: he does. ta-nehisi: i think he does. its biography. i think he sees white people different than most black people. charlie: and that's your point. ta-nehisi: the wounds of racism for the president are individual. he has instances that he can talk about, but when you are born in an african-american community on the mainland and was, ands and his wife you are part of a deeply
segregated group, the wound is not just individual, it is collective. it is in everyone you see around you, in your heritage. i talk about my dad's history and his interaction with the fbi. you carry those things with you, and barack obama didn't really have that. he was shielded from most of that. charlie: because he was living outside of the country and part? the fact that his mother was white and he was living in hawaii. far from the fulcrum of jim crow. you can be biracial living in chicago or baltimore and can still carry the wounds. he was born so far away that it was a distant experience for him and he did not have that trauma at a very early age.
this is the way i think about this. i was, as a child, never by a white person called the n-word. that just didn't happen to me. the first time it happened to me was when i was in paris. believe it or not. i was in france and some crazy person addressed me in that way. it did not wound me at all. i knew something bad had happened, but it was an individual thing. i did not feel any sort of way about it. had i been a black person who grew up in paris, i would have felt differently. i understood it as an offense but it didn't really shake me. it didn't bother me too much. with eight years of president obama coming to an end, how do you assess that? and he talked most about the
dignity of the man and his family. there was no scandal. you can have policy differences, but he said what rose above that was his sense of a man of dignity. ta-nehisi: there is part of me that would like for that to not be important. because i think even getting into that discussion, there was a double standard there. charlie: they said it about him because they might have expected him not to be? ta-nehisi: no, not in the speaker. i think the obama's were aware there would be a double standard. and that's part of what happened. they were rising to a certain level. part of it is who they are, but they also understood as the first black family to be in the white house, they had to adhere.
same with jackie robinson, he couldn't just be a great baseball player. he had to comport himself a certain way, and that was important. charlie: and you think that president obama and michelle obama understood that themselves? ta-nehisi: yes. and i greatly hold for a day that will not be true. when they are able to be as scandalous as the next guy. charlie: you've expressed the idea of how he came from a different place and therefore had a different attitude. ta-nehisi: right. charlie: assess his legacy beyond that. ta-nehisi: i think it is significant. there is a place in the piece where i talk about -- and again, this is the tension between assessing him as a president. and assessing him with the idea, he came out saying we will use the power of the federal government to roll back on the war on drugs. they announced there were 10,000 or so people in our prison
system that were supposed to be granted clemency. by that time they got to maybe 1000. that was only 10% of the people they said they should be able to get out. when you assess it seems like a failure, right? but then when you assess compared to every president that's come before in the modern era, and it's a great success. he commuted the sentences of more people than the last 11 presidents combined. it was a huge deal. that's the tension. you wish he had done more, but when you compare it to what the actual reality of presidential power, i think it looks pretty good. charlie: you open the article with a quote from f. scott fitzgerald's "the great gatsby."
" they were rotten crowd across the lawn. you are worth the whole damn bunch put together." ta-nehisi: i love "the great gatsby." for me, it alludes to this notion of being twice as good, which is this notion obama has put out for young african-americans. it's something i had my own problems with. i think that history will agree with that fitzgerald quote. i think people will really begin to see -- it doesn't mean the flaws will go away, but i think past eightood the years. i think that will become increasingly clear. charlie: will it make it easier for another black man or black woman to become president? ta-nehisi: i think it will. charlie: it's very significant.
ta-nehisi: like you said, if this had been a scandal plagued administration, it would have made it significantly harder. i will be straight about this. i think had barack obama had composed himself like the current president-elect comports himself, first of all, i don't think he would've been president at all. if he'd been in office, it would have made it significantly hard. charlie: let's talk about the title of this section of the essay. ta-nehisi: i like that you are asking me about the title. my original idea was to pull from music all the way through but i couldn't come up with enough. that should be, and i wanted there to be an almost tragic,
mournful quality to the piece. i was looking for things that alluded to that. the lyric, al green is saying that "love will make you do right. but love will make you do wrong." where we focused on the wrong because i wanted people to feel a certain way. i wanted to conjure certain emotion. not just make factual statements all the way through, i wanted people to feel something and music is a big part of that. charlie: "he walked on ice and never fell." ta-nehisi: that's from run dmc. the notion is that he was in this position, and i think there is not enough cribbing -- not enough credit given to this.
it must be insanely difficult to be an african-american and to be the titular head of america itself. with all of its policy and mixed up heritage and the way he has comported himself to try and remain loyal to that since of yourself and be loyal to the american people and be a representative of the entirety of the american people. it is deeply understated how difficult that must be. that is the walking on ice piece of it. charlie: "i decided to become part of the world." of that world. ta-nehisi: that is pulled from the president's own autobiography, "dreams of my father." there is a point where he goes to see the university of hawaii's basketball team. which is white grandfather takes him to see, incidentally.
his grandfather left him with a gift, which was a basketball. he goes to the university of hawaii and it is starting five african-american players. he is not just watching basketball. he is watching them culturally. how they interact with each other, he talks about the little things that they do, so when he starts playing basketball in the local area with the african-american population that is there, he is learning culture as much as he is learning basketball. one of my deep questions was why the president, who at that point had lived around the world, was biracial, had a white mother, why he moved towards black identity. why did he described himself that way? why did he do that? in some respects, you don't get to choose about race. but in other respects, if there was anyone who had a way out -- charlie: he had a choice? ta-nehisi: he wouldn't say that.
when i asked him about that, he didn't think he had a choice. what hei felt like -- said to me, with the quote he actually used was, "i never wanted to look in the mirror and not like who i was." i have, throughout history, known people who have tried to get away. people who've passed, and that is part of the african-american experience. trying to get away. and that is not something he did. charlie: and that makes them different? ta-nehisi: ultimately it probably doesn't. because african-american cultural identity is really strong, in a positive way. we'll talk about that enough. it exerts a kind of pull on you that most folks feel. charlie: "you still have to go back to the hood." ta-nehisi: that was one of the hard ones. i went down to north carolina
with the president and he said -- and he sat with a group of young african-american and latino boys. that is part of the mentoring he does. each one went through their own story of how they had grown up in the hood and they had done something bad and come back out of it. at the end, the president said, is there anything i should take back to washington? is there anything you guys want to say? listen, wekids said, go through this and we can do all this, but we still have to go back to the hood and we have to deal with all the problems that are there. they have a way of pulling you in. i thought that was a good intersection to talk about how you deal not just individually with people, but how you change the dynamic of what folks are going back to. charlie: and how he changes it. ta-nehisi: we went through it quite a bit. class-basedout
solutions and reparations in that section, also. charlie: "he rode the tiger." i went to see david axelrod and he thought the campaign that donald trump is running will ultimately come back to bite him. that's what he said, he said rode the tiger and now the tiger is eating them. it didn't quite work out like that. ♪
♪ how disappointed -- the argument was made at the time, my guess is he believed he could have won. i know how he thinks about things like that. what's, youn see know -- he couldn't believe this campaign was taking place? ta-nehisi: i think he definitely believed he could have won. i have to believe they were terribly disappointed. when i talk to him after, that's not what i got. i got optimism. i got trademark barack obama
optimism. i got, obviously my preferred candidate did not win, but i believe in the resiliency of the american people and american institutions, and we are going to be ok. charlie: he said some of that publicly. ta-nehisi: it was hard to square with some of the campaign rhetoric he had offered up in the months before. charlie: that he had offered about donald trump. ta-nehisi: yes, which held that this was not just another republican candidate, this is a unique threat to those very institutions. every time i write i have music on that i played. when i was writing, i played a ton of marvin gaye. it inspires me. i want to write and make people feel things in a way that make people feel this way. even from when i started this,
there was a public or maybe private mourning happening in the african-american community with the realization that this moment is coming to an end. and people were sad. so i pulled from marvin gaye for that. charlie: what happens to barack obama now? ta-nehisi: hopefully get some peace, man. hopefully he will do some of that. charlie: he is a writer at heart. ta-nehisi: he will write his memoirs. i expect that to be a fascinating book. i don't think he's going to be -- and i don't know, but i imagine that he will be made politically active. charlie: i do too. i think that's going to happen. i think the defeat of hillary clinton makes that even more imperative. ta-nehisi: exactly.
i don't think he will do what president bush did. done, i just say i'm will go back to texas and live a different life and paint. ta-nehisi: i respect that, but don't think he will do that. charlie: essentially that is what he has always wanted to do. ta-nehisi: exactly, he was always political. why stop now? charlie: that's what he knows, what he does. that's what he excels at. can you explain one of the central issues having to do with his presidency, which is the idea that many people believe -- is that there is this belief that somehow, if he had been more outgoing, somehow more, i don't want to say -- if he had
spent more time trying to seduce the republicans, he would've gotten more done? is that because it is an difficult to his character, or , as he said to me, he didn't think it paid off? ta-nehisi: early on he thought there would be some kind of compromise and the lesson he drew early on was that there wouldn't be. i think health care was deeply instructive. i think debt ceiling, going for a while with the debt ceiling was deeply instructive. particularly after 2012, he makes the statement that the fever has broken. then it clearly doesn't. i think he just drew the conclusion that he didn't have a working partner.
charlie: or that the republican party being held hostage by a small group was a big problem. ta-nehisi: right, but i think it's something else too. there are people who say president clinton, they really like interacting with people. i don't know that president obama is like that. charlie: you know him much better than i do. i've always had restricted time with him. speaking andch him he knew how to do it well, but he was almost floating above it. it was almost like he was seeing it, rather than someone who is caught up in every moment, he was caught up to the extent that
he knew how to do it. that he had each pattern. ta-nehisi: it was a skill. charlie: it was a skill, but not a skill that sucked him in. he knew how to employ the skill, but he was not of that. he was not caught up in that. he just saw it, an observer, almost. ta-nehisi: there was something else i was told repeatedly and it was that it was important for him to try to be president for his daughters. it was tremendously important for him, and that doesn't mean -- that doesn't leave much time. charlie: what's next for you? ta-nehisi: i don't know. i honestly don't know. i have been -- i don't want -- i won't have another eight years like this. this is a huge journey for me.
my biography was unique in the sense that i was raised in this is deeply politically conscious home. i have been asking questions about african-american identity and its interaction with the broader country all my life. then suddenly there is an african-american president and i just so happened to be at the "atlantic." so i brought all those questions to bear in this particular moment. i'm totally so grateful to have been here. i feel like i figured quite a bit out over the past eight years. charlie: about what? ta-nehisi: i feel like i answered a lot of my questions. charlie: about the legacy of slavery?
ta-nehisi: that was a huge question. it was also basic stuff, like why does my neighborhood look like my neighborhood looks? why do i feel safe here, but when i go over here i am constantly looking over my shoulder? why is the world the way the it is for african-americans in this country? and largely because of obama, i was able to write a series of stories that allowed me to go through history, mine the reporting, the academy, and bring to bear all that to answer my own questions about the world. it was a tremendous, tremendous privilege. charlie: is that what it's all about, answering your own questions? ta-nehisi: it should be but i think it's as much about prophecy, standing up on high and delivering it for other people. charlie: "my president was black," on the making and unmaking of the white house. a pleasure to have you always. ta-nehisi: thank you so much for having me. charlie: back in a moment.
billion-dollar hedge fund he started in 1986, to focus on climate issues. he is now president of next of next-genate -- climate, a nonprofit. for their dedication to democratic causes they have been dubbed the liberal answer to the koch brothers. i'm pleased to have jim and tom at this table. we were wondering where you were because your brother was here: , and i said where are you? >> standing by the phone waitinng for an invitation, charlie! [laughter] charlie: what do you think of 2016? >> i think there were two overwhelming issues in the campaign that are obvious in retrospect. one is that the majority of americans just feel as if their economic opportunity hasn't improved for as long as they can remember and they're worried about it and they don't think their kids are going to do better, and they think that's not the american way. we've got to shake that up. that's the number one thing.
number two thing, they think that the political insiders don't care about them, that there's a reason why they haven't done better for as long as they can remember and the reason is that the game is rigged against them. the rules are set up for the insiders. charlie: this is the american public you believe believes that? african-americans? latino americans? you believe that all americans believe what you just articulated? tom: >> i think that it's different in different parts of the population. but that overall, the economic insecurity part is something that i think people feel really strongly and i think if you look across society there is a sense that the insiders are not paying attention to everybody. that, you know, if you think of government for the people, that that's not what we're having. we do not have nearly a just
enough society and i think people are angry as hell. charlie: that explains some voters. how was this election influenced by the two candidates? was it simply that those people you just described defined donald trump or all the controversy about him as a change agent? tom: i think there is in quite that the people were aware -- i think the american people are smart and that they're aware of all the issues about donald trump, about his history, his attitudes, the things he says, his lack of policy, and they decided, at least enough people decided he's going to shake , things up to give him a majority in the electoral college. i mean, we have to remember that hillary clinton got over 2.5 million more votes than donald trump, so the majority of americans did not buy that, but in the electoral college, he was able to get by as just, however untrustworthy, however much you
don't agree with him, he is going to come in and be something different, and we need something different now because we're not being listened to. charlie: so if it was joe biden it wouldn't have made any difference? because joe biden has been part of the system, in congress since he was 29 years old. tom: you can never tell. it's impossible to tell. but the two things i said, that americans haven't had a raise, the bulk of americans haven't had a raise for 35 years is true. charlie: but you're a liberal democrat. why didn't you recognize that and use that influence with the candidate? tom: well, what we were doing in 2016 was going directly to voters to talk about issues, to register voters, we registered over a million voters, and to try and get as many involved in the process as possible. when you do that, you don't talk to the candidate. you act independently. we did our own thing. we went directly to voters to try and inspire citizen to
citizen conversation. charlie: but a person who has influence in the democratic party has influence. whether a pac does anything, you have influence because of how you have defined your life as a liberal democrat. tom: well, let me say this. you know us as being climate activists, but actually the mission of our organization is to prevent climate disaster and to promote prosperity for every american. so we've known from the very first day that the only way that we will have a more just society, including dealing with environmental issues, is if every american's economic interest is considered in every decision. charlie: do you agree with what he said? jim: i think my brother is pretty smart! charlie: you are an activist in your own way? jim: i am. and we've done many things together. for children's education and the
stuff that next gen does. i think what happened is you had two very unpopular candidates, and for reasons that are fair or not fair, and tom is right, ultimately there was a certain number in the electoral college that decided to throw a hand grenade into the system as an agent of change despite all the negatives. i think joe biden would have one. -- would have won. i think hillary clinton, fairly or unfairly, was not a popular candidate and lost because of that. i think the voters who really made the electoral college thing happen didn't like hillary clinton, and at the end of the day said, we're voting for change. charlie: did jim comey have anything to do with that? jim: i definitely think so. i'm a former prosecutor. a couple of our good friends are prosecutors in the southern district of new york with comey.
i think what happened, hillary had strong momentum at that point after the three debates, which by most if not all, the debates she won, then the email issue, which was this inside the beltway stuff, got raised 10 days before the election. and what happened is if you look at how tiny the margin was in many states, i think it was a significant factor. remember, we live in california where hillary clinton won two to one. we live in a different part of the country where people are just shaking their heads, saying how could this possibly happen? i do think that comey changed the momentum at a critical time and reinforced all the negatives that all of the people that didn't like hillary clinton in the first place. charlie: do you think barack obama will have to play a more prominent role in the democratic party? i think he's going to have
a prominent role. he would have a very different role if she were president, for darn sure. i think there is going to be a different question, to be honest, charlie. charlie: which is? tom: which is, where is the passion going to come from in the democratic party? because i think when you look at this election, there are a lot of reasons why this election the way it did, and you guys have touched on a few of them. what's also important ask the conclusions about why this election happened. that's almost as important as why the election happened. there is going to be a fight for the soul of the american people, for the soul of working people in the united states of america, and some of that is going to take place in the context of the democratic party. and so i think that that's going to be something that's going to be played out over the next two years as people talk about, what are our deepest values? you
know, what are the things that we absolutely stand for that we need to stand up for and are being attacked? charlie: i thought one thing michelle obama did so well, better than anybody i've ever seen, was to make the case for children and what an election means for children. jim: i thought she did it beautifully. it was phenomenal, and became this moving figure to so many people across party lines. she did a great job. i've known hillary clinton for 27 years. she's a phenomenal child advocate. the hillary clinton we know is deeply passionate and knowledgeable about kids. she's given her life to that. by the way, that is what i think will happen with hillary clinton right now, she will go back and be the extraordinary child advocate she always was. but that didn't come across the electorate. she knows her stuff. we have done many events together. children'soing events for 25 years and that did not come across.
she knows more than i do. the other thing i always mention, she was my student and teaching research assistant, chelsea. that's how we really got to know the clintons. she's a remarkable young woman. my heart goes out to them at this moment because that's such a brutal loss and painful thing, but they're a remarkable family. to what my brother said, they've done great things, but as visionary and thoughtful as michelle obama was around child issues during the campaign, and i love that, hillary clinton is the real deal on those issues, for sure. people used to say about bill clinton, "i feel your pain," that was his mantra. people used to joke about it, but the fact is he did convince working people in america that he did care about them, that his heart was with them and he knew what they were feeling and empathized and understood. charlie: i think that came directly from having to run for governor in arkansas. tom: yes.
look atoint is if you this campaign, look at 2016, people don't understand that hillary actually does care. it didn't come across. she was portrayed as very much an insider, a policy wonk, not somebody who has a heart that, you know, you were asking about joe biden, who obviously is somebody who emotes, and i think that -- charlie: especially with working-class people. tom: yes. charlie: were you surprised to see al gore go to trump tower? what's that about? tom: you know, it's -- i know that al is incredibly sincere on climate and i think that he will go to the ends of the earth to try and make a difference, and i think he went to the ends of the earth to try and make a difference. [laughter] charlie: and do you think it might help? tom: look, i think what we're seeing, you know, from the trump administration, the
president-elect, is a lot of conversations and a lot of tweets, but there are some facts out there. he is appointing people. he is relying on people on the epa transition. there's talk that he is going to, who he's going to appoint now for epa today, so there are some facts out there. and if you believe that personnel is policy, we're seeing personnel with history, with specific beliefs about energy and climate, and that is in no way reassuring. so do i, am i happy that after two years of hearing that climate change is bunk that he had a conversation with a leading advocate of clean energy and taking care of climate change? you know, i absolutely think the proof is in the pudding, and what we're seeing in the pudding is terrible. jim: charlie, just to add on to that, we each have four children.
you cannot blow the climate change issue for the next four years and have the same future. charlie: it's crucial. jim: yes. the fact that he met with al gore is fine, but the question is, who does he appoint and does he roll back that stuff? there are certain things right now that if we get wrong as a country, climate, rebuilding the economic infrastructure for the middle and working class who, as my brother said correctly, have felt left out, and third, failing to invest in kids and education, we are going to punish this country and put us in a very bad position. it is our job to speak out. we're sitting in a building with mike bloomberg, a business leader, an extraordinary climate advocate along with my brother. to me, donald trump needs to listen to the business community about climate because they understand the economics of it and the future of the country's leadership on it. it's a very big issue right now. tom: we were at this dinner last night. we just issued a business, a
group called risky business, issued a report answering the question, can we afford to move to clean energy? we had issued a report two years ago showing how incredibly expensive it will be to deal -- it will be to not deal with climate. and we studied four different ways to move to clean energy between now and 2050, and in every case, what we see is better employment, higher wages, lower costs for american consumers, and greater growth. so the whole idea that we can't afford to do it is completely false. the fact is we have the ability right now with existing technology to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. all we have to do is decide to do it and invest in it. charlie: i just returned from rome. there was a conference there i participated in and i had a chance to meet the pope, and a lot of what the pope is talking about is the connection between
climate and poverty in terms of the encyclical he wrote. tom: yes. what the pope says and what we deeply believe is that we have a responsibility to hand on a planet, to take care of the planet that god gave us and to take care of each other, including the most vulnerable . citizens. and what he, what the pope says, which is absolutely true, is if we don't deal with this issue, we will do neither of those things. what we're saying is those are absolutely responsibilities for our generation, and we can do it and be richer for doing it. we can put more people to work at higher wages. charlie: how would you characterize the resistance? is it simply hanging on the basis of whether climate change is produced by the actions of men and women? or is it something else? what's the reason for --
people being so resistant? i think at this point it's not the american people. the american people, including most republicans, know the truth, which is that it's caused by people and that it's a threat to the united states of america and safety and prosperity and everything else. but the fact of the matter is we have a system that is rigged where we're making decisions based on special corporate interests who make a ton of money the way things are and absolutely don't want us to move to a clean energy economy, and they are calling the tune. charlie: what would be the primary thing, your legislative goal if you had some influence with the congress? would it be carbon pricing? a tax on carbon? tom: i think the very broad-based assumption from people on both sides of the aisle who are open-minded is you put some form of carbon pricing out there and you use government money in the research side of
clean energy. that basically government investment in research has pushed incredible changes , including the internet, which really was founded at the department of defense, but you can go back to world war ii and see all the things that have come out of government research. charlie: i just saw a story today that i think google has said that its data centers, in some year coming up -- tom: 2017. jim: next year. charlie: 2017. next year. they will be totally fueled by alternative sources, sun and wind. is that right? did i get that right? tom: it is. the business in the united states of america, with the exception of fossil fuel businesses and a few utilities, have moved on. they're in favor of clean energy, are pushing clean energy, they know that's the future. when is the last time that the united states policy was to go back to a technology that was, you know, dominant in the 1950's? how could that possibly be a
growth strategy for the united states? that just seems laughable. charlie: just one more question on that. do you think that what happened in paris is vulnerable to, that this administration will refuse to accept that understanding? tom: i don't know what they'll do, but i know this. more countries agreed to that paris climate accord than have agreed to anything in the history of the world. so if the united states wants to be the leader of the world, which we have been for 100 years, i would not walk away from every other country and tell them you're on your own, we only think about ourselves, because they will look for leadership. they are looking for leadership and it will be china, maybe germany, but we'll be saying to the rest of the world, we're just working for ourselves now, and that is a tragic mistake. charlie: you were going to say? jim: i'm impressed with my younger brother here. i think he's pretty smart.
the thing that strikes me, when you learn the facts about climate change and the business side of it, the misunderstandings in the way this election was carried out, the whole focus on coal miners. how many are there in the united states? 55,000? charlie: 60,000. jim: there are 400,000 clean energy jobs in california alone. so the idea that we were running an election around antiquated strategies and technologies -- by the way, that doesn't mean we don't care about the coal miners who need good jobs and a standard of living, but it's a smart business strategy. it's a global leadership strategy. i'm glad my brother articulates it pretty well. i am, i'm proud of him. seriously, charlie! tom: if you were at our dinner table you would never get a word in edgewise! charlie: i can tell. you need me to ask the
questions. jim: certainly our parents were in there talking and our older brother too! charlie: so what is the agenda for children? jim: where we are in california we had some big victories in 2016. i thought my brother might mention that. it's really investing in birth to 5. every child in this country, no matter their socioeconomic background or status or what color they are needs good health, nutrition, and early childhood education birth to 5. this is a no-brainer. most western industrialized industries, even many industrialized countries provide it. we do not. the one thing we should be nervous about, with all the political rhetoric about rolling back the a.c.a. and obamacare, what is going to happen to kids? the losers always when you cut important government programs are children. they're always the biggest losers because they're the poorest americans. i think you have to look at
early childhood, quality stuff like the steyer kids had, like we gave our children. you have to look at preventative health care for kids as well as their parents, and then really investing in the education system. we argue -- we didn't do this when we were sharing a bedroom but we argue about what is more important, climate or kids? and education. those are the two issues we spend or lives working on and both are incredibly important , but you cannot have a prosperous america any time in the longer term if we do not invest in early childhood, health care, education for kids , and then finally the work force economy that middle and americans deserve. because kids lose had their parents are really poor and the other stark fact we haven't mentioned is the growing inequality in this country and the fact that kids are the
poorest americans. close to one out of four americans in this country still lives below the official poverty line and one in 10 below the extreme poverty line, which is $12,000 a year for a family of four. we are working heavily in california and we are working to do that. traditionally the united states of america has been an optimistic society where we have a vision of how we're going to have a just and growing society for everybody. somehow, if you look at 2016, at that presidential race, 82% of americans said i'm dispirited by this. i did not hear that. and what i'm saying here and what jim is talking about and i'm talking about and what people back home in california believe is that is not off the table. that's what we're for. for a just society where it's growing and people are saying it's going to be better and that's absolutely within our
reach. so to take that off the table and assume no, we're going to go backwards, it's a zero-sum game with people pitted against each other, i don't believe that for a single second. the fact of the matter is america has the ability to grow, for people's incomes to grow and for people to do a lot better. ♪
>> you are watching bloomberg technology. president obama stopped short of saying president vladimir putin himself orchestrated the russian hacking of u.s. political sides -- political sites during the election, but he confirms it was done at the highest levels of the kremlin. mr. obama spoke at his last news conference of the year. more of that at the bottom of the in an unprecedented move, hour. north carolina's outgoing governor has signed into law a gop-backed bill stripping the incoming democratic governor of some of his powers. roy cooper is threatening to sue pat mccrory, who conceded the race a week ago. the u.s. is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to the w