Former President Barack Obama joins Jon F. and Tommy to talk about the stakes of the 2020 election up and down the ballot, make his case for Joe Biden and share his vision for creating lasting progressive change in 2021 and beyond.
For a transcript of this episode, please visit https://crooked.com/podcast/barack-obama-on-2020/.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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welcome Neponset America, I'm John Favour. I'm Tommy these or we have a very special episode of Pod- save America today, Barack Obama's here I thought you say, beats yes, yes,
are we just did interview with Morocco by ideas on the brain John, I was really
That was like a throw lack five minutes. He has lost
to say he talked about sort of his pitched too undecided. Voters talked about Joe Biden working with
Is foreign policy has characterised foreign policy? We talked about what it's like to wake up and see the present. You know it states tweeting, that the attorney general should indict you if that's weird out yeah, stating that
that was an interesting answer. He talked a lot about Fox NEWS and the right wing media infrastructure talked about what it's like governing with this kind of republican Party in and how Joe Biden can deal with this kind of republican party.
if he is in fact elected and why you need a vote by the way, I'm hoping we have some new listen to their. So if you need any information about where you need to vote the issues on your ballot
simple ballot, good votes of America Dotcom, we got you covered figure plugin when and Barack Obama reminded US
this is the end of the internet. Go fill out your sentence because it was just a horrible Supreme court decision where the where they stopped counting the census and Obama wants you all to fill out your senses. So that's directly from him. Now you got to do it. Sorry. All right here is our,
view with Barack Obama
on today show the forty fourth president of the United States, are former boss responsible for hiring the two of us. Barack Obama
still still questioning their decision will go back to the pod. It's gonna be bad guys, we're grub beg. You were trying to you. Do you do so. You know unfairly, confident that Party America listeners know who they are voting for at this point, but we have about three hundred thousand volunteers. Were phone banking text. Banking everyday lot of appalling shows that the people who are still deciding who devote foreign, especially whether devoted all tend to not have a college degree tend to be younger. They tend to be voters of color this cycle. They tend to be younger black and latino men. Specifically, these voters generally have a negative view of trump, but they pay less attention to the news and are less like
we too believe that voting will actually make a difference. What is your pitch to these voters? War must take some examples just from this year right when we know that covered nineteen disproportionately affects minors,
so those borders you just described, they ve got a member.
the family, who may have been killed by poverty or disabled by common or laid off as a consequence,
and whatever you think about whether the federal government can help on the major issues lights
seven racism. One thing we know is that just basic competence
can I not saving lives? And so one thing I would say to anybody:
sceptical about what government can do generally is to just take the example of one.
we were ass. You might not have been happy with everything. I did all my policy choices. I didn't eliminate poverty in a manner
but when we had a pandemic or the throat pandemic, we had come
people in place who would deal with and that's an example of the kind of thing that government can do and we see it
and that I think, is important for those who are concerned about,
The criminal justice system is, as you guys know what
talk about this a lot. I am hugely proud of the demonstrations in and activism that young people have displayed
And a lot of those folks may be sceptical about what the government can do. Some of the have frustrated about my failure to have completely transformed the criminal justice systems.
Eliminate Rachel buys part of that is because ninety percent of criminal sensing typically is taking place at the state rather than the federal level, so the federal government.
a power. But the truth of the matter is that when I, when I was in office Eric holder, said to you, ass attorneys.
We're not going judge you on getting the maximum sense. Every single tat he changed.
criteria so that the federal government in cases that were involving drug cases, for example, wasn't drawn the book it falls and try to maximize the number
you're going to prison that may not eliminate mass incarceration, but it does change
the lives of potentially thousands tens about hundreds thousands of people
us initiating concentric rings in a place like Ferguson, so that they can make a move in terms of how their police department works.
Without first clearing up with civil rights tries to make sure that reinforcing buys. That makes a difference
the one things that I've been emphasising as the degree to which its not just the presidential candidates there on the ticket you ve got district
Penn and attorneys who are going to be responsible for whether or not police misconduct is charged and departments
How come you ve got mayors raises in which the mayor,
deciding police chief is and what the contractors with police you saw.
On every issue that young people in particular care. Let's once again,.
was stipulate that
governments either solve every problem overnight, but you know what it can make it better and better.
means life saved better me,
Since the arable, less polluting.
you're better means.
Maybe some people don't get charged for crimes that they should be charged for. Some people don't get shot.
that's worth fighting for, and the idea that you'd give away your power
because you're not getting to say when you could get thirty percent forty percent, fifty percent better. That doesn't make any sense in and that I think it is the most important
thing that I I focus on one time. Young people in particular
don't know, don't let the best be the enemy of the good. This situation,
there are constraints in our system.
a well meaning president can solve everything, but they can make some things
and just like before will correct
let's get why more people, health insurance and then
pre existing provisions, conditions and everybody been under twenty six been able to be on the parents plan
We still have millions of people without health insurance, but for those twenty million or those people with pre existing conditions who had tried to get insurance. That was that was a lifeline. How does a wife, saver and and- and you can spend
You can spend fifteen minutes half an hour voting to do there get quick plug. If you devoted America COM, you can find your sample ballot. You can see all those down ballot, races that are critical of your California. You could see bout initiatives to check it out, votes if America dot com shameless plug. Mr President, presidents have the most discretion when it comes to foreign policy, but those issues rarely get alot of attack.
and during the campaign, voters may have heard that you, Joe Biden, supported the war in Iraq back in the day, but not a lot else about him. You spent countless hours with Vice President Biden talking about national security. What did you learn about? How he thinks about diplomacy and counter terrorism and in the use of military force that others would not have seen both a couple of eggs? What one- and I think this is most
Form is what, when people ask me, what surprised me most about the presidency
you're. What I always Tom is. I was I understood, but didn't fully appreciate the degree to which we cannot under underwrite the international order,
in the sense that even I enemies can expect us to behave like adults on the international stage
If there is a crisis somewhere, people don't call.
Moscow or Beijing. They call us and say what one we're gonna do to help.
If there is a ethnic cleansing. If there is a conflict, if there is a natural disaster
and the reason.
You can serve him in that role. Even if we're not perfect is that we have the infrastructure, we have experienced diplomats, we have the institutional traditions,
that allow us to show leadership on the international stage, whether in the Paris peace accords, whether its
On Mean Rondell, you name and the thing there
open last four years: it's not as if Trump has been all that active internationally I mean the truth, is he doesn't have the patience and and the focus to really substantially changed a lot of us foreign policy? What he's done is he
We driver decimate our entire foreign policy infrastructure, and I think I know about Joe is that he respects people whom no history and have expertise and he's gone.
pay attention to somebody who
worked in Africa to find out
like how should I deal with a particular prices there, as opposed to calling it a bunch of. I won't say the word countries wrap your
yes. Yes, I respect and understanding for one american leadership, candid and
take the example of human rights, because I've just been writing about us any. U S, president went one
became. President wanderings, I discovered coming and offices
you are in charge of this big apparatus. You got all these legacy systems. You got that
God, you got intelligence community, a bunch of choices
the made, some of which you don't necessarily agree with
It's an ocean lighter, not a speedboats or you trucks trying to change policy.
Is really never right, but even
in those circumstances where you have to balance? U S, interests versus human rights interest for
to go around and just talk about human rights
for me to meet with a dictator,
yes, I may have to deal with them, because we ve got other interests at stake,
but for me to bring up any beating
you locking up journalists or you miss Terry,
this minority ethnic groups- is something
the United States subject to that that gives them pass it. It
if in some cases may talk about
in a way that you create more space for human rights activists, are freedom of
beach or environmental activism and
something. I know Joe cares about the other thing. I think that's what important dimension job having,
your rapporteur for the work. He learned a lesson from it,
and, as you know, he was problem.
among my sea or advisers. During the course of my presidency, the EPA consistently believed that we should show restraint and humility and think through the use of military power and had huge confidence and faith in the use of diplomacy as a strategy for Europe
american leadership and that instinct, I think, is going to trickle on partly because he's going to have to rebuild a state department that wear some of the best people have been driven out systematically because they weren't willing to toe from ideological agenda right. So the two of you became really close over the eight years that you starve together. Do you an anecdote about Joe Biden that most people don't know tells a story about what kind of a person or leader here
You know what I think, that's the thing that I always wore when I think about Joe. I always think about the fact that.
This is not a particular area of this more just data day interactions.
He was always the guy in every meeting who asked
this help and regular folks you're the whole aspect to him about scram and get on track and talk about combating terrorism and no other names and don't want under spend as much time as possible with borders and and then disappear. Mother lies an idea,
a fine with the ordinary day struggles of the american people. That's not a state and no that's who he is now
That's part of the reason why he was always late.
Because if you got a it,
pretty good about work and a rope ladder is all about me being illusions that you guys were there like: I'd, love, grandma's and kissing. Babies
Take my time and robots and if you
I will campaign,
but it really given our by a lot of attention.
we'll be back. He was
third when he was still
telling a story listenin to somebody and and heart is who he is,
and that's why
the plans when you're thinking about the presidency, it's great.
Turned to look at policy an end to their. What where there ten point plants are better than the other.
but a lot of it is what's their basic character. Are the people who instinctively care about
the underdog? Are they people who?
are able to see the world through somebody else's eyes and stand in their shoes are
people who are instinctively generous and spirits right and that is who joins Europe.
I've never seen him and you don't look when you run for president pretty much every all your flaws or export,
Once you present better brilliant spoke.
but you know you don't hear stories about Joe been just mean something right:
people may never all from other forever. Stop where you belong here, Joe being disloyal to somebody or miss, treating them were being stand office in pushing them away when you were asking for help- and that is the thing
him that I think, should give people a lot of confidence that, along with the fact that he understands the importance of surrounding himself with people who are smart and
are you believe in science and leave and expertise and believe in institutional.
knowledge and experience and in
So you get that combination. It means that you're here
nor STAR will be good, but it
same time. You'll have a lot of people rather were able to translate his good instincts in actual
I'll the works pots America
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this kind of language. The DC has become the press corps has become. Is it weird for you when he tweets that you should be indicted war war, as you said that this is something the even is his fellow republicans tender just pretend doesn't
and didn't really really general retreat cutter dots.
where's when there asked about it.
The allegations are so absurd that even republican control committees looking into it, had dismissed them and the attorney general bar
dismiss them, but this is
example, I think- of a larger problem while two to larger problems which don't,
get as much attention. Understandably, when you got high unemployment and a pandemic raging, because it doesn't have people's day to lives but
what one of the central bank
patients stones, obey democracy is the idea that you do not.
You do not allow the political integration of the criminal justice system, the intelligent system, the military right that that bad stuff that you keep out of politics breakers. It's too dangerous
you don't want. You can have a democracy in which political opponents are subject to this kind of inflammatory language. Now he did the same thing with herein lies
we're up theme, and so I am not surprised that it continues. I am disappointed that
Republicans who know better have not checked him on this and I think a very important question.
for the election, even if it goes well with Joe Biden is.
whether you start seeing the republican party
restore some sense here, norms that we can bridge because he's breached all of them and they have not said to him. This is too far.
so that brings me then, to the second issue, and that is the whole
media media infrastructure, the conservative media infrastructure
We ve got this conversation before
It is a problem that has gone into outlast. Trot
drop is a
mother and an accelerate to it, but he did not create. We saw when
during my campaign backing away- and we saw
Are you guys have to deal with the driveway during our administration,
It has got turbocharging because of social.
and because the head of government are our federal government s?
order to it. But when you look at it in
conspiracy theories, like you, none seeping into the mainstream of the Republican Party
what that tells you is. There
there- are no more guard rails within that media ecosystem and an eye
One of the biggest challenges- all of us that this is not just
progressive versus right wing issue. This is really a genuine american society issue,
Is- is how do we re?
establish some baselines truth that at least the vast majority of people can
regions and that we can have a whole bunch of debates about.
Climate change is real, but in our report,
We just have to adapt because we can give up. Are you Carson
you're progressive, say no. We we should use these alternative,
We can have that debate
for strong views about it. But if you say
jeez oaks them there's nothing we can do. The same is true with common young. If you,
You say. Yes, it is a genuine, really big problem
a serious disease here's the science we can agree to that and then,
Yeah we have covered. I swim, decides whether we think we're gonna try to approach
this through our immunity.
There are some coherence to their argument.
Disagree with it, I don't think it is proven out, but were
within the same
reality in our debates, we
to find ways to do that. I dont have a quick answer for that because
What happens within when
get these echo chambers. Is they become impenetrable right any any bit of information that contradicts,
the world view in the conspiracies within it. The conspiracy theories within it gets rejected as parliament, conspiracy and part of a liberal plot.
But I do, but I do think that that's gonna be a big challenge that we all have an I'm concerned about what it goes to governing too. I mean. Can you know this from your time in office, majority of voters want leaders who will bring the country together, try to work together and by partisan way. They also want leaders who will end the gridlock in Washington and actually get something done on the big issues. How do you governing away that's both by partisan and productive when the only way to break the gridlock with this version of the Republican Party is through huge democratic majorities, getting rid of the filibuster other big step?
trawler forms, all of which will be seen by Republicans and much of the media as extremely partisan. As you know, this is
the low even further than we had really big majority behind
the philosopher and Mitch Morale
the magic reminded throw salmon. The gears
no matter how much outreach we may. As long
They Republicans could maintain. Unit in Macao was very explicit about, as he said,
here's what they want is laws. We can keep report
off alarmist bills, even when it there their proposals.
Used to be recalled him proposals, then
can rob them up. The veneer
A and that all relation placed worthy trail he was very systematic and strategic about it
what I am concluding, this is then the answer
is to check
some of these structural impediments to just getting stuff that I mentioned it down those who serve you. My belief that I think we should test it. I think we should give Republicans a chance to work with us or a reasonable issues. I don't think we should be maximum list and asked for a hundred percent of what we want all the time, but I think that if you continue to see the kind of systematic rejection
even reasonable compromise there. There comes a point at which you just have to change how the system works. The filibuster would be one
I would argue that around voting
going ahead and just making it easier for people to both making it harder to suppress the boat is not part of. It is
an expression of our democracy. It will be portrayed as partisan.
But that's an argument. I think we have the wrong. I think we have to go ahead and had then what
You have one major party, perhaps the only major party that I know of in any
dance democracy in world who exposed
He says we're trying to keep
fellow citizens, certain fellow citizens from bottom and work. Try you meant
as far as possible,
The far right in Europe does not say
they don't say, stop other Oscar,
and from voting. Let's stop other Germans from voting,
This is unique,
to us and it's a legacy of the young.
Racial discrimination and gender discrimination, and then it was imbedded in our initial constitution and had to be fixed through a series of amendments and and so
I think that we should welcome the argument that making it easier for people to work
eliminating the last vestiges of Jim Crow and pull taxes, and all that stuff is not upon his mission.
And anyone who argues against that is behind
in a partisan fashion, and I think we can win that argument with the majority of the american people, eat your less answers or gets
this ongoing four years later debate about whether
up is an aberration or whether he is
sort of the next phase of Europe,
looking party that has been built on racial grievances in built on cruelty to immigrants and Fox NEWS conspiracy theories, and it's a bit of an esoteric like Washington debate.
Answer also shapes how Joe Biden or any Democrat should approach the job.
because you know we all hoped that the republican fever would break after the twenties while real acted in. Clearly it didn't things have gotten worse. Do you have a view on this sort of debate about whether Trump is is an aberration?.
You know what you use the word I think about it. I would distinguish between people who vote Republican and the Republican Party and
republican media infrastructure and what I mean by that is this- I am you guys have heard me say this before
you're not when I was elected to the USA, I got
About seventy percent of the vote in Illinois, I got the majority of the vote in Southern Illinois, which is much closer culturally to Kentucky or Southern Indiana Southern Ohio that it is Chicago.
Did well in a bunch of white evangelical counties. Rural carries
I think is further say, there's no way right now, but I could get those boats right
I went back to those same places
The reason is because they see me only through the Filter Fox NEWS rush in Lord knows: what's going on and Facebook itself right
but when you got those folks one on one and they had a chance to major and talk to you- and you were the veterans- Europe appear, hospital were
A fish right, you gonna conversation with them, they might,
Agree with your want to stop, but they thought what the EU seems like an ok, I'm not scared of him. Even if I disagree with and
Those folks right now are just being fed what's coming through that filter. I do not think that that is an ever. I think if they were
watching Walter. Cronkite were
they were reading there. What used to be the local paper that was put out by some cranky,
regarding about time,
Lastly, a buzz cut it off, but was lying
we're not gonna serious business.
that's where they were getting their information from, I think be, then you could in fact have
The normal debates between a more conservative anymore level, America and it in
that circumstance, democracy works. So
So the answer I guess Tommy is, I think the trumpet is expressing
or or or mirroring
and in some ways explicitly exploited and took the crazy that was being pump out through these venues each and every day and
If that stop is still being pumped out and from those away somewhere else, war meet that market demand,
but on the other hand, do I think that that is inevitably moved. What the Republican Party has to be.
No, I don't, I don't think it does. It was
Fascinating is thus the book as this looking through some of the old stuff about
trot was really complimentary before, like the first two years,
So let us see my doing a great job in thinking here.
Then an essentially what happened, because the guy just decided you wanted attention, whether was to promote celebrity apprentice.
whenever he saw he looked up and saw what was being fed and
at all events. It. If that's what you want, I can do that
Will even less innovation, so
would even less of it
It always was going to say is that
not all barbarism shake came about.
Our country has always had this battle right between these darker impulses to exclude to dominate, to to the game in favour of certain
folks and not others, and then the other side of it has been to expand and and embrace the dignity and inherent worth of every individual, regardless of what they look like Europe or or where they come from.
And that tug of war is always going to be there and we as Democrats,
have to remind ourselves that, for me,
the twentieth century. The Democrats were as bad or worse by the south was Democrat.
Dixon amounts were the ones who are run filibusters to prevent anti lynching legislation, etc.
And Lincoln was there were Bob, so bright source
the issue has less to do with it is one
you're, the other inevitably like this one, where it has much more to do with
this ongoing tug of war between the better angels for nature and that our worst impulses and and- and I have confidence that we can. We can get back to a point where both parties have in those better agents, but
I do think that we're going to have to figure out how to get to voters what are the workarounds that they just penetrate that the twenty four slash, seven narrative that is being pumped out by
folks like a Fox news and others, hardly America is brought you by just egg, can a plant scramble.
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Guest sound smart, so last question: will you go, though? Most of our listeners are happily working very hard to like Joe Biden, even though they supported in a more progressive candidates in the primary? What's your advice to those people who want to see not only a more progressive democratic party but more progressive policies and acted in Washington you're on both sides of this you are an organizer.
your presidency, you ve, seen it from both sides. Look I've been wet.
No one will first right
I think, moved into that mindset in a week.
Let's get through the next three weeks in them
next three months and then, let's bigger up what our internal debates are. Gonna be
So point number one point number two is bad
it is very important for progress is to continue to press.
Their agenda, because they're gonna be.
other forces that are pressing on the White House from the other direction, and that's all that's always the case- that's always
and there's nothing wrong with making noise about and there's nothing wrong with holding folks to account. I think
The the caution I always have for progressive is me
I am sure that, as you push for the most, you can get.
Then, at a certain point you say I dunno what let's get this done and then what's been move on to find another day
and healthier always being the best example of this.
As you will recall, we wanted a publication in the affordable, correct. We push.
I needed sixty votes to get through this.
Jointly, remember Nelson? A couple other said: I'm not voting for
at that point, then
Russia is now to be able to say, ok, let's take what we can get now and then let's build and every bit of progressive
progress throughout our history. Typically,
in stages, ready you get a pitcher like social security passes
but it excludes all kinds of domestic
workers and their cultural workers, because southern voters- earth southern congressmen didn't wanna,
My folks be able to get social scourge, because then they wouldn't be subject to the whims of white employed and.
Should we should have the are not pass? Also security enforcement? He gets it done and then you fight back next battle, which is to include more people. The dog
We passed our friend
Did we eliminate breathing malfeasance in Wall Street entirely
no what we did was we put in a bunch.
the current rules to make it less likely that you end up having bailouts in the future
Part of the reason that we haven't seen
the financial system teeter during this major economic shock.
where's, because those girls that we put in place, but we still have
move, a whole bunch other stuff that we were unable to get done at the time, and I think
understanding that there is not a failure, but that is just the process you push.
Use consolidate. You push the more you consolidate and
and also understand this. Maybe this is where
Sometimes I differ with Bernie. Anyone Lisbon in in are in how we talk about the stuff publicly.
Most of the time when I didn't get something progressive done. While I was president, it wasn't because I was getting donations from some special interest or corporation. It wasn't because you know they're bunch of
PS, whispering in my ear. It was because I didn't I didn't have pulse and
I think sometimes we we a tribute.
the failure of a democratic, more progressive president, not getting something done to somehow he and hopefully at some point. She is being influenced by these other folks when in fact it's just that we do not yet have the votes and the club so progressive you
if you want progressive legislation, get other and keep working after the president is what I don't want
cart before the horse bite you.
I would be well
progressive feeling frustrated
What then sit out the midterms.
Now I have fewer
granted. But now I lost the house, not lost the Senate.
That is not the right reaction, but we get more progressive website
than the word Democrats. We haven't comes down
more democratic turner. Patents in Ghana
I won't lose track of is because right now he does it what's right in front of us, but a suit
If we are fortunate enough, the job I'm in
Commentators are elected
maintain the housing, and hopefully we regain the centre
one of the very first things we have to do, is to get
every person who is as fired up as they were about this election to understand.
midterms are gonna matter just as much yet because that's that's the constraint ultimately bad, you know we all come from throughout. This process was
When I look back on, my presidency did the,
real envelope to limit to what I could get down had to do.
How many votes did I have in the house? How many books do I have in the Senate? Obviously, if they're modifications, the filibuster that makes it easier, but
but even within the Democratic Party there we have to accommodate for the fact
There can be some regional differences and that's ok, that's part of the big ten as part of the process that we move forward.
Democracies in everyday struggle- that's it you're, always taught me, that's it. Man
regarding you have to note that things not self executed.
Speaking of which I am assuming you guys applying the fact that we had a Supreme court ruling around the census, there was adverse to us. The Trump administration is purposely trend has decided to cut off.
The census earlier than it should have been if anything should be extended because of covered
but it is what it is
you guys are pointing the need for
everybody who has not responded to the senses, to get your information in their that's part of this structural set of issues. Senses determines how much representation communities get a lot of decisions are made based on those numbers, and we got to make sure that everybody's cannibal easy to do quick to do noakes he's not to do it.
President Barack Obama. Thank you so much for coming back to pod, save America and good luck out there in the campaign trail Grigg hanging out with you guys, oarsmen procedure, they argue thicker
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Transcript generated on 2020-10-16.