Friends in High Places

Bill Clinton golfing in 2000 with Vernon Jordan. They had a fondness for talking about women.

Credit…U.S. PGA Tour Archive, via Getty Images

 

WASHINGTON — When you are the president’s best friend, you may be called on for many services — some dicey, some soothing, some world-shaking, and some profoundly personal.

In his new book, First Friends,” Gary Ginsberg chronicles the unelected yet undeniably powerful people who shape presidencies.

We know too well how the advisers of presidents with all-access passes to the Oval can make or break legacies.

Look at how George W. Bush’s presidency was ruined when Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld got him to invade Iraq.

And consider how Rudy Giuliani ginned up Donald Trump’s craziest impulsesleading to two impeachments, one insurrection and endless legal bills.

But there has been less focus on the often “unseen hands,” as Ginsberg calls them, the BFFs busy on the sidelines.

He became interested in the topic as a lawyer vetting vice-presidential candidates for Bill Clinton. He was joined in the last round by Harry McPherson, an old Washington hand who has been the White House lawyer for Lyndon Johnson.

McPherson believed that if L.B.J., a solitary man at heart, had had an intimate, he might have navigated Vietnam more adroitly. So McPherson wanted to know, “Does Al Gore have any friends?”

When Gore stumbled over the answer, McPherson wondered, “If he can’t develop or even claim one real friendship, how’s he going to lead a nation?”

But Clinton didn’t seem to care; he had enough friends for both of them.

Ginsberg examines First Friends in nine presidencies and the impact of the back-room counsel. His tales include:

Bill Clinton dispatching Vernon Jordan to talk Hillary Clinton out of leaving him after he publicly confessed to his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

John F. Kennedy and David Ormsby-Gore at the White House in 1961.

Credit…Bob Schutz/Associated Press

David Ormsby-Gore, the British ambassador and an old friend of Jack Kennedy, helping to guide Kennedy through the Cuban Missile Crisis and signing a nuclear test ban treaty.

Bebe Rebozo relaxing the coiled and paranoid Richard Nixon by mixing martinis, making steak and Cuban black-bean dinners and paying to put a bowling alley in the White House basement.

Eddie Jacobson, an Army buddy and partner of Harry Truman in a Kansas City haberdashery, helping persuade Truman to recognize the state of Israel.

Edward House serving as a de facto chief diplomat for Woodrow Wilson, negotiating the World War I armistice and the doomed Treaty of Versailles, until Edith Wilson came along and dismissed him as “a perfect jellyfish.”

Presidents can put their friends in awkward circumstances. Nixon asked Rebozo to help him with a shadowy fund-raising scheme, and Clinton got Jordanthe two loved to talk about women — involved in trying to get Lewinsky a cushy job at Revlon in New York, before that scandal exploded.

Credit…Corbis, via Getty Images

And sometimes the friends put the presidents in a bad light. “By the late 1960s,” Ginsberg writes, “F.B.I. agents investigating criminal syndicates had identified Rebozo as a ‘nonmember associate of organized crime figures’ … The F.B.I. now had reason to believe the Key Biscayne lots Nixon had purchased were owned by a business associate of Rebozo’s connected to organized crime.”

First Friends trade interesting gifts. When Thomas Jefferson was in Paris, he kept in touch with James Madison with presents marking current obsessions.

“Jefferson mostly sent books about political philosophy, European governments, and failed democracies, as well as contraptions like a telescope that retracted into a cane, phosphoretic matches, a pedometer, and a box of chemicals to further indulge Madison’s growing interest in chemistry,” Ginsberg writes. Madison sent sugar maples, Pippin apples, and pecans, but was unable to procure a live opossum.

Abraham Lincoln and his friend Joshua Speed, a Springfield, Ill., shopkeeper, had a rare intimacy. The two shared Speed’s bed for years in Springfield after Lincoln told Speed he couldn’t afford a mattress. Historians still debate the nature of this relationship.

But when Speed moved back to the family farm in Kentucky and said he did not want to surrender his right to own human property, Lincoln wrote him bluntly about his disappointment.

“You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it,” Lincoln chided, urging Speed to think of those “poor creatures hunted down” and “carried back to their stripes, and unrewarded toils.”

Other friends specialized in sycophancy. As Pat Nixon said of Rebozo, “Bebe is like a sponge; he soaks up whatever Dick says and never makes any comments. Dick loves that.”

Citing the example of Donald Trump, “the friendless president,” Ginsberg told me that leaders need that emotional engagement of knowing that there is another soul who has their interest at heart.

I asked Ted Kaufman, the longtime loyal pal of Joe Biden, who nursed him through Beau’s passing, what it means to be a First Friend.

“I’d walk across cut glass for him,” he replied, “and I think he’d do the same for me.”

Biden’s Leaked Audio: Reactions from Briahna Joy Gray & Katie

00:01
hello and welcome to the katie helper
00:03
show sorry if i’m speaking
00:04
more softly than usual i have some semi
00:06
sleeping um
00:07
beasts in the in the room from which i’m
00:10
broadcasting
00:11
um but so excited to be joined by
00:13
honestly like basic
00:15
major staple of the show uh beyond the
00:17
joyride
00:20
it’s always such a pleasure katie you’re
00:21
my number one favorite stop you know
00:22
that
00:23
thank you and we’re both like i guess
00:24
we’re both kind of night owls right so
00:26
we’re taking advantage of that
00:27
to have this emergency
00:31
this is like the beginning of my evening
00:33
usually i know we just woke up
00:37
but uh hi everyone thanks so much for
00:38
stopping by and brie you want to just
00:40
kind of walk us through
00:41
what is happening what we’re responding
00:44
to basically it goes under the umbrella
00:45
of biden’s leaks but um
00:47
can you set up the context yeah so
00:50
i believe it was two days ago
00:56
the intercept released a
00:59
video of um a meeting that joe biden and
01:03
kamala harris had with representatives
01:05
from
01:06
the black community um reverend al
01:08
sharpton um
01:10
uh the head of the naacp um
01:13
vina gupta from um a legal defense fund
01:17
um cedric richardson who has been in the
01:20
press a great deal
01:21
because he was picked as a environmental
01:24
liaison and one of
01:26
biden’s chief aides who on the tape he
01:28
says is going to be in the room with me
01:29
all the time and yet comes from one of
01:30
the most
01:31
polluted districts in the country but
01:34
is black and that was kind of put out
01:37
there as a shield for him
01:38
by certain journalists on twitter
01:43
sunrise movement for criticizing him
01:45
right influential black staffer as he
01:47
calls him yeah
01:48
right um so what the gist of this
01:51
meeting was
01:52
each person takes 10 minutes or so to
01:55
outline their request of the
01:56
administration
01:57
and what was so kind of galling as joe
01:59
biden
02:00
responds in that kind of classic joe
02:03
biden
02:04
pushy dictatorial bullyish tone that
02:07
we’ve seen from him a lot but which for
02:08
some reason never really got picked up
02:11
by the media or he never got
02:12
characterized as a bully in any
02:14
meaningful way
02:15
especially when you compare him to how
02:17
bernie sanders was treated
02:18
um but he basically tells them all the
02:21
reasons
02:22
why they should know that he’s gonna do
02:23
the right thing i mean what i say
02:25
um and says a lot of particularly choice
02:28
things that we’re gonna run through and
02:30
play some clips i think
02:32
but i think the biggest story and the
02:34
focus of the intercepts reporting
02:36
is the extent to which um uh
02:40
sorry johnson what’s his first name from
02:41
the naacp um
02:44
uh what is it derek johnson where
02:47
the naacp very gently raises to joe
02:51
biden and everyone
02:52
is operating in the most gentle
02:56
way almost like they’re dealing they’re
02:58
like i don’t want to say abuse victims
02:59
but like
03:00
they know that he has a temper and they
03:01
are making the most
03:03
you can clear they really care about
03:04
what they’re off they’re asking him for
03:06
but they’re
03:06
asking him in a way that they hope is
03:08
going to maximize him listening and not
03:10
responding in the reactionary what he
03:12
kind of does at all
03:14
right and so he suggests that appointing
03:16
tom vilsek
03:18
to secretary of agriculture would be a
03:21
mistake in particular in georgia
03:23
where he has a bad reputation for two
03:24
reasons one because he’s a big ag guy
03:27
who small farmers detest because he
03:30
supports a lot of trade policies that
03:31
are very harmful to small farms he’s
03:33
been a dairy industry lobbyist
03:35
um since he left the obama
03:37
administration where he had the same
03:38
post
03:39
and second of all a lot of black groups
03:41
were pushing for
03:43
um marsha fudge to be in that position
03:45
she’s well qualified to do it
03:47
and instead marcia fudge has been
03:49
sidelined into hud which is
03:52
classically a post that black people get
03:56
sidelined into and something that she
03:57
had raised as a concern before the picks
03:59
were actually announced
04:00
and secondarily uh vilsack is a problem
04:03
because he very
04:04
famously fired shirley sherrod after
04:07
some out of context
04:08
statements were made public um during
04:10
the obama administration
04:12
um
04:17
and before the full remarks were ever
04:21
examined very very quickly she was let
04:23
go and she by contrast was very popular
04:25
in the state
04:26
is a civil rights icon of sorts and is
04:28
very popular
04:29
despite being black with georgia farmers
04:32
um
04:33
so uh after hearing that vice joe biden
04:36
did not react
04:38
pleasantly do we want to go straight to
04:41
the clip
04:42
yeah and just so people know it’s just
04:43
so it’s like you kind of can’t make it
04:45
up because she literally said a few days
04:46
ago martial fudge
04:48
as this country becomes more and more
04:49
diverse we’re going to have to stop
04:51
looking at only
04:52
certain agencies as those that fit
04:53
people like me in
04:55
you know it’s always we want to put the
04:57
black person in labor or hud
04:59
and then biden turns around and as you
05:02
said despite her interest and expertise
05:03
in agriculture
05:04
puts her into hud so yeah showing
05:07
instead of telling
05:09
but yeah let’s should we go to some of
05:10
the audio tape yeah it’s at it’s at
05:13
121.51
05:14
okay great
05:20
okay 121
05:25
here we go
05:28
okay 121.51 ish
05:36
okay
05:39
everyone like while i’m getting this up
05:41
and also make sure you follow brianna on
05:43
twitter obviously
05:44
um like subscribe to this channel
05:48
so one section katie lose her voice no
05:50
katie’s trying not to wake up all the
05:51
other people
05:52
in her house yeah uh i dragged her into
05:54
this my apologies
05:55
late night very very very persuasion
05:59
um i was i was did not need to be peer
06:02
pressured okay
06:03
you ready freddy let me make sure i have
06:05
this can you guys hear me though i know
06:07
i’m not being as
06:08
expressive as usual
06:13
but i’m audible
06:20
okay
06:28
equity equality fairness
06:31
the work that we need to do as an
06:33
administration cannot get done without
06:35
your involvement partnership support
06:38
and influence she sounds like she’s
06:40
reading and so i say
06:42
hello to all of the friends yeah she
06:43
didn’t talk really quickly
06:45
i’m worried that i didn’t give me the
06:46
right time
06:59
as soon as she stops talking it should
07:01
be the clip that we’re talking about
07:02
what happened it’s actually me it’s my
07:03
bed
07:04
oh okay somehow it moved
07:07
it’s 121.50 you said yeah you wanted me
07:11
to be concerned
07:12
derek i think it was you said it yeah is
07:14
it earlier than this oh this is it
07:16
okay that was right on he’s talking to
07:19
derek john
07:20
johnson right from the naacp in case
07:21
you’re just joining us uh
07:23
dealing with um vilsack as uh
07:26
in uh in terms of uh agriculture
07:30
well first of all you can learn more
07:32
about vilsack’s record but my point is
07:34
this
07:34
you’ll learn more about it i think we
07:35
should make that a big issue going into
07:37
before
07:38
january 5th when the election takes
07:41
place
07:41
down in in
07:46
georgia but i also don’t think we should
07:48
get too far ahead of ourselves
07:51
on dealing with police reform
07:54
in that because they’ve already labeled
07:56
us as being
07:58
defund the police anything we put
08:00
forward in terms of the organizational
08:02
structure
08:03
to change policing which i promise you
08:05
will occur
08:06
promise you just think to yourself and
08:09
give me advice whether we should do that
08:11
before january 5th because that’s how
08:13
they beat the living hell out of us
08:15
across the country saying that we’re
08:18
talking about defunding the police
08:20
we’re not we’re talking about holding
08:22
them accountable
08:23
we’re talking about giving them money to
08:26
do the right
08:27
things we’re talking about putting more
08:28
psychologists and psychiatrists
08:31
on the telephones when the 9-1-1 calls
08:33
through
08:34
we’re talking about spending money to
08:36
enable them to do their
08:38
jobs better not more
08:41
with more force with less force
08:45
but that’s i just raise it with you to
08:47
think about i mean part of what
08:48
i’m amazing about between now and
08:51
january
08:53
at him he’s like trying not to he’s
08:55
literally like trying to keep his mouth
08:56
closed i mean part of what’s amazing
08:58
about this is how
08:59
little pushback anybody gives in the
09:01
context of this call with the exception
09:02
of sherlin eiffel who
09:04
like kind of does like she interrupts
09:07
him
09:08
later on to bring it back to an earlier
09:10
point and he kind of bulldozes it
09:11
through it again she still does so
09:13
very very very gently so obviously
09:15
what’s wild about this response is that
09:17
he took
09:18
a legitimate concern about what’s going
09:21
on
09:21
in georgia and the risks of a tom velcek
09:25
appointment to this crucial state that
09:26
the whole party has turned its eye to
09:29
and ignores that legitimate critique and
09:32
pivots to defund the police
09:34
as the be-all end-all destroyer of
09:36
democratic
09:37
futures and when of course we know
09:39
there’s absolutely no
09:40
evidence in the world to point to the
09:42
fact that to fund the
09:44
defend the police is what caused the
09:46
terrible down ballot results
09:47
um on election day yeah and also who
09:50
said it that’s the other thing like who
09:52
was who was
09:53
uh campaigning on that slogan nobody i
09:55
mean well corey bush
09:56
thank you what right now in a purple
09:59
sting
10:00
right right yeah completely defying all
10:02
of the subtle
10:03
logic and expectations so we all know
10:05
that joe biden is crap you know
10:07
sorry i could measure my moderate a
10:09
little bit because
10:10
there’s room for improvement right
10:12
there’s some cooling paints
10:13
right but it’s almost as though you can
10:14
see them setting up the narrative
10:17
for if they lose in georgia it’s going
10:20
to be defending the police and there
10:21
won’t be even a modicum
10:22
of press attention to whether or not the
10:25
tom vilsack
10:26
appointment had an effect in an estate
10:29
that
10:29
is heavily rural and his rural
10:31
population is diverse
10:33
and black and white farmers alike have a
10:35
problem with this pick
10:37
right and also there’ll be no
10:38
examination of you know what
10:40
the effect of assaf being totally
10:42
moderate not inspiring running on
10:44
literally nothing except not being a
10:45
republican and to be fair
10:47
his guy his opponent is so awful that
10:49
that’s like some
10:50
you know that’s a that’s something to
10:52
run on but of course that’s not really
10:53
that doesn’t get people out to the polls
10:55
right of course and we also need i mean
10:58
i’m just making them
10:59
on the most cynical level like forget
11:00
the fact that this is medicare for all
11:02
is a life and death moral issue like
11:04
putting that aside it’s just a stupid
11:05
tactic to just be running against the
11:08
republican incumbent
11:10
um yeah it’s interesting though it’s
11:12
kind of like he’s like well you know
11:13
since we’re talking about the whole
11:14
georgia black thing
11:15
let me just draw your attention to
11:17
another whole georgia black thing i
11:18
would like you to address
11:19
like it’s not it doesn’t respond to what
11:21
they’re saying at all
11:23
yeah like not only not taking
11:25
responsibility
11:26
or addressing it he’s like and i’ll tell
11:27
you something else
11:29
yeah he’s like that throughout too i
11:30
mean people can characterize it how they
11:33
want to characterize it and i know a lot
11:34
of liberals are very offended by the
11:36
idea that
11:37
he perhaps is not as you know cogent as
11:40
he used to be
11:41
but the reality is i called obama
11:44
uh clean and articulate yeah but the
11:46
halcyon day
11:48
but when you listen to the whole thing
11:50
like i was listening to roland martin
11:52
did a breakdown and he
11:53
actually was making some solid points um
11:56
but
11:57
there was somebody on the panel who was
11:59
like i can’t i don’t respect this clip
12:01
because one is from the intercept and
12:02
two it’s only 18 minutes and then i’m
12:04
sure they doctored it well here’s the
12:06
whole clip and i was you know the whole
12:07
i had listened to the whole clip and the
12:08
whole clip
12:09
is not better for bite and what it
12:11
really reveals is how
12:13
meandering and unfocused he is
12:16
and how he keeps dipping into these
12:18
weird racial asides one of which i want
12:20
us to go to next katie because i haven’t
12:22
heard anybody draw any attention to this
12:23
yet
12:24
because it’s not really substantive
12:25
enough news value but it’s just so
12:27
bizarre
12:28
where is it it’s at 128.
12:32
so i mean kamala finally gets a chance
12:33
to speak and he interrupts her
12:35
immediately to say this okay
12:38
128.
12:43
is it 128-0 more or less yeah but i want
12:46
to just catch the end of kamla so we can
12:47
hear the interruption
12:49
of course so let’s just come up with a
12:50
plan and
12:52
and a road map for how we mark you’re
12:54
going to be angry
12:55
yeah i want to say one more thing i am
12:58
incredibly
12:59
optimistic let me tell you why
13:03
i’m incredibly optimistic because
13:06
society is changing
13:08
the z generation and young millennials
13:11
are changing
13:12
the ones he has no empathy you’re not
13:13
going to remember maybe please know
13:14
about
13:15
millennials take a look at what is
13:17
happening
13:18
watch this 15 years ago
13:22
could you turn on the television and see
13:26
three or four out of seven commercials
13:28
be biracial commercials
13:31
what do you think guys huh what do you
13:33
think
13:35
you want to know where society’s going
13:37
erc
13:38
watch entertainment watch the profit
13:41
motive
13:43
why are these commercials
13:46
so many of them biracial the young
13:49
generation
13:50
is changing they’re demanding
13:53
more they don’t come with the baggies
13:58
maybe 10 20 25 of them are pure racist
14:01
who knows
14:02
but the vast majority the vast majority
14:06
are my racial commercial enthusiasm
14:10
when i was coming up and the second
14:12
thing has changed
14:14
is that you and i have talked about this
14:16
al
14:19
remember what dr king said okay he’s
14:22
about to go to another crazy thing
14:23
for a second yeah so when i listened to
14:25
that for the first time
14:26
i like i lost my mind
14:31
i i i truly don’t know what that is or
14:34
what that’s supposed to mean
14:35
like the idea that you just sat through
14:37
an hour of
14:38
some of the most preeminent civil rights
14:40
figures of our time
14:44
green book was a great film like he just
14:46
these people everyone on this call very
14:48
seriously and meaningfully put
14:50
to him a whole list of really grave
14:53
concerns
14:55
serious concerns to the black community
14:57
in particular is dealing with in this
14:58
car at this crisis point
15:00
you know sherlock eiffel called on him
15:01
in particular please please please
15:03
mr future president president-elect can
15:05
you use your executive authority
15:08
to do all of these things she gave a
15:09
whole list of things that he could do
15:12
that he could do even if things go south
15:14
in georgia
15:15
and he came back and there’s a whole
15:18
soliloquy that we should
15:19
go back to about how he wasn’t going to
15:20
use executive authority and then was to
15:22
come back and interrupt
15:24
kamala harris his the first black vice
15:26
president
15:27
to offer this little tidbit about how
15:29
things aren’t really looking so terrible
15:31
because there are a lot of biracial kids
15:34
and television commercials these days
15:37
yeah someone wrote anthony uh wrote um
15:40
wait where is this someone wrote
15:42
arrested development it went really
15:44
quickly
15:45
but someone said this is like arrested
15:46
development did i
15:48
make that up no this is like arrested
15:49
development i don’t even know what you
15:50
mean
15:51
sorry the randomness of it it is it is
15:55
like
15:55
there’s something about it i don’t know
15:56
what it is but that that really rings
15:58
true to me yeah
15:59
also like how i mean commercials should
16:03
be more bi-racial
16:04
you were born in the what the 40s like
16:08
they didn’t have black people on
16:10
commercials much less families
16:12
right yeah and in the idea that the
16:16
profit motive is difficult
16:18
right well capitalism recognizes black
16:20
people can buy things now so
16:22
look at that guys do you ever think
16:23
about that naacp people
16:26
oh my gosh okay so where’s the
16:28
outrageous so he goes on i don’t know i
16:30
mean this isn’t like
16:31
the most news substantive bit either but
16:33
the next little
16:35
soliloquy is him talking about dogs
16:38
biting the flesh of black people in the
16:40
civil rights movement
16:42
and it’s just it’s visceral it’s a lot
16:44
yeah
16:45
i mean when you’re the thing is that
16:47
that’s what kept him away from the civil
16:48
rights movement he really
16:50
fears dogs so that’s why he wasn’t there
16:52
well according to him
16:54
he was one of the leaders of the civil
16:55
rights movement and it’s a little quick
16:57
that i don’t think we should play
16:58
he talks about how well maybe it’s a
17:00
part and parcel of this but he talks
17:01
about
17:02
how you know he knew how much it changed
17:04
because when he was a student
17:05
out of college in delaware and he used
17:08
to stand on the train tracks he could
17:09
see one side of the town that was white
17:10
and developed on one side of the town
17:12
that was black and not
17:14
and later as he stood on the train
17:15
tracks waiting for the train to arrive
17:17
to take him
17:18
to the inauguration or to meet up with
17:20
barack obama or whatever to be the
17:22
first black president of the united
17:23
states of america um
17:25
he thought wow we went from that to now
17:27
i’m catching the train to to get barack
17:29
obama inaugurated and look how far we’ve
17:31
come
17:32
yeah i mean it’s like texas he said that
17:34
during one of the
17:36
news things right during one of the um
17:38
town halls
17:39
oh this is a bit that he’s been playing
17:41
oh yeah he did that where was the one in
17:42
florida where he where he was like
17:44
you know totally pandered to some
17:46
miamian
17:47
uh concerned about like the socialists
17:50
and he you know was one of the many
17:51
times during the campaign
17:52
he mentioned that he he’s the one who
17:54
beat the socialist but yeah he brought
17:55
up that story i’m sure it’s in a book
17:57
too
17:57
i’m sure but okay let’s let’s uh
18:02
yeah okay let’s play this
18:05
i mean he did to be fair i just want
18:06
people to know he was a lifeguard in a
18:09
swimming pool that black people swam in
18:12
um he did a lot of work anti-racist
18:15
training with corn pop
18:17
um peace be upon him and he also
18:20
um black children would would play with
18:22
his golden leg hair do you remember that
18:24
yeah you can’t make this stuff up and
18:26
somehow you know
18:27
look this this i will acknowledge that
18:29
that stuff isn’t the most important
18:31
stuff
18:31
but it’s important in so far as it’s
18:33
useful i think it’s necessary that we
18:34
point out the media’s bias angle of this
18:37
because if i’m sorry bernie sanders or
18:39
any other
18:40
progressive candidate who was on the
18:42
wrong side of the corporate aisle
18:44
would have said any of that it would
18:45
have been playing non-stop
18:48
yeah how about just lying how about
18:50
saying you got arrested visiting
18:52
um nelson mandela and you then didn’t
18:54
get arrested at all there was no
18:56
arrest yeah andrew young was like no i
18:58
was there he didn’t get arrested i mean
18:59
it’s just insane
19:00
yeah okay so let’s play some more of
19:02
this
19:05
on those black women and sig the dogs on
19:07
them ripping their clothes off
19:08
going to their sunday go to church best
19:11
and they’re ripping the skin off of
19:12
those kids
19:14
he said it was response that was
19:16
straight from the heart of the civil
19:17
rights movement
19:19
remember what he said the quote that was
19:24
most significantly and happened in terms
19:26
of freedom
19:28
what happened was we got the voting
19:29
rights act and the civil rights act out
19:31
of that
19:32
that young man who stood with a camera
19:36
a cell phone like millions of people
19:38
have
19:39
and stood there for eight minutes and 46
19:42
seconds
19:43
and took a picture of george floyd
19:46
asking for his mom
19:48
seeing his nose broken against that curb
19:52
all of a sudden what happened you saw a
19:55
response around
19:56
america and around the world the world
20:00
doesn’t mean we don’t have a big fight
20:02
to go but the first thing we had to do
20:04
because of you we get it done is get rid
20:07
of the racist
20:08
donald trump the first thing don’t
20:11
define the police thing all we got to do
20:13
is go back and appeal to those folks he
20:15
won right i mean who
20:16
just tell me that some of that 70 by
20:20
giving them anything
20:21
but appeal by moving hard
20:24
toward what will benefit them as well
20:28
if you notice they’re giving them
20:29
something whenever i make those speeches
20:30
about
20:32
civil liberties
20:40
i make them to white chambers of
20:42
commerce i make them the white
20:44
audiences because i got to remind them
20:47
you want your community to look better
20:50
make sure black folks can own a house
20:53
you want to make sure your community
20:55
does better make sure everybody’s making
20:57
15 bucks an hour minimum
20:59
you want to make your community better
21:01
make sure everybody’s making more money
21:04
it’s never never never never never
21:07
never never hurt the wealthy they always
21:11
do better
21:12
but it gives the poorer way up and the
21:14
middle class is shot
21:16
so yeah i just think we have a way i
21:18
think the americans we should probably
21:20
move to a different part but like that’s
21:21
you you get the gist of how this goes
21:22
right he just he grant he grandstands
21:25
and tells his
21:26
classic tales in a way that’s completely
21:30
non-responsive to the specific and
21:31
substantive concerns that have been
21:33
raised by this panel
21:34
right um and to see if there’s any
21:37
remarks from the people on the panel
21:39
just then as you saw in that clip it was
21:41
it was people kind of ushering him on
21:44
and saying yes that’s right that’s right
21:46
um no pushback at all except from anyone
21:49
except for sherlin eiffel and very
21:50
little revealed even in the facial
21:51
expressions
21:52
i i don’t i’m almost impressed i know
21:55
did they take something before
21:57
i don’t know what you could even take
21:58
that would make you like that
22:01
yeah um okay
22:05
fire’s taken off oh my gosh yeah
22:08
i mean there are a couple of okay so one
22:11
significant
22:12
another significant moment that hasn’t
22:13
really been reported out as of yet
22:15
is at 1 19 16.
22:19
um there has been
22:23
there have been i don’t know if you saw
22:24
this katie some stories floated about
22:27
maya harris who’s kamala harris’s sister
22:30
and was hillary clinton’s campaign
22:32
manager she was something senior on the
22:33
hillary campaign
22:35
senior adviser or something like that
22:39
her husband tony west who’s chief legal
22:42
officer
22:43
at uber being floated for attorney
22:45
general
22:47
and one of the points that was made
22:49
really strongly by vanita gupta from
22:51
the naacp legal defense fund here
22:54
was that the whoever fills that role
22:58
needs to be really familiar with the
23:01
office and to be able to start on
23:02
on day one given how much donald trump
23:05
has done to degrade
23:06
all the civil rights protections all the
23:08
voting rights protections all the things
23:09
we’ve been talking about the last four
23:10
years
23:11
that we’re supposed to care a lot about
23:12
which democrats have done a lot of
23:14
posturing around
23:15
and tony west would be kind of a clear
23:17
nepotism
23:18
slap in the face um and joe biden is
23:22
somewhat responsive
23:24
and might give it gives us some clues
23:25
here into who it might be
23:28
at 1 19 16.
23:34
the department you will see that as well
23:37
who need you did a hell of a job in the
23:39
civil rights event i
23:40
i really mean it but you will see
23:43
that is critical and i
23:46
think it matters how
23:50
we start off i’ve again i
23:53
i’ll conclude by saying one of the
23:55
things i learned
23:56
early on was that
23:59
if in order to get things done in the
24:01
congress or the senate
24:04
i start off by always going after my
24:07
opponent’s
24:07
motive i’m never getting done saying
24:10
that
24:11
when i talk about dealing with the whole
24:14
notion
24:14
of what we’re going to do in terms of
24:17
infrastructure
24:19
i’m talking about it across the board
24:20
i’m not talking about just building
24:22
highways
24:23
i’m talking to making sure that we have
24:25
safe water
24:26
i’m not going to make sure we have clean
24:28
water i’m going to make sure
24:30
that we can breathe the clean air i’m
24:32
going to make you realize
24:33
all the folks who are getting clobbered
24:35
by climate
24:37
are all fence line communities which you
24:39
all come from frontline
24:40
community the poor community they’re the
24:43
ones who are dying
24:45
overwhelmingly as a consequence of the
24:47
impacts of
24:48
climate change and he’s saying that with
24:50
cedric richardson
24:52
sitting right there my climate policies
24:55
climate’s about equity it’s not just
24:58
about being able to breathe clean air
25:01
is this woman and we’re going to build
25:03
one
25:04
in a way that we’re going to make
25:06
significant jobs
25:08
for folks that in fact represent
25:10
minority communities
25:13
i don’t know maybe i oh maybe it was
25:15
116. that’s already doing that
25:17
and no one’s fought harder to get rid of
25:19
assault weapons than me i think
25:21
he’s bringing up assault weapons
25:24
you do that next guy comes along and
25:26
says well guess what by executive order
25:28
i guess everybody can own machine guns
25:30
again let’s talk about that
25:32
so we got to be careful i know you all
25:34
know this
25:35
i know you know it i you and poor commas
25:39
heard me say this and so is cedric
25:41
i used to have a friend named bob gold
25:43
who was a really bright guy
25:45
not much of america we don’t need the
25:46
power he wasn’t an academic quiz
25:48
but bright as hell well and as he grew
25:50
up he became very successful i look at
25:52
him
25:53
he died a heart transplant and so
25:56
like about 30 years ago
25:59
bob you understand what i’m saying do
26:01
you know what i’m talking about john do
26:02
you understand me
26:03
you looked at me said joe i not only
26:05
understand you i overstand you
26:08
i’m sure you overstand me here i did
26:10
okay
26:11
that’s yeah i’m i don’t sorry i might i
26:14
was rushing
26:14
to write this down and i might have
26:15
missed that but the point of that he
26:16
says he will pick an ag with a
26:18
significant record
26:19
on civil rights and to me that would
26:22
exclude tony west well
26:25
he has a record with with civil rights
26:27
because uber violates civil rights
26:30
um all the time we say katie he’s pretty
26:33
appropriate
26:34
touche i mean we can go back over
26:38
obviously the main clip that everyone’s
26:39
been playing today is him ranting about
26:41
how he’s not going to use
26:42
executive authority and the constitution
26:45
the constitution the constitution we
26:46
have to follow the constitution
26:48
because if we you know i’m not going to
26:49
use executive action to ban assault
26:51
weapons which
26:53
nobody asked him to do i mean what
26:54
hasn’t been played for
26:56
you know good reasons because it’s a
26:57
little bit dry is what each of the
26:59
panelists
27:00
asks for in the first half of the
27:03
of the thing but when you listen to the
27:05
very detailed requests that cheryl and
27:07
iphone video gupta in particular
27:09
offered up specifically saying this is
27:10
what you can do with executive
27:12
orders this is what you can do with
27:14
executive orders
27:16
and then to hear joe biden bluster
27:18
through it so defensively
27:20
it’s it it does not bode well
27:24
you know it does not inspire hope that
27:27
he will bring the same
27:29
tenacity to the presidency that trump
27:31
very effectively had
27:33
and used to you know destroy the country
27:35
yeah
27:36
it’s we we should do another stream
27:38
where we do a deep dive of this breed by
27:40
the way
27:41
yeah re-edit it and stuff but i i wanted
27:44
to also talk about um
27:46
i don’t know which clip it is but he
27:47
says something like i gotta go but
27:50
which is what he did also on um uh the
27:53
breakfast club
27:54
he likes being like i gotta go but and
27:56
then he chastises everyone in the room
27:57
for not giving him more respect
27:59
he basically says the equivalent of if
28:01
you’re black
28:02
um and what was it like if you’re if
28:04
you’re not going for joe bye and you’re
28:06
not black
28:06
yeah he does that kind of with the with
28:08
this group of people
28:10
yeah absolutely um let me see if i can
28:13
find
28:14
and then we should make sure we talk um
28:16
briefly about the media responses which
28:18
is just
28:19
stunning we should and i see some people
28:21
who want us to talk about asd too i’m
28:22
not sure if we wanna
28:23
get into that so i think it might be at
28:25
105.
28:26
um this is when he’s going he’s going
28:28
out on sherlin eiffel about how
28:30
he’s been talking about this stuff
28:31
longer than her
28:33
and i think that might be i think that
28:35
might be the section that we’re talking
28:37
about
28:42
black farmers be able to own their own
28:44
property jesus christ
28:46
it’s so offensive to like go into speech
28:48
mode when you’re talking to people
28:50
like this is supposed to be discussion
28:52
right with experts we’re on the same
28:55
exact page the same exact page
28:58
we talked about closing away the the
29:01
racial
29:02
wealth gap that’s the single biggest
29:05
thing i want to get done
29:06
it’s the ultimate equalizer no matter
29:09
what else happens
29:10
because i plan on spending over 15
29:13
billion dollars
29:14
to provide for opportunity for young
29:16
black entrepreneurs
29:17
to get them off the ground black farmers
29:20
to be able to own their own property
29:22
young people being able to get their
29:23
first 15 000 bucks
29:25
down payment on a home making sure that
29:28
they have an opportunity
29:29
to gain wealth we can do all the rest of
29:32
this unless the black community is able
29:34
to make up the wealth gap
29:36
in my humble opinion is real trouble
29:39
i support same day the race rachel
29:43
was the problem for 25
29:46
years as a united states senator
29:49
before cheryl and you were even involved
29:52
i got it and i started off i’m much
29:54
older than you
29:55
that’s why i got involved in politics
29:57
the assault on the black vote
29:59
and voting rights across the nation has
30:02
never
30:03
been more ugly than it is today
30:06
you got to go all the way back to the
30:08
original jim crow to get where this guy
30:10
is
30:11
if in case you haven’t looked we have
30:12
the largest voting right
30:14
kristin my operation 1 000
30:18
lawyers bigger than you or anybody else
30:20
out there on voting rights i’d have more
30:22
lawyers than that
30:23
at least 1 000.
30:29
i want you to know i understand this
30:32
i know look at the 38 cases that have
30:34
brought against
30:35
my being president of the united states
30:38
all about phony phony actions
30:43
and so i think there should be same-day
30:45
registration
30:46
automatic voting rights i’ve been
30:49
pushing and i got
30:51
a number of people to contribute
30:52
significantly to the effort down in
30:54
florida
30:55
to make sure that that that federal
30:58
um prisoners who are pre-prisoners are
31:01
served their time
31:02
have every single right restored to them
31:06
that’s been my position before was
31:07
anybody else’s position
31:09
i’ve been out pushing that in addition
31:11
to that i think it’s really important
31:14
that no one goes to prison
31:17
for a drug offense really nobody change
31:20
they go into rehabilitation how is this
31:23
rehabilitation
31:24
that’s we should be building yeah with
31:26
patient centers not
31:27
more prisons i have a i have a 20
31:30
billion dollar effort that i’m proposing
31:32
to get states to change their
31:36
sentencing guidelines so that there’s no
31:38
more mandatory sentences across the
31:40
board
31:42
in addition to that we’re talking about
31:44
having diversity hiring in every agency
31:46
i promise you that is going to happen
31:49
we’re just getting started here
31:51
police reform judicial reform look
31:55
you know when i was if you notice when i
31:57
was chairman of the judiciary committee
31:58
and when i was advising the president
32:00
who did we get on the court
32:03
we got on a woman who worked for me
32:05
became a member of the supreme court
32:07
another woman who was a leading hispanic
32:10
in america and no one paid attention to
32:12
is on the court no one paid attention
32:16
we found her i’ve been really pro-civil
32:19
rights
32:20
judges clarence thompson across the
32:22
board and i like you
32:24
the idea kristin that we have to
32:26
everybody has to be a prosecutor
32:28
i’m a public defender when i’m president
32:30
of the united states of america
32:32
with the public defenders federal
32:35
defenders get paid the same as federal
32:37
prosecutors
32:38
so sherlock
32:41
i guess earlier trying to say here that
32:42
the federal judiciary has been taken
32:44
over by prosecutors
32:45
and it’s funny because obviously kamala
32:48
harris is california’s top cop by her
32:50
own description
32:51
and it was you want to be able to see
32:54
their faces more clearly because cheryl
32:55
and eiffel it seemed almost like she was
32:57
throwing a little shade
32:58
saying you know it’s irresponsible that
33:00
we have so many prosecutors it seems to
33:02
be almost a requirement to be a
33:03
prosecutor be on the federal bench we
33:04
need to support
33:06
public defenders you were a public
33:07
defender and really goading him on
33:09
and so he clearly liked that because
33:11
that was like 20 minutes ago and he’s
33:13
bringing it back up again
33:14
meanwhile calm was just sitting there oh
33:17
my god
33:18
twiddling your thumbs wow so i don’t
33:20
know how much more
33:21
of this you want to do at 109
33:24
he does the whole i’m the first person
33:26
of color to talk about racial
33:27
disparities bit
33:28
that people have been playing yeah and
33:31
and covet i’m sorry i’m the first person
33:33
sorry not of color
33:34
my bad but i’m the first person to talk
33:36
about racial disparities in kovid
33:38
um and i know that because uh my white
33:41
mayor friend
33:41
called and told me okay let’s go what is
33:45
it 109. everything
33:55
exist because of racial discrimination
33:58
and miss campbell that’s what this is
34:00
all about
34:01
making sure that you may remember i’m
34:04
the first person black or white
34:06
who called attention to the fact that
34:08
you were finding that
34:09
there was the the rate of people who
34:11
were african-americans are dying was
34:13
three times that of
34:14
of of white people that’s because a
34:16
friend of mine a white guy who happens
34:17
to be
34:18
as you well know derek the mayor of the
34:20
city of detroit
34:21
called me to tell me about it i insisted
34:24
that we keep a record on everything that
34:26
happened since then
34:27
guys guess what i’m saying guys do we
34:29
have i mean i i wish we had a research
34:31
team to cut into quotes of other people
34:33
talking about this issue before he did
34:35
i mean also the idea that it should give
34:37
us confidence that
34:39
that kind of really necessary
34:40
information is getting out there and
34:42
trickling up to the top because
34:44
a white guy who’s the mayor of detroit
34:45
who happens to be my friend got me on
34:47
the phone and talked to me about it like
34:48
cdc
34:49
much like is there anybody else
34:53
in the channels of information flow who
34:56
you can rely on
34:57
than this kind of ad hoc network um
35:01
that bob gold died because he would have
35:03
overstood this
35:06
um a little bit he’s about to get into
35:08
the the clip
35:10
um dude he had been leaned on to
35:13
about appointing more black people and
35:15
so he gives his response about why he
35:17
cannot tell you about who it is
35:19
at this moment please tell me he’s
35:21
standing literally behind kamala
35:23
what i say the hard part here is i’m
35:26
going to have a lot of trouble we’re
35:28
going to have a lot of trouble
35:29
getting a lot of this done with this
35:30
congress and so the question
35:33
is for example you know i’m going to be
35:36
appointing
35:37
at least and i’m you know look the
35:39
reason i’m not telling you
35:41
who the other black made me cabinet
35:43
positions i’m going to appoint
35:44
are because it’ll get out and guess what
35:47
i can’t defend them they’re going to be
35:48
out there
35:49
by themselves without any defense before
35:52
their name
35:53
they’re going to get ripped to shreds
35:55
that’s why i’m going to wait
35:56
you will be pleased i believe you will
35:59
be pleased to see
36:00
major there will be more
36:02
african-americans and major positions
36:04
within a cabinet and major spots and
36:07
more hispanics in major spots
36:09
than ever in american history you know
36:11
what i don’t understand about that
36:12
i promised you that i would get if it
36:14
were before an election or something
36:16
for example what’s he waiting for what
36:18
is it gonna be
36:19
that they will be safe from public
36:20
criticism
36:22
you know he’s he’s president now i mean
36:24
he won so
36:26
what is it he thinks that if you can do
36:28
it closer to inauguration then what
36:30
we won’t talk about it but it’s it’ll be
36:32
set in stone
36:33
after georgia i guess his thing is after
36:35
georgia well that would be
36:36
of import for someone like tom vilsack
36:38
who’s already been announced
36:40
i don’t know i mean if you want to have
36:42
to run to the bathroom
36:44
okay sorry you want to keep um do you
36:46
want to take some questions
36:48
oh sure i was not planned my uh yeah
36:51
yeah
36:52
okay all right i’m gonna uh should i
36:54
close the square i wish i could
36:56
sure should i just scroll down into the
36:58
chat and look at what people are saying
36:59
yeah i’m gonna pop okay then on i’ll
37:02
keep do you want this on or just you
37:04
i’ll keep it this way yeah this is this
37:05
is fine okay
37:07
so i’m looking at the chat i’m scrolling
37:11
i don’t see a ton of questions
37:14
uh when’s door coming on i don’t know
37:19
i’m not sure about that that’s katie’s
37:21
department
37:24
um we’re going to talk about asc sit
37:26
tight we are getting there
37:29
i just was i’ve this this stuff has been
37:31
driving me crazy and when i was watching
37:33
roland martin
37:34
and they were acting as though the full
37:36
video isn’t out there
37:38
and claiming that it was somehow altered
37:41
uh
37:41
in some way it was making me nuts okay
37:44
who’s
37:45
burns hey hoot hoot biden shouting hurts
37:47
my ears but gotta love he’s at his most
37:49
passionate and telling people you can’t
37:51
have nice things or talking about
37:52
himself
37:55
i don’t see the lie you know it’s
37:58
it’s hard to put into words and i’m wary
38:00
i i don’t want to be seen as
38:02
kind of like knifing in the back or like
38:05
twisting the knifeness in or anything
38:07
i’m not so that i’m rooting against him
38:09
per se but it’s
38:10
when no one else is willing to leverage
38:13
even the most moderate criticism of the
38:14
guy and you see these kind of like
38:17
blatant errors and blatant missteps that
38:19
would be a whole new cycle for any other
38:21
candidate
38:22
i think it forces us to go harder in the
38:25
paint as it were than we might otherwise
38:27
and you know i don’t know man
38:31
um did i skip any others
38:37
uh talk about jay jackson asd yeah we’re
38:39
gonna do it we’re gonna do it
38:41
love you guys too um
38:46
when will the progressive media unite
38:47
and call upon the real base to rise up
38:49
and demand with one
38:50
voice medicare for all
38:53
you know we recorded an episode of bad
38:55
faith today with two comedians who i
38:57
really like and respect but who aren’t
38:59
like big political
39:00
people and i asked them you know
39:04
what do you think is going on like as
39:06
someone who’s more of a normie
39:08
how do you as an outsider how do you
39:09
perceive this in fighting between
39:11
the left and the more moderate ring or
39:13
conservative wing of the democratic
39:14
party
39:15
do you think this is gonna be reflected
39:18
in the comedy that comes out going
39:20
forward are we gonna still just get all
39:21
this trump as bad stuff
39:25
i i don’t know i i think that the people
39:28
are with us they were very receptive
39:29
they liked the ideas like the politics
39:31
but
39:31
it was a star trek theme themed episode
39:33
and we’re talking about expanding
39:35
using star trek and how sci-fi can
39:36
expand the realm of what’s possible what
39:38
people believe are pop
39:39
is possible and it’s like they’re there
39:42
we’ve already done so much of that work
39:43
bernie sanders has already done so much
39:45
of that work the polls are with us like
39:47
they’re with us in so many respects but
39:49
there’s just some spark that’s missing
39:51
and maybe it’s the spark that sarah
39:53
nelson was talking about on on
39:54
thursday’s episode yesterday’s episode
39:57
um that people just really need to
40:00
believe that
40:01
a different kind of action can help that
40:04
you know withholding labor can be the
40:07
thing that gets people’s attention that
40:09
protesting on the streets isn’t as
40:10
effective as protesting in front of the
40:13
homes or offices of the representatives
40:15
who are actually withholding aid
40:17
is more effective you know i don’t know
40:22
um
40:28
brianna what are your thoughts on nina
40:30
writing as a dim should she run as an
40:31
independent
40:32
you know i think that we all understand
40:35
the need
40:36
for a third party and senator turner has
40:38
been very supportive of the people’s
40:40
movement
40:41
it’s a somewhat different question of
40:43
whether or not
40:44
you can be more effective and at this
40:48
i think senator turner’s choice is being
40:50
driven by the fact that the seat in her
40:52
home district is opening up
40:54
and it feels like it would be a missed
40:56
opportunity frankly to not
40:57
go for that it’s not like she randomly
40:59
is you know picking some
41:02
house seat in some random district it is
41:04
her home district it is a seat in
41:06
cleveland and a community
41:07
that she is known in and loved in
41:11
and i think we all understand the value
41:13
of having squad members in the squad
41:15
growing the whole reason we’re even
41:16
having this conversation about
41:18
the jimmy dore theory of how they should
41:20
withhold their votes um
41:22
uh and threaten not to you know make
41:25
nancy pelosi speaker again unless they
41:27
put medicare for all to a floor vote
41:30
is because they have more progressives
41:33
more leftists than they do the margin
41:35
between
41:36
um democrats and republicans right they
41:38
need them to make a majority
41:40
so you know obviously there’s utility to
41:42
having people
41:44
democrats in congress if you’re asking
41:46
why she didn’t just run
41:47
on that seat as an eye
41:50
i don’t know i don’t know it’s an
41:52
interesting question
41:54
um oh how do i do how do i look at this
41:57
does it just take longer than two to
41:59
three election cycles to roll back
42:00
40 years of neolib neocon alliances
42:05
you know that’s a really interesting
42:06
historical question and i’d like to know
42:08
someone who
42:08
is more of a new deal expert to say you
42:11
know
42:12
how do you know what were the steps to
42:14
get from the gilded age to the
42:16
new deal because it wasn’t that long
42:18
chronologically
42:19
um
42:22
and you know i’d like to think that with
42:24
technology and everything we have today
42:26
that things can move a lot more quickly
42:27
than
42:28
they have in the past information can
42:30
spread a lot faster and minds can change
42:31
more quickly
42:32
but maybe that’s my own um self-soothing
42:36
optimism
42:42
hey katie come back okay
42:46
sorry about that so what were we talking
42:48
about what’s
42:49
what did i miss um i answered a question
42:51
about nina turner writing as an
42:53
independent
42:54
and this question about how long it
42:55
takes to get rid of
42:57
entrenched neoliberalism oh
43:00
good question um well
43:03
not sure about that but do we want to
43:05
talk
43:06
uh quickly about the response to this in
43:10
terms of
43:11
yeah let’s let’s talk about the response
43:13
with the aoc thing too
43:15
yes yes yes yes okay so which one should
43:17
we start with let’s start with um
43:19
let’s start with the response of this
43:24
yeah
43:26
this this is huge i mean there’s like
43:28
four or five different reported stories
43:30
that could come out of this right
43:32
everyone cares about georgia there’s
43:33
implications for georgia
43:35
there are obvious racial implications
43:38
the the optics of joe biden yelling at
43:40
some of the most
43:42
you know high-ranking black luminaries
43:44
in america
43:45
is not good um we haven’t even hit some
43:48
of the big ticket
43:50
clips that have kind of been fleshed out
43:52
in the media right now that i’m not aoc
43:54
but i get more done than anybody you
43:55
know
43:56
the whole thing about how you’re going
43:57
to have to work with hispanics because
43:59
there’s more of them than you which is
44:00
obviously factually true but like
44:02
said in a way like there’s like a
44:04
zero-sum game and like
44:06
racial uh fisticuffs that have to be
44:09
done to see who can come out on top
44:11
um and obviously the whole executive
44:13
order thing which we’ve touched on
44:15
but in spite of all of that
44:18
the the kind of black media
44:21
intelligentsia has been
44:22
largely silent on this today the
44:26
media elite media class in its entirety
44:28
has been largely silent on this today
44:30
into this one that they’ve spoken up and
44:31
has been
44:32
in defense of joe biden and critical of
44:36
the intercept
44:37
casting aspersions on the integrity of
44:39
the outlet
44:41
um and then april ryan in particular
44:44
who is one of the most known white house
44:46
reporters
44:48
we have right who has gotten a lot of
44:50
attention because she’s been the
44:52
lightning rod for some racist comments
44:53
from donald trump
44:55
which is not good she doesn’t deserve
44:57
that
44:58
um but she came out today
45:01
um are we gonna throw the tweet up or
45:03
should i just read it
45:04
yeah can you read it um okay or i can
45:08
find it let me see i can read it
45:09
yeah i dm’ed it to you
45:12
so she said um uh
45:15
so someone tweeted um she said
45:19
it someone said it uh who tweeted that
45:22
well first first first we had an
45:24
inclination that she was
45:26
opposed to it um because she tweeted
45:28
[Music]
45:31
the question is who uh who leaked this
45:34
and why i’m also told by a rights leader
45:36
in that meeting that joe biden was being
45:37
more passionate than defensive
45:39
can’t wait to hear what the biden camp
45:41
has to say this is a reporter right so
45:43
her
45:44
her first instinct is to say oh here are
45:46
all these stories i should report out
45:47
let me follow up on whether any of this
45:49
stuff is true
45:50
let me use what i learned from this
45:51
meeting to press the campaign on what
45:53
its picks are actually going to be
45:55
and does it have concerns about how tom
45:57
bilsick is going to fly in georgia and
45:59
doesn’t have a plan
46:00
to meet those concerns off at the pass
46:02
and you know can i talk to these
46:04
civil rights leaders and see if they had
46:06
concerns and that’s why maybe one of
46:08
them leaked it
46:09
you know like who knows no her
46:12
her her her investigative instinct just
46:15
to say
46:16
can’t wait to see what the biting cam
46:17
has to say that’s embarrassing it’s so
46:20
embarrassing
46:21
and so then most kind of hilariously
46:25
um a leftist laid some bait
46:28
[Laughter]
46:30
so um this guy edward
46:33
angueso who writes for jacobin
46:36
apparently
46:38
i’m not familiar with him but i’m
46:39
definitely gonna do a deep dive now
46:40
because
46:41
he quote tweeted april ryan and wrote it
46:43
is irresponsible and sets a dangerous
46:45
precedent for journalists covering the
46:46
incoming administration to be able to
46:48
use secretly recorded conversations in
46:50
their stories
46:51
to parse out biden’s thoughts and
46:52
anticipate his policy commitments you
46:54
must go through proper channels
46:56
so he was being tongue-in-cheek this was
46:58
an ironic tweet
46:59
okay phew he was if this is my mom
47:03
he’s great he writes that um the new
47:06
republic
47:06
okay he seems but april ryan first
47:10
responded to him
47:11
agreed and then seemed to like want to
47:14
highlight
47:15
this take even more because she agreed
47:16
with it so hard
47:18
um and ended up quote tweeting it
47:22
um and saying you hit the nail on the
47:23
head this is not good at all
47:25
she felt emboldened by someone who is
47:27
being sarcastic
47:29
so not only is that the idea that a
47:32
journalist shouldn’t be interested in
47:34
information that is a utility to the
47:37
public and in the public interest
47:39
coming out this isn’t i mean obviously
47:40
i’m supportive
47:42
of you know wikileaks and
47:46
edward snowden and julian assange and
47:48
like i’m supportive of those which are
47:50
even closer to the line but this is just
47:53
this is not espionage okay like this
47:55
isn’t someone defending trump that way
47:58
exactly and here’s the thing april ryan
48:01
has been on the other side of this issue
48:03
so um she
48:07
uh has tweeted you know cnn obtains
48:09
trump cohen tape
48:10
like eagerly awaiting the results of
48:12
that um she tweeted who is eagerly
48:14
waiting to hear the audio tapes of
48:15
melania trump talking about
48:17
talking bad about the real donald trump
48:19
ivanka trump and the rest of his adult
48:20
children
48:21
i’m ready exclamation point
48:25
well you want to i have to again i have
48:28
a
48:29
a friend visiting me uh this actually
48:31
sounds much more exciting than it is
48:34
there’s a little person here and um
48:37
so i have to get off but we could
48:38
continue this and this for us bree this
48:40
was still almost an hour for us this is
48:42
like
48:42
it’s like five minutes for most people
48:44
we were gonna we were like do a 15 to 30
48:46
minute thing
48:47
but you’re right i’m sorry right i do
48:50
this with you all the time but you want
48:51
to stay on you can just
48:52
you can hijack the stream i can let you
48:54
what happens when i
48:55
how do i control it uh well that’s the
48:58
thing you can’t really control it but i
48:59
can check in
49:00
you can go with for as long as you want
49:01
you just no that’s okay i would actually
49:03
do is just figure out twitch
49:05
i’ll figure it out
49:09
anyway thank you for indulging me i was
49:10
like all my things we never talked about
49:12
the asc justin jackson thing
49:15
let’s come back to it tomorrow yeah okay
49:17
so guys i’m gonna we’ll tweet out when
49:18
tomorrow but when it’s not an empty
49:20
promise we’re gonna make
49:21
time tomorrow okay right
49:25
yeah we’ll get into this more loudly and
49:26
more yeah we can have our
49:28
we can we can make it brunch time do
49:30
drinks or we’ll do the evening who are
49:31
we going right
49:32
brunch at this rate i don’t know that
49:34
i’m going to be awake before 2
49:35
p.m it’s a saturday yeah saturday that’s
49:38
the day we’re supposed to
49:40
i mean both of those days i think
49:41
depending on the population
49:43
yeah our labor forefathers worked hard
49:45
for that saturday
49:47
um okay so guys everyone follow brie
49:50
you’ll see us
49:51
sometime tomorrow we’ll put a link in
49:52
this to when we’re doing it
49:55
and uh yeah this is fun
49:58
to do an emergency reaction so everyone
50:00
else is on notice and
50:01
maybe we’ll get a little yeah we’ll do a
50:02
little discussion about aoc
50:05
tomorrow yeah notice progress squad
50:08
squad goals squad goals
50:12
all right good night katie good night
50:16
everyone

Saagar Enjeti: We DESERVE Biden On Rogan, But We Won’t Get It. Here’s Why

Saagar Enjeti analyzes whether the presidential debates will be free and fair between President Trump and Joe Biden, as mainstream reporters fail to ask Biden tough questions.

Is This the Secret to Selling Joe Biden?

Young people aren’t particularly excited about Joe Biden. One strategy to change their mind? Convince them that they’re voting for a big, progressive crew.

Ben Wessel was nervous. Joe Biden had just won the Democratic nomination, and the youth-focused super PAC Wessel runs, NextGen America, now had to figure out how to persuade the generation of TikTok and trigger warnings to turn out to vote for a 77-year-old man best known for record players and malarkey.

Much of NextGen’s staff supported Senators Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. Wessel, who is 31 and a D.C. native, liked Warren best too. “There are so many people on our staff who were like, I don’t know if he was in my top three,” Wessel told me recently.

And Wessel’s worries about Biden weren’t just personal. Although the former vice president still leads Donald Trump in the polls overall, Trump backers are more likely to “strongly support” Trump than Biden backers are to strongly support Biden. Biden supporters said they were not as “excited to vote” for him as Trump supporters were to vote for Trump, nor are they as “enthusiastic” about their candidate, according to polls done in recent months. This problem is especially pronounced among young people, whose votes Sanders, not Biden, won in every state on Super Tuesday. Today, Biden’s net favorability rating is negative among voters under 35, according to a recent CNN analysis. (In response to a request for comment about these figures, Biden campaign spokesperson Jamal Brown said, “Poll after poll shows Joe Biden leading the race, and our campaign will be working hard to win every vote.”)

Biden’s victory in the primary launched a period of mourning and freaking out among young people, Wessel said. A dozen years ago, Barack Obama seemed like liberal Millennials’ cool college friend—slightly older, much smarter, potentially willing to get you weed. Millennials had a crush on Obama. He was our new bicycle. And Joe Biden—well, he was also there!

All of this left Wessel with a problem, given that his job is to get Democrats into office, regardless of whether they are cool. In May, NextGen announced it planned to spend $45 million to help Biden beat Trump.

To see what messages might resonate with young voters, Wessel and his colleagues turned to Global Strategy Group, a polling firm they often work with. In April, the firm began conducting focus groups through Zoom with young Democrats. Andrew Baumann, a senior vice president with Global Strategy Group, would moderate the discussion among a handful of voters, with Wessel and his colleagues messaging him on the side, suggesting ideas to test out.

At first, these focus groups only underscored Biden’s enthusiasm problem. In the words of one Hispanic Gen Z participant, “I honestly don’t know enough about Biden to really form an opinion.”

Some of the messages Baumann tried on the group didn’t perform very well. For instance, participants didn’t like being told that Trump is so bad, they simply must vote for Biden, even if they don’t particularly want to. “They needed positive reasons to do it,” Baumann told me. The “You must stop Trump” strategy didn’t work.

The message that did work would spring from Wessel’s mind, but he doesn’t remember exactly how it came to him. Wessel had been talking with Gretchen Barton, a researcher at Olson Zaltman, a firm that studies what makes consumers and voters tick. Barton told him about a study she did of young voters. These voters, she found, “had a rebellious hope in the face of overwhelming odds.” When asked to describe what voting felt like, one participant imagined Katniss Everdeen, from the Hunger Games franchise. “I feel like we’re living in this kind of dystopia where elites are using us as pawns for their own benefit, and people at the bottom are suffering,” the participant told Barton and her colleagues. “I identify with Katniss trying to give the people in my community a little more dignity and love and trying to make the world a better place. I feel like voting is an expression of this.”

Wessel thought back to the image of Katniss—a heroic underdog trying to defeat evil. He thought about how Millennials have been kicked in the butt by

  • 9/11,
  • Hurricane Katrina,
  • the Iraq War,
  • the Great Recession, and
  • the pandemic and the current economic collapse.

He thought about how, though many of the young people he knew liked Sanders better than Biden, others preferred Andrew Yang, or Warren, or Beto O’Rourke. “It was pretty all over the place,” he said. There wasn’t just one person they expected to swoop in and save them.

He came up with what NextGen now calls “the Democratic Avengers,” after the Marvel movie featuring an ensemble of superheroes. The idea is that by voting for Biden, you’re voting not just for him; you’re voting for all of the Democrats—many of them cool and hip!—that Biden will have in his orbit. Biden might borrow policies from Warren, for example, or have Sanders as an adviser. “If he is elected, it won’t just be Joe Biden,” this message reads. “Biden has pledged to build an administration filled with progressive leaders, experts, and activists from inside and outside of politics.”

This idea went over really well, according to Wessel and Baumann. In the focus groups, one white Millennial said “the saving grace of this (potential) presidency would be his crew. If he actually chooses true progressives and activists, I will be surprised but happy to admit I misjudged him.”

The Democratic Avengers has since become one of the group’s most popular messages about Biden, according to its surveys, and the idea has made its way into ads. One features action-movie music, a comic-book font, and various Democrats stylized as cartoon characters. Bernie Sanders, it reads, “supports a $15 minimum wage!” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is “champion of [the] Green New Deal!” Joe Biden, meanwhile, “is building the team that we want to run things!” A similar theme has also made its way into an ad by Students for [Ed] Markey, another old guy who recently triumphed somewhat unexpectedly. Recently, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert made a loving send-up with a similar Avengers theme.

The prospects of the Avengers strategy are still murky. The Avengers-style ad by NextGen had 145 views on YouTube when I last played it. Young voters’ cynicism about Biden and other traditional politicians might extend to a PAC’s dorky attempt to convince them that senators are superheroes.

I pointed out to Wessel that this message is exactly what conservative pundits say about a potential Biden presidency: that the aging moderate will be easily manipulated by more radical Democrats, such as Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders. He didn’t seem concerned. “The Republican Party saying it’s the Biden-Bernie agenda? Yeah, that’s totally motivating for our voters,” he said. “Keep it up.”

It was motivating for one woman I interviewed who was depressed about Biden’s nomination. Gemma Rose Cohen, a 33-year-old from San Francisco, told me it wasn’t that she didn’t like Biden, “just that I felt like he was from the last generation of Democrats.” She was still planning to vote for him, but she felt a little meh about it. But when I told her that Biden might surround himself with other, more leftist Democrats, she sounded more enthusiastic. “He’s already incorporating those progressive ideas and working with people that I love,” she said.

If the Avengers model works beyond focus groups and the occasional YouTube video, it could suggest that young people, or at least Democrats, or at least young Democrats, are actually more interested in liberal policies than they are in charismatic candidates. Rather than get fired up about Biden’s personality, 20-somethings might thrill to a coterie of technocrats who have concrete proposals to change the way the country works. Brent Cohen, the executive director of Generation Progress, another youth-voting advocacy group, told me that he’s not worried about the Biden enthusiasm gap because “young people vote based on policy.” And he and other Democratic strategists believe that when it comes to policy, the choice for young voters is clear.