Exposing 'The Price of Politics'
Author Bob Woodward on his new book
- Duration 7:56
- Date Sep 11, 2012
Author Bob Woodward on his new book
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On this program a first we begin tonight with a -- cable exclusive Bob what Bob Woodward is the author of a brand new book that has all of Washington talking which as usual practice.
It's called the price of politics and it takes you the reader behind closed doors.
-- it into the god negotiating rooms of the capital in the White House and it exposes how the president tried but ultimately failed to restore the American economy.
-- this book raises some very serious questions about the president's ability to look beyond politics and lead the nation during times of great consequence.
And here to talk about that much more as the man himself the author of the price of politics available in bookstores everywhere associate editor of the Washington Post Bob Woodward is back are you good to see -- thank -- I read the book cover to cover.
I want every American read -- the -- for this reason and it should make everybody angry at the level of dysfunction.
At a time you you say the American people never had any real knowledge.
Of just how severe this -- But it I mean it was the kind of crisis that took.
The country's economy to the cliff President Obama when I interviewed him for the book said they were -- -- way.
From having five billion dollars in the US treasury that seeing it now that's half -- -- federal spending.
If you think about it to let that happen not just the president -- the Republicans.
Send it could have sent shock waves through.
The country could've done things to the American economy that Tim Geithner the Treasury Secretary said.
Would've been worse than the 1930s.
Hey I mean it's so dysfunctional it's far worse than we ever said.
Here's what's what really bothers me in all of this you know we have 25 million on an underemployed Americans right now one in six Americans Bob and and poverty.
He -- 49.
Million Americans on food stamps in this country where -- really.
But and fives nearly six trillion at the end of Obama's first term in new -- this is not a game anymore.
This what this is about -- serious crisis -- I think we've faced since the Great Depression.
And getting worse and this was last year and they fixed it by postponing it appears everything no cuts no -- increases no.
And sensible alignment of the federal budget in so we are going to in December -- January be back in the same.
And the federal government is going to be in the position where there's no congressional authorization.
To pay its bills now this is you well know.
Federal government that borrows a trillion dollars a year.
We have got I -- being more in the book gives you went through it it's Tim Geithner to his credit.
Who's running around saying -- we have got to fix this we -- going to do.
Potentially something that will.
And last for generations it's going to screw up everything everything when you get into the details you realize.
That it could have been fixed -- that.
Quite frankly I think Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan would have sit down and said we can't let this -- Legal and it detail in the book about that how Ronald Reagan member of -- I don't know if you mentioned Tip O'Neill but he talked about his liaisons to congress.
And and both he and Bill Clinton on the phone late at night and relationships with members of congress that's that's not the case of President Obama -- -- and indeed it's not -- you know the White House was -- no this is so my conclusion.
It's in the book it's -- Summers who was the economics are for Obama in the White House for the first two years in Somers says.
-- Obama has no.
Feeling for the game of politics no sense of the joy of the game.
And in fact does not like these people up in congress and so.
He's cut off he's not got the -- of phone call relationship.
Personal relationship -- can.
Call somebody up.
In say look let's let's do this let's.
Let's do a deal within -- it larger interest of the holes on the on the brink with -- we're gonna have what five billion in the in the treasury which is billion -- -- 1000000000005 billion Mosul basically out of money.
Yes dry yet arrived on thinnest part so well that -- -- -- up to the brink here the president doesn't have a good relationship with congress.
Behind the scenes you describe him meeting with us the speaker of the house John Boehner the -- -- retton Murillo cigarettes summit would have a PS because Boehner said you know -- here Obama -- is.
Having -- and -- -- correct.
And of course Boehner saving him or low in the cigarette and I I sold -- but they'd they'd stay trying to get this.
Deal together the two into their credit to their -- I will agree with that to their credit.
Except I wouldn't like that as a conservative.
Because -- was agreeing to do something that the Tea Party would have had a fit about.
Which is raising what 800 billion dollars in taxes and an Obama comes back once 400 billion more the last minute yes and of course.
Gainers argument is that it's 800 billion over ten years in new revenue through tax reform which of course is -- Ronald Reagan did didn't 1986.
And actually lowered the income tax rate down to 28%.
But it's been done and it was one way to two.
Get out of this but you're absolutely right.
It's the president comes and -- says oh we need.
400 billion more in some form or -- or -- his position is he offered it paid John.
Please the last eight minutes so -- kind of at the last minute and when you get into the nitty gritty details.
Wonder well why would he do that he did it because six senators came out with a new plan in David -- Who is this senior political advisor in the White House.
The man who was Obama's 2008 campaign manager says a wait a minute this is a watershed moment.
This will give Boehner more maneuvering room -- some Republicans -- calling for more.
Revenue and the congressional liaison in the White House tells the president look if you don't do this.
You are going to be.
Seeing is the weakest president in all of -- and -- and in in that kind of environment the president impulsively goes out endorses.
The plane and and Boehner.
Is trying but it didn't go ahead.
Don't infuriated me is as all this is going on as you described in the book the president's fixation.
On one issue.
That this can't come up again before the election.
Actually think the one thing that might have helped if it did come up before the election because that it would be self serving at that moment that they might have the pressure.
Of getting something done and I thought that bothered me that it was -- thinking about electoral politics -- about on the brink -- bank.
Groups -- and well that's one side of the argument the other side of the argument is can you imagine having this kind of a crisis in the middle of the presidential campaign.
Might get something done well but you know -- -- Linda last year of getting something done was postponing everything to 2013.
They did nothing.
Not this painful.
At that time period in the that's the story here for the American people -- -- and the courage the ability to navigate through these tough times and they pushed it all up to Tony thirteen.
And you know what the CBO's projecting a very bad year next year I've recent government forces yeah BA did recession it's -- the most predictable economic crisis.