tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg November 10, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
he won a tony for his portrayal of a transgender rock star in "hedwig and the angry inch." he has finished a nine-season run as barney stinson on the cbs comedy, "how i met your mother." he stars in david finch's film "gone girl." and, he was chosen as the host for the 2015 oscars. if that is not enough, he wants you to know more so he has a book. it is called "neil patrick harris: choose your own autobiography." i am pleased to have him here at this table for the first time. welcome. >> thank you, sir. >> you know what i say. i say it is never too young to write your autobiography. >> do you think? i think you're totally wrong in there. i had been asked a couple years back to write a memoir. i think because i was a child actor that for some reason in people think that if you're suddenly un-adult at all and were a child actor that means you have something to say. i never really frankly thought i had much to say. i still feel like my life doesn't have -- i don't have a and great story. >> it's just beginning so to speak. >> ish.
i've lived a lot of chapters. i think that was the thing i keyed in on. i didn't have a big arc to tell, but i have lots of really, extraordinarily interesting things i have gotten to do. whether it be act as a kid or whitewater rafting in costa rica, having kids through surrogacy, or hosting the tonys. like.they are all kind of -- what the opening of that is like. they are have disparate of elements and i thought it'd be fun to find a structure. >> people like to read that stuff.
they want to know what it's like to be you. >> they want to know what you're doing, but unfortunately in the world we live in with the media, you have to answer yourself in a nine-second sound bite that makes it clean for like the next question. i'm really only getting to talk about things, nice things. weddings and "hedwig" in a short span of time. with the book, it allows you to be me. it is written in second person. >> why did you do that? >> i love -- do you know those choose your own adventure books? >> yes. >> that's what it's based on. i love the young adult nature of it made it seem less filled with pathos, poignancy and drama, and made it more fun to read. through that, you can decide if you want to read more about my childhood, you can go to this page. and if you are bored and jump ahead and see barney stinson, you can go to that page. >> you can go to where you want to go. that is why you called it choose your own autobiography. >> there are magic tricks i do in middle. there are drink recipes. secret pages. >> did david proofread it? >> he did. there were a couple of pages where his annotated notes are hand written in the book so you can see how he runs my life. >> is it easy to write a book about your life? did you talk to a tape recorder, sit down at a computer? >> i had the great help of another writer who is super funny -- he wrote for "the daily show."
he wrote, "not just for gays anymore." he was able to help fill these smaller stories i had with life and comedy. it has a very playful tone and a very interesting sense of humor, i hope. i think through the comedy, you can come up with dramatic, interesting stories. i think the idea of coming out in the media or having children with a same-sex couple -- the minutia of that, if you told a whole book of that, it would get kind of droll. if there are comedy elements throughout, i think it may have a little bit more impact. >> does that mean you thought of this book a a performance? >> a little bit of a variety show. [laughter] >> which is your favorite thing to do, i assume. >> i always loved the variety acts in the circus. the circus would come to albuquerque at the state fair. we would go there once a year and i'd would go straight to the
midway and straight to the carnies and the freaks. i wanted to see the two-headed woman and a guy named popeye that had eyes and he would go like this and his eyes would pop out of their sockets and go back in. i loved it. >> we had that same thing in north carolina. >> it was very politically incorrect to like that for a good 10 or 15 years. i still am into the magic and the juggling. i'm a fan of somebody who has extraordinary skill and they can do it and be anonymous and go about their lives. i love that. like watching cirque du soleil. >> what was it about magic that first attracted you? was it that? here's a way you can have a certain skill you can keep with
you? >> it was more about how it was done and appreciating there were secrets and trying to figure out with my left brain, right brain -- how it could possibly done and appreciating with the other side of my brain that it still seems magical. watching somebody float on stage -- you know that's not possible. levitation. you figure there must be a couple of ways. somebody else would destroy that. david copperfield had a whole special where he levitated himself with people all around. you go how in the world is that possibly done? i like to know secrets of how things work. >> i assume there was nothing you were not prepared to include as long as you thought it was interesting because it seems to me easy for you to talk about coming out and talk about -- no? >> i would say no. those were the ones that were trickier. coming out, that involves
attraction and stories about how i knew i was gay. i don't want to go into too much detail. >> because? >> i want to be authentic in the telling of my story, but i don't want it to seem the reason i am including these instances -- >> you never had a thought about not including it, did you? >> absolutely. there were things i did not include. >> like what? what kind of stuff? >> well, i worked with a lot of interesting, eclectic people. there were certainly people i worked with and had less than enjoyable experiences. i thought i could include those. >> professionals? >> sure. i've been doing this for more than 20 years. i didn't want to just include the nasty -- >> you didn't want to hurt people. >> that is not my sense of humor. that is not my style. even during "how i met your mother," that was a conversation we actively had. there were a couple of episodes in a row where the jokes were like you are so embarrassing you are single that you are this and the audience will laugh. you are so fat, it is this. it was this hitting below the belt comedy and we looked at each other and said that is not
our style. we want to be smart funny. i don't want to look at you and decide what i can attack. >> i was reading that one of the characters that you portrayed -- i cannot remember which one -- it was supposed be much more mean-spirited than it came out but somebody said you brought such a niceness to it that you are core essence was there and they modified the character. >> that's good. i think i have that as a little trump card. >> you are likable. >> people feel like they know me because they grew up -- i'm accessible. they grew up watching me through the years. i think if i get to play dark or have secrets or something, it is a little more unexpected because you have seen me hosting a lot of shows where i say come on in. >> what is the art of that -- hosting the tonys? >> the tonys to me feels more like being p.t. barnum. you are really the master of ceremonies.
>> you are very good at that. >> i love respecting people and showing an audience specific people doing amazing things. the ed sullivan in me would love to host a variety show. so, i can say like 25 things. now, a guy eating a light bulb. and now, a cat on a tight rope. >> we hope more than that. >> and, now roller skaters on a -- >> you could've been ed sullivan. would you like to do a show like that every sunday night at 8:00? >> i am enamored by the fact that people for generations have studied some singlular thing and are the best in the world at and it would be great to show it off. the tonys are great because it is live and it's massive amounts of performances. all performances that have been done night after night after night. you are assured a quality level that is hard to achieve on the other award shows because those are one-offs.
those are writing an original song, getting choreographers and getting people to perform with you and crossing your fingers that the one time you do it, it goes well. the tonys is -- and now this amazing number from this show. they are so happy to be performing and they kill it. you do a comedy bit and you give an award and they are so happy being on stage and then another amazing number. it's a really fun night >> was the oscars selecting you a surprise? >> it was a surprise. totally. >> did somebody call you up and say they wanted you to host the oscars or did somebody ask you if you are interested? >> i got a call and the producers wanted to meet with me to talk about it which i assumed meant i was the choice. >> did you have that conversation? >> yes, we went and sat. i didn't want to say yes to it because i had a lot of questions to them. as to how creatively it worked. you don't want to sign on for something and be told exactly what to do and you feel like -- >> that is not me. >> right. i want to show that it is me. i assumed that with the academy and a show of that scale there would be a lot more hurdles and
a lot more people saying no, you cannot do that. >> because -- i am not surprised about the selection at all. in reading about you, several people call you johnny carson-esque. you know? that was something johnny carson did really well. hosting the oscars. >> i love carson. i got to be on his show. i take that as a grand compliment. >> it was a certain sense of being able to make it look easy that he had and you have. they can't see you working. >> thanks. i feel it is its own unique skill and have gotten to do it a fair amount. i also don't really feel like i have a great amount to prove in
that world. like i want it to go well for the show. i am not trying to land a development deal by killing it at the oscars. you know what i mean? i am not saying i'm not looking for work but i am just saying i don't have an internal agenda for that. i want that night to go incredibly well for the people that are winning, the people that don't win, the people watching at home. i want it to seem like we are honoring movies. you can sit back and enjoy it all and not be nervous that something will go wrong. >> we want to see you have a good time, the audience does. really look like you are loving it. >> not only me, but all the presenters and the people coming up to accept their award. you don't want to see people coming up and shaking. >> take a look at this. this is a clip from this year's tony awards and here he is performing a number from "hedwig and the angry inch." take a look. ♪
>> ♪ gets me dripping like a honey comb if you've got sugar for me, bring it home it's called a car wash i'm blooming i'm blooming like a blitzkreig the sweetest taste i've known oh, yeah if you've got some sugar, bring it home come on, sugar daddy, bring it home i want to pick [indiscernible] every animal, every page in the catalogue ♪ [laughter] >> that's talent. >> when you have the heels on and the microphone, you do what you got to do. a girl's got to make a living.
>> how long did it take you to make that work? >> a little while. i have never done drag or put on a wig or done the heels ever. i had a feeling of urgency. -- strangely, i had an aversion to it. i thought it would emasculate me in some way. it was a challenge to see how much i can own that feminine side of myself. it took a month or two of just walking in a circle in heels and figuring out how your hips move different. guys walk straight, girls walk curvy. >> did you have help in deciding that? >> much help. the director, our choreographer, through the previous hedwigs. the wardrobe -- all of it. it was a real collaboration.
>> might we see something like that at the beginning of the oscars? [laughter] >> i had lost 21 pounds to do the gig. i looked super emaciated. i will be a little more polished. you have to do a award show to honor the medium. for the emmys, you want to be very tv-centric and for the tonys, you want to be as theater-centric as you can. >> are you happiest on stage? >> probably. there is something pure about the stage experience. i think the redundancy of it gets to be tiring. when it goes really great for 20 performances and the matinee, they are less interested. it is hard to get out of your own head and think is it me, is it them, did i lose it? >> is it different every night or us just occasionally? >> it is always different every night. you cannot lock it. you have to be in the same world every show, but you have to be able to listen to the other person, to the audience and augment based on what is happening in that performance. starting from a ending at zed,
having the audience applaud for it is a great completion. when you are making a movie or a tv show or even hosting, it is part and parcel. you do a scene here and there. they edit together later and you get to see later how it came across the end. when you're on stage, you are performing it all the way through and then seeing how it went. that is fun. >> this is an opening number of the tony awards as well. this was the biggest opening number the tonys have ever done. here it is. >> ♪ it's bigger, that's right, it's bigger i'm walking down the aisle with some newsies in tow it is bigger, so much bigger you'll get a newsie in your gift bag when you go ♪ 150 of those punks check this out. can i have my tom hooper close-up, please? [laughter]
on broadway, we don't need extreme close-ups to prove we are singing live. [applause] we sing live eight shows a week. check it. ♪ at the end of the day, we are gathered together to honor the best and the brightest and tomorrow, the fashion police will report on your dress and who wore it the tightest if you win, tell your manager, dad and mom thanks hi to your kids, husband, wife and just for the hell of it, tom hanks nothing is better than seeing a veteran get an ovation or seeing a beginner win on their first nomination or the kid in the middle of nowhere who is sitting there waiting for tony performances and flipping along. we might reassure that kid and there is something to spur that kid. i promise you all of us up here
tonight -- we were that kid. and now, we are bigger. tonight is bigger, so let's being the biggest spectacle we know cinderella, sister stella, the tempo is accelerating rock of ages, chicago, christmas story sharing stages mama mia, lion king, jersey boys kathy lee's a broadway lyricist so anything can happen it's bigger welcome to our bigger, better best of broadway tonys show ♪ >> that, my friend, is talent. >> i still get goosebumps watching that. i have to catch my breath watching that. >> how fast you were speaking, how exhausting you would be afterwards and how did you have
the breath control to do all of that because you are singing at the same time at a rapid rate. >> that was three quarters of the way through the number where you started watching. breath control was difficult. >> was it built in where you breathe? >> it was sort of built in where i breathe; when i ran up and say can i have my close-up and they came in, the audience laughed longer than i thought. i was so glad and you can see me realize i could take a breath. i got one more extra breath in, but i was hoping i do not screw up the teleprompter read. the words were scrolling so fast on the tv screen i was looking at. >> tell me about "hedwig." someone described it as a flip of a girl. >> it is this wonderful, punk rock, monologuish musical about an east german woman who was
trying to get out of east germany when the wall was up. met a guy. he was a boy at that time and fell in love. the only way he could escape was to marry this guy who was an american and the only way through that to prove they were husband and wife was to have a sex change operation. it was botched and left him with an angry inch. he got to america and things went sour. they got divorced and she left following this guy that she's obsessed with who is a rock star. she sings her story and monologues her story about trying to figure out what oneness is. what defines completion. she is seeking her other half and caught in this loop, in this track like a broken record. if she only is with this other person who is successful, if they are only together and only loved her, they would be complete. she follows that even though it
is not meant to be. through the story and things that happened, she realizes that you need oneness. everyone is fractured. everyone is broken. nobody is completely whole. when you are ok with that, you are complete in who you are. it is a great message. >> you said it was more than learning and blocking in memory. it was total absorption. >> it really had to be in every way. i have never done anything like it. i doubt i will again. it was 45 minutes of makeup. it transformed me into a different gender. all the way through talking, bra, everything. i was a woman. i had to have a german accent and i had to sing in a rock style that was unfamiliar to me. i had to do the show with a lot of variables. i talked to the audience. people would come in late, talk back. the different people i would reference -- fondle. it was a very wild rock show.
but because of that, you had to be immersed in it, you couldn't go into autopilot because every night was different. sometimes people were not liking it. you had to decide how to win them over. >> how do you win them over? >> that is a good question. normally i would try tricks i know well like smiling at the end of a line to let them know it is ok or pausing a little longer so the audience thinks something wrong so when i say my line, i can win them back. with hedwing, i found it interesting because she is not supposed to be successful. the conceit of the show is that she is not super-talented, otherwise she would be a big
star. i had to embrace the idea that i would do improv that did not work and keep on going knowing it was not working because i thought it was most effective for the character to be in a place of failure. i ended up feeling very egg on my face sometimes. i had to control myself to not try and fight my way out of it to stay in this place of it's not going well. that is good for the show and the part. that was fun to do. >> who is barney? >> barney stinson was the fifth wheel, best friend, constantly single bachelor, bro of ted, the protagonist in "how i met your mother." he exemplified why you should not be with anyone when the show first started. ted was the center of the show. he had marshall and lily who were best friends and they were a couple. then he had barney who was always single. he was always like ted, you don't want to get married. look at all those chicks and bang them all. >> let's take a look at this. this is when barney answers to a high council of players after he picks up a girl from the east side. >> gentlemen, for your attendance here, our deepest thanks. i am sad to say the council has a poacher in its ranks. barney picked up a girl outside
of his territory. the eastside is tuxedo charlie's turf. >> he's mad. >> true story. the agreement of 2004 quite clearly defines fifth avenue to be our hunting grounds dividing lines. your westside college girls are not the slip i park my boat in. you should know my eastside debutantes are quite for -- verboten. >> members of the council, bros, nobody wants a war. i have not forgotten the agreement of 2004. a bonehead move -- defendant, i am not able. but, bros, have i not been a bro to each bro at this table? pickle jar bob will give some validation. remember that young tourist who was looking for penn station? she came in from boston and had a wicked good in bed look. i gave her bad directions and she ended up in red hook. >> shut up, barney. >> let's not get excited >> tuxedo charlie is not the
only one here who has been slighted. you told her you were jeter in your crux to lie upon her? impersonating yankees is my thing -- have you no honor? >> please, let's not blow this to smithereens. council recognizes captain bill, our bro from queens. >> you all know me and you all respect my game. i dress up like a pilot and meet girls at baggage claim. on my longest subway ride from 61st and woodside, i came up with a plan to keep you on each other's good side. barney, you have wronged these two. you must grant them each a westside hottie of their choosing. >> you're kidding. that is the settlement? that is really silly. >> gentlemen, what say you? >> i want robin. >> i want lily. >> that was the episode where they wanted to do it all as a nursery rhyme. the entire episode was told in rhyme because marshall was telling a story to his son.
i got to play five people at one time which is whorish and fantastic. >> "gone girl" -- that kind of stretch -- it's a serious part. >> i'm all kinds of reasons why he should not have cast me. for some reason david did. i was currently on a tv show. i host as a personality. i'm openly gay and he is asking me to play in a real serious movie the second love interest of the lead woman. i was very appreciative i got the opportunity and frankly i am uniquely able to do that. i am so glad he wanted me to be able to try and present myself that way. >> did he say why he wanted you? >> i think he said what you mentioned earlier that there is an accessibility to me. in this particular role, he did not come across super antagonistically as just a bad guy, but you felt comfortable with me taking amy into this world that is actually kind of a jail cell. that i am not just --
>> here's the scene from "gone girl." >> mr. dunn. >> i know you. i saw you at the volunteers center. >> i wanted to help. >> i hope you don't mind me coming by. i got your address from this letter you wrote to my wife. >> amy and i believe in the lost art of letter writing. >> i always wondered why you kept in touch after together. you were together for two years in boarding school, right? >> she was my first serious girlfriend. >> why did you break up? >> that is a strange question. >> did you treat her bad? did you cheat on her? >> that's a rude question. >> amy told me that she dumped you and you completely unraveled. you stalked her, you threatened her, you attempted suicide in her bed and were institutionalized.
>> your wife is missing and you came all this way to tell me this? >> i think there may be another side of the story. mr. collins. >> all right. >> i was so still. it's so weird to watch that after having watched the tony awards number. my skin was firing on all cylinders. >> nice dialogue. >> ben affleck is great. i just wanted to service the material as best as i could. i was so appreciative that i got to have a meeting with david fincher, a director i've legitimately admired since i was a kid. when i got cast on the movie, i got to realize i was spending more time with them and i wanted to make sure i was not the weak link. >> do you have any idea where you will be five years from now? >> the kids will be nine. >> you will be living in harlem and a townhouse that will be completed by then. >> here's hoping. five years from now --
>> will you have become a movie star? >> i don't know. >> have you done your last television series? >> i don't want to declare. i would say -- >> you are going through a thing where you are deciding on what you might say and what will be the repercussions of saying this versus that. >> i'm trying to weigh out if i wanted to be a movie star and what that would mean and what if i wanted to be on another tv show and what that would be in five years. i am loving i'm able to do dabbles of it all. i am not sure if the movie star life is in line with having a family and two kids right now because you end up being uprooted to go to prague for four months and i don't know if i really want to do that. i want to spend time with my kids during these years of their lives. i could see providing entertainment for people in a consistent level.
i don't know if that means i am playing myself or if i am playing a different part, but i am loving new york. in a perfect world in five years, i am ed sullivan. >> i thought you'd say that. >> once a week, get to show everyone amazing performances on broadway, magicians, this great restaurant we went to. a taste maker where i get to be p.t. barnum. >> maybe the landscape has changed that all the wise people who command television know why it has not been tried. because it is offered in so different ways. >> there is way more channels. the attention span of people is very small. when you used to watch ed sullivan or any of those variety shows, the magician could do eight minutes. he would come out in his tails and make his cane vanish. he would produce cards, a dove. people will change the channel now. you have to do a show now where they do their best 2.5 minutes and then next.
instead of six acts, you have 26 acts just like "america's got talent." that is why it is so successful now. you meet the person, they do the best thing, talk about it and move on. that is the difference now. >> the name of television -- move on. >> there it is. "move on" with nph. >> the song was so great because there was not much on. you knew elvis on ed sullivan. >> that would be great. but, we live in a world of youtube where if you want to see the main thing, you click play and you see a guy get kicked in the nuts and you move on to the next video. [laughter] you don't need to see the buildup. >> that's why we have espn. >> exactly.
you want to see the 20 greatest plays. bang, bang. >> these are the 10 best highlights of sunday night. although, they still watch a lot of football. >> the future of variety would have to be like that. you cannot juggle three anymore. you have it come out and juggle seven. >> neil patrick harris, congratulations on this and everything. thank you for taking this time with us. >> it has been a great pleasure. >> back in a moment. stay with us. ♪
>> this is al hunt on the story. we are joined tonight by white house chief of staff denis mcdonough. thank you so much for being with us. >> it's a pleasure being with you, al. >> meeting, luncheon today at the white house with congressional leaders. give us a sense of the mood and the content. >> good meeting.
it's always reassuring to see after such a hard-fought fight on the election all the leaders get together. people still tired after a long campaign season. it was a good, candid conversation. there was good amount of debate covering a range of issues from ebola and the request for additional assistance -- ongoing efforts both overseas and here at home. our ongoing effort against isil. will also, focus on things we can get done right here now in the lame-duck session to include questions about immigration as you would rightly expect. >> let's take up some of those. i was told by people there that the conversations about ebola and isil were really constructive. people felt there was a certain agreement on a lot of that. is that fair to say? >> i would say it was very will substantive. there was obviously agreement about the enormity of the threat of isil and the challenges of ebola. there was no kind of specific ask for anything specific out of the meeting. we're obviously going to need help on funding and funding not only for ebola, but also this enhanced train, advise and equip effort with the iraqis. it looked to me those things were received positively, but i don't want to jump to any conclusions.
they will take a hard look at it. >> these same participants said on immigration, it was pretty contentious -- boehner and senator john thune said don't do any executive action and the president shot right back and said i am the president. >> well, i'm not going to characterize what anyone else said because i have a rule on that. i'd be happy to tell you what the president thinks and said. president said we have been looking at this question of immigration reform for quite some time. the understanding is the system is broken and even going back to early days of the bush administration and even the clinton administration, the steps that are required to fix the immigration system are quite clear. that recipe has been set for more than a decade. the question on the president's mind is what is stopping us from getting that done? he ought to take executive action if congress cannot get things done legislative and that should serve as a catalyst to get congress to take this seriously and get it done. if congress passes law, that will supersede any executive action. >> mitch mcconnell and john boehner say it will do just the opposite. they claim it will poison the well and ensure nothing will happen.
>> it will be a shame. 1987 when president reagan paroled over 200,000 nicaraguans to stay in this country because of the ongoing strife, everybody uniformly supported that. democrats in the congress at the time who controlled the congress, did not walk from corporation with president reagan. they worked with the administration on any number of things. as the president said the other day, there will be things in which we agree and we should get to work and get those things done. there will be things in which we
disagree and debate and see if there is a place to come to common ground. >> no question he will do it before christmas? some executive action. >> he said we will get this done before the end of the year if congress does not act. >> you don't expect congress to act? >> i didn't get that impression today. >> were there any other issues -- any discussions of common ground or trade? >> of those are examples of things the president said we should be able to work together on. he leaves tomorrow night for his trip to asia and where we are working on the transpacific partnership. it is a very important opportunity to not only open new markets but create very important, better paying jobs here at home. that is one thing they talked about and should continue to work on. there is back-and-forth on other issues like iran which is one that came up. as i said already on iraq. there are not a much focus on the next congress as this
congress and the things they need to get done now. continuing resolution that expires in early december, getting that renewed so we can fund the government. >> and what do you think realistically can be achieved in a lame-duck? you want to continue the resolution. what else can you get done? >> we would like to get the ebola money so we can make sure we are getting hospitals prepared to handle it. it looks pretty good. prepared to handle it as effectively as new york did. i think they did a really good job with the case of dr. spencer. another thing we think we should get progress on is this question of a new authorization for the use of military force in iraq.
the president said let's get some progress on that. the speaker indicated we will not necessarily get that done this year but we will take it up next year. they will get started on the debate which is just as important. we have a bunch of nominations that are pending up in the senate right now. we would like to see those get done. we are running the government day in and day out. we have over 220 nominees that are stalled. these are career ambassadors, foreign service officers that have dedicated their lives to this country. they should be confirmed. >> there were reports that you selected a group of prosecutors to be the new attorney general. can you confirm that? >> i don't have any personnel news to make for you but will me get an attorney general nominee -- >> i wouldn't mind if you did. >> there is a lot of other news
as well. >> after electoral projections which i think you acknowledged, the white house has often made some dramatic personnel changes. george w. bush fired donald rumsfeld. ronald reagan appointed new chiefs of staff. denis mcdonough will stay there. will there be any shakeup? >> i don't know about shakeup. we all serve as a pleasure and we are honored to be able to report to duty their everyday. i don't want to front run. i will tell you about the president's view and how i try to operationalize. the way i see the white house is you have no general manager for a professional football team in this country that would say let's keep somebody in here for two years and then after the end, we will refresh. we have to be refreshing, bringing in new blood and talent and ideas every day. when we find it, we will bring it in. that is why when i got this job i started to recruit.
he has been a good help to us. over the course of the last several months, we had added bob mcdonald. we have added julain castro. we have added megan smith as the chief technology officer. very senior technology group from google. we will add people like ron klain and john allen. >> new voices but a continuum as opposed to any sort of sense that ok, we had an election and we have to make bigger changes. >> if the bigger changes now are us firing somebody, i don't see anything like that. >> who was going to be the main contact in this differing environment with leader mcconnell? will it be vice president biden, denis mcdonough? >> the president will work very closely with the leader. you have heard things he said other day about his interactions with him over the course of time. they had a very good interaction today before the lunch.
they will continue to build that. the leader has been very gracious to me over the course of my time in this job. he has developed a good working relationship with the vice president. the chief contact will be the president. >> will the vice president play in a different role? >> nobody knows the senate better than the vice president. he has a long, enduring and very good relationships of there. it is a huge asset for us and they are working that out. >> i take it that means he will play a more active role? >> i think he is a huge asset for us.
>> let me ask you about the announcement you made today about doubling the forces in iraq. and giving them or latitude to go beyond baghdad and asking for 5.5 million more dollars. it is not huge numbers but if this is a long slide, some critics will say this is mission creek. this is just the beginning. >> i have heard some of those critics already. we wanted to go what the number big enough that will be transparent even though we may not use all those numbers. we want to be transparent and make clear to the american public what we are doing in this continuation of the train, advise and assist effort. we are trying to spread this out geographically to ensure that iraqi military units, security forces who are spread out kind of west and north of baghdad and even a little northeast of baghdad, have the ability to draw on experienced u.s. trainers. this is a mission. it is more of our guys doing it in a wider array of places. we don't see this being something we will have to expand
again in the near term. that is why we wanted to go with the big enough number to give us the opportunity for the american people to see what we are doing and to have the headroom to do it. >> do you think there is any prospect of these forces fighting in combat? >> no. they will defend themselves if they need to. that is one of the things the president has made clear. we will make sure the guys have the protection. we know to win this thing, our effort to degrade and ultimately destroy isil, the iraqi security forces have to be the boots on the ground to take this fight. our guys will make sure they are forward at places so they can train them, make sure they are ready and have the wherewithal to take this fight to isil themselves. this is their battle to win, not ours.
>> how is isil today compared to three months ago? >> there was a good story yesterday. i think they are frustrated. they have had to change their tactics and their practices. as a result, we have been able to slow the momentum. this effort to train more isf will be our effort now to allow the iraqis to not only have stop nets but to push them back. >> do we have them on the run yet? >> i wouldn't use that phrase but it is not necessarily -- in minnesota, we don't use that phrase. here is what i do know what we are doing. we are getting within their cycle of making decisions. we are limiting their freedom of action. we have an iraqi government that is now representative of all the
factions in iraq which should then make the isf that much more capable. as isil has their morale the graded, the freedom of movement limited, we should see the isf get more capable and them being able to push them back. >> you said iran came up today. what was said? >> there are a lot of questions as we approach the end of the interim agreement on the 24th of this month. a lot of questions in progress about what is happening next. is a going to be a deal or not? what is the role of congress? the president was very candid saying we will be consulting very closely with congress. we have made pretty clear to the -- we and the international partners on this, including the russians and chinese, have made clear to the iranians what we expect them to do to be able to rejoin the community of nations. it is not clear if they are ready to take those steps. if they do, we will work closer with congress and if we don't, we will work closer with congress as well. >> let's get to the possible deal in a moment but your friend john mccain and lindsey graham
blasted the president with reports towards a private letter towards the supreme leader of iran. saying it will hurt our alliances with other arab states. >> yes. the coalition we have built with the other arab states is very strong. over 60 nations. we are taking the effort squarely to isil. i will not get into any questions of correspondence -- >> you saw the statement. >> i watch what they say very closely. i admire them both. i listen to them privately and watch them publicly as well. they have hard-earned thoughts and hard-earned feelings about -- i have not talked to them but i know how they feel about the iranians. we are try to communicate to them over the course of the last
several years. the kind of things we want to make clear to the iranians are that they should not miss understand our clarity of purpose when we have that in the region. we want to make sure they don't think they can get away with trying to threaten our people. we want to make clear what we expect to them in something like the nuclear deal. i am not going to get into whether or not there is any correspondence here. frankly, we don't have much to coordinate with these guys on anyway, but if we have to pass a message to them, we are very clear about our interests.
>> there are only 2.5 weeks before the november 24 deadline. it seems it will be difficult to make that deadline. please, correct me if i am wrong. do you think you are at least close enough so that can be reasonably extended for a while? >> i don't want to let -- i think a deadline has a way of focusing one's mind and i hope that is what this deadline serves to do. the president has said we have made good progress and the iranians have lived up to their end of the bargain so far. we have basically seen their program frozen and in many key respects pushed backwards which is undoubtedly in our interest. we have no evidence that they have cheated. we don't believe they have cheated which is important. that is observation one. we are still pretty far apart on some key questions. you are right. 2.5 weeks is not that long.
we are sure we are right in this effort. the president has motivation to make sure iran does not develop nuclear weapons. >> are you optimistic that you will get there? >> i am very realistic about this. we just want to see on the dotted line whether they do the right thing. >> you mentioned of the role the congress might play earlier. if you get a deal and we know that is a huge if -- if you get a deal, could, would the president suspend the sanctions against the iranians? they could do that himself and see if they abide by it and then take it to congress for some kind of permanent change? >> in the event of a deal, how
the sanctions would then be taken up would be a key part of any deal. let's remember that we have both multilateral sanctions that would require multilateral efforts up in new york at the united nations and we have our bilateral sanctions which we have worked with congress over the course of time. those will need congress to help us. we need congress to help us take those up. the sequence of all those things will be something we work closely with congress on. but, congress will have to be a full partner. >> you could do some perhaps initially and then later have congress do a more comprehensive -- >> i want to try to avoid leaving you with any impression that we know precisely what steps are going to be taken first and second.
this will be the subject of ongoing negotiations because any deal will have to be verifiable. sanction relief will occur when we verifiably see the iranians living up to this. >> you have good news today about the economy. a of jobs were added last month. you look at 40% below where the jobless rate was four years ago. the stock market up over 50%. deficit cut almost in a third. on election day, polls show 70% of americans have a negative view of where the economy is. is that in part a failure of the white house? that perception versus reality? >> more than 200,000 jobs a month over nine months. we have the starkest job growth since the 1990's. the unemployment rate is really -- people still feel very anxious about their own prospects. having come to a very deep recession, the deepest recession since the great depression, people are just now clawing back because of their hard work and because of some of the good decisions we have made along the way. the depth of the recession will obviously impact people's views. this economy for some time has been stuck on low wages. that is something we will have to address by really getting at training, apprenticeships, trade deals like the one we were talking about before so we have good, strong manufacturing
>> live from pier 3 in san francisco, welcome to "bloomberg west," where we cover innovation, technology, and the future of business. i'm corey johnson. emily chang, who i am not, will join us shortly. first, a check of your bloomberg top headlines. senator john mccain says u.s. military strategy should be driven by threats to the nation security, not the budget. he was talking about the fight against the islamic state. >> you need a lot of you are going to defeat isis, and the