tv Profile of Senator Mitch Mc Connell CSPAN February 18, 2019 11:11pm-12:35am EST
this week of four profiles of congressional leaders. tonight a look at the career of senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. after that, road to the white house coverage with presidential candidate senator kamala hair nis a town hall meeting this afternoon in portsmouth, new hampshire. then presidential historian douglas brinkley talks about the history of presidents and their relationship with congress. >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning american conservative magazine editor james antel discusses the political fallout from the border debate and president trump's re-election prospects. arms control association's darrell kimball previews next week's north korea summit and the future of the i.n.s. treaty between the united states and russia. and the chicago tribune columnist terrence page discusses news of the day. be sure to watch c-span's
"washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion. >> one once told president george w. bush that you were excited over a certain vote and he said, really? how can you tell? so why so few words? senator mcconnell: well i'm not afraid of talking but i've found i learn more by listening. frequently i start out listening and i think about what i want to say before i do it. think it's fair to say that i'm in the era of trump probably very different approach to commenting on public affairs. host: that was mitch mcconnell in 2016 talking about his memoir "the long game" and he is now the longest serving republican congressional leader in history and our goal over the next hour or so is to look
at his senate career and his rise to leadership and power. to help us do that we'll use the c-span video archives. we're also going to talk with two long-time congressional watchers, sahil kapur with bloomberg news and paul kane with "the washington post." mr. kane, you've been around this town almost as long as mitch mcconnell has. what is his reputation in the political class? >> i think what he was just telling senator alexander there is thumbs up his sort of demeanor and the way he is always thinking and sometimes people who interview with him, if the old-timers from mcconnell's staff really like him they will get the final word of advice will be when you meet the boss, if he's just staring, don't feel like you need to fill in the air. don't feel like you need to keep talking. he is just processing and thinking what his next phrase
will be. he is a strategic tactician. you look at any sort of profile of him and strat jane tactics are the first thing that always come to mind. and extreme discipline. we'll get into this probably at some point but he grew up with polio and battled polio throughout his childhood. sort of conquering that, later in life physically and then sort of mentally, mcconnell always sort of practiced what he called the long game. he was always thinking about the next step ahead and the step after that and the step after that because as a child he literally had to in order to get around a house to get around a school and that sort of is his hallmark now all these years later here in the capitol. host: sahil kapur what do you want to add? mr. kapur: mcconnell is a
politician who certainly thinks much more than he speaks. he has the reputation of being a master of the senate. that is accurate. he is a master at shaping how people view politics. he understands the legislative tools and levers people use. my favorite example is his efforts in the obama white house, during the obama white house to normalize the legislative filibuster on pieces of legislation. it was used before that. he wasn't the first to do it but he took it to a level not seen before and he is the reason we say things like it takes 60 votes to pass a bill in the senate. before that it remained the case but not every piece of legislation. mcconnell understood by mounting that level of obstruction to the obama agenda it would convey to the voters that something extraordinary was happening and it would split the democratic base because they wouldn't be able to pass as many pieces of legislation and would unite his party against them. that is an enormous impact on what barack obama was able to do. host: what is it like to cover him on capitol hill? mr. kapur: it is complex in the sense he never speaks in hallways as much as other
senators do. he is extremely disciplined about that. wuven the rare exceptions to that is when the roy moore news broke, serious allegations of him being a child molester, senator mcconnell gave a speech on the floor. he walked off and spoke to some reporters and said this is reprehensible. we cannot accept this. i cannot support this man. so it's a challenge because he, like we discussed, he thinks much more than he speaks and he doesn't always let on what he is thinking. mr. kane: people like chuck schumer, nancy pelosi, before that going back to trent lott, tom daschle, very expressive, would like to try to tell you what they were thinking. try to sort of work the press to spin what -- what we would be reporting on. mcconnell, extreme discipline i'm talking about at a breakfast with reporters in 2010, i believe. he called himself the master of the unexpressed thought.
people were trying to get him to weigh in on something, asking it five different ways. and he has this way of -- he use today say at the risk of being redundant i have nothing further to add. and he would -- he would never -- he rarely steps in it. with his own words. so that makes it difficult. you don't get the sort of stream of consciousness that you get on donald trump's twitter feed. mcconnell has probably never once -- i'd be surprised if he ever even opened the twitter app. he just -- but you know in the and t is all about winning he is just trying to win. he wants to win senate seats. he wants every vote is calculated at that at a pure partisan power play. and there are very few figures up there that are that
partisan, that powerful, that will execute in the fashion that he does. mr. kapur: and the rare moments where he slips, he speaks a little too much or is talking about that strategy going on, the famous example was again early in the obama years where he told the reporter our single biggest priority is to make barack obama a one-term president, now it doesn't surprise any of us a senate republican leader would want to defeat the democratic incumbent but the way he said it, our number one priority struck people as a little calloused. reel sni it is not the economy? not to make things bet sner it is to defeat this man? in his mind and his private meetings none of this comes as news to anybody but sometimes it translates differently. host: we will get into that a little later in this hour. i'm going to turn to you at that point when we play a little video and have you look at that. but one of the things we want to do is expose you to the
c-span video library. mitch mcconnell has been on c-span since 1986 when we started covering the senate and eep -- even prior to that when we still had cameras out and about town. we'll show you the first time mitch mcconnell appeared in the c-span video archives. he was elected in 1984. this is from 1985. senator mcconnell actually the people of kentucky elected me for one simple reason, to come to washington and cut out wasteful spending. i'm bringing lots of good kentucky cost saving ideas here to washington. for example, take education. i've introduced a bill to teach driver education and sex education in the same car. [laughter]
i guess you noticed richard vickrey plans to ride the space shuttle. they are thinking of making a movie out of it calling it the far right stuff. tommy robinson led off and we were talking down behind the podium before we came up. and he was -- we knew he'd be the first of the six freshmen to make our comedy debuts tonight. and just before tommy started speaking he gathered all six of us together and he said in all seriousness, the bombing begins in five minutes. thank you. host: we were watching that, paul kane, a couple chuck ls from both of you. mr. kane: first of all that is just an incredibly young version of mitch mcconnell that, you know, we just don't see anymore. to this day. and it's that really dry humor
and the really dry delivery that is still the same. that hasn't changed at all. you know, his version of a joke is not with a lot of emotion or anything, you know, it is not a chris farley movie with mitch mcconnell. but, you know, it's always been about politics right down to the far right stuff. host: sahil kapur, the fact that mitch mcconnell was kind of protesting against the very conservative republicans at that point, still has that issue today? mr. kapur: he came up with a moderate republican. he was a proponent of earmarks and spending, bringing home projects for your district. and he had a talent for doing it. kentucky is a state that has generally relied on federal government subsidies and he recognized that is part of his role. what struck me about that clip, his body language. he seems so much looser than he
seems today. he smiled so much more than i see him smiling today. usually today it is at a press conference when he is unhappy at a question he got. it conveys something different today than it seemed like he was doing there. mr. kane: the fact that he was out and about in washington, does that surprise you? not particularly. he knew what it was to be at the top of his career the way he is he has to be somewhat public. he has to be there. there are things he has to go to. the way he was making jokes though i haven't seen in quite sometime. you wouldn't find him at an event like that now today being the sort of emcee joking around because he has already reached his pinnacle. this is the job he always wanted since basically high school or college. but as a totally -- i totally can see him as a young senator first year in office thinking all right. these are the things that get me ahead. i am playing the long game. i'm going to appear, make jokes, everybody is going to
laugh and that is something that will put me on the path. host: most senators look in the mir -- mr. kapur: most senators look in the mirror and see a president. senator mcconnell never aspired to the white house. host: he brought up a conservative activist still working today and that is not the only time he has spoken up against the so-called far right. here he is on the floor in 1986 going against a very popular president reagan. sen. mcconnell: as we all know mr. president on june 12, 1986 the south african government imposed sweeping military regulations which granted broad powers to question and detain individuals. since june 12, 1986 the government has acknowledged detaining close to 10,000 south africans. independent monitoring groups estimate more than 12,000 people have actually been detained. but i'm not here to talk about these statistics as horrifying
as they may be. i'd like to take a moment of my colleagues' time to discuss just one victim of apartheid and the state of emergency regulations. the resolution i have introduced concerns the case of . abby ncomo, a well respected community leader. my colleagues probably wonder why i would bring the case to their attention. as has he distinguished himself in some unusual way? the answer is no. the fact of the matter is dr. ncomo is very much like many other community leaders who advocate including the black majority in the south african political process and in its power. it's just these voices of moderation that the south african government has chosen to harass, detain, and put on trial. dr. ncomo is representative of thousands of black citizens and leaders who advocated dialogue with the government and the government has responded with repression. host: sahil kapur he voted to
override president reagan's veto of south african sanctions. mr. kapur: mcconnell had a complicated relationship with the conservative flank of his conference. he is not always trusted in part because of his history as a moderate, his affect. he doesn't have the partisan brawler over the attitude some of them i think would like. he is also a deal maker. he is the person who has swooped in at many moments to try to break issues on issues like government funding and the debt limit. one thing inthe previous democratic white house saw him as is someone who would always deliver when he cut a deal. they did not think the same way of the republican speaker of the house at that time. mcconnell has done things someone in his position who aspires to be the leader of the senate would have to do and that has led to some disrust among the more ideological members of his party that this is a person who is going to be fighting every step of the way for their goals. mr. kane: he also in this particular issue with south
africa he has had this long standing concern about certain parts of the country -- certain been f the world -- and on the side of freedom. burma is -- myanmar is another example of that where he has historically been a real advocate for freedom fighters there. and he has been on the foreign operations subcommittee, the appropriations committee, and been the top republican along with pat leahy the top democrat for decades now. and he has tried to use that perch to try to influence global events and it has been one of those few areas of policy that he truly does care about. you'll see him, we'll talk about campaign finance reform and his fights against that, judges, and some of these global freedom issues. mr. kapur: we saw that just
recently when he brought up a resolution that very clearly rebuked the trump white house as it was considering a troop withdrawal. the president had more democratic supporters than republicans on that resolution as mcconnell was very forceful about not quickly withdrawing troops. host: is it common for a majority leader or a minority leader of the senate to serve on committees as well? mr. kane: as we taped today, he actually appeared at the senate rules committee because they were debating internal senate rules of real mcconnell love that he has and it was about judicial confirmations and speeding up judicial and the executive branch confirmations. it's rare for them to actually show up at a committee hearing to actually maintain their spot. usually, you know, i think harry reid removed himself from all of the committees and sort of held a marker at the
appropriations committee in case he ever wanted to go back to his committees. mcconnell has actually stayed on them. host: he is on the agriculture committee. mr. kane: senate rules. i think it is those three. usually the leader gives up that spot because he or she is looking to get a vote from somebody and it's that favor of, ok. peter, i really need you to vote for me on this and i've decided i am going to give up my seat on this important committee and magically you might get appointed to the committee. that is usually what happens. mcconnell has maintained his spot there and in some degree people think that if eventually he wins another term and serves another six years that maybe some day he would be sort of leader emeritus and go back to his committees the way robert byrd did when he left as majority leader at the end of 1988 but stuck around the senate another 20, 21 years. host: paul kane mentioned the
judiciary is something mitch mcconnell is very interested in. this goes back to 1986. you'll recognize supreme court chief justice william rehnquist. this was at his hearing for chief justice. sen. mcconnell: thank you mr. chairman. being in the same committee hearing room with justice rehnquist gives me a sense of dejavu. we've been here before. going back to 1969 when he was an assistant to a senator on this committee and you were assistant attorney general. we were working on what some would argue were rather controversial supreme court nominations in those days leading to an article that i published in the kentucky law journal with which i believe justice rehnquist is familiar in which i outlined my own views about what the appropriate criteria are for the senate and advising and consenting to nominations for
the supreme court. mr. chairman, i'd like to ask unanimous consent that that be included in the record at this point. host: sahil kapur that hearing probably happened before you were born and mitch mcconnell is still working on judicial issues. mr. kapur: he certainly is. there is very little senator mcconnell cares more about than the federal judiciary. in president trump's first two years he shepherded 84 judges including two supreme court justices through the senate to confirmation for lifetime appointed roles. this is part and parcel of his philosophy playing the long game. there is no more effective way to play the long game than lifetime appointed judges who are almost all of them by the way i looked in their 40's and 50's. these were helped with -- picked with 'vetting help from the federal society a group of conservative lawyers and advocates who pick people who will fight for their causes and their causes twhan. most notably campaign finance
that mcconnell has fought for and the work he's done on the judiciary is going to protect the issues he has fought the hardest for. mr. kane: and what he was mentioning there is his origination for this, his passion for this issue, was born as his first two years as senate staffer working for republican cook of kentucky. he was hired out of a university of kentucky law school to work on the supreme court confirmations and there re three in a row in 1968, 1969, 1970 that were very contentious and withdrawn and that he became the fulcrum of mcconnell's thinking of how he cared so much about the judiciary. the way those nominations tilted, you end up with a slightly more moderate supreme
court because of the way those unfolded. and mcconnell knows how much that impacted the arc of history from justice powell and then again in the mid 1980's you ended up with kennedy instead of bork. these are seemingly individual moments but he views them as sort of the pivot points of judicial history. mr. kane: if i can add briefly the single most important one in the arc of mcconnell's career that he saw was 2003 and 2010. mcconnell vs. f.e.c. he lelled the charge in the courts that laid the ground work for citizens united. all it took was the replacement of one justice sandra day o'connor with a more conservative justice. pretty much the same case. one flip and he got his wish. host: we'll talk about campaign finance in just a few minutes. a little more on the judiciary first. march 16, 2016. senator mcconnell rolls the
dice. sen. mcconnell: it is the president's constitutional right to nominate a supreme court justice and the senate's constitutional right to act as a check on a president and withhold its consent. the american people may well elect a president who decides to nominate judge garland for senate consideration. the next president may also nominate somebody very different. either way, our view is this. give the people a voice in filling this vacancy. host: paul kane of "the washington post" what did we just see? mr. kane: that is really the defining moment of mcconnell's career in many ways, tying together everything from his work as a senate staffer to his views of the f.e.c. cases and the federal courts. this is mcconnell at a moment
when it looked like there would be a democratic president. everybody threw it out most of 2016 thought we were going to have a democratic president, that donald trump is just not going to win. and mcconnell takes the death of justice scalia and that was in february of 2016, while on vacation with his wife over presidents' day weekend, hardly able to connect with members of his own caucus, issues a statement saying, no matter who the nominee is we will not even consider this person and the next president will get to make the choice. people were floored. he tried to find different, various precedents throughout history and there really were none for a senate majority leader to make this decision. and he made it unilaterally. eventually his caucus came around and supported him. all but i think susan collins
of maine. i think everybody else was ok with it. but it was a major roll of the dice doubling, tripling down on everything. and it was a bank shot that will continue to reverberate throughout history because it galvanized the evangelical voters later that summer and that fall and helped elect donald trump, helped save the senate republican majority, and d to the confirmation of 84, 84 federal judges the first two years including two supreme court justices one of whom brett kavanaugh nomination incredibly, you know, controversial, but that moment began with mitch mcconnell on his own deciding no one is even going to get a hearing. mr. kane: i had asked senator mcconnell in december, 2017 when i interviewed him what, if the tax law was about to pass that same day was the proudest
achievement of his career. he said no. neil gorsuch on the federal courts were. the tax law is a close second. many senate majority leaders have cut taxes. none have done what he did on a supreme court seat. basically held it open for 10 months. very clearly for the purpose of preserving an ideological balance on the supreme court. if it had gone rapidly there would have been a five member democratic appointed majority on the court and put a lot of issues to the left. mcconnell rolled the dice. this is the contradiction within him. he is known as an institutionalist in many ways but is not afraid to do away with institutional norms and step on them quite clearly in a case like this. if it advances an ideological goal that he hopes dearly. host: you interviewed him in december of 2017. did he acknowledge his dice roll in a sense on the merrick garland nomination? mr. kane: he said that he, essentially the proudest achievement of his career was neil gorsuch in the federal
courts which we can parce that and know what he is talking about, the decision to allow that seat to remain open. you know, and when he talks about the courts he talks about it in a very matter of fact way. mr. kapur: not an ideological way. we want judges who will simply look at the law and not be legislators from the bench. he doesn't get into these things publicly but we know that the kinds of judges he worked to put on the bench are going to protect issues like campaign finance, gun rights, in many cases oppose abortion rights. this is a long game he is playing. mr. kane: he sees this as the part where, of the long game where he strategically has to map out everything and sees where is it going to end? he looks at congress right now and sees it as just a dysfunctional broken place in which they're not going to get to a big, sweeping immigration border security bill. they're not going to get the --
these big campaign finance issues done. so where are they going to end up? where are they going to be decided in the courts? so in his mindset, it's i'm going to skip to the last chapter. i am going to try to get as many judges confirmed so that as congress continues to just deadlock on every issue the final judgment is going to come in the federal courts and he wants to shift the balance of the federal courts to try to get the outcome his way. mr. kapur: in 2013 when democrats triggered the neutral option to eliminate the filibuster for most judges except the supreme court, one of the -- the back story is often forgotten which is mcconnell and his senate republicans led a blockade of three d.c. circuit court of appeals vacancies and essentially said we are not going to consider anybody for those three vacancies. it was an extraordinary thing that hadn't been done before. the idea a senate minority would prevent a sitting president and senate majority
from abe -- appointing anybody to vacancies. the d.c. circuit has an enormous influence over decisions by the president of the united states, executive action on things like climate change and regulations. mcconnell rolled that dice there. and that led to all of the history we're talking about. we didn't mention the fact mcconnell moved the supreme court filibuster to confirm neil gorsuch. which he did. host: sahil kapur of bloomberg news mentioned the so-called nuclear option. i want to show awe little video from 2013 and 2016. >> the rule change will make cloture for all nominations other than the supreme court. sen. mcconnell: if you want to play games, set yet another precedent that you'll no doubt come to regret, say to my friends on the other side of the aisle you'll forget this and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think. therefore i raise the point of
order. >> three and a half years later republicans extend this change to include supreme court nominations. host: so sahil kapur, that was former majority leader harry reid and mitch mcconnell triggering the nuclear option. mr. kapur: right. and i think some democrats very much do regret the move they made in 2013 given that, yes, it helped them fill some vacancies but arguably made it easier for mcconnell to do what he did with the supreme court there. now it's not clear, there are many democrats convinced otherwise that mcconnell would not have hesitated to make this move even if democrats didn't. this is one of the main things harry lped then leader reid get the votes within his own conference to trigger the option in the first place. there was not a done deal. many older, long-time members like dianne feinstein and patrick leahy who were highly skeptical of that. but they were eventually sold on the democratic argument that mcconnell is not going to do --
he'll do what he is going to do regardless of what we do now. we may as well get the vacancies. mr. kane: the 2013 vote, the final people to come onboard or harry reid weren't old line conservatives. it was leahy, feinstein, barbara boxer in particular because at that point they knew n the supreme court they had a pro roe v. wade majority. and they felt like they wanted to protect that, you know, abortion rights. most importantly. what changes mcconnell's mind is always when there is a deliverable, big outcome. he can sit there in 2013 and say this is the worst thing you could ever do to the united states senate. he said that history would remember harry reid as the worst majority leader ever because they were unilaterally changing the senate rules on a party line vote.
and, you know, three and a half years later is he willing to do the same thing? yes. if he gets a big end result out of it. that is a supreme court justice. now you see people clamoring for him to change the senate rules and do away with the legislative filibuster in order just to pass really small potatoes things in his mind and he is not going to do that. if there is ever a moment where there is a really big outcome in eliminating the legislative filibuster gets him there he'll consider it. host: sahil kapur do you agree with paul kane that this decision will live on in history? mr. kapur: yes i do. i fully agree with paul about mcconnell on the legislative filibuster. he recognizes that in the long haul it is going to be more useful to conservatives than it is to liberals. when democrats come to power if there was no filibuster they would be freer, more likely,
have an easier time passing big pieces of legislation like medicare for all or pursuing some form of a green new deal. not saying that is likely. even 50 votes won't be easy for democrats. but with the legislative filibuster it is essentially impossible to do. he doesn't want to be the majority leader that paved the way for that. toward the last few weeks of the previous session there was clamor on the right as paul is suggesting to eliminate the legislative filibuster and pass $5.7 billion in president trump's wall. they're not going to do that. mr. kane: yeah. for a wall that could crumble in 10 or 20 years. no. you would only do it for something really big and important like the supreme court justices and tilting the balance to the right for possibly a generation. mr. kapur: in a world where republicans came to full power and said we want to do big, transformative things like pass the budget former speaker paul ryan had put out in the obama years. if there is something big like that and the legislative filibuster was the one thing
standing in the way i could see a scenario where mcconnell seriously considers it. the legislative filibuster didn't stand in the way of much for the republicans. host: we talked a little bit about the judiciary another issue senator mcconnell is known for is campaign finance. it's not just recently he has talked about this. here he is on a c-span call-in show in 1987 talking about this issue. sen. mcconnell: it is rather interesting. the senate some would argue has been engaged in extensive debate and i have been leading that extensive debate in opposition to public funded senate races. and spending fliments senate races. >> on s 2 i've been watching the senate proceedings and i find it interesting nobody has mentioned or made any comment about lobbyists who many americans perceive as the real influence peddlers in the country. and i'd like to know the
senator's thoughts on that. sen. mcconnell: they certainly are a large core in this town. i might say in the defense of some of them they do provide a if you eful service know how to use a lobbyist. if you just simply allow them to make their argument. many times they are a very useful part of the process provided you use them as information sources and don't allow them to have special influence with you. the lobbyists per se are not necessarily bad and of course re required to register. host: paul kane defending money in campaign and lobbyists is not usually a winning formula. mr. kane: no it's not but this is something that mcconnell learned early on is that everybody said they were for some form of campaign finance reform but a lot of people secretly didn't want campaign finance reform or lobbying in ethics rules and he stood up
early and became the guy who would be the face holding up and fighting against what are seemingly really popular things. and it was a way to earn credit from his colleagues who would publicly go after the cameras and say, yes. we should limit campaign donations and we should do away with lobbyists and then behind closed doors they would pat mcconnell on the back and say thank you for taking a bullet for ounce this. this is like you're doing great work. keep going. keep going. and it was a really big early play for him in which he learned how to get, win friends, win influence, gain influence, and he also really learned some of the tactics of how to gum up the senate hrough this fight. host: sahil kapur did all the republicans pat him on the back for saying what he was saying? mr. kapur: certainly not.
one republican by the name of john mccain had fought to limit campaign finance. and mccain won this battle in congress despite the tooth and nail objections of mitch mcconnell. he teamed wup a democrat named russ feingold, passed what is known as the mccain/feingold bill. mcconnell could not win that battle in the arena of public opinion today something like 90% to 10% of americans believe there is too much money in politics. this is not a winning issue foryou go to the voters with it. mcconnell went to court and found a first amendment objection. he lost the first time but eventually won. he had the last laugh on this issue. mr. kane: he played the long game. host: here he is in 2016 and then we'll show you a little bit from 2017 but here he is talking about his relationship and this issue with john mccain. >> mccain/feingold was the law that passed. you fought it in the supreme court and you lost. that was a pretty acrimonious battle. what's your relationship with john mccain today?
sen. mcconnell: very close. that is a good example of being able to have a knock down drag out fight over issues. it went on for about 10 years. it was really pretty stressful between us. at various points. but, you know, i called him up the day after he won in the supreme court actualwin of my worst days of my life was watching a republican house and republican senate and republican president pass a bill that i was opposed to. and deeply opposed to. i was the plaintiff and lost in the supreme court. called him up the day after and said congratulations, john. you won i lost. we found that there were a lot of other things we could work on together and we'd become fast friends and allies on abwhole variety of different things and that is the way the enate ought to work.
>> mr. portman. mr. reid. hverages sahil kapur that second piece of video was from july 28, 2017. did you recognize it? mr. kapur: i did. i was up late in the senate that evening covering that vote. t was an extraordinary moment. throughout the evening he would keep a little bit tight lipped and didn't specifically reveal how he would vote but he gave signals that he was highly skeptical and he was not happy with this going forward. you saw that. you saw the clip. we saw the thumbs down and heard the gas. we saw mitch mcconnell standing there arms crossed. stone faced. this was a huge defeat from mcconnell and just a few days later he was asked about john mccain who was diagnosed with cancer and didn't know how long he lived. mcconnell said he was one of the finest men he ever served
with. >> an incredibly complex journey. mcconnell gets to the senate in january, 1985. mccain comes along two years later and their friendship is -- goes back and forth. there are rivalries. mccain was pushing campaign finance in the late 1990's and the 2002 campaign finance reform when it passed. they had fights that ended up with each other accusing one another of breaking the law. mccain has essentially accused mcconnell was saying we can't push campaign finance reform because of big tobacco donations. they have fought bitterly. they got better after mccain's presidential campaign especially. he came back to the senate and he fully engaged in work but then that thumbs down moment mcconnell, i watched that video over and over. i was there that night also but from above you can't quite see exactly what is going on.
host: you could hear the gasp though. >> we could. mcconnell stood there without moving for 12, arms folded. e hardly even blinked. yet they still had some sort of friendship. it's like two people from different sides of a war that years later, you know, can sort of bond over a common fight. mcconnell did go and visit mccain at the sedona ranch a couple months before he passed quiet -- ort of barely talked about it afterwards but went and spent a couple hours with the senator and his wife as he only had a couple months left to live. >> that was the obama care repeal. so obvious to us who follow it closely but that was one of the top priorities of that congress. and president trump.
host: what does it tell you about senator mcconnell that he went out to see john mccain playing the long game again? >> one of the things congressional leaders like to use and speaker pelosi is don't fight every battle as if it is your last one. mcconnell knows this. he lives by this rule because there will be some members who oppose him on some things. he will need them for other things. he voted no on ac repeal, supplied an important yes vote on the tax law a few months later. that was an important achievement for mcconnell. if he had alienated him, if he had gone guns blazing against this man and rue ruined that relationship it would have been harder on other things including the judges. host: you brought up nancy pelosi. she and senator mcconnell have been around this town for a long time. what is their relationship? mr. kapur: a fascinating duality between the two because they've both been leaders of their respective caucuses for
more than a decade. they are both masters of legislative maneuvering, both ery strategic individuals. i'm not sure there is much after relationsh beyond -- they both like making deals and funding the government and bringing home their priorities but the relationship appears to be strictly business. i don't sense any warmth there. they also know the respect of the other --. mr. kane: their early, formative years are they have some issues that are of similarity. speaker pelosi's early years on the appropriations committee she also did a lot of fighting on sort of international freedom issues. particularly related to china and so they have sort of similar areas that they -- areas of concern but they're just really different people. baltimore-san a
francisco liberal italian, one of six kids from baltimore who goes on to have five kids, a mother of five out in san francisco. cconnell is just this quiet, unexpressive, always calculating person. you rarely get to see what is turning. you just know the wheels are turning. with pelosi she's talking. she is thinking about it out oud. they're different peam. their relationship and how it goes the next two years will go toward a lot of issues potentially some serious constitutional clashes. host: they are two of the big four legislative leaders with kevin mccarthy and chuck schumer who we have also profiled. itch mcconnell's rise to power
he chaired the ethics committee, was majority leader, longest serving republican congressional leader now in history. he began as the national republican senatorial campaign committee chair. here he is in 1998 at a fundraising dinner. sen. mcconnell: just to give awe sense of the scale of this event tonight we will be serving approximately 2,000 pounds of top quality grain fed beef. which is the equivalent of the big macs president clinton eats in a month. i want to promise you something. with your generous support we'll be serving up a whole lot more red meat to the democrats efore this election is over. let me give awe few choice appetisers. should we limit the fees lawyers can demarge tobacco cases at least to the ob sen rate of $1,000 per hour? america says yes. the democrats say no. should we spend 95% of the
federal education budget directly in local classrooms rather than wasting it on washington bureaucrats? america says yes the democrats say no. should we end president clinton's era of drug permissiveness by launching an unprecedented new war against drug abuse by young people? america says yes. the democrats say no. host: sahil kapur what did you see? mr. kapur: well 1998, a few months before that election, a bad election cycle for the republicans. a rare mid-term election with where a party outside the white house didn't win a lot of seats. that informs part a backlash to the republican efforts to impeach bill clinton. the public had perceived some over reach there. just a few weeks ago, a few months ago now after the 2018 election, he gave his assessment and said democrats should not engage in presidential harassment. this became a big issue and mcconnell was asked to respond.
are you saying the democrats should not investigate the president? he said no i was just saying i was there in 1998. i remember what over reach looks like and they shouldn't do that. mr. kane: yeah. hat was a mid-term cycle where republicans actually thought they could get to 60 ro votes. they thought they had 55 heading into the election and held even at 55 which felt like a big letdown. they thought they should have picked up more. he even face ad challenge internally to be chairman for the next cycle after that. from chuck hagel of nebraska. mcconnell won easily but it was a down year for him. but he uses these positions to continue to do the things other people didn't want to do. he was the guy back then they had soft money. these unlimited checks that today they go to sort of dark
shadowy, nonprofit groups that have weird names. they used to go directly to the party campaign committees and mcconnell inches the guy who traveled the country and asked for 50,000, a hundred thousand, 500 thousand dollars checks. that's a lot of work. most of their colleagues up there don't want to do those things. but he did it again and again. for four years he did that job. and that begins to lay the groundwork for him to be able to say, will you vote for me to become leader? mr. kane: because of all these things he is so untouchable with his republican conference. the one group of people he has no problems with are his senate republican members. they trust him to be leader. host: well during the clinton impeachment in 19 # the 9 he compared what was going on to an earlier case. >> the appropriate -- this morning to remind everybody who has not been around here for
three years about the packwood case and the similarities between that case and the one we currently have before us in the senate. my worst assignment since i have been here was to be chairman of the ethics committee and i had the misfortune of having that job during the packwood matter. you may recall that that was a case about sexual misconduct and obstruction of justice. it was a lengthy case. we reached the point in the case where under the rules of the ethics committee someone could ask for a public hearing. that is to repeat it all in public. that precipitated an amendment by my colleague senator boxer on the floor to direct the committee to have public hearings. so i have been there. i understand the argument that our friends on the other side of the aisle have been making
during this proceeding about reaching a decision it's noteworthy, however, the arguments they were making three years ago when the accused was a republican. in fact, a senior member of our party, the chairman of the finance committee. my colleagues were making exactly opposite argument. host: paul kane of the washington post he has been pretty consistent hasn't he over the years? mr. kane: yeah. that was so -- the impeachment trial that was being held in the senate, they would have sort of legislative business in the morning and adjourn and then reconvene and do the trial. that was a large part of that especially the deliberations , were held completely behind closed doors. and different members were asking to have some of it done publicly. eventually i think somebody --
some people would release their own statements was the compromise they reached. but the ethics case that he was chair of and cochair of, bob packwood, was one of the really defining moments of sort of the me too era from the 1990's. and he led along with dick bryan then senator of nevada a really long, brutal fight over misbehavior of one of their own. at the very end he was willing to vote to expel packwood and that's why packwood resigned. host: anything to add? mr. kapur: not particularly. host: after that he was senate minority leader. harry reid was the majority leader. and it always seems that there is a very contentious relationship between the two senate leaders. here is mitch mcconnell talking about his relationship with harry reid and then you'll see some video of senators reid and
mcconnell together. >> the senate is a place of relationships. what about this relationship between the democratic and republican leader? are you friends? are you not friends? senator mcconnell: look, i've been very public about a couple things about harry. number one, i didn't like the way he shut the senate down. and prevented people from voting. i didn't like the way he ran the senate. and i think his public rhetoric is frequently very inappropriate. senator reid: the senate came together tonight in a bipartisan fashion to address one of the most critical economic challenges this country has ever faced. and we've sent a clear message to america, to all americans, that we will not let this economy fail. senator mcconnell: thank you, harry.
this has been the senate at its finest. in the years that i've been here i can't recall a single time where in this proximity to an election both sides have risen above the temptation to engage in partisan game playing if you will to address an issue of magnitude, great magnitude. host: sahil kapur, that second piece of tape was from october 1, 2008. mr. kapur: right. the relationship between mcconnell and reid has always struck me as a mixture of mutual rye -- mutual respect, occasional contempt a need to work together , and a recognition they need to do things together in the senate to get the 60 votes to defeat a filibuster on pieces of legislation. now, it is very common for a minority leader hoping to become majority leader to critique the other's handling of the senate. the criticism is often that we know i want a more open senate.
i want more amendments. i want more freedom for voting. that's how mcconnell criticized reid and how open rated in the -- how he operated in the beginning. he moved away from that. his leadership style looks a lot more like harry reid's than the one he envisioned for himself. he has prevented the other side from getting a lot of votes that they wanted. over time, there seems to be an equilibrium where senate majority leaders get to which is i'm not going to let the other side have all the power they would like to. mr. kane: i think you can find a story by me in 2007 about how majority leader, minority leader they're both similar institutionalists. a lot of the things we said about mcconnell and how he did the ethics committee, he was doing, a whip, doing all the dirty jobs nobody else wanted to do, harry reid was the same way. they got to their positions the exact same way. what you were saying earlier about how mitch mcconnell looked in the mirror and only saw somebody who could be majority leader, never aspired to be
president. that was harry reid. he never wanted to be president either. at first, it worked. they understood each other. they weren't angling to run for president some day. they weren't trying to one up each other politically. but the relationship deteriorated year over year, in part because they each faced tough re-elections in 2010 harry reid in nevada and 2014 mcconnell in kentucky and in that -- that poisoned the well a bit. but ultimately you're right. everybody begins their term as senate majority leader wanting to be mike mansfield. the longest serving senate majority leader ever who was very open. the process was incredible. the committee chairman had power. the civil rights act of 1964 was debated for weeks and weeks and weeks and finally they were able to break the filibuster because they'd run it so open. eventually they all become lyndon johnson. they all begin to shut down the
place and there are fewer amendments now being voted on in the senate under mitch mcconnell than under harry reid and harry reid was the all-time, previous all-time low. >> that vote where we saw senators reid and mcconnell together was the tarp vote right after the financial meltdown in 2008. october 1, 2008 was the date of that video. 74-25 that passed. the senate came together. mr. kane: it did. you saw on that -- there was a countdown clock on that clip and that was -- there was a debate that night that was happening. it was i think a presidential debate. if not, it was a v.p. debate. you were right in the throws of a massive -- the throes of a massive election for president and a lot of senate seats were up. people, mcconnell being one of them, he was up for election that year, too, were casting votes that were not popular back home. and it was a big moment where
they came together and then the beginning of sort of the fraying of the reid-mcconnell relationship was probably a few weeks after when his democratic opponent in kentucky was airing ads being critical of mcconnell for supporting the bail out, the tarp bail out. mcconnell felt like chuck schumer and reid, schumer was running the campaign committee at the time, they were not just being honest brokers but they had sat there in those rooms and agreed to do something to save the global financial markets and now here mcconnell was being criticized for it. that vote and the fallout from it has really been a big impactful thing on the congress and also the senate leader relationship. host: sahil kapur you mentioned earlier he has had tough re-election campaigns. mr. kapur: often. i think 2014, talking about mcconnell here, expected to be frankly a lot closer than it was.
it ended up being a blow out year for republicans. mr. kane: but he had to work his butt off in the primary and the general. mr. kapur: he did. and one of his top advisers josh holmes at the time who was overseeing the nrsc in some ways actually went to kentucky to be stationed there over the last few months. it seemed like a signal to reporters that mcconnell may be in trouble but it turns out he won pretty comfortabley. host: i think i saw a news report the democrats have already tried to recruit amy mcgraph, a female fighter pilot to run against him in the next round. mr. kane: yes. they're looking.
you know, his numbers back home to your point, sort of the conservative activists just can't really trust him. they can never love him. they kind of respect him because sometimes he does things like, you know, bull doze brett kavanaugh through the confirmation process but then they just think god he's been there 30 some years. i can't really trust this guy. he always looks weak. and mcgraf ran in the lexington area. host: against andy barr. candidate running in a tough -- mr. kane: she was a dynamic candidate running in a tough district. had incredible ads that were really about her pilot history, what it's like to be a pilot and a mother and raising children. but she came up short. and the question is is that the right person to run against mcconnell? it is a real contrast. she's young, she's a woman. she raised tons of money. those are things that chuck schumer is going to look at as he is recruiting and think, that might be a good contrast. mcconnell is taking nothing to chance. he is raising tons of money himself. he already has a campaign team beginning to form down in louisville. mr. kapur: no matter how good the democratic candidate is kentucky is one of the toughest states for the democrats which is one of the reasons mcconnell has had this kind of longevity in his career. he always has some ace in the hole given the fact that it is a very republican state.
host: january 3, 2015, a new era in washington. mitch mcconnell acheembs his goal to be majority lead -- achieves his goal to be majority leader of the u.s. senate. here he is talking about how he has used that role. senator mcconnell: senators are in here all the time in and out. my job as majority leader is to set the schedule to decide what we're going to debate. doesn't always guarantee the outcome because the senate is an unusual body and requires 60 votes to do most things and only rarely does one party have 60. you have to talk to each other. you can't do much in the senate on strictly a partisan basis. this is a bee hive of activity during the week. it is a very, very challenging job. you certainly can't make everybody happy. i mean, here is a way of looking at it. through some process you found yourself the leader of your party in the senate.
you got a bunch of class president types who all have sharp elbows and big egos. on any given day they probably think they could do the job better than you. it is all carrot and no stick. and usually if you try to punish somebody the next time you pay a heavy price for it. host: class president, sharp elbows, all carrots, no sticks. mr. kane: the funniest thing i thought of as i heard him talk about class president types is he was his class president. he was his high school class president at dupont manuel high school in louisville. he moved to louisville when he is 14 so he is not somebody well known throughout the school. it is not like he's been going to school with these kids since he was 6 years old. but he as junior running for class president. he knows he is not particularly popular but he knows who is popular.
so he has a campaign for class president in which he goes up to the captain of the football team, the head of the cheerleaders, the captain of the baseball team, and says, hey, will you support me for class president? and he builds out essentially what we think of today as a whip list of his supporters and builds a little card and puts it in every locker, vote for mitch mcconnell for president. and their high school i think had an unusual arrangement where they had 7th and 8th graders also there. so he knew it was all strategy and tactics. he knew that if they saw that the captain of the football team endorsed mitch mcconnell for president, well i'm going to vote for the guy who is captain of the football team. so he is really the ultimate class president type in that regard. and even in that campaign you began to see the seeds of what he would do as leader about strategy and tactics.
host: part of that strategy and tactics in that particular election, the 2014 election that made him majority leader was stamping out primary challenges from the right by candidates who were poisonous in a general election. he had been through that situation with todd aiken, who was a candidate who made some strange, controversial comments about rape, with richard murdock, similar issue. they lost very wanle seats and mcconnell in 2014 said enough is enough and i think he took matters into his own hands and very openly, emphatically
opposed people like chris mcdaniel in mississippi who he thought of as someone who was flawed and potentially could lose the general election for the republicans. that affs very successful thing for him. one thing i will note about mcconnell is his convictions about how the senate should be run are very much colored by the political moment. i'll give you two things here. two examples. january 25. he says he will not allow the senate to become a theater for show votes and he will only bring up legislation that can pass the chamber and become signed into law. just a few weeks later february 12 he said he'd bring up a vote on the green new deal. the democratic resolution. everybody knows that is not
going to pass. everybody knows it is not going to become law. a political move designed to put the democrats in a difficult position. host: one of the underlying themes of the last hour we've been chatting is the importance of relationships. particularly in the u.s. senate. mitch mcconnell has a relatively special relationship. here is a little bit more
video. senator mcconnell: obviously it is a great pleasure to be here today. actually, chairman, it is probably not the first time the majority leader has been before this committee. i'm reminded of something bob dole said at the nomination hearing for another transportation nominee, his wife elizabeth. we all remember bob for having the best sense of humor ever of anyone who served here. this is how gean. he said i feel a little bit like nathan hale. i regret that i have but one
wife to give for my country's infrastructure. well, that was bob dole for you. the nominee before us is extraordinarily well qualified, incredibly capable, and she's got really great judgment. a whole variety of things. i know senator paul will have much more to say about her qualifications when he speaks next. but let me just say --. host: so, paul kane, that was rather humanizing wasn't it to see mitch mcconnell in that role as husband? mr. kane: yes it was but humor wise he had to go to bob dole. host: best jokes we've heard so far. mr. kane: dole could have been a late night comedy sketch artist. but their relationship, this is her second turn as a cabinet secretary.
elaine choo was labor secretary not far from here in the labor building. for almost eight full years in the bush administration. it really came as a surprise to some but really shouldn't have. within a few weeks of trump's victory, she was nominated to run the transportation department. >> is there any political calculation by the president in that move? to nominate mrs. mitch mcconnell to be transportation secretary? mr. kapur: i am not sure. i don't know the answer to be perfectly honest. it certainly couldn't hurt to nominate the wife of the senate majority leader whose support you obviously need. i do remember mcconnell was asked early on if he was going to recuse himself from the process and that he clearly has a personal stake. his answer was very emphatic, no. mr. kane: he didn't even blink. i think there is -- he went up to trump tower at least once or twice during the transition.
i think he made lots of different recommendations about who to appoint to which jobs and, yeah. i think there is some moment where some adviser to a president might say, gosh. you know, a, she is qualified and she is smart. she's already been through the confirmation process before. and, you know, let's do something that the majority leader will thank us for down the road. it's good to have friends and allies. host: again, back to the relationships that are important in washington, d.c. how would you describe the relationship between president trump and majority leader mcconnell? mr. kane: sort of like a yoyo. many times early on it seemed kind of fraught especially after john mccain flashed hands down in the health care repeal effort and it fell apart.
what mcconnell does frequently that trump appreciates is mcconnell keeps all of his criticism, a lot of his criticism internal. he may tell the president to his face or over the phone, that is a really dumb idea, but he comes to the microphones, reporters, he passes reporters, and he just adds that i have nothing to add. i have nothing to add. i have nothing to add. so that has kept the relationship intact. those moments when he does speak out, like on the foreign policy bill about syria, those are moments that we should never under value because if mcconnell is publicly critical of trump, it is a rare moment and it's a moment where it is clear that he wants us to know that he really has broken with trump on an issue. mr. kapur: he has been exceptionally disciplined in not commenting on things the
president does. sometimes it's been awkward for him because you can tell things have happened in the white house that make him feel uncomfortable and he usually holds his tongue. a lot of this goes back to the summer of president trump's first year. mcconnell was at home, speaking a little freely, around people that he liked and trusted. he said something to the effect of, he was asked why that congress wasn't doing more and he said something to the effect of we have a president who is new to this and you could imagine how that got taken. it was all over cable news. president trump saw it. he lashed out at mcconnell on social media. and that created a real problem as you can imagine for mitch mcconnell. he had to have a bunch of allies come out and say no we support him for leader. he should not step down. since then i think he learned his lesson and there were moments in the first two years of president trump where speaker ryan couldn't help himself but come forward and criticize, no i'm not happy with this. i condemn this. mcconnell would refuse to do that. mr. kane: and in that moment secretary chao at an infrastructure event in new york with the president was
awkwardly asked about the criticism and what was her line was something like, i stand behind both my men. so the awkward moments do happen. mr. kapur: if i can just add i subscribe less to the relationship theory of congress than to the structural theory. one of the reasons cross party relationships were possible in the 1960's through the 1990's the is two parties were ideologically incoherent. you had conservative and liberal democrats and republicans and cross party coalitions that could be formed. now the parties are sorted. their incentives back home are to not work with the other party. not because the people serving in congress today are less capable of cultivating relationships or less interested in doing so.
it is that political incentives have wood them away from that. >> it was october, 2010, and sahil referred to this earlier that mitch mcconnell made a comment about president obama being a one-term president. that is going to stick with him isn't it throughout his legislative career? mr. kapur: it is and like you said mcconnell didn't understand why it was such a big deal. i remember talking to him right before the midterms a couple weeks after that comment. mr. kane: he said of course it is my number one priority. it would be harry's number one priority if it were president john mccain and it was democratic leader reid. host: before you go any further paul kane, we'll come right back you to. i want to show a little video from him talking about this remark in his memoir "the long game." senator mcconnell: on the obama one-term president i admire bob woodward whose the only major reporter in town who reported the rest of what i said right after that which was that in the meantime we had plenty of work to do and we had to look for ways we could work together. that was conveniently snipped off by almost everyone. so my big disappointment with barack obama, there are two things that have to be done to save america.
from the path that we're headed. entitlement eligibility changes -- in other words you have to change the eligibility for very popular things like medicare and social security -- to fit the demographics of america tomorrow. not america in the 1930's, not in the 1960's. social security in the 1930's. medicare in the 1960's. the president knows that. he is a very smart guy. he doesn't want to do it. comprehensive tax reform t's been 30 years. we need to do it again. it is not for the purpose of get more revenue for the government but making america more competitive but the president won't do comprehensive tax reform in any other way other than trying to get additional revenue for the government. so these two big transformative issues we have been unable to address because the nation's c.e.o. simply doesn't want to do it. host: paul kane of the "the washington post" sorry to interrupt you.
that was may of 2016. just wanted to give that context. mr. kane: mcconnell likes to say that divided government is a good time to do big things. it happened in 2010, 2014, again, probably said this right after the mid-term elections which put nancy pelosi into the speaker's office. it's a thing he likes to say. he points out the early 1980's social security deal when tip o'neill was the speaker, the 1986 comprehensive tax reform bill which was a republican senate, a democratic house, and a republican president. but he's had these chances. he's had a lot of chances at divided government to do something big on entitlements. and the moments that john boehner who when he was speaker who actually wanted to also do something big on it, mcconnell was
not very supportive of it. he didn't want to do the giving that he had to do. there were things that you have to give a little bit to get what you want and mcconnell has been pretty hesitant on those big deals that he seems to talk about as if he wants them. mr. kapur: mcconnell has understood i think especially since the 2005 efforts to partially privatize social security that dealing with entitlements in any way is like touching a hot stove. it is politically dangerous. he lacked bipartisan cover for it. that is the key with all of these things mcconnell says about divided government. he wants to make sure both parties share in the blame because by 80-20 margin or something like that the country doesn't like the idea of cutting social security and medicare and they'll be attacked and mcconnell knows that. the contradiction again is during the obama years he was very emphatic about the need to bring down the debt. he talked about it, in syria, as
a threat to the country. he is a little more silent to know now because i think he sees that this president is also not eager to cut social security and medicare and the opposite of that. mcconnell is left on an island. do i still talk about the debt, about the need to bring it down even though the president and my party isn't doing anything about it sne just stopped. host: senator mcconnell has noted they spend lot of time on the floor of senate and also talking with each other and leading their delegations. senator schumer was a guest at the mcconnell center at the university of louisville in february of 2018. >> thank you, mitch, for that kind and generous introduction. we really do get along. despite what you read in the press. we try our best to understand each other.
to never ask things that are impossible of the other, to be honest and respectful. to work in good faith and try to meet the middle wherever possible. that is how we get things done in the senate. sometimes it doesn't happen. no secret i didn't agree with the way health care and tax legislation were considered in the senate for example. but sometimes it does happen. we all know what president washington called it. the cooling saucer for the hot tea of politics. that can lead the senate through difficult times. if there was ever a time when our politics needed a cooling saucer it is now. that's what our history teaches us. host: sahil kapur, we're friends and the senate is the cooling saucer. what else did you hear? mr. kapur: it is interesting to watch chuck schumer in that clip talk about the middle and they need to find common ground and compromise. i think in many cases that is
how schumer has generally viewed the senate. now all of a sudden he is minority leader, the democratic leader in the me too era and era of resistance and facing an enormous amount of pressure from his own left flank. there are people who protested outside his home in brooklyn for him not being tough enough on president trump. so he is facing some of the similar kinds of pressure that mcconnell faced from his ideological wing of the obama years. mr. kane: they both became minority leader at a time they expected to be majority leader so mcconnell is the republican whip in 2006 heading into those midterms. they had a large cushion. they didn't think they'd lose six seats and mcconnell planned to be majority leader and boom. they lost six seats and all of a sudden he is minority leader and had to find his footing. chuck schumer in 2016 was certain hillary clinton would win and they were picking up enough seats in places like pennsylvania to become majority leader.
he woke up the day after election thinking i got minority leader. how does my job work? what is my relationship with mcconnell like? it is a very different process and schumer is still sorting through that role and that relationship with mcconnell. it's better than it was with harry reid. but it is still not -- nothing like the old relationships of bob dole at this point. host: paul kane you mentioned you were at the mcconnell center that day that we saw schumer speaking. mr. kane: mcconnell despite louisville being a very liberal town and mcconnell living in what is the most liberal precinct of louisville, he loves the town. he went to the university of louisville there, he has built a mcconnell center, and he uses
that to bring in a big guest lecturer at least once a year and he loves to demonstrate mcconnell, he loves to demonstrate i have these relationships and so he brought chuck schumer down. years ago he brought ted kennedy down. hillary clinton has spoken there, joe biden has spoken there. it is his way of trying to demonstrate to the world, like i can have good relationships with these people even if on the senate floor it looks like we're stabbing one another. mr. kapur: there is a story mcconnell told us in our bloomberg office when he came for an interview shortly before the 2018 election that right before the 2016 presidential election schumer called him to say, leader mcconnell, i hope we'll have a great relationship and mcconnell called him the day after the election and said, chuck, i sure hope we will.
the map was great for democrats and they fell short. the 2018 map was great for republicans and mcconnell never took for granted that they would win simply because of that. host: what is his reputation as leader of the gop? mr. kapur: among his members it is strong. he is someone who will let people air their grievances, someone who will generally listen to members' concerns. he has had contentious moments with various members but hasn't let it get in the way of playing the long game. the closest he has ever gotten to having someone oppose him was around 2014 when senator ted cruz, famously acrimonious relationship at times with mitch mcconnell was making noises about not committing to supporting mcconnell but eventually won by acclimation unanimously. he doesn't have problems within his conference the way someone like speaker pelosi does in terms of people voting against him. host: and his ongoing legacy? mr. kane: his ongoing legacy
will i think always be defined by first and foremost the decision to block the scalia seat, to hold that seat, and set in motion this historical arc which you get the trump presidency, right leaning supreme court for a generation to come and done through power partisan tactical play, which while the outside conservative activist world will never quite fully appreciate him, history will judge him in a way as the most influential, conservative of at least the early 20th -- 21st century. host: paul kane is with "the washington post." sahil kapur is with bloomberg news. gentlemen, thank you for helping us in our venture to understand mitch mcconnell a little better. and we want to close with one
last piece of video from our video archives. this is mitch mcconnell talking about the senate in general. senator mcconnell: well i think the senate has been the indispensable legislative body. because that's the place where things are sorted out. the place where only rarely does the majority get things exactly their own way. the place where stability can occur and most people obviously don't think that. in an era in which everybody wants instant gratification if you're looking for instant gratification or perfection the senate would not abgood place for you. announcer: this week at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span we'll look at the political careers of the
four congressional leaders. using video from the c-span archives, and analysis by congressional reporters. on tuesday, it's speaker nancy pelosi. on wednesday we'll look at house minority leader kevin mccarthy's congressional career. and on thursday we wrap up the week with a look at senate minority leader charles schumer. watch this week beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> tuesday on the c-span networks we're live at 10:00 a.m. with former treasury secretary jack lu. he was at the atlantic council talking about the strategic use of sanctions. that is on c-span. at 12:15 we join the center for the national interest for a discussion on the risks of u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan. on c-span 2 at 9:00 a.m. the road to the white house coverage continues with senator kamla harris speaking to voters in new hampshire. at 10:00 a.m. air force chief of staff general david goldfein is at the brookings institution
talking about challenges facing the force. later at 11:00 a.m. the announcement of the george polk journalism awards with a discussion on journalistic uses of radio and podcasts. presidential candidate senator kamala harris is making her first trip to new hampshire. earlier today she held a town hall style meeting in portsmouth, new hampshire. the granite state traditionally holds the first in the nation presidential primary. senator harris's visit to new hampshire follows a two day swing through another early primary state, south carolina. ♪ >> hi everyone. hi! it's great to be with you! it is great to be in the granite state. thank you guys.