tv The Profile in Courage Award Barack Obama MSNBC May 7, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
campaign and i met him in 2004 when i covered john kerry's campaign and i met him in an alley alley in the campaign where he asked me for a cigarette. and i didn't know that he would run, but i remember him more of a trash talker behind the scene, and rib you and what is your score on this and what is your score on that, and sort of the basketball march madness rankings and he would say, yeah, i see that you are doing badly, and so i remember him as, and i think that you saw it a little bit in public but not so much. >> good press relations. [ laughter ] >> and now, not only showing a personal interest, but you can't beat it. >> and someone who has a docile press of jfk who loved him an worshipped him. >> he could hang around in the underwear and nobody would take a picture or anything. nobody cared. >> and he was protected and flash forward a kocouple of decades, barack obama could not
get away with anything like that. >> and a how about franklin roosevelt who fell when he was voting again. and no photographs of the president of the united states in a wheelchair, and that is the difference of the rules. >> caroline kennedy slausberg. >> it is great to be back here at the library and back in boston and thank you all for taking such good care of this place while i was gone. i want to thank the family, especially ed, for his devotion to this institution, and his creative vision, and the commitment to the history and to the family legacy that has made this library the jewel of the national archives of the presidential library system. i want to thank ken feinberg for his amazing leadership and generosity and i really -- oh, yeah, we should cheer for you. [ applause ]
and i want to thank the foundation and library staffs for working to preserve the past and inspire future generations to public service and in president kennedy's name. tonight, we are celebrating the timeless values that the president kennedy lived by -- courage, patriotism, justice, innovation, service and the commitment to building a more peaceful world. as his family, we are proud of what he stood for, and its continuing power. tonight, we are honored by the presence of so many public servants who lived these values everyday. this awardle is brats the s celebrates the qualities that my father admired to risk your career in doinging what is right, and that may mean for standing for the national interest when others are will ting to trade it away for personal or local benefit and may mean to reach out to work with others
for the common good when you could score points by criticizing them instead. over the years, we have honored elected officials at all levels of government from both sides of the aisle. they have reaffirmed our faith in principled public service, and set a standard by which future leaders can be measured. our winners have shown us that we need to reward courage in the leaders and require it in ourselves. today, when many doubt the integrity of the elected officials, this award is more important than ever. in addition to our honoree, there are two american heroes here tonight that i would like to salute. vice president joe biden, a friend and colleague to my uncle ed t teddy. [ applause ] a champion for justice, working
families and women and an inspiration for all of those suffering from loss. thank you for visiting japan, and for telling the japanese that i was responsible for your success. so they, too, should do everything that i said [ laughter ] s secretary john kerry, our planet has no greater advocate, our children no more far-sided w warrior for peace and diplomacy and you have pursued the strategy of peace that president kennedy laid out, and we are all safer, healthier and more pros rouse because of your indefatigable wisdom and optimism. thank you for trusting me enough to visit japan only once when you had to check on paris 38 times [ laughter ] this is a night to celebrate
politics and family. as my father and uncles taught us, politics is a family endeavor, and so i would like if we could offer a round of applause for first lady michelle obama and for all of the political spouses here tonight. [ applause ] many of you here in this room cast your first vote for president kennedy and you told me how he changed your lives and together you changed the coun y country. tonight, we present the profile in courage award to president obama who had the same impact on another generation, inspiring us, our children and grandchildren to change thele
world. on a personal note, i want to thank you for giving me the chance to serve. in japan, i saw firsthand what american leadership means to the world. i saw the power of our commitment to a rules based international order in lifting people out of poverty. i saw the hope and idealism of young people inspired by american innovation and possibility. most profoundly, i saw the emotional outpouring after president obama's visit to hiroshima showed the peoples and nations that they could overcome the wounds of the past to build a more peaceful world. as i stood in the peace park in front of its eternal flame i could not help but think of my father's own work on limited nuclear testing treaty and how honored i am to know these two great men. people say it is hard to come home after being an ambassador, and it is like moving back into college from your own room. i have changed. i have made new friend, and i
have grown up, but everyone treats me just the same. in my case, that means that i get to resume one of the most demanding responsibilities which is introducing other members of my family [ laughter ] it used to be teddy here at this dinner, and now it is someone who adoreded him and who i adore and who has pitched in to help me here and in japan, and the youngest and not the quietest member of the profile in courage committee, jack schlossberg. >> thank you, mother, for that kind introduction. and once again, thank you for bringing me into this world [ laughter ] you are an amazing mother and role model to me, and everyone here is thankful for your
service. this library is a very special place for me and my sisters in the same way it is specialer for anyone who visits it. it allows u to us have a relationship with a man who we never knew but holds a special place in our hearts. we can come here to hear his voice, read his words and look lu the old notebooks and ties and find strength and guidance and laughter from the spirit that lives on here. courage was the quality that my grandfather most admired. as a young man, a soldier and president, he displayed it throughout his own life and he celebrated other leaders as well since president kennedy was born. and so, we celebrate his life and what he achieve and we know that he represents what is possible in america and all of the work left undone. throughout the presidency, my grandfather made it clear that he alone could fix knot, and he alone had no answers. he hadded the courage to plainly admit america's own shortcomings
and to lay out bold plans to address the problems and to ask the fellow americans for help in solving them. and in doing so, he inspired a generation to enter public service and ask what they could do for their kcountry. president barack obama inspired me in the same way. my life changed in 2008 because a young candidate was fired up and ready to go and said "yes, we can." without barack obama i might still be sitting on the couch eating doritoes and watching sports [ laughter ] president obama embodies the definition of courage offered by ernest hemmingway, "grace under pressure." from the first days to the last, the president con ssistently pu the national interests above his own interests while resisting cynicism that all too often has a system that encourages it. he comprehends health care reform with the first order of business knowing that it would cost him and the party politically and he continued the fight that was wamged in the kennedy administration and my
uncle teddy fought for 50 years in the senate and did what no president has p been able to do in 74 years in passing the affordable care act. [ applause ] we saw this week that it is a lot easier to criticize and dismantle, and president obama had the koushlg to govern responsibly and the courage to address climate change aggressively and fighting for responsible energy policies and challenging congress to power the clean act, and finally to put a limit on the greenhouse gas emissions in paris. and just as president kennedy did with the space program, president obama gave science and technology his highest priority on the planet that will shape my generation and the generations to come, the president was bold and unafraid. he pursueded the nuclear disarmament throughout the presidency and had the courage to confront our own history by
going to hiroshima, and he repeatedly did call for gun control tragedy after tragedy. [ applause ] he showed me and my generation what is possible in foreign politics and gave us a new political standard to guide us forward and connected us to one another with his hope and determination. we all especially young americans owe a great debt to this courageous president. we can live in the just inclusive, compassionate and just nation that president kennedy fought for if we choose the type of leadership that defined president obama's last eight years in office, and that is our responsibility as citizens and as important today as ever has been. tonight, the kennedy library and my family are proud to honor this courageous president, and now i would like to ask the president, and mrs. obama, and
[ applause ] >> hello, everybody. thank you so much. thank you very much. thank you. please, everybody have a seat. thank you. thank you very much. well, first of all, thank you so much, jack, for that really kind introduction. and i like the socks [ laughter ] i also want to thank you and rose and tatiana and your dad
for sharing caroline with us for the past few years as america's ambassador to japan. caroline, you are true to form did your country proud, and i am sure that your father, and mom would have been proud eest of a. i sure was proud. and i'm grateful for your friendship. i want to thank ken feinberg for his service as chairman of the john f. kennedy presidential library foundation and over the past 12 years he administered support to my administration when we were dealing with the b.p. oil spill. and the 9/11 he has rendered public service again and again and again, and we are grateful for him. it is wonderful -- [ applause ] it is wonderful to see senators
markey and senator warren and my dear friend and former governor deval patrick and his lovely wife diane. governors and members of congress, cardinal o'malley, one of the finest secretaries of states ever to represent america around the world, john kerry and theresa. and the best vice president this country has ever known, mr. joe biden. [ applause ] i also want to thank michelle obama for after the presidency sticking with me [ laughter ] because i think that she felt an
obligation to the country to stay on, but once her official duties were over, it wasn't clear [ laughter ] i love my wife. i am grateful for her. i do believe that it was america's great good fortune to have her as first lady. so i am humbled by this evening and to be honored by a family who has give en this country so much. a family that has challenged us to ask what we can do for our kun tri, to dream and say why not, and to seek a cause that endures and sail against the wind in the pursuit. that is what this family has done for america.
and to all of the members of the kennedy family that are here tonight, thank you. i could not be more grateful to the profile in courage award committee for this honor. i am also grateful that unlike the nobel prize committee, you waited until i was out of officeoffice [ laughter ] how fitting that we gather here this month, the 100th anniversary of president kennedy's birth. i was born the year he took office which makes me 55 years old, and had he lived to finish two terms he would have been just 51 and he remarked on the possibility once. it has been suggested, he said, that whether i serve one or two terms in the presidency, i will find myself at the end of that
period at what might be called the awkward age. too old to begin a career, and too young to write my memoirs. now, i hadn't seen this quote -- [ laughter ] -- when i wrote my first memoir at 33. i am now in the middle of the second. moreover i expect to be busy if not with a second career than at least a second act. but it is true that i am at the age at that turn in the road where one looks back as well as forward to remember one, where one has been to chart where one is going. and one thing that i'm certain is that i was lucky to be born into the new frontier, the new world and the new generation of americans.
my life in many ways would not have been possible without the vision that john f. kennedy etched into the character and hearts of americans. for those of us of a certain age, the kennedys symbol iized set of values, and attitudes about civic life that made it such an attractive calling. the idea that politics and in fact could be noble and worthwhile purr u suit, and the notion that our problems while significant are never inso insurmountab insurmountable. the belief that america's promise might embrace those who had once been locked out or left behind and that opportunity and dignity would no longer be
restricted to the few but extended to the many. the responsibility that each of us have to play a part in the nation's destiny. and by virtue of being americans play a part in the destiny of the world. i can say truthfully that the example of jack and bobby kennedy helped to guide me into politics. and that the guidance of teddy kennedy made me a better public servant when i arrived in washington. i have to imagine it would give them great pride to see a new generation of kennedys like joeijoe i carving their own proud path in service. [ applause ] for whatever reasons i receive
this award and for whatever reasons that we overcame in the scope of progress that we made over my presidency, it is worth pointing out that in many ways the times that president kennedy confronted were far more perilous than the ones that we confront today. he entered the oval office at just 43, only a few years after khrushchev had wars raging around the world, and large swathes of the country, and poverty was far deeper and more wi widespread than we see today. young causes were gaining traction not just by custom, but by law. in the end, president kennedy praised what he had.
it was a proud moment of the cold war without firinging a shot, and yett in that tinderbox of a time, he led with a steady hand and defusing the cold war without firing a single shot, and forcing the young rights of young black men and women to study at the university of their choice, and unleashing a corps of young volunteers as ambassadors for peace in distant corners of the globe and setting america's sights on the moon precisely because it was hard and unwilling to consider the possibility that we might not win the space race, because he had an unwavering faith main th character of the character of the people that he led, resilient, optimistic, innovative and courageous. it is worth remembering this,
the times in which president kennedy led us, because for many americans, i know this feels like an uncertain and even perilous time. the forces of globalization, and technology have upended many of the established assumptions about the economy, and they have provided great opportunity, but great inequality and uncertainty for far too many. our politics remains filled with division and discord and everywhere we see the risk of falling into the refuge of tribe and clan and anger at those who don't look like us, or who have the same surnames or pray the way we do. and at such moments, courage is necessary. at such moment, we need courage to stand up to hate.
not just in others, but in ourselves. at such moments we need the courage to stand up to dogma and not just in others, but in ourselves. and at such moments, we need courage to believe that the together we can tackle big challen challenges like inequality, and climate change. at such moments, it is necessary for us to show courage in challenging the status quo and in fighting the good fight. but also, show the courage to listen to one another. so seek common bround and embrace principled compromise. courage, president kennedy knew, requires something more than the absence of fear, and any fool can be fearless.
courage, true courage derives from that sense of who we are, what are our best selves, what are our most important commitments, and to believe that we can dig deep and do hard things for the enduring benefit of others. that is why jfk's first ina inaugural still rings true, and that is why bobby's campaign still means so much. that's why teddy's cause still endures and we love him so much. because of the tragedies that befell each of them, sometimes we forget how fundamentally the story they told us about oourselves changed the
trajectory of america. that is often where courage begins. with the story that we tell ourselves about who we are. and what is important and about our own capacity to make a difference. we live in a time of great cynicism about our institutions. that is one of the few things that democrats and republicans can agree on. it is a cynicism that is most corrosive when it comes to the system of self-government, that clouds our history offing jagged sometimes tentative and ultimately forward progress. that impedes our children's ability to see and the noisy and often too trivial pursuits of politic, the possibility of the democracy doing big things. of course, the disdain for elected officials is not new as
many of you in the room can tell others. 60 years ago president kennedy quote ad columnist in profiles in courage who had written that people don't give a damn what the average senator or congressman says. the reason they don't care is that they know what you hear in congress is 99% tripe, ignorance and demagoguery and not to be relied upon. which is perhaps a little harsh. 99% seems high [ laughter ] 85 [ laughter ] but president p kennedy also wrote that the combination of p public business and the competition for the public's attention have obscured enumerable acts of political courage. large and small performed almost
daily. enumerable acts of political courage large and small performed almost daily h. and that is true. i have seen it. i have witnessed it. i have been thinking on this notion of political courage this weekend. in particular about some of the men and women who were elected to congress the same year that i was elected to the white house. many of them were new to washington. their entire careers ahead of them. and in that very first term, they had to take tough vote after tough vote, because we were in crisis. they took votes to save the financial system and the economy even when it was highly unpopular. it took votes to save the auto industr industry, and when even in michigan people didn't want to see the bailouts. it took votes to crack down on abuses of wall street despite
the pressure from the lobbyists and sometimes the donors. and they found themselves in the midst of a great debate a debate that had been going on for decades. a debate that the kennedy family had participated in and helped to lead, a debate about whether a nation as wealthy as the united states of america would finally make health care not a privilege but a right for all americans. [ applause ] and there was a reason why health care reform had not been ak k accomplished before. it was hard. it involved 11 1/6 of the econo
and all manners of stakeholders and subject to misinformation and fearmongering and so by the time the vote came up to pass the affordable care act, these freshmen congressmen and women knew they had to make a choice. they had a chance to insure millions and untold worrying and bankruptcy and even death, and that this same vote would likely cost them their new seats. perhaps end their political careers. and these men and women did the right thing, the hard thing, and theirs was a profile in courage, and because of that vote, 20 million people got health insurance that didn't vit before. most of them -- pla
[ applause ] -- most of them did lose their seats. they were true to what president kennedy defined in the book as a congressional profile in courage. the desire to maintain a reputation for integrity that is stronger than a desire to maintain office. the desire to maintain a reputation for integrity that is stronger than a desire to maintain office. a conscience, a personal standard of ethics, sbeg integr morality that is stronger than the pressures of public disapproval or party disapproval. a faith that the right course would ultimately be vindicated,
a faith that overcame public repriceal, and it is a personal sacrifice. but i know, because i have spoken to many of them that they thought that and still think that it is worth it. as everyone here now knows, this great debate is not settled, but continues. and it is my fervent hope, and the hope of millions that regardless of party such courage is still possible. that today's members of congress regardless of party are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth even when it contradicts pa ti s party posi i hope that the current members
of congress recall that it actually doesn't take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful. already comfortable. already influential. but it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm. those who often have no access to the corridors of power. u hope th i hope they understand that courage does not always mean doing what is politically expedient, but what they believe deep in their hearts is right. and this kind of courage is required from all of us. those of us who consider ourselves progressives and those who are democrats, and we have
got some soul searching to do to see what kind of courage we show. we have our own dogmas. those of us not in elected office have to show some courage. you know, we are prone to bestow the mantle of courage too easily on the prominent and the powerful, and then too eager to wrap ourselves in cynicism when they let us down because they weren't perfect. we lose somesight sometimes of our own obligations, the small business owner who is keeping the folks on the payroll, because he knows that the family is relying on it even if it is not always the right thing to do for the bottom line. the courage of somebody who volunteers to help some kids who need help. when we recognize these acts of
courage, we then necessarily recognize our own responsibility as it citizens and as part of t human family to get involved and get engaged and to take a stand to vote, to pay attention. i'm reminded off a story that teddy once told me about the experiences when teddy, jr., now state senator ted kennedy jr. was sleeping after one of the ka cancer treatments, and ted would wander the halls of the hospital and talk with other parents keeping vigil over their own children. these parents lived in constant fear of what might happen if they could not afford the next treatment. some calculating in their own mind minds what they might have to sell or borrow just to make it for a few more months. some bargaining with god for whatever they could get.
right there in the quiet of night working people of modest means and one of the most powerful men in america shared the most intimate and immediate sense of helplessness, and ted of course, he could have afforded his son's treatment, but it was that quiet dignified courage of others to endure the most frightening thing imaginable and to do what it takes on behalf of the loved ones that compelleded t eteddy make those parents his cause. not out of self-interest. but out of a selfless concern for those who suffer. that is what the ordinary courage of everyday people can instill in the quiet stray courage of ordinary people doing
the right thing day in, day out. they don't get attention for it, they don't seek it, and they don't get awards for it, but that is what defines america. i think of women like my grandmother and so many like her who worked their way are up from the secretarial pool to management, and in the process they pushed the glass ceiling a little bit higher, and i think about people like michelle's dad, who despite m.s. got up every single morning and had to wake up an hour early to button up the shirt and put on the clothes and take the two cains that he used to go to work every single day to make sure that he was supporting his family, and not missing a dance recital or a basketball game. i think of the troops and the cops and the first responders that i have met who put themselves at risk for strangers that they will never know. business owners who make every kind of sacrifice they can to make sure that their workers
have a shot, and workers who take the risk of starting a new career, and retraining at my age. kids in the peace corps working to build bridges understanding other nation, and to take down the iron curtain and vanish the scourge of apartheid and expand the boundaries of human freedom. i think of dreamers who suppressed their fears to keep working and striving in the only country that they ever called ho home. every american who stands up for immigrants because they know that their parents or grandparents or great grandparents were immigrants, too, and they know that america is an idea that only grows stro stronger with each new person who adopts our common creed.
i think of -- [ applause ] -- i think of every young activist who answers the injustices in the criminal justice system and not with violence and not with despair, but peaceful protest and analysis and constructive recommendations for change. i think of the powerless who crossed a bridge in selma and discovered they had power. those who gathered at stonewall and discovered they had a voice. those who marched on washington, because they believed that they, without an army, without great wealth, could somehow change the very fabric of the greatest power on earth, and kept on until they stretched the lofty ideals of the founding to
encircle everyone. every citizen inspired by that history who dips their toes in the water of active democracy for the first time and musters up the determination to try and fail and try again and sometimes fail again and still try the again, knowing their efforts are not always rewarded right away, because they believe in that upward trajectory of the american story, the story that nobody told better than john f. kennedy. that very kennedy esque idea tht america is not the product of one person, but the difference of all of us, and we all ought to try.
the quiet sturdy citizenship that i see all across the country, and that i especially see in young people like jack and rose and tiana, malia and sasha and your kids. i don't know whether president kennedy's aide and friend arthur schlesinger was correct when he said that history unfolds in circles, but i know that it does go in straight lines and the values that we cherish and value are not inevitable, that they are fragile in need of constant renewal. i have said it before that i believe what dr. king said that the arc of the moral universe bends, but it bends towards
justi justice. i have also said that it does not bend on its own, but it bends because we bend it, and we put our hand on the arc and we move it in the direction of justice and freedom and equality and kindness and generosity. it does not happen on its own. and so, we are constantly having to make a choice, because progress fragile, and it is precisely that fragility, that impermanence that is a precondition of the quality of character that we celebrate tonight. if the vitality of the democracy, if the gains of the long journey to freedom were assured, none of us would ever have to be courageous, and none of us would have to risk anything to protect them, but it is in the very precariousness
that courage becomes possible and absolutely necessary. jo john f. kennedy knew that the best hope and our most powerful answer to the doubts and to our fears lies inside of each of us. in our willingness to joyfully embrace our responsibility as citizens to stay true to our allegiance, to our highest and best ideals. to maintain our regard and concern for the poor and the marginalized, to put our personal or party interest aside when duty to our country calls. or when conscience demands it. that is the spirit that has brought america so far. and that's the spirit that will
always carry us to better days. i take this honor that you have bestowed on me here tonight as a reminder that even out of office i must do the all that i can to advance the spirit of service that john f. kennedy represents. thank you all very much. may god bless you. may he bless these united states of america. thank you. do i take it with me? you will pack it up? [ applause ] all right. back with the panel and the "washington post" eugene robinson and howard fineman, and evan thomas, and joined by republican strategist john, and i want to start here across the table. american elegance certain
areally. >> yes, he is a great speaker, and, i guess that is why they are paying $400,000 to make sure that he stays there. it is just politics aside, it is wonderful to hear that man speak. i mean, the eloquence is so impressive. this is basically a speech to my ears about the affordable care act, about health care, and that is the one area of substance that he really went into. and he said it is a profile in courage for the freshmen democratic members of congress who voted for the aca to do so knowing that they were risking their political career. indeed a lot of them lost the follow following year in the bids for relek sh reelection and he defended it saying that health care is a right and not a privilege, and so we are listening to see if he would get involved about issues and he did in the case of health
care. >> i think that you are right. he did establish it as a st standard that all parties will have to meet. nobody thought that would be true and realizes it now. >> and before he spoke, i thought that health care was the substantive thread, because don't forget that ted kennedy had run for the presidency based on it in 1980 against jimmy carter on health care, and he also hit a note that we were talking about beforehand which is the idea of narrative and politics. i think that when he said that what the kennedys did best was tell us stories about the best of ourselves, and i think that he said the stor ies that they told us about ourselves were so important, and inspirational, and barack obama is that kind of president. he wrote his own autobiography before he did anything, and he said in the campaign and literally said that we are the change that we have been waiting for.
and the example that he gave in the class and the elegance and the smarts and the calm and the leadership gives to a new generation inspiration for inclusion of the kind of community that he wants to build. did he build it perfectly himself? of course not. is it a jag that he used the term jagged tentative but ultimately forward progress if we try? yes. and that is the inspirational part that he did and the best part of the presidency. >> jane. >> even though he never mentioned donald trump by name, he certainly talked about --b. >> was there any allusion to him? >> yes, he said that politics should be noble, and he talked about how politics and courage in politics was all about self-sacrifice, self-sacrifice, and he talked about how john f. kennedy knew that the job was not aban absence of fear, and any fool could be fearless and that is definitely an allusion to trump, but that john f. kennedy had to be our best selves. >> yes, a lot of the plausible deniability here. >> yes, a hend he said that jfk
made an amazing president because he was resilient, and ottmism optimism. >> and we are watching him cradle the ship's lantern. >> and it is wonderful speech, and cloak ed himself in the mantle of kennedy, and i thought it was completely unremarkable speech that nobody will remember. >> and now, john, what did you think of what you heard? >> well, the only republican here, and i'm giving the republican response to the state of the union or something, but i am going the shock all of you, because i thought that it was a significant speech, and thought that he was great on tone and tenor. you know, the lines that jum pe out to me is when he said courage to listen and find common ground. call out hate and not just in others, but in ourselves, and put partisanship and party aside when your, when your country and your duty calls. this is a unity speech to many. i thought that he put a side the
petty politics that a lot of us don't, and actually came across as the adult in the room, and in american politics today, and i have to commend him a little bit for that. >> thank you. more on the panel in a moment accepting the profile in courage award former president barack obama, and pay ing a lot of tribute to the kep dis. this is what he said a bit of it. >> my life in many ways would not have been possible without the vision that john f. kennedy etched into the character and hearts of america. t to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel room, i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. booking.com gets it. they offer free cancellation, in case i decide to go from kid-friendly to kid-free. now i can start relaxing even before the vacation begins. your vacation is very important. that's why booking.com makes finding the right hotel for the right price easy.
have the same surnames or pray the way we do. and at such moments courage is necessary. at such moments we need courage to stand up to hate. not just in others but in ourselves. >> well, that's former president barack obama giving what i thought a very eloquent speech tonight talking about division in our politics as he accepted the profile in courage award tonight. back with our panel. i thought that was the most direct shot at trump. because that's the world we live in. >> right, but it did not name trump. he sort of setup the opposite of -- he talked about trump sort of by omission or by contrast, sort of enumerating the virtues that one seeks in public life. and he just sort of let the contrast be created with what,
in fact, donald trump is. >> so trump is wave a politics. >> prauchl talked about fear and hatered of those who don't look like us. >> howard you think -- >> it's sort of implied in part that if donald trump has been around back then, barack obama would never have had a chance to be president. >> nixon was -- an extreme difference, but. -- >> i think what he's doing in modern day politics is he's biding his time. he did seem a little preoccupied tonight. maybe that was theattricle preoccupation with trump in his head. but he's going to take his time and go slowly. as michelle always said when
they go low, we go high. >> i definitely think as i said earlier, this contrast. he was trying to show this is what taking responsibility looks like, taking responsibility for our words, actions. not letting people -- he said not to wrap ourselves in cynicism when people let us down and also to be involved. to put our fing thorn scale and say it is our responsibility to bend the ark of moral. justice. >> i'm a fan of kennedy. i'm a little tired of, but i actually thought obama was a little tired of it. i just don't think he was that engaged. it was an eloquent speech. yes, it was. he's an eloquent speak, but i just didn't feel any great lift. >> again, i just think he's being reflective of what a former president should be. that he should offer advice, not
criticism. i think with the weight of the presidency off him he's going to act what a lot of the rchens hoped he would do when he was in office. >> is that it? john, you're amazing. say something bad. >> i was surprised by the speech. i thought i was going to see a campaign speech. my argument is this is the speech he should have done 100 days in his administration not 100 days in trump. >> thanks for everybody in the panel. i'll see you back here tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. for "hardball "hardball." good night. >> america is not the project of any one person, and that each of us can make a difference and all
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