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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  October 30, 2013 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with dick cheney the former vice president talking about his heart transplant surgery and foreign policy issues including trusting president obama. >> rose: you don't believe the president of the united states, do you. >> no. >> rose: you don't believe he has the best interest in the united states in terms of our national security in the middle east. >> i don't believe he does. >> rose: and you don't believe his word can gee trusted. >> correct. >> rose: that's serious. >> it certainly is. >> rose: to say that to the president of the united states. >> that's right. >> rose: in a democratic country. >> i think this president is doing damage to our standing, to our capacity to influence events. we are rapidly eroding our ability to have any impact on what's going on in the middle east. i've lived with this disease for 35 years. >> rose: you knew you would
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die. >> i knew i would die of heart disease. my father had and i expected to but when that time came i was at peace. there was no pain involved or discomfort. it was not frightening. i wanted to talk to my family about final arrangements. it was more difficult for them than it was for me. i fully expected that that was my last day. but it was okay. >> rose: we continue with dick cheney staying joined by dr. carl reiner his cardiologist. >> this wasn't just about boxing. this is really a book about hope and resilience and not just on the part of this unusual patient but on the part of the people who innovate these technologies over the last century, on the part of the teams of doctors that took care of this unusual patient over the last 35 years. so it's really a story of the
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revolution in medicine that has provided opportunities for patients like the vice president to not just survive but to thrive. >> rose: we conclude this evening with brad stone and his book the everything store, jeff bezos and the age of amazon. so what makes amazon great? >> you know, i would say it starts with jeff, right. his drive, like bill gates or larry page or steve jobs. he has high standards. the fact that he pushes everyone around him to operate at their best. >> rose: dick cheney, dr. jonathan reiner and brad stone when we continue.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> an enemy that operates in the shadows and views the entire world as a battle field is not one that can be contained or deterred. an enemy with fantasies
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martyrdom. >> rose: he was secretary of defense under president george h.w. bush and press of staff to gerald ford. heart disease threatened his life in the course of his political career. he suffered five heart attacks the first at the age of 37. reconciled himself to dying three years ago when he was at end stage heart failure. a heart transplant in 2012 saved his life. he talks about his experiences for the first time in the new book, it is called heart, an american medical odyssey. he wrote it with the cardiologist dr. jonathan reiner who will be joining us later. i'm please to do have dick cheney back on this program. welcome. >> thank you charlie. >> rose: everybody says the same thing. you look great. you know that. >> compared to what i did, no, three years ago, i was in big big trouble. but they got me --
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>> rose: you were thinking about the end. >> i was. i had hours to go, i had lived the full life and grateful for it but i fully expected i hadn't reached the end of my days. my heart was starting to shut down, liver and kidneys no longer receiving an adequate supply of blood. they went in on an emergency one night for nine hours, gave me a pump to supplement my heart. that brought me 20 months. >> rose: nine hours of senior. >> the transplant was easy the nine hours surgery was to keep me alive to get the transplant. the transplant, i've had three open heart operations and this was the simplest. it's a matter of taking out the old heart and put in a new one and hooking it up. >> rose: how fast do they have to do it. >> they try to minimize the amount of time it's without supply of blood. as a recipient they've got you opened up and ready to go awaiting the heart from the donor and they try to minimize the amount of time from the time it's plugged into the donor
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blood supply to the recipient. that's the key to getting a good transplant. >> rose: you feel today and your prospects for a healthy life are good. >> my prospects at this stage are, the heart i have now, we did an arterial graph to check the arteries out. catheterization. the heart arteries are clean. i had not had clean heart arteries probably since i was 20 years old. so it's remarkable how -- >> rose: do you feel different. >> i feel healthy and strong. >> rose: do you feel different today than you were. >> we could have had a better vice president if i had just done it sooner. >> rose: more oxygen to your brain. >> somebody suggested the other day, i was telling david, i said it's really a spiritual experience, david.
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not only for the recipient but also the surgical team. and he said tell does that mean you're a democrat now. i said david, it wasn't that spiritual. >> rose: you got religion but not that religion. was it a spiritual he is perience. >> it is. there's no other way to describate, thanks to the donor, to the medical crew and the people throughout the country who said prayers for me, my family. it's the gift of life itself. one minute you're facing death, you expected it, you lived with heart disease for 35 years and you've reached the point where it's not working anymore. and then you wake up and it turns out you've done the heart machine buys you time, the pump. but you go under for the transplant and you come out and three weeks later i was in
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wyoming making speeches. i had gone from that period 20 months earlier when i was about to cash in my chips and life stretches ahead of me for i don't know how long. >> rose: when you were ready to check out, what did you do. >> it was an amazing experience in the sense that i had reached the end of my days. it's not unexpected. i live with this disease for 35 years. >> rose: you knew you would die -- >> i would die of heart disease. my father did. but when that time came, i was at peace. there was no pain involved, no discomfort, it was not frightening. and i wanted to talk to my family about final arrangements. it was more difficult for them than it was for me. and i fully expected that that was my last day. but it was okay. >> rose: did you call around to people and say -- >> no. >> rose: none of that. lee atwater did some of that.
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>> no. >> rose: he wanted to say good-bye to the family. >> family. >> rose: anybody else other than the family. >> not really. >> rose: do you look back on your life at that time and say look i've had a good life. i've been involved at the highest level of my country. i made some mistakes, i did a lot of good things. is that the way you looked at it. >> the way i looked at it was i had had a remarkable life. i was grateful for my family and for the opportunities i had to during the course of my career. i didn't have any regrets or any feeling that i left anything undone. let's say i was at peace. >> rose: if i were you, the only problem i had is i had chosen life to put me in washington more than wyoming. >> well, this was history. >> rose: it's not a bad place to go. >> that's true. but i reached the point there where i couldn't go to jackson anymore because of elevation and my heart was so weak, the last time i tried it, about a month
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before i got the end stage chart failure i had to evacuate on an emergency basis. >> rose: we'll thank you to the doctor about that too. it's dick cheney, folks, former vice president you got a lot of famous friends, a lot of money, let's get him one. >> do you mean did i jump the line? no. i didn't. i made it clear i didn't want to but you couldn't anyway. >> rose: is that right. why couldn't you. >> well, it's is he carefully developed product, they transparent. there's great integrity tight. there's a committee that basically makes the decisions. you can apply to be put on the list and if you meet certain standards then you receive a letter saying you're on the list but where you are on the list, when your number will come up, all of that turns on the tide, ham hearts. i waited 20 months. normal waiting time is 10-12 months. >> rose: because they couldn't find one for you. >> well because that was the
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key, and i have a blood type that's fairly common which means fairly significant number of people are waiting for a heart out there. so the pump also made it possible because it bought me the time. you had somebody who could come in and without the heart or be near death and they might well depending upon their medical circumstances be placed ahead of you on the list. and next in line you get the heart because of the medical decisions that were made by the group that controls that. >> rose: let me understand this. it came how many hours before it might have been over for you? >> well, i was, i had gone, they were planning on doing surgery on thursday to put the pump on. we went into the hospital on tuesday morning expecting that that would give them two days to sort of build up my strength to do the surgery. instead my system start crashing on tuesday and they came in that evening and they said we think we have to go now immediating to the operating room because we
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don't think you'll last the night. >> rose: dang. >> it's like what i write about in the book, it was me and in the hospital bed in the icu with my familiar -- been doctors there and my family. i turned to-j my family and everybody agreed and said let's do. i said let's do it and away we went. >> rose: let me understand, did you know the possibility of not coming out of that. >> sure, it was that possibility. it was the most difficult surgery i ever faced. >> rose: you had five heart attacks. >> after five heart attacks, one episode of sudden cardiac arrest, implantable defibrillator. >> rose: was this all genetic or partly smoking you used to do. >> it was both. interesting thing was, they always ask me about my family
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history and my mom's side of the family, her dad died of heart disease. dad's side of the family there was no heart disease. ten years after my first attack, i had three heart attacks and mom got to do to the doctor. he went in, they took one look at him immediately and put six way bypass. he had two heart attacks he never told anybody about and a torn aorta. they repaired the aneurism. >> rose: the weakening of the wall of the aorta, right. >> but he had a terrible history of cardiac disease and just never bothered to tell anybody about it. he and i had bypass surgery, i was 47, he was 73. about two weeks apart. >> rose: did he acknowledge it then. >> well he can't ignore it. >> rose: he confessed. >> he confessed. >> rose: let me turn to
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politics. it was said yesterday what did the president know and when did he know it. the question here is when did they know they were listening to the cell phone of the chancellor of germany? do you think it's all right to listen to the cell phone of the chancellor of germany. >> charlie, i'm going to, i'll make a generic statement, i think it's very important that we collect intelligence for the safeguard interest of the united states, sometimes it's economics, sometimes national security. i haven't been in the loop since i left the whitehouse over four years ago and i don't want to get into the business of talking about what systems may or may not have existed that were classified and still classified and i shouldn't talk about that. >> rose: okay. vice president of the united states and had national security access. did you know the chancellor's phone was being listened to. >> charlie, if it was, i
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wouldn't talk about it. >> rose: okay. hypothetical. would it have been okay with you if you believe somehow you might learn something from her or is there a risk of doing great disservice to a relationship that overrides that? >> i don't do hypotheticals. >> rose: i understand. it's okay if the chancellor of germany listens on your cell phone. is that all right. >> i have assumed over the years when i travel overseas that there's that possibility. >> rose: so tell me how you balance this idea of how far you go in the interest of national security and where it goes too far. >> well, obviously we face that and especially in the aftermath of 9/11 when we're talking about powers and that fine line between protecting privacy.
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and collecting the data we needed in order to be able to defend the country. and you have to make judgments. you've got some places you can look. there are treaties out there for example interrogating prisoners. you get the justice department, office of the legal counsel and walk through it with them. but there are procedures that we followed, including for example reading in the congressional leadership or the chairman ranking member of the intelligence committees. and the process we went through was legal. it followed the procedures that were in place, according to the justice department. we were in compliance with the law, etcetera. i guess my basic view was i needed to push as far as i could, staying short violating any law to collect as much information. >> rose: are you sure you didn't violate any law? >> according to the lawyers we dealt with, we certainly did not. >> rose: what kind of lawyers
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were they, though. they were inkleined to see it your way going in. these were people working for you. >> no, these were people working in the justice community, many with careers. the office of the legal counsel is where you go -- >> rose: nobody said in all that took place, nobody said hey, we're up against the line here and we have to staunch because we may go over the line. >> well, there was extensive debate internally among the lawyers between the agency and the lawyers. i had been, i was on the iran contra committee and we had a situation there where the question was whether or not anything was violated giving proceeds to the contras. in that case some were hung out to dry because when the balloon went up and the controversy arose, some them in fact were prosecuted. didn't deserve to be in my
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opinion. there were people up the line who authorized what they did and they thought they were doing with the government wanted. they were very much aware by the time we got down to 9/11 that is the agency was, they didn't want to go through that again. they came to us -- >> rose: we didn't want our guys left out to dry and later being caught. >> tell us what to do and we'll do it but we want to know exactly where the lines are and signed off by the president. >> rose: this week going down to interview the prime minister of iraq. what should i ask him? >> this is mr. maliki. >> rose: yes. >> well, i would be interested in his relationship with the iranians. >> rose: what about it? >> in the sense iran is basically shia and iraq and maliki and the shia is basically in charge. >> rose: the majority of the population is shia. >> i'm curious to what extent,
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what's happening in iraq today is tied up in the sunni shia conflict. >> rose: from iraq up to, i guess hezbollah. >> i'm fascinated of the relationship between the saudis, those states in the gulf and their relationship with the developments of iran. >> rose: they said so recently. and others. >> that was on a different page of the "wall street journal" recently saying he was moving away from the u.s., could no longer trust us. >> rose: they have reason not to trust us? >> he does. >> rose: why? >> because the united states has demonstrate pretty conclusively we are withdrawing from the region. we cut our deployments, totally out of the iraq with no stay
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behind agreement with forces. >> rose: there's some questions as to whether they may feel the same way in terms of reliance in the united states. it's different. >> my guess is, i had this experience before we left office. i could go to teleavir. >> rose: you think he has reason not to trust the united states. this is a relationship that served both country well. >> it's been badly abused by the obama administration. >> rose: badly abused beyond leaping troops in iraq. how has it been badly abused. >> barack obama goes to israel, holds a press conference with netanyahu, they talk about basic warnings about developing a program and within a matter of a weak or two he cuts the naval out in half and doesn't replace
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them. >> rose: did the israelis protest that. >> i don't know whether they protested that or not. it's a signal to everybody in the region. we saw the whole exercise over syria. the saudis were told and were ready to support effort for obama when he said he would expect punishment from the syrians because of the chemical weapons issue and we're ready to go and support the effort and at the last minute he cancels. >> rose: some say that the president didn't want to pull the trigger, he was looking for a way out. >> yes. i think he made a commitment he couldn't keep. he laid down a warning he wasn't prepared to enforce and he in effect took the easiest way out. >> rose: but suppose this turns out well. so far, it seems to be that they believe that the syrians have pretty much applied to what was required of him so far. >> with all due respect charlie
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that's a small ball. there's a bigger issue. >> rose: which is. >> the presence of united states in the middle east and our ability to influence events in that part of the world. and that's been significantly diminished partlies because we've been withdrawing from the area. we have this notion of pivot to asia. we've got the uss lincoln tied up with the detective do for the refueling and rehabilitation. they're not doing that. my friend the army chief of staff this last week announced there's only two combat ready brigades, brigades mind you only two in the united states army. >> rose: combat ready. they've been overextended or something. >> i think it has a lot to do with sequester, what they've having to do to try to comply with the budget cuts that are being imposed. i think that's driving it as much as anything else. they're not overextended at this point. >> rose: but they are because of the status of force. >> but not because of the condition they've been dealing with out there.
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>> rose: what do you think about the negotiations with the iranians. >> i think they're going no where. i think the iranians are doing what they've done for a long time which is use the discussions and negotiations while they continue to get ready. i think they're very close that if they wanted in the next few months to break out and all of a sudden enrich a lot of uranium they could do it. >> rose: it's harder to go from zero to 20 or whatever you need for weapons material. >> yes. well but also we have a very poor record of predicting when somebody was going to acquire the capability. we've always under estimated how far along they were but in this case the negotiations are a cover. >> rose: it's giving them time. >> giving them time to get ready and they have not gone all this way and taken all this -- >> rose: suppose they stepped forward during the process, you would have to make the decision okay we hear you these sanctions are hurting really bad. so we're prepared to -- >> talking about the iranians. >> rose: they would said
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we're presented to rules the number of centrifuges we have and bring the level down if you will reduce the level of the sanctions. should we make that sort of piecemeal negotiations? >> the waive i look at it, we cannot accept or can the israelis or the saudis an iran with new clear wentics. >> rose: the president said that. >> he's said a lot of things. about keeping your insurance policy too. >> rose: you don't believe the president of the united states do you. >> no. >> rose: you don't believe he has the best interest in the united states in terms of our national security in the middle east. >> i don't believe he does. >> rose: you don't believe his word can be trusted. >> correct. >> rose: it's a serious -- >> it certainly is. >> rose: to say that to the president of the united states. >> yes. >> rose: in a democratic country. >> i think this president is doing damage to our standing, to
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the capacity to influence events. we are rapidly eroding our ability to have any impact on what's going on in the middle east. the last time we walked away from afghanistan, for example, back in the 80's, we had been there heavily involved supporting the soviets but then we turned and laughed after the soviets departed and of course what they got was a civil wash and we got osama bin laden and they got the training camps and of course the 19 guys that came here with airline tickets and box cutters and killed 3,000 americans. >> rose: do you think so terror is greater than it was. >> i do. >> rose: than 9/11. >> if you look at the economists had a nice article in cover story here a few weeks ago and said a new face of terrorism. had a map inside, had ten states that are now are potential sanctuaries for the al-qaeda types. so you got more area now where
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they can find safe haven. you've got greater danger through proliferation. >> rose: al-qaeda itself is not as strong. >> it has been decimated but they've also regrouped, they're very active in yemen and the arabian peninsula. we saw what happened in benghazi, fellow travels i don't know if it makes any difference. >> rose: left me stay with that. the big decisions, big question is should they have been able to defend those american diplomats in ben benghazi. >> why didn't they have that. we used to plan they'd hit us on 9/11 if they could. >> rose: you mean every 9/11. >> every 9111 on the
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anniversary. you've got serious threats blowing a big hole in the wall. we're beginning to get some testimony from people who were there that night. it is clear to me they simply weren't ready and they didn't have, i think it was an hour away. ordinarily we would have had troops, special ops forces ready to go to protect the embassy if needed and they weren't there. >> rose: there is a battle in the republican party today in which there's some moderates wanting to challenge some tea party members saying that what's happened to the republican party resulting in the threat of the shut down, the shut down and threat to the debt ceiling was;t damage to the party. i've heard you save on the other programs republican party needs new leadership. does it need more tolerance?
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>> well, i guess partly what i hear, and again i haven't seen john's statement. there's always a tendency, a temptation out there for our democratic friends and our friends in the press say gee if you guys are just more like democrats, you'd win. >> rose: no i think we're saying more like some of the administrations you served in. >> i served in whenever i was asked. >> rose: the point with that is that many people say that the tea party, ronald reagan would be considered a moderate by most members of the tea party. >> i look at the tea party and what i see are a bunch of people who finally gotten totally fed up. most are republicans, conservatives. what they see coming out of washington is totally unacceptable in their minds. situation where they are unable to deal with the debt, we've got an irs totally out of control. a lot of their hostility is directed at the administration. they don't see the republicans really able to do anything about
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it. so i've got a lot of sympathy. i think the party needs to be big enough to encompass both the john gaysics of the world and gerald fords of the world. >> rose: why not go to the party and not in the sense shut down the government. >> i would much rather have a fight within the party than have a split. than have an element spinal off on their own and become a third party element. so, you know, in terms of the recent debate over shutting down the government and so forth, obviously ended up pretty much right where they started. but the frustration out there over obamacare is enormous and every day there are new developments that indicate there's good reason. >> rose: there are people who find out they can't keep their plan. >> they're getting bills, rates are going up 10, 12 sometimes. >> rose: which suggest on the
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part of some the republican party would have been better off for those people who want to shut down the government or tied to defunding obamacare would have been better off if they had shoksed just simply let it rom out and we'll see how it works. >> well, it's let it go, it will turn out so bad that they'll have to scrap it. but i remember something called a sequester and we're going to do the sequester, it will be so bad, they'll get their act together and deal with the budget problem but the sequester went into effect and it doesn't have an effect on a lot of the government but a huge impact on the defense department. that's one of the reasons we've got a sijtly diminished military capability trying to supply with the sequester. we had 17 air force squadrons rounded for 90 days trying to comply with the sequester. it's dangerous for us. >> rose: what is it with the sequester. >> it was a mutual deal with the republicans and democrats and
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the theory was it will be so bad they'll never tolerate it. what i'm hearing is let obamacare go into effect it will be so bad we'll get rid of it. i'm reluctant to back off. >> rose: do you think the israeli should strike on their own? >> if i were in charge of the israeli government, i would be prepared to use military force to make certain -- >> rose: they've already said that. the question is are we approaching that time and would you think they're doing the right thing if they strike. >> no, i'm not consultant to the israeli government i'm not involved. i think the israelis have every right to defend themselves. i i think when you have a state like iran to been absolutely dedicated to wiping israel off the face of the earth and once
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they acquire a nuclear weapon the prospects go up dramatically. if i were advising the israelis, i would expect them to act. >> rose: you would advise them to act. >> well -- >> rose: you would as -- advise them to act. six months. >> i don't know. >> rose: finally with syria, suppose the president had lost that strike and they didn't have this negotiation through the russians to try to find a way out of it. what comes after that strike. >> should have thought of that before he threatened to strike. >> rose: there was a reluctance to strike. >> well, in essence he made a, he drew a marker, laid down a marker and then when they crossed it, he did not respond until much later. then he got himself wrapped around the axle of we're going
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to do something but don't worry it's not going to be very significant. >> rose: there's a totally irresponsible ineffective way to use the threat of military force to reinforce your deprogram see. >> we ended up where vladimir putin in is in charge. >> rose: there ought to be a way to negotiate out of this and the russians have influence with assad and the united states have influence with the rebels and the saudis have influence with the rebels. then maybe the best way out of that is to have these parties come together and figure out some way to solve it without a war that could probably break out throughout the middle east. and once you start it, you never know how it's going to stop. >> that's all true. but there are occasions -- >> rose: so what's wrong with that. >> what's wrong with it is
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sometimes people aren't interested in negotiations. using negotiations only for cover or you've gotten yourself in a position where you appear so weak and ineffective nobody cares what you think and they'll go through all kinds of shows and machinations to try to cover their political base here at home or preserve their reputation when the folks out in the region the ones directly affected by it, the governments that could influence the course of events aren't taking you seriously. >> rose: dick cheney, it's always great to have you. he remains with dr. jonathan reiner here the book is called heart the story of a patient, the doctor and 35 years of medical innovation called by the american medical odyssey. back in a moment, stay with us. but first this look from "60 minutes" that airs on sunday night. >> they wanted to show us just
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how dramatic his trans formation is. this is cheney's heart just moments after it was removed. >> this is the large basin and here is your heart. >> it's been running for 70 years. >> normal heart basically the size of two fists together like this maybe a little bit smaller. and you see this is about half a foot wide. all of it new heart and it's one of those situations where bigger's not necessarily better. >> that's because a bigger heart can't effectively pump blood through the body. the x-ray on the left shows cheney's enlarged heart, twice the normal size. and pushing on his other organs. on the right, his new heart and then there's this comparison. again on the left, cheney's diseased heart weakened with narrowed arteries and his new heart with healthy vessels and no blockages. >> rose: joining us is dr. jonathan ryan -- reiner fre
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george washington hospital and has been dick cheney's surge for the last ten years. with that experience what's for us to know. >> this is an even bigger story. sometimes i would think about this book i once heard someone say this book isn't just about dick cheney the way rocky wasn't just about boxing. this is really a book about hope and resilience. and not just on the part of this unusual patient but on the part of the people who innovated these and who take care of this patient over the last 35 years. so it's really a story of the revolution in medicine that has provided opportunities for patients like the vice president to not just survive but to
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thrive but it's a story of resilience, it's a story about people not taking no for an answer. we tell a story in the book about the inventor of the defib rill eighter, a device that saved the vice president's love. he was a holocaust survivor from his family. made from poland essentially to the united states and didn't take it more seeing people their advice saying you can't do it. didn't take that as gospel and produced a life-saving device. it's about the inventor of the heart lung machine taking more than two decades to develop that system. if i could sum up the story in one word it's about resilience and the tremendous technology that arose from that kind of resilience over the last half century. >> rose: what are the prospects for someone who receives a heart transplant? what are the factors that affect
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their own longevity? >> the first heart transplant patients lived just a few days. >> rose: right. >> now if -- >> rose: christian bernard or someone before him. >> christian bernard did the first surgery in 1967. heart transplant is innovated by norman pushed it forward and allowed patients to live so long. i think a patient who survivors the first year which is the vast majority of people they could live for more than a decade, easily more than a decade. but not just survive in a firm state but really return to very productive, very full lives. look at the vice president. >> rose: in the future we hear also about non-invasive surgery. what's the future of that?
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>> it's breathtaking. i'm about to train a procedure that i first heard about it several years ago i thought the person who first told me about it was drunk. there's a technology now which is being disseminated all over the world which is called per cutaneous involve replacement. it's replaced through opening the chest exactly, putting the patient on heart-lung bypass, cutting out the old valve and sewing in a new valve. that can be done through a puncture in the elect and three day hospitalization without opening the chest. remarkable technology. >> rose: what else is the most exciting frontier of heart care. >> i think mechanical support for patients with failing hearts. >> rose: the pump he had.
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>> yes. over the last couple decades the number of heart transplant operations in the united states has been very static at about 2000 operations per year. many more patients need a heart transplant that would viefer to get it and now patients like the vice president will survive with a ventricular device, a mechanical pump. but the pumps are becoming so good and so small that we're moving towards sort of a paradigm where instead of thinking about the replacing the heart with a transplanted organ, we'll just replace it with a completely implantable system, recharged through batteries that can be recharged transcutaneously and patients will go on and have an implanted mechanical pump either as a total artificial heart or as a partial artificial heart. >> rose: and they talk about those kind of behavioral factors that contribute to heart
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disease. is that the significant factor or is it more genetic? >> it's a combination of things. so for instance the vice president's risk was not just, you know, smoking as a young man or imprudent diet. by the combination of risk factors that included genetics, the vice president's dad had heart disease probably at a young age as well. i think there's some of the most significant break throughs in the last two decades of prevention. >> rose: modification or something else? >> both. in decreasing the amount of tobacco use in the united states over the last 30 years. >> rose: nutrition. >> nutrition. and medical treatment cholesterol. if you look at a graph of mortality in the united states over the last half century. in 1987 there's a big inflection point and mortality plummets.
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in 1987 the first bad cholesterol drug is released in the united states. and mortality plummets after that. >> rose: what's the next big break through then do you think. >> i think it's a combination of things. there are cholesterol drugs about to come on the market in the united states. stem cells, continue to help promise, mechanical support. and further therapies to repair the heart without having to open the chest. >> rose: the danger of opening the chest whenever you do that kind of surgery there's a risk to it, right, one infection but the body can only withstand so much. >> it's a big invasion. the way the heart is operated on in many circumstances requires the heart to be stopped and blood to be pound around the room and oxygenated. >> rose: you thought you were going to lose this guy. >> no. >> rose: you never thought maybe this is not going to --
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>> i thought he could die. i never allowed myself to think he was going to die. >> rose: because? >> because then you become paralyzed. tom wolf writes about test pilots who will fly the plane to the ground working the check lists, trying to figure out why the problem is occurring. not allowing himself to think that the plane's going to crash. and -- >> rose: they don't crash because they don't believe they're going to crash. >> they'll continue to work through the problem, plan a, plan b and plan c. >> rose: is there a moral to that story. >> you can't let yourself get paralyzed by focusing on an outcome and focusing on the fix. i thought the vice president had a very quickly shrinking window in which we could salvage him, we could support him. >> rose: so when you say your prayers, where is he on the
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list? >> seriously, he literally saved my life. one of the most important decisions writing the book, i had to go find and doctor and take my case and stay with it. i found a man named alan ross, highly recommended to george washington and when he retired he turned me over to john and that decision i can trace directly to instances where it saved my life. >> rose: thank you for coming. pleasure to have you here. congratulations. >> thank you, sir. >> rose: good to have you here. back in a moment. stay with us. >> what it means is if the light is directed down towards the display, the opposite of an lcd display, it's exactly like ambient light. for the reader , perfect in the bedroom, perfect in direct sunlight. people are going to love this device and they're going to love
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the light. >> rose: brad stone is here is a senior write for bloomberg businessweek he's the author of everything story jeff bezos and the age of amazon. he unconducted 300 interviews with one of the most influential companies for the past 20 years. i'm pleased to have him on this program to talk not only about amazon but its founder jeff bezos. first the company. what does he want amazon to be and become? >> i think what he would say is he wants to build a lasting company, the most focused company in the world and a company that satisfies its customers. i think what his critics would say is that he wants to be the last man standing. to build amazon into the biggest retailer in the world and maybe even the biggest company in the world. i think probably both are -- >> rose: bigger than microsoft and biggerazwal-mart. >> and certainly he's got a long
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way took. you know, wal-mart notched 400 million in sales last year, amazon 65. they really are getting started. >> rose: how about the market cap. >> amazon also has a long way to go but investors are showing a lot of faith in jeff bezos. >> rose: a lot of faith even though he doesn't report a lot of earnings. >> right. and the important distinction there is amazon is a very profitable company shown that in 2009, 2010. but he's reinvesting those profits into building new fulfillment centers all around the world and to developing new kinds of hardware and expanding amazon's cloud business. he's got the foot on the accelerator. >> rose: there's something about him. here's a company that has a retail business but he decided to expand into these other areas and have nothing to do with the retail business. >> that's right. he is uniquely restless and ambitious about seizing
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opportunities. you know, a couple years ago, let's say 2004-2005, google goes public. right away its market capitalization is many times amazon. it kind of looked like jeff selected one office least inspiring business models of the new age. but during that time and e-bay is valued more highly annsome. he refuses to stand still and says to his employees if we're going to get out of this we have to innovate our way out. >> rose: out of what. >> get out of being a low margin business whose employees are fleeing to more resourceful and better capitalized competitors. it's during that time we see the beginning of the cloud business, we see amazon beginning to invent the kindle. so he really, you know, sees these opportunities before a lot of his competitors do. and then pushes his company to achieve them. >> rose: so what makes amazon great? >> you know i would say it
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starts with jeff. his drive, like bill gates or larry page or steve jobs. he has high standards. the fact he pushes everyone around him to operate at their best. and i think the fact that he's developed a culture for the company that allows lots of innovation to sprinkle up from the grassroots of the company. just this year we've seen really amazon firing on all cylinders from expanding its grocer business to getting into apparel and the new kindle fire tablets. they're doing a lot because he's created that culture. >> rose: all of that he has said i think publicly, the purpose is to be able to have you demand his products to sell you to go into kindle. >> unlike apple you buy it at cost you buy one of them and you become a better amazon customer. >> rose: what's the criticism of the company. >> amazon's a tough competitor. they say their customer focused
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but they can be pretty ruthless and we've seen it in its competition with zappos which it ultimately acquired -- and the way in which it has stimulated that transition to ebooks and book publishing. there isn't a lot of book publishers or book source for that matter that has as kind a deal as amazon. it's because jeff and his team rung the kindle really you know push the publishers with threats, with rewards of the combination. we'll take you out of our recommendation engine if you don't supply a certain number of ebooks or if you don't renegotiate your contract with us in a suitable waive. i actually account for that evolution in the book. amazon, they were worried that apple or google might get the e books first and so they moved and applied a lot of pressure on book publishers to get them to make the ebook transition at a time when the book publishers didn't really see the value in
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it. >> rose: i'm going to skip around here. he recently bought "the washington post" and many people thought that's a very hard challenge right there. do you believe he has or will find a way to make "the washington post" work as a sustainable economic model. >> i think he's got the resources to try a lot of things, including to fail. for years if he needs to. of course he's extremely wealthy, the opportunity of the post presented itself to him. i don't think he went looking for it. we know now that e-bay founder was also interested in buying it. and just got a lot of confidence in his formally which is long term thinking, experimentation, trying a lot of different things. and i think he's going to be patient and perhaps tilt the post towards its digital properties and we'll see. >> rose: that's where the future is and that's what he knows. >> absolutely. and maybe one day in "the washington post" is an asset that ultimately hopes amazon's kindle's business as it exeatsz with a set of digital properties
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from apple and google. >> rose: jeff bezos is a friend and in the interest of disclosure someone i've known for a long time interviewed more than most. he's a relentless advocate of growth. and excellence. and pushing yourself to the limits of performance, yes. >> absolutely. and i would argue probably the internet and this business environment demands that. >> rose: could be competitive, you have to do that. >> that's right. we've seen so many of amazon's fellow first generation internet companies that didn't have that same outlook. aol, yahoo, e-bay for that march. they didn't quite have the drive and the pursuit of excellence that jeff does and they've all stumbled in various ways. >> rose: you also written about jeff's personal life. you found his birth father. how did you do that? >> first i'll just say you know as i started this project, it was kind of gap in the bezos
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story. i mean we know a lot about his early years, including a lot about his real father, his adopted father, mike bezos who is, has an incredible story, came from cuba, became a successful executive at exxon, invested early on in amazon. but i did wonder about you know his biological father who left his life when he was three. and jeff has said he never met the man, never had a relationship with him. i knew his name so i just went looking for him. one of the interesting thing i found was that in albuquerque where jeff was born in the 1960's, he was part of a unicycle troope that performed in circuses. i tracked him down. he's running a bike shop in phoenix, i went into his store one day told him what i was working on and he had no idea that his biological son had become one of the most successful men in the world. >> so then what happened. >> i took him to dinner. i got a story, remarkable story
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of a man who had had some problems early in life and had tremendous regrets about losing touch with jeff and with his family. but then really ironed out his life and has a great family now and is a successful entrepreneur and runs a bike shop and is actually fairly beloved by his customers. i tell the story in the book. he got in touch with jeff and jeff's mom and there was some contact there, not a lot. but you know, i think it fills in a hole, you know, in the jeff bezos story. people wonder why is this man so relentless, so driven. perhaps this explains a little bit of that. >> rose: what's his obsession with space. >> well he grew up watching star trek and the apollo missions. inspired him got him involved in matt and engineering. he was a tinkerer as a kid. part of his own personal roadmap
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for his future doing something in space. and when he got the resources at amazon, he decided he would go pursue those passions. i think at one point he probably thought maybe this is something i'll do full time. but as he got more and more interested in amazon and its potential, he now kind of runs blue origin, the company's called as a side project he spends about one day a week there and the idea is to lower the cost of going to space and ultimately send tourists in space. >> rose: it used to be said and some still suggest there's a race out in silicon valley and seattle and it's between amazon, apple, facebook and google. is that true? >> sure. the four horsemen. and we can argue whether microsoft is part of that but yes, because -- >> rose: the list first came from eric schmidt. >> that's right. all these companies started with different bases. but they converged and the
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battle is to sell you the next tablet, music, your books, magazines. i would argue these are the four kind of tent pole companies of the century. >> rose: is one about to emerge as first among equals? >> you know, the markets are so big here that there's room for all of them. and as i said, they all have their kind of different core businesses. it remains to be seen who emerges but certainly you would think considering the profit margins and their size at apple and google are really in the leading positions here. >> rose: glad to have you here. the book is called the everything store jeff bezos from amazon store. brad stone from bloomberg news week. see you next time.
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