PoliticsNation | November 08, 2012
>>> as president obama looks ahead to his second term, he'll be planning for the future by absorbing the lessons of the past. "new york times" says he held three dinner meetings with historians during the first term, to talk about where past presidents succeeded and fails. the times said becoming the 44th president of the united states or even the first african- american president to hold the post had never been enough for barack obama . he spoke unabashedly of becoming one of the greatest presidents, a transformative figure. but he's not even halfway done and has big plans for a second term. joining me is douglas brinkley , one of the historians who attended one of those dinner. he's a professor at rice university .
>> thanks for joining me.
>> thanks for having me on.
>> those sound like remarkable dinners. what do you think the president was looking to learn with scholars like you?
>> it's a great honor just to be at those dinners and being with mea colleagues. it's really like a book club . he's almost encyclopedic on past presidents. abe ray ham lincoln is his touch did not stone and doris kerns' team had influenced him a lot.
>> because linking had some of husband own adversary sears.
>> and gates, a republican, he kept as defense. maybe chuck hagel will come in as defense. theodore roosevelt came up a lot. and t.r. is for president obama very important, because theodore roosevelt stood up for universal health care . he was able to go after corruption in wall street and, you know, become a trust buster . you see the power that an executive has. just a few weeks ago in california he saved cesar chavez ' home. executive order did that. a lot of latino newspapers celebrated it quite a bit. there are many things you can learn from past presidents, how to use executive power .
>> what was his demeanor like? what was the kinds of things he was questioning you all about?
>> you're listening to having somebody like bob karo there, you get to recognize for all the great society accomplishments that linden had. he also had about 67 senators to rubber-stamp a lot of legislation. this president had to grapple with obama care, affordable care act around 60.him a lot, particularly that reagan could do business with people like tip o'neil, ted kennedy , and he felt with mitch mcdonnell there was nobody to do business with, perhaps now with boehner you'll see him -- boehner taking a historic role with his -- the fiscal problem we have. maybe they'll be able to work together, better in a second term.
>> was his interests more on the personal characters and personal trades of the preceding presidents and their weaknesses and strengths? or was it more on policies and how they dealt with the crisis at their time?
>> i think more on the crisis in policy. these are very relaxed dinners action it's said, like i said, as a book club . he was very gracious, just going around and letting people talk about what they're working on, and ask different questions, realizing he can't repeat the past, that things are different, but what can you learn from them? you realize that someone like franklin roosevelt is endlessly talking about. can we have a conservation corps now? is that doable? there's a lot of things -- he's looking at history, you know, to may be a bit of a guide here in the second term.
>> now, some of the key items on the president's agenda, deficit reduction action tax reform , immigration, climate change , alternative energy . do you have any sense of where you think he may go?
>> climb never even got brought up in the presidential debates, but it means a great to president obama . i think we might be seeing john kerry become the secretary of state. kerry has spent his senate career pushing the climate issue, in the sense of a global cooperation on climate. it's something that when you're trying to win swing voters that didn't play well, but with hurricane sandy and new jersey still hurt like it is now, i think the second term will deal with it in a way they didn't in the first.
>> thank you, douglas brinkley . thank you for your time.
>>> thank you.
>>> the election is over, and somebody romney staffers are saying