August 02, 2019

John Hickenlooper

Presidential candidate and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper discusses taking on Bernie Sanders in this week’s presidential debate. Hickenlooper explains why he says policies advocated by some candidates, like the elimination of private insurance and the Green New Deal, will hand the election to Trump. He also discusses the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, which he initially opposed.

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HIS RESUME BREW PUB OWNER, GEOLOGIST, AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.
THIS WEEK ON ‘FIRING LINE.’
A BANJO PLAYER, SELF-PROCLAIMED NERD, AND EXTRA VERT.

IN THE ’90s, COLORADO’S ECONOMY WAS FLYING HIGH.

FORMER COLORADO GOVERNOR JV SAYS HE HAS THE EXPERIENCE TO MAKE THE U.S. ECONOMY SOAR.
BEFORE POLITICS, HIS CRAFT WAS BEER.
AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HE IS TRYING TO MAKE THE CASE FOR PRAGMATISM.

WE WON’T GET ANYTHING DONE BY FLYING IDEOLOGICAL LITMUS TESTS.

AND AGAINST POPULAR PROGRESSIVE POLICIES.

THIS NOTION THAT YOU ARE GOING IT TAKE PRIVATE INSURANCE AWAY FROM 180 MILLION AMERICANS, YOU MIGHT AS WELL FEDEX THE ELECTION TO DONALD TRUMP.

LEAVING SOME IN HIS OWN PARTY WITH A BITTER TASTE.

SOCIALISM IS NOT THE ANSWER.
YOU SHOULD NOT TRY TO GUARANTEE EVERY AMERICAN A GOVERNMENT JOB.
HOLD ON, HOLD ON.

SO IS THERE ROOM FOR A MODERATE IN THE RACE?
WHAT DOES JOHN HICKENLOOPER SAY NOW?

‘FIRING LINE’ WITH MARGARET HOOVER IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE MARGARET AND DANIEL LOEB FOUNDATION.
ADDITIONAL FUNDING PROVIDED BY.
CORPORATE FUNDING BY STEPHENS WINK.

HOOVER: WELCOME TO ‘FIRING LINE,’ GOVERNOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER.

HICKENLOOPER:THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

HOOVER: YOU ARE THE FORMER GOVERNOR OF COLORADO.
MY HOME STATE.
A FORMERLY RED STATE AND PURPLE STATE AND NOW TRENDING BLUE.

HICKENLOOPER: PRETTY BLUE.

HOOVER: YOU HAVE BEEN A MAYOR, A BREW PUB OWNER, AND YOU HAVE ALSO BEEN A GEOLOGIST.

HICKENLOOPER: I HAVE HAD A SEQUENCE OF CAREERS.

HOOVER: NOW YOU ARE RUNNING TO BE THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
YOU HAVE JUST COME OFF THE SECOND DEBATE WHERE YOU HAD ONLY BETO O’ROURKE BETWEEN YOU AND ELIZABETH WARREN AND BERNIE SANDERS.
IN YOUR CLOSING STATEMENT YOU STARTED BY SAYING WHAT A NIGHT, I’VE LOVED IT.

HICKENLOOPER: YEAH.

HOOVER: WHAT DID YOU LOVE ABOUT THE DEBATE?

HICKENLOOPER: YOU SPEND SO MUCH OF YOUR TIME, IF YOU ARE IN PUBLIC SERVICE, LEARNING THE ISSUES AND REALLY HOW DO YOU MAKE THE GREATEST GOOD FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER OF PEOPLE.
THERE YOU ARE WITH NINE OTHER SUPER TALENTED PEOPLE THAT ALL HAVE THEIR VERY CLEAR IDEAS OF WHAT THEY THINK IS THE GREATEST GOOD FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER OF PEOPLE AND HOW TO GET THERE, AND YOU GET TO DEBATE IT.
I AM NOT A VERY GOOD DEBATER, BUT I LOVE BEING THERE.

HOOVER: I WOULD LIKE TO WATCH A MOMENT.

GOVERNOR HICKENLOOPER, YOU RAN A FACEBOOK AD THAT WARNED, QUOTE, SOCIALISM IS NOT THE ANSWER.
THE AD ALSO SAID, QUOTE, DON’T LET EXTREMES GIVE TRUMP FOUR MORE YEARS.
ARE YOU SAYING THAT SENATOR SANDERS IS TOO EXTREME TO BEAT PRESIDENT TRUMP?

HICKENLOOPER: I’M SAYING THE POLICIES OF THIS NOTION THAT YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE PRIVATE INSURANCE AWAY FROM 180 MILLION AMERICANS WHO MANY OF THEM DON’T WANT TO GIVE — MANY WANT TO GET RID OF IT, MANY DON’T, OR THE GREEN NEW DEAL, MAKE SURE THAT EVERY AMERICAN IS GUARANTEED A GOVERNMENT JOB THAT THEY WANT, THAT IS A DISASTER.
YOU MIGHT AS WELL FEDEX THE ELECTION TO DONALD TRUMP.

HOOVER: THAT FEDEX THE ELECTION TO DONALD TRUMP LINE REALLY BROKE THROUGH.

HICKENLOOPER: IT JUST KIND OF CAME OUT.

HOOVER: IT WASN’T PLANNED?

HICKENLOOPER: NO.
WELL, I SAID IT THE DAY BEFORE IN TALKING AND IT STUCK IN MY MIND.
IT WAS NOT ORIGINAL AT THAT MOMENT, BUT IT WAS PRETTY FRESH.

HOOVER: MANY OF THE CANDIDATES THAT YOU ARE RUNNING AGAINST ARE FOR POLICIES THAT ARE PRETTY — THEY ARE IN STARK CONTRAST TO THE POLICIES THAT YOU SUPPORT AND THAT YOU DEBATED.
ONE OF THOSE CANDIDATES ENDS UP CLINCHING THE NOMINATION, WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ENSURE THAT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY DOESN’T FEDEX THE ELECTION TO DONALD TRUMP?

HICKENLOOPER: OBVIOUSLY, I THINK ANY ONE OF THEM WILL DO A BETTER JOB THAN WHAT DONALD TRUMP IS DOING.
I THINK, YOU KNOW, IF WHOEVER THAT DEMOCRATIC IS, IF THEY GET ELECTED, THEY ARE GOING TO BE ALL MANNER OF OPPORTUNITIES TO MODERATE HOW FAST DO WE GO, WHERE THE COMPROMISE POINTS ARE.
I MEAN, I AGREE.
I THINK HEALTH CARE SHOULD BE A RIGHT, NOT A PRIVILEGE.
I THINK THERE SHOULD BE UNIVERSAL COVERAGE.
I DON’T THINK WE ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TOO TAKE PRIVATE INSURANCE AWAY FROM 180 MILLION PEOPLE.

HOOVER: DO YOU STAND IN FAVOR OF A PUBLIC OPTION?

HICKENLOOPER: IT SHOULD BE A SLIDING SCALE BUT NOT FREE FOR EVERYBODY.

HOOVER: THERE SHOULDN’T BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO GO INTO BUSINESS AND DIRECTLY COMPETE AGAINST PRIVATE ENTERPRISE AND PRIVATE INSURANCE?
YOU ARE AGAINST THAT?

HICKENLOOPER: RIGHT.
I THINK ANY PUBLIC OPTION, AND OBVIOUSLY IT IS GOING TO BE COMPETING IN A WAY, BUT IT’S GOT TO BE — THERE ARE ALGORITHMS LOOKING AT WHAT IS A FAIR PRICE, RIGHT, AND NOT ARTIFICIALLY SUBSIDIZING A BOTTOM BELOW WHAT ANYBODY CAN MAKE IN THE PRIVATE INSURANCE INDUSTRY.

HOOVER: THERE IS A CRITICISM THAT A POLICY LIKE THAT WOULD JUST EXPEDITE A PATH TO A SINGLE-PAYER —
HICKENLOOPER: RIGHT, EXACTLY.
AGAIN, IF THE INSURANCE COMPANIES, AS EFFICIENT AS THEY THINK IT IS, I DON’T THINK THAT WILL EVER HAPPEN BECAUSE I DON’T THINK GOVERNMENT CAN NATURALLY BE SUFFICIENTLY EFFICIENT TO COMPETE AT THAT LEVEL.
SO MY BEST GUESS IS THAT A PUBLIC OPTION DONE PROPERLY WILL ATTRACT A SIZABLE NUMBER OF PEOPLE.
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PRIVATE INSURANCE FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS.
THAT’S WHAT WE SEE IN EUROPE.
PEOPLE SAY, WELL, GERMANY — GERMANY HAS 120 DIFFERENT INSURANCE COMPANIES.

HOOVER: HOW MUCH WOULD A PUBLIC OPTION COST?

HICKENLOOPER: DEPENDS WHAT YOUR SUBSIDIES ARE.

HOOVER: IN YOUR PLAN?

HICKENLOOPER: OUR GOAL IS TO BE ABLE TO FINANCE IT THROUGH THE SAVINGS YOU GET THROUGH BEING ABLE TO NEGOTIATE MEDICARE, PRICES FOR — WITH DRUG COMPANIES.
PUBLIC OPTION DONE PROPERLY WILL HAVE AN INCREMENTAL COST.
BY THAT I MEAN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR.
BUT CERTAINLY NOT TRILLIONS.

HOOVER: WHICH MAKES YOU AGAIN AMONG THE MODERATE, MORE MODERATE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES.
HOW DO YOU, AS A MORE MODERATE CANDIDATE AMONGST YOUR VERY PROGRESSIVE PEERS, THAT ARGUE UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE IS THE BEST WAY FORWARD, HOW DO YOU MAKE A CASE TO AN ACTIVIST BASE, THAT THAT ISN’T SUSTAINABLE IN THE LONG TERM?

HICKENLOOPER: HOW DO WE CREATE SOMETHING THAT’S GOING TO HAVE SOME STABILITY?
BECAUSE I DON’T THINK PEOPLE WANT — ESPECIALLY WITH HEALTH CARE, THIS PENDULUM GOING BACK AND FORTH WHERE THEY FEEL NOW THEY ARE AT RISK OF LOSING COVERAGE THEY GOT THROUGH THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT OR THE PENDULUM IS GOING TO GO THE OTHER WAY AND SUDDENLY EVERYTHING WILL BE FREE.
I THINK THERE IS A WAY OF DOING THINGS.
I THINK THIS IS UNIQUELY AMERICAN WHERE WE EVOLVE AND WE TAKE THE BEST PRACTICE FROM THIS, THE BEST PRACTICE FROM THAT, AND I THINK THAT’S WHAT I’M TRYING TO GET TO, A PLACE WHERE WE HAVE MARKETS DRIVING DOWN PRICE, AND AT THE SAME TIME WE ARE ABLE TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE HAS SOME LEVEL OF BASIC COVERAGE.

HOOVER: YOU HAVE CALLED YOURSELF AN UNABASHED EXTROVERT.
I WOULD LIKE TO TURN TO ANOTHER MOMENT IN THE DEBATE WHICH CAUGHT A LOT OF ATTENTION.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK.

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT TO PAY REASONABLE PRICES FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, NOT THE HIGHEST PRICES —
THANK YOU, SENATOR.

I HAVE HELPED LEAD —
GOVERNOR HICKENLOOPER, I WANT TO BRING YOU BACK TO RESPOND.

AGAIN, I THINK IF WE ARE GOING TO FORCE AMERICANS TO MAKE RADICAL CHANGES, THEY ARE NOT GOING TO — THROW YOUR HANDS UP.
BUT YOU HAVEN’T —
I WILL.

WHOA, I CAN DO IT.
BUT YOU HAVEN’T IMPLEMENTED THE PLAN.
GOVERNORS AND MAYORS, WE ARE THE TO PICK UP THE PIECES.
SUDDENLY THE GOVERNMENT IS SUPPOSED TO TAKE OVER ALL THESE RESPONSIBILITIES AND THERE IS NO PREPARATION, THE DETAILS.
YOU CAN’T JUST SPRING A PLAN ON THE WORLD AND EXPECT IT TO SUCCEED.

JOHN I WAS A MAYOR.
I HAVE SOME PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE.

HOOVER: IT WAS A VERY AUTHENTIC MOMENT.

HICKENLOOPER: IT WAS.

HOOVER: IT REALLY PENETRATED.
THE POINT YOU WERE MAKING IS THAT BERNIE SANDERS STANDS FOR A SERIES OF IDEAS THAT ARE FAR MORE RADICAL THAN THE IDEAS THAT YOU STAND FOR.
DO YOU THINK THAT HE AND ELIZABETH WARREN ARE ACCURATE IN ACCUSING YOU AND SOME OF YOUR PEERS OF BEING AFRAID TO BE FOR BIG IDEAS?

HICKENLOOPER: NO.
I THINK THAT’S SILLY.
I THINK IT’S INTERESTING.
WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE AND, YOU KNOW, I GREW UP IN THE ’60s, RIGHT?
I MARCHED ON WASHINGTON AGAINST THE VIETNAM WAR.
I WATCHED US SUPPORT CIVIL RIGHTS.
I WENT TO WOODSTOCK.
I MEAN, ALL OF THESE THINGS, I WAS PART OF THAT GENERATION.
EVERYONE SAID, WELL, IT’S OKAY.
WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG, YOU WILL BE LIBERAL, REALLY PROGRESSIVE, AND WHEN YOU ARE OLDER YOU’LL BECOME MORE CONSERVATIVE, AND YET SOMEHOW ELIZABETH WARREN AND BERNIE SANDERS IF ANYTHING ARE MORE LIBERAL NOW.
ALTHOUGH, SENATOR SANDERS HAS BEEN PRETTY PROGRESSIVE FOR A LONG TIME.
BUT CERTAINLY ELIZABETH WARREN HAS COME BACK THE OTHER WAY.
I LOOK AT THAT AS, A, I DON’T SAY THAT THEY ARE EXCESSIVELY PROGRESSIVE.
I REALLY THINK THAT IN A FUNNY WAY THEY ARE IDEALISTS.
CERTAINLY THE WAY THEY ARE ATTRACTING YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE FIRED UP, THAT’S THAT IDEALISM THAT I RECOGNIZE FROM THOSE DAYS.
I THINK IT’S WORTH RECOGNIZING ALSO THAT IN 1972 McGOVERN WAS ONE OF THE MOST LIBERAL CANDIDATES IN DEMOCRATIC HISTORY, AND RICHARD NIXON I THINK CERTAINLY UNTIL TODAY WAS BY FAR THE MOST CORRUPT PRESIDENT WE HAVE EVER HAD, AND HE WANT WON LANDSLIDE.
THE LARGEST LANDSLIDE IN HISTORY.
SO I THINK —

HOOVER: ARE YOU SAYING YOU FEAR A PARALLEL BETWEEN —

HICKENLOOPER: WHAT IF THE PARTY GOES TOO FAR TO THE LEFT THAT SO MANY OF THOSE INDEPENDENTS ARE GOING TO FEEL UNCERTAIN, ESPECIALLY IN STATES LIKE MICHIGAN WHERE WE WERE FOR THE DEBATE.
PENNSYLVANIA WHERE I GREW UP, YOU KNOW.
WISCONSIN.
THESE ARE STATES THAT THE DEMOCRATS OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO WIN AGAINST PRESIDENT TRUMP, AND YET I THINK WE MAKE IT A LOT HARDER IF WE’RE OUT THERE TALKING ABOUT MEDICARE FOR ALL.
THE BIG IDEA IS HEALTH CARE IS A RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE.
NOW, THEY ARE FIGHTING FOR ONE WAY TO GET THERE.
I’M FIGHTING FOR A DIFFERENT WAY TO GET THERE.
WE ARE BOTH FIGHTING FOR THE SAME BIG IDEA.
WE WILL HAVE TO LET THE VOTERS SEE WHICH IDEA IS MORE SALEABLE.
IN OTHER WORDS, WHICH IDEA WILL GET VOTES.

HOOVER: AND YOU ARE ONE OF THE CANDIDATES WHO ACTUALLY SUPPORTS FRACKING.
A NUMBER OF YOUR COMPETITORS ARE CALLING FOR A TOTAL BAN ON FRACKING.
YOU ONCE EVEN DRANK FRACKING FLUID.

HICKENLOOPER: WELL, YOU KNOW, THE FRAC FLUID THAT I DRANK, AND THIS — IT’S FUNNY.
WE WERE MEETING WITH A COUPLE OF THE CEOs OF LARGE OIL COMPANIES THAT OPERATE IN COLORADO.
COLORADO IS THE FIFTH OR SIXTH LARGEST STATE FOR OIL OR GAS.
ANYWAY, I WAS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW DO WE GET THEM TO DISCUSS METHANE, THE GAS THAT GETS FLARED AND VENTED.
IT’S 25 TO 40 TIMES WORSE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE THAN CO2.
NOBODY EVER REGULATED IT.
I WAS TALKING ABOUT THE FRACK FLUID.
THEY BROUGHT OUT A QUARTZ GLASS CONTAINER WITH THERE TRANSPARENT FLUID.
LOOKED LIKE WATER, MORE LIKE SYRUP.
THEY SAID THIS IS MADE WITH ALL FDA INGREDIENTS.
HE OPENED IT AND TOOK A SIP.
I REALIZED THEY ARE GOING TO TRUST ME OR NOT.
THEY THOUGHT I WAS IN WHAT THEY THOUGHT WERE THE WILD ENVIRONMENTALISTS.
SO I TOOK A SIP.
AT THE END OF THE MEETING WE AGREED TO MEET AGAIN.
DRINKING THAT FLUID WAS THE THING THAT ALLOWED ME TO BEGIN — IT TOOK 14 MONTHS.
THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTISTS DON’T TRUST EACH OTHER, DON’T LIKE EACH OTHER.
WE CREATED THE FIRST METH REGULATIONS IN THIS COUNTRY.

HOOVER: THIS IS A RADICAL PRAGMATIST, RIGHT?

HICKENLOOPER: RIGHT.

HOOVER:THE QUESTION IS, WILL THAT CATCH FIRE WITH THE PROGRESSIVE BASE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY?

HICKENLOOPER: I KEEP THINKING THAT PEOPLE AREN’T PAYING ATTENTION.
I THINK THERE IS A QUIET MAJORITY OF PEOPLE, BOTH MODERATE REPUBLICANS AND INDEPENDENTS AND MODERATE DEMOCRATS, WHO THEY BELIEVE IN PRAGMATISM.
AND PRAGMATISM DOESN’T MEAN YOU DON’T DO BIG THINGS.
PRAGMATISM MEANS YOU FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET THEM DONE.

HOOVER: ONE OF THE OTHER LEADING SORT OF MODERATES IN THE RACE IS VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN.
AND HE HAS SUFFERED HIS OWN ONSLAUGHT OF MUDSLINGING FROM CANDIDATES AROUND HERE.
HERE IS A CLIP FROM THE DEBATE.

YOUR PLAN DOES NOT COVER EVERYONE IN AMERICA.
BY YOUR STAFF AND YOUR OWN DEFINITION.

SO THIS IDEA IS A BUNCH OF MALARKEY.

IF YOU WANT TO COMPARE RECORDS, AND I’M SHOCKED THAT YOU DO, I’M HAPPY TO DO THAT.

THERE WAS NOTHING DONE FOR THE ENTIRE EIGHT YEARS HE WAS MAYOR.
THERE WAS NOTHING DONE TO DEAL WITH THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.

THERE IS A SAYING IN MY COMMUNITY.
YOU ARE DIPPING INTO KOOL-AID AND YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW THE FLAVOR.

HOOVER: WOULD YOU HAVE DEFENDED BIDEN IF YOU HAD BEEN ON THE STAGE WITH HIM?

HICKENLOOPER: WELL, YOU KNOW, YES.
I PROBABLY WOULD HAVE.
SOME OF THAT.
I THINK IT’S INTERESTING ANY OF US WOULD LOVE TO BE IN HIS POSITION, TO BE THE FRONTRUNNER.
BUT YOU KNOW YOU ARE A LIGHTNING ROD, RIGHT?
YOU ARE GOING TO ATTRACT LIGHTNING FROM EVERY DIFFERENT DIRECTION, AND YOU HAVE TO BE READY FOR IT AND READY TO DEFEND YOURSELF ON IT.

HOOVER: YOU BECAME FRIENDS WITH THE LATE KURT VONNEGUT.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?

HICKENLOOPER: SURE.
MY DAD DIED WHEN I WAS 8.
SO NO ONE EVER REALLY TALKED ABOUT MY DAD VERY OFTEN.
IT WASN’T UNTIL I WAS 45, SO KIND OF A LONG COINCIDENCE.
I WAS BREWING A SPECIAL BEER FOR AN ART GALLERY WHERE KURT VONNEGUT WAS SHOWING SILK SCREENS HE MADE.
HE CALLED AND SAID YOU CAN TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED TO MY GOOD FRIEND JOHN HICKENLOOPER FROM CORNELL.
YOU HAVE THE SAME NAME.
I SAID I’M A JUNIOR.
HE DIED IN 1960.
AND WE BECAME GREAT FRIENDS.
HE TOLD ME ALL OF THESE WONDERFUL STORIES ABOUT MY DAD I’D NEVER HEARD.
WE JUST, HE REALLY WAS — HE HE COULD BE A CURMUDGEON, BUT HE WAS A WONDERFUL CHARMING AMAZING PERSON.
I CALLED HIM AND I SAID, KURT, I’M GOING TO RUN FOR MAYOR OF DENVER.
I MADE UP MY MIND.
THIS IS IN 2003.
I SAID I THINK IT WOULD BE FUNNY BUT USEFUL IF YOU ENDORSE ME.
HE SAID IF I ENDORSE YOU, I HAVE TO ENDORSE EVERYBODY.
YOU KNOW HOW MANY FRIENDS I HAVE ? I SAID JUST AN IDEA.
NO PROBLEM AT ALL.
THE NEXT DAY I GET A FAX.
HE DIDN’T REALLY LIKE EMAILS AS MUCH.
HE SENT ME A FAX THAT SAID, I DON’T BELIEVE IN ENDORSEMENTS.
I BELIEVE IN HOPE.
I HOPE JOHN HICKENLOOPER IS THE NEXT MAYOR OF DENVER.
SO HE PUT THOSE ON THESE BOOKMARKS AND HANDED THEM OUT IN LIBRARIES, YOU KNOW.
BUT HE BECAME A GREAT FRIEND.
THEN HE TAPED SOMETHING.
YOU CAN GO ON YOUTUBE —

HOOVER: NO, WE ARE GOING TO SHOW IT.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK.

JOHN, AS YOU KNOW, THE MAN YOU ALWAYS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN YOUR FATHER ALSO NAMED JOHN HICKENLOOPER WAS MY BROTHER IN THE DELTA UPSILON FRATERNITY.
NOW, JOHN, THERE IS NO GENETIC REASON FOR YOU TO GO ON BEING A DORK OR A DWEEB OR, AS WE USED TO SAY OF YOUR SUPPOSED FATHER, A TWERP.
THAT TWERP WAS NOT YOUR FATHER.
I AM YOUR FATHER.

HICKENLOOPER: SO AMAZING.

HOOVER: NO STRONGER ENDORSEMENT.
VONNEGUT WROTE ABOUT A FICTIONAL RELIGION.AM I GOING TO GET IT RIGHT? IS IT BOKONONISM?
ARE YOU A BOKONONIST?

HICKENLOOPER: HAHA, NO, BUT I BELIEVE IN THE KARRAS.

HOOVER: EXPLAIN THE KARASS.

HICKENLOOPER: THAT’S THAT SENSE THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT YOU ARE CREATED — YOU KNOW, YOU ARE CONNECTED TO THAT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT, AND YET SOMEHOW YOU SHARE SOME COMMON EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HEARD ABOUT OR BEEN A PART OF AND IT’S ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT ARE CONNECTED TO, THE ONES YOU KNOW AND DON’T KNOW, AND SOMEHOW THEY END UPCOMING INTO YOUR LIFE OUT OF THE BLUE.
THAT’S WHY KURT VONNEGUT LOVED THE FACT THAT HE MET ME —

HOOVER: HE DESCRIBED A PHENOMENON THAT HE EMBODIED IN YOUR LIFE.

HICKENLOOPER: EXACTLY.
HE CREATED A PHILOSOPHICAL CONSTRUCT THAT PREDICTED THAT SOMEHOW HE WOULD MEET ME AND THEN HE WOULD HAVE THIS BIG IMPACT IN MY LIFE.

HOOVER: NOT MANY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES HAVE A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH KURT VONNEGUT.
SAW JIMI HENDRIX PLAY LIVE.
ALSO PRESIDED OVER THE FIRST STATE TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA, OKAY?
IT MAKES YOU PRETTY COOL.
THE ORIGINAL HOST OF THIS PROGRAM WAS ACTUALLY, HAD A STRONG FAVORABLE OPINION ABOUT MARIJUANA USAGE.
I’D LIKE US TO TAKE A LOOK.

I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU.
IT’S A MATTER OF LOGISTICS.
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO YOU TESTIFIED ON BEHALF OF CONGRESSMAN ED CONCH’S MARIJUANA COMMISSION BILL.
YOU SAID YOU WENT ON YOUR BOAT OUTSIDE THE THREE-MILE LIMIT AND YOU HAD SMOKED SOME POT.
WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS, I SUPPOSE YOU SAID THAT YOU WENT OUTSIDE THE THREE-MILE LIMIT.
PERHAPS IT WAS A PLIGHT FICTION SO YOU COULD BE LAW OR ORDER.
HOW DID YOU GET THE POT ON YOUR BOAT?

I GREW IT.

ON THE BOAT?

YEAH.

WELL, BUT YOU HAD TO COME WITHIN THE THREE-MILE LIMIT WITHIN THE POSSESSION OF THE POT, DID YOU NOT?

NO, I CONSUMED IT ALL.

HOW DID YOU GET THE SEEDS —
YOU STAYED OUT BEYOND THREE MILES?
YOU GREW THE POT WHILE OUT THERE?
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GROW POT?

DEPENDS HOW MUCH TIME YOU’VE GOT.

HOOVER: COLORADO, WHEN COLORADO WAS VOTING TO BECOME THE FIRST STATE TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA CONSUMPTION AND SELL IT, HAVE IT BE COMMERCIALIZED AS WELL, YOU WERE INITIALLY AGAINST IT.
YOU HAVE COME AROUND.
CONSERVATIVES OFTEN FOCUS ON THE FACTS THAT THE STATES ARE THE LABORATORIES OF OUR DEMOCRACY.
SO WHAT HAS COLORADO, AS THE PETRI DISH FOR MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION, TAUGHT YOU?

HICKENLOOPER: WELL, I TELL YOU ONE QUESTION IS WHY SO MANY REPUBLICANS ARE AGAINST FREEDOM, RIGHT, IN THIS CASE.
I THINK I WAS AGAINST TO — I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING, A SMALLER TEST.
I WAS WORRIED WE’D SEE TEENAGERS SPIKE IN CONSUMPTION.
BUT WE DO A SURVEY OF 24,000 PEOPLE EVERY TWO YEARS, AND THAT’S A BIG DATA SET.
AND WE’VE SEEN NO SPIKE IN CONSUMPTION AMONG TEENAGERS.
NO SPIKE IN ANY DEMOGRAPHIC EXCEPT FOR SENIOR CITIZENS.
I’LL LET YOU MAKE YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS FROM THAT.
I THINK THE QUESTION NOW IS WE HAVE PROVEN THAT IT’S, YOU KNOW, OUR REGULATORY FRAMEWORK IS NOW THE NATIONAL MODEL.
THERE IS CLOSE TO 80% OF THE STATES HAVE EITHER RECREATIONAL OR MEDICAL OR BOTH MARIJUANA LEGALIZED.
WHAT’S TAKING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SO LONG?
WHY CAN’T THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DECRIMINALIZE IT?
LET THE STATES MAKE THEIR DECISIONS AS LABORATORIES OF DEMOCRACY AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD ALLOW THEM TO DO THAT SAFELY.

HOOVER: SO HERE IS MY QUESTION.
AS A CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF A STATE THAT HAS MADE THIS EXPERIMENT A SUCCESS IN YOUR VIEW, WHY NOT, AS A DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE ON THE STAGE, GO WHOLE HOG AND BE THE CANDIDATE FOR LEGALIZATION?
BECAUSE YOU CAN SPEAK AUTHENTICALLY TOWARDS THE SUCCESS THAT YOU OVERSAW IN YOUR STATE.
HOW MUCH ENERGY WOULD THAT BRING FROM THE PROGRESSIVE BASE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND THE YOUTH IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IF YOU WERE THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE RUNNING ON FULL LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA?

HICKENLOOPER: WELL, I HAVE SAID IT.
WHAT I JUST SAID TO YOU.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS TO DECRIMINALIZE IT.
MAYBE I SHOULD TAKE THAT STEP AND JUST GO, HEY, LEGALIZE IT.
YOU KNOW, THE HORSE IS OUT OF THE BARN.
THE OLD SYSTEM WHERE WE SENT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, MILLIONS OF KIDS TO PRISON, WE MADE THEM FELONS FOR A VICTIMLESS CRIME, YOU KNOW, POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA, WE HAVE TO STOP MAKING FELONS, MAKING KIDS FELONS BECAUSE OF A JOINT.

HOOVER: ANOTHER TOPIC I WANTED TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT IS LEADERSHIP IN CRISIS BECAUSE
AS GOVERNOR YOU OVERSAW SEVERAL CRISES FROM THE AURORA SHOOTING TO CATASTROPHIC FLOODING.
IT’S ALSO WILDFIRES.
AND ONE OF THE FIRES THAT YOU WRITE ABOUT IN THE BOOK, THE LOWER NORTH FORK FIRE, WAS THE FIRST CRISIS THAT YOU FACED AS GOVERNOR.
AND IT WAS, FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE AUDIENCE, A FIRE THAT IS ACTUALLY A PRESCRIBED BURN THAT WAS DELIBERATELY SET BY THE STATE OF COLORADO IN ORDER TO PREVENT FUTURE BURNS.
THIS IS A COMMON PRACTICE IN THE WEST.
IN THIS CASE THE STATE DIDN’T FOLLOW ITS OWN PROTOCOLS IN TERMS OF CLEANING UP THE FIRE OR MOPPING IT UP, AS THE TERMINOLOGY IS.
AND WHAT ENDED UP HAPPENING IS THAT THIS MOP-UP DIDN’T OCCUR ON THE EVE OF A PREDICTED WINDSTORM THAT KICKED UP THOSE EMBERS AND CAUSE DS ONE OF THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE FIRES AND THE FIRST CRISIS OF YOUR GOVERNORSHIP.
I AM PERSONALLY CONNECTED TO THAT TRAGEDY BECAUSE THE LOWER NORTH FORK FIRE KILLED THREE PEOPLE.
IT BURNED 27 HOMES AND 2,100 ACRES AND ONE OF THOSE HOMES WAS MY PARENTS’ HOME.
MY DAD WAS IN HIS HOME WHEN THE FIRE BURNED THROUGH AND HE FORTUNATELY SURVIVED, THOUGH THREE OF OUR NEIGHBORS DIDN’T.
ONE OF THE THINGS YOU DID AS GOVERNOR IS AND FOR AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION TO REVIEW WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT WENT WRONG.
I WONDER IF SEVEN YEARS LATER, AS YOU LOOK AT THAT REPORT, WHY WASN’T ANYBODY HEALTH ACCOUNTABLE IN YOUR VIEW FOR THE NEGLIGENCE OF NOT FOLLOWING THE STATE’S PROTOCOLS?

HICKENLOOPER: I THINK THAT THEY WENT AND LOOKED AT THE CHECKLIST THAT THEY HAD IN PLACE ON WHAT THE RESPONSIBILITY WAS OF THE MANAGER, WHAT THEY CALL THE FIRE BURN MANAGER, AND HE WENT AND HE SAW LITERALLY NO SMOKE.
SO HE WAS JUDGED NOT TO HAVE ACTED IMPROPERLY IN THE DELIVERY OF HIS RESPONSIBILITIES.
NOW, THE QUESTION THEN IS, ALL RIGHT, SO HE MADE A MISTAKE.
MAYBE HE SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE WINDSTORM AND GONE BACK OUT THE NEXT DAY ON SUNDAY AND CHECKED AGAIN.
WOULD HAVE BEEN ABOVE AND BEYOND.
YEAH, HE PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE DONE THAT.

HOOVER: WAS THAT ABOVE OR BEYOND OR JUST FOLLOWING PROTOCOLS?
IT WAS THE THIRD DAY, THAT SUNDAY THAT NOBODY WENT TO THE SITE TO ENSURE THE FIRE WAS PUT OUT.

HICKENLOOPER: I WOULD HAVE TO LOOK AT THE PROTOCOLS.

HOOVER: A PRETTY SEVERE MISTAKE.
I MEAN, THREE PEOPLE DIED.

HICKENLOOPER: NO QUESTION IT WAS A SEVERE MISTAKE.
THE PUBLIC ALWAYS WANTS TO HAVE SOME SORT OF — THEY WANT SOMEONE TO SUFFER WHEN THEY SUFFERED.
BUT SOMETIMES A PERSON HAS DONE THE BEST THEY CAN DO, AND A UNIQUE SITUATION ARISES THAT THEY DIDN’T ANTICIPATE.
MOST BUSINESSES DON’T FIRE SOMEBODY.
IF YOU GO AND TAKE THAT SET OF FACTS AND YOU TALK TO, YOU KNOW, ANY LARGE ENTERPRISE, A TELECOM COMPANY OR PRETTY MUCH ANY COMPANY, WOULD YOU FIRE THIS PERSON FOR THAT?
I DON’T THINK THEY WOULD.

HOOVER: IT SEEMS THAT THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN REPERCUSSIONS AGAINST INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN BAD DECISION-MAKING.
IT MAKES ME THINK OF HARRY TRUMAN WHO HAD ON HIS DESK IN THE OVAL OFFICE —
THE BUCK STOPS HERE.

HICKENLOOPER: RIGHT.

HOOVER: AS CEO OF THE STATE, DOES THE BUCK STOP WITH YOU?

HICKENLOOPER: YEAH.

HOOVER: WHEN YOUR EMPLOYEES OR STATE EMPLOYEES ACT SO NEGLIGENTLY THAT THREE PEOPLE DIED?

HICKENLOOPER: ALL YOU CAN DO IN ANY INCIDENT IS GO BACK AND TRY TO FIND THAT THERE WAS SOMEBODY WHO IN A POSITION OF AUTHORITY WHO SHOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY THAN WHAT THEY DID, RIGHT.
AND THEN THERE HAS TO BE SOME LEVEL OF DISCIPLINE AND FIGURE OUT WHAT THE APPROPRIATE DISCIPLINE IS.
IN THAT EVENT, WE RESTRUCTURED HOW WE FIGHT FIRES IN EVERY REGARD.
WE TOOK IT APART AND PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN.
NOW THERE IS ONE AGENCY THAT’S IN CHARGE OF FIRE PREVENTION AND IF WE HAVE A BURN, THEY ARE THE RESPONSIBLE FOR TAKING CARE OF IT.
BUT WE DIDN’T HAVE THAT AT THAT TIME.

HOOVER: GOD WILLING THAT HELPS THIS KIND OF TRAGEDY IN THE FUTURE.

HICKENLOOPER: ABSOLUTELY.

HOOVER: LAST QUESTION.
THE PATH THAT YOU ARE ON I KNOW IS ONE FOCUSED ON IOWA.
BUT IF YOU DON’T GET THAT FAR, THERE ARE MANY DEMOCRATS WHO, LIKE BETO O’ROURKE, BELIEVE THAT YOU AND THEY SHOULD NOT BE WATERING DOWN THE 2020 FIELD AND SHOULD BE RUNNING FOR SENATE BECAUSE YOU WOULD STAND A VERY SERIOUS CHANCE AT HELPING DEMOCRATS WIN BACK THE SENATE IN 2020.
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THEM?

HICKENLOOPER: WELL, I SPENT MY LIFE, MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE AS A SMALL BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR AND AS A MAYOR AND A GOVERNOR PUTTING TEAMS TOGETHER AND ACTUALLY DOING THINGS.
I MEAN, THAT’S WHEN I FEEL ALIVE.
THAT’S WHERE I FEEL I ADD THE MOST VALUE.
AND I HAVEN’T — TO BE REALLY HONEST, AND SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE SUGGESTED IT OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
I’M TRYING TO FUNDRAISE AND SUPPORT MY CAMPAIGN.
THEY SAY I WILL IF YOU RUN FOR SENATE, BUT NOT IF YOU ARE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT.
YOU KNOW, IT’S HARD TO HEAR THAT.
VERY HARD.
BUT I THINK THAT THAT’S WHAT — I FEEL LIKE THAT’S MY CALLING.
WHEN I GO DOOR TO DOOR IN IOWA, IF I’M STILL GETTING A POSITIVE RESPONSE AND WHEN I MAKE FUNDRAISING CALLS I RAISE ENOUGH MONEY TO KEEP THE CAMPAIGN GOING, I AM GOING TO PURSUE IT.

HOOVER: GOVERNOR HICKENLOOPER, THANK YOU FOR COMING TO ‘FIRING LINE.’

HICKENLOOPER: THANK YOU SO MUCH.