Journalist Adam Nagourney

Following the final presidential debate, the veteran political journalist examines how the rest of the race for the White House might play out.

After years of serving as The New York Times' chief national political correspondent, Adam Nagourney moved to the West Coast in 2010 to become the paper's Los Angeles bureau chief. He's one of the nation's top political reporters and has covered several campaigns, including Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate run, the reelection of President George W. Bush and President Obama's historic election. He previously worked as White House correspondent for USA Today, covering Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign and the first year of the Clinton White House. Nagourney also contributes to the NYT's political blog, "The Caucus."

TRANSCRIPT

Tavis: Adam Nagourney is the L.A. bureau chief for “The New York Times” following his years as the paper’s chief national political correspondent. Adam, good to have.

Adam Nagourney: Good to be here.

Tavis: We have finally arrived at a day I thought would never come. The debates are finally over. We’re just two weeks away from Election Day. It’s been a perennial campaign.

Let me start with a question that’s been on my mind a lot of late, which is what you make of – we’ll come to the debates in a second, but what you make of the perennial, never-ending campaign, so that if you like Mitt Romney and you lose four years ago, the campaign never stops, but even if you’re Obama and you win four years ago, the campaigning never stops.

Nagourney: Right.

Tavis: So that America seems to be more and more less about governing and more and more about campaigning. Everything you do is about the campaign.

Nagourney: Right.

Tavis: Does that make sense?

Nagourney: I’m not sure – I mean, I think you’re right.

Tavis: I’m not sure you agree with it.

Nagourney: Yeah, no, I agree with you, and I think the problem has to do with government. The fact of the matter is that there’s very little time now to get things done, because as soon as these guys get to Washington they’re already thinking about the next campaign and positioning themselves for the next campaign, and you know the old the first hundred days?

Tavis: Yeah.

Nagourney: Now sometimes you feel like it’s like the first 50 days before things begin to change. But you have these perennial campaigns. My guess is no matter how the race turns out in two weeks, you’ll be seeing people, certainly Republicans if the president gets reelected, heading to Iowa by the end of the year, no joke, and -

Tavis: By the end of this year?

Nagourney: By the end of the year.

Tavis: Wow.

Nagourney: No joke. (Laughter) No joke. Now the question is when we begin to cover them. Usually, like, you try to, out of respect you kind of try to wait, and there’s less interest on the part of the paper and I think the public. But I would bet by a year from now you’ll be seeing lots and lots of stories at Iowa and New Hampshire (unintelligible) laying the groundwork.

Tavis: That scares me, man.

Nagourney: Yeah.

Tavis: That scares me.

Nagourney: Already the candidates have to get out, they have to begin getting fundraisers, they have to begin nailing down supporters, have to begin nailing down staffs, and the earlier it begins the more pressure there is on people to do it. If Romney loses, I think you’re going to see a wide-open field on both sides, Republicans and Democrats, and there’ll be just a lot of churn.

Tavis: Since you went there I’ll jump ahead and come right back -

Nagourney: Yeah.

Tavis: – at the risk of making everybody want to throw up tonight with even asking this question. So how long does Hillary have to decide whether or not she’s going to get in, because everybody else is handicapped until she does?

Nagourney: Oh, I’ve thought about that question. I think she – and now I’m going to answer this without thinking, which is how I do most things. (Laughter) I think she probably has two years.

Tavis: That’s a long time to handicap the Democratic field.

Nagourney: That’s a long time, yeah. That’s some more pressure to be under. I do agree with you that if she decides to run, she’ll be a huge frontrunner. Normally I wouldn’t say that this far out because I think that we’re ridiculous about that kind of stuff.

Tavis: Right.

Nagourney: But she has so much support, and I think there’s sort of a feeling that if she wants it, it’s her turn. More than that – I don’t mean that in an obligatory sort of way. More than that, there’s a lot of support for her. I think people think she’s done a really good job of secretary of State and my guess is there would be a sense in the Democratic Party of sort of doing back-to-back history.

The first African American president, the first woman president. I think that’s very powerful. Now whether she’s going to want to run or not, I don’t know. If you had asked me – I covered her Senate campaign in New York, I covered her presidential campaign in 2008.

If you had asked me a year ago, I’d say yeah, she’s 69 or 67, she wants to move on. A gut thing, because I haven’t talked to her at all, but my bet is that she’d be tempted to run this time. I think there’s a certain logic to her that she’ll find, so maybe she will run.

Tavis: Well, Bill wants her to run.

Nagourney: Yeah, Bill does want her to run.

Tavis: If anybody else does, he wants her to run.

Nagourney: Yeah, yeah. For what that counts -

Tavis: Yeah, exactly.

Nagourney: We can speculate about that (crosstalk).

Tavis: (Unintelligible) President Clinton wants to run, exactly. (Laughter) So let me – okay, that’s into the future. Let me come back into the present. So these debates are now over. Let me just ask how important you think in these last two weeks foreign policy will be. We end up, of course, on a foreign policy note in this final debate, including the issue with Iran over the last few days is front and center, and other issues of international importance.

But for the American voter, for the typical American voter, whatever that is, how much do you think foreign policy is going to matter over the next two weeks?

Nagourney: I don’t think foreign policy is generally that big an issue – generally not that big an issue. I think particularly this time, when there is so much concern about the economy, about unemployment, it’s just not, generally speaking, a bit deal.

Now if there’s a terrorist attack, I think obviously that changes things. If it does become a big deal, say over the Libya thing, no matter how much to the extent which Romney tries to make it an issue, it doesn’t necessarily accrue to Romney.

I think the president has gone a long way over the past four years in establishing his foreign policy credentials. He killed Bin Laden and all that. That’s a big deal.

Tavis: He’s told me that a few times, yeah. I’ve heard that once or twice.

Nagourney: So I think it’s harder, and I think, totally speaking hypothetically, if, God forbid, there were a terrorist attack, the conventional wisdom among journalists and the intelligencia is that that helps the challenger. I don’t think actually think that’s the case at all. I think that makes people want to go with what’s safe.

Tavis: Oh, I think you’re right.

Nagourney: Yeah.

Tavis: I think people, like most times we are at war, they want to stay with the incumbent.

Nagourney: Right.

Tavis: They don’t want to be changing. They don’t want to start changing stuff.

Nagourney: That’s what I think too.

Tavis: Changing horses midstream.

Nagourney: This election is about the economy, and it’s very clearly about the economy. Do people trust Romney? They want to change horses midstream, that’s a big question. Are they willing to give another four years to Barack Obama? I just think that foreign policy is not a big issue, and in fact if I had been Romney or the people around him, I would never have wanted foreign policy to be the sort of coup-de-gras at the last debate. I would have wanted it to be something else, because I just think it’s not something that’s necessarily positioned to help him.

Tavis: Well, I think if they didn’t think that prior to the last debate tonight, they certainly thought that – or let me rephrase that.

Nagourney: Yeah.

Tavis: If they didn’t think that a couple of months ago when they agreed to this, they certainly have thought it over the last two months, when every time he speaks about foreign policy he puts his foot in his mouth.

Nagourney: Right, right.

Tavis: Whether he goes overseas to do that and embarrasses himself or whether he gets seen as being too political -

Nagourney: Or (unintelligible). Right.

Tavis: – about the Libyan attack, or whether in the previous debate, when he thought he gave the president a stiff right uppercut and he was wrong, and Candy Crowley corrects him on the spot.

Nagourney: Right.

Tavis: So I think you’re right – if they knew then what they know now, they might not have wanted the last debate to be about foreign policy, but I digress on that issue.

Let’s move forward and consider what happens, the unthinkable, but we must think about it anyway, because these polls have them in a dead heat.

Nagourney: Okay.

Tavis: So what happens if on election night in two weeks there’s a tie in the Electoral College? So they go – what is it, 269-269? It’s possible.

Nagourney: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tavis: It’s possible, 269-269. Or what’s even more likely that one wins the Electoral College and one wins the popular vote. What the heck is going to happen?

Nagourney: Well, one was – the electoral vote dominates. That will decide who the next patient is. If becomes a tie electoral vote, I believe it goes to the House of Representatives, and considering the way the House is made up right now, Romney would be president.

Obviously, it would not be a great thing for the country if you had this sort of split between the general election going one way and the Electoral College going the other. It’s happened before, as you know, but I think that could definitely happen, and you could have a lot of really, really close states.

You could have a situation where we don’t know the outcome of the election on the day after the election. I think that’s very, very possible.

Tavis: Covering this every day, let me ask you an impossible question. Why do you think this race is so close? I ask that because we keep being told, and I think it’s true in many instances, that the contrast could not be more stark between the two.

Nagourney: Right.

Tavis: Why then is the race this tight?

Nagourney: Two things. This is an extremely polarized country. It’s as polarized a country as I can remember. There’s a whole group of people who are very far to the right (unintelligible) Republican, and a whole group of people who are Democratic.

So I think whenever you get into a race, you’re going to have a race that’s sort of split by a couple of points. There are a lot of polarizing issues out there, and people are really angry. I think the Tea Party on the right and the people on the left have just sort of made this a very angry, intense election.

If you think about it, we’ve been having very, very divided elections for what, the past two cycles, three cycles? I don’t see that changing any time soon. The country just becomes more and more polarized.

Tavis: So if President Obama, for example, were to win, but to win in the tightest of tight races, what we’re talking about now, what’s that mean for his governance in the second term?

Nagourney: That’s a fascinating question. I think it’s going to make it harder for him to get stuff done. Obviously, if he won by a lot, he’d probably have more clout with Congress. I’m assuming the Republicans control – will continue to control the House.

Tavis: You do think so?

Nagourney: Yeah, I think so.

Tavis: (Unintelligible) the House.

Nagourney: I’m not sure about the Senate, but the House, yeah. On the other hand, you can make an argument, and this might be just purely kind of pie-in-the-sky stuff, that after all this fighting, that Republicans and Democrats will come together.

(Unintelligible) we have the fiscal cliff, that we are facing major, major issues. They came close to an agreement last time and it fell apart, between Boehner and the president. Maybe they’ll feel an impetus to do it. I think on both sides, they have trouble.

On the Republican side, Boehner has to deal with the Tea Party people, who are not giving him much leeway at all to do what a lot of people say he needs to do, which is some revenue increases along with cuts. Obviously, Obama has the same problem on the left.

So I think that if it’s really close, it’s going to be really hard for him to get stuff done in Washington. That’s just reality.

Tavis: So I ask the same question in the inverse, which is if Romney were to win in a very, very tight election, the argument that he and Paul Ryan have been making of late, his running mate, is that they have a better chance of getting a budget passed, they have a better chance of making sure that sequestration becomes a word that we forget ever hearing in the first place, because they can work better with Congress. You buy that argument?

Nagourney: No, I don’t see the grounds for it. I’m not saying I disagree with you, I just don’t think we know. Two things – first of all, there’s always this argument that people say that hey, I can do business, therefore I can do government.

I don’t think that’s necessarily the case at all. I’m not saying that Romney can’t, I’m just saying that I wouldn’t do that. The second thing is then there’s an assumption – let’s assume that the Democrats control the Senate or even if they lose the Senate they still have – the Republicans don’t have 60 votes, which is (unintelligible).

Tavis: Yeah, it’s not a filibuster, yeah.

Nagourney: Right. So why would the Democrats act any different than Republicans? If Democrats have as much a resistance to the kind of cuts that Romney and Ryan have been talking about as Republicans had to the kind of tax increases that Obama and some Democrats said was necessary to balance the budget, why would Democrats be any more flexible than the Republicans were? Now, you could argue that Democrats tend to sometimes, you know -

Tavis: Cave.

Nagourney: That is a good word.

Tavis: My word, not yours. They cave a lot easier.

Nagourney: Yeah. I was thinking roll over. (Laughter)

Tavis: Yeah.

Nagourney: But again, that’s a fascinating question. Times have changed, and I’m wondering whether Democrats will just sort of do the same thing as the Republicans. Don’t forget – I remember interviewing Mitch McConnell in Washington two years ago with Karl (unintelligible), who was our congressional correspondent at the time, and McConnell at the time said flat out that they had made a decision, and Obama talks about it now, they made a decision early on that they were not going to give the president anything – any legislative victory at all.

That they didn’t want him to be reelected. That was our top priority. The argument he made to Republicans in the Senate was we cannot give him a vote. We cannot give him a vote; we cannot give him a victory, because if you give him a victory, you lead to reelection.

He talked about it openly. This was an on-the-record conversation. The president keeps talking about it, and obviously, the Democrats, if the president loses, Democrats in the Senate are going to be remember that and deciding what their strategy is going to be is my guess. So I think it’ll be more difficult for Romney than you think.

The one thing they’ll have for the first whatever, hundred days, is to be able to say, sort of momentum, we won, honeymoon and all that, but I don’t think – that’s going to be one short-lived honeymoon, is my guess.

Tavis: Let me flip back to President Obama and ask you a question that I seem to be talking about every night to guests, whether they’re in politics or not. Everybody has an opinion on this, which is whether or not the president moves left. That is to say does he become more progressive, does he start to push issues that he did not want to touch in the first term?

Nagourney: Right.

Tavis: In my own community, the African American community, everybody who supports Obama is hoping and believes that he’s going to go left when he gets elected, and even beyond the Black community just the people who care about more progressive causes.

Nagourney: Right.

Tavis: Everybody’s got their fingers crossed in the second term something in him is going to come out. Do you believe that?

Nagourney: I think that he’s going to try to do stuff that he can get done, so for example, immigration. He did some stuff on the left during the first four years. Not a lot. What in particular would you like – would you think would be ideal for him to do that he hasn’t? Budget?

Tavis: The question is whether or not he really is going to get serious about immigration reform, because if he doesn’t, these Hispanics are going to go nuts, and legitimately so.

Nagourney: Right, right.

Tavis: If he doesn’t jump on that quickly, and you and I both know he’s got a couple of years to get anything done, you’re a lame duck.

Nagourney: Right. I think you have two years, tops.

Tavis: Exactly, two years, tops. So if he doesn’t push on immigration reform quickly, if he’s not more aggressive – the numbers went down a few points the other day, but if he doesn’t get more aggressive on the jobs front, then African Americans, who are at the top of this unemployment list, they’re going to start to get, even though they support this president, they’re going to become more vocal about jobs. I could do this all night, the number of things he ought to be more progressive about.

Nagourney: I think the one thing – I don’t want to sound remotely in defense of the guy, because obviously he had trouble (unintelligible). I think the thing he’s got to deal with is a Republican Congress, right?

For example, presumably he would have liked to have had more stimulus money, which I think some economists, obviously not all of them, would argue would have led to us having a significantly lower unemployment rate now. There was only so much he could get out of Congress.

Now whether that’s – the Republicans. Whether you want to blame the president for not pushing harder or Republicans, but that’s just sort of the reality. Immigration too, from the first year, but I do think that it’s a good argument, particularly after this campaign, particularly – I don’t mean to go so many clauses here – particularly after Latino voters could absolutely provide the margin for victory for him in terms of the electoral college margin.

I think that he’s going to be under a lot of pressure, and also he’s going to want to try to get something through on immigration. Republicans have changed a lot on immigration since 2004. Don’t forget that when George W. Bush was president he realized the potential power of Latino voters here.

He was pushing the idea of sort of a more liberal or more permissive immigration policy, and the party just swang to the right. Look what happened with John McCain. I don’t think that’s a tenable position long-term for Republican policy.

I’m not taking sides on the issue. I’m just saying that in a country in the state we’re in now, across the West, where Latinos are becoming a more and more decisive voice, I don’t think you can be identified with policies that are interpreted as being overly harsh to Latino voters or immigrants, right? I think a lot of Republicans are beginning to realize that, but it’s a slow move.

If you watch the primary, it was so surprising, or maybe not surprising, but sort of notable about it, was how much the party sort of embraced a lot of this tough rhetoric. I think Mitt Romney is paying a price for that. I think that’s one of the reasons why he’s having trouble in states like Nevada and Colorado.

Tavis: I could add to that list. I don’t need to, but I could add to that list the issue. There are a number of issues that labor have been very quiet about, hoping that he gets reelected so he can be more aggressive on the labor front, particularly some of these treaties, some of these labor agreements with other nations. There are a number of things you could put on that list, but I digress on that point.

Nagourney: Yeah, absolutely.

Tavis: Since you mentioned Nevada and Colorado, you are now the L.A. bureau chief, for a couple of years now, for “The New York Times,” so welcome to California.

Nagourney: Thank you.

Tavis: And welcome to what it’s going to feel like on election night, when you feel like an afterthought, because the rest of the country is important, and the West, we don’t seem to matter to most of the networks out here. They start calling elections and they start giving us poll results, et cetera, et cetera.

Nagourney: Right.

Tavis: So you’ll get the feeling that the rest of us have.

Nagourney: Yeah, I’m going back to New York, the newsroom in New York.

Tavis: Oh, forget you, then.

Nagourney: I love California. (Laughter)

Tavis: Well, you won’t be here on election night to know what it feels like.

Nagourney: But I know what you’re talking – the networks calling in.

Tavis: Yeah, all kind of stuff.

Nagourney: Obviously you live out here or in New York for that matter, the presidential campaign really doesn’t exist in California or New York unless you have a lot of money, and then these guys are coming to you asking for money.

But you don’t see these guys giving speeches. (Unintelligible) Electoral College.

Tavis: But this year, as you know, you cover this every day for the “Times,” this year might be different because it may be, if this race is as tight as we said earlier, it could be that Nevada, out West, Colorado -

Nagourney: Oh, yeah, yeah, I was talking about – absolutely, yeah.

Tavis: It could be that we end up being decisive. Tell me more.

Nagourney: Yeah, I’m just talking about California. Even though I live – we’re talking about this in four years. You want to me to talk about Arizona and Nevada too. Arizona – excuse me, not Arizona. Nevada, Colorado, once upon a time New Mexico; no more, all these states in the West are becoming swing states, and they’re states that are really becoming tested.

Swing states leaning blue, and again, because of the increase of the Hispanic vote, which is why this coming week, this week, actually, both the president and Romney are going to Nevada. There’s only six electoral votes there, but it’s become such a contested state.

Colorado too. I’m not sure where Colorado’s going to end up. I think that might be, that’s more up in the air. I think Nevada is swinging a little bit more to the Democrats. But I think the West is what the Midwest used to be, to a certain extent. I don’t want to overextend that, but this is a very, very competitive part of the country.

New Mexico used to be; not so much anymore. My guess is Arizona – there was a point in this campaign when the Obama people were putting people in Arizona and were seriously considering, or at least testing was the word they used, whether or not they could put Arizona in play.

I think they decided in the end they couldn’t, or it wasn’t worth the investment (unintelligible) right. But I think in four years, again because of the increasing Latino vote, Arizona’s going to be in play. There are people who would argue, which I think is not wacky to say, that at some point, Texas will become a Democratic state because of the change in the demographics.

The whole world is changing around here. You see what happened in California over the past 10 years. That’s an example where I think the country, a lot of this part of the country’s going.

Tavis: With regard to Nevada and Colorado (unintelligible) so that I’m clear, what’s happening that’s making them, that’s putting them in play?

Nagourney: It’s all demographic.

Tavis: All demographics.

Nagourney: Big part of it, though, big part of it, though, is the increase in the Latino vote. That’s a big, big part of it. And the states are just becoming more and more Democratic. Just it’s a slow kind of move, and I don’t think – you’ve gone from kind of Republican to kind of in play, and I think they’re heading towards being Democratic. Not yet, not yet, but they’re heading there.

Tavis: Does Romney have a real shot at getting a significant portion of the Latino vote this time around?

Nagourney: Listen, I think Bush 41 – no, sorry, Bush 43 got 45 percent, according to exit polls, in his reelect. I think McCain got 35 percent, I think (unintelligible) right. I think that’s probably Romney’s ceiling, maybe he can get a little bit more.

Ideally, he needs to get more. The two things he needs to watch is how much does Romney cut into Obama’s Latino support? How much will Latino voters (a), think about immigration as being one of the key issues versus the economy, which is what the Romney people are helping.

(b) How much will they remember what happened back over the spring? Third of all, this is always a key factor, what’s the turnout, right? There were polls out last week, I think it was a Pew poll, that showed that among the general population – and again, I’m going to do these numbers, I’m going to be off but a couple of digits, but not a lot – 89 percent said they were absolutely certain they were going to vote.

But among Latino voters it was more like – there was a 10-point drop-off, right? Well, that’s a big deal. If you’re like Jim Messina, the president’s campaign manager, sitting in Chicago figuring like how am I going to make these states work – let’s add Florida to that list too, right? For that matter, we can add Iowa. At one point you could have added North Carolina, but I don’t really think it’s in play, and Virginia, where there’s enough Latino voters to make a difference.

He’s thinking we’ve got to pump that turnout up so it’s closer to the rest of the general population.

Tavis: So I agree with you and I’m glad you went there. I think this election, particularly when it’s this close, this ain’t rocket science.

Nagourney: Right.

Tavis: When a race is this close, turnout becomes key.

Nagourney: Absolutely.

Tavis: In that regard, Mr. Romney has been picking up momentum over the last few weeks.

Nagourney: Absolutely.

Tavis: Mr. Obama, thankfully, came back in the second debate and at least made it an interesting contest. There’ll be a lot of talk in the coming days about what happened tonight and whether or not Mr. Romney or Mr. Obama won, who scored the most points.

My sense is that tonight will have been, when we see the numbers, tonight will have been the least watched debate.

Nagourney: I agree with you. It’s foreign policy. It’s the third debate and it’s foreign policy.

Tavis: It’s the third debate, foreign policy.

Nagourney: Yeah, there’s other stuff on TV tonight.

Tavis: Precisely. There’s “Monday Night Football.”

Nagourney: Yeah.

Tavis: (Laughter) But anyway, I raise that because I want to come back to this question, or this point about turnout. Mr. Romney’s been gaining steam, no doubt about it, but both of these guys have, over the course of this campaign, had admittedly enthusiasm gaps.

Mr. Romney has had an enthusiasm gap on his right flank; Mr. Obama has had an enthusiasm gap on his left flank. Talk to me about how or who you think is closing the gap, the enthusiasm gap, on their respective ends.

Nagourney: So after the first – if Obama loses, right, I think we’ll go back to that first debate again and again and again. I thought it was devastating for him for a number of reasons. Not only because of his flat performance, not only for the extent to which Romney made himself, I think, acceptable to a broad part of America and (unintelligible) voters.

But also to the extent that he stimulated Republican base voters who had not been before. They saw him as a fighter. People who had a lot of antagonism towards the president loved the fact that he went after him that way. You could see an explosion in the level of energy.

That’s a big deal. Voter motivation’s a big deal, so I think that Obama – and you can see it in polling ever since. Enthusiasm among Republican voters, including voters on the right who are always suspicious of his sort of evolving positions on abortion, gay rights, gun control, they are really, really enthusiastic for him.

At the same time, even before we came into this election, as you well know, there wasn’t that much enthusiasm for the president after that debate, the first debate. You could see it all over the place. People are saying, like, “Why am I giving you money? Why am I working so hard for you if you’re going to perform like that?”

So that was devastating for him. Now, I believe that he went a long way, or a decent way, in recovering with the second debate. I also think a lot of these ads that you’re seeing, or technically that we are not seeing because we don’t live in swing states, which are real red meat ads, right?

There’s an ad in Ohio, I think, that – it is Ohio – that ends with a line saying, “Mitt Romney: He’s not one of us.” That’s tough stuff, right? But I think that’s all about getting out the base. Once they get people who are, like, not that excited about Obama scared – I’m not saying scare tactics, but it’s like this is a typical thing.

Alarmed at the prospect of President Obama and they’re trying to get the base out there, and I think that’s what’s going on.

Tavis: It has, at least for a number of election cycles, presidential election cycles, been the case that he who wins Ohio wins it all.

Nagourney: Yeah.

Tavis: Do you think that’s the same, do you think that applies this time around?

Nagourney: Listen, looking at the map and looking at the numbers, I do think that’s true. The one thing that I’ve learned over the years is that the rules in politics, they’re always proved to be – you’ve got to be careful.

The idea to me is always learn from the past, but don’t stop looking to the future. So do I think that Romney has to win – I think that Romney pretty much has to win Ohio in order to win the race. Unless there’s, like, some weird explosion that I can’t imagine, he has to.

So I generally think that’s true. I think the president can actually win – a long shot; this is more a mathematical thing – he can actually win without winning Ohio, but it’s hard.

Tavis: A final question about George McGovern passing.

Nagourney: Yeah.

Tavis: It raises the obvious conversation about liberalism then versus liberalism now. Liberalism then versus, since we don’t like that “L” word anymore, versus progressivism now.

Nagourney: Right.

Tavis: Any thoughts on that?

Nagourney: It’s hard to imagine George McGovern having sort of thrived in a political atmosphere like this. I think he was just identified with too many issues that are sort of politically problematic in a country that’s generally moved to the right.

But I read in “The New York Times” obituary of him he did a pre-obituary interview, which we tend to do with a correspondent of ours, David Rosenbaum, and he talked about a lot of this. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth going back and looking at it, and how he never really understood why he was sort of characterized the way he was, but he was as proud at the end of his positions as he was whatever, 30 years ago, 40 years ago, and really believed them.

I always found that very refreshing about him. It’s sort of very down-to-Earth and very sort of grounded in his beliefs. But there’s no one out there now, I don’t think, who’s anywhere like him, right? It’s like he’s this sort of positioning, and as you said, no one’s calling themselves a liberal anymore. Now you’re a progressive or a (unintelligible) Democrat.

Tavis: I’m out of time. I want to invite you to go our website at PBS.org because I want to ask Adam before I let him out of the studio about prop 32. It takes a little minute to explain this, but this is the most-watched ballot measure in the entire country.

If this thing passes in California, it will have a huge impact on labor unions across the country, so go to our website at PBS.org to hear Adam’s answer to a question about prop 32 and what it means for the rest of the country.

That’s our show for tonight. You can download our app in the iTunes app store. Until next time, thanks for watching, and as always, keep the faith.

“Announcer:” For more information on today’s show, visit Tavis Smiley at PBS.org.

“Wade Hunt:” There’s a saying that Dr. King had, and he said, “There’s always a right time to do the right thing.” I just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. We know that we’re only about halfway to completely eliminate hunger, and we have a lot of work to do. And Walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the U.S. As we work together, we can stamp hunger out.

“Announcer:” And by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.

  • April Salem

    Brilliant overview. Great choice for a guest tonight.

  • Jan

    Just a thought. I still consider myself a liberal. I won’t be frightened or shamed by the conservative PR machine into calling myself a progressive. I’m going to stand my ground.

Last modified: October 25, 2012 at 6:08 pm