Mr. President, it's such a joy to be here with you in this historic room, on this historic day, with a historic president. I'm not going to make you talk about the historic room, but let's start with the historic day. Today was the day that you nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to -- for the Supreme Court. She's a highly regarded justice, and I've always been impressed by how much she emphasizes the Constitution and democracy and the rule of law in her decisions. So, you are, of course, the first president of the United States since Martin Van Buren to have sat as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I hope you know that. I do. But I'm hoping that that gives you a broad sense of why our legal system and our judges are so important to the rule of democracy. Today, you called the judicial branch a co-equal branch of government. And I know you consulted really quite extensively with senators about this appointment as the Constitution requires that you do. But I wonder if you could tell me a little bit about what factors went into your decision to nominate Judge Jackson today. Well, first of all, thank you for doing this, and you make me miss being a professor at Penn. When I left the vice presidency, I had a chance to do a number of things, but I took a professorship at the University of Pennsylvania, presidential politics and history, so I -- I envy you. Well, isn't it exciting to be part of this -- this sweet moment of history? Oh, no, no, it is. It is. But it's also I really enjoyed teaching and writing. As history professor, you probably think similarly that I do. There are certain periods in world history where you reach inflection points, where things change, not necessarily because of the individuals that are involved, but because of the circumstance and how the world has changed. I think we're at one of those moments in world history where we're going to see more change because of technology than -- in the next ten years than your students will have seen and than we saw in the last 50 years. And I think it's hard for governments to get their arms around these changes in -- in a way that continues to bring people together. If I can give me an example. I've spent, they tell me, more time — I'm not sure it's true — with Xi Jinping than any world leader has, about 35, 36 hours, 28 of them in person. And he believes, for example, as Putin does, who was not as articulate, that in the second quarter of the 21st century, democracies can't compete with autocracies because things are changing so rapidly; that democracies require consensus, and it's too hard to get consensus, and that's why they're going to fall behind. I held the conference of world democracies. And we have, as you know, as a -- as a professor of history, fewer democracies today in the world than we did 20 years ago. So, what's happening? What's happening is, as we're able to move more rapidly from -- between cultures and among cultures, it's awful hard bringing people together. Oh, again, I'll go back to Xi. I was with him. I traveled 17,000 miles with him, a lot of it in China, and we'd have these one-on-one meetings, each with an interpreter with us. And we were in -- on the tip, I think, it was the Tibetan Plateau at the time. And he asked me, "So, can you define America for me?" I said, "Yes, in one word, one word: possibilities." Literally, think about it, we're the only nation in the world, and the reason why we're sort of viewed as -- as having a sense of arrogance by many, is we think we can do anything. Anything's possible in America. Just bring people together, anything's possible. And we're also the most unique country in the history of the world because we're uniquely a product of our institutions, and they're being brought about as a consequence of how we were organized. We weren't organized based on religion or race or ethnicity or geography. Think about it. We're the only nation that came about as a consequence of an idea. Yeah. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, life, liberty. We've never fully lived up to it. We've never walked away from it. We've never abandoned that idea. And it's getting harder and harder as the differences that we have are accentuated rather than what we really are about are brought together. I decided I was never going to run for president again. I'd lost my son, Beau. I didn't want to be engaged any longer. And I wrote a book about Beau. He was the attorney general, he was a major in the United States Army, he won the Bronze Star. He was a hell of a guy. And he came home from a year in Iraq with a brain tumor called glioblastoma. I remember toward the end, he lived for about 14 months, and he said, we're having dinner at his home, which is not far from mine. And he said, "Dad," he said, "Look at me. Look at me, Dad." That's what he -- he said, "Dad, are you going to be OK?" Because we know what's going to happen. I said, "Yeah, I'm going to be OK." He said, "Promise me, Dad. Give me your word you're going to be OK." Well, I knew what he meant was he wanted me to stay engaged. He was afraid when he passed that I'll crawl in a hole, figuratively speaking. The reason I bothered to tell you that is that I think that we really have an enormous opportunity in this moment of change to reassert the basic premise of why we were a country in the first place and to bring people together. And as I said, when I ran, I ran for three reasons. One, to restore the soul of this country, and I meant -- I'm criticized for saying that. But the sense of decency and honor, the values we all shared. We gather our backgrounds. I come from Irish immigrants. Black slaves, immigrants from Asia. I mean, we're so different. We're such a heterogeneous group. But we -- we all kind of share this notion that anything's possible. I mean, think about it, we really have. And so, I ran for three reasons. To restore the basic values that all Americans share and why they come in the first place. Secondly, to rebuild the backbone of the country. The middle class is being killed. Yeah. They're being killed. And thirdly, to unite the country, which is maybe the hardest people thought doing. So, that's what everything's been about for me, because I'm confident, absolutely confident that the principles upon which we were founded are the principles upon which we can, in fact, remain the most envied nation in the world, the most decent nation in the world. We are focused on the idea of it and the aspiration of it, which strikes me as being so crucial to exactly who we are. But that does raise the question that I'd love to hear you talk about is why did you focus originally on Build Back Better? Why has that been the mainstay of your first term? Well, I didn't. I focus first on the recovery legislation, which was the largest single piece of legislation ever passed, $1.9 trillion. Nine trillion. Because I knew that the most fundamental thing we had to do is gain control of this disease called COVID. We've lost almost a million people to COVID. It's astonishing. It's astonishing. And so, the funding for that was out of that. And secondly, and I knew what we had to do is we had one of the highest unemployment rates we've had before. People were not only unemployed, their salaries were cratering. The spread between those at the very top -- I mean, you had the top two percent getting 90 percent. I mean, it just we -- we hadn't been there since the '20s with that kind of spread. And so, I was convinced we had to narrow that gap. And overlaying all of this was this gigantic thing called global warming. And it's real. I introduced the first piece of global -- global warming legislation in 1987, but we're in real trouble. We have -- we know -- we're in a situation where if we can't stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius in terms of the Earth warming, we're -- we're in trouble. It's the greatest existential threat America -- the world has ever faced. I mean, it's real. Yeah. Yeah. And so, what I did was focus on those things, as well as the -- and that's why we also had this massive investment in infrastructure. Because with the infrastructure proposals that we have, you know, we -- you know, for the first time, we're going to be in a position to deal with the fact that people are drinking water that is -- has lead in it, that we're in a situation where the environment is being degraded. And so, it always is -- always critically important in terms of the -- the quality of life for America and, I think, for the rest of the world as well. And the last piece was the Build Back Better piece. What people don't realize because -- mainly because one senator from West Virginia talks about how it's all social spending. Well, you know, of the money in the Build Back Better provisions, there is about -- 500 billion of it is for the environment, 500 billion is for the environment. But the other parts are for the best way to deal with people who have been getting the short end of the stick, as they say, for a long time. For example, we do have inflation because of supply chain problems, and that's because of COVID in a -- in a big way. But if you want to reduce the burden of people who are struggling to pay for a gallon of gas and make sure that they have enough food on the table to eat, they can afford to walk in a grocery store, and the shelves are full, there's other ways to reduce the overall -- increase their overall standard of living that ends up those factors being important but more affordable while you're dealing with -- for example, one of the things I did in the original legislation that we passed, the recovery piece of it, was provide for, which a lot of people were working on more than I had, but I got it done in the legislation, the child care tax credit. Well, that reduced child poverty by 40 percent. Right. And it wasn't a welfare program. It was a tax cut. I have to ask you. While you were sitting here, I have described you as a transformational president who is recovering the traditional idea of American democracy that was established by Abraham Lincoln and then Theodore Roosevelt, and then FDR. But I've suggested that you are picking up, as they all did, though that theme that the government should support ordinary Americans and from them, the engine of American -- the economy and society, and politics is fueled. But I have also argued that you have put your own spin on it to focus primarily on children and families, unlike FDR, for example, or TR, or Lincoln. Is that fair? Or did I invent that? Well, first of all, you're giving me more credit maybe than I deserve. But I think it's fair, and I like to believe that. So, let me give you an example. I didn't realize, although I've been a senator for a long time and vice president for eight years, that on January the 20th, the incoming president has to, from 11 o'clock on the 20th to 1 o'clock in the 20th, to change the Oval Office and put the desk in here that she wants and the furniture they want, etc. So, my brother's my best buddy, and he has been down all my campaigns. And I said -- and he has great taste. And I said, Jimmy, fix my -- you decide what to do. So, he brought in a good friend of ours, and he got him. Jon Meacham, who, you know is this -- Yeah. Presidential historian. And so, I walked into the office and it was easier because the other president didn't even show up for the inauguration or anything, so -- anyway, the day I walk into the office, which I've been in every day for eight years with President Obama and then many more, instead of having a traditional picture of George Washington over the mantelpiece, there's large portrait of Franklin Roosevelt. And to the left -- I didn't do this. And to the left, there are four other portraits. On the right side of the fireplace over here, this is not the room, obviously, there is a picture of Jefferson and Madison, idea of state and local government. What -- you know, where does the power flow from, right? And on the left side was George Washington, a smaller portrait of him, and Abraham Lincoln. So, I said to Jon, "why Roosevelt?" And he said, "because no one's ever come into this office as far behind the eight ball economically as you other than Roosevelt, and you're going have to figure a way out." And I said, "well, why Lincoln?" He said, "no one's ever come into office with the nation more divided than you or than Abraham Lincoln." And, by the way, he spent a lot of time in the Roosevelt Room, which is across from the Oval Office, which is the most -- I'll show you. I'll walk you upstairs and show you the room if you've not been in it. You probably have. I have not, no. Well, it's Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt. And Teddy Roosevelt understood that we owed so much to posterity and that -- I mean, you think about what he did just with the national parks. He wasn't the first one, Grant was, but think about what he did. And for our progeny, he believed there was an obligation to pass on the treasures, both material and figurative treasures of the United States. And Roosevelt, he decided that the way to build the country back up was to build it from the bottom and middle out. I think there's those moments in American history where you go from Coolidge to Roosevelt, in that era, where government was the problem and the government was the answer. And then you go from, you know, Reagan to me. I mean, it's a similar kind of transition. Exactly. Mmm hmm. People are eager to hear about how we're going to get through this moment. Why should we have faith that American democracy is going to survive? Two reasons; because I still believe that the vast majority of Americans believe that the -- they don't think of the founding principles. They think that the United States is all about, at its root, being decent and honorable that they think that there isn't anything we can't do if we work together. There's never -- when we're united, we can do anything. And I think that we're going to find that one of the things that has happened, one of those inflection points was because things are changing so rapidly, people weren't quite sure how to grapple with it. So, the best way to win was by division; to go out and, you know, I tell you what, you know, the only way I can lift myself up is hold you down. And the same thing occurred internationally where this administration, like others around the world, have decided that, you know, it's whatever is good for America, only good for America, that's it. We don't think about anyone else or anything else. And it's this sort of phony populism. I sort of come out of the, politically and intellectually, out of the civil rights movement. I got involved in politics because of civil rights. I was the only white guy working in the east side of Wilmington. I was a lifeguard. I got engaged with a lot of -- I got involved with the community as things were -- Mmm hmm. As change was taking place, genuine change. And I used to think that you could defeat hate. But all you can do is -- all hate does is hide. When I was a chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I took great pride in the fact that I was able to extend the Voting Rights Act by 25 years, and I got Strom Thurmond to vote for it. Yes. Yeah. Things were changed. Well, what I realize is hate just hides under rocks. What happens is when people come along and breathe oxygen into it, it comes roaring back out. Well, one of the ways to gain power is to pit people against one another based on things having nothing to do other than race, ethnicity, background, white supremacy. You know, I mean, all those things. America began to lose its way a little bit. And the America first notion that -- you know, what's good for America -- we don't care about any of our agreements we made and any alliances. America first. We do it my way or we're not going to do it. That's never how we've operated before. And so, I think what we're beginning to see is, I believe, is the notion that like, for example, in foreign policy, you -- when I walked in, you said it's been an interesting busy day, both with what's happening in Ukraine and a Supreme Court justice being named. Well, it's kind of fascinating when you think about what's going on internationally. How do we get to the place where, you know, Putin decides he's going to just invade Russia? Nothing like this has happened since World War II. I mean, Russia is going to invade Ukraine. And I think -- I think the problem has been that we have been so divided as our European democracies and other democracies. So, I've spent all my time just trying to bring them back together again so we're on the same page. And the way to deal with autocracy, the way -- the way to deal with dictators is united, united front among our allies. And so, everything I've done has been designed to bring the G-7 back together and bring the EU, bring -- and now, now, we're united. And it's going to be very difficult for the autocrats to succeed, in my view. But there's so much more to do. But the point is bringing nations and people together. And that's why in my administration, I -- I -- I think it's fair to say -- I know it's accurate numerically. We have the most diverse administration in American history. True. Yeah. More women than men in our administration by 50-some -- 52 or whatever percent. More African American judges has been appointed, not just Supreme Court, but all through the lower courts as well. When you have 24 out of every 100 students in the grade schools in America speaking Spanish, Spanish speakers, how in God's name is it not in the interest of the United States to reach down and lift those people up, just like Irish immigrants in the 1800s or just like Italians after World War II? I mean -- Yeah. And so, I think people are beginning to realize that. I -- I do think that -- that the other thing about your presidency so far that has been so astonishing is the degree to which you have recognized the importance of shaping the way money affects our society and your use of sanctions and of a minimum global tax. And of all the pieces of trying to make sure that democracy remains accessible to ordinary Americans instead of simply to the wealthy is, it seems to me, a very important part of what you're doing. Well, I think it is. I hope I'm doing it well, but I think that it's critically important. I can't -- there was no time since the late '20s where there's been a such an enormous concentration of wealth. Democracies can't be sustained when you got the top -- for example, we have -- you know, during the period of the recession that Trump got us into, we're in a situation where the loss of income to people, middle class and working class, Americans is astonishing. But guess what? In the past two years, the 736 billionaires have made over a trillion additional dollars. And they're not -- It's astonishing. They -- they're not necessarily bad folks, but the way the system is lined up, there's no way for the average person to sort of get back in the game. And so one of the things, I think, if you -- what gives me some -- some hope of we can not end up just being a demagogue here in exercise is you have liberals, moderates, Republicans who are mildly conservative, all agreeing on one thing, "Taxes is not fair, man. It's not fair." You get unity on that when you start to talk about fairness and just -- just an even shot. The bottom line is people just know it's kind of rigged right now, and a lot of it happened, not even intentionally. A lot of it happened because some really smart people were figuring out how to beat the system and it just got baked into the system. And we kind of looked around like "What the devil's going on?" Yes. And all of a sudden people wake up and say, "Wait a minute." And my dad used to say that, you know, all everybody deserves just a shot. Give the average American a shot, they've never let the country down. I mean, they really haven't, ever, let the country down. And I think it's about getting ordinary people like the family I came from sort of back in the game, not to become millionaires and billionaires but just to be able as my dad would say. I -- I remember we were poor. My dad ran an automobile agency. I didn't know that he ran it. And he probably made about, in those days, $20,000 a year, which was not a bad income. Yeah. And in the early when we were in high school, making a thousand dollars a month wasn't a bad income. It was tight. But we lived in a three-bedroom house with four kids, our grandpop living with us, and mom and dad. They -- they lost -- we lost their health insurance. And it made me realize that things -- if it don't register, here's -- here's a guy figuring out, "How, in God's name, I'm going to take care of my family?" Or today, you know, I mean, one of the reasons I'm pushing, and I'm not unique in this, a lot of people are pushing it, that, you know, Medicare can negotiate drug prices for the VA, but not for anyone else. And -- and so, for example, it takes about 10 bucks to -- to produce a vial, a medicine that is going to keep someone with Type 1 diabetes alive. Mmm hmm. And it costs, on average, about $640 a month to buy that -- buy that drug. You can easily reduce that price to $15 per vial, and they'll still make a profit of 50 percent. And -- but -- and my dad would say, "It's not just about that -- those 200,000 kids with Type 1 diabetes, but how about if you're a mom or dad?" Yeah. You don't have insurance. You can't pay for the drug. And addition to your child being in trouble, you're deprived of your dignity, you're deprived of your sense of -- of yourself of being worthy. How do you look at your child knowing you can't -- you can't take care of that child? I know, I bet, but I really mean it. I just think these are really important notions and concepts that the vast majority of people think. And -- and these people are busting their neck to try to get things done. And until Barack passed the Affordable Care Act, and insurance companies could say, you've outrun your coverage. Right. I couldn't imagine what I would have done if I were a parent, and they came in and said, you've outrun your coverage, die in peace. These are the things that many, many Americans were facing before, but part of the problem is helping people figure out how to navigate their future in terms of being able to provide just basic things for their families. And understand how that ties to our political system. Bingo. And that -- that's -- Exactly right. That's the hook that is so important to make right now. A critically important point to make. It really is. And one of the things I feel I haven't been able to do is connect what we've done with people's lives. I'm a person who, I can tell you or two, who learns more by looking at you, listening to what you're telling me, understanding what you're feeling than -- than I do any other way. And because of COVID, we've not been out doing what we call rope lines, you know, shaking hands and people make -- talking to audiences, walking and listening to their concerns, their fears, their anger. And -- and being able to go out and talk about what was -- has been done. This is what we did, and this is why you're going to be able to do the following. This is why we did, and this is why, this is the place we're going to be able to help you get to school. It's complicated stuff. And most people -- I feel guilty that I haven't been able to go out and expose or sell what we've done, and let people know what we've done. Barack Obama did a really incredible thing with the Affordable Care Act. Yes. I was there with him, but he did it. But the Republicans running for office at the time they were all against -- they want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Right. So, I'm in the last year, I'm not running again for office, I'm out of office. But I agreed to go into, I think it was 57 Republican districts, incumbents to support Democrats because all of a sudden people began to realize. I didn't realize because I don't have -- I have -- they can't take away my insurance it's because I have Obamacare. And so, I can't, you know, I can't be denied the up -- if I have a preexisting condition, they can't eliminate me from getting insurance. And all of a sudden people realized, whoa. So, we went out and did all those 50 some districts, and all we did was talk about one thing. The reason why your preexisting condition is covered is because of Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. People went, huh? They didn't even know it, that anything to do with the affordable -- understanding, I mean, they're stupid or anything. Right. They're trying to put three squares on a table. But when I realized, guess what? We won back the House of Representatives. We won -- I forget it was like 30 some seats or maybe, no, 42 seats I think we won. I can't remember, but a lot. And one thing that's all that we talked about, we went to districts where the Republicans said, we want to do with the Affordable Care Act. And we said to people, do you realize what that means? If you have a preexisting condition, you can't get insurance now, you -- even if you have money to pay for it, you can get it. Because you have preexisting conditions, they're not going to get it. So, a lot of us letting people know what happened and -- and I'm hoping that's why I'm so anxious to get on the road and make the case and find out maybe what -- some of the stuff I'm doing people don't like and it's not working like I think it is. I think it is. But, you know, maybe we'll get out and make the case. While my experience is that people are eager to support American democracy and -- I agree. And all it stands for, so best of luck to you and thank you so much for taking the time for -- to sit down here in, as I say, this historic room. Well, thank you. Thank you.