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  Profile Interview - Larry Kudlow  CSPAN  August 3, 2018 9:18pm-9:59pm EDT

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with thelow has been trump administration since april, when he became director of the white house national economic council. c-span sat down with him recently to discuss his early career on wall street, his experience working for president ronald reagan, and his work in television. he also talked about his struggle with drugs and alcohol, and his recovery from a heart attack he suffered in june. from the white house, this is 35 minutes. larry kudlow is the director of the national economic council, let's begin with your health. our you feeling? >> what happened, what did you
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feel? >> i was sick one night. i didn't have the chest thing, but i was just really sick. my wife called the white house medical and they diagnosed it very quickly. they sent a car and shipped me over to walter reed. they took teachers and said it was a mild heart of -- they took pictures and said it was a mild heart attack. i was on my last legs. they caught it early, which was really good. it could have been worse. i was in the hospital for two nights. they said no work for two weeks. i took two weeks off, the chief told me to take a month off. akeven mnuchin tells me to t several weeks off, because we were going to have new tariffs. he said you don't want to be around for this as a joke.
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i was called a couple of times. called, heime he asked how long i was taking off, i said two weeks. he said you will miss a lot. he called a second time and let go of it. he tweeted me. we were both coming from the g7 in northern quebec, which was interesting. he went to singapore for the north korea and china meeting. we were going back to washington and he was in singapore when he tweeted that i had a heart attack, which was very kind. it sounded worse than it actually was. >> why did you take the job? >> good question. trump forwn president many years, interviewed him many
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times on various tv and radio shows. helped him with his campaign on tax cuts and the economy. in atked about coming different points. i was still working as commentator for cnbc and my radio show, just finished the book. i wasn't really in any rush to jump in. ago, ihis over 35 years was one of the omb deputies for economics. this was a more senior position. a march. me in i was coming back from connecticut. i was coming back from playing tennis. the phone rings and it's the situation room. we talked for about 35-40 minutes. -- i thought he was
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going to yell at me, because he whichished steel tariffs, i did not approve of. i had written an op-ed opposing his national security steel tariffs. i thought he was calling to balmy out. he was actually calling to talk about his logic. we talked about a lot of different things. then he said i'm sure you must have mentioned the national economic council, but it wasn't about that. talking, nos keep one knows we are having this conversation, i will call you tomorrow. he did. came, we hadoon i another long talk. i didn't mention the national economic council, how it was working, what the issues were,
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trade issues, tax cut issues, a lot of things. he was in a gracious mood. he was talking more directly about that. for some people who think he offered me a job on the second call, i didn't think he did. he said he would call me tuesday, and he got a hold of me. i was having dinner in midtown new york. we have a group that has dinner. i had to get up and walk out to take the call. i had a radio show to do with my towel john at night -- my pal john at 9:00. we talked about things. my wife got the car and i had to go home, he is still talking away on one thing or another. he is talking more directly
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about the nac and the economic situation, and the battle with trade. would i be flexible, i am a free trader, always have been. in recent years, i have been harsh on china. i agreed with his foundation. he is going on, i am looking at the clock and it is past 9:00. said are you offering me a job? he said yeah, of course i am, you are my guide read congratulations, terrific. i said thank you, and we talked a little bit more. he said we will announce this thursday or friday. then he called me wednesday morning, midmorning, and he said it is out.
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they are all showing these pictures of you. i was preparing for something, i hadn't watched tv, he said you look great. it was kind of will. -- it was kind of cool. i went down that friday and got a temporary pass for a couple of weeks, then i got temporary clearance and started working. >> i saw you on cnbc shortly after the announcement. you basically called gary cohen. did you ask what your job was? >> i was a big supporter of him. there was speculation. i guess my name had popped up once or twice. i think i did. i asked -- i remember. i asked him what his daily
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routine was. he said that is a great question. he walked through what a director does, time with the president, issues, policies, meetings. building,ed in this routine, but i wasn't sure there was one when i worked in reagan's first term. he was extremely cooperative in helping with my transition. i am a big fan of his. i figured it out. , ihowed up, so i sat there wasn't allowed in the meetings yet, but i was able to talk to him and observe what goes on. >> you ever see rochester students for a democratic society? >> it wasn't the fds it became later on.
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in 6 -- i wast for gene mccarthy. worked as an intern on capitol , and went back to school wound up -- i didn't stay for a phd, i got a job at the new york federal reserve bank, which was really a big thing in my career and my life. >> how did your views evolve or change? from g mccartney -- from g mccartney to ronald reagan? >> at the new york city -- at the new york said, i worked in open market operations, which is where the control the money supply and manipulate interest rates. that had a big impact on me. you learn a lot about market
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economics. i want to go back in time, because at princeton i remember 1971, paul about o talk in theme t auditorium. everything was falling apart in the economy. inflation had jumped, we were in the session, this was the first of the shocks. president next and imposed raise and price controls. it was a big mistake. import tariffs, etc. i was watching volcker and listening to what he was talking about. i said i want to do that. time, maybe this is still true, but at that time i was the to go to the
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federal reserve. if you train to be a diplomat or a foreign service officer, it is a very high-quality place, but i want to work at the fed. i got a job offer and took it. i started learning about macro economics, that was my big graduate school extension. i learned a lot. time, i met different , met arthur books laffer and jack kent. by this time, i had moved to wall street as an economist. dids very much in the flow, speech writing for william e simon. that was my introduction to political economy. he had read some stuff i had written. i helped him out with a bunch of
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speeches. including speeches at the republican convention in detroit in 1980. i moved into the free market supply side of economics. i had been there ever since. >> you mentioned congressman jack kent. how would he view this party today, both here in this white house and on capitol hill,? >> i miss him dearly. longtime friend and mentor. i think jack would like a lot of this. reagan, those guys were trying to drain the swamp. they were big tax cutters. androw the economy , limitze the dollar government, limit regulations. these are things president trump is also doing. i think kent would approve.
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i think he would approve of the trump spirit of drain the swamp, transformation, change. i think jack would probably disagree on the trade strategy. i don't think he would disagree about the goals. president trump has said he is a free trader who wants to end tariffs, non-tariff barriers and subsidies, and he wants to reform a very broken trade system. jack kent would agree with that. i don't know if he would agree with the use of tariffs, as much as president trump has. i was skeptical when i came in, but i think -- the argument is he is shaking things up. the world trading system is
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broken, barriers have gone up, the world trading organization is broken, china is the biggest defender -- china is the biggest offender. property rights, intellectual rights, forced transfers of technology, rising tariffs, rising non-tariff barriers, this is all wrong. , and i thinkulprit potus is exactly right to go after them. you can think about tactics, but i don't know where can't -- kent would come out. as a free trader, i should be opposed to all tariffs? i don't know about that/. i don't like link it -- blanket tariffs. i still oppose the steel and aluminum national security tariffs. but the battle against china is correct. the use of tariffs in that battle is controversial, but i
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favorite. -- i favor it. other presidents have gone after china and unfair trading practices, but never stayed with it. president trump is staying with it. i admire that. we will see how it turns out. just recently, we made a very good deal with the european union, i was involved with that. i think that is a sign of success for the president's policies. notice china is taking because we are going to isolate them. we are involved in mexico and nafta. we will see how this turns out. wouldt know if kent approve of the tariffs, but he would approve with the goal. my very dear friend and other mentor, art laffer, has warned about the use of tariffs.
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here i am, in the middle of it. >> you are about the president's age. what is it like when you disagree with him on policies? >> it is great fun. [laughter] sometimes we do meetings with other people, sometimes we do it privately. naturally, i am always very respectful. one of the things he wanted me to do is come down and give my views. i am not bashful, he is not bashful, we have had many back and forth discussions. he is really open to that. thisneral, i actually love job. one thing i love about it is he has been open and accessible to me from hour one.
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i see him a bunch of times during the course of an ordinary day. we talk about a lot of different things. the national economic council is great fun, we cover so much ground. you are kind of involved in almost everything. he likes the back and forth, i like the back and forth. i am respectful, he is the president. sometimes i win one, sometimes i lose one, that's how it works. >> did you ever consider running for office yourself? >> yes. >> my name has surfaced it -- my name has surfaced a few times. wasyears ago, 2016, i encouraged to run for the u.s. senate for connecticut. republicans wanted me to run connecticut republicans wanted me to run, i would have had the nomination if i chose to.
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my wife and i travel a lot, we probably took six months to explore and take a look at it. we went all over the town's in connecticut and gave a lot of speeches. really enjoyed it and came very close. some of the people in the white house today were helping me back then. sometime in the late winter, we had a sick down and decide -- sit down and decided we didn't want to do it. it was close, but at the end we said no. it is ironic, because here i am in washington in a different capacity. i think the lord was watching, and this is a better position, if you want to know the truth. friends onrs are my the republican side, but this is better for me. i have been doing this for a
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long time. omb, wall street, advice, tv, radio, i know these issues. i have sat with a staff that works for me. this is fun. be 71 in august. i'm doing this to add to my resume, i'm not doing this to climb someplace. i'm just doing it because it is a good job and the president asked me to do it. i am having the time of my life. you had been very open about your own addiction in the 90's, cocaine and alcohol. when did you reach the bottom? went, very bad time in my life, turning point in my life. spring of 1995.
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i had hit bottom. it was pretty bad. jobs,on my knees, lost relationships, strained marriage. me a one-way plane the minneapolis-st. paul airport. about one hour north of there is a wonderful place, a rehab center. she enrolled me for long-term care, five or six months. go,said you can go, or not if you don't, i will not be here. so i went. it was a great thing.
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they taught me how to live a new life away from addiction, and how to behave, how to be honest, how to have better relationships , how to be responsible. stepper i go to a lot of meetings,. fromof my best pals are those 12-step programs. in whatn to have faith they call a higher power. it could be god, aa, it could be something, but not yourself. the trick is to get yourself out of the way, quick thinking just about yourself -- quit thinking just about yourself. it had a profound impact on me. it is a great place. i have fabulous counselors, they taught me a lot.
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i stayed with it, that's the miracle. i just had 23 years. i am very proud of that, but it just changes your life, or at least it did for me, for the better. i didn't really know what would happen afterwards. i was on these investor all-star teams, i had one job offer from art laffer, he said come out here. that is exactly what my counters wanted, they said don't go to new york right now. and i did. eventually i got back into things. , and myg led to another
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whole career changed among other things. you could never have predicted that. it was for the better. i question nothing. i wouldn't do anything differently. . am not in charge the last interview i gave on , they said where will this lead, coming to washington? i said i don't know. attacked by people on msnbc for bringing god into it, i don't care, it's the way i look at life. it has been wonderful. >> you converted to catholicism, why? >> i have been active for over 20 years.
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it's a long story. it was part of my transformation, i was looking for faith. i came from a very secular, nonpracticing jewish family. along theelped me way. i love the church. the first time i went to mass, i loved it. i loved the order, the pageantry, the ceremony, the the water, i loved it all. i said god take me. it took a long time to get through things. i have been very active in church, both in new york and in connecticut. >> for those dealing with addiction today watching our conversation, what would you tell them? what advice would you give them? >> get yourself some help. and don't knowate
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which is worse, drinking or not drinking, using drugs or not using drugs, it really goes to hell. give, try toalways get yourself to a 12-step meeting and get on the internet or something and find yourself a good trading center. understand that you cannot do this alone. you must ask for help. if you do that, you will at least be taking some steps. i would also say you can get sober. as bad as it looks, if i did, you can. other people can do this. me, they really -- that's my
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job, being sober one day at a time. the rest of it falls into place. i would just tell people to get help. >> let's talk about the tax cuts, we're dealing with almost $22 trillion national debt. democrats say that republican tax cut will add to the debt. now we are talking about another tax cut, why? >> the issue is in the inflation, which has been around for a long time. i am very much in favor of it. we haven't made any decisions in the administration, but you can go back and look at things. i never thought people should be taxed on the inflation gain. i am ok with the real game, but why be taxed on the inflation? we have indexed the personal tax code for inflation. that was done years ago, during
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the reagan tax cuts. i'm pretty sure it was bob dole who got it through, someone who is not a surprise. he was a good friend of mine. don't index why we the corporate tax for inflation, and the capital gains tax. i think it is unfair to investors and anybody else to be taxed on inflation. .t has come up again the white house is looking at treasury, but we have bigger falls in that area. >> do you worry about the debt? >> it is a concern, but mostly program,bout the trump tax cuts, regulatory rollback, energy release, president trump has changed the game to restore economic growth and prosperity.
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got the economy, wages, ordinary working folks back to work. that is part of what the trade issue is about. i have been a believer that under the right policies, which provide economic opportunity and freedom, and incentives, we can grow the american economy at least at its historic rate. since world war ii, from 1950-2000, we grew it or he .5% a year after -- 3.5% a year after inflation. i don't see how we can't repeat that. with both parties -- both parties have just gone of course the last 20 years. the aisle mine across are setting an arbitrary limit of 2% growth.
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it is ahift policy -- free market economy. the government can affect things at the margin and provide incentives. if it pays more to work, to invest, you will do it. in 2016a book on this called "jfk and the reagan revolution." was f. kennedy, a democrat, the first postwar tax cutter. it is a story i just loved. reagan basically copied the kennedy tax cuts. the kennedy tax cuts worked. he was a democrat, the way reagan was a democrat, i worked for moynahan for a while.
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president trump was in the. the best republicans are former democrat. kennedy cuts taxes, then he is assassinated and lbj gets the final thing done. the dollar was steady, tied to gold, there was no inflation. 1970's went completely off the rails. inn reagan comes and runs kent was a connector. reagan, to his great credit, gave kennedy credit for it all the time. sabado'st was larry book. after jfk, the presidents who mentioned him the most were bill clinton and ronald reagan. i mentioned him all the time.
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that's what trump is doing, i think it is working. we are getting good results. i know it is early, but i think we will be headed back for that 3.5%. on the way, we will score quarters that are much higher. that's what i think is the ultimate way to solve your debt problems and deficit problems. i am a limited government guy, growth show me subpar and i will show you big legit deficits. growth, iw me strong will show you either lower deficits, or strict deficits. this,ate should do federal government is starting to do it again. as the percentage of gdp, i believe deficits will be coming down. the omb budget is showing that,
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it will take a while. you will lose revenues in the short run, but the tax cuts will pay for themselves. already, i syria estimates from places like cbo's that don't like -- i see estimates from places like cbo said don't like tax cuts. by virtue of growth and expanding more revenues. that is terrific. the corporate tax cuts will be paid for by the end of next year. this is how we are going to solve the deficit and debt problem. my whole professional life, certainly since i worked for reagan, that has been my mantra. you may have seen it once in a while. 7:00 or 8:00 evening show where the guy says free market capitalism is the best to prosperity. that was me. i still believe it. great interview
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.or quite a while it was a lot of fun. he and i were together, that was a current change. all of a sudden, what do you do for a living? i am a broadcaster. it was 2001. we were together for three years, then he started his show, i did my show. i anchored during the day for a bunch of years, as well as every night until i couldn't do it anymore. and aa radio show newspaper column. all of a sudden, i was a journalist, broadcaster, i was not a wall street economists anymore. i never saw it coming. >> let me conclude with a question i have asked your colleagues. is the private donald trump different from what the public sees? from your standpoint? , i'm nothe public sees
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sure. working with him now, he is a wonderful person. i don't have to say that. he has been open and accessible to me, welcomed me into the white house. he has a terrific sense of humor . we were with the new italian prime minister for a bilateral a working he had lunch. the g7 talks, at where i was mediating the communique. said you are a very good negotiator, this is coming in. the president looks up and goes
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the guy is here for two weeks, and he has a heart attack. [laughter] works 30 or 40 years in the private sector, is here for two weeks, and has a heart attack an. he has praised me to other people, he doesn't have to do that. he has been unbelievable. he has a good heart, he is a tort guy, he is open discussions, disagreements, he is accessible, he is not bashful. my kind of guy. he is different from ronald reagan, reagan was different from john f. kennedy, so forth and so on. this has been so much fun. i am just loving it. >> larry couple, thank you for your time. -- larry kudlow, thank you for a time.
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>> the c-span cities tour takes you to las cruces new mexico, with the help of our comcast cable partners, we explore the literary life and history of las cruces, located at the foot of the organ mountains and the banks of the rio grande. saturday at eastern on book tv. john hunter explores the impact of the manhattan project in his book "j opera oppenheimer." >> when oppenheimer brought nuclear physics west, first to berkeley and caltech, then to d,w mexico, he change particularly new mexico. poor,is state that was had low infrastructure, and put in the middle of it the federally funded facility that just transformed the state. >> author martha andrews discusses the role of frontier
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women in her book "out of the shadows, the women of southern new mexico," sunday at 2:00 p.m.. we visit the white sands missile range museum. >> the testing that has been it has been think mostly military testing, but it is involved a lot of civilian uses as well. a lot of the rockets fired out here are sounding rockets used to do upper atmospheric research. that is still a big program. sheldon, tour of four a military post located by the rio grande river to keep peace in the region. watch c-span cities tour of las cruces, new mexico, saturday at noon eastern on c-span two's book tv, and on c-span3. working with our cable affiliates as we explore america. >> next week on american history
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tv on c-span3, watch the first of our nine part series "1968 america in turmoil," where we look back 50 years to the to mulch was year -- tumultuous year. tuesday, a look at the presidential campaign of that year. wednesday, civil rights and race relations. on thursday, a discussion on liberal politics. friday, conservative politics. saturday, women's rights. watch "1968 america in turmoil," next week at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. all nine programs are available on spotify as a podcast. or watch anytime on c-span.org on our "1968" page. c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up saturday morning, stars and stripes reporter nikki
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wrestling discusses top issues facing robert wilkie. then house editor david wasserman talks about that how the -- outlook for the midterm elections. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern sunday morning. join the discussion. "q&a,"night on congressional historians richard baker, donald richie, and rate smock. >> one of the questions i hear people asking all the time is this the most uncivil time in history? >> it has to be close, if you were to pick another period, the years leading to the civil war, came to the member senator because he disagreed with what he said. there are a lot of senators who cheered on that house member. >> there is a musical about the shooting of alexander hamilton. he was shot by the sitting vice president of the u.s.
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that is pretty dramatic. we have had terrible political times. >> there was one role in 1858 -- one brawl that had 80 members rolling around on the floor fighting one another. pulled hismembers wig off during the fight. someone else yelled " they him"t -- they sculpalped that was enough to stop the fight. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. the of the coming up next on newsmakers, alex smith from "america rising," talks about the upcoming midterm elections. then, a discussion on