tv The Way I See It MSNBC August 22, 2021 7:00pm-9:00pm PDT
♪♪ during my eight years as my position as chief official white house photographer, during the obama administration, i documented all of the important moments of his presidency. the emotion. the tough decisions. the stressful times. the fun times. but also showing what he was like as a dad. as a husband. just as a human being.
to me, that shows how the job of the president should be done. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪ i got high hopes ♪ >> i think it's my right as an american citizen to speak out when i see wrong. i really come at this from a unique perspective. not just as a former photo journalist, but also having worked for both the obama and reagan administrations. and seeing what it's like on the inside of a presidency.
whether you agree or disagree with the president's policies, how that president should behave. ♪ high hopes i got high hopes ♪ >> i'm going to throw some shade tonight, if that's okay. but i want to tell you first how i -- how i got there. ♪♪ dmi >> so, if we go back to january 20th, 2017, president obama left his successor a personal note and stuck it in the drawer of
the resolute desk and the last line of the note was michelle and i wish you and melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure and know that we stand ready to help in any way as which we can. good luck and godspeed. with that he left the oval office for the last time. >> good morning, everybody. >> good morning, sir. >> good morning, sir. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you, guys. >> he went and said good-bye to the household staff, butlers, ushers, groundkeepers. and von everett, one of the butlers who had been there since the reagan years, you can imagine what it was like for him to have been there for the first african-american president. there's a tradition that the incoming president comes to the white house the morning before the inauguration for a reception. after everyone else had finally
boarded the motorcade president obama took trump aside to brief him on a pending national security issue. he escorted trump to the limousine. they had to ride in the limousine to the capitol together. the guy on the right is mike white. you always see the person in that position behind the president or behind the first lady. as they were leaving the podium i now notice that mike white and his deputy were behind trump and melania, and not behind president obama. and that's when it really hit me that this for real had happened. ♪♪
all this excitement that i would not have a blackberry with me 24/7/365 for eight years anymore. you have no idea how good of a feeling it was to be done with that. but there was a sense of disbelief and worry. and i was. i really was concerned for the country. to this day i have that same feeling. not literally in the room anymore. but i know what happens in the room. and that's what scares me about what's happening today in the
oval office. after i left the white house i started this personal instagram account. my intention was to highlight some of the photographs that i had made throughout my career. i never intended to be vocal in any way about what was going on. >> so the first day he came to me with his photo that he wanted to post on instagram with the president sitting on the resolution desk and the red curtains. and he wrote a caption, something like i like the old curtains better. what did you think? i said you can't say that because he had spent eight years having no voice. and no opinion of what was going on. and suddenly here's an opinion about drapes. i said you can't do that. >> what i didn't tell you is i had just seen a picture of the redecorated oval office with
these gold ornate curtains and there was even a comment on that very first post from somebody that said pete is dropping shade with a comment on drapes. and i have to admit i had no idea what dropping shade meant. i knew what i was doing i just didn't know it was called dropping or throwing shade. >> can you give us -- >> don't be rude. >> can you give us a question? >> don't be rude. >> give us a question. >> when you report fake news, which cnn does a lot, you are the enemy of the people. go ahead. >> mr. president -- [ street noise ] [ camera clicking ]
>> hi, pete, welcome to india. >> thank you. it's nice to be here. >> is there hope for photo journalism? >> there's a lot of people doing a lot of great work but it doesn't help when the president of the united states calls journalists fake news and the enemy of the people. i think that's really dangerous. i think our president is causing grave damage to the institution of the free press. >> the former chief -- white house photographer, please welcome to the stage pete joseph souza. [ cheers and applause ] >> i want to ask you as a photo
journalist your commitment while photographing is to the truth but when you're the chief white house photographer, when you're consciously or subconsciously building a public image of obama was there a conflict? >> i think that's a good question. i often say to people though my background as a photo journalist, certainly when you're the chief white house photographer you're working for the government. but -- so i didn't ever think of it as a conflict because i wasn't a p.r. photographer. i look at myself as a historian with a camera. the job as a chief official white house photographer is officially document the president for history. when inauguration rolled around i had in the back of my mind for the journey i was about to take
this thought, make authentic photographs, think mood, emotion, context. be ready for the fleeting moments, both big and small. my goal was to create the best photographic archive of a president that had ever been done. lasting images for history. the origination of my office was a military office during the kennedy administration. lbj wanted somebody to cover everything and he hired this guy named yoshi yokomoto who traveled with him as vice president.
johnson was such a character, and okomoto was such a great to photographer. his pictures are just amazing. you know, more than anyone, his work was the kind of work that i wanted to do. i wanted the level of access that okomoto had to johnson. that's sort of what i was striving for with obama. >> photographs can tell a story, just as a book can tell a story. and it's a very special thing because it breaks down the idea that these people are somehow different from us. yes, they have different responsibilities. yes, they have greater anxieties but they're leading a life that has a daily ritual to it. >> i knew how the job should be done having worked for the reagan administration too. the white house photo editor called me up one day out of the blue and said we want you to
apply for this job. it was totally unexpected. i'm in my 20s and i'd never met a president before and i was just nervous. it was kind of like just sort of overwhelming to me. i actually turned it down at first. "a," i was not really that into politics. "b," i was really not the biggest fan of reagan. >> photography. >> sure. >> but you hope that what you're doing is important for history, right, you used to say journalism is the first draft of history. and i'm thinking like here's a chance to actually be involved in documenting history. >> the photograph office
primarily it was myself and fitz and jack and then pete. but we were very much a team. >> lock that sucker down. >> working at the white house as the first woman official photographer was a humbling experience. i was recording for history. >> now, is pete nice and clear? >> yes, they both are. >> the orchestration of television coverage absorbs the white house. they provide pictures of him looking like a leader. confident with his marlboro man walk, a good family man. >> the white house has become more and more a theater. and the question has become, are the television networks going to manage that theater? are they going to manage that stage or is the white house going to do that? >> they were very aware of creating the best backdrop
possible for tv networks and "time" and "newsweek." >> now, do you want us on either side of the tree or what? >> well, i think they want to do one standing but i think for release purposes it would be better to have you doing something and my suggestion is watering the tree. we have two shovels. we have a chain saw. >> no, please. pete, it's too hot. >> can we just do watering the tree? >> watering the tree is fine. did you get that, pete? >> yeah. >> you did, huh? i've got an idea for another picture. just one more. i've got the chain saw. no, and you're blocking me off.
stopping me from -- don't just stand there, you're supposed to be saying no, i'm not going to be starting the saw. >> no. >> all right. >> thank you. >> the amount of access you get as the chief official white house photographer is really totally dependent on the relationship that you have with the president. all i tried to do was push for more access for the behind the scenes moments, most of which were never seen until after he had left the presidency. some of the pictures that i would make would be fairly intimate, after mrs. reagan had undergone breast cancer surgery at bethesda naval hospital, every day at the end of the day he would take the helicopter and go visit her. they were exactly the same way
together behind the scenes as they were in public. it was very much a true love and companionship between the two of them. i always felt the best pictures i made of reagan were not from planned events. they were things that happened between events and moments that you couldn't ever predict. they would just happen. and that really humanizes the president of the united states. one of the roles of commander in chief is you send people into harm's way but then the president usually is the one who has to go talk to all the families who have lost someone. he's clearly empathetic and compassionate, and you can see the emotion in their faces as they're looking up to see what
reagan is saying. that's the way a president should behave. in times like that. in some respects i think it did a disservice not to show him in these true, authentic, behind the scenes moments more than they did. >> okay, folks, i always wondered what it would be like to stand -- okay with you, mr. president? scram. mr. president, just -- >> he's to the left and i'm to the right. >> big smile. here we go, big smile. >> i wanted this time to talk with you about an extremely sensitive and profoundly important matter of foreign policy. >> certainly during the iran contra affair there were a lot
of pictures that i made where he was agonizing over what he did or what he didn't do. it was a big scandal. i made that picture with the tower commission after this many month investigation had concluded that, in fact, reagan had sold arms for hostages. and you see that look on reagan's face. he was still somewhat in denial. but to me it really defines that whole scandal and how impactful it was on his presidency. i did not necessarily agree with some of the things that president reagan was doing. for example, how long it took him to come to grips with a.i.d.s. i think that, in retrospect, is more than disappointing. but this photo i made of him holding a baby with hiv did help destigmatize the disease.
i was naive and not as politically aware as i should have been at the time but i did feel that he was a decent human being. he respected other people from all walks of life. >> when reagan had passed away, and his body was being flown to the west coast, nancy reagan requested that pete would be on the plane with them. and of course he had been out of the white house for so many years and pete did that. ♪♪
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"the chicago tribune" based in d.c. if somebody had told me that i would end up working for the most iconic republican president of our generation, and then the most iconic democrat president of our generation, i would have said they were crazy. >> what are those words? yes, we can! thank you, illinois, i love you! thank you. thank you, illinois. >> in 2004 barack obama was elected to the senate. i didn't see his 2004 speech at the convention because i was traveling with kerry. >> the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that america has a place for him, too. >> i remember the editors in chicago said to me, make sure you get a picture of obama. i was like, i didn't even know what the guy looked like, you know. >> you're on the front page of
every paper this week, you're all over television. everyone's calling you the future, the savior of the democratic party. so are you? >> you know, i rank 99th out of 100 in seniority. i'm going to be sharpening pencils and scrubbing the floors, i think, for the first couple of years. >> i doubt that. >> jeff zeleny, who was a correspondent for "the tribune," he came up to me one day and he said, hey, i'm thinking of pitching a story to the editors of following obama's first year in the senate. i love this picture because, you know, he's got half a sandwich in his mouth and sasha's eyeing the other half. this is the day i met him, the presence of my camera didn't bother him at all. which is not always the case, especially with politicians. >> did that say anything about him to you? >> you know, i found him a good subject.
>> this was the first day that he was in washington as the newly elected senator. and malia was 6. senator obama spent the day with his family and showing them around and helping them understand what it was like. and sasha was 3. >> i think he thought i was a competent photographer. i continued to further that trust as the year went by. >> by the age of youtube, and so much internet video, do photographs still have a very powerful impact in terms of covering politics? >> you know, i like the still photograph. it stops time. you can remember a still photograph. a lot of photo journalists now are evolving into video but i still think the still photograph, for me, says a lot more.
i wasn't with him every day but i got to know him pretty well professionally. it was very clear that he was different from most politicians. i hadn't really seen somebody, especially a freshman senator, with this kind of presence. he had us call him barack. he was casual. he was casual. he would e-mail you in the middle of the night. generationally he had more common in people that worked for him in their 20s than he did with probably the other senators in washington. >> this would have been in 2005. i went to russia and ukraine, azerbaijan with him, we're in the middle of red square and not a single person recognizes him. >> he's just a regular guy. >> and then i went to africa with him in 2006. and we went to mandela's cell. >> not go -- the view on the
outside, on a clear day you can see capetown. >> when we went to kenya he had this meeting with some ngos and word got out that he was in there. and when he emerged from this meeting there were like thousands of people waiting to hear him say a few words. when we went to nairobi and he gave a big speech i got this picture of this guy writing down like the bullet points of what he was talking about. >> hey! hey! good to see all of you. >> the reception at his grandmother's village was like chaotic. >> anytime i think a child comes
back to his parents' grave it makes you reflect on your own life and mortality. it makes you think about the next generation. >> my wife and i are going to get tested for hiv a.i.d.s. so i just want everybody to remember that if a u.s. senator can get tested, and his wife can get tested, then everybody in this ground can get tested. because you need to know your status. >> seeing the overwhelming response that he got in africa, i remember coming back from that trip saying that, you know, i'll bet he runs for president. i mean, just the way people were hanging on to his every word. you could just see, in people's faces, that this guy was something special to them. obviously he was very intelligent but i think he also
had the right temperament to become president. to me this picture really tells a story about a young u.s. senator, about to walk out, announce that he's running for president, knowing that his life will never be the same. and i think you could see that in his face. you could see the anxiety in michelle as she's trying to brush off some lint from the back of his jacket. i knew the gravity of the moment. and i knew he had a shot. i knew that once people got to see him and hear from him that he had a shot. he had the kind of qualities within him where people -- people would relate to him. >> i stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president of the united states of america. >> people forget that hillary was so far ahead.
had so many endorsements, that people thought he was a long shot. >> doesn't obama face a big uphill battle despite all the media attention he's getting? >> he will have to deal with the issue of only two years in the u.s. senate. >> the media was ready to kind of write us off or put us in the barrel. it was like no, there was this broader force out there that was not going to let that happen. >> american history won't be the same again. americans elected a young man, with a young family, an african-american, the first ever. >> it's been a long time coming. but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to america.
>> gibbs called me on january 5th and offered me the job. and i just said to gibbs, i said, look, here's the thing, if i do this, i have to have access to everything. and he just said to me, the president elect gets it. there's no worries there. i said, okay, i'll be there tomorrow. two days later i met up with obama. he walked in the room and he said we're going to have some fun. ♪♪ ♪ over the horizon ♪ ♪ smooth sailing ♪ >> i think there was an enormous amount of respect overseas when he was elected. i think people were just excited that our country had finally put prejudice aside and elected an african-american president. and really, a different kind of politician. that resonated around the world. ♪ i won't break it down ♪
♪ no honey i won't wear you down ♪ >> pete was with the president all the time. >> he'd start his day around 9:00. i'd get his schedule. but i came to learn the schedule was really just a starting point. i covered all the behind-the-scenes meetings. all the situation room meetings. i mean, i can't take ownership of this analogy. but imagine trying to take a sip of water from a fire hose that never shuts off. ♪ i won't wear you down ♪ ♪ no, honey, i won't wear you down ♪ >> it was non-stop every day, 24/7, always on call, always ready. that was the challenge for me, for my job, for eight years. >> pete had walking pneumonia one time and he still came to work. >> if you really want to document the presidency for
history you've got to be there all the time. you can't predict when images are going to happen. >> pete really wanted to be the guy who disappears and that's the gift when you're white house photographer is the president doesn't even know you're in the room. >> occasionally the cabinet would be gathered to present some really tough decisions to the president. you know, there'd be chatter, chatter, people commiserating and the first sign that the president was imminent was when pete walked in. everything would freeze. so i don't know what it felt like for him for eight years to have that chilling effect on every room. >> why should historians pay attention to what you do? >> well, i think for me the job of the chief official white house photographer is important for history. and that's the one thing that i am concerned about with, you
know, what's happening with the current administration, that the access is not the same as i had for president obama. and i think history will suffer as a result. (vo) unconventional thinking means we see things differently, so you can focus on what matters most. that's how we've become the leader in 5g. #1 in customer satisfaction. and a partner who includes 5g in every plan, so you get it all. people with moderate to severe psoriasis, or psoriatic arthritis, are rethinking the choices they make like the splash they create the way they exaggerate the surprises they initiate. otezla. it's a choice you can make. otezla is not an injection or a cream it's a pill that treats differently. for psoriasis, 75% clearer skin is achievable,
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crisis. i think this picture helped show who's in the room, the mood, the emotion of the moment, which was he was about to call the ceos of two automobile companies to tell them the federal government was going to take over the company. as you recall, it was very controversial at the time. and i was thinking who is this man? how does he deal with crisis? and i think some words that were crossing my mind were leadership, character and empathy. >> the more i've studied leaders in crisis times, whether it's lincoln or fdr or teddy roosevelt or lbj during the civil rights struggle they had almost like a family resemblance of leadership traits the first one being humility, the ability to be able to acknowledge error and learn from your mistakes. i would go from there maybe to empathy as an absolutely
critical human quality, the ability to understand other people's points of view and to feel a sense of connection to those other people. all the leaders that i've studied were able to communicate in a way to the people so that they felt a sense of trust in what they were saying. they were inspired to act because of them. and then beyond communication is the ability to control emotions and to remain cool during difficult times. and then at the very end in some ways you have to have the self-confidence to create a team of people around you who can criticize you, who can question your assumptions, who can argue with you, and then to accept that it's going to come from the country at large is such an important quality in a leader. >> looking at president obama, he came into office with a desire to wind down america's wars overseas and step up the focus at home.
but events had a way of intervening, especially in the middle east. >> i want to speak to you tonight about our effort in afghanistan. we did not ask for this fight. while we've achieved hard earned milestones in iraq, the situation in afghanistan is deteriorating. and as commander in chief i have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 u.s. troops to afghanistan. >> president obama, again and again, would come back to, okay, if we do what you're proposing, how is it likely to play out? he welcomed dissent and debate and discussion. his belief was that he would make the best decisions if he had been exposed to the greatest array of counterarguments, alternative viewpoints. let's say really difficult backdrop like syria, we had
tensions over that. we have nothing but lousy options confronting the president. but the person who has to live with the consequences and to know that they own the outcome, that's the president and the president alone. >> president obama said, actually, that he viewed the presidency as a relay race. you're given certain problems when you come in. you work on those problems. some of those things will not be solved during your time. maybe some steps have been taken to get that solved. maybe we've gone backwards or forwards. wars are going to be there maybe that shouldn't have been fought or you wish hadn't been fought. wars are going to be there that are left unfinished. but it's really that continuing march. >> for me it is constantly important to remind myself why i got into this business in the first place.
especially when it's hard. you look at an issue right now, like health care, so many of us campaigned on the idea that we were going to change this health care system. well, here we are. with a chance to change it. >> there's an early health care speech he was working on with john favro. every page looked like this. so i think it really shows you how involved he was in the words that were coming out of his mouth. don't you wish we had that now? but i think this picture also tells you something about how he works with other people because instead of just handing john the marked up draft the next morning when he came to the oval office he called john in and they sat on his sofa for an hour and a
half and went over every change that he had made. >> i know how bitter and contentious the issue of health insurance reform has become. >> this bill is the greatest threat to freedom that i have seen in the 19 years i've been here in washington. >> we've gotten caught up in the political game in a way that's just not healthy. >> this is nancy imparo who was as responsible as anyone for the affordable care act and nancy had two young boys and they never saw their mom for like two years. like she would leave the house early in the morning and the boys hadn't even woken up yet and by the time she got home they were often already asleep and that's the kind of sacrifice that people at the white house made. president obama was aware of this. it was -- it wasn't anything that was ever said but i started noticing it wherever whenever he could he would make a point to make sure the boys were invited when the nba basketball players came to the white house or events like that. this is nicky.
he invited him into the oval office to share a power bar with him. nicky came to one of my book signings. he's now a sophomore at duke. and told me how much this picture meant to him. and he realizes now the good work that his mom was doing. there was still some lobbying to be done, lots of phone calls. this is in the limo with his legislative director and i think this was the phone call where he realized that they probably had enough votes and he took his lucky charms out of his pocket. i saw that he took his lucky charms out. that morning i was like, okay, this is a good sign.
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sorry about that. >> that was a little embarrassing. >> man, i tell you. >> "national geographic." >> camera broke down. >> he's usually much better than this. >> take the lens cap off. >> one of the cool things that my office did was hang jumbo prints. it's a tradition that had started with the nixon administration. so we would update them every few weeks. there was actually only a few dozen people that interact with the president of the united states on a regular basis. and yet there's hundreds of people working for him. so this was a way for them to see him in a very personal way. i think it sort of gave them added purpose. the first time that we went to the u.n. we had a break one
afternoon, and he and reggie love played basketball for like an hour. now, reggie love was 27 at the time. was 6'6". he was the captain of the duke university basketball team when they won the national championship. barack obama was 20 years older, at least four inches shorter, and didn't start for his high school basketball team. but he's like the most competitive guy i've ever met. at one point president obama goes up, blocks reggie's shot. they finish the game. and president obama makes a beeline towards me. comes up to me and he goes did you get that block? and i'm like scrolling through, and i come to this picture. and he goes -- he goes, that's great, make that a jumbo. he made reggie sign it, dear, mr. president, nice block, reggie love. somebody came to me and said we
need to get these online. >> pete said the white house wants us to put pictures out on flicker, which was a photo streaming platform. my job was to make an edit of -- from 10,000 down to what would be about 50 pictures a week. that was unprecedented. no previous administration had ever put out as many pictures. >> i thought it was a great way for the public to see what was happening behind the scenes. when you get to be my age, and you look back at things that happen earlier in your life you start sort of connecting the dots a little bit.
i was trying to remember with jane when we went to washington. i think it was in 1965. but we went and visited the white house. and we also got this book called "the white house." and i used to look at this book all the time. this book was published shortly before kennedy was assassinated and jackie kennedy wrote the introduction. she said that the book originally was intended just for children. i'm going to get emotional just reading this. it seems such a shame that they, meaning the kids that visited the white house, should have nothing to take away with them. it was hoped that they would read more about the presidents who interested them the most. and i was one of them. this book, for each administration, was updated subsequently. the last version of this, the cover photo, and have several photos of president obama inside the book. so you talk about full circle.
this was when my mom met president obama for the first time. and he wrote to lillian, it was a joy to meet you, thanks for doing such a great job with pete. so this is my grandmother and grandfather. they were both born in azors. they immigrated within a year or two of each other. my parents both worked. my mom was a nurse. my dad was a boat mechanic. i had no interest in anything other than sports. i didn't get interested in photography until i was in college. if there was such a category, i would have been in the most unlikely to succeed. >> i think when he was at b.u. he took a course in photography
and he came home and said, mom, i want to be a photographer, and i said oh my god, four years at b.u., and you're going to take pictures. that's when i thought, oh, my god. >> to me, it was magic. shooting a roll of film, rolling that film up onto the reel, and as you're shaking the tray, the image starts to appear. you're in control from start to finish. and i was like, this is what i want to do. >> you really wanted to be a photographer and that's a really competitive field. and the day that he left to go to kansas to get his masters degree, he was driving out of the driveway i started to cry. and our dad said, why are you crying? he's just going away for a year and i said no, he's not, he's never coming back.
>> i was always trying to make a good picture for every assignment, no matter how bad it was. if there's a dog that crosses the street at 1:00, that has a potential to be page 1 photo. you realize your photographs do have an impact. i got a call one day from director of photography at the sun times and he goes we want you to come interview so i flew up to chicago and he hired me and i went from a 6,000 circulation, daily newspaper, where i was the only photographer, to 600,000 circulation newspaper where i was one of 25 photo journalists. i really think it was helpful for me to have the number of experiences that i had had. did some stuff for "national geographic," when life was a monthly i did some work for them. right after 9/11, a correspondent and i snuck into afghanistan. just as the war was getting under way. and in some ways was one of the more fulfilling things i've ever done in my career because my images were appearing in the tribune every day. i really felt that i was doing good work and people were seeing it.
i don't want people to come away with the impression that i was a war photographer because i wasn't. but when there are rpgs coming at you i did not do a really good job as i was scared [ bleep ] i'll admit it. the realization was, okay, this is -- i'm not good at this. [ applause ] >> we thank you again for coming here tonight. lindsay was actually kidnapped twice in her career. we know that ryan swims with sharks. so pete, was there ever a time when you really -- really felt fearful in the white house beyond january 20th, 2017? this white house. >> yeah, this white house. no, i never felt fearful. i didn't have bullets flying over my head and i didn't have sharks coming at me from all directions so i had it easy
compared to these two. the one thing that we were talking earlier, you have to have intuition in terms of when it's time to give the man some space. so it's more of just an intuitive sense of when it is time to sort of slowly back away. >> every three months we would go to walter reed and he would visit wounded warriors. i think it affected him emotionally. one time he went and we saw corey remsberg, the guy he was on patrol with in afghanistan was killed instantly. corey was thrown into a ravine. he was under water. somehow he survived, not drowning. he spent months in a coma and he lost half his eyesight and the ability to control half his body. he had to relearn how to walk, talk and eat. but here's the thing that really took me aback. president obama had met corey in
normandy the previous june. and i had taken a picture of that encounter. and the picture, we had sent a copy to the family. and it was taped on the hospital wall. and i was looking at that picture and looking at corey and saying to myself, there is the real cost of war. you don't usually see it that starkly. corey has made remarkable progress. three years later, he visited with president obama again. he was starting to walk with a walker. in january of 2014 was the guest of honor at the state of the union address and sat next to michelle obama. and then toward end of the administration, president obama visited him in arizona at his new house. >> one of the most important parts of the president's day was
when they would go out to cities all over the u.s. >> how long did it last? >> seemed like forever. >> thank god you guys are all right. >> yes, sir. ♪♪ >> when you're face to face with people -- ♪♪ ♪ there's so much in this world to make me grieve ♪♪ >> those images are burned into your brain. ♪ stay with me, let's just be ♪♪ >> and you carry that with you.
pete would always tell me the stories of what happened on the road that day and when you go back, you are constantly reminded why you're working so hard. ♪ everything you gave and nothing escape ♪♪ >> you touched me so much. ♪ nothing you would take, everything you gave hold me until i die ♪ ♪ meet you on the other side ♪♪ your c nsurance, so you only pay for what you need. [ nautical horn blows ] i mean just because you look like someone else doesn't mean you eat off the floor, or yell at the vacuum, or need flea medication. oh, yeah. that's the spot. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪
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see for yourself at botoxcosmetic.com morning meeting was at 9:30 in the oval office. every day it was the same kind of meeting. people sitting in the same chairs in the same spots. i would think, i can't look at another picture from this meeting. but you have to look through frame by frame just in case. and one night i saw a scene and i started to cry. and i get chills thinking about it. it was some, i don't know what the meeting was. but i knew from looking at the president's face, the intensity of the decision he was making. and i was incredibly moved. because i knew the responsibility and the weight of that job and it made me understand how important it is to have the right person in that chair making those decisions. when we vote, we're voting for a decision maker.
who is listening to everyone around him and is then making that decision. and people say it doesn't matter who is in the white house. it doesn't matter. it totally matters who is in the white house. >> breaking news that the world's most wanted man has been killed in a mission led by united states special forces. >> president trump laying out what he watched as he started to view this operation in the situation room. >> when you look at this picture, it definitely looks like he's looking at the camera. don't you think? and i've been in this room, you know, more than 1,000 times. the photographer is completely blocking the screen. it looks fishy to me. if you're going to release a photo like that, then you've got to be truthful about what is taking place. what was he looking at?
i will go to the "new york times" story that i saw. unlike his predecessor, mr. trump does not allow his staff photographer free range to capture behind the scenes photographs of life and work in the white house. instead, he most often invites miss craighead or other white house photographers into the room specifically for the purpose of taking an official picture. we need to have real moments of real history. not posed moments of history. so it's hard to know what you're missing. well, talk about the bin laden raid, it was a very tense day. throughout that day he had meetings in the situation room. they had set up the
communications link in a small conference room across from the big situation room. so when president obama walked in, brigadier general brad webb stood up to give up his chair. and president obama saw that he was on a laptop communicating directly with admiral bill mccraven who was running the raid from afghanistan. and said no, no, no, you stay right there, and i'll pull up a chair right next to you. that's why president obama is seated where he is. you've got the most powerful people and the executive branch of our government all gathering in this room at the same time. and yet they were powerless. there was essentially nothing they could do to affect the outcome of what they were witnessing. and now it's up to those special forces on the ground. >> that bin laden photo is so powerful because nobody is posing. you can see the nerves on everybody's face in that room. >> tonight i can report to the american people and to the world
that the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda. >> the picture in the bottom right is right after they knew they had killed bin laden. and you don't see any high fives. it is very anti-climactic in a lot of ways. >> as a photographer, as well as as a human being, what were some of the things which were easy for you to capture? and what were a little more difficult? >> i don't know that there was anything that was easy. the hardest things were when he would have to meet with families that were affected by tragedies. and i'm sad to say that we had to do this too many times. and it was incredibly emotional and difficult. i felt intrusive at times.
but also that it was part of my job to document these moments. but i would say that those we the most difficult times. >> 911. what's the location of your emergency? >> sandy high school elementary school. >> i think there's somebody shooting in here. somebody -- they're running down the hall. >> okay. >> they're still running. they're still shooting. >> there is still shooting going on. please! >> one of the worst days of his presidency was the day of the sandy hook elementary school shootings in newtown. john brennan who at that time was the homeland security adviser was updating him throughout the morning and then finally came in and said 26 people had died including 20 grade school kids. he's reacting as a parent more than probably as a president.
imagining the horror of kissing your child in the morning. sending them off to school on the school bus. and then only a few hours later having to identify your child's body, who has been shot multiple times at close range. he felt it was his duty as president to speak to the nation. in these times of tragedy, i had never seen him do this before. blow his cheeks fast he was unsure whether he could keep it together. >> the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. they had their entire lives ahead of them. birthdays, graduations, weddings. kids of their own.
among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. so our hearts are broken today. this evening, michelle and i will do what i know every parent in america will do. which is hug our children a little tighter and will tell them that we love them and we will remind each other how deeply we love one another. but there are families in connecticut who cannot do that tonight. and they need all of us right now. in the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as americans. and i will do everything in my power as president to help. >> malia who had just gotten home from school was standing in the hallway and he latched on to her and would not let her go.
two days later, he was invited to come to newtown. it happened to coincide with sasha's annual dance recital that he would have to miss, and he decided to stop by before flying up to newtown. he sat in the box by himself, started editing his remarks already for that night. when sasha was dancing, he would turn and watch her. at one point i went down to the third row to take pictures of sasha in her outfit, because i figured those would be the only pictures they would have. when i was standing there, the one young dance troop filed out from backstage and sat right in the row right in front of me and they are about 20, 25 little kids. and i said, how old are you guys? and she said, we are six. and i thought to myself, you know, this is what just got wiped out in newtown, this whole row. and i had to turn away.
i started crying. we flew up to connecticut and he spent 2.5 hours meeting with the families. this is the wheeler family, francine and david, and their son, ben, who was 6 was shot and killed. and their son nate hid in the school supply closet during the shooting. ♪ ♪ we learned that the president was coming. we waited for a long time because the president's people were trying to hurry him through the process, and he said no, i will take as long as it takes. he comes in and he made a b-line for francine.
and he just wrapped her up. just held her. let her, you know, sob into his lapel. and i asked him, i said, is this different? and he said, i hope so. but i don't know. there's no substitute for empathy. it is a foundational relationship between human beings. and to know that the guy who's running the show cares enough
not just to come and visit but to, to let you know that he cares about you, that he cared about your wife and you know, had that he cares about your 9-year-old kid. we are so good at dismissing the people that we elect to serve us. we are so good at turning them into things that aren't people. and we have to be very careful about that. because when you go that, then you get the elected officials that you deserve. >> i have seen him run up these steps many times.
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usually get the cherry tomatoes? >> yep. >> can i get one kale bunch? yeah. yeah. >> thanks. >> yep. >> oh, yeah, i'm voting. i know joe biden, so i'm voting for joe biden. >> wait a minute, you are pete, right? >> yeah. >> i was at your show last night, it was excellent. >> i was too. >> oh, hi, nice to meet you. >> i'm tony brown. >> so the president started in 2009, so, as he gets to know me more and he gets to meet patty, he would tell people that he liked her better than he liked me, you know. and so, he would start working on me like in terms of, well, wait a minute, so you guys have been together for, you know, whatever it was. 15, 17 years and so, why haven't you gotten married?
>> president obama pushes everybody to get married. he loves love stories. >> michelle was on the trip, and we are sitting in the conference room and he is just like, not letting it go. and he is turning to michelle and saying can you believe that pete won't ask patty to marry him, and that's when he brought up, we'll do the wedding in the rose garden and i'll officiate. and i remember i said, no, i don't want to do that. and he said, what? the rose garden is not good enough for you? ♪ ♪ ♪ come hold my hand and i'll be your biggest fan ♪ ♪ oh, ah-oh ♪
♪ ♪ the most interesting part of my job was that i saw him and all these different compartments of his life. i saw him as a dad. i saw how he behaved with his children. i watched his family grow up, essentially. i think sasha and malia did such a great job under the lime light. it's such a test tent to michelle and barack and marianne robinson, michelle's mom who you see here on the right, michelle's mom helped out, especially when michelle went on
solo trips overseas. this is him singing happy birthday to michelle. we were on a boat ride in the golf coast and i saw michelle stroking his hand and at the second inauguration, just before they boarded the motorcade, i approached him. michelle was standing next to me. and i said, mr. president, do you mind if i ride had in the limousine with you for part of the parade route and he looked me in the eye and he said, michelle and i were planning to make out. and he started laughing and he was like, of course you can. and he will tell you that the best day at the white house was the day that congress passed the affordable care act. not true. the best day for him at the white house was the day that sasha's coach could not make the game and he got to coach the game. with a little help from reggie love. so the sidwell friends vipers were undefeated and during the first half under the tutelage of coach obama, they fell behind.
so he called time-out. and sasha is looking at him like dad, you are embarrassing me. these are like 9-year-old girls. and he's coaching as if this is game seven of the nba finals. ♪ ♪ one of my favorite days was we had a big snowstorm, it was called snowmegeddon and he ended up coming out for about two hours, it was just the three of them and me. at one point they were in the rose garden and sasha, you can see what she is about to do. she did it. i mean, like who else could throw a snowball in the face of the president of the united states and not get tackled by the secret service?
to this day, he has a photo that's a lock screen photo on his ipad and it's the picture of the three of them doing snow angels on the south lawn. and then they grow up. ♪ ♪ ♪ where did the time go ♪ ♪ you were just a little girl in my arms ♪ ♪ i can see you with my eyes closed ♪ ♪ there's a moment when our world was so calm ♪ ♪ princess in the kingdom ♪ ♪ i would gladly give away the throne to see you smile ♪ ♪ i wish that you would stay ♪ ♪ and although you have grown you'll always be my child ♪ ♪ snow angel ♪ ♪ i just want you to stay this way forever ♪
♪ snow angel ♪ ♪ in my heart we will always be together ♪ ♪ snow angel ♪ ♪ ♪ what one of the most emotional days was in 2015 in the morning on this day, the supreme court upheld same-sex marriage. kz >> it was beautiful summery warm morning. everyone knew the decision was come dhung day, we didn't know when. went in, unlocked the door, turned on the television. you. >> you can hear the cheer in the crowd, a dramatic decision, a 5-4 decision. >> i called my now husband joe,
who was there and i said, it's done. the president walked in, put his arm around me. felt like for that period of time, we were on the right side of history. the president is doing an interview in the cabinet room. >> i have been going through it when i think of members of my own staff that are in committed, monogamous, committed relationships, i think same-sex relationships should be able to be married. >> that was a moment for me, as well. >> sometimes there are days like this. when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt. >> then later that morning, we
flew to charleston. president obama was invited to give the eulogy for reverend clemente pickney. he was shot by someone who had prayed with this group of nine people at a prayer service for an hour, and then took out a gun and killed them all. and president obama wanted to give a eulogy with a theme of grace. >> amazing grace. amazing grace. ♪ amazing grace ♪
[ cheers and applause ] ♪ how sweet the sound ♪ ♪ that saved a wretch like me ♪ >> it was emotional in the moment as you can imagine. i didn't know he was going to sing "amazing grace" and i didn't realize the struggle. you can see him trying to decide, can i pull this off? should i speak the words or sing them? and he is trying to get the courage up to sing and he did. ♪ was blind, but now i see ♪ [ cheers and applause ]
>> bidding farewell to the reverend's daughter and widow, and meeting with the other families back stage. and then we flew back to d.c. someone had decided to light the white house in rainbow colors. these are all white house staff out on the north lawn. people were crying. people were drinking champagne. it was, i think, one of only two times that i called my wife. i said to her, i don't care what you are doing, what you are wearing, get in a taxi and come to the white house. you need to be here to see this celebration. ricky bobby,oday the road is your classroom. [engine revs] now let's go borrow a boat and make some bad decisions.
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how many people are you going to be speaking with? >> it's going to be like 800 people there. yeah. >> you ready, man? >> am i ready? >> yeah, you ready? >> yeah. >> was obama nice? >> yeah. you will hear all about him today. >> sweet. >> clearly, i could see what he meant to the african-american community as time went on i was probably more aware of just trying to tell the story of what it meant for them. to have, you know, to have him up on stage. >> it was often in the back of my mind that he was the first
african-american president and i had to incorporate that in to my photography, this is ruby bridges, she was the first african-american to desegregate schools in louisiana. >> i think it's fair to say, if it had not been for you guys, i would not be here and we wouldn't be standing here looking at this together. >> this is paul mccartney singing "michelle" to michelle. i was walking with president obama, and i said, that was cool when mccartney sang "michelle." and he turned and he said, i don't think that michelle growing up on the south side of chicago as a young african-american kid thought some day she would be sitting on the first row as the first lady with mccartney singing her namesake song. and then there's this picture.
this is jacob of philadelphia. his mom said, mr. president, jacob has a question for you. and jacob is like, mr. president, my friends tell me that my haircut is just like yours. and with that, president obama bent over, jacob touched his head. click, i got one photo and it was gone. >> that image was what barack obama had said to us two years ago in an office in chicago. that kid is literally, can't even believe even though he is seeing the president of the united states in the oval office, until he feels his hair, he does not truly believe he is just like me. that image stands for so much more. it stands for how kids will see themselves differently forever. >> it tells you something about barack obama. at the behest of a 5-year-old kid, you go ahead, bend over and let that kid touch your head like that.
>> the fact that pete succeeded in offering a window into the man that was occupying the office, to show what the office can be, what it has been, what it can be again. to show the kind of integrity of purpose. i think that's inspiring. >> the presidency is about a lot more than even just policy. there's something intangible about that office. what do people remember about the obamas? you know, they remember the marriage between barack and michelle obama. they remember a certain speech he gave. they remember how the rooms that used to be only full of white men are suddenly full of people of different races and genders. that's what they take away from the obama presidency and frankly that's going to have a lasting impact on this this country and on the world. i think obama understood that
the images of him not only being president, but being president in a certain way. that could change attitudes. it did, i think, change perspectives on what is possible and what is achievable for people of color in this country. but it also woke this, you know, constantly present, ugly, horrific racism. >> when i first met pete, his politics were not at all evident. i always wonders, what did pete souza get from president obama? how did he change? he spent so much time with president obama.
the political concern, the feeling that you have to care and make a difference. you can make a difference. he could no longer be this fly on the wall. and i would see these moments where pete became furious for president obama. the way in which pete has been the most changed is by becoming a vocal political person because of president obama. >> hundreds swarmed to sfo today, citizens in shock of the speed in which president trump's executive orders are turning in to action. >> pete souza is a very unlikely instagram superstar. attracting millions of followers
after responding to president trump's tweets with president obama photos with snarky captions. >> is president obama's former photographer showing glaring contrast of how the two presidents handle different situations. >> it's earned him the moniker the king of shade. ♪ ♪ >> do you have a picture for every single thing that donald trump has lied about with barack obama? >> pretty much. >> how much joy do you get when you do it? >> i get a had lot of joy, actually. >> like you giggle? i picture you sitting at home giggling, working on your laptop. >> yeah, my wife said she didn't know i was that funny. and i said, you just have not been paying attention. >> when i first started out, i was trying to be humorous in my comments. you know, i had all the reporters wanting to interview me about what i was doing on instagram, and i would not respond to say it speaks for itself.
>> in the words of younger people, they say, you troll president trump. why? >> the photographs that i post on instagram now, and the words that i write, i think speak for themselves. and i think i have gotten more and more out there in terms of making it pretty damn clear how i feel. ♪ ♪ >> there have a lot of questions about the phone call you received from president trump. >> what he said was -- >> the president? >> yes, the president, said that he knew what he signed up for. but it hurts anyways. he couldn't remember my
husband's name. if my husbands risked his life for our country, why can't you remember his name? >> you know, since leaving the white house, i made this conscious decision that i could not, not say anything. that i could not not speak out. it was all about the dignity of the office of the presidency. especially for young people, i didn't want them to think that this is the way that a president is supposed to behave. no, it's not. >> pete bore witness to an ethical, decent, not perfect, certainly fallible, law abiding, humane presidency for eight years. and my hunch when i saw pete
draw devastating contrasts between what was and what is, was he just felt he no choice. whatever instinct that pete may have had to remain behind the scenes, seems to have been obliterated by the harm that president trump was doing, and the urgency to call that out. to mobilize people. this was a 9-1-1. >> it just got progressively worse. i just thought it was dangerous. so i think over time, yeah, my instagram posts got more pointed. i thought that trump had just gone way too far. and i said, okay, i want to do this book, "shade." trump tweet on one page, my response on the other.
obama's portrait, which is a coffee table book, based on the eight years of the obama presidency, will hopefully last a lifetime. the "shade" book will hopefully outlive its uselessness on january 20th, 2021. >> pete souza. ♪ ♪ >> was not surprised to see him hit a nerve on social media. i was surprised to see him like on a television show talking. you know? you know, he is a behind the scenes guy. and i think it spoke to just how offended he was by the new reality and how he felt compelled to speak up. >> we usually don't see this from a white house photographer. who was that fly on the wall quality to him or her. what made you want to step out and make this stand?
>> well, i think this guy disrespects the office of the presidency. it's as simple as that. >> i always thought of you as fairly apolitical. so what is it about this moment and this president that has changed you? >> he bullies people. he lies. he calls you guys the enemy of the people. he doesn't believe our own intelligence agencies. there's just too many things. i'm trying to make an argument that this is not who we are. that this president really doesn't speak for us as americans what it means to be an american. >> believe me, he gets lots of hate mail. because i get a lot of them on his behalf. he is not loved by everyone for sure. but for the people who feel strongly as he does, they see him as almost a leader to help them get that message across and to help make some change in the country right now. using liberty mutual's coverage customizer tool? sorry?
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>> i love the book. >> thank you. >> i saw potus today and one of the things that i was telling him was, you can tell stories now and in a context to make complete sense. you could not have defended yourself the way you did about benghazi, for instance, while you were -- >> no. and yet i had no choice, because i was speaking on behalf of the government and on behalf of the president. and that was, you know, what i wanted to do and what i committed to do at the time, but that meant that in that period, i didn't have my own voice. >> i am a journalist who wishes i could give my opinion once in a while. i am wondering as the white house official photographer, did you have to wait for a certain time to throw shade? >> yeah, i would never have done it -- i would never have done it if you know, jeb bush or john kasich or -- look, this is, this
is not a partisan thing to me. this is somebody that i feel is not a good person. doesn't respect the office of the presidency. thinks about himself and not other people. lies to us. so, it became something that i felt i had to do. i don't think a photojournalist is supposed to be opinionated. i'm now opinionated, i have in some ways ruined any chance that i have of being a working photojournalist again. but to me that's a small price to pay for doing what i think is the right thing. >> pete and i, and i have never talked about it, we feel a similar sense of obligation, to fight these battles because we don't want obama to do it. you know, or he should not do it. his voice is too important to be
trivialized by having to respond to tweets, you know? >> i have never been overtly political. and now, i am political. and i want to make sure that everyone knows that what this guy is doing, is not only not normal, but it's really dangerous to the country. this is a serious job. being the president. and i'm going to do everything i can to make sure that people don't forget that. president obama invited the president-elect just two days after the election to the white house. it was a surreal day. and it just so happens by shear coincidence that another meeting had been scheduled that day with a young boy, alex metherbury, alex had written a letter to president obama that he was so
taken with that he read excerpts of it at his u.n. speech that year. >> i can still remember seeing her in the ambulance and face covered in blood and dust and ash. it looks horrific to you, that somebody your age, like younger than me, omar was a year younger than me, hurt in an ambulance in another country, while i'm sitting around in my grandma's waving tv. >> for days and days he wanted to ask me about syria, and where is aleppo, and he wanted to send a letter to the little boy. i said, i do not have his address, and i don't think he will get it. that's when i decided to write to the president. >> my thought was, it's like a santa claus letter. you write it and you drop it and that's the end of it. little did we know. >> he said that he wanted omron to come live with him and his
family. since he won't bring toys, alex wrote, i will share my bike and teach him how to ride it. we will give him a family and he will be our brother. those are the words of a 6-year-old boy. it's so nice to meet you. how have you been? >> good. >> you look very nice in your suit. >> thank you. >> is that a new suit? >> uh-huh. >> i thought so. >> you being so, so nice and kind, hopefully it makes other people think the same thing. i was very proud of you. >> this picture was made 22 minutes after trump had left. this 6-year-old kid, a son of two immigrants, showed more compassion and more empathy and more understanding and knows more about what it means to be an american than our current president. ♪ ♪
♪♪ this is something that we take very seriously. as soon as there's an outbreak, anywhere in the world of any disease, the cdc is in communication with the world health organization and other multi-lateral agencies to try to make sure that we've got an appropriate response. >> having watched president obama based on the way he handled the h1-n1 epidemic and the ebola crisis in 2014, i mean
if he been president now, he would have been facing this virus too. he could not have stopped it. but he would have listened to the science early on. it's really on trump for not having a nationwide shutdown. put it in perspective. this is 40 9/11s. that's how many people have died. ♪ ♪ i view everything now through the lens of the presidency. i think one thing that has changed is that the vast majority of the country now realizes that having a
competent, honest person in the presidency really does matter. >> i want to speak directly to the young men and women of color in this country. i want you to know that you matter. i want you to know that your lives matter. you have the power to make things better. and you have helped to make the entire country feel as if this is something that's got to change. ♪ ♪ ♪ there is a light at the end of this road ♪ ♪ and i know that there's still a long way to go ♪ ♪ as long as my head is high and i walk with pride ♪ ♪ go with the strength inside, take every step in stride no
chance will pass me by, as long as i always try, won't let my passions die, and as long as i'm alive ♪ ♪ the future belongs to me ♪ ♪ whoa the future belongs to me ♪ ♪ and it's going to be a beautiful thing to see ♪ >> america's always been two stories battling each other. you know, the progressive, inclusive story of people getting more rights and more people being allowed the promise of citizenship and opportunity and struggling to overcome things versus people who don't want to give up power, you know. and if you stack up the images of the obama presidency and the trump presidency, you would see the two stories of america in
the starkest possible contrast. and i think that's why pete's images have triggered such emotion in people. it's like no, that's my america. my america is in these pictures. ♪ when history has been written ♪ >> yes, we did, yes, we can. ♪ how we'll be remembered ♪ >> thank you, god bless you. ♪ will you be someone a reference with wise words to quote ♪ a paragraph, a page ♪ a simple as the questions asked the answer i propose. ♪ is to look beyond the days gone past ♪ ♪ see tomorrow and know that the
>> it is good to be with you tonight, president biden is not backing down on afghanistan. >> i am not about to send your son or your daughter to fight in afghanistan. i don't see how that is in our interest. >> we will discuss the u.s. evacuation efforts and they're standing for american citizens in vulnerable afghans. america has had three straight days of at least 1 million vaccine doses. the people are still lining up to get their shots, and now, they're boosters. we will answer some cooler questions on tonight's, dear doctor. plus, homicides are on the rise in louisville, kentucky. almost a year and a half after