Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was on C-SPAN for an interview with Peter Slen about his book, Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics, coauthored with Dr. Frank H. Mackaman of The Dirksen Congressional Center.
The following are a few snippets from the interview:
On the recent article about his book in The New York Times
“the story that Peter Baker wrote in The New York Times was pretty accurate, but the headline didn’t really reflect my feeling about it [… because] “the president tried very, very hard [on bipartisanship] … I cite a number of examples of that in my book.”
On being selected by President Obama for his Cabinet
“I couldn’t have gotten the job with President Obama had I not been a been a Republican because he was looking for a Republican. And our friendship obviously has endured even since I’ve left the job.”
On what President Obama has accomplished in implementing policy
“It is difficult because under our system of legislation passing, it has to come before Congress, which is an equal brancn of government, separate from the Administration, separate from the Executive branch. We’ve seen how difficult it is for President Obama to enact some legislation that he’s wanted to do … but I give the president credit on: he did pass national health care, he did get us out of Iraq, he’s working very hard on a trade bill, he supported this education reform, the transportation bill. So it can be done, but it has to be done in a bipartisan way. No one of the 435 in the House and no one of 100 senators gets their own way. When Congress solves big problems, when they address big issues, they’re almost always solved in a bipartisan way–with compromise.”
On Vice President Joe Biden,
“I developed a great relationship with Vice President Biden. He’s an endearing friend today because of all the time we spent together trying to get people to work on transportation projects.”
On the worst day of his job as Secretary of Transportation
February 12, 2009 “That was the day of the Colgan air crash in Buffalo, New York, when 49 people boarded a plane with the idea that they were going to arrive in Buffalo safely, like thousands of people do today. … As a result of that, we implemented new rules and regulations on pilot rest … and better training for pilots.
On Paul Ryan as Speaker
“I particularly admire him for stepping up into this very important leadership vacuum and filling the vacuum. … I think Paul is going to be a very strong Speaker. In my book, I talk about one of the real pillars of leadership is listening. And I think Paul is and will be a good listener. He’s already doing that.”
On the 2016 election
“It looks like on the Democratic side Hillary will probably get the nomination.”
Watch the entire interview and order Seeking Bipartisanship from Amazon.