President Biden on the Importance of Bipartisanship & Vaccines, Rejecting Extremism in Trump’s GOP

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-We are honored to have our first guest with us tonight. He served for 36 years as a senator from Delaware. He was Vice President under the Obama Administration, and now he serves as the 46th President of the United States. This is his first time on a late night program as the sitting president. Please welcome President Joe Biden! [ Cheers and applause ] [ The Roots play "Hail to the Chief" ] [ Laughs ] Yes! -Hey, Jimmy. How are you, man? -[ Laughs ] President Biden, I appreciate you being here. It's your first time on our show as President Biden, and I'm honored. -I'm honored to be on. Thanks for inviting me. -We have lots to talk about. Let's start with some good news here. You passed your infrastructure bill. This is a big deal. Passed! What are some changes that Americans can expect from passing the bill? -Well, you know, we used to be the number one, have the best infrastructure in the world -- highways, bridges, the whole works. And now we rank number 13 in the world. And that has a lot to do with quality of life. It has a lot to do with whether or not we're going to be competitive. For example, one thing it does -- we're going to replace all the lead pipes in America that are causing people to get sick, get cancer, and kids to be able to drink clean water. We're going to make sure that we have everywhere in the country, rural and urban and suburban, we have Internet connections. Because the world is changing, and we're so far behind the curve. But the big thing it's going to do, it's going to create millions of jobs, and it's going to change the quality of life for an awful lot of people around the country. -Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. [ Cheers and applause ] That's great. And I know you've been working hard on the Build Back Better Plan. -Yes. -Some people may not fully understand what's actually in this plan. Is there a simple way to break it down? -Yeah. What's in it is the ability for working class and middle class people to have the cost of living cut significantly. For example, there's money in there to make sure that there is the ability to care for childcare. Right now, if you're in New York and you're a man or a woman having childcare for your children, you're paying $21,000 to $25,000 a year to be able to do that. Well, most people can't do that, so people leave the work force. This will mean you don't have to pay more than 7% of your income, saving tens of thousands of dollars over time. We also provided an ability, Build Back Better Initiative, we're going to make sure you're able to send your 3- and 4- and 5-year-olds to school, which will increase exponentially their chance of succeeding. All of the studies show, Jimmy, that 47% better chance of graduating from high school, no matter what the background you come from, no matter what home you come from, and to be able to go on to get to school. What better can happen for America than have a better educated population? -Absolutely. -There's a whole range of things that are in there that are going to really reduce, essentially, the cost of living for people in a reasonable, rational way. And by the way, every single bit of that bill is paid for. No one making less than $400,000 a year will pay an additional cent in taxes, as well as it will not increase the deficit one penny. -Do you think this will pass the Senate before the year? -Well, I hope it will. I don't have a single Republican vote right now to pass it. And, uh -- -Wow! -So, it's going to be tough, but I think we can get it done. If we don't get it, I'm going to keep at it until we get it done. -I was at the Kennedy Center, and I saw Republicans and Democrats in the crowd. Everyone was laughing at jokes and listening to great music. And everyone seemed cordial and nice. And I go, "This seems like this should be much easier to get along with everybody." -[ Laughs ] [ Laughter ] -Well, Jimmy, look, the truth is that before COVID hit, the Trump arm of the Republican Party, which seems to be the Republican Party now, did not even show up at the Kennedy Center. They wouldn't go to the awards. So all the people you have that we saw at that event, which was a very fulsome event, were people who in fact are Republicans, but they're the kind -- like for example, a lot of Republicans and Democrats used to get really on well together. For example, one of the reasons I was a little bit late coming on is because -- not coming on, but to do the taping here, is because I did Bob Dole's eulogy today. He asked me on his deathbed whether I would do his eulogy. We were friends. We disagreed, but we were friends. We used to have an awful lot of that relationship, and it still exists, except that the Qanon and the extreme elements of the Republican Party and what Donald Trump keeps sort of, seems to me, feeding, you know, with the big lie, it makes it awful hard. And I think most Republicans -- there's an awful lot of Republicans in Congress I think would agree with that. -Yeah, I thought it was great to see you there. We gave you a standing ovation because I go, "Here he is. He's bringing class back. He's a classy guy." And you're bringing class back to the office. -You're very kind to say that. -And I thought it was amazing that you did that. -Thank you. -The COVID problem. I don't know what else to do, and how to tell people to get the vaccine.

At this point, I think people are going to do what they will, I guess. I don't know what to say. Is it the youth that we have to hope the kids get us out of this? Because, I mean, I got vaxxed, I got boosted, At this point, I think people are going to do what they will, I guess. I don't know what to say. Is it the youth that we have to hope the kids get us out of this? Because, I mean, I got vaxxed, I got boosted, I got whatever you got. If you want me to wear red pants, I'll wear red pants. I want this thing to go away. -Well, I think what we ought to do is have more people listen to your song. -Yeah that's what I'm talking about, yeah. [ Applause ] -I think that will get them moving. -I gotta tell you -- So I had this song come out, it's called "It Was a Masked Christmas" this week, with Ariana Grande and Megan Thee Stallion, and -- [ Cheers and applause ] Thank you. You were nice enough to tweet about it -- "'Tis the season (to get boosted)." This is amazing that the president did this. I am so excited that you did this. It changed everything. All these radio stations want the song. Now they're playing the song. But you said in another comment, you said the message is very important -- get your booster. -Well, it is. It's really important, Jimmy. Look, we're so far ahead of the rest of the world in terms of the science and technology to produce the vaccines. And now we found out that if you have your two shots for Moderna or from Pfizer or the one shot from J&J, what happens is, this booster shot not only brings the levels back up of immunity, I mean, to deal with fighting off the virus, any of the viruses, but it brings it up exponentially. So if you want to be sure you're going to be okay -- And the other good news, Jimmy, is that we now have 5-, 6-, and 7-year-olds are able to be vaccinated, as well as teenagers. And so we're moving. We're moving. Now, I don't, the politicalization of this, making it become a political statement if you get the shot and somehow, I don't know what the h-- Anyway. [ Laughter ] Here's the deal, Jimmy. The bottom line is that the way to avoid this virus is to get two shots and then get the booster shot. It's available. We have the medicines available. It will make a gigantic difference. And even if you don't care so much about yourself, think about your kids, your brother, your sister, your co-worker. And this stuff about Biden is mandating these things happening and it's un-American, look at it this way -- it's patriotic to get this done. Not a joke. It's patriotic to get it done. -Yeah. Do you, um, how much do you pay attention to approval ratings? -Well, not anymore. I'm joking. [ Laughter ] I was paying attention when it was in the mid 60s. Now I'm in the mid 40s, I don't pay attention. -I appreciate the honesty, yeah. I mean, because you came in -- you came in hot. And then you got to medium, but now you're at a low. But you've just got to keep your head down, right, and just keep doing the right thing? -Well, look, here's the deal. I think that it's -- We've been in less than a year. A lot has happened. And look, people are afraid. People are worried. And people are getting so much inaccurate information to them. I don't mean about me, but about the situation. And so, you know, they're being told that, you know, Armageddon is on the way. The truth is, the economy is growing more than it has any time in close to 60 years. The unemployment rate is down to 4.2%. It's going to go lower, in my view. We do have inflation on things that in fact matter to people's lives. You know, when you show up at a gas station and it's $3.50 at your pump, although now because I took 50 million barrels, I called the oil petroleum reserve, the gasoline is down below $3 in many places. It's going to come down. It's going to move. But in the meantime, people are worried. And they're worried about whether or not they have a brother, sister, uncle, aunt who has gotten COVID, and they don't know what to do about it. I mean, so there is a lot of anxiety, and my job is to be straightforward, shoot from the shoulder, let people know exactly what the truth is, and lay out how I'm going to try to make life better for them. -Yeah. Does anyone really understand how hard your job is? Like, who, I mean -- besides my uncle, apparently, who knows everything. He knows everything. But I mean -- -Well, send him over. [ Laughter ] -Yeah, no, you don't want to talk to this guy. [ Laughter ] But I mean, even just being in D.C. the other day and driving around, you see all these giant buildings and you just -- you feel kind of nervous and you feel like -- I feel important when I'm there, but you're the leader of our country. I mean, the pressure. And then you have to do 20 events during the day that we don't even see. -Well, look, I was Vice President for eight years. I knew what the job was, and I don't -- no one should feel sorry for me. It's the greatest honor anybody can have in their whole life, in my view, is to be President of the United States. But what the difference is -- the difference is that when you're in Congress -- and I had important jobs in the Congress as a senator. I was chairman of important committees. But being President is like being chairman of every single committee. Nothing gets to my desk unless it hasn't been able to be solved before it got to my desk. So by definition, it's more difficult. Harry Truman had a great line. He said about being president, he said, "The buck stops here." I used to be -- I kid at Barack, President Obama, who was a good friend and we served eight years as friends together. And I used to say to him -- instead of him thanking me, I got to be the last guy in the room to give him advice. That was the deal we had. And he'd thank me, and I get to walk out and say, "Look, I give you the advice, you got to make the decision." -Yeah. -"And, you know, what happens is going to be on you." But that's part of the deal. But look, I have enormous confidence -- You're going to realize what a naive guy I am. But I really have faith at the end of the day the American people are going to get it. They understand. They understand. Given half a shot, they have never, ever, ever, ever let the country down. We've just to give them a shot. -That's right. More with President Joe Biden when we come back, everybody.

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