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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Gay Marriage Now Legal; Osama Bin Laden Killed; War Using Technology; Enemies List; ISIS' Birth; Broken Promises; Climate Change; Dealing With Enemies; Historic Conversation; Reagan's Presidency. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired December 7, 2016 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[22:00:00] FAREED ZAKARIA, "OBAMA LEGACY" NARRATOR: -- high court that ushered in America's biggest social change in decades. June of 2015. The Supreme Court ruled gay marriage was legal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amazing. It's incredible. We waited all these years. All these years and now we all get, all get marriage equality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today should also give us hope that on the many issues with which we grapple, often painful, real change is possible. Shifts in hearts and minds is possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Obama knew the shift was possible because he had made it himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The most progressive president in a generation had dragged his feet on gay marriage. Advocates felt betrayed. Many suspected Obama's reluctance was a political decision, reflecting his sense of just how much change the country could digest.

(CROWD CHANTING)

ZAKARIA: Instead of pushing gay marriage, he had steadily but quietly made smaller strides. First, Obama signed a hate crime bill that protected gays.

Two years later, he repealed the don't ask/don't tell policy, allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never been more proud to wear my uniform and represent this country than today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: It was not Obama, but Joe Biden, who forced the issue of gay marriage out of the political closet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: As more and more Americans become to understand what this is all about as a simple proposition, who do you love? Who do you love and will you be loyal to the person you love?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Days later, Obama followed and became the first president to support gay marriage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: It would be three more years before the Supreme Court made it a fundamental American right. And that is something Donald Trump seems to have no argument with.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: It was already settled. It's law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. It's done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But a Trump court could well reverse that right as well as the now 43-year-old decision, Roe versus Wade. The high court's importance to the legacy of Barack Obama cannot be overstated.

After the death of Antonin Scalia, Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the seat but republicans refused even to consider him. So the court became a casualty of the harsh political divide that has dogged the Obama years.

An eight-person panel split evenly along ideological lines.

The issue that became the biggest victim of that split, immigration.

(CROWD CHANTING)

Unable to get any legislation through Congress, the president issued an executive order to keep millions of people from being deported. But when that order was argued before the Supreme Court, the eight justices divided along party lines, of course.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This is part of the consequence of the republican failure so far to get a fair hearing to Mr. Merrick Garland. My nominee to the Supreme Court.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: As with guns, the executive order had become his only way to get things done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And to those members of Congress who questioned my authority to make our immigration system work better, or questioned the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer. Pass a bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Near the end of his Presidency, Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, where his career began.

OBAMA: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: To reflect on his commitment to social justice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There's always been a gap between our highest ideals and the reality that we witness every single day.

We have fought wars and passed laws and reformed systems and organized unions and staged protests and launched mighty movements to close that gap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Springfield is where Obama first announced his run for the presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I am ready to take up the cause and march with you and work with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And, of course, Springfield is the home of Obama's hero, Abraham Lincoln.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Because Lincoln made that decision not to give up, because of what he set in motion, generations of free men and women of all races and walks of life have had the chance to choose this country's course.

[22:05:00] What a great gift.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: Barack Obama has always been known for his cool, calm and steely eyed in the face of adversity. His foreign policy in many ways has been no different. A disciplined approach to American power that avoided big, messy wars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just detonated by itself.

ZAKARIA: While training a laser-like focus on terror groups like Al Qaeda to deadly effect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda.

(CROWD CHANTING)

ZAKARIA: And yet, the cool commander in chief of the last eight years presided over the collapse of Syria and the birth of ISIS, which gets us to a man with a much different temperament.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I would bomb the shit out of them.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: How did one lead to the other? To understand why, you have to go back to the beginning of this story. Chicago, 2002.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: When I look out over this crowd today, I know there is no shortage of patriots or patriotism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: A little known Illinois state senator spoke at a protest against the Bush administration's plans for a war in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I don't oppose war in all circumstance. What I do oppose is a dumb war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: That speech in 2002 is why Barack Obama became President. Nine days later, Hillary Clinton and 76 other senators--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The joint resolution is passed.

ZAKARIA: -- voted to give President Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein, this is your last chance. Disarm or be disarmed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: By 2008, the Iraq war was seen as America's worst foreign policy debacle since Vietnam.

[22:10:05] In the primary against Hillary Clinton--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I was opposed to Iraq from the start.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Senator Obama never let voters forget that he had been on the right side of history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I don't want to just end the war, but I want to end the mindset that got us into war in the first place. That's the kind of leadership I intend to provide as President of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Clinton, that's a clear swipe at you.

CLINTON: Really?

OBAMA: I've come to speak to you about how the war in Iraq will end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Less than six weeks after he was inaugurated, he told the troops his plans for withdrawal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

(APPLAUSE)

God bless the United States of America. Semper fi.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: President Obama not only wanted to get America out of Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, sir.

ZAKARIA: He wanted America to learn from the war and rethink its role as a global superpower.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Thank you, guys.

We are the most powerful country in the world, but even a country this powerful has some limits and some constraints and we have to be judicious in the ways that we use that power.

This isn't an abstract proposition. We send 23-year-olds and they lose limbs and some don't come back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told you it's up here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Obama also wanted to apply that logic in Afghanistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, I'm about to find this bastard and I'm going to kill them all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: His generals wanted a large new surge of troops. But he insisted on something smaller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cover. Cover.

DENIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: He took on this idea that the commander in chief is not the commander in chief. That somehow the commander on the ground should be the person who gets everything he needs. As determined by him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it. Do it. Do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And he demanded a deadline for when the troops would come home. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open ended.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Consider this, in January 2009, there were 175,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. As of December 2016, there were around 15,000.

But Barack Obama was no peacenik.

He had a dramatically different approach to war compared with his predecessor. Instead of fighting terrorism with large armies, he would rely more than ever on a new technology. It would change the very nature of war. The armed drone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK MAZZETTI, THE NEW YORK TIMES JOURNALIST: Never before in American history has an American president had the technology and the legal authority to hunt down any person anywhere on the face of the earth and kill him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: There was a surreal selection process that became known as the kill list.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAZZETTI: They would have bios and pictures of these people. Something that came to be called the sort of baseball cards of terrorists and a decision was made to put them on the list or not put them on the list.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Carrying out the campaign of killing was the president's CIA Director, Leon Panetta. Obama gave him plenty of latitude. When Panetta wanted to dramatically expand the CIA's fleet of drones in Pakistan, the president over the objections of his staff told Panetta the CIA gets what it wants.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a U.S. drone that fire--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A U.S. drone strike killed--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Believed to have taken out a notorious--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Al Qaeda's second in command has been killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Killed by a U.S. drone strike.

(END VOICE CLIP) ZAKARIA: Drones got the job done.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reported drone strike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a major blow.

(END VOICE CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Al Qaeda's senior leadership was decimated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAZZETTI: The joke became that they once again killed the number three guy in Al Qaeda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: President Obama had become the drone president.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very controversial drone program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has been killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Killed in the drone attack.

ZAKARIA: Have you opened a Pandora's Box? People will use your precedent and say, well, the Americans under Obama did it, so we're going to use drones. And is that the new world we are likely to enter?

OBAMA: I recognize the danger of an antiseptic war from a distance that starts looking like a video game.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:15:04] ZAKARIA: It's a video game that is all too real.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The death toll now appears to be 15.

ZAKARIA: Many innocent lives have been taken by accident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nationwide rallies against U.S. drone attacks.

(END VOICE CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The president tightened the rules of engagement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Our preference is always to detain, interrogate and prosecute.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But drones continued to be an essential weapon in his arsenal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There are bad guys out there, and one of your jobs as commander in chief is making sure that you keep the American people safe from those bad guys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The most important bad guy on president Obama's list was Osama Bin Laden. The CIA believed it had him in its sights at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BRENNAN, U.S. CIA DIRECTOR: He has a very distinctive look, he's tall, lanky, and his gait is very deliberate. And so, it was something that had struck me that when I saw it, call it instinct or whatever, I said, yes, I think that's him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But identifying him was by no means a slam dunk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The odds that it was bin laden were probably 50/50.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Failure of the mission could easily have cost the president his job in 2012. But in the end, he decided to move forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And it was emblematic of presidential decision-making. You're always working with probabilities, and you make a decision not based on 100 percent certainty but with the best information that you've got.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Obama and his team watched the operation from a cramped conference room in the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: I was sitting here in my windbreaker, I think gaze was there

and Hillary and we were essentially watching what was happening in real-time. It's here where we observe, for example, that one of the helicopters got damaged in the landing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: A chopper carrying the troops had suddenly spun out of control as it tried to land. Obama's presidency rested in the hands of a helicopter pilot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I was thinking that this is not an ideal start.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But the pilot managed the landing. The elite commandos ascended the stairs of the compound and found their man, making history for them and the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: On nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to Al Qaeda's terror, justice has been done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: It was the high point of Barack Obama's presidency.

(CROWD CHANTING)

ZAKARIA: But it proved to be a temporary high. Three years later, the United States watched as a new terror group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going for you, Barack Obama.

ZAKARIA: More brutal, more radical, more effective than Al Qaeda, swept through Syria and Iraq. Capturing major cities. Enslaving local populations. Attracting thousands of followers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any attempt for you, Obama.

ZAKARIA: And beheading Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Result in the bloodshed of your people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: It gave Donald Trump an opportunity to hammer at Obama's foreign policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He founded is and I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.

(CROWD CHEERING)

ZAKARIA: Up next, Barack Obama's biggest bet. Faced with a new American revolution.

(CROWD CHANTING)

ZAKARIA: The twists and turns to Obamacare, when we return.

(CROWD CHANTING)

[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROWD CHANTING)

ZAKARIA: Summer 2009.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After coming to you on a silver platter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have the rig for government not to control my health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Across the country, a grassroots rebellion gets ugly. The target, Barack Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't I have freedom? Because we elected somebody that was a taker of freedom?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Enraged by bailouts, now the right went ballistic over health care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't they take the health care being forced down our throat?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The president was undeterred.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I'm not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.

We used a lot of political capital on health care and the reason is simple, we're the only advanced nation on earth that didn't make sure that every person had affordable health care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you consider that presidents have been trying since Teddy Roosevelt to get health care passed, FDR was hoping to do it, JFK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: No matter how hard the road, what history will record is that Obama got it done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We are done.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But that achievement that seven presidents attempted, once thought impossible, is now at risk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's over for Obamacare.

(CROWD CHANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: This is the story of the epic battle to pass Obamacare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: So help me God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Mr. President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: It began just days into Obama's presidency.

It was a big bet that he could do something that seven presidents couldn't--

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

ZAKARIA: -- in the middle of an economic--

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: Yes, it was a huge bet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: A bet many wanted to place somewhere else.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN LIZZA, THE NEW YORKER CORRESPONDENT: He had half a dozen big domestic policy goals that were fighting for attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: First, Obama took his case to the very people he knew would try to kill it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Let there be no doubt, health care reform cannot wait. It must not wait. And it will not wait another year.

(APPLAUSE)

AXELROD: When we were discussing health care, he said, what are we supposed to do, put our approval rating on the shelf and admire it for eight years or are we supposed to draw down on it to try to get things that are important done for the country?

LIZZA: This was a unique alignment of the stars for one party. A democratic president, a big majority in the Senate, a decent sized majority in the House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Knowing what he faced from the republican opposition, the president who ran as a government outsider surrounded himself with political insiders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAHM EMANUEL, CHICAGO MAYOR: There was the opportunity to do things that nobody had the political will to do before.

[22:25:01] ZAKARIA: Rahm Emanuel, an arm-twisting deal maker. He had rapidly ascended the democratic leadership in Congress. He knew the Hill and he knew health care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL: There's some value having gone, been in the Clinton White House, saw where it went wrong from the inside.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Emanuel and Obama knew they needed congressional buy-in this time. They decided Congress should write the bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I just want to make sure that I don't get in the way of all of you moving aggressively and rapidly. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: ANd there were others Obama needed on his side. The special interests, insurance companies, big pharma, the doctors associations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Karen represents America's health insurance plans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We understand we have to earn a seat at the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: He wanted the very groups that killed health care reform in the past inside the room now. In March 2009, he brought them all to the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We kept every one of those but one at the table.

OBAMA: All of the groups here need to stay involved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: They all made demands. Obama made deals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIZZA: None of these groups are doing this out of the goodness of their heart. They're negotiating, they want the best deal possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: He compromised on the thing that was most sacred to him, the individual mandate that every citizen buy health care. The idealistic candidate had become a steely-eyed pragmatist. Obama pushed lawmakers to pass a bill and fast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you get the impression that they're trying to jam something through Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which is clearly designed for a government takeover of our health care system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But by August recess, there was no vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get off of me!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody back off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Capitol Hill lawmakers went home to angry constituents raging at town hall meetings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The wave of angry mobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The protester who came to a town hall meeting today with a gun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things are getting physical.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, you universal health care is a big fat no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The tea party had found its moment and its cause. Republicans began running away from health care. So did many democrats. Many White House advisers thought it was time for Obama to do the same.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AXELROD: He turned to Phil Schiliro, his legislative director, and said, "Phil, what are the chances of passing this law?" And Phil said, "Well, it depends how lucky you feel, Mr. President." And the president just smiled and said, "Phil, I'm a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama, I'm President of the United States, so I feel lucky every day."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel that this is the time. Now is the time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And then a huge loss to the country lit a new fire under the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, THE SITUATION ROOM SHOW HOST: Happening now, the lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, succumbs to brain cancer at the age of 77.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He realized how important it was to him that he get this done because it's something Senator Kennedy had been fighting for decades as well.

OBAMA: And may he rest in eternal peace.

I return to speak to all of you about an issue that is central to that future. And that is the issue of health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Obama took the unusual step of going back to Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I still believe we can act.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But the ugliness of the fight followed him in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You lie!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: A republican congressman had called the president a liar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AXELROD: I couldn't imagine that happening to another president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: There was another problem. Obama would need 60 democratic senators for a veto-proof majority. And the 60th seat was up for grabs in Massachusetts.

It had been assumed Ted Kennedy's seat would go to a democrat. It was, after all, Massachusetts. But suddenly, a republican named Scott Brown was surging.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT BROWN, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR: I thank the people of Massachusetts for electing me.

AXELROD: That was the death nil for health care because he was the 60th vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: A year of his presidency was gone. Political capital spent. And Barack Obama was staring at a likely defeat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: There are people who think that if Obama had been more of a schmoozer that, you know, maybe the people like you were too partisan, that somehow he needed to reach out. EMANUEL: Yes, we're just one golf game away from singing Kumbaya.

Give me a break.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Desperate, Obama changed gears. First, he apologized to the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Then he barnstormed for the bill across America and in Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I may not be the first president to take up the cause of health care reform. I am determined to be the last.

(CROWD CHANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And he made more concessions giving up the public option which would have created a government insurance program that would have competed with private companies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We ended up having to wrestle this thing to the ground in a way that was less than ideal from my perspective.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Finally, March 21st, 2010.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[22:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One this vote the ayes are 219, the nays are 212. The motion to confirm the Senate members is adopted.

BLITZER: For decades, they've been trying to do it. It has now been done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Without a single republican vote, the vote passed. The White House celebrated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN RICE, UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I asked the president, how does this night compare to election night? And he said, there's no comparison. Election night was all about getting to tonight. This is why we worked so hard.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Days later when President Obama arrived in the east room to sign the bill into law, Vice President Joe Biden summed up the moment. And a big bet that paid off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Thank you, everybody. Please have a seat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Of course, the republicans vowed to keep fighting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are resolved to have this law go away. And we're going to do everything we can to stop it.

(CROWD CHANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The fight against Obamacare has gone on ever since, and there is no question that the program has real problems. From broken promises--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: -- to soaring premiums.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obamacare premiums will rise an average of 22 percent next year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But 20 million people who were uninsured now have health care. Can it survive?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think that President Obama should apologize for Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAKARIA: But for now, the foundational idea that every American has

the right to basic health care stands as Barack Obama's signature achievement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The big question is, at the end of somebody's presidency, do people feel that their lives were better? There's a certain sense in which having accomplished something that presidents before you tried to get and is a fundamental right for Americans, that's a big thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: This is Shishmaref, Alaska, just south of the Arctic circle and about as far west as you can go in the continental United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: About 15 years ago, the people of a small thousand-year-old oceanfront hunting village noticed something odd.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Barack Obama spoke about the town in his first major speech on climate change in 2006 as a young senator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Ice that had surrounded and protected their village began to grow slushy and weak.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Obama had read about the troubles of Shishmaref in a New York article. Soon the village, itself, began to disappear. Chunks of land sheered away and home after home was destroyed by storms that grew stronger and stronger every year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The story of the village that disappeared is by no means isolated and it's by no means over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Obama saw in Shismaref a frightening future if global warming continued unabated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The climate is getting warmer and if you think of us being in a car where we're speeding towards a cliff, we're starting to try to tap on the brakes. If we do what we need to do over the next 20, 30, 40 years, then it's a manageable problem. If we don't, it will not be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you prepared to take the oath, Senator?

OBAMA: I am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: He came to the White House committed to stopping the car from going over the cliff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And laid out a bold agenda to do just that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Now America has arrived at a crossroads.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: His stimulus bill included lots of money for clean energy. Van Jones was the Obama White House's green jobs guru.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's impossible to overstate how important climate change was to the Obama administration in the first year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But Obama's bold agenda was soon stymied.

OBAMA: Here we go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: National energy tax.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: By a recalcitrant Congress. By a chorus of climate change deniers. And by the fact that Americans just did not care about climate change. It was ranked the 11th most important issue during the 2008 election - out of 12 options.

So, the president decided to fight climate change on his own. In December of 2009, at a climate conference in Copenhagen, Obama displayed his determination to play a major role on this issue on the global stage.

OBAMA: Good morning.

ZAKARIA: As Hillary Clinton later explained in a democratic primary debate --

[22:35:02] CLINTON: President Obama and I were hunting for the Chinese.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: She and president Obama found themselves chasing Beijing's delegation at that conference. Why?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: We knew we had to get them to agree to something because there will be no effective efforts against climate change unless China and India join with the rest of the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: When the American delegation found out about a secret meeting between China, India and other developing nations, they sent out a search party, found the meeting and the president and secretary of state crashed it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Are you ready for it or do you guys need to talk some more? It's up to you. (Inaudible) What do you think? Premier, are you waiting for me or do you want wait?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, those guys--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no. No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My guys got in just like you guys got in. This is a joint meeting. My guys get in or we're leaving the meeting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: It might have been undiplomatic, but according to Clinton, it led to a breakthrough. She says the deal forged in that room put them on the road to future progress.

Back at home, though, there was little progress on climate. So, as the first term turned into the second, Obama tasked his team with getting America on the right track in the face of a once again hostile Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: President Obama from the very beginning had the power to do something about climate change.

He didn't want to do it. I want to work through Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAKARIA: Obama put the legislative branch on warning in his 2013

State of the Union.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Congress did not act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Clean air, clean water.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Obama did in the summer of 2015.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Obama took aim at one of the key causes of climate change.

OBAMA: Right now, our power plants are the source of about a third of America's carbon pollution. That's more pollution than our cars, our airplanes and our homes generate combined.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The president's clean power plan would set new limits for the first time on how much smoke those plants could spew. And forget Congress, this was a unilateral executive action.

(APPLAUSE)

The audience at Obama's announcement may have applauded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all about coal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But from other quarters, the reaction was anger.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our nation's coal miners provide affordable electricity that continues to power America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And the anger wasn't contained to coal. President Obama's old law school professor and mentor, Laurence Tribe who it must be said was representing a coal company, had compared Obama's tactics on climate change to nothing less than--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR: Burning the Constitution of the United States.

OBAMA: Those who would argue that any actions I've taken had been contrary to my legal powers are wrong and we've taken it really seriously and I make no apologies for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Despite the president's confidence, the clean power plan hasn't gone into effect. More than two dozen states sued to stop it. The Supreme Court ordered the implementation delayed until the appeals play themselves out.

And now, President-elect Trump has vowed to rescind it. But what will he do with Obama's signature climate achievement, the Paris Agreement?

(APPLAUSE)

In December of 2015, in the city of light, 196 nations agreed by consensus to limit the planet's warming to 2 degrees Celsius. That's a threshold many scientists believe will prevent disaster.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Of course, it took a long time it reaches this day. One of the reasons I ran for this office was to make America a leader in this mission.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And America is now undoubtedly a leader, perhaps the leader on climate change.

[22:39:56] Clean energy is a vast and growing American industry, and more than 100 countries have signed on to the Paris Agreement which went into legal effect just four days before the 2016 presidential election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If 20, 30, 50 years from now we look back and we say we dealt with this in a serious way, I'll be happy to say that that was one of my proudest achievements. Even though I didn't do it by myself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: As for Shishmaref, the Alaskan island that was disappearing a decade ago, the world's actions appear to have come too late.

In August of 2016, the villagers voted to leave the ravaged island and move to the mainland. But will others be saved by the progress made under President Obama? Maybe not, because President-elect Trump has said he believes climate change is a hoax. He's vowed to bring back the coal mines and to cancel U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 SHOW HOST: Good evening, and welcome. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: It was the answer heard around the world. Then-Senator Obama had been thrown an unexpected question from an ordinary American.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: This is the CNN YouTube debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Would he meet without preconditions with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them, which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration, is ridiculous. But it we--

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Thanks very much, everyone. Good night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Viewed today, the statement might not seem extraordinary, but in 2007, it was practically revolutionary to say that an American president would speak to strongmen like Iran's Ahmadinejad and North Korea's Kim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Constitute and axis of evil.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Two-thirds of then-President Bush's axis of evil.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Certainly we're not going to just have our president meet with half--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:44:59] ZAKARIA: Hillary Clinton poked holes in Obama's argument on stage that night and the reviews were pretty unanimous. Obama's answer was naive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are you kidding me? Those are the last people I'd meet with in my first year. I'd never meet with those guys.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But Obama strategist David Axelrod says that the future president was adamant on a phone call with staff. Obama told them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AXELROD: We're not backing off at all. I actually think that was the moment when he found his voice in that campaign because he realized that he was bringing a point of view that nobody else was going to bring.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: That voice continued when he was inaugurated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Iran in 2009 was a nation with a very tightly clenched fist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This is a country that had been hostile toward us and we'd been hostile towards for decades.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But after just two months in office, Obama decided to try something new on this old enemy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Today I want to extend my very best wishes to all who are celebrating Norooz around the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Norooz is the Persian New Year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: For nearly three decades, relations between our nations have been strained, but at this holiday, we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Veteran Middle East reporter Robin Wright was in Iran when obam Obama's message was delivered.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBIN WRIGHT, MIDDLE EAST REPORTER: It was electrifying the impact it had on people who believed that for the first time maybe the Americans were really serious about a dialogue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Those hopes for a dialogue became fears about a confrontation just six months later.

OBAMA: Good morning.

ZAKARIA: Obama along with France's Nicolas Sarkozy and the U.K.'s Gordon Brown made a stunning announcement. Iran had been keeping an explosive secret.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Demonstrating that the Islamic republic of Iran has been building a covert uranium enrichment facility near Qom for several years.

WRIGHT: This is one of those got you moments and it was a worrying sign because it indicated Iran had a much more advanced program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The crisis had an upside. It brought the world's most powerful nations together. The United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and China and Russia were now all determined to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

There were fits and starts, talks and negotiations, but little progress to show until 2013, an auspicious year, the year the team would crack the toughest issue in world politics all came together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: So help me God. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Mr. President.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: It was the year that President Obama was inaugurated for the second time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kerry, your thoughts at this point?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And John Kerry, a Vietnam War vet, an advocate of diplomacy, took office as the new secretary of state. It was the year that the relatively moderate Hassan Rouhani was elected the seventh President of Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT: We're all endowed with free will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And named the American educated Mohammad Javad Zarif as Kerry's counterpart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WRIGHT: The credentials, the personal history of these four men was pivotal in pulling it off. It is doubtful that if any of the four had been different, that we really would have gotten to this point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The importance of that chemistry began to be clear in September 2013. It was the annual meeting of world leaders at the United Nations in New York. Secretary of State John Kerry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States and Iran had not had their secretaries of state or foreign ministers talk in decades.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But that was soon to change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now where is that guy, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll bring you in. We'll bring you in. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: After a multilateral meeting where Kerry and Zarif sat next to each other, the two diplomats went to another room at the U.N. for what was supposed to be just a meet and greet. It turned into much more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: Little room on the side of the Security Council, no windows, you know, just the two of us in a very small space. I think taking stock of each other and of the situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The planned brief encounter turned into a 30-minute serious conversation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: I have just met with him now on a side meeting.

MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: We stress on the need to continue these discussions, to give it the political impetus that it requires.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:50:02] ZAKARIA: These were the highest-level talks between the United States and Iran in decades, but that record didn't last long.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just a 15-minute phone call but one that was 34 years in the making.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The highest-level conversation between the two nations since 1979.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: A historic conversation as Obama picked up the phone and called Rouhani, the first dialogue between an American President and an Iranian leader since Jimmy Carter spoke to the Shah of Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Over the almost two years of negotiations that followed, there were disbelievers about the deal abroad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Such a deal does not block Iran's path to the bomb, such a deal paves Iran's path to the bomb.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: At home in the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just don't understand why we'd sign an agreement with a group of people who, in my opinion, have no intention of keeping their word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And in Iran

(CROWD CHANTING)

ZAKARIA: Even the negotiators, themselves, weren't sure that they could get to the finish line.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(OFF-MIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think it's fair to say that we're hopeful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much.

KERRY: It was one moment when I visited with my counterpart and I just asked him pointblank, I said, are you sure you guys really want to try to get this done? Because I'm not sure that you do based on where we are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But in the end, both sides did want to get it done. And on July 14th, 2015, a deal was struck.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: This moment has been a long time coming, and we have worked very hard to get here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: That hard work almost didn't pay off. Congress tried to block the deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Order, please. Please, take your--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: In the end, the opposition failed, and in January 2016, the nuclear agreement with Iran went into effect. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: What we were able to accomplish has been remarkable and even our most severe critics cannot argue with the fact that without launching a bomb, without initiating a war, we've been able to remove an enormous threat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But now it is all in jeopardy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The nuclear deal is a disaster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Will Donald Trump rip up the deal? National security adviser Susan Rice says that would be a terrible idea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICE: To scrap it when it's working would put us outside of the bounds of what is an international agreement so it's a win/win for Iran. Our allies and partners are furious at the United States and their nuclear program can proceed unabated. It doesn't serve our interests.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Next up, my thoughts on the legacy of Barack Obama.

[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: In May 2010, Time magazine tells us Barack Obama invited a group of America's most distinguished presidential historians to dinner at the White House.

He was searching for ideas, examples and lessons from his predecessors. But as the conversation progressed, Time reported, it became clear to several in the room that Obama was most interested in the accomplishments of Ronald Reagan.

Reagan on first glance was an unlikely model. An archconservative, actor turned politician, was better known for his anecdotes in humor than analysis and intellect, but Obama saw that Reagan had been a transformational president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Go forward, America, and reach for the stars.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAKARIA: Someone who, as he said while campaigning in 2008, had

changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. Clearly, that was Obama's aspiration as well, to change the trajectory of America. Did he? If I'd been taking stock in mid-2016, the case would have been overwhelming.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The bill is passed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The Obama administration passed new universal health care, it fundamentally reshaped America's energy policy to combat climate change and fuel a green energy revolution. It enacted the largest reorganization of the financial industry since the Great Depression.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Here we go. It's done.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And most of this happened in the first 18 months. But, of course, all that is in jeopardy. Donald Trump has vowed to erase the Obama presidency. Some of it he can easily erase. Other parts might prove more indelible.

Twenty two million people are on Obamacare. Clean energy is now a huge American industry with millions of jobs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We must come together as nations and--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Obama's foreign policy focused on diplomatic solutions, wary of military interventions and nation building, reflects the mood of the country.

But on the whole, many of his policies will be under pressure and could be rolled back entirely. How did this happen? When looking back at presidents like Johnson or FDR, it's clear that to sustain a long legacy, you need not just to get elected president but to forge a political coalition.

Johnson and Roosevelt had congressional majorities that lasted. Obama is an intensely charismatic politician, but he was not able to build a political base underneath him.

In fact, during his eight years, the Democratic Party has suffered a historic series of defeats at the state and national levels, putting them in the last position they've been in since the 1920s.

Was that Obama's failure? A lack of political skill, perhaps, though it is equally likely that the currents were stronger than one person could shift. In recent years, America has gone through enormous economic, technological, political and cultural change. And in some parts of the country, there has been a backlash to that change and to an African-American president.

It remains unclear whether the country was ready for Obama's vision. The most dramatic bet he made was health care. He spent the first few years of presidency and all his political capital on passing it.

And I would argue that even if Trump finds a way to repeal and replace it, it remains a historic achievement. Obama did what seven presidents failed to do. He made health care a fundamental right. It is the signature achievement of a consequential president.

But presidential legacies also exist above and beyond laws and policies. We remember John F. Kennedy for energy, vitality, elegance and intelligence that he brought to the White House. And in that sense Obama has left an indelible mark.

He and his family occupied the White House with dignity, grace, and good humor. He ran an administration that was largely scandal free and did it all the while under a microscope. Because he looked different.

In a sense, America made a big bet in electing Barack Obama as its first African-American president.

[23:00:01] And with respect to his personal character and intellect, most of the country believes it was a bet that paid off.

I'm Fareed Zakaria. Thanks for joining us.