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Lawrence Lessig about Barack Obama on Charlie Rose TV-show

Prof. Lawrence Lessig has been on Charlie Roses TV-show giving a very interesting interview (see video embedded below). They spoke about Lessigs new book REMIX, his Change Congress Campaign, political issues and most interesting to me was their talk about Mr President Barack Obama, who was a former colleague of Lessig at University of Chicago a couple of years ago. Lessig speaks about his jealousy of Obama when they first met and he speaks about Obamas extraordinary abilities. Here is a part out of the interview transcript.

LAWRENCE LESSIG: I mean, there`s this image that he`s extraordinary, but they don`t understand really how extraordinary he is.

CHARLIE ROSE: OK, that`s exactly what I want to get at. Tell me what you mean by that, they do not understand how extraordinary he is.

LAWRENCE LESSIG: Yes, you know, I think that all of us who have had experience around politicians, you know, can respect them and admire the extraordinary hard work they do. There`s no doubt about that. But most of the time, you know, you dig and dig, and very quickly, you hit bottom. Like, there`s nothing more there. And what struck me — you know, maybe this is just the reality of getting to know somebody before you know them as a politician, but what struck me was when I first got to know him, he was an extraordinarily careful, deep thinker, and reflective and balanced, and, you know, he wasn`t on the left or wasn`t on the right about whatever issue.

It was — you know, he was thinking through every issue. And there wasn`t the pretense. There wasn`t any of that. And so knowing him like that, and then seeing him stay like that as he has become the most successful politician of our age, I think that what is distinctive about him is that he has a vision about how government can be changed to actually do something helpful, transformed.

I mean, you know one of the most important moments in the campaign he got in a lot of trouble for, I think, was in Nevada, in the primaries, where he talked about transformational presidencies. And it was an idea of identifying how to change the way Washington is working, and that`s what a transformational presidency does, as opposed to a presidency that just comes in and just keeps the trains running on time.

Lessig is/was an unofficial consultant and supporter to the Barack campaign and actively supporting Obama in the last couple of years. So Mr President had professional support while setting up the White House blog. It is awesome how Obama is participating on the new internet economy due to having a twitter account (which has been hacked) and that he fought to keep his Blackberry which was questioned at some point because of security reason.

Obama is using creative commons licenses for the White House blog as well as for his photo stream on flickr.com under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA-License.


Obama also has a myspace account, a LinkedIn account and there might be more web based services he is using I even don’t know about.

Further they spoke about the economic crisis in the USA and about a new campaing named CHANGE CONGRESS Lessig is the co-founder of.


“Watch a video from co-founder Lawrence Lessig to learn more about the relationship between money and politics—and why it is such a fundamental problem for our democracy. Right now, special interests have more influence over our political system than regular folks because of our broken campaign finance laws. These special interests pump millions of dollars into congressional campaigns each cycle, and as a result, they block real change on issue after issue. Here at Change Congress, we believe that politicians should work for the people, not special interests. But it’s not enough to push politicians to stay out of the system of corruption—we have to reform the system itself. That’s why we support a hybrid of small-dollar donations and public financing, to keep big money out of politics ”

Lessing believes that what changes dramatically is TRUST in congress & government! And that transparency might enable the people to rebuild trust.

Charlie Roses last words are quite interesting: „A lot of people want Prof. Lessig to run for congress. He declined, maybe he’ll reform congress before he runs for it.“ Maybe it is the same with Lessig as with Obama who never thought that he would be President of the United States. For more talks or keynotes of Lessig just click here.

Here is the interview, go take some time and watch it yourself. Enjoy!

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