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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 28, 2010 7:00am-8:15am EST

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fine printing. the norton elections, then i saw norton sponsoring the letter signed a contract with me and i had to turn them into a book and i thought we published the electors but if anyone finds out when they tried to turn them into a book three don't make a book so i then labored away. i was fairly busy running memorials cancer center in but i found the time after four years to take the lectures as a starting point and write a whole lot more, go into up about issues i found interesting. the process was good, it was just hard at times but i am very glad now that i was given the contract which i signed without fully appreciating the implications iraq the book is called the art and politics of science, thd
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>> next, e. stanley godbold, recounts the educators's childhoods in plains,or george, their courtship and marriage and their ascendency to the national political stage. the author discusses his book at the georgia center for the book in decatur, georgia. the program is just over an hour. >> i've been coming back and forth to decatur in atlanta for about 20 years now. and much of that time i spent over in the carter library and some of my early years of research on this project -- my wife used to say that when i used the word "home" i wasn't talking about the house he lived in, in mississippi. i was talking about the jimmy carter library. [laughter] >> and so finally we see the day when the first part of this work is finished.
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i've done a lot of research on the rest of it as well. the book is jimmy and rosalynn carter the georgia years 1924 to 1974. 1924, of course, was the year of his birth. 1974 was the december the 12 was when he made his formal announcement that he was running for president of the united states. so it's a nice little block of time. i fell into this project almost by accident. i was -- i had just completed a book, and i was casting around for another topic. and i saw where jimmy carter had attended a book fair in nashville, tennessee. and so i looked into that because i was curious what he had written, and this was about 1987 or '88 sometimes.
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and i was amazed how much he had written at that time and so i thought i would do a short article on jimmy carter as a writer. and in anticipation of doing that i eventually showed up in august of 1990 at the jimmy carter presidential library looking for those materials. and i was amazed at how much material was there, about 30 million pages of it. and much of it untouched so i thought i would be brazen and take on the challenge of a full biography. i also met the fine people who worked there. many of them are still there. and one reason i continued this research for all of these years is i couldn't tear myself away from those folks they became like family to me and so i would go to the library and do a little research. but really to see the people. and i was giving a similar talk
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to this in my hometown in mississippi recently and somebody asked me -- they said what was your favorite part of your research in the carter library and i said it was lunch with the staff. they have all of these great restaurants, you know, all -- you know, all over this area as i'm sure -- as i'm sure you know. i started out just to work on jimmy carter but i didn't get very far before i released there's no way to tell jimmy carter's story without telling rosalynn's story too. the story of one is the story of the other. so at that point i decided that i would try to turn this into a dual biography of both of them because theirs is an unusual professional relationship, long term. they have a symbiotic relationship and it seems like there's no way to tell the story fully without making it the story of both of them.
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so that's what i set out to do. and got as far as 1974. actually i've done a good bit beyond 1974. i decided that i would attempt to publish this section as a single volume, a fresh volume of a two-volume set for several reasons. one, i had that much of it already finished. and secondly, is it comprises a unit within itself. it is also a major part of their lives that has not been studied as much as the presidency has been studied. the presidency has been studied many times and hopefully will be studied much more as hopefully this part of their lives will be studied much more. but i also felt that if you really want to understand jimmy carter as president and rosalynn carter as first lady and the things they have done in their post-presiden
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post-presidency, you really need to know where they came from. i discovered unlike nixon, i don't know how many nixons we had there's only one jimmy carter. he has a very stable personality. the jimmy carter, the prepresidential jimmy carter, the post-presidential jimmy carter, the presidential jimmy carter is all the same person. he had the same goals, the same personality, did the same kinds of thing. we hear a lot today about what a wonderful ex-president he is. but really he hasn't done much more as ex-president then he did before president and while he was president it's just that the circumstances in which he was able to work, of course, were vastly different. once he was freed from the restraints of the office of being president and plus had the boost that that position gave him. but he's still the same -- he's still the -- he's still very much the same person. there are probably a few
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republicans in michigan who disagree with that. but, anyway, they're entitled to their opinion. okay. the book begins with the ancestry. first the introduction is entitled the carters and the smiths. and i had a huge battle with my editor to keep as much of the ancestry in it that is still in it. and i won about half of the battle. about half of it got lost. but the interesting part was kept in it. the carter family, of course, the carter ancestor, the original one in america showed up in colonial virginia as an indentured servant. gradually they moved down into georgia and the three male ancestors right before jimmy carter's father -- they either murdered somebody or they got murdered. so on the georgia frontier you
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had all of this violence and the family was known for its temper. and i guess it's safe for me to tell you that jimmy carter also has a very, very strong temper. he has occasionally said that's why he follows the religion he does because that helps him follow his temper and we've seen it even a little bit recently with his recent public comments about ted kennedy. anyway, jim's father, mr. earl was a young child. when his father was murdered and his mother brought him up to plains and raised him with the help with some other relatives. that's probably very significant because jimmy's father, mr. earl, grew up with no father
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of his own and he was determined that his children would not grow up fatherless and the rest of that story -- it gets even more comp indicating because everyone knows ms. lillian. after all when he was president and ms. lillan was the mother he was frequently interviewed. she was interesting. sort of the darling of the public, though, some people took issue with that, i think. and so everybody thought that ms. lillian was a real nurturing parent of her son, her oldest son, jimmy. it turns out it's not true. that actually was the father was the nurturing parent. he ran the family business. he was frequently home. and he also pretty much managed the education, the religious training, the work schedules of his children, especially his oldest son, jimmy, whom he nicknamed hot shot.
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ms. lillian, of course, was a nurse. she was frequently away from home tending to her duties as a nurse. the marriage between lillian and earl carter was not made in heaven. wherever it was made, i guess i won't get into that but it was not one of the happiness marriages in the world. and she was frequently away from home. and she would leave a note that was a wooden desk or something in the hallway of the house, and she would leave a note on that desk telling jimmy -- he had two younger sisters and then eventually a much younger brother, billy, who became famous in his own right for different reasons. she would leave a note telling them what to do. and so later jimmy and his sisters joked that they thought that that desk was their mother. 'cause that's where they got the instructions from their mother. but if you know much about how
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jimmy governed and if you read this book, you know a lot about it through the governor's mansion. he liked to governor by memo. and even his president he liked to govern by memo. so if you go through the card of papers, you know, there's zillions of memos and at one of level it's wonderful to have all that information that he left for us at another level it drives you crazy because there's no way one person can possibly read that stuff. so he governed by memo. in other words, he ran the state, the country and the world the same way his mother ran him and his sisters when they were children. he did, of course, have a female mother figure. her name was rachel clark. she was an african-american woman who lived right down the road from them and he was very, very close to her. when he was growing up and he was very, very close to her for
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the rest of her life, even while he was president, when he went back home to plains, he would always go to see her. and as he put it, they would talk about what was happening in washington where he worked then. and he liked to refer to her as a queen. he, of course, grew up in the tiny community of archery, which had a black majority, most of his playmates, most of the people he associated with were african-americans and, of course, rachel clark. and there were others as well was a very important influence on his family. rosalynn grew up three years later and 3 miles away as he put it in plains. she was a city girl. she grew up in -- well, everything is relative. relative to archery, she was a city girl.
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[laughter] >> but she grew up in plains under very different circumstances. her ancestors tended to be kinder, gentler type people. there were a noticeable number of ancestors. there were the influence on the background of rosalynn is probably much greater than it was of the background of jimmy. she was a methodist. he grew up a baptist. and, of course, in a small southern town, there's a source of conflict right there. she was very, very bright. she was very pretty. and i want to read you a little bit from the book just a few lines once in while. -- once in a while. rosalynn's childhood was vastly
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different in jimmy. their parents were different. jimmy's were introverted and not ambitious or pecuniary. black people had no role in their inner circle. the extroverted carters drank liquor and smoke cigarettes especially ms. lily and traveled to other states. they were rarely together. and often absent from home. rampantly ambitious, determined to make money and keep it and eager to push their children out into the world. they depended on african-american women to rear their children and black laborers to work their land. so from the beginning these two people growing up in the same society have some fairly major -- have some fairly major differences. rosalynn, because her father died when she was young, and her
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mother remained imprisoned in shyness, she had no influential adults to push her into the world. what she had was a robust spirit, a vigorous will and an inquisitive intellect and an energetic mind and unspoken ambiti ambition, a quiet faith and ambition with whatever she took. she had it within herself to do the things she would later do in her long and distinguished public career. okay. the courtship was world wind. jimmy was off to the naval economy and he came home for a visit and his sister ruth who was a friend of rosalynn's set up a chance meeting on the steps of the methodist church. jimmy was smitten with her almost immediately. his mother disapproved, of course. but, of course, he would not be deterred.
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and in july of 1946, when he graduated from the naval academy, they were married. they were very young at the time. she was still, what, about a month short of her 19th birthday and he was a few more short of his 22nd at the time they were married. so it was almost a teenage -- it was almost a teenage marriage. they shared a navy career together. and jimmy likes to tease her and tell her the only reason she married him was for the navy -- she saw that navy uniform and she thought, a-ha, this is how i will get out of plains. [laughter] >> she loved to read. she loved to study maps. she was in high school, of course, during world war ii. she was the valedictorian of her class. jimmy, of course, got into mischief and missed it slightly. when she still likes to remind him of once in a while. and so -- but she was anxious to see the world.
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she denies, of course, that that was the main reason she married him but for whatever the reason, she had. -- she did and up until 1953, their lives were spent as a couple together in the navy. they had three babies very quickly, three sons. so roslyn found herself as a very young mother a long way from home, taking care of the family, managing the family budget while jimmy was out to sea. rosalynn loved that life and she became very, very independent. she enjoyed traveling. she especially enjoyed living in hawaii. she enjoyed meeting other people from other parts of the country and even the world. and to her it was a very exciting life. jimmy, of course, succeeded in the navy, admiral rickover. he was probably one of the few people who would get along with
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admiral rickover because after all, he wasn't that much different from his father. jimmy's father was the type who demanded perfection and if you delivered it, there was no reward, no thank you, no compliment, no nothing but if you didn't, of course, you would be chastised for not doing what you should do. and one of his staff members that the apple didn't fall from the tree. that jimmy operated pretty much the same way. anyway, ms. lillian called jimmy in 1953 or thereabouts and told him that his father was dying and that he must come home. his father was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer, the disease that ultimately took every member of the family. jimmy is the only one so far who has not had it.
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and so he went to visit his father. he was amazed at the kinds of things had father had been doing. and he also realized as his mother explained to him that there was a very large family business there that nobody else could possibly manage. the two girls had gotten married and moved away. billy was much too young. billy was still sober at that time. but he was still much too -- he was much too young. and, of course, ms. lillian had not been much involved in the operation of the business. so if they wanted to continue the family business, jimmy was the one to do it. he was eager to do it and he was anxious to go home and he said okay and he went through the all the rigamarole he had to go through to get out of the navy which, of course, getting congressional approval because he was one of the few people working on the sea wolf at the time and so they had to find a
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replacement and release him from that responsibility. he didn't asked rosalynn if she wanted to go back. he probably knew what she would say. she did not want to go back. in fact, she was just outraged by the idea of going back but she had three little children, no career of her own. she really didn't have much choice. so they went back to plains in 1953; took over the family business. eventually rosalynn came out of her shell and her depression by going back. jimmy got her involved in the business. it turned out that she was an excellent businesswoman and so whatever wealth that business eventually achieved, much of it is attributable to rosalynn's skill as a businesswoman. she especially didn't like having to live with ms. lillian a few days when they first went back.
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ms. lillian of course -- everybody loves ms. lillian but as a mother-in-law, some thought she was a bit of a different story so at least a short amount of time. okay. eventually they build the business into a very lucrative agribusiness. they get involved in all sorts of community activities and social life. they join the country club and they tended to associate with the wealthiest people in the area. eventually, when people in the country club found out what their attitude toward race relations was, she got kicked out of the country club but nevertheless they were in it for a while. they joined a dance group called the sumter squares and one of the rules, of course, was you had to use deodorant and agree not to eat garlic and onions of the nights of the dances. [laughter] >> so they generally went by
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the -- they went by the rules. despite all of that, carter was bored. his mother said he was -- he read a lot of poetry, read a lot of theology. but he got bored. his mother said he was bored talking about peanuts and such so he decided that he would go into politics. in another forum somebody asked him what the political influence was, his father was serving at the state legislature at the time he died so he had that influence. and his grandfather jim jack gordy, ms. lillian's father was a real political animal. so jimmy actually grew up with a father and a grandfather who were constantly talking politics around him. and his father even took him to hear herman talmadge give a few stump speeches.
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nobody i don't think has analyzed what that impact might have been on him and it's better if we don't know because he certainly turned out to be something very different from herman talmadge. okay. so he decides to go into politics. 1962. he runs for the state senate. it was contested election. and ultimately with aid of a newspaperst from atlanta, various attorneys one of whom was charles kurbow who was essential to him all the way through his white house years. a younger man in the firm david gambrell whom carter eventually appointed to the u.s. senate after richard russell's death. but at that time nobody knew who
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they were and he was up there ready to be sworn in not knowing whether he had one and he became a state senator. rosalynn was there with him but after the ceremony she goes back to plains and runs the business. and apparently ran it very well. on weekends jimmy would go home. he wanted to talk about the business with her and she wanted to talk about politics with him. because she discovered she had a major interest in politics. he decided that he wanted a more advanced political position and after considering various options, he decided that he would run for governor in 1966. at first he was going to run for congress because there was a republican congress there named bo callaway.
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the callaways and the carters were bitter rivals. the callaways were very wealthy textile family and they were very well known, much more so than the carters. and carter had this great ambition to defeat bo callaway. callaway had been in the service too. he was a west point man, i believe and had actually seen service during world war ii. and so callaway announced for congress, jimmy announces for congress. callaway changes his mind and run for governor and jimmy changes his mind to run for governor. in 1976, when carter ran for the presidency against the republican incumbent, namely, gerald ford, the first campaign manager of ford's first campaign manager was none other than bo callaway. so he got in another contest
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with him. which probably fired him up and maybe even helped him win. the rest of that story is in 1966, of course, carter lost to lester maddox. and there's some things about this you will of have to read in the because i can't tell you in my audience because my wife and my two cat sitters who are two female professors told me not to say it. so you have to read the book if you want to know. if you want to know that part of the story. he lost to lester maddox. he was very embittered of that loss. he has his famous so-called born again experience as a result, whatever that means. actually one of the most fascinating parts of my research that i did not do in the carter library was research on
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conversion experiences, what kinds of conversion experiences and what they mean and all of that. and i did come up one that pretty much fits his situation, whether it's true or not, who knows? but nevertheless it eventually became a label that got hooked on him. he was a born again christian, whatever that meant. he told his sister, ruth, who became an evangelist that he could give up almost anything except politics. and he didn't give it up and as far as i can tell he still hasn't given it up. so he made his plan to run again in 1970. and this time he was determined that he would win. it's one of the most interesting races, southern governors races, partly because jimmy carter was involved in it. and partly because he had a huge conflict between what he
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believed and what he was going to have to say if he wanted to win. so he finally figured it out how to do it. he had to win the voters of maddox, of georgia and wallace, alabama because there's lots of those around and he had to get their support to win but he didn't believe especially in terms of race relations as they -- as they believed. jody powell who had gotten kicked out of the air force academy for cheating on a history exam was working on a ph.d. at emory university and his fate would have the topic that jody was working on was george wallace. jody shows up in plains just to follow carter around to learn what he can. carter immediately liked him. jody is one of the few people who ever got close to carter as a matter of fact. other than rosalynn. and so carter really liked him
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and one day jody said i'll tell you what you got to do. you've got to marginalize wallace. you cannot criticize wallace because that will cause you to lose a lot of votes so what you've got to do is stand for everything wallace stands for except race relations. support wallace and support everything he stands for which is basically helping blue collar-type workers but not race relations. and carter did that. and ultimately of he won the race in 1970. how clean it was is a matter of debate. he had a vicious fight with carl sanders, a former governor for the nomination and some of the episodes were not very attractive. i don't know whether carl sanders have ever for given me. the last i've seen him he hadn't but now after this much time has passed.
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one georgia politician said that carter ran for governor with maddox on one arm and maddox on the other as soon as he was elected he dropped them both. and drop them he did. in his inaugural address, he announced that the day for racial discrimination in georgia is over. people in the audience gasped because they thought they had voted for the opposite and there's a few empty chairs where former governors were seated but they didn't show up and they thought he was going to do something that he had not promised. so in 1971, he was elected governors. the good folks at camilla where they grew a lot of camillas
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decided they would make this huge portrait out of camillas which they did and it was hanging over the place where he would stand. the family gets all dressed and ms. lillian is riding with her sister, emily dolphin in the limousine and they get close to wherever they are supposed to be and ms. lillian turns to her sister and says, sissy, what are we doing here? we're not limousine people. [laughter] >> but they suddenly became limousine people. whether they liked it or -- whether they like to or not. -- liked it or not. okay. all the stuff he did as governor. carter is very, very bright. he's very, very energetic and he's always busy. and there's no limit to what he's willing to attempt. and he still pretty much operates that way. it's the source of some of the criticisms of him, which are probably a little bit unfair but that's simply the way it was.
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and so he wanted to completely reform the government, the economy, and georgia society while he was in office. and he set about doing it. he did reorganized the government and reformed the legal system. did various things. most people in higher education didn't particularly like him. i was in higher education in south georgia at the time but in different areas at that time. but i was a starving beginning assistant professor. and i actually left south georgia and went into mississippi to take a job at a much better salary. and i used to like to tell my students in mississippi if somebody voluntarily moves into mississippi to teach you know it's bad where they came from. [laughter] >> since then things have changed.
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carter did in the governor's office did exactly what he did as president. there's a lot of ways to organize a biography of him that i'm not using. i have a different one i'm using but it would be very easy to set him up as sort of parallels because he did the exact same thing as he did with president as governor with exactly the same results. he managed to offend virtually everybody and every group who had supported him except for african-americans. he offended a good many of those, too. and so that was the only constituency he still had. at the end of his governorship and then again at the end of his presidency. in 1980. as governor, of course, it didn't matter because under the georgia constitution, he could not run -- he could not run for re-election anyway. a governor cannot succeed himself.
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okay. there are several -- let me see how much i can tell you. i'd love to tell you a little bit about what he did with race relations in georgia as governor because it's really quite an exciting story. and also i spent a lot of time figuring it out so, of course, i don't want to waste it. it was his first great experiment in conflict resolution. something he has since become very famous for. in the little town of sparta in hancock, county, the mayor had decided that the african-american population was getting out of hand. of -- so he ordered six machine guns to remember a the local police force. when he did that, this person who was working under a ford foundation grant living there trying to help black businesses and things like that, he ordered
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30 machine guns. and created an organization called the hancock rangers or something like that. and when that happened, the chief police decided he felt very ill and so he had to take 30 days leave of absence which, of course, tossed the crisis to the governor in atlanta. carter looked all that over. he chose a team of three. he always -- he seems to favor teams of three. he chose a team of three. sent them there. to try to talk to the mayor. he mayor decided he would backtrack but he said he had all this money invested in the six machine guns and carter says that's no problem. we will just buy the weapons, no questions asked. and so the state just bought the weapons. and so when the six machine guns are no longer in the hands of the policemen, the guy who had
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ordered the 30 machine guns to counter them backed down and so the issue was more or less resolved. but it's an interesting story because when it was resolved, both sides, of course, hated the governor. it's the nature of peacemakers 'cause each side wants to hold off and so both sides hated it. but nevertheless, of it worked. what he's doing, of course -- he also hung the portrait of martin luther king, jr., in the capital plus a couple other famous black georgians. nobody has done that before. what he's doing, of course, is building a national reputation. the "new york times" is beginning to describe him as a southern kennedy which is truly ironic considering his latest battles with ted kennedy and one of his advisors told him when he dressed tore a photograph he should try to make himself look
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as much as john kennedy as he possibly could because, of course, that would be worth -- that would be worth a good many votes. and he tried it as well. in october 1972, he and rosalynn and a few other of their closest advisors decided that he would run for the presidency of the united states. his governorship breaks in twice. he used to make speeches referring to our southern people and after making that decision to run for presidency you never see our southern people in a speech again. you need to read the "wall street journal," the "new york times" and he starts doing that. he's probably one of the few governors who has a full set of state department documents when he was governors. he starts traveling and he went
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to europe and he went to israel. he went to south america, of course, as well. rosalynn always going with him. rosalynn always going with him playing a major role in the preparation in whatever happened while they were -- while they were there. they kept it more or less secret but he began to run for the presidency in 1972. he got his big break in 1974 when robert strauss who was the chairman of the national democratic party was visiting with him and asked him if he would chair the national committee to reelect democrats. the truth of the matter is that position had already gone to terry sanford. carter made it known that he wanted that position very badly. and strauss said, of course, you can do it with sanford what happened, of course, pretty soon sanford disappeared and it became carter's job.
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he brought out rosalynn. he brought out pam jurgen and he brought out his family and one of his major political and legal advisors and they scoured the country getting democrats re-elected in 1974. it was a dog of a job that nobody wanted. they did it very successfully. they did it very successfully. one of the people who was re-elected in 1974 was ted kennedy of massachusetts so you have all this laudatory correspondence between kennedy and carter and kennedy profusely thanking him for getting elected and carter does another thing in 1974 he already knew he was going to run for president and nobody knew that except his inner circle and when people like walter mondale is a primary example during the '74 campaign
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that every once in a while prominent national democrats would make some announcements about '76. they would make references to '76 and congress was always say concentrate on 74 don't confuse the voters by thinking about 76. concentrate on '74. and, of course, what he was doing that they didn't know what he was doing is he planning to run himself for in '76. once it was all over charles said last laughed by the time people like walter strauss and walter mondale knew was carter was doing it was too late. he already had the nomination sewed up. and the other break he got at the end of his governorship was to be invited to serve on the trilateral commission. it was david rockefeller's
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brainchild. the trilateral commission which studied japan, europe, the u.s., some of the best minds, political and academic in the country served on it. david rockefeller liked him. the whole story of carter's first relationship and visit with david rockefeller isn't this book by the way. david rockefeller, i think, was later a little embarrassed after the iran hostage crisis and later proved it was not his fault but i don't believe david rockefeller's memoir all that much. but anyway carter serves on the trilateral commission. he was a governor of a large state and he becomes friends with people like brzezinski who is his foreign policy advisor and cyrus vance and if you look
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at the trilateral committee they will later show up in his cabinet once he becomes president and that gives him considerable access and exposure to international affairs and communication with some of the best people in the country in the world. of at that time. okay. he serves out the rest of his governorship and on december the 12th, 1974, was when he official announced that he would be a candidate for president. he had already been running for two years by then. the announcement in washington and then he came home in atlanta and made his famous statement. my name is jimmy carter and i'm running for president. i believe it was in the civic center. and so that's where this volume ends. and there's lots of stuff i couldn't tell you, of course. and i don't want to tell you. the conclusion -- i've got enough time, i think, to give
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you a conclusion. which i've worked on a good bit and i like, if i can remember it. which will also give you a previous of coming attractions. people always ask me what i like about carter and then they want to know what i dislike of carter, both of which are tough questions because carter is such a hard person to categorize. okay. a few months ago, there was a -- there was a writer for the "wall street journal" who wrote this article about carter. her name is peggy noonan. despite her politics she has quite a gift with words. and, of course, she nastily described carter as the cootie man of ex-presidents of this editorial in the "wall street journal" and that piqued my interest so i put together a little speech for student groups
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entitled jimmy carter, prophets or cootie man. he was more of a prophet than priest. carter said you've got to live in an edge of limitations. you've got to straighten up and make sacrifices. it takes time to solve problems. you can't get the hostages out in 24 hours. it takes 444 days which, of course, wasn't what most of the voting public wanted to hear. he's sort of a grown man i would describe him who's easy to respect, hard to love.
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so i would propose in conclusion that 1,000 years from now, maybe a lot less than a 1,000 years from now when historians and others forget about the political rhett -- rhetoric and the funny accent and forget all the things that he attempted that he did not achieve and step back and look -- take a hard look at his life, his public career in politics and with the carter center and look to see what he actually did instead of criticizing petty things and things he attempted and didn't achieve, that they might discover that carter -- the carters -- 'cause rosalynn is always there cochair of the carter center, that they actually did promote world
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peace, advance human rights, keep their country strong and free. that's another story that nobody knows about carter. it was carter who rebuilt the military his last year in office. it wasn't ronald reagan. carter already had it. it was well underway before he lost and reagan took over. they promoted world peace, advocated human rights, kept their country strong and free without bully others. and as rosalynn once said, created a kinder, gentler world. and we might even discover some day that jimmy and rosalynn did give us a better world. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, thank you, thank you. questions? we have a few minutes for questions.
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okay. >> thank you for a very elegant presentation which i think was just rejected by the length of applause which is unusual here so thank you. >> thank you. >> i'm interested in the carter center library, you know, how it's organized, you know, how do you do your research? i assume it's information that carter provided so was there other information that's sort of biased in terms of what's there and not there? just kind of a general description and maybe something that's interesting about it. >> okay. i will try to answer that question. i see at least a half of dozen people in this room that could answer it a lot better than i can. when the president leaves office, it's up to him to raise the money to build the library. and once he does that and builds it then he gives it to the national archives so it becomes the property of the national archives and administered by the national archives. the documents in it consist of the president's papers while he
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was in office. his assistants papers, whoever worked with him. and so the content of the library is partly what the president chooses to give it. which in jimmy carter's case was almost everything. he's been very open with it. and beyond that, it's a matter of how the library gets administered. some directors of the library actively seek the papers of people who served in the cabinet, people who knew him when he was 3 years old and that sort of thing. the carter library itself has a very rich collection of papers from almost every stage of his life. his governor's papers are still in the state archives so a lot of this research that you heard tonight comes from the state archives. and then there are various -- they have to be processed which takes a long time with millions of papers.
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and then there are various rules as to what can be opened and whatnot opened. things that might jeopardize national security can be in the library but they're not opened to our research and any serious researcher can use it. it works a little different for most other libraries. i'm on the dense side. aide hard time learning how to use it but finally mastered it, i hope, with the help of the people who work there. the museum is separate. it's a part of the library but still it's separate from it. presidential libraries are really virtually national treasures. because they are gold mines of information that might be lost otherwise. they're big tourist attractions as well. it's a fun place to do research. that's a long answer that i intended to give. somebody want to add -- okay. another question right here.
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[inaudible] >> you mentioned having -- [inaudible] >>uh-huh. [applause] >> all died from pancreatic cancer and he's 86 now and he didn't smoke and is still kicking. >> yeah. i actually did a lot of research on that in the medical library at duke university one time. there are a few studies that related to smoking but not many. and carter was the only member of his family who did not smoke. and carter himself has said, you know, that's the -- he thinks the reason he did not get it. and the drinking -- i haven't seen -- i haven't seen that. i think the way we stand with
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pancreatic cancer still today is we know very little about it. there's probably a genetic factor involved in it but i think we know very little about it. but you're right. there has been that -- you know, people have said that smoking causes every other kind of cancer so it ought to cause that one too. i really don't think within enough about it. carter allows himself to be kind of a guinea pig since he comes from a family where everybody else had the disease and, of course, they want to study families like that. and try to figure out what happened. next? other questions? over here in the middle. >> since carter has been one of our more prolific writers as a president and you being a great writer, what is your opinion of him, his writing style and things he's written?
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>> okay. that's an inevitable question and i hate it because i don't know how to answer it. i think carter is a good writer. if you look back -- when he was in the academy, he kept a journal. and he actually wrote a little play that they put on at the academy and he loved doing that and he's always been interested in writing so it's not surprising later in his life he turned out to be a more -- a very prolific writer. i think he's a good writer. his prose is almost always accurate. it tends to be a little bit on the spare side which is good. and he's written enough books that it's kind of a pixed bag. my favorite of his books was turning point about the 1962 race for the senate. and since i'm a biographer i loved his poetry of reckoning
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and i think it has a lot of feeling. he gets to the point quickly. and i wish i could quote -- i think it's the last one in it about life on a killer sub marine where he talks about how you're on the killer submarine and, you know, the sub marine is capable of wreaking all sorts of damage to humidity but when you end there you hear the whales and, you know, things like that, other sea life. it's repetitious. he's written so much that he tells the same stories over and over. and the only one that i haven't read is the virtues of aging. i'm not ready to take that one on yet. so i haven't read that one. i'd rate him a good writer. okay. others? >> i would like to hear more about carter's role in the hostage crisis.
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i don't think he gets the credit that he deserves for the release. it was obvious they were held -- a short time after his inauguration just to embarrass him, i guess. and he should be given more credit. i'm wondering your opinion about that. >> you got to wait on volume 2 for that one but i'll give you my response as far as i know it now. and i absolutely agree with you. i think carter -- he's beginning to get more credit. even reagan gave him credit, you know, for getting the hostages out but it is such a complicated question. you know, as americans we like to think that our president, our politicians got them out but you also got to remember there was another side that let them go. and they had all of their complicated reasons for holding them and letting them go, too. i do think carter deserves a lot more credit.
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he did freeze iranian assets right away in banks and i think that was very helpful. he planned the rescue effort long before it was executed and it didn't fail. he examined all kinds of options including various kinds of military invasions and statistics of how many people would get killed, you know, he studied it very, very carefully. it was an unusual situation no american president had ever had to deal with that before. diplomats had been taken hostage before but normally they would be released and so it was -- and so it was -- it was different. you also to have remember the cold war is going on. we are right on the border of the soviet union. and carter did not want us to get us in a war with the soviet union. he did serve notice to the iranians that they were not to harm the hostages or put them on public trial. and they didn't.
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and so i think eventually -- and there's lots and lots more details and some we already know and some i think we will eventually learn. but i think eventually -- i hate counter-factual history and it will be interesting to know what would have happened had carter been re-elected 'cause we'll never know that but that would be interesting to know. but actually i think eventually we would look at the hostage crisis and decide that carter did exactly the right thing. he got them all out. they came out alive. he did not get us into a war. he encouraged the insurgents in afghanistan to keep them occupied in afghanistan once they invaded afghanistan. we've seen some of those papers now. but as i said earlier, it took 444 days. carter was the kind of person -- he really had an engineer's mind
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in some ways he worked for the long-term solution to problems. he did this with other problems as well. and sometimes the long-term solutions worked. but in the world of politics and the next election, you know, the voters sometimes don't want to wait for the long term. but i agree with you and i'm looking forward to knowing more about that myself. and there's even some evidence -- i shouldn't say it. it will not be in my book 'cause i can't prove it about the famous october surprise which i've done a lot of research on as a matter of fact, some most recently in the reagan library. and there's a lot of smoke but i can't find the gun, whether they deliberately the reagan campaign -- did i know that the reagan campaign was going to use the hostages against carter in the 1980 election. but i don't know the details. the details are probably in the
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grave with somebody, you know, we probably will never know. but carter does deserve more credit than that, i believe. >> i want to thank you for what you said about the military back in 1979 and '80. i'm retired military and i do remember a 16% raise. and i was a low ranking enlisted guy at the time. and that's unheard of now but he did the right thing by the lower people got the higher raise and that kept us all in for 30 years. >> he did that all right. and maybe you want to thank the russians too for invading afghanistan. [laughter] >> 'cause carter did almost an about-face and started really rebuilding the military. at whatever the expense and, of course, when he vetoed the b-1 bomber and got so much criticism for it, he was eventually deciding to build the stealth bomber but you can't go on
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national television saying we're building the stealth bomber and give the information away to the enemy. he had a lot of help from his secretary of defense, harold brown. i don't know what your military experience was but a lot of military people that i have interviewed -- they really liked harold brown. was that true to your experience? you know, they really liked him. and a lot of that modern, technological equipment we used in the gulf war -- much of it development of it started in carter's last year in office. and in a recent book by mondale if you read it. mondale actually thought carter was hawkish as he puts it. but thank you for sharing your story. here's one -- do we have a microphone. you got it. okay. >> yes. thank you. thanks for a very interesting presentation. i think it's pretty well known that rosalynn carter an
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international leader of the prevention of mental illness but in your research did you find any early indications of her interest in this field? >> oh, yes. oh, yes. and, of course, that's what she's best known for. but both carters are willing to take on very hard challenges and, of course, mental illness is one of the hardest challenges in the world. the first thing is how do you define it? and then you've got to get into possible treatments and getting rid of the stigma and all that. she excelled at that as first lady of georgia and she did more as first lady of the united states because, of course, she had so many resources at her fingertips. all rosalynn carter says i need the best mental health experts in the country and they say yes, ma'am and they show up at the white house and they help her. she did a lot of other things, too. she was interested in all sorts of things related to women and children's affairs.
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she read a lot of his speeches. if you look through the speechwriters files and other drafts that have her handwriting on it. she gave him political advice. sometimes he took it. sometimes he didn't. if he didn't, he usually heard about it but they managed to get through that crisis. they have been married 64 years or something now. so she -- you know, she really -- she did the mental health thing but she actually did far more than that, too. and she was especially capable as a political strategist. she was in on most of the strategy meetings. she went out on the 1980 campaign more than he did while he was in the rose garden waiting for the hostages to be released. okay. i think we have time for one more question. ...
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>> at the time he was governor, he was not a popular above, and he wasn't popular with me as a professor in this state, though i did vote for him. but he, but his reputation, i think, has gone up. when you look back and see what he attempted to do and the long-range impact. but he was constantly fighting maddux who was his lieutenant governor, he was disoontly fighting the race -- constantly fighting the race issue which was still very much alive in georgia at the time, and the interesting thing about rosalynn, i don't know if you run into this or not, but, you know, i run into women who think she's absolutely wonderful and
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others who absolutely can't stand her. and the ones who can't stand her are more often going to be southern women who are going to argue that she got out of her place. so it's such a mixed bag. but i think georgia has certainly been a lot more prosperous since he was governor in terms of education, in terms of virtually everything. and he help with the the groundwork. but i -- and i haven't seen any rating of him as governor, but i still think he would not be very high on that list. he probably deserves to be higher than he would be. okay. thank you very much. [applause] >> this event was hosted by the governor center for the book in decay to have, georgia. for more information visit georgia center for the
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>> host: well, another los angeles times reporter has been nominated for the award, and this is barbara demick and her book, "nothing to envy: ordinary lives in north korea." how did you get access to north korea? >> guest: i spent about seven years interviewing north koreans not in north korea, but in south korea, around the chinese border. i've been to north korea quite a few times, but you can't speak to anybody in north korea. i mean, you can't even make eye contact with them. to say this is the most repressive regime in the world is, you know, actually a case where we can use superlatives. when you work in north korea, you have a minder, and your minder has a minder to make sure you don't talk to anybody. but i found north koreans actually to be quite talkative when they got out of the country, and i really just
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painstakingly pieced together their stories which, in my mind, were 1984 come true. >> host: these north koreans that you spoke with, did they escape from north korea? were they visiting south korea? how, why were they out of the country? >> guest: everybody has to escape. north koreans basically live in a large prison. they're not allowed out of their country unless they're very, very elite. these are people who largely when they were starving to death crossed the rivers that border china and, you know, tried to make new lives for themselves. and, you know, the funny thing is that when they were in north korea although they were starving, they had been fed this propaganda that they lived in the best country in the world. that's where the title comes from be. we have nothing to envy in the world. and then they come out, and they realize that, you know, my god, in china people eat rice, and they have televisions, and they can read whatever they want more
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or less. >> host: so you found that they were pretty unaware of the outside well? >> guest: fox in a well, that's what they call themselves. that's one of my chapter titles. north korea is really contained by the regime, almost hermetically sealed is how they keep their power. and, of course, the greater the lie, the greater the power. >> host: barbara demick, can you give us a snapshot of the daily life of an urban dweller in north korea and a rural dweller? >> guest: sure. the people who i wrote about were mostly from the city. they get up, the first light of dawn and the minute the sun is up what you do is you start looking for weeds and rats that are edible. you have to get out before everybody else. go out to the countryside, take a might have and a basket looking for something to eat. basically, people spend their
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whole day looking for something to eat for dinner, and then they go to bed early to conserve energy. maybe they'll go out to the woods, collect firewood. i mean, this was the situation in the 1990s during the famine it got better and now, unfortunately, it's gotten worse again. >> host: when you traveled to north korea, what was the process like getting in? >> guest: it's really difficult as an american and as a journalist. i speak a little bit, not very much, korean. i was rejected for years for a visa. i don't know why they finally let me in. [laughter] i'm going to honestly say. but in 2005 i finally got a proper visa to get into pyongyang, and i think they let some of us in, basically, because they need money. there aren't a lot of people who want to visit north korea, and it's a badly-needed source of hard currency. >> host: so what was your experience like? tell us about your trip very quickly.
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>> guest: pyongyang is a lovely city. it's a huge village. it's one of the cleanest, least polluted cities in all of asia. there's no industry, there's very few cars. the people are friendly, they're completely brainwashed. i mean, they'll only talk about their great leader. you don't really have any kind of honest conversation. but, you know, i would say that there's a warmth to the people. and one of the reasons i wrote the book is i felt north koreans were so mysterious, and a lot of the very negative stereotypes that americans have about aiz -- asians, incute bl communists, you know, all this whole garbage was always applied to north koreans, and i wanted to show them as real people. so i portrayed these six people who i still know, and they're wonderful people. >> host: did you find yourself being stared at? >> guest: no.
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that's what's very interesting. they're taught not to stare, and they don't stare at you which is one sign of how controlled the environment is. in china i'm stared at, in south korea i'm stared at. not north korea. they don't make eye contact. >> host: were you relieved when you got out? >> guest: yes. always. but it's not nearly as scary as you might think because once you get a proper visa as opposed to walking across the river, you're chaperoned every moment and, you know, i knew not to say anything that would get me in trouble or the people who were guiding me. >> host: how long have you been working on "nothing to envy"? >> guest: it's embarrassing to say, but it was about seven years. i started interviewing, i started interviewing north koreans in, i guess, 2001, and i think because i couldn't get
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into north korea i became obsessed. journalists, we're very simplistic creatures. if you tell us we can't go some place, it's where we want to go. kind of like a cat on the string. so i was really obsessed about what everyday life was like. i imagined it was a little bit like 1984 or brave new world and, in fact, it is. >> host: you've already won the samuel johnson p prize for "nothing to envy," and now nominated for the national book award, nonfiction category 2010. barbara demick is the author. >> host: hugh pope, where did you get the title, "dining with al-qaeda"? >> guest: it was better than eating chinese with al-qaeda. it recounting an episode in the book, one chapter where i'm in riyadh, and very soon after september 11th i was sitting down with a missionary from the al-qaeda camps where most of
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the saudis who were the cannon fodder on the jets that struck the world center and here in washington had been. and the dinner was ticklish, it startedded off with him saying i'm going to kill you, and i said, i do assure you ha's not necessary -- that's not necessary. i speak arabic, so that helped. after about half an hour i convinced him that i was bona fide person that wanted to hear his story. in those days you could still be innocent in the middle east, just about, and i learned a lot about the way he thought from what he told me about those kids that were on the planes and, obviously, very difficult for americans to believe that those people have normal lives back home, but they did. that's what my book's basically about, trying to humanize the middle east. not to justify terrorism, but to explain what the context is. >> host: how is it that you hooked up with him in riyadh? >> guest: as usual, these things
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are quite random. i had a friend who gave me a contact, and at a certain point you're driving out to the outskirts of town, and suddenly someone's introduced. and i was lucky. my colleague, i was with "the wall street journal." just a few months later danny pearl did something that was a little bit more like an ambush but still not much different from that, and poor danny had his head cut off, so i feel very lucky that i got away to sell the story. >> host: and what did you learn from your contact? >> guest: i think i learned that the way, the reason that he wanted to kill me at the site of the interview was that he believed that i wanted to kill him. and that is the key thing. you've got to remember that in most conflicts when you cross, it always feels much more when you receive the prods than when you give it, and i think that's the main lesson. when america's conducting military expeditions all over the middle east and prodding with probes, drones and such should be aware that that prod
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is really felt quite deeply by the people there, and it's not just what is being felt in america. >> host: hugh pope, are you still in the contact with anyone associated with al-qaeda? >> guest: no. i actually, this book is partly about the reason that i gave up journalism. i was 25 years a journalist in the middle east, and after the iraq war which i was the only correspondent for my newspaper p going to baghdad and trying to explain to americans why the war was pointless, logically unsound and would plow up in their face literally, not being taken seriously at all and finding that, actually, journalism -- yes, it makes a difference, and i'm so happy i was a journalist for a long time, but that ultimately i couldn't go on with the old system in the middle east which i would come -- i'm british, so i have a british pass port. we've done a lot of damage in
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the mideast. i worked for "the wall street journal" which supported this pointless war, and i'm going up to people in the middle east saying talk to me, tell me your story, and it'll make a difference. that was the old deal. i felt it did make a difference in the past, and then i stopped believing it. i resigned and, luckily enough, two years later i joined international crisis group, and i'm feeling a lot more happy in my work now. >> host: hugh pope is the author of "dining with al-qaeda: three decades exploring the many worldses of the middle east." thank you, sir. >> up next, israeli journalist gideon levy talks about his coverage of the israeli occupation of gaza. columbia university in new york city is the host of this event, it's an hour, 40 minutes. >> i would like, first of all, to thank all of you for coming. i have many d


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