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chemotherapy? i'm not saying that. but i'm saying question. i asked everyone here to be a difficult patient. question your doctors. get the statistics. go to google. get the information. and you will know more than the average medical provider. [applause] >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. next, booktv sits down with eric draper, the longest serving white house photographer, to discuss his photographs of former president george w. bush. it's just over half an hour. >> host: it was put together by eric draper. there is a forward by president george w. bush. mr. draper, in this book you asked the question, could a black kid from south-central los angeles be the photographer for the president of the united
states? what is the answer to that question? >> guest: that's a big yes. >> host: how did you get the job? >> guest: well, back in 2000 i was as assigned by the associated press to cover the bush campaign because i was a staff photographer. that's my background is photo journalism. so i covered the campaign full time for 18 months nearly. >> host: did you get to know the president in, did you get to know the president in that kind of work? >> guest: you do. you do. you spend a lot of time on the road, mostly with other journalists and a lot of time with staff, campaign staff. i really didn't think about the job until actually after the election because you might remember the election wasn't decided that night and during the recount, well, that gave me the opportunity to pursue the position if governor bush had won the election. and, everything lined up. there was perfect timing for me because right after he became
president-elect i had the opportunity to ask him in person and i actually took a page out of his political playbook because he would always say during the campaign, must have been echoing in my head still at that point, i will look you in the eye to ask you for the job. i want to be your president. that is what i did at this party right after he became president-elect. >> host: what was his answer? >> guest: well he kind of looked a me. it was the longest handshake every for me. he looked like he never thought about it before. i really appreciate that and i'll get back to you. a week later i received a call from the chief of staff's office for an interview back in austin. it all happened very quickly. >> host: how many years did you spend with president bush? >> guest: well, if you count my time with him as a journalist, nearly 10 years. >> host: so you were at the white house for eight years with him? >> guest: uh-huh. >> host: how many photos did you take all together? >> guest: well i did a count because we had a, we had a
digital system at the time and i typed in my name to see how many hits would come up and it came around to nearly one million images under my name. that is everything. that is outtakes, you know, out of focus photos, photos of my feet, you know. so, yeah. >> host: eric draper, you have a trip tick in here from atop the oval office. how did you get from up top oval office? >> guest: i mounted a camera on the top of the oval office. there is little ledge that outlines the oval office where the fluor rest ant lights are. there is enough room for a camera. i mount ad digital camera and left it up there all day to show the sequence of events from the entire day from the very moments when president bush would walk into the oval office, through his all of his meetings, and so that sequence shows his mourning meetings. there is one image showing what
it looks like when the oval office is full of media just to show you how many people can fit into the oval office. >> host: how long were your days? >> guest: you know, it varied. it could go definitely, nothing shorter than eight hours. either 12 hours or 16 hours. then a lot of the, my schedule, when i would travel with president, those days are even longer. international travel. so basically as long as it took to always watch him and make sure that i didn't miss anything. and of course i had backup. i couldn't do it all alone. so when i needed help, when i needed a rest, i had a support staff. i had five, four other photographers on staff which we covered the first lady. we covered the vice president. and so -- >> host: between five of you? >> guest: exactly. >> host: were there any times that were off limits? >> guest: good question.
well, you know, obviously there are a lot of private moments on the schedule. his private time in the residence, definitely off limits. you know, i had so much access i literally had to kind of hold back just to respect that privacy, just because i was always around. i was definitely on his radar but not actually in front of him. so i tried to respect that. >> host: this photo here in the white house, mr. and mrs. bush or in the elf office, were you only one in the room at this point along with him? >> guest: yeah. >> host: what's that like? do they talk with you? do they interact? do they ignore you? >> guest: they ignore me actually. that is what i wanted. i would go days where the president wouldn't even speak to me. that is what i wanted. i didn't want the him to acknowledge me every time i walked into the room. that would change the environment. i changed the environment because i was already present but i didn't always want him to, to interact because i really
wanted to document real moments and not change anything. so, yeah, that was my role. >> host: eric draper, you write, that it was magical whenever president bush and his father were together. there's a lot of photos of the two presidents bush in this book. >> guest: well, first of all, they look so alike which was really interesting. and anytime they're together it was like history in the making because you have two presidents together, father and son. the only second son of a president or, to become president. and, and they, it was always really interesting to photograph them together as a family because they're so normal in lots of ways other than the fact they're two former, two presidents together. i really enjoyed documenting the family, the entire bush family. >> host: did you get to
know mrs. bush as well? >> guest: i did. >> host: i want to ask about this photo on a very, very long couch. how did this one come about? was this, just happenstance? >> guest: this was inside buckingham palace. this was prior to departing for a black tie dinner hosted by the queen and, the president and mrs. bush were staying there and they're kind of walking around and they were like kids. they really enjoyed themselves. , they said, eric, come photograph us on this couch. they were playing around in the image. it was a crazy, fun-like moment, where they both got on each end of the couch? >> guest: right. >> host: there is another photo from 2000 one where -- 2001, where mr. and mrs. bush were dancing. >> guest: that was taken in 2001 where the president and mrs. bush were rehearsing for the first inaugural ball
backstage at the reagan center, a quiet moment. a lot of commotion is going on behind me because everyone is preparing for the event to start and they wanted to rehearse their dance which they repeated literally a dozen times because of all the balls. >> host: now in a lost these photos you do see secret service agents standing around. what was your relationship? did you, did they have final say over your access? >> guest: no. i love those guys. they were great to work with. they knew exactly what i needed to do. of course, they were the priority. i mean the president's safety was always ultimate. and if they were in the way they would actually ask me, they would get out of the way of my images if they were, you know, in the way. so they're wonderful people. and they helped me get my job done especially with this kind of predict the president's movements and knowing where he would go. part of the job was trying to
stay a step ahead of the president in order to be in the right position at the right time. >> host: barney is in a lot of these photos. >> guest: yes. miss barney, the president called barney the son he never had. as you can see they really enjoyed each other. the president would play with him, even during the day in the oval office. barney literally had the all-access pass to the white house. he could go anywhere. >> host: well, eric draper, i want to ask about this photo. the president is on the south lawn of the white house. you can look straight out and can people see him here where he is on the jogging path? >> guest: you know the white house is so unique because the way it's laid out. typically when the president would walk on to the south lawn you couldn't see anyone. almost like he was alone, like completely alone but obviously there are thousands of tourists outside. it's real interesting place how it's laid out.
>> host: here is another visit. i think this is miss beazley in this picture. >> guest: right. miss beasley was more affection@. she enjoyed petting the president would play with her a lot. these moments, types of really light moments happen literally section. then it is back to the seriousness of the day or the meeting and, it was amazing how quickly things could transition from very intense and serious to light and funny to back to serious and the whole day was like that. >> crawford, you write in here, and, should say that in front row seat there is a page or two of text introducing each segment you say here that i enjoyed the president's trips to texas more than the time we spent in washington. why? >> guest: you know, well, first of all, i'm more of a werner. in terms of, i'm from
california. i'm from the west. i really enjoyed getting out into the open space. i enjoyed not having to wear a suit because crawford was always casual. and but during as, as a photo journalist, as a photographer trying to tell a story, the story of president bush as a texan was so fun to document. so what i tried to do was just hang out. he was more relaxed because he had more down time. and photograph president bush as a texan. and, even though his meetings, his schedule would be very much on d.c. time he still had time to, to unwind and, i was abe to document him more on a personal level. >> host: you spent a lot of time riding in the back of his pickup too, didn't you? >> guest: bumping around in that pickup truck. >> host: what was that like? how many people were in there? here he is, i'm not sure who is
in the truck? that is the spanish prime minister. >> guest: the king of saudi arabia. >> host: the king of saudi arabia in the struck with president bush. who else was in this truck at this point? you look like you're in the back seat? >> guest: it is tricky because typically, depending who was visiting, you know, he had several people that needed to be in the truck. so you had obviously security. but there's also an interpreter. or even another guest, let's say if it was, a couple, you know, a word leader had a spouse. i typically had to ride in the back of the bed, open the little window on the ford truck and shoot through the window if i was in the truck that is actually -- >> host: that's where you are in these pictures here? >> guest: i literally was making a funny picture because i had to stretch to get my camera through the window and i was bumping around in the back of the truck at the same time. >> host: there is security in the back seat or interpreters
in the back seat? >> guest: they're all over the place. >> host: would security follow you around the ranch in vehicles? >> guest: yes. there was always an entourage following the president wherever he went. >> host: i want to read a little bit from your crawford introduction. on one of my first weekend trips to the ranch, the president and first lady invited me to join them for a walk. i wasn't prepared because i was still wearing my too hot wool seat. the president said he would loan me clothes so i could go along. i said sure. we went into the house. he searched his closet and emerged with a t-shirt and pair of shorts. both were two sizes too small for me and the shorts were as bright as flags of china and russia combined. i couldn't refuse. i wanted pictures. i got dressed. there we were walking out on a industry trail, me in too-small clothing and president, first lady and agents having a laugh at me in my not so presidential@tire. >> guest: yes, that really happened.
attire. >> host: 9/11, emba booker school. two host toes we want to show folks. >> guest: yes, these moments were following the famous moment when chief of staff andy card whispered in the president's ear. the president left the classroom with all the children and walked into the hold room. that's where there was a tv in the corner that someone had turned on. and it showed the live images of the towers, the twin towers burning in new york. and, i was just shocked like everyone, just looking at that image. and immediately i tried to focus on making the pictures and not missing anything and what i tried to do was definitely have, connect what was happening in new york with what the president was doing and i was waiting for the moment that the president would actually watch the tv, to see what was happening but he
never looked up. he was so focused on his words because he was preparing for his very first statement to the nation and to the world in response to the attacks. it wasn't until the moment that dan bartlett alerted everyone in the room, and there were replaying flight 177 hitting the south tower. it was the first time we had ever scene it. and the president turned to see that image for the very first time which is burned in everyone's memory. >> host: eric draper, who got the famous photo of andy card whispering in his ear where you can almost see the president tense up? >> guest: the press photographers that were in the classroom captured that moment. >> and then aboard air force one that day? >> guest: uh-huh. yeah, we the first few moments aboard air force one were very surreal and very tense. knowing where we were headed. knowing where we were going. i remember walking upstairs of air force one before we left and as i walked through the door,
andy card was standing there and telling everyone to remove their batteries from their phones because we didn't know if we were being traced. you might see this image here, the president's on the phone and on the other side of the frame you have andy card discussing where, he is in a huddle with secret service, with the military, trying to decide where to go. i later learned we actually flew out over the gulf of mexico basically for safety and, it was very tense. we started hearing lots of reports on the plane like, you know, a car bomb hitting the state department, which was false. we heard that a fast-moving object was headed towards the president's ranch in crawford which was false. then came the most surreal moment when the president came out of cabin, said i just heard that angel is next target. >> host: angel is being
air force one. >> guest: angel is the code name for air force one. that was very, very surreal. that those were really moments aboard the plane. >> host: offit air force base. what is this moment? >> guest: secret service agent standing post outside of the room where inside the president was receiving a full briefing from military commanders there. >> host: this is one of the occasions you were not allowed in? >> guest: exactly. >> host: did you have clearance, top secret clearance. >> guest: i did. i had top secret clearance. >> host: you had to go through the background check and everything? >> guest: exactly, exactly. >> >> what: is that process like? >> guest: very intense. they call everyone. >> what time did your day end that day on 9/11? do you remember what time you got back to washington or what time the day ended? >> guest: we ended up flying into washington very late in the afternoon. we, the president got aboard marine win and landed on the
south lawn. the rest of the staff including me were in vans that headed to white house. by the time i caught up with president he was down in the peoc, presidential emergency operations center which i didn't know existed until that day. that is where he was having his first face-to-face meetings with the vice president, when with his national security team in reaction to the attacks. >> host: eric draper, what time of the day was this photo taken on 9/11? >> guest: that was probably earl evening, 7:30, 8:00, this is before the president addressed the nation from the oval office. and yeah, so the day is still not over. yeah, very long day. >> host: march two
thousand three, you have this photo of the president walking outside. >> guest: yeah, this was the moment, in terms of intensity, 9/11 was off the charts but this to me was, one of the most intense moments that i experienced photographing. this was the moments after the decision was made to commit troops to iraq. and the president made that decision in the situation room just minutes earlier and i was standing outside the door of the situation room when that meeting broke up. and, and i literally had to leap out of the way when he, when the door swung open and the president walks out. i could see emotion on his face. i could see that he, something was happening. i didn't know exactly what. so i followed him. he walked through the oval office and out to the south lawn and he walked the entire circle of the south lawn. that is when i made this picture
and the decision still weighing on his face. >> host: did he ever say to you, get away, or not now? >> guest: no. at this moment, as a matter of fact, he did speak to me right after i made this picture. and he said, he said, he asked me, on the south lawn, he said, eric, are you interested in history? all i could say was, yes, sir. he said, the pictures you're taking and situation room and one on south lawn are very important. just as he said that, out of the corner of my eye i saw don rumsfeld, secretary of defense and vice president cheney were walking out of the oval office and the president walked over to greet them. at that stage they were discussing the timing of the start of the war in iraq. >> host: when you see a meeting like this happening, how close can you physically get to
these three? >> guest: i try to give them space. i didn't get too close. but it was, that was fine because i felt, photographically speaking i was in the right spot in order to capture the environment. they were standing outside the oval office. i actually shot a photo with a telephoto so you can really see their expressions during this moment. and, i was just far away enough i couldn't really hear what they're saying but i can definitely tell from the expressions it was very intense discussion. >> host: eric draper, did the photos that are contained in "front row seat," did they have to be cleared by secret service, by the bush folks? >> guest: yeah. everything is approved by the president's library and. nothing is, was top secret that photographed. so that, that was no issue there. >> host: here's the photo when the president announced on
october 7th, 2001, afghanistan war. >> guest: right. this is in the treaty room of the white house in the residence and, this was just, you know, merely a month after 9/11 when the war in afghanistan was announced. >> eric draper, a lot of historical moments in here but there's also some, well, lighter moments i guess is the word. that i wanted to ask you about this. this is from 2004. >> guest: is this the boots? >> host: let's start with this one that is on the screen right now. >> guest: so, you know, being around for, just hanging out, waiting for like the surprise moments, i mean i had a schedule, you know, i had briefings, there are a lot of things that are scripted but, to me the joy from my job was waiting for these surprise moments like this day was the
day that this box showed up in the oval office. this is very early in the morning like 7:00 a.m. the president opens the box and there is a boxing robe that he pulls out. and he puts it on. and i'm only one there. so he is like, well, let me find someone to show it to. so that is what he is doing here. he is opening the door to the hallway in the west wing to see if anyone is around to show it off because he really thought it was pretty funny. >> host: there are two more photos on this page from 2004 re-election. inauguration night? >> guest: exactly this is inauguration evening 2004. this was just prior to the texas black tie and boots ball. the president took off his, his tuxedo shoes and put on his boots. and, this shows his sense of humor which, the president had a great sense of humor. he would always find the right time to lighten the mood, even
in some of the most serious moments. the comic relief he would deliver, the staff really enjoyed that about him. i think they, i myself just enjoyed being around him because of his sense of humor. >> host: eric draper, this looks like big holding room in unwith hotels in washington. >> guest: exactly. >> host: how many people, he looks all alone in that great big room. is he all alone in this great big room in this case? >> guest: there are people behind me. >> host: aides, secret service, the usual? >> guest: yeah. half a dozen. people scattered about. not a ton of people. >> host: in 2007, visitors to the white house. >> guest: yes, queen elizabeth and principle lip visited the white house and this was prior to a black tie dinner hosted by the president and mrs. bush in the yellow oval room which is in the residence.
and so, they're just talking before going down to dinner, and trying to, trying to show the grandeur of it all. the yellow oval room is so beautiful. it's really a great place to photograph. >> host: well, just, i want to ask you if this is significant at all. now principle lip seems to have a drink in his hand but looks like the queen might have put her drink down over here on the table. did you happen to notice that at all, so she wasn't photographed with a drink in her hand? >> guest: you know, i didn't notice that i'm not sure what that is. >> host: either you tell the story about your intimate moment with queen elizabeth or i read it straight from the book. >> guest: i'll tell you. when you're photographer for the president, you have to stay close and sometimes, and sometimes too close. in this case, and this circler in the day when the queen was visiting the white house. there was a arrival. she walked upstairs to the
residence. trying to remember exactly how long between visits. because she hadn't been in the white house for a few years so mrs. bush was givinger had a tour of the residence and the lincoln bedroom and we end up in the queen's room. i followed mrs. bush with queen elizabeth. and then realized that she is actually taking queen elizabeth to the restroom. and, by the time i realized what was happening i was embarrassed, i did an about-face. standing in front of me was prince phillip. he said in a straight face, are you following them to the loo? he laughed and i laughed and it didn't turn into an international incident but definitely awkward. >> host: eric draper, why did you choose the photo on the cover of "front row seat"? >> guest: that picture to me, visually, composition,
lighting, it is iconic image to my. shows seriousness of the job but also shows the environment of the white house and to me, that one just stood out from the pack as a cover photo. >> host: did you have a favorite trip you went on? >> guest: i think the president's trip to africa is, his last trip to africa, i believe it was 2007, to me, that was my favorite trip. i think witnessing the outpouring of love and thankfulness from all of the countries that we visited, and this is after, in reaction to the pepfar which all of the aid for global health that the president initiated. all the african people in these countries were so thankful. it was just, it was a wonderful to witness and the color, the culture there, and for me it was
my first trip to africa as, you know a black american to bo to africa is really unique and i really enjoyed that. >> host: didn't see in your book the picture of him dancing though, the famous video of the president dancing. >> guest: right. >> host: were you there and present at that point? >> guest: i was there. >> host: what was that moment like? >> guest: it was fun. the crowd went crazy when he started to dance. and, he actually did -- >> guest: did you get photos of that? >> guest: yeah, it was very fun. >> host: in this section of the book, the introduction of it you got into habit developing a slide show for the president on the way home on the flight home? >> guest: yeah. it was something that started following 9/11. one of the first trips abroad i tried to create a show to kind of lift the spirits of everyone traveling, to kind of show the hard work that was put into a lost these trips and i started
doing it after every, every trip abroad. and every trip i would raise the bar and add music and add graphics and title slide and the president and mrs. bush always looked forward to the slide show. it was like every trip, it was very enjoyable to, to produce. >> did you have facilities on air force one? did you have an office or computer in this case? you really didn't need a development office anymore. . .
the board the plane. including here, preparing for other major speech, got the teleprompter, the mock podium. the president would exercise on air force one, hold meetings, it never got old and i felt very blessed to see the world aboard that plane. >> host: here's a photo. january of 2009. >> guest: the five presidents in the oval office. this is after the election, so president obama hadn't been sworn in yet and there is a meeting in the oval office and
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