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tv   Open Phones with David Mc Cullough  CSPAN  August 23, 2016 2:59am-3:40am EDT

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he wanted to be the deputy secretary of state, but then when they proposed this idea of the afghanistan pakistan special envoy job it was tough for the white house to say no because he was staggering. but once he got the job, he was fairly systematically stymied by the white house in ways large and small. he was left off air force one when president obama went to afghanistan for his first trip. he was left out in meetings. the anecdote that opens up the chapter is a meeting where he is on the screen and he opens up with a classic flowery opening about the council of lyndon johnson as a precedent faces consequential decisions and president obama cut him off and
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said richard, do people really talk like that and so he kind of clams up and was, you know, humiliated and snickering around the table. so, t to me, that human story of his trials and tribulations is also a nice way to capture the different generational perspectives and cultural perspectives that hillary clinton and barack obama brought to the job. i have a lot more in next chapter that getthischapter thay which ended when he died tragically of a torn aorta which happened during a meeting with hillary clinton and, you know, i think there was this amazing scene in which a few of my colleagues captured as well in his book that the memorial service at the kennedy center where president obama sat amidst the democratic foreign-policy
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and listened to every single one of them praise him to the sky when every one of them knew how miserable his time had been in the white house and how the president and he never got along and it was one of these incredible washington tableaux where it tells you everything you need to know. >> with that, i want to bring you all in for questions. there are so many. is there a microphone being passed around? it's right there. >> one dynamic that neither of you have mentioned is that this is i think the first time at least 150 years that the secretary of state was known to have immediate presidential ambitions and they took the risk of appointing her there anyway. so i'm wondering how this dynamic that i can't remember the last secretary of state to run for president affected the relationship.
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>> james buchanan. 1857. went o on tv by many peoples reckoning the worst president in the history of th the republic. so, not hopefully prolong in this case. on the one hand, the huge political stature of hillary clinton was attracted to him because recall in 2009, she knew for the first year he was going to be completely batted down at the white house dealing with this financial crisis and recession. and yet he wanted to go around the world and rebuild alliances. he needed a superstar in this case with her own political stature to go off to do that so he didn't have to do it himself. and that's largely the first year was about and we were on a lot of those troops.
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and so, the other thing i've talked to a couple of his political advisers of what the thinking was when this was announced. another thing a day i thing he t removed a huge independent political voice from the senate. let's say the first term had been a disaster, it also removed the possibility of a primary challenge from the person you basically had a hard time getting past the first time. so on a number of political grounds it made a lot of sense. one of his advisers said to me the huge risk was if the relationship went badly and wast was about of open dissent. there would be a monumental political storm not without risk but a lot of valid political reasons why it made sense. >> if you had any doubts about what she might have been able to do in the senate to take a look at what mark has written. i was covering the senate hearing when she went after
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petraeus. that contracted with what you report as his own words about what she was on and how she bonded with him and listened. she had an interest in the military but her willingness to turn on this public session was pretty dramatic. >> she stuck a shiv into him basically and he felt that way and apparently they had a perfectly amiable conversation in the room right before they walked out and she took them down. but he says in hindsight he gets back and they had a very nice talk when they came in and he was ahead of the central command
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and shcentral commandand she cay of state and then proceeded to cultivate and assiduously to support him 100% in the afghan troop debate. the other, there is a general that is well known -- less known who i think is more important with whom she has had a longer and deeper relationship as a former army chief of staff by some accounts really the chief architect of the search he is the one who told bush to do this in 2007. and he had an ongoing frequent regular relationship with him. he had just gone to brief her on what to do about syria and one of the things she told him to separate a partial no-fly zone. so i think that he is the key person to understand in the relationship with her.
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>> if you want to understand her foreign-policy as a blueprint for now the general is listed as donald trump's chief foreign policy/military advisor. >> jesus for the record he doesn't advise any candidate including her and spoke to the chief of staff recently and reiterated i'm not his advisor but i talked to anyone running for president and it was a was d answer they often give. here comes the microphone. you may not read it. >> what you said you've been discussing about the differences between president obama and secretary clinton were the middle east.
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maybe that's because that's what's important aside from latin america which you mentioned briefly there is a whole other world out there i'm wondering whether there are other thoughts about that and whether it comes up in the buckk and so on. >> that's i think the other -- there are other areas in the buck where i don't believe there were differences. she should be credited with being the prime driver of the policy and they co-opted it. this is an interesting story because hillary clinton you will recall was the most visible symbol of the recent policy in part because of that exercise where she gave the plastic button and used the wrong word for reset in russian.
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but she was more skeptical all along about dmitry medvedev's staying power and whether he was calling the shots were once just what he ended up being. this is one of those stories that caught the name of revisionism on both sides. if you ask the white house they will tell you she turned on putin when it was obvious where he was coming from anyway and she wrote a very well-known exit memo to the president on putin and russia saying we need to recognize that he's bad news into this relationship is going to deteriorate. there are some in the white house but think it was convenient timing. the state department argument is that she was skeptical all along and always thought that he was going to come in when the time was right and get rid of him and things were going to go south. but i think is not disputed
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because she's on the record of saying it is she would advocate a tough line against putin in ukraine in particular. at the brookings institute last fall she was asked about this and felt we should have pushed back harder against him and i think there's evidence her advisers said she would have favored the lethal defensive weapons to the ukrainian army. that's something they also favor. president obama does not. we will always lose an escalation battle because they matter so much more than to us. i think they withdraw a tougher line on this one and that is an area. >> on tuesday i asked her about a comment she made on cnn last week that blew up a bit because they made a big deal out of it and she had said that in terms
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of being able to deal with trump she said i have a lot of experience dealing with men who go off the reservation. and much to her horror she got criticized by nativ native amers who said that was politically incorrect. but she also got hammered by trump said uc davis a problem and she's talking about bill so when it came up she said i wasn't doing that. you were there i was talking about putin. so there were all those men that we dealt with but in any case. >> she told i them her own book where she goes to meet putin for the first time as the secretary of state and he keeps her waiting which he typically does.
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actually maybe he didn't keep them waiting as long. i know the president talked about this issue of who keep them waiting. anyway, kept her waiting, walked in. it was a photo op and instead of just letting the cameras flash, he delivered a lecture to her about how the u.s. isn't getting enough on trade and you should let the companies in. the cameras were booted out and we thought she will be furious about this. so we get on the plane that evening. she comes back and we are like this is going to be great. she said this is just a domestic audience. afterwards, he invited me downstairs to his private office and showed me a huge map of endangered siberian tigers and bears which is a huge issue for him. he had a whole meeting about
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this in st. petersburg and she couldn't go. so he invited her to go on an expedition into the first choice was bill that he wasn't available so in a way i thought that this was a running theme in their relations with these strong-willed foreign leaders. she does have an insight into the way that they work and can deal with the kind of aggression in a way that sets her apart from other people. >> she always manages to find the element where you can connect with someone even an adversary. we have time for one more question. >> i'm loving the conversation. it's just the kind of thing we want to showcase at the wilson center. if i could pull away from the puck and ask about this whole
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campaign which both of you are going to cover, what can you do and also what can be due to elevate or at least create a serious foreign-policy conversation between the candidates to elevate and focus on the nuanced conversations. >> i would have thought that they were revelatory and i followed up and reported on demand bee then talked about itn meet the press in the ball flew up but that's okay because we were talking at the nonproliferation summit and here donald trump is talking without any comment from the other media about what's what south korea and japan get nuclear weapons
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and he was of course followed up on cnn as well and just the fact that he was so casual about it. i am in favor of nonproliferation but then talking about the treaty i think that it is on us to force a serious conversation. we cannot expect the candidates to engage in the debate necessarily had to head. i expect this wil that this wile unpredictable in every regard because he is not going to debate this session and what happened in the primary season. we used to do it on our own. it's important, you've absolutely framed it and she has to explain why did they think
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that once he was gone it was going to be possible to build institutions of governance and why didn't they follow up better. it's wonderfully rich detail so she has to explain how her policies would work and whether or not you have to make a trade-off between what libya now is in the coastal cities. we cannot expect that they would do it themselves and it may not be commercially successful or viable but i get a platform every day and check its just coming onto my program today at 12:45 and i have another opportunity to ask more questions.
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>> i think i covered a foreign-policy speech last week and it was a contradiction and things that didn't make a lot of sense when you thought them through a. we wanted our allies to do more predictability but then the other in inviting isis and so he wanted the cold war policy that tend to talk about dismantling ththe foreign policy so it's not an easy debate. he can come at her from the right and left on trade.
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she said that in the interview earlier this week he doesn't have the gravity of the issues to be commander-in-chief. we can't trust this guy about in terms of the details, the only interesting slight footnote i will make and put this in the article there are one or two echoes of obama and trump. one is his disparagement and disdain. he is not going to have people with long resumes who failed at everything they've done. the other thing is although obama catches this notion that the need to step up and start paying more for the defense it sounds like what he said to jeff goldberg about the free riders so there are some interesting he
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does key into the issues that have appeal and hillary clinton will have to offer a persuasive counterargument to that and i think that everything i know about her where she comes by and believes. in some ways she's the ideal person to articulate the case because she fervently believes and has kind of the experience and in a way maybe the argument would be at a higher level if you get past the slogan the high-level argument is i'm the person who wants to preserve and defend this post war order and trump will question the need for that order and maybe start dismantling it. >> he may be a lot closer to where the american people are in
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terms of being against the establishment and this hasn't worked so let's try something new. there are a lot of cross karen karen's. i need to run only because i haven't written it yet and i have to prepare for this. i'm going to excuse myself while mark stays with you to buy all the books you're going to buy because it is the best investment in terms of understanding what has happened over the last eight years and what is likely to happen. that is my s
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