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tv   Panel Discussion on U.S. Presidents  CSPAN  September 3, 2017 11:03pm-12:07am EDT

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peopling brings them into power. i don't even watch that scare michie could come back and i will tell you in some ways i miss him but you've been a tremendous audience. don't forget labour day is coming up and i believe in renewing the tradition of the labor day gift. i just happened to think this makes a fine labor day gift. thanks for being here. [applause] please help us are staffed by pulling up your chairs.
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the eye would like to welcome and let you know that today is the sponsor is the law firm.rtat he is a partner at the firm. >> particularly for those of you that are not from mississippi welcome to the treasure that is the state capital. i see my partner over here and we are thrilled to have the privilege of being a part of what we think is one of the greatest gifts of people working for free to honor to the people of our state. please help me thank them.
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[applause] >> as many as you know the spiritual guide of the enterprise and between the two of them, but look fast and at the mississippi museum of history into the civil rights as museum simply wouldn't have happened without two of them, so that's thank them. [applause] i would like to introduce the moderator although i would say at a time perhaps as any in ther last 50 years our nation most needor nation mostneeds to be cn domestic history. it's wonderful the hands of our disposal some of the nation's
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genuine foremost experts on lincoln, grant, sherman, seward, stanton, kennedy, buckley and some of the great thinkers and leaders of american history are those that have been studied by the experts that we have on today's panel. in about two months, you will see the fully annotated version of president grant's personal. memoirs not available for the public. so i got him to sign my copy and maybe you can grab one and get him to sign. i can't even begin to set out all the accolades of this gentle man, so i think what i will simply say is that the executive director and managing editor of the grand papers and grant library is an absolute treasure for the people of mississippi to have it at our disposal and it
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is a pleasure to introduce the doctor. [applause] what they've done together for the state and if you've never read my book on the mississippi politics, you need to read it. you might need to cover your years sometimes. they don't always agree but it's a wonderful book and gives you some great insight into this history of the state. first, welcome to the mississippi book festival. we have about an hour to talk about books published since the last year that the deal with individuals primarily who were close to some important presidents in american history, and what you're going to do is
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try to concentrate our own uv audience with the kind of information, the kind of importance to talk about what these individuals have meant too american history for a long period of time. i was the director of the grant association's presidential library at mississippi state, one of the hardest jobs to learn how to say that. but at the present, just to give you a brief overview, presently we are preparing as andy pointed out the first publication to first annotated version of the grant memoirs and we are very i excited harvard is publishing this and they've been terrific getting publicity out etc..
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we're also getting ready, and i invite all of you to come on november 30 we are going to be opening the u.s. grand presidential library in the square-foot addition to the mitchell memorial library and we will have in that place finally the opportunity to have that place to do what we need to do. and as many of you have seen in the newspaper just fairly recently, frank and virginia williams of rhode island being the retired chief justice donated to us what i think is the best single private collection of abraham lincoln material anywhere. it is absolutely incredible we will have a mississippi but real estate on grant and lincoln. no one will be able to do a book
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like this. we will be open for business by november 1 certainly. what we are going to do today is introduced the three authors alh at once, throw some questions out to them, give them a chance to interact and talk and then we will have time at the end to give youth a chance to ask any questions and all you need to do is stand up and go to the podium in the middle of the room and we will be happy to listen to you. i would like to start out first of all at the far end here this is curtis, a native mississippi and who grew up in greenville mississippi, and later worked for the clarksdale press
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register and was there during a crucial time during the civil rights era of 1963 to 1969. later after doing some other things, he joined the "boston globe." during his newspaper career, he covered some eight presidential campaigns and has reported on most of the middle east conflict. in 2007, he became the first fellow for southern journalism and politics at his alma mater and the university of mississippi and that is the position that he still holds. what we have is a marvelous book that he wrote a whiff of his "boston globe" reporters, and he talks about how john f. kennedy became president of the united states. it's actually a very fascinating book. next is the author of a very
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important book on william f. buckley junior. they've taught at one of the prestigious universities in the nation. he has written articles for numerous newspapers, magazines, he was a principal spokesman for the 9/11 commission that we are familiar with. and he also served as an advisor to the state department and the defense department in two different presidential administrations. he was also on the republican majority staff in the house that on representative and this is what his book looks like. i want all of you to make sure that you have seen the two because you're going to want to buy at least three. nobody should want to go home without this but last not least is the situation here sitting
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next to me as both he is waltera native of massachusetts grew up in california. at the stanford university he came back again to become a graduate of harvard university law school. he has served in many functions as an expert on international law and one of the places he served as a place that we are all familiar with in hong kong. he also worked in the office of the chairman of the securities and exchange commission. later he worked for fidelity investors but particularly in taiwan and japan. then in 1999, while his wife was teaching mathematics at philips exeter academy, he launched his
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own writing career by completing the book end of the boo and thee going to discuss today mr. stanton the secretary of war in the lincoln administrationf and i do need to point out to you people talk about history and all that old stuff. we have something up to the date. there's an article in "the wall street journal" talking about the five most important books on the lincoln assassination melloan i'm sorry, the impeachment. but you can learn something about the assassination, too. to get a copy of the journal you will learn a great deal. what i would like to do now is
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ask each of the authors and this is tough, but you ask them to give a short overview of the book maybe three minutes at most. what are you talking about in each of the books, and what does this tell us about your individual status? to th >> it was a book basically about kennedy in 1960 and winning the presidency and changed the political recorders for politics so we knew we had to do something different. so, we essentially would go all the way back to the genesis of the kennedy campaign. so we covered a five-year period
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and discovered a lot of things we didn't know. they delivered the wholenomina nomination and they disregard the recommendation that he ever made. it was an operation where they were in charge and make the strategic decisions and we also discovered that it was the first modern presidential campaign that they hired their own poster that helped guide them to the
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places that they needed to go and they hired the first media guru to advise him on how to deal with this fairly new phenomenon television command of this had the advantage. kennedy may have been the first of all printed entirelthat operf the existing political structures that essentially ignored the party apparatus and the different states nationally. he went out and created his own organizations that ran independently and to create something that we have seen follow sins than. if you had the other candidates
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that didn't get a nomination but gene mccarthy and george mcgovern got the nomination of 72 and jimmy carter certainly ran outside of the political operatives, and god help us so did donald trump last year. so, there were a number of things that took place in the kennedy campaign that were first and modern and had been emulated a person's. >> thank you very much. it is an honor to be here since the festival has been going to become one of the treasure all cultures melloan cultural treasures. william f. buckley junior people over a certain age remember the host of the firing line. 35 years, same host.
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it exhibited a tremendous personal gift with style, grace it was the last time conservatives would go to one public square and as we like to say is more serious debate. if they want to give the liberals a watch but the antiwar of activists want to cheer on george of course there's nothing but strengthen your own site having the challenge and defended so we could defeat some criticism every once in a while, trust me i could take care of all of them. the one presidential candidate but declined to.
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there was a hard time doing anything with the characters. we think of william f. buckley junior as the founder of the modern conservative movement. i say in the bucke book it is tt influential private citizen in the history of the country. it took him a half a century to do that. he had an idea that he wanted to chip away a little bit about the new deal and the world when he grew up every five minutes the
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federal government president didn't have to have the position on everything and didn't have to be involved in that aspect of life. we are still kind of stealing this. we did a lot to move america somewhat back and of course the tradition of that comes withba ronald reagan. but how did we exert his influence? who talked about the style and
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grace and operated under anyrms number he had a newspaper colu column. he was the lead conservative columnist before george will came along. he had it in a magazine for the colleges and universities and have a television show we talked about and even wrote the most esoteric journals. he even read through playboy and
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sat for an interview. he says the only way that i can communicate is by fixing it up. so, wherever you were. the only columnist i can think of made it not only on the late-night economy but the only journalist i know william f. buckley junior appeared in a lab and is one of the figures.
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we write an op-ed and we are done.t as t he found an organization and i didn't like the supreme court opinion. he wrote several columns but byr the end of the week the organization was 100,000 people and he was on every tv show in america. that is how he updates. i think the major break in his career made him sore when he ran for the mayor of new york city. one was a newspaper strike a. whe.we had 12 in new york and ty are all out on the newspaper strike and we had televised
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debates to tell people what they were learning and you had these great quotes. it makes him the tall liberal abraham being the democratic candidate and that makes him the short liberal in the race so that is the difference between the opponents that have more ideological than ideological.
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finally, here's, all these gifts but the presidential candidates to come accordingly and i hope you have timwe have time to talt mr. nixon and mr. ronald reagan. i found it in the files of the buckley papers and i will talk more about that later [inaudible] a great work of organizing the war department and the army but
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there's quite a bit of puppy forgot that starts with steubenville ohio and traces the legal and political career. as a lawyer myself i was fascinated by some of his trials and among other things he defended congressman danielth accused of murdering the grandson of francis scott key. they'd need to understand at first impeachment of an american president and you need to understand stand him because johnson was impeached for attempting to remove stand.
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not long after he died, george templeton described stanton as honest, patriotic, able, warmhearted, unselfish, incorruptible, arbitrary, capricious, tyrannical. standing muzzle of those things and worked for the biographert and i hope such a fascinating person to read about. here's something that struck me about the book and we talked about this before, but he also says in his book on standing the secretary of war was even deceitful.
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he was a great man but he wasn't a good man and so i wonder, it struck me the book gives a chance to respond to that but can we say the same about john f. kennedy or william buckley? he didn't appreciate what was going on in the civil rights movement until very late in his campaign when he finally became persuaded.
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these are characteristics that don't change. the best ones suspiciously, right, andy? >> buckley was not a president of course. he helped make presidents and break a few presidents..ea he thought about running for president funds and we can go back to that because he has good visibility. after the mailer list when he shows up at the airport to catch a plane to washington, he had audiences signing up to get an autograph. but again, the power of television the campaign is over
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in november and by february he does firing line and mentioned the national office. bill was a campus politician capable within the new rules. i never found anything in thend letters to say that he was deceitful. a man of great deceit, and eleanor roosevelt who knows a little about deceit said he understood they had the ability for the capacity.. his wife said that.
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so you can imagine what the residents said and god knows how many other people. he was trustworthy but also to make a tough decision when we think about the compassionate one can always going around the forget it can liquidate and that is how we remember the pardonsns that he was capable in the calculation. calculation. >> just to continue a bit with
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what albert was saying, if lincoln and a stanton had a good cop and bad cop routine. if they both know what is going on, the good cop can't completely escape the. it's how they throw many people into prison and generally they don't spend the whole civil war there but they spent several months in prison, and indeed jefferson davis when he returns to jackson.
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although jefferson doesn't mention stanton. he knew exactly what stanton was doing on the civil liberties front and in his dealings with political opponents of theth administration. i am just wondering if you all want to talk about.
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they didn't have much staff, so did these individuals we've been talking about play some sort of a bigger role or is it an evolution? >> what struck me was essentially there was no staff and the white house professional staff consists of john and one other presidential secretary. he was much more dependent on the cabinet an cabinets and evee the next endocrinology.
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i've never seen a publisher mentioned anywhere it's got to be besieged by longtime friends you've never heard of.ll so, by filling in the administration you would be very wise not to forget those people who are still doing a resume on your nickel. ronald reagan already played some of that when he was the governor in california but some of the people.
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he had a role in the speech and peter robertson is at the institution as a protége of buckley [inaudible] now the moderates running the administration.
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but reagan was working behind the staff at the white house. peter robertson's great line tear down this wall. the state department tried to take it out about 20 times and he kept putting it back in. i don't know if they knew the extent they fought every one of these appointments. well, a number of conservatives came to reagan and were upset this is stopping ronnie and he's not pushing harder on some of the issues.
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i would occasionally weigh in. whenever he gets in trouble all bets are off. for y he has nothing to do with baker and that's when business gets done. christopher buckley says he
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didn't have a lot of male friends and got together with his hollywood buddies and they talked about the old days. the only that they got to lay his hair down to talk about virtual things like this and children and how to handle the difficult people, buckley had a staff, too. you can't hire a son-in-law or best friend and that their rvs breakout costs within limits.
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it wasn't a certain bounds there were these discussions so why don't they stop with that. if they had the spirit of st. louis they are reading all of these award-winning roles to make sure they have tremendous ambition and you will be great.
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the story should be told. >> i think walter describing abraham lincoln's circle gives you an idea of how things have grown to literally hundreds of people on executive staff the war department.od
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no idea how the candidate is going to be.nd with kennedy, he was a relatively tight inner circle. he had the irish mafia but it was a very cunning and very smart and well-educated people with virtually all of them were ivy league education. ted sorensen was the antithesis from nebraska about an invaluable member of the team from the outset h it was a beautiful writer and wordsmith, very thoughtful intellectual sounding board so the staff is very important. i covered the two white house is
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a in one of the problems is it wasn't a great staff and he took people that were not experienced and i think he went to washington with a chip in his shoulder thinking the congress was prepared to work with him and he bequeathed him with theh georgia legislature put the staff let him down and the staff was a very good one.
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he had a very good staff around him and was grounded and where he wanted to go. but the speaker i think gave him three by five cards to make a speech and he didn't know what he was talking about. he was inarticulate but he had a good staff. >> something that struck me in reading these three books we are talking abut stanton and buckley and kennedy these are mythical figures in american history. they have this mythology about each of these figures and i'm just curious what do you all
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think to your books change this version do you present in your books information that gives the american public the chance to see a true picture of these three individuals. it's a grand total of one location. at the moment that would give the house passed away, stanton supposedly says now he belongs to the ages. but if you look for that print you don't find it in print until 1890. if you look at the account of the last minutes and then the next succeeding the fact that appear in great detail right after lincoln's death and the letters none of them see that stanton said anything.
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so the first was i don't think he said it. and there were a number of other instances where for example most people know from the looks of doris kearns goodwin or the biographies of lincoln when they first met stanton he was rude to him and they were a cocounsel in a case in cincinnati and that's where they met and stanton supposedly said to brought along this long-lived baboon but then you don't find it for 30 or 40 years. my uncle in cincinnati and told me, so a lot of what i feel like i'm doing as i research and
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write these books is like taking the truth to the archaeological book and cleaning away the dirt. i don't want to get so that there's nothing left, but i do feel like it's important to try as best one can to get down to what really happened and not just what people remember 25 years later. >> this deals with the surprises i have i spent a lot of time with reagan. t let me talk about an earlier president. the great leader of the conservative intellectual movement is running for mayor and got the firing line and all the candidates, accordingly. they want the newspaper columnist to support because they have thousands if not millions of readers and
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audiences on the firing line. so, obviously. now the main thing is to see what happens. again a little bit of this you would think that reagan and buckley were recluse but sometimes politics is a very cold calculation. and he escaped a little of this. he puts out something called the buckley rule. he took them down to florida several times and they said okay. it's the winter of 68, what are you going to do about the you d president? and he says i will come out for the most viable alternative.
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now we have three people running. nelson and rockefeller might win the. buckley saw that eisenhower was moderate and george wallace said it was the difference betweene the two parties and all that. the policy there wasn't many differences.
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he wasn't pushing the country far enough away. being as aggressive as he was in the cold war.i bird this is one of the chapters he pays the price. going back to the eisenhower days. they said no not going to work.
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it is about his character mr. nixon is a man to do business with, so buckley decides that in the policy on the side of law and order he holds a stronger view on vietnam that he got and becomes a powerk broker. he is going to advise the campaign and is going to write a number of columns. and he forms a common bond with the leaders at the time one of whom is a great statesman withan clark read.
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this is the last convention that was decided by how the political leaders will decide how the wi delegations go, not the primary voters but the last convention was delivered, so clark read seizsees the same thing about nn and how he is the most available choice. then barry goldwater weighs in as the heroes of time before. and the senator from texas joined the republican party when goldwater was nominated. a couple of elected officials, the legendary party chairman and that surprised me greatly.
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when you say you're going to settle on the lesser evil, it tells the story of the nixon ling of the relationship that i devoted another chapter to. >> while he's making his point, anyone interested in asking questions if you could start lining up behind a microphone to make the point. >> i would like to work on this project. it was a huge factor. people blamed catholicism.
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he knew he had to deal with it and he confronted rather than running from it. al smith could more or less try to hide the fact and he had speeches he delivered in houston before the association in september 1960 that he had been delivering all dear. and mad my brother was killed in world war ii. does that mean because we are catholic but we are ineligible to hold higher office in this country? one other interesting thing about the issue of catholicism, there was an active campaign by billy graham and norman vincent peel and a number of other evangelical leaders to subvert the kennedy campaign on thee
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grounds that he was an active conspiracy in the nixon campaign that worked with nixon hand in the globe and there is a correspondence between billyly graham and richard nixon that he'll be meeting in switzerland in the summer of 1960 and gathered about 20 evangelical leaders from around the country to basically plot how they could destroy the campaign. the kennedy people were able ton infiltrate the one comic meeting in washington they were going to have a secret meeting the kennedy people found out about it and were able to get a couple of reporters to sneak into the meeting and they heard norman vincent peel say that this would be the end of the culture in america if a catholic were elected. they were confronting in the
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lobby of the hotel and he stuck with this and was trying to disassemble and deny and finally realized he had to drop out of the competition. but i think that is a good example of what you're asking about. how do you deal with things in the book that are going to be fresh and new or forgotten to the reader. >> we have a question coming but feel free this is a good chance for you to come and stand in line and ask a first question. >> i have one question. i've want to know which was then last president to write his own speech. >> that is a good question.
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surprisingly, some of these guys are capable of writing good speeches and fortunately they all have good speechwriters. bill clinton was a good writer and wrote some of his speeches. he had help on some of the drafts but i know that because as a matter of fact my son was s speechwriter for clinton. he wrote some of his speeches, jimmy carter was painstaking i know hi in that he didn't trusta lot of his speechwriters. he felt only he was capable of writing the perfect speech. but some of them would write their own speeches. sure, no question. >> we tend to overestimatee pres melloan underestimated presidents. when i looked at the papers i found some speeches he gave to
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the congressman. there was a great synergy there. he had an extraordinary interview on the press. it was no different than the one that we saw in 63 and not long ago they didn't say whether he wrote his own speeches but he certainly wrote his own radio commentary. he always had a legal pad in his lap reading something and when he called in a speechwriter, yes it was scripted and i gave you some examples where they woulde give wines they wanted. they would call the writer in and say i read the article about such and such, go find it.ld .. go find it and often have the quote he wanted and he
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would say here is where i am going, you know me well enough, who wrote the speech? the writer wrote the speech, it was a combination. one thing i can't say, we know herbert hoover wrote his own speeches and it shows. i will leave it at that. >> my >> >> he clearly lost or it was not a decisive victory i am thinking of the first to you debates like baldwin 65? c and also the doll 1968 at the dnc. >> i am carious of course,
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this is ideology aside so i am curious from you do you ever are did he knowledge this in his private letters or did it bother him in his private life?. >> first this is misunderstood it was under the democratic convention there was a documentary than it was added to provide commentary for abc bed thedo other networks were showing gavel-to-gavel they didn't like each other and had years before had altercations so time the night of the humphrey nomination and their channel
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as well whole world was watching and ask him to comment and it got very heated and the question was going around the vietcong flags and the moderator moderator, headed help the moderator but said this is world war ii so we had withwar were demonstrators saying this is day not the flag were viet cong flag with a one to honor the shooting of american soldiers. so as far as i am concerned wee only one neo-nazi is youou so 23 years after world warut two ended you call somebody and not the? -- nazi? that
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was eight career ender or he did something he was not proud of and i will get them back by making a reference by his sexual preference.i wo andy gets a lot of bad mouthreap and buckley comes back and said there is nothing to take prided when using your own temper. to be where i the moderator. [laughter] >> really have a few minutes left i would like to ask the last question so take a look
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at this book a wonderful book on stanton and a man and his presidents with william f. buckley coming from different perspectives you will find that absolutely fascinating in a couple of seconds we have left i would ask the panelist to sentences that most what is your next book? >> either sam and chase who is dole were thaddeusas stevens to is very colorful. >> and also with the abstract of the american presidency i will certainly update that i don't know how w we're going to deal with number 45 but then some
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other aspects i have a few ideas. >> my next movie will be once i read it. [laughter] [applause] >> i need you will all agree that the common will has been made healthier as ank consequence of this exercise men [applause] [inaudible conversations] you always wanted to know
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about god but wereafraid to ask . on hopper , faster, smarter, profits why and if you can keep it: the forgotten promise of american liberty. >> >> host: eric metaxas in your book "if you can keep it" talk about the golden triangle of freedom

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