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tv   Amy Chozick Chasing Hillary  CSPAN  May 26, 2018 3:30pm-4:31pm EDT

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... >> no, you did not come here to listen to my job description. [laughter] you have definitely come to meet the award-winning new york times
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journalist amy chozick, author of the instant new york times bestseller, "chasing hillary." 9 -- which i have to tell you is one of the most enjoyable books i have read this year, and i read a lot. [laughter] i'm so delighted to introduce amy to you and tell you all about her fun and page-turning memoir which i literally could not put down. but first, some housekeeping. please make sure your cell phones are off, take lots of pictures, tag us on social media. please pick up an event call car on your way back to get more info at all of the events in our store and coming very soon our union market location. right? yea. [laughter] amy's going to read from her book and then talk for a little while afterward, and then she's going to take questions from you. and very important, you'll see
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just this one microphone right here. please queue up and use the mic. it really helps us with the audio quality because, as you can see, we're being recorded. so smile. copies of amy's book are available for purchase at the register. held that way after her reading and then come back here to form a line to my left so that she can sign your books. and lastly, please be kind to my book-selling colleagues and help us strike the scene after the talk. so if you're able, please fold up your chair and stack them against the sides of the walls. i do feel like a flight attendant right now. [laughter] okay. now if you, like me, are still suffering from election fatigue, i can tell you this is not another hillary clinton book. "chasing hillary," i think, is the palette cleanser we didn't even know we needed served in the form of a frothy, fun, moving and meaningful memoir that new york magazine called a sort of bridge et jones' diary meets what it takes set on the campaign trail with a tragic
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twist at the end. spoiler alert: clinton lost. [laughter] so i'm so flighted to introduce amy -- delighted to introduce amy. i know you all knowerfrom her magnificent work at "the new york times." she's a writer-at-large and a frequent contributor to "the new york times" magazine. before joining the times in 2011, she spent eight years at the "wall street journal" where she was a foreign correspondent based in tokyo and coveredhill are and obama's -- hillary and obama's 2008 presidential campaigns. that is enough from me, so please help me welcome amy to the podium. thank you. [applause] >> hi. thank you so much. i know ronan farrow is having an event at the other politics & prose, so i really appreciate you guys coming to mine. not quite comey, but still very tough. i was just going to explain a little bit why i chose to write a really personal memoir,
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because i think some of the tidbits leaked out and some people thought this was another campaign book. this is really personal. i get into whether i should freeze my eggs until after the election and all kinds of things that, like, professional women have to deal with when every a big job and also a personal life. so, you know, i'm a real student of campaign books. i've read all of them, and i love them, but they're all, like, great men who show how they can get inside the campaigns of other great men. so 2016 was this confluence of the first woman with a real shot at the presidency and a largely-female press corps. some of my girls on the bus are here. and so i thought there was a real opening to write a book that was much more female, much more personal. i sort of thought of it as julie and julia but with politics instead of cooking, you know, this kind of looming figure in hillary clinton looming over my life which, you know, i think a lot of women have a job looming over them. mine happened to be the woman who wanted to become the first
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woman president. and i also fell into covering hillary in sort of a weird way. i mean, the introduction was very kind but glossed over how hard it was to get into journalism. i grew up in san antonio, texas, i moved to new york with no job, no clips. i had a stack of clips from the daily texan -- no job, no contacts. i literally dropped off a set of clips downstairs in the hobby of publications at places i wanted to work at. a very nice security guard was like, ma'am, you going to have to -- you're going to have to leave. [laughter] i was a temp at vogue and all these fancy magazines, and it was kind of miserable. i was from texas, so i spent $30 on jeans and had a plastic clip in my hair. i was getting off the elevator, and i heard someone say, okay, who told her she could wear her hair that way? [laughter] and it was a few years of that before i got this job as a news assistant at the "wall street journal" on the foreign news desk. and it was right after the "wall
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street journal"'s newsroom had been bombed out on 9/11, and danny pearl had been kidnapped in pakistan. it was just a really interesting, important time to be at at the paper. and like everybody, was sweaty and grizzled and talking about world events, and i was like, oh, my god, i found my people. and then i went to tokyo and was a foreign correspondent there. and my boss in japan who covered all of asia was, became washington bureau chief. and he said how'd you like to go to iowa and cover hillary clinton? i was like, sounds great, i'm riding that to the white house. so i go to iowa, and i didn't know anything about american -- i mean, i knew very little about american politics because i'd been focused on japan for a couple years. i'd herald of this guy -- i'd heard of this guy, barack obama. years later i told one of hillary clinton's top aides i didn't know what a caucus was, and he said is, that's okay, we doesn't know either.
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[laughter] i learned this whole, i immersed myself in american political reporting, and it was kind of as foreign to me as japan was. and then flash forward several years, jill abramson, the executive editor of the times at the time, put me on the hillary beat in 2013 in the lead up of her covering her running for president. so that's a little bit of a back story. you know, i've -- since this book has come out, i know you can't write about hillary without there being some controversy, but it's made me see how many open wounds there still are about this campaign and how many questions there are. so i just hope my decade of covering her and my perspective on her can help people understand this figure. i know right now everything is through the prism of trump. it's understandable. but i also wrote this book with hillary -- i don't think, i think it would be unfortunate to always view her through the prism of trump. she's had a decades-long impact, career. her place in the public eye has been incredibly important barometer of how we view powerful women and, you know, all kinds of things. and i think it'd be unfortunate
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to always view her through the prism of this man who defeated her in kind of the last chapter of her really public life. and then the other thing i guess i should tell you before i start reading is hillary's male press aides, i -- they all serve the same purpose in my life which was to control coverage, protect hillary, and they all had similar physical characteristics, like white, 30-something, clean cut guys. so i created this character, i call them the guys in the book, and they were like this greek chorus that was constantly tragic comic greek chorus -- [laughter] that was always berating me and yelling about coverage. i gave them monikers that i thought readers, you know, i was thinking of my mom's book group in texas. does she know this operative from that operative. it's confusing. but i gave them joke key monitors. some people have said you granted them anonymity. it wasn'ting a journalistic choice, it was more of a literal
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choice. i'm just going to read two short chapters, and then i'll take whatever questions you have. this is in south africa in 2012, the chapter is called "bill clinton." bill clinton was holding a glass of chardonnay but not drinking it the night i walked into his suite at the saxton hotel in johannesburg. it was after midnight. i'd flown to south africa with a team of teenage rugby players who were bursting with testosterone and fist pumping during the entire 16-hour flight plus a refueling stop in senegal. i'd checked into my room in the main house of the saxon, once the private residence of an eccentric billionaire who befriended clinton during his presidency. i passed rows of photos of stein with a younger, plumper clinton. i crossed a wooden bridge over a pond, the sound of peacocks and fire flies and the hum of
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cicadas in the distance. i opened theville that's heavy engraved doors -- the villa's heavy engrave doors. a living room decorated in tasteful neutral hues with a scattering of african sculptures. a handful of friends of bill -- also known as fo bs -- sat at a nearby table playing oh hell. they made small talk about hillary's 2016 prospects. if romney wins, the party will have to totally pave the way for her. clinton stood by a row of neatly arranged beige leather bar stools wearing a baby blue v-neck cashmere sweater, tan driving shoes, jeans and a friendship bracelet tied around his frail waist -- sorry, frail wrist. chelsea sat on a sofa sipping evian alongside her chief of staff. i'd later confess to one of the clinton foundation donors, an an algorithmic trader in chicago, that i felt guilty about how much "the new york times" had paid to send me on the clinton
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foundation trip, a six-night swing through mozambique, south africa, plus a pit stop in cyprus. believe me, raj said, i paid more. it was the summer of 2012 right before clinton's spell-binding speech renominating obama at the democratic national convention when no one was paying much attention to bill clinton. i'd been in sun valley, idaho, chasing down media moguls and crashing a cocktail party with wendy murdoch. rupert hates "the new york times", but i love you, wendy said. when jill abramson approved the africa trip, never mind it had nothing to do with my beat at covering media at the time. looking back, it's astonishing that the guys ever allowedded me to cover this philanthropic swing. we were all so simpatico then that when the times photographer showed up from a stint in yemen with no luggage, clinton loaned him his razor. i was the only reporter who stayed the entire trip starting with that first night at the saxon when bill clinton talked
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my ear off well into the early morning hours. among about a million other topics, he explained that nelson mandela had written his memoir on the grounds before it became a five-star hotel. that's where i stayed until 2010, clinton said. he looked around at the villa with its high, airy ceilings and spotless marble floors. it's a wonderful place, i love this place, clinton said. he a paused for a moment. he'd visited the slums earlier that day. the next day we would fly to rwanda where we would take a military helicopter to a red dirt village to visit a children's hospital. yeah, we feel slightly guilty staying here, he said. he took a sip of chardonnay, but i get over it. over the next six days, i vacillate ared between awe at clinton's brain power and very vefer and total exhaustion from his self-absorption and driveling on. after a couple of nights of
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hotel bar banter, i began to feel like the lucky passenger upgraded to first class on a transatlantic flight only to wind up next to a rack contour who rambles on. by the final night at the hotel in uganda, clinton has relayed his own obscure accomplishments. in arkansas we went from 48% to 53% forested land when i was in office. he just summed up how to solve africa's food shortages. we got to do things americans did 80 years ago during the depression. and he has extolled the virtues of soybeans. you can grow it with just a thin layer of top soil. he starts every other sentence with in the 1990s and when i was president. the guys even had a name for one of his defensive monologues i got trapped in, you got blackhawked, they said.
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it was after one a.m., and all i wanted to do was go to sleep when clinton told me his advice for how obama could improve his speech making. [laughter] suppose weave been friends for 40 years, if you came to visit me in the hospital and said something pretty and eloquent instead of saying, god, i'm sorry, this sucks, i wish i could do more about it, it's an insult. the eloquence should go at the end of his speeches now, never in the middle. >> i nodded, smiling politely and checking that the red light of my voice recorder was still glowing. he changed outfits at least three times a day, usually reappearing in the verdent hotel gardens with donors wearing linen and khaki cargo pants, africa chic. he's like lady gaga, an aide said is. the other thing i noticed about clinton was how often he talked about dying. he hardly thought he'd live to see the 2016 election, never mind be back in the white house. when the manager of a soybean
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processing plant asked him to come back next year, clinton said i'm older than you. we have to make sure i'm still alive. when i asked him about chelsea recently joining the clinton foundation board, he said we're trying to build it up so it'll still run if i drop dead tomorrow. we sat down for coffee, and when cypriots weren't swarming him for photos, i asked him if hillary would run in 2016. she points out we're not kids anymore, and a lot of people want to be president. under mahogany trees, aid workers set up a station where deaf children from local villages could be fitted with their first hearing aids. it's hard to care about whether some sleazy foreign donor wants something from the state department after you've seen a child here for the first time. and when the clinton foundation is maligned, i think of bill clinton. we were all standing on the
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tarmac at the international airport, and i'd completely run out of topics to ask clinton about. i just extended my voice recorder to pick up his stream of consciousness when a military helicopter emerged on the yellow-orange horizon. is that him, chelsea said, cupping her hands over her eyes as she looked at the setting sun. moments later, a slender 14-year-old ugandan boy in his thread-bare school uniform stepped out of the helicopter. his name was bill clinton kaligani. his mother had named him after clinton visited uganda in 1998. a photograph hangs in the clinton's home. clinton is holding the newborn as hillary in a wide-brimmed hat looks on. he was born on the day before e got there, clinton told me. it was one of the most memorable days of my presidency. he walked over and pulled little bill into his arms. the boy wrapped his hands around one of clinton's hands and rested his head on that doughy
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spot on the chest beneath the shoulder. they stayed this like that. after they visited for a while and clinton said he'd pay the boy's school tuition fees, the staff and donors prepared to board our chartered 737. aides tugged clinton towards a separate gulf stream, but he wasn't done. he call me over and told me that on the same africa trip in 1998 a senegalese farmer had named a goat after him. [laughter] we're going to fly the goat in next, he said. [laughter] is we're flashing way forward to manchester, november 2015. this is a period during the very difficult democratic primary when hillary and her team are very mad at me about a story i wrote. so i was going to flash forward and read a little bit are that. this chapter's called "spontaneity is embargoed until 4 p.m." [laughter] and this is manchester, november 2015.
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no matter how hard i try, i can only see manchester through the filter of soot that sat on the window sill of my rented subaru. the city is a dusky, weary, unfussy place split in two by the spiky backs of the merry mack river. it's too far from boston where i'd flown into earlier that morning to be part of this ex-urban sprawl but too close to have the charm of rural new england. it was november, a year before the general election. i pulled the collar of my jacket tight around my neck and shivered on the short walk up the parking garage ramp into j.d.'s tavern, the sports bar attached to the lobby of the radisson where hillary would soon arrive to share drinks, bar snacks and some strained small talk with her traveling press. in the seven months she'd been a candidate, hillary had only had one off the record drinking session with her travel aring press. i hadn't been in iowa and missed it. but i heard a tv journalist made the rookie mistake of asking how
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she met bill, allowing hillary to filibuster with a story so immortalized in memoirs and popular clinton lore that i could recite it verbatim. oh, to gosh, it was 1971 at the yale law library. the interactions i'd had with hillary had almost all been by accident n. september she'd stopped in at the union dining car in laconia to shake hands. she met a high school french teacher who introduced hillary to half a dozen of her students who wanted a photo. when hillary pivot to make sure she'd posed with all the students, she looked at me and said she's not in the class, this one i know, she's not in the class. she may speak french, but she's not in the class. shortly before that encounter, i'd written a story looking ahead to the fall. i interviewed aides in the brooklyn campaign headquarters about their new efforts to bring spontaneity to a candidacy that sometimes seemed wooden and overly cautious. the campaign brass wanted to put the summer of discontent behind
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them. the guys came through by providing me with an interview with robby mook, the campaign manager, and jen pardon marly, the communications director. the guys hosted a conference call with the entire press corps telling them almost exactly what they'd told me. i always recorded interviews and took handwritten notes, starring anything that stood out. that way when i listened back to the audio, i could glance at my scribble and see which quotes had jumped out during the conversation and what i might not have picked up in the moment. on the subway back to midtown, i plugged in my earphones and listened to my sony voice recorder, the one i'd bought eight years earlier with japanese writing on the side. everything i thought i could build a story around seemed stale now that the top campaign aides had given the same talking points to the rest of the press. towards the middle we discuss how hillary would try to show voters her softer, more personable side. it was the only original reporting i had.
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that evening i sad in carolyn ryan's office watching as she scrunched her forehead and lored her readings glasses. i could tell how rough a day she was having based on the number of coke cans. carolyn plucked the juiciest details out of a mumble of politicalese. our favorability is higher than any republican. even as i reminded myself that a carolyn edit always made the dullest of stories jump off the page, reading over her shoulder still gave me the disembody feeling of a patient watching a surgeon perform an operation on their vital organs. when she'd stitched it all back together, she shot me a playback and sent it on to the copy editor who debated me about whether we needed to explain what hillary's bowl-off against ellen degeneres meant. i think it's obvious, i said. the front page read hillary to show more humor and heart, aides say.
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[laughter] the backlash was immediate. today's new york times story on hrc read more like the onion. her detailed plan to show more authenticity and spontaneity? hashtag just do it, former obama adviser david axlerod tweeted. [laughter] the i'm with her crowd always assumed the campaign disliked my coverage because of her e-mails or my reporting on the clinton foundation, but that wasn't it. it was the yorkie and bat room-gate and the -- bathroom gate. and i'd written she hadn't authored a clear rationale for why she was running. she hated that i broke the news that chelsea had been writing under her preferred pseudonym, but nothing put hillary over the edge quite like the humor and heart story. donors and top democrats called her campaign to complain. jen and robbie took most of hillary's rath, but the guys got it too for letting me into brooklyn in the first place.
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the fall when hillary was supposed to restart instead became what some democrats began to call spontaneity is embargo until four phase of the campaign. that's the thing about being a candidate reporter, you can't hide. if hillary had to learn to be an inflatable bag bouncing back after whatever the traveling press threw her or that day, the guys were a cement wall, rough and unyielding and unable to block me from receiving basic logistical information or asking a question. ever since the humor and heart piece i'd been iced out. at an event at the new hampshire statehouse before driving to hanover, wyndham and ending in manchester, hillary display a super-human cold shoulder looking right past my multiple shouts of secretary, secretary. instead, hillary answered a question about why trump got better ratings than she did on "saturday night live." consider the performance. and adding insult to injury, she call on fox news twice. obama handled this dynamic different hi.
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back in 2008 i wrote a weekend journal feature about presidents and body image and whether an overweight electorate could relate to obama given his intense workout schedule and zero percent body fat. [laughter] okay, so it was an inane idea, and i was widely mocked. the headline, too fit to be, and is rupert murdoch's recently buying the journal did not help matters. later that day the press pool trailed obama to a farmers' market in florida. he ordered a strawberry milk shake, and as he took a long sip, he looked right at me. [laughter] we locked eyes, and as he gulped down the frothy mix, he said, wow, this milkshake is delicious. maybe if i had one of these every day, i won't be such a skinny guy. [laughter] obama then ordered strawberry milkshakes for the entire press corps. [laughter] i can safely say hillary didn't want to buy me a milkshake that
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day in new hampshire. [laughter] so, well, thanks. [applause] thanks for listening, and is i'd love to take your questions. or i can keep reading. [laughter] okay. >> did you choose to cover some extent the dispute over her private e-mails? >> yeah. you know, i -- going in this i knew that if i wrote a memoir, it had to be honest. and if i said the press did everything right in 2016 and, like, my coverage was perfect, i just think it wouldn't ring true to readers. and once you sound like you're being false to readers, you know, you've host them. and i thought if i'm going to be honest about the campaign's flaws and hillary's flaws, i have to also be honest about my own flaws, the media's flaws and, you know, there were plenty in 2016. so i did want to make a conscious effort to address that
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in the most honest way i could. >> did you find the campaign changed, like, with twitter? all the journalists are on twitter and talking to each other, does that change your reporting? i have some friends who are journalists, and they're always talking to each other all day. how do you report? >> no, absolutely. >> does that change your job? >> yeah. and i saw the change from 2008 to 2016. i'm convinced donald trump would not have been elected without the current media ecosystem of twitter and live streaming. you know, i think during 2016 there was the sense that you could cover the election from your cubicle because you're all tweeting at each other, and you're live streaming every speech and, or you know, we have to get out in the country. of course we have to get out in the country and talk to voters. but at the same time, with hillary we had a candidate who was so cautious and probably so overly cautious because everything turns into a story with twitter and instagram. people posted videos of how many times she nodded her head at a
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round table, and it went viral. you had this campaign that was so cautious with the press because of this ecosystem where even the tiniest snippet could go viral. one of the subthemes of the book, i think, is how the media has changeed and how it's -- i don't want to say the decline of campaign reporting, but the role of being on the bus has changed so much because of twitter. >> thank you for your book. >> thanks. >> i was just curious, one of the trump leadership people one time made a remark that secretary clinton, if she were to have to the make a decision on something, might go and make -- take nine hours or nineteen hours worth of homework on that decision and that we just go ahead and fly by night, make a decision. so i was just wondering if you witness some of her diligence in doing her work. >> oh, absolutely. she's nothing, if not the consummate student. i mean, i wrote a story ahead of 2016 when shed had consulted 200 advisers to try to craft her
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economic policy. so, absolutely. i mean, i think sometimes that's, you know, she had a great line in one of the debates against trump which he kind of made fun of her for being too prepared, she said i've always prepared to be president. and i thought that was a great line. but at the same time, i think some of it was a hindrance. i think voters thought some of the things she said were too cautious, too poll-tested. i always wonder in an alternate universe, i imagine her coming out of that first press conference about her e-mail server and what if she said of course i didn't want you people reading through my e-mails. look at what you put me through in the '90s. that makes me smart. [laughter] and just say i'm done talking about this. if she had had that kind of radical honesty, what would have happened. probably, she probably would have gotten killed for it, but i do wonder. >> since you covered the clinton foundation, was there ever any thought given by these political whiz kids of actually giving the
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clinton foundation to, say, the carter center or something like that? >> oh, that's interesting. definitely when it looked like hillary was going to win and they start winding down parts of the foundation, they were thinking about partnering with someone like paul farmer or bill gates or some other group, but that was, that was towards or the fall when they really thought she was going to win, and they had to do something about the foundation. >> on page 15 of your book you write that you invited two press aides of hillary clinton to your own wedding. you've been a reporter in japan, and i wondered how to you reflect on the interconnectedness between the u.s. political press ors and the u.s. politicians? >> yeah. i mean, like, you know, you cover these people for so long, you travel everywhere they go and, like, you do become friendly. i mean, i think you have to have a cordial relationship with them -- i mean, i didn't, i failed at that. we had a very toxic relationship. but initially when i was at the wall "the wall street journal" and was a
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kid reporter, i did have friendships with these people. we traveled all over the country together. then hillary's aides traveled on the same bus as the press, so it's hard not to establish some friendships there. >> can you talk a little bit about how her 2008 campaign, like, really -- the relationship with the press versus her or 2016 campaign? >> yeah. so i always think hillary was a better candidate in 2008 with, but she had a better campaign in 2016. so when she ran for president in 2008, she'd been a new york senator, and she was really involved, and she was always in touch with her upstate constituents in factory towns, so when she ran for office, i think she was very connected to problems people were having particularly in places like pennsylvania and indiana. but the other aspect of her in 2008 was as a senator you have a press corps following you, and she didn't have any press corps. it was like "the new york post" and these tabloid guys, and they became her traveling press.
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i mean, i joined with them, but they'd been covering her for years. she had a rapport, and she would come back with, like, a goblet of wine and crack jokes. like on valentine's day she called our significant others because she felt bad for keeping us away. i think it's partly because she was used to these reporters. but i also think she was losing, and like, whenever she was losing she became a better candidate, and she let down her forward. bill clinton tells me -- her guard. bill clinton tells me at one point in nevada after she lost new hampshire, we're always running better as the underdog. so that was part of it. and when we got to 2016, she always thought she was going to win, and receives -- and she was very cautious. i also think she, you know, really liked her state department press corps. she thought they were substantive, and they asked about foreign affairs, and suddenly she had this political press that was yelling at her about e-mails. in her mind, we were kind of
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just obsessed with the kind of daily stories and, you know, in the white house she had described the political press to her friend diane blair as big egos and no brains. so those hard feelings went way back. good question. fact check. kind of true. [laughter] >> yeah. so i had a question. i know bill clinton, he obviously had to take kind of a less public role, you know, with his wife running for president. i'm just curious if you think that was a little bit more frustrating for him not to be in the limelight as much, and what role did he actually play in some of the strategy and in the campaign itself? >> yeah. i have a lot about this in the book because bill clinton was kind of trying to push hillary's younger aides to reach out to the white, working class voters who he won in '92 and '96. and they were, like, yeah, those voters have left the party.
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we're focused on these pockets of the country, the obama voters. so there was a lot of, like, sidelining bill who is obviously one of the greatest strategic minds of the 20th century, and there was a lot of not listening to his advice. i have a chapter that's called "bill's last stand" where he goes on bus tours and he's just, like, talking to 20 people at these town halls because he's just like if they won't listen, i'm going to go do it. but the other interesting tex were they were so data driven, hillary's new campaign aides, and they had a brilliant organization, they had operatives in all the right places, they had an organization that was second to none. and bill clinton kept saying, well, what's the point of an organization be there's no enthusiasm? if people don't like hillary and don't see the hillary that i see, what's the point of the organization? >> so there was always this tech between organization and enthusiasm and belief that, no, a great organization is this is
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what we need and bill clinton saying, like, screw the organization. we need to get the -- people aren't enthusiastic. >> you may partially answer this, but did you know her at all when she was secretary of state and when she was relaxed? and when she was relaxed and fun and easy to be with? >> i wish, i wish. during the state department years i was, you know, covering some other things. we did the reporting on bill clinton, ask so finn her that well then. i wish i did. but the times i saw that hillary were in 2008 especially when she really felt like she had nothing left to lose, and she would be very chummy with her press corps. >> kick her feet up, have a glass of wine. >> yeah, she did do that in 2008. yellow tail, really bad wine, it was endearing. [laughter] >> no offense, but you and a lot of people, journalists, seem very hard on her.
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i didn't get it. she seemed like a nice person. she wanted to do progressive things. >> yeah. >> she was far from perfect. now who do we have? a criminal, a sex abuser, someone who could blow up the world and i'm not being, i'm not exaggerating. what was the big deal with hillary? she was far from perfect but, my, god, what a -- i mean, you had the right to write about her. >> a couple things i've been getting, like fox news and the free beacon saying i'm obviously in love with hillary. it's one of those things. people say you're too hard on her, and same exact quote is -- >> you can't believe fox. >> it's complicated. but i to think, i see your point, and i feel her supporters' genuine anger over how she was covered and how her e-mails were covered, and i think those are really legitimate concerns that we should listen to and ais the. at the same time, i also think it's sort of a dangerous proposition for journalists to
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say, like, this candidate's under fbi investigation and that's a bad thing, but, like, the other guy's like russian hookers and bankruptcies, he's so beyond the pale that let's use kid gloves. i think it's a dangerous proposition when journalists start deciding, you know, this candidate's opponent is so bad that we'll be softer on -- >> well -- [inaudible] >> putting your hand on the scale. >> i didn't say that, i just can't understand why so many people seem so angry at her. >> yeah. well, hillary hate has never made sense to me. like, you make a good point. it's not about her politics, like nothing she's proposing is wildly offensive to either side. it's something about her and you can't get away from the idea that it has to do with gender. it has to. i grew up in texas, and when i first met her when i was 16, i heard people talking about how
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scary she was, and i met her, and i was like, this is a nice woman. i don't understand. that hatred has continued for 30 years, and i think it has to do with being one of the most powerful women in the country, in the world. >> i think that's a big part of it. >> thank you. >> hi, amy. >> hey, hi! >> i listened to your audio book. >> sorry to sum you to eight -- subject you to eight hours of my book. [laughter] >> the question i had for you, i'm just wondering if there are lessons for future female presidential candidates and what not to do or what to do. i'm just wondering what your thoughts are. >> yeah, i hope so. it's not so direct as, you know, like other books, i think, like here's how you -- but i hope there are takeaways because there are things i notice that i didn't want notice at the time, but as i was writing, i noticed.
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i was at the iowa state fair in 2015, and donald trump landed on his helicopter, and the reporters were, like, taking rides on the helicopter, and he was giving kids rides, and it's like he's so connected to the working man. the helicopter was a big hit. until 2008 hillary chartered a helicopter in iowa, and it became, like, the symbol of how out of touch her campaign was. it was like, oh, she's totally out of touch, you're supposed to be on a bus, and she chartered this helicopter. and it was like, i mean, for years we used the helicopter as the symbol of elitism, and donald trump landed in a helicopter, and everybody thought it was great. i was, like, do you have to have a penis to pull off the helicopter? of. [laughter] to me, it was the starkest example of the double standard. is and also he owned it. she just chartered it. it blew my mind in how they were covered in off is different way. i don't have some big takeaway
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for candidates, if you're running, don't use a helicopter. but i do hope the way we cover and the way voters perceive candidates will reveal the stark double standard. i don't know if that answers your question. >> i was curious if your gender affected the way hillary and her team i responded to you. would it have been different if you had been a male reporter covering her campaign? >> yeah, i don't really know. it's funny because the right wing has been like are all these girl were in the tank because we're all women, and i actually think hillary's people thought the women would be harder on her in some way, like to prove that we're not in the tank. >> right. >> we would be catty or, like, you know, tougher on her to kind of prove something it's funny because this book draws on a lot of archival and speeches i've read and press conferences hillary's given back in arkansas, and a press conference in the white house she had said, she'd gotten grill on cattle
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futures and whitewater, and they said thank you so much, first lady, you should do this more often. she said eleanor roosevelt had a press conference every week, but she had an all-female press corps. fast forward 30 years, she had an all-female press corps who she, like, mostly ignored. >> thank you. >> hi. i was actually going to to ask a very similar question. i studied politics and gender, but i guess i'll ask as a female journalist i'm curious if you felt that your gender impacted how you interacted with the other journalists, the other, you know, reporters covering the campaign as opposed to, you know, just with the candidate herself. >> yeah. my fellow girls on the bus can attest to that, definitely. we had a really great
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camaraderie and like, you know, some of the women who were mothers would call, read to their babies at night, and, like, we talked about -- i'm sure we talked, poor dan was one of the only menful he was very good with all the girls. yeah, we definitely had a really tight, i think it was a tight-knit family. after the book came back, some of my friends were, like, i'm so nostalgic for 2016. i'm like, really? [laughter] you really become like a family, and you do miss each other and the camaraderie, for sure. thanks. >> you mentioned your first chapter was talking about your trip to south africa, was there anything to be learned from your experience in south africa and did any of the clintons meet a
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guy called julius -- [inaudible] >> i just think we got so, and myself included, you get so bog down in kind of the investigative stories about the clinton foundation, but to see him in action in africa, he has such a connection to people. at one point we went to this red dirt, this village with red dirt, and he was crouching on the ground to pet a cow, and he was, like, we've got these same dairy cows in africa. he was connecting to farmers the same way he would in arkansas. a lot of people can -- not a lot of people, but some politicians are great with the working man, and some are great is schmoozing with the 1%, and bill clinton could so seamlessly go from the six-star hotel with the rich donors to, like, the little
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village. it was really, it was really amazing, really remarkable. >> yeah. just an after thought, julius is vocal opposition individual in south africa, and he stands up in parliament, he starts fights in parliament. finish he does, you know, in some ways he's an alter ego of our friend who's the president of this country now. >> interesting. >> a real wild man actually. >> interesting. >> so -- [inaudible] thank you. >> thank you. that's a good question. [inaudible conversations] >> apologies. i arrived late, so you may have addressed in this before e got here: i'm very curious why hillary didn't take donald trump
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on on the daily talk shows. i got almost nauseated at times watching, well, the show that i watched the most was morning joe. now, joe scarborough and mika brzezinski now, they've done a pretty good job of critiquing this administration and really taking them apart. but during the campaign, they were literally playing footsie with the man. they were talking -- the camera came on a little early a couple of times, and they were sort of telling him what they were going to tell -- what they were going to and stuff like that, they're sitting around a table. and it was, if he wasn't there live, he would call in. they would always take his calls. and hillary never, never was on that show. maybe -- >> they asked, they asked a million times. >> no. that's what i wanted to know. she just didn't do it. >> yeah, she said no to everything -- i mean, i counted -- >> why? >> we asked her about national
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security, i wanted to talk to her about her work with women and girls, they said no to 47 interview requests from me, and i know that the cable shows had also offered her chance to call in and do this. >> right. >> look, i think she was ahead, i think she didn't think she needed to go toe to toe, but after the election she's complained that he got so much free cable time. she did say no to a lot of those interviews. >> and she -- he got a lot more than he should have, but she didn't take advantage of what she could have. >> oh, they've -- >> correct? >> yeah. i think her, i think -- a lot of my thinking about hillary goes back to the '90s, and she'd built up a lot of scar tissue about a media, and a lot fairly because of what the media had put her through, and by the time she got to 2016, there was a lot of scar tissue and a real protective layer that just didn't, she didn't want to, you know, do that. so -- >> okay.
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>> your shirt is very illustrative of your political position. [laughter] >> so what response have you gotten fromhill -- hillary's side about this book, and what did you think about her book? >> i thought her book was good. i actually liked living history better. or i liked the voice citiness of it. did you read it? >> like conversational? >> like conversational, right. hard choices was -- it wasn't, it wasn't hard to have a better book than hard choices, but i like ared what happened. but i also like living history actually even better. that was more interesting. >> so have you gotten any feedback? i know chelsea clinton has had a few things to say. >> yeah. it's been like, you know, if you read the book, i was anticipating blowback. i got blowback from even
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sympathetic stories i wrote. it's been a little bit frustrating because i feel like there is a reflex of kind of to reject, to reject it without kind of reading it. and i am pretty self-reflective. i think a lot of hillary's supporters have been craving self-reflection from the the media, and i tried to offer that, and there's sort of a knee-jerk reaction of attacking it. and so that's been, i wish people would give it more of a chance. >> and what about your own colleagues? because you were very honest. >> yeah. >> and so what's been -- >> i have heard no complaints from my colleagues. a lot of them came to my book party night before last so, yeah, i haven't heard. i know that they're a -- and i think it's good -- i know there are debates in the newsroom about how we handled the russia e-mails, the podesta hacks, and there's different opinions about that. but i think that's good. part of why i wanted that to be the excerpt that ran in "the new york times" was i wanted to start -- there should be debates, you know?
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the russians are going to be staging, interfering in our democracy in 2018, in 2020, and the media's very much part of that strategy in disseminating that information, so i think newsrooms should take a hard look at how we handle those. thanks. >> hi. i go to school, like, down the street. >> cool. >> and we're learning about u.s. history, and we only learn about men. do you think hillary will go down in history? >> i mean, i hope so is. somebody tweeted after the election, a man, surprise, after all that, hillary's just a footnote to history. i really disagree. i really think that we are going to study her career as, like, as this barometer of how we view powerful women in this era of our life. back to when, i think back to when she said, you know, in the '90s she said, was asked why she had a career, she said i suppose i could have stayed home and baked cookies and had to apologize that for 20 years. she was ahead of her time. she was a woman defending her
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choice to have a career, so i think hillary's career is going to be incredibly important. doris kerns goodwin, the historian, i was talking to her about how losing candidates can sometimes have even a greater impact. when goldwater lost, it really laid the foundation for the conservative movement. conservatives were mobilized. and i think hillary's loss may have done that for women. like, you see all of these women losing -- i'm sorry, running after her loss. and i think that maybe we'll look back at her history and her defeat -- if she had to jeb bush, i think it would be different -- but for her to lose to a man who bragged about sexual assault, maybe we'll look back on history like this was the moment that she actually did ignite a feminist movement just by losing. >> and, like, who would you want to run in 2020? [laughter] >> i don't know. there's a lot of, like, i mean, it's funny, people keep saying, oh, that person, they're not electable. really? we're still going to do that? we're still going to guess who's
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electable? [laughter] so i stay away from guessing on that. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> hi. you seem to be, in observing your own presentation, very vibrant in your description of bill clinton and very animated. when -- i don't see that quality when you talk about hillary. are you able to describe her personality so we can really understand moresome is you've spent so much time with her. >> yeah. i mean, for one, bill clinton gave me that -- had that amazing access in africa. i never was like the only reporter traveling around africa with hillary. there are other parts of the book that explain her. with hillary, it was like i didn't get to know her because we were sipping chardonnay in a hotel suite. ing i got to know her through her friends, sources from her
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college roommate to her friends in arkansas and studied every chapter of her life from when she was a working mom in little rock. i talked to her debate, her classmates on the debate team at the park ridge high school to see how she honed her debate skills. so i would say the way i got to know her and communicate her in the book is largely through these chapters of her life that i really did a lot of deep recording on. for instance, when she worked at the children's dependence fund and she went undercover in alabama. it's very hard to find things about hillary that nobody knows, that was a chapter that hadn't been explored, and and i went to alabama and talked to the children's defense fund and talked to people. i got to know her, like, through those secondary sources almost more so thanker you know, one-on-one. >> what have you learned about her personality from these sources? >> it's interesting. the story about her going undercover, so basically this was after, obviously, school segregation was illegal, and these private academies sprung
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up in the south. they called them segregation academies. and hillary clinton went to -- hillary rodham went to alabama, and a town where she pretended to be a mother who wanted to enroll her son in this school, and she went through all the questions and she said, you know, can you promise me that he's going to be in a white-only school, and they said, absolutely. so she busted them. and then she went back and filed a report so they would lose their tax-exempt status under the nixon administration. to me, like, that was the best example of how hillary believes the most change is made. bernie sanders released a lot of pictures of him out front with a banner in civil rights marches. hillary was doing her homework, her research, and she was going back and filing a report to change policy. basically, the broadest way to impact millions of people would be to change policy, to make these schools lose their tax-exempt status. so that sort of exemplified her activism to me. it wasn't like i'm out front --
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like her friend said hillary would be happy in an office somewhere crafting policy. i always thought that was why she wanted to become president, was to change people's lives through policy. >> thank you. thank you, everyone, for your insightful questions, and thank you, amy, for being here. >> thank you. [applause] >> topping the list is a cookbook by joanna gains follow by zora neale hurston's history of the atlantic slave trade recently published 87 years after its writing. after that pulitzer prize-winning author jon
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meacham's thoughts on critical moments in american history and how they relate to today. next, former fbi director james comey's reflections on his career in "a higher loyalty." fifth is former cia director michael hayden's assessments of the current threats to american national security. a look at some of the best selling books according to "the washington post" continues with jim clifton's advice to entrepreneurs in born to build. and syndicate columnist selena zeto and republican strategist brad todd on voters from swing states who supported president trump and how they might impact future elections. eighth is clinical psychologist jordan peterson's self-help book 12 rules for life followed by investigative journalist ronan farrow's report on the role of the state department and american diplomacy in the world today in the book "war on peace." wrapping up our look at some of the books from "the washington
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post" nonfiction bestseller list is former secretary of state madeleine albright's warning about the rise in fascist tactics by world leaders. many of these authors have appeared on booktv, and you can watch them on our web site, >> let's start with this national vision for the united states. where did that come from? how did that conflict with some of the other founders who are concerned with state sovereignty and also compared to hamilton who suggested we abolish the states altogether? >> madison came to the idea for a need for a constitution in 1784, '85, '86 which was a time of extraordinary crisis in the new united states. it's no exaggeration to say that the country, such as it was, was falling apart. and the reason was, as far as madison was concerned, that when independence was declared from britain, all of the states
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became traitors and rebels, and they had to stick together to survive the war. you know, that's the old line, we must all hang together or shortly we shall all hang separately. but as the war ended, that actually created a tremendous danger, and the danger was as madison and others saw it at the time too, that these states -- whiched had never thought of themselves before 1776 as a single country, in fact, the word country at the time meant your state. that's a very important thing to realize when you start to read 18th century documents. when someone refers to my country, he's always talking about his state, never about the united states. so the danger was that these individual, little republics, these 13 little republics that were in a federation were going to have so little in common, so few overlapping interests and no central need to cooperate that they would fly off into different directions and each become their own little states.
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now, that might have been fine in theory, but it was going to be a disaster in practice. and the main reason was trade. so here's another thing i figured out when working on the book that i never sort of thought of before. the way you think of the british empire in the 18th century, the french empire too, is sort of like the e.u. it was in large measure a free trade entity. if you were part of the british empire, you could trade freely with any other part of the british empire, and the british empire was global. when the united states declared their independence, it left that trade union. it was sort of a version of brexit. [laughter] and suddenly, the economy of the u.s -- which depended heavily on trade with british ports -- was in serious jeopardy because you could no longer trade freely with all of the places where you had been doing all of your business. so what the country need was a trade policy to pressure britain and then eventually france to open its ports to u.s. shipping.
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and you couldn't create a unified trade policy if the people from rhode island, just to use one example which they used a lot, would always wait for the other states to declare they were going to act in concert and then cheat. [laughter] rhode island cheated. and, you know, people in the 18th century and every other colony, they really hated rhode island. [laughter] you know, it wasn't they didn't ratify until everybody else had done it, they were waiting to see if there would be some benefits from cheating. [laughter] and this was the kind of logical shipping maneuver, you know? everybody else says we're not going to ship, okay, we'll do it. so madison's first idea about why we needed a national constitution was the central government had to be able to coerce the states, force them to all be on the same page for trade. and that is what began to make him a nationalist. the fear of the whole thing falling apart meant you need to pull it to the center. and this eventually became, for him, a gravitational metaphor. you wanted something in the
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middle, like the sun, that would exert tremendous gravitational pull over the planets, the states, so they didn't fly off in different directions. and that's where he was thinking when he went into the constitutional convention. that is what was fundamentally defining his vision when he arrived. so he was a very strong nationalist there. he he may not have said, like hamilton, how many people here have seen the musical or heard about the musical? so you know. hamilton was a guy who deserved a hip-hop musical about him. [laughter] he was pan-sexual, he was enthusiastic, he left no good thought unsaid or unwritten again and again and again and again, and if it was on his mind, he said it. he was openly saying we don't need the states. in fact, at the convention he openly said the british monarchy is the only form of government that will ever work this our country, and that's what we should do. everyone sort of looked at him. that didn't get into the musical. [laughter] madison would not have gone that far publicly, but he was fully prepared to accept a national
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government when he was in philadelphia at the convention that would have minimized the role of the states to the point where they didn't matter all that much. >> you can watch this and other programs online at ..


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