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tv   Peter Baker and Susan Glasser The Man Who Ran Washington  CSPAN  April 13, 2022 11:50pm-12:51am EDT

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c-span is c-span's online store. browse the latest collection of products, apparel, books, home decor and accessories. there's something for every c-span fan and every purchase helps support the nonprofit operations. shop now or anytime at c-span >> i will go ahead and introduce the moderator for this afternoon. author, biographer whose latest book is on jimmy carter. welcome. [applause] >> good evening.f so, i'm going to be the
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interrogator of the session interviewing peter baker and susan glasser. peter baker is the chief white house correspondent for "the new york times" of the author of six books including obama the call of history, days of fire, bush and cheney in the white house and kremlin rising, putin's russia and the end of revolution. susan is a staff writer at the new yorker and previously served as editor of politico during the 2016 election cycle, founding editor of politico magazine and editor-in-chief of foreign policy magazine. she is the author with her husband, peter baker of kremlin rising vladimir putin's russia in the revolution. they are presently writingon a book on the trump presidency we are all waiting the great anticipation of that. so, with that, let's welcome
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peter baker and susan glasser and we will sit down to a conversation. [applause] >> welcome, peterr and susan. i want to begin with a quote from george orwell. writing a book is a horrible exhausting struggle. like a long bout of some painful illness. one would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon who one can neither resist nor understand. so, peter and susan, i want to understand what drove you to spend seven years on jim baker
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-- [laughter] >> there is no relationship is there? >> >> so what drove you on? >> thank you and to everyone for coming out today. it's wonderful to be with you and especially someone who knows really what a biography is meant to be. i would say there are two different answers to that question because i can interpret it as what led us to spend seven years on the book versus what demon lent us write an e-book. and i will have slightly w different answers because actually, we never intended of course as no one ever does to spend so long on this project and that definitely was a consequence of shall we say certain unpleasant recent t eves in the capital that left us otherwise engaged. but i will say speaking for myself, if you are going to do something as all-consuming a book project like this one and a biography that is also the story
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of washington itself in many ways in a period of time from the end of watergate really to the end of the cold war, i guess my rationale was we better do this togethere because otherwise we won't have anything to talk about. but i'm very lucky obviously to have a partner who is a wonderful partner in all things. >> we found a baker particularly fascinating because not just his own story, which we can go through if we want about the secretary of state at the end of the cold war, reagan's chief of staff, the presidential campaigns, that by itself would be extraordinary. i think what made us want to write w it is washington in some ways, it was a story of washington over the course of a generation so itt wasn't just te jim baker story it was washington in this era that contrasted so starkly with us a
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today. chris matthew has written about reagan and tip o'neill. today's washington is so radically different than the one in which jim baker was a giant on the stage. we want to capture that and we started this instead a long time before donald trump came along. it was already broken by the time he got there. we can argue that he bashed it some more but we started when obama was president and things in washington were already so dysfunctional that the story told us something today as well as his time. >> i love this book. it really taught me things i didn't know about the reagan presidency and how it works in washington. it's the classic story of sort of the man behind the scenes, the guy who's making things worse and who gives attentionn o
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details. it's a story about the establishment of the sort of end of the establishment. there is a notion both on the left and the right who look at the washington establishment and my first book was a biography of one such figure sort of a predecessor of james baker who wasn known as the chairman of te foreign policy establishment. but in your account, and other generation, the next generation of a power fixer and you write with admiration this is a very a conservative lawyer who was associated with a lot of controversial issues but i get a sense from your narrative thatn you have a certain nostalgia for the old establishment for when
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things worked. is that true or not? >> there is a lot to unpack. first of all, the interesting thing about the story and its washington story in the sense that everybody, almost everybody comes to washington and they are an outsider until they are in insider. and who do you think of in the establishment now? you think of like the clintons. go back and you can read how many stories in 1993 about these outsiders coming to town from arkansas who don't know their way around. it's the nature of this place. it's a place where you say what do you do, what's your job, why did you come here. no one is assumed to be from washington. i think peter and i as he said we were attracted to the book because we saw in it the
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opportunity because of the very unique nature of his career we saw the opportunity to write about washington from a variety of vantag' points. in politics he's running different campaigns but he's also the secretary of state at the end of the cold war. we were in moscow together just ten years after the end of the cold war, so i think that in and of itself we would have been interested to write a book about that butn what we discovered of course in writing about the book and unpacking the story of baker's life is d that he didn't even get to washington until he was in his mid-40s and in some ways it is a story of the world's most successful made career change. he was this conservative lawyer from houston texas from a family not just of lawyers, but a son, grandson and great-grandson, pillars of houston that helped to build the institution of the city and so they gave him a
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world of great privilege but also constraints of politics in washington was the active rebellion and unlike the chairman of the establishment, jim baker, incredibly unlikely treasury secretary and secretary of state. he asked a question about o the treaty and the theory of offshore balancing. i was humbled in one of our early interviews with jim baker and as a sort of russia hand i was excited to ask about the soviet union and the fall of and i said when you were at princeton what did you read about the soviet union or what was your uniform thinking and he looked at me quizzically and brought me back to earth and said you know, my early experience in the soviet union
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was i had a tennis coach in houston who it's quite an interesting story, who had been what they called in those days -- his family had fled the revolution back i don't know it was 1917 or when. and he's become like a second father to him so that brought me back to earthth in terms of tha. he was an establishment figure byby inclination. he went to an east coast prepid school and he did go to princeton. he wasn't an academic, wasn't a student and a real late bloomer. >> in the early chapters of the book you paint a picture of a young man filled with privilege andes he sort of personifies whe male privilege in texas, princeton. he floats through life and does what his father wants him to do
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and emerges as you say made career in his 40s. he arrives in five years later is running the white house. it's an amazing transformation and he becomes this hardline fixer. it's an extraordinary story. let's turn a little bit about your sources and the methods. i think you had like 70 hours of interviews with him. you know better than we do because you've done them both ways. a biographer who has a subject who's still around is a different task than a biographer working with somebody that is in there to defend him self for herself. it's much easier toea do the ded into baker isn't dead. he is 91, going strong, sharp and amazing today as he was in
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his prime.e. so we had a lot of time with him. we went to him early on. this is not an authorized book. he did decide to cooperate with us. i think it is akin to the jimmy carter book which we will talk about tomorrow. he cooperated but had no control over the book. he gave interviews, opened his archives including papers never seen before, papers never open to the public before. we interviewed his wife and his children. we interviewed his nanny who was 103 when we interviewed her, passed away the other day. remarkable. we interviewed presidents bush 41 and 43. so we tried to do as much as we could. i think we found he was as open as we could imagine even he's not an introspective person. he didn't try to control us or the book which is odd because i thinkto that he made his bones n washington controlling the press
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or maybe he did control us andhe we didn't understand. >> he was such a smooth manager of the press. about that.orried >> the papers were illuminating as anything else because contemporaneous documents he was a packrat who saved everything going back to his letters home from summer camp when he was 14 and as a biographer and a writer journalist historian that is a treasure trove. >> why did he give you access? >> jim baker i think especially hitting his '90s he remains very savvy and i think that he understands very well if you are gunning for your place inyo history, you don't get to write the book yourself and he's already written a couple of his own memoirs. he did a book called the politics of diplomacy which was his account of being secretary of state. >> very boring.
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>> doorstop book. [laughter] the other memoir is a lively book, but it's definitely like the world as told. he's giving anecdotes of a million speeches and the like and i think that he understood you need an independent work of. history. he is a supremely self-confident person. that's part of what i think was the key to his success as you might imagine with somebody that held that an array of jobs. there is a little bit around him, democrats as well as republicans in washington are very interested to understand and they will absolutely within one sentence of your working on jim baker they will saycc what s the secret of his success. we didn't find it. he will tell you this very practicing fire preparation prevents poor performance. okay, yeah, good job. everybody here knows you can be
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well prepared and that washington isd a city filled wih well-prepared lawyers who stay up late and read the briefing and obviously they don't have the self-confidence and extreme competitiveness would be to have the other attributes and so the self-confidence i think you know was part of what made him willing to engage. >> he was self-confident on the tennis court also and that's where he formed his relationship with george wh bush. let's talk about what happened there. that's the beginningng of his political odyssey. >> had it not been for the fact the two of them met and became tennis partners in the late 50s and early 60s he would never have been in politics. what makes the relationship so extraordinary is think about history. what president and secretary of state have ever been close
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before usually they are practical choices, arrival like hillary clinton to barack obama he tried to bring them together. maybe like the secretary of state. they wereti friends years before politics even enter the equation. so much so that when jim baker'c first wife died of cancer, she's dying of cancer, the one person jim baker confides in he writes a letter that we have in the book that i don't think has ever been published. he says i haven't told this to anybody, to my mother, my children, to my wife. this is 1969.y doctors may not be as open with their lives in that era. she knew by the way. he knew and said my wife is dying of cancer and i want to spend the next few months making her life as good as possible. this is a friendship that is something big and strong and
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powerful. when we asked him about it we asked baker and they describe each other like brothers. that doesn't mean they love each other all thelw time. who doesn't have some relationship problems with our siblings.iv they had a sibling rivalry is w arguably an office in politics. there were times baker told bush he didn't want to hear, it was time to drop out. he wasn't goingyb to win. maybe heef shouldn't have pickea johnson or dan quayle as president. you shouldn't go around saying things like read my lips. these are times when the tension between them was biggest when 1992 comes along and bush wants baker to come back to run his reelection campaign. he does it very reluctantly and it's's a bitter moment. george w. bush and barbara bush were very bitter for not doing more to save 41 and that put a wrinkle on the relationship.
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but it begins where it ends and on the day that george hw bush died in houston, the person that came to his house not once but twice, three times that davis jim baker. standing there at his bedside when the furry first president of the united states died rubbing his feet was jim baker. that's a friendship that goes beyond politics in a way we haven't seen in the modern time anyway. >> it's interesting as you said he probably wouldn't have gone into politics except for bush. he wasn't a political animal in texas until in his 40s. he once ran for what the attorney general ran a very uninspired campaign, boring campaign. but then he is brought to life in washington and when reagan becomes president and gets into trouble, he's brought into the white house and you describe his
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job as the detector and he becomes very hands-on, pragmatic. he works with the democrats and republicans but he is really tough. is that a good description? >> his cousin came up with a great description and said that became then the cover of "time" magazine probably thehe cover tt cemented his image in the nationalal consciousness. he was incredibly hard-nosed and we can talk about the 1980 campaign or any of the partisan things that he did but yet he had an ability, unique ability to make deals and that's the other thing i didn't mention. so he certainly was this
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ultracompetitive supremely self-confident figure but almost compulsive to make deals and it's funny because we spent four years with somebody who is like proclaiming himself to be the ultimate dealmaker while not making deals. baker in our experience with him this is just part of his wiring. it's something he was naturally suited to do at a moment in washington and in our politics when there was a need and a route to success that went through making deals in that way. remember the entire time ronald reagan was president of the george hw bush was president democrats controlled at least one house of congress and in many cases they controlled both senate and the house so baker understood the dealmaking it involved dealing with democrats on capitol hill. it involved ultimately for him as secretary of state dealing with the soviets. although at times he will tell you that actually negotiating
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thef reunification of germany that margaret thatcher was as big of an obstacle as mikael gorbachev was in making that deal. so that's part of the character i think we are so interested to examine because the question is is it the moment or is it the person and in this particular case it almost certainly was both things like many people as you might imagine say we need a jim baker today. it's fundamentally different now than they were at that time and certainly he was able to make toughna deals and was naturally smart about politics both the politics and the room and national politics but even he couldn't overcome the structural shifts in our democracy that have led us to the situation we are in now. >> let's discuss some of the controversies that he was involved in. i'm going to read a list of five
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or six and you focus on what you think is most interesting. there's the debate where he is involved in the stealing of the briefing book. there's iran contra that might not have happened if reagan had appointed him as a national security advisor. there's the pardons of caspar weinberger and others involved in the iran contra covered up. there's the 1988 election where baker enables and empowers lee atwater, this ruthless political operator and invented that kind of hardline politics. the 1991 gulf war, the election
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in florida whichee he is deeply involved with. it's an amazing list. >> i want to cover all that in k30 seconds or so. >> what's interesting about baker is he was religiously determined to protect his reputation. he cared a lot about whether people thought he was a man of integrity or a man of ethics and again this is the fourth person that carried the name james addison baker so there was a burden on him not to embarrass dathe family. when things came up that he might have had a hand in or not, he was particularly good at keeping a distance and sometimes to the point his own friends including in the bush family may be too much so but it mattered to him when someone suggested. you mentioned in the briefing book a good one to talk about with a biographer of jimmy
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carter because this for those who don't remember and there's no reason you should it turns out ate briefing book that the campaign had prepared for the debate against reagan had a person who worked for ted kennedy been given to the reagan camp and they used it before the debate to prepare. i read the debate book. i don't know how much it helped them. it was pretty basic but it was a scandalal at the time because it seemed like dirty tricks 80 years after the watergate break. baker suddenly got brought into it because the campaign chair man and leader cia director said i gave it to baker or baker gave itng to me. he says he is lying and it matters so much.ew today nobody remembers at all when we were interviewing him his wife said that was, -- second life still with him today, married 40 or 50 years, wonderful person. said the two most painful things she ever saw him deal with was the death of a grandchild and
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this briefing book paper evenho though again nobody today remembers or cares or thinks of it one way or another but it mattered so much to him he not be thought of that way. >> that's a great example because it tells you so much about who he was in politics and that again it was a an act of rebellion for him even to be in washington but you read the campaign and it's important to think about baker as a partisan actor as well and not just his place in washington today as the fixer that made washington work at a time we all say washington doesn't workas anymore but he ws a very sharp elbowed partisan and he and george hw bush did haveri a view of politics in a y and maybe this is the patrician of both of them that you were meant to fight very hard but it was business. bush sort of radiated that. he seemed more comfortable with
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a thousand points of light and he also advised both. bush also is responsible for this. bush and baker authorized and scorched theey campaign. michael dukakis. he is like the governor of massachusetts they turned him into a flagburning card carrying practically un-american figure, also not man enough to defend his wife. it's an extraordinary barrage and it worked. what baker would say, it's interesting. as margaret, who was a very close advisor to him throughout his career she said baker doesn't do regrets and we found that to be the case and our many interviews with him. we couldn't get him to say he regretteds anything basically.. he was like my record is my record. i'm comfortable with it.
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this is the only thing. it's the only thing he ever said to us probably that might have gone too far and then by the way took it back in the next interview. he he didn't say it was great oi anything but his strategy in approaching his own biography, his own history was here's my record, warts and all. he would say i didn't authorize the independent expenditure that he didn't object to it and the record shows with al gore first raised him in the primaries and then it was the bush campaign that did in fact to say lee atwater was quotedd in "time" magazine saying we are going to make it associated with michael dukakis as he pointed out jim baker was a promoter and advisor
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of lee atwater, never disavowed him. but the thing that's interesting that does tell you about how much our politics has changed is that you have this absolutely scathing attack in 1988 on michael dukakis and again this was the only way they decided they could win the campaign and baker was very pragmatic. campaigns were shorter than. he came in only at the end of the convention and that's the rollout. they understood the only way for bush to win he was down to 17 points in the convention it was to tear down the opponents. this was aw. pragmatic decisionn his point of view but what happened after is quite instructive about what a different moment it is. he's appointed secretary of state, the first appointment and what's he doing within weeks
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he's sitting down with democrats, sitting down with jim right the democratic speaker of the house and they are planning how they are going to basically and the american support for the contra war and to take this incredibly divisive issue that's been one of the most polarizing foreign policy issues in the entire reagan presidency, take it off the table. that is a deal he had to do actually jimmy carter helped in this regard as well as jim wright and take it off the table and that's literally within weeks of him absolutely eviscerating the democratic nominee. >> so he was politically ruthless but he could use common sense to get a deal done and wasn't in extremist on policy. in the georgetown set he could be friends with the "washington post" who ran the editorial page
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and he enjoyed dinners frequently with the publisher of the post. even though the paper was pretty critical of his administration so talk about that social scene and how he operated and it. >> again to say pragmatic or practical he doesn't hold grudges unless there's a reason to and he recognizes especially with the press you can take a hit today but come back. it may not have been as bad if you worked with him so he didn't hold it against them whenha they published things he didn't like. he did to spend a lot of time in the office but he did enough social stuff he thought was necessary. he would go too these parties when he thought he m had to and made bets with reporters about who was going to win the
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election and so forth. back then the campaign could be rough and tumble but then it would ber over. the campaign purpose was to get the power so they could do something. it wasn't the be all and all that brought them satisfaction. it was what you needed to do to get to the point you could do something of interest. today it seems it is the opposite. we have t t governance we use or time and power to set up if she was to g use to bash the other y during the next congressional election and that wasn't the way he wanted to operate. they had democrats in power in the house for all 12 years of reaganan and bush and in six of the 12 years in the senate.
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why would he sit there and make them the enemy? >> and he had friends on the other side. he also could be pretty tough when he was secretary of state he barred netanyahu from entering the state department when he was ambassador. >> that's one of the best stories that's not in the book is he had a clearly failed effort to understand jim baker and this was told to us by tom brokaw who later covered baker and politics and became friends with him and also in thehe ranch out west told a story that when a young deputy foreign minister came to washingtonw he asked brokaw to go to breakfast and explain the secretary of state to him and brokaw took him out
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to breakfast and he said the thing you have to understand about the jim baker is that he likes to hunt and he likes to hunt turkeys and what you do to do that is you wake up at 4:00 in the morning, you smear your face with makeup and it's freezing cold and you sit there for hours and hours and hours waiting and then when it's the right moment he blows their heads off. in you understand jim baker. [laughter] the thing is that he infuriated baker and really there is no other secretary of state i can think of in the last few decades that i'm familiar with. netanyahu gave an interview in which he said basically he accused the united states of red nagging [inaudible] baker went nuts.
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he called on the ambassador and all these things and he said as long as i am the secretary of state, he is persona non grata. he's not allowed to be with me or meet with anyone in my department. dennis roth who was a longtime negotiator would say we are begging him. you don't understand. the deputy foreign minister. can we please. and only baker and now the politics of israel were different at that time in both baker and bush actually were not at all hesitant to publicly criticize the israelis for building settlements and taking action. >> this is all about settlements and u.s. pressure and the relationship back then was so different like bush is the last republican president who took israel on things that would be unthinkable todayay for a president and that was done with
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jim baker. and then he was accused of being an anti-semite as a result. he took a lot of heat for it and said some things that were recorded aboutut what he said tt made it sound anti-semitic. i think we explore that issue in the book a little bit more. it may have been distorted in somef ways but he wasn't seen as a friend of israel which he would he says he is a friend of israen but unless you are 100% in support. >> jimmy carter's claims he is a friend of israel. but it's a tough sell. >> so, let's move on to a little bit more contemporary history. i understand that jim baker tried to advise donald trump the 2016 campaign to sort of move to the center. >> that wasn't one of his better deals.
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>> baker was at nancy reagan's funeral and asked him to do the. eulogy and he did. in the bathroom he's talking with newt gingrich and their former prime ministers off canada and george schultz i think it is and they are talking about this new guy storming the republican primaries. baker says something he's not come to regret but a lot of people would say is not the best analysis he ever made he said i think of him as a little like e reagan and the sense that he was an entertainer, seen as an outsider and he came to town and wasn't all the things people were afraid of and maybe trump is the same way, outsider, entertainer. i think we could all agreee there's no comparison to reagan and trump. if you like trump, fine but they are not the same person by any stretch. tanyway that god communicated
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back and he was not too far away. at that w point he had man affot looking for him at the convention. one reason or another he goes to meet trump but he's smarter than a lot of characters because he realized people go to meet with trump and its how they got in endorsement. baker didn't want to endorse the sky. he would eventually vote for him but he didn't want to endorse him so he brought a two-page memo saying here are things you need to do now that you have this nomination to win the general election and they include y things like reach outo the middle. stop talking about an arms race. all these things normal politics would have been but trump rejects all of it of course. that was the last time baker tried to advise him i think.
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they may have found some communications. he did recommend rex to worsen for the secretary of state but that didn't work out so well either. >> the bottom line he votes for trump in 2016.d a lot of the readers ask us about that. here is this guy that is not an ideologue. conservative but not an ideologue and wasn't even republican until his 40s. he told us in our interviews the funny thing about this we started before trump came into office but a lot of interviews took place with trump on the scenes. we could get past the middle east and they would almost inevitably bee about trump. we watched him over five years struggling with this becauseca he'd given his life to the republican party as an adult and here he's tearing it apart.. something bush and baker helped to start, trashing internationalism which baker
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cared about, trashing nato and the concepts baker and bush stood for. he thinks that he's nuts, crazy, but he voted for him and we think that inn the end that's important because it tells something about how is the republican party embracing a guy theyey don't like, that the establishment at least found and anathema and yet they stood with him. >> he was ultimately voting for a man who was trashing the bush family. so that's a >> i think there are probably some hard feelings among the members of the bush family. if there was ever a public figure that had an out not to vote for donald trump it would have been jim baker who was
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indelibly associated with the bush family and if you go to houston there is a park which there is a statue on one corner of the park of jim baker facing across the h way is george hw bh and sort of perpetual dialogue with each other and so he has this sort of easy way out and we struggled again and again. i sold jim baker and washington two days before the 2016 election and i interviewed him at the willard hotel. ..
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>> . >> butut it is one. he doesn't dos regrets. >> and it's all about power. and you quote him telling obama in the year 2018 both the responsible center of american politics has disappeared. i was thunderstruck because it
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was a terrible admission. it is a terrific book everyone should read it to understand how power works in washington and current politics. and think also led center for biography which i directed at city university and our benefactor shelby white has made this particular program possiblele with her generosity. but at this point it is a quarter to the hour and we should turn to the q&a. sure we have plenty of questions.
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>> i read the book. it was absolutely fantastic i learned a lot about things that i totally forgot. it was terrific i went to ask you talk about james baker's decision to back trump i was amazed that he came back after reading the book but the bush and family have been silent. and trump said they needed james baker but did not condemn the big lie. >> i did just do an interview with him and he does condemn the big lie. he is a 91 -year-old guy and
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texas and part of that is he does not feel that he doesn't feel responsible or whatever they do to screw things up in washington he understands is not a his legacy but just to be clear he was absolutely unequivocal in terms of condemning the big lie at only january 6th but the falsehoods about the election that led to january 6. and it's interesting to watch somebody wrestling to keep his mind with the same set of principles and convictions that drove him in public life or private life but yet also being unwilling to disavow for someone who made portray or convey this level of falsehood. it was hard for us as writers but again and when we wrestled
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with it the subject of our book and maybe he has provided us not a predictable ending to ,the story to be a resistance hero and in a way maybe this is a true account of politics in some way. >> i haven't read the book yet but something, it takes 40 years and then suddenly to join the political game. what is it that is so fundamental about him that he makes this decision? part of me thinks it's not enough to explain it by friendship or rebellion but there is something fundamental about the man.
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what is that quick. >> it's a great question. thank you veryhe much. and look at the family history at that point was anti- politics there was a saying in the familyak to work hard and study and stay out of politics it was the slogan for the baker family and they pretty much did that and it was fascinating to do this looking to the archives there's no reference to the world around him into the great depression and world war ii and the kennedy assassination and mccarthy in the civil rights ndmovement and vietnam and we asked them about it and cannot remember a particular moment and was very apolitical and was getting bored with a corporate lawyer in texas and
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real estate firms and big dollar clients. and the truth is by the time 1870 comes around he was as watching his friend bush run for office run for the house twice and one even before his wife passes away toying with the idea maybe in the house see that george bush runs up in the senate and at that point hehe writes a letter to george bush because mary stuart is dying but after she dies then and he told us finds him staring out the window and he told us if there is ever going to be a moment i would be an alcoholic that was the moment because hepa was
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devastated by hisu wife's death and he said come work on my campaign it will help you with your grief. he loved it. he was good at it if you find that one thing you have a passion for suddenly you grab onto it. it was a reverse but it was a way to start something fresh. >>t confession time i have not read the book but i want to. so talk about his career and trajectoryty in keeping that campaign dirty and then to do what you want to do and in 2021 to be so vitriolic my question is so to the point of
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reading his career is that a way to be a foil or is there anything that we can see now 'or is it these days when congress used to work and now •? [laughter] >> individual agency matters. that is part of the take away of the story. so the structure of our politics matter and we can talk about it and chris can tell you a lot better than i can in the 1980s when jim baker was at his height those that have senate delegations that were split democratic senators and they voted republican or vice versa this
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is a country where there was competitive elections within states and within parties and diversity of opinions and with baker he was a political but also came from the south and texas at the moment of transition so in his lifetime he understood party identity was not fixed because he was surrounded by people who switch their party identity is the indifferent southern democrat who became a republican when bush came and they were depressive to a certain extent andir people from the midwest and the families were republicans so politics was not o a fixed identity because it was in the middle of changing and it's also also about the world order changing we came to this in part because we are interested the
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end of the cold war which turned out to be an k,exceptional period and 1989 i'm sure many of you remember but not everybody does that was the day of the fall of the berlin wall and to change the world we made a lot of assumptions and they turned out to be wrong. and then to the past the rivalry. like partisan politics and then at that moment in time of where we are today to talk about a new era of great nasal. so why read the book? and that what part of politics because the bigger factors and di do think with the issue of
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why h baker stadium politics. his natural wiring was as a dealmaker that require progressively bigger stages. he was good at politics but does notot what he loved he looked at redistricting ten years from now and wasn't considering who can i get to run in the fifth district and two election cycles out from now? what he loved was making deals. and with that essence of a person we love and he would tell us the stories and so the leader of a the testable church came a few years ago and said we have a huge problem all of
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the southern festival churches are wanting to break away from the national episcopal churchri because of same-sex marriage and ordination of gay and elesbian ministers. and the leader of the church did not want to break away and guess what? jim baker broke in texas was the only state that did not break away from the national churchch and he did the same thing with arms control and gave themea longer time to get used toas the new reality and that was the deal. so i think that was the essence especially the harder the problems thein better he had this ability to read people annot just time papers of nuclear surveys and the like. >> good evening i have to confess i have not read your bookur yet but. >> i was curious to think he
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is smart enough to know when to delegate to other people. so ie. am curious given the fact that jim baker was from george h to view can and ten years before that that somebody as you indicated not a scholarly student and doesn't know much about geopolitics is high-ranking powerful post those that the bush and the reagan administration and secretary of state. you think reagan would have selected somebody from hisit camp to be political to select somebody from his own can't to take that on as opposed to somebody from the george h w camp and i'm curious how he
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managed to endear himself for those that may have been more qualified from the reagan camp. >> that's the next observation and tells you that if you like reagan or not he was not so wedded to ideology and not willing to reach outside his team not one but two campaigns against ronald reagan with theag gerald ford convention fight to be back great again. and then with the primary campaign so baker on the other side of the divide twice partly because they did not want enemies they that he was a good guy and liked him a lot
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and that is a man who was known whoseth briefcase it never came out again and it felt like that was very impressive and they convinced reagan so think about that. somebody who into campaigns against it shows you that reagan was more pragmatic than people remember and baker according to us if not us but a thousand times and reagan said i would rather get 80 percent of what i want then get nothing. took a lot of heat because they thought he was asked sellout but the truth is that baker was operating as reagan wanted to and with the other big jobs because he had shown he can do it.
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>> thank you very much. stated that was truly a fascinating conversation about james baker and thank you for the inside the. >> with that i invite you for closing remarks for those who have not read the book it is available for purchase just outside and the authors will be signing as well. >> thank you for the great questions you have been so kind lately he is a master class and biographies of it's a great honor. >> great [applause]
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