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tv   Peter Baker and Susan Glasser The Man Who Ran Washington  CSPAN  April 21, 2022 10:56am-11:58am EDT

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>> "first ladies: in their own s looking at the role of the first lady, their time in the white house and issues important to the. >> it with a great advantage to know what it was like to work in the school because education is such an important issue, both for governor but also for president, and so that was very helpful to me. >> using material from c-span's award-winning biography series first ladies. >> i am very much the kind of person who believes that you should say what you mean and mean what you say and take the consequences. >> and c-span's online video library. we will feature first ladies lady bird johnson, betty ford, rosalynn carter, nancy reagan, hillary clinton, laura bush, michelle obama, and melania trump. watch "first ladies: in their own words" saturdays at 2 p.m. eastern on american history tv
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on c-span2, or listen to the series as a podcast on the c-span now free mobile app or wherever you get your podcasts. >> and otto had ended her dues are moderator for this afternoon who is kai bird, author, biographer whose latest book biography is on jimmy carter. so welcome, kai. [applause] >> good evening. so i'm going to be the interrogator of this session, interviewing peter baker and susan glasser. peter baker is a chief white house correspondent for the "new york times." is the author of six books including obama, the call of history, days of fires, , bush d cheney in the white house and
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kremlin rising, vladimir putin russia, the end of revolution. susan glasser is a staff writer at the new yorker. she previously served as editor of "politico" during the 2016 election cycle, a founding editor of "politico" magazine, and editor in chief of "foreign policy" magazine. she'sr w the author with her husband peter baker of kremlin rising, vladimir putin's russia and the end of revolution. they are presently writing a book on the trump presidency, so we're all waiting in great anticipation for that. so with that, let's welcome peter baker and susan glasser, and will sit down to a conversation. [applause]
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>> welcome. welcome, peter and susan. >> thank you. >> 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 whom one can neither resist nor understand. so peter and susan, i want to understand, what drove, , what demon drove you to spend seven years on, peter, on jim baker? >> one of the bakers. >> all of the bakers. now there's no relationship, , s there? >> no relationship. >> so what demon drove you on?y >> while, thank you, kai thank you to everyone for coming out today. it's really wonderful to be with you, and especially someone who
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really knows what a biography is meant to be. i would say there are two different answers to the question because i can interpret it as what demon let us to spend seven years on the book versus what demon let us write an e-book. anyway i've a slightly different answer. a 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 show we safe certain unpleasant recent events in the capital that left us otherwise engaged. .. as all consuming as a book project like this one and a biography that's also the story of washington itself in many ways from you know in a period of time from the end of watergate really to the end of the cold war. i guess my national was we better do this together because otherwis >> we better because otherwise we won't have anything to talk
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about, i am very very lucky obviously have a partner was a wonderful wonderful partner in all things. [laughter] why u don't redeem this but we found particularly fascinating because not just his own story, which we can go through if we want about the secretary of state and reagan chief of staff ran five presidential campaigns and i myself would be really extraordinary but i think we also the that made us want to write it was washington semi with his worry was a story washington the course of a generation it and so it was not just jim baker story, he was washington and sarah and they are the contract so starkly with those today chris matthews here has written a reagan and two days washington is so radically different than the one with jim baker was a giant on the stage we want tow catch and after that in and say, we started this with a long time before dawn talking on herer was on trump broke
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washington, it was argue whether he bashes more about you saw in 2013 when obama was present i think that washington already was so dysfunctional the baker story we felt on something today about as wellbo as his time i le this book inou a really taught e things i didn't know about particular with reagan and presidency and about how power works in washington and you know which is a classic story of the sort of the man behind the scene, the fixer, and the guy is making things work the guy who pays attention to details that it is a story about the establishment it in the end of it establishment k as well and there's is notion both in the left and on the right, who very conspiratorially at the washington as that was meant. my first book was a biography on
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one such a figure of a predecessor of james baker who john j mccoy who was known asli the chairman it in the foreign policy establishment, but in your account, another generation, next generation of power fixer, and you write with admiration and but not uncritically, this is a very conservative lawyer who was associated with a lot of controversial issues making quart of an get a sense from your narrative that you have a certain - for the old establishment and for the win the things working up to are not. >> while there's a lot to impact their come i would first of all of the interesting thing about bigger soaring actually it is very washington story in itself is that everybody homeless everybody comes washington and
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they are an outsider until they are an insider anything of who you think of establishments now and you think of like the clintons and go back and you can read how many stories in 1993, about the crude outsiders come to town in some markets on who do know their way around and aaround. it is the nature of the space is very transient in the kind of place that long been a place where you say, what you do, what is your job why did you come here nobody assumed to be from washington is a baker a interestingly enough i don't think peter denies he said we are talking to this will because that the opportunity this very unique nature of baker's career in the opportunity to write about washington variety of different vantage points and is running different cavities but also the secretary of state at the end of the cold war where
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int moscow together and ten yeas after the cold war so that in and of itself, we were interested to write about that but what we discovered of course in attacking the story of baker's life is that he did not even get to washington until he was in his mid- 40s in some ways, is actually the story like the world's most successful midcareer change and you know he was this conservative lawyer from houston texas telephone family initiative lawyers but son and grandson and a great-grandson of pillars of houston who helped to build of the institution of that city and so, they give him a world of great privilege butut also constrained world to actual politics in washington, active rebellion and mike mccoy the chairman of the y establishment, breaker, incredibly unlikely treasury secretary secretary of
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state, asking the question about the treaty any - - load-balancing of or is enduring and and i was humbled in one of her early interviews with jim baker, it's hard this right-handed, i really was excited asking about the soviet union i said will, when did you study, when youno were princeton like when did you read the soviet union or what was very informative any look at me kind of quizzically in a really said well you know, in my early experience for the unit was i had a tennis coach and w used i. [applause]ly actually is quite an interesting story who had been with the called white russian and his family, has led the russian revolution back in i don't his
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1917 or went, this guy has become like a second father to him and that brought me back to earth. in terms of that so he went on establishmento by inclination ay did go to east coast prep school princeton, he was not an academic, not a student and real late bloomer. >> in the early chapters of book, you paid a for this young man who is filled with privilege and he personifies the white male privilege in texas and just looked life and he does what his mother wants him to do and yet he emerges as you say, midcareer it is 40s. he arrives in washington in five years later is running the white house and is an amazing transformation and he becomes is very hard line fixer who makes
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things work and it's an extraordinary story to listen to a little bit about your sources and methods if you like 70 hours of interviews with him. dan kai bird you know better than we do because you've done about ways, biographer who has a subject he was still around, this different than somebody who's not there to defend himself or herself as much easier to do the dead. [laughter] yes bakerer ain't dead 91 going from any sharp is amazing today as he was in his prime as of yes we a lot of time with him moving to him early on is are you interested in cooperating this is not an authorized book that he did decide to cooperate with us. it's like jimmy carter broke which we will talk about tomorrow and he with us but had no control of the book to give
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us believe in reason he opened opened up his archives to us papers that are never been open to theht public before me interviewed his wife and all eight of hisis children, and we interviewed his nanny was 103, when we interviewed her best way just to date 107 old, just the other day. this. remarkable interviewed presidentt bush and 43 and give us an interview and we try to do as much was we couldn't i think we found that he was is opened as he can imagine and giving not an introspective person. he did not try to control us about which is odd because i think he made his bones in washington to control the press or maybe control us we didn't understand it is always possible. >> he had a reputation a that he could handle usbo and we wouldnt even know it and we were right about that. >> yes we were worried about that we are somehow neighbors illuminated with anything else some of these documents and he was a packrat any save
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everything going back to his letterswh home from some compans for tina, as a writer journalist,, and is going, point out is a treasure trove and wiped did he give us access. >> jim baker i think really especially hitting his 90s, remains very savvy thinking interest is very well put you going to replace his recovery don't get to write a book yourself is already written a couple of his own memoirs of the politics diplomacy which was his account of the quicker space. >> very boring. [applause] >> actually government other men mark is livelier broke, but is definitely like the world is told through like he's anecdotes and retail limited millions beaches and the like and he understood that is an
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independent work of history to unknown place and it had is a very supreme and self-confident person, i think as part of his successes gives you can imagine was a video battery of jobs is a little bit about him numerous hundred valleys inn washington are interested to understand him and they will absolutely like in one sentence of your working on jim baker and was a secret of his success. he will tell you this kind of a very like well, prior to preparations in okay yes, good job like your nose that you can be very well prepared and that washington is a city held a very prepared lawyers to stay up late and pre- read the briefings obviously they don't have success so so confidence and extreme competitiveness would be to other attributes of this t i
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think part oft what made him willing to engage. >> he was so confident on the tennis court as well and this reformed this relationship with george wh bush, let's talk about what happened there and that's really beginning of this political policy. >> that's right, the two of them at became tennis partners only 50s in the early 60s he would never been in politics i think and what makes up relationship so extraordinary is when you thing about history, what president and secretary of state have ever been closed before, usually they are like maybe there arrival at hillary clinton was to barack obama and bring the country to go to go party together againin or whater these two guys were friends years before politics rate entered and so much so that jim
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baker's first wife died of cancer, she dying, no one person a jump takerer confined to one person, is irresolute which b we help invoke their been published, and george hw bush and he said i have not told this to anybody not even to my mother my children or to my wife, and the doctors maybe not as open in 1959 with the wives and by the husband and she knew by the way and he said to george hob bush, my wife is dying of cancer and what is been the next few months to try to make her life is good as possible this is a friendship that is sealed and something big and strong and powerful soon we asked him about it they both describe each other as like brothers, doesn't mean they love each other all the time whose of us don't have things like sibling rivalries and they had arguably an office in politics
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and the retiming bigger told but she didn't want to hear this kind of dropout was a win maybe he should have known as a chief of staff in and well and should go around sayingay things like e my lips, there are times when most significantly the tension between them was weeks went 1982 comes along bush wants baker to come back in the state department to run his reelection campaign baker does so very reluctantly there's been a moments with george w. bush and barbara bush work better baker not t doing more as a result the relationship and you the friendship ordinance, or because would end of the day that george hw bush dyson houston, the person who can result not was twice but three times a day with you baker, i was standing there in his bedside when the 41st president of the united states dies, rubbing his feet, was jim
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baker this friendship goes beyond politics in a way that we have not seen the modern times. >> as you said he probably would not have bought into politics thanks upper bush was not a legal animal until he was 40. he once ran for attorney general he lost, very uninspired boring campaign. but then he brought to washington and then when reagan became president he gets into trouble, he's brought into the white house any sort of he describes his job is the should detector new becomes very you know, hands-on pragmatic, and he works with democrats and republicans but he is really
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tough pretty good description, doesn't actually came up with a great discussion of him he was developing like a hammer and became then the cover of time magazine, bugliosi, the really kind of cemented to baker's image international consciousness like the smooth fixer who was like hammer an incredibly hard nosed and talk about the 1988 campaign orny any of the very person things he did what he had an inability and thy thing to think they didn't mention so he certainly was his ultracompetitive supremely self-confident figure, almost compulsively deals with just spent four years when himself to be the ultimate like dealbreaker. while not making deals and
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baker, this is just part of this wiring something that he was naturally to do moment in washington enter politics when there is a need in route to success that went through making him that way remember the entire time the ronald reagan was president, george hw bush was president that democrats control the lease one house of congress and many cases both the senate and the house is a baker understood the dealmaking is dealing with the democrats on capitol hill and about ultimately for him secretary of state dealing with sophia's although at times you tell you that actually negotiation with germany that w margaret thatches actually as big of an obstacle as gorbachev was making a deal but so that is part of this character that i think we are so interested to examine because the question is, is the moment
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for the person this particular case almost certainly was but things like many people will say that we needed jim baker. the structures of politics are just fundamentally different now theyey were at the time and certainly he was able to feel is naturally smart about politics, the room and national politics but even he could not overcome the structural shift in our democracy is let us to the situation we are now. >> susan the controversy that he was involved i g in, going to rt five or six you focus on what you think is most interesting. there is the debate gate, where he is involved in briefly in the ceiling ofmy jimmy carter's to e reading book there's iran contra which might not happen if reagan
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had been appointed as a national security advisor. there's bushes part in the from weinberger, and others involved with anyone 1988 election and the thing where the paper really enabled empowered him and his is a political operator. it ended that kind of hardline politics. 1991 probe for the 2000 election in florida, people involved and it is an amazing us. [laughter] >> was interesting about baker is that he was adamantly, that's in the right but he was
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religiously determined to protect his relocation right, he cared a lot about what the people thought that he was a man of integrity and ethics this was the first person to carry the name james out of some makers was a burden him not to address family so things came up the month that headed or might not of had a hand income he was particular good at, he believed at a distance and sometimes to the point where his own reporting it was family, thought maybe too much so predict that it mattered to him, somebody suggested anything like you mentioned in the briefing, the biographer of jimmy carter because for those who don't remember, the reason that you should, it turns out that everything has been had prepared for debating is reagan had turns out person who were from ted kennedy into writing camp new
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super the debate too prepare the rent it i don't how much it really help that is pretty basic stuff that whatever is at the time because this is like dirty tricks because is only eight years after the watergate break-in and baker suddenly got brought into a because okc the campaign chairman and later the cia director he's i give it to baker because baker said he's lying in a mattered so much to him and nobody remembers us about you when his wife said that was most promising wife susan baker who still with him today mary to him for 50 years, wonderful person, to the two most painful things she ever saw him deal with was that after the grandchild, the reading book paper and nobody remembers this thanks much of it because it mattered so much to him that he not be thought of that way. >> that's a great example because it tells you much about who he wast in politics and yelled that this was again, a little bit of active rebellion
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for him even to be in washington a bit if you read the 1988 kapadia think that it's important to think about baker as a partisan actor as well he has placed in washington today is sort of the fixer made washington work in a time when we all say it doesn't work anymore. but he was a very sharp partisan about he and george w. bush did have a few of politics annoyed maybe both of them that you were meant to fight hard business and bush himself radiated that didn't really seem that comfortable with a thousand points of life that he did waging and yet he authorized than bush also is responsible for this, shoemaker authorized the campaign michael dukakis, they turned him into you know, sort of tech socratic governor
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of massachusetts and they turned it into a flagburning aclu card-carrying practically like an un-american figure it was also not man enough to defend his wife and extraordinary brush and when baker would say a very advisor to him throughout the washington said that baker does not do regrets and we found that to be the case in many interviews we couldn't get him to say that he regretted anything like he's basically mye record is my record with a kind of guy and this was the only thingg really important, the ony says that he ever said to us, will probably my going too far and by the way to go back and ask interview he really didn't like this was great or anything but he did not want or his
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strategy in approaching his own biography in his own history was is my record and he would say well i didn't authorize this independent expenditure but of course he didn't even object to it in the record shows actually it was al gore who first raised this in the primaries and it was apa bush campaign for did in say that we are going to - quoted in time magazine and we are going to make an indelibly interesting michael dukakis has a been you pointed out and jim baker was a promoter and an advisor and never just h about him whether think thing that is interesting that does tell you about how much are politics have changed, said he had this absolutely scheming attack in 1988 on
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dukakis and you know again, this was really the only way they decided they could in the campaign and baker was very pragmatic it, and he comes in turn the campaign only 300, and only if the convention and you know that isue kind of the rollout. >> it is a rescue potentially. >> absolutely, that's what i was going santa ana so that the only real way for bush to win, is now 17-point of the convention was to tear down this was a pragmatic decision when you what happened after the election, to me is instructive about what a different moment it is, is appointed secretary of state the very first appointment that bush makes man within weeks he is sitting down with the democratsi and sitting down with jim rice the democratic secretive house in the planning how they are going to basically and they reckon support to take this incredibly divisive issue is really been one of the most polarizing foreign policy issues of the entire reagan presidency
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and taken off the table. that was a deal that he had to do national jimmy carter help in this regard as well has a right and take it off of the table that is literally within weeks of him absolutely with the democratic nomination. >> so you know he was politically ruthless but he could use common sense to get a deal done and it wasn't an extremist on policy and georgetown said, he could be friends with washington post and greenfield who friend the editorial page and he enjoyed it dinners frequently with the publisher of the post pretty critical of his administration and talk about the social washington seen in howie
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operated in a halt doesn't hold grudges unless there's aer reasn to any recognizes that especially with the press, is going to take it today but he can come back tomorrow get a better story where they have may not have been as bad as he put it with them so we didn't hold it against governor gray. he did spend a lot of this time at the office and he did enough social stuff that he thought was necessary as a kenny operator in washington go to these parties when he that he had to any made that with reporters about who's going to win the election and so forth in the differences, that back then, theou campaign it cod be rough-and-tumble and all of these things that susan described within it would be over the purpose of the campaign lease for bush baker, they could do something, he didn't care in the enter the campaign was
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nothing in oatmeal was on the thing about them satisfaction is the thing you need to do do messy grubby thing maybe the dirty thing, to get to the point where you could do something of interest predict day seems like the opposite and today we t have governance set up within the onext election and we as her tie in power to set up issues that we can use to bash the other guy in the next presidential election and that just was not the way that he wanted to operate and they had democrats in power in the house all 12 years the reagan-bush 41 for an office and in six of the 12 years, and the senate any - why would he said there and make them the enemy. >> he had friends on the other side and he could talk to the democrats and he also could be preach off when he secretary of state, then he actually barred
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yahoo from entering the state department when he was there. >> something they liket. to do everything. >> this will my very best stories, saw the book that is yahoo clearly failed effort to understand jim baker and storms told to us by brokaw who later coveredic baker and politics and they became friends with him and he also branch out west and then he told the story that when a young yahoo came to washington, he asked brokaw to watch breakfast and explain the secondary of say to him and brokaw, to him up for breakfast and he sentt both the thing you've got to understand about your breaker, is that he likes to hunt and he likes to hunt turkey and y what you do to do that, you go out you wake up at 4:00 o'clock in the morning and you :-) with makeup and is freezing cold, and you sit there
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for hours and hours and hours and w hours waiting and then whn is the right moment, you blow the heads off. [laughter] and then you understand jim baker anything is that it infuriated r baker there's no other secretary of state that i can think of certainly the last few decades itt that i was familiar with, yahoo gave an interview which he said, basically he's accusing united states reneging on this. big went nuts any call him the ambassador in all of these things and he t said, close on e secretary of state, his persona and he is not allowed to meet with me and not allowed to meet with anyone in my department, he is banned and his aid dennis
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ross who was a longtime negotiator woulde say like we ae making him like you don't understand like he is the deputy foreign minister of israel can we please and you know, only baker and apologies of israel were different att that time, both baker and bush you know actually were not at all hesitant toic publicly criticize israelis were building settlements and for taking action. >> this is all really about the settlements in the u.s. pressure in the relations of the republican party like bushes the last republican president who took israel on things that would be i think about today with a republican president and that was done with jim baker maker then was accused of being an anti- some highs anti- any took a lot of hate for a penny did say things that were quoted about what he said the me to sound anti- somatic and so he did take a lot of heat for that and we asst for that issue in te book more and may have been
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distorted somewhat but in any case, he's not seen as a friend of israel which he would deny he was that he is a friend of israel. >> jimmy carter claims he's a friend of israel as well. >> exactly. >> it is a tough sell. >> must move on to moreer contemporary history and understand that jim baker tried it to donald trump during the 2016 company disorder moved to the center and what happened. >> that was not one of his better deals. [laughter] >> will that was no deal. >> no deal so in 2015, actually baker and nancy reagan funeral, nancy ask him to do her eulogy and he did that in the back ground is talking with newt gingrich and finally, prime minister of canada, and george also think it no talking with
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this new guy, this guy is storming the republican primaries, donald trump predict makers that is something that is not come to regret but i think is not thed say that abest analysis he made he's of all i can think of him as a little like reagan and this is a reagan was entertainer, seen as an outsider warmonger and he came intently was not really all of this that he was afraid of a maybe he's the same way an outsider in entertainer and blah blah blah and i think we can all agree that the there is no conversant but he they're not the same person by any stretch and that god communicated by him to trump ed house the other much of our like any sadistic guy headed by some trump and appoint had working for him in the convention and baker goes to meet trump and baker is smarter
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than a t lot of characters becae he recognized a lot of people go to meet with chuck, they spent out and then they have an endorsement and baker did not want to endorse is guided didn't like him eventually would vote for nobody didn't want to endorse him so he brought into page memo saying things that ihi think you need to go now that you have is nominations going up and when theng general electionn the include things like, reach out to the middle and you know stop playing these crazy things that look racistt and sexist in an arms race and all these things would normally and normal politics would've been obvious but trump rejects all of it of course. and i was the very last on the baker tried to advise him i think, they may have had some communications he did recommend rex for secretary of state but that didn't work out so well either. the bottom line is he both were trumpha in 2015 and again in 200 so a lot of readers assess about that please and here's the sky
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who is conservative but he is not vote it was even republican until 40 was a democratic and texas away as he so stuck on this it actually go for donald and he told us in her interviews, if anything about this as that was on the book before trump came into the office middle of her interviews took place with trump on the scene and we get past germany middle east they would always inevitably be about trump was watching over five struggling with l this because of the republican party basically and he was trashing nafta which bush and baker help started researching internationalism and something really care a lot about trusting nato interesting you know, concepts that baker and bushes to enforce the republican party told us, he thinks this guy is nuts, his work not ours he said nothing crazy his words and he still voted for him and we think in the end is because it tells us
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something thousand one party race guy they don't like ed establishment at least failed and yet they stood with him. >> you know, he was ultimately voted for man who also was trashing the bush >> absolutely. >> so that is a mystery. >> will i think that actually is something i think there's really hard healings among some members of the bush family, if there was ever a public figure who had an out, not to vote for donald trump it would been to baker who is indelibly associated with bushes new mexico houston' there's a park in which the statute one for the park jim baker and facing across the way is george hw bush sort of perpetual dialogue with each other.
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so he has this easy way out and he really struggled i think again and again and we would come back in fact i saw jim baker in washington, two days before the 2016 election and i interviewed him at the willard hotel. we were talking about passiveness in his life, and of the beginning and he said well i think i will vote for trump and he said i know, everybody does not want me to. i cannot let it go and that i just could not let it go in indiana, i came after u it and e unusual, and are back and forth, i said but how can jim baker vote for donald trump and he looked thank you nice really have to say is interesting. i said well, i haven't done it yet. k and we kept circling back to this issue for the subsequent four here's.
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i think ultimately i sit of the subject of your book, spelling is something over and over and over again, we have to listen to attend theed thing is especially when baker then decided after telling us it was interesting joe biden who we considered supporting joe biden, the reversion to the partisan sort of, the partisan norm in the comfort zone, i think it told us not only about where the republican party is and ultimately actually the result is very k much about as much abt partisan i notification as this about donald trump and for jim baker in a voting block is country, and absolutely was not about who donald trump is been about who they are and so their identity and iss feel, power which i thank you so a view that you have to exercise. that in his mind, you know the
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outside, then you're just a voice howling at the wind and the only way to exert influence is to be on the inside. even a lothi of people i would y probably in his family, not sure that was the right decision. kenny does not do regrets no regrets. >> and it is all about power but at one point, you quote him tellingg obama in the year of 2018, both thepo responsible center in american politics has disappeared and i was just thunderstruck by that if this is terrible admission and explain sort of where we are today and you know anyway, is it terrific a book and everyone should read it to be able to understand how power works in washington in our
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politics. >> and the leading center for biography which i directed the city university of new york, and factors, shall be white, made this pretty good program possible with her generosity. at this point we should begin to turn to the q&a and i hope answer we have plenty have questions them when you try to get to the all. >> i read the book, i learned a lot about things that i totally forgotten so most horrific it and wanted to ask you, you were talking about james baker's assistance and trump and i was dumbstruck, amazed that he came back after reading the book
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pretty in the end, you in with that essentially but why folks like baker, ending the bush family, having pretty silent since january 6, they were silent except for his one comment when trump saide that i needed james baker but he did not condemn the big lie and so why is that. >> actually did just do an interview with him and he does condemn the big life and actually in very strict terms of the lucky is 91 -year-old guy who was living you know, in texas i think that part of the explanation is he does not feel that is what is one thing but he does not feel responsible, whatever they did to screw things up in washington this 20 think he understands who love you is watch but just be clear, he was absolutely unequivocal in terms of condemning the be like
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and condemning not only generally six but also the falsehoods about the election that led to january 6 and it's interesting infected watch somebody wrestling with absolutely keeping it is mine the same stat and set up principles and convictions that drove him to public life private life and yet also being unwilling to talk about us on both twice was a buddy who would say or convey this level of falsehoods and people really francis writers, but again i think that powerpoint and when we wrestled with this, it really was okay, if you are the subject of the book, history is not our story. and maybe he's provided is not a predictable ending to the story he could be a resistance hero and why this is his truth
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telling of our politics in some wayy. >> hi, i have not read the book yet and i want to make sure that i do that, but something that jumped at me, 40 years, he takes 40 g years before he gets into politics and then suddenly, he's toyed the political game, what is it so fundamental about him that he makes this position, part of me thinks that it is not enough to explain itt by friendship or rebellion, there is something fundamental about him what is that. >> is a h great question and thk you very much and appreciate it and a cure, the family history at that point, anti- politics, had a family, work hard, study and stay out of politics, that was there slogan for the baker family generations, they all
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more or less did that so baker followed that particular portion any must very political in his interest, most fascinating is to look through his archivesr no letterss of reference to events of the world around him. he was the great depression, world war ii, and the kennedy assassination c in vietnam and civil rights movement and there's no references in the letters to and from his family and no reaction about it and he couldn't remember what a particular moment and he said i don't know that means a new spirit and purely political just board and a corporate lawyer in texas and will be for oil farms and or about the real forms but will see firms big dollar clients. in this truth is by the time 1970 comes around, he felt like he was not excited about anything pretty and he was watching his friend bush run for office and was at that point had
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run for senate loss for the house twice in one, i thank you so beginning to get a taste toyed with the idea of getting an idea to running and for the senate and at that point, he rises letter to george bush anyplace wise not going to run the house because mary stuart, is dying. but after she dies, he's lost in the interviews told t us that we would find hymns just tearing out the window, just blankly and he told us, there was a moment that i thought that i would be an alcoholic and that was a moment he was really devastated by his wife death for young boys and so he said to him, come and work on my campaign, it will help you with your grief. he found that he loved it and he was good at it like any of us you find the one thing that you really are passion for suddenly, use grab onto it and he didn't know. is a a report coming in was a rebirth and again before his
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wife passed with my passing really think really was a way of distorting a new pretty sorry something fresh. >> i have not read the book either but when youe read about, and you talk about jim baker's career as secretary and hearing about how that across the aisle and he actually gives the power and which want to do, hearing all that in 2021 where feel so toxic. my question is to the point of writing in the career in this book, it's a way to use it now 2021, is there anything, that we can be applicable to his career that you see now is adjust will, here is how congress used to
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work this way and then there is now. >> and individual agency matters think that is part of the take away of the story and so, the structure of her politics, about it andn talk they can tell you a lot better than i can, 1980s when jim baker, and half of they had some delegations that were split, the work democratic senators say they voted republican for regular vice versa this was a country where there were competitive elections within the states and within parties and a diversity and part of a car, he was a political but he also came from the south and from texas and aso moment of transition rad selena's lifetime, understood the party identity was affixed because this was surrounded by events people this wasy, a party
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identity pretty he himself was sort of an indifferent different southern tip credit became a republican george bush came to houston the republicans were sort of to certain extent and people from the midwest, the first wife the family was republicans. and that was transition the baker made in his own lifetime is on the politics is on affixed tidentity had was a perhaps is tribal and national stage c because it was invalid changing virtual is also story about the world order teaching of peter i did come to this and thought because were interested in the end of theex cold war which turd out to be very exceptional time which we did not know with diamonds of it easy to become a when we were working on this book, the 1989 november 9th 1989, i'm sure many of you remember this but not everybody does, that was that date of the fall of the berlin wall.
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and change the world, made a lot of assumptions about that day when i met and turned out to be the way for the united states and you including the idea that we had moved fast rivalry seems like a partisan politics thinks about what are some jazz were about russia and it turned at v that moment in te versus what we any who
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can i get to run in the fifth district pretty and they said we have a huge problem, all of the southern churches, they are wanting to break away for the national church because of same-sex marriage and ordination of women and the game is billion leader of the texas church and want to break away jim baker
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broker the deal actually texas was the only state that in a breakaway and he did exactly by the way in arms control essentially gave them longer times to get used to the new reality for the heart of the problem the better they have this credibility to read the people and not just briefing papers on nuclear waste in the likes. >> i also need to confess i'm not read your book yet but it's on my bucket list. >> okay. >> i was curious remember regular once quantitive that could be smart enough to know when to delegate things to other people so i'm curious, given the fact that jimim baker was from george hw camp and he was a political covenant only less than ten years before that, that he was somebody was not a
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scholarly student, i didn't really know much about geopolitics and he took on the post high-ranking powerful post as chief of staff for both bush and reagan administration a coming secretary of treasury and secretary of state you think that reagan was selected somebody from his camp, and he was very political for decades before that he was selected somebody from his own loyal camp to take on those as opposed to taking 70 from george hw camp and i got was just curious of how he managed to rise over other people that were more qualified from in a more - from reagan. >> i think that's an excellent observation i think it tellsot u a lotht about with regular bake, and again you like reagan or
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baker or whether you like them or not and reagan, was not so wedded to ideology and not willing to reach outside of baker had one to campaigns against ronald reagan in 1976, gerald ford convention, last campaign that reagan bossed out of the george hob bush american pain must regular 1980, so figures on the other side of the republican divide twice and partly because and spencer did not want that, they thought he was a good guy and he liked lot but he was a disaster is a chief of staff because he was known if a piece of paper into his briefcase, never came back out again and they did not want to disaster chief of staff a big really felt like have been very oppressive these two campaigns in the comments reagan and reagan suggest obligate think about that, was less than he can remember of presentations and
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videos run to campaigns against him, as a number one aid and so shows you the reagan is more pragmatic the people remember hannah when baker quantitive not once, a thousand times originally sent him, look, reagan was super ideological obviously been he's i would rather get 80 percent about a month ago over to my flight get nothing will baker took a lot of heat and let reagan be ready proud, conservative thought he was, moshe kind of a sellout to him the the baker was operating as the way he wanted him to and then to the other big jobs because he had was shown that he could do it. >> thank you. >> so that was truly a fascinating conversation about james baker. thank you for the insight to look into washington and so with that, i would like to invite you
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to putting your remarks and also for the audience so that you know those who have not read the book yet, the book is available for purchase just outside the offers will be signing as well. >> absolutely think you for the "why" questions it and thank you kai bird, you have been so kind with your book and believe me, he is a master class and biography so this is a great honor. >> thank you. >> right conversation and think you guys very much appreciated. [applause] [applause] >> la six presidents recorded conversations while in office, many of those conversations on c-span podcast, and the reports. >> season one focuses on the residence and you will hear about 90s easy for civil rights act is 9064 is initial debate in the delta - incident and martin summa, and the war in
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vietnam, everyone knew they were being recorded and certainly, johnson secretaries new because they were tasked with transcribing many of those conversations in fact they were the ones who make sure that the conversations were taped as johnson would signal to them through an open door between his office and there's. >> he also here's a blunt talk. >> i would report the number of people who are assigned to kennedy or me, and the numbers assigned me now and i wanted that quick and if i can ever go to the bathroom, most ago, i promise you it will go anywhere, all stay right behind these not gates. >> prisons or recordings, find it on c-span l, mobile app or where you get your podcast. >> weekends on "c-span2" are an
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