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tv   Presidential Leadership - Lessons from History  CSPAN  December 19, 2018 9:22pm-10:28pm EST

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intelligence operations during president kennedy's administration. >> i want to focus on the two biggest intelligence subjects of the kennedy administration, which often are the to those two major historical episodes people remember from this period, the bay of pigs fiasco and the cuban missile crisis. so we have a fiasco and we have a crisis and they are both big problems. what they have in common is obviously cuba. >> and sunday at 6 pm on american artifacts, look inside the national portrait gallery on its 50th anniversary. >> the chart that was headed to us by kangas to impact the men and women on america's history and culture and i use that word impact advisedly, because of course we had people like john wilkes booth who assassinated president lincoln and the notorious gangster al capone. there's no moral test in the
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portrait gallery, we are not a hall of heroes, what we are is a place to reflect on those people who have changed the national conversation and got us to where we are today. >> watch american history tv, this weekend on c-span 3. next on american history tv, historians jay winik and doris kearns goodwin discuss the characteristics they believe is necessary for leadership. much of this focuses on president lincoln and president rohr -- roosevelt during world war ii. i'm david gregory, i'm so happy to be able to join you tonight, what a great opportunity for me to be part of this conversation with these two wonderful historians. when i had the opportunity i leapt at the chance to talk to doris and jay about
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presidential leadership lessons from history and that is what we are here to do tonight. we will have some discussion among the three of this and then all of us will be able to join in the discussions to celebrate and lift up doris's timely book about presidential leadership and to reflect on presidential leadership and the broader lessons of history. i do want to point out that this is an on the record meeting for those of you who care about that, and as i said in about a half an hour we will open up to q&a from all of the members. there are two folks who leap need little introduction, this doris kearns goodwin and her latest book is "leadership in turbulent times" i've got a copy of it and i think you get a copy of it in the lobby.
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also jay winik, historian and author, april 1865 the month of the saved america and 1940 for, fdr and the year that changed history i think are probably my favorite of yours. and the former historian and residents here at the council on foreign relations so great to see both of you, thank you both for teaching us and enlightening us and making history so much fun for us to keep running. >> yeah, hooray, we can all drink to that. i wanted to frame this bite asking you both, doris we will start with you. is presidential leadership a distinct thing? is it something we should think of different leadership in other domains? >> clearly, there are certain things about political leadership, you have to go to the electorate, you have to deal with congress, you have to deal with the supreme court and the checks and balances. but i think if you think about leadership as mobilizing people within your team and then in a larger sense within your
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organization or within your country through a set of purposes, i think it's human nature that is leadership. whether you have the humility to acknowledge errors and learn from your mistakes that's relevant in business and that's relevant as a university leader and you grow in office. whether or not you have the resilience to get to losses which we will talk about, whether you have self reflection, whether you can laugh at yourself at times, whether you have a sense of knowing how to communicate to the people that you need to that could be a businessperson commuting to his team or shareholders or employees. whether or not you can control your emotions. all of those things, i think, whether you can find time to relax and replenish your energy. the thing i think about political leaders i think are relevant to aspiring leaders is dealing with people.
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it's the framework in which you have to deal with is different. you don't have quarterly reports if you're in the government. you don't have shareholders in the same way, but i think you still, it still matters whether you have the emotional intelligence to know how to deal with the team and you're always to have it in any type of leadership capacity. >> and here in leadership, j, lincoln was maybe the earliest of that era of civil war to think about maybe this whole idea of popular leadership was even going to work. >> and one of the things in lincoln i saw earlier on was the steaks of military leadership are different from all overs. what you're talking about is war and peace. you're talking about the fate of the people, you're talking about whether the people live or die. and when you think about lincoln for second at the
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start of the civil war. consider this for second, nobody could have been less prepared to be president to preside over discrete civil war than lincoln. he was a one term congressman a failed senatorial candidate and had no military experience. he had no executive experience. and he had depression so great that people once said that he feared carrying even a penknife. but when he was being missed besieged, he had to make a decision to renegotiate peace or do we do something tougher? do we end up going to war? and this is that you make providence of presidents and lincoln, innocence was the first one to have to do that. >> in other words, the stakes are so much higher. >> so much higher. >> and it's the sense that the president, doris has a greater sense and really a calling to sort of define the destiny of our country in a way that others don't. >> i think something happens sometimes when a person becomes president and they are aware of the other presidents before them, and they are aware that some things that they may do
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may be remembered over long period of time. i think they start thinking that way. the best presidents for whom ambition for self starts out perhaps when they start running for office, become something larger. and ambition for having accomplished something that will stand the test of time and that's when you get a good leader that i think becomes a great leader. when i think about the difference between lyndon johnson for example is just majority leader of the senate and he developed and had gotten there from the beginning, he sought power and then he had a heart attack, a massive heart attack while he was majority leader. just having gone six months before and he asked the question what if i died now what would i be remembered for? and then he went in a different direction he went for civil rights and the senate and obviously for civil rights when he went to the presidency and had the war not cut his legacy in two, he would be remembered as one of the great domestic
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presidents. when you still think about what he did, it's extraordinary. but i remember when i was down on the ranch working with him on his memoirs and he talked about that. he said once you get there it something different and the first thing you get done if it really makes a difference, and the civil rights act passes and 64 and he thought so i can do this! and maybe i'll do the next one and the next one. we don't know what that was like to have made a decision. and the other side of it is you put people in war and they are dying and they don't know the purpose for which and you have to spare that legacy. but you're right the stakes are different. >> and i think what presidents see is, they come to realize in their having these massive egos which is what enables them to run for president. but eventually date realize they are something much bigger, much grander, much larger. and they are just one link in a change -- chain. if we go back to lincoln, one of the things lincoln about,
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why would he go to this terrible war that cost him so much bloodshed and effort? this was started by the founders and by god he wanted to expand that experiment. >> imagine your lincoln and you are sitting in the oval office at the time he was president. he was looking out at the washington monument in its construction, which is such a great metaphor [ laughter ] this thing is still coming together. the country is still coming together and we are seeing if this is going to work and he had a really think about all the leaders, all the presidents, doors that you profiled here. these were touch and go moments. this whole enterprise was either going to sink or swim. >> that's what we keep forgetting now, we think we are living in the worst of times you just imagine what it was like for abraham lincoln, coming in as jay so well knows that the question of whether they will hold together, the union won 600,000 people are going to die or more than that. he said he wasn't sure if he had known what he had to go
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through in his first month in office he would do it. but even teddy roosevelt coming in when the terrors of the industrial revolution were much more impact full and our technological today. there was a bigger gap between the rich and the poor, there were nationwide strikes, it was unclear that democracy would survive and of course when fdr comes in and you're living in that period of time, compared tom does, and your savings have been taken away from you and you don't have a job. there was a guy who wrote to fdr, he said my roof fell off my dog ran away i lost my job my wife is mad at me, but you are there so i will be okay. [ laughter ] so he was willing to take that responsibility when it was unclear whether or not capitalism would survive. and then lbj coming in when the
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racial tensions were escalating there was no sense that there would be a bill that would get through congress to desegregate the south and the assassination had taken place and they thought it might be a conspiracy. we are living in a complicated time but i think that's what history can tell people that there is a perspective, that we went through these times but we had the right leader at the time for that challenge. >> and that's one of the question, this history make the man, or does the man make the history cute dose?. for you to write about these figures hundreds of years later, is it the opportunity that is born of crisis? >> i think it's the opportunity that is born of crisis. more than anything i would say that man does make history the leaders make history it's impossible to think about the civil war without thinking about abraham lincoln. is dose it is impossible to think about the emancipation proclamation or the first or second inaugural without
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thinking about abraham lincoln. it is impossible to pick about the birth of this nation which first gave us our first dna. when washington was facing this potential uprising among some of his officers because they felt they weren't being paid enough and they thought about instituting a coup so they went to washington and he said okay let me address your complaints. he took out a sheet of paper and was about to read it and then all of a sudden he reaches in and he pulls out a pair of glasses, put them on and he says pardon me, it seems that in the service of my country not only have i gone gray but i have gone blind. and on the spot, these men, these potential coup plotters the began to cry. and they were so overtaken by the emotion of the moment and there you see washington again talking about preserving the moment of this nation. >> and the symbol.
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>> the symbol of sacrifice. >> i think the important thing to remember is that it is true the opportunity makes potentially great leaders, because the crisis in the challenge have to be overcome. but it can also produce great either. think about buchanan was there before lincoln and he was considered until a few weeks ago the worst president. [ laughter ] no, that's not me speaking, that's presidential historians. what happened in the last poll, president trump was put below buchanan and it was in the newspaper that the buchanan's family was celebrating. >> but think about herbert hoover who was there before franklin roosevelt when the depression had already started and he didn't have that optimism, he didn't have that experiment that fdr did. mckinley probably could have done what roosevelt did. with the turmoil of the time
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and the populism of of the time. and i don't think that jfk could've gotten the civil rights bill through the way a southern president who understood the congress and was calling up those congressman at 6 in the morning at noon at midnight at 2 a.m., some sinners lying there. he would say i hope i didn't wake you up, no i was just looking at the ceiling hoping my president would call [ laughter ] if the congressman was not there he would talk to the wife if the wife was not there he would talk to the kids and he would say you tell your dad he's got to go along with me on this bill. i don't see who else could i put together the majority to break the filibuster. >> can you both address the idea of emotional intelligence, you use that phrase doors in the book. the ability to master narrative for the country and be a great storyteller. but in the way, and this is interesting because you write about lincoln this way, but of course we about it in more modern history with lbj having a sense of what people need, not the country. what lawmakers need and what the country needs.
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and why that contributes to great leadership. >> i think just a first part of your question i think it's true that what the leaders provide is a story for the country. people need a narrative. lincoln was asked sometimes why do you tell so many stories? he would tell funny stories but he would also tell stories in all of his great speeches, this is where we come from, and slavery and this is where we are now and this is where we have to go. he said people remember stories better than they do facts and figures, i think it's hardwired in our brain. like in the old days before we even had writing that was printed, they would tell stories from one generation to another. so to provide a narrative to the country but then to be able to figure out, you're right how to get the people to go along with you is going to take a lot of deals it's going to take a lot of pragmatic stuff, it's going to take being flexible as
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it was for lincoln to get that cabinet to go together with him on emancipation because they didn't want to at the beginning. >> in the modern context we talk about president trump, hardly a man of the people but yet has a common touch that confounds people. reading about fdr you read about the same thing he was able to cultivate a sense of what the working man and woman wanted. >> doors has written about this so beautifully is that he would give these fireside chats for instance and people who were destitute and hungry and poor in many ways had nothing left to live or he would speak to them in such a way that would touch their hearts, their heads, and their soul. and they said that when they heard him they had a friend that was looking out after them. >> and what he imagined in his mind he would picture when he was giving a fireside chat a shop girl behind the counter or a mason or a construction worker and he was talking directly to them. saw bellows talks about walking down the street on a hot chicago night while one of the fireside chats was on the air and he could see people sitting in their kitchens looking at
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the radio and hear the voice coming out. he could keep walking and not miss a word of what he was saying. and then he tells a story of a construction worker coming home and someone asked him where you going. and the person said my president is speaking to me in my living room and it's only right to be there to greet him. you are absolutely right through the fireside chats they felt that he was different. in fact when he died, the new york times reported that strangers were hugging each other and saying my friend is gone. one person wrote that it's amazing that one person dies and 130 million people feel lonely. that was the key to his loneliness goes leadership that he had the leadership. he used it to educate them. the fireside chats were pretty meaty. they really were talking about the banking price dose crisis. the first one if i could describe it it was the first fireside chat until i put it in
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this book. because i started sometime later but the banking crisis is how people were taking their deposit out of the. there were long lines, banks were closed. the bank holiday, all the banks were closed and he has got a week until all of them are open again to figure out a banking bill that was sure of the weaker banks and keep the stronger ones going. so he described everyone why the banks didn't have enough money. so he tells them the reason they don't have the money to give them and he said when you give your money it doesn't go into a ball it keeps the economy going and some of these banks invested in the stock market and others did not but their assets weren't strong enough to give them the cash. they end up saying it is safer for you to bring your money back to the bank. i promise you then to keep it under the mattress, so the banks open the next monday morning and everybody's terrified are they going to take their money out again? long lines again, they are bringing satchels to bring it back to the bank. it's amazing that you would
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trust a leader that way. >> we sometimes forget how difficult the trials are that they are going through. and when we look back at history some of these things seem inevitable. if we take a look at lincoln for example, as late as 1864 which was almost a year after the gettysburg victory, there was a battle in the wilderness. and in this battle in the wilderness, the first battle, they would lose, the union will lose 10,000 men. over six week span the union would lose some 56,000 people. that would be as many as we would lose in the entire vietnam war. and while all of this was going, lincoln was pacing the halls of the white house, his hands were behind his back, his head was furled, his eyes were all baggy and he kept repeating to himself almost like a mantra, i must have some relief from this anxiety or it will kill me. and it almost did kill him. when the country started crying
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for his head, and the copperhead movement was calling for peace and in 1860 for and general macleod, the foreigner general ran against him on a piece plank. when all of this was happening and that somebody said you have to get rid of grant, he is a butcher. and lincoln said i can't spare that man, he bites. and what we have seen about these leaders is they can peer over the horizon and they can see things that we don't see. >> that's something we were talking about before. are these leaders, and doors you are writing about lincoln and roosevelt and fdr and teddy roosevelt and lbj. are they visionary leaders? i use the example of steve jobs in the area of business. he was able to see that we wanted and needed that we couldn't see. do you think these are men that have that? >> lincoln was asked at one point did you think that we might lose the war? and he said i didn't think
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that. he envisioned somehow, i don't think he knew how it was going to happen but i think about lbj. the first night he comes in the presidency, his line on this big bed of his in the vice president's residence with three aids and they are watching the assassination covered afterward and he says that night i know what i'm going to do when i get out tomorrow. first i'm going to get the tax cut past kennedy's tax cut that is been going to the congress and then we will get the economies expanding and then i'm going to get the civil rights bill to desegregate the south, and then i'm going to get the voting rights. and people that recorded that at the time. and then he said i'm going to the education and then i'm going to get harry truman's medicare through. and it during the first 18 months he figured out a vision of what the country would be like with the foundation of what the new deal was. so i don't know that they all
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had that. i'm just going to go back to what you were talking about james. we talk about we forget about the anxiety of these people and how they sleep at night. and lincoln, the way he could sleep in the midst of that terrible worry about the war was he would be reading a funny shakespeare comedy and he would go to his aid and read it aloud so he could laugh when he went to sleep, thinking about something funny, rather than thinking about the anxiety of the war. when teddy was worried about winning an election and what he might lose or not, he would write dozens of letters to his friends and family and say don't worry if i lose i have had the best run of anybody. so he wouldn't have to feel pity from the people if you lost. fdr, when he couldn't sleep at night, finally he had this amazing ritual where he would imagine himself a one boy once more at hyde park and his sled would go down the hill and he would pick up the sled and take it to the top here's this paralyzed man imagining sleds
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like sheep and finally he could go to sleep. lbj couldn't go to sleep, that was his problem he would wake up in the middle of the night, go to the situation room and worry whether he had made the right decision. he said he envied truman and he was constantly second-guessing. >> we talk about these men of destiny and purpose and unity. but what about raw ambition? insecurity? i think of lbj and he was trying to finally measure up, to these men who had been in the ivy league. he carried this insecurity, teddy roosevelt overcoming physical frailty and a different kind of point i would use the donovan the american century. we talk about the lofty ideals, what about the basic insecurities and ambitions and ego involved? >> i think it's clear to be president you have to have a
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massive ego. but i really do believe that the presidency is a transformative experience. maybe not the first day, maybe not the first week, maybe not even the first year, but at some point most presidents get hit with this in such cataclysmic proportions that they realize that they have to become stewards of this nation. they become stewards of something called the american dream. and you see that whether you're looking at presidents 150 years ago, or to the state. and i have written in the wall street journal that donald trump and i don't know how right this turned out to be, but i wrote in the wall street journal that trump when he gets in the office he will feel there is something much larger and grander than him and as a result of that it will be humbling. but it will kind of stitched into the fabric of this longer thing called the united states. >> i do think the question of
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where ambition comes from is still a mystery. think about it yourself and if you could ask where your ambition to became what you became start? and in some ways i think it does come from an insecurity and the desire to get back at something. when i did an exit interview with president obama, i asked him about his ambition because lincoln at the age of 23's and every man has a peculiar ambition, mind is to be esteemed. i said did you think about that way? he said no, maybe mine was just to prove something to my absent father or maybe it was because of my race that i wanted to prove something. and i think for lbj it was something to prove something. sometimes i think it's as simple as you are so confident you love being the center of attention you want to replicate that. they said about teddy that he wanted to be the baby of the baptism and the baby at the baptism and the corpse at the funeral. so did fdr have the center of his family's life.
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you are so used to that sense of being at the center that it's better to be at the center. >> and in fdr's case why not be president for third term? he was overturning something of the story of george washington himself. and when you think about that, george washington after his second term he decided he would step down it was going be something quite unique in the annals of history, transferring party peaceably from one person to another person. and when he did that, the king of britain, the british king george said if you do that, sir you will be the greatest man of the world. and that is exactly what he did. but of course with fdr without he will be the greatest man for fourth term president. >> it's also, 1940, western europe had been, he thought they did and they probably did. if there hadn't been the war that had already begun in your there's no way he could have won a third term. or i think even run. and remember when he decided for the fourth term he was ill
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it was a real question in history as you know so well, but d-day hadn't happened when he had to decide on the war in europe. was over? there is still going to be terrible battles and he wondered what the piece would be, so i think it was that he loved being there and didn't want to leave it. and the same is true for teddy, too. he couldn't bear not being there, he loved it so much. but rather than love it, my husband wants was working for justice frank further. so he said to my husband, you tell that man of your, because he was going to leave and work for jfk, he said any man that's any good at all is taking joy for the job. you'll tell justice that i'm going to love it. but there's something to that, with all the attention you have to get fulfillment from it and
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feel joy in exercise of people and being with people during the day, or else i think it won't work. >> we are going to hear from our members here in a moment. but you talked about the qualities of he had to scour the countryside with 12 months of full schooling so if i don't win this election i won't be too much disappointed because i'm so familiar with disappointment, but then he says, i will tell you something, if i don't win i will try five or six times. i won't try again. as he said
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before, he finally becomes the candidate for the presidency. what changed teddy roosevelt as a young boy he had asthma so we had to make his body so he came and also when he loses his wife and mother in the same day in the same house, his wife gave birth to a child the mother came at 49 years old to help care for the mother and child and she died of typhoid fever. in his depression he moves to the badlands and moves the state legislature and becomes a man of the west. another would have moved the presidency and of course, we know about fdr, when he emerged much more warmhearted and able to deal with other people
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because of polio. so, ernest hemingway said everyone is broken by life but afterward some people are stronger in the broken places and these guys were . >> we can talk about perseverance and emotional and practical intelligence. why is it that some people can do things they never thought they could do. why can they take an international setting and chase it around, let's bring it closer to reagan's case, relations from the social union should be characterized by his full coexistence. it was a 40 year conflict and reagan comes in and everyone said if we push
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the soviets they will fall but to get back to this idea about ambition, thinking about lincoln , 33 rooms in the white house and abraham doesn't feel comfortable in any of them. >> talking about the pressures of fdr during the depression and the war that he said if you spend two years trying to move your big toe and you took great triumph out of that you can get through all of this. if you've gone to some persico
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-- personal problem and overcome it and come out stronger you somehow bring the knowledge with you to a huger domain . >> in fdr's case that we know that during the phony world of world war ii things were so stressful but we know when he went to the summit where he met with stalin he was sitting around the table and sweat was coming down as he almost fainted and paralyzed and they went to a back room and told everyone it was indigestion but we now know as it was the beginnings of congestive heart failure. when he got back to the united states, his health was so bad he would sit at his desk with his eyes glazed over and he fell out of his chair and he got a full workup and they said if you don't do something you'll die within a
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year. but, it never stopped him. not only did he become humbled by the office but in a sense they will give their life to the office and we see that in the great presidents. >> let's widen the conversation and before i take questions i want to point out this wonderful series is made possible by david rubenstein so we thank him for that. now, two questions. >> how important is empathy to a successful president and what sort of relationship between sanity and quality of leadership ? >> i'll answer the empathy and leave the sanity. [ laughter ] empathy can be one
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of the most important qualities a leader can have. it's interesting when you think about teddy roosevelt, he acknowledge later that when he first went into politics he was simply going in for an adventure not because he thought he could make other people's lives different but politics to come to places that people of his privileged background would not normally go. he went in as police commissioner to disguise himself and as a soldier he saw his fellow soldiers and those experiences brought in fellow feeling. at first you may not feel subconscious but after a while it becomes conscious or becomes unconscious, rather. he argued that the rock of democracy would founder and it had something to do with today but people in different regions and parties and religions and races begin to feel about each
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other as if they are the other. that is the divide we are facing right now and he understood that and you have to see what other people are seeing and feeling to bring them around to a common purpose. as a sake i think fdr's empathy came from his polio and fellow patients, he taught them how to have joy in life, they played water polo and had wheelchair dances and cocktail parties at night and they said, he made them feel, even though they were disabled, that they could live a life again. he understood that. so i would say is a leader have the ability to imagine what other people are feeling and thinking and bring them together with you is perhaps one of the most important traits. >> one can put it better but i
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would add about empathy that it's terribly important because it's the way the reader connects with the people and sometimes policy work and sometimes they don't but when they work you connect with the people to give a sense of hope and strength and it still works. i love this one instance from the end of the civil war, the scene is 1865, it's april 4 and war is about to come to a close and at that point lincoln decides he wants to see fallen rebel capital and he steps up with about 20 years all of these shouts. he is surrounded by a sea faces of former slaves who'd been freed and they are saying glory to god and then he throws himself out lincoln's feet and he hugs his foot,
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that's empathy . >> in the current occupant of the white house one sees no evidence of some of the attributes you have been talking about, particularly humility. certainly, on the contrary you seen only a greater sense of certainty that he is the best ever , he said a number of times that these are two years unlike any other in the history of the country and, we could certainly look past the reflection of any kind and i suppose the sanity question comes into play but i would
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just ask you as historians of the presidency, is there any precedent for what we are seeing today at all? sanity, temperament and race, the one thing that's true to add on is that at this point, yes yet to see in trump someone is looking towards his predecessors as mentors and away we may have seen with some of his predecessors. that may change but we don't see that yet. the one thing i can say is his time will come. that's what i believe. a wave of events and the suddenness of things that happen mean at some point he will find that he wants to do and find sustenance and what previous presidents have done and i think you will find lessons and how to conduct himself. >> does he have any of the
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qualities being discussed here? >> the one thing he was able to do during the campaign was to make a large group of people in the country feel he was on their side but that something roosevelt did during his presidency. that may be factional but you hope when you get into the presidency after the moment of triumph that you expand your base rather than continue to talk to the base. he could make people feel a common sense of identity and getting out of washington, the question of humility is important. he talked about
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humility as a candidate and the reason he left pope francis was that pope francis was very humble, just like him. [ laughter ] he diagnosed a group of people in the country to feel that she hasn't been listen to. people in the cities are different than them and they felt anxiety. when he says i am your voice. he comes alive when he speaks to them.
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one of the things i will say is that this is very verbal, were not even two years into the presidency so it's hard to diagnose just what the trump administration is and what it will come to see in history. we're talking about andrew jackson and when you look at the jackson administration, the great states they said at the time that democracy as we know will come to an end but as it turned out, little contentious, she founded a democratic party . >> is a great book and i said mr. presidents good it's really
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fair and he said gregory, let me tell you something like i told him, you couldn't write a memoir or biography of my time in office because you were there. [ laughter ] >> that's great. when i decided what to do next after i finished with teddy and half and i had the choice to find a new president and it could've been harry truman, or
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i could just decide to keep my guys i didn't want to let them go somehow so each time and i would spend as much time as i could. i spent seven years with teddy roosevelt and longer then it took world war ii to be file with fdr fought with fdr. these are the people i wanted to look at through the lens of leadership.
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>> do you have anyone in mind? >> [ laughter ] >> -- that maybe true but it's an interesting thing to be thought about. >>
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>> i don't want to live with him so i'm not going to write about him. there are people i would never write about, someone i didn't basically want to spend days and nights with. >> there's another view about trump and they want to position america differently than people would agree with you in terms of where america fits into the rest of the world . >> i want to get back to your question, in my book in 1944 which was about fdr and d-day in the holocaust. i spent a lot of time writing about the nazis and hitler but i thought it was very important to delve into hitler's psychology and his world and the things he brought
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on to the world because he was such a significant figure and not in a good way in a bad way but he was certainly a profound figure. similarly when i wrote my book in the 90s, i found myself captivated by the mastermind of the guillotine and certainly those were in many ways negative but i was a little biased because these are not people i would ever see in this country . >> we are building on what
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we've been going , the notion of empathy and the sense of the example of what lynn roosevelt was as a friend, and the ability to have this empathy, it seems to me that donald trump also channels this notion that are empathetic with those who are feeling left out, resentful and very much forgotten so, it's not the empathy and i'm just wondering, if you can, move from that characteristic which seems to be important, into this more provided in
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question of empathizing with resentment or can you empathize with the little man and some sort of a positive way. >> to create factions and build on factions rather than getting at this as well, you could be trying to lead in another direction. >> i would like your historical perspective not on the person
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or on the time but i'd like you to compare the kind of challenges we are facing today but some previously discussed. not only the political division and economic inequality but things like the specter of climate change even artificial intelligence. on our scale of crises calling for effective leadership, where do we stand today. >> whatever we may feel like today and were buffeted by the media we have been in much worse times and will not involved in a great civil war, we are not involved in building a great country out of scratch and in each case the presidents and leaders faced really great and profound challenges for the first case, america might never
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have gotten off the ground and in the case of the civil war we could have evolved into two countries. in the case of world war ii, were we not vigilant under the stewardship of fdr we may have been under the permanent some of [ null ] is him and then of worse there's the depression that you write about in your most recent book. all of those things are i think, much more profound than what we face today. today the issues are real and serious and they feel worse in some ways than they are but it is hard to tell. we need to history to give us perspective to . >> i think your comment about climate change is very important on the scale of the entire planet could be in danger, which is something larger -- >> actions taken by people. fdr used to say problems created by man can be solved by man so we assume we've created some of these problems in their answers to slowing it down if
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we do it . >> can i follow on that because if it goes to me the issue goes to urgency versus importance. the government doesn't do well with issues that are important when we get into world war ii, we got in when it was urgent not when it was important and this seems to be the issue with climate change . >> in the back . >> hello i'm a historian and former white house fellow. drawing on your expertise of presidential leadership, and wondering if you'd be able to assess the leadership style of gorbachev or their current russian president, vladimir putin . >> i wish i knew about that, i studied russian for two years in college and i can't speak a word of it anymore . >> i think gorbachev is
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fascinating and we talk about ronald reagan in the cold war to the extent that reagan did that, he certainly did it because he had a thoughtful partner in gorbachev and he's not hailing the media are keeping himself in the spotlight, all of these things that are part of the celebrity age he's not good at, he is tragic and there must be somewhere in american literature that we can find him but in the end i think you will come out as a significant leader and i will give you an analogy, abraham lincoln did what he did in the civil war and at the end of the war we could have
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dissolved into gorilla warfare but thanks to we had a partner and once he resigned and surrendered he tried as best he could to be a good citizen of the united states even though he never became a citizen, i see gorbachev as being in the role of something tragic and understated he doesn't get the credit he deserves but is deeply historic the other person is prudent and i don't know enough about pollutant button is a strong leader and one person i do know about is kathleen mcgregor that the charm and culture. she was a great imperialist and i think what he's trying to do is try to enhance and enrich and strengthen the russian empire . >> i wonder if or living in an
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age at the biggest level that feels like the 19th century great gain atmosphere and i think about the saudi arabia story and rather than assert you as values we are looking at this as an instance of whether we have leverage to use against iran or in other priorities and that would be a departure, we've always been pragmatists but to step away from asserting u.s. value. >> i think it's a tragedy to step away from u.s. values u.s. values have set us apart from the rest of the world. the rest of the world was busy trying to solve conflicts through budget and violence and we've always done it through peaceable discussion and through respect and caring for human rights and dignity and
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bringing democracy to the american people. it's a dream that we've had in our country . >> we will take two more questions. >> thank you. i'm retired air force, what question, as you look past to your guys in the history and it's been fascinating, at some point the american people will chose somebody else after that that they liked or didn't like the quality should been talking about. so, putting that in the context of two years from now and not to ask you to forecast to the american people are going to choose but what qualities do you think that person will have after this presidency? >> i think you're right that there are certain cycles you've been through. there were 30 year cycles and you have a
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movement of the citizens and the progressive movement where the citizens wanted to have an active government wanted to do with the problems of the time and other times post-world war i they wanted to go back to private lives and not think about public issues or the same thing in the 1950s and the leader might be chosen to reflect larger changes but i think there is sometimes a reaction against the person there before and that's what the midterms assume but even in the presidency that can happen and it's something that's not even conscious, they just reacted against the imperial president and then they get a jimmy carter who wears a sweater and says i'm jimmy carter because and they feel that jimmy carter has been too much of a non-imperial president and they want reagan to restore the dignity of the president so, if there is
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something that will come out of this divisive time which was there before trump and is still there now, if it continues divisive fully we will look for someone who can heal the divisions. i keep thinking, is it same were in the military because why the military is in such respect it's the one institution because they understand the importance of a common mission that crosses all the lines and are working together for some thing. my and hope for the countries there will be a national service program several generals argued for it and when kids come out of high school they can work and some other part of the country is living in a host family so they can see each other and we need to restore that sense of civility and the understanding of different people and feeling like were
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american without a crisis. you've got to create a situation that will make it possible. >> i want to just first pay my respects because i knew richard good one back in the day. >> oh, wow . >> he was the best . >> he was indeed a great man but what i wondered i could read richard good ones prose, i've always wanted to write a play about the pope and galileo in which the pope emerges as the hero. what difference does it make that we know the earth moves around the sun if it destroys our faith. i guess the question is whether there's a cynicism now because trump seems so irrational and hard to cabin on so many circumstances or whether it's some kind of
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deeper cultural self-doubt pushing hard other than making money, is it just not worth the price? >> i would love to have david talk about that because he's written about faith but i will just say this as far as what my husband was doing when he died last may, he been working for several years on a book that talked about what is public service meant and how honorable it was and he really believe and was in love with the idea of america he would call the book my love affair with america from the time he was young and he saw what was happening and he was so troubled by it and he wrote a series of editorials in the 80s about the gap between the rich and the poor and he felt that something was happening in a country that wasn't living up to the ideals of mobility in
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education and at the end he said he was older and live through the depression and world war ii and worked for john kennedy who had gotten assassinated and he was loving the domestic stefan was considered a traitor and he was with bobby kennedy when he died in a says america is not as fragile as you think and they will survive. >> one thing i'd like to add is one thing we're talking about is great presidential leaders in the quality of that and what it does and looks like but one final thought i think is worth living is the genius of the institution of america the surviving a great civil war and it shows we survived the great depression and an attack on new york city and we've survived great president and there's
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something about the genius of the american experience in the institutions that not only do we have the best of people when we needed them but we've had institutions that have strengthened us and guided us when we've needed them. >> that's worth thinking about. >> i think what my husband was arguing and what i believe and also is a change for social justice has taken place when citizens band together. when lincoln was called the liberator he said don't call me the liberator was the antislavery movement. he wouldn't have been able to do what he did without the civil rights movement, the environmental movement and gay rights so, right now, whatever we are feeling about the country is the people that have to band together and figure out who we want is our leaders and what we will do about it are things we can do and as fdr said man creates problems and we can solve problems but it's always
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the connection that the two-way street between leaders and citizens and it's up to us to make and perform the political system not just because of trump but it's been bore broken for a period of time . >> the fitting way to end is the notion of what lincoln understood, the fragility of this thing we call america it strong and robust but still fragile so it's always going and it's our responsibility to keep it moving forward . >> thank you both so much. [ applause ]
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>> he wants to be the center of attention, i don't think he's a racist but the way he looks at people everyone is a friend or
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enemy and you can change categories easily he holds no grudges. his ideas about the america first thing is what he holds dear but our country has been shortchanged in dealing with the rest of the world and in trade policy and immigration policy in the minds of many supporters in middle america there's a set of beliefs on his part. >> on 1913 on the day before woodrow wilson's inauguration, suffragist led by alice paul marched in washington seven years before winning the right to vote with passage of the 19th amendment. rebecca roberts describe the march and its lasting influence in a talk in washington dc. this is one hour


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