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tv   Conversations with American Historians Douglas Brinkley - Part 6  CSPAN  April 20, 2022 2:21am-3:56am EDT

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why were you called before he took office between the election and inauguration who called you and why did you go spend time with him at mar-a-lago? um, i did cnn that gives you an idea. i was trying to be a a straight
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historian with hillary clinton versus donald trump. i wrote the introduction to jake tapper's book that cnn did for that, you know campaign and i was got a call from a friend who knew that i was going to florida and said do you want to come meet president trump this is not unusual this in the sense that that period i was historian at cnn trump despise cnn at that point, but you know, i'm a minor person and all of that noise going on out there and most people once their president elect do want to meet people they it's just you know, he meeting leonardo dicaprio on climate change and you know robert kennedy jr. on vaccines and i mean he was going all over trump. they want to ask if i would be off the record and only talk about past inaugurations. um and at that point trump was
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getting ready to write his first inaugural and was just he's not a history-minded person. in fact, he told me i don't read history books. that blunt but he was curious like why kennedy's speeches so celebrated, you know about ronald reagan's inaugural about william henry harrison's long inaugural versus short inaugurals. so that was the tone in tanner of a conversation president elect. he did say to me when i went to see him. tell the head of cnn that he's a you know, he's he's a curse word. he was very angry at cnn and then he said and your historian. i'm not blaming you for what they everybody's done to me, but he had a chip on his shoulder about the network that i was historian on but he did not have a chip with me. and i talked to him about sports
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a little bit about he was telling me he was amazed that the utah jazz and be 18 that he had misread that market that that he never thought an nba team could function in a small as market as salt lake city and he was wrong about that and i had seen a miami heat basketball game tonight before with my son johnny told him about seeing the heat. so it was it was, you know, a very congenial kind of situation. where was the meeting? mar-a-lago we sat by the swimming pool there and there were that day. he had ceos of mayo clinic there, cleveland clinic you know other major hospitals that he was meeting so he would met met with air all in a kind of a health talk room, and then he come out and he chatted with with myself and he go see them again. need come back again the the
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impresario of it was interacting with me was chris ruddy of newsmax who was sort of the you know explainer of what was happening there. oh, and so i used my time i on that and then i had two issues to raise with him one. i was about national parks and that i was wanted to alert him to the need for deferred payments that are parks were dying that they did not have the funds that even independence hall had leaky roofs and that one big thing that everybody could agree on. is that our our shrines of our park system needed love and needed funding so like three that all adam and and then i talked to him about my book. i was writing american moonshot on it kennedy in the space. he seemed to like kennedy quite
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a bit thought kennedy had street cred in his game still that people cared about him and he kept telling me that we're gonna go back to the moon that the moon is good for the american spirit. he was very bullish on apollo 11 and what that accomplishment for the united states was so talked a little bit about space and then i got ushered out. so how long were you there a couple hours, but you know when i was there we were like we're talking he'd get up and meet the medical group and then come back so, you know it was was there something you saw close that we can't see through the television lens. he said a comment to me of that was you know, he just thought that he wanted i mentioned to him that mar-a-lago had used to be in the national park system and then it was given away and he bought it from the park. he used to be a historic site
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and you know, he was telling me a lot of detail about that site about how much it had there, but he kept stressing. it's boring now. it's boring here used to be it isn't normally like this and the used to be this but, you know vibrant place. i got the feeling he was getting used to the secret service used to the the new moral go that was going to be under a microscope, but it was pretty normal and i've done that with incoming presidents it got a little notice cuz it was donald trump and me talking to him, but i've talked to incoming president's, you know, it's a natural thing for his story. did he know nothing about? duration speeches. he told me that he was a person of the television age and that his history memory really was what began with kind of jack kennedy and that he he watched so much of that. that's how he got his his news
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and his thoughts how people looked on television all the way up until you know, kennedy onward, but had no sense of lincoln's inaugurals or what george washington or any they there was no historical memory or he didn't read about any of them. keep in mind he'd been busy and so he was just getting to think about this, you know, the zillion things going i would just thinking about how does one come about doing inaugural the length time, you know what you know, and at one point when i did tell william henry harrison gave the longest but he died a month later, you know the famous story of him out in the cold. he asked me how did inaugural with the big crowd with no microphones did the word get around. how did it i i am provides i said, i think they said he said he would go all the way back.
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you know, he said that on he said, yeah, that's probably how they how they had to do it back then meaning if you were way back and couldn't hear though the the words. how did it get get done and i told him some speeches of that era which you could read two different versions of what was said in newspapers because they weren't perfectly transcribed like they are today. did you see anything in his inaugural speech that you gave him? oh, no, no one like that. i wouldn't giving him ideas for was there. i don't remember. was there a reference to space and no and one me he was already on space. i mean he was he followed through face he did. i think that my big concern was how at our country do the 50th anniversary of space. we i thought we celebrated it quite admirably with documentaries books memory, you know intense memory of that moment because armstrong walking
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on the moon. it's like the kennedy assassination or 9/11. it's just this moment and i thought our country did a good job on that on the 50th now going to the moon it's not about one administration. it has to continue and i saw recently that the big contract nasa sign with spacex to go back to the moon that's different than bezos's blue origin. and so now nasa's in business with musk and a lot of that happened in the trump years where you know bezos became the enemy of donald trump the washington post amazon. and trump gravitated towards musk. he had a feud with musk trump, but by you know year two in his presidency. he started backing you could feel the backing more of giving musk a chance and when trump ran
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for president in 2020, he was watching the takeoff at cape canaveral of musk rocket going up. so i think the moon is pretty bipartisan. i think i know from ahead of nasa that nancy pelosi said if it's female astronauts, the democrats or there be the first women on the moon then then i nancy pelosi and when bring whatever power i have and of you know leave people in congress to fund women going to the moon and for nasa and that was great and even for trump that was great. there was this thought that if we go back to the moon it should be women on the moon and i think that's bipartisan. i remember reading that early in 2017 at some point you said. this is not an exact quote donald trump's a disaster. yeah. when did you decide that he was a disaster on his inaugural day and it wasn't the inaugural
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speech which most people jumped on i didn't like the way he went to cia and started like um, doing this kind of lucy goosey weird talk presentation there and then making a public fight that his crowd was bigger than barack obama's when all the evidence show that it wasn't. that's somebody that's willing not to deal in reality as president and remember with trump ran. he used to be a democrat. he used to give money to you know, the bill and hillary clinton are at his weddings. he was a populist of some billionaire populist people weren't quite sure but by the time he was insisting on this inaugural crowd size against empirical data presented to him. i thought wow we're in trouble and then he went right for the muslim band and used language as president. that could be that was
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derogatory and and started race baiting. we've known that about him from when he claimed obama wasn't a born in america the birth thing but he did of apology have hearted one about that trump. there's a feeling that sometimes you run campaigns, but once the power of the presidencies upon you you respond differently and trump did not. he stayed the same guy that there was no learn, you know, there was no filter. and they tried to with kelly and chief of staff and all people were trying to contain him in some ways, but he was uncontainable and he would admit that he's uncontainable. explain this for 30 years the new york city media group promoted him day after day after day. new york times nbc tonight show
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all the networks constantly the larry king show. they wanted to interview him. they wanted to act like this is an important guy. are you going to run for president time and time again, then you had the the show that jeff zucker produced for nbc president, but they built him up and then spent all these four years tearing him down. wouldn't you be angry? well, that's way, you at cnn we covered him. early a lot. i mean a lot. i remember being on air when he came to alabama and had jeff sessions support and that was about it trump from the washington senate crowd and it was covered like a major event that trump plane coming to alabama and that's where all these other republican candidates weren't getting that the coverage and so yes because trump is right about it's about in the news world a lot about ratings and trump was a ratings generator. he got eyeballs and that age of
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he pioneered. twitter for that era he owe as a communication for me. he was people talked about him non-stop. he had made profits for nbc, you know and that matters in the media world once there became a fear and i think the real turning point where in the debates i think with a way trump treated hillary clinton and the debates made a lot of people back off for example, when trump mocked the fact that she had to go to the bathroom. or the fact that that he brought in trump bill clinton women who accused bill clinton of things and flew them in there. it was and then the access hollywood tape at that moment. you started seeing a real backing off of him. and but even on election night, i think people presumed i did
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not but people. presumed that trump was going to lose and that they would have made money on them and on the running, but then he would have lost and it would have hurt the republican party, you know a lot of the media world is often the you know, they're looking for what's the shiny new thing and trump's had ups and downs their moments when he's on covers of magazines then sinks. back up, you know and when he first ran he seemed new and he got a lot of coverage free media in 2016. but you know, and i sound like i'm on his side. i don't really care. i just want to know why i mean day after day santa ana msnbc just pounded him. pounded him about russia constantly and in the end, what did we get out of it all yeah, but you know what brian you can't listen to the noise. he did what you can't do.
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he did went he went nixon. kept enemies list and try to beat the media culture the great presidents learned to again. you've got to operate above the media. ronald reagan was a conservative, but when he went and they'd sam donaldson would be screaming at them. and yet, you know reagan humanized donaldson any humanized press giving them coffee and donuts and how are you doing and you know that style gets you further than this bombastic, you know all where he set the media up as the enemy of the people once you do that you're going to turn not just active journalists, but former journalists here, you're turning a you're turning the media world into you know, the fourth the state into your enemy and i mean, you're gonna get punched a lot and why didn't he though get pummeled by fox? and by chris ruddy who you know
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set this thing chris a newsmax in fox or you know, been more conservative program and they have a higher tolerance for trump many people at fox newsmax. i think were embarrassed by some trump and they applauded a lot of trump. i mean the promo donald trump's mouth and he would say things that are going to be seen forever as racist and xenophobic and bigoted and he's gonna live with that and it's hard when you're saying that things that he said over and over it makes for incredible play that day. but from a longer lens in history, you know when we do these rankings and all of presidents trump on race is not getting a high mark. you think he believes that do you think he's a racist or do you think this is an act in order to get the votes of the 74 million that voted for him? you know, i had i think that the weirdness of his family
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background the fact that his father got arrested at a clan rally and the fact that the central park, you know, you know full page addy took out part five. yeah and the fact that he seems to kind then the fact that he claimed obama wasn't a president. these are clearly a history going on here of either deep racial insensitivity or he's racist and it's in it was a you know, it's an albatross. he's going to wear around his neck because he made too many at that time in charlotteville. he needed to have made it clear and he didn't he kept playing race games. i know. i don't know who david duke is when you do because he never wanted to lose those voters and he saw correctly that there were a lot of white. meant and distant, you know chantment out. there was a white working class
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if you like a rural white vote that had not been voting. they didn't think government was working for them and he wanted those voters. he calculated that and when you go george wallace or you go straub thurman you can go places get votes, but you're going to be stigmatized because of it. what's the difference between sending that kind of a vibe out versus what the biden administration is doing was saying, we're no longer going to call people who come into that country illegally illegal aliens. um, i don't know look, i mean the problem is with the border is just one of immigration is just a flashpoint problem of our day brian. i mean, i nobody's having magic answers to it. each side go is going back and forth. i mean biden is getting closer to what trump was doing now, but then they won't and then it'll be you know, it i think the problem that trump did is he made bill the wall his big
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thing. we're going to build a wall. well, he built a little bit of a wall. oh, i mean if that's your big infrastructure dwight eisenhower can build an entire interstate highway system in the 1950s and you can't get some wall up on the border. then you're you're leading people down a rabbit hole and the reason is because there people have property along the border and there are easements that you've got to get and there's lot environmental laws that you've got a process. so you just cause your president doesn't eat mean instantly you can move into people's private property and do things. so the wall was going to be a complicated and he made it seem like it's easy and mexico is going to pay for any found himself in a conundrum, but he has aren't immigration policy and biden is biden's voters are you know? it's a you know, one thing that's complicated about
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immigration cesar chavez. great latino. they've seizure chavez state, california mexican-american born in yuma, arizona deeply catholic did all of the united farm workers in the 60s and 70s and boycotts and of pesticides and when it sanitary conditions better education for people he was opposed to illegal immigration because he was building a union for mexican-american workers to get higher wages not cheap labor coming over the border. that's just even so it's it's complicated when you're getting into those issues because sometimes a lot of republicans in texas where i live they want people coming over from mexico to do landscape being in take these jobs and all that in many ways. trump was angry. lot of gop business leaders with his immigration policy.
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it wasn't just a right left game going on here many republicans count on the migration flow to take on jobs and at phoenix in houston and the like so trump was walking right into it with a big brag of building a wall with mexico paying for it in it in the end. i don't think republicans are satisfied with the situation on the border, and i don't think democrats are satisfied with it. it's still we haven't come up with the same policy and it might be technology will come in with new kinds of drone new types of, you know, activity along the border that isn't is primitive as it is right now. how much time have you spent around barack obama quite a bit. i mean for a random historian like myself i wrote for obama's inaugural book when he got
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inaugurated john lewis, tom broke on i did for the official inaugural book the three of us did on the essays for so there's a book the official other people were doing books on a mama, but the official inaugural book, you know, we did. why did you do? oh an honor is the inauguration day of a new president, you know, the first african-american president in history to write an essay along. with john lewis and brokaw when you've done a trump inaugural, um i wouldn't have been asked. you know, so it's because i think trump has different people that he you know, he wasn't interested in a book. and he's different media kind of person but i but after that i would see president obama at the white house because he did as you know, i've talked to you about before we would have
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historians meetings what i did at those historian meetings was talk again like i did with trump about national parks. um and the issue of the public lands and preservation of places because i didn't don't know enough about afghanistan. i don't want to walk into a meeting you you're afghanistan policy. i'm not i'm too humble for that. i do know what's going on and national monuments parks historic sites preservation, and i feel i developed a nice relationship with obama because i didn't go all over the place. just said, you know in in that way i could talk to ken salazar or sally jewell at interior and say look right now as i'm talking to brian. i have some historic homes. i'd like to save theodore roosevelt's place pine knot in virginia where he used to go needs to become a national monument rachel carson the great environmentalist her home in maine should be a national
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monument and you know, so i'm interested in these things of how to save different places in american history, but tell us how the historians meeting with barack obama was set up and how many were there and how often did it happen changing table? i was at all of them, but it would it was a rotating cast by and large. they're doris kearns goodwin was i would call the call her the energizer all that she is a very good relationship with barack obama doors go to much. much stronger bond than mine the but you know, so it's a cast. i'm at the promise. i name a few and then you leave out some but you know, robert caro was at one. gary wills was that one and then he wasn't in mccullough. david mccullough someone he wanted was it michael best claus
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hw brands kenneth mack. oh excellent harvard law civil rights historian in scholar. and so and i'm obviously probably forgetting somebody but i was consistently at them endorse was consistently at them and what happened? um, it was great. where would you meet we dining room we all sit and go around and he would ask us what we're writing what we're working on the ground rules were no nothing with contemporary politics. obviously it would get to it, but we would talk more about history. the in the sense that if i'm working on a book on theodore roosevelt and the conservation i talk about my book or if doris kearns was, you know getting ready to write about leadership and president. she talked about her book. robert caro would talk about lyndon johnson in vietnam, and it went like that and oh not just barack obama, but michelle would come and valerie.
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jarrett would be at them. she wasn't at all of them michelle, but and we talked history. it would be like a historians book club presidential history book club. did the president take note. he did valerie jared definitely took notes he would then would sign things. i've got him to sign the menu for my daughter. i have two daughters, but i gave it to one daughter and i'm autograph it and he would sign a few menus genio very relaxed, and i don't that i obama's as we all is a big golfer. i honestly brian felt that this presidential history thinking was for him recreation. this was not him on the job. this was just fun for him to think of here. you are president and now i'm hearing stories about james cape polk, or were somebody's telling
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me about what herbert hoover did and all of the historians there. we collect colorful anecdotes. over the over a period of time on president so little funny stories and things that you know, he obviously relished in hearing keep in mind barack obama like theodore roosevelt like thomas jefferson and a few others really was a writer. i mean he made a lot of money in his income on his books before he became and he takes great care on them and so his prep recent memoir that came out on you know, you know is president mowers find book and he took a lot of great time and detail on and he's going to do a second volume, but did michelle obama's book far out sell his i would love to michelle's book? i reviewed that for the boston globe and what i loved is her
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early chapters about chicago. and growing up an african-american community there and the cultural pulse of the city with you know, ernie banks and the chicago cubs or her listening to stevie wonder albums and how things that her father told her and how she could work her way to princeton and it was really it's really a good and all the whole book is but the early chapters were just magnificent, but what do you think? that means that she sold well close to 20 million copies and he didn't he's just a lot more of a walk-ish history book. i mean, this is detail policy or in a worse hers had a more, you know about what it's like to be a mother and you have your worry about your i think she hit a a large market, but they both did great. they both earned out their advances, but it happened. there was a bet between jimmy carter and rosalind carter and
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people don't know this really but first lady from planes outsold jimmy carter's memoir and you know, so and you know, eleanor roosevelt's wrote big autobiographies that made a were really popular in their day. so people like to hear the first lady stories because you you feel they're going to give more of an interlook. at what's going on in the white house? that that being a she's not a politician michelle obama. so she's talking more as a mother as a citizen as somebody being thrown in to this weird in environment of white house culture. well, the presidents are trying to put forward policy events and all that happened, you know obama's book. there are some great set pieces in there his writing about india. i particularly liked and i never realized so how profound gandhi was to the thinking of barack obama.
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i'd always thought nelson mandela martin luther king jr. and his explanation of gandhi was really really i found interesting and then the killing of osama bin laden operation neptune spear that you know a barack obama and william make you know mcgraven and the seals and all of that in a tick tock way in obama's book is really good. it could have been a book on on its own just the killing tracking and of of osama bin laden, so obama's going to be writing and then then i've been involved with the oral history project of barack obama at columbia university. i'm part of their storytelling there where we're doing oral histories, so i've been able to interview for that oral history project some people, you know the in and that's been interesting. so i've stayed in the mix a little bit in that way.
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how often are oral histories used by historians from your experience. i love them and the obama won at columbia university where the oral idea of oral history project emanated and the way they are doing the obama one is just spectacularly thorough and meaning they're also interviewing. young people that campaign for him and how their life has changed or you know a child he met who then as a story they're doing all sorts of innovating things and it's global. i find the provincialism of most presidential history since they would only interview americans. not world leaders. you know, what did it would have been nice to have an oral history of all the world leaders and how they viewed nixon, you know interviewing about say tongue and showing lie on on their experience with nixon would have been fantastic and they have done it now and showing live for all we know but
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then nobody thought to really do that global obama because he want a nobel peace. see seen as a global president very loved around the world do you you know for his eight years getting the stories of heads of state and ambassadors and others human rights organizers. all i think will be a big part of that oral history project how many of those historian evenings do you think you had? i don't remember off of him, but you know because i interacted with i also would say obama i wrote a cover story of him for rolling stone and made some quite a bit of news. it doesn't show up on my social media as much as she would think but at the time it was big news when he was running against romney, so i would interview him and then also talk to him some about issues i once went to a while i was president at a state house here in washington for a
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little group and he came walking in and he was always punctual but was just little bit late and said to me 1.7 million acres kind of baby sort of thing, which they had. just did a nevada wilderness protection of 1.7 million acres something that's back page news, but he knew i was interested in and you know, so that my experiences with him during the years have been very real. i mean, i've had a have a number of a counters i spoke to him for quite a long time right when his memoir came out meaning few months back, you know for an interview or just chatting with him. talking and call you or do you call him? he was curious? he'd reached out to me. he was curious if i'd read the book and see what i thought on how it compared to other
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presidential memoirs. so what do you think though? so i'd read them how many people actually have read these presidential memoirs and so could tell him what was what his book reminded me of which was more like which george kennan's memoirs the great diplomat and dean atchison's present at the creation than a typical presidential memoir but bill clinton's my life is pretty good. i reviewed it for the financial times when it came out nixon's i use the nixon's memoir. i talked about, you know, henry kissinger, so i didn't think you had to just look at it as presidential memoir, but look at it as an important memoir of a public figure question is going to ask you is it as a historian and being an insider? do you dare be critical of somebody like that? and then the excess is cut off. i'm not worried about access and that way i'm not writing a book on obama what he what having that though. i could use it someday.
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you asked early. do i have to have notes? so if i have notes of a conversation, i don't need to monetize it i don't need to be i just spoke to i don't help people about it. i just keep oops, i have an archive on some days some of my tapes or notes and things might be of interest to fletcher scholars. but is there any doubt that both journalists and historians and people who have access to presidents pull their punches because they're want future access. so i mean interviewers, you know in there if you go in there and you're slamming the oh no, of course, and that's different because if you're on nbc news reporter and you're filming and it's gonna to air that next day. you can't look like you're being nice. i mean you got to be balanced, you know, you want to come across you're being filmed too and you want to come across as a hard-hitting journalist with
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hardball questions, but you also want to be seen as genial. i mean, so it's you you're doing that when you're a historian like this. i'm just trying to maybe get an anecdote about something for example when i got talk. obama wants about a trip to alaska that he did things that weren't in the newspapers story about funny stories interesting. you know when he held a fish off the waters and you know to little bits that aren't in a memoir aren't in the washington post aren't in that that are fresh for history that i'll use in props my own book about a memoir someday or am i right about obama on some context and some of the things that i have i'll bring out then it's about not being newsy. i don't need to be the historian has the luxury of not being newsy. i don't need to make news. i'm more interested in a long-term, you know relationship in a long term ability to realize that if i have a real
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history question for example with president 41. i was writing on jimmy carter and i wanted to know carter denounce the iraq war. carter denounced bush is as a going blindly into that war and i think bush did the right thing we went in in '91 and he gave us a timeline in the sand and but anyway carter tried to get people around the world to denounce bush going in. so i never bush never would comment it because they're sort of he was so gentleman. he never wanted to to criticize a former president and so there's no real record of it until i then asked bush 41 because he knew me because i went to event at kennebunkport for barbara bush at a book event and that he know knew my byline did an event with steve ambrose and so when i had to ask him about that, he wrote me a long letter about it.
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and he was called carter every name in the book and i have the letter it's beautiful only a little piece of it in my book on carter, but i have it framed now that because it was a very long and detailed response to how upsett he was about that. i was able to get that response from him because of my previous encounters weren't confrontational. you know, so i have questions if i ever wrote a book operation neptune spear. osama bin laden, i'll know what bahamas put in his memoirs. i'll know what he said in previous interviews, but i'll also start noticing. well, you never answered these questions. if i'm doing that book and then i can go back at them and say here are things i've never seen on the public record. can you hear or here's what liam panetta told me and he said this in your book explain. they're two different versions going on here, you know, and that way. yes, you are trying to
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relationship build name. your favorite biographies besides those that you've written yourself. well, they wouldn't be mine the oh, they're just so so so many but obviously and i there just a lot. i right now admire a lot of a book by linda lear that wrote witness to nature about rachel carson because i'm writing about it and she did an incredible book. i there's a i've enjoyed recently a new biography of andy warhol, and a new one of malcolm x but in my field of presidential history, i mean david. follow remains my gold standard why i just loved truman and truman's not my favorite president, but i thought the way that he dealt with truman was great. i thought the way edmond morris dealt with theodore roosevelt was great also the way mccullough dealt with truman.
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i love doris kearns's particularly or no ordinary times about her relationship between fdr and eleanor which was which was you know in just incredible. you know, i'm read so many of them. they're all very good. the differences some biographies have more literary style to them. what about early presidents and biography. i love around cherno. i thought i reviewed it and i still think his george washington biography is just tremendous. i don't think it he got so much attention for hamilton and then he listens. he says grant but the ten one volume up until that point. i liked flexner's biography of washington as a single volume, but he nailed it around cherno and that washington book. did you see hamilton? yeah, hamilton is an
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extraordinary a cultural moment and it's still resonates in the sense that all of the music was just phenomenal just from musical point of view, but it had a deep impact on connecting hip hop culture to history finding an innovative new way to talk about hamilton to a new generation of america, and he i think the play more than the turnout book created a national dialogue about hamilton your three kids. did they see hamilton? yes, and what was their reaction all of them love what they like about the music the draw the they're very catchy the songs. track if you'd like the but just the fact of it got a conversation that to my family that hamilton wasn't born in the united states and he could never have been a president and you know the dual, you know, we're talking about hamilton and what dueling used to be.
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it's a great vehicle. i mean, i personally had known as much about hamilton as till the play and the play made me read churnell hamilton. i had not read the book first. so it woke me up that gosh. i've been under playing hamilton in my lectures because i personally of gravitated to thomas jefferson. but are you sure you've been under playing hamilton? i mean just because it became of success and we underplay everybody. i mean, there's always ways to expand lectures and there's ways to you know, i've always liked george washington so much and and jefferson. out of the founders and i love paul revere. david fisher fisher actor david hackett fisher's book on paul revere. i like to a lot. i loved gordon wood spot dual biography of jefferson and adams
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really liked that a lot. i think it's one of the more important history books because they reminds us of these adversaries becoming friends and dying obviously on the same day fourth of july, but their correspondence, i think there's an argument me to be made that the atoms jefferson letters are almost foundational documents in the sense that we're going to go at each other every four years party system. we've got to bury the hatchet and you see jimmy carter and joe ford becoming very close. you see george w bush and bill clinton becoming close. they're consciously becoming close they're making a larger statement to the public but jefferson with expansion and books on the on the louisiana purchase. jefferson as a writer in botanist, you know, jefferson's being a slave owner and his they and ann washington now reading
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about that realizing that there needs to be more emphasis to look at slave owning presidents. and what does that mean? you know, it's a very fertile field presidential history. right on the 20th century. i've never written a book on a president and in fact, brian and our talk sometimes people will say to me boy you do a lot of different topics doug you jump around. it's like really i mean, yes hunter thompson lived with jimmy carter's house. i mean, i'm writing the same era the of things. i'm not writing about founding fathers. i've been really writing about america in the 20th century, but more specifically america since world war two but something like david mccalla will do truman and john. or john michiel murray on you know, jefferson and then do bush 41. they're jumping around. i'm kind of really looking at america and from world war two to the present. what did you mean by 100
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thompson lived with jimmy carter's house. oh he lived in plains, georgia on back of a car. carter is very what's very close to hunter thompson and carter hunter's cover story on rolling stone gave the youth vote to jimmy carter. i mean, he was a born again christian in hunter abandoned ted kennedy and bill jimmy carter up. there's an argument to be made honor without hunters endorsement in rolling stones endorsement of carter. he may not have made it to the presidency. he turned the youth vote in the rock and roll vote hunter and as did the almond brothers and you know making georgia, where did he physically live? oh, he stayed there at their pond house and got to be friend ms. lillian. he caught on to carter early hunter and that he was going to be the big this is. and carter had a nobody thought carter could get the democratic nomination and hunter gloved on doing because he went to a law address at university of georgia law school for naming it after
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dean rusk and hunter was doing a profile of ted kennedy and suddenly encountered carter who that day gave a magnificent speech about equal rights and like the two things. i remember from our conversation in plains, georgia that never forget one is you pointed out that the fence around the jimmy carter house came from bebe rebozo's house and miami keep his cane and the second thing was you told us in that interview that jimmy carter was going to be buried in atlanta. and as a result of that the townspeople got upset and i supposedly he's going to be now buried now been finds down to planes. that's correct. yeah, they and he's down there now still going. it's an amazing present carter with brain cancer with i was proud to see him do his inoculation photos of getting getting inoculated. i think president carter wants to make sure that he's around
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for his wife. i mean he fights for her. i mean they are marriage is really an intense story that does get doesn't get the play but they were there that was the sweetheart from ever and i just mean he has the will to want to live to take care of her. how much how often have you been around him? oh quite a bit. i mean i went down and would stay in planes. also, i would stay at the house of john and betty pope who had a house on a pond there. that was jimmy carter's. friend, john pope period they're like this still alive. he died betty betty. pope was great, but john pope was a worked in the cemetery world the mortuary world. and it was carter's closest truest deepest friend in the deepest way possible and the and i so i was close to john and betty pope and got to know jimmy carter got to know his family
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quite well. yeah meals in his house. oh, yes. well, he eats next door. there's a bed and breakfast next to his home. it's connected and he goes over and eats some there. i had a meal, you know, he pops in over there frequently if you come in, you know, i went just a little while back went to church with him sat by him at his church service and brought my kids and and my kids all photographed with him and and all of that so i stand close up touch in fact you guys hear once at c-span. let me interview president carter on his diaries. when they came out and i was thrilled to do that because i got to ask questions that i normally wouldn't but i just love the man as a person and he's just a he's interesting heart and his the way he built his presidency into this
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remarkable post-presidency of winning a nobel prize, but fighting any worm disease and river blindness his mother miss lillian fought went joined the the peace corps late in life in her 70s and dealt with people with leprosy and all like that carter walks the walk. i mean, he's a man who doesn't need a lot of frills. is he physically right all those books he does does he have help writing those books? he writes them himself. i mean his friend his lawyer terry adamson who used to be big with national geographic but is retired pretty much to florida now, you know, he runs things by terry adamson, but jimmy carter does all that himself. he's to write his speeches himself. he wrote a novel about the civil war about there. he writes poetry carter can do about anything, you know, well, they could do build, you know, he does wood carvings. he does painting he does soon
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older renaissance figure but what it is is he's a farmer and in the older america people used to do multiple things. i mean you're running a farm you learned how to fix things do things heat of another time of in america because you know electrification came very late to sumter county, georgia. that's why when people now talk about binds new deal and all this there. it's not understanding what that arrow was like in the 1920s and 30s when america wasn't even elect. died and fdr is trying to electrify rural america. it was it's just a whole different deal, but carter's lived through all that from you know, gas lamp to you know to mars right now where we have you know, helicopter on mars. i mean, he's his lifespan is extraordinary story. other presidents how much time have you been around george w
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bush less than others a very i don't consider myself to know him intimately. well, i am i know carl rove super well he lives in austin near me and i i see him a lot george p bush the land commissioner of texas is a neighbor on my street on the son of jeb bush and george w bush. i would like to write about the if i were george w. i think he is. stories that need to be told that haven't been properly if he's interested in making his legacy look better. and that is the bullhorn moment the weak one week after 9/11 the story of how he was in florida and was told about 9/11 in the air force one, you know, i had to fly to different military bases and then how he came to
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washington and we were under siege where how he pulled the country together and then stood on the rubble of the trade center with that bullhorn moment and then through a striking yankee stadium and i would do one week. looking at george w. bush's immediate response to 9/11 which was really quite quite inspiring story. what do you think of his post-president? well, his second one i do is his work with aids in africa. he saved a lot of lives working with all sorts of people, you know, bono and you know all the it's real life saved that george w bush very getting the money there to fight you know that campaign against aids and africa. he didn't have to do that. it wasn't constituent politics it that i think came out of his christianity. his time in dallas, you know, he's involved the library. there's well-built southern methodist university runs it well i went and spoke there not long ago to a group.
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it's very well integrated with the university and that's a hot school now kids want to go to southern methodist university in george w. bush's love george and laura are adored in dallas. i can't you can't put words of how much love there is towards them as a couple they do a lot of local focus on local groups. he does his wounded warriors. he just painted his book of on immigration. he's you know goes to the rangers games and a baseball and is in the stands and he's built his post presidency like truman. on who is one of his favorite after lincoln? i think it was it is bush's favorite president. just the way truman went back to independence and endeared himself with people in greater kansas city area. you see george w doing that and from that platform plus having a
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charismatic daughter who's on nbc news all the time and in comparison to trump. um george w bush's stocks rising in and i never thought i'd see. eyes because the war in iraq divided the country greatly. it's seen by a by most scholars of mistake because of his slow response to hurricane katrina and because of the economy tanking on his last year allowing obamas, you know fairly easy win and in 2008. i thought bush couldn't rehabilitate himself, but he's run a model x presidency in his own way. sean wellens, you know the historian wrote a piece i think for rolling stone right after he was president said he was the worst president history by far. well, then big came trump and and he probably wrote one that trump's worse. i think that they iraq war is fading from memory of a lot
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quicker, you know our attention span in this country is like one wouldn't have thought you know, which sort of happened with george w bush. is that by the the left? or progressives or establishment? they started saying look w had issues but compared to trump. he's a sweetheart that they felt trump is racist and george w bush. not and bush's been able to the iraq war. just we don't talk about it much. i mean, i think rumsfeld and cheney are the ones that have gotten demonized in history in george w. bush's is being able to emerge fairly well, but gene smith, um the biographer and edwards jean edward smith. he wrote up a very critical book
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first. whack at the bush presidency a very hard. well researched anti-bush take i think he was trying to be objective. he writes. i don't think a democrat thing. he's eisenhower is his big person, but he was in so hasn't yet been a biographer of bush george w. that's maybe filled in all the blanks of that period how much time have you spent around bill clinton? quite a bit. how aware um, well, i know i was at hofstra hofstra university had me run the clinton conference, you know hofstra used to do and still does these big presidential conferences where all the players from the administration come and so i ran the the working with their cultural center there and friends of mine at hofstra, but i ran that bill clinton won.
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oh god. i can't remember the year open now, but it was after right after he left the presidency and i was a big deal. that was when he left and you know, hillary had become senator from new york and there was talk of her running for the presidency and it was the first look at bill clinton's didn't see he did not like that. we had in the program a panel on his impeachment and he didn't expect i don't know. i i felt a personally he was like kind of said i'm gonna praise you but but why are you getting what we did as a call for papers and some of these great legal scholars came and did a big impeachment panel that i sponsored them and there were all so great panels that made bill clinton look good on nato expansion or you know, there was a whole variety, but they kind of honed in on these are anti-clinton impeachment.
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how did you know that he was upset. he mentioned it to me when i was there a reception for it. like what what's this about the program? he'd seen it in advance and then was a little concerned about it. what did you say to him? i just said they used for the best papers we got and that it's part of your presidential. legacy and it's got to be covered here wouldn't be a real conference. took it. well, he gave a good you know, i mean good speech, but subsequently, we've met it fdr's library. i did an event with him. i sat by a minute event on haiti in california and introduced him in front of a large audience, but i've also visited him in his home in chappaquan talk to him and in on and on so i've gotten to know him. i've met him in his office in harlem before i'm interested in the oklahoma city bombing with bill clinton when he gave the you know, they have that amazing memorial there in oklahoma city
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of all the dead and they it's extraordinary public national park site the empty chairs of all the dead and that that moment in time of oklahoma city of a domestic terror attack like that. i always thought if i wrote on bill clinton, i'd like to write a book about that. particular event why it was so heinous and then also it's a whodun and i mean the tracking down that they did of capturing the perpetrator, you know, timothy mcveigh and it caught his collaborators, but it was moved pretty quickly. i mean it went through the courts apprehension busting getting and i thought clinton's speech was his best. i thought it was like reagan during the challenge or disaster in clinton and oklahoma city. it was very healing speech that he gave very well written very well delivered and he was having a problem with the lewinsky, you
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know, circus and all that was going on and that speech reminded people that he was the president and reminded people why they voted for him what they liked about him. um, he came he rose to the occasion of that tragedy in a way that george w bushes. i did during 9/11 at the with the bullhorn moment and all those are big moments in american history. also clinton has a better story. i mean for eight years president and you end up with a not just balancing the budget but with a surplus. and you look at the trillions that we're in debt now to china and elsewhere. i mean he has a story to tell of of the power of negotiating. i mean that the deal making he made with republicans and that is a quite a presidential legacy. now, some will say he moved the
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democratic party center towards the right. but you might just want to look at it as bill clinton was able to do what a president's supposed to do and that's dealmaking get things done and move move the balls forwards. i've always been baffle by the right. america's disdained for bill clinton, he would seem to me to be the more centrist than obama or biden or the other democrats. i mean, i would think he's like john kennedy would be somebody the the right wouldn't have such hatred for but immediately hillary clinton started becoming the new leader of the party and it was seen as the clintons controlling the party and they'll do okay in history. i mean bill clinton will come out. alright, but the impeachments a big part of that legacy. that's never going to be scrubbed away. would bill clinton have been president.
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if ross perot hadn't been in the mix and what did you did you ever do anything with ross perot? oh, i knew where else yeah the well so that it's a who you know, we never know for sure and reminding everybody not roswell got 19% of it. it's stunning. he got 19% yeah, i'm not convinced clinton would have gotten elected and i bet again i have not data on it. it's just a hunch, but you know if ross would have stayed out of that. i bush 41 may have been able to win they just he disdained bush ross perot. he really disliked the bush family. it's was a feud between perot of dallas and the bushes of houston in texas back then and perro was a couple like a two-issue candidate mainly the sucking sound you hear is your jobs. he was deeply opposed to nafta and i think donald trump
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inherited that 19 percent when he ran in 2016 against nafta. it's a loose vote there. that's anti-nafta vote. well, that's as a person. i liked i mean i gave a speech in dallas to the daughters of the second world war. these were women who had a father who fought in world war two and so big giant speech i gave at a huge convention hall filled by women whose parent dad's either died or served in world war two and it was funded by ross perot and he asked if i wanted to have a private dinner with him, so i went to his club and the two of us had an and really interesting time. i've subsequently talked to him more interesting in this regard. he wasn't in the press at that time and i still i think it is somewhere out there now, but he brian. had bought or not bought when
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when we killed osama bin laden. are seals fedex but famous walking stick of osama bin laden the ross perot. the shepherd's stick. because he and pro-industries gave jobs to all seals once they left the seals. gave military ex-military people particularly navy because he was an annapolis skyros pro gave them jobs for a long time still does pro industries and so as they thank you to ross they gave him that walking stick and he hadn't went very proud of it. and i i didn't think quick enough. yeah that day in this case. i did try i said can't we get a photo of you holding the stick and i'll write up i want to write a piece for vanity fair with your photo until the story. i said just be simple and not a deep thing just the little story of how they you know, and he
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said no no, no, they'll take him they'll take the stick away from me. it'll get tagged and they'll say it should be in a cord and that it doesn't belong and he said i'm donating. to the seal museum in florida and it just needs to cool off a little and if you ever been to that sales music app. i took my kids to it everybody listening to this go see it. it's a great. where's him? it's i attacked it from vero beach where i was staying in drove my family to it's just in the central california central florida coast. i forget the exact town, which is unlike me but it's right there. it's you know our near the space coast in mid florida, and it's a great museum and it's a great history of the seals and it's all told there. it's first rate and so i made sense to me that someday that stick will be there.
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when rossville ran in '92 he would tout the fact not tout, but he would complain about the fact that. the deficit was three trillion dollars today. it's over. trillion dollars what happened and does it matter? i'm not smart enough to know whether it matters. i would think it does. i spent as you have our whole life trying to not get in debt and yet here we are and we keep getting more and more in debt and we keep passing it on. i guess it's keynesian economics run amok or we've lost the grip but i pointed out but 2000 say what you like about bill clinton. we had a surplus he worked with difficult congress then you know newt gingrich and all that and they they had the economy under control in the 21st century. we that's become less and less and important issue. i mean donald trump was not a fiscal conservative barack obama
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was in a physical and conservative george w bush wasn't everybody talks about the balance budget now, but nobody really works to to do it. so either they know more than i do that doesn't really matter. it's not money were able to jiggle it or we have a crisis on our hands with this massive debt, and how are we going to pay for programs like social security in the life down the future if we don't start finding a way to get the debt under control heard you talk about this before but explain to us how you got to know nancy reagan and why she picked you to do the reagan diaries. i had been recommended to her. well, i wrote an article for the new yorker on ronald reagan's pen pal a woman named lorraine wagner who ended up writing reagan router hundreds of letters. did she keep them? she kept them i made her i did i
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got a random call from lorraine and said that she had all these letters from ronald reagan. i immediately thought they were xerox letters and she was you know, where did she live? she lived in philadelphia told me she worked for the press for all these years and more. i interrogated her on the phone. i just begged her. i said lorraine can't you just fax me one of all your couple hundred letters or you know one so i can get pick a winner and let me see the tone antenna of it and she said no, i won't fax it. i don't have fax machine. and i said, is there a motel near you? and she said well, i live near a marriott and i said go and just one film fax it for you. she wouldn't she said you have to come and see them. what year was this? 2000 four, let's say and you went to see and yeah, and so i got on a plane of philadelphia and i was wondering why am i doing this because it's probably
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going to be a dead end and i went and she pulled out our box and oh my god, they were all of these original letters long from ronald her home. i went to her home. what was she was she married very small home. um, i don't she wasn't her husband was not there. i think he may have been to ceased but she we sat and i went through them and i could not believe it because she started his fan club in philadelphia when he was a movie actor in his first film so when reagan had no fan base. she became like gaga with ronnie. this had been the 40s. yeah. and they got a they just became friends. she then went out to ronald reagan day in in, illinois dickson, illinois to celebrate the actor. it'd be like a young actor now going to his hometown. and he just our corresponding with her and they became very
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good friends. they weren't involved with each other in any any romantic way not at all. they felt nancy loved her but they just wrote and he would writer while he's well white house stationary regularly about after visiting bit burk or five really frank stuff to her and i thought this is an unknown friendship. this is something really remarkable and i asked you if i could write an article for the new yorker for it. i thought it would be a good form and and david remnick the editor their agreed and i did it and it got a lot of notice and mrs. reagan thought it was a really good article. and then my name sur. and pete wilson former governor california said, oh yeah, i would be perfect. i knew pete wilson from the world war ii museum in new orleans. he was actively engaged in in he gave me a thumbs up and he was working with the reagan
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foundation at that point. and so i flew to wilson was my middle man, and he said look the thing is when you meet this is reagan. do not mention, edmond morris. the biographer she's after the book. yeah, she felt very burned by dutch extremely burned because she trusted edmond morris stop there for a second. why did she feel so burned about that book because he fictionalized he turned it into a novel. i mean the fictional gimmick that he used hector off very much. i can't tell you how much because she felt she had was a good judge of character. that was her. main calling card. she felt that she could read people. and that's how she was a protector of ronnie who was not good at reading people. he liked everybody so she thought that edmond morris was good. she did and she felt betrayed. he never he really never gave
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very much of himself. i mean, he wasn't outgoing at all. she just met him on a tour. he had written the rise of theodore roosevelt, um, both ronald reagan and nancy reagan read the book and liked it. he liked theodore rooseveltal and he didn't read a lot of heavy history or reagan read a lot but he would read his like he like like larry mcmurtry's western billy the kid and you know, like the western genre a little like eisenhower, but he read he read quite a few books and he didn't invite writers. we need to read a book reagan more than probably gets credit for but he did read the rest of theodore roosevelt and they picked him and he had alzheimer's and nancy felt burned and to get it fictionalized infuriated her. so when she was looking to get the diaries to me she wanted to make sure i'm not another you know, this was like her everything ronald reagan's diaries of the white house, and if i had some mentioned and men
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she was hesitant to release the diaries because she didn't want to get stung. where did you meet her first? um, so i and then the other thing i was told by people wilson if you get in a weird, you know gets if conversation goes sideways. you're not working. well just talk about movies. and i said do you mean like her movies? and he said no any movie what's going on now? she's just very interested in you know, what who's up for an academy award or whatever and i said great that was it those two bits of advice and i went and met her at the beverly hill's hotel still griffin hotel. yeah, where was a good friend of hers? and i and she gone there forever and we said it a booth that was designated the nanc. reagan booth and they had a salad the nancy reagan cobb salad, and we sat there and ate and we talked and i told her i'd like to do the book of the
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diaries it made clear to me that i wouldn't be able to xerox them or or what wasn't gonna be able to do, you know one week shopping. i would have to be invested in it because i'd have to trans work with transcription of it and be there and long story short. i ended ended up getting the gig. and we my wife ann and i moved to california with her two children johnny and benton and then where our third child cassidy was born there while i was editing the reagan diaries how much interaction did you have with nancy reagan while you were there quite a bit? um, we became what's that mean? quite a bit and i mean friends. what was it mean to become friends with nancy ray shorthand? talk to her no issues ever rose between us. i was just going to the library doing my work her people that
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were running her life at least from my point of view. we're running running your life was duke blackwood who still a friend of mine in any runs the reagan foundation and joanne drake who was is salt of the earth who i just love and adore and my wife was pregnant coming to visit me and you know, nancy reagan would pop in and it was you know, they adopted me a little bit and it was a good experience and i got it all done and what really made us get a little closer. was that for some reason even though he owned these personally and kept them handwritten that they needed a security clearance. of some kind and i never got involved with it because they were taking care of it, but she wasn't very happy that some of things were being retracted on what on saudi arabia and on weapons systems. were you were you told you could never talk about that?
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i couldn't include him in the book. i nobody looked over what i was doing, but i said that you know when i turned in what was the version there there was so much of it. i you know i had to reduce it and and get it but i had picked a couple bits that got nicks and she did not like that and she got on the phone with whoever and got some reinstated. i believe in the end. they were just one hunk that was not allowed to be published about saudi arabia and beyond that she in other words brian. she fought as any historian not me any would want inclusion. she stood with me. saying i'm on your side ronnie wrote it i wanted out there riney. ronnie signed it release it. was he alive at the time? no, he had just passed and she thought the time was right to bring let's a scholar bring them out. i at one moment when i got these
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i had told her at the lunch. and there are only awkward moment. i said i said well mrs. reagan you need to know now if you give me these you may get some conservatives wondering why you gave them to me because there's some really loyal people and i'm you know, i'm seeing his left center and so i'm much you might just she glared at me. just angry and said my son is more liberal than you'll ever be. what's your point? i remember it forever just like and i was like, well, i'm i don't really have a point. i just was trying to let you know. i mean she was direct about everything and but yes, i i in so when we got the book done we did some events together we signed. i just we signed some stuff for certain places, but particularly eureka we didn't she didn't want
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to forget, illinois. yes to forget that wonderful college there that he loved and it gets forgotten a lot and reagan lore, but they're they run programs and all it was a little under loved maybe and she wanted to make sure some of that love went to eureka of the diaries and i went out there and spoke on them and things and so in the end though here you are your center left you help rehabilitate not even not rehabilitate, but you helped create an image for ronald reagan with the letters. and with the diaries because their primary sources and then the anderson's did they the the radio shows the yellow pads and all that kind of stuff and that proving that he actually wrote his own. oh, there's a lot more depth to him than anybody knew and but for me, i was bringing out a primary source. i mean, these are important primary sources hand rent letters of president daily. diary kept on the white house. i wasn't editorializing on them
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and the sense of you know, this is this entry is good this not it just here it is people. here's what he thought and the big takeaway from doing the diaries for me if you know was how much he like franklin d roosevelt and voted for him four times, but did not like the great society of lyndon johnson and he didn't like that people on the left mixed them like new deal is great society. is big government. he liked fdr's programs workers programs building bridges, you know tunnels and all of that a lot, but he didn't like was johnson what he thought was the overreach of the 1960s and that that came out and then also a kind of spiritual side around ronald reagan particularly brian after he was shot and he writes about that's the only time he didn't record in the diary was when he was shot because he was
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incapacitated, but they need said i looked up at the ceiling and realized i'm alive and i'm gonna donate my work my life for god and he started talking about about getting rid of nuclear weapons. and it's a constant theme in there his fear of nuclear weapons and the need to find ways to fall the cold war with gorbachev. but also and start doing genuine real arms reduction if it got down a zero nuclear weapons, he would be happy that startled me, but it helped me by talking like george schultz because schultz spent his whole time after the reagan years working to rid the world of nuclear weapons. they were very concerned about it schultz and reagan. did you ever meet george not george ronald reagan? i've never met reagan. i've never met him as president. i never met him as governor. i interviewed gerald ford about
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him once in rancho mirage and he did not like ronald reagan very much because he thought reagan was his bigger obstacle to his political career than anybody else, but you know that yeah. yeah, he was very he because they did a piece pipe in kansas city. okay reagan in fort but ford felt that reagan in 76 was criticizing him. much and -- you're damaged forged ability to beat jimmy carter. richard nixon i watched you and luke nectar together at politics and pros talking about the nixon tapes. how did you put that book together? there are two volumes of the nixon tapes their massive what we realized in luke realized. is that a lot of these tapes you're dealing with thousands of hours. just never you would think the press would have had adam.
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but no nobody did any there you have to listen so carefully and so long and a lot of the tapes are just clanking of you know, they were voice activated. so a lot of it is just, you know, weird noises and coughs and shuffling and you've got to be very patient and then you have to have the best equipment to listen to it and then you've got to able to decipher the voices and who it is. let me ask you this though back in april of '74 the government published tapes the transcripts of tapes. what's the difference between what the government published and what you all do government was publishing what was working on the watergate case the on nixon had everything taped from 71 onwards. so in order for you to be the editor of this, where did you physically have to go? well who can there are available at the national archives in washington in maryland and also,
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you know some had were making in online luke nichter created a nixon tape site and he started going after all the tapes and he would time the national archives started releasing batches of them. not all at once but meaning in you know, just recently recently being last decade they started. dribbling them out hunks. no transcripts no transcripts. so you have to go and do that kind of work. it did look do this yourself. yeah. luke was the pioneer in getting listening and getting the transcripts right and making sure that we're fact checked. they're doubled checked, but we had other people a friend of mine we did ways to double check things luke and i developed a oh what we call the vanity fair rule we did an excerpt for vanity fairly nixon tapes and a guy there named david friend said what's new in the tapes is
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what's on google. you can't google. because some of this stuff had leaked some reporters got batches and just picked out two sensational lines and left. you know next next story and so we were able to say wow, all the stuff's never been heard never been known, you know, so our whole vanity fair essay that luke can i did had all of it was new none of it had ever been out before but most of these two fat volumes were new to the public and again, you know that case we try to say luke and i was we our main objective what's historically important? what is he talking about that matters in history? secondly on this idea of nixon's cursing anti-semitism. how much of it can you take i mean a sampling of it are enough. i'm gonna have a book of it. somebody could do that, but we're trying to really say what did he really spend his time on?
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what did he think and so the books are really seminal and you know, they're sold at the nixon library in yorba linda as the definitive books of the tapes did the secret service and i remember talking about this the secret service know that they were being taped as they walked around the oval office or in the different places where he was being where he had microphones. he well, you know, he wired up everywhere nixon and so there was you union camp david was being taped. i mean he he taped all over so nobody knew when did you ever say ah, well like sander. field, you know is the one who broke the course famously that there was a taping system and and a few people knew about it. but when did you say when you were listening or reading the transcripts? oh my goodness. i can't believe he just said this. a lot, but the thing is that thing about nixon was key you
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this is where biography matters and maybe even psychological biographies. he had a he never was like one of the boys nixon he never was like part of the football team crowd. he was never one of the in kids, but he had learned to talk with the lot of bluster in front of men to seem tough. and so he suddenly, you know get those son of a -- out of here. tell those -- to go and a lot of it is just his rhetorical way of seeming tough. and so when he would tell henry kissinger something like what's going on? i wounded knee or something well, but you don't care get. to run over that say the stuff in night. we would be no policy happening. it was just nick symbol on off steam and so the question comes trickier. on the tapes affected policy and what one is just showing nixon's?
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personality and they're they're both available. i mean, they're really fascinating endlessly interesting you get online. they're rather inexpensive though. yeah. oh is it? oh and who published it? oh, we got a published by hardcore. press they probably made you know, honest to god. i mean these books each are so thick. but we wrote introductory to each section, you know, i'd work on pro set it up. here's a little piece of transcript. here's my writing, you know transcript writing transcript writing transcript writing a lot of work and at the end it gives you a pretty good view of them. we were very pleased with them and they're available. i mean, they're out there and book stores and stuff. i mean i see them a lot, but you got to want to invest in nixon a lot. it's not a however, you can dip into those. nixon tapes you can look at a particular section. i still you know, there's joe
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biden so um wife and kid killed in the car accident and there's nixon calling by and i mean, you know, it's it's everything going on in there. we happen to include that but we could have done that on 20 other people who died that nixon was doing call like that and in person with people he was very much the boy scout, you know, who the economy of nixon one man because sometimes she can listen to him on the tape and then a group comes into the white house and it's two different people. dr. jekyll and mr. hyde store, i mean but not too surprising but he'll the -- son of them like hello. how are you? and he's so formal like unbelievably formal that he would think this is the last human being that would ever curse in his public presdoug brn
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brinkley your mother. oh, my mom meant everything to me and she died a few years back of a massive heart attack and she'd always tell me she kind of was old school chuckle souvakian her mother came from you know, it was we were slovakia and goblets on


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