tv Washington Journal CSPAN February 15, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EST
"the washington post." to "the times' on-line," as we saw it from the latest news from the battle. theç taliban stronghold find u. marine and afghan units facing sporadic rocket and mortar fire on day three of the offensive. the report from afghanistan to our topic -- the report and afghanistan. to our topic. the headline, front page of "the daily news." crunk the old man -- grumpy old men. they have two pages of coverage. here is a column --
he writes, it isxd as if someone at fox knows what happens in post was keeping score, as it did really believe every sunday these talk shows is the super sunday. we will review more in a moment and get to your phone calls. first, what some of vice president cheney had to say yesterday on abc. >> i think trying khalid sheikh mohammed in new york is a big mistake. it gives him a huge platform to promulgate his particular brand of propaganda around the world. i think he ought to be at guantanamo. i think he ought to be tried at guantanamo and front of a military commission. they have had difficulties because i my guess is they don't want to send back to guantanamo because that would invalidate, if you will, the value of guantanamo. but my guess is, in the end he will end up being tried in front of a military commission on a military facility someplace. >> you think one time will be open when this president leaves
office? >> i would not be surprised. it is a valuable facility. there was a reason why we set it up. it makes good sense. there is obviously great reluctance on capitol hill to appropriate the funds to close it down. i think guantanamo will be there for quite a long time. host: former vice president dick cheney yesterday. upper marlboro, maryland. caller: i am so surprised what dick cheney was singing, the guy who had five deferment when he was called to -- he had something more poor to do. george bush was flying around alabama. i cannot believe anything this man has to say. as a matter of fact, before 9/11 we were not wearing about any type of terrorist threats. they did not care about terrorism before 9/11. so i don't believe anything dick cheney has to say. he basically is al qaeda.
if you take his mascot you will probably find a some of the line. -- osama bin laden. host: pennsylvania, john on independent line. caller: a couple of things with the cheney positive response. i thought biden did a pretty good job because he was speaking actually for the most part. cheney is doing two things. he is trying to garnerw3 favor r the next round of elections in 2010 but i think more importantly, he is trying to protect himself. he should be in the hague. if obama had any spine he would have brought charges against bush, cheney and the rest of the gang for war crimes and cheney is just trying to build up a reservoir of arguments i think to keep themselves out oppression -- prison. he would end up like pinot shaikh if we ever got a nerve. host: ron in cleveland on the republican line. caller: contrary to its two
previous callers, i don't really think dick cheney is trying to smooth his path for his legacy. i think what he is trying to do is bring a debate about in this country about the policies that have been put in place by the obama administration, specifically regarding the cia enhanced interrogation, that whole program has been killed. if it was not for dick cheney talking about this issue and raising this to a national debate we would not hear about it at all. so i think he is providing a really good service for americans. let us just all keep an open mind and worry about keeping america save and not with the rest of the world thinks of us. host: vice-president biden was on two programs yesterday, "meet the press" and "face the nation." vice-president dick cheney was on "this week" with i'm jonathan
charles. let us hear what vice president biden said about khalid sheikh mohammed. >> this is an act of war what took place. our objective is to make sure they pay the highest price possible for the inhumanity they visited upon our country. what ever form as the best way to do that is what should be done. look, the fact of the matter is, the bulk of the people who were tried by any court in this country under the last administration were tried in a federal criminal court and they are still in jail. it those tried in military courts, some were not convicted, some were convicted and they are now out, and others point to the last administration released and release them into yemen, the very people we are fighting now. so i don't quite getçó what the objective here is. i don't care what you call it.
i want that son of a gun who was involved in farming and american or american interests, to pay would be incarcerated and/or in some cases, their life, for that damage they did to american citizens or our country for as long as we could possibly make it. in theecent past -- that has been in the criminal court system, that in fact is the envy of the world and the fear of the árrorists. host: vice president litem's comments. a little back story on his appearance on two sunday shows. an article about the administration communication plan. better focus, faster response as part of the plan. çç ó=:,!u!ç
curtis in pensacola. what did you think of the appearance of gas today? caller: like the first cller -- caller, i think biden was trying to be factual and truthful. a lot of americans think cheney was axd coward and hid behind hs mama's skirts when it was time for him to step up to the plate to protect america. so it is kind to it -- kind of hard to believe him. i think he exaggerates 99.9%. can i make an editorial? i am concerned about c-span.
in the past year have been pretty objective. independents basically read the fine points of the republican agenda and i wish you could be more objectives. i lost faith in you because i feel like you are tending to go to the rightfá to much. in the past, a couple of years ago you try to -- i have seen a democrat get on there and start singing stuff that basically republicans and this seems like he did not want to hear and start looking the switch and i wish you would get back to be more objective. one other question i had. last month when i called i made a comment about why weren't all these great when the american republicans having their grandkids and kids joined the army and marine corps and the republican got on a couple calls later and changed the subject. my point is, if it is no important, why aren't the marines and army getting more people to join -- if it is so important. i wish right now our country
would have a dialogue instead of banging heads. it seems like nobody listens to the other person's opinion. i tried to but most republicans i run into, they don't want to hear it if you disagree with them. host: is for your input. here is a photo and "the telegraph" in the u.k. about the fighting in the helmand province. afghanistan flag flies over the taliban capital. new jersey, dawn on our independent's line. caller: million church. i will keep -- new hampshire. i will keep it simple. for eight years he did not say nothing and as far as i'm concerned, he is just another disgruntled republican, him and the bush, the ones who should be in guantanamo bay. the guy is a complete idiot. he ought to go back into his old
because all he is is a disgruntled republican like the rest. host: we are taking questions news."ad lined up "the daily cheney and by then they get out over terror, torture, ksm trial. inside, the commentary about the appearances. he writes that there are never anyçt( winnersçççbç, only xd the kind of television like a
narcotic. bruce is int(xd republican. caller: can i ask you a question? they talk about afghanistan and iran -- and i'm a conservative republican, and i believe this midterm election is going to tell the tale in november that we need to put people back to work. in my town here in the city of bradford, we just lost a plant that makes car parts, bringing in huge amount of revenue.
and we are here in the most -- city in virginia. why don't republicans and democrats work together to get jobs for america? i would vote for cheney in a minute. he would beat by then. for president -- he would be biden. host: thanks for your call. talking about vice-president cheney and biden on the sunday shows. they both spoke about the christmas bombing attempt. here is what former vice president cheney had to say. >> the treatment of the christmas day underwear bomber. how do you think that should have been dealt with? >> i think the proper way to deal with it would have been to treat him as an enemy combatants. i think that was the right way to go. the thing i learned watching
that process unfold, though, was the administration was not equipped to deal with the aftermath of an attempted attack against the united states in a sense that they did not know what to do with the guy. there was talk earlier about -- after they dismantle the system we put in place for it prisoner interrogations, high value detainee's -- in reality, it was not up and running at christmastime when it should have been. they need a process, a set of institutions that they can fall back on. admittedly, this is hard. we had a hard time dealing with this. host: capitol heights, maryland, good morning. caller: i tried to listen to mr. cheney yesterday but whenever i hear that man talk, i just cannot stand it and for some reason -- like one of the previous callers said, they took
an oath to defend and protect the constitution. that should have been his first responsibility. that means cheney, bush, rumsfeld, condoleezza, called drobot all of them should be somewhere trying to get lawyers together to save themselves from going to jail we would not have to worry about cheney. he is a proven liar. so i don't understand how anyone can sit and listen to what this man has to say. he has -- when you take a look at all of the innocent people our government, military people and killed and pakistan and afghanistan and lord knows how many we killed in iraq, when he comes out of his mouth and make statements, if those people start thinking the same way we think about retaliation -- we killed so many innocent people, it is really going to be sad. biden has to be proven -- but really needs to think about what
he is saying before he says that because the rest of the world is listening. cheney, he should be in jail. president barack, i lost respect for himç when he did not follow the constitution. he knows very well these people said a deadlock appeared host: ford wayne, indiana. victor on independent line. caller: i am against both cheney and biden both -- they are working underneath the table to get obama reelected. he knows the american people don't like him. he is just aggravating them so they will go ahead and vote democratic again dared host: you agree with the reporter who defines this as white noise in american politics? caller: i think it is an organized crime for the republicans and democrats. they are in a cult and they work
wichita, kansas -- nobel on the republican line. make sure you meet your radio. -- make sure you mute your radio. caller: i think cheney has an ulterior motive. he is -- with bush. i think his problem is with former president bush because he did not give scooter libby a pardon. if you really think about it, when the fbi questioned this christmas bomber, i can understand why they were so upset because they questioned
this man -- can't understand. i guess they wanted the fbi to go into the office, said down and smoked cigars and wait for 19 more planes. host: we showed you the comments on vice-president -- former vice president cheney. then i don't know what dick has been doing lately. we did exactly what he did with the issue bomber, richard reid. exactly what he did. we brought in at the experts. he said we did not bring in the right people. the experts are the fbi interrogators. they are the best that we had. we brought them in immediately. they were in his custody. they got all the information they could get from him prior to him going silent. once he went silent, he was read his miranda rights and put -- put in the system. since he has been in the system
he continue to talk because we handled him in a way that encouraged him to talk. his family has come over and they encouraged him. we
continue to detective and information. i was told -- i do not know of this was true -- in the briefing, dick lamented the fact of made reference to the fact we should have kept waterboarding on the table. you saw how much success they got. host: a couple of political stories. "the daily beast." stelle courts t -- steele courts tea peritiers.
t also the -- also from "the hill" briefing room. joba plummer says mccain screwed up my life. he is no longer a fan of sarah palin or john mccain. he told an audience in pennsylvania
that mccain is "no public servant." he is just trying to use me, he said, according to public radio correspondent. i happen to be the phase of middle america. i don't know him best -- he really screwed my life up. that is how i look at it. talking about former vice president cheney and vice president biden on the sunday shows. what do you think, grace, memphis, tennessee, democratic collar. caller: an eye on the air now? why is it dick cheney shows up
in most unusual places and what happened to the 9/11 attack? did he protect us from that? i want an answer to that. host: tucson, michael, independent line. caller: i have a comment. we really miss the point, ladies and gentleman. we got to find a way -- we have to try these people basically off the united states soil. try to bring these people in a legitimate way of people. we need to work together, put our heads together, democrats and republicans, quit bickering and use their elders statesmanship of both biden and cheney to, with an idea. not the door, perhaps some other place in cuba -- not guantanamo
bay -- not new york. what we should really be talking most about is the long and what we would change the law back to. host: let me ask you. it just theoretical. if they were to say a location near tucson, how would you feel and the folks around you would feel? caller: if they are going to do it in america -- the issue bomber, he was on a plane, it was different. but these people were caught in another country and put in guantanamo pay. that is the difference. a lot has changed. we need to make it where we can fix it even if it is offshore. let us take it to switzerland or someplace neutral. host: a broader peace on
attorney-general eric holder and a decision on where to hold the trials. the front page of "the new york times." an extensive backgroundok piecen the attorney general. they write in this piece that the coming weeks could determine the ultimate shape of the obama era detainee policy. it also define what sort of attorney general mr. holder turns out to be. part of the story and " the new york times." -- part of the story in the "the new york times." howard. this is not howard. what is your name? caller: howardeen. my comment is i think dick
cheney is a very intelligent person. and everything he is saying is a the truth. i read all of his books. i read all of his books. i have the following everything ever since the beginning. i do a lot of studying and i just can't understand why people can say so many different things when they have not studied everybody that is in congress and everybody who is working there. i know think they should have any opinions and they did not know what is goingw3 on -- i d't think they should have any opinions if they do not know what is going on. host: on the democrats' line. caller: i agree with the lady before me, if you don't really read and you really don't know what is going on it is really hard to comment. it is very hard to comment on a two parties that have met each
other from time to time. -- mimicked each other from time to time. we expect a great change from obama's party and it has not happened. it has gone on the same as if it was of the republican party, only with -- as if it was the republican party only with less, i would say, effectiveness because he has been trying to do things that are outrageous. a health bill i do not believe any sane person -- i wrote a bill 20 pages long and sent in as other people did and other states, for instance. it had things in it that needed to be said before his state of the union message. it had to be done quickly. but think of it is, i am so
astounded -- nothing of it is that i am so astounded that after the president meets with the former president bush about haiti, then all of this stuff starts with cheney. what in the world is going on now? it takes not only a reader, it takes a professional researcher and a professional fbi agent to follow them around to know what in the heck they are doing. host: do you think that is maybe part of the strategy, former president bush -- caller: the whole thing is just such a mess. it is not america anymore. i don't know what it is. but i lived through the years after the wall street break, i lived through world war ii -- i am not young, but i am not dead
yet, either, and i am not about to pay back the government to kill me. host: our caller from missouri mentioned haiti. a story from "the philadelphia inquirer." u.s. military began scaling back operations. this is an associated press report in "the philadelphia inquirer." defense secretary gates says the u.s. will have a presence in the long haul -- springfield, missouri, tabitha on the independent line. tabitha, go ahead. caller: oh, hi.
hello, can you hear me? host: make sure you mute your television or radio. i am going to put on hold and the bacteria, i promise. iowa, bob, democratic collar. -- caller. caller: 48 years vice-president cheney did not have been -- have anything to say -- for eight years vice-president cheney did not have anything to say and what to know how he used his position as secretary of defense to create the position halliburton is today. pretty much all i have to say. host: vice-president cheney did comment about the efforts in iraq. >> i guess i should not be surprised about my friend joe biden. i am glad he now believes iraq is a success.
of course obama and biden campaigned for two years criticizing our iraq policy. they opposed the surge that was absolutely crucial to our getting to the point we are at with respect to iraq. for them to try to take credit for what has happened in iraq strikes me as a little strange. i think they have had their way, if we follow the policies they pursued or advocated from the outset, saddam hussein would still be in power in baghdad today. so, if there are going to take credit for it, fair enough for what they have done while they are there but it ought to go with a healthy dose of thank you, george bush, that some of their earlier recommendations with respect to prosecuting the war were dead wrong. host: i want to show you vice- president litem's comments that drew the response in just a moment. that's "the new york times" article about the appearances
yesterday -- back to the "the new york times" article. springfield, missouri, tabitha, go ahead with your comment. caller: ok. i just wanted to know where he stands on the planned -- continuation of government. i don't know if you guys discussed it. host: we have not. i did not know if it came up yesterday. what do you think about it? caller: i think it is good, but not for, like, everybody. host: dartmouth, massachusetts,
republican line. caller: i think cheney is actually making a lot of sense. i think he is a person speaking very logically about what happens with the way this country is going when it fights the war on terror. i think he is probably one of the few people who has not forgotten what happened on 9/11 and the way things were after that and what led up to it. and i think joe biden, he has -- is proof and 80 it can hold high office. -- proof an idiot can hold high office. caller: i think it is ok to have the two old men on that tv because they both have a lot of motion -- emotion about what tea party did. what my concerns are, however,
we should really have people like michael chertoff and when he is on have the person who would be in the democrat or independent party talking because then they could show the comparisons between the two parties. without any concerns. the second thing, when they get on the air, when the congress does it, they tend to dispel a lot of security information. one asks a question posited with a lot of details about what we have and what we don't have, why we should not continue the same way, and then the response it comes saying we have this and we have that. and it causes a lot of problems. i think they should not compare
the two war because one war started for one reason, it started because of 911, it started in the wrong place, the iraq war, and the surge came at the very last moment. and it continued at the very last moment. and it started in afghanistan so there is no real comparison. thank you for having me on c- span. host: we did want to tell you if vice president biden's comments about iraq that prompted the response from cheney. >> it will turn out to be one of the president's great achievements. what did you mean? >> i think he has taken office and managed the situation incredibly well in iraq. we are now moving toward a position where there is actual political accommodation among factions who were killing each
other just two years ago. we are going to be in the position to bring home 90,000 combat troops by the end of the summer. there will be a successful election, i predict, where there is full the dissipation by the sunni, shiite, kurds, and other minorities -- full participation. it we have worked very hard. i made a total of 17 trips to iraq and four this year. working with each of the parties. i think they are out working. a great creek -- tribute to the iraqi people and i think did the government that we manage this transition well. >> was a war worth it? >> no, i don't think the war was worth it and a sense that we paid a horrible price not only a loss of life in the way it was mishandled the outset but we took our eye off the ball and putting us a much different and dangerous position than afghanistan. host: vice-president joe biden yesterday. the front-page of "the washington times." an exclusion -- exclusive --
host: 5 more minutes of your calls. larry, go ahead. caller: as far as the lady who said she studied what dick cheney wrote the -- i don't have to study reptile's for a year to know a snake when i see it. as far as the trials, go ahead and have them in new york. that is where they hit them. bring them to trial in new york and let the people of new york city tried them and execute them right there in new york. that is where they hit and that is where they should be tried. host: honolulu, jack,
republican. well compared caller: yes, sir. how were you? i have a couple of things to say about cheney. number one, he is a great businessman and, number one, we have to look at the future of the country as a whole. what he did for the country is he looked at the whole stand point in which we are and what he did was he took the auxiliaries role, which is the role of the vice-president, and turned it into a good thing. he turned the rhetoric toward us defeating the enemy and turned it into a business idea and that is exactly what this country needs. we need to turn it into something that is beneficial to the country as a wall and not look at the cost of the war as a whole but what you -- it will get us as a benefit for the
nation as a whole. host: the dual appearances made the front pages in a number of newspapers. "the washington times. , -- "the washington times." a picture of them. also this morning, from page of "the washington post." queens, new york, denise on independent line. your thoughts. caller: these guys are acting like to year olds. -- two-year-olds. this is serious business. and we have two grown men, both intelligent, duking it out about security in this country that nobody in the right mind is going to get up on television and talk to the enemy like they are. it needs to be stopped.
all of these people calling in and preaching about the raid and they know, and biden is right and all of this sort of stuff -- they need to understand the difference between party and government. if you are a republican or democrat, but your government is not republican or democrat, your government is collectively all the people. get a grip of what is going on in your country and stop talking about talking points and listening to other people. make your own minds up, people. host: thank you for your input. we just want to remind you, too, later on at 9:30 a.m. eastern this president's day we will ask you about your favorite present. you can weigh in on the phone call or send a suite at twitter.com, c-spanwj and you can use facebook and post your favorite president on facebook.
you can take a look and see how you conway and what your views on your favorite president. we will wrap up with a call from nashua, new hampshire. but first the story we started with. the front page of "the denver post." u.s. rocket hits house, killing 12. photograph of a wounded marine being sent off by his marine buddies. new hampshire, jan upon our democrats lined -- jan honor democrats line. caller: hello? ok. i just want to, number one, first of all say how much i appreciate c-span. it is just wonderful for our democracy. having said that, i am not real happy with your chryon -- grumpy
old men -- it is beneath you. these are the former president and -- former vice president and vice president of the united states. one lady said people who do not read should not have an opinion. but actually the facts here are that dick cheney lied about wmd's in iraq and got us into a war we did not need to get into and it going to iraq they left afghanistan and did not finish the war. it is just a fact. last two wars behind for the next president. my comment about the 9/11 trials is that this is the fear mongering. i teach critical thinking at local college and any time somebody is trying to scare you they are trying to pull something over your eyes. i would say to every republican
and democrat out there if you are scared of terrorists then the terrorists had actually won. that is what they want to do. i believe franklin roosevelt -- the only thing we actually have to fear is fear itself. and the message that dick cheney has for america is the complete opposite. and even though i read a lot i did not have to read too much to rely dick cheney is fear mongering. host: appreciate your comments and criticisms. you said you teach a local college. what school? caller: daniel webster. host: thank you for all the calls and more coming up. we are joined by presidential historian douglas brinkley for the next hour. we will take your calls as well, too. all of that coming up momentarily here on "washington journal pierre, -- "washington
journal." [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> it is the only collection of american presidential portraits painted by one artist. american presidents, like portraits by renowned painter and sculptor chaz fagan. see the entire collection on line on c-span.org. updated and released just-in- time for presidents' day, c- span2's who is buried in grant's tomb, a tour of presidential gravesite. the book is a unique and comprehensive guide to the rest of places of the nation's presidents. contributor written or incident on the concept behind the book. >> it is an wonderful way to humanize and personalize the past, to take even tan and movement that might otherwise might seem impossibly remote. there is something universal -- we all on one day will be on our
deathbed, we will all face growing old, we all have to wrestle with questions of immortality and mortality. those are some of the themes that run through all of this. çbutçç also, frankly, and entertaining book. ççlots of stories and anecdots the find, again, to humanize all of these people. >> order from your publisher at public affairs books.com. >> coming up today on c-span, at noon eastern, a white house discussion on modernizing government, looking at new ways to use technology to streamline government operations. participants include executives from microsoft, time warner, and monster.com. former secretary of state madeleine albright and academic leaders talk about developing the next-generation of leaders in international affairs and
diplomacy. 4:00 p.m. eastern. on this president's day, five former presidential photographers share behind-the- scenes photos and talk about working at the white house at 6:00 p.m.. tonight, and discussion of the future of guantanamo with army lieutenant-colonel steven abraham, legal experts, and more, discussing a timeline for closing this the -- facility. it o'clock p.m. on c-span. -- 8:00 p.m. eastern. "washington journal" continues. host: we are joined from boston from presidential historian, rice university history professor and no stranger to the audience at c-span2, douglas bernanke -- douglas brinkley. thank you for joining us this morning. guest: good morning. thanks for having me. host: if president stay were a holiday celebrating just one president, it there or one president to honor, who would it be for you and why?
guest: i think the original, george washington. remember presidents day began as washington's birthday in 1880 and subsequently evolved, 1971 was started getting this concept of presidents day morphing of washington and lincoln's birthday and then the idea of just celebrating the institute of the president and having school children learn each president and what they look like and memorize the names. but washington is, in my view, the person we need to be celebrating on presidents' day. he did something very extraordinary as our first president, he stepped down. he showed you could relinquish power. that we were not going to become a market. he could have stayed in for life terms because he was that popular but i think it was the beginning of the tradition -- of the presence in beginning with washington. and out of any of our so-called
founding fathers, washington was really the giant. if you walk into a room that had taught -- john adams or thomas jefferson or james madison, when washington came in he imposed intimidating security. many of the founding fathers were lawyers, and instead, washington was really a survey. and somebody who knew the land, who knew the people, who got rid of a lot of the pomp and circumstance of the presidency. fort( example, there is a çówonderful article in today's open "new york times" from a professor of the university of california berkeley talking about washington being the one çthat insists civilians are in charge of the military and why this is so important for our republic. so washington for me really stand out as the key person this time of year. host: you mentioned the founders but how the think they would you how the role of the executive has changed in of last 225 + years? guest: i think they would be a
little surprised. the big surprise came in 1800 when we had a very vicious presidential election. we suddenly had thomas jefferson pitted against john adams and they went at each other, just the names being called and ferocious attack going on in 1800. the founding fathers had not anticipated this sort of a vibrant and some might even say mean-spirited two-party system. and they did not recognize how powerful the present and what ultimately become. obviously there is a hamiltonion influence, but at the end of the civil war when you see abraham lincoln being able to deliver the emancipation -- emancipation proclamation commercial power, often rising building of the transcontinental railroad, connecting east and west while north was fighting south, you see a build up of presidential executive power and the doors got blown open by theodore result -- rose about.
he changed the name of the executive mansion to the white house. he said the president had to use the white house as a bully pulpit and he starts doing massive federal initiatives like building of the panama canal, reclamation axe all over the american west, meaning the building of dams, putting aside 234 million acres of wild america for conservation. it is theodore roosevelt who really starts defining the modern presidency of today. now we judge the president, are they using executive power a lot or not. president bush certainly was using executive power quite a bit. barack obama was saying he wasn't but after the failure of the health-care debate or health care legislation in 2009, i saw an article the other day that uc president obama saying i have been applying some ways to operate as an -- a stronger executive and not just working with congress. there have been worries about
what is called the imperial presidency. arthur/ginger jr. wrote a marvelous book on it, gary wills has a book and now -- our third schelinger, jr.. i think the founding fathers would be startled. host: you got a chance to weigh in with otherç historians. giving a great to the first year of the obama presidency. readingç from "business week" e gave him an overall grade of be based on a foreign-policy and being the most on turn as political figure. with his relationship with congress you gave obama açç dr in the coming year, how the sea and prove that d to a b, professor? guest: it is going to be tough. remember, lyndon johnson won his
landslide in 1964 and ushered in great society programs which gave as medicaid and medicare, voting rights and civil rights, wilderness axe. i could go on and on what the listç of great society accomplishments. çokççokçor if you are a cri he had 67 senators, i believe, meaning he had a democratic rubber-stamp. the obama administration went with their 60. it was tentative. i think they thought they would be able to arm twist democrats to go for their health care. they eventually did. they got married landrieu and senator nelson and conrad and others -- mary landrieu. but it was too late. you know the massachusetts election, scott brown taking over ted kennedy's old seat. there went that possibility of playing with that 60. now with 59 i did not see how president obama will be able to in a midterm election year,
particularly one and -- as shrill and nasty as this one is shaping up to be, i do not think there will be much effective legislation on capitol hill this year, hence we will have to look at new ways to use presidential power to push his agenda forward. host: one quick question. who is the last president in your view to add to the work well in tandem with congress? çguest:ç lyndon johnson was a phenom, almost and a leg of his own. but ronald reagan did a good job considering he came in in 1981, seen as a conservativeç ideologue and famously made a lot of of overtures to democrats, including liberals like tip o'neill and ted kennedy and was able toç getç some important bipartisan legislation through. bill clinton use all evans and able to work wit jongress, only after the gingrichç revolution in 1994 he was a bit t(of a wounded animal dueç to e
impeachment proceedings, thatç is when hisç triangulation approach took holdç when he started working on welfare ãoreform and balanced budget and other issues effectively with the opposition. çyou have to get away from -- t is very hard, though, for a president who has an ideological bent to moveç into a center zoe because of their base will always think they are abandoning principle for political expediency. host: we have calls waitingç fç t(çyou, douglas brinkley. ryan, queens, new york. çcaller:ç good morning. çççpresident washingtonç i e çwasçç -- he was notç electe was appointed. what was the process for himço be chosen to be president of first time? i guess he was chosen to be
president the second time. ç çi did not believe there was an election. maybe you can correct me. the other thing -- was there anyone else who was considered toç be president? thank you. host: george washington -- guest: george washington was first among men in the new american nation. he, after all, was theç general who beat the british, a guerrilla fighter who won such extraordinary battles culminating in yorktown. washington was the obvious person who could bring together all parties. he was a man of the south, virginia, the slave part of the country, but was able to work in such close tandem with the more fiery revolutionaries like john adams or samuel adams in massachusetts. also -- and there is a wonderful story, if i could indulge in just a second. i did not want to eat up caller's time -- there was an
interesting man -- remember, he was president of constitution congress -- the secretary of the constitutional inconsonant of congress and he kept the physicals signed declaration of independence on him, he was a beer maker from philadelphia, he was the head of the sons of liberty in philadelphia. thompson and of being the one to go to mount vernon, virginia, washington's home along the potomac, and tell him you've got to be president. we have all talked and you are going to be the first president of the united states. and thompson road from mount vernon to new york city, the first inauguration took place in the wall street area of new york, and he ended up standing by washington when he was sworn in as our first president. it was thought -- and i think accurately so -- that we were very lucky to have a man of washington's stature, almost university -- universally loved,
with the former colonies, and even the people who were loyal to the british crown admired his cunning and his heroism and guts and bravery on the battlefield. he was a very judicial man who was able to take the best of all the difference leading lights in the area -- era and listen to the ideas and incorporate them. finally, washington was a man without pretense. he spoke the american tongue. he was not trying to be a british swell. he tried to dress in a characteristic american clothing. he ate american foodstuffs and was -- celebrated what our new country was going to be. but it was only by 1800 when that same man, charles thompson, who kept the minutes of the continental congress diaries, he burned them and he wrote john j.
and jefferson and said, i am burning these diaries because i think we need to have a strong president. i don't want people -- if jefferson gets in and adam gets in, if people see they are real people, we will not be able to keep 13 and then growing colonies turning into states and more together. we have to have a unifying president. once we slug it out on the campaign trail, we all have to get behind that figure. and you start getting the cult of washington growing, which culminates in the city of washington, the washington monument, washington on the dollar bill, washington on the quarter, tales of washington tossing his coin across the rappahannock river, his tale of the tear -- cherry tree. a mythological figure. guest: it is better the diaries were burned? host: better the diaries were burned? guest: i don't have a view
because things happen. but that is what charles thompson thought. but the civil war would happen a couple of generations earlier if we did not rally behind a small -- strong chief executive post cut back on our democrats line. guest: i'm glad you mentioned lyndon johnson, my favorite, because his social issues and his ability to pass legislation but of course, franklin roosevelt. i have a question. in what ways do you find richard 4/ present republicans? how do you find difference in their ideology? guest: a good question. he was much different. richard nixon was the last of the new deal presidents. the shadow that franklin was about half of this country from 1930 to -- in 1932, really want all the way to jimmy carter, let's call in 1976. carter became a fiscalç
democrat, a grover cleveland democrat and ended the new deal and nixon came in and simply dec çcongress liberalism. great society programs. qit is richard nixon who gives s things likeç the endangered species act, clean air and water act, vastly expanded civil rights legislation. i could go on and on. he was almost as a bold about government expenditures, having a government interference, if you like, in america, as lyndon johnson was. not quite. i don't think philosophically he was there but as a practical politician, nixon continued fdr liberalism so you have -- in history, it goes from franklin roosevelt to nixon at this time when you have big government spending, huge government spending and then you had carter trying to be a fiscal conservative, only serving one
term and ronald reagan comes in and it is called the reagan revolution because he is rolling back the great society and nixonism. host: michigan on independent line. caller: i would like to know what mr. brinkley's thoughts about a recent book -- i believe the author is james bradley -- he was responsible for the film "flags of our fathers." he wrote some veryç shocking, i would say, even excoriating things about teddy roosevelt and the war in the pacific, thatt( basically --w3 host:ç 4 fdr? çcaller: in theçó 1900's in tes of letters that went back and forth between the governmentsçf japan and russia, and there was a whole lot of skulduggery, i guess, for lack of a battered --
better term that in my mind took teddy roosevelt than a few notches in terms of being an admiral historical figure. first of all, is mr. brinkley familiar with bradley's book and what are his thoughts on what bradley has to say about teddy roosevelt and the leading up to the world war ii. guest: mr. bradley's book is called "imperial cruz." and i don't think very highly of it. ççi am an admirer of mr. bra's previous work, particularly dealing with the second world war, but what i object to in this book is a thesis thatç hes insistent upon that somehow theodore roosevelt was responsible for the bombing of pearl harbor because he, in 1898, was promoting imperialism in the spanish-american war and by the time he became president
hç cut a deal,w3 theater rose above, with japan and said leave usç alone in hawaii, leave us alone in the philippines, and we will turn a blind eye and you could do what you want in correa, and hence japan -- korea, and hence japan had ugly imperial adventurism in korea that got them in a mood for conquest and eventually turned theirç fangs to america. çit is a very overdrawn faces that leaps overçç decades, tht doesn't properly attributed the fact of how weak america's navy was on the west coast, how old were extended we were in hawaii and the philippines, how desperately we needed to have a defense perimeter. he disputes the account thatç theodore roosevelt -- theodore rooseveltç deserve a nobel peae prize forw3 stopping russia and
japan that was a brilliant piece of diplomacy. incidently, russia at that point of was a bastion of horrible anti-semitism, almost pre- german nazi anti-semitism going on in russian society. japan was already a huge industrial power. so i think he cut president roosevelt's diplomacy at portsmouth that gave him the nobel peace prize terribly short. what he does is set up a strong man and not down. tr -- what he is right about, what mr. bradley is right about is imperialism has an ugly side would come a very ugly side, and he pointed out in the book. i enjoyed it, but it is not a book i would recommend or trust xdor footnote in any work i do. host: national, tommy on the democrats' line. -- national -- nashville.
caller: the last story and i got to talk to is the late howard vince -- what i say about the current government. do you not see reflection in today's government in what he wrote about the late 1800's, like 1870 through the time of roosevelt and how we have become monopolized and corporatized and we are becoming the best nation that money can buy? and in a recent article in, i think it is "the wall street journal" yesterday, the article about james capel as being the best one-term president -- james k. polk. he was a man who kept his office open to the people. he worked like a true officer
of the people and kept the office open to suggestion from everybody. host: thank you, we will get a response. guest: of course, howard zinn -- i am here in massachusetts where howard zinn lives, and his death was a great loss. he died in santa monica a few weeks ago. he bowed the people's history of the united states. really shook up the historic profession, his insistence of not just looking at presidents or tycoons, senators, famous people to get away from them and look at the street and look how real people, middle-class people, lower income people worked during different eras. he is a great loss. i think all times are different. i hear the of caller's io about america today. it is really a global situation.
we are dealing now with wiring money and a second, a billion e- mails going around the world while i am sitting here talking. hyper industrialization, technological society that has us kind of off our kilter spirit commerce is not done in simple ways anymore but it is done in this massive, global way and it can feel cold and indifferent to people. and i believe we are living in an age of great anxiety because there is a feeling if the market classes here people would not know what to do because we are not even farmers anymore, but buying everything quickly. we are a credit card society. a lot of things to worry about. on the other hand, if you travel -- the country -- and last week, was in florida, alaska, texas, georgia, the american people are strong and
there is so much good will and you look at the job the troops are doing in afghanistan. i would not get too disheartened about the united states. we have not seen our best days yet. there is a lot in us -- and as for mr. polk. excellent 1-term president. he is ranked as one of the near greats. the greater use leave lincoln followed by washington and fdr, and the next with fear or roosevelt and jefferson and woodrow wilson, andrew jackson and a few others. he did a couple of things smart. he saw the border problem with canada, with great britain peacefully up in the pacific northwest and then of course had the device of war with mexico but he won it quickly -- divisive war with mexico but he won it quickly. he was a man of zeal, manifest destiny helped fuel the movement westward to california in the
19th century. host: if any of our viewers want to find the colorado -- the myth -- fine but column -- find the ñ ççi want to play you a bit oft he had to say about serving as a one-term or two-term president and get your response. them ever in the middle of all of this, do you think maybe one term is enough? [laughter] çç>>çi]i] you know, i would t the one thing i am clear about is i would rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. and i believe that. there is a tendency in washington to think that our job officials is to get reelected. that is not our job description.
our job description is to solve problems and to help people. t(ñrççthati]ç isç notñ3çtf elected officials themselves, but that is the filter through which the media reflects. the reason why i can say this with confidence is i have gone through this before, went through the campaign. when your poll numbers drop, you are an idiot. when your poll numbers are high, you are a genius. if my poll numbers are low, then i am cool answerable and cold and detached. if my poll numbers are high, he is calm and reason to -- so that is the filter through which a lot of this stuff is interpreted. host: your thoughts on this comment about one-term presidency. guest: the lead into this was about james k. polk, and wanted tell the viewers that he kept these elaborate diaries, and
they were edited into one volume and they are worth looking at. and a tremendous book on james k. polki] and one by siegenthal. qpresident obama did not say anything that was incorrect, and that it struck me it is a little odd for a president and his first year to have to engage with the press on one-term or two-term, it seems to political, with a country in a fair amount of peril now and i would not do that kind of pundit analysis of one-term, two-term. i don't think just because a reporter asks a question that a president needs to answer it the way that president obama sometimes does. after one year -- you got three more years in office, just don't worry about the one or two-term thing. you don't have to tell people that. people will recognize if you are
working hard and tried to do the right thing, and so on. i just thought it was kind of a bad tv moment. host: douglas brinkley with us and took it o'clock 40 5:00 a.m. eastern. -- douglas bernankeokomk>sç y with us until 8:45 a.m. eastern. caller: do you think -- george bush, do you think he was an effective president and how you think history will look at him actually vis a vis the iraq war? guest: george w. walsh -- george w. bush right now, it is quite unfair but he is clustered in the bottom four or five american presidents, not as low as william henry harrison but he was only president for a month, not as low as harding but harding was wracked with scandal. he is on the bottom and i suppose he could say it is only
up from there. but he is absolutely right, caller, i think how things play out in iraq will mean a lot for his reputation. he put all the poker chips in net. it looks like a civil society is starting to take root. if it does, it will be a great enhancer for president bush's legacy and also the fact that something he could not brag about when he was president, which he can now or his presidential library at southern methodist in texas can, which is after 9/11 he made measures for homeland security to make our safer and there was not anotherç terrorist attack on his watch. host: atlanta, fred, republican. caller: how are you doing? yes, how are you doing? i liked this guy. i moved from providence, rhode island -- i have been a schoolteacher for 12 years, i
have seen history change. i want to see if obama will be considered as the first black president, i don't understand it -- not to make it a recent -- racist thing, you come from a mixed race, it the 2000 census it reads mixed. i want to know in history, in your opinion, will he really be considered 10 years and now the first black president? guest: funny, last evening i arrived in boston from austin, texas, and in myçç hotel room there is the boston magazine with a story by skip gates, professor gates at harvard and he is saying that i am actually a white person, skip gates. doing a lot of look at dna and racial mixtures and starting to be a great redefining of what is an african-american or a
hispanic. a very fertile field of inquiry going on right now. but i think at this moment in time we can say that barack obama is the first african- american present. the fact that he has so much -- has been perceived by the society he grew up in as african-american, meaning he has had to overcome racism, ostracism, separation. he is the product of an american who sees him as that. so, hence, for the time you have to say he is our first african- american president. i am pretty sure he will be continued to be seen as the first african american president. but i appreciate the caller getting at this idea that sometimes -- no boxes is the way to live. sometimes we are kind of categorizing each -- everybody and racial mixture is a lot more different than a simple check mark. host: in terms of historical
president, john f. kennedy being the first catholic president or the other things -- the first president to not have attended college. as the years go by these things become less and less important. guest: i think they do become less and less important. we are in a time where we will have a woman president soon, a jewish demint -- jewish president, a mormon president. i do not think it matters as much as it used to. it does not mean we did not know about it or they have not had to overcome obstacles. hillary clinton has overcome a lot of bias. mitt romney has had to grapple with being a mormon in a very difficult way at times. it matters, but it seemed to be nattering less and less to younger generations, which is a good thing. host: at this tweet from "the star-ledger." reagan and clinton the most popular president according to a poll. brooklyn, new york, derek,
democrats line. caller: i was calling about a comment made earlier. you said she was the best choice amongst men -- wasn't there an african-american in charge of the country before and the constitution was written and in your humble opinion was not considered because the country was going to be built on slavery, the terrorism of slavery and humanitarian atrocities? guest: it goes without saying the point that goes without saying is that slavery existed and washington was a slave owner, jeffrey was a slave owner. you could go on and on how many of the so-called founders were. and slavery was an issue they did not want to grapple with.
i was talking about a man named charles thompson, i said he got sworn in -- one washington became the first president of the was no role for thompson and washington's first administration because thompson wanted to abolish slavery and everybody said, no, no, you want to open up a can of worms. we are keeping the institution of slavery alive. in that regard, the caller is correct. washington was the best of the people that were possible given the economic and social and political conditions in which people operated under. host: yonkers, new york, tim on the republican line. caller: i just wanted to inquire about andrew jackson. he is on our $20 bill but he is not considered on the wrong of great presidents like george washington or thomas jefferson or lincoln. i know there is a lot of controversy about his presidency and what he did before hand, the
trail of tears, everything like that. i'm wondering if your guest could tell us a little bit more about andrew jackson. thank you. guest: first off, in my short time, again, i would recommendj wouldon meecham wrote a book called "american lion." pulled surprise winning, very readable -- pulitzer prize- winning, very readable. those are scholars and urge you to read if you want to learn more about andrew jackson. the key thing about jackson, we had kind of authentic american heroes before jackson, pike -- pikes peak, great explorer, lewis and clark. but once andrew jackson won the battle of new orleans in the war of 1812, extraordinary hammering
of the british with the ragtag band of troops andçok it grew o this mythological moments in the united states that we really were going to make it, that we defeated britain for a second time and jackson was at the helm in the battle of new orleans, he became old hickory, just a full figure. and i think the appeal of the of jackson is he is seen as a figure who brought in our democracy. he is from tennessee, which was then the western frontier. he represented the common person. he did not have to be -- although he was quite well for himself -- but you did not have to be a harvard, princeton, william and mary train scholar to be president of the united states. he was given high marks for kind of bring in democracy one big step forward. it was a good precedent. it usually on these rankings, which only made so much, heç is
put in that near great category. so historians recognize him as certainly being one of the very significant 19th century presidents. he is not a millard fillmore or chester a. arthur. host: our guest douglas brinkley has offered a number of books -- if you want to look at our website, book tv.orgç and enter the name of the author or book, including mr. brinkman himself who was most recently with us for his book, "wilderness war your." you are also working on a history of the united states"? guest: yes, i'm always doing this. what is to america -- witness to america, a key moments in american history, we are pulling together for school classes really to help them get some primary documents in one volume which will be able to be an aid for teachers.
host: kansas, doddie, on the independent line. -- dotty. caller: the age of american students who probably receive very little history in school because 30 years ago our public school system started avoiding history very seriously out of the textbooks, out of the learning process to where we have two, the one on three generations of americans that have had very little history. his last comment is somewhat exciting because it is frightening how little american history people know. it has been a great void. and the substitution with social studies which tends to be
generally being taught as propaganda. so, i hope that we -- he continues to try to provide the schools with true history of the greatness of this country. host: have we forgotten teaching history in ápá(páqáñ yeah guest:, i agree with theç- yes, i agree with the caller completely. it is startling how many young people don't know when world war i was, has no idea when eisenhower was president, don't know what the battle of the bulge was -- take your choice. i try not to engage in it because at some point it feels of use of like you are picking on 20 year olds, but i believe we need to do a much better job teaching american history and our public schools and start at a very early age becauseç they are worried about a country who does not know themselves. çincidently, american history s not boring or dry, it is so
vibrant and exciting and i think we have to continue to champion storytelling in the way ken burns does with film to get people in gauge. oftentimes when i get a stood in a paper, i ask what did they love -- if they love baseball -- baseball i have been the the paper on roberta doh clementi or babe ruth because i want to see that doozy as giving books from the library, starting to think about some aspect of our country. the key to our history is to make it fun and exciting and relevant to people. we do a pretty good job with movies and some of the television cable channels, pbs, but in the schools themselves as our caller said, they kind of ghettoize history as part of the social studies which she says leads to some propaganda. maybe all history is some sort of propaganda but i think young people need to learn thaksin key moments, be able to have a sense
of chronology of our country, which seems pertinent if you are going to be proactive american citizen. host: there was an article in "the new york times" sunday system. have you seen more or less of that in the last 10 years or so? guest: texas is a unique case. they are still warring against charles darwin down there, as if origin of species should not been written which is sort of anti-science in my view and backwards. one of the great exciting thing -- talking president, but darwin revolution and discovery of dna, findings of some more about origins of man and the role that science plays in our life also needs to be a huge part of any school curriculum. in texas like teaching texas history more than american history. it is charming in a way, but i
don't like it when i see state school boards start telling people what to teach. part of what trying -- of trying to do this hyper reform -- we need to open up our narrative, we need to tell stories of women's history, african american history, latino history on and on. we have a big narrative with all sorts of players. it is not all about presidents and generals or white men. host: carl, liberty city. florida. caller: the old saying about it is coming back to haunt us. when we compare the jeffersonian and hamiltonian type of speaking to this modern day we look at the religious right, we look at the neocons and we look at, what you said earlier, the young people who have a tendency to
move the country to much higher levels which is good because the person from kansas mentioned that the history teaching was eradicated and what i wanted to w3eat -- inject is it was eradicated because integration was coming in and the dixiecrats, those of that level of mentality -- mentality against integration did not want the young blacks to know that they had a heritage of building this country and to be and input to the country so that this is winding up to be now a blessing when we compare the joseph mentality of the bible -- where the devil minted for bad and god meant it for good. you are a historian so you can bring it to a better level and we should go back like the person in kansas city said and
bring the enrichment. but the element of surprise is that regardless of, those young people of this day and time tend to lean obama who is going to be the preservation of what jeffersonian and hamiltonian really wanted this country to be about. so, in spite of, we are still going to forward, and i correct, or not? guest: you are correct in a sense that i think america is going to move forward and i also think we have had great breakthroughs in the historical profession, starting in the 1950's and 1960's. .
>> bit helps cause birth ourselves, provincial history -- it helps us gird ourselves, presidential history. but i worry about so many places or people are getting their thesis is published and there are some that are on their way to go defund almost they're hurting so badly. it is not a great time for historians. we do not treasure our historians, i do not think, as much as perhaps, we should.
we need to activate them and find walls for them. during the great depression, fdr did this sort of thing with the new deal programs, getting unemployed writers to work. it feels at times very cold fish, books being written for 200 people. host: on fdr, michelle, was quoted in the newspaper and was asked why he has not received as much support. she noted that people have been suffering for three years before he took office. at some level, she said, they had seen the counterfactual, what happens when you do not do something. i think there was a relief that someone was doing something and that it keeps them with president roosevelt for a while.
were there lessons that the obama administration should have learned from the fdr administration, particularly with the stimulus? guest: absolutely there are. for starters, remember, fdr came in and called it the new deal. he packaged his programs. what do we call what obama has done so far with the stimulus package? we do not like the word stimulus. it did not have the ring. it needed to be presented as part of a larger package. i know it sounds trite, but it needed to be named and categorized so that working people could understand what the president was trying to do. i also think we have not seen the amount of innovation out of the obama administration that became the stimulus and spread money around and was going to be a health care legislative agenda and then climate care and perhaps immigration reform.
i am looking for the boldness. we are in a time where we really leadership. the climate is a problem and we are trying to get ourselves off the internal combustion engine. can we do big federal windfarms or solar farms or nuclear power or whatever the case may be? what is our new grid for the future? look at what eisenhower did in the 1950's. he built the st. lawrence seaway. he built the state highway system in the 1950's. what is our main project? there is some bullet train action going on, but i am not feeling it as the sort of call for the country to do something great as you got with fdr throughout the 1930's, with john f. kennedy when he got us going with our race to the moon. there's something missing. i do not know what people are being called to do. this was a problem that i felt
the bush administration has and it is one that the obama administration is suffering from. we need to package a lot of was going on and presented in a bold way. it is hard to tell young people to get excited, the stimulus package is here. there's something missing from the equation. host: hear from queens, n.y., james, a republican collar. caller: i would like to ask mr. brinkman -- mr. brinkley, has he read any books about american foreign policy dealing with dictators in the middle east, like the shah of iran, and then going on boy back to vietnam -- and then all the way back to vietnam, our policies have been to support dictators so that we can get cheap oil and what is
the consequences? what have these people done to their own people with our support? guest: i have read many of these books and is in major topic in american foreign policy. i would recommend daniel jürgen's book on oil whe)e he outlines what america will do for oil, very clearly. the united states has a long they are pro-american. it is troublesome. there is literature on eac$ and every one of these. the situation in iran is one of the mark -- more famous ones. you can read some -- evok-- some work by many james that covers this in an astute and vigorous way. host: next caller, independent.
caller: i read a book about lincoln the talked about him being a lawyer. i forget the name of the vote, but it is about a dozen with -- the name of the book, but it is about a jesuit priest. also, gays in the military, [unintelligible] go to jail or join the military. my third point is, i like the attitude of the gentleman who said he agreed, that we have to be positive about this looking at history.
we have to rebuild from the bottom up. professor host: brinkley, anything you want -- host: professor brinkley, anything you guest: let me say that lincoln has ranked the top of all of the american president because no matter how bad a sitting president thinks they had it or have it, lincoln had it worse. he came in without a mandate to washington d.c. he had hostile forces stayed supposedly neutral, but was a hotbed of post slavery sentiment. virginia was a hostile territory for lincoln. in fact, anyone who goes to dulles airport knows how close the battle of bull run is to washington. and yet, lincoln persevered. he persevered through the firing of general mcclellan, finding the right commanders, keeping
the union together, the abolition of slavery, the brilliant bits of writing of his, at inaugurals, gettysburg address, the emancipation itself. there is nobody quite like lincoln in that tragic ending where after appomattox he gets shot at ford's theatre. and he becomes "the" american president and story. he did not like anything mistake. he was a very pragmatic person. richard nixon used to get into the lincoln memorial and talk to the lincoln statue. president obama, inspired in part by a book on lincoln, but also the fact that he is from illinois has adopted lincoln as
his president. all presidents love lincoln because he had it the worst and has been able to come up with incredible victories to keep our country united. host: motivated you to read the book about teddy roosevelt? -- what motivated you to write the book about teddy roosevelt? guest: conservation after world forum i -- world war i was one of the most astute things that we did. i read a book by an author who was engaged in natural history who was a hunter and wanted to save the buffalo and elk and antelope of america and he started treating these huge wild life -- creating these huge wildlife refuges. we now have over 500 wildlife refugees in this country. -- refuges in this country.
what a place to be without places like the grand canyon or crater lake or the redwood trees, the painted desert. i found th%s accomplishment as being one of the most meaningful types of love of country and democracy that has ever happened and had never been documented fully. i undertook the task in "the wilderness warrior." host: a couple of more calls, white plains, jerry democrat. caller: a want to know your ideas in the president presiding over the federal government and use of the word pragmatic, which is very logical. where does expectation of the electorate become almost a god like nobility or clergy?
this priestly almost exhortation of a very pragmatic position, you probably have more ideas were that developed, in relation to the greek gods, clergy. guest: a big question and it really covers the sweep of the presidency. i think there is an expectation on character a lot for american presidents. not one of the strength that president obama has is his wife michelle and he has two beautiful kids and he has a mother-in-law's living in the white house and people want to know that personal narrative. -- some wonderful in-laws living in the white house and people
want to know the personal narrative. we have these big presidential libraries, shrines for presidents. some people in the rest of the world find it a little odd. they see president as politicians. we see them as something higher than that. it is a longer conversation and we have time for right now. the climate that not as president obama is having to deal with, it is it -- an t thewith, it is it -- an process. third party if you look at the poll numbers , and president obama is still fairly popular, but look at congress' poll numbers. there is some anger out there right now and there is an opening for a third party movement.
it will be interesting to see if it happens in the 2012 election cycle. one more host: call from san francisco, jane on the republican line. caller: good morning, mr. brinkley, are you david's son? guest: no, i'm not. no relation, actually. caller: i'm always interested. i wanted to make a couple of comments. you mentioned president bush. well, i agree with you. as a senior citizen i would like to add how very important it was when he added medical prescription help for us, which seems to be paying for itself. i think that is important to lead to history. also the fact that during the second world war, we lost millions of men to put out a genocidal leader. and your president bush took out
saddam hussein in the middle east and was able to do it with very little loss of life as opposed to second world war when millions died. also fdr, he did not want to protect banks with federal deposit insurance because he thought that something would happen. and i think history should see that. look what happened when we did do that. it when president clinton did away with glass stiegel, making it possible. host: and, thank you for your thoughts. guest: it is tough to be president of the united states. i think the expectations are so hard. i looked at president obama giving a speech the other day. he visibly has aged over the past year. all presidents aged very quickly, no matter how hard or difficult they think their job is going to be. it is harder. by the time they leave and once they retire, about a decade
later our country tends to do an upward revisionism. we have done it with richard nixon in some ways. we have that with gerald ford and jimmy carter and george bush 41. people like to pummel the president, but in the end, people realized what a tough job was and they did their best to keep our country together. very few presidents do not get an upward bounce later. as tough as it is slugging it out, there will probably be moment in our country 20 years from now, 30 years from now that we are looking at it a bit differently than we are now. it is hard to have historical insight in the thick of things. host: what is on the schedule for a presidential historian on president's day? guest: thanks for asking. i am here in boston and will be speaking at the jfk library today with katherine dalton, who
wrote a very good book about the president. it will be taking comments focused on kennedy. i tried to spend every president's day at one of the presidential libraries because those are our great depositories of our archives. they are a museum and a place where you can use primary documents. i am privileged to be at the kennedy library today. host: douglas brinkley, thanks for being here. guest: i always loved being on c-span. host: we will be back to dr. james allen fox, a criminal -- criminology professor who will join us to talk about the crime rate in particular. he joins us next on "washington journal."
american presidential portraits painted by one artist, american presidents, life portrait, by renowned painter and sculptor jazz fagan. you can see the entire collection on line at c- span.org. >> updated and released just in time for presidents day, c- span's "was buried in grant's tomb." it is a comprehensive look into the nation's president. >> it is a wonderful way to humanize and personalize the past. to take events and movements that otherwise might seem impossibly remote. there is something universal about the fact that we will all one day be on our deathbed. the widow of face growing old. we will all have to wrestle with questions of immortality and
mortality. those are some of the themes that run through all of this. it is also, frankly, and entertaining book. there are lots of stories, lots of anecdotes designed to humanize all of these people. >> available now at your favorite bookseller court order directly from the publisher at publicaffairsbooks.com. >> coming up at noon eastern, a white house discussion on modern government, looking at new ways to use technology to streamline government operations. later today, former secretary of state madeleine albright and economic -- academic leaders discussing the next generation of leaders and international affairs and diplomacy. that is at 4:00 p.m. eastern. and five former presidential photographers share their grief
-- behind-the-scenes photos and talk about working at the white house. that is at 6:00 p.m. and tonight, a discussion on the future of guantanamo with an army lieutenant colonel, legal experts and more, discussing the time line for the closing of the facility. that is at 8:00 p.m. eastern call today on c-span. -- 8:00 p.m. eastern, all day today on c-span. host: for the next 40 minutes or so we will talk about declining crime rates in the united states. professor james alan fox is a professor at boston university. the fbi has reported the latest this is diggs on violent crime from january to june 2009 cannot murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault are the categories. murder declined nationwide 10%. robbery fell 6%.
for shebaa rate declined 3.3% and robbery -- forceable rape declined 3.3% and robbery also declined. it was behind the statistics? guest: the decline would have to be due to more than one factor. you can look at issues such as smart policing, policing that relies on data and information, on strategy. you can look at how many americans we have behind bars, keeping them off the streets. you can even look at the fact that the fastest growing population of our senior -- of our citizenry is the senior citizens. they have the lowest involvement in violent crime. the crime is coming down on the because the population is aging. those are just some of the factors. i'm sure we have 45 minutes to
talk about the others. host: the report indicates that the crime rate is declining in cities with small populations, 10,000 -- and in cities with small populations, 10,000 to 25,000, the crime rate is going up. guest: the focus is too much on these one-your changes. oftentimes it goes up because the previous year was relatively low. the important thing is the long- term trend, not these year by year -- and in some of these cases, there are only six month the statistics. the homicide numbers, for example, which went down i believe by 10% in the first six months, my expectation is that in 2010 for the first six months will see an increase in homicide. not because we are doing anything wrong, not because
problems are getting worse, but because when you see such a large decline as 10%, it is an aberration. i'm not saying that crime is not going down, they are. but not by 10%. when things drastically go down by that amount, the following year you tend to see an uptick. and when things rise, the following year you tend to see a decline. host: guest, james alan fox, is with us until 9:30 a.m. eastern. the numbers are on the screen. back to the rate of decline, as recently as 2008, you co- authored a report on the rise, the recent surge in homicides involving young black males and guns. this was published in december 2008. guest: one of the problems with the fbi statistics, and when
they say that crime is down across the board is the fact that their board, their tabulations, are based on different regions of the country, different population groups. they do not look at different segments of the population, that is, breakdowns by age, race and gender. if you look at that, what you will find is that in the past decade, in the 2000's, yes, crime went down for virtually every subgroup of the population except black males. in fact, for most of this decade, the rate of homicide among young black males soared. it is easy to be misled into thinking that all of our crime rates are low because it is down across the board. we have to keep tabs on pockets of problems. what is interesting about this issue of the surge in murder, by again, young black males, is
that the response to the report was quite positive in the african-american population, among black leadership. there are many americans were living in certain neighborhoods in boston and philadelphia and elsewhere whose -- for whose idea that crime rates are going down at a 30-year low was not consistent with the sound of gunfire rang out in their neighborhoods. i think it is important that we do not get fooled into a sense of complacency. we have to remind ourselves that all of our problems are not older than we do have a significant issue among run -- are not over and we do have is in the issue among one group that we have to address. host: first call for our guests, go ahead. caller: since president obama has been in office, and just
prior to him being in office, the sale of firearms has gone way up. do you think that has something to do with the crime rate? are people actually protecting themselves from these to of loans and what not? -- from these hoodlums and what not? guest: it is a great question and there is a longstanding debate in my field and in the general population about guns, do they create more crime or less crime? there are scholars on both sides of the issue. where i come down on this is that i do not believe there is evidence that shows that if we are america the crime rate -- if we arm america, the crime rates will go down. yes, offenders might be a bit more careful if they think the citizenry is armed. what that tends to do is make criminals carry bigger and more
powerful weapons. obviously, the issue of guns right now is a big issue. we have a supreme court case coming up shortly, which is a challenge of the handgun ban in chicago. what it basically shows is that the ban on handguns and should -- in chicago has led to about 800 to 1000 fewer sought -- fewer homicides in the past 25 years, not more murders, but less. host: don from cyprus, texas, go ahead. caller: what is the correlation between academic achievement, funding of schools and universities, and high incarceration rate that we have in america? and the other question i have is, how does the opportunity for these young people -- two
questions, what is the correlation between high incarceration rate and academic achievement? looking at the race of all people in certain states, in particular black and hispanics. and what is the ability to participate in this free market, capitalistic society? guest: there are some important issues here. one thing that has to be in port -- pointed out is that we're spending far too much on president and far too little on education. there are states that are having to rob from peter to pay from paul, and popping the prisons. -- and paul being the prisons. the majority of our prisoners are there for non-violent crimes
and perhaps we could do something else with these nonviolent offenders than locking them up in a very expensive place, that being prison, and use that money for better purposes, especially education. the second question i believe had to do with -- the set up question i believe i do with incarceration rates for african- americans. a very sad statistics that was released a few years ago was that african-american males have a higher probability of going to prison than to college. it is certainly a combination of factors and not just having to do with criminality. a party has to do with the ability to finish high school and afford a college education and succeed in college. the sad fact is that one of the reasons that we do have, still, high crime rates underdone -- among young black males has to do with the relatively poor education and funding of
education and poor schools and neighborhoods where these young men lived. the high rate of homicide and violence among young black males is not an issue of race. it is really an issue of opportunity and socio-economic conditions that are prevalent among the population of african- americans. the opportunities still remain very bleak for many young men who grew up -- to grow up in poor neighborhoods, particularly african-american men. the economy is bleak. and opportunities for education may be limited. but one robert shiroudi is still there, and that is gang membership. -- one opportunity is still there, and that is gang membership. gains are always recruiting. host: -- gangs are always recruiting. host: cedric from washington. caller: in the last segment there was a gentleman who talked about, i think in the '60s and
'70s how for non-violent offenders, they have the opportunity to enlist in the military. i'm wondering what your thoughts are about that, for in terms of nonviolent offenders, if the sentence given them would be like a segue into the military as opposed to prisons where we know the recidivism rate is so high. guest: the military can be a very positive and reformer to of experience for young men and women -- and reformers tiv experience for young men and women who have perhaps on the wrong path. i would hate to see our military be the alternative to prisons. but your right, i think it could serve that purpose. host: in the detroit free press this morning, there is an article about spending and the concern expressed by law enforcement.
guest: that is not just happening in jail. it is also happening in prisons. we are finding that in many states, because of overcrowding in prisons, that officials have to release certain offenders earlier than perhaps they wish they could. i think what is important is that -- you know, punishment and prison serves a purpose, yet we in this country tend to overuse it. we have one of the highest incarceration rates around the
world, if not the highest. we oftentimes think about walking them up and throwing away the key. that is fine for the most dangerous. i certainly do believe that certain offenders should stay in prison for life, and life without parole for the very worst offenders. yet we need to think more creatively about what to do with drug offenders, property offenders. they are not a danger to was in a physical sense. and indeed, things such as community corrections or even home arrest, home detention, other ways of dealing with these offenders. and community corrections and community service certainly could play a significant role, that we could create a certain form of punishment, i get at the same time contribute to society in a meaningful way while they're being punished. host: texas, build on the republican line.
caller: just brought up a point there when you initially started talking and you said maybe i do not believe these stats that the fbi is putting out, and then the last thing that you are talking about is drug offenses. you want to live down here in texas along the border. i kind of agree with you, i think that the stats that the fbi is putting out is not actually true. but when you say drug offenders, we have lost nearly 17,000 people in mexico and the texas southwest border. drugs definitely are having a big impact. i really do not understand where you're coming from. you're kind of contradicting yourself. but i would appreciate if you would respond to that. guest: i wish i knew how was contradicting myself so i could clarify that. is the caller still there?
host: he is not, professor. guest: if you see a contradiction, i do not know what to say about it. let me put it this way, certainly, the marketing and the selling and the business side of drugs creates a significant crime problem. what i'm saying as well is that those who are arrested to -- arrested for drug possession and maybe even minor drug selling, we have to think of other ways of punishing these individuals rather than keeping them in prison and a very high cost to society. we spend very little on prevention and treatment and a lot of punishment. host: let's hear from new jersey, ron on the independence line. caller: good morning, professor fox, bill. i would like to make a simple observation. i work in a high crime area in atlantic city and i noticed ever
since president obama became president that a lot of black people who are in their 30's and '40's and '50's -- 40's and 50's are wearing their obama sweatshirt and hats and they're proud of their president. i think he makes a very nice small example for the country. i am seeing people traveling in families more than just walking around looking down. i think people are more proud of their country and i think that has a big effect on crime. guest: i think is great that more americans are proud of their country and it's great that our country has a better reputation and acceptance are on the world since obama has been in office. whether that has translated into a lower crime problem, i think is a bit premature to conclude that. but i personally do agree with a
lot of the positions and policies of president obama, and a lot of the issues that he brought up during the campaign. i'm waiting equally, however, to see if some of his initiatives that he talked about during the campaign related to crime will be implemented. one, for example, we talked earlier about guns. there was the t. hart amendment. it is a strategy that -- an amendment that has been passed through congress that limits the ability of us to use the atf tracing data to identify those wrote dealers that are responsible for a large share of guns getting into that hands of criminals. we know, for example, that fewer than 1% of gun dealers are responsible for over 50% of gun crimes. and we can figure out who those are if we can use the tracing data the way we used to. unfortunately, congress has put
a halt on that effort, perhaps because of the significant and powerful gun lobby. if we have, for example, if we knew that 1% of liquor stores were responsible for over half of the underage drinking, i bet you we would close down those bigger stores. why are we not having the same focus on gun dealers who are not making sure of who they are selling to and how they are doing their selling? that is one issue. host: the caller from texas talked about the gun problem and the violent crime along the border. the government of mexico has asked president obama to take action on guns. can you tell us exactly what they're looking for from the u.s.? guest: i really cannot, and start. host: i have a good question for you from twitter.com.
guest: there is a certain volatility. during the 1960's -- i'm sorry, late '60s and early '70s, we saw a surge in violence, largely due to demographics. back then we had half the population of this country under the age of 25. it was a unique situation with the baby boomers growing into their prime crime years. and in the 1980's, the crime rate began to fall. in the late '80s there was this huge spike and that was related to crack. when the crack market started to emerge across america, there were large numbers of juvenile who were recruited into the crack selling business. they were given guns because they needed guns to survive in the drug market. christ -- crime started to occur
in the late 80's and early 1990's largely due to the trade among darshan due to the drug trade among sellers. -- due to the drug trade among sellers. there are ups and downs and the crime rate. we need to look at long-term trends to understand them more fully. host: here is a call from queens, howard on the republican line. caller: i believe that the segment of the population, young black males, would benefit from history. and of learning from others, such as garvey and malcolm and others who also went to jail for nonviolent crimes, but then came
from that and became positive members of society and leaders. young black males need to know their history and learn their history. it is not just about coming back into society and not being bad anymore, but about coming back to society and knowing what jill is like and then teaching your brothers to become leaders. -- what jail is like and teaching were brothers to become leaders. guest: that is a terrific point. and you are right about black leaders to work in prison. here in massachusetts, it took advantage of the mass of library and the massachusetts -- he took advantage of the massive library in the massachusetts prison and came out having studied. it is not just learning about history. it is being educated. the shameful part about our prison systems is that we are still allowing people to emerge
from prison illiterate, unable to read and write. at the minimum we should be ensuring that all of our prisoners can read, can have an education, and have job skills. unfortunately, we tend to do a little bit too much warehousing. right now, the buzz words in corrections is re-entering. successful reentry programs need to start from the time in nate stark income -- inmates are incarcerated. it is not just something we do at the end of their incarceration. host: what state is doing a good job on reentry, in your view? guest: don't think i can answer the crunch -- the question. many states are trying. i do not think we have the data to name one state the best out there. host: miami, here is mitch on the democrats line.
professor caller: fox, we know the history -- caller: professor fox, we know the history when it comes to crime. what we know the history of the united states, the crime was the white man raping or going with women outside of marriage. and then with these prisons that were overflowing coming into the southern region and allowing them to be over the slaves and everything, the basic thing that the slaves did was to just try to get away from depression. but that being said, in our county, we have like all of the nine prison systems, a chance for those to acquire a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree and then move on. but now looking at the crime
going down, basically, let's reason, can we give them a chance to say, well, we did not always make the right decision. if we look at you and saw in your eyes a problem and we say, you go to jail well, can we also look in your eyes and give them a chance to go to college and also to go to the military? host: thanks for the call. guest: i think this relates to some of the questions before. let me say something about getting a degree or an education in a prison setting. there was a time when prisons in this country have very successful education programs often delivered by local colleges that would come in and help inmates get a college degree while they are incarcerated. unfortunately, our joe taxpayer to revolt, saying, i cannot afford to send my kid to college, what are my tax dollars
being spent to support them and help them -- why are my tax dollars being spent to support them and help them get an education? it is very shortsighted. but whatever we can do to increase the likelihood that the inmate will come out and be productive member of society in the long run will save us money. host: speaking broadly, what is the relationship of the economy, good or bad, to crime rates in general? guest: cities and police chiefs have talked about the expectation with the economy in the tank we will see crime rate soared. the research shows that is not necessarily true. people are not saying, oh, my goodness, i cannot make ends meet and i have to go out and rob people. if you're so inclined to make your living of criminal activity, whatever is happening to the economy or the employment rate does not really matter to you.
it is really an issue of which direction are you taking? that is why right now so many men -- so many americans are surprised the crime rate is down and the economy is poor. there may also be one other area where the economy and unemployment issues are having an effect on crime, but we are not measuring. that is, what likely could happen in a situation like what we have now is that you see an increase in crimes such as embezzlement and fraud, particularly insurance fraud and check forgery. these are high profit crimes with low risk, but they're not counted in the crime statistics. the fbi crime statistics talk about violent crimes, not the more white-collar offenses. host: new jersey township, good morning, todd, go ahead. caller: i am enjoying the show. host: major to mute your
television. -- make sure to mute your television. caller: in jersey, we have thousands of kids locked up and 80% of them are african american. you think that is a race problem? and another thing, there was a guy that ran for u.s. senate, he was in jail for three and a half years for a flashing charge and they tried to give him 16 years in prison. he came in fourth place in new jersey. and he has been an activist for over 20 years. you should look at hearing this guy, dale mckellar brooks. he is an interesting individual. guest: i will do that when i get home from the show. but the statistics that you cite are not just true to jersey. it is true or run the country. blacks have a much higher rate
of incarceration than whites. but blacks also have a rate of offending and arrest and conviction than do whites. it is not an issue of race itself. that is an important point to make. when i did this report on young black males, many of my colleagues and my friends said, do not do that, they will call you racist. i really was not concerned because the facts are the facts. as i mentioned before, the report was embraced, particularly by let -- by black leadership, because it confirmed what many americans already knew, that crime rates in their neighborhoods got so low. it is an issue of the socio- economic conditions associated with race. we have large numbers of young white males going to inadequate schools, who are poorly supervised, and the opportunity for gang membership is always there.
gangs have a tremendous attraction to kids. they had offered excitement and throw and status and protection. and one other factor that is very strong, opportunity. it does not matter what kind of degree you have or what color your skin is, if you are tough and a boil, you can rise to the top of the gain -- if you are tough and loyal, you can rise to the top of the game. host: a couple of questions about guns and their use in crimes, we have a tweet. guest: as i mentioned before, there are scholars on both sides of the question of whether question -- of whether guns great more crime or less. if you rewind the tape i think you will find that.
i am absolutely into john nas work. -- john blog's work. but it has been critiqued by many criminologists. i think there is research on both sides. where i come down on the question in looking at all of the data is that army the public does not make us safer. it certainly -- farming and the public a therming-- arming the c does not make us safer. i certainly know john lot, i know his work, but i think the weight of the evidence tends to be on the other side. host: springfield, bob on the republican line. caller: thank you for publishing that report. i know that race is the
political third real in academia and politics. i agree that it is not race. i believe it is class, or an underclass problem of current. is there any ability to delete -- any validity to the idea - that in 1975, roe v wade came in and lower the population somewhat so many years later and that would reflect in a partial reason for a lowering of the crime? the second question deals in the explosion of crime in the late 80's and early '90s due to crack sales. it happened disproportionately in black neighborhoods, and the congressional black caucus lobbied very successfully to get more stringent, draconian sentencing to stop it in the neighborhoods. that went through and then we
see an explosion of young black males being incarcerated. any comments, ironic or otherwise of those? guest: the research that i think you are talking about regarding roe vs. wade and the lagging effect down the road in terms of lower current rates because of potentially unwanted -- lower crime rates because of potentially and one of children not being boredborn, while the y is interesting and perhaps has some value, it has tended to be overstated. for example, the sharpest decline in homicide in the 1990's was among mayor -- among americans over the age of 25, who were born before roe vs. wade. i think that some of the claims that have been made are a bit over the top. and interesting. and it has some value, but i do not think it is a major -- an interesting theory, and it has
some value, but i do not think it has a major impact on the decline in the 1980's and 1990's. as far as the decline of the -- of -- as far as crack in the 1980's, there was an explosion of crime across the board. it was in large cities, particularly among kids and particularly, black kids. crime rates were not going up in rural america back then. and the response that we tend to always see in our country is more punishment. we have a crime problem, let's just make sentences longer, send more people to prison. and that is what happened to a tremendously large number of african-american males in the late 1980's and 1990's. eventually, these kids come out. our prison populations were
spiraling. eventually, these people come out. and lots of leaders say, we will deal with that problem when it comes. it is here now. the we have large numbers of americans returning to the streets typically no better than when they went in. many of them are returning to their old neighborhoods, their old ways, and in some respects are celebrities because they are ex-con. i don't think we did a great job with these and young black males that we sent to prison in the late 1980's and 1990's what they were in prison. host: james fox is with us for another five minutes or so. what led you to the field of criminology to begin with? guest: i took a course with a criminologist at really excited me. -- that really excited me. i never had that passion for crime and criminality as a kid. i was wanted to be a math professor. but somewhere along the road i
ended up in studying crime. host: dearborn, mich., pamela. caller: i have at one point and one question. that thing you read from, bill, you're talking about wayne county jail. wayne county ja!l holds 1700 inmates. the wayne county sheriff is each inmate 0er day cost $240 per day to keep them there aod that totals up to over $400,000 per day. we can no longer keep people in prison for that. and i know it is going on over the country as well. mainly i've been hearing discussion about drug crimes and gun crimes, etc. the you check into internet crimes -- do you check into
internet crimes? i saw in the toledo news an article about hundreds of kids forced into the sex trade in ohio and it centers in toledo. they said in the article that it was higher in proportion than any other place in the u.s. guest: i have not seen that article, unfortunately. i do not know the situation in toledo. i really cannot comment. but i want to say something about your comment regarding the cost of jail and prison. it concerns me sometimes we hear these very high price tags, people say it costs more to send someone to prison then to harvard. maybe we should execute them because it would save a lot of money. maybe one of the alternatives is
the death penalty. let's understand the system 6 on the costs of incarceration. -- the statistics on the cost of incarceration most of that is fixed cost, the cost of salaries for the guard or the commission or the sheriff. it is fuel, electricity, heat. if we take one inmate and perhaps execute them, we do not save $40,000. dollars for their food and clothing. we have this large infrastructure in this country ^t(puáq- in this country of incarceration because there are too many people behind bars. that is where the cost is. we will not save any money by having a death penalty. host: sean come on the independent line. caller: don't you think in the
early '70s and '80s when they start taking the jobs of the black neighborhoods and they introduced crack and the fac$ that with the correct, you know, what it does, just like alcohol, it has the same effect for violence. but they still took the jobs out and left nothing. and when you go back, and in california in los angeles, when they started talking about the iran contra scandal and then bringing drugs into the neighborhoods. and just one more fact, a black criminal told me, it is easier to rob you because you are closer to me where i have to travel 50 miles to the white person's neighborhood to rob them. that is why there's so much crime in the black labor because it is easier to rod the people
that are right there. guest: the vast majority of crime is intro racial, whites against whites, blacks against blacks. are neighborhoods tend to be a a very segregated, and homogeneous greg -- racially. that is why when you see the soaring violence by young black males, which tends to be against a young black males, then many white americans say that is not my problem. it is blacks killing blacks. why should i invest my tax dollars in prevention programs? an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of prison term. we do know that prevention does work. and we can save money for all of us, even for white americans, because we are all paying for a criminal justice system, of if we invest in programs for kids. let me try to get this point. ndt me try to get this point. here.
we now have a growing number of @ risk kids in our country. they need our services, they need our attention. unfortunately, we are seeing budget's been cut for after- school programs, all sorts of crime prevention programs, by just cuts for policing. we found a way to bail out the banks and the car industry. maybe we need a bailout for at risk youth. we have a lot of kids out there who need support. mcginn on just say, wait a few years for the recession to be over. we will get back to you. -- we cannot just say, wait a few years for the recession to be over. it will get back to you. if you wait too long, the situation could get worse. i say we should pay for the programs now, or pray for the victims later. host: professor fox teaches criminology and public policy.
you can read some of his writings at jfox.neu.edu. thanks for being with us this morning. it is president's day and we're going to clear our lines and hear your views on your favorite president. we will also open up twitter.com and take your responses on facebook as well. your calls for half an hour on your favorite president, coming up next here on "washington journal." >> coming of today on c-span, at noon eastern, a white house discussion on modernizing government, looking at new ways to use technology to streamline
operations. participants include executives from microsoft, time warner, and monster.com. leaders today, madeleine albright and economic leaders discussed developing a generational leaders in foreign affairs and diplomacy. that is at 4:00 p.m. eastern. and on this former presidents day, -- and on this president's day, former for starters -- photographers about the behind- the-scenes with presidents. and a discussion of the time line of clothes -- of closing the guantanamo detention facility. that is 8:00 p.m. eastern. >> "washington journal" continues. host: who is your favorite president on this president's day? we have half an hour to take your calls, we will take them at twitter.com and facebook as
well. the numbers are on the screen. your favorite president and why. we will get to as many of your calls as began. the front page of the "philadelphia inquirer" writes a man looking to be a amateur presidential sleuth is fascinated with all things president. if he could spend an evening with one of the 43 u.s. presidents, who would it be? he was suddenly perplexed and new. his hesitation is understandable because he is an amateur historian who is uncommonly familiar with the lives of the president's. who was the only one with a phd? who could told a broadax chin high? who could speak five languages? -- who could hold a broad axed chin high? who could speak five languages?
walter eckman in this morning's "philadelphia inquirer" and we will read some more of his opera -- observations. he is writing a book on the president. first up is janet borden at, which is it? caller: genet. my favorite president is barack obama and he has influenced my approach to life every day. i need a little bit of him every day because i can depend on his intelligence and his gravitas and so forth to just, as all down. in a speech the other day he actually use the word silent. i cannot imagine any other president ever using the word
selend. that ties into james alan fox's presentation just now. i'm going to write to him about reentry communities. host: we thank you for your call this morning. carol and alabama is on the line. i'm going to put you on hold for just a second. just a reminder to all our viewers, if you do not turn down your radio you will get feedback. here is paulville, arizona. caller: i'm a 25-year-old homeowner, currently unemployed, and barack obama is my favorite president. but even though i disagree with his politics lately, i still feel he is the best man for the job. and i just have to say if he really wants to fix this stuff, all he really has to do is outlaw lobbying, lower profit
taxes and just make -- you can make a social networking sites where people can be free to pull and it would be coming from one source. host: the views from mclean, va., next on the democrats line. caller: my favorite president without a doubt house to be as well president obama, and for many reasons. one of which is he is one of the most gifted intellectuals. and when he has a thought, or when he has, you know, an issue, he thoroughly things through eight, not for the current times, but for the future. i want to predict in the next 20, 25 years that statistics will be in his favor nationally. there is research at the
university of california in terms of political positions of country. they took from all over the world and put them on a political axe thess and found ot interestingly that the republican party and the democratic party are not far apart. host: back to walter eckman in philadelphia, who is an amateur presidential historian. his knowledge is a result of extensive reading. his presidential library numbers 400 volumes and a 12,000 mile odyssey several years ago during which he and his wife, joanne, visited more than a dozen presidential libraries as well as numerous birthplaces, homestead and grave sites.
how old are you? caller: i'm 31. host: so, you were not alive during his presidency. what is the one thing that inspires you about president kennedy? caller: i think what he did for civil-rights and his domestic policy in general. i think his foreign policy is great, too, but -- and you know, he is a veteran and what happened in world war ii. a lot of people and i know that his brother was a pilot and was killed in world war ii as well. host: next up, north carolina, go ahead, terry. caller: my favorite is obama and also, i nixon and eisenhower, and of course, clinton. host: 2 philadelphia, john on the republican line. who is your favorite president? caller: i have two.
they would be bill clinton and ronald reagan. the different parties, of course, but they were both able to work together in a way that is called bipartisan, which we do not have any more. and obama, thrall of the non- bipartisanship, as it maybe -- through all of the non- bipartisanship, as it may be, has done a great job. we have a very bad problem right now. host: until 10:00 a.m. eastern, taking your calls on your favorite president, and reading a bit of trivia here from the "philadelphia inquirer,"samples of trivia.
next up, napa, calif. on the democrats line. go ahead. caller: franklin roosevelt. host: tell us why. caller: he brought us out of the depression '30s and brought us through one of the worst wars we've ever been part of in the united states. host: citrus heights, calif., randy on the republican line. your favorite president, go
ahead. caller: of all time, it would definitely have to be george washington like you were just saying, probably no other president make greater sacrifices for this country and was more of a public servant and just a good steward of the position. but in recent times i would have to say reagan. i was in the military when it transition from the vietnam era and it kind of research in the '80s when reagan came in and start of refunding -- re- funding the military. the whole atmosphere changed. you could almost describe it as a hangover from vietnam, but the institution -- the instituted drug testing and just started being the military again. and the people talking about obama need to put down the kool- aid and pick up a newspaper.
host: winston salem, north carolina, independent line. make sure you knew your television or radio. -- mute your television or radio. caller: i would like to say that my favorite president would be clinton. i do not see anything that obama has done for me or my family. or my hard-working father. i think that clinton took care of his backyard. he took care of the people in his backyard and his own people. i do not see obama having done anything for me. host: san francisco, ruth on the democrats line. caller: it is hard for me to say one, but i have narrowed it down to four. i have two republicans and two
democrats. the first is a republican and that is theodore roosevelt. he changed the makeup of our country by making -- by setting aside the national parks. the second would be franklin roosevelt' because he saved us from the depression. he was innovative. he instituted women into his cabinet and he was elected four times. the third, also republican, is lincoln, because he, again, saved the union and was innovative and exciting man. and the fourth is a democrat, bill clinton. they could not get him down. he kept fighting through everything that the republicans threw at him. and he made a big impression on me, and i think the country, as
a whole. host: do you read many presidential biographies or stories about president? caller: i do. probably the most i have read is fdr. and for a time my husband would ask me -- at one point, you know, he had seen me reading and he would say, how is things going -- how are things going? and i would say, well, fdr died again. i do think that he changed our country for the good. host: spring hill, florida, go ahead. caller: i would have to say my favorite president was bill clinton. i have been involved in the construction industry for about 30 years, so basically, i'm just an american working man. i appreciated what he did host: you are calling us on the republican line there, robert. kind of unusual in republican
thinking clinton is his favorite, don't you think? caller: that is true, but i'm looking basically at the accomplishments and how he cared for the working man in this country. also, looking at his financial savvy on how he was able at that time -- the deficit for this country was not as large as it is now. he was able to reduce its much greater than any president in the last 30 years. and because i have a business that has a lot of finances -- i'm a contractor -- this is what i look at, the bottom dollar. i feel that he did a very good job for the working citizens of this country in all fields of expertise, the corporate, the trades, so on and so forth. host: thank you, sir. palm springs, calif., james, independent line, go ahead.
caller: my favorite is bill clinton because of the balanced budget and i thought he came up with the good solution with don't ask, don't tel5e militar0 years. mai said it would be j.f.k. because of the 62 missile crisis, how he handled that. because of how he handled world war ii. host: if you go to our website c-span.org connect with c-span, it gives you the ability to connect with us by twitter and also by facebook. i was looking at these response. keep your input coming to our facebook site there. columbus, democrats line.
caller: my favorite president is roosevelts, which i -- my favorite president is roosevelt, which i lived through the administration, obama and dreman. the reason i like truman is that he fired macarthur and he saved us from a military takeover. -- save the republic from a military takeover. host: back to some trivia from walter eckman, published this morning in the "philadelphia inquirer." to springfield, va., richard, good morning.
caller: george washington, he had it in his head to become a hugo chavez under his administration. they set up the commercial policy that gave the country great success. they set up a new standard of finance under alexander hamilton. he successfully managed his foreign policy to avoid war. he gave the country peace and helped keep problems with slavery that they would have a long way. he believe in restraint and not try to perpetuate himself forever in office. one of the questions i have been talking about obama, he always uses logical fallacies and false choices in a lot of his speeches. why do journalists not call attention to his use of that?
host: give us an example of when you have heard that most recently. caller: a number of times you use the ad hominem, which is attack the man, not the argument. during his campaign when he was talking about wearing a flag on his lapel, he said i'm a true patriot because i do not wear a flag and there can be true patriots that you wear flags or do not. there are false patriots that wear flags and false patriots that do not wear flags. he was using a logical fallacy to defend his position. why don't you call him on his logical fallacies? host: well, you have. the we appreciate you weighing in. an unusual look at the president's this morning in the "new york times." for all of those listening on radio, you have to imagine that
the faces are missing and is just the presidential hair. i folded out to the hairstyle of president obama down here. missouri, mike is on the independent line. caller: i have called a few times in the past. i like what the gentleman said before me. lincoln would be my choice, but i was thinking at the same time the president and our founding fathers, there was not a lot of prestige and money. the four -- the poor guy could not afford porcelain teeth. he had to get wooden teeth. but lincoln ahman the reason i think lincoln is for the independence out there. the proof in the pudding, he was the first republican, and i vote for the man or the person or the platform.
he truly kept us together at a time that we needed to be kept together. i'm glad obama uses him as a template. but yeah, abraham lincoln. i wish i would have gotten to talk to the man. host: thanks, mike. we will take a look at facebook comments in a moment first, north carolina, terry, democratic call. caller: my favorite president is obama, and of course, clinton, and i liked nixon and eisenhower. host: what did you like most about nixon, terry? caller: i just think he was a very smart man who got caught up in the same thing everyone else was doing at the time. i think he would have done very well for this country had not gotten caught up in that. host: i think you are also the
first caller in this segment to mention ike. unless i missed something. tell me why you have a favorite spot for eisenhower. caller: i was named after him. i am a dwight. if you looked at him, he was a man that you could stand up with. he was a military -- as far as i'm concerned -- genius. host: thanks for your call this morning. the amateur historian, walter eckman, has written in the "philadelphia inquirer" this morning a tribute on eisenhower. he writes that eisenhower was famous for his fondness for jock -- for golf, but john f. kennedy was the best. chicago, good morning to john on the republican line. your favorite president on this
president's day. caller: there are two, washington and reagan. washington because he set the tone for other presidents. he stepped down instead of being a dictator. he was a very straight arrow for his whole life and a wonderful person. and reagan because he turned the country around. i believe -- i agree with his dog use. he is someone else i admire. -- i agree with his of values. he is someone else i admire. host: julie writes ronald reagan was one of her favorites also. also, theodore roosevelt for the astonishment of the national parks service. wolfeboro, new hampshire, jim on the independent line. caller: i would have to join the group with lincoln. i think it is astonishing in the mere five years what he accomplished in keeping the nation together. his own personal life was so difficult.
i would say as much as i'm delighted that obama is president now, i think it is too soon for us to gauge. finally, i would have to say reagan is perhaps my least favorite. we probably came closest to subverting the constitution with the iran-contra issue. host: next, and from twitter.com. albany, georgia, this is wali on the democrats line. caller: my favorite president is barack obama as of today. but he has only been in office one year. he has already gone a nobel peace prize -- gotten the nobel peace prize, and you do not get the nobel peace prize for no reason. i think he is going to be even better in the next three years.
host: idaho, larry on the republican line. your favorite president. caller: my favorite president was president eisenhower. host: make sure you knew your television or radio. -- mute your television or radio. caller: i'm sorry. my favorite president was dwight eisenhower's. when he came back from world war ii and ran for president, of course, he won hands down. but he developed our interstate highway systems after he had observed the audobon systems in germany. if i just make one remark, i think president obama got the peace prize as kind of a slap in the face to the united states, i
really do. because he has done nothing to earn that coveted award. thank you. host: bullhead city, in arizona, let's go to chuck on the independent line. caller: teddy roosevelt. host: we've had a number on teddy. the would you like about t.r.? -- what do you like about t art? caller: -- what you like aboutt.r? caller: he was a conservationist before it was fashionable. and with everything on wall street today. host: next call from california.
caller: i was in a room 20 years ago when tip o'neill said, truth be told, ronald reagan was the dumbest, laziest president in the history of the republic. if you look at what happened with deficits, what happened with poor people, he was absolutely the worst president ever. i think we look at president based on what we accomplished -- on what they accomplished, except for the huge debacle in china -- in vietnam, john f. kennedy did not really do anything as far as his proposals were concerned, and it probably could not have. it took johnson to come in to put together some of the biggest programs in history, and the civil rights movement. i think there is no doubt that the most accomplished president and the one that did the most was lyndon johnson. the problem is that we have bid on that he raised it all.