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tv   Q A  CSPAN  February 2, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am EST

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time at the british house of commons. later, british prime minister david cameron talking about national security issues with the uk's joint committee on national security >> robert dalleck, the last paragraph of your entire book, i could not resist saying thank you to barack obama who has graciously hosted four dinners for presidential historians where i had a close-up look at what a president hoped he could
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learn from history. >> what's your insight on barack obama because it's four dinners with him? >> he's a highly intelligent man. he is keenly interested in history and the way in which the presidential institution has evolved and what he could take away from past presidential performances to make his a more compelling and more successful administration. i wish we had, you know, some extraordinary answers to provide him but it costs the nature of history is that it's an imper mect humanistic enterprise and he understood this. but we talked a great variety of things in those interviews
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or in those dinners as of course, there were roughly 12 historians. i wasn't the only one there. principle aids including each time one of his principle speech writers. so to me it was a fascinating experience to be able to, at one point, sit right next to the president at dinner and have this kind of exchange with him. in many ways, it felt like an academic seminars because after all, you know, he is someone who has been a professor of law. and looked like being in a seminar with a bunch of colleagues was the way i would characterize it. >> did you leave there writing yourself? to remind can you give us an example of something? >> when done with this which i think will we'll have more
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dinners with him and one of my colleagues at the dinners and i talked a little bit about writing a piece called "dinners with obama." but i think it will be a very positive piece because he listens. he wasn't intent on giving us instruction or lobbying us for anything in particular, except that at the first dinner he wanted to note how presidents achieved the transformative presidency. how did franklin roosevelt do it, woodrow wilson, how did ronald reagan with the reagan revolution? at the second dinner because this was 2010 he was slipping somewhat in the polls and did not have the continuing hold of the public's imagination. and of course that's not unusual. once presidents are there for a
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while their limitations of laws are going to be in evidenced. but we talked about how to reconnect to the public and i told him the anecdote about how -- after franklin roosevelt died, his body was being transported from georgia to hyde park where he was buried. somebody said to them, did you know the president? and he said no, but he knew me. and i related that anecdote to the president. and he nodded. he understood that making that kind of connection to ordinary folks was essential for presidential success. at the third dinner it was in 2011 and we talked about the coming election. and he was a little more verbal at that point where us. and essentially he said he wasn't concerned about any of the republicans he was facing.
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in fact, he said this fellow romney has twisted himself into a pretzel which was an accurate assessment of his candidacy in 2012. and then he talked about the fact that his opponent in the election was the economy. that's what he saw. the last time we had dinner with him was in january of 2013 and, almost a year ago, just a year ago now. and he was very upbeat. he had just won re-election. he talked about his state of the union message, his inaugural speech that he would be getting, inaugural addresses especially second terms. we talked a little bit about the issue, the second term curse which obviously given how many difficults he's struggled with during the course of 2013,
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one could say there he is again. now, i don't believe in curses. i don't believe in jinxes or anything like that. and i think it's just inevitable that presidents in second terms are going to have more difficult time than at the start of a first term because presidents come to office initially on a weave of enthusiasm, excitement. even if they've only won by the narrowest of margins, which is true, john kennedy won by a sliver and yet very quickly he gained the kind of popularity, kind of approval from the public. but by the start of the second term, people see the fact that a president doesn't walk on water. he's not a miracle worker as some people like to think at the start of the presidential administration. it's more difficult for him especially if he's dealing with an opposition congress as this
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president has had to deal with. >> the title of this book you just wrote "inside the kennedy white house" and you talk about the individuals there. there are still people that we're talking about today everybody knows their name that follows history. i wonder if there's anybody near this administration who we'll be talking about 50 years from now? >> that's an interesting question. >> i think valerie jarred after all she's been there throughout the five years and there's every reason to believe she's going to be there for another three years and so, i think some historians are going to want to get her papers into news with her if possible. she among all the insiders at the white house probably has been closer to president obama than any other advisor. so i think she's certainly one name that will register on
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historians. >> here's a fellow you write in your book a lot. he was here for book notes. let's watch it. >> john kennedy intended to write his own history of his presidency with my help. more than once he would refer to me -- he would say in talking to me, he would refer to that book we're going to write. and i always said, the book you're going to write, mr. president, because i didn't have any intention of hanging around his life forever. when he was suddenly gone and could not write that book, i felt i had some obligation to do it. >> how did he fit into the kennedy white house? >> well, he was of course, the president's word smith. he was a brilliant speech writer. but he and kennedy had a kind of symbiotic relationship. i don't mean they were friends. i don't mean they socialize because sorensen said they
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didn't have that kind of relationship. but it was a kind of relationship and a kind of intuitive understanding of where this president wanted to go in this administration and what he wanted to say. and sorensen had the gift of being able to translate that into a language that is memorable, you see? because after all that -- some of kennedy's speeches are going to last but going to be remembered. what i fine so interesting, brian is with john kennedy a recent poll asked people to assess the last nine presidents from kennedy to george w. bush. kennedy came out on top with 85%. ring this recent memory of his assassination, the commemoration, 90% approval rating. the only one close to him was
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ronald reagan. and the question any historian has to ask why is this the case after all? he was there for seven days. it was the briefest presidency in american history. on the one hand people don't much like his successors. obs with vietnam, nixon with water-gate. fords truncated presidency. jimmy carter's presidency which people say enlrble -- essentially a failure. the only one is reagan. >> bill clinton? >> bill clinton, yes, but he had the monica affair. the only president in the country's history elected president to have been impeached see. there's sort of a black mark against his record. kennedy, of course, dying so young at the age of 46, it's a blank slate on which you can write anything.
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and he was so young. and the country identifies with that. and they have a sense of loss over to this day, i think, over his assassination. but he gives people hope and so that they remember his words, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. his famous peace speech at american university in june of 1963 in which he said we need the soviet about union. he had come out of that cuban missile crisis. nuclear war, so much on the horizon. they were both, i think frightened, terrified by that experience. and as a consequence, kennedy wanted to move towards some datomp with the soviet
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union. that's how he got the treaty signed in 1963. happened very quickly because they had been hassled over there for years. it was a spin-off, i think from that cuban missile crisis and the terror they faced over that. i think we would have seen the talk with the soviet union more quickly than it came about with richard nixon. >> you spend a lot of time talking about the individuals around him and people like mr. sorensen and here was the view of jackie kennedy in march to june when they did these interviews with arthur sleshing ger. here's what she said about mr. sorensen. >> i know one thing about the legislative breakfast. larry couldn't stand ted sorensen until one night he was telling me, you know, they were obviously jealous.
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he said so many times larry would prepare an agenda for the breakfast and just before they were about to start ted would ask to see it and take it and he would change one or two sentences and initial it t.c.f. and pass it all around that way. and you'll see that heavy hand of ted sorensen in more places. i mean, you know, he wanted his imprint on so many things. yeah. told you about the profiles. he was doing that to everyone. that's just so sneaky. >> he was a little more in the white house, was he? >> oh, yes. >> that was such a petty thing. >> he loved himself and finally he loved jack. nd he also had such a crash on -- crush on jack. i remember when he dared to
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call him jack. and he sort of glushed. and i think he wanted to be easier. the sort of civilized side of jack would be easy. he had a big inferiority complex. you can see the things working back and forth. i remember seeing him in the white house. >> she said he was in love with himself. talked about profiles an courage. the only interest in himself. is that fair? >> i think it's an exaggeration . there's no question that ted sorensen was the keeper of the plain. after i, my personal experience th him, after i revealed the
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kennedy medical records, he was the one who signed off -- there was three-man committee that controlled those medical records and two of the members signed off and sorensen was reluctant to do it. i went to see him in new york, met with him in his ressdemens his apartment and persuaded him to let me have access to the records. well, he didn't know it was in there. and when the records came out, the "new york times" wrote a front page story about my findings. the atlantic newspaper republiced -- published this story about miss medical records sorensen was angry. he said there was no coverup. of course they did. ey were hiding his medical problems. i don't think he would have
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been elected in 1960. he proved himself brilliantly. i sat his medical records alongside the cuban missile crisis and he didn't -- there were no concessions to his medical difficulties during that crisis. now, was the medication helped him get through without stumbles. but anyway to get back to your int about sorensen, he was a somewhat prickly character. very defensive about kennedy as if he were the keeper of the flame. i don't know why jacqueline kennedy was so critical of him. i think she was openly critical in the sense that sorensen was a true loyalist and he served kennedy's needs and desires an
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h degree. the int he didn't make claims to have him publish profiles in colonel. >> did he or did not write profiles in courage? >> there were other who is cribbed. my research told me because kennedy would listen to the tapes of the transcripts of the chapters and he would edit them. now, it would be unfair to say that kennedy was the author -- the sole author of profiles in courage. he was vitally involved. so it was a combined effort so to speak. and i think mrs. kennedy was a bit jealous of sorensen may be
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trying to take too much thunder and too much credit and -- but, you know, these are complex relationships that spring up in these white houses. >> by the way you write in page two, health problems including addison disease a possible malfunction of the adrenal gland, spastic colitis that triggered bouts of diarrhea and allergies. and ted kennedy found out about his brother's health problems from your book. >> not all of them. he knew that his brother had a medical history and had health problems. but i don't think he knew the was xtent because he fully admiring about my book.
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he said things to me the best buy yog fi that's been done of kennedy. and what both of them concluded was that my description of kennedy's health problems enhanced rather than undermine has public standing, his reputation in history because how he managed to rise above his health difficulties and be an effective president was a very impressive achievement. and so they were taken with that. but yes, ted did not know the full extent of his brother's health problems and it's the measure of how much they hid it, how much joe kennedy, bobby kennedy, the president himself, jackie, they were the one who is knew. but it was largely hidden from the world. >> here's another person who gives a lot of mention in your book, george ball. >> 66.
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i supposed i was tired and broke. i had been there too long. and it was a very exhausting job, believe me. dean destroyed his health by staying there for the balance of the johnson term. no, i wanted to get out. i mean, it was -- it was not just vietnam. although vietnam contributed because it wasn't that i wasn't etting anywhere in the process which is true. but i couldn't get the president and the people around me in any part of the world. >> outspoken critic of vietnam. you said in your book that in the early books that he was backing basically what they wanted to do in vietnam in the early years. can you explain that? >> well, he was a loyalist. >> what did he do? >> he was on the secretary of state and he replaced chester
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bowles who kennedy didn't like having at all and was trying very hard to get rid of and sent him d to sort of on a mission around the world and made him an international diplomat going all around the world. well, he replaced him with george bowl because bowl was much more of a team player. ball was candid with kennedy about vietnam in particular. and he told him at one point, mr. president, if you put two 300 ground troops into the jungles of vietnam you'll never hear from them again. and he said you're crazy as hell. of course, we'll never know exactly what kennedy would have done about vietnam. on the other hand when ball was sort of told to defend the
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administration speak for it, that was his job. you know, sort of like a vice president. you don't go out on the hustings and give speeches that are in contradiction with what the president is saying and so he pretty much defended. but behind the scenes he was candid with kennedy and was one of those who was a very early critic along with gallon breath and george canon. they want kennedy against -- and i don't think kennedy ever would have done what lyndon johnson did in vietnam. i don't think he would have put 545,000 troops. >> here's an audio recording of john kennedy right before he was assassinated talking about the xiem coup. e was the president of south vietnam. listen to this and get you to interpret this. >> monday, november 4, 1963.
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over the weekend the coup in saigon took place. three months of conversation bout a coup. close to a coup is general taylor, the attorney general, cretary machina mara to -- and mara to a less degree, as a result of the new hostility that he shifted his ation chief calling in favor of the coup of the state led by roger hillsman supported by hill of the white
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house. i figure that we must bare a good deal of responsible far beginning with our talks offer early august in which we suggested a coup. it was badly drafted. that should never been sent on a saturday. i should not have given my consent to it without a table conference in which macnamara and taylor could have presented their views. >> what did the united states do in relationship to shift the xiem? >> there's no question that they facilitated the coup. -- kennedy's reck recollection was that the xiem was assasinated or killed. the generals said he committed suicide and kennedy didn't believe that. he was a good catholic. he met him privately and said
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he never would have done that. i think kennedy felt a certain amount of guilt over the fact that xiem was assasinated. listen, whatever his failings he had the latest country for quite a few years and done constructive things and was a bulwark against a communist takeover. he was reflecting on his own recriminations about allowing such a coup to take place and also the kern now -- concern that the united states was going to have to take greater responsibility for vietnam than it had take nn the past. and kennedy was keen to get out of there. and he had a conversation with mike farstal, you see, the day he went to dallas, texas. and when he would return there would be a full scale review of vet unanimous including possibility of getting out.
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i don't think he would have put in those massive numbers of ground troops. i don't think he himself knew what he would have done. you know, brian, i love the anecdote that when he first came -- was first elected, bobby kennedy asked arthur if wow would like to be an ambassador. he said no, bobby, if i do anything i would like to be at the white house. a few days later he saw the president elect. sorensen what -- said what will i be doing there? he said we'll both be busy more than eight hours a day. he understood that being president was not a set piece affair. that it evolved and he grew in that office. that in my ways was his greatest strength. >> i want to read back to you what you wrote in chapter
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eight. after eight months of interactions with his counselors, kennedy had diminished confidence in most of the men advising him on policy. with the exception of bobby who was principally soundingboard and instrument. he thought to rely less on his societies and more on himself for the hard decisions he seemed to be confronting all the time. neither rusk nor mcna mara nor rostow was tow -- his national security officer -- no, he was under bundy. rostow became general -- >> had impressed him as all that masterful about any of the big issues that they faced in cuba, berlin, or vietnam. that's a strong indictment it seems to me. he was someone who grew in the office. was badly burned by the
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cuban bay pig experience. he had listened to the experts, see? c.i.a., joint chiefs of staff. and he said, and he went to see e gall in france, made the trip in 1961. and the gall said to him, you should surround yourself with the smartest possibly people. listen to them. hear what they have to say. but at the end of the day you have to make up your own mind. and he kennedy remembered what harry truman said, the buck stops here. after the bay of pigs he was determined to make up his own mind, hear what these experts had to say, weigh what they were telling him but at the end of the day he was going to make the judgment and he was the responsibility party and you see that, you say that -- that was abundantly clear when you
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listen to all those and read e transcripts of all those those tapes during the cuban missile crisis. you know he hell the joint chiefs taylor at arms length. he didn't want to do it. >> you couldn't figure out in your book whether he liked maxwell taylor or he didn't. i know he didn't like the chiefs at all. >> they all seem to hate the military. >> well, taylor, you see, began with a kind of cachay because he was sort of kennedy's guide and kennedy made him the chairman of the joint chiefs. but i think over time the fact that taylor so much reflected what the joint chiefs were saying during the cuban missile crisis and subsequently about cuba as well that kennedy became skeptical of him i don't
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know that he would have lasted that much longer into a second term. the anecdote that after the missile crisis was ending, kennedy had held a joint chiefs at arms length. so he brings him in and they say to him, mr. president, you've been had. e white house leaks this and krisoff wrote him, i'm no cave man. but the joint chiefs, they talk about the need to still plan bombing and invasion and kennedy says, well, go ahead make plans because you never know what's going to happen. and of course, they make all sorts of contingency plans. part of their plan was to drop appear nuclear weapon on cuba. and he thought this was crazy. and he said, oh, the collateral damage in essence could be contained. let alone cuba which would have turned into a pile of rubble.
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and so he thought they were kind of mad. their know, giving them due, one historian called the joint chiefs. they came out of world war ii and they remember fighting history, mussolini, the japanese military who fought until the bitter end. and their attitude was bomb them back to the stone adge which is what they did in germany and japan and tokyo, the fire bombings of tokyo, the hiro shima nagasaki bombs. this was their attitude who wasn't the -- thomas powell said, listen, what's all this concern about nuclear weapons which there are three americans left and two soviets. we've won, see? it was kind of -- >> it's a small thing. but what do you make of bobby kennedy -- one of his children
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maxwell matthew, taylor kennedy. > bobby had great regard for taylor. he had resigned from his military position during the eisenhower presidency because he disagreed with the eisenhower of massive retaliation. and he was the one who spoke for the idea of building up ground forces to combat work or counter any soviet threat in europe. that's why they bought him into the white house, the kennedys brought him into the white house in the first place because he had this opposing view to the idea of massive retaliation, see? and so they appreciated that. but over time the fact that he was reflecting -- because he
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was in a difficult position. was he going to come to the white house and say, oh, the joint chiefs is all -- what they're advising you i think is not -- so more he reflected what they were saying and i don't think kennedy found that very appealing at all. >> another man that gets a lot of attention his former secretary of defense is robert mcna mara. this was recorded in 1996 in book notes. he went on to serve lyndon johnson but let's listen to him and put this in perspective. >> november, 1965, i said it ill be a long war. so, what shall i say to that? this we're losing? and mcna mara, by the way, my report to the president, i said in december 1965 to him there was a best of 1-2 chance that we can win -- >> he said you mean to say that you don't think we could win
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militarily? yes. should i have said that publically? what do you think? what does your audience say? now, this is a terrible dilemma. and particularly so. but i want to tell you that i was in a very small minority and i wasn't saying i was right. other people thought that we were winning then and as i've suggested some people think that we were winning that is bologna. >> your book's full of american leaders and generals going into vietnam and coming back and saying we're winning, we're we're , we're winning, back in -- no one came and said that. >> the first time i interviewed him, i asked him about vietnam. he said i'm not going to talk about that. this was prior to 1988 when i was working on it.
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within 15 minutes all he could talk about is vietnam. he was profoundly conflicted about vietnam. during the kennedy presidency, he was the biggest advocate of xercising muscle in vietnam, asserting our authority or power. and the journalist like david haverstan who raised questions even im, he was contempttuous. and so sure, he eventually came to the proposition that this was a military no-win situation in vietnam. but he had been so arrogant about leading us into that war and i think that's what aje tated him so much -- agitated him so much. he said you think i could say in public that we only had a 1-2 or 1-3 chance of winning? you see?
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well, the point is he eventually got out of the johnson administration because johnson saw him sort of having a nervous collapse over his struggle to vietnam and they sent him off to be president of the world bank. but he was a man who was pro funedly convicted but over time he was one of the arkt teches of an expansion of a larger war in vietnam. rostow, the security advisor, he was already talking about bombing haiphong and he never gave up on that war. i knew him as well. talked to him, interviewed him. knew him when i would go to the johnson library in texas. and his attitude was, we saved the other southeast asian countries. we gave them time to develop. that was his rationale.
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same thing with william westmoreland. we gave them time to develop. >> it gets back to the image of the president and whether or not if we would have known he was that sick would he be re-elected? this one if we would have known this what would we have thought.
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>> and mimi beardsly was who? >> she was a 19, 20-year-old intern who kennedy began having an affair with in the summer of 1962 and he had a sustained affair, relationship with her to the end of his life. she saw him the week before -- she describes him the week before he went to texas. he claims in her book he said i wish i could take you with me to dallas but i can't. of course, he couldn't because jackie kennedy was going on the trip with him. he had this relationship with her in which they were vitally tied to one another in a way, it was a really curious business that -- and there was
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mething bizarre almost bizarre about this. after all he was 49 years old. he had relationships with women. why did he have to seduce this 19, 20-year-old kid? she doesn't complain in the book about this -- >> her book. >> in fact, she wrote me a note saying she thanked me for having brought this information forward in my first book in 2003 because she -- she had carried this as a secret, you know, and her book is called "once upon a secret." and she said also in her note to me that -- that's how she met her second husband because of this story coming out and -- i never met her but we corresponded. it seems like a very nice,
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integent woman. >> how did you find the story in 2003? kennedy i was in the library and all history by a woman named barbara gamorikian who was the press secretary under saling jer. and i happen to heat her in a cocktail party. i said i just read your oral history and there was 17 blackouted pages. when i read them, this is what she revealed that kennedy had this affair with this 19, 20-year-old. and then all i had was 38 words two, lines in my biography in 2003 about this issue. and i wasn't intent on making a big deal out of this. what interested me about it was the fact that i had interviewed a number of journalist and i
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asked them did you know about kennedy's womanizing? they said yes. well, we suspected. why didn't you write about it? you didn't intrude on a president's private life in that way. and so it was -- it was hidden from the public. well, when i brought this forward, the press got on to this and the "new york daily news," a reporter called me up and said who's this woman? i didn't know who she was and bobby didn't want to tell me. and i trusted that barbara was telling me and said in her oral history. i said this woman must be in her 60's. leave her alone. she doesn't want to bring it out. why should i? anyway, they found out who she was. good informs gay tiff journalism, i guess you could say. she then was sort of all over the place and the "new york daily news" for three days in a row ran front page story about kennedy's monica. it was the time of the monica
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lewinsky business. at first they had the story in page three. they had a picture of monica lewinsky and me. i said to my wife, i never even met the woman. >> here's the nbc interview with mimi beardsly a couple of years ago. >> and the last room that we went into was the bedroom, was jackie kennedy's bedroom. i learned later that it was mrs. kennedy's bedroom. i was blue, pale blue. i felt the president getting closer and closer to me. looked me right in the eyes and i -- i actually -- he then put his hands on my shoulders and guided me down to the edge of the bed, sort of the corner of the bed. and i think he may have even said to me, is this all right? are you ok? is this ok? i don't really think i knew what he was talking about. what i felt is what ok?
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i didn't really know what was about to happen? and then what did happen was i lost my virginity right there. then i think i went a little bit into shock. >> why did she write the book, do you think and go through all the details about their relationship over an 18th month period and she flew around the country available to him at the owned the day? >> -- at the end of the day. >> it is so interested brian, because when i first published my book and this story came out of her and the "new york daily news" revealed who she was, i heard on the grapevine that a publisher offered her $1 million to write her book, memoire. and it wasn't until what, eight years later that she finally did it. so i never asked her. i don't know why she did it. i suspected she needed the
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money. it really was a tell-all book. some of the details she reveals somewhat shocking, you know? go back when i trade two paragraphs. jackie kennedy has great cares about her husband. she must deep children and him around him in case they die. and on the next page he's during the cuban missile crisis is going upstairs to her bedroom, jackie kennedy's bed and vetting this 19-year-old or whatever she was. does this really not matter to the public? >> well, you know, it -- two ways you can look at this, brian. on one hand, did it have an impact on his conduct to the presidency as far as i can tell, no. >> was he going to be found out? was he going to be impeached? >> no 19962, 1963. as i said the press did not
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write about the 39 -- at least the mainstream press didn't write about the president's private life like that. it says something about his personal, about the character about the fact that there was some neediness that he felt he had that he had to seduce the 19, 20-year-old young woman and it's not just that. but her description of some of the things that went on, you know, oral sex that he encouraged her to give oral sex to dave pales, kennedy's principle aid and his brother. but she resisted when he suggest that she perform oral sex on dave kennedy. but she did it. what word can you provide for it? perverse? >> here's arthur sleshing ger
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who wrote the book "1,000 days." he was a historian. and here's what he said about dadaliances of kennedy. >> they covered it up because of the rules reflected that ted f -- ben bradley was kennedy's closest friend in the press. he was at the neuro center of the news gathering there. ben bradley writes that he did not know about these things. i certainly was in the aware of any kind of -- waywardness which would interfere with the conduct of public business. >> do you believe that? >> well, the journalists i
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talked to including bob novak said they suspected. they had clues. ey thought they were lots of women coming and going from the white house. -- in fact, in my first buy biography, a journalist told me that when he was in the campaign trail in 1960, there was a whole bunch of pompom girls and he pointed to one of them and said the senator would like to see you in his hotel room. she went up there and the story the journalist told me how he knows this exactly i don't know is that maybe this young woman told him. but the journalist told me that kennedy said to this young woman, he looked at his watch well, we have 15 minutes. now, what happened after that, the journalist didn't say. but the point is sure, they
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knew. they suspected. and -- >> it's an important point as you said earlier whether it's this president or any president and whether we knew or didn't know is whether or not it had impact on the presidency is that the only thing we have to worry about? >> well, i think that's certainly is a central proposition. you know, that's certainly is between him and his wife as to who -- what their relationship is like and whether the president is philanderer or not. but in this day in age, it seems to me that it would be madness for a president to try and do this because it's a different world from what it was in the 1960's. so they would be -- it would be brought forward. it would be all over the press, all over to tell vision. and will probably destroy the man's presidency, you see? but it was a different time in the 1960's. i'm not justifying it. i mean, i think that it was
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terribly excessive as to what he did with this young woman. on the other hand, i'm also someone who i'm not a puritan, i'm not saying that my god, he should have just been loyal to jackie. i mean, that was between them. now, she knew about this. she knew he was a philanderer. there was the anecdote that they were up in canada. they were in the receiving line. and it was a military aid standing next to a white house military aid and she said to him in french, this man only spoke french. it's not enough i come to canada and stand in line and one of these bimbos was in line to shake her hand and she was furious at this situation. who can blame her, see? >> dean ross, was secretary of state. you have his quote. i wanted to get some background on this. he had been a cautious and
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steady. he describe his function as trying to keep the group from moving too far or too fast. bobby kennedy privately described him as playing the role of the dumb do-do for this reason. id he think he was the dumb do -do? >> his personality was such that he was very defer ential to the president on making a foreign policy. but i think there's a mixed assessment here in the sense that this is what kennedy wanted. he didn't want a secretary state who was going to vie with him and compete with him on the making of foreign policy. the kennedyed a minutes was a foreign policy administration. kennedy was not that interested initially in domestic affairs. he was dragged so to speak kicking and screaming into dealing with several rights and
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when he dealt with it i thought it was quite courageous to put that civil rights before in 1963 because it couldn't jep dice his re-election since he knew he was going to be alienating southern voters. he didn't know he was going to fight against goldwater. he didn't know for sure. and so it was courageous of him to do that. he felt time had come as i said he grew. he evolved in that office. but he was very much a foreign policy president and i don't think he wanted a secretary of state who was going to be aggressive about challenging what he wanted to do in the -- what kennedy complained about was that russ didn't have ideas. he was not someone who came with suggestions. and i think that was a legitimate complaint.
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>> your first trip here was in 1991 when you wrote a book about lyndon johnson and here you are in 1991, a number of years ago. >> one of the things i've found out about his presidency was that he was trying to use the f.b. inch to get certain journalists and work against newman who was advocating his impeachment in 1967 over vietnam. and johnson was trying to get the f.b.i. to go after paul newman to see what he could find to use against him. i suspected these things were known at the time. could have been impeached and driven from office. >> how many books on lyndon johnson? >> two volumes and then i did an oxford university compressed one volume. but you have two big volumes and lone star rising and flawed giant, in 1991. in 1998 was the second one.
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>> this may be an unfair question. i'm not sure you're allowed to ask these questions. what's the difference between your take on lyndon johnson and obert carol's? my attempt was to strike some kind of balance. i feel that way still about johnson. this poll i cited before where kennedy had 94% approval rating. johnson has only a 39% approval rating. they're coming up to the anniversary on the war on poverty, the great society, johnson did some extraordinary constructive things for this country. sure, we didn't abolish poverty as he wanted to, but he certainly eased the plight of people and he certainly took another step forward where the new deal and franklin roosevelt were and the new american
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industrialized system. he was ruined by vietnam. and that's the shadow that continues to hang over his reputation. i don't know what mr. carroll's going to say about the johnson presidency, you see? he's just reaching that point and writing about the johnson presidency. but i think carroll has evolved in time over his picture of johnson. you know, in the beginning there were some very, very critical writing about johnson particularly when he ran against stevenson in that 1948 san campaign. and i think he's become more -- i don't know what word to use receptive or gentle in his criticism of him. and of course, his volumes are beautifully written. they are a model of how to engage a general audience, you see? but i'll be very curious to see
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what his presidential volume of volumes pleural will turn out to boo. >> went to the university of illinois to get your p.h.d. and a masters from columbia. i've wrote down the places you've taught in your life. boston university, klum by yarks oxford, ucla for how many years? >> 30 years. >> on campus and online? >> cal tech, university of texas. dartmouth. and now you're teaching in stanford. >> i teach a course on the presidency, a seminar. i looked a that picture, who is that handsome young fellow you had on camera there. >> it's 23 years ago. >> son, matt, what's he duh do? >> -- what does he do? >> he has masters from berkley. p.h.d. from morn american history from columbia. was ame a speech writer,
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the richard gephardt's writer. they have a big washington center on rhode island avenue and he teaches full-time for that. he published an excellent book on ronald reagan call "the right moment" and he's finish " book "eat war, sleep war, in. >> where did you meet jerry dalleck? > in 1944. >> what did she do when you met her? advocate for
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medicaid. we moved to washington for families for u.s.a. heading their policy department. and then she went to the institute in georgetown where they did a health policy analysis. so she had a long career in the health policy. >> you've written 12 -- 14 major works including one that . 've been talking about the one on truman, kissinger, l.b.j.,! f. kennedy, franklin roosevelt and then a book on william dodd. and it's the same book -- but the same subject matter. which one of these did you have the most fun writing? >> i think maybe the most fun was kennedy because i did get into such interesting and some ways startling new information. ut franklin roosevelt, i found that fascinating because he is a fascinating character and i'm
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now going to go back to f.d.r. and i've been invited by the viking penguin press to write a big one volume life of f.d.r. and so i'm 79 years old. my health is good. and i've told my doctor, you have to keep me going for another four or five years so i can get this f.d.r. book done. >> when do you have it finished? >> no more than five or six years. >> which of these books was the hardest to write? >> well, the early ones. the first book on dawn. i didn't know if i could write her book. this was -- i was a novice at this and then doing the big f.d.r. book. if i were going back to that original f.d.r. book which i did on his foreign policy, i would have done it in somewhat different ways. some of the detail i would have taken out. >> all these books still in
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print? >> yes. they are. if you read garden of parson, would you have learned something different? >> absolutely because his book only takes dodd's ambassadorship through the first year and a half and mine goes through the whole ambassadorship. of course, he has a great deal about martha dodd, the daughter who in many ways was more interesting than the father. i didn't focus on the daughter. >> our guest has been dr. , professor robert dalleck. we thank you very much joining us. >> my pleasure to be with you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014]
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>> he talks about national security issues with the joint committee on national security strategies. a look of the issues at a young voters are considering important. >> consumers will win in the in, it allows sip's to innovate and bring new services and new pricing, business models to consumers. it is the main beneficiary. >> the big corporations one out in this decision. and amount of mark p


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