tv Huckabee FOX News November 3, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PDT
have a great weekend. i'm megyn kelly. this hour, when he talks, washington listens. charles krauthammer. his uniquely american story. his journey from m.d. to the pulitzer prize. how he over came a devastating accident with a determination to lead. a life that matters. hello. i'm brett bear. i hope you will enjoy this special as much as we enjoyed making it. fox news viewers know where charles sits on most of the issues but we bet there is a lot you don't know about the all-star panelist, syndicated columnist, harvard trained psychiatrist and occasional
baseball analyst. we think you should. even if the doctor has a different opinion. what's your thought about all of this? >> i don't like it. >> full disclosure. i have been trying to convince charles krauthammer to sit for an interview for a long time. not one where he just shares his thoughts on the news of the day. >> i suspect another twist here. >> reporter: but one where he reveals beyond the extraordinary writer and influential thinker the life of an intensely private man. >> when i say i don't like it, i'm not averse to the spotlight. i'm not going to say someone on television every night doesn't enjoy it. when it comes to interior life it's not something interesting to me. >> reporter: more disclosure, charles krauthammer is a colleague and friend. he only agreed to cooperate on a
fox news reporting profile reluctantly as part of the publicity campaign for, yes, a new book. "things that matter" isn't a memoir or scandalous kiss and tell. it is a collection of newspaper and magazine pieces from the pulitzer prize winning columnist. or maybe more. >> are you decodying my book? like it's all about me but where it in hieroglyphics. >> not quite that impenetrable. >> part one of the book is titled personal. the first column is a moving piece about your brother. marcel krauthammer died of cancer seven years ago. he was 59. charles wrote, he taught me most everything i ever learned about every sport i played. how to throw a football, grip a 9 iron, hit a backhand, field a
grounder, dock a sailboat in a tailing wind. and how we played. it was paradise. tell me about that. >> my brother and i were inseparable. he was four years older which is why this is a priceless gift. he always insisted i was included. so i got used to being around the big boys, taking slings and arrows. that's how you get toughened up. my parents were from europe. he was american, my brother. born in brazil. that's a long story. but american. he made me an american. >> reporter: that long story, short. krauthammer's mother thea is from belgium. his father was a real estate developer from what is now a province of ukraine. both jews who left world war ii europe. they met in havana, moved to rio and eventually new york city where charles was born in 1950.
when he was 5 the krauthammers moved to montreal. they spent summers at the family cottage in long beach, new york. charles recalls spending every day with his brother on the field, on the court or in the water. >> i don't think i ownershiped a shirt until i was 21. all the pictures, family movies, my father is shirtless, my brother, i am. we are outside in the sun. i read on the beach. that's where i got all my knowledge was reading. >> reporter: of course there was reading and studying. his father spoke nine languages and carried his son's stellar second grade report card around in his pocket. >> he said, i want you to know ifrg. i want you to learn everything. you don't have to do everything. you have to know everything. that was part of life. >> reporter: that life didn't include a tv. >> my father wouldn't allow it. once a week, sunday night we'd go to the neighbors to watch "the ed sullivan show."
that was the one concession to television. >> reporter: inspired by uncles who were doctors marcel went to medical school. it was assumed charles would follow. as a 19-year-old senior at mcgill, the internationally renowned co eed canadian univer was bitten by political journalism. >> the editor ship of the newspaper was controlled by the student council. i had been elected to the student council and the paper was becoming unreadable. it was run by marxists, maoists. it looked like it came out of the soviet union. we engineered a coup to fire the editor. then we realized we had to find an editor. they looked around and decided it would be me. wait, i have never worked on a paper. oh, details. >> a poly-sci and economics major he liked write about all
things political. he applied to medical school to please the family and was accepted to harvard. but he got into oxford as well to study political theory. would krauthammer choose a life science or a life of letters. the brilliant graduate had enviable options but hadn't figured out what mattered to him so he put off harvard, enrolled at oxford. while studying history's great political philosophers, he met a fellow student from australia -- robin trethaway, attractive and brilliant, too. a clerk to the chief justice of her home state's supreme court. but so much would change in the three years between when they met and married. beginning with his sudden decision to leave england. >> i had this little epiphany. i studied political theory. it was getting more abstract. i learned a lot but began to feel i was spinning out into a
universe that never had mig to do with the real world. i called to register harvard medical school and said, i would like to come in the coming class. i remember her saying one guy dropped out. we have a spot monday. if you're here it's yours. i grabbed a toothbrush. i didn't pack. i got on a plane and left. that's when i decided to become a doctor. when i woke up in boston the next day i thought, oh, my god, what have i done? there was no going back. >> reporter: why did you choose psychiatry? >> i was looking for something halfway between the reality of medicine and the elegance, if you like, of philosophy. so psychiatry was the obvious thing. that was my intention from the first day. i was lucky because it was probably the easiest branch of medicine for me to do once i was hurt. >> reporter: hurt. that doesn't even begin to
welcome back to fox news reporting. so far you have met the young charles krauthammer, harvard medicine, class of '75. his life seemed to be going according to plan. but then no life ever really does. the snapshot was taken in may, 1972. it shows a strapping 6'1" charles krauthammer standing on the beach. it's the confident smile of a young man well on his way to making it. smart, athletic, handsome, driven. the future all his. >> that was spring break of my first year in medical school. i went with a bunch of friends to bermuda. that's the last picture of me
taken standing. of course i didn't know it at the time. i was coming out of the water carrying my sandals. i saw one of my friends with a camera. when i got to the top of the do you know i stood there for a picture. thought nothing of it until i discovered it years later lying in a box. remembering it, it was a fateful picture. >> fateful because of what would happen back at harvard that summer. you were 22 years old. tell me about that day. >> i went out. we had -- it was the end of my first year of medical school. we were doing neurology. we were studying the spinal cord, of all things. my classmate and i decided to skip the morning session. beautiful july day. we were going to -- we played tennis instead. >> reporter: after the game they head back to class for the afternoon session. but along the way they stop at a pool on campus uh. set down their books and pull
off their sneakers. >> we were very sweaty, it was hot. so we go for a swim, take a few dives. i hit my head on the bottom of the pool. >> reporter: a freak accident, says krauthammer. >> the amazing thing is there wasn't even a cut on my head. it hit at precisely the angle where all of the force went to the cervical vertebra which severed the spinal cord. >> reporter: when did you realize the accident was life-altering. >> the second it happened. >> reporter: you knew? >> i knew exactly what happened. i knew why i wasn't able to move and i knew what it meant. >> reporter: at the bottom of the pool. >> i wasn't getting out. i knew. >> reporter: he was paralyzed. unable to move his arms or legs. his friend thought he was clowning around and hesitated before diving down to save him. was there ever a moment that you thought this is the end?
>> well, when i knew what happened and i knew i was at the bottom of the pool and i knew i wouldn't be able to swim i was sure that was the end. >> reporter: do you think back to that day often? >> not really. it doesn't -- i kind of have a distance from it. i see it like as if it happened in a film. interest fwli enough for people who talk about a near death experience there was no panic. there was no great emotion. i didn't see a light. my life did not flash before me. you sort of get to a place where you're ready. and then you're suddenly brought back to the world. >> reporter: so no cosmic revelation as he was rushed to the hospital, though krauthammer notes the irony of what he left behind. >> there were two books on the side of the pool when they
>> i made one promise to myself on day one. i was not going to allow it to alter my life except in ways which are sort of having to do with gravity. i'm not going to defy gravity. i'm not going to walk, waterski again, that's fine. that you know. but on the big things in life, the direction of my life, what i was going to do, that wouldn't change it all. >> krauthammer said he never entertained the notion that one day, whether through his own evident or some medical miracle, he'd regain full use of his arms and legs. he resigned himself to the cold reality that wherever he went in life, he'd go in a wheelchair. was it hard? >> i think the physical part was hard. laerng to learning to do everything again. i have a great capacity for erasing memories. it was long but it seems short.
>> reporter: his teachers and classmates thought he was rushing the decision to resume his studies immediately. you never thought about taking a year off or a couple of years off? >> no. i knew that would be fatal. it was not a question. >> reporter: you just couldn't survive? >> yeah. life would be over. it's a little early for life to be over. >> reporter: nobody had heard of someone with krauthammer's injury standing up to the med school curriculum, krauthammer convinced harvard to let him try. mere weeks after the accident he resumed classes while still in his hospital bed. >> i was lying on my back. couldn't move. professors would come in, repeat their lectures and project slides on the ceiling. i asked the medical school to let me stay with my class. >> reporter: you read by lying on your back. >> one of the cardiac residents hooked up a plate above my head
he hung from the posters of the bed. the nurses would put a book on it face down. you don't want to call them every minute and a half to turn the page. so i put two books up at once. so they would only have to come half the time. you have to remember where you were. it's a little bit of a challenge. it keeps you busy. there wasn't a lot else to do. >> reporter: with such force of will, krauthammer graduated on time in 1975 and near the top of his class. along the way, he got the girl, too, and married robin. as he began his three-year residency at massachusetts general hospital there were indications from the beginning that charles and psych the tri might not be the perfect fit. part of the residency is you are supposed to go to a weekly group therapy session. you didn't want to go. >> there were 12 of the residents. there was a group therapy once a
week. i didn't go. i thought it's a pointless exercise. so i was called in to the chief's office after about seven weeks of nonappearance. he said to me, why aren't you going to therapy? i said, sir, i came to give therapy, not receive it. he said to me, you're in denial. i said, of course i'm in denial. denial is the greatest of all defense mechanisms. i could be a professor of denial. i'm an expert. i was going on and on. he wasn't amused. >> reporter: he gave krauthammer an ultimatum. go to group therapy or leave the program. >> i went to the next 21 weeks of sessions or whatever it was. but i really didn't say a word. so when people would notice they would say, why aren't you talking? i said, because i'm in denial. i'm not a big therapy guy. >> reporter: you didn't want somebody looking around in your head? >> yes. i don't like to talk b about
myself except with you, i guess. i'm not a touchy-feely guy. that's probably why i quit psychiatry. if you're not into feelings, emotions and all the back story then you ought to be doing something else. >> reporter: in 1978, krauthammer took a government job in washington at what would become the national institute of mental health. it really wasn't what he wanted but it put him in the right neighborhood. >> i thought, once i'm in washington, isn't that where they do politics? one thing will lead to another. >> reporter: his folks worried about their son tossing away a doctor's livelihood but didn't discourage him. his wife robin would leave her career in law to become a painter and sculptor and urged him to follow his dream. >> she was the one who ep encouraged me to follow her heart. with her wit and humor and
century. time magazine chose iep stein, the great scientist. charles disagreed. he picked churchill, the indispensable statesman who led the fight against hitler and sounded the alarm over commun m communism. politics trumping science. that might explain why krauthammer traded a big time medical career for a one-way ticket to washington and why once here his eyes locked onto a help wanted ad in the political opinion magazine "the new republic". >> i showed it to my wife. i said, why don't you apply? i said, i haven't written anybody, i don't know anybody. >> she said you write it. i will hand deliver it. that day i got an office. i'm the editor of the new republic. why do you want to do this? you're a doctor. >> i was intrigued. so i called him. >> reporter: kinsley was looking for a managing editor.
was there something that made you want to bring him down? >> he was a psychiatrist. he had no writing samples. so we arranged for him to come to lunch. there he was in his wheelchair. we hit it off right away. >> reporter: what did you see in him though? >> you know, i just enjoyed talking to him so much. i had this feeling he must be able to write this down. >> reporter: kraut haimhammer gt a shot. he wrote about what he knows. his first article, the expanding shrink protested how psych analysis was creeping into discourse including carter's malaise speech that blamed the crisis on confidence. >> i got lucky. it was republished in the washington post. the first time any article of the new republic was picked up by the post.
>> reporter: krauthammer wrote a few more pieces and might have joined the staff except he got an even more intriguing offer as a speech writer for vice president walter mondale. >> that lasted six months. when we were crushed in the general election i got a call from the new republic who said we think you're unemployed. would you like to work for us? i said yes and started on the day reagan was sworn in. that's the day i started as a writer. >> so help me god. >> reporter: the new president was promising big changes, even starting the world anew. reagan's inaugural signalled a great clash of ideas. >> in this present crisis government is not the solution to our problem. government is the problem. >> reporter: the new republic was right in the midst of it. >> it was overwhelmingly liberal. the writers were the best of the era. i was still a democrat at the time. a traditional liberal democrat,
great society liberal. i was hard line on the soviets. it's hard for people to believe but the democratic party had a powerful wing that was anti-soviet. >> reporter: those democrats were a dying breed. krauthammer found himself agreeing more with president reagan than with his liberal readers. >> i supported just about every element of the reagan foreign policy and, boy, did we get reaction from our liberal readership? i wrote an article about the nuclear freeze that caused the largest number of cancelled subscriptions in the history of the magazine which i was proud of. >> reporter: what was his writing like? >> it's very step by step logical. if you can read a column by charles and disagree with him after you're through you must have a pretty good argument. >> reporter: those arguments had conservative columnists like william f. buckley wondering why
krauthammer and the new republic weren't supporting reagan's re-election in 1984. >> what buckley was writing was give up on the democrats. i wanted to save the soul of the democratic party and maintain this conservative element of which the magazine really was. >> reporter: he fired off a letter to buckley writing reagan still had, quote, a lot to answer for on foreign policy and his domestic policy was far worse. quote, the catalog of sins we believe the president has committed is too long to recapitulate here. krauthammer says he privately wanted reagan to beat his old boss, walter mondale. >> i worked for mondale in 1980. i liked him and had respect for him. as a personal matter. as a matter of honor i didn't want to vote against a man for whom i had respect and affection. >> reporter: so you have a vote -- reagan or mondale?
>> that's the only president's election where i left the line blank. if i had been the swing vote i would have had to vote for reagan sthrks it was a turning point in his transition from the political left to the political right. >> just a few months after the election i wrote the reagan doctrine. >> reporter: it was a time magazine column. it was provocative. for a while krauthammer praised reagan on a number of foreign policy issues. he was now crediting him with a breakthrough insight that changed the calculus of the cold war. >> i realized what reagan had done without a grand master plan was to channel what at the time was called the breshnev doctrine that when we take over a country, that's ours. reagan said, no, you don't get to keep it. we're going to challenge your possessions wherever they are.
i thought, this is a good idea. i'm going to give it a name. >> he invented the reagan doctrine, not reagan. now everybody has to have a doctrine. charles made it mandatory for every president to have a doctrine. >> reporter: after reagan's 49-state landslide krauthammer wasn't sure what to make of reagan the man who he met at the white house in 1986. >> he i vieted many me to lunch. i tried to engage him like on the contras. all of the sudden i'm hearing from him a story about how when he and nancy were in the guest house of president marcos of the philippines there was a giant spider on the ceiling. the question was how the to get him off without scaring nancy. i'm thinking, i don't get it.e president in my lifetime. he seems to be out to lunch. what's going on? he said it was only later he
realized what eluded him about reagan. >> he had no need to show how smart he was. he knew what i was asking. he didn't want to talk b about it. if you thought he was a dunce, he didn't care. he knew that he wasn't. >> reporter: it would be some time before krauthammer embraced a conservative domestic policy -- taxes, welfare, small government and other reaganesque sins. >> it took me a decade. i was skeptical of tax cuts, smaller government at the beginning. then by the end of the '80s i had begun to change. >> what happened? >> empirical evidence. as a doctor i was trained in empirical evidence. if the treatment is killing your patients you stop the treatment. so i began to look, read and see if a democratic society like in europe was the right way. i moved gradually to the idea of a more limited society, smaller government. >> reporter: by that time krauthamm
krauthammer's world was falling into place. in 1985 his son daniel was born. two years later, krauthammer won the the biggest honor in print journalism, the pulitzer prize. not someone who started in the business less than a decade earlier without a writing sample. he went straight to see his father who worried about his son's jump from medicine to journalism. he was gravely ill. >> i went to the hospital where he was. i said, dad, i have something i want to give you. i gave him the medal. he beamed and showeded it to the nurses. >> reporter: it was krauthammer's final visit with his dad. >> the last time i saw him was a time when this whole circle was closed and he could feel that the choice was redeemed in some way. it was a very comforting thing to remember about the last time you see your parent. [ applause ] >> reporter: krauthammer called
the '90s a holiday from history. the cold war was won. the era of big government declared over. and 9/11 brought a new urgency to his commentary. >> people understand there was a nexus between these weapons, these states and the terrorists. we have to attack them. >> reporter: krauthammer began appearing on special reports all star panel and was soon an audience favorite. >> you have been a fixture on special report for a long time. even still a lot of people don't know you are in a wheelchair. >> i am behind a table. half the people i meet are surprised to see me in a wheelchair. one of the more amusing of those incidents happened eight or nine years ago. i was in madison square garden in the fox box. it was a convention, i think.
sean hannity walks up the stairs, looks at me and goes, what happened? i told him i was hurt as a medical student, no big deal. even somebody i had been on the air with with didn't know. >> reporter: what is apparent is that krauthammer has the attention of people in high places. just one example, krauthammer's opposition to white house counsel harriet myers helped block her nomination to the supreme court. a comment on the panel apparently gave president bush a way out. >> i remember thinking how do they get out of this? it came to me while on the set of "special report". >> i think what the administration ought to do is say, look -- >> reporter: his face saving solution went like this. because myers legal writings were covered by executive privilege the senate couldn't vet her so she had to withdraw. >> three days later that's what they did.
>> reporter: are you surprised by the amount of influence you have with your column with "special report," that you hear or see things that happen as a result of a column or a statement? do you ever think about it? >> i think about it. i find it worrisome. the reason is when i was unknown i could say anything i damn well pleased. >> reporter: coming up, power players and power hitters from the all star panel to the ballpark in eight minutes flat.
the palm, where you know you are lunching with with a d.c. power player if his caricature is on the wall. >> i have one another scenario for you. >> reporter: today charles is holding forth on the nuances of power. >> i know where this is going. >> reporter: he's talking about the washington nationals and if they can power a late season playoff run. >> the nats finish 14-2 one game ahead of cincinnati. >> right. and worth is the mvp. >> i was wondering where you were going. worth. >> charles and i are both people who write about politics to support our baseball habits. >> reporter: newly minted fox news contributor george will has written two books on baseball. >> do you remember when you first met charles? >> i think it was 1982. he was with the new republic and wrote a cover story on me.
interesting guy, bring him to lunch. that's how we met. >> reporter: how long before you were friends? >> i think it was instantaneous. five years later i bought a new house and the first thing i did was build a wheelchair ramp in the garage so charles could get in. >> reporter: he told us when you get together you first talk baseball. and then when you have dealt with the important issues you go to politics. >> if there is time left over, yes. >> reporter: tim curchin from espn magazine has lunch with will and krauthammer a couple times a year to talk basketball. >> to say they are fans is an under statement. to say they love the game is an under statement. >> i grew up playing. i love to play the game. as a kid my brother and i would go around on our schwinns on the streets of long island with radios hanging from the handlebars listening to mel allen and phil rizutto doing the yankee games. this is our lives.
>> reporter: since the yankees came to washington in 2005 they have had no bigger fan than charles krauthammer. >> when i started to do your show every night it ends at 7:00, the game starts at 7:10. the garage at fox is seven minutes if the wind is fair in the third street tunnel from the garage at the stadium. i get there in the bottom of the first. how can i resist? >> reporter: he makes the trip in a special vehicle designed just for him that lets krauthammer accelerate and brake with his left hand and steer with the right. >> everybody who comes in here the first time is terrified. i don't blame them. when i went for my driving test, the tester didn't want to get in. i told him he had to, it's the law. i think he passed me because he was happy to be alive when it was over. >> reporter: first time i saw you go in the parking lot i
waved. you said to me, you really shouldn't wave. it's dangerous. >> yeah, the wave is hard. when somebody lets me in in traffic i'm tempted to do the thank you wave but i wouldn't have a hand on the steering wheel. >> reporter: it took us eight minutes to get to the stadium. when we took our seats the nats were beating the braves 1-0. krauthammer went into analyst mode right away as though he was breaking the down a procedural move harry reid might use to thwart a ted cruz filibuster. >> on a 1-0 count you want to steal on a breaking ball because it's slower. is he likely to throw a breaking ball? no. he's unlikely to try to steal right now. strike one. he might go for a breaking ball. >> reporter: turns out nine innings with charles krauthammer isn't just a day at the park. it's essentially grad school for
baseball. >> okay. this is an unfortunate match-up. the only reason solano is in there, he's the backup catcher who doesn't hit well. >> no, no, no. oh! >> can't run. >> reporter: from time to time charles writes about baseball. typically in a way that transcends the sport. take his column about rick ankiel, a 21-year-old pitching phenom who fell apart when he was picked to start the a playoff game. with a huge national tv audience watching he suddenly couldn't throw a strike. he never pitched the same again. instead of quitting he went back down to the minors, learned a new position and returned to the majors as a hitter. the column is reprinted in krauthammer's book "things that matter." it's in the personal section. just a few pages after the piece about his brother marcel.
i was thinking about the column. this is really not about you. but then your last line, the catastrophe that awaits everyone from a single false move, wrong turn, fatal encounter. every life has such a moment. what distinguishes us is whether and how we ever come back. >> that's why the rick ankiel story resonated with me. i had my fatal encounter, as did rick ankiel. there is an element of of that for the everyone. their low point. do you want it enough? are you lucky enough? that's a part of it, too. >> reporter: krauthammer's injury kept him off the playing fields and courts but he's pursued another competitive outlet, chess. which lights you up more -- baseball or chess? >> no comparison. it's chess. >> reporter: do you still play? >> no. i gave it up.
it's an addiction, a poison. you reach a point on the internet, middle of the net playing speed chess where you realize you are in a motel room drinking aqua velva. >> reporter: your book was supposed to be a collection of essays on things other than politics. it didn't turn out that way. why? >> in the end, all the beautiful elegant things in life depend ultimately on getting politics right. >> reporter: you say science, art, poetry, baseball must ultimately bow to politics. >> i have a column in the book where i write about the ferme paradox. he was a great physicist who posed a simple question. we know there are millions of habitable worlds out the there. so there have to be thousands, millions of civilizations. why have we never heard from any of them? the most plausible explanation is that every time a
civilization achieves conscious ps and the kind of science that would allow you to transit a signal, they destroy themselves. the question is can we regulate our politics in a way that will allow the human species to flourish and produce all the beautiful stuff and that's coming up, battling the president and taking on the tea party. >> my assistant reads most of my mail. and he's now in therapy. >> fox news reporting continues right after the break.
>> he got the chance to size him up in a small dinner party hosted business hi friend, a week before inauguration day. >> i remember before the president elect arrived, saying, you know sni haven't been able to figure this guy out. will he throw a bone to the left? or to the right? nobody had ideas. >> that is part of his great strength. so we spent three hours with this new man. he leaves we're staying behind a little bit. i say, same question. is he a lefty? nobody knew. >> reporter: five years later do you think you've figured him out? >> i figured him out after the first state of the union speech. five weeks laitser. >> we'll invest $15 billion to develop technologies like wind
power, solar power, we can no longer afford to put mj care reform on hold. >> it will be the goal of the administration to ensure... >> i wrote five columns on what kind of unusual political animal he was. in giving an agenda as radical as any since fdr. he said i'm not here to tinker, i'm come theer trance form america. >> you've been tough on this president. >> what i think he's done just about everything wrong. >> reporter: just as he's willing to offend fellow liberals in 80s he's willing to take on conservatives, he believes are wrong. >> have you seen this mail? from some of the things you've said about ted cruz? i get e mails. >> i've seen the tweets. my assistant reads most of my mail. and he's now in therapy. just kidding. >> krauthammer on fox did not
appreciate what cruz did. >> reporter: if you listened to talk radio that might send his assistant over the edge. >> he was working for walter mond yale. >> there is a deep sense of betrayal by republicans. i think it's a misreading of what happened. it's 100% impossible to repeal something like obama care when you only control the house. i just think it's completely detached from reality. and when in the past i would encounter people detached from reality, first i'd give them a shot of hell no. it's unpopular but it's my job to call a folly a folly. if you're going to leave the medical profession because you think you have something to say, you're betraying your own life.
tonight on huckabee. >> if you like your health care plan you will be able to cope your health care plan. >> broken promises and a rising premiums and a website. how can the president and democrats defend obama care? and the president said you can cope your doctor. but can your doctor stay in business? . plus, comedy icon. >> you can see harvey wetting his pants. ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen,
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