tv Hugh Hewitt MSNBC December 23, 2017 5:00am-5:30am PST
eans go! oh, yeah. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we're gonna hit our launch date! (scream) thank you! goodbye! let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. morning glory, america. i'm hugh hewitt. it is christmas eve eve and you have to do christmas shopping today. i'm here to help you with two magnificent books that will make any recipient happy. i read them both. robert kenny, a raging spirit by our own "hardball" host chris matthews. and "playing with fire." the 1968 election transformation of our ownby our own lawrence you o'donnell. i'm read both of these books.
my center right conservative audience loved both because of the passion and knowledge of both authors. i begin with "hardball" chris matthews and with this poster. take a look at that, america. that was on my wall when i was a 12-year-old. the first guy i loved in politics was bobby kennedy. this book touched me in a way that a lot of biographies don't. i think there is a little bit of memoir, a little bit of chris matthews but a lot of spirit and love for robert kennedy. >> i don't think conservatives and moderates would be opposed to him today. you take a tough issue like black lives versus police. he would say, no, i'm not going to take sides on that. i think law and order should be just. we will feet mob sisters, street criminals. we will be on the side of the people who live in those neighborhoods. i think it would be a positive view today. he wouldn't some elite liberal
walking around with his nose in the air. as jack newfeld said, his people were the waitresses. black and white. they were the construction workers, cops, and firefighters. he didn't take a suburbanite elite view of people. >> i try to focus on things i did not know before i read the book. we talked a lot on the radio about joe is, sr. i think he's the biggest horse's ass. >> rose kennedy got her sons to compete. she would wear army air force medals and make jack feel he had to get the tie clip made into a brooch. the whole thing got dramatic in terms of militaryism. he was the hero of the south pacific after saving his pt
crew. so he is staying one more mission. the mission is frightening. it is to fly a heavily loaded plane wi plane, turn over two, and bail out at the last minute. >> who thought that up? >> what are the odds of him surviving that? he gets a letter from his father, his loving father. son is, i figured out why you're still in europe. because the toughest mission in europe is easier and the easiest in the south pacific. in other words, you're dodging. he was in cahoots with some chicken who is chickening out of the tough combat missions. he is about to risk his life. he ended up giving his life. the old man was not good. >> jack goes and does pt 109. joe gets killed flying in a mission.
bobby can't get in because his dad won't let him. >> bobby, said, no, i'm joining the navy. a ship was named after joe jr. he went down and said i'm aboard. he didn't ask for his father's permission. he wanted to be regular. >> the second one, they're going to love this book if they love politics. 1960, jack gets the nomination. ends up picking johnson. you detail all that. i never knew he wanted scoop jackson. honest to goodness, if they had jackson, washington state went for nixon. i looked it up after we talked to each other. >> but they would have lost the south. i understand why you love scoop. the fact is jack was ruthless in the best sense of the political world. i need texas, georgia. and he got the states pretty big in those days. bobby of course believed in
values, truth, good guys and bad guys. to him lbj was a bad guy. >> he hated liars of all sort. >> he said i won't oppose you. i won't run. i won't work goodness your guy. and he did all three. >> three in a row. let's talk about the trips you detailed. i didn't know know when the canadian government said come and he is the first to summit mount kennedy. he was afraid of on heights. >> afraid of heights. he got into a vertical climb climbing with jim whitaker and he climbs to the top. my favorite line in the book was he got in from -- just a minute. for the poet. do what you're afraid to do. >> that's at the very end of the book. the very last thing that john glenn finds over hickory hill. it's emerson.
>> ralph waldo emerson. roosevelt had the same belief. everything bobby did was trying to push himself. >> let me ask you about the trip i had never heard of. he goes to the cop or mind in better peru. he goes a mile into the sea. >> i would think twice about going down some elevator down x many miles into the ground with no air-conditioning. talk about claustrophobia. and the pacific ocean down where people are working for a few bucks a day. he discovered this is what makes you a communist. >> and they make them down there. the fellow up on top said we make them down there. the other trip was to the mississippi delta, chris matthews. i did not know, and you illustrate when he comes back, he gets his kids together. >> he walks in, hugh, on the
family. they ate well. they didn't drink. jack always said we eat well around here. there was food all over the table and eight or nine kids. he comes in stark, frightened by what he saw. he saw third world kids. i saw this in the peace corps.disextended stomachs. the kids are dying in mississippi. all they eat all day is mow lass else, which is enough sugar to keep moving. he goes back and said you do not know how lucky you are. i think that was the most profound thing besides his brother getting killed. >> amazing. the thing i wanted to close with there is a memoir, a biographical essay about holy cross, the university of north carolina chapel hill. you marched but stayed on the sidewalk. tell me what that meant.
>> my wife makes a big point of that, kathleen. i went to march on the pentagon in 1967, october. huge rally you would like this crowd. there's some old reds in there. guys like -- that's one thing i have against -- >> no gus hill. >> the alt left loves this. they set up kiosks and tables. the moral bridge. >> lincoln monument army. >> i'm on the sidewalk on the left side and the mass movement is moving along on the right side. i was walking with them. then i got over to the pentagon. i walked on the way. it scared me. there is such a thing as mob behavior. when the soldiers came out and were doing the maneuvers against
the crowd, which are very aggressive i go, what's this about? why is johnson provoking everyone with the maneuvers, rifles and everything. >> were you back when kent state happened? >> no. i was in the peace corps. >> kent state was because of those maneuvers that got out of hand. >> there is never simplicity morally. in chicago, there's some bad element in that crowd of so-called students. people were throwing terrible things. he walked into that convention, who knows what would have happened. >> he would have been president. >> he would have been nixon. it was like nixon was watching him, forces will be unleashed. we cannot imagine. >> great book. robert kennedy, raging spirit. chris matthews. you don't have to be irish catholic to get this book but if you are you are going to love it. hi.
welcome back to this christmas eve eve edition of hugh hewitt. monday through friday you hear me salem radio network 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. eastern. saturday mornings i'm here on msnbc. i began the show talking vertically by taking a look at the life of robert kennedy with chris matthews, a life tragically cut short in 1968. now i want to look horizontally at 1968, the entire awful year with lawrence o'donnell, each night at 10:00 p.m. on the last word with lawrence o'donnell. lawrence has written an absolutely riveting account of the most tumultuous year of my life, 1968 with the transformation of american
politics. it began of course in 1967 and continues into 1968. 2001 will be for most americans the year of their greatest greeting. 9/11 brought america together, if only for a time. 1968 divided us in ways so deep and profound they are still evidenced. what do you make that 9/11 brought us together but 1968 was our most divisive year. >> absolutely, hugh. it was coming toward the end of a decade where we had all been brought together by tragedy on november 22nd, 1963 when president kennedy was assassinated. it is a very, very similar feel to 9/11. but 1968, which saw two assassinations, martin luther king jr. followed by bobby kennedy, was completely divisive all the way through from start to finish. those assassinations, hugh, as you recall, did not have a kind
of unifying emotional response to it. there was rioting after martin luther king jr.'s assassination. there was a real dark disappointment and hopelessness in many ways among many people after bobby kennedy's assassination. so it was a completely different year. a completely different experience that way. it was, as you say, the most dramatic, the most chaotic, the most out of control presidential campaign we have had. when younger hear that, they say what about last year? what about 2016? i would say 2016, hugh, was an absolutely standard campaign year. everyone was trying to run the corporatized professional campaign that richard nixon invented in '68. everyone except for one candidate. other than that one very eccentric candidate, 2016 was a perfectly normal year. >> in the middle of all this we
bookend with two huge surprises. you're right about both. johnson surprising the world with a speech that not even speech writers knew would end his campaign. and czechoslovakia. you can't remember anything quite as wild as the campaign of 1968. >> this was a year that was full of them from start to finish. and lbj's surprise of deciding to drop out of the race, he had never announced -- an incumbent president would not have to announce his candidacy is just presumed that he will go to the convention without competing in any primaries and he will be nominated. without having ever announced a campaign, although there was one under way, lbj dropped out in the single most dramatic speech moment of the campaign.
and no one knew he was going to do it except for his wife and a couple of other people in the white house. but his secretary of state, secretary of defense, they didn't know it was coming. they were as shocked as the rest of us. >> one of the things i want to give you props for, many at the side of their male candidates are often overlooked in the biographies of campaign years. did you not do that. you are the first person who introduced me to abigail mccarthy and the complete character she was, how pivotal she was in the negotiations with bobby kennedy. and that continues with le nnor romney. to make sure the women of 68 got their due, as well as the men. >> a friend of mine said to me your next book should be a memoir. i said everything i write is a memoir. i mean that in terms of the question you just asked.
with liz moynahan as the campaign manager for his 1988 reelection campaign. she invited me in to work on it. i was never in the writing of the book, hugh, trying to emphasize the role of the wives. but that was my entry into the way i loads as this in real life in the first place. so it is a natural place for me to go. i understand their importance. i understand how much they mean to the candidate. i know what the spouse's role is. when it's all the way to the point of an active campaign manager, which abigail mccarthy almost was from time to time and the others. and i know what they go through in terms of what they endure, they feel every blow that the candidate gets hit with. it's an extraordinary role they have and an important role. >> your years of writing west wing comes through.
abraham rimakov 23 sfrom the frf the democratic convention. give a listen. >> as i look at the confusion in this hall and watch on television the turmoil and violence that is competing with this great convention for the attention of the american people. there is something else in my heart don't and not the speech i prepared to give. >> when george mcgovern is president of the united states, we wouldn't have to have gestapo tactics in the streets of chicago. >> gestapo tactics in the streets of chicago, lawrence. there is a chapter on chicago here which you cannot put down. that is the moment in which -- i don't know how long it took to write that but my hat is off to you.
it reads like a thriller. >> daly is a fascinating character. as i discovered the research and tell the story in the book, richard daly, the tough mayor of chicago who cracked down on the protesters truly viciously and was later judged to have basically managed a police riot, the blame was laid mostly on the police for what happened there by the commission that studied it, his first experience in his life, hugh, with street protests in chicago when he was a little boy holding his mother's hand, marching for women to get the right to vote. that's the period that is spanned by the characters in this book. and mayor daly, when rubikov said that, jumped up and screamed anti semitic comments at abe. we could all lip read what he was saying. for those who couldn't, the networks had lip readers on on within the hour to tell you what mayor daly just said.
that moment alone, hugh, would have been the biggest moment of any political convention since then. it was just one of the things that happened on wednesday night. >> i hope it becomes a mini series. i would like to relive in real-time. tom hayden was a friend of mine. i cherish say letter from him telling me to watch my parking meters. 1968 didn't define anyone, but it certainly left a mark on most of the participants therein. >> yes. and it's fascinate to go see what happened afterwards which i treat in an epilogue. everyone changed during the 1960s. no one had the same ideas in 1969 about everything they thought in 1960. there were segregationists in 1961 who were not by 1968. in the decades following the 60s, a lot of the extreme
radical ideas that people like tom hayden and others had started to moderate. as you know, tom hayden became what he would have described as an establishment politician, a member of the california legislature and a real practical politician, realizing the only way you will achieve anything within politics and government is by that practical approach which tom hayden eventually had. >> lawrence, a terrific book. give me 30 seconds if you will on raoger ailes who opens it. he really started the modern television error. >> you can argue he is the most influential character in the book. he's a small player in the story. because he is lured into politics by richard nixon. ailes was in show business. nixon heard him talk about tv one day and decided he knows
more than i do. ailes elected on the presidents from nixon, helped elect them all. and i would argue with fox news did a tremendous job helping to elect donald trump. and i don't know who would be president today were it not for richard nixon getting roger ailes into politics. >> ground zero is 1968. you have written that book. the book is called playing with fire. i'll be right back.
>> welcome back and thank you for watching today. you may have noted from my first show on msnbc to the present, i'm also pushing books. books bring us together. they build bridges. they often brings folks from left and right other that which they share a conversation. it's the perfect christmas present. really, it is is. if you're going shopping today, whether it is chris matthews's or lawrence o'donnell's book,
any book is a good present for anybody at any age. especially if they're young. get them early, get them going. and keep the conversation going on msnbc.com/hugh-hewitt. kind of looks like a monster coming to eat ya. holy smokes. that is awesome. strong. you got the basic, and you got the beefy. i just think it looks mean. incredible. no way. i'm getting goosebumps. this holiday season, become part of the chevy family. use your employee discount for everyone and trade up to this silverado all star to get a total value of over eleven thousand dollars. find new roads at your local chevy dealer. just serve classy snacks and bew a gracious host,iday party. no matter who shows up. do you like nuts? [hawaiian music playing]
good morning. i'm gigi stone woods in for alex witt at msnbc world headquarters in new york. we are watching a california man facing terror charges for allegedly planning a christmas day attack on san francisco's pier 39. authorities say he is a former marine inspired by isis who complained about the president's decision to recognize jerusalem as the capital of israel. the fbi found a marterdom letter and three firearms in his home. also in california, officials say the wildfire has consumed 427 square