tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg March 2, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
♪ from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. charlie: his award-winning books include biographies of alexander hamilton. the life of john d rockefeller. "the new york times" has called him as elegant and architect of history as we have seen in decades. his new book is a detailed and vivid portrait of america's first president. >> the starting point in an but his biography is that there are significant dimensions in a life that have eluded previous biographers. hamilton had a quarrel with washington late the
revolutionary war. he quit washington's staff in anger and wrote a letter to his father. defending his decision, and he painted washington as a moody and temperamental man. he writes, the general and i have come to an open rupture. he shall at once repent of his ill-humor. i member thinking how george washington should have to conform to that saintly image i had of george washington. wondering, that perhaps this most familiar wasre in american history familiar. charlie: what now do we know that makes the unfamiliar familiar? >> i discovered that under the surface, washington was a
passionate and complex man with many militant fiery opinions. he was a perfectionist but it was all under this reserve and stoic, laconic aura that we know but there was a fierce personality under that façade. charlie: could you make the case that without george washington, the revolution would have failed? >> an author used the phrase earlier, "the indispensable man." there were probably generals who from a strategic standpoint were superior. while the other generals are jockeying for power and getting sidetracked, george washington always has a clarity of vision. there is a tenacity of purpose and a force of character. there's no one in the world whom you would rather give a monumental task to then george washington.
charlie: how did he come to these skills? >> this is a man who had tremendous experience. he spent 5.5 years in the french and indian war. george washington turns out to have been a project. when he was 23 years old, he was already in charge of all of the armed forces in virginia. charlie: at 23. >> at 23. he was a wunderkind. if he was then at the house of i can put it that way. he was then at the house of burgesses for more than 20 years and running an immense plantation at mount vernon. not only with 300 slaves. he has a big fishery business on the potomac and is even running one of the largest distilleries in the country, not withstanding his aversion to alcohol. charlie: he was the logical choice? >> in 1775, he was elected
unanimously by the continental congress as commander in chief. he's one of the few people who really had significant military experience. this experience was back in his 20's. remember, charlie, what is happening is the revolution starting in massachusetts. there are thousands who have gathered in the common but they are new england militiamen. to give it a continental perspective everybody looks to the south because that would give it national character. there is something about washington throughout his life that people are constant in entrusting power to him. he inspires confidence and his levelheaded and is not somebody who becomes drunk with power. he is also somebody who understands that military power must be subordinated to civilian power and he does this brilliantly through the revolutionary war. he has 14 masters.
remember, he has 14 masters. the poor guy has to deal with third teen and this squabbling continental congress so washington's genius is in many ways more political genius. he was not a great general, i discovered. charlie: he was not a great general? >> he was middling. he probably lost more battles than he won. there were some that he bungled either due to faulty intelligence or poor strategy. but this is a general about what he did between battles was more important probably. charlie: what did he do? he is running an army that is >> chronically short of men, money, clothing, shoes, blankets, gunpowder. there are one year enlistments. every december the army shrinks from disillusionment and you have to re-create it in january. holding this ragged band of men
for eight point five years -- he had to have been a strong leader and a very inspirational presence. you have to understand, this is not the story of the general standing on the hill watching battles unfold in the planes. this was a general who was always right in the thick of battle with bullets whizzing around him. charlie: who were his friends? >> that is an excellent question. washington was somebody who was naturally mistrustful. he had to know you for a long time and he would gradually lower the barriers. washington did not have a lot of friends in the contemporary sense of a confessional relationships. heart-to-heart conversations. yet he forms more powerful , friendships than a alliance is with some of the other founders. madison is certainly an early tutor and advisor on the constitution. it does not get any better than that. and hamilton who is effectively
chief of staff during the war not only gives him hamilton is a brilliant theorist and constitutional scholar but someone of a great programmatic mines in history. they discover that washington always gives a certain distance between himself and people. power is very isolating, and he was always ready, if necessary, to distance himself. it in hishat was character that made him famously not want to be president for wantthan two terms and not to be king? >> it is an interesting story, because he starts out as a young man who really wants money, status, and power, and then he thanmore fame and power any human being can possibly dream. people do not realize, charlie, during the revolutionary war, he is away for eight and a half years. he only goes back to mount vernon once for three days in a
and a half years, so at the end of the war, it feels like he has -- heed ever five decline has really sacrificed the prime of his life to this war. what happens, because of his stature, because people feel so confident in entrusting power to him, he becomes the president of the constitutional convention. he does it very reluctantly. he very reluctantly becomes the first president. the office was literally his for the taking. if that he was unanimously in the electoral college, and he does it, but he says to his closest friends, i will become president for a year or two, establish the legitimacy of the new federal government, and then i'm going back to mount vernon. well, what happened is that after one year or two, his cabinet said we are in a crisis, and thent go home, there was one crisis after another, and eight years past,
and if you look at the last 25 years of this man's life, almost the entire period was sacrificed to service for his country. charlie: then when he went home after eight years? >> this is fascinating, he was warned -- someone said you should get a special appropriation from congress because you are going to have people defending on mount vernon, and no sooner does he get home that he looks over the ridge, and there are tourists and veterans and curiosity-seekers. and washington is this impeccably polite man and feels obligated to feed and house everyone who comes to mount vernon. so very often, there are 10 to 20 people sitting at the table. a lot of them complete strangers. the saddest line in his voluminous papers, he writes in his diary, i dined alone with mrs. washington today for the first time since i returned home from the war. he had been home from the war for 1.5 years and it was the first time he had dinner alone.
charlie: unbelievable, isn't it? >> unbelievable, and even in the privacy of mount vernon he becomes not only a prisoner of his celebrity but like a piece of public property in a way that he cannot escape it does not know what to do with and he is constantly complaining in his letters that all of these guests who are showing up, they are drinking his wine and eating his food and it becomes a tremendous strain on his finances and he made the mistake -- this person had advised him to get a special appropriation from congress for expenses, and he said, no, i do not need that, but it becomes a major drain on his finances. what was his relationship with jefferson? >> jefferson was in many ways the most complicated because he had tremendous admiration for jefferson's political and literary talents and of course what happens is the two-party system emerges from this feud between washington's first secretary of state, thomas jefferson, and his first
secretary of the treasury alexander hamilton. , jefferson is very disturbed by the growth of federal power and presidential power. he is very disturbed by this liberal interpretation of the constitution, and jefferson begins to help secretly orchestrate attacks on the administration. as the 1790's went by, washington becomes increasingly disenchanted and cynical about jefferson. they are really not on speaking terms during washington's final years. and most amazingly, if you want to get a sense of just how hostile george washington ended up after george washington died, , thomas jefferson visits mount vernon. martha washington makes a statement to friends that the second worst day of her life was the day thomas jefferson visited mount vernon. the worst day having been the day her husband died. a powerful statement, and then she says to friends that thomas jefferson was among the most detestable of all mankind and martha washington was not
particularly political. charlie: why did she say that? >> well she felt that jefferson , had betrayed and doublecrossed her husband. charlie: is that a true portrait of jefferson? >> well, jefferson wrote a letter to an italian friend that ended up accidentally getting published in the newspaper. where this friend who had visited the united states, he says to the italian friend, you would be amazed at the heresies that have sprung up among us. those who were samsons in the field and solomons in the council have had their heads shorn by the harlot england. jefferson was pro-french, and washington was broke england. -- was pro-england. very strong language. jefferson never dreamt that this letter, which referred to washington, never dreamt that it would be published. when martha washington made that
statement, she said that we have the proof in the house. i guess she had a copy of the letter. charlie: what was her influence on george washington? >> i think it was immense. i did not get the feeling this was a very torrid or lusty marriage but it ripened into a very deep friendship. ok. he marries her. she is a widow. a very wealthy widow. it gives washington financial security, which then allows him to do what he does. washington was a reserved and aloof man. martha becomes his confidant, which is very important. also washington was a good host, , but a certain kind of cordial and detached nature. martha washington was a very skillful hostess. she was the type of person at a party who would make sure that everyone was being attended to and felt comfortable. so i think that in 1001 ways, she takes this ambitious young rootless infe is
some ways and certainly he , becomes very settled when martha comes on the scene. as so often happens in a successful marriage it really sets up the success. charlie: he had a difficult relationship with his mother? >> to put it mildly. his father dies at 11 so he is left to the tender mercies of his mother and she was a very careless and self-centered woman who always felt that george was neglecting her. we really have no statements of her taking any pride or pleasure in his success. there is no evidence that she attended the wedding between george and martha washington. she lived in fredericksburg but never visited them. not that far, never visited them at mount vernon, and most shockingly of all, later in the war washington receives a letter , from the speaker of the general assembly and says there is something happening here in the state capital of richmond that i think you should know about. your mother has appeared and she
has applied for special emergency relief, claiming that she is crushed by taxes, pleading poverty and intimating that her son the commander in chief had neglected her. well washington was mortified , because he was a very dutiful son and had been very generous with his mother. charlie: it is hard to ask a question about washington without asking about the teeth. >> the teeth turned out to be very, very important for many reasons. ivory.re they were not wooden, let's retire that. they had real teeth inserted into them. we now in 1784 that he bought nine teeth from slaves, possibly from his own slaves. the sounds ghoulish but it was actually common practice at the time to buy teeth. but the dentures were important for this reason. ok he becomes president and has , this one it very lonely cuspid. when i examined his dentures at
the new york academy of medicine library, what i noticed is that in the act the upper and lower , dentures are connected by curved metal springs. the only way that they stayed in his mouth is he had to keep his mouth firmly pressed shut. what this meant is that every time he opened his mouth and started talking, it relaxed the pressure on the spring and there was a possibility that these dentures would come shooting out of his mouth. it may not be coincidental that most of the speeches george washington gave as president threene, two, or paragraphs long. he was incredibly self conscious and never uses the word dental or teeth. he was right -- if he received the dentures he will write to his dentist in new york and say the items that you sent arrived , safely. he was intensely self-conscious about that problem. it must have been very, very painful. charlie: any last words before he died? >> no.
in fact even on his deathbed, he , is there he stoical. he noticed his young slave had been standing all day and said, you have been standing. you must be tired. please sit down. he died of inflammation of the epiglottis so he felt he was choking and suffocating. his secretary got onto the bed with washington and rolled him over because it made breathing easier and he said, thank you for doing this. this is a debt we perform to each other and i hope when you're time comes, someone performs the debt to you. this is a man who is dying and comes up with this very beautiful and eloquent statement. but that kind of awareness towards the people around him, that sensitivity to the people around him was very characteristic of washington. and again we have this image , that he was this cold-blooded
david: indeed we have. , charlie: our initial conversation was about anticipating this book of the intertwining of the lives between thomas jefferson and john adams. david: yes. i found that i wanted to write about john adams. and it was discovering, which maybe i should have known, the extent to which he tells us what he really feels. unfolds his inner life as well as his political life, brings us into his confidence with a candor that is extraordinary in any century, but certainly in -- was rare among the prominent people of that time, so it is possible to know john adams, and especially because of what he wrote to his wife and what she wrote to him, that we are able to know john adams better than any of those principal figures. there is a moment when he was in worcester as a young schoolteacher, 20 years old. he says i vow to rise each
, morning with the sun and study holy scriptures every monday, -- wednesday, and friday, and i will read the english poets in the days between, and i will gather myself within myself and address myself to doing better. and all so forth and so on, and then the next day, he was right, -- rights, dreamed away the day. slept most of the time. i suddenly thought, there is my guy. and he is human. he was very vain. vain in the 18th century sense of the word, which did not mean spending a lot of time in front of the mirror. it meant being self preoccupied. he was obstinate and irritable andhe was obstinate and irritable at times, quick-tempered but also , warm-blooded and warmhearted. brave hearted. he had great physical courage, great moral courage. and he was no sunshine soldier. he was there when he was needed.
he was not perfect by any means, and he made mistakes. none of them were perfect. and i think we have got to understand how human they were because that makes their achievement more remarkable. if they were gods, gods can do anything. and they were not. they were not superhumans. they were extraordinary people and some of them were truly brilliant. and it is truly a miracle what they accomplished, but these were the people that were present at the creation. charlie: the founding fathers. david: they were making a country against the most daunting odds imaginable. charlie: where did the phrase "present at the creation" first come? because it was also the title, i think, of dean atkinson's book. david: it was the title of that marvelous book about the truman years. they are not just starting a new company or a broadway show.
they are making a country, a nation. they did not know how it was going to come out. if they had taken a poll in philadelphia at the time, they never would have gone for it. it was not popular. people were against it. charlie: what manner of man and woman were in favor of it? david: well, to a large degree, they were new englanders and virginians. new york inns and pennsylvanians -- we definitely have to include the carolinians and maryland. but the central states, new york and pennsylvania were very much on the fence. they were led by an man by the name of john dickinson. charlie: but what was the nature of the revolutionist? is my question. in other words were they , intellectuals? were they political firebrands? david they were all of that. : intellectuals, firebrands, ambitious politicians, decent,
hard-working people who had farms. charlie: they were offended by the way things were? david they felt that they were : not being granted their as english subjects. in other words, they are not revolting to create a new and different society. they are saying, wait a minute. you are taking away our rights as english subjects. free englishmen. government of laws and not of men. we have no choice and that. you're taxing us to pay your own bills back home. why should we pick up the tab for your expenditures there in england when we have no part of that life? most of us have never seen england and it is probably time we started our own country. charlie: no taxation without representation. david: yes, and when they say free and independent, the concept is that they cannot be free unless they are independent. and they cannot generate the
moral fire, the morale, the spirit to fight the war unless they are fighting for independence. so they have to do it to give spirit to the army. to beey are not going able to get any help from abroad, namely france, if they do not declare their independence, because france is not about to come in and give financial and military support to a country that will make up and be part of england again. the french support of our american revolution, which was essential to our victory, was primarily as a way for the french to get at the english. they were not anxious for a government of all the people. you know, and all men created equal. france was a monarchy. more of a monarchy than even great britain. so -- charlie: it is amazing when you think of that. the great decision of the war against france. john adams believes that the
most important thing that he did was to want peace with france and not a war. david: yes. most americans do not realize withwe were fighting a war france at the last years of the 18th century. during the john adams administration as president. we were fighting an undeclared war at sea. but it was a real war, exchanging fire, capturing ships. all the acts of war at sea. the real war, the undeclared war at sea could very well have ignited into a real war, which -- with, as it happens, the new high dictator, the emperor as he proclaimed himself, napoleon. but adams steered a very careful and dangerous, treacherous even course among the shoals and the whirlpools of diplomacy and
managed to keep america neutral. not to side with either england or france. the jeffersonians wanted peace with france at any price. the hamiltonians, the high federalists, as they were called, were eager to go to war with france. it was good politics, and it would have probably guaranteed adams's reelection. when he succeeded in keeping us from going to work with france, after the humiliations of the so-called xyz affair, he felt that he had saved the country from a colossal blunder. and he was right. but it was at the expense of his own political fortunes. and he knew that that is what happened. charlie: where did he place that effort in terms of his own historical legacy? david: where did he place that? he thought it was number one. he was proudest of that of anything he had done. and it really does, and other historians agree it really does , rank as an extremely brave, politically courageous act.
a true profile in courage. charlie: let me go back. there are some things here. a quote from you, adams is the best subject i have ever had. he really is. i could sit down and write another book about him and not be redundant. david: it is almost above imagining, the quantity of the material. there are over 1000 letters between john adams and his wife. and they are marvelous letters. david: she was extraordinary. she could hold her own intellectually with any of the brightest people of the day. she was looked upon by the likes of jefferson, franklin, and others as one of the remarkable women of the time. she had never been to school, she was a minister's daughter. she had been educated at home. she read everything, she remembered everything she read. she was a wonderful writer. but she also she made her own clothing.
she cooked the meals and looked after the farm and managing family accounts when john was serving in the continental congress or abroad as a diplomat during the war. she carried on as active a correspondence as any woman of the 18th century. if she had done nothing but write the letters, she would be somebody historians and biography errors -- biographers would be interested in. i think that one of the most impressive things about her, charlie, is that in almost every letter she wrote, she quotes several lines of poetry. there was speculation at the time that, the old woman, as they said, was really running thanks. -- really running things. and there is some truth to this. whenever she was back in quincy, he got in trouble. he writes these wonderful letters, saying, please you must , be with me, i need your advice, i need your counsel. nobody understands things better than you. one of the things i found in the course of my work was a
wonderful account she wrote up a dinner one night at the white house not long after they occupied the white house. when jefferson attended the dinner, and there were a number of members of congress at the table, a large dinner party around a large table. she recorded all that she said in jefferson said. jefferson was sitting beside her. she knew every single member of congress around that table by their face, and all about each of them. jefferson would say, who is that? and who is this? next to him? not only did he not know who they were, did not know anything about them. she did not know because she made great effort to learn. she loved being at the center of things. she loved politics. george washington was an immensely intelligent man. he was not learned. he was not an intellectual.
he was a great, natural born leader. a man with phenomenal self command. which was what adams admired most about george washington. charlie: early on, in support of who will -- who ought to be leading to revolution, he nominated a man from virginia. the one who said, jefferson ought to break the declaration of independence, and the man when he became president who put john marshall on the supreme court, the greatest chief justice we ever had. as a casting director, he was , john adams was remarkable. charlie: he could have been a kingmaker of the revolution. david: washington's greatest quality during the war was that he would not give up. no matter how bad things got. the idea that we would defeat this british army, the best
trained, best equipped, toughest ofy in the world, this sort a pickup team of an army that washington had, poorly equipped, poorly closed, inadequately trained, would take on -- and no naval force, not a ship to defend any port. it was preposterous. he had never led an army in battle before. but he wouldn't quit. when washington is retreating across new jersey in 1776, that nadir of thiste nation, the lowest point. he hasn't a chance. it is over. he gets his army down. he succeeds in getting across the delaware. the british army comes right after him, and the british officers decide, winter is coming, time to stop the
fighting business for the duration. ssians there and the british officers went back to new york, and the british forces -- washington is on the other side of the delaware. he is licking his wounds. he only has about 4000 troops. it is over. so what does he do? he attacks. the painting of washington crossing the delaware, which has been made fun of, but it is not very accurate. nonetheless, it conveys the immense importance of this extraordinary, heroic act. he comes across at night. blowingfull of ice, snow, with this pathetic little army, guys walking with no shoes. this is't just legend, truth leaving bloody footprints , in the snow. at trenton hessians and princeton and wins.
two swift and dramatic engagements. not battles, but he wins. the effect on morale is beyond discussion. that is the turning point. charlie: then you can go to the presidency to the fact that he does not want to be king. david: he holds the country together. like franklin roosevelt who went through two crises, during the depression and the most horrible war in history, washington leads the country in two testing times. the revolution and the period after the revolution. we were trying to form a government, we have these disparate forces of different states pulling apart from each other, over all it sorts of issues, including slavery. and the only thing holding it together is the universal regard everywhere in the colonies, everyone in -- everywhere in the new states, for george washington. charlie: are you in the process of writing a book on washington?
david: charlie, i can't say a word yet. i'm convinced we cannot know enough about those people. one of the reasons that adams is such a joyous subject is because writinga wonderful time about him, he is a window of all of them. he wrote about everyone. the others did not necessarily write about everyone. charlie: not only that but as someone said, he had no filter , and it was instant, the reaction from his emotion that he had this sort of extraordinary sense of a direct, without filter, from his soul to his mouth. who said that? i forgot. you? david: don't know. i wish that i had. that's quite good. he believed, as he said in a wonderful letter to his son, the boy was when learning how to write, that one ought to write a letter in the way that one talks. no literary flourishes.
no flourishes of the pen. write the way you talk. a lot of life is made up of talk. but we cannot hear those people talk. there are no recorded voices. there is no film of them. but the way this man in particular wrote and the way that his wife wrote -- that is the way that they taught. -- the way they talked. it is very direct and without frills. it has almost a modern candor. he is a pungent writer. he is really, maybe the best writer of the whole bunch. charlie: better than jefferson? david: yes. not just in the grand pronouncements, the papers of state, or proclamations. charlie: but in the human, emotional -- david: he would have made terrific novelist, a wonderful reporter. he would have made a good interviewer. his little sketches what he
wrote about different people are the best we have of all of these characters. charlie: what did he say about jefferson? david: well, he said many things about jefferson. charlie: there is such an arc in the relationship. david: dependent on what the mood was. he thought jefferson was more ambitious than people understood. charlie: no surprise to me. david: he thought jefferson was not always on the level that there was much hypocrisy and many contradictions about jefferson. he thought jefferson was -- charlie: did he keep this private? david: yes, mostly within the family and mostly at a time when jefferson had betrayed him. jefferson was designing financial support for the men busy slamming and slandering adams. charlie: what does that say about jefferson? david: it says, among other things, he is tough. but also, he wouldn't do his own fighting.
jefferson would never say anything derogatory about anybody himself but he would encourage others to say it. he would say to madison, go cut so and so to pieces and do it quickly. jefferson did not like confrontation. jefferson felt, and said often, that one ought to go through life avoiding pain. adams knows that you cannot do that. charlie: he was the ultimate realist? david: he was. he once described someone as a mountain of the salt of the earth. that could also, i think, be said of him. to me he is like a character in dickens. he is grumpy and funny. he is full-form. there's no silhouette. he is not a cardboard figure. if you cut him, real blood would come out. of course his love for his
family, particularly his love for his wife, is wonderful. one of the grace -- great love stories. charlie: he loved to farm. david: he liked being a former. -- a farmer. he loved to build walls and move trees. it is small farming. it is new england. the difference between a new england freeholder of the 18th century, and a virginia planter, was far greater than most people understand. it was not just that one owned slaves and the other didn't. i should point out that adams is the only founding father that never owned slaves, as a matter of principle. he was a man of principle, and he would live and die as one. ♪
charlie: doris kearns goodwin is here. she won the pulitzer prize for her book "no ordinary time," which chronicled the lives of franklin and eleanor roosevelt. her other works include "wait until next year: the fitzgerald and the kennedys." her new book is called "team of rivals: the political genius of abraham lincoln." i am pleased to welcome you back to this table. how did lincoln do this? he was not a governor. he was not as prominent as the others were. they were esteemed, established figures. he was a one term congressman who lost two races for the senate. he was simply a lawyer made
speeches. doris: you would think, after losing two races for the senate, you might go into another line of work, but he had this internal confidence. i think the reason he did it, at the time, people thought it was because he stood in the middle of the party. stewart was on the left, bates was on the right. but when i looked into it, it was really his temperament. he worked harder for this than any of the others. stewart went to europe for eight months prior to the convention, being wined and dined by kings and queens, and lincoln was going from one state to the other. he maneuvered to have the convention in chicago. each one of the other guys wanted it in their hometown. so he had his person at the national committee say, nobody is really a front runner in illinois, let's have it there. and then, he got people to come to the convention, and applaud for him, and give momentum. but much more than any of that, i think he got it because he had made no enemies in his entire life. they all had enemies. his strategy was, if you go away from the first guy, come to your second love.
he was humble about it, not, you have to make me your first love. he never said anything bad. charlie: say that again. doris: he specifically said, if you have to give up your first love, if that guy is not going to get it, let me be your second love. he never said anything bad about the other three guys -- they were all saying bad things about each other, so they finally came to him. charlie: what gifts did he bring to the campaign? not becoming president, but the campaign. what was it about? was he the smartest man around? was he the most gifted orator? he had to have something other than the fact that he was a nice guy. doris: he had already become a national figure because of the dazzling speeches, and the debates with stephen douglas. this is a different time. politics was the abiding passion of the country, so thousands of people would listen to these debates. when you had a great speech, it would be printed in the newspaper. everybody would be reading it.
it would be in pamphlet form passed out to 50,000 people, or , 100,000 people. speeches were much more important back then, than they are now. charlie: he wrote his own speeches? doris: without a question. [laughter] nobody else could of done that. he was brilliant and completely self-taught. he figured out he had only one year of formal schooling. a few weeks here, a few weeks there. his father would lend him to other farmers who needed somebody to work on the farm, to pay off a debt that the father had. so he was taken in and out of school, and he taught it -- he taught himself the best books, shakespeare, poetry, the king james bible. those cadences got into him. but much more than that, it wasn't just that his speeches were great rhetoric, he had this remarkable empathy to understand people on all different sides of the political spectrum. so he could speak to their feelings and thoughts, and absorb them in a way that the other guys could not. he used folksy metaphors and he , was funny. he was a gifted storyteller.
legendary. he could've been up there with any of the comedians today. he is just more funny and lively, more magnetic than i had realized, and less depressed. we have overdone the idea that this man had depression all his life. charlie: he was depressed, or not? doris: i think he was melancholy from the time he was born. charlie: the different between melancholy and depression -- doris: i think he has a temperament that looked on the melancholy side of life, and he was haunted by losses early on. but he knew how to get himself out of his sad moods incredibly. he did it by conversation, by humor, by reading. he did it during the days of the war, the minute he would hear that a battle was lost, he knew he had to get to the battlefront to talk to the soldiers, and that would get them out of his mood. there is no evidence that he was dysfunctional during the presidency or ever takes to his bed. he sustains everyone else's spirits. i think he does have this temperament that is melancholy, but he understands himself so brilliantly that he can get his low moods to high moods. charlie: there is this notion
that you find out, if you do what you do, that the exercise of power is influenced by the qualities of personality, and character, and all of those things that have nothing to do with the standard measurements of leadership. doris: you are so right. when we look to who we will elect as president, we really should look at their temperaments. for example, lincoln had an amazing emotional strength. even without the external resume, he was the kind of person who, when he made a mistake, he learned from it and acknowledged it immediately. he shared credit when something went well. if something went wrong, he would shoulder responsibility for blame. if you were mad at somebody he , would write a hot letter, wait to cool down, and never need to send it. he kept the white house open all the time. he understood the mood of the
people. he loved talking to journalists, gossiping. he was curious. that's what you have to look for in a candidate. more important than the resume and more important than what he said 20 years ago. he would say, yes i changed my mind, i like to think i am smarter today that i was yesterday. it is so simple, but these guys get themselves screwed up. and he won the nomination. you sent about 200 pages on this. introducing all of these characters in this book, he gets the nomination. what is the campaign about in 1860? slavery act of doris: yes. it is about the extension of slavery to the west. even the republican party did not think they could get it out of the south. they figured, if you could prevent it from going to the western territories, kansas and nebraska, then it will die of its own accord later. as long as it doesn't expand. that is their main platform.
we will not let it expand. the democratic party is split and three, so lincoln does win the election. charlie: lincoln comes to washington. the issue of saving the union is the most important reality of his life. he chooses all of these rivals. is it a hard sell for him? to convince them? are they surprised? doris: the country is certainly surprised. it was unprecedented. up until that time, the president seemed to put like-minded people in a cabinet. charlie: people who help them get there. doris: exactly. not only were they his rivals, the did not like one another either. i think the reason that he was able to get them to say yes -- they knew the country was in peril, too. as soon as lincoln was elected, the southern states start seceding. charlie: lincoln was asked, why are you choosing these people who do you know good? he said, i need the best men. doris: exactly.
the country is in peril. these are the strongest man. once they are there, in the white house you have all the different points of view. you have to argue and hone your thinking -- it made him such a better leader. to have them all there even , though they fought. some would not talk to one another. they would call each other liars, scoundrels, can you imagine? nonetheless, it made lincoln so much more clearheaded because he had to test it out on these guys. charlie: think about this. when something came up, he was getting advice from his secretary of state. --is: most of them wanted to wanted him to give it up. the first vote -- he had a vote at the beginning, shall we resupply fort sumter? and the overwhelming majority said no. charlie: seven yeses and one no. doris: exactly. exactly right. charlie: back to this notion of this extraordinary man, who has not had the perfect resume, does
not have the perfect experience, who has not been in washington as a senator. he has been dealing with slavery, rhetorically. doris: you know what i think it is? i think it was because he had huge ambitions. he was not a modest man in terms of ambitions. charlie: that famous quote about him that ambition burned like a fire? doris: like an engine that could not stop. his ambitions were not just for office or power of a it was -- it was about accomplishing something so worthy that his name would be recovered. haunted feeling, it was immortality. when his mother died, she said, abraham, im going away from you now, and i will never return. not offering a hope of heaven that they will reunite. so i think he never had the hope that will -- that there was a heaven. he seemed to adopt this ancient greek notion that if you could a -- accomplish something really fine, you could live on in their
memories. you would not be dust in a grave. he has huge ambitions, but he did not have a selfish ego. he could subordinate his ego. he could bear grudges. he brings in stanton, stanton had humiliated him whenever -- when they were lawyers. yet he decides, he is the best man for the job. stanton ends up loving him more than anyone outside his family. on the one hand, he has huge ambitions, but they are for a purpose. on the other hand he can , subordinate himself if he needs to reach that larger goal. lincoln's white house was so much more open that he had more feeling of the public. there would be these receptions where anybody could come diplomats and back woodsman or , -- are side-by-side. he said, i can never forget the popular assemblage from which i have,. he would gossip with people, learning about people. he was curious all the time and
that kept him alive to the sentiment in the country. you have to do that in a country like ours. charlie: he visited the troops a lot. doris: he got a norm a visiting the troops. he would walk amongst their ranks and he would tell them his funny stories that they would tell to 100 more people. he said, after each battle was lost, they had to see him to know that he still had confidence in them. not only did they help his spirits but he got been feeling better. he would come home from those visits and say i have seen the soldiers and i know what they are fighting for. of course, he gives the purpose of the war in the gettysburg address more brilliantly than anybody could possibly have done. charlie: this tells you that abraham lincoln was a good ceo. a was a great manager, leader-manager. a leader of an institution. america and the presidency. your point is what is remarkable , about this is that you show his political skills. doris: right. i think that he understood how
to deal with people. what is political skill about? it's managing the emotions of other people. if you understand the people around you if you allow yourself , to put your rivals inside your cabinet because you know that you will be strengthened by them, if you can shoulder responsibility for them, if you can treat them with kindness, sensitivity, and compassion, and empathy, you will get ahead with them in the long run. he just somehow understood people, and i think of politics is about people, it aches no sense to think that there is something wrong with a political or send. pot -- politics should be an honorable profession. we have made it different today. charlie: the gettysburg address. tell me about that, the preparation, the instinct and how long it took to write it. doris: it is one of the great mysteries. people say he wrote it on the train. that isn't so. when he was thinking about the speech he would write pieces and put it in a drawer and be thinking and thinking. the order for the speech was edward everett.
he would give a two-hour speech. lincoln was just supposed to be the follow-up guy. lincoln speaks for two minutes, and at the time when he finished the speech everyone thinks it is , not quite finished so they do not know how to applaud right away. they are so stunned. they are used to 4-5 hour speeches. but he was able to give a meaning to the war that has and were forever. he was able to say that these people have not died in vain. they are giving their lives for something larger even than unions. he says, what we are fighting for is the experiment that is the democratic country we are. if we should lose the war the , idea that ordinary people can govern themselves will be undone. we will no longer be a beacon of hope. they are fighting, the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. it is a transcendent goal. it is what america stands for.
emily: it is noon in hong kong. i have an update of the top stories. north korea fired short-range projectiles and the ce hours after un security council passed new sanctions against pyongyang. gold,ill ban exports of titanium, rare earth and coal. a key source of hard currency. china gave its backing to the sanctions. the slowdown in china will top the agenda as leaders gather for the national people's conference. the nonfactor pmi for february was 51.2, signaling expansion but lower than january. nominal force for gdp growth of 4.25%.