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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 27, 2012 9:45am-10:30am EDT

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change their votes and he was voted unanimously as the presidential candidate for a fourth term. he had wanted -- though he couldn't get anybody interested he wanted henry kaiser to be a candidate, possibly to succeed him. kaiser had no political ambitions. no one knew whether he was a democrat or republican. a republican. who was henry kaiser? you may remember him as, if you were old enough, as the industrialist and shipbuilders who build the missionary ships and the liberty ships. when i sailed to korea during the korean war, which was a few years after world war ii, it was on a victory ship with seven bunks high and you didn't want to be on that autumn bunk, because of the rocky ocean, what would happen to you there.
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.. >> come other people wanted the job -- some other people wanted the job. the very conservative governor of ohio wanted the job, and they gave him the consolation prize of being the vice presidential candidate. robert taft, the senator from
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ohio, wanted the job, but nobody wanted him. he didn't get it. he had wanted it in 1940, and wendell willkie was made the nominee then. he wanted it again in 1948 and again in 1952, and in 1952 he came reasonably close, but dwight eisenhower was the presidential candidate for the republicans. a young man, 20 years younger than he was and who looked energetic, to run against him. and he had to find a way to look energetic too. his pictures did not make him look good. he was at camp pendleton, california, southern california, at the time of the democratic convention in chicago. he didn't want to be in chicago at the time. in the railway car that he used in traveling across the country,
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microphones had been set up so that he could give a speech accepting the nomination, and he did. and several reporters and cameramen were allowed in to listen to the speech live and to take his portrait. and the picture taken of him made him look so haggard that it nearly lost the election for him. but he was lucky he was alive at that point. because that morning, the morning that he gave his acceptance speech, a little later on, he called to his son jimmy who was a marine major then at camp pendleton. jimmy, come help me, i have terrible pains. i open the book, by the way, with that episode in flashback. he had had what was, apparently, a seizure. but nobody knew. his doctor was in another part of the train, he never told him. he said, jimmy, lie me down, lay
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me down on the floor. james lay him down on the floor. he said after a while, i'm beginning to feel better, help me up. and he was helped up, and he was assisted to the packard convertible that had been in the car, in one of the railway cars to travel to the camp pendleton area where the maneuvers were going the take place for marines to practice the invasion of v.a. v.a -- japan. and he was at those maneuvers. he looked okay then. of course, nobody saw him except at a distance. but his speech was rather ragged in accepting the nomination. it didn't sound very good. he needed to show some effort of physical strength, so he traveled to hawaii from california. he visited pearl harbor, he
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visited other bases in hawaii. all this in an open convertible. he met general mac arthur and admiral nimitz there, and they discussed the future of the world. he deliberately traveled to hasn'ts then in a -- hospitals then in a conventional chair so he could see the troops and they could see him. he wanted troops who had been disabled to see that here was a guy who had overcome such disability, and it was a rare occasion that people saw him like that. i don't think any pictures were allowed. that wasn't -- no pictures taken. he went from hawaii to alaska. he visited the aleutian islands, attu, islands captured by the japanese had been evacuated by the japanese at that point, but when kishka was occupied by canadian and american troops,
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they found two dogs had been left behind by the japanese. and those two dogs became a very strange element in the campaign after that. because word got around when roosevelt returned to the seattle area from the, from alaska traveling about 14,000 miles -- and by the -- this was a very sick man traveling 14,000 miles, going out in small boats in the aleutians and fishing and so on, pictures taken showing him doing this. the problem became that he not only made another speech that sounded bad, he was exhausted from his trip to aleutians, but also there was a report probably based on those japanese dogs that he had left behind his own scotty dog on one of the
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aleutian islands and that it took millions of dollars in warships to go off to find the poor dog. and this was used by republican congressmen to raise hell with him for having abused the defense forces for his cotty dog. scotty dog. well, it wasn't true. and it turned out not to be true, but it gave him a terrific campaign issue. and the result was that the first major speech he gave when he returned from his long trip was to a dinner group in washington, d.c., i believe it was the teamsters union annual convention. he talked to them, and he said toward the end of the speech -- his speech writers, by the way, told him don't put this in, it's not a good idea. he said, well, i'll ad lib it. and he did. he was a very good ad libber.
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he said, of course, i don't resent attacks and my family doesn't resent attacks, but my dog does. you know, my dog's scotch, and being a so thety, as soon as -- scotty, as soon as he learned that the republicans in congress had concocted a story that i left him behind on the aleutian islands and sent a destroyer back to find him and it cost the taxpayers of $20 million, his scotch soul was furious. he has not been the same dog since. well, this as far as the reporters and other listeners were concerned said roosevelt's back. this was the old roosevelt. and he determined to take not the dog speech, he didn't repeat that. everybody knew about that. he determined to take his campaign vigorously to some of the big cities. he went to new york, first of all, and he went again in his train with. the green packard convertible
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was with him. they took the packard out of the frame, he was lifted into it -- of course, unseen by the public -- and he traveled for 51 miles through all the boroughs of new york but staten island in pouring rain and bitter cold waving his soggy fedora to the thousands -- millions, literally -- of viewers. and the people were just amazed at his remarkable stamina to be able to do this. of course, that remarkable stamina was, call it an adrenaline rush, if you wish, but he did it. he then went on to philadelphia and did the same thing and again in pouring rain, crossing the river over to canada and also campaigning there. then the boss of chicago, the
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democratic boss, major kelly, said you've got to come to chicago. you've got to show the midwest that you're vigorous and able to be president for another four years. and so he got on the train again and went to chicago. chicago the weather was even worse. this was now toward the end of october. he went to soldier field which not yet, which wasn't yet the home of the chicago bears as it is now. but it was an open stadium that sat, it seated over 100,000 people. there were at least 100,000 more outside. a cold wind blew in from lake michigan. the temperature was nearly zero. he drove then to soldier field up on a platform, that is the car went up on a platform where there were microphones, and he spoke from his car to the crowd
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outside and in, and they were amazed at his vigor. and he went on to point out that it was very important to keep the safety net, the social net open ask and available for the return vet -- open and available for the return veterans, that it was very important to have the amenities they needed not just the four freedoms he had enunciated earlier, but economic freedoms. and the public was, again, amazed at his vigor, his vitality. that still wasn't enough. because there were rumors spread by the other side -- outs always spread rumors about ins -- that he was a dying man. of course, they couldn't prove it. but he then went to boston. and at fenway park, the home of the boston red sox, he spoke again outdoors. one of the people who introduced
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him was orson welles who was then major star. frank sinatra sang "america the beautiful." frank sinatra, by that time, was not only a sox hero, but he had a son whom he named franklin roosevelt sinatra. later on sinatra, as he became wealthier, also changed his party designation. and as a result frank sinatra jr. came along. that is, he changed -- the son changed his name to ape his father and became frank sinatra jr. so we forget that earlier history. but roosevelt returned to hyde park, his home, just before the election feeling that he had done very well. and he did. partly he was helped by the soldier vote. i have a whole chapter in the book on the soldier vote. how did they vote, and were they
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restricted in any way from voting? we have problems now in the current election season of attempts made to restrict the vote because you want to restrict the vote of people who are likely not to vote your way. and in this case soldiers might have voted for the commander in chief. and so they were being restricted in the congress in all kinds of ways about absentee ballots. nevertheless, absentee ballots were fought through, and four and a half million soldiers and sailors and marines voted. it was a tremendous number. they were able to vote, all kinds of means were used for communicating with them and getting the absentee ballots back. and later on i became the elections officer, the voting officer for my outfit in korea during the korean war.
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and i found out what was done for absentee ballots. i had to countersign the back of the envelope after they sealed it with my name and rank and serial number. so that they were considered legitimate. soldiers did much the same thing in europe and in the pacific in world war ii. i wanted to put in something about the soldier vote, and there's a whole chapter on it. and a number of people helped me interview veterans about how they voted. many veterans, especially sailors, said i voted for roosevelt because he was a navy man. and that puzzled me at first because a navy man? yes, he was assistant secretary of the navy during world war i. so he was a navy man. and he wanted very much to join the marines and go over and fight, but woodrow wilson wouldn't let him.
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he said, we need you here, we need you at home as assistant secretary. so he went over toward the end of the war to inspect the troops and see what he could, but he never actually was in a fighting situation. he was a navy man, and the sailors voted for him. a lot of troops voted the other way, but they voted the other way, they said, well, that's the way my family voted. they really didn't know much about either candidate, and roosevelt was the overwhelming favorite because they knew who he was. so one chapter deals with the soldier vote. another chapter, check my time, i think we're okay, another chapter deals with an event in the election season that is reminiscent of other seasons, other election seasons perhaps. it was the party that was unpatriotic. was it unpatriotic, and in what
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way was it unpatriotic? roosevelt or his government at least had imprisoned the secretary of the communist party, earl router, for passport violations. he had used a fake passport. in 1932 he pardoned him because it was a gesture toward russia, to stalin who was then our ally. we might not have wanted him as an ally, but we needed him, and he was there, and this was a gesture to stalin. l well, the result was that the republicans attacked roosevelt and said that the person who is going to sit at roosevelt's side if he's reelected is earl broader. this was, of course, nonsensical, but nevertheless, it was declared, and people accepted this. the other problem was that roosevelt was unpatriotic
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because he had failed us at pearl harbor, that he knew what had gone on and let pearl harbor happen. conspiracy theories are very common. we love conspiracies. we read about them all the time in the newspapers and listen and watch about them on tv. the idea was that the president and his advisers knew that the japanese military code had been broken before pearl harbor, and we did nothing about it. it was not true. we had broken the diplomatic code before pearl harbor, and we knew a week or ten days before pearl harbor that the japanese were going to break diplomatic relations with us. and that very likely meant conflict. general marshall and admiral king, i'm sorry, and admiral
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leahy sent out messages to all the major posts in the pacific from the canal zones in manila saying this is a world warning. it looks like the japanese may attack. be on the alert 24/7. this was sent on november 27th. pearl harbor was december 7th. nobody was on the alert. despite these cables, no one was on the alert. in fact, admiral kimmel and general short who were in charge of pearl harbor were planning to play golf at 8:00 on saturday -- on sunday morning. at 8:00. five minutes before 8:00, the japanese attacked. they didn't play golf. but they also were not on the alert. general macarthur in manila was asleep in his bed. he didn't believe it when he was told about the attack.
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pearl harbor? they couldn't have done it, they couldn't have gotten that far. and, of course, within hours manila was attacked, and the beginnings of the invasion of lieu san had occurred -- that was the diplomatic code that was broken. we didn't break the military code until after pearl harbor, but it did result in our victory in midway because we did know japanese movements at midway by that time. nevertheless, tom dewey wanted to attack roosevelt for having known about the military events and what was the president going to do. he felt helpless. he wasn't going to do a thing but let it happen. but general macarthur entered -- i'm sorry, general marshall intervened without roosevelt's knowing and got a message to dewey through an envoy, physically sending somebody to him from intelligence there saying that you're all wrong,
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and if you break the news that we have now broken the military code, this will be of great advantage to the germans and the japanese. because the ambassador of japan in berlin is sending messages constantly to tokyo about what he is learning from hitler about movements of the germans, and he is sending it in the codes we have broken. but they don't know we have broken it. and dewey was nonplussed by this. he said, i really don't believe you, but i have no evidence otherwise. he spoke with his advisers, and they said it's too dangerous. you better stop it. and so there was never any effort to attack roosevelt for having caused pearl harbor or for having known the codes that were the result of pearl harbor's attack. so there are a lot of things in
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here that we learn perhaps for the -- not the first time, but we learn in the context of the election. there is one thing, though, that i find quite fascinating and almost unbelievable, but it exists in the dewey campaign scrapbooks which are at the university of rochester library. they kept all letters to the editor and clippings of all sorts, cartoons, everything that was very valuable to me to have those in their scrapbooks. and the most curious prediction about the election came in a letter to the editor from a newspaper in syracuse. bertrand was the name of the signer, bertrande. he wrote that his friend john predicted that the president would be, quote, reelected by the smallest plurality given him in his four campaigns. that is the smallest popular
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vote relative to the other side. it was still a big vote. john also claimed that a new as yet unforeseen circumstance will cause both japan and germany to come to their knees literally within six months. well, it wasn't six months, but it wasn't much beyond that. john later confided was in a position to know, he had died age 26 in 1910. in 1910. this had been predicted in a seance. now, is that a contribution to history? [laughter] nevertheless, it is so curious that i thought i had to put it in. and so john who died in 1910 predicted the electoral vote very closely. roosevelt did win. he received 432 electoral votes
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to dewey's 99. that's a big difference, but it doesn't reflect the electoral vote which was a lot closer than that. nevertheless, roosevelt won, and dewey took a long time until he conceded the election. and roosevelt finally heard from him in the early hours of the morning. not that he conceded to roosevelt, but that he conceded that he hadn't won on radio. and he was told that by one of his secretaries, and roosevelt said i still think he's a son of a bitch. and that was probably his last statement about tom dewey. he was inaugurated again on january 20th, a small inauguration ceremony. he was not in good shape. and 83 -- i'm sorry, yes, 83 days later he died, april 12,
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1945, and harry truman became president. let me stop there, and if you have questions, i'll be glad to answer them. i've taken a lot of your time, and i thank you for being here. [applause] questions? yes. it's hard to see you with the bright lights, but can you come closer? >> the public not knowing about -- [inaudible] for example, in soldier field, you can drive your packard up on a platform, then you could just do the speech from your car, but you also mentioned, say, dinner for the teamsters he did here in town, how was that handled if he was in a small group, in a small room? did people realize what the disability was, or how was that done?
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>> there was a bank of microphones set up that he could speak from his seat in convertible. but on other occasions he stood up to speak, and by slight of hand -- they had learned how to do this -- by slight of hand his assistants got him up and standing on his braces and back down again that way, and people didn't realize that he was standing on heavy braces. but by the time of yalta which was the conference in january, february 1945, he couldn't wear those braces anymore. they were too heavy and too uncomfortable, he had lost too much weight. and when he came back and reported to congress, he apologized to the congressmen and said you must excuse me for siing down, because the weight of the braces is too much for me now. and that was the first time he had ever confessed that in public. and people must have known at that point that he would not
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make a four-year term. in his fourth term. any other -- yes? >> how much does the book discuss the selection of truman, the replacement -- >> i'm sorry, i couldn't -- >> how much does the book go into the decision to select truman, and was that something that fdr himself was very involved in? >> the question of how truman became nominated? truman turned out to be a great plus on the campaign trail because he was very feisty and didn't need to have prepared remarks. he was good at speaking off the cuff. but true han was a compromise -- truman was a compromise candidate. there was a compromise because none of the conservative south -- which was then democratic, and thest the same conservative -- it's the same conservative south, but they've changed party denominations,
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none of them would have accepted wallace. on the other hand, james burns, who was another person that roosevelt thought of as a vice president, would not have been accepted by the north. the liberal north didn't want burns. he was a south carolinian, he was a racist, a bigot, and he had also changed his religion. he had been a catholic, to marry. and the urban catholics in the north would not have accepted him. so burns was out too. and who was there left? and it turned out that they wanted somebody who would fall between the cracks, as they put it, somebody who was a middle-of-the-roader, who didn't have a lot of enemies, and that turned out to be harry truman. truman did not want the job. he felt that he was going to go into something over his head, and besides, his wife didn't want the job taken away from her that she was holding as the secretary in truman's office.
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she'd lose her job. she had to lose her job anyway. and truman did not meet roosevelt often during the campaign, a couple of times, and that was about it. they did not discuss the future. they did not discuss truman's becoming president. but truman told one of his friends as they left the white house on one occasion, i had a nightmare that i, that the president had died, and i had become president. it was a nightmare. it was nothing he felt was in his ambition. but he succeeded, i think, brilliantly as a, an accidental president. >> i want to thank everyone for coming, thanks to the natural portrait gallery of the smithsonian, and i encourage you all to say if you have additional questions, and if you'd like to take a look at the book, we have copies over here mr. weintraub will be signing, so stick around.
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and join me one more time in thanking mr. weintraub. [applause] >> tonight on "the communicators," we take a look at the role of social media in political campaigns. our guests are katie harbath and adam conner. the two advise the presidential campaigns, members of congress and local officials on how to best construct messaging on facebook and through social media. "the communicators" airs on monday nights at 8 eastern on c-span2. >> tonight on booktv, we recount the life of naval architect william gibbs and his creation of the ss united states, the fastest ocean liner to cross the atlantic and the largest constructed entirely this the u.s. >> did dobbs was a very shy child, spent most of his time ting oring in his -- tipgerring in his father's house. his father wanted him to be a lawyer. his senior year at harvard, calamity happens when the family has a severe economic reversal. they lose their mansion, and
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gibbs is forced to drop out. and he basically said if it wasn't for the fact my father had -- if my father had not gone bankrupt, i would not have had the drive that i have today to remake myself. so he ended up working his way through columbia to get his ba, and then he got his law degree. practiced law for one year, hated it, and eventually apprenticed himself to a famous admiral who saw this kid had talent, an admiral called david taylor. and taylor taught him what he needed to learn. and dwibs eventually -- gibbs eventually moved to new york and started a very successful practice not just designing passenger ships, but also naval ships. he designed 70% of all naval vessels in world war ii which is an incredible achievement. destroyers, cruisers, he designed the more manty -- normandy landing craft, he was also responsible for the iconic liberty ship which was the mass-produced cargo ship that
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helped win the war, basically, build ships faster than the germans could sink them. that was basically the way to build, his mindset. even throughout his very successful career, he still remained focused on the grand prize. >> watch the entire booktv interview on the work "a man and his ship" tonight at 8:30 eastern here on c-span2. >> all this week booktv is on c-span2 with your favorite book programs throughout the day. our in depth programs originally airing live the first sunday of every month feature a three-hour look into an author's work with questions from viewers. this sunday our guest is historian michael -- [inaudible] beschloss. so join us live this sunday at noon eastern for our three-hour conversation with michael
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beschloss on c-span2's booktv. [applause] [cheers and applause] >> how you guys doing? [applause] hi, everyone. can you hear me? oh, good, wow! [cheers and applause] [laughter] this is so exciting! [cheers and applause] this is my very first book and my very first and probably only book signing. [cheers and applause] this is so good, this is so good. well, you know, let me just say i am so proud of this product. um, it is the book "american grown" is everything i would have imagined. i wanted the book to be beautiful, and i think that the pictures are absolutely
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beautiful. i could tell because when malia and sasha picked it up, you know, it's mom, oh, your book, how nice. yeah. [laughter] they actually got pulled in by the pictures, and ten they couldn't put -- then they couldn't put it down, and they started looking through, and then they started actually reading it, and eventually i got, actually, a thumbs up. [laughter] so that's what we hope the book will be. the book is not the story of the white house guard season and be how it came to be and -- garden and how it came to be and how we had our ups and downs and trials and tribulations, but it's also a story of community gardens across the country. everything from a wonderful community garden in hawaii, mao farms, to some excellent school gardens that are happening in, right smack dab in the middle of new york with grade school kids. stories of the work people are doing across this country, really an important part of the book as well. but we also talk about one of my
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key initiatives which is let's move, and it's all about getting our kids healthy. um, so the book shares that journey and some of the interesting statistics and work that are going on all across the country to help our kids lead healthier lives, and then it's practical too. you know, it gives a few tips. i'm not the best gardener in the world, but i had a great team of national park service people, and i had my bancroft and tubman kids, tubman and bancroft kids. [applause] they are my partners in crime in this respect. i mean, these two schools have been with us from the very beginning, and that was one of the things that we said when we started exploring whether or not we could plant a garden on the south lawn, it was like it would have to be a teaching garden. it would have to be a garden that kids could participate in and understand where their food comes from and to engage in that process. because that's really what i learned in my own life, is that when i involve my kids in the food that they ate -- and we didn't garden in chicago, but we
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certainly went to farmers' markets, and we got them involved in really changing their diets and owning that process -- that they accepted it a lot more. and we've seen that with these kids. um, you know, these kids are working in the gardens in their own schools. i know that they're bringing back ideas and questions to their own families and helping to change the way they eat and do great things. so these kids have been amazing, um, and they have just been a pleasure. they come to the white house, they don't get starstruck, they don't look around, they get to work. [laughter] they get to work. and they get our garden planted and harvested in a matter of 10, 15 minutes, sometimes 30 minutes. they just get it done. so we couldn't do this without them them, and i am so proud of you all, so proud, proud, proud of you all. [applause] thank you. thank you for helping me. thank you for helping me. so i just want to thank you all
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for standing in the rain, for coming out. um, i am just thrilled, and i hope you all enjoy the book, and i hope it becomes the beginning of many conversations in your own homes, in your communities, um, and i hope that it leads to a healthier generation of kids at some point. there are also some good recipes in there, too, that are easy to follow, and they're pretty good. white house chefs, so urge you to try 'em. you all, thank you so much, and i look forward to seeing you all up here. all right. [cheers and applause] [inaudible conversations] >> all right, all right. [inaudible conversations] >> are they coming? okay. all right.
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[inaudible conversations] >> all right. that's my, that's my first book. who gets the first signed copy? [inaudible conversations] >> all right, kids, you want to -- you guys want to come around and get your books? come on, get your book. there you go. that's great. there you are. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> there you are. thanks, sweetie. thank you for all of your help. there you go. all right. very special. see if you can see pictures of you in there. did you find some? you found some? hey, how are you? it is so good to see you, guys. thank you so much for taking the time to come out. so, now, are you a gardener? oh, cool. very cool. we want to thank you. we couldn't do this without you all. how are you? so good to see you. oh, my goodness, thank you. you all have been amazing.
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[inaudible conversations] oh, my goodness, you guys. so good to have you guys. this is a good way to end the year. >> thank you so much for coming. >> oh, my goodness -- [inaudible] hi, how are you? [inaudible conversations] >> i don't remember. [laughter] thank you so much. [inaudible conversations] you're ready to party? [inaudible] [applause] >> thank you for coming out.
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we appreciate you. [inaudible conversations] >> you know me -- [inaudible] how are you? oh, my goodness. yeah, yeah, that's right. how are you? wonderful to see you. thanks for taking the time. oh, thank you. [inaudible conversations] hi, how are you? are you a gardener? [inaudible conversations] >> thank you so much. >> how are you? it's so good to see you.
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so are you a gardener? excellent. where's your -- >> [inaudible] >> excellent. no, i've heard of you all. >> thank you so much for coming. >> hey, how are you doing? it's so nice to see you. [laughter] oh, my goodness. oh, yeah, yeah. the recipes are good. i haven't cooked them, but i'm told they're easy to follow. thank you. >> appreciate you coming. >> thank you so much. how are you today? oh, you are so welcome. >> how you doing? is -- doing well. >> that's what we think about all day long, we're doing it for these kids.
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and they all break my heart, i love them so much, you know? [inaudible conversations] >> hi, how are you? [inaudible conversations] excellent, congratulations. hi, how are you? oh, good. [inaudible conversations] >> how's everything going? it all happened, it worked out. how are you?
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all those little people? they're working hard. how are you? you are very cool, you can hang out with me anytime. [laughter] now, are you a gardener? excellent. [inaudible conversations] >> you know, and that's what i love. if i were doing this by myself, i'd be insane. >> thank you so much. >> how are you? it's so good to see you, thank you so much for taking the time. my pleasure. [inaudible conversations] excellent. make them proud. >> i will. >> how are you? it is wonderful -- [inaudible conversations] hey! what's going on, ladies?
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>> hi. >> tell me names, ages, all the vitals. >> [inaudible] >> like malia, almost -- are you going into high school? >> yeah. >> oh, congratulations. >> [inaudible] >> you're 8? excellent. what grade are you going into next year? and you? you're 11? good. you got that down pat, right? so you guys interested in gardening or good, healthy eating? all right. so you're going to spread the word to other kids about eating their vegetables, right? all right. great to heat you. meet you. thanks for coming to see me. >> [inaudible] >> you know, the girls went to their concert. i don't know their names. [inaudible conversations] >> they're a littlel

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