tv Book Discussion on The Professor and the President CSPAN January 18, 2015 11:00pm-12:01am EST
yorba linda california stephen hess talks about the relationship between nixon and his onetime adviser, daniel patrick moynihan. this is a little under an hour. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. my name is jonathan and i am the professor of communications. welcome to the presidential library on the occasion of the presidents 100 september day. before we start am i just want to say that today's a free admission day. so i encourage you to visit the white house right across the way. take that in visit the galleries to learn about this topic and more about the president of the united states.
stephen hess is our nixon legacy lecturer today. he joined president nixon for his 1962 california gubernatorial debate. it was somewhat of a political odd couple because you had moynahan coupled with president nixon, obviously a republican. but the two of them were very loyal friends and they made their relationship work. mr. stephen hess new one of the few people that he was close to. it is the subject of his new book, "the professor and the president: daniel patrick moynihan in the white house." before we introduce them to the this stage, we have a preview video to show.
>> he is assistant to the president for affairs. he was speaking at a rally that was appropriately scheduled on halloween night. [laughter] we are predicting the end of the world after he was elected the following week. >> the president of the united states. >> it was an incredibly close election in 1968 he came in with an opposition to congress and he felt that he needed some prominent democrat and strangely he turned to daniel patrick moynihan and put him on his white house staff. he put opposition people in the cabinet because he could fire them very easily and if you quit, they are in trouble. >> i have been a speechwriter for him when he ran for governor of california in 1962 he was professional a political
relationship, but he was close he was completely different they were simply good friends. it was a very unusual white house to have a richard nixon staff that is all very uptight and then throw into the mix this 6-foot 5-inch super elf of the west wing. it turned out strangely enough that they loved him. and the medal of freedom was actually invented by daniel patrick moynihan when john kennedy was president and when pat was in in the white house with nixon, he had the pleasure of putting together a list for the president and a list that included moynahan. >> this name says edward kennedy ellington. [laughter] reporter: he played the part is best is that he could.
>> lycée to him happy birthday, let's sing in the key of gee minor. >> he had many things and i think that he was trying to build a sense of nixon to be historic. >> it's something that no president has ever had. >> this is a big surprise. nixon had actually in his campaign campaigned against this idea which basically was a negative context. >> i think the people who use a bad word ought to get rid of the good conscience. >> clearly it was something that ultimately produced this and included the plan, and yet he
had to say yes this is more expensive. but it is the right thing to do. >> initially this new system will cost more. and it is designed to collect the condition. >> pat thought very deeply about his family, his family had been deserted when he was young low of two years old sumac my father was unable to support us in so to make the children eligible for welfare, he leaves home. >> creating a new welfare system was the main thing that he wanted to do in the two years and he was given us to serve in the nixon administration. >> i therefore propose that we abolish the presidents welfare system and that we adopt in his place a new family system. >> i'm sure the president
thought of changing the configuration of the world greatly, but i am sure that he never thought of doing this domestically and it was daniel patrick moynihan who created the opportunity for nixon to take advantage of the presidency. ♪ ♪ [inaudible conversations] >> ladies and gentlemen, a friend of the nixon foundation stephen hess. [applause] black >> thank you so much, sir. [inaudible conversations] >> we will start here.
jonathan, dwight eisenhower used to tell us that he had a favorite cartoon and he said that the next speaker needs all the introduction that we can give him. >> i love that. [laughter] [inaudible] >> the president played happy birthday to duke ellington and i wish that george had kept the next scene, which was ellington in the french style kissing nixon on both cheeks. with nixon of course blushing. [laughter] and i do want to add something that i would not otherwise have mentioned when i took this assignment.
but one of our colleagues on the white house staff . but one of our colleagues on the white house staff died on january 3. his name is marty anderson and when you read my book you can see that he's a very prominent player in the story and he was famous for what he did when he came back on the reagan administration. but he did one thing very importantly and it happened to be earlier when they talk sensibly about him. that was richard nixon creating what became the volunteer army and that was actually a proposal that was developed by marty anderson. and we had flew in from los angeles to said francisco 1970 in the movie they showed us was called the greatest game in town and i'm sure that no one
remembers. elizabeth taylor was senate others were in it. and it inspired marty to talk about this story when he was getting his phd at mit he had access to the great computer and he thought that maybe he would have suffered down which was the closest track to boston and then he went out and told me everything that he put in the computer and this went on and on. all of the conditions and all of it. on and on he went all of the battle that he had put here and then he said that i got so good that i could break even.
so i remember that. i remember him today. and i think the easiest way to do this, i have to tell you, is to read a few of the first pages and then we can go into it go into the plot of the story. and so okay. i'm the only person perhaps in the world who is a friend of nixon and daniel patrick moynihan before it they knew each other. the professor and the president is a story of the consequences of their paths crossing in 1969 when a conservative president made a adviser in the white
house. so this was a trajectory of change and ultimately to become the u.s. ambassador to india u.s. representative to the united nations and three celebrities to the u.s. senate that was elected four times in the u.s. so he viewed his domestic policy with the progressive task that he had not promised nor imagined and i first met nixon in california. [inaudible]
[inaudible] because he didn't have that they are as a subsequent vice presidents tie. when it was over eisenhower got in his own car and was driving home to gettysburg pennsylvania they didn't get staff and offices in all of the other perks that they were wired. the republican national committee determined bid to keep eisenhower politically active, someone had to answer his mail. the job that i accepted was to be doing piecework hate so many cents for each letter. what we fail to anticipate was as if every schoolboy in america wanted ike's opinion on what was that years national debate topic others wanted something for their charity auctions or an
autograph or just wanted to say hello. these letters provided a windfall that allowed me to become an independent player. and whenever i heard a friend of eisenhower had won an award, received an honorary degree, i would draft a letter for him to send along and soon people were stopping in telling me that that is the nicest note from the general, as eisenhower like to be called at that time, all this was arranged with the chief congressional lobbyist in the eisenhower white house and was not a go-between between everything in washington. he also instructed me to attend to any needs that nixon might have and nixon was now a rainmaker for the los angeles law firm, he was proud to have a considerable income for the first time in his life and to be able to build a home in a neighborhood in beverly hills.
he said if i have to play golf one more time with randolph scott, i may go out of my mind. and there is political gossip that has fueled that since 1947. i tried to oblige by writing him what amounted to this with a subscription list of one. i did not actually meet nixon in person until the spring of 1961 where he wanted help writing articles for the saturday evening post. visiting washington, he borrowed from the law office of bill eisenhower's attorney general this was the day before at large l.a. firms would house their own offices in washington. and after we discuss the articles that he wanted, he said incident early don't send me those drop letters i don't want to be a member of one of those politicians that remembers peoples numbers.
and that was a lesson learned. eisenhower was a natural politician and nixon, as a politician, was not. i also learned how comfortable it was to help nixon on writing his projects. which i continue to do for the next three years. and like him he admired writers and he said that writing this was a compelling account of his career to his presidential run in 1960. moreover he was exceedingly generous. i said he was too much and he was in barronembarrassed.
and much i learned about him was different from the public exception. with moynahan it was neither. and we were too young young men that were going to be friends, and he was right. that's right, pat and i were both from massachusetts and we saw a good deal of each other. through the years, the memories compounded. and at the upstate new york farm he declared to our teenage children pointing to a sumptuous patch here are the leaders of america, go forth and pick the
corn trapped on a and he discovered there is a grotto on the capital grounds were the one with stay cool. and he would do this many times and years later for their 40th anniversary. and that is something that happened they said we loved him, and he loved you, is there anything else that you would like to have and he said yes i will have them with me when i am at home and you should buy the book and on the back cover you're going to find the three bowties. and you will see that she did something very clever
[inaudible] at the nixon headquarters at the hotel in new york. the president announced that daniel patrick moynihan, 41 years old, would join white house staff as assistant to the president and he will take a two-year leave from his position at harvard and nixon said that he will create by executive order a new console that will serve as the counterpart, the domestic counterpart. the next day's "washington post" moynahan was described as his foot 5 inches of corrosive wit with candor and intelligence. and so how did he come to be nixon's democrat? welcome of the year 1969 was not a good one.
not for him to become president. he took office in both times were congress was controlled by the democrat and he felt he needed a democrat to his administration and he would have a close advisor to him and if he wanted to know what he was called. so he was taking a tremendous risk and appointing him. and then moynahan was close to
the kennedys, and if anyone didn't care for the kennedys, it was nixon. he was from harvard and the president went to harvard and he was a liberal. so why pick him? why would he on the other hand shoes to go with nixon? nixon was the person most despised by the liberal community of cameras i'm a on the upper west side in new york and pat was giving up the future in his own party. but what happened was that he didn't have a future in his own party and in 1965 and he made a very serious report and that
joined forces. and he responded by the first day going to work, january 21 and he had arthur burns and he was preparing transition reports. and he rejected this idea, he was coming to california on a sabbatical and he expected in a years time when the job was open he would be appointed the chairman. but he could not say no to the
president. and he has to ivy league professor is competing. one was a liberal harvard social scientist and it the other a conservative colombia economist and they conflict in and they did so in the way the people would like them to be in conflict with disputes in the white house and he and henry kissinger talked about domestic policy. and he turned to the eisenhower model in which eisenhower reached out to his cabinet.
but what happened here is eisenhower won and he knew exactly how does should be banned be a success and get the offers that he wanted. but nixon, had he won both elections so that people weren't devoted to him. nixon had none of these advantages. he had never run a big organization and pretty soon he
couldn't stand it. he had three former governors and they didn't shut up. [laughter] shut up he would tell them. and after a while he told bob to keep me away from that. and interned he turned to this conflict this debate for urban policy, not to his cabin and specifically. to burns and moynahan. so if you had a game of theirs, it would have to be burns. burns was a friend of the president and moynahan was not. burns had all the advantages and yet he didn't win. so if this is really thought of as three mysteries, the first mystery was why moynahan picked nixon and why nixon picked
moynahan. and it was complicated. the second would be what happened with this internal struggle over policy. and why would moynahan when -- he won most of the battles. but moynahan was engaging and funny and he attracted the people on the staff and all of the americans liked him and burns was blind and he pulled on his pipe. he was a brilliant man. and they were sure of his
loyalty and remember that moynahan was publicly against the vietnam war and he had been a founder of the lyndon johnson were on poverty program and yet his commitment to the president was not to say anything public about any of these disputes. he said things privately to him and he said i wish i had all that money to spend for other reasons, but public the he never said anything. and so as he proved his loyalty he said loyalty is a major key component. and they became close they had a real friendship.
they had a friendship that was founded in a funny way. when moynahan was picked in december before the inauguration, he started to send memoranda to the president. and i know this because i was on the eisenhower staff but not nixon. he was convoluted complex, they were even about subjects of the president can do anything about. but moynahan thought the president should know about this, this is interesting. so when there is a memo from an underling to a boss, to somebody who needs that these were clearly intellectuals who intellectuals and richard nixon
had never received anything like that before and he loved them. and unfortunately it would lead to problems for daniel patrick moynihan. but they started to me through these memorandums. nixon was at the stage when he was not very anxious to be sitting around his own cabinet. in the oval office, he created another office and he would invite him in and they would have conversations and the president would say what political biography should i read and pat would say read this book and so forth and so on. and then the president had a sleeping problem and he would get up in the morning and start
-- i said you know, do you think you're still going to lose? and so in a strange way because it was an advantage over henry and that he could -- he had a blank space in which to work upon. and he was a brilliant politician and this was very important and he was a moderate by splitting the difference, he was a moderate if you move right
on a supreme court decision, you can be sure that he is going to move left and somehow that is how he was going to come out from the middle of the stage and so the book describes not only despite but the excitement of being at the white house and he went to the place where he got his hair cut. it was an interesting thing that happened. and there was always some important person sitting on that
he had been with nixon and all the school children in the school people and the kids and those that were gathered. kissinger was quite nervous. [inaudible] >> a year later we found ourselves a lot and he said we are having a tough time to get this done. and so at this point henry kissinger leans over and he says
he will like this, you are the right man for this moment in history. [laughter] and so it was very interesting. i was only in the situation room once and the issue was drug use. and i remember very clearly because we sat around the table and there was some speech that night and henry got up at some point and said excuse me but i have to go and try to translate the president's speech from the original german. when the light went on and it happened at the end of 1969 and what a great picture.
and so the end of 69 it could've been a history for him. he had accomplished major things. we are thinking of the great things, but it's almost as if nixon's friend had said to him that you can do anything you won't as long as it doesn't cost much or embarrass me. and so in the book there are a lot of little things. for example the statistical systems of that time in the united states they listed people as white or nonwhite.
things, and they got a commission and started to put it together, but of course everything is part of this. but he did ultimately did richard nixon to ultimately change it if you go to washington, you're going to see the great sweep and these are some things that are getting done. and suddenly they were in cambodia and we were into another country. and so i should make it clear that moynahan is not against the use of force in this particular
situation. but he believed firmly and truthfully that nixon wanted to and it and nixon had the right to try to do that. but they caused a great uproar especially among the people. and hundreds of thousands surrounded them in the white house, and some of them, including the vice president were saying awful things about these kids. they were not gangsters or anything, but they were protesters and daniel patrick moynihan did not like that at all and one in nixon to do something and also there was kent state. and kids were killed. things were starting to fall apart in this relationship and the family assistance plan was ultimately defeated and an
important memo was received from nixon by moynahan. and so he submitted his resignation and nixon refused it. moynihan his colleagues at harvard said we want to welcome you back to cambridge. and he just sent a letter to the president he said would you stay to help meet past this family assistance bill. and then suddenly the president goes to camp david and says why don't we send him to the united
credit for this failure, so i'm going back to harvard. and he does go back to harvard and they stayed friendly and they do a lot of things and a lot of back-and-forth and then a few years later nixon called him again and says that i actually use it to discover some major developments in india in the book actually ends with a telegram from india. and there's going to be aided [inaudible] two people and so forth.
>> thank you. >> mr. stephen hess has agreed to answer some of your questions, but first question is first, he took a lot of lessons in the senate from president nixon. >> he's certainly on his own but moynihan as a senator and he's a unique advisor to the president and he had a little one-room schoolhouse on the
property and moynihan has written more books than the average senator has read. and i don't know any specifics on that [inaudible] and these are the things that i remember. they are not ready for a book but they are ready for two pages. and so one thing that i remember, there are times that i thought richard nixon.
i should say that at the end of 1969 he is made counselor to the president, cabinet officer, he would remain for the last year and he got this ambition and became chairman of the federal reserve and nixon was the chairman of the white house conference of children and youth and that is something that he had talked about and so i took that job after realizing at that moment in history that we could not have a successful conference on both children and youth in the problems were so different and so explosive that they were going to overwhelm this and i
asked them if i could divide it into two conferences. and so i held this conference on children and then i held a white house on youth. and that often happens when you're a friend of the president and they invite the family into the oval office. it is a ceremonial thing and everyone wants to have pictures taken they get trinkets and i should say that the president was never good at these functions. he had certain set jokes and so this is the end of the day and he leaves to get on a helicopter, which you can see
and he goes to meet with the prime minister of canada. he was a military aide and so it goes. so the president says what is your favorite subject at school. and charlie says geography and nixon's eyes light up and said that was my favorite subject as well and at this point he starts walking around the perimeter of the oval office [inaudible] and then he takes the two boys and says i want to travel when you're young even if you have to borrow the money.
the next thing that he does, he is imitating a little old man trying to come down on a cruise ship and we are all laughing. and it was hysterical. that was the time that happened in person. >> hello do you think that president nixon could have ended the vietnam war in his first term? >> well, it was ended in the first term because he was succeeded by ford and they had not evacuated at all.
especially had they been given the extra two years. and i guess i can't say more than that. and that's the biggest question i ask is what happened with moynihan and a specialist will happen with our political society today. when i think about it we start to say no and then we have tremendous problems as well and we somehow have a war that was 65,000 americans killed and it's not and there are problems that
we had been so i don't know why it happened there. so how can you say there could be two other people, this presidency come in the next presidency that could form a link like that. we spent a lot of time as political scientists, thinking of arrangements and so forth and have never factored in this way. and so things have changed. and that is people actually like each other. and sometimes that is how works.
>> it works. >> we have a question in the back row here. >> hello my name is michelle this is not a quick stir of a question about nixon. i have a son that is interested in going to the u.n. and foreign services and you have any advice on how he can achieve his dream? >> i can't give any advice on that. i have a bunch of children myself. none of them went into service. they somehow found the guidance to get their. this evening on the way home i will stop and work with my son and his family and he became a graphic designer.
i led him to a career in graphic design, but he is really good. >> thank you so much mr. stephen hess. [applause] >> he will be available to sign books and the lobby and before he does, we are going to present him with the presidential seal in front and i want to thank you all for coming. we will see you next time. [applause] ♪ ♪ [inaudible conversations] >> is there a nonfiction author
or book that you'd like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail to at email@example.com or send us a tweet or post on our wall at facebook.com/booktv. >> yours look at books are being published this week. mike huckabee sure stories from his 2000 a run for president and why he is optimistic for the future of the united states of america in his book "god guns, grits, and gravy." then we have a current wonton amo detainee sharing his record of the event that led to his imprisonment in 2002 in the treatment that he has received in the u.s. tennis center in monhamedou ould slahi, "guantanamo diary." then we have monhamedou ould slahi, "guantanamo diary"'s talk about her book "the train to crystal city."
then we have david morris in his book about posttraumatic stress disorder in "the evil hours." then former npr con correspondent talks about the negative effects of corruption in iraq and ukraine in egypt and nigeria as a result of pervasive corruption. in her book "thieves of state." then we have thanassis cambanis,"once upon a revolution." look for these titles and book stores this coming week and watch for the authors in the near future on both tv as well as booktv.org. >> coming up next "after words" with bret stephens. he argues that enemies and competitors are taken advantage of the void left by the u.s.
switching the focus from international to domestic concerns. this is about one hour. >> host: hello, i am bob come and i'm here to interview a bret stephens who is a pulitzer prize-winning columnist of "the wall street journal." .. we want less engame. in the middle east. we want to turn our backs on a war on terror that seems to many people to be unwinnable. we want to