tv After Words CSPAN October 4, 2015 11:00am-12:01pm EDT
interview program "after words" bill o'reilly discusses his book "killing reagan" with bay buchanan president of the american cause. he discusses the career of ronald reagan and the challenges he faced following the assassination attempt in his early in his presidency. >> host: hi bill. how are you doing today? >> guest: i'm good thanks for taking the time to talk to me. i'm delighted to talk about your new look "killing reagan." is the fifth in the series. >> guest: that's correct. >> host: the other, lincoln kennedy patent all died violent deaths and maybe in the case of patent it was accidental but in this particular case of ronald reagan the assassination was an attempt and it did not kill reagan. it's a bit different. why reagan? >> guest: we think the story involved with the assassination
attempt was in context with our series so ronald reagan was shot very shortly after he was elected president. he was at a certain age that when you get a trauma like that it affects you physically and mentally. that certainly happened and it was almost a miracle that he pulled through so we wanted to tell the story in the context of killing reagan. why hinckley wanted to kill him and how that went down and are repercussions afterwards. >> host: fair enough. do you consider that this attempt on the president's life on reagan's life actually change the course of history? >> guest: yes. there is no doubt that ronald reagan was a different guy after he came out of that hospital and it's interesting because he was so rob boston so vigorous that when he appeared with nancy reagan shortly after he was shot
and people said and i said this myself wow what a miraculous recovery. he's out there in his bathrobe with his wife and a smiling. he is cracking jokes to the medical staff before he went into the operation. what a guy about what we didn't know and that was never told to the american public was that ronald reagan had a lot of changes that took place in his persona physically and mentally and that is what the book is about. it chronicles that situation. >> host: if indeed it has affected him would you say it was adversely and you think that reagan could have done more but he was less capable after the assassination because of the physical and emotional and mental changes? is that what you are suggesting? >> guest: everyone who works with ronald reagan in the white house after he recovers said he had his good days and his bad days. no one said that about him when
he was governor of california so there was a change and i believe that reagan somehow almost miraculously lifted himself up via sheer will and overcame the physical destruction upon his body. not every day. some days reagan was so detached that he didn't even come to work. he watched soap operas in the private residence of the white house so we chronicle all of that but something within reagan holds it together and allowed him to have a very successful presidency in the top 10 of all presidents. >> host: that's an interesting point because as you say this assault occurred within six weeks of his taking office and he goes on to win another election to do phenomenally in a debate with the exception of one and to inspire a nation to lift
them up economically and to win the cold war. what more could he have done do you think? where did this assault change things for the worse or did it in fact empower him to do more? >> guest: it's impossible for me to say that. all i can tell you is you asked a question marketing of done more? he delegated an awful lot of authority in the white house. perhaps he could have done more himself. perhaps if he had his full energy level that he would have known about the iran-contra situation which we believe he didn't even know about. that was taking place without his knowledge but it's all speculation. what isn't speculation is that his own advisers at one point after he was reelected were saying we might have to remove him from office because he isn't
concentrating. he's not able to grasp things. his own guys and that's the key part of the book. >> host: you point that out and you say a study was done and they observed him for a few days after they were concerned about this and he passed with flying colors. there is no effort whatsoever to take it to the next step. and your words you may have just had a bad day. >> guest: you don't launch an investigation without a reason so wasn't just an investigation. they were worried. taker and all the guys were worried about him and they were loyal to him by the way. they were loyal and they were so relieved that when he came into the oval office on that day we describe and he was able to engage in all of the issues they felt a sigh of relief. they didn't have to go to the vice president george bush and invoke the constitution but
believe me there was concern that the highest level and this was not undertaken lightly. >> host: well you know i was there for nine years in different capacities and in the campaign -- campaign of the 80s which is the year before the assassination attempt on his life it was very clear during the primaries especially that mrs. reagan made it clear and all the political people agreed that he should only go out for four days a week and be down for three days. we had monday through thursday and the reason is you don't want him to be looking old and being tired, not a good thing. this seems to me to be very much the same thing. he did tire easily. he was almost 70 years old. not there yet but i'm telling you these things happen so to suggest that all of a sudden there's an attempt on his life when he comes out and has a couple of days where he takes naps in the afternoon, something we all do, he used to joke about
it himself. how can you jump to the conclusion that he had these terrific acres following this assault and you are suggesting that he was armed mentally, physically any way that would bring to cause him doing things differently than he would have otherwise? >> you just made my case for me. you just made my case for me. you said before the shooting he needed rest, that he had to look vibrant and you had to give him time off. that was before he was shot and then, and then he almost died. he's on the operating table and they don't know whether he's going to pull through. the trombitas so intense. are you going to tell me that didn't affect them adversely from that moment forward? he was already being pacing him?
>> host: we are pacing him for a good reason. >> guest: in a trauma like that it can only exacerbate the condition that was in play before but i believe that reagan was a very strong man. a lesser man would have died on the operating table because he was very strong. we go through his regiments come his horseback riding on his ranch. he was a very physical guy and he embraced as teddy roosevelt said the vigorous life. that is what really pulled him through and he fought against the trauma that was inflicted upon him by hinckley. he fought against it and he rises above it and he became a great president so that's all we have in the book. it doesn't diminish ronald reagan, it enhances his legacy in my opinion. >> host: let's go to a few points. as you say he was a great
president. he was beloved. he wasn't just somebody who did good things. the american people just loved him and there's a reason for that. it's not just his accomplishments which is half of it or a portion of it but also the person he was. one of those qualities he had is he's at good and decent man who came across as a kind man and get while there are many opportunities that you have taken to talk about affairs in his life some 70 years ago to one night stands, women talking about different things that would suggest intimacy with the former president after the divorce. understand by reading the book why all of this is in there with great detail. if he felt it was necessary for us to know that he had this wild side are those three or four years all you needed to do was
say that he was a playboy. why go into the details? what is the purpose of talking about all of these many and which there's no way we know what really happened. >> guest: number one we don't go into great detail. it's not a tablet book. number two we don't use anything that was a double source of names on it. we took out a whole bunch of stuff that we found out that we couldn't really nail it down and the people wouldn't put their names on it so we didn't use it. just as in killing kennedy, just as in killing lincoln, the same thing. we want to present these people as human beings. we are all sinners and we all have our our downsides and we all do things were not proud proud of. every single human being on earth does that but the overarching the book is that ronald reagan was a great man and this was the essence of his greatness. we spell it out. for me to ignore that, what he did, and there's nothing in the
book that isn't true, while i wrote about kennedy in the same vein would have lincoln in the same vein and patton in the same vein. george patton had an affair while he was on the battlefront. so we are not in the business of deifying anyone and i understand why people might not like that and they don't have to read the book but when you read "killing reagan" you will get a picture of ronald reagan as he truly was with the good and the bad. and i agree with you i think the man was majestic in the way he inspired fellow americans, and his kindness but he wasn't a saint. >> host: nor did he ever suggest that he was. >> guest: that's right and i think ronald reagan would like this book very much. >> host: i would disagree with that because there's so much that you say was he said she said, affairs and one night stands.
>> guest: that is fallacious. >> host: do you have evidence of one night stands? >> guest: all of the things that we write about our footnoted in the book as you know few have read it. they are footnoted with names. did you not read the book? >> host: oh yes i read the book. >> guest: they are footnoted on the page and in the back of the book as well. no anonymous stuff. >> host: why nancy's personal life in there as well? >> guest: at the same thing. nancy reagan was three people. first this driver who wanted to marry ronald reagan and we have to explain why, where she came from and how she got to hollywood, what happened there and then the diva who got a co-governorship. nancy was very smart and very protective of ronald reagan. there were a lot of people who believe that ronald reagan would not have become governor of california or president without
nancy reagan. i can't say yes or no on that but i can say the portrait of nancy is accurate. she was a diva in the white house and she was to some overbearing and to some cruel but then nancy reagan emerges at the end of the president's life as a true hero. somebody who was unbelievably sensitive to her husband's ailments protecting him and making sure he has the best care, devoted her whole life to him for a decade. it's an amazing story of love and we portray that story very vividly. >> host: you you do in the end at it every chance you take nancy reagan and you put a negative light on her. >> guest: that is not true. >> host: for the first 200 pages it is. >> guest: let me state this for the c-span viewers were watching this interview. you were reading this book on an
ideological level. you adore ronald and nancy reagan and for me to put anything negative in the book against them offends you. understand you are an ideologue and i understand you were reading it that way. i'm not. in presenting these people the way they were. once again i will tell you everything is sourced. everything is footnoted when it's controversial and who said it or where they were. there's no tabloid stuff in the book. there are now your responsible allegations in the book. it all happen the way we wrote it. we took painstaking -- we went over this with three or four reagan scholars when they read the book. is it accurate, is it out of context? are we overstating? are we understating. i didn't hear you say anything about jfk when i wrote about him or abraham lincoln. i will tell you if you read this from an ideological point of view. >> host: i'm reading it from this point of view. he was a good and decent man who
inspired people. let's go into another aspect of being a great man. strong, courageous man. you give a great story about when he was a screen actors guild involved against the vice president at the time and there was that awful violent strike. can you tell the readers and it's a wonderful story about the kind of person he was. they were suggesting maybe he go through the l.a. tunnels rather than to break the picket line. tell that story. >> guest: that's an astute question i just cool that you and i'm going to compliment you. what you put your finger on is the genesis of ronald reagan. ronald reagan when he first arrived in hollywood was a shallow, i wouldn't say naïve, he was intelligent that he wasn't a sophisticated man and he made it as an actor and an
almost miraculous way which would document. politically he didn't know what he was talking about and he would almost join the communist party. they didn't want him. the communist party did not want him because they didn't feel he had the gravitas but then there was a strike in hollywood and the strike, the commies were trying to shut down the studios against the screen actors guild which wanted to continue making movies. it got so vicious that the communist strikers would threaten the actors if they came to the set. so the actors had to go into a time of, had to go underground to get to the studios or they have to go on a bus and they had to go on the floor of the bus. ronald reagan refused to go on the floor of the bus and refused to go to the backdoor. he sat on the bus so everybody could see him and because of that he was threatened and so was his family by the communist,
directly threatened. he had phonecalls and what reagan did was he got a gun. he carried a gun in protection but he never wavered, he never backed down. we made that quite clear that he was a man of courage. now that experience turned him against the communists. and that stayed with him his whole life and that was the centerpiece of his presidential administration. we laid out vividly. we laid out that he was a man of courage. we lay out all the things that he did and all the things he stood up for but we also dugard did inform on others in the fbi. so we are telling the truth about ronald reagan and that's why this book i think if you're really interested in the man -- i don't ask you to agree with everything. >> host: i know you don't. >> guest: is a balanced picture as we did with lincoln and patton and jesus, he was
just a good guy. >> host: he was officially a good guy you might say. then he went on and talk about a sitdown meeting with the leader of the strike and how that man is used to try to intimidate and reagan came to that meeting and no intimidation whatsoever. >> guest: and gene kelly, the famous gene kelly singing in the rain was at the meeting and through his prism we write about it. reagan never backed down. he never backed down. >> host: let me ask him on page 50 you write nancy reagan possesses an inner steel that her husband lacks. >> guest: a. >> host: what we just talked about was something that occurred before he knew nancy, before they were married and he was close to 40 years old when he married nancy and this
occurred before so here is a man is that's incredible the only guy standing on the bus began you're suggesting that he lacks an inner steel? >> guest: i took it -- you took it out of context. what we are saying about nancy reagan is she would do the dirty work their reagan didn't want to do because as you pointed out he's a very kind man. he didn't have the heart to fire anybody or to even scold anybody. it wasn't like jimmy carter who was pretty tough in the white house. reagan wasn't like that so while he was a man of courage and while he stood up for his convictions and wasn't afraid of people who wanted to hurt him he didn't have the heart to yell at anybody or fire anybody or to tell them that they weren't doing the job. that's what nancy reagan brought and she did it and that's this deal we were talking about. >> host: okay, all right. i may just go back to that point. through the book as you read it,
this was the first note that i took concerning that. you have nancy almost the individual who is running the show. almost the puppet and she is the puppeteer. he constantly says she is the one who's become dominant and he at one point said nancy had more influence over him than his aides. >> guest: no doubt about that. she had the last word. >> host: this is where the clarification needs to take place here. she had the last word on his personal life and on his social life. she never interfered with policy. >> guest: you know what? i think you are correct on that. nancy was in lockstep with ronald reagan on policy. we didn't find any disagreements that they had politically. so reagan was anti-communist and nancy was anti-communist.
reagan was pro-s., pro-private marketplace, smaller government and so was nancy. so we didn't see any tension there. what nancy reagan did after the assassination attempt was she took off all of the stuff that she felt ronald reagan her husband shouldn't have to deal with and it was a lot. nobody got in to see them without nancy saying yes. that's big. that is power and we chronicle that but i think you are correct where nancy reagan and ronald reagan pretty much agreed on all policies. we never found where she pulled them aside and said maybe we do this or maybe that's not correct. they were pretty much a one line politically. >> host: that's going to another one. let me ask you because it's kind of a mixed message i believe for the reader in the book on his religion, on the depth of his religious beliefs. you mentioned at times that he
didn't go to church for instance and say that does not make an issue out of his belief in god is another quote. but at the same time you do mention there's a spirituality there. in your words what message are you trying to relate to the reader? is this a deeply religious man in your opinion? >> guest: i think he was a spiritual man and certainly he used his belief in god to define his public policy. i'm going to give you an exclusive bay. are you ready for an exclusive? i have a handwritten letter by ronald reagan that he wrote an abortion-rights person in 1980 that says that he opposes abortion because it is his belief that god created all
human life and it is sacrosanct so that he formed his position on abortion which he changed by the way on his spiritual belief system. i have it in his own hand. he wrote it in his own hands. organized religion never really attracted ronald reagan. he is protestant. his ancestors were catholic from ireland but he never really embraced it very much however i do believe that he believes that this country was founded to have a special place in the world and that came from god and that drove that shining light on the hill concept that he endorsed. so he was a spiritual man not enamored of organized religion. >> host: let me give you something that i learned along the way. i interviewed his pastor when he was in pasadena.
this man was his pastor and i talked to him about that. i was thinking of writing a book myself a business interview and he said the reason he did not attend church was when he went into the church for the sunday services that everybody would turn and look at him and they would be a little bit of an excitement and he said he thought it was so unfair to disrupt the kind of spirit that was there by his arriving. certainly that was true when he had secret service attending the services with him and he preferred having the minister come to this house. likewise in the white house often would have a service there does this not suggest that maybe indeed that he was a religious person and all aspects in the sense that he did appreciate the services and the scriptures? >> guest: maybe but he says he doesn't go to church because
it's disruptive. it's been barack obama, that's exactly what his pastor told me. however i will tell you that when ronald reagan got married the sacrament of marriage, he got married in a secular way and there were only two people at his wedding. do you know who they were bay? >> guest: mr. and mrs. holden. >> guest: william holden and his wife and they despise each other and they were fighting during the wedding ceremony. i think we can all say that ronald reagan organized religion was not at the top of his list. his marriage was conducted in a way that would have no religious connotation at all and his children are all secularist except for michael. i think michael is a religious guy but i'm not sure. so i think we are once again telling you about the man what he did and what he did not do an
accurate way. >> host: let's stay on this point for one more minute. do you believe that this crusade against communism was indeed part of a spiritual struggle that he saw as such and that was the driving force? >> guest: it's not what i believe bay that's what ronald reagan believed. ronald reagan believed communist totalitarians violated the laws that god gave us. to be free, to express ourselves, to earn a living the way we want to, to hold private property. inalienable rights that we talk about in the declaration and the constitution. ronald reagan really believe that. we believe that we were, we america was that shining light light -- shining light in the world and the communist were the evil empire, the forces of darkness and that belief was centered around spirituality more than politics.
i think you're absolutely right on that question. >> host: let's go on to if indeed he has this wrong spiritual base is grounded in strong faith and yet on page 76 you indicate, you say of course no man is perfect and reagan still possesses idiosyncrasies that must be kept quiet such as his trust in astrologers are he and nancy you stargazers in order to define the future. i think there's a twist of contradiction here bill. >> guest: i can explain it. do you want me to explain it? >> host: please do. >> guest: ronald reagan couldn't care less about astrology. nancy loved the astrologers it to make nancy happy, to keep her happy he went along with it. how many husbands don't do that? >> host: i agree but that's not what you are saying here.
he couldn't care less about the star. he kept them up late at night. he would've been ready for the inauguration at two in the afternoon. >> i will agree with that i wish he would have written up for the reader. again, twice at least twice and suggested many other times you have said ronald reagan was not a great intellect, having, having struggled to maintain a c average in college. some think ronald reagan has a first-rate intellect. in that same paragraph you said he often hides his knowledge. so what is it bill kumar could you consider ronald reagan. guest: another excellent
question. here's what it is. reagan was not a philosopher. he was not a proactive thinker in the sense that he was introspective. he had a brilliant talent for absorbing information, cutting out the bs and being able to communicate the pit of the information to the folks. this is why he was successful, politically. but, reg and was he a thinker like jefferson or, or lincoln, no. was he able to define problems that were adversely affecting the usa q mark yes. so it was a different kind of intellect he had. it wasn't that book smart. he was a good reader and he did absolutely absorb the information given to him up until the time of the shooting.
after the shooting he had a bit more trouble with that. some days he was brilliant, other days he is not. that was one of the lynch points of the book that we wanted to make. host: after the shooting, with respect to the difficulty he was having, after the shooting he went on to inspire a nation and turn it around to this economic powerhouse. he went on to win a landside reelection reelection to clobber his opponents in debates. he was on his game bill, constantly --dash wasn't that a brilliant moment and yet. guest: he was very good and big moments. but wait a minute on the debates here. you know who who is responsible for turning that
debate situation, tell me. host: roger allers, i do not agree. guest: they all saw that reagan was failing. rang it was not up to it. ehlers went in there and kicked his butt. not physically but he said, you have to bear down and here's what you have to do, and reagan as i just said, absorbed everything roger gave him and he gave out and pounded mondello. spee1 let me tell you what happened in the first debate because i was right there. i was working with the president for some time, all of us who knew the president knew what he was capable of. we were always relaxed during debates because we saw him be stellar in this performance. we we knew right away when jimmy baker and they
had pumped him a full of information. they said that you are older now, we have to show how smart you are. he was no policy walk and he throughout the facts and figures and his personality didn't come through and he lost the debate. the. guest: what you're tell me is exactly what we wrote in the book. host: know what we talked about in the book is he wasn't up to his game. he was having a bad day. guest: i have to respectfully disagree. if you read about roger ehlers that's exactly what he said. he came in, he said you are overwhelming demand with the facts and figures, he was coming before the old and he had to strip away, get to the heart of the matter, talking emotional. talking emotional. all that is written in the book. host: use this as one of the example of showing the president faltering. this kind of alzheimer situation is coming in.
guest: he did not have the capacity, he was not comfortable let's use that. host: that's a good word. guest: he was not comfortable with absorbing a tremendous amount of information and spitting it back. that wasn't his in his strong suit. host: it was never her strong suit, never. guest: before the assassination attempt he could have done that a lot better than after. host: that's where i suggest you bill, that this is who ronald reagan was. he was never a policy walk not because he couldn't be because it wasn't who he was. whether he was governor of california. guest: he was head of the screen actors guild, he had to develop contracts and other stuff these people. he had to be a detail man and he was a secretary before his president, come on. host: exactly my point, you are making my point now.
he was completely capable of doing that but that's not how he won the debate. guest: not after he was shot. you and i disagree. host: let's talk about this. after he was shot that particular incident really brought on some elements of a disease that we know is alzheimer's. guest: it accelerated according to a lot of the doctors who examined him. we went to minnesota and we have all those records in the book, as you know. this was not something off of the top of my head. this was based this was based on medical exams the president ragan. it accelerated this as it would with any human being. if you have a weakness in your physiology, and you have a trauma that weakness then is exasperated by the trauma.
that's what happened. the nobility of reagan and the strength of reagan, i, i believe and this is an opinion of mine he slowed down by sheer will he slowed down what could have been a disastrous situation while he was president area he slowed it down because he had this passion to defeat communism. to infuse optimism in the usa. he said you know what, i'm not going to let this bring me down. i'm going to get through this. and he did. right after he got what out of the white house they, you know it happen. i think part of killing reagan was the sheer will of ronald reagan and the courage he had to overcome this tremendous trauma. host: indeed. it is clear, after you point this out in your book that after the shooting on quote, he was on borrowed time. he had to do something while he
was here to use his time wisely. if that is the case then maybe indeed, this attempt on his life actually embolden him, made him stronger recognizing this is borrowed time, i have to use every minute wisely. guest: absolutely, he had to fight to maintain his physical and mental acuity. and he did. that is why i'm so stunned that people wouldn't feel this book, more than any other book written on ronald reagan, more than any other book makes him a human being that has deficits but has tremendous courage. that courage is on display and we get into that so hard, same thing with nancy. yes nancy was a diva, yes nancy did some bad things but in the end, nancy reagan was a woman of courage, a courage, a woman who had an overwhelming love for her husband and sacrificed her whole life to make sure his last years
were comfortable. i think that nobility really shines in this book. the other stuff is true. this is the most important part of it. host: it is unfortunate. my son loves reagan, he read this book along with me and he says i think of jimmy carter after reading this. he felt you put so much negative spin on every little thing. you looked at it through the ice of a senate and said this is that and this is that, and, and alzheimer's, here on page 215 you refer to the new york time is speaking about evidence of signs of alzheimer's. it goes through several different points here, you said that reported as early as 1980 that contradictory statements, forgetting names in general absent not mindedness.
are you suggesting here that even before he came to presidency that there signs of this terrible disease? guest: i think this disease was in him because of heredity. as you know, the times at different times in different people's lives. it manifests itself differently. i don't remember names the way i use two. host: you're not alone. guest: yeah and that's how we are trying to make. we are not trying to make any medical diagnosis. we are giving the reader the record. but i'm kind of distress that your son took a negative view. it is not a negative book on ronald reagan. it is a positive book. a man who overcame a tremendous childhood. he tremendous childhood. he did fabulous things for this country. he is in the top ten of all presidents as i said. host: i wish you had written that. guest: to have your son say i prefer carter, carter is a good
man but he was a terrible president. host: it broke my heart to be honest. i really feel reagan was a man of courage. guest: i think your son should watch this interview and then reread the book and i think he might take away something different. host: i don't know how much time we have here, let's talk about you do raise some interesting points about john hinckley. talk to to us about what you think of that young man. there are so many places in this book where you said well, if these 17 things could have happened, and only if all of them did would this have ended up the president being shot. it was astounding up to the last minute. give us some insight. guest: as with all killers, he had a psychosis and was mentally disturbed. but he did know right from wrong.
he was intent upon killing someone. jimmy carter tried to kill him in nashville, he couldn't get him. ted kennedy was on his list, thought about killing ted kennedy. but the opportunity presented itself to kill reagan so he did. why question arc he. why? he was delusional and he thought this and make him famous and jodie foster the actors would somehow respond to him. it's crazy, but again he trained himself at a gun range, he planned everything out. not some irrational babbling guy. he should never see the light of day. they are thinking about letting him out now, that would be an insult or ronald ragan, james brady and all the secret service guys who were wounded. he should never ever be allowed out. is responsible for what he did. host: ronald reagan attempted to want to call him an offer forgiveness. are you familiar with that?
guest: i heard something like that but it didn't happen we then track it down. host: what about his parents, the dr. said to him not to call that it would not make things better and it could make things worse actually. his parents, i imagine he called his parents. the parents come across in your book and i think accurately so about people who were concerned and trying to do the right thing. it was heartbreaking. guest: heartbroken. whenever your whenever your parent of a child who does something heinous, the pain is tremendous. it was not the hinckley small. their son was a loon. they did he did what he did. it raises ragan's intent and it goes back to spirituality that he believed in the judeo-christian value which this country was forged that forgiveness is paramount. he did sincerely believe that. he wanted to show the country
that his forgiveness was there even in this terrible incident. host: interesting that morning, the morning he comes to d.c. and it is just a fluke that he sees what the present schedule will be. guest: he sees it in the washington post, the route of reagan speech, and just all go get reagan. host. guest: he just wanted to kill somebody. host: it is amazing how coincidence after coincidence, even at the last minute he thought maybe i will go up and kill myself in front of jodie foster. guest: a lot like oswald, oswald and hinckley are like the same guy. delusional lunatics who want to kill somebody. the opportunity presents itself. the parallels. the parallels between those two are startling. hinckley read about president kennedy's visit in the paper, oswald read about, hinckley
reads reads about reagan's trip to the hotel the paper. they decided to do this. however, before that they were training themselves to be assassins. they know exactly how to train themselves, what what weapons to get, all of that. so keep that in mind. host: i find it interesting that you don't have anything really about policy. guest: it's not really a policy book. it's just a stylistic thing. this book and i think you would agree with this you can put this thing down. it's readable, it's page after page, after page. we didn't get into policy a lot. we wanted a lot. we wanted to tell the story of human beings. president reagan, nancy reagan, john hinckley. we tell the story all the way through. we through. we don't do a lot of policy. host: of course it was when he
walked and took a walk, it wasn't the policy was the strength, the courage, his convictions, it is a belief in protecting america as first and foremost. it set a great deal about the man, do not believe that? guest: yes i think we covered that with his interactions with hatcher, gorbachev, the ultimate success of his policies toward the soviet union. i think we made that quite clear that the way he structured his administration and he was very successful in the foreign policy realm, he was extremely successful on the domestic front. you can buy the two and you have a great president. host: truly great resident. relationship with market catcher, let's touch touch on that. you have some great stuff in here. it was not always smooth sailing with her,. guest: we got the transcript from the reagan thatcher phone
call and thatcher was furious. and she had a right to be. there are some things that about ronald reagan that were not noble. he did not tell thatcher that they're going into grenada so she was hung out to dry. so she said i'm friends with ronald reagan and he would tell me and and we and then she calls them up on the phone call and we have a transcript of that. it's fascinating. this is what we do in the book, we lay out the whole thing. that's why these books are so successful because people get the big picture. now, who was at reagan's funeral in tears and had forgiven him and was his best friend a champion? margaret thatcher. so we show you that even though there was this detachment over grenada, they came back together again, they were both essentially of like mine. they both essentially wanted
freedom to override totalitarianism. host: it is clear though, and the wart you talk of great deal of time on that because. guest: it was a reagan's militaristic point of view that was sublimated there. again, this was the fascination of ragan. he did not want the war. he opposed margaret thatcher fighting the argentines over the south atlantic. he did not want it. so all of the warmongers, how many times today have you heard in your career that reagan was a warmonger. we put that in there because he wasn't a war monger, he didn't want the war. he didn't think it was worth it to do that. but then he invades grenada, why, what was the difference? it was the communists were in grenada.
that's what lit his views. so the whole thing that we weave here, it gives you what reagan really was, he wasn't a war monger and that's why spent time on that. host: but again that was something where he cross purposes with his close friend margaret thatcher which shows two leaders very much in line in respect of one another. but they did what was best for their own countries. if it meant offending someone, and men of offending someone but they had to make certain and isn't it clear that reagan did not tell her because he didn't want anybody to know. guest: yeah but you know he could have told her. she was such a good friend that she would have kept his confidence. why he didn't tell her? i don't i don't know. when you read the pages of the trans- grip, he was a really sheepish. he said well margaret, i'm
really sorry. they were both the same person, reagan and thatcher, they would steal them and say hey we are going to get the bad guys and protect our nation. that's what bound them together. host: margaret thatcher was there and gave the eulogy at his funeral. it was beautiful. you mention that. and he wrote a letter to her as a last act of president. a beautiful letter talking about communism and how together they pull this off. humility. did you find as you study and new reagan when he was president, did you find a depth of humility there? guest: it's hard to say. i think ronald reagan wasn't a guy who went in for self
purposes. john kennedy did, lincoln didn't, reagan didn't. i don't know if you would describe him as pope francis. i think think he had a confidence that he was right, that he had a certain swagger to him when he would address the world and the nation. listen, i know what i'm doing, i'm doing the right thing. but he wasn't breaking or anything like that. host: think the finest quality of the man was his humility. he had an enormous depth of humility. host. guest: i did not know him, you did. that's an interesting insight. host: he had a plaque that i'm sure you read about it always on his desk which basically said you can accomplish anything if you don't care who gets the
credit. and he lived by that. guest: i agree with that. host: i think that's one of the reasons he came across as a great person. when you see him you thought you are his cousin the way he treated you. everyone everyone was an equal. a great aspect to the man who is a human being to be president of the united states, the humblest man i've met in politics. that's not say not saying much but, he was truly humble. so that is an aspect of his person. let me ask then, after he left office, and this again goes back to your pieces, you're taking the assumption that it was his attempt on his life that really set up the signs of alzheimer's, however it is also true about people who are very much in high positions, demanding positions, when they leave those positions
if they don't keep very busy mentally and have challenges they will deep tear your rate. johnson is a perfect case. so he leaves office, he still very vibrant. he goes to mexico, that's what matt nancy thinks is the key part that brought on the key symptoms of, the horseback the fall from the horse where he had the concussion. talk about that a little bit. do you think think nancy may have hit on something here that. guest: i think so. i think all of those traumas accelerate whatever you have inside you. again it was not our intent to be medical people here. it was our intent to show what happened. to take it from a very historical point of view and to tell people who live during the reagan era, who both like him and don't like him, i want
everybody to read the book about what he was really like. and then to replace smith with fact. i think we accomplish that on both side. he was not a war monger. he was not a guy who didn't care about the folks. that's another charge level at reagan that he didn't care about the little people are minorities, absolutely not true. spee1 where do you show that in the book? spee2 by his. guest: by his embrace of the free market system and that he believed that if you allow american capitalism, the freedom to prosper that everyone will work who wants to work. that is exactly what happened. defeating the communist soviet union and surviving an economy that jimmy carter had survived. both of those are
accomplishments and we walk you through what it was. reagan didn't want to do the economy just for him. he was interested in the folks. he didn't like the foot on gas lines. host: and i think he would say he didn't. he believed in the people. it was for the people that he inspired to greatness. guest: he was an inspirational man and his policy allowed the people to process. host: and that's what he said will get off your back but you have to do the work. that's what made him great. he was a good and decent man who had enormous humility, deeply religious, great courage and conviction, and strong. he he went forward and accomplish great things. i don't know that a case has been made in any way, the
attempt on his life had caused a change in history that caused an eventual death of a president, for a president to fail. guest: i agree with you completely. the nice thing about this book as you can have your view and i can have my view. if reagan had not been shot by john hinckley junior, it would not have been any oval office meeting with his top advisers who loved him, consider removing him from the presidency. it never would have happen. because i believe reagan b ran his governorship efficiently and there's no problem with him on the job there. i believe he campaigned in a way that was very efficient, he was very energetic, he wasn't watching tv and soap operas. he was very engaged.
his first weeks in the presidency he had a goal, he was going to accomplish the goal, and then he get shot and all change. that's what i believe. what i believe. we documented strongly throughout the book. but you're free to have your opinion. i like your opinion. i'm not saying anything other than i'm glad you read the book, glad we had this conversation and folks can read the book and decide for themselves. host: what is the most significant aspect of ronald reagan for people who knew and loved him to take away from this book? guest: everyone will take something different just like your sunday. just as they did with jesus, lincoln, kennedy. i heat on all of those books. i didn't say in killing jesus we didn't talk about his spirituality, the resurrection, i got it from that side. now i'm going to get up from this. you didn't canonize ronald reagan. no i'm not in business to do
that. i laid out the man in a fair and methodical, entertaining way. i hit on i hit on things that i feel are important that people didn't know about. we have a lot of new stuff in that book. it is entertaining to read that stuff. you can put it together yourself. i think we did a fair and balanced job. i am proud of the book. i think ronald reagan would like the book. he's up book. he is up in heaven he's probably say way to go bill. host: i have to disagree bill. as someone who loves this man, i read this book and i was i was delighted to think that i would be able to read it and talk about ronald reagan. i do love and share his appreciation of his true greatness as a man a president and for all the accomplishments and what he did for america and how he continues to inspire. as i read it and handed it to my son i got the sense that you are undermining and demeaning his true greatness by throwing in a lot of stuff that is irrelevant to your theme, and by suggesting that he was not really with it.
yet you tell us all the things he did after this. guest: all estate to use this, i stand behind the book, i, i know you are emotionally attached to ronald reagan. host: i am. guest: i am not. i am a historian who writes an honest book. nothing i say will be challenged because we can back it all up. the selection of what we have in the book, sure that's debatable. i did not set out to write st. ronald reagan, i set out to right here's a great president, here's what made him greater, here's what he overcame that few human beings could overcome. an assassin's few human beings could overcome. an assassin's bullet that almost took his wife life. i think we did a good job. i'm happy to talk to about it. spee1 i am delighted and in all fairness i have to give the author the last word. it's been good to be with you and i appreciate the time. i look forward to the next one. you not going to tell is what is called but i know there's another one.
guest: it will be controversial as all of my stuff is. email me, me, write me tell me way thing. thanks a lot it's nice to talk to you. host: thank you bill. >> afterwards to be signature program where authors are interview. watch past programs online apple tv.org. >> now we are live for the next three hours with national syndicated talkshow host, thom hartmann. he shows down with in depth to answer questions and discuss many books including thick crash of 2016, rebooting the american dream and threshold. >> tom hartman, how how did you get into radio? guest: i got into radio when i was a teenager. when i was maybe nine