tv The Life and Presidency of George H.W. Bush CSPAN November 14, 2015 11:00pm-12:01am EST
>> i write about how my mother had debilitating alcoholism. well-known or more than betty ford as being an alcoholic. john kennedy, plenty of stories, and yet we kept it under wraps as if it was sunday secret. people would come and visit. my mom would walk through the house absolutely debilitated from alcoholism,
and no one would look at her, talk to her. it is like the people we all walked by and washington dc, and we don't look but walk by and is the same thing, except it is my mother. >> on book tv every saturday at ten10:00 p.m. and sunday on 9:00 p.m. you can watch all previous shows on our website at book tv.
>> ladies and gentlemen, pleasegentlemen, please welcome the president of the george hw bush presidential center. [applause] >> good evening, everybody. i hope for most of you it is welcome back. we are so thrilled to be here. i want to 1st recognized 1st lady laura bush, the pres., the president of smu, this mighty university that we are partnering with. [applause] absolutely. we have been keeping a very busy calendar here this year with our engage at the bush center series.
we want to call your attention to your holiday season special exhibit called the season of stories,stories, christmas at the white house 2,003 opening on november the 19th just in time for all your holiday visitors. the exhibit will feature a number of handcrafted characters that were displayed at the white house. we hope you will come and experience that. tonight they will discuss his knew book,book, destiny and power, the american odyssey of george herbert walker bush. john was granted exclusive access to bush 41, diaries command he delivered an unprecedented and comprehensive portrayal of a great man who has long held
a special place in our history and in our hearts. please join me in welcoming to the stage. [applause] >> thank you all. they already love you and have not even read the book. >> this is perfect. it is all downhill. >> welcome to dallas. >> thank you for coming. thank you very much. i welcome john's wife, sam, mary, maggie. thank you for being here with us. we are thrilled you are here. so i knowi know the subject of your book quite well. >> you've met him, yeah.
>> and i read your book. >> you have? >> much to the amazement of some of our fellow citizens. and i really like your book and hope everyone here reads it. it is the 1st serious biography of my dad. before we talk about the book, i think people might be interested in your background, where you are raised, college. >> guest: i grew up on chattanooga tennessee civil war battlefield. for me history was always a real thing. i could still find been a balls in the yard. i went to some great schools, an episcopal montessori which is kind of redundant when you think about it. i went to the mcauley school which managed to produce both pat robinson and ted turner, so we have a foot in every camp. then i went to sewanee, university in the south which is best understood as a combination of down abbey
and deliverance put together. the growing up i read a lot of loved biographies of great men. william manchester was a hugely important book for me. and i love politics. my grandfather was a judge in tennessee. he used to have coffee with all of the local political guys every morning downtown. i would go down there at a young age which makes plain why am a strange as i am. the district attorney would be there, senators would come by. the courthouse group in chattanooga. for me politicians were real people. and as i went into journalism after sewanee with my grandfather pointed out, i went into print journalism which is like being the last thread abort a stick shift. which i thought was unkind but accurate.
what i always wanted to do was write about these great events, but they were great events that were shaped by people and what impresses me most about politics is one of my main character flaws i like politics and that we all no that the folks in your line of work are fallible, make mistakes, but he do great things. what. what i always try to find when i write a book about someone is, what is that moment of transcendence when all of the human frailties are still there, but you managed to rise above them to put the country in the world on a better course. the fundamental human drama is why i do what i do. >> you have written books about jefferson, jackson, roosevelt, all dead. >> that's true.
>> then you decided to write one about someone who was stillis still alive. >> very much so. >> what is the difference? >> you can't call the others to check things out. the other three also did not have sons who happen to also have nuclear authority. we can talk about that in a 2nd if you want. the difference,difference, i always fear that because your dad was so generous, because your mom was so generous, because you were so generous, i worriedi worried i would have a hard time throwing a punch by had to. but because of the those that your family created around this project which was you call unlike you see them, we are not looking for hagiography, not looking for, you know, this is a portrait, history, not journalism. and because of that, and it emanated from your father, the problem became i never met jackson which is a good
thing, you might have shot me. i never met jefferson, fdr, churchill. when you are writing command you know this, if you are writing about someone you don't know, you don't know what you're missing. if. if i try to describe what it's like to have dinner with your dad or sitting around with your father and i wrote that section and i would think, you know, did i quite get it exactly right? because as you know, your father has what i call a quiet persistent charisma. he is no jfk or ronald reagan, and yet he became pres. of thepresident of the united states because person after person at every state in his life almost anyone who met him with some exceptions we can denier count on one hand believe that he was someone whose hands the affairs of the nation and the world would be safe, and that is a particular kind of gift and
a particulara particular kind of charisma does not fit into the usual categories. the dow was up for a much more literary task. >> but mine was a little different perspective. >> it was. >> starting with you were never president. [laughter] >> in the world is better off because of it. i can assure you. >> margaret mentioned that something i did not really realize, he a lot of diaries. he spoke into his tape recorder for years, and he gave you full access. >> unconditional. >> so, how did that happen? [laughter] and that his sons had no idea?
>> mr. pres., you and i both come from a common gene pool, the wasp gene pool. i don't know about you, but direct conversations are never a big thing in my family except where the olives go for the martini. when ii was growing up that is about as honest as we got. i will use a technical term, mr. president. i begged. he kept diaries as a un ambassador, rnc chairman, and, and a little bit of a campaign diary in 1980, sporadically as vice president, very good and odd-numbered years because in even numbered years she was out campaigning, so he was on the road for congressional and senate candidates. and starting on november the 4th 1986 he says, i am beginning a diary about the biggest challenge of my life of the biggest mission of my life, i'm going to run for
president. it starts kind of dark. but he did this throughout the 88 campaign command then as president he missed a week or two maybe. he would do it early in the morning, sometimes up in the tray room, usetree room, use the same room as an office up the residence. he would carry it around in a briefcase, do it on marine one. you could here the blaze of the helicopter. what is so revealing about them is reading alone is fascinating, and it is a unique historical document.
it is as close as anyone except the gentleman to my right is ever going to get to be president. because he is talking, not writing. the act of writing if you step back from it turned on the tape recorder and told the truth. and even when he was having the worst possible day, even if newt gingrich or done something to read the newspaper. >> newsweek. >> newsweek. >> that is an inside joke. >> yeah. >> welcome to dallas. [laughter] >> where are those olives? >> even when he was having the worst possible day he would talk himself back into the game. the night the 20th century ended.
your mother is asleep. he can't sleep. a quarter after midnight. he gets up out of bed and he basically says, they always said i did not get it. what i don't get is how this generation does not understand duty, honor, country the way my generation did, paraphrasing finally. and those are tough words for a sitting president of the united states to say about his country.country. but then what does he do? this is be strong, be gracious social them that it hurts. was stunned me the most listening to his diaries,
this is one of the most emotional men who could ever have held that office. one my heart knows diaries in 1986. there is a seat in kraków he is in poland on a mission from pres. reagan command he is shown into a children's leukemiaward of course your sister died of leukemia in 1953 command he is standing there in the press is behind them, the cameras, microphones. and he realizes where he is and he starts to cry. and he will not turn around because if he turns around with tears in his eyes the story becomes about him, not about them. now, i know a lot of politicians, and there are not a lot of them who would not have turned around. trying to create some kind
of moment command he says, this poor little kid has a soul men crying over him,, but i just hope he knows that i love him. that is george herbert walker bush and the george herbert walker bush that as a biographer i believe is a sweet and noble man, far sweeter, far nobler than the country appreciated at that time. i thinki think it is changing, and i hope this book helps change that. >> thank you. [applause] >> maybe far sweeter than mother. >> it forgets to houston he said it. [laughter] >> the reason i mention that is you read her diaries. >> i did. >> i knew she was a diary keeper. she did not let any of us read her diaries. what did you learn in that?
>> ii learned that this is an amazing, historical document starting in 1948 when they go to odessa. and misses pierce thought there were going to russia. it was the wrong odessa, but it was not that far off. and the truly misses pierce sent boxes of soap and detergent to her son-in-law and daughter, figuring they did not have that in texas. the 1st time your dad drove through taxes and the studebaker, the local diner in abilene here is chicken fried steak not knowing if it's chicken fried. we were the lone star so did not matter.
you are listening to mother goose records. [laughter] hijab her in the head with a knitting needle. [laughter] what these diaries give you is if you put an incredibly intelligent observant woman at the highest levels of american politics for a half-century, this is what you get, her 1st impressions of texas politics. she said in 1963 of the john
birch society in dallas and houston, the knots will never love them. she said that about her husband in 1963. they have her account of the day of president kennedy's assassination, incredibly moving. we have the 1st time she met the reagans and she points out how immensely attractive they were for her. and saw that. now, she was notnow, she was not always quite as comfortable and three about everybody. i do not know if you had any experience with that, mr. president. but what it is is an honest account of events that shape the way we live now. if you want to understand the 1968 convention for your dad is a two-year congressman was in the running for vice president, you read this. if you want to understand what it was like to be married to the chairman of the national committee during watergate, you read
this. and what i learned is that she was the one who really the family going while george hw bush, and immensely wonderful father but as always in that generation, he was out there building international business. you and i talked about this, your 1st memory of your dad. >> baseball. >> baseball. but otherwise he was out there in kuwait, trinidad, london raising money, new york raising money to get that oil business going. and one of the several times that he cried and interviews with me several, several times, sometimes our interviews were like the world's worst therapy. he would cry, i would try. you know, the next would run out. poor gene beck wouldjean
beck would come in and say, i can't leave you two alone. when i said, did you have any idea on january 61945 on that cold saturday in the first presbyterian church that you are marrying a woman whoa woman who could move 37 times and endure what she endured in public life and raising a loving, stable family and he burst into tears? and he said, no, i did not know that. but i could not have done anything i do without her. >> interesting. so, one of the things that amazed me in the book, and i'm trying to help you sell it. >> i appreciate that. it is an economic stimulus. >> yes, it is. >> personal. >> tell them the story about losing the senate race and going out to see nixon and
the job nixon initially offered really surprised me. >> he runs in 1970 for the 2nd time for the senate. it was supposed to be george hw bush against ralph yarbro which was going to be a kind of parallel race of what happened over in tennessee with a young handsome republican like your father against an aging liberal al gore senior which was what was going on in my home state. over herestate. over here of this going to be george hw bush against yarborough again. so remember i said therei said there was on one end we could talk about folks he did not like. i think we can safely say governor connally was not high on the bush christmas card list. only a few people he had not forgiven and a lot of them live in dallas, come to think. one of them does.
there is one in particular we do not have to talk about, but years. so, what happened was john connolly realized what was going on. as smart as hell politician who realized what was going on, so he puts lloyd bentsen in the race. if you read the dallas morning news two things jump out at you.you. one is for george hw bush was just one sexy guy. i mean,, every story talks about how he had candies glamour, the country club matrons would swoon over him. again and again it had this thing about his appeal. well, the paperswell, the papers are writing, we have two tall war veterans who are pretty good-looking, served in the house, and in texn 1970 i don't1970 had to tell the former governor, the advantage was for the democrats. he loses the race.
more conservative. his move got the nomination. president bush goes up to me with nixon. someone suggested the un to him. a washington guy. and bush starts thinking about this. when he goes into see nixon, nixon has decided he wants to make him an assistant to the president working for bob. again, 2nd prize at this point. and so president bush makes the case. you know, i think i could do more good at the un. no oneno one is up there making the case for you, supporting you, and it was a brilliant, brilliant tactical argument because nixon's looking at the sun of president bush who he has served in the senate when he was vice president, the polished son, the ivy league
son of a senator and thinking, you know what, what he is saying is right. if he goes up there to make a case for me. they grocer son from yorba linda and having this patrician figure who will work for me in new york, but all that thought process happens after he sent haldeman and bush out to find bush white house office right is watergate is breaking up, beginning, the story is beginning at that point. and there was another element, so he calls them back and says, i thought about this. i think your right. the shortest white house staff career of anyone. it was about 40 minutes by my count, but that helped him. there was another wrinkle. here is another thing, don't live on the 42nd -- bush
could not make it down here, but if he turned him into a connecticut republican he might be able to beat river cough. and what is so wonderful about it and speak so much about his devotion to texas and the fact that he raised his family and build his business here is, at that point he thoroughly thought of himself as a texan, and he never been done that. you know better than i, in the present of the united states suggests a pathway to the senate you tends to listen, you tends to think about that. there is very little evidence that he really took
it seriously. >> you made an interesting point in the book about comparing his position on the un and the 64 race and then actually taking a position. >> there are three examples, the reason i called the book destiny and power, plug alert, where i believe that -- and you and i talked abouti talked about this, from early on george hw bush was the star of the family. that is your and nancy's line. when he was shot down on september 21944, rescue after four hours in that line craft, if the wind and tide has been going forward as opposed to away from it, scene of terrible japanese war crimes, including cannibalism which led your dad to sometime said your mother, you know i was almost in order. [laughter]
if the wind had been going another way, hell, he might have been an entrée. he was a tall guy. he is 6-foot two. so at that point, he was meant to be saved. your father introduced into the french ambassador in washington in the 1950s saying this is my son george , he will be president of the united states one day. >> grandfather. >> grandfather. and in 1965 when he has lost the 64 race but the 7th district of houston is coming into being he has a fellow named ross baker who is thinking about challenging him in the primary. >> no relation to jim. >> no relation to jim. or ross perot. none of that.
he goes to him, and baker says to him, well, i want to be a congressman. i think your using this as a stepping stone to the senate george hw bush says, no. i want to be president. this is 1965. he is 41 years old, yet to win a race, but he had a sense of destiny,destiny, word he does not particularly like, but it was a sense that he was meant to do great things. and whatand what is so striking to me as a biographer is finding these examples familiar other grandfather marvin pierce wrote a letter when he was a heel to a friend and said it would not surprise me at all if the son-in-law becomes president. people were talking about the possibility of a pathway to the presidency as a possibility long before it became probable. which was a real revelation to me which led me to see
sort of begin to see his career in a slightly different light. if you believe you are the best man for the job command your dad unquestioningly believe that, then what you say and do on the campaign trail command he told me once sitting on the porch of the house and make politics is not a pure undertaking. you have to say the dirty things that you might ingest madly to get to where you want to be. the test becomes, that is the business of politics and has been true since the athenians. what is important is what you do once you have that power. and one of the examples is, as the president says emma in 1964them in 1964 george hw bush was not exactly the biggest fan of the united nations, but he gets that power, and he works like a dog to make the un matter as much as it can perform policy and to help his president, which was his duty. and there is example after
example of where he would win power and always at that point put the country ahead of his own political interest. and that is a rare political story. >> when you write the book on me, youme, you won't find anyone predicting i would be president. [laughter] >> well,well, we will have to find another angle. >> yeah. [laughter] >> let me ask you this, how long did it take for story is to get a clear eyed view of the presidency? in other words, the difference between history and journalism, you mentioned that earlier. i think it is 20 to 25 years where you let the dust settle. our mutual friend has a 25 year rule.
at that point you can begin to see things more fully. it is clear to me at this point that particularly on the domestic sphere walk into a public restroom or enter a building anywhere in the country and you will find disabled americans can get into buildings he could not. sweeping pieces. the most sweeping piece of civil rights legislation says the middle of the 1960s was signed by george w. bush. his interest was rooted in fairplay, another example of where he said one thing and had another.
he opposed the 1964 civil rights act. what is he due in april of 1968 when he is actually in congress with a vote? he votes for fair housing so that the african-american soldiers fighting in vietnam will have every right to buy a house wherever they want to buy it. he came down to memorial high school and faced an immense amount of hate, a lot of words we don't use were thrown at him. he told me a guy came up to him and said we did not send you updated do this. he stood there and took the heat because he thought it was the right thing to do. so he might have done one thing and 64 when he said he was not for it, but when he had the power and the responsibility and authority what did he do? he put the ultimate interest of the country directly
ahead of his political interest. his district did not want to he tells a story about getting on the airplane to fly back to washington, and a woman is coming at him. him.him. you know this. politicians can tell when people are coming at you with a look in their eyes you basically want to be as far away as possible. he is sitting in the airline chair thinking, here it comes again. she walks up and says, am a democrat in your district, anddistrict command i always going to vote for you now. i'm convinced that because he felt that was right and i did it because he thought it was right and it taught them that the country 1st politics takes care of itself. >> in this case he ran unopposed. >> yes. >> eighteen months later. >> right.
>> i don'ti don't think that. i don't think that's true. >> i'm sure it's true. otherwise the royalty checks would be a little heavier. but one of the things that surprised me is how much the 92 campaign stunned. you alluded to that on his dictation on election night. but he never showed any of the angst. so do you have any impression about when he greeted bill clinton, anything inclinton, anything in the diaries they're but welcoming the guy that these into the white house? >> and on that very night, classic george hw bush i
like bill. so when they met 3rd week in november. 1992. and he wasand he was grace itself. we have footage from the white house of videographers. they have a long conversation covered in everything you can imagine. we showed him the sauna, what he called the study and the dining room who personifies. i actually think that culturally and temperamental your father has more in common with franklin
roosevelt, theodore roosevelt, and even the founding fathers that he does with people in his own time. i really do. the public service was an extension of yourself, it was expected of you. if you could get to the top it was fabulous, but at any level. walking across and passes cochran chapel finds out the news broke over the radio about to 20 in the afternoon he immediately decides that he wants to serve. he immediately knows he wants to be inan aviator, and he told me command i think it's the 1st time that he even considered at that point joining the royal canadian air force.
he did not have to be 18 and they were already mobilized obviously. the existing situation with the war in europe. he hits june 12, 1942. he is already written letters to the navy to get signed up. he -- henry stimson, sec. of work war gives an impromptu speech at the end of her graduation saying i think many of you should go on and get a couple of years of college. it is a long war and you will be more useful. their grandfather says afterward colwell, secretary simpson change your mind. he said no. breaking away from what his father wanted which is also a pattern here in life. he wanted to strike out on his own. on june 12, saturday, 1942 main
graduates are my school, main graduates from high school, turns 18, goes up to austin and takes note as a naval amnesty at the age of 20 on saturday september 21944. flew 58 combat missions. when we talked about his military career we talk about the two men who died delaney and white and i said, is there ever a day that goes by that you don't think about them? he said no. i said, what do you wonder? he wondered two things. did i do enough to save the he said everything i wonder, why was i spirit? i am convinced that that experience as well as the loss of your sister imbued in him a code that every minute counted. what did they learn from robbins lost?
and he said that life is unpredictable and fragile. fragile. and he knew that he had been given so much in life, loving parents, was seems, seems to be one of the greatest mothers in the history of the world, loving brothers and sisters, i think hei think he realized at that point that he had been given this chance, and as our lord taught us to whom much is given much is expected. >> one of the interesting focuses in the book is nixon. he talk about dad's view of nixon and their relationship he was a tragic figure. your father was everywhere. >> only 800 pages.
forty-one is very short. and ii think having both is really the way to go. i mentioned before, i am an episcopalian. so nixon retirement is not quite working out. the only showed us who he really was at the very end. he appreciated makes this patronage. nixon made a lot possible for him. he made his life are with watergate, but he gave the un, the republican national committee.
now, nixon's view of your father is one that is important because it endures and parts of the political culture, and your father told me this and it is in the papers, too. nixon did not think your dad -- he doubted your father's toughness consistently. a loyal appointee. he served in these nonexecutive jobs. he might've had a little bit of trouble articulating later, he was never in an executive job where you had to do it, so you were encouraged to subsume your vision because you are serving the president of the united states. and so your dad said it in diaries, said it to me, that he thought that some of the beginning of the sense that he was a wimp or did not
quite have the guts to do it began with nixon, the other critical element is one of the reasons nixon thought that is because as chairman of the republican national committee your father size duty is the protection of the party, not the protection of the pres. so check in these other guys sent over attacks and say go out there and tell everybody that this is bitterly attacking nixon's opponents, and you would not do it because he believed the parties enter send nixon's interests are growing farther apart as the scandal broke out. >> what is interesting is the resignation. the cabinet meeting, which i thought was fascinating. chairman bush was one of only three people who have the guts to say to richard nixon to his face that he thought he should go. nixon walks in on august 7, august 61974 and says i
think it's time for us to discuss the most important issue facing the country, inflation. a big issue, but perhaps the fact that you are about to be impeached is greater. and so it is the attorney general bill saxby who says something to him. and bush says, whatever is going to have to happen about the president's future has to happen soon because it is august 11 even-numbered year ended at is looking at congressional members which are a total nightmare commander father also said is nixon was saying i have all the support in the senate, no you don't, someone is not giving you the truth, and truth, and you know as president how eager people are to come give you bad news. >> rarely.
>> yeah. >> so what he does is leaves the cabinet meeting and writes a letter urging the president to resign. the chairman of the republican national committee has written a letter to richard nixon telling him his patron to whom he owes his last two jobs, it's better for the country for him to go. ..
president bush was speaking is that i can't be off in the corner falling on my ideological sort. at that point as well as you write about in 41, it is october and june 20 seventh, 1990 is when the no new taxes pledge was broken and the statement was released. august 2, 1990 saddam invades kuwait. budget negotiations roll into columbus day. the last thing thing george herbert walker bush is going to do is put the troops in the field at risk with the government shutdown, possible market dip when he has americans in harm's way. gingrich went to him, he went
told me this, he went went to them and said just don't do it now. take the pledge back, go into the midterms in november and say if you want to tax increase you vote democrat, if you want lower taxes but republican. i honestly do not think that was in your father's imaginative capacity as he is building an army to reverse aggression, to do that type of political. >> in reading his diary, what was his attitude during my presidency? was he worried about things, was things, was he concerned about me? >> there were no diaries only interviews along the way. he actually stops on january 20, 1993. >> so what did you start interviewing him. >> 2006. >> oh really. >> yes, of course he was worried about you and about mrs. bush and about your daughters, and you know the stories, he watched
too much news, he read the new york times and that was a big mistake. [laughter] >> no, i agree. there is a difference, i did not read the new york times. >> but honestly it was, he did worry a lot about of course. i think one of the fascinating questions obviously, which i ask you at length and i should parenthetically say, in so far as this book is true as i hope it is, as close to the truth as i thought i could get. a great deal of that i/o a debt to president bush 43 for giving me an immense amount of his time, insights and wisdom. he sat there far longer than he wanted to. answering questions. >> wait a minute.
>> you know why identity? because i knew john would be fair. i. i was concerned frankly when he approached me about the book and a little skeptical frankly, but i was able to read his intentions. it is a damn good book, book, a really fair book. >> thank you sir. thank you. [applause]. >> i want to ask you something. >> you don't know that were out of time, go ahead. >> they are all your helicopter. >> i do want to ask one thing. the central legend is that bush 41 did not think you should go into iraq in 2003. i'm asked this all the time i will ask you to read someone. >> good, it's called role reversal.
>> okay. [inaudible] it is on page 571. he admitted however that iraq was one issue where i wanted to know what he thought. that's me. >> you. let me put that into context. we spent time talking about how much did 43 ask president bush 41. he said not much, send your briefers. i did a line by line breed of decision points, the best-selling presidential memoir and history including france if we want to make a presidential biography, but what i also found
was actually there is a lot, particularly on personnel that you did talk a little bit more. i said to president bush, i think you downplayed sometimes how much you talk to your dad about some things because you didn't want people thinking you are overly dependent on the previous generation. president bush said, that is not a bad observation, i took that as a yes. this is in 2002. >> he admitted however, that's me, i admitted however that iraq was one issue that i wanted to know what he thought. at the presidential retreat retreat where his father spent so many hours in times of peace and war, george w george w explained where things stood. i told that i was praying that we could deal with saddam peacefully but was preparing for the alternative. bush 43 recalled in his memoir i walked into the diplomatic strategy and my efforts to rally the saudis, iranians, turks and turks and
others in the middle east. the elder bush replied ratify the auger bushes course. you know how tough were his son, the older bush said and you have to try everything you can to avoid war. but if a man will not comply you don't have any other choice. >> yeah. my my question about that, why the legend keeps persisting. >> that is the great thing about objective historians. that is how you destroyed legends, by actually printing the truth. >> so here's a letter by fax that the 41st presidents of the 43rd president on the day that you ordered the operation iraqi freedom. you wrote your dad saying i know i have taken the right action and do pray you will lose their
lives. iraq will be free, the world will be safer. i know i know what you went through, love george. >> i didn't do a very good job reading it. >> again, you had nuclear weapons, i don't. so here's the reply. here's the 41st president to the 43rd. dear george, your handwritten note just received touched my heart. you are doing the right thing. your decision just made is the toughest decision you have had to make up until now. you made it with strength and with compassion. it is right to worry about the loss of innocent life, be it i iraq you are american, but you have done that which you had to do. maybe it helps a little bit as
you face the toughest budget problems any president since lincoln has faced. you carry the burden with strength and grace. remember robin's words, i love you more then tongue can tell, well i do. devotedly, dad. [applause]. >> do you want to watch this program again? visit book to be.org to watch any of the programs you see here online. type the author name or book title in the search bar at the top of the page. click the looking glass. you can also share any of the videos on our website by clicking the facebook, twitter, or share icons on the bottom right of the video box. book tv, since 1998, all of eight, all of the top nonfiction authors and books. all available at book to be.org.
>> here's a look at the current best-selling nonfiction books according to the washington post. first up, government zero syndicated talkshow host michael savage argues that progressives are deliberately hurting the country. next, fox news host bill reilly and martin to guard look at how the attempted assassination of ronald reagan shaped his presidency and killing reagan. msnbc reporter and shauna cause neck next on the list with notorious rpg a biography of said court justice, the witches by pulitzer prize winner stacy shift is also on the list. she examines the salem witch trials.
you can watch them on our website, book to be.org. >> in 2010, democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders filibustered on the senate floor for eight and half hours. here, he is speaking about why he published the transcript of the speech. >> i will read you from the introduction. and friday, december 10, 2010 i woke up and my usual time, had my usual breakfast of oatmeal and coffee and then had a typical daily discussion with my staff. at 10:30 a.m. i walked onto the floor the senate and begin a speech.
turned out to be a very long speech. a modern version of the filibuster, it went on for eight and half hours until 7:00 p.m. there were several reasons why it went to the fourth that speech. speech. first i had promised to do everything i could to oppose what i believe was a very bad tax agreement between president obama brock obama and the republican leadership. at the time in this country when we when we have a 13,800,000,000,000 dollar $.8 trillion national debt and on equal distribution of wealth and income it seems to me, totally absurd to provide hundreds of billions in tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. by confirming and this was the lame-duck session of republicans to control the house, under democratics house and senate, the basic tenets of bush's horrendous trickle-down series disagreement was weighing the ground for round from our bad decisions in the future. unfortunately, i was absolutely
right and that takes us to the riot republican budget of today. second, more tax breaks of the very rich is only one symptom of an economic and legal system that is grotesquely failing the average american. the simple reality is the middle class is decreasing and the gap between the wealthiest people and everyone else is getting wider. how how did this happen? why did happen? what can we do about it? these are issues issues that have to be talked about. and talked about in a weight that is not often heard in washington. >> we want to hear from you. post your feedback to our facebook wall, facebook.com/book tv. >> do you think that today in 202015 in america does every
american dear t democracy into they'll experience a? had to start with me? i think i'm a second part no. i don't think the average american necessarily experiences democracy in the form in which they ought to expect it. i think that concentrated money has such a loud voice that it often drowns out the collective voices of average citizens. that is partly to do with the power of money and the power politics. it also has to do with the withdrawal from politics from a large body of our citizens. when we are saying that on a good eggs election, we are cn
six and ten eligible voters turn out and we are celebrating that is great turnout. that is not a good thing. i think you have had a lot of americans withdraw themselves from the democratic process. in part because because of the futility of the average person versus big money, big industry, people with big lobbies that can exert more influence. at the same time, you also have a concentrated forces that are trying to encourage people to withdraw or try to exclude people from the process in order to gain the system and create mass that guarantees their interest go to the floor. with these pushing people out of the process and the power of money, unfortunately we are not experiencing democracy at its fullest. >> first off, i want to thank the brooklyn book festival for happiness. i want to thank my printing colleague for organizing this great panel and george for moderating it. i want want to think these two awesome woman next to me for being h a