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tv   Book Discussion on The Last of the Presidents Men  CSPAN  November 28, 2015 7:30am-8:41am EST

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could to oppose what i believed was a very bad tax agreement between president barack obama and republican leadership. and a time when this country is a $13.8 trillion national debt at the most unequal this division of wealth and income of any major country. it seemed to me totally absurd to provide hundreds of billions of tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. further, by confirming, this was the lame-duck session before the republicans took control of the house, further by confirming under a democratic president a democratic house at the democratic senate, the basic tenets of bush's horrendous trickle-down economic theory, disagree with link the groundwork for more bad decisions in the future. unfortunately, i was absolutely right. second, more tax breaks for the very rich is only one symptom of an economic and political system that is grotesquely failing the
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average american. .. it was forced into place in a society hadn't had before. boris yeltsin was the president, drinking and dying and spreading along the way. he was worried about communism coming back so is idea was if we can quickly privatize, force
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capitalism by handing a way most of the assets of the country to private people we can create a hedge against communism. it can't come back if it is a private thing. so that was really his idea. they handed the country to these ambitious men who came from nowhere. the main father of this book was the godfather of the kremlin, he was a mathematician, outsider, jewish and an anti-semitic society, could not go to regular school or get a regular job. win capitalism was placed in there he became a car dealer, started buying up cars and use inflation to buy a car but they came year from now. with pennies on the dollar. he had car dealerships oliver and in 1994 he was a big businessman, got into his limo
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and was on his way out when his limo was blown up. his driver was decapitated. he was covered in barron's that he survived. it that moment he decided the only way to the save in russia was to become a politician as well as the businessman. he needed a roof that protect the building. everyone has a roof. he became a billionaire by worming his way into the kremlin and boris yeltsin's family. the other main character comes into the story of later, they meet on a yacht in the caribbean. he is a toy salesman from siberia making rubber ducks and children st. louis, again jewish from nowhere. he has the idea of privatizing the oil industry and creating an oil company. a partner up. like the facebook story, there
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are no shares or lawyers, they create the second largest oil company in exchange for a huge chaos. every week, they would send $3 million, $5 million, $100 million, that was their relationship and that is the beginning of the story, the money gets bigger and bigger and than boris yeltsin starts to fade and at this point seven oligarchs control 50%, an incredible statistic. they decided we need to install someone who is the next president who we can control, someone who is a nobody, a low-level guy weakened room and then we'll infantry snow they found a guy named vladimir putin, he was a kgb agent, not a high level guy, the mayor of st.
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petersburg. he had helped to set up a car dealership and that this -- boris yeltsin liked him because he seemed like a very loyal man with the cause and they installed him as president. boris yeltsin gave up his seat which was unheard of, he retired handing the seats, he was elected and became president. the oligarchs made a miscalculation. vladimir putin was not a weak man. the minute he took power invited all the oligarchs to stalin's old house, a place where there are bullet holes in the walls. all the oligarchs who are billionaires' sat at a table and he came in front of them and said you have all done very well, you made a lot of money, using keep your money, just stay out of my way and that was the beginning of a change in everything. >> you can watch this and other programs online at
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>> as a former washington post staffer myself is quite a treat to be introducing bob woodward. i first met bob when i intern at the post in summer of 1974, the summit that president nixon resigned and it is quite remarkable to look back four decades and see watergate wasn't a one time hit for bob but a takeoff point for what has turned out to be one of the most phenomenal careers in the history of journalism. the last of the president's men, bob's latest book, his eighteenth and like the previous 17 it has become a national best-seller. i think bob holds the record for
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the most number one nonfiction best sellers of any author. his ability to get people to talk and reveal things never before disclosed is legendary. i can tell you as someone who has on occasion reported in bob's wake that i have heard again and again from sources interviewed by bob how extensively he prepares and how hard he pushes and probes. like a number of other colleagues of bob's i have benefited over the years from his guidance and found inspiration in his perseverance, his investigative talents. he can be truly generous with his time and advice. many of us at the washington post were quite appreciative that he remained on staff contributing to the paper when he could have chosen a number of other corporate has.
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it is also especially fitting this event that bob has come to know well through his daughter diana, a graduate from last spring, bob and his wife, big supporters of the school, and honored as commencement speakers last june. i am going to move over to that chair and spend some time talking to bob about his new book and he will take questions.
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>> how many people know who gordon liddy is? wow. very experienced crowd here. it has been 41 years. >> it has been 41 years since you and carl bernstein came out with all the president's men. which chronicled the watergate scandal. your new quote "the last of the president's men" takes you back to that period but this time you look at what was going on in the nixon white house through the eyes of alexander butterfield, who was called the deputy chief of staff during the first years of the nixon administration. my first question especially after it was acknowledged a decade ago that he was deep throat, didn't you think you
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would and reporting on watergate? >> guest: this is really not on watergate but nixon. of course nixon is the central character and having written so many books on him and trying to decode him, yes, i thought i was done and then i ran into butterfield who by the way is now 89 and has abettor memory than you or i. it is astonishing. i ran into him four years ago at a conference and said it next time you are in washington let's get together and so he called and we went off for day and sounded like he had a few
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interesting stories. the washington post gives me time unlimited time quite frankly and so when i was out in california, i said i will stop by your home. do you have any documents? and he said yes, i have a few, there are 20 boxes. most feeble leave the white house, and there's a box in the attic but not 20. it was -- is a treasure trove because some of these things that are 0 regional and that we didn't know about and so started looking at my assistant who went out and started looking, went for more interviews and i said to my wife, let's go to california for a real fun
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weekend. and sit in a historic apartment and look at documents, what butterfield was in the nixon white house, 55, he kept his file for each month on onionskin paper and we would sit there and from through them and elsa methodically, more methodically than i frankly and finally she said this is not just a newspaper story but a small book and this is the results. >> was it legal to remove these documents? was there any statute of limitations? >> my lawyer would say don't answer that question.
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but i will. their is, i have done this for so many decades. you want to be careful with documents that are sensitive and the lot of these are code words but if they really tell you something new and you check with the authorities, is this going to do real harm to national security which you always did. there is a tradition at the posts of checking and if you have something like some of these documents that i sensitive show the extent to which nixon and kissinger pondered their memoirs, if you look at their memoirs and there's a document quoted from january 22nd and he had some of the same quotes in the document i have but look at
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all the things they left out. it pushes me to that question of how good is history, and the more you dig into it you realize it is not as good as it should be. historical facts are not correct than the historical understanding is reduced. nixon and kissinger were up to lots of things. than fair is this portrait of nixon that emerges. >> you say in your book given the butterfield papers, has been a failure to tell the whole story particularly of vietnam and may be time for a fresh examination of the entire vietnam record in light of nixon
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and kissinger's substantial efforts to distort the record and not explain what they were up 2. sounds like a job for bob woodward. wikipedia the >> guest: there are so many documents, i called the library of congress while doing this research, this particular memo we should talk about and wanted to see if we have it because henry kissinger's memoirs, his documents i in the library of congress. he chuckled when i said can you tell me if there is this particular -- there are a million documents in the kissinger filed. can you imagine going through a million of henry kissinger's papers? somebody should. >> host: biographer working on that hopefully.
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>> guest: ferguson has written the first volume of henry kissinger's life from birth to 1968 called the idealist. this was the mad magazine edition. >> host: back to butterfield, you tried swayback in 1973 when you were working on watergate, to reach butterfield. tried knocking on his door. >> guest: i was able to knock on his door and there was the kind of change from the drapes in his living room. >> host: i you going to try again? >> guest: i didn't try again. after nixon's council made the allegation nixon and the senate watergate committee was trying to find out if there is
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something to verify or refused, i told two people on staff, the general counsel, you ought to talk to butterfield because of a couple of people talked to including markfield and sloan who was a nixon committee -- butterfield was in charge of internal security, a word that is used for wiretapping in the justice department. so they called and there is a very long section in the book that is the psycho drama of how butterfield triage, didn't want to come forward as a volunteer but he parse it in a way that if they ask a direct question he would say yes, there was secret
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taping. >> host: he credits you with that. encouraging the senate committee. >> guest: actually he said more bluntly, you fingered me. >> host: you agree with that? >> guest: you don't know whether they would have got to him or not, perhaps not. you look all the people they didn't interview. they did an extensive interview with him quite early. >> host: there was a time when butterfield thought he would tell his own story. in the 1990s had a contract with a publisher, and the project didn't go anywhere. >> host: he wrote hundreds of pages but didn't get to that nixon white house until chapter vii and somehow like all people
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who write memoirss he thought his life was interesting until he got to that moment at the nixon white house, the publisher said no. >> host: why do you think -- >> guest: i am not sure he wanted -- we started meeting and going through documents with no signed agreement and there was never a assigned agreement. i am 72, not 89 but when you get to 89 you realize it is not going to last much longer and these documents and these stories should be told so he finally seated to you tell my story and there was no -- he read sections, he didn't read the book until it was published
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and in print and relinquished control. i can't do this if this is not as told to this is my research in the context of all kinds of other information. >> 40 hours interviewing him? what is he like others in having amazing memory? in his 80s what is he like? >> guest: he looks younger than i. he is an honest witness and that is interesting because in the book he talks about some of his own failings like under nixon's orders and there is a tape of this where nixon says put this spy in the secret service detail
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and teddy kennedy. they will catch teddy in paris in bed with somebody or something and nixon ordered this, he was in charge of part of this internal security job was liaison with the secret service, he walked to secret service headquarters and they had a person who had been in the secret service who was working with rose mary woods and they put him in as a spy and this was a guy who's that i will do anything for you and butterfield to the state feels remorse because he knows he could have been indicted for this clear abuse. >> host: also showed up on tape. >> guest: yes.
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>> host: he feels very conflicted. >> guest: that is the best witness, somebody who has remorse, has a good memory, has written their memoir, has thousands of documents. >> host: anybody else out there like that? >> guest: wasn't i taking a risk in saying this is the last of the president's men? >> host: wheat had formal interviews with this agreement and countless breakfasts lunges and dinners. if anyone wants restaurant recommendations aiken given to youth particularly easy do not
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go whist. it is big. >> host: the image of nixon adds significantly to the portrait of the president has someone who is quite strange, lonely, obsess. nixon could be vengeful land scheming. paranoid, awkward. much of this is the picture we have gotten about nixon from the white house tapes and other sources, butterfield adds even more to it. nixon's behavior that butterfield offered was surprising? >> guest: first on the vietnam issue he has this top secret memo which is printed on page
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116 where henry kissinger sent a report to at nixon and just routine about the vietnam, document, secret code word, sensitive, nixon writes to henry kissinger in his own handwriting, we have ten years of control of the air, vietnam, laos, cambodia and what is the result? the results, equal time, total failure hand he wants to report back on this end in two weeks, there is no evidence of the report. i talked to henry kissinger, but this memo in it celtics history and turns it on its head because
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nixon for three years, the bombing is militarily necessary on this memo, nationally televised interview, dan rather, asked about because intensified bombing before in 1971 and nixon said it is very effective and went on at some length about how important the bombing was, so important he was going to announce removal of more combat boots from vietnam and almost all the combat troops are out, the president cleared, the bombing campaign, the epic allure of the strategy, failure, so what did he do in 1972, more and more bombing and another
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1.1 million tons of bombs dropped in southeast asia killing thousands of people. the war continues and you connect all the dots here which some of the other documents and tapes, nixon and kissinger talked about how popular the bombing was in poland, oh the harris poll is 2:1, 2 cannon house office building note to 1 in favor of the bombing and and then you see when it gets most intense which is on may 8th, 1972, when nixon -- some of the most intense bombing ever, and nixon is talking with kissinger
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and kissinger says you won reelection on may 8th, not the war, reelection. certainly in fairness to nixon he wanted to win the war but the war was lost and he knew it, kissinger knew it and they developed a kind of we are going to get the pows back, very important to do that, talking about peace with honor but no combat troops virtually, ineffective bombing, the other part of the war strategy, so when you put this to get there, i think it is the other side of watergate, watergate was sabotaged for him to win reelection by making sure that the democrats nominated the weakest candidate, turned out to
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be george mcgovern, nixon won 49 states and the other side of that was to use the bombing in the vietnam war as i am tough, we are going to get peace with honor, it is -- when i put all this together, i felt a kind of revolt in and sadness. garrison is an unwritten contract between everyone in the military, the commander in chief, you do your job, i will do my job. >> host: what nixon was capable of. >> guest: if this is the level of cynicism, there have been a lot of bombings, nixon was
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right, it achieved nothing to kill lots of people. >> host: fast forward to present day. presidential election campaign, any lessons to be taken from butterfield's account? how do we find out about the character of some of these people we are being asked to elect, without having to wait 40 years? >> if it were 1968 and you get somebody saying there's something weird about nixon, could you have found out all of this? no. there is a ceiling, you could find out more. the answer to your question is to find betterfield and put him
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in each of the candidates's campaign. and hope that obviously is not going to happen and so it falls to journalism, doesn't it? to do a kind of intense biography of each of the major candidates. did you see the charlie rose interview with vladimir putin last month? anyone see that? >> host: when vladimir putin was at the un with charlie rose. >> guest: charlie rose went to moscow on vladimir putin's territory. charlie rose -- vladimir putin is sitting like this, daring him to tread into new territory and
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you were in the kgb, once in the kgb always in the kgb. vladimir putin says not a single phase or stage of our life passes without leaving a trace. this guy is really well prepared and that is true. not a single stage or face, but nixon, the rage he expresses in some of these scenes is beyond the tapes, these are things, none of them would invite him to their country club, it is almost the lament of no one asked me to
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the prom. he is just on fire about it. i think it is true. do you think it is true? you spent so many years reporting not a stage of our lives, life passes without leaving a trace. >> host: getting at those races is the challenge. >> guest: no one should go into the voting booth and be able to say journalism didn't at least provide me with the basics and found traces the best you can, the ceiling but in the internet culture of impatience and speed and gillian 140 characters, we got to go the other way. >> host: two other questions, we will go to the audience.
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with regard to butterfield's disclosure on the tapes, he still wrestles with what motivated him as you write at length about in the book after all these years, refine his answer, do you see any lessons, experience for others who might find themselves similarly challenged to come forward and reveal? >> my e-mail is -- you want people to do that, but it is hard in a white house particularly like nixon's, loyalties and value this, the lesson is there is a moral
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dimension to serving in government, people that all levels should think about it and have a real sense, is this right? i have often wondered if nixon had one lawyer who had credibility and authority knew of some of these things that were going wrong, watergate, vietnam, you are president of the united states, you can't do these things, the guy probably would have been shot. no one did to my knowledge. >> guest: i think all so try to
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fit your behavior and performance in the job in to some sense, people in government called the tests of how is it going to look on the front page of the washington post. >> host: you dedicate this book to ben bradlee who passed away a year ago. what do you think ben would have thought of this book and alexander butterfield coming forward and you being the one to tell his story? >> guest: i would have had to taliban about it and ben would have said let me go with you. he did that whenever somebody walked in, a lot of the secrets, they are so secret they can't be published today.
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when i told ben about it i want to meet this guy and i am sure ban would have wanted to do this but you work with for him for how many years? >> host: close to 30. he wasn't there in the final years but he was very much -- >> guest: is motto, the truth emerges, is essentially the direction to his reporter makes it emerge faster. get the story, make it come on. >> host: why didn't you have it for years ago? >> guest: that is right. about time.
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that is good. somebody who always had a sense of what is hidden, we are not getting low full story. he would have looked at this and -- you asked the question of anecdotes and there are so many in the book end i intentionally kept the book as short as i could and derek is one that is almost one i first heard it from butterfield, this sounds a little extreme and there are documents in the book which are printed to substantiate its including the original and christmas eve 1969, nixon is in
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a staff officer walking around wishing everyone merry christmas. imagine merry christmas from richard nixon, pops into your office, merry christmas. and he noticed there were a number of staffers with pictures of john f. kennedy and so he calls butterfield indeed in a rage and says this -- infestation and we have to have -- you have to give meat cutter but i want you to quarter all of these pictures of kennedy out and get pictures of be in their, because people should be loyal to the current president.
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bent haldeman rights butterfield a memo saying because there is one woman, etna rosenberg had two pictures, this is a double infestation. he said what about this woman who has two picture is, what about her? who is she? with gene come from? get on the case because he, the president, asked about it once a week. butterfield conducts any investigation and convinces the head of the staff officer it is only proper to get nixon picked curious and butterfield writes a memo directly to the president, two page memo and the subject is
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standardization. like there is some disinfectant and he describes his efforts and how he got all the kennedy pictures out and he checked etna rosenberg with the cia, fbi, house un-american activities committee, and she worked there longer than anyone, lived with her sister in silver spring and butterfield when john a litmus a knifing she is a loyal american. >> host: imagine if you had not checked out -- ready now for
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questions. [inaudible question] >> host: to me? to you. >> thank you for doing all this work. documents into the archives. >> host: where will the documents go? >> guest: i think there will be something worked out that won't be lost to history. as i say have you ever tried to go through 20 documents out pops the cia report, there may be
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more stuff. >> somebody -- when you were following. we had your pictures. [laughter] >> host: bob woodward cannot. where was this? [inaudible] [inaudible question] >> which one -- [laughter]
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>> guest: you don't want to get me in trouble, do you? you have no idea how many women have disappointed me. high mean it is sincere it disappointment. >> 72 -- >> host: what actor who would portray you now? >> guest: i don't think that is going to happen. okay. >> host: candidates in nixon's
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life. >> guest: let's just take one without a value judgment. donald trump. how many people want the next president to be somebody who is totally out of touch with reality? i say this not -- i say this as he has proposed deporting 11 million people. anyone have any sense of whether there is feasible or proper or the logistics and so forth, that is something people should think about. how many people in your neighborhood would be deported? just has a the candidate needs to -- all candidates need to be in touch with reality.
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eyesight that nighters syncing donald trump bout but of very concrete proposals life think -- >> host: there was a good nixon and a bad nixon. butterfield does have a few anecdotes portraying a softer more compassionate side of nixon, overwhelming -- is not that. what do you have to say about the more positive good side? >> guest: it is there. he did some things that are positive, no question. but you can have a criminal president. we can have somebody manipulating a war for political
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purposes. that is a sacred trust. [applause] >> you have to think about what happened, nixon resigned in august of 1974. actually what caused the knicks and resignation was not the press and not the democrats but the republicans. barry goldwater, very conservative republican from arizona often called the conscience of the republican party, gave carl bernstein and myself his diary and explained what happened. what happened is barry goldwater told us he turned against nixon for two reasons, too many
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crimes, too many lives. the republican leadership in the middle of the week, the first week of august of 1974, john rhodes, the house republican leader, and hugh scott, and goldwater went to visit nixon, nixon asked kind of an comfortably according to bowater's diary, substantiated by roads and hugh scott, said i am going to be impeached in the house. that is a sure thing. and how many votes do i have in the senate? 20? no, of course that would mean he would be removed from office and goldwater said mr. president, my last count is you only have four folks, one of them is not mine.
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nixon resigned, announced his resignation the next day. so these are people who believed nixon had some positive traits. in the end every member of the house judiciary committee considering impeachment said they would vote to in peach nixon, 40 or 42 people. he crossed the political constitutional and moral line that caused his own party to reject him. are the good things? sure. the republican party and the democratic party and the citizens of this country said we cannot have this level, this
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criminal president. [inaudible question] >> where is the parking garage? >> guest: where i met deep throat? it is across the potomac in arlington and in fact they are tearing it down or did a tear it down? but there is a plaque put up for somebody saying this is where the meetings took place. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible question]
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>> guest: ed snowden is the nsa whistle-blower. colleagues of mine at the post to expose that and that ed snowden's papers and interviewed him extensively, i don't think -- questions necessarily have not been asked frankly. there it is the big debate going on out what the significance of all of this is. it served the purpose of warning everyone, you have an iphone? do you think you have any privacy? none, zero privacy. even hillary clinton is
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discovering that. [inaudible question] how >> guest: was the security camera on the plaque? [inaudible] >> i am sorry. [inaudible] >> being young?
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it is started in the book "the last of the president's men," wing young, and married, divorced. i had come out of the navy, and i loved it reporting, and i had been at the post nine months, covering the watergate burglary, in 1972, and come in and do stories during the day. i have been in the navy under the thumb of the authorities and the liberation of go find good stories, and the truth is emerging too slowly. get off your butt. the morning of of watergate
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burglary, the editors sat around and they said who would be dumb enough to come in and work this one, to the top of the list. so they called me and that was an edge of the guys around the office on anything. i would do anything, i don't know that you would agree with this. why? injured people's lives and get out when they cease to be interesting. if you run a bookstore or a
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doctor, you deal with the routine. did you ever come in to the newsroom of the washington post and have an editor say go find something boring and routine, you sit around, what has meaning? what is having impact in people's lives. >> host: if you can't be a journalist be a book seller. [inaudible question] >> guest: that is a good question. i didn't find anything that conflicted, only more of this,
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nixon was a lonely man and until i looked at the butterfield material, butterfield had that front row seat right next to the oval office for three years, a door into the oval office, nixon could come in and go see nixon, and that is the cat birds. you see that nixon, butterfield describes this, 6:30 or 7:00, in washington, go up to the residence, he would walk over and make sure it there were no
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-- he had an office, the secret service put in. put his feet up on the stool, keep his jacket on, maybe have some wine with this yellow legal pad, whatever butterfield says, heady stuff like what are we going to have on air force one, instead of it was really important not just for journalists, particularly presidents, what nixon drew in,
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there was an early stage dinner, calls butterfield in and says here is the guest list tonight. you have five check marks, the only people went to got to. and the coffee and drink session for 30 minutes and it was arnold palmer hunt is loose and no congressman, no senators, i can't use the language in the meeting room. nixon called and said no, those are the only five i want to talk to. butterfield, black-tie, nixon in black tie. do it now. butterfield had been an air force colonel so he called the social aids, they had junior
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officers there. you spot a arnold palmer error, you saw him on television. you just played golf. the president wants to talk to him. you, lasher yourself on to him and somebody else had the other four people, they have a little ball, the general, the chief military aid, give the elbow to be bold, this is the president, and you are not on the list. no one knew this, the next day when they had a rehash of how it has gone, nixon said let's do
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this, continue it and one rehash, do you know how long it took leaders to bring, get rid of the salad? ten minutes. butterfield said i am not doing my job, i should have timed the salads. the minuet was five people. nixon said to butterfield, check the pack, the first lady, butterfield's other assignment was pass the nixon of account, meet with her and grew to really like her and goes up to mrs. nixon, the president has this kind of list of five for the state dinner and things you might want to do the same thing.
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you must be kidding. that is what he does, he wants to know if you want to do it, no, i like to meet every one. ..
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you kind of circle back, but no. that never happened to me. go ahead. [inaudible] >> i've talked to him and i think he feels, he had a lot of people calling him up and say wow, you know, why didn't you tell me? [laughter] and i was, earlier in the week at harvard doing a forum like
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this. david gergen, who worked for nixon, was the one interviewing, explained the role of bradley graham. we had a question session, and some students came up, first person in line and said, i'm alexander butterfield grandson. you know, he was, said, you know, never saw the 20 boxers, would have been a great paper. [laughter] the and so, you know, i think he's at peace. he says he is convinced he did the right thing, let this little bit, in part of the story here is that, you know, what's the
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motive? there are multiple motives. he was mad at nixon at one point i asked him, i said, can i interview your ex-wife? none that's going into dangerous territory. and he said yes, okay. she lives, and i'd like to sit in. and i thought okay, better to have, doing it that way. about the tapes, they were married and i said what you think about the tapes? she said i know he wanted to kill. into butterfield's credit, he said i'll let that stand. she said he was mad at nixon, didn't like him. so clearly at the time he was bring some of that angst home. it's great because ultimately you want to know why people. this is one of the pivotal point
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of history. if the tapes have not been disclosed and he didn't have the tapes they think we would not, and there's jim. stand up and say hello. jim was one of the initial investigators in watergate working for senator kennedy's subcommittee in 1972, and he would never tell us anything, by the way. [laughter] he was the worst source. but you followed all of this, needless to say. do you think there would have been a nixon resignation if there had been those tapes? see, this is why lawyers get paid by the our. [laughter] >> also, jim -- >> you see him contemplating, thinking. >> gymnast not yet written his
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memoir. >> go ahead. [inaudible] >> i think but for the tapes, probably he would not have been forced to leave office. but the mechanism by which he was forced to leave office, namely a saturday night massacre, that occurred because of lawyers. that occurred because the attorney general wrote up the assignment, special prosecutor, he was forced by nixon and by others to write a document that could not be pierced. nixon told richardson to fire archibald cox. richardson had no choice.
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>> that's an important part, but the vividness and the evidentiary purity of the tape recording, you know, hundreds of hours of not just, see, i've listen to a lot of those tapes and read transcripts. the dog that doesn't bark, which i think is really an important -- to my knowledge he never says what would be right for the country? what would be good for the people? it was always about nixon. using the presidency as the instrument of personal revenge. and that is the corruption, the
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criminality. and now this new portrait, and particularly in vietnam. that was, how many people, i was at, yesterday, at the army war college in carlisle, pennsylvania, speaking to 400 colonels and lieutenant colonels who were there at the school. and one of the questions i asked of them, and these are the best in the u.s. army who are going to be the generals some day. i said how many of you think the vietnam war made since? and they were six hands that went up. they will never make a general. [laughter] but six hands, and you know, this is, vietnam is in our
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history and culture, and it is agony in this country. and to discover that the commander-in-chief was bombing the bejesus out of the country and people, and continued this war, you know, something, i think, i was in the navy, you know, that is unthinkable that is not as bad as watergate because nothing is as bad as watergate but it is a moral failing that is really significant to understand because we get into wars, and
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we've seen presidents in wars recently who, i did for books on george w. bush's wars, and the politics enters, you know, why did we have that war? did we get out of it? can make it out of the? war is wrenching, and when i did a book on obama i went to see them in a medium, and asked him about war and gave him a quote from a book that rick atkinson had done that just says war corrupts everyone, stains every heart. and obama said, have you read, go back, read my nobel prize acceptance speech. i have seen and i've read it. if you read something and seen something and not understood it, that's me.
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i went back and i read. it is, obama's of speech, war is sometimes necessary but it is always an expression of manifestation in human following. we've got a lot of come anyway, as you can see i think this is something that we've got to understand and face up to, and that whoever is commander-in-chief next needs to really comprehend and understand that history and have some experience with it in some form. [inaudible] >> i've noticed. >> i'm sure we could continue to talk but we are out of time. i just want to ask one last question about, i know you don't like to talk about what you are up


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