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tv   Book Discussion on One Man Against the World  CSPAN  December 23, 2015 12:00am-1:00am EST

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the elder's. and you have to try everything you can to avoid war. if a man will comply you don't have any other choice. >> while legend keeps persisting. >> it's how you destroy legends. the 41st presidents of the 43rd president of the day you were operation iraqi freedom. you wrote your dad saying i know i've taken our inaction few will lose there lives.
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>> i didn't do a good job of reading it. >> the 41st president to the 43rd president. the handwritten note touched my heart. you are doing the right thing. yet it with strength and compassion. it is right to worry about the loss of innocent life. iraqi or mac you have done that which you had to do. he face the toughest bunch of problems any president since lincoln is based.
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you carry the burden with strength and grace. remember robbins words. i love you more than tongue can tell. well, i do. devotedly dad. >> how one senator to find the president on brownsville >> a shooting in brownsville in august.
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the buffalo soldiers stationed at nearby for brown. they asked him to remove the troops. thought there were guilty. felt they would not be convicted. >> was roosevelt wrong? >> most people think it was wrong. few people thought he was wrong. one minute it was senator joseph order from ohio. what would happen to the soldiers.
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also talks about everything else. so angry for what he did a double down, committed his 2nd mistake by really treating that considering any alternate throw public life. and he's forgotten. they sometimes make mistakes. >> and the genesis of the story was her in washington. i was a museum of american history. i saw a picture of the house
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in washington. that's what got me in the story.story. that shows roosevelt and away we don't always see him. an unknown man was really heroic and is still forgotten. help us put the sender having, to determine by politics and no one can ever to the depression of the united states.
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that republican there shall be called and said we only roosevelt was wrong. mainly because there were no trials. no evidence. it's hard to say you did it. they were considered suspects but no one would be on considering the soldiers. >> taking on theo roosevelt. thank you so much.
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>> am going to put this down here. okay. good evening. i am bradley graham, co-owner of politics and prose. thank you so much for coming. now would be a good time to silence any cell phones or other things that might go beep. we get to the q&a part of the session we invite anybody to ask a question but we ask that if you have a question 1st you put it in the following question and 2nd you make your way
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to this microphone appear because we are videoing for our own youtube page and c-span tv is this evening as well. they would like to your question. at the end before you come up to get your book signed our staff would appreciate it if you fold of the chairs the you are in and laid them against the bookcases. the topic this evening is of course richard nixon is tragic presidency is profiled in a new book by tim weiner that is receiving lots of attention. a prize-winning journalist who is quite familiar. he lived in reported here and he spoke before this previous books. he got into the newspaper
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business after earning a masters degree in journalism thirty-six years ago and by the early 1980s he landed at the philadelphia inquirer where he worked for a decade on a range of assignments both domestic and foreign. in 1988 won the pulitzer prize for national reporting and was awarded for a series a series about a secret pentagon budget used to sponsor defense research. that series led to his 1st book blank check, the pentagon's black budget. he joined the new york times in the mid- 1990s covering national security issues. a bt was described as nukes, spooks, and kooks. during that time he co-authored a book about this by aldrich ames.
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he served as a foreign correspondent in mexico and traveled on assignment to a range of other garden spots like afghanistan, pakistan, kenya, the sudan, and a number of other places. his 3rd book came out in 2007 and won the national book award for nonfiction. not long after that he left the newspaper world. he is director of the nonfiction residency program at the kerry institute in new york which is about to open. it will be at princeton this fall teaching a course the tragedy of richard nixon revisits the spectacular
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fall of one of our most controversial and complicated presidents. drawing on documents declassified of the next seven or eight years he looks back at the vietnam war and the watergate scandal. the trauma to complex figure to the tumultuous years. no one who reads this book will be nostalgic the matter how disastrous the successors. i did learn that they have at least a personal connection to the nixon years company to martian. they noticed this part of
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the justice department and notice someone taking the license plate number. worried that even get a ticket. he got audited for the next three years. please join me in welcoming tim weiner. [applause] >> thank you. selling books, buying books, reading books, this is one of the greatest bookstores in the united states. [applause] and speaking of nixon's successors during my years as a reporter i had a chance to interview president ford who succeeded and promptly pardoned richard nixon and then jimmy carter who was elected after gerald ford's short and accidental presidency.
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and a couple of years later during the reagan era senator bob dole saw at a state event carter, ford,, ford, and nixon all gathered together and says, look, there they are. speak no evil, hear no evil command evil. and on that note i would like to go back about 45 years. many of you will remember this passage in history. richard nixon have been president for 14 months. the war in vietnam was not ending as he had promised. and he decided to take some extremely drastic measures which led to a series of
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disasters unlike any that the country had experienced probably since the civil war. >> it is the spring of 1970. nixon was sleepless, soul-searching, demonic insomnia returned. i don't think he ever slept. he dealt with it at night by drinking. the president by day fell into a dark state importance and almonds talking with the chief of staff about pres. scores of omnipotence he suddenly started planning the precise details of his own funeral. it predicted the 1970 would be the 1st year of his 1st term.
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heit plummeted 11 points. the endless war was the cause. the total vietnam was taking was measured not only in military caskets but wounds of the mind. an increasing number of veterans were shellshocked or heroin addicted. when they returned they found the war had come home with them. a battle within the american body politic. and all the while americans are still dying in combat, thousand month. march 191970 kissinger told a trusteda trusted colleague about a brutal telephone conversation he just had with the president. kissinger told nixon that there was not very much we could do militarily to force vietnam to settlor surrender. the president then demanded a new set of plans, hard option on his desk that day.
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kissinger became frantic. the written notes of the white house council convened on march 23. mr. helms said at the end we believe might bomb north vietnam to achieve something. kissinger asked how this message can be conveyed. the gen. of the joint chiefs of staff said it will be clear forget some bombing. then came a coup out of nowhere. that week of right-wing military junta battle hardened communist forces started moving toward the cambodian capitol 200 miles northwest of american military headquarters. nixon instinctively embraced the right wing leader of the cambodian coup.
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president nixon asked me to draft several personal telegrams containing extravagant expressions of friendship and support called marshall green. i was concerned that he would read into the messages the degree of support that exceeded what our government could deliver on. i also regarded as lacking any qualities needed to lead his country out of the mess. does any of this ring a bell? has the mess nixon ordered the cia into the fight. promised to miss the military effort with untraceable money and guns. an arsenal of communist
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weapons. this proved difficult. no american ambassador, no station chief, no military intelligence officers on the ground. casting around the world the cia called upon john stein, plenty of military experience in africa but none in indochina. he reported back to the white house shortly thereafter. there was another small southeast asian country where no one knew what was going on. the new cambodian regime must someone had to help. and this was the united states. the only way to give them a bucking up was 10,000 ak-47 rifles and the swiss bank account.
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the approved 1500 assault rifles and $10 million. a down payment on a far greater commitment. that same week america central outpost in laos faced a deadly seized by communist soldiers. if it fell laos could collapse under communist control. crisis demanded immediate action. kissinger had to plead for the president's attention. poor casey noted sardonically. no one will pay attention. and it looks like glasses falling. on march 15 kissinger met for three hours with nixon, helms, and key members of the national security council. the president was not inclined to let them go down the drain. helms and the cia -- helms
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was blunt. the usblunt. the us and cia had to ask the right wing military junta in thailand to send battalions in troops widening the covert war without telling congress. the cia director wrote for the record apologizing for my vulgarity, i told thei told the president i realized this was a should a decision. test the pres. to make president to make it. in light of all the factors it seemed desirable. nixon commented that it had been necessary to do a number of unpleasant things recently. there is going to be no one else. we are just going to do it. we don't have to explain. the political situation at home was no better than the military situation abroad. they warn nixon that the
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senate was prepared to cut off funds for american airstrikes in laos and cambodia. nixon responded that he will fight such a limitation to the death. the senate rejected the nomination, the 2nd of two third-rate conservatives personally selected to elevate to the supreme court a ranking republican of the committee said there are a lot of mediocre people and judges and lawyers entitled to a little representation. not on the supreme court, the senate decreed. nixon blamed nixon blamed the attorney general for the politically tone deaf nominations. the attorney general's prior selection was rejected for his record of racism, but he took his wrath out of the senate. multiple unsolvable problems bearing in. nixon responded to the senate resistance with a
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wide range. set up a political attack he commanded. the president ordered to retired new york city police officers overseen to conduct undercover investigations of senate opponents, notably different notably teddy kennedy, birch and proxmire call for prominent democrats who fought mixes military policies and supreme court nominees. as part of what nixon called an all-out hatchet job on the democratic leaders including the internal revenue service to investigate finances. the ex- cops nixon hired were jack caulfield and tough tony was paid off the books with 1968 campaign cash doled out by nixon's personal lawyer and
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political bagman. tough tony told teddy kennedy for nearly two years for the department of dirty tricks. by april 19 the communists were 20 miles from the cambodian border. apollo 13 mission, the commander-in-chief of the pacific. admiral mccain was still a prisoner of war and captivated nixon with a hair-raising report. thethe present order mccain to return with him on april 20 to me with kissinger. mccain's briefingmccain's briefing was grim. if the communists took cambodia south vietnam of the next in the wall would be lost. mccain emphasized the need
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for speed. without the united states should send every weapon that can find an troops should attack across the cambodian border. the joint chiefs of staff quickly assembled tons of weapons for the cambodian army. that was the easy part. now the president needed a plan for the invasion of cambodia and the destruction of what the united states called the central office for south vietnam. american war planners envisioned it as the communist mayor center, bamboo pentagon. they thought if you could blow up you could cripple the enemy capacity to command-and-control attacks on american forces. the united states should destroy it and when the dam work. but nixon in the joint
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chiefs of staff never understood that the bamboo pentagon was not a place. it could not be bombed. it had no fixed address. it was a small mobile group of communist officers. it could be located only by the radio signals they transmit, but that location could only be fixed by the antenna they used for transmissions which could be many miles away from the men on the air. the enemy always seem to know when the b-52s were coming. north vietnam intelligence on american intentions was far better than american intentions. nixon did not sleep for more than an hour to. before dawn he dictated that serving up to kissinger. i think we need a bold move. 5:00 a.m. i do not believe will annoy
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will survive. in any event we must do something. nixon immediately ordered large cross-border attacks in the cambodia with support from american artillery and fighter jets. the question of american ground forces. his work councils were split three ways. secretary of defense and secretary of state wanted the invasion limited or restricted to the soldiers in south vietnam. kissinger favored attack on to cambodian sanctuaries across the border but without american ground troops. the military wanted a full assault on cambodia and the spectral causing headquarters with american soldiers leading the charge. so the vice president agnew 's personal qualities included in audible.
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agnes said nixon resented the implication that he was not being tough enough. the pussyfooting remark provoked him to go for an all-out attack. the joint chiefs of staff never threw up a formal plan there was no time. the next day, the next morning at 720 mixes so sleepless summoned kissinger , tom moore and cia director helms. in a fury the president said the secretary of state and secretary of defense or sabotaging plans for the invasion. the pres.president is moving too rashly without thinking through the consequences. kissinger called helms to ask what he thought of nixon's decision.
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the director replied, it seemed to me that if he was prepared for the fallout is the thing to do. he obviously was. helms said he hoped so. they continued to object to the invasion of cambodia. on april 28 the president ordered them into the oval office. attorney general john mitchell lay down the law. there would be no arguments. there would be no dissent. in silence they were dismissed from the oval office. mitchell wrote the president stated the purpose of the meeting was to advise those present of decisions he had reached. there was no discussion. on thursday april 30 after another night with one hour of sleep the pres. addressed
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thepresident addressed the nation in a nationally televised speech announcing the invasion of cambodia. this was not an invasion of cambodia. i say tonight all the offers and approaches made previously remain on the conference table whenever is hanoi is ready. we shall react accordingly. ..
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>> >> after severing another
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insomniac 90 went to the pentagon detail in a map showing cambodia there were far beyond that target of a native very uncharacteristic decision to take out all the centuries and report ever planned san duet. knocked down now. leaving the briefing i'm sorry the presidency but i unhinged. in date -- and it was concurred there really need some good rest. leaving the briefing that nixon compared soldiers and
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a statement that only added fuel to the fire. and going to the executive office building. and the the national guard opened fire. also for kill the nine injured from the ohio campus his diary recorded the president's reaction. he is very disturbed week are sad to see his worries about the war. this makes it a lot worse. he has to take the heat for having caused the august the realizes the will maya admit
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it was harmful. with a telephone conversation dated that day. but to be run by a children god help us. but kissinger wants to let the students go the movies and. but how they could be hit with any think harder than the national guard. he was concerned with not give it in any way. in the national security agency history classified the year and a half ago that the cambodian incursion was an unmitigated disaster.
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ed to get the b-52 strikes with the vietnamese intelligence and never did any damage. kissinger's in-house experts stirred the with the. and it turned out to be kissinger. there was no way they could be. what did you think that was about? the press got a hold of the story within two weeks.
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put the pressure from the white house at the pentagon and the military system and was unable to invade every tb 52. it is from the national security agency. and the bill would move safely to cambodia ahead of the allies. and fellow street lawyers. but they protested.
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they opened the oppose the concept of the war. a national day of protest to mobilize political support to enter the 30 year-old lawyer resigned as white house counsel able to for as abuse of the special interests. and into we can bay lightning rod. and was rarely disappointed.
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enjoy being a i've been convened by the lighthouse at them with the eric city construction and. and hundreds of hard hats to attack the anti-war protesters and more then 70 were injured. and brandon became nixon's labor secretary. tens of thousands of protesters were gathering as trucks were transporting soldiers to executive office buildings ted bakes a result of her german service breakdown he stayed up all
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night agitated and other ec and then to a company to though late boreal. word spread quickly at 4:00 in the wording. and then we called for 30 in the awarding. over the loudspeaker came though words it is on the line. >> the president is out and about aphakia is that the rose garden and. that i found out where the president was choate cahow i
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couldn't have got there were divided after he did and found him in a discussion with people from all over the east coast to protest. a bid to isis to the realtime accounts. here is the look anyone in the eye is. and somebody would ask to speak up average told him wherever he was. but there was no train of thought. but a first that changed
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from ought to respect that wet to disappointment and disillusionment then i felt pity because he was sympathetic. and then figure to think he is the president running the country. nixon was flushed and draw and and exhausted. and from his presidency and wanted to show his chambers that were never inside. they had the plate of corned beef hash san he got it. they urged him to get some rest but he could not sleep.
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>> but that was the weirdest day so far. very weird. and then beat for rambling on. but then for longtime. and he had demanded that proved utile. the blower of the savings and keeps greedy way and will not admit it. and that meant hit and the of bottle. dustbin for respite tricky heavily.
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night after night. we will stop there. [applause] >> day you have to do research? my question is what role was there any other people and nixon had been very close to 40 years is from h.r. hold their brood with his wife. and that has begun from pat
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ryan. but kissinger once daily said king you imagine what this man could have bad? >> looking at the diary which i know nothing about it appears from what he said to be little different than and up a hard at those people you peak of surrounded it said. what do you think of what his role really was? to remember he had a military buzz cut tough as nails. you wrote and recorded a diary everyday sometimes the
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big five and six hours of the day with the president his diaries record nearly 1 billion words. they were top-secret until last year. he was very funny. very smart. like many of the men who served with nixon. he was loyal and went to prison for. >> this is silly reason i
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can they go for donald trump of above to see your book. [laughter] i saw you and thomas with a very good discussion and. you took the words out of my mouth. but he seems to reach. but he seems to reach for some positive things. the positive data is like the e -- gpa. and initiated by johnson and. but there was a dramatic
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move to the administration. there was some change. >> i promise it was dramatic. but we're still working on race issues. but let me say this. richard nixon signed the and by rental protection act and marched 1 billion on earth day april 1970. of media the before the relevance with the invasion of cambodia. said the environment is not an issue the liberals on the left would to screw corporate but he had no choice. end had issues 15 years of
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decisions if you're berber brown vs. board of education and 15 years later moving very slowly you a river president eisenhower with nixon was vice president sent federal troops to arkansas and this is of the 12 years later. it is true there was segregation under nixon also resistance to say i cannot talk to people. in the only black official that ever served under him said bin to do whatever is
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politically expedia. >> could i ask you to have five personal traits? >> new man that is all bad. headaches and in jaime would be believed that he could be a world figure whose change history. in a genuinely believed if you end the vietnam war by going to china or moscow.
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and somehow change the world. so you have a grand strategy for a huge stadium that. >> fourth. he had the good grace to realize it was in the interest of the united states to not put us through the agony it to it's the personal courage to humility. though president has ever stepped down willingly from office.
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and as that bicentennial approached with that conviction in the senate. >> in into for no contest plea being. >> that is the best i can do unless off the top of my head. thank you. [applause] >> one of the most interesting people as a role
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as the in the boiler. especially if you read memoirs. but 11 months after kissinger and i know what he went through with nazi, germany and know that it was a tragedy and human beings were fatally flawed. and to understand he was the tactician that nixon is the strategist. it is something you have to
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admirer. but kissinger is probably tied for first place the reason nixon started to take himself in the white house. this is hard to industry and but it is true. nixon installed that taping system and not just the white house. the executive office building and he thought no one would ever find out with the multimillion-dollar president joan of war and as a defense against the memoirs of kissinger. no washington memoir ever makes itself come out to be anything less.
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kissinger was interested in power. with proximity to the president and i am flagg the work. with the secretary of state under nixon. for better or worse. >> i have a follow-up question. i enders' the and why she made the case better understand why she keeps them. >> please. >> on tape after their existence was revealed. why?
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he never believed the supreme court would rule they had to turn them over. and this was the dilemma. only nixon could have destroyed the tapes cleaning very his executive property and executive privilege to destroy or you raise them or make confetti out of them. but no one knew what was on these tapes. sometimes he forgot the tapes were rolling. so then the question became so what will we do with them? and they say will we have a bonfire of the white house
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lawn? but anyone who was not the president whose struck a match because some of these were under subpoena. >> you have the the big on the peace negotiations? >> hell yes. >> and chapter three of the book. he was referring in the weeks before the election president johnson was trying to negotiate a cease-fire in its nixon who was in contact
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with attorney john ritual through the south vietnamese embassy in don't make good deal with the democrats and the opponent way to for us. we will get you a better deal. and then to have that presidential palace wired so they were hearing both ends of the conversation with the south vietnamese ambassador got communications of south vietnam. and then to say wait. we have a better deal.
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i totally agree in on the eve of the presidential election this close to a deal. and lyndon johnson recorded the telephone call and then they said this is treason. it is called the logan act. a private citizen to conduct diplomacy on behalf of the united states. if this had come not it would have swung the election. and dixon one from seven tenths of a percent. but the evidence was two's secret. nobody knew what the nsa was.
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but jobs has the war council. with the national security advisor to say we can do this. you will blow up the country and it was already a pretty bad year. kennedy, martin luther king was murder, and then to sanitize the peace negotiation. and that is hard to imagine. and it is all recorded did it is pretty terrifying. that was after. >> i thought it was before. >> he was righteously angry.
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>> it was obvious to many people and the staff that dixon was seriously unhinged. is there anything in the constitution to remove someone who was so seriously but to lead disturb? >> and he took a lot of sleeping pills. with top of the insomnia and dash alcohol but the constitution says the president can only be removed if he is literally on his hospital bed dying in a bid you know, your history you woodrow wilson spent a year-and-a-half and able to speak because of the stroke with world war i but nobody knew about that.


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