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tv   After Words  CSPAN  December 23, 2015 5:06am-6:06am EST

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yes he took a lot of sleeping pills on top of his ensemble he a, top of alcohol, but the constitution says the president can only be removed if he is literally, nine compost mentis and on his hospital bed dying. if you know your history you would know woodrow wilson spent a year and a half unable to speak because of a stroke right after world war i. but but no one knew about it. the 25th amendment says the president can be replaced if he is essentially unable to carry out his duties because of physical ailment. it does not say anything about the president be and not. >> is a time for an amendment? >> oh, good luck getting a pass. you kind of have to be nuts to run for president these days. >> with respect to your saying
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that foreign have positive things that richard nixon did was step down rather than impeachment, my question is, did richard nixon know ford was going to pardon him before he stepped down? >> the question have been broached a week before next and left office. by his new chief of staff general alexander haig. by the way it's the only person ever went from kernel to four-star general of five years without being in combat. unless you count clinical combat. it is ambiguous. the evidence is ambiguous. president ford absolutely did it on the stack of bibles that there is any deal cut. here was the dilemma he faced. if ford had not pardon sent
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there is no question that and would have been indicted for obstruction of justice among other crimes. that would've been a pretty ugly process is our bicentennial anniversary approach. there's no precedent for that in american history. the criminal conviction of a former president. so, ford ford was trying to bind up the nation's moon, they are long national nightmare is over, let's put this behind us. he thought he was doing the right thing. he guaranteed that he would not be elected on his own right two years later. i actually asked jerry for this question face-to-face, in 1982. i'm almost repeating verbatim what he said. as i recall it, he said the country had been through so much pain, why prolonged suffering. that's the best we know.
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>> one of the question i thought about from time to time is whether nixon's behavior could perhaps be explained by thorough analysis and unbiased analysis of his behavior early in his career, for example jerry ford one because of -- i wonder if he had some role. >> with a real is what i'm asking? >> but again is in paris peace talks case, the evidence was too secret to revealing court. his was convicted of perjury.
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the second trial biden nine he had ever been a member of congress. he was never convicted of espionage. >> for years he wrote a book which is on readable how innocent he was. >> the evidence was declassified when the cold war was over and there's no question that alger or the soviet underground from 1932 until 1936. however, for a lot of americans, did anybody anybody here remember the 1930s? but up your hands. okay, there is a real question as to whether hitler or stalin was going to run the world right? so some people pick sides. it is a terrible choice anyway you cut it. >> raise the question of this is perjury is trying to raise the question of nixon role. >> it was crucial. it made him he became type or
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foot first place with jay or hoover, he had been in congress for four years and then he became ike's vice president. that's a that's a pretty rapid rise from nowhere. >> they didn't actually get along that well. he belonged to that now extinct breed called the liberal republic. >> okay, thank you. >> you're welcome. anybody else? any questions, step right up. >> hello, so my dear uncle tim, caps on the bag, i'm about 20 pages into the book and i was telling my friends and family that i'm surprised by the scope or the narrative that you chose for this. nixon's by 30 by page 200
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vietnam is dominated the narrative, even events like going to china are relatively little coverage. on page 20 says today is the day watergate was broken into. so it makes it a pretty particular scope in my opinion. even to call it a biography of nixon's presidency might be too broad. we'll note now about how you into declassified material,, at what point it was reason behind the decision to ultimately focus on the two most devastating aspects of his presidency? >> and ..
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good and used b-52 bombers. burglaries, break-ins, political sabotage to destroy his enemies. in the end, that's what brought him down, trying to fight the war at home and that's what i really learned.
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i didn't set that up. [laughter] sir. >> we have time for one more. >> okay, make it a doozy. >> the case that demonstrates -- you demonstrated his unsavory anti-semitism and nixon and get a number of his closest advisers , of course kissinger, safire, the garment and a number of others and then when israel was in deep trouble in 73 nixon really pulled israel out of the fire. so how do you reconcile this? >> i think you are talking about two different strains in the man's character and the man's actions. nixon was a hater. it's all on tape.
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he hated blacks, he hated liberals, and once you were on his you know what list, his enemies list you were there and on the other hand the united states supported the creation of the state of israel and congress the united states never wavered in that supported in those days the chechens and syrians were supported by the soviets. there is a terrible moment during the 1973 war that you refer to win indeed after a number of snafus and emergency airlift of weapons was organized from the united states to tel aviv. the soviets are detected by american intelligence shipping nuclear warheads through the dardanelles to the mediterranean
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the national security council kissinger the chairman of the joint chiefs meet. nixon, that week had come the saturday night massacre which the attorney general, the assistant attorney general quit because nixon ordered them against a lost to fire the special prosecutor of the investigator of watergate so while this is happening next in his upstairs in the residence and six unelected officials put the united states on a nuclear alert one step short of eminent war. so there was some decision-making that was part of american foreign policy that went contrary to his own biases. what he called the establishment he didn't like people who went to harvard and he didn't like
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people who were quote intellectuals. he told kissinger several times in the states you know, write this on a black word 100 times. the press is the enemy. the professors are the enemy. the establishment is the enemy and never forget it. that's nixon on tape. [applause] thank you very much for coming. [inaudible conversations]
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>> the biggest mistake i think we made, the one that trips people up the most believe it or not is the one that should be the easiest. >> martin understood that not just for christians but for any human being it's important to reach a level of integrity honesty and decency as a long-distance runner. you've got to feel something within yourself here. you have to kill your possession with position and status and wealth.
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>> religion does point us beyond ourselves and for faithful people what's in it is not central. >> at 10:00 p.m. senator claire mccaskill talks about her book plenty ladylike mmr about her life experiences in local state and federal government laid. >> i don't think he would do anybody any favors by trying to dress up politicians that have made major mistakes and have had major problems in their lives. >> one of the first questions i'm usually asked on the tv or
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radio show is why did you choose these men and the second world war and my answer is that they embodied i believe certain characteristics of courage, character and patriotism. >> there's a reason that i chose the chamber of commerce as a subject for my book, and it's because this single organization sums up the story of how we got here to this place.
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and now i'm booktv's weekly interview program "after words," bill o'reilly discusses his book "killing reagan" with bay buchanan president of the american cause. the two discussed the career of ronald reagan, the challenges he faced following the assassination attempt on his life early in his presidency. >> host: bill, how are you doing today? >> guest: good, thanks for taking the time to talk with me. >> host: delighted to talk about this book of you coming or new book "killing reagan" the fifth in the series i believe. is that not the case? >> guest: that's correct. >> guest: let me ask you the others lincoln, kennedy, patton all died violent deaths and indicates a patina was accidental but a violent death. in this particular case ronald reagan's assassination was an attempt. he did not kill reagan. it's a bit different. why reagan? >> guest: wealthy think the story involves with the assassination attempt was in
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context with our series so while reagan was shot very shortly after he was elected president, he was at a certain age that when you get a trauma like that it affects you mentally and physically. that certainly happened and it was almost a miracle that he pulled through so we wanted to tell the story in the context of killing reagan. why hinckley wanted to kill him why -- how that went down and the repercussions afterwards. >> guest: . >> host: fair enough. do you consider this attempt on the presence life are reagan's life actually change the course of history? >> guest: yes. there's no doubt that ronald reagan was a different guy after he came out of that hospital and it's interesting because he was so robust and so vigorous that when he appeared with nancy reagan shortly after he was shot
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and people and i said this myself wow water miraculous recovery. look at him. he's out there in his bathrobe with his wife, he smiling. he was cracking jokes to the medical staff before he went into the operation. what a guy but what we didn't know and what was never told the american public that ronald reagan had a lot of changes that took place in his persona physically and mentally and that's what the book is about. it chronicles that situation. >> host: them if indeed it has affected him would you said first leg and there were things that reagan could have done more , that he was less capable after the assassination because of their physical, emotional and mental changes in him? is that what you are suggesting? >> guest: everyone who worked with ronald reagan in the white house after he recovered said he had his good days and bad days.
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no one said that about him when he was governor of california, so there was a change and i believe that reagan somehow almost miraculously lifted himself up by sheer will and overcame the physical destruction that was wreaked upon his body. sunday's reagan was so detached that he didn't come down to work. he watched soap operas and the president -- the white house. something within reagan pulled it together and allowed him to have a very successful presidency and the top 10 of all presidents. >> host: that's an interesting point because i say this assault on the presence life occurred within six weeks of him taking office indigo son to win another election to do phenomenally in debates with the exception of one and to inspire and nation to
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lift them up economically and to win the cold war. what more could he have done do you think? where'd this assault change things for the worse or did it in fact empower him to do more? >> guest: it's impossible for me to say that. all i can tell you is that you asked the question where could he have done more? he delegated an awful lot of authority in the white house. perhaps he could have done more himself. perhaps if he had his full energy level that he would have known about the iran-contra situation which we believe he did not even know about. it had taken place without his knowledge but it's all speculation. what isn't speculation is that his own advisers by one point after he was reelected were saying we might have to remove him from office because he isn't
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concentrating and is not able to grasp things, his own guys. that's the key part of the book. >> host: you point it out and he said the study was was done and they observed him for a few days after they were concerned about this and he passed with flying colors. there's no effort whatsoever to take him out. it was just a concern like in your words may have had a bad day. >> guest: just a concern concerned? do you don't launch an investigation without a reason so it wasn't just an investigation. they were worried. baker and all the guys, they were worried about him and they were loyal to him by the way and they were loyal and they were so relieved that when he came into the oval office on that day we describe and he was able to engage in all of the issues they felt a sigh of relief. they didn't have to go to the vice president, george bush and
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invoke the constitution but believe me, there was concern at the highest level and this was not undertaken lightly. >> host: you know i was with the president for nine years and in the campaign of 80 which of course was just the year before this assassination attempt on his life, it was very clear during the primary especially that mrs. reagan made it clear and all of the political people agree that he should only go out four days a week and it was real. we had monday through thursday and the reason is he's an older candidate. you don't want him looking all, being tired, not a good thing and this seems to me to be very much the same thing. he did tire easily. he was almost seven years old. i'm not there yet but i'm telling you these things happen so to suggest that all of a sudden there's an attempt on his life and he comes out of me as a couple of days where he takes naps in the afternoon something
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we all knew about the use to joke about it himself. how can you then jump to the conclusion that he had these terrific eight years following this assault and you are suggesting that he was harmed mentally, physically in a way that would bring to cause him to do things differently than they would have otherwise. >> guest: you just made my case for me. you just made my case for me. he said that before the shooting he needed rest, that he was an older man, that you have to give him time off. that was before he was shot and then, and then he shot and he almost died. he's on the operating table and they don't know whether he's going to pull through. the trauma is so intense. are you going to tell me that didn't affect him adversely from that moment forward? they were already pacing him.
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>> host: we were pacing him for good reason. >> guest: and a trauma like that, a trauma like that can only exacerbate, all right, the condition that was in play before but i believe that reagan was a very strong man. a lesser man would have died on the operating table. he's very strong. we go through his regiment, his horseback riding. he ran. he was a very physical guy and he embraced as teddy roosevelt said -- that's who really pulled them through. then he fought against the trauma that was inflicted upon him by hinckley. he fought against it and he rose above it and he became a great president. so that's all that we have in the book. it doesn't diminish ronald reagan. it enhances his legacy. >> host: you think? let's go right to the book. as you say he was a great
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president. he was beloved. he wasn't just somebody who -- the american people just love him and there's a reason for that. it's not just his accomplishments which is half of that or a fourth event but also because of the person he was. one of those qualities that he had was you is a good and decent man, a kind man and yet there are many many opportunities that you have taken to talk about affairs of this life from 70 years ago from one night stands, women talking about different things that would suggest intimacy with the president when when -- after the divorce with with -- understand in reading a kitty kelly book all of this is in there. if he felt was necessary for us to know that he had this wild side all you needed to do was
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say just that great he was a playboy. why go until these details? what is the purpose of talking about all these women many of which there's no way we know what really happened. >> guest: number one we don't go into great detail. number two we don't use anything that wasn't double sourced with names on it. we took out a whole bunch of stuff that we found out that we could really nail it down and people wouldn't put their names on it so we wouldn't use it. just as in killing lincoln, same thing. we want to present these people as human beings, human beings. we are all sinners and we all have our downside to do things we are proud of. every single human being on earth does but the overarching the book is a ronald reagan was a great man and this was the essence of his greatness. we spell it out but for me to ignore that, what he did and he
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did it, there's nothing in the book that isn't churro. while i wrote about kennedy in the same vein and mike in the same vein and patton in the same vein. george patton had an affair with this girl while he was on the battlefront. we are not in the business of deifying them and i understand why people might not like that and they don't have to read the book but when you read "killing reagan" you will get a picture of ronald reagan has he truly was with the good and the bad. i agree with you, think the man was majestic and the way he inspired fellow americans, and his kindness but he wasn't a saint. >> host: nor does he ever suggest he was. >> guest: that's right and i think ronald reagan would like this book very much. >> host: i would disagree with that because they're so much that has he said she said, affairs, one night stands.
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>> guest: that is fallacious. >> host: do you have evidence of one night stands? >> guest: all of the things we write about are footnoted in the look as you would know if you read it. they are footnoted with names. did you not read the book lacks. >> host: oh yes i read the book. >> guest: they are footnoted on the page and in the back of the book as well. all sources and no anonymous stuff. >> host: why is nancy's personal life task -- tossed in there as well? >> guest: nancy reagan was three people. first is driver who married ronald reagan. we had to explain how she got to hollywood and what happened there. there's the diva who god a governorship because nancy was very smart, with short and very protective of ronald reagan. there were a lot of people who believe ronald reagan would not become governor of california
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california or president of united states without nancy reagan. i can't say yes or no on that i can say the portrait of nancy is accurate. she was the diva in the white house and she was to some overbearing into some cruel but then nancy reagan and merges at the end of the president's life is a true hero, somebody who was unbelievably sensitive to her husband's ailments, protecting him and making sure you have the best care, devoted her whole life to him for a decade. it's an amazing story of love and we portray that story. vividly. >> host: you do in the end but every chance you take nancy reagan and you put it very negative light on her. >> guest: that is not true. >> host: for the first 200 pages it is. >> guest: let me state this for the c-span viewers are watching. you are reading this book on an ideological level, right?
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you adore ronald and nancy reagan and for me to put anything negative in the book against them, offends you. i understand you are an ideologue and nightstand you are reading it that way. i am not. i'm presenting these people the way they were. once again i will tell you everything is sourced. everything is footnoted, whether controversial and who set it and where they were. there's the tabloid stuff in the book. there were no irresponsible allegations in the book. it all happen the way we wrote it. we took painstaking -- we went over this with three or four reagan scholars who read the book. is it accurate, it is out of context? regarding overstating? arrangers dating? i didn't hear you say anything about jfk when i wrote about him or abraham lincoln. i will tell you that if you read this from an ideological point of view you aren't going to like it. >> host: i'm reading it from this point of view. i knew the man as many americans
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dead and he was a good and decent man who inspired people. >> guest: that rings true on every page. >> host: note it doesn't. let's go on to another aspect of being a great man, strong courageous man. you give a great story about when he was involved in the screen actors guild and the present at the time and there was that awful violent -- i think it's a wonderful story about the kind of person he was. they were suggesting maybe they go through the alley tunnels to get there rather than to break the picket line. tell that story. >> guest: i just school did you announce going to compliment you. what you put your finger on is the genesis of ronald reagan. ronald reagan when he first arrived in hollywood was a shallow, i wouldn't say naïve. he was intelligent but he wasn't a sophisticated man. he made it as an actor and an
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almost miraculous way which we document. politically he didn't know what he was talking about. he would almost join the communist party and they didn't want him. the communist party didn't want him because they didn't feel he had the gravitas but then there was a strike in hollywood and the strike pitted the communists who were trying to shut down the studios against the screen actors guild which wanted to continue me can movies and the studio heads. it got so vicious that the communist strikers were threatening the actors that they came to the set. so the actors had to go into a tom, had to actually go underground to get to the studios or they had to go on a bus and they had to go on the floor of a bus. ronald reagan refused to go on the floor of the bus and refuse to go back. he sat on the bus are good but he could see him and because of that he was threatened and so was his family by the communists directly threatened.
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what reagan did was he got a gun. he carried a gun for protection. he never wavered, he never backs down. we made that quite clear he was a man of courage. now that experience turned him against the communists and that stayed with him his whole life and that was the centerpiece of his presidential administration. we laid out vividly. we laid out that he was a man of courage and we lay out all the things he did in all the things he stood up for but we also pay as you know say he did inform others to the fbi. we are telling the truth about ronald reagan and that's why this book i think if you're really interested in the man is well worth reading. it's a balanced picture as we did with lincoln, kennedy patton
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>> guest: he was a particularly good guy. then he went on and told about a sitdown meeting with the leader of the strike and how batman used to try to intimidate and reagan came to that meeting and there was no intimidation whatsoever. >> guest: and gene kelly, the famous gene kelly singing in the rain was at the meeting and to his prism we write about it. reagan never backed down. he never backed down. he never did. >> host: let me ask you. on page 50 arrived nancy reagan has an inner steel that her husband lacks. now what we just talked about is something that occurred before he knew nancy and before they were married and he was close to 40 years old when he married
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nancy p. this occurred before so here's a man that is incredible. the only guy standing on the bus just like you say and you are suggesting that he lacks an inner steel? >> guest: you took it out of context. what we are saying about nancy reagan is that she would do the dirty work that reagan didn't want to do because as you pointed out he's a very kind man. he didn't have the heart to fire anybody or even schooled anybody. he wasn't like jimmy carter. reagan wasn't like that so while he was a man of courage and while he stood up or his convictions and wasn't afraid of people who want to hurt him he didn't have the heart to yell at anybody or fire anybody and tell them they weren't doing the job. that's what nancy reagan brought and she did it. that's the steel we were talking about. >> guest: okay, all right. let me go back to that point.
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in the book as you read it, this was the first note that i took concerning that. you have nancy this individual who is running the show. it's like he is the puppet and she is the puppeteer. at one point saying nancy has more influence over him than his aid. >> guest: no doubt about that. she had the last word. >> host: this is where the clarification needs to take place here. she had the last word on his personal life in and his social life. she never interfered in hollywood. >> guest: you know what, i think you are correct on that. nancy was in lockstep with ronald reagan on policy. we didn't find any disagreements that they had politically, so reagan was anti-communist and nancy was anti-communist.
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reagan was procapitalist pro-private marketplace, smaller government and so was nancy so we didn't see any tension there. but nancy reagan did after the assassination attempt was she took off all the stuff she felt ronald reagan and her husband shouldn't have to deal with and that was a lot. nobody got in to see them without nancy saying yes. that's big. that is power and we chronicle that but i think you are correct or where is nancy reagan and ronald reagan pretty much it read on all policy, we never found were sheep pulled him aside and said maybe we should do that or maybe that's not correct. they were pretty much of one mind. >> host: let's want another one. let me ask you because there's kind of a mixed message i believe are the leader in the book on his religion, on the depth of his religious beliefs.
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you mentioned at times but he didn't go to church and you say he does not make an issue out of this belief in god. ..
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so that he formed his position on abortion, which he changed, by the way, on his spiritual belief system. i have it in his own hand. organized religion never really attracted ronald reagan. he is protestant. his ancestors were catholic from ireland. but he never really embraced it very much. however, i do believe that he believed that this country was founded, all right, to have a special place in the world. and. and that came from god. and that drove the shining light on the hill concept that he endorsed. spiritual man not enamored of organized religion. >> host: let me give you something that i learned along the way. i interviewed his pastor.
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he was in pasadena, this man pasadena, this man was his pastor. and i talked to him about that. i was thinking of writing abouta book myself. he said that the reason he did not attend church was because that when he went into the church for the sunday services that everybody would turn and look at him and there would be a little bit of excitement. he said he thought it was so unfair to disrupt the spirit that was there but his arriving. certainly that was true when he had secret service attending services with him and that he preferred having a minister come to his house. likewise house. likewise in the white house often you would have a service there. is thisis this not suggest maybe, indeed, he did -- he was a religious person in all aspects in the sense that he did appreciate the services, the scriptures.
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>> guest: maybe. you know well says he does not go to church because it is disruptive? >> host: it is probably obama. >> guest: barack obama. i don't care whether people go to church or not. >> i will tell you that when ronald reagan got married sacrament of marriage, he got married in a secular way there were only two people at his wedding. >> host: mr. and misses holden. >> guest: mr. holden and his wife. and they despise each other. i think we can all say organized religion was not at the top of his list. his marriage was conducted in a way that would have no religious connotation. his children are all secularists except for michael. michael is a religious guy. i think that we are once again telling you about the man comeau what he did and
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did not do in an accurate way. after one listing on this peemack. do do you believe that this crusade against communism was part of a spiritual struggle? that he saw it as such? >> guest: it's not what i believe. it'si believe. it's what ronald reagan believed. ronald reagan believed that communist totalitarians violated the laws that god gave us. to be free and express ourselves and our living. the inalienable rights that we talk about in the declaration and the constitution. ronald reagan really believe that we were a shining light in the world and the communists were the communists were the evil empire, the forces of darkness.
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that belief was centered around spirituality more than politics. you are absolutely right. >> host: if indeed he has the strong spiritual base, is grounded in a strong faith and on page 76 you indicate, you say of course the man is perfect. reagan still possesses idiosyncrasies that must be kept quiet. both he and nancy used our days is in order to divine the future. i see a twist of contradiction here. >> guest: i can explain it. >> host: please do. >> guest: could not care less about the astrologer. he went along with it. husbands do that. >> host: that is not what
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i'm saying. >> guest: we absolutely say that reagan, it was nancy driving a strain. it was notit was not reagan making the appointments of phone calls. it was nancy. wait. nancy reagan was so involved with astrology and the stars that the inaugural ceremony when reagan won the governorship was held when? >> host: at midnight. >> guest: why? because that is when the stars were aligned. you think he wanted to be there? >> host: i would have no trouble. >> host: his trust in astrologers.
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just like he went along. in my opinion he could not care less about the stars. now grace into the afternoon. at least twice. another time. now, but in the same paragraph you say the often hides his knowledge. what is it? >> guest: another excellent question. here is what it is. reagan was not a
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philosopher. he was not a proactive thinker thinker in the sense that he was introspective. but he had a brilliant talent for absorbing information, cutting out the bs command being able to communicate the pith of the information to the folks. which is why he was successful politically. could reagan, was he a great thinker like jefferson or lincoln? no. was he able to define problems that were adversely affecting the usa? yes. so ityes. so it was a different kind of intellect that he had. was not that book smart, but he was a good reader and he absolutely absorb the information given up until the time of the shooting. and then after the shooting he had a little more trouble
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with that. for some days he was brilliant. other days he was not. that was one of the lynch points of the book we wanted to make. >> host: after the shooting with respect to this difficulty that he was having, he went on to turn it around, this economic powerhouse. >> guest: right. >> host: he went on to win a landslide reelectiona landslide reelection that clobbered is the pontiff of his opponents and debate. he was on his game constantly. what another brilliant moment. >> guest: sure. hesure. he was very, very good in big moments like the brandenburg gate. but wait a minute on the debates. you know who was responsible for turning that the base situation against him.
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>> host: roger ailes is so you claim, i do not agree. i also the reagan was failing, that reagan was not up to it, and heit, and he went in there and kicked his butt. my physically, but he said you have to bear down. here is what you have to do. and reagan, as i just said, observed everything roger gave him and went out and pounded mondale. >> host: let me tell you what happened in the 1st debate because i was right there. all of us knew the president and what he was capable of. just stellar in his performance. we knew right away. jimmy baker pumped him full of information. they said look. you are older now. people are worried. when he does show how smart you are.
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he throughout the facts and figures, and his personality did not come through and he lost the debate. >> guest: isn't that what we right? what you are telling me is exactly what we wrote in the book. >> host: you suggest he was not up to his game and did not have the information and it showed. >> guest: i have to respectfully disagree. he says exactly what you said, he came in, you are overwhelming the man with all of these facts and figures. he was becoming befuddled. he had to strip away and get to the heart of the matter and talk emotional. it is written in the book. >> host: you use this as one of the examples of showing the president altering the situation. this is a clear case. >> guest: he did not have the capacity and was not
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comfortable. >> host: that's a good word. >> guest: he was not comfortable with those arming a tremendous amount of information and spitting it back. that was not his strong suit. or before the assassination attempt in could have done that a lot better than after. that is what we -- >> host: up because he couldn't be. >> guest: had to develop contracts and all this other stuff for the people. the secretary before he was president. >> host: exactly my point. youryou are making my point. completely capable of always doing that.
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>> guest: not after he was shot. you and i disagree. >> host: we should move on. and let's talk about this. after he was shot that particular incident really kind of brought on some elements of the disease we all no as alzheimer's. >> guest: it accelerated according to aa lot of the doctors who examined him. we went to minnesota and have all of those records in the book. this was not something of the top of my head. this is based on medical exams a president reagan. it accelerated, as it would with any human being. if you have a weakness in your physiology and the trauma the weaknesses exacerbated, and that is
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what happened. that ability and strength of reagan is that i believe -- this is an opinion. he slowed it down by sheer will, by sheer will he slowed down what could have been a disastrous situation while president. he slowed it down because he had this passion to defeat communism, to infuse optimism in the usa. he said i'm not going to let this bring me down. i'm going to get through this command he did. right after he got out of the white house you know what happened. i thinki think this year will of ronald reagan and the courage that he had to overcome this tremendous problem. >> host: indeed. it is clear after you point this out of your book that after the shooting quite quickly uses an turning myself over to god. he told me personally that he was on borrowed time and had a calling to do something while he was here. if that is the case then
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maybe this attempt on his life actually emboldened him, made him stronger, recognizing this is borrowed time. >> guest: he had to fight. he had to fight to maintain his physical and mental acuity. and he did. i am stunned that people would not feel that this book more than any other book makes him a human being that has deficits but tremendous courage and that is on display and we get into that so hard in the same thing with nancy. nancy was a diva. and she did some bad things, but in the end nancy reagan as a woman of courage and the woman who had an overwhelming love for a husband and sacrificed her whole life to make sure his last years were comfortable.
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i think that nobility really shines, and the other stuff is true that this is the most important part. >> host: it is unfortunate. my son loves reagan. he read this book along with me and says i think i prefer jimmy carter. you kisscan see felt that you put so much negative spin on every little thing. he looked at it through the eyes of a cynic. here on page 215 now you referred to the new york times as speaking about evidence of signs of alzheimer's, and they go through several different points. reported as early as 1980 his potion for contradictory statements.
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>> guest: this was in him because of heredity. and as you know, it comes at different times in different people's lives and manifests itself differently. i don't remember names away used to. >> host: your not alone. >> guest: not trying to make any medical diagnosis. they are giving the reader the record. i am distressed that you tons -- your son took such a negative view. the man who overcame a tremendous, tremendous trauma and did fabulous things this country and is in the top ten of all presidents. not much you can do, but to have your son say i prefer carter, carter is a good man , but he was a terrible president.
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>> host: a broke my heart, to be honest. >> guest: i think your son should watch this interview and then reread the book and he might take away something different. >> host: let's go -- i don't know how much time we have, but hinckley, you raise some interesting points about john hinckley. talk to us about what you think of that young man, so many places where you said, the 17 things could have happened and only if all of them did with the president end up being shot. give us insight. >> guest: as with all killers, hinckley had a psychosis and was mentally disturbed. he did know right from wrong and was intent upon killing someone. jimmy carter tried to kill him in nashville.
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could not get him. ted kennedy was on his list, thought about killing ted kennedy. the opportunity presented itself to kill reagan and he did. he was delusional and thought this would make them famous. it is crazy, but he trained himself at a gun range, planned everything out. not some irrational babbling guy. patient -- he will never see light of day. he is responsible for what he did. >> host: ronald reagan wanted to call him an offer his forgiveness. are you familiar with that? >> guest: i heard something about that.
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>> host: i could make things worse. i imagine he called his parents. >> guest: whenever you are a parent of a child who does something heinous, the pain is tremendous. their son was alone. he did what he did. but you raise an interesting.that goes back to his spirituality, that he believed in the judeo-christian tradition upon which the country was forged, he did sincerely believe that and wanted to show the country that is forgiveness was there. >> host: interesting, that morning he write about the
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morning he comes to dc and it is just a fluke that he sees the president schedule. >> guest: sees the "washington post", the route of his speech and just, i'll go get reagan. >> host: and he was just uncertain then. he wanted to kill somebody. >> host: amazing how coincidence after coincidence. he thought of last-minute maybe i'll go kill myself in front of jody. >> guest: it was a lot like oswald. they are delusional lunatics who want to kill somebody, and the opportunity presents itself. the parallels are startling. hinckley road -- read about president kennedy visited dallas in the paper. he reads about his trip to the hotel in the paper and
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then decides to do it. before that they were turning themselves to be assassins and knew exactly how to train themselves, what weapons to get. keep that in mind. that is the pivotal moment. >> guest: it is not a policya policy book. we don't really do that. it is a stylistic thing. this book, you can't put it down. you just read it. it is readable. so we did not get in the policy a lot. we wanted to tell the story of human beings. pres.president reagan, nancy reagan, john hinckley. we tell the story all the way through. >> host: of course it was when he took a walk.

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