tv Book Discussion on The Time of Our Lives CSPAN December 25, 2015 12:45pm-1:35pm EST
>> religion does.us beyond herself. and for faithful people, what is in it for me is not central. >> at 10:00 p.m. her book plenty ladylike, a memoir about her life experiences. >> i don't think we do anybody any favors by trying to address of politicians as if we are not real human beings that have made major mistakes. >> saturday evening and seven a panel discussion. at 11:00 p.m. his latest book the generals. >> one of the 1st questions i usually ask, why did you choose these three men from the 2nd world
war? the answer is that they embody the super characteristics of courage tomy character, and patriotism. >> sunday night at 8:00 o'clock a turning point in world history in 1932, the rise of hitler and fdr. at 1115 the influence machine, the us chamber of commerce and the corporate capture american life. >> is a reason i chose the chamber of commerce is a subject for my book. it is because the single organization sums up the story of how we got here to this place. >> watch book tv on c-span2. >> journalist peggy noonan attended this year's miami book fair where she discussed her book.
here she is from the fair. her book is the time of our lives of her life and career. >> i'm happy to answer these peggy noonan, peggy was president ronald reagan speechwriter, and no one we will ever forget how the president's words after the challenger incident helped us cope with the tragedy. and those words were authored by peggy noonan. peggy is extremely quotable, and this is one of my favorite. don't fall in love with politicians. they are all disappointment. they can't help it. they just are. she is author of eight books, five of which are on
the new york times bestseller list, writes a weekly column for the "wall street journal" and is a frequent guest on the sunday morning news shows. her latest book the time of our lives collective writing , for the 1st time it encompasses all of his writings in one volume. in the book she chronicles her career in journalism, the reagan white house, and the political arena. we have a special treat. the emmy award-winning anchor will be doing a question-and-answer. it is going to be an enlightening our comeau one you will want to pay attention to and not forget because these two are remarkable individuals. because me great pleasure to present. [applause]
>> keep plodding. [applause] >> big round of applause. [applause] >> thank you for being here. it is lunchtime in the state. thank you. it is a great book. if you don't have it yet you should. i finished it and hours. thank you so much for coming here to miami and gracing us with your presence. >> thank you for giving me a saturday afternoon. you have got a sunday show coming up. there are number of things you could have been doing this beautiful saturday afternoon. i am touched and honored that you agreed to do this. we kind of begged her to do a q&a. we are happy that she said
yes. >> it is my pleasure. i don't know if you remember the song native new yorker. and when i -- i have been reading so much about you. that song came to mind because you're a tough cookie. >> i think that is fair enough. in my own way i am in new york girl. i was born in brooklyn. ea brooklyn. i was born in brooklyn new york, big, irish catholic family, moved out to massapequa and massapequa park. but lived in northern dirt -- northern jersey. i have been a new yorker.
>> so when did you realize you want to be a journalist? >> i always realized i was a writer. it occurred to me from the time i was this high i loved books.i loved books. one of the beautiful things is that it was so boring that it was sort of fun. so as a great reader. it occurred to me that somebody must be the person who makes up the story in the books. i have actually -- this is not in the book, but this is actually a true story.
one week before thanksgiving she said go home tonight. you're only homework is write a poem about thanksgiving. i was not a kid who did her homework but i found this kind of an exciting idea the day after that the teacher says i'm going to get everybody back the papers. migrated your palms. she gave back the palms of every kid in the class was a great on top of me and i immediately thought while i had so much fun writing the
poem and really thought it was good. i have a feeling it was really not good and the teacher has not given it back to me because she's going to call me up to have a little private conference and tell me what i've done wrong. that is what happened. ms. brown said command now before you all go i want to read the palm i liked best in this class command i thought it was good i want you to hear it, and she read my poem and gave me in a. and i thought after that, well, i'm a writer. and it was a beautiful, a beautiful moment of my life to barely know what a writer was a note that i was one. i do not know what kind of writer i would be. i thought maybe i i will be a reporter writer's or a nurse writer. maybe i will be an actress writer.
maybe i will work in handicraft and write about it. i just knew whatever i would be i would be a writer also. >> if she knows she had this influence on you? >> she does not. it's long ago and far away. only a few years ago to try to find her and a few other teachers. my best friend became a teacher. give us a little description of what that was like, especially in the 1970s as a woman journalist getting into this industry. >> when i was a young woman i was in my 20s, and i was
part of a huge wave of women just entering places like cbs nbc and abc. we were this wave of young women just out of college, kind of shocking for the old fellows who were on the desk at cvs, the fellows who were editors and producers. i came to learn in time that those old guys who i thought were antiques because they were 57. i thought thati thought that was the oldest person in the world. those old guys turned out to be the murrow boys. they were the boys who essentially along with ed murrow during world war ii had invention broadcast newswriting and were the guys who in the case of st. charles literally were broadcasting live from europe in the lead up to world war ii. i am walking in with this whole wave of young women at
a college. we have already had our 1st job. we have made it to the leagues. we were informal, colorful, all had tight jeans, aviator glasses and various length of hair. and these poor guys, they looked at us like we were in invading martian army. here is the beautiful thing, they taught us everything they knew. and so it was a fabulous experience. >> they accepted us and then gets a nose and then we were friends. that is how it went. >> he worked with dan rather. >> i started out at cvs in the newsroom doing writing hourly radio network news reports like the old world
is round up at 8:00 a.m. i became an interviewer and i then went on to write dan rather's daily radio commentary every day for the three years before i left cvs to work for ronald reagan. >> and i know i'm going ahead before i should, but how did you feel about what happened with him? >> dan rather was a great person to write for. in my experience with him he was completely fair, just such a great guy. here is what we did the other. i had to write his five-minute commentary on the news that went up on the radio network at about 4:00 p.m. each day. so dan's being thoughtful about the news, but so much of it even then was political.
and then, i perceived to be to the left of me. i was a young woman becoming for serious reasons having read the canon pondered a great deal more politically conservative. it was a little bit of an awkward fit but it was a great job. dan had just been made the anchor of the cbs evening news replacing walter cronkite.cronkite. it was a huge job in that three network universe. so it was a fabulous honor and a great thing, but it was in a comfortable fit. i went to him and said you know, i feel like i am not capturing your voice and views because we come from such a different place. you politically liberal and i am conservative. that listens to me and did not say that he was politically liberal but did
admit that i was politically conservative which made us both laugh. he then said this is how we are going to do the show. you are going to meet with me every morning, choose the topic, discuss how if it is all right left thing how the conservatives feel about the topic and how liberals feel about the topic and then at the end we will conclude and i will more or less suggest where are standing come out on the issue because it is my show. and i said you know, that's completely fair. and so that is how we did the show. the show had a huge following. conservatives were surprised to hear there view point fairly and accurately they were usually taking the side of the liberal case. so it had a huge following.
i went off on the dynamic and forgot what the question was. >> my goodness. here is a moment that you people i guess will have had in life and i will never forget it. in 1988 george hw bush was running for president. i supported him, thought he was the right man of those available for the job, worked for him, was a speechwriter. one night i am at home and had just had a baby. i am at home in virginia watching the news, watching cbs and suddenly dan rather, my beautiful friend and former boss is in the fight
with george hw command it was dan rather trying to more or less -- >> i felt like i wasi was a child and moment that wedding upstairs. it felt so personal like to people were fighting sudan bit of an issue. then was on the side of the bushes were on the side. the end of the day i don't think there was that much area between the. then made a bad mistake with
his reporting on george w. bush's military history, and it was just one of those unfortunate. >> we haven't talked about the reagan years. how is that and how did that come about? >> it was just so beautiful, fabulous time. i could tell that this would be, it was my sense that especially if your irish, every generation gets a president. every generation gets to think that's my guy. from my grandmother it was franklin roosevelt. she kept in and i we do our part sign on the window buffalo apartment in brooklyn long enough so i remember seeing it in the 1950s.
five parents it was jack kennedy and for me was reagan. i was so excited to work for. ii had the name for myself at cbs's. i'm going to make this a short story. all i wanted to be was a speechwriter for ronald reagan. i had faith in him and agreed with them. his approach to the world was the correct one in the constructive one. all i wanted to do was work for him. and i knew i could not try to be anything but what i was. when i would meet conservatives used to have a lot of shows a comment. i'm telling you, serious was so friendly and sweet, everyone knew i was politically conservative.
cbs was so sweet that when some visiting conservative we come through for talkshow the producers and writers. and put their arm around me and said this is peggy noonan. she's are conservative. it was cute and sweet. it turned on the guy who ran speechwriting at the reagan white house had 20 years before been a conservative cbs news. then gone on to do other things and wound up working for reagan. he heard that i love dragon he heard that i love dragon said my name is ben elliott. run the speechwriting. i heard about you. i no it's not easy to be a conservative in the mainstream media.
if you come down the washington these scum by a knock on my door. i did something totally unlikely and that it was deeply proactive coming down to washington tomorrow. the stage settle down the dc i went to see him and said this is who i am. i'm not kidding when i tell you i give anything to be a speechwriter. i want to help them have a feeling of destiny about it. this began a process that went many months in which they vetted everything i had ever written have me do make-believe speeches.
everything pops, everybody is on the phone command a meeting last urgent communication with somebody else. i just remove myself from all of that and i know the president will have to speak because this was a huge tragic set my office and start working. >> you looked at the tv and the me. >> every school child in america was watching.
>> it was exciting. all the kids were watching it, all the teachers. it occurred to me, the president is going to have to do a speech that is aimed at those who are eight years old and those who are 18 for 80 without patronizing anybody, as we all do when we talk to the young and the old. as i worked a woman ran in from the national security council. she had been at his office. shirov done everything you said, brought within the me. at the end of the speech i have been watching cnn all that morning after the blowup, and they kept showing over and over again
is poor astronauts and the restaurant uniforms leaving the holding area and going to the shuttle itself. and as they left with a big, heavy gloves they waved goodbye the television cameras in this jolly way that said see you in a few hours. it was very poignant. watching that i thought of something i learned in the 7th grade in english class. i was appalled called high flight. it was about the joy of flying, and this was written at a time when most people have not flown. it was the 1930s. became a fighter pilot in world war ii as world war ii began died in the run-up to the war, but he lived too far left behind this beautiful poem, that slipped the surly bonds of earth to
touch the face of god. here is the thing. i made that the end of the speech, but i knew that ronald reagan would only use those words if he knew that poem. and if appointment something to him. and i hope hei hope she knew it and hoped it meant something, but to be careful the speech ended before that paragraph so will be easier for the president to kill that paragraph and not say it. yet the speech done. there was no time to ruin it by which i mean normally presidential speeches are staffed out to hundreds of people who can't help themselves. i think defensively or aggressively. they change everything around, sometimes they don't know good from bad and so they make things a little worse for take out something that is good and leave and something.
the staffing process can kill aa speech. in this case there was no staffing process. we were in a big hurry. i put on the tv like everyone else and watched reagan and reagan looks very disappointed, not disappointed, he was sad. and he was dashed. he looked stricken. he did the speech. it had everything you wanted and at the end before the poem. but he was -- it was the 1st time i could ever see ronald reagan was upset and part about the teacher, and part about the dreadful tragedy, in part because he understood it was the height of the cold war. this is not a military disaster. there was a lot going on.
reagan left the oval office after that speech feeling that it had not succeeded. in the words of abraham lincoln he felt that it had not scoured.scoured. lincoln said the good speech scours embrace of the earth. reagan did not feel that the speech and met the moment. i came to think afterwards that he thought that in part because there is nothing you can say to defeat a moment that painful. i picked up from watching reagan and absorb it. so everybody went home not by that night at aa feeling very sad about what had happened, the history that has happened and in reagan's part in my part feeling very disappointed. however, something changed. people started reacting. the press started reporting.
kids started talking. something happened overnight. by the time i got into work the next morning i got the impression we were too tough. the speech did its job. came into the office, tip o'neill at albany. i'm a well-known person now. i was not well known then. a powerful democratic speaker of the house of representatives. i was a little spaghetti. tip o'neill bothered to find me, call me, and thank me for the work i had done. it was really beautiful. the president called and was totally honest about how he thought the speech had not worked.
added you know i knew that poem? >> i didn't know that you knew the poem. i took a chance i hope you know it. indeed the poem have been written on the black outside his daughters grade school. and when he had dropped her off in the morning on the way to work. sometimes and read the black the poem was well-known and had meaning and really worked. then he told me he had not originally thought the speech had succeeded in doing whatever should be done the came to believe by this morning that it had. i said what makes you think that it work? there were a number of things, but the most frightening one, frank sinatra call me.
frank sinatra did not call me after every speech. let me tell you. it was one of those moments, rarely would you be reminded that reagan came up and shown -- came up in show business and a new when something landed and when something didn't. frank sinatra was one of his friends who would give it to him straight, so that is my challenge her story. we all this that day, that hectic day to the best that we could do and all made it through. >> that is an interesting story. >> was telling him don't worry, it landed.
>> after the challenger speech sometime after that six or eight months later ii left, there was a power collision in the white house where the people i had worked for and had hired me left and went on to other things. came into the chief of staff for reagan and i have great affection for him but as chief of staff he did not work and the people he brought in so i doubt the mice did not work well with the speechwriting command i just thought, my work here is done. however, a very beautiful thing happened i went home and had a baby. reagan three or four months before he left the white
house asked me to let us felt like the greatest honor , to come and work with him on his farewell address. so i got to work for a few weeks with a big successful american president on the meaning of his presidency and we were time very well and/or try harder and it and it's -- i think reagan would say that is a speech that nobody talks about but that was very important to ronald reagan and contained a lot of advice for the future. >> we only have a few minutes left. there is a section on politics in the book command i love this section. and i want you to give what you write about in terms of hillary clinton in your opinion on hillary. >> my goodness, the book, i found is a went through my work i can isolate various
themes and put them in various chapters and have a ball doing it. i'm going to get your question in a 2nd, but it pleases me. it is about people that i was lucky to know who i felt made a great contribution. jackie onassis who i did not know but have met and observed, tennessee williams , margaret thatcher. there is a chapter about political disputes i have been involved in, big political arguments. i criticize somebody, they criticize back. this i consider to be painful but also a part of the fun talking about politics and real-time in america. i think i am blocking a
little bita little bit about how much i have about misses clinton in the book. i know it is plenty, but a lot of it revolves around the 2008 election2008 election year when she ran against this young guy no one had heard of them barack obama. so obama the insurgent goes up against hillary clinton and her fabulously funded well oiled machine. and what happened between the two was an epic upending event. i never saw political demolished like what barack obama did hillary clinton. there is plenty about misses clinton and mr. clinton. when you look back at your time with ronald reagan which obviously is one of the highlights, do you see any reaganesque qualities? >> that is a completely fair
a completely fair question, and they are nominees on the republican side and i will tell you how i look at it come i never see john f. kennedy qualities in candidates running for president. none of them ever remind me of fdr. none of them ever remind me of reagan and none of them for that matter my me at lincoln. i see candidates as men and women responding to and living in very much in that time. i beg your pardon. i've been talking too much for the past few days. they respond to and live very much in their time. i always hope that they will be great. i hope that 20 years from now will say something like it will be 2040. but since 2040.
i hope we look back and say longingly yeah. but izzy on marco rubio? greatness comes in real time but is only just in retrospect and i just never compare anybody in politics to anybody who came before them. i don't find it helpful or clarifying. >> we will open it up for questions. do not wash your time without leaving where the evidence of your passage. do you feel your left an impact? >> my goodness, that beautiful quote was said. i went to the mass in which pope john xxiii and that
indeed is a quote that i saw all little pamphlet on the street. do not go through time without leaving where the evidence of your passage that is written on all of tape she endured home. i will admit to you one of the reasons i made that an epigraph of the book is that i think writers are serious about it and trying to construct a work and trying to be truthful. their efforts are ultimately an attempt to leave where the evidence of the passage. that applies to very many professionals in their effort.
that's why it's taped to the door of my office. >> i'm sure you have questions. let's get right to it. [applause] >> ms. miss noonan, and your column in today's "wall street journal" you try to analyze what the qualities of leadership have in this post terrorist world. you and your column by saying the next president should have a lot of confidence. and that is equality you feel perhaps maybe the present president is lacking. the fact that there is one particular person's name is donald trump seems to be the one candidate who is campaigning for all about confidence to do, not what
you think the donald trump president might be like? would it be horrible, acceptable, something enlightening? >> it is interesting to be asked the question in florida. you folks may decisively answer the question will donald trump be the republican nominee in your florida primary. what you do with regard to marco rubio, donald trump, ted crews, that will be significant in the choosing of a republican nominee. look, i think trump is the result of many things, one of them is this, the american people, certainly a lot of republicans, have looked at the past
frustrating, painful, difficult 16 years and thought what if we had for 15 years from washington? to essentially on one wars, and economic collapse followed by an extremely feeble recovery, indications on education, you know what they are, everything seeming to get worse. forgive is that worth? i know, the most credentialed experienced accomplishment political figures in america gave us that world. so i think republicans especially are saying to themselves without articulating it, ii think we are going to have to go outside the political world and judge the experience, accomplishments, background command history of others, just broaden the indicators
of what you were looking for, if you will. trump benefits, sobenefits, so does ben carson. he is a neurosurgeon. so does carly fiorino, former ceo. i think trump who has a kind of natural earthy political sense understood the moment we were in and move forward. i don't know what is going to happen there. i don't always know what to make of his confidence. i will end with this, because i have been out on a book tour and because i worked for ronald reagan i get asked about him a lot but in a very specific way lately. people say, ronald reagan was so successful because he was optimistic. he was such an optimist. was in his leadership optimistic? and mrs. optimism.
i will say to people, actually what you missed was not optimism and he was not always optimistic. this is a guy who sometimes took a star look at the history of man and what it might produce. he was not a man who had optimism. he was a man who had confidence. he had confidence in himself in his own abilities and powers and ability to think. he was confident and you. and heand he had confidence in the american system. it could be made to work. the executive agencies could work. this is a man who had confidence. you look to him and saw his confidence and allowed you to feel optimistic. that is what was going on with reagan. there are many candidates
something specific you put in and that's fine. you may be right and it will turn out to be just great, and you may be wrong, and the president, say, if that's who you work for, will simply remove it. doesn't matter. i always tell young speech writers, do your best stuff. if they don't like it they'll take it out. history judges them by their speeches. with the challenger speech be different if it had been with george h.w. bush? i can tell you, of course, yes, because george h.w. bush's comments in the oval office before the speech would have been recorded by the same person who recorded reagan's but they would have been different thoughts because he was different man. so it would have been a different speech. but in a way the -- in a way, i guess i just answered that, but
it's also hard to answer. if you said to ted sorenson, who work with john f. kennedy and then attempted to help lyndon johnson when johnson was president for a little while, are your speeches for jfk and lbj different? i think his answer -- he was a friend of mine. i knew him well. cared about him a lot. i think his answer would be, yes, because lbj was not jfk. they were just different human beings. but his answer would also be, but at the end of the day, ted sorenson was the writer so there would have been some similarities. so it's a complicated little dance. yes, sir. >> we have time for one more question. i'm sorry. peggi is going to be signing books. >> thank you for coming, appreciate you being here. as someone who has spent several years working with president reagan to use eloquence to rise to the occasion of national
crises. how would you assess looking at president obama's performance in turkey after the paris attacks, how would you assess his performance in terms of his comments following the paris attacks? >> very often -- i don't see the world 100% the way barack obama does, the way president does so very often i feel different from him. i mean, i'm in conflict with his thoughts. my thoughts are different. my convictions also. but after paris, i felt disheartened by him. i felt he hit a kind of low in terms of missing what was needed, in his celebrated news conference in which he was challenged, really quite wonderfully in my view, by cnn's jim acosta who said, mr. president, isis has done this, they've done that, this, now done this, they're here. many americans are feeling frustration and thinking, why
can't we get the bastards? that was just an honest, straight -- you don't get blunter as a question than that. and the president, to my unhappiness, seemed in response to that to be sort of intellectually weary and frustrated that people don't understand the fabulousness of his strategy, which he keeps explaining, and don't you get it? he was defensive. he was not someone who could explain to you -- there's a great absence when it comes to obama and isis, and it is an absence of how he thinks about isis. not just what to do about it. what your little strategy supposedly is but how should we think about it? how should we view it? what kind of threat is it? how should we be preparing to meet that threat? what are the possibilities?