Skip to main content

tv   Book Discussion on The Age of Clinton  CSPAN  September 18, 2016 9:00am-10:01am EDT

9:00 am
position to have a relationship with the president, to be so candid you can say that is wrong, you cannot do that. i totally reject that. i think having that relationship actually made me and much more effective attorney general, even though my critics used it as a reason, as an excuse to be critical of my service. >> host: we will close. i'm curious come it's clear from the book you have a close relationship with the president what is your relationship with him like to take what do you still talk with increased usage towards the end of the book that the president has served kept up with your career moves and things you done since government service. so what's your relationship like with him today? >> guest: when it comes to national, we see each other. when i'm in. when i'm at "outside" magazine. obviously, we don't talk and see each other like we used to when he was in austin or when he was in d.c.
9:01 am
i have a great deal of affection and respect for george w. bush, the man. he gave me several once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that fundamental change the trajectory of my life. i really feel privileged to have played a part in his administration, both in texas and in washington, d.c., and i have the highest regard for him. >> host: thank you so much for talking with us about your book and your time in the white house tried to i appreciate it. thank you. >> c-span, created by america's cable television companies that brought you as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. >> booktv continues now. estoria and gil troy talks to 60 minutes correspondent lesley stahl about the impact of the
9:02 am
clinton administration on foreign and domestic politics and culture. >> thank you. thank you. i have to turn my cell phone off before we do anything. would not be something if the went off? while i'm turning it off i will tell you that i know gil because he is a historian. i met him when he wrote his book on the reagans and we met at the reagan library. he is the most generous person. he was helping me. i did that what i was doing out there. he taught me how to work in a presidential library. we've been friends ever since. because it's not just a portrait of a president and his wife, it is about but not only that, it is a portrait of both 10 years,
9:03 am
welcome he was there for eight but because it the "the age of clinton" so we learned a lot about the '90s in general. so wha but i guess my first quen is, you call it the gilded age. how much of that prosperity and sense of well being that we had in the '90s the attribute to clinton, to his leadership into the choices he made tranthree thank you, leslie. it's a pleasure to be. thank you dale and alex for doing all this organization. it's not on that we bonded over reagan library. we also bond over the way -- you are going to stand on the four '05 for hours and i finish into the back roads. so that was far more important attention in the book and the thunder from the book is this balance between bill clinton as political figure and bill clinton as cultural figure. the question gets to the heart
9:04 am
of which is in some ways bill clinton's policies come for exempting raising budget bill that he pushes through congress in 1993 helped the prosperity of the 1990s. >> by raising taxes. >> and we had to give what we call in the '90s props to george h. w. bush who read my lips no new taxes violate pledge. that budget bill which lost in the presidency also created the background for the '90s prosperity. we see the presidential leadership has an impact but also there some other things. one of the superheroes of the book is the american people come ingenuity of the american people, dick scobee talent of the american people. this is the age of the baby boomers, the age of the yuppies turning into grown-ups in creating the technological revolution that changed this thing. >> so is the force of history in those years determined more by
9:05 am
clinton and his big personality and the direction direction theo take us in, or is it technology which changed so dramatically? >> these are the questions that keep me up hours and hours. arthur schlesinger, jr. in his classic book and roosevelt tells these two amazing stories. he says in 1933 and man by the name of winston churchill is about to cross the street and then every study looks at the wrong way almost hit by corporate someone holds them back. too much later franklin roosevelt is next to the mayor of chicago, and an assassin shoots mrs. roosevelt and kills 200 arthur schlesinger, jr. squishes what would've happened if churchill had died and roosevelt had died ask we just went on one in are not allowed
9:06 am
to use the word if. we see in the '30s and in the '90s that leadership counts. bill clinton shape is time. but also he was really, really, really lucky. barack obama was not as lucky. i remember inauguration day 2009, but when you look at barack obama come you realize he was saying oh, my goodness, i do is one thing to launch a campaign when everything look like he was peace and prosperity and if you don't the market would've crashed he would of shorted the market and become a billionaire. but he realized i've got work to do. oakland was blessed by the ages of peace and prosperity. >> in some ways your portrait of clinton is that of a greek tragedy hero, or antihero. so here's what she wrote in the book. is historically out of the blue. for his ambition, talent and his triumphs he also left the nation
9:07 am
economic imbalance, the evil plans of osama bin laden and politically polarized. you left the country allegedly deadlocked. do you blame him for that, our polarization? i'm surprised. surprised if that you seem to be paying it on him. >> he was a part of it. >> explained that. >> first of other the fact he did a reading. we are doing everything to as opposed to a talk. if you look at clinton's role come on the winning he should've been th the great united. trying to bring republicans and democrats to get the his vision of trying to save progressivism from itself by bringing in some of the republican ideas and some of the conservative ideas of the importance of culture. should have taken this idea that united did you. and yet it didn't happen.
9:08 am
two things. one is he himself, through his own families come to his own moral blind spots, through his own weaknesses helped feed this problem that we are now facing even more of the polarization between put america in red america which is a term that sort emerging in the 1990s. let's be fair to clinton and see that they're all kind of changes occurring. we see the rise in media where once upon a time you had abc, nbc, cbs as the arbiters of our to be neutral, objective even if there's questions of bias. we talked about how it was important to for dan rather, for walter cronkite, for you to do that later all of a sudden your fonts, msnbc -- fox, more ideological twist. your washington changing the once upon a time in the 1950s
9:09 am
and 1960s congressman, mostly congressman at the time, their spouses, children lived in washington, d.c. so republicans and democrats went to church together, went to little league together, went to school together, went to family gatherings. they knew each other in intimate ways. now they fly home. >> technology. >> this is again that dance. >> speaking of his own flaws and how we may have affected our sense of community, or lack of it. here's end of the sentence from the book. i'm picking out all the juicy stuff. clinton exhibited some telltale borderline behaviors of mannix in hysterics with this gargantuan appetites, his temper tantrums, his self-destructive sexual addictions, his chameleon like politics and his insatiable drive. what do you really think of this guy?
9:10 am
[laughter] so how important is it really, how important is it i guess we can call his kind of temperament? how important his temperament to the tone, the precious temperament to the tone of society? does it really simmered down? this is what your book is time to get out speak as i was once a political scientist. five minutes. my first course in college i'm sitting at the kind it's going to be this notion of science to politics. i say there is no science to politics. what excited me about history was contingency. what excited me about contingency history, about irrational did was personally. i think personnel at discount. when you look at let's say bill clinton and hillary clinton, two people who share a marriage, share many common ideals but the person and the political personas are so different that they function differently in the american political arena.
9:11 am
bill clinton is this larger than life character. his strengths are in some way superhuman but his weaknesses are so debilitating that we end up being part of the first eight years of mass reality show. [laughter] i would argue that bill clinton spawned donald trump. we wouldn't have -- we wouldn't have, i believe the americans wouldn't be putting up with donald trump and all his roguish miss in all his color if we had not had eight years of excusing rationalizing and justifying bill clinton behavior partially because you so damn effective as well. i looked it up in terms of bill clinton and donald trump were born from too much from each other. they are both baby boomers. one of the stories, this is written by a post-baby boomer, by a year or two, is baby boomers. what's going on, what's their
9:12 am
collective personalities? we see a little bit of many, all of it of a structure and a lot of drama but also a lot of witness. >> i'm going to get to monica a little later but -- >> monica who? >> i was thinking reading a book because you asked the question can suggest how the heck did this man survived the scandal? and i think he survived because the baby boomers who, with all our sexual freedom, we forgave him because he was one of us, right? >> absolutely. in 1992 when clinton is inaugurated there's a sense of we have arrived. it's a party, i baby boomer party. >> and that's what we got. >> for better or for worse. you see it in the inauguration of who are the stars of the court under and costars with barbara streisand, kermit the frog. dare i say bill cosby? that saturday night on senate
9:13 am
live wayne's world, the two guys hey, bill, don't you realize it's the '90s? is not the '60s and '70s? all the cultural icons from the '60s and '70s are being pulled out. this is a sort of the baby boomers, the gender bender. bears the great american sexual revolution of the 1960s and '70s and by the 1990s there's all kind of changes in attitudes toward sexuality. bill clinton benefits from that. >> but you also talk about incredible things that happened under his presidency, the number of jobs increased. crime dropped. these things either he determined was just a suggestion, incredible luck in the deficit disappeared. wages go up quite a bit. let me put it this way. of all the presidents in our lifetime, so let's go back to fdr, took now, how does he stack
9:14 am
up? >> that's a great question and it really frustrated bill clinton when it was an anniversary event at hyde park, and begin arthur schlesinger, jr. and other was the historians gathered and they say this guy doesn't rank. he is furious and he sends a letter to them defending himself, because that was bill clinton. when a mine favorite bill clinton like to regret the fact he didn't have a great war to show his greatness last night hello. [laughter] spent all presidents do that by the way. >> right. and we have the ken starr report, i did look at the racy parts but what i look at -- i look at the subpoena that should what was in the presidential library. all these big tones about
9:15 am
abraham lincoln, about the proposal, about leadership. to get to question, i do want to just go around it. i've got to get to the question. get to the question. i think bill clinton during the time didn't look like h like yod stack up what i think you're right. we look at what he accomplished, it was an option. this big mistake for him to be distancing himself from the the congressman of fighting crime. look around, i jog through central park this one and it was like shangri-la. partially because one of the thousand police were deployed in the city and elsewhere, partially because is a new approach to fighting crime, because the president realized that crime was not just an issue for law and order republicans. had to be issued to help save progressivism from itself. democrats cared about. it had issued it wasn't a black-white a black-white issue because african-americans were suffering as much if not more from the crime wave than white americans and had to be an issue
9:16 am
that brought the country together. and on welfare reform, on crime, on the budget bill he was able to through sheer will sometimes push through compromises and make a difference. >> as you are researching going to the presidential libraries and filling out these tones as you say, what surprised you? i know we've asked you to bring some photographs because you have a huge stack of incredible photographs. tell us what surprised you and let us look at the pictures while you're telling us. >> there i am in the clinton library and i discovered this treasure trove of over a thousand photos that are not digitized that are in these little booklets from a reporter named robert mcnally who found him in the 1992 campaign. one of the things we see is they were young once. [laughter] they are oozing charisma, and this, these pictures are taken
9:17 am
from after the democratic national convention when this surge of excitement. would you also see is for all their operatic marriage, roller coaster marriage, they are falling in love again. bill might be the worlds greatest actor but hillary isn't it you can't fake that. a major fashion -- >> he looks sexy. >> with her little jacket. there that are celebrating his birthday. this, of course, also this excitement with the other wonder couple of the 1990s, the gores. out and do. is not going to be one of those presidents who looks for a vice president different from them. he wants someone similar to him and say we're going to be the baby boomers saving the world. you just see this tremendous sense of excitement, this surge of energy going towards november 1992 and, indeed, you said the key word, sex appeal.
9:18 am
i had this awkward moment where my job interview charlie after the election at this very serious female dean of the college says to me, jenny, microcredit and i were passing around an e-mail chain, before the age of social media, of how to cut a 12 step program for getting over our crushes on bill clinton. [laughter] okay, i'm a white male commits 1993. what in the heck am i going to say? but there was this sense, what was the? river got in 2008 with all the excitement in barack obama. and 1982, bill clinton is archived. bill clinton has that appeal. it was forgotten after all the headaches of the 1990s. >> what would you say are the common misconceptions about him and his presidency and his time? >> the biggest misconception in one of the other big aha moment i had is that his government would simply finger to the wind,
9:19 am
that he was poll driven and he he was just a creature of dick morris. he was sensitive to bolster a 40 went on a family vacation he told to go see what would be a respectable place and will be not a respectable place. but at the end of the day what i realized is bill clinton was as ideological as prescient as ronald reagan. he wasn't a right-winger but he had a tick. you go back to 1980s and in the 1980s or something called the democratic leadership council which form mostly southern moderates in their look at the first of the great society, look at the success of the reagan revolution and saying we want to save liberalism. you look at what's called the new orleans manifesto. look at bill clinton's speeches, you look at his announcement speech in 1982 and you realize that that his government plan in december ronald reagan articulated the governing plan. getty occasionally deviate
9:20 am
questions. fundamentally what was the idea? that we have to bring this sensitivity from the reagan era towards the importance of culture and deported what's going on in america outside of the political organ into the political arena. the two key ideas are one, fighting crime, democrats fight crime and second, ending welfare as we know it. in 1996 when bill clinton signed the welfare reform, everybody says he's just doing it to win election to get to go back to the speeches you realize part of it was his duty because he said this is my core ideology. the core ideology was this third way ideology that even try to spread through tony blair and others. >> i am skeptical. you write, i think he sold himself as a liberal when he first ran. so i guess you're suggesting is a little hypocritical? >> i think it was --
9:21 am
>> okay, so in your book you even quote christopher hitchens saying andy seth and anger, that bill clinton locked in the reagan revolution. it's a criticism from even the centrists democrats. >> this is one of the struggles bill clinton has been one of the struggles hillary clinton is having right now. how do you hold onto ideology? spent centrists ideology. >> right. while also being sensitive to the bar changes going around? when bill clinton talked about the third way, it was building on something that the good version, the pre-evil version of the republic of the conversation here in the covers she popped up in 90, 91, 92. how can we retake the white house? there were two sites which bill clinton brought together. one was tactical.
9:22 am
they were so disappointed of michael dukakis, so disappointed with his defense of liberalism and with george h. of the bush called the l. word. so disappointed by his promise that he was just an to be a pragmatist and he wasn't selling ideology. they were disappointed consecutive a candidate that he got willie horton. they promised themselves they would find a candidate who would fight like the dickens do when they found one in bill clinton who woke up every day and how to advance my program. they also wanted to say how do we, look under the hood, tinker with liberalism and make sure we can update it for the 1990s. >> update it by moving right. >> or moving it to the center but also keeping core ideas. >> what does this tell us by hillary should she become president? will she do the same thing? right now she's moving left as fast as she can but -- thanks to bernie.
9:23 am
but does share the same ideology that clinton had or different, do you think? >> it's really hard to know where hillary stands. which hillary is running what is it that hillary who in the clinton white house was considered to be one of the liberals? despite her reputation, she was one of the people who would turn to bill clinton after the 1994 disaster where they lost the congress to the republicans and said we've got to bring in dick morris, go back to the center. she was one of the people who understood that it was the 1990s, there still operating and recognized america. as senator susan much more mainstream standard democratic i think in 2008 when she was running for commonwealth office? president. and now again she's just gotten so cautious that is hard to know what she will really bring to the white house. what's also interesting is
9:24 am
there's a style of clinton governance. one of the amazing things that bill clinton is he loves policy. one of the things about hillary clinton is sheila policy, too. i think the energy, a sense of we wake up everyday, stay deep into the night. bill clinton was calling people at 3 a.m. trying to convince them, trying to control them, trying to play cards with them, tremendous energy and energy is very important to the american people. >> you've written about a lot of our president. probably most of them, ma the survey books that concentrate on others. spend all of which are on sale and were building towards christmas and -- >> can a person be good president if they are not a good politician? if they're not a great campaigner? you know i'm asking the question. >> i think it's really hard. especially in the 20th century and the 21st century we started seeing a television age
9:25 am
in its emerging clearly in the 21st century. politics is about public leadership. it's about leadership and a democracy. for some it is just going to be a policy person, i'm not going to play with politics is very problematic. we saw with people like richard nixon, people like jimmy carter and i think it's one of the -- hillary clinton. bill clinton most people. he's a people person like ronald reagan was a people person. we are seeing it with obama. >> i'm asking the question in light of hillary. at least the way people feel about her as a politician. >> right. she doesn't exude the of the people. she doesn't exude the other job. as part that's part of the job. the job description. she came into politics through the back door, or through the marital. her mother dreamed of becoming the first female chief justice of the supreme court. in some ways it's a more
9:26 am
civilization for. she was known as a brainiac. her nickname in high school, i apologize, frigidaire. that's an old word for refrigerator. and he was elvis. spent everyone in the room knows this. [laughter] >> he was elvis, he was baba. by the the first time we talked to my book he said something really insightful about bill clinton. he said he came from somewhere. barack obama comes nowhere. bill clinton came from the south. for all this baby boomer nonsense and for all the sexual antics and for all his modernism he was rooted in the south of the rumbling trains and the linoleum floors in that sense of position and placed in the south and his grandfather ran his corner grocery store and that was important to them. that would in an american tradition and in an understand of what america is and would attempt to the people.
9:27 am
and as a smalltime governor of a really, really small state, out of little rock, god bless america, the fact this guy can go on that to washington is extraordinary. you realize that he just had that touch. he understood people and he liked people. >> he still has it. i want to ask you about all the scandals and all the stumbles that dogged the two of them about those eight years. and whether there was a right wing conspiracy. i ask in light of what kevin mccarthy who, i don't know if you've seen the news today, he withdrew from the race for speakership, that he has now said that this committee, the benghazi committee, looking into hillary's actions was really designed to destroy her candidacy. so it makes me ask them was there a right wing conspiracy, or did they just make that up?
9:28 am
>> the things i love about being a historian is unlike the washingtonians i don't have to be just a left winger or just a right winger. i can find that balance. when we look at the issue we say yes, there is a right wing conspiracy, yes, there's a certain way in which the republicans look at bill and hillary clinton as those harry potter villains who steal the soul of republicans. you're hijacking some of our key ideas. that led to an obsession with clinton and we see with the benghazi committee and we saw with the whitewater investigation and we saw with tens of millions of dollars for a way on idiocy that there's this need to take my mistakes that they made and turn it into high crimes and not even misdemeanors. so yes even unfairly treated. on the other hand, this gets to the greek tragedy, they have both of them again and again this moral blind spot.
9:29 am
it's extraordinary how people who know they are under scrutiny keep on doing things which they should know better not to do. the e-mail server. why do that? and the last days of the clinton administration, this is like the talent, really in a greek tragedy, the last days in the clinton administration you have this selloff of pardons to marc rich and others based on access and influence which he means the president and undermines the clinton. in some ways even tawdry or is two things, one is the clintons, hillary clinton have on to omaha, nebraska, and opened up a gift registry of people like steven spielberg and other hollywood types and donors from new york were sending tens of thousands of gifts of silver in furniture the two houses, and then they take about $30,000 of furniture had been deeded to the
9:30 am
widest and toshiba off to those two homes. you are going wide? heather mckay the edge. because we were broke. she was already underway to sign a $10 million book contract. they knew they were going to be globetrotting in raising money through speeches. why this need to do it was the ghost of this certain sense of the moral blind spot, they just can't help themselves because they're so convinced of their self-righteousness. speaking of baby boomers. >> is that a baby boomer thing? so how did come in your opinion all the scandals and particularly monica, how did that affect i guess the course of american history. because he has the standard, what didn't get done, what did he get done? what changes were brought about because of these things? las..
9:31 am
and someone who welcomed the little rock nine through the
9:32 am
doors at the schoolhouse where they had been part of years earlier that the president class on the little rock and welcomes them. he had this tremendous love for african-americans and connection to african-american and not just is god good just one example. you see it in every riding in 1998 with the monica lewinsky scandal breaks a week before the state of the union and the speechwriters have to go through and pour over everywhere to make sure there isn't anything that can be turned into some to walk tall. that is my french bid they have to make sure and the type of values of family that republicans hold putin. bill clinton being a genius when it comes to state of the union nevertheless turned into a great moment where he says i want to govern and the american people say throughout that awful year and in the midterms, we want you
9:33 am
to govern. but his governance is limited because of monica lewinsky. one of his chiefs of staff said the scandal changed american history. she doesn't want the designation either as one of the most influential people in the 1990s. >> you don't say that lightly. >> "time" magazine designated for better or for worse. the center for interviews how dramatic it was for her and how mean people were to her. she was the first person cyberbully you nevertheless, her role in that scandal ended up changing the course of the clinton president v. although he tried. they said he would have a meeting with the lawyers. close the door, common to another office, change things around and start talking. let's focus on the president. >> i don't want to ignore the fact that a great part of this
9:34 am
book is the 90s. and not just the clintons. you write an awful lot about the culture of the time. so i am wondering, maybe you could walk us through this. let's talk about movies because everybody loves movies. what were the big movies that use aim sort of emblem i did back in and what effect was quick and the reason these movies came out or the movies influencing him? talk about the culture. >> important question. you take a film like forrest gum, which is this come from nowhere that no one asked us what this really long movie about the limited person is a huge hit. the stories in some ways tried to make sense of the 1960s and the baby boomers looking back
9:35 am
and figuring out what going on. part of the story is pressed rarity. how does he get over the vindication? bubba gump. it goes back to your first question. the gilded age. in 1820, these prosperity run by republicans. the 1950s run by republicans. 1980s, peace press rarity when the republicans. you have this democratic gilded age. in some ways it means you don't have democrats now positioned putting the brake on some of the excess and we pay for that in 2008. culturally all is though you see a kind of celebration of money, of prosperity which is good, but also the excess greed. that's the american also did but it was also -- the! is the first president. we are not just feeling very
9:36 am
spirit we are feeling like we want this huge battle, global battle. we were feeling good in many ways. do the movies reflect that one false. we had at that point in time? >> with the cold war leads to the sense that we are the hyperpower. we are the superpower. we can do anything. but at least to a certain sense of who we. but let's are republicans. the cold war gave us a structure. it gave us a way of understanding life and not justifying all the needed. bill clinton jokes in the oval office. i wish we had the cold war because it's hard to know what you do in foreign policy. the night i was on a trip when george herbert mosher bush was president to rush and a man
9:37 am
named juergen arbatov who was part of the kremlin operation told a group of americans who were there at the cold war had ended and he said he told us, you are not going to know who you are. you have assigned yourself again status. we are evil. you are good you tell yourself. when you don't have us as your enemy, you're going to lose yourself. you are going to be lost. it did play out in the years after he appeared >> that's what i call the republic of nothing. at least to the awful moment where we look back on the decade of peace and prosperity and say what did we do it this great gift? how come we didn't do more to fix our society and one of the things after september 11, 2001 is we need to do better.
9:38 am
there's a certain sweetness and idealism that emerges from that day. we're all new yorkers here and we remember that incredible spirit. we have become strangely kind of a lovelier place in an even more polarized place. i've always thought it was because of technology, not because of any president that the invention argosy can blame al gore. because we are becoming more withdrawn and isolated in polarized. i want to ask you again and they're setting up lights so you can ask questions. i like to ask if it's right to blame these presidents for things like this that are so huge that are happening to us,
9:39 am
it's almost out of our control you mention television, 24/7 constant criticism that a criticism when it appeared probably go through as individuals is inexorable. we can't fight the technological ways. we can reelect somebody and get a change of this. >> he talked about a bridge to the 21st century and it really was true. the start of night to 90, amazon is just a river. paypal is something loanshark say. and all of a sudden these things that are not central parts of our lives become the powerful and become inventive. that's not because of bill clinton. in some ways they give bill clinton credit. if we have a political culture, would say not only al gore, bill clinton given that the internet. i didn't have the vision that these two options had about the
9:40 am
importance of wiring up america appeared the importance of making sure you didn't have high-tech heart and have not spirit the importance of understanding this was going to change how we live the challenge of understanding some of these things are huge. we drove our friend are virtual. they are not real. it scares you that we are so into our little technology. we've lost community, family and true friendship. that's not a president -- president could make a difference. the reason i spend -- leadership counts. i do think it affects things. in every decade, that's why you have to write this kind of the
9:41 am
book. put it in the context of the technological changes, the cultural changes. you losses the it's george h.w. bush had been reelected, who is that guy who read dole in 1996. and the democrat is 96. he was the same age as hillary is today. when he ran for prez and that would have been different. >> is she younger than reagan once? >> yes. just barely. almost a year. we also live in an age where we live long her so were healthier and have medicine. the point is that yes, there are these big overwhelming forces
9:42 am
that change things. but when we care so much about the presidential campaign in who the president is? the president is a single individual not just in the world to set the tone who really makes a difference. >> view having written this book and it is a great book. >> another's right over here. my mother and my father. [applause] >> i had to meet them personally. having written the book, are you optimistic or pessimistic about our future? that's a big question. >> the answer is yes. >> now you sound like a politician. >> where i'm optimistic is the way i start my 2001 shot are called american function.
9:43 am
we have a tendency sometimes to focus so much on what we have been achieved. so much on the problem that we forget the miracles and feeling dave when you walk on the street. and you plunge and skyrocket high employment and safely. the magic of medicine. there's all these magical things going on at technology as a part of that. that's where a mob to mistake. what scares me about today is this loss of a certain sense of the american soul. the republic of nothing. i also say would become the republic of everything. so much more open, welcoming, tolerant than ever before. we had in the mix. we had our problems in the 50s and 20s before that. that's what i called the richard stands test. to the republic for which it stands. we have to stand for something.
9:44 am
what we stand for what about the ipad come to the ipad come with me, me, me, now, now, now. who are we? that is where leadership comes the challenge i put out to hillary clinton and donald trump and bernie sanders and marco rubio is don't just come up with policies. we need a vision for this country. we need a sense of how these magical technologies undermine come individually, make us more selfish but can also somehow bind us together. how do we go forward? that's what i'm not hearing. >> you're not. for many candidates. >> they are all too afraid of their own jobs. >> there'll be questions after my questions. if you have questions, think about it and we will invite you up to the microphone. you know, i don't get this. almost every president gets
9:45 am
around to having a war with the press and its always foolish and it's ridiculous because it's not going to get them anywhere. but none as bad as the clintons. and i know that they were warned that it makes no sense and they don't win with that kind of thing and they are still doing it. tell us about that. >> it's a great question. it's particularly anomalous for the clintons because they argue. their generational peers. they have been friends. they came from the same schools, say mixed. says an part of the excitement of 1992 excitement generated by reporters and that leads to the greater sense of betrayal also. let me step back and say when i was in washing and doing research i spoke to people who worked in the clinton industry should end out the obama
9:46 am
administration. of the three presidents, who was given the roughest time i depressed? the clintonites, or she's the bush and the obama said obama. obama stopped about racism and are shocked about liberal conspiracy conservatives and clintons that they just hated us. you are right. there is a certain sense of order. clinton was repeatedly warned not to do this. one of the things in the book is that ended up being the angriest administration since richard exton. it's partially because they also end up feeling that sense of betrayal. >> i think it is betrayal. when i was covering the white house, jimmy carter's people felt, i think, and i think maybe the clintons felt this, that they thought the press was on their side. and so betrayal is the right word. they felt betrayed. republicans never thought the
9:47 am
press is going to be on their side. they had a great relationship because there was no expectation. they actually respect did what they did and reagan had a good exchange with the press. they understood the boundary. i don't think the democrats are the most. >> the clintons read all of those stories. they washed all the fox news claims saying that the press is liberal and both democratic and leads the mainstream traduced proportionately vote democratic. and never quit and i said something i'll send that goes back to your inside i mentioned earlier. they said you know what, it was the northeastern bias against southerners. the southern outsiders. the clintonites felt that they were given a fair shake because they were looked to the rationalization. taylor branch he was both a reporter and a writer, who is a good friend of bill clinton, sat
9:48 am
with bill clinton late at night recording him. in the book he talks about an exchange. he says don't fight the press. you're going to lose. clinton can't help themselves. the same way he can't help himself in other ways. impulse control is not one of his strengths. last night >> anybody want to come up to the microphone? if not i'll keep going. >> a question for you. what would you think clinton's presidency would be like if he were president today and what some people call it an era of continuous partial attention? >> that's a great question. as i said, could benefit from the peace and prosperity of the 1990s, but also regretted he did have challenges iraq obama was faced with. one of the great strengths of
9:49 am
bill clinton, which george w. bush and barack obama lacked was because he loved people and politics and because he had such an effect as governor of arkansas for so long as he understood had to sit down with republicans and negotiate. the story of bill clinton and newt gingrich is a dysfunctional love affair. on one hand they hate each other and look at each other as a symbol of all they don't want to be. on the other hand they sit down and talk and negotiate. over the budget, kind of welfare reform in the 1990s which we haven't seen in the bush era and the obama era. aware of the limits of the question, his kind of leadership may be useful today. >> utilization is there. >> a question about campaign that's always bothered me that in camp david at one point,
9:50 am
arafat said to clinton there is no connection between the jewish people and the land of israel. what was reported was that clinton reacted very strongly with some select words which i won't repeat. whether you're talking about, are you crazy, it said rep. and never seemed to have had any policy implications of someone who was leading the palestinian people could be so far divorced from reality and this is all continued today. it sort of got thrown away and never implemented in terms of the policy change because of that exchange. >> one of the great tragedies of the 1990s as the soviet union and rather peacefully south africa, south african apartheid rather peacefully. northern ireland comes from some inclusion. these are all in the 90s. there's an assumption as all of
9:51 am
this is happening at the same magic will occur and you have the oslo peace process which originally starred in norway but bill clinton hijacks and has the person who stand for it. he hosts yassir arafat more than any other foreign visitor that the white house. the last day of the clinton administration yasir arafat comes to the white house and being the schmoozer says mr. clinton, you are very great man. he also limits as i'm not a great man. i'm a failure because of you. he basically says what this gentleman is saying that arafat had been cast by the united states of america to be nelson mandela. at the end of the day, he was yasir arafat. that was a huge policy mistake people are still paying for. clinton's defense he thought he could pick their leader and they had to pick their own later.
9:52 am
>> you know, he's a great example of how a revolutionary who laid them off that cannot be the leader and can't move out of the original role. >> albany's advisers say what was going on with him he couldn't make the move. >> david now what you know, what role do you see inflating hillary's campaign and if she wins, what role do you see him playing in her administration? >> is a great question that goes back to trim the clintons in the 1990s. in 1993 the presidential motorcade is driving around and they ran out of gas and they go to a gas station in the gas station attendant turns out to be about a friend of hillary clinton's and bill clinton looks at him with all that disdain for the working class and says hillary, if you had very tame, you'd be mrs. gas station attendant.
9:53 am
she does bill, if you hadn't buried me, you'd be mr. gas station attendant and he'd be mr. president. [laughter] that's always been the question of who helps to. one of the special things about their relationship is that he is a people person, though she was soft in the spine and often the ones like nancy reagan who knew how to cut losses, fire people when necessary. he so wanted to be loved and she wasn't afraid sometimes to be hated and you need that. it'll be interesting to see. beside 2008 that he became a liability. he got so angry. the fact that the african-american community was turning on him. the fact that barack obama, this guy from nowhere. he hadn't paid his dues with americans destroyed the clip master plan. made various. if you notice the secretary of state, hillary clinton had bill
9:54 am
way off in oregon and the challenge will be what will you do with 10. >> we think he was in oregon but we don't know. let me ask you something. do you think that needing to be loved is a good quality for a president? >> he was the first white house conference of hillary in the 1970s and has an extraordinary oral history which you should google and reid says that the biggest problem with bill clinton and it goes back to send in mama clinton said about clinton and about her and roger clinton was whenever they want into a room, they could sense who was the person who least liked them and they would spend time trying to woo them. he said that as a major mistake for a leader. he talks about the need of bill clinton is to be loved what she said please do him listening not to hold it.
9:55 am
can't like leon panetta, alice rivlin and the grown-ups in the white house who had other careers, jobs, while parent is to go back to the insider listening to the kids, george stephanopoulos who was so afraid of the press and headline that they say go with the special prosecutor. you make a huge mistake for yourself. once you have a special prosecutor to have to justify themselves. bill clinton, tried to be loved and accepted negative headlines can support the special prosecutors and he and his memoir says it biggest mistake i made. it just jumps off the page with frustration and anger. he did listen to me. that is a weakness. >> you mentioned but bill clinton regretted that he never had a war to fight. he did get involved. can you answer why he wasn't interested in getting involved in rwanda question arc
9:56 am
>> yeah, it's a real tragic mistake that he made. one of the awful things to go back to the 1990s to see the clinton white house at that moment is so much in damage control mode, so headline driven, so fearful of exercising american power but the big fight is against reporters and human rights that it is who are daring to cover one that a genocide even the 800,000 people were called because of its called it genocide america is forced by treaties to step in and they don't want to intervene. one of the interesting things that happened is there's a learning curve and initially he comes in as newt gingrich called it, as a dad who really bad uncomfortable with american power. you know who taught them how to salute? ronald reagan. he visits ronald reagan after he is elected before he becomes president and he gives them lessons. >> reagan learned from the
9:57 am
movies. [laughter] >> is afraid to assert power. the bosnian intervention in the kosovo war is a reflection of the learning curve that all presidents go through. he says that the president. i've got to leave. at the moment of great political currents were bill clinton because he felt guilty about having let the bosnian situation deteriorate for so long he felt guilty about the massacres that occurred and he felt guilty about rwanda and he changed it. we see with a big mistake of the 1990s is various data. there is information that osama bin laden has declared war and george w. bush failed to leave after he became president that it's partially the fault of the press and reporters. in 2000 no one is asking questions about osama bin laden.
9:58 am
we learned that al gore likes to sleep. got to get that out of my head. and that george w. bush likes to detect macs, but we don't learn about their stance on terrorism because we were massive collective denial. >> though clinton has talked about his regrets many times over. >> thank you so much. [applause] as always. [applause] and thank you always for coming, for being our wonderful members and trenches book is on sale in our museum store. just to remind you, transfixed. thank you all so much. goodnight. [inaudible conversations]
9:59 am
[inaudible conversations]
10:00 am
[inaudible conversations] >> beginning now in tv, live coverage of the brooklyn book festival in new york. we are covering several panels today. this is all taking place at the brooklyn law school. you'll hear others talk about politics, immigration, terrorism and much more. for a complete schedule of our coverage, go to tv.board and follow us on twitter, facebook and mr. graham to get behind the scenes videos pictures and today's schedule updates. all day we will be posting gains from the festival. we are kicking off the day with another panel on economics. this is booktv on c-span2, live coverage from the brooklyn book

26 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on