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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  October 1, 2016 3:00pm-3:46pm EDT

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office, their agenda, their politics. religion according to the founders shouldn't play a role whether we elect somebody or not. sadly it does. one of the things i learned about writing this book with my co-author thomas kidd is that religion was very contentious during the founding generation just as it is today. the question is would they be shocked at the disagreements we have today of the conflict we experience in public spaces? i don't think so because they experienced it themselves. we always have these challenges in our nation and probably always will because religion is a divisive topic. >> for more information on booktv's recent visit to pueblo and the many other destinations on our cities tour go to c-span.org/citiestour. >> we want to welcome joe conason and his latest book "man of the world: the further endeavors of bill clinton,"
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thank you for being with us. i want to begin where you begin in the book where president clinton is in chappaqua, new york on january 21, 2009, no longer the president of the united states and you write with the nationwide fury over mark rich's pardon in 2001 bill clinton's adversaries in politics and the media realize how much they enjoyed lashing regardless of his presence in the capital, if anything a compulsion to pursue their old quarry seemed to be swelling now that he was no longer leader of the free world but just another defenseless citizen. >> true, that is what happened. from the day he woke up in chappaqua where we start the book, the press was chasing him about mark rich and over time, really a few days, the outrage
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that built over that became so powerful that it drove his approval rating down 20 points in a matter of days or weeks and his speeches that were scheduled were being canceled in this country one by one, he gave one speech at morgan stanley and lit up their phone line so heavily the head of the company apologized. it was a very dark time for clinton. and other stories that came out, some of which were false, the story of the looting and vandalism of the white house by clinton staff turned out to be wrong but a lot of airtime that damaged him further. then there was the issue of his office space that he was going to rent in midtown manhattan that was expensive. they thought better of that,
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something for which they never retreated but again it was headlined and a lot of negative commentary not just from the right but from the center and even from democrats there was quite a bit of anger and dismay at that time. >> host: one moment you wrote about on that january 21, 2001, morning they wake up, bill and hillary clinton, they have their security detail going to a local diner and what happened? >> guest: president clinton woke up, nobody to make coffee, the guy came from the white house to work for him, not around to make the coffee, clinton, chelsea there, hillary was there, terry mcauliffe and his wife were there and doug and came from the white house to work with clinton has well. they were all in the house and clinton did let's go get some coffee so clinton, they got into a suburban -- not suburban but a
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different car and another secret service car behind them and went to the town of chappaqua on the main strip there and he got out and told a man to clear away his security, he wanted to go in and be more of a normal citizen on his first day as a is a and got a nice greeting in the deli but when he came out the press was waiting and that went on all day. at the house they were staked out and he had nobody. he no longer had the apparatus he had as president except the secret service, physically he was protected but in terms of the press there was no press secretary, no communications office. in the white house there are literally as you know scores of people who deal with this kind
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of issue when the president is under attack in the media and clinton had nothing. >> some came in to help out. the phrase you write about in the book is a derogatory term. >> bad show. >> some of the staffers realize what they were getting into. the pardon of mark rich was another example of self-inflicted wound will clinton put on himself that damaged his presidency? >> guest: i go into the real reasons, had very little to do with the media coverage suggested at the time. all the media coverage without exception played to the theme that this was a quid pro quo from mark rich's ex-wife denise rich who had been a generous donor to the democratic party and the campaigns in years past and somehow the theory was if you compress the timeline enough you could imagine she had given him the money to do the pardon for her ex-husband was what was
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really happening at the time just before he gave the pardon to rich and his partner was clinton was deeply involved in middle east peace negotiations trying desperately to get an agreement inked before he left the white house with a hood barack on one side and yasser arafat on the other and they were very close. i am sure you remember and many viewers will come as close as we have come to a real agreement to settle in the middle east conflict. a hood barack became close to clinton in this process, made many concessions, so many concessions he was certain to lose his role as prime minister in the upcoming election in israel asked clinton on three occasions to pardon mark rich. the reason was, when i interviewed him in tel aviv, first time he has gone on the
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record about this is mark rich had been an asset of assad for many years, done all kinds of work for is really intelligent and some us intelligence what principally things like rescuing jewish families in places like yemen and iraq, there are still jewish families, not many left but back then there were still hundreds of them in danger, in iran as well and mark rich ironically, the same thing for which he got in trouble with the us government made him useful, his ability to communicate with these hostile governments. how he did it is another subject but he was able to operate in those countries and get officials to look the other way when he was doing things like taking jewish citizens out, in the eyes of the israeli government, he was what they call a psion, a helper, not an
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agent, somebody who helped them a lot. a hood barack believed they owed him and clinton felt he owed barack for the strives they made towards peace. the peace process was not over, they were still -- they went to egypt to continue to negotiate and clinton felt it was important to do this after what he had done for him. the problem that arose afterwards that clinton didn't feel free to talk about publicly, he alluded to the fact some people in israel wanted this to happen but couldn't talk specifically about it because barack was already in trouble and didn't want to blame somebody else for a decision he had made. >> why did you write the book if you >> guest: i wrote the book because in 2005 i was assigned
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to profile clinton by esquire magazine, this is when he was about to start the clinton global initiative in september of 2001. that summer i went to africa with him and hadn't been paying a lot of attention to the foundational what they were doing but i went over and some other people toward several countries, saw what they were doing particularly providing aids treatment in the poorest countries and thought this is christine. i wrote the piece for esquire, a best-selling story that year. and over the next couple years, following what he was continuing to do i went to cgi a couple times and realize there is a book in this. >> host: this is a quote from your book, richard lugar is a member of the senate foreign
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relations committee and during the confirmation hearing of hillary clinton, the issue that now is matching the campaign, foreign governments and entities may perceive the clinton foundation gains favor with the secretary of state even well-intentioned foreign donations carry a risk for us foreign policy. >> guest: don't know if there was a risk for foreign policy but senator lugar was correct there was going to be a risk for perception given the way the foundation has been covered by the media. most of the foreign donations came long before she was even considered secretary of state. those donations from us allies like norway, canada, sweden, the united kingdom, were focused on clinton's aids work because he called up the prime minister's of those countries 2002-2003, and said we are going to provide
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aids treatment even though the world has decided it is too expensive and we will let all those people die. instead i will figure out a way to do this but i need money to do it. these prime ministers who knew him, tony blair and others, the norwegian prime minister, said you are in and they provided tens and eventually hundreds of millions of dollars. were they trying to influence hillary clinton in advance? i don't think so, no one had any idea she would be secretary of state. that is the great bulk of that money came between 2001 and 2009. the other thing about this issue is people can be upset with hillary clinton but as i explained in the book, she didn't want to be secretary of state. barack obama had to press her very hard to get her to agree. i have a draft statement she put out that she was working on the declined the offer. >> host: they couldn't reach
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each other. >> guest: he persuaded her, she felt as i think most americans do when the president asks you to do something you say yes. she said to him at the time what do we do about my husband's foundation? millions of people whose lives depend on the work he is doing. what do we do about that? it was obama whose team came up with the parameters they put around the foundation. a memorandum of understanding how that is going to work, i would say 8% of the time they lived up to that memorandum and when they didn't live up to it they corrected it so if you are unhappy, and senator lugar or anyone else is unhappy with the way this worked out, would have to address the president because it was he who set up these conditions. >> host: we will get to your calls in a moment. we welcome c-span radio
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listeners, our guest is joe conason who has a new book on bill clinton. this is one of the headlines from the daily caller, they point out over $200 million in clinton foundation donors brought in 205 invitations to white house state dinners. i put that up because it goes to the point how this is covered by the media from all sides. >> guest: i don't put a lot of credibility into the daily caller. i think their motives are very clear. they are who they are. i would say you need a more independent evaluation of any statement about the clinton foundation or anything else. it strikes me that in a lot of the media coverage, great weight is given to something like whether someone was invited to a state dinner at the white house and there could be 1 million reasons why anyone who is a foundation donor would be invited. maybe they supported something else the clintons did.
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i would be shocked if there was a list of quid pro quos of people who gave to the foundation but why aren't they more interested in what the actual work of the foundation is? asked why i decided to write the book. i saw what they are doing. it is stunning to me how little interest there is in the fact that he raced everything else, they saved 11 million people's lives in africa, the caribbean and asia who otherwise were going to be left to die and made a big contribution to stemming if not ending the aids pandemic which was set to kill 100 million people and they worked closely on that in the end. there was conflict in the beginning. i discussed this in the book, an interesting story but i believe, many people do, president bush's greatest a compliment as president because it dealt a threat to the future of the world. president clinton played a big
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role that, ask independent experts and they will tell you. why are we not at least as interested in that as we are in fairly trivial stuff about the foundation and email, she talked to the crown prince today, maybe that will be tomorrow, what difference does that make? i don't know. saving people's lives made a huge difference not just in the future of africa but the future of the entire world. >> host: "man of the world: the further endeavors of bill clinton," higgins bill, missouri, democrats line, good morning. >> caller: good morning, happy you are taking my call. i have a question, i have been listening to everything you are saying, very substantive. to that point, candidate hillary clinton believes every time she weighs in on anything she is
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very substantive, you can see that she has a plan that has been well thought out. on the other hand the candidate on the other side, donald trump, i think she is running one of the worst campaigns i have seen in my lifetime. i am not that old, but i think running it like a tabloid style -- any news is good news, it has been working for a certain group of folks in this country and i don't think -- hillary is lucky to have him as the candidate on the other side. he is running mainly to run his business interest and cash in at the end even by losing, i don't think he is going to make enough money as president, he wants to
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start his own tv network and the internet network with breitbart folks and russian tv too. >> >> guest: the latter part of it is interesting where you said he is running to enhance his business was we saw that in washington when he lured reporters to his new hotel which was opening and didn't hold and actual press conference about the birther issue. there is something to that which i have no donald trump for years. i don't try to psychoanalyze him. it is too hard. >> host: our guest is the editor-in-chief of the national memo, he has written a number of books including the right wing propaganda machine and how it distorts the truth, new york times bestseller list, formally editor in chief of the new york observer, amy joining us from
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california. >> caller: my comment is guest of yours is completely biased, sounds like a bugle, he says look what the foundation has done. that is the foundation, that is its job you need a pat on the back for the job you were supposed to do anyway, i don't leave he is being objective. i believe he is pedaling for the clintons, he traveled to africa, hello, what about the little comments, the situation, the irani and company, they enriched themselves, of course they did with speaking fees. the way of going about it, there will be a paper trail, they know what they are doing, it is
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obvious, people see this. that is what we are talking about. >> guest: she alluded to a couple of issues that were raised in an earlier book called clinton cash about the foundation. erickson, telephone company, uranium deal that involved a russian company. >> guest: >> host: let me put up a quote from your book, the most damning material in clinton cash turned out to be factually inaccurate, melodramatically exaggerated or both within weeks after publication, major media outlets reported significant errors. >> guest: no question about that. i examined clinton cash very closely in my book and the stories she mentioned, there is no substance to them at all. you can go into detail if somebody wants to but the fact is the uranium deal, does the linchpin of that accusation,
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hillary clinton, money was funneled to the foundation because she was going to cast the vote, she was going to give the uranium deal, approved uranium deal, secretary of state. the truth was that deal had to be approved by the committee on foreign investment in the united states which most people don't know about. a major cabinet subcommittee that approves business deals that might affect national security, it is chaired by the treasury department, it is really controlled by the treasury department and pentagon, not the state department. they could not have controlled, vetoed or done anything to stop this deal which was approved again by the same committee after she was no longer secretary of state. the idea millions of dollars were funneled into one vote on that committee is ridiculous and anyone who knows how the committee functions knows that and the story was blown out of
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the water so people -- the caller is right, people will talk about what they want and believe what they want but as far as my bias is concerned, yes, i saw what the president is doing, president clinton is doing, i was interested in it. if that makes me biased i plead guilty. i believe you read the book, there is 20 of criticism of clinton in the book. >> host: algeria and morning joe, joanna joining us from damascus, maryland, good morning. >> caller: george stephanopoulos wrote a book years ago after the clintons left the white house and there was a line i thought was interesting that i would ask if you agree with, he said bill clinton is hard as nails, sorry, self w soft as jell-o on the outside and hard as nails on the inside and secretary clinton is the opposite, hard as nails on the outside and soft as jell-o
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on the inside. wonder if you agree with that assessment. >> i read george's book, called all too human. it is a very interesting piece of work. i think bill clinton is a compassionate person. i think hillary clinton is too. like any other human being they have their hard moment and soft moments. you can see both if you spend any time around them at all. i will tell you that the perception of hillary clinton as somebody who is steely and calculating all the time is certainly wrong. based not just on what i know of her but what other people who have known her for many years much better than i have and told me, people from arkansas will tell you how many times she called to find about a sick family member or what was happening with their child in school, who was having trouble, somebody you can find scores of
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people in arkansas and new york to tell you how much she displayed compassion >> host: morgantown, west virginia, for joe conason. good morning. >> thanks for taking my call. i want to get your analysis, assessment of mrs. clinton's use of personal email, her server and the controversy surrounding that age >> guest: in the last month or so, a line or two generated news coverage:powell advisor to use her personal email and i was first to reveal that which as he had done as secretary of state, that led to a story in the new york times, and establish the facts of the story, it blue up,
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general powell said he didn't remember this and it turned out he indeed did define hillary clinton these personal email, i don't think that excuses what she did. all members of the cabinet should follow the presidential records act, the latest laws carefully as general powell did not and hillary clinton should have done better but she has admitted that and it is clear she feels that was an error. what general powell did once he advised her to use her personal email was the context where she thought the decision she was making anyway was okay because he was a respected figure and a republican. no one had complained about the fact he not only used personal
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email but disposed of all his email, we don't have any of them. none the emails about the decision to go to war with iraq, the aftermath of 9/11, all kinds of things we could learn had powell's emails been available we will never know. unlike secretary clinton whose decision to sort her emails between personal and public has been criticized but she did turn over tens of thousands of emails from her time as secretary of state when the state department asked her to do that. >> host: april 27th of this year, joe scarborough, cohost of the morning joe talking about 2010 donation in algeria, the terror list, misreporting on all of this. >> guest: that was broadcast at the time clinton cash came out
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and my friend show scarborough, excited about clinton cash, that day he took a donation funneled to the clinton foundation from algeria to haiti in the aftermath of the haitian earthquake and the devastation there and turned it into a nefarious scheme in which the nation of algeria would be removed from the state department terrorism list, terror sponsoring nations for giving money to the clinton foundation. only $500,000, $2 billion operation, there were several problems with what joe said. one, the clinton foundation didn't hold on, hold onto haitian relief. algeria has never been on the terrorist nation list. algeria is an ally of the united states and fighting terrorism, has been for many years.
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this theory joe invented in his mind was completely wrong. it represents a mindset in which you could take any donation to the foundation by any country and weave a story around it that made it seem very nefarious when it was nothing of the kind. >> host: lucy in warren, pennsylvania, republican line. >> caller: i want to say anyone considering voting for hillary should actually watch clinton cash. as far as the uranium deal, he says she was only one vote as we all know that the whole democratic party is corrupt. you can tell that because nobody will prosecute her for anything. that is all i have to say. >> guest: hard to argue with someone who says the whole democratic party -- don't know
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where you get that idea or what proof you get for that but i would point out that the fbi director, who decided not to prosecute hillary clinton over any alleged email offense is a republican. he has always been a republican. james comey served in previous republican administrations and president obama, a democrat, appointed him as fbi director in part because he wanted to have republican who would oversee his administration and because jim comey is seen and respected as a nonpartisan figure across the isle. i would be careful with those broadbrush allegations. >> host: c-span radio listeners, "man of the world: the further endeavors of bill clinton" is the book, joe conason is our guest. i want your reaction to what donald trump said at a campaign event in virginia on the issue of the clinton foundation was
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the republican nominee. >> clinton made $60 million in gross income while she was secretary of state. plus countless more to the phony clinton foundation. it is called pay for play. she even created an illegal private email server, one easily hacked by our foreign enemies to hide her corrupt dealings. >> host: your reaction when you hear donald trump say that he repeated the charge on the campaign trail. >> guest: he will say anything, we know that about him now. i would challenge him to prove any of those allegations. i would say something else about donald trump since he decided to use the term paper play. he often accuses people of the
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thing he is doing. we now know that he illegally made a contribution to pam bondi, attorney general of florida, from his foundation which is not funded with his money, it is other people's money, use other people's money from his foundation to make a $20 million contribution to pam bondi when he believed she was going to investigate the trump university. wasniversity, which he afraid of having anyone investigate, said that looks a lot more like paper play than anything that i know of that involve the clinton foundation. host: let's go to john from pennsylvania. good morning. caller: thanks for the call. many of the callers are the kind of sure what i was inking. i'm independent, used to be a republican. the parties on both sides seem pay per play and what they do today. it is scary to think that secretary of state, republican or democrat, would have secret
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or private e-mails. why would you need those? what are you trying toon what was being concealed inside trading. i think both sides do it and it's is ingenuous for any author of a book whether liberal or conservative or independent to say that one side is wrong and one side is right when everybody is doing it. my question this morning, howon can you say going forward, you seem to favor the clintons andd the democrats' side. how do you see going forward how it would be possible to condemnn anybody, trump or any president if they used the foundation andd they pay for play, we know both sides are doing it. >> thank you, john. >> well, i'm interested in facts, you know, and if you read my book you'll see a lot of facts. i examined all allegations
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against the foundation against merit. there's nothing like payment to pam bondi, nothing resembling that, you can say both sides do it and you can say you've read about awful things that the foundation has done but in facta they have done tremendous amount and i don't think paid for play has been done. a judicial watch put out a press release claiming that the prince had given $2 million in order to get his meeting with hillary clinton, basically. they compressed time so heavilya that if 32 million to pay off of her to get the meeting with her. lots of problem with that story, 32 million was not given to the foundation, it was a commitment the first clinton global
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initiative in 2005 by the crown prince, american ally to, sponsor scholarships in his own country. that's the way gi works. they don't donate money at those meeting but he did not give $32 million to the clinton foundation. political magazine which had used that information had to correct it. the second point is hillary clinton would never not meet with the crown prince, he may never have wanted to meet on a particular day for any reasonwi which is disclosed in the e-mails, but of course, she would meet with the prince because he's a u.s. ally in the gulf in the critical region. unfortunately a lot of, i think, listeners, viewers, readers believe that kind of thing when they see it as completely false. >> host: let me go to another
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part of the book. back in december 2012 which she had concussion, republicans stricken with fear that she might run for president again could not decide to spin illness, was she far sicker than suggested to disable any ambition or faking, this is on the heels of her pending testimony on the benghazi attack? >> guest: right. that was an interesting episode. you kind of saw how theot republicans determine today spin any news about her in light of what they fear would be her presidential campaign and not all republicans but certain leading republicans including carl rove who i can't remember which side to have argument he was on actually at the moment. he and rush -- rush limbaugh.
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she went to testify in the committee and most people think she did well there. >> caller: good morning, i just have a question. i cannot believe that this hasn't come up more. hillary clinton campaign -- hillary sent her laptop through the nail and somehow it disappeared. now do you really expect the american people to believe that? >> guest: i don't think i'm familiar with that story, but, you know, i would point out one thing about the emails, to the extent that secretary clinton e-mailed with anybody in the state department or office of government, those emails were preserved on other government servers, whether she had a government account that she was using or not. i think the idea that all of her
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emails are all -- are supposedly incriminating e-mail disappeared is wrong. for one thing, we are seeing emails that people find easy enough to spin into some kind of i woul conspiracy.. there's a lot of e-mail material that's available for her if she would want to get rid of all oft them, the cay colin powell actually did, i think she would have been able to and she didn't. >> host: i'm going to ask you in a moment the one thing that surprised you in researching this book. joanne from tennessee. democrats line, good morning. >> caller: good morning to both of you. i was calling in to talk about these emails, the clinton foundation. i am sick and tired about hearing about those emails. they said she -- the fbi said she didn't do anything wrong and the republicans and the
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foundation that foundation helps people, donald trump is not doing anything to help anybody but himself. and i am sick and tired of his lies. and i'm so glad cnn called him out the other day. he said he was going to make a statement about the president and the birth certificate. he was up there showing hotel. this man is in there for himself. he has with rushio, outsourced jobs over there. he was talking about bringing back jobs, well, why don't he make stuff here in america? >> host: thanks for the call. >> guest: well, i appreciate the endorsement very much. >> host: from austin, texas, good morning. >> caller: the woman that called about credentials for the people that were standing behind, they
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were a lot of them were medal of valuer winners, to me that gives you the credentials, i don't know. secondly it's been mentioned' quite a bit about colin powell and e-mail and what he told clinton. what he did was tell her he used his personal aol account for personal stuff. >> that's not correct, ma'am. no, that's not correct. he used his personal e-mail for state department business, thousands and thousands of times. he also used a classified deskte top in the state department for classified e-mail. which is what hillary clinton also did for like 99.99% of the time. they've also found a classified e-mail that powell sent by his aol and his aol account was hacked. there's no evidence that hillarc clinton's e-mail account was ever hacked. there was evidence that people
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tried to do it but nobody has released any emails hacked fromd her account so far unlike general powell who was hacked more than once to his embarrassment. >> host: you say in the book the following quote, bill clinton and foundation would remain primary targets for the trump campaign, the media and far right, so much had changed sincr the clintons had left the white house and so little. >> guest: yeah. that's correct. i mean, we see a lot of the same characters, you know, there was a man right now who was just appointed deputy campaign manager named david bosey, he's been around since the whitewater days and being paid to do that. we have a different world technologically, politically in my ways, certainly the trump phenomena is very new but in some ways we are seeing many of the same types of politics and same types of attacks.
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>> host: no matter what bill hoped to do the rest of his life, he knew the controversies that haunted presidency mightt never be quite be put to rest, except perhaps whitewater. >> guest: well i discus the final report of whitewater long after he left office and it's very clear that if you read that report there was nothing to whitewater and there was never anything to whitewater which goes back to a book i wrote many years and discontinued on c-span more than once, i think. but i think he did feel finally was put to rest. it's interesting now people who once disagreed with me about whitewater in this town have come to acknowledge that, you know, we were right about that back in the late 90's and now they'll quarrel with me about
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other things. >> host: good morning with joe go conason. go ahead with your question. >> caller: , joe, i can't c believe that the united states of america briefed donald trump who worships money as his god, how do we know that -- that he has -- all these businesses in i other countries and how do we -- and handling in them, i guess h owes china millions. >> host: thanks, lets give him a chance to respond. >> guest: i would watch trump very carefully because of the people who surround him and because of ties and stated
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preferences, you know, he loves vladimir putin and he thinks russia is great and, you know, seems pretty ignorant about our problems with russia and our ties with the nato countries, what that means to the world.un yeah, i would keep an eye on him. he talked about his intelligence briefing on tv which he should not have done. so clearly -- i have been if he has no malicious intent he's not somebody who you can trust to be careful with information. >> host: final question, one thing that you learned that surprised you the most in researching this book? >> guest: well, you know, the relationship between bill clinton and the first president bush, the depth of that relationship, that friendship did surprise me specially the more i learned about it and how it came about and i talk about it in the book, it's really interesting, clinton was close to nelson mandela, as a boy who grew up without a father, a lot
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of people think he always looked for a father and established a relationship like that with mandela but i didn't realize until i started looking closely at it that he had developed that kind of friendship with george h.w. bush as well. the sensitivity for former president bush as a person was also discovery for me. >> host: he was the man he defeated. >> guest: as president bush said and i think he really believes this, there is a strong and special bond among people whoo have been president and it transcends even political conflict. >> host: joe conason, the book, the man of the world, the further endeavors of bill clinton. guest thank you so much. >> here are books of authors fee chaured in after words, our weekly author interview program. representative david talked about his congress and the
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economic challenges facing the country. new york times president and ceo mark thompson discontinued the way political speech has changed over time alberto gonzález recalls time at the justice department and white house counsel in bush administration. in the coming weeks on after words, former state department thompson jones will discuss investigation of thousands of leaked state department capables , sarah will describe possible solutions to rising college tuition costs. also coming up, former goldman sachs vice president, talks about her experiences as an undocumented immigrant. >> there is a signature ad that reagan ran against ford and it
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was in texas, the important of crucial texas context. ford had been painting reagan and they face off in texas and there was a commercial that the reagan folks cut with a person who said i've been a life-long democrat, you know, but i'm going to pick ronald reagan this time in the republican caucus in texas. the funny thing is that person was in the wallace campaign in texas. there's your guy, he's a reagan democrat but started off as a wallace democrat. reagan's victory in texas gave him the boost to challenge ford. >> airs every saturday at 10:00 p.m. and sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern. you can watch all previous after words programs at

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