tv True Faith and Allegiance CSPAN November 6, 2016 12:00am-12:51am EDT
but we slow down the growth and in the long run look at the difference between the growth rate of the united states and europe. look at the difference of the income levels of the united states and japan. they get bigger and bigger and the difference get bigger. the ability for those countries to catch up now that they fall behind it's unlikely they will catch up unless we have a major shift in technology or something else besides what i think were heading towards with computers and the internet. we have a a big advantage that maybe we can't sustain forever about we have a competitive advantage today. >> afterwards airs every saturday at 10:00 p.m. and sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern. you can watch previous afterwards programs on our website, booktv.org. >> today, book tv is live from the 21st annual texas book festival. founded by laura bush when she was the first lady of texas, the festivals held in downtown austin.
here is a few of the authors you'll hear from today. oranges the new black actress will recall her family's immigration story. former secret service agent will talk about the five different presidential administrations he served. pulitzer prize winning author takes a look at terrorism. for complete schedule of the days events you can visit the days events you can visit our website at booktv.org. follow us on twitter at book tv, on instagram at book -underscore tv and on facebook, facebook.com/book tv. will post pictures and videos on social media platforms. you you can watch exclusive videos on facebook live. beginning now we kick off the festival with the book, true faith and allegiance, us dory of sacrifice in one piece. live coverage of the texas a book festival.
>> hello. welcome to the 21st annual texas book festival. thank you for coming out today in support of authors, the festival, and celebrating great literature. as you may know the texas book festival is a nonprofit is a nonprofit organization that works year-round to strengthen lead c in texas by awarding library grants in the reading rockstar programs, send a nationally recognized recognized authors and illustrators into title i schools and donating books to those students. by being here today and buying books your funding these important initiatives. thank you very much. please silence your cell phones, there's is no flash photography allowed. the authors will sign books after the session. books are available in the tent
just down the next block. my name is clay johnson. it's my honor to be a moderator of the session. we will hear from alberto gonzalez who is is the author of his new book "true faith and allegiance, a story of service and sacrifice in war and peace" al has served our country and state as attorney general, as white house senior counsel to the president in the white house. as a member of the texas supreme court, and a secretary of state in the state of texas. i have worked with alan alston in washington, d.c. we both agree that it is an honor and privilege and really hard work to work at the highest level of government in the state of texas and the washington,
d.c. i thought i knew everything, big picture is that as happened with president bush but in reading al's book it made me realize there's a depth and complexity i had no notion of at all. i found his book inspiring, and interesting. it was about the key decisions that were made, what decisions are made in how and why there may. it's also a wonderful. [inaudible] the attorney general of the united states coming from the background he did in houston. i have told time and again it only happens in america. in the form of government that we have as pointed out by this book only exists in america. it is a wonderful read but i am a little biased. i've i've known al for a long time and i've
worked with the president also. let's get on with the discussion. al, what is your story? [laughter] i will be back in 30 minutes. >> let me begin by thanking clay in an johnson, they're hosting for this visit, becky, my wife and i are delighted to be back in austin. we have wonderful memories of our service here and we are delighted to see so many old friends. were grateful that you're here this morning to participate in this discussion. i really have live the american dream. as as you read my book you will get a better appreciation. my story is not unique. i know there's know there's people in the audience and around the country who have looked at the story, i was one of eight children with no
running water growing up, we didn't have a telephone times a junior in high school. and then from there to be the son of a dad with a second grade education, but from there going into the air force and serving as a veteran, and then then of course going to the air force academy and to harvard law school and then going to houston then i met a guy named george w. bush. he gave me several once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that clay has mentioned. it really is special. the journey has been tremendous. i hope to inspire others and help others realize what is possible in america. i'm i'm often asked what's it like to work in the white house? what's it like to have walking privileges to the oval office. and stands in front of the same
desk as roosevelt, the same desk used by jfk who wrestled with the cuban missile crisis. this is a one who -- what is what is it like to stand in front of the president of the united states, what was it like to stand on the evening of 9/11 and see president bush come home that day. as an american citizen, there is no greater privilege and i can't can't imagine a greater thrill other than perhaps being and being there for the birth of your child to serve in that capacity, the white house is must rest recognizable space in the world and people come from all over the world to catch a glimpse. why's it so important and special? it's because most important person in the world is making
decisions every single day. some myself, clay, and so many other dedicated americans we really had a special privilege to serve in the white house, to serve under george w. bush. >> there were so many things covered as i said earlier in such detail. talk about, there are many things revealed in greater detail than i ever knew about. talk about the biggest revelations in your mind better written about in the book that they would find new insights and new understanding about. >> i don't know about the biggest revelation but i will tell couple of stories they might find of interest. one in particular, after 9/11 president bush addressed a joint section of congress. it was time of great uncertainty at that time but also a great time of unity and pride in a being an american. after that particular address as
he was leaving justice thomas came up to them and he said right tall in the saddle body. from my perspective president bush did that in the weeks, months, and years following. every time the president addresses the nation it's a big deal. as you know, every time members of the cabinet in the leadership of the congress get together one person is asked to stay away. that person is a designated survivor. part of our government plan in the event there is a catastrophe and everyone is killed. someone is alive to serve as president of the united states. 2007 i was at advised that i was attorney general that i would be the designated survivor. i was given options about what i could do. the choice i made required me to spend the evening on an airplane. i remember arriving in there to
greet me was a member of every major department and agency carrying big binders to advise me in the event the impact will happened at the capitol. if we took out the parts unknown i received a number number of classified briefings and then settled in to watch the president stated the union. as he spoke it hit me, the magnitude of the moment. i've advised george w. bush through two wars and close to 50 federal and state executions. i've had good moments before. sitting on that airplane it hit me. what would happen if the unthinkable happened at the capital. the president concludes his speech and leaves the capital and we are ordered to return back to the air force base. my duty now as i like to tell audiences around the country, it's probably the closest i'll ever be to be in your president of the united states.
one other story that i'll tell us, from the transition president bush told me i want to be ready for supreme court vacancy. so my team and i began working with the department of justice and developing a short list of candidates. it was widely speculated in the media that president bush one of the first hispanic to the u.s. supreme court. because of my relationship with george w. bush and the positions i have held particularly having served as a justice on the texas a prim court there was speculation that he would appointment to the supreme court. we prepared for vacancy. the stories continue to percolate but no vacancy at occurred. at the end of the first-term president bush nominates me and i'm converting as the attorney general of the united states. on july 1 i get a call from the
new white house counsel and says we have a vacancy. it's not who we expected. chief justice rick -- had throat cancer. we fully expected that we are preparing for vacancy in the chief justice position. i get to the white house and i met by the president he decided will have a small group of individuals make final recommendations to him about who he would appoint to the supreme court. those people would be the vice president dick cheney, the chief of state, myself and carl, the political consultant. i arrived at the oval office and everyone is there except for andy who's been traveling but he's on the phone. we talk about how we will repair to roll out this announcement and how we will prepared to help the president make the decision.
we talk about half an hour and we all get up to leave and president bush says al would you stay behind. so i'm in in the oval office with the vice president and president and before i sit down president bush says, i'm not going to put you on the court. you're doing a great job, you've only been there a few months i need to keep you at the department of justice. my immediate response was of course i was disappointed, it would be quite a honor to be the first hispanic to the u.s. supreme court. the response was simple. it was you'll me nothing, iou everything. i'm very grateful for the payment of attorney general for the united states and i look for to getting your nominee confirmed. i left and i remembered, the stories increased about me possibly going on the court. becky and i met for dinner that evening and i said i have something to tell you. the first thing i said was i'm not going to the supreme court. in a sense it was a relief. we're anxious to leave
washington d.c. to come back to texas. if read me up to do my job as attorney general. not having the pressure of possibly being the nominee. but then i give her the second better news. i said tomorrow i'm going to iraq. she said what? we minimize the number of people who know about that kind of travel because of security reasons. i think she probably felt better and safer for me to be in iraq than to go on the supreme court. i think history will look back and i believe in the appointments of john robertson alito and i think those are two of the finest appointments. >> you were different reviews of your book and i have my own review which i shared with you. there is a lot of candor about everything in the book. you talk in a couple cases about
things that you know your job and how it's not perfect but if you had to do it over again there'd be a couple of things you'd probably do differently. why don't you talk about give a sense of -- >> i'm often asked to have any grandson what would you do differently. i think you need to appreciate how hard these jobs are. net people at the highest levels are going to make mistakes. these are the most difficult decisions you could possibly imagine. it would be great in hindsight to be able to change those decisions and what it might be great if we had do overs but life isn't that way. when i was back to the extent that we gave recommendations to the president about his authority as commander-in-chief, being with american citizens issuing a decision now the president as commander-in-chief doesn't extend that far. we provide different advice to the president so he wouldn't
take certain kinds of action. not generally in the habit of categorizing or listing the things we do over. very quickly one thing, i once wrote a memo and it was a draft talking about the geneva conventions and i mentioned in the same sense since -- i was not talking about the purpose of the geneva convention but simply that provisions in the geneva convention this is with prisoners of war you have to pride them athletic uniforms, access to scientific instruments, a monthly allowance, i allowance, just that the american people would not stand for those kind of privileges given to terrorist who just killed 2000 americans. the draft got leaked and i was immediately pilloried in the media by critics because the fact that they felt i was being critical with the geneva
convention which nothing was further from the truth. what i learned was was to minimize the amount of information that you put in writing. be very careful about your e-mails. as we know now today the danger of that. that is a shame because it is very hard for historians to come back after the fact and develop an accurate history of what the decisions are made in the reasons for that decision. >> what prompted you to write the book? how did you write the book? i tried i tried to write a book and decided i was not capable. >> i really decided to write the book because of concerns about the rhetoric out there and decisions made during the bush administration. what i try to do
is give the background and the details of the decisions like the application of the geneva convention. why did we choose guantánamo bay. what about decisions on electronic surveillance, what about interrogation techniques. there are a lot of stories out there and conflicting different ideas and opinions about these things. i just thought it would be important to set the record straight from the perspective of one of the lawyers involved in some of the key recommendations and opinions. the other reason i wrote the book is that i wanted my sons to know what their dad did and why he did there. i thought it was important for me as an individual. in terms of the process of writing it, i began i began right after i left office, so many years ago in 2007. i started writing handwritten chapters. i wrote the entire book handwritten. >> in cursive, the whole thing? >> i do not print. yes, in cursive.
i would ask my wife from time to time to type it out and she would try to read my cursive. eventually we may have had five or six chapters that were typed up but it really wasn't liking much progress. it it just sat there. from time to time i was picking up and then it would sit there again. it really was hard. finally when i got to nashville, tennessee five years ago, two years ago i met an individual name to ken abraham. ken has been involved in writing and cowriting over 70 or 80 bucks. ken lives down the road from me and we got together and he said, i can help you finish your story. with ken's help i was finally able to get the work completed. for those who have not written a book, even if it's a book about your life, something you think you know a lot about it is incredibly hard.
they take a great deal of patience and courage to go back through all of the controversial things i went through. to relive all of that was very difficult for me. in a way it was very prosodic. very helpful to talk about it. it was very hard but i'm so glad that i did it. i am so glad it's over. >> there's so much detail, long quotes of who said what and what meeting, how -- >> i often was the only lawyer in the room. for example i was with the president every meeting. if the president was going to say something i wanted to make sure is an accurate record so somebody after-the-fact would not say something he didn't say. same thing with other candidates.
when you're in the meeting someone may say something provocative or funny and that sticks with you later on i might write it down. i think keep a diary or or anything. often times i wrote notes on my calendar to remind me about certain incidences and certain conversations. i'm very comfortable in terms of if i put something" in the book that in fact it was said. as with everything in life was reflected in the book is my perspective, my recollection. others who were who were present might have different recollections. the other thing that complicated the book is that it took about two months for the government to clear the book. we talked about a lot of sensitive information, some was classified. as you read the book there may be some parts or may not be ate quite as clear to you as you might expect and it's because the government asked me, actually they told me not to say certain things or say things in a certain way. so in order to accommodate their
desires changes were made to the book and that complicated the editing process and the publication schedule. >> does anybody else have a question they would like to ask at the end with a like to turn it in. >> there several back there talk about your family and your mother. i'm fascinated by your mother watching you and how many siblings? >> seven siblings going out growing up. >> eight children growing up. talk about that. >> my mom is a typical hispanic mother, strong catholic interface. she ruled the household. my mom is is still alive today. she is 84. she lives in a house that my dad
built, the house i grew up in. i tell the story about my mom. my dad died during my last semester law school. my mom came to visit me when i was working in the white house and we did all of the things that tourists do when they go to washington. i. i took her to the monument. i took her to the museum. but i also took her to the oval office. i wanted to show this shy woman what i had accomplished. because of of her sacrifices and the sacrifices of my father. when i was a boy we had a daily ritual. i'm sure it's a ritual that many of you know. i wanted to have breakfast with my dad before he went to work. my mom would wake me up so i could have breakfast with my dad. we always have the same thing for breakfast which was eggs and tortillas. my mom would make the same lunch for my dad, beans and tortillas. tortillas. this was our daily ritual. password to d.c., took my mom to the oval office and on her last
day of the visit she is making breakfast for me just like she had done everyday for my dad. i was not wearing blue jeans and a hard hat and going to construction site, i had my suit on, i was working in the white house and advising the most powerful person in the year. think of the wonder that would fill her heart that i would take her for the cotton fields to the oval office. that is the american story and that is really god's grace when i look back on my life. >> the author who speaking after you i believe is talking about immigration and this is but topic of conversation to put it mildly, in this current presidential race. talk about immigration policy, you have written a book on that.
>> i wrote a book about my thoughts on immigration a few years ago. i probably probably sold two copies, to my wife for my mom. but listen, i'm from a border state, say, i'm also the former chief law-enforcement officer of the company with a very contention that with the politics of immigration and we are in him a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. somehow we have to accommodate these two principles that make america unique. in the book i talk about the things that i would urge congress to consider. i believe that we need immigration reform. one that is permanent and when that only congress and the president can give us. when that has border security and tougher workplace enforcement. one that recognizes where a nation of
immigrants, we are compassionate and there has to be exceptions for extraordinary circumstances. a family relations and situations. what we do about the people who had are brought here by children and these are all very complicated issues, get it. i think in the debate, everyone who cares about this is not going to get everything they want in any kind of immigration bill. everyone has to compromise. in order to get something done. i know you will hear more about immigration from other speakers. i think that's an important topic. i would like to see the candidate speak more about it. presidential candidates i mean. hopefully it something with the election of the next president will make some progress. a a good immigration policy is going to help our economy and also help secure our borders. >> let me give you some questions we've gotten from the people in the audience.
>> to president bush review the book before it was published? >> he came to nashville this spring and speaking at an event and before that one of our sons and spent time with him and the book was getting ready to come out. we asked him, you need to read this book or do you want to read this book? he said no. another could be two reasons. [laughter] the first is, he trust me. that's the first reason. the second reason is listen, he has been out of office for a while. a lot has been written about the bush presidency. he probably thought what else can be said negative about me, right? what else could possibly hurt me. i would like to think it's the former, but you will have to ask him. >> your book is titled true faith and allegiance. can you you speak about your faith and how it impacted your public
service? >> these jobs are so difficult and often times lives hang in the balance. surely in connection with the decisions related to executions and sending young men and women into battle. i always believe that you have to have faith in a higher power and decisions that are much bigger than yourself. in these position oftentimes the decisions are much bigger than yourself. for that reason when i look at someone who could be president or wants to be president, i think somebody who believes in god and the power of prayer is important. the job is just too hard. for me, yes, having a believe in god and praying about decisions i had to make and recommendations i make to the president or to the governor was very important. president bush is fairly private in terms of prayer and things like that. there were times, very difficult, quiet moments when he would simply say i have to go pray about this. again, i think it's very
important to have people of faith and making some of these difficult decisions. >> this is a question for me. >> and i talk about -- in the book i do talk about those difficult moments in the trying times, particularly when i became attorney general. i get no pleasure of seeing the current attacks on the attorney for trent attorney general's because i know how hard the jobs are. seems like the whole world is against you. you have to have confidence in yourself but also faith they are doing the right thing. >> what you think will be the most new news, part of this book, the thing that has been dealt with least of all by other reporters released accurately by other reporters they think this
needs is to the president and you are chief of staff n airily is true for the other word afternoons i come over to the governor's office said greenwood talk about three things, policy, politics and baseball. you do that with the president. those moments are so very special that timing is precious after new the president say that if you cannot make a decision you cannot be president you cannot worry about being criticized or making the wrong decision make the decision and be wrong. so time is precious. one so those times i would most often see the president
were seven and 70 - - 7:30 a.m.. generally aikido down to my second-floor office in the west wing to talk to the president about the issues that i needed him is a guidance. >> and wonder with your professional career comeback in the day before you were secretary of state and what is their response before you were an official? >> pay much the same guy from texas.
and i really respect the accomplishments of all my friends. i know i have worked hard of the things we have of over. and then to come up to me to remind me of the stories. i remember during the transition my mom was it interviewed by reporter to say you must be so proud of your son. my mom with the perfect mother said i am proud of all my children. >> what procedures provide assimilation but. >> lawful immigrants.
>> i am prior to be hispanics. i missed the food guide is the did asheville tennessee so yesterday the first thing we did was go to mexico 10 rest on the side. [laughter] i would not expect that hispanic community to give that up but if we all have shared values and the pride in being america. there are some wonderful wonders beyond the shores. but still today and then for the face of the earth. we should take pride in my speetwo and students around the country because people
do that. they are afraid to do that. that i cannot do that. that is the thinking that we remain a great country. hopefully that will happen next week but i remain very positive with respect to hispanic immigrants to maintain pride in us culture take pride to be an american >> and do you think the evidence of voter fraud but. >> now we are all long way
from the book laugh laugh. >> digest give them the opportunity. >> and i don't think it talk much about this in the of book but that was a wonderful job. a beautiful office said really enjoy a nighttime but very quickly, when people go to vote they should be qualified but on the other hand, we should not make it difficult for people to vote by age and physical condition it could be intimidating. so we should not iraq to the unnecessary barriers but on either hand if they are and should not be that is
stealing a boat from you so that is the integrity of the voting process. if it is that level of fraud i will leave that for the experts. >> what will the fbi do? [laughter] >> about what? [laughter] >> you should get a television. >> i am disappointed. people say negative things about the fbi and department of justice and the director and that is never a good thing. all of this will be straightened out and the of leadership would be applied
and we get to the right outcome siam's surprised and puzzled as some of those events during that cycle in connection with the investigation that apparently is on going. >> we all know where we were 9/11. so talk about 9/11. >> islet at the age of the audience most did you look you are of a mature ideas to all have a memory that davie all have a story where we were, when we first heard, i flew out that morning at 730 the same airport that american 77 took off and within the hour crash into the pentagon killing everyone on board.
in here are the two yaw whose from washington can you help us get complex and we just watched television like everybody else. it is the communication. because the lines were overloaded and that may be shocking to hear with white house communications. then to say we tried to get clearance take us to the white house and he said what if we put you on the south lawn? i said no. nobody president lands there.
and then to have the alberto gonzalez pawpaw. [laughter] and then that somebody might make a mistake and shoot us down. so we retaken to andrews air force base. finally we got clearance to fly back i got back about 2:00 the tickets to the underground bunker with spent the rest of the day going through the east wing to the situation room to my office in the second-floor back and forth making sure and then finally and what stands out of of all others. and then to bring president bush called. i used to work for him as his communications director
but we both knew him pretty well and i was worried well woodsy in his face and after he is the chairman and and ready to go. we had a job to do my job is to protect you. so we take our cues from the guy at the top. so that was my day. and those that take off bad of dallas. my deputy arrives at the white house with the brand-new world and continues today. >> talk briefly about what every new cabinet secretary.
>> akira the head of the attorney-general justice department? >> so what is involved? >> i had an advantage and with those major issues with that white house bureaucracy between the candidate so i had tremendous advantages. in terms department of justice you will meet new people but they all want to get a look at the boss. you have to project cummins from my perspective i am
trying to time as much as i could to go to the various agencies engines with the dow apartment of justice. so typical of my relationship. >> final comments? >> because my wife is here and i talk about this in the book, this is reflecting the importance of family. i could not have done without the support of my family and talk about those difficult times and becky was always there for me and i very grateful for those services she provided i am also grateful for somebody like me to also those other
is a grand historical program to uncover a the laws of nature the fundamental principles that govern everything that is that the root that when you ask why it is grass green? you can trace that answer back through explanation we don't have those fundamental principles jet we have a very satisfying gary that this call the standard model it covers the most everything we know so with
that is not the final answer. >> did this to me berger of for some of us you could ask is it important to write symphonies or preserve our environment? the importance of learning the laws of nature and in mathematical terms. and with newton's theory theory, that was first developed for the people in the world to understand that. now is commonplace