tv Presidential Biographers Panel CSPAN November 13, 2016 4:15pm-5:55pm EST
>> poock tv attaches -- here's a look at events we will cover this yankee. on monday, at the national constitution center in philadelphia, harvard university law professor, michael clark will recount the drafterring of the u.s. constitutionment from its tenuous start to the many internal debates. tuesday, as part of the kickoff to this year's miami book fair, "new york times" columnist, maureen dodd, will look back at the 20 receive presidential election -- 2016 presidential election. then on wednesday, it's the 67th annual national book awards in new york city and awards will be presented for nonfiction, fission, poetry, and young people's let tour. on friday, at the hoover institution in washington, dc, a discussion of the social and political impact of william f. buck lee's television program, for identifying are line toy which premiamid in 1966 and nexts and saws we'll be live from the anymore book fair if author talks, interviewed and
your calls will senator bernie sanders, dana perino and former florida governor and senator, bob graham. that's a look at author programs book tv is covering this week. look for them to air in the near future on book tv on c-span2. >> now a presidential history by eye byagographers and authors. this recorded prior to the presidential election on november 8. >> host: beginning, everyone. it is so nice see you all here in this great greenburg lounge of the new york law school. i'm the director of the nyu
center for the today of transformative lives, and over the past six years we have sponsored courses and public programs on people who have deeply affected our world for the good. individuals like frederick douglass, margaret fuller, george o'keefe, mart are martin luther king, jr., pope francis, and many others always studied in context. not all american presidents are transformative. but some have been. as members of tonight's panel know well. my own interest as focused on lincoln and his times. it is my belief that students who spend an entire semester studying a person like lincoln or douglass or king or elizabeth stanton, will never forget them. they become part of their
internal universe. the center's chief ally over the years as been the biography seminar at nyu. founded in the 1970s by eileen ward, the nyu professor and acclaimed author. for decade his group has quietly brought together academic and career i would agographers to support one another and to share each other's work. it's my pleasure to work close live with the same -- seminar's chair and the leadership, including charles and anne and james are james. tonight's program was in fact, a detected by james, who asked me to say nothing about him. though for those who don't know, he is a dynamo in the world of publishing and biography. jim will introduce tonight's distinguished moderator, and
panelist, and i would also like to thank them for their generous giving of themselves this evening. thank you all for coming. and please welcome jim ellis. [applause] >> have to lower this bat foot here. i know the cubs game is starting in a while so at least -- i'm from chicago so we will getout of here as soon as we can. but philip is always someone guy to when i have a strange idea that i want to invite 400 people to so they can share it with me, and the idea i had after day's watching my tv on my phone, in amazement and horror as i watched wolf blitzer and ann coulter and a bunch of people named chrisamering at each
other, i would say, it was supposed to be working, but i became as a member of the fact-based community, hungry for a fact. one fact. a fact. a fact, my kingdom for a fact. so, i do know people who know facts, and they're up here today. these are the only four. i know five. but i don't really have to introduce them or say anything about them because they are fixtures on the cultural political scene and have been for many years. david, remnick, and david mar araniss with the "washington post" and jon alter with a whole variety of associations, including msnbc, and jacob
wise -- weiss berg, the cofounder or ceo of slate, and these people are all known to you as legends, but i want to convene them to talk about my passion, which is biography so in addition to being the distinguished people they are, they've written these astonishing books all of which i recommend to you. jonathan is at work on a biography of jimmy carter right now. author of a distinguished book on fdr. and david maaniss has written many books and is the authorized it november officially authorized biographer of clinton, jacob wrote a book on reagan, and david miraculously managed to write a 600 page book about obama while tending to a day job. and they, i hope dish know --
will bring considerable depth to this discussion because they're both journalists, writer and now biographers. in terms of. the guy that i will call that man, that's what fdr's enemies used to call him. that man. i wrote each of the participants and said, why don't we just sort of play off and try to talk about something else, and david wrote back and said, yes, of course,ll be focusing my remarks on polk and buchanan tonight. i'll told you to that. and -- but i'm sure not how it will turn out. was at a phone bank a couple weeks ago i won't say for which candidate because this is new york -- so who knows -- but i asked who they were voting for, the first question, and they
were supposed to be democrat us bus the guy said, no, man, this year we're trumping it. so i guess we'll be trumping it a little bit. and to preside over this i invited my hero, leslie stahl, who has spent the last quarter century at contribute, "60 minutes," getting people to talk. don't think that will by a problem tonight but she's -- it's been her police officer's work. so -- her police officer's work so i feel confident tate will town out as well and i hand the protestings over to you. thank you so much for coy coming. [applause] >> can you hear me? great. i'm going to start the evening by asking each one of our biographers to say something very briefly about their books, each one has been assigned a president, and we'll go chronologically. so we'll start -- by the way,
we're going to hold off on trump as long as we can. so that we can talk about these presidents. so first john alter and he is writing a book about jimmy carter. take it away. >> so, strangely enough there hasn't been a biography of jimmy carter unless you include the arthur arthur schlessinger series which is short but a real full biography in 25 years, and that was written by one of his aides, guy named peter bourn so i saw gaping hole in the line of scrimmage on a president who has been badly misunderstood and also has now 92 years and counting of a fascinating life, and this was a man who i think he is really the only major american figure who effectively
lived in three centuries. he was born in 1924, in sumpter county, georgia in plains, and at that time he might as well as he has described, might as well have been born in 1880. day that -- his family was not poor, but they had no running water, no mechanized farm equipment, and life was really unchanged for hundreds of years. so they finally got -- when he was 14 they got running water burt basically a 19th century life. then the 20th century he was not part of the civil rights movement but was kind of caught in vibes of the civil rights mom in the way handled the change and the jim crow south of his youth, and then serving as
president, obviously made him a significant 20th century figure, and now in the 21st 21st century, he is on what bill gates considers the cutting edge 21st century issues like conflict resolution and disease eradication. so, i think a big life, and i'm -- as farce this his presidency goes i'm basically going to conclude that he was a political failure but a substantive success for reasons i can explain as we go on. >> i can't wait to ask you about it. jacob. you are our reagan expert. and i can't wait to hearat you have to say because i covered him. my most -- this is the is my most fascinating subject. >> a little intimidating doing this with you, leslie. i will say that i share with jim
atlas a passion for reading and writing short buying a graphs and i had done one about george w. bush and then tried to figure out how to an even shorter one about ronald reagan and the maniacike roof reagan is there have been a huge number after incredibly long biographs of him but i was doing it force this american presidency series that john mentioned that arthur schlesinger started when he was alive and is complete but for two presidents. so it was a word limit. so i lad to get it down to hit essential and not just do a digest but figure out what could i do that would be new in that space, and i went at it by asking myself, what are the mysteries of reagan to me? whatter the questions that after reading a number of these books i'm still really unsatisfied be? and i came up with three, and the first one, which i think is tremendously obvious question but it's been written about hardly at all, is how did he switch from left to right?
at the beginning of the 1950s, reagan was a liberal democrat almost drafted to one for congress by the democrats iter support harry truman. a liberal dream tat. then he was so conservative and was off the charts in the republican party and by 1964 the goaledwater campaign was scared he would make them look bad was he would so right wing. so i think it was huge mystery and i go at hard in book at this switch from left to right, which happenin' 1950s. second question, was really about the end of the colder -- cold war and how much credit he got for it and lostly the biggest and hardest question, is what was going on inside of reagan's head, a subject on which at least oneeye buying agrapher famously foundered and safely have gotten in trouble
realized that this was something i had to do. i was ready for it and had spent the year writing about bill clinton and wanted to do this book. and the, the central thread of the book is one of loss and recovery. that's the repetitive cycle of bill clinton's life starting with the loss of a father before he was born, loss in politics and as the youngest governor -- youngest ex-governor in american history when he lost in 1980, rendering him as sort of the quintessential rhodes scholar which is a bright young man with a great future behind him. how he figured out to recover from that, and that loss really defining the rest of his political career. when i was finishing the book, because it was my first book and my first biography, i really struggled with the central question which was, well, do i like him or not? what is it about bill clinton? you know, i thought that as a biographer i had to come down on
one side of that issue, and it was only -- and for three months i was really beating myself up about trying to finish the book and resolve that. and then the obvious became obvious to me which is, of course, he's both of those things. and the same impulses that drive bill clinton in negative ways also drive him in positive ways. and it's only -- that's true of all of us, of human nature. we all have that within, those contradictions within us. and with bill clinton, it's just an exaggeration of all of us. >> excellent. all right. mr. remnick on obama. >> so -- >> and don't talk about trump. >> i wouldn't -- [laughter] i think we're going to wait 9-10 minutes before we mention trump. i would say this, that on this stage that i am the best judge of talking dog cartoons. i really -- [laughter] there's no one close. however -- [laughter] i am no scholar. i think as i walked in i saw ron chernow, a real scholar, there
are real scholars in the room xon this stage i'm probably -- i've written the third best book about barack obama. when i set out on this book and i was getting somewhere, i saw john alter at a birthday party, and he was talking about his obama book, and he said and the title is going to be "the promise," which i thought was my title. [laughter] and then i published a book called "the bridge," hastily retitled -- >> you are such a mensch. [laughter] that was the -- >> and not long thereafter i got david maraniss' book which is the start of a truly magnificent biography on the part of robert caro on johnson or chernow on many other presidents. my book is not a biography at all, it's really about the theme that i've been writing about a lot of my journalistic life which is race. it's maybe a biography in
disguise, there are biographical aspects to it. but it's all about obama and race, and it was also a book written in the shadow of or in light of obama's own them boy which he wrote -- memoir, which he wrote, remarkably, when he was 32. who writes a memoir when they're 32 in especially an obscure state senator? and an examination of what that book itself is, "dreams from if my father," which it comes in a long line of african-american autobiography which is one of the most spectacular and rich genres of american fiction. so there is, it is, indeed, has biographical aspects, but it really is about race. and if you take into consideration the book's original title and john's title, "the promise," i think we're all thinking now about to what degree does obama fulfill his promise both as this historical marker as the first african-american president, but also in his attempt to be -- in
his terms -- a transformative president. just one very, very short story. when he was running for president or thinking about running for president, he was in a hotel that had portraits of all the presidents. and be he was talking to a reporter. that reporter may have been jake weisberg. and he looked at all these presidents, polk, harrison, etc., etc. , and he said i really want to be a -- if i'm going to be president, i want to be a transformative prime minister. and i think that's a -- president. and i think that's what a lot of the heavy-breathing journalism from now until the end of january will be about, to what degree this promise -- good title, jon -- was satisfied. [laughter] >> all right. here's the, here's the game plan. i'm going to do a round, and we'll go chronologically and ask a couple of questions of each of you on your president, and eventually we'll open it up to some broad questions for all of you. but let's start, first, on jimmy carter. speaking of cartoons, some of the most vicious cartoons you'd ever see about a president were
done on poor jimmy carter. he shrunk as his presidency went on til finally he was just teeth, if i remember. [laughter] but you brought up this idea that he succeeded legislatively, but he was considered a failed president. can you explore that and tell us how that contradiction came about and why there was the contradiction? >> well, i think any president who runs and loses for re-election especially overwhelmingly will inevitably be seen as a political failure, although i have to say george h.w. bush who is not represented here tonight, nor is his son, you know, he, i think, has been getting better marks even though he too was a one-term president than carter who has been much more of a punching bag and is most often compared to another engineer, herbert hoover, who before he was president was called the great humanitarian.
i think in carter's case, after his presidency he's thought of as the great humanitarian. but he, he didn't -- he was president at a bitter, small time, the 1970s, where people didn't really like anything. he, with, you know, i'm not speaking of you personally in this, lesley, but the press corps as a whole, i think, was coming out of a post-watergate mentality where they had taken down a president, richard nixon, and pretty much every story was how can we, you know, figure out the hypocritical or unimpressive underbelly of this presidency. and he actually only got, the scholars kind of raked coverage, and he got less than one month of positive coverage in four years just right at the time he was inaugurated.
and even after the camp david accords, he did not get particularly good press. finish i'm not blaming that, because he made many mistakes from the way he set up his white house to the way he managed his own time. and i think his engineering background, which was a kind of double-edged sword, it allowed him to engineer peace. it was enormously helpful in him doing the camp david accords which have been the best thing -- interesting considering how many american jews and israelis don't like carter -- it's been the best thing for the state of israel since the creation of the state of israel, because it took the only military force with the capacity to destroy israel, the egyptian army, off the table for the last
nearly 40 years and counting. and he did that through a tour de force of diplomacy not just at camp david, but in the years that followed. and he also got the panama canal treaties through against great odds. everybody expected they would be defeated as ronald reagan and others were leading the charge against these treaties which have been kind of neglected by history. but without them, it would have very likely been a war in central america, a guerrilla war against the united states that would have been much worse than what later happened in central america. and the human rights campaign that he initiated led to, led to the, it was maintained after some hesitation by reagan, and
it eventually led to a transformation to democracy throughout latin america or partially led to this as well as giving great sustenance to dissidents in the soviet union and eastern europe. and that's not even talking about various domestic achievements. the alaska lands bill set aside more land for protection than all prior presidents including theodore roosevelt combined. and i could go down the list, but the -- because he had a democratic congress, and unlike bill clinton and barack obama who only had two years of a democratic congress, carter had four years, and he put a lot of points on the board but got almost no credit for many, many pieces of legislation. so there's a gap here between perception of carter and what actually changed in the country as a result of his presidency. unfortunately, we do judge
presidents politically. and because he did prove to be so inept politically and he lost so overwhelmingly to ronald reagan in 1980, he has a very hard time being resurrected by history. >> i feel like, i feel as a member of the jimmy carter white house press corps that i have to defend myself here, and that is while he did accomplish all those things, he had double-digit inflation, and he had the hostages, and i will tell you -- and i covered the white house for many, many years. he was so unpopular that even people in his own administration would call me and give me, leak stories to me, negative stories. >> right. >> so -- >> no, no. i hope i made it clear that i'm not blaming the press for what happened to him, i'm just saying that was the climate that his ineptitude took place in. remember, the hostages came home all in one piece, none -- we
lost, we didn't lose a single american soldier to hostile fire during his presidency. not one. for the first time since the dawn of the republic. and jimmy carter's very proud of that. now, did he do that through appeasement? no. he did it through a very messy foreign policy that left him deeply unpopular. were the long-term effects of what the iranians did and the hostages, were they harmful to the united states? clearly, the iranian revolution was, but to blame him for that is kind of like blaming obama for isis, you know? history happens. and they did, he tried and failed to rescue the hostages which cost him hugely politically in april of 1980. but they did eventually come home, although they did so on
january 20th, 1981, so as to give ronald reagan the credit, just a few minutes after reagan took office, the iranians released the hostages. and it was one thing after another with carter. and also there were these, these little things that kept happening that were seen as nowadays we'd call them memes. they were called, you know, symbolic of his problems. like at one point a killer rabbit emerged in the pond in, in his mother's pond in plains. [laughter] and, you know, that consumed weeks of attention. [laughter] it was somehow seen as representative of something. [laughter] and then, you know, at another point he was a long distance runner, and he overheated, and he had to stop a marathon, and that was also seen as a metaphor. this was at a time when, you know, people liked to use those kinds of things to tell us
everything we need to know about a president. gerald ford stumbles when he comes out of air force one. and i think there was a bit of a habit in the culture which, it's important for historians who are trying to get at the long-term changes in the country that a president brings, it's really important for us to get past the fact that he made the mistake of letting the public know that he had hemorrhoids. [laughter] >> and that he had montezuma's revenge. >> and montezuma's revenge another time. >> i'm going to, i'm going to move us along to reagan for a minute. the man who trounced jimmy carter. so what was in his head? >> and i, i get twice as long because he had two terms, right? [laughter] the -- >> well, first of all, before i ask you what was in his head, you know, he is seen and very much in comparison to jimmy carter as one of the giants in the 20th century actually. did you come down thinking he was a giant as a president?
was he transformative? and was your assessment that he was one of the great presidents of our, of all time? >> well, great is a harder term for me than transformative. i think he was pretty clearly transformative. i mean, i think you date the new deal era from 1933 really until the end of the carter presidency, and then i think after that you are in the reagan era where reagan transforms the republican party transforms what conservativism stands for. and at least arrests the direction of the new deal. the extent to which he reversed it is subject to debate. but the sort of new deal didn't, was pretty clearly mostly suspended between 1981 and 2009. and arguably the reagan era extends to the present day. actually, we're not going to talk about trump, but i think trump signals the end of reaganism as the dominant ideology inside the republican party. but let's talk about what's
going on inside of his head. >> yeah, what was -- >> the first thing is we have to acknowledge that we don't know and we'll never know because reagan didn't leave a record. he was a voluminous writer, which was one of the things that was so fascinating to me, and he was a good writer, although he wrote mainly for radio, for speaking speeches and radio scripts. but he didn't write in a way that gives us huge insight into that. he wasn't close to a lot of people. i mean, i think he was really close to two people in his life, his mother and nancy. and maybe, you know, something more will come out. i don't think he left, there was any correspondence or any record of his relationship with his mother that tells you. but i think what we do know is he had this tremendous, objectively terrible childhood. he lived in ten different homes by the time he was 10 years old. his father, who was an alcoholic, dragged the family from pillar to post getting jobs in shoe stores. they went to chicago at one
point, he got a job in a department store, and then he got arrested for public drunkenness. they moved back down state. and when you hear reagan's older brother describe this in an oral history, he says, you know, this was miserable. i mean, we ate bone soup and, you know, we were, we were practically starving. and you hear reagan describe it, and he says it was like a huck finn/tom sawyer childhood where he would be out skating on the frozen rock river and, you know, he said we were poor, but we didn't know we were poor. and if you think, well, what's going on there? is this someone with not just an optimistic imagination, but someone who was actually able to tune out reality? and my kind of psychological theory of what was going on inside reagan's head was he was able to do this. there was a kind of willed fogginess or a kind of selective hearing, but that actually became tremendously functional quality for him in politics. and and the --
>> so optimistic. >> well, you know, the same kid who would sort of not know he was poor, you know, could not hear david stockman telling him you've got to choose whether you want to have a budget deficit or you want to have your defense budget and tax cuts. and there was a way in which reagan, by not hearing things that were uncomfortable or involved conflict, preserved his political effectiveness. and i think there was a very positive side to it and and a very negative side the it. but i think, you know, at some level too it was physiological. reagan had very poor eye sight as a child, didn't know he needed glasses until he was a teenager -- >> i stop you? >> yeah. >> i want you to explain how a person who doesn't hear what other people are telling him, because i know a great deal about this, i mean, how, how is he effective? he goes into the white house, he's not listening to what people are telling him, or he seems to listen, but he comes
back the next morning, and it's gone. >> right. >> and yet he's an incredibly effective president. >> well, i mean, just to pursue the example i was just talking about, about his original economic plan where there was, he was facing a choice of things that he was being told were incompatible. he actually wasn't passively making a choice. he was choosing to have a very large budget deficit as the least bad alternative. because he wasn't going to give up his defense build-up, and he wasn't going to give up his tax cuts, and that meant de facto he was going to have a very large budget deficit. he wasn't going to acknowledge even with the people close to him that that was the choice he was making. he -- this read as not making the choice. but, in fact, it was a choice, and and i think it was quite a good choice. it ended up that the original reagan economic plan ended up being a classical keynesian plan to stimulate a weak economy. it was a conservative version of keynesianism where the money,
you know, goes primarily to defense. but, of course, keynes said it's okay if you drop the money out of helicopters if you need to. >> yeah. >> it stimulated the economy. it worked at many levels. but reagan, by never acknowledging those contradictions, preserved both his own idea of the purity of what he was doing and, you know, if you imagine carter in that same position, carter had a kind of intelligence and a kind of acumen that he would never have been able to get away with not making that choice in a clear way or recognizing that choice. >> or almost any other president. >> yeah. so that's what i mean when i say it was functional. in many cases the passive choice, the unacknowledged choice ended up working -- if not sub substantively, working , very well politically. you know, avoiding conflict, which reagan did, he didn't like conflict, let sort of certain things get resolved without using up his personal political capital to resolve them.
>> he, he, when he came in to office, jimmy carter had created a mood in the country of weakness. he was seen as weak, and the cup, therefore, was seen -- the country, therefore, was seen as weak. and really overnight, overnight suddenly everything was looking up. and i'm wondering if you can talk about reagan but also presidents in general. do -- through the sheer thrust of personality, do you think a president can completely change the mood of the country on a dime just by being the president? if they have an optimistic personality? >> timing helps. i mean, i think the mood of the country really had bottomed out during the carter years. it was probably on the mend in many ways. you know, the hostages were being released, the worst of the previous recession was over, watergate was further behind, you know? therethere were a lot of reasony the country was -- the country had gotten much too pessimistic
about itself, about the economy. and so in many -- it was a very good moment for someone to come in with reagan's attitude. but it's interesting, it's been, you know, i think conventional wisdom in politics that optimism and positivity is the right, is the way to win elections, right? and you certainly see that with bill clinton, you certainly see that with barack obama. you see it with almost every candidate at every level. i mean, donald trump is a strange exception. there's some candidates who are just character logically or temperamentally incapable of pulling that off. but -- >> i, since carter's involved in this, can i just jump into this for a second? [laughter] >> i was taking my full two terms, but go ahead. >> while we're on this point, i just didn't want to -- i believe that optimism's very important, it was very important to fdr's success. but i have a kind of a fed-centric view of presidential
popularity, and jimmy carter appointed paul volcker to be chairman of the fed, and volcker applied very, very stiff medicine which basically sent interest rates through the roof which was the main economic reason why carter lost. unemployment wasn't particularly bad in 1980, but interest rates were insane. they were approaching 20%. and inflation was insane. and so if then -- so volcker applies this medicine. it really hurts carter, and it also hurts reagan if you look at the popularity numbers. reagan, one of the reasons he got off to such a great start in 1981 is that he was shot in the same way that fdr was almost shot just before he took office. and be in both cases, fdr just
escaped assassination in 1933, in both cases many americans felt god had spared them for a purpose. and this helped enormously. but his popularity went way down in 1982. it was as low as carter's for all of his optimism and his great qualities, he was really unpopular. and it was because volcker's policies finally worked in 1984 that he had this monster re-election. so i asked volcker, you know, did you elect reagan in 1980 and reelect him in 1984? and he said finish. >> all right. >> -- some people have said that. >> quick. it's his turn. >> i mean, i don't quarrel at all with the saintliness of paul volcker. i think that was the right thing to do and, of course, reagan accepted it. i think reagan gets credit for not challenging the fed. but there's something else. because of this unprecedented inflation, because of stagflation, you couldn't use monetary policy further to stimulate the economy. and that's why this conservative
keynesianism i talked about was so important. and by having a huge tax cut and this military spending, reagan stimulated the economy in the only way you could. you had, the fed had no available bullets. and so paradoxically, it was the combination of these two policies held by people with different views of the economy that ended up producing this wave of economic growth which helped reagan's re-election. >> that's brilliant. >> thank you. [laughter] >> we're coming back. david. >> hello. >> hello. all right. so i think today a pertinent question to ask about clinton is to focus on his marriage. so was it a co-presidency? and how did husband and wife really work together in the white house? >> well, going back to when they first met at yale law school, it was from the very beginning a sort of what i call a fair fight.
two very intelligent, very ambitious, very pragmatic people who wanted, saw that they could rise together in ways that they couldn't get to apart. and that symbiotic relationship, you know, was first felt when hillary -- against all of the advice of her friends -- moved out to fayetteville, arkansas, in 1974 when her boyfriend was running for congress. and from then on, at various stages in their rise together she was central to what he did. when he was governor of arkansas, after that first term it was hillary who realized that because of social pressure, she had to change her name from hillary rodham to hillary rodham clinton. she changed her hair. she's the one who pushed him to go back and run for governor again. she paved the way for him.
she flattered the press in arkansas which was down on her husband. and then in those, in that second coming of governor clinton, it was hillary leading the education reform policy in arkansas which really made him a national figure. and so he relied on her time and time again until he got into the white house. and during that campaign when he perhaps unwisely said buy one get one free, in his mind that's really what he was thinking, that they were a team, and that's the way they had been from the very start. and then for the first time in their political career together, for reasons that largely were not her fault but some were, she failed him in the first effort at health care reform. of course, there were enormous money and powerful interests against her, but nonetheless, that was the defeat that caused him to lose congress and really
be sort of on his heels sort of in a defensive jiu-jitsu position for the rest of his presidency. the interesting thing about the relationship is that generally speaking when one is up, the other is down. that was true throughout their presidency so that whatever trouble he would get in personally in his personal life, her popularity would rise. finish you know, sympathetic figure. when she was down after that health care thing, his popularity actually started to rise. so it's been that way throughout. and essentially, you know, you could see it evolving in 1999, that it was her turn, and and it's been sort of her turn ever since. the irony of what's happened since then is that i consider bill clinton a master campaign strategist for everyone but his wife. [laughter] and virtually every time he's been involved in her campaign,
something has happened that's -- >> so she helped him a lot when he was president. what, is he going to help her, or is he going to hurt her? >> you mean if -- when she's president? >> yeah. >> well, i mean, everybody in this room try to imagine what it's going to be like when the big dog is back in the white house. [laughter] it's kind of mind-boggling. and i think that as i've always said about bill clinton, you know, you'll get the good and the bad. there'll be times when he will help her and times when she'll wish he was not around. but, of course, you know, you could send him around the world, but he's still going to be doing something. [laughter] i think it's, i just think that there's, you know, until the clintons are gone, you're going to have this endless cycle, as i've said, of turmoil and success and loss and recovery
and just a sort of everything sort of surrounding them will be interesting and exhausting at the same time because that's who they are together. but i want to say one last thing which is that, you know, when people wonder about who hillary really is and why she's not more transparent and so on, i think that in her defense of him and of them together, she's built up this encrusted sensibility of defensiveness and lack of transparency that she doesn't even see entirely. .. this will free her to be herbert
self. >> i want to ask you about -- and all of us -- the recuperative nature of some presidents. now, reagan was like a phoenix, rising from the ashes of iran-contra. but clinton was the most extraordinary phoenix. how do you explain his recouping after monica lewinski? >> didn't surprise me at all. i predicted he would come back because that's clinton's nature. come back and then get the trouble again, and then he'll come back again and get in trouble again. >> but we liked him. >> if i could step on david and obama. the way described the two of them is that they both -- they had this similarities. both came out november where, southwest arkansas and hawai'i. difference functional families. obama had the additional problem of having to figure out who he
was, which david's book is about. ably. but they don't -- racially. but everything that life threw at them in completely disdifferent ways. barack obama spent agent years of his life to figurisms out, racially, culturally, and the succeeded and that give hem the self-confidence and lack of neediness that helped him get to white house and then got him in trouble the white house. i'm just saying 0, opposed to clinton who never debt with his problems. just figure out how to get past them. his mode of operation was survive. wake up every morning, forgive yourself, keep going, forgive the world, and became so good at that, that needing people, he became the master survivor. and he got to the white house because of that and of course into the trouble of the white house because of that. so him rising from the phoenix is part of the cycle.
>> if we can go further in clinton. a way he gets in trouble in order to get out of it? he digs the whole -- that's what he does his whole life? mat was my revelation in reading "first in his class." >> well, sometimes, subconsciously? i don't think the consciously would get the trouble but did feel that no matter what, he would find his way out, and when he was president, that had an ironic or paradoxical effect of helping him. the public realized this guy is in troubling but can he get out of it. and he will. and that feeds into this are an optimistic impression of somebody. >> okay, david remnick. here's my big question about you goo, obama. when he decided that he wasn't goal really deal with congress anymore, did he do it because he calculated that no matter what
did they were going stiff him on it, so i'm not going to go there because it's just be banging my head on the wall, or does he have a characterological maybe impediment, the aloofness we see, that he just cannot schmooze and reach out? which is it? >> the former. >> can we just stipulate and point out for the purposes of overarching theme of this discussion how deeply weird these people are. my friend, jeff frank, hays written about nixon and -- nixon and johnson and reagan and clinton, even carter. i mean, the outsizeness of the strangeness of these people, each in their own way, is really
striking. with barack obama there's a point -- >> strangely sane. >> i wouldn't agree with that. strangely sane is not a phrase i would affection to nixon or johnson or -- well, anyway, so when you come to barack obama, and to david's opinion, i think this is -- i'm not an historian. i'm a reporter. and -- but so far as i can tell from that vantage opinion and as a read her and observer, somebody alive in this time, this is the least strange person to occupy the white house in certainly the post war era. and i think that the whole washington, new york dinner table, meme, if he had only played more golf with john
boehner, if he had had more drinks with mcconnell, it's just bad math. it's bad history. and it's not good journalism. the increased radicalization, right-wing radicalization of both the house and to some extent the senate, is an historical fact. that borne the fruit or fruitcake we now know that has come out of the oven. this is something that was -- if i can extend this metaphor, horribly prepared and stirred by the republican party, and a generation of constantly railings radicalizing republican party. so the notion that barack obama,
who won the healthcare battle by the tiniest of smidgens, how flawed, got less than he wanted, however premiums are going up, but this historical battle was won in a time when he had political advantages he no longer had for the remaining six years is a fantasy. a fantasy. i feel bad about saying this from an occupational point of view. i think the job of journalist is not to praise power but to put pressure on power. that's our job. and i have plenty of thing toes i have questions be barack obama or criticism or barack obama, but i must tell you that in i lifetime i've come to the owned november presidency where i have more good to say and in the characterological argue; i think he is the most sane, self-knowing person in that office that i can imagine.
again, he's a human being, flawed, this, that and the other thing. >> does that lead to good leadership? >> well, think the result's his leadership has been -- in my view i have particular politics so yes, do think that. i think the moral political -- i don't know it's a bad mark but certainly the biggest question mark of his presidency to my mind is syria, and phillip gordon, one of his middle east advisers put it, the quandary most starkly when he said the follow: the united states invaded and occupied a country called iraq and it was a catastrophe. the united states participated in an invasion and failed to occupy a country called libya, and it was catastrophe. and we have done next to nothing because of those previous
experiences in syria, and it was a catastrophe, and it's a catastrophe in which we have a half a million people dead, 11 million refugees arranges destabilized lebanon, jordan, turkey, and the entire european continent, and we're having an argument in the united states when he dane to discuss sear ya about 10,000 refugees coming into the country and the hysteria about borders. so i deeply sympathize with obama's quandary about this and he came into office after all his big differential with hillary clinton was not characterological. it was iraq. where he was right, where he was right, and so far him to have acted differently, especially in lieu of libya, which he was part of the screwup. they took their eye off the ball is unconscionable cliche. but that's the biggest glaring question mark as he leaves office.
income on domestic issues, and then foreign issues, whether it's cuba or -- i think it's a remarkable record and i feel uncomfortable saying that as a gorgeous just. don't think patting presidents on the a -- >> we're in age where wore encouraged to say what we think -- >> never had any hesitation about it. >> i asked each one of our historians, journalists, to tell us an anecdote that is -- the gives us a real insight, window into the mind or temperment of the quality of mind of each one of their assigned presidents. so do a round on that. start with jimmy carter, john. >> i guess maybe going to camp david and it's the 13th day of 13 days, and they believe they have an agreement after a
tremendous amount of hard work, mostly by carter, but obviously begin and sadat deserve a lot of credit. they'd got ton an agreement, and then carter promised -- promised sadat he would have a side letter that was not relevant to the grandma, cently relevant, on jerusalem, and the status of jump jump -- jerusalem and would rate lit -- reiterate what was said after the 1967 war, and not any change in american policy, but begin found today are it to be a deal-breaker and he was going to blow up the whole thing on the last day. and it looked like it was ending in failure, which would have been completely humiliating for carter and bad for the world. and then carter, with the help of his secretary, susan clue,
brought in these photographs of begin's grandchildren, and his secretary found out thunder individual names and carter inscribed one to each, and brought them to begin, and then they -- begin kind of broke down and then carter broke down, and carter made some adjustments, very clever adjustments in the letter that begin objected to, on jerusalem and they went forward to have their agreement. peacemaking is hard. it's hard work. and engineering quality that made people not like carter very much, who can love an engineer, just not a very politically potent occupation, even if we can personally love the engineers in our lives. that same engineering quality really helped him get down into
the details where real change happens. >> all right. reagan go for it. >> the first thing is to say that reagan is the president who mostguard by anecdote. this there was a reason he did that which is he didn't -- his mind was not tuned to abstract thinking and he could -- a lot of ways only relate to policy and ideas by making them stories about people. which he did incredibly well. of course, the anecdotes where are sometimes true, sometime he knew they weren't time sometimes the felt they were true and they weren't true. hires an anecdote about reagan. >> you mean like when he said he wasn't to war and was in combat. >> they didn't happen. we can discuss why that didn't happen but a that amyth about reagan, claiming to have librated auschwitz. he was not completely deattacheded from reality in 1967 when reagan was in
governor's offers -- first, and i time at the reagan library and they said would you like to look inside reagan's desk, and i said, sure. what is that? and its turns out he had kept -- five boxes and the things he took from california to washington, back to california, and it's like people's business cards and matchbooks from restaurants kind of thing but also some really interesting documents in there, and these were things he couldn't bear to throw away when he would clean his desk. one is a photostat of an allergy from photograph -- pravda with an english translation. they dime interview himmin' 1967, and the correspondent who was called yura start this account saying i wasn't sure that reagan would want to see me, but he wanted to convince me that capitalism was superior to communism, and reagan clearly had had this article translated because he thought if he just
got this guy in the office, he could convince him that capitalism was the better system, and you sigh -- see the article, very stern kind of pravda -- reagan, capitalist governor of this powerful industrial state, blah blah and by the end of imment damn if if you can't see reagan has charmed him. he says he is very gracious and to i by the end of it abandoned commonnism but kept his job at pravda. so he said, boy, if i could just get him alone in a rhyme think i could convince them. >> you know, reagan's secret sauce was his charge and sweetsness, and the press corps used to melt at his feet, too. he could charm anybody. all right.
who is next. clinton. >> when my book came out, clinton responded by reading parts of it to his staff, parts inknack accuse and denying the other half of the book, and publicly saying he didn't read it, and so the are to me the one valuable -- the only valuable thing in the kenneth starr report on the lewinski scandaling is an aaddendum that listed all the book in the oval office and among the books i, first in its class with on know tated notes by bc and hrc. so i can only imagine what the notes were. fast forward two years, and
clinton has not talk to me for two years after the book came out forks a lot of different reasons. and we never meet until the association of newspaper editors has their annual convention in washington, where the president traditionally speaks, and i happened to be on the dais bus i won an award and bill clinton came hobbling in, just fell off the front steps of greg norman's house. he is on crushes crutches, comed gives the speak to work the rope line he has could come by me into we're meeting for the first time to two years i'm completely tongue tied and have so many question is didn't hey anything to into and bill clinton says the right thing to into and he says, hi, david, congratulations on your award. nice tie. my father and wife were in the audience hi works the rope line,
his arm around my life, won't talk to me but talking to her, talking to my dad about golf and falling off greg norman's stairs and my father's first words to him are, nice tie, mr. president. two months later, at a dinner and george steph knopp plows is there and -- stephanopoulos were there and we were talk ought existing and interesting and all the characteristics of bill clinton, we both endured for many years, and step november plows said hid deever talk to you after your book came out? i said, not really. the only words we have exchanged is when he said, nice tie. and stephanopoulos said you know what nice tie means in become's private lexicon? i said, no. he said, it means fuck you. so, i was thinking my father, who loved bill clinton,
responded in kind. [applause] and i can't tell you how many white house correspondents came up to me after the story and said, i thought he really liked my tie. when say says, i love the tie. that's not what it means. >> i should first start out by saying i promised david money if he told that story so i still owe you. [applause] >> thank you for buying that. >> should i say the clinton -- the clinton story that maybe -- i thought when he was in the office, in the hospital, his nurse came to see him in his hospital bed and said, what do i have? and she said, mr. president, you have acute ang giant na, aikona,
and he said, you're not so bad yourself. >> you have acute angina. and he said, you're not so bad yourself. >> not true. not true. >> the most telling story is can offer about barack obama in my personal andens is the following. david has had this experience, john has as well. what happens these days in barack obamaland if you're writing back they deem reasonably serious which means not written by ed clean or something, you get an interview, and they tell you it's going to be a half hour and goes 450 -- 45 or in case david, he uncord his boyfriendbra rack wanted to know about it but my interview focuses on race and he was somewhat open about things. he would talk -- he talked about malcolm x in white house, the oval offers which is not
something that came up a lot with richard nixon, except ton the tapes. but he was very guarded in that obama way but 10% more so on the soldier of race which is full power game out without a single syntactical glitch. everything completely gathered and we finish it this conversation, and he walked down the hall to go off to do something, you know, check on the nuclear codes or whatever, and then he came all the way back and at a clip, and he said, i got to tell -- this is not something he does. he is a very efficient with his time. not a lingerer like clinton would have been there for three hours. >> and not answer a question and all that. >> he said you have to understand, this is early, early in the administration and this is the big subject about which
historians will chew ore this for a long time. when i talk about race, i'm perfectly aware that the most important historical aspect of me and race has happened in november and then in my inauguration dade. get that. but if i put a single word wrong or even half wrong, the world can go crazy, and this happened time and time again. you remember the beer summit. obama convened a beer summit with skipgates and the police officer who essentially assaulted skip gate for the crime of breaking into his own house with his keys, and some large majority of the american people were in favor of the cop, not skip gates, and were very destabilized by obama's performance at a press conference in which he said that essentially could have been me. so, to it will be extremely
interesting to me to see once he leaves office, once january 20th happens, two things are going to happen. one for sure, he's going to give the biggest back advance in the history of nonfiction, and then the second thing will be, will he write the first truly great presidential memoir in at the history of the american president si? you ice ulysses grant wrote about the military but will he right the first really great and open book that is reflective of his very first book or more of a product like the book that he wrote at the kind of testing, ph paper for whether he should run for president or not, which was an okay book. that will be fascinating and how he confronts the subject of race, what he has to say about it. considering that enormous intelligence and that singular expense of being the first african-american president will
be something to chew over for a long time. >> don't you think his ambition is it to do the first to write a great book. >> anybody who sits down to write a book has it in mind to write something at least good, and i think obama has that writerly attention. any number of anecdotes when he writes speeches he is up all night with his speech writer. even the nobel prize, which he felt ambivalent about winning, his reaction to winning the nobel prize, since he broke the obscenity barrier oh, you've got to be fucking kid, when he was told that and then that was the opposite one-half what the nor weans wanted to hear which was a rye buick by american power -- rye buck by american -- a much more nuisances speech about the proper use of american power. >> i no we're going to invite
the audience to ask questions, but first, let's talk about the current roster of people running for president and can any of you or all of you jump in and tell what you have learned from your presidents that would -- if you could give advice, would help either hillary and/or mr. trump. in other words, what did you learn that makes to are good president. what would you tell them are them from what you have learned? anybody? or doie just want to talk about trump? >> i would say one thing. leslie. i think the thing that hillary clinton has found hardest to do is the thing reagan did very naturally, and is to frame his ideas in narrative terms, in human terms, and the thematic
terms, and hillary, i think -- i think she understands the limitation as a campaigner this way but i think part of the reason she has had a hard time breaking through, and of course the misogyny and other factors -- but she does tend to offer a list of policies. she is not good at telling a big story, something that bill clinton, i think, was excellent at, and i think maybe he learned it in part from reagan but comes naturally to him because hi is naturally a story-teller, and that's very tough. but i think if you don't do that you're giving up on being able to relate in a certain way to a lot of the country that isn't likely to be engaged in policy at a specific level. >> one thing that surprised me about reagan was how much he contributed to his speeches. i was under the impression -- he had that's great stable of
speech writers, including peggy noonan and he told him whatnot he wanted and they did it but i'm seen his speeches. we -- he improved all of them and he was a really good writer and i think it came out of his early days writing radio scripts. none of his original radio scripts which he wrote when eh he was a sportscaster in iowa and illinois survive. but we know -- we know there's the legends about the cubs game when he had to taps dance when the results stopped coming through. the later radio scripts do survive and having read those, and they're written out in long hand. he didn't have any help with those. didn't have an editor really. i'd give him a common place. he would really -- he really wrote a good punchy column and gave a good punchy speech. george schulte has a great anecdote. schultz had written some foreign policy speech and he gave it to reagan to look at it. proud of himself. reagan said, well, good, gorgeous but i would have din
are didn't i differently. schultz sad what to are do you mean? says you right are wry for the eye but i write for the ear and you have to think about how its sounds to people, and telling a story and telling it from innocent trough -- it adifferent kind of writing but he was a really good writer of that kind. >> okay. i know david that you have been dying to talk about trump all night. because you told me so. >> i'm so damn sick of it i can't begin to -- look, let's be honest. what we are witnessing, witnessing an ugly freak. [applause] -- and i'm sorry. don't mean to pander over much. i can imagine at nyu, i'm month like-mind people and not -- this is a hideous moment in american history.
i can't even say that's he logical extension of the kind of radicalization and deck dense of major mitt cal party but i think there it is. we were discussing in -- before we came out, is he like hitler, mussolini. well, i don't know. it seems to me this is a very american thing. the incubator he grew up in was not a turn of the century austria. he grew up on -- as a -- in reality television world. mark fisher, my college roommate and now biographer of trump, who has had hours and hours of time with trump, when i was colleague advertise "washington post" and wrote a very, very good book, on trump, asked him what everybody on this stage has eventually asked their subjects and you would, which is, what do you
read? what is forming your -- you figure give the discretion -- intellectual -- your view of life? or as trump would say -- his and trump said -- it's as if you asked him to reinvent the calculus. he could not think of anything. then he went back to high school and was not embarrassed in the least about this and know one is asking presidents to be tenured professors of astro physics or history, but you would expect some input going into -- you hear the republican party, constantly the fountainhead and this i like what you hear all the time. nothing. and he finally said, well, all quiet on the western front, which i read in high school. so, there's this kind of blankness in himself. the ability to say anything that
he feels will appeal to whatever is in front of him, whether it's howard stern or rally in texas, or rally here or there. and he has been formed by i, i feel, not just him and his own biography but a moment of american history, both serious and pop, that has bubbled up in the ugliest way and god willing we'll be done with it in early november, but it's something that we'll be grappling with for a long time to come. think politically, just just historically speaking -- because a lot of people are going to vote for him. >> i just worry about what happens when somebody goes out of bounds as he has over and over again from a very early point and we have never seen a
demagogue come anywhere close to this close to the american presidency, in all of american history. not only -- only had one candidate, wendell wilk in set 40 who had not served at all in government. all the other major party candidates were either in the military or elective offers or the cabinet. so in that sense, highly unusual, but just the sheer demagoguery of it, we've never seen and the fallout -- i don't think we'll really necessarily ready for. what i hope there is, if he loses, is a real reckoning for who were trump appeasers in the republican party, and who would never trump, and the never trump folks, whether they're very conservative, like -- behind
gram or others they deserve to rise in the future of the political party and i'm not sure they ill but we should hold the other ones to account because they were in my mind and are unpatriotic. that's a very strong word, but if you are an average voter and you -- [applause] -- and you -- acknowledge average voter and your cor trump you have a busy life and not paying very much attention you kind of like the stuck you politics the rents -- i can understand you have been left behind in global economy. i can understand why they voted for trump but if you're an educated person and you're a politician and you know, as marco rubio said, he is a con artist, you know he is a con artist, which he is, and you support him, you're putting a con artist in charge of our constitution and our nuclear codes.
what could be a less patriotic act than that? so, i don't think we've fully confronted the moral ramifications of politicians who put party ahead of country and decided they have to support trump. >> well said. [applause] jukes. >> aaare agree complete my. no reason for know blab on about trump but i think it's important note for history's sake that the people supporting trump have always been there. they were there in the 1960s in the south fighting civil rights, there supporting are george wallace in michigan. there in the 1850s. they've been through throughout mesh history and it's only once in a while that a demagogue can come along to tap into that the way that trump has, and as to switch it over to hillary clinton for a second, in books,
before i ever got a chance to ask either of them what books they read, i realized -- i discovered what book bill clinton brought along on their honeymoon to acapulco, which was, the denial of death by decker. >> the denial of death. >> i wanted to open it up to questions from the audience, and i see there are microphones here and here, and -- maybe you could get up to the mic if you want to ask a question. >> to the three guys with ties, nice tie. >> you knew -- harsh. >> one of you said something about this being the end of the reagan era and the republican party, and moving forward, are we looking -- is it going be the "alt-right" taking the man tell or -- mantle and where cue are
do you see the republican party moving on. >> i do like at this in a reagan context. i think the genius of trump, as it were, is that he sensed a tremendous gap between what the party represented and what people voting republican actually thought, and the party was still essentially fixed to reagan's principles. smaller government, lower taxes, proimmigration, free trade, and trump kind of figured out that people voting republican, a lot of them didn't support any of that. they didn't want less government. wanted more from government. didn't particularly care about reducing taxes on the wealthy. they were very against globalism and trade and very antiimmigration. so, i think going forward -- i mean, it's a little bit different from what john was just arguing a minute ago. i think on the one hand the party is going to have an immediate tendency to blame everything on trump himself but
i think the path to victory in the party in the future, is likely to be trumpism without trump. so it's going to be someone without trump's rev reprehensible person and characteristics but he does represent the view and i era of reaganism is over because i don't think they can make a comeback inside the republican party. still be there but likely to be a minority faction. >> david remnick has to leave at 8:00. everybody else stay. david do you have any final thoughts on the presidency in general and what we're being to face? >> only that it's my 29th weds anniversary and if i don't get to where i'm going to go i'm not going to reach 30. that is really it. will say that what was encouraging, because i don't want everybody to go home and kill themselves -- is that i've never seen a more politically
astute thrashing in any kind of political combat in the third debate where i think finally everything was unmasked, and yet tens of millions of people are going to vote for trump, and it is -- bears watching for all of us as citizens and journalists, first to understand why this is the case, is everybody who is pulling the lever for donald trump a white supremacist or member of some incredibly ugly group or thinks ill of all the groups that trump has insulted and attempted to humiliate? i don't know that's the case. i dearly hope not and i don't thinks it is but as a political composer and what shape that takes, as jacob was saying before, is going to be
fascinating because the leadership of the republican party, which was given such immense praise for its mastery of poll signature, paul ryan being exhibit number one, paul ryan, who had -- i understand that he is a speaker of the house and therefore the de facto head of a party that is headed by a nut, and worse, but i do not see -- i do not see how a second term clinton versus paul ryan race doesn't devolve into yet another unbelievably ugly episode and yet i think she is incredibly vulnerable, unless she performs at the level of that third debate in every sense of the world in terms of her presidency, and delivers and becomes a more transparent political personality, in the way that we have grown accustomed to not thinking of her, i think there's a real trouble ahead.
real trouble ahead. >> it's really hard to get 16 years in a row for any party. that is almost unprecedented, after 12 years people want a change. one thing is very interesting that she might learn from carter, he repeatedly made decisions hi knew politically harmful to him, over and over again, over the 0,s of roslyn carter, and he just said, look, i'm going to do what i think is right, and not that he was never political. if she plied -- >> show won't do that. >> but it may make her a less historically important president. you have to be willing to takes rakeses, of political failure to have some lasting accomplishments. >> you don't think she'll do that. >> i remember david -- early in -- [applause]
early in obama presidency, wrote a piece saying he should do the gutsy thing and just get out of iraq immediately and if that makes him a one are-term president so be it. he didn't do it. and hillary clinton is twice as pragmatic in that regard as barack obama. so i just don't see that happening. >> here's a question. >> hi. >> looking forward and as are assuming for a moment that hillary clinton wins, she'll be facing a media landscape much more polarizing constant that whan he hers faced and coming out of eight years that is essentially been scandal-free, in -- when biographs and history of this be written, benghazi and sew linda will be footnote -- solyndra will be footnotes so given this media landscape i imagine there while be some major either trumped up or whatever scandal and potentially
subjects that occurs what is the likelihood, like bill's able to recover, that such a scandal could be fatal in is kind of media landscape? >> not many of bill clinton's characteristics transfer to hillary but the one that does is enormous will, and ability to get past things and work her way through them. and so i think that she will have that capacity as president, just as he did. i also fear that the clintons come with not just the baggage of the past but a tendency to bring people in who can create problems in way that president obama was incredibly smart and lucky to avoid. >> david, do you think that they share a habit of making it seem as if they have something to hide even when they don't? >> bill clinton does usually have something to hide. not that it's always important.
>> whitewater -- >> travelgate. >> those were hill -- hillary was the stronger defender of not being transparent about those incidents. and i think as i said, i think she built up this defensiveness as part of their partnership, and so, yes, that will be a problem with the clintons to some degree -- it's true of our are all politicians, there's the ends and the means, and with the clinton it's the ended justify in the means. >> what i worry about for hillary and any other future president is how they're going to reach the american people, because the media -- i put that in quotes -- the media covers everything, from bill o'reilly to six six and we're all in there -- "60 minutes" and we're all in there together. how are they going to
communicate with this diverse means of communication and the minute she goes and makes a speech, every outlet, every tweet in the world is just going to chew her up to bits and her husband didn't face a world like that at all, and obama is just beginning to face a world like that. and i can't see the future for a president's mean of communicating and selling what what they're intending to do. >> ahaul have the fantasy of going direct to the public without going through the press and i think it depends less on changes in technology, which people focus on and more on their personal ability to communicate and i don't think hillary clinton, excel thursday that respect and has a very, very bad dynamic with the press, where she constantly feels
mistreated, na part because of scandal that don't pan out and than becomes more defensive and the press reacts against her defensiveness and closed downeds in and she becomes blowed to un. the e-mail scandal, if you look at what was happening there i would describe it as a conspiracy to violate the freedom of information act which is not actually a crime, but what -- in setting up her private e-mail server what she was really doing was trying to ensure that her communications would not become open, either the press or investigators in congress or ultimately to historians. part of trying to kind of shut down and be private, and protective, but that instinct, which is understandable in the context of what she has been through, is a very unproductive instincts for any policy, because of the way the press reacts to it. >> hillary will be on phone, too e-mail will be deed in the clinton administration, who will ever put anything of any
significance in an e-mail now. >> for the most part, you're preparing to the choir, and that's good and i'm going to add to it with a tiny anecdote, and then i have a real question. the anecdote is, in the mid-50s, my stepfather, no, city architect of some note, got a call from fred trump, asking him a left leaning architect, of rube are union building in the city, to design a building, an apartment house, in queens, for the electrical workers union, fred trump, because of his queens connection, had been asked to take care of this. and my sweet, dear stepfather,
very sweet, kind man, agreed, and he went out to queens and spent a day, a sunday, with fred trump, and he came back and he reported, fred trump is really nice man, he has a ten-year-old son who could not be chas chastised who could not be encourages to leave the grownups to their talk. what a brad. -- what a brat. okay. so we know how dangerous, too dangerous to contemplate a trump presidency would be. why on earth don't the media people give her a pass? whenever something happens it's evened out. lately, late -- i read "the new york times" every day.
in the "times," a couple of columns by brooks who was against her but a couple of really good columns, couple of good columns by krugman, even my good friend on msnbc, rachel mad are maddow was kind of snide about her until very recently. i want to try to understand the stakes are so high. what would be wrong with having a hillary band wagon in the next ten days? >> all right. >> certainly there's a trump band wagon. >> great question. >> you're conflating all of the media into one.
when you talk about communists and television percentages and talk about serious reporters, there are three completely different entities. so you should not just say the media. it's not the job of reporters to give anyone a pass. but it is their job to be discerning in terms of what is a real story and what is not, and to sound self-serving i think that the mainstream media has taken a lot of hits and the printed press and the internet press of southeasterlious journalists, leading with "the new york times" and "washington post" and others, have done an incredibly good job of revealing donald trump this year with serious stories, and so i refuse to accept the notion we should give anyone a pass. but i do believe that you're
but sometimes comes in where a lot of people think the balance is more important than truth. it's not a cliché. it's real. [laughter] >> good evening. a little tangential in terms of biography that i was hoping to get your input on this if there is any way to qualify why it is that hillary clinton can't seem to land a final blow it seems maybe he is lingering. is it something to do with her or is it more along the lines of how he runs his campaign? he said he could go out and shoot somebody and people would still be for him. she may be poised to win, but it
is the moderate. it would be a huge victory but what is frustrating to her and a lot of people is that the election has become a referendum and for the acceptable alternative meanwhile she has a set of policies she would like to be elected with a mandate to do the things she wants to do. it's better than having the frustration of deceit that she faces the victory without a mandate because when you ask what will the electorate have done, it will reject this cancer of donald trump but without the affirmation of her and the widespread feeling that she would have lost to a stronger more conventional candidate. >> but the latest surveys show for the first time moore supporters are voting
enthusiastically more than ever before. it has to take in particularly with women i'm surprised the women in my own family are not more excited about the first woman president. i'm excited about it but you have to remember because the campaign has been so bogged down in this sort of ugliness that there is a sort of affirmative part of it but i do sort of think there's a possibility that's going to start to surface as a reality. >> i'm going to call it a night because this is late and it's been spectacular and i'm glad you brought up the women finally. [applause] >> thank you for coming.
>> thank you for coming tonight. [applause] how income inequality has contributed to economic growth. columbia university law professor tim wu explained how it's been affected by advertising and the goldman sachs vice presidential described her experiences as an undocumented immigrant. in the coming weeks the editor at large for the guardian will
discuss his investigation of gun violence in america. "washington post" columnist will talk about the career of the former federal reserve chair alan greenspan and also coming up former majority leader between israel and palestine. and do research on the impact of immigration of the u.s. economy. >> it's very easy for them to find the large ethnic enclaves and then provide an enclave into the economy, the local economy. but the problem is they are acquiring the language skills and the incentive to move to a broad economy and fulfill their labor to every one else which is what the ethnic enclave really is. every sunday at again 9 p.m. and you can watch all e