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tv   After Words with Bret Baier  CSPAN  January 22, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm EST

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and i am not trying to sound at all arrogant. .... there is a museum that you talked about prior to the show that you feel everyone should go to. >> the buffalo bills center of the american west in wyoming. i can't recommend highly enough and if you go to the yellowstone it's worth the extra hour and 50
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minutes. it's a remarkable place. it's one museum dedicated to buffalo bills and the weapon collection in the united states and then a western arts museum dedicated to the planes into tribes. it's absolutely superb. so if you want a museum with a feeling of the west in general, that is a place to go. >> host: i'm going to put you to work while i talked to the audience. first of all, such a book difficult to be able to get into everything. i was looking at some of the things i wanted to ask. we were talking about wounded in the and the legend there at the
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time and the red cloud and sitting bull that we haven't gotten to. some of the strategies we certainly have not talked about the armaments that you speak about in depth and also the indian chiefs that were there and what the chief was and what they meant. so, i really encourage you to do this. here is a book up for the pulitzer. you will have the first edition signed copy as well.
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you sat down on or after words program to discuss his book three days in january which looks at the exchange of power from president dwight eisenhower to president john kennedy. he's joined in conversation by president eisenhower's granddaughter. >> host: it's great to be with you. thanks for the opportunity to talk about your terrific book. >> guest: thanks. it is an honor to be sitting with you after having spent the last three and a half years studying your grandfather. >> adorable children that were all well behaved.
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i am most interested in this because you've managed to do what many others have tried to fit into in many pages. how familiar with his record were you when you developed an interest in the subject? i got the holy grail of golf in bytes down to the national, and i was on cloud nine. i went down there and was driving down magnolia lane. it's such a spectacular place and as you know, it's the place to be.
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the memorabilia on the wall into the books and the statutes and the arts that your grandfather painted was in the midst from coming around the next day. i knew a lot about the presidency of eisenhower because our generation and younger seemed like history as the focus started with kennedy going forward.
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at this moment, this transition while a lot of books have been written by your grandfather, that hadn't been focused on. we put on the gloves and pulled out the plastic and an actual speech that he held and read in 1961 with his scribbles and markings and i got goosebumps and said this is it. that's what i'm going to do. >> host: it is exciting to be studying someone in this digital age because of the fantastic experience. how long did you work on the book? >> guest: i had a lot of help as far as researching and it was a labor of love in the end. i discovered a lot and i think it is relevant to today and that
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is one of the things i love about the book. president obama could have written the speech the other day in his farewell address. >> host: i'm always fascinated by this. were there any feelings by the end of it that there were some misconceptions about the way that he ran the white house and brought his leadership skills to public life? >> guest: my perception of the presidency changed dramatically. he was a little disconnected and played a lot of golf. >> host: nothing wrong with that. >> guest: he was not a big proponent.
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put under god in the pledge of allegiance in god we trust as the national motto and had this amazing ability to keep us out of the war when we didn't need to be both be strong enough to hold off on expanding the ominous soviet union. after the korean war, there wasn't a single combat soldier killed or covert operations actually. but to the rest it's really stunning if you think in the trust that and finally the bipartisan nature is something that drew me to him. the meetings that he had with the house speaker or the senate
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majority leader once a week sometimes, i mean that is stunning if you think about the recent presidents. >> host: i was surprised to read that myself. i knew that he had a drink with sam rayburn and jackson on a regular basis, but you had regular details about that. >> guest: the oral histories are something that gave us a lot. the press secretary, a lot of folks, and his secretary just full of stories. and the found documents and things that haven't been tapped. the other reason i did it is he is the first television president. so for a tv anchor come it was a big deal. i was surprised and didn't know there were no transcripts of conferences put on the record. you can go to the conference and
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ask a question that you cannot quote directly from the president of the united states. he would paraphrase. so they would always have the adult to say the president didn't say it that way. when you're grandfather came in, he said to forget that. why? i did a campaign everybody had the camera. the transcripts on the record and i recorded at news conferenceconferences with beyod radio. then he did the first live news conference the first time the american people saw the president being questioned by the state. >> host: i was amazed of the story having makeup applied it to his shiny bald head. how would you compare him to other presidents today in terms of his comfort with the media
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and television in particular, i knew that he was the first television president but -- >> guest: he had a good relationship with a lot of the people that covered him, but they didn't like the cover of his style and answer sometimes and kind of made fun of it the way that he talked about some things in a kansas kind of way. but he was transparent. when he had a heart attack in 1955 and was considering whether to run again or not, he says put everything out about my health and there is a note a week later that says this is all fine, but i could do without the wanted a updatone todayupdate on my bowe. [laughter] >> so there's little bits of humor --
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>> guest: that one is a keeper suitable for framing. >> guest: >> host: i was also charmed for the press corps. >> guest: they loved him as a person. i don't think they appreciated all the things happening behind the scenes, nor did we after that until we looked back. that's why you looking at these three days enabled us to speech to thethe speechto then get bac. you know he was a humble leader and i think that he got that from his time as general. bradley and patton and macarthur and these huge figures he had to figure out how to get on the same page. >> host: i'm wondering how you
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see the leadership during world war ii and the presidency. were you able to connect the dots that he brought the same set of skills or did he have to learn new ones? >> guest: he tapped into the skills but he set up the national security apparatus. he was someone that had a steady hand and lifted people up. he kind of let them have the spotlight which is an interesting thing that the relationship is that when you're grandfather says you may want to run from the cabinet position to
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be credited with changing something and nixon sees that as he wants to kick them off the ticket but that wasn't what we found so there was this skepticism i think that built at that moment and maybe that is one of the reason he was kicked off the trail. nixon says it's about your grandfather's health, but i think that when your grandfather gets on the trail at the end, it turns the tide of the campaign back to the point that we found kennedy talking about it and he says every david eisenhower is on the trail, i feel like i am standing on a pile of sand and a wave is coming in and i am thinking. and they believe that if he was out a few more days he might
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have one. >> host: that is one of the big controversies about why he didn't use eisenhower. there was some discussion as to whether or not he was asked or the health was the real issue. but you know, it is unusual for the incumbent vice president to be elected, isn't it? >> obviously there are different circumstances and that he was trying to distance himself from the controversy but at the same time, he didn't use him and at the same view if you look back in history perhaps it might have been better to own the issue you and jump from something. >> host: up all of the relationships with other great men, what did you think was the most intriguing? >> guest: i almost wrote on
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your grandfather and churchill and the letters they send back and forth. there is a lot to explore but it's there at the library and they valued each other in the world and i thought that was most intriguing. i do think the relationship is very complex. we talked about it here. this book starts with president-elect kennedy meeting with president eisenhower and they are talking in the oval office. it ends with meeting president obama in the oval office and so the relevance is there. eisenhower from what he found he was hollow and young and might not have a lot of experience. what he was saying was making them mad specifically the u.s. missile gap charge the soviets were turning out.
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they still used it and that's made your grandfather very upset. he finally meets him and in this meeting, we have great detail from both sides. eisenhower is very impressed and says maybe the american people got this right. but what concerned him the most is he didn't allow the national security apparatus that was set up for the dissenting views. and then that comes back about a month later in the cuban situation. >> host: obviously campaigns were not his favorite national pastime in the sense that he found politics and what politicians are forced or willing to do. were you surprised by that that
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he had some natural charm and ability to connect with people flex >> guest: she had that huge smile. he didn't like campaigning that he was good at it. i talk about him as a humble leader and i love the story after world war ii he comes back to new york and then abilene and he's in the car waving and everyone is cheering and someone turns to your great-grandmother and says you must be so proud of your son and she says which one. so that gives you a sense of growing up as he did. and i think that reflected itself later on. >> host: in your book you made the comment that mean he eisenhower didn't want to know what party people came from at the white house.
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you might see this nonpartisan streak in his governance. >> guest: really kno long ideological with more practical. figured out you have to deal with the other party no matter what they say about you on the campaign trail which is how he deals with sam rayburn and lyndon johnson and it is the essence of passing the national highway bill that was so amazing. she had a temper and he tried to deal with it. i love the story of the secretary where she says he went in the back and the south lawn and he did that a lot because it cleared his mind. he came back and was so angry because there were squirrels in his back swing. there were squirrels everywhere. so, in which men says
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mr. president, they have every presidenpresident to be there je you do. so one day she takes them all off the white house lawn and transfers them to rock creek park. so that's one of the little stories. >> host: it still helps to be in charge. [laughter] you i think very artfully talk about some of the principles that guided his presidency and the decision-making and he is viewedeal of the situation domestically and internationally. what struck you most in terms of being a contemporary in the way of looking at this challenge? >> he articulated this in the farewell speech. this want and need to not jump to things, to act when you have
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to com, that paperweight on his desk, silent in manner, strong indeed. i think he was all about getting things done and not dealing with the personalities and i think that's related throughout. i found a lot of examples of leadership style that he said you don't have to hit people over the head to be a leader. you have to empower them to do their job. that's how he looked at it. to go back to the cuban missile crisis. another controversial thing that we really dug into to try to find how that played out. so, he tells kennedy about the national security apparatus and how important it is. there is an operation in the planning stages. but your grandfather says there are stipulations that have to be
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mad and he made this clear on the first meeting he says there has to be a cuban exile government ready to go off the site. there has to be a leader that is willing to take over and number three are there has to be significant air power to support these operatives that we are training. it was in its infancy when he leaves. now, kennedy moves forward, the whole thing moves forward. it's been a disaster on the history and the first person kennedy calls is your grandfather. he gets them out to camp david and there is this iconic mission of going up the path and the quote as it is confirmed by both its kennedy turns to eisenhower and says you know, you never really know how tough this job is until you are in it and your grandfather turned to the kansas smile and says mr. president, with all due respect, i think i told you that three months ago. [laughter]
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in retrospect, the kennedy folks understandably look back at that time differently and say the operation was already going and he just moved it forward, but there were very specific things your grandfather said that have to happen but that did not happen. and in fact the air cover was called off at the last minute by president kennedy because he didn't want t to know the get te u.s. was involved in your grandfather said that the world will know. >> host: you hosted a wonderful blog entry last night with the same title of your book, and doug brinkley made the point that the greenlight haven'hadn'tbeen given by the er administration and actually used what was in the planning process. do you think part of that is a misunderstanding between the military mind and the civilian and any number of contingencies ready to go.
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scenic they hadn't decided to go ahead. there's other wonderful speeches that are given. one of them is going to the press club across the environment that is referred to as a bookend to the farewell address. what was it about the farewell address aside from the balance that you do a very elegant job of handling the military-industrial complex but what was it about the speech that was particularly relevant
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today. thinking about the sending message. as you know it was your grandfather who wrote for macarthur. perhaps it was his ability to deliver it and he could craft it and he really took his time to craft this which tells you how significant he thought that moment was, so it wasn't about his list of accomplishments, it was a blueprint for america and the concerns and warnings about not only the military-industrial complex and above for an foreign
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intervention, but the deficit spending since we can't mortgage our children and grandchildren's future, how relevant is that today. a every draft had the secretary and then. bob gave us these letters.
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first, do not use the word merit as a verb and don't use the pronoun on a at the beginning of two consecutive paragraphs. this morning in my old grumble from the boss on using two adjectives warm, best wishes. clearly you can make wishes warm or you can make them best but you shouldn't make them warm and best. never take it for granted the president knows something about a national organization say i'm happy to learn or understand that and fifth, the construction not only but also is fine in its place but please, not in every message, please. 16 this is the one i love, she had to retype a lot of these drafts on this one particular thing and it says what, every time you use the word appreciation, you followed it with the word for. haven't you noticed the boss consistently changes back to appreciation of?
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so please for my sake, for god sake when you use the word appreciation, never followed with four, followed with. he goes back and forth i looked at the president's appointment book and he has free time would you like to come over and explain all of this to him and he says no. he gets a picture signed by your grandfather and says to robert with best wishes and blasting appreciation of valuable service in the white house, dwight d. eisenhower. those kind of things are just precious, and that's why i love writing the book. >> host: is it going to be so easy writing a book about future presidents as is done by e-mail now and little bits of paper and all this? >> guest: no, it will be tougher and it probably won't be as rich as we were able to find after all these years.
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but i do think breathing life into that time is important. the dedication of the book if you solve the first page is to our sons, paul and daniel and their generation. please allow history to inform your decisions in the future. >> host: that's an interesting question. i have a group of students at gettysburg college. i have a year-long seminar, and i was trying to think of how you might talk to the undergraduate population. what would you say is the greatest legacy or his key legacy? >> guest: there's a lot of them, but i think the ability to work with others, the ability to keep the country safe, and the fact that he is underappreciated after all these years suggests that we have more to learn so
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that gives you the sense we need to learn more about our history because it factors into now. if you look at that speec the sd replace radical islamic terrorism for the expanding soviet union and communism, you could talk deficits now and how the debt is 20 trillion then it was in the billions. bipartisanship arguably the past president could have done a lot different if he had not even once a month with the leaders from the hill. i would tell them look backwards. look forward but don't forget to look backwards at what we have been. >> host: do you have any predictions of how some of these principles might be brought to bear in the next four years? it's not just the president that has to adopt certain ways of operating but congress is a huge
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factor as is the supreme court and divided system after all. >> guest: there are some similarities. your grandfather was a very popular figure but he was outside politics and so he had name recognition comin, not a politician. donald trump is someone who fits that bill. your father was nonideological, more practical. people say that is exactly what donald trump is. your father valued businessman. his cabinet was called the eight millionaires and a plumber because he had businessmen from the outside i'm a ceo from gm at the defense and others into the labor secretary was a head of the plumbing association in his first term, but a similar appreciation. obviously different that he kept generals out of the cabinet because he himself didn't want to project that. but the practical nature of getting things across the finish line no matter the party, some
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of the biggest fights with his own party, and i think that it's possible we are going to see that going forward. i think on the national security side, russia and the appreciation for the geopolitical sense of things your father was obviously much different and much more cautious and i think he would offer president trump the same advice he gave incoming president kennedy, and that is what the dissenting views and experts find out in front of you, take every briefing and then make a decision. i was asked the other day what your grandfather would say about twitter. first of all, he would say what is twitter and then he would say get off of it, probably because he believed less is more and the words that come out of the oval office particularly carrie parth
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weight and importance. that's why he did all the scribbling and editing and changing. the speechwriters said it looked like a dozen chickens with dirty feet had gone no further scripts or transcripts. but that's why because he believed everything that came out of the report. >> host: i'm curious when you discovered that did it discuss you as micromanaging or was he trying to get at something bigger? >> guest: he had in his mind what he wanted to do. ultimately it is to interpret how he would deliver that message. the best speechwriters can think like the mind of the president and he was showing them what that was and eventually there were fewer drafts at the end. >> host: even bob demonstrated he learned a few things about how.
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you focused now on this book at very interesting times so i think the book has more resonance than ever but the military-industrial complex as you pointed out has been quoted by many people for many decades. what do you think it is about that speech that keeps bringing people back to this? >> guest:. if you didn't appreciatit didn'n the context. your grandfather was concerned about this and obviously, though world war ii industry that has turned its efforts to produce had been continued and continued to produce independent stock lobbyists and mone the money tht flowed into the lawmakers that impacted the policy on capitol hill and people that were in
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government with their physicians and went to those companies and it was a circle. the circle is still turning today even more furiously perhaps. i thought it was telling that your grandfather was so upset when he saw the ads in life magazine for the things that go to the homes, advertisements, and he would get so angry. the fact that he wanted to call it the scientific industrial complex tells you that there were multiple concerns in his mind that it was this thing separate of the government but it was churning its own policy and continuing. i think those messages are valid today. drain the swamp is essentially what the military-industrial complex is. you don't have this establishment that isn't working for the american people that has its own policy agenda that has
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money behind it. that is a message that resonates not only with voters but inside washington i think you are going to see people said there is an intelligence industrial complex. that is their talking point as they believe the polymerization and the partisanship at the leadership or intelligence until people obviously pushed back pretty hard. but we are dealing with the same issues of concern. >> host: pr at the period that we are trying to identify what piece of this system isn't working at an optimal level because the public is concerned about the direction of the country. this is one of the reasons it was so close. what do you think eisenhower would say about the difficulties we are facing today? >> guest: i think that he would take the ball.
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he would be the one to try to unify. just judging by his past, a couple people i interviewed i asked what do you think eisenhower would do today and one person said he was assaulted. he would figure out how to get there, unify and then move on. he doesn't get credit for a lot of the civil rights things but obviously leader presidents took at the time and then went forward but the fact he got the legislation across the line and had the action that he did i think it's worth noting. i don't think he's credited in the history books i think most people look back at a time in general and it could be in part some of your grandfather's wishes to tell president kennedy
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who was struck. he said why do you want to to become a general again and he said to wishes to get congress to pass a bill reinstating him as a five-star general as his title and kennedy said why would you want that? he said i would want to die as a military man and they do. kennedy signed the candidate becomes general eisenhower and then as you know he is buried in his uniform. >> host: that is the only document in his office that was hanging on the wall in his retirement is the letter that kennedy had signed in the reestablishment of this commission. >> guest: wow. so the importance of that and the value and that kind of patriotism is sometimes missing in today's environment. >> host: you said one thing on your documentary, and i hope everyone has the opportunity to see the documentary because it is well done.
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i was interested that you hit the nail on the head about doing things for a longer period of time, playing for the long game and civil rights for example the judicial appointments would be an example where you wouldn't necessarily see the fruits of it immediately but putting the judges against segregation into the districts in the south played out over a longer period of time. having said that, what do you think are the parts of the presidential policies that lasted the longest? >> guest: that is exactly right which is why it was so right on when the political scientist said your grandfather's leadership style was the hidden hand as a bridge player, the hidden hand no one knows what cards he has until the game is over and he put them out there. you're right that long game was
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a huge part of his leadership style. i think the longest lasting thing was the bipartisanship to get the infrastructure project through and set the table for the ability to realize things can get done with both parties and i think that was a big deal and his interaction with the soviet union and how he did it opened the door to a lot of diplomacy that changed the political structure in europe. >> host: could you imagine inviting vladimir putin to the united states? >> guest: we should imagine it. [laughter] that's also relevant because obviously that is a focus right now. i think that kircher is a lost like putin in the way that he is nice and not nice and everybody
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at the beginning of the administration wants either a reset for look into their eyes and i see the soul of a man. thinthe man. think about that. president bush, president obama with hillary clinton, and now we are on the third reset. there is a want to do that. eisenhower seemed to do with the best of them told us by playing that kind of changed everything. >> host: id data. did. interestingly, apparently khrushchev tried to amend fences in the fall of 1960 but it was too late. the new administration was coming in. christoph, who added so much to the american life was a president of rhode island. >> guest: it was great to have his voice in the mix. if i may, i am humbled by some historians that have weighed in on this.
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magnificently rendered three days in january it takes place as the only one of the masterworks that one of the classics of presidential history. it is too little known but a remarkable story with the power and lessons for leadership today, researched the book is nothing short of extraordinary, but h. y. m.. when these people weigh in it is humbling and i am honored by it, but i do think that it means something bigger. it means there is a lasting thing. as the general and president dwight eisenhower was one of the greatest leaders in history and the book is a welcome contribution to the appreciation describing some of the most important qualities of character, wisdom and leadership which are so needed in the figures of our own era and then finally, douglas brinkley, three days in january, it illuminates the genius and intrigue behind
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the historic farewell address. he was deeply researched and he dissects the fact from the mess and a landmark achievement in u.s. presidential history. >> host: i thought the book was terrific myself and when i say that you are being too modest, you really did pull a long career into a very readable book. so, having said that, i am fascinated by your comment that it may mean something bigger. what do you think that is? >> guest: i just think that if the next generation could read something like this and be intrigued by it in the form that it is, the kind of narrative and it brings to life a president that i know people have been
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focused on, i think that enables us to learn the lessons from that time and maybe the next leader that is in his teens right now, or hers, i should point out, maybe those things stick with somebody to the point they think about it when they are in person with their hand on the bible and they believed the country down the road. that's the reason i wrote it. >> host: it strikes me that a lot of what people haven't uncharacteristically in the book is put the war and the presidency together. >> guest: it was him, it's who he was. >> host: what influences d. you think that it had on the presidency? >> guest: here is a man that ran the war effort and most craved peace and strived for it.
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it goes to show you for all the people that said military man with the warmongers or we have to be careful about a general in civilian clothes, the real issue is somebody that does not see the front lines o frontlines ofi was struck when he goes to meet with the 101st airborne and each individual soldier i mean paratrooper he meets and talks to them and asks them questions about their hometown, he was impressed with the size and scope. he said it's the size of the fight in the dog not the size of the dog. he believed that america was about the spirit inside and i think it drove through he was. the military was a big part of his life. >> host: she had a special
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fondness for the 182nd. >> guest: your take if i may ask you one question, and thank you for your quote on the book as well. it means a lot to have the family way in. we didn't talk before i started this and i kind of discovered it and i'm honored to have you questioned me here. what was your thought looking back? >> guest: i think it did have a big impact. it's devastating when you think about it. it's hard to tell the younger generation how transformative world war ii was in the minds of the generation that fought it and the immediate generation after that. maybe my generation. we grew up with it and not necessarily coming from him, it was everywhere. so, this deep desire not to get
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into fights all over the world that might not end up the way they started. he didn't believe in a manageable war. things that start out as small things can get two big things really fast. then the atomic age meant something else altogether. you deal with the atomic question quite a lot in your book. i guess the younger generation is going to have a hard time understanding the duck and cover drills and bomb shelters and all that. was there anything about the nuclear part of your book that surprised you? you fo have a pentagon correspondent -- >> guest: i guess what surprised me is how much it was on your grandfather's shoulders at all times ever present
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because you saw the scope and power and deadliness of that went in. and he knew if the world didn't get control of it that it was going to be devastating and end of the world potentially. i think that the story about him meeting with the bipartisan leaders and talking about how many missiles they are going to make that year and backend for your grandfather comes in and slammed his hand on the table and says how many times do we have to kill a man? she knew we had many times more than could destroy the world. so it drove him to put the atoms for peace speech at the united nations and reach out the soviets and that's what made him give the warning that he gave to his successor. >> host: maybe that is what is hard to convey to the younger generations. i once gave a speech to a group
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of women from ages 18 to 70 and i had spent a fair amount of my career and arms control policy focusing of course on nuclear issues. i described the number of reductions and now it is seven times instead of 15. a girl in the back of the room said i just have a question for you. why wasn't once enough? so there was a kind of illogical way in part to the cold war. how do you think we are going to explain this in the future to young people? >> guest: it works because it isn't easy something to explain. it's not easy to put on a chart or video. so, that is the brilliance of your grandfather's presidency is
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that in one of the most dangerous times, no one knew that it was a danger this time. it was a happy time for someone in middle america and the show happy days goes back to the 50s. but it was a dangerous time. we were on the precipice of not knowing what was going to happen. as i go around the country it is unbelievable in the book signings, people come up with had personal experiences with your grandfather. this was president eisenhower's guard, a marine who brought the pictures from all different -- but i haven't seen. state dinners and -- and i met someone who landed on the beach at normandy just the other day and wanted to come up and he'd read the book and someone else who dealt with your family's finances after he put them in a
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trust. he came up and said i out and sn honor just every time. so that also was a pleasure for me to meet folks that had a connection. >> host: i just have to tell you a quick story. one gentleman came up to me. he'd been on the cardiology team at walter reed. they discovered every time the owner arnold palmer played golf ike's blood pressure went up so they had a conference whether they should allow him to watch arnold palmer. and the doctors reluctantly concluded that his life is probably coming to an end anyway so they would allow him to continue to follow the golf course. [laughter] so that was a good one. >> guest: that's classic. as a golfer, i love that connection as well. he had a love for the game, and i have a friend who at an auction somewhere there was a plank of wood from the oval
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office and they had cleats marks from the south lawn. >> host: what you think golfing did for him, because we were always critical when president obama goes on a golfing trip or -- [inaudible] >> guest: there was a lot of criticism how much he played golf. i don't begrudge any president for playing golf, because i know it frees the mind and enable your grandfather -- he talked about it and oral histories -- to focus, be outside, appreciate nature, but be able to clear his mind about what' of what was go. president obama speaks a of it e same way. i happened haven't looked at the number of rounds but --
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president trumpeted he is probably going to be a golfer. i mean, he is a golfer but he will probably golf as well and i think it's interesting presidents play golf. >> host: did ike use the golfing much to bond or interact with his colleagues or was he a quiet goal for? >> guest: no, no. he calle golf and told stories e course. he played over here locally. the joke on capitol hill is if eisenhower is golfing, the world is a good place and i think that he was obviously always connected, but he had those moments that he got away, and augusta was very special for him as you know. had you been there? >> guest: >> host: i took my first golfing lessons there so i could go out on the course with him. after one round i thought it isn't in my future. [laughter] so i tried something after that.
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>> guest: my wife says do you ever get bored playing golf and i say no, never. >> host: you've had a great experience of meeting people who come up to you at your various events, and you've had tremendous feedback from the historic community. congratulations again. i love asking people about surprises, so i can't help myself. has there been any surprise while you you've been on the books for? >> guest: i am surprised at how many people didn't know anything about eisenhower. i mean, i'm talking anything. he was a general, very low bar. and after reading it had a renaissance of his role. so i'm surprised about that. i'm surprised at how much
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attention it's getting because history books sometimes can get lumped into this is going to be h. for her to read and this is kind of a narrative page turner that i think it's going to be fun to read on the beach learn something. i am surprised about that, and i'm happy. i'm excited about going back out to abilene. i will be there february 2. the people there have been really spectacular and they are the reason i ended up on this topic and they tend tremendously supportive. a researcher i worked with, tremendous. >> host: it certainly helps understand his origins and worldview. and again it's a treasure trove about that library. >> guest: it's amazing. you could find something new all the time. like i said above some aspiring
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author, the letters are sitting there and it's right for someone to dig into that relationship. >> host: say you have the presidential years at the library so it is a wonderful focus on both world war ii and the cold war. >> guest: there's still some stuff that's classified to go through the channels and get it declassified. >> host: did they ask you to file a freedom of information request? >> guest: i had to go through all the chains in the process but we found some amazing things and people talking from even you, even yourgrandfather talkit been really in mind before. >> host: that was one of his requests as family as he neared the end of his wife he said please try to get those archives open and get them declassified as quickly as possible. >> guest: he was about
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transparency. he made from the time he started in office and obviously afterwards. so from a journalist view, we welcome that. >> guest: exactly. >> host: is an opportunity to have the chance to talk to somebody that's read so many accounts and have gone through these files. i hope yo you saw the queen elizabeth mail where she actually gives some of her cooking recipes because of course he was the cook, which really sort of rearranges your brain, doesn't it. but it's a wonderful book that you've written. we have a little more time and i would like to just ask you to see if you can summarize a few well, what this book or actually, the research, did you get a better understanding of the eisenhower years but also
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did it add to the way you look at the challenges today? >> guest: i think what the research told me as we have a lot we can learn them the past. i think the current leaders can look back and say this has happened before. this is a dangerous time. this handover is in a different time. the world is watching at this moment as we hand over to the next president. but the world was watching as the 34th handed over to the 35th as well and i think that what eisenhower would say i'm a member of france's dot but steady hand on the till not to be over-the-top, not to b be led all views work inside the white house, it sounds cliché, but he did do it and enabled people to
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speak out about various views on any issue. he had an open door policy with congress. he sai said that said if some cr senator wants in, make sure they get one. think about that. i don't know if that is possible today with all the things we deal with, but he had an open door policy. and, you know, i think there are differences obviously. the technology has gone much different place, but there are truths that come through from the 34th to the 45th. ..
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