tv Book Party for Ken Walsh Ultimate Insiders CSPAN November 27, 2017 7:16am-8:01am EST
why everyone should read it and everyone will be talking about it is because you can't, unless you're aware of the air your breathing and soda like the life you were living and what's behind it and what's in it, you can't change it. so it's come at the very least reader to understand the ideology behind everything that you are doing and thinking. i think we will end it there. thank you guys so much for coming. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching booktv, television for serious readers. you can watch any program you see here online at booktv.org.
>> booktv recently attended a book party for ken walsh, chief white house correspondent for u.s. news and world report. or his most recent book "ultimate insiders: white house photographers and how they shape history." this is about 45 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> how're you? >> good. >> this is great. a lot of familiar faces. we'll have some white house photographers and white house folks and people who have covered all the stuff like you have. great. i'm glad you're here. >> are you going to have a little talk? >> a couple of surprise moments.
thanks for coming. thank you. hey. nice to see you. >> thank you for this. this is my husband. >> nice to see you. >> thanks for coming. you got it okay? the traffic and the construction? >> perfect. 30 minutes from fdr to hear. >> great. thanks for coming. i'm glad. we have our tv folks here so that will be nice. straight back. everything is good. >> good. >> we will tell you a couple of easy questions. >> thank you. >> thanks, susan.
>> you can look in the index. you'll be happy. thank you so much. oh, , my goodness. there he is, the great motivator. [inaudible conversations] >> we had lunch and this idea emerged from salad and fried fish or something. i forget what we had. why was that little -- [inaudible conversations] >> did you take charge cards? >> this is mine.
okay, thanks, jim. you will hear more about yourself in a little while. how are you? well, good. [inaudible conversations] spirit i have had a chance. i put them in a couple of columns. robert schlesinger might be here. he was here. let me, i'll catch up to you about that because we will definitely do that. >> congratulations by the way. >> thank you very much. >> he has good news. [inaudible] >> right. >> and it was great. >> i dated, because because i was a sunday. >> i was out of town.
>> we had a nice crowd, and now doing a bunch of out-of-town stuff. >> tomorrow? >> i'm going to the ford library tomorrow, and then they have two events. there in grand rapids and ann arbor so i'm going to the museum in the next week i'm doing the library and then the next week i'm doing a west coast swing. [inaudible] >> i don't know how they're going to do that. >> he's in grand rapids picky fighting a book about jerry ford. >> i'm looking forward to seeing him. >> i am thrilled. >> thank you very much. thank you, al. >> i have all the others. >> let's talk. maybe we will have lunch next week. i'll be in and out. you are not giving up the world series for me, are you? >> no, absolutely not.
[inaudible] >> it's the yankees -- if the yankees were in the world series. >> that's what i thought. >> if you wouldn't mind, gift, unknown. >> you want me to just sign one? >> you have no idea how valuable that is going to be. >> that's what you tell me every couple of years. you don't want the date? just sign it? >> yeah. wonderful. >> it's starting to fade. >> he knows that date. >> we had a couple of the treasures for you. we don't have them with us though.
we will see you over at the house. you'll like them. >> i was just pointing out something the other day to mitch because i've a couple of things from -- [inaudible] one is the calendar we gave you last you. then there was another one. it's a plaque i gave you that's hanging out. >> we will have something for you. >> of course, we have a soul a full set of your books. >> is of this book seven? >> number eight. >> i hope we are not missing one. >> that can be remedied. >> i'm sure it could. we are really looking forward to
this one. you've been talking about this for some time and is a great topic for interesting anecdotes. >> thank you. >> michael is supposed to be here. say hello to him. >> and i'll be going to be blessed with some remarks? >> yes, that's right. i'm going to do that, too. thanks for coming. berkeley is any other room. good to see you. how are you? [inaudible] >> exactly. are things going well? >> slowly but -- >> good. this is an interesting time to be covering the white house. there's always something, you know. this is my sixth president now. but this is the most unusual situation i've ever covered. >> has anyone found this a usual
situation? >> no. that's exactly right. but it's, you know, you learn something about what could go wrong every day. >> and it does. >> yeah, and our relationship of course with the white house, the media relationship was very, very bad. >> thank you for what you do. >> where have i heard that before? so anyway. have you caught up with the berkeley? have you seen her? i'm glad you did. i'm glad you could come. >> thank you. >> great, thank you. thank you very much. [inaudible conversations] >> hey, folks, can everybody come on in here a little bit?
who's in that of the room, the wall of silence? can you just get those guys him out of the kitchen? i think it's the wine they are nearby. >> they are protecting the wine. but that's not necessary. >> protect some things but not the wine. protect your sources. welcome. it's kind of like a family gathering. this is great. ken walsh book party. you should've gotten the annual subscription series, you could save money on that. [laughing] number eight. we would be doing an experiment a shakespeare play next time, but you don't have to pay for that because we do hamlet after that. but no, this is great. it's wonderful to be here with
you guys for a reprise. i was slipping through his book, terrific and there's a wonderful photo of teddy roosevelt with that giant, you know, meat eating grin, and ken sites the caption, his daughter who was famous as a teddy always wanted to be the baby at the christening, the bride at the wedding and the corpse at the funeral. [laughing] >> you still one of my stories, but go ahead. [laughing] >> it's not about him, it's about me. [laughing] >> as long as someone else. >> were in washington. but let me tell you about me. [laughing] i just want to be the mc at a ken walsh book party. that's my goal. you guys have gotten a quick glance of this and we have a couple of folks will talk about it and then ken.
he's done it again. what can i say? keeps digging into this incredible franchise and telling us things we don't know. this time he had to go all the way down to the realm of photo dogs, love that expression. actually the white house photographers were non-dogs. it was the news photographers that were the dogs. george bush, ken recounts that in his book in a wonderful way. but just taking the sense of the visualization we are also play with with a great iconic images, and how did they get there? who did them is such a fascinating thing. you look at some of the things that the stories that ken recounts in there. you know, the obama sitting there with, in the situation room when they get bin laden. culmination of this thing and a couple pages earlier is bush with this unbelievable shocked expression on his face when andy
is whispering in his ear, mr. president. the continuum of how these things that together is so amazing. i'm going to let ken talk about that but one of the things that really struck me is he gives us a wonderful history. abraham lincoln, the photograph, lincoln about itself to be photographed several times, and at the end of his career had submitted to 130 photographs. remarkable, extraordinary. bill clinton, as ken recounts, had approximately 10,000 photographs a day taken. [laughing] and pete souza by the end of his career with obama had to make photographs yet taken and most of them were on flickr. you see what this has meant. we have not accepted so much as a part of our lives and a part of understanding this incredible institution. but there's strings behind the scenes and that is what ken has done a wonderful job of here.
we have a couple people here who know about this. number one, mr. mike mccurry was press secretary to bill clinton and has dealt with a few photo images. >> thank you. >> micah, please, centerstage. this this is a great opportunito pay tribute to ken who i dearly love. he has treated me to rock hill and tosca are so many years now, i think it's the only reason they still have it on the menu. but we get together we talk about what's going on in washington. i am not an active player. i've kind of given up my role in politics and actually teach theology at a seminary now. that proves that the doctrine of atonement actually -- [laughing] -- has something. we obviously spent many years going back during the clinton
years together when we traveled many, many miles together. he knows many of the images and some of them are in the book that were interesting during that time. i'm not going to talk about that. good to talk about you mentioned lincoln and i work in the building called the dorothy height building, as all you know the seventh pennsylvania the big pink castle that is there. and this is not a book, are not a story that is in your book some actually going to -- right. so one afternoon in february of 1864, cold winter day, the president of the united states walked down to the building where i work now and in the conference room where we are, matthew brady, so you do write a lot about, you know, brady was kind of, i don't want to say was the harvey weinstein -- [laughing] >> there's a book for you. [laughing]
>> he is what we think of as being now a producer at that time because he was not him he was a like taking pictures with a big camera they had at the time. he had a whole retinue of photographers. but one of the photographers came and sat in a conference room that we use at our office, you know, typical pr office, but the conference room is the matthew brady room because that afternoon in february of 1864 president lincoln walked down and sat and took a picture that the engravers then made into your five dollars bill. i can tell you come when i tell that story to our client they are very impressed. [laughing] >> you know, there are many other stories, and some of them ken nose and kept out. there was one you all famously remember that during my time at the white house i dealt with some interesting storylines.
one of them involved a young intern, and then the ken starr report -- does that ring a bell with anybody? and after that came out, not long after that came out, the president of the united states was out playing golf, and he was out on the first tee and he had a big cigar in his mouth. and the reporters, the photographers, came to me, showed me the picture and said, okay, what are you going to do about this? and i said,, i shook my head and i said, okay. and they said you get one free pascoe and those with the guys, the shooters, some of them that you write about in the book at that point. they said but if it happens again, you're toast. [laughing] that's an interesting story
because it kind of reflex a time in which the press, which ken is a part of, the white house, the public relations communications operations at the white house, they work in some manner of synchronous midi. we did not declare them enemies of the people. we are at a perilous time now because we don't have that kind of engagement. one of the things about washington insiders, like right now ken would probably agree it's not the greatest title for a book right now. because washington insiders are exactly what the trump establishment is countering and does not think should be part of what the establishment should be. but what the book shows you are these intimate moments in which photographers capture what the
presidency is really about. and it is a terrific, terrific book because the stories behind the pictures are important. the stories, yes, tell a thousand words in their own, but ken is managed to kind of weak them into a way in which actually learn more and understand more about what the context is for all those images. and it is a brilliant brilliant way to kind of forgot what really is going on and what has gone on, and maybe just a glimpse of what we need to have better going on as we think about where we are right now. so ken, thank you for doing such a great book. it's one of many, one of his, you know, he's got all kinds of books out there, air force one, you know, a lot of things that really kind of give you a real glimpse into what really is going on in our country, so thank you.
[applause] >> mike, thank you. that's great. the rules of engagement, there's a wonderful photo of the book of jfk passing by marilyn monroe, and his eyes decidedly not focus on her cleavage. i thought to myself i'd like to see the three frames before that. [laughing] which didn't get published. so with this is susan. , on up. susan is an actual white house photographer. there's a couple of them here by the way, you know. ralph is here. [applause] >> and susan is, you know, having discretion, that's white house photographers must have, for stories out of them. >> but i will tell one little thing. >> okay. voluntarily. >> and what reminded me of it was this wine.
[laughing] >> doing our job. >> the only photograph of president bush 41. i worked the last you a break in and all four years of bush 41. so the only photograph is of him in the bed with the children, you know, all the grandchildren on the bed. he was actually vice president then. he was not president. so i will tell his story after he was president in 1993 when he left the white house and i was up in kennebunkport. you guys remember the ordeal figure he was running for president about the checkout thing? >> social safeway. >> right. so anyway, i go up to kennebunkport. it was june of 93, and they invited me to come over for lunch. it was a beautiful day in kennebunkport and i have a table set up on the back deck, and i got there, went out. he wasn't there. there was one of the man come
and mrs. bush had not arrived yet. so he said sit down. i said okay. i said would you like some wine? and i said sure, , and so reportedly some wine and he said, are you going to tasted? i had barely had time to say hello. he wanted me to taste this one. i said okay, sure. had a sip turkey said second wu think? i said it's very good. and he said got it by the case at sam's club. [laughing] and it was kendall jackson chardonnay. [laughing] >> which burned down. only the best. >> how do you maintain the relationship? i mean, you are in these peoples lives, reckless not only like there, you are taking pictures of them. how do you create boundaries? how do you create that relationship? >> you know, you can ask the
question who creates it, the other side are my side? but i tried, i always tried to show as much about the man as i possibly could because i thought that was important for history. not just the pomp and circumstance but who this guy really was and his family and behind the scenes as much as i could possibly do. you maintain a professional relationship, and ken mentions in the book one time when we were killing some time before another event and he said to me, susan, come on upstairs to my office, i got to work on the speech and you can just wait there until this event happens. so i said okay. so then he starts working on his speech and he turns to be and he reads ally and he says, what do you think of this? i felt like, you know, my head was on fire. i couldn't hear, it was like, what? the the president of the united states is asking me what i think
about a line in a speech? so of course i said it sounds fine. [laughing] that sort of the danger of a lot of people around the president. i think they get, they have a feeling of not being able to say what you really think. and i don't have any idea what his mind was because i was so nervous, but the people that are there all the time, you know, they do get intimidated by the president. >> did you find where there was something going on and you decided you just did want to take a picture on your own? >> no. >> you could choose. >> i think the journalist speedy you can out of a newspaper background so you want to shoot everything, right? did they ever tell you know? >> no. i mean, sometimes i i couldn't stay in a meeting. we never stayed in very long, but sometimes if the topic were sensitive, he would say something. >> were there ever shots where
you thought that they were staging it because he wanted to show a certain image? >> i didn't feel that except come unit, when you're on the campaign trail, sure. everything, every campaign event is staged, of course. but in terms of my regular stuff, i didn't feel that. >> so you are getting the real view of who they are. two presidents, did they both feel in the public eye the same person you saw in private? >> pretty much, yeah. i would say so for sure. like reagan, you know, he was funny on stage. he was funny in his real life, too. and george bush is very funny, too. he's a a very funny and maybe t didn't come across quite as much because people wanted to making seymour presidential and maybe funny isn't presidential. i don't know, what do you think? >> there's a lot of image making that goes into the white house, but the thing about what ken
writes about in the book is the authentic images that really give you a glimpse into these presidents really are, glimpse that are everlasting. i think obama win leaning over with the little guy -- >> love that picture. >> i get a tear in my eye every time i see that picture. >> that's the picture were staff member at the white house, african-american family brought their little son in, and the sun murmured, barely audible, to the president your hair looks just like mine. does it feel like mine? and so president obama said why don't you see for yourself? and he bent down and lowboy touched the top of the said company president said, what you think? and he said, yeah. feels like my. it was a wonderful moment indicating his seriousness. a character trait called
empathy. >> and then my other favorite photo on the opposite side of the coin, richard nixon in a staged photo obviously walking on the beach in his wingtip shoes. [laughing] having an actual walk in nature. but clearly the other side of it. so last question, susan, and key. what did you do would like the other 10 million photos that you took? >> they are in the bush library. i went down to about a year ago and just started going through stuff because i wanted to look back and cfi found anything else, you know. >> great. susan, thank you. and now it's time for the star of the show. [applause] >> thank you all for coming. i want to thank brian and mike and susan and i do it else, my wife who is here who is a professional researcher, and she's a fibrous research and she's responsible for a lot of
the in the book, if not most of it. such as want to recognize berkeley. [applause] and also want to mention we have jim, we went to college together. we rent the college college dat rutgers many, many years ago. it was a few years ago from where we are now that jim and i were out having lunch, and he is a tremendous motivator because we talked about the idea of this book and somewhat to thank jim for being so persuasive in talk about the idea. where is a jim? there he is. so anyway, thank you very much. [applause] and ralph is here who was a white house photographer for bill clinton, and so what you think so many of you for coming. mike talked about that moment with a cigar with bill clinton. i was aware of that but there a lot of other examples of
photographs that almost didn't happen, the white house controlled and that sort of thing. there's a famous story about franklin roosevelt, and this is in the book where franklin roosevelt of course his legs were paralyzed from polio edited what the country to know the extent of his disability. he had really a conspiracy with the news photographers not to show this. very rare to find a picture of them with his crutches in a wheelchair. you can find some of them and we are one of them in the book, but a new photographer would show up at the white house and the news photographers who are veterans would literally slapped the camden when you tried to get a a picture the present being carried summer. they said we don't want the bad guys of the will to think our president is foldable in week. there really was a conspiracy of silence their, or imagery. this is happened a lot. as a lot of other interesting stories, of course endless
stories. the famous story of cecil stalin who was jack kennedys chief photographer rick kennedy is the first president to our a chief photographer. before that that some government employees who took pictures occasion that he had a photographer to take pictures of him and his family because he realized the importance of imagery. remember the picture, all the pictures kennedy has taken with the children, and he would have, cecil would take his picture. he had outside photographers, outside commercial photographer, and shot below. but anyway these people took lots of pictures of kennedy, and they would show him the prince before there were published, show how different the system was in those days, and he would say you can't miss with these pictures. it really made their careers a lot of these photographers. remember the picture of john kennedy, jr. in the desk next we
all remember that picture of him looking out the little door. that almost didn't happen because jackie kennedy didn't want pictures taken of the children too much. felt very thing exploded. president kennedy didn't feel that way. jackie went on vacation to greece. he called stanley and said get over here. i want you to take pictures of me with the kids and that's when he got the picture of young littlejohn with his pajamas and wrote in the desk. that was really, what he called it his little cave so it was actually something he really did use. other interesting things, when cecil was with president kennedy in dallas, when he was assassinated, he took the famous picture of president johnson being sworn in, and he was taking pictures and johnson, one of these pictures realizing the ports of these photographs to show the constitution and so on, so he wanted to cecil there. he made it to the point, stood on the couch comstat 50 frames, the camera didn't work. he almost didn't get the
pictures. he had to jiggle of the water in his game up but got them on the third or fourth shot but it did get the pictures. there's many examples of this, many from the clinton era come some interesting pictures of air, and, of course, pete souza who worked for reagan and worked for president obama sort of fissile white house photography idea to another level. he wanted to become sort of the alpha photographer but want to be the guy who had most pictures and the best pictures, and he actually get some of the news photographers from getting pictures so they could use his, and there's some hard feelings there. we talk about that in the book, too. but the most interesting part of this is getting insights into the presidency. this is what i tried to do in a lot of these books, to try to find a way as a white house correspondent of finding new insights, new ways of looking at president. this was worth doing and i did
find i think a lot of interesting insights really to the eyes and the lenses and the observations of all these ultimate insiders. i know that as mike said the idea of being an insider is not the best image particularly for donald trump supporters these days, but that's what these folks are. they really are ultimate insiders. they see things that nobody else gets to see. they see a range of things that people don't get to see. the private, the public crisis, success, failure, and these diabetes pictures. and as susan said you go to the archives, to the presidential libraries and you can look to thousands and thousands of these pictures which i have done, and they are ours. they are the countries, they are the publics, if they're taken by the white house so it's yours to see and lots of them are online now. you could really get really vital insights into the president. the last thing i wanted to mention is some of the photographers over the years
were really admired as i goes photographers, and were. but what they told me and what every photographer whose work at the white house has said is that it's not enough to be a good photographer. you also have to have the trust of the president and the first lady in particular. some photographers did that, some of them didn't. nixon never get trust to his photographers. i guy named ali atkins was his chief photographer. nixon was very disdainful of the he didn't think the image would work. for one reason he thought he would never look as good as john kennedy who defeated him in 19 ct, and he was right about that and he always blink his photographers to how come you're not getting great pictures of me? lyndon johnson felt the same way. how come you don't make me look as good as john f. kennedy? that wasn't going to happen. nixon had a rule, six and up he would let the photographer take
frames, he would listen for them and then he would tell the you are out of here. we don't have a lot of these great private pictures of nixon, partly because he didn't really trust the photographer very much. the president who did trust the photographers ended up getting this conveying of them privately that a think helps everybody and helps history. the last point is what about donald trump? he does have a wide a photographer, sheila craighead. she has been taking photographs in the white house before of the first lady, but the question is what do we see a donald trump today? do we see the private pictures of him with his grandchildren? with his children? with his wife, with his family, personal moment? the answer is no. is only two cases so far. and walking across the lawn with the two grandchildren and he had a kid who wrote him a letter saying i'd like to mow your lawn. they did have a little one over and he did mow the lawn.
trump didn't quite look very comfortable in the scene but the thing is he likes the image of an scowling. the menacing, angry donald trump i'm just wondering when he's going to realize that the photography can actually help him. it could expand his appeal but it don't think he's reached the level of trust of photographers can hold his own and news photographers, to let that happen. that's one big question having written this book i have now. when will donald trump realize that this is something that can actually help him, and he doesn't have to be distrustful of this process so much. i don't know if it's going to work. i don't think it will. i think you will remain distrustful that is something we can watch. in any case this is a wonderful book for me to write because i learned so much myself about the president and the photographers. i have come to respect the photographer so much over the years. i wish i could've been able to talk to some of the early photographers, particularly a man who is lyndon johnson's
chief photographer, recognize by the photographers. i see ralph nodding his head here, , as one of the best, a tigers tigers photographer. he really pioneered the idea of the photographer as a storyteller. not just getting pictures of the president behind a desk or at a podium but each photograph telling a story of some kind and he was terrific at that and that's of the best white house photographer to try to do since and ask what i try to do in the book of tell the story of the president through photography and observations of the photographers. so thank you very much for coming, and i would love to sign some more books. [applause] >> buy a book pick it is a great read it if you don't like to read or find it difficult as i do, there's a lot of great photographs. [laughing] but a toast to ken was done it again. we worked together for almost 20 years and he keeps doing it. it's fabulous service to all of us to understand the strange
world of the white house and ken is a mentor hopefully you have the complete set. if you don't, follow-up. ken, congratulations. [applause] >> well, drink up. thank you. >> thank you, sir. >> they looked at this one picture were obviously -- [inaudible] i can't remember if he was one who took the picture or it was in the newsroom to decide. was one of those iconic pictures. >> that's the salute at the funeral, the little son saluting at the funeral. >> do you know who took that picture? >> that are to news photographers who claimed that the only image. one guy was being called sam sterns and the other guy was named for a one work for the near daily news and one with the upi. but he boasted they got the image. what they both did was get an
image but they didn't get the only one. >> they must have the pictures on the table and somehow, this guy was telling me they were looking at that picture and edley said yes, that's the one. >> right. exactly. >> it was obvious. >> and it did. who should i make this out to? >> tobi. >> that made me think of, the rfq teachers in his where everybody knows where and when. >> absolutely. that was one of them, absolutely. you're right. thank you very much. thank you. good. [inaudible] >> nice to see you. >> i was going to tell a curveball aji but i could tell you were not taking assaults from --
[laughing] >> the reminded me of that famous picture of churchill, and i was going to inquire if you had anything as revealing and timeless as an image when you pulled the scar out of chortles mouth. you get that belligerent. well, there's pictures on that kind. i mean, as far as iconic pictures of presidents, you know, there's a picture based on historical moments like president obama in the situation room when the raid killed bin laden. that's become an iconic, the swearing in of lyndon johnson, also an iconic picture. there's a number of those, that ensemble aspect of it. i can't think of anything that has that --
[inaudible] >> it was such a short, ten minutes. >> right. >> and you would ever go up and snatch a cigar out of -- >> well, yeah. if he did make it on the image, he would make it on the -- >> that's right. >> could imagine going up in doing that. [inaudible] >> i am trying to make that happen. it just takes a while to get this stuff organized. >> i'd be glad to deliver a book to -- >> that would be great. >> and ryan was here this morning, and it was very timely. >> are you connected to them? [inaudible] >> things to bring up the early roosevelt years.
[inaudible] >> new technology. changing everything. that's right. absolutely. [inaudible] >> he did. we have a picture of him being carried out of a car, which is a very rare picture because you want anybody to know he had a disability. >> he didn't want anyone to know, everybody loved it anyway. >> exactly. so anyway, thanks mary jane. thank you. thank you. [inaudible conversations]