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tv   After Words Michael Duffy The Preacher and the Presidents  CSPAN  February 24, 2018 5:45pm-6:46pm EST

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>> reverend billy graham died wednesday at the age of 99. the christian advantage list served as -- evangelist served as a counselor to every president from harry truman to george w. bush. now on booktv from a 2007 "after words" interview, michael duffy explores the relationships between reverend graham and the presidents he counseled. the co-author of "the preacher and the presidents: bullly graham and the -- billy graham and the white house," also shares anecdotes from his interviews with some of those presidents. >> host: hello and welcome to "after words". i'm your host today, bob deans, and our guest is michael duffy, co-author of the new book "the preacher and the presidents." it's a book about billy graham and his unique relationship with 11 presidents. billy graham has spoken face to face to more people than anyone in history, more than 200
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million, but 11 are or very special because he developed an intimate relationship with every president many modern time going back to harry truman. and with us today to talk about this book is michael duffy who is a veteran reporter with "time" magazine. he is known in this town as the ultimate insider. he is the reporter who knows the back story on the big story. he is a man who is very well sourced and has a reputation in "time" for being self-effacing, very witty and a man who would sit with his co-author, nancy gibbs, in the bureau and come up with these astounding cover stories, more than 100 of them to their credit, in a mysterious process that no one else quite understands. [laughter] so i want to get to that in a minute, but first, welcome to the show. welcome to "after words," michael, and let me ask you many books, scores of books have been written about billy graham but none that have focused on his relationship with the presidents
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in quite this way. how did you get this idea, why'd you decide to write the book? >> guest: it's a good question, and you're right. he's written 25 books himself, so it was a little presumptuous to think we could add anything new. but after the 2004 election, a lot of folks were surprised by how closely our politics and our faith were knit together and created a result by which a democrat who was a practicing catholic couldn't make any kind of advantage of that, and an incumbent president helped make that an issue in the campaign. we thought maybe we need to examine more closely how our faith and politics work in the country and how long they've been that way. and we were looking for a way to tell that story, and we thought mr. graham -- or who had known really every president back since truman, might be a good vehicle. so we began negotiating with his folks about perhaps getting him at age 80, then 87, now 88 to
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talk about it for the first time. we thought if we could get to the presidents, the ex-presidents, the former presidents and talk about what graham meant to them, we might have a good tale. and so that's what launched us on the path. >> host: now, you -- i think one of -- it's a great book, by the way. one of the things that having covered the white house for eight years myself, i was fascinated in how much i learned about these men in office. not only about billy graham, but about the presidents and their faith. i think your anecdotes are extraordinary and one of the strong points of the book. we'll tick 'em down, but who was the closest president? who had the closest relationship to billy graham? >> we were surprised by this too. we were quite surprised by how much religion figured in their lives in a way we hadn't fully realized even for some of the men i'd covered. that surprised us too. so we were surprised by that as anything else. i think he was closest to different presidents in different ways. i think he was closest politically to richard nixon,
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and that was a damaging relationship for mr. graham. i think he was closest pastorally to lyndon johnson who needed, needed what he called long, tall preaching. that was what johnson called it, on a regular and continuing basis. and who i think was the most worried about his faith, and i think he was closest personally to george herbert walker bush who had known graham for a long time, whose mother had known graham back in the 1950s and his father and, of course, who -- mr. bush, president bush's own children were ministered to by mr. graham. it was kind of a cross-generational family/pastor relationship. so i think that was different -- he was different to different presidents in different ways. >> host: now, one surprise i found in the book was jimmy carter, born again baptist sundayay schoolteacher, a man wo publicly at least kept his faith at the forefront of his presidency. you would have thought there would be two sons of the south,
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this natural allegiance. they weren't all that close, were they? >> guest: amazing to me too. it should have been really -- they were spiritually sort of close, but personally not close. jimmy carter's the only president who single-handedly organized a graham crusade back in 1966. he'd lost an unlikely race for governor. it was his first statewide contest. he wasn't sure about everything when he lost, he kind of lost track of his life and his career and his faith after that. one of the first things he does to get back on track in 1966 is he volunteers to organize a local graham crusade. i think president carter told me a great story. he said that when he first met billy graham in 1971, he'd been invited to the white house by richard nixon with a bunch of other governors for a reception. he walks into the east room, and he doesn't know a soul. he's never been to the white house. he's never met a president. and the first person he sees who he recognizes across the room is billy graham who's standing next
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to richard nixon. and mr. graham whistles him over and says, congresswoman on, i want -- come on, i want to meet you. mr. graham knew about this crusade that carter had run four years earlier, five years earlier in southwest georgia. so at the very moment that he meets billy graham, he meets richard nixon in the white house. and i think that for any democrat in the mid '70s who presumed to run for president, you had to keep your distance from any hint of the nixon administration, and billy graham had that for a long time. >> now, did any of the presidents actually dislike billy graham? >> guest: i'm not sure kennedy was in love with him. in the 1960s race mr. graham was very close to richard nixon and was counseling him almost constantly about running mates, about strategy, about race relations, about tactics, and nixon thought graham was an excellent judge of the country's mood. and mr. graham actually wrote an
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article for "life" magazine for henry luce endorsing nixon which luce had requested. can -- and then he agonized how this would ruin his ministry, and his wife told him to pull the piece. kennedy had demanded equal time. and this, i think, made everyone very nervous. luce pulled the story and ransoming much more tend -- ran something much more tepid. now, interestingly enough joe kennedy once, four days before kennedy was inaugurated, invited graham down to palm springs to meet his son face to face. he'd met him before, but to talk. they went out, they played golf together. kennedy did ask him so theological questions, mostly the difference between catholic is the and protestants, but they never really hooked up after that. >> host: now, billy graham, you talk about how he was an electronic prophet.
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he started out when there were two million televisions in america, you write, and within the first decade there were 45 million. that changed the presidency. it also changed billy graham. some presidents thought he was a press hound. truman, you write, called him a counterfeit, was a little suspicious of graham, thought that he was using the presidency as a prop, basically. was he right? >> oh, in part, no question. when mr. graham bursts onto the scene, he is very concerned about the state of the dialogue in the country about gold. he wants presidents to talk more about them, and he wangles an invitation to the oval office through sam rayburn who was friends with some of his backers in the texas. he gets into to value office and, you're right, truman didn't have is much use for i tin rant teachers. he didn't spend a lot of time thinking about the bible. he was himself a baptist, his wife was a presbyterian. but he agreed to do the meeting.
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it was on the same day that he discovered that the russians were, had obtained a hydrogen bomb which was a huge challenge for the u.s. strategy click -- strategically. graham goes in to see him, they talk, they get to know each other a little bit, and then graham asks him, you know, about his faith. truman says i try to live by the golden rule and graham says to the president, well, that's not good enough, you know? and he asks for prayer, and truman says i don't see how it could hurt. and so grahamming puts his arm around truman, big, tall -- billy graham was 6-4, truman was about 5-8. they get down on their knees together, and they pray. and graham can remember the prayer to this day. and that was fine except that when he left the oval office, he went out onto the north lawn and proceeded to tell the reporters who asked him exactly what happened inside, and he got down on his knees and reenacted it on the north lawn. as you know as a white house or respondent, this is not -- correspondent, this is not what people do when they come out of the white house, and that
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picture of him reenacting it was on the front pages the next day. >> host: so he learned a hard and fast lesson about dealing with the press corps and about that nexus between politics and the media. what'd he learn from that? >> guest: first of all, to be discreet. if you're going to presume to minister to presidents -- which was a huge products -- you'd better keep your mouth shut. and after that he did. he also learned that no matter what, you know, this was a young evangelical preacher out of north carolina who at a time when the country was not yet quite accustomed to it, to having someone playing -- still the country was mostly main line denominations at that point. they hadn't suffered their big decline that they would suffer in the 1960s, the number of evangelical churches had not exploded the way it would in the '80s and '90s, he also wore a bright green suit and yellow tie and socks that day, so it
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was a good picture. it really upset truman the next day. >> host: even in blacking and white. >> guest: well, that's right. >> host: now, another political lesson you write about, fascinating. 1952, billy graham's popularity is surging, and he says publicly that he believes membered run for president and win. was there a time he could have won? >> guest: i think other people are tempted by money or by sex, i think graham was tempted in an almost physical way by power. he talked to us about how this was something that was just a temptation in his life. other things he didn't have trouble with. this one really captivated him. and we asked once hillary clinton about this, and she said he just loves politicians. he loved politics, he loved to the talk about campaigns. and this is all through 11 presidents, certainly the last 10 where he just really liked politics the way a political
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junkie would who watches all the politics shows. and even to this day every night he watches, you know, cnn as much as possible. so i just think this is something that always gripped him. he didn't feel that temptation enough to ever act on it, but in 1963 gallup is polling before jfk is shot how he would do in a match-up against kennedy in '64. he's surely heard this. >> host: yeah. >> guest: he once was asked to consider running, and his wife sent him a note saying i don't think the country's ready for a divorced president. [laughter] which was her way of saying don't you dare. [laughter] and he let it go after 24, 48 hours. but it was always a temptation, and any person that popular would feel it. >> host: you write about the extraordinary relationship that billy graham had with his wife who just passed away in june. i'd like to get to that later, but she was clearly a huge force
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in his life. you got to meet her, and you and nancy interviewed reverend graham four times at his mountaintop home. >> guest: right. >> host: what did you learn talking to him in person about billy graham? >> guest: well, you get, i mean, we met him at age 86, 87 and 88, and so -- we didn't meet him in his prime. but you still have this experience that is kind of hard to describe. he is powerfully welcoming and very present, a very big personality. it's quite something to meet him. he's calming. he is, you can see why presidents felt at ease, not on edge. he is immediately forgiving. and he, he witnesses for you not just about his faith, but in his behavior, you know? he immediately admits his faults and his mistakes and his errors, and you sort is of start doing it yourself, you know? i can see why i total understand
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the famous walk on the beach with george w. bush felt comfortable enough to talk with this man who he had just met. he is a, he is a simple and easy person to talk to, extremely easily to talk to.
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>> it's not possible to ignore that. i approached it as a political reporter or but she's witnessing telling so many stories about their -- the president's spiritual questions. and their own journeys that it's hard not to put yourself in their shoes and listen to him as they probably did. so it's -- with a powerful experience. but he's also easy to talk to about other things it's not just faith. they can talk about all kinds of stuff. so then that was a great experience too. so -- i -- i tend to think that he was a -- first and foremost a great listener. and you come away from reading and learning about all of the presidents what they talked to about graham in their most private wars you see they're just people and hold them up to
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be without doubt and without uncertainty and to be -- to seem so totally sure of what had they're doing. but when you listen to mr. graham's stories you can see they have their doubt and uncertainty and questions and worries like rest of us. but i want to follow on that because the presidents are -- forced by their job to make weighty decisions with the highest i stakes within imperfect information sometimes working with aids with an agenda. at some point decision is making in the white house itself becomes a leap of faith. they put their faith in technology, they put their faith in -- ideology. some put their faith in god. how did billy graham play on that? how did he -- help to fill in the gap an some of the moment us decisions that were made? >> i think this question is -- good because it explains why he had such long innings by the time he's talking u to people like rongd reagan and george herberter bush and he's helped
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johnson and nixon through some of their most difficult moments not all of them but some and he's learned first hand that presidents -- not only have to make only difficult decisions. but a certain percentage of them are going to get wrong. where they're just human it is they're going to make mistakes and unlike mistakes to be written about forever. and the burden of that, the burdennings that are so much -- that are superhuman on what are essentially human beings is something graham was able to witness with from the very beginning of this unusual ministry that he developed. he didn't have a church. didn't have a congregation and there was never any -- you know -- you know church on some road that was the church of billy. this was the only, this was really the only really flock head-to-head and i think he -- he knew lyndon johnson told us he knew what it was like to be famous. he knew what it was like to be
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in the public eye and he knew so many of us that were that way that i think he understood us better than any other t folks because he himself privacy and moved up mountain and come under huge scrutiny so there was a bsh because he was world famous by mid-50s he approached presidents not just with experience of having watched them make mistakes and then have to -- deal the guilt of that. or whatever it took whatever shape the burden took but he also knew what it was like to have your family essentially exposed and on camera 24/7. >> now presidents have -- draw their power from basically two streams they have constitutionally enshrined authority they have the power of their own influence. the power to build a national and international consensus for their prioritieses and if presidents have what tedly roosevelt called billy pulpit and cathedral was there ever a
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time with his influence and power to shape american public opinion actually rivaled it that of the presidents? >> well that's a great question. i would say that -- he was on a quite a role in the 1950s and -- at a, with eisenhower it was particularly because eisenhower not terribly deeply churched as a kid. when he is run aring for office in '52 he asks graham should i be a presbyterian a lutheran what should i be? mother had been a jehovah's witness and wasn't easy it was a family secret. and graham tells him to be a presbyterian and tells us him which church to go to in washington and arranges with minister to -- for eisenhower's catechism and as soon as he becomes president he urnlings graham to do more prayers. to -- to wrap some of this stuff in his speeches more. he wants there to be a greater
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sense of spiritual mission to the presidency and eisenhower does for different reasons. worried about communism and wetion and balance of spiritual west with and west has a great advantage. eisenhower urged -- sorry graham urged eisenhower to put a prayer in inaugural address and everyone was quite surprised. >> i don't know if it was a first but first in memory. since unlikely it would have been the first but coming from eisenhower as we noted not -- did not have a deeply religious background it was interesting so i think in the 50s it was powerful. was he ever more powerful than a president i don't think so. but presidents wanted blessing because he is so popular and so revered. >> now he came of age in a sense or his popularity grew as you point out in the book at the dawfnt cold war truman, eisenhower he talked about godless communism in the soviet
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union and in china and later grew to regret that characterize. why? >> he was a tremendous anticommunist in the 50s. he was involved in the movement to put words under god and the pledge put it on the coin. he felt this was an evil force that was keeping people from -- their maker and so he was quite outspoken about it and he was quite worried about what it would do to the world. but it changed. the longer he spent as a -- preacher the more he traveled more he traveled the more he got around the world. by the late 1970s he's finally making in roads into eastern yiewrm. partly with president carter's help. partly on his own against incredible odds. and he gets over there and eventually he goes to the soviet union and he meets his -- whole new group of people he's preaching to.
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jim who running so jorners i think mr. graham admitted this he said once you see a new flock in order to preach them you have to love them because, of course, you're preaching gospel once he realized weapons that he had -- supported as most americans supported through 50s and 60s were aimed at this new congregation and flock that was going in eastern europe he realized this makes no sense. and by the late 1970s he's not the first to call. but he is the most prominent -- preacher to call and i think 1979, early 1979 for not just reduction of nuclear weapons but not the first hardly the only person. but -- the one of the most important and he's pushing carter -- for advancing for treaty and so forth and then you have a great piece in there where you write
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about graham's visit to moscow in 1982 again at full decade before the collapse of the soviet union. >> right. >> and then some of reagan aids are fearing about this. used for propaganda, of course, he was but reagan himself -- says to him, it be praying for you every day. how did he get reagan's blessing over objections of reagan's aid? >> i'm not sure that vice president bush was totally onboard this one yet so records unclear. but national security counsel and the state department which were or -- not holy but in some ways captured by particular anticommunist heart liners particularly nfc did not want graham to go the embassy in moscow felt he was being used he had been invited over for essentially a peace conference and propaganda against the employment of some entire mediate nuclear weapons in moscow so they invited billy to
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speak, and -- mr. graham accepted. and then he realized he was about to be used. the administration said don't go. you just playing right into their hands. but mr. graham played a lot of about it and decided thaty -- i'm going to be used. yes, i'm going to be a feature of the propaganda but i'll kick this door open and once i get invited toe preach in moscow i will be invited to preach all over eastern europe and he was. he went. it was ugly week for him. they kind of -- you know bundled them up and -- treated him not i don't think the to say badly but embarrassed him and he said things in addition to what they were talking about and not terribly thought out but people on church on saturday than they were in shaar is lot that's not the best thring to say. and means by how much caviar he saw that was too generous. but he did preach briefly and he was invited back four times
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between -- over the next decade invited into partly the consequence and he felt going in that it was a risk worth taking but he did have to overcome administration and key moment when everyone else was saying don't go. ronald reagan pulled him aside at a lunch at the bush's house and said you go. you -- in addition to great access to reverend graham, you remember able to talk to all of the living presidents -- or communicate with them. j so many them we e-mailed right. how did you get that access to presidents an how was that important in writing the book? >>i had to have the other side f the story. it wasn't as hard as it sounds because everybody wants to talk about billy graham they have a popped memory of him even president carter with the furs agree to talk to him had in some ways most extensionive memories. plingt talked about it and soon
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him first age 13 in little rock in 1959. president bush he's a really good when you e-mail him he's a tremendous writer and no one -- this is not widely appreciated but -- great on e-mail, and -- so that was also good and we talked to president ford before he died who had -- very firm memories of conversations with mr. graham about the pardon of richard nirk son. tnches nancy reagan i want to talk later about some of the first ladies relationships with -- reverend graham but nancy reagan had one that i think cools across in your book as unique. >> we talk to her as well she was very help hadful on a conversation scores. she -- ronald reagan meets before they meet -- mr. graham and henry lewis who
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founded time in life were playing golf in phoenix at the billionth finishing their 18th hole and out to the green runs woman and says -- mr. graham mr. graham you have to meet my son-in-law he's just like you. and it's edith davis and the mother who herself was an actress. and her daughter had just married ronald reagan, and they wanted two to meet, and mrs. reagan told us she said she knew two guys would like each other. she knew and they have a lot in common they were both from small town and spoke in kind of reduced -- you know had had very charismatic both great speakers both very handsome and came of age about the same time. and so they -- they were kind of doppelgängers and mrs. reagan said too they shared a lot of things and met a great deal in the white house usually privately. got far less publicly than previous meetings. >> we're here on afterwards talking with michael duffy
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author of the future and the presidents and we'll be right back. welcome back to afterwards i'm bob deans and our guest is michael duffy coauthor of the preacher and the presidents an extraordinary book about billy graham the nation's evangelist, and his relationship a unique relationship spiritual, personal in some cases political. with 11 modern presidents stretching back to harry truman. thanks again for being here today michael. faith and politics have always been linked in this country edited king james bible has his own book of prayer. patrick henry learned a fiery oratory at the et too of the great awakening and billy graham you write in your book may have
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present at the baptism of the religious write in america and yet he was a very different character politically and spiritually perhaps from people like jerry fall well certainly ralph reid how no? >> at the moment america's third great awakening takes place in the 1970s there was a huge spiritual revival in the country. that is happening across all sorts of faith and spiritual traditions it's -- not just sort of contemporary christianity. but mainly that. graham is reeling with his rope with richard nixon he got too close and used badly and was way too involved politically tape recorded thanks to things he regrets 35 years later. and he -- in the mid-70s pulls back, goes under the radar, stops being so public. keeps his distance from the white house. still makes his connections -- still communicates but it is way below the radar.
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and it is at that moment that a new generation of evangelical leaders steps forward. partly empowered by jimmy carter's rise to the white house that a born again christian, though, again a democrat could talk about his faith in public. i think a lot of -- e-van evangelical leaders said the faith can can talk about their politics. and we were off to the race ares and we're still in a cycle of that. a generation later -- but graham was pulling become and he was withdrawing and and hives saying i got burned and he did get burned and he began to -- operate at a much lower role of. i think graham played a role in founding of that movement but he was stepping away from it almost as soon as it took shape. >> the great stage that billy graham's ministry played out on, of course, was tainted by the cold war. johnson is struggling early in his administration, of course,
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with china, vietnam, and billy graham tells his we have to hold that at any cost. how did that wear with billy graham as that war ground on? >> by early he's a supporter of the effort. by 1965 he begins to say i'm not so sure about this and movement is not that different from most -- sort of broad middle of the american public. he but it take him a long time to come to this conclusion probably three years nlg by '67 or '68 he's ready for it to end. but at the time when he's with johnson he's supportive particularly in private so not, not exclusively or there moments where you have to -- you know, go in a different direction. i think that was duflt but i think that the -- johnson was because he spent i think with close pastor related that has he spent all of the time talking to johnson about all kiengdz of things in
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addition to the war. i think u lucy said you could feel temperature drop when he was around. he was, obviously, a calming presence. he was also a political concern forr lbj not only had had there been this evidence that -- graham had flirted with a presidential run in '64 there's some evidence that cold water thought about -- thought about putting him upon the ticket at time wrapped him up and dragged him down to the ranch and the eve of the election qongt let him out. and so -- graham was endorsed gold water and he didn't so primarily he was functioning as the lbj friend and that relationship continued right to his death. >> now, you tell a great story about when he first meets lbj an you tell a story about them swimming at the white house. >> skinny dipping at the white
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house. this is the ultimate white house tour. this is head to toe. right this is -- that was very -- >> more than one. characteristic they were swims and invited him to play tennis sometimes. and -- he would, with he was at the white house a great deal in, much more than when he was with eisenhower and again he -- i know in lucy johnson became, she had been gone to her father's national christian church in d.c. she became a catholic mid-way starting going to catholic mass. lbj concerned about what this man and foretold and everything, and graham said -- relax. mr. president, it will be fine she's in the family. it's a journey it's okay and he started going to mass too. but johnson was critical in keeping that together. you know, lady bird died i think in late may early june of this year. and both johnson daughters
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called graham 48 hours before she died and just speak with him because he had stayed in touch with lady bird all of these years. and -- he even got on the phone a few just a day or so before she died and had prayer with her so again the ministering to johnson family -- went on for decades. >> now the other great social issue here domestically at the tile was civil rights as a man of god billy graham wases struggling he's urging the leadership to lean forward on civil rights but he's also patients at very time when dr. martin luther king is saying justice delayed is justice denied. how did he struggle with that? >> i think this is one place where he looks back and wish he had been a bit better leader. in the 50s mr. graham ahead of the curve. he's having integrated crusades refusing to go to cities that won't let black and whites pray together. >> you tell one story where he's going down aisles removing --
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barriers -- where between -- >> stood is on one side and he's physically taking these down. >> in 1950s graham organization and graham particularly is ahead of the country and it is head of the country in a part of the country the south -- which, you know, needed leadership in this area and lots of religion his toishes believe that graham openness to integrated -- services of a huge signal had it not been sent no telling where. but he sent it for ten straight years. by the time question get middle 1960s, though -- graham is close or e to where perhaps as the move had become -- a divided about a tactic whether to go slow or to goes fast what forms of protest to take he's much more reluctant and more of authoritarian he's urminging nixon in 1959 and 60 to meet with martin luther king when he's in jail but by --
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he's not so sure so i don't know if he's out of o touch in the country but not in the leadership position at the end of the 60s that he was at the gig of the 50s. >> so he struggled with that and regrettings not playing more courageous role. >> now countrily even today -- mainstream churches are rent with issue about gaying an lesbians. this issue is forward leaning where did billy graham come down on that and what counsel has he provided to presidents? >> not much in the book that we discovered on that topic because it wasn't up much with the presidents but in a crusade in 1989 i can tell you one of the few states that -- mr. graham had never held a full -- war crusade in was arkansas. and he visited there in '59 when bill clinton first saw him age 1. clin as governor invites part of
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a group invites him back to -- little rock to approach a week long crusade so almost 29 years ago and in his conversations with reporters -- before that crew are said almost out of nowhere says -- ed crusade is about -- largely based about drug use and there are lots of themes to crusade but out of nowhere he says homosexuals will be welcome to pray as much as everyone else is but he make this is comment. that was his policy going certainly from that point on i can't really explain where it starts request him. but it did stick out in our research as something he had said relatively -- i would say as 1989. >> now you've been with "time" magazine 22 year -- >> sure. jed founder cofounder of "time" henry lewis you talk quite a bit in the book about his relationship with billy graham. "time" magazine for the billy
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graham generation -- was authoritative as influential a voice as could be had anywhere in america how important has a "time" anointment been in his influence? >> graham credits lewis and -- hurst is two people who made him because both discovered had him in early 50s hors said to editors in a famous telegram, u tough graham which was his, you know -- tabloid way of saying make him a star. >> lewis was more reluctant being missionaries he was more uncertain about graham for starters he was in -- new york in the early 50s and 1951 or '52 and baruch sent lewis a telegram said there's a guy down in columbia who is doing some mighty fine preaching. you ought to sending somebody
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down here to listen to him and it is common sense stuff. and says hell i'll come myself probably didn't say it that way with so go down and he listens to graham and two men spent all night talking after one crusade and graham remembered this and -- then "time" began to cover graham. wasn't until '54 saying he was most important preacher in america and we've done four covers since. that was not the biggest member by any means but we've always covered billy graham closely. >> now in your book you cover an extraordinary expanse of history we've talked about a lot of it. civil rights movement, the cold war. how is an author, did you make the decision about how much history to include in the books so that you had enough to give context without bogging down your narrative, your storyline?
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we wrote a lot more than with precincted and we cut it and we probably wrote 250 and then we racked it until we could get to the nectar, kernel the mattered the most because was things that happened a 1960s and politically -- 70s so we wanted to give some but nobody wants to bog down but we have that they were all -- you know, the photosaid he's part of all that he is mad. all of this stuff affect it is his role and his impact on the president. so there is a lot of history in it that is -- that is tied to these men and their presidencies. > you strike a great balance and you end up as a reader you e end up learning a lot of history here while use think you're learning about billy graham. >> but that's the trick. [laughter]
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>> you and nancy gibbs have i think, it fair to say famously combined here in washington -- as a extraordinary fore mid-able due quo for cover stories for many years, what's it like working together with another journalist and how did that play into your ship here. >> nancy is the master by herself written 100 cover stories in my numbers smaller by a fair amount and so she's o really the -- she's a gifted one. but -- she's always worked in new york as a writer. and for years "time" put together by writers in new york who grabbed material an files and memos from people arranged the world and crafted these beautiful stories together. you know, there -- but we have done probably, you know, enough stories on enough topics over the last decade where we've become pretty good at some kind of stories that require -- both altitude and down in the
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weeds details. and -- i'm a little better at down in the qeedz details than she is and she's way better than i am at -- you know the altitude that gives story lift, and power -- and so when it works, it is great it doesn't always work perfectly. but we worked hard to make these, you know, stories and it is really, though, it is a loving.city it is really 40 individual stories or 35. work on their own -- so they would be -- reader friendly and moments in time that told you a story. >> was there ever a moment when you doubted the partnership or o one with of you said i don't know what i can do myself? >> i've never thought i could do this myself i was writing a book and way too heart disease and lonely and two brains are better than one and two brain of my size are better than one and i think there are people who are really good at doing it by thelses that they have bigger brains than i do, and nancy could have done it but i -- i need more assistance than i
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think between -- my sort of washington focus and her sense of a much better sense of -- you know, the bible and how stuff in churches works. she was a deacon and a presbyterian church it did. we with also help of a lot of people who knew more than we did. >> i said before he was i'm getting to know michael you are here on afterwards today so let's talk about bill clinton you mentioned he got to know or first heard billy graham as a boy -- we know that he later took his girlfriend hillary rodham to see billy graham you report in -- >> hot date in california. >> 1971. and -- >> and of course this man became central to the internal struggle both in the white house in his own family, and nationwide. the sort of spiritual and moral and political crisis that country faced over the monica lewinsky is scandal. how important was billy graham
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in helping to -- heal those wounds helping to bring about forgiveness in the family and in the nation? >> really easy to write graham off as just a democrat who pretended to be democrat because he's close with so many republican but you have stories about johnson and bill clinton totally undo the math. clinton mettle graham not face-to-face but across in the world memorial stadium in little rock in 1959 as a 13-year-old kid from arkansas. this convinced his sunday school teacher to take him up to little rock to see billy graham for the two nights that graham came. and this has to be for clinton -- the first global rock star he's ever met. he's 13. he's 13 an he see this is guy preached to 50,000 people black and white in the stadium and he talked about it now. it can be chilling he never seen anything like that and he was moved personally because he came from a tradition where his family believed in integration he sees this is man -- come to little rock and -- the white people citizens
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counsel didn't want him to preach to a mixed audience he said i'm either doing that or i'm not coming. clinton found this powerful he said that was first time i had ever seen someone link faith and work together. and then in '71 he takes hillary rodham on hot date to see him at the crew are said he told us i wanted her to hear billy she had heard him on tv but never much paid attention. but then they helped together kind of bring him back to little rock in 'so three with crew said before he runs for president. early on in the clinton administration, he preached, preaches at the all of the inaugurals of the clintons of clinton -- and he by 1994 is going on some foreign missions of his own accord but takes messages from north korea. and then when the lewinsky scandaled happened much has been made of clinton's past role
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counseling helping him but three past working with him but in the course of doing this book is that it was billy graham who mrs. clinton turns in particular for help with forgiving her husband and she said when everyone else in the world was telling me to dump him he was saying you haved to a harder thing. you have to forgive him. he had been publicly saying that -- within six weeks of the scandal breaking in 1998 but he was saying it privately too and that's -- you know, she has said to char lee tbib son of abc news done a special space on the book -- a lot of people don't understand our marriage but billy graham does. >> i would have liked to have had that quote. i didn't get that quote. >> but that take to relationship with first ladies you've talked about close with nancy reagan
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and jackie kennedy you said not all that -- >> not a big fan. >> what about rosalynn carter? >> interesting about her -- rosalynn was -- by the time carter's half way through his presidency rose plan is first person to realize he's in trouble in the white house and in trouble in the south and in trouble with southern baptist she's yelled at and traveling and criticized jeered at for her stance on era and her husband's positions on things and she gets to talk to her husband about you need somebody to help you on the religious front and she basically pieds the person named bob maddox preaching at a church here in washington. and it's when he finally arrived on the same time that the moral majority is created in 1979 to find billy graham to see what he can do to link up but what they
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had like is to have mr. graham be a little more present. graham is -- delighted about this he has him down for a visit. and but she wasn't in the mix during the presidency. >> now ruth graham -- just this early june she was 87 died. they had been married for almost 64 years. was this a great american love stoi? >> impossible to read the variety of books written -- about the biography of ruth graham and not be -- seeing that she was is swept off her feet and he by her maybe even a little more. [laughter] i mean to her, she wanted to go to china to be a missionary her parents had done that and fully prepared to be -- and along comes this handsome
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guy knocks her off her feet and they begin this life together that's unbelievable. i think one of the things she did among other things she raised children and a held them and home front while he was traveling she kept him, you know, cut down to size. experience of being billy graham had to go to your heads on a regular daily basis and she helped him i don't think he was -- work withed at it really hard too and helped him maintain his modesty and keep him from getting, you know, to be too big for his britches. >> do you think that -- given his relationship with hillary clinton given close relationship with his wife for so many year does billy graham want to see a woman in the white house? >> you know when hillary first met billy graham she walked up to him at a hotel reception that she had been at with him and said i'm hillary rodham clinton would you like to have lunch with me and mr. graham said well i can't. i don't have lunch with -- single women or married women alone we're going to have to get a group together. and so they ended up going to
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lunch in a group. but -- he has said as early as 2005 that he thought that after bill clinton left the white house that he should become evangelist because he has all the of the gift. >> bill clinton should be and hillary he should let his wife run the country he said that at a crusade in new york, the -- graham organization put out a statement saying that was a joke. i'm not so sure. if he was kidding he might have been only half kidding and just as a footnote to that bill clinton once said his grandmother used to tell him he would make a great evangelist if he wasn't such a bad boy. >> billy graham was aware of speaking of bad boys of his own -- he became aware very early in his career you write of the fact that -- he was as you say he was a strikingly handsome man he was charismatic women were attracted to him. and he was experienced in soflt same temptations that and
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presidents have fallen prey to but he took -- you talk about some proact aive -- >> extraordinary measures. to protect himself from that. they have travelerred alone. whenever he went into a hotel room he said someone incase someone was lurking for the got you shot, and as hillary clinton discovered he didn't eat alone with -- with women. and these were precautions to keep his ministry healthy. not to guard against temptation but i think his techation was politics but he was careful about keeping his reputation clean i think that's one of the reasons experience with nixon white house was so damaging and so painful. because it really -- cost him half decade -- it set him back and in system way some people have never frisson him for things he did and said in nixon's presence. so he was careful someone who that careful about reputation
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had to have hurt him. >> you laid ground work with nixon and you talk about time when eisenhower was getting ready to jet set nixon and graham waying weighs in plays a role close to king maker. >> a secret agent and as an operative. because graham was talking to eisenhower he heard there were efforts to sort of ease nixon off a the ticket in 1956 concerns about the health. and other things. so nixon didn't have a lot of friends and graham warns nixon about this. and at the same time graham reaches out to religious leaders at summer and -- ranges essentially for nixon to be invited there were then as there are now great religious groups in the summers. and he gets nixon invited to them and prier for what was done and said at those things so he wraps nixon in a kind of --
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cloth of faith that summer. to -- sort of bolster his policy in the party. and it works. and -- eisenhower keeps him in probably was not his instinct to do so and only thing that led that happening but it was definitely -- graham was taking care of nixon early and another reason why they were so tight by the 1970s. these were two men who met early in 1950s and helped each other. >> billy graham has been hospitalized this summer. he suffers from parkinson's disease. he talks of -- with you increasingly it seems about moving on to the next life. he says he knows what awaits him beyond grave he doesn't fear death. how are we going to remember this man and this extraordinary 60 years he spent as preacher to president? >> it is hard for me to know. he's one of the great figurings of the 20th century he might be one of the two or three most
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important religious figures in the world of the 20th century. along with dr. king and the pope pope john paul the ii and huge impact of those across the globe so i suspect that -- that he'll be remembered for a long time. his -- the political part of his life was not biggest part of his ministry by any means. it's just the pieces at least ubd i think and least told and probably most impact on our politics going forward. but -- i tend to think when you meet mr. graham tall 6'2" he's mindful of his health certainly but i don't think -- ii think he's -- made a very strong stuff and i think he's going to be arked for a while and thinking about writing another book. he's done work on his house and
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he issue with "time" two weeks ago some thoughts about what it is like to be without ruth he's overwhelming by her absence at times he wants to puck up phone and call her and realizes he can't. as he did for years -- but he's -- he told us as much as as keen as he is to keep her in his mind and in his heart he doesn't want to get lost in the tbreef he had thinks sometimes people who lose -- their spouses life comes to an end and he doesn't want that to happen so i think he'll keep going for a while andty hope he does. >> this is probably never happened to you but some journalist when is all is said and done they think of one more question they would like to ask is their subject. s what's the question most like to ask billy graham right now? >> that's a wonderful question. great. well, i think i could ask him ten ways -- if you had to do it all over
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again -- was there some moment you maybe do drchghtly or take back or -- think twice about? >> what do you think he would say? >> that that conversation in 1972 in the oval office where he said some very disparaging and vile things about jews he would like to have back. and he told us that -- that conversation seems and a like he was trying to go along with the -- garbage that nixon were spouting at the moment i think i was just trying to get along he went further than getting along in the tapes. but i think he would really like to have that back because i think he still feels quite bad about it. but i don't think he regrets much else i think he felt that he was for the most part -- by and large trying to get gospel in the hand of the most important people in the world that was a mission that was worth taking some risks for. >> michael duffy preacher and
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the presidents thank you for being here. thank you for being here on afterwards and congratulations on a fantastic not only at americas evangelist but at the intersection of faith and presidential power in american politic. >> thanks a lot. great. if you would like to view other afterwards programs go to our website booktv.org type afterwards into the search bar. and all previous afterwards episodes will be available. >> for nearly 20 years, indepght onbook booktv featured nation best known nonfiction writers for live conversations about their books.
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this year as a special project for indepght fiction edition. join us live sunday march 4th at noon eastern with jeff whose novel god and generals made into a motion picture and most recent book is the frozen hours. other books include the final storm, to the last man, plus 11 more novels rekowct military history of america from the american revolution to the korean war. during the program will be taking your phone calls, tweets and facebook messages. our special series indeath penalty fiction edition with author jeff, sunday march 4th, live from noon to 3 p.m. eastern on booktv. on c-span2. a look at upcoming book fairs and festivals happen hadding arranged the krnts on march 10th and 11th will be live from the university of arizona for the tucson festival of books with author talk and a call-ins.
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this year's festival features msnbc katy tur and charles. military historian max booth investigatorrive journalist david k. johnson, and many other o authors later in march the virginia book in charlottesville and gnarl black writers conference in bloke brooklyn new york in april we're head to text for san antonio book festival and will be live once again at the l.a. times festival of books for more informs about upcoming book fair and festivals to watch previous festival coverage, click the book fairs tab on our website. booktv.org. your watching booktv here's our prime time lineup, at 6:45 p.m. eastern a discussion about the 100-year history of the university of illinois press. at 7:45, gene harris argues that history of the civil rights
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movement has been sanitized. then at 9:20, fox news channels howard looks at president trump's relationship with the media. on booktv's afterwards program at 10 details her life as daughter of survivalist in the idaho mountains introduction to former education at age 17 and wrap up prime time programming at 11 p.m. with bloomberg technologies emily on culture in silicon valley for women. that all happens tonight on c-span2's booktv. 48 hours of nonfiction author a it is and books every weekend. television for serious readers and now here's a look at the university of illinois press. >> welcome. my name is julie and i'm outreach and development coordinator at the university of illinois press on behalf of our director lorrie and entire staff i want to thank y

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