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tv   Author Discussion on Political History  CSPAN  April 13, 2019 11:02pm-12:06am EDT

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part of the problem is the laws have been very relaxed and i know i can tell you just very truthfully in seattle they are trying to decriminalize everything and there's all crazn people running around beating up bus drivers and not being dealt with in the criminal justice system. >> host: you will have to leave it there, neil and seattle. thank you. igor volsky, 30 seconds to answer a pretty profound question. >> guest: i think i was honest about what happened in chicago. a lot of gun violence there qued that violence is being perpetrated by a small number of people and programs in chicago that have been working. is there still a problem? yes. are a lot of the guns coming from indiana? yes. we need a federal solution to this problem? we do. >> host: igor volsky, the book
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is called "guns down". thank you for being on book to be. >> guest: thank you for having me. >> booktv's coverage of the la times festival of books from earlier continues now with an author discussion on political history. >> good afternoon. thank you all for coming. i thank you are in for a treat. i could talk about with these people more than one hour and about each of these books. we have a lot to come in in a short period of time. for we get started i need to tell you you should silence your cell phones please and personal recording is not allowed and
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also i will give you the first reminder is that after the session each of the others will be signing their books at signing area one which is marked in a map in your festival program. as i said, three traffic books and will hold them up and start the conversation. w my far left seating arrangement, john ward's book, camelot and, kennedy versus carter and the fight that broke the democratic party. susan page, the matriarch and barbara brush in the making of an american dynasty. to my right, former los angeles times collie, miriam powell, the browns of california and the family dynasty that shaped a nation. someone who is about to turn 75
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i lived through a great number of the event ascribed in these books. as i was saying to miriam before the program started, the one i first met remember isbe as a hih school freshman in 1958 was a great year for the democratic party in california and pat brown got elected asc governor and was a big democratic sweep and even elected the united senator from the town many of you have never heard of which is in the far northern part of the state and the voters of california were wise enough to reject an antiunion right to work law. so, with that, miriam, tell us about what makes the brown family distinct? >> so many pieces to that but i will try to focus on a few, since you mentioned 58 the democrats who had not held power
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in california for a long time we think about california is a very blue state now but in fact gavin newsom was only the fifth democrat elected in california in modern times as governor and for other for the two were named brown. pat brown began as governor in 1968 and symbol of the party that year was a broom and said .weep the state in a 58. democrats did sweep and it was a major change in the politics. for me this book i'm a new yorker by birth and by being raised there so don't hold that against me. i made the wise decision to move in 19 years ago and he was clear to me that fascinating california is in a different and interesting things that make it special in so many ways in which
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the family, the browns, speaks to that and the book is a story focusing is on pat and jerry because their impact on the state as governor but goes back for generations to start with jerry brown's great-grandfather, august, who was a german pioneer and crossed in 1852 speaking of people that people don't know much about this probably have a lot of people who been to colusa county but when i met jerry brown he was in the process of building what was become his retirement home on the land and colusa that is great grand father had settled on in the 1850s. so the arc of the family in so many ways parallels the history of the state of california and they are perhaps the most -- i shouldn't use -- they are so passionate about california and
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exceptionalism and has had a profound impact on the state and through them it was a way for me for those that talk about the things that make california exceptional as a land of immigrants from its early days in the goldrushnd to so much of what happened in the early history that shaped how california is as a hotbed of innovation and ingenuity and way the people have to adapt when the jump to jump to the goldrush and the pioneer revelation and the nature of the family. the other side of the browns is immigrants who fled temporary during the potato famine in ireland so you have irish and german physical and the powers of the west in the early 1900s and the women in the brown family is something i write a lot about and they don't get a lot of attention when you think about the browns and the dynasty
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but from the generation of grandmotherut was very smart, interesting selvage a woman in his mother bernie's who went to cal when she was 14 was a very precocious brilliant student but had a life as a wife and mother and first lady to kathleen brown his sister that she was state treasurer and lost in the bitter race in 1994 for governor so the family speaks to a lot of those were issues about the state. >> one of the most enduring legacies of jerry brown was now or just finished for terms as governor and two. is the environment and i think one of the things striking about what you said about the brown family rebels in california is that pat brown is to go to the kids to yosemite and othert places about pat brown is known
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as the barely a sky. every truckstop or café to people but had an incredible appreciation of the state's natural beauty and of course s water and so on. talk about jerry and the environment and the family w. >> he very much pass that on. he spent summers in yosemite and jerry brown [inaudible] he mentioned it at some point that he climbed half dome in 1982 and i said why and he said my father did it so i figured i should, too. but the browns, pat parties, were not wealthy and they had four children and very middle-class but took their kids every summer and went to yosemite russian river. that was an impression on all of them in the grandeur, to who one of pat's oldest grandchild worked for many years in the obama movement and the american rivers organization and the
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environment was very much lik like -- he was a jesuit seminary and he spent seven years in seminary, and came out of high school and still very much a jesuit and that's an important piece of it talks about the environment and the absolutes being in some waysys very similr to his religious training and upbringing but he was in the last -- both of his terms california is early and setting the standard for the country and that and as an state on climate change he use the bully pulpit of california to affect change and not just the state but ffotnational and in some ways international level. when i talked to people from new york and try to explain california we talked about this
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when we over the averment and outdoor in the natural world for something that are so important for people here and that shape -- not the weather is a joke but that it shapes how people live in their lifestyle and the economy and it was a way that the whole family commitment to the other world and fondness was a way to talk about those issues. with jerry brown as governor the first time you cannot to the mountains here because of the smog. last thing i will say, it's been a bipartisan issue in california in a lot of ways. ronald reagan people remember him for his as president -- anti- environmental actions as governor was a very strong fireman list and because came out of the west and understood that world. a lot of ways in which the environment has changed over time for pat and jerry for something that allow them even
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most recently were jerry brown publican votes for one of the cap and trade provision that was a key climate change. >> and talk about some very good things that governor schwarzenegger had done. >> yes. [laughter] >> but under the reagan administration had the energy commission and intervened [inaudible] >> one other quick question about jerry and his father, moment ago you said he climbed half dome because his father had but there were some things generated that definitely were not things as father would've done and definitely in that direction and i had impact on his first governorship. >> yeah, personality and telepathically their aligned but personalities cannot be more different in one of the lines i use the book is that pat brownff
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hugged strangers and jerry brown shook hands with his father. [laughter] it cannot be more different in many ways some of the campaigning was this incredibly old-style politician and he would break his family out every time he ran for election starting with jerry was five years old he would have a photograph of his kids that would be when he filed his papers and so they were paraded out. jerry talked about that later never wanting to put his family to that and he would not wear hats and march in parades and when he was governor the first time refused to send autographed photos of children because he thought it influenced it or fostered of personality that was inappropriate. >> he referred to it as low comedy. >> right, pat brown's left all
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papers from high school on and there are hundreds doctors of his archives that i went throu through. there were these -- he kept great copies of letters he wrote and had this exchange with this child when gary was governor in 1976 would gotten 49 governors to send back their pictures and wanted the 58 and some now appeal to pat brown and pat wrote him a note that said i told my son he should do this but children frequently don't listen to their fathers. [laughter] >> one of the things we learned in recent years in politics and spheres of life is that women are just almost all the time underrated and you have written about a very underrated woman, underrated in many ways tell us about some of the things that barbara bush did the people only
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have a dim awareness of. >> before i respond to your question i say it's the first time i've been at the la times festival and what he fantastic event it is. want to thank the la times for sponsoring it. i like to thank you all for showing up because one of my visions that no one would shop and would be sitting up your talking to one another. thank you very much for not making that necessary. i've covered the last ten residential elections, really my only job skill, thank god we keep holding elections. in seven of the ten elections barbara bush played a personal role.f it's hard but to find some north american history who played an intimate role in so many residential elections and in american politics and yet when people in and covering those elections people almost invariably like to barbara bush
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and felt affectionate toward barbara bush and saw her as a white-haired grandmotherly figure to be funny and that is not untrue but that is really incomplete when you think about barbara bush because she was also short and caustic and could be kind of meanki there was a te when i was covering her husband that she was mean to me and she was an important advisor to both her husband and her son and sometimes when they wanted her advice and other times when they did not. she lived a life of real consequence and yet you are quite right. she underestimated her life and born in 1925 and that is five years after women have the right to vote and under a strata made by her mother who did not think she would amount to much and by her teachers and looking at her
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high school transcripts they record her iq which is something i hope we would stop doing but her iq was 120 witches pretty smart. and yet she was a thoroughly undistinguished student and the only issue ever got in my school was physical education. she was underestimated by her husband who initially did not seek her advice on for instance, running for president or earlier on that, moving from the east coast to texas and when he came i decided weer will move to texas she replied, i've always wanted to live in odessa, texas which is something no one has ever said ever. [laughter] o and yet, as their marriage with don in american history went on in his opportunity and expertise is for women when on a change from being a helpmeet to a real partner for aid george hw bush.a
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i will mention a couple things.u she took a groundbreaking role in addressing the hiv crisis that was exploding in america and had been largely ignored by the reagan administration. the actions that the bush administration took tour that in her own actions and for instance visiting grandma's house during the first hundred days as a time of first lady and picking up donovan, six -month-old boy who had aids sent a message across country that was incredibly powerful and we forget today what a powerful statement that was she did not take a speech or scold anybody but brought new photographers with her to home for people with aids demonstrated that you could hug them and pick them up and work beside them and not be afraid of them. hanother thing she was consequential about that has been largely unknownre and i was in negotiations to end the cold war. you may remember nancy reagan
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had a very frosty relationship with mikhail gorbachev, publicly feuding with each other and i do not blame nancy reagan because he wasn't a possible personality. she was didactic and she lectured in the superiority of the communist system of the fact that she and nancy reagan had disputed was not helpful for the negotiations going on with her husband. ever brush with thata and thougt that was stupid. that was the word she is but she thought it was stupid not because she did not understand it because as i said gorbachev could be difficult but because it was so unhelpful to her husband into the nation into the world and during that perilous time. barbara brush wrote a letter to her brother scott today before she would meet gorbachev as first lady and said scott, i will love her the matter what
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she does. she cultivated for years and she made gorbachev feel respected and welcomed and remember one of the summits that they had and she walked out of the summit holding hands and women in russia they may hold hands but women from new york do not as a general rule hold hands with other women. barbara bush walked out holding hands and looking like she was totally delighted to be holding hands with gorbachev. i was trying to research whether it matter that she did this and i found two people who said it mattered. one was brian maroney then the prime minister of canada and the foreign leader courses to george hw bush and he said it made a huge difference to have the voice that mikhail gorbachev
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trusted most, his wife, the macon president for sadie were treating them with respect. it facilitated the negotiations that were going on and then i found archives declassified by the west german government the conversation between helmut kohl, chancellor of west germany and mikhail gorbachev it would they talked about barbara bush as a calming influence in the negotiations and said we did not talk about other women which i'm pretty sure was a reference to nancy reagan. here was a woman of consequence and importance and underestimated not only by her family and teachers but in some cases by her husband and in some cases, by herself. >> you were just mentioning the end of the cold war and there's another theme in your book i'd like you to talk about which showed her acute political sophistication and this relates to the rivalry between rich off
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in the elfin and how she handled that. >> and i did anyone the bushes made a visit to moscow and this was a difficult time because the soviet union still existed but it was in the process of disintegrating and boris yeltsin was the president of russia basically try to create all the profit problems he could for gorbachev. it had not yet happened. the bushes go to this perception and all the other leaders have arrived and gone into the grand hall where it's being held but not yeltsin and this raised suspicion on the part of the other leaders on whether he was trying to do something tricky as he often did. yeltsin finally arrives sweeps up to barbara bush and says let me escort you into the hall and
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a red alarm went off in barbara bush's had that this was a trick. walking into the hall on the arm of boris yeltsin would send a message to everyone in that dinner the people watchingro around the world that yeltsin was in gorbachev was out. she turns and says to gorbachev, let's go in together maneuvers it so the three of them walking together and sends a message to the united states they were not taking sides in the friction and disputes between yeltsin and gorbachev. this is a split-second decision that carries and sent an important message and there was no one to advise her or signal her, don't walk in but it was her own sense of the
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moment and her sophistication that enabled her to handle that in the way she did. >> one other thing i felt was talking about the book and that you bring it out with -- there's perhaps a well-known incident in 199090 that wellesley college in massachusetts had invited alice walker, renowned author, writer, book may be the most famous color purple and she would do it and then somehow she cannot do it. then the president of wellesley calls up barbara bush and says we like you to come and do not do anything about alice walker but she found her own internet up and i want to talk about but one of the things -- i learned a great deal from this book that you might have guessed as a lifelong democrat is that i remember distinctly and it a
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workaholic newspaper and i remember one saturday it was sunday morning how this reading in the morning paper and this was a day after barbara bush had spoken and she said something that made a big impact and i want to read a passage and have susan talk about the incident. context is everything is changing for women in this period. opportunities are burgeoning and so forth and some women felt that she was not the best role model and that she had her own ideas. for your own ideas that something that i want to read. she says at the end of your life will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. you will regret time not spent with husband, child, friend or parent. i thought to myself one of many mornings that i worked after 11
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to talk and i said i need to pay attention to this woman. >> she accepted the invitation over the objections of the chief of staff to the women and wellesley would not be only to her which she dismissed and in her diary she lady said she should've listened to susan porter rose but she did accept it and when it was announced some of the graduating seniors and wellesley started a petition drive purchasing her choice as commencement speaker saying she was in not an appropriate role model in her famous derivative from the man she married and that was not the message they had earned in four years at wellesley and this became an international controversy and it sparked an incredible amount of publicity because it was a time when people were trying to sort out how do you balance job and family and what are the appropriate roles for women and shend became a lightning rod for debate that was going on in our
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culture and usually wounding to her. in public she was breezy about it and said people -- i love my life and i'm sure they'll love their life but in her diaries which to my astonishment she allowed me to read she was hurt. it was part of her complicated feelings toward the women's movement because in my view she was acted like a feminist and outspoken and had her own views and felt strongly about things but she never talked the talk of feminism and one of the five interviews i did with her in the final six months of her life i tried to get her to say she was a feminist and we went around and around and said what about feminism do you think you don't agree with? i finally gave up. i said you're being very slippery and she said yes, i am.
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i think that is because she thought the women's movement had dismissed and diminished women like her who chosen to stay home and raise a family that she dropped out of smith after freshman year, married george hw bush never held what people would call a traditional job although she had a lot of jobs that were very demanding and some of these issues we have noe sorted out but at the time she was marked and went back and looked at saturday night live depiction of barbara bush during tie 1980 camping and i have forgotten paper trader -- bill hartman pretrade her interact and it could not have been a less physically appealing version of barbara bush. they had one sketch where they had a pretty actress depict elizabeth dole going you done this and that and are you a
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wonder woman and then they interviewer turns to barbara bush and says and i hear you're making a rug. in fact, she loved to needlepoint and was needle putting a rug that her eight years to finish. and that hurt your feelings? she said, no, by the way, you're sitting on the rug. [laughter]r] she gave the speech at wellesley and was a huge hit and respectful to people with other opinions from respectful to changes in a lot of women's lives. the choices you made in her own efand the staff knew how nervous she had been about delivering the speech and they made a big banner that said it job well done and the staffers told me they would hold us up when she came back even if a been a catastrophe and they would place her but it was a triumph and t barbara bush who cried less than the other brushes and tears and
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writes she saw the. >> in 1980 when jerry brown was middle of a second term of governor george bush was contemplating running for president against ronald reagan and the democratic party and democratic party something was happening and i can say he's a lifelong democrat known as a circular firing squad and one would be hard-pressed prior to find an event where an incumbent was nonsense teddy roosevelt ran against his buddy, william howard taft in 1912 did incumbent is a challenger from his own party and jimmy carter had come in as a reformer after watergate and running against ted kennedy decided to run against him and the carter presidency had time for our time and they told teddy kennedy he
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should be running for president for a long time sincece brother had been assassinated in hard-pressed to find two people were different, one who grew up with a life of privilege and another who do not have indoor plumbing until he was nine years old. they do not like each other very much. tell us about that. >> thank you. thank you for the introduction. thank you for coming. to the la times for holiness and great presentation, it's amazing, i do see miriam when the sticky note contest. >> oh, i should say. let me make a point. both john and susan's books are available in audible and they both have good readers. that was the way i consumed their books because i have to do a lot of driving in southern california regrettably miriam's book is not in audible so i may sticky notes freak and i hope it will be at some point but t you will learn something that's why
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she won the sticky note contest. [laughter] >> i got the idea to write this book and was at a dnc meeting in washington dc ran across to political operatives who gone on two distinct careers in the democratic party started reminiscing about that 1980 convention and talking about how a national television jimmy carter, the president which is accepted the nomination, for second term taste teddy kennedy around the stage and teddy kennedy was essentially drunk on the stage in front of the entire country and carter was o affiliated. i said i don't know much about that and i can't believe that happened. they ran upstairs and ran into anita dunn, another political operative who worked for president obama, i remarked on the fact that i heard the story and what you know and she says yeah, i worked for carter and
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that fight for the democrats and split us personally and structurally for a decade because they do not win the white house till 1982. that was the beginning of a journey for me trying to deciding to write this book and realized no one had told the story because anyone thanks 1980 and thanks ronald reagan. the victors often win and decide and define history. i was intrigued by this and by when they got into writing this book what came as a surprise was the psychological profiles of each of these men in the ways they intersected and interacted and collided with each other and for this is the thing i enjoyed about the book and there are lots in it that has little import of historical weight but to be learning about these men and their differences was the most fun. for teddy kennedy i was fascinated by the fact that he
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had so much weight on his back driving him forward and he had his family history both his brothers obviously assassinated his older brother killed in war and all of the expectations of the democratic party to revive camelot and revive the dream off their glory days and yet he had gone into politics in part because of his father told him too. when he graduated law school uach the 1960 campaign he wanted to move out west and did not want to go into politics massachusetts but his father, patriarch, joseph p kennedy, told him to get your rear end up to massachusetts and run for your brother's senate seat in 1962. he dutifully obeyed and began a lifelong career in politics that was not his choice.
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you fast-forward to both his brothers being killed and he's being called to run for president and does he really want to run fors president? he did not really have a say in the matter. when you added the factor of chappaquiddick chapmans the year after bobby kennedy a shot you got this incredibly complex portrait of a man who still is expected to run for president but is fatally flawed and can't run into me too because of chappaquiddick and 76, we can run because it's still too soon and has personal issues and 1980 comes along and jimmy carter is dead in the water in the fall of 1979 the poll numbers show that kennedy is the choice of democrats to be their nominee in 19852: one. that is before the hostage crisis happens. and maybe we'll get to that but the door is so wide open for tended kennedy to run in 1980 i don't think there's any way he could have said no and he has
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pushed, pulled and dragged and maybe of his own volition pushed into running for president and i know never understood if he and i still don't to this day understand if you really ever wanted 20 president but he died four years before i started writing this and few of the kennedys would talk to me for this book. i tried to talk to his second widow, vicki kennedy and went to the opening of the edward m kennedy institute in boston on a cold, snowy day and there was nt mention of the institute that he ever meant for president. they had a quote from his speech at the convention in 1980 at the end of the speech we talked about the dream will never die but there's no mention that speech was at the end of the year in which he ran for president. when approached vicki to talk about this she demonstrated quite clearly in a poetic way she had no interest in talking
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to me for this. i think this experience for teddy kennedy was a necessary exorcism to potentially rid himself of these expectations te told me if you ever talked about it. i don't get the sense he did talk about it. his son, patrick,hentk who has t with mental illness and addiction and rent a book about that in his advocate on the issue has a publicly he feels like his father had a form of ptsd from the experiences of watching his brothers be shot. he did not talk about it. on the other hand they deal with carter shortly and then we get
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to that later but i just thinki jimmy carter is fascinating for all the ways he's misunderstood and underestimated. in short, the thing i can tell you that will make you laugh in the book and make you raise your eyebrows is hunter s tom and the famous journalist once said that jimmy carter was one of the three meanest people he had ever met along with mohammed ali and the founder of hells angels. [laughter] i think the experience of understanding the psychology of jimmy carter in the intense religiosity and self-righteousness and incredible drive to come from the dirt. mr. jeffrey had no running water and electricity to will himself to the naval academy and naval officer career when he went home after his father died somewhere to the bushes he did not consult
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with rosalynn basically made executive decision and she almost divorced him over that. to will himself into being a state senator and history of that is incredible and incredible corruption he experienced in southwest georgia that he thought to get to the state senate willing himself to the governorship and the presidency always never a member of the establishment and always an outsider. that's incredibly underestimated and who he is and what has made him an incredible president. >> speaking of x presidency is there's no second acts politics in both characters in the book and incredible second act. teddy kennedy amazing pledges record and jimmy carter the model and let's talk about that a bit. >> carter has reinvented the post- presidency and has mediated complex and hotspots
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across the world and eradicated disease. the guinea worm disease in africa is people disease the people get their steppingy and dirty water. i believe that's how it's transmitted and he has single-handedly through his work there almost completely eradicated to their work in africa and mediated complex in south america as well as over in europe and asia and when he started the center no one had really done anything that and since he has done that other ex- presidents have followed the model and set up a foundation for institute set up library and do some good with some have done it for expenses and others have been far less public facing like george w. bush he is not another and freelanced in north korea as jimmy carter did to the chagrin of the clinton but carter has set the template and model and been an inspiration to many people. as i mentioned kennedy went on
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to a great vegetative career and to take them another decade until he met vicki. they were married in the early '90s and there's a pretty jaw-dropping piece published in gq by michael kelly the deceased journalist and a 91, i believe, called ted kennedy on the rocks and many a story of very bad misbehavior by kennedy and chris dodd in french restaurants across the sea so he was in a state of -- and in the caribbe caribbean. >> yet, and in palm beach with his nephews. while he was in just not in a good place for yet another decade. in the last few decades' personal life stabilized and the accumulation of everything he accomplished in the senate career -- to me he is a model senator. in a day where we have some people who go to congress more to posture than anything and i just interviewed joseph kennedy
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orthe third who is now in congrs andki it was talking to talk to joe kennedy about his approach to being a member of congress because he is now in the majority for the first time in the house he's been in congress and he was clear eyed in a way i think it's passed down from knowing ted kennedy and knowing ted kennedy's legacy very clear eyed about what the job of the i corpsman is and isn't. and what his goal should be an is going for mental health legislation which is the part of the family legacy something you can get bipartisan by and by. he was clear i the republicans control the senate if you want pass legislation gone to work on things that have a good chance of getting to the public and senate where members in congress now to the institute as a platform for self promotion other than institution which
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they go to and work through. i think that is ted kennedy's legacy. >> it is so fascinating history of that is almost a race and it's a great embarrassment at his institute but interestingly his concession speech and the famous concession speech lives the one many ways and referred to the cause and doors and when he endorsed barack obama for president the last line of the endorsement was the dream lives on so he carried it forward and one of the things that i'd like the two of you to know about is the race is the issue of resiliency. the characters in the box had some extra ordinary experience and jerry brown when he was defeated by the senate in 19 into people know what.
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>> you went off into the wilderness but not only that but one for president for the third timeai they were not even allow him to speak at the convention in new york unless he agreed to endorse bill clinton which he refused to do so he spoke usual 20 minutes he was allotted because he had one of the primariesse and had delegates speak at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon and he was absolutely idready to be finished in 1992. to come back and moves to oakland which is the most improbable and all his friends who live in in san francisco and mary much a part of that were like oakland? what are you thinking. he saw an opportunity there and talks about the jesuit motto which he quotes latin lot but one of the jesuit models is do
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what you are doing and that is very much who he is and does not worry about what the next thing is and yet at the same time he plans out and when you moved to oakland he had the idea would run for mayor because oakland was a disaster and an opportunity there to do something in shape something in a way. obviously, second act as governor and youngest governor in california in modern times "-right-double-quote as governor and i had to kind of quick thoughts based on what you guys were saying one was about the role of women and how that has changed and how bernice lane brown was born in 1908 so a generation before our bush but was this incredible smart kid she tried to hide the fact that
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they eloped because you are not allowed to be a teacher if you were married. that world of 1930 when she was married and her oldest daughter, who is now 87, supersmart -- and that brown family tradition went to cal as many of them did and she is still better to this day about the fact that she was raised in a world where you get married and that was the 1950s ours and harriet world as she described it. but she was an really important piece of pat brown's political career and she was one educated and never went to college and would directly tonight was cool and was worried -- no one did
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not know how to pronounce words quickly sometimes and bernice was a important part of his formative education and behind the scenes and as a gracious first lady who entertained the new password to jerry brown 2.0, second time where he was married to the blood born in 1958 so that much later and had a formidable career and is a lawyer with an important corporate lawyer in important executive at the gap and give that up and quit became jerry's campaign manager when he ran for attorney general and every bit his partner in the first person to say he ishe successful in the first time around and much of it was due to and who kept him organized and he said if i do not do details and a nn does
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that. she was his chief advisor in the governor's office and you'd be hard-pressed to find a woman in california who had influence on the state in a lot of ways that she did. the other thing with that is thinking about the political dynasties of the bushes in kennedy's and brown's one of the things that distinguishes the brown's is they made their mark in california. although, by virtue of the by the california they were national singers but california is so big so i will say may know this but you live here many of you and la county has more people living in it than 43 states. that is just la. for the worlds -- in many ways, california is such an important influence on national policy
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that being the governor of california although it is not the number one job political job people want but they made their important contribution mark here in a way that they were able to because of the size and nature of convexity of california. >> perhaps someday there will be a brown library somewhere in california. in your book there is resiliency in a couple of really important respects. one personal and one political but i would say apparent of 32, 33 -year-old daughter that i totally don't on the bush family went through with their youngest daughter i think would be worth for you to talk about that. >> when i wrote the proposal for this book you had to do -- so that a publisher would buy it, you did samples and here is
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chapters i would write. i had the first chapter in the book proposal said the first chapter would be about the 1988 election the one that put george hw bush white house in a moment of great tram for him. when i wrote the first draft of this book i still had the 1988 campaign the first chapter and the chapter about the death of their daughter, it was wrong. usit just felt wrong. i wrote a second draft that moved robin's experience with robin to the first chapter in the 1988 campaign back to where it belonged chronologically because the 1980 campaign may have been the defining moment for george bush but the illness and death of robin was the defining moment for barbara bush and was 28 years oldth when her daughter who was three was diagnosed with leukemia and
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neither george nor barbara had heard of the disease. the pediatrician in midland, texas diagnosed it so there's nothing you can do, take, make her comfortable, tell no one. they did not choose to do that but they called george bush uncle who was a doctor sloan kettering in new york and the next day they flew to new york and began six months of really brutal treatments for robin an early form of chemotherapy. at that point no one had ever been cured of leukemia and noia recorded case of someone surviving the diagnosis of leukemia. the treatments -- barbara bush was the strongest one in the family are in robin's illness. she had a rule that no one could cry in front of robin and george bush struggled to abide by. there was a moment they brought when it was clear robin was going to die and they brought
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her home to midland to visit so she could be her two brothers and see friends and neighbors in midland and barbara bush told me with tears in her eyes all these decades later that when they did that some of her best friends refers to visit because the thought leukemia was catching. when barbara bush became such a force in changing attitudes toward people with hiv-aids she was looking at people with aids through the lens of robin with leukemia and the stigma that have been so painful for her during that time. there were other ways in which this experience with robin iaffected her views and made r her -- and made her harderr on the outside and had a survivor's armor. she no longer cared about how she looked or when she was born because she had survived the
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worst thing that could have happened to her. but it also made her or empathetic on the inside. george and barbara bush had privileged life up to that point. born into families with social bloodlines, families with money, opportunities and at that point george bush oil business was going well and beginning to think about going into politics but here is something beyond their control. money, status and powerful friends could do nothing to save robin. when they were at sloan kettering she got to know families who also have children with leukemia who in much worse circumstance than she was and this was a lesson she took through the rest of her life. the five times i interviewed her was in her home and houston and four of those times it was in a living room and one time in the den but in the living room there was a chair she would always sit in and it's worked with it and
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do needle pointing which is something she liked and in the corner of the living room, not a place of prominence, the place where she could see it o from te chair in which he sat was a portrait of robin. in reading her diaries she would note today is robin's birthday and today is the day robin died. how old would robin would be if she had been alive today and toward the end of her life she told her nephew thate this was the most joyous time of her life and this surprised her nephew because she was in her 90s in in declining health and she said why she said because soon i wile see robin again. >> thank you. i would like to know open the program up to questions and i do mean questions. not speeches. [laughter] so, yes, here in the front. >> [inaudible] [inaudible]
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[inaudible] >> i do say i never predict anything jerry brown will do given his career to date but hev will stay very involved in the key issues he has made his crusades in recent years and that would be climate change, nuclear proliferationere and i n is very concerned about the direction that the world is going and will try to do anything he can to address that. also, criminal justice.
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this has the, but he had a profound impact on the last eight years of the committal justice system in the state and in many ways and in a move towards a restorative justice and a more humanity in the present and i think he will continue -- he also said in december event in sacramento he said there was thousands of people there who been supporters and set remember, i have $15 million in my campaign account and i can spend that money on anything i want. be nice to me. i think he will get involved and there were several issues from the 2020 ballot coming up with efforts to rollback his initiatives, justice and be involved in that. i think he viewsme the ranch in colusa as a place that there is jokes about camp david west and the colusa institute but he sees
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it as a place that people can come together to try to work out problems and i think he will possibly formalize that. >> okay. thank you, miriam. yes, in the far back. getting you a microphone. susan, can you give us any insight into the first w campaign -- at that time the entire country thought jeb would be the one who would be running instead of the other guy. in the interview with barbara did that ever come up? >> do you know who told me about that? george w. bush. he said his mother said you cannot easily win. don't run. richards is unbeatable was the advice he ignored. george w bush started the
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passage into adulthood with years he did not seem to be on a very serious course when he drank too much and jeb bush, younger brother, was always the one was more serious. married first, went to work, study harder, interested in public policy so there was an expectation when both these men ran for governor in 19941 in georgia and one in texas that jeb was more likely to win but that is not what happened. george w1 and amazing victory and set them on a path to the presidency. jeb lost that year and won the first of two terms as governor of florida but it was a surprise to the bushes and to others that it was george w prevailed that night and that it was george w who made it to the white house. that is one of the things that
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makes barbara bush a unique figure in american history. two women who been both the wife of a president and the mother of a president. only one who survived to see her son entered the white house. abigail adams died six years before john quincy adams got into the white house. barbara bush waited not just with her husband but with her son. he ignored her when she saidn -- he ignored her again which you raise concerns about the course of the war in iraq when he was president. her husband, george hw bush, made about not to meddle in his son's presidency and not to give advice. he was almost never asked for advice and did not offer it. barbara bush made no such commas. [laughter] she went to her son and said you're listening too much to vice president cheney and donald rumsfeld. advice he did not take and
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advice that people wish he had. >> yes, sir. right ... we are going to get you a microphone also. >> one of the things that impressed me. >> can you speak into the microphone. >> at one time he asked for a big cut. [inaudible] then he refused to live in a mansion in the move to the bed.ment with just one >> this is true and his frugality is well-known. he would say i am cheap. that is how he cared or iced
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himself and a lot of it goes back to the seminary and his experience at the young age of living in the aesthetic image thatat is accurate and it was gd politics for him in many ways. it's hard to get them to buy a new suit because he'll say i have a h suit and what do i need another one for? ii think in many ways his contribution to california right now is having come and after arnold schwarzenegger facing a 26 billion-dollar with a b deficit and writing about it being ungovernable. in many ways restoring a sense of public confidence in government is very o important o him. >> we have time for one more
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question. right here. >> can you address the policy differences? >> shura and as chris was talking about barbara bush's personal experience shaping her public policy views ted kennedy had a lifelong passion for health care and was pushing for national health care in the late 70s. part of that was because his family had issues with health care. his sister rosemary had a horrible experience with a lobotomy which was a decision by the father. but the formative experience again was being in the hospital with his son teddy jr. when he contracted cancer and ultimately had to have his leg amputated.
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he spent time in the hospital with other family members who were in similar circumstances but less well off. that was what was shaping his drive for national health care. carter was interested in national health care in the 76 campaign and promised kennedy that they would make it a priority once he got into office it was on the back werner. that is probably the ideological policy between them. i wouldo say in the late 70s inflation would was out of control and carter was interested in cutting government spending trying to rein it in diand ultimately did put paul volcker at the fed to cut the money supply. kennedy was interested in mitigating the impacts on the
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working class and the poor for inflation. those are the two big policies. >> i would like to thank all the panelists and thanknc all of you for coming. i urge you to buy the books. you will learn a lot in something else, read. be skeptical. [applause] you are all part of a cohort of people. we have to fight. some people are trying to force it on us. thank you all. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> host: we p


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