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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 15, 2015 6:00am-8:01am EDT

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i said, but grand dad, what if you lost? he said, well, how's your weight coming along. >> both parties in 1952 wanted him to be their nominee. >> this is true. this is sort of hard to imagine now, isn't it? it is impossible to imagine. because they came out of military circles, they had a very i wouldn't say bipartisan way of thinking about themselves but a non-partisan way. our grandmother would say i don't want to know anything about what party people are from when they come to the white house. they're in america's home. it was often perceived she didn't know that much about politics. she knew plenty about politics. she didn't just want any part of it at the white house. i think it goes to show how much
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time has gone by, wouldn't you say? >> i had read from the book by gene edwards smith he would have easily gone to the u.s. naval academy, but he was accepted at west point. he graduated 61st in a class of 164, so this is really open-ended to any one of you. he was a pretty average student. >> this is what made getting an a-minus very difficult. >> now we know the rest of the story. >> i do know he attended the general staff command college at leavenworth and he graduated first in his class on that one. he said that that was what really -- it was his paradigm shift to make the army and leadership his career. prior to that, of course, we all know that he applied to
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annapolis first and it was for the free education because they came from very humble beginnings. then he was too old because he worked to put his brother through school. annapolis turned him down and he applied to west point and got that, so he wasn't really sure about what direction he wanted his career to take until he went to leavenworth. >> i would add a rather intriguing factoid here. if you look at america's great generals, very, very few of them graduated at the top of their class. -- i've done a little study of this. most of them come right out of the middle of the class. that includes civil war generals as well as generals during world war ii. there are some extraordinary exceptions, of course, douglas ma mcarthur being one of them. some of them had rather
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lackluster disciplinary records too. ike was one of them. way, way at the bottom on discipline. strangely, the army tries to train people to follow orders, but they also like people who ask questions. it's kind of ironic. i just throw that out there, but certainly by the time he got to commander general staff school he was expecting more of himself than what he produced at various times at west point. >> he was known for his pranks from time to time. >> oh, yes. there's a famous moment where he turns up in dress jacket. apparently, he was only wearing the jacket. i think that got him a few walks around the guard duty there maybe for a long time. >> anne eisenhower, when you went to see your grandfather, you can't talk about dwight eisenhower without talking about
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mamie. what was she like? >> she was quite wonderful. >> by the way, what did you call her? >> we called her mimi. she was quite wonderful, very opinionated. didn't like you having a big difference of opinion, but she was the most loving person and always on your side. she was absolutely amazing and she was a character. she just was wonderful. >> do each of you have a favorite mamie eisenhower story? >> i know mary has lots of mamie eisenhower stories, but she had these extraordinary china blue eyes and they positively sparkled. she had the most magnificent eyes and glorious skin.
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i said, mimi, you make me so mad. without missing a beat, she very calmly said angry, darling. mad means you've lost your mind. >> if i may tell a story, which is a mary story, but she may be too little to remember. she was going to school in pennsylvania and had a teacher that was giving her a very hard time. mimi came over. she was going to go to some concert. somehow this teacher wanted to meet mimi. he was toast by the time she finished with him. she always flirted with her eyes. she had this man eating out of her hand. i don't think mary ever had a problem again after that. >> yeah, i was in a play "fiddler on the roof." it was my night. she was coming to, of course,
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support me. he was -- we're going to stop in the middle of intermission and we're going to give her a dozen roses. she saw the look on my face when i was telling her about it. she said i'm not going, but she had him over to my parents' house for ice tea. anne's right. she very diplomatically and sweetly pulverized the man. >> steve, could i add one thing about this? she had an extraordinary ability to also serve this role diplomatically and in other ways. she could charm the socks off anybody. many of you know about eisenhower's occasionally strained relations with field marshal bernard montgomery during world war ii. >> we heard about that. >> yeah, i think they're still talking about that. she thought he was adorable. she made it her business to think he was adorable.
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she told me once of all her house guests, he was her favorite. she managed to tease out of this man some humor. he came to visit the white house. he looked around and said it's not buckingham palace, to which mamie batted those spectacular blue eyes and said, thank goodness for that. >> i do want to talk about d-day and his leadership in the military, but we're here in gettysburg, pennsylvania. why did he decide to come here after he left the white house? >> i think he was stationed here early on in his career and they liked the town. and i believe that they wanted the farm because of his roots in kansas. >> this is a great story that i read from your brother david eisenhower. the book is called "going home to glory."
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imagine this. on january 20th, 1961, a bitter cold day in which john f. kennedy was sworn in, dwight d. eisenhower and his wife hopped into a 1955 chrysler. one secret service agent in front of them. they pulled into the house and their retiring began. it seems to different from 1961 to where we are today. >> it was my father who actually did the driving because ike didn't have his driver's license yet. he was expected to go get his driver's license. i would add that ike was really a country boy and he loved the outdoors. and my grandmother, our grandmother, came from denver, colorado and was a bit of debutante. she didn't like the outdoors very much, so she thought there was some romance to this two up, two down farmhouse they bought.
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she used to say she had one massage a week and that's all the exercise she needed. in any case, they had some great friends named george and mary allen. this was a huge plus because not only could i come back to gettysburg, but mamie had her pal mary allen down the road. >> i think also the proximity to washington. they were in the country and still accessible to washington. i think that was a big, big thing. if i may add one story, barbara walters interviewed my grandparents i believe it was for the 50th anniversary. barbara walters turned to my grandfather and said, does mamie enjoy the outdoors in the summer. and he sort of chuckled and he said, she certainly does. she sits on the air-conditioned glass porch and looks out and enjoys every bit of it. >> did he ever talk to you about
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d-day? >> well, i can tell you i used to -- we were at an elementary school. occasionally i would walk from the school to the gettysburg campus where he had an office as he was writing his memoirs. on one occasion, i went into the office. in an ante room at the back he had a huge map of one of the most famous of the d-day pictures with all the ships and barrage balloons. it's a famous iconic picture. i asked him about it. if you opened it up, there were these maps you could pull down. i got a little bit of a primer on this. i was way too young, of course, but i think my sisters will absolutely agree that we saw the documentary "crusade in europe"
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based on his memoir. how many times did we see that? three, four? maybe five times? certainly by the time we became adults, we were well familiarized with his story. >> what does his leadership tell you about that period in american history for either one of you? >> in 1990, when he would have been 100, we had a series of events. there's a famous picture of him with the troops the night before, and he's looking at number 23 was how i knew him because he had that picture on his desk and daddy had that picture on his desk too. i always wondered who number 23 was. i met number 23 aboard the u.s.s. eisenhower. his name was wally strobel.
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i said, what in the world was he saying to you because that was the night he was trying to make everybody comfortable about deploying the next day and that kind of thing. he said, well, he might have been asking me about the fishing in saginaw. that's what this intense look is. >> it's fly fishing. >> it's fly fishing. >> to answer your earlier question, once upon a time now as a grownup i saw my brother on tv giving an interview and the question was did your father and your grandfather talk a lot about world war ii in front of you. he said, oh, no, never. i picked up the phone and immediately called my father. i said we need a reality check here. my memory is he talked about it all the time. he laughed and he said, anne, you have to understand. david didn't get enough. we talked about it once in a
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while because david really loved the subject he wanted to hear more. you didn't want to hear more. the one time you heard us it was probably too much. >> it's fascinating. my own father was part of the second wave of the d-day invasion. >> is that right? >> he didn't talk about it though. dwight eisenhower had a ready-made political base in 1952 because 12 million men whom he had led, most of them were going to support dwight d. eisenhower. >> i had the enormous privilege of taking my salt group to normandy this last year. we studied the grand strategy of world war ii and the operational strategy, and we studied leadership and followership and all those things. when you're at the cemetery, the thing that is really, really striking is that it is -- the famous cemetery, it's a cemetery
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of kids. they're kids in that cemetery. you know what, i have to tell you this trip was so moving to me and how thrilled i was our provost came with our group. but there i was and really for the first time in my whole life i think i realized what my grandfather's burden had been. we heard all about it. we heard all about the operations about it. maybe i never got enough. i think that's when i first understood the burden. he lost a child. he and my grandparents lost a child at the age of 3. i mean, this is a cemetery of kids, and that's how tough war is. aren't we honored to have people who worked -- yes, that's right. supreme headquarters allied expeditionary force. >> motivation is the art of
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getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. brilliant. did you want to respond to that too? >> well, i think he was right and i think that was part of the whole people to people movement. i think the personal diplomacy and that kind of thing -- >> don't you find it ironic that it was created on september 11th, 1956? >> i did. i guess that had been forgotten within the organization. it was about seven years after i was working there. i know what it was. it was the 50th anniversary of people to people. we looked at the record, and of course there's a great footage of his speech when he was launching. it was september 11th, 1956. the ironic part about it is people to people was created as a peaceable way to combat the cold war.
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we found it almost eerie. >> steve, can i add something to that? don't you think that's something we should have today? we were talking about the political situation earlier. wouldn't it be extraordinary if somebody thought their job in leadership was to make the other side feel like they wanted to do this for the country? this is where you see a very, very different leadership style between then and now and especially dwight eisenhower's brand of leadership. >> let's be honest -- [ applause ] a very different republican party back in the 1950s. >> yes. >> did he enjoy the presidency? >> did he what? >> did he enjoy the presidency? did he enjoy his eight years in washington? >> i don't think enjoyment would be the word. i think you enjoy being president much more nowadays than you did back then. >> why? >> because nowadays there's
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perks like the rock stars stop by and things like that, but i think he saw it not as a job whether or not he enjoyed it or not as it was his duty. he was elected president, and his job was to achieve certain goals and he worked at it, concentrated on it. he was not the type of man to sit back and say, do i like what i'm doing stay. just wasn't the type. >> the creation of the interstate highway system, the development of nasa. he placed the arkansas national guard under federal control. he won the praise of martin luther king of being resolute. we went from 48 to 50 states. alaska and hawaii were entered into the union and he ended the korean war. >> he modernized our
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infrastructure and balanced the budget three times in eight years, which is really an extraordinary part of that record. and left office with a budget surplus for his successor. >> if i can jump in, there's kind of a fun story. that same trip when he would have been 100 years old, a lot of us -- about five or six people who were in the government at the time he was president were along. one of them was the assistant secretary of the treasury. my dad went to bed early one night and the rest of us just kind of hung out. they were really telling stories on grand dad. it was like i had no idea. >> do tell. >> one of the stories was great. it was the assistant secretary. he said that he got this phone call at 2:00 in the morning.
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apparently gr lly grand dad hadp since like 11:30 was pacing. inflation was a half a percent last month. what are you going to do about it? he said we'll talk about in the morning. can we go to bed, mr. president? >> i would just like to add one thing. the question of civil rights comes up a lot. my grandfather was very active in that area not the way it maybe was later on, but he desegregated washington, he desegregated the military. he is the only president who has had an african-american pall bearer who was with him during the war till his death. that says a lot.
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>> your grandfather spent 16 years as a major in the army and he changed the policy in the military. you're up for two promotions. you're up or you're out. up until 1953, the president would shake hands at the military academies for the top 10% of the class and then would sit down. he said if i'm going to direct these, i'm going to shake hands with each and every one of them, so talk about that. >> that would be typical of the style of his leadership that he brought to the war. he spent an enormous amount of time meeting with as many troops as he could before they were deployed. it's an extraordinary number. this is british troops, american troops, and other allies that fought with us. and i think he saw it as a way to motivate people, to remind
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people that were all part of the same cause, the same team. >> he said in preparing for battle, i've always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. susan? >> seems logical to me. the reason you go through these plans is so you know exactly what the elements of the strategy are. for instance, if you go to national defense university, you'll see the plans for operation neptune, this is the amphibious landing on d-day, are about this thick. the reason you go through all that detail is you have some idea of what has to be thought through. then, of course, once you hit the beach or once you actually engage in battle, then much changes and it changes very
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quickly, but at least you know what the general plan is. this agility, this capacity of every fighting man to understand what we were trying to establish, is the reason we won that war because the other side was ruled by a dictator. what went on the dictator's head is what was going to happen and nobody knew what they were trying to accomplish on any given occasion. >> first, real global president. he traveled because of the jet age. he is the first president to have lived on three continents. how did that shape his world view? >> i don't know how it shaped his, but it certainly shaped mine. when i went to -- when i was studying languages in high school, we moved at one point and the only language that was
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offered was french. and he said, no, no, no. that can't happen. we have an entire continent below us. you have to learn spanish. he cut a deal with the school that i could go to the local university to learn spanish and that happened. i later got married and moved to south america, so i really could have used the french, but he was really very global thinking. as you say, he did live on three continents. a good portion of his life was outside of the country. he could see that the world was rapidly change iing. and certainly as grandchildren, he tried to prepare us for it. >> he talked a lot about the integrity. he said the supreme quality of leadership is integrity. without it, there would be no success whether it is on the
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football field or in the office. >> he drove that home to us. he had a major hand in raising us. he could almost -- not really, but almost tolerate you sassing, but do not lie to him. if he found out -- that was the wrath. he was emphatic about integrity even within the family. >> a great eisenhower quote from the presidency, a society that values its privileges over its principles soon loses both. >> yeah. yeah, that's a good one. >> his vice president was richard nixon. what was the relationship between these two men? >> business. >> that was it? >> yeah. >> that famous quote in 1960, if you give me a week, i'll think about it. >> a little unfair. >> can you explain the back story? >> the reason it's unfair is he had a weekly press conference. that's already such -- there's
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an exclamation point behind that since we don't have weekly press conferences anymore. the question as i understand it was the last question that was asked as he was walking out of the room. he was suggesting he would take up the question the next week. to be reading a relationship by various things said at various times really probably isn't fair. i would just say two things. probably you've got some other impressions. richard nixon was quite a young man. he was a young vice president. and also our grandparents didn't really mix business and pleasure. you didn't see a lot of his associates around at dinner or going to white house movies or anything like that, so i think that's another indication. but i think it is fair to say that nixon was used a lot as a vice president, especially overseas in latin america and in
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the soviet union. but the fact that they didn't have a relationship outside of business is i don't think the way we'd have to examine that subject. >> you're both shaking your heads, so go ahead. >> i want to emphasize that did change later, especially when my brother got involved with nixon's daughter. they were instant family. when grand dad had passed away, the nixons were very, very good to my grandmother. she said almost embarrassingly took good care of her. they really did become family eventually, but during the presidency it was just strictly business. >> i want to broach one very touchy subject, so please bear with me. it's camp david. >> sore subject. >> yeah. >> actually, i have an explanation for that. grand dad was very fair. if one of us got something, the
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others got something, right? i'm the youngest, right? camp david was named for my brother, and then a large presidential yacht was named anne. a little more modest was the susan elaine. >> the susie e. >> and the motor boat was the mary jean. >> you all got something. >> the largest, the medium, and the motor boat all lined up with all of us on the back. obviously, we couldn't put camp david there. >> then we'd still have the barbara anne. >> the -- i might have had the
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motor boat, but i caught more fish. >> it was known has shangri la when roosevelt was in the white house. >> i don't know why grand dad changed it, but he did. the big mystery is why kennedy didn't change it. he did change barbara anne. i doubt anybody will ever change it. >> the answer to anne's question is the spirit of camp david a. >> there is an iconic photograph of your grandfather with president john kennedy at camp dav david. what was the relationship like between these two presidents? >> i think kennedy had a lot of
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respect for grand dad. he consulted with him a lot, particularly about cuba. i'm sure it was mutual because grand dad always engaged him. >> i think you have to look at it again as the role of ex-presidents then. it was to leave office and go off and do the -- live the next chapter of your life unless you're called upon. to underscore mary's point, he did get called upon, but it wasn't like they were talking all the time or they even had a relationship before. they didn't know each other particularly before that inauguration. >> just a funny aside, someone gave me a picture later on in life maybe 20 years later, 20 years ago, which is the famous picture of john john on the knee
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hole in the oval offenice. we're playing around the knee hole of the desk. sort of fun. >> is it true that president kennedy complained that the golf cleats had damaged the floor in the oval office? >> i think he did, but i think he was, i don't know, mistaken. grand dad was -- maybe not. i don't know. >> i'm trying to find out if this is an urban myth or not. >> some of the students are going to walk around. if you have questions, we'll get to them in about five or ten minutes. sherman adams, how important was he to the eisenhower presidency and the creation of this new position, a military-like position, the white house chief of staff? >> i think it is well underestimated how much eisenhower brought his own management touch to the white house. certainly the national security
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council apparatus was defined by eisenhower was a very unique coordinating body that later ended with the kennedy administration. this is the idea that the nsc would serve as a coordinating role to make sure what was decided at the cabinet level in policy was actually implemented by those who are set to carry out the decisions. today, nobody's really sure. whenever i hear somebody say, well,you know how washington works, i always want to say, do you know how washington works? you can probably trace how that period worked with gray areas than you can today. >> you also talked about news conferences. john kennedy the first to have live televised news conferences, but in the 1950s, we saw the explosion of network television
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from the early 50s until the end of his presidency, so how did he use television during his presidency? >> well, he was the first television president really. in the sense it didn't explode in the same way after kennedy came onto the scene, but much of his -- much of the great moments were televised in the 1950s. i don't know. it's hard to know what impact television had, but he had such a magnetic way about him. his west point yearbook described him as big as life and twice as natural, and he really was. as a kid you knew that. it came through on television and it came through in crowds. >> he spoke at my high school graduation. >> mine too. >> it was rather upsetting for
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me because a lot of the girls did not want him to speak because they felt he would take away from their day. they really made my life quite miserable. going into graduation, i was very upset. he gave a speech and i zeroed out. he made a statement. he said, if you've heard nothing of what i've said today, always remember one thing. ankles will always be needed, but knees will always be knobby. the room collapsed. the girls who had the mini skirts up to here, the ones who criticized him for coming to the school were wrapped around his finger. it was the first time i had ever been in sort of a public
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situation and realized how important he was. to see it firsthand was absolutely amazing. >> mary and i were at a school called west town. he came to speak at our school as well. it was in the middle of the vietnam war, and west town school was a quaker school. most of the students there were conscientious objectors. you can imagine this great military figure comes to a gathering like this. he got vicious questions from our fellow students, and then the big man on campus, the big soccer star, because they don't play football at west point, raised his hand and said i gather you were sidelined from his football career. what was that like? he lit up.
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he took up smoking. he had the whole school eating out of his hand. back to your question, i'm sure that that kind of emotional intelligence with crowds, it worked on television as well. >> and to add to that that specific day, i was in the sixth grade and susie was a junior or a senior. >> sophomore. >> i can't do the math. >> can't do the math right. >> my class was allowed to peake questions. this guy danny -- and if he is watching, i apologize. he raised his hand and said what was it like to be president? i thought shoot me now.
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he took that to be as important as the last question he just asked and he gave him a complete description and set it's everything from meeting with other heads of state to the boy scouts. description, said it's everything from meeting with other heads of states to the boy scouts. >> the boy scouts. that's right. that's exactly what he said. >> he made danny feel very important and like he'd real asked an important question. and it went through my mind thao i thought that was just as important as the rest of the stuff to him. >> did he have a sense of humoro >> no. >> wait, wait. >> he had a sense of humor in a kind of ironic way. my fa one of my favorite stories . really takes place at penn state, and i was just recently at penn state to help mark the 50th anniversary -- sorry, the
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60 of their nuclear research reactor. and it was at penn state he went up to give the commencement address and also was there when the nuclear reactor went critical. and this was an exciting time as the first university research s reactor in the united anyway, it was rain iing off ant on all day. his brother was president of out penn state. and the president was going to give the commencement address, and he was extremely worried. milton was very worried about the weather, whether it would have to be moved inside or whether it would be outside where they could accommodate many other people. w so he calls up ike on the sai telephone, what are we going tov do about this?rried should we move the crowd in? stay outside? i said, listen, milton, i haven't worried about the weather since june 6, 1944. >> you laughed when i asked the question so is there a story behind that, his sense of humor? >> well, i think, like susie
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said, i think it was more of a subtle sense of humor. i'm reminded of when he taught me how to ride. i think i was about 5 and we were at the farm in gettysburg. he had six horses, right?hetic and he put me on the biggest nao stable. it was kind of pathetic because i was so small that they had to double the stirrups to get my feet into them. and it was english so there was nothing to hang on to. so he gives me all these e saidn instructions. he says, you hold the reins this way to turn left and to turn right. never let the horse make, you know, think you're afraid.did yo grip withu your knees and turn your toes in, and he just gave me thesa whole gamut. did you understand that? i said,d yeah. he said, repeat it back. so i did. b said, good, right on the
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horse's back end. and i ended up on the horse's neck but not the ground, so i was very proud of myself. >> a couple of good questions and we'll get questions from all of you.what' where does the name eisenhower come from? what's the genealogy of the name? >> german. >> how did he get ike? >> it was a family nickname. there were lots of ikes in the eisenhowers. and he's the only one that carried it through to adulthood and kept it. >> was he a religious man? >> he was a spiritual man. >> you'd appreciate this, steve. he, as far as i know, is the only president elected without declaring what his religion was. he became a presbyterian after he was elected president of thes united states. >> when he made a decision, ' whatever the decision happened to be, did he second-guess himself? >> i don't think so.
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>> it boils down to the how's your weight question? never he never entertained that he would lose if he was running. he never second-guessed himself, i don't think. >> i'll tell you ho this. our father, john eisenhower, the person aside from mamie who was closest to granddad than anybody else said one of his real genius in a lot of ways he learned from his mistakes but he didn't replay the tape. you have to keep moving on. finding yourself in a continuous cycle of self-doubt. dow >> neither a wise man nor a n: brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. >> wow. i haven't heard that one before. that's a good one. l
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>> i haven't heardet it either.h i'm glad i didn't hear it. >> one of the most famous speeches he ever delivered, january 17, 1961. and this is a question from a participant talking about the industrial complex. what would he think about it today? and how significant was that speech? and why are we still talking abouy-tin it today? >> there are two things about that speech. one is the military industrial complex and, also, the other is the last paragraph. it's very interesting. i think in terms of to date, the world is so different today. it's hard to say what he would think. a i know that he called the military and the technology awesome and he didn't mean it like awesome. he meant it like awesome. >> biblical accepts of the worda >> that's right.
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and that last paragraph is a te prayer. the very last line was that theo world be brought together by the finding force of love. i think he was showing his, you know, kind of what he had learned throughout his military confrontations and the things oe that kind of haunted the he f really wanted everybody tor come i always called him the first at this pointy. >> you know, i think it's an er. extraordinarily important i think it will continue tono be talked about a reread, not just military industrial complex but where he warns the nation about mortgaging the assets of future generations. and he calls on the country to avoid taking the easy way out, o basically, to paraphrase it, to squander the resources of future
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generations. the militaryt industrial compl, i'll just be direct with you, wh it's alive and well. and it was an important speech because here was a military man who had the compaapacity to exa the situation and without disrespect to his colleagues to acknowledge that the unwarranted influence of a permanent military establishment, which he acknowledged was going to be required during the cold war.tef was something that could threaten our democracy if not for an alert and knowledgeable citizenry. and this is what we're trying to do here through the eisenhower n institute is toow bring about a capacity to understand how important being alert and more t knowledgeable is in a democracy. one of our great challenges today. >> of course he, more than anyone, as you just indicated, f in a very unique position to tiw talk about theit military, he h a lot of frustrations with the
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army, despite his leadership role.mbrose if any w of you want to talk abt that, stephen ambrose writes about it. mary jean smith writes about his own angst when he was moving up the ranks. >> you can tell i'm a hings washingtonian here. i just was, you know, probably one of the greatest things in my life was to have an office next to general goodpastor for every bit of five years. maybe longer than that. he was granddad's day-to-day security person during the white house years. he also worked for george marshall, by the way, too. but he told me once that he was standing in the oval office and the defense appropriations bill was put on the president's desk. and he's look iing through this y what trough it line by line. as only a five-star general whuld.
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he knew exactly what they were talking about, what the requests were. he looked up, said god help thio country when someone is the president who doesn't know the military as well as i do. and that's not to say that we shouldn't have a strong we should indeed but he had this capacity to do what was necessary to do the job and what was pork or unnecessary expenditures. >> and this is directed to you : as a world class interior designer. >> i went to a dinner in new york once upon a time. you d typical new york dinner where you're introduced to somebody and they don'tin hear your namew and you don't hear theirs either n. this particular case i happened to know who the woman was.emba i was younger and i just knew who she was. we got on the subject of embassies in the united states c and she said, well, i really don't think that the a.
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ambassador's wife should be the ed to decorate personal -- the public rooms. and i said, i totally h i just saw x, y, z embassy and you wouldn't have believed whate they did to th and she said, i would take it one step farther. i don't think the first lady should be allowed to decorate the public rooms of the white od house. she said look at what mamie eisenhower did. she called in bee altman. okay.rator another deep breath. they were actually honoring klemm that night, the curator of the white house. and i didn't say anything to her.en she did turn a little pale when i was asked to come up and cut the birthday cake.ken back afterwards i wrote and said, yos know, i was. taken aback by thi comment. i do not know the facts.have c can you fill me in? i said my understanding, she never would have called in bea
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altman. and of course this was very sticky because the kennedys, of course, used top decorators and everything was french. so this was an ego thing. you're right. your grandmother did not call in bea altman because bess truman called them in when they he startd the white i took this letter and sent it off to myho dear friend.g but it was interesting. he told me at the same time she started the antiques program in the white house. she had a big influence. she did what she because there was no budget. >> worth noting that mamie desperately wanted to get the bea altman furniture out of the white house but ike said we're e going to. balance this budget ad
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we're not going to do it by redecorating the white house. >> and this is with all due respect to bea altman. >> how did your grandmother get the name mamie? >> they all had nicknames. >> it was her given name.bout fm >> it was her given name. >> this is fun family stories. some great questions so thank you very much. >> could you talk about vacations growing up? >> christmas, thanksgiving, easter, all of the china and t-r silver would be put on the tables. we were probably the only 3, 5, and 8-year-olds that knew how to use finger bowls. >> it really came in handy. >> my grandmother really loved w to celebrate the they were very important to us. i think they continue to be for
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that reason. >> another one.this is can you share your most favorita birthday gift from your granddad? bill, thank you for the question. do you have a favorite and do you still have the present?s >> mine is a wooden and silver s dressing semirror, and i still have it. it's on my dresser to this day. i think i was 5, 6. it was in california. >> this wasn't a birthday gift -- well, two things real quick on -- well, i'll keep it to one, how is that? i won a little -- like mary, i had riding lessons, too. it actually stuck with me. i started participating in some horse shows. i was in a walk/trot class at ag horse show, and i actually won a trophy.i don'
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it was this big, about that high, and then it disappeared. and about, i don't know, i guess about a month later it reappeared, and granddad presenp it had to me. he had take then dinky little cup and put it on a pedestal. had it put on a top pedestal. so the pedestal was about this high and the dinky little cup it sitting right on top. so that i have dinky little cup and its pedestal at my house as a prized possession. >> do you have a favorite present? >> h me gave me a -- it looks liket ha a gold coin, but it has a little thing that you press and then up pops a watch and it was given tt him by the crew of the mayfloweo when they did the re-enactment. it's dedicated to president dwight d. eisenhower and such and such a date. and then underneath it he dedicates it to me, and the date. >> he liked to given out a lot
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of medals, did he not? pre-presidential award. >> i think this is a thing a lot of books, for instance, talk about his passionate nature and sometimes discuss his nature. the one missing piece in a lot e of this was this kind of sweetness we've just described. i'd like to tell you one other y thing that might surprise you but i only found out years latee because i was really the one who ended up being responsible for . these horses in his stables. he took up horse breeding actual ly at the end of his career as gentleman farmer. and two foals were produced. one named sassy sue.-- i hope that wasn't directed at me. and the other was named kainai s and was a lovely animal.
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one day later disappeared. years ago i found out what happened.ttys granddad had a secretary who unexpectedly died and he discovered the deceased secretary's daughter wanted very much to have a horse. and he gave her the horse. it's called the ike files, this book. after all those years i found out he gave that foal to another little girl my age.ev >> great story. between his army years and did e presidency served as president of columbia university. did he enjoy that time at columbia? >> i think he enjoyed columbia. i actually heard michael severn discuss this at one point, who
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was later president of columbia apparently columbia hired him knowing he was not going to be the typical president of columbia university. he took a leave of absence to go to nato so he was not there for the full time, and then when he came back, he ran for president. but, again, i'm not sure granddad looked at any job he did as enjoyment.n he i think he would take a job . based on whether or not it would be fulfilling to him and then he had a job to he did >> it was duty? >> yes, absolutely. >> susan, you talked about the smoking and there's a question . here. did your grandfather try to quit smoking? because that did contribute to his health. >> oh, it did actually. we know so much more about thise now. actually our honored guests here
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can confirm the fact that ike smoked a lot of cigarettes during world war ii. there are estimates between e three and four packs. you see pictures of him always t with a h cigarette in his hand pretty much. the and i think we can give him a pass for that if it helped him win the war.e went he got a bad case of bronchitis: and you ought to quit. he was having a hard time doing it and he did it. take he went cold turkey. >> he also said he might take it back up again but he'd never quit again because it was hell.n >> but when asked how he ended up giving up cold turkey, he said he gave himself an order i tried giving myself an order and it didn't work at all. >> on his birthday, 70th turned birthday, we were in the white house in the private dining room, and it was just us.
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he turned to my grandmother and he said don't you think after mu all these years ich could have e cigaret cigarette? she had such a conniption fit that he didn't have it. he was still wanting it that many years later. >> what wasanan it like to be a young girl at the white house with your grandparents? >> it was totally normal.t he became president when i was 4 years old. i didn't know anything different. it was safe, it was wonderful, granddad is handle the world. it was just great. >> so your favorite white house memory, do you all have one? >> i do. >> go ahead 67. he >> p christmas one year. it's kind of what do you give y the president of the united states for christmas? he has everything, right?my m >> and did you spend it at camp david or at the white house? >> no, at the white house. my mother decided to throw a christmas pageant for him.
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she was very clever. she cut sheets out and did cardboard angel wings and put garland on the neck and then foh halos she took coat hangers and put garland on the coat hangersw and putit them on our heads and strung them with lights and ey r attached them to a "d" battery with a button on the bottom that we could push and the halos would light up. one of my favorite things -- of course i was always in the reard because i was the youngest. she did it by height. i remember going through the third floor -- rather, the out second floor -- it goes ground, first, second. and with all the lights out, there was a huge corridor and we were singing "silent night" and we ta had our littled halos lit up ar
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all of that when the pageant was over he gave us a standing ovation, came running over and gave each of us a dollar. said it was much less expensive than the theater.bein >> i would like to follow this up. anne and i have a funny story between us about the white house being normal. w i must say we were so extraordinarily lucky to grow up here in gettysburg, pennsylvania, because our being classmates didn't think it wasf particularly strange or at least didn't raise it that we were being followed around by secret servicemen. and we had them, of course, until the end of his t the administration. anne and i laugh about the time in alexandria before we moved to gettysburg that we had decided to go running through the woods to one of our friend's houses and two large men -- took a shortcut. >> and these two large men were running along behind us. and one of the neighbors was not quite cottoned on to this called
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the cops. these two little girls are being pursued through the woods by two grown men and when the cops ann: arrive, all the badges are out. >> anne, it's your turn. >> favorite memory of the white house -- there were many. because i was a bit older -- ale >> but not the oldest grandchild. >> not the oldest. watching the -- we were alloweds to. sit on the stairs and watch the progression of people into the state dining room on the state dinners when dignitaries would come. there were some ctriincredible e moments like that. fun memories, driving our sudd electric car in the basement and then all of a sudden all the tourists, all the people are going to do the tour of the white house are standing there and they're staring at us and we're sort of, you know, what do you do? >> and i never got a turn on that car, i might add. >> there were just lots of
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incredible experiences. one of the most enjoyable was -- and it's a great story, actually. my mother went out -- my parents went out one night and left us, you know,ers s at the white hou. and the butlers were supposed to take care of us, and they served us unbelievable things, great steak and ice cream and french d fries and just everything. given and so when my mother got home e she asked what they had given us for dinner. and he gave her the list of all? this horrible stuff. and she said, how could you do that?ade and he said mrs. eisenhower gavp us the order when she went out that the grandchildren were to be made happy. we had wonderful meals there. the staff was absolutely incredible. it was absolutely -- >> of that incredible staff, one was jean allen, the subject of t the movie "the butler."
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the movie "the butler" was inspired by be he had one of the greatest smiles i've ever seen a human being >> how often did you go back to the white house or have you been back since your grandfather left, and how has that felt to each of you? >> well, interior designers are not invited back very often. however, lady bird johnsoned wa the first person who decided that once you've lived in the house it becomes very personal to you. and she invited everybody who had ever livedth in the white house back for tea. and, oh, there are some ograph photographs that are absolutely amazing. that was the first time. i went back again because she s had -- ien don't know how it tw happened, but she invited my senior class for tea at the bact white house. i'm not sure who used my name, how they did it. susan it just happened.wh susan and i went when mrs. oba'e
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did a b mothers day lunch. i've been back actually very little. >> we all went back in '90 on granddad's centennial. >> i feel very fortunate because i'm a of washingtonian, you kno. i've had the opportunity to be there on a number of additional occasions, but it's funny. you asked what does it feel like? first of all, they still use the same floor wax because the immediate smell when you are cd goingn' downstairs is exactly t same. and the other thing there are small things that you couldn't o reallyf say to anybody else without sounding silly but we spent a lot of time on the third floor of the white house. and in the solarium we had a pa parakeet and a couple of canaries. and our grandmother was so incredibly sweet.e she let us have a ceremonial
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burial for pete the parakeet in what is today the jacqueline kennedyfo rose garden. but we're sorry that somehow the marker for pete is no longer there. and so you go in there and you're always looking for theser little things to a see whether r little headstone is still there for pete.k >> i do remember where all of the secret doors are to all the back staircases. >> a couple of other questions you may not be able to answer ln this you about you talked about montgomery. what about eisenhower's relationships with charles de al gaulle? >> there was a lotot of respect between the two and i've often heard it referred to that they were the only two on both sides that got alongcam famously. de gaulle came to the farm -- what was it, may of '58? >> '59. >> maybe that's why i remember it. i kind of -- i'm deviating.
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>> i think i should tell that story. because watching it from afar, do you mind? >> oh, no, no. he wo >> when he would take people here to gettysburg, he would bring them because he would want them to ousee, you know, life i america, in rural america, and he would also like to show us off as a normal family.minutes and so he would sometimes call unannounced and give us ten minutes' notice. i'm here sitting with charles de gaulle and i'll be down in five, ten minutes. so we learned to become experts to throw all the clothes under the beds. we could clean up a house in ten minutes flat. so one day he showed up with charles de gaulle and mary was very small. you must have been about 3 years old. >> i think i was more like -- ii remember it.he w >> 5? anyway, charles de gaulle is ge sitting in our little house on a sofa. he was so large, he could hardly get in the front door.
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>> he was like 6'5", correct? >> he was enormous, yes, he was. and he arrived. he sat down on one of the sofas and he always -- it was always through a translator because hei quote/unquote didn't speak english. mary is this little girl. she puts her arm on the sofa and stares at him. the reason i wanted to tell theh story -- the reason i wanted to tell the story is because you h can imagine you're there as a sister. you know you've gotar tori beha. you have to do this. but we see a wild card here. and mary is staring at him, staring at him, staring at him.. and finally it comes out.k she says why do you have such thick glasses?s and he turns to her in perfect english and says, i'm very blind. poor me. >> do you remember that? >> very much, yes. dry because i also engaged him in a
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conversation talking about the smocking of my dress and the pps lace and telling him why it was important and how it was done and all that and he completely ignored me and kept talking to granddad. >> the eisenhower name lives on at the eisenhower executive office building. they didn't have to change the' acronym because it was the old executive office building. what was that like to have your grandfather's name attached to that building, that iconic susa: building next to the white house? >> location, location, locatio'' yeah, no, it's thrilling. it's thrilling. it's now known as the eeob and there's something really moving and wonderful to see that when they announce press conferences it's at the eisenhower building. i think it's the best. >> your grandfather did face d criticism from the conservative wing of the republican party that he did not do enough to try to dismantle some of the programs that they didn't like as part of the new deal.
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you're shaking your head y.? >> i think he was absolutely correct. he had a brother named edgar and edgar, as we all remember, was quite a character and was much more conservative politically.rd if you want some great, steamy u reading, read the correspondence. >> share one if you could. >> they're it's a marvelous letter. he's writing his brother the president, obviously lobbying to get one of his colleagues named as a federal judge. i'm sure this goes on a lot, but ike didn't appreciate it and wrote back and he said how manyt times do i have to tell you i don't see federal judges as
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patronage. the fact you my brother would write me a letter like this want makes me so angry i want to do something. so he had to tell ed to lay off. i don't know how many times.on edgar was frequently lobbying te him about some very, very conservative things and i think on another occasion he writes him and says no party that tries to wind back things that the american public has worked for . will ever survive politically, something like that. i'm paraphrasing. but it's a very rich collection of letters.their and edgar was a great spirit, but they certainly had their political >> in edgar's defense, he's the reason he wound up at west you point. he was too old for annapolis. >> and the rest is history. >> edgar was responsible for alw of this. >> another family question. andh your own father, what was he
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like, and what was the relationship like between your father and his father, the as president? >> well, i'm not very objective, about this. my father was the best. he was precious. he was very complex because, you know, he was an introvert that e trained himself to be social, and he hadstoo -- he was probabs sympathetic as he was brave, ift that makes sense.sition he understood what it was like to be in awkward positions so is you ended upay in an awkward position of some kind, it didn't matter if it was family related or not, he always knew the right thingsnd to say.ip. and he absolutely adored his father. they had a tremendous relationship. and susie can probably, you know, you all can probably spear more to that because you were around longer. >> you have a favorite story between your father and grandfather, if there is one that you want to share.
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>> involving both of them? >> now that's very they were together so much and it was all -- i can't think of any specific one. >> it's remarkable, though. our father provided more moral support and help to his father. i know that's quite typical in a lot of these cases but when you think about it part of the reason we admired our dad so much is that, you know, he managed his situation being the son of a great man probably better than anybody else i've ed ever run across.he he carved out his own career. he wrote 16 books by the time he died, and the last one he finished at the age of 92 about a month before he passed away and it got published by a major publisher. so that was remarkable.even hav but i guess what i was going tog
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say is that he didn't even have his graduation to he graduated on june 6, 1944, oe d-day.d he got up to prepare for a commencement that morning and the news had already come in that d-day was under way. he managed that with a kind of grace. we were d privy to his frustrations about it but it was never -- it was never singularly described that tell he handled it with great grace and we miss him every day. >> i have to tell a story on him, too, that's kind of cute. tom selleck played him and in my day he was the idol. playing granddad and i thought,t well, you know, i thought he was a little bit young to play dad granddad and then i thought, i'm
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old enough to play granddad. so i told my dad, you know, who startlingly looked like his father. i told my dad the story.e ask me yeah, i'm old enough to play granddad. he said i can go one better.e] when people ask me what it's like to look like ike, he said looking like tom selleck. >> these are all great ones. did president eisenhower believe in some form of mandatory public service? >> not that i know of? >> good question. >> another question related to the current political climate, seeing this campaign unfold in this election, what would the n? candidates learn from your grandfather's attitudes, perspectives, methods and respec actions while in >> what can they learn? >> respect. >> well, i would add something to that. eisenhower said on any number of
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occasions that everything he die was designed to elicit cooperation from the people he u needed to cooperate with. and so he felt very, very strongly about not insulting e? people in public. in and not -- boy, can we start ino right r there? we see this in the debates. it's astonishing for me and, noy only that, but people say really insulting things to foreign leaders who are critically important for our own country's. national security. so i think i'd put that right at the top of the list. if you want to elicit somebody'a cooperation, yout might save yr strong feelings for behind-the-scenes moments and to at least speak respectfully in public so they have room to maneuver just as you wish that for yourself. >> i think the world changed a lot in my opinion when the show
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on tv "crossfire" came on. all of a sudden, before that, there had been discussions abou, politics. first time people started screaming at each other, interrupting. it actually was quite amusing. and certainly very stimulating but it really did change things. nowadays when you see the news at night they're often they have people on opposite sides of an issue and they're often yellings at each other, interrupting. there is no politeness anymore. and i think it's rather would counterproductive, quite 's frankly. >> would he be comfortable in today's republican party? >> i think the divisiveness that's going on would sorely disappoint him. >> susan?rategi >> actually, he was a great n ts
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strategist andpe he was, i thin also a great leader because he knew when to speak out publicly and when to do things behind the scenes.blican he had a small minority in the n republican party that created a lot of problems for his had a administration, too. think of mccarthy, for instance. the republicans only had a majority of one.mplica in thete president's own party.e so grappling with that was extremely complicated. i would say that i think he wouldn't understand using government shutdowns as a way for a minority to get its way. this really jeopardizes our eopz economy, which jeopardizes our standing in the world. it even jeopardizes our national security. and i think he would be extremely distressed about thata >> who are the golfers in this crowd? raise your hands. i'm trying to figure out who asked the question.? was your grandfather a good
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golfer, and did he give himself any mulligans? >> wasn't the whole game about mulligans? >> i,on unfortunately, was chos as the person to learn golf, tot be able to play with my brother, david, so when he grew up he could play golf with granddad. and it was not something that is wason talented at. i could actually -- i could probably give you a lesson on how to play golf, only i can't do it myself. so i think i was a big disappointment in that, but i ae know one of his favorite moments in life was when he got a hole in one. >> and he loved augusta national, did he not? >> he was 75 years old when he got that hole in one and said it was worth living his whole 75 years for. >> but i will tell you something, he almost got a sler second hole in one about a monto later. and he was heard as saying in a very loud voice, oh, please, noh no, no more holes in one. my office can't handle the mail.
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>> let's turn to a couple of aye final points a about your grandfather. he passed away at the age of 78 in 1969. president nixon said he was a citizen of the world. would he have considered himself that? >> i think so. that's kind of what the whole people to people thing was. yeah. >> what do you remember about his death? >> devastating. >> yeah, devastating. it truly was. >> i have to say because i, again, want to honor those of you who served in world war ii who are with us here this evening, and i have to tell youa that i have some sense of what it was like to have a ut his relationship with your supreme o commander. after we put his body on the train that went from washington out to abilene, kansas, and mary and anne can tell -- each tell their own story on this, the
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thing i remember most is that we stopped in every little town along the way and at about 2:00 in the morning, because, you ju know, we couldn't sleep at all. i looked out the window and just as we were passing there was a sole, solitary figure standing next to the train as the train went past. saluting. and i never forgot that.g the >> i never forgot during the day, even in the most barren of country sides, they were -- thee were just crowds on both sides of the tracks, and people were holding up signs saying we like ike, and i'll never forget thatl that and there was a political cartoon, too, and this one i'll take with me.
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but it was soldiers on the beach of normandy and the caption underneath is psst, pass the word along, it's ike. >> it was a very hard time - because not only losing him, he was so very important in our lives really, we had two sets of parents. he used to call us the kids. i always used to wonder what that made my parents. but to lose him was truly majora but ind think almost as bad was for my grandmother to lose him and us to watch her. their relationship was so close. and the whole idea of her continuing without him was just youawful. and to see the grief in her face when you go back and look at the photographs during the funeral and everything, so many people
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try to be stoic, et cetera, and she tried. the grief is just so etched on her face. and we were feeling that firsthand. so it made it even more difficult. >> final question for all of you and this is rather open ended st you can add your own thoughts. what would you think of this gathering here today? what would he think about the institute and what you all have been talking about? >> why don't you go first. >> h he probably would say we talked too much. he no, i thinkwo he'd be absolutele delighted. certainly thrilled that people who worked under him came back to the eisenhower -- gettysburgr college and intoday's events. he would be absolutely delighted with the gathering and, as i say, he probably would tell us we talked too >> i think he'd be very honored that we were celebrating his 125th -- he might be a little
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shocked by the number -- but, yeah, i'm with anne. i think he might say that we said too much. int he would say it in a knee slapping g way. >> and he'd be proud of all of you who are here, the best of wo the best from his generation. >> absolutely. >> susan, you get the last word. [ applause ] >> i don't deserve the last word here except to say that i feel honored to be associated with the eisenhower institute of gettysburg college and the college itself.ould b i think he'd be really thrilled. he was very interested in education, and i think he would be thrilled that so many of the students here at gettysburg college are engaged in the eisenhower institute and show, you know, enormous amount of promise. we are actually, i think, creating some excitement about public policy and political
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science and public policy and that's terrific. so here's the word, kids. he used to say, and, boy, did we ever hear this because he had al ow ymaxims that we heard all te time, drip-drip. w take your work seriously but never yourself. >> yeah, that's right. >> on what has been an important andek, ta historic week in wash, thank you for taking us back to another time, another era. anne eisenhower, mary jeanries eisenhower and susan eisenhower. for your insights, your stories and your good humor, thank you very much. [ applause ] to >> and our thanks to the eisenhower institute and gett gettysburg college. thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015]
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the civil war every saturday at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. eastern. we've covered the war extensively these past five years as many state and national historic sites and local civil war groups hosted events to mark the war's 150th anniversary. to watch any of these past programs or to find upcoming schedule information visit our website this is american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3 and in prime time on week nights when congress is in recess. former naacp chairman julian bond died in august. on sunday, october 25, american history tv features an oral history with mr. bond where he remembers growing up in the segregated south. his involvement with the student nonviolent coordinating committee and his later political career.
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this is one of several oral histories with african-american leaders. they were conducted by the university of virginia's explorations in black leadership proje project. that's sunday october 25 at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on american history tv on c-span 3. each week american history tv's reel america brings you archival films that help provide context to today's public affairs issues. ♪ >> the united states army presents the big picture. an official report produced for the armed forces and the american people. now to show you part of the big picture, here is sar jent stuart
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queen. >> buy og rafies of our leaders whose lives have played a part in the fabric of our history. today the big picture brings you another story in which the army and the nation take particular pride. the story of eisenhower, the soldier. as narrated by raymond massey. >> the time is june, 1945. >> the turn to his homeland. the european phase of the greatest war america ever fought is over. and part of the warmth with which the people of abilene, kansas, greet general dwight d. eisenhower reflects the deep joy of a nation approaching peace again. some of it is the kind of welcome any hometown might give a favorite son who has done a good job.
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but more than anything else, it is a tribute. a gratitude felt in every corner of the allied world, no less than in abilene. towards a man who stewarded the crusade to its victory. it was a crusade with many battles and many triumphs but it found its symbol in one day above all others. d-day, june 6, 1944. the invasion of for ttress euro. the bold adventure hung the fate of war and freedom. it was because so much of man's
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hope had been wrapped up in the success of the adventure, found the hearts of the people open to him from europe to the town of his boyhood where the adventure of dwight d. eisenhower, the man, began. abilene, kansas, today -- a busy and proud town of almost -- wheatland is typical of the kind of town that comes to mind with the phrase grassroots america. the mark of the past is on it, but it does not live in the past. its streets and buildings bear testimony to a living and growing america. one of its newest and proudest buildings is the eisenhower museum which carries forth the spirit and history of the eisenhower family of abilene. it is visited daily by citizens from all parts of the country ranging from dignitary to school boy.
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inside the museum the life of dwight eisenhower, boy and man, is depicted in a series of murals. from infancy that life had the flavor of grassroots america about it. eisenhower was born in 1890 in texas, of parents whose families migrated to pennsylvania from europe and to the american midwest. young eisenhower's parents lived in abilene before his birth and it was abilene now a peaceful village of the plains that they returned when he was an infant. and it was here that he grou to maturity through a childhood that was active, eager and happy. an experience shared with devoted parents and spirited brothers, a childhood as rich in
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the important things of life as ever graced the development of any man. it was an active boyhood in which sports played an important part. he excelled at baseball, both in school and on a vacant lot next to his home. but football was his first love and his high school coach called him the most outstanding tackle in the valley. the active life was important but the greatest single staple of the eisenhower family life was religious observance. the family home in abilene shows the influence of that serious religious conviction. the bible was the guide of family life and its chronicler as well. on the wall of the bedroom shared by dwight and his brother edgar still hangs the simple testament of faith. thy will be done.
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it was a home of patriotism as well as faith. and of respect for things of the mind. work, constant and hard work was also a staple of the family routine. the creamery where young eisenhower worked during his spare time while he was in school is still one of abilene's light industries. in this way and by these standards young dwight eisenhower grew to a manhood the world would one day know well. he was 20 when he left abilene for the military academy at west point. many a great american has begun his march in history as a cadet
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at west point. ice ep hour was graduated from the military academy in 1915 and commissioned to second lieutenant of infantry. a new phase of life was beginning. in the summer of 1916 as a newly promoted first through tent stationed at ft. sam houston of texas he married mamie dowd of denver. events in europe were forging a new phase of life for the entire world. world war i gave many a general his first experience with combat. young eisenhower was not among them. it brought him command of a tank
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in pennsylvania where he prepared troops of a new tank corps for overseas duty. his performance won the distinguished service medal. before he was able to get to europe the war ended. in the late 1920s after general staff school. major dwight d. eisenhower was assigned to france to prepare a guide book on battlefields in europe 679 it was his first direct experience with that continent. with the '30s came other assignments. for four years he worked with mcarthur who was commander in chief of the philippine army to help work out a plan for its military of defense. ordered back to the states in
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december, 1939 lieutenant colonel eisenhower went to ft. louis as the 15th infantry regiment. in the dark spring of 1940 german armored divisions were crashing through holland and belgium. they were streaking destruction through europe's skies. beleaguered britain was standing alone. the united states had passed the selective service act for what inevitably laid ahead. and the biggest challenge was to aid in that preparation. late in 1940 he was made chief
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of staff of the third division where his staff work brought him assignment as chief of staff of the ninth corps. in the summer of 1941 colonel eisenhower became chief of staff to walter krueger whose newly organized third army was preparing to participate in the most realistic war maneuvers by troops. eisenhower's task was to work out a plan of defense. soon after the maneuvers was over came the bombing of pearl harbor.
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from almost this moment on the fate of the nation and the fate of general d. eisenhower would be inextricably bound together. called to washington in the first weeks after the war began, eisenhower went to work in the war plans office of the war department. among the plans formulated during this time was the central strategic determination to make an eventual attack, the allied effort. covering the west wall of the eisenhower museum dramatizes the high spots of the next great sequence in the adventure involving the nation and the man whose ability to rise to grave responsibilities brought him rapid promotions. because an all-out channel invasion would be impossible before 1944 and because the need for offensive action was immediate in 1942 the allies
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undertook as a combined operation under the command of general dwight d. eisenhower the invasion of north africa. the minimum objective of this maneuver was to seize the main ports between casablanca and algiers. along the rim of the north african coast troops were ashore in lake november encountering resistance to surprise iingly sf at casablanca. the commanders' hope was to push quickly east along the mediterranean and take the important posts. but a number of unfavorable circumstances including
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treacherous weather conditions prompted the commander to hold off on this vital assault. in the spring, however, troops of the second corps were able and tunis fell to the british first army. and with these victories came the end of the empire in after ry ka. the allied leaders and the men who had fought under them proudly commemorated their victory. one of the greatest products of this victory in the words of the commander himself was the progress achieved in the welding of allied unity and a combat team showing the effects of growing
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♪ ♪ the successful end of the campaign brought personal recognition of eisenhower throughout the world as a great leader. but the commander himself interpreted this recognition as proof that free men can find immunity the way to victory even against seemingly invincible odds. the next big campaign, the invasion of sicily, brought further demonstration of his basic truth. allied troops took this vital rock in the summer of 1943. the effect of sicily's fall was electric. italy surrendered. the first of the axis partners to capitulate.
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and now the allies prepared for what was to be the most fiercely fought battle of the mediterranean war. the invasion of italy itself at salerno. ♪ ♪ through a miracle of courage and tenacity, troops of general mark clark's fifth army established a beachhead against overwhelming german odds and went on to take sallerno and the vital port of naples. with these victories although heavy fighting and important battles lay ahead, the first
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major objectives of the italian campaign were accomplished. allied forces were on european soil and would be able to pin down german troops far from the scene of the cross-channel invasion planned for the following year. president roosevelt visited the combat area with general eisenhower when he came over with the cairo conferences where the agreement was established that the principal allied effort would be the invasion of europe. shortly afterward, the man who would command this awesome undertaking was named -- general dwight d. eisenhower who people throughout the free world were now calling "the man of the hour." on the opposite wall of the museum, another mural depicts the great crusade which liberated europe.
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the supreme commander's orders from the combined chiefs of staff were quite simple -- to land on the coast of france and thereafter to destroy the german ground forces. between the order and its execution, lay an agony of effort. across the channel, the heavy fortifications lining the coast of france bespoke the nazis' belief they could push the invading armies back in the sea. in france alone, 58 german divisions were waiting. preparing for the invasion was a job without letup. incessant and realistic training was of paramount importance. the challenges of morale, the myriad details of coordination on every level, all of these were overwhelming.
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but through those tense months in the early part of 1944, the preparations continued. and finally, after being postponed one day because of weather conditions, the eve of the day of decision was at hand. the commander visited the airborne troops who would lead the invasion. i found the man in fine fettle, he wrote later. joshingly admonishing me that i had no cause for worry. d-day, with the fate of the war hanging in the balance. ♪ ♪ half a million troops backed by
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millions more faced outward across the stormy sea. on beaches that dotted the french coast of the channel british, canadian, and american troops touched shore. the first, fateful moment passed and allied troops were holding on french soil. one week after the landings the commander was able to say to the vast armies under him your accomplishments in the last seven days of this campaign have exceeded my highest hopes. less than two months after they
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-- after the invasion, the allied force broke out in the beachhead perimeter in the hedge row country. the breakout was the next step. now there began the dramatic pursuit spearhead ed by general george s. patton's armored force across the heart of france. and then the grand triumphant march through paris which was freed by french troops and soldiers of the u.s. fifth corps. beyond paris lay the liberation of belgium and the yard-by-yard struggle across the german
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border. blocking the steady pursuit of victory laid a nazi counteroffensive in the arden sector, known as the battle of the bulge. through a grim and bleak period of several weeks the enemy, supported by the most devastating of weather conditions, isolated and assaulted allied forces. general eisenhower called upon all troops to rise to new heights of courage and effort. the brave men of the beleaguered forces held and steadily began pressing the enemy back. from that moment onward the supreme commander counted on weakened nazi resistance. the bridge across the rhine, one of the sturdiest symbols of the war, with its crossing in march, 1945, the heart of the enemy's
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defenses was cracked. there remained a substantial task of mopping up what was left of the enemy west of rhine. and accepting his surrender in the droves that began to appear. the great cities of the enemy's father land were rubble as allied troops moved through them in the last stages of the enemy's defeat. both commander and g.i. were able to find the exaltation that comes when victory is close. ♪ ♪ victory came finally with a german surrender in a school house on may 7th, 1945.
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the return to peace was signaled by the supreme commander. >> i have the proud privilege of speaking for a victorious army of almost 5 million fighting men. they and the women who have so ably assisted them constitute the allied expeditionary forces that have liberated western europe. they have captured or destroyed enemy armies totaling more than their own strength. merely to name my principal subordinates in the canadian, french, american, and british forces, is to present a picture of the utmost in efficiency, skill, loyalty, and devotion to duty. the united nations will gratefully remember montgomery, spots, tedder, bradley, delock, career, and many others. but all these agree with me in the selection of truly heroic figure of this war. he is g.i. joe and his
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counterpart in the air, the navy, and the merchant marine of every one of the united nations. he has braved the dangers of u-boat infested seas. he has surmounted charges in the desperately defended beaches. he has fought his patient way through the ultimate in fortified zones. he has endured cold, hunger, fatigue. his companion has been danger, and death has dogged his foot steps. he and his platoon commanders have given us an example of loyalty, devotion to duty, and indomitable courage that will live in our hearts as long as we admire those qualities in men. >> and now the long and happy road home. for dwight eisenhower that road was paved with the cheers of the people of the allied countries.
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in his own homeland the hero's welcome awaited him. america's greeting for a favorite son. here the story of dwight d. eisenhower might well have ended on this note of triumphant acclaim for a job so splendidly done. but america had other tasks waiting for its favorite soldier. eisenhower succeeded general marshall as the army's first post war chief of staff. he expressed the belief that one of greatest pillars of world peace is a strong, united states. he visited troops stationed in various parts of the world to show america's growing sense of global responsibility. we must remain, he said, the first champions of those who seek to lead their own lives in peace with their neighbors.
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finally, on february 7th, 1948, the general from abilene after 36 years of service to his country left active military assignment. but not active participation in the life of his nation. he accepted an invitation from columbia university to serve as president of that great institution, enabling him so he thought at the time to devote the remainder of his useful life to the challenges of education. but events of the post war world dictated otherwise. the urgent necessity for unity in the free world brought into being the north atlantic treaty organization and it was evident that only one man could make that vital and complicated organization work from the
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outset. dwight d. eisenhower. at the end of 1950 he answered his country's call once more and once more he was on european soil to assume supreme command of the land, the sea, and the air forces of a grand, defensive alliance. against the new threat rising from the soviets who had once been his nation's ally he had to create in the war-weary european soul, the will to defend itself so that freedom so dearly bought would not be lost. for more than a year he labored diligently at his task of coalition. when he turned over the reins of command to general matthew ridgeway the structure of military unity among free nations on which rested the hope for continued peace, was established. once again with the accomplishment of substantial victory behind him, this might well have been the end of his
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public career and in a sense it was. the closing chapter in the story of eisenhower the soldier. history is recording today the story of eisenhower the statesman. the stories may be separate but soldier and statesman they are the same man, dwight d. eisenhower, citizen of the united states, spokesman for and symbol of the free world. and son of abilene. as rich a study as this nation has produced of the capacity for greatness, which lies at its grass roots. the big picture is an official report for the armed forces and the american people. produced by the army pictorial
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center. presented by the department of the army in cooperation with this station. >> join american history tv on saturday, november 7th, for tours and live interviews from the national world war ii museum in new orleans. we'll explore the road to berlin and the african american story, and we'll take your questions for historians joining us throughout the day. world war ii, 70 years later live from the national world war ii museum saturday, november 7th, on c-span3. thursday night, american history tv in primetime will feature archival films featured on our program "real america."
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you'll see "seeds of destiny," a 1946 academy-award winning short film about the refugee crisis in europe at the end of world war ii. a 1963 film about the king and queen of afghanistan's visit to the u.s., and a 1975 film about the energy crisis looking at efficiency and alternative fuels. tune in thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. up next on american history tv, historian john robert green chronicles the 1952 presidential election between dwight eisenhower and adley stevenson. he examines the myth that they ran for president against their own wishes. mr. green also talks about the introduction of political tv ads and how they changed presidential campaigns. the kansas city public library hosted this event. it's a little over an hour. [ applause ] >> so, good evening, welcome to
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the kansas city public library. i'm henry fortuneado, former director of public affairs. or perhaps befitting my new part-time status as a visiting fellow at the hall center for the humanities at the university of kansas, maybe i should say, director of public affairs, emeritus. [ laughter ] whatever you want to call me, i'm off the payroll here, but i can't stay away from this place, i'm afraid. i'm kind of addicted to it. as one of my former colleagues said just an hour ago, i can't go cold turkey. especially tonight when, for the fourth time in four years, we're hosting presidential historian extraordinaire, john robert
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greene from kas nofia college in kaz nofia, new york, where he's taught for the past 36 years. as i just suggested, since 2012, bob greene has been making annual appearances at the kansas city public library. in 2012, he spoke on president george h.w. bush. in 2013, he was back for a talk about first lady betty ford. and last year, almost to the day of the 40th anniversary of richard nixon's resignation, bob appeared to give a presentation about the administration of gerald ford. these three programs, part of our hail to the chiefs and beyond the gown series, were held in conjunction with our good friends at the truman library institute. but of course, we have another presidential library in the neighborhood, more or less, just down i-70 in abilene, kansas.
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and this year, which happens to be the 125th anniversary year of eisenhower's birth, we've launched a series with the dwight eisenhower presidential library museum and boyhood home to examine the eisenhower era, thanks to the tremendous support from the w.t. kemper foundation, commerce bank trustee. tonight, which marks the mid point of that series, there's a brochure out there in the corridor if you want to see the other two. bob greene, the library's good friend and someone who's become my good friend over the last four years, is back. he's back to give us a review of the 1952 presidential election pitting republican party nominee eisenhower against democratic candidate adley stevenson. it's no exaggeration to say that this talk has been in the making for more than 35 years. bob wrote his doctoral
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dissertation about it, which was shortly published thereafter as his first book, the first of 17 that he's either written or edited. a seriously revised version of that first book, the doctoral dissertation, on the 1952 campaign is now forth coming. it won't be available tonight, unfortunately, but you'll be able to order it on amazon soon enough. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome bob greene. [ applause ] >> you're not going to be able to close this place. never in a million years. thank you so much, henry. good evening, everybody, how are you? wonderful kansas city weather out there. [ laughter ]
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i was worried about you people with snow and now i got to be worried about you with torrential downpours. it's so good to be back. it's always an awful lot of fun to come back from kas nofia college in upstate new york, where the snow comes and comes and comes and comes and comes. but it's wonderful to come from here to here, i have to tell you, i've said this to you before, and i mean it every time. this is one of the best venues to speak at in the entire country. i speak -- [ applause ] absolutely. the truman forum room has this wonderful ability to be scholarly and intimate at the same time. the audiences are among the best educated and usually the best behaved of the audiences that i
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speak at, and coming here to the truman forum, is something that i look forward to every single year. we started talking about this talk, henry and i, oh, about six or seven months ago. and for anybody in the p.r. business, you know that when you get invited someplace, they immediately want a blurb about what you're going to talk about. this is six months before the talk and i came up with this concept, talking about the myths that persist about the 1952 presidential race. i had no idea what i was going to say about them six months ago. i polished it up just a little bit ago, but i kept this idea of myths as the basis of my talk tonight. when you get involved in
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academics as a young scholar -- and i was young once -- [ laughter ] a hell of a long time ago -- and you get your doctoral dissertation, and you get that opportunity to say something, you get that opportunity to give back to the academy, you get that opportunity to make an historical case to the public for the first time, you want to say something important. i mean, that's what books really are supposed to be. books are supposed to say something important, something lasting. you don't want to say the same thing over and over and over again. you don't want to just simply latch onto the myths of the past, that may or may not be correct -- what is it that people say? if it's not true, it should be. you know. and you don't want to simply repeat over and over again what people have said about a specific event.


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