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tv   Book Discussion on Double Down  CSPAN  November 30, 2013 7:00pm-7:51pm EST

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forever whether the end of the cold war is a result of ronald reagan or happened on his watch. but there is no question whatsoever in anybody's mind that--or there should be no question, in my view, in anybody's mind that ronald reagan gave the country, after a very dark period of time, a new sense of feeling good about itself and feeling strong about itself. ..
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>> enormously hypocritical. it is there to remind people that the late century agony in america cities for the most part. >>c-span: any other reporter that you know, of was there when the wolf fled to up? and. >> guest: we were both there at the square. but eastern europe was part of my feet so i was in poland and in hungary angeles akia and --
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czechoslovakia and it is a reminder how old i am. 1962 to the best of my recollection leptons the just opened an office. anybody want to go to germany? i went and had an extraordinary summer. then to be there when it came down. it was 10 months in poland were 10 years in poland in 10 weeks czechoslovakia but 10 hours or 10 days east berlin event 10 hours in romania and you could be there for the rush to the end. it was exciting to be there with the wall came down but in many ways it was more exciting to be in prague to
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see and i remember the people. they rang the bells. it was tolling. that was one of the most dramatic moments i remember of the soviet empire. >>c-span: when do you find yourself satisfied you had a good interview? what makes it could? >> guest: it depends what kind of interview. if it is exploratory where you don't know anything about the ground fish your forthcoming of the subject is satisfying end to that extent the most long-term satisfying that lasted 10 or 11 hours he took a transcript and made a booker and he was very forthcoming because he had not been
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talked to by a lot of reporters. in the short term interview you want to fill a hole then you are satisfied when they say would you hope they will say. >>c-span: you have a favorite saying? >> the opening paragraph of chapter to which we did first which is the beginning of world war i. >>c-span: you have one minute if we can find it. >> guest: i can find it but one minute is another matter. chris received four months and 22 days into the bloodiest conflict so world had no. the infantry ben began to assemble zero long up paroquet of the trenches. the members of the queen's rifles watching them from
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the audience land. 100 yards away were shocked. suddenly one of the germans called out don't shoot followed by god save the queen. i will cut it short. then they started using the austrian him all over the western front that holidays season and as enemies met as friends and traded supplies and took snapshots of each other. they saying songs and analyzed the chances of victory as a handicapping a sporting event then just as quickly the excitement and did. this will take a bit of a leap but it is absolutely correct free and see a german shaking your hand as if we would try to smash their fingers than a few days later. >>c-span: peter jennings author. >> guest: thank you for having me.
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[inaudible conversations] ♪ ♪ [inaudible conversations] good morning and happy sunday to everyone. welcome to miami book fair international, our 30th anniversary. be as you all know.
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[applause] >> a number of you know me from previous years. it's hi pleasure to be here to welcome -- it's my pleasure to be here to welcome you and on behalf of miami-dade college, the college that really puts forth maximum effort in terms of solen b tiers -- volunteers from all its constituents, students, faculty and staff to make this book fair happen as it does every single year. and for the past 30 years. i'd like to thank our sponsors, there are many of them, but in particular o.h. aryan know and american airlines for their sport. i'd also like to thank our friends, many of whom are seated right here in front. thank you so much for all of your support this year and for the past years that this fair has been made possible in part
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because of your generosity. the end of the session, as you know, the authors will be signing their books. they'll be autographing on this floor on the other side of the elevator so you can proceed to that end, and you will also have an opportunity to ask questions after the authors have completed their presentations. so we'd like to keep this fair be going for 30 more years, don't we? [applause] so let's do it together, and instead of asking you to turn off your cell phones, what i'd like you to do if you have not already done so this weekend is to take out your cell phones and text mbfi to donate to miami book fair international if you're so inclined. doe that it to 41444. thank you -- donate to 41444.
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thank you so much. please consider donating $30 in support of the 30 years the book fair has been in existence making culture happen here in our community. it's now my pleasure to introduce dr. j.p. austin, a local physician, and he will make the formal introduction of our authors. thank you. [applause] >> good morning. it's an honor and privilege for me to introduce mark halperin and john heilemann, the authors of "double down: game change 2012." i'm a political junkie. i mean, i do medicine sometimes on the side, i think. [laughter] but this second book of what i think of now as a franchise really is really inside baseball at its best. the original "game change," i
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think, was the most insightful book of the 2008 cycle. and "double down" does the same for 2012. i think it's a home run. it takes you into the weeds. it brings depth and background to the events that you saw in the -- [inaudible] it's a book full of of details, juicy tidbits, insight and, yes, even some gossip. when the democratic operative told cnn that ann romney was, quote: never worked a day in her life, end of quote concern you guys remember that -- you guys remember that -- the romney team wasted no time in saying how appalled they were. but if you read the book, you'll find out that the romneys were actually very happy that this happened and delighted because they thought it was a real huge political gaffe. president obama and his team,
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did they consider dropping vice president biden? well, read the book and see how far that discussion went. [laughter] what was behind the clint eastwood disaster at the republican national convention? [laughter] you have this older man on stage in prime time without a script. what can possibly go wrong? [laughter] well, what was going on in the background you have to read the book to find out. [laughter] you know, i asked john heilemann backstage, you know, how do you get people to talk? i mean, it's amazing as you -- i've read both books, and my wife who's in the front here has read the books as well -- can how do you get people to say these things? it's amazing to me. but amazing book. i hope, you know, you guys are here, obviously, you're going to want to read it or have read it. ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure, really a privilege to introduce mark halperin and john
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heilemann. [applause] >> jp, thank you for that gracious and kind introduction. you read it just like we wrote it, so we appreciate that. [laughter] we are gratified and excited and thrilled to be here in miami. we've been on tour for the past two and a half week weeks and we've been in a lot of different cities, and we can say without any equivocation that this is absolutely the favorite place we've been. we love miami, and we're happy to be here. [applause] i promise you, i have not said that in any other city we've been to. that's the first time i've said it. [laughter] this is obviously an august forum and a great event that happens every year. being invited here is one of the most great honors that we've
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experienced. the only thing that compares in the last, since this book "double down" has been published has been the fact that we've just received the endorsement of the north korean government. [laughter] and you're laughing, you think i made that up, that's not a joke, it's true. a couple days ago a strange, i got a strange google alert on my phone that said something about north korea and double down, so, of course, i looked. and the headline of "the washington post" article said north korea endorses "double down" as proof that, quote: the u.s. is the root cause of all sorts of evils. [laughter] now, as an author, there's nothing better than a blurb from the north korean state news agency, and in truth there really is one book club more powerful than oprah's, and that's the kim jong un -- [laughter] we love to take questions from the audience, so i'm going to talk very briefly, hand over to
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mark, and then we'll get to your questions and comments and address whatever you'd like to hear us talk about. we wrote a book, as jp mentioned, four years ago or three years ago called "game change." some of you may have read that book or seen the hbo movie. [applause] if you preferred the movie to the book, just keep it to yourself. [laughter] much as we love that movie, the book was our baby. this, in this book we tried to do roughly the same thing that we did in the last book which is really just to write about the high human drama of running for president and the people who put themselves forward in this extraordinary american spectacle, one of the great competitions in any sphere of life in our country or any other. mark's going to talk more about how we go about doing these books, but we did set ourselves a little bit of a high bar in the fact that the first book our subtitle referred to 2008 as the race of a lifetime. so, you know, you head into 2012 and people ask, well, how are yo probably going -- how are you possibly going to top the race
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of a lifetime? hillary clinton and barack obama competing to become the first woman or african-american to be nominated by a party. we would often say there's not going to be as much drama in 2012. first of all, there was. president obama himself told his aides on election night that he felt this election was more consequential than the 2008 election. back in 2008 people were voting on a hope and on a dream and on a kind of the historic promise of his election. and in 2012 they'd be voting on his record, and they'd be either vindicating or rejecting what he'd done and giving him a mandate to do more. he also felt that he had done a lot over the course of his first three years, whether you like the things he'd done or not, whether it was passing health care reform, reregulating wall street, passing a huge stimulus, those were big things he did, and we held that if the republicans won in 2012, they would roll back and undo all his pleasurements -- accomplishments. so he thought the stakes in this election were much higher.
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a lot of republicans in 2008 were disspiritted, and by the time you got to the end of 2008, there was not much drama or suspense around who was going to win that election especially after the wall street crisis in the fall of 2008. in this election republicans were really energized, and today thought defeating president obama was the most important thing to save the country. so you had two energized sides playing for high stakes, so there was a fair amount of drama inherent in that. there was also a fair amount of the other kind of narrative in this election. there was a lot of comedy in this election. [laughter] certainly on the republicans' side there was some comedy. you will all remember herman cain talking about who's becky? michele bachmann confusing the hometown of john wayne and serial killer john wayne gacy. [laughter] those were, you know, kind of funny moments. newt gingrich, a southerner, of course, finishing his epic political career by taking a tour of america's zoos and being
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bit been by a penguin. [laughter] not necessarily the most wonderful way to end his career. and, of course, even the candidates that were not inherently that funny, a lot of people don't think of mitt romney as a funny guy or rick santorum, but we report in the book about john mccain who is often a funny guy coming to his decision about who he was going to enforce and saying to governor romney that he had made his decision at that point, it was between mitt romney and rick santorum, he felt like the republican nomination had come down to the dog on roof guy. [laughter] so there was some humor there. i'm going to spend the last couple minutes that i have left, i'm going to tell you a little bit about one story from the book that has both drama and comedy and consequence and profanity which, of course, as you can imagine involves the clintons. [laughter] we write -- we wrote a lot in 2008 about bill clinton and and barack obama and their complicated relationship.
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in this book there's a lot of double down one of the big story arcs is the relationship between bill clinton and barack obama. and the first book in some ways was the love story of barack and hillary. this book is in some ways an even more unlikely love story of barack and bill. and it starts after three years in which the two guys really didn't talk very much, and president obama didn't really want to hear from president clinton. president clinton wanted to talk, as he often does -- [laughter] but they didn't really have much collaboration or discussion until the fall of 2011 when president obama's, his term was at its kind of low ebb politically to that point. his approval ratings were down around 40% after the republican debt ceiling fight. he was seen as weak by democrats, by republicans. two-thirds of the country thought the country was on the wrong track. he looked vulnerable, and in his state of desperation, he and his team did something they thought they would never have to do which is they started courting bill clinton, they start thed a courtship. and that began, as they often do, on the golf course.
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they went to play golf at andrews air force base. now, president obama has a very obama attitude towards golf. i'm president of the united states, i want to get up and down, play the game, get back to work. two and a half hours at the most, maybe three if i'm really not playing well, but that's it. president clinton has a different attitude towards golf, he's a retiree, so he's got a more lose yourly pace, and he famously taked a lot of mulligans and thinks the golf course is a place to expound and preach and joke and tell knock knock jokes, all kinds of things. and this golf round did not go particularly well, and they did not finish 18 holes. president obama said i like him fine, but in doses. [laughter] that was not a particularly propitious start to the romance. but over the course of the next few months, the guys got closer
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and closer together. president obama got to see president clinton speaking about him at fund be raisers where he spoke with passion and eloquence, and ultimately, president obama decided, you know, that he would give one of the three nights of his convention -- as you all remember -- to president clinton. that night, first night was michelle obama's night, the last night was obama's night. the middle night should have been joe biden's night, but instead, president obama decided to give president clinton the chance to get up there and place barack obama's name in nominationing and then really make the case for barack obama's term and the case against the republicans which president clinton did extraordinarily. and it was a big moment for president clinton because after 2008, a lot of people thought he had lost a step. maybe he couldn't go out there and throw the high, hard one. he wanted to show he still had his fastball, and he did show that that night in charlotte. a very consequential speech as well as a riveting one. president clinton showed he had his presidential skills, and he
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also showed he had the skills of punditry. you know, by the end of the campaign, president obama and president clinton when superstorm san key was bearing -- sandy was bearing down on new york city, president clinton and president obama were here about to do a joint event together, and president obama decided he had to go back to washington because of the storm and things were getting serious. and they were at a hotel here in florida, and president clinton said you go back and be president, i'll pick up the slack. ..
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there's been some rockingest in the last few days. president clinton made it, that was not helpful about the affordable care act. people wondered on getting maybe dicey again but then we saw last week president obama getting president clinton the medal of freedom. when he gave him the medal of freedom referring, said thank you for all of you guys you've given me oath on and off the golf course. [laughter] that lightness is there. i'll finish by saying president clinton, i said he was a great pundit. when we think about 2012 would like to think to try to see the world through president clinton's eyes.
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he was asked in such a number after the 47% tape came out and president -- governor romney was struggling, one of his friends and what you think of governor romney? president clinton said i think he's a nice guy buddies in the wrong line of work. [laughter] he said and he should not be speaking to people in public. [laughter] similar conversations where president lives and what you think about president obama? reflecting on how the great gift governor romney has given to present obama. clinton said that he was kind of there are no children in right now but i will give it to you straight to present an city the president obama was like you and the dog with two decks. [laughter] which there is a thing that bill clinton thinks is the luckiest thing you can be. [laughter] and i can say a lot of times i have to figure what it is about being a to dick doc. only bill clinton knows. i'm going to stop with that me because i always -- you're a dog
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with two penises. animal genitalia is my specialty. [laughter] welcome, mark. [applause] >> thank you all. we're both really happy to be your at the miami book fair. i've been you -- here a few times. the c-span2 cameras are here and i knew that john was by going to end with a story but i've spent most of my morning and tuesday what brian lamb's reaction going to be how we are helping to program the channel. i'm going to talk for a little bit because the likely time for q&a, and this was we concern we want everyone to start the question. nothing is off limits. you can ask about the book or journalism or anything you want. you can ask about the details of the obligation of the presence health care law or what we learn and reporting about the details of the clinton'clinton' s
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marriage, whichever interests you more. alternate ask is you do all your questions in the form of true or false. [laughter] if you could could defined in that way, it's a little faster. i'm going to talk about how we do these books. in terms of the craft and the process. i do want to do one quick housekeeping thing before them. i want to get a sense of make up of the audience. of going to ask you a couple questions, ask you to go by share of hands, you can close your eyes as you vote. raise your hand if you voted for president obama in the last election and. okay. and ration and 80 voted for governor romney in the last election. 123, four, five. all right. i need to congratulate you all about the standards of most groups. you're a very diverse group of people. i think that's great. if you need help getting out afterwards, let me know. come back stage.
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nice that you're all interested in politics. second question i just want to get a sense of the book. how many of you have not read again yet? regime. how many have read it? not very many. moment i talked for about about what's in the book because so few of you have read it there i don't want to give away the ending. mike i'm just going to talk more about the process than what's in it. we had as john said a great challenge in doing a second book because of so many elements of the first book that were pretty compelling. we had great characters to write about. our joke was if you got a campaign where rudy giuliani is the most interesting candidate you know you've got a group of interesting people to write about. you have the john and elizabeth edwards, john mccain, sarah palin. this time there some different group but there some characters who carry over and we like that continuity. what we tried to do is to write about not politics the way a lot
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of people write about politics. polls and focus groups and details of every primary and caucus by the relationships between people and trying to write as much as we can with empathy through the eyes of the candidates and their spouses and families as they go through this extraordinary process. john makin one of the key relationships is between president clinton and president obama but there are lots of others. chris christie and mitt romney is a pretty important relationship. the relationship between hillary clinton and joe biden is a really important one, and they were competitors in 2008 when joe biden ran for president and then the white house, worked very close with foreign policy but a lot of speculation about whether they might run against each other in 2016. the ivory coast personally. we've written about that in both books. one example, they say i love you to each other. of something like even the cheney census don't do these days.
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[laughter] shows you how close they are and to try to tease out again just a people relate to each other because they are human beings. we try to write for insiders as well as for general audience. we hear a lot from people who are not interested in politics who have read the book, who say that like them even though they don't normally like to read about politics and that's very gratifying but we hear a lot of times from inside, people who worked on campaigns or candidates themselves. john did an interview with the governor huckabee the other day and governor huckabee said what people say to us privately which is we capture as close as others can, as journalist dan what's not on the facts of what happened but kind of the feel of it, the tactile sense of us like to do with an exhilaration and the pressure and the often heartbreak of being involved in a presidential campaign. with a particular focus on the candidates rather than on strategy and strategists and tactics and all that. we like to break news in the
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book. and to try to get a little attention for what we do. really what we tried to do is to write a sense of the history of what happened by focusing on the big unanswered questions of the race. in last time we had to set up unanswered questions at this time we had a set, too. we think it's important to capture that when we do. some people complain, they're so much coverage of election and your vote doesn't come with out for a full year after the election is over. it takes so long. i tried to gently push back and say look, it's taken george kurt busch won a 100 just write about roseville so kind of a little bit of slack. but it is important to get those questions answered as best we can in real time. we do some elections during the campaign. the both of them immediately after because there's not a lot written down in campaigns.
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the are some notes and recordings we rely on but people's memories fade, and if you want to get to the heart of both the facts and the feel of what happened we think you've got to do it as quickly as possible. a year is by the stench of a 500 page book relatively quickly. but in this case one big question we're interested in was out governor romney end up as the nominee? have a lot of weaknesses. naturally the candidate of the establishment the way most republican nominees are with a lot of people in the establishment of the republican party anxious to find someone else to get them in the race like governor christie or governor daniels, former governor of indiana. and governor romney didn't have widespread support from the keyboard although he had support from both -- a relatively low ceiling on his overall support. why didn't people like governor christie run for president? government dana so might as well been strong candidates.
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them why didn't they run and try to sort of answer that question? another question was why did the republican candidates including governor romney force the endorsement of donald tarullo? he thought about running himself which we write about but the real reasons why mitt romney focus on getting the trunk endorsement of the day he got which was kind of a bizarre day, out in las vegas who's happy kind of. we tried to explain the question of why that was so important to him. the presidential debate, a lot of focus on president obama why he did so poorly in the first debate against governor romney in denver. and then a couple weeks later on the eve of the second debate we write about the process by which he recovered to do far better in the second debate but it was not a smooth process, and the question of why he did poorly in the first debate had ended up doing well in the second debate we thought was a big unanswered question. mentioned earlier, clint eastwood, how he ended up speaking at the republican
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convention, why he got invited, why do leading up on stage with nothing and the teleprompter. how he thought of doing the routine he did. we thought that may not be the most of toward the important question of the whole campaign but, in fact, he ended up getting so much media coverage for his strange bob newhart imitation talking to the chair that it overshadowed a lot of the press coverage governor romney big acceptance speech that night. while it's a quirky story in some ways about celebrity intersect with politics it have real world consequences. so what we did is pretty old-fashioned in the sense that involves a lot of reporting. we did over 500 entities for this book. they tend to be long into the. as with the first book we received extensive cooperation for which work will quite grateful across the board from democrats and republicans. we just ask people to tell us our stories. -- their stories. they're basically world history and if you do 500 interviews,
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that's a lot these days. that's a lot for almost any standard. 500 interviews and set being in our expense not just quantitatively different than what and for most chosen but qualitatively different because over time your we and giving people, comparing stores, trying to weed out things that like these are some sort of bias on the part of someone you talk to or bad memory. and try to weave together an area that is compelling and accurate and benefits from repeated discussion with people about important events and as we go through with the something awful, because the accumulation of the discussion gives us a sense, almost always doomed people would not for a couple of decades or just short of that, gives us a sense of again what's important to tell the story of what happened from the human perspective. not as i said before chronicling every caucus, every primary the charges include things we think
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of most interest, the most compelling with humor and withdrawn and with a sense of importance of what they can't them into the country, what it meant as i said before to the people who ran. a lot of challenges in this process and less than the first book was made into an hbo movie, people assess on a pretty regular basis, if this book will be made into an hbo movie. it's possible. we part had some discussions with them about the challenge if they end up making at least part of the book about the relation, about the relationship between president clinton and president obama. i think casting that dog would be a big challenge for them. [laughter] but as with the first book there's a lot they could base the film on. we look forward to thinking about that potential project and also about 2016. one of the things we've stumbled
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into which we didn't anticipate is there is that continuity between the books. at the end of the book would write about looking forward to 2016 and the president's legacy and what it will mean to be the democratic nominee, whoever it is, to succeed him at the complexities of the. and plenty of people in the book are people who will be on the state in 2016 whether they run or not. governor perry, governor christie, rick santorum, paul ryan, mike huckabee. these are all people we have written about in one or both books and maybe part of the narrative going forward. if you think about the books which we try to get in a novelist style, undergirded by high journalistic standards, we think some people like them because it's kind of -- to think about the same cast of characters, some stepping off the stage into small role but other people stepping forward with that continuity has been rewarding for us. i'm going to stop in part because i want to make sure we leave enough time for q&a and in part because that is the longest
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i've spoken in the book tour without someone yelling july, which always throws me off. it's super nice of utah get up early to talk to us, and we will take questions do. there's a microphone there. into. [applause] >> i'm going to moderate the q&a. please keep your questions brief, if you can, so we get to as many as we can. >> about. my name is maryland, and my question to either one of you comparable to you, is what do you think hillary claims of strengths and weaknesses for presidential bid are? thank you spent i think if hillary clinton decides to run for president, and neither mark nor i assume anything about that, that that is inevitable although she is clearly states are looking at, i think our strength are overwhelming in terms of seeking the democratic nomination. and who knows what'll happen in a general election.
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her strengths is she seeks nomination are she has an incredible hold over those of the democratic coalition. there are many, many women elected all folders -- officeholders who believe it's time for a woman to be nominated by the democratic party as president and have high regard for hillary clinton. she has a historic this relationship with african-americans, latinos and union households. that's pretty much the universe of people who make up the democratic nomination electorate which i think that in combination with her extraordinary ability to raise money would mean if you run shoe be almost entirely unchallenged. she may face a token challenge but she will be given the democratic nomination, something close to acclimation. a general election as a totally different kettle of fish and would depend a lot on who the republicans nominate. the first step i think would be close to in the bag. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> you were talking about 2016,
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and my question is about the latins, which were an important factor in electing president obama, and were a detriment to the republicans. as i've heard, they kept saying they don't want to court the latinos. what they want to do is present what they are, republicans, the people will come to them. do you think that's a good strategy? >> that's less a true false question and more like a doctoral dissertation. [laughter] i'm going to try to give you a short answer. look, the president had horrible political times since the election in trying to get anything done. 's approval rating is down and it's a perilous time for him. at the same time the republicans have done much to increase, to address the problems that caused him to lose the last election. cause of them to lose the
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popular vote and fight for the last six elections including the hispanic vote. republicans might decide to work on in a way that would help them with that rising electoral group. i think that there's lots of reasons why democrats have done better with the latino vote, but clearly some of it has to do with the most basic question of all in presidential politics and some extent national politics which is the question of does this person or the party care about people like you get and if you follow people in the latino community as most other groups that the president did just the portion about what, young people, single women, african-americans, that question is one in which he and his partner have dominated since president bush left office. whether republicans can do better with latinos on that question simply by talking about their programs rather than customizing to the latino
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community i think is an open question but however they do it in style and substance i think that's the problem they have to slow. since the election i don't think they've made much progress, particularly winner so much focus on the latino media which the president campaigned tracks were closer than i think the republicans did on republicans in the house not being willing to afford with the copperheads of immigration bill. >> thanks for coming. it's great to see. what do you think of the political future of the well read sarah palin? [laughter] >> you know, i think mark and i know that the end of 2008 thought that had governor palu for all of her problems she had in 2008, had government then decided to pursue a different path, which is to say not quit the alaska governorship and take up a serious course of trying to remediate some of her substantive weaknesses, she's not a dumb woman and she could have gone to school and learned
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a lot about -- should not a dumb but she has some weaknesses. national domestic issue of foreign policy. those are all things she could've ordered she decided to abandon the alaska governorship and not do any of that. and i think became someone who is very well-paid, someone who has a relatively small on the scale of national politics. ardent, small following. that at this point i think the notion that should ever be able to seek national office again without, given the path she's chosen, is i think largely off the table. but i think she enjoys the popularity she still has, and she'll probably be able to live a very comfortable and marginally influential life to take to the platforms that should really occupies on cable television and on facebook and she will continue to be a
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presence in our lives, if not an essential presence, going forward. >> surprise there wasn't a round of applause for that. [laughter] i've misjudged the audience against. [laughter] >> they wanted me to say she was on a slow boat to china. [applause] >> it seems to me that since the day obama was elected, the republicans single goal has been to say no and to appeal to perhaps racism anything that wants to see them fail at all costs. and yet obama seems in response very indecisive. my question is this. there are a million things that obama can do administratively without having to go through congress and yet he doesn't do that. instead, he, for example, says
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let's have immigration reform, which all of us are for which isn't going to happen. my question is, why, instead of doing a life-changing administrative things he can do, doesn't he do them? >> i think, i'll dispute the premise of the question a little bit. i think he's done some. i think he's pressing on his team to tell which once more he can do. doing some of them runs the risk of angering republicans even more and obstructing things even more, and understand your point of view is how much worse can it get. it can get worse. they can start trying to block everything from happening. and the third thing is the president as we write in the book, in the context of his debate preparations, things like a lawyer. and so there's -- a relatively frequent occurrence that things
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are present that he might be able to do, and his view is if my sense of the constitutional scholar is i couldn't actually do that fairly and legally i won't do it. that's going to be the way he thinks for the rest of his term because that's just what he thinks. there's something admiral about that, but at the same time it does frustrate people like you to believe he's done having these me reasonable prospect of getting republicans to do things we should separate focus on whatever they can get done, and i think it things continue on a trajectory that are right now you will see a fair amount of fat. >> and how did you get together for your first project? how did you divide up the work? do you ever have a very strong disagreements during the process? >> by accident, evenly, and no matter. [laughter] [applause] >> but john may want to answer it in more length.
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spent i thought that was awesome last night. >> -- [laughter] >> we basically decided to the book in 2008. we decided the book in 2008, we have never written anything together prior to the. we had known each other for some years. we both thought that there was something to be done about the 2008 campaign. we tossed around ideas about a movie script. we talked about running primary color styles. neither one of us have skills in those area either screenplays or fiction. we ended up laying on the notion of trying to do nonfiction. that leads into the second and. we saw the race in very similar ways. we saw the gap in what the coverage, what day-to-day coverage left out in very much the same ways. so we had a very quick with bandwidth shared since about what a book like this could do,
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which mark said, the high human from of running for president. we are astonished all the time that where to go to dinner, almost not at all. i could count into books now and 800 interviews, over the course of the last six years, thousands of hours i can count on one hand the number of things were on that sunday was important that should go in the book and market disagree, or vice versa. when it comes to what's important, what's revealing, what's dramatic, funny, regulatory, whatever, we almost always see eye to eye. 99% of the instances which makes this doable. and evenly as the last answer. people are shocked sometimes learned that we do all of our interviews released again 95% of them together. we found that the idea of like splitting up labor, it would not
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be dividing and conquering but it would be dividing and telling. would have to go back and read each other's individual interviews which would have to do if we're both going to be fully on board where we were in terms of what the net look like. we would probably still be reading transcripts, and so sitting to the interviews together, getting a constant evolving unrolled shared since about where we are headed, what we want to pursue, what do i do so office light is essential. and also makes it a lot more fun because the truth is, and i think we get more out of the interviews that way because in any given interview, there's the ability for both of us to be able to be hearing what these people are saying in real time and be able to judge where to push, where not to push, the credit of the person. we are able to back each other up, and that's really invaluab invaluable.
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>> there's been a lot of media attention about the republicans basic living dead, democrats have lost momentum. if you look at 20 to nice with of some kind of fluke events, hurricane, good economic report for obama, some crazy republican senate candidate really crazy. who otherwise would have on to a basic is a 50/50 election, statewide a lot of extreme republicans like in florida all over the country dominated politics. so my question is this. it seems like in recent years the republicans have been more and more hardball, more extreme, filibuster. but whenever poll numbers go down, the democrats poll numbers go down right along with. seems like there's almost nothing policy wise or tactic wise that the republicans can do that's far out where the democrats really benefit that much.
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and i guess i'm wondering, why? why do the democratic poll numbers always -- is there a problem with their brand or what is at? >> i'm glad this gem is when a t-shirt that says don't blame me, i voted for kerry. no one here feels blame for the. that's another complicated question obviously. i think that even partisans in this country who feel very strongly about the president being, before he got sworn in our pockets or buttons that the president is too liberal or is incompetent, even for people in those camps believe that washington is broken, that the two parties are not serving the public answers for a variety of reasons. and i think it's difficult now to get any lift in either side because both parties are kind of together. we quote the president in the book, coming out of the debt ceiling fighting the budget in
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20 level which led to kind of low point of his present up to that point although now it's the good old days where the president felt like he'd been wrestling with come in the mud with big eminem afford what happened everybody gets dirty. and i think it was the promise and pledge, the goal of president clinton, president bush and president obama all essential to the first campaign in the widest to change that and to elevate themselves and our politics, and all three of them failed. this president, again not all his fault by any means but this president has in some ways been the biggest their by most metrics political science is used to measure partisanship. is really a puzzle. and while i said a lot of partisans are concerned about this there are a lot of people who are not particularly parts and/or engaged but look at the mess in washington and just kind of spread out their disdain for everybody. so it's a challenge, given the dynamics in our


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