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tv   After Words  CSPAN  September 27, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT

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>> >> en then becomes the new
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nfl. all this growth and development runs parallel to the growth of television in america if you look at a chart the number of televisions in america the number of people who had access to television and you drill alliant 1947 through 1965, said said you took the nfl growth and development 1947 through 1965 they run absolutely parallel. that is not an accident the media expert marshall
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mcluhan were talked about this if you watch of the ball game where is the best place? on in your big screen tv in your house. that is the best place. the bessie in the house. second is that a sports bar. the third set where else fourth or fifth is maybe the stadium so there are long periods where nothing is going on in the think what is going on? i want my replay and my analysis.
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[laughter] >> host: how are you doing today bill? >> guest: thanks for taking the time to talk to me. >> host: your new book "killing reagan" the first of the killing series? >> guest: that's correct. >> host: with the others kennedy and patton and lincoln all of violent death may be pad was accidental but in this particular case it did not kill reagan. it is a bit different. why reagan?
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>> involved with the assassination attempt was in context with our series very shortly after he was elected president he was that a certain age with the trauma like that it affects you physically and mentally and that certainly happened. it was almost a miracle that he pulled through. >> and actually change the course of history. >> guest: no doubt he was different after he cannot of that hospital. because he was so robust and
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vigorous that when he appeared with nancy reagan shortly after he was shot. what a miraculous recovery out there in his bathrobe cracking jokes to the medical staff what i the he had a lot of changes that to place physically and mentally that chronicles the situation. >> host: if the dutchess a back you use a adversely or he could have done more? with the physical and the emotional and mental changes is that what you are suggesting? >> guest: everyone who worked with reagan in the
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white house after he recovered said he has good days and bad days. nobody said that about him when he was governor of california. there was a change. i believe reagan somehow almost miraculously lifted himself but by sheer will to overcame the physical what is on his body. seven days when reagan was so detached he would watch soap operas in of a private residence he did not come to work. there is something within him holding it together to have a very successful presidency top-10 of all presidents. >> this attempt and egos aren't to do if anomaly -- a
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phenomenal and then to lift them up economically what more could he have done? where did it change things for the worse? >> it is impossible for me to say that if you ask a question where could he have done more? perhaps more stuff himself. perhaps if he had his full energy level that we did not even know about that was taking place about his knowledge but it is all speculation but his own advisers at one point after he was reelected said we may
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have to remove him from office because he isn't concentrating and cannot grasp things. that is the key parts of the book. the insert him for a few days then he passed with flying colors it was gsa a concern he may have had a bad day. >> just a concern? you don't want to investigation run by a guy named cannon without a reason. was in justin investigation but they were worried. and they were boiled to him. and then on that date they described he was able to engage all the issues they
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felt a sigh of relief they did not have to go to the vice president george bush and invoke the constitution. but believe me there was concern at the highest level it was not undertaken in lightly. >> said just before this assassination attempt it was clear during the primary especially and all the political people agreed he should go for days a week and he had monday through thursday because you don't want him to look old as a candidate. but he did tire easily he was almost 70 years old. not yet but these things happen but to suggest all of a sudden there is an attempt
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on his life he takes naps in the afternoon of you jump to the conclusion to have these terrific eight years? suggesting are mentally and physically to do things differently than other vice. >> you made my case for me. >> host: i did? >> guest: news said before the shooting he needed rest. he was an older man. you had to give him time off. that was before he was shot. then he almost dies and is on the operating table they don't know if he will pull through and the trauma is so intense are you going to tell me that that did not affect them adversely from that moment for word.
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>> we're pacing for good reason. >> after a trauma like that it can only exacerbate that was a play before by reagan was a strong and a lesser man would have died on the operating table. and to embrace s. stewart -- teddy roosevelt said that is what pulled through. and this is all that was in the book.
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>> now go right to the book. he was the beloved president. there is a reason for that. not just the accomplishment but a portion of it but the person that he was a good and decent man to come across to talk about affairs and one-night stands. women talk about different things that would suggest intimacy with the former president after his divorce with jade wine and. via understand if i am reading kitty kelley why this is in there with great detail.
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to note that he had a wild side all you have to do is say he was a playboy what is the purpose there is no way to know what really happened >> guest: rigo go into great detail it is not a tabloid we don't use anything that was not double sores without names. we took out a bunch of stuff that we could not nail it down so we eighth did not use it. just as it and the "killing kennedy" we want to present them as human beings. the overarching is that ronald reagan was of great
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man end with kennedy in the same vein and lincoln in the same vein and also patton george patton had an affair with a girl while of the battlefront. we're not in the business to deify. when you read the book "killing reagan" you will get a picture of ronald reagan has he truly was with the good of the bad. to the end my dash majestic to inspire fellow americans but not a saint. >> host: nor did he suggest that he was. >> guest: i think ronald reagan would like the book very much. >> host: i disagree.
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it is he said/she said. >> do you have evidence? >> all the things we rightabout have a footnote in the book. >> host: footnote? >> guest: did you not read the book? is on the page and in the back of the book as well. and all has the source nothing is anonymous. >> host: why nancy is her life tossed in there as well? >> she was three people. first who wanted to bury ronald reagan and we have to explain why and how she got to hollywood and what happened and. then the diva who got the governorship she was with smart and very protective of ronald reagan. a lot of people believe he
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would not have become governor or president without nancy reagan. i cannot say yes or no but i can say the portrait of her is accurate. she was a deep in the white house. she was to some, overbearing or cruel but then nancy reagan emerges in the end of the president's life as a true hero to be unbelievably sensitive to her husband's illness to protect him to devote her whole life for a decade it is an amazing story of love and and we portrayed that very vividly. >> host: you do in the end but every chance you put a very negative light on her. >> guest: that is not true. >> host: it is the first 200 pages to but let me state this for the c-span
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viewers, you were reading the book on the ideological level. you adore ronald and nancy reagan and for me to put anything they did it one dash dash offends you. i understand you are the ideologue but i am presenting them the way they are. everything is sourced and footnote controversial or who said it there is no tabloid stuff. it all happened the way we rode it with painstaking three or four scholars is it accurate or out of context or re overstating or understating?
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and from this point of view as the americans did a good and decent man. >> host: let's go to another aspect. and still in getting involved in he was vice president at the time there was that strike that is a wonderful story of the kind of person that he was to suggest to go through the l.a. tunnels. >> host: that is in is to question i just called the dual now will complement you. what you put your finger on is the genesis of ronald reagan. when he first arrived in hollywood was shallow not a
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sophisticated man and in the almost miraculous way that we document. into almost orenda communist party they did not want them because they did not feel he had that gravitas. it pitted the communist against the screen actors guild which wanted to continue to make movies and the studio heads. it got so vicious the communists strikers were threatening to vacate the to the set so the actors had to go into a tunnel to go underground to get to the studio and they had to go on the floor of the best and refuse to go back door he sat on the bus everybody could see him he was
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threatened and so was his family by the communist who threatened him by phone calls and what reagan did wides got a gun. he carried a gun. but that experience turned him against the communist and stayed with him whole life and that was the piece of his presidential administration a man of courage all the things that he did all the things he stood up for bad as you know, restated he did inform on others it hollywood to the fbi we're telling the truth about ronald reagan and that is why this book if you are really interested in the man
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would like that we balance it as he did with kennedy and patton and jesus. >> then with the leader of the strike how he used to intimidate and fas and gene kelly threw his resume we write about it and reagan never backed down. but needed to reagan as the inner steel that her husband blacks. is that something that occurred before he knew
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nancy he was close to 40 years old when he married nancy but this occur before some here is a man and you are suggesting he lacks the inner steel. >> guest: you took it out of context. what we say about nancy reagan is she would do the dirty work that reagan did not want to do because as you pointed out he was a very kind man and did not have the heart to fire a buddy or scold anybody. not like jimmy carter. so while he was a man of courage and was not afraid of people who wanted to hurt him he did not have the heart to yell or fire to tell them they were not to read the job. [laughter] that is what nancy reagan brought that is the steel we are talking about a.
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>> host: this was the first note that i took concerning that nancy is the individual running the show like he is the puppet the one that becomes dominant in their personality tuesday she has more influence over him. >> guest: she had the last word. >> this is where the clarification needs to take place but she never interfered with policy. >> guest: i thank you are correct. nancy was id lockstep with ronald reagan on policy. we didn't find any
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disagreements that they had politically. reagan was anti-communist so was nancy reagan was. marketplace smaller government so was nancy. we didn't see any tension there but what she did after the assassination attempt she took off the stuff he did not have to deal with and that was a lot. nobody got to see them without her saying yes. that is power where did the and rod old ma dash ronald reagan agreed on all policy she didn't pull him aside to say maybe we do this and that is incorrect they were pretty much of one mind. >> guest: . >> host: there is a mixed message on his religion or
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the depth of his police. that he did not go to church added his belief out of god. but at the same time there is a spirituality there a and it your words what message are you trying to relate to "the reader"? is the religious man in your opinion? gimmicky was spiritual and certainly he used his belief in god to define public policy i will give you an exclusive. are you ready? i have a handwritten letter by ronald reagan that he wrote to the abortion-rights person in 1980 that says he opposes abortion because it
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is his belief that god created all human life and it is sacrosanct. he formed his position on abortion, which he changed by the way of the spiritual belief system i have that in his own and. organized religion never really attracted ronald reagan his ancestors were catholic but he never embraced it very much however i do believe that he believes his country was founded to have a special place in the world that came from god that shining light on the hill concept that he endorsed. although not enamored of organized religion.
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>> host: i interviewed his pastor. he was ted pasadena and i talked to him about that. but it's when he went into the church for sunday's service is better everybody would turn and look in there would be and excitement he thought that was not fair to disrupt the spirit that was there and certainly that was true with secret service attended the services were with him. and likewise to suggest he was a religious person and all aspects.
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>> guest: may be better you know, who else says that? >> host: probably obama. >> guest: yes. barack obama. exactly what his pastor told me and probably took that from reagan. however i will tell you when ronald reagan got married this sacrament of marriage, he got married in a secular way in there were only two people at his wedding. to remember? >> mr. and mrs. holden. and they despised each other and for fighting during the wedding ceremony. we can say organized religion was not at the top of his list his marriage was conducted in a way to have no religious connotation at all. his children are all secularists except michael faqs religious bias not sure.
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so once again reach tell you about the man what he did and what he did not do a and inaccurate way. >> host: he believed a crusade against communism was part of his spiritual struggle? >> guest: it is not what i believe it is what ronald reagan believes. he believed that communist totalitarians violated the laws that god gave us. to be free and express ourselves to earn ad express ourselves to earn a living the way we want to or hold private property. the inalienable rights that we talked about in the constitution he really believed that america ago was "the shining" light in the world and the communist was the evil empire with the
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forces of darkness and in that belief was centered around spirituality more than politics. you are absolutely right. >> if he does have this strong spiritual belief grounded in a strong belief but yet you indicate of course, no bandage is perfect with those idiosyncrasies that must be kept quiet they both use stargazers to why in the future i see a twist of contradiction. >> guest: i can explain. ronald reagan could not care less about the astrologer. nancy loved the astrologer so to make nancy happy and keep her happy he went along with that.
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absolutely we say that that nancy was striding the trader wasn't ronald reagan making the appointments or phone calls. it was nancy. wait. it's a river so involved with astrology and the stars that the inaugural ceremony when he won a the governorship was held when? >> host: midnight. >> guest: why? because that is when the stars were aligned. du. >> guest: due to be there? come on. [laughter] >> host: i had no trouble if you mentioned it as nancy >> guest: we lay that out for you. >> host: such as his trusted in astrologers is
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not her. that is where i have the issue. >> guest: if you want to get mitt peaky he went along with nancy just like she went along politically he went along with her arm the stars but in my opinion he could care less it kept him up platy wanted to be in the sack he would rather have the inauguration and 2:00 in the afternoon. >> host: go into another issue. at least twice and suggested while reagan was not a great intellect struggling to maintain a c average in college. the in that same paragraph so what is it? >> guest: another
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excellent question. reagan was not a philosopher a proactive baker that he was introspective but he had a brilliant talent to absorb information to cut out the bs to communicate the information to the folks which is why he was successful politically. but was rated a great thinker like jefferson or lincoln? no cookie define problems a burst the affecting the united states? yes. it was a different type of intellect. not book smart but he did absorb the information and give it to him up until the
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time of the shooting dead after the shooting he had a little more trouble but some days he was brilliant other days he was not that is the lynch point we wanted to mate. >> with respect to the shooting and his difficulties, he went on to inspire the nation and a landslide reelection and he was on his game constantly. what a brilliant. >> he was very good it big moments but it and know who is responsible to turn that
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situation. >> host: you claim is right trails. >> guest: that's right. my boss he saw that reagan was failing and was not up to it. so he went in there to kick his but. not physically but he said you have to bear down and here is what you have to do. and reagan absorbed everything roger gave him and he went out to count mondale. >> host: to fly to fly -- go to the first debate ibis there jimmy baker with there and they had pumped him full of information and facts and figures.
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had a need to show how smart you are. he wasn't in his personality did not come through. >> guest: isn't that what we write? that is exactly what we wrote. >> host: you suggested he was not affected his game he did not have the and permission he was having a bad day and it showed. >> guest: i have to respectfully disagree period about the part of roger ailes he says the cable and your overwhelming demand with facts and figures he was becoming befuddles you had to strip away the heart of the matter all that is in the book. >> host: but you use this as one of the examples to show the president faltering that it was moving in.
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>> guest: let's say a he was not comfortable to absorb a tremendous amount of information to spit it back. that was not his strong suit. >> host: and never was the one before the assassination attempt he could have done that a lot better than after. >> this is to he was never a policy wonk and not because he couldn't be but it because it is not who he was. and had to develop a contract and all of the other stuff for the people he had to be detailed and was secretary before president. >> host: exactly my point. you were making my point was completely capable to always
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do that but that is not how he did that. >> guest: but not after he was shot. >> host: alice day after he was shot that incident may be brought on elements of the disease that we know as alzheimer's. >> guest: is accelerated according to the doctors that examen tem to have all those records is the book is was not off the top of my head it is accelerated it as it would with any human being. ap have a weakness in your physiology and you have a trauma or a weakness it is exacerbated. that is what happened but the nobility of reagan is
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that i believe he slow that down by sheer will. to slow down a disastrous situation while he was president. ps loaded down because he has a passion to defeat communism to infuse the optimism of. he said i would not let this spring readout. i will get through this said he did. provide after because part of "killing reagan" was the sheer will of ronald reagan and the courage that he had to overcome this tremendous challenge. >> host: you point this out that after the shooting he said i interred myself over he said he was on borrowed time and he felt he had a calling to use the
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time wisely. and if that's the case may be the attempt to on his life emboldened him to recognize this is borrowed time. >> he had to fight to maintain his mental and physical acuity and he did. that this book more than any other would make to my human being that has tremendous courage and that is on display but inundate end she was a woman of courage with an overwhelming love for her husband to sacrifice her whole life to make sure his
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last years were comfortable. and that ability shines is the book and the other stuff is true but this is the most important part. >> host: my eight son loved reagan he read this book is that i think i prefer jimmy carter. he felt that you put such a negative spin on everything looking through the eyes of a cynic but on page 215 you refer to "the new york times" as speaking of evidence as science of alzheimer's. tuesday it was reported as early as 1980 to contradict the statements are you suggesting even before he
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became president there were signs of this terrible disease? >> guest: i think it was in him and as you know, read comes at different times said different people's lives. widow, is easy as they used tear. that is all we were trying to make. not a diagnosis but you give the record. but i am distressed your son took a negative view. it is a very positive book he overcame a tremendous trauma. and did fabulous things for this country and is in the top-10 of all presidents. to say i prefer carter to
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say he was ted terrible president and i think your son should watch this interview then re-read the book he may take away something different. >> host: i don't know how much time but talk about hinckley you raise some interesting points about john hinckley. talk about what you think of that young man. there are so many sources that the 17 things could have happened that only with the 17 things to be shot up to the last minute give us some insight. >> guest: hinckley had a psychosis and was mentally disturbed. but he did know right from
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wrong and was intent on killing someone. jimmy carter, tried to kill him a national. ted kennedy. he thought about him. but the opportunity presented itself to kill prey again because he was delusional and thought this would make him famous and jodie foster the actors would somehow respond to him. it is crazy but he traded so that a gun range, planned everything out he was not irrational. may be added san insult to lugos who were wounded by him if he should never be let out nt is responsible for what he did. >> host: ronald reagan wanted to call him to offer forgiveness are you familiar with that? >> guest: we heard something about that but
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because we did not know it to happen we did not track it down. >> host: but others said don't call him because it would not make things better because it could make things worse. but his parents i imagine he called them. the parents come across accurately as people who were concerned and trying to do the right thing. heartbreaking. >> guest: whenever you are a parent of a child who does something heinous, the pay is tremendous. was not their fault. their son was a loon who did what he did but you raise an interesting point about his intent going back to his peers to morality in the judeo-christian tradition upon which the country was forged. forgiveness is paramount and he did sincerely believe that and wanted to show the country his forgiveness was
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there even with this incident. >> host: interestingly that morning he comes to washington d.c. it is a fluke he sees the schedule. >> guest: he sees in "the washington post" and the route of the speech and i will go get reagan. >> host: even then he was not certain. >> guest: he just wanted to kill somebody. >> host: it is amazing how coincidence perhaps after coincidence he even thought he would kill himself in front of jersey foster. >> guest: os wall the anti-nuclear the same guy. they are delusional lunatics who want to kill somebody than the opportunity presents itself the parallels between the two are startling. hinckley read about kennedy and of oswald and then they read about the trip of the
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hilton hotel then they decide to do it. but before that they were treating themselves to be assassins' they knew what weapons and how to do it. keep that in mind. >> host: i find it interesting you don't have anything really. >> guest: it is not a policy book we have heard plenty of things about reagan and policy it is just nihilistic. you cannot put this book down you just read it. page after page. so we didn't get into policy we wanted to tell the story of human beings. president reagan and nancy reagan and john hinckley. we tell the story all the way through without policy.
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>> host: by a great kick he took the lot history bin courage and convictions and his belief to protect america first and foremost, is as a great deal about the man. >> yes we cover that with margaret thatcher and gorbachev and the ultimate success of his policy toward the soviet -- soviet union made that quite clear the way he structured his administration he was very successful with the foreign policy realm and domestic front if you confine -- combined the two you have a great president. >> host: the relationship with margaret thatcher you have some great stuff in here on her. interesting they were both very strong individuals.
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>> guest: we got the transcript after the invasion of grenada and she was serious. he did not tell factor that there are ghana go into grenada and she was gone now to drive the tissue is telling her parliament the united states will not do this and i am friends said he would tell me that he doesn't she lights him up on the phone call. it is fascinating but again this is what we do end of book. that is why these folks are so successful because it is the big picture. who was at regins funeral? with tears and had forgiven him and best friend and champion quack ? market thatcher. we show you there was a detachment over grenada they are back together again because he said today they
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are like-minded and want freedom to override a totalitarianism and what would bind them together. >> host: but it is clear you spend at a great amount of time on the falklands war. >> guest: day katchis it was his militaristic point of view to be sublimated there and this is the fascination he did not want the war he opposed margaret thatcher farthing day argentine over those islands. he didn't want to sell all the warmongers how many times have you heard he was a warmonger? so we put that in there to show that he was and. he did not want to the war ended not think it was worth it to do that. but then he invades grenada. what was the difference? >> guest: the communist
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was in grenada and that led to his views. >> host: but this is where he would cross with thatcher that shows to leaders you are very much in line and in respect of one another but with respect for their own country's independent offending someone and then defending someone but isn't it clear break in did not tell her because they didn't want anyone to know? snaky could have told her and he was such a good friend she would have kept confidence. why? i don't know but when you read the pages of transcripts reagan is sheepish. he says i am really sorry.
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but they were both the same person. tuesday we will get the bad guys. to bind them together. >> host: margaret thatcher was there and gave the eulogy at his funeral. it was beautiful. you mention that even as a last act as president he wrote a letter talking about communism and how they pull that off. he really. do you find with your study of reagan as president a depth of humility? >> guest: it is hard to say. i think ronald reagan was
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not a guide that was interested in self aggrandizement. kennedy did. lincoln did not. reagan did not but i don't know if you would describe him as pope francis. he had confidence he was right and a certain swagger when he would address the world and the nation in know what i am doing and i am doing the right thing. but he wouldn't be bragging or anything like that. >> host: the finest quality of him was humility. >> guest: you have an advantage over me i did not know him for quite covered his inauguration that is an interesting insight. >> host: basically said you can accomplish anything
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if you don't care who gets the credit and he would live by that. >> guest: i agree. >> host: that is why he came across as such a great person. you with a cure his cousin the way he treated you as an equal. agree aspect as a human being to be president of united states the most humble man i have met in politics. that doesn't say much but who was? [laughter] so an aspect of his person so i will ask, after he left office there was the assumption the attempt on his life that sped up alzheimer's but it is also true about people that are in high and demanding positions when they leave those positions if they
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don't keep very busy mentally with challenges they will deteriorate mentally. in alzheimer's patients as well so he leaves office and he is still very vibrant and goes to mexico. nancy thinks that is the key part that the fall from the horse they had the concussion and a subsequent operation. do you think nancy may have hit on something? >> guest: all those traumas to a accelerate whenever you have incited you. it was it intends to be medical but to show what happened a and interior taken from a historical point of view to tell people who lived during that era who liked him and did not
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like him what he was really like. and to replace the myth with the facts and i think we accomplished that. he isn't a warmonger. and other charges he didn't care about the little people are minorities. absolutely not true. >> host: where do show that in the book? >> guest: from the free-market system that he believed if you about american capitalism the freedom to prosper, everyone will work who wants to work and that is exactly what happened. we show that pretty vividly that too great successes were defeating the communist, a soviet union and providing an economy that jimmy carter had destroyed. those are superlative
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accomplishments that we walk you through what it was. reagan didn't do the economy just for him he was interested in the folds and he did not like theirs struggling to get jobs with gas lines he cleaned it up. >> host: i think he would say he did not but he believed in the people he inspired them to greatness. >> canty was inspirational but his policies allow the people to prosper. >> host: absolutely. we will get off your back you have to do the work. >> guest: there you go. >> host: that is where he was a good and decent man deeply religious with great courage of his convictions and strong to accomplish great things i know of the case has been made that the
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attempt on his life as a jaded history for a president to fail. >> guest: i disagree entirely. when you read "killing reagan" you can have your view and i will have mine but i will submit this if reagan was not shot there would not have been in the oval office meeting with his top advisers to love him to remove him from the presidency. that never would have happened. >> host: how do you know, >> guest: i believe he ran his governorship sufficiently there was no trouble on the job there that is eight years i believe he campaigned in a way that was very efficient he was very energetic but not watching tv and so paupers and very engaged. his first weeks of the presidency he had a goal to accomplish then he shot the
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little changes. that is what i believe every document pretty strongly throughout the book they were free to add your opinion i like that i am glad to read the book i am glad we're having this conversation planned folks can decide for themselves. >> host: what is the most significant aspect for people who knew him and loved him to take home? what is fresh? >> guest: everybody will take something different just like your son with jesus and kennedy and pat and i got heat on every book. i did not say in killing jesus we did not talk about his spiritual and you're the resurrection. i got a from the outside now where would get it from those that you did not canonize ever making a mistake. no purple i've not and the business to do that. it was in a fair way and entertaining i would hit on
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themes that i felt were important people did not know about. it is entertaining to read the stuff. i think we did a fair and balanced job i am proud of the book i think ronald reagan would like the book i did he would say way to go. [laughter] >> host: i have to disagree. i read the book and was delighted to think i cared read it and talk to you about it to share with millions of americans is a pre--- appreciation for all his accomplishments and how he continues to inspire that i would hand it to my son. the you're undermining been demeaning his true greatness that is irrelevant to your feet and.

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