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tv   Mark Updegrove The Last Republicans  CSPAN  December 30, 2017 8:01am-9:16am EST

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>> that's just a handful of the programs airing this three-day weekend on booktv on c-span2. for a complete schedule visit booktv.org. we kick off the holiday weekend with mark updegrove, director of the lbj presidential library. he looks at the relationship between former president george h. w. bush and george w. bush, and the future of the republican party. >> good evening. i'm larry temple. as chairman of the lbj foundation it's my true privilege to welcome all of you to this program tonight. i happen to think that the lbj
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library has set a pattern or is setting a pattern. three weeks ago we had two stars on the stage, bob schieffer had a moderation, a conversation with former secretary of state madeleine albright. well, tonight we got two more stars on this stage. john avalon and mark updegrove. john is a true, rising star in this country in the media and journalism world. john got his start as a speechwriter for rudy giuliani, both when he was mayor of new york and later as presidential candidate. john avlon today is editor in chief and managing director of the "daily beast", but he is way more than that. he is a very active writer in this country. every major magazine has seen one of his pieces.
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moreover, he's on television all the time. you can look at cnn, look at msnbc, , you can look at pbs, yu can look at c-span and you will see john avlon. i will also tell you he is a prolific writer of books. he's written multiple books. the one that's most prominent, the most spotlighted is about washington's farewell address. and he reminds us that that is truly topical today. because in his farewell address, washington warned this country against excessive partisanship, greedy self-interest, and foreign powers that might affect our elections. [laughing] think about that. if that's not topical, i don't know what is topical. i will also say that john god,
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started to say fame, maybe notoriety, because he has been blacklisted by president trump. [laughing] [applause] i got a chance to see john avlon on the stephen colbert show on monday night of this week. he was a star there, too. but he said something that resonates very strongly with me. what john said that night is he perceived his duty, his responsibility as a journalist expert, he didn't call himself an expert but he is, as a journalist to call a lie a lie, and the fact of fact. i wish there were more people like him with that same attitude. i think we will all see a long time ahead john avlon on the public stage of this world.
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and i think we will all be glad that we met him on the stage tonight. now let me tell you about the other star. i bet all of you think you know mark updegrove. those of you who have been coming here for many years have seen him on this stage with the possible exception of harry middleton. mark updegrove has been on this stage more than any other human being. he was here as the indomitable director of the lbj library from 2009 until he left last february, but he was very prominent before he came to this library. he was a historian on the presidency that was well known throughout the country. he had been the editor of "newsweek." he had been president of time in canada, and give written two books on the presidency. one of them called second acts,
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saying what some presidents it after they left the presidency, the other book was called baptism by fire, what happens with president who come into office in time of crisis. now, lyndon johnson, i heard chastising once about the fact that lyndon johnson was in either book. but in spite of that he was picked to be the director of this library and were we ever wonderful to have him. he set a new standard. i will tell you, and is not hyperbole and it's not texas bragging when i say there are 13 presidential libraries, and during his tenure here he was widely known and respected as the single best, single best director of any presidential library. [applause] >> and mark left his mark on
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this library. in so many different ways. the highlight probably is the civil rights summit in 2014, in which we have not one, not two, not three, not for but five presidents, president carter, president george h. w. bush, president clinton, president george w. bush and president obama all were on the stage. never in history, in the history of this country have there been five presidents in a subsidy program at any time for any reason. mark make that happen and it is the hallmark of the success that he had here and last year in 2016 the vietnam war summit was a program that was comparable to the one he did on civil rights. i have said that i think there are rare few people in this world that are visionary, that are creative and know-how how p with an idea that's new and
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different. they are also a small number of people who knew how to implement an idea, , a program and those e normally two different people. mark updegrove is both. he knows how to come up with a whole new creation and then knows how to implement it. and he's that rare individual. he left to become the director, the ceo of the museum, medal of honor museum, and he still serves in that capacity. but he also has written even more books on the presidency. he wrote indomitable courage about lyndon johnson, which is widely regarded as a good insight on president johnson because it was taken from interviews and other discussions of people that new president johnson. then he wrote the book about the
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civil rights summit, destiny of democracy. well, he's gone on to write about two other presidents, the two bushes, "the last republicans." it's wonderful to have him back. we miss him. i just ask you to welcome to the stage john avlon and mark updegrove. [applause] so we got a little roll over still going on but more to show you one sitting in this chair. but it is a total honor and like to be here tonight for my friend marks unbelievable new book just out this week. it is a wonderful portrait of american politics and power, but also the personal bonds of two
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extraordinary americans, to presidents which you frame in a love story, and it is. it's really profound and a cut to say it's a not-so-subtle contrast to some of the things going on in our country right now. but we would get to that. how did the idea come to you to write this book, , and how did u land it? because that's a difficult negotiation i would imagine. >> i'll answer your question, very good one. first of all i want to thank you for being you. it's so great to be home. i want my chair back. [laughing] but it's a good to see so many old friends in the days are spent in the flavor of of the best in my career and it's just wonderful to be back home in many respects. [applause] >> thank you to my dear friend larry temple but gracious introduction. you can only go downhill from here, larry. [laughing] and thank you to my dear friend john avlon for coming in from new york city to do this interview.
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larry mentioned that john was on the stephen colbert show earlier this week, which he was. there was a bit that stephen colbert did obama book last monday night a week ago for monday. in which he took the cover of the book and said this is the bushes looking lovingly at donald trump's poll numbers. [laughing] and it was this great little bit he did. it was wonderful for a couple of minutes, and i felt i was on top of the world. then john is a guest and i said that son of god one upped me. he was wonderful. if you get a chance to google john avlon and stephen colbert you will see his wonderful it on the stephen colbert show. you get a great sense of what a great mind we have in john avlon. to answer your question, john, this was a story that needed to be written. this is, we've only had one other father-son president in the history of the united
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states, john adams and john quincy adams. there were 24 years, nearly a quarter of a century between the presidency of those two men. john adams was in his last 16 months of life when john quincy adams was in office turkey was in quincy massachusetts three-day stagecoach ride, make a six-day stagecoach ride away from washington. he really wasn't able to be in washington to been a kind of influence on his sons presidency. but george h.w. bush was us spry 76ers old when his son scent of the office. again, , he'd just been their agent before and he was in position to be a real influencn his sons life. this is a story that needed to be told. 41 agreed to do it 43 was, which george h. w. bush great to do the the book. i wasn't sure what he would say yes or no. i went up to dallas. i knew george h. w. bush a little bit. he took a meeting and i was shocked that in beginning of the
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meeting he said i've decided this story needs to be told and you're the guy to do. i was so unprepared i did have a tape recording device and he sat there and he put his feet up on the desk and he fingered and unlit cigar, and he started talking about his dad. and i realized there was so much to him that was a mystery about his father, particularly his fathers story early years when he went to war as an 18-year-old, signed up for the navy to get in world war ii at 18, was in the pacific theater and shotgun when he was 19. his life was spared but the lives of his crewmates were not and you realized there were some purpose that he had on earth that he was spared and his friends were not. he decide to forgo a family half to the riches of wall street and decide to go to the oilfields of odessa to make his way in the oil business, became a husband
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at 21, became a father soon thereafter. lost his daughter, his second child before he was 30. so these are amazing years that ushered him early into manhood. and george w. bush will he hadn't talked to them a lot about it. so it was a wonderful privilege to get this story out of both of them in the intimate way that they're willing to tell it. >> and just the process of getting people to unpack, because for two figures who have this historic throw away their not particularly given to reflection of our psychological rumination. they really rejected. facing very in the moment, it's not so articulately planned epic they have rejected the idea of a dynasty. how did you get them and what are your favorite stories of a getting the interviews that you did to get them to reveal? because they are remarkably candid, unfiltered comments.
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some language we can't use in front of a family crowd. you know, but you got them to really be reflective and candid, and what are some of your interview stories about? >> what i like, again the intimacy. they realize the story needs to be told, in some ways they were revealing things about each other that the others didn't know. that was the amazing thing i would tell sometimes 43 something that is that said, that's interesting, i didn't know that. they're as you said john, famously circumspect. george w. bush sometimes when you skidding introspective would say this is sort of psychobabble, but, then he would tell me something that was particularly revealing. i remember one conversation with george h. w. bush in his very small office at kennebunkport, and he is sort of getting hard of hearing, , just the two of in
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the office. he was in his wheelchair and our legs were touching behind the desk in his office and he was talking about what he would have done with iraq if you were president when his son was president. this is pretty heavy stuff for an historian. of course that the subject that we all speculate about, would 41 have done what 43 have done. he said well, in the final analysis, yeah, i think i probably would have done that. it's hard to tell but i think so. he sort of like iconic at this stage in his life but i wondered, is that the answer from a former commander in chief, or the answer of a father who wants to protect his son? i'm not sure he really would have done what he son did. but it think he was being protective at that moment when he was thinking that his sons actions with the war in iraq. i think using protective. >> the extraordinary loyalty,
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and this is kind of the family contrivance, this isn't kennedys don't cry. it's love really is a word they use a lot, and loyalty, and the family values not in the political expedient way of deploying that term, but the real family values they embody. w. talking about unconditional love from his father, , that character and service and humility really mattered. civility matters. the idea of responsibility that comes with power all of that flow summer father, prescott bush. how do you codify that tradition in the family and then contrasted with some of the values we see in our politics today? because to me it is start. >> it's dramatically different. the bushes, there is a family ethos and it's palpable when you are around the bushes. i think prescott bush as you
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mentioned, john, he stands for civility and decency, and putting service above self. that was something that was passed through the bush family. george h. w. bush talked often about the lessons that you learn them at his mother schnee. his father was great influence in his life and i'm not sure he ever felt like you measured up to study many ways which is remarkable for the 41st president of the tragic to say but he talked briefly about his mother and she would often say george, don't be a writer toshio. talk about the team, george. i don't care how many home runs you hit, george. how did the team do. did you win? because you did when it is a moot point. so the humility that is really the hallmark of the bushes in so many respects is clearly lacking in today, not just from our commander-in-chief. it's lacking from public discourse. in the age of social media it is inherently self-aggrandizing.
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but we talk about the father-son, if i can talk about relationship for one second. there's this great story that the elder bush told me about being with his son in midland when his son was about three, when w. was about three years old. appear he erupted in a fit of temper about something, and their walking along the streets. george h.w. and barbara bush. george w. start flailing away, almost cartoon style like a windmill, his arms are just going at 360 degrees. and he's trying to hit his dad and his status keeping them at bay. by just putting his palm on his flushed for head and telly tuckers himself out, he just stops and walked along again. in a way it's a metaphor of the reckless, you know, the young
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and reckless days of george w. bush because in some ways he tried to land a blow with his dad, and never did and ultimately they just sort of walk on. his father always had faith that he would do the right thing ultimately and wouldn't bring up that ill tempered moment. >> there's also, let me press you on the fathering and the parenting because there's some wonderful details in the book, moments where you can see h.w. leading by example. one example is w. walked off a summer job a couple days early, and, well can you tell the story because apparently it made a big impression on w. in terms of a piercing style. again, future president parenting and of the future president. it's both relatable and inherently historic. >> it goes back to the story i just mention as a metaphor. george w. bush work as a roughneck or in west texas.
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he made a considerable amount of money. yet agreed to work for, say, eight weeks. walked off the job in the seventh week because you want to spend time with his girlfriend. he goes to see his dad and his dad said, you didn't honor the commitment that you made. i'm ashamed of you. i'm disappointed. and george w. bush walks out of his dance office, he's disappointed, that was his fathers greatest weapon, to talk about how disappointed he was at any given point. he wasn't particularly emotionality point. he never yelled at his kids. he never hit his kids. there's no corporal punishment in the bushell but that expression of disappointment was the best thing that he could do to sound a message that said straighten up and fly right. so that happens. he leaves his fathers office and then he gets a call from his dad later on that afternoon and he said can you and kathy, scope and, come to the astros game
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tonight? either couple of tickets. he expressed his disappointment but he also welcomed him right back into the fold. that faith that he had been assigned alternately do the right thing never waned. >> yeah. i love that is a story he carries with him. there's no capacity when was mother barbara, they have a family intervention because they bustamante smoking at 17. and h. w. weighs in. it's barbara bush, they take them out to dinner. he is at that .16 years old and it's up in kennebunkport and george w. bush thinks this thia big deal, the parents never take me to dinner. as john said, , it was an intervention. barbara bush said you smoke. you smoke. what are you doing smoking? and george h.w. says well, are become you smoke, too. [laughing] then the subject just kind of
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died. [laughing] >> i love that sort of you can't lecture someone for doing something you do yourself. there's just a bit of yankee common sense, which is lovely. there's an amazing interview, the interviews really are extraordinary in the book but where w miller rejects and pretty . oh language idea that is ever a prodigal son. that was interesting. a lot of misconceptions about george w. bush and about relationship that he has with his father but one is this expedient narrative that he was a prodigal son, the ne'er-do-well, the one never expected about anything and certainly wouldn't be the political heir apparent. that is just dead wrong in many -- that are aspects of it that are true but actually he was quite auspicious in many respects one of the things he said to me was i will clean up the language a little bit, he
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said i chased a lot of tail and i drank a lot of whiskey, but i was never a prodigal because i never left my family. he never did. he always embraced his family, and so, talked about that. the fact that he made it on his own. one of the things you are almost expected to do as the bush is make it on your own. to achieve some success on your own. to leave the nest, strike out in different places george h.w. and barbara did to make your own mark, and then once you can provide for your family, to go into public life and to put something above yourself. ultimately, george w. bush does that but his family never leasing. he always loves and respects and admires them. i don't think he was as rebellious as some people think he was. >> there's some great anecdotes, but one of the great distances
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he has with the can become the comparison is we are not likely. the kennedys never had to work. >> i love there was the sense that order existed. strike out on your own, broaden your horizons, make money to take a family and then it was public service. and there's a practicality and humility to that that a thing ik keeps and grabbed and relatable in a pretty extraordinary way. so let's talk about the politics of the family because it's called "the last republicans" for a reason. there is this throwback quality to them, but there's a flow-through, too. look at prescott bush was the grandfather, the senator from connecticut. he took on joe mccarthy in the senate. i had not fully appreciated when h.w. was beginning his career he took on the berkshires in houston. there's this pattern of trying to isolate extremist elements
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but unite the party as much as possible. talk about that tradition within the family. >> it's funny because it's relevant because you can see a battle now for the soul of the republican party. nothing less the net and you can see these extremists going up against establishment but that's been true in the republican party throughout its history. you have these radical elements about a more moderate, and more moderate faction. as you mentioned, is that bush went up against joe mccarthy, one of those who censured joe mccarthy. dwight eisenhower had great faith in prescott bush pick and pack put it on a short list, vice presidential candidacy he was considering and he thought he could be present himself. he expressed that aspiration of prescott bush. >> no nixon. >> but he was extraordinarily
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moderate by today's republican standards. in fact, as you point out to the lunch he was the president of the planned parenthood chapter in his hometown in connecticut. so a very moderate force. when george h. w. bush throws his hat in the ring, it's as county commissioner for the republican party in harris county texas. he is battling john birchers as you say you are extraordinarily radical and virulent in their thinking. they don't want at establishment republican ticket from northeast to tell them how to run things. george h. w. bush achieves the office and invites them in. he has the spirit of inclusion where he brings them into the party operation. he unites them by including them. it's a remarkable gesture, and
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very emblematic of who george h. w. bush is. >> there's another extraordinary gesture and moment, and it's such a contrast the way people pursue congressional office today. there's the fair housing act, and the letters from george h. w. bush district are like 500 to two, they don't want them to support the fair housing act. and he writes as you say, this is a character testing moment, and he does what he thinks is right at great political risk. flush that a bit more because that's a key moment and it's also the kind of character you don't see from congressman today. there is an allergy to doing what they believe is the right thing if they feel they will get politically yet. >> it's an amazing moment. john was here, moderate a panel for our civil rights panel a few years ago which larry just mentioned. when george w. bush was here i mentioned this in the introduction here he asked not introducing this is typical bush
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style, , asked not to do an introduction to him but to talk a little bit about his father. again, the bush humility coming out. george h. w. bush campaign for the senate in 1964, unsuccessfully, against ralph scarborough. he was defeated one of the things he did was campaign against the 64 civil rights act, which lbj signed into law. and demonize his opponent for having supported the civil rights act. flash forward four years later, george h. w. bush is a congressman from texas. he didn't get elected to the senate but he became a congressman and 66 and was reelected in 68. martin luther king is exacerbated and 36 president lyndon johnson wants to sign the fair housing act into law, the third in his trio of civil rights law, the civil rights
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act, the voting rights act and the fair housing act. george h. w. bush is under hundreds pressure to oppose the fair housing act. but he's just been to vietnam and he sees african american soldiers fighting, aside white and hispanic soldiers and it makes a deep impression on you. if these men can go overseas to represent the country, , put thr lives on the line, surely they should be able to come back home stateside and live what you want. and so he supports it turkey vote for it. as you said, john, the letters opposed to it were 500 to two, people opposing george h.w. pushes stance on the fair housing act. he goes back to his district and he talks to a very angry group of constituents. and he talks about this crisis of conscience that he experienced and why he ultimately had to do it. including that experience that
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he had in vietnam. and he gets a standing ovation. it's an amazing moment and it's a moment that i would like to think that we can have in today's america. >> it's a beautiful and powerful moment and we don't see it enough. when george h.w. decides to run for president, his speech announcing a believe that press club in washington talks about the republican tradition of lincoln, teddy roosevelt and eisenhower. >> this is this is a distinct lt republican vision, right? this is the old sort of progressive pro-business pro republican party. and that tension with reagan, reagan to his great reaches out to try tonight the party after a pretty bitter primary but talk about that tradition that h. w. was representing and attention with the rising conservative
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movement even within the reagan administration. >> that reference to eisenhower is very, very pointed. eisenhower actually battled conservative forces as well. robert taft was competing with eisenhower for the republican nomination of 1952 and there were very radical elements on the outside, too. but ike likability was enough of the forced to carry them over the top, his sheer popularity and prestige as a general who had helped lead us to world war ii. he gets the nomination but that reference to eisenhower as a moderate is very pointed. you can see through the bush family the progression in republican politics and in prescott bush yet this northeastern moderate pro-business republican, very moderate on social issues, particularly compared to today. he would be almost a liberal compared to most voters today. and he is sort of becoming an
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anachronism by the time release of the senate in 1962. george h. w. bush is a hybrid of sorts. he's part northeastern republican like his father and is part of a westerner who has slightly more conservative beliefs. but the conservative wing of the party never quite trusts george herbert walker bush like they do reagan. it proves to be his undoing in 1992 when he violates his no new taxes, tax pledge. and radical right of the republicans is in sheer rebellion. so that proves to be his downfall. george w. bush is more a product of texas, and that conservatism comes far more naturally to him than it certainly did his father or would have his grandfather. you can see that relatively conservative politics by 2000
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standards is now relatively moderate bystanders of 2017. >> compassionate conservative is like a code word for hippie. [laughing] >> i will say, let's talk -- we were talking earlier about w. style because there's a particular kind of rebelliousness about w. can aspire his gut and is part texas. his genuine evangelical faith that is oversimplified by me but that helps his connection to conservatives. but there's lot of that cool hand luke swagger, and which was apparently, i learn from the book him was his favorite film at the time. you know, how do you incorporate that come he is the counter counterculture cowboy, you know? >> he goes through come he goes back east and really follows his fathers have two andover, philip randolph were where his father and grandfather gone, where his
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brother jeb -- his brother jeb would also go into the coaster yale and onto harvard business school. but when he goes to yale and harvard, he is very much a texan picked this is a guy who is wearing beatable levi's, is chewing tobacco and carrying a spit cup in his hand. unit, walking around, when he goes to harvard he is where his national guard jacket very, very pointedly to make a statement to the counterculture that dominates boston, massachusetts, at the time and so the overrepresented on the harvard campus. so he has the anti-antihero in that respect. >> so his father runs for president and equates drinking and one of the things, possibly because he didn't want to embarrass his father, he takes the love and loyalty really seriously and make a significant life change that probably changes the trajectory of his
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own possibility it's very involved in the campaign, plays kind of the enforcer with access, learns about politics but there's an extraordinary moment with you flush out in greater detail i've never read before where after his father wins to ask a staffer by the name of david wade to write up a fairly lengthy report about presidential children, presidential sons in particular. and it is kind of a despairing document. it basically says shut up and keep your head down. mediocrity is, like you can't succeed or fail without reflecting badly the press and the public will punish you. mediocrity is really a win in this one. and he clearly reads it and internalizes it and says, terms the card table over and says i'm not going to follow that script. it's an amazing insight into the asfoor and then discarded entirely. >> an amazing moment. again, the aim for mediocrity
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approach that was advocated by looking at the lives of presidential offsprings not a path you want to follow. he had real aspirations and ambitions. i do think as he said to me, again, the bushes are not particularly introspective people but he said to be the was a certain sort of expectation. what he meant by that is that it was tacit, in some ways it was never over. george h. w. bush never said junior, you will do this for you do that. it just didn't happen that way in the bush family. but there was a certain sort of expectation to borrow george w. words that you would make something of yourself. and i think there was some of that, though some of that phyllis tacit and some of that those self-imposed. he was ambitious. it took him a a long time to fd his way. in a way, it's interesting, both
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he and his father are products of their generation. that explains some of the differences. george h. w. bush was a member of the greatest generation. on his 18th birthday as i mentioned earlier he signs up to go into the navy, much to his fathers chagrin. his father once and going to college and become an officer and then go into the service. he decides he wants to get in right now. when his country needs him in the fight. comes back, doesn't talk about it, doesn't rebel. he's a very much in keeping with this generation. george w. bush, on the other hand, why wasn't the hippie that you saw on the campus of harvard university typically in the late 60s, early '70s, did give him space to come to find himself after college. he didn't impose great ambitions on himself. he kind of wandered around 50 said, he talked to me about how he said i could have any possessions. i didn't want any possessions.
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i didn't want to be involved with anyone or tied down. he really just gave himself time to find himself. >> it's a remarkable, there are remarkable character studies, even outside the remarkable parental relationship. so 41 presidency ends in a loss, painful painful. that's painful for the family and that healing seems instructive. and then w. gets into the game after serving as governor of texas, and this is what's interesting. so you've got w. as governor one for president. jeb is now governor, too, and the father writes him a note saying there's going to be a time where you need to be on man and you may be called on to criticize me, and it's okay. i know, i know you love me no matter what. it's a document unlike anything i've ever read in terms of the real generosity of spirit and awareness of a hardball nature
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of politics. >> you're so right. as john mentioned, george h. w. bush as you know gets defeated in 1992 by bill clinton, leaves office in 1993 after one term in office. he's incredibly dejected. really does know what's going to do next, and george w. said wasn't exactly depression. but it was deflation. his father had not finished the race that he was running. and he kind of has to find himself again. but one of the ways he does that, one of the things that really galvanizes him is that his sons get into politics, both one for the governorships of their state in 1994. it's expected that jeb will win the governorship of florida, and is expected that george w. will lose against the very popular and richards here in the state. of course the opposite happens. that's the surprise in the family.
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it's not that people expected jeb to win because he's a political airfare because it is greater political skills, because you smarter. it's not that. it's that they look at the races and the handicap them and they said you know what, ann richards is a former candidate. >> barbara says you're going to lose. >> she says, ann richards, you're going to lose. and it didn't matter to george w. bush. it didn't matter. that's the other thing that his father teaches him, that failure is not failure because you can learn from it. that's exactly what had happened to him. i'll go back just for a second. this is the guy who throws his hat in the ring for the presidency in 1980, has very little name recognition. he gets defeated by ronald reagan ultimately. they both emerge as the front runners after some tough primary campaigns, and reagan outmaneuvered him, which is
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almost literally what happens in new hampshire. and he goes to the convention wanting to support ronald reagan, like his mother would want. you extend a hand whether your defeated or lost to the person he either vanquished or were defeated by. and he thinks that's the end of his life in public service. and it he gets a call from rond reagan against all odds asking him to be his running mate. so defeat was in defeat. but to something else picks of george w. bush throws caution to the wind, and he knows he's going to win. i asked laura bush about this. i said, did you think is going to win? she said i never had any debt. i don't think which is hyperbole. i really do believe that she felt her husband had that will to win. the public lives of jeb bush ultimately, jeb bush loses the race for the florida governorship in 1994 and goes back to win in 1998.
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so he is getting into politics and george w. getting into politics gives george h. w. bush renewed life. >> and then of course the sublime triumph when the sun is elected president after that interminable florida recount. and he handles it in a really interesting compartmentalized way. w. basically delegated to jim baker and cut up checks out, they'd holistically. but the great pride upon the fields after first inauguration. i was struck by the phrase civility six times in his inaugural which again is not a term we are heading for it often in our politics today. >> and they are very, very tight especially with president bush 41 reputation as being the great statesman, the foreign-policy leader. no one expects w. to be that. he campaigned as a domestic policy president. >> the 9/11 happens and that iraq happens.
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inwardly faceting to me, and you detail is, the apparent split, not public but private between 41 and 43 played out through proxies. and the two big things are when brent scowcroft, 41 national student advisor writes a memo, writes an an op-ed in the journal that's interpreted as being tacitly 40 one's criticism of the president and jim baker's. and then totally different interpretations about the relative power of dick cheney. that fault light itself is so personal as well as philosophical with massive implications for our country in the world. deep in a little bit on those faultlines. >> this is what as an historian this is what you want to know. what transpired between these two men, particularly as a relates to policy in iraq. it's not the story we thought it was. john is referencing an op-ed
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written by brent scowcroft on the eve of our going to war in iraq, and it appeared in the "wall street journal" in august of 2003. the headline is don't attack saddam. i believe that's the headline. it was 2002 don't attack saddam. there's great speculation that the old man has talked to his pal brent scowcroft, his national security adviser, asking him to come forward with this op-ed to reflect his own views and tell his son how he feels. that's not exactly true. >> that's too much of a shakespearean imagination to be true. >> what happened was scowcroft called the elder bush and told him that he was thinking of writing the op-ed. it speaks volumes about george
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h. w. bush that he doesn't stand in his way. he feels that brent scowcroft is a loyal public servant and a great american, has earned the right to express his opinion, even though it might oppose the current policy stance of his son. and scowcroft since a copy to george h. w. bush afterwards as a courtesy. now, george w. bush is hopping mad about this, and he calls his dad and he says, you know, essentially what the hell? what happened here? and his father says, brent is a friend. and george w. says, some friend. but again, it's a something about his dad that he was willing to stand in brent scowcroft way but he's hurting in some ways because he knows it hurts his son pic is trying to do the right thing at all sites. i am abundantly confident that george h. w. bush did not see
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the op-ed before it was written. >> and then what about the retrospective fight over dick cheney? this gets really personal, too. obviously he is 41's defense secretary, but barbara comes at us as as a bleak in one of your interviews just criticizes cheney and very personal terms about the power, and then w. comes back and says that guy did make one ethene decision. it's really faceting to see the split in the family over whether cheney grabs too much power. >> yeah, i think george w. bush goes to the white house as you said, with a clear understanding of domestic policy and he wants to be the education president. that all changes on september 11, 2001, you know. he knows he's going to be a war president. he knows that's is going to define his administration. he doesn't know a great deal about foreign-policy but he
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feels he has good people around him. and i think he is enticed by the notion that dick cheney articulates, that you can democratize, or you take out saddam hussein who is been a thorn in the sight of the united states, including his father, george h. w. bush, and democratize iraq and have this transformational effect on the middle east. in some ways george w. bush in the late night as president ronald reagan. he admires the grand vision that reagan had to defeat very unambiguously soviet tyranny. i think he's intoxicated by that, that notion. as we know now it was a botched experiment and he becomes american adventurism. but cheney has this i think great influence in the administration. what barbara bush told me is that george had great faith in
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dick cheney, and in george w. to make the right decisions given the intelligence that he was getting. and george h.w. did not intervene in his sons presidency in any direct way. but one of his reasons that he doesn't intervene, that he doesn't say junior, you are doing it all wrong is because he understands the office of the presidency. he also understands he doesn't want to be another burden to his son. you are so many burdens inherent in that office \50{l1}s{l0}\'50{l1}s{l0} not going to be, contribute to an additional burden for his son. but i do think he has hesitations about what the direction that dick cheney is taking his son and. >> and he would move really far right and w really bristles at the narrative but even shared by sammy that cheney was too powerful. >> it's true here.
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those who know george w. bush, he has is almost natural competence and is about to make decisions and he can hear, he's a very quick study and he can hear things and coalesce been in his might and spit out a decision. it is usually a pretty informed one. so this very notion that his mother believes that he is not making his own decisions, that dick cheney is this kind of machiavelli and puppetmaster pulling the strings of his presidency, he finds that utterly preposterous and he says, he said to me, to borrow the phrase john just use, cheney and rumsfeld have made one ethene decision. one of my printing out a set of the fact you got to see the f word on cnn. [laughing] but that shows how stridently george w. felt about that
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misconception that we have, the summary else was making the decision. >> and that it runs through the family, fighting the narrative even in the family. so fast-forward, , it's 2016 george w. bush is the world's least likely folk painter. [laughing] donald trump is running for president against jeb. at around the time looks like is going to secure the nomination, w. muses i wonder if i'm going to be the last american president. was that the inspiration for the title? and your interviews with both 41 and 43 about trump are withering. i believe you broke the news in the book that 41 confirmed that he he voted for hillary clinton here just like anathema to bush family values before 2016. so talk about their comments to you about the rise of trump, the disparagement of their brother jeb and in what that means for the republican party.
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what was the republican party. >> the title came in the spring of 2016 before george w. bush had purportedly said to aids off the record i may be the last republican president. it was very clear to me that regardless of who won the presidency in 2016, there was a kind of republicanism that was dead. and when he said that, i remember talking to my wife, i sort of hit my head, it's gone now, i can't call it that. i realize wait a minute, all the more reason to call it that. he said the same thing to me when i met with them, i may well be the last republican president. if you think about donald trump he's absolutely anathema to the bushes. george h. w. bush campaign under a platform trying to create a kinder, gentler nation. george w. bush campaign under a platform of compassionate conservatism.
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when we were attacked even after 9/11, george w. bush resists taking the path of least resistance and sounding this message of xenophobia and nativism. and instead visits a mosque to emerge and say that islam is peace. it's quite remarkable in, i today's standards. to take this further if i may, look at ronald reagan. ronald reagan is the republican icon. he is the emblem of republicanism. and he is called of course the great communicator. what is his most favorite rhetoric? it's ten at the brandenburg gate and saying to his soviet counterpart, mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. america at its best stance for both literally and figuratively towering walls down, not building them. and then you have donald trump
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-- [applause] if i can take it just a little further part. just look at ronald reagan's policy towards the soviet union. which was trust but verify. when he was talking to gorbachev during the same summits during the course of reagan's administration he would say repeatedly to mikhail gorbachev, trust but verify. so much so that gorbachev got sick of it. gorbachev stood on this stage to say how sick he was a ronald reagan saying trust but verify. with donald trump come his policy towards russia is trust. trust vladimir putin. not trust his own intelligence apparatus. that is remarkable. that is absolutely astounding that the republican would say oh, this whole business about russians meddling with our election is over because my
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counterpart denied it. think about how, so that sound you hear is ronald reagan rolling in his grave in simi valley, california,. [laughing] john, i want you, john was just on stephen colbert at the mention and you articulated this so well. talk a little bit about your views. actually we might have to switch chairs. [laughing] and that i will be totally comfortable again. this is very deflected for me. but honestly, he spoke very eloquently about your views on the republican party. i would love you to share that with the audience if you would. >> sure. i mean, look, if you look at the party of lincoln, that is a nice notion, right? i mean, the party that george h. w. bush announced he would be the inheritor of to try to lead in 1980, lincoln, teddy roosevelt, eisenhower.
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party does not exist if you're a member of that you are functionally homeless at best. of course the irony is the base of the party of lincoln is in a state of the confederacy. but it's more than that. because it's about conservative populism as a constant force to about american history at the republican tradition i bushes represent were a check off, right? is about seville is a virtue, it's about service. it's about community, about being part of something larger than yourself. it's not about, it's about appealing to the better angels, not the worst instincts. and the politics we've seen from donald trump are the opposite of that tradition of the lincoln's, teddy roosevelt, eisenhower and the bushes. it is all about me, not about wii. it is about attacking the people you disagree with, not trying to unite the nation. civility and freedom are
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literally words you rarely if ever hear from this president. let alone the freedom party in particular. people miss this. this is not a freedom administration. this is not a virtue. for w. is so consciously tries to make that word the course of his second inaugural in his foreign policy, the word freedom is absent from the rhetoric of this administration. >> as our human rights by the way. >> yes, of course, but i didn't want to get to jimmy carter about that. >> what we are watching is a major role reversal that is left a great american tradition of people following homeless including the two presidents who led this party within living memory. and i think the question becomes, is it a week style moment where a party so that its principles to achieve power and oddly receives neither -- whig? are i really a three party systn
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our heart? radicals, reactionaries and reformers, not simply liberals and conservatives. the animal spirits are out and i think the virtues, and i mean that word personally and politically that the bushes example fight at their best, and you can criticize one policy and where all imperfect human beings as it would probably admit, those virtues seem to have been lost for the moment in our discourse to think a great detriment as a country. >> as a republic. you talk to the bushes, what made headlines a couple weeks ago was the bushes coming out for the first time publicly about, on their views about bush. i gathered those interviews before donald trump again president and i think important to mention because the bushes would never talk to any
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president, republican or democrat and disparaged them while they're in office. >> they have too much respect for the office of the presidency and again they both know the burden that office spit all the more extraordinary that w. came out and give a speech about two or three months ago without naming trump, but he did talk about the trumpcare more or less and the things we are seeing around the country which he finds deeply disturbing, protectionism and nativism. some of the things you and i talked about. >> he recalled one of the 1944 immigration acts which was unexpected. >> america first. the 1914 immigration act which restricted non-western immigration. that was a deep cut. i was impressed. [laughing] >> as i mentioned, george w. bush is far more, i think is far more intellectual than people give him credit for.
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one of the things he does very successfully throughout the course of his public career is he keeps expectations low. [laughing] no, serious. >> strategically. >> in fact, when he is flying to iowa to announce his candidacy for the presidency in 2000, he says welcome to the expectations airline, please keep your expectations stowed. .. humility is the hallmark of great leadership, so when donald trump said i am my own advisor
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he thought wow, this guy doesn't know what it means to be present here to george h dubya bush was a little more blunt. i saw him on the day john kasich pulled out of the race, so we just had donald trump who was clearly going to win the nomination battling against ted cruz, anti- moderates to say the least, anti- establishment politician and-- actually i was the one that told him that john kasich had just dropped out and i asked him about trump and he said i don't know him, but i don't like him. [laughter] and i'm not excited about him being a leader and then he said he's a blowup. but, the most resounding statements both of those men made was not a statement at all. it was a statement, but not
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verbal. it was by casting their first ballot and in george hw's case casting his first ballot for a democratic candidate. he had never registered a vote for a democrat in his life. a george w. bush reported republican ballot, but abstained from voting for president's. >> which is remarkable especially while they have adopted bill clinton. [laughter] they call him a brother from another mother. [laughter] and i think 410 mostly is like he has become a father figure to bill clinton in a funny way, but those feeling that it's necessary translated to hillary, but she got 40 ones vote and he actually thought she did a good job as secretary of state men in the relationship between bill clinton and the-- as john sent-- said marvin bush was the least known of the bush offspring, but
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probably the funniest said my brother from another mother, so then came the nickname for him, but bill clinton has had a lot of sponsors in his life, a lot of mentors, but there really hasn't been a father figure, so it's a touching in a way that the man he defeated for president would become almost a paternal figure in his life. >> i don't when to end up this, but i feel like i have to ask it because of 41 is a such a father figure to so many and is so revered and so respected, some of the allegations coming out now about inappropriate grabbing and i think people conflate it was some other scandals we see in our society, but it is so counter to the impression we
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have of him as a person with a loan made president, how do you reconcile that, a man of a different era in time? >> i don't-- if you look at the character of george herbert washer-- walker bush it doesn't squared off, i mean, he's an older man and we heard he did things like that and frankly it was a bad joke. i believe if he thought he was offending someone he probably wouldn't have done it. >> there might be other revelations that come out. of the man we know now is not the man of yesteryear and he sits in a wheelchair and poses for a lot of the pictures. these are people who had posed with him in a quick meeting greets, grip and grin and he sits here and often it's awkward where his hands are, so i think we probably have to give him the benefit of the doubt and there is still a revelation that came out about george hw bush doing
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something in 1992, and i don't know if there is anything-- cnn. >> cnn? >> yes. >> if so out of character for george worked walker bush. >> i think the word characters that keyword as we sum up, i mean, one of the lines that keeps resonating to me and in our particular political era is from a movie called "pulp kitchen-- pulp fiction" which is just because you are cared to doesn't mean you have character, but in the case of w he had both and i think it's about character and values and a love story unlike any other in american political history. do you despair of it being a museum piece or do you see a possible resurgence of this great american political tradition? >> you know, i hope the
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tradition of civility and humility and decency and putting something about yourself thrives in america. frankly, we don't see much of it in washington today, but we should not despair completely. we see throughout-- so much about throughout the best of america. there are plenty of other examples and i hope it's restored to the oval office. this is a office that i revered. i was a steward it and had the great honor of being the steward of the institution for eight years and lbj i say this respectfully with my dear friend lucy johnson in the front row, lbj is a flawed character, but as president he supported needed his own concerns for those of the nation and he did so admirably. he promulgated a great society which i think is the foundation for modern america.
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that kind of service above self, that kind of thinking about the greater good, that sort of east south is what makes america exceptional. i don't think we have lost that, but i would like to see it returned to the highest office. >> thank you. [applause]. >> thank you so much. [applause]. [inaudible conversations] >> welcome every month for the
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past 20 years one of the nation's top nonfiction authors has joined us on our in-depth program for a fast three our conversation about their work. just for 2018 in-depth is changing course. we have invited 12 fiction authors on to our set, auction-- authors of the national security thrillers, science writers, social commentators like colton whitehead. geraldine brooks and many others their books have been read by millions around the country and around the world, so if you are a reader plan to join us for in depth on book tv. it's an interactive program the first to sunday of every month and lets you call in and talk to your favorite authors and it all kicks off sunday, january 7, at noon with david ignatius, "washington post" columnist.
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you can join us live on sunday january 7, or watch on-demand at book tv. >> here's a look at some current best-selling nonfiction books according to the "new york times". topping the list is best-selling biographer walter isaacson recount of the life of leonardo da vinci followed both former white house photographer behind the scenes look obama's presidency. next on the list's pulitzer prize way biographer on the life of president ulysses s grant. fourth is vice president joe biden's promise me, dad. in which he recalls how he bound his professional duties while tending to his ailing son followed by fox news host of the history of the world 1812 battle of new orleans. our look at the best-selling nonfiction books according to the "new york times" continues with a biography of bobby kennedy.
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after that is for people in a hurry by astrophysicist neil d grasso tyson followed by former campaign manager and deputy campaign manager david bossi. next is bill o'reilly and martin do guards history of the revolutionary war, killing england. wrapping up our look at the best-selling nonfiction books according to the "new york times" is new yorker staff writer and national book award finalist david graham with killers of the flour milling about a string of murders in oklahoma during the 1920s and targeted members of the osage indian nation. some of these authors have or will appear in the tv took you can watch them on our website, book tv.org. >> i've been attacked by everyone. on been attacked by the right-wing, russians, by the chubb campaign. either been attacked by them and
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now i can add the click campaign. >> sunday on c-span q&a former democratic national committee chair donna brazil talks about her life and politics in her memoir. >> i was in washington dc not far from here and hillary was excited. she had met this young state senator who was running. she has roots in illinois. she met this state senator and told my good friend-- we were on the third floor and she said she knew of barack obama. i did not know barack obama. i knew others and a lot of people in chicago politics, but never heard of barack obama and so we met him 2000 11 just say the rest is history. >> q&a, sunday night at eight eastern on c-span. here's a look at authors
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recently featured on the tvs afterwards, our weekly author interview program. retired astronaut scott kelly will discuss his record-setting year for the international space station. white house reporter in washington examiner senior editor explore the life of steve bannon and his future in american politics and goldstar father recalls his immigration to the united states and offered his thoughts on what it means to be an american. in the coming weeks and afterwards federal judge john newman would reflect on his career versus a prosecutor now is a federal appellate judge. former clinton administration official peter edelman will argue that us courts are explored in the economically impoverished. black lives matter cofounder will discuss the birth and growth of the movement and this weekend on afterwards christopher scully at, son of the late supreme court justice antonin scully a will share selections from his father's
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speeches. >> he delivered i think i know the speech you are referring to which is a speech he delivered about a ritualism and white its superior to what's called a living constitution approach to jurisprudence and i heard them deliver that speech in madison, wisconsin, 2001, and it's what he delivered often and was his stump speech. i was looking forward to finding a written version of that because i love that speech and thought it was great including a wonderful passage where he compared the living constitution approach to a television commercial from the 1980s where a prego commercial where someone is making pasta just heating up store-bought pasta sauce and the husband says to his wife, you are using the storm made sauce, you're not doing it homemade, what about the oregano and at the wife says it's in their. what about the pepper, it's in their. the garlic, it's in their and my
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dad would say we have that kind of a constitution now. you want a right to an abortion, it's in their. you want a right to die, it's in their. anything that is good and true and beautiful is in their number which the text says cedric afterwards errs on book tv every saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern and sunday 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific. >> you are watching book tv on c-span2, television for serious readers. here's our primetime lineup with diane enrique talking about the worst date in stock market history, october 19, 1987, when the market lost 22% of its value 7:20 p.m., john hope brian founder and ceo of operation hope argues economic independence will protect the poor from social and economic injustices. @845 msnbc host lawrence o'donnell recalls the terminal
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of the 1968 president election and then on book tv afterwards at 10:00 p.m. christopher scully a, son of the late supreme court justice antonin scully at share some of his father's speeches on the law and we wrap up our primetime programming at 11:00 p.m. with isabella talking about her career and latest novel in the midst of winter and that all happens tonight on c-span2 book tv. 72 hours of nonfiction authors and books this holiday weekend, television for serious readers? host: as we continue here from miami we are pleased to be joined by journalist and authoro sharyl attkisson whose most recent book is called "the smear" sharyl attkisson, i think you had a chance to listen to those final few calls we heard and was then in santa rosa california

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