tv Steve Israel Big Guns CSPAN May 26, 2018 6:50pm-7:46pm EDT
[inaudible conversations] >> good evening. good evening and welcome to the barnes & noble on the upper east side. i'll ask are going to please take their seats. we are going to in tonight's program. before it can if you would doublecheck your cell phones and make sure they are silently appreciate that they immediately following the discussion we will be opening up to questions and answers for either myself or matthew will be running over with a microloan for you. just be patient with us. he is a former u.s. congressman coming from long island and we are delighted to welcome steve israel to the barnes & noble upper east side this evening. these days is a federal commentator and author and easier tonight with "new york times" best-selling author nelson demille to talk about
the satirical new novel "big guns" which christopher buckley refers to is the funniest thing to come out of washington d.c. in a long, long time. ladies and gentlemen please join me in welcoming steve israel and nelson demille. [applause] >> i'm a democrat so i will sit on the left. [laughter] >> you have to start with a joke. >> always. >> thank you for coming. first of all i want to thank steve for 16 years of national service in the congress of the
united states. he did a great job. [applause] i will tell the joke. between steve and i steve is writing his second novel. between steve and i we have sold 20 million books. >> you figure it out. >> steve will do most of the talking. i'm just a pretty face up here. they did have some written questions if i can find them and let me ask the first one. the first question is what's the harder job writing legislation or writing a novel? >> well first how about a hand for nelson demille which i have to tell you i've been on
stage with the president of the united states. i've been on stage with governors and senators prime minister's world leaders paid being on stage with my literary idol of nelson demille is a very big deal. when i hired staff in my congressional office particular interns i had a required reading list. i insisted that everybody who worked for me in congress read some books and i would tell them that if you want to understand long island on its politics it's topography it's the rain its culture and its fabric there are two books you have to read. one book was nonfiction robert caro's the powerbroker and the other book is nelson demille's gold coast. if you want to understand the district that i representative just so beautifully and authentically portrayed in the gold coast.
nelson's question was what is harder, writing legislation or writing a book? legislation because nothing passes in washington d.c.. if you write a book you can sell a couple and get some rough seas. one of the reasons i decided to leave congress and there were many reasons but one of the reasons was because i realized it doesn't matter whether you are left of center or right of center i was never going to be able to write a bill that was going to pass the house on anything of consequence because the gridlock is just that severe my time would be better spent nelson actually writing books pursuing what was a passion of mine since i was a teenager so the answer to your question is much more fun writing hooks and also when you write a book you pour your heart out but you don't have to sit in this cubicle asking people for money. you don't have to do call time when you are writing.
>> a follow-up question. what is worse, an election campaign or of up to her? [laughter] >> what is worse, in an election campaign or book to her? if you win an election it isn't so bad but if you win -- lose an election that's awful. i served for 16 years uninvited and undefeated. i don't know about you, i have not come close to the -- that you do. we were in washington yesterday new york city tonight and tomorrow the of dawn i go to los angeles and back. we did a bunch of events in long island and in chicago and miami but i kind of enjoy it. like getting feedback from folks
it's kind of tiring but you have many more frequent flier miles than i do so how do you approach it? >> that's a good question. in the beginning it's exciting and my first book i wrote in 1978. i was being flown around business class and second class and it seemed like this isn't the life you pictures of best-selling author. long before that it was like oh but the good part is you said it you are alone in the room all day telling yourself stories. when you're out on the tour utc people. i do a web site and social media but it's not the same as going and seeing people. it wears you down on one hand
but on the other hand it really moves you. in other countries they really don't even do book tours per se. a country like germany or italy or france doesn't even know what it is to have a book signing. it's so great in america. wherever we go 1500 people come out which you don't seem to popular world. western europe they don't do the book signings. they mostly just me with media people. things go wrong on book tours as we know and some of that's funny. every author i know is going to write a great book.
w did it. >> you are supposed to be asking the questions but it triggered a very important question. my editor is here from -- simon & schuster. so here is my question. i specifically heard you say on your tour first-class airfare and the nicest hotels. i can't even get car fare. i'm just saying. [laughter] that's why you are such a good fiction writer. >> i don't know. i can't get away from that. my question when writers come into the business, new riders
of my time on planes. and in cars and traveling the country on politics. and it was my therapy and i had to intention of publishing this book it is just what i did to get some -- some comfort. i would go into meetings this was right after 9/11 go into meetings with president bush who i told it s now my favorite president which i didn't think i liked and vice president cheney, and just hear this -- i would see these stories unravel in front of me. youyou know just the human connection, and watching these people deal with these monumental challenges and i would walk out of this meetings with dialogue and you know everything i wrote i would literally write on my -- blackberry because i wanted it to be in real time so i never thought that book would be published and then i stumbled on to agent who me the sign and
they published the book and that was my very first experience to book writing but release and to create a product with a market police station and i loved it. i loved hearing from, ben and mary sue on the importance of bringing certain characters forward. i had a character -- interested in europe i had a character in my first novel -- she was in the background for most of the book. had her in the background it was ben ho said you have to bring her forward with a strong female krk and i suppose some authors you know get to the point where that becoming fatiguing but i was so fascinated by that process and it made me a much better writing on big guns because i understand importance of character development and telling story not just to tell but a story that people would feel was accessible. what about you? >>you know, i -- my first book in 1970 and i didn't know what i was doing and
why i was doing it but you know, i guess a natural story telling ability. i mean, i don't know why i got into the business i was out of work i sat down. i had a great man and -- that was original peter who wrote the p and took me under his wing and less confidence -- and i sat there and i wrote a book that was, you know -- pretty hard and you work on it and it became any first novel book of the main club main selection readers digest and they said this was easy and do it again, with you know. i got lucky and most writers don't get lucky and they can write letters and successful published how many people here
want to write a novel? good. that's good. this is a good crowd. [laughter] oh, but you know when bug bites you the bug bites you and this was -- give it a quick -- the way i got involved with it was vietnam war vet i was infantry officer in vietnam 1968 and i came back and i never thought about writing but all of a sudden they wrote a american war novel this got me into the the process. i never really wrote that novel years later i wrote a book called where about vietnam that was many years later but that was compelled me sit down, at a typewriter, i don't type, but hand write my novels and -- read a novel. which turned outs it was underpublished but that got me into the the process and what -- when you're sitting there in congress, and you know, hold of the congressional building and
gave me a great tour of the congressional building beautiful place. nice place to go to work every morning. what -- was going on in your bhiengd you decide ited you wanted to write a novel? >> i had -- elected in thousand with the support of you so it is your fault. [laughter] and -- then you have -- 9/11 hits. disj i'm thrust into meetings with the president of the united states and secretary of defense, secretary of state. national security advisor, up until that point, my most important meeting in the world wases meeting with the the highway superintendents a turn councilman to talk about paving issues and now -- you know, with i'm just thrust into this. and i would go into these meetings as i said before, and it -- instruct me as some of the dialogue was absurd but human nature playing out people trying to figure out what to do and i
would leave these meetings and immediately grab my blackberry because you're not allowed to bring electronic devices to classified setting and i wouldn't write dialogue to get me into trouble but i would reminding myself of -- what was happening. and the dynamic. and i didn't have -- i didn't have a plot but i had good characters and then -- as we got deeper and deeper into the war on terror i learned government might be spending time and resources poking around in our private business. and -- my story crystallized in grew more and more one day when a top general was testifying to the committee and he -- was apologizing for fact that the federal government had made a mistake and the mistake was this. they have some intel that -- they would might have been a terrorist cell in -- a lake worth, florida, planning and plotting violence on a federal military base.
and it turns out general told us that intel was wrong, that we were surveilling not -- a terrorist cell but group of elderly quakers. and they weren't planning an attack on the federal government. they weren playing to go to the office depot get oak tag and sharp sharpies and say get us out of iraq so the question knew they were quakers how long were we watching them oh, for months and -- that's when i had my story you know so that was literally that day now i know nothing about elderly quakers but i'm an expert on jew herb men in their 50s so does nothing wrong and they want to be left alone to turn a classic movies but somehow national security decides that more -- is a major terrorist they go after him same thing with big guns i would listen to these debates that no matter what your view may be of the issue and i respect views across the whole -- you know the whole range. i would hear these debates on
house congress had respond to gun violence and i just started writing and writing, and created this story. >> follow-up question then -- you have a great sense of humor we heard and this comes now the your novel but have you about a more serious novel about washington -- >> that's a great question and here again i would love your view. now there's a debate occurring right now. in literary circles listen to me so sophisticated -- [laughter] about whether sat is in trouble right now. is the line between -- absurdity and fiction because of the current atmosphere in washington and i've read with folk who is said you can't do satire right now you have to put
it on hold on back burner because people are tired of satire every day and not sure what the difference is. i don't believe that. but -- it's kind of affected my own thinking on if i -- am fortunate enough to do another book. you know would it continue to be kind of poking fun at the system. or should it be something serious and you thoughts were serious book -- on the next go around but want to see how big guns does first. what are your thoughts on that? satire is in trouble right now? >> what do you guys think? [laughter] >> be that as a -- editor -- i think i like satire but might be a generational thing. part of american and part of the british cultural a lot of political satire and it's great the way to approach -- that subject. politics --
i think it's cyclical i don't know it's a question. my books have a lot of humor. i love satire and i love to do something like you're doing. just do a sum up of something which is what i did in gulf coast i made fun of establishmet so everybody -- it was fun doing it and you know, it's sort of the having fun the reader is not going to have fun, and i can see, you know, you have a lot of fun with the warehouse bock and laughing outloud in some of the boat book. but i think because of your unique situation, 16 years in congress, i mean seen it all -- might be time for a -- something like you know, a israel goes to congress so goes to washington -- something along that line. >> i'm thinking it be. 16 years is a long time in the house of representatives.
>> yeah. yeah i'm giving that some thought what i love about nelson humor particularly in gold coast is he's -- he's pointed without the fall ifs and so you're reading thriller, you know, they're page turners but humor is so wonderful and lands the delivery lands so strategically and i learned a lot from -- from reading your book. in fact i'll -- confess something to you i went to see agent with a book idea self months ago. before i hooked up with my agent i said i have this idea for a spy thriller i gave her the first words she said it reads a lot like nelson demille. >> so -- [laughter] you're doing okay. [inaudible conversations] final two more -- lightning round. well you know two more questions really.
this is a question about, you know, most ask other authors trying learn here's a question. what is your writing day like? >> oh. so -- depending on where i am in a particular book when i was really focused on big guns -- i wake up at 5 a.m., write for two hours, and then continue writing all day long on my iphone which i know is hard to believe. but it was such a wonderful tool because i could be in -- a caucus meeting and write. i could be at a meeting with -- everybody but constituents i always listened to constituents and also because my -- my satire is all about washington. i had the ability and the -- well ability to write almost in real time observe something, and be able to write it. and work it into my storylines. and -- carol long worth my fiancé will
tell you and i apologize to her for this constantly but we with could be at dinner and i'll see something and take out my iphone and start writing it be so i apologize for that. so i write constantly all on -- an iphone i tried at the suggestion -- of -- another author -- to e leave writing on the iphone and you know just try a laptop i tried it for about two weeks i couldn't do it. there's something about it now that my thumb muscle has been trainedded to connect to creativity that i have and a different approach it was really bad i thought. you know -- >> so i still along half -- long hand i try on my phone but i have a flip phone so that doesn't work. [laughter] so it was next but we covered -- let's go back.
i just curious about about -- why you left and everybody elsements to know a successful career, and i think you unbeatable so wasn't like you something, somebody comes and chasing you and going, get a job. you voluntarily left, and -- they say joe quit at the top of your game which you did but my question is any regrets? [laughter] i got out exactly at the right time. i tell young people, politics timing everything including timing when to get out of politics. went to my doctor after leaving congress and i was complaining about severe pain and tremors in my face it is a smile you haven't done it in 16 years. but it's a good question. seriously, seriously i have one regret, and i'm going to tell you something that you probably don't know no matter how much you follow congress.
no matter how much time you spend watching television. no matter how much read aring you do on congress. here's what you don't know and here's what i missed. there's a quiet college y'allty in the place. i miss there's a balcony one of my favorite places in the entire capitol complex, is this little balcony that is is right off the house chamber. and it -- it looks like your backyards. it has cheap patio furniture. and chase longses and wobbly little glass tainls tables and democrats and republicans could be beating living daylights out of each other on the floor of the house and then you can put your arm around somebody and say let's go out to the balcony to sit on that balcony and just a beautiful view of washington. you can see the washington monument and the mall and house office buildings and library of congress, and sit and speak to one another not as members of
congress but as human beings. and hear a colleague say i'm sorry but my wife is so mad at me because i told her we're to be home but we're stuck here voting or my kids -- high school graduation is coming up, and i'm going to miss it. because i'm here. and i -- you know, i talked to my colleagues almost every day republicans and democrats. and -- they say the same thing to me. you know what do you miss and my answer is i miss you. there's a guy billy one of the most -- conservative -- members of congress in washington, d.c. and he and i would sit and he's the funniest guy in congress we have agreed we will not agree on thinking when i start to agree with him you need to do something with me. [laughter] but i love the and i love talking about family and you know his interest and my interest. that is what i miss. and i wish more people were aware of --
that. it's not screaming an yelling and 335 people from different background and places trying to do the best they can. and that -- i wish more people with aware of that. >> to your new book -- there you go ben -- are you listening? >> are you listening? >> see him sorry that we all want to know about. that's what people don't understand. is i guess -- thinking about that balcony and need a cigarette can you still smoke on that baalke ?i? >> it is for your good only place it is the only place -- on capitol hill close to chamber where you can smoke a cigarette or cigar my advice i smoke a cig gar i'm probably going to lose their next elections right now. but you know, because we're in this environment where how dare republican hang out with a democrat. how dare a democrat hang out with a republican. we smoke cigars we go to a
speakers balcony we were a speak earn said why don't you come to me with speakers balcony and we would sit there and say -- you know i remember -- talking to tom cole say -- okay we know what we disagree on. can we just take some time on what we agree on, and that's the essence that's what's going to get things done folks with more members of congress wanting to have a glass of wine or smoke a cig gar or not soak but get together and not talk about this agreement but area of agreement. >> next book -- all right ben. so we're ready for questions. and this gentlemen will take mics around do we have the barnes & noble representative, there you are. so do you want -- i tell you what this is your place so why don't you walk around and call on people so nelson and i don't have to make difficult questions but don't forget to call on chris. [laughter] >> steve and nelson you -- i'm wondering besides your
personal experience, have you done a lot of research to write this novel and you too a lot of your stuff and it's amazing. >> thank you. >> you triggered something. and you're helping me -- answer better a question on what nelson the thing that surprises me the most is when my not ben but ben the editor from cy simon did fact checking and the amount of -- fact checking i remember for example i have a one scene in big guns where the high school football team and football coach of the blog high school -- is at a meeting and the editor, you know, sent me a career rei saying well this takes, this scene takes place in july so high school football coach wouldn't be available so how do you explain that and i'm like well you have a lot of time on
your hands that's what surprise me the most is the amount of i thought i did a ton of research for this book. most of the research was just observing but then going through that process of making sure that the facts were accurate and that the story flowed is, in fact, so i amend my remarks -- that's what surprised me most about the process of book writing. what about you? >> well one of my books are heavily researched and -- when i read a book and i research -- we have a fact checker and were a great -- publishing house -- but even at the end when a book is finally published you get these letters. e-mails -- from fans saying things like -- [inaudible conversations] a guy have too much time on his hand he said you know this is a time period of your book and this is what is taking place. and you have a full moon rising --
and in 1998, there was no full moon that day -- [laughter] you know well a lunatic would know. [laughter] [inaudible conversations] >> go ahead. >> proceed. so finally let me start by saying i don't think that satire is dead even when i was miserable about political situations in the past i have loved politically oriented satire. so big guns is satire on a controversial and very sensitive topic. did you second guess anything you would written after parkland and as we moved into the current debate about guns? >> it's a wonderful question. i wrote big guns because 16 years in congress i presided over as a member of congress 52 mass shootings, and that doesn't matter what your politics are
republican members of congress and democratic members of congress said the same thing the number one question they got after every mass shooting is when will congress do something? but do something and agree on at least one thing, and frankly i -- i ran out of -- answers to the questions and i decided i should do a book on this that answers the question and do it the way i know best the sterical look kind of a snarky look and a dry policy book on the gun violence debate in congress. my mother would not have even purchased it. [laughter] so i decided to make it accessible and my views probably not that ever congress will probably not do anything on this. i think that the -- students from park land may be changing the narrative and here's why. and here i take my authors hat off and put on my political hat, i have a theory of campaigns that -- and i know there are a lot of political activists here. when -- children and their parents begin talking about an issue at the
kitchen table that changes narrative of a campaign, and if you have these kids and it spreads, talking about this saying well you know why can't congress do something can we grow on this and whether, whether that during conversation reachings consensus or not -- if this issue continues to dominate, the the narrative going into the midterm election then i believe that congress will respond with at least something. next question -- yep. mike is coming this is new york we know how to just -- blast it out. >> you kind of addressed what i was going to ask a little bit about it. your last question but going back to before we talk about a congeniality and you said then something like -- trying to do their best. feels like they're trying to avoid a primary. as opposed to --
>> i see your point. well that's a very good point and this gets a little bit of, the inside baseball but here's people saying what's going wrong what's gone wrong in -- with congress. why is this seem so dysfunctional it's this thing called jerry commandering, how many of you know what that is? so jerry manneddering is how we draw con depression gnat districts and they're supposed to be drawn to the constitution of the united states and federal law in accordance with population. peter king republican friend of mine, republican from nassau county, and i are supposed to represent roughly same number of people, but the districts are drawn from most members of congress to pack in as many republicans or democrats to protect the incumbent so the consequence of that is, this -- of the 435 congressional districts right now, going into this midterm election they're
probably about 06 that are truly competitive that's about double what it usually is. let's just take a broad look at. let's assume there's 60 competitive districts out of 435. that means out of the entire united states congress, there are only 60 districts where -- compromise is valued back at home because they're competitive. versus vilified back home. in all of other districts, most members of congress wake up in the morning. not afraid of losing a general election, because it's a safe democratic district or a safe republican district. but they wake up and fear of losing primary from the far left or the far right. which explains why congress is so polarized right now. and -- if there's one thing that we could do -- to bring become a spirit of compromise, it's ability it would be to insist that our con congressional districts be drawn not to protect incumbent but to
represent an equal number of people. i can't tell you with how many of my colleagues both left and right would say to me, in the sanctity of the member only elevate because that's one of the few place on capitol hill that really is -- really is confidential because it's one of the few place on capitol hill where they enforce members only rule. can't tell you how many of my colleagues would say to me after a casting a vote that concern that made them wince -- i had to do it. because i don't to invite a primary. >> so they're doing their best because they have obligation to represent the people back home. and so they try to reflect views of their district but i tell you. on so many contentious issues right now, there would be instant compromise instant -- thild find common grounds if they didn't think they were going to be toughed out of office as a result of a primary. radded book and is he still
talking to you is this >> so the -- not after that question risa i'll be honest with you there are a lot of characters in the book there's a republican speaker of the house. there two mayors a senate majority leader and member of congress no character represent the any one person they're collectives and so the mayor of chicago in this book -- he hurls affiliate curses from time to time and he's never shy about that but he's not based only on emanuel but several of my colleagues and other political personalities here's the other thing i'll share with you without giving too much away. the speaker of the house in this book -- most didn't think that's john boehner many are john boehners -- the mastery of keeping caucus together is nancy pelosi. so i blend blair into what i think is a pretty damn good
speaker of the house of representatives. >> thank you this question might be self-serving with steve but how did you get your start in politics was it locally? >> it is well self-serving because he was the first volunteer i had running for office named grg and i haven't seen him in a long time, and i trained you well, greg. >> you did, thank you. >> how did i get my start in politics i thought he was trying to fish for a compliment so my first election get ready for this nelson my very first lex was i ran or for president of my high school. general douglas macarthur high school in douglas, new york under the sophisticated slogan don't be dizzy vote for izzy. [laughter]
i love that an it worked and what i suggested that we replicate that they quit immediately. [laughter] and i ran for the sub candidate legislature back in 19 -- 19 oh gosh when was it 1987, and is lost ran for huntington board won in 1993 and got elected to congress in 2000 to the surprise of everybody including me. and got elected to the district repghted by a wonderful friend of mine named rick lazio who was a republican member of congress and he left to run against hillary clinton. but we were friends. and rick was oning 75, 80% of the vote and here i'm a democrat and come listening and nobody thought i was going to win. i won with 48% of the vote no member of congress did worse than me or member of congress did worse than me i own 48% because it was a five-way race i was so skeptical of my reelection --
and so cheap as a human being -- that i refused to buy a dresser in washington, d.c. in my little -- little studio apartment i lived out of three bags and -- i had any socks and -- certain to another but i got reelected and kept on getting reelected. we'll over to you. >> congressman if i could sort of change had the subject just is slightly. what happened -- why, how come -- what happened with 9/11? i don't quite understand it. we were 91 we had the gulf war with a prier attack in world trade center and terrorist attack us cringes coal attacking our embassies. dick cheney and don rumsfeld had high level of experience in government. how did this happen? >> how did 9/11 happen? >> yeah. or -- >> how did we -- not know it was going to happen?
>> it's a complicated question but a lot of theories on it. we've got to do a better job we the 9/11 commission report that really does answer the question where you have bipartisan -- research and consensus on what happened. what i think we need to pox on i'll just -- look -- what happened is debatable read the commission report but i'll tell you what one of the finest days i ever spent in congress maybe the finest day i ever spent in congress -- was that night. when every member of congress spontaneously it wasn't cor yo graphed we knew we had to get back to the capitol and so members started just going back when we got the all clear alert. and where did we go we went to steps of capitol almost -- almost tell pathically and
saying god bless america spontaneously it looked like might have been organized but it was not. and i didn't know the congressperson whose hand i was holding on my left or right and didn't know if he was a democrat or woman on my right was a republican but we began holding each other singing god bless america. and -- i -- i wish we could return to that spirit of pulling together in order to protect our country. and reach the highest aspirations for our country. promise -- [inaudible conversations] when writing your novel do you think in terms of movies because that's why the big buck -- >> he's the master. no surely the answer was no.
and -- not as big -- there was a time when it could be made rich by the movies and during depression somewhere along the line the movie deal didn't pay doesn't really matter, and i don't write for the movies. my book is complex. for screen writer to take the novel make it a screen play but also seens are expenszive so now you think in terms of the movie but not novel. pd is big now again just to -- address money part doesn't pay for it and all making money but me and made a journal into a movie -- what did he give me a nice low 6 figures it wasn't -- for the, you know, selling rights and what did john
travolta get for 12 weeks worth of work 20 million dollars. so you know i said hey buddy i have 50,000 and you have 20 million -- so it was a good book by the way. right but you know -- we in this krnghts we know sports dogs make more than -- novels and everybody makes more than congress. so it is what it is. not for the money. >> i'll tell you so global more as i saw movie rights to a guy named it ryan for a total reiteration zero and zero cents and sold movie rights to big guns to a -- company called branded pictures for a little more than 0 dollars
and 0 cents but learned when you sell movie rights -- for a book to hollywood it is exactly like in congress when a bill gets referred to committee. it could stay there forever. one more nelson take two more since they have the last two hands up. okay. thank you i want to say that you heard you were on brian show and i was glad to hear about about this -- and i haven't read your book but just in hearing -- you are -- reflections on your time in congress and even today you talk about, you know, you can go to lounge and you can find points of agreement. but on the floor you don't. the question i want to go back to you is can we finds things and maybe a vision that we can grow on there have been got to be things we agree upon to rise above the petty and say this ths what we all want and achieve and i think your role outside of government could be helping to kind of provide a --
a space for that conversation. i think it's a tremendously important moment for that. >> i want to answer your question so make this the last question and then i'll maybe close with that and then give nelson the -- absolute closing remarks so i'll come back to that. i have not read the book but were you there with sandy hook and how did -- >> of course i was there and i was sitting in any district office and turned on tv saw president of the united states weeping. and at that moment said to myself -- now we're going to do something. because democrats and republicans are going to come together i don't know the answer but we'll find an answer -- and then nothing happened after that. nothing happened after that. but that's why i did the book i wanted to explain in a way that leaves open, leaving door open
to hope at the end. let me answer your question and then i'll give you the last word with okay because nelson demille deserves last word because he's wrote so many of them so answer my sharing with you in less than a minute and a half. something that i think answers your question if you want to understand why congress sometimes appears so dysfunctional you can see for yourself go to the parking lot outside the capitol after the last vote of the week. sometimes it's a thursday sometimes it's a friday. and what happens after that last vote is there's a stampede of members of congress trying to get out the door to their cars, to the airport, back home to their districts. and i was a particular rush that day. on one day, and there was a slow moving guy in front of me, and those doors are heavily armored doors and he just seemed to be a little too slow for this brash new yorker in opening the door
so i opened it for him. and i may have -- use ared a little too much energy because i needed to catch a flight to laguardia. the quarter of the door literally caught his shoe ripped open his shoe and took gash in his shoe and he caught down and went ow and i kept moving. [laughter] two weeks later i was in the member gym and the member gym so everybody understands it is not free you have to pay a fee like any gym in america. and this guy was next to me i was on the bike and he was on the ellipse call he said you don't remember do you, i said no. he said i'm -- tim johnson, from illinois. he said yo ruined my shoe i said you should buy better shoes and in which for me, and then we began looking around so tim johnson was a republican from the district at abraham lincoln represented in springfield. moderate republican, and we're
looking around at the members jim and we see the most spirited competition basketball game going on. paddle ball going on. and you know, we said why is it that we can compete so respectfully here but literally you go to the elevator you press two you go on floor of the house. we can't compete like adults with what's going on. so tim johnson formed house center aisle caucus i chose democrats he chose 24 republican and what you meet on a cheap chinese restaurant because everybody loves cheap chinese food in washington, d.c. and here's the real we pick an issue health care we actually brought a kitchen timer set it for five minutes. ready to disagreements at one another -- then 55 minutes what can we grow on it? it was the most liberating experience i had had because this is what with learned democrats and republicans are beginning to disagree 75.of the time. that's fine. there's a reason i'm a democrat
and reason peter king is a republican it's okay. we just have different ideas. the problem with congress is that we spent 100% of our time on the 75% that we are never going to agree on instead of a little bit of time on the 25% that we can't agree on and if we just focused on that 25.-- america would be 100% better. the center aisle caucus went out of business in 2010 when the tea tide came and same thing happened on the left i believe when republicans were being vilified at home for being members of center aisle caucus they all had to leave center caucus tim johnson by the way -- he resigned from congress. several years later he just couldn't, couldn't stand vilification anymore we need more republicans like tim johnson. and now the last word, last word. thank you all for coming. thank you steve that was -- i learned a lot --
we're going to sign books and resigning books -- right here. right here, like that so right here sign a book -- standing by your book steve needs to see. [laughter] money but immediate to see -- we want to write a third novel. [inaudible conversations] the iestled all of them are the best ladies and gentlemen -- we thank you so much for coming out here tonight if you give us a few moments you can see him up on the stage we have matthew in the book with books available for sale signing line is going to start over here to your right along the wall. thank you again for coming to barnes & noble upper east.
here's a look at the authors recently featured on booktv's afterwards. our weekly author interview program that includes best selling nonfiction books, and guest interviewers and best of barb about bra explored science behind how body ages. journalist argued that there's an effort to thwart the presidency of donald trump. and facebook cofounder or chris hughes shared his thoughts on a guaranteed income for the working class. in the coming weeks on afterwards television and radio host, bill press will retrace his transition to progressive politics. and this weekend former national intelligence director james
clapper offers his insights on the u.s. intelligence community. >> raises whole concern you named john brennan and myself about -- ouring speaking out whatever our views are and that is -- that man itself is controversial. i acknowledge that. and certainly not a world that i -- anticipated when i retired from military i never would have thought of doing that. but i think we're under a different circumstance now and i think i started this -- it trying to defend the community but that's all i have in mind and then -- kind of the evolved into -- perhaps a broader role. but not when i -- planned on or desired but i felt excuse me -- i felt after 50 years or so or more of defending the institutions and values of this country that i sort of felt like
they're under assault. afterwards airs on booktv every saturday at 10 p.m. eastern and sunday at 9 p.m. eastern and pacific. all previous afterwards programs are available to watch on our website booktv.org. here's a look at some books published this week in energy, pulitzer prize and national book award win author richard roads provides history of energy production. pulitzer prize win reporter barry myers chronicles opioid epidemic in painkiller. ten arguments for deleting your social media accounts right now details scientists, thought ongs how social media plat formals are used to gain influence. former u.s. army office and fbi special agent clint watts looks at how terror are groups use social media in messing with the enemy also being published this week in like a mother, feminist angela reflects on her experiences during pregnancy.
historian steven recounts life of benedict arnold in turn code in no ashes in the fire, black lives matter activist darnell moore details the racial grimtion and bullying he faced throughout his upbringing and "new york times" columnist karl zimmer examines how traits are pass through generations in she has her mother's laugh. look for these titles in book stores this coming week, and watch for many of the authors in the near future on booktv, on c-span2. works for me. make sure my phone is on. good idea. okay if people would take seats -- we won't give you a discount on the book you're going to b